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11 Jan 2013
Here's your open thread for Sunday's games: Seattle-Atlanta, followed by Houston-New England.
Posted by: Rivers McCown on 11 Jan 2013
190 replies , Last at
14 Jan 2013, 6:59am by
Looks like the officiating crew for the Seahawks Falcons game his a history of letting DBs and WRs play.
>>DBs and WRs play
You mean there's away to stop them!! Oh My !!
If you didn't notice ... during the playoffs, almost nothing gets called. Less roughing the qb, less def. holding and dpi ...
Was pretty obvious during the wildcard games and yesterday.
I especially liked the refs during the Denver vs. Baltimore game ... wasn't a single call I'd have made differently (albeit I might be willing to discuss the Manning fumble/tuck rule). I especially liked how they handled the replays. One discussion was too long, but that was fine, esp. having in mind these crews did not work together before.
I think during the regular season, we would have seen many more flags, esp. roughing the qb (on the play where the Baltimore defender hit Manning in the knees), might have seen some replays handled differently.
I liked it.
I think the refs have been fairly consistent during the playoffs as well.
The officiating in that game I'd argue, was pretty bad. It's one thing to take a "let 'em play" approach, but they missed a couple really obvious DPI calls, spotted the ball seemingly randomly, and extended the time of the game by about forty minutes because they took so long to figure out obvious calls.
Oh, and "hands to the face." What bullshit.
We played a drinking game during the 49ers game. We would drink every time a holding call was missed. We ended up pretty wasted. Can't blame the players, when they notice it isn't getting called they should keep doing it.
Good play by Sherman. Not a great throw by Ryan.
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Roddy White might be wondering why the pass didn't lead him more, not why the ball was late.
Wonderful TD catch from Gonzalez. Still now in the twilight of his career you see him make plays that almost no other TE can.
Nice footwork on that TD.
Had a sneaky feeling the Falcons would come out smoking today. They're very strong at home and have the "nobody believes in us!" card to play.
4th & 1. And the Irony Gods laughed.
Is it possible for an announcer to mention Tony Gonzales without calling him a future hall of famer?
Probably not, because if he isn't a first round HOFer, there is something wrong with the selection process.
Wait till next week, when we'll have Brady vs Lewis...
No, it's in his contract somewhere.
Tony Gonzalez is still a tremendous athlete at age 37. But that PI call was totally on him, not Seattle.
Michael Turner must be on greenies today.
Wait, there's a new Die Hard movie coming out?
Think about where that franchise will be 35 years from now. The titles will take on an entirely new meaning as Bruce Willis hits his 80s.
The fourth was actually pretty good. I'd pay to see a hilariously old Bruce Willis crack some skulls.
Yeah, I liked the fourth. Liked the third even more. It had Sam Jackson and the rare situation where a high school math problem has a real-life application.
Hated the 2nd one. Still have no idea why all of those planes couldn't have simply flown to Florida instead of circling Dulles for two hours.
I have no idea why Atlanta wouldn't go for two.
Um, so, that goal line sequence. Not a single carry to Lynch? REALLY?
Lynch's foot must be worse off than they're saying. It's the only real excuse for that.
Second series inside the Atlanta ten without scoring ANY points now. That'll probably be the deciding factor in this one.
That and the Roddy White TD that came after a BS DPI call.
Didn't like the call at all, I agree with you. But Seattle's wasted two chances to get on the board. You usually don't see one possession inside the ten without points in a game, let alone two.
Can't help but feel that flag doesn't happen in Seattle.
Some unholy trinity for Seattle in that half: turnover fumble, turnover on downs, and turnover as the clock expires. 200 yards of offence and zero points, brutal.
I had a terrible feeling that's how the end of half sequence was going to end, as soon as they burned the last timeout.
This game hasn't been 20-0 bad, but Atlanta's in a huge hole now.
I meant Seattle. Gaaaah.
I'm always worried about something like this with any 10am start, I was just hoping it wouldn't be this bad. Still, can't be anything but thrilled with how the season went. Hell, going in to this year, I was just hoping they would hit on this past draft and this coming draft as well as they hit on the 2011 draft. If they can stay this healthy next year too, wow. It's a great time to be a Seahawks fan.
I've been wondering who was the genius in the NFL office who scheduled these games. Last week the warm-weather CIN-HOU game was in the afternoon slot, while the Viking-Packer outdoor game at Lambeau got the night spot. ??? Doesn't fan comfort count for anything? This week it's the early game for Seattle. Does the NFL not want competitive games?
It's part of the contract; NBC gets first pick for Saturday night and gets stuck with whatever's left Saturday afternoon.
all divisional round are on cbs and fox. every even year season fox has the primetime saturday night game.
since this started in 2001, the patriots have been on prime time every odd year they made it that far(all odd years except 2009 actually) while the nfc primetime games have bene more varied and often make no sense(example picking arizona vs carolina instead of giants vs eagles)
All TV dictated. That's the only consideration.
The NFL can flex games during the season, why not in the playoffs? I doubt flexing the times would matter much for TV ratings. I think the Saturday games don't have to start so late anyway.
The NFL loves airing games during prime time. Ad rates are much better for a prime time game than for a 1:00 game.
8:00 PM ratings > 1:00 PM ratings
So, yes, they pretty much do have to start that late.
And considering they set the schedule the Sunday prior, it effectively *is* a flex schedule.
The NFL cares about the fans to the minimum extent necessary to fill the stadiums and provide the maximum number of TV viewers. Aside from that they've been totally disinterested in the NFL fan experience for as long as I can remember. Need I mention the NFL noise rule(s) some of which remain unenforced because the league realized that would drive fans away from attending games (largely because of a game in detroit iirc).
That was a pathetic attempt at a tackle by Dunta Robinson.
Seahawks now have more yards than the Falcons and are still down two touchdowns. I think the worst part of how this game is going is all the "bend but don't break" "analysis" that will be heard ad nauseum.
Touchdown to Tate. Zach Miller having a huge day. That was exactly what the Hawks needed to start the half.
A three and out would be a nice addition as well...
Until they figure out a way to stop a seemingly washed-up Turner, that won't happen.
Just looked up Turner's DVOA and DYAR. Wow.
-78 DYAR (3rd worst in the league) and -16.5 DVOA (4th worst).
-34 DYAR and -34.3 DVOA
2nd worst total DYAR, but nowhere near Darren McFadden.
This Gonzalez kid can play.
Extremely efficient clock-chewing drive from the Falcons here
Two straight offsides penalties on PATs? That's weird.
My guess is that it was the fact that there's little risk of a meaningful penalty in exchange for the chance to block it. Plus a little frustration mixed in. If it gets the flag, the worst case is 5 yards on the kickoff, and they'll end up probably just getting it on the 20 (as what happened here). On the other hand, the potential benefit may seem like not much either (although who knows?), and that's where the frustration part comes into it.
Accept the penalty and go for two from 18 inches. With 17 minutes left, you aren't getting beaten by two touchdowns and two field goals.
But if you go for two and miss, Seattle can tie with two TDs, two 2-point conversions and a FG.
A lot of open receivers for Seattle. Atlanta has slowed Lynch down but done nothing to stop Seattle's aerial attack. This has to be a concern going forward.
Onside here? You're going to need to do it sooner or later. Bigger surprise now.
Seahawks only need it if their defense continues to fail.
They don't need it if Earl Thomas can produce more turnovers like that.
The Seahawks' inability to get points on those two drives inside the 15 are going to end up killing them. This should be a one-score game at the moment.
But now it is with plenty of time on the clock.
Could just as easily say that if Ryan found White for a touchdown on the first drive, Atlanta's sitting on 31 right now.
Yes I was totally wrong. My bad.
I certainly didn't see the big game for Michael Turner coming....
Terrible pass by Ryan. Pretty much the only thing to not do.
At least it was a long pass.
I agree. Tactically it was the same as a punt, but it may turn out to be more of an emotional lift for Seattle.
Oh, wow, there's the pick.
I'm always hesitant to criticise aggressive play-calling, but I don't think the end-around followed by the long bomb was necessary in that situation with Turner ploughing away and Gonzalez catching everything thrown his way.
Suddenly the Falcons are doing everything poorly. Horrible tackling on that catch-and-run.
The Falcons know that passes to Zach Miller DO count, right?
I guess they forgot that Miller was pretty effective waaaay back in the 1st quarter.
That punt was oh so close to bouncing at the 1....
That's not actually Michael Turner out there. It can't be.
Wow, that punt was almost perfect. Just barely touched past the goal line, then settled back on the 3. Looked like inches too long.
That touchback hurts a lot.
I keep seeing the Seahawks lineman's jersey "Sweezy" and reading "Sneezy"
Dopey keeps being called for false starts. Happy's been pancaking people today, though.
Because this needs to be reiterated:
Accept the penalty and go for two from 18 inches. With 17 minutes left, you aren't getting beaten by two touchdowns and two field goals.
12 men on the field?????
I'd say the same, except the Broncos did it too!
wait - the fumble forward rule is in play here, isn't it?
Except tne ball already crossed the goal line before the fumble.
Yeah, that's what the refs said...I wasn't sure...
That's what Mike Pereira said (if the ball hadn't already crossed the plane), but I don't quite get it. It was fumbled BACKward. What am I missing? How exactly is the rule stated?
It's a moot point, just curious.
Play is over once the ball crosses the plane. Doesn't matter if he fumbled afterward. Double-moot point.
No, that's the "moot" I was talking about. IF the ball had not crossed the plane, why would the rule have been in play? Pereira said another player could not recover the ball forward, but it went backward to Unger. Not sure how the rule works, but it doesn't sound like it's applicable.
The ball cannot be advanced beyond the point where it was fumbled except by the player who himself fumbled. It didn't matter where Unger was when he recovered it; he could not advance it past where Lynch was had he fumbled before the goal line.
The rule is that only the original ball carrier is allowed to advance a fumbled ball in the last 2 minutes. If the fumble had happened before Lynch got into the end zone, then the fumble could not have been recovered by his teammate for a TD. It would have been returned to the spot of the fumble.
Moot point, as you say.
OK, got it. They kept saying "recovered" when it should have been "advanced." That's what I suspected, but thanks for clearing it up.
Well I know it's not yesterday because the XP was good.
How dare I doubt the new messiah. I am humbled as he turns losses into wins, water into wine.
Yup. No way that Peyton Manning could have gotten into field goal range with 30 seconds left at the end of the half or regulation yesterday.
Yes, I agree. After all, he sucks at that particular task. He's not an elite QB like Matt Ryan, apparently.
Craziest divisional weekend ever?
Maybe a long return now?
Not sure why ATL called the time out right when Gonzalez was tackled. If you're going to kick the FG regardless why not wait until some time is burned off so it's the last play? That the KO was so terrible only exacerbated that.
Beats me, he ran to the refs like it was less than 2 seconds left
Wow. Absolutely no one left in the playoffs I want to see win except perhaps Baltimore.
I can hardly believe that NFL coaches -still- call that utterly moronic timeout to give the other team's kicker a practice shot. You honestly don't think that timeout could have been more use on offense, Pete?
NFL.com just flashed "BIG PLAY ALERT: ATL 0-yard interception return."
Can we please never see another "icing" attempt again?
Mike Shanahan is chuckling mordantly somewhere.
Did I just hear one of the commentators say that tbis "cements the Seattle Seahawks as the no. 1 seed"?
If so, I'd agree.
Definitely poor management by Carroll at the end. Why leave two timeouts on the table there (let alone throw away a third)? They should have called a timeout to try to really drive home the need for Wilson to throw something that would pick up 11 or 12, and then kicked the field goal. Or, failing that, they could have at least called a timeout to try to gather themselves a bit. Suddenly, due to a poor kick, you discover you have life, but only if you carry things out perfectly. No reason not to call a timeout to allow yourself to do so.
Seattle's defense on that last 30 seconds was just terrible. ON top of that this just drives home how dumb the Broncos were at the end or regulation yesterday.
Absolutely. It's remarkably easy to pick up fifty yards in thirty seconds (so long as they're the last thirty seconds of the half). I can understand the risk of a turnover, but I'd be much more fearful of an overtime scenario than a game-ending pick or fumble created by a team playing the prevent.
Agree. Especially about the Broncos.
John Fox must be suffering from PTSD. (Post-Tebow-Stress-Disorder) He saw the quarterback touching the ball with the game on the line and panicked.
I don't know about that. Remember? That was Tebow-Time! Actually it was the only time he wasn't cringe-worthy.
At the end of Super Bowl XXXVI, when the Pats got the ball back in a tie game with about 30 seconds left, John Madden (bizarrely) said that the Pats should take a knee and play for overtime. Luckily for Pats' fans, Belichick took advantage of the small advantage he had then, instead of pissing it away for no good reason.
It seems to be some kind of football conventional wisdom that accepting OT is a good idea. After all, you don't lose immediately! This thinking shows a real lack of feel for relative risks.
That was conventional wisdom back then but it really shouldn't be now. That and icing the kicker will be pilloried tomorrow. Finally.
I think its because it's called 'Two minute drill'. Coaches mostly don't seem to have adjusted to the idea that offensive rule environment and the new conventional D in high risk/reward situations gives the Offense a major leg up compared to even the 90s. Its still usually hard to go all the way to a TD, but getting a FG seems easy (given a QB that can complete passes and not waste 30 seconds getting a line set).
I'd forgotten about Tony Gonzalez's playoff history...gratz to him for getting the monkey off the back - finally!
Looks like we'll get both an "Any Given Saturday" and an "Any Given Sunday" this week.
*cries into his alcohol some more* Denver! Seattle! NOOOOOOO!
*cough* What a shitty way to lose for both of them. Come on Ds!
What is it with kick coverage this weekend?
Probably the obvious blocks in the back.
Ah yes. Because, you know, throwing flags in a playoff game is a bad idea.
Or something like that.
A very deflating 3 pts after that return
Andre Johnson was wide open in the end zone there.
Bullet dodged. Sort of.
No, it was off-target.
Yes, the pass was off-target. And Johnson was wide open.
The bullet wasn't dodged, it was off-target.
That was a metaphorical bullet.
It's an idiom.
Yes, I'm aware of the idiom. Is wordplay not allowed?
Oh, you were making a joke.
I was confused. Thought you might be a non-native English speaker.
Nothing funny about Carrol icing a game losing kick, nothing whatsoever. No laughs to be had at all and it certainly wasn't made even more amusing by him pretending that he hadn't called timeout after the first kick missed.
Yeah, that was weird. Did he think the broadcast crew wouldn't try to find out and end up making him look like a tool?
Carroll thought he'd called his timeout fast enough to prevent Bryant from taking his practice kick - that's what he was complaining about, surely.
Well, he sucked at the timing. That's something I hope they'll deal with if they address icing. Coaches have to be able to call a timeout if they see something wrong, but maybe a you have until the kick team gets set. Kick teams could still take advantage of this to some degree, but only if they snap immediately and they were trying to call a timeout. but there needs to be something to stop this waiting until just before they snap and then call timeout. It sucks for fans (massively) and for team morale (I think)
Dunno. NFL survived for 80 years without letting coaches call TO. Can't understand why they need to now.
Agree. Reward the smart teams by making the players call TO.
Texans weren't ready for goal-line play? That's almost as bad as 12 men on the field.
Or maybe it's worse, since they gave up an easy TD.
First play of the Houston drive after the first touchdown, why wasn't that holding against Houston's o-line (Duane Brown?) blocking Chandler Jones? Genuinely curious, as it sure looked like holding to me?
Of course, if it had been the referees from yesterday's AFC game, it would have been called hands to the face...
I think I know the block you are talking about.
Generally, blockers are given all sorts of latitude to hold as long as it's done within the "framework", i.e. between the shoulders on the front of a player. On the play in question, even though Jones was running past the blocker, the "hold" was in the framework area.
Now the fact that Jones had blown past the blocker means that it was technically holding. But that particular type of holding is pretty much never called.
Brandon Lloyd with a unsportsmanlike conduct call because the official can't catch
I'm guessing that 2nd chair to Phil Simms on Letterman is not how Charlie Sheen pictured his 2nd year after exiting prime time.
Okay, that's the second horsecollar penalty of the day. I thought you had to grab the shoulder pads and sweep the leg, not just grab the pads?
No, all you need to do is pull the player down from behind with your hand in the back of his shoulder pads.
Seriously, did Baltimore and Houston switch special teams without anybody noticing?
Jim Nantz sounds surprised when a TD is reviewed. Even though the process is automatic.
Sen. John Kerry in box with Robert Kraft. How long before we hear 'Patriots are traitors'?
CBS shows the replay. "let's see if you can hear the whistle." Clearly the whistle is not blown until the clock is at 0.
CBS is curiously mute.
After Simms said he heard the whistle and then looked at the clock and saw 0:02, they run that video, which at best has the whistle coming right before the clock hits 0:00.
I didn't hear a distinct whistle, but I did see the receiver flip the ball to the ref before the clock hit zero, which also seems like a good indication that the play was over.
True, but the whistle was about 2 seconds late. The closest official runs in signaling play over, catch, with about 2 seconds left on the clock. The refs did the right thing by putting time back on the clock. What sucks for the Patriots is that I'm not sure why the officials chose this moment to do the right thing, when they practically NEVER put time back on the clock in that situation.
(Kind of like how they almost never call IG-safety even when they should...except on the Patriots in the post-season).
I agree that the play was over with 2 seconds on the clock.
But why was CBS mute? That was the obvious point to make. It's as if they were too embarrassed by the late whistle and wanted to pretend nothing was amiss.
How do you block JJ Watt? Seems two men aren't enough
You don't block Watt, anymore than you block Clay Matthews. You neutralize him by runnimg plays away from him or confusing him.
Clay Matthews is a lot smaller than Watt.
He's smaller, but he's faster and can line up where he can get more leverage.
If the NFL refs are going to be biased towards ruling TDs and turnovers, as I believe they are, they shouldn't require indisputable evidence to overturn those types of calls.
I've been saying exactly that for a while. Agree completely.
Refs figure that replay will make the right call, so they prefer the outcome that leads to replay. But sometimes replay is inconclusive.
I still have no idea how the ref on the left side of the field thought he saw Foster score a TD.
And then go figure, in a clear turnover, they don't apply the bias, and in fact make a non reviewable call...
How on Earth is Hernandez allowed to just bowl over a defender 8 yards from the LOS?
FORWARD PROGRESS?!? ARE YOU INSANE?!?
So if you fall backwards emmidiately after making contact, you can't ever fumble? Interesting.
What I want to know is if he had broken the tackle and advanced the ball, would it have been brought back to that spot?
I think it's clear at this point, that the Texans should abandon 3rd down blitzing entirely.
Really? Ignore Arian Foster?
Doesn't sound like a good idea.
It still feels like the Patriots defense is worse in third and long than in third and medium or third and short. Any of you guys have the numbers?
Well, their run defense is a lot better than their pass defense.
It's reached the point where I dread 3rd and long.
Not a great day when you throw a pick to the other team's leading pass rusher.
In that pass was picked because he's the leading passrusher - Looked like Schaub expected him to rush.
Good point. Schaub was fooled by zone blitz.
Schaub said he saw Ninkovich and wanted to throw it over him
Now that was a late whistle on the Lloyd reception.
What's up with these refs?
Houston's defense has repeatedly failed to line up properly and is beaten pre snap. The Pats make it difficult to find your assignments but you have to do a better job than this.
Probably the downside of not playing Peyton Manning twice a year.
I don't think Foster scored his touchdown.
And I don't think he made the first down there on the fourth.
It was really close, both times, but I think both spots were bad.
For a fourth down pass, that ball was thrown nowhere near any receivers.
Even a pick would have been better than that.
Shane Vereen has been revealed to be the Pats' secret weapon.
And there's the dagger.
Hey, remember when this game was close and Houston had all the momentum?
Jesus H., the Pats' kick coverage team is usually much better than this.
Are they trying to make the Ravens look good?
You'd think by now that the networks would learn not to zoom in on coaches or players after something bad happens.
Surely if you need a 3-and-out either way, you onside kick to give yourself the chance of possession without even needing the defensive stop?
It's baffling how much of what the announcers say clearly isn't thought through.
Simms went on about how the playbook usable from the 20 isn't quite the same as it is from midfield.
Even if you're up by 18 points.
No, I'm not buying it either.
It would affect, however, the field possession you would theoretically get.
One problem is saying what the player(s) "deserve"; eg "The Texans defense deserves the chance to get a 3 and out," which I think is what Simms said. All any players deserve is the best chance to win the game.
That said, Pats go 3 and out without burning hardly any clock.
Why does anybody ever use running plays against the Pats?
I can not believe how slow the Texans are in getting plays off in this situation! They deserve to lose if tbey can:t adjust to situations in timely fashion.
Down 12, why wouldn't you go for 2?
Edit: these announcers are really quite silly. There's almost no conceivable benefit to being down 11 as opposed to being down 12.
Of course you go for 2!
Simms can't do math, but fortunately Kubiak can.
They seem to have this bizarre notion that you should leave it as late as possible to learn whether you need a touchdown and a field goal or two touchdowns. It's plainly nonsense. You want to know as early as possible so you can optimise your strategy as early as possible.
Unless your team is so emotionally fragile that they get depressed and give up after missing the 2-point conversion.
Because not converting this time around is mathematically worse than not converting later, per Mr Simms
That game was over after Houston couldn't get a TD following a 95-yard return of the opening kick off. Good game for the Pats. Now with the Broncos losing and NE getting the AFCC game at home, can Shannessy call it a "triple bye"?
Just so people know, most serious Boston sports fans have hated Dan Shaughnessy for years. He's a hack of a writer who doesn't provide any insight into any sport he purports to cover. He's a master of the obvious, jumps on every bandwagon, and specializes in character assassination of players on their way down.
And yes, the fact that McCourty prevented the TD on the return, combined with the Texans' inability to convert for a TD, even when Andre Johnson was wide open, hurt their chances badly.
Simms wants the Texans to kick a field goal when down by 13.
Damn, Gronk is out for the duration of the playoffs.
Oh gee a Ravens/Patriots championship game. I haven't been this excited since I had a colonoscopy and a tax audit in the same week.
On the other hand, 49ers/Falcons should be awesome!
I think if the Patriots can figure out what the hell is wrong with their kick coverage the last couple of weeks (after being so good all season), they'll be almost impossible to beat.
That game is something like 41-14 without the 3 50+ yard returns.
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