Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Catch Radius: The Bigger, the Better?

Our season finale of catch radius focuses on the growing size of Josh McCown's talented receiving duos, including breakout stud Alshon Jeffery. Also: Anquan Boldin's incredible year.

19 Oct 2009

Audibles at the Line: Week 6

compiled by Bill Barnwell

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

Please also note that we do not write the e-mails specifically to produce this column, which means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Seahawks or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Raiders fan, not so much. Well, except this week.)

Houston Texans 28 at Cincinnati Bengals 17

Vince Verhei: Matt Schaub is going to end up with a pretty great day, DYAR-wise, but the receivers are doing more than their fair share -- a lot of the yards, especially the big plays (the Steve Slaton touchdown, a screen to Andre Johnson) have come after the catch.

Mike Tanier: You will see a lot of that from Schaub. He will also mix in a bunch of "what was he thinking" throws and just some wobbly passes.

Aaron Schatz: I like Carson Palmer a lot, but at some point we have to admit he has a weird problem throwing dumpoffs. The Bengals' running backs have been at the bottom of the league in DYAR year after year and I'm starting to wonder if it has to do with the quarterback. The Bengals had split backs in the third quarter with Daniel Coats in the backfield as fullback, and Palmer is under pressure, he throws to Coats over on the left side. Not only is Coats not really particularly open -- there's a defender like three feet in front of him -- but Palmer throws the ball two feet behind Coats, so Coats has to reach back to make the catch and then the defender has the opportunity to smack him, ball comes loose, fumble, recovery Houston. This is just one subjective view of one play, obviously, but it jives with the numbers from the past few years. Bengals running backs seem to specialize in low catch rate and third-down receptions that end nowhere near the sticks.

Robert Weintraub: As for Cincy today, the less said the better. Just one -- is adjusting to non-stop screen passes really that difficult?

St. Louis Rams 20 at Jacksonville Jaguars 23

Tom Gower: The Rams and Jaguars entered today's game having scored, combined, a grand total of 16 points in the first quarter this season, all of which were scored by the Jaguars and 10 of which came against the Titans. After one possession by each team, they've scored 13 (Jags flubbed the XP).

Doug Farrar: Discussion question: If the Rams lose to the Jaguars today, they will have lost their last 16 games, and it could be argued quite convincingly that they’ve been as bad as the 2008 Lions all the way. Should that carry the same stigma as a winless season does, or is it kind of a reverse Tiger Slam? To me, it’s even worse, because you have an offseason to deal with what ails your team.

Bill Barnwell: Well, what's the worst streak of consecutive losses across multiple seasons?

Tom Gower: 26. '76 Bucs 0-14, 77 started 0-12 before winning their last 2.

With Donnie Avery's hip injury today leaving him doubtful to return, the Rams' healthy, active wideouts were Danny Amendola, Keenan Burton, and Tim Carter, who wasn't on the roster three weeks ago and got hurt two plays after the announcers mentioned Avery's injury. TE Daniel Fells is now injured as well. Steven Jackson, you have my sympathies.

Later on...

Tom Gower: Wow. Jags up 13-10, trying to run out the clock. Garrard's throwing the ball to Greg Jones on a swing out of the backfield, but Leonard Little reads the play, peels off the right tackle, makes a nice grab to steal the ball away from Jones and outraces Garrard 38 yards for the end zone. Fantastic play by Little.

Baltimore Ravens 31 at Minnesota Vikings 33

Mike Kurtz: I'm sorry, but Brad Childress looks like a child-molesting high school teacher. I'm not sure I can take the vikings seriously with him as
their coach.

Michael Oher being praised by Dan Dierdorf for essentially holding Jared Allen. This is going to be an interesting game.

Aaron Schatz: Actually, Mike, I think of it as "Brad Childress: The Rabbinic Years." I guess we have different cultural touchstones.

Mike Tanier: When did the NFL stop calling offensive picks? Percy Harvin just blocked Bernard Berrian's defender on a slant route for a Vikings touchdown. He really just lowered his shoulder and blocked, it wasn't a rub or a wipe, it was a block. Brett Favre is kicking butt early, but it helps when plays like that go uncalled.

Doug Farrar: Same time the NFL decided that any hit without a text beforehand (I M GONNA TCKL U NOW WATCH OUT!) was unnecessary roughness.

Mike Kurtz: Dierdorf, on the Vikings TO after only 9 men on the field: "I believe it's always best to start with your full complement of players."

The Vikings are just cutting up the Ravens' secondary, and there's been little pressure on Favre thus far. I think the loss of Rex Ryan is much bigger than the loss of Bart Scott... the Vikings are easily finding the seams and, on the most recent touchdown throw, defenders are missing assignments and running into each other. It's really sloppy thus far, although the run defense has been decent.

Bill Barnwell: Michael Oher is having a day that not even Sandra Bullock could fix. A false start earlier, a hurry or two, and Jared Allen just strip-sacked Joe Flacco for another Vikings defensive touchdown.

Well, until the refs say it was an incomplete pass.

Vince Verhei: I think the deal with the Flacco non-fumble is that referees are now allowing close fumbles to play out without blowing the whistle, then discussing to determine whether the runner was down or not. That way we avoid the "the ball was fumbled, but the whistle blew the play dead so the recovery doesn't count" debacles we've seen in the past. They did the same thing last week in Cincinnati-Baltimore.

Sean McCormick: Yeah, I thought the refs handled that well. You need to let the play run to conclusion, then go back and check. Flacco clearly maintained control as his arm went forward, even though Allen did strike his hand.

Mike Kurtz: After spending the first half picking apart the Ravens' secondary, the Vikes have switched to power running with Peterson. The adjustment has paid off thus far on this drive, Baltimore is respecting the pass and getting blown off the line.

The Ravens' offense has finally come alive. Flacco worked the sidelines on a long touchdown drive pretty much all the way down the field, including 3 third down conversions. At the end, Rice broke loose and scored.

Favre is getting a lot of press, but his receivers are really bailing him out. In the first two drives (two touchdowns), Favre was consistently throwing behind his receivers, and they (primarily Rice) were making excellent catches. Just now Favre threw a fade about 10 feet over the receiver's head. He has not looked great.

Dierdorf, in response to this awful throw, has spent the past 5 minutes babbling about Favre, with random quotes included. Shoot me now.

Aaron Schatz: We all know the Minnesota run defense is really good, and I think there's a reason people don't talk about. Those linemen have great instincts and reaction time. It seems like even if a back can break through that first line of blocking, some Minnesota defender is reaching back and grabbing a hold of a the back's ankle or leg, something to slow him down or take him down after a short gain.

Bill Barnwell: Ray Rice just sprinted through the Vikings defense for his second touchdown of the day, giving the Ravens a 31-30 lead. What were the odds of both backs in Baltimore vs. Minnesota having a huge game?

...and Favre responds by finding Frank Walker matched up in single coverage 50 yards downfield against Sidney Rice for a huge gain. Of course, a huge hold right in front of a rolled-out Favre goes uncalled.

Dan Dierdorf says over a shot of a desolate Joe Flacco, "Flacco must be asking himself who that #4 guy is." You know, because Brett Favre's gone unreported during Flacco's childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.

Mike Kurtz: Not quite playing for the tie, but the Vikes just shut down their offense in the red zone and appear to be settling for a FG that would put them up by 2. With 2 minutes left. Against a Baltimore offense that just torched them on two consecutive quick TD drives. What?

Luckily for the Vikings, Brett Favre uses his magic mind-control powers to make Hauschka the winning FG wide. Good acquisition.

Doug Farrar: I'll say this about Flacco -- he showed excellent pocket awareness, especially late in the game. Good movement to get out of trouble while maintaining his reads and getting the ball off under pressure.

New York Giants 27 at New Orleans Saints 48

Bill Barnwell: The Saints offense is pretty simple so far. On first and second down, isolate weak links in the passing game and run when there's space available. They still have to convert on third down, though, and that was tricky; Drew Brees threw a quick slant to Lance Moore when Corey Webster stumbled and Webster still had his hands on it and nearly picked it off. I'm not an NFL quarterback, but Webster isn't the guy I'd target in that defense. C.C. Brown, on the other hand....

The Saints' second touchdown comes when Marques Colston lines up essentially at his old position of tight end (fantasy leaguers can dream) and gets matched up in zone against Antonio Pierce; predictably, Colston runs a seam, Pierce can't keep up, and Brown gets looked off long enough to drop a great throw in.

Well, until the refs say he was down at the one.

Mike Tanier: During Gamebreaks, James Brown is talking about what the Saints are doing to the "NFL's #1 Defense" I think the Giants defense is very good, but do we all have to shut our brains off when reciting these official stats? They have played the Redskins, Chiefs, Bucs and Raiders. How shocking to think they may have a few flaws that those teams couldn't exploit!

Bill Barnwell: Everything the Giants are doing offensively is vertical, usually going towards the goalposts on seams and deep posts. Unfortunately, the Saints are either tipping passes away, or Eli Manning's overthrowing them.

We might have to add Darren Sharper to the list of guys who seem to have some skill at returning turnovers for touchdowns, alongside Ed Reed and DeAngelo Hall. Freaky.

Very questionable pass interference call against Corey Webster where the receiver got caught up in Webster's feet, but the call was that Webster was "not playing the ball". Of course, it didn't look like he was playing the ball because the receiver was turning and got caught up in Webster's feet.

Sean McCormick: The Jets' defensive performance against New Orleans is looking better and better with each Saints drive. New Orleans is having tremendous success forcing the Giants linebackers into coverage and taking advantage, whether it's making them cover Reggie Bush out in the flats or taking advantage of linebackers who are providing bracket coverage on deep post patterns.

Right now, it's all working for the Saints.

Mike Tanier: At half, this looks like the kind of game the Saints found a way to lose last year. They are up by 10, but they just missed a goal line opportunity to score a touchdown, and the way they are playing, the Giants shouldn't even be in the game.

Bill Barnwell: It was the right move to go for it, though, and I think they actually made it and got screwed by a bad call that it was impossible to overturn.

Tom Gower: Agreed with Mr. Barnwell, but that was an excellent play by Osi Umenyiora to get to the right place and stand up Pierre Thomas.

Eli fumblesacked, almost fumble-6. First-and-goal again for the Saints, it appears.

Doug Farrar: A Reggie Bush sighting!

The Saints have had success today running outside in the red zone (sometimes by holding, as Heath Evans found out), and they blew open a serious lane for Bush to roll in for the touchdown at the end of the first half.

Bill Barnwell: Giants scheme for this Saints game is totally wrong. They're rushing three and four and dropping seven or eight into coverage, and Brees is picking the mismatches apart in man and finding huge cracks in their zones. You've got the best pass rush in football. Blitz Brees and confuse him.

C.C. Brown is just having a terrifyingly bad game.

Doug Farrar: Darren Sharper batted away a pass to Mario Manningham in the end zone with 12 minutes left in the game. If he didn't have it already (or if Aqib Talib had two or more today), that play should break the tie Sharper had with Michael Huff of the Raiders for the NFL lead in passes defensed with 10. So it's the lead in picks AND deflections for a guy who was thought to be hanging on with a one-year contract in New Orleans. Not bad!

Cleveland Browns 14 at Pittsburgh Steelers 27

Doug Farrar: The Browns have wisely decided to do away with the traditional quarterback concept altogether, instead putting Josh Cribbs in shotgun a lot early on with a lot of their Flash package stuff. Cribbs threw an early pick to Troy Polamalu, who came up limping, Ouch.

Bill Barnwell: The problem with the Wildcat as a red zone offense for me is that you can't manipulate the safeties, since there's no space behind them. The Steelers split out Polamalu in coverage and the Browns are targeting him, but they can't do anything with Cribbs as the quarterback there.

Doug Farrar: Back to Josh Cribbs, who returned a kickoff 98 yards for that rarest of all things: a Cleveland touchdown. If he throws a touchdown pass today as well, I think Cribbs should be allowed to tear up his current contract in a public ceremony.

Mike Kurtz: Willie Parker? What? Did the steelers brass not watch the past two weeks?

This is a nightmare.

Two quarters later…

Mike Kurtz: Why is Willie Parker playing. Why. Why. Why.

Play-action, Parker runs out, the Browns… do whatever it is the browns do, there is nobody within 20 yards of him. Catches the ball. Then falls down. A few seconds later, he gets up and runs for another 4 yards before he's tackled.

Next play, simple off-tackle, home clear, gets hit high by one guy and coughs up the ball, Browns recover.

Why are you doing this to us, Tomlin? Why?

Carolina Panthers 28 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21

Doug Farrar: The return of Cadillac Williams is an underreported story because his team stinks on ice, but it's pretty miraculous to watch the cuts he's making after all the knee problems. Specifically, the SICK cut to the left on the
run that put the Bucs up a touchdown on the Panthers early in the first quarter.

David Gardner: The Bucs offense has moved the ball down quickly on their first two possessions, thanks to Josh Johnson's accuracy and much-improved play from the wide receivers.

Bill Barnwell: Dante Wesley just hit Clifton Smith, waiting for a punt, with one of the dirtiest hits you'll ever see. Smith called for a fair catch and, with the ball about to land in maybe a second, Wesley lept in the air and leveled Smith with something straight out of NFL Blitz or the XFL's marketing plan, knocking Smith unconscious and starting a huge brawl.

Doug Farrar: Oh, jeez – I just saw the Wesley hit. With all the legitimate talk about the league getting too ticky-tack on roughness calls, that was waaaaaay out of order. He’s about to get a lot lighter in the wallet.

Tom Gower: The Panthers got a first and goal at the 12 with 1:54 left. The Bucs burned up their time outs and CAR converted for first and goal from with 1. With the Bucs unable to stop the clock and having the ability to win the game by taking a couple knees and kicking a 19 yard field goal, DeAngelo Williams gets the ball on first-and-goal and scores. I'm really not sure I like that move by Fox.

Kansas City Chiefs 14 at Washington Redskins 6

Doug Farrar: Washington’s defense is playing like absolute garbage. They’re getting gashed by Larry Johnson (!), and DeAngelo Hall is playing so far off Dwayne Bowe, he may need a passport if he decides to bump-and-run later in the game.

Bill Barnwell: That last fade before the Chiefs field goal was a comedy of errors. Cassel overthrew the fade by three yards, so it didn't matter that Hall fell down in his backpedal.

Doug Farrar: Great way for the Redskins to end the first half. They go shotgun on fourth-and-2 at the KC 35 with six seconds left on the clock. Campbell rolls around in the pocket, just long enough to insure that there’s no time left, and throws a pick to Brandon Flowers. As far as I could see, all three Washington receivers ran what amounted to straight downfield routes – not a single sideline pattern for an anemic offense that could use a 3-3 tie at the end of the half, even if it is against the Chiefs. You don’t go Hail Mary there, Zornie – you get a quick out for 10 and kick the damned field goal.

On replay, fourth receiver Antwaan Randle El ran a skinny post from the right slot. THAT makes sense.

Washington brings in Todd Collins and benches Jason Campbell

Mike Tanier: Oh my, ladies and gentlemen: a Todd Collins sighting..

Bill Barnwell: Clinton Portis promptly busts out a career-high 78-yard run. Must have been Jason Campbell's handoffs holding the Redskins offense back.

Doug Tanier: After that, the Redskins enjoy the following third-quarter red zone sashay:

First Down: Empty backfield, Todd Collins overthrow in the end zone.
Second Down: Empty backfield, Todd Collins overthrow in the end zone.
Third Down: Single-back, four-wide, Collins pass deflected at the line.

As a longtime Seattle resident, I love me some Jim Zorn, but it’s pretty clear that this Redskins thing needs to end.

Tom Gower: But ... but ... but ... Clinton Portis never would've run for 78 yards with Campbell still in there. Collins so inspires the team they've scored points the first two drives he's been in there.

Doug Farrar: Yes, and the receivers all would have run the right routes on the last stupid playcall if only “Toddball” (©The Washington Post) had been in there at the end of the first half.

Bill Barnwell: And now the Redskins-Chiefs feed is out nationwide. I wonder if Collins can fix that, too.

CBS color commentator notes after a two-yard run on first-and-10 that the Chiefs are doing a good job of getting Larry Johnson the rock and that once he gets up around 25 carries, the Chiefs usually win. Good job with that.

Matt Cassel just pulled an Orlovsky, scrambling two yards ahead of the line of scrimmage before (temporarily) throwing a pass for a first down.

Vince Verhei: Cut to Todd Haley, who just has his arms crossed, staring at the ground and shaking his head.

Aaron Schatz: Wait, I thought Orlovsky was known for forgetting where the back of the end zone was? That's not an Orlovsky, that's a Favre. I bet if you go into the big FO pbp database, half the penalties for illegal forward pass over the last 15 years were by Brett Favre (well, not counting penalties on end-game lateral-fests).

Bill Barnwell: I just consider Orlovsky as the patron saint for quarterbacks with absolutely no sense of awareness.

Vince Verhei: Would Reverse-Orlovsky be appropriate?

Doug Farrar: Oh, dear. Matt Cassel throws high to Dwayne Bowe, driving late, and Bowe gets alligator arms on the high stuff as LaRon Landry is diving to lay him out. Bowe does a half-jump and pulls up. Still, the Chiefs pull ahead, 9-6, on Ryan Succop's third field goal of the day. If that's the way the score stays, I'll bet money on Jerry Gray being Washington's interim head coach next week.

Vince Verhei: Washington has the ball down 6 with 30 seconds to go. In an attempt to pull off a miracle, Todd Collins is sacked in the end zone. Pretty much sums up the Zorn era, doesn't it?

Bill Barnwell: The Chiefs haven't been great this year, but Tamba Hali is showing real skill as a outside linebacker.

Doug Farrar: Don’t forget the kickoff penalty on the usually invisible Fred Davis to put the Skins in that hole in the first place. They can (and should) fire Zorn -- the guy is clearly in about five stories above his own head -- but without a major, major change in thinking in that front office, it doesn’t matter one bit who replaces him. Dan Snyder needs to do two things: Hire a great GM and stay the hell out of his way. As he will do neither, this team is in major trouble.

Aaron Schatz: Anyone want to check the manifests for all flights from Denver to Washington tonight?

Vince Verhei: Shanahan? Why would he want that job? He can wait three months and something better will open up. And "something better" would be pretty much anywhere else except Oakland.

Philadelphia Eagles 9 at Oakland Raiders 13

Bill Barnwell: JaMarcus Russell's first pass is too high, off the receiver's fingertips, and picked off in Oakland. Looks like a gorgeous fall day there, while the snow comes down in New England. Why did I move again?

Vince Verhei: On the first play of the Raiders' second drive, Russell is sacked for a 10-yard loss. Every team gives up sacks once in a while, but when the Raiders do it, it just looks funnier. Russell play-fakes to a pair of running backs, both of whom move to the left to pass block. Then Russell kind of pirouettes back into something resembling a passing stance. Then one of the runners blows his block and his man takes Russell down.

Mike Tanier: Nnamdi Asomugha is out for the Raiders. That said, I wish the Eagles would run once. in. a. while.

(How many times have I typed that in the past five years? 25?)

Bill Barnwell: Zach Miller with an absurd 86-yard touchdown pass where he finds a hole behind Jeremiah Trotter, the Eagles blow about three tackles, and he gets a couple blocks downfield. I thought that the Eagles were going to struggle with Trotter in coverage, but ... not like that.

Tom Gower: To be fair, that was some fantastic downfield blocking by Louis Murphy, who destroyed the CB, and blocked the safety. It's still a good gain with normal (bad) blocking, but Murphy made that TD. Also Miller's first TD in over a year, I believe.

Bill Barnwell: And then McNabb follows it with a pick-six to Stanford Routt that ends up being called back for a VERY questionable amount of pass interference.

Vince Verhei: To back up Tanier's point: At the end of the first quarter: LeSean McCoy has two carries, and Brian Westbrook and Michael Vick have one each. Meanwhile, the Eagles have run 14 pass plays. On the other hand, those four carries have netted one total yard, so maybe they should pass every play.

Bill Barnwell: Andy Reid -- Mr. I Never Go For It -- goes for it on fourth-and-inches from his OWN 29 and makes it on a McNabb sneak. About time.

All year, the Raiders have been rushing four and getting no pressure. This week, they're lining up linebackers in the A-gaps for blitzes, creating confusion, and Jason Peters' injury has resulted in the left side of their line getting destroyed. Richard Seymour's killing them, but there's other problems there with communication; on one play, the two linemen (King Dunlap at left tackle and, maybe, Todd Herremans at left guard?) didn't even come out of their stances until 1.5 seconds after the snap.

Mike Tanier: Eagles are having one of THOSE games. Jason Peters is hurt but Reid isn't giving the replacement much help. McNabb got sacked out of field goal range near the end of the first half. The special teams just failed to down an easy-to-down punt at the 2-yard line. And JaMarcus Russell is 9-of-11.

9-of-11

9-of-11.

JaMarcus Russell.

Everyone is just playing dumb. One of those infuriating games, like the Bengals game last year.

Okay, now he is 10-of-13 but with a pick.

Ooh. Eagles call 4th timeout! Then McNabb is sacked on a ragged start by the offensive line! Maybe there is lead in the paint in Oakland.

Missed field goal by David Akers. The hits just keep on coming. And now the Raiders offensive line is suddenly good.

Tim Gerheim: Imagine: you're the Raiders facing fourth and one. You have a 260 lb. QB who's completing about 40% of his passes. Do you try sneaking it maybe, or throw a deep out? Sneak it you say? Sorry, you've just made yourself ineligible to coach the Raiders.

Mike Tanier: How about if you coach your fat QB that when he rolls out, if there is no defensive containment whatsoever, he must just take the easy first down? That would also be too much for the Raiders, Who are winning,

DeSean Jackson just got hurt while being tackled 5 yards out of bounds. No flag.

There's a pigeon on the field that is currently outplaying the Eagles offense.

Vince Verhei: The Oakland Pigeon is now on the highlights, accompanying the Raiders on their kickoff coverage.

Bill Barnwell: This Eagles game really is a 2006-08 special. Raiders recovering multiple fumbles (or fumbles don't get called), tipped Russell passes that hit the ground, intentional grounding calls that go unwhistled...

Mike Tanier: Anyone watching a good game? Just curious who I should be jealous of.

Meanwhile, in Monday Night Jihad, there's a Italian tight end (from Italy, a guy from the Elamverse's version of NFLEurope) who speaks German, married an American woman just weeks after entering the US, and receives suspicious phone calls just minutes (in book time) after the terrorists call their boss for instructions.

Am I going to read about an Afgani terrorist who can pass for an Italian tight end? Don't know whether to laugh or cry. Or call John Spagnola and tell him to sue.

Vince Verhei: Raiders finish off the Eagles. Last bit of drama: Will Tom Cable and Andy Reid be able to shake hands, or will their respective enormous
bellies get in the way, leaving them waving their arms at each other like obese tyrannosaurs?

They're reaching out, and ... success! We have a handshake!

Mike Tanier: Then Cable and Reid ate the friggin pigeon.

Mike Kurtz: Wait, what? Did the Eagles really only have single-digit runs this week? Reid panicked or something?

Sean McCormick: The Raiders were demolishing the Eagles offensive line all day. It almost looked like they knew the snap count better than the Eagles, as they were repeatedly moving before the linemen could get out of their stances.

Arizona Cardinals 27 at Seattle Seahawks 3

Vince Verhei: Boy, this first drive has been exactly what you would expect: Seahawks getting pressure off the edge, but Warner hanging in there and completing passes to giant wide receivers who are playing against outmatched Smurfs. Warner passes convert on third-and-2 or less three times on the drive, which ends in a Larry Fitzgerald touchdown. Warner went 9-for-9 on the drive.

Doug Farrar: Don't you dare say anything against Tim Ruskell's Smurfs! You're always better off with short, quick cornerbacks because other people don't see their value and you can get them for a steal and look like the genius you are! And that's why you overdraft them in the first and second rounds! Or something like that!

Vince Verhei: I'm not a fan of Jim Mora and his staff at all, but whoever designed and called that fake punt deserves high praise. John Carlson just stepped out into the flat and no Cardinals made even an attempt to cover him, and Carlson rambled for a big gain.

Of course, the Seahawks were caught off guard by their own success, and following the successful fake punt they had to call timeout to get a play called. Drive eventually ends with a sack on third-and-goal, and Seahawks kick a field goal to go down 17-3.

Matt Hasselbeck is sacked for the fourth time. Play ends with both tackles sitting on the ground, looking back at the defenders who ran over them and took Hasselbeck down.

Bill Barnwell: Lofa Tatupu is out for the year. Thoughts, Seattle crew?

Vince Verhei: S--t. For whatever this is worth, Mora and the staff were getting excoriated, just ravaged on sports radio afterwards. Fans and radio guys alike are already sick of him. I don't think I've seen this city turn on a coach so quickly.

Doug Farrar: Mora isn't the problem. He isn't the solution, but he isn't the problem. He isn't the one who thought that David Greene was the Seahawks' quarterback of the future. He isn't the one who let Steve Hutchinson dangle on the open market over a $600,000 tag difference, despite the fact that the Eagles had shown interest in poison-pilling for Hutch a few months before. He isn’t the one who plucked Julius Jones from the Cowboys as if it was some sort of epic win, when Jones would be Dallas' fourth-best running back right now. He wasn't the one who gave up a first-round pick and a $39 million contract to a ball-dropping, constantly hurt Santana Moss Lite. And he wasn't the one who did nothing to replace Walter Jones despite the age and microfracture concerns. No, moving Sean Locklear to left tackle doesn't count in the least.

If people want to rip the architect of this disaster, they need look no further than Tim Ruskell. Mora shouldn't be taking the bullets for this -- he's just the caretaker of a comatose patient. Mike Holmgren found it more and more difficult to win with Ruskell's personnel moves after the first Super Bowl year. Any coach would.

Tennessee Titans 0 at New England Patriots 59

Aaron Schatz: Hello from Gillette Stadium, where FO makes its first-ever press box appearance. It is 45 minutes to kickoff and, I kid you not, SNOWING.

Laurence Maroney with a 41-yard touchdown through a HUGE hole from Stephen Neal and rookie Sebastian Vollmer, who is playing left tackle with Matt Light out.

The Pats CB were giving guys a ton of space in previous games. Don't know if it is the Tennessee receivers or the weather, but this week they are playing very close to the line before the snap.

Titans are down to four corners because of injuries: rookies Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton, a second-year guy named Cary Williams with only three NFL games before today (who went to a college called Washburn that I've never heard of), and recently signed FO binky Roderick Hood. Man, are the Titans happy about the weather, although the wind didn't stop Brady from hitting a wide open Welker downfield for nearly 40 yards.

Bill Barnwell: I would like to disassociate myself from being binky for Roderick Hood if at all possible.

Doug Farrar: Duly noted. Barnwell says, Life of Brian-style: “Wewease Wodewick!”

Aaron Schatz: Pats hit Randy Moss deep for 40-yard touchdown on Flea Flicker. Can anyone remember which Audibles last year I ran through some numbers for Flea Flickers? I seem to remember doing it at one point. Great percentage play.

Tom Gower: I'm glad next week is the bye week. I'll need the full 13 days to come up with a list of "things to look forward to after an 0-6 start with 20 starters back off a team that was 13-3." Or at least one thing.

Vince Verhei: Two notes on Brady's second touchdown to Moss: First, the roughing penalty was a blatant head-to-head hit. How can you not be cognizant of that kind of thing after the Brady-Ravens hullabaloo?

Secondly, are the Titans defensive backs even trying anymore? It seems like they'd rather just stand around and point at each other than even try to cover anyone. The corner just jogged by at half-speed as Moss blew by him, and the safety reacted late, then sort of sauntered over to at least be in the picture as Moss went into the end zone.

Aaron Schatz: Tom, what the hell? You watch this team every week. We can talk about Albert Haynesworth and all that, but the Titans brought back the entire offense from last year. What on earth happened to this offense? They look AWFUL. We're halfway through the second quarter and I am not sure if Collins even has a completed pass.

Tom Gower: I think a lot of it is a coaching issue. The corners are all young, except Hood who's been on the team for 3 days, but the safeties are veterans. I'm now starting to believe DC Chuck Cecil isn't communicating effectively, or may just be terrible at gameplanning.

Aaron Schatz: The defense, yes, has tons of injuries in the secondary and has to adapt to the lack of Haynesworth. What the hell is going on with the offense? Same coordinator, same players, no injuries except they were missing Nate Washington for a couple weeks. But what about the offense?

Vince Verhei: Collins has completed two passes -- one to each team.

Tom Gower: Well, this year I didn't write a preview post for my personal blog about how the Titans wouldn't be as good as everybody thought they were going to be, so everything that's happened this year has been my fault.

One problem is that the offense was never actually any good. It was 16th in DVOA last year, and that was probably overrating how good it actually was. They have precisely two skill position players who are at least average, and I'd say Hall is maybe only marginally above average. And, CJ28 is a boom-and-bust runner. One thing I suspect about those guys is they're more inconsistent from year-to-year. This year, he's been going boom a good amount, but he's also been going bust a lot more-something like half his carries are for 0 or negative yardage.

That actually points to the root problem of the offensive problems, and that's that every single member of the offensive line is playing worse than they did last year. Michael Roos has gone from great to pretty good (and he was never a mauler in the run game), they haven't been able to cover for Amano like they did last year, Mawae has struggle, Jake Scott has been bad, and David Stewart looks like he did when he had an ankle injury that caused him problems mid-season in 2007. It's the same five damn guys, they've been together for 2+ years, and Munchak is still the O-line coach. Yet, nothing is working as well as it did last year. I'm completely lost as to what's going on.

What also hasn't helped is the Pats are the fourth 3-4 team they've faced (including the Jags as such), and they've struggled offensively against 3-4 teams for years, both running and passing.

The struggles in the run game, when combined with the defensive struggles, mean they're behind more and having to pass more than they did last year or in '07, and they simply don't have the ingredients to be a good passing team when teams can play to defend the pass.

The frustrating thing about this is there's no easy way to fix what's going on. Sure, you can play Ringer instead of White and see what he can give you (not sure if White will be back today), and Kenny Britt looks promising. Rookie TE Jared Cook may be worth something, but isn't yet (Crumpler's cooked and Scaife isn't any good). Collins hasn't played well, but putting VY in isn't going to fix all your problems in one go, and he's probably gone after this year anyway without a massive pay cut. It really hurts when you blow consecutive top-six picks (Pacman and VY).

I actually thought the Titans would stand a chance in this game when I saw the kickoff weather conditions-something like 13-10 game. The holes in the run game today have really surprised me, plus Brady's success throwing down the field. The drops have also really hurt in the passing game.

Aaron Schatz: It is easier to throw in snow than it is in rain, and the wind has calmed down from what it was when I was driving down here a couple hours ago. The conditions at 2pm were a lot more favorable to the Titans than the conditions at kickoff.

Pats are going four-wide against the Titans, which is just unfair. I mean, the Titans only have four cornerbacks right now, and that's just because they signed one a couple days ago. And how many times have you seen Michael Griffin come up on the screen after a touchdown? Holy crap, it's Brian Hoyer time already.

Two differences noticed between Lincoln Financial press box and Gillette press box:

1) Gillette press box is two floors with food on first floor, seats to watch game and work on second. Lincoln Financial is one floor with the food and stuff behind the work area. It means if you go to get a snack here, you can still see the game, plus they can sit another row of people in front of a window down there.

2) Gillette press box seems a lot quieter during the game. Less talk between reporters. I'm a bit surprised.

Vince Verhei: The more I watch TEN-NE, I see that it's not the the Titans secondary isn't trying it's that they have no cohesion together. They have no idea who's supposed to be covering who, and given the ragtag nature of the lineup, that's understandable, if not acceptable. It's like the corners are playing Cover-2, but the safeties aren't, over and over again. Moss is all alone 15 yards downfield on the right sideline, and catches the ball, and No. 23 gets away with a helmet-to-helmet hit. Moss was down for a while, then recovered. Then Walker gets open 15 yards downfield on the right sideline and scores a touchdown. At this point it's time for Tennessee to do just nutty stuff -- 11-man blitzes, Cover-5 zones, a 2-7-2 formation, whatever, it can't be worse than what they're doing.

Bill Barnwell: Phil Simms says Jeff Fisher should shock the troops at halftime by screaming and turning over garbage cans. My suggestion: Walk into the room, tell everyone to shut up, take out a razor, and shave the mustache.

Doug Farrar: I think Jeff Fisher should give us all a break by screaming and turning over Phil Simms. That said, you may be on to something with the facial hair idea. Joe Flacco is MUCH better since he lost the Unibrow.

Vince Verhei: Trust me on this one: Losing a unibrow makes everyone better.

My buddy and I are discussing different things the Pats can do to handicap themselves. Our favorite so far is for Welker and Moss to tie their ankles together, three-legged race style. I think they'd still get open.

Aaron Schatz: Man, LenDale White is going back to drinking Patron after this game. This is ridiculous.

Tom Gower: For the record, the record for NFL points in a half is 49, set by the Packers against the Buccaneers in 1983 (1st half) and the Bears against the Eagles in 1941 (2nd half). The last team to score 45 in a half was the Seahawks against the Vikings in 2002 (when, IIRC, Shaun Alexander just went nuts).

Aaron, can you see a guy in a red hat on the Titans sideline? I'm wonder if DC Chuck Cecil got killed or committed seppuku at halftime. He probably can't just sit there laughing in despair at this game like I've been.

Aaron Schatz: Believe it or not, I can't see the red hat. Are we sure Cecil was wearing the usual red in the first half? Maybe he's wearing normal blue today because of either the weather or the league rules regarding AFL throwbacks. Thus, without the red to stand out on the sidelines, he can't get the proper signals into his defense. That explains 52-0, right?

Tom Gower: Hmm, maybe he just has it on under a hood or something. I don't recall actually seeing him in the first half, but about all of the sideline shots have been closeups of somebody (normally Fish, sometimes VY).

Bill Barnwell: Kerry Collins slipping on fourth-and-10 down 52 points and having to pitch it to Nate Washington, who then fumbled for a total loss of about 25 yards, is a summation of the Titans' season.

Aaron Schatz: Let the record state that with 7:53 to play in the third quarter, Michigan officially gave way to Michigan State. It is Brian Hoyer time in Foxboro.

The entire Titans team seems to be huddled around the heater on the sidelines. It's at least a dozen guys, and a coach. The Titans are desperate to get out of here.

Tom Gower: Follow-up stat of the day: the Titans and the Patriots each had 193 yards rushing. The only difference in the game, then, was the Patriots had 426 yards passing and the Titans had -7.

Buffalo Bills 16 at New York Jets 13

Sean McCormick: I turned down three different tickets to the Jets game. I don't mind sitting through horrid weather in November and December, but in the middle of October? Grr...

Bill Barnwell: Always good to see the color commentator in Jets-Bills calling for the Jets to challenge on a play where he thought Thomas Jones was down on the one-inch line. Hint: Not good to waste a timeout when you get four chances from the one inch line, even if it's the Jets.

David Gardner: I was listening to the radio play-by-play of the Jets decision to call a time out on fourth and 2, line up to go for it, then take a delay of game and then kick a 44-yard field goal. I agree that it wasn't the smartest move.

What's less smart? The color commentator suggesting that Rex Ryan should have taken a second consecutive timeout, rather than taking the delay of game. Um ... that would have cost them 15 yards, because you can't do that. It's considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

Bill Barnwell: By the way, just noticed when Braylon Edwards was the target of a Mark Sanchez interception -- not a single catch today. That's the Braylon Edwards we know.

Sean McCormick: When Rex Ryan sends his overload blitzes, he generally has a soft zone coverage on the side opposite the blitz. It means that the corner away from the blitz has to be able to immediately take down the receiver should the quarterback throw to his hot read. Instead, Lito Sheppard was caught flat-footed while Lee Evans broke to the inside on a slant, and Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Evans for a simple touchdown.

As for whether or not this is a good game, I would say no. Sanchez is having a horrendous time dealing with the wind, Dustin Keller is having a horrendous job trying to protect his hands from the balls that keep hitting him square in the palms, and the Bills are basically moving the ball on the strength of drawing defensive contact penalties.

A good game it isn't.

Mike Kurtz: Agreed on BUF-NYJ. It's close and it's interesting, but it's really sloppy. Lots of penalties and turnovers and reportedly some nasty wind. Sanchez almost pick-6'd as an LB fails to catch the ball on a jumped slant.

Sean McCormick: Sanchez has thrown three interceptions and nearly chucked a fourth just now. His ball was fluttering when coming off his hand in the first quarter, and he's having trouble getting zip on anything but checkdowns. Mike Lombardi over at National Football Post often talks about how you need to design your team to match the elements you'll play in, and that you absolutely need to make sure your quarterback has the arm strength to cut through the wind if he plays in New York (or in Buffalo, for that matter). Well, Sanchez is probably playing in the worst conditions he's ever experienced at any level, while the Bills have been trotting out Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

As you can imagine, the passing game has been ugly. And there's pick number four for Sanchez.

Oh, and three of the four interceptions were on passes intended for Braylon Edwards.

The Jets try to kick a 50-yard field goal in overtime, but Dennis Weatherford bobbles the snap, so he picks up the ball and tries to chuck it downfield. Interception. That makes five Buffalo interceptions, for those keeping track at home.

The most entertaining part of the game so far has been the titanic war of pronunciation going on between Dan Fouts and Dick Enberg. Dan Fouts will say, "Bad job there by SAN-chez," and Enberg will immediately fire back with, "San-CHEZ looks uncomfortable out there, Dan."

Mike Tanier: The Jets were playing without Cotchery and Brad Smith. That, plus bad conditions and an inexperienced quarterback, equals a hard-to-watch game.

Chicago Bears 14 at Atlanta Falcons 21

Tom Gower: That was a beautiful throw by Jay Cutler for the "TD" to Knox-against the blitz, downfield, where his receiver and nobody else could get to it. I think (Mike) Smith probably should have challenged the call, given his team's offensive struggles early, but I'm not sure it gets overturned.

Mike Kurtz: The Bears are executing exceptionally well .... nobody is doing a particularly impressive job, aside from Cutler (okay, as I say that, he throws the most ugly interception I've seen in non-Mark Sanchez games this week) on that TD throw. What they have done very well this game is execute. They have a game plan, everyone is in the right spot, and they're all doing their jobs well. That's an impressive display of coaching.

Doug Farrar: Matt Ryan and the Falcons' offensive line made some nice adjustments to the Bears' blitz packages in the second quarter, using no-huddle and more quick passes up the middle and to the flats. Just picking apart the short stuff until the Bears had to back off. And yes, as Collinsworth pointed out, Ryan's phantom snap call on the (Danieal) Manning edge blitz was very (Peyton) Manning-esque.

Falcons line coach Paul Boudreau, who did such a great job with the Rams in 2006 and 2007, is an unheralded but crucial part of the team's rebirth.

Mike Kurtz: Hester, JUST RUN FORWARD. The screen, you had three blocks in front of you. Run forward! You are inexplicably wide open and catch the ball in space? Sure, make a cut. But then RUN FORWARD! Hester very probably left a TD on the field around the two-minute warning because of his penchant for unncessary juking and horizontal running.

David Gardner: Does it bother anyone else how wealky Hester finishes his runs? He looks to go out of bounds and avoids contact like the swine flu.

Bill Barnwell: I tend to trust Devin Hester's running instincts and decisions over my own.

Mike Kurtz: And you write about football? On the Internet? You do understand how this Internet thing works, right?

Cutler has been consistently behind his receivers tonight. The receivers have done a good job of compensating, but that's contributed in no small way to their red zone woes.

Aaron Schatz: Somebody on the Atlanta defensive staff needs to spend next week working with the players on turning around and looking for the ball in coverage. That's twice they've gotten defensive pass interference for the same reason, playing the man and not even looking for the ball.

David Gardner: Corners aren't required to turn around and look for the ball anymore, but refs seem still more likely to call PI when they don't.

Will Carroll: It worked for Marvin Harrison. I dont think that guy ever took a big hit. I'm not sure if it was him (I think so) or Dungy (they didn't in TB), but all the Colts guys do it now, even without him here.

And I'll agree. I don't have the vision or skills to know how to run in the NFL. There's lots of things I'll second guess, but if I were a coach, running and vision wouldnt be something I'd coach (though I have some ideas on drills) and I'd encourage avoiding contact on offense.

Aaron Schatz: Right. Because it is easy for a receiver to slow down a bit and now all of a sudden the defender is interfering.

Mike Kurtz: Agreed, the rules favor passing to what I'd argue a disgusting degree ... it's really, really hard to defend effectively, especially with the extra rules protecting the QB arguably taking the edge off your pass rush.

Vince Verhei: Big guys like Brandon Jacobs should run over men. Skinny guys like Devin Hester should hit the deck or get out of bounds and preserve their careers.

Franco Harris was mocked and called soft for ducking out of bounds, but it probably added several years to his career.

Bill Barnwell: As a Giants fan, I would prefer if Brandon Jacobs ran out of bounds, too.

Will Carroll: Interesting about Harris. I have no recollection of those teams aside from NFL Films, but if he's the only one who's kept his head and wits about him, shouldn't we be noting that? There's how many Steelers dead or disabled now from that era (yes, I include Terry Bradshaw in that mix) and with all the articles of the past few months, maybe Harris is an object lesson. Where is he now? I smell an article.

Doug Farrar: I didn’t know about the OB thing, but Shaun Alexander always reminded me most of two guys (and we know all about Shaun’s rep): Harris and Duane Thomas. Thomas for the gliding, deceptively fast style, and Harris for the ability to avoid really hard contact while still getting forward momentum. I could see, especially in the 1970’s, how any back who didn’t drive his head into the line on every play would be viewed as some sort of pansy. That’s very much how things were. On the other hand, some of that talk is born out of frustration. You hate the guy who ghosts you out of the NFL Films tackle, so you call him a wimp because he didn’t go out of his way to bowl you over. Well, his job isn’t to fight you – his job is to get into the freaking end zone.

Bill Barnwell: The pinnacle of this was when Bart Scott started complaining about how the gimmicky Wildcat offense wasn't manly enough. You know, that high-falootin' single wing.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 19 Oct 2009

288 comments, Last at 23 Oct 2009, 12:41pm by Vague

Comments

1
by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:44am

So what was with the non-safety in the TEN-NE game (or is that HOU-BOS? :) Mercy rule, or did the refs get confused about the snow and think the goal line was the 5 yard line? If you look at where Young was brought down and pretend the goal line was the 5, the two (which is where the refs said he was down) would be at about the right spot.

219
by Purds :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 6:06pm

I think it was a mercy rule call. No way he got back out.

233
by AndyE :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 9:12pm

On his weekly interview on WEEI, Belichick said it was appropriately called, and that the line judge placed the ball where VY got hit. Much as I'd have liked 61-0, it was a fair call.

2
by zerlesen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:47am

"Chicago Bears XX at Atlanta Falcons YY"

At long last: chromosomal football analysis.

3
by moe :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:54am

Great comment! Only comment number two and quite likely the thread winner. Well done Sir or Madam.

76
by TomC :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:38pm

So let me get this straight: The Bears are women and the Falcons are ... some horrible mutant not-even-Kleinfelters?

125
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:14pm

Articulate, sophisticated...men about town!!!

154
by Quincy :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:06pm

Super, duper comment.

90
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:23pm

Except that in this case, you have the Chicago Girls losing to the Atlanta Abnormalities (since 'YY' is not a standard chromosome set).

147
by dianagram :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:42pm

Its not that big a leap from studying Xs and Os . . .

4
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:55am

Like many, I've always found sideline reporters relatively unhelpful. But a sideline reporter during the Viking-Raven game might have at least forced the two guys in the booth to ACKNOWLEDGE the absence of Antoine Winfield due to injury. Suddenly I notice #41 in coverage a lot, wondering what's going on, then I start looking around at what numbers are missing in the secondary, and I don't see #26. And of course, the Ravens target Karl Paymah like mad, as he gives up a lot of good plays, and doesn't come close to making tackles. The Ravens utterly destroyed the Viking defense in the fourth quarter, and the announcers didn't happen to notice that the Vikings were without their best CB and the Ravens were openly targeting and abusing his overmatched replacement.

(I don't use the Winfield injury as an excuse, mind you: every team must make due with injuries throughout the season. I just might have thought the announcers might, um, notice).

8
by moe :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:01am

I was watching the game on TiVo so I skipped most of the non-action and just assumed they talked about while I was fast forwarding.

The drop-off is a little scary for the purple. If Winfield is going to be out or limited they will need to change the coverage scheme dramatically.

9
by crack (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:02am

They also could have mentioned that Sapp was out with a concussion. Could have explained the sudden D collapse a little.

18
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:28am

I was wondering why Sapp wasn't Winfield's replacement. Paymah almost got cut before the season. Isn't he mainly a special teams guy?

93
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:25pm

Isn't he mainly a special teams guy?

Apparently so...

28
by Gruntled (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:42am

At least you noticed; I never did until someone commented on it after the game. Of course, neither did the FO analysts, but then they had a lot on their plate with combatting Favre over-hype. I'd like to offer my gratitude on behalf of all of us who are unable to formulate our own opinions.

CAPTCHA: ruffle This. I've got to figure out a way to use that.

48
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:17pm

Yeah, it's bad enough when they don't mention Winfield being off the field, but when their number three cb also has to leave the field for extended periods, leaving the number four guy to play a central role, for which he is not remotely prepared for, you'd think producers and announcers, who are getting paid a lot of money to explain what is happening, might bring the topic up.

Is anybody watching the Bucs? Can Ronde Barber still play? If so, the Vikings should be on the phone today, willing to overpay in draft value, to get him in purple before the trade deadline tomorrow. Once an owner has decided to go all in, as Wilf has, there is no sense in being half-hearted. They can't go the rest of the season with Karl Paymah as an option if Winfield has a lingering case of turf toe.

Also, I doubt the Vikings will see, for the rest of the season, as many seven man fronts as the Ravens showed yesterday. Trying to stop Peterson for lesss than 4.5 yards with only seven up front is a long shot, and you don't really gain anything in terms of cutting down on the chance of a gain of 40-plus yards. May as well try to force the forty year old to to make forty throws, and hope he wears out.

Finally, I have to say that the above commentary exhibits the stereotypical irrational anti-Favre overeaction. Strangely enough, Sidney Rice was never able to bail out Tavaris Jackson, in the manner that he supposedly does Favre. If you had to bet your life on it, which do you think is more likely; that the Vikings' receivers ball skills have suddenly taken a quantum leap, and they are thus bailing out Favre, or that Favre is playing well?

64
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:47pm

Ronde Barber, I think, is pretty much past it, but Dunta Robinson appears to be all the way back from his injury and playing pretty well, and could probably be had for the right price (a 2nd?). That said, he's playing under the tag, so you'd have to be willing to either pay him silly money or let him walk at the end of the season.

68
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:03pm

Hey, you can be past it, and still be much, much, better than Karl Paymah. The Vikings pass rush was good right until the end yesterday. Is Barber likely to play a lot better behind Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and Co., compared to the Bucs defensive line?

71
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:14pm

From what I've seen, as long as you never ask him to cover anyone fast downfield without safety help, you're probably fairly ok. He'd still be a good nickel back. Obviously a great D-line will make anyone look better, and your lot certainly have one of those. I still don't know that I'd give up very much to get him.

72
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:18pm

Barber has definitely slowed down quite a bit, and I think there's an element of square peg-round hole this year with him transitioning from being a Cover-2 guy to being asked to do a lot of man coverage (not quite "Jason David going to the Saints", but same general idea). Barber is still very smart and a great tackler, but he's not any kind of a significant fix (and I'm a huge Barber fan).

74
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:33pm

Well, winning at Pittsburgh Sunday is a hard thing to do, but at this point the Vikings can afford a loss to an AFC team. However, a win at Lambeau seven days later, going into the bye week, would be huge, and to do that it would be very helpful to not have Paymah on the field too much. The Vikings need to add depth at cornerback, even if they have to give up too much in draft value to do so, as much as I hate getting all Jerry Jones about it.

187
by fakeninjitsu :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:41pm

On Ronde, I would definately trade a 5th for him counting on the scheme change and the human nature of being in a hopeless situation are making him look much worse than he really is, also it should be noted that we have another corner (rookie Asher Allen) who is inactive on game days for Paymah because he is a better sp. teams player, but that would seem to be irrelevant now as it is obvious that Paymah can't be allowed to play D under any circumstances, I'd rather throw Berrian, Rice or Harvin out there than him.

86
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:12pm

Will, your Favre-philia (to borrow your cutesy term) is getting a little old. If it bothers you that people have it in for your favorite hillbilly, we get it, since you talk about it (and its related pseudo psycho-babble concept Favre-phobia) every time anyone mentions Favre, but give it a rest, please.

How is the following an "irrational anti-Favre overeaction"? "Favre is getting a lot of press, but his receivers are really bailing him out. In the first two drives (two touchdowns), Favre was consistently throwing behind his receivers, and they (primarily Rice) were making excellent catches. Just now Favre threw a fade about 10 feet over the receiver's head. He has not looked great. Dierdorf, in response to this awful throw, has spent the past 5 minutes babbling about Favre, with random quotes included. Shoot me now."

Whether he's talking about press generally, or the announcers in that game (and he is clearly annoyed at Dierdorf, but a lot of people gag over the Favre fellating that announcers do on a regular basis, often to comic proportions), he is not saying Favre is playing poorly this year or suggesting that Sidney Rice has suddently gooten better, he is saying the receivers were bailing him out in this game, in the first two drives. I didn't see the drives, so I don't know if he is right, but you certainly don't dispute his point. Was Favre spot-on in those drives? Or did Sidney Rice make some great catches to keep things going? Did he throw a crappy fade?

Despite your claim of irrationality, none of the rest of the commentary mentions Favre's play negatively in any way, although clearly he bugs Kurtz. So what? He bugs a lot of folks not wearing purple. Your overly-sensitive preoccupation with people not loving your guy is detracting from your usual ability to post coherent cogent thoughts. Please move on.

101
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:34pm

I've composed a poem that I wanted to share:

Favruh, gunslinger,
Cleveland and Detroit,
Favruh Favruh, San Fran
Favruh to Greg Lewis.

Favruh,
Green Bay - reunion! Rejoice!
Favruh,
Saint Louis and Baltimore,
Just having fun,
My New Purple Quarterback.

Thoughts?

104
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:43pm

Favre-philia!!!!!!!!!!!

166
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:20pm

I'll provide haiku next week, assuming MNPQ "once again gumptions his team to victory, on sheer gumptiousness!"

105
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:45pm

Hey, you just wrote about 600 words, to my 60, on the topic. Why are you so overly sensitive? Give it a rest, please.

This seems to have escaped you, so I will explain. The phrase, "his receivers are bailing him out" is largely relative, because to some degree receivers bail every quarterback out, on anything less than a perfectly thrown ball to a receiver open exactly as the play is diagrammed. Thus, it is useful to compare how other qbs were or were not bailed out with the same receivers, facing, if anything, more press coverage. By any reasonable comparative analysis, the Vikings are not, on average, bailing out Favre any more than is typical in an NFL game, which makes it silly to claim, on the basis of one overthrow, and some imagined greater than usual bailing out, that Favre's play is "not great" assuming that term is being employed in a critical manner. Favre has played very well, and it is silly for a football analyst to pretend otherwise, because Dierdorf is a doofus. Why, one might say it makes one every bit as big of a doofus as Dierdorf.

See, I can be obsessively verbose as you!

Pointless snark aside, if my posts irritate you greatly, I suggest moving your eyeballs past them. Happy to help.

157
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:15pm

Phantom comparative analyses aside, much of the time you have something to say in your posts, so I read them, and not with the "it's a Morganja trainwreck" sense of anticipation. When you rant about Favre not getting enough love (which in the face of the love he seems to get from every TV commentator is silly), you don't say much, and nothing about what you said escaped me in any way.

Favre is 9th in DYAR/6th in DVOA through Week 5. In 2008, Jackson was 25th/17th. It seems difficult to question that Vikings are getting very competent/far better QB play this year than last. Hopefully for the Vikings it lasts.

Kurtz apparently believes Dierdorf would still be fellating Favre if he was not doing as well as he is, and I don't disagree with that. Ok, you win, I guess he's a Favre-phobe.

207
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:33pm

Well, if the sixty or so words I devoted to the topic in this thread is, by your definition, a "rant", well, your attributing to me the quality of oversensitivity is interesting, if nothing else. O.K., O.K., I plead guilty; I am like the playwright Friedrich Schiller, and admit to being without an epidermis, in all matters Favrerian!

236
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:36pm

Well played...

256
by dryheat :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 8:23am

Your epidermis is showing!

210
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:41pm

Finally, a modest, if obsessive suggestion, to those who engage in football punditry; describe Favre's play like he was any other qb, and don't let your analysis be influenced by some blowhard in the booth who started mailing it in 20 years ago. Who knows, maybe an effort at objectivity will be seen as unique and valuable!

237
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:40pm

Perhaps objectivity with Favre is pretty much like a unicorn. Too much Favre-phobia/Favre-philia... ;)

241
by Mike Kurtz :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:13am

It's not Favre! It's a quarterback with a gun attached to his arm!

... he guards my hopes and dreams ...

267
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:42am

Wow. Beautiful reference, fnor.

232
by Gruntled (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 9:00pm

It's not so much the specifically football related comments, even though anything remotely positive about Favre was offered with some kind of qualifier (offensive pick, holding, etc.), it's how much space is devoted to commenting on the commentary.

"Luckily for the Vikings, Brett Favre uses his magic mind-control powers to make Hauschka the winning FG wide. Good acquisition." Ha, ha; that was probably the funniest of the 3 versions of that I read this morning in various columns.

Most of the television media over-hypes Favre (although they're not exactly in the business of understating anything - let's see how reasoned the Brady commentary is for the next few weeks); that's clear. And a majority of the print media feels compelled to point that out almost every single time they mention him. There were 3 or 4 such comments in the thread above, as there are every week.

It's tiresome, and it's starting to drift into sophomoric. It's essentially the same tired comments over and over again and nearly everyone (in print) does it.

121
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:10pm

not sure you're being fair with Will as the comment by the FO commenter could certainly be taken as Favre in general isn't playing well but in answer to how Favre played in the game; Favre did throw a couple of balls behind receivers in the first drive that receivers made good to great catches on and he threw one ball high to Rice in the end zone that was definitely a bad throw, but other than that I thought he played particularly well.

My take on watching Favre is that he is playing very well. That observation is tainted by 3 years of absolutely putrid QB play and the fact I'm a Viking fan. He is clearly far more accurate than Jackson, Frerotte, etc, but he also seems far more in control of things than did the others. I think his football intelligence is overcoming Childress/Coaching staff lack of in game intelligence.

I thought this comment I read in Siefert's blog summed up the level of game time football smarts...

"Favre had a funny exchange with Vikings coach Brad Childress late in the victory over the Ravens. Childress came over and told him that momentum was shifting to the Ravens and the Vikings needed to finish drives with touchdowns. Favre said his response was: "No s---, Sherlock."

Childress says this and then calls run plays at the 15 when a first down ends the game as opposed to giving Baltimore the ball back with 2 minutes to play needing a FG. I suspect if was a playoff game Favre would have said - fu coach were passing.

181
by fakeninjitsu :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:32pm

Sidney Rice couldn't bail out Tjack last year because he was playing with a bad knee ligament (PCL I believe) and for a guy who isn't very fast or quick this was a big problem, thus he mostly played in the red zone. Also this is his third year.

As for his ball skills, he's always had tremendous ball skills and great hands going back to college and were mentioned as his biggest assets on the draft scouting reports so those catches aren't surprising for him (you might remember his ridiculous catch in the endzone against Green Bay in his rookie year).

On Favre, he has been a HUGE improvement on QB play, however I am noticing an increasing level of ol Favre Slinging n Slanging as he seems to be getting cocky.

5
by Eric (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:58am

Was the 430 yards passing disparity in NE-TEN the biggest in history? Gotta be up on the list at least.

6
by chemical burn :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:59am

Hey, all of those Eagles fans defending the Trotter signing still have confidence in that move? Or did giving up the two biggest plays of the game, the ones that more or less decided it, put a damper on all the "hey, he might not be such a liability in coverage" talk?

108
by electricmayhem :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:48pm

I don't remember many people on FO defending the Trotter signing (but I don't read all the threads so maybe I missed some conversations about it) anyway I will go down on record as saying it was and still is a huge mistake. He is too old and too slow, and it's going to be a disaster this season.

156
by chemical burn :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:14pm

There were two threads with extended arguments about how Trotter would hurt the passing game... and whether his help in the running game would offset it. It boiled down to: if Trotter gets caught in coverage, the Eagles are obviously screwed. Some folks thought that he could be hidden to a certain extent and whether having Gocong in coverage (as a result of hiding Trotter) would be such a bad thing. It turns out Trotter helped almost none in the running game and was a huge liability in coverage.

250
by bubqr :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:24am

I blame the coaches for putting Trotter in single coverage against a good TE on the touchdown, and I blame the coaches again for TAKING A TIMEOUT WITH 2'02 LEFT IN THE GAME, GIVING THE RAIDERS THE OPTION TO PASS THE FREAKING BALL, AND PUTTING TROTTER IN COVERAGE ON 3RD AND 10. YES I'M MAD ABOUT THIS GAME, AND THIS MOMENT IN PARTICULAR. THAT'S WHY I'M WRITING IN CAPITALS.
I never said he would be good in coverage, he was dead awful, and is still dead awful. I just said that I don't trust Gaither against the NFC East rushing games, and that losing Garcia, who is now useless, to give a shot at a possible Trotter comeback, who was one of the best run stuffing LB 4 years ago and was apparently moving better than he was in 2005 and 2006, was a low risk high upside move.

On the PHI-OAK game, I have to say that the refs were putrid, and while it doesn't excuse anything, I saw 2 non called Jamarcus grounding, Desean Jackson hit 5 yards OOB, uncalled, David Akers hit on a FG, uncalled, and a FF mby Macho Harris with the whistle blown early (on top of the mentionned bogus call for DPI on the raiders INT). That was awful.

264
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:01am

Listen, if Trotter's in the game for more than five or six plays, he's going to end up in coverage. He's definitely going to end up in coverage if the Eagles decide to... I don't know... blitz? Which, as we all know, they rarely do. Putting Trotter in the game is the entire problem, not anything the coaches did once he was in there. And if Trotter is supposed to help with the run, how come the Raiders ran the ball very well, on top of everything else? I don't think Gaither is any great shakes, but he's clearly the best option at this point.

You say "low risk, high reward" but the risk was obviously that having a washed-up linebacker with bad knees on the field for any significant amount of time would lead to big plays by the TE and RB in the passing game... and worst case scenario: those passing plays being the difference in a loss to a team like the freakin' Raiders. Trotter. should. not. be. on. the. field.

And, yes, I saw the roughing penalties, the quick whistle on the fumble, the ri-goddamned-diculous grounding no-calls... but you can't rely on the refs to win a game. ever.

165
by CougarWing (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:20pm

Did your team do so badly you can only bad mouth mine?

263
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:58am

Yes. (NYG)

Oh well, it could be worse. We could have lost to the Raiders.

Wow, you know, that actually worked. I do feel a lot better now. Thanks!

7
by ChicagoRaider :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:00am

First, the pigeon had big brass ones. Tackles could happen a few feet a way and he didn't budge.

Second, he is more trainable than Jamarcus Russell. By the end of the game he could line up for kickoffs and fly down the field in formation.

So don't refer to that pigeon as "friggin."

10
by Anonymous966512 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:11am

It always seemed like Bruce and Holt got down to avoid contact back in the Rams glory days.

189
by BucNasty :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:43pm

I'm pretty sure Joey Galloway avoids contact (with the ball).

11
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:12am

"The Pats CB were giving guys a ton of space in previous games. Don't know if it is the Tennessee receivers or the weather, but this week they are playing very close to the line before the snap."

Butler and Wilhite got the start instead of Springs and Bodden. Butler and Wilhite are much faster than Springs and Bodden.

"Aaron:Pats are going four-wide against the Titans, which is just unfair. I mean, the Titans only have four cornerbacks right now, and that's just because they signed one a couple days ago"

This is the patriots. Find a hole, exploit that hole. This is the same team that ran the ball like 50 times against the Bengals a couple years ago because the Bengals only had 3 active LBs that day. Did anyone expect them to do anything other than come out throwing?

12
by Flounder :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:13am

No comments on it in audibles this week (and deservedly so) but my own comment on the GB/DET game. Never have I seen the winning team in a blowout/shutout game look so putrid. I have officially soured on the Mike McCarthy era. The team consistently has way too many penalties, and the trend has, to my subjective eyes, gotten worse each year of McCathy's tenure. That is the hallmark of a coach who does not have control of his team.

21
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:32am

I'm anxious to find some good analysis on that game. 13 penalties for 130 yards? Gag.

It'll be interesting to see the Packers crumble against better opponents after the soft part of their schedule has the brainless media writers gushing aboiut a turn-around. They allowed 5 sacks against Detroit? Flynn will see playing time if this keeps up.

46
by Temo :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:13pm

You could replace a few words and have this statement apply to Dallas as well. And when adjectives for you coach could also be used to describe Wade Phillips, it's not a good thing.

63
by crack (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:45pm

How great would it be if Shanahan replaced Wade again?

177
by CougarWing (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:28pm

It would be awful. The vast majority of NFL fandom has much more fun bagging on and laughing at the cowgirl's failures and missteps than cheering for barely won victories over the Chiefs. Irrelevant? Yes!

92
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:24pm

I was watching that game and the annoucer said that Aaron Rodgers was under some criticism for holding the ball too long and the annoucer ( forget who) said he didn't think he was...

The very next play on cue Aaron Rodgers was probably taking his 2nd step back when he was sacked... he wasn't even finished dropping back yet but some Lion shot the gap and sacked him... was that his fault too?

The O-line was healthier than it had been ( before getting hurt again), but still looked less than impressive.

129
by Arkaein :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:20pm

Yeah, Rodgers deserved some blame for maybe the last two sacks, but the first three were 100% on the o-line. Rodgers also had a few nice plays where he scrambled around to buy time before hitting a key pass.

Losing another fumble makes me nervous though. As long as he holds onto the football I'll accept sacks as preferable to forcing potential interceptions, but not when he fumbles the ball away.

182
by Dave :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:34pm

The sack and fumble he took inside the 5 at the end of the first half (I think) was all his fault. The pocket collapsed pretty completely from all directions but he had plenty of time to throw it away. It seemed to me that he was being a bit selfish and really badly wanted another TD pass going into the locker room. (Which is fine - I wanted the exact same thing for him.) He just sort of stood there and waited to be sacked instead of throwing it through the uprights.

It's hard to say this is a fatal flaw though - often his stubbornness can be combined with his mobility to create plays even when the line sucks - but he needs to hang on to the ball a lot better. I think I'd take extra sacks as a tradeoff for the extra completions, but the fumbles are killers.

13
by Quincy :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:15am

C.C. Brown might just be the JaMarcus Russell of safeties. I believe he had coverage responsibility on 3 of the Saints’ 4 passing touchdowns. On two of those, he wasn’t even in the picture because he bit so hard on the play action fake. I’ve never seen a player so fooled by play action, and can only speculate as to whether this spills over to other areas of his life. It would not surprise me for instance, to discover that C.C. Brown is the leading purchaser of bridges in the Brooklyn area, or that he budgets based on expected Publishers’ Clearing House winnings. I’m not sure what Aaron Rouse did to get cut from the Packers, but if he can avoid hurtling himself at the line of scrimmage every time the quarterback so much as glances at the running back during his drop back, it would be a major improvement.

The Giants were lauded for their depth coming into the season, but the one position they ignored was safety. Jerry Reese has 24 hours to trade for a replacement-level safety. No price is too high. At this point, I would rather watch Charlie Brown assume placekicking duties for the Giants than watch C.C. Brown not cover Larry Fitzgerald, Desean Jackson and Vincent Jackson over the next 3 weeks.

251
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 6:33am

I have to admit that the joy I find myself feeling that someone other than Texans fans finally knows the rage and agonising terror that is the experience of rooting for a team that starts CC Brown is making me wonder if I may be a very bad person. I spent three years, every week and every off-season, praying to read that he'd been cut and replaced by a practice squad player/street free agent/homeless heroin addict/blind quadriplegic grandmother. No draft pick or free agent signing has ever thrilled me as much as the news that CC Brown was on IR. Please don't bother trying to convince yourself that this week was some sort of aberation. He really, truly is that bad.

274
by coboney :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 11:42am

Ya he is pretty bad.

I'm not a Texan or Giant fan but out of mercy for teams.... Is hole in the zone better then CC?

276
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:01pm

I think it sorta depends. If you, as a defensive co-ordinator, treat CC Brown as if he was just a hole in the zone, hole in zone is probably not better. Brown, for example, has three career interceptions and a sack. Hole in zone has fewer. But if you scheme with the assumption that Brown is actually going to tackle and/or cover someone, you might have done better to stick with HiZ.

151
by Yaguar :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:00pm

I'm a Colts fan. I can assure you that C.C. Brown is always like this.

275
by rdy4thefiesta :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:00pm

When Kenny Phillips got hurt, I told every Giants fan that would listen that the injury was more devastating to the team than potential injury to any Giant except Manning, Pierce, and maybe Tuck. That list may be even shorter now.

C.C. Brown, while terrible, hopefully won't spell doom for the Giants. Most teams don't have the talent to expose a safety like the Saints did, and even if they do, the Giant's pass rush is still better than they showed last Sunday. They can move Thomas to safety in nickel/dime packages if/when Ross comes back. Or maybe they can find a competant safety before the trade deadline.

277
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:10pm

I just noticed the subject line. Well played.

14
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:16am

Welcome to the wonderful world of CC Brown, Bill. I just know you and your fellow Giant fans are going to love it. He's the ultimate football player - a cross between Deion Sanders and Jeremiah Trotter. Unfortunately, that's because he tackles like Sanders and covers like Trotter. Of all the God-awful defensive backs that have (dis-)graced the Texans secondary over the past five years, Brown is by far the worst. A first ballot KCW hall of famer.

97
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:27pm

I used to strongly dislike James Butler in coverage... James Butler is like a pro bowler compared to CC Brown.

I'm still not liking Antonio Pierce in coverage either...

I wish Aaron Ross, Michael Boley and Kenny Phillips were healthy. The Giants defense was overrated ( but look at who they played).

The Saints O-line played well... Brees showed fantastic pocket awareness and he picked the Giants D apart like a surgen. Glad I had the over with two legit offenses and two overrated defenses...

Lance Moore is like Bresus's Steve Smith.

261
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:50am

Pierce is terrible in coverage, but he's expected to be terrible in coverage. He still brings enough as a signal caller to be worth the tradeoff.

CC Brown... egads. Can't we just have him blitz every down? The coverage doesn't get any worse, and at least there's a greater than 1% chance of somebody reaching the QB.

269
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:45am

It's true that Brown did once get a sack, but it was of Drew Bledsoe, so I'm not sure it counts. Richard Smith's defense featured roughly as much safety blitzing as it did competence (which is to say bugger all); I'd almost be willing to bet that that play was the result of Brown biting harder than usual on the play action and realising there was no point even trying to get back in coverage.

I don't ever remember seeing a CC Brown blitz, so I can't tell you how he'd screw it up, but I promise you he would. Fall over his shoelaces in front of a blocker and get done for tripping? Get juked out of his cleats by Kurt Warner to set up the world's first zimmer frame assisted twenty yard touchdown scramble? The possibilities are endless.

Judging by the comments on this thread, Giants fans have had the opportunity to witness Brown's "coverage skills", but it may be that some of you are assuming he's a classic box safety, a punishing tackler who can stymie opposing run games but lacks a little awareness against the pass. I hate to break it to you, but no. Brown tackles like a stuffed toy monkey. It's not that he doesn't wrap people up: he wraps them up very gently, and is then mystified when they effortlessly break free. I cannot for the life of me understand how the man has even one NFL start, never mind fifty-something, for two different franchises, one of them competent.

242
by armchair journe... :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:49am

Hole In Zone clearly had his worst game as a Giant.

_______________________________
armchair journeyman quarterback

15
by Inimicus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:22am

As a Panthers fan I have to agree on the Wesley hit. Uncalled for and way out of line. I hope the Commish lands on him as hard as he did Smith.

Couldn't disagree more about the final TD though. Kasey already had a FG blocked earlier in the game so I cant blame Fox for calling another run to take more time off of the clock in case they blocked another. The fact that DWill took it in was more on a bad Bucs D than any calculated attempt to get points in my opinion.

98
by Trisaratops (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:31pm

But the Bucs had also run back a kickoff for a touchdown. I would've gone the run out the clock/kick a field goal route, myself, as opposed to leaving the Bucs with a minute on the clock.

16
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:24am

On the Panthers final drive, they ran up the middle twelve times in a row. I'm going to repeat that: THEY RAN UP THE MIDDLE TWELVE TIMES IN A ROW. TWELVE. And they got 5+ yards a carry on every single play. That had to have been the single worst defensive line performance I've ever seen.

My grandmothers would be a better tandem at DT, and they've been dead for ten years.

99
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:31pm

I noticed that too! But the "middle" was really the B and C gap as they tried to run right behind big ugly Jeff Otah. He DOMINATED at the end of that game. He's a premier run blocker and he man handled whoever was in front of him.

Yes, they ran up the gut 12 times in a row, but they were really run rights on probably every play but that final TD run. I don't blame fox either for just pounding it home...

I'd love to see the Bucs DVOA, 4 or 5 Josh Johnson fumbles ( I think they recovered all of them)... They got a defensive and special teams TD so their offense really only had 7 points...

17
by Led :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:26am

At the end of regulation, Dick Jauron elected to let the clock run down for about 30 seconds on second down with time outs left before attempting a 46 yard figgie in a nasty wind rather than running a couple plays to get closer. Inexplicable. I'm sure his kicker was thinking WTF?

I've watched a lot of Jets football over the last 25 years or so and a lot of it has been bad. I'm not sure I've seen any NYJ quarterback play worse than Sanchez today. Not Browning Nagle. Not Rick Mirer. Not Glenn Foley. Sad to say, but if Kellen Clemens played they would have won by 20, especially once Edwards got hurt (and Clemens is not very good). It wasn't just the picks, but the missed and ill timed passes, the random fumble that probably cost them 3 pts, a brutal 15 yard sack on second down that killed a promising drive toward the end of regulation. I'm very concerned the Jets bought a 60 million QB who can't play in bad northeast weather and it messes with his head. And Jenkins is going to be out for the year. Not a good day.

20
by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:30am

At the end of regulation, Dick Jauron elected to let the clock run down for about 30 seconds on second down with time outs left before attempting a 46 yard figgie in a nasty wind rather than running a couple plays to get closer. Inexplicable. I'm sure his kicker was thinking WTF?

I was wondering the same thing. They ran an off-tackle play on first down and lost two yards. Bills had one timeout. I expected they'd run a power dive to center the ball on the field and to try to pick up a couple of yards, let the clock run down and call that last timeout.

When they didn't do that I then thought they were going to run the FG team out and save the timeout in case there was a bad snap or something. But then they let it go all the way down to three seconds. So it obviously wasn't that.

So I agree -- WTF?!

37
by MJK :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:59am

Agree on this as well. It was curious, to say the least, and I disagreed with it. I think too many coaches feel that, in game-winning situations, getting inside the 50 yard distance is close enough. Maybe it's blame avoidance, like Easterbrook talks about? If the kicker misses a 48 yarder, it's his fault, but if your RB fumbles, or if you get a holding penalty that knocks you out of FG range, the coach get's criticism for continuing to run plays and taking risks while already in "FG range". I think this is especially likely to kick in when you lose yards on 1st down, as the Bills did.

44
by Todd S. :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:11pm

Speaking of holding, Jets TE Ben Hartsock had a terrible holding call on the series in overtime where the Jets botched the 50-yard FG attempt. Even if he wiffs on his guy on that play, Thomas Jones gets a first down. The fact that he managed to get a penalty called on him as well and move the Jets 10 yards back was crucial (and bad).

55
by Led :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:25pm

Crucial, to say the least. It probably lost them the game, unless Feeley missed the resulting 30-something yarder. But there's a long list of things that lost the Jets the game. That was just the play when they were closest to winning it.

78
by TomC :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:41pm

Yeah, I saw that too. If I were a Jets fan, I'd have thrown a brick through the TV.

134
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:27pm

many if not most coaches get chicken shit in these situations - they are so petrified of something going wrong (a sack, penalty, fumble) they have a choice of taking an action that will likely improve their chances of winning but ignore it out of a fear of failure.

It's the same kind of thinking that leads to so many punts on 4th and short when the odds favour going for it.

199
by Dave :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:11pm

The Rams did this too. They drove right down the field after letting the Jags take the lead back, spiked it on first and goal, threw incomplete on 2nd, and then with 8 seconds left and a timeout, Spagnuolo sends the FG unit out to tie it.

You're in the discussion for the worst team in football and have somehow managed to put yourself in position to win. Run a damn play! How hard is it?

I was rooting against the Jags the entire way but as soon as Spags made that call I wanted him to be punished. Predictably, they never saw the ball in overtime and lost. And now they are 0-6.

Spagnuolo used to have balls when he was a D Coordinator.

138
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:33pm

By the way - how in the hell does Dick Jauron warrant 139 games as a head coach? What does this guy have to do to prove he isn't worthy of the position?

Chic 6-10
Chic 5-11
Chic 13-3
Chic 4-12
Chic 7-9
Det 1-4
Buff 7-9
Buff 7-9
Buff 7-9
Buff 2-4

159
by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:16pm

It's amazing what one 13-3 season and a cheap owner will do for you.

163
by fillylabinga (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:17pm

That drove me crazy too. What is the statistic I'm thinking of: "Field goals longer than 40 yards have a 50% chance of being successful?" What rational coach would be satisfied with a 50-50 chance at a win?
Would it be too much to ask an announcer to call out guys like Jauron for once? These coaches seem content to say "Hey, if he misses it's because we're unlucky" instead of thinking "We need to put the kicker in the place where he has the best chance to win the game." You make your own luck.

170
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:22pm

"What rational coach would be satisfied with a 50-50 chance at a win?"

I guess if you're Dick Jauron those are actually primo odds.

Did you see Dungy calling out Favre for running three times and settling for a FG with 2:30 left, when a first down for all intents and purposes would have ended the game? Nice to see such a questionable decision challenged.

19
by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:29am

I'm surprised that nobody mentioned that Reid kept alive his streak of god-knows-how-many close games making at least one clock management blunder, taking his last timeout at 2:02 with 3rd and 10, giving the Raiders a chance to throw for the first down without clock risk.

27
by Bill Barnwell :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:42am

I would argue that letting JaMarcus Russell throw the ball is a good thing for the Eagles to do.

34
by crack (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:53am

Apparently what Russell needed was the challenge of playing the #1 DVOA defense. All these other teams couldn't keep him interested. I mean obviously PHI's 'Advanced' ranking wasn't built on the smoke and mirrors that the Giant's un-advanced ranking was.

43
by MJK :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:10pm

Well, we'll have to see DVOA for this week. I didn't watch the game, but I saw the highlights and looked at the stats, and it seems like the Eagles defense didn't play that poorly... Other than one freak play which gave up a TD due to some highly questionable tackling and a 1/1000 blocking effort, they held the Raiders to two FG's, and got two interceptions and forced seven punts on fourteen drives. That's not bad defensive play, and even counting the Raiders TD, giving up just 13 points is generally considered pretty decent defensive play (granted, giving up 13 points to the Raiders...maybe not so much).

But it seems to me that the story of this game is not Russel's play against the Eagles defense, but how the Eagles offense managed to get shut down so completely...

47
by crack (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:15pm

Are you claiming that this wasn't Russell's best straight statistical game this season?

OAK's Offensive DVOA was 32nd at -45.8% (CAR is 31 with -30.0%)

149
by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:49pm

Can those numbers be right??? Well, we all know that big negative DVOA numbers are desirable for defensive ratings, so I guess it is true that the best defense is a really lousy offense.

No, wait, maybe I am missing something...

183
by ChaosOnion (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:35pm

Russell's best game is still a giant bag of suck.

235
by zip.4chan.org/sp/ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 9:21pm

I think the loss of the left tackle on the o-line was the key to Philly's offensive collapse. The left side is McNabb's blindside. He ended up getting sacked, hit, and hurried far more than usual, all while nursing his broken rib.

After the game, I thought it could have been an interesting experiment to put Michael Vick in for McNabb, simply because he's left-handed, so he wouldn't be getting constant pressure on his blind side (the right side for him). Unfortunately, that would be interpreted as a vote-of-no-confidence in McNabb, which is probably why Reid didn't consider switching QBs. But given that Vick would be able to see the pressure coming, is a good scrambler, and isn't injured, he might have been a better tool for that particular circumstance than McNabb.

I don't think the defense was the reason Philly lost. I think it was that the offense could not get a rhythm going, and that was in large part to the weakness of the o-line after the injury. Given the Eagles performance against similarly bad teams (Panthers, Chiefs, Bucs), they should have scored 25-30 points against the Raiders.

59
by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:30pm

Are you really claiming that OAK had a better chance of winning the game if they had run on 3rd and 10 than if they threw? I'd like to see numbers to back that one up.

You could even argue that it was the right thing to do to bait OAK into throwing, had PHL played the pass on 3rd down. Unfortunately, PHL was completely surprised by the throw, because it never occurred to the coaches that the payoff matrix for throwing substantially changed because of the two-minute warning.

22
by mrh :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:35am

Went to the KC-WAS game yesterday (yay Chiefs). A couple of comments:
--Chiefs go for 1st down on 4th-and-2 from around the 35: KC Star writers are ripping the decision, but the wind was very bad, I thought it was a good decision. Bowe completely beat his defender and was wide open, but line couldn't keep Cassel upright.
--Bowe: Redskins could not cover him. He was consistently open and even when covered was too big for CBs to stop. The only one stopping Bowe was himself. The short-armed catch attempt was mentioned, but he killed a couple of drives with drops. Huge 2nd-and-14 catch when KC was trying to run out the clock negated by going out of bounds. With 2 Redskins timeouts and 1:37 left, if he stays in the Chiefs can kneel down. Instead, it meant the Chiefs could not run out the clock, had to settle for a FG, and give the Skins one last chance. Even if they weren't up to it.
--Skins offense: three good plays (catch and long run by Cooley, deep ball to Moss, Portis run) accounted for three first downs and 145 yards. Other 50 plays gained 4 first downs and 120 yards. I don't think DVOA will like that.
--Crowd: bad weather + bad home team + bad visting team = half empty stadium. Not much of a game day atmosphere. Many left when Skins couldn't convert late in 4th qtr down 9-6. Didn't they know they were playing the find-a-way-to-lose Chiefs? Chiefs fans stayed to the end, knowing it wasn't over until the clock ran out.
--Stadium: replays very sketchy, never on anything remotely controversial, but not even on key plays with no question about the call. Low point was in 2nd qtr when the out-of-town scores came up and were from Week 2 (KC 3, OAK 3, 2nd qtr, really? Was that the A team or the B Team?). How can that even happen?

23
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:38am

I agree with Flounder. Fans made fun of Barry Alvarez at WI because the Badgers ran a grand total of five plays on offense and rarely did anything special on defense including such whacky things as blitz.

Alvarez responded to these criticisms by saying if you focused on doing the basics really, REALLY well more often than not you would win a football game because the other team would make a mistake or mistakes.

The good Alvarez teams would lead the Big Ten in fewest penalties, fewest turnovers and fewest negative plays. That and they were very physical on both sides of the ball.

McCarthy's teams are Sherman-like in their stupidity, careless with the ball and can get pushed around. That is a recipe for bad results.

24
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:39am

Regarding Cincy, how much longer can that TE Coats be allowed to play? The guy drops passes, commits penalties, misses blocks and is pretty much a cipher. I barely saw that game and each time I did Coats was blowing up a Cincy drive with badness.

25
by jonah_jamison (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:40am

"I'm sorry, but Brad Childress looks like a child-molesting high school teacher."

You're better than this Football Outsiders. This isn't funny and skirts the boundaries of libel. I don't find Mike Kurtz's commentary insightful or funny and comments like this, man. Stick to breakdowns and stats.

30
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:45am

It's been done before, so I'll grant that it's a little tired, but saying that someone "looks like" something is not libel, nor does it skirt the boundaries of libel.

69
by M :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:12pm

While the FO comment is tacky and vulgar, it is also the following things:

1) Surprisingly accurate - I remember which teachers were considered creepy by classmates, and almost all of them had an appearance similar to Brad Childress.

2) Insightful - a lot of times I find that really bad & tasteless jokes do a better job of waking people up to things that we as a society SHOULD get angry about. One of the ironies of the PC movement of the late 80's/early 90's is that I think it made it a lot easier for the powers-that-be to sweep things under the rug and make discrimination EASIER.

3) Frankly, I think it is just plain hilarious - especially as a Vikings fan who seriously worries that the biggest issue with our team is Childress' lack of, um, testicular fortitude. (That, and the team effectively putting a gun to the state over getting a new stadium.)

82
by rageon :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:07pm

I'd personally like to avoid a society in which everyone is offended by everything. It's a joke, people.

83
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:08pm

I think the full beard looks wa-a-ay better than the mustache he was sporting last season.

But yeah, what's that have to do with football? Nothing. Why do I read FO? For the football analysis. I guess we have to take the bad with the good.

162
by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:17pm

Funny, but the first time I saw him in profile in that game I thought about "what does this guy look like and what amusing thing can I say about it on message boards?" I kid you not. Oh, it was a good game, too.

Sadly the best I could come up with is that with the surprising density to the hair portions he has (contrasted with the bald pate) his head looks like a giant hairy "S" hanging off a cue ball. Not the stuff of platinum-selling comedy albums.

You have to admit, if the game was dull, there would have been a LOT more chatter; the dude is one odd looking MF with that hair/beard ccombo. I suspect Vikes fans are happy with the results. You have to respect a streak.

266
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:14am

Maybe I just don't get it because my dad and uncles all sport the bald/beard combo.

130
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:24pm

Think about the children!! Won't somebody PLEASE think about the children?!?!?!?!

136
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:28pm

Somebody besides Childress, you mean?

203
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:19pm

A modest proposal: let's post photos of Schatz, Tanier, Kurtz, Verhei, Barnwell, et al and critique (amusingly, of course) their physiognomies. After all, the judgment of your appearance by the "cool kids" is the true barometer of your intrinsic merit, as we all should have learned in high school, during the time when we weren't avoiding being caught alone in a stairwell with that Childress-like math teacher.

245
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 1:50am

These basically are in line with my thoughts on the subject. I agree that we don't want a society where everyone is offended by everything, but the Childress jokes are just stupid and sophomoric.

On top of that there are the pot-and-kettle elements given the looks of many of the people taking pot-shots, and the ever so mild public health nuisance of reinforcing the stereotypes that children are molested by creepy looking strangers when typically they are molested by "normal" looking family.

270
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:53am

Name-calling is the new high art. Head on over to Profootballtalk.com and read any of the Rush Limbaugh threads for a dazzling display.

285
by Jimmy :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:55pm

Those threads are awesome. So much rage, so little literacy.

26
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:42am

I'm dying to know what the Titans' DVOA was for that game. I wouldn't be shocked by -150%. That was as bad as I've ever seen an NFL team look. CBS mercifully switched to Bills/Jets in my viewing area. I think Fisher is a great coach, but jeebus. Guys have gotten fired after better games than that.

29
by coltrane23 :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:43am

OK, Doug. You've convinced me re: Ruskell. I was high on the moves he made prior to the '05 season, and he's still drafted some decent talent on defense, but I have to agree that the Seahawks' talent has gotten stale and Ruskell hasn't addressed it effectively. I anticipated maybe an 8-8 season this year, but with their remaining schedule that seems optimistic (although, there should be a lot of talent returning from injury after the bye).

One thing I find troubling is all the soft-tissue injuries over the last couple years. Bones break, and there's not much to be done to prevent that. But it seems like the Seahawks are dealing with a lot of muscle pulls/tears, ligament injuries, etc. and I've always thought that those injuries are more preventable. All teams deal with injuries, but it seems like the 'Hawks have had a lot of them over the past couple years. Do you know if there was a recent change-up in training staffs to go with the move to the new facilities?

118
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:01pm

I'd been wondering about this as well. A year of 'fluky high' injury rates...well, it happens to teams now and then. But consecutive years indicates an issue with the training (strength training, physical therapy, etc.).

That and age (Hasselbeck, Walter Jones).

31
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:45am

Post 25:

This is a running gag on almost every sports blog in the Western Hemisphere. Bill Simmons spends a paragraph each week sharing messages from readers insulting Brad Childress' appearance.

Dude, he looks creepy.

85
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:10pm

That doesn't make it any less stupid.

32
by STI (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:47am

"What's less smart? The color commentator suggesting that Rex Ryan should have taken a second consecutive timeout, rather than taking the delay of game. Um ... that would have cost them 15 yards, because you can't do that. It's considered unsportsmanlike conduct."

Actually, no:

"Unsportsmanlike Conduct. An attempt to call an excess team timeout or to call a second timeout in the same dead-ball period by Team B in an attempt to “freeze” a kicker, will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and will subject the offending team to a 15-yard penalty (See 12-3). This will apply to field goal or Try attempts."

So just randomly calling two timeouts normally is just ignored; it doesn't result in a penalty.

33
by MJK :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:49am

I didn't see the game, but anyone care to explain how the heck the Raiders beat the Eagles? Other than Reid being allergic to running plays...

On the Pats game...I thought it should have been a safety, too, but let's not get greedy, shall we?

In general, my thoughts on the Pats game were:

(1) the turning point was the first quarter, when open Tennessee receivers dropped about five passes as if they were live ferrets, which prevented the Titans from getting any momentum, especially after shutting down the Patriots' first offensive drive (culminating in a missed Pats FG). I think it was weather...the Tennessee offense just couldn't adjust to the snow and wet and wind.

(2) I have never, even in the Arizona game last year, seen a team melt down and disintegrate so thoroughly as the Titans did in the second quarter of this game.

(3) The flea-flicker was great. I love it when teams do that, and they ought to do it more often. And on that play specifically, Moss used his reputation for "dogging it" on running plays to his advantage. You can clearly see the LB's and the safety on his side of the field watching him on the snap, and when they see him take three half-hearted jogging steps, they turn and run full tilt to the LOS. Then "Law Firm" throws the ball back to Brady, Moss turns on the burners, and that's all she wrote.

(4) Where did Laurence Maroney come from? I thought the Titans' run defense, at least, was supposed to be tolerable. And Laurence Maroney incapable. That's what I get for criticizing him harshly in last week's Audibles.

(5) It was said above, but the whole reason for the success of the Patriots' passing game looked to me that the Titans DB's could never figure out if they were supposed to be in man or zone coverage. Most of the long completions came when a DB playing low handed Moss or Welker off...to Hole-In-The-Zone.

(6) I don't know if Belichick will be brave enough to try it in good conditions against good WR/QB combos, but I really like the press coverage that Wilhite and Butler were playing...

38
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:59am

"(4) Where did Laurence Maroney come from? I thought the Titans' run defense, at least, was supposed to be tolerable. And Laurence Maroney incapable. That's what I get for criticizing him harshly in last week's Audibles."

Every time I go and actually watch Maroney run, and go and analyze the tape (outside of yesterday's game), I can't find anything wrong with him. It just seems like every time he gets the ball, someone blows the block and there's a DE in the backfield at the hand-off. Maybe they're just bad at blocking in Single-Back (which it seems like him and Faulk are the only backs used in that formation, and Faulk just runs draws). I don't know why. Maybe they're somehow telegraphing runs, or something along those lines. Either way, the whole Maroney "dancing in the backfield" is nothing but crap.

102
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:35pm

When Maroney gets in space (imo he is underused as a receiver), he can make some special plays (think 2007). This may be his last chance to overcome negative perceptions in NE -- among fans and possibly the coaching staff.

Anyone figure out why Adalius Thomas was a healthy scratch? Unless I've missed something, that seems baffling.

122
by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:10pm

One rumor buzzing around some of the Boston media is that Thomas (along with Galloway) is on the trading block.

Obviously, we'll see about that by tomorrow.

185
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:36pm

From the barstoolsports.com kneejerk reactions (must reading for Pats' fans): "Keep checking the skies for a giant mylar balloon with Adalius Thomas and Joey Galloway in it."

180
by AndyE :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:32pm

The thing about Maroney's style is that he has a tendency to keep his weight over his feet, rather than leaning into his runs, and he has this dancing stutterstep behind the line that looks awfully indecisive. Normally, this is a big downside; when playing on icy snow, it's possible that it let him shift his direction into the gaps that aren't usually there.

Pats blowhard since LA lost its teams.

49
by chemical burn :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:18pm

How did the Raiders beat the Eagles? 1) Akers missed two field goals - both were from the mid-40's, but should've been made. Those points were the difference in the game. 2) Jeremiah Trotter in coverage. He got burned on the long TD to Zack Miller and then burned on the 3-and-10 passto the RB at the two minute warning that allowed the Raiders to run out the clock. 3) McNabb was ice cold (22 for 46) and Reid chose to ride him all game. The running game was variable - but Westbrook averaged over 8 yards a carry on his 6 carries and the game was close, so there was no excuse for not trying to run the ball. 4) Four out their five projected starters for the season on the O-line were injured. McNabb (again, ice cold) held onto the ball too long and the pass protection played like a group of back-ups. King Dunlap got abused in place for the injured Jason Peters. 5) McNabb and Reid displayed a complete lack of understanding of game management. Mikell returned an INT to the Raiders 46 with 1:52 left in Q2. The Eagles had 1 timeout. They got off, I believe, 4 plays including the field goal. They took zero shots at the endzone and completed two short passes and a run up the middle. Late in the game, the team played with no urgency and took low percentage shots down the field, rather work the running game or short passes to their leading reciever, Brent Celek.

The Raiders did not play well and the Eagles (save Trotter) did not play too badly. There wer also a bunch of uncalled penalties (including a roughing the kicker and a tackle out of bounds that were outrageous). Also, on two different pass plays, Avant had his jersey pulled off his pad, with no flag. Whatever, penalties are penalties and I'm sure the Eagles got away with some stuff, too. The game just got out of hand quickly and the Eagles seemed to be flustered, desperate and unfocused - they played stupid.

50
by crack (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:19pm

Again, OAK's offensive DVOA was -45%. If dvoa means anything there is no way the Eagles played as well as 'not too badly'.

57
by chemical burn :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:29pm

Well, hold on - Trotter played terribly. That's what I said above. He was personally responsible for at least 90 of the Raiders offense yards. Probably more, but I haven't looked that closely. I don't mean to imply that the Eagles D gets a pass - but everyone played well but Trotter. They had interceptions, sacks, forced fumbles, three-and-outs and held their opponent to 13 points, despite getting no respite their their offense. On the whole, they played "not too badly." I suspect DVOA will not be kind because of the opponent adjustments, but really, the defense was not the problem yesterday.

The Raiders ran the same three plays over and over (two different play action passes and a running play) to exploit Trotter and exploited he was. Macho Harris, the rookie safety, also wasn't anything to write home about. But had the defense played the exact same game and the offense done their part, this would've been a 35 to 13 blowout and the defense would've looked exactly as they have in past weeks, against similarly putrid offenses...

115
by electricmayhem :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:54pm

I posted this up above but I can't help myself and have to say it again... I HATE, HATE HATE HATE the Trotter signing. It makes no sense, the D was fine against the run up the middle, Gaither and Mays may not be that great at MLB but they are better than Trotter... What I don't understand is if all of us sitting here in our office, living room, wherever know this, how can a professional NFL front office not realize it? I feel like I'm in the twilight zone like a few years ago with the Eagles playing Mike McMahon at QB... why?

75
by Robo-Hochuli (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:35pm

DVOA loves the Eagles unconditionally. Watch them move up this week.

141
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:35pm

The best explanation is the the Eagles threw in one of their two to three times a season clunkers. They do this every year, for no apparent reason and usually against the most terrible opponent on their schedule. If anybody can explain WHY they do this, please send your coaching resume to J. Lurie at 1 Novacare Way, Philadelphia.

161
by chemical burn :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:17pm

Yeah, halfway through the second quarter, I just thought, "Shit, this feels just like that 10-3 loss to Washington last year." These games always happen when McNabb is off and Reid fails take the throttle off of the passing game. I'm not saying the running game definitely would've worked, but geez - your QB is completing less than 50% of his passes, take the game off of his shoulders...

188
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:42pm

Mcnabb was inaccurate in his throws, but the Raiders pass rush is why. Richard Seymour had 4 sacks in the first half and totally disrupted the Eagles passing offense ( that's all they did anyway).

Mcnabb didn't have time to set his feet, because he had less than 3 seconds on a consistant basis, his left tackle hung him out to dry. Mcnabb not setting his feet helped contribute to a lot of inaccurate passes.

Yes the Receivers still should have caught the ball though, if you are a professional WR, your job is to catch the ball. If you get your hands on the ball, you should catch it.

The Raiders D-Line ( mainly Seymour) dominated, and the Raiders O-Line outplayed the Eagles D-Line as Fargas and company had more than enough nice runs.

The Eagles have been known to play down to their competition and this was one of those games. The thing is Mcnabb and company didn't look like they had that killer instinct. My best guess is that they didn't take the Raiders seriously, didn't game plan the way they needed too... thought they could just show up and win...

Odds makers gave the Raiders about a 10% chance to win, and they killed a lot of people's survior pools.

35
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:55am

Collinsworthless back to old form last night. First he explains that Cutlers problems in Denver with redzone INTs was the lack of a running game in Denver(yeah they had a lot of backs hurt but the replacements all seemed to run well) but that the Bears do have a running game(the ultimate irony being the two fumbles later in the game). Then at some point in the game the booth gets into a long discussion of all the Bears passing options available to Cutler. He might have too many good options they seem to conclude!

36
by Rocco :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:55am

So nothing from Bill Barnwell about his advice on his ESPN fantasy column to bench Drew Brees this week?

39
by MJK :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:00pm

Grrrr. I was one such fantasy owner. Grrrr.

42
by Joseph :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:10pm

You BENCHED BREES???? For who?--Are you in a 4 team league or something???
(I will agree--last two weeks his fantasy stats have been well below par for him. But hasn't he reached the level of auto-start no matter what?)

45
by MJK :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:13pm

Roethlisberger. Brees was facing a top ranked defense and had looked a little shaky the last couple of outings...and Roethlisberger was facing Cleveland and had been playing well.

Yes, it was idiotic. It's also the first season I've every been involved in Fantasy Football.

84
by rageon :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:10pm

Same here. That he was playing Cleveland was the difference maker. I figured Ben was a guaranteed "good" play, whereas Brees could have a great week, but was also more likely to have a poor week than Ben was. I played it safe.

87
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:16pm

Didn't 'berger get 400 yards and 2 TDs? That's not that bad.

91
by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:23pm

In one league I'm in (which has a 15 point bonus for throwing for 400+ yards), Big Ben significantly outscored Brees.

184
by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:35pm

Not a bad call at all, coach--your rationale was sound. Now if you benched Brady for... say Russell, you deserve to have your head examined with a ball peen hammer and dental drills.

198
by Rocco :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:11pm

That's a bad decision, but it's justifiable. It's not like you benched Brees for Jake Delhomme. Who would think that's a good idea?

186
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:38pm

If you took Brees you took him early. You didn't need another QB until Kyle Orton territory way late in the draft. If you have Brees and Big Ben, you took your second QB too early (I guarantee there were higher upside choices at RB and WR available) -- you start Brees for 16 games and live with it, and you play the other guy the bye week. Besides meaning you are weak elsewhere, having one great and one very good QB is a way to outthink yourself into fantasy suicide...

246
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 1:56am

This sounds like the advice of someone who really needs to branch out into more non-traditional leagues :). Standard leagues are so boring. Try auctions or keepers (or better yet both!). Such little axioms mean little in these leagues.

52
by Todd S. :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:21pm

To be fair to Bill, I was contemplating Brees versus Hasselbeck based on matchups, and he advised Brees. I'm relieved that I took his advice.

61
by mattymatty :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:36pm

I won my fantasy game this week because my opponent benched Brees for Hasselbeck.

I sat Roddy White (and his 30+ points) last week though and lost because of it, so what goes around comes around I suppose.

40
by Joseph :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:03pm

How good is the Saints offense? Against a pretty good defense (that will take a MASSIVE hit in the DVOA ratings tomorrow) they had 6 1st half drives: TD, TD, TD, TD, stopped on 4th down at the 1 ft. line, TD. Seriously--1 foot away from 6 straight TD's. Also, they lost a SEVENTH!! when Darren Sharper's weekly pick 6 was called back on a legit roughing the passer penalty (helmet-to-helmet). Remember--THIS WAS THE FIRST HALF!!
Imagine my disappointment when Brady decided to do basically the same thing to the Titanic. Tom, I hate to say it, but right now they are at the point in the movie where he says no matter what they do, too many compartments have flooded and it is a mathematical certainty that the ship will sink.

53
by B :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:21pm

I don't think we can credit the Saints offense for the Darren Sharper non-TD, though, as he's on defense. Still, what the Saints did was downright impressive. I think they had a better 1st half than the Pats, when you consider the opponent differences. I'm hoping we can revisit the numbers once we have the opponent adjustments at 100%.

58
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:29pm

All credit to the Saints offensive line. When the Giants d-line doesn't get pressure, the Giants' secondary is, well, to be kind, pedestrian.

Generally speaking, it really appears to me that defensive back play has fallen off a cliff, on a league wide basis. Myabe it is because I'm watching a lot of the Red Zone Channel, but, good grief, does anyone have ball skills or the ability to tackle anymore?

89
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:18pm

The Saints are the scariest team to the Vikings in this year's playoffs (assuming they both make it, that is). Especially if Minnesota keeps kicking it to Bush.

127
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:18pm

Second that - now that the Vikes are 6-0, I'm starting to look ahead to seedings. Barring a serious collapse (or a long-term injury for Winfield, apparently) the Vikes should be no worse than the #3 seed. If Saints end up #1, then they wouldn't match up until the Championship Game.

Regardless, the Saints' offense is such that it's going to require one of those strange, 'unforeseen' defensive game plans to overcome. Think the way Parcells beat the Bills in the Super Bowl, or the Giants over the Pats a couple years ago. Either a 3-4 with a lot of new wrinkles in the blitzing and attack scheme, or a 4-3 with stunts, etc. But something that: 1) that defense hasn't run before (thus no tape available to study from), and; 2) Drew Brees hasn't seen before.

146
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:40pm

If Pat Williams were a couple years younger, I'd be intrigued by a Vikings 3-4 defense. I could see K-Williams and Edwards/Robison as the DEs and Allen (good coverage, good speed) joining the linebackers.

As is, though, I think Minnesota would be better suited sticking to their 4-3 with creative blitzing from Frazier while letting the grizzled greybeard sifting through the Saint's D along with Peterson having a timely monster game.

171
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:23pm

with creative blitzing from Frazier

And that, mon ami, is the problem. It appears to me that the Vikings' defense has nothing remotely resembling 'creative blitzing'. What they have is 'thoroughly predictable blitzing'. Without some serious changes, it's going to cost them a game - if not before the playoffs, then during the playoffs.

244
by armchair journe... :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 1:11am

interesting that both examples are giants teams... prompted by the utter failure of a third giants team.

_______________________________
armchair journeyman quarterback

252
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 6:44am

Or simply a few stops pulled from somewhere and an almost equally ridiculous offense having a good day of its own. Could NO-Indy be the highest scoring Superbowl of all time?

41
by morganja :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:07pm

"Tom Gower: The Panthers got a first and goal at the 12 with 1:54 left. The Bucs burned up their time outs and CAR converted for first and goal from with 1. With the Bucs unable to stop the clock and having the ability to win the game by taking a couple knees and kicking a 19 yard field goal, DeAngelo Williams gets the ball on first-and-goal and scores. I'm really not sure I like that move by Fox."

Are you seriously suggesting that running the ball in a tie game and trying to score a touchdown when a FG has already been previously blocked is a 'bad move'? Seriously? What would be a good move? Are you saying he was running up the score in a tie game, or that it was less risky to kick a FG instead of run the ball and then, at worst, kick a FG? I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

56
by B :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:26pm

A blocked or missed field goal at that range is a pretty unlikely occurrence (Field goals at that range have a 98% success rate on average throughout the league). TB driving and scoring a TD with ~1:30 left in the game, well, that's pretty unlikely too. I guess if you figure TB scoring is less likely, then going for a touchdown is the right move. Otherwise, running the clock down to zero then kicking a field goal would be the correct decision.

143
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:37pm

"Otherwise, running the clock down to zero then kicking a field goal would be the correct decision."

I know that didn't come out the way you meant it, but I thought it was funny anyway. Probably want to kick that field goal prior to the clock getting to zero.

209
by Dave :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:35pm

I think that was one of those plays where he wouldn't have been too upset if it didn't work. In fact, the Bucs stopping him would probably have been a bad decision on their part. The downside for the Panthers was a 7 point lead with 1:30 to play. Right decision or wrong, it's not a big deal.

51
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:19pm

Sharper has done a lot to prove GB wrong in letting him go early. He's one of those rare guys that if you let him roam around sure he will be out of position at times and yes the run support is MIA but he can make gamechanging plays.

65
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:49pm

Sharper is as smart as they come. I know the Vikings got tired of his tendency to get exposed by a speedy guy with the ball in his hands, but I'm not sure the Vikings are better off without him.

77
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:40pm

Sharper had 9 ints in his first year in Minnesota under Tice - but only 9 in the subsequent 3 years under Childress. He also had 16 Pass Defences in 2005 versus 22 over the next 3 years.

Sharper looked awful last year and I was happy to see them transition to Johnson this year. But it seems apparent that the Vikings defensive scheme isn't one that allows safeties to make many ints or pds. They play extremely conservatively. You almost never see a receiver past the last Viking defender but you often see a receiver 5 yards clear 20 yards down the field.

Last year about half way through the year Griffin was having a terrible season. I seem to recall that they allowed him to or asked him to play much closer to the line and far more aggressively, and the improvement in his play was quite remarkable. I think given the quality of the Vikings pass rush - that this team needs to play a much more aggressive scheme with both of their safeties.

96
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:27pm

I've noticed plays made by the Vikings' safeties where I've thought "I'll bet Sharper would've blown that", most recently Johnson's beautiful pass tip against St. Louis (Q3 I think) in week 5.

54
by jpo287 :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:21pm

Are the Panthers so disliked here that even when they do the right thing, it is questioned? I may be off base, but I am pretty sure that if they had taken a knee and then kicked the field goal, it would have been questioned to the point of ridicule--especially if the kick had been blocked or missed! So I guess it's "damned if you do, damned if you don't" for the Panthers around here.

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by morganja :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:19pm

It really is. They despise the Panthers here and I'm not sure why. I think it is a bit of a northern contempt for the south in general. Still a lot of good information and insights from people here. They just often have to be taken with a whole lot of northern, and especially Patriot slant. I don't think they realize how off-putting it is to fans of other teams. I guess that's why about 90% of the posters on this site are fans of northern teams.

Come to think of it. This is the same sort of thing which causes like-minded people to tend to watch the same shows, listen to the same news programs, live in the same place, etc. I don't think people realize how sensitive they have become about their own preferences and pugnacious they become when forced to listen to conflicting ideas. Criticize the Patriots around here and see what I mean.

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by Trisaratops (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:47pm

Sorry, I think you're way off base. I'm a HUGE Panthers fan, and I've never felt that the FO writers "despise" them. In the past I've been frustrated when the Panthers get less (virtual) ink than other teams... but I chalk that up to the Panthers' recent lack of distinction than any bias on FO's part.

(My captch: narcissism)

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by morganja :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:50pm

I wasn't clear. I'm not referring to the writers. I was referring to the posters.

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by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:27pm

Yeah, you're way off base there, too.

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by morganja :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:33pm

No, I'm not. Why don't you do a statistical analysis of the number of posts on this site that A) involve a northern team and B) out of the small number of posts involving southern teams have disparaging things to say about them?

Absent such an analysis I think it is premature to say that I am way off base there.

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by tuluse :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:38pm

I think you're being ridiculous.

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by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:43pm

So, let's see if I understand:

1. You accuse this site of having a 'northern' bias.
2. You amend that you 'just the posters'.
3. When rebuffed, you want ME to perform a statistical analysis to prove you're incorrect, rather than YOU performing an analysis to prove your original point?

Did I miss something? Don't add 'lazy' to the growing list of attributes that we the frequenters of FO are currently assigning you. Do your own damn research. Then post it, along with your surely-thorough methodology, etc.

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by morganja :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:20pm

I'm stating my opinion. You 'refute' it with a simple 'No, I'm wrong.' Why don't you try this. Read through the discussion board for this weekend's games. What games are discussed? Read through the discussion boards for the past five years. Which games are discussed ad nauseum? Which teams are not discussed?

Is there a Delhomme-Ryan irrational discussion thread? Does there need to be? To claim that the most discussed teams on this board are not in a loose order Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Giants is simply disengenuous.

I'm also not saying that there is anything wrong with that except for the fact that I think it is another case of a self fulfilling syndrome in which the fans of all the other teams tend to not bother coming here and the posters commentery becomes more and more echo chamber. It really does seem that there are a number of posters here who simply want to hear what they want to hear and get all bent out of shape when they hear the perspective of a fan from another team.

There are also a lot of great ideas introduced and discussed here, which is why I keep coming back. I get to hear things from the perspectives of Patriot, Steeler and Colts fans. The question is, why do you seem to have a problem hearing things from the perspectives of other teams? It is this sort of thing that led poor Raiderjoe down the sierra nevada trail to oblivion. [tongue in cheek]

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by ammek :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:23pm

This argument is to Audibles as Browns-Bills is to the NFL.

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by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:55pm

I am NOT entering this debate. All I will say is try being a Colts fan here circa 2003/2004. I used to have Cowher-spew on my computer screen at 2 am as the Pats-Colts thing boiled over--I'd stay up a few extra hours at night reading and responding. All posters, not writers. My wife would wake up the next day and say "Now, why were you up til 3 am?" "Because I was, uh, arguing with folks I don't even know and will never meet, that Manning should have thrown that 2nd down apss away rather than.... oh, never mind."

Aaron, I must say, went out of his way to be objective towards the Colts and point it out in painful detail to all.

There was a fair amount of CBS Sportsline/Fox Sports like "fighting" going on, including one poster (named Chris?) who dared others to come to a certain bar and duke it out. Holy crap!

To avoid causing that kind of hackles-up reaction that I sometimes had, I went overboard in choosing my words (and insults) judiciously. Anyway, it's a lot beter these days. A lot of smart people here, a lot of good insight to steal/absorb. Not worth getting bent out of shape over it, or bending others out of shape.

My $0.02.

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by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:04pm

I'd stay up a few extra hours at night reading and responding. All posters, not writers. My wife would wake up the next day and say "Now, why were you up til 3 am?" "Because I was, uh, arguing with folks I don't even know and will never meet, that Manning should have thrown that 2nd down apss away rather than.

Someone on the internet is wrong!

:)

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by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 10:43pm

Good cartoon...

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by Still Alive (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:02am

That cartoon is my homepage :)

Always good to mock yourself :)

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by Purds :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 6:19pm

Yeah, but those were the fun old days, like the days of pulling all-nighters for an exam in college and doing hill sprints until I puked in track practices. Brings a tear to my eye...

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by Keith (1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:50pm

This whole comment is full of ridiculous accusations. I stumbled upon this site and I have never found it leaning one way or the other. I know Vince likes the Seahawks. I know Tanier likes the Eagles and Joe Flacco. I know Aaron likes the Patriots. I am a Green Bay fan. I have never found anything particularly disrespectful towards an organization, region, or conference. They do not even mention the GB/DET game, and they clearly explain that in the opening paragraphs of this entire article -- there was nothing interesting to any of them in that game.

Guess what, guy? OH. WELL. If you want to read a site that is inclined to discuss favorably your team, go read that team's site. I am sure you will find all sorts of overly optimistic homerism (without the availability of interesting stats or breakdowns). I mean, really. I dislike the Patriots and how they continued to score after half time. The starters should have been sat after half time. No team has ever come back down more than 31 points. But just because it was not mentioned does not mean there is a northern slant; it means that it was not worth mentioning when there were other on-field issues that were being discussed -- like, you know, actual football?

Seriously. If you want to read stuff about your team or a region of teams, find a new site.

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by nojo :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:20pm

I'm not trying to start yet another argument (er, discussion) about running up the score and sportsmanship, really.... But this:

No team has ever come back down more than 31 points.

is wrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Comeback_%28American_football%29

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by Keith (1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:29pm

I knew that (and obviously forgot it), and I originally typed 32. But I knew it was a number surrounding 32; I went with 31 vice 33. Still, it stands to reason: one team in many hundreds of teams managed it. That makes it pretty rare.

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by ammek :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:21pm

They do not even mention the GB/DET game, and they clearly explain that in the opening paragraphs of this entire article -- there was nothing interesting to any of them in that game.

Or indeed to anyone else — fans of the Packers and Lions included.

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by Vague (not verified) :: Fri, 10/23/2009 - 12:41pm

Gotta say I disagree completely with ever taking starters out of NFL games particularly home games wherethe home team has the lead. Those fans paid good money to see their stars play. Because one team brings an inferior product to your stadium you shouldnt play your stars in front of your fans?

Now is it smart injury wise etc? Maybe not. Is this garbage time helpful as talent evaluation ? Possibly although perhaps not under the weather conditions.

Note I'm a Bears fan but I might be biased since I'm very very partial to NE throwback jerseys and my parents live in Maine.

95
by Tom Gower :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:25pm

Here's your decision matrix: are you more likely to miss a field goal or allow a touchdown on defense? Given kicks from the 20 yard line are made at about a 98% clip, that's an awful lot of confidence in your defense. Fox's calculation was undoubtedly influenced by the prior blocked kick, almost certainly much more than it should have been, given that people tend to overrate the likelihood of infrequent events that have recently occurred (see Bruce Schneier and particularly the marvelous Beyond Fear). And, I would have gladly defended Fox had the FG missed; heck, I defended Dungy for doing the same thing against SD on SNF, and because SD had the lead, Vinatieri's missed chip-shot FG cost the Colts the game then.

100
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:32pm

I don't think you can take it all out of context; Tampa's run defense was utterly horrible on that last drive. Carolina literally ran the ball up the middle twelve plays in a row. Twelve. And every one got excellent yardage. Yeah, Stewart fumbled earlier, but face it--everybody knew Carolina was going to walk into the end zone on that drive. In the end, it was just a balance between a potential fumble on a sure TD vs. a missed/blocked kick. In this situation, you keep running. I have never seen interior run defense as bad as I saw on that last drive. NEVER.

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by morganja :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:47pm

Thanks for your reply. I think logically one would have to compare the percent chance of a lost fumble on three rushes before kicking a field goal to the percent chance of a missed FG by itself. So, DeAngelo has rushed 655 times to that point in his career and had lost 2 fumbles for a 0.3% rate. I'm not sure what we can call the percent chance of a score from each rush, but from the way the Panthers were running the ball, it would seem about a ballpark 25% chance per rush at that range, borne out by the fact that they did score.

So if I do my matrix correctly, with each iteration on left and cumulative on right:
1 rush score 25% turnover 0.3% = score 25% and turnover 0.3%
2 rush score 25% turnover 0.3% = score 44% and turnover 0.5%
3 rush score 25% turnover 0.3% = score 58% and turnover 0.7%
FG 98% = score 99% and turnover 0.7%

Three kneel downs and a FG attempt translate into a scoring chance of 98% and an effective turnover rate of 2%. I rounded above, but Fox essentially reduced his chances of not scoring by two thirds, from 2% to 0.7%.

Even if the statistics didn't bear him out, it's still the right call on a 1-3 team that needs to gain some confidence in itself.

Again, thanks for the reply. I originally coudln't tell from the remark whether you were considering it a case of runniing up the score or a case of it being more risky.

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by Tom Gower :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:08pm

Running up the score because they won by 7 instead of 3? No, I just thought it was a sub-optimal decision by Fox in terms of maximizing his team's chances of winning the game.

What would've been a fairly clever move by Fox, and perhaps an ideal middle solution, would be to take a knee on first down and then to run the ball on second and possibly also third down before trying a field goal. With :35-:40 less time on the clock, TB's chance of scoring after a TD may decrease to the point where P(defensive stop after TD) exceeds P(FG make). I can't think of any coach, NFL or college, who's actually ever done something like, though.

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by tuluse :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:33pm

Didn't Sean Payton try this?

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by morganja :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:00pm

I see what you are saying now. The Panthers got the first down at the 2 with 50 seconds remaining and the clock running. They then scored on first down leaving 29 seconds on the clock. It is those 29 seconds that you thought was the bad idea. That wasn't clear at all from the way you worded the original post, obviously because it was just a quick email comment and not a dissertation.

I'm not sure I agree though. There has to be enough time on the clock to run preferably four plays including a possible fourth down FG attempt and they only had 2 timeouts. Assuming they didn't score on first down, that would have led to two plays in 29 seconds with one time out and the last timeout reserved for fourth down to get the kicking team out there.

There is just barely enough time so that they would never be forced to throw, both a bad idea with Jake lately and keeping the defense honest defending both.

The worst case scenario from this perspective is that they scored a TD on first down leaving 29 seconds on the clock. But then one should weigh the fact that they have a QB making his third start and that they had managed only one offensive TD in the first 59:31. I'm guessing that if that was Brady or Peyton Manning back there than the probabilities swing more to your position.

But here we have the benefit of hours to think about it and can't make any definite conclusions because we can only speculate at some of the most essential probabilities, the chances that this team can run the ball in in this situation on this day, the chances that Josh Johnson can take the Bucs down the field and score a TD without any timeouts with 29 seconds left, or 15 seconds left, or 8 seconds left, the probability of TB running back another kick for a touchdown, etc. etc. Fox had seconds and he was also evaluating the emotional state of his team, which when the probabilities seem to be so very close, most likely became the primary concern.

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by jpo287 :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:28pm

How about you add scoring a TD to your decision matrix. After all, you need points to win - doesn't matter where they come from!

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by jpo287 :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:12pm

"And, I would have gladly defended Fox had the FG missed; heck, I defended Dungy for doing the same thing against SD on SNF, and because SD had the lead, Vinatieri's missed chip-shot FG cost the Colts the game then."

Sorry but those are two different things. The Colts had 4th-1 on the 33. The choice there was on 4th down. The Panthers had 1st-1 on the goal. Comparing a 4th down play on the 33 to a 1st down play on the 1 doesn't work. Those are completely different circumstances requiring different "decision matrix's".

142
by Tom Gower :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:36pm

Hmm, guess I was a little off on the game details (of this game). Do me a favor and remind me of this the next time a coach faces the same decision, and feel free to call me out for any hypocrisy then if my tune changes.

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by jpo287 :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:03pm

Not trying to be argumentative. I just couldn't understand the logic of your statement. I first read it as "running up the score" as ridiculous as that sounds and then I couldn't understand your logic - so I looked up the game you referenced to try to understand. Nothing more.

153
by Temo :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:05pm

Decision Matrix:

A) You run down the clock, kick a FG.
B) You try and score with 0:33 on the clock

With A), the possible outcomes are: FG is successful, you win or FG misses, you go to OT.

With B), the possible outcomes are: You don't convert, and (probably) run down the clock and go with A). Or, you fumble the ball and don't recover. Or, you convert and you kick off with 0:29 left, hoping your opponent doesn't return well or have enough time to score.

A) has a 98% success rate... just the probability of hitting the game winning FG from 20 yards out.

With B), the runner has a 0.5% chance of fumbling (based on career fumble rate)-- 0.25% chance of fumbling and not recovering. With the ensuing kickoff with 0:29 left, lets say Tampa Bay has a 0.25% of scoring the TD to tie (actually 1%, according to Advanced Football Stats formula, but it doesn't know this is Tampa Bay we're talking about here). Also, if the conversion attempt fails, you still have a 98% chance at hitting the FG.

TB's power success on defense this year through week 5 is 71%, CAR's power success on offense is an abysmal 13%. Lets say for the sake of "context" that on this particular play, CAR's power success against TB is 90%.

Here's the math for B:
1-0.9975 = 0.0025 = chance of fumbling away the ball
0.9 x 0.9975 = 0.8978 = chance of scoring TD and kicking off and winning
0.1 x 0.9975 - 0.0025 = 0.09725 = chance of not scoring TD, not fumbling
0.09725 x 0.98 = 0.095305 = Chance of winning via FG after first not converting TD

= Total chance of victory for (B) is 0.993, or about twice as successful as just running down the clock and kicking the FG.

There's a lot of things approximate with this, however. So here's how the decision tree changes, ceteris paribis:

- Once the probability of a TD dips below 25%, running down the clock and kicking the FG becomes the better choice

- Once fumble probability reaches 3%, running down the clock and kicking the FG becomes the better choice

- Once the chance of a TB score with a kickoff with 0:29 seconds left reaches 1.5%, running down the clock and kicking the FG becomes the better choice.

Of course, it could conceivably be some mix of the above that does it... like say if Power success is 70%, Fumble+Loss probability is 0.5%, Tampa score after kickoff is 1%... then running down the clock and kicking the FG becomes the better choice.

Yes, I spent way too much time on this. And probably made mistakes anyway.

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by jpo287 :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:08pm

You did but I appreciate it

215
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:55pm

How dare you resort to advanced statistical analysis on a website dedicated to . . . uh, never mind.

262
by Trisaratops (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:54am

Love it, thanks!

273
by huston720 :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 11:31am

Tom,

it seems to me this is a coin flip decision, but I have to disagree with your statement about infrequent events. In general you are right about this, but is the prior blocked kick a typical infrequent event? If we are sure that the previous block was random then you are right, but what about the possibility that Tampa is better than average at blocking kicks, or has found some flaw in the kick protection. It would seem to me that there is still some skill involved in blocking kicks, refer to the Cle-Cin game from three weeks ago.

My point is you can't just dismiss a blocked kick as a random non-predictive event within a game, even if you can over the course of a season.

60
by tally :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:32pm

Bill Barnwell: Always good to see the color commentator in Jets-Bills calling for the Jets to challenge on a play where he thought Thomas Jones was down on the one-inch line. Hint: Not good to waste a timeout when you get four chances from the one inch line, even if it's the Jets.

From what I could tell, the challenge was considered not so much to see whether the Jets would score but where the horse collar penalty would be assessed, half the distance to the goal with a couple of inches to go or 15 yards on kickoff.

62
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:39pm

Watching cornerback play elsewhere I am hopeful that Charles Woodson plays until he is 45.

66
by AnonymousA (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:50pm

"it jives with the numbers from the past few years."

Jibes. It Jibes. It does not get groovy, and begin dancing with the numbers. Jibes.

CAPTCHA: Nicolai's pigpen. I think I read that book as a kid...

67
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:56pm

Did anyone else think the striped shirts were very charitable with Orlando Pace last night, even with the penalty yards Pace racked up?

Inside the five yard line is where a bad offensive line REALLY gets exposed.

80
by TomC :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:01pm

I only noticed the one time they showed a replay to demonstrate what a great job Pace was doing on Abraham. Not surprisingly, neither Michaels nor Collinsworth noted that the replay showed Pace tackling Abraham rather than blocking him. You might imagine concocting a story in which Pace, with his veteran savvy, identified the crew working the game and knew what he could get away with. Although I'm not sure if any crew is going to ignore a false start on 4th-and-1 from the goal line with 34 seconds to play.

Speaking of which, I've generally defended Lovie as a coach who has his guys ready to play and whose teams don't beat themselves, but I don't know if I've ever seen a team make so many bad mistakes in so many crucial situations. (Forte's fumbling on consecutive goal-line plays really made me think I'd gone through the looking glass.) Especially coming off the bye week, the coaching staff has some serious explaining to do about this one.

133
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:27pm

Are you seriously suggesting that Forte fumbling because of something the coaching staff did or failed to do?

253
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 7:02am

I really didn't think Forte was to blame on either fumble. Sometimes the defender just manages to put a helmet on the ball. When that happens, you're going to fumble. When a guy with an established history of not fumbling fumbles twice in quick succession, both times on big hits, I'm inclined to put it down to bad luck, not some sudden and temporary change in technique.

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by Jimmy :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:51pm

I think the first fumble comes down to either bad execution or unlucky (or bad) play calling. The last thing you want to see when you ask a RB to try the dive over the top on the goal line is several opponents blitzing the gap you are aiming for. The idea is for the ball carrier to make it in with minimal contact because otherwise it isn't going to happen.

117
by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:00pm

Al Michaels was assigned to what came to be a famous hockey game in 1980, and we are still paying for it by having to listen to him. He is a cheerleader's cheerleader.

After Pace jumps (not flinches, but jumps over the line) on 4th and 1, and they show the replay, Michaels says "there was nothing he could do." Sure, after he displays an ridiculous lack of disclipline and lunges across the neutral zone, he really couldn't undo that. But yes, there was something he could have done: Not f'cking commit a needless false start!!!! I had no rooting interest in the game, but it was a terrible play, and a vapid comment by a terrible announcer.

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by TomC :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:10pm

As I did have a rooting interest in the game, I was too busy screaming to hear what Michaels said about Pace's false start.

175
by Brendan Scolari :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:25pm

He does make some stupid comments, but I'll take Michaels over most other NFL play-by-play guys.

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by Temo :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:48pm

Michaels is still awesome.

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by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:16pm

I think Michaels was talking in a biomechanical/physics sort of sense. Once you get 325 lbs jumping and the only brace against hurtling forward is two fingers in the turf, well, there's nothing you can do.

And his "time zero" was not once the huddle broke (when Pace might have asked a teammate what the snap count was), but instead, the instant after Pace lunged. Hey, you try to stop that mass of humanity on a dime once it starts surging. I think pulling in the rains after moving three or four feet is pretty impressive.

70
by Independent George :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:13pm

Am I oversimplifying, or can we trace the defensive problems with BAL, TEN, and NYG to all three teams losing their defensive coordinators?

I haven't seen much of TEN, but BAL and NYG seem to have two variations on the same problem - it looks like the gameplans were written based entirely on the skill of their players, without any regard for who their opponent is. Baltimore seems to be giving the entire lineup a green light to freelance - they jump routes, blitz, and over-pursue without regard for their responsibilities. The Giants, on the other hand, seem to be playing a vanilla defense most of the time. They're relying on Tuck & Osi to generate pressure entirely off their athleticism, and don't bother with any stunts, zone blitzes, or shifts to create mismatches (and when they do those things, they're usually out of position).

94
by Quincy :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:25pm

I think that's a great point, and one that probably hasn't received the attention it should. Considering all of the ink Greg Williams and Mike Nolan have deservedly gotten for their positive impacts in New Orleans and Denver, I think it's reasonable to assume that the departure of talented defensive coordinators in Tennessee, Baltimore and New York could have an equally detrimental impact on those clubs. Tennessee and Baltimore have particularly declined on defense in a way that can't be attributed to age or free agent losses.

New York's problems have mostly hidden so far by having a clear enough talent advantage over most of the offenses they have faced. However, there have been major lapses in their two games against opponents with a pulse. Comments from the press conference and beat reporters following the Dallas game suggested that it was schematic issues and confusion about gap responsibility that led to the Giants giving up 200+ rushing yards in that game. Combine that with yesterday's clearly inadequate defensive game plan and Giants have reason to worry about whether the team is poised to lose the coaching chess match against every good offense left on their schedule.

116
by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:59pm

The biggest problem with the baltimore defense is the safety play, both of whom are dealing with recovering from neck injuries. This team switches back and forth between totally immovable and giving up 50 yard passes. It's bad play from the safeties who should be taking away those kinds of plays but aren't. That forces cornerbacks and linebackers to try to compensate which makes things worse. They've got a bye this next week, so with 2 weeks I'm betting they recognize the problem and go about fixing it, even if that means making a last minute trade.

204
by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:20pm

Well, the Colts lost their DC and ended up improving.

Then again, that was Ron Meeks, and he went on to Carolina, which... regressed.

So it might not be as simple as losing a DC, but the quality of the DC lost (or gained).

217
by Dave :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:57pm

I was thinking the same thing. New York gets by because of their talent but the game plan yesterday was awful and they haven't shown (or had to show) any creativity at all like last year. Cecil seems completely inadequate in Tennessee, and Baltimore has understandably regressed.

Bob is right though, Meeks leaving didn't exactly hurt the Colts. Then again, that move was years overdue.

Also, I can't be the only one who hopes someone else signs up for this site with the username Relationship George and engages you in conversation.

229
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 8:15pm

Ron Meeks is horrible, and makes me wonder why teams even considered to bring him in for head coaching interviews. Dog and pony show.

The Colts also lost their "defensive genius" head coach and it looks like pretty much the exact same team...

239
by Quincy :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 11:46pm

Why would you wish that? If Relationship George walks into this thread he will kill Independent George!

79
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 1:45pm

I find the north versus south thing curious given that I find FO to be fair in its assessment of the Falcons (very much the South), Tennessee (still Dixie), and Dallas (however much it protests since of course Texas is a region unto itself).

254
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 7:58am

I think the fair criticism is that the coverage of the teams FO writers support, and teams in big media centres, tends to be better (both more voluminous and more insightful) than the coverage of more obscure teams that no FO writer personally supports. It's pretty obvious why that should be the case, and quite understandable. It happens that both the big media markets and most of the teams supported by FO staff (Patriots, Seahawks, Eagles, Giants, Steelers off the top of my head) are in the north. There's no "bias", in the sense of a tendency to knock, against smaller market teams (a category which includes almost all southern teams), but the writers' knowledge of those teams is seldom as deep, which can at times lead to statements which hardcore fans find frustrating. I remember a few years ago getting (a little excessively) riled up about a dismissive comment from a writer (I forget who) directed at Kevin Walter, who at the time had gone from being an obscure back-up in Cincy to an obscure back-up in Houston, but who had a couple of seasons' worth of stellar small-sample DVOA, an awesome one-game playoff performance when injuries got him significant playing time, and a skill-set and statistical profile not at all unlike a young Ed McCaffrey. I saw him as a likely future starter with the potential to be an outstanding possession option - an opinion then shared by many, perhaps most people who followed the Texans closely. Whichever writer it was had probably barely heard of him. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to tell you anything sensible about a player in a similar position in Seattle, or Chicago, or wherever - no-one can know the ins and outs of every team in the league's backups. Likewise, the posters mostly support big market or successful teams, and are most interested in posting about them. I can understand Morganja's frustration to some extent, but it's ridiculous to think that FO's writers or posters in toto have some particular dislike of the Panthers, or southern teams in general, and unrealistic to expect a small team of people who are mostly not covering football for a living to provide a uniform level of coverage across the league. Is the coverage of the Patriots better than the coverage of the Texans? Sure. Does that mean the coverage of the Texans doesn't have value, or that this isn't a brilliant site? Hell no. Are most posters (myself included) inclined to homerism? Sure. Does that mean their insights aren't worth reading, or that they hate your team? I highly doubt it.

On a side note, does anybody hate the Panthers? If so, why? And if they do, shouldn't Panthers fans see that as a good thing? I'm a fan of Chelsea, who everybody hates, and the Texans, who nobody hates. This tells you something good about Chelsea, and something bad about the Texans.

271
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 11:04am

I hate the Panthers, mainly having to do with my hatred of all things South Carolina ever since their bank (NationsBank) took over my bank (Bank of America) in a lying, stealing, cheating kind of way.

I imagine that's just about exactly as logical as most people's reasons for hating one team or another.

I'm not sure if there are any more small-market teams in the South than the North. Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Washington...all pretty big cities. Buffalo, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Green Bay...all pretty small cities.

278
by MJK :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:18pm

Don't the Panthers play in Charlotte, which is in North Carolina? Granted, it's close to South Carolina, but no one thinks of the Patriots as playing in Rhode Island or the Giants and Jets playing in New York...oh, wait. Strike that last one.

Regarding market size versus region, I just did some quick research. If you use the (roughly) 36° parallel as the division between north and south (that's roughly the southern border of Missouri or the norther border of North Carolina and Tennessee), then there are 22 "northern" NFL teams and 11 "southern" teams. Ignoring anything in or west of the Rocky Mountains as being "western" teams not "northern" or "southern" teams (for historical reasons...Arizona, New Mexico, and southern California are not typically considered to be part of the "The South"), you get 17 northern teams, 9 southern teams, and 6 western teams.

If we define a "small" market as having less than 2 million people in its combined statistical area (or it's metro statistical area if not part of a CSA), a "medium" market as having between 2 and 4 million, and a "large" market as having 4+ million, then the northern teams are 24% small (4/17), 29% medium (5/17), and 47% large (8/17).

The southern teams are 33% small (3/9), 22% medium (2/9), and 44% large (4/9).

The western teams are 67% (4/6) medium and 33% large (2/6).

I naively counted teams that share an MSA or CSA (Jets/Giants, Ravens/Redskins, and 49ers/Raiders) as each getting half the population of the statistical area.

So the balance of small market teams seems more or less the same in the north versus the south. It's not for the west...there are no small market west coast teams.

If anyone cares, here's the raw data:

Team Statistical Area Population (in million)
Patriots 7.5
Jets 22.1
Giants 22.1
Bills 1.2
Eagles 6.4
Ravens 8.3
Redskins 8.3
Steelers 2.4
Browns 2.9
Bengals 2.2
Lions 5.4
Colts 2
Bears 9.8
Packers 0.3
Vikings 3.6
Rams 2.9
Chiefs 2

Cowboys 6.7
Texans 5.8
Titans 1.6
Panthers 2.3
Falcons 5.7
Saints 1.2
Jaguars 1.3
Buccaneers 2.7
Dolphins 5.4

Seahawks 4.1
49ers 7.4
Raiders 7.4
Chargers 3
Cardinals 4.3
Broncos 3.0

286
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 8:53am

Ok, but the mean population in the catchment areas for the northern teams is still a good deal higher than for the southern ones. Perhaps, though, I should have said "fanbase" rather than "market". A far higher proportion of the southern teams are comparatively recent expansion franchises, so even if they have the hypothetical local base to be big, they aren't as well supported and don't receive the same level of national attention. Compare Green Bay and Houston, for the ultimate extremes of contrast in terms of local population vs. national profile.

279
by morganja :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:19pm

Panthers in South Carolina? That is too cruel. Too cruel, sir. Bank of America? Salt on the wound.

280
by Joseph :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:45pm

Well, I don't know if I HATE the Panthers--but I strongly dislike them and root against them every chance I get. Of course, as a Saints fan, I would assume this is standard behavior for Falcons/Bucs/Saints fans.
Does ANY POSTER HERE root for a team in the division of your FAVORITE team? Probably only in week 16/17 when it would help your team get a WC berth or something like that.

282
by MJK :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:17pm

I don't root FOR a division rival except when (1) it would directly help my team (i.e. because they're playing another division foe or potential wildcard contender), or (2) if my team already has clinched a playoff birth. In the latter case, seeing division rivals do well makes me happier about my team's success, because it makes me feel like my team's success is more meaningful.

However, I do have reluctant liking, or even respect, for other teams in the division. In my case, I'm a Patriots fan from New England. Hating the Jets is in my blood, but I have to concede that they have a better coach than they have for a long time, and a few talented players. I actually have a reluctant liking and respect for the Dolphins right now, because as a football fan I love it when a team introduces something new and innovative that could change the game, and the Wildcat is that. And I started life as a Bills fan when I was a little kid, for various complex reasons, so it pains me to see them so bad for so long.

283
by morganja :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:46pm

I actually have liked the Saints and root for them as well as the Panthers. At least every alternate year and when they aren't playng the Panthers. I would rather see them do well than the hated Bucs and Falcons. Since the Panthers have a losing record every alternate year there is only one other choice to keep the division away from dog-fighters and Premier League soccer thieves.

81
by booker reese :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:05pm

Re: the Carolina ejection, it wasn't a shoulder to shoulder hit - Smith has a "throat injury." And Wesley clearly tries to swing an elbow in the process.

It wasn't a fair catch attempt either, nor would it matter. Last time I checked, you can't launch yourself into a return guy when the ball is 20 feet above the ground.

Wesley's either the cheapest player in the league, or one of the dumbest.

88
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:16pm

Vince V: Glad to see a comment that WR's getting RAC yards after the catch can make QB's look ( and their stats) look a lot better than they might or might not be playing. Schaub plays in a QB friendly offense just like you might have seen in Denver.

I know some will argue there is a "skill to throwing a screen pass", sure... but picking up a ton of Rac yards because your guy is making plays isn't the same as tossing the ball all around the field.

Tampa/Carolina: Charles Davis violates my pet peeve in this game. Josh Johnson had 2 fumbles on a drive and kept scrambling at any hint of pressure. " Did you notice he keeps on running... what does that tell you". The other annoucers say something like and Davis proclaims, " it means no receivers are open down field!"

The "my mobile QB HAS to scramble because he has no receivers" card is played out far too often. Sub par annoucers just "assume" nobody was open, but open to a good QB is different than open to a poorer passer. Just like Michael Vick had
no receivers". Maybe if he was 1/2 decent his backers would see that he had Roddy White who last week the outsiders said was on the same level as Andre Johnson and Larry Fitz ( I'm not that high on him but still).

Oh, and how many fumbles did Josh Johnson have, 4 or 5? That's not good.

Redskins: Dan Snyder already tried to court Mike Shannihan twice. Once in the off season and once last week.

Jason Campbell benched... Is he out for the count or do they put him back in? The funny thing is during the game the announcer said he talked to Campbell during the week and asked what he had to improve on... Campbell responded, "making quicker decisions". Gee, ya think?

Eagles: Richard Seymour had 4 sacks in the first half and the Raiders dominated both sides of the line of scrimage.

Andy Reid, ever think about calling run plays???

No mention of the Pats running up the score? 59-0 is not poor sportsmanship?

"Mike Lombardi over at National Football Post often talks about how you need to design your team to match the elements you'll play in, and that you absolutely need to make sure your quarterback has the arm strength to cut through the wind if he plays in New York (or in Buffalo, for that matter)."

- Agree 100%, and my thought during the game was wondering if Sanchez's arm is strong enough to play in NY...

That's also why I think Cutler is worth even more to Chicago than say some dome team... Cutler has probably the strongest arm so the wind shouldn't bother him as much as some visting QB to Soldier field.

103
by DaveP :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:43pm

> No mention of the Pats running up the score? 59-0 is not poor sportsmanship?

1) They are playing for the rest of their season, not for the Titan's feelings. The team needed to re-establish it's confidence in the Brady and Welker/Moss connections. They did that. Now they just have to try it against an NFL defense.

2) They put in the back up quarterback for the 2nd series in the 3rd quarter. Hard to call that running up the score. If they were trying to run it up, it would have been 70 or 80 or more.

3) What, no mention of the Titans for running up the score? Giving up and handing the ball to the opposing offense every series isn't poor sportsmanship?

223
by Purds :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 6:23pm

I was all over the Pats in 2007 for running up the score. I watched yesterday (only choice on TV), and that was all on Tenn. Hell, Tony Dungy would have run up the score on a team playing like that yesterday. Pats played very good football, and Tenn was atrocious.

243
by KilsonFlob :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:59am


The team needed to re-establish it's confidence in the Brady and Welker/Moss connections.

What they did during that game was hardly different than an offense-only scrimmage. Tennessee didn't look like they were even trying to defend those guys.

If that's what it takes to re-establish confidence in the NFL, then ... well, I don't know.

114
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:54pm

No, scoring 14 points in the second half of were a NFL game in which 45 were scored in the first half, 35 in the the second quarter, is not running up the score.

128
by ammek :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:18pm

No mention of the Pats running up the score? 59-0 is not poor sportsmanship?

Well they put the backups in during the third quarter and didn't score in the last 20-or-so minutes, so I hardly think so.

Besides, I've never understood this business of "sportsmanship". It's the spectators who pay. They want to be entertained. By all means throw your backups in, but why not get them running crazy gadget plays and laterals and all kinds of fun stuff. Aim to break records: all-time score, franchise score, whatever. Give the fans a reason to continue watching. Some of them have paid hundreds of dollars and come from miles away.

As for the opposition, well, I'd say a six-figure pay check should compensate for the embarrassment. The players are professionals (yes, even the Titans' secondary). Let them deal with it.

131
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:26pm

So if Peyton Manning won 59-0 before 2007 and threw 5 touchdown passes in the 2nd quarter... there would have been no mention of sportsmanship or running the stats up?

Just asking.

158
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:15pm

Is there not a site I can go to, to escape this "running up the score" crap? I watched the game, the only thing the Pats could have done to not "run the score up" is take a knee every-single-play. And that would have been just as bad, or even worse! It was a Madden Expert playing the AI on rookie. The Titans constantly turned the ball over, barely knew who to cover, they couldn't generate a pass rush and the passing play was absolutely abysmal.

Before talking about the Pats running the score up or being poor sports, maybe you should watch (or re-watch) the game and understand that the Titans were 90% responsible for every point scored and only 10% was the performance of the pats.

164
by ammek :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:19pm

Just completely irrelevant.

You are choosing to argue about something that is not mentioned in the article. And not just that, you are then telling the writers what they would have said three years ago in a different context (which, incidentally, never happened).

You are reading your own prejudices into something which is literally not there.

176
by morganja :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:28pm

Just to play devil's advocate here because I don't think scoring 45 in the first half and then 14 in the second is necesarily running up the score, if this is a business, isn't the NFL equally concerned about the Titan fans? Will a debacle like this lead to Titan fans stopping the pain by not going to the Titan games decreasing revenue directly, not watching football on TV, indirectly decreasing future tv contracts and not buying merchandise? A business decision would be weighing the increase of revenue from Patriot fans, which doesn't seem like it can increase much more anyhow, comapared to the loss frm Titan fans.

Just playing devil's advocate here.

196
by MJK :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:08pm

I actually thought it was a little much to bring Brady out in the 2nd half. That was maybe a little unnecessary (especially because he had an unncessary roughness against him).

But once the undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer went in, I don't think it was running up the score. If you can't stop the fearsome combo of undrafted rookie QB Hoyer and undrafted 2nd year RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis, that's you're problem.

206
by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:33pm

I did not see the game but followed remotely. I thought the 10-play drive with 1:04 left in the half was a bit egregious, and Brady coming out throwing in the second half, too.

But you know, based on what I have read and heard about Tenn's "performance," I am a lot less torqued about this than some games in 2007 where they were up by merely 24 and Brady was throwing with two minutes left. (That is a generalization, I know of no actual, specific games with these characteristics, but wouldn't be surprised if there was more than one.)

If the Titans were playing at (and being coached at) JV levels all game, well, they and their staff deserves a bit of ignominy, no? Sounds like they sucked more than the Pats were awesome. And that's saying something, because the Pats weree pretty darn good.

Officially, yes, I am on the running up bandwagon, but even if you deduct the 14 points I thought too much, you have what, 38-0? Haven't seen a score like that since the Falkland Islands took on Britain.

212
by ammek :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:44pm

I think you'll find it was Argentina that took on Britain. Falkland Islanders are (mostly) happy to carry on flying the British flag so long as they receive large subsidies for doing so.

213
by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:46pm

You're right, there was at least one such game and they irritated me too. This game did not fall into that category because short of taking a knee, there was essentially nothing NE could do to stop themselves from moving the ball.

220
by Dave :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 6:09pm

Yeah, the hurry up in the 2nd quarter and coming out throwing in the third was what annoyed me, but up to that point, the Titans were not bothering to cover anyone. Hard to get upset about that.

For me it's not the scoring so much as the play selection. If you're up 45-0, work on run blocking or something. There might be a windy game later on where that work would come in handy. Sending Brady out in an obvious attempt to pad his stats isn't the world's friendliest act.

Plus the Titans weren't playing the run well either, so it's not like even doing that would've resulted in 3 and outs.

234
by AndyE :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 9:20pm

If you have the ball with 2 minutes left in the half, why would you *not* use that opportunity to run your two-minute offense?

Also, while conventional wisdom says "run the ball to grind out the clock", when you have a quarterback who is completing 85% of his passes, and you're down your top two running backs, you pass to grind out the clock.

257
by nat :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 8:56am

The crime wasn't that the Patriots scored while up 38-0 in the first half. It was earlier than that. With 1:49 left in the half, the Titans ran the ball for an eight-yard gain. It was unsportsmanlike of the Patriots to tackle the ball carrier. It was already a blowout. Why not give the Titans fans a ray of hope by "missing" a few tackles and letting him score? Or at least let him get a first down.

Those mean Patriots guys are NOT FRIENDLY.

281
by MrAnonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:55pm

Why would you expect the Pats to ease up on the passing plays to work on "run blocking" with both their RB1 and RB2 out due to injures?

Seems wise on the coaching staff's part to limit the run plays and risk the loss of another RB.

202
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:19pm

There are limits to how far you micro-manage things. If the Titans decide to not compete, there isn't much the NFL as a whole can do.

211
by ammek :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:42pm

Perhaps. But:

— Most Titan fans apart from Tom Gower would have turned off at halftime anyway unless they enjoy suffering;

— Were the few masochist Titans fans that remained likely to be more interested by a) an epic fail or b) a scoreless second half featuring a lot of one-yard runs by backups?

— Over the rest of the season, are Titan fans likely to remember the Patriot game as the one where their team a) conceded 45 points in the first half or b) played the half-interested Patriots backups and held them to a handful of first downs and a field goal after halftime?

109
by Peregrine :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:48pm

Hey Football Outsiders, thanks for all the insightful comments on the Bears-Falcons games.

Why talk about Matt Forte, Michael Turner, Jerious Norwood, Johnny Knox or Curtis Lofton when you can talk about Shaun Alexander, Franco Harris, Brandon Jacobs, Marvin Harrison, and Bart Scott?

113
by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:50pm

We need a zlionsfan/Mad Libs template for these comments...

190
by Eddo :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:44pm

Why [no/so few] comments regarding [game that my favorite team played]? It was clearly a better game that [other game that garnered more comments] and [list of reasons that apply to me personally that don't apply to any FO staff]. [More angry comments trying to redefine what the Audibles at the Line feature is].

144
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:37pm

Someone failed to either read, or comprehend, the third introductory paragraph of the column. In your defense, though - it is easy to overlook the only bold text in the column itself.

272
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 11:06am

You're welcome.

Exactly.

112
by Levente from Hungary :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:50pm

"Warner tied Dan Marino as the fastest players to reach the 30,000-yard mark"
Man of the future.

119
by hubcap (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:08pm

"Dan Fouts will say, "Bad job there by SAN-chez," and Enberg will immediately fire back with, "San-CHEZ looks uncomfortable out there, Dan."
===
This drove me nuts. Jaworski also pronounced it "San-CHEZ" on MNF. It reminded me of an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati where newsman Les Nessman pronounced a certain golfer's name "Chai Chai Rod-RIH-Gwez." It's 2009, fer cripes sake - "Sanchez" is not an exotic name. If you can pronounce "Roethlisberger," you can get SAN-chez right.

214
by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:51pm

Awesome ref; hadn't thought of that show in years.

Wait til Dick and Jaws throw turkeys out of a helicopter for a Thanksgiving publicity stunt.

240
by THE Sean C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:01am

They're hitting the pavement like sacks of wet cement!...Oh, the humanity!!!

268
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:43am

As God is my witness, I thought Dick Jauron could coach.

126
by TomC :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:17pm

I find it curious that all of the chippiness in this thread is coming from fans of teams that won yesterday. Shouldn't it be Bears' fans (or Jets' fans or Skins' fans) telling everyone to fck off today?

152
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:05pm

I'm an Eagles fan. F off.

160
by Temo :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:16pm

It's like sweet music.

179
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:31pm

Impeccable timing, sir.

216
by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:55pm

Save yer F-bombs for those who really deserve it. Santa, for instance....

225
by Rocco :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 7:28pm

You'd be saying that even if the Eagles won. That doesn't count.

155
by Shedds (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:08pm

Speaking as a Skins fan, I'd describe the mindset of the day as more like, oh...maybe the numbed-out resignation of a gazelle realizing that, yes, the pack of lions are about to rip it apart and eat it and there's nothing to stop them.

137
by Brendan Scolari :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 3:30pm

"Doug Tanier: After that, the Redskins enjoy the following third-quarter red zone sashay:"

So did Doug and Mike have sort of a groupthink when they came up with this comment?

"Bill Barnwell: The Chiefs haven't been great this year, but Tamba Hali is showing real skill as a outside linebacker."

Now there's an understatement. More accurate would be "The Chiefs have been downright horrible this year, but..."

173
by grrigg :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:24pm

I think that there are psychological reasons for why its hard to have a rational "kneel + FG" versus "run for touchdown" discussion.

Even if demonstrated mathematically that kicking FG is a better percentage play, I am not sure that most people would choose it. It seems to me that people tend to overvalue having many bites at the apple (you have many chances to stop a TD drive) as opposed to risking everything on one nearly certain "bite".

200
by jpo287 :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:16pm

The key word here is "nearly certain". I can see how there are times were the percentages are better with kneeling/kicking - yesterday just wasn't one of those games.

248
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:27am

Frankly people are just horrible with statistics generally, its a tall order to ask them to get it right in situations where the outcomes are so close.

Your child is IDK 20,000? times more likely to die in a car accident than be poisoned by candy (and if they are poisoned by candy it is almost certainly you or your spouse who did it!). Moreover there are to my knowledge literally no instances of children being poisoned by homemade treats.

Yet what did my schools teach and my local paper run an article on this year, the dangers of candy, particular candy that isn't pre-sealed (actually the most dangerous kind!).

174
by Jetspete :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:25pm

a couple of comments about jets game:

- referees decided not to know what holding was and just throw flags for no discernable reason on the jets in overtime. i see a lot worse holding justifiably not called every game

- yes by letter of the law evans might not have caught the ball, but the refs should have called upon the "replay was never intended to reverse such calls" rule and upheld the catch.

- without kris jenkins, rex ryan's horrendous game management skills will be put the test even more. You never want to be one of those guys who doesnt know how to use timeouts, especially when you dont have the talent alone to beat another team.

192
by Eddo :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 4:48pm

Mike Kurtz, once again you have shown your total lack of character by failing to criticize the Bears. Despite your extreme hatred for all things Halas, you have been swayed by message board posters who are easily offended.

You have lost all credibility in my eyes, sir (if I can even call you that).

205
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:29pm

*golf clap*

231
by Jimmy :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 8:39pm

Agreed. If a team decides to repeatedly shoot itself through both feet with the metaphorical footballing equivalent of a poisoned tipped hunting bow then they are going to lose a lot of games and aren't a very good football team. Such an infuriating team should be rightly derided. Bone headed play after bone headed play, Lovie & Co clearly think ball security is over-rated.

258
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:18am

I believe the term you are looking for is "sirrah".

208
by Bill Barnwell :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:34pm

The whole morganja-Rich Conley debate was deleted. There were no winners.

218
by Bobman :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 5:58pm

I guess somebody was, indeed, please thinking of the children. Now back to football....

255
by Temo :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 8:14am

I guess somebody was, indeed, please thinking of the children.

I bet it was Childress.

/rimshot

249
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:29am

and there was much rejoicing...

221
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 6:15pm

Personally I watched the Eagles/Raiders game merely out of curiousity since I rarely get to see Russell play. Aside from the fact that his mechanics really are awful what really struck me is the lowly state of the Eagles offensive line. Being a Packer fan I thought I was alone in seeing an otherwise better than average team having its season undermined by a dreadful collection of linemen. Not true! The Eagle clearly qualify for this club.

How a smart coach like Andy Reid can find himself in this situation baffles me. McCarthy I can somewhat understand since even in the 13-3 season Favre was getting smacked around but compensated with Spidey Sense in the pocket and a quick release. But Reid? He has to know better.

228
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 7:47pm

In the spirit of the Childress comments, I saw Reid's press conference, and thought to myself, "If ol' Andy is the sorta' fat fella who eats to bury his anger, there's about 20 gallons of ice cream that's gonna get murdered tonight".

287
by southpaw (not verified) :: Thu, 10/22/2009 - 12:52pm

Having watched numerous Kansas Jayhawks games over the past two years, Andy Reid just doesn't do it for me anymore.

259
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:20am

Isn't the reason the Eagles line sucks that pretty much all the starters are injured/depressed, though?

260
by bubqr :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:24am

4 backups on the OL doesn't help.

Only Jamaal Jackson was a projected starter.

265
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 10:12am

yeah, I think that the Eagles have gone 3-2 with their o-line injuries is as much a testament to their good coaching as anything. 4 starters out, including 2 Pro-Bowlers - how many teams would use that as an excuse to fold up tent for the season?

I think that most of our back-ups (certainly, Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles) are as good as half of the starters in the league - that's because Juan Castillo is an excellent line coach. King Dunlap looked over-matched on Sunday, but it's his first game. Sure, he played like Winston Justice in Justice's famous metldown game vs. the Giants a couple years ago, but Justice has rebounded well enough (and is now ok as the starter) - if the Eagles can get a similar level of production out of Dunlap, that will be more pretty remarkable...

224
by anonymiss (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 6:34pm

Even when they throw up a bagel against KC. It's not his fault. Not on this site, anyway.

226
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 7:30pm

I was one of those arguing Russell will be better than Quinn - when that debate was going on. Now I wonder if either of these guys will ever be as good as Tarvaris Jackson?

227
by anonymiss (not verified) :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 7:36pm

"Brady Quinn - He will prove the doubters wrong." Now where did I see that quote?

230
by B :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 8:26pm

When analyzing Quinn's "proof" don't forget he's playing for the Browns. At this point, if he's going to prove himself a competent starter, he'll need a change of scenery somewher to do it.