Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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18 Sep 2006

Audibles at the Line: Week 2

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.

Oakland Raiders 6 at Baltimore Ravens 28

Doug Farrar: Announcer Steve Tasker: "This is how bad it it for the Raiders now - it's an improvement that they get to punt."

Aaron Schatz: I'm not watching this game, but based on the numbers, the prediction about the Oakland defense being good this year isn't looking so silly. The Oakland offense, on the other hand, egads.

Bill Moore: Watching Oakland makes me thankful I picked them to have the #1 pick in the 2007 Draft.

Carolina Panthers 13 at Minnesota Vikings 16

Bill Moore: I never get this, maybe someone can explain.

On first-and-10, Brad Johnson gets nabbed for intentional grounding while getting sacked on the 22. And Bill Maas says, "That's a costly penalty. That's a penalty that very well could be the difference in a field goal or not. Because it's a loss of down and also where the penalty occurred." I hear this kind of thing a lot. Why, why is it a costly penalty? It's a costly SACK! The intentional grounding call really has no effect. He would have been sacked at the 22, and it's second-and-22 either way. The only stupid part of it is Johnson creating the possibility of a fumble or an interception.

Michael David Smith: Fourth-and-4, Vikings down 13-6, I'm saying Brad Childress is gutless because he lines up for a field goal rather than going for it. It's a fake, beautifully designed play for a tying touchdown. Brad Childress is not gutless.

Detroit Lions 7 at Chicago Bears 34

Michael David Smith: Nice to see Roy Williams doesn't feel any embarrassment about being down 24-0 in a game where he guaranteed victory. He just caught a pass and got up and did the "first down" sign toward the crowd. Then a play later Williams catches a pass and has the ball knocked out of his hands, but for some reason the officials claim he was down. No celebration for the fact that an official's mistake saved him from a fumble.

The announcers were both in agreement that Roy Williams fumbled and the officials screwed up on the aforementioned play. So why, when the Lions go on to score on that drive, do the announcers go on and on about what a great job the Lions' offense did, without mentioning that the drive would have ended at midfield if it hadn't been for a botched call?

Where do the 2001-06 Lions rank in the all-time worst teams debate? When was the last time a team was this bad over a six-year stretch? And yes, it's the third quarter of the second game and I'm already declaring the 2006 season a failure.

Doug Farrar: Without going "Inside The Numbers", I'd put the 1991-1996 Seahawks up against any other squad for pure suckitude.

Aaron Schatz: I'm not sure, is this the earliest we've had to start the MDS Lions Suck suicide watch?

Houston Texans 24 at Indianapolis Colts 43

Will Carroll: Turf monster just ate Charles Spencer, the LT of Houston. Dayne tripped over his left leg and crushed him. The leg was planted and with turf, the knee gave.

He's done a pretty good job on Freeney. Which reminds me, I think Kubiak has run at Freeney about once all day. He loses his genius tag if he can't pick up on that.

Bill Moore: I just saw my first Adam Vinatieri field goal as a Colt. Excuse me as I go throw up.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 at Atlanta Falcons 14

Bill Moore: What is wrong with Chris Simms? He was supposed to be a fantasy sleeper. He really seemed to be maturing and grasping the Tampa Bay offense at the end of last season, and yet he has really regressed. He completely missed a wide open Ike Hilliard in the Red Zone, and Hilliard gave him a look like, “are you kidding me?�

Russell Levine: Simms looks like the Simms from Texas, the one who looked lost against good opposition. He actually played well in the hurry-up a couple of times, but he's going to have to figure out the batted balls thing, because it's wrecking his confidence and starting to affect his mechanics. On a couple of his throws, including the missed one to Hilliard in the end zone, it looked like he was trying extra hard to put a little arc on the ball and it came out of his hand funny. Gruden really has no choice but to let Simms play his way out of it, and did play a little better after the first quarter.

Tampa has also been victimized by some bad luck (an INT at the goal line on a wacky deflection) and a horrendous block-in-the-back call that negated a Derrick Brooks INT return for a TD.

Michael Vick was fantastic. I think I recall hearing that Mora said he would look at the Texas offense after the Rose Bowl. He wasn't kidding. They run a number of shotgun QB options where Vick reads the defense and either hands off to Dunn or pulls it out and runs around end, opposite the throw.

He picked his spots running and throwing the ball. It isn't always pretty -- the ugly inaccurate balls still crop up -- but this is probably how he's best suited to play the game. The Falcons just need to pay what it takes to keep a quality backup on the team, because they can probably book Vick for an average of 2-4 missed games per year. I was loosely tracking how many hits he took and I came up with 14. Probably half of them were solid shots. A guy his size is just not going to stay healthy all year taking that kind of punishment.

Oh, one other thing. Atlanta's rushing game looked like Texas against Baylor. 300 yards? Against a quality defense (if they even still are one)? That's insane.

My preseason prediction that Vick would have his worst year and the Falcons would miss the playoffs is looking dumber every day.

Benjy Rose: Second game in a row where the Falcons' O-Line completely dominated the game. Again, not sure if the Tampa defense just blew chunks or the Falcons' line really is this good. I can almost guarantee that TMQ will have an item about some of Dunn's runs where he says “It's easy to run for x yards untouched by the defense,� or whatever the auto-text line is. It was unbelievable just how many times Dunn or Norwood ran into the secondary untouched. That's one way to rack up yards.

Tampa's offense is about as bad as the Jets'. Simms looked like a lost puppy just trying to find his way home. The running game was non-existent. This Falcons team could be for real.

It looks like they finally figured out the kind of offense to run with Vick. The "college option" with Vick in a shotgun formation, watching the play-side end (in this case, Simeon Rice) to determine whether to hand off or run himself, is a great play to run once or twice a series. His passes looked great, too. Of course, it's pretty easy to pass well when the defense is worried about giving up 300 rushing yards. If they can incorporate more long passes, look out.

Russell Levine: Michael Koenen will probably be looking for a job on Monday ... four missed field goals on the day, two of which were blocked.

Aaron Schatz: Koenen won't be looking for a new job because he has two jobs. The Falcons may sign another field goal kicker, but I can't imagine they'll remove Koenen from punting and kicking off.

Mike Tanier: Koenen knew I was halfway through a Too Deep Zone about kicker-punters so he figured he would shank four chip shots. Come on, buddy, hold out until Friday ...

Benjy Rose: That was absolutely the worst display of kicking I've ever seen ... well, maybe Doug Brien missing his two against Pittsburgh two years ago was worse. But, um, wow. I was tempted to drive down to the Dome and volunteer my services.

Buffalo Bills 16 at Miami Dolphins 6

Bill Moore: Dante Culpepper's interception in the red zone in the closing minute of the first half was just terrible. He pumped twice in the pocket and clearly there was nothing there. He proceeded to roll right and threw on the run. There were two Miami receivers in the vicinity, but FOUR Bills defenders. In fact, if Angelo Crowell doesn't pick it off, #92 (DE Ryan Denney) would have, because he was the next closest guy.

I'll be interested in seeing the charting results for the Bills offense. I think Losman has been hit on almost every passing play in the first half.

Aaron Schatz: This is an embarrassment. I mean, I thought the Dolphins were overrated but would still ride an easy schedule to the Wild Card. But the offense is completely out of sync today, the offensive line looks horrid (Hudson Houck, what happened?), and even the defense is confused, unable to cover members of the BUFFALO FRIGGIN BILLS. You know, on the rare times they actually have Losman throwing. The Bills are seriously running the 2005 Chicago Bears offense, aka "please please please let us ride our defense and don't make us actually have to throw the ball more than two yards at any time."

My thought was that Buffalo's defense, which completely collapsed last year after being #1 in 2004, has bounced back this year. Except that this is not the same defense as that one. There's a new system, new head coach and defensive coordinator, and four rookies starting in this defense. But the pass defense has been very good now for two weeks. The run defense against New England wasn't so good, against Miami it looks much better but that's not Buffalo's fault, or Ronnie Brown's -- that's the O-line of Miami being awful.

New York Giants 30 at Philadelphia Eagles 24

Aaron Schatz: Our boy Roderick Hood gave up a big TD on the first Giants drive but it wasn't his fault. It looked like the Eagles were in Cover 2. The Giants play-faked, and Hood had Amani Toomer but he let him go when he reached the end of his zone. But there was no Michael Lewis there because Lewis had bitten hard on the fake, and Toomer sauntered into the end zone all by his lonesome.

After that, this game has been 100% all Philadelphia. Who stole Osi Umenyiora, and where did they hide him? He can't even get close to McNabb today. Early on, the Eagles were just abusing the Giants by going inside and outside and back -- they would pass to Westbrook outside, then the Giants would cover him and they'd hit Smith inside, then the Giants would try to cover him and they would go back to Westbrook.

Here's another question: Which of the following is true?

1) Donte' Stallworth was really breaking out last year, and this year is just an extension of his maturation.
2) Donte' Stallworth is much better this year not because he's breaking out, but because he's now on a much better offense with a better quarterback.
3) Sam Madison is officially toast.

I don't know what combination of 1 and 2 is true, but damn, 3 looks to be pretty much definite.

Still, the Eagles are trying to run more this year, but they have to stop doing things like rolling McNabb out for a throw on fourth-and-1. JUST RUN THE BALL, ANDY.

Bill Moore: I'm watching the Red Zone channel on DirecTV. Last year it only had FOX games, which made it marginally interesting. This year CBS is in the mix too which makes it pretty awesome. No commercials, no punts, no kickoffs.

Madison looks terrible. It seemed like every time Red Zone switched to the Giants/Eagles, Madison was getting burned.

Aaron Schatz: Wait, did I say something about this game being 100% Philadelphia?

Mike Tanier: I have a searing pain starting in my forehead and extending down to my chest. I am choking back bile. I think I feel as bad as after that playoff game against Tampa. I'm not writing about that damn Eagles game.

Bill Moore: Wow. Eli Manning needs to thank his lucky stars Plax is tall. What a non-Coughlin kind of play – a complete heave to the End Zone when you are inside field goal range in OT.

Aaron Schatz: I want to say something about the fourth quarter of the Philly-Giants game but I'm still trying to figure out what the hell happened. Not to rub it in for Mike, but I have no idea how the Eagles blow a game they dominated for three quarters.

Mike Tanier: Still won't talk about the Eagles game.

Arizona Cardinals 10 at Seattle Seahawks 21

Doug Farrar: Hasselbeck was sacked on the first play from scrimmage, but it was because of a late block by FB Mack Strong on Dockett as opposed to any OL shenanigans. Two plays later, he hit Jackson on a pretty 47-yard out, which may have been the first time Hasselbeck has had more than two millisconds in the pocket all year. Holmgren's midweek threats seem to have paid dividends.

Nice blatant uncalled horse collar from Antrel Rolle on Alexander one play before Seattle's first TD of the year. Alexander is still running right without the cutback.

Note to Neil Rackers: This is what you get for actually practicing those "doinks" (NFL Network crossbar commercial reference).

Strong with another whiff on the Adrian Wilson blitz. This might be the year that the "Edgar Martinez of the Seahawks" finally hits .250.

Kansas City Chiefs 6 at Denver Broncos 9

Aaron Schatz: I didn't watch the game and I don't know if any of us did, but watching just the highlights of Denver-Kansas City, I wonder if something is wrong with Plummer other than his head. He was just overthrowing everyone. I wonder if there is a mechanical issue, perhaps an injury nobody knows about.

Ned Macey: Both teams had the same gameplan early: run the ball and hope our quarterback doesn't blow it. Of course, Plummer is supposed to be an established pro. The first three drives, they didn't let him throw until third down, and then they were dump-offs.

New England Patriots 24 at New York Jets 17

Bill Moore: I found this interesting. Brady throws a touchdown pass at the end of the first half to rookie Chad Jackson. The first thing he does it point to his offensive line in a sort of tip-of-the-hat thanks and then he goes over and gives a “great play� head butt to ... Reche Caldwell. It's an interesting recognition to the other nine guys on the field not credited on the stat sheet.

Aaron Schatz: The Jets can't run at all against the Pats, while the Pats are slicing through the Jets. The Pats are playing a 4-3 today -- probably to mess up Mangini, since he was an expert on the New England 3-4. That also puts Richard Seymour up as a DT against Nick Mangold, and that is a pretty one-sided battle.

Best officials call today, in the Jets-Pats game: "There's no penalty on the play, as there was a whistle blown in the stands."

Bill Moore: I know protecting the quarterback is a mantra for NFL officials this year, but ... Vince Wilfork jumps offsides, and the Jets snap the ball, so Wilfork already inside the offensive line pushes down Pennington with one hand. It's called roughing the quarterback. I think that is outrageous. From Wilfork's perspective, the play is still on, and Pennington is taking the snap.

Secondly, why are offensive guys allowed to put hands to the face on a straight arm? I know it's legal, but why?

Stephen Gostowski had a "clutch" (and very short) FG blocked. Start the Vinatieri-less media presses.

Brady had a hot and cold day. He threw some very good passes, but many of his passes were underthrown. He had Watson wide open in the end zone and underthrew that. He also had Gabriel in a go route that was underthrown. There were others too. He may be having a tough time adjusting to his new receivers.

Pennington's stats are much better than his actual performance. There's at least 100 yards of extra fluke YAC. Coles made some great runs that were all him, and Cotchery made a catch and run we'll all see on Sportscenter about 100 times. The fact that he never touched the ground after the hit he took, is truly unbelievable. Once again, they Jets running game was abysmal. They really need to do something about that. Pennington is not capable of completely carrying the offense.

Is Dick Enberg really alive, or just one of those dolls that speaks when you press a body part? Maybe he sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber on all non-broadcast days. I wonder whether he's actually paying attention. A pass interference is called again. Enberg calls out three different Jet defenders, only to throw in. "Victor Hobson was also in the vicinity." And who's PI on for tackling the receiver? Victor Hobson. He seemed unbelievably surprised at the nickname "Clock Killing Corey Dillon," as if he thought Randy Cross made the nickname up. Then he proceeded to call him "time killing Corey Dillon."

Then near the end of the game he says, "can you believe in the vaunted Patriots history, they have only started 2-0 seven times?" Um, Dick, for many, many, many years, the Patriots sucked.

Aaron Schatz: You missed the point early in the game where Enberg says "what a tackle on Corey Dillon by the young Jets safety, Kerry Rhodes." And literally filling up the entire television screen, the Jets defender who made the tackle is standing up and his jersey says "Miller 22."

It's interesting how similar the Eagles loss and the Patriots win were. In both games, one team dominated for the first 40 minutes or so, then let the lead get away, thanks in part to some big plays by Jets/Giants wide receivers and a fumble apiece. (Westbrook with 4:11 left in Q3, Brady with 14:38 left in Q4.) Each team saw an easy field goal shanked at some point in the game. Each team seemingly forgot how to tackle people as it watched its lead disappear. The difference is that when the Pats needed to run down the clock, they had Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney. When the Eagles needed to run down the clock, they had "Brian Westbrook rush up the middle for no gain to the Phi22" and "Brian Westbrook rush to the left for no gain to the Phi38" and "Brian Westbrook rush up the middle for a loss of 2 yards to the Phi36."

It also seemed like the Eagles stopped playing man defense in the fourth quarter and overtime, letting the Giants complete pass after pass in front of zone coverage. Despite all the negative things we've said about his accuracy, kudos to Eli Manning for doing such a good job of taking what the Eagles were giving him, and having a huge game. Then, at the end, suddenly the Eagles switched from the zones to a blitz -- you KNOW Easterbrook is going to mention the six guys the Eagles sent on third-and-11 on the final play -- and Sheldon Brown just couldn't quite keep up with Burress and the six pass rushers just couldn't quite get to Eli Manning in time.

(Ed. note Tuesday, 9:30pm: Gregg Easterbrook did mention this play, and he said that the Eagles sent seven guys, not six. I just watched the replay on NFL Network and he's right, it was seven guys, and seven guys on third-and-long is a recipe for disaster. That makes the score PFP 2006 1, Eagles 0.)

Benjy Rose: Damn. So close, and yet soooooooo far. For three quarters, the Jets played like last year's model: can't run, can't stop the run. Even The Chad couldn't find open receivers. But they kept on chugging, and made it a lot closer than it should have been.

That said, raise your hand if you would want Chad Pennington as your QB to throw a Hail Mary with 5 seconds left with the ball at midfield. Anyone? Anyone? I don't care if he's the starter. Mangini blew any chance the Jets had by keeping Chad in there. They have 3 other QBs with notoriously strong arms -- I think Ramsey is known to have one of the stronger arms in the league, right? -- and yet they keep they guy off of 2 shoulder surgeries who can't throw the ball 30 yards. I don't get it. I would put Chad probably dead last among all NFL QBs in that situation ... unless the plan was to throw something 20 yards over the middle and hope for a third ridiculous YAC play ... but it wasn't. Argh.

Boy, do they miss Fabini & Mawae.

What no one will probably talk about, though, is the Pats' final 8-minute 16-play time-sucking drive that essentially ended any chance the Jets had. That was sheer beauty if you're a Pats fan. Granted, not the prettiest of drives, but that drive was the Bobby Abreu of the game ... three third-down conversions in one drive. Ugh.

Ned Macey: I don't have an autotext formula like TMQ on punting, but Mangini definitely chickened out early in that game. fourth-and-2 from the NE 47, fourth-and-4 from the NE 46, fourth-and-2 from the NE 46 on three straight possessions, and he punted all three times. Then, of course, he goes for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 46-yard line in the second half, gets stuffed, and the Patriots score. In his defense, all three punts were well-executed, and the Pats only scored three points on those three drives.

Tough weekend in general for Belichick disciples: Weis gets destroyed by Michigan (I know this is an NFL thread, but after one great performance, should Ron English get a 10-year contract as the highest paid coordinator in the NCAA?), Saban dumps an ugly game. Crennel's Browns are still a joke. Mangini's Jets were getting killed for most of the game. Belichick, meanwhile, keeps on chugging on. Will they clinch the division by mid-November?

Aaron Schatz: Watching all those Belichick disciples, I have to ask: What are they serving the coaches in the Patriots cafeteria, and why doesn't Belichick eat any of it?

St. Louis Rams 13 at San Francisco 49ers 20

Will Carroll: Monster Park? The Niners play at Monster Park?

There needs to be some kind of ban on stupid names. Let's start with Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy.

Bill Moore: And even better, its not Monster.com or something like that. It's Monster Cable – an Audio/Visual company.

Michael David Smith: 49ers are up seven with three minutes left. Frank Gore gets seven yards and casually jogs out of bounds. The announcer says, "Frank Gore is a young running back. He'll learn that you can't go out of bounds in this situation."

How "young" is Frank Gore that it's somehow supposed to be understandable that he doesn't have enough sense to understand that it's unwise to stop the clock late in a game with his team winning?

Bill Moore: My six-year old knows to stay in-bounds.

Aaron Schatz: Remember last week, when the big story was "the Rams are back?" What are those people all saying tonight?

Washington Redskins 10 at Dallas Cowboys 27

Aaron Schatz: OK, didn't we all feel that Washington had a strong offensive line, and Dallas had a weak line? After one quarter, this game absolutely looks like its the other way around. If your cornerbacks are Kenny Wright and Mike Rumph, and you give the quarterback time to throw, you are cooked.

Ryan Wilson: You forgot Poland! Er, I mean, Carlos Rogers.

Aaron Schatz: Mike Rumph can smack you, and he can swat the ball out of your hand, but he can't actually keep up with a fast receiver. Why on earth is he a cornerback and not a safety?

Mike Tanier: Rumph really is a safety. Carlos Rogers and Wright are the CBs. Rumph plays the nickel and is often covering WRs 1-on-1. He's really neither: just a good athlete with lousy instincts who couldn't cut it in San Francisco. You know how the Redskins are with backups.

The thing is that the Redskins have great tackles but a so-so interior, while the Cowboys have a very good front seven. The Cowboys have an overall average line, plus a QB who makes them look bad, but the Redskins have a pretty mediocre front seven.

Doug Farrar: It's official – Rock Cartwright has been freed.

Aaron Schatz: I know we're supposed to love all football, but can I just say that this game is really boring? Didn't we vote the Redskins with the best coaches in the league? Were those guys kidnapped by aliens and replaced by robots with butter sticks for brains?

One more note. I can't say this anywhere on FOX so I'll say it for Audibles.

Seriously, how stupid is ESPN's ad campaign for Monday Night Football, based around the idea that we all wait all week through our boring lives so that we can finally watch football on Monday night. Am I the only one who notices the problem with this theory?

Um, guys, there's football on ALL DAY SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. Who the hell is desperately waiting for Monday so they can listen to Joe Theismann babble?

COMING THIS WEEK

Any Given Sunday: Bills over Dolphins
Every Play Counts: LaVar Arrington

Posted by: admin on 18 Sep 2006

167 comments, Last at 21 Sep 2006, 1:57pm by Rick Monihan

Comments

1
by Wally (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:23am

My thoughts on New England... Brady struggled he overthrew open recievers, but assuming he will be fine they didnt looked like the missed deion branch. Brady had an off game, but still he had open recievers he just kept misseing them

2
by Stevey (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:24am

wally is right on

3
by Phill Skelton (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:26am

Looking forwards to Chicago vs Minnesota. The Bears have been flashy and high scoring (and very good defensively), even if against two pretty bad teams (sorry MDS, but it's true). The Vikings have squeaked out two close wins against highly regarded opponents. While the Vikings have won ugly, I've long thought that the mark of good teams is not winning the blow-outs, it is winning the ugly game where you have an off day, or have to dig yourselves out of the hole. But on the other hand, the Bears are a *proven* good commodity (rather than just good on paper), so it will be a real test of who has the upper hand in the NFC North.

Naturally Vikes fans everywhere are mentioning how with Daunte Culpepper they would have lost both these games with 4th quarter interceptions, rather than come from behind wins...

4
by Kyle (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:26am

Part of me believes the myriad of mistakes the Giants made in both week 1 and week 2 are just part of what this team is, and that every week will be a rollercoaster. The other part of me believes that they can get "their act together" mentally, and if they do stop making every game a 2 on 1 handicap match, given their performances, then the rest of the league will be in biiiig trouble.

5
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:33am

Not to rub it in for Mike, but I have no idea how the Eagles blow a game they dominated for three quarters.

Dexter Wynn: 5'9", 177 lbs
Joselio Hanson: 5'9", 170 lbs
Amani Toomer: 6'3", 203 lbs
Plaxico Burress: 6'5", 232 lbs

That's how Philly lost. Once Rod Hood went out (yes, he's only an inch or so taller, but he's also twenty pounds heavier so he can actually press Toomer) they only had small, light corners left. They knew that having the corners pressing would be pointless (a 170 lb guy pressing a 230 lb guy is just funny - Burress would've flattened him) and so they played them off the line in zone.

Toomer and Plaxico both run short underneath routes, hitting the seam in the zone between Hanson/Wynn and Barber, and it's a party of 5-10 yard gains, over and over and over.

Much like Dexter Reid (what is it with sucky corners named Dexter?) Dexter Wynn should never play corner on an NFL team. He's just too small. Plain and simple.

6
by oppenheimer\\\'s pen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:35am

i could have actually tolerated the eagles blowing that game if it wasn't for the fumble touchdown.

7
by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:37am

Should we start a Brian Griese suicide watch? He spent Sunday watching the guy who he was supposed to unseat in CHI throw 4 TDs, while the guy who was handed the job over him in TB stunk up the joint for a second straight week.

Hey, Chucky, you can have Griese back for a 4th rounder. Call me.

8
by Jay (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:38am

Brady also had a few balls dropped. Jackson dropped a sure touchdown on a beautifully thrown deep ball about three plays before he caught one to end the second half. Gabriel could have held onto the ball in the endzone when they faked a handoff and Brady spun and threw, but to be fair the CB made a great play as well. The deep ball to Gabriel and the ball to Watson were underthrown, but I'm not sure how close Watson was to the back of hte endzone on that play.

I think the story of the game was the disparity in running, though. Pennington wasn't that impressive- his receivers did all the work/the Pats secondary couldn't tackle. The DL from the Pats were just unstoppable, and I'm actually surprised they didn't try to run it even more.

9
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:40am

Hey, MDS, was the Bears' offense good, or did the Lions defense decide to not show up for a road game?

10
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:40am

That’s how Philly lost.

That's half of it. They also completely ceased to move the ball when they could have just won the game with the clock, incuding Andy Reid's return to the "Jesus Christ, stop running Westbrook up the middle and into his own blockers" days of September, 2005.

11
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:42am

CHI/DET should be stricken from the books and the Bears should be given the W without any other record of the game's existence. I saw the Lions twice last year, but dear god, this time nearly made my eyes bleed.

12
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:42am

Re: the Pats running the 4-3, Pennington was asked about that in post-game presser and he said they prepared for that look. Pats' front 7 just overwhelmed the Jets' line. With mediocre (Moore) to bad (Katnik) guards and a rook at center, I guess it's not surprising that Seymour and Wilfork ate their lunch. Pennington missed a few throws, but given the fact that they had no running game and he was constantly under pressure I thought he played reasonably well. Brady, on the other hand, had all day to throw and didn't look right for much of the second half. BUT, he converted the third downs on the final drive, which sealed the deal.

13
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:44am

I loved the fake FG in the Vikings game. When we were debating Buffalo's decision to go for it on 4th down last week versus the Pats I thought how come more teams don't run a fake FG in that situation, rather than tip their hand by sending the offense back on? (OK, I know, if teams started doing it regularly then it wouldn't be a surprise anymore)

Out of interest, did anybody think Carolina's razzle-dazzle punt return was a good call? (I'm talking about the call now, forget the execution of the play, which was awful.)

Final comment, I loved seeing Mike Vick in the shotgun with the option to handoff to Dunn or run. That style of offense makes so much sense for him (as opposed to, I don't know, say the West Coast offense, which would make no sense for Vick at all. Thankfully no coach in the league is dumb enough to try to make him run that!)

14
by Harry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:46am

Remember last week, when the big story was “the Rams are back?� What are those people all saying tonight?

We're saying "well, at least we don't look as foolish as the people on the Miami bandwagon."

15
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:47am

The Vikes were 3 for 3 on 4th down; Brad Childress may soon become a favorite of internet statisticians.

16
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:48am

Thank you for not mentioning the Titans-Chargers game. Fun fact from same: Philip Rivers didn't attempt a single pass in the direction of Pacman Jones. Of course, when Reynaldo Hill is on the other side, you don't have to.

17
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:48am

Is it me, or is an EPC on Adalius Thomas one of those impossible-but-it's-inevitable jobs?

18
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:48am

#13, I'd love to see the Falcons bring back the Single Wing offense, just to see what sort of things Vikc would do.

19
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:54am

Who the hell is desperately waiting for Monday so they can listen to Joe Theismann babble?

My best guess would be Joe Theismann.

20
by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:55am

#3: FO did an article on whether it's better to win close games or it's better to destroy bad opponents, as an indicator of overall strength of the team. Turns out that most of the time stomping an opponent is a better indicator of strength instead of gutting a win out.

Right now, I'm putting more faith in the Bears and Falcons and Ravens and Chargers than I am the Pats or the Vikings.

21
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:57am

Um, guys, there’s football on ALL DAY SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. Who the hell is desperately waiting for Monday so they can listen to Joe Theismann babble?

=======================

You mean besides Joe himself?

22
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 11:59am

19: Judging from the way he contradicts himself in the span of two sentences, I doubt even Joe Theismann listens to Joe Theismann babble.

23
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:05pm

Re: Bears v Lions:

Everybody is keying the Bears running game on defense. The Bears came out running the ball (excuse me, "pounding the rock") on the opening drive of the game and did ok, but had to punt. Then the Bears D forces the fumble at the Lions 4 and some awesome play action gets the second tight end wide open for the score (I mean, I don't think anybody on the Detroit defense even realized he was there until after they kicked the PAT).

After that, they just sliced the Detroit secondary apart with play action passes. Grossman's got a real knack for selling it. They really didn't get back to running the ball until the 3rd quarter.

24
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:06pm

19 ...

which reminds me ... whatever happened to Cathy Lee Crosby?

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:07pm

That’s half of it. They also completely ceased to move the ball when they could have just won the game with the clock, incuding Andy Reid’s return to the “Jesus Christ, stop running Westbrook up the middle and into his own blockers� days of September, 2005.

Yeah, true. One quarterback sneak on one of the fourth-and-ones would've been nice. A fake handoff to Buckhalter, with McNabb dashing for the sideline after a second would've been awesome, too.

They ran a play in preseason that used Nick Cole, a 350-pound center, as a fullback. Why the devil weren't they running this play for those?!?

But I will say one thing: this game did show one very important detail. Philly certainly freaking looked like the best team in the NFC East for three quarters last night. Unfortunately, losing Kearse for the year (which he probably is) puts that in question again.

26
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:10pm

For the Vikings to beat the Bears they will have to play a flawless game, especially if the Bears offense is as improved as it may appear. Of course, I don't know whether the Bears offense is that improved, or if it is a case of the Packers' defense being extraordinarily bad (very likely), and the Lions' defense not showing up on the road (who knows?). One thing is for certain; Hutchinson and Mckinnie are going to have to earn their signing bonuses this week, so as to keep the run threat viable, and thereby preventing the Bears defense from going to complete, tee-off, kill the quarterback mode. Childress may also reconsider leaving right ot Marques Johnson all by his lonesome against a superior pass rushing end. Peppers had him for lunch yesterday, which is no embarassment, given that Peppers has done that to a lot of decent offensive tackles. The Vikings can't have Brad Johnson hit as frequently as he was yesterday.

I found it interesting that Childress outcoached Fox yesterday, who has to be eligible for the dumb coach of the week award (is the John L. Smith trophy only for college coaches? is the Keep Choppin' Wood trophy only for players?), with the unbelievable decision to run a cross-the-field lateral on a punt return, while ahead in the fourth quarter. Also, not turn this post into a Peter King-style Favreophilia exhibition, but the respect that opposing players have for Brad Johhnson is interesting to observe. For the second week, guys were waiting in line to shake his hand after the game.

I was not a Culpepper ripper last year, even though I acknowledged his poor play. I just thought that his offensive line sucked, and his defense was giving up too many first half, or even first quarter points, to really gauge his play accurately. Well, his offensive line isn't playing that well in Miami either, although I don't think it was that bad against a good Steelers defense in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for Miami fans, Culpepper doesn't seem to be adjusting his play to a smarter style of quarterbacking, as I thought he would on a Saban-coached team. Ol' Daunte has to stop forcing the ball into bad situations, and be willing to take incompletions, when his team is still in the game. Guess will find out whether he is coachable.

27
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:13pm

re: Cowboys/Redskins

I know the league is trying to protect QBs, but sometimes the defensive contact is "incidental".

On one play last night, Bledsoe took an "incidental" helmet-on-helmet hit, and Washington got nailed for roughing the passer. It wasn't like the Washington defender was "spearing" or leading with his helmet. He went up to block the pass, ran into Bledsoe, and their helmets met.

28
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:14pm

I've thought that Freeney wasn't healthy the first 2 games, which seemed kind of confirmed when he left the game. He usually runs himself out of plays with authority, he'd been running himself out of plays rather weakly ;o)

And I gave up and fast forwarded through the Redskins game. I don't know why it was so boring, but I couldn't really sit through it.

29
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:15pm

Helmet-to-helmet hits shouldn't matter if they're incidental or not. The rusher should not be playing that high on the quarterback, and should not be leading with his helmet. Just that simple - tackle lower.

30
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:15pm

#26 - (is the John L. Smith trophy only for college coaches? is the Keep Choppin’ Wood trophy only for players?) I think it's called the Martz award, and yes, John Fox definitely deserves it this week.

31
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:16pm

26: Two things make me optimistic about the Vikings' ability to stop the Bears' offense. The Vikes haven't given up a passing TD yet (though against Brunell and Dulhomme-sans-Smith, I don't know if that's too impressive), and two weeks in a row Thomas Jones averaged around 3 yards a carry. I guess there's a third thing: it's in the Dome, not at Soldier Field.

I'm plenty worried about the Bears' pass rush, though, if Marcus Johnson doesn't get a TE or RB on his side helping out. I'm not sure where the Vikes are going to get points.

32
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:17pm

Re: 27

I thought that was awfully questionable too. Their helmets met, but I'm not sure facemask to facemask is aggressive at all. If he hadn't been that close he couldn't have tipped the pass.

33
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:19pm

Re: 29

He wasn't trying to tackle him, he was blocking the pass. There was no hit besides the facemasks touching.

34
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:20pm

Yeah, Pat, when I saw the score at about the end of the third quarter, I was willing to say that the Eagles might be ther best team in the NFC. Ooops. It certainly sounds like Reid had a brain-lock in the fourth quarter, and combined with some sloppy, don't-finish-the-game play on the part of the Eagles' players, along with Kearse's injury, and things don't seem to be what they were. It was an interesting day (geez, the Broncos' offense can't be THAT bad, can it?) all around the league.

35
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:26pm

Aaron:

JUST RUN THE BALL, ANDY.

Actually, running the ball was a big mistake all day, since Andy decided not to use the new jumbo package of Nick Cole leading Thomas Tapeh on these 3rd and 4th and 1 type of plays. Reid should have stayed much more agressive and thrown the ball more in the 4th quarter and throughout the game, because NY had no pass rush, and its corners suck. Instead, Philly had a whole series of 3 and outs that went run for no gain, run for no gain, incomplete pass on 3rd and long. You can't play "Hide the Westbrook" with the Giants by running him repeatedly into the pile out of the 2-Tight Ends, 1 Wideout, I-formation. Now the Eagles Offensive line gets to go back to pass blocking all game long, since they showed that they can't grind it out at the end of the game against a real team. Thank God I took McNabb in fantasy football. His stats should be wild.

Interestingly, the Yap-Flappers on 610 WIP are complaining Reid ran too much after spending two years complaining he ran too little in these situations. Ears bleeding alert!

I want to say something about the fourth quarter of the Philly-Giants game but I’m still trying to figure out what the hell happened. Not to rub it in for Mike, but I have no idea how the Eagles blow a game they dominated for three quarters.

Here's the major factors:

1) Andy Reid in offensive turtle-up mode. We've all seen it before (2002 NFC Championship vs. Tampa, Week 9 vs. Dallas last year would be two lowlights of this strategy).

2) Unbelieveable Giants luck recovering fumbles. There were 2 Giants fumbles and 1 Eagles fumble in the 4th quarter and Overtime, and the Giants recovered all of them, (plus the other Giants fumble in the 2nd quarter), including the one for a touchdown. Any one of these recovered by the Eagles probably ends the game.

3) Cornerback Rod Hood out of the game in the 4th quarter with an injured ankle, leaving the Eagles with Sheldon Brown, Joselio Hanson, and Dexter Wynn covering the NY spread offense of 3 and 4 wideouts. Yes, cutting Cornerback Matt Ware was probably a mistake in hindsight. This was exactly the sort of situation they needed him in.

4) The Replay Booth saw fit to challenge the spot of a relatively inconsequential pass to Toomer, after Manning had spiked the ball, but couldn't be bothered with reviewing an interception stripped from Dawkins by Shiancoe after he was down by contact.

5) Stallworth and LJ Smith both decided on the worst possible time to come up small in the incomplete passes through your hands department. BTW, LJ Smith is going to destroy your Kubiak projection. 2 games in, he's already half way to your yards projection.

6) Trent Cole kicking McKenzie in the nuts at the end of regulation. Allegedly, he claims he was trying to help Trent up, and apparently Trent felt threatened by him and struck with his legs.

7) The Eagles have had a real inability to use their rather good defense to generate enough turnovers since the end of the 1999 season. They are also unable to get Safeties in situations that they should have a shot at them. I don't know why this is, but its out there.

Most galling is having to listen to all the national press now crow about their boy Eli has really come of age since he can throw jump balls and throw while being dragged down by his legs and abuse people like Hanson and Wynn who should not be in the NFL with repeated short outs. This type of play will eventually come to bite him in the ass big time, but unfortunately for Eagles fans, it wasn't this weekend.

36
by steelberger1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:29pm

"Pennington’s stats are much better than his actual performance. There’s at least 100 yards of extra fluke YAC."

This is a crock. Those YAC came because the Pats cant tackle. That isnt a fluke, that is poor execution.

37
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:29pm

The Redskins/Cowboys game was boring in large part due to all the friggin' penalties. The flow of the game just get ruined by that many yellow flags, and I think it was a combination of sloppy play and overly fastidious zebras.

38
by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:31pm

As previous posters have mentioned, opponents are keying on the Bears' run game. They are daring the Beloved to beat them through the air, not believing that news of the forward pass has reached CHI yet. The defenses are falling for the play action consistently because of this, too. This accounts for both Rex's impressive stat line and Tom Jones' & Cedric Benson's dissappointing ones. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the rest of the league to make the adjustment. Once defense do start playing the passing game honestly, the rushing game must fill the production void. The Bears won't continue to score 30+ points a game, but they may threaten to break 20 on a regular basis, which is more than enough with that defense and special teams.

I have to admit, I look towards this game in Minnesota with some trepidation. It's where Rex's season ended early last season and where many a Bear's QB has been made to look foolish. Here's hoping that ends next Sunday.

39
by steelberger1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:37pm

How can you guys say that Brady just had a bad game...they are fine...they wont miss Branch.

So far he has completion percentages of 47.8 and 51.7. He has 2 interceptions and 3 fumbles. And these werent games against AFC powerhouses...it was Buffalo and NY. You guys really arent concerned at all?

40
by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:38pm

Also, clearly ESPN is waiting for Favre to retire after this year so he can take Theismann's job on MNF. They were probably banking on him for this year, scrambling to fill the spot after he decided to return.

41
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:41pm

The Packer defensive woes can be attributed to three players: Manuel, Collins, and Poppinga. None of the three can defend the pass. Period.

The d-line has been pretty stout at the point of attack and both Kampman and Jenkins have generated a pass rush with a helping hand from KGB. Hawk/Barnett/Woodson/Harris have all been ok though MM of the Bears ate up both cornerbacks. Just too big for Woodson and too fast for Harris.

But Poppinga is totally lost in coverage. Collins can run but has no ball awareness. And Manuel is a joke. I am flabbergasted that he played regularly for a team that went to the Super Bowl. He just cannot run as required by the position. At all. He is willing to tackle in run support which is helpful. But in both games opposing coaches have specifically gone after him in coverage. And with what is becoming all too predictable results.

Green Bay has three guys who are completely undermining the defense. I would not be surprised if Culver plays more against the Lions if only because he can faster then a doorstop. You cannot hide THAT many guys with deficiencies in the NFL.

Poppinga gets a lot of attention in GB because he is a wild man in run defense. But in pass defense he is beyond clueless.

Some of this definitely the coaching staff. Somehow Poppinga got matched up against JOE HORN on the line of scrimmage yesterday. Horn went for 57 yards.

I will be interested to know what MDS has to say about Manuel and Co. come Sunday.

42
by Sergio (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:42pm

Ugh. Not only I had to actually live through that Buffalo game, I have to chart it too AND read an AGS about it?

This sucks. Couldn't you have done it about, say, San Francisco? NY?

43
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:47pm

After seeing the Redskins rack up plenty of "going for the pass but incidentally hitting the QB in the head" penalties for 2 seasons, I'm glad turnabout is fair play. I know it is a dumb rule, but at least the NFL should be consistent.

This is the first I heard about a Dawkins INT not reviewed in OT. I think the replay officials don't do a good job of reviewing things with 2 minutes left or OT...

Please don't like King's MMQB because I bet it will be a Giants love-fest. Did Arrington play really well?

44
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:47pm

re 27, 32: this comes under the heading of bad rule, not bad call. As long as the rule says there can be no contact at all that's the way the officials will call it. I'm all for amending the rules to allow some minimal/incidental contact though.

I'd especially like to see this when it comes to WR/DB contact. Seems like a lot of the calls are kind of arbitrary. Last week, Carter of the Giants was called for a critical offensive pass interference penalty late in the game. This week I thought there was quite a lot of contact on Manning's game-winning pass in OT which was initiated by Burress, but no flag was thrown this time. Don't get me wrong, my personal opinion is that the play was fine, but if we're comparing the two calls I'd have to say there was way more receiver-initiated contact on Burress's TD than on Carter's catch last week.

45
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:49pm

And yet Junior Seau got a roughing the passer penalty for hitting the QB low, so I guess rushing defensive players are now restricted to middles.

Enberg had the worst day spotting the ball and identifying players that I've ever seen. At least once a series he had the intended receiver, defender, tacker, or pressurer incorrect. Seems to be pretty bad in matching first name to last name also.

For mostly fantasy reasons, I watched Chicago/Detroit early. Two observations:

1) I thought Kevin Jones would be a player in the Martz offense. I'm starting to think maybe he should sit in favor of Bryson. I haven't seen such a big guy run like such a sissy since, well, Ron Dayne. He just refuses to square up and hit the hole, instead preferring to bounce everything outside, running laterally down the line trying to get the corner. Some of those off-tackles were blocked pretty good by Detroit. He forfeited two touchdowns by not putting his hat down and running forward. Mike Furrey, however, looks pretty slippery out there.

2) Down 24-7 midway through the third quarter, on 4th and three from the Chicago 45, Marinelli sends in the punter. Fast forward to 8 minutes left in the game, 4th and 7 from Detroit 46. Marinelli sends in the punter again. I guess sometimes Easterbrook's column writes itself.

46
by Adam B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:49pm

Re Eagles, just to add on, no QB sneaks on any of the and-1s? I believe they've got a QB who can handle such plays.

Also, Easterbrook is guaranteed to ignore the fraidy-cat punt: Giants down 24-14, 4th and 7 on the Eagles 47, 6:16 left in the game. Why are you punting?

Oh, because less than two minutes later, Westbrook fumbled.

47
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:56pm

Miami were painful yesterday, but I thought the Bills D did a great job. It wasn't just the pressure they got on Culpepper, (and Miami's O-line looked like the 2004 version) as good as that was.
Buffalo basically took away the deep pass. Culpepper spent the vast majority of the game dumping the ball off. Miami didn't complete a pass longer than 26yds, and that came at the end of the 4th with Miami down 16-0, and Buffalo playing prevent.

It wasn't pretty, and if Culpepper isn't on the short list for the Mike Martz award this week, he should be. The pick he threw might be the worst pass I'll see all year.

48
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 12:56pm

Note #1 to Andy Reid:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for finally trying to use the running game to run out the clock at the end of a game.

Note #2 to Andy Reid:
"Running to eat-up the clock" and "Calling running plays other than Westbrook directly at the center of an 8-man defensive front" ARE NOT mutually exclusive events!!!

49
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:00pm

Bucs/Falcons

That was a terrible game. It really was, for the Bucs. Chris Simms looks awful. He stares down his receivers. He has a slow release. All Falcons corners did all game was watch Simms and jump routes. The only reason there weren't more picks is because falcons D-lineman did the same thing and knocked down 4-6 passes.

50
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:01pm

After two weeks, we can pretty well officially declare the following Playoff Bandwagon's as having crashed and burned in a massive and ugly pile-up:

Panthers, Bucs, Redskins, Dolphins, Chiefs. Wake me up if they hit 9 wins before Week 16. Its quite unlikely though. The season is going to get really ugly really fast for either the Bucs or Panthers next week.

OTOH, the Ravens and Falcons do appear to have already emerged as potential playoff teams. Eagles, Cowboys, Bronocs, and Vikings are muddling through it.

If I had to rank teams (not necessarily in order for each bracket), with the ????'s being teams that might be just muddling through or might be bad teams briefly looking good:

NFC
On-Top - Seahawks, Falcons, Bears
Muddling middle - Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, Vikings
????'s - Saints, 49ers, Rams, Cardinals
Not Good - Panthers, Bucs, Redskins, Lions, Packers

AFC
On-Top - Ravens, Bengals, Chargers, Colts
Muddling middle - Broncos, Patriots
????'s - Jets, Bills
Not Good - Raiders, Chiefs, Dolphins, Browns, Texans, Titans

Reserving judgement - Steelers, Jaguars

51
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:02pm

This is the first I heard about a Dawkins INT not reviewed in OT. I think the replay officials don’t do a good job of reviewing things with 2 minutes left or OT…

The Dawkins interception wasn't reviewed because the Giants ran a really bloody fast play.

I doubt it would've been overturned, though, which sucks, because it was an interception. Dawkins was the one who clearly got the ball, and the receiver tried to wrench it from him. That apparently counted as shared possession in the officials' minds.

52
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:05pm

Bear in mind that if they called that kind of interception correctly, the Eagles would never have scored their first touchdown - that's exactly what happened on the "simultaneous catch" in the end zone (and yes, that was without question a Giants interception, and I have no idea how the refs upheld their call).

Although, come to think of it, that might have made them play better down the stretch, if they still had some motivation to move down the field.

53
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:06pm

38: That should make Sunday's game interesting. I would think against Carolina (sans-Steve Smith) and Washington (even with Portis going part-time) Minnesota also would have been keying on stopping the run, but they still haven't given up a passing TD. This week I'll rewatch the Panther game tape to see if my assumption is faulty. D'Angelo Williams had some really nice runs, though--I'm still not enthused about MN's LBs, though Napoleon Harris made some nice plays against the Panthers.

Honestly, I think I'd take another season split with the Bears. But that definitely means winning in the Dome.

54
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:07pm

Is it just my perception, or are offenses struggling a lot more early this season than they have in recent years past? If defense is really on the rise again (which wouldn't bother me), what is left for the suits to do rule-wise to give offense the upper hand, without really changing the nature of the game?

55
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:09pm

It's not necessarily exactly the same - it depends on the position of the receivers' hands.

The argument isn't that it wasn't overturned, though. It's that it wasn't reviewed, and that's crazy.

I personally think both of them should've been ruled incomplete catches.

56
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:13pm

I thought the refs had the right call on both of the shared-possession calls in the Giants-EAgles game. Madison eventually controlled the ball on the first one in the end zone, but by the time he did, he was on his back with his shoulder out of bounds. On the later one, it looked to me like 4 hands on the ball until both players were down (after which Dawkins yanked it away).

57
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:13pm

#54, I agree. It seems we've had a season's worth of shutouts and near shutouts already. I understand that defenses are usually better than offenses early in the season, but this seems extreme.

I've also never seen so many blocked kicks as I have in the first two weeks.

58
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:16pm

54: I've been wondering that too. It may just be a perfect storm of the good defenses facing terrible offenses in the first two weeks.

But there are a lot of teams that have given up two TDs or less through two games--off the top of my head, Seattle, Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, Minnesota, San Diego, Denver, I think Kansas City. A similar number, I think, have scored two TDs or less through two weeks (again, from the top of my head, Washington, Detroit, Denver, Carolina, Oakland, Tampa Bay).

So I wonder if offense as a whole is down (and I, too, would still enjoy watching good defensive football), or if there are just a lot of really bad offenses bringing the rest of the numbers down.

59
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:19pm

How can you guys say that Brady just had a bad game…they are fine…they wont miss Branch.

So far he has completion percentages of 47.8 and 51.7. He has 2 interceptions and 3 fumbles. And these werent games against AFC powerhouses…it was Buffalo and NY. You guys really arent concerned at all?

It's going to take a lot more than two so-so games to get me concerned. If I start getting concerned about Brady, what else is there to have faith in? Will the sun come up tomorrow? Will the tides rise on schedule? Will Detroit suck?

60
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:19pm

Furtek #43:

This is the first I heard about a Dawkins INT not reviewed in OT. I think the replay officials don’t do a good job of reviewing things with 2 minutes left or OT

Dawkins went up and caught the ball with two hands in the air, Shiancoe then got one hand on the ball in the air as well, came down on top of Dawkins, put his other hand on the ball, stuggled with Dawkins with it on the ground and the officials ruled it a completed pass to Shiancoe. They then show it in slow motion replay showing what I just described. Then the announcers say something idiotic like "It was a tie, and so it goes to the receiver." What?

Did Arrington play really well?

Nobody on the Giants played well outside of whoever jumped on the 4 fumbles. Its hard to call catching balls in soft zone against midgets like Dexter Wynn and Joselio Hanson playing well. I could do that just because I am 6'2" and 195 lbs. (and I don't even attempt to lift or get in playing shape), and I suck at football. I've never seen a game where the QB is pummeled as much as Eli was, the RB and TE are totally ineffective, and that teams somehow wins because they pounce on a couple of lucky fumble bounces and turn them into TD's.

It was like watching the Chargers-Raiders game last week, except that somehow Aaron Brooks would have gotten off a couple of jump balls to Randy Moss to win the game in the middle of being sacked as many times as his feet move in his patented 35 step drop. You wouldn't believe it happened even if you watched it.

Prediction for the week - Eagles make a roster move (Kearse to IR???, Hanson cut???) and pick up Donald Strickland (5'-10" and 187 lbs) at Cornerback. Again, they should have kept Matt Ware for going up against Plaxico and Owens in spread formations.

61
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:21pm

Pacifist, I guarantee that Childress would very, very, enthusiastically accept a split with the Bears this year, especially since a win next week would give the Vikings an excellent early-season chance at ten wins, with tie-breakers over the Panthers and Redkins, although I'd say the chances of the Redskins getting to nine wins are pretty slim at this time.

The key for the Panthers is getting Smith back on the field at full speed. Their defensive performance against the Vikings was likely more representative than their non-performance against the Falcons. Without Smith, however, they aren't too hard to defend. The Vikings really blew it in allowing the Panthers to score a touchdown at the end of the first half, and Carolina should have had to settle for field goals. Given the mystery surrounding hamstring injuries, who knows whether Smith will return to last year's form?

62
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:23pm

David #52:

(and yes, that was without question a Giants interception, and I have no idea how the refs upheld their call).

Yes, the Giants did intercept. But you can't gain possession lying on your back out of bounds. Madison bobbled the ball while still inbounds.

63
by Sara (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:31pm

RE: Chris Gammble's ill-advised "lateral"

Let's just brainstorm a short list of reasons why this was such a boneheaded move:

1 - It's the 4th quarter, and the Panthers are leading, but only by seven points. I'm not sure I'd try a trick play even if the team were up by 30 points, but whatever.

2 - Gamble could've called fair-catch on about the 40 yard line. Hell, he could've received the punt and picked up another couple of yards before anyone got to him. Either way, the Panthers would've had excellent field position.

3 - Even if the "lateral" had been completed, it would've meant a loss of several yards. As it was, the intended receiver had a couple of Vikings all over him, and so had no chance to make up those yards even if he'd managed to catch the ball.

When this play happened, I swear, no one in the room spoke for a solid minute. We were all just sitting there, thinking the same thing - "WTF???" In fact, I hereby nominate Bill Maas for an Emmy for not dropping an F-bomb on live TV. IMO, his finest hour.

This is my question - and I'm assuming that the "lateral" was actually a called play, and not something Gamble did because he momentarily took leave of his senses. A QB is given a play, but then has the option of changing things if the on-field situation changes. Did Gamble not have the discretion to say, "I know I was told to execute this play, but seeing as how I can down it on the 40-freakin' yard line, I think I'll just let it pass"?

64
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:33pm

Steelberger1 (#36 )--
“Pennington’s stats are much better than his actual performance. There’s at least 100 yards of extra fluke YAC.�
This is a crock. Those YAC came because the Pats cant tackle. That isnt a fluke, that is poor execution.
I believe that the point was, it was a fluke for Pennington's passing yardage.

As far as Patriots' tackling goes, you have a point about Coles's touchdown. But the Cotchery OMG-how-is-he-not-down play was crazy flukey. He was horizontal, flat atop Eugene Wilson with Chad Scott atop both, and his knee was off the ground by maybe an inch.

I'd bet the mortgage we don't see that again this season.

65
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:34pm

Random thoughts...is it just me, or are a lot of qbs playing well this year...the dolphins look like they could easily finish last...michael turner could be a first round fantasy pick next year...maybe washington's preseason was indicitive of a bad team...i've never heard clock killing corey dillon either...joseph addai should get 80% of indy's carries asap...i know this isn't a baseball site, but please say that 'the edgar martinez of the seahawks' was a joke

66
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:39pm

there have been 36.5 points/game this year. i don't know past data but that looks low

67
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:46pm

I couldn't think of anywhere else to put this, so I'll post it here.

The espn dot com poll today asks "Which is the worst team in teh NFL? Bucs / Lions / Raiders / Texans / Titans

The Raiders are winning by a landslide (69%) followed by the Texans (11%), Lions (9%), Titans (8%), and Bucs (4%). None of that is particularly funny. What is funny is that the map shows that 49 states and the rest-of-the-world all have Oakland in front. The one state that doesn't...Michigan. They have Oakland (39%) second behind the Lions (48%).

LOL

68
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 1:54pm

"he’s going to have to figure out the batted balls thing, because it’s wrecking his confidence and starting to affect his mechanics"

Yeah, batted balls'll do that. Make you walk funny, too.

"The Redskins/Cowboys game was boring in large part due to all the friggin’ penalties. The flow of the game just get ruined by that many yellow flags, and I think it was a combination of sloppy play and overly fastidious zebras."

I had a post about this last night in the open thread, but it was sacrificed at the altar of my hotel's wonderful internet connection. Anyway, I was going to say how if things continued at their pace, we'd see a bunch today (mostly from Peter King) about how the officials just called too many penalties. And my response would be, which of these should not have been called? Should they let the false starts go? Ignore the hit that was about two seconds late? Pretend they didn't see Rumpf just grab Glenn's jersey twelve yards downfield? Granted, I wasn't paying too close attention because the game was awful, so I may have missed something, but I didn't see anything called that was even borderline, let alone bad. I don't blame the officials - I blame the continued employment of Mike Rumpf. (Of course, I also slept through much of the second half, so maybe I'm wrong)

I second the nomination of Fox (or the special team coach, anyway) for JLS award. I've seen Gamble nominated for KCW, but I put the blame for that play about 90% on the coaches who called it and 10% on the player who couldn't quite keep himself from throwing it when he saw it was messed up. It's not like Gamble just thought to himself "Hmmm.. I think I'll catch this punt and throw it across the field to an unsuspecting teammate." Throw in the fact that they were incredibly surprised by a fake field goal in a spot where you should be much more attentive than usual, and it was just a dreadful day for Carolina's coaches.

69
by Michael Zannettis (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:06pm

The things about the Eli-Plaxico play is that, if you believe the post-game interview, it was designed to be a jumpball because Plax is so much taller than the CB guarding him.

I think this was a great example of the simple play is the best play. Plaxico one-on-one with midget is a better option than a long Jay Feely FG.

We shouldn't be saying that they got lucky, we should be saying that they had some nerve to try a schoolyard play that put them at a big advantage over their opponent.

(TMQ Alert: Eight gentlemen from Philadelphia crossed the line, result: Disaster.)

70
by admin :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:10pm

Um, six men crossed the line on that play, not eight.

71
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:25pm

Re: 69

I'm not sure I've seen anyone say that that last play was lucky. Recovering all 3 of your own fumbles (2 on sacks deep in your side of the field and 1 in the Philly endzone for a TD) and the one and only Philly fumble (deep in Philly's side of the field) is abso-freaking-lutely lucky.

72
by David Lewin (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:25pm

The Redskins should go with Jason Campbell ASAP. So far the college stats based QB projection system is having a banner year (it loves Pennington, McNabb, Rivers and E. Manning, expecting them all to be better than they were in the past, it also likes Alex Smith ok, expects him to be much better than last year) and the system loves Campbell, just loves him. Skins fans take note.

73
by David Lewin (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:27pm

It also it likes Grossman and dislikes Losman.

74
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:29pm

Re: 35

While I agree that fumble recoveries have to be considered lucky plays statistically, this is only because the football bounces in random directions: if the ball bounces to a player and he can't recover it, this is due in a sense to a lack of skill. In the context of the NYG/PHI game, M. Lewis was in fact 'lucky' that the ball bounced to him, but he failed to execute its recovery, whereas Tim Carter did not.

75
by Harry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:34pm

As far concerns about Brady - his game against the Bills was pretty bad, but yesterday was fairly typical Brady. He has done this many times in the past - come out of the gate looking sharp. But when the Pats build a commanding lead Brady suddenly seems determined to throw the game away (ints, fumbles) and then he gets his head together in the last two minutes. It happened against Indy in 2003, the Seahawks in 2004, Miami in 2004 (except he never got the lead back in that one), and I know there are other examples. It seems like Brady often loses focus when the pressure is off.

76
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:35pm

Yeah, Trogdor, it was mostly sloppy play; regarding the refs, I was referring mostly to the roughing the passer call, which, to be fair, and was noted above, is more a matter of how competition committee wants the rule enforced.

Sara, Maas was so stunned by the lateral that he kept insisting that Gamble had done it on his own, when the replay clearly showed that it was designed. Generally speaking, asking a non-qb to execute a throw under pressure, that would be difficult for even a qb, is a questionable call. Compare the difficulty of Gamble's toss with Longwell's on the Vikings fake field goal. Gamble has guys running a full speed at him, and is being asked to run in one direction, pivot 180 degrees and immediately make a throw in the direction that he has had his back turned to. Longwell gets to essentially get the ball in shotgun formation, with a blocker (the holder) right in front of him, and gets a good look at where he wants to throw the ball.

If Gamble screws up, it's a live ball in the Panthers' territory, with the Vikings getting their best chance to climb back in; heck, the Panthers were lucky the Vikings didn't run the ensuing live ball in for a touchdown. If Longwell screws up, it's an incomplete pass, or an interception deep in Panther's territory, and the Vikings are still where they were before; needing a touchdown to prevent defeat. For Fox to ask a non-qb to execute that sort of decision making in that circumstance is really inexplicable.

77
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:38pm

74: Lewis had some help, though. Visanthe Shiancoe dove into him just as he was pouncing on the ball, which helped jar it loose to Carter. (Shiancoe also fell on one of Manning's fumbles.)

78
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:38pm

63

John Fox confirmed it was a play he himself called. That said, the returner does have discretion. If that ball was 20 yards deeper for example, he probably shouldn't do it.

Really, though, the problem was that Gamble was just stupid. the playcall itself wasn't terrible - but the situation to do it considering the way the punt developed was.

All I can say in Gamble's defense is you notice particularly watching pre-season that a lot of younger players seem to struggle with situational special teams roles. Hell, the Steelers last week kept touching punts to make them live, not calling for fair catches and getting smacked, etc etc. It requires a degree of awareness that Gamble clearly didn't have and then took on a "Coach says this, do it regardless of the situation" approach.

Hindsight is 20/20, but that also didn't lose the game for Carolina even though that was the second-worst possible outcome for it. Carolina going for the all out block on that FG didn't win them any awards.

79
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:39pm

if the ball bounces to a player and he can’t recover it, this is due in a sense to a lack of skill. In the context of the NYG/PHI game, M. Lewis was in fact ‘lucky’ that the ball bounced to him, but he failed to execute its recovery, whereas Tim Carter did not.

No. No way. First, you're never going to prove it due to the small sample size, and second, it's unlikely that it's actually true. The ball squirted out of Burress's hands with a significant amount of momentum, and Lewis couldn't grab it. But by the time Carter had gotten to it, it had lost a lot of that momentum, making it very likely much easier to recover.

Just consider the whole fumble recovery process random. It's the safest way.

80
by Rob (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:41pm

#35 - Andrew - Good breakdown of the Giants comeback. I'll give the Giants all the credit in the world for hanging in there and taking advantage of the breaks they got. Tough to read "experts" like Judge and Brisco lauding Manning's greatness though when he threw an INT, was sacked 8 times, and fumbled twice. If the Eagles recovered just one of those Manning fumbles (which the percentages say they should have), the result would have been different and Manning would be the goat today for playing so horribly. Hidden plays?

81
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:43pm

78: that's the problem in putting the ball in the hands of a player who doesn't usually have to make such decisions, then expecting him to make the safe play when things don't look good.

In 2004, when the Vikings were driving to beat the Seahawks, the Vikes called an end-around pass for Moss. It's pretty clear that Randy Moss a) isn't used to reading defenses to determine whether or not to throw it away, and b) will want to be aggressive and go for a completion no matter what.

Even if Gamble was stupid, the coaches were stupid for putting a player with limited experience making such decisions into a position to make such a decision.

82
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:46pm

79: if that's the case, why have specific players out there to recover onside kicks? If it's completely random based on how the ball bounces, they could just as well put random players out there (onside kick recovery is a bit different than a fumble...but maybe not by much).

I think there is some skill involved in fumble recoveries...but I grant that hazard is the #1 factor.

83
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:47pm

Crushinator, asking non-qbs to make qb-like decisions is almost always a bad idea. The level of execution required in that lateral play is really quite high.

84
by Ferg (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:49pm

Re 72/73: As long as you mention it, I just wanted to say that the QB projection article in PFP was fascinating. It almost boggles the mind that completion percentage would be so much more important than all the other QB stats, but it's hard to argue with the results.

(Of course, if I were a Buffalo fan instead of a Washington fan I would probably say it's rubbish.)

85
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:50pm

I have a question regarding Manning's sacks. I only got to see highlights, but it looked like a big reason he was getting pressured because he was taking too many steps back, leaving him open to pressure from the outside. If I recall correctly, on the game-winning pass, it looked like the reason Eli got pressured was because he took too deep a drop, and both Barber and had McKenzie had bad angles to pick up the outside rushers. Was this true of the whole game, or is this just small sample size?

86
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:51pm

Re: 82

Onside Kick recovery and fumble recovery often have nothing in common. The reason you put together a "hands" team for onside kicks is because, if your kicker performs his job correctly, the ball will have bounce up significantly into the air. That's why you need guy with good hands.

87
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:53pm

I've never liked the classification of fumble recoveries as random. It seems to me that (anecdotally) the recovery depends on the situation. During a QB strip-sack, there are likely three or more defensive players facing the ball, while oftentimes the Cube is the only offensive player who knows the balls out. Ditto on a kick or punt return. On a fumbled snap, the quarterback has a huge advantage of falling on the ball. On a WR fumble way down field, the defense has the advantage because there are likely more defenders in pursuit of the play than blockers downfield.

I think the only fumbles where it's 50/50 are running back fumbles near the LOS.

88
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:54pm

Re: 85

It was my impression that the sacks were more of a result of Philly's speed. It wasn't that Manning was dropping back too far, it was that NY's tackles couldn't get back quick enough.

89
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:54pm

Re: 79
I don't think I could ever prove what I said about fumble recoveries, and maybe you're right about M. Lewis having a more difficult time at it then Carter, but I still think that to a certain extent you can't write off everything that happens after a fumble as pure luck. I think in this case luck means non-predictive, but not necessarily without any skill involved.

90
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:55pm

Yes...but it doesn't always bounce high, and the hope is that the players in the front are capable of grabbing it if it rolls low.

I'm not denying hazard is the #1 factor in fumble recoveries, but to suggest things like quickness, speed, size, strength, hands, reaction ability and desire have nothing at all to do with it seems inaccurate. If I'm on a football field and a ball starts bouncing around randomly, do I have just as good a chance of recovering it as Troy Polamalu? Just because something is either impossible or difficult to prove statistically doesn't make it wrong.

91
by Ralph (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:55pm

I wonder when people will realize that the Bills are making these teams look bad and it isn't the other teams failing to execute.

92
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:56pm

#80:

I don't think you could call Eli a goat had the Giants lost. For 3 quarters, he looked like a good QB does when playing behind a terrible OL. He did hold the ball a bit too long on a few of the sacks, and probably should've felt the rush better and just covered the ball rather than let it be knocked off his passing arm, but when he did get a throw off, there were very few of the lame ducks he is normally prone to. The pick bounced off of a closely-defended Tiki, but it was a good throw. (I'm not going to say he was definitely interfered with, but I have seen a PI penalty called for far less contact.)

93
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:57pm

Re: 87

Which makes NY's recovery of both of Manning's fumbles (one inside their 20 and the other inside their 35 in OT) and the Burress fumble (into the endzone) even more lucky.

94
by Ferg (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:58pm

Re 87: Actually, I seem to remember reading that DVOA rates fumbles differently based on where they occur. So IIRC botched snaps are calculated in DVOA as the least dangerous fumbles (because the offense usually recovers) whereas fumbles on sacks are quite a bit more dangerous.

95
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:01pm

RE: Pats passing problems

H3ll yes, I'm concerned. The problem is enough different bad things are happening that I can't immediately tell how much better the passing game might be if Branch were still here. One major problem is that Brady is not throwing accurately. But I can't tell what's happening down field when he has time, then throws into coverage. Where's that coaching tape when you need it?

My first impression was that the Pats were leaning on the known quantities, Brown and Faulk, when a long 3rd down needed converting. Branch would have helped there, no question, since he was the Pats best receiver at getting open and making a tough 1st-down catch (in the absence of a double-team). But I think it's too early to reliably conclude that Jackson and Gabriel have topped out in terms of their ability to get open.

96
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:01pm

#86 - Thanks. It's hard to get a read on a game depending only on Sportscenter.

Now I just need to figure out whether having slow tackles is better or worse than the backwards QB sprint...

97
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:15pm

I really enjoyed DJ Gallo's take on Fox's punt return lateral:

I agree that it was a stupid move, but I also think it's important to take a step back and look at the long-term benefits. The Panthers have always been looked at as a well-coached team. But that means they are predictable -- they can always be counted on to do the smart thing, the right thing. No more, though. Now their opponents must be ready for the Panthers to do completely stupid, ill-advised things, too. And that makes them much harder to prepare for.

98
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:19pm

95:

Gabriel and Jackson didnt seem to have much trouble getting open, which is a good sign. Brady seemed to have trouble hitting them though. They're both definitely faster than Branch is.

I just hope this doesnt turn into more of Bethel Johnson. IE Reciever has 10 yards of seperation, and is deep, and Brady just can't hit him.

99
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:20pm

Re: 35
I couldn't have summarized it better myself. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why they were playing so conservatively in the second half. TMQ-moments like "you can't dance with the champ, you've got to knock him down" kept flitting through my mind.

Sweet Mary Moses, why oh why did Trent Cole kick that guy in the nuts???!

Going to drink the kool-aid now. @#@&$% Eagles.

100
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:26pm

"is abso-freaking-lutely lucky."

If which team recovers is a coin-toss, we are still talking only 1-in-8 lucky. Heck, with three fumbles, one team is going to get at least two. We are only talking about one more than that. If that is the extent of a team's bad luck, then they really should not complain too much.

The Eagles had tremendously bad luck, though, in two regards. The injury to the Freak was bad luck. And having your blitz-six tipped by a false start penalty is pretty unlucky, too (although staying with it probably crosses over to the 'they had it coming' side rather than the unlucky side). Did they think that Eli did not notice it on the false start, that he would not have the guts to go for the juggular on it, that Coughlin wouldn't give him that kind of freedom, or that he simply wouldn't be able to handle the blitz even knowing it was coming?

101
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:31pm

I think the only fumbles where it’s 50/50 are running back fumbles near the LOS.

Ferg's right. Fumbles have different recovery chances depending on where they happen, but that doesn't make them not random. Things don't have to be 50/50 to be random - "roll anything except a 1 on a 6-sided die" is random, even though there's only a 16% chance.

What makes something non-random is repeatability.

102
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:31pm

even though there’s only a 16% chance.

of it not happening. Too quick.

103
by Molloy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:53pm

So that Falcons/Saints game next week is looking to be quite the interesting matchup. Meanwhile, in Hell... snowball fight!

104
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:57pm

Re: 99

Fumble recovery isn't a coin-toss (like Pat said). Recovering 2 QB fumbles and a WR fumble almost 25 yards from the LOS is definitely very lucky.

105
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:03pm

So can we all agree that the Eagles were victim of a real-life version of the "No F'ing Way" game from Madden?

106
by Jason (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:04pm

Did anyone watch the Denver/KC game carefully? What is wrong with Denver's offense? It can't all be Plummer's fault, right?

107
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:09pm

Kearse is out for the season. (see link)

108
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:20pm

Re: 105

Between the Giants 100% fumble recovery rate, one of the worst possible position to suffer an injury (Hood), the inexplicablly stupid penalty at the worst possible moment in the game (there's no way in hell Feely hits from 50 yards), I think that's exactly how I felt watching the game.

109
by Goathead (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:21pm

As a Giants fan I need to chime in and comment what fun that game was! Thanks Eagles!

Random Thoughts:

Yes, NY got lucky: The Burress fumble? Unreal. Fifteen yards for kicking with 10 seconds left? LOL, anyone believe Feeley would have made a 50 yarder at the end of regulation? Didn't think so.

Running the clock after Burress went out of bounds after a catch with 50 s left? Really, really bad call, cost the Giants 15-20 seconds off the clock. They would have had time for a couple of shots at the end zone in regulation otherwise.

Personally I don't see Eli becoming an elite QB, if he can't make accurate 15 yard throws at this point, its never going to happen. But I'm impressed that he kept his composure after all those sacks.

I actually thought Brandon Jacobs looked good (both games this year), nice to see him finally getting some action. He's had long runs called back on holding in each game this year, both times by WR's well removed from the play.

End Random Thoughts...

110
by Phil (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:21pm

I didn't realize a sprain could be season ending. It would seem to me that if there isn't a tear and surgery isn't needed couldn't he rest for a few months and be back out there? Maybe it was the fact that he sprained almost every ligament in his leg...

Either way this hurts the Eagles, but I don't think it hurts them as much as it would hurt other teams since the Eagles have so much depth at D line. I'm frankly more worried about the CB position right now...

111
by apocalipstick (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:22pm

While the Chiefs' season will probably be a disaster of crash-and-burn proportions, at least we can retire the "Larry Johnson sux he gets yards cuz the best o-line in football makes sure he isn't touched until he's six yards downfield" InstaText. Minus Roaf and Welbourn and with the middle of the line aging, LJ is still a load. At least until November, when he breaks down after racking up 516 carries in 12 games.

112
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:28pm

Running the clock after Burress went out of bounds after a catch with 50 s left? Really, really bad call, cost the Giants 15-20 seconds off the clock. They would have had time for a couple of shots at the end zone in regulation otherwise.

Speaking of which, what was with two or three second being run off the clock at the end of regulation after Dexter Wynn had not only been tackled on the kickoff return but actually tossed the ball away? Granted, the odds of one Hail Mary from the 25 accomplishing anything at that point are between "vanishingly slim" and "Raiders Super Bowl berth," but it's still pretty obvious to stop the clock there.

113
by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:29pm

Just consider the whole fumble recovery process random. It’s the safest way.

What's worse is, if memory serves, the three Giants fumbles came in areas where a defense is more likely to recover (the pocket and way downfield), whereas the Eagles' lone fumble came right at the line of scrimmage, where the mass of bodies in the area makes recovery more of a coin flip (in theory ... Westbrook's fumble landed right by three players, all Giants). Also, Westbrook hadn't fumbled on a carry since 2002!

114
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:30pm

In Gamble's defense, if you have never tried to catch a ball hanging in the sky forever and then turn and pass the ball to a teammate with 11 guys sprinting down to knock the bejesus out of you, I assure you it is much more difficult than it might appear. Gamble couldn't see Williams when he caught the ball, he had to be focusing on the ball while taking a quick glance at the coverage converging on him. You have a split second, look up and see Williams' jersey and throw it before you realize that there are vikings all around him. The throw was bad because Gamble was trying to pull it back in. This is a perfect example of poor practicing technique by the Carolina coaches. I'm sure they practiced this, but the coaches told the punt coverage unit to 'ignore' Williams and 'pretend' that they didn't know there was a lateral coming. I've seen this so many times in practice where the defense is suppose to act like a bunch of dummies for the offense. Come gametime, the opposition doesn't 'pretend' or act like they are 'suppose to' and that nifty play that worked so flawlessly in practice blows up into a disaster. If you want to be able to run trick plays, you have to run them for real in practice and let the players learn how to read the play and do the right thing. I put that gamelosing disaster squarely on the hands of the special teams coach for Carolina.

115
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:31pm

re: Chad Pennington's "pretty" stats.

Where does one find a breakout of QBs passing yardage (yards in the air vs. yards after catch)?

116
by Kevo (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:32pm

112: Yeah, I was yelling at the TV on that. I hated the refs yesterday.

Anyway, on the time coming off after the Burress catch: his forward progress was stopped in bounds, which means the clock keeps running no matter where he happens to land after he's stopped.

But at any rate, with Kearse out for the season, I wish good luck to the Giants on beating out the Cowboys for the division.

117
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:38pm

One of the starkest things coming out of the Eagles debacle is that Strong Safety Michael Lewis is well on his way to writing himself a ticket out of town. This is the second year in a row where he just is totally unable to make any plays happen. He is repeatedly not in position to prevent touchdowns when he is back in coverage, like he is reading and reacting on bad angles or too late to the play, and he's had no luck at all on interceptions and fumble recoveries. It also happens to be his contract year, with all the rest of his draft class of 2002 now locked up long term. Seeing as how easy it is, relatively, for rookie safeties to start, I really am having a tough time seeing the Eagles keeping him around next year if he doesn't turn his season around right now. Some team will foolishly overpay for him and the Eagles will get a 4th round compensatory pick in 2008. Either that or he'll sign a desperation two year extension offer. Meanwhile, either their 1st or 2nd round pick will be for a new Strong Safety who will supplant Lewis.

118
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:43pm

But at any rate, with Kearse out for the season, I wish good luck to the Giants on beating out the Cowboys for the division.

C'mon. Did you see the Cowboys/Redskins game last night?

Philly (even without Kearse) and the Giants are both clearly better than the Cowboys and Redskins. Both Dallas and Washingon held on to old QBs for one year too long.

119
by Mitch Cumstein (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:44pm

Re: Den/KC

If you are primarily passing on 3rd and longs, its hard to be successful. Both teams had very conservative game plans. I'll be interested in seeing the VOA's, but I am going to guess that KC's is higher. Denver was, generally speaking, unable to run the ball effectively, and ran it poorly in the red zone on the two occasions they were there. In other words, Plummer did not play poorly, given how he was utilized, but the play calling was fairly obviously not trusting of him.

KC was even more conservative. They must have run the ball at least 70% of the time on 1st and 2nd down (even at the end of halves) and the passes were primarily dump offs to LJ. That play calling was screaming for a play action deep pass on first down, but it never happened. Also, with 9 seconds left, at Denver 9, with 1 timeout still remaining at end of first half, KC went ahead and kicked the field goal.

At the end of 2nd half, Edwards played for OT. KC had a first down at midfield with a little over a minute to go and 2 timeouts. Run to LJ for a loss, no sense of urgency, next snap with little more than 30 seconds left. I guess you get what you play for. I'd rather try for the win at midfield than go to a coin flip on the road.

120
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:45pm

116:

By that logic, then isn't any "out" pattern by a WR where they catch the ball and tap their toes in-bounds grounds for a forward progress call? The WR's forward progress on the play was stopped because he was trying to step out of bounds, not because a defender has hit him and is carrying him backwards. It was a poor call.

Also, it was Toomer, not Burress, who made the catch in question.

121
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:46pm

118

I dunno, bledsoe looked decent last night, when he wasnt bouncing balls off of TO's chest.

122
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:48pm

Phil #110:

Either way this hurts the Eagles, but I don’t think it hurts them as much as it would hurt other teams since the Eagles have so much depth at D line. I’m frankly more worried about the CB position right now…

My suspicion: Kearse is going to be out long enough (8-10 weeks??? 2 weeks into the season would have him back in who know's what shape for only a few games at the end) that his roster spot will be more profitably held by an additional cornerback, considering the Eagles have McDougle stashed on the inactive list and ready to play. I don't think their production will drop-off greatly with McDougle replacing Kearse. They'll still be rotating the D-Line wholesale.

That being said, I think the Eagles organization is quickly learning a lesson about keeping too few Cornerbacks. With just 4 cornerbacks, like they started the season, if one gets injured, you suddenly are so short manned that any spread formation (4 or 5 wideouts) leaves you with safeties or linebackers covering receivers, with obvious disastrous results. They should have let Offensive Tackle Pat McCoy go to the Practice Squad (really, was any team going to sign him???) and kept Matt Ware.

123
by Goathead (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:52pm

Re: 116. So, the officials say that forward progress was stopped in bounds, but on a play in which a receiver catches the ball, barely touches both feet down, and lands out of bounds, that's just silly. Even the broadcast team agreed on that one, how can you call his forward progress stopped? The only thing the defender was doing was pushing him out of bounds. But, they concluded that even though the play was being reviewed, that part couldn't be.

As far as letting the last couple seconds run off the clock, it happens ALL the time (remember 5 seconds on the clock when the FG went through on the Pats 1st superbowl win?) Agreed, it shouldn't happen, not sure why nobody is concerned about it.

124
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:56pm

I think the NFC East is easily for the Eagles at this point. Unless Campbell plays very soon (unlikely) and plays decently (somewhat unlikely), the skins are a losing team.

And the Cowboys were just never very good. I never could figure out why anyone saw them as more than an 8-8 team.

125
by Goathead (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:58pm

Ooops, my bad, yes it was Toomer who got the blown call on the forward progress.

125
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:58pm

Re: 119, Den/KC

That's the Herm Edwards strategy; play for the tie, wind up with a loss. Is anyone surprised the Chiefs are having clock issues? Article

127
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:58pm

Re: 104

I am open to being convinced. What percentage of each type of fumble in question is recovered by the offense and by the defense? That would tell us how unlucky the Iggles were with regard to fumbles.

I bet we are still talking, overall, about something much less than a 1 in 100 type of bad luck. Probaby a factor of ten less.

That kind of luck is unfortunate for a team. But when I think about bad luck, I think either extremely uncommon or extremely bad consequence. The injury to Kearse strikes me as signficantly worse luck.

128
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:04pm

re: 126
“With nine seconds, I didn’t want to have a bad play,� he said. “I just thought it made the most sense with where we were at that point to take the timeout and make sure we got the three points. -Huard

Thats a real winner right there.

129
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:13pm

2005 season fumbles, fumbles lost, fumble recovery %

NAME fum lst fr%
Arizona 44 28 36%
Atlanta 40 24 40%
Baltimore 48 26 46%
Buffalo 42 18 57%
Carolina 38 16 58%
Chicago 38 20 47%
Cincinnati 32 12 63%
Cleveland 44 24 45%
Dallas 56 26 54%
Denver 28 16 43%
Detroit 32 20 38%
Green Bay 52 24 54%
Houston 42 18 57%
Indianapolis 18 8 56%
Jacksonville 42 20 52%
Kansas City 34 22 35%
Miami 46 24 48%
Minnesota 36 22 39%
New England 32 18 44%
New Orleans 32 26 19%
NY Giants 28 12 57%
NY Jets 50 26 48%
Oakland 40 14 65%
Philadelphia 50 24 52%
Pittsburgh 34 12 65%
San Diego 30 16 47%
San Francisco 50 22 56%
Seattle 28 10 64%
St. Louis 42 24 43%
Tampa Bay 28 16 43%
Tennessee 40 24 40%
Washington 46 28 39%
1242 640 48%

130
by jetsgrumbler (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:16pm

119: I won't give a full rant on Harm, but the man can't coach. He just never has his team prepared.

To the outsiders: you guys previously ranked JETS coaching staff at #20, specifically mentioning Tony Wise as a strong point. Word is that he was terrible in Miami. (name has link to article.) Looks like they aren't run blocking very well now. Any thoughts? obviously, i'm hoping miami was fluke and dallas was how he really coaches.

131
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:17pm

I bet we are still talking, overall, about something much less than a 1 in 100 type of bad luck. Probaby a factor of ten less.

Unfortunate luck for a team would be anything that happens less than one-in-sixteen times.

They should have let Offensive Tackle Pat McCoy go to the Practice Squad (really, was any team going to sign him???) and kept Matt Ware.

Well, depending on how Ware actually performs with the Cardinals, that is. They did need more than 2 real corners on the roster after this week, though, and neither Hanson nor Wynn are real corners.

132
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:20pm

Trent Cole for KCW!

Not only does your team lose, but you cost your DE having a pro-bowl-like season gets a season ending knee injury.

I just need something to cheer me up... the Redskins offense is lousy, and Gibbs is stubborn about putting the young QB in. The only thing that will make me happy is 49-10 over the Texans next week...

I'm going to wait until after week 4 to write the whole season off.

133
by Billboard (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:29pm

#117,
I couldn't agree more about Michael Lewis. Not very long ago, it seemed quite likely that he would be one of the Eagles signing a contract extension before he reached free agency. Now, not so much.

I wonder how Michael Griffin, Brandon Merriweather, Aaron Rouse, Tom Zbikowski, or Eric Weddle would look in an Eagles uniform?

134
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:32pm

Pat:

Well, depending on how Ware actually performs with the Cardinals, that is. They did need more than 2 real corners on the roster after this week, though, and neither Hanson nor Wynn are real corners.

Ware got a bad rep for not being able to cover Deion Branch in the Superbowl. But Ware was not brought in to cover shifty little guys, but to get physical with big guys like Burress and Keyshawn.

135
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:39pm

#129, thanks...great find.

New Orleans - 19% recovery rate? That's unbelievable. Next lowest - 35%. Pittsburgh and Seattle in the top 3 with over 60%. I guess with a disparity that large, you can make a hypothesis that the Saints not being able to recover fumbles lead them to a poor record, rather that they had a poor record because they couldn't recover fumbles.

136
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:43pm

God, did I botch that. Take two: It looks like the Saints had a worse record than their overall play warranted because they couldn't recover fumbles, as opposed to the Saints couldn't recover fumbles because they were a bad team.

It also shows that the Raiders were probably even worse than their record would lead you to believe.

137
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 5:45pm

I wonder if those numbers are skewed by line quality,etc.

IE Pittsburg and SEA are less likely to lose fumbles becauase they are less likely to fumble in positions where you'd normally lose the ball. IE because their quarterbacks get sacked less, you take away those blind side QB, ball picked up and run into the endzone type fumbles.

138
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:00pm

Well, MDS, since you asked ... if the Lions win 5 games this season (which is looking wildly optimistic at this point), they'll be 26-70 over the six-year period, which would tie them with the 1997-2002 Bengals for 35th-worst all-time. The WWII-era Cardinals are dead dead worst on the list; three overlapping six-season streaks top the list, starting with 1939-44, an era in which the Cards went 9-52 for a .148 winning percentage.

Should the Lions post a donut in the wins column, the "best" they can do is 9th, just ahead of the 1983-88 Bucs (21-74). But even a miraculous recovery to 8-8 won't keep them out of the top 100: they'd be 29-67, tied for 84th with the 1991-96 Bengals, 1989-94 Patriots, and 1988-93 Buccaneers.

Anything from 6 to 8 wins would be the worst stretch since the 1998-2003 Bengals (27-69); 5 wins would match the 1997-2002 Bengals (26-70); 4 wins would be worst since the 1985-90 Bucs (24-71, strike season included); 1 to 3 wins would be worst since the 1983-88 Bucs (21-74, same strike season), and an 0-16 season would cap the worst stretch since the 1967-72 Bills (17-64-1).

How do I have all this readily available? Simple: I've already gone down this road (although my rant was about the five-season stretch ending in 2005).

Doug, your 1991-96 Seahawks fail to suck: they weren't even the worst team of that era. Five other teams slipped under the bar set by Seattle at 36-60, led by the Bengals at 29-67. The Seahawks tied for 240th-worst all-time ... to put that into perspective, the 1997-2002 Lions had the same record, and that included two playoff appearances.

139
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:03pm

We need to see a breakdown of fumbles lost percentage by position. My guess is that players fumbling around lots of defenders tend to lose a higher percentage than players fumbling around their own teammates. Are WRs the most likely to lose a fumbled ball?

140
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:06pm

re #129

I screwed the gross # of fumbles and fumbles lost up.

Here are the corrected #s.
Offense's fumbles, fumbles lost and offense's fumb. recov. %, defense's fumbles forced, fumbles recovered by def., def. fumb. recov. %

Offense Defense
NAME FUM LST fr% FF LST dfr%
Arizona 22 14 36% 22 11 50%
Atlanta 20 12 40% 17 12 71%
Baltimore 24 13 46% 19 12 63%
Buffalo 21 9 57% 17 12 71%
Carolina 19 8 58% 18 14 78%
Chicago 19 10 47% 21 7 33%
Cincinnati 16 6 63% 24 11 46%
Cleveland 22 12 45% 16 5 31%
Dallas 28 13 54% 17 10 59%
Denver 14 8 43% 23 12 52%
Detroit 16 10 38% 23 12 52%
Green Bay 26 12 54% 23 11 48%
Houston 21 9 57% 17 6 35%
Indianapolis 9 4 56% 24 12 50%
Jacksonville 21 10 52% 16 7 44%
Kansas City 17 11 35% 26 12 46%
Miami 23 12 48% 26 12 46%
Minnesota 18 11 39% 16 6 38%
New England 16 9 44% 9 7 78%
New Orleans 16 13 19% 15 7 47%
NY Giants 14 6 57% 24 17 71%
NY Jets 25 13 48% 18 7 39%
Oakland 20 7 65% 18 14 78%
Philadelphia 25 12 52% 19 7 37%
Pittsburgh 17 6 65% 22 12 55%
San Diego 15 8 47% 19 9 47%
San Francisco 25 11 56% 10 6 60%
Seattle 14 5 64% 21 8 38%
St. Louis 21 12 43% 20 11 55%
Tampa Bay 14 8 43% 19 11 58%
Tennessee 20 12 40% 16 9 56%
Washington 23 14 39% 26 11 42%

141
by Tally (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:06pm

NO also has the distinction of having to try to recover "fumbles" thrown 35 yards backwards from the line of scrimmage...

142
by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:10pm

re: 117 ... 1st or 2nd round pick? Not a fan of Considine? I've heard such good things about him, I think the Birds' brass likes him a lot.

re: 127 ... I can't find the stats in the archive, they might be in PFP 2006. As best I remember, fumbles on sacks are recovered approximately 60% of the time by defense, and way downfield is about 2 out of 3. With that baseline, there's a 2.6% chance the Giants recover all four fumbles. Not 1 in 100, but I'd qualify it as pretty unlucky. (Throw in the odds of Westbrook fumbling at all being about 1 in 240, based on his history, and I'd even go "extremely uncommon.") Plus I'm not that worried about Kearse, with the Eagles' D-line depth and Kearse's unremarkable two-year stint with the team.

143
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:10pm

Re: 139

I don't have any research on this, but I would think that QBs fumbling due to defensive pressure/hits would have the highest fumble loss rate. Because at that point it's likely that the only people of offense to see the fumble would be the QB (who was just hit) and the guy who's block just got beat.

144
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:21pm

Look what I just found ... stats on penalties called by all the officiating crews:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/sortableStatsOfficials

145
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:31pm

Nice find... what's up with Ron Winter?

146
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:33pm

Yeesh.. the discrepancies in penalties is a bit high... going from 74 downto 24. Redskins are probablye one of the most penalized teams though... this is somewhat team dependent, right?

147
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 6:56pm

Unfortunate luck for a team would be anything that happens less than one-in-sixteen times.

A factor of ten less than one in a hundred would be one in ten.

148
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 7:52pm

Yeesh.. the discrepancies in penalties is a bit high… going from 74 downto 24. Redskins are probablye one of the most penalized teams though… this is somewhat team dependent, right?

Yeah. Aaron said that if you run a multiple regression on previous seasons based on crews/teams, both the team and the crew matter essentially with equal significance.

149
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 8:04pm

138: That's the Seahawks, allright. They can't even suck properly.

150
by James C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 8:33pm

Obscure stats on officiating crews' performance. That goes in my list of bizarre reasons why I love this website.

151
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 9:43pm

Do you think it's strange that we know the names and faces of most of those officials? We have cards, video games, commercials, stats, and fantasy for players, but we learn the officials' names, faces, and mannerisms (yes, we know officials' mannerisms, like Mike Carey waiting until clearly after the name of the penalty to emphatically call and point in the direction of the penalty).
It's the sort of thing that makes me want to go for a walk or read a book or get to know my family. But no, I'll be back in a week to watch these officials and their mannerisms. I've seen more of Ed Hochuli's face in the past 4 years than any of my grandparents.

152
by Doomsday Device (not verified) :: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 10:02pm

Didn't Frank Gore score a 6 on the Wonderlic? I believe I read he has some form of learning disability, so the "nuances" of the game may not be readily apparent to him. Although, running out the clock is not exactly advanced football thinking.

153
by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 12:03am

Re: 139

Hey, now . . . I'll put that '92 Seahawks team up against any team in terms of pure suckitude.

The '76 Bucs? Hah! They're before my time, but I'm pretty sure they didn't threaten the record for fewest points scored in a season. :-)

154
by Jeff George of the Jungle (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 2:39am

>>The ‘76 Bucs? Hah! They’re before my time, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t threaten the record for fewest points scored in a season. :-)

No, but check out that scintillating '77 Tampa Bay offense. 103 points in 14 games, and that with four defensive TD's and a punt return TD. They were shut out six times.

155
by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 2:51am

No, but check out that scintillating ‘77 Tampa Bay offense. 103 points in 14 games, and that with four defensive TD’s and a punt return TD.

The 1977 Bucs QBs combined to complete 40.8% of their passes with 3 TD and 30 interceptions, for a combined QB rating of 22.5. More than half of their points came in 2 games (a 30-23 loss and a 33-14 victory), snd they scored just 7 total points in a 5-game stretch.

Tampa is on pace to score 24 points this season, but I don't think they'll challenge this modern-day record.

156
by kyle (tcn) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 3:06am

theisman follow-up: he called ike taylor one of the five best corners in the league tonight. seriously.

157
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 11:34am

155: You will note who the first win in Bucs history was against...

158
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 11:55am

Saints fumbles: given that it was solely the offense that had the awful recovery rate, do we think that this is maybe an indication not so much of bad luck as of Aaron Brooks's ability to find new and interesting ways to fumble the ball in places where the defense is really likely to recover?

159
by MIke (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 12:59pm

Yes the Giants got a little lucky on Sunday, especially in respect to Tim Carter's recovery in the end zone. But I suppose Buckhalter just fell down on 4th and 1, instead of Wilson making a good tackle? Did the Giants take over the playcalling for the Eagles on that one? Westbrook must have fumbled just to make the game interesting, I suppose. The TD throw to Toomer just happened to be right in his hands following the fumble as well. And Cole kicking that guy, well those kind of things just happen.

160
by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 1:01pm

#156: Ike Taylor is generally highly regarded. Considering how much dead weight the D had to pull last night, I'm not holding anything against him.

161
by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 1:02pm

Re: 155

That's a handy website. I should point out, though, that after a couple years the '77 Bucs (or most of them) got better and went on to play in the NFC Championship.

After a couple of years, the '92 Seahawks never really got any better and almost went on to play in L.A. :-)

162
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 1:16pm

Re: 159

As Bad Doctor said (#142), New York had a 2.6% chance to recover all for of those fumbles. I'd call that a crap-ton more than a little lucky.

163
by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 1:31pm

Two weeks in:
San Diego and Chicago are frightening.
With those defenses, if Grossman and Rivers really are as good as they just looked, there's trouble.

The Raiders, on the other hand, are a menace to the game of football itself.

164
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/19/2006 - 5:36pm

Yes the Giants got a little lucky on Sunday, especially in respect to Tim Carter’s recovery in the end zone.

That's all anyone is saying. No one's saying the Giants didn't play well in the fourth quarter and overtime, but they had help from a few bounces of the ball, and a very conveniently timed injury to an Eagles CB.

To put this in perspective, had the Eagles won Super Bowl XXXIX, I would be saying exactly the same thing about the Eagles as the Giants now.

What's wrong with calling it a lucky win? Is there a Giants fan in the world that thinks their team is flawless after that performance? There's definitely hope (Eli's poise after getting the tar beaten out of him) but there are definitely concerns (Eli getting the tar beaten out of him :) ) as well.

165
by morganja (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:40am

What are those stats on the refs? Carollo has 56 listed as accepted but that is clearly not correct. His crew had 10 accepted in the ATL-CAR game and 19 accepted in the NYG-PHI game, for a total of 29.

166
by Kyle S (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:50pm

On the Panthers lateral play:

The problem with the play was when it was called. In the '04 playoffs the Falcons Allen Rossum scored a TD on essentially the exact same play against the Rams. The difference was that it was in the 2nd quarter and Rossum didn't have kick coverage people draped all over him. The Falcons were smart enough that year to save that play for that situation.

These were the Panthers, who have DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams to run the ball and an adequate offensive line to kill the clock, not Brian Westbrook and the Eagles O-line who crap their pants at the prospect of having to run block. No reason for Fox to call the play @ that time and no reason for Gamble to not be more aware and decide to either fair catch or return the kick himself.

#54:

I've been wondering that too. It seems to me that there are people who have watched these games and are lying awake at night thinking "We can't have all of these low-scoring games. They don't make the game look pretty for TV. Something has to be done."

I don't think it's that far-fetched that somebody with influence would like to shackle defenders with 20-pound weights around each ankle and make DBs cover receivers with one hand tied behind their backs. They are also probably imagining having each QB wear a yellow "no contact" jersey.

167
by Rick Monihan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 1:57pm

All I can say about the Philly game is - the prognosticators were ALL incorrect. The concept that NY has more "weapons on offense" was widely touted. Yet, AT NO POINT in the game, even in 4th and overtime, did I see a Giants "weapon". 1 TD was a fluke fumble. If they don't get that, it's 2 more plays for a TD, or a FG, and they don't have enough time to win the game in the 4th Qtr. The other TD was off an unforced (and rare) Westbrook fumble, putting the Giants in a great position to score. Other than that, the comment "Eli is lucky that Plaxico is tall" is true. How many Eli passes sailed over Plaxico's head that he BARELY hung on to?

The Giants are a mess. The Eagles are not...but have ALOT of work to do. They played 3 brilliant quarters of what turned out to be a 5 quarter game. Unfortunately a few stupid play calls in the 4th cost them the game.

The Giants get a W, but not one that was well deserved. It was a game the Eagles handed to them on a silver platter and they were BARELY capable of pulling it out.