Rutherford, New Jersey in late August? Like Bora Bora in the springtime. I'm ensconced in the lobby down here at the Renaissance Meadowlands getting my mind right for the preseason finale. Drove down Tuesday, stopping off in Stamford for a visit with NBC Sportstalk. Watched Hard Knocks Tuesday night in the hotel room. Kinda sad watching guys get lopped but can't help but think of the number of people who've been treated with less kindness when losing their jobs since 2008 so let's not get too maudlin. Guys'll be fine. A summary of the emotional moments from Hard Knocks in the Sun-Sentinel. One mildly amusing part was when Vontae Davis asked hopefully who he was being traded for. Instead of hearing "Andrew Luck," he was told by Jeff Ireland that he was exchanged for draft picks. Crestfallen. There were some concerns about the motor of Jets rookie Quinton Coples when New York took the talented defensive end. Seems kind of well-founded already. Favorite quote from Coples: Practice is big around here. Its something very big to the coaches. What a novel concept. After 180 minutes of football without an offensive touchdown, Jets' offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is smiling through the pain. Florio says Tim Tebow acts like Buddy the Elf. Annnd, the story of the day.
Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air But and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask.
He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.
"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."
For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he held Brown to five catches on nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.
“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly.
Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his way from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler.
Coach Bill Belichick admitted as much after the game.
"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had.
"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."
And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up 9 catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout.
Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.
Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.
The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.