Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

BrownMal15.jpg

» Futures: Texas RB Malcolm Brown

DeMarco Murray is the toast of the NFL, but injury and team issues clouded some observers' view of his talent. Texas RB Malcolm Brown might have the same problem this winter. 

23 Oct 2006

Audibles at the Line: Week 7

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.

Pittsburgh Steelers 38 at Atlanta Falcons 41

Michael David Smith: I think the FO view of Michael Vick has become the consensus. I watched all the pregame shows today and I hardly heard any analyst say anything good about Vick. Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Terry Bradshaw, all guys who usually are fairly athlete-friendly, were bashing him. However, I do have to say that I think the coaching staff in Atlanta bears some of the responsibility for the fact that he hasn't improved as a passer. I wonder how different his career would be if Dan Reeves were still in Atlanta.

Bill Barnwell: Well wasn't Bill Musgrave supposed to save him?

Michael David Smith: It's not even the two-minute warning of the first half yet, and Vick already has set a new career high for touchdown passes (three). And yet he still isn't looking all that good today. He's mixing some good passes in with some horribly inaccurate ones.

Doug Farrar: Indeed. Three TD passes don't look as impressive when you're completing half your passes and you've thrown two picks.

Michael David Smith: I've criticized Atlanta's coaching staff, but let me say that I loved the call for the surprise onside kick in the second quarter.

Vin Gauri: Troy Palamalu is made of stainless steel. What a stop on Dunn at the goal line on second down. They're reviewing Dunn's TD plunge on third down.

Ned Macey: Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I'm rooting for Vick to become a consistent passer. The talent is definitely there, as he always makes a few extremely precise passes surrounded by a bevy of poor ones. The big pass in overtime -- escape Polamalu and then flip out the soft touch to Crumpler -- was something only a couple quarterbacks could do.

I like Charlie Batch, and the Steelers will be ok with him for the short term. I know Maddox had that good season, but if the coaches were watching those two guys in practice, how was Maddox ever the #2?

Vin Gauri: Holy crap. Hines Ward just outran the Atlanta defense for a TD while wearing one shoe for the last 30 yards. Great look off of the safeties and throw by Batch on the post pattern.

This game is a track meet. Atlanta is rolling Vick out and letting him set up shop in the flat, survey the field, and throw bullets. Having Crumpler helps. It's reminiscent of watching Favre back in his (and GB's) prime.

Aaron Schatz: At one point, Phil Simms said "You take [Norwood], Vick, DeAngelo Hall, that's some of the fastest guys in the NFL, all in one backfield." Um, Phil? In what backfield is that?

Vin Gauri: Crazy sequence at end of the fourth quarter (tied at 38). Atlanta lines up for a 57-yard field goal to win the game. Koenen splits the uprights with the field goal, but the officials give Cowher a timeout (very close call) just before the snap. Koenen then misses, but Polamalu runs into him for a 5-yard penalty. Another Pittsburgh timeout, I think. Then Mora sends out Morten Andersen to try the 52-yarder, which is short. Steelers take over with 25 seconds remaining. Batch completes it downfield to Ward to the Atlanta 35. Pittsburgh is out of timeouts, so they have to spike the ball. But Nate Washington isn't set in the ensuing scramble to line up, penalty with 10 second run-off, so it's on to overtime.

Michael David Smith: I think the two Steelers-Falcons games of the last five years might be the two strangest games of the last five years. Just so many different bizarre scenarios. I could read Bill Cowher's lips and he very clearly said after the false start, "that's a bullshit call." He's wrong. It was the right call.

Ryan Wilson: The Steelers have real issues with turnovers. They put the ball on the ground four times last week and lost two. This week, Santonio Holmes fumbled another kickoff, Willie Parker fumbled, and Roethlisberger lost a snap. These three turnovers resulted in 21 Falcons points. Throw in Atlanta recovering an onside kick and a wily European kicker and there you have it.

MDS mentioned Cowher yelling about the false start to end regulation. Cowher should've been yelling at himself. When Warrick Dunn scored early in the second half, Cowher challenged the play even though it was obvious to everybody with at least one good eye it was a TD. If he weren't throwing around timeouts like the Redskins throw around draft picks, the Steelers could've potentially had it available at the end of the game. Well, assuming Cowher didn't try to triple-ice Morten Andersen a few plays earlier.

On the upside, Nate Washington continues to improve and Holmes looks like he's going to be really, really good. Roethlisberger also played well and it's good to know Chaz Batch can come in if when Ben goes down.

Bad stuff: the run blocking looked dreadful and I'm not sure why against this Falcons team; Willie Parker was more concerned about not fumbling that actually running the football late in the game.

I'm still not impressed with Vick the passer, but he made two big third-down conversions late in the game to keep drives alive.

Tim Gerheim: Remember after the Bucs won the Super Bowl following the '03 season and then imploded, how there was a lot of talk about the team's having sold its soul to the devil for that Super Bowl win? I'm starting to think Ben Roethlisberger talked to them in early 2004 to get the devil's number. Has anything gone well for him since the Steelers won the Super Bowl? He finally gets back on track last week, and then the next game gets totally clobbered this week and misses the second half or so. It really feels like a morality play.

Bill Moore: I'm sorry but Bill Cowher can be a real crybaby. His post game press conference was led with, "I'm not going to be judgmental. I'm just going to tell you what went on at the end of the game. He called a flinch on number 85, Nate Washington. That's what he called. You take it from there."

It was HARDLY a flinch. Washington took a step forward. Plus, this is coming from a guy who greatly benefited from a questionable timeout call. (And by the way, I was marginally routing for the Steelers in this game.)

Doug Farrar: There's nothing I love more than Bill Cowher complaining about calls. Unless it's Joey Porter complaining about calls six months after they happened. There, I said it.

Mike Tanier: Oh no, Bill suggested that the Steelers benefited from a call. Big no-no. We will get at least five e-mails reminding us of the heads-tails call on Thanksgiving and the Polamalu fumble.

I'll say this about Vick: in overtime, when the Falcons only have to drive about 50 yards for a field goal, when Knappster can call his five favorite option/rollout plays to gain yardage, Vick is scary. He's a lot easier to keep out of the end zone (thanks to his inaccuracy) than he is to keep from picking up a few first downs. All I saw of that game was overtime, but the Steelers were having a hard time covering all of the ground they had to to account for possible counters, scrambles, bombs, and whatnots.

New England Patriots 28 at Buffalo Bills 6

Bill Barnwell: The Patriots' first drive against the Bills was their best drive of the season so far, and it happened against a team that totally stymied them in the first half of their first game. The Bills clearly are trying to hide their rookie safeties and are giving big cushions on the outside to Reche Caldwell of all people -- including a series where Terrence McGee stood six yards off the LOS on a third-and-4 and Tom Brady, as you might imagine, took the first down easily. Next play, Caldwell beat McGee deep but Brady overthrew him, and they gave Caldwell a cushion for the rest of the drive.

The Patriots' next third down was third-and-8 from the 21; London Fletcher dropped back 11 yards away from the LOS in a zone and Troy Brown hopped in front of him, ran a perfect-length curl route, and had a pretty much unchallenged first down.

Doug Farrar: Brady must see something on Caldwell's side - according to the play-by-play data, he went to Caldwell five times (two incompletions) on that drive.

Bill Barnwell: Bills gift the Patriots another touchdown when Brady takes a knee to avoid a coverage sack on third down and Mark Kelsay dives at him about two seconds after the play ends. The announcers repeatedly exclaim how furious Dick Jauron must be and they repeatedly show him calm and placid, not even opening his mouth, no Cowher frown, nothing.

Aaron Schatz: That first Patriots drive truly was a marvel of smart play-calling. First, Terrence McGee was giving Caldwell a big cushion, so they went to him on quick passes twice. So McGee moves up, and Brady goes deep on a bomb to Caldwell, though he overthrew it. Later on, they had a sweet tight end screen where Brady faked a left screen, spun around, and hit Watson on the right side. I don't think anybody in the league times the throw on a screen pass -- or fakes a fake screen pass -- better than Tom Brady. It's not just a short throw where the receiver and blockers do all the work; there is an art to it.

Later on, the Bills had a set of plays that had to frustrate every Buffalo fan to no end. You've got two kinds of penalties, the ones that demonstrate close play (interference, illegal contact, holding) and the ones that demonstrate lack of discipline (false start, delay of game, illegal procedure). The first type of penalty tends to have no correlation with losing, while the second type tends to indicate a losing team (see the St. Louis chapter of PFP 2006).

So the Bills go: 13-yard reception to Lee Evans cancelled by illegal shift, then delay of game, so it goes from first down with the Evans reception to third-and-14. Now, they made a sweet play on that third-and-14, when the Pats blitzed six (aaargh) including two guys around the sides, and McGahee took a nice shovel pass and went for the first down. But then they messed that up with a direct snap to Josh Reed in the backfield that fooled nobody and gained a single yard, and two plays later, Losman dropped yet another snap.

Aaron Schatz: When Ben Watson had to stay in to block Aaron Schobel, Schobel destroyed him. But when Watson went out for passes and Schobel had to drop into coverage in a zone blitz, Schobel couldn't cover him in the least. That was a fun demonstration of each player's strengths and weaknesses.

Bill Barnwell: In the "Plays you wouldn't expect to see" category, Robert Royal holds on for a great catch over the middle when Rodney Harrison lines up and then misses him badly.

Bills got booed off the field at halftime after a competitive half where they happen to be down 14-3. That's a little harsh. Not everyone can be the Sabres.

There was a awfully-timed shot of a Patriots lineman (maybe Wilfork?) on the sideline picking his nose before the last play of the game. Just digging for gold.

Doug Farrar: They have so far to go to match baseball for ill-timed sideline/dugout shots...

San Diego Chargers 27 at Kansas City Chiefs 30

Bill Barnwell: I knew I should've taken the Chiefs as a Best Bet this week. I just didn't trust my intuition. Oh well.

Aaron Schatz: Inconsistent teams drive me insane. This game would have made DVOA look really smart -- if it happened a week ago. It's amazing that the Chiefs can play so badly one week and so well just seven days later with all the same players.

Tim Gerheim: The Chiefs have turned into a poor man's 2000 Ravens. Their offense isn't quite as bad, but all it has to hang its hat on is the running back and the tight end. Today, both were a lot better than they have been all season. Their defense isn't as good as the 2000 Ravens, certainly, but it's the only thing keeping them in games, at least against the Chargers. They put a lot of pressure on Philip Rivers, and he struggled with it until the fourth-quarter comeback.

LaDainian Tomlinson has turned into Reggie Bush plus goal-line carries. I think this is the year his massive workload finally catches up to him. I'm not saying he's washed up, by any means, just that this is a down year for him. Maybe it's the line, but he doesn't run inside very well, and the Chargers are using him a lot more in the passing game. Their best formation has Michael Turner at running back, with Tomlinson out wide. He still has his speed, and it was on display on his touchdown run, but he seems to play better in space.

One fun, pointless play by the Chiefs: They ran an end-around, but the Chargers stayed home on the back side, and the receiver (I don't recall who it was) turned it back toward the middle. He ended up getting tackled basically at the line of scrimmage by Jamal Williams. You know you've done something wrong when you run an end-around and get tackled by JAMAL WILLIAMS.

Detroit Lions 24 at New York Jets 31

Bill Barnwell: Chad Pennington shows off his good and bad sides on the Jets second touchdown. On third-and-6, he uses a hard count to draw the Lions offside. Then, on third-and-1, he executes a gorgeous play fake -- fooling me, the hard camera, the Lions DL, and apparently a lace or two on the football, as he throws a duck of a deep ball to Justin McCareins, who makes a great adjustment while being surrounded by two Lions to haul it in and score.

Michael David Smith: If you want to know how good a player Shaun Rogers is, just look at how good the previously incompetent Jets running attack is looking against a Rogers-less Detroit defensive line. It just makes a huge difference not having him taking up two blockers on every play.

Aaron Schatz: I did get a chance to watch just a few minutes of this game, and at one point Jerricho Cotchery caught a pass and ran right over Boss Bailey. He's not supposed to be able to do that, right?

Carolina Panthers 14 at Cincinnati Bengals 17

Doug Farrar: Early on, the Bengals are having more success containing Steve Smith by blitzing the A-gap and playing man than they are setting up a zone and letting him run through it. Which makes sense -- we've all seen enough to know that until Delhomme is on his butt, Smith is pretty much open no matter what, unless you run that four-man gauntlet (box-and-one, as Aaron called it) the Seahawks used on him in the NFC Championship game. Might as well try to blow up the guy throwing the ball if the guy catching it is uncoverable.

Discussion question: Is the Smith/Keyshawn duo the NFL's best right now? Better than Boldin/Fitzgerald, better than Harrison/Wayne, and far better than Owens/Glenn (with Owens the straggler)? Oh, wait a minute -- it's Eric Moulds/Andre Johnson of the Texans, according to their individual DPAR rankings. What a weird season.

If anyone doubts the value of cohesiveness along an offensive line, this is Cincinnati's fifth different line group of the season, Palmer had almost equaled his sack total for all last year before this game even started (as has Matt Hasselbeck, by the way), and the Bengals went three-and-out on their first four possessions. Carolina doesn't have to do much more than bring four to create problems, and the Bengals didn't get into Carolina territory until there were six minutes left in the first half. However, two big runs by Rudi Johnson set up Palmer's touchdown to Reggie Kelly. The Bengals went trips right on that one.

Nice lack of urgency from the Bengals toward the end of the second half: Down 14-7, they futz around until they get his with a false start with 14 seconds left, which requires a 10-second runoff, pursuant to the "Linehan Rule." Cincinnati's one successful first-half drive was surrounded by a great deal of ugly play. Come to think of it, Ken Lucas was flagged for illegal contact on one interception and dropped another one, and those were both on the aforementioned drive, so there you go. Palmer wasn't sacked in the first half, but he had people in his face all the time. And the coverage on the Nick Goings TD was a joke. The Bengals have many more problems than Chad Johnson's current inability to act boldly.

Michael David Smith: Yes, I think Keyshawn-Smith is the best WR duo in the league. I'd probably take Boldin-Fitzgerald second and Johnson-Houshmandzadeh third.

Doug Farrar: My bad for not mentioning Johnson-Houshmandzadeh in that discussion.

Ken Lucas and Mike Minter gave a seminar on coverage when they teamed up on Chad Johnson on a first-and-10 from the Carolina 44 with 10:37 left in the third quarter. Lucas guided him outside left perfectly, and Minter kept him out there on the line as he went past. Palmer didn't give Johnson much to work with on the throw, not that he would have had much.

Robert Geathers made a great pursuit play on a fake toss right from Delhomme to FO bete noire DeShaun Foster with about 6:00 left in the third. Followed him all the way to the side, and Foster had no chance, bringing up third-and-16. Cincinnati's defense is playing far more aggressively in the second half. The Panthers went three-and out on three of their first four second-half drives.

Smith's 36-yard reception with 1:26 left in the third was facilitated by a weird coverage. Smith was inside left, and Madieu Williams covered him at the line but moved inside to blitz at the snap. Smith was left to run a slant/cross thingy with a free release, into a zone, covered by linebacker Landon Johnson. Either someone screwed up, or the Bengals might want to tear that play out of the book.

I really hadn't seen Palmer have any touch with the deep ball. Everything in the air longer than ten yards seemed to be either out of bounds or impossibly overthrown, until his beautiful 32-yarder to Chad Johnson with 9:13 left in the game. On fourth-and-11 Palmer just heaved it up, great touch, and put it where Johnson would be, over Chris Gamble. That was purty. Palmer was 8-of-9 for 93 yards on a drive that began with a sack. In the end, that drive (and the subsequent drive Delhomme couldn't pull off) was the difference.

And there was Smith from the Carolina 19, taking the ball from Delhomme two yards behind the LOS, gaining 18 with about five guys on him, and getting another 15 from a face mask penalty on Madieu Williams. He gained 23 on the next play and the Panthers were in position to score … until Delhomme threw up a "what the HELL was he thinking" interception to Kevin Kaesviharnfluengersjtutarn in the end zone with 3:57 left in the game. Bengals run out the clock, and there's your ballgame.

Michael David Smith: Anyone else who watched this game feel free to chime in on this, but I really think Willie Anderson should be named offensive player of the week for the job he did on Julius Peppers.

Doug Farrar: Agreed. Cincy's middle was very weak at times, but Peppers was a non-factor. Two tackles, two assists.

Michael David Smith: Steve Smith dropped a pass on the first play of the game, but he's a stud. Just incredible what he can do.

Keyshawn Johnson picked up a 17-yard gain on third-and-6 to keep the first drive alive. He later dropped a pass on second-and-goal. Keyshawn plays some H-back in the Dan Henning offense. This is the perfect offense for him because it asks receivers to block and Keyshawn is a willing blocker.

Chad Johnson made a diving 32-yard catch on a gutsy call on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter, giving the Bengals first-and-goal from the 3-yard line. Marvin Lewis chose to punt on fourth-and-1 later in the fourth quarter, with just over 5 minutes remaining. Dumb. Go for it there.

Mike Tanier: Didn't watch. Spent the early game learning that my heart can travel 186 feet in the air off the boot of a mediocre kicker.

Philadelphia Eagles 21 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23

Doug Farrar: I was wondering why we haven't heard from Mike Tanier yet today, until it occurred to me that Ronde Barber's interception for a touchdown off McNabb might have given him a nasty 2002 NFC Championship Game flashback.

Mike? You out there? You okay?

Ned Macey: Incredible ending with the 62-yard field goal. If my laptop had been with me at the time I would have written that I thought they should just go for the Hail Mary since the 62-yarder was impossible. Guess I was wrong about that.

Given the ending, it is worth noting that the Eagles left three points on the field at the end of the first half when McNabb threw to the 2-yard line with two seconds and no timeouts left. Smith was tackled short of the end zone, and the half ended.

McNabb was dying out there today with dehydration issues. The puke on the field was the obvious sign, but he looked tired for much of the second half. That being said, his touchdown to Tapeh was an amazing individual play. Speaking of amazing individual plays, the final Westbrook touchdown was absurd. He made at least five TB defenders miss. When healthy, I think Westbrook is one of the ten most dangerous weapons in the league.

Nice to see Ronde Barber clinch his Pro Bowl bid today. What I liked about the two touchdowns was that one was done with guile and one was done with physical skill.

Tampa Bay, by the way, got outgained 506-196. If it weren't for last week's Arizona debacle, this result would have seemed more absurd. Credit Gradkowski for not turning the ball over, and that's about it.

Aaron Schatz: What a weird day. You can do all the numbers and stats and projections you want, and some days, a bunch of weird stuff just happens.

I'm trying to figure out what's the strangest aspect of that Matt Bryant 62-yard field goal.

1) It was the first field goal of 59 or more yards since 1998.
2) I specifically wrote in last week's DVOA ratings that there had been no field goal of 59 or more yards since 1998.
3) It beat Bryant's previous career high by 12 yards.
4) Based on our numbers, Bryant was the third-worst field-goal kicker in the league until Sunday, ahead of only Michael Koenen and Olindo Mare.

The Eagles have now lost a game that went to overtime on a ball fumbled forward into the end zone, and a game with TWO turnovers returned for touchdown and an absurd field goal.

Unlike Chicago last week, San Diego and Philadelphia fell behind early, crawled back into the game -- and then had the other team come back to win by NOT missing the final field goal.

Michael David Smith: Just days after his identical twin brother, Tiki, said he planned to retire, Ronde Barber showed he has lots of good football left in him. I really like both of the Barber brothers. Class acts, great players.

Donovan McNabb was nearly sacked but danced around in the pocket and fired the ball to running back Thomas Tapeh for his first touchdown. He looked more mobile than usual, but he also looked exhausted after a long run in the third quarter. McNabb, who was famously criticized by his then-teammate Terrell Owens for getting tired in the Jacksonville heat during Super Bowl, was visibly winded after a long run in the third quarter and vomited on the field in the fourth quarter.

Just when Philadelphia seemed to be taking control of the game, Jerome McDougle got a 15-yard facemask penalty then picked up a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for kicking the referee's penalty flag. Not smart.

Bruce Gradkowski needs to get more accurate. Almost all of his completions have been short passes.

Mike Tanier: OK, I'm better now. After that Eagles game, I had 1.75 DPAR (draft pours above replacement) and I am in at least a reasonable mood.

Yeah, McNabb looked drained in the fourth quarter. I would rather take drained, puking, and throwing touchdowns than fresh and throwing easy interceptions. That game was an indication of what happens when you come out week after week and let teams get an edge on you in the first quarter or the first half, which the Eagles did against the Texans, Packers, Saints, and Bucs (and really the Cowboys if you throw away the blocked punt. It's great to be the best second half team in the NFL, but I would rather be the best first half team. The Eagles need to stop letting (mostly) weaker foes play with them in the first half.

As for the three interceptions, well, this may be news to some people, but the Bucs play a Cover-2 defense. This is new: they haven't been doing this for the past decade or so, and a version of the defense isn't named after them, or anything. Ronde Barber, in particular, is still figuring out this defense, because he just met coordinator Monte Kiffen last Thursday and doesn't know how deep he should set or how to defend a hitch. So it makes sense that the Eagles, who haven't run a hitch in about three weeks (see Ned's comments about how the Eagles offense consists of screens and bombs) would decide that they would execute lots of hitches and curls and outs in front of Barber, who lacks the experience to handle the kinds of routes Hank Baskett and Greg Lewis can run. ARRGH! ARGHH! The Bucs couldn't stop the run, and they traded one of their best run defenders before the game! ARGGH! So we decide attack the one guy on the Bucs side of the ball who absolutely knows what he's doing (okay, Brooks too).

Completely, utterly frustrating. I mean, most of the game, look at the field goal snaps, Bidwell can barely get them down. Then the field goal. ARRGH!

Doug Farrar: 1.75 DPAR? I maxed out at 3.50 after the Hasselbeck injury, but my numbers were deceptive, as I was drinking American light beer. This, of course, cuts my replacement value in half.

Mike Tanier: I was drinking American light too. DPAR accounts for having two children and a day job.

Bill Barnwell: In the opposite vein, I got home at 7 AM this morning and may have very well still been drunk for the Jets game. Does that give me negative DPAR?

Green Bay Packers 34 at Miami Dolphins 24

Aaron Schatz: I guess none of us watched this game, but Joey Harrington threw 62 passes today. WTF?

The record is 70 by Drew Bledsoe back during that absurd 1994 Patriots season where they never, ever ran the ball and still made the playoffs. Can anyone else remember another game of 60+? And how bad does your offensive line have to be at run blocking to throw the ball 62 times with Ronnie Brown in your backfield?

Michael David Smith: Vinny Testaverde threw 69 a few years ago. George Blanda had the record at 68 until Bledsoe broke it. Jon Kitna of all people threw 68 once, too.

Bill Barnwell: I think what's even more amazing is that Harrington threw 62 passes and Chris Chambers had TWO catches.

Jacksonville Jaguars 7 at Houston Texans 27

Aaron Schatz: My nominee for Any Given Sunday. How do you only score seven points against the Houston Texans???

Tim Gerheim: The way you only score seven against the Texans is by having a quarterback playing like Drew Bledsoe on a bender. I don't know if it's always been this way, but Leftwich's throwing motion looks less like he's trying to throw a football and more like he's trying to split pavement with a sledgehammer. His arm comes from below parallel to the ground all the way over his head, pretty much extended all the way around. It's the ugliest thing I've ever seen, and it resulted in a lot of passes that, without Leftwich being under any pressure, dove straight for the turf about six yards in front of the intended receiver. These weren't underthrown deep balls, they were dump-offs that plunged into the line of scrimmage.

Fred Taylor was running roughshod over the Texans, especially in the second half, but for some reason the Jags decided they should pass now and then, and Leftwich killed drives. He also had the benefit of some timely drops by Reggie Williams and a fumble by Ernest Wilford. (When that happens, it sort of turns TMQ's "ERRR-nest WILLL-ford" on its head. Interestingly, I just Googled "TMQ Ernest Wilford" to find how TMQ spells his chant, and the top hit was a TMQ from last year in which he recounts a Wilford drop that caused a DeMarcus Faggins interception return for a touchdown to ice the game. It's fun when things come full circle like that.

I don't understand rivalries. Houston always plays Jacksonville tough, no matter the disparity between the two teams. Indy, on the other hand...

Mike Tanier: Leftwich has always had that motion. When he was just a little boy who stood up to his daddy's knee, he picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel and said "the hammer's gonna be the death of me." Seriously, though: big ol' windup.

Arizona Cardinals 9 at Oakland Raiders 22

Doug Farrar: Oakland is beating Arizona, 17-0, in the second quarter. I'm off to buy stock in YouTube before the Dennis Green postgame press conference.

Aaron Schatz: Edgerrin James: 13 carries for 34 yards. Oakland was allowing 4.0 yards per carry and 149 yards per game before this. At what point does James become the biggest waste of money in NFL free agent history?

Washington Redskins 22 at Indianapolis Colts 36

Ned Macey: The angle going in is Washington can run the ball and the Colts can't stop the run. Match-ups aren't that easy. Washington likes to run on the edges, and the Colts' speedy linebackers are flying to the ball. Freeney and Mathis' upfield pass rush actually slows down the run if the run is outside. Freeney, by the way, finally gets a sack but it comes with a 15-yard facemask penalty.

Manning took a nasty hit. We'll see how he recovers from that. Replay just showed him holding his shoulder.

Aaron Schatz: OK, just when we thought it couldn't get any weirder today, the Redskins were just forced to kick off from their own FIVE due to penalties. I don't have a single kickoff from the five-yard line in my entire database going back to 1997.

It was strange to see the Redskins and Colts unable to run on each other in the first quarter, but they were running a bit better in the second quarter.

Ned Macey: Reasonable minds can disagree about whether or not Harrison/Wayne are the top wide receiver combo, but I think everyone can agree that Kenny Wright cannot cover either one of them. Shawn Springs went down leaving Rumph on Harrison from the 1-yard line, and Harrison managed to get about five yards of separation.

I really think that the Washington offense with Brunell would be good enough if they had a defense even approaching last year's team. Instead, it looks like the Jason Campbell era may be starting soon.

Mike Tanier: The Colts got three ticky-tack points before half. First, ARE makes that great punt return, but he gets flagged for excessive celebration for what looked like spontaneous glee to me (and I really dislike the Redskins). Then, the kickoff dude takes his helmet off while begging for a facemask call. Yes, the letter of the law says no, but he's about 50 yards away from the action and about to walk off the field anyway. Then, there's a roughness call against the Redskins on Manning. It appeared to be a makeup call for the play when they decapitated Manning but there was no call. The Redskins kicked off from the 5-yard line, then gave up 15 yards on the roughing call. It didn't make a difference, I guess, except for momentum in a game where the Colts steamrolled late.

I saw one play where the Redskins flipped the quick screen to Santana Moss and the Colts CB (Jackson?) read it from five seconds before the Redskins huddled. They really need to come up with something else.

Ryan Wilson: I don't know if it was just situational, an injury issue, or an ability issue, but newly signed Troy Vincent was on the field early with Sean Taylor while Adam Archuleta was earning that $8 million signing bonus over on the sidelines.

Mark Brunell's DPAR numbers were more than respectable heading into this game, and I know a lot of people want to see Campbell ... but Brunell's not the reason Washington stinks. The secondary is embarrassing (but not as embarrassing as Derrick Frost), and the offensive line play has been spotty.

Now if Washington is just giving up on this season, I think they should go with Campbell. Of course, they've proven that signing free agents to crazy contracts isn't the way to build a team, but since they don't have any draft picks it'll be interesting to see exactly who they'll put around Campbell going forward.

Bill Moore: Deion Sanders drives me crazy, but this has to be one of the best lines: On the NFL Network, he referred to Indy as his "All Mascara" team. He alluded to his days on the prowl, when he would find a really hot woman and take her home, only to find out when you wake up the next morning that without her "mascara" on, she wasn't nearly as hot as you thought.

The Colts were like the lady that looked really hot at the club, but when you take her home (the playoffs), they aren't nearly as hot as you thought.

Deion's comparison, not mine.

Aaron Schatz: That Marvin Harrison TD on Rumph was a thing of beauty. Rumph was specifically playing Harrison on his inside shoulder, but Harrison just fakes the fade for about one step, Rumph bites on it so hard that he leaves tooth imprints in the RCA Dome turf, and Harrison moves inside to make the catch all by himself.

Can somebody explain to me what was going on between Santana Moss and Jason David? Also, how does Dwight Freeney have no official sacks this year? Is he not playing as well, or is this related to a strategy offenses are using against him, or just random chance?

As far as the Redskins, the only way this is Brunell's fault is if Brunell can't throw a medium-range pass anymore, let alone a long one, and that's why they throw nothing but underneath passes. I mean, they threw a three-yard swing pass to Mike Sellers on third-and-8, which the Colts were not fooled by in the slightest. Otherwise, 2-5 is almost entirely due to the defensive injuries and lack of depth.

Mike Tanier: Freeney had a very good game for a guy with no sacks. I've been skeptical about those guys who lead the league in hurries since the days of Mike Mamula, but I think he is doing a great job at flushing QBs and isn't as bad against the run as he has looked in the past.

Minnesota Vikings 31 at Seattle Seahawks 13

Doug Farrar: Seattle's first TD, a 72-yarder, was Matt Hasselbeck all the way. He saw seven in the box, and directed Darrell Jackson from the backfield in an offset I to the slot. Jackson ran a quick slant to beat Dwight Smith and Ronyell Whitaker (Smith came up pre-snap) for about 60 yards after the catch.

The Trufant-Hamlin coverage on Troy Williamson on that early deep ball was great -- just glad to see Williamson walk off the field after Hamlin's hit.

Seattle cornerback/alleged punt returner Jimmy Williams must be the NFL's all-time leader in the little-known category, "fair catches called even though nobody's within five yards of him."

The PI call on Marcus Trufant with 11:30 left in the second quarter (even though it was offset by a holding call) was absolutely moronic. Vikings WR Billy McMullen was shoving Trufant down to the ground as Trufant was playing the ball. After watching two of three Terrell Owens TDs enhanced by pushoffs last week, I wonder if allowance of illegal contact on the offensive side is based on a mandate to increase offensive output.

Marcus Robinson just abused Kelly Jennings and Michael Boulware on that first Minnesota touchdown. Both defenders bit hard on the fake post. As a side note, I don't see why opposing quarterbacks don't just jump-ball Seattle's DBs all day long until they actually prove it doesn't work. Robinson was the receiver who caught four TD passes in one game against the Seahawks in 2003 when he was with Baltimore, and I think three of them were high heaves from Anthony Wright. Jennings did redeem himself later with good coverage on Robinson when Julian Peterson sacked Brad Johnson right before the half.

The Vikings' inability to convert on fourth-and-7 with three minutes remaining in the first half after Seattle's special teams gave them a gift possession on the Seahawks 41 was the end of a great series by Seattle's defense. Peterson is starting to look very scary out there.

Mike Tanier: So, Seneca Wallace. You an Iowa State fan, Doug? He looked good there. Of course, Antwaan Randle El looked like a QB at Indiana too.

Hey, Tobias Childress really is in charge of the Vikings. The Vikings offense looked like the Eagles in the first half: they never ran the ball, but they executed play-action on every pass. If that strategy yields a 95-yard run once in a while, Childress will be happy. And that defense will win the Vikings some games.

Doug Farrar: Okay, watching E.J. Henderson roll into Matt Hasselbeck's right knee just sucked. I'm writing this Sunday afternoon, a day before any official diagnosis will likely be released, but there are three players the Seahawks can't afford to lose for any extended period of time, and none of them are Shaun Alexander. They are Hasselbeck, Walter Jones, and Lofa Tatupu. Seahawks fans just got a brief taste of how Bengals fans felt when Carson Palmer went down against the Steelers.

The halfback option TD pass from Mewelde Moore to Jermaine Wiggins was a great call -- it's obvious that the Vikings are on to Seattle's susceptibility to any sort of misdirection, and their inability to cover big guys in the red zone.

The Seahawks defense has been playing what I call a “trot zone� through the second half -- a basic cover-2 shell with everyone trotting through their coverages. Not exactly the intensity one would prefer.

Ron Pitts after Chester Taylor's 95-yard TD run: "That's probably the longest run Taylor's had this season." You think so, Detective? It's actually the longest run in Vikings history, and Steve Hutchinson was a factor as he walled off Peterson on the cutback. Meanwhile, Matt Hasselbeck's in the locker room with what we're being told is a sprained MCL after suffering from porous offensive line play all season.

Ladies and gentlemen, the value of elite guards has officially been established.

Seneca Wallace did all right after his 0-4 start (for a guy who's never really been asked to perform in an NFL contest), but this isn't about today's game. It's about a city holding its collective breath until an MRI is done. Just a bummer day in Seattle.

(Note: This is normally where we list what games we're doing for Any Given Sunday and Every Play Counts, but we're still not quite sure.)

Posted by: admin on 23 Oct 2006

152 comments, Last at 28 Oct 2006, 6:17am by Matthew Furtek

Comments

1
by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:30am

Aaron, when do you change the kicker adjustments to Indoors, Outdoors, at DEN, and vs. PHI?

2
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:42am

I had to double-check, but Gannon threw 64 against the Steelers in 2002. Bledsoe's 45-70 game is etched in my memory. The Vikes were up 20-0 when the Pats said, "screw it, we're throwing every play," and they all seemed like short passes to the backs and tight ends, and then the TD in overtime. In '94 it was just good entertainment to me; today that sort of performance against the Vikings would send me into a stupor.

3
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:46am

Blast from the past -- in the Pats/Bills game yesterday, Pats punter Josh Miller went retro and attempted a coffin corner kick instead of the usual modern day high floater. And he did it -- put it out at the Bills' 12.

Not that I'm complaining, being a Pats fan, but why oh why did the Bills pass on Leinart?

4
by Seante (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:47am

Watching Mark Brunell play, it got me wondering if he ever steps up against pressure. Defenders hurtle towards him off the edge, closing in on him and he just stays planted back there, making 10 yard throws look like 15 yard heaves from a ditch. The only time he moves in the pocket is laterally and most of those plays end up with him throwing the ball away.

5
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:50am

I wish I could find a clip of that false start play, because I could've sworn the announcer was crowing that it was a legal formation, but someone just moved, and as far as I could count, it was both - there were eight guys on the line, and I think they said that the WRs didn't get set before the snap (and it looked like both, not just Washington).

And does anyone in Washington still think Mike Rumph has been playing well? Anyone?

6
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:54am

That depends on where Mike Rumph's mother lives.

7
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:57am

I have a suggestion for Any Given Sunday: Every game this sunday. I mean seriously, what the [redacted] is going on in the NFL? I have no idea what to expect anymore.

8
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:57am

"but Brunell’s not the reason Washington stinks"

I think he's a part of it (or it could just be Saunders).

There were entirely too many passes last night to completely blanketed wide recievers 4 yards short of the first down. If it was 3rd and 7-10, you could count on brunell to throw to a WR or RB, with a corner/LB 2 feet behind him, for a 4 yard gain.

9
by Jericho (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:58am

Didn't get to see the Miami game either, but I don't understand Miami's desire to constantly throw the ball. Miami was running the ball reasonably well and only got in trouble when they passed the ball (the interceptions were killers). The game was close and yet again they went pass wacky (with their back-up QB). I would think Nick Saban would do something about that.

10
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 11:59am

3: There have been a suprising number of coffin-corners this year. I don't know why they're in vogue all of a sudden.

11
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:04pm

After the Atlanta, Chicago and Tampa wins in the past week, I'd like to see an article on field-goal kicking. Mechanics, odds, all that stuff. Only problem is it sounds like a Too Deep Zone kind of topic, and if Mike has to study and write about the Bryant FG we may need a suicide watch.

12
by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:07pm

Seattle's safety play has been really bad to absolutely atrocious this year, apart from a couple of "ooh, lookie what I found" INTs. Marquand Manuel could be counted on to be in position last year when Hamlin went down, so the big plays dried up against last year's D. While Hamlin is more athletic, he can be fooled into getting out of position. And Boulware has regressed to playing safety like a linebacker for some reason.

The front 7 has been pretty good, although Wistrom allowed himself to be taken out of the play on the 95-yarder. Of course, the safety was out of position as well . . .

The returning members of the O-line look like they've each lost 1/2 step, Jones included, and of course Spencer is the new guy still learning to play LG. His OJT may be part of the reason that Jones has been off this year. Having Alexander back would help, I suppose, but even if he were back he'd be off last year's pace considerably. This O line has regressed, and Hutch's absence isn't the only reason.

All that said, they're probably still 10-6, maybe 11-5 at the end of the season. But HFA is out, I'd expect.

It was hard watching this game, but on the other hand this may be what the team needed. The coaches' screams probably find a more receptive audience after an ugly loss than they do after a narrow win. A lot of the issues with this team are coachable, so I'm hoping they get their act together.

13
by CA (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:10pm

The Tynes 53 yard field goal that allowed the Chiefs to beat the Chargers came on a 1st and 15 with 11 seconds left. 11 seconds! What was Herm Edwards thinking? I didn't watch the game, but I assume that the Chiefs had no timeouts remaining. Still, you have to know that the majority of the time your kicker is not going to make a 53 yard field goal, especially outdoors. Why not attempt a short pass (or two -- they had 11 freaking seconds) toward the sidelines to try to give your kicker a better shot? Edwards is very lucky that Tynes bailed him out, because that is just flat-out terrible clock management.

Speaking of terrible clock management, what was Bill Cowher doing taking his final two timeouts attempting to ice Atlanta's kickers, to which Ryan Wilson alluded? There are 30 seconds on the clock, and you're going to get the ball back either with the game tied or down a field goal. Save your timeouts and give your team a better chance to tie the game or win it in regulation!

Finally, Ned, no, you weren't wrong. Gruden never should have attempted to win a game on a 62 yard field goal. I gotta believe that you have a better chance with the Hail Mary than a field goal attempt of that length. I mean, that's the longest non-dome, non-Mile High field goal ever. Gruden should be thinking that Bryant's chances of making that kick are close to 0. Bad decision, incredible kick, lucky result. Out of curiosity, does heat allow balls to travel farther? I'm no physicist, so I don't know the answer.

14
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:12pm

I also think the entire Eagles fanbase should send letters (millions of them) to Andy Reid. And all they should say is "If the Eagles are inside the 30 with 15 seconds left or less and no timeouts, kick the field goal. I do not care what the score is. You will not score the touchdown. Kick the field goal."

15
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:14pm

As far as the Redskins, the only way this is Brunell’s fault is if Brunell can’t throw a medium-range pass anymore, let alone a long one, and that’s why they throw nothing but underneath passes.

Ding, ding, ding, ding... we have a winner! Most of Brunell's yards came during that meaningless 4th quarter touchdown, just so Gibbs can point to it as a reason to feel good about keeping Brunell in. I don't think Brunell can throw medium or long over the middle... not sure how many of his passes went that way.

I know his stats are good and he doesn't throw interceptions, but he is missing open receivers, locking in on the primary target and checking down instead of hitting another WR.

He stays though, because the 'Skins still have a fight in the NFC. Oddly enough their next 9 games are all against NFC East and NFC South opponents, plus St. Louis. Improbable as an 8-1 finish is... if they did that well it would mean at least a Wild Card or division win. Basically Gibbs won't concede the season until the 7th loss, and why not? (That's my rosy assessment... in 3 weeks I'll be calling for Campbell).

Can somebody explain to me what was going on between Santana Moss and Jason David?

David kept cheap-shotting Moss down the field, near the end of the whistle away from the play. It appears Moss gave him the Zidane, twice... and got caught by the ref's for retaliation.

I know the NFL always flags the retaliation, but it would be nice if they were aware of cheap shots that lead to retaliation.

The secondary is embarrassing...and the offensive line play has been spotty.

This is exactly why they are losing. Next season they need to load up somehow the secondary/offensive line. The secondary is the biggest issue... it looks like a huge mistake to let Walt Harris go and sign Kenny Wright, especially since they don't have anyone to cover while Archuleta blitzes.

Has any defense collapsed this much? They can't even tackle this season.

16
by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:18pm

14:

All things being neutral, I agreed with the playcall. Quick play, either into the endzone or out of the endzone. No short throws, no sack. However, McNabb has a history of leading his team to the opponent's 2 yard line as time expires in the 2nd half. He's good for at least two of them per year.

17
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:22pm

Out of curiosity, does heat allow balls to travel farther? I’m no physicist, so I don’t know the answer.

Yes and no. The ball itself travels shorter - the air's denser. Humid air, however, is less dense than dry air (yes, it is, look it up, trust me) and so the ball would travel farther. But that effect is pretty negligible.

However, heat also makes the ball more pliable, which does make it likely to go farther.

All in all, though, considering you're at sea level in Tampa, it was 100 degrees F, that was very likely the most ludicrous field goal ever attempted. It was absolutely the most ludicrous field goal ever made.

18
by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:24pm

Bonus points to Aaron if he can riff off Deion's "all mascara" line with a Joe 90 reference in this week's DVOA commentary.

#13: Tom Dempsey's 63-yarder was outdoors at Tulane Stadium, which was at sea level.

19
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:24pm

Well the Dolphins receivers were running open all day. Unfortunately they let a lot of balls bounce off them onto the ground, into a defender... That's how Chambers ends up with only 2 catches. Dolphins rookie Hagan had his second decent game in a row and you have to wonder if Chambers days left are numbered. A big difference between Culpepper and Harrington is Joey’s ability to get McMichael’s into the offense. The first few series Taylor was all over Favre, then he got injured and the Dolphins defense never really got to him again. Dolphins were supposed to be using a more attacking style of defense this season.

20
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:25pm

15.

But thats exactly my point. Brunell basically tells the other team, "if its third and more than 4, you're getting the ball back."

As much as I generally dont like young, unproven QBs, I think Campbell would even give them a better chance of winning NOW. I can't believe Gibbs doesnt see that.

21
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:27pm

Pat,
Every Redskin fan knew coming in Indianpolis would put up ~ 40... Rumph seems to be best when he is covering fly patterns... and that's probably why Campbell should play.

Lots of us fans want to point to Brunell and say "he can't get it done", but if the defense played to the level it has for the past 2 seasons they would be 4-3. (Just like the Eagles could be 7-0).

The biggest scape-goats in Washington are Brunell and Archuleta/Carter... plus Cerrato for putting the team in this dark hole.

22
by Purds (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:29pm

Re #15:

Though I am a Colts fan, I have to agree with Matthew on the Moss/David spat. The first incident was fairly close to the line of scrimmage, so perhaps David could be justified for clearing Moss out near the end of the play (that's the one where Moss got the penalty). The second one, way down field, was a cheap shot by David.

23
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:38pm

Re: 22
I'm not saying it shouldn't have been a penalty. Everyone knows the guy who retaliates will get called for it. David also sold the retaliations pretty well too...

Dumb play by Santana.

24
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:40pm

What's the success rate on 50 yard field goals? 50% 25% on 55? maybe 10% on 62? I think the FG was the right call- it at least gives you a chance, while I can't remember a Hail Mary being completed in the last ten years.

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:41pm

For comparison, incidentally: the air density in Tampa on Sunday was about 50% denser than in Denver last week. If that ball had been kicked in Denver, it would've likely been good from 70 yards, especially considering it was right down the middle.

26
by admin :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:42pm

Re: Bryant, if you check the intro essays in PFP 2006 you'll notice that my updated special teams method now features a FIFTH category for field goals, "Florida." Based on the records of visiting kickers, it is easier to kick a field goal in Florida than in other "warm" cities. What was it, 90 degrees in Tampa yesterday? Eventually I'll be able to actually adjust special teams based on the weather in each specific game.

(San Fran also now gets its own fifth category for punts, because of the wind swirls at Candlestick.)

The success rate on 62-yard field goals is 0%. No 62-yard field goal in NFL history was successful until yesterday. In the "field-goal points above average" rating we use for special teams, Bryant gets 3.0 before the weather adjustment.

27
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:43pm

The celebration penalty on ARE was just ridiculous. His celebration was running into the goalpost and falling down. How is that unsportsmanlike? It's too bad the league can't clone Ed Hochuli and install him as permanent ref, cuz most of these guys have no feel for the game and end up making calls like that.

28
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:44pm

Ignoring the altitude effects (which are big here, but..) see here. It's about 5% for a 62-yard field goal. It probably should be lower, considering basically no one ever tries them outside of domes or high altitudes.

29
by queequeg (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:44pm

regarding the tampa game, i was prepared for an eagles loss going into the game, considering mcnabb's previous difficulties against Kiffin's man-read zone, but i was not expecting to almost win, making the 62 yarder way more painful than it should. I'm blaming this one on McNabb forcing the hitch and harbaugh's ST unit.

30
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:46pm

Do we have numbers on Hail Mary completions? Anecdotally I think it has to be less than 5%

31
by silentlaw (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:47pm

Did anyone else find it truly hilarious how A) Clinton Portis got wrecked in the balls and B) That the announcers were physically incapable of talking about it like professionals?

And why did they leave the camera on the poor guy for like 5 minutes?!

32
by the fumble (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:48pm

When a team is lined up in an illegal formation, and one player moves before the ball is snapped, which penalty is it? Is it false start or is it illegal formation? I guess technically the Steelers were guilty of two infractions, but were only called for one (Washington was dubiously on the line, I guess). Of course if they were called for two infractions, ATL would simply refuse the illegal formation and accept the false start because it contains the 10 second runoff. This would throw an interesting wrinkle in Scott Linehan's comments about taking the illegal formation to stop the clock a few weeks ago. Everyone needs to stand still while Holt would snap it to Bruce to ensure the illegal formation and not the false start.

33
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:51pm

I asked the question in another thread, but I will here also: does it strike anyone else, as it does me, that receiver play, on average, is down this year? The elite guys may be as good as ever, but it really does seem to me as if that guys overall just aren't catching the ball as well. Now, it could be that the fact the Vikings have about as bad a pass catching crew as I've seen in my lifetime is influencing my perception, but I seem to seeing an excessive number of drops, and a lack of above average catches, in almost every game I watch.

As to the Vikings, the Williams tackles are really dominating the line of scrimmage, and combined with an above average backfield, it gives the Vikings a pretty darned good defense. Other that the long yards after catch play to Jackson, the Seahawks weren't doing much on offense even beore Hasselbeck got hurt.

Taylor's long td run was interesting because it was a textbook case of a runner's decision-making being the difference when a line doesn't provide the hole in the place the play designs it for, but the blockers do a tremendous job of staying with their blocks. The Viking blockers, Hutchinson and Mckinnie in particular kept their guys tied up for a very, very, long time, and Taylor just had to bounce outside, and he was off to the races. The announcers, of course, Terry Donahue (who should know better) in particular, described the play's result as being pretty exclusively due to Taylor's effort, which was a pretty silly thing to say.

34
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:51pm

re:27

Is anyone else really upset about the NFL's aparant hatred of TD celebrations? I for one thoroughly enjoy them, especially when theyre mocking the other team.

As a Patriots fan, seeing Mike Vrabel do the bird dance in the endzone during the 2004 superbowl, is one of my favorite football memories.

I remember watching highlights last year, just to see what Chad Johnson's celebration of the week was.

35
by silentlaw (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:51pm

Did anyone else think that ARE's celebration was an ultimate homage to the old Madden games where you could run into the goalpost and fall down?

36
by Bruce (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:53pm

There needs to be a new column at FO, "What the heck happened to ..." The inaugural article should be the Redskin defense. As Matthew Furtek said, when did a "D" this good, get so bad?

37
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:55pm

OK, so there's always lots of chat on this site about Vick and whether part of the problem is his receivers or whether people who say this are just making excuses for him.

So that I've got some kind of baseline to work with answer this for me: the INT shortly before half-time which bounced off Warrick Dunn's hands:

bad throw or dropped pass? (I'm just interested to see how people apportion blame for this turnover between Vick and Dunn)

38
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 12:59pm

re 34: I agree. In my opinion, young kids watching Bill Cowher yelling at officials is a much bigger problem and a much worse example than watching a player do some dance after a TD. The league needs to lay off players expressing themselves joyfully and start clamping down on coaches expressing themselves angrilly and profanely.

39
by J.D. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:00pm

#10 and #3: Although I've seen more coffin corners this season than I can ever remember seeing, they shouldn't be as efficient: http://www.footballcommentary.com/pooch.htm.
Also, as far as games with a ridiculous number of pass attempts, Steve Young threw 65 passes in a 1995 playoff loss to the Packers. It was the year after they lost Ricky Watters, and Derek Loville was their starting RB...

40
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:01pm

Is it really that surprising? It looks like it's primarily a function of age and injuries (these two are related), and ineffective free agent pickups (Archuleta, Carter, and Wright/Rumph), although the latter two are related to the first.

The major guys injured so far on defense are Springs, Griffin, and Salave'a, right? You're talking about guys that are all pretty much on the wrong side of 30.

41
by ABW (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:01pm

Pats game notes:

I don't know what happened to Terrence McGee, but he is getting picked on. I don't know if his play has regressed or Nate Clements is just so much better, but the Patriots(and every other team as near as I can tell) picks on McGee. A lot. I think not having safety help deep does not help McGee - he would probably be better off playing press coverage with deep help.

Rodney Harrison is not 100% from his ACL injury last year. This has become pretty apparent to me by this point in the season. He's still OK though and the improved CB play means the secondary is holding together. If either Hobbs or Samuel goes down for an extended period things could get ugly fast though.

Asante Samuel has a nose for the ball and is playing much, much better than last year, when his play was a regression from the year before. Not sure if this is actual improvement or if he is just getting lucky or if having Rodney Harrison back there helps him out a lot.

Laurence Maroney has trouble getting things going sometimes...he just doesn't have the pure bull-rushing, break through tackles strength that Dillon has. When he gets out in space and can start using his stiff-arm move on individual tacklers he is much better.

Seymour went down for the second half in this game and Jarvis Green came in and played pretty well. Contrast this with what's happening to the Redskins D-line right now - this is why holding on to draft picks is a good strategy.

McGahee looked better to me than 59 yards on 20 carries, but that's what the stat sheet says.

I'm pretty sure that was Wilfork picking his nose, that was hilarious.

42
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:05pm

#36

It's based on attrition, mostly. The last three years (maybe just two), Washington has gotten rid of their number one CB and just moved everyone up. That worked out okay, but it caught up to them. It's been similar along the defensive line. I also wonder if Gregg Williams has a preference for guys who hit hard, so they end up with guys like Rumph who can't cover a building.

And as for TD celebrations, if the NFL is going to regulate those, they also need to crack down on sack dances. To review: three offensive players pretending to shoot a fadeaway after a TD, 15-yard penalty. Three defensive players doing same after a sack, nothing.

Idiocy.

43
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:07pm

Seymour went down for the second half in this game and Jarvis Green came in and played pretty well. Contrast this with what’s happening to the Redskins D-line right now - this is why holding on to draft picks is a good strategy.

I'd say the Redskins secondary, not the Redskins D-line. Griffin and Salave'a were replaced by two late-round draft picks, but draft picks nonetheless. And they actually did pretty well. The only weirdness there is that Washington never roster juggled to add another DT, so they only had a career backup and two rookies last week. That's just plain silly.

44
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:13pm

According to Adam Schefter:

Hasselbeck has "Grade 2 ACL sprain" and will be out 2-4 weeks.

45
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:16pm

Couple more items...

I can't remember the sequence; did Cowher use his final timeout icing a kicker when Morten Anderson was on the field? Now, Anderson may not have enough leg left for a 53 yarder, but I can just about guarantee that having the opposing coach call time out will have zero effect on him.

Yeah I'm no physicist either, but Aaron's post confirms my suspicion that a 62 yarder on a very hot Tampa afternoon is easier than on a 65 degree day at sea level, in, say, Baltimore or Seattle.

Brunell has a lot of limitations, but short of replacing him with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, there isn't anything about changing the qb for the Redskins that is going to do much for this season' w-l record unless Washington's defense, and their defensive backfield in particular, makes huge improvements.

Other than Clay and Bruce Matthews, are the Barber brothers the best sibling duo in modern (since 1960) pro football history? I don't the Golics were as good, and nobody else comes to mind, unless/until Eli Manning gets better.

McNabb was very disappointing yesterday. The only way the Bucs are likely to win against a team with a decent defense (although the Eagles certainly seem to miss Kearse), given their current qb situation, is if the opposing offense yields multiple scores or massive field position. Ronde schooled McNabb.

46
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:20pm

45- Koenen (I'm pretty sure) was on the field when Cowher used his last timeout. After the TO was called, Koenen came off and Andersen went on the field.

47
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:22pm

The improvement for the Redskins backfield is basically... have Springs and Rogers on the field at the same time.

The injury to Pierson Prieulau really hurt (he went down in the opening MNF game on the kickoff), as he could play a bit as nickel.

Pat is correct, that the CBs were decimated by the front office. Losing Smoot in particular (not sure if he is doing well in Minny THIS year, but it seems like it) finally caught up to them, as well as letting Walt Harris go, who for all the flack he took didn't do such a bad job.

48
by mattymatty (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:23pm

I'd also like to know what happened to Washington's defense.

As a Skins fan I predicted (I know its a dumb thing to do, but its kinda fun... i guess) them to go in the area of 10-6, and that was predicated on the idea that the team would feature a mediocre offense, and a better than average defense. At this point you'd have to think that the reverse of that might be a stretch.

As limited as Brunell is, he isn't THE problem (though he is A problem) with this team. If they could stop anyone on D, scoring 20ish points a game would be enough to have won at least a few more games than they have so far. I was expecting a defense that was somewhere in the area of better-than-one-of-the-worst-defenses-in-the-NFC.

So, Aaron, MDS, ect.: Wha happa?

49
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:23pm

18: I'm fairly certain that the location of the former Tulane Stadium was below sea level. A few blocks away, you can stand on a field and see the ships pass above your head.

50
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:24pm

Hey, ABW, how bad was Seymour hurt? He is one of my favorite players, so I hope he won't miss any time, even though it would improve the Vikings' chances next Monday. I think it would be a lot of fun to see Mckinnie and Seymour duke it out, with few Seymour/Hutchinson bouts as well.

51
by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:25pm

Hitting a QB in the head is a penalty. Roughing the passer, 15 yards even if you just glance the side of his helmet with your hand. It can be ridiculous, but it's called everytime. Sunday, two Atlanta Falcons drilled Ben Roethlisberger head to head at the same time. He left with an obvious concussion. Somehow, this was deemed completely legal.

52
by BB (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:26pm

24: If you go to college, one was completed Saturday in the Washington/Cal game. As for NFL, I definitely know the Bears got one in their absurdly lucky 2001 season (it was the Browns game, they scored the last 14 points of regulation in 38 seconds, then got an INT return for a TD to win in OT by, of course, Mike Brown).

But yes, a 'hail mary' is pretty unlikely to be successful, probably pretty similar to the FG, and if you know your kicker at least has the leg to have a shot to get it there, I'd be surprised if the success rate of the 60ish yard FG is that much different than the 'hail mary.' If anything, it could be a better chance with the FG in those conditions -- I doubt there's a lot of data points for gauging the success rate of said long FG's.

53
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:27pm

Re: #50

This being the Pats, who knows?

He had his left arm planted on the ground and Harrison ran into the elbow. Preliminary x-rays have been taken. After the game he was NOT seen with ice on it and he did NOT have his arm in a sling. On the other hand, at least one Boston paper reported that Seymour would not have been able to return had game circumstances warranted it (in other words, it wasn't just because it was a rout that he didn't come back in) and Seymour said he expected his elbow to be vary sore today and wasn't sure how much he'd be able to practice this week.

54
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:28pm

Matthew, Smoot is playing pretty well this year. How anybody thought that
Kenny Wright could play is beyond me.

55
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:29pm

Yeah I’m no physicist either, but Aaron’s post confirms my suspicion that a 62 yarder on a very hot Tampa afternoon is easier than on a 65 degree day at sea level, in, say, Baltimore or Seattle.

I don't think this is a physics idea. It's certainly not easier in terms of air resistance. I think it has more to do with the fact that after playing a game in hot weather, the ball's more pliable.

Then again, the wind blowing in the direction of that end zone probably had something to do with it too.

56
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:29pm

Maybe teams know about the weather effects in Tampa - the Bengals tried a 65-yarder there just last week (it was well short.) Of course, Graham doesn't really have the biggest leg.

57
by Robin Fishbein (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:35pm

Charlie Batch is partly at fault for the Steelers' penalty at the end of regulation. The snap came with eight seconds on the clock, time he could have used to make absolutely sure that the receivers were lined up correctly and set.

Bill Cowher wasted a second timeout before Atlanta's end-of-regulation field goal attempt because he was, consciously or unconsciously, trying to avoid repeating history. In the January 2003 playoff loss to Tennessee, the Steelers called a timeout just before Joe Nedney made a field goal at the end of regulation; he then missed the real attempt immediately after (that's how I remember it). Then in overtime, the Steelers roughed Nedney after a missed field goal attempt; on the next snap, Cowher tried to wait until the last possible moment to call a timeout, but play wasn't stopped and the Titans kicked the winner.

24/52 - ESPN.com include a PROTRADE win probability (link) that gives me a million reasons to doubt its relevance or accuracy, such as this: Tampa Bay was given a 29% chance of winning before Bryant's 62-yard field goal attempt. Assuming that the chance of making the field goal is very small, this figure implies that the chance of completing a hail mary for a touchdown or of getting a defensive penalty on a hail mary is at least 29%. Which seems ridiculously high.

58
by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:35pm

Ummm, Doug? Are you REALLY suggesting Jimmy Williams needs to run back more punts? You do remember him trying to single handedly win the game... for the Redskins, in last years playoffs, don't you?

For the life of me, I can't figure out why they have him back there... but if he has to be... I WANT him to Fair Catch EVERY BLOODY PUNT.

59
by joel in providence (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:57pm

re: the David/Moss incident on sunday... David really did something you fortunately rarely see in football -- the embellished dive to get the referee's call. moss kind of came up to him and lightly bumped him from behind, but David pulled off the full Portuguese-in-the-World-Cup, oscar-worthy dive. not very classy. (and i'm an eagles fan, so i'm not given to siding with redskins players).

60
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 1:58pm

33: I think Pat Williams is the Vikings' most valuable player. I think they'd have between 0 and 2 wins without him. I really believe that.

61
by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:04pm

Re: 58

Yeah, I guess if you're going to use Jimmy Williams as your PR, then you have to take the Hippocratic approach to your return game ("First, do no harm . . ."). But I'd sure like to see someone who can catch the punt and do some damage on the return back there. Not sure I'd want Warrick back, given the WR depth, but surely there's someone out there who can handle PR duties beyond not muffing the punt. It's not like they're keeping Williams around for his coverage abilities.

62
by calig23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:07pm

One of the issues, supposedly, with Nate Washington's false start, is that he asked the linesman, I think, whether he needed to move up at all to be on the LOS. The ref signaled for him to move up, he did, and one of the other refs promptly flagged him for false start.

Granted, he shouldn't have been that concerned about a potential illegal formation.

63
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:07pm

Can I be the first to start the "Trent Green to Redskins in 2007" rumor?

64
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:08pm

re: Vick and "touch" passes ...

Is "touch" something that can be taught?

One can improve their arm strength through weight training, but what type of drills can QBs do to improve their "touch"?

65
by calig23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:14pm

Oh, and the Troy Polamalu "running into the kicker" penalty was even worse than Joe Nedney's Oscar-winning performance in that playoff game.

Polamalu was laying on the ground, and the kicker's foot came down on him. How is that "running into the kicker?"

66
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:14pm

Is nobody else loving the All Mascara Team name? I am a Colt fan of 35+ years and I think it's a riot. There's a sad ring of truth to it and what happens if they win it all... they become beautiful? Okay, a few flies in the ointment to work out, but otherwise, it's a great name.

67
by NoJo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:20pm

re: 17, 55

Pat: Hot air is less dense than cold air. Hot, humid air is less dense than hot, dry air. It should be easier to kick a 62 yard field goal on a hot day in Tampa than on a cool day in Seattle.

68
by jebmak (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:21pm

I had not thought of that but it is true. If Cowher had not been so stupid as to try to ice Andersen, then they would have had their shot. Stupid trying to ice the kicker, especially one who has kicked 1000 times.

69
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:24pm

Polamalu was laying on the ground, and the kicker’s foot came down on him. How is that “running into the kicker?�

How is that not running into the kicker? It wasn't roughing the kicker, mind you. Running into the kicker happens whenever a kicker is disturbed by a defensive player after the kick, pretty much no matter what the cause. The defender just has to know he cannot get that close to the kicker.

That wasn't a bad call at all. It might seem a bit confusing considering the name, but that was absolutely the right call.

70
by Diane (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:26pm

[69]

in a TIE game with under a minute left ? I'd think Troy would try and do ANYTHING to block that kick

71
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:28pm

Re#13 The Tynes 53 yard field goal that allowed the Chiefs to beat the Chargers came on a 1st and 15 with 11 seconds left. 11 seconds! What was Herm Edwards thinking? I didn’t watch the game, but I assume that the Chiefs had no timeouts remaining. Still, you have to know that the majority of the time your kicker is not going to make a 53 yard field goal, especially outdoors. Why not attempt a short pass (or two — they had 11 freaking seconds) toward the sidelines to try to give your kicker a better shot? Edwards is very lucky that Tynes bailed him out, because that is just flat-out terrible clock management.

Well, if you didn't see the game and are just "assuming" the situation, how do you know Edwards messed up the clock management? The reflexive anti-Edwards stuff shown by several posters is a bit tiresome.

The timeout stopping the clock was the Chiefs last timeout. At the time they took it, Tynes would have had a 48 yd attempt. Granted they could have tried to get it closer and I was about 50-50 on that count. However, if they had tried to get it closer and failed to stop the clock, no doubt someone would have posted how stupid Edwards' clock management was.

I was more worried about tynes' making any kick - he'd already missed a 42 yd kick, so you could say Edwards should have tried to get him closer. But he'd already missed a freakin' extra point, so how close did he need to be?

Anyhow, in the sprit of Weird FG Sunday, Tynes made the 48 yard kick, which was waved off due to motion on the KC line. The ball was moved back 5 yds and Tynes nailed the 2nd one: the announcer (Harlan) called it good before it was halfway there.

BTW, if you want to critcize the Chiefs time management at the end of the 1st half: ball near midfield, just over a minute and three timouts left, have at it. It was abysmal, although apparently Edwards was trying to get them to hurry up.

IMO opinion, Vermeil and the Chiefs were terrible at time management for 5 years. Edwards can suck at it too if he gets us to the playoffs 3 out of 5 years like he did with the Jets (vs. 1 out of 5 for Vermeil).

72
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:31pm

Pat: Hot air is less dense than cold air.

Yeah, I'm a dope. This is mitigated, of course, by the fact that typically hot weather is accompanied by a high pressure system.

73
by Just Another Falcon Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:33pm

Re: 37

I think the open game thread broke down about 80% Vick's fault, 20% Dunn's fault. I think Dunn clearly started to turn his head to look upfield and took his eye off the ball, but I'm sure some would argue that Dunn was reflexively dodging a Vick fastball to the facemask.

Re: 51

I think everyone in the open game thread was surprised that there was no penalty called on that play, although no one thought it was a cheap shot. The next play had a questionable defensive holding call which some considered a potential makeup call, then on the 2nd play after, Parker fumbled.

74
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:34pm

I'd be interested to see a study of how successful kickers are after an opposing timeout, whether some kickers fare better than others, whether success is based on age/time in the league, etc.

75
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:36pm

Re: 57

Wow, those are some crazy probabilities. That a 5 yard penalty on first down with 1:20 left at their own 44 would cut the Eagles' win chances in half (from 20% to 11%) is absurd. The Eagles will win based on whether they can score in 1:20, not whether they can achieve 10 or 15 yards in 4 plays. Something is definitely broken with the Protrade win probs. On the other hand, I think it is a very interesting feature to add, and I give some points for giving it a shot.

On the Eagles generally, I'm thinking they still end up in the top 3 this week, which is going to require some lengthy explanation. Remember, the offense moved the ball at will and 17 of TBs points will essentially not count against the Eagles in DVOA (2 TD int returns and a 62 yard field goal) As far as DVOA is concerned, the Eagles won 21-6 (or call it 9 since one of the ints was at the 30 or so). People are going to wonder whether DVOA is cracked if it thinks a 4-3 team is one of the top 3. I'm trying to tell myself that on a play-by-play basis the Eagles are spectacular and may very likely end up 11-5. But, even I'm not buying it at this point. But, then again, is it right to say, "Yeah the Eagles are great, but will keep turning it over spectacularly in order to lose every other week?" That doesn't seem like something that's going to keep happening.

76
by Random Bengals Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:36pm

I'm amazed that our o-line only got moderately massacred by Carolina's front four. Our backup center was slightly better, this week. And our run-blocking was vastly improved.

We held the Panthers to sixty yards rushing overall, and we shut them out in the second half, though we hugely lucked out with that endzone interception. I was amazed at how well our defense did in the second half, but that facemask penalty nearly killed us, and Tory James got burnt as usual. (Please, promote Joseph to #2.)

Carson's still rough around the edges, but you can see glimpses of his true self in clutch situations. And he now has more weapons...Henry's suspension is over, and (third-down RB/excellent pass-catcher) Chris Perry is finally healed up.

Our shattered linebacking corps is starting to heal up, as well. And we're getting some good play from rookie Ahmad Brooks...I was pulling my hair out when we took him in the supplemental draft, but he's done pretty well for us, so far.

77
by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:36pm

Attention FO writers: You write for an internet website. Are you ever going to get over the fact that stupid people have the ability to send you email? Must we be reminded of this (with extra snark) in each article posted here?

78
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:47pm

Anyone else think Rich Gannon is a decent color commentator? Is this is first year?

79
by John P (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:53pm

Re: #17

Warmer air is less dense, as is humid air as you rightly point out. So a hot day in Tampa is as good as any outdoor sea level stadium will get. Wind is a much bigger factor though. I still don't think it was the right call, but congrats to Bryant for hitting it.

80
by centrifuge (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:59pm

68: Cowher didn't try to ice Andersen. He iced Koenen, who then came off for Andersen. If you want to find The Missing Timeout that the Steelers needed at the end of the game, look at the failed challenge of Dunn's TD run.

81
by Tom (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 2:59pm

After one of his touchdowns, Marvin Harrison put the football inside a techinician's plastic hemisphere microphone (I think that's what it was). Where is the penalty? He's messing with someone else's job who is trying to capture the game. Harrison is one of the worst showboaters. Overrated, cocky and always beating his chest.

82
by Jesus Christ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:00pm

RE: 39

Man.. Derek Loville... Haven't heard that name since I played my last game of NFL Gameday '95

83
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:01pm

71: I completely agree with your analysis. Herman Edwards did the right thing regarding clock management. There's no way KC could have risked another play that could have run out the clock. Look at what happened to the Eagles at the end of the first half yesterday, when they were around the 10 yard line and ran a play with something like 9 seconds left and the clock ran out.

Re: Hail Marys - in addition to the Hail Mary in the 2001 Bears-Browns game mentioned by BB (which actually was a more incredible comeback by the Bears than last week's game in Arizona), Cleveland won its first game as Browns version 2.0 on a Hail Mary by Tim Couch. I think that was in 1999 against New Orleans.

84
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:11pm

71 & 83: Well, until now I just thought it was a weird day, but with Herm successfully managing the clock, up is officially down in the NFL.

85
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:11pm

Larry: for one thing, there should be a significant penalty for letting the clock run out at the end of the first half. I don't know if there is, but there should be. Interceptions also matter enough that the offense probably won't look that hot this week (but that won't show up as much in the DVOA rankings as it would if they were using Weighted DVOA). The run game and defense came out looking pretty good no matter how you slice it, though.

(and again, I note that Eagles opponents have missed one field goal, and all three of their losses have been decided by a kick [Giants game went to overtime on one]. That's rightly treated as luck for purposes of defensive/special teams DVOA.)

86
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:18pm

The interceptions hurt, but they hurt less than an interception returned for a touchdown actually does hurt. The fact that Hank Baskett was jumping and falling backwards when Barber made one interception, and therefore couldn't tackle him isn't exactly indicative of average performance, but it sure as hell sucks that it happened that game.

(but that won’t show up as much in the DVOA rankings as it would if they were using Weighted DVOA).

The difference between weighted DVOA and DVOA right now would be minimal. There are only 7 games in the season, and the weights for seven games are essentially all equal, which is what DVOA is. It's only a 5% boost for the first game.

87
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:18pm

From the Denver-Cleveland game:

Gary Baxter of the Browns is now facing surgery to repair patellar tendons on both knees. Romeo Crennel says he expects Baxter to be gone for at least a year.

The only similar injury I've ever heard of would be Wendell Davis of the Bears in Philadelphia, which still makes stong people cringe, and which ended Davis' career. That injury was blamed in large part on Philly's atrocious artificial turf at the old Vet.

Did anyone see this play, and since Browns Stadium isn't artificial, what was the context of the injury? It seems like Baxter's promising career is likely over (Will Carroll, are you out there?).

88
by SOW (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:54pm

Re:32

I'm still confused about this call. First, I thought the formation was legal and Washington was in the backfield. Would you all agree? When he moves, is it illegal procedure or illegal motion (moving forward at the snap)? Are they the same? Do they both require 10 second runoff?

Next, on the spike play, I might advise receivers to get all their asses on the line and don't move.

89
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:08pm

#87: I was listening to the radio commentary when that play happened. Baxter was covering Javon Walker. They both jumped for the ball and Baxter was hurt either while jumping or coming down or both. I don't know if there was contact. A Denver website reported that Walker waved over the Cleveland bench and knelt to talk to Baxter, apparently flashing back to his own knee injury in Green Bay.

Click my name for a description of the injury. Ouch.

90
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:10pm

Baxter was running back defending a deep ball down the sideline and tried to adjust his position when his left leg (which was planted) buckled, bending that way that its not supposed to bend. It was subtle, but on the replay you could see that it was one of those 'he'll be out for a year' type of injuries.
But I have no idea how the other knee got hurt, thats just odd.

91
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:12pm

#89: I noticed that too, and was really impressed by Walker on that play. That's serious sportsmanship right there. Too bad there aren't more players like that.

92
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:18pm

Re: 85
There should be, but there probably isn't within DVOA. The result will look bad, but the clock running/not running at the end of plays is probably not factored into the success points given for a play. It would certainly be interesting to see that added, but I haven't seen any indication from FO that it is.

Re: 86
Agreed, DVOA does not account for the receiver's position for an INT and the resulting return length. However, I'm not so sure that isn't something we should take note of here. On the Lewis intereception, it is clear Lewis could have made a much better play for the ball instead of allowing Barber to slip inside for a pick-6. The WR play contributed both to there being an INT and to the INT being returned for a TD. The Eagles' wideouts have a habit of not fighting for the ball leading to INTs (Lewis in the Seattle game last year comes to mind specifically. After that game I decided he was not ever going to be a serviceable starting wideout in the NFL). The first TD was just a great move by Barber reading the play and coming off his man. I'm not sure that McNabb shouldn't have noted that Avant was unlikely to successfully run Barber off that area, but that's just me.

Long story short: The WRs have a habit of making the sort of play that results in an out pattern turning into a pick-6. (Tapeh's TD was pretty close to the same thing, too, though down 17-0 I'd give a pass to everyone trying to make a play there).

93
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:30pm

Woah. Tapeh's TD was a totally broken play - can't exactly level criticism at anyone there.

One of the funniest shots of the day during that game was Reid after that TD. The look on his face was "Oh-kay, that wasn't the way it was drawn up, but, sure!"

94
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:31pm

Re #78 - I thought Gannon did an excellent job yesterday (Chargers-Chiefs game). Focused on the game, used the telestrator well, gave a qb's perspective on what the options of the defense/offense were on specific plays.

Unfortunately, if he gets promoted up the pecking order he's likely to get "trained" in being loud and cotroversial, hyping the stars, and sticking to the pre-determined storyline instead of explaining the plays and game at hand. And if he doesn't get promoted he'll be stuck on games that most of us watch only if our favorite team is involved.

95
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:36pm

Looking for explanations for the Charger-Chiefs outcome? Here's one.

From last Thursday's KC Star:

Schottenheimer was chatting with the Kansas City media on Wednesday about the weather, when he was informed that it was windy and cold.

“It’s cold?� he said. “Well, that doesn’t work well with this group. I heard it was going to be 65 and partly cloudy this Sunday.�

Not exactly. The latest forecasts call for temperatures in the upper 40s on Sunday.

Looked cold in Arrowhead yesterday judging from what crowd and players on the benches were wearing; NFL.com Gamebook lists temp as 40 degrees with wind chill of 33.

When your own coach says you're affected by the cold...

96
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:41pm

Looking for an explanation of why the Chiefs played so much better this Sunday than last? Check out Jason Whitlock's column in today's KC Star. See link below (possible registration/bugmenot required).

Basically, 7-10 Chiefs were at a "party" the night before the Steelers game instead of focused rest/preparation.

Personally, I think the Chiefs would have lost anyhow, just now as embarrassingly. But gossip (wink, wink, nuudge, nudge) sells papers.

97
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:49pm

95: Are the Chargers really not a cold-weather team? Could be a real problem for them going anywhere in the playoffs, espicially now that they're a game and a half behind Denver.

98
by Kachunk (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:51pm

RE 73: Professional athletes do not "reflexively dodge" balls, regardless of where/how hard they are thrown. Heck, decent high school athletes don't do that--even **I** don't do that.

Enough practice catching the ball quells your instinct to dodge it, even if it's coming at your face.

99
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:53pm

Thanks for the info. Kaveman, that sounds truly ghastly. But here's hoping that Walker (who has gotten some bashing for the manner in which he left Green Bay) gets some credit for his sportsmanship and class here.

Any one of those writers who read this site regularly should be happy to promote that, right?

100
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 4:55pm

Re: Ronde Barber's TDs
I don't know if ESPN does it regularly, but Jaws was broke both INTs down during Sunday evening (~ 7 pm EST).

The interceptions looked like smart plays by Barber. On the first one, he is covering the slot WR and anticipates the Eagle hot reads to be slants from both WRS. Knowing he has help on the inside, he jumps under the outside route.

On the second, he didn't even pay attention to Lewis but keyed in on McNabb the whole time (end zone view shows this). Once McNabb starts to throw the ball he breaks and is gone.

101
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 5:11pm

On the second, he didn’t even pay attention to Lewis but keyed in on McNabb the whole time (end zone view shows this). Once McNabb starts to throw the ball he breaks and is gone.

I predict this not being mentioned in TMQ.

102
by Kaetab (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 5:12pm

RE:87 Baxter's injury was right in front of my seats. There was nothing one saw watching the play live that would make you cringe, but he instantly grabbed his left knee when he hit the ground.
Walker and Lynch both walked over from the Bronco bench to offer words of encouragement (I assume).
The field was in good condition, it had rained earlier in the day, but no rain during the game. No players were having problems slipping during the game.
Baxter was obviously upset, as he covered his head with a towel once he was on the cart. Two torn pecs and now two torn patella tendons. Um, I'm not going to be penciling him in the Brown's defensive backfield anymore.

103
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 5:18pm

Gotta love zone defenses - read 'n react.

I think the funniest thing I've seen is Pete Prisco's grade for the Bucs. He gave them a B.

A B?! Are you kidding me? The Bucs offense should get a B, probably - 4 turnovers is a great job, but giving up 500 yards of offense is a pretty bad job. A B sounds about right considering the 2 picks taken for a TD. But the Bucs offense should get a D or an F. 3.4 yards per play? Asked for a 62-yard field goal to save the day?

Give their special teams an A, and that's something more like a C, C+ or so.

Kudos to the Bucs for the plucky win, definitely, but that was a flat bad performance by 3/7 of the team.

104
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 5:34pm

I'm not sure if I can bring myself to watch football...ever again. The Eagles by all rights should (and I'll stress should again) be 7-0 right now. The three losses were on one ridiculous FG, one FG that should have never happened, and one relatively easy 35-yard FG that should have been a very unlikely 50-yarder that sent a game into OT. If it wasn't for miserable fumble recovery luck, remarkable opponent FG %, and just flat out stupidity, this team is being talked about as one of the best in the league. There have been 27 total fumbles in the 7 Philly games (12 by the Eagles, 15 by their opponents). Philly has recovered 9 (4 of their own) and their opponents have recovered 18 (10 of their own). Their opponents are 12-13 in FGs (and that of course includes that REDICULOUS 62-yarder yesterday). And if it wasn’t for the patented McNabb “Let’s throw away points at the end of a half� extraordinarily ludicrous throw to LJ Smith at the 2 yardline with 9 seconds and zero timeouts remaining at the end of the 1st half, that kick never happens. And speaking of FGs that have killed the Eagles, there’s no way in hell Jay Feely makes a 50 yard FG (well, at least that was my assumption before yesterday), so thank God Trent Cole decided it’d be a good time to kick Kareem McKenzie in the nuts with 10 seconds left at the end of regulation. And if it wasn’t for the incredibly stupid 12-men on the field penalty at the end of the NO game, it’s likely they win that game too. Out of the three losses, the NO loss hurt the least. I can look at that game and honestly say that they deserved to win that game. They shouldn’t have won it, but they did deserve it.

I may have to give up football. Watching this team can’t be good for my health. And my wife is probably getting sick of all the yelling and screaming and throwing shit at the television, so it’s probably not very good for my marriage either.

105
by black (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 5:42pm

Ronde said he cheated off for the first pick, i'm assuming cheated meant taking an educated guess based on route combinations etc..

I was watching Dieon make the mascara line about the colts thats classic.

The Giants will no longer be allowed to do the sack dance as a group, but can still do it on the sidelines.

106
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 5:44pm

And if it wasn’t for the patented McNabb “Let’s throw away points at the end of a half� extraordinarily ludicrous throw to LJ Smith at the 2 yardline with 9 seconds and zero timeouts remaining at the end of the 1st half, that kick never happens.

I'm past blaming McNabb for that. Hell, he drove them down to the 6 yard line basically all by his lonesome, including a 20 yard scramble. Hell, that's a 74-yard 1-minute drill!

Not getting any points is all on Andy Reid. He should know by now that eight seconds is not enough time with McNabb to run a play and still have time left over for the field goal. They got to the 6. Kudos. Now kick the freaking field goal.

107
by Joe Kamnik (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 5:53pm

re: 106

Pat, I've got to disagree with you there-that end of first half brainfart is all on McNabb. the risk of not getting a field goal attempt off (barring an interception, which is a different risk) if the TD is not there should be approximately ZERO if the QB simply executes the play competently. 9 seconds is plenty of time to go for the endzone from the 6. It is McNabb's duty to realize the game situation and execute a simple progression: 1st endzone read, 2nd endzone read, out of bounds. It's not beyond the realm of reason to expect your all-pro veteran QB to be able to accomplish this.

108
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:00pm

It’s not beyond the realm of reason to expect your all-pro veteran QB to be able to accomplish this.

You're right. However, it is now beyond the realm of reason to expect McNabb to able to accomplish this. He never has. It's what, the fifth or sixth time in a row now?

The thing about this is: this isn't a criticism. In each of those cases, they were in scoring position already. That's a successful hurry-up drill. They got points. They're there for the taking. Just take them.

My point's simple: why bother trying to change McNabb? It's his 8th season as a QB. Who cares that he can't get a touchdown at the end of the first half with no time? He drove down the field. That's more than most QBs can do. Take the points.

It's Reid's call whether or not to kick the field goal, and it was a mistake to have McNabb run the play. He hasn't been able to avoid taking a dangerous shot and letting time run out, so why ask him to?

If LJ breaks a few tackles and squirts into the end zone on the previous play, they get the TD. Great. Terrific. But they didn't. So, up to the line, spike the ball, and send in the field goal unit. No shame in three points where there weren't any before.

109
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:01pm

At this point I'm more than happy to shovel a hot steaming pile of blame onto Reid, too. But I bet if you polled a thousand high school QB about what they should do in that exact situation, 995 of them would say that if the open throw isn't there immediately that you throw the damn ball out of the stadium. It was a bad decision to try for another play (that's on Reid), but it was idiotic to throw the ball into the middle of the field a couple yards shy of the endzone (that's on McNabb). Listen, I've been a big McNabb supporter. But I'm seriously starting to wonder whether or not the remarkable "sweet Christ on a cracker, how in the hell did you do that" plays really do outweigh the "I want to put my head through a wall" plays.

110
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:01pm

At this point I'm more than happy to shovel a hot steaming pile of blame onto Reid, too. But I bet if you polled a thousand high school QB about what they should do in that exact situation, 995 of them would say that if the open throw isn't there immediately that you throw the damn ball out of the stadium. It was a bad decision to try for another play (that's on Reid), but it was idiotic to throw the ball into the middle of the field a couple yards shy of the endzone (that's on McNabb). Listen, I've been a big McNabb supporter. But I'm seriously starting to wonder whether or not the remarkable "sweet Christ on a cracker, how in the hell did you do that" plays really do outweigh the "I want to put my head through a wall" plays.

111
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:04pm

Wanker, as a Giants fan I really should be enjoying your frustration, but as a Giants fan, feeling that the team's record is not as good as it should be due in large part to abject stupidity by the team hits too close to home for me to not feel your pain.

112
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:07pm

Re #88
I saw 4 guys lined up as WRs: 1 right and 3 left. Washington was the near guy left, and false started when he moved forward early. But he didn't need to, because BOTH of the guys to his left were also on the line of scrimmage. This means the Steelers had 8 guys on the line already on the line, including 1 otherwise eligible WR covered up, and Washington would have made it 9, with 2 otherwise eligible WR covered up. When they blew the play dead, I figured it had to be for a false start, but from what I saw, it was definitely an illegal formation.

113
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:13pm

Thanks, Gerry. In some small way, knowing that Giants' fans are also in a similar state of misery makes me feel just a little better. ;-)

114
by Collective Bargaining Bouillabaisse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:23pm

re: 108

You are right that the pattern certainly trends that McNabb does not understand this, but the concept is so simple that I can't imagine AR accepting the fact that he can't comprehend it. It's like accepting the fact that a world-class physicist doesn't believe in gravity.

The expected return of running a non- field goal play with 9 seconds is higher than taking the field goal. Especially down by 7, I want Reid to make this call everytime.

115
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:23pm

But I’m seriously starting to wonder whether or not the remarkable “sweet Christ on a cracker, how in the hell did you do that� plays really do outweigh the “I want to put my head through a wall� plays.

That's easy. Of course they do. Again, McNabb drove 74 yards, including a 20-yard scramble by him that was one of those "well, hell, if you're going to leave me with THAT much room" runs. It's just up to Reid to eliminate the "how the hell did you do that?" plays by not putting McNabb in that situation.

You don't call quarterback draws for Drew Bledsoe. And you shouldn't call a play for McNabb with under 10 seconds left in the half while in field goal range. This isn't a criticism of McNabb. It's just recognizing strengths and weaknesses, and Reid clearly isn't doing that.

116
by BB (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:25pm

88: Getting all the receivers on the line would only work if you have a ref that remembers that 'illegal formation' doesn't result in a 10 second runoff. I can't say I trust every official to call that correctly.

117
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:34pm

The expected return of running a non- field goal play with 9 seconds is higher than taking the field goal. Especially down by 7, I want Reid to make this call everytime.

Sigh. The number of people who agree with Reid just tells me that it's entirely likely the next few years will see at least three or four more instances of this. Great.

It’s like accepting the fact that a world-class physicist doesn’t believe in gravity.

No, it's not. It's like a world-class physicist turning to a pet theory which has been disproven over and over whenever a slight bit of new information shows up. And trust me - there are bajillions of guys like that.

118
by Just Another Falcon Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:43pm

Re: 98.

I agree, but some people seem to think Vick throws Nolan Ryan fastballs from 20 feet away.

119
by Collective Bargaining Bouillabaisse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:52pm

115:

You don't call QB draws for Bledsoe because he is not equipped with the physical skills for the play. Though I share your frustration with McNabb's tendency to do this, there is no physical handicap that preventing McNabb from throwing a pass 6 yards instead of 4. Even if Reid has to call WR slants in the endzone and keep the TE and RB in to block so McNabb can't throw it anywhere other than the endzone, there is no reason not to run a play where the upside is 4 more points and the expected downside is 3 points 5 seconds later. If we want Reid to be wary of McNabb making boneheaded decisions, we'd opt for the FG as soon as we hit the red zone on every drive.

120
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 6:53pm

From the Redskins - Colts game, a rant:

For the Skins, the surest sign of the apocalypse is that at this point it's less about "the problem is X" and more about: except for returning kicks/punts, this team has no other areas of strength! They can't run or pass consistently and cannot defend either consistently either. They cannot take the ball away or pressure the QB (they haven't had a good DE since Mann and Manley!!), and their decent ability not to turn the ball over is basically completely undermined by their historic rate of being penalized. This team is just mediocre (or worse) across the board -- except for Moss.

What this season has shown more than anything is that the Danny and Cerrato believe their own hype more than they should, and that all their wishcasting has finally come up empty. Look, I'm a huge homer, but I recognized easy money when I saw it (plus a nice hedge to my homerism) and I'm looking like I'm going to make some really sweet cash having taken the "under" on wins this season.

Last season's 5 game win streak wasn't the stuff of dominance -- most of those games could have gone either way... how could the Skins FO (who should be level headed), have fallen prey to fantasizing about a SB?

Furtek says it's the O-Line and Secondary up in #14... yes, plus the linebackers, QB and D-line.

Rewatch the series when Addai looked like Walter Payton and just watch the Skins MLB. First it's rookie Rocky McIntosh. He looks indecisive and Addai just runs right past him a few times. Rocky gets benched and Khary Campbell comes in and just gets destroyed by the interior linemen. Paging Antonio Pierce!

It's like the Danny figured Gregg Williams could take a bunch of flag football players of the Mall and make a top D out of them so that the team could pour $$$ going after ARE, Patten, Brandon Lloyd, Archuletta (admittedly, he's supposed to help the D)... Wow, would Ryan Clark look good back in a skins uni.

Btw, I've still never seen Portis break a tackle. Never.

I love Gibbs, but his success came when he had a fantastic front office that literally outsmarted most of the competition. The glory days skins had several key players picked up from the USFL and undrafted free agency -- now they sign Adam Archuletta and THREE guys from a historically bad 49'ers team.

If I'm not mistaken, the Skins and Broncos will swap 1st's this year... not a single mention of this in the WaPo (no room left I guess after a million column inches on how "this veteran team is really going to bear down this week" and the "700 page playbook").

Who was the bigger fraud as a several time pro bowl player, LaVar or Chris Samuels?

Aside (Referee Rant): terrible "excessive celebration" call against ARE... guy breaks off an 85 yard PR for a game tying TD, and he can't fall backwards in the endzone??? And Frost (who is an idiot), pulled off his helmet and IMMEDIATELY pulled it back on realizing his mistake... 50 yards from the nearest opponent... why throw the flag?

Sorry for the rants. I'd rather have the skins win and lost my money in vegas I guess.

121
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 7:33pm

Oh man. This weekend sure caused some pain in Philadelphia and DC.

Carlos: If I’m not mistaken, the Skins and Broncos will swap 1st’s this year

If it's any consolation, they only swap picks if the difference in the value of the two picks is less than some threshold. IIRC, the ideal situation for the Broncos was to pick 32nd (*cough*) and for the Skins to exit in the wild card round and pick 21st or so. If the gap is wider than that, some other provision of that crazy deal comes into play.

I'm not sure why the sudden Portis hate; he's one of the reliable things about the team.

Odd team. I never know quite what to think of the Skins. The buck-all-conventional-wisdom approach to running a franchise, the disregard for the worth of the draft, the magnificent marketing machine, Snyder's munificence, the army of famous coaches... they certainly aren't boring.

And it seems like every year, Broncos fans have some vested interest in the Skins' play... last year we wanted them to lose every game, but this year we want them to make the playoffs!

122
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 7:49pm

I'm not sure, but I was told that the celebration call was not on ARE, but (I think) McIntosh. For whatever that's worth.

And even as a Colts fan, I'm hoping David gets fined for the downfield hit on Moss. I wonder if he thought about whether or not he'd like seeing Harrison get lit up in a similar situation...

123
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 7:51pm

Matt Lepsis is out for the season with a torn right ACL.

Ugh. :-(

Amazingly, he stayed in for one more play after the injury before leaving.

Gerard Warren has a sprained right big toe with some ligament damage. His status for the Colts game is unknown.

Double ugh. :-(

It has been a charmed couple of seasons for the Broncos, injury-wise. Too good to last. *sighs*

124
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 7:58pm

I’m not sure, but I was told that the celebration call was not on ARE, but (I think) McIntosh. For whatever that’s worth.

I'm pretty sure it was on ARE, but we've got reason to be confused since the idiot announcers talked over the official AND I believe the ref said, "...#89 of the receiving team, uh, #82 of the receiving team." (ARE is 82, Moss is 89... I guess they were just used to calling moss' #?)

125
by mayhem (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 8:02pm

Anyone know if sea-level or humidity would affect the pliability of the catholic match girl?

126
by turbohapy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 8:05pm

Colts won't be at full strength either. Reagor will be out from his car wreck, Doss is gone for the season (ACL). Hopefully Sanders will be back though. Several other guys are iffy, we'll see.

127
by fromanchu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 8:12pm

i bet jimmy williams plays too much madden. he won't risk a return since he think there's an 80 percent chance of fumbling if he does.

128
by Craigers (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 8:12pm

Sigh. The number of people who agree with Reid just tells me that it’s entirely likely the next few years will see at least three or four more instances of this. Great.

Pat, it seems to me that you're right about this, but I wonder if the chances are still not that bad even if you accept that a good portion of the time, McNabb is going to boner the opportunity away and lose the chance at points. Taking the sure figgie on the "last play" is going to give you a 95% chance at three, but surely running one play from the six gives you a 40% chance of making the connection for the TD. And even when you don't, at least a few of those misses will be incomplete passes with at least a second left, giving you the chance to go for the kick. (Obviously the less time available the less likely that is, but you work that into your decisionmaking).

So even though McNabb seems like he's preprogrammed (ROBO-QB?) to futz all the time off the clock in that situation, it still might be defensible to throw instead of kick.

129
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 9:04pm

I'm not as close to the Eagles situation as some, but I'm with Pat here in general: if a player has demonstrated a limitation repeatedly, it's the coaches job to either replace that player or work around the limitation. Although it may have looked like I was picking on McNabb about the barfing thing, I do agree with Pat that the drive itself far outweighs any inability to get a good pass and FG done in 6 seconds. Try to coach him to do otherwise, fine, but until he demonstrates he can do it, just work around the (relatively small) limitation.

130
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 9:11pm

I don't know what is wrong with Philadelphia and 2 periods. Didn't one of the Outsiders put together an article on this? Was it that Philadelphia under Reid hasn't been involved in a lot of 2 minute periods? Was this just a discussion from the comments section last year or earlier this year?

It does seem like they are poorly coached in these situations. Everyone would probably love to see what would happen had Westbrook NOT had that great individual effort.

131
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 9:19pm

And Frost (who is an idiot), pulled off his helmet and IMMEDIATELY pulled it back on realizing his mistake… 50 yards from the nearest opponent… why throw the flag?

Does anyone know why Frost was even on the field in the first place? Despite the two previous penalties, it was still a kickoff, not a free kick, and the NFL rules forbid a punt on a kickoff. Unless Frost was planning to dropkick the ball, I don't have a clue what the Redskins were thinking there.

132
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 9:27pm

Re: 131

Wow, I just looked it up, and the NFL doesn't consider free kicks after kickoffs with penalties on the kicking team (enforced at the previous spot) as kickoffs themselves, so apparently the Redskins were within their rights to have Frost punt. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

133
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 9:49pm

Something I don't understand about the Redskins. Al Saunders has a great offense, despite some barbs lately about the playbook and unnecessary men-in-motion. But in KC, even with a QB brought in because he already knew the offense, it took a good year to get the QB and WRs on the same page. There is a lot of timing/reads involved in getting this passing game to click (except for deep sideline passes and quick hitches, hmmm). So you bring this coach and offense into a team looking to win now with a qb who doesn't have a year to wait? Or was the plan always to hope for the best this year but really give the FA wrs plus Moss and Campbell a year to learn? I don't really think it was the latter plan, but it makes a heck of a lot more sense than the former.

134
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/23/2006 - 10:56pm

If we want Reid to be wary of McNabb making boneheaded decisions, we’d opt for the FG as soon as we hit the red zone on every drive.

No way. It's just in no-time situations. That throw would've been fantastic had there been even a few more seconds left - everyone else was covered, hit the guy on the clear route who no one paid attention to (because, of course, it wasn't an endzone route, and Barber's fast enough to get to him before he gets to the endzone), get yourself in a short-to-go goalline situation.

For some reason McNabb just can't let an open receiver go. For 99% of the game, that's a great thing for the QB to do. But that last 1% is what we're talking about.

135
by JKL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 2:41am

Re: 95, 97 and the Chargers playing in cold weather. I wrote a guest blog piece for Doug Drinen at pro-football-reference.com a few weeks ago on the topic of home field advantage, climate and distances in divisional matchups.

Perhaps the only strange thing is Schottenheimer admitting as much. At least in divisional games, home field advantage is stronger when teams are from different playing environments. Conversely, when the road trip is a relatively short distance and the teams play in a similar climate, the home field advantage is very small.

For divisional games (1986-2005) where the teams were within 300 miles and where the teams had average football season climates less than 10 degrees apart, the home team was only 200-185 (51.9%). You can add a 3-5 record so far this year, plus the near colossal upset of the season almost making it 2-6 (Ten at Ind).

Also, I looked at the outdoor games in the old Black and Blue division (NFC Central/North) between Detroit, Minnesota, Green Bay and Chicago, and compared them to games once Detroit then Minnesota moved indoors. In outdoor games between those teams since 1961, the home team actually has a losing record (119-126-11), while the home team in games between one of the outdoor cold weather teams and a dome team is 149-82 (64.5%).

136
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 10:15am

Pat, I hear what you're saying about Reid having to avoid putting McNabb in the position to be an idiot. And I still agree with you that the good-McNabb far outweighs the bad-McNabb (so far). I'm just having a hard time accepting that McNabb is too stupid to put the ball in his hands in that situation. Avoiding someone's physical weakness is just good coaching. That's not really an indictment of the player. Avoiding the mental weakness of your star QB doesn't fall into that category.

137
by MRH (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 10:45am

Re #135 - that was a good piece on homefield and weather.

138
by David (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 11:00am

It's hard to accept, yes, but it's true. He has done this before (vs. MIN in the 2004 playoffs, for example. In the playoffs.), been lambasted for it before, and he still does it. It's not that he can't put the ball into the end zone with little time left and a short field, but he will not throw the ball away when there's nobody open in the end zone. He will check down, and if the checkdown guy makes the catch and isn't at the sideline, the clock will run out.

A similar thing happened in the Super Bowl, actually; inside the two-minute warning, Eagles down 3 near their own 30, he made a short pass to Westbrook, who was tackled immediately, running 20 or so seconds off the clock for a gain of two yards. This is what he does. Reid needs to manage the play-calls to win, and if there are clear situations where McNabb is likely to make an extremely predictable screwup, then he should avoid them.

139
by Athelas (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 11:01am

#39 (coffin corner punts)
Josh Miller does a radio show here in Boston and has talked about this subject at length (as he does every subject!). He said at some point (a few years ago?) they changed which ref marks where the ball goes out of bounds, and that ref (the guy furthest away) can't get a good look at it and always marks it shorter than it should be. Maybe they have adjusted that somehow so punters are more willing to try it?
#50-Very tight lips on the extent of the Richard Seymour injury.

140
by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 11:28am

It's not just the Eagles who difficulty with the "two minute offense." It seems like a lot of the "West Coast" type teams have difficulty with it, i.e. the Seahawks.

141
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 1:53pm

Re: Travis
Can you provide a link where you found that information? That's got to be the quirkiest loophole ever. Everyone is ripping Gibbs here in DC for sending Frost out like that.

Re: Coffin Corner kicks
Is this something else that could be solved by instant replay? Even last night's MNF game, there was a sideline kick by McBriar originally marked out at the Giants 19... then when we came in after commercial break Tirico said something like, "Coughlin was able to lobby and get the ball spotted at the 26."

142
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 2:36pm

Is this something else that could be solved by instant replay?

Not without a dedicated top-down camera, and likely a marker in the ball as well, because it'd be too small. Any of the shots useful for normal replay wouldn't be useful for this. Ball needs to be spotted where it crosses the plane of the side of the field.

143
by Jen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 3:51pm

RE:#133

Saunders first year in KC and first year in Washington have one other thing in common. No Willie Roaf.

144
by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 4:29pm

Re: 141

It's in the NFL Rulebook, Rule 6-1-2-c. Relevant parts of the rulebook, with highlights bolded:

Article 1 A free kick called a kickoff (3-16) puts the ball in play:
(a) at the start of each half;
(b) after a Try; and
(c) after a successful field goal.

Article 2 A free kick also puts the ball in play:
(a) after a safety (see 3-12-1b);
(b) when there is a replay for a short free kick (6-2-1); and
(c) when enforcement for a foul during a free kick is from the previous spot (6-2-5).

Article 3 A free kick may be made from any point on or behind the offensive team’s free kick line and between inbounds lines. A dropkick, placekick, or punt may be used.
Exceptions:
1) A punt may not be used on a kickoff.
...

Article 5 If there is a foul other than a personal foul (blocking) after a fair-catch signal, fair-catch interference or an invalid fair-catch signal during a free kick, any enforcement, if made, is from the previous spot and the free kick must be made again (10-1-3; 10-1-4;
and 10-1-1).

145
by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 5:04pm

Just to be clear, the first three articles cited above are from Rule 6, Section 1, while the last is from Rule 6, Section 2.

146
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 7:02pm

Wow!
A bunch of Redskin fans are wondering why the coaches thought Frost could punt in that situation.

So when teams re-kick a kickoff they have the option to punt (like an offsides)? Could they have punt-kicked off when the ball was originally on the WAS 15 (due to the stupid celebration penalty)? Or, since that foul did not occur on the free kick, they still would have to kick-kick.

Here is Gamebook:
3-N.Novak extra point is GOOD, Center-71-E.Albright, Holder-4-D.Frost.
3-N.Novak kicks 64 yards from WAS 15 to IND 21. 10-T.Wilkins to IND 39 for 18 yards (39-V.Fox).
PENALTY on WAS-21-S.Taylor, Offside on Free Kick, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 15 - No Play.
PENALTY on WAS-4-D.Frost, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 10 - No Play.
3-N.Novak kicks 64 yards from WAS 5 to IND 31. 10-T.Wilkins to IND 47 for 16 yards (39-V.Fox).

To recap:
1) You can't punt-kick if there was a foul on the extra point enforced at kickoff.
2) If there is offsides or you have to re-kick, you can punt-kick.
3) Since the Redskins coaching staff is old they are aware of this archaic rule.

Are my points 1, 2 correct at least?

147
by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/24/2006 - 7:47pm

Re: 146

As far as I know:

1. The Redskins could not have punted on the first free kick. The penalty must come on a previous free kick.

2. Your points are correct.

3. I've never seen this before, nor heard of it before I looked up the rule. Has anyone else?

148
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 3:41am

Just got to see the replay of the free kick. That's got to be the lamest "take your helmet off" penalty ever as well. Frost was about halfway through the motion when he realized it was wrong and put it directly back on... so messed up Scott Green.

149
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 10:29am

Re Frost's Helmet:
I saw the replay and he took it all the way off. Anyway, it's a zero tolerance rule. If you take your helmet off while on the field of play you will be penalized. There's no judgment to be made.

150
by Carlos (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 12:38pm

Anyway, it’s a zero tolerance rule.

Oh, I didn't realize the NFL rulebook says some infractions (helmet removal) are "zero tolerance" whereas others (holding) are "90% tolerance."

Ridiculous. All penalty calls involve judgment. If a guy 40 yards from the nearest opponent self-polices / self-corrects like this, any ref worth his salt ought to point to him and say "keep that helmet on" but keep the flag in his pocket.

151
by Naj (not verified) :: Wed, 10/25/2006 - 4:52pm

Some NFL Hail Mary's past 10 years:
The aforementioned Chi-Cle game.
1996 Brett Favre for 50 yards
1996 Rodney Peete for 43 yards
Dec 2002 Tim Couch for 50 yds
and there have definitely been multiple pass-interference penalties along the way, like Mike Lewis on Terry Glenn two weeks ago.

152
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 10/28/2006 - 6:17am

Funny. When Scott Green announced the Frost penalty he specifically called for the Redskins to kickoff.