NFL Week 13 Highlights: Injuries, Upsets, and Controversies

The NFL is approaching the pointy end of the season, with teams (and their staff members) left dodging injuries and leaving everything on the gridiron in an effort to reach the playoffs.

That’s not always enough in College Football, as Florida State found out when they were snubbed from the playoffs despite winning their conference and going through the season unbeaten in what was described as a “sad day for college football”.

But with some teams drifting into mediocrity (and that’s if we’re being kind) and others drifting on and off the field due to terrible weather, there was plenty to be interested in across the NFL in week 13.

Here are your five quick hits.

1. Saints running back breaks record and staff member’s leg in Lions’ defeat

A member of the chain crew suffered a gruesome injury.(AP Photo: Butch Dill)

American football is a high-contact sport where injuries are common, but you’d hope that on the sideline you’d be relatively safe.

Unfortunately for one of the “chain gang” in the New Orleans Saints vs Detroit Lions contest, that is not always the case.

Saints running back Alvin Kamara ploughed into a sideline worker midway through the second quarter after being pushed out of bounds, horrifically breaking his leg.

Kamara stood over the stricken worker helplessly as he writhed in pain on the ground before being carted from the field.

There has been no update on the worker from the Saints organisation, but he’ll probably miss a few weeks at least.

Kamara rushed for 51 yards and scored two touchdowns — breaking the franchise record with 53 for his Saints career — but the Lions ended up winning 33-27.

2. 49ers player sent off for punching Eagles’ head of security in face

The match between last year’s NFC finalists was always going to be heated, but few would have expected it to blow up the way it did on the sideline.

Incredibly, San Francisco linebacker Dre Greenlaw was thrown out of the game for punching Dom DiSandro, the Philadelphia Eagles head of security, in the face during a sideline fracas.

Incredibly, DiSandro was then also from the sidelines, incensing the always-volatile home crowd.

The Eagles trailed 21-6 at the time, when Greenlaw body-slammed Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith over the sideline right in front of the Eagles’ bench.

As the players came together, DiSandro came in to separate the players, before Greenlaw threw out a punch that glanced the 25-year veteran staff member’s face.

The Eagles scored a one-yard touchdown soon after, upon which both teams got back into each other as the tense game boiled over.

However, the 49ers had the last laugh, running out winners 42-19 to move to 9-3 and reduce the Eagles to 10-2.

3. Florida State ‘cheated’ by College Football’s farcical finals ruling

Florida State Seminoles won the ACC Football Championship but were denied a spot in the College Football Playoffs.(Getty Images: Icon Sportswire/John Byrum)

As any member of any committee in history will tell you, it is impossible to please everyone, but the group in charge of deciding who will contest the College Football Playoff has taken that to a new level this season.

This year is the last four-team College Football Playoff before it moves to a 12-team system, and the committee has determined that Michigan (13-0) will face Alabama (12-1) in the Rose Bowl and Washington (13-0) will play Texas (12-1) in the Sugar Bowl, with the winners meeting for the national championship on January 8 in Houston.

However, in doing so, unbeaten Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champions Florida State (13-0) has missed out.

They are the first unbeaten Power Five conference champion to be excluded from College Football’s Playoffs in history — and they aren’t happy about it.

“I am disgusted and infuriated with the committee’s decision today to have what was earned on the field taken away because a small group of people decided they knew better than the results of the games,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said.

“What is the point of playing games?

“What happened today goes against everything that is true and right in college football. A team that overcame tremendous adversity and found a way to win doing whatever it took on the field was cheated today.

“It’s a sad day for college football.”

Jordan Travis injured his leg but Florida State still managed to win its final two games.(Getty Images: James Gilbert)

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips agreed, calling the decision “unfathomable”.

Boo Corrigan, the selection committee chairman and athletic director at Florida State’s ACC rival North Carolina State, is instructed to judge teams for what they are heading into the playoff. He said: “Florida State is a different team than they were through the first 11 weeks.”

That is true to an extent — the Seminoles lost star quarterback Jordan Travis to a season-ending injury two weeks ago, but they continued to win with a backup and then a third-string quarterback.

“We’ve never had a year with eight teams at the top as good as these are,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said.

“My feeling is it probably was the toughest [decision ever for the committee].”

4. Dull Patriots fall to 6-0 defeat

Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots are having a terrible NFL season.(Getty Images: Maddie Meyer)

The New England Patriots are enduring a shocking season, winning just twice all season.

And it got even worse at a half-empty, rainy Foxborogh on Sunday as the Pats suffered a staggeringly bad 6-0 defeat against the Los Angeles Chargers to fall to a 2-10 record.

It was the Chargers’ first shutout in six years, while the Patriots failed to score for the second time this season — the first time that’s happened in franchise history.

New England lost their fifth-straight game and it was the third time in a row they gave up 10 or fewer points and still lost — the first team to do that since the 1938 Chicago Cardinals.

It was the first 6-0 scoreline in the NFL in just over five years, the last time being when Jacksonville beat Indianapolis in 2018.

There has not been a shortage of 6-0 scorelines in NFL history — this was the 80th. However, 64 of those scorelines occurred before World War II.

There have only been seven such instances since 1992 but, incredibly, the Patriots have been involved in three of them, all at home, all defeats. Yikes.

5. Wild Pittsburgh weather delays Steelers-Cardinals game

The Steelers-Cardinals game in Pittsburgh was twice delayed due to weather.(Getty Images: Joe Sargent)

Hardy fans in Pittsburgh were forced to endure two weather delays during the Steelers’ clash with the Arizona Cardinals.

After an initial delay that extended half-time by more than half an hour, players were again sent from the field midway through the third quarter, this time for more than an hour as inclement weather returned with a vengeance.

Wind and rain had been picking up throughout the latter portions of the second quarter, with officials asking for fans in the exposed areas inside the stadium to take cover in the concourse.

Sadly for Steelers fans, there was little for them to hang around for.

The hosts trailed 10-3 at half-time and fell further behind before the second delay, 17-3.

The Cardinals ended up winning 24-10, just their third victory of the season as the Steelers fell to 7-5.

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2023-12-04 01:16:04
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