Cheers for Superdome fun; jeers to catch confusion


Welcome to the Around The NFL End Around, a weekly look back at the world of the National Football League. Dan Hanzus serves as your guide.

It was a good week for ...

1. Benjamin Watson: It's quite unusual for a player to enjoy his best statistical game 12 years into a workmanlike career, but that's what Watson (10/127/1) accomplished on Thursday night. Watson now has more receiving yards than Jimmy Graham. Oof.

2. Andrew Luck: The Colts quarterback is reportedly throwing with "no restrictions" in practice. But is he sure he wants to come back against a Patriots team that's ready to drop an 80-burger on the Colts, Al Michaels and the world?

3. Josh McCown: Johnny who? The Browns' journeyman passer has thrown for over 300 yards in three straight games. This means the Cleveland-hating Football Gods must have some savagery in store this weekend.

It was a bad week for ...

1. Peyton Manning: Is this it? Manning's tumble into JAG (Just Another Guy) Territory can no longer be dismissed as a slow start.

2. Jamaal Charles: You have to feel for Charles, who has been the NFL's most under-appreciated superstar for years and now has to rehab back from a second torn ACL.

3. Rob Vernatchi: The official was suspended for failing to correct an error by the clock operator on Monday night in San Diego. You had one job, VERN!

The NFL needs its own version of the bat flip

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista turned the MLB playoffs on its head this week with the greatest bat flip in history (at least in North America, anyway). It was an instantly iconic moment in Canadian professional sports, and it got me thinking: What's the NFL equivalent of a bat flip celebration?

On the latest Around The NFL Podcast, Andrew Siciliano suggested that Terrell Owens' infamous Dallas star celebration in 2000 could warrant consideration. This isn't a bad thought, but doesn't quite work.

Dunking over the goal posts wasn't bad, but that doesn't approach how the flip completely dismisses your opponent. The best option might be the good old fashioned spike, preferably done directly in the vicinity of a vanquished opponent. The type of spike thrown down with such velocity that it nearly takes out an eye as it ricochets off the turf.

Have a better idea? Let us know in the comment section.

How great was that blocked punt by the Saints?

Déjà vu all over the place. In the Superdome, in primetime, against Atlanta, with Steve Gleason -- the man who delivered the most famous punt block of all-time -- watching from the sideline. And to top it off, we find out that the Saints special teamer who blocked the punt, Michael Mauti, was in the stands when Gleason made the play that led to a statue being erected in his likeness.

"That's what I've been dreaming about since I was sitting in that seat up there," Mauti said after the Saints' upset win. "To live that out is something special. I'm enjoying it. (Gleason) is one of my heroes."

One of the best moments of the season so far.

Russell Wilson and Macklemore are a match made in heaven

The least realistic thing in this video is not the disappearing pop star in the pool, but the idea that Russell Wilson is allowed to listen to anything but Ciara. That woman is in control of the situation.

What the what?

Is it just me, or is Watkins' complete absence of success in this odd drill slightly worrisome if you're a Bills fan? Odell Beckham Jr. releases viral videos where he's catching balls with pinkies. In Watkins' video, he never comes remotely close to a catch. I mean, look what happens at the 12-second mark -- the ball practically explodes off his hands.

More on Watkins later ...

Oh, hi bear

I feel like this is what Rob Gronkowski would look like on a football field in a slightly altered reality. Like, if someone went back in time and accidentally killed a bug that set off a butterfly effect scenario. Gronk would become a friendly, wildly dexterous brown bear.

Keep the faith, Chargers fans!

I get it, people of San Diego. You have every reason to be upset with your favorite team, especially when it doesn't feel like they're trying very hard to keep the Chargers in town beyond 2015. But you can't let Steelers fans invade your building on a Monday night.

Terrible Towel wavers turned Qualcomm Stadium into Heinz West, and it played a part in the game. Philip Rivers acknowledged he had to use a silent snap count in his own building to properly execute the offense.

"Odd is one word we could use," Rivers said of the atmosphere, per The San Diego Union-Tribune.

On a related note, don't people in Pittsburgh have jobs? You must have very understanding bosses if you do.

How many guards does it take to haul off a drunk 49ers fan?

I'm counting 12. This seems excessive, though a closer look at the video makes you wonder if this guy has been infected, The Walking Dead style. There's some serious fight in that gentleman. Enjoy jail.

Can't have the catch rule around no more

This is starting to get ridiculous. In the aftermath of Dez Bryant and the Cowboys getting jobbed in the playoffs last year, the rules committee tweaked the language of what defines a catch in an effort to provide some clarity.

Instead, things are more confusing than ever. I'll cite two examples from last Sunday's game between the Redskins and Falcons. First, this clear touchdown reception by Devonta Freeman that was later ruled incomplete:

Even Mike Pereira, the league's former vice president of officiating and easily the NFL's top TV rules guy, seems flummoxed by the whole thing.

Now watch what happens probably about 15 minutes later, early in the overtime period:

You can't tell me that the overturn of the Freeman catch didn't directly impact the official delay on this catch, which included -- I kid you not -- five steps by Redskins receiver Jamison Crowder and a stiff arm before the ball squirted to the turf.

Nobody knows what a catch is. Fixing this should remain one of the league's highest priorities of the offseason.

Andy Dalton's hair renaissance mirrors football rebirth

There is a direct correlation here. The Glowing Gingerman suddenly has hair like a nordic pop star. All this renewed confidence emanates from that flaming party up top.

Quote of the Week, Part I

"I have to be careful, because certainly you want to look out and you want to see the future and where you're going. But at the same time, when I do that and I start thinking about Sunday a little too much, I start wanting to throw up a little bit. I think that's in a good way."

-- Dan Campbell, on the nerves that come with his first game as Dolphins interim coach

Quote of the Week, Part II

"You came up to draft me and I'm not getting targets -- that's a problem. You're making me look bad and you're making yourself look bad. Why not make both of us look good?"

-- Sammy Watkins, in the grips of his "Just Give Me The Damn Ball" moment.

Hero of the Week: J.J. Watt

We gave Watt a hard time a couple weeks back over his potentially dubious Saved By The Bell bonafides, but seeing him visit a children's hospital in Batman gear delivers the feels.

Watt even has a decent Christian Bale impression.

Until next time ...