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MJD

Week 13's five least valuable players

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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Ed Hochuli, Referee.

I've had countless arguments with people about the player-safety issue, protecting quarterbacks and this season's emphasis on blows to the head. I'm always on the side of the officials, and these discussions always end with me being asked to remove my skirt, and then me calling the other guy a Neanderthal meathead.

However, in regard to the unnecessary roughness penalty called on Ndamukong Suh(notes) Sunday ... *rips off my skirt*. I'm with you, meatheads!

Suh simply didn't hit anybody in the head (the 1:51 mark here). It was violent, it was a punch-like motion and Jay Cutler(notes) went down hard, but none of that makes it illegal. Suh hit the back of Cutler's shoulder pads with the intent to knock him down from behind -- the only chance he had at getting Cutler to the ground from that angle.

I don't see the unnecessary roughness. All roughness I see was completely necessary for making the tackle.

Now, the game didn't turn on that play, so I won't pitch a huge fit about it. It was a break for the Bears, sure, but penalty or no penalty, they were going to be in a decent position to finish off that drive. And again, I've sympathized with officials in almost every controversial instance this year. Here, though, we have a guy penalized for trying to make a tackle, just because it looked somewhat unconventional and mean. It's bothersome, because Suh didn't break any rules, not even any of the "new" ones in this odd period of transition in NFL officiating.

Philip Rivers(notes), QB, San Diego Chargers.

The final numbers weren't bad for Rivers -- in fact, they were pretty decent, as he completed 23 of 39 for 280 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

But when you're Philip Rivers, your team is fighting for its playoff life, and you're pretty much your team's entire offense, you can't afford to be just "decent." Rivers was just a little bit off all day long, overthrowing, underthrowing and otherwise missing open receivers he usually pegs in the numbers.

It's not that Rivers was the Chargers' worst player, of course -- any San Diegan whose job title includes "lineman" can go ahead and raise their hand. It's just that the Chargers lean on Rivers so heavily, and he's usually so accurate, that Sunday's desultory performance really stood out.

Derek Anderson(notes), QB, Arizona Cardinals.

I really wanted DA to come out this week and go John Elway on everybody; just have a brilliant game and get people off his back. I had no reason to believe this would happen, of course, and it didn't. But it would've been sweet if it had.

I felt like the beating he took from Jon Gruden last week was 100% unwarranted. A bit of laughter is not an indication that a man isn't hurting, doesn't take his job seriously or isn't a fierce competitor. It was a little chuckle -- it's not like Anderson was on the sidelines unrolling a Twister mat and giggling hysterically when Deuce Lutui(notes) couldn't get his right foot on red.

Losing a football game is not a crisis, and even if it were, I've seen people laugh in hospitals and funeral homes. It doesn't mean they're not taking things seriously, and as far as I know, no one has ever appointed Jon Gruden the Czar of Times When It's OK to Chuckle.

Anyway, Anderson started again this week for the Cardinals and went 7 of 20 for 93 yards, no touchdowns and an interception before he was pulled from the game. I was disappointed. Anderson deserved to have a good week.

Pat Sims(notes), DT, Cincinnati Bengals.

I hate to castigate a guy for a stupid mistake that he knows is a stupid mistake. I'm sure Pat Sims is already killing himself for jumping offside in a situation where no one should ever jump offside, even if he'd had a pretty good game prior to that moment.

But there's just no getting around the fact that Sims' thoughtless mistake just murdered the Bengals. It directly eliminated their chance to win. If he doesn't jump, the Saints attempt a field goal, and we're almost certainly going into overtime.

There's no getting around the thoughtlessness of it, either. A complete lack of focus was on display. You know there's no way the Saints are going for a fourth-and-2 when a field goal would tie it, and if it wasn't obvious when they lined up, it became really obvious after the guy went in motion and Brees pretended to audible into another play.

Sometimes excitement and desire win out over taking a deep breath and thinking. Happens to all of us.

Kerry Collins(notes), QB, Tennessee Titans.

Collins' final numbers against the Jaguars and their 27th-ranked pass defense: 14 of 32, 169 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions. Titans fans, are we still sure that we don't want Vince Young(notes) back next year?

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