Talk amongst yourselves
8/31: Updated at 3 p.m. EDT with further final cuts.
* * * * *
The 2014 KUBIAK fantasy football projection workbook updates all preseason for only $20 -- or get it absolutely free with a $10 deposit at DraftKings.com. Purchase it here!
20 Jan 2013
Here's our open thread for in-game discussion of the NFC and AFC Championship games.
Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 20 Jan 2013
183 replies , Last at
21 Jan 2013, 10:23pm by
49ers win by 10.
Not sure if I think Vernon Davis "may be the fastest guy on the field."
Under the TV contract rules the announcers are required to describe anyone who is at least slightly above average as "possibly the best". Its the rules!
They're just stuck on his freakin' 40 time.
Nice play on the ATL TD.
It is really too bad ATL fans are having such a terrible time in the Georgia dome. They sound miserable. When will the taxpayers think about their poor feelings and provide them a better facility to shovel money into the owners pockets?
It is funny you have two teams with supposedly non-competitive stadia in the Championship game.
Doesn't seem like a team's ability to compete would be affected in a salary cap league (ie, all of them except baseball).
That not what the owners and lobbyists claim :)
Be sure join a star-studded cast of your favorite FO posters for playoff football chat!
Instructions moved to pastebin due to overzealous spam filter: http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=Qjf3ZzvE
ATL's offense looks a little more dynamic than I am used to. Or maybe SF's D is just sleepy. That is the nice thing about HFA.
Is it just me or do the Falcons look like they're playing much better than last week?
Event staff goes down hard.
Might be a good time to recall this line from the Conference Champoinship Preview:
"...unless White or Jones has a legendary performance against Brown, I just don't see how Atlanta will be able to score enough points"
Blatant push-off there.
This is beginning to feel like that Giants-Vikes CG. Unloved home team just pummels the visitor right out of the box. Long way to go though.
Good move by 49ers. Bash up the middle for a few plays and settle everybody down.
Wow, what the hell happened on those two Jones plays? The first one was a pretty badly blown coverage, the second was an amazing catch, but no sign of the usual good cornerback play.
Do you think it might be a good idea for any Atlanta defensive player to be within shouting range of Vernon Davis?
Joe Buck just described Colin Kaepernick as "a dual threat with his arms, his legs and his mind."
I'm putting that on my business cards.
Huge statement getting that TD back before the end of the half
It was quite an impressive drive
This game feels like whoever has the ball last will win.
Especially if whoever is on defense is playing the dreaded prevent.
Interesting. I've never heard a goal post go Ka-Bonngggg! like that before.
Good kick, David! not.
Fun game so far. Surprised to see Atlanta get a stop there. Akers! Can't believe Jim Harbaugh brought in Cundiff to compete with him, didn't his bro John tell him Cundiff sucks?
That didn't look like a forceable blow. I HATE that call. But the rules seem loosely defined, so I don't think there any way to argue a judgement call like that. But I thought the refs might be smart and have a bit more discretion when calling penalties like that in the playoffs.
Agree totally. You make that call if (1) it looked like the defender was being aggressive, (2) the defender was being reckless with his play and happened to hit the QB, or (3) he hit the QB forcibly. None of these applied. The defender probably was more likely to hurt his hand than to cause any injury to the QB.
I'll state the obvious, SF need to take advantage of this turnover or it will run out of chances and time.
Heck of a catch and run by Crabtree.
WOW! Huge hit right at the goal line!
missed FG and fumble on goal line. Ten possible points lost. Not good.
Matt Ryan has made a bunch of great throws today, but why do I keep thinking that dropped snapped is going to be the play that people remember by him this game.
Last half of the last quarter. I think we're going to see a great finish. Whattagame!
Think that catch stands.
Didn't look like a catch to me, but it was pretty close to overturn.
I swear Matt Ryan is calling "green olives" as an audible. Now I want a martini.
Yes, he is ... seems like it is a running play though that is just the last two I heard.
He likely is. IN the first half he was using both "oil" and "olives"
I think mixing a martini with my Doritos and bean dip might be against the law. If it's not, it should be.
"Can I have Things Roger Sterling Probably Never Said for 200, Alex?"
I think either position catch / no catch was defensible. No matter what they ruled there were going to be a lot of folks unhappy.
Curious: if you're Harbaugh, when, if ever, do you start taking timeouts to save time for a field goal drive in the event of a Falcons touchdown?
Well that was obviously a penalty on SF. It happens.
I wish officials would use the same standards during the reg season and the playoffs.
It was inside 5 yards.
doesnt matter once ball is in the air
Yes, but the contact came before the throw.
there was contact with the ball in the air, too
...and while the ball was on its way.
Don't think so. It was 3rd and 4, and he was aobut 2 yards beyond the line to gain when it happened, it looked to me.
But it doesn't matter. (1) It was a hold, not a chuck. Grabbing and pulling a jersey is a penalty even inside of 5 yards. "Holding", not "illegal contact" should have been the call. (2) I think the ball may have been in the air when it happened, which would make it DPI, and again, the 5 yard zone becomes irrelevant.
But I don't actually blame this one on the refs calling the playoffs differently. The closest official (Umpire?) was about 3 yards upfield of the penalty, with his back to them. The referee was on the other side of the LOS, and probably couldn't see it through the lineman. The Field, back, and side judges were likely watching the recievers running deeper routes. So unless one of the line judges saw it (and it would have been behind a player for one of them, and they were likely watching the line anyway), you can get away with holds like that. It happens all the time to elite TE's.
They started at the 10 or inside it and the contact happened at the 5 or higher. I saw a push, not so much a hold.
I´d say it was just i line with how the refs (no)called OPI a few times. Give and take there.
Make up your mind and snap the ball!
Hail Mary coming up. Good luck, everybody.
The Falcons' game end management ability makes Andy Reid look like Albert Einstein.
0 points for Atlanta in the second half. Yeah, they played soft when the pressure ratcheted up. But if they get a dynamic RB they would be truly scary. Their D was ultimately not up to snuff in the Red Zone as well.
The Yippie-Ki-Yay Postgame show? How lame.
On the 9ers TD shortly before the half:
Can some explain why Vernon Davis was eligible? He was lined up second from the end on the LOS. The end got chucked and then ran a route into the endzone, while Davis pulled back as if he was pass blocking, and then trickled into the flat and caught the TD pass. But I thought to be an eligible reciever, if you were on the line, you had to be on the end and uncovered. It certainly looked on the replay as if he was covered, which would make him ineligible, right?
The Atlanta defender covering him certainly seemed to think so...
I don't have a replay, but that's pretty dumb by the defender, since Davis should be flagged if he's covered.
"Covered" here refers to whether another offensive player was on the line or not, not about the defense.
I think Walker is technically a back, he's a titch off the LOS. See 65 below.
Yes, I think throughout the league teams are pretty inconsistent about how they line up.
I hope Patriots vs. Ravens measures up.
More suspicious officiating. I think I'll pass on the Boger-bowl.
THAT'S a "country music group" singing the national anthem?!?
Hank Williams is spinning in his grave.
Hmm his son called the president a Nazi on national TV. I imagine he's borne a hole through to the next plot by now.
@MJK 57 - I think if you look carefully at the play (it's a TD so it's on NFL.com) 46 Delanie Walker is NOT covering Davis, he's offset behind the LOS a yard. So Davis is technically on the end.
Or it was a mistake (either in the niners lining up or the ref missed it). It seems unlikely that the Niners thought the refs would miss it (although it might be designed to confuse the coverage)
Is there a place where I can see the half-by-half box score(s) for the NFCC? It used to be in the gamebook/pdf but that's not out yet (and they might have gotten rid of it)
I know the Pats have weaknesses covering RBs in the flat, but everyone always follows Ray Rice everywhere. Ravens opening play calling was tepid.
The second series wasn't great, either.
Why does NE even run the ball? With Tom Terrific's accuracy and the NFL's rule changes it's like sand lot football.
Looks like Talib's done for the game with a hamstring injury. That hurts NE's defense.
Baltimore would do well to extend this drive a bit. The time of possession must be something like 2:1 in favor of New England, and that old defense is going to wear out.
Gees, don't the refs have better things to do than turn this into a soccer game? Was that Italy out there drawing the personal foul?
Looks on this drive that the 15 yards didn't matter
This game should be 21-7 at best. The NFL-encouraged dink-and-dunk pass offense mastered by New England is virtually unstoppable, and Baltimore just can't keep up.
Well, the Pats are doing a lot of things right, like with special teams play. Did you see that stat of average starting field position?
And nothing cheesy about going for it on fourth and one and getting it..
How was that 4th down trick play not a false start? Or something? Or are you allowed on offense to flap your hands, etc. while the ball snaps to someone else?
Good question, though I have never seen that called.
You're a Colts fan and you don't know the answer to that?
As long as the QB never goes under center (said rule blew up a nice trickeration the Colts had), he can walk up and down the line all his wants, gesturing, etc., and you can snap it directly to the RB at any time.
I totally forgot about that play. Good memory there.
You're just not allowed to simulate the snap, and he clearly wasn't pretending that the snap was coming to him at the time. One player is allowed to be in motion during the snap as well, so he can move around.
Unlike in years past the Pats this year have just not been good at managing the clock at the end the half / game.
Harbaugh needs to grow a pair and let Flacco air it out. Running it into the teeth of a solid Pats run D is just stupid. The fact that he announced that this was his plan earlier today is even stupider. Ummm, Talib is out of the game, hello.
And is Brady trying to take out the Ravens DB's ACL? Such a smart player, trying to do everything to help his team win.
Oh no, Shannon Sharpe and Bill Cowher just echoed my sentiments. Maybe I need to rethink this.
Well, it sounds like there's lots of wind, making the big downfield throws more difficult?
Good point. Still, if anyone has the arm the sling it through the wind, its Flacco. And if they are just putting themselves in 3rd and long time after time, there needs to be a strategic adjustment.
Yeah, I thought it was a wind thing. Almost the perfect weather conditions for the Pats for this game. I think Kraft has sold his soul or something. Play another cold weather team that only differs in that the opponent loves the deep ball? Let's order us up some high winds!
Why do people think Baltimore is a cold weather team? I live down here now, its not.
I lived there from 1999-2007. And I recall plenty of late falls where it was, well, cold. You can look through the box scores over at P-F-R and see December temps in the 30's and 40's:
2012 home games in December: 57, 53, 51, 59
2011 home games in December: 42, 44
2010 home games in December: 35, 34, 51
2009 home games in December: 35, 28
The mean temperature is in the upper 30's.
I'm not saying that Baltimore is some Siberia-on-the-Chesapeake or something. But it is certainly not warm in December there, on average.
Baltimore is humid subtropical! That's the same climate as Buenos Aires!
If Baltimore is going to win, they need to do a better job with field position. Prt of the problem has been NE moving her ball and then punting, and Baltimore going no where and then punting. But some of it is just bad coverage on punts.
I kind of think, as a neutral fan, that I'd prefer to see SF-NE as opposed to SF-Baltimore. Te entrenched dynasty against a new power.
Also a neutral fan pulling for SF-NE (sick and tired of penny ante "champions"), I do have to question the notion that a team that hasn't won a championship in eight years is an entrenched dynasty.
I think NE is something like 5 games above the #2 team for record over those 8 years. They've definitely been the class of the NFL.
If the refs are going to allow the Pats DBs to put their hands all over the Ravens WRs downfield it'll be tough for the Ravens to move the ball.
I think the NE DB's are doing a good job of walking that fine line of harassing without drawing a penalty.
WTF is going on. The Pats hit Reed helmet to helmet after a fair catch, no call. 3 personal fouls on Baltimore so far.
Ravens seem to have finally realised that the Patriots pass defense is much worse than their run defense.
For whatever reason these long throws aren't working.
Wow. Where the hell has this offense been all game. Thank you for throwing the ball.
That wasn't a penalty? It doesn't matter because they score on the next play, but based on what they've been calling on Baltimore, that's nuts.
I thought the DB play was fine, but the hitting of Reed in the helmet in a fair catch and then the hit on Pitta? Looks like e riffing is getting ne sided here. Hope they even it out, or at least don't continue it.
The Pats badly miss Aqib Talib. But that's not the whole problem. A lot of bad tackling on that last drive.
And of course the genius commenters at ESPN.com are blaming Welker.
You're reading comments at ESPN??
Mike Reiss is worth reading. Actually, the regular commenters there are OK. The problem is that during a game any live thread is filled by idiots. I should know better than that.
I guess all I see are the live feeds during the game, and the comments on the post-game write-ups. They're generally around 3000+ comments, filled with lots of chat/text-influenced spelling, all-caps, exclamation points, and accusations that so-and-so is gay.
Reiss is an excellent journalist. Worth reading every time.
Giselle must be using aliases again.
It was a bad drop by Welker. The following drive wasn't good defense by the Patriots, but yet again it looks like this high-powered offense is what's letting the team down in the playoffs. Too many solid drives haven't resulted in points (or have resulted in a field goal when the touchdown looked there for the taking). It's asking for trouble.
My attitude is this: we've seen a lot of good catches by Welker today. He's clearly their best receiver. Sorry he's not perfect, but if that's the standard they need, they are never going to be happy.
And Welker is not the reason the Pats are losing.
No, Welker isn't the problem, but hes had an awful lot of drops lately. He definitely has worse hands than he did 2007-2010.
That being said, for an offense built on short passing and running the ball, a drop almost always kills the drive.
I have no confidence in this defense right now. Flacco is ripping them to shreds.
Down by contact. No turnover. Pollard again against NE. Pats fans must hate, hate, hate that guy.
Easily the dirtiest player in the NFL (non-Pittsburgh division), but that one wasn't on him IMO.
Unbelievable that he wasn't down there, but after seeing the replay after the break, I think that's correct.
It was a clean play by Pollard - he was head up. Ridley ducked into it and concussed himself.
Yikes. That guy was KOed before he hit the ground. And ironically, the defender wasn't going for the head-- it looks like the ball-carrier lowered his to attack the defender and by accident their heads collided.
Totally agree. On reply Pollard looked like he was less ready and got the worst of it, but, well, obviously not...
Such a scary situation -- a guy knocked out and needing medical help, but a fumble scrum going on next to him. There should be a plan for that. Something that causes everyone to stop.
Its not like he is going to die (anytime soon at least), he was knocked out. It happens all the time in a variety of sports, and while it is definitely not good for you, it isn't exactly life threatening.
I do think it odd how a slight graze of a QBs helmet is penalty but things like that are not really discouraged at all. They really only care about the high profile players.
But you are viewing through hindsight. What if the injury had been a broken back, neck, or spinal injury, and guys just playing after the whisltle as the NFL traditionally allows on fumbles had caused permanent paralysis where the initial injury did not cause that? Trainers trying to stabilize a neck, and 300 pounders jumping on them and in injured guy trying to get the ball?
That happens like once every 5 years. Guys get knocked out every game.
Something that causes everyone to stop.
Something as multiple refs blowing their whistles?
I've always thought that jumping into the scrum after the whistle is blown should either be a 15 yard penalty, or an ejection for that player. It'd be much safer all around, and give you a better idea of who actually recovered the ball.
Yeah, because blowing whistles has been such a traditionally sure fire way to stop guys piling on after fumbles.
Thats because the incentive (increasing your chance of getting the ball) is significantly higher than the disincentive (pretty much nothing).
They need to start penalizing teams for having players completely uninvolved come running over 5 seconds after the whistle and hopping on the pile.
Totally jobbed on that fumble ruling.
I am very surprised the TV guys didn't look at it in slower motion. I am not sold on the call, but the announcers seem very sure of themselves. I'd like a few more looks.
He looked pretty down, his back leg was under him.
I can't say I'm unbiased, as a Jets fan who pulled for New England last year for foolish selfish reasons (I thought they would tank the year after winning it all), and am not sure who I want to win. I thought he was down.
This is pretty much over.
Depends on the next drive. If NE goes hurry up and scores, it's still a game. I could see Baltimore foolishly then going conservative, and we have seen that they can't run the ball.
I don't think I can handle two weeks of Harbaugh Bowl hype. I may just skip this Super Bowl.
Every year there is something they hype to death. I almost prefer that it is actually something notable this time instead of something dumb. Its not like they are going to magically talk football if it is SF-NE. It will all be interviews with Brady about how he keeps his fire, and Kapernick about his childhood.
And Brady becoming the undisputed GOAT with 4 SB wins, or Kapernick winning in his second year and becoming the next Brady (you know, replacing a starter during the season, staying as QB after the old starter gets healthy, neither a first round pick, etc). The hype is ugly no matter who is in there.
And the Harbowl actually has some degree of bearing on the game; it's not like there have never been opposing coaches who knew each other well, but it has to affect how they approach the game to some extent.
Seconded. Will probably tune out until the kickoff.
Ray Lewis is from New Orleans
Is Ridley back in there?
They said Ridley will not return after his head injury.
If I am a Baltimore fan, I don't like this soft defense.
Featuring a QB with no scrambling ability...wonder if he could have run for those four yards.
Pretty much any QB in the league could have... except Brady.
What a terrible possession by the Ravens there. I was harping on them to throw it all game, but I would have been fine with three runs and a punt there.
I'm sure that it would be called if it were the case but geez the Ravens offensive line sure looks like the guards and tackles are lined up too far back.
> I'm sure
Need to kill more than 1:00 on that possession.
More bad luck - geeez!
Ah well. C'mon the 49ers, I guess.
And to think that as a Colts fan I knew Indy wouldn't go far in the playoffs, but I really thought they might be able to beat the Ravens in that first playoff game. I course, that was before the game started.
Still irritated that the Pats punted from the Ravens' 34 yard line. It's just not worth it to punt from there.
Thought the Pats did a completely horrible job of game management ... BB used to be very good at it but has seemed off all year.
Game seemed to turn there somehow. Although I think they punted in a similar situation last week & that worked out.
Three times the Patriots punted in situations I'd have expected them to go for it. Zero second half points with three turnovers. One touchdown from at least five trips inside the Baltimore 25. Twenty-one points allowed in just over a quarter of play after halftime. Not a good night all round.
This is one of my problems with McDaniels coming back... he seems to have control of those situations, and hes signficantly more conservative than BB is.
Well folks, enjoy the HarBoger bowl.
Really irritated that the Pats were clearly the better team up to the point when Talib went out. But they need to have more depth on defense. After all, the Ravens didn't have Ladarius Webb.
Gratz to the Ravens.
I still don't think the defense lost them that game.
They had 6 drives that went down inside the 25, and came away with 13 points. They had several other drives where they punted from the 30-40. Thats just not good enough.
I know many here will discount, or at least not award any special value to, the results of playoff games. But I think this year is extraordinary in terms of what it means for the league going forward-- and the past three weeks has accelerated all the movement, IMHO.
1. Kaepernick may soon be, if he is not already, the best player in the sport. In two weeks we may see that fact confirmed. How in the hell he got drafted when he did is beyond me, but then again, Unitas/Starr/Montana/Brady/Rodgers;
2. The NFC now has a guantlet of great or young or multi-purpose QBs (or all three) for everyone, including themselves, to run through each season. A Niner victory in the Big Easy, which I for one expect, would mean 5 of the last 6 champions from the NFC and 4 in a row, and here we go again into a period of absolute dominance for one conference or the other...
3. Maybe Manning and Brady, particularly the latter, get one more serious shot.. But it is probably equally likely that, at best, they combine for no more than one additional losing Super Bowl appearance-- meaning the chapter on each in terms of postseason success has pretty much been written... Maybe not next year, but within a couple there will be a handful of AFC teams who won't have much trouble copying the Ravens formula against B/B...
4. My guy, Aaron Charles Rodgers, ruled the world just 14 months ago. Defending Super Bowl champ... surefire MVP... QB of an unbeaten team on the way (seemingly) toward defending their crown... best QB ratings in history-- regular season or playoffs.... And since?? With him at QB the Packers have gone 13-8, and lost twice badly in the playoffs, and twice badly to SF and NYG in the regular season.... And his competitors?? Flacco is younger and has won more playoff games; Kapernick is 4 years younger and may win a SB two years before Rodgers ever did; Luck, Griffin and Wilson-- two who reside in his conference-- are fast ascending the stairs to greatness, and Newton may not be so far behind....
This league is changing fast... We may look back at 2012 as a huge transitional season-- with two very aggressive former college coaches at the heart of it in Harbaugh and Carroll whose teams, despite their 2500+ mile distance from the center of the media universe, may have created the best current rivalry in the sport... The Har-Bowl makes sense--- they deserve it.
"Kaepernick may soon be, if he is not already, the best player in the sport"
That whoosh you just heard was the sound of the world's fastest bandwagon reaching warp speed.
Well, I'll say it a different way. He has the best combination of tools anyone at his position has ever possessed. Ever. (though I never saw Sammy Baugh play) He has a coach who, if nothing else (and he has done a lot more, of course) has had a Midas-like effect on every QB he has touched the past 5 years. And a team with a defense and two lines that are very good and will probably stay that way for the forseeable future. All those things-- plus a knack for the game and a superior intellect-- should combine to put him right at the top... And I ask the rest of you--- name me one player who is better right now... Rodgers? Brady? Manning? Peterson?? I don't think any of them are better...
Did Steve Young suddenly die?
Just because he's white, everyone forgot how much and how well he ran.
"name me one player who is better right now..."
At this point, dude, asserting that Kaepernick is better than Manning or Brady is pretty silly.
Or Russell Wilson for that matter.
Let the irrational Wilson-Kaepernick debate begin!
I like Kaepernick a lot, even if I can't spell his name. Saying that one player will be the be all and end all of the NFL after less than one full season is pretty foolish. 11 games into the 1986, I pretty much thought Ken O'Brien was god, and recently, Michael Vick had a single season resurgence of amazingness. Defenses will adjust to Kaepernick's skills, and perhaps weaknesses will be found. Like his problems getting the play started in loud stadiums on the road. One of these adjustments may be hitting the quarterback every play, and seeing if you can get away with it.
I agree with your impression of the NFC continuing its dominance, but I think Peyton or Brady will add a ring to their collections soon. The league has too much parity for there to be a run like the NFC had in the 80s and 90s. The salary cap won't allow the Niners to keep their defense together longer than the next two years, and teams are already raiding the Seahawks braintrust. The Falcons are aging, and the Giants, while a threat, have only had one truly dominant regular season in the last five to ten years. The Packers are set up well, and they experienced a ton of injuries this year; don't write off Rodgers yet either.
Wow, Paul. Not like you to overreact.
Even if the 49ers win in two weeks and Kaepernick's the MVP, I think it would still be a bit too soon to say that he's the best player in the game. Have to wait and see what happens next season after teams have a book on him.
#159 - It's also possible that at least 1 or 2 of the 'young guns' aren't going to have the staying power. As we've seen, things can change quickly.
Sure, but let's put it this way... I'll form a league and have Kaepernick, Wilson, Newton, Luck (don't discount his running ability and athleticism) and RGIII as my 5 QBs. You take anyone else 25 or younger as your five--- who's gonna be better off-- short run or long run?? In fact, I'll give you anyone under 30, including Rodgers and Cutler and Flacco-- and take my chances...
Last year people were saying the same thing about Cam Newton.
Last year Newton faced a lot of weaker defeses and a weaker schedule in general, he opened this season with an absurdly difficult slate of defenses, and boomed back into productivity when the quality of his opponants dropped off. It'll probably make him a much better QB in the long run. But, Wilson and Kaepernick are probably going to be facing a modestly weaker slate of defenses next year, both because of regression in their own division, and just by replacing the AFC East and NFC North with the AFC and NFC South.
The Pats offense has led to their demise every postseason since 2007. It's definitely part of Brady's legacy
Interesting that they still have zero Super Bowl wins since Spygate.
Interesting that they have 2 Super Bowl appearances and multiple playoff appearances since "Spygate". Most teams wish they were that good and that consistently playoff caliber. Your point?
No one circles the wagons like the NE Patriots.
© Football Outsiders, Inc. // Site powered by Stein-Wein // Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties