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Friday the 13th Special: Unluckiest Moments of the NFL Season

It’s Friday the 13th, the most unlucky day of the year. So naturally, TGH has to take this opportunity to list some of the weirdest moments of the 2019 NFL season.

Enjoy, and remember to throw some salt over your shoulder before your team’s next game.

Rodgers’ face mask interception

Honestly, this whole game was cursed.

Those who watched this Week 6 matchup between the Packers and Lions, or remember the controversy surrounding the officiating afterwards, may expect the phantom “hands to the face” calls against Trey Flowers to be listed here instead. Especially considering those calls essentially cost Detroit the game (although some may say it was their inability to get into the end zone, but who are we to judge?).

However, the forgotten unluckiest moment belonged to Aaron Rodgers.

Friday the 13th
Coleman collected the interception after the bounce off of Shepherd’s face mask. (Photo by SI)

Early in the fourth quarter, trailing by six, the Packers were on Detroit’s 12-yard line. Primed to score a touchdown to either tie the game or go ahead, the quarterback with the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history threw the ball to Darrius Shepherd.

Shepherd, an undrafted rookie free agent at the beginning of the season, had already muffed a punt in the third quarter, leading to more Lions points. But he remained in the game anyway due to the Packers’ lack of receivers.

Standing one yard shy of the goal line, he went to the ground as the pass came at him, right on target to hit him in the chest if he were upright. Instead, it hit him in the face mask and bounced directly into the arms of Detroit corner Justin Coleman, who promptly ran the other way for 55 yards.

The whole thing was the very definition of the reason that tipped interceptions should be their own stat category. Alas, Rodgers must live with that pick on his all time career stat line.

At least they got the win.

The Sam Darnold saga

Sam Darnold’s year has been strange. It has seemingly rubbed off on the rest of this Jets team, since they cannot catch a break.

We will put aside the fact that this season, they have dealt with more injuries than some teams do in two years. This includes losing their backup to a broken ankle during the second quarter of what would have been a three game starting stint.

Mono

Instead, we will start with the fact that Sam Darnold lost weeks two through five (bye in Week 4) to mononucleoisis of all things. Mono, or “the kissing disease,” generally affects teenagers. It is common in college-aged students, as well. But either way, it is seen as a “young person’s disease.”

So, yes, it is common and it does happen. In fact, the CDC says one in four teenagers develop mononucleosis if they are passed the virus that causes it. But, it is a very strange look for an NFL quarterback to contract it.

Some sports pundits painted it as a “sign of immaturity.” And to make matters worse, Darnold could not play through it due to the enlarging of the spleen that takes place. He could not even be around the team in the early weeks, for fear of passing it to other players.

Cowboys, ghosts, and a look of pure shock

When he returned to the field, he absolutely torched the Cowboys for 338 yards and two touchdowns. Remember, this was strange and surprising in Week 6, because nobody knew Dallas is not that good this year.

Following that up, Darnold was mic’d up for a comment that will live in NFL infamy.

In Week 7 against the Patriots, Darnold and the Jets were down 24-0. He went to the sideline and uttered the phrase “I’m seeing ghosts.” This means, in a manner of speaking, that he was confused and lost playing against this Patriots defense.

Darnold threw for a career low 86 yards and a career high four interceptions that night. The comment was picked apart and played ad nauseam on every sports outlet. Then, in Week 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, their mascot dressed up in a ghost costume, and played the theme to the movie “Ghostbusters” over clips of Darnold making mistakes.

But, maybe worst of all, the comment gave birth to the insufferable “Boogeymen” nickname now used by the Patriots defense.

To round it out, during Thursday night’s game against the Ravens, Darnold apparently yelled something at coach Adam Gase so shocking that it led to one of the funniest faces ever captured on an NFL sideline, made by backup David Fales. And yes, we are including any and all Manning faces.

Watch the video here, and thank us later.

Here’s hoping Darnold can make it through the last two weeks of the season without his pants falling down or something.

The entire Chargers 2019 season

The San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers are historically among the most unlucky franchises in the NFL.

Obviously, there is the fact that they had to choose Ryan Leaf after the Colts drafted Peyton Manning. They lost Drew Brees after refusing to offer him more money. Eli Manning flat out refused to play for them even though the Chargers had every right to draft him.

But what continually haunts the franchise are close losses.

2019 has been a record-breaking year in a bad way for the Chargers. After going 12-4 and advancing to the AFC Divisional round in 2018, Los Angeles will likely miss the playoffs in 2019.

Why, you ask? Because for the first time in NFL history, a team has managed to lose eight games by seven points or less. Truly incredible.

Friday the 13th
The latest Chargers loss came after this play, which resulted in pass interference. (Photo by Eric Lutzens/The Denver Post)

Los Angeles has managed to lose three games by three points, four games by seven points and one by two points. Of course, the argument could be made that these are not hard luck losses, but rather an indictment of the team that they simply do not make enough plays to win.

But, with the Chargers’ history of missed field goals, extra points gone wrong, miraculous comebacks by opposing teams, etc. they deserve a spot on this list.

Their most recent loss, to the Denver Broncos, was on a last-second field goal. Denver only had the chance to kick that field goal because they ran a deep-shot play specifically to draw a flag for pass interference. We will give you three guesses what ended up happening.

That loss pushed them to 5-8 and all but eliminated from playoff contention. It would feel great to say, “maybe next year, Chargers,” but let’s not get anyone’s hopes up.

Russell Wilson’s pinball pick six

Yikes.

In football, players are trained to knock the ball down, both on offense and defense, for different reasons in different circumstances. What they are not trained to do is to volleyball set it up into the air so the other team can snag it with ease.

Wilson missed that day of practice, however, and did exactly that against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football in front of the entire country.

The ball was batted twice, the second of those by Wilson, and it fell right into the arms of Anthony Harris, who ran it about 20 yards into the end zone. This gave the Vikings the lead in the second quarter.

Like the other interception on this list, the pick would not lose them the game. But, still, it is embarrassing as it is unlucky. It is a play one can laugh about if their team wins, but one that haunts your dreams forever if they do not.

On the bright side, Russell has a great career in volleyball ahead of him if this whole football thing doesn’t work out.

The curse of David Johnson

This is a tale of karma exacting justice on an entire franchise.

For those of you not having your enjoyment of the NFL season ruined by constantly worrying about winning your fantasy matchup, let us fill you in.

In Week 7, the Arizona Cardinals sat one of the best fantasy running back options, David Johnson, for no real reason. There was no injury, no reported personal issue or conduct violation. The team simply said he was for “emergency use only” in the game.

He was given three snaps total, and only one carry for two yards. That carry was the first of the game, which begs many questions. Was he injured? If so, why give him a carry at all? Was he on the field during those three snaps as a decoy? Are the Cardinals simply trying to troll fantasy owners?

The answer to that last one is clearly no. But either way, since pulling that stunt, Arizona has not won a single game.

ESPN’s fantasy football expert, Matthew Berry had choice words for the Cardinals’ Twitter after that game, and has been updating his followers on the karma that has ensued since.

Whether or not you enjoy fantasy football, it is definitely strange that the team has not gotten a win since being pretty smarmy about the team’s decision to not utilize their best offensive player on their Twitter account.

But, hey, maybe you’ll draft Chase Edmonds next year.

Featured Image courtesy of Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

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