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09 Sep 2016

Audibles at the Line: Week 1 Opening Special

compiled by Andrew Potter

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.

While these e-mails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That 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 Steelers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching, just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.

As is now tradition, we have a special Opening Night Audibles covering the regular season opener -- this year, a Super Bowl rematch between the Panthers and Broncos.

Carolina Panthers 20 at Denver Broncos 21

Cian Fahey: For no real reason, I'd like this video to be the first thing people see when they open Audibles:

Bryan Knowles: Well, I was ambivalent before, but after that video, now I'm hyped for the 2016 season.

Andrew Potter: I just ruptured my cringe reflex, and that's me now done for the year.

Vince Verhei: What... what is... what?

Tom Gower: "Trample the weak, hurdle the dead," that's what Mike Mularkey says.

Scott Kacsmar: Sorry, nothing this year can beat the "Steal the show" Jaguars fan:

Bryan Knowles: That's not how you imagine your NFL career beginning -- Devontae Booker gets his first snap, his first carry... and his first lost fumble. Well, nowhere to go but up from there.

Cian Fahey: Devontae Booker had nine fumbles in 23 games during his college career. When he fumbled on Denver's first drive, draft guys were unified in not being surprised at all.

Andrew Potter: Good play from Charles Johnson there to go for the ball when Luke Kuechly had Booker tackled. Hands up, who had Denver starting the season with five consecutive passes?

Cian Fahey: In the Super Bowl last year, Wade Philips kept two safeties back whenever the Panthers spread the field. He was more aggressive against their "power" formations. This play gained a first down and a chunk on the first drive when the Broncos left the box extremely light with five defenders against a seven-man run play.

The Panthers didn't go back to it immediately, surprisingly.

Sterling Xie: Well welcome back Kelvin Benjamin. Reports headed into tonight suggested he'd be on a snap count of around 35, as he has supposedly had conditioning issues coming back from the torn ACL. If he doesn't last into the fourth quarter, he has already done his part, making two big catches over the middle to convert a third-and-long and then there for the touchdown. And Devin Funchess fantasy owners everywhere sigh.

Bryan Knowles: It's really nice to see Kelvin Benjamin back on the field. The most astonishing thing about Carolina's run last season was managing to do it without their 2014 top pick and piecing together a receiving corps with Ted Ginn and Jerricho Cotchery.

Andrew Potter: Well, my prediction of Kelvin Benjamin underperforming his projection looks solid so far.

And wait, they actually announce the count of penalties toward disqualification now? I didn't realize that. Maybe they should introduce some kind of innovative colored card system to help us keep track of who has been cautioned.

Scott Kacsmar: Unusual to see Chris Harris beaten so easily for a touchdown, but that height mismatch is huge. Carolina has been wise to build an offense with tall receivers given Newton's accuracy issues. This is going to be a lot different than covering Philly Brown in the Super Bowl -- though to his credit, Brown was good in that game.

Aaron Schatz: Trevor Siemian is putting up some nice numbers early but a lot of his passes are getting caught pretty low. (Catch radius alert.)

Scott Kacsmar: Speaking of catch radius, congrats to Emmanuel Sanders on the new contract. I think he has outplayed Demaryius Thomas since 2014 and has been a much better receiver than he was in Pittsburgh. There were some early issues with drops there, but he seems to attack the ball more with Denver. Getting it done with multiple quarterback too. Nice signing by Elway when people are signing gadget players yet to have a 500-yard receiving season to similar contracts.

Rivers McCown: "Exotic Smashmouth" should have been meme'd on to Carolina's offense. They run it, they've got the best running quarterback in the NFL, and when they throw it up their receivers are huge enough that you can't really overpower them at the catch point.

But hey, uh, at least the Titans have Derrick Henry.

Cian Fahey: There is an annual rush to overvalue rookies and undervalue proven starters at the running back position. Right now, early second quarter, C.J. Anderson has been the Broncos' best player and Booker is the reason they're not leading (or at least tying).

Bryan Knowles: Long may the fullback reign! Andy Janovich gets ***entirely*** ignored on his way to the end zone. Peyton Manning was holding Gary Kubiak back!

Andrew Potter: Yeah, Denver may have slightly different two-back rushing numbers this year compared to last.

Scott Kacsmar: Anderson's cuts look great, but these defenses look like a bunch of guys trying to use the Hit Stick instead of wrapping up. Really, a fullback goes that far for a touchdown?

Rob Weintraub: Janovich with the polar opposite of Booker's first carry -- for six! Hope Vegas had a line on "who will score Denver's first touchdown of the season?"

Aaron Schatz: The rookie cornerback, James Bradberry, got completely faked out of his shoes by C.J. Anderson on the run immediately preceding the fullback touchdown.

Sterling Xie: Carolina defensive backs don't look like they want any part of run support. Bene Benwikere did a terrific matador impression on that Janovich touchdown. These outside zone runs are just going to keep forcing them into those situations.

Ben Muth: Bradberry is just the latest example of why you never want to block corners if you can block anyone else.

And then a fullback belly for a long touchdown run. The least surprising thing about it was that the rookie fullback had a buzz cut.

Tom Gower: I think early on we've seen some of the weaknesses of the Panthers' roster-building approach. They rely on a lot of replaceable defensive backs, and they're getting exposed tonight. Missed tackles by corners and safeties allowing for bigger plays, and they're not contesting plays against Denver's (good) receivers.

It went unmentioned on here earlier, but Kelvin Benjamin looked good on the Panthers' touchdown drive. Putting big guys in the slot is a matchup nightmare for the smaller corners you typically put there because they're more capable of handling the inherent two-way go, even very good ones like Chris Harris. It also seems like Carolina has spent more time in heavy and base personnel, not letting the Broncos try to play heavy with their base defensive personnel against 11 like we saw in the Super Bowl.

Cian Fahey:

Rob Weintraub: It's early of course, but so far Denver's front seems to be missing Malik Jackson. Not getting that middle push that helped Von and Ware know Cam couldn't step up.

Aaron Schatz: It certainly does look like Kelvin Benjamin cancels out any regression you might naturally expect from the Carolina offense this year. He looks wonderful tonight. Too bad he can't play defensive back -- that position is definitely not as strong for the Panthers this season.

Sterling Xie: Denver wasn't shy about putting the ball in Siemian's hands at times in the first half, but having him down double-digits in the second half is probably the last thing they want. The Broncos have actually slightly outgained the Panthers on a per play basis (6.4 vs. 6.0 yards per play), but those two turnovers inside the plus-30 have made the difference so far. Last year, the Broncos had five regular-season turnovers inside the opponents' 30 (they also had one in the Super Bowl, coincidentally). By the end of the first quarter they were already 40 percent of the way towards matching 2015's total in that category.

Bryan Knowles: If the Panthers have any worries, it has been the poor tackling by their secondary. I've seen some people on Twitter saying that they're hurting thanks to the loss of Josh Norman, but while Norman is great at a wide variety of things, tackling isn't one of them. This is first game-itis, I think, more than anything.

Cian Fahey: When Jadeveon Clowney was entering his final year in college football it was extremely frustrating to watch people analyze his play. Clowney was hyped up as a Heisman favorite and expected to get double-digit sacks each game. As a defensive end, that's just not realistic because the offense game planned for you specifically every single week. People criticized Clowney for playing really well.

The exact same thing is happening to Von Miller as the Broncos are losing at halftime. The Panthers have game planned to neutralize him and the Broncos no longer have the interior pass rush to take advantage of it.

Tom Gower: 17-7 at the half. The Panthers are converting those third downs they never did in the Super Bowl, and it's not hard to look at Kelvin or the lack of interior pressure as reasons why they're more successful than they were. It "feels like" the Broncos should have more than just the touchdown they do, but those two red zone turnovers.

Siemian looks, well, like a quarterback who's trained and experienced in the system enough to avoid some of the most basic errors you see from inexperienced players and/or those forced to start during the season because of an injury. Credit to him for that. But I haven't seen anything that makes me think he's doing more than just keeping the job warm for Paxton Lynch, whenever he's ready to play.

Rivers McCown: Siemian looks perfectly cromulent as long as you keep pressure away from him.

Aaron Schatz: Denver's rebuilt offensive line is opening up some big running lanes tonight. Janovich is a big help there.

And, as if fate was reading our Audibles e-mail thread, Kurt Coleman is an untouched rusher on the secondary blitz, and Siemian underthrows the ball into an interception. Not cromulent. Not cromulent at all.

Scott Kacsmar: Denver's moving the ball a little better than I expected, but those three turnovers in scoring territory will kill any team. When I would tell Denver fans the offense could get worse this year, that was kind of what I had in mind. That floater under pressure is the kind of play you expect from a second-year seventh-round pick in his first start.

Ben Muth: DeMarcus Ware being able to get that low on the dip move, 12 years into his career or whatever, and with a bad back is really incredible. He just beat Michael Oher and maybe knocked Cam out of the game. Ware has had such an awesome run.

Rob Weintraub: That Talib/Ray stop of Cam on third-and-1 on the opening drive of the second half shaping up to be a huge under-the-radar play. Broncs were teetering on the brink; now looking to take the lead.

Cian Fahey: Maybe a useless contribution but I'm going to note it every time after all the bad play we endured last year: this has been a really good game.

Tom Gower: Competitive game. 17-14 in the fourth quarter, pending what should be an interesting decision by Gary Kubiak after Carolina wins the challenge on this Emmanuel Sanders catch. Siemian has made mistakes under pressure, Carolina's defensive backs have missed tackles, the Panthers burned their first-half timeouts on sluggishness, but on the whole it has been pretty well executed and competitive.

Carolina wins its challenge. Kubiak's going for it, or lining up to, as he should.

Aaron Schatz: Very nice to see the Broncos go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 1 1/2-yard line. I'm so used to coaches wussing out with short field goals here. Looks like they got the first down but not the touchdown.

Sterling Xie: Panthers should be upset that they had to burn a timeout so that Ron Rivera could have enough time to challenge that spot. Emmanuel Sanders appeared pretty clearly down at the 2-yard line, which would have been a yard short of the markers. And then they can't get the fourth-down stop, so Denver gets first-and-goal at the 1 anyways. Big sequence there.

Rivers McCown: If you like optimal timeout usage, this is ... not the game for you.

Rob Weintraub: Good game for tip drill enthusiasts. Harris makes a great interception off deflection, followed by Carolina twice letting the ball hit the turf inside their red zone and surrendering the lead.

I suppose it should be surprising that this game is being played at a much higher level than the Super Bowl meeting between the same clubs, but I'm not shocked for some reason.

On the other hand, it is much more competitive than the usual Thursday night opener, which are usually routs.

Bryan Knowles: I'm not sure, with the way the Broncos have played in this second half, that I would have taken that field goal there. I think I let Cam Newton try to get me 5 yards and try to take a lead.

Scott Kacsmar: Not surprised to see Rivera choose the field goal on fourth-and-5 with 4:25 left. Hard to criticize given how poor four-minute offenses are in the NFL. Great chance of getting the ball back, only needing to drive for a winning field goal. Anderson and the offensive line have been great, but I think a surprise pass on an early down with Siemian is going to be necessary to run this clock out. 

Man, this is such a 2015 Denver game. A bunch of bad turnovers, but defense kept the score down. They get a crazy turnover in the fourth quarter with Harris keeping the pick off the ground to set up the go-ahead score. And here we go again.

Aaron Schatz: Yeah, I can't argue with that field goal. Maybe I would argue with it on fourth-and-1 having Cam on your team, but not fourth-and-5. And the Panthers got their three-and-out, followed by a pretty bad punt by the new Denver punter Riley Dixon. Forty-two yards at altitude is really unimpressive for gross punt distance when you aren't trying to avoid a touchback.

Sterling Xie: After barely making a peep in the first half, the Denver pass rush comes alive when it matters most. Poor Mike Remmers must have had flashbacks on those last two plays on second- and third-and-long, with Von Miller screaming off the edge. Cam escaped the first time, but that third-down sack might have been a killer. No good answers here on fourth-and-long at the two-minute warning and only one timeout remaining for Carolina.

Rob Weintraub: He's a Syracuse man, cut him some slack.

Aaron Schatz: Holy mackerel. Chris Harris commits a hands to the face penalty on fourth-and-21 and the Panthers may actually come back in this thing. What an awful penalty, and totally an accurate call by the officials.

I'm sorry, Rivers, were you saying something about timeouts? Because the Panthers just blew their last timeout because they got out of a huddle too slowly and were going to get a delay of game.

Bryan Knowles: Time runs down and Newton has to take the Panthers' last timeout with 1:19 left. That wasted timeout on the challenge might come back and haunt Carolina yet.

Rob Weintraub: Looks like I spoke too soon on the whole "well played" thing...

Aaron Schatz: It definitely isn't a good look for the league to have a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit get cancelled out by an offsetting intentional grounding penalty. I wouldn't mind if the league wanted to change the rules so that any roughing the passer call automatically supercedes an intentional grounding penalty.

Sterling Xie: So much for Benjamin being limited tonight. Even in thin air, he has lasted into the fourth quarter. Good thing for Carolina, as he wins over the middle again to move the Panthers in range for the Graham Gano game-winner.

Aaron Schatz: Or, not game-winner, as Gano shanks it slightly to the left.

Bryan Knowles: Gano hooks it left! The snap was high, Andy Lee had a little trouble getting it down, and it flies left.

That's a heck of a game to start the 2016 season. More of that and less of last year's sloppy play, please.

Rivers McCown: Clearly the incentives aren't right if defenders are still launching themselves to Newton's helmet four times in the same game. Leaving aside "dirty" versus "not dirty," there's still gotta be a reason for defensive minds to not want their players to play like that. And that reason hasn't been invented yet.

I'd predict Siemian to last about four to six games based on what we saw tonight. Cat burglar guts, but cat sh*t under pressure. They'll get Lynch ready soon.

Carl Yedor: And here I thought icing the kicker was slowly working its way out of existence. After the very visible "success" tonight, I imagine we'll see more of it in the coming weeks than we would have had Gano made his second attempt.

Aaron Schatz: Even a broken clock is right twice a season, I guess.

Rob Weintraub: Cam took at least four brutal shots to the melon and kept on coming. But always remember, he's a wuss because he didn't dive on that Super Bowl fumble.

Sterling Xie: For the Broncos, a lot of the focus will naturally be on Siemian afterwards. I just hope C.J. Anderson doesn't get lost in the mix. Anderson had 139 yards from scrimmage tonight (which isn't much less than what he had through the first month of 2015) and was the catalyst for the back-to-back touchdown drives that put Denver ahead for good. It's not rocket science to imagine the Broncos leaning on him no matter who's under center this year. And Ben can speak to this better than me, but at first glance it seems like the Denver O-line fared reasonably well. Didn't really notice Kawann Short tonight, and at least a couple of the pressures on Siemian seemed to be the result of Carolina bringing extra rushers from the second level.

Scott Kacsmar: I thought C.J. Anderson was the player of the game. The offensive line also looked better than expected, though it did seem like Carolina got decent pass pressure. Siemian better than expected, but I'd be worried about those tipped passes and some of the ball placement. Newton likely was playing hurt through the second half. Very ineffective after a nice start. Denver got some huge shots no him, but that back hit may have been the big one. I didn't care for all the designed runs Carolina had for him tonight. They even kept it up after that back shot.

Posted by: Andrew Potter on 09 Sep 2016

83 comments, Last at 10 Sep 2016, 10:55am by andrew

Comments

1
by rfh1001 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 5:10am

Ok, this is probably an annoying comment because all I watched were Sky's hour-long UK highlights, but Siemian looked ... not bad. My question to people who watched the whole thing is: how would this game have looked if it were Jared Goff's first game? Or if Paxton Lynch had had the same game? Where TS was drafted is significant in judging how good he's likely to be, but how much does it affect the instant narrative? (To repeat, I only saw highlights.)

(My deeper question, which obviously everyone must wonder about so again sorry, is just how many lost Tony Romos are there over a ten year period because people drafted low don't get chances?)

2
by Rodafowa :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 6:19am

On the one hand, he was pretty good, and you'd always prefer that to the alternative.

On the other hand, nobody's got tape on him yet and the expectations for him were basically zero. Let's see how he looks in a month's time.

3
by rj1 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:53am

Siemian was serviceable. The two interceptions though were just annoying. The first one if he had thrown it away earlier it would've netted Denver a likely field goal which changes the complexion of the end of the game immensely. The second one was just poor decision making. Not sure if it's just he has a flat pass or what, but a lot of tipped balls that were scary. Imagine the rest of the league will key in on that pretty quick.

The running game was awesome compared to last year. Anderson had a great game. I loved Janovich at fullback in the first half as a backfield blocker, although I didn't really notice him in the second half. His touchdown was nice but was flukish, he was meant to only get a yard and then noticed "hey, there's no one over here", and ran past a cornerback that was not looking for him at all.

When a guy can hit a touchback from the 20 yard line, what is the point of having kickoffs at Mile High?

Carolina's punter has a boot on him. Denver's not so much. When the teams traded possessions at one point, Carolina punted from their 10 and I think retook possession of the ball around the 40.

Defense did reasonably well.

I will say though last night's game is an example of why the NFL should adopt college football's targeting rule.

Game gives Denver a lot of room for improvement. Last night's game Denver really should've lost (and only won because the freeze the kicker timeout actually worked for once). Siemian is going to be a guy we can win with but only if the mistakes are heavily minimized.

5
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 8:59am

I'm going to have to go back and look, but my impression is that Cam had more designed runs last night than 7 months ago. What surprised me mosy then was that Shula didn't run Cam more in the last game of the year, so it makes no sense to me that he would run hom more in the first game of the year.

I think Bum Phillips' son is a better coa c h than Don Shulas' son.

6
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 9:27am

Both are better than Marty Schottenheimer's son

4
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 8:42am

I know it is overreaction weekend, but Denver, based on the o-line play I saw last night, is not going to lose 8 of their next 15 games, which means the DVOA projection is going to be low, and the only question is by how much. The defense is still very good, even if not historically great, and that o-line blocked a very good defensive front last night. They are going to win more than 8 games

7
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 9:35am

I didn't watch the end of the game because I needed to sleep. I missed the helmet-to-helmet hit cancelled out by intentional grounding. I had thought that sort of penalty (e.g., roughing the passer, horsecollar tackle) was considered unsportsmanlike and was enforced regardless of any potential offsetting penalty.

8
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:02am

SportsCenter only showing the 2 H2H hits that Collinsworth saw/cried about.

Ignoring the most vicious one. Typical crap broadcast/refing/etc that we get now under Darth Goodell's NFL.

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

9
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:02am

"I wouldn't mind if the league wanted to change the rules so that any roughing the passer call automatically supercedes an intentional grounding penalty."

Why? Why should you benefit the offense for intentionally cheating?

Let's flip it around -- should a clip or an illegal hands to the face cancel out a DPI? What if there's a hands to the face and a head-to-head? Are we only protecting offensive players? Remember, offensive spearing is generally regarded as legal.

11
by deus01 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:12am

Just add all the penalties together instead of netting them out. Enforce the 15 yards from head to head and the intentional grounding so the offense probably gained something like 5 yards.

That might be a bit harder to enforce with penalties that award a first down but I'm generally such a fan of those anyway. E.g. a 5 yard penalty with a first down saving them from a 4th and 20. Maybe instead they should get the 5 yards and replay the down if that's not enough for a 1st.

15
by rj1 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:28am

"Just add all the penalties together instead of netting them out."

I believe that's how it works in the CFL.

18
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:37am

So, if a 35 yard DPI happened on this play:
https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/z9j3NHHSve8gf8NEaxYD7trgXOY=/cdn0.vox-c...

You'd be cool with that being +20 for the offense?

23
by Eddo :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:49am

That happened after the play, right? So +20 *would* be the outcome (the DPI would be enforced, automatic first down, +35 yards, then the personal foul would be enforced, -15 yards).

30
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:04am

It depends. Let's say it was contemporaneous, like the Suh play.

You're just implementing a perverse incentive for offensive players to tee off on a defensive player on anything that looks like it might be a DPI (or anything with an auto first down), because they are guaranteed a positive outcome.

71
by SuperGrover :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:47pm

Are you nuts? You don't think 15 yards isn't important just because the play was a net gain? Are you trolling here or is that a real argument? You argument also fails because any defender can now automatically tee off on an offensive player when their is a penalty (say illegal motion) because he knows he's only losing 5 yards.

Come on. That's patently ridiculous.

73
by Eddo :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 3:51pm

The fifteen yards doesn't matter, just because the play was a success anyway? By that logic, why wouldn't offensive players tee off on a defensive player on third down incomplete pass? The play's already a failure, right? What's fifteen yards?

22
by SandyRiver :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:48am

And if the defensive penalty includes an automatic 1st down and the offensive penalty includes loss of down, should it then be 2nd-and-10?

67
by SuperGrover :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:38pm

Maybe. Or give the 1D and then enforce the offensive penalty. Or do a combination.

Look, it's not a difficult problem to solve so stop acting like it is an insurmountable puzzle of combinatorics. This probably only happens a dozen times a season so would barely impact things. If you want to do it, they can do it FFS.

66
by SuperGrover :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:36pm

Quite frankly, I hate the offsetting penalty rule anyway. Seems much more logically to enforce both. An illegal motion and a roughing the passer aren't the same categories of penalties (one is 5 yds, another 15 yds and an automatic 1D). I feel they should enforce both yardage totals and go from there.

In any case, it's easy to protect the QB here. Put a rule in that says a roughing the QB call is always enforced. If a penalty occurs on the offense, enforce that first and then the roughing. If offsetting calls occur in addition to the roughing, enforce them both (i.e., erase the play) and then enforce roughing. If you want to protect your QBs (and defenseless players too) it's easy to do and doesn't materially change the game.

27
by Eddo :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:55am

No one's saying that we shouldn't protect defensive players, as intentional grounding isn't injuring anyone.

I too thought that enforcement of personal fouls always override "regular" fouls, but I guess not.

32
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:07am

There were a couple of plays last year when a DE was being dragged down by the OT and hit the QB's helmet (or hit the QB low) as they fell.

Under your rule, this would be +15 for the offense with the holding wiped out, even though the penalty only occurred because of the hold. Why shouldn't that be, at worst, offsetting?

45
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:59am

That shouldn't be called a personal foul in the first place.

68
by SuperGrover :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:39pm

Because it's a personal foul. Those are dangerous plays. it's also the reason those result in ejections, fines, etc. No one gets ejected or fined for holding.

35
by MJK :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:20am

"Cheating" is not really the right word here.

The point of penalties is to disincentivize certain behavior. I would argue that it's more important to disencentivize behavior that poses a safety threat than behavior that only affects the outcome of the game.

To answer your question--a clip SHOULD cancel out a DPI. A clip is a major safety issue; a DPI is only performance.

I would not have a hands to the face cancel a DPI, because it is not a "major" penalty (i.e. it's just a 5 yarder)...but I would have a facemask cancel it.

Another way to do it would be to always assess a major safety penalty (face mask, personal foul, unnecessary roughness, or clipping) AFTER all other penalties in the play are assessed, not concurrently. So the intentional grounding would be a 10 yard loss and loss of down, but then the Panthers would have gotten a 15 yard gain and an automatic first.

37
by collapsing pocket :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:27am

Agree. I was kind of shocked that they were offsetting, instead of doubly enforced. Surely a personal foul of that nature deserves enforcement.

40
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:34am

https://twitter.com/VinceSports/status/774080020830523392?ref_src=tws​r​c%5Etfw

Here's that Marshall hit. Offsetting? Wolfe is getting facemasked in the background.

Why does the yardage matter? Safety rules are safety rules, right? Or do we care more about QBs than DTs?

47
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:03pm

A facemask is also a personal foul.

51
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:13pm

I know. But one's an auto-first down. That's not an issue with offsetting, but is for double-enforcement. It also brings up some interesting order of operations issues.

