Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?
02 Oct 2006
Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2007. Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live.
Bill Barnwell: I am still a little skeptical about Chad Pennington being mentally comfortable behind center. Case in Point: third-and-9, the Jets try to run a quick screen with Brad Smith standing to the immediate left of Ferguson. Freeney, of course, runs right by Smith and is a half-step behind Ferguson by the time Pennington's taking his second step. An obviously perturbed Pennington immediately tosses the ball to Smith, who has no blockers in front of him and is actually closer to Freeney than anyone else. Smith nearly fumbles the ball away. That was not so good.
Jets defensive linemen, so far in the first quarter, continue to get absolutely no pressure against the run whatsoever. Dominic Rhodes, much like Willis McGahee last week, is getting to the second wave of defenders without being bothered a good amount of the time.
And then, the lack of Edgerrin James rears its head. Dominic Rhodes doesn't stop Shaun Ellis from getting around him, the Colts right guard is late helping, and Manning tries to run around him and loses 11, killing their drive.
Michael David Smith: Absolutely horrible call by the officials. Jets tight end Chris Baker flinches, Colts defensive end Robert Mathis sees it and jumps across the line, and the officials call Mathis for offsides. It was a third-and-4 in the red zone, so it was quite a crucial play.
Aaron Schatz: That Chris Baker play aside, Pennington is doing a very good job of
messing with the snap count so that the Colts actually do jump offsides.
Will Carroll: Freeney just dove in knee-high and took Cedric Houston's knee out. Didn't have a great angle on it -- from behind on the replay -- but for once, Freeney's dive-in-and-see-what-happens run defense worked for the Colts.
Michael David Smith: Oddly, the bad call actually might have ended up helping the Colts, since Chad Pennington threw an interception a few plays later, but still, if the officials are going to miss the offensive player's flinch and call the defensive player's jump in response to the flinch, defensive linemen are going to have rough lives.
Following the interception on fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line:
Will Carroll: Really, is there any excuse for this play call? Pennington made a stupid play worse by tossing it up for grabs, though I couldn't tell who was down there. I guess I shouldn't blame Pennington there. No real downside to the INT -- ouch, Utecht is going to be pissing blood for a couple days -- other than 15 yards diff on where the Colts get the ball. Horrible, game-changing call.
Aaron Schatz: Yes and no.
First of all, there IS A downside to the INT. The whole point behind the idea of "it's better to go for it on fourth-and-goal instead of kicking the field goal" is that if you don't score the touchdown, you've backed the other team up all the way to their own end zone. Throwing the interception destroys that part of the equation. The expected score difference between having the ball on your own 2-yard line and your own 20-yard line is roughly two points.
As far as the play call, I had a problem with it for the following reasons:
1) As much as we favor going for it, this was not fourth-and-1. This was fourth and about 2.5 yards to go, much harder to convert.
2) The Jets have been mostly unable to run the ball this year, although they have been successful in this game at times. But the Colts would stuff the line there. So they decided to go with the pass instead...
3) Except that a pass is much less likely than a run to convert in this situation, and there's the chance of the interception, which is what happened. Forcing that ball was EXACTLY the wrong thing to do. Frankly, Pennington would have been better throwing it away and hoping the defense could maybe get a safety.
But look, this is the Colts. You don't kick a field goal against them and think, "golly, this three-point lead sure is safe."
By the way, if Martin Gramatica is supposed to be a kickoff specialist at this point, that's not going to work. His kickoffs are all short line drives. They look awful.
Doug Farrar: So, for those scoring at home, I have it as: Pennington's little swing pass to Leon Washington. Washington handed off to Brad Smith. From there it was (deep breath) Smith to Laveranues Coles, Coles to Chad Pennington, Pennington to Justin McCareins, McCareins to Smith, Smith to Coles, Coles to Nick Mangold, Mangold to Washington (who lost the ball), and the game-ending recovery by Indy's Jason David.
That was fun.
Ned Macey: Anyone else notice the lack of a great team this year? The Colts, Pats, Broncos, and Steelers have serious question marks. Maybe the Eagles, but their defense is getting awful banged up. I'd like to see some more "stomps" out of Baltimore before I anoint them a great team. I guess Seattle is the obvious answer, but they're 8th in "VOA" to date, and they seem to be playing without a running game. Anyway, on to the games...
The Colts seemed to think this was a scrimmage where they could work on the running game. The Jets obliged by never bringing a safety in the box and not necessarily even having seven guys up there. I would just play nickel against the Colts on every down. At a certain point, they can miss a third down or have a holding penalty.
So much talk this week about the arrogance of the Patriots letting all their receivers go (and as an aside, Doug Gabriel is a better player than Givens), but the Colts do the same thing at linebacker. I think Thornton's loss is a big one. Gilbert Gardner never makes a play. Add in Sanders' injury, and this defense isn't 2004 bad, it's pre-Dungy bad.
I'm as surprised as anyone that the Jets look strong, but in retrospect, if Pennington stays healthy, he is a near-elite quarterback. He has consistently ranked as one of the best QBs according to DPAR. It will be interesting to see if Coles is seriously injured. He's quietly had a great start to this season.
The Jets clearly have run defense issues, and I'm curious to see how Mangini addresses it. If they have to bring people up, then their pass defense, which has been solid if unspectacular, will be compromised. Of course, that pass defense when it was needed got shredded on the last drive.
After the Jets ran the kick back for a touchdown, a part of me thought the Colts were in better shape than if they had given the ball to the Jets with plenty of time. Not the best feeling going forward.
Mike Tanier: The Colts' "let's play turtle ball against a bad team" strategy nearly bites them on the butt. Peyton was amazing in the fourth quarter and very flat through three quarters.
All I can say about the fourth down call is that it might be an "I believe in you kids" call. I don't know how much good will something like that generates. I bet a win against the Colts would have generated more.
Ryan Wilson: So much for Philip Rivers having trouble against the Ravens. The Chargers started in a no-huddle and Rivers led San Diego on a 70-yard TD drive. A lot of short passes seemed to have Baltimore off guard.
Doug Farrar: Baltimore has the most sacks in the league (16, tied with Philly) and San Diego is the only team not to allow a sack this year. Good battle there.
Ryan Wilson: Uh, check that. Rivers just threw a pass directly to LB Bart Scott.
Doug Farrar: Who's coaching the Chargers? San Diego just ran two fake reverses in a row in the middle of the third quarter. L.T. took the second one for 29 yards.
Ryan Wilson: Martyball is back. The Chargers seem content running the ball for the rest of the game and making Steve McNair beat them.
Steve McNair beat them.
McNair did a nice job of throwing short on the final drive. In fact, it looks like he can only throw short, but he was much more efficient during the last series. I didn't hear Shawne Merriman's name all day and the Chargers didn't really bring a lot of pressure for much of the game.
In retrospect, I think Marty was a little too conservative in the second half. Of course, I said he was going to run the ball until McNair beat them, and that's exactly what happened.
San Diego's secondary wasn't as bad as I expected, but I wonder if some of that has to do with McNair not being able to throw the ball more than 25 yards down the field.
Either way, big win for the Ravens.
Mike Tanier: Score one for the Schotten-Haters. He played to his critics today. The Chargers moved the ball easily early in the game, and their gameplan looked great. They ran a lot, of course, but mixed in all kinds of play action and were spreading the ball around.
Then, with the score 13-7, Marty went into ultra-conservative mode. You know that fake reverse play they run, which is just a souped-up off tackle run by LaDainian Tomlinson. They called it at least seven times. When they had the ball deep in their own territory, they kept calling the key-breaker up the gut to Lorenzo Neal. Meanwhile, they were blitzing like maniacs on defense, and Steve McNair was stating to figure things out. At one point, he caught them in an all-out blitz and threw a high lob to Derrick Mason, but the ball went through Mason's hands.
It was just a dumb gameplan in the second half. I'm all for running the ball to kill the clock, but you don't start doing it in the third quarter when you are up by six points.
Aaron Schatz: I'm curious to hear from somebody exactly what went wrong with the Chargers at the end of a game they seemed to control throughout.
Doug Farrar: Looked to me like the Chargers backed off on the final drive (bringing three), allowing the short pass. On the Heap TD, the guy who could have tackled him (I think it was Edwards) went for the kill shot/fumble instead of wrapping up.
If I were Brian Billick, I wouldn't be doing any preening after that one.
Tim Gerheim: The Chargers' pass defense was pretty bad all day. They were able to keep the Ravens in check because, 1) the Ravens aren't that good a passing team, and 2) their pass rush is strong. The difference in the final drive was that even when the Chargers were putting pressure on McNair, he was completing short passes, and they weren't trying for runs that were getting stuffed. So basically they were able to put together a good drive passing on the Chargers, which doesn't sound that surprising.
Throughout the second half I was muttering to myself how a six point lead was precarious, the Chargers needed to put away this game that they'd been dominating. The Chargers at this point are the ultimate run-the-ball-and-stop-the-run team, and it's hart to sustain drives or stop desperation comeback attempts that way. Philip Rivers was OK, and it may be unfair to pin the mediocrity of the Chargers passing game on him. The receivers had a hard time getting open all day. The touchdown came on a play when the corner fell down. The long pass the Chargers needed on the final drive was broken up by Samari Rolle because he was right in the receiver's back pocket. Antonio Gates didn't light it up either.
Vin Gauri: I think McNair really got bailed out on that last drive against the Bolts. Clayton and Heap made some great plays on poor-to-average throws by McNair and the Bolts had some really shoddy tackling. He's still one of the toughest SOBs around, but aside from a great scramble for 12 yards after the two-minute warning, he looked like Trent Dilfer to me.
Doug Farrar: I'm not watching the the Falcons-Cards game, but Atlanta outrushed Arizona 72 yards to 5 in the first quarter. I'm all for voiding the James to Arizona deal. This is just ugly.
Will Carroll: Yeah, so am I. When is the trading deadline? What could the Colts do that would make that work under the cap?
Michael David Smith: One of the things that makes me proud to be part of FO is how far ahead of the curve we were on Adrian Wilson. He just had a 97-yard INT TD and the announcers are talking about how he's one of the most overlooked players in the league. Not around here, he isn't.
Doug Farrar: At this rate, Wilson will have more yards than Jamesâ€¦
Aaron Schatz: Halfway through Q3, Edgerrin James has 9 carries for 3 yards, and the Cardinals are down 22-10. This is the same Atlanta defense that Deuce McAllister sliced through last week.
Mike Tanier: I guess we should thank Abraham Zapruder for his camera work on that Adrian Wilson interception.
Do they measure TOP in nanoseconds? I was shocked to see the Cardinals had the ball over 28 minutes in this game, but most of it was one long drive in the first quarter, then lots of goofing off in the fourth. Every time I turned around to check this game out, the Falcons had the ball.
Aaron Schatz: During the halftime show, Terry Bradshaw referred to "young quarterback Damon Huard." Gee, Terry, young compared to you, maybe. The guy's been in the league for a decade.
Doug Farrar: The 49ers are 22nd in pass defense VOA through three games against St. Louis, Arizona, and Philadelphia. Not great, not horrible. Damon Huard is ripping them to shreds. The Chiefs are up 24-0 at the half, and Huard is 13 of 15 for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Michael David Smith: Albert Haynesworth should get a 10-game suspension for what he just did. Dallas's Andre Gurode had his helmet come off during the play, and after the play, with Gurode on the ground, Haynesworth stomped on his head. It's a grass field, so I assume Haynesworth is wearing cleats. It was perhaps the dirtiest move I've ever seen on a football field.
Ned Macey: I was curious to see Young, but this game got out of hand before I could tell. That situation is a disaster down there. A once-excellent franchise is in complete disarray. If you looked hard enough before the season, you could see a talented defense, but they've got nothing. This is their third straight terrible season. If I didn't like the head coach of my favorite team, I would start thinking about getting Jeff Fisher.
Aaron Schatz: If you want a list of players that FO supported ahead of the curve, you can add Pac-Man Jones to the list with Leigh Bodden and Adrian Wilson. (Frank Gore is on that list too.) Despite his immaturity off the field, the fact is that he is far ahead of the Titans' other cornerback, Reynaldo Hill, and the opposing coaches know this. Pac-Man covered T.O. most of the time and he was only thrown two passes with no receptions. He also pulled an offensive PI trying to get Pac-Man away from him. When Pac-Man was not on T.O., he was thrown three passes, caught all three, and had 78 yards. (Pac-Man did give up a TD to Glenn on a play where he was covering Glenn and not T.O.) I don't know what happened in the second half, I know Dallas scored a ton of points but I really think the problems are Thompson and Hill, not Jones and Chris Hope.
Vince Young looked good and bad. He runs too much sideways, I think assuming he can make yardage out of nothing the way he did in college. On the other hand, he had a scramble where he avoided two or three tackles and spun around twice and ended up getting six yards for a first down (it was cancelled by a Dallas penalty that gave the Titans a first down anyway). He also had a pass on third-and-7 where Dallas had a huge 7-blitz and the Titans didn't convert DESPITE picking up ALL the blitzers because Young threw to the tight end only three yards down the field.
Interesting point: we all thought Ben Troupe would be big in Tennessee, but Bo Sciafe is actually the starting tight end -- and he went to Texas, so Young is already used to his habits.
Mike Tanier: Haynesworth is soap scum. He is something that is better off flushed.
I thought the Titans had built a pretty good defensive line. Admittedly, I haven't watched them carefully since about Week 9 or 10 last year. They were pitiful, even before Haynesworth put the derby on and broke into Singing in the Rain. On one TD, I am sure all the replays will show two or three Titans defenders on the ground. That happened on about three or four pass plays in the first half.
The Titans ran an option with Vince Young, they pulled a double reverse, and they gave him some designed runs. The Cowboys just stayed in their lanes, and he had nowhere to go. I'm obviously not burying Young after one game, but I don't see him as a "class by himself" athlete like Michael Vick.
Michael David Smith: On the local Detroit pregame show, Dre Bly is talking about how the new defensive coaching staff has decided that he'll line up against the other team's No. 1 wide receiver no matter whether that receiver lines up split left, split right, in the slot, or anywhere else. It's quite telling that with a totally new defense, Bly is so superior to the Lions' other DBs that two different defensive staffs would come to the same conclusion about how to use him. And it's another reason that our game charting project is awesome: People who read PFP know Bly matched up with the No. 1 receiver more than any other CB in the league. That's the kind of information that seems so basic and simple and yet you never hear it on TV or read it in the papers.
Bill Barnwell: Another sign the game charting project is doing its job -- Scouts, Inc. was gushing over how Leigh Bodden versus Randy Moss was going to be a premiere matchup this week.
Ned Macey: Dre Bly is really good. Holt is doing nothing on him, but of course, inside the 20, the Lions somehow have Daniel Bullocks in single coverage on Holt. Are they serious?
Also, the Rams had all three timeouts in the final minute of the first half. Has that happened in the past ten years? (And as I write that, the Rams waste one in the third quarter.)
And when did Mike Furrey get good? He was the 6th receiver on the Rams, and now he is playing well for Detroit.
After the game was over:
That was an extremely fun game to watch. Martz clearly wanted to show off his genius, and he was getting a little too excited at times. The offense was good (again Furrey was impressive), but Kitna made a big mistake late that cost them the game. The Rams offense looked 2002 good (the part with Bulger), but of course, Favre looked this good against the Lions last week. That 9-6 Seattle game may prove to be one of the oddest scores of the season.
The Rams were clever about getting Holt on other DBs. They would often start Holt and Bruce on the same side and then move one into motion to get Holt freed off of Bly. On the game-winning touchdown, they moved Bruce, but Bly stayed on Holt which got Fletcher picked and allowed Bruce to score.
Mike Tanier: The Panthers really are terrible on third down, in part because they seem to be in third-and-8 a lot. In the passing game, they want to funnel everything through Smith and Keyshawn. That leads to a lot of early down incompletions. They are also having a hard time with the pass rush up the middle, and Mike Wahle got hurt in this game, which could make things worse.
The Saints were impressive on both sides of the ball coming off an emotional Monday Night win. They only scored three points through three quarters, but they were constantly driving. Brees really spreads the ball around. Guys like Ernie Conwell are suddenly coming up with important receptions.
Know what I like about the way Sean Payton is using Reggie Bush? For years, when Bush-like guys have gotten drafted, I have heard coaches say "we are going to be creative about getting him the ball in space." Then, by October, we discover "creative" means draw plays, screen passes, and a reverse every six weeks. Well, Payton is actually being creative, using Bush on downfield routes, running a two-halfback offense, using him at WR in the empty backfield. And he's also just putting him in the I-formation once in a while so opponents can't just key on the trickery. I've seen Bush get stuffed several times, backtrack too often, and fumble, but he's also making the big plays we were all looking for.
Tim Gerheim: Dunta Robinson doesn't look like anything special this year. One play Marty Booker caught a pass pretty easily with Robinson in man coverage against him. That on paper ought to be a huge mismatch in Houston's favor. Robinson doesn't look nearly as comfortable playing man as he does playing Cover-2. He's much better when he gets to face the quarterback and cover the short quarter of the field. When he has to turn and run with a receiver he loses a lot of the benefit of his savvy. He seems like he might make a great free safety, but he's athletic enough to play corner.
The Miami offense really has nothing going for it except Ronnie Brown. Maybe Culpepper's problem is just his knee, but he's just wildly inaccurate, and it's proven that their receivers are no better than "pretty good, not great." The offensive line seems to be coming together, but then again that might just be the effect of playing the Texans defense.
Bill Moore: What have the Pats done to the football gods to deserve two starting secondary members out against Carson Palmer & Co.? Hank Poteat and Chad Scott return to their "patchwork secondary" roles.
Patriots are getting little pressure on Palmer -- that's not good when two starters are out in the secondary. The D line in general has had two weeks of mediocre play. This isn't good for Pats fans, since the D line is one of the most talented units on the team.
Scott, who has been a free agent bust from a year ago, plays rather soft coverage, yet started well. Other than one play early in which he was playing zone and allowed Chad Johnson to get into a hole despite the fact that there was no one in his zone (nor anyone near it), he has played tough and broken up a few plays. It will be interesting if he can keep it up for another 30 minutes.
Despite midweek "trash" talking, Rodney Harrison has missed some key tackles.
Given his familiarity with Brady and the system in general plus the lack of receivers on the roster, I'm surprised that Troy Brown isn't playing more downs. Gabriel and Caldwell are getting significantly more looks. Brown was a great decoy in the Gabriel TD. Keshervavavavain was originally covering Brown in the slot, but he cut a short hook into Tory James' coverage area. The resulting hesitation by James was the key in making Gabriel wide open.
Ryan Wilson: Bill: Welcome to the 2002 Pittsburgh Steelers. Fans are very familar with the craptitude of both Poteat and Scott. And knowing that, I don't think you can call him a 'a free agent bust.' He's always been awful. Well, at least this century.
Bill Moore: Hee. Fair point. I only say bust 'cause when you make an offseason contract signing (i.e., not just a pickup replacement guy) you expect him to add value. He surely didn't.
I wouldn't want to be Reche Caldwell, but Kesheshesheshian got robbed of defensive steam rolling.
Meanwhile Hawkins tried to make a statement hit in return on Whoseyourdaddy, and basically whiffed. Can you say Shawn Estes on Roger Clemens?
Ned Macey: There may be something to this whole year-after ACL thing even for quarterbacks. Palmer's VOA was -8.1% before this very mediocre game. He really hasn't been that much better than Culpepper, but the Bengals defense had been carrying them.
Bill Moore: Two things changed the momentum of this game. In the first half, the NE D line was getting no pressure and was not playing up to their talent level. Sparked by inspiring play from Jarvis Green, the often overlooked and underrated backup DE, the D line created pressure and, more importantly, turnovers.
Secondly, the Patriots' two-back running game kicked into action. Cincinnati's run defense is average at best (4.13 adjusted line yards, 28th on power runs, and 15th on 10+ yards). Dillon, who has special motivation in Cincy, and Maroney began running all over the Bengals. And I don't mean pounding out 3-yard runs. These were 15-yard, 20-yard, even 40-yard runs.
The Patriots kicking game needs to be looked at. The phrase, "he's just a kicker" may be thrown around a lot, but kickers are pretty important. Gostkowski had another miss.
As for Cincinnati, they need to do a better job protecting Palmer. Going into this game, they were 29th in adjusted sack rate. This is now two weeks in a row, that Palmer was just hammered. OK, his ACL and MCL are fine and in working order. Let's stop putting it to the test. Palmer was sacked four times and fumbled twice. He was hit hard a number of other times where he miraculously made the completion.
P.S., I alluded to it earlier. I think Harrison has lost a step.
Editor's note: Bill's comments do not represent the opinion of Football Outsiders as a whole on the topic of Rodney Harrison, for whom we have the utmost respect.
Ryan Wilson: What's funny about the Bengals O-line is that they've historically done a very good job of protecting Palmer in the past. I know center Rich Braham is out, but the Steelers got five or six sacks last week too.
Bill, calling the Bengals run defense average is a compliment. This is the second straight week they've been treaded.
I just saw Keanu Kaesvaharn's hit on Reche Caldwell. It's amazing how much better he is when he's plugged into the Matrix.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but right now, the Ravens are the best team in the AFC North.
Ryan Wilson: Well, I was in the middle of writing that the Redskins' defense, after three weeks of looking pretty bad, looks like the 2005 version against the Jags. And then Leftwich hit Maurice Drew for a nice 51-yard TD pass. That play aside (and the one where Reggie Williams continues his bid for Comeback Player of the Year Who Was on the Verge of Being a First-Round Bust) the defense is at least getting more pressure on the QB.
Vin Gauri: I'm not sure which is worse, the Raiders' O-line or the Browns' back seven on defense. As expected, just a painful game to watch.
Doug Farrar: That was an ugly end to a first drive by Seattle -- going four wide and running the ball on third-and-6 against this defense was one of those "GAAAAAAH!" decisions occasionally made by Holmgren. He's weird with running plays on third down. So far, Chris Spencer is doing a good job on Tommie Harris. This is the battle I'm "ISO-ing."
Chicago's running game (or lack thereof) plays to Seattle's defensive strength, to be sure.
After a rough start to the season, Seattle's offensive line looks good to start. Hasselbeck's getting the nice horseshoe pockets. Good coverage by Da Bears on the red zone drive, though.
Ick. Well, Harris just ate Spencer up on that first sack. Hello, Reality!
Remember the San Diego game, where any lack of pressure would "out" the coverage liabilities? Hello, Seattle!
Tim Gerheim: Remember when Ned said there's no really great team this year? I humbly submit the Chicago Bears -- cough -- whom I picked to go to the Super Bowl -- cough cough. Amazingly, their biggest weakness is their running game.
Doug Farrar: Wow -- that's the second inexplicable Bledsoe-esque pick Matt's thrown in two weeks. A thing of true ugliness.
Bill Barnwell: I like how Rex Grossman throwing a ball away reminded Madden of Brett Favre.
Doug Farrar: Okay -- make that two inexplicable Bledsoe-esque INTs to Manning, Jr. in this game alone. That's a ball you throw away. Period.
Seattle's defense is playing back and tentatively toward the end of the first half, and the Bears are gashing them as a result. It's as if the previous goal-line stand never happened. When the Bears' scoring stats are updated, Hasselbeck should be credited with ten points on two picks.
Pretty much the rest of the game breaks our resident Seahawks fan's spirit.
Doug Farrar: Okay ... uh, wow. This is a game in which the Seahawks just got "out-physicaled" in an embarrassing fashion. Hasselbeck looks like he did in about 2002: rushing throws even when he doesn't need to, trying to make too much happen and proving unable to sustain drives. I don't think they miss Alexander from a production standpoint -- he was averaging 62.3 rushing yards per game and had only two touchdowns through three games -- but they miss the threat of Alexander, and how it forces a defense to adjust. The defense has been tentative, afraid to make a mistake, and never as aggressive as they needed to be. Bad coaching, bad playcalling, iffy defense, and Hasselbeck's worst game in at least two years. They have a bye next week, and they're now tied with the Rams for the division lead after four games. It's going to be "Now Time" very soon.
Doug Farrar: This may be an historic moment -- I'm agreeing with Irvin and disagreeing with Jaws. The NFL Countdown debate topic: "Who is the NFL's most valuable receiver?" To me, it's not even worth arguing. Jaws went with Marvin Harrison (aroo? Reggie Wayne?), while Irvin took the unbelievably obvious answer. Could it be anyone but Steve Smith? The more I think about it, the more I think Smith was robbed in the MVP voting last season. Delhomme's ranking is 93.8 this year (88.1 last year) with Smith, 61.5 without. Manning had a 104.1 rating last year.
In 2005, Smith caught 38% of his team's 269 receptions, 44.8% of their 3,485 passing yards, and 48% of their 25 passing touchdowns.
In 2005, Harrison caught 24% of his team's 348 receptions, 27.9% of their 4,096 passing yards and 38% of their 31 touchdowns.
I agree with most (if not all) of the FO staff -- Jaws is the premier NFL analyst. But that surprised me.
Bill Barnwell: Jaws IS human.
Jets-Colts and CBS commercial/production comments:
Aaron Schatz: Dumb graphic of the week: FOX showed a graphic demonstrating that the 0-3 teams were ranked 25, 28, 29, 31, and 32 in total rushing yardage. Well, gee, what a shock: losing teams run less than winning teams.
I think, despite losing, that the Saints and Jets showed today that they are better than we thought before the season. The Vikings, however, are making our preseason projection look more and more accurate each week.
Doug Farrar: I just found this mysterious code all over the place on NBCSports.com: <autotext>Brett Favre</autotext>. Weird!
256 comments, Last at 03 Oct 2006, 10:34pm by Don M