That Did Not Look Athletic: Week 17, Raiders at Chargers

Is there anything less athletic than people starting fights at football games? Yes there is. - USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers showed some pride during week 17 with a sweep of their rivals from Oakland. The showdown however, was not without its share of embarrassing attempts at athleticism.

That Did Not Look Athletic is a weekly series where we look at some of the least athletic plays during the previous week's Chargers game. This series is meant to give us a few laughs by showing that even the best athletes in the world have their moments of shame. It's also a reminder that you aren't a complete loser just because you punched at a tether-ball and fell down in front of a bunch of 3rd graders.

What an exciting week. The Chargers beat the Raiders. Norv Turner and AJ Smith received their walking papers. And TDNLA has received its first reader submission for a That Did Not Look Athletic story. This particular reader wishes to remain anonymous but I shall remind all that it is extremely cathartic to share these embarrassing moments. After all, If we can't laugh at ourselves, how can we laugh at others? I suppose that doesn't really apply here. I mean, if you're mean spirited, why can't you just point and laugh at people? You do what ever works. In the interim enjoy this story from Anon:

Last year I got together with some friends to play some flag football. It was 6 on 6 with one lineman and permanent QB's. Silly, yes. Since nobody wanted to be a permanent lineman we rotated every series. Thankfully, I was going last in our group of volunteers.

Now, I had made a killing at my natural position of slot receiver and cornerback, with 5 catches for "77" yards* and a touchdown in the first half (2 possessions each team per 'quarter') while not allowing more than one catch as a defender.

In the opening possession of the third quarter with the score tied 21-21, it was my turn to be a lineman. Now, at the time, I was about the size I am now: 5'9" and 155lbs. Not an ideal lineman. The guy who was pass rusher (which I should've objected to but didn't) was just about an inch shorter than me, but about 190lbs and, coincidentally, one of the trainers at my local gym who helped me get back into shape over the summer.

At the snap on first down, I got good position, extended my long arms and managed to fend him off for about two seconds and it was enough for my QB to get his pass off for a first down over the middle. Second down, I got the feeling something un-athletic was about to happen. At the snap, I tried my blocking technique again only to be victim to an outside rip move** while instantaneously getting knocked back on my bee-hind and tallying one in the TDNLA column. Mini Elvis Dumervil ran after my QB who, in our effort to keep the game from looking like an unorganized mass of morons, couldn't by rule run beyond the line of scrimmage, having to either throw somewhere or take the "zero yard rush" and move on to the next down. He chose to lateral to me.

Now, to my credit, the field was a bit muddy from an autumn rain the day before, so when the ball came to my mud-coated hands it slipped right through like a bar of soap. That's two for the TDNLA column and the play wasn't even over yet. The fumble was picked up by the other team and returned for a TD. They took a one score lead that we never recovered from, eventually losing 42-35.

As I shamefully walked off the field at the end of the game, one of my buddies tossed me the football from about 20 yards away. I had some clothes and cones in one hand and so with the other hand I sarcastically reached out in an attempt to make a one-handed catch. Surprisingly, I made a wonderful one-handed catch in the parking lot that even shocked yours truly. But it did not look athletic, because it didn't happen during an athletic event.

*We counted yards as the distance between a long step, so the numbers aren't official.
**the kind Mike Harris gets beaten with so frequently.

Not athletic? Well sure. Though, I would say the one handed grab showed that you're for real. Redemption!

Nice story, Anon. And an excellent segue to the Week 17 edition of That Did Not Look Athletic . . .

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The above text overlay is a famous quote from Shaun Phillips after the playoff loss to the Jets following the 2009 season. And I think he's right. NFL footballers should be above criticism and if you didn't play in the NFL you are not allowed to provide comment.

Look at Terrell Pryor. He's an athletic dude. I'm pretty sure if I tried to tackle him he'd put his palm right under my chin and chuck me to the ground too. Can we agree on that? Ah, very nice. You're learning. If you can't do better then shut your mouf!

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Quentin Jammer is one of the few football players I follow on Twitter without irony (see: Shaun Phillips). This is what Quentin Jammer said following Sunday's game:

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And this is what I said:

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I love seeing football players who can combine force with tackling technique so I loved watching that aspect of Jammer's game. I wish him the best in whatever path he chooses.


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Does Darren McFadden brutalize other teams' players like he does Chargers' players? On Sunday, Richard Wade pointed out on twitter that he thinks DMC only does this kind of thing to the Chargers. If that is the case, I'm not going to lie, I enjoy it.

For an undersized defensive back like Antoine Cason, trying to tackle a guy like DMC is a Catch-22. If he goes low and he is not 100% committed he runs the risk of getting rolled over like a speed bump. If he goes high . . . well you get the idea.

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I'll be honest. I don't know if Quentin Jammer has what it takes to transition to safety. But I hope the Chargers try it out. What do you think? Good football move or a nostalgic waste of time?

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I mentioned last week that I recalled the exact date I started a twitter account: April 25th 2009. I started twitter for the purposes of following along during the 2009 NFL football draft. The Chargers took Larry English 16th but it was the Raiders who really reached when they drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey out of Maryland with the number 7 pick. While it was acknowledged that DHB had the requisite speed that Al Davis coveted, the pick was widely skewered.

So was the DHB pick as bad as the English pick? I have no idea! The only thing I know about DHB is that the Steelers almost killed him earlier in the year and that he tends to drop passes. And he's also fast. Uhhh . . . the Raiders?

We'll continue doing TDNLA through the playoffs with a playoff of our own. Send me your TDNLA anecdote at avengingjackmurphy@hotmail.com

The "That Did Not Look Athletic" Archives

Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4

First Quarter of Season Playoffs

Week 5, Week 6

Bye Week Suggestions and First Quarter Playoff Results

Bye Week: Jets and Pats

Legal hiatus . . . sorry

Week 13, Week 14, Week 15, Week 16

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