Is it OD, DO, or order of occurrence? Would O facemask then D facemask be same field position, auto 1st down? But then would D facemask followed by O facemask be an auto 1st-25 at the same field position? Consider the changes in EPA of the difference.

How does the CFL handle multiple fouls by one team?

63
by MJK :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:06pm

I generally oppose the automatic first down carried by many penalties...or all but the most egregious penalties. Just give the yards, don't count the down, and if it results in a first down, so be it. I also agree that there is a bit of a double-standard problem with offensive versus defensive penalties, especially with respect to the first down.

Here's what I would do if I was NFL King for the day.

First, I would make two categories of penalties: "major penalties" and all others. Major penalties would be any current 10 or 15 yard penalty that is related to player safety--face mask, roughing the passer, unnecessary roughness, personal foul, clipping. I would not include "hands to the face" in this category even though it is, at least partly, a safety issue, because it is only 5 yards and probably is about encouraging safe technique more than it is discouraging an actual injurious act (in order to do that, it must graduate up to "facemask").

Next, I would get rid of automatic first downs on all non-major penalties. Even though I was rooting for the Panthers, the play where they converted a 4th-and-21 on a well called but relatively minor penalty really annoyed me, as such penalties always do. The automatic first not only negates anything good your defense did on that play, but also on the two or three plays prior, and gifts a drive continuance to an offense that doesn't deserve it. It also generally assumes too much... granting an automatic first down on an illegal contact penalty assumes that, had the penalty not occurred, the offensive player would have made the catch and managed to run far enough to get the first down, even if that was another 20 yards! It's also unfair, since the nearest equivalent for an offensive penalty is "loss of down", which is attached to very few infractions (whereas "automatic first" is attached to the majority of defensive infractions). If we wanted to be fair, because defensive penalties assume that the offensive player would have otherwise succeeded, we would have to assume that an offensive holding penalty, if not comitted, would have allowed a sack, and incur a loss of down.

Better to just not have these penalties affect the down count, other than making the play not count as a down. If the defense commits holding on 3rd and 2, the offense gets their 5 yards and thus gets a first down. If the defense commits holding on 3rd and 23, the offense gets their five yards but now has to attempt 3rd and 18. DPI would still be a spot foul. A 10 yard DPI on 1st and 10 would give a first down, but a 6 yard DPI would not.

Finally, I would have major penalties supersede other penalties. So if any major penalties are comitted, only the major penalties count.

65
by Steve in WI :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:20pm

I performed a similar thought exercise over lunch and I agree with most of what you've proposed. A couple of changes/additions:

1. I would still like offsetting penalties to offset, even if they are major/minor, but in a fairer way. I would adjudicate a roughing the passer/intentional grounding combo as: +15 yards and a first down for the offense, minus 10 yards and a down for the intentional grounding. So they would move 5 yards closer to the end zone and the next down would be 2nd and 10.

2. As far as penalties leading to ejections, I would still eject a player for committing certain fouls twice but I would not limit it to extracurricular penalties like personal fouls for fighting. It would be about safety...meaning, you hit the QB in the head even when you're allowed to tackle him, and that's a strike. I would eliminate the possibility of ejection for anything that does not impact safety (cough cough taunting).

2a. As a corollary to that, I would differentiate between different kinds of roughing the passer. Wrapping him up in a legal tackle half a second too late would not count towards a potential ejection, nor would putting hands on him after he's given himself up (they'd still be penalties as they are today). Headhunting like what happened last night would definitely count toward an ejection. Yes, it makes it a bit more of a judgment call, but almost everything the refs rule on today is a judgment call too and we deal with that.

36
by collapsing pocket :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:25am

The purpose of intentional grounding is to award the defense the equivalent of a sack. If Cam had NOT thrown the ball it would have just been a sack with a roughing the passer/unnecessary roughness penalty tacked on, first and 10, 15 yards down the field. So in this case the result of intentional grounding was worse than just a sack would have been. If it cancels a real sack, why shouldn't it cancel an artificial sack?

It's also kind of rich to call it "intentionally cheating" as if there was some devious plan afoot to deliberately break the rules. Cam was in the process of being hit (by 2 illegal hits) trying to throw the ball passed the line of scrimmage, he just didn't have enough body torque to get the ball 5 yards further down the field.

38
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:31am

A sack very nearly ends the game.

The play occurred with 0:36 on the clock and CAR out of timeouts (times out?). He would have been sacked for 3rd-16 at the CAR 41. Let's say they can rush back to the line and spike. They'd then have a 4th-16 with at most 10 seconds left? They'd need a 25 yard pass to the sideline to even have a prayer for the FG.

However, had Newton just gone to ground and taken the sack, the helmet hit doesn't occur.

10
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:10am

"Clearly the incentives aren't right if defenders are still launching themselves to Newton's helmet four times in the same game. Leaving aside "dirty" versus "not dirty," there's still gotta be a reason for defensive minds to not want their players to play like that. And that reason hasn't been invented yet."

This debate is literally as old as football. One of the oldest rule changes was ruling against flying tackles. It comes and goes. The argument about legislating for hitting the torso is literally as old as Red Grange. And the counter-argument is the same; Grange ran hunched over with his head down -- there wasn't any torso to aim at.

There are only so many ways to tackle. Offensive players are usually bigger and faster than defensive players (except for DTs vs inside O linemen) and all of the rules are biased towards the offense. Eventually, we need to stop expecting rule accommodation miracles from defensive players so long as we're not willing to just ban defense and play Arena League style.

14
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:23am

2 egregious launchign penalties in agem from brocnos plauyers to head of c. newton. hoprrible officiaitong in gham,e last night. No worries, Broncos won't be alone in first place by Sunday night.

20
by BroncFan07 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:42am

Well, the Chargers and Chiefs could tie...

50
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:10pm

IF CHEIFS and chargers tie, they will both be .500. Raiders and broncos will have winign pct of 1.000

17
by rj1 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:36am

I play rugby union as an adult amateur in the U.S., and you're required to wrap on your tackles. Flying in and nailing a guy with no attempt to wrap, as happened last night on some occasions, would be a penalty against the tackler.

Generally the wrap gives up a yard more in rugby, which doesn't matter there really because there's no such things as downs, while there is in football. So I can see why defensive coaches aren't going to prioritize the wrap that much although Seattle went that route a couple years ago.

Don't know if it's just because I do play rugby but I noticed a lot more the "flying in and nailing a guy" tackles last night. Seemed like it was up from normal. I forget who was the Carolina receiver they said had leg or knee surgery that caught a pass and the Denver corner just flew into his legs. He'd never say the truth one way or another, but it looked like intent to hurt the guy, and I'm a Broncos fan for the record.

19
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:40am

Benjamin is 6'5", 240-lb. It's illegal to tackle him high. It's illegal to touch him while the ball is in the air. It's illegal to get in his way as he attempts to catch the ball.

You would like to outlaw leg tackles.

What would you propose the DB do?

24
by rj1 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:49am

I didn't say I wanted to outlaw leg tackles. I'm pointing out the cornerback didn't make any attempt to wrap the legs as he flew in to nail a guy in the knees.

If that's what all cornerbacks covering him are going to do, Benjamin is going to have a very short season.

26
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:53am
41
by Theo :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:34am

You time the tackle so the moment the receiver touches the ball, you hit him as soon and as hard as possible. Cant go for the head (which isnt his center of gravity anyway)... so you hit him lower. Where and how, thats honestly only his problem.

28
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:01am

Rugby tackling rules have been bandied about before, but the issue is that football has a snap and a line of scrimmage, and rugby doesn't. Football's issues with tackling style are actually older than the legal forward pass, and seem to be based on the scrimmage and down system, and to an extent on wideouts -- things which don't exist in rugby and make the upright tackling rule feasible.

I'm not certain how a legal forward pass would affect rugby techniques; I'm not aware of any football code with a scrum in which a forward pass has ever been legal. Rugby League does skirt somewhat close to it, but even that's just a glorified shovel pass.
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/dec/05/the-breakdown-rugby-union-...

42
by rj1 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:40am

The main difference between rugby tackling rules and football is that in rugby you're not wearing a helmet. You're required to tackle smarter for self-preservation instead of flying your head in and using it as a battering ram. Requiring guys to wrap is part of it is you're taught to put your head to the side of the player you're tackling. If you don't, your head goes into the chest or stomach of an oncoming player, either resulting in a concussion or maybe a short-term tingling at the top of your spine. It's why in my 9 years of playing the game, former amateur wrestlers as a general rule make better rugby players than ex-footballers (played with a lot in each category, including some former Division I college footballers).

"I'm not certain how a legal forward pass would affect rugby techniques..."

There's a "legal forward pass" of sorts in the game now, you're allowed to kick downfield and a player on your team can recover provided he's behind you at the kick (or you run in front of him), i.e. a pseudo-line of scrimmage which in rugby terminology is called the offsides line. If you sky kick downfield and your wing goes after it, that's effectively a wideout. (More or less props are linemen, hooker there's no football position similar, ditto second rows/locks, flankers/wing forwards are linebackers, the #8 is a combo of a runningback and a linebacker, the scrum half and fly half together are the quarterback minus forward passing with the fly half normally also being the placekicker and punter, the centers are some combo of fullback/tailback/linebacker, the wings are the wide receivers/cornerbacks, and the rugby fullback is part safety, part punt returner, punter. As you might be able to tell, linebackers transition to the game really well.)

Leaving aside the legal forward pass would never be put in the Laws of the Game, if you did add it, the number of blind hits would heavily increase (the forward pass greatly increases the angles of entering a tackle while also making the receiver looking backwards or to the side instead of looking at the defense barreling down on him) which would increase the injury rate.

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by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:06pm

Football didn't require helmets until the mid-1930s, and the helmets in use for most of the period from 1896 until the mid 1930s would have been cromulent under current rugby rules. This, notably, was two head injury crises into the football experience.

While a fashionable theory, historical records make clear that helmets are the effect of head injuries in football, not the cause. (Not to say that they aren't sometimes a cause themselves, but that their existence is in response to injuries which were already occurring) There's a difference in rugby and football injuries which isn't due to equipment differences, and based on timing, isn't due to the forward pass (which came into existence to alleviate the first wave injury crisis).

Rugby does still exhibit some of the Victorian football's injury issues, though -- fractured vertebrae are much more common in rugby than in the other football codes. Rugby has a much larger number of crush-type injuries that football mostly eliminated by changing the scrummage rules.

53
by rj1 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:35pm

"While a fashionable theory, historical records make clear that helmets are the effect of head injuries in football, not the cause."

So, you are telling me guys leading with their head and their body out of control at speed does or does not cause more injuries?

I'm not talking about the reasons they're there, I'm talking about modern-day football. In modern-day football, where some players use the helmet as a weapon, the weapon makes up for poor tackling technique, which the "poor tackling technique" a lot of coaches agree on is something that exists on a game-wide level and a lot of articles have been written about it by "inside football" websites.

Just watch the game last night, there were so many flying nail the guy tackles. I never really noticed it as much before but I did last night. Both teams were doing it. And if the NFL had the NCAA targeting rule, a couple Broncos would've gotten ejected, and I'm a Broncos fan openly stating this. It's not like I'm a grumbling Panthers fan.

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by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 1:48pm

"So, you are telling me guys leading with their head and their body out of control at speed does or does not cause more injuries?"

I'm telling you guys did all of those things before helmets came into use.

Fractured skulls and broken necks predate modern helmets. They also predate antique helmets.

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by SuperGrover :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:43pm

"Offensive players are usually bigger and faster than defensive players (except for DTs vs inside O linemen) and all of the rules are biased towards the offense."

Not true. The rules on crackback and chop blocking have been changed substantially over the past decade. But, if you want to protect defensive players then do it. make it illegal for a runner to lead with his head as well. I, for one, think that is logical and will happen sooner than later.

At some point, the game has to change or it will become obsolete. Players must stop using their heads as weapons. The rules must adapt accordingly. the status quo will simply not work in the long run.

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by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 3:09pm

"But, if you want to protect defensive players then do it. make it illegal for a runner to lead with his head as well."

It actually *is* already illegal. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 6, sub-article i.
"using any part of a player’s helmet or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily;"

It's just never, ever, ever called. I've seen drop kicks more often than an offensive butting call.

12
by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:17am

Siemian seems to have a bit of Alex Smith in him; not a huge arm, throws short, some mobility. With a good defense, that's clearly at least workable. He had a few questionable throws, but, all in all, played better than expected. Then again, it's pretty easy to look OK until defensive coordinators figure out your tendencies.

Man, Carolina's corners were brutal. Complete whiffs on run support. They at least were facing dink-and-dunk passing; when those guys come up against a more complex passing scheme and deep threats, it could get really ugly.

16
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:31am

Denver's blocking last night was just on a completely superior level than what they have shown for at least two years. If that continues, and the defense doesn't regress by a large amount (and I didn't see huge evidence of that last night), then they'll be able to manage their qb situation into January just fine. Probably not February, but it isn't completely out of the wuestion.

43
by Sixknots :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:47am

This probably assumes that Okung is healthy for 13-16 games. We didn't seem to see that lately in Seattle.

21
by BroncFan07 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:48am

One thing I noticed, which hopefully could just be reps, is that Siemian was just late getting the ball out. On the first INT, the WR screen is there if he just catches the snap and throws. But he took a step and lined himself up which gave the defenders time to get in with their hands up. He also missed Virgil Green wide open in the end zone on first and goal because he took too long to deliver the ball.

25
by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:52am

Siemian didn't seem to panic much under pressure, and his mechanics aren't awful; those are two things that seem to me to be the kinds of things that are harder to clear out with more reps. Reaction time and the speed of decision making I could at least make a logical argument are the kinds of things that improve with experience and the ability to understand what's going on, so it's an at least somewhat promising start. I don't think the guy was great, but, for somebody throwing their first NFL pass, in prime time, against a really good defense, in the first game of the year . . . it was a pretty nice start. Not great, not awful.

46
by TimK :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:02pm

Not sure about Siemian's deep ball, but he was sticking it in and the 10-15 yard first down darts between the LBs and DBs a few times, and he had considerably more velocity than at least one of last year's QBs. That at least loosens the run/short-zone defenders up a bit, which was a major problem last season.

He was pretty good on some of the screens and the improvisational fake and sidearm on his first pass was nice to see. Needs to get more confidence on floating some over defenders (the missed TD before Anderson's short yardage dive, and perhaps the first interception.

Hated the second pick at the time. But watching it again, after Kubiak's comments, I can see why the coach viewed it as not so bad on the QB but partly on the blitzes stopping Siemian from stepping into his throw properly. I think I prefer Siemian to Osweiler, the two sacks he took he at least knew it was coming rather then seeming surprised in the pocket so much. Certainly prefer Siemian to Osweiler in terms of salary cap value.

13
by dmstorm22 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:21am

Really nice game to start the season. So good are these defenses that the total yards were 333 for Carolina and 307 for Denver and I thought both offenses won their individual matchups.

The Carolina defense inability to stop the run was pretty surprising. And I agree with whomever said the turning point of the game might have been the tackle on Cam's 3rd-and-1 roll-out on the first drive of the second half. Even though Denver didn't score on the next drive, Carolina was looking really likely to get at least a field goal to go up 20-7, and was in full control. The next Panthers drive was Ware's sack, and the game completely turned. I'm somewhat surprised Riverboat Ron didn't go for the 4th and 1 there around midfield.

Came away impressed by both teams. Carolina will surely tackle better going forward you would think, and their offense continues to be good. Having Benjamin back was really nice. If Denver's running game can work like that than this team has a higher ceiling than I thought.

29
by MJK :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:03am

I had thought that the NFL had a rule that personal foul penalties didn't offset--that in the interest of player safety, they trump other fouls. I guess I was wrong.

This really should be a rule. Otherwise, if a flag gets thrown for offensive holding, the defender can take it as a free license to punch the QB in the face or similar nonsense. And I certainly don't want to see 5 yard motion penalties offsetting against flagrant unnecessary roughness penalties.

34
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:12am

I beleive that is only the case with dead ball fouls. If a late hit had occurred after the whistle blew the play dead, after the grounding, I think the correct assessment would have been to penalize the Panthers, but then give them 15 yards back from that spot, and a 1st down.

I could be completely wrong, however.

31
by MJK :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:05am

FYI, you guys have some sort of script running on this page that is continually crashing my browser (Firefox). Probably one of your ad scripts. Might want to fix that...it's making FO unreadable for me. And if it's doing it to me, it's probably doing it to someone else.

44
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:57am

Yeah, I have that problem with Chrome on my computer, but not with Samsung's browser on my mobile.

33
by MJK :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:08am

Also, I'm really sad that Gano missed the second FG, and not just because I am a fan of Carolina (and a not-fan of Denver). But now we're going to see a ton more "icing the kicker" timeouts, which I really hate.

They're annoying to the viewer, and they don't work. But the problem is that coaches, like everyone, have confirmation bias in their thinking. Kickers occasionally miss FG's. It has nothing to do with calling a timeout before they try. That has been proven statistically. But now, because it "worked", we're going to see a ton more of it. You know what else "worked"? Joe the Denver Superfan somewhere wore his lucky underwear, and maybe that's why Gano missed. I guess that proves that Joe should wear that underwear every game from now on.

49
by TimK :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:06pm

I can just about stomach the icing thing in the circumstances last night. You've got more timeouts than you can use in the remaining time so what the heck.

52
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:21pm

I don't think coaches actually believe icing works. I think they're control freaks desperate to do something so it feels better.

54
by rich006 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:47pm

...and they want to send a message to the players, fans, and media that they did everything they could.

39
by Hang50 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:32am

I was surprised what a difference it makes not having Malik Jackson, but it was obvious by the middle of the first quarter. That was a great draft pick. Vance Walker going down over the summer leaves the Broncos' D-Line very thin. There are no defensive linemen on the practice squad, so it wouldn't surprise me to see Elway start looking for some depth.

55
by roguerouge :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:59pm

What is up with the obsession with the word "cromulent"? It's in this article, the past article on writers vs. the DVOA computer picks, and now it's even in the comments section! The word first aired in 1996, after all.

56
by deus01 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 1:04pm

It embiggens the prestige of the site/article/comment

57
by tuluse :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 1:20pm

Cromulent has struggled mightily to achieve the eliteness it exhibits today.

83
by andrew :: Sat, 09/10/2016 - 10:55am


Writing and words come from the page, and the gods of the page, but Cromulent is your word. Cromulent, and it lives in the lexicon. Once New York Football Giants lived in the lexicon, Conan, and in the darkness of chaos they fooled Cromulent, and they took from it the enigma of wordplay. Cromulent was angered, and the lexicon shook, and writing and words struck down these Giants, and they threw their bodies into the turf. But in their rage, the writers forgot the secret of irony, and left it on the sideline. We, who found it, are just hacks: not editors, not writers, just hacks. And the secret of irony has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan, you must learn its discipline. For no one, no one in this world can you trust. Not coaches, not fans, not posters...
(holds out ban hammer)
This you can trust.

58
by theslothook :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 1:25pm

I think Kubiak deserves a lot of credit as a head coach/schemer. Its cool to see Denver return to its roots with Kubiak bringing back his zone blocking concepts and significantly improving the run game. I think last year's plans unraveled when injuries hit the offensive line and forced lots of rotations that probably were impossible to synchronize. But give credit, Denver has found a way to mitigate the qb play and this is probably the best way to do it. I do think this scheme makes having both DT and Sanders a bit redundant.

I said I did not think Denver would win more than 8 games - but I didn't anticipate the run game being anywhere close to as effective as it was last night. I still think there's a ceiling to what this team can accomplish because eventually, you can't hide your qb forever. For as awful as Manning was - for most of the playoffs, he made the smart play with his veteran savviness to survive Pittsburgh and New England. I can't see TS doing that.

60
by Will Allen :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 1:53pm

It's kind of interesting to think about what a broken down Manning would have done last year, if he had been the beneficiary of the blocking we saw last night. Would he have been able to cover up his deficiencies to a large degree, by playing Bob Griese ball, circa 1972, with 18 passes being a big day?

70
by deus01 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:44pm

I will say the Schofield actually looked like a mostly competent NFL player last night instead of a random person from the street who somehow found himself on the starting O-Line.

The line changes also seem to be the main reason why the run game was actually successful last night. If they had this combination last year then they probably would have been around average (maybe a bit above) as zombie Manning wouldn't have to had force as many throws to try and compensate for a non-existent run game and limited time in the pocket.

74
by BJR :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 5:07pm

A limited/weak QB can be hidden behind good blocking, and with quality receivers. But Okung is a huge injury risk (hence why he was freely available), and the WR depth behind Thomas & Sanders is atrocious. I suspect this offence is still only an injury or two away from disaster.

78
by Grendel13G :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 6:17pm

Schofield and Siemian: not awful. I'll take it!

61
by Denverite :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 1:56pm

The thing that should be scary for the rest of the AFC is that they have a soft middle of the schedule, so it's entirely possible that you look up in like week 11 and they're 9-2 or 10-1. They're going to be deadly against weaker defenses -- they'll go up 10 or 14 and then be able to just completely hide Siemian.

Elway and Russell have done a masterful job building this roster.

62
by tunesmith :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 1:58pm

Can someone list the four quarterback helmet hits?

I've got V.Miller during the Ware sack - that looked incidental as Miller was going for the ball, but maybe incidental doesn't matter.

B.Marshall's, which was missed and should have been flagged, probably will be fined.

D.Stewart's, which was properly flagged but wiped out due to simultaneous intentional grounding.

What's the fourth?

82
by tunesmith :: Sat, 09/10/2016 - 3:09am

After re-watching the game, I found it - Roby on Cam as Cam dove out of bounds.

Collinsworth mentioned it, but not as something that should have been called/flagged. He did, however, say that the Von Miller hit should have been flagged.

64
by Steve in WI :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:12pm

How ironic that in a game that had multiple unflagged hits to the head of a quarterback, we also were reminded that a player could be ejected for 2 taunting penalties. It's not hard to see why Denver and other teams would go headhunting on Cam Newton. Worst case, when it's penalized it's 15 yards. Best case, it goes unflagged. In both cases, you stand a decent chance of concussing a great QB and knocking him out of the game.

But the important thing is that a guy who taunts twice is ejected. Sheesh.

75
by Tundrapaddy :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 5:07pm

No comment on the game, but...

I think Cian should have a lifetime appointment to FO for including that introductory video.

I never want to not have that play at the opening of every Panthers game.

76
by morganja :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 5:13pm

The officiating was awful, and once again, one sided. The Head Linesman, Ed Walker, in particular, called the game as if the mafia was holding his wife hostage.
He's the one who, among many other awful decisions, ran up to the runner at the 2, and then stepped forward a yard to place it one the one yard line, one of a number of generous Bronco spots.
He's also the one who called the intentional grounding, which, if applied correctly, was not intentional grounding. A quarterback hit while throwing the ball does not have to get it to the line of scrimmage to avoid an intentional grounding call.
He also called the personal foul for tackling the live runner who had just intercepted the ball. Inexplicable.
There is no reasonable explanation for the head shots non-calls, for which everyone is already justifiably condemning the refs. Imagine the outcry if that had happened to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

79
by Hang50 :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:05pm

The personal foul against Harris was IMO a good call. The defense needed to touch him down, for sure, but the Panther went in with a hard, full-momentum slam while Harris was still on the ground and not visibly making an effort to get to his feet.

The spot that Rivera successfully challenged was really bad.

The helmet-to-helmet non-calls are IMO inexcusable.

80
by Michael.Edits :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:16pm

I'm glad Bryan suggested it is "first-game itis...more than anything" because that's certainly what I want to believe. Keep Pounding.

81
by Michael.Edits :: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 10:28pm

I've been holding my tongue for seven months on this, which made it hard to eat.

In the Super Bowl, Cam tried to dive on that fumble, AND he tried to move away from the pile so he could catch that fumble on the bounce, both at the same time.

I don't know about you, but my brain short-circuits like that all the time, which could be why the pros play in the NFL while I comment about it on Internet discussion threads.