Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys scored a touchdown and handed the football to Marc Colombo so the burly offensive lineman could spike it.
Then they leaped and bumped chests, with Colombo losing his balance on the landing and tumbling across the end zone.
Pretty silly, eh? The Tennessee Titans will be laughing about it for a long time.
A penalty against the Cowboys for excessive celebration pushed back the kick-off and Tennessee’s Marc Mariani followed with a long return. That set up a one-yard touchdown by Chris Johnson with 3:28 left in game that gave the Titans a 34-27 victory on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.
“That misconduct penalty was big,” Jeff Fisher, the Tennessee coach, said. “That return probably doesn’t happen if they’re not kicking off down there [on their 15-yard line].”
The Titans did plenty of things right, like Johnson running for 131 yards, Vince Young throwing two touchdown passes and the defence coming up with six sacks and three interceptions.
But this game will be remembered for all the things Dallas did wrong, including 12 penalties (two by Mike Jenkins for pass interference leading to a Tennessee touchdown) and all those sacks against Tony Romo.
The Cowboys (1-3) are off to their worst start since being 0-4 in 2001. Just when they thought they had turned their season around with a big win last week, this game showed what a mess this club is.
“It was an exasperating game,” Wade Phillips, the coach, said. “It looked like we had turned a corner, then it went the other way on us. ... I don’t have any qualms about our heart, but our execution needs to be better.”
Romo was terrific at times, but threw three interceptions, including one on the Cowboys’ final possession.
“This is very hard to swallow right now,” said Romo, who was 31 of 46 for 406 yards with three touchdowns.
“If you’re a good enough ballclub, you have to be able to overcome [mistakes]. We haven’t been able to.”
Witten was confused about the celebration penalty, noting that Colombo has spiked the ball before they bumped chests.
“I don’t think he was trying to do anything different,” Witten said.
Phillips said he was told Colombo falling to the ground was enough to draw the flag, even if it was by accident.
The NFL Rule Book says “players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground” and says a penalty can be levied if two or more players engage in “prolonged, excessive, premeditated, or choreographed celebrations”.
“You want guys to celebrate, but not get celebration penalties,” Phillips said.