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10 Dec 2011
Here's your thread for discussing all of the Week 14 games as they happen, starting with the Thursday Night Steelers-Browns game, and continuing into Sunday.
Posted by: Rivers McCown on 10 Dec 2011
252 replies , Last at
13 Dec 2011, 10:36am by
Aaron Brooks Good Twin
Fumble, int, Fumble. Thursday night football!
Wow, that hole was 8 yards wide.
The big run on the draw? It looks like the right defensive end stunts left and the left defensive end does not stunt right, which puts the both on the offensive right.
Browns have 3rd and 20. Ogbonnaya takes a draw play for 28.
What's wrong with the Steelers' defense? This bodes poorly.
Oh dear. Rothesberger down with knee/ankle injury. Hopefully that's not too bad, because otherwise, that's ~2-3 playoff teams with missing QB1s.
The niners play them next week and I still say Uurgh!. Even with his prior off-field stuff that still had me wincing.
Pouncey with knee issues as well it seems. That's bad for the O and Charlie Batch.
Well, that's one way not to worry about Pouncey. Let someone go unblocked on the other side.
Uh, aren't gunners normally taught to run down the field, angled though they go? He went horizontal at the snap.
Underwhelmed by that punt there.
I haven't seen the Browns this year, and I have to say, I'm underwhelmed by McCoy.
"Mike Tomlin tells us the news is positive; the X-rays were negative."
I always find that formulation jarring. I know it's technically true, but could reporters find a way to not say that something is both negative and positive at the same time?
Think of the poor mathematicians out there.
Heh. Great, now that is going to be stuck in my head whenever they mention that in the future :)
So, those are some good drugs they gave Ben... but is Batch that much worse than a broken Rothlisberger?
It depends on how broken. But I think the threshold is more broken than that.
Big ben might be a colossal douchebag beut he is one tough SOB
He doesn't know the meaning of the word "pain."
He's also a bit shaky on the words "dog" and "cat".
He also has trouble with "NO!"
Well played sir.
Apparently he's also shaky on a motorcycle.
Let me help. 'c' then 'a'.
Thank you, Hollywood Henderson.
Discovering how nice it is to watch football and listen to music instead of the commentary. Though this may be as a result of rewarding myself for finishing an irritaing piece of work with beers.
money for nothin, another girl another planet, jesus he knows me, Bo Didley, I'm losing you
Karl, if that's the Only Ones original of Another Girl, Another Planet, you have moved into the top three of coolest guys posting on FO. If it's Blink 182's cover, well, it's still a really good song.
I didn't know that Blick 182 did a cover, not a fan of theirs.
Have the Browns set a record for most punts from inside their opponent's territory? The fact that they only have 3 points is kind of embarrassing.
Someone save me from Boomer! He's killing radio.
Mike Mayock thinks there's no NFL rule against hitting a RB with a helmet-to-helmet hit.
He's wrong, isn't he?
I think he is correct.
There's a lot of H2H contact on RBs and it never gets called. Usually it's due to the back lowering his helmet, which McCoy didn't do here. He was out of the pocket and running at the time though.
The helmet-to-helmet emphasis began a couple years ago, after several devastating hits on the same day, including two by James Harrison against the Browns. Harrison was fined $75,000 (later reduced to $50,000, I believe) for his hit on Massaquoi; but the NFL maintained that his hit on Cribs was legal, because Cribs was a ball-carrier.
I'm not at all surprised to see a flag for Harrison's hit on McCoy, since this ball-carrier happens to be the quarterback; but the rule needs to be clarified. There are helmet-to-helmet hits on lots of running plays (not to mention on line play). I didn't see the game, but I've heard Cleveland's goal-line stand involved a couple helmet-to-helmet hits of Mendenhall. (On many such hits, you could just as easily blame the RB as the defender.)
There are rules regulating it (no spearing, for example) but not banning it.
The Browns just don't seem to do anything well.
They never do.
Cribbs is usually pretty good at whatever he ends up doing.
It amazes me how every year Pitt's Offense seems to have 3-5 just Ugly Games yet DVOA always likes them. Maybe they are unbelievable in their other games or something
It would be neat if the Browns could somehow put together a TD drive here. They've been outplayed all night long and yet are only 4 points down.
Harrison's going to get a suspension for that hit.
Why does he need to do that? Does he not realize he's going to be flagged and fined? He's not helping his team.
He does it because he won't get suspended, he'll lose $50,000 which he can afford and he's helped his team win.
He should be suspended longer than Suh. Honestly that hit is way more dangerous than a brief stomp. Harrison and Pitt can cry all they want about being targetted but obviously he has not changed how he tackles
The NFL will deal with this hit as they see fit, but Harrison definitely has changed the way he hits. He approaches wide receivers and quarterbacks (in the pocket, at least) very carefully now, and has drawn very few flags since two years ago. I think he really believed he could hit McCoy any way he wanted, once McCoy started running. (And if Harrison hadn't been there, McCoy would have kept the ball and had a nice gain.)
Seneca Wallace! Charlie Batch! It's Thursday Night Football on the NFL Network!!
...and as soon as I say that, McCoy is back in. But he looks pretty dazed as he hands off. I don't know if I'd want him throwing a pass.
If Cle is not drafting a QB in the 1st Round in the next Draft then they are insane. Heck QB and WR should be like ther 1st 3 or 4 or so picks
Colt McCoy is half decent. I don't think he's going to develop into a top tier guy, but he's serviceable.
oh. my. god. Good lord Cleveland...
McCoy now has two passes thrown since getting his bell rung by Harrison. (Not counting the failed attempt to throw a pass while getting sacked.) Both times he's found open Steeler defenders.
I would argue that Harrison's hit has had a material effect on the game.
p.s. OK - it's a bit harsh to call the pick "an open Steeler defender." But it was nowhere near being a reception.
Two pretty disgraceful acts. First the hit by Harrison, basically a headbutt. The guy needs to be suspended; the message clearly isn't getting through. Secondly, the fact that McCoy was sent back into the game almost immediately afterwards, clearly having been concussed. Even from the TV picks you could tell he looked dazed and shell-shocked. He was layed out on the turf for a good ten seconds after the hit; how can he not have been concussed? His play after the hit, having not been disgraceful up until that point, also suggests that he clearly was not there. Somebody on the Browns sideline is culpable in serious way.
To add to this, it will be very interesting to see the league's response to these incidents in an area in which they are supposedly trying to get tough - player safety. Another fine for Harrison - sure, but will they have the courage to sit him down? And if it turns out that McCoy was concussed by that hit, how about some punishments dished out to the Browns sideline who immediately pushed him back into the game? Awaiting with interest.
I'll care about hits like that when the NFL cares when they happen to defenders and lineman. At the current rate we are 5 years away from putting flags on the QBs.
Meanwhile slamming your helmet into a defenders is as likely to get him a penalty as you. Obviously not what happened here, but I can see why Harrison would be skeptical of the leagues insistence that it actually cares about anything other than money.
I take issue with the "issue" of Harrison's hit on McCoy. He pulled the ball down, tucked it in his elbow and was running with it towards the sideline, out of the pocket. Harrison has a bead on him and at the last possible minute McCoy pulls it back up and throws it. If it was a RB making the same move there would have been no flag. As far as I'm concerned, once he pulls the ball down and tucks it into his elbow he becomes a runner. I'll be disappointed if he is fined for that hit.
His head is down, his arms are down, he leads with the helmet, he launches into the hit, and McCoy doesn't have the ball and Harrison has ample time to adjust his hit angle and the force.
It isn't a question of does he hit McCoy or not, it's the question of the complete and unnecessary way he delivers what is clearly an illegal hit to someone who doesn't even have the ball.
100% agree. Expect that Harrison's head was up, his hands were up, and he has less than a second to adjust. Other than that, the video evidence totally agrees with you.
I played Harrison's position for years, he CHOSE to hit McCoy like that...there is NO DOUBT in my mind he could have avoided that type of spearing/H2H contact. If the NFL doesn't suspend him for that hit, then quite frankly the entire charade they are pulling with player safety is just that...a charade.
And also, I would bet a VERY LARGE sum of money Ben got "shot up" in the training room once they realized there wasn't a broken bone. When he came back and his own player stepped on that same ankle/foot area and he didn't even react to it...that tells me he was likely numb from the injection.
And putting McCoy back in was also ridiculous. He was clearly "spacey"...the team and the team's doc should be investigated immediately.
Roethlisberger said after the game that it felt like his ankle "exploded." I agree it's very likely he got a shot.
Very likely? There is a 100% chance. NFL players are so tough, they take their numbing injections like champs and don't cry like 3 year olds do.
I didn't watch the whole game and I missed the McCoy hit, so I just went back and watched it on rewind.
Harrison should absolutely be suspended. Any time a player drops their arms and leads with the helmet there is clear intent to injure. Harrison should miss at least two weeks.
Pat Shurmur should be suspended by the league for putting McCoy back in. Putting a player back in when he could suffer permanent brain injury or death -- seriously -- is absolutely despicable. You have to ensure that you have proper control of that on the sideline of an NFL game and until the NFL starts targeting franchises and head coaches for not ensuring procedures are followed.
Every time I'm making peace with the game the NFL puts on the field, something like this happens, and I question again why I watch it.
I have two questions regarding rules for you guys out there who know the book back and forward.
If a wide receiver gets both hand under the ball, controls it before and after hitting the ground, the ball never touches the ground, and the receiver is not near the sideline, on what basis is that overturned and rules incomplete upon review?
At what point does a quarterback become a runner? In the Browns-Steelers game, Colt McCoy, not finding an open receiver, scrambled, tucked the ball, and clearly attempted to run for yardage. James Harrison came up to make a tackle and hit him helmet to helmet, which would be completely legal on a runner. McCoy, as he was being hit, suddenly threw the ball away. Was McCoy a runner when he tucked and ran? Does a last second throw-away make him suddenly become a passer again? Harrison was flagged for hitting a passer, but I thought that under the circumstances it was an asinine flag to throw. It should also be noted, that while helmet to helmet, Harrison in this case did raise his head to "see what you hit" and made his contact with his facemask which I've seen some posters here claim is the "right" way to tackle.
Okay, I looked through the rulebook and it's clear as mud. Taken as literally as I can muster Colt McCoy was simultaneously both a runner and a passer. Interestingly, anyone making a forward pass, even an illegal forward pass, is considered a passer even if they are also a runner. If such a runner turned passer is to be protected that would mean than any runner in imminent danger of being hit helmet to helmet could spike the ball for an illegal forward pass and thereby become a passer and draw the foul (illegal forward pass is a 5 yarder and so is cancelled by the personal foul). I have to believe that such a scenario is not intended.
I'm pretty sure it's implied, if not outright written somewhere that you have to be behind the LoS.
Also, I'm pretty sure that the rules change for protecting passers outside of the pocket.
Also also, I would be in favor of all spearing to be a 15 yard penalty.
It is outright written into the rules for "roughing the passer" that he must be behind the line of scrimmage for the protection but not necessarily throwing a legal pass. However, there is a second foul called "unnecessary roughness" which is the one that has the defenseless posture language, including throwing a pass, and it doesn't have that exception. I would have thought and hoped that the behind the line stipulation would be in play here, but the rulebook even contains an explicit example:
"Second-and-10 on A20. Quarterback A1 drops back to pass but is chased out of the pocket and scrambles. At the A21, believing he is still behind the line, A1 throws a pass to A2 who catches the ball and goes out of bounds at the A35. Just as A1 releases the pass, B2 hits him helmet to helmet in an attempt to tackle him.
Rulings: Second-and-10 on A20. Replay the down. Unnecessary roughness and illegal forward pass."
The rules do change for passers out of the pocket, but that does not seem to be one of the lost protections. The protections lost are the "one step rule," which says that a player hitting a passer after the throw has one step to control himself and avoid a forceful hit, and the protection against being hit low.
Isn't spearing already always a 15 yard penalty, falling under unnecessary roughness?
They only call spearing on defenseless players, receivers and QBs. Not players who have the ball and are running with it.
You might be mostly right about "they only call it." It's on the books that you can't spear a runner (or anyone else, for that matter), and I know I've seen it called, but it's been a long time. I don't know if that's because enforcement is lax, it's hard to see, or it just hardly ever happens. Maybe it's the "violently or unnecessarily" clause than prevents it from being called more.
I found an NBC article with the relevant rules on hitting a QB outside the pocket; click on the link in my name above.
Here's a crucial portion: "When the passer goes outside the pocket area and either continues moving with the ball (without attempting to advance the ball as a runner) or throws while on the run, he loses the protection of the one-step rule provided for in (1) above, and the protection against a low hit provided for in (5) above, but he remains covered by all the other special protections afforded to a passer in the pocket (numbers 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7)"
So a QB in the pocket gets maximum rules protection; a QB rolling out to throw keeps most of the rules protection, except that low hits and slightly later hits are allowed. A QB "attempting to advance the ball as a runner" loses all these special protections. It seems that Harrison's quote about the rules was 100% correct. The rule also says a QB can regain his special protections if he stops behind the line and clearly resumes a throwing posture-- but that certainly didn't happen here.
The NFL has defended the 15-yard penalty, classifying McCoy as "throwing while on the run." But according to the rule, they also must classify him as not "attempting to advance the