The fifth-year receiver appeared to show no interest in picking up a fumble by his teammate, Jaylen Warren, in the first quarter. DJ Turner would pick it up and return it 28 yards.
Diontae Johnson (No. 18) appeared to have a chance at this loose ball, but was not able to make it happen pic.twitter.com/B736lPSx8H— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) November 26, 2023
Johnson clearly should’ve made some sort of attempt here, but was the reason he just dilly-dallied around some sort of frustration or was he really not aware that the ball was live?
Shannon Sharpe and Chad Johnson discussed it on their recap of yesterday’s games. Shannon thinks it’s absolutely inexcusable to “walk off the ball” in any situation. Chad, meanwhile, thinks that Diontae should have been paying attention to see whether or not Warren picked up the first down.
Regardless, it was a mental error on Diontae’s part.
Here’s what Shannon and Chad had to say about it:
Shannon: But I know you saw this: Diontae Johnson... bro, you drop a touchdown and then you walk off the ball, and the ball is fumbled and you don’t do nothing?
Chad: Listen well, you know, you played tight end, and I I can I can attest to what Diontae did on the third and short what most of the time, which many of us as receivers do is we walk off the ball like that. And normally we engage with the person, with the DB, in front of us to make sure to see if we got the first not. He didn’t engage with anybody, and he didn’t look he didn’t look down to see...
Shannon: He didn’t do nothing (laughs).
Chad: Yeah so it I can’t even take up for him. Just the walking off the ball part. We all do that.
Shannon: Ocho, but not frontside. Okay, you backside. He was frontside. That’s how the ball popped out. He was frontside. Remember he didn’t chase!
Chad: Hold, hold on now. Wait a minute. I know it was frontside, but I’m just saying it was third and short.
Shannon: Yes, but I’m saying...
Chad: Yeah third and short, normally, it’s a dive or something in the A gap, and you normally engage with your dude and just see and see if you get the first or not...
Shannon: Oh hell no...
Chad: ... but he wasn’t even paying attention.
Shannon: Ooh, well, see, I don’t know. I guess y’all wasn’t no running team. Man, look here. [Former Denver Broncos head coach] Mike Shanahan, man if [receivers] Ed [McCaffrey] and Rob [Smith] would have walked off the ball?! Man, first of all, Alex Gibbs was our o-line coach. Man, Alex would have ran out, because you know back then they didn’t have those cordless mics, you know, you had the cords back when you and I played. Man, Alex would’ve ran out there and wrapped that cord around Ed and Rod’s neck. Hell no. Walking off the ball?!
Chad: Yeah, you gotta be locked in. You gotta be locked in right there, especially if you’re gonna walk off, at least be engaged with the DB and knowing to see if your running back got the first down. If that ball pop out, you want to be right there to be able to jump on that thing.
Shannon: And it’s a bad look because you complaining about the ball, you dropped the touchdown on the drive before. And then you walk off the, okay walking off the ball is bad enough, but the ball pop out and you don’t even chase, Ocho.
Chad: Yeah he didn’t see it, though. You gotta look at, if you look at his body language, look at his eyes, he didn’t even look down... He had turned walking back to the damn huddle already because he thought he thought the running back was down. Yeah, that’s unfortunate. That’s unfortunate. He was a little disengaged right there.
You can watch the excerpt below: