Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Futures: Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett

The Wildcats receiver isn't the best athlete you'll ever see, but Matt Waldman says he could be an effective pro with small improvements in his technique.

29 Oct 2007

Audibles at the Line: Week 8

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.

A reminder that we're trying to move most of the non-strategy-related Colts-Patriots talk into this Irrational Colts-Patriots Armageddon Thread.

New York Giants 13 "at" Miami Dolphins 10 (London, England)

Aaron Schatz: I just want to explain why this "Super Bowl in London" thing is a bad idea. Did anybody enjoy watching two teams slog through the rain in Miami last year? OK, now imagine that but 20 degrees colder. There's a reason why they hold the Super Bowl in warm weather cities or domes. Mexico City? I'm fine with that. London? No.

Bill Barnwell: They could play it indoors in Cardiff.

Stuart Fraser (resident FO Brit): Wembley has a retractable roof too, I believe. They just never close it.

Russell Levine: Europe is full of brand-new retractable roof stadiums. If they ever play a Super Bowl there, Germany might be a better bet. American football is more popular than in England and they have a bunch of acceptable stadiums that were built for the World Cup. The Allianz Arena might be the finest sports facility on the planet from what I've read.

Bill Barnwell: Great block by Marty Booker on Cleo Lemon's screen where he actually went from one side of a Giants lineman to the other to get underneath him, then beat the lineman to the angle and blew him up. The Giants are immediately going downfield with Burress against Michael Lehan and Jason Allen. Let's just say they look a little over their heads.

Doug Farrar: When Eli Manning sauntered into the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown run (Note: Eli's highest running speed is "saunter"), I thought to myself, "I guess I'll be the one to make the first, 'Boy, the Dolphins sure could have used the 25-foot tall Jason Taylor on that play' joke."

And of course, the week after Hell freezes over and I actually say something complimentary about Manning's game, he completes eight of 22 passes for 59 yards against the team with the worst defensive DVOA against the pass.

Stuart Fraser: Eli seemed to be back to his bad old habits of throwing every third pass two feet above the receiver. Nice scrambling skills, though, and he didn't throw any pass which caused me to go "UGH," unlike Cleo Lemon, whose deep ball is a thing of ugliness.

Wembley's grass is really not intended for this sport. It looked, visually, different from grass pitches in the U.S., and it got seriously cut up as the game went on. The announcers kept talking about it, and it was a contributing factor in the way nobody seemed to be able to tackle properly (especially if they were trying to tackle Brandon Jacobs). It may have been a contributing factor for the kickers being lousy too. I'm sure they'll say it was. For what it's worth, there were similar rumblings about the grass being useless after the first couple of soccer games played there as well, though these now seem to have quieted down.

Ted Ginn completely blew by the defender trying to cover him on that touchdown reception. Not that I think he'll prove to have been worth the draft pick, but it's good to see something from him.

Bill Barnwell: If you can teach Ginn how to sell double moves and he's alongside an offensive line that actually gives the quarterback enough time for the route to develop, Ginn can be a dynamite downfield guy -- with a peak of something like Alvin Harper in Dallas. It's just a) lots of guys can do that without being a top-ten pick and b) that's not the easiest scenario to put together.

Doug Farrar: Here's my question. When a league spends so much time and so much money putting something like this together, that same league is so persnickety about trivial details that players can get fined thousands of dollars for wearing the wrong color socks, and that same league has a team (the Arizona Cardinals) with a stadium so advanced that they can literally roll in different kinds of turf, how is it that nobody checked on the logistics of this and asked for the right kind of turf? Did Roger Goodell get caught with his figurative pants down on the details of the actual stadium, or was his excitement about the game so extreme that he didn't really think about it? Or, was this America's punishment for sending the Dolphins to England?

Oakland Raiders 9 at Tennessee Titans 13

Doug Farrar: Early on in this game, the Raiders had one play in the book: "Have Daunte Culpepper throw underneath the zone." Over and over. And that was a good idea, because anything he threw that wasn't in a hole was either picked off or damn near. The Titans, not wanting to be outdone, had two plays, "LenDale White run" and "Chris Henry run." Vince Young's passing numbers were pretty bad, but in his defense, he had two sure touchdowns dropped early in the fourth quarter. And after last season, if we said that the difference between these two teams would be their defense -- specifically their front four -- we could have surprised just about everybody with the fact that it's Tennessee that now wins that particular battle.

Philadelphia Eagles 23 at Minnesota Vikings 16

Vince Verhei: Wasn't a study done on coaches' records in games where they had the lead at some point in the fourth quarter? How did Andy Reid measure up? It seems like every week, the Eagles are either surrendering the lead or escaping by the skin of their teeth.

The Eagles scored a touchdown on a shovel pass from Donovan McNabb to Brian Westbrook that gained six yards. I saw a number of other shovel passes today, and they worked more often than not, but I still hate that play. It seems to me that if the timing and execution of your running back, offensive line and quarterback are all perfect, you basically get a fancy draw play. And if any of those things are less than perfect, you're risking an incompletion or turnover.

The good news for Vikings fans is that Brad Childress finally realized that Adrian Peterson (20 carries) should get the ball more often than Chester Taylor (six carries). The bad news is that Peterson is human after all. He turned those 20 carries into just 70 yards, and made an enormous mistake on a kick return to open the second half. As the ball bounced along toward the pylon, Peterson tried the "step out of bounds and catch the kickoff to set your team up at the 40" trick. Unfortunately, he screwed it up, catching the ball first, THEN stepping out of bounds. Childress then compounded the problem by challenging the play, when it was very clear what had happened. When the dust finally settled, the Vikings had a first down inside their own 1- yard line and were down a timeout before a single second of the third quarter had ticked off the clock.

Mike Tanier: I, too, hate the shovel pass on the 5-yard line. To me, it's a twice-per-season play. Run it too often and teams will just sniff it out. The Eagles have used it tons of times in the last four years. This year, with all of their red zone problems, I was sure I would see it soon. It worked well this time because Andy added a crazy wrinkle: The play started with a full-house backfield. Jason Avant went in motion and occupied a lot of defensive attention.

The Eagles also ran a misdirection pitch play in the red zone, and their first drive ended with a patented 19-yard field goal when Andy Reid tried Westbrook up the middle once, decided that wouldn't work, and broke out the play-action and rollouts. Westbrook did go over the top for a score, but Reid seems convinced that his team cannot power the ball into the end zone using old-fashioned football. I can't see why not: Shawn Andrews is an All-Pro, Jon Runyan is still good, and Brian Westbrook or Correll Buckhalter should be a capable goal line runner.

Some things I liked in this game: I liked seeing Reggie Brown working the middle of the field for 10-yard gains. I liked seeing accurate McNabb throws into tight spots. I really liked the way the defensive front seven looked in the first half. Broderick Bunkley had a good game. Trent Cole is a real force.

In answer to Vince's question, the Eagles don't put opponents away very well. They don't often surrender fourth quarter leads, but they always seem to be up by six and trying to nurse the lead late in the game. It's rare to see them get the ball with a four-point lead with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter and embark on a 10-play clock-killer of a drive. It's one of the frustrations of rooting for them.

Cleveland Browns 27 at St. Louis Rams 20

Doug Farrar: During the time that I've observed them in preparation for next week's matchup with the Seahawks, the Browns have moved up from "interestingly frisky" to "officially dangerous." They have a great aerial game, and perhaps the NFL's most underrated offensive line. Actually, they're a great argument for putting your money in the line if you want to improve your offense. They drafted Joe Thomas and stole Eric Steinbach away from the Bengals, and they're 10th in Adjusted Line Yards and 15th in Adjusted Sack Rate through Week 7. Last season, they were 31st and 26th, respectively, in those categories. Meanwhile, teams like the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams are looking around for answers on offense, and their line deficiencies have a great deal to do with that.

Cleveland's defense has been pretty atrocious, but they stopped a late drive by the Rams on a fourth-and-1, FO favorite Leigh Bodden intercepted Marc Bulger's desperation pass to Torry Holt with seconds left in the game on the next drive, and the Browns moved to 4-3. I'm just telling you, Seahawks fans -- if you don't know about the Browns, and you think this game will be a gimme based on previous years, you could be in for a very rude awakening.

And since Derek Anderson is looking so good, why don't the Dolphins just give up next year's first-round draft pick for Brady Quinn? This would give Quinn a chance to play, and it would take what might very well be the first overall pick out of the hands of Miami's front office.

Ned Macey: The inverse to this, however, is that you need a defense that can get to the quarterback. Playing a team with no pass rush, the Rams suddenly showed some offensive spark. Willie McGinest has fallen to the point where his best strategy was to fail on his rush but put his hands up. He got at least two tips that way.

Braylon Edwards is developing into a beast. He made an extraordinary catch in the first half down the left sideline, just tiptoeing in on the outside. But, in a sight familiar to every Michigan fan, he also dropped what would have been a game-clinching third down pass in the final two minutes. Still, he finally has a borderline competent quarterback, and he's looking at sort of a Lee Evans, 2006-type season. Time will tell if Anderson is a better player than Losman. Winslow is certainly better than anything else the Bills have.

Vince Verhei: I thought the "sight familiar to Michigan fans" was going to be when Edwards yanked off his helmet after making a catch. I'm as strong a pro-celebration guy as you'll ever find, but taking off the helmet -- literally stripping away the team identity to get your own face on TV -- annoys me.

This does not change the fact that Cleveland is a team that must be taken seriously, and would likely contend for a division title if they played in the NFC. I continue to be blown away by Joe Thomas. Every time I watch Cleveland on offense, I see him dominating somebody.

Detroit Lions 16 at Chicago Bears 7

Bill Barnwell: Is Cedric Benson officially a bust yet? Is there anything he does well? I saw him drop a flare that hit him in the hands.

Awful pass interference by Danieal Manning where he just bumps Roy Williams literally seconds before the ball arrives on what was going to be a jump ball. Ugly, ugly coverage. Makes Adam Archuleta look good.

The Lions appear to feign an onside kick before basically pooching a kick to Hester. The Bears run a pitch to Hester out of the backfield and of course Kenoy Kennedy reads it and runs full-speed six yards into the backfield to blow it up. On second down, Brian Griese tries to throw over a linebacker onto Olsen's back shoulder and misses badly, the Bears false start, and then Adrian Peterson gets half the yardage back on third-and-21. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007 Bears offense!

The Lions have had awful field position all day but are moving the ball with Kevin Jones through the middle of the Bears defense, running right at Urlacher. They're doing a really good job of handling Tommie Harris.

Vince Verhei: Griese threw four interceptions today, and three of them looked exactly the same: floating lobs into the end zone that gave the safety plenty of time to make his way over and catch the ball. You can't pin this loss entirely on him -- the Bears couldn't run the ball or stop the run -- but at some point, don't the Bears have to find a way to acquire a big-name quarterback, just to preserve the sanity of their fan base?

Doug Farrar: Right now, I think the Vikings might need that even more.

Michael David Smith: I'm not prepared to say the Lions are a good team, but I will say that for the first time in the Matt Millen era, the talent on the roster roughly matches what the coaches are trying to do with the talent. In the past, it was like Millen was building one team and Mariucci and Mornhinweg were coaching a totally different team. This year you can actually see that the offensive players fit with what Martz wants to do and the defensive players fit with what Marinelli wants to do.

Indianapolis Colts 31 at Carolina Panthers 7

Doug Farrar: The Colts played the time-of-possession game so effectively in their Super Bowl postseason, and the Panthers have taken a page out of their book. Can't stop an offense? Keep them of the field. They have a 15-minute TOP advantage in the first half; this came mostly on their opening scoring drive, an 18-play, 11-minute marathon. That's basically why they're down by only three points at half. Of course, the Colts start the second half with a methodical touchdown drive to go up by 10. Back to you, Phil...

Michael David Smith: They really should just do away with the force-out rule, but as long as the rule exists, how was the incompletion to Reggie Wayne not a touchdown? He got one first down and the second foot just out of bounds by a couple of inches. You're going to tell me that even a minor bump from a defensive back isn't going to move a guy's foot a couple of inches?

Aaron Schatz: Mike Tanier likes to remind us all the time that "Tampa-2" teams don't necessarily play Cover-2 all the time. And, in fact, the Colts came out against the Panthers playing a lot of man. I do think that's the right move when you face a team with a stud number one like Steve Smith, preventing him from finding easy holes for midrange gains, as long as you still keep a safety deep to prevent Smith from beating your corner with his speed. I think Antoine Bethea is doubling Smith on nearly every play.

The Panthers did pull off a sweet play for their first touchdown. They were on the five, and Carolina had its safeties pulled wide, effectively double covering Smith and Colbert. So the Panthers ran right up the middle with DeShaun Foster. (Foster actually ran straight up the middle, no shake-and-bake.) Fullback Brad Hoover just destroyed Tyjuan Hagler on the lead block.

That being said ... the Panthers have been running a lot on first and second down, right into a wall of Colts defenders. Remember 2005? The Chargers (and then the Steelers in the playoffs) beat the Colts by PASSING early in the game, particularly on first down, when the Colts were bringing Sanders up expecting run. Then when the Colts moved Sanders back, the Chargers and Steelers amped up the run. It shocked people because we all thought of the Steelers as a run-first team, and they came out firing downfield to start that playoff game. It seems to me this is the correct strategy against the 2007 Colts as well, especially since their defense is much more like that of the 2005 Colts than it is like that of the 2006 Colts.

Charles Johnson did such an excellent job filling in at right tackle during the Super Bowl that it is a bit shocking to see how much trouble he's having filling in at left tackle today with Tony Ugoh out. This is definitely the most pressure that Manning has felt all season, and the most pressure that the Panthers have put on any quarterback, and Johnson is a big reason.

Doug Farrar: Your comment about Johnson having so much trouble on the left side after looking solid on the right makes me think of Seahawks tackle Tom Ashworth, who is a decent-or-better fill-in on the right side, and an absolute walking disaster area on the left. I haven't seen enough of Johnson to know if it's the same, but Ashworth's problem seems to be that he simply can't handle the quick burst of the speed rushers that often come from right end. If he's given that extra half-second to engage, he's OK.

Aaron Schatz: By the way, wherever the 2005 Colts defense was hiding last year, apparently the 2005 Chris Harris was hiding there too. That guy was back today, the one who was a pretty good rookie safety with the Bears. He was all over the field in the first half -- slapping balls away, recovering a fumble by Ben Utecht, making the stupidest attempt to lateral a turnover return that I've ever seen in my life...

Doug Farrar: Panthers rookie middle linebacker Jon Beason is impressing me. He's striding pretty well with Dallas Clark, and he doesn't seem to be frequently out of position as you would expect from a young player with his athleticism. I've seen him deflect two passes to Clark in this game, and given the colossal mismatch Clark usually has with a middle linebacker (especially with a middle linebacker who stands only six feet tall and weighs about 240), it would seem that the Panthers drafted wisely with the Miami product. He played outside a lot in college, and he has that type of speed.

Aaron Schatz: It's a little stunning how sloppy the Colts offense was today. Manning was Manning when he wasn't under heavy pressure, but it didn't seem like anyone else could hold onto the ball except Reggie Wayne. Keith, Addai, Clark, Utecht -- they were all dropping passes or fumbling the ball. If they play like this next week, they lose. Then again, next week they probably have Harrison back. I don't know the situation with Ugoh.

As for the Panthers, Vinny Testaverde hurt his ankle, David Carr came in, and we immediately had a David Carr "happy-feet special", the two-yard scramble up the middle on third-and-5. The Panthers kept up the "short stuff chew the clock" offensive mindset the entire game. That worked well on the long, drawn out initial touchdown drive, but when the score was 24-7, it was pretty stupid.

Ned Macey: Peyton Manning, like all quarterbacks, struggles when he is pressured. He has a great deal to do with his pass protection, reading defenses, adjusting plays, quick release, but when pressure comes, he's jittery. Once the Colts figured out protection, they dominated. Single coverage on Reggie Wayne when Harrison is out? Not a good idea.

The announcers were convinced that the Panthers had a perfect first drive, but it was actually a fluke. They took 11 minutes off the clock, and everyone thought it looked like the 2006 Colts, but they went 80 yards in 18 plays, i.e., just over four yards per play. They went six-for-six on third down (one was a defensive holding penalty, an eight-yard completion on third-and-10). That is not sustainable, and after the first drive, they went one-for-five on third down, including an end zone interception by Vinny.

Stuart Fraser: Ah! Now we know where Marvin Harrison is. According to Dick Enberg, he's throwing challenge flags at Paul Brown. Seems a strange thing for a Colts receiver to do whilst injured, but everybody's gotta have hobbies, I guess.

Aaron Schatz: That's okay, Jim Nantz just said that Carolina had to get to the 47 of the Patriots. The Patriots are not in this game, Jim.

Doug Farrar: If you had to listen to Phil Simms blather on for three hours with no hope of escape, you'd wish you were elsewhere, too.

Aaron Schatz: Phil is now asking why nobody copies the way Bill Polian has built the Colts. Yes, Phil, I'm always thinking, "Why don't other teams draft one of the five best quarterbacks who ever lived?"

Bill Barnwell: There is something to be said for a defense that can plug in Day Two draft picks like it was nothing. I think that might be more on Tony Dungy than it is on Polian.

Stuart Fraser: To be fair, Polian's method worked in Buffalo, too. So it doesn't need a top-five ever quarterback -- any generic Hall of Fame guy will do.

Aaron Schatz: On behalf of Houston Gamblers fans everywhere, I say: "Touché."

Speaking of quarterbacks ... I didn't pay much attention to the draft before I started doing this for a living. Why was David Carr considered the number one prospect in the 2002 draft? What did people say about him at the time?

The top of the 2002 draft may be the worst of all time. There are some great players in the mid-first round, but the top of the draft goes:

David Carr
Julius Peppers (the exception)
Joey Harrington
Mike Williams (offensive tackle bust version)
Quentin Jammer
Ryan Sims

Jammer is totally overrated, but he's actually the second best player on that list.

Doug Farrar: How can you say such negative things about a man who averaged 3.8 yards per attempt in this game?

Bill Barnwell: Here's what Dr. Z had to say at the time -- "Oh my, what a mob. Twelve rookies, including the franchise QB. Should we worry about that fluky three-quarter arm delivery? Well, that's what they're paying Chris Palmer for."

Vince Verhei: An excerpt from one of Carr's scouting reports: "Buys time for his wideouts and throws the ball away instead of taking a sack if nothing is available." That is hysterical, and also a good example of why the draft is so overrated.

I ask this question whenever somebody mentions Carr, or Kyle Boller, or Joey Harrington: If Cal coach Jeff Tedford is so good at taking mediocre quarterbacks and making them look great in college, why has no NFL team hired him to make their mediocre quarterbacks look great?

Mike Tanier: In fairness to Carr, all of the tough guy stuff was true, and he looked a lot more legit as a prospect in the first half of the 2004 season. We are talking about a guy who was sacked 10,000 times. My take on him, watching him last year, was that he was a guy who couldn't afford to lose 10 percent of his athleticism because it would make him too slow and less zip-armed. After the beating, he lost about 20 percent of his athleticism, and a little bit of that grittiness seemed beaten out of him because he would get rid of the ball too soon. The Texans were left with a smart, hard-working pocket guy with a medium arm and a bunch of bad habits. A long way from a prospect.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24 at Cincinnati Bengals 13

Bill Barnwell: Cincinnati driving downfield with throws but they're all plays where Palmer's flushed from the pocket and throwing seven- and eight-yard lobs. So the good news is that the Steelers are collapsing the pocket, but the bad news is that Palmer's picking apart their zones. Great double-move by Holmes on Leon Hall and even though Roethlisberger's arm is hit as he throws, Holmes has enough space behind Hall to slow down and catch it.

Stuart Fraser: Pittsburgh's first touchdown was set up by a 42-yard reception by Santonio Holmes, where he was in single coverage on Leon Hall, faked inside and beat him deep, and then sealed by a 21-yard reception by Hines Ward, in single coverage on Leon Hall, who faked inside and beat him out. Think the Steelers might have noticed something in the film room?

Bill Barnwell: Bengals defense in a bad spot -- they're not good enough on the line to get pressure on Roethlisberger regularly without blitzing, but their secondary is nowhere near good enough to hold up if they blitz. Even when they drop back seven, the Steelers are just finding easy holes in their zones or using double-moves (with Roethlisberger having all day for them to develop) to exploit their weaknesses at corner. When they do get to Roethlisberger, their tackling is dire.

Hint: Hines Ward versus Rashad Jeanty is a bad matchup.

The Bengals have two scaredy-cat field goals and are getting booed off the field. Fourth-and-1 from the 3 is apparently too much for Marvin Lewis' offensive line to convert. The Steelers run a great draw on first-and-10 right before the two-minute warning, basically a draw sweep, a really different play call. They get to use their excellent blocking receivers against the Bengals' awful corners and the whole Bengals team has no idea. Parker gets 32.

EVIL ROETHLISBERGER strikes again: While the Bengals are dragging him down, he throws a ball up for dear life. It goes out of the end zone (to the point where the refs have to remark that it's not intentional grounding) but that's the scary Roethlisberger, not the one who's been picking apart the Bengals today.

Stuart Fraser: Cincinnati had a fourth-and-1 on Pittsburgh's 3, or thereabouts. Palmer clearly wanted to stay on, started getting guys lined up, and Lewis got cold feet, called a timeout and kicked. Pittsburgh had a first-and-goal on Cincy's 1, with 0:09 left in the half and one timeout remaining. Tomlin called a run off left tackle and Parker punched the ball in. Partially as a result of these plays, the score is 21-6 at halftime.

The really weird thing about the Pittsburgh draw sweep play that Bill mentioned is that Roethlisberger ran outside Parker and preceded him downfield, almost as if either a) he was blocking (he did throw a block on an fullback screen to Davis earlier, though that was a broken play) or b) that's actually an option play, and Parker can toss the ball back to Roethlisberger, who'll take a downfield shot.

Bill Barnwell: Pittsburgh looks like the Patriots against the Bengals. Roethlisberger has time to throw and when he does eventually get flushed, there's an outlet 15 yards down the field. In the running game, the Bengals neither cover their gaps well nor gain penetration. That's how Justin Smith is running from right defensive end to the left side to catch Willie Parker after he's run 13 yards downfield on a cutback.

EVIL ROETHLISBERGER returns as he gets flushed from the pocket, and as he gets outside the tight ends, makes a terrible throw right to a Bengal on their 2-yard line. Whoops!

Vince Verhei: We've talked about EVIL ROETHLISBERGER, but there's an awful lot of GOOD ROETHLISBERGER too. He makes his offensive line look a lot better than they really are. He breaks a lot of sacks by just being too big to go down, and he's also got surprising mobility and the ability to throw accurately on the run. If the Steelers decided to trade him, I suspect they'd get at least 25 offers.

Stuart Fraser: The Bengals converted a fourth-and-8 on a curl to (Chad) Johnson. Tomlin challenged, because (I think -- most of Tomlin's challenges seem to be motivated by "wouldn't it be nice if we got an overrule here?") the catch was low. Ruling was upheld. Johnson had blatantly pushed off Ike Taylor, but of course the absence of an offensive pass interference flag isn't a reviewable feature of a play, so...

a) The ruling was upheld;
b) The NFL has whacked-out replay rules;
c) I am a whining Steelers homer who should shut up and be happy with a 21-13 lead.

Bill Barnwell: I think what's more interesting is what led to that decision -- since the Bengals didn't go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 2 before, they had to go for it on fourth-and-3 from the 35 the next quarter, and then Ocho Cinco false started, making it an even more difficult fourth-and-8. Coaches ignore the consequences of the decisions they make in one moment for later in the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars 24 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23

Russell Levine: The Jaguars clearly did not trust Quinn Gray to throw the ball. They ran on their first eight snaps and stuck with the plan until they absolutely had to pass late. That said, he actually made some big plays late, although the game-winning touchdown drive was aided by two absolutely fantastic catches.

This was an incredibly physical game. Reggie Nelson and Jermaine Phillips/Tanard Jackson were playing "can you top this" in the big hits department. I call it a draw. Nelson is a tremendous hitter, but I'm not sure he can last at his size if he doesn't learn to protect himself a bit.

This is the second straight game the Bucs basically gave away. They outgained the Jags and were facing a quarterback who made no pretense of throwing for much of the game. Jeff Garcia missed two wide-open deep balls that would have given the Bucs the win, and they couldn't get a three-and-out when they absolutely needed one to give themselves a better shot at the end.

Garcia took another month's worth of punishment. I don't know how he stays upright with some of the hits he takes. Still, I think the Bucs O-line is improving, particularly in the run game. Earnest Graham has actually resembled a functional NFL running back the last two weeks. This was a great win for Jacksonville, escaping against a decent opponent with a QB they tried to hide for 60 minutes.

Ned Macey: Is there a quarterback controversy in Jacksonville? Quinn Gray is undefeated as a starter, so shouldn't he be the starter? I spent the first three quarters waiting to write about how nice it is to second guess Jack Del Rio again, since he got me on Garrard over Leftwich. But Gray actually played better down the stretch once he realized that his receivers weren't eight feet tall. His numbers were awful, but he actually made a couple of nice throws in the fourth that were negated by penalty. He's not good, but he won't be a disaster going forward.

Jeff Garcia went up against his first really good defense, and whoops, suddenly he has thrown an interception (three, actually) and completed under 50 percent of his passes. Not sure why the Bucs threw so much given Graham's success on the ground.

Vince Verhei: Quinn Gray had good numbers in limited action in 2005 and 2006. I think it's safe to say those were aberrations. How can you continually overthrow so many enormous receivers so often?

I'm not a big fan of Jack Del Rio, but I applaud him for recognizing the relative strengths and weaknesses of his team and just running and running and running the ball.

Buffalo Bills 13 at New York Jets 3

Sean McCormick: Good sequence for Jets rookie cornerback Darrelle Revis. On a second down, he blitzed out of the slot and hit Trent Edwards, forcing an incompletion, and on third down he had tight coverage on Roscoe Parrish and was able to step in front of a hurried deep out for his first pick. And Revis ends another drive with a blitz on third down that gets to Edwards and forces an incompletion.

Doug Farrar: What was funny on the Revis pick was that the Jets' front three weren't even lined up at the snap -- they were moving to the line. Actually, six guys were within five yards of the line of scrimmage, but none of them were set, and they all tore off after Edwards at the snap. Was that one of those weird Belichickian formations?

Vince Verhei: I saw Pittsburgh do something similar. They had three linemen on the field, but while one lined up at nose tackle, the other two just kind of milled around. It was the first 1-6 formation I ever saw.

Mike Tanier: The Steelers have been doing that since the start of the season.

Patrick Laverty: How about last year, when the Patriots had a few 0-7 formations where no one put a hand on the ground, and they all just sort of milled around?

Stuart Fraser: Pittsburgh picked part of that up from Baltimore, who was doing it last season. Dick LeBeau calls it the "Eleven Angry Men" defense, in which the team just sort of mills around prior to the snap in an attempt to confuse the heck out of anybody trying to read it. It could just be me, but I don't think the Steelers actually rush fewer guys when they line up 2-4-5 or 1-4-6 than in a more normal 3-4.

Mike Tanier: The stuff I saw looked like a lot of four- or five-man rushes. The thing is, the four men wind up being the nose tackle, a linebacker, Polamalu, and a cornerback. Opponents cannot really pick on the defensive end that drops into coverage because the "defensive end" is really somebody like outside linebacker James Harrison, who is fast enough to do the job in coverage just fine. It must be a pain to read and pick up, but the Broncos hit them with some screens and really quick slants and had success against it

Sean McCormick: The Jets have clearly decided that the way to defend Trent Edwards is to blitz him. Whenever Revis is lined up on the slot receiver, he's been blitzing and getting hits on the quarterback. Against conventional sets, they're blitzing six or seven and consistently putting Edwards under pressure. Part of the reason why they're able to do so is because their run defense has been dramatically more effective with David Harris in for Vilma, which is putting the defense in better positions to dictate on third down.

Bill Barnwell: Shouldn't the Bills be adjusting to that by changing the slot receiver's route to an out?

Sean McCormick: Edwards hasn't even been looking in the right direction. It's as if Roscoe Parrish basically doesn't exist for the offense, and Edwards just locks in on wherever Lee Evans is. (Of course, on the one throw he did make at Parrish, Revis picked it, so there's that.)

Vince Verhei: Last week, everyone seemed impressed with how Trent Edwards played. He played more like a rookie today. The interception he threw could be found in the dictionary under "rookie mistake." He threw the ball a) in midair, b) while being hit, c) into double coverage. I saw a number of passes that were basically extended handoffs, designed for guys to catch the ball short and run around, and they weren't able to because they were adjusting to catch passes thrown behind their heads or out in front of them.

Sean McCormick: The Bills come out of the locker room and try a short kickoff, placing the ball between the two coverage teams. They didn't hit on it, but they didn't give away more field position than they would have by kicking to Leon Washington, so I can understand the strategy. Eventually Edwards was going to beat the blitz, and on third-and-2 he fired a ball into Josh Reed running up the seam for about 32 yards. Then, Edwards is on his way to the locker room, which means we're about to have a J.P. Losman sighting!

Bill Barnwell: Did Losman just run a leaping handoff?

Sean McCormick: It's amazing how different quarterbacks will read the field differently. Faced with a third-and-long, Losman responded to the heavy blitz up the middle by hanging tough and then launching a 50-yard bomb into double coverage in the hope of somehow hitting Lee Evans. Incomplete. Punt.

And then Losman tried it again, another 50-plus-yard chuck into double coverage, only this time Lee Evans wrestled the ball away from Revis at its highest point, the safety took a bad angle, and Evans scored an 85-yard touchdown to clinch the game. It's amazing how different quarterbacks will read the field differently.

Houston Texans 10 at San Diego Chargers 35

Bill Barnwell: Houston punter Matt Turk just chopped wood. A snap went over his head and as the ball lay unmoving in the end zone, he overran it and San Diego recovered for their second touchdown.

Vince Verhei: I know I have a tendency to hyperbolize sometimes, but I really, really think that fumbled snap into the end zone was the worst play I've ever seen in an NFL regular season game. The Houston snapper, unforced and of his own volition, launched the ball several feet over his punter's head and into the end zone. The punter, Matt Turk, unforced and of his own volition, then ran right by the ball instead of falling on it or picking it up. Antonio Cromartie fell on it to score a touchdown for the Chargers, but it was no achievement. I say this with no exaggeration: Any high school team in America would have scored a touchdown on that play.

Bill Barnwell: The Texans are down 21-3 because they can't stop Antonio Gates or fall on loose balls, but I like the way their running game attacks the 3-4 -- they run right at the outside linebackers, keeping them away from Jamal Williams and at the guys who are pass rushers first. Of course, Matt Schaub throws an interception as I type that and it's 28-3 and this game is virtually over before halftime.

Doug Farrar: Norv Turner and A.J. Smith have seen quite a bit of bashing on this site (and many others), and it's hard to argue that any of it hasn't been entirely justified. But someone in that organization has to get some credit for putting together all those plans and keeping things together through some very difficult circumstances.

New Orleans Saints 31 at San Francisco 49ers 10

Doug Farrar: I'm not sure what the positive predictions surrounding of the return of Alex Smith signify more -- the fact that Trent Dilfer needs to go into broadcasting, or the last vestiges of optimism in what appears to be a lost season for the 49ers offense. Smith was rusty after his injury layoff and it showed, but the real issue is the offensive line, and the holes that line isn't opening for Frank Gore. Gore hasn't even rushed for 90 yards in any game this season, and he's only had more than 20 attempts once. And yes, they've lost five games in a row, and I obviously get that you don't run as much when you're behind, but they weren't running a lot when they won their first two games, either. Gore's ankle seems like a real problem.

The 49ers were impressive in the second half of 2006 because Gore rushed for over 1,000 yards and his team rallied around him, but I'm not seeing a bit of that this year. And usually, when a line falls apart, you can point to the loss of a major component. When Steve Hutchinson leaves for Minnesota, or Orlando Pace gets hurt, you can understand ... but the only real change in this line was the addition of rookie Joe Staley, who's supposed to be an upgrade over Kwame Harris.

New Orleans, on the other hand, has seen a renewed offense based on solid blocking -- Drew Brees hasn't been sacked in his last four games -- and Reggie Bush's ability to bounce outside. They're not trying to make him a Deuce McAllister anymore. Seems obvious, really. When you have a smaller guy with tremendous outside speed, you get him going outside. Brees threw to nine different receivers, and Marques Colston burned just about everyone for three touchdowns. Whatever ailed that Saints' offense at the start of the season, they appear to have figured it out.

Washington Redskins 7 at New England Patriots 52

Bill Barnwell: What I'm intrigued about heading into this game is whether the Redskins change (or use the part of) their scheme that attacks the Patriots weaknesses -- tight ends and underneath patterns -- instead of running the smoke-and-mirrors screens and bombs stuff. Sellers gets totally turned around by Rodney Harrison on a safety blitz and blows up a play, flushing Jason Campbell from the pocket.

I really can't stand the Redskins' offensive scheme. Why do you have a 700-page playbook when you run four pages of it? It's a great scheme against the Bengals, who can't defend downfield and can't tackle, but it's an awful scheme against the Patriots. This totally frustrates and confounds me.

I've said some bad things about Mike Vrabel and the steps he's lost, but he had an amazing rush coming off the edge, beating both the right tackle and Clinton Portis to Jason Campbell's arm, causing him to fumble.

By the way, It's Week 8 and Donte' Stallworth is still running to the wrong side of the field after leaving the huddle.

Ned Macey: Wow. I hadn't watched New England much other than the second half of Dallas. I assumed that you could just play two-deep and punish the receivers underneath and at least slow them down. Maybe not. Brady didn't complete his first pass over 15 yards in the air until the fourth quarter, and they still dominated. What are Brady's yards after catch? I can't believe he isn't dominating that like he is every other stat.

One crucial event from the Panthers-Colts game was Marlin Jackson's injury. I'm not sure his status or even what his injury was, but he plays the slot in nickel, i.e., on Wes Welker.

And, while the Pats have a great defense, I've now watched Jason Campbell two consecutive weeks. I'm not impressed. I'm starting to agree with the poster who pointed out that Campbell has had one good game, against Detroit. Campbell is a little older. He's already 25, turning 26 by the end of the season. He has fumbled a Warner-esque eight times in eight games. I'm still a believer in the Lewin Career Forecast, but that doesn't mean it has never missed on a player. Campbell looks like a Delhomme upside to me.

Doug Farrar: Did anyone else find it funny when Troy Aikman started talking about Randy Moss' pushoff on the fake-spike touchdown reception? I can't think of another quarterback in NFL history who should more fervently wish that sleeping dogs would forever lie on that particular subject.

Aaron Schatz: How on earth do the Redskins not cover Mike Vrabel in the end zone?

Stuart Fraser: All I know is that one of my most common notes on red zone pass plays is "the tight end, cover the tight end!" (This is normally whilst watching Pittsburgh, for which one can substitute "Matt Spaeth" for "Mike Vrabel," though Heath Miller is also often disturbingly open.) I assume that part of all this non-covering of tight ends is due to the fiendish and nefarious scheming of offensive coordinators, and their dread lieutenants, quarterbacks, to get them open.

Mike Tanier: In goal-to-go situations, defenders have an almost impossible task. Linebackers have to aggressively attack the run, then cover the pass as their second responsibility. The tight end play works because no defensive coordinator can say "screw the run, just make sure the tight end doesn't get open." If they did, that team would give up 50 one-yard rushing touchdowns per year.

Aaron Schatz: The Patriots are winning by so many points that they just brought in Eric Gagne at quarterback.

Doug Farrar: Mon Dieu!

Posted by: admin on 29 Oct 2007

452 comments, Last at 03 Nov 2007, 1:19am by Fergasun

Comments

1
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:01am

The Commish was at the London game and said they weren't considering playing a super bowl in London when asked specifically about it. The media took a quote and ran with it.

2
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:09am

The Patriots didn't cover Mike Vrabel in the endzone because it was a play action pass in which he runs and the defender in an attempt to block, but then wiffs on purpose and turns around and catchs an easy touchdown.

So is there going to be a 50 comment exchange about the Pats going for it on 2 fourth downs and running up the score on the Redskins?

Will the Redskins defensive DVOA get finally shot down after giving up 52 points?

You would also think that after being down big, the Redskins might actually try and open it up, but they were still running their screen pass offense. They were down 31-0, and ran a screen on 1st down, a run play on 2nd down that lost 5 yards, and then Vrabel sacks Campbell and the Patriots score a defensive touchdown. Campbell must be having nightmares of Vrabel and his 3 sacks.

3
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:10am

Thanks for getting Audibles out so early!

4
by Madison (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:17am

Aaron, how much 'garbage time' is there in a game that is as one-sided as New England against Washington?

And also, can anyone tell me what the rules are regarding the retractable roof situation? My friends and I were trying to work out why on earth they didn't close the roof at Wembley, given that it had been raining all morning in London (ironically, the roof cannot be closed while people are in the stadium for health and safety reasons, as the working mechanism goes through areas where people would be). But I remember reading somewhere that it was the home team that got the decision on whether to close the roof or not in a retractable roof stadium. And I could understand why the Dolphins would want to play on a wet field given the season they've had.

5
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:23am

Well, I'll bite first; no, running a quarterback sneak on fourth and more than 1 in that situation is not running up the score. Kicking an 18 yard field goal would have been more ridiculous, and it is absolutely ludicrous to say the Pats should have kneeled and surrendered the ball. The only thing I may have done differently is pull Brady one series earlier, but having the starting qb play one series in the fourth quarter is not too outlandish. One other thing; I suspect the Pats are running the fake spike/toss to Moss play so frequently in order to set something up later in the season, perhaps as early as next week.

6
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:27am

Are the Patriots classless for running the fake spike play to ( make the Redskins #1 DVOA) look like idiots?

Going for it on 4th downs when your up by 40 points? I don't think so. I think at that point in time they were just trying to keep the ball, run out the clock. I don't neccesarily think " letting up" is just scoring less points, or not trying to score points, but they were trying to take time off the clock to make the redskins bleeding stop.

7
by Sam (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:36am

A team riddled with injuries on defense and a quarterback making his first career start goes on the road to beat the division-leading Bucs, but we can't give Del Rio any credit for that?

Re: Gray
Yeah, most of his throws through about 3 quarters were inaccurate... BUT, they were consistently high. I'd not really seen that trend in any of his previous outings, I'm willing to give him another game to correct it. Mike Shula has actually done wonders for the mechanics of both Leftwich and Garrard, so let's see. ALSO, he only threw made one ill-advised throw. Most of the time, he was throwing to open guys and just missing. That's a lot better than throwing to guys who aren't open, and missing.

Matt Jones might have more drops than catches this year. The endzone catch was nice (though he pushed off), but he tried to one-hand a ball that would have been a good gain down the sideline and wasn't able to haul it in. The ball was basically perfectly thrown, Jones was open, he just didn't catch it. I can't understand why he still gets playing time.

8
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:37am

Also, with a big lead, isn't going for it on 4th down the safest thing to do? Going for it means no chance of a punt return for TD, or a blocked FG/punt return for TD? At that point, the only chance Washington had (however remote) was for some big play/quick score. Going for it on 4th down takes that away.

9
by Daniel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:42am

Re Russell Levin: The Allianz Arena (also known as Arrogance Arena) in Munich doesn't have a retractable roof. And since the chance for snow is pretty good in that area in February ... In Germany there is currently only one stadium with a retractable roof, the Arena auf Schalke in Gelsenkirchen. That has only about 60.000 seats.

I am from Germany, like football, and think they should keep playing all the games in the US. Europe will never love that game.

10
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:43am

The subtle 'push off' is among the many things that Moss does well as a receiver. It just doesn't look like he's doing much, but he's invariably successful in creating the space he needs to make the catch.

Also, I'll echo the thanks for the early posting on Audibles.

11
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:45am

Regarding the Vikings, it has reached a point beyond pathetic. Yes, Peterson is human, especially when there are nine or ten guys within four yards of the line of scrimmage. Hell, there were a couple of times when the Eagles had nine or ten guys within four or five yards of the line of scrimmage, ON THIRD AND MORE THAN TEN!

The Vikings have almost no chance to win, given their passing attack, in any game where the defense doesn't play really great, and yesterday they were just okay, although ten of the Eagles points came when the Eagles' qb and receivers made throws and catches the Vikings' qbs and receivers never make. Without seeing the coaching tape, it's hard to know whether Holcomb or the receivers sucked more; when it gets to the point that Bollinger looks like a real improvement, it becomes clear the Holcomb is finished, assuming that Holcomb ever had anything to offer.

Whether Childress should keep his job mostly depends on whether he tried behind the scene to acquire qb talent that just wasn't interested in playing with these receivers. I know he tried to get some wr talent that was't interested in playing with these qbs. If Childress actually thought he had qb talent on the roster which would allow this team to win nine or ten games, he probably ought to be canned after the season, because a guy that bad at judging the qb position shouldn't be a head coach.

12
by matt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:46am

Sure, it wasn't the best game ever, but yesterday was superb at Wembley as an experience. Thanks NFL for rewarding the fanbase over here - more than we ever dreamed possible. All 32 teams and countless UK team jerseys were on display in a great display of cameraderie that almost seemed evangelistic at times - we kept on looking at each other not quite believing the NFL had actually come over to play a real game here. All the years of listening on crackly AFR to get live coverage, trying to get hold of scores before they were finally printed in the papers on Wednesday (pre-internet of course), putting up with all the ignorant "stop-start", "rugby with pads" taunts from less-than-enthusiastic colleagues. It was all paid back in one amazing occasion. The game wasn't one for the ages, but the day was.

(incidently, why didn't Miami just come out in the 2nd half throwing - you are 0-7, your season is over already - just throw it up there and hope a DB falls over!)

13
by brasilbear (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:49am

TO quote from last weeks quick reads:

"Brian Griese CHI 27/39-322-1 -0, Total DPAR 13.3, passing DPAR 13.3, rushing DPAR 0.0

Can we all agree now that this was the right move? Good."

I knew the minute I read this that we were doomed.

Griese is who we thought he was, a weak armed check down expert who isn't helped by Benson or the receivers drops, I hope we can stop saying this was the right move. Actually, the Bears have 1 more move to go, but I actually hope they don't make it because what if it doesn't work? Maybe it is time to line Hester up 8 yards back and do a direct snap? I wonder if he can throw.....

14
by brasilbear (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:53am

Hey Will,

Lets put the Bears and Vikings together, think we can generate some offense this way?

QB-Griese
RB- A.Peterson
RB-A.Peterson (just for laughs)
TE-Olsen
WR-?
WR-?
OL-Minn

DL-Minn tackles, Chicago DEs + T.Harris
LB-Briggs, Urlacher, ?
CB-Tillman?
CB
S-
S-

PR/KR-Hester

Can you fill in the rest?

15
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:53am

Re: 7

I think that game (along with the Detroit game last week) said more about the Bucs, than the Jags. The Bucs just aren't as good as their FO metrics indicate.

Still, it was a very nice win for the Jags with Quinn playing QB.

16
by cd6! (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:56am

That was an awful lot of analysis on Bengals-Steelers that, per MMQB, could more efficiently have been summed up as "The Bengals can't handle Hines Ward's physicality."

My exroommate, redskins fan, and I were chatting when the Vrabel TD happened. Everyone in America except maybe Gibbs, Gregg Williams, and the 11 defenders knew it was coming, and they still let it happen. That's just an egregious error on their part, and I put it on the coaching.

How can a coach do something like that and NOT get fired on Monday? I mean, sweet Jesus.

That would be like a fireman going to a burning residence and then spraying the house across the street. Just an epic failure of your main job: in this case, get the team ready to play. I mean, wow.

17
by coldbike messenger (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:04am

"Wasn’t a study done on coaches’ records in games where they had the lead at some point in the fourth quarter? How did Andy Reid measure up? It seems like every week, the Eagles are either surrendering the lead or escaping by the skin of their teeth."

Vince,
according to PFP 2005 from 1970-2004 Reid was 18th in winning percentage with a 4th quarter lead at .863
With a two score lead he was 4th all time with a .935 winning percentage.

18
by starzero (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:06am

as a colts fan, i dread next weekend. i dread the hype, i dread the tension, i dread the potential for more disgusting patriot gloating. the last thing i need is pompous pricks preening about how great they are. i absolutely hate knowing that if the patriots beat the colts the press will spend the rest of the year talking about an undefeated season, and how brady is the best man ever to throw a football.

19
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:07am

Joe Gibbs was still running that screen pass offense when his team is down by 40 points. The guy is locked in mortal fear of the turnover. He can't let his offense operate because he's so scared they MIGHT turn it over.

20
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:10am

I couldn't agree more. It seems the media is up in arms about going for it on fourth and 1ate in the game, eschewing the field goal. Sportsmanship is better served by going for the first down....you're giving the defense a chance to stop you, instead of tacking on an almost automatic 3 points you don't need. Now, if you want to criticize throwing deep up by 38 points, you could make that argument. In a high school or college game, I'd make it myself.

My favorite take was Belichicks, something like "It's the defenses job to stop the offense, it's not the offenses job to stop the offense."

And let the nonstop hyperbole begin....

21
by RickD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:11am

re: 6
The fake spike didn't make the Redskins look like idiots. Absolutely nobody on the Redskins gave a damn about the fake spike. As fakes go, it was useless.

22
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:13am

as a colts fan, i dread next weekend. i dread the hype, i dread the tension, i dread the potential for more disgusting patriot gloating. the last thing i need is pompous pricks preening about how great they are. i absolutely hate knowing that if the patriots beat the colts the press will spend the rest of the year talking about an undefeated season, and how brady is the best man ever to throw a football.

The great thing with that sentance is that you can replace "Colts" and "Patriots" with each other, and "Brady" with "Manning" and it's still 100% true. There's going to be endless discussion about the winner besting the 72 Dolphins.

23
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:13am

"Reid seems convinced that his team cannot power the ball into the end zone using old-fashioned football. I can’t see why not: Shawn Andrews is an All-Pro, Jon Runyan is still good, and Brian Westbrook or Correll Buckhalter or 230-pound rookie Tony Hunt who they drafted just for this reason should be a capable goal line runner."

Fixed.

24
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:23am

Chris #19:

Gibbs has it all backwards on turnovers. You need to make the players afraid of turnovers, and make calls as a coach with reckless abandon.

25
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:28am

Re: 11

The Vikes typically are in great cap shape. Not sure why they didn't do more both at receiver and QB. I'm of the opinion that Jackson is to Childress what Boller was/is to Billick. The coaches feel so invested in these guys that they just can't judge their development clearly.

26
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:30am

Having been cursed in this forum last year when questioning whether Benson had "the goods" to be a solid contributor I wonder what those same Bears fans are thinking today?

Granted, the Bears offense has several issues not the least of which is an offensive line somewhat impacted by age. But I have not seen anything from Benson in the first half of 2007 that resembled the last half of 2006. Is it possible that Benson's displeasure with Jones caused Cedric to play at a higher level? And now with Jones out of the way that "drive" has been lessened?

So is the line?

An uninspired Benson?

Or a Benson that just isn't that good?

Or some combination?

And if a Bears fan could impart some insight without cursing me that would be most appreciated.................

27
by hector (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:43am

Thanks to Ned Macey for getting it on Jason Campbell. There's a reason why I read (in no specific order) Tanier, Macey and Schatz first . . . and then I get around to everyone else.

28
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:44am

21. I was joking. It was in response to what was said last week about the Pats running the fake spike to make the Dolphins look like idiots.

24. You have to let the offense play. It's like not leaving your house in the morning because you are scared of getting hit by a car, or robbed, mugged, etc. Sure, something bad might happen, but if you don't chance anything at all look at the alternative. When your down by 52 points, who cares if you turn the ball over... is 59-0 really that much worse? They should have at least let Campbell try and play QB at that point instead of still game manager/screen pass dungeon master.

29
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:46am

OK thoughts from Wembley.

1: Wembley stadium is a beast. It's an awesome venue. The views are great, it hold noise really well, and the facilities are terrific.

2: Jerseys I saw: Jeff Backus, Devin Hester (lots), Walter Payton (lots) Dan Marion (shitloads), Drew Bledsoe (Patriots edition), Brian Greise (Bears edition). There was even a guy with a Dirk Johnson jersey, which I thought was very cool. I didn't know Dirk had relatives in the UK.

3: Jersey I didn't see. Rex Grossman. Not one. And there were lots of Bears fans at Wembley.

4: Eli Manning was horrible. Lots of overthrown balls, including one to a wide-open Amani Toomer in the endzone in the first half. Will Allen and Michael Lehan were much better for Miami than at any time this season, but 59 yds passing? Until I checked the stats when I got home, I was convinced that Eli had more rushing than passing yards.

5: Jason Allen is a liability. The sooner Miami cut him, the better.

6: I was very disappointed with Cam Cameron. 1st possession of the game Miami had 4th & 3 around the NYG 40, and Cameron decided to cut a long FG which Feely missed. You're 0-7, why not go for it, particularly as you've done it successfully all season?

7: There can be no excuse for John Beck not starting Miami's next game. Lemon is an adequate back-up, no more, and you have a bye week. Lemon's biggest fault is that he holds the ball too long. Case in point, Miami had 2nd & goal at the 2. Play action and Lemon rolls right and beats the 1st man. No-one open and he's outside the pocket. Instead of throwing it OB, he tries to beat the 2nd man, and now it's 3rd & goal from the 11. It's time to see if Beck can play, or if Miami need to use that top-2 pick on a QB.

8: Having seen a game live, I know why everyone is so keen to get coaches film. Seeing the whole field is incredibly different.

9: The streaker was funny. Normally, the security guys get them quickly, but it wasn't until he started doing press-ups on the 50yd line that anyone moved to get him. Either the stewards thought this was some obscure tradition, or, more likely, the were all watching the cheerleaders.

10: As and when the NFL returns, I shall go again. All said it was very cool, but if the league would send us two good teams next time we'd all be very grateful.

30
by Brooklyn Bengal (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:48am

[raises hand]

actually, yes, I enjoyed watching the rainy superbowl last year and I loved every second of the rainy mud-bowl in london on sunday. it made what would have been a boring giants blowout into an interesting football game.

football is supposed to be played in cold, crappy weather. man up.

31
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:51am

Mawbrew, I think the Vikings had real interest in acquiring Curtis, Welker, and Stallworth, but for some reason those guys let it be known that they absolutely zero interest in playing with the Vikings qbs, instead of Brady and McNabb. I don't know if Childress quietly expressed interest in Garcia or not. It really gets to be a chicken or egg dilemma. Until you have a decent qb, it's really gard to acquire good receivers, even in a trade, and vice-versa. If Childress, however, told his associates and superiors that what he had at qb and receiver was enough to make this team a strong playoff contender, then Childress has to go.

32
by Kalyan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:56am

Why can't the Vikings give up a first rounder or a couple of second rounders to get Brady Quinn / Derek Anderson?

Or how about a third/fourth rounder for Chad Pennington?

It isn't as if there are going to be a lot of good free-agent QBs next season (unless you count Boller, Grossman) and their passing game doesn't surprise anyone!

33
by hector (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:56am

Totally with you on the 2002 Draft, Aaron. I have a bunch of football reference guides in our larger bathroom which is almost a mini-library, and I was thumbing through a 2002 Draft Guide the other day. What a bunch of seaweed.

Carr is compared to Tim Couch in that guide, which should have been the first clue. "Quick release" and "intangibles" are also played up. I guess playing in Houston delays your release 5-7 seconds, like a satellite hookup.

Terrible QB draft. Here are the rankings in this guide: Carr, Harrington, Kurt Kittner, Patrick Ramsey, Rohan Davey, Josh McCown, David Garrard, J.T. O'Sullivan, Randy Fasani, David Neill, Seth Burford, Greg Zolman, Brandon Doman, Nick Rolovich. This was only five years ago. In the "others" you finally get to a hit - Ronald Curry (!). What a wasteland.

34
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:00am

Brasilbear, there is no way the Vikings receivers can be superior to anyone. The fact that Griese is the best choice at qb says everything. E.J. Henderson would team with Briggs and Uhrlacher formidably. The Vikings DEs have improved to the point that one of them could team with Ogunleye well, and of course having a healthy Tommie Harris, playing inside or out, would make the rotation ridiculous. Antione Winfield with Tillman and Vasher would also be ridiculous; Winfield could probably be a Bob Sanders-like safety. Sharper still has enough in the tank to be good when surrounded by other good players.

35
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:02am

#29, I noticed a Jets-era Vinnie Testaverde among others.

36
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:02am

Pennington is also finished; his arm isn't going to frighten any defensive coordinator into playing Adrian Peterson honestly.

37
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:06am

I would gladly move Colts-Pats talk to that thread if someone would activate the enrollment request I sent in last week.

Thank you.

38
by DK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:09am

Does anyone who's not a Patriots fan buy these arguments that Belichick was just trying to do the right thing by going for it on 4th down?

For those who didn't see it, or have forgotten the details:

-4th quarter, 11 minutes on the clock.
-Patriots lead 38-0.
-4th down, 1 yard to go on the Washington 7 yard line.

Every other team in football would kick the chip shot field goal here, and every other team would have their starting quarterback on the sidelines.

After they get the first down, the next play is a Randy Moss false start out of the shotgun. Belichick gave Randy a chance to pad his stats, but he blew his shot by coming off the line early.

Brady, of course, still got his chance to pad his stats two plays later (after a Faulk run to the 2 yard line), and the official NFL play description probably says it best:

(9:09) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 83-W.Welker for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN. NE 12-Brady 30th TD pass of season, 2nd Patriot ever with 30+ TD passes in a season. Extends his NFL record to 8 games to start the season with 3+ TD passes. NE 32nd 1st down of game, ties team record (at Buffalo 12/11/05) NE 12-Brady finishes the game with a passer rating of 125.5. Has had a passer rating of 100+ in all 8 games this season.

OK, now you can sit down, Tom.

I honestly believe that Brady would've been sent out for the next series if Faulk had scored a rushing touchdown there. The Patriots 4th quarter play was all about numbers.

It's also interesting that when the Redskins did score, it was against mostly starters (Bruschi, Samuel, and Vrabel all had tackles on that drive), although I'd guess that it's relatively common to leave your defensive starters in when your shutting out the other team.

39
by hector (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:10am

When does the point come where everyone accepts that almost all QBs have the good/bad element to them, except the very elite? If you put 90 percent of these guys under the microscope, they're making some plays that have you shaking your head, but asking QBs to *not* have these negative plays (while still getting the positive ones) is basically saying, fine, go play like Manning or Brady. It's not that simple. Almost any QB will look like a stiff on a few given snaps.

Maybe Monty Burns should be an offensive guru. "Hey Strawberry, hit a home run."

40
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:12am

Regarding the Vikings - when Brooks Bollinger looks like a clear upgrade over your first two QB's you know that the other two must be really bad.

With Holcomb and Jackson everything seems in slow motion from a decision making perspective and indeed most throws. Holcomb has no arm strength and moves like an iceberg and Jackson is babying every pass he throws. At least Bollinger was making quick decisive decisions.

I thought McNabb looked much more mobile yesterday than he had in previous games. Physically I thought the Eagles were the toughest team the Vikings have played to date.

I was very optimistic after Chic and Dall, but obviously yesterday reduced that optimism a little.

Childress does seem to be cracking a little. He is launching challenge flags for plays that have no chance of reversal. He seems to be hoping more than thinking.

I wonder how many, if any, succesful NFL coaches began their career 8-15?

41
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:18am

29- Eli also had about 7 droped balls, including 2 for touchdowns. Was he perfect? Certainly not, but the field was wet/sloppy and he was throwing a wet ball. How come whenever a mobile QB has lots of drops, those stats pop up real quick that his receivers didn't help him out, but if Eli or some pocket guy has drops you don't even hear of that stat?

42
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:18am

I have no problem with going for it on 4th down to protect a lead, whilst in field goal range, but a QB sneak? That's just asking for trouble. If you're gonna go for it, just hand the ball off to Kyle Eckel or something.

43
by hector (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:21am

Benson actually has fairly decent vision, but he gets almost nothing on his own. First contact, he's usually down (a big problem when power is supposed to be a big part of your game). It might as well be 2-hand touch when 32 has the ball. Very few second-level runs.

44
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:21am

40- Childress won't ever make it. He went all in on Tavaras Jackson and that was a mistake of epic proportions. They might at well add an extra right tackle and just direct snap to All Day Peterson against a 9 man front.

45
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:21am

Very unnerving game for the G-men. Every thing that has gone wrong the last 4 years (especially in the second half) reared their ugly head in this game, save for the injuries.

Stupid penalties-- check.

Playing down to an opponent-- check.

Eli thinking Manute Bol is every one of his wideouts-- check.

Turnovers-- check.

Difficulty handling a mobile quarterback-- check.

Inability to cover when a QB has time or buys time-- check.

Overpersuing on run plays-- check.

This was the bad Giants of weeks 1 & 2, saved only by the fact that the Dolphins have so few playmakers on offense.

I fear the worst for our second half. We're going to get skunked by the Pats. If they play like they did yesterday, it is very possible that we're going to go on a massive skid.

46
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:22am

Answering my own question. I looked at successful coaches with 100 plus wins. Seems like starting 8-15 doesn't really tell you anything about a coach as it is very common for successful coaches to start very badly. Some examples below. I'm sure most of these guys were be called morons in the press at the time.

Records in first 22 games as an NFL coach

Vermeil 7-16
Belichick 8-15
Ditka 8-14
Fisher 7-15
Grant 7-12-3
Landry 4-16-2
Noll 5-17

47
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:24am

No, DK, any NFL head coch who was not primarily trying to run up the score would have gone for it with a qb sneak or a run into the middle of the line. Kicking an 18 yard field goal is worse, in terms of running up the score, in that it is nearly 100% guaranteed. There isn't a head coach in the league who would kneel down in that situation. If a defense can't stop a qb sneak near the goal line with more than one yard to go, to hell with them, because they are quitters.

As for me being a Pats fan, few were more harsh than I regarding what the propler sanction should be for the taping fiasco; I though they should have surrendered all their draft picks for a year. One can be critical of the Pats without claiming that quarterback sneaks are a form of running up the score.

48
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:24am

#41,

FWIW I've been impressed with what I've seen of Manning this year. Yesterday, however, he didn't play well. I'm assuming one of your drops is the pass to Amani Toomer I mentioned. That's only a drop if Toomer is 9 feet tall. The play-action worked beautifully, and Toomer was all alone in the endzone. Eli just overthrew him.

I don't have it in for Eli Manning, and as a 'Fins fan, I'd take him in a heartbeat. But he wasn't good on Sunday.

49
by coldbike messenger (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:24am

re 40
Not too many, I think Landry started 0-11-1.

50
by Nick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:25am

"Every other team in football would kick the chip shot field goal here, and every other team would have their starting quarterback on the sidelines."

You heard it here first, folks. The Pats are the first team in the history of football to run up the score.

And you're wrong, anyway. Kicking the field is generally seen as the more cheap move. And by the way, I'm sure Peyton Manning wasn't padding his stats when the Colts were demolishing the Lions 41-10. All those TDs were legit.

51
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:25am

One slow starting succesful coach I missed

Parcells 6-15-1

52
by Currimos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:27am

It's not really that big of a deal, but in the SD-HOU game, Jamal Williams didn't play. It was his back up, Ryon Bingham.

53
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:27am

Re: Moss pushing off.

I think people should recognize there is a difference betweeen generic bad calls and systematically bad calls. When someone misses or decides not to call a hold, that's just a bad call, and it sucks but you have to understand that's going to happen. When everyone in the park knows player A is going to commit infraction B, and clearly the refs know it, and it still isn't called, that's something else, and there is no reason it should happen, or be tolerated. Moss almost always pushes off in the end zone, whether he needs to or not, and has been doing so for years. He normally does it unabashedly, and while he does get called on it sometimes, he goes right on doing it, and the refs usually relent.

Now there are other examples. My beloved Packers benefit from Harris and to some extent Woodson routinely getting away with a lot of contact, and that's wrong too. Noone should get away with more contact than anyone else. But in many situations there is a continuum of behavior, which allows refs to make excuses for their awful work. Remember the Pats and Panthers manhandling receivers in their respective championship games in 2003(4?)? Clearly they went way too far, and the refs just looked at their shoes and ignored it. We can make a meaningful distinction between allowing a little too much and completely abrogating one's responsibility. And please do not say, "But they can't just call X on every play!" They don't have to. Call it, and call it again, and again, and the offending players will stop.

I think Moss's behavior is the purest example of NBA-style bullsh** we've had in the league since the heyday of the Michael Irvin/Erik Williams Cowboys. I think we all agree we don't want the NFL to turn in to the joke that is the NBA. So please don't defend the non-calls by saying that there was a bad miss of a holding penalty on the next series or some such thing. It's not the same thing. People should hammer the league when crap like that happens. If they do the NFL will do something about it, just as they did after the Pats/Panthers playoff debacles.

54
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:28am

BTW, glad to see people are coming around to the whole "Benson is a bust" idea, after all my harping. The prosecution rests.

55
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:31am

"What was funny on the Revis pick was that the Jets’ front three weren’t even lined up at the snap — they were moving to the line. Actually, six guys were within five yards of the line of scrimmage, but none of them were set, and they all tore off after Edwards at the snap. Was that one of those weird Belichickian formations?"

The jets have actually been doing that since Parcells was there, so it very well might be something Belichick came up with. The Pats do it occasionally too.

"What I’m intrigued about heading into this game is whether the Redskins change (or use the part of) their scheme that attacks the Patriots weaknesses — tight ends and underneath patterns —"

Bill, the Patriots are ranked 15th against TEs. I wouldn't say its a huge problem.

56
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:32am

48- Rain, the field, and the fact that Eli had about 7 drops. If he receivers didn't drop those balls, he would have had at least 2 more touchdowns and a whole heck of a lot of yards. The Giants build up a lead against a bad Miami team, and were just running Jacobs. Eli didn't have to do much, and in fact in the second half Moose Johnson was questioning why they were trying to throw ( they didn't even have to).

57
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:34am

Re: 41 because any way you slice it, any QB that goes 8/22 for 59 yards has had a crappy game? I can't recall any thread on here putting up any sort of serious defense of a QB who only completed 36% of his passes.

58
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:35am

50: "And you’re wrong, anyway. Kicking the field is generally seen as the more cheap move. And by the way, I’m sure Peyton Manning wasn’t padding his stats when the Colts were demolishing the Lions 41-10. All those TDs were legit."

Actually, he wasn't. He was taken out midway through the 3rd quarter after throwing his sixth touchdown pass. Brady, too, has had six touchdowns in a game, but his sixth touchdown came with only a few minutes to go in the 4th against the worst team in the league.

59
by Carl H. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:35am

It is such baloney to say that NO coach would do the kneel down up 38-0 on 4th down near the opponent's goal line.

Pittsburgh did it against the Eagles in '04 and I've seen the Steelers do this very thing on numerous occassions. I've seen other teams do it as well.

That argument is a cop out. Up 38 points on the opponent's 7, the kneel-down is the only non-a**hole call.

60
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:35am

Yeah, I'm not that concerned about Childress' record. With the exception of the Rams game in week 17 last year, the players have always played hard while Childress has been head coach. The thing that is most critical, and what I don't have the answer to, is whether Childress really thought that he could get by with the qbs on the roster. Childress was right is saying that Carr wasn't worth acquiring, but I just know what he thought about some other guys, Garcia most notably. I presume that these internal discussions took place however, so owenership probably does know. I am sure that Childress knew that the receivers weren't going to be good enough, but attracting good receivers with the qbs the Vikings have isn't very easy.

61
by starzero (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:36am

26)
in chicago the mob seems to agree that benson isn't very good, and the bears should try playing their adrian peterson more (and not let angelo make draft choices anymore). at least fans don't seem to be calling for kyle orton. yet.

62
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:36am

Europe will never love that game.

Europe doesn't have to love the game. It just has to get lukewarm. Even a few percent of Europeans equals millions of new fans. There is just no equivalent source of new fans here in the U.S. -- everyone is either already a fan, or permanently disinterested in football.

63
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:37am

A lot of those coaches start out with poor records because they are taking over for complete crap teams ( and not Norv taking over a stacked SD team). Do you remember that team Jeff Fisher took over? I believe the oilers were something like 2-14 the year before. 6-10 or whatever he was was good work.

Brad Childresses Minnesota team isn't bad talent wise, the real areas they are lacking are in the passing game and that is supposed to be his specialty and in that WCO is supposed to be more fungible.

64
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:38am

DELETED POLITICAL COMMENT

65
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:39am

Not with that much time left Carl. You are wrong. A kneel down in that situation is the real a-hole call, in that it says the opposition is so pathetic and illegitimate that it doesn't even deserve respect as a competitor.

66
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:40am

I'm no apologist for Eli. He did indeed have a terrible game. But it is also true that his receivers gave him no help at all, and that the refs were giving the DBs lots of latitude without calling illegal contact/DPI (on both sides-- the Giants pass defenders got away with plenty, too). Also, I thought that Gilbride's offensive playcalling was awful. He's been surprisingly decent so far this season, but yesterday he regressed back to his old "nobody's expecting the 15-yard out pattern on a muddy field in heavy rain!" tendencies.

That Giants are quite lucky that they happened to lay their egg against what is probably the worst team in the league. Now they've got the bye to get their heads on straight and fix some of these issues before the Dallas game.

As for exhibiting the NFL to the overseas audience, I found it particularly entertaining that one Miami drive featured penalties for an uncovered end, a false start (double-clutch by the center) and an illegal man downfield (which was declined). Nothing like trying to broaden the appeal of the sport by showcasing the NFL's tendency to stop play and call penalties for barely perceptible procedural violations!

67
by Eric (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:40am

Awful pass interference by Danieal Manning where he just bumps Roy Williams literally seconds before the ball arrives on what was going to be a jump ball. Ugly, ugly coverage. Makes Adam Archuleta look good.

I don't know if you saw - but the interference was on Archuleta coming from the other side, Manning actually missed Williams.

Course they both suck.

68
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:42am

Pittsburgh did it against the Eagles in ‘04 and I’ve seen the Steelers do this very thing on numerous occassions. I’ve seen other teams do it as well.

They did it with 1:19 left. When Brady did the sneak there were more than 11 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

69
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:43am

Hey, congrats to all you UK fans who enjoyed the game. Probably more of you than us Americans who would have... :)

70
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:46am

"It’s also interesting that when the Redskins did score, it was against mostly starters (Bruschi, Samuel, and Vrabel all had tackles on that drive), although I’d guess that it’s relatively common to leave your defensive starters in when your shutting out the other team."

Yeah, actually it is. Almost nobody pulls the defensive starters.

They lost in the playoffs last year because they gave up a huge lead in the 2nd half. You don't think this has anything to do with that?

71
by Glazius (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:47am

If the Steelers decided to trade him, I suspect they’d get at least 25 offers.

Not to take Ben too far down here, but it just seems like there aren't an awful lot of good quarterbacks in the league right now. Looking at the DVOA QB spread that doesn't look statistically supported, though.

Could it be just the Brady/Manning tunnel vision the press seems to have developed?

72
by DK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:47am

re 47/50/64/65,

I wasn't offended because the Pats ran up the score, it was offensive because it was about running up the stats. Belichick chose to go for a TD over a field goal because he wanted to give Brady and Moss a chance to improve their stats.

I also agree that you should never kneel until you can run out the clock, so I have no problem with putting the backups in and turning them loose. The Cassel drive was perfectly sporting, even when they went for it on 4th down at the edge of field goal range.

The last Brady drive was just pure narcissism.

73
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:48am

Regardless of whether you think the Pats are "running up the score" or not, leaving Brady in the game in the 4th quarter with a 38+ point lead, and then having the cajones to sneak your QB on 4th and 1 is pretty much asking someone to take a cheap shot and break your QB. Bellichek won't be happy until he's starting Cassel, apparently.

74
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:49am

66- Those were unusual conditions though. Rain, extra short grass, different country/time zones, super bowl like atmosphere. I'm not saying Eli played well, but they Giants are 6-2 for crying out loud. Aaron Schatz said he thought they were going to start out 0-5 or 1-4.

75
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:52am

72- The irrational running up the stats argument? Is Bellicheck just trying to piss off everybody that didn't draft Brady/Moss/Welker in fantasy football? Now that's an original argument.

76
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:53am

"As for exhibiting the NFL to the overseas audience, I found it particularly entertaining that one Miami drive featured penalties for an uncovered end, a false start (double-clutch by the center) and an illegal man downfield (which was declined). Nothing like trying to broaden the appeal of the sport by showcasing the NFL’s tendency to stop play and call penalties for barely perceptible procedural violations!"

Oh yeah!. I went with my girlfriend who knows nothing about football. Her comment on that string of brilliance was " they're supposed to be going the other way aren't they? They must be really bad". She also hated the interminable delay near the end of the first half for a booth review of a catch.

From the mouths of babes...

77
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:53am

DK, I think you greatly overrate your ability to read minds. Kicking the field goal is a worse move than a qb sneak, and now you seem to acknoweldge that taking a knee with that much time left is absurd. I may have pulled Brady one series sooner, but having the starting qb play one series in the fourth quarter is not crazy.

78
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:54am

All Quinn Gray does is win.

On a serious note, he looked good against the Chiefs in relief in the season finale last year, much better than yesterday.

Who makes the draft decisions in JAX? Here's the number one picks of the Del Rio era:
2003 - Byron Leftwich
2004 - Reggie Williams
2005 - Matt Jones
2006 - Marcedes Lewis
2007 - Reggie Nelson (the only one who looks like a good pick)

It's amazing with that run of #1 picks that this team is as competitive as it is.

BTW, for those wondering about Jason Campbell and the Redskins play-calling, see the CLE Browns discussion about o-line play and its impact.

Finally, I commend the KC Star article (linked below) on Len Dawson's first five years in the NFL as an object lesson in QB development. You have to wonder why Paul Brown didn't give Dawson more of a shot... or how good the Browns might have been in the 60s if he had (and they were pretty good as it was).

79
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:55am

Moss Pushing off:

yeah, he did. But they weren't calling anything yesterday, on either side. If you want to put PI on that play, you should also put it on the play in the first quarter where Shawn Taylor tackled Moss while a pass was in the air. IIRC, NE punted that drive.

The calls were consistent in that game.

80
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:57am

Leave it to hard hitting FOX to have a figure of authority in their interviewing range and miss asking any question of merit. Do you think it occurred to any body in that booth to ask the commissioner the number one subject of the day "How on Earth did the NFL allow a game to be played on THAT SURFACE!". The number 2 question being can the NFL show instead of a 6 hour pregame that no one watches, a Rams-Dolphins battle for the ages! 0-16 it's all we got left!

81
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:58am

77: That's not crazy. Throwing 40 yard bombs with your starting QB is.

Look at this drive, with a 31-point fourth quarter lead:

1st-10, IND20 9:40 J. Sorgi passed to R. Wayne to the left for 9 yard gain
2nd-1, IND29 8:55 J. Addai rushed to the left for 3 yard gain
1st-10, IND32 8:12 J. Addai rushed to the left for 3 yard gain
2nd-7, IND35 7:26 J. Addai rushed to the left for 5 yard gain
3rd-2, IND40 6:42 K. Keith rushed to the left for 5 yard gain. CAR committed 5 yard penalty
1st-10, 50 6:13 K. Keith rushed to the left for 5 yard gain
2nd-5, CAR45 6:04 K. Keith rushed to the right for 10 yard gain
1st-10, CAR35 5:21 K. Keith rushed to the right for 9 yard gain
2nd-1, CAR26 4:33 K. Keith rushed to the right for 3 yard gain
1st-10, CAR23 3:48 C. Dawson rushed to the left for 6 yard loss
2nd-16, CAR29 3:42 C. Dawson rushed to the right for 3 yard loss
3rd-19, CAR32 3:33 C. Dawson rushed to the right for 7 yard gain
4th-12, CAR25 2:42 J. Sorgi incomplete pass down the middle

See how they're prolonging the drive by running the ball, gaining small amounts of yardage, and taking lots of time off the clock?

Do you see why things like this are different?

1st-10, NE49 12:50 T. Brady passed to R. Moss to the right for 35 yard gain

82
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:58am

"Not to take Ben too far down here, but it just seems like there aren’t an awful lot of good quarterbacks in the league right now."

I don't think I agree with this. There are the top two (Manning and Brady) who match up well with the top two of any particular era (Montana/Marino come to mind). Romo, Palmer, and Roethlisburger make up a pretty solid second tier, and you have the old guard represented decently with Garcia and Favre. Hasselbeck and McNabb aren't where they were a few years ago, but are still pretty good. Schaub looks like he might be a player.

It looks to me like a pretty good crop of QBs overall.

83
by b-man (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:01pm

72: If they had wanted to pad Brady's stats he would have been throwing for TDs instead of the run and sneak. On the run, Moss was wide open in the endzone.

84
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:01pm

Regardless of who is the better team, am I the only one who isn't looking forward to Pats/Colts? I can say with some certainty that it's going to turn into a shootout, with about 70 million passes of all varieties and relatively impotent defence. Am I the only one that doesn't find that interesting whatsoever?

85
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:01pm

I'm going to enter the Patriots debate. I'm a Miami fan, so I really don't like them very much. However, they are entitled to play their starting team, and run their offense & defense any way they please for as long as they please.

However, it only takes one frustrated opponent to go 'Albert Haynesworth' on Tom Brady, and we'll find out if
Matt Cassell = Earl Morrell.

I'm not sure it's a risk I'd want to take.

86
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:03pm

84- What tipped you off. Las Vegas opened the Colts/Pats total at 57.

87
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:04pm

"Do you see why things like this are different?

1st-10, NE49 12:50 T. Brady passed to R. Moss to the right for 35 yard gain "

That play was a very clear message Yaguar.

If the Patriots have a lead, and you bring your safeties forward, they WILL THROW THE BALL. It sets a precedent that you can't sell out to stop the run when they have a lead.

88
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:06pm

“It’s also interesting that when the Redskins did score, it was against mostly starters (Bruschi, Samuel, and Vrabel all had tackles on that drive), although I’d guess that it’s relatively common to leave your defensive starters in when your shutting out the other team.�

What's always missed in these "pulling starters" discussions is that teams are constrained by the 46(+1)gameday roster. Figure you have 2(+1)quarterbacks, five starting linemen, two/three reserve linemen, three/four running backs, two/three tight ends, four/five wide receivers, kicker, punter, often decicated long-snapper, 11 defensive starters, 2/3 other de-facto "starters" who play in sub packages, and we're down to somewhere between 9-14 players left. A lot of those are going to go towards primarily special teams, so you may have an abundance of safeties and smaller linebackers. It's practically impossible to not have starters on the field at the end of the game, especially on the defense.

Again, the only play where anybody should have cause for condemnation is the bomb to Moss. The Redskins had been stacking the line, but I thought that call was unnecessary.

I do agree that some calls were disagreeable in terms of injury risk, but that's really not a sportsmanship issue.

89
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:07pm

I'd like to suggest that future Audibles (not just re the Colts), at least this year, put the Patriots' audibles and comments section in one article and the rest of the league in another. The incessant arguing over everything Pats is driving out any decent discussion of the rest of the league. And making this site less and less readable.

90
by hector (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:07pm

75: Is Belicheck just trying to piss off everybody that didn’t draft Brady/Moss/Welker in fantasy football?

Rotoworld had a cheesy comment on Welker: "At this point Wes Welker is a near must start in most leagues as a WR2/3. He is on pace for 112 receptions and 12 touchdowns."

A near-must start as my WR 2/3? Yeah, and Jessica Alba is a great pluck as your third-option mistress. Fudging the parameters like that is so bogus. Anyone who owns Welker is using him every week, no questions asked, until further notice.

91
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:07pm

#43

Steve Rosenbloom at the Tribune refers to the Bears' running game as fall-down-go-boom.

This disaster of a season started in the offseason. Every single questionable decision has come back to bite them hard. Lovie's downfall will be the nepotism that acquired Babich and Archuleta despite the fact that they're in over their heads. Super Bowl loser's curse notwithstanding, there's no reason things should be this bad. This is a mess of the brain trust's own making.

92
by Carl H. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:08pm

Re: taking a knee on the 7 with 11 minutes left.

You're up by a half-dozen TDs.

What's wrong with putting the other team on their 7?

93
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:10pm

"A kneel down in that situation is the real a-hole call, in that it says the opposition is so pathetic and illegitimate that it doesn’t even deserve respect as a competitor."

What does that even mean? The problem with this entire argument (on both sides) is that it's obsessed with this question of "fairness" which is completely ridiculous to begin with. The team should keep scoring because to do otherwise is a lack of respect? The team should stop scoring because it's bad sportsmanship to keep scoring when you're obviously winning? Who measures "respect" and the amount required for proper play? What exactly is sportsmanship and how does one not run afoul its edicts?

This isn't really a discussion about running up the score. It is on one hand a discussion between those who like scoring (preference for offence over defence) and those who don't, and on the other between those who like the patriots and those who don't. Actual "sports morality" really has nothing to do with it.

94
by Peder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:11pm

To Patriot fans: If you want to tell me that it's impossible to run up the score in an NFL game and that each team should score the most points they can, I won't argue with you. If you try and argue each time that they go for it on fourth down when they are up by three or more touchdowns late in the game is the better _strategic_ choice, then you look like hopeless homers who worship any decision made by your team.

95
by Temo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:11pm

While I certainly don't have a problem with what the patriots are doing, lets not say that they were doing Washington a favor not kicking a FG in that situation.
NE has proven so far that, at least for them, the 4th and 1 QB sneak is about 100% for them, give or take. I'd wager that going for it there gives them more expected value in terms of points than kicking a field goal, which is why Belichick does it. He's not interested in letting up, he just wants to score the most points he can.
And no, I don't have a problem with that. It's the NFL folks.

96
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:12pm

As a Redskin fan I'm still willing to give J. Campbell the remaining 8 games of this season and the next 8 games, although I wouldn't be mad if they signed another QB to push him in the offseason.

Completely agree with whoever said the Redskins OL is a problem. When you can only run left, and your right side of the OL is two back-ups, you become pretty predictable 1st and 2nd down. Gibbs also isn't a big fan of calling 2 consecutive pass plays. Fans in DC have plenty to be upset with regarding the Gibbs/Saunders offense.

Anyone who saw the Pats demolish the Redskins last year in preseason could've expected this outcome, as they exposed the soft middle of Washington's Cover-2 scheme... I think they run a vanilla d as well... kind've a Cover-2 keep everything in front of them... but when the front 4 cannot generate a pass rush (nothing to cry about vs. the Pats, but not fun against the Cardinals or Eagles) it exposes the LBs. I can see why they went after Briggs this offseason... I love LBF in run support but he's not that great in coverage.

You know the Redskins are in trouble when you look up and see #29 trying to cover Moss in the end zone, even if it was OPI.

At least Philly and New York still have Patriot beat downs coming...

97
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:14pm

Re: 89 Agreed. I think there's a thread set up for this talk in the forums, but it is still infecting almost every comments thread.

98
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:16pm

For that matter I think this was the 1st time J. Campbell faced the 3-4 defense, and I seem to remember some other decent teams getting demolished in Foxboro recently... Tampa Bay and Jacksonville in 2005 playoffs... I think most 'Skins fans would tell you they didn't expect much. Remove Smoot and Rogers from the defense and there will be some problems... although it sounds like Brady just nickel and dimed the weak part of the zone...

99
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:17pm

One thing that has definitely changed for the Lions this season is takeaways. Tops in the NFL with 20, although what's funny is that they lead the NFL in interceptions, but are 30th in passes, um, defensed (I would love to use an actual English word instead, but I think people wouldn't get the stat). Not sure what that means.

Second in fumbles forced behind Seattle, too, so they're doing something better. I'm just not sure they can keep doing it. It didn't work against Philadelphia (if the other team scores quickly, you don't have the chance to force a turnover). Then again, with KC, Arizona, and Minnesota still on the schedule, maybe this will work well enough to get Detroit to .500, which is only one game worse than where they "started" the Millen Era.

100
by Nick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:18pm

"Brady, too, has had six touchdowns in a game, but his sixth touchdown came with only a few minutes to go in the 4th against the worst team in the league. "

So, with 10 minutes left, a 21 point lead, you want them to put little Matty Cassel back in so he can throw another pick 6 and make it a two touchdown game with over half the quarter left? You're reaching.

Look, I think the Pats were running it up yesterday. I also don't care, and I've never in my life complained about someone doing it to the Pats or any other team. When San Diego destroyed them a couple years ago in the regular season, I wasn't chaffed about running up the score, I was pissed because my team got hammered by a better team.

101
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:19pm

Because, Carl, it's a football game, not a politeness contest. The only time a knee should be taken is when there is so little time left that there is no time for any subsequent series of any length. With that much time left, there is plenty of room for many offensive series, by both teams. As long as that is the case, play the damned game. If anybody is to be ripped, it's for the Washington defense for so poorly defending a qb sneak with more than one yard to go for a first down, inside the five. That is borderline quitting, and quitting is the one truly unforgivable offense in professional sports.

As to the long pass to Moss in the fourth quarter, if a team is going to load the box to stop the run, then you throw the ball downfield to Moss.

102
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:21pm

Maybe the Patriots wouldn't have "endangered" their monster lead if they hadn't been throwing in the 4th quarter with the game in hand.

103
by Temo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:23pm

No one stops NE on those 4th and 1 QB sneaks Will.
Also, I'd like to throw Rich a party when he finally one of these days will admit to the fallibility of anyone on the Patriots. I'm a cowboys fan who readily admits that Michael Irvin pushed off and head slapped his way to the HoF. Can you at least admit that Randy Moss does have a push-off move that he abuses in tight situations?

104
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:25pm

46: I suspect that most coaches, good and bad, start out with poor records. The vast majority of first-year coaches are given control of bad teams.

105
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:26pm

Fnor, when you completely stop trying to score points with 11 minutes left in the game, which is what a kneel down says, your are announcing that the opponent is so pathetic that it does not make it worthwhile to compete against them.

106
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:27pm

"Also, I’d like to throw Rich a party when he finally one of these days will admit to the fallibility of anyone on the Patriots"

You clearly don't even read my posts.

I've been bitching about Tom Brady overthrowing wide receivers for years. His accuracy is awful.

(his ability to read defenses, OTOH, is incredible)

107
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:28pm

Rich,

There is a huge difference between the following two lines.

"If the Patriots have a lead, and you bring your safeties forward, they WILL THROW THE BALL."

And

"If the Patriots have a 31 point lead, and you bring your safeties forward, they WILL THROW THE BALL."

Frankly, I think the Pats don't care if they are being bad sports-- they want to intimidate future opponents. And in the grand scheme of things, while it is not the best of examples for the young-uns, there are displays of bad sportsmanship by various players and teams every single week, so it strikes me as odd to get bent out of shape about just this particular type of poor sportsmanship.

108
by MDZ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:28pm

Peyton looked awful up until the 2 minute warning in the first half. He was under pressure, but was also really inaccurate. Of the 4 or 5 drops only one was on target, on the others the balls were either too far infront or behind the receiver and the guys couldn't snare in a bad pass. Before the TD drive his best looking pass was a deep ball that Chris Harris knocked away from Dallas Clark that was a bit underthrown. It looked like he wasn't getting a good grip on the ball as many passes fluttered out of his hand, including the big 3rd down play to Gonzalez.
Regarding Moss, I don't really have a problem with what he does. It's not really a pushoff, but a small slap to knock the defender's hands down. It's got to be very tough for a ref to see and call. I'd be upset if Moss got to do his thing and defenders were called for PI on close plays, but that's not what I've seen. The refs just kind of swallow the whistle the way NBA refs did with Shaq. Moss is able to slap away DBs, but they basically have to tackle or hold him to draw a PI.

109
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:29pm

"No one" is an awfully large universe, Temo. I doubt very much that the Redskins defensive staff will be telling the Redskins goal line unit this week,"Don't worry, no one stops Brady on qb sneaks."

110
by Nick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:29pm

"Maybe the Patriots wouldn’t have “endangered� their monster lead if they hadn’t been throwing in the 4th quarter with the game in hand. "

Probably. And maybe they figured, when the hell else is Cassel going to get real game time in? Having him hand off into the line 3 straight times won't do much for his development.

If they wanna treat the 4th quarter of blowouts as practice, the fact that it is a blowout means they've earned the right do so.

111
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:30pm

"There is a huge difference between the following two lines.

“If the Patriots have a lead, and you bring your safeties forward, they WILL THROW THE BALL.�

And

“If the Patriots have a 31 point lead, and you bring your safeties forward, they WILL THROW THE BALL.�"

Thats where we disagree. I don't think there is a big difference in those statements. The Patriots gave up a lead last year in the AFCC that they felt was unsurmountable. The best way to keep that from happening is to keep increasing the score. I think the Patriots have decided that no lead is unsurmountable.

112
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:30pm

108: He just really looked uncomfortable with Charlie Johnson at LT.

There's not much more to be scouted on Peyton at this point, so I think you have to assume that says much more about Johnson than it says about Manning.

113
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:32pm

89,97: Thirded.

114
by Temo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:33pm

"I’ve been bitching about Tom Brady overthrowing wide receivers for years. His accuracy is awful.

(his ability to read defenses, OTOH, is incredible) "

You mean his ability to read defensive signals. I'm sorry I couldn't resist. Last post for this thread, promise.

115
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:34pm

Regarding next Sunday, the most likely way for the Colts to win is 34-31, with six scoring drives that consume massive amounts of the clock. I think they have a decent chance to do it, although what worries me as someone who is slightly partial to the Colts is that Moss in a dome greatly negates the home field advantage.

116
by Temo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:35pm

Will: I would ordinarily say that was a hyperbole, but I've seriously never seen anyone stop them on that play. It's like the Vrabel (sp?) TD pass in the red zone... not impossible to stop, but for some reason no one ever does.
Ok, this is my last post >.>

117
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:39pm

About the only way I would say a NFL team can be sensibly accused of running up the score is if they keep their number one qb in the entire game, or if they start running fake field goal or punts with huge leads in the fourth quarter. Short of that, I think the professional responsibility is to keep running the offense optimally.

118
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:40pm

"I don’t think there is a big difference in those statements."

Yes, we certainly do disagree. On that point.

"The Patriots gave up a lead last year in the AFCC that they felt was unsurmountable. The best way to keep that from happening is to keep increasing the score."

We disagree here as well. The best way to keep that from happening is to get that clock to 0:00 as efficiently as possible (this implies controlling the ball-- not giving it over due to turnovers or ineffective running).

One way conforms to traditions of sportsmanship. One way does not.

I don't really care that the Pats are rubbing their opponents' faces in it, but that doesn't prevent me from recognizing it.

119
by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:44pm

At what point does the risk of injury exceed the need for more points, especially with a QB who has been on the last 80 or so injury reports?

120
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:45pm

When I played and a team both ran up the score and celebrated while doing it we knew how do deal with it. I'm positive that there are many players in the NFL who know how to deal with it as well.

The fact is that most teams do not do what the Patriots did yesterday. In the same situation they will run the ball every play, punt if they have to and just try to run out the clock. They will show sportsmanship.

I don't think Tom Brady will make it through the rest of the year. After I saw him spike the ball after his second rushing touchdown, he deserves whatever happens to him. You can't break the unwritten rules while expecting the other teams to obey them. I see a borderline legal hit taking out Brady's knee probably by a division opponent.

121
by Nick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:47pm

Um, the whole Brady on the injury report thing is a joke.

122
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:47pm

rk, as I said above, the one thing I might have done is sit Brady for the entire fourth quarter, but having the starting qb play one series in fourth quarter doesn't strike me as especially outlandish.

123
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:47pm

re: 118

The best way to keep that from happening is to get that clock to 0:00 as efficiently as possible (this implies controlling the ball– not giving it over due to turnovers or ineffective running).

I agree. However, I have a suspicion we disagree on what method is the best to achieve that end. Tom Brady has thrown 2 INT's all year and, to be honest, hasn't really come remotely close to throwing a third. The manner in which they run that offense, there doesn't appear to be a big risk of throwing the ball (i.e., turning the ball over).

Furthermore, if your goal is to drain the clock to 0:00, isn't the most effective way of keeping the clock running, and maintaining possession of the ball, to throw over the top to Moss when the safeties are crowding the line of scrimmage? Otherwise, aren't you just running 3 plays into the line, with a lower chance of gaining a first down, and therefore easily turning the ball back over to the opponent?

Look, I don't think this is like last week where the Dolphins had a pick-six with the backup in (to make it a 21 point lead) with over 8 or 9 minutes left in the game. This game was certainly over, in my mind.

However, I still believe that if the other team has their starters out there, you run your offense, period. You play to win the game, as Herm would say. You pick up first downs, you score points, and you continue to play.

Now, as Will mentioned, if you start running fake FG attempts, fake punt attempts, etc..., then I think you're going overboard. However, if you're just running your normal offense, sorry, I don't find that to be running up the score. That's just the NFL.

124
by deltadave (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:49pm

Don't know if this has entered the running up the score discussion, but today's Boston Globe say that TE Kyle Brady was sidelined for the 2nd half. With only Marcellus Rivers dressed for the game Pats were limited to 3 receiver sets late in the game, not what BB wanted, but thats all he had. Wow- maybe Mike Vrabel will have to play both ways and NE can score 80.

125
by Nick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:51pm

"After I saw him spike the ball after his second rushing touchdown, he deserves whatever happens to him."

You mean the one that made it 31-0 in the middle of the 3rd quarter? Are you sure you played football?

126
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:55pm

When it gets to the point that spiking the football after scoring a td with a big lead means one "deserves" a borderline legal hit with career-ending implications, sanity has officially left the building. I'm really rooting for the Colts, but the anti-Pats contingent has become far more obnoxious to me than the Pats homers. Unless the Colts win on Sunday, or meet the Pats in the playoffs, I'm hoping the Pats go 19-0, just to drive the Pats haters around the bend.

127
by b-man (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:55pm

116: Cleveland forced a fumble on a Brady sneak at the goal line earlier this year.

128
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:56pm

116.

"Will: I would ordinarily say that was a hyperbole, but I’ve seriously never seen anyone stop them on that play. It’s like the Vrabel (sp?) TD pass in the red zone… not impossible to stop, but for some reason no one ever does."

Nobody stops them because its not a called play. Its an audible. They come out in the spread, and if the defense stacks the line, they throw. If the defense pushes the LBs back, and splits the safeties further out, they run the sneak.

Most teams come out in power running formations when they run sneaks, so the safeties and LBs are there to help. The Patriots running it out of the 3-wide or even 5-wide basically guarantees that its just the two lines...

129
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:00pm

Maybe I have a short memory, but with all the complaints about Manning being an over-hyped stats-whore 3 years ago, I do not remember this bilious hatred, let alone such frequent and open wishes for season- and career-ending injury from Pats fans, or anyone else.

This all seems weird and scary, and well beyond what normal banter between fans should be like. Sad, really.

130
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:01pm

The Vikings did the same thing with qb sneaks when Moss was in Minnesota. A healthy and motivated Moss just changes everything, which is why you still throw to Moss when the safeties drop into the box during the fourth quarter. Moss singled up on any corner but the very, very, best is a very, very, safe call.

131
by PFC1 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:02pm

Let's face, against the likes of a hapless Miami team, and a midling to fair Redskins team, the Pats ran up the score. I think we can all agree that in the NFL, that's not offensive in the same way as would be if it were Pop Warner.

When it comes to the recent iteration of the Colts, there is no such thing as running up the score against them. They have shown that they can over come even seemingly insurmountable deficits. If I were Belichek, I would keep my foot fully on the gas against the Colts until I could kneel down with mathematical certainty that the clock would be expired.

For the sake of all that is righteous and holy, lets hope that the Patriots don't get that chance.

132
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:03pm

"We disagree here as well. The best way to keep that from happening is to get that clock to 0:00 as efficiently as possible (this implies controlling the ball– not giving it over due to turnovers or ineffective running)."

They tried to run the ball last year. The Colts brought everyone up into the box and they got stopped. They lost the game because they continued to run the ball when it wasn't effective.

Threatening down the field keeps the safeties from being able to come forward. It HELPS the running game. The Patriots did rush for 150+ yards yesterday, at 5+ yards per carry. A lot of that was that the constant threat of Randy Moss on the deep route was there. If they start ignoring that threat, you go after it. WAS decided to bring the safeties forward, and NE ran the play to take advantage of that.

133
by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:04pm

James in London, Matt Cassel never started a game in college. He hasn't started a game in the pros. If Brady ever got hurt during a game, Cassell would finish the game, then be cut the next week to make room for whoever Pioli could beg out of retirement.
His TD run was awesome, though.

134
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:06pm

Re: 126 It got to that point 80 years ago. It has always been that way. It's bad enough when you are blowing a team out, but when a player celebrates after scoring his fourth touchdown of the day, and 33rd of the season, that is disrespect which invites payback.
I'm just stating fact here. I don't know why people act all surprised and offended at the idea of payback. This is not a revolutionary new idea. It is the way it is and always has been. It's the mechanism by which the sport has always enforced sportsmanship.

Or any sport for that matter. I'm sure the Europeans on this board can tell legions of stories of soccer players being taken out for poor sportsmanship. It's the natural human reaction.

135
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:08pm

Hell, Brian, if the Pats are willing to cut Cassell after one start, the Vikings ought to be willing to trade all three of their qbs for him right now!

136
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:09pm

"I’m just stating fact here. I don’t know why people act all surprised and offended at the idea of payback."

Because no one was talking about people getting payback on manning when he was doing the same thing 2 years ago.

No one was complaining about SD last year running/throwing to LT to break the record when there was no reason he even should have been in games.

People are surprised because its being leveled at the patriots, and it has been totally absent when the colts were regularly running up the score.

137
by prunemike (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:11pm

A number of posters have made good points about NE not taking out their offensive starters so as to not risk injuries. Why is no one making the same points for Washington? In other words, why was Jason Campbell still in the game when the score was 52-0? Can anyone explain that to me?

138
by PFC1 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:11pm

Re 136

When is the last time that you saw P. Manning or M. Harrison spike a football after a touchdown, let alone there umpteenth touchdouwn of a blowout game?

139
by Dork Matter (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:11pm

The Moss pushoff was bad, but it was actually something else that bothered me during the WAS-NE game. I lost track of the number of Redskins running plays I saw where 2-3 NE defenders jumped on the pile after the whistle blew. I guess they might argue that they were already in motion towards the pile and couldn't stop. At least once, however, I watched a Patrios defender get a running start, jump in the air and land cleats-first with both feet after the whistle blew. A Redskins player was in obvious pain after that happened and took a while getting up; not sure if it was the guy who took the cleats, but I couldn't believe there was no foul on the play.

140
by Jin (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:13pm

Guys just hope the Eagles want to trade McNabb in the offseason (it's the best reason to keep Childress), good thing they play in such a tough division. I don't think there are any great WR free agents again this year but there are some great players on defense that fill weaknesses on that unit (Briggs and Jared Allen). Any word from the Bears and KC fans on if they are going to let them go? I know about Allen's behavior problems btw. But putting him on a line with the Williams Wall is damn tempting.

141
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:13pm

morganja, you weren't just stating a fact (btw, please establish that it is common that career ending hit attempts are commonly made after a spike with big leads. I think you are making that up.), you were saying that Brady "deserves" such a hit for the offense of spiking the ball. You were making a moral judgement, and an obnoxiously offensive one at that.

142
by ZasZ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:13pm

133,

All we know about Matt Cassell, really, is that he's not as good as Carson Palmer (whom the coaches at USC chose to play over him, in a close call), not as good as Matt Leinart (whom the coaches at USC chose to play over him, in a close call) and not as good as Tom Brady.

He's probably no Joe Montana, but the team has kept him around through 3 training camps, as of this year. Had he been really bad, they would have cut him and his 7th-round pick salary and kept Vinny Testaverde after training camp this year.

143
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:13pm

Apologies for interupting the weekly Pats sportsmanship discussion.

So is Edwards still the Bills starting QB? I didn't see the game but I'm wondering if Losman played as well as his stat line (at least in comparison to Edwards).

144
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:14pm

I suspect, Morganja, that that is the attitude of NFL fans, and not NFL players.

Aside from a few borderline insane people, no player wants to cause another player to be seriously injured, especially from an unnecessary play.

There are a lot of less-than-classy fans, however, who would suggest that course of action.

145
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:14pm

"The Colts brought everyone up into the box and they got stopped. They lost the game because they continued to run the ball when it wasn’t effective."

Understood, but irrelevant.

You said the best way to prevent losing a lead is to always keep increasing the lead. Just like the idea of getting the time to 0:00 expeditiously, it works every time as long as you can do it. As you pointed out, the keep-away approach did not work for the Pats last year to run the clock out because they couldn't execute effectively enough to do it. The strategy of continuing to score will work just fine, until they get into a game where they can't execute effectively enough to do it. If or when that happens, then it will not work, just as the other approach didn't work against the Colts.

In other words, execution trumps approach.

The only real differences between the two approaches are twofold, as I see it. It is much harder to continually increase the score (very few teams ever have had the kind of unstoppable offense the Pats are showing right now, while many teams have developed effective clock-eating ground games), and it reminds many of the lack of sportsmanship shown by many college, high school, and Pop Warner coaches.

146
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:47pm

Yesterday's game at Wembley was a great occasion and while the new stadium lacks the charm and history of the old one, it's a much better experience for the spectator.

It was a clunker of a game but I think we all knew that was likely to be the case. Perhaps in future, overseas games should be scheduled after a bye week to allow the teams more time to acclimatise.

#107 The idea of intimidating future opponents is a fair point. In many sports when one team is about to play a team who habitually dominate and destroy opponents, they are very often beaten before they step on the field. Examples, England v Australia in cricket (2005 aside) and almost anyone playing Liverpool at football during the 80's.

This is not pro NE, just an observation that the mental game can be as important as the physical one.

Of far greater importance to UK viewers is the fact that with The World Series over, SNF returns to Channel 5. Deliverance at last.

147
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:47pm

Re: 136 Ah, the 'rules don't apply to us Patriots.' Or is it the 'poor victimized Patriots, people hate us for no reason whatsoever'?

Why is it do you think that so many people loathe the Patriots? You say yourself that they didn't loathe other equally as successful teams nearly as much. What could it possibly be besides a blind irrational hatred of Boston from a country where most people barely can locate New England on a map. There is no possible way that it is their behavior and disrespect for the game that has created the animosity.

148
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:49pm

"When is the last time that you saw P. Manning or M. Harrison spike a football after a touchdown, let alone there umpteenth touchdouwn of a blowout game?"

I seem to remember very clearly Marvin Harrison sticking a ball into a reporter's parabolic microphone, and getting a 15yard penalty.

I think it was last year against the Pats.

I've seen Peyton make 3 or 4 rushing TDs, and I don't remember one where he DIDNT spike the ball.

149
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:51pm

147

"Why is it do you think that so many people loathe the Patriots? "

The rings. Pure, utter, jealousy. Just like they hated the cowboys in the 90s, or the Yankees.

150
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:52pm

I really disliked the way the Pats would use chainsaws on the 'skins after the whistle blew.

151
by billsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:52pm

147:

There's a New England now?

152
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:54pm

"“The Colts brought everyone up into the box and they got stopped. They lost the game because they continued to run the ball when it wasn’t effective.�

Understood, but irrelevant."

No, its not irrelevant. Throwing late sets a precedent. Its a message to Bob Sanders and Tony Dungy that if you bring the safeties forward, you will get burned.

They were running that drive, and washington pulled the safties forward. In the grand scheme, they're passing now to set up the run later.

153
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:55pm

My loathe-o-meter is broken, so I can't really judge with any precision as to how multi-championship teams have ranked in terms of being hated.

154
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:56pm

Re: 139. I noticed that last year and am amazed at it. The patriots repeatedly dive into players who are already down. After every play, so it is clearly coached into them. It is incredibly dangerous, obviously unnecessary and another example of their poor sportsmanship. This is so easily verifiable as well. Watch other teams play and note how they do not on a regular basis dive into tackled players. Now watch the Patriots and after every single play, they do it. Amazingly the Patriot homers are totally blind to it, as if it doesn't appear on their television sets. They justify each one like the Rodney King jury.

155
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:58pm

What could it possibly be besides a blind irrational hatred of Boston

Well, if your posts at FO over the past few years are any indication, that is apparently precisely what it is.

156
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:58pm

At least once, however, I watched a Patrios defender get a running start, jump in the air and land cleats-first with both feet after the whistle blew. A Redskins player was in obvious pain after that happened and took a while getting up; not sure if it was the guy who took the cleats, but I couldn’t believe there was no foul on the play.

That was Rodney Harrison (surprise). He pulled up on a play when the whistle blew and stepped on somebody. I'm not sure how dirty the play was.

It started out as a very lawless game. It seemed Sean Taylor hit somebody after the whistle the first 27 plays the Patriots ran. It seemed part of the Redskins strategy was to get the Patriots off their game by responding to cheap hits and turning the game into a melee.

157
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:58pm

Redskins fan here.

I really can’t stand the Redskins’ offensive scheme

Totally agreed. I don't think it's all on Al Saunders. The O has been unwatchable throughout Gibbs 2.0.

RE: Fake Spike, "Running up the Score" etc.:

Remember I'm a skins fan, and on top of that I'm a Pats hater b/c I had to live in BOS when they won their 2d superbowl after a regular season full of nailbiter victores and press coverage about how they "just know how to win."

That said, I LOVED watching the Pats yesterday. How can you be a football fan and not enjoy that demonstration of excellence on both sides of the ball. That offense was a thing of beauty, and I was happy to watch it as long as Brady/Belichik were willing to go out there and run it. Frankly, I felt I got my "money's worth" in a way I so seldom do in today's ultra conservative NFL where most coaches have their QBs in "game mgt mode." That was awesome. Kudos to the Pats.

Other Skins fans: So does Gibbs 2.0 make you think Bobby Beathard deserves a spot in the HOF? If not, then what accounts for the difference b/t 1.0 and 2.0? For my money, it's either Beathard (vs. Snyder/Cerrato) or desperately hungry Coach 1.0 vs. detached supposed "CEO" Coach 2.0.

Thoughts?

I’ve now watched Jason Campbell two consecutive weeks. I’m not impressed.

But how could you tell even from that small sample size. The play-calling is terrible. The run a completely horizontal passing game that has most receivers catching the ball standing still or running backwards!!! The O-line is decimated. The Skins have deep problems on offense, but I don't see QB as being even near the top of the list.

158
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:01pm

I heard the Patriots stole the strawberries, right after they got to the zebras regarding hitting players who were already down.

159
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:04pm

"However, I still believe that if the other team has their starters out there, you run your offense, period. You play to win the game, as Herm would say. You pick up first downs, you score points, and you continue to play."

Al45- I agree.

My point only goes so far as to assert that Patriots are not following traditional conventions regarding running up the score. As I mentioned earlier, I don't have a real problem with it. However, I think those who are claiming that they aren't doing anything different than is the norm are arguing against the patently obvious. Are they being bad sports? Yes, but the NFL has plenty of other worse problems with sportsmanship so I'm not going to get my panties in a bunch about it. The Pats will keep doing it until it bites them in the butt, and then they will likely stop. If it ever bites them in the butt. They might be good enough that it never does.

160
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:09pm

#141

There's been some recent lip-service paid by both sides to keeping Briggs in Chicago, and Urlacher's arthritic back may make it more urgent. The money may be available because they aren't going to re-sign Grossman and they'll probably let Berrian walk rather than paying him what Rosenhaus will demand. Ultimately, they may have to choose between Briggs and Tommie Harris.

Re Brady and "payback"

The most despicable thing I've seen in almost 30 years of watching football was Charles Martin's assault on Jim McMahon, picking him up and slamming him after the play was over, resulting in a dislocated shoulder. I'm not a fan of the Pats and Tom Bradford (as my wife calls him), but if anybody purposely tried to injure him I'd root for the bastard to get hit by Leonard Little driving a train.

161
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:11pm

Rich,

"No, its not irrelevant. Throwing late sets a precedent. Its a message to Bob Sanders and Tony Dungy that if you bring the safeties forward, you will get burned."

If a team is down by 31 points, odds are they already know that if they bring the safeties forward they will likely get burned.

They do it anyway because the normal expectation is that a team that is up by 31 won't take advantage of that in order to run up the score.

The Pats have been saying "to hell with that." Right or wrong, it is a departure from sportsmanship conventions. I find it odd that some, like you, are blind to this or try to say it is because they lost to the Colts in the playoffs last year. If it is related to the Colts game in any form, it is one heck of a case of overcompensation.

I suspect it has more to do with the Hooded one wanting to remove any doubt about the quality of team he has. If they win every game by 30, it becomes hard to say it is because he got a slight advantage by videotaping from the sidelines.

162
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:12pm

Charles, I agree. McMahon was never the same afterwards, either.

163
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:14pm

re: 159 Gerry

My point only goes so far as to assert that Patriots are not following traditional conventions regarding running up the score.

Ok, we agree what the end goal is when you have a lead. You suggest their not following 'traditional conventions' regarding running up the score. That may or may not be true.

However, are you really suggesting that they should just line up and run dives straight into the line and not throw, even if the other team is bringing their safeties up into the box? Are you suggesting they should be satisfied with consistent 3 and outs, by banging their head against the wall, attempting to run against a 8 or 9 in the box defense, simply because they have the lead?

If we both agree that the end goal of protecting the lead and winning the game is getting the clock to 0:00 and that, part of doing that, is maintaining possession of the ball, which in turn runs down the clock... how does going three and out help that cause?

If their normal offense, more often than not, results in long clock draining drives, why should they move away from their normal offense to more 'traditional conventions' for protecting a lead?

I mean, this team has punted how many times this year? How many times have they actually turned the ball over?

To me, it seems that their best option for running out the clock and maintaining possession of the ball is not to just run the ball, but to continue with their normal offense and play that way for the full 60 minutes.

Yes, that does buck conventional wisdom, but this teams offense is so far off the charts, and in a stratosphere that most people can't fathom. I mean, this team has punted only 18 times this season. That's just over 2 punts per game.

I'd think that number would rise significantly if, at the end of games, they went with conventional wisdom and just ran the ball with other teams playing safeties up.

I can see how you're saying they're bucking 'traditional conventions', but I think that's only because their offense is so good as to make those traditional conventions more likely to cause them to give the ball back than simply running their normal offense... and that, running their normal offense, based upon how good they are, doesn't pose an elevated risk of letting a team back in a game as it may for some other team.

164
by Joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:17pm

Re: AFC championship comeback
18 points at halftime against the Colts is a lot different than 30+ against the Redskins in the 3rd quarter.

165
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:19pm

I'm a skins fan, and hardly a patriots hater. I normally cut the game off when the skins are stinking it up, but that game had all the qualities of a grisly car wreck, you couldn't help but watch. No doubt NE is one of the most impressive teams in recent memory on both sides of the ball.

But what happens when the Pats are decimating some other team and a frustrated defensive end plants a vicious and intentional hit when Brady attempts a QB sneak on 4th and 1 with a 40 point lead, and Matt Cassel or somebody else has got to start the next few games or even finish the season? Will BB say "Thats football!" No, he'll be mad as hell, like he was when Magini upstaged him last season. At some point these guys should observe the golden rule. The Pats chances depend on Brady being healthy...don't give other teams excuses for cheap shots. Don't piss away your chances trying to run up the score or set records.

166
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:20pm

Will, When you play a sport, especially football, but soccer as well, there are numerous times throughout the contest in which you are engaged with another player and the opportunity comes to hold up in order to avoid injuring the other player. You are blocking for example, the ball has already passed by, and you find that you are blocking the guy into a downed player behind him that he can't see. You see that the guys legs could get stuck and he could easily get injured if you continue your legal block. So you stop blocking and grab him to keep him from falling over. That happens over and over again every game.

Now look at the same situation in which the team is running up the score and celebrating after each one. They're disrespecting you and trying to humiliate you. They're scoring at will because they can and they choose to continue to do so.

So the next time that situation comes up, you don't stop your block. You keep pushing him backwards into the pile even though his legs are going to get tangled backwards where he can easily get injured.

Or the next time you come in at the quarterback and see that he has thrown the ball away you don't pull up but pretend you didn't see the throw and take out his knees a la Vince Wilfork.

That is how the game is played. I'm not taking 'glee' in anyone's injury. What I'm saying is that by playing with poor sportsmanship and disrespecting your opposition, you invite those sorts of injuries to your own team. I wouldn't be surprised if Brady was injured, right now they deserve it, but what I would take 'glee' in is for Belichick to respect the sport and start playing with good sportsmanship.

167
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:22pm

*sigh* Audibles used to be my favorite article/comments thread. I think I'm just going to stop reading it all together.

168
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:22pm

morganja, and how is that situation any different from the Colts in 2004/2005?

169
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:23pm

If Brady and Moss are on the field and there are eight or nine in the box, and the call ISN'T a pass downfield to Moss, that's crazy. Why the heck run the back into a meat grinder, if you can just go max protect, and do an easy pitch and catch downfield?

170
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:29pm

departure from tradional sportmanship conventions

(reminder I'm a skins fan) I just don't agree with this, and I know others also don't agree, so perhaps it's not as clear cut as the complainers would have us believe. Again, if Gibbs (or Cameron, etc.) don't want to be scored on anymore, then they can throw in the towel. The Pats trying to score as many points as possible in no way would "justify" a DL purposefully injuring T Brady after a play was over. That's absurd.

171
by billsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:31pm

165:
And that's why I'm so surprised that Sean Taylor didn't do exactly that.

172
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:33pm

"And that’s why I’m so surprised that Sean Taylor didn’t do exactly that."

Because if he did, he wouldn't walk off the field.

Obvious cheap shots get met with more obvious cheap shots.

173
by billsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:33pm

168:
The Colts weren't caught cheating?

174
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:33pm

Re: 169 and others.

I understand what you are saying about the safeties being brought up, but that is the way it is done. When a team has a huge lead and is running out the clock, they run the ball. They know the other team is going to bring the safeties up to try to stop it and thats unfair, but you're up by more than enough to win the game so you grind it out anyhow. If you have to punt, you punt. It doesn't matter. That is how the game is played.

Interesting that although we see that sort of poor sportsmanship in college football, especially with the perennial powerhouses, much more often than not, a college team will stick their fourth team in there and run the same play over and over to grind out the clock. When App was up by 34 at the half earlier this year against a team that was clearly outclassed, they opened the second half with their backups and never ran a play designed to pick up huge yardage. They punted over and over and left the other team with their self-respect and the fans with a lesson on how to treat your opponent when he is down and the game is already won. With grace and class.

175
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:34pm

No, morganja, you said that a player who spikes the ball with a big lead "deserves" to be subject to a borderline hit with career-ending implications. That is a ridiculous thing to say, and I'm very well aware of what goes on in a football game. You also think it is disrespectful to try to score touchdowns in a football game when one has a big lead. I disagree. To not try to score touchdowns, especially when there are 11 minutes left in a game between professionals, is to demonstrate complete contempt for the opposition as professionals.

176
by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:35pm

Re 129:
Hahahahahahahahaha... Ahahahahahahahahahah... Oh man... that's rich. Or maybe Rich.

Just check out the Irrational Brady-Manning thread.

If any DVOA comments exist from 2004 or before you should check those too. Especially the Colts-Pats game where Colts won and the Pats called a TO near the end with no real hope of winning and a clearly pissed off Manning tossed a bomb.

Re 136:
People are surprised because its being leveled at the patriots, and it has been totally absent when the colts were regularly running up the score

Wait, so teams can run up the score? I thought that it was impossible since they're all professionals?

Gosh Rich and Will, maybe you should teach me the dos and don'ts of sportsmanship, clearly I have a lot to learn.

Re 144:
That's not what I've heard in interviews with the greats from the 70s and 80s. I know all that stuff still goes on in piles. Anything to gain a competitive advantage is OK from what I've heard.

177
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:38pm

"If you have to punt, you punt. It doesn’t matter."

Yes, it does. The Patriots are trying to win a championship. Playing the starters 60 minutes every game makes them more likely to be able to play a full 60 minutes if they have to.

I think Bellichick wants his entire team to be ready to play 60 minutes of competitive football, and taking the entire 2nd half off (which is what they'd have to do) completely undermines that.

178
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:39pm

I’m not taking ‘glee’ in anyone’s injury

Like hell you're not. You're openly rooting for it and then turning around and bemoaning the "immorality" and "classlessness" of the Patriots.

In other words, you're a shameless hypocrite.

179
by billsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:39pm

172:I've never seen Rodney Harrison taken out of a game after any of his obvious cheap shots. Vince Wilfork took an obvoius cheap shot at J.P. Freakin' Losman in the first offensive snap of the Bills/Pats game this season, and nobody "took him out" Wilfork also body-slammed Pennington a year or two ago on a false star call, and nobody "took him out." Only "more obvious cheap shots" I remember recently were Haynesworth on Gurode and Olshansky on Nalen.

180
by DangerGnat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:40pm

Re: 5 "it is absolutely ludicrous to say the Pats should have kneeled and surrendered the ball."

Why? Why is it so ludicrous to kneel with a 38-0 lead in the 4th quarter? And why is Beli-Cheat keeping Tom Brady in so late in these games? Hopefully Karma will reward him by busting his franchise's ACL right before the playoffs in one of these 4th quarter blowouts.

TMQ is right - the Patriots ARE classless. They are now displaying bad sportsmanship on a weekly basis.

181
by Glazius (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:40pm

I don’t think I agree with this. There are the top two (Manning and Brady) who match up well with the top two of any particular era (Montana/Marino come to mind). Romo, Palmer, and Roethlisburger make up a pretty solid second tier, and you have the old guard represented decently with Garcia and Favre. Hasselbeck and McNabb aren’t where they were a few years ago, but are still pretty good. Schaub looks like he might be a player.

It looks to me like a pretty good crop of QBs overall.

That's pretty much as many QBs as playoff slots. Maybe a few less.

I guess what I'm really looking for is - how important is a QB? Does a team with a good QB always beat one with a bad QB?

Well, obviously not always, considering Palmer, but how much of a difference does the QB make compared to any other position?

182
by DaveP (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:40pm

Morganja, have you really listened to yourself? You are saying that someone who runs up the score deserves to be deliberately injured. Those are your own words: "right now they deserve it". I don't care what team you root for, the idea that it's "deserved" to injure someone because they ran up the score on you is pathetic, not to mention morally disgusting. That you can even talk about the concept of sportsmanship in the same breath as advocating such a thing is one of the most hypocritical things I've ever heard.

Dave

183
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:41pm

Yeah, you do, mactbone. You think it is sportsmanlike to quit trying. I think people who are getting paid a lot of money to entertain should always be trying to score touchdewns, and Manning throwing a bomb in that situation is fine by me.

184
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:42pm

"Wait, so teams can run up the score?"

Yeah, but theres nothing wrong with it. Unless the Patriots do it, obviously.

185
by billsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:42pm

177:
The Pats play everyone on both sides of the ball now? I though the last sixty-minute man was Chuck Bednarik.

186
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:44pm

You know something? You've actually made me change my mind. Instead of running an offensive play on 4th & 1 from the 7, the Patriots should've punted.

187
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:45pm

Why do you have a 700-page playbook when you run four pages of it?

This is the whole playbook they're running.

Page 1: Run into the line for 2 yards

Page 2: Bubble screen!

Page 3: Bombs away (unfortunately, this page sticks to #2 so they don't run this often)

Page 4: Whacky WR end-around with option to run the option

Pages 5 - 699: 695 various incredibly lengthy play calls with lots of kooky motion and other such trickery designed to hit a slow Tight End or H-back running toward the sideline behind the LOS when it's Third or Fourth and Two.

Page 700: Punt.

188
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:16pm

I find it hilarious that anyone is taking anything away from a MIA-NYG game that was hardly played under normal circumstances (I don't even mean the weather).

Eli didn't play well, but does it matter at all? Will a game played in a foot of mud on another continent have an affect on the games they play in the future? The only players who could be proud of their performances were the 2 RBs, Jacobs and Chatman.

The coaches, OTOH, this wasn't one of their best games. Cam Cameron attempts a 48 yard FG on the first drive with a 4th and 2? YOU DON'T HAVE ANY WINS! Go for it. Giants OC Kevin Gilbride must really hate running the ball. The QB can't control the ball, the WRs can't hold onto the catchable passes, and the Dolphins can't stop Jacobs... so let's throw the ball some more! Even Steve Spanuolo deserves some criticism for taking unnecessary risks (blitzing) at the end of the game.

188
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:16pm

I find it hilarious that anyone is taking anything away from a MIA-NYG game that was hardly played under normal circumstances (I don't even mean the weather).

Eli didn't play well, but does it matter at all? Will a game played in a foot of mud on another continent have an affect on the games they play in the future? The only players who could be proud of their performances were the 2 RBs, Jacobs and Chatman.

The coaches, OTOH, this wasn't one of their best games. Cam Cameron attempts a 48 yard FG on the first drive with a 4th and 2? YOU DON'T HAVE ANY WINS! Go for it. Giants OC Kevin Gilbride must really hate running the ball. The QB can't control the ball, the WRs can't hold onto the catchable passes, and the Dolphins can't stop Jacobs... so let's throw the ball some more! Even Steve Spanuolo deserves some criticism for taking unnecessary risks (blitzing) at the end of the game.

190
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:16pm

I find it hilarious that anyone is taking anything away from a MIA-NYG game that was hardly played under normal circumstances (I don't even mean the weather).

Eli didn't play well, but does it matter at all? Will a game played in a foot of mud on another continent have an affect on the games they play in the future? The only players who could be proud of their performances were the 2 RBs, Jacobs and Chatman.

The coaches, OTOH, this wasn't one of their best games. Cam Cameron attempts a 48 yard FG on the first drive with a 4th and 2? YOU DON'T HAVE ANY WINS! Go for it. Giants OC Kevin Gilbride must really hate running the ball. The QB can't control the ball, the WRs can't hold onto the catchable passes, and the Dolphins can't stop Jacobs... so let's throw the ball some more! Even Steve Spanuolo deserves some criticism for taking unnecessary risks (blitzing) at the end of the game.

190
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:16pm

I find it hilarious that anyone is taking anything away from a MIA-NYG game that was hardly played under normal circumstances (I don't even mean the weather).

Eli didn't play well, but does it matter at all? Will a game played in a foot of mud on another continent have an affect on the games they play in the future? The only players who could be proud of their performances were the 2 RBs, Jacobs and Chatman.

The coaches, OTOH, this wasn't one of their best games. Cam Cameron attempts a 48 yard FG on the first drive with a 4th and 2? YOU DON'T HAVE ANY WINS! Go for it. Giants OC Kevin Gilbride must really hate running the ball. The QB can't control the ball, the WRs can't hold onto the catchable passes, and the Dolphins can't stop Jacobs... so let's throw the ball some more! Even Steve Spanuolo deserves some criticism for taking unnecessary risks (blitzing) at the end of the game.

192
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:17pm

Re: 179

I don't know if players have tried to retaliate against Willford or Harrison, but it seems to me much easier to get 'cheap shots' against an offensive player (especially QBs and receivers). Frequently these players (if doing their jobs correctly) will be defenseless against an opponent.

Occasionally you'll have a situation where a defensive player is defensless (that an awkward phrase to type), but it's much less common.

193
by oljb (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:18pm

My God. This thread is over the top. As a Steelers fan, it makes me shed a tear for the days of "Stealers" taunts and complaints about crooked officials who surely must be rigging the games to play out the more marketable story-lines for the press. Those were wonderful days, as myself and other Pittsburgh fans were able to lap up the delicious tears of the Seattle fans (Seahawks suck, by the way).

I hate the Patriots, and I think there is nothing likable about them. But people should be aware that all this Patriots bashing after recent Patriots performances is sweet sweet music to the ears of New England fans. You are all just fanning the flames of insufferable Patriots-fandom, exactly like whiny Seattle fans did to insufferable Steelers fans back in February of '06.

194
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:19pm

Will, clearly we are nitpicking here. If you are asking me if I am on the field and the other team is running up the score, celebrating and showing poor sportsmanship, would I take an opportunity that appeared to injure one of those players, the answer is yes, I would. So would a great many other people who have played sports.

What is ridiculous is for people to deliberately disrespect and humiliate their opponent and expect no retribution. While some might enjoy rubbing their opponents face into the ground given the opportunity, they seem shocked to learn that human nature responds to humiliation and disrespect with anger and revenge. Are you people so disconnected with human nature that this really shocks you? Did you know that when you punch someone it hurts them? Are you surprised to learn that while you are engaged in your excessive celebration your opponent is trying to deal with defeat and humiliation? Sportsmanship is not just a useless ideal. It is a tried and true, traditional mechanism for preventing our natural human response to defeat from turning into violence. A person wins with grace and it allows the loser to lose with grace. Choose not to win with grace and you invite our human nature to assert itself.

These are principles that were once taught in families, classrooms and sports fields. Obviously they aren't anymore.

195
by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:19pm

Re 184:
Really? If I go back to those threads I mentioned I won't see anyone, especially Pats fans, getting mad that Manning is just padding his stats, the Colts are running up the score, etc?

I just don't understand this need to defend an action you find completely OK.

196
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:19pm

"Why is it so ludicrous to kneel with a 38-0 lead in the 4th quarter?"

Because this isn't a pee-wee game.

These guys play football for a living.

How would Redskins fans feel if the Patriots kneeled the ball the whole 4th quarter and still won 38-14? How would it feel to get blown out, and know that the other team didn't even feel you were worth playing against?

197
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:20pm

Sorry about that... 3x over.

198
by Papa Narb (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:21pm

My oh my, how Pats fans tunes change:

http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/showthread.php...

http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/showthread.php...

Pretty funny stuff, especially in the context of the "homer" theory someone put out here last week.

199
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:21pm

"Really? If I go back to those threads I mentioned I won’t see anyone, especially Pats fans, getting mad that Manning is just padding his stats, the Colts are running up the score, etc?"

You might, but I doubt you'll find nearly as many people wishing manning got his knee destroyed.

200
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:21pm

"However, are you really suggesting that they should just line up and run dives straight into the line and not throw, even if the other team is bringing their safeties up into the box? Are you suggesting they should be satisfied with consistent 3 and outs, by banging their head against the wall, attempting to run against a 8 or 9 in the box defense, simply because they have the lead?"

I am suggesting nothing more than the following-- rarely, if ever, has a team continued to rack up points when already leading by large margins the way the Patriots have been. As such, it is not surprising to me that people are questioning their sportsmanship.

201
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:24pm

198

Thats a perfect example. After scrolling through a couple pages, I still see no one claiming Manning should get his knees broken.

202
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:25pm

187 - can't wait to plug that playbook into Madden.

203
by Eddo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:26pm

Shouldn't players want to have fun out there? Isn't scoring touchdowns fun? So then why shouldn't Brady, Moss, et al try to keep scoring touchdowns?
On the side of the opponents: isn't it also usually more fun to play against the best competition you can, and not against someone who stops trying? Therefore, why should the Dolphins or Redskins or whoever have a problem with it (and from quotes I've read, they don't).
Anyone who argues that the Patriots should have started taking kneeldowns should also be in favor of Washington doing the same, in my opinion. What's fair and sportsmanlike for one side is fair and sportsmanlike for the other as well.
Dislcaimer: big Patriots hater here, more so for the incessant media hype that anything else.

204
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:27pm

I didn't want to get drawn into the sportsmanship conversation, because it's boring, but I was thinking...

It's really a shame that morganja's morals didn't apply in 1988, when James Lofton caught a TD pass for the Bills at the end of the first half to lead the Raiders 41-3; in the Super Bowl against the Chargers, when Steve Young passed to break the touchdown record and run the score to 49-18 with less than 14 minutes to play; in Super Bowl XX, when the Bears ran up the score (famously using Refrigerator Perry); and in a number of Cowboys games that I'm too lazy to look up at the moment.

It would have been a better league, indeed, if Steve Young, Troy Aikman, the entire Chicago Bears defense, and Jim Kelly (and countless others) were taken out by borderline illegal hits for their reprehensible actions. I get misty at the idea of such a simpler, classier league.

In fact, that concept of retaliation's working reaaaalll well for the NHL these days, isn't it?

205
by Papa Narb (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:27pm

198

Yeah, no one is calling for Manning to have his legs broken. But they are saying Bellichick would NEVER do this, blah blah.

Anyway, debating this is like debating politics or religion with someone. You're not likely to change their mind with rational arguments. When it comes to their teams, people are FAN-atical about them and that's probably how it should be.

206
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:28pm

#180, because there were eleven minutes left in the game, and guys are getting paid a lot of money to do their very best for a lot longer than 80% of the game. Kneeling down in that situation is not doing your very best.

207
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:29pm

If you are asking me if I am on the field and the other team is running up the score, celebrating and showing poor sportsmanship, would I take an opportunity that appeared to injure one of those players, the answer is yes, I would

Wow. Just wow. We're supposed to take seriously someone's position on sportsmanship when said person admits he would take an opportunity to deliberately injure an opponent?

No sale.

208
by AndyE (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:29pm

185 billsfan: Didn't you see Moss in at safety?

209
by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:31pm

Re: 179
I think Rodney Harrison complaining about Bobby Wade diving at his knees in the last game of the season last year. I also think it was in retaliation for something.

210
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:33pm

194:
Will, clearly we are nitpicking here. If you are asking me if I am on the field and the other team is running up the score, celebrating and showing poor sportsmanship, would I take an opportunity that appeared to injure one of those players, the answer is yes, I would. So would a great many other people who have played sports.

Actually, I think that no more than a handful of the 1500+ players currently employed by the NFL would deliberately cause serious and premeditated injury to another player in retaliation for a humiliating slight, and that includes the borderline psychotic and quasi criminal types there.

It takes a special kind of frustration-fueled insanity to fantasize about ending another player's career because they hurt your feelings, and some serious serious dissociative disorder to rationalize the whole thing as an issue of sportsmanship and on-the-field justice.

211
by iapetus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:35pm

29: I can add to that collection a Todd Collins jersey (though I had to ask to make sure) and a Josh Scobee alternate (though that's probably cheating, because it's mine).

78: Against that, the 2nd round picks over the same period have been really quite good - including Rashean Mathis and Maurice Jones-Drew. I've always said that if the Jags had traded down from their first round pick to the second round every year they'd have won at least one superbowl by now...

212
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:36pm

Here's our difference, morganja. You think trying your best is disrespectful. You believe quitting to be the preferable behavior. We differ. I believe quitting is truly the loathsome and contemptuous behavior, especially when one is being paid large sums of money. Finally, you think failure to quit means one deserves a borderline career ending hit. This strikes me as very, very, very, weird, to be charitable.

213
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:39pm

If people fail to understand my point about sportsmanship and really think that I am being a hypocrite when I advocate payback, then there really isn't much I can do to educate you. I have explained it in very simple terms. There are times when violence is justified. If you can't grasp that fact than you are a) a holy man, or b) a complete idiot. If you really live your life trying to screw people over and celebrate the fact that 'legally they can't do anything', I recommend you focus on the term legal. Revenge and payback is the mechanism by which people are strongly encouraged to be fair in their dealings and graceful in their interactions. I note that most of the people who think payback is wrong are the same people who think breaking the rules and taunting your opponent is perfectly acceptable.

I am very consistent on my philosophy. Obey the rules or suffer the consequences. I think people should obey the rules. But if they don't they should be prepared to suffer the consequences. There is nothing hypocritical about that whatsoever.

214
by Papa Narb (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:39pm

210:

You mean the kind of frustration fueled insanity that makes people play football to begin with? I mean, if people aren't above stepping on hands, twisting ankles in pileups, horse collar tackles, gouging people's eyes among many other things. Why is it such a stretch that someone would take a cheap shot when given the opportunity?

Anyway, the mob mentality on here is a bit ridiculous. No one should hope a Pats player gets injured, and as a Colts fan, I don't even want that. I want to beat their asses on the field - that would be much, much sweeter than any pre-meditated injury to Tom Brady can ever bring.

215
by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:40pm

Thats a perfect example. After scrolling through a couple pages, I still see no one claiming Manning should get his knees broken.

No, just to get his face mutilated:

Whoever is calling the play's needs to be put in a room with Albert Haynesworth for 2 minutes or so.

Immediately followed by:

Manning calls most of his own plays...nuff said.

216
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:41pm

Re #167
Just avoid all comment threads this week, and hope both teams lose this weekend.

I have only one fervent hope for this weekend's game, and that is that the refs don't decide it. I want one team to win 75-0, and to not be able to score any fewer because they're running their punter behind a line composed of their 5th string WRs and #7-9 DBs and getting 5+ yards every carry.

For one example of how to play with a lead against a non-threatening opponent, see Week 1, 2006, the fabled second MNF game, SD's gameplan against a hapless Oakland team.

217
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:44pm

The problem with Benson is that he doesn't have a move to make when there's one guy with the angle, i.e. a place where an actually talented RB would go to the stiffarm. Not sure if that's because he won't listen to coaching or if he's too afraid to take two arms off the ball (holy crap did he have some bad "arm flying out" carries yesterday).

218
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:46pm

Geez -- even the separate forum server is getting database errors ("Too many connections") now. Schedule those hardware upgrades before Sunday, guys :)

219
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:52pm

Morganja, I don't think anybody here disagrees with you that there are times when violence is justified.

I think where you depart from the realm of the sane is your belief that not kneeling with 11 minutes left, or running a play on fourth and one, is one of those times.

220
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:56pm

213
"There are times when violence is justified. "

Yeah, and Sports aren't one of them. You truly are a horriffic human being.

221
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:57pm

"I am very consistent on my philosophy. Obey the rules or suffer the consequences. I think people should obey the rules. "

Except when its the Colts, Cowboys, 49ers, or any team but the Patriots running up the score. Right, Morganja?

222
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:58pm

The best I can tell, people who are shocked at my comments 1) have never played an organized sport in their lives and have no idea what human nature is in those circumstances, and 2)are hopeless front-runner Patriot fans who are hopelessly situational in their ethics. Without doubt, if Harrison took out a player who was running up the score and then celebrating, each and every one of these fans would be falling all over themselves to defend him.

They show an intellectual integrity and level of comprehension typical of our talk-show radio society.

Sportsmanship was taught to be as soon as I first played sports. I was told the rules, including the unwritten rules, and was told how to respond when the rules were broken. If people are allowed to break the rules with impunity, if they disrespect the game with impunity, than the entire sport enters a downward spiral towards the lowest common denominator. With impunity means that no one steps up and does what needs to be done to preserve the game. Does anyone honestly believe once they come off their fan-high, that the game will really be better if every team is forced to abandon sportsmanship to match the Patriots?

223
by MP (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:59pm

I can't speak for anyone else, but as for me, having rooted for the Patriots for about thirty years, though I am aware that they have somehow turned into a very good team, I have never really accepted it. In my head the Patriots are still the team I grew up watching, a clumsy team that always loses.
I suppose that disconnect is at the root of the puzzlement some people here have expressed. Wait, why would anyone bother hating the Patriots? They suck.

224
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:01pm

Hey, morganja, here's a clue. If one is going to start making moral judgements, as you do, without considering proportionality, then one is either a fool or a sociopath. Saying that hurting someone's widdle itty bitty feewings means that a borderline hit with career ending implications is deserved is either foolish or sociopathic.

Secondly, you have yet to demonstrate how failure to quit is against the rules.

225
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:03pm

re: 220 You might have noticed that football is a violent sport. Or I guess you haven't.

226
by Mike D (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:06pm

222.
This is, at least, the third week when people have been calling out the Patriots for being unsportsmanlike.

This is also, at least, the third consecutive week when many many men who not only play organized sports, but are actually paid for it, didn't retaliate or behave in any manner similar to what your prescribe.

If it's such a clear human response, if it's such a sportsmanly thing to do, why hasn't it happened, at least once?

Maybe it's not as simple as you'd like it to be. Maybe it's not only idiots and holy men who don't ascribe to your worldview. Maybe it's the rosters of the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins too.

227
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:07pm

My football coach always told me that if I took a cheap shot (I was mostly a TE), to keep my composure and bury that guy (legally) on the next play.

He didn't teach me to dive at the SOBs knees after the whistle. And I certainly wouldn't do such a thing merely because me or the team got embarrassed.

I've also played soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse, and never had the urge to intentionally hurt anybody for bad sportsmanship.

Guess what? I don't think that it's everybody else who doesn't get it.

228
by scurvy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:08pm

When someone's argument is, "you're wrong because you've never played the sport," I'm like, "Sean Salisbury! You like FO message boards too!"

Also, any time anyone's argument runs along the lines of, "all of you fans of the _______ are so _______," I'm amazed that one person actually had the time and energy to interview so many people.

Irrational is right!

229
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:11pm

I’ve disliked various teams over the years. Some for specific periods like The Giants, Cowboys and Packers who seemingly took it in turns in the 80’s and 90’s to deny The Niners World Domination. Others like The Bears, Ravens and Eagles all the time because I find them dull (except for the Randall Cunningham era)…….but I’ve never felt the kind of vitriolic hatred towards another team that some people feel towards The Pats.

I didn’t have access to NFL opinion during the 80’s & 90’s so would someone tell me if The Niners and Cowboys, and to a lesser extent The Bills elicited this level of hatred.

It’s clearly got out of hand when season ending injuries are being advocated just for doing your job in the most complete way possible.

In rugby, football, cricket and many other sports, the aim is to inflict the largest margin of defeat possible on your opponent. Why is the NFL different?

Parity shouldn’t mean equal levels of incompetence and lack of ambition.#

230
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:13pm

That's the best you can tell, morganja, because you reasoning is so flawed as to be laughably pathetic. Here's the difference, illustrated with an example from another sport. Bob Gibson was as much an enforcer as baseball has ever seen, and a guy with a 98 mph fastball can threaten as much bodily injury as any football player. One day, when he thought Maury Wills was showing up the Cardinals by stealing bases while the Dodgers had a big lead, Gibson purposely hit Wills with a heater directed to Wills' backside. He attmepted to inflcit some pain, while deliberately avoiding what could have meant severe injury, a pitch to the head.

Also, for the final time, could you explain how quitting is more respectful of an opponent? I heard Bob Golic say this morning that he would have been more offended if he had been on the Redskins roster, and the Patriots had taken a knee or kicked a field goal, but I suppose Golic doesn't know anything about playing the game, huh?

231
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:13pm

I played soccer on a regional level, baseball, a tiny bit of football when I was younger, and handful of seasons in other sports.

I was NEVER taught that I should hurt other people when they outscore me. I remember playing in the regional finals in 8th grade, and we got beat 10-0. The other team most definitely did not need to score 10 goals. Were we trying to hurt them? of course not. They were the better team, and they outplayed us. We kept trying to score, and had to play kind of risky, everyone forward. There were a couple of breakaways and the game got out of hand.

Morganja, you are clearly confused as to what sportsmanship entails. Hurting players when you get outplayed is the opposite of what being a sportsman entails. Either your coaches or parents did an extremely poor job teaching this.

232
by Kneel Before Zod! (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:14pm

Mongol General: "What is best in life?"
Conan: "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."

Thank you women, it just wouldn't be the same without your lamentations.

Seriously, how about talking football instead of going eastercrazy rapturebrook?

233
by stubert (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:15pm

"Sportsmanship" and "class" have nothing to do with how many points any NFL team scores against its opponents. In case anyone has forgotten, Total Points Scored is still a tie-breaker for determining playoff seeds. Actually, total points, TDs, and margin of victory account for 6 of the 11 tie-breaking guidelines. Towards the goal of home-field advantage or a postseason bye-week, teams who are still in the playoff hunt should try to score as many points as possible and should be expecting other teams to do the same against them. Fans should not only expect it but demand it, or else demand the NFL use other factors to seed the playoffs.

234
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:17pm

I was recently playing in a slow pitch softball game. The other team was up by about 15 runs. They were still swinging at the ball. They should have just let strikes go by and ended the game.

Should I have charged the mound and bludgeoned teh pitcher with the bat while we were up? Sportsmanship would dictate this, right Morganja?

235
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:18pm

Mike Golic, of course. Getting my Golics mixed up.

236
by scurvy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:20pm

The Colt's Punter (Hunter Smith?) tripped the Jacksonville return man after he was already out of bounds. Can we get some indignant vitriol on this please?!

237
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:21pm

Re 224 Will, That was a really stupid comment. I expect better of you.

I'm not even sure how to respond to the first statement it is so ridiculously absurd. People have responded to 'getting their feelings hurt', as you so misleadingly put it, with violence for at least ten thousand years. Take a walk down to the courthouse and see how many fights are over what you call 'hurt feelings'. Some are sociopaths. Most are normal people.

But of course this isn't about getting feelings hurt. It's about sportsmanship and enforcing a moral code. If you can't understand that, than there is something wrong with your morality, not mine.

Secondly, do you honestly truly believe I coined the phrase 'running up the score'? If perchance you think I did not, is it perhaps possible the concept is already established and the negative reaction to it something more than my own connivance? If the concept is already established, its negative connotations also established, than what is this thing they call running up the score? Why has it traditionally been shunned and the people who do it condemned? Is it truly a madness without rhyme or reason? Is it truly a novel weapon invented with the sole purpose of attacking the noble Patriots?

Turn the question around and ask yourself, why is running up the score and poor sportsmanship in general considered despicable behavior? How is sportsmanship enforced?

I ask you, Will, because normally though we disagree you will at least eventually think through and understand other people's points.

238
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:24pm

"I ask you, Will, because normally though we disagree you will at least eventually think through and understand other people’s points."

People have to have sane points for Will to agree with him.

Your point boils down to this: If you don't like someone, assault them.

239
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:25pm

I do regret arguing so much about this in this thread, but gosh it seems so ridiculous to harp on team which tries to score touchdowns. Hey, I'm rooting for the Colts this Sunday (what a Pats homer I am!), and I'd much rather discuss how the Colts might win, and actually did so above, but nobody seems too interested in that subject.

240
by BigB (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:25pm

Dislaimer: Colts Fan..
I don't see what the big deal is with New England scoring points after the game is "out of reach". Teams continue to work on their game at all times. NE's receivers have only been working with Brady for 9 real games. By contrast, the Colts have been working on their running game when in similar circumstances. I bet all 11 players want a touchdown drive. Sorgi didn't take a knee but rather threw a pass on 4th down on that long clock-draining drive.

241
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:27pm

Scoring alot of points is a little different from running up the score. Running up the score is trying to convert fourth downs when you have a 40 point lead when in nearly any other circumstance (like protecting a vulnerable lead) you would punt. Its stuff you do in Madden, not necessarily the NFL.

My point is: what good comes of it? It gets the other team riled up and someone is more likely to get hurt when tampers flare.

242
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:30pm

"Running up the score is trying to convert fourth downs when you have a 40 point lead when in nearly any other circumstance (like protecting a vulnerable lead) you would punt."

you mean, like from the 7 yard line? Teams punt from the 7 yard line all the time.

243
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:32pm

One day, when he thought Maury Wills was showing up the Cardinals by stealing bases while the Dodgers had a big lead, Gibson purposely hit Wills with a heater directed to Wills’ backside. He attmepted to inflcit some pain, while deliberately avoiding what could have meant severe injury, a pitch to the head.

Actually, he was probably intending to inflict, not just pain, but a very real threat of severe injury if Wills did not stop what he was doing. Retaliating to unsportsmanlike behavior with illegal acts that have the risk of serious injury is pretty common in baseball history, to say nothing of hockey. As far as I know, however, it's not very common in football because there's lots of legal ways to retaliate violently.

Responding to dishonor with violence has a long history outside of sports, and it's never pretty. Preston Brooks caning Charles Sumner on the Senate floor springs to mind. I'd much prefer social stigma and public censure over violance as the proper response to unsportsmanlike conduct. We have enough reason to engage in violence, thanks.

244
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:33pm

137: "A number of posters have made good points about NE not taking out their offensive starters so as to not risk injuries. Why is no one making the same points for Washington? In other words, why was Jason Campbell still in the game when the score was 52-0? Can anyone explain that to me?"

It's a good question, and I'll take a stab at it, since I've been one suggesting the Pats pull Brady/Moss to protect from injuries and/or cheap shots. The way I see it, the potential benefit to playing them so long in blowouts is outweighed by the risk, and by the other benefit of pulling them - getting Cassel or Captain McThirdstring some game-time action. I don't give half a rat's lower digestive tract about the sportsmanship thing - in fact, I always recommend running the regular offense with your backups, so they know what they're doing in a game (not just practice) in case something does happen to the starters. Granted, I usually say that in the college thread - this kind of dominance is just unheard of in the NFL, if only because of scheduling. There's just nothing to be gained from keeping Brady/Moss in (and frankly, the rest of their skill players are fungible if they're both healthy), and so much to lose.

OK, maybe there is one reason to keep Brady in and not get Cassel some experience. Maybe they're not very high on him, and want to keep his trade value higher. If he plays, maybe he'll be 'exposed', but if he just rides the pine, they might get a Schaub-esque haul for him in the offseason. Still, there's gotta be a way that doesn't expose Brady to the cheap shot or accidental Kimo.

So what about the Skins? Well, their QB is still young(ish) and inexperienced. Maybe playing him even in a blowout loss is in their best interests - getting him more snaps, seeing what he's made of psychologically, deciding whether or not he's the long-term answer. The other skill players, I dunno how long they played, but I'd definitely not have the star RB keep taking hits unnecessarily.

Just a guess.

245
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:35pm

No, morganja, what is incredibly stupid is to think that violence with career ending implications is a morally proportionate response when someone keeps trying to score points. The most common terms for someone who responds with violence after feeling humiliated is "inmate" or "convict". Now, in an athletic setting where violence is part of the game, there is far more leeway, but we have seen hockey players prosecuted, and I definitely could see the same happening to a football player who adopted the idiotic code you think is appropriate.

246
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:35pm

#242 - i'm talking about a 4th and 1 at midfield where they snuck Brady, and were already sitting on a 38 point lead. A classier coach (and a smarter coach) would have punted. Why risk your QBs neck? If Brady got "jacked up" on the play, what would we all be saying now? "Oh, BB is an idiot for trying to run up the score, got his QB killed."

247
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:36pm

The Patriots' level of class is clearly ranked too high because running up the score is mean. Rating teams based on how polite they are to the other team is way better than this. Emily Post ROXORS UR BOXORS!!1!eleven!

248
by oljb (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:36pm

Morganja-

Running up the score is lame. Taunting and bad sportsmanship are lame. Agreed.

Reacting to the bad sportsmanship of an opponent by intentionally causing injury? Come on man, it's a game. Competition and a desire to win and an aversion to losing are great. But an inability to deal with the bad sportsmanship of an opponent except through a desire for violence and retribution isn't noble, or intrinsic to being an athlete- it's pathetic. It's far worse than the bad sportsmanship that inspired it.

249
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:39pm

Led, I won't try to read Gibson's mind. All I know is that getting drilled in the ass won't hurt severely injure anyone. There have been examples where pitchers have admitted to head-hunting, and those guys should be banished.

250
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:39pm

#247 wins the thread

251
by enough is enough (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:41pm

can you guys please create a thread like the (ala manning vs brady) for all this "running up the score" nonsense.

there are countless sites we can go to if we want to read/discuss this, but this is one of a handful of intelligent sites that should be better.

and this trend is only going to continue.

252
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:41pm

I don't have time to read all the comments, but has anyone pointed out that Brady didn't play very well yesterday? You evaluate QBs based on their accuracy given the amount of time they have to throw. Brady had a number of poor passes and all freakin day to throw.

He's becoming the Kerwin Bell of the NFL. [Freshman walk-on QB named SEC player of the year in 1984. Put up phenomenal stats. Then dominating O-line graduated.]

253
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:43pm

I see your point, Trogdor, and I would have pulled Brady sooner, but I don't think I'd ever pull a starter before the fourth quarter in the NFL.

254
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:47pm

Stan, I haven't wanted to sound like a lunatic by being too critical of a qb with Brady's stats, but I also don't think Brady has been terrifically accurate this year.

255
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:48pm

Re: 239

I think the Colts best bet to beat the Pats is to have some non starting defensive player take a cheap shot at Brady's knees (repeat as often as necessary until injury occurs) while the pretty boy is posing after throwing a pass. See, the entire thread really does connect.

More seriously, I don't think the Colts need to shorten the game to win it. If Harrison plays, I'm not sure the Pats will be any more successful at stopping the Colts than vice versa.

256
by Blair Wendell (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:48pm

Kneeling down, unless required by BOTH teams, should only be used when it will complete the game.
------------------

Dear New England Defense,

You need to work all 11 minutes remaining in this football game, our offense is taking the rest of the day off. Thanks for your hard work so far! Please complete the rest of the game and report to the locker room where we will be waiting. Hopefully, their will be Gatorade and Cheerleaders left by the time you arrive.

Sincerly,

The Offense.

P.S. Washington's Defense would also like to thank you, they enjoyed the 4th quarter rest as well.

257
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:48pm

#246 - maybe I hallucinated that play, because I don't see it on the play by play. Either way, I was erroneous, but...they did sneak Brady on 4th and 2 at the WAS 7 yd line successfully, with a 38 point lead and 10:00 left in the 4th quarter. In a tighter game most coaches would have taken the automatic 3. But what the hell, if you've got a 38 pt lead I guess you got nothing to lose. Well, except your QB's neck.

258
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:52pm

252:

That wins the thread. The Kerwin Bell reference put a smile to my face. Thanks stan.

259
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:57pm

I think I have been clear that it is not simply beating a team badly that is poor sportsmanship.
Nor did I invent this code Will Allen seems to think I am pushing on NFL players.
I am merely telling you that there is a code and many players do adhere to it. As I said above, there are many times in a game in which a player can choose to avoid a potentially dangerous play on his opponent. If the other team is disrespecting you, than many players will choose to not avoid the potentially dangerous play.

But do as you choose. Go ahead and show poor sportsmanship in your games and go ahead and act completely surprised when someone chooses not to pull up on your knee.

260
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:00pm

I just wanted to say that as an Eagles' fan I routinely wish harmful and sometimes unspeakable things on the rest of the NFC East. And if I could hate people to death there'd be a whole lot less people on the roads of NJ. I'm not proud nor am I apologetic of this.

I only say this because the level of outrage that someone would actually think a team trying to humiliate it's opponent deserved a bit of retribution seems awfully naive. You've never heard of a pitcher intentionally throwing at someone? You've never heard of a hard foul in basketball? You've never heard of a goon going after someone in hockey? Stuff like that happens in every sport and the best way to avoid it is not to humiliate your opponent. If you choose to ignore that, that's your decision. But as the saying goes, you have to lie in the bed that you make.

261
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:00pm

re: 254 Will

but I also don’t think Brady has been terrifically accurate this year.

He's made a few bad passes, but I'm not sure how you can say he hasn't been terrifically accurate this year when he's on pace to break the all-time completion percentage record for a single season.

He's currently completing 74.2% of his passes. If that's not 'terrifically accurate', there's no such thing.

I think, despite a few bad throws (which are bound to happen from time to time), he's been amazing. How many times has he hit Welker or Stallworth perfectly in stride, allowing them to maintain full speed through the catch and gain a ton of yards after the catch?

I admit, he's missed a few open receivers, but I just don't see how anyone can criticize Brady's accuracy when he's putting up a 74.2% completion percentage which would actually be higher if not for some throw aways and dropped passes (of course, I think it equals out with some of the missed receivers he's had).

262
by nat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:01pm

196:
"How would Redskins fans feel if the Patriots kneeled the ball the whole 4th quarter and still won 38-14? How would it feel to get blown out, and know that the other team didn’t even feel you were worth playing against?"

Much more to the point, how would the advertisers feel? How would the league feel when the advertisers or networks sued? The NFL can't promise a competetive game, but it does promise that the teams will play football.

I suspect any team that did kneeldowns for a full quarter would be subject to sanctions from the league. And since their actions would directly threaten advertising revenues, the sanctions could be quite large.

This has never happened because everyone in the NFL knows they are there to play football.

263
by vanya (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:01pm

What about the fans? People keep talking about "sportsmanship" but the point of pro football is to entertain people. Most people would rather watch Tom Brady pass for a meaningless TD than watch 2 teams trade punts back and forth while waiting for the clock to run out. How hard is that to understand?

Also, I think Belichick is doing this to try to mess with the Colts' heads. Intimidation has always played a big role in football. After the Pats beat the Colts, they'll be able to turn down the intensity, but right now it makes sense to come across as mean unforgiving bastards.

264
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:02pm

I really think this site needs a no discussing the Patriots rule in the comments. The Pats haters and homers going back and forth is absolutely brutal to read.

265
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:07pm

Amazing how much chat there is about what poor sports the Pats are or aren't and how little there is about how the Pats and Colts match up.

When I watch the Patriots it seems like they can score at will. Brady seems like he playing flag football without a rush as he stands back and surveys all around him.

When I watch Indy I see a really good team with an incredible QB who is under a great deal more duress than is Brady.

I think in the end NE will simply outscore Indy but it will be a very high scoring entertaining game.

266
by Ben (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:07pm

re:253 In the 2004 Colts-Detroit game Rich has mentioned a couple of times, Sorgi came in with 1:15 left in the third.

The gamebook is linked in my name.

267
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:08pm

266.

I don't believe I've mentioned that game once.

268
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:09pm

Interesting, I didn't know about the defensive backs for the Redskins running their mouths before the game:

asked FOXSports' Howie Long if the Patriots were running up the score on the Redskins. Long's argument was that the Redskins shouldn't have been running their mouths about how New England had never seen defensive backs like theirs and that they wouldn't get blown out like the other teams. Keep your mouth shut and maybe the Patriots would respect the Redskins a little more. That makes some sense to me.

269
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:09pm

morganja - Cobra Kai on line 2 for you.

can you guys please create a thread like the (ala manning vs brady) for all this “running up the score� nonsense.

Seconded!

270
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:10pm

Re: #265

I don't think so. I think it'll be 31-28 (no idea who will win) because I think both teams will have enough sustained drives that it will cut down the number of possessions and so (in a relative sense) keep the score down.

271
by Brandon (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:10pm

In regards to Tomlin's challenge of the catch by 85, anyone else think he challenged the play just so the ref could go under the hood to see that brilliantly executed push-off in super slo-mo? Maybe I am a homer. Okay I'm a homer. But I laughed when he threw the red flag. It seemed to me like a perfectly legal, sub-conscious way of lobbying for an offensive pass interference call. Or at least, for the next one.

272
by Ben (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:11pm

Grrr... link in my name was eaten due to an @ sign. It's:

http://images2.nfl.com/gamecenter/gamebook/NFL_20041125_IND@DET

273
by BigB (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:12pm

239.I'd like to discuss how the Colts might win too. My two cents...The team that pressures the QB the most will win. Freeney and Mathis will be big keys. They need to force NE into near-max protection without blitzes. Colts rarely blitz and aren't very good when they do (Brady will kill them deep). Colts are better when they keep plays in front of them and respond quickly forcing turnovers. Unfortunately, the Patriots are not fumble prone, so it'll probably have to be INTs. Most importantly, Colts must get on the board early. They've been slow starters lately and against NE that will mean being down 14-0 at the end of the 1st quarter. This time there won't be any room to come back from a large early deficit. I could go on and on but that's enough for now.I love the Receiver vs. D-Back match ups in this game.

274
by nat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:12pm

186:
"You know something? You’ve actually made me change my mind. Instead of running an offensive play on 4th & 1 from the 7, the Patriots should’ve punted. "

Thank you for that. It made my day.

I wonder if a punt from the 7 could hit the bridge at Gillette. Now that would be good sportsmanship!

275
by Ben (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:14pm

re: 267 I apologize if you didn't. I thought you had mentioned it when asking why no-one complained about the Colts in '04, but I can't find it now either.

Sorry about that.

276
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:15pm

Re: 268

I didn't read the Washington DBs exact quote, but if all they said was that they were better than any other backfield NE's faced and that they didn't think they would be blown out, I'm not really sure if that constitutes "running your mouth".

277
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:15pm

270. PatsFan - I hope you are right that it's that close.

278
by oljb (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:16pm

260-
There's always physical retribution in sports, which is fine. Hitting someone in a contact sport isn't the issue. Trying to cause someone serious, long-lasting physical damage is different. Using hockey as an example, it's OK to slam someone into the boards or punch someone in the face because both players will walk away (or skate in this case) from that kind of altercation. Even if it's a late or otherwise unsportsmanlike check, it's not likely to cause career-ending harm. Chopping an opponent in the face with the hockey stick, or using an ice-skate as a weapon is on a different level, and really isn't OK. The latter seems to be the level of violence that is being proposed for the (admittedly detestable) Brady.

279
by Kevin (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:18pm

Aaron "The Panthers did pull off a sweet play for their first touchdown. They were on the five, and Carolina had its safeties pulled wide, effectively double covering Smith and Colbert."

Aaron "That’s okay, Jim Nantz just said that Carolina had to get to the 47 of the Patriots. The Patriots are not in this game, Jim."

Monkey see monkey do.

280
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:18pm

275.

On a note, with you bringing up that game, I don't see how its relevant. These are the same people that were claiming the Pats were "running up the score" in the first half against the Dolphins. I don't see how Sorgi going in at the end of the 3rd refutes anything.

281
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:20pm

I didn’t read the Washington DBs exact quote, but if all they said was that they were better than any other backfield NE’s faced and that they didn’t think they would be blown out, I’m not really sure if that constitutes “running your mouth�.

Of course it is. It's basically saying they haven't played anyone and saying to the Patriots, "BRING IT"

The Patriots brought it, and now the Redskins are crying about it.

Don't talk about how good you are and how you won't get blown out and then whine when you do.

282
by Ben (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:20pm

re: 273 I agree QB pressure will be the key. That's why I'm expecting the Pats to win comfortably. The Colts pass-rush has been pretty average this year, and the Pats O-line is playing spectacularly.

Both the Colts and the Pats will put up long sustained drives, but I expect the Pats D to force a couple of three and outs. Even with the improved Colts D, I don't see that happening to the Pats offense.

283
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:20pm

I know, AJ45, which is why I said I have been hesitant to say anything, for fear of sounding like a lunatic. It just has seemed to me that for a guy with a stratospheric completion rate, I've seen Brady, while completely unpressured, badly, badly, miss receivers who were completely wide open. Maybe it's just my perception, which I admit is incongruous with the numbers.

284
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:23pm

#157: That said, I LOVED watching the Pats yesterday. How can you be a football fan and not enjoy that demonstration of excellence on both sides of the ball.

Interesting that you should say this Carlos. To me, precisely because I am a football fan, I couldn't stand to watch that game (left the sports bar after Brady's deep throw to Moss in the fourth). I enjoy watching competition, which to me is a contest of skills. The Redskins were over-matched. The Patriots knocked them down and out, and then apparently not satisfied, went to work with their boots.

It was not an entertaining display to me, and, I thought, to most non-Patriots fans, but looks like I was wrong. Interesting.

285
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:25pm

283

Will, Brady does make his share of totally oddball innacurate throws. With the limited view, I'm just not totally sure how many are him, and how many are him and the receiver not being on the same page. The patriots offense has a ton of route adjustments, and there can be a lot of problems (see Doug Gabriel)

286
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:26pm

Re: 281

If they had be saying that they were going to physically dominate NE's receivers, or that they were going to be getting to Brady all day, that would have been running their mouth. I had no idea basically saying "we don't stink" and "we won't be embarrassed" equates to calling the other team out.

287
by M (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:28pm

I used to absolutely, positively hate the Cowboys in the early 90's. Why? Because they OBVIOUSLY knew they were more talented than everyone, and would consistently have times when they would half-ass their way through several games a season, even though they arguably had the most up-to-down roster talent of any team since the Steelers of the 70's. I find it much more entertaining to watch a talented team playing to the best of their abilities than I do to watch the "plow into the line and take time off the clock" sequences at the end of a lopsided game. Would anyone remember the '85 Bears so much if they would have put in their scrubs/played down to their opponents after every big lead? No, because dominance is remembered AND entertaining. Frankly, I love watching a machine at work like the Patriots are this year. Ironicly, weren't they "criticized" as "not a dynasty" because they weren't dominant a few years back?

I think you should try all the time, except when it is worth getting stars out to prevent injury, or to get the game over with. If players are so angry about the Patriots "running up the score", then put that anger into your effort and stop them! Playing well is the best revenge.

288
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:28pm

Funny, morganja, I've heard at least a dozen current and former NFL players speak about the matter today, and the only one I've heard come close to agreeing with your supposed code is the whiner with the Redskins who had his feelings hurt. Guess they were all hopeless Pats homers, huh?

289
by MDZ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:31pm

Rich,
I haven't checked on 2005 yet, but in 2004 there was only one game where Peyton played in the 4th quarter with the Colts up by more than 2 scores, and in that game he threw a TD (on a drive continued from the 3rd quarter) to make it a 48-24 game with 11:00 left and then Sorgi played the rest of the game. The Colts had 4 games where they were blowing out the other team in the 4th, and in all four Sorgi came in on the first Colts drive beginning in the 4th quarter. In his 49 TDs, only 7 were in the fourth quarter, and only one occurred when the Colts had the lead. Only once all season was Peyton in the game with a big fourth quarter lead where a possible cheap shot could have occurred.

290
by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:33pm

It will be much more interesting when Belichick figures out what the correct formula is when leading a team by too many points at x time during the game.

Leading by 38 in 3rd Quarter + first down at opponent's 1 yard line = punt it out of the stadium.

Leading + Vrabel runs around Offensive Tackle = rip QB's shirt off and force it on Brady: Brady plays QB for the opponent until the score is less insulting.
(AND Vrabel brings a whole new meaning to the word strip-sack.)

291
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:34pm

Kaveman, obviously it is better to have two evenly matched teams, but that isn't the same as saying that you'd rather have the superior team stop trying with 11 minutes left, to spare the feelings of the inferior team.

292
by Lee Casebolt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:37pm

On the one hand, I think this "running up the score necessitates a violent response" argument is juvenile and foolish. I watched three Broncos Super Bowls in the 80s, and I don't remember a lot of kneel downs in those games. (Incidentally, I hope the Pats put up 70 on the '9ers Jan 2.) So my heart's not exactly breaking for Joe Gibbs and the 'skins. That said, there's an evil little part of me that wants to know what, say, Stephen Neal would do to the defender who took a cheapshot at Brady.

293
by UK-Phil (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:38pm

I went to the Wembley game with my two kids. We paid about $360 equivalent for the tickets, then about $150 for the train tickets, then about another $100 or so for snacks and souvenirs etc. So, lets call it a round $600 for a day out.

In the end, everyone had a good day out and the game remained in doubt until the end thanks to TGJr. I would, however, have felt somewhat pee'd off if we'd had to sit through a whole last quarter of kneel-downs or scrubs running into the line. That's apart from me having to explain to my kids why no-one was trying any more. The fans pay to watch the games and pay to watch the players do their damnedest win or lose.

This is from someone who paid for a transatlantic plane ticket and hotel etc to watch a Pats game a few years ago and only got to the stadium at halftime when it was 28-0 Falcons en route to a 41-10 or something win. Yes, the Pats got dicked, but they scored a couple of times in the second half and there was something to watch and cheer or boo. Pissed off as I was at missing the first half and seeing the Pats lose, after all that expense and effort, I would have been apoplectic if all I'd got to see were scrubs and kneeldowns.

294
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:38pm

I dunno, Brian, maybe they should put Flutie back on the roster, and start doing drop-kicks. That'd be kind fun, although the pats haters would have conniptions. Of course, that'd be fun as well.

295
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:39pm

Re Brady's occasional inaccuracy, I wonder whether paradoxically having so much time in the pocket doesn't result in a higher proportion of throws on broken/exhausted routes, and hence fewer, but really odd errors.

296
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:41pm

On Brady's accuracy: Normally, he is an accurate passer, but sometimes he just completely misses an open receiver, or overthrows badly and ends up getting picked off. Also, while he has the arm strength to throw the deep ball, his touch on it just isn't there, and he needs a receiver fast enough to catch up to the overthrown ball. I don't mind the occasionally missed passes because of everything else he can do, but I'm bothered when he has those games where things start badly, and he tries to force bad throws, and suddenly things are snow-balling into a 4-int game.
Still, to say he's just an average QB who's been surrounded by this incredible talent every year but last year is just a ridiculous statement. This isn't college where one team can build a powerhouse and make Tim Couch look like a superstar, the NFL doesn't have that kind of talent disparity between teams.

297
by Waverly (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:44pm

OK, so what should be the convention for a team to declare that they "give up"? Without being labeled "quitters".

Should there be a convention for the winning team to inquire whether they should stop trying to win bigger? Without being labeled "poor sports" for trying to run up the score.

Taking a knee is one possibility. If the losing team disagrees, they can continue to try to win instead of taking a knee themselves, and the winning team should go back to trying to win bigger.

PS: I thought #256 was really funny.

298
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:44pm

It was not an entertaining display to me,

Kaveman, I say I loved watching that Pats O go to work on "my" skins D b/c I haven't seen an offense that precise and deadly since the best of the Vermeil/Martz Rams. It was great fun to watch for me, particularly in an age where most headcoaches claim explicity or implicitly that defenses have the advantage and all offenses can hope to do is "minimize mistakes." Coach Joe used to have aggressive game plans and play calling (this is the guy that called a bomb on Jay Schroeder's first pass after Theismann had his leg snapped off). Coach Joe this go'round has been a putrifying display of 2 yards and a cloud of dust (they don't even get the three yards that playbook calls for!).

As the saying goes, de gustibus non disputandum.

299
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:46pm

I've found one thing that can unite Patriots' friend and foe alike. Click on my name for some amazing stuff. I think this is recent, but if it's been floating around for awhile...well, I'm a loser and I apologize.

300
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:47pm

#291: Actually I would rather have the superior team stop trying and let their defense close out the game. Clearly some people disagree and find entertainment in meaningless TDs against an already beaten opponent. To me, that's like watching a boxing match that should have been stopped two rounds ago. Just not entertainment.