Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Impact of the NFL's Kickoff Rule Change

After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?

15 Oct 2007

Audibles at the Line: Week 6

compiled by Doug Farrar

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 2008. 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.

Cincinnati Bengals 20 at Kansas City Chiefs 27

David Lewin: Carson Palmer is not the same player since that knee injury. He is still quite productive, but he doesn't step into his throws with the same authority anymore (understandably). The sky used to be the limit for Palmer, but right now I think his ceiling is very good.

Doug Farrar: Not sure I agree with the Palmer assessment, only because he did so well last season (the first after the injury), and Cincinnati's defense and rushing attack have fallen apart. It's tough to know where the team's overall horribleness ends and any issues with Palmer begin. You put that much responsibility on just about any quarterback and you're going to see a decline in efficiency.

Ryan Wilson: I agree with Doug on Carson Palmer. He was punch-drunk by the end of today's game, and things got so bad that Marvin Lewis took tackle Levi Jones out of the game. I'd argue that he looked better last year than he had prior to the injury. Palmer was never a threat to run, but he was on target last year (he ranked fourth in 2006 DPAR), and made better decisions with the ball. This year, the offensive line is injury-plagued and in shambles. That Palmer looks a little gun-shy is understandable.

Stuart Fraser: I get the impression he doesn't really trust either a) His pass protection or b) Any of the assorted personnel who've been swept up to be his third receiver. I'm kind of expecting an uptick from the Bengals on Chris Henry's return.

Vince Verhei: There was only one thing wrong with Carson Palmer today, and it was Jared Allen. Levi Jones started at tackle for the Bengals, and it was clear from the get-go that he couldn't handle Allen. The Bengals tried helping out with tight ends and fullbacks, but Allen just twisted inside and got to Palmer instead. Forget about having time to make his reads, Palmer didn't have time to finish his dropback. Cincinnati finally benched Jones and moved Andrew Whitworth over from guard to tackle just before halftime. Allen was much quieter in the second half, but the damage had been done by then. Officially, Allen finished with 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble, but he actually had an even bigger impact than that. It astounds me that Cincinnati, which has a top-five quarterback and a top-five starting wide receiver duo, is such a horrible team otherwise.

Aaron Schatz:The one good thing for Cincinnati today -- and the one bad thing for the Kansas City defense -- was Ty Law. Man, is he done. Every time I saw Houshmandzadeh catch a pass, it was against Law, with Patrick Surtain covering Ocho Cinco, and both of Palmer's interceptions came on passes to 85.

Houston Texans 17 at Jacksonville Jaguars 37

Vince Verhei: I think we can formally write off Week 1 as an anomaly for the Jacksonville defense. They gave up 282 rushing yards against Tennessee, and a total of just 200 in the four games since. As long as they have Stroud and Henderson in the middle, and their linebackers and safeties make their tackles, they're going to be just fine. And of course, it helps when Maurice Jones-Drew looks like, well, like Maurice Jones-Drew.

Houston's clearly a lot better than they were last year, but they're stuck in the league's best division, and Matt Schaub is playing without his biggest weapon in Andre Johnson.

Miami Dolphins 31 at Cleveland Browns 41

Bill Barnwell:The highlight of this game was Cleveland running back Jason Wright spearing the ref during a touchdown celebration, knocking him down. Fortunately, Wright was celebrating by himself, so he did not receive the penalty for celebrating into the ref.

Doug Farrar: This Cleveland team officially has my interest. I know that they put up 40-plus points on horrible defenses like Cincinnati and Miami, and I know that the Patriots said that they didn't like their own energy in the second half of their 34-17 win over the Browns, in which Cleveland scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but they also put up 27 points on Baltimore's defense and barely lost to a Raiders team that has obviously improved (though we don't yet know how much). They got killed by the Steelers, but that was against what might be the NFL's best defense when Charlie Frye looked like Matt Saracen in the Friday Night Lights pilot. At 3-3, I think they're interesting.

Stuart Fraser: Cleveland is the one AFC North team I'm still not quite sure what to expect from each week (my NFL-watching plan is every AFC North game eventually and anything else I can stay awake for.) DVOA thinks Cleveland is less erratic than Pittsburgh (DVOA thinks everyone is less erratic than Pittsburgh), but I think that's caused by three stellar performances and Arizona, as opposed to Cleveland who've (I guess) put up more numerically similar performances in different ways. Part of me hasn't adjusted to the concept of Derek Anderson being a legitimate starting quarterback (I don't think Cleveland has, either, and it gives them an interesting Brees/Rivers style decision to make soonish).

Doug Farrar: And as for Miami ... whoa. Didn't Bill Simmons used to have a "Guys who would trade themselves in Madden" list? And is there any doubt that Ronnie Brown would be No. 1 on that list right now?

Vince Verhei: Adrian Peterson is going to win the Rookie of the Year award, and he's going to deserve it, but in ten years we might look back at Joe Thomas as the best player in the 2007 draft. He's already achieved "taken for granted" status, where you stop watching him because you just assume he's going to take care of his man. Cleveland was 31st in Adjusted Line Yards in 2006; they were 13th coming into this weekend, first on runs to left end, eighth on runs to left tackle.

It must be hard to be a Dolphins fan right now. With the obvious exception of Ronnie Brown, what is there about this team to get excited about? A bunch of old guys on defense who can't stop anyone? More passes falling incomplete because Chris Chambers can't get separation? A quarterback who has served as a backup to names like Gus Frerotte, Daunte Culpepper and Joey Harrington? A coach who has done little interesting on or off the field? What's the upside of this team?

Aaron Schatz: The Ted Ginn thing really looks awful in retrospect. I know wide receivers often take two or three years to develop in the NFL but the guy is hardly even on the field. Honestly, solar eclipses take place more often than Ted Ginn appearances at wide receiver.

Washington Redskins 14 at Green Bay Packers 17

Mike Tanier: This dovetails a bit with what I tried to say below about the Bears. A game plan can just be too fussy when a team tries to "get the playmakers involved" instead of, you know, running the ball and passing from the pocket. Early on in this game, I was impressed by the Redskins play-calling, because they were using a lot of screens and misdirection to move the ball. Jason Campbell was doing a good job escaping the rush and delivering short passes in space. Then, late in the third quarter, the Redskins tried that end-around to Santana Moss, he fumbled, and suddenly the Packers had the lead.

I love gadget plays as seasoning for an offense that can do the other things. As the basis of an offense, it is very risk-heavy. That's why I don't like the Bears logic that says that the key is to give Hester eight touches per game on non-returns. That's why I don't like the Redskins offense when Al Saunders gets too happy with his crazy stuff. That's probably why I should have been more of a Saints skeptic early in the year.

I will throw one other thing out there about the Skins. FOX showed some NASCAR racers hanging around the sidelines. I don't know if they were members of Gibbs Racing or not, because I am, you know, from the North, employed, and own shirts with collars, but there they were.

Here in Philly, everyone is obsessed with the Andy Reid "family distraction" story (I hear he will resign any second now), and there's a degree to which I am sure it is true that Andy is distracted by his family problems. I am sure most coaches are. I am distracted when my kids have the flu, for goodness sake. But then there is the distraction of a second job, that is every bit as lucrative and high profile as your first job. That's Gibbs' NASCAR distraction. That isn't like a family distraction, even a severe one. No other NFL coach is going to put his football team on hold to go take care of his other sports team. Dan Snyder seems OK with Gibbs serving two masters, and lord knows he has enough assistants to delegate to. But racecar drivers on the sidelines? Isn't that taking things a bit too far?

Vince Verhei: You know what makes that even weirder? I just watched the America's Game show on the 1991 Redskins. They had a playoff game against Jerry Glanville's Atlanta Falcons. Gibbs and Charles Mann couldn't believe the Falcons would allow M.C. Hammer on the sidelines. This offended them, because it meant the Falcons were not taking them seriously. So, when it comes to Gibbs, rappers on the sideline are no good, racecar drivers on the sideline are apparently just fine.

Brett Favre set the career interception record today, but virtually all of those have been due to bad decisions. Today I saw one that looked like the result of failing arm strength. Favre had James Jones wide-open downfield, but his pass (admittedly under heavy pressure) came up short and hung in the air forever, and Sean Taylor had all day to run under it and haul it in. Green Bay's corners, obviously, are really good. Charles Woodson had one pass defensed and an interception. Al Harris had two passes defensed. Washington wide receivers, meanwhile, caught a total of four passes for 60 yards.

St. Louis Rams 3 at Baltimore Ravens 22

Stuart Fraser: Kyle Boller is in at quarterback for the Ravens. Anybody know what's going on there? Oh, in other STL-BAL news, Gus Frerotte got sacked about five seconds after the snap on consecutive plays. Throw it away, Gus. Throw it away.

Doug Farrar: The Boller start was a pregame decision, nothing to do with in-game injury. Steve McNair missed practices with a stiff back this week.

Aaron Schatz: Every time I looked up at this game, Gus Frerotte was eating grass. The only reason why Ray Lewis did not hit Frerotte more often is that another Baltimore player usually smashed Frerotte into the ground first, and Lewis would just hit empty space. The Rams are without four of their five best offensive players, and the fifth is gimpy. So much for "FO projections always underestimate the Rams." Yikes.

Stuart Fraser: Speaking of quarterbacks who shouldn't be in the game, Frerotte has now thrown back-to-back interceptions to go with his back-to-back sacks. The first of these was tipped and not entirely his fault, the second was the least excusable pass I've seen thrown this year, which is saying something. To borrow a classic announcer standby, it was thrown to where only the cornerback could catch it. I should mention that Frerotte could have had a touchdown pass after the fumble recovery (mentioned below) but for his receiver (Marques Hagans) dropping a ball that hit him pretty much in the facemask.

The Rams are getting a lot of pressure from the right side of their line. This may have something to do with the sheer number of injuries Baltimore have here. Boller has been doing good work scrambling and throwing away but he was inevitably going to be sacked. Naturally, he fumbled and the Rams recovered, advancing the ball to the Ravens' 16. After two runs to nowhere (well, +2, -4) and a dropped pass, Wilkins misses the field goal. I can see why this team is 0-5.

St. Louis is getting better -- Frerotte is beginning to find receivers. Hagans has stopped dropping passes, and the final drive of the half actually went somewhere. Not far enough to actually score any points before the clock ran out, you understand (though they'd just about gotten into long field goal range when the time ran out), but this is the Rams playing the Ravens. One step at a time.

Did I say the Rams were making progress? Sorry, I meant, "Brief flash of competence to be revealed later as probably a fluke." Neither of these teams are great at protecting the quarterback today -- the left side of the Ravens' line is getting caved in a lot -- but the Rams are substantially worse and compound this by their lack of a running game. In addition, the receivers can't get open reliably, and of course there are the four interceptions and a fumble to consider. Of course now I say this they're putting together something of a drive, converting two third-and-longs (this drive eventually made it to the red zone, where it was turned over on downs).

Frerotte charitably throws his fifth interception of the game just to make Tony Romo feel better. To some extent it's unreasonable to expect much from a backup quarterback who rarely has much time to throw, but on the other hand I think when you set a team record for interceptions you're probably doing something wrong (letting the ball fly instead of eating it and being sacked, mostly, in Frerotte's case). Of course when he does get hit he ends up in a crumpled heap, which is why the Rams are finishing this game with the emergency quarterback in. I would like to clarify that when I picked the Rams to exceed their PFP projection, I meant the projected number of losses.

One thing the Rams did do well is keep the opposing tight end quiet, of which I am glad because I can't spell "Sypniewski."

Minnesota Vikings 34 at Chicago Bears 31

Bill Barnwell: The most surprising part of this game was Chicago's offensive line against the Minnesota defensive front that's declared jihad on rushers for two years now. I know Olin Kreutz is good, but he and Roberto Garza were clearing swaths of space up front for Cedric Benson to run into. They were running a sweep with Kreutz and Garza pulling right where they were not only blocking defensive linemen, but getting to the second level and blocking guys nine or ten yards upfield.

In my entry for "ugliest throw of the year," Tarvaris Jackson had a pass he threw across his body whilst running backwards to no one on a third-and-10. This was less professional quarterbacking than it was ... performance art.

Adam Archuleta has not looked like the worst safety in football this year, but his flaws are still pretty apparent. He took a really ugly route to the football on Troy Williamson's touchdown and got stuck in no man's land; too close to develop an angle to chase Williamson down, and too far to get there before or at the same time as the ball.

Mike Tanier: I picked the Bears in this game. I clearly underestimated the entire Vikings running game. Adrian Peterson is one of the best young running backs I have ever seen, but give kudos to that offensive line, which we all know contains some really good players. The Vikings can churn out 10-yard gains on second-and-8 with no problem. And give Brad Childress credit: After taking Peterson out of the game plan two weeks ago, he very creatively got him the ball on screens, shotgun sweeps, and other oddball plays.

That being said, the Vikings still have almost no passing game (the bomb to Williamson was sweet, but it was one play). The receiving corps drops a lot of passes and doesn't help Tarvaris much.

Aaron Schatz: I realize we don't like to print profanity on the site, but can we nickname Adrian Peterson "F#@kin' A?" I think at least five times today, I looked up at the television showing the Vikings game and said, "My god, Adrian Peterson is F#@KING AWESOME."

He is the prototypical running back. He is fast. He is agile. He lowers his shoulder and hits defenders. He pushes forward for extra yardage. I can't tell you if he pass blocks well, I haven't seen enough of that. I've only seen one negative -- it was either McCormick or Barnwell who said this, I'm not sure which, but his upright running style probably causes him to be more injury-prone, and that sort of thing also generally leads to more fumbles. Otherwise, the guy is just a total stud. STUD.

Bill Barnwell: What separates Peterson from guys who are just fast (Michael Bennett, I'm looking at you) is how he knows how to use his legs and moves to set up opportunities to use his speed. He does a great job of subtly creating lanes for his blockers and then immediately playing off them once they're ready, and if it's a one-on-one situation, creating the slightest hesitation to give himself space to blow by a guy. He made Lance Briggs, not exactly the slowest linebacker in football, look positively stupid on a play where he froze him by running towards the crowded middle of the field, waited for Briggs' hips to begin to transfer, and then made his cutback way before Briggs could respond, leaving himself an open field to run into.

David Lewin: I think Brad Childress did a brutal job with the Vikings offense in this game. The Bears could not handle Adrian Peterson, who was running like a man possessed, yet Childress stubbornly stuck to his game plan to give Taylor the bulk of the carries and use Peterson mostly on third downs. This game could have been blown wide-open if Childress was willing to ride Peterson instead of using him as a change of pace.

Mike Tanier: I don't know. They ran the ball 42 times. Taylor ran 22, Peterson 20. They combined for 307 yards, most of them Peterson. Maybe the split should have been 17-25 or even 12-30, but I am not sure you want Peterson running 30 or more times. I like the fact that Childress committed heavily to the run. If you are going to do that, you should split the carries up.

Devin Hester caught a touchdown pass in this game. I heard talking heads two weeks ago talking about how getting Hester involved in the offense should be Ron Turner's top priority. That's bull. His top priority should be getting a quarterback to deliver the ball and developing an overall gameplan that works, not designing trickery so his kick returner can score touchdowns. That being said, sending Hester deep a few times per game can't hurt, can it?

Vince Verhei: Note to everybody: Don't kick to Devin Hester. It doesn't work. Just stop it. (Although the Bears were lucky the refs missed Obafemi Ayanbadejo's block in the back.)

In the long run, I think Hester's offensive score may be an even bigger play. He didn't just run up the field as fast as he could, he ran an out-and-up that left Dwight Smith with no chance to cover him. I'm not sure if the coverage on the play was man or zone, but Hester was definitely Smith's responsibility either way. With that play, Hester became something more than a gimmick on offense. Now, when Hester lines up in the slot, teams can't just put their safety on him and feel comfortable. He's going to require extra attention. This could open things for the other receivers, the running game, the whole offense.

Aaron Schatz: Mike Hall, the guy who won a job at ESPN on that show "Dream Job," was the FOX sideline reporter for the Bears-Vikings game. Remember when we ran reviews of that show because we were desperate for off-season content in the spring of 2004? Wacky.

Hester is amazing, but people can overstate this fact. At one point FOX put up a graphic that said, "Berrian touchdown (set up by Devin Hester's 23-yard kickoff return.)" Guys, that's an average kickoff return. It's nothing special.

Vince Verhei: The concerns I've heard and read about the Bears' defensive line look justified. On Adrian Peterson's second touchdown, everyone's going to rave about the sick cutback Peterson made about 10 yards downfield, but they should note that the entire left side of the Vikings' line just overwhelmed the Bears, clearing a hole that wasn't just a yard wide, it was three yards downfield. Peterson ran through the giant chasm, slipped one tackle, made one cut and was gone.

Mike Tanier: The Vikings line looked very good the whole game. Their receivers, besides Williamson on that bomb, looked terrible.

The thing with Hester is this: He can be an asset if he really becomes an integrated part of the offense. That play was a step in the right direction. If I see him run some little 10-yard outs and catch passes, so much the better. If the plan is to make him a fly-pattern-and-reverse guy, opponents will get wise fast, and then he's probably just going to take touches away from a better all-around receiver.

Doug Farrar: Memo to Rich Eisen: The "Cameron Frye imitates Sloane Peterson's dad" thing you do every time Adrian Peterson does something incredible is over and done. He's going to do many incredible things. Please put it away before it becomes your "Boo-ya!" and we all hate you for it.

Vince Verhei: Note to Doug: Thank you for explaining why Eisen does this. I never got the reference before. I'm not sure if that makes it any less annoying though.

Philadelphia Eagles 16 at New York Jets 9

Mike Tanier: Messy, semi-fulfilling win for my mighty Birds against the Jets in their strange, dark blue uniforms. A few notes:

  • This just in: Brian Westbrook makes a difference.
  • The Eagles run defense looked awful in the first two series, then stiffened up, probably because...
  • It is embarrassingly obvious to everyone in America that Chad Pennington cannot throw deep at all. This is not news, but it must be stated as clearly as possible. He has. No arm left. Period. Eric Mangini and the boys can't keep pretending that they can hide this fact.
  • Here's the ManGenius call everyone will want to talk about: The Jets face fourth-and-1 from the four-yard line late in the game, down by seven, 3:32 to play. They line up in the shotgun and throw a fade to Laveranues Coles with Sheldon Brown defending. Brutally bad call. First of all, they only needed a half a yard and had been running well all day. Second ... shotgun? Third ... attack Sheldon Brown? They decided to attack the best player on the Eagles back seven after essentially telegraphing a pass play in a heavy running situation. It was pure Keep Chopping Wood material, and as an Eagles fan I will take it.

Aaron Schatz: I don't understand the fourth down fade to Coles either, and I think if you go back into last year's Audibles you will find a game where I wrote "Mangini made the right decision to go for it on fourth down, but a terrible play call by calling for a difficult pass." Or I wrote something close to that ... the point is, this seems to be a running theme with Mangini. Try a sneak, Eric.

Doug Farrar: As an amateur AFL historian, I loved the New York Titans throwback unis. All that was missing was a brief biography of owner Harry Wismer, and a re-enactment of the team hemorrhaging cash while Wismer gives blocks of tickets to legendary restaurateur Toots Shor.

Sean McCormick: I would be remiss if I didn't comment on those throwbacks the Jets were wearing, which looked very sharp. If only they had brought some game to go along with the blue and gold.

The theory that Chad Pennington is single-handedly holding back the running game took a hit today. On a day when the windy conditions made it even easier for the safeties to play up, Thomas Jones ripped the Eagles apart in the first half. The Jets were only gaining 10-plus yards on two percent of their carries, but Jones went for ten or more on each of his first four carries. Clearly the Jets coaching staff saw something on film, because Jones was very successful with one-cut runs.

On the other hand, the presence of a running game did nothing for Pennington, who may have played his worst game of the season. The one thing that Pennington has done well is convert third downs, but he really struggled at it today. Jim Johnson brought a lot of heat on third down, disguising his blitzes until the protection was set and then flooding the opposite side, and the approach worked.

The Jets defense has been a bend-and-then-break unit this season that lets teams march down the field in long time-consuming drives rather than surrendering big plays. But last week, Plaxico Burress beat them for a 48-yard touchdown, and this week, Kevin Curtis beat Andre Dyson for a 70-yard score. The defense then reverted back to its Death By Chinese Water Torture form for the rest of the game, which worked better than it should have because David Akers struggled to make field goals. But as the season wears on and the team continues to need to blitz to stop the run and blitz to pressure the passer, these sorts of big plays figure to happen more often.

Bill Barnwell: The Eagles holder (Rocca? Tanier?) did a great job on their first field goal, otherwise David Akers would have missed three. I'm not sure if he's really cursed by the Meadowlands, but boy, he doesn't seem to like them. That's my favorite Wrens album, too.

Tennessee Titans 10 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

Doug Farrar: It took one offensive series by Tampa Bay to discern why the Titans have the NFL's best pass defense, according to DVOA, despite the loss of Pacman Jones. Tennessee's front four has an incredible ability to bring consistent pressure without help, and that obviously changes the entire defensive landscape. No, it doesn't help the Bucs that second-time starter Donald Penn is in there for Luke Petitgout at left tackle, but the way Kyle Vanden Bosch is playing at right end, I don't think it would matter. The right side with Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth is amazing, and left end Travis LaBoy de-cleated Jeff Garcia on Tampa Bay's first drive. The question will be whether Garcia can use the quick pass to turn the Titans' own aggressiveness against them. You'll also be seeing Cortland Finnegan's hit on Graham all over the highlights -- boy, this team can unload. And Garcia is having some early success with short stuff, but the Titans' defense is so fast, it almost takes his mobility out of the equation.

Interesting (and partially humorous) play on Tennessee's second drive. Vince Young takes the snap, finds pressure and no open men, and starts to run right. Tampa Bay rookie defensive end Gaines Adams shoots past one block and spins out of another, clogs up Young's escape route, and Young runs right into LenDale White in the backfield. That wasn't a sack, obviously -- won't even be classified as a pressure -- but that play had a lot to do with the fact that Adams is starting to find his feet in the NFL. Very impressive.

Garcia did get a couple of long throws off -- a 39-yarder to Michael Clayton in the second quarter that led to a Tampa Bay field goal, and the 69-yard touchdown bomb to Joey Galloway in the third quarter. He's still an impressive quarterback -- smart, tough, efficient. He's been the difference in this game between two very strong defenses. Vince Young, on the other hand ... he was overthrowing everyone high early on, the pick he threw to Philip Buchanon was just goofy, and when he finally did start to get things going in the third quarter on running plays and short passes, he injured a quadriceps muscle, leading to the emergence of Kerry Collins.

Collins drives the Titans downfield late in the fourth quarter and gets a huge break when a potentially incredible end zone interception by Ronde Barber is just out of bounds when Barber hits the turf. He's getting a lot of time in the pocket, as the Buccaneers defense seems worn out by the time of possession discrepancy in the third quarter. Collins converts a third-and-15 in the red zone, and LenDale White runs in the tying touchdown from two yards out with less than two minutes left. That's Tennessee's first red zone trip of the game. On Tampa Bay's following drive, Garcia shows tremendous elusiveness on three straight completed passes, getting his team down the field, and Matt Bryant kicks a game-winning 43-yard field goal with 16 seconds left. I'll just say how impressed I am with Jeff Garcia's ability to efficiently make things happen in situations where improvisation is necessary.

Russell Levine: Garcia is worth his weight in gold. The offensive line isn't all that great, and they're starting a rookie no-name at left tackle, but he constantly avoids sacks and is never afraid to throw the ball away. He has yet to throw an interception on the year.

Mike Tanier: "Garcia is worth his weight in gold." I'm sorry. Am I being baited?

Aaron Schatz: I would like to hear somebody with a theory on why Garcia didn't work out in Cleveland or Detroit -- I mean, his DVOA was worse than Kelly Holcomb's in Cleveland and worse than Joey Harrington's in Detroit -- but he has worked out well in Tampa Bay. (We know why it worked out well in Philadelphia. It starts with "Brian" and ends with "Westbrook.")

Russell Levine: Tampa Bay's inability to run the ball nearly cost them the game. There's a reason why Earnest Graham is a street free agent. Tampa couldn't grind the clock at all in the second half, and their defense wore out. I would expect the Bucs to take one more run at trading for an established back before the deadline. The inability to run at all really hurts them, especially given that they nearly always play close games. Tampa Bay's defensive line couldn't get any pass rush at all on the game-tying drive for Tennessee. Kerry Collins, aside from a couple "Kerry Collins" moments, really played well. He picked up a number of third-and-long situations and the one touchdown drive was masterful. Tampa Bay looked like they might lose in regulation after Tennessee tied things. Two quick incompletions left them in third-and-long and the Titans still had two timeouts. But Garcia scrambled and found Ike Hilliard for 28 yards, eventually leading to the winning field goal.

The officiating was really dodgy in this game. Tennessee had to challenge two balls that were ruled Ronde Barber interceptions even though both were obvious incompletions. There was also a really strange "in the grasp" call on a play when Collins basically just tossed the ball on the turf. They also missed an obvious grounding call on Garcia on a play when he was wrapped up and just flipped the ball forward but it fell at least two yards short of the line of scrimmage.

Vince Verhei: I can't say much that hasn't already been said, but I can say this: LenDale White had 25 rushes for Tennessee, and none of them gained more than five yards.

Carolina Panthers 25 at Arizona Cardinals 10

Michael David Smith: Tim Rattay and Vinny Testaverde don't look as bad as I figured quarterbacks who just joined their teams this week would look. They're far from perfect, but they don't look horribly out of place.

Doug Farrar: Testaverde actually looked very good on the 65-yard touchdown to Steve Smith, and DeAngelo Williams broke a 75-yard run. The Cardinals will have to win with running and defense -- good thing they've now got a head coach who understands those concepts. Rattay's 50 percent completion rate and three picks don't exactly speak well. Arizona was just completely off today -- turnovers and penalties killed them.

New England Patriots 48 at Dallas Cowboys 27

Bill Moore: This game was much closer than the final score would suggest. The Dallas front seven (and often eight) had the most success at getting to Brady than any team so far. They did an excellent job of disguising who was coming at him. Matt Light was sick and therefore the Pats had a rotating set of offensive linemen (Nick Kazur rotated between left and right tackle positions), which may have something to do with it. However, part of getting to Tom Brady was using Roy Williams as a rusher. That left the Cowboys' subpar secondary without much help, and consequently, New England converted 11 of 17 third downs, and most of that was through the air.

Dallas also focused on making sure Randy Moss didn't beat them. He almost did. Brady missed an open Moss on a number of bomb passes -- overthrowing him each time. Moss also had two touchdowns taken back -- one for dropping the ball upon hitting the ground and one for a weak (and unnecessary) offensive pass interference. So instead of Moss beating them, Welker and Stallworth did. Welker had a career game (124 yards and two touchdowns), and Stallworth had his first real team contribution (136 yards, one touchdown). And yes, they are both on my fantasy team.

Michael David Smith: The NFL really needs to change the replay review force-out rule. It didn't matter because the Cowboys scored on the next play anyway, but they did get screwed when the Terrell Owens catch was overturned.

Doug Farrar: Well, I'll be happy to add to what is obviously going to be a "Crappy Officiating Section" in this week's Audibles by mentioning it looked as if Dallas free safety Pat Watkins got completely and utterly hosed on a pass interference call in the third quarter when Randy Moss ran into him in the end zone. That moved the ball from the Dallas 16-yard line to the 1-yard line, and Brady threw a touchdown pass on the next play.

Bill Moore: The Patriots lost two offensive weapons during the game. Ben Watson left with only one catch after a lower leg injury, and Sammy Morris left after an ineffective start with a chest injury (Lawrence Maroney was inactive again). After Morris went out the Patriots threw 12 times of the next 15 plays. Faulk picked it up in the fourth quarter. Dallas' first three drives were three-and-outs. I'll be interested in seeing Romo's DVOA from this game. His line of 18-of-29 for 199 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (thrown late in the game and down two touchdowns) seems OK, but in reality he only had two good drives the whole game.

In charting, we track "Wow" plays -- something Bill Simmons thought up. I have seen few "Wow" plays this year, but there was one today. Marion Barber was stuffed in the backfield at his own one-yard line, knocked back into the end zone, but continued running, evaded approximately three tackles while in the end zone and ran to the 12-yard line. How he wasn't tackled in the end zone, I have no idea.

Vince Verhei: I spent nearly seven hours in a bar watching football today, and for nearly all seven hours it was almost depressingly quiet in there (largely because the Seahawks were playing tonight, no doubt). That run was the only exception. Everyone was shouting and hollering. That was the most exciting two-yard gain of all time. Then it was over, and everyone went back to sipping their beer and checking their fantasy scores.

Bill Moore: Final observation, Rodney Harrison is not good in coverage. No one knows exactly where I live, right?!?

Sean McCormick: If there is a chink in the armor of the Patriots, it is the triangle between the two interior linebackers and Rodney Harrison. Dallas did an excellent job of forcing Harrison into single coverage against either Jason Witten or Patrick Crayton, and they exploited the matchup with regularity. It's not much of a chink when the offense is putting up 40 points, but I'm sure that Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark were taking notes.

Tony Romo really played a good game. He didn't force throws into coverage (or when he did, he put the ball where only the receiver could get it, as he did on his second touchdown toss to Crayton), and he never looked confused by what New England was up to. If Dallas could have somehow figured out how to get out of the gate faster, they would have been in this game until the end.

Aaron Schatz: Rodney Harrison was just brutal at the end of the second half. Just brutal. The Cowboys clearly saw something on film that said, "Rodney Harrison hits hard but he can't cover man-to-man anymore," and they went after him with passes to Jason Witten. Then they went after him when he was playing zone, and completed those passes too.

Just a reminder to all the crowing Patriots fans: The Colts are also playing historically well this year, and Baltimore and Pittsburgh are fairly good. This team is not done being tested, and they are not guaranteed the Lombardi Trophy, no matter how well they've played in the first six weeks.

Oakland Raiders 14 at San Diego Chargers 28

Doug Farrar: First of all, it's good to see that the San Diego offense has come around, and interesting to see the Tomlinson-Turner productivity from last week reversed back in LT's favor. I'm not dismissing the Chargers' offensive resurgence at all. However, what the heck has happened to the Raiders' run defense? They were 16th in DVOA against the run last year, and they're dead last by a huge margin this year with basically the same personnel.

Vince Verhei: My first guess about Oakland's defense would have been advancing age, but Warren Sapp is the only starter on the front seven who's over 30.

Aaron Schatz: Attention female readers, particularly female readers in San Diego: Please note that it is important to pull your shirt down before you stand up to applaud all LaDainian Tomlinson touchdowns, lest you show an entire sports bar your ass. This is even more important when he scores four.

New Orleans Saints 28 at Seattle Seahawks 17

Doug Farrar: Seattle's offense, so ineffective last week against the Steelers, was without its top two receivers (Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett), tight end Marcus Pollard was hobbled in practice, and longtime fullback Mack Strong retired this week, leaving the Seahawks Strong-less for the first time since 1992. They're facing a defense with only one sack, but the New Orleans defense is pretty good against the run. Of course, the Saints get their second sack of the season on Seattle's first possession (gotta love that #$%^&* offensive line), and long snapper Boone Stutz, who was signed this week, hurled a bad snap on the opening punt which the Saints took in for a touchdown.

Then, the "eye-in-the-sky" camera malfunctions, falls out of the air and reportedly almost kills Matt Hasselbeck, leading to a 10-minute TV game delay, as I wonder if it's possible for right guard Chris Gray to be allowed to fling the camera at enemy defenders by the cable just to make things even.

Aaaaaand ... of course, New Orleans' first offensive play consists of Reggie Bush's longest NFL run, right up the middle, which is the one place he wasn't supposed to be able to run. I think it's nice that the Saints are finally looking decent, but it'd be preferable if the Seahawks weren't the facilitators of their 2007 breakout. Seattle's third offensive drive starts efficiently, but Matt Hasselbeck gets off two bad throws to Bobby Engram and Ben Obomanu, and then tries to hit Nate Burleson in the end zone with Mike McKenzie all over him, for a drive-ender. One thing about Seattle's defense -- you can't usually try delay plays on them. Either go right up the middle or use misdirection, because they pursue like crazy. However, the Saints are putting Jammal Brown right on Lofa Tatupu, which frees those lanes up the middle.

Michael David Smith: The Seahawks are having all kinds of problems with the long snap this year. I wish I had something intelligent to say about that, but I must confess that I really know nothing about how to improve your long-snapping situation, or about who the good free agent long-snappers are.

Doug Farrar: The Seahawks actually had a good one, the French-Canadian Jean-Phillipe Darche, who was last seen in Kansas City after a few injuries paved his way out of Seattle.

Eric Johnson's second quarter touchdown personifies what drives me completely nuts about Seattle's defensive game-planning. They send Julian Peterson (who can cover tight ends very well) in on a blitz, and they have Leroy Hill (who, as I've written before, has a great forward gear and no reverse whatsoever) on Johnson. If you're not going to use Hill for the two things he can do -- run-stopping and pass pressure -- why bother keeping him on the roster? Speaking of "I can't wait to see his DVOA," Matt Hasselbeck has looked abysmal through the first half. On the defensive side of the ball, the Seahawks are leaving a hole in the middle of their Cover-2 the size of Pork Chop Womack's butt, and Reggie Bush is looking like Adrian Peterson. I think I'll check back in when they resemble a football team.

Sean Payton does the icing-the-kicker-timeout thing at the end of the first half, though Josh Brown didn't actually get the first attempt off beforehand (making it more of a legitimate icing). Brown makes the 52-yarder, and we all once again wonder why the NFL needs to wait until the owner's meetings to change this rule.

Michael David Smith: Seneca Wallace could be a great NFL receiver. What in the world is Mike Holmgren doing keeping him at backup quarterback?

Doug Farrar: It does speak to the state of modern NFL quarterbacking that it would be difficult for the Seahawks to sign a backup as good as Wallace, who is a league average quarterback, but could be a wonderful receiver. Receivers are simply easier to find.

Interesting thing about the Seahawks over the last two games is that they've been very consistent in their inconsistency. In both games, they started out extremely slow due to a complete inability to run the ball and Hasselbeck's subsequent desire to do too much. Both games featured some really weird time-related issues at the end of the first half (Holmgren's refusal to use his timeouts against the Steelers, and the play call to Ben Obomanu on the low-percentage sideline pass with time running out and timeouts left instead of a better field position play against the Saints), and both games saw an almost complete lack of Seattle offense in the third quarter because the Seattle defense couldn't get the enemy offense off the field.

Hasselbeck's upswing in rating, and Seattle's late "scoring surge," came against New Orleans' "Out of the Office" defense when they were way up in the fourth quarter. Holmgren called a third-down fullback draw, the play they run that almost never works, when they were close to a scoring drive very late in the game, to at least make the score respectable. Mike Holmgren has not done well at all this season. Seahawks, America has your number, and if you want to save your season, you'd best figure out some productive alternatives.

Aaron Schatz: What the hell is Mike Holmgren doing with that last third down play call? Running Leonard Weaver right into the line with 1:40 left, down by 11, on third down, with no timeouts? What, he thought they were going to fool the Saints? Honestly, maybe they did think they would fool the Saints. They did it on an earlier Weaver draw, catching the Saints with a big hole where Josh Bullocks was blitzing. But still, trying the fullback run again is fine if they have a timeout left in case it doesn't work, or it is first down and they can stop the clock with a spike. But they get no yards, they have to hurry up the fourth down pass that means the game -- I mean seriously, what the hell?

Ben Riley: Let me explain. For the past three years, a little demon inside of Mike Holmgren's head has pushed the "hopeless draw-to-fullback-on-third-and-long" button in situations like tonight. Some people thought -- nay, hoped -- that Holmgren's demon was slayed the day Mack Strong announced his retirement. Obviously, he's alive and well.

Aaron Schatz: Yeah, but with 1:40 left and no timeouts? I think that Holmgren's "fullback draw" demon and Holmgren's "crappy clock management" demon got together and had an evil love child.

Ben Riley:But really, it's time to acknowledge that the Seahawks aren't very good. The pass rush was non-existent, the secondary made scrubs like David Patten and Billy Miller look like Pro Bowlers, and Matt Hasselbeck inexplicably decided to heave a pass to Bullocks to kill any hopes of a comeback. Oh, and Shaun Alexander is still a corpse. The Seahawks may still make the playoffs because the NFC West remains a joke, but there will be no Romo-botch to save them this year. The decline begins now.

Doug Farrar: Ben's right. The Saints met a team that allowed them to reverse all their negative trends in one fell swoop. They had one sack through the first four games, and five in this one. Drew Brees had thrown nine picks this season, and he threw none in this game, primarily because he didn't really see any pressure. Reggie Bush had his breakout game as a running back, and an offense that had scored the third-fewest points per game this season (behind only the 49ers and Rams) didn't seem to have any trouble tonight. When you allow two opponents in a row to bulldoze you like this, you are not a good team. We can throw around all the advanced stats and concepts we want, but sometimes it's as simple as that -- a team just isn't very good anymore.

Posted by: admin on 15 Oct 2007

308 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2007, 6:29pm by gmc

Comments

1
by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:34am

As a Pats fan, I would say to any other Pats fan that is "crowing" to get a serious grip. I'm not worried about the aging Ravens or the Norv-coached Chargers, and the Steelers don't quite seem to have the entire package, but anybody who takes the Colts lightly at all is a complete idiot.

2
by Beirut (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:57am

I know why I'm up til 3:00 AM, but why the hell am I checking Football Outsiders? God, I need help.

3
by Nat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 7:03am

"It looked as if Dallas free safety Pat Watkins got completely and utterly hosed on a pass interference call in the third quarter when Randy Moss ran into him in the end zone"

Well, no, actually, Doug. Moss ran into Watkins on a pass that went over both of them. Watkins changed his path away from the ball to cut in front of Moss. It was clear which of them was going for the ball, and which was playing the man - that is, interfering. If the ball had been short, you would be right. But in the real universe, you can't give up on the ball to cut off the receiver.

MDS: I agree that the force out rule should be changed. Right now, there is no way to call "complete pass, but almost forced out".

I'd love to see the force-out rule done away with completely. If the rule was "Two feet in or contacted by a defender with two feet in at or after the contact" there would be no "what if" judgment required.

4
by Israel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 7:21am

#1 - They already beat the "Norv-coached Chargers," so unless they accidentally meet in January, that is moot.

5
by Purds (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 7:39am

Speaking of officiating, has anyone looked into the number of offensive holding calls this year? They seem to be way down, and offensive lines seem to be holding quite a bit on passing downs, without getting called. In the NE game, I saw one Pats rusher beat the blocker off the edge, and then get taken to the ground by that same blocker -- no call.

16-0? Who knows, but NE's got a legitimate chance, because while they have a few tests left, they also have many "walk in the park" games left, namely NYJ, Buffalo, Miami x2.

6
by Sifter (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 7:58am

Yay a mention for Friday Night Lights. It's a real good show IMO, y'all need to watch it so it doesn't get cut. Critics love it, but for some reason it gets pretty poor ratings. Fridays at 9 on NBC - see you there. If you haven't seen it yet, you can watch full episodes on the NBC site. /endofplug

7
by gnomonclature (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 8:21am

Jeez, thanks for sucking the joy out of football, Dr. Schatz. I was thinking about enjoying the Patriot's win, but I guess it might be better to think ahead three weeks to the Colts game.

8
by iapetus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 8:31am

Great to see the in-depth commentary on the Jags-Texans game. Particularly liked the insight on the surprise onside kick that proved to be the swinging point of the game and the controversial offensive-pass-interference-that-wasn't call on the Wrighster touchdown.

9
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 8:40am

Week 6 and finally a good performance from my 49ers.

10
by Kalyan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 8:51am

Pats are far from done even after the visit to the colts. I think the steelers, ravens, Eagles and Giants cannot be taken lightly with very high chances of steelers taking the pats close in the game.

and all of that, if the head coach is not dumb enough to pick the phone and chat with Peter King of spygate in the week leading to the game.

11
by JFP (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 8:56am

"This team is not done being tested, and they are not guaranteed the Lombardi Trophy, no matter how well they’ve played in the first six weeks."

Right! Just keep your fancy math and graphs to yourself. I watched the post game shows yesterday. Now those people know what they're talking about. No science mumbo jumbo - just hard facts. Face it the Pat's will score over 700 points this season. And Brady will have 65 TD passes.

12
by JFP (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:01am

Where is MMQB? SI has had that up for like three hours. Let's get going people!

13
by Phill (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:02am

re 8: it's not meant to be any kind of analysis or whatever. It's just the guys sharing emails with each other about the games they are watching. If none of them happen to be watching the game you are interested in, then nothing gets written about it in audibles. If only one person is watching it, you probably get a single comment and no replies. No-one is under any obligation to watch the game you want and comment intelligently on it.

14
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:04am

Mangini has to win KCW this week. My jaw hit the floor when they came out in the shotgun (shotgun). I know the Eagles had just stuffed runs on second and third downs, but a coach has to believe his O-line can get 18 inches.

Attention female readers, particularly female readers in San Diego: Please note that it is important to pull your shirt down before you stand up to applaud all LaDainian Tomlinson touchdowns, lest you show an entire sports bar your ass.

The opinions of Aaron Schatz are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Footballoutsiders.com contributors, readers or frequent posters, or 99 percent of heterosexual males.

15
by Purds (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:07am

Interesting angle with NE:

They're not really built to play at home in January, are they? They were almost exclusively a passing team yesterday, and they've been much better because of the passing game. But what if the AFC Championships are held in NE, and it's 20 degrees with snow/ice? Fine if you're playing Indy, but what if you're playing a running team?

Of course, NE has artificial turf, but a cold rainy day in January -- they might be better off at Indy's dome.

Just thinking here...

16
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:12am

I understand Mr. Schatz does not wish to jinx the Pats, but do readers really need to be reminded every week that it's going to be almost impossible for NE to go 16-0, and that the Colts are a formidable opponent? I am pretty sure everyone knows, and in the absence of a Patriotjoe fan to epitomize blind homers, it gets grating after a while.

As for yesterday's game being closer than the score, yeah, if you mean the last TD was excessive (but not football gods-offensive, since Dallas called a TO right before it), but 14 points difference between the teams were all there, in my opinion. It's hard to imagine the Cowboys could have scored more, while the Pats left a couple of Moss TD's on the field. Considering this was against a home team with top O and D, I'll call that a statement.

That said, injuries are mounting, and the Pats secondary is definitely shaky (I hear Thomas was playing hurt yesterday, btw, and he didn't seem to be on the field as much as usual), so there is reason for some concern.

17
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:13am

I'm glad Bush had a decent night, but listening to the announcers rave about him after having watched the Vikings-Bears game earlier was hilarious. You want a break out game, you want a game changing RB, that's Adrian Peterson...not Reggie Bush.

One amazing stat you didn't mention about the Vikes game was that there were 8 touchdowns, and the SHORTEST was 34 yards. That was one of the most exciting football games I've ever seen. I couldn't even get upset when Hester was scoring his TD's, because I was just in awe of his speed.

Two other notes. While I agree that Childress has been unimpressive, I think his willingness to put AP back for that last kickoff was a bold decision that a lot of coaches wouldn't make. Second, Tavaris had three PERFECT throws dropped and two others that decent WRs would have caught. He probably won't be a star, but he's making progress and it isn't reflected in his stats.

18
by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:14am

re: 4
Was thinking of the playoffs. I don't care about the regular season that much, except to the extent that the Pats get a bye this year, as opposed to the past two years.
re: 10
no NFL team should be "taken lightly". (Well, maybe the Rams these days.) I also think you are implying that I was talking about the Pats going undefeated, whereas I'm only concerned with the Lombardi trophy, as was the original context. I don't care if the Pats go undefeated or not, but I do care if they get a bye week, since a bye week makes a great difference in the playoffs.

19
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:17am

Wow. Early Audibles. Me likey.

I don’t know if they were members of Gibbs Racing or not, because I am, you know, from the North, employed, and own shirts with collars, but there they were."

My entire office thought I was having a fit. If I read anything funnier this week, it'll probably kill me.

Thoughts on Miami Cleveland.

Cleo Lemon is a good back-up QB, and not Mimai's problem. He 's fairly mobile, and kept two-or three plays alive. One in particular was Vick-esque, except unlike Mexico he keppt his eyes downfield and found a receiver. While he's never going to be Joe Montana, when he's given time, he's reasonably accurate, and he made some good throws. Of his two picks, the second was garbage time, and the first was a bad decision, made under real pressure. He should have thrown it away. When the protection held up, Lemon looked OK.

Which brings me to the O-line. It's improved, but still isn't great. On a couple of downs, Lemon went to a 3-step drop, and still had someone in his face before he could set. There were far too many plays where defenders came through more or less unblocked. Of the linemen, LG Liwienski and RT LG Shelton look weakest.

It's time to play Ginn Jnr more, and not just because he's a 1st rounder. 3 or 4 times Chambers went deep, had a step, and Lemon overthrew him by not very much. I'm guessing, but I imagine Ginn Jnr is faster than Chambers, and Lemon will have practised with Ginn far more. Assuming Ginn can get the separation (not a given), why not have him in? Besides, Chambers still can't catch.

Ronnie Brown is a beast. If he doesn't go to Hawaii this year, the Fraud Squad need to examine the voting.

The Defense is dead. I could run on them, and the secondary couldn't cover a baby with a blanket. Jason Taylor did OK, and beat Kevin Shaeffer bad a couple of times, but Zak Thomas is slow in coverage. As for Joey Porter, the only part of him that still works is his mouth. The less said about the DB's the better, and Jason Allen still can't get on the field. Another tremendous 1st round pick by the 'Fins.

Finally, I keep reading from Pats fans that they're nervous about playing Miami next week. Don't be. It's quite likely that New England will generate about half a mile of offense. Records could be broken.

20
by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:18am

re: 16
Apparently it is not necessary for Aaron to remind us every week that it would be hard for the Pats to go 16-0. Indeed, he did not do so this week. The discussion about whether the Pats go 16-0 has taken place entirely within the comments section.

21
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:21am

McCarthy's playcalling in the Redskin game was just weird. The Packers running game showed up last week and this week the starting center and right guard were missing. Their replacements are good run blockers but poor to horrible pass blockers. In addition, Favre is now a below average qb in adverse weather conditions because of his inability to squeeze the football dating back to the thumb injury. I know this will read as an excuse but the facts are facts. Since Favre busted his right thumb in 1999 his fumbles shot up and his once feared ability to play in tough conditions has regressed dramatically.

Anyway, the Packers ran the ball only six times in the first half. Meanwhile, number 4 was spraying the ball all over the place. And it isn't an arm strength issue considering last week he threw a perfect 40 odd yard bomb to Jennings in stride. Favre has never thrown a good deep ball in his career and if not overthrowing guys by five yards he's lofting it up too high thinking he needs to give the receiver time to get under it.

At the end of the first half McCarthy settled for a 46 yard field goal try when the team had a timeout left and could have taken one or two more shots to get some yards. In the rain, etc. that seemed like a dubious decision and no surprise when Crosby missed it. Of course the locals are now wondering if the kid can handle GB weather given that he also later missed a 38 yard try which clanked off the upright.

The Redskins should have won this game. Taylor dropped two more picks and Favre also fumbled while being sacked but the Packers recovered. GB only had 225 yards in offense and 60 odd yards came on a single pass play to Donald Lee early.

GB has two weeks to figure out what to do about the pass defense. Against Minnesota, Chicago and Washington guys were WIDE OPEN downfield. The nickel back Jarrett Bush has been dreadful and Nick Collins has the ball awareness of a carrot. I don't know what the coaching staff can do to address these issues but somebody better be thinking about it. Because so far the Packers have been VERY lucky.

22
by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:25am

That Marion Barber end zone run was good, but he should've let himself be stopped for no gain on that play. He ran back into his own endzone; that's bad.
.
The Cowboys should've gone for it late in the game. They went to the FG. Don't dance... knock out.

23
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:26am

#16, slo-mo-joe

"in the absence of a Patriotjoe fan to epitomize blind homers"

Allow me to introduce your Patriotjoe for this evening, Mr Rich Conley!

24
by JFP (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:27am

#15 Purds,
If they make it to the AFC Championship I'd much rather see the Colts in Foxborough. There are enough Pat's players who've been through bad weather before that I think they'd be OK. I would worry about Moss, Welker, and Stallworth though.

Incidentally of the Pat's final 10 games eight are at home or on the road in the North East which should be good prep for the playoffs. It's also why I give Brady little chance of breaking Manning's TD record for a season.

25
by Sam (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:28am

#8:
To be fair, the game was basically only shown in the Houston market (direcTV notwithstanding).

As far as the PI non-call, it really isn't that controversial. It was a case of an individual blocking matchup starting in one official's area of responsibility and ending in another. The backjudge saw a blocker downfield blocking, but he's not supposed to be watching the line of scrimmage so he wouldn't have known the block began as a legal block. Basically, any block that begins legally at the line of scrimmage remains legal as long as the contact remains constant. If you truly need more clarification on that, the jaguars website has the transcript of an interview with the referee explaining it.

26
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:32am

woah theres another lou, i've honestly never met another other than my dad.

Or did I write that?

I've been up all night and have 3 midterms today.

27
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:39am

also is the Bears ST DVOA going to be hurt by teams kicking away from Hester? I mean opponent kickoff distance is one of the hidden factors that a team shouldn't have control of, but Hester clearly is influencing how teams kick. How does that affect the numbers?

28
by Joshua (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:46am

Attention female readers, particularly female readers in San Diego: Please note that it is important to pull your shirt down before you stand up to applaud all LaDainian Tomlinson touchdowns, lest you show an entire sports bar your ass.

The opinions of Aaron Schatz are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Footballoutsiders.com contributors, readers or frequent posters, or 99 percent of heterosexual males.

We really need to consult the video evidence on this one. I mean, there could be a lot of variables, namely, was she fat?

29
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:54am

Re: 19

Any team starting a DB that was cut by Cleveland (Michael Lehan) is in trouble. Apparently the Fins aren't getting enough pressure from the front seven this year to mask their DB problems.

That said, the Cleveland offense has got to be one of the big surprises of the year so far. Lots of places to look for credit (Anderson, OLine, maturity of Edwards/Winslow), but I'm inlcined to think that the new OC (Chudzinski) is primarily responsible.

30
by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:56am

The Pats are the greatest team of the 6 game schedule era!
Someone should explain to Collingsworth et al that the season is not over yet.
Injurys, the Colts O, the Steelers D and various other things are still out there.

31
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:01am

Washington really helped out Green Bay by not running the ball enough. The pass rush got to Campbell more and more as the game went on, and down only three, the Skins just about completely abandoned the run for the entire fourth quarter. The Redskins D is very fast, and really shut down the Packer offense. The refs mostly let the GB corners play this week, with predictable results – almost nothing for the Redskin WRs, and a lot of Campbell running around trying to keep plays alive. However, the two holding penalties on the Packers, and the non-force out on Franks were stunning, memorably bad calls. I made a point to watch Tauscher and Clifton on the ensuing plays and what they did then was much worse (yet still pretty standard) than what they were called for. MDS’ comment on the TO force-out is apropos for the Franks play as well. Even an NFL ref would have overturned the call – he had one foot in, and another just out, and got moved a couple feet by the DB hitting him while in the air. Finally, Favre played his worst game of the season, throwing a lot of balls with unnecessarily poor form. His last INT to Taylor was an example. Instead of setting himself and throwing a low-loft strike, he chucked it while falling sideways and got way too much air under it. Vince Verhei mentioned failing arm strength. I agree that has something to do with it, which is all the more reason to stop goofing around. He’s getting back to nonchalantly tossing the ball this way and that, and McCarthy needs to rip him a new one this week.

Cal we put to rest the “Marvin Lewis is a defensive genius� label now, putting it on the shelf alongside the “Brian Billick is an offensive genius� one, to gather dust? Amazing how often people are given credit for standing around next to something good. Lewis was known for pretty vanilla schemes at Baltimore, wasn’t he? Gee, maybe it was the players.

Hesitate to mention this because the FO guys were all over it, but I saw a lot of the Tampa Bay game, and Garcia was the whole offense. Keeping plays alive, no running game. Without him, they’d be losing these low-scoring games they play every week.

Rodney Harrison = Roy Williams

Cedric Benson had a couple holes to run through this week, and actually found them and ran hard through them. But then he fell down upon contact, or ran OOB. Few if any YAC or making anyone miss. The guy just doesn’t bring anything to the table, 2006 DVOA be damned. He’s looking like another big bruising guy who looks good in college because he has a ton of big holes to steamroller through, but when the holes are smaller and close quicker, and the back seven are bigger, he has no answer. Folks here in Chicago are becoming less enamored with him. There’s more grumbling on the radio and in print every week. Of course, any comparisons to Adrian Peterson (the Viking version) after this game are likely to be, um, unflattering (fourth pick in draft, meet seventh pick in draft). He’s about a year behind where Grossman is. He’s another of Jerry Angelo’s guys, so he’ll continue to get every chance, but there’s much less support for him outside the organization, and he’s never been particularly popular inside the locker room by all accounts.

32
by brasilbear (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:04am

RE:17

Peterson returned 4 kickoffs against the Bears, just not the last one.

So...can anyone talk me off the ledge re the Bears?

33
by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:19am

RE: 32 Well the Bears probably won't make the playoffs this year, but I think they'll actually score some points on offense this year! Too bad the D- isn't doing a damng thing.

34
by vanya (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:20am

Just a reminder to all the crowing Patriots fans: The Colts are also playing historically well this year, and Baltimore and Pittsburgh are fairly good. This team is not done being tested, and they are not guaranteed the Lombardi Trophy, no matter how well they’ve played in the first six weeks.

Spare me Aaron. Can you please stop being such a condescending twit towards your "fellow" (supposedly) Pats fans? It's not the Pats fans who are the problem, it's the network talking heads, always eager to resort to hyperbole. Most real Patriot fans are also New Englanders, and New Englanders are raised from birth to expect the worse. Maybe the bandwagon jumpers are crowing, most of are just quietly pleased. That said, the Colts will be the Patriots bitches this year, but Pittsburgh really worries me. Also Rodney Harrison was not a problem towards the end of the second half, since Dallas hardly held the ball during the last 15 minutes of the game. I think you meant the end of the first half and beginning of the second half when Witten was running wild.

35
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:27am

I said in the game thread that I thought Dallas was going after Harrison. I'm glad it wasn't me getting it badly wrong.

This was also comprehensively covered in the game thread, but Phil Simms is rubbish. Eye-wateringly, soul-crushingly bad. Pick your own 'favourite' moment, but I think mine was his observation that the Dallas DB's should "Stay back" on 4th & inches. Against the Pats. Who run the QB sneak on 3rd/4th & short more than any other team.

36
by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:30am

"The most exciting two yard gain of all time"? Barry Sanders is rolling over in his grave right about now.

37
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:30am

32
im oddly not as pissed as i might be about the bears, and i think its mostly because of Hester. He is so unbelievable the handful of times he touches the ball every game makes me forget all the other stuff.

The running game looked much much better this week, the passing game progressed, its possible that DVOA will underrate the Bears ST because teams gift them a ton of yardage kicking away from hester, and we've blocked a lot of field goals(and who knows maybe we've figured something out and can sustain that.) Every game on the schedule is still winnable.

38
by Doug Farrar :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:35am

#35 - A-freakin'-men on Simms. I have thought so for years. Why he's CBS' "A-guy" is one of those Unsolvable Mysteries of the Universe.

39
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:37am

In regards to Garcia in Detroit and his failure, I tend to blame it on his broken leg and him rushing back from it, not fully healthy. Plus Detroit hates any good QB play.

What happened to Levi Jones? I know he was hurt last season, but in 2005 he handled Freeney on his own...

40
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:42am

#28 I think the imporant consideration with asses is not size per se, but roundness and firmness. So, let us examine the video evidence (an excellent suggestions, by the way) to see whether her ass is round and firm like the casava melon or if a good slap produces a wave effect.

41
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:43am

37. Lou - I wrote a few things on this site before the game between Minn-Chic that I thought the Bears were a bottom of the league type team. After this game against the Vikings I'm more certain. The once great Bear defence was terrible. If Minnesota's receivers and QB were even average the Vikings would have scored 40+ points. There was no pressure on Jackson when he did throw and obviously the run defence was lamentable.

I think the Bears will struggle to win any game they play because they aren't very good on defence or offence.

42
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:44am

#17: the craziest thing about that game was that a grand total of 2 snaps happened in either red zone (a 3rd down play by the bears and then their lone field goal).

The biggest Bears problem to me was the play of the secondary. The line was a little knicked up but if you can keep AP from running 60 yards unmolested down the field you can give MN time for their drives to stall.

Re: Adam Archuleta: Gregg Williams 1, Lovie Smith 0.

43
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:02am

15: I'm pretty sure the Pats can run the ball, as long as one of their top two running backs is uninjured. Of course, considering how long Maroney has been hurt, who knows if he will be available in January.
38: Has Simms gotten worse, or am I getting more observant? 4-5 years ago, I thought he was a good announcer, but he seems to have fallen to cliched observations and a disconnect from the game.

44
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:05am

Re: Officiating in WAS-GB
Washington fans are upset about two calls in this game:
1) Offsetting pass interference called when Woodson mugged Thrash... and Thrash was able to you know, actually free his arm. So apparently the offensive players aren't able to fight through a DPI anymore without it being called offsetting?
2) On Jason Campbell's interception the both the defender and ARE came down with the ball. Common wisdom is that on co-catches the tie goes to the offensive player, yet in this case the ball was awarded to Green Bay.

Redskin fans also admit the force-out call was atrocious, and in general the officiating in this game was bad.

But it seems like there's no sour milk to whine over, as they should've won this game. Carlos Rogers didn't even try to arm-tackle Lee on the touchdown, and the game broke on the Santana Moss fumble. I haven't had a chance to see the game in total (just NFL.com highlights) but box score makes this one look like luck, as the Packers didn't lose any of their fumbles... (although the Redskins only recovered 50%)... and it seems very lucky Woodson was able to jump on the ball, get up, and run it back for a TD...

Also heard Sean Taylor is a meast... that's all. Every loss sucks for a team... I'm glad that Campbell seems to have kept his quality of play up.

45
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:09am

Doug Farrar: Well, I’ll be happy to add to what is obviously going to be a “Crappy Officiating Section� in this week’s Audibles by mentioning it looked as if Dallas free safety Pat Watkins got completely and utterly hosed on a pass interference call in the third quarter when Randy Moss ran into him in the end zone. That moved the ball from the Dallas 16-yard line to the 1-yard line, and Brady threw a touchdown pass on the next play.

I don't see why there is any debate on this play. Had Watkins stood his ground and let Moss come to him, he would have been fine. Instead be purposely, and unnecessarily, body checked Moss while the ball was coming down. It was blatantly obvious that he interfered with the play illegally.

...one for a weak (and unnecessary) offensive pass interference.

It was so unnecessary that it didn't happen. I'll be the first to admit that Moss will push off at times, but he didn't at all on that play. Oddly enough, the bad call only ended up helping NE because they were able to run another couple minutes off the clock as well as forcing Dallas to burn two TOs.

46
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:10am

Brian . . . what have you done to Barry Sanders?

47
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:15am

Re: 44 I thought it was a mirror image in certain respects to GBs game against Chicago. In that one, GB looked to be the obviously better team, and completely collapsed under mistakes and bad luck, fumble recovery wise. In this game, Washington looked like the clearly better team, but GB had some good luck, and WA routinely shot themselves in the foot with repeated dropped passes.

48
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:21am

This is clearly the most talented Pats side we've seen. The D-line is the best they've had, the same can be said for the linebackers and the secondary is probably the second best (no Ty Law in his prime). On offense they have that Moss fellow, a genius of a line coach, and Brady. But I still have one question.

Why were the Pats running up the score at the end of the game? Video-gate, HGHarrison, some cheap shots on defense, restricting media access, gamesmanship with the injury list (still, even after the rule change!), mugging recievers (resulting in another rule change) and now running up the score. I used to admire the Pats because I thought they were diligent and clever, it turns out that they have absolutely no class.

49
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:21am

Just a reminder to all the crowing Patriots fans: The Colts are also playing historically well this year, and Baltimore and Pittsburgh are fairly good. This team is not done being tested, and they are not guaranteed the Lombardi Trophy, no matter how well they’ve played in the first six weeks.

Is this really necessary? Sure some fans can get out of control, but this appears to be pandering to the non-Pats fan portion of your audience.

50
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:22am

Oh, and Washington lost 2 more of their offensive linemen in the game... back-up right tackle and center. I was pretty happy how they've been playing after losing Jansen and Thomas, but now.... maybe one of those NASCAR guys can help on the line. Rabach will probably be hardest one to replace.

51
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:23am

". Vince Young, on the other hand … he was overthrowing everyone high early on,"

I've probably only seen 4 or 5 Young games, but this seems to be the norm. Hes just really not a good passer. Not accurate at all.

52
by Jim Haug (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:24am

#5- King, and others, have reported that there was an offseason directive to think hard before calling offensive holding to make *sure* that it should be called.

53
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:27am

Regarding Bears/Vikings, it was almost predictable that the Vikings defense picked yesterday to have their worst performance of the season. Maybe they had a psychotic break after looking up at the scoreboard and seeing they were leading 31-17. To be Vikings fan is to wait in suspense to see if the qbs or receivers stink the joint out, and yesterday it was the recievers. If they had been just average in catching the ball, the Vikings would have scored in the mid 40s. On the bright side (beyond AP, of course), Tavaris Jackson looked reasonably competent for the most part, although that's easier to do when the running back looks like a Gale Sayers/Jim Brown hybrid. Personally, I don't want Peterson getting 25 or more carries a game, since I'd like to see him have a 10 year career, so I was satisfied with Childress' playcalling. If the Vikings can continue to complete about one sixty yard streak a game, and take other credible shots downfield, the offense will be just fine with Peterson getting 20 about carries and catching a few passes.

I really didn't think Pats/Cowboys was close at all, despite Dallas having a third quarter lead; keep in mind that it was due to a sack/fumble being returned for a td. What was interesting to me was that I didn't think Brady threw the ball all that well, especially the deep ball, and if he had, the Pats would have hung 60-plus on the Cowboys. The game with the Colts will be fascinating, since both qbs will be trying to control the ball and keep the other guy off the field, and they will both have a good chance to do so.

54
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:32am

#44 - on the Campbell interception, Woodson had his arms around the ball, while the receiver had his hands on it. The referee has discretion to determine that one player's has a greater claim to the ball. It seemed like one of the few good calls in the game, but I could agree to disagree on this one.

Also, GB was very lucky. But as far as Washington dropping passes, and having poor play calling, well, that's the other team playing poorly, not luck. Still, GB had no offense. Part Favre, part the Skins' D, part GB game plan. Again, with a three-point lead, they went into a shell. If you're going to run a true West Coast offense, with a heavy dose of high-percentage short passes, shouldn't you be the last team to stop running your offense, even if the game situation might dictate it?

55
by RickKilling (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:35am

While the performance of Peterson made this Viking fan nearly swoon, that pass defense is entirely too troubling. Is it Dwight Smith's fault for letting Hester get behind him, or coaching for the defensive play call? In either case, that play struck me a one that should never have been.

In other news, Childress' playcalling was significantly better. He took shots downfield, he rode AD, he mixed in Taylor enough. I'm one that's OK with Taylor and AD sharing carries. There were at least 4-5 drops on the WRs that eroded what was an adequate day for Tarvaris. At this stage, all I'm looking for is adequate from him.

56
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:38am

Re: #48

Running your FOURTH string RB straight up the gut four times in a row is "running up the score"? If the D is so lame they can't stop a telegraphed play by a fourth stringer, they deserve to be scored on.

Maybe you should try asking Son of Bum why he called a timeout with ~50 seconds left.

57
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:40am

"Injurys, the Colts O, the Steelers D and various other things are still out there."

To be fair, the patriots have played 6 games without their starting DE, 4 games without their starting RB, 4 games without their starting SS, 2 games without their starting LCB, 6 games without their 2nd TE, 3 Games without their starting LG, 1 game without their starting center, etc.

They HAVE been hit by injuries.

58
by RickKilling (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:43am

#53: You posted while I was hunting and pecking my post, but glad to see we have similar takes on the QB, WRs and playcalls

59
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:46am

#48, running a practice-squad player up the middle doesn't qualify for running up the score. It was fourth down, so they wouldn't kneel. They didn't kick the field goal, which would have been running up the score needlessly. They didn't pass the ball once Dallas was out of timeouts. Executing a basic running play, with Kyle Eckel up the middle seems the most sporting thing to do in that situation. The Cowboys are professionals. They get paid not to let him score.

There are many, many reasons to dislike the Pats, but I think running up the score is a reach. I think it's worse form NOT to score when you get the chance. Nobody likes to be pitied.

60
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:47am

57: To be fair, the 4 games missed by the SS weren't caused by injuries.

61
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:48am

"I really didn’t think Pats/Cowboys was close at all, despite Dallas having a third quarter lead; keep in mind that it was due to a sack/fumble being returned for a td."

Will, I agree. Other than about a 10 minute segment in the 2nd/3rd quarter, the Patriots thoroughly abused the Cowboys.

I don't know why the pats Defense/Offense shut down for those 10 or so minutes. It seemed to me like in the first quarter they were keeping Romo in the pocket, and he was making bad throws, whereas in the 2nd, he was getting out, and throwing better.

I agree with everyone else... Rodney is toast. I don't know how much is him being toast, and how much is him having sat out for 4 games and not being back up to game speed. Also, Asante Samuel needs to actually cover someone, instead of trying to pick off every ball thrown remotely close to him.

62
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:52am

#56

It is quite simple, when all you have to do is kneel down to win the game, you do it. Anything else is running up the score and consequently pretty unedifying.

Your coach might want to get a touchdown for your fourth string back, but he shouldn't do it by rubbing the other team's face in it. Not to mention if one of the opposing defenders, tired after playing a whole game in which the Pats dominated time of possession gets hurt while you are pulling that crap. Football is a dangerous game (especially in the NFL) why put everyone on the field at further risk when all you have to do is kneel down and you have won?

Phillips called the timeout because you don't just surrender, it shouldn't be asked of competitive players to just lie down and die.

63
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:53am

I agree with Will Allen regarding Peterson's carries. A lot of Viking fans are calling for Peterson to get the bulk of the carries, and certainly I'd like to see him get more carries than Taylor. But Peterson can be the franchise for the next decade, and I'm not sure that's served giving him 25-30 carries a game as a rookie.

Sure, I'm disappointed every time I see #29 instead of #28 on the field. But for the good of the franchise for now and for the future, keeping Peterson fresh is smart planning. He should get around 20-25 total touches a game, but there's no reason Chester Taylor shouldn't also get 15. It'll keep Peterson fresh for the particular game, for the season, and quite possibly for his career.

And those long TDs are just what this particular Viking offense needs from Peterson. Peterson has shown the ability to churn out 4-6 yard runs, but with an (let me choose the nicest word) inconsistent passing game, those 4-6 yard runs often come in drives that stall anyway. When Peterson can basically put 7 on the board on one play, he's really covering for the passing game.

I'm thrilled with the Jackson-Williamson TD. If the Vikings show the ability to make a connection like that with any degree of consistency, there will be a new element to the offense that can help open it up.

There was good and bad from Tarvaris Jackson, but consider this: a Viking QB went into Soldier Field and had zero turnovers. I can't remember the last time that happened. No matter how questionable the Bear defense is this year, I don't think anybody expected that from Tarvaris Jackson this week.

64
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:57am

#43:
I’m pretty sure the Pats can run the ball, as long as one of their top two running backs is uninjured. Of course, considering how long Maroney has been hurt, who knows if he will be available in January.
Well, Morris had been completely stuffed before he got injured, and Faulk found spaces only after the Dallas D was gassed. Oddly, this may have been one of the few games in which Maroney's "dancing" style could have worked out more effectively than Morris's straight-ahead runs, because the Pats' O-line was having problems creating openings right away, as they had in previous cases.

Maroney is supposedly (almost) completely recovered, but it's true that he seems to get frequent small but nagging injuries, which does not bode well long-term, regardless of his current status. Anyway, whenever I worry about the Pats' running game, I think "Antowain Smith", and feel a little better.

65
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:06pm

I'll drive down Hyperbole Lane right now, and say that if the Vikings coaching and personnel staff manage their offense well, meaning they have people who can threaten credibly in the passing game, and keep the o-line at a reasonably good talent level, Adrian Peterson might end up in the neighborhood of Jim Brown's career average per carry, but the key, of course, will be health, which, along with good luck, means avoiding overuse.

66
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:10pm

"Why were the Pats running up the score at the end of the game? "

you're up 14 points on a team who, the week before, won a game by scoring twice in the last 40 seconds. I think that avoiding giving them the ball back is a valid strategy.

Also, the Patriots, with a large lead, have more than once run on 4th down late in games. If you score, you score. If you don't, you take away the chance of a big kick return, and force the other team to drive 95 yards to score. Its probably the most strategically sound decision they could make. Forcing Dallas to take the ball inside the 5 probably gives them less of a chance to lose than kicking the field goal, and giving dallas back the ball.

Also, this isn't pee-wee football. If you don't want the other team to run the score up on you, don't let the practice squad fullback into the endzone.

Don't call timeouts either. If dallas doesn't call their timeouts down 14 with NE with the ball inside the 20, the game ends 41-27

67
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:11pm

"Phillips called the timeout because you don’t just surrender, it shouldn’t be asked of competitive players to just lie down and die."

Why should the offense give quarter if the defense won't surrender?

68
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:11pm

If the losing coach is going to call timeouts, then the winning coach
coach has a competitive, professional,
responsibility to keep scoring touchdowns. This ain't Pop Warner football.

69
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:12pm

#62:
It is quite simple, when all you have to do is kneel down to win the game, you do it. Anything else is running up the score and consequently pretty unedifying.
There was still time on the clock, 20+ seconds to go before the snap. All Dallas had to do was not to call their TO, and signal they considered the game to be over. As long as they want to play, so should their opponents.

Football is a dangerous game (especially in the NFL) why put everyone on the field at further risk when all you have to do is kneel down and you have won?
Don't call a TO with less than a minute to go and down by 2 touchdowns, then.

Phillips called the timeout because you don’t just surrender, it shouldn’t be asked of competitive players to just lie down and die.
Well then, be a competitive player and run the risk of getting scored against. The way it panned out, Phillips called a TO, the Pats continued playing, scored, and then Dallas kneeled anyway. It would have saved everyone effort and aggravation if the Cowboys had not called the TO.

"People should know when they are conquered." "Would you, Quintus? Would I?"

70
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:13pm

62: But if the Pats kneel on their last four downs, they don't win the game. They'd turn the ball over with 19 seconds left, at which point the Cowboys would have about a .0001% chance of tieing the game with two hail marys and an onsides kick. Why should the Patriots have to give up when the Cowboys haven't (by calling the timeout)

71
by Are-Tee (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:17pm

"Try a sneak, Eric."

Actually, Mangini/Schottenheimer were lambasted in the media for trying the sneak the play before (it lost yardage) instead of giving Jones the ball.

I honestly think Mangini will not bench Pennington, just to spite the media which has been relentless the past couple of weeks.

72
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:20pm

17- 3 dropped passes? Holy crap, maybe they should count those stats for Tavaras Jackson... that would give him a whopping 12 completions.

Why would childress give Taylor 22 carries, and AP 20?

21- You sound like an angry redskins fan. The packers also had dropped interceptions, and they also missed 2 FG and had 2 TD called back ( a fantom holding call on Tausher). Green Bay should have won by more.

44- Jason Campbell only completed 4 passes to receivers. All he did is throw dinks and dunks to his backs and tight ends. Even on the final play of the game he ran a screen pass. 4th and 2, they run a 1 yard pass.

The interception went to green bay because the ball was in his body, the redskins was touching the ball, but it was in the packers chest.

73
by JFP (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:20pm

#48 Karl Cuba
I think the reason Belichick gave Kyle Eckel a chance to score the final TD was because he likes the kid. He's from Navy, and seems to be one of those guys who is a scrapper and gives it his all. Just like Troy Brown or Bam Childress. BB really seems to like guys like that. Yes, incredibly he does have a heart. It's not like he had a regular in there or was throwing passes to Vrabel to rub it in.

As for running up the score I hope it's not the Cowboy's organization or their fans complaining. After all it's not like they ever pounded a team into submission in Super Bowl XXVII 52 to 17.

74
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:25pm

So, what was the real game of the week this week? I think Chi/Minn was the most exciting. Big plays by F%*#'in A and Devin Hester, and it ends with a game winning field-goal.

75
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:27pm

Jared Allen is a beast. The Chiefs defense at home isn't bad, with 2 stud ends, 2 corners, and an above average linebacking core. Do you remember a couple of years ago when that defense couldn't stop anybody?

76
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:29pm

I would have liked to see the Titans have a chance with a healthy Vince Young against Tampa. Some how watching a sober Kerry Collins isn't as exciting.

77
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:30pm

slo-mo-joe

You appear to be forgetting about the timeout that the Pats called before the two minute warning.

78
by Skel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:33pm

RE: #77
You mean after running the play clock down to 1 so as to use as much time as possible and shorten the game? That timeout?

79
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:34pm

77. Which didn't directly lead to points. That timeout wasn't to stop the clock. It was a case of a poor personell matchup on 3rd and 11.

If Phillips doesn't call that last timeout, the clock runs out without the Pats scoring again.

80
by Purds (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:35pm

0, 3, 3, 3, 1, 3, 0, -1, 0

Those were the NE runs (by RB, not including QB) in the first half. Why does that inspire confidence in the running game? Now, if you can pass like they did, I see there is no problem. My question: if the weather takes the passing game out (or severly inhibits it), then what? 0, 3, 3, 3, 1, 3, 0, -1, 0?

81
by Peder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:36pm

Didn't the Pats do something similar last week against Cleveland? Go for a touchdown on fourth down when a field goal would have sealed the game?

82
by Temo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:36pm

I'm looking forward to TMQB chewing out phillips for taking a field goal on 4th and goal from the 5 down by 2 touchdowns with 10 minutes left in the game.

Which is valid, a FG there does nothing.

83
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:36pm

Anyone else think it was a little classless by the Patriots punching in a meanless touchdown with less than 30 seconds left in the game when up be two scores? This isn't college, why are you risking injury to score points that can't possibly matter?-If Aaron thinks it's a bad sign Ginn is seeing the field more, just think how bad Jason Allen must be!

84
by Doug Farrar :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:37pm

Turns out the NFL did count the Gaines Adams play on Vince Young as a sack. Nice!

85
by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:37pm

Even as a Bears fan I enjoyed watching the Bears/Vikings game despite the result. There were a lot of "Damn you, Purple Jesus" and "All must bow at the altar of Purple Jesus" emails flying around with friends.

This Bears defense clearly isn't what it was last year, or even earlier this year (Harris is still pretty obviously not himself, in particular), but Purple Jesus was just insane. If he can avoid the injury problems he had in college, then I'm not looking forward to the Bears seeing him twice a year for the forseeable future.

86
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:37pm

Tavaris Jackson had more than three passes dropped, and a slightly above average play on another pass into the end zone would have resulted in another 30-plus yard touchdown throw. If the receivers don't stink, Jackson probably has at least 5 more completions, and at least another 80-100 yards, given that two of the drops came on slants with big yac potential; the receivers were wide open.

87
by Peder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:38pm

Will and Pacifist, I was fine with the handling of the Vikes running backs, too. There's the freshness angle, but there's also something of a change of pace, too. And it's not like Chester is unproductive.

88
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:38pm

"Note to everybody: Don’t kick to Devin Hester. It doesn’t work. Just stop it. (Although the Bears were lucky the refs missed Obafemi Ayanbadejo’s block in the back.)"

That was Brendon Ayanbadejo. His brother Obafemi was released by the Bears after serving his 4 game suspension at the beginning of the year. He never played in a regular season game for the Bears.

As for the game yesterday, my comments pretty much line up with many of the commenters here. Adrian Peterson is a beast, stud, etc. He looks like the best rookie running back since Eric Dickerson. If he stays healthy, he's going to the Hall of Fame.

Not that he needed much help, but the poor tackling and angles taken by the Bears turned what could have been 12-15 yard runs into 67 and 73 yard touchdown runs. As dbt said: "The biggest Bears problem to me was the play of the secondary. The line was a little knicked up but if you can keep AP from running 60 yards unmolested down the field you can give MN time for their drives to stall." The biggest culprit was Brandon McGowan. Rose McGowan could have done a better job than him (and looked a lot better while doing it.) Kudos to Brian Baldinger at the beginning of the game identifying McGowan as one of the key players in the game as the last line of defense against Adrian Peterson.

Tarvaris Jackson looked OK, despite his lackluster numbers. As other have pointed out, he threw several good passes to receivers in stride for potential big plays that were flat-out dropped. On the other hand, he badly overthrew a wide open receiver out of the backfield (I think it was Tony Richardson) on a play that might have gone for a touchdown.

Back to Hester: He, too, is going to the Hall of Fame if he stays healthy.
Devin Hester now has 10 career touchdowns in the regular season on 111 touches (2 carries, 2 receptions, 39 kick returns, 67 punt returns, 1 missed field goal return). The average length of his touchdowns is 85 yards. Only one of his touchdowns is shorter than 73 yards.

In comparison, Reggie Bush has 11 career touchdowns in the regular season on 373 touches (224 carries, 119 receptions, 30 punt returns). I think the Bears did far better with the 57th pick in the 2006 draft than the Saints did with the second pick. But Reggie Bush does appear in a lot of commercials, so he's got that going for him, which is nice.

Historically, Bears-Vikings games usually have not made for exciting TV. With Peterson and Hester around for the foreseeable future, that will no longer be the case.

89
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:39pm

Maybe the patriots cheated, stole the Cowboys signs, and saw that they signaled in to defend the QB kneel down?

90
by Temo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:39pm

As a cowboy fan, I couldn't care less if they decided to fake a FG and go for it. They lost the game, that's all that matters ... how much we lose by is irrelevant except for the pundit's precious power rankings.

At worst, this leaves a bad taste in the Cowboy player's mouths and they come out emotional next time. Although it's hard to imagine them playing harder than they played this week.

91
by CA (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:40pm

Re: Vince: Adrian Peterson is going to win the Rookie of the Year award, and he’s going to deserve it, but in ten years we might look back at Joe Thomas as the best player in the 2007 draft.

From what (admittedly little) I've seen from the Browns this year, and from everything I hear, Thomas is looking very good. I will venture to say that, as well as Peterson has played, Thomas has added more value to his team and put them in a better position to win games. When discussing the Browns' offensive turnaround, everyone talks about Anderson, Winslow, Edwards, and Lewis, but they should be talking at least as much about Thomas and Steinbach. (It's fun to bust out the classic "offensive linemen don't get enough credit" card once in awhile, cliched though it is). Now, Peterson may well be playing better by the standards of his position, but Thomas plays a much more important and challenging position and one in which it seems to be less common for rookies to excel. I'll agree with the first statement ("Adrian Peterson is going to win the Rookie of the Year award") assuming Peterson stays healthy (which is not a safe assumption, given his running style and injury history), but, assuming Thomas stays healthy, I don't think I can agree with the second ("and he’s going to deserve it").

Re: Aaron on Adrian Peterson I’ve only seen one negative — it was either McCormick or Barnwell who said this, I’m not sure which, but his upright running style probably causes him to be more injury-prone, and that sort of thing also generally leads to more fumbles

Those are two negatives really, that he is more likely to be injured and that he is more likely to fumble, and they are two huge negatives. I agree with both of those assessments, but it's not just his upright running style that causes those problems. He is a lanky guy, and he seems to love contact. That's not a good body type or style for avoiding injuries and wear and tear. He also likes to push for extra yardage as he's being tackled, making him more fumble-prone. I'm a lot harder on Peterson than pretty much everybody else because I recognize those weaknesses in his game. They haven't caught up to him yet as a pro, but I think it's only a matter of time. He is a very talented running back, but a lot of his success has come from taking higher risks than most running backs do. So far, he has managed to avoid the downsides and achieve the upsides that follow from those risks, and he looks great. He's not going to look nearly as good getting helped off the field with a torn ACL. Everyone likes to compare the guy to Eric Dickerson, but I worry that he may end up more like Cadillac Williams. That said, he's certainly fun to watch for now.

I agree with Mike and not David in the Peterson use issue. Minimize those carries to maximize the per-play effectiveness of Peterson and minimize the risk, because Lord knows Peterson won't minimize the risk himself.

92
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:42pm

3 or 4 dros per game is pretty normal and remember that not all drops are created equal. A receiver diving with his outstretched hands is different than the ball that bounces right off his chest.

Jackson had drops? So what, every QB has drops. Jason Campbell had drops? So what, it was a cold wet Lambeau field, it happens. You also have to remember the Redskins receivers are 6' or under and McCardel is so new to the team, and so old in general.

93
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:43pm

Washington really helped out Green Bay by not running the ball enough. The pass rush got to Campbell more and more as the game went on, and down only three, the Skins just about completely abandoned the run for the entire fourth quarter. ...The refs mostly let the GB corners play this week, with predictable results – almost nothing for the Redskin WRs,

Funny how two people who probably see the Game similarly (since we're both here), can see this game so differently.

You think the skins abandoned the run, I couldn't believe how much they kept trying to run, with no success. Their o-line was down to duct tape and clearly wasn't getting any push, so why run? If it's to keep the pass rush honest, that's why god invented the draw play. I would have gone shotgun for the entire 2d half.

You can give the GB corners all the credit for "shutting down" the skins WRs, but I saw the WRs shutting themselves down: off of Moss's hands for a pick, a third down bass bounces off ARE's shoulder pads, a perfect bomb bounces off Moss's facemask... Fox ran a stat during the 3Qtr that the skins had dropped 6 passes already. If i'm calling plays, I'd keep chucking it, since the lack of push was incurable, but the dropsies should go away.

The Packers were incredibly lucky to win this game. The lousy calls (Franks pushed OB, ARE "tying" the DB but still called a pick, etc.) balanced out. But if the Packers faced a secondary that didn't have hands of stone, this would have been another 5-6 turnover Romo affair. Sean Taylor's first pick was frankly amazing, but he dropped 3 much easier ones (2 really easy ones and a third that would have been a nice over the shoulder catch, but it did hit him in stride). And Carlos Rogers let us know that last weeks INT was in fact a total aberation. He cannot catch an STD in bangkok brothel. He had yet another pass hit him right in the hands and he lost it. Plus there was the "tip drill" at the goal line that was just poor skins' luck that it didn't result in a pick.

On the other hand, Campbell was awesome. His stats won't show it b/c of all the drops, but he didn't make a bad pass all day. He hit Moss in the hands on a bomb that was dropped, and he hit Lloyd on another bomb that was dropped, shocking absolutely no one. His one INT was off Moss's hands. He moved around the pocket well, at least until the final series when the whiffle ball o-line couldn't give him a chance.

Keep Chopping Wood nomination for S. Moss: tipped a ball that hit in the hands for an INT, fumbled on a reverse returned for the game-winning TD, beats the D for a bomb only to drop the ball that hit in the facemask, and then benches himself for the 4th Qtr on a team that doesn't really have any WR depth. Way to go, Santana!

94
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:45pm

91- Good insight. T. Davis also said that he thought Adrian Peterson could have been the first ever player to go to the Pros straight from High school. He tore up the Big 12 as a freshman too, and is physically a freak of nature. He looked like Gale Sayers out there on soldier field. He deserves the hype that Reggie Bush gets.

95
by cjfarls (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:46pm

#62 says it as clearly as it can be said....

I was absolutely appalled by the lack of class shown by NE at the end of the game, and I'd been cheering for them for the 59 minutes previous... I don't care if he was a 4th stringer... it was completely unnecessary and class-less.

As I said on the open-game thread... I'm waiting for the Football Gods exact appropriate retribution...

96
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:48pm

re: skins-packers, one other thought.

4th and 1 1/2... and they call a pass in the flat behind the LOS to a big slow guy?

You gotta be kidding me!

97
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:48pm

#81:
Against the Browns, the Pats scored on a fumble recovery by Gay inside the Cleveland 20 with less than a minute to go, after the Pats had passed for no gain on 4th down inside the 5 instead of kicking a FG. Sure, Gay should have gone down, although not to spare the Browns' feelings, but because it would have been a smarter play.

98
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:51pm

96- Jason Cambell only completed 4 passes to receivers. The redskins run the horizontal offense with lots of screens and dump offs, and then throwing the occasional deep/jump ball. It makes Jason Campbell really remind me of Byron Leftwhich.

Even on the last play of the game 4th and 17, they still run a freaking screen pass. It is hard to have a lot of mistakes, when all you are doing is throwing to backs and tight ends in the flats.

99
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:52pm

95. WHat do you think is the proper call? Kicking an unneccessary field goal? Kneeling the ball and giving Dallas back the ball?

I think scoring shows a lot more respect for the opponent than saying "hey look, we know you guys suck, so we're just going to give you the ball back"

They gave dallas an opportunity to keep the score the same, dallas insisted that they run another play by calling a Timeout, and then didn't stop NE's backup fullback. If you want to blame someone for running up the score, blame Wade Phillips.

100
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:53pm

#95, sorry, but this is professional football. If the other guy doesn't surrender, and calls timeouts, then the winning coach is being perfectly reasonable in continuing to run off tackle. It isn't as if he called a fake field goal.

101
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:54pm

I am glad the former Navy Shipman got the touchdown. In all honesty he didn't look very good, and might not get a lot of playing time.

102
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:55pm

Re: #95

No, #62 doesn't know what the heck he is talking about.

Like most haters, he wants it both ways. He said is is proper and noble for Son of Bum to call the timeout because that's the competitive, never surrender thing to do, and then he whines at the Patriots for running a 4th stringer into the center of the line on four straight plays.

Make up your mind.

103
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:55pm

97.

This is exactly the same logic as that. You're much better off giving your opponent back the ball at the 5 yard line with less than 2 minutes left than kicking the field goal. They're much less likely (if they're down 2 scores already) to drive 95 yards quickly than they are to run back a kick.

104
by Trieu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:59pm

#2: There's a dearth of analysis between the end of the games on Sunday and Monday morning print deadlines. There's really only recap and press takes on Sunday evening. This makes sense, as analysis takes time to perform and then get down on paper (or word processor). But this makes for a void after the games. After you've watched all that football, you want to hash it over while the action is still fresh in your mind, and there's no analysis yet to help you do so.

105
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:01pm

98 - that's total baloney that they run a "horizontal" offense - at least with Campbell back there. Yes, they called a stupid play on 4th and 1.5, but otherwise, they threw downfield all day long.

106
by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:04pm

re: Pats' late TD

I don't get the people who think it is particularly bad that a 4th-string back scored. (For starters, let's skip the '4th-string bit, given that the top two RBs were injured.)

It is generally considered within the bounds of accepted behavior to do simple running plays with backup players at the end of a game. Unless the argument against the Pats is that they are required to take a knee on fourth down, in which case we should recognize that this is an entirely novel argument constructed solely for the purpose of Yet Again Piling on the Patriots. I have NEVER seen any fan demand that the opposing team show "sportsmanship" by taking a knee to turn the ball over on downs. "Sportsmanship" is not the same as "helping the other team out". Indeed, treating the Cowboys like utter wimps can itslef be considered poor sportsmanship.

I suspect that the attitude in the Cowboys' locker room about the last TD was 'damn, we shouldn't have let him score.' That is, after all, what they are paid to do. More likely they simply didn't give a damn. If the last TD had come when the Pats isolated Moss on an injured or backup DB, and they had used timeouts to make sure they scored a TD, then yes, I would say that was running up the score. But generic running plays in the middle are standard fare for a team taking efforts to not look like bad sports.

107
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:04pm

105- Last week Campbell only completed 4 balls past 10 yards against the lions. 2 of them were off of play action. The redskins run such a low risk offense for Campbell ( and Brunell last year), and they count on their backs/Tes to break tackels and pick up yards. What about that 1 yard slant to Randel El that he turned into a 37 yard gain. Now they run that play where Cooley blocks 3 seconds ( against man coverage) and then takes off downfield. It is either there or not. Most of their passes are within 10 yards, really 0-5 yards. It is an offense of running the ball, a few play action plays, and dump offs.

108
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:09pm

Re: 93

Campbell had some poor play hurt his numbers but he also had two dinks (that I can remember) turn into about 50 yards of passing due to nice runs by Cooley and Portis.

109
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:15pm

106: I used to do it in Madden, but only because I was really bad at kicking field goals.

110
by Lyford (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:16pm

New England's last four plays against the Bills, week 3, too much time to run it all off the clock by taking a knee - Sammy Morris into the line, Sammy Morris into the line, Sammy Morris into the line, Heath Evans into the line. All from inside Buffalo's 13 yard line. No passes, no field goal, ball goes over on downs. No one whining about running up the score.

New England's last four plays against the Cowboys, week 6, too much time to run it all off the clock by taking a knee - Kyle Eckel into the line, Kyle Eckel into the line, Kyle Eckel into the line, Kyle Eckel into the line. All from inside Dallas' 10 yard line. No passes, no field goal. Dallas doesn't stop them. Cowboy fans whining about running up the score.

I think that you don't take a knee only to have your defense still have to come out and take the field. If the Cowboys thought it was still a competitive situation that warranted using that last timeout, why should the Patriots stop running plays?

111
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:16pm

#102

I don't agree with you so I am automatically a hater? Your post makes the classic mistake of seeming to be logical without actually having any link between two statements you have cobbled together and called an argument.

If they had just knelt down do you actually think that the Cowboys could have driven the length of the field with no timeouts in about 20 seconds? (If they had they still would have been seven points down). Or kick the field goal, then it would be three scores in 20 seconds. The game was over. It should have been left that way.

As I say I don't hate the Pats, I just thought that punching the ball in one last time was unedifying. Disagree with me if you want, but don't start applying labels to me just because I disagree with you.

112
by Carl H. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:17pm

I root against the Pats every week, yet I think the late TD run is not poor sportsmanship.

As stated above, running 4th-string RBs up the middle late in a game like that is hardly rubbing someone's nose in it.

Mercy kneel-downs are appropriate in certain situations, to be sure, but, I think, more to keep someone from getting hurt on a meaningless play than anything else.

113
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:18pm

I liked the FO reader that made his own QB rating system. It took away RAC yards so that if said QB was dinking and dunking his yards away, it took that out of consideration.

It is hard, because hitting some slants perfectly can be lethal, or throwing check downs to your RB when everything is covered downfield is different than pulling a Byron Leftwhich, dropping back turning directly to your right on the 7th step of your drop and throwing a screen ( basically a long handoff).

114
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:21pm

What is your issue with short passing Chris?

115
by Ian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:21pm

Can people stop talking about how great the Patriots would be if they had all their 'key' players?

Every year Pats fans love to talk about how resiliant their team is despite all the horrible injuries their team suffers, as if it's somehow a fluke to have two or three starters out of any given game. Look around! Nearly every team in the NFL has key players missing. Take the Colts. They five starters miss the Tampa game. And they are hardly unique. And that very Tampa team won this week without their top 2 RBs and their starting LT. Several teams won without their starting QB.

And look at the players the Pats are actually missing. As has been pointed out repeatedly in this discussion, Harrison is more of a liability at this point, except in direct run support. Maroney, for all his hype, has yet to prove he's anything but an average NFL RB, and Seymour is a very good player but perhaps a little overrated, certainly no more important than key players lost by nearly every team in the league.

The Patriots have been awesome this year, but stop the whole 'we should be even better' crap.

116
by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:22pm

This is going be a long season. Which wouldn't be so upsetting if this year's Redskins are the best team they've fielded in a long time (inconsistencies aside).

Right now, the starting OL next week looks like it'll be Samuels-Kendall-Mike Pucillo-Rick DeMulling-Jason Fabini, and if Rabach, Heyer, and Wade aren't ready to go, there's nobody else anymore. I know it's been fashionable to rag on the Skins' lack of depth, particularly in the trenches, but losing 5 of the top 7 guys is just unreal. And if they lose to Arizona next week, that makes 3 conference losses already, which basically puts them out of the wild card unless Dallas collapses like last year.

There were a lot of positives yesterday in the "if fluky things stop happening" sense. But they haven't stopped, and maybe they won't. Sigh.

117
by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:24pm

1. Sure finding a backup QB isn't easy, but keeping Seneca Wallace at the position is playing to be mediocre, not to win. He will never be a top QB, and if he is starting alot, the Seahawks are not going to be a good team. If Hassleback is down, your season is over, so sign any Rattay or Testiverde equivilant out there and put Wallace at receiver.
2. I think we set a record for posts complaining about someone commenting that it is unlikely your team will go undefeated. Is it that hard to comprehend?
3. As a Packer fan, I would like to thank the GMs of Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit for consistently forgetting that quarterback is an important position.

118
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:25pm

without actually having any link between two statements you have cobbled together and called an argument.

The link is your lauding of Son of Bum's actions while excoriating the Patriots' actions.

By calling that timeout, Son of Bum was telling the Patriots he was was not surrendering and was still considering it a game. Accordingly, the competitive and professional thing for the Patriots to do was to keep running real (but simple) plays. Which they did.

And please enlighten us all as to when you've ever seen a team take a knee on fourth down when there would be time remaining after the knee?

119
by Saints_may_have_blown_1st_overall_pick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:26pm

To Pats Fans, enjoy Donte Stallworth while you have him, he's due for a hamstring injury any game now. (this is why both the Saints and the Eagles got rid of him).

To people questioning why Garcia was bad at Detroit and Cleveland, this is what I heard over a year ago by an analyst that had some supposed insider information. Garcia works best in a WCO. He was promised that style of offense at both places, but, instead, was inserted into a system that didn't suit his style. When he finally got the nod for the eagles last year, they were running the same offense that he had run at San fran (with, I believe, a coordinator that he had experience with). The same offense seems to be somewhat present in TB this year as well, coupled with hiw own growth in the ability to be flexible. Having decent receivers and not playing under the Detriot curse also help.

As for the Saints. One good quarter of football does not a season make. They lucked out in that they didn't have to play from behind, allowing them to use a ball control gameplan. Seattle seemed to be convinced during the first half that the Saints couldn't run the ball (and four games of history this season seemed to bear that out). They didn't respect Bush's outside speed either. They adjusted at the half, and, that changed the running success completely.

The Saints still don't have a whole lot to show anyone. Their second and below receivers each are below average with one or two decent abilites to offset that. Aaron Stecker, while playing with heart, isn't much of an inside threat. Their O-line still isn't playing that great, but actually seemed to be bothered to play half way decently for a while last night. The defense still has problems against the pass, especially considering that the Seattle #1 and #2 were out and Hasselback still had decision and accuracy problems last night. Their success against Seattle's run is more of an indicator of Shawn Alexander's problems this year and poor play calling and less about the Saints having a great run D.

While this is definitely a needed win for the Saints, they will still have a hard time even coming up with a 6 and 10 record for the year. Looking at the rest of their schedule, I don't expect them to do more than win two of their remaining division games (Atlanta once and maybe TB or Carolina on a down week). That's already at least two more losses and maybe two more wins. They still have at least two more AFC games, two likely losses right there. Its hard to be optimistic for anything out of them for the remainder of the season.

Well, at least we can look forward to a top 5 draft pick.

120
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:26pm

117: More important than Wide Receiver? I don't think so.
/Matt Millen.

121
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:28pm

114- What if Byron Leftwhich etc. throws a screen pass to Maurice -Jones Drew and he breaks tackels and picks up 50 yards.

He would be 1/1, 50 yards per attempt, 50 passing yards etc. for an extremly low risk play. Any replacement level QB could have made that easy throw, and got the yards.

Then you have QB B, a guy might drop back and be reading defenses and throwing some completions, and some incompletions. He might hit some intermediate routes, but still have a lower rating than QB A. The QB rating systems are way flawed at best.

I want to see who can read defenses and make them honor the pass. Many people will start out with a severe learning curve, but if they make it, they are nasty.

122
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:28pm

As much as I enjoy piling on the Pats with everyone else, there's no way a reasonable person can look at the end of that game and blame them for running up the score. Running straight into the middle of the line with your 4th stringer is just about the least effort you can possible put into a goalline stance. And Phillips' timeout is much more to blame for that TD than anything the Pats did. You can't expect the opposing team to take it easy on you when you've just made it clear that you haven't given up yet. And if you're of the mind-set that you should never give up, then it completely hypocritical to lambaste the other team for not giving up. You can't have it both ways.

123
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:29pm

"Any replacement level QB could have made that easy throw, and got the yards."

That is completely untrue chris, and you know it. How many times did we have to watch Rex Grossman, not be able to hit simple check downs.

Whether or not you agree, being able to hit your checkdowns is a SKILL, and not everyone has it.

124
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:31pm

123: You're making the mistake of thinking Rexy is replacement level but your point is still valid.

125
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:32pm

In defense of the Pats, It was clear when Junior started to run in on 4th down and got called back that they called off their normal goal line package. So clearly they're not completely insane in trying to score meaningless points. I just think most teams take a knee in that situation. It just felt a little classless.

126
by n0_j0 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:32pm

Jimmy said: "If they had just knelt down do you actually think that the Cowboys could have driven the length of the field with no timeouts in about 20 seconds?"

Well, since they called a timeout immediately before this, the Cowboys obviously thought that they could have. Why else would they have called a timeout?

And if I'm coaching an NFL team and the other team clearly thinks it's still in the game, then I'd better act as if they are, too.

127
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:34pm

124.

My bad.

Theres still PLENTY of starting NFL quarterbacks who SUCK at hitting their checkdowns.

Chris, you keep bringing up the phrase "reading defenses." Isn't part of that realizing that teams are taking away the long ball, and completing the passes to the RBs and TEs underneath who have plenty of YAC opportunity? A screen pass isnt a bad play.

128
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:35pm

123: The problem with your argument is that Grossman is not a replacement-level QB. And yes, any replacement QB can hit quick routes. They are short, they have a higher chance of being undefended and a lower chance of something really bad happening.

129
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:35pm

125.

Name one.

130
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:36pm

OK, if you want to play that game....

QB A throws a screen pass to stud running back "AD", be makes some guys miss, he picks up 60 yards and a touchdown on the screen.

QB B, throws a screen pass to dud running back "B", he picks up 5 yards and is tackled.

Both guys made the same throw, same coverage etc., but 1 guy gets 1/1, 60 yards per attept, 1 passing touchdown etc., while the other guy gets much much less.

Then at the end of the year, QB A gets all the superlatives etc. over QB B, but really didn't do anything differently.

131
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:37pm

and if you can't throw a simple screen pass, or dump off in the flats, you shouldn't be an NFL QB.

132
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:39pm

Re: #131

Exactly. That's why Bledsoe is running a winery in Walla Walla now. :-)

133
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:41pm

Regarding the Pats running game:

Last week, before the game, there was a conference call posted on Patriots.com between the New England sports media and one of the Cowboys defenders (I don't remember which one). They commented (rather foolishly I thought) on the Cowboys gameplan against the Pats, noting that their specific goal was to take away Randy Moss and take away the running game, and see if the Pats could beat them with the other recievers.

And when I watched the game, it looked to me as if they were playing first and foremost to stop the run--putting 8 or 9 in the box, crowding the line, etc. It makes a certain amount of success--by forcing the Pats to pass a lot they prevent (or at least they tried to prevent) a ball-control approach that keeps their own potent offense off the filed. If Brady hadn't been so insanely good on 3rd and long, the strategy might have worked.

But after this game, and Cleveland last week, I don't think many other teams are going to be leaving Stallworth and Welker/the TE's (I really hope Watson isn't badly hurt!) single covered in order to sell out to stop Moss and the running game.

Regarding running up the score:
It's been said already, but I want to re-iterate. Running an UDFA backup fullback into the center of the line on four consecutive plays to avoid giving back the ball to a team down by only two scores (who won a game from a similar situation the week before) is not running up the score, especially when the defending team calls timeouts (any one of which would have allowed the game to end). As long as one team is calling timeouts, the other team should not be kneeling. Besides, I felt good for Eckel getting his first career TD. I hope someone got him that ball as a keepsake!

134
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:41pm

Rich-

That is the thing. If a QB is geniuninly looking downfield... maybe checks 2-3 receivers and THEN throws the checkdown to the RB, that is fine.

but if Byron or whoever drops back, on the 7th step of his drop and immediatly turns 90 degrees to his right, and throws to MJD or whoever, that doesn't take any skill at all. If you can't complete the simple pitch and catch to your back, you shouldn't be in the league.

Rex had his problems, but I don't think it was because he was bad at throwing checkdowns. I believe Lovie didn't keep training wheels on Rexy, and let him loose... that is why you saw real good games and real bad games. He ran a real offense, and was very inconsistant.

135
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:45pm

Replacement level QB who struggles at short timing routes: Kyle Boller.
There are others. Wasn't Gus Ferronte's biggest problem is he held onto the ball to long and kept getting sacked against Baltimore? Maybe if he found the outlet receiver, he could have gotten some receptions. And yes, I know I'm making the assumption that Gus is replacement level, but he's started at least two games, so somebody in the Rams organization thought he was an NFL caliber QB.

136
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:45pm

Re: 127

To be fair, there's a bit of a difference between a QB who reads the defense and gets what he can from dump-offs and a QB who refuses and/or doesn't have the ability to throw downfield into anything but poor coverage. I don't see how you could possibly measure that, but I'm pretty sure that's the kind of thing Chris is complaining about.

137
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:50pm

Tom Brady on a 3rd down... looks downfield, looks downfield, nothing is open, checks down to Kevin Faulk to pick up something rather than nothing...

Byron Leftwhich used to just drop back, turn to his immediata right and throw into the flats. It was either a thoughtless screen pass, or a jump ball to a 6'5 receiver. Not much thinking if you asked me.

A West coast offense is all about reads. If a defense plays zone, somebody is going to be open, and the QB has to make his reads and get it to that guy. Big difference.

138
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:50pm

"Rex had his problems, but I don’t think it was because he was bad at throwing checkdowns"

Yes, that was exactly the problem with Grossman. He was great at throwing the longball, but was extremely poor at throwing timing patterns and checkdowns. From what I've seen, a very large percentage of his INTs came on short passes where the ball was thrown behind/above/not near the WR.... or plays where the ball was thrown to the wrong side of the WR/TE/RB, and the ball was stripped.

139
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:52pm

"It was either a thoughtless screen pass, or a jump ball to a 6′5 receiver. Not much thinking if you asked me."

You mean like how Eli either threw in the flats to Tiki, or throws jump balls at his 6'5 recievers?

140
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:54pm

135- Gus Ferotte was starting on the road, in Baltimore with Brian Lenoard making his second career start at RB, and converted QB Marques Hagans as his second receiver.

141
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:55pm

#93 Carlos - I think you have to run your offense. You have all kinds of time, and in the fourth quarter, the pass rush was teeing off, and Campbell was hurried or sacked quite a bit. I agree the running game wasn't very successful, but they were picking up yards, and with KGB in all the time and the back seven looking pass, it would have been a good idea to mix in a run. I agree the dropped passes flattered the GB DBs, but they also had some passes defensed and had a lot of tight coverages on throws. Campbell played very well indeed.

And I'm normally not one to bitch about officiating in amy-team-got-hosed sort of way, but the officiating flat-out took 11 points away from the Packers. And again, the INT was not a tie-up, as others have commented.

142
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:56pm

Note to all NFL teams : Anything more than a safety against the 49ers will be considered running up the score.

143
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:58pm

The Jets end zone fade on 4th and one was a shitty play call, but on the bright side it prevented the slow torture of the Eagles driving down the field to kick the game winning FG from the 16 yard line as time expired. You have to look for the silver lining.

144
by TomG (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:58pm

#106: “…is an entirely novel argument constructed solely for the purpose of is an entirely novel argument constructed solely for the purpose of Yet Again Piling on the Patriots�

If it hasn’t already been suggested elsewhere, RickD’s acronym for this, YAPP, is pure genius.

145
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:58pm

Rich- Nobody is going to argue Grossman is a good QB.

How about all those screens Eli is throwing to Tiki this year? I thought even Schatz had the Giants starting out 0-5 or 1-4 as he said.

Eli might throw those jump balls to plax with 1 on 1 coverage, but he is reading defenses and calling a lot of audibles. The Giants backs have had a lot of successes because they don't run on 8 man fronts as often. Eli throws.

146
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:03pm

144.

As does campbell. His recievers just don't seem to catch the ball when it hits them in the hands.

Just don't congratulate Eli for throwing a jumpball to Plax and then berate some other QB for doing the same.

147
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:09pm

Re: 119

I think you're right about Garcia and his problems in Cleveland. That offense did not play to his skills. I don't agree that was the problem in Detroit. The Lions were running the WCO that Mariucci had learned/used in San Fran and earier coaching stops. In hindsight, I guess his injury really was the problem in Detroit. At the time, I thought he was washed up,

148
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:09pm

So Chris is saying that Jason Campbell is Byron Leftwich part two... ok got it.

I don't think Campbell has a hard time reading defense and throwing the ball downfield. If you want to talk about QBs who never learned how to throw the short passes accurately, Patrick Ramsey. I already think Campbell throws better than Ramsey long, medium, and short...

On the 4th-2 play I was wondering if I'd rather my QB force a pass to someone who is covered, or throw pass that will be completed, but banking on the dumpoff receiver break a tackle to make the play. It seems like an even proposition to me at least... on that play we don't have the coaches tape so hard to judge if he made the correct read.

149
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:12pm

There were a lot of positives yesterday in the “if fluky things stop happening� sense. But they haven’t stopped, and maybe they won’t. Sigh.

One decided trend in Gibbs 2.0 is that the skins really struggle to put points on the board. Yes, the OLine is decimated (now), but his teams haven't been able to get to the endzone with any consistency for the past several years.

150
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:12pm

Here's Mike Reiss's chart of Pats' offensive participation:

WR Randy Moss – 74 of 80 snaps
TE Kyle Brady – 63 of 80
WR Donte’ Stallworth – 57 of 80
RB Kevin Faulk 50 of 80
WR Wes Welker – 37 of 80
TE Benjamin Watson – 33 of 80
TE Marcellus Rivers – 28 of 80
RB Sammy Morris – 23 of 80
RB/FB/TE Heath Evans – 16 of 80 (12 as FB, 3 as TE, 1 as RB)
WR Jabar Gaffney – 10 of 80
RB Kyle Eckel – 4 of 80
LB/TE Mike Vrabel – 2 of 80
LB/FB Junior Seau -- 1 of 80
WR Kelley Washington – 0 of 80

Kneel-down at the end of the first half not included; snaps in which Randy Moss drew a pass interference penalty, and was called for pass interference, are included; play in which Moss had his touchdown catch overruled by instant replay is also included.

151
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:13pm

Note for teams playing against the patriots:

If its 3rd/4th and 1, and the Patriots come out in a 3 or 4 wide empty backfield set, its a sneak. Every time.

152
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:14pm

I would like to hear somebody with a theory on why Garcia didn’t work out in Cleveland or Detroit — I mean, his DVOA was worse than Kelly Holcomb’s in Cleveland and worse than Joey Harrington’s in Detroit — but he has worked out well in Tampa Bay.

West Coast Offense. IIRC, SF runs it (or at least they did when he played there), Philadelphia runs it, and TB runs it. Cleveland and Detroit do not, from what I understand. It seems to me that Garcia is unusually dependent on being in a particular offensive system. Also, having receivers that don't suck helps.

Cal we put to rest the “Marvin Lewis is a defensive genius� label now, putting it on the shelf alongside the “Brian Billick is an offensive genius� one, to gather dust? Amazing how often people are given credit for standing around next to something good. Lewis was known for pretty vanilla schemes at Baltimore, wasn’t he? Gee, maybe it was the players.

Look, even a defensive genius can't make talentless players into good ones. He took over an abysmal defense, and made it into a merely mediocre/bad one, depending on the year.

In the DVOA era, the Bengals have had a bottom-5 defense 6 times. The other five years are:

1996, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006.

Hmmmm...I wonder why the defense has suddenly had three consecutive non-horrible seasons, after having only two such seasons in the previous eight? Could it be a new coach who came in four years ago with a reputation as a defensive genius? No, he clearly sucks at coaching defenses. He should have had them playing like the 2000 Ravens by now.

I was absolutely appalled by the lack of class shown by NE at the end of the game, and I’d been cheering for them for the 59 minutes previous… I don’t care if he was a 4th stringer… it was completely unnecessary and class-less.

You do realize that a run up the gut by a fourth stringer is the play that's about the least likely to score in that situation, other than a kneeldown? Kicking a field goal would've meant almost certain, and probably unnecessary, points. And passing would be even worse.

Honestly, I don't get what he was supposed to do. Phillips called a timeout, when simply not calling that timeout would end the game. He made the decision to extend the game and treat the last minute of the game like it was still a competition, instead of a formality. I'm sure that if he hadn't called the timeout, Belichick would've let the clock run out.

Seriously, people, this isn't even the first time this year that I've had to defend Bill Belichick from accusations of running up the score. I heard a ton of people complaining about Vinny Testaverde's TD pass to Troy Brown at the end of a blowout win against the Titans last year. They were complaining about it when the Patriots played the Titans in the preseason this year.

Sorry, guys, but it's not running up the score when the people scoring the TDs are either retirement age (Testaverde and Brown) or fourth stringers, and they only score once, at the very end of the game. An NFL defense, even a really bad one, should be able to stop those players from scoring. If they don't stop the play, they weren't trying hard enough.

It just amazes me that people would use "running up the score" as a reason to hate Bill Belichick. He doesn't run up the score. And more importantly, there are so many other, better reasons to hate Bill Belichick. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least half a dozen reasons why I hate Bill Belichick.

You guys are resorting to "he occasionally runs up the score by sending out has beens/fourth stringers to run predictable, easily defended plays, scoring only one TD, at the very end of the game"?!

Amateurs.

153
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:14pm

Vikings rush differential - the Vikings are gaining 2.89 yards per play more per rush than they give up. The next closest team is Dallas at 1.45. The Vikings are first in yards per carry and 1st in yards allowed per carry.

154
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:15pm

Mike W,
I made the comment regarding the tie-up just looking for the non-Redskin fan perspective... I've seen those plays before... and I suppose the offensive player thinks just by having his hands around the ball establish possession. Seems like it's homer-glasses.

155
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:16pm

On the 4th-2 play I was wondering if I’d rather my QB force a pass to someone who is covered, or throw pass that will be completed,

Except the replay showed McCardell was uncovered in a crossing pattern 5-8 yards downfield. A bad read by Campbell (on an otherwise fantastic day), perhaps caused by inexperience and rushing to get rid of the ball (pure speculation!).

156
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:17pm

Not every ball thrown to plax is a no read jump ball. Plax also drops a whole lot of mid range passes and nobody runs out and says Eli's receivers are to blame.

157
by Cosmos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:21pm

As a Cowboys fan the late TD didn't bother me. Not going for it with 5 yards to late in the 4th bothered me regardless of outcome.

Also, and I haven't heard Patsfans chime in yet but Dallas did as much to stop their offense (penalties) than it seem Pats D did to stop them. The offense started like every single game this year, not only that but they stopped running after some nice success most of the game.

158
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:22pm

#130: So let's see... who could be that mystery QB who dumps off a swing pass to "AD" who takes it for a 60 yard TD? Sure seems like that guy (whoever he is) gets a lot of accolades.

I think we get your basic point - that the passer rating system is horribly flawed. I also think that's why most of us are here - because we already realize that fact and are interested in this system called "DVOA".

159
by CA (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:26pm

Re: Vince: Brett Favre set the career interception record today, but virtually all of those have been due to bad decisions.

No, virtually all of those have been due to his receivers running bad routes. At least that's what a lot of Packers fans tell me.

Re: Vince: Green Bay’s corners, obviously, are really good. Charles Woodson had one pass defensed and an interception.

I have been thoroughly unimpressed with Woodson this season. He must commit illegal contact, defensive holding, and pass interference, called or uncalled, more often than any other DB in the game. Generally, he plays poorly most of the game, skating on his reputation to manage to avoid criticism, but then he makes a couple big plays that distract from his deficiencies. Actually, that pretty much describes Woodson's entire career. It'll be interesting to see what his numbers are as the game charting data starts to roll in.

160
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:26pm

151: I don't think Cleveland runs the WCO, but while Garcia was in Detroit, his coach was a WCO guy, whose name I am blanking on for some reason. I think the problem was Detroit didn't have the receivers to run a WCO, and their receivers were better suited to throwing long, which Garcia isn't good at.

161
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:26pm

#151: Detroit ran the WCO when they had Garcia. In fact, his coach in Detroit was Mariucci, who was his coach in San Fran when he had his consecutive 30+ TD seasons.

The best I can come up with is that there is a minimum talent threshold below which no QB can succeed in the WCO. Tampa doesn't have a lot of talent, but they have Joey Galloway and a half-decent line, and that's more than can be said for the Lions or Browns of a few years ago.

162
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:26pm

67/68 and others, Let us get into our way-back machines and visit a Colts game a few years ago. My guess it was Manning's big year in 2004.

Same situation, Indy up by a few scores, end of game, opposing coach calls a TO with about a minute left. Dungy is ticked and uncharacteristically tells Manning to take a shot at the EZ from about the 20. It fails, but every puling, whining, arrogant, holier-than-thou Pats fan (with a few exceptions) here rips PM to shreds for it. Stat whore. Stat boy. Manning face. Can't win the big one. All the a-hole cliches spring forth.

Glad times have changed and we're more tolerant these days. Maybe last year changed some minds, maybe those individuals no longer frequent this site. Not sure. Did not mean to impugn the reps of ALL NE fans, but you have to admit, you know what I'm talking about. In fact, I was going back and forth last night on the in-game thread how civil NE/Indy fans were being during the Dallas game. We even joked about it. Times do change.

For the record, I was truly irked at Dungy until I heard his explanation, and had no problem with the Pats' backup running for a score--he's a human being too, trying to make a living and enjoy himself. He has pride and so does his line. If you want to kneel, fine. If you put a ball in action, the offense's job is to score. The D's job is to stop them. Regardless of their dumbass coach's TO call.

Purds, interesting observations on the pass game/run game with Indy and NE (although you're possibly counting your chickens thinking about a playoff game in NE, it's reasonable). I think the Colts this year might be better suited offensively to handle a winter game than NE (think 35 runs, and then play-action with Clark heading for HGHarrison), but defensively, Indy's speed and cutting could be nullified. Clearly a team needs to get pressure on TB and that has not really happened much this year. Freeney and Mathis skidding on snow = 8 seconds to throw. = teeth gnashing in the Bobman house.

163
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:27pm

"As a Cowboys fan the late TD didn’t bother me. Not going for it with 5 yards to late in the 4th bothered me regardless of outcome."

Well, there were 12:21 left, so it wasn't exactly late in the fourth, but I agree. The game was over when they kicked there.

As to the penalties, sometimes teams have a lot of penalties because they're getting beat. It seemed to me like a LOT of dallas's penalties were holds. Offensive lineman hold more when they're getting beat, or atleast it looks that way. Its easy to hold a guy and not look like it when he stays in front of you. Once he gets to the side, its obvious you're holding him..

164
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:27pm

Touche, B.

Although I would quibble with the fact that the Lions' receivers were more suited for going long. I think they were really more suited for flipping burgers.

165
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:29pm

Rich Conley (#150 )--
Note for teams playing against the patriots:
If its 3rd/4th and 1, and the Patriots come out in a 3 or 4 wide empty backfield set, its a sneak. Every time.
Funny thing is, Brady usually runs it right behind the center. But Dallas had that one stopped cold, so Brady bounced off that one and found a gap that had opened between (LT) Light and (LG) Mankins on the left.

Yet another sign that it just was not Dallas's day yesterday.

166
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:29pm

161:
"Dungy is ticked and uncharacteristically tells Manning to take a shot at the EZ from about the 20. It fails, but every puling, whining, arrogant, holier-than-thou Pats fan (with a few exceptions) here rips PM to shreds for it. Stat whore. Stat boy. Manning face. Can’t win the big one."

Theres a whole lot of difference between throwing from the 20 and running the ball 4 times into the line with a guy who they pulled up from the practice squad last week.

167
by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:30pm

One decided trend in Gibbs 2.0 is that the skins really struggle to put points on the board. Yes, the OLine is decimated (now), but his teams haven’t been able to get to the endzone with any consistency for the past several years.

True. I'm not going to say that I don't have my issues with the personnel and playcalling decisions this year. But for all the injuries yesterday and completely inexplicable clock management yesterday, what I felt the game came down to is the fact that Clinton Portis can't hold on to the ball anymore, and Santana Moss can't catch. I have to believe these are less sustainable trends than the offensive troubles the last three years and the defense last year. In fact, I'd say I've been pretty thrilled with the way the offence had held up given the O-line injuries until yesterday.

168
by JMM (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:33pm

RE: #118 "And please enlighten us all as to when you’ve ever seen a team take a knee on fourth down when there would be time remaining after the knee?"

:: PatsFan — 10/15/2007 @ 12:25 pm

From yesterday's game 2 min warning on:

http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/playbyplay?game_id=29280&displayPage=tab_p...

Two-Minute Warning
1-9-DAL 9 (1:54) 33-K.Faulk right tackle to DAL 6 for 3 yards (96-M.Spears).
Timeout #3 by DAL at 01:48.
2-6-DAL 6 (1:43) 38-K.Eckel up the middle to DAL 5 for 1 yard (99-C.Canty).
3-5-DAL 5 (1:09) 38-K.Eckel left tackle to DAL 1 for 4 yards (31-R.Williams).
4-1-DAL 1 (:23) 38-K.Eckel right tackle for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.
3-S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD,

From week 7 2004:

http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/playbyplay?game_id=27021&displayPage=tab_p...

Two-Minute Warning
1-8-NE 8 (2:00) B.Roethlisberger kneels to NE 9 for -1 yards.
2-9-NE 9 (1:14) B.Roethlisberger kneels to NE 10 for -1 yards.
3-10-NE 10 (:37) B.Roethlisberger kneels to NE 11 for -1 yards.
END GAME

Both teams had 1st and goal inside the 10 at the 2 min warning.

169
by Eddo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:37pm

167: The key there is that Dallas called a timeout. Two more kneeldowns by Brady would not have ended the game.

170
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:39pm

Same situation, Indy up by a few scores, end of game, opposing coach calls a TO with about a minute left. Dungy is ticked and uncharacteristically tells Manning to take a shot at the EZ from about the 20.
Same situation? A league MVP, 6 foot 5, 230-pound, laser arm QB throws into the endzone from the 20 because his coach wants to punish and humiliate the opponent for calling a stupid time-out, the same as running a back-up back-up RB into the line on 4th down? Really?

171
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:40pm

re: 167

I think you missed the part where it said, "... there would be time remaining after the knee."

In the Pitt case, the last knee down (which occurred on 3rd down, not 4th) resulted in the end of the game. Not a change in possession with time still left on the clock.

172
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:54pm

I've said in the past that I don't have a problem with teams running up the score, it seems to be accepted practice in Superbowl and Conference Championship games. However, it's been suggested that Dallas called a time-out with 50 seconds left. In fact, Dallas called their final time out at the end of the first play after the two minute warning.

At that point there was 1:54 remaining and it's reasonable to assume that Wade Phillips still had hopes of a fumble recovery touchdown followed by an onside kick for the chance of levelling the score.

Having said that, it's the job of the defence to stop the offence. It's hardly NE's fault that Dallas failed.

I'm also willing to bet that had the roles been reversed that there are a few people on this site that would have been more than happy to see Dallas go for the touchdown.

173
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:54pm

Re: #167, #170

And #167 missed the "on fourth down" as well.

174
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:56pm

Re: 170

I still firmly disagree that it was running up the score, but I think the key to JMM's point is that if NE (who still had a TO at the end of that Pittsburgh game) had kneeled on 1st down Phillips likely doesn't call a TO there and instead allows the Pats to bleed the clock with a couple more kneel-down.

175
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:57pm

#111 "As I say I don’t hate the Pats, I just thought that punching the ball in one last time was unedifying."

You keep using that word, "unedifying."

I do not think it means what you think it means. Unless you watch football for an entirely different reason than I do.

176
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 2:58pm

171.

According to the NFL, it was 1:48, after they had run on 1st down. Which means it was impossible for the Patriots to run the clock out. The most you can run off is about 47 seconds per play, which still would have left about 15 seconds left when the Pats turned the ball over on downs (which stops the clock). Had Phillips not called the time out, the game would have been over before they ran the 4th down play.

177
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:03pm

173

"had kneeled on 1st down Phillips likely doesn’t call a TO there and instead allows the Pats to bleed the clock with a couple more kneel-down."

That may be true, but I doubt it. The patriots, even though they were running, were letting 43 seconds tick off on every play. Running out the clock was definitely the foremost concern. The only thing that timeout did was assure that the patriots would have to run one more down, making it more likely they score.

178
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:12pm

#160

I still think Garcia's broken leg was more of the problem then anything else. He came back too fast from it, it killed his mobility and he was not planting great either. Though lack of talent did play a role as well.

179
by Ian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:15pm

It's not the 4th down run into the end zone that was bad sportsmanhip. Here's the play-by-play for the final Patriot 'drive' (up by 14 at the time):

1st and 10 at DAL 20 (3:45) K.Faulk right tackle to DAL 18 for 2 yards (A.Spencer).
2nd and 8 at DAL 18 (3:02) T.Brady pass short left to W.Welker to DAL 20 for -2 yards (J.Reeves).
Timeout #1 by NE at 02:13.
3rd and 10 at DAL 20 (2:13) (Shotgun) T.Brady pass short right to W.Welker to DAL 9 for 11 yards (A.Ayodele).
Two-Minute Warning
1st and 9 at DAL 9 (1:54) K.Faulk right tackle to DAL 6 for 3 yards (M.Spears).
Timeout #3 by DAL at 01:48.
2nd and 6 at DAL 6 (1:43) K.Eckel up the middle to DAL 5 for 1 yard (C.Canty).
3rd and 5 at DAL 5 (1:09) K.Eckel left tackle to DAL 1 for 4 yards (R.Williams).
4th and 1 at DAL 1 (:23) K.Eckel right tackle for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN. 47 27
S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD, Center-L.Paxton, Holder-C.Hanson. 48 27
S.Gostkowski kicks 47 yards from NE 30 to DAL 23. D.Anderson to DAL 33 for 10 yards (K.Washington).

On 2nd and 8 on the Dallas 20 with 2:13 to go the Patriots throw a pass. Then a PATRIOTS timeout. Then, on 3rd and 10 they pass again! They could have just run the ball, hit the 2 minute warning, run the ball again and kicked the short field goal, putting the game beyond reasonable doubt (17 points). But instead they are calling timeouts and passing. The 11 yard pass on 3rd down that resulted in a 1st, Welker was the checkdown receiver on a play that was clearly designed to go the end zone.

The run into the end zone after this sequence was merely secondary. It should never have even happened.

On a similar vein, how many TDs have the Pats scored in the 4th quarter this year (on offense) where they were up by at least 14? At least every game except Cleveland they've had at least one TD like that. While I understand that 'stomps' are the best judgement of a dominant team, perhaps these meaningless piling on scores shouldn't be credited quite as highly? that goes for every team of course, not just the Pats.

180
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:17pm

Re: 176

While I still don't think it was running up the score, I'm starting to the the TO was less and less of a mistake. Every real play NE ran at the end of the game was another opportunity for a fumble recovery TD as Paul pointed out in #171. On 1st down with 1:54 left, and 43 seconds per kneel-down, 3 kneel-down ends the game (1:11 on 2nd down snap; 0:28 on 3rd down snap). So while running 4 straight times into the line with a backup doesn't exactly scream "running up the score", Phillips' TO also seems like a reasonable thing to and the whole thing probably could have been avoided if BB doens't run a real play on 1st down.

181
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:20pm

178: Just so I understand, by your accounts, throwing a -2 yard pass counts as running up the score. calling a timeout after letting the play clock run down to zero counts as running up the score, and trying to get a 1st down on 3rd and 11 counts as running up the score. Fascinating concepts there.

182
by Fisher (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:20pm

Would you listen to yourselves? Amazing whining and hair-splitting over an end-of-game play. References back to 2004, height/weight comparisons, down and distance? Please. Scoreboard. Game over. Next.

This "running up the score" issue is boring, mincing, and ultimately irrelevant. The game is 60 minutes - if taking a knee is strategically sound, so be it. If continued play results in "meaningless" points, too bad. Score as often as you can without apology. This is not Pee Wee. If your team feels slighted because they couldn't execute, they need to work harder. Take it out on the opponent next week.

If you as a fan are "butt-hurt" due to a perceived lack of class from the opposition, good. You've got a more intense dislike for the "offending" team. Enmity and rivalry help stoke the passion we all have for the game and our respective team. From the discussions on this board, it is clear many would like to see the Pats' take a good drubbing. It hasn't happened and the resultant praise of the media, actions of certain Pats' players, and the over-exuberant opinions of a few Pats' fans rub some the wrong way. So we complain of poor sportsmanship? Weak. They play football - well. That's all.

Maybe next time, Cowpokes.

183
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:21pm

Re: 178

IIRC, that NE TO was taken by Brady standing next to the official with 1 second left on the clock; thereby running off as much time as physically possible.

184
by thestar5 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:27pm

Well, I'm kinda surprised by the lack of respect the Cowboys are gettting. Only not so surprised because I know everyone else here hates the Cowboys, lol.

But if anything this gave me way more confidence as a Cowboy fan. Before the game I wasn't sure they could beat the Pats but now I know they can. The Pats looked very beatable, the 'Boys had the lead in the 3rd quarter.

They shut down the Pats run game, and if Newman was fully healthy and Henry was back the secondary would have stopped quite a few of those 3rd down completions. Having your 4th corner on Welker/Stallworth isn't usually gonna lead to much success. Then you gotta look at the fact Welker fumbled twice and the Pats got both of them, one of the recoveries was extremely lucky. If t Cowboys got that you can take away a TD right there. Not to mentioe all of the calls against the Cowboys. TO's pushout, Watkins PI, the never happened illegal shift, the phantom holding calls, and almost every time it took away a big play. Not to mention with Terry Glenn back the boys will be able to throw on opposing secondaries that much more.

The big problem was that Dallas atarted out so slowly. They practically gave the Pats that one TD. Does anyone realize that after being down 14-0, the Boys dominated for a while and outscored the Immortals 24-7? TO those who say this game wasn't close, you couldn't have been watcing the same game I was. But the Dallas defense had just been out there so long because of the 3 and outs at the beginning that they were gassed by the 4th quarter. With a faster start, fair calls (or luck with fumbles), and Anthony Henry I think Dallas wins that game.

Now that said obviously its hard for all that to come together and I don't want to sell the Pats short. They are the best team in football right now but who knows come playoff time?

The other thing was just how much everyone looked like utter fools in regards to Romo. After all of the hate talk and the laughable "He was exposed!" BS, Romo just played pracically flawless except for that oe desperate pass at the end. It was unbelievble to me that everyone wrote Romo off after one bad game, and people thought the Bills had found out his secret. Can anyone else say top 5 NFL quarterback?

Anyway, just keep selling us short, but we're without question the best team in the NFC! End of rant, lol.

185
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:31pm

183: Cowboyjoe, is that you?

186
by Fredrik Urshgur (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:31pm

Re: Jeff Garcia in Detroit

His failure in Detroit is simple: he broke his ankle late in preseason, and Steve Mariucci rushed him back in too early. He never had a chance.

187
by Michael Rutter (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:31pm

I was at the Seahawks game. The eye in the sky camera crashed about 10 yards from the Seahawks huddle. It was kind of funny watching them try to hoist it up, get it barely off the ground, and then crash back down.

At one point they had it up about 15 ft (hard to gauge properly from the nose bleed seats) and a Seahawks player was walking over to the bench (Hasselbeck?) and the camera fell again making him jump.

188
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:33pm

Re 178:

But FG's aren't sure things, especially from out by the 20. Last year, the Pats were in the exact same situation against the Jets--up by two scores, on about the Jets 20, 3 minutes and change left, 2nd and long (I think). They ran up the middle for no gain twice, rather than try to throw for the 1st down, then lined up for a FG to put the game away. Only problem--they missed the FG (or maybe it was blocked...). The Jets took over in good field position, had one quick long TD play to Cotchery (I think?), and suddenly were an onside kick away from being back in the game. (The Pats won, but the score was much closer than the game had been).

Given how the Cowboys came back against the Bills last week, scoring twice in the final seconds, and how good their offense has been to date, I don't see how you can fault the Pats for passing before the 2-minute warning to get the final 1st down and have the ability to run the clock down to almost nothing. And I don't see how you can fault them for taking a TO (after letting the playclock run down to 0:01) to make sure they have the right offensive players all on the same page. A botched play there run back for a TD, and Dallas is back in the game with 2 minutes to go.

You can't fault a team for playing to the best of its ability as long as there's still a real possibility, albeit a small one, of the other team making a comeback. In fact, playing for the 1st down there instead of running or kneeling twice and kicking a FG almost shows MORE respect for the Cowboys.

189
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:37pm

re:183

"The big problem was that Dallas atarted out so slowly. They practically gave the Pats that one TD. "

"Romo just played pracically flawless except for that one desperate pass at the end. "

The reason they started off so slowly was the Pats put pressure on Romo, and he couldn't complete passes. There were a couple of drops, but a couple of them were just bad passes.

190
by Ian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:43pm

The pass on 3rd and 10 was totally unnecessary. They could easily have run it into the line and kicked a short field goal, icing the game. Instead they come out in shotgun, 4-wide and Brady spends plenty of time looking deep before dumps it off to Welker. It wasn't even strategically sound, as it could have resulted in a pick-6 or a sack/fumble or sack/injury.

Anyway, has any work been done looking at scores after the game is beyond doubt (both on the winning and losing sides) and seeing if weighting them less helps DVOA's predictive powers?

191
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:44pm

In other news, Warner apparently wrecked his elbow ligaments. The God he so much talks about has one heck of a mean sense of humor, apparently.

192
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:45pm

re: 115

"Seymour is a very good player but perhaps a little overrated, certainly no more important than key players lost by nearly every team in the league."

Defend this assertion.

193
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:48pm

"The pass on 3rd and 10 was totally unnecessary. They could easily have run it into the line and kicked a short field goal, icing the game."

And then give the ball back to dallas with 2:00+ left, and a timeout. The same dallas who scored twice in the last 40 seconds the week before.

Passing against an obvious run set, gives you the highest chance of getting the first down, which effectively ends the game.

"Anyway, has any work been done looking at scores after the game is beyond doubt (both on the winning and losing sides) and seeing if weighting them less helps DVOA’s predictive powers?"

yes, it has, and weighting them less reduced DVOA's accuracy.

194
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:48pm

"yes, it has, and weighting them less reduced DVOA’s accuracy."

Sorry, should be "Weighting them reduced DVOA's accuracy"

195
by Digit (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:52pm

re: 189

That works only if you assume a FG is a 100 percent chance. But that's not the case. If you miss the FG, you run the risk of handing the ball over to the opponent with about two minutes left. And Dallas definitely has the potential to score twice with less than a minute, as their previous game demonstrated.

Better to take the -first down- and continue to run the clock out.

196
by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:56pm

So…can anyone talk me off the ledge re the Bears?

I can't, brasilbear, but I can say this about the rest of the season: if they're going to go 8-8 or 7-9, I really hope they do it with a bunch more games like yesterday's. It's so much more entertaining than the way they lost in the Super Bowl, just to give one example.

197
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:56pm

Ian, define "beyond doubt". I would have said the Bills game last Monday was "beyond doubt", but apparently the Cowboys didn't get the memo. I guess the Pats wanted to make sure that they got this memo.

The pass on 3rd and 10 was totally unnecessary. They could easily have run it into the line and kicked a short field goal, icing the game. Instead they come out in shotgun, 4-wide and Brady spends plenty of time looking deep before dumps it off to Welker. It wasn’t even strategically sound, as it could have resulted in a pick-6 or a sack/fumble or sack/injury.

Or they could have lined up for a short kick, had it blocked and run back for a TD, and then had the Cowboys recover the onside and be right back in the game, with about 2 mintues to go and still holding a timeout.

I'm not saying that was likely, but it was certainly possible. That's the point. The game wasn't completely decided there, and I want my team to do what maximizes their chance of winning. Maybe Belichick decided he liked the winning odds of a pass attempt there better than a run attempt. After all, Brady had been converting 3rd downs all day through the air, and has only had 3 INTs over some insane number of passes, while the running game had been spluttering and Gowstkowski has had two FG's (out of a comparitively small number of attempts) blocked.

198
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:01pm

189: "Anyway, has any work been done looking at scores after the game is beyond doubt (both on the winning and losing sides) and seeing if weighting them less helps DVOA’s predictive powers?"
Sort of. DVOA measures all plays, not just scores, and eliminating or lessening the value of "garbage time" plays reduces DVOA's effectiveness. It's somewhat counterintuitive, but DVOA compares plays to plays of similar game situation, and NFL players don't give up when the game is a blowout.

199
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:17pm

And of course, it helps when Maurice Jones-Drew looks like, well, like Maurice Jones-Drew.

Two words. Brad. Meester.

Garica in Det: OC was Ted Tollner who was not an experienced WCO guy,although they did try to run it. I think coaching was huge in both CLE and DET.
Cle: HC Butch Davis/OC Terry Robiskie
Det: HC Mooch/OC Tollner
The only one of those four I would hire is Mooch in his younger days and I think he'd pretty much packed it in by 2005. I'm not a Gruden fan but he and reid are pretty sharp offensive minds (I'm ignoring the Morningweg over in the corner).

Benson: saw a telling stat that may be a comment on his (perceived) toughness. Last year, TJones had 296 carries to Benson's 157. TJ had 25 carries on 3rd or 4th and less than 3 yds. Benson had 3. Jones had twice as many carries total but 8 times as many in key short yardage situations.

WAS offense: let's assume yesterday's pass distribution was an anomaly caused by rain, injured o-line, injured WR, Packer d-line pressure etc. Here is the pass distribution of selected samples(targets not receptions), by RB--WR-TE percentages:

NFL 06 --21--59--19
Brunell 06 --31--49--20
Campbell 06 --19--58--23
Campbell 07 --25--55--20

Brunell threw a lot more to his RBs and less to his WRs compared to the NFL average last year. Campbell in 2006 was distributing right around the league averages, maybe a little more to his TE. Campbell this year is throwing more to his RBs than last year, which is mostly due (I think) to Portis being back and the coaches trying to put the ball in Portis' hands in space more (Portis did not play when Campbell started last year).

My conclusion: with Brunell, the Redskins were definitely dink and dunk. With Campbell, less so last year, more this year but the improved Redskins D and banged up WRs makes that a decent strategic decision by the coaches. I don't think it's an inherent limitation of the offense or Campbell.

200
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:26pm

The pass on 3rd and 10 was totally unnecessary. They could easily have run it into the line and kicked a short field goal, icing the game. Instead they come out in shotgun, 4-wide and Brady spends plenty of time looking deep before dumps it off to Welker.

Ian, you're confusing "running up the score" with "moving the chains and killing the clock" is this argument. The Patriots needed a first down to kill the clock. Achieving it is not tantamount to running up the score. In fact, deliberately trying not to get the first down is poor sportsmanship by disrespecting your opponent, and leads to things like point-shaving accusations. On 3rd and 10, I believe that the best chance of picking up a first down lies in passing the ball.

201
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:35pm

What Fisher said.

I'd like to see NE lose too, if only because I don't like to see any team win all the time - it's boring, share the wealth - and having a clearly superiot team out there makes all the other teams' striving a little less interesting. But what if they did run up the score? So what? So then it would be more ok to pull against them? It would become a moral imperative?

Come on, guys. I though that's what politics was for - irrational secualr religious furor.
Sports is about good natured competition, fantasy sports, gambling, and drinking. And statistical analysis.

Word.

202
by cd6 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:41pm

Re: Team kneeling to give up possession.

I give you 2004 season, week 9, the week after the Steelers knocked off the previously undefeated Patriots. Steelers are beating the previously undefeated Eagles 27-3, and have the ball deep in Philly territory.

I present the last two minutes of the game:

1-7-PHI 7 (2:48) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 8 for -1 yards.
Two-Minute Warning
2-8-PHI 8 (2:00) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 10 for -2 yards.
3-10-PHI 10 (1:19) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 12 for -2 yards.
4-12-PHI 12 (1:19) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 13 for -1 yards.
Philadelphia Eagles at 00:35
1-10-PHI 13 (:35) PENALTY on PIT-T.Kirschke, Defensive Offside, 5 yards, enforced at PHI 13 - No Play.
1-5-PHI 18 (:30) R.Mahe right end to PHI 20 for 2 yards (T.Kirschke).
END GAME
Game book linked in my name

Can we put this "nobody ever kneels it all the way out" debate to rest now?

203
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:43pm

Holy crap can you guys talk about football instead of crying about a team running out the clock at the end of a game? this isn't a high school football game. Teams can score touchdowns in a hurry in the NFL.

You guys are inspiring a Fnor-like hatred for this conversation.

204
by cd6 hates the spam filter (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:44pm

Re: Team kneeling to give up possession. I give you 2004 season, week 9, the week after the Steelers knocked off the previously undefeated Patriots. Steelers are beating the previously undefeated Eagles 27-3, and have the ball deep in Philly territory. I present the last two minutes of the game:
1-7-PHI 7 (2:48) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 8 for -1 yards. Two-Minute Warning 2-8-PHI 8 (2:00) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 10 for -2 yards. 3-10-PHI 10 (1:19) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 12 for -2 yards. 4-12-PHI 12 (1:19) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 13 for -1 yards. Philadelphia Eagles at 00:35 1-10-PHI 13 (:35) PENALTY on PIT-T.Kirschke, Defensive Offside, 5 yards, enforced at PHI 13 - No Play. 1-5-PHI 18 (:30) R.Mahe right end to PHI 20 for 2 yards (T.Kirschke). END GAME
I am not providing the game book link in attempt to avoid the filter which ate my last post, but ya'll are more than welcome to go look it up ;)

Can we put this "nobody ever kneels it all the way out" debate to rest now?

Also, I'd like to add that Phil Simms is epic.

205
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:46pm

161: Re: the Pats-Colts in the snow.

It's interesting to extrapolate how each team would do in bad weather. I don't think the patriots would be as effective because the snow would 1) Take away Moss' and Stallworth's speed, 2) take away Maroney's cutbacks, 3) cause some cornerbacks to fall down which is much less costly in the Cover 2 (because of the deep safety help. The Colts would still be able to run the ball control, Dallas Clark centered offense they used against Tampa.

Some observations about NE from Sunday's game.
1) Tom Brady was overthrowing his receivers enough to worry any Patriots fan. Most of his incomplete passes were sailed over everyone's heads, even when he had an open man.
2) The running game can be shut down. Morris is good when he has a hole in front of him, but a good defense can stop him. From what I've seen of Maroney (this year and last) he dances in the hole too much to be an elite back.
3) The receivers are really good. Between Moss, Stallworth, Welker, Watson someone was wide open almost every play.
4) I think BB has told Brady; if you get breathed on by a DLineman, fall down, and don't risk the injury. You're too valuable, and we'll get it back next play.
5) This has been mentioned before, but the safeties looked very shaky. Whoever is covering Dallas Clark and Heath Miller will need extra help, which should open things up for the WRs. Especially Holmes or Gonzalez on a deep route from the slot.
6) Come to think of it, the whole defense looked slow. To stop a good offense, they need to overwhelm the opponents OLine.

Overall, this team reminded me too much of the 01 Rams, or the 05 Colts; Great offense and a good defense that has its deficiencies masked because the opponent is always playing from behind; but still the best team in the NFL.

206
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:55pm

re: 202

Can we put this “nobody ever kneels it all the way out� debate to rest now?

They were up 3 touchdowns when they did that. The Patriots were not. Again, not comparable to yesterday's situation.

207
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:55pm

"12-PHI 12 (1:19) B.Roethlisberger kneels to PHI 13 for -1 yards. Philadelphia Eagles at 00:35 1-10-PHI 13 (:35)"

Thats interesting. They're supposed to stop the clock when the ball is turned over. The eagles should have got the ball back with 1:19.

208
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:56pm

204

3 Touchdowns and a Field goal.

Four scores does not equal two scores

209
by skinny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:57pm

Hey guys since this seems to be the random thread, I wanted to post the one ubiquitous comment from the color guys that has been driving me nuts.
"He went up and caught that ball at it's highest point" They always say this as though it were some sort of technique that great receivers have, when of course, the balls highest point was about 30 yards previous to it reaching the wide out. Drives me insane, spose i should've written Dr.Z with that one. Okay I feel purged, anyone else have one worth sharing?

210
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:57pm

From someone who was paying better attention to sideline stuff than I:

When Morris was on the sidelines with the trainers, I saw one trainer
talking to another about the injury. He was tracing the upper collar bone of
the other trainer. That did not look promissing. I'm suspecting it may be a
cracked collar bone. If so, I don't think we'll see Morris for a while.
Tough injury for a power runner to deal with.

I wonder if Dillon would be willing to come out of retirement to take on a (limited) power back role?

211
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:59pm

Re: #207

One of my biggest peeves along those lines is misusing "ratio" to mean "difference". As in "The Patriots have a plus-5 turnover ratio". Also using "differential" instead of plain old "difference".

212
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:00pm

Why not put Adalius Thomas on a Clark/Miller/Witten caliber TE? He could probably run with them better than a safety.

Maybe he's too valuable in his current hybrid role, but it certainly would seem to make sense to me. I know linebackers sometimes cover TEs in the Pats' system (or, in re Eric Alexander, follow several yards behind them), so why not AT?

213
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:03pm

#207: They definitely say that, although I think what they're trying to say is that he caught the ball at his highest point.

That would make sense, since it's essentially saying that he timed his jump perfectly and didn't waste any vertical distance.

214
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:05pm

203: Snow generally helps passing games and hurts running games. Cold without show benefits running games and hurts passing games. Wind is bad for passing games. Overall, I don't see the weather being a deciding factor in the game, but crowd noise and other home-field factors should help whichever team hosts the game, should them meet in January. However, it's way to early to be worrying about what might happen in the playoffs.

215
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:06pm

"I know linebackers sometimes cover TEs in the Pats’ system (or, in re Eric Alexander, follow several yards behind them), so why not AT?"

IIRC, all of Whitten's 3 receptions came while AT was off the field. He HAS been pretty good against TEs.

216
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:11pm

Announcer-isms I hate:
Player X is out with a
Although, I do wish they would use this for concussions. I'd love to hear Trent Green described as being out with a brain.
Last night (player/coach) told me he feels great about....
Here's a hint, everybody feels great and thinks their team is going to the night before the game.
Anything Tony Kornheiser says
Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I enjoy the sideline comments that Siragusa comes up with. He gives some actual insight into the game, instead of the meaningless drivel that most sideline reporters come up with.

217
by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:12pm

I am not a Pat or Cowboys fan, and the debate re: running up the score is getting tiresome. It isn't unsportsmanship unless the game really is out of reach, and by that I mean that no team has ever come back from more points down with that amount of time left. The Cowboys showed the week before that they can score in mere seconds. NE could not have knelt down and run out the clock. Because Dallas used their time out, NE would have given the ball back to Dallas if they had knelt. So NE would have been fools not to run the ball.

218
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:14pm

207: I have two pet peeves:

1. "The ball is on the one inch line." Really? Why can't I see that line on the field? Do I need a new TV? Is there a two inch line, too?

2. "The ground can't cause a fumble." Actually, it can, as long as the runner isn't down by contact. If a runner is untouched by a defender, loses his footing and falls to the ground, which causes the ball to pop out, then yes, the ground just did cause a fumble.

219
by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:19pm

Re: 205

It lists two consecutive kneeldowns as 1:19. It's probably a mistake. Even if there was a timeout, at least 1 second would run off.

220
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:20pm

Did anyone notice in the Bears/Vikings game a really strange play near the end of the 1st half where Chestor Taylor fumbled and Shiancoe recovered. Shiancoe was clearly past the first down marker but the refs set the ball back 2 yards. There was no booth challenge (inside 2 minutes) but I was certain the ball was recovered at least 2 yards ahead of were the ref spotted it to make it 3 and 2.

221
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:21pm

So, will FO staff have to call it "Not so Quick Reads" this week? :-)

222
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:34pm

On whether QBs should be credited for YAC:
Obviously, you can come up with situations where the receiver is entirely responsible for a huge YAC gain that skews everything.

However, providing your receivers with YAC opportunities is definitely a skill. Some people brought up Rex Grossman, who's a great example of a guy who doesn't give his receivers YAC opportunities on short routes.

I've seen him stare down Jason McKie for several seconds before throwing to him in the flat, allowing opposing safeties to come in and level the poor guy at the line of scrimmage. Had he thrown the ball sooner, or looked elsewhere before throwing to his safety valve, the play could have actually been productive. Obviously, legitimate NFL quarterbacks are better at these sorts of skills.

Another way a quarterback can be responsible for YAC is on screens. The blockers and the receiver expect the ball to be delivered to a certain place at a certain time. If it doesn't get there as expected, the receiver is probably going to get blasted. Donovan McNabb runs screens very well, in part because his mobility allows him to draw a lot of pass-rushers out of the play, and in part because his timing is excellent.

Even on regular pass routes, a receiver who is hit in stride with a crisp pass can make a play, whereas one who has to pull down a floaty pass in a jump ball situation is going to get 0 YAC.

Both the QB and the receiver are responsible for YAC, in general.

Re: alleged "running up the score" - The Patriots were calling simple dive plays with scrubs, and they could have knelt if it weren't for the timeout called.

I hate the Patriots, but people are being ridiculous.

223
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:36pm

218: That play was weird, but for a different reason. In that situation, when a player fumbles in the last two minutes of a half and his teammate recovers, the ball should be spotted at the point of the fumble, not the point of the recovery if the recovery would result in gained yardage for the team that fumbled. That rule is a result of the infamous "Holy Roller Play" in the late 1970s (1978?), when the Raiders' Ken Stabler, who was about to be sacked, intentionally fumbled the ball forward on the last play of the game at about the 12 yard line of the Chargers, a Raiders' running back pushed the ball forward a few more yards, and Dave Casper of the Raiders sort of dribbled the ball a few more yards on the ground before falling on it as it crossed the goal line. The officials called it a TD, giving the Raiders an undeserved win.

The weird thing about the play yesterday was that I thought Taylor picked up the first down before fumbling, so the Vikings should have gotten a first down for that reason.

224
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:38pm

"You keep using that word, “unedifying.�

I do not think it means what you think it means."

It means precisely what I think it means. It represents the exact, nuanced position that I wished to express. If you don't understand, look the word up.

225
by Jon Coit (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:41pm

re: Raiders defense
I think TMQ actually had something right last year about OAK, namely, that teams only pulled out enough offense to win (which was IIRC 13 points) against them in 2006. DVOA was misleading in their case--thus, this year.

226
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:42pm

221. I forgot about that rule, but I would presume that rule would apply to balls fumbled forward. Either way Taylor clearly was well past the first down marker and so was Shiancoe when he covered it. The announcers barely mentioned it no one seemed to upset on the Vikings so I thought I got it wrong, but the replays they ran sure seemed to show otherwise.

227
by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:47pm

#205: I believe that the 4-12 time is incorrect. If the second down play started after the two minute warning, the play clock for third down started at 1:59 and the third down play went off at 1:19; the play clock for the fourth down play would have then started at around 1:17, which would be consistent with a fourth down snap at about 0:37 and a game clock stopping for the turnover on downs at 0:35.

Oh, and my general comment on all of this running up the score/not running up the score discussion? "You PLAY to WIN the GAME." As others have said, running the ball into the line four times (and passing prior to that on 3-10) was, in Belichick's opinion, the strategy most likely to lead to winning, taking into consideration the need to pick up first downs, keep the clock moving, and minimize the chance of a turnover.

Teams don't have the QB kneel the ball because they're being good sports; they do it because it keeps the clock running and minimizes the chance of a turnover, and hence maximizes their chance of winning the game.

228
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:52pm

I think the ball ended up slightly going forward before being recovered, so the rule would apply. But I agree that Taylor seemed to be past the first down marker before fumbling. And even if he wasn't, he certainly wasn't two yards away from the first down, which is where the ball was spotted. At worst, it should have been third and inches.

I also agree that it was odd how the announcers didn't even discuss/question where the ball was spotted.

229
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:52pm

222. Just for all those who don't use Tiki Barber words

- edify - to teach or persuade

hopefully everyone can figure out unedifying from the definition above.

230
by Patrick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 5:56pm

@151:
Look, even a defensive genius can’t make talentless players into good ones. He took over an abysmal defense, and made it into a merely mediocre/bad one, depending on the year.

In the DVOA era, the Bengals have had a bottom-5 defense 6 times. The other five years are:

1996, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006.

Hmmmm…I wonder why the defense has suddenly had three consecutive non-horrible seasons, after having only two such seasons in the previous eight? Could it be a new coach who came in four years ago with a reputation as a defensive genius? No, he clearly sucks at coaching defenses. He should have had them playing like the 2000 Ravens by now.

on the other hand, by traditional measurement, the Bengals have only been a bottom-5 defense 4 times in the DVOA era:

1997, 2003, 2005, and 2006.

the best two defensive seasons in this view were 2001 (11th) and 2002 (17th), indicating that the guy who took over in 2003 wasn't inheriting an utterly talentless bunch.

obviously i think DVOA is better, but
"while according to traditional metrics i've coached 3 of the 4 worst defenses in recent team history,

more advanced metrics indicate the D hasn't actually been bottom 5 most years of my tenure"

is not a great sales point for a football coach's resume.

231
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:08pm

222: So you're upset that the Patriots haven't inspired intellectual or moral improvement? Well, I suppose that could be a valid complaint, but I'm really not sure how it's relevant.

232
by Gus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:12pm

Re: Simms

The best Simms moment was probably when he said that he was "certain that Mike Vrabel could be an All-Pro Tight End." Sweet jesus, what a moron.

233
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:24pm

229: Spot on. I mean, talk about unwieldy expectations...

234
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:25pm

Edify, from two different dictionaries

"to instruct or benefit, esp. morally or spiritually"

"To instruct especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement."

It is the spiritual aspect of the word that caused me to use it. It is unedifying therefore to countermand principles of morality or spirituality (which I guess in this case means sportsmanship - unless you actually beleive in the football gods) when playing the game. I personally felt the Pats were slightly over the line in this regard given how far they were ahead and how much time the Cowboys would have had left to score so many points starting on their own 1 yard line.

Now many people may not agree with me, but I hope that at least they will believe that I understood and meant the words that I used. ;)

235
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:29pm

232

Theres nothing spritual or moral in the final score of a professional football game.

236
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:31pm

#233

No. Not when Bill Belichick is involved.

237
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:32pm

oooohhhh....low blow.;)

238
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:33pm

234.

As there shouldn't be. His job is to put as many points on the board for his team as he can, while keeping as many points for his opponent off the board as he can.

His job ISNT to make sure the cowgirls go home feeling good about themselves.

You're trying to impose morality on something that has absolutely NO moral bearing. No one is hurt by the extra points.

239
by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:37pm

Last week the Pats ran up the score, passing to Vrabel on 4th down when they could've run it. And they called a time out to do it.

This week, not running up the score.

Still classless, but not this week for that reason.

240
by rashreflection (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:48pm

Interesting little bit regarding Garcia's time in Cleveland:

Initially, in free agency, Butch Davis and the rest of the organization weren't exactly selling him on the Browns. Then, Butch promised Garcia that if he signed, they would hire Bill Walsh as a consultant to build a West Coast offense. So they got him, and then completely backed out of their promise. Things just went downhill from there, and by the end of the year there was quite a public feud between the two.

Typical Butch...I will argue until the day I die that he was the worst head coach of this decade, but that's for another time. =)

-Josh

241
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:49pm

237

"And they called a time out to do it."

Yeah, one of those running-up-the-score timeouts with 1 second left on the play clock.

Kneeling the ball there doesn't take any more time off than passing. Its 4th down. This was after running the ball into the line 3 times (with Eckel)... with cleveland using their timeouts, down 10, with NE having the ball inside the 10. If they have the ball inside the 10, and you don't want them to score, let them run the clock out.

242
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:51pm

Rich as I said in my earlier post you have every right to disagree with me (I had an inkling that you might). Your blunt comments telling everyone that you feel differently do not really move the discussion on much. But don't let that worry you.

243
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:56pm

240.

Nor do your blunt comments that people should be judged on a moral level for scoring a touchdown.

How about Wade Phillips being classless for calling a timeout, risking player injury? '

Why isn't phillips classless here?

244
by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 6:59pm

Yeah, one of those running-up-the-score timeouts with 1 second left on the play clock.

Really, does it hurt them all that much to get a delay of game there?

Kneeling the ball there doesn’t take any more time off than passing. Its 4th down. This was after running the ball into the line 3 times (with Eckel)… with cleveland using their timeouts, down 10, with NE having the ball inside the 10. If they have the ball inside the 10, and you don’t want them to score, let them run the clock out.

It's still running up the score by passing. It's not that they passed and thus didn't run out the clock; it's that they called a passing play at all. Hell, they threw it to Vrabel.

They went to score. They could have just run it into the line and pinned Cleveland at the 4 or something. They chose to pass into the end zone, and they did it after a time out that was unnecessary. That's running up the score.

245
by jason (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 7:16pm

#118:

Click on my name for a play by play of Phi @ Pit in the 2004 regular season.

Pittsburgh did kneel and leave time on the clock although at 27-3 it didn't matter. Incidentally, Reid called his last timeout at 2:48 and Big Ben threw a pass on 4th and 3 to get another set of downs.

Of course, none of this means anything.

For the record, I don't think NE ran the score up and that if Philips was really concerned with NE scoring then he wouldn't have called the TO and would have let the clock run.

246
by Papa Narb (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 7:40pm

Re: 241

Since when has this site become about dictating people's personal feelings? If someone finds a tactic immoral or lacking in sportsmanship, it is tough to say they shouldn't feel this way because there is no place for said feelings in football to begin with.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to argue tactics or strategy. In my experience, trying to logically argue morality falls flat on its place in most arenas (religion, politics, etc.) and won't get a ton of traction here. I think it's fair for some posters to feel this is not a very satisfying tactic and others to think it's fine.

There seem to be a few underlying themes to the pro-running the ball in camp:

1. Perfectly acceptable tactic b/c Dallas has shown its a high powered offense capable of comebacks

2. Perfectly acceptable tactic b/c Wade Phillips had not conceded the game

3. Perfectly acceptable, b/c kneeling would actually show less respect than scoring.

4. Borderline acceptable, but ultimately up to Dallas to stop the action.

Anyway, I don't know if the Pats feel this way or not, but I do know that Bill Simmons is quite clear about the Pats intent to "run up the score" on each and every opponent as a big "F you" to the league about the supposed cheating.

247
by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 7:43pm

I think the best play that best describes my feeling as a Seahawks fan these last two weeks was the play where Babineaux punched the ball out for a fumble, and with 4+ Seahawks standing around, New Orleans still somehow recovered in what turned out to be an even greater gain than the pass alone would've been. The word hopeless doesn't do it justice, but would make a decent preamble.

#34, 49,

If you aren't a crowing Pats fan, then maybe the message wasn't intended towards you, but instead to the people who are. If you ARE, then you deserve it.

248
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 9:40pm

BTW, even though it hasn't been put up here, Quick Reads has been posted at Fox.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7337566?CMP=OTC-K9B140813162&ATT=5

As usual, reading the comments there will destroy your IQ.

249
by Papa Narb (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:00pm

Wow, looks like Simmons is a reader of FO:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/bostonblog/07101...

Wish I could take credit for being prescient, but he's been railing on this topic for a couple of weeks now.

250
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:04pm

198 re WAS offense, great post.

All posts complaining about "running up the score." Sorry, I must have gotten lost on my way to the website about professional football.

Has anyone ever seen the losing coach concede and throw in the towel in the middle of the game? Me neither. Until they start doing that, I say the winning coach is free to optimize outcomes to his heart's content. If that means putting in your scrubs so the starters don't get hurt or so the scrubs get experience, great. If that means continue to run your first team offense b/c you want the additional game reps, great. If that means keeping in your first team offense because you want to score as many points as possible, great!

You want a "gentleman's game" where winners "back off" before the game/match is over, then go watch little league or kids sports with "skunked" rules.

251
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:18pm

As for the Pats being "classless". Who cares? The commissioner, the other 31 teams, and the pundits have all established that the Pats are the most evil, hated franchise in NFL history. Nothing the Pats could do will change that. So, why not ride the outlaw thing as far as it will take them. The Pats are certainly the most pissed off team in the NFL. I hope more coaches are dumb like Wade Phillips and run their mouths off to Peter Whatshisname the week before each game.

252
by DJH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:23pm

Re: 245

Yea, because my IQ has been so enriched from reading Rich Conley post 25 times the same shit over and over.

Seriously...can we create separate threads for Patriots topics and for the other 31 teams?

I used to recommend this site to football fans that I would meet for "enriched" NFL football discussion...not anymore...it's become virtually unreadable...

253
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 10:30pm

Regarding the Pats running up scores - all I know that up here in Canada if you try running up the score when a hockey game is out of reach you're likely to get your head torn off. It is against the code. Physical retribution is guaranteed. In baseball stealing bases with the game out of reach will often start a fight or a beaning.

Maybe it's just my Canadian hockey upbringing, but when I see the Pats rubbing it in my instincts are get that SOB QB anyway you can. I would have thought there was some equivalent in Football, but it doesn't seem so. Maybe Football is just more civilized.

254
by jason (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:20pm

I am trying to post this again since it didn't go through the first 2 times:

There was a game back in 2004 between Pit and Phi where Pit knelt and left time on the clock. The link should be in my name.

Despite this, I don't think NE was running up the score or doing a "eff you" TD.

Had the "Son of Bum" not called a time out then NE would have never scored.

255
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:27pm

Re 247 thanks. Unfortunately, it seems like there needs to be a separate thread to talk about anything unrelated to the Patriots.

256
by JoeyMeyer (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:26am

Re: 233:

There was nothing uninstructworthy about that final score.

Also, that was not running up the score. Nothing a team can do while up only 14 points can ever be construed as running up the score, in my book.

That said, the NE fans' counter-whining is pretty annoying. I mean, we all know these Pats fans only started rooting for them when they began winning Super Bowls. These same people were huge Bulls fans back in the Jordan days, I'm sure.

257
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:28am

"Regarding the Pats running up scores - all I know that up here in Canada if you try running up the score when a hockey game is out of reach you’re likely to get your head torn off. It is against the code. Physical retribution is guaranteed. In baseball stealing bases with the game out of reach will often start a fight or a beaning."

So, basically, canadians are sore losers?

258
by Nat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:38am

I was looking for examples of teams kneeling on fourth down, and I found this instead: Week 1, a team that was up two scores, had the ball inside of two minutes, ran the other team out of time outs, called a time out of its own, and ran the ball forward on fourth down instead of kneeling or kicking.

What classless jerks! I hope someone does that to them... oh, wait...... never mind.

Dallas Cowboys at 02:08
1-10-NYG 43 (2:08) 24-M.Barber up the middle to NYG 34 for 9 yards (58-A.Pierce).
Two-Minute Warning
2-1-NYG 34 (2:00) 24-M.Barber left guard to NYG 32 for 2 yards (58-A.Pierce).
Timeout #1 by NYG at 01:56.
1-10-NYG 32 (1:56) 24-M.Barber right tackle to NYG 31 for 1 yard (97-M.Kiwanuka).
Timeout #2 by NYG at 01:52.
2-9-NYG 31 (1:52) 24-M.Barber right tackle to NYG 24 for 7 yards (58-A.Pierce).
Timeout #3 by NYG at 01:46.
3-2-NYG 24 (1:46) 24-M.Barber up the middle to NYG 23 for 1 yard (97-M.Kiwanuka).
Timeout #2 by DAL at 01:01.
4-1-NYG 23 (1:01) 9-T.Romo up the middle to NYG 22 for 1 yard (91-J.Tuck).
END GAME

Tremble ye all before the wrath of the Football Gods!

259
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:59am

255.

You missed the part where its only wrong when the inherently evil patriots do it.

260
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:33am

"I will throw one other thing out there about the Skins. FOX showed some NASCAR racers hanging around the sidelines. I don’t know if they were members of Gibbs Racing or not, because I am, you know, from the North, employed, and own shirts with collars, but there they were."

Wow. I'm not even a NASCAR fan (it's a dreadfully overrated bore IMO) but it's bad enough that certain Democrat politicians actually think they're such filth that people need to inoculate themselves before going to a race (link in my name) without people here making snarky comments like that. I couldn't even read through the rest of the e-mails after that.

261
by The Football Gods (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:36am

THOU SHALT KNEEL only unto OUR TERRIBLE POWER and the CLOCK OF THE END OF (regulation) TIME!

To KNEEL in FEAR is WEAKNESS!
To KNEEL in PITY is an ABOMINATION IN OUR SIGHT!

Heed not those who call upon our name in vain. KNEEL to hold the ball fast, and hand it not over to thine opponent meekly, whine though his fans may.

The Cowboy, he has kept the ball from the Giant, and we were pleased. The Patriot, he has given over the ball to the Cowboy, but only after the Extra Point Try.

And we looked upon that Extra Point Try.

And it was GOOD.

Thus spake the Football Gods.

262
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:38am

"I will throw one other thing out there about the Skins. FOX showed some NASCAR racers hanging around the sidelines. I don’t know if they were members of Gibbs Racing or not, because I am, you know, from the North, employed, and own shirts with collars, but there they were." Wow. I'm not even a NASCAR fan (it's a dreadfully overrated bore IMO) but it's bad enough that certain Democrat politicians actually think they're such filth that people need to inoculate themselves before going to a race (link in my name) without people here making snarky comments like that. I couldn't even read through the rest of the e-mails after that.

"There was nothing uninstructworthy about that final score.

Also, that was not running up the score. Nothing a team can do while up only 14 points can ever be construed as running up the score, in my book.

That said, the NE fans’ counter-whining is pretty annoying. I mean, we all know these Pats fans only started rooting for them when they began winning Super Bowls. These same people were huge Bulls fans back in the Jordan days, I’m sure."

It's stuff like this which is why I'm pretty much boycotting the NFL indefinitely. What's the point? The Pats are always going to win, they're always going to run up the score, and I won't even be able to read a single FO thread without running into fans of a 16-0 team somehow portraying themselves as put-upon victims.

263
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:48am

Really, does it hurt them all that much to get a delay of game there?

Well, it would make things more difficult for them. A delay of game penalty would've only taken 1 more second off the clock, so it's not like it would've prevented the game from proceeding as it did (there was still more than 1 second on the clock when the Patriots scored on fourth down), and it would've made the third down much more difficult to convert. There was still a chance, albeit a very small one, that Dallas could've gotten the ball back, scored a TD, recovered an onside kick, and then scored a TD to win.

As long as there is still a chance that something like that happens, a team can't be expected to stop trying. What would you say if Belichick had called a QB kneel on fourth down, only to watch Romo throw a quick TD, and then Dallas recover an onside kick, Romo throw another TD, and then, say, get a two point conversion for a win? Why should Belichick let such a course of events happen? I mean, it's not like he was up by 5 TDs. The game was still technically in doubt. And as long as that is the case, it's not running up the score to continue doing what you believe gives you the best chance to win the game.

And let's not forget that, had Phillips not called his own timeout afterwards, Belichick's decision to throw on third down could have brought the game to an end without any further scoring. BB didn't know that his opponent was going to call timeout and drag the game out.

To get back to the underlying issue, I do think that there is such a thing as running up the score, and that teams should avoid doing it. But running up the score can only occur under certain conditions:

1) The outcome of the game cannot be in doubt. If there is any plausible scenario by which the team that is currently trailing could still win the game, then the team in the lead has every right to run their offense, and call whatever plays they feel give them the best chance of winning. No team should have to apologize for making sure they win.

2) Generally, the team in the lead has to continue playing its starters to really count as running up the score.

3) Usually, the team in the lead has to continue calling plays in such a way as to lengthen the game, and increase their scoring opportunities. Running the ball for the entire fourth quarter wouldn't count as running up the score even if you do happen to get a few TDs in the process.

The situation in question did not meet either 1) or 2), and it's not really clear that it even met 3), although I can see the argument there. It certainly didn't meet all of the conditions.

on the other hand, by traditional measurement, the Bengals have only been a bottom-5 defense 4 times in the DVOA era:

1997, 2003, 2005, and 2006.

the best two defensive seasons in this view were 2001 (11th) and 2002 (17th), indicating that the guy who took over in 2003 wasn’t inheriting an utterly talentless bunch.

No, that's not what it indicates at all. What it indicates is that the team was never winning games, and so opponents didn't have to gain lots of yards to beat them. By "traditional" measurement, the Bengals were 17th on offense and defense in 2002, so that would indicate that they were about an average team. So, I guess six of their fourteen losses must've just been bad luck. Or maybe total yardage is a ridiculously stupid way to rank teams. Seriously, I can't believe you're trying to bring yards against into this argument.

The average defensive DVOA of the Bengals before Marvin Lewis got there was 9.5%. The average defensive DVOA since he arrived has been 4.5%. Over the last three years, the defense has averaged a DVOA of 1.7%. That's easily the best three year period of the DVOA era for the Bengals defense. Lewis isn't going to create a dominant defense from scratch, but he's improved their performance significantly.

“while according to traditional metrics i’ve coached 3 of the 4 worst defenses in recent team history,

more advanced metrics indicate the D hasn’t actually been bottom 5 most years of my tenure�

is not a great sales point for a football coach’s resume.

First off, that's an indictment of traditional statistics, not Lewis. Second, I never said his defense looked good. And it hasn't actually been good, but it has been much better than it used to be.

The only reason it sounds unimpressive that he's coached a "non-bottom 5 defense" for the last three years is that it goes unmentioned that, in the last 11 years, nobody else has kept the Bengals out of the bottom five on defense for even two straight years.

The other thing was just how much everyone looked like utter fools in regards to Romo. After all of the hate talk and the laughable “He was exposed!� BS, Romo just played pracically flawless except for that oe desperate pass at the end. It was unbelievble to me that everyone wrote Romo off after one bad game, and people thought the Bills had found out his secret.

Keep in mind, after Grossman was exposed by Arizona last year, his next game had the following stat line: 23 of 29 for 252 yards and 3 TDs.

264
by the K (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 3:31am

For long snappers, I believe Mike Schneck may still be available. He was the Bills' long snapper and was selected to the Pro Bowl as a "need" position--by Mike Shanahan and his staff. Solid endorsement there, IMO. The Bills released him at the end of camp because the LS this year is Ryan Neill, who normally plays DE, a position the Bills were, and are, very thin at.

265
by hector (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 3:44am

Zach Selwyn was robbed.

266
by langsty (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 3:55am

I'm late to the party, but re: Adrian Peterson - I think the best description I've heard of him was simply that he's a more explosive Shaun Alexander.

267
by Kenny (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 5:14am

Jimmy, I think most of us know perfectly well what the word "unedifying" means according to the dictionary. If you can't recognize a classic movie quote when you hear one then you shouldn't be posting comments in any forum where guys converse.

The first few comments made in refutation of your position, in which comments it was pointed out that the Pats' lead was (especially given the Cowboys' previous game) very far from insurmountable, that it takes a jackass of the first order to think running a fourth-stringer into the middle of the line qualifies as "running up the score," that the Pats let the time clock run down to one second before calling their 3rd-and-10 timeout (hilariously, the Fox announcers couldn't figure out why the Pats waited so long to call it), and that the Pats clearly (pace Bill Simmons and his Eff You TD Theory) would happily have allowed time to expire without scoring had Wade P. not made it impossible for them to do so without giving the ball back...all of those comments would have been edifying indeed -- had you not been, plainly, impervious to edification. (I'm not worrying about using big words because you clearly own a dictionary. A bit worried about the Latin, true, but I decided to show some faith in you.)

[chuckling] I'm mostly pulling your chain, you know, not genuinely flaming you as a moron. I mean, you've gotten well and truly spanked in this particular debate -- and I have never been a Patriots fan, by the way, having been without NFL allegiance ever since Jerry fired Tom -- but it's just a bunch of guys b-s'ing after the game, after all. You don't actually have to make sense. Have another beer; I'm lifting mine in your general direction as I (one-handedly) type.

268
by Chad Gerson (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 6:36am

#217: Actually, yes, there is a one-inch line. According to the NFL rulebook there are an infinite number of yardlines. For convenience they are only marked every yard.

Regarding the Patriots and 16-0: I haven't really heard Pats fans saying anything about this. It is the hype and ratings-chasing machine of 24-hour sports talk for which no hyperbole is too ridiculous to air on television synchronized with annoying music and flashy graphics. (Frankly, I can barely stand ESPN anymore, except for PTI and their actual game programming. They have turned themselves into MTV.)

Regarding the Colts: they love it when people think they are only second-best.

269
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 7:25am

Kenny

I only bothered to pull a couple of definitions of the word from an online resource because someone else produced a narrow definition of the word which inferred that I had used the word incorrectly. I don't generally go around providing definitions of words I use, in fact I can't remember having done it before.

All I said in the first place was that I (just my own personal opinion, which by the way hasn't altered one bit by any of the arguments posted above, not that I haven't considered their relative merits) thought that the game was over and should have been left that way. There would have been less than 20 seconds on the play clock and the Cowboys were on their own 1. It would take at least ten seconds to run the ball in as the crow flies, never mind running a play. Any pass play would have invilved the QB standing in hisown endzone while trying to get the ball down the field. Therefore I thought the game was over. Everyone else here seems to think it was still a keenly contested game.

Now it all becomes a matter of priority as to what should happen. If you think the most important thing is to get a touchdown for your plucky fourth-string running back then fine, score a touchdown. If you don't care a hoot for anything but the greater glory of all things Patriot then score a touchdown. Personally (and again for anyone who hasn't twigged this is simply my own personal view) was that it could have been handled better, the Pats had outplayed the othr team and had won the game. They should have taken a knee, I doubt the Cowboys would have done anything other than pushing up the middle to avoid the safety, and walked off.

Furthermore I have no idea what movie you are referring to. Classic or otherwise.

270
by Nat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 7:52am

Jimmy:
The quote was a trivial google search away.

[Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up]
Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

- from The Princess Bride

271
by jim m (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 10:13am

254. Rich Conley - yes indeed we Canadians are very sore losers but we are also very gracious winners.

272
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 10:55am

"If you can’t recognize a classic movie quote when you hear one then you shouldn’t be posting comments in any forum where guys converse."

Kenny & Nat. The Princess Bride is a source of classic movie quotes? Especially in a forum where guys converse? The Princess Bride?

OK, I can see "Leave the gun...take the cannolli" from the Godfather; I can see What am I? A schmuck on wheels?" from Goodfellas; I can even see "That's thirty minutes away. I'll be there in ten." from Pulp Fiction. But ripping a guy because he didn't catch a reference from The Princess Bride does nothing to advance your argument. In fact, I'd call it "unedifying."

273
by gnomonclature (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 10:56am

#264 Jimmy, I think you mean implied, not inferred. I won't ask why those pages of your dictionary were stuck together.

274
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 11:29am

There would have been less than 20 seconds on the play clock and the Cowboys were on their own 1. It would take at least ten seconds to run the ball in as the crow flies, never mind running a play. Any pass play would have invilved the QB standing in hisown endzone while trying to get the ball down the field.

While obviously very, very unlikely, such a comeback would not be impossible. A 14 point lead is not insurmountable, even with only 20 seconds on the clock. You can't ask teams to stop trying just because the game's probably out of reach. If you do that, eventually, someone is going to lose a game that they could've won because they trying to avoid running up the score. Teams shouldn't have to choose between being sure they win the game and displaying good sportsmanship. Unless you institute a "mercy rule" that declares one team the winner when their lead is deemed "insurmountable," then you can't expect teams to just give their opponents the ball back without trying to score.

If it had been third down, and a QB kneel would've ended the game, I'm sure BB would've just called a QB kneel. And if he hadn't, then maybe some complaints would be justified. But that's not the case here. The game wasn't over. It was almost over. And the only reason that it wasn't over was that Wade Phillips called a timeout. Otherwise, that TD never would've happened.

275
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 11:32am

"They should have taken a knee, I doubt the Cowboys would have done anything other than pushing up the middle to avoid the safety, and walked off."

Okay, you've stated your point. Now, why is it wrong for the patriots to continue driving, and not wrong for the cowboys to do the EXACT same thing to the giants?

276
by Kurt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 11:37am

Theres a whole lot of difference between throwing from the 20 and running the ball 4 times into the line with a guy who they pulled up from the practice squad last week.

How about throwing on 4th and goal from the 4 in the last minute of a ten point game?

277
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 11:42am

267: Are we going to have a debate on the merits of The Princess Bride? Because that movie is filled with classic quotes. Also, it had Andre the Giant in a major role.

278
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 11:59am

Ack!

ESPN reports Goodell is looking to play a Superbowl in London:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3065254

279
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:03pm

Nothing against The Princess Bride, necessarily, but I don't see knocking a guy for not knowing it in the context of "a forum where guys converse." However, a debate sounds stimulating. So were the Patriots wrong to run Inigo Montoya up the middle on fourth down? Or was it Prince Humperdink's fault for calling that time out?

280
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:04pm

Did anyone else see this?

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/columnists/tcowlishaw/st...

Excerpt:

Phillips acknowledged at his Monday news conference that the Cowboys' approach was to stop Sammy Morris and make Tom Brady beat them.

Wow. I mean, just, wow.

281
by zip (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:06pm

#267, 272

I got 272's back here, The Princess Bride is gotta be one of the top ten most quoted movies on the internet.

282
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:11pm

Is this where we post article links? Cause DJ Gallo's monday column is excellent.
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=gallo/071015&sportCat=nf...

283
by Ferg (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:23pm

Re 275: Hey, it worked!

284
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:37pm

re: 278

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the team meeting where Wade Phillips went over the game plan.

"You know, that Tom Brady, he's pretty good. Randy Moss, a nice little player. But to win this game, we need to stop Sammy Morris." [cut to a bunch of players rolling their eyes and checking their calendars to make sure it wasn't April 1st]

285
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 12:50pm

Actually, Wade Phillips's whole comment almost makes sense: (paraphrasing here) they wanted to make the Patriots one-dimensional, then attack Brady with blitzes and disguised coverages.

One of the reasons the Patriots have had success running (up to Sunday's game, anyway, and to a certain extent in the second half of Sunday's game as well), was that teams were so intent on stopping the passing attack that 4-5 yards per attempt were there for pretty much any running back the Patriots chose to run. Forcing some second- or third-and longs, then attacking Brady, makes some kind of sense.

Failing to stop them on third downs anyway probably wasn't part of Phillips's plan.

286
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:03pm

Starshatter:

Gotta disagree, especially when compared to the mention of Belichick's game plan against Kelley/Thurman Thomas of the Bills.

If your focus is on stopping the run, and making Tom Brady beat you, it's just not going to work. You're better off letting the Patriots run wild for 150+ yards on the ground and playing nickel and dime all day.

He also made mention of how he did it last year with the Chargers which were, of course, a much more complete defensive team and much more prepared to stop an offense that didn't have Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, and Randy Moss as receivers... rather Reche Caldwell, Troy Brown, and Jabar Gaffney.

That game plan, in my opinion, made sense, since even if Brady is a great QB, if he doesn't have receivers who can get open quickly, it won't matter. The game plan worked and forced Brady into uncharacteristic turnovers.

This year, the offensive team he was facing changed (as well as the defensive team he is coaching), but he refused to change his game plan. In my opinion, that's just plain stubborn and stupid.

287
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:23pm

Phillips acknowledged at his Monday news conference that the Cowboys’ approach was to stop Sammy Morris and make Tom Brady beat them.

Apparently, Phillips was trying to prepare his defense for the strategy they would be using next week against Minnesota.

Seriously, though, wow. I'm just shocked that this man even has a job in the NFL. I've never thought much of the whole "shut down the running game and make the QB beat you" approach, because the QB often does just that. But especially when we're talking about Tom Brady and Sammy Morris. Wow.

288
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:23pm

"Okay, you’ve stated your point. Now, why is it wrong for the patriots to continue driving, and not wrong for the cowboys to do the EXACT same thing to the giants?"

OK this thread has gotten pretty screwy and clearly I may have had a part in that. However I am nonplussed by this comment, when did we start to talk about the Giants?

289
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:35pm

As Jaws says all the time on NFL Matchup, points come through the passing game. Teams really don't run to set up the pass, they pass to set up the run, and unless you're going against the Vikings (or the Chargers), you need to stop the passing game first. For Wade Phillips not to realize this, well, let's just say I'm not surprised he's been a failure as head coach in each of his previous attempts.

290
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 1:59pm

Yeah, I can only hope Phillips reverses himself for the next game, and schemes to stymie Tavaris Jackson, forcing the Vikings to win with Adrian Peterson running the ball. Let's see those nickel and dime packages, all the better to neutralize the fearsome Jackson to Bobby Wade connection!

291
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 2:10pm

The funny thing is that, when I read the article, I had to look twice to make sure it wasn't from The Onion.

292
by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 2:38pm

“Okay, you’ve stated your point. Now, why is it wrong for the patriots to continue driving, and not wrong for the cowboys to do the EXACT same thing to the giants?�

It is wrong. They're both wrong. Choosing between the Pats and the Cowboys is like choosing between a douchebag and a turd sandwich.

293
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 3:45pm

re:Wade Phillips

Most of the actual quotes I've read from him were along the lines of "Stop the run AND RANDY MOSS" and make them beat you with Welker and Stallworth..which is pretty much exactly what happened.

It sounds a lot more sensible than "stop the run"

294
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 3:46pm

Kal, so, Wade Phillips is a bad sportsman, Bill Bellichick is, and I'm sure I can find another 20 coaches or so who've run "actual plays" when the game is out of reach.

What was your point again?

295
by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 4:02pm

#

Kal, so, Wade Phillips is a bad sportsman, Bill Bellichick is, and I’m sure I can find another 20 coaches or so who’ve run “actual plays� when the game is out of reach.

What was your point again?

That was entirely my point. I'm glad we both agree that the Pats are bad sportsmen.

As said above, this sort of thing ends up working itself out on the field more often than not.

296
by Nick Pomazak (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 6:30pm

The Seahawks have Charlie Frye as a backup QB now..they don't need Seneca Wallace to be their #2 QB so why DONT they switch him to receiver full time?

297
by sippican (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 7:42pm

The Patriots used to be a sort of Rorshach Blotch for figuring out what sort of system your team was running. They were always based on the idea that the sum of the parts, properly fielded, exceeded other approaches to personnel and coaching based more on just accumulating physical talent and exhorting them to win. Since they were whatever they needed to be, they didn't seem like anything much -- but still won-- which infuriated people, especially fans of Fantasy Football, which skews your idea of what football is by prizing individual statistics over all other things.

The Pats are different now; a Rorshach Blotch now for what sort of colossal whining loser you are. It's pathetic to watch all these people crawling around on the ground looking for some minor tic or imaginary aspect to associate to what is a profoundly low-key football team's demeanor, to allow the observer to claim that your crummy team getting beat is the result of personal perfidy on the Pat's part, not a big hole in your own team's approach and/or personnel, filtered through the milky eye of legions of sore losers, egged on by commentators that can't think and writers that can't write.

I'm not used to rooting for good teams. I rooted for the Sox in the sixties and the Pats when they were a joke. I'm new to this rooting for a really good team, so bear with me. I'm OK with all that whining, if that's how you want to roll.

"What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies -- See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!

Hi ladies. We hear you loud and clear from here.

298
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2007 - 9:39pm

sippican, thanks for the classy remarks. You are entitled to feel however you want to feel, and, despite my snarkiness, I don't even mind. However, I do get very tired of the Pats fan mantra "I rooted for...the Pats when they were a joke," as if it entitles them somehow to strut and preen shamelessly about their admittedly excellent team now. A few years back when the Patriots started getting really good, this website seemed awash with Pats fans who seemed to believe that they'd spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness or something.

Here's some insight--almost every team has had some seriously bad stretches. The team for which I root, the Steelers, varied between dreadful and average for my entire childhood, adolescence, and into my young adulthood before finally becoming good in the 70's (and, yes, I'll admit it, inspiring a lot of annoying strutting and preening by my fellow Steelers fans.) From an outsider's perspective, I honestly don't recall the Patriots being a laughing-stock. According to one historical website, which I have no reason to doubt, the Patriots were in the AFL championship game in 63, were division champions in 78 and 86, and almost annually since 96, made the playoffs in 76, 82, and 85, and went to the Super Bowl in 85. Yes, the Super Bowl...even before Belichick. While this is not a history of domination, neither is it a disgraceful record of ineptitude.

I'm sure if you looked at, say, Cincinnati's history, or that of the New York Jets, or the Steelers or the Colts or the Bears or whoever, you'll find some periods when they were good and others when they were pitiful. Let's not even delve into the history of the Eagles or the Arizona/St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals. That's just the nature of a team/franchise...maybe even life itself. That's why VH-1 made dozens of episodes of "Behind the Music" without having to revise anything in the script besides the band's name.

The Patriots are an excellent team and this year's edition may well be on its way to proving itself one of the historically great teams. You are fortunate to be a Patriots fan, just as I am fortunate to have been a Steelers fan when Bradshaw and Ham and Greene and Lambert etc. were playing. Does remembering the lean years make the fat years any sweeter for you now or for me then...yes, it does. Do those lean years set you or me apart from the fans of other teams, and somehow add extra validation to our excessively and sometimes even obnoxiously glorying in the accomplishments of a group of men who we've never even met?* I, at least, don't think so.

*Full disclosure: I have actually met Rocky Bleier.

299
by Mike W (not verified) :: Wed, 10/17/2007 - 12:22am

Sippican, wasn't that Tamerlane?

300
by Digit (not verified) :: Wed, 10/17/2007 - 12:35am

I think he's quoting Conan.