Talk amongst yourselves
Need help on FanDuel or DraftKings? Purchase a subscription from the website that specializes in daily fantasy.
05 Jan 2013
This is the place for all-day discussion Saturday of Cincinnati at Houston followed by Minnesota at Green Bay.
Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 05 Jan 2013
188 replies , Last at
06 Jan 2013, 12:37pm by
Dan Hicks? Boo. BOOOOO.
True...why the heck Dan hicks??
Who else does NBC have?
(I honestly don't know)
I'm guessing collinsworth and michaels are doing the Green Bay game...not sure who the other pbp guy could be.
Tom Hammond does Notre Dame games with Mayock.
I have never liked Tom Hammond and his mascara.
As much as I hate a lot of the guys FOX CBS and ESPN run out there, these guys are just terrible.
And on cue, Bengal's receivers drop two passes.
If you give Gresham a drop on that 3rd down pass you are a tough scorer!
:-) Ha. If his hands touch the ball, its a drop!!! (Kidding...or am I).
Well, the 2nd down pass he dropped can count as two drops, there, he still is credited with two drops!
The fact that this always sets up with Collinsworth doing only one post-season game is absurd.
Should he change networks after the first round?
Ack. Texans and their special teams.
As a Broncos fan, I'm rooting for them because I'd least like to see the Broncos face the Bengals, but I also don't like New England having the chance to face the Colts compared to the Texans.
Rooting interests for this round were much clearer when the Broncos were the second seed. 1) Tom Brady's death at the hands of Cincinnati's pass rush, 2) Colts to perform their role as Bad Team That Wins One Game and Gets Trucked the Following Week.
I think that this game is clear and tomorrow will be clear after the result of this game, so it's not so bad.
I've had this nagging feeling that Baltimore's a better bet to challenge New England than Houston, and Cincinnati's offense leaves me thoroughly unafraid of that matchup. The combination of hope that the Texans could have their act together next week and fear that the Colts will win tomorrow tips the balance, but I'm only maybe 60% sure I want Houston to win.
Maybe the nagging feeling is New England blowing out the Colts and Texans both already this season. But I'm rooting for the Texans slightly as well also because I respect Cincy's offense (Or more accurately their big play potential) than you do. I remember AJ Green making a lot of big plays earlier this year against the Broncos.
After watching the Texans today, I definitely think they are a team that I'd rather have play New England.
Houston offense showing up on their 2nd drive. If the special teams hadn't been so terrible, they would already be in the end zone.
And they stall...
Third down has been brutal for the Texans. That they chose to pass on a 3rd and short, instead of run, on a drive where the run has been working, is part of why I hate Kubiak's playcalling.
And their constant settling for FGs instead of getting TDs is why they're not off this week.
Does anyone here watch the game online with all those NBC extras?
I wish I could watch it all... Got the full Game Pass package here in the UK, but every single game is 'blacked out' this weekend so I'm reduced to writing them nasty emails asking for a refund on the extra charge for the playoff coverage (sigh).
Maycock continues to repeat that the Texans like to stay out of third and long. Ground-breaking analysis as usual.
I think that the perception is that the Texans offense is less affective than usual in third and long yardage situations compared to other offenses.
yeah, because their passing game has not been very effective lately.
But instead of saying that, Maycock kept saying how they want third and short, which is entirely meaningless. Every team prefers third and short.
I guess I tend not to expect much from the announcers most of the time. Truth is, I think it wouldn't be easy to provide interesting information for the duration of a game like this and most fans would find information that I find interesting and well thought out boring. But, real analysis during a game would be awesome.
Or they could just not talk if they don't have anything intelligent to say.
They're paid to talk intelligibly, not to provide intelligent talk. Intelligent commentary is just a bonus.
More than that: their passing game is unusually dependent on play action and the threat of the run more generally. They are a team specifically unbuilt for obvious passing situations, towards the opposite end of the spectrum from the Packers or Saints.
Nice play on run by the law firm.
After this, um, display by the offenses, I boldly predict the Texans will hang on to a 5-4 victory.
So mayock justifies the texans bad finish to playing vikes, pats, and colts...all playoff teams. What does that say about the texans chances?
1st rushing 1st down of the season for Schaub? Interesting stat. How is that even possible?
He's got the wheels of Trent Dilfer, and the hair of Matt Lauer
And they've been extra-leery of running sneaks with him since he got injured on one by Albert Haynesworth against the Bucs last year.
Nice punt by the Bengals.
EDIT: Followed by a nice actual punt.
The Texans would be wise to challenge their own interception, because that was essentially a 52-yard punt with no return.
I'm sure I read something about all turnovers being automatically reviewed this season. Maybe around Thanksgiving?
Easy to reflexively throw the virtual flag even when you know the rule.
Schaub hits Hall for a TD. Bengals take the lead.
Both defenses seem be killing any screen passes so far.
What they say: They need to improve on 3rd down.
What they mean: They need to improve on 1st and 2nd down - so they don't end up on 3rd and long.
Up to a point. But also, the Texans are actually disproportionately bad on 3rd down.
Feel like a team with Foster should not be reflexively kicking the FG on 4th & 2 in that situation.
4th and 2, on the Bengals' 3, with like 2:20 left in the half, and the Texans defense has been stifling. Kicking the FG there is inexcuable.
The ticking play clock sound effect is really annoying. Is this NBC or Fox?
Also multiple sources reporting Ponder is out tonight with bursitis and Joe Webb will start for Minnesota.
agreed, I was wondering what that sound was
all those graphics making sounds (the whooosh whooosh NBC logo for replays) are completely unnecessary and, to be frank, retarded.
Don't know what the record is but 54 total yards in one half is not good.
I think -yards for a half has been done
Negative yards for a full game has apparently been done twice, by Seattle against LA in 1979 and by Denver against Oakland in 1967.
As far as I can tell the record for fewest yards gained in a playoff game post-merger was the Vikings' 41-0 disaster against the Giants, where they had fewer than 50 yards before half-time. I don't know if any playoff team has gained fewer yards in a single half.
Thanks for the knowledge. Although some of us enjoyed that "disaster."
The 1982 afc championship, aka the Mud Bowl, aka Don Shula hoses down the field to stop McNeil and Walker, was pretty bad for both offenses. In both halves. Neither team got over 200 yards; the Dolphins had 198, but only 60 passing yards.
I think that the Texans have clearly outplayed the Bengals in the first half, but only have a small lead to show for it.
250-53 yardage advantage for Houston. Almost 23-to-7 time of possession. -6 passing yards for Cincinnati. Boy, could the Texans live to regret this.
Are the pictures qb's look at still "Polaroids" as Dan hicks says? How many young viewers only know Polaroid because of Andre 3000 singing "shake it like a Polaroid picture"?
Maybe the Bengals will consider putting a D-Lineman in place of a gaping hole there when the Texans are on the 1 yard line next time.
Ponder declared inactive for GB/MIN game. Looks like it's the Joe Webb Show today...
They say that only one hour before kickoff.
So the Vikings have game planned a whole week with Webb and the Packers have game planed versus Ponder?
Can I buy a vowel?
(It helps if you use more words to transfer thoughts.)
I believe he is suggesting that the Vikings have/should have installed a pistol set for extensive use this evening.
When Kubiak shakes his head in disbelief after the ruling, it leads me to believe that he just doesn't understand the rules very well.
Frankly, I agree with Kubiak. That looked to me like Dalton pushed the ball with the palm of his hand after he'd lost his grip, Mayock's claims that he still had control notwithstanding.
I'm not saying it wasn't worth it to throw the challenge, but I thought after looking at the replay it was clear that he had control. The ref didn't say the play stood, but rather it was confirmed, so apparently there wasn't any question.
There's a video on NFL.com of Dalton throwing a pass 10 yards straight behind him and having it called an incomplete pass. I don't think anyone knows what a "forward motion" is anymore with 95% certainty anymore. In turn I accept the result of any call like that as a boolean result from a pseudorandom number generator.
This has been explained before on this site. It's about the direction of the arm motion, not the direction the ball goes.
Glad to hear that the Texans have smart fans. The Texans have faced several fourth and shorts, but at the fifty, I think that a lot of fans realize that the odds favor going for it.
It does interest me that for all the discussion of coaches not wanting to go for it because it's opposed to conventional wisdom, the fans seem to be, on the whole, far more aggressive than most coaches. Lack of 4th down aggression is a recurring source of complaint of Texans fans against Kubiak, for sure.
Fans have always wanted to GFI more than coaches. It took FO to prove that the fans were actually right.
Who cut kubiak's hair in the back...it is hacked.
So they just told the funny story about J.J. Watt being surprised by screaming girls at a Justin Beiber concert. He'd assumed the girls were screaming for Justin beiber, but they were screaming for him.
So...what was J.J. Watt doing at a Justin Beiber concert?
There's a family who's parents were killed in a car accident, some of the children were seriously injured and I believe at least one of them is in a wheelchair;, after the accident I believe the children went to live with their aunt and her family. Watt pretty much adopted the whole family. I would guess he took the children to the concert.
What did the kids do to deserve another horror?
Presumably, he wants them to have normal childhoods including plenty of regrets to be ashamed of later. Or they might have been rooting for the Cowboys, and watching Romo wasn't punishment enough; until week 17.
"I don't know, Mister Watt, couldn't we go to the Motley Crue concert instead?"
"Motley Crue?!? Why would you want to do that? Motley Crue is a bunch of has-beens. They haven't had a hit song in years. Justin Bieber is happening! He's hot! He's got tons of hits! There's Boyfriend, Somebody to Love, Baby, One Time, U Smile..."
"Gee, Mister Watt, you sure know a lot about Justin Bieber."
"Oh, um, well..."
Wow. They brought out Earl Campbell, who can barely walk, for a celebration. Now lets watch some more guys cripple each other!
Nice job, Dalton, by putting so much air under it you give everyone in the house time enough to cover that pass...
I must say Dalton has been quite poor. But then again the Texans D is providing a lot of pressure. It seems like if they can get Dalton to shuffle around he's not picking up his other reads.
No protection for defenseless receivers in the playoffs?
Was this the hit by Kareem Jackson on AJ Green in the middle of the end zone with 10:30 remaining in the 4th quarter? I thought it looked helmet-to-helmety live. After watching the replay i think it would have been harsh on Jackson.
That said, the better team won & the Bengali got half their offensive points on the drive so not sure how much of an impact the "non-call" made.
I thought it was borderline. Secondary coaches and safeties need to figure out how to adapt to the rule; going for the big hit is just as likely to lead to a huge, drive-extending penalty, as it is to break up the pass. Big hits still make sense against the running game, and once recievers have the ball, but a penalty at that point could have killed the Texans.
Texans were up 19-10 at the time and it went to 19-13 on the drive. Not certain - is it 15 from the spot or previous LOS?
By the letter of the law, i thought that it wasn't forcible after watching a replay, more incidental... which of course means AJ Green needs to learn how to flop better.
It is an illegal launch if a player (1) leaves both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent, and (2) uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/”hairline” parts) to initiate forcible contact against any part of his opponent’s body
You're right, it wasn't certain disaster for Houston. It's only 15 yards from LOS. I was mainly thinking about the fact that the pass was deflected by the other corner first. I definitely think he wasn't going for the head, but in a collision you don't know what might happen. It's probably better to attack the ball, not the player, in that situation.
I'm not adamantly against kicking the FG there, but shouldn't the Bengals have gone for it?
They went for it earlier in the possession on 4th and 1, and the gap between C and RG was WIDE open for a gimme QB sneak. If nothing else they could have lined up to see if they got the same look.
Now I realize.
Mike Mayock sounds like Mr. Garrison of South Park.
Extremely conservative 4th down strategy from the Texans today. Which is least some way justifiable given the way their defence has been dominating. Will be interesting to see if the strategy changes in New England next week, however.....
As a Broncos fan, I certainly hope that they change their strategy against the Patriots.
Burn a timeout, then false start anyway. Way to go Bengals.
Texans bail them out with a HUGE PI on 3rd and long.
That crossing pattern to Gresham has failed about four separate times today...
Oh dear... throwing short of the sticks on 4th and long... bleh
You can't throw short of the sticks. Throw it up for grabs somewhere. It's fourth down.
The Bengals should have run the hook and ladder right there. It probably would have worked.
How can Dalton throw it short of the sticks on that 4th down? At least get it past the marker so you might get a PI call
Not sure what you mean, PI is an automatic first down and can be committed anywhere on the field.
Well sure, I meant throw it up there where a receiver can contest it and you might get a flag. You aren't likely to get a PI call on 6 yard a dump-off.
That penalty might actually get Cincinnati the ball back. They were going to the two-minute warning, and it would have been three knees and out.
Yes, why doesn't every losing team who gives up a first down commit a personal foul in the last 5 minutes to stop the clock, especially between 2:00 and 2:40 with no timeouts left? With the NFL's emphasis on safety, seems like a rule change is in order.
Isn't that likely Graham's second concussion of the season?
Had to post this, though it happened earlier in the game:
Is this ROBO-PUNTER's complete inverse?
Thanks for sharing that.
Congratulations Houston. Won the right to get butchered in New England next week.
I think that it's likely that New England wins, but it wouldn't be unprecedented if they lost.
I seem to remember a team that blew out a playoff rival 45-3, getting touchdowns off 4th down plays and short fields (the 12 yard punt sure helped.) Then they proceeded to lose to the same team in their first playoff game. So losing to a team they blew out with a ton of fumble luck doesn't seem that unlikely. I doubt history repeats itself (ya never know), but it should be a much closer game than last time.
It's official. Weighted DVOA sucks. :P
I think that lost in the whole weighted DVOA slide by Houston, was the fact that Houstons defence is capable of playing at this level. As they've shown earlier in the year. Joseph looked better today and the middle of the field was well guarded by Quinn. The offense is still conservative, but underrated when Foster gets going.
Defensively they almost hit their topmark today and the Bengals weren't able to adjust.
Personal worst: fell asleep three times during that game.
So with Webb in does that mean A. Peterson will be more effective? Scary thought, now the D ends need to be prepared for the bootleg every play.
OTOH they don't have to be prepared for the forward pass.
Hmmm... I see what you mean. Still, the line went from around -8 to -11. I'm not sure Webb is really going to be that much worse overall.
For all Collinsworth's talk about the threat of Webb having the Packers off balance, it sure seems like they're getting plenty of hats to the ball, they just can't tackle. Same story as before.
Wow, Webb's first pass looked like something thrown by a guy who couldn't beat out Christian Ponder for a QB job. Peterson and Webb between them may run for 350, but if they can't get any passing at all I can't see the Vikings winning...
That was the dumbest, luckiest throw ever. And how is that not grounding?
There were about 5 Vikings in the vicinity of where the ball hit the ground. It looks like #40(?) almost caught it.
Well, he was outside the tackle box, and by the time the ball actually came down some eligible receiver may have been near it?
SFC B & Big-Hairy-Andy - didn't initially catch Ellison's number in the scrum and assumed he was a lineman.
DEW - The tackle box wouldn't come in to play, because the ball didn't get back to the line, so it's just Ellison's presence.
Grounding requires that there be no eligible receiver in the vicinity of the pass. An eligible receiver (Rhett Ellison?) batted it into the ground.
After that pass, I'm thinking the Vikings should just go all 1930s and just not pass. It'd be an interesting game- the closest we ever get to two eras of football playing each other.
Can someone explain how that play where the pack receivers run down and block before Rodgers throws a swing pass isn't getting called for OPI?
I don't know. But that got into the Packers play book after they got killed by another team pulled that on them. It was one of those formations with 3 WR on one side, two of them are blocking before the third gets the pass.
So, 2 1st quarter ends. Probably doesn't happen that often to the extent of playing several plays after they decide the quarter hasn't actually ended.
Well, I'd say so far Ponder doesn't have to worry about a QB controversy brewing, at least as far as being replaced by Webb.
I'm finding this quite entertaining. How many times do you see a lame duck pass thrown up that's almost intercepted then called for intentional grounding? Not to mention that's the second time he did that today in addition to throwing it 5 yards short of the receiver's feet.
Hey, he just threw a nice seven yard out to Jerome Simpson on 3rd & 9
I'd like to see the Vikes try more of the Read Option-type stuff rather than running out of the I-formation. But I don't know if they've practiced it.
It will be interesting after the game if he we hear anything more about how prepared Webb was going into the game, i.e. did the Vikings know all week that Ponder wasn't going to play, or was he genuinely game-time?
The 1st and goal carry by Kuhn was pretty obviously a run as the slot receiver was waving his arms trying to indicate to Rodgers that he didn't know what the play was.
They do that intentionally at times. I've seen GB have the slot guy do that, throwing off the coverage, and then running the route for the TD or FD.
If you have balls enough to go for it on 4th-and-5, please have balls enough on 4th-and-goal from the one.
That handoff to Kuhn as the upback hasn't worked except the first time they ran it. McCarthy needs to burn that play.
Call timeout and make them punt instead of letting them run all that clock before the two-minute warning.
It's pretty easy for Nelson to make catches like that when the refs allow him to push off the defender.
I was thinking that too but I get accused of being a Packers hater enough. Kind of killed the game too.
I'm a packer fan who said the calls in the Bears game were 100% correct and I think that was probably pushing off. It was more borderline but it did look like he got some separation from it.
All of them? Even that time Sam Shields Illegally Contacted Alshon Jeffery's hands with his Facemask?
It worked for Golden Tate...
...and if it hadn't worked for Tate, the Packers wouldn't have been playing this week any way!
If we'd had perfect officiating then Kaepernick wouldn't have been wrongly penalised for a safety and the niners would have beaten the Rams, so the Pack would still be the 3 seed.
Right, those were the only two bad calls this year.
I wasn't the one trying to rewrite history.
How about this more balanced reply instead of yours, then:
If we'd had perfect officiating then Kaepernick wouldn't have been wrongly penalised for a safety, in addition to other calls in that game and in other games being different, and the Niners may have beaten the Rams, so the Pack could still be the 3 seed (or 2, or 6, or ...).
Why are you singling me out when I was replying to others' unbalanced statements? I'd have preferred to not engage in that nonsense. If you feel like responding to any of my comments in the future then please don't.
It worked well for Andre Johnson ealier today, and Calvin Johnson several times this year, and Rob Gronkowski when he does it. What they don't call that all receivers do, and that Nelson does in fact excel at, is essentially a running back stiff arm. If you extend the arm with most/all of the extension coming before there i s any contact with the defender, they almost never call it. If Jefferies learns how to do it that way instead of making contact with the defender when the arm is still mostly bent he'll be a terror for the Bears.
Yeah that was pretty egregious, and right in front of the official. But the packers are a "good guys" team, so that doesn't get called.
The Vikings have one-upped the Bengals; that checkdown got them to positive yards passing for the half.
As a Broncos fan, whenever I squint the word Webb looks like Tebow.
I appreciate Webb has some serious athletic ability, but how can a QB remain this inaccurate at the end of his third season without being cut?
Never taking the field helps him remain in relative obscurity for a longer period of time. Being a young mobile QB project probably also buys him extra time, as should his (likely) cheap contract.
However, being called up to start, on the road, against a division rival, in a playoff game, and then dropping a huge steaming turd right in the middle of the field is probably not going to help him extend his young career as a Viking, unless it's as the third string QB project that won't start the next time Ponder gets injured.
At least they didn't give up draft picks in a trade for him.
This game might be as dull as dishwater but Herath has ripped out Hughes so Sri Lanka are back in that contest...
Ponder will never look so good.
Why did they call 12 men before the ball was snapped?
New rule: it's a penalty for 12 men to line up if the snap is "imminent."
Poor Harrison Smith though, he works his ass off to make a great play keeping the team alive, then special teams has to go and fuck it all up.
Even though it helped my team, I think it's a crappy rule.
Man, for a mobile QB Webb has ZERO pocket presence. Not a great combo.
As a qb the one asset he has is a strong arm, he is lacking everything else.
On tonight's evidence it's a complete mystery to me how he has remained on the Vikings roster through three seasons.
It's a pity that Dallas didn't claim the 6 seed, at least they'd have made a game of it. Never thought I'd think that.
I think if Ponder had been able to play the Vikings would have made a game of it. I still believe the Packers would win. But this wouldn't be a blowout.
Why Dallas? Why not Chicago?
II got the impression that the Bears limped towards the line, they started fast but injuries and an utter lack of offensive linemen killed them late. Dallas were unlucky early, got in a hole and then were decent down the stretch. The only consideration is who would have given a better game than the Webby Vikings and I think that would have been the Cowboys, or the Ponderous Vikings.
I think the Giants could have given them a game.
Hmmm. . . I guess they would have either blown out the Packers or been blown out.
then to think that there is talk to EXTEND the playoffs...
I don't know, if you had one more wildcard playoff team it would be Chicago in the NFC, who still had the same record as the Redskins who got in. Adding a wildcard team isn't that big a deal, since half the time the worst team in the playoffs is the division leader of the crappiest division in the conference.
I mean, Packers are Bears kryptonite, but they usually at least play a game that is worth watching until the third quarter, I wouldn't be upset to see the Bears in the playoffs against San Fransico with Cutler. I'm not saying they'd win, but it certainly wouldn't be worse than this game.
If Jason Lisk were Supreme Leader of the NFL, this year's NFC playoffs would have been:
First round would have been SF-CHI, GB-MIN, and SEA-WAS. Assuming SF would beat CHI at home -- they already did (convincingly) -- then nothing would change. Second round would be ATL-SEA/WAS and SF-GB.
Per same rules, AFC would be same except that IND-BAL would flip home field.
While we are assuming things, why don't we assume that the Bears with Cutler are significantly better than the Bears without Cutler and that the Bears' defensive coaches don't produce such a daft gameplan against the Niners second time around.
I think it is safe to say that the Bears would have given the Pack a much better game than the Vikings did.
Yeah, I'm going to have to side with Jimmy here. You don't get to just declare SF a victor because they beat Jason Campell. Would they win? Probably. But you don't just give a win to the team that won a home game before. Would you be so cavalier about giving SF a win over Seattle just because they won at home?
Seattle played pretty even with the Bears in their game. The Bears played slightly worse than a few good teams this year (and got blown out by the Vikings and Packers and without Cutler). Chicago is capable of playing well enough to beat the Niners, and we have seen that (both Bears good, and Niners bad).
Is it likely that SF wins, sure, but I don't think it makes sense to say "the third wildcard would lose, so just give the 2 seed the win over them every time and skip that round of the playoffs."
Webb didn't look bad in his previous playing time. In fact, there were lots of calls for him to start because he was leading rallies after coming on in relief. It's hardly fair to judge him based on one terrible performance making an unexpected start in a road playoff game after having not played a meaningful snap since last season.
Why the **** do you punt the ball after that timeout?
Why is Rodgers in the game still? It seems like the Packers have been trying to protect him with their play-calling all second half anyway. Just sit him down and get him ready for next week.
Probably because the one time Rodgers got taken out earlier in the year the backup came in and promptly fumbled a handoff and almost cost them a game.
Joe Webb has never once looked like a legitimate NFL passer, and I cannot understand why they have not tried to convert him to receiver, to see if they could get some value from him. Oh well, on the bright side, all but the most delusional members of the Webb Fan Club will no longer be calling for him to start. Regardless of their view of Ponder, they need to draft a qb this spring.
The Vikings had a better season than i could have imgagined, and they continued to play hard tonight, after it was obvious they would not be able to score any points. No complaints here.
This game proves why quarterbacks are almost always more valuable than running backs. Adrian Peterson played reasonably well, but Vikings couldn't score points because of Joe Webb's horrible quarterbacking. While Green Bay's run game sucked, but they could still put some numbers on the board because they have Aaron Rodgers.
Like it or not, modern day NFL usually works like this.
Green Bay's running game was just fine when they were able to score. When the running game collapsed so did the scoring.
On their first TD drive they had designed runs of
4, 4, 2 (FD), 1, 4, -1.
So 4 of 6 runs were successful. Their next drive they started with an 8 then 7 yard run, the drive stalled because of a sack and failed passes.
Their run game was similar on the TD drive to start the 2nd half. At that point I think they were averaging in the 4 - 5 yards a carry range.
After that it completely fell apart and GB managed one offensive first down the rest of the way (on their last possession too). Some of that was just play calling. But they needed the running game to score. The difference was it worked long enough to build enough of a lead.
All that being said, the QB position is still significantly more important than any other in the current game, and the Vikings would have had a much better chance with Ponder playing, though sticking with the read option style they started out with might have worked too. I just get nit picky, and had to point out that the Packers probably wouldn't have won without the 3 or 4 drives that had effective running.
I think the main reason that the quarterback position is more important than RB is the skill cap.
If someone were as much more talented than everyone else at quarterback as AP is at running back, they would be Arron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, maybe better. But Ponder/AP vs Peyton/Moreno just proves that you can make a mediocre running back do more for your team with good blocking, smart playcalls, and the quarterback threat than you can get out of a mediocre quarterback on a great running back.
You could line up probably any starting back in the NFL, and more than a few backups, behind the Redskins line, and get, if not quite the same results, at least comparable ones, as Alfred Morris. The same to a lesser extent with Houston, Foster is good, especially at vision, but even Forsett gets lots of good runs behind that line and scheme, and he was never starting quality. But Kyle Orton (Yes, probably not even an NFL starter in todays league flush with the best rookie talent at the position I've ever seen, but still) showed us what a mediocre quarterback can do with the Denver line and receivers that Peyton has turned into a powerhouse, and the answer is nothing.
I'd say 'in the Redskins' system 'rather than behind that line, which makes the comparison to Houston more apt. I would point out that not every runner is good in that scheme, look at McFadden's lacklustre season in Gregg (how do I still get work in the NFL) Knapp's scheme in Oakland.
The 'Alex Gibbs' system might be most appropriate.
The 2009 Texans are a nice illustration of the difference between Foster and assorted random backs of varying quality in that system. It's quite a big difference. I think 1. Forsett is actually quite good at the things he can do (though nowhere near as complete as Foster) and 2. When Foster's on the field, he's the focus of the defense. Forsett not so much.
I think Kapernick-- and maybe that is as it should be given Harbaugh's decision-making-- is by far the key to the game at Candlestick. Barring a monsoon-- which does happen in the Bay Area in the winter-- I think Rodgers is primed to have a really good game. This is the ultimate "Watch me now" test for He Who Like MJ Hates to be Slighted-- sticking it to the team he rooted for as a kid and passed him over in the 2005 draft--- first time ever at the Stick in a real game. And the fact that his head coach was in on the decision just grinds him more. Plus his receivers are healthy and Harris gives them enough of a running game to keep the Niners semi-honest. I don't see GB scoring fewer than 27-30 pts.
Can CK match him? Can he find Crabtree and Davis for big gains, or make some himself on the ground? I think the Packers can bottle up Gore most of this game-- the real key is whether the Niner offense gets in rhythm. Packers defense with Woodson and a secondary more experienced and a pass rush a little less Matthews-centric won't be simple for him.
As for the kickers, who knows? Will Akers still have the job? Crosby has hit 5 in a row, but no one really knows what happens in a big situation.
I'd predict SF 30-27 or 31-28, but I could see GB winning by a TD as well.
You and Vegas agree on the probable margin, but that basically corresponds to home field.
You recognise Rodgers' chip on his shoulder but Kaepernick has recently expressed similar feelings about being passed over by every team.
The pack didn't bottle up Gore last time but Raji did look better today than I've seen in a long time. As for Kaepernick, I do think he has been slightly overlooked as the NFL world has (understandably) fixated on the success of this years' rookies. By DVOA and QBR he's third in the league, he isn't a chump.
Rodgers can be mad at SF for not taking him #1 in 2005, when they drafted a different QB instead of him.
CK can't be mad at GB for passing on him with their first round pick in 2011, when they had Aaron Rodgers (and to a lesser extent, Matt Flynn) already on their roster. A young MVP and Super Bowl champion QB is not likely to see his replacement drafted in the same year that he just won the Super Bowl.
Yes, GB took Rodgers when they still had Favre, but Favre was already doing his post-season retirement flip-flopping when Rodgers was drafted. The QB of the future for GB was a legitimate need at that point in time, and Rodgers was a perfect fit.
I think the key is the Niner's pass rush, and therefore the health of Justin Smith. Rodgers was running for his life in regular season game, and his line isn't up to keeping the Niners off him if Justin Smith is healthy.
© Football Outsiders, Inc. // Site powered by Stein-Wein // Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties