A Super Bowl berth could be decided by the Patriots' ability to contain Le'Veon Bell -- and by Pittsburgh's ability to avoid their usual defensive breakdowns against New England.
18 Dec 2006
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. 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 2007. Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live.
Russell Levine: If you don't have NFL Network and can't see tonight's game, you can at least take solace in the fact that you're missing another excruciating play-by-play performance from Bryant Gumbel. He actually has a little more life tonight -- sounded like he was asleep in Pittsburgh last week -- and Vermeil is an upgrade over Collinsworth. But Vermeil's losing his voice tonight, leaving Gumbel to pull more of the weight.
Twice in the first half, the Falcons have put Schaub in and left Vick out there, lined up at tailback. Both times, everyone in the booth missed it until the play was on. Schaub completed a pass for a first down on the first one, and on the second they ran one of those misdirection flip plays to Vick for a modest gain. How many people thought to themselves in that moment, "Finally, the Falcons have figured it out! Just stick him at tailback."
This game is a circus of big plays and huge hits. Rod Coleman is all over the field for the Falcons, and DeMarcus Ware had an insanely athletic interception on a naked bootleg that he returned for a touchdown.
Gumbel just trumped his earlier mistake when he failed to realize that an illegal formation penalty had nullified an Atlanta TD. For some reason, he thought the call would be on the extra point. Brutal.
As an aside, Vick is throwing the ball really, really well from the pocket tonight, stepping up and buying extra time while stifling his instincts to run. He's also a couple of deep balls and Michael Jenkins, Roddy White and Ashley Lelie are all involved.
Will Carroll: Smart move to bring Marshall Faulk into the booth as Vermeil loses it (his voice). Not the same as Jaws and Vermeil, but not bad.
Vick's throw to Lelie for the TD was a throw that I don't think anyone else in the NFL can make. If this football thing doesn't work out for him, he could close.
BTW, someone sent me an idea that "Ron Mexico" has good and bad games on a schedule of his herpes flareups. There's certainly no way to confirm this and I thankfully don't know much about herpes. Anyone think there's anything to this?
Russell Levine: I've been impressed with Faulk tonight. He spots some things that happen with the O/D lines right away, even on plays made down the field. Surprising to hear that from a skill position guy who's very green as an analyst. But it makes sense in his case; I've always heard that he has an incredible football mind.
Agree on the throw to Lelie. That in a nutshell is what I'd love to see Vick become on a regular basis. Use the incredible agility and the threat of the scramble to buy time in the pocket for late-opening receivers, then use the rifle arm to put the ball there.
Will Carroll: Faulk made me wonder if recent players would have better "vision." His pickup of the hold and discussion of the Adams "touch block" were things that I don't think normal people see.
The problem with that idea of Vick is that in doing that, he'll also make the stupid play about as many times. It's an interesting conundrum -- would you rather have the Michael Vick/Tony Romo talent with "gunslinger" tendencies or the Brad Johnson/Trent Dilfer style "don't bleep it up" QB?
Russell Levine: Egads -- they've benched Vermeil and his balky voice in favor of the three-man booth with Faulk and Deion Sanders. Unfortunate. I'd like to hear how Faulk could have done on his own.
Interesting question, on the types of QBs. It seems the NFL today is so geared toward "game managers" at QB and I'd like to see a few teams go back to the Bradshaw style of throwing deep a ton and not worrying so much about interceptions. I guess the Vermeil/Martz Rams were the closest thing we've seen to that in the current era.
Vick is throwing strikes tonight.
Michael David Smith: You can sense the excitement every time Tampa Bay kicks because everyone in Chicago wants to see Devin Hester. It's easy to forget how rare a kick return for a touchdown is.
Aaron Schatz: This reminds me of one of the things I need to write about this week. If you remember this from the fantasy defense article in PFP 2006, there is very little correlation between kickoff/punt return touchdowns from year to year. That's not to say that Hester isn't a great weapon or that he won't mean good field position for the Bears for the next few seasons, but there's a good chance that in 2007 he'll have one touchdown return -- or even zero -- instead of six.
Ian Dembsky: Well, it appears the Bruce Gradkowski era has come to an end. Can't wait for the Tim Rattay experience!
Umm... Tampa Bay just TIED Chicago at 31 thanks to a Tim Rattay-Ike Hilliard touchdown. I had longshot money on that exact scenario. I'm rich!
Aaron Schatz: I can't believe that the Bucs are tied with the Bears -- and Grossman is playing WELL.
Russell Levine: Call me crazy, but Davis did not catch the ball that put Chicago into position for the winning kick, but it wasn't reviewed from the booth. Looked like the ball was pinned to his body by his arm and clearly hit the ground as he went down. That was a third-down play, so a reversal there means the Bears are punting.
There had already been two replay reviews in OT and the game was dragging on, and it doesn't matter if Tampa wins or loses, but seriously, that play HAS to be reviewed.
Michael David Smith: I haven't seen a conclusive angle, but I agree, it's absurd that it wasn't even reviewed. They reviewed the punt prior to that, and that was a much more clearly correct call than the Davis "catch."
Aaron Schatz: I believe that I complained about this with the Corey Dillon fumble against the Bears inside two minutes in Week 12. I don't understand how the booth does not err on the side of reviewing plays. Once again -- it isn't an issue of asking them to overturn plays, just check them when the coaches can't challenge.
Michael David Smith: Grossman didn't face as much pressure as I thought he would with his left tackle, John Tait out of the game with an injury and John St. Clair replacing him.
Chicago used Devin Hester as a wide receiver; Grossman threw him a pass that fell incomplete in the second quarter. Just something for opposing defensive coordinators to think about the rest of the year.
Tampa Bay tried to avoid Hester, by trying a surprise onside kick in the second quarter. Chicago was ready for it and got good field position.
Ryan Wilson: You know, Sean Payton seems harmless enough, but let somebody screw up and he's not afraid to go bonkers once that player gets back to the sidelines. I don't think Aaron Brooks would've fared very well in this system. He just gave TE Billy Miller an earful after false-starting and a play later ripped Jammal Brown a new one after missing a block.
Bill Barnwell: I guess being an assistant under Parcells will do that for you.
I have to admit that I was totally wrong about Payton. When he was the Giants' offensive coordinator and was relieved of the playcalling duties by Jim Fassel (hey karma) I never -- ever -- would have figured him to be a competent OC.
Ryan Wilson: Jason Campbell just dropped a beautiful 30-yard ball into Santana Moss for a TD ... in double coverage. Moss had a step on both defenders because (a) he's really, really good, and (b) Campbell play-actioned to Ladell Betts, who's been a beast in place of Janky Spanky.
I don't think you can blitz Drew Brees. The Redskins have thrown everything at him and he always knows where the open receiver is. A lot of credit should go to the offensive line for an overall solid blocking effort this season, but even with a man running free, Brees rarely makes a mistake due to pressure.
The Saints just scored on a three-yard run. Before the snap, TE Miller splits out wide right taking Sean Taylor with him and then McAllister runs a toss sweep left and waltzes in untouched. That's one way to take Taylor out of the play.
My bad, Drew Brees, I totally jinxed you. Brees just got sacked on a nice play by DE Carter. A couple of plays later he woefully underthrows the ball, and Carlos Rogers, who looked to be beat in coverage, gets his first pick (I think) of the season.
This is a weird game, but like last week, the Redskins are running the ball very well. Ladell Betts is just killing people. Campbell has had some drops on deep balls, but he's been pretty good all day. I don't know what Gregg Williams is doing differently this week, but Brees just hasn't been able to get anything going. Through three quarters, he had like 80 passing yards.
Bress drove the Saints down the field in the two-minute offense and Carlos freakin' Rogers broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth-and-8, effectively ending the game.
Aaron Schatz: Apparently there is a reasonably good explanation for Washington's victory over New Orleans: the Football Outsiders Message Board Curse. Someone named "Chris" spent the whole week slagging DVOA in the comments. He said he was a Jacksonville fan, but spent the whole time complaining about the rating for the Saints, so I guess FOMBC got a two-fer.
Michael David Smith: Mike Karney is having a very good year as a lead blocker for Deuce McAllister. Too bad Reggie Bush doesn't follow blocks.
Devery Henderson dropped a perfect pass for Brees that should have gained about 40 yards.
Aaron Schatz: CBS really needs to get its act together and go out to get a couple more HD trucks. Watching this game in regular definition is a bit of a bummer after watching HD every other week.
After 11 1/2 minutes it is already 17-0 Patriots. They are screening on the Texans a lot, and Faulk just took one in. Rich Gannon makes a good point -- the offensive line for the Pats is mobile, which is one reason they do well with screens. They may not be blocking as well as years past, but they are mobile.
I know now why the Texans never have Carr throw long. The two times he's thrown long so far were both interceptions. The first one, Seymour was being double-teamed by the LT and TE -- it looked like a triple, but it wasn't, because Ron Dayne ran into the back of the new blockers while trying to go out on a pattern -- and then Carr goes to throw downfield and Seymour jumps up for the INT. Then later Carr throws long and it gets tipped by Tedy Bruschi into the hands of safety James Sanders.
Gary Kubiak faked a punt on fourth-and-1 with an attempted sneak by the "protector." Gannon was right on this one too -- the Texans are out of the playoffs, what the hell did they have to lose? TMQ will be sure to mention that play, although clearly fortune could care less about the bold this week.
I know it is wrong to complain when my team is winning 17-0 but I can't believe that we released Doug Gabriel so that we could play Kelvin Kight. The word around here is that it is not an issue of that one fumble, that Gabriel didn't fit the Pats' team-first attitude the whole time. I charted the second Buffalo-New England game this week and Gabriel was great in that game. I don't care if Gabriel was down with the Patriots way or not -- it made no sense to release him with three weeks left in the regular season so that the Patriots could use Kelvin Kight on anything other than special teams.
Every time that Dexter Wynn fields a punt or kickoff for the Texans, I want the announcers to call him "The Toy Cannon."
Ian Dembsky: So glad I'm stuck with non-HD Patriots vs. Texans in a blowout, and it's not even 2:00. Ron Dayne up the middle for two yards! How exciting! Hmm... What else is going on? Arlen Harris is up to six carries already -- Go, Loser League running back, go!
Off to James Brown in New York... (We watch the highlight of Cedric Houston run one in against the Vikings) "And here ... we have ... Brad Johnson handing off to Travis Taylor for the touchdown." Come on -- how hard is it to know it's Cedric Houston? Does he have to be a robot that reads what's handed to him? Embarrassing.
Tully Banta-Cain totally whacked David Carr on the head on the last play, but no flag. I guess the officials are as bored with this one as we are.
Bill Moore: New England is playing well, but we (and the announcers) need to remember that they are playing Houston for God's sake.
Jabar Gaffney just caught a TD pass which makes up for his drop on a 40-yard perfect bomb in the first quarter. Unlike last week, Brady has thrown deep a few times, which has the opportunity to pick up not only yards but also penalties.
Stephen Neal is having a nice blocking game. He was out a few games, I can't remember which. I would be interested in comparing the line performance with and without him.
Carr has targeted Chad Scott quite often, so at least Houston did study their game film. I think every pass in the first quarter targeted him. Between tipped balls, drops, and an occasional defense, few passes were successful. Carr clearly hasn't played well in the first half, but his receivers have to share some of the blame too. Gannon keeps talking about taking Carr out. Why? So they can see what Sage Rosenfels can do?
Aaron Schatz: Actually, Sage Rosenfels is out for the year. The backup is Bradlee Van Pelt. And hey, destroying the Texans is better than barely beating the Texans. How did Jacksonville lose to this team twice???
Everybody out there was in full-on panic mode when Stephen Gostkowski started the season 3-for-6 on field goals. Since then, including today, he's 14-for-15 on field goals.
We have a reader on the discussion thread who has been complaining about the Patriots not throwing deep all day and asking what's wrong with the offense. Mind you, they won the game 40-7. I think somebody's expectations may be a little out of whack.
I enjoyed the play where Houston rushed two on third-and-long. Two. Three linemen, and one dropped into coverage.
Bill Moore: Kevin Harlan: "Rich, did you think NE would play this well?"
Rich Gannon: "You could almost guarantee it. This team is 18-4 since 2000 under Belichick [in December]. They know how to play in December. Come playoff time, this team knows how to kick it in gear."
Umm, isn't December 10th in December? They played terrible against Miami last week. Overall, I like Gannon, but at least he's learning the standard broadcasters' jumble that fills air time.
Aaron Schatz: The Pats have hit the "mass subs" button from EA NCAA Football. Pierre Woods! Corey Mays! Larry Izzo on actual defense! Rusher McFumbles is on his way in. This is the week that I wish I had Sunday Ticket. I know I should have it when I do this for a living, but I don't like satellite. I hope Arlen Specter makes some noise and we can get it on cable.
It makes me sad that Vinny is taking knees instead of Rusher McFumbles going for his first touchdown of the season, but at least they'll have to switch us to another game now...
Bill Barnwell: I am convinced Heath Evans is on Bill Belichick's fantasy team after that end-of-game run.
Bill Moore: NE got an illegal formation penalty on a kneel play. I don't think I have ever seen that happen before. Up 40-7, they were unable to burn the clock, so they kneeled on fourth down, causing a turnover on downs. I don't think I've ever seen that either.
Bill Barnwell: The former caused the latter. For some reason that last two minutes took about fifteen. It was like an NBA game. And it should also be noted that Houston got the ball with 35 seconds left, down 33 points at their own 35, and ran a draw play.
Bill Moore: Yeah, I expected Houston to come out and kneel. Seemed a bit futile to run a play and risk injury.
Michael David Smith: Where does David Carr rank on the list of a) all-time biggest draft busts, and b) all-time most overpaid players?
Vin Gauri: As to (a), somewhere between Ryan Leaf and Heath Shuler? He'll probably end up somewhere between them on his future after football as well (assistant high school football coach vs. Congressman).
Aaron Schatz: That's probably a discussion far more complex than we can have in the Audibles e-mails. While he was horribly bad today, I still think there is a lot to say for the argument that Houston's constant offensive line problems stunted Carr's development. It's interesting to go back and look at that draft. There's only one player out of the top six who worked out well. Carr and Harrington are mediocre at best. Ryan Sims is nothing special. Quentin Jammer is nothing special. Mike Williams is crap.
But man oh man, wouldn't the Texans happily trade David Carr and Mario Williams right now to have Julius Peppers and Vince Young instead?
Ned Macey: Top 10 QB in the last fifteen years worse than Carr:
TBD: Alex Smith
Overall # 1 picks worse than Carr
TBD: Alex Smith
A couple of those first overalls had injuries, so if the question is where does he rank in terms of first overall draft busts, then I'd say pretty high. Draft busts in general, not so high. In terms of people whose teams paid an additional bonus to pick up extra years on their contract before a draft filled with talented players? I imagine he is first in that list.
Ryan Wilson: Early in the first quarter with the game 0-0, the Panthers decided to punt on 4th-and-1 from the Steelers' 32. Shockingly, Kasay missed the 50-yarder.
On fourth-and-inches on the Carolina 10, the Steelers go for it, get it, and four plays later Pittsburgh faces fourth-and-1 from the Carolina 1. Annnnnnd ... the Steelers kick the field goal. If you're going for it from the Carolina 10, why wouldn't you go for it from the Carolina 1?
Ian Dembsky: Cowher's just trying to drive us fantasy owners of Willie Parker crazy. First-and-goal on the 1 earlier; Roethlisberger sneaks for the TD. This time? Field goal. Hand it to Willie!
Ryan Wilson: Willie Parker busts a 41-yard TD run, goes over 100 yards on the road for the first time all season, and the Panthers have officially given up. Actually, it looked like they gave up sometime in the second quarter, but now there's no doubt.
Rookie safety Anthony Smith intercepted a pass and was high-stepping marching-band-style down the sidelines. He had an opportunity for a big return but instead decided to showboat and then step out of bounds. Dick LeBeau, the most laid back guy in the league, went Sean Payton on him once he got to the bench. In his three years in Pittsburgh, I've never seen LeBeau even pretend to be uspet about something. It was stupid, but I'm pretty sure Smith won't be doing it again. A few minutes after getting ripped, LeBeau came over and had a laugh with Smith.
Michael David Smith: Willie Parker, when asked about his performance, said he didn't know how to evaluate himself immediately after the game, adding, "it's just like being in a fight. You never know what happened until you see it on tape." Willie Parker gets in fights that he tapes, then reviews the tapes to see how he does?
Doug Farrar: Well, you have J.P. Losman and his weekly 90-yard bomb to Lee Evans. His first half against Miami: Five completions, 105 yards. Passes of 37, 33 and 28 yards to Evans and Robert Royal.
Michael David Smith: Jason Taylor is looking great as usual. Is that guy ever going to get old?
Doug Farrar: At least the Vikings won't need to discuss their predominant off-season need. The run defense ranks #1 in DVOA by a crushing margin, but Chad Pennington has gone 22-of-28 for 247 yards and a touchdown against them in the first half alone.
Vin Gauri: Nice to see that Eric Mangini has one-upped his Jedi master in terms of the latest in gym teacher attire. Looked like Mangini was wearing a black XXXL muumuu.
Ryan Wilson: Man, that David Garrard sure ... helps the other team just win! Chris Hope returned a Garrard pass for six. Earlier in the third quarter, Tennessee returned a Garrard fumble 90-something yards for a TD. After being down early, Tennessee scores 17 in the third and lead 24-10. Oh, yeah, Vince Young's 8-of-14 for 85 yards so far.
Doug Farrar: The Tennessee defense is just going insane. They gave Jacksonville a four-down stop with three of those downs coming from the Tennessee 1-yard line. Pac-Man Jones broke up the fourth-down pass to Matt Jones. The Tennessee defense has outscored the Jaguars' offense, 21-10.
Aaron Schatz: The world's craziest, least consistent team is even crazier today. Until the Titans stopped that fourth-and-1 and started to run out the clock, the Jags held Travis Henry to 13 yards on seven carries. The funny thing is that Jacksonville's DVOA for this game may end up around 0%. Remember, all those defensive scores don't show up in DVOA past the usual penalty for turnovers.
Ned Macey: Don't know if it was because of injury, but the Titans started linebacker Stephen Tulloch today. Guy can move. He burst through the line and made a great stop on Jones-Drew. Next play, he runs into coverage and ... misses the tackle. Bulluck runs over, picks Wrightster up, and torpedoes him, likely taking out his frustration on Tulloch's missed tackle. Nonetheless, that's a nice linebacking corps they've built there.
It's funny how much the draft matters. Two terrible drafts in 2003 and 2004, and the Titans fall apart. Great draft in 2005 (Pac-Man, Roos, Brandon Jones, Stewart, Sciafe) plus Young and Tulloch in 2006, and suddenly they're pretty good again.
Doug Farrar: I'm listening to the Giants-Eagles game on the radio, and I enjoyed hearing the crew talk about how "Vince Young beat the Jaguars." Gosh, what do you think did it -- the one pass for six yards in the second half, or the four rushing yards on four carries?
Ned Macey: The one thing mainstream media may never really understand is opponent adjustments. These were the numbers through Week 13:
Quarterbacks with a DVOA 5% or more higher than VOA (149 or more passes at this time)
Eli Manning (4.9%)
Matt Leinart (5.8%)
David Carr (5.6%)
Ben Roethlisberger (6.1%)
Jake Plummer (7.8%)
Alex Smith (5.5%)
DVOA 5% lower than VOA
Marc Bulger (4.7%)
Donovan McNabb (11.3%)
Tony Romo (12.7%)
David Garrard (7.4%)
Byron Leftwich (9.1%)
That's a who's who of players getting over or under-hyped respectively (except Leftwich). And, how bad are the pass defenses the Jaguars have been playing?
Michael David Smith: Commentator on Mike Williams: "I don't think the coaching staff has much confidence in him." Gee, you don't think so?
Ned Macey: I want to believe in Marinelli; seems like a good "football" guy. But what the hell is going on with this team? If Kitna really starts the next two games, that's an embarrassment. I don't think it is all his fault, but why do you have McCown on your roster? (Insert wide receiver joke here.)
By the way, I'm not sure how much any of you guys weigh, but I think the Lions are holding open tryouts for defensive line this week.
Michael David Smith: I've totally given up on trying tojudge Marinelli, and I retroactively withdraw any previous judgments I've made of Mornhinweg or Mariucci. I just don't think you can judge a coach based on what he does with a team assembled by Matt Millen.
Ryan Wilson: Jay Cutler just ran a naked bootleg to his left, faced a Cardinals pass rusher and unloaded a 50-plus seed to Javon Walker in the end zone. Unbelievable. That play alone makes up for his two previous uneven performances. Jay Cutler just ... throws the ball long!
Mike Tanier: 7-0 Giants. Gonna be a long afternoon I bet.
Bill Barnwell: It's early doors yet. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, no game is ever out of the Giants grasp of losing.
Mike Tanier: Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter in the same backfield. Tasty.
It looks like Rod Hood will be battling Plaxico Burress all day. Plaxico's kneecaps may be sore by the end of the game.
Dhani Jones, you are the Eagles Idiot Defender of the Week for throwing Tiki Barber to the ground when he is clearly out of bounds.
Ryan Wilson: I think Dhani Jones is kind of a goofball, but I'm not sure if that was a late hit on Tiki Barber. I love the fact that Shockey looks at Jones and points to his helmet as if to say, "Use your head dumbass." There's a reality show in there somewhere.
I love Jeremy Shockey in a train wreck sorta way. After Eli threw that wacky pick off Patterson's helmet, Shockey barrels over some Eagle after the play and gets a personal foul penalty. Does anybody else find it hilarious that Tom Coughlin is such a disciplinarian yet his team must lead the league in really dumb penalties.
Al Bogdan: In terms of historical significance, how far below Curt Schilling's bloody sock is Jeff Garcia's bloody wrist pad?
Mike Tanier: About 3 orders of magnitude.
Vin Gauri: That was the first time Philly has gone for a two-point conversion this year? Are they the last team in the NFL to do so? And the conversion was called back for PI on Westbrook, so they kicked the XP anyway. Iggles 21, Giants 16. Giants safety Jason Bell took an awful angle to allow Westbrook to spring for the go-ahead touchdown on an Ace 3-wide formation.
Mike Tanier: So, a taunting call on Garcia, a dumb pass for an interception, a pass interference call in which it looks like the ball is about five yards out of bounds, a defensive holding call which is complete gibberish, and a touchdown by the Giants. We are not amused.
Aaron Schatz: This game has been a show of the things we already knew about the Eagles and Giants defenses. The Eagles have missed some tackles, and Lito Sheppard blew it on that huge Plaxico Burress reception by trying to jump a route that Burress didn't even run. The Giants have had a bunch of blown coverages and plays where the defense looked confused. Of course, it doesn't matter if they blow a coverage when Jeff Garcia serves up an interception like he did in the fourth quarter. I think the gift-wrapping store went out of business after Garcia was done with that one.
Ryan Wilson: To be fair to Sheppard, it looked like Burress ran a slant-and-go, and not knowing which Eli would show up at the park, it's not a completely awful gamble. On the Reggie Brown TD to put the Eagles up late in the fourth, I was hoping R.W. McQuarters would get a personal foul penalty for kicking the pylon after getting burned. Just to emphasize how dumb that rule really is.
Just out of curiosity, did Archie ever articulate why Eli wouldn't go to San Diego? After the Trent Cole pick-for-six, I'm guessing Eli would take a three-year do-over and he'd just go to the Chargers where the media pressures aren't quite so intense.
Mike Tanier: Trent Cole ... high-stepping.
If we blow this one, the jumping ledge on the Walt Whitman bridge is going to look like the line for Play Station 3's at Best Buy.
Aaron Schatz: After a while with Philadelphia, their DVOA and W-L record were so far apart that I was looking for any reason to make excuses. When McNabb got hurt, it made things really easy -- I could just point out that the team was about to collapse without him. Instead, the Eagles have now won three straight, pretty much iced away a playoff spot, and still could win the division by winning the last two. The lesson, yet again, is trust the numbers and don't be so quick to look for excuses when DVOA looks strange.
Ned Macey: I know Aaron Brooks is not good, but he is Carson Palmer compared to Andrew Walter. Down two scores in the fourth quarter, Walter comes in and leads the Raiders on consecutive interception drives. On the other side, the Raiders defense blitzed the bejesus out of St. Louis. Four sacks in 26 pass attempts. You just feel so bad watching them. The Rams' two touchdown drives went for 24 and 19 yards.
Vin Gauri: Al Michaels is calling the Chargers "Air Coryell Plus?" I know Marty has loosened up Rivers since the Baltimore loss, but let's not get carried away. Too much to ask of Michaels, I know.
Aaron Schatz: Let's all agree now: If he signs elsewhere as a free agent, Michael Turner goes on the cover of PFP 2007.
Ryan Wilson: Reader Steve Borkowski just left this comment in the AOL FanHouse: "...Chargers running back gets 29 touchdowns in one season. That is more than the lions have rushed for in the entire Millen era..." I don't know if it's true, but it's certainly believable. Of course, as I type this, LT gets No. 30.
Doug Farrar: The fact that I felt compelled to go back and check probably says it all.
|Year||DET Rushing TD|
Michael David Smith: It's not true, but it's close.
Ryan Wilson: Thanks Doug. Steve Borkowski's off the Christmas card list.
Bill Barnwell: What about with guys Millen acquired as opposed to guys he inherited?
James Stewart 1
Cory Schlesinger 3
Lamont Warren 3
Mike McMahon 1
Millen Total: 0
James Stewart 4
Mike McMahon 3
Cory Schlesinger 2
Millen Total: 0
Shawn Bryson 3
Olandis Gary 2
Millen Total: 5
Kevin Jones 5
Artrose Pinner 2
Millen Total: 7
Kevin Jones 5
Artrose Pinner 3
Shawn Bryson 1
Jeff Garcia 1
Millen Total: 10
Kevin Jones 6
Jon Kitna 2
Arlen Harris 1
Millen Total: 9
So Millen-Acquired Players 31, Tomlinson 30.
Doug Farrar: Ha! There you go, getting all sabermetric...
Mike Tanier: This conversation is a clear indictment of the Sunday Night game, which I am not watching because I am on an Eagles high.
Though I tuned in long enough to see an LT touchdown. That's not very long.
Aaron Schatz: What on earth is going on with this punt block? How the hell did the Chiefs block a punt, yet the Chargers keep the ball, and then Tomlinson runs for an 85-yard touchdown????
Vin Gauri: I thought Triplett said that the ball was touched by the Chiefs over the line of scrimmage, making it a live ball. But it sure didn't look that way to me on the play or the replay.
Russell Levine: The punt was blocked, but still went beyond the line of scrimmage, which makes it no different from any other punt. It was definitely touched beyond the line by a Kansas City player, then recovered by a Charger.
Ryan Wilson: Yep, Michaels just explained it. I want to disagree with the call, but it's not even esoteric enough to bitch about. In fact, it's not esoteric at all -- it makes sense. I feel weird saying that.
Aaron Schatz: This is something that I don't think Mike mentioned in his piece about Lorenzo Neal last week, but another great thing about Neal is that no fullback in the league is a better runner on the fullback give. A nice weapon for converting third-and-short.
I'm surprised by how well the Chiefs secondary is playing in this game, but then again, Eric Parker went out early with an injury, McCardell doesn't seem to be playing much receiver, and Malcom Floyd is inactive.
Enough with the running backs taking the snap in the shotgun already.
Will Carroll: Nothing's more boring that hearing about someone else's fantasy team but ... I'm head to head with The Schwab for the playoffs this week and came in down 20. No way LDT goes for 20 more than LJ, is there? Sure enough ... we're tied at 85. Still very uphill -- he has Wayne and Vinatieri; I only have Marvin.
Bill Barnwell: I wholeheartedly disagree. Hearing about the ESPN internal fantasy league could never, ever, ever, ever get boring. Especially if you beat the Schwab.
Aaron Schatz: It's strange how the FO staffers all end up with the same players. I also have LT and Harrison, and like Russell I have Hasselbeck. I've changed the name of my team to "LT and Some Other Guys."
Any Given Sunday: Redskins over Saints (probably)
Every Play Counts: Marion Barber vs. Julius Jones
180 comments, Last at 25 Dec 2006, 10:18pm by Jivas