Whatever hex plagued the Georgia Bulldogs in their 45-14 defeat against Ole Miss on Saturday must have transferred to many of the team’s former players on NFL Sunday. It was a day of mistakes and miscues.
Take wide receiver A.J. Green, for example. The Bengals star wideout posted a decent stat line in the team’s 29-17 loss to the Broncos, reeling in 8 of 11 targets for 77 yards. But Green executed the unthinkable in the game: He dropped a pass — and at a critical juncture. Green had 2 drops in 2015.
Trailing 22-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Green dumped a gimme on a third-and-3, which led to a punt. The Broncos scored on their next possession, a 55-yard touchdown strike from QB Trevor Siemian to WR Demaryius Thomas, which put the game out of reach. “It’s going to bother me all year,” Green said of the miscue. “I pride myself on not dropping balls. I know it’s going to happen, but I can’t drop a ball like that in a crucial moment.”
It wasn’t just the dropped pass Green singled out, but confusion on the play before that also killed the drive. He took most of the blame. “This offense starts with me. When I’m making plays, this offense — everything falls into place,” Green said. “(Sunday) I didn’t do that. I let my team down on that missed call that I thought was a run, and the next play I turn around and drop it. So that’s two mental errors on me that I have got to clean up.”
Bengals safety and former Bulldog Shawn Williams finished with 2 solo tackles, 3 assisted and 2 passes broken up. He, too, may look back at the effort more for a blooper he committed that could have made a big difference. Late in the second quarter, Williams dropped an easy interception thrown right at him that had pick-6 written all over it. Take a look:
— Bizarro Sports Guy (@SportsBizarro) Sept. 25, 2016
Williams missed a series in the first quarter after coming off the field for a right knee injury, so maybe he wasn’t 100 percent healthy. Nonetheless, this is the second pick served on a platter that he’s missed this season.
Arizona Cardinals punter Drew Butler epitomized his team’s lousy day, in which the reigning NFC West champs lost 33-18 at Buffalo. The former first-team All-SEC member aggravated a left ankle sprain in the first quarter after punting 4 kicks for a 26.8-yard average, only one of which was downed inside the 20-yard line.
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro took over punting duties, yet Butler remained in the game as the holder on field-goal attempts. Visibly hobbled, he was part of a botched effort late in the third quarter. On a 31-yard attempt, the snap was high and zipped through Butler’s hands. He attempted to run down the loose ball but to no avail. He was a man essentially on one leg. Bills safety Aaron Williams scooped it up and sped 53 yards for the touchdown.
BAD SNAP.@BuffaloBills grab it.
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2016
Not all former Georgia players were defined by bad plays this weekend. Rams running back Todd Gurley had a productive day, rushing for 2 scores and 85 yards on 27 carries in L.A.’s 37-32 road win against the Buccaneers. It was the second most rushing attempts in his career (30).
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis was in on 10 tackles and sacked Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford for a 10-yard loss in the first quarter to stymie a drive.
Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, meanwhile, finished with 385 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception on 28 of 41 passes in the team’s 34-27 loss to the Packers. Stafford was forced to throw early and often facing a 31-3 deficit in the second quarter. His nearly 400-yard day tied for 10th most passing yards in his career.
Dolphins safety Reshad Jones had the best day of all, putting in yet another Pro Bowl-like performance in Miami’s 30-24 overtime win against the Browns. He led all Miami defenders with 10 tackles, including a career-high 3 for loss, and was credited with a half sack. The sack gave him 9 in his career, which is the most for any defensive back in franchise history, according to the team’s official website.