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Did Jerick McKinnon prove against Buffalo that he can be a feature back for Minnesota? Plus the best passers, runners, and receivers of Week 7.

31 Oct 2005

Audibles at the Line: Week 8

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. Last week, in an effort to get some Monday morning content going, we experimented with a notebook column featuring some of these comments. It was popular, so here we are again. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2006.

By the way, the discussion thread for this roundtable is an excellent place to suggest injuries you would like to see Will Carroll cover in this week's Black and Blue Report. And at the end we'll give you a little preview of what games we're analyzing later in the week.

Chicago Bears 19 at Detroit Lions 13

Michael David Smith: Could someone please inform Dick Jauron that the quarterback he's playing is a rookie and it might be a good idea to blitz him occasionally? On most plays it's six Chicago blockers against four Detroit rushers and Orton is having all day to throw. I'm not sure how an NFL defense isn't ready for a deep ball to the No. 1 receiver on third-and-long, but the Lions weren't on the Muhsin Muhammad TD.

Jeff Garcia really needs to stop burning timeouts. Jeff, you're in a 13-10 game. You're going to need those two timeouts you've burned. A delay of game isn't the end of the world. Read a King Kaufman column once in a while. You might learn something.

Mike Tanier: Hey Mike Smith, any comment on Garcia's pitch to heaven in the 4th quarter that was almost a Bears touchdown?

Michael David Smith: My comment on Garcia is, shockingly, he's no better than Harrington. Mooch seems to think he's a smart veteran, but Mooch is wrong. Garcia goes through timeouts like they're going out of style, and he makes lots of idiotic plays, not least of which was the interception in overtime to seal the game. Stupid. When you watch this team, it's just incredibly obvious that they need to blow everything up and start from scratch, but they obviously won't because they just gave Millen a new five-year deal. I think the most amazing thing is how Scottie Vines, a receiver they cut in training camp, is their best healthy receiver right now. I would love to hear from some of the people who told me I was wrong this summer when I bashed the Lions for giving Millen the contract extension and told me there's lots of talent on this team. All of those people have been silent since the season started.

Mike Tanier: And as for Garcia, wait till he runs to the press and blames everyone else in the state for his problems.

Michael David Smith: So what's up with horse-collar tackles? Is anyone calling them? Hunter Hillenmeyer of the Bears just tackled Marcus Pollard and the announcer said, "That was a horse-collar tackle, but I like the official using his discretion and not calling it." Huh? If it's against the rules, the officials should call it. It doesn't seem like they have been, even though it was supposed to be a point of emphasis.

Jacksonville Jaguars 21 at St. Louis Rams 24

Aaron Schatz: Has anybody watched a lot of Jacksonville this year? I'm mostly watching NYG-WAS, but I've switched to STL-JAC occasionally, and they're running a defense that I think I saw them run against Cincy also. It looks like a 3-3-5. Maybe it is just a 3-4 with one of the linebackers far back in coverage, and I can't see it on the TV, but does anyone know what's up with this?

Ned Macey: First, I think the Jaguars usually run a 4-3 with Paul Spicer, John Henderson, Marcus Stroud, and Reggie Hayward. Spicer has been really helped by Hayward's emergence. Second, I'm waiting to see if TMQ references the Rams' fourth-and-10 blitz that forced an early throw from Leftwich (three consecutive incompletions intended for Matt Jones from second through fourth down).

Aaron Schatz: Any non-NFC West team that is scheduled to play in St. Louis should file a complaint with the league. They just have the most absurd home field advantage in the NFL. I'm not exactly sure what the Jaguars were doing wrong in this game other than letting Steven Jackson run a lot.

I know Jacksonville usually runs a 4-3, but sometimes they definitely look like they only have three guys down in the stance with three backers. Maybe I'm just not seeing it right.

You know, we were really down on the Jacksonville offense, but Ernest Wilford actually seems pretty good. Much better than Reggie Williams, anyway.

Steven Jackson was getting many of his running yards by going around right end, just like we've been seeing in previous games against Jacksonville. It seemed like they would have two, three guys up to tackle him and he still could turn the corner and get at least three.

Mike Tanier: Byron Leftwich reminds me a little of the young Steve McNair who always dumped the ball off or threw the eight-yard hitch. I know I have seen him throw and complete some bombs on highlight reels, but he seems too content to dink-and-dunk. The Jaguars always seem to need a 10-play drive to score.

And after I wrote that you would never see the Rams run a play from the inverted wishbone, I saw the Rams run a play from the inverted wishbone.

Ned Macey: I fully agree with Aaron's assessment that Wilford is better than Reggie Williams. A shame that draft position will keep Williams the starter. As for other first round wide receiver picks, Matt Jones for all his 4.3 speed seems to only make catches underneath. His touchdown today was just a completely blown coverage. He ran into the end zone and stood there. Really impressive. As for St. Louis, I'm a believer in the Joe Vitt era. A 17-0 lead over Indy before Bulger goes down and then the first two wins of Jamie Martin's 29-year career? But to prove that Martz's imprint is still on the team, Vitt threw a completely ill-advised challenge flag after Wilford's touchdown.

Green Bay Packers 14 at Cincinnati Bengals 21

Mike Tanier: Close but bad game. The Bengals appear out of synch on offense. They have their big plays, but they couldn't sustain drives, and Palmer was off target several times.

I don't know what to make of Brett Favre at this point. I did see Donald Lee drop a touchdown bomb, and some other 3rd string receivers made mistakes. But defenders are just breaking on the ball too easily. Bengals defenders were reacting to passes before Packers receivers even turned around. On the one hand, I want to blame the Packers receivers. On the other hand, I think that may be "blame anyone but Favre" reasoning.

Minnesota Vikings 13 at Carolina Panthers 38

Mike Tanier: The Panthers appeared to be running up the score at the end. I don't remember off the top of my head: is there some bad blood here?

The TV guys were trying to focus on the Steve Smith vs. Fred Smoot matchup. Yeah, right. Smith is playing great football right now, and nothing the Vikings did could stop him.

Bill Moore: Here's my 75-year-old mother's view of the weekend's football activities (pre-Pats game which she will watch):

"Oh, I'm glad to see Minnesota lost ... you know, because of that sex boat thing."

Cleveland Browns 16 at Houston Texans 19

Tim Gerheim: The reason the Texans are so bad, but also so tantalizing for their slowly contracting contingent of fans, is that they're wildly inconsistent. They absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage on a number of plays this week, which was out of character but nevertheless the case. Case in point today: Domanick Davis. I'm betting he comes out with a really low DPAR for the same reason Marion Barber had a poor DPAR last week, because it was a feast-or-famine kind of day. (Ed. note: Davis had -0.1 DPAR.) On a number of runs there was a perfect hole there and he got at least 6-8 yards, or busted a long one. But more often the Texans line got pushed into the backfield and had no holes, Davis bounced it outside, and the Browns linebackers were there. Andra Davis had a really big day.

Derick Armstrong, the 3rd or 4th wide receiver, gets backup quarterback treatment in Houston. I can't remember ever seeing him drop a pass, which makes him the very antithesis of Corey Bradford. But he's almost never on the field, also unlike Bradford. Texans fans can't understand this, and they have a tendency to boo when Bradford drops the ball, particularly when Armstrong's not on the field. And he usually isn't, because if he were, Carr would throw to him; according to the CBS announcers, he's the receiver with whom Carr is most comfortable. Armstrong caught one pass today, and the cheer he got was totally out of proportion to the play, even though it was a first down. If he continues to rot on the bench, and Houston starts losing again, the fans might mutiny.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 at San Francisco 49ers 15

Russell Levine: I'm watching the Chris Simms experience now, and it's not pretty. Tampa Bay, like most teams, usually looks terrible after a cross-country trip. Simeon Rice got sent home, allegedly for missing a team meeting. So the Bucs are altogether disheveled.

Interesting, Gruden is having Simms do a lot of seven-step drops, which were very rare with Griese. I don't know if that's because he trusts Simms' mobility more, or he wants to give him a little more time to look over the defense, or he trusts his O-line to block the SF D-line.

Cadillac is back in the lineup, but doesn't look like he has a lot of burst today.

Ned Macey: Do I have to do this game for Any Given Sunday? I mean, other than saying that Chris Simms is not an NFL quarterback at this stage of his career, what can I say about a team that scores 12 points against the #31 defense in the league (#32 pass defense)? All the glimpses I caught were Simms making bad throws and Simms being under pressure. Any good play by any part of San Francisco's defense has to be an aberration based on the rest of the season, and that's the sort of analysis I want to shy away from.

Washington Redskins 0 at New York Giants 36

Ryan Wilson: Well, if the first half is any indication, it looks like the Redskins' seaplane is back from a seven-week vacation on Fantasy Island. Not only does the offensive game plan look like it's from last season, but now the defense is getting pushed around.

Despite Albert, Moose and Goose suggesting that the passing of Wellington Mara has much to do with the Giants' first half success, I'm more inclined to believe that former Redskins Tim Hasselbeck and Antonio Pierce played a hand in game planning too.

I don't watch a lot of Giants games, but I've noticed that Eli Manning seems to do a lot of backpedaling before throwing off balance passes (like the game-winning TD he threw to Amani Toomer is last week's Denver game). His first half interception in the end zone was of the "duck and cover" variety.

Aaron Schatz: If there has ever been a game to argue in favor of DVOA adjusting blowouts, this was it, because I feel a little embarassed to have Washington at #7 the way they played today. Holy mackerel they were bad. It seemed like they kept back six, seven guys to block on every play and the Giants would rush just four and yet Mark Brunell was under pressure on nearly every play. Nobody could hold onto the ball when Brunell actually did pass. Osi Umenyiora was awesome today.

When the Giants were on offense, well, I wrote a couple weeks ago that Washington's defense was actually giving up more yards per play this year than last year, and the run defense is clearly hurting; they kept overcommitting to blitzes and then Barber would just run past whoever was left in the secondary. That being said, Eli Manning may have had the worst game in history for the winning quarterback in a 36-0 rout. I too noticed that Eli tends to throw high or overthrow guys; he had a number of throws where a guy wasn't necessarily open but wasn't draped either, and Eli would toss it over the guy's head and five yards out of bounds.

Bill Moore: I spent the early part of the day at a kids Halloween fair and speed watching the NYG/WAS game on my DVR. Thank god for fast forward, because it would be tough to watch that live. It's ironic that Washington got smoked on the eve of Halloween, because their magic carriage may have just turned into a pumpkin.

Why do the Giants run Brandon Jacobs in goal-line situations? As others have mentioned in the past, he runs standing up, almost like he's trying to balance a book on his head.

The Giants got a ton of pressure on Brunell despite rushing only four guys each down. I don't recall seeing an at-the-line blitz package until 10 minutes to go in the third -- and Washington false started.

To Ryan's point on the announcers crediting the Giants tribute to Wellington Mara. Hey, I have as much respect for this football giant as anyone; however, calling it a big win because they wanted to make a tribute to him seems like it minimizes every other week-to-week performance.

Mike Tanier: Injuries will start to catch up with the Redskins at this point. Chris Samuels was replaced by Ray Brown, who blocked for Billy Sims. The highlight shows will surely replay Osi Umenyiora tossing the 57-year-old Brown backwards like a sack of flour.

Did the Redskins have some great turnover differential before this game? Their luck really ran out with fumbles.

I think the Giants rushed four defenders a lot and sat back in zone. Instead of stacking Portis and getting beaten by the pass, they shut down the pass and made Portis a non-factor. Like Ryan said, it looked like last week.

Aaron Schatz: Actually, I mentioned this in last week's FOX Power Rankings commentary, but the Redskins have had horrible luck this year when it comes to recovering fumbles. Including this week, the Redskins have only recovered two of nine fumbles on defense and two of eight fumbles on offense.

Ned Macey: Hopefully this game showed the national media who the best offensive player on the Giants is. Eli Manning throws a pretty ball, and while he is good, but he is far from greatness.

Philadelphia Eagles 21 at Denver Broncos 49

Michael David Smith: Wow, Philly just looks altogether really bad. Denver is absolutely pushing Philadelphia around on both sides of the ball.

Random question: What is that three-syllable chant I always hear the fans in Denver yell? Sounds something like "Let's go team" but that just seems kinda corny and 1950s-ish, so I'm guessing that's not it.

Tim Gerheim: They're chanting "Incomplete" after an incomplete pass. So they could get an absurd number of opportunities for it against Philly. I actually found this out on the Broncos website's FAQ section when I was looking up their (along with every other team's) employment opportunities. Then I went back to school.

Aaron Schatz: Please, I'm begging Denver not to kick this one away in the second half. I really want them to finally win one big so the rating will go up and I won't have to keep explaining it.

Mike Tanier: Dude, if they boot it, not only will I climb off the ledge, but the bad early rankings are totally justified.

(Denver then proceeds to almost boot it before recovering.)

Michael David Smith: I simply cannot believe how much different the Broncos are early in games compared to late in games. They looked like the best team in the league in the first quarter. Now they look terrible. Could conditioning have something to do with this?

Tim Gerheim: Is it just me, or did Denver start letting Philly back into the game when they didn't run enough in the 2nd half, and then close out the game when they ran Tatum Bell late? Ditto San Diego not running enough against the Chiefs when they were up 21-7 at halftime. Granted, this is based almost entirely on keeping an eye on the NFL.com play-by-play, but that's how it seemed to me.

Ned Macey: While the Philly offense spent a quarter-and-a-half looking terrible, the defense seems more troubling to me. Other than the third quarter, when Denver was unsure of what was going on, the Eagles looked like a very bad defense. They had very little pressure all day, and they obviously covered poorly. I noticed Trotter on the field in a lot of passing situations. Has that changed from a year ago, or were they afraid of runs on third-and-6?

As for the Broncos, I applaud their use of dual backs to save wear and tear, but they don't understand how good Bell is (and I say this not just as a Bell fantasy owner). They think they have a pounder and a big play guy, like Carolina's plan except with good backs. But, Bell is actually perfectly good enough to get the "tough yardage." He was second in success rate a season ago and through Week 6 was tenth. He should be getting 65% of the carries.

Aaron Schatz: The Eagles offense seemed completely confused in the first half. It just seemed like everyone was running the wrong pattern. At one point, Greg Lewis ran a pattern and the ball got to him, and he caught it, but of course he was three yards out of bounds at the time.

Lito Sheppard is clearly hobbled and was getting beaten like a rented mule. There was a Rod Smith one, then the Lelie pass that was originally an incomplete and overturned on review. Then again, look what Owens did to Champ Bailey.

Buffalo Bills 16 at New England Patriots 21

Ryan Wilson: SAP button! SAP button! If the Three Amigos are going to slurp Bruschi and Brady all night, I would at least like to enjoy it in Spanish ... a language where I only understand three, maybe four words. Listening to these guys you get the impression that the Bills aren't even on the field. The last time Kelly Holcomb was this disrespected was earlier this season when J.P. Losman was the starter (and before that, his entire tenure in Cleveland, when he was behind Couch and Garcia).

Ned Macey: I have a great deal of respect for Bruschi, but what did he do that is so heroic? And while I have the utmost respect for Vinateri, nothing made me happier than him missing that field goal after the Sunday Night Crew joked about how absurd an idea it would be to "ice" him.

Aaron Schatz: Now, now people. Stop your complainin'. I've heard three, maybe four mentions of Roscoe Parrish, which is certainly more Roscoe Parrish than I've had all year.

Nick Kazcur is a serious problem. I've said this in other articles, right? Luis Castillo abused him. Brady Smith abused him. Aaron Schobel abused him. Dwight Freeney? Yikes.

Later This Week

Tuesday's Any Given Sunday: Rams over Jaguars
Thursday's Every Play Counts: The Second Annual "Every Team Counts"

Posted by: admin on 31 Oct 2005

121 comments, Last at 02 Nov 2005, 10:48am by JMM

Comments

1
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:45pm

Regarding the Eagles offense, the one thing I noticed is that McNabb's injury is hurting them a lot more than people think - not just due to the fact that he can't scramble, especially because he is still able to move around.

On one play, he scrambled off to the right, and threw for Owens, and missed him (well, Owens didn't quite catch it). But L.J. Smith was open right in front of him, past the first down marker. Maybe 5 yards in front - absolutely easy first down, and I was screaming "what the heck are you doing??"

Then I noticed on the replay that Smith was about two-three yards to the left of McNabb. McNabb would've had to throw across his body. Last year, McNabb would've jumped a little and tossed an easy pitch-and-catch to Smith. But this year, he doesn't even try it.

It was like that pretty much all game. Throws to the right looked - well, mediocre, but better than throws to the left, which looked bad, or weren't even attempted.

I'm wondering if other team's defenses are noticing this as well, because Smith was left completely wide open. It's easy to defend someone if you only have to cover half the field.

2
by james (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:52pm

Maybe its time I give Denver a little credit. Since when did the sweep start working in the NFL. For years conventional wisdom stated that nfl players were too fast for sweeps to work. This year I've seen a ton of teams have success. I have seen the stretch work the last 4 or 5 years. This year I am seeing pitch work well.

What's next the option?

Shame that San Diego plays this ridiculous schedule.

3
by Bobby Mozitis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:56pm

I'm pretty sure that if I'm Mike Shanahan, I ditch the 9-0 defense that leaves a WR with one guy to beat for a 80 yard TD on a 1 yard pass. (Especially when its a guy like Owens)

Also, speaking of 1 on 1 coverage, Steve Smith would have had 300 yards receiving today if not for a few Smoot holds, one of which prevented another 70 yard Smith TD. Might want to try a double team on that little WR guy, Mike Tice.

4
by james (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 12:57pm

p.s

The redskins looked like the worst team in the league.

A sidenote, Riggins was on sportstalk radio earlier this week talking about a game in San Fran years back where something similar happened(don't remember the exact circumstances) and they saw the 49ers so fired up that they all just looked at each other and said...I guess we lost this one.

It seems weird to "blame" the skins loss on anything except poor play. But how else do you explain that poor of a performance from an offense that has played pretty well on the road so far.

I'm praying that there was some sort of other worldly craziness going on. Also I really wish Portis would stop running as if he were Riggins. He got absolutely killed and does so every game. I don't think he's made for that. Too bad Betts can't go 5 carries without fumbling

5
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:09pm

I’m pretty sure that if I’m Mike Shanahan, I ditch the 9-0 defense that leaves a WR with one guy to beat for a 80 yard TD on a 1 yard pass. (Especially when its a guy like Owens)
Well, they did win the game in a big way.

I think Shanahan decided he could live with giving up a couple big plays, in order to keep pressure on McNabb. San Diego did the same, but the Eagles pulled that one out with special teams and defense.

I expect Reid and Childress to study this tape carefully, because, at this point, blitzing McNabb a lot seems to work for their opponents. They have to figure out a way of beating that, even if it means handing the [bad word] ball to a [bad word] running back a little more often.

6
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:19pm

Maybe the Eagles should add a few screen passes to thier offense. Unfortunatly, it seems they can only go to the right.

7
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:19pm

To Ryan’s point on the announcers crediting the Giants tribute to Wellington Mara. Hey, I have as much respect for this football giant as anyone; however, calling it a big win because they wanted to make a tribute to him seems like it minimizes every other week-to-week performance.

maybe they could arrange to have him die every week

(sorry)

8
by Bobby Mozitis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:20pm

There is nothing wrong with blitzing. But telegraphing it with 9 guys on the line of scrimmage with Terell Owens alone on the outside will never ever be a good strategy. I noticed them do it twice. Once, McNabb threw the pass in the ground, the second time was a 91 yard touchdown. Thats not a good risk-reward.

9
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:22pm

First of all, thank you for not discussing the Saints game (BTW, Benson attacked a TV crew and fan after the game--see link).

Second, Pat, wouldn't you agree that if your QB is hurting that it would be a good idea not to get him beat up? In other words, run the ball more than 20% of the time...

Finally, James, please see my first comment about the worst team in the league is...

10
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:35pm

Re #7) Fortunatly he has a big family. Perhaps they can pick a different family member to die each week. Hey, it worked for Favre.

11
by Kachunk (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:35pm

The play I liked in the Bills-Patriots was Colvin tackling McGahee late in the game. Colvin went for him from behind, and clearly got his hand under McGahee's shoulder pads for the horse-collar tackle, then you could see the lightbulb appear over his head, he let go, dove, and went for his legs. Made the tackle, too.

It's always funny when you can see a player's mental process like that.

12
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:40pm

But how else do you explain that poor of a performance from an offense that has played pretty well on the road so far.

Mark Brunell.

Second, Pat, wouldn’t you agree that if your QB is hurting that it would be a good idea not to get him beat up? In other words, run the ball more than 20% of the time…

They've already said multiple times there's no real danger of injuring him more by playing.

But I think you're assuming that the way that you take pressure off of McNabb is by him handing off, and I don't think I agree - there's no danger for a QB to immediately turn and toss a pass out to a RB lined up in the slot, for instance. If he gets hit after a play like that, that's a free 15 yards.

I don't think the problem is that they're not running. The problem is that McNabb can't throw certain passes well. I'd really love to see directional passing stats for McNabb this year to see if I'm right, but it certainly seemed like it. Running the ball wouldn't help McNabb do better. It might help the offense a bit, but they're not going to score points without McNabb being able to pass.

It's scary for me to say this, but I think Koy Detmer might do a better job right now. I have no problem with Reid's offensive scheme which replaces handoffs with short screens. It's just that those short screen passes are no longer guaranteed, which means they're worse than a running game.

By the way, no comments about Philly using a true double reverse? I'm shocked.

13
by Bobby Mozitis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:43pm

Pat, did the announcers call it a triple reverse??

14
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:44pm

Bobby Mozitis (#8 )--

Denver played 7-9 guys on the line quite often. At least 3 times during McNabb's 0-9 streak to start the game that I recall. That seems pretty good.

They kept it up throughout the game, and McNabb had a whopping 35% completion percentage. Yep, some of those passes were pretty long. But, jeez, did Denver really need to win by 42 instead of 28?

15
by Israel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:47pm

I listened to the Packers announcers on Field Pass and they couldn't get over the fact that despite the turnovers, the Bengals hadn't run off with the game. I believe they have a good point there. The Bengals keep playing like that and IND-PIT-DET!-BUF-KC will have them 9-7 and home in January.

And aren't we all full of anticipation of the TMQ Jr report on Ernest Wilford this week?!

16
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:48pm

Yeah, Pat, I was talking about their offense, not specifically McNabb. You bring up a good point about his not getting injured worse by playing.

I think around consecutive incomplete #11 or so that maybe Detmer might be a better option. There is something to be said about throwing with as little pain as possible.

I know this doesn't belong here, but if, in Peter King's opinion, T.O. is the best WR in the game today, why does he drop so many passes? Isn't the word "receiver" included in the job title and description?

17
by CoreyG (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:52pm

After watching the JAX-STL game (and I was napping on and off so maybe my memory is fuzzy) I don't think I can recall seeing Matt Jones ever try to catch a ball with both hands. In fact, I can't recall seeing him ever catch a pass with both hands*. Is his one-handed catching intentional?

* - Hyperbole

18
by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:57pm

I watched the Pat's game and was AMAZED by how the announcers kept saying the Pat's were getting completely dominated. They made it sound like 3 pts going into the half was an insurmountable lead from which NE could never recover. Then, they proceeded to say NE was getting dominated 11 times in the second half before the NE comeback. I'm not speculating, I counted, it was 11 times. I actually felt like, aside from the kicker icing debacle of commentary, that NE was getting sort of dumped on for their play.

19
by frankDreben (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 1:58pm

Re: Broncos blitzing

All "credit" for their blitzes belong to Larry Coyer, and I for one get annoyed when they keep doing it because of the high risk involved. I've lost count of the number of times I've cursed at Coyer for calling for blitzes so often. I won't cry if and when he's fired.

20
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:00pm

Sophandros (#16 )--

Based on his performance in 'Frisco, I'd say Owens's arms get shorter when he's unhappy with his team.

21
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:03pm

It's a little bit harsh to blame Brunell for the Washington meltdown. The Giants front 4 were outstanding. Brunell (and Ramsey) had the rush in his face all day, and the pressure that 4 got meant 7 in coverage. Very few QBs will look good against that.
The 'Skins recievers came down with a collective dose of the dropsies and I'd imagine that Coughlin had a pretty good read on Brunell from their time in Jacksonville.

BTW, Tiki Barbers' 59 yd run was a thing of beauty.
At the snap, the Giants LT, LG and C all blocked to their right. The FB ran to lead block to the right. Tiki took the handoff, took one step right and then countered left.
The entire Washington D bit and went to their left, leaving an enormous hole, covered by a single blitzing Redskin (I forget who).
I assume he was responsible for covering a backside run as well as blitzing, so his angle, which took him completely out of the play was terrible.
Meanwhile Burress threw a great block about 8 yd downfield on the safety, and all of a sudden, there's no-one home. Tiki goes 59 yds, and two plays later Jacobs goes in from the 3.

22
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:09pm

I didn't see the Hillenmeyer tackle, but in general I'm happy to see the horse-collar-non-call. The rule was put in place to prevent a very specific type of tackle as performed on Terrell Owens, for example, but the wording of it means it should apply to any that involve grabbing the collar on a tackle. This happens constantly and is, in my opinion, a very legit way to bring a guy down, and not one that generally leads to injury. Like the clothesline and the piledrive, the horse-collar is used to tackle a guy in a particularly showy and malicious way. I like that the refs are just calling these as they see them and not to the letter of a poorly worded rule.

23
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:11pm

Josh (#18 )--

Well, the Pats *were* being dominated, in yardage and in time of possession. Just not on the scoreboard -- which is what matters, of course, but the ESPN crew were quite correct to point out, that trend was unsustainable for New England. Remember that the Bills actually increased their lead in the fourth quarter -- with the way they were running and the defense was holding the Patriots in check, it led a great football mind like Peter King, to write things like, "I have no idea how the Patriots won that game."

Buffalo has enough issues that New England was able to pull it out at the end, but do you think that Dungy and the Colts might slip a few more runs into their game-plan?

24
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:12pm

Pat, did the announcers call it a triple reverse??

In another shock, they actually called it a double reverse correctly. And yes, it was a double reverse - McNabb moved to the left, handed off to Westbrook moving right, who handed off to Owens moving left. That's a double reverse.

Gained 2 yards. Okay, not wonderful, but not a complete failure, but I would've used Greg Lewis rather than Owens. I also would've faked the double reverse later, as several Denver defenders did bite on the first reverse, which would've made them more likely to bite on the fake and let Westbrook break one.

I did love the fact that the announcers claimed that Denver didn't bite on the double reverse. Really? Funny, I thought I saw a Denver defender fall on his butt trying to change direction. That certainly seems like a bite.

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:18pm

It’s a little bit harsh to blame Brunell for the Washington meltdown. The Giants front 4 were outstanding. Brunell (and Ramsey) had the rush in his face all day, and the pressure that 4 got meant 7 in coverage. Very few QBs will look good against that.
The ‘Skins recievers came down with a collective dose of the dropsies and I’d imagine that Coughlin had a pretty good read on Brunell from their time in Jacksonville.

Heh, I think you just very quickly went through all of the classic "it's not the QB's fault" excuses - too much pressure, receivers dropped the ball, and opponent's coaching scheme was too good.

Not saying you're not right, of course. But it is funny.

26
by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:23pm

I'm surprised MDS didn't have more to say about the DET/CHI officiating. (He made one comment in the open thread but that was it.) It's not often a crew makes inexplicable calls negating not one but two defensive touchdowns, and that was the first time I've seen both coaches throw a red flag on the same play. And two plays after the Bears D lost their TD, they got a phantom roughing-the-passer call on 3rd and 18, just for good measure.

Funny, though, the play that I screamed most loudly about was one the refs actually got right: I was sure that McQuarters's personal foul should have been enforced over the Bears' holding penalty. Turns out that's only true if one penalty is for 5 yards and the other for 15; a 10 and a 15 offset, even if the 15 is a PF. (Thanks to Jerry Markbreit for clearing that up -- linked on my name.)

27
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:31pm

Pat,

Point taken! :) For the record I'm not a 'Skins fan but this was the early game in the UK, and the Giants D line was phenomenal. How big a part 'coach schemes against ex QB' played, I don't know, but the 'Skins recievers were dreadful.

28
by VarlosZ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:38pm

Why do the Giants run Brandon Jacobs in goal-line situations? As others have mentioned in the past, he runs standing up, almost like he’s trying to balance a book on his head.

He'll have to work on that, but he really does generate a lot of forward momentum and break tackles.

Obligatory Ron Dayne Complaint: . . . unlike Ron Dayne, with his patented Ron Dayne Move -- run up to the line, stutter step, plow into the Center's back, fall down, get booed, go back to the sidelines and sulk.

29
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:44pm

Ron Dayne and Brandon Jacobs is night and day. As a Giants fan, the most surprising stat of the year is Dayne averaging 4.1 ypc in Denver. I guess Shanahan really is a genius

30
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:45pm

"I’m surprised MDS didn’t have more to say about the DET/CHI officiating."

Well, I try not to be one of those people who constantly complains about the officials. Actually, yesterday I was more annoyed by how often the announcers wrongly described what the officials had done. You'd think people who have been around football their entire lives would know what it means when an official throws his hat, but you'd be wrong.

31
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:46pm

Re 18/23: The Pats defense was giving up huge chunks of yards, but they stiffened in the red zone. Not sure if it was because of the Bills problems or the Patriots defense, though. Looking through the game log, I found 6 runs and 9 passes attempted inside the Patriots 30. The runs gained 0, 2, 11, -3, 3 and 5 yards (so, two successful plays). The Passes were sack, inc, inc, 10 yards, inc, 5 yards(and a first down), 10 yards, inc, inc. So 3 successs, 6 failures. I think it's a case of the Patritots actually playing good defense in the red zone, with the linebackers knowing what to do and the dbs having less area to cover, they can actually keep people out of the end zone. How well it will work against a real NFL offense is another question.

32
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:47pm

#24: Wait, isn't that just a reverse?

Handoff #1 makes it a regular run (end-around, whatever), handoff #2 makes it a reverse, and handoff #3 would make it a double reverse.

Or am I just totally confused?

33
by Ray (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:50pm

#32 T.Diddy

No you're right, it's a single reverse. Pat, what game were you watching?? McNabb faked the regular handoff and gave it to someone heading right on the end-around. That player then handed it off to Owens going the other way. Single reverse.

34
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:53pm

Ray:

McNabb moved left. That makes the handoff to the person heading right a reverse, not an end-around, as the ball changed directions. The handoff to Owens going the other way makes it a double reverse, as the ball changed directions twice.

35
by Sean (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 2:55pm

A little hard on Chris Simms, don't you think? He wasn't great by any stretch, but I wouldn't say that he was sub-NFL caliber (we've seen lots of sub-NFL caliber performances the last two seasons, and they don't involve throwing for two hundred and change). He had no running game to work with, and apparently he had just about nobody open downfield, as every time the cameras focused on the Tampa receivers, they were bracketed. The 49ers seemed to double up on the outside guys, feeling that they couldn't be beaten by the Tampa tight ends or backs, and they were certainly right on that count. Simms showed some good mobility, pulling the ball down and taking off for good yardage several times. The big problem is that Simms made multiple bad decisions- one of the picks was a fluke, but he threw several more balls that should have been intercepted.

I know there's no way that he's going to avoid getting roasted when his 5-1 team goes into San Francisco and loses to arguably the worst team in the league, but it was one of those games where the 49ers played pretty well and Tampa was flat. Simms clearly didn't win the game for Tampa, but I didn't necessarily think he lost it for them, either.

36
by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:04pm

23/31 (Starshatterer/B)
I agree it was a dominent performance by the Buff. D. through most of the game but I thought by the end of the third quarter that both Ds were just outperforming the offenses they were facing. Granted, the Pats were giving up yards but those yards were between the 20s.

What surprised me was the remarkable repetitiveness and emphasis that was being put on how "dominated" NE was being. I understand that there is a level of expected play from NE (after the last 4 years). However, I think when NE plays an "average" game, people now color it as terrible because of those expectations. This seemed to be more the source of the commentators constant criticism then actual poor performance.

Also, was I the only one who laughed when McGahee said he was the best back in the NFL? I guess LT, Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander should all be informed that they need to stop outperforming the best back in the nfl.

37
by james (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:05pm

Pat,

Funny Mark Brunell comment. I have to just take it and say "we'll see". His O-line was pretty brutal against a 4 man rush. And plenty of his passes were dropped. Safe to say the redskins sucked but Brunell wasn't the problem.

In order, 1. D-line 2. S. Taylor 3. O-line 4. receivers

38
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:15pm

B (#31 )--
How well it will work against a real NFL offense is another question.
I suspect the 2001/2002 Patriots' defense is going to get spanked in next week's game vs. Indy. The main reason for both the ascendency of Indy's defense, and the (more modest) decline of their offense is the same: they're playing more ball-control on offense. It's tough to score if you don't have the ball, and if the Patriots are giving up 5 yards a carry, expect Edgerrin James to put up 150 or more on them.

Then, after the Colts kick off, the Patriots will have to keep at least a tight end, maybe a running back, in to block, to have any hope of keeping Dwight Freeney from pulling down Nick Kaczur's pants on the way to sacking Brady.

This game has "long night" written all over it.

39
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:19pm

Also, was I the only one who laughed when McGahee said he was the best back in the NFL? I guess LT, Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander should all be informed that they need to stop outperforming the best back in the nfl.

I was also amused, but not nearly so much as with the way the fat punter kept drilling into our heads that McGahee is, in fact, one of the top five running backs in the NFL

40
by Joey (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:22pm

Watching it, I also thought it was a double-reverse because of the play fake. But, after reading it here, I see it was a single reverse that only looked like a double.

Just curious, but has anybody ever seen a true double-reverse at the pro level? I remember seeing a few in high school and they either failed miserably or worked because one team was like 50 times better than the other so anything they tried worked. I can't imagine it being successful in the pros because it takes so long to develop.

41
by Israel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:23pm

#21 (James) writes "Meanwhile Burress threw a great block about 8 yd downfield on the safety"

So he actually learned something from his five years as Hines' understudy.

42
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:23pm

T. Diddy:

Just to clarify a bit: I think there's always a fair amount of argument as to whether or not you have to have 3 handoffs for a double reverse. In my mind, it depends if the QB starts moving. Imagine a direct snap to a RB, who takes off heading left, and hands off to a WR heading right. That's clearly a single reverse - the defense has to suddenly change directions, as the play started out by going left, and ended up going right. If that WR would hand off to another WR going left, that's a double reverse, with only 2 handoffs, because the play changes direction twice. That's essentially what happened here, although it was a "super duper trick play", as McNabb faked a handoff up the middle, scrambled to the left, handed off to a back heading right, who handed off to a back heading left.

43
by Ray (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:23pm

#34 Pat

I guess it's up to interpretation. It really didn't look like McNabb was rolling to his left to me. I'd say it was a regular end-around handoff. I could be wrong though. I'll check the tape at some point and get back to you.

44
by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:24pm

MDS:

We are on the same page with respect to the Lions. I have been stating for years that Harrington was not a legit QB and that the receivers everyone raves about need to prove they can stay on the field before I give them any credit.

The Lions have a pretty decent front four on defense. Jason Hanson is a good kicker. Beyond that the team is pedestrian.

Which is I will be utterly embarrassed if the Bears can't win this sad sack division. Chicago has more legitimately good players on its roster than anyone else in this grouping.

I saw the Pack/Bengal game. Two tipped passes when somebody got a hand in the throwing lane. Another when Favre was scrambling, saw Fisher break deep, but he got tackled just as he was throwing the ball causing it to be underthrown. If he has his legs Fisher has a step and a half on the DB.

The two picks by O'Neal were plain misreads and Favre stated as much after the game. He should have thrown to the outside on the first one and instead went down and in. Driver had no chance. On the second O'Neal knocked Driver off his route and had inside position. Favre released without looking. As soon as he saw where the DB was he knew it was going to be picked.

This latter point is lost on most announcers and certainly fans. A QB has some throws where he is depending upon the receiver to be in a spot. You can't always look before you throw to insure that your guy has as much space as possible. (If you look then help moves that way) And with receivers whom the QB trusts they look away as much as possible believing the guy will be there.

Driver lost the battle and O'Neal made the play.

No blame on Donald. It happens. But this is something that supposedly educated fans like Easterbrook, etc. just won't or will not accept.

I know folks around here like to portray themselves as anti-establishment by trashing Favre and his proclivity for turnovers. And as a Bears fan, I am delighted when they occur.

But I appreciate that they happen more for this guy than most for good reasons. He has total faith in his ability to put Ball A into Spot B. And that Spot B is about 1/10th the size of most other QBs. When Favre has trust in a guy he has TOTAL trust. Which is why his trusted receivers gush about playing for him. Favre will get you the d*mn ball. Or at least give you a chance for it. And even if you shouldn't be playing in the NFL (like most of the guys playing receiver for the Pack these days) he will find a way to make you look good.

Favre apologist. I will endure that sneer. But until you have watched him for over a decade play every Sunday you don't appreciate that this guy has spun more gold out of horsesh*t than just about anyone.

Watching him these days is like one of those Roman tragedies where the general is the last man standing at the bridge, the bodies are piling up around him, and he continues to hold off the hordes.

It's sad and heroic all at once.

45
by james (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:24pm

As far as just handing the ball to a guy 30 times and knowing you will get production McGahee may be the best back in the league.

Is it just me or is LJ now 2x better than Priest Holmes at carrying the football.

46
by Joey (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:25pm

I typed too slow and missed Pat's last comment. Now, I'm thoroughly confused.

It was obviously far more confusing to me than to the Broncos defenders who stopped it for a minimal gain!

47
by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:26pm

#38 (Starshatter)

Based on past performance,

I think Edge will get shutdown in the redzone and I think Brady will let Freeny run himself out of most plays with good pocket awareness (which he has a GREAT tendency to do). Personally, if you look at the Indy D, it has only tackled Cinci. as a good offense. Indy was actually looking terrible against St. Louis until Bulger went out.

Why I think Indy will win:
Peyton has been keeping most of his offense underwraps. He's going to unleash a passing barrage that may remind the Pats Secondary of the Bay Of Pigs. It'll be ugly. Indy will pass all over them. They will not, however, run on the Pats as I think that is what Bel. will game plan to counter.

48
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:28pm

Pat (#42 ) et al--

Single- or double-reverse, it was still a lot of work to gain two whole yards.

49
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:30pm

Joey: No, some of them bought it. The best use of a double reverse is to set up an identical looking reverse on a later play. Which the Eagles didn't do, of course.

50
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:34pm

It's funny how everyone makes excuses for Brunell, but no one made any for the guy he replaced.

It's also funny how people react when Favre does brainless things, like throwing a forward pass after a long scramble--not for the first time--or throwing four or more picks in a game versus how they react to when other quarterbacks make one mistake and harp on it for more than a season. Favre can say "aw shucks" and laugh a pick off, but several fans, esp. a certain class of Saints fans, harp on how they saw Aaron Brooks smile after throwing a pick three seasons ago.

I'm not trying to prove a point here. I'm just sayin'.

51
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:38pm

After two weeks it's pretty clear that "Audibles" is not the place to come for comments on Cowboys games. (-:

52
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:42pm

Starshatterer:

I dunno. Like I said above, I would've run the reverse later, first play of the second half. And then a little later, I would've sent Westbrook and Owens in motion to look like that same reverse, and actually handed off to the back. Denver was actually starting to play off of the line after the Owens touchdown, and that would've just made them reel a little more.

And on a completely unrelated note:

I was really ticked off at a few things in the officiating/announcing during the Eagles game. Yah, a portion of it is because they were losing, but I don't like to see players who don't see a ton of playing time get crap penalties called on them. There was a late hit personal foul called on Billy McMullen on a punt return that was absolute crap. The fans yelled, because they thought the punt returner was out of bounds. The announcers said he was "well out of bounds" as well. But the replay clearly showed that McMullen hit the returner when his foot was still in bounds, and he had enough positioning that he might've been able to balance himself. I really, really disliked that call, because it wasn't a hard hit, and I don't think it was unnecessary.

53
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:43pm

Re #38/47: I will now go set myself on fire.
If/When Manning torches the Pats D for 300 yards and 4 TDs, will he finally lose the "can't win the big one" label, or will it be chalked up to all the injuries on the Patriots?

54
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:44pm

Ned Macey:

Announcement was made a few weeks ago of keeping Trotter on the field all game, rather than removing him on passing downs. This worked out very well with San Diego, moderately so in Denver. So the base Philly Nickle Package, as I understand it, is Kearse, Walker, Patterson, Kalu, Trotter, Simoneau, Shepperd, Brown, Lewis, Dawkins, and Hood.

Pat #24:

"In another shock, they actually called it a double reverse correctly. And yes, it was a double reverse - McNabb moved to the left, handed off to Westbrook moving right, who handed off to Owens moving left. That’s a double reverse."

No, I think that is a single reverse, because the ball has changed hands twice. However, I thought they handed the ball off three times, not twice.

The play was effective, however. 5 plays later, Philadelphia scored its first touchdown after doing nothing but roll over and play possum the previous 26 minutes, and the almost-greatest comeback ever was on.

What was even more interesting to me was McNabb's run the previous series for 11 yards. He didn't look hobbled at all while running.

The plays I didn't understand where after Gordon ran to make it 2nd and 2 in the third series of the third quarter, why didn't they give it Westbrook twice and let him try to break a run? Aikman in the booth was saying this was exactly the situation Reid had said he needed to run in more. And Westbrook is the sort of runner like Tatum Bell where you just have to give him 15 or so chances per game and he will break a long run downfield. But he can't do it if not given the chances on 2nd and short.

55
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:46pm

Pat:

Were you surprised that Andy Reid didn't pull a surprise onsides kick at the end of the first half after the Eagles scored? I was.

56
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:49pm

Andrew:

No, the first handoff was faked. It's still a double reverse, because the reverse refers to the direction of play changing, not number of handoffs.

And yah, I don't know why he didn't onsides kick at the end of the first half. I also cheered loudly when Cortez actually got a touchback, because I pointed to the screen and said "Oh my God, the Eagles of 2004 are back!" Touchback, Denver goes 3 and out, punts, and the Eagles recover on the 41 yard line. Akers does so much more for this team than people realize - the Eagles offense does not work well on a long field.

57
by Jeff J. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:52pm

Watching the Giants game, I was reminded why I consider myself a die-hard Skins fan: because we don't just lose, but we completely implode at the worst possible moments, and in such spectacular fasion that it is a wonder that we have any Redskins paraphernalia in our closets not burned, ripped, and stomped.

And yet we come back for more.

Hey, I dunno who that was in the burgundy and gold on Sunday, but it certainly wasn't the team I've been watching since the spring. This performance was so bad (Madonna in "Evita" bad) that it's best to pretend none of it ever happened.

We'll bounce back, hopefully in time for the now-more-important-than-every ESPN game versus the slipping Eagles.

58
by Jeff J. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:52pm

Watching the Giants game, I was reminded why I consider myself a die-hard Skins fan: because we don't just lose, but we completely implode at the worst possible moments, and in such spectacular fasion that it is a wonder that we have any Redskins paraphernalia in our closets not burned, ripped, and stomped.

And yet we come back for more.

Hey, I dunno who that was in the burgundy and gold on Sunday, but it certainly wasn't the team I've been watching since the spring. This performance was so bad (Madonna in "Evita" bad) that it's best to pretend none of it ever happened.

We'll bounce back, hopefully in time for the now-more-important-than-every ESPN game versus the slipping Eagles.

59
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:54pm

B (#53 )--
If/When Manning torches the Pats D for 300 yards and 4 TDs, will he finally lose the “can’t win the big one� label, or will it be chalked up to all the injuries on the Patriots?
Well, the most fitting thing (given the history of these two teams) would be for Manning to torch the Pats' D, then the Colts lose the game for James Mungro muffing a punt or something on that order.

But, given the more likely outcome, I'd say injuries, missing coordinators, (Brady/Bruschi/Belichick) not being able to carry the team without help from (the running game/the secondary/a dedicated offensive coordinator).

You know. The usual.

60
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:56pm

Re reverse: I think on most other teams, it would definitely have been a reverse, because the QB moving to one side is simply setting up the end-around. With Philly and maybe a couple of other teams (Atlanta, for one), you could probably call a QB run left (maybe better suited to McNabb's healthier days), so the ball moving back to the right would be a reverse, and back to the left again would be a double reverse. However, if McNabb never intended to run the ball, I'd call it a reverse.

Of course, if the announcers called it a double reverse, then it's definitely a single reverse. :)

My friends and I nearly bought tickets to the Lions/Bears game. Fortunately, I've already seen a Lions QB throw a game-ending interception in overtime when I was there (Scott Mitchell, 1998), so I really didn't miss anything.

61
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 3:57pm

Pat:

I think it should have been perfectly clear what Akers does for this team after the Oakland game, which the Eagles won despite spotting the Raiders on the 50 for every possession.

Any team will struggle when you continually spot your opponents a 30 yard advantage on possessions. Its easy to score when you start at midfield. You will generally, in 4 series, come away with 2 field goals and a touchdown.

62
by james (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:18pm

What excuses for Brunell?

He didnt throw 5 picks. He didnt miss a bunch of open guys. It was simply put the worst kind of worst game ever. Brunell probably made the least mistakes of anyone on the team, save Sean Taylor.

That guy drives me nuts. Who gets cut down in the open field by Plaxico Buress?

What NFL safety takes those kind of angles?

This guy is a physical specimen and a ridiculously hard hitter.

Can only say one thing for the skins D. They did a good job not to give up 70. 36-0 doesn't justify how bad of an ass whippin they recieved.

Now here comes Philly. What the suck are we gonna do now? I'm praying.

If last couple of games were the true team then they should win at home. If last game was the true team then the rest of the season will suck.

63
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:20pm

Andrew:

It's a little more than that, though. Last year, there were a number of instances where the Eagles scored very quickly due to good defense and great starting field position.

Eagles would score, then kickoff and the return would be short (say, 20 yard line), the opposing offense would go nowhere, punt back to the Eagles who are now on the 40 yard line with no return, or maybe even at midfield with a return.

With France, it was a real fight to ever get good field position, as the opponents are starting on the 30, or even the 35. With touchbacks and your opponents starting not much further than the 25, it's real easy for your offense to set up a seriously fast rhythm.

64
by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:21pm

Sophandros:

I am not following who your post is directed at or if it is even pointed at any one or group of posters.

But with respect to Favre my "excuse" is that he has OWNED my Bears for over a decade making throws that literally no other QB can, could, or would have made. Period.

And I have been a fan of professional football dating back to the late 50's.

Yeah, yeah I'm old. Have your fun.....

65
by TroyF (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:23pm

Wow, I've never seen more work determining the reverse status of a two yard gain. :)

Denver is a bizzare football team. At times they look like one of the top 2 teams in the NFL. They simply overpower people.

Then they end up looking like a bunch of grade schoolers in the third and fourth quarters.

I didn't see it mentioned by anyone, much less the announcing crew, but the Denver/Philly game was over early for one reason: the altitude.

There is no way you can keep your defense on the field that long, that early against Denver in Denver. Even the Patriots had some first downs and made some plays in the first half of the Denver game. Having your QB go 1-14 and forcing the defense to play 22+ minutes at altitude in the first half is simply disasterous.

I was never in fear of Denver losing the game yesterday. I knew the Eagles would wear out on defense. If this game had been played in Philly with the same parameters, Philly wins the game, even after the Foxworth INT.

66
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:31pm

#53, I guess the answer depends on whether you consider a week 9 game "the big one".

67
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:34pm

Re: 52
That makes my short list of penalties I hate...

1) Helmet tap "Roughing the Passer". A tap the helment is not really a "blow" but a push to the head.
2) Late hit that occurs simultaneously with the whistle
3) No penalty for offensive facemask on a stiff arm.

Also, they need to modify the facemask rule, since facemasks are way bigger than they used to be. Any time a tackle is made where the player puts his hands on the facemask is getting called, even if there is no tugging or twisting.

68
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:39pm

MDS
It's only a horsecollar if someone who makes the NFL a lot of money gets hurt... and I bet when that happens the flag comes as the training staff rushes onto the field.

69
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:43pm

Re #66: I don't think it can count as a big game. My usual defination for big games is a game where they award a trophy to the winner, but even if we expand the defination to include non-playoff games, this one doesn't count. Even if the Patriots manage to win, the Colts would stil lbe in the driver's seat to the best record in the AFC, and if the Patriots lose, they're still in first place in thier division.

70
by james (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:45pm

My interpretation of a horsecollar is when is when a player grabs the back of the collar then elevates his feet of of the ground and puts all of his bodyweight down on the collar of the ball carrier.

71
by djcolts (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 4:52pm

re #53 - Manning has to lead the Colts to a SB victory. Period. That is the only way to silence the "big game" critics. If he does that, then the critics would move on to someone else.

It really is that simple.

72
by rageon (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:06pm

If there's an injury I'd like to see covered by Will, it's Champ Bailey. He's obviously not close to 100%, and showed that on more than 1 occassion yesterday. Is he going to just have to play through pain the entire season, or is there hope that he might actually get back to being his old self by the time the playoffs starts?

73
by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:16pm

I am a huge Colts fan, and I was really looking foward to the Pats matchup until Tedy Bruschi came back.

Now I'm hoping beyong hope that we can score just once.

74
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:18pm

It's actually only a horsecollar if you pull the guy backwards so his back is pulled backwards so his legs fold underneath him. Just grabbing the collar, even from behind, doesn't satisfy the rule.

Let me find that reverse play on tape so we can all shut up about it :P.

75
by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:20pm

RE: 69

Oh how I disagree. The Colts and Pats have turned into a minor version of Yankees Redsox with the Pats playing the Yankees.

Every time I talk to a Boston fan it shows how large it is.

With the Pacers v. Celtics the last few years, and the Pats v. Colts, it's on.

It's a big game. We don't have to win this game to win the Superbowl, but we need this game.

And just like the Yankees didn't really have to beat the Sox, they do. Just to rub it in.

76
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:21pm

That was not a smiley face! That was a "Pat is borderline obsessive about reverses" tongue-sticking-out smiley... thing.

Oh, screw it.

77
by MCS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:21pm

Favre apologist. I will endure that sneer. But until you have watched him for over a decade play every Sunday you don’t appreciate that this guy has spun more gold out of horsesh*t than just about anyone.

Watching him these days is like one of those Roman tragedies where the general is the last man standing at the bridge, the bodies are piling up around him, and he continues to hold off the hordes.

It’s sad and heroic all at once.

Preachin' to the choir. As much as I hate all the Favre love and admit he has lost a step, I still watch for a little of that magic from the mid-nineties.

I'm probably chiming in late on this, but can we just agree to disagree and call the Philly play "trickeration"?

78
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:26pm

Borderline obsessive? C'mon, calling it a reverse/double reverse/triple reverse based on the number of times the play changes direction is the only way you could define it.

If you define it by the number of handoffs, a double reverse could just involve a chain of handoffs which finally went straight up the middle.

Which would be the dumbest play known to man. Which means that Mike Martz is probably reading this and just said "GENIUS!!" (Apologize to Mr. Martz, get well soon.)

79
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:33pm

Does that mean a fleaflicker is a double reverse? First the running back carries the ball towards the ling of scrimmage. Then he turns around and throws it back to the QB (first reverse). Then the QB throws the ball downfield (second reverse).

80
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:36pm

But Pat, what about a play where a player runs left, stops, then runs over to the right? That's a change of direction, but is it a reverse? And if he stops again, and runs back to the left, is that a double reverse?

Obviously, the handoff needs to change the right-left direction of the play to count as a "reverse," and it's also essential that the player be coming from one side of the field to the other to do it. But I think it's hard to say that a play where only two players touch the ball is a reverse - what separates it from an end around, then?

(Man, I really need to get out of law school.)

81
by Jason (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:41pm

Is Green Bay the 1st 1-6 Team in NFL Hisotry to have actually outscored their opponents?

82
by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:51pm

I didn't get to see the beginning of the Bears game. Anyone know where I can find a clip of the Robbie Gould hit? I would like to see that.

83
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 5:52pm

Re #80: In an end-around, the QB is not moving when he hands the ball to the wide-receiver/end. In the Eagles version of the reverse, the QB is running laterally and he hands the ball to a player running in the opposite direction.

84
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 6:13pm

B: Lateral change of direction, dangit.

But Pat, what about a play where a player runs left, stops, then runs over to the right? That’s a change of direction, but is it a reverse? And if he stops again, and runs back to the left, is that a double reverse?

Ooh, good point. I'd almost call it a reverse if it were planned. I just saw a game recently where the player literally ran one way, stopped and ran the other way, and it was obviously planned. Can't remember which one, though.

Obviously a "handoff reverse" has a better chance of working, but a higher risk. I think there are option pitch reverses, as well, which have an even higher risk.

85
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 6:17pm

oh, and regarding Robbie Gould:

former PSU kicker, undrafted: 64.1 yard kickoff average, 4/6 FGs, 44 yard long
former OSU kicker, 2nd round: 64.2 yard kickoff average, 5/8 FGs, 44 yard long

just sayin'. :)

86
by LTA (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 6:20pm

Audibles at the line?!? I think the name of this column clearly shows FO's pro-Manning bias. Why not name the column for something Brady is known for? I demand a more neutral name!!! (Just kidding, of course! Love the name, guys)

87
by John P (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 6:39pm

I took three things away from this week's games.
One, with a two game lead including tie breakers, the Bears just won the NFC North.
Two, the conference champs NE/PHI are not Super Bowl worthy this year. I knew about Philly's issues already, but I didn't have a real feel for NE's slide, until I watched them last night. That is a slightly above average team. The best they should do is squeak into the playoffs and lose in the first round. Of course, maybe squeaking into the playoffs is all they need and then they can "turn it on". We'll see.
Three, I was right to worry that Simms would be disastorous for TB. It was asking too much for TB to get Griese AND Simms to have good years. TB won't win their division, and will be lucky to make the playoffs.

88
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 6:54pm

Just to clarify on the horse collar, I'm actually not sure if it was the right call or not, since they either didn't have or chose not to show a replay from a good angle. My point was that the announcer said it was a horse collar but also said the official was right not to call it. That just doesn't make sense. These were the same announcers who didn't know what it means when an official throws his hat, didn't understand the illegal touching rule, and couldn't tell what was happening on that bizarre intentional grounding by Garcia that the Bears thought was a fumble. Just seems to me like the announcers should know the rules at least as well as I do. (One of the reasons I like Al Michaels is that he's the only announcer who I think knows the rules better than I do.)

89
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 7:00pm

#81: Thanks to the wonderful Saints, I'm pretty sure you're correct.

NFC Central Freak: What bugs me is that if ANY OTHER QB in the league has a game like Favre had this week, he gets roasted and likely run out of town. Yes, Favre is great and his decline is apparent now because of some poor personnel decisions in the last few off seasons, but I am of the opinion that no one deserves a free pass. If your play stinks, it stinks, no matter whether you're Brett Favre or Craig Krentzel, and you should be treated in the same manner by the media and fans.

90
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 7:02pm

If P. Manning and the Colts win the Super Bowl in a year when they don't have to face the Pats in the post season, will they get the credit that they deserve as champions?

I doubt it, given the irrational Pats love by the media and all the bandwagoneers.

91
by Reno (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 7:24pm

So far as injuries go, I'd be interested to hear about Boldin, Portis, Mark Bradley, and the 49ers' quarterbacks.

92
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 7:24pm

What if Manning and the Colts beat the Patriots in the playoffs (in the divisonal round) but then lose in the championship, would that count for anything?

93
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 7:41pm

An official normally throws his hat when a player goes out of bounds. In extraordinary cases I've also see cases where officials throw their hat if they see a penalty and they've already thrown their flag.

Has there ever been a case where an official had to drop his hat for the spot of a out of bounds player, threw a flag, and then saw another penalty? Would he throw a shoe?

I swear I saw an official throw his watch in a high school game. Player gets called for a personal foul (flag), makes contact with ref to argue call (hat), picks up the flag and throws it at the official (unsportsmanlike, off goes the watch).

94
by JPS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 7:43pm

That Sunday night crew must huddle up before the game and think, "Let's see now, we've got to come up with superlatives to say during the game," because when I tune in the game is full of things like "This guy is the best in football at changing directions in mid-air on second downs inside the red zone!" and "There's nobody faster in the league when it's comes to single coverage on 3rd and long after 8 pm!"

95
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 7:55pm

I'm shocked not seeing a comment on the call on Vrabel: "#50 performed an unnatural act". Did the Three Stooges talk over the ref's announcement? Cuz it was loud and clear on the radio and the announcers yukked it up for a good bit of air time.

96
by djcolts (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 7:59pm

re #90: Yes, they would get credit. See the 1996 GB Packers - the situation is very similar.

97
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 8:05pm

Re: #90, #92, #96

Should the Colts win the Superbowl and not get sufficient credit, they should just go win another.

Although, as a Patriot fan, I can tell you that even three of 'em don't stifle all the critics. That's what critics do -- there's always something to criticise.

98
by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 8:30pm

I just want to mention that Bronco fans chanting "in - com - plete" is a nice touch that's improved greatly by it not being done anywhere else.

(I've always thought that if the Wave had stayed wherever it started, we'd all look at it and think of how much fun it would be to join in. But once it became ubiquitous, it became an annoyance.)

99
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 8:30pm

And here I thought I was the only one who shouted, "Holy cow, that's a double-reverse!" Even though it didn't work...and I ended up shouting a lot of other, unprintable comments before the day was over....

I've been saying all season that TO's arms get shorter and shorter every week. He's quitting on routes, too.

100
by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 9:31pm

S:

And I will reiterate what I wrote earlier, it's because of who he is and what he STILL can do that he doesn't get roasted.

I flat out GUARANTEE if you ask personnel folks around the league if Favre is a Super Bowl quality quarterback the unanimous answer would be "yes".

You put him on my Bears and that's a 13-3 team. No hyperbole. Not overstatement. He gets the ball to MM to send that guy to the Pro Bowl. He finds the TE. The running game shows more life as teams have to back off. With the defense, the schedule, and BF at the helm Chicago ROLLS.

And you know what REALLY hacks me off about the "experts"? The mere acceptance of Favre's playing streak.

Bear with me on this.

How many times have we as football fans witnessed a team's season tank because of an injury to the starting QB? Pennington anyone? Why do Atlanta fans desperately want Vick to show less abandon? Because they know this team is 5-11 with him on the sidelines. OK, maybe not NOW with Schaub as backup. But look what happened a few years ago.

It's one of those things that coaches and GMs hold their breath on each season. Can they keep the QB upright?

And why? Because it's the most important position on the field. You don't need Quantitative Analysis to understand that with a solid QB you can go win your share and with a GREAT QB you are ALWAYS in contention.

And year after year this guy stands his post. And folks yawn and yap about the interceptions.

Ya' know, it's not that hard to understand the tradeoff. Hmmmm, lose a season if THE MAN goes down. Lose a game every once in a while because he goes ape willies.

And what about the games he's WON becase of his ability to TRY what OTHER qbs never even imagine?

Trust me, he's done it WAY MORE than I would care to remember.

It DEFIES understanding to see this guy take the field game after game after game after hit after hit after hit and not appreciate that he's THERE.

Fine, call it a man-crush. I'm a fanboy. Whatever.

Until you have watched enough football to see enough seasons go THWAP because of a QB NOT THERE you just do not appreciate what the guy brings to the table.

Give me sustained goodness with a wild streak over the intermittent excellence any day of the week.

Think of it this way. Brunell was Favre's BACKUP. He was great, then almost gone, and now somewhat back. Favre has always been there.

Or Aaron Brooks. Another Favre backup. Good then kersplat.

Or Kurt Warner whom the Packers cut. Nobody, alleged MVP, then useless.

Drew Bledsoe who showed up just around the same time. Hero, then traded, then briefly great, then run out of town, and now coming back once again (kind of).

Steve McNair. Showed up AFTER Favre, missed FAR more time than Favre, and now ready to hang it up. So-called toughest guy around but can't stay in the lineup? Doesn't make him a wuss. He's beat up. By who thinks Favre ISN'T as beat up?

I could go on. But I think you get the idea.

The Packers should be ashamed they won only one SB with not having to even THINK about the QB position for over a decade.

101
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 9:36pm

As for the Broncos, I applaud their use of dual backs to save wear and tear, but they don’t understand how good Bell is (and I say this not just as a Bell fantasy owner). They think they have a pounder and a big play guy, like Carolina’s plan except with good backs. But, Bell is actually perfectly good enough to get the “tough yardage.� He was second in success rate a season ago and through Week 6 was tenth. He should be getting 65% of the carries.

Ned, Shanahan is very concerned about overworking Bell. He's said it several times. Bell has never had more than 17 career carries, and he already has a history of getting nicked up and losing effectiveness. Tatum Bell sees a steady drop in his ypc after he gets 10 carries, and he sees a steady drop in his ypc every quarter, so there's evidence supporting the "wearing down" theory (Mike Anderson has pretty much the same ypc in all carries, until he gets over 20, at which time his ypc dips a bit to 25 and then ramps up through the roof).

For a team that likes to run the ball 40 times a game, like Denver, giving 65% of the carries to a guy who steadily loses effectiveness after the first 10 carries is not a very good idea. I think Bell continues getting 12-15 carries a game, and Mike Anderson gets all the rest.

Also, I don't know if you watched the entire game, but Bell was really hurting the team until the 4th quarter. Lots of short runs, lots of long-yardage situations, while Anderson continuously moved the chains and left Jake in 2nd-and-short, 3rd-and-short. Yes, Bell put the game away with the last 2 scores, but Mike Anderson was the reason they scored 28 in the opening half in the first place. And Tatum Bell did all of his damage against a defense who was on the field for pretty much the entire game and a mile above sea-level. I'd imagine they were pretty gassed by that point.

In addition, Mike Anderson is so much better at blocking and blitz pickup that it's no contest. He's the guy the Broncos want in their backfield the majority of the time, if for no other reason than because he helps keep Plummer from feeling the heat and making mistakes.

Re #3: You can't blame blitzing 9 for allowing the Eagles back into the game. The Broncos blitzed 9 on the first 3 snaps of the game, and forced 3 straight incompletions. In fact, I have NEVER seen a team blitz as heavily as Denver did in the first half, and it led to a 28-0 lead (including McNabb opening 1 of 14 with 0 TD and 1 INT).

102
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 10:08pm

Re 35--There's nothing wrong with being a little hard on Chris Simms. Here's a guy who had his career handed to him on a platter, at least in part because of his father. Applewhite at Texas seemed to find a way to win; Simms seemed to find a way to look terrific until Texas really needed a win. He never seemed to give his best performance in a big game. Now, with a golden opportunity to start an NFL game against the 49ers, who are so weak that they really are only about the 18ers or so, he comes up small again. Sure, decent production of passing yards, but INT's, poor decisions, and a loss to a team that a legitimate 5-1 team ought to beat with just about anybody playing QB. Simms is physically gifted and has some great tools, but it's way up in the air if he'll ever be a winning QB in the NFL.

103
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 11:06pm

I'd just like to make a couple of points about Green Bay. I'm not saying that I thought they were a Super Bowl contender before the season, but I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on which NFL teams would be unaffected by losing their top 2 running backs and 3 of their top 4 receivers (and with the exception of Robert Ferguson, who might be back in 4-6 weeks, they're all on IR). Despite this, 5 of their 6 losses have been by a total of 16 points. Say what you will about Favre (and he did throw some bad picks yesterday), but I'd say his ability to keep the team in games under the circumstances is fairly remarkable.

104
by Tim L (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 11:08pm

I realize some of Chris Simms' failure as a college quarterback was due to inferior coaching, but he has always seemed to lack an instinct for recognizing and exploiting what's happening on the field. The complete opposite of, say, Tom Brady.

Disclaimer: I'm not a Patriots fan, and in no way, written or implied, did I intend to invite discussion of a potential Brady-Manning debate, nor did my prior comment in any way imply that I have anything less than respect for Peyton Manning. Or Rodney Harrison for that matter.

105
by Tim L (not verified) :: Mon, 10/31/2005 - 11:14pm

103: I'm not an FO writer, and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express, but I agree with you. I thought at the beginning of the year the Packers were headed for a six- or seven-win season. They probably won't even hit that this year, but as you mentioned, they have been competitive even against the good teams on the road. They remind me of the 1988 Cowboys, who played about the same against similar competition, and ended up going 3-13. Sometimes even respectable teams can have poor records, which is one of the values of DVOA--there's more to a team that just their record.

106
by kevin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 12:41am

Favre is done . . . and yes there is a double standard . . . When is the last time you heard an announcer say "Favre played a horrible game" (and he has had several in the last few years) . . . the next time you hear this will probably be the first . . .

107
by thad (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 2:50am

The streak is pretty amazing no doubt.
But some of the playoff games have been really bad.

108
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 3:42am

Fine, call it a man-crush. I’m a fanboy. Whatever.

Thank goodness. Acceptance is the first step to healing, NFCCF.

109
by James Gibson (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:11am

Kibbles/Ned - I was a little surprised at Ned's comment about Bell, too. After all, Mike Anderson ended up being the #1 DPAR runner for the week. And it seems to me that Bell continuously makes some really long plays to the outside, but that his short yardage running is often ineffective. I do see that he was 2nd in success rate last year, but I wonder what the down-by-down breakdown of that is. I'm not surprised that he'd have over 4 yards on 1st and 10 all the time, but I'd be surprised if he was a success on 3rd-and-short that many times.

110
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:20am

MRH #95:

And did you catch Al Michael's call last night about the Ravens players getting the Pittsburgh player "a reach around" on an interception where he downed him by contact?

111
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:23am

Kibbles #101:

But for one poor McNabb decision in the 4th quarter, I'm not so sure you'd be praising a steady 9 man blitz through the game.

That isn't a tactic I would keep up.

112
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:27am

Tom W #103:

I think Wideout and Tailback are essentially fungible positions. A good QB will make average wideouts look respectable, and a good O-line will make an average tailback look respectable.

I expect Green Bay to put on a 2004 Panther like performance this year (remember they lost their top wideout and top three running backs last year?), and come back some in the second half as their offense learns to play together.

113
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 12:01pm

When is the last time you heard an announcer say “Favre played a horrible game� (and he has had several in the last few years) . . . the next time you hear this will probably be the first . . .

well, actually people used to say that all the time before 1996

Fav-ray was Manning before Manning was Manning

"puts up the geat numbers but can't win the big ones"

that what people said about Brett

perceptions are interesting, specially when contrasted with reality

from 93-95 Favre was 4-3 in the postseason with 12TD's 6 picks

but he was a "loser" becuz he lost to Dallas 3 times

then comes 1996 when he's 3-0 with 5TD/1 INT

but since that Super Bowl, he's 4-6 with 16TDs/19 picks

but he has his chit (apparently forever)

114
by Tom W (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 1:08pm

Re: #112: "Wideout and tailback are essentially fungible positions."
I'd agree with you up to a point, but the difference between lining up Javon Walker at WR as opposed to Antonio Chatman is pretty dramatic. I doubt Driver is going to be seeing a lot of single coverage the rest of the year. And I don't think fantasy owners are snapping up Tony Fisher and Samkon Gado (sp.?) in anticipation of their status as the Packers' new RBs. I hadn't thought of last year's Carolina team, but you're right -- they did overcome similar injuries. But I'd have to think what they did was extremely unusual. Plus, Carolina wasn't as reliant on the offense to carry the team. A lot of it, I think, has to do with leadership and coaching, which, I guess was the point I was making about Favre. As a Packer fan, I have to confess that I don't even think Brett is the greatest QB in team history (that would be the vastly underrated Bart Starr), let alone NFL history, but the guy may be the best natural leader I've ever seen in sports. And I know people get sick of hearing that, but as a previous comment suggested, if you watch him every week, you really appreciate it.

115
by dbt (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 1:09pm

Everybody big name quarterback with the exception perhaps of Tom Brady has heard the "can't win the big one" canard until he's won a superbowl. People still trot it out against Marino, for chrissakes.

116
by elhondo (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 1:20pm

Pat -

Wouldn't your definition make 90% of running plays "reverses". The quarterback is rarely going in the same direction of the running back, so the ball changes direction, right?

In my mind, the first handoff doesn't count, thus the play in Philly is just a reverse.

117
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 1:22pm

#111:

Actually, the Broncos stopped blitzing as heavily late in the second quarter, when the Eagles went to max protect. The way I see it, what the Broncos' defense should worry about is how to deal with max protect. That's when opposing offenses seem to come to life, and you know the Colts are going to notice this (getting a bit ahead of myself here, but the football gods won't mind a little hope... ;-).

118
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 1:30pm

Re #116: A reverse is a lateral change of direction, so a player running left or right hands the ball to somebody running the other way is a reverse. This makes sense because the defense has to pursue the play going in one direction, then it switches and they have to pursue it in another direction.

119
by Diane (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 1:40pm

Not a peep from anyone on Daunte tearing ALL 3 knee ligaments!?

I'd be shocked if he was back before 2007. And even then ... his mobility (a tremendous asset) will be very limited.

I DO hope the Vikings had an insurance policy on Culpepper's megamillion contract.

How much of Daunte's contract was guaranteed?

120
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 1:54pm

Kaveman #117:

The TO 91 yard TD was a nine-man blitz. That's why all he had to do was blow out Champ Bailey's hamstring with a juke and then run for pay dirt with little threat of anyone touching him.

121
by JMM (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 10:48am

In the summer, there was some discussion about 4th quarter comebacks. Here ( http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05306/599043.stm ) is a story on Big Ben and his growing body of work.

I post it here for convenience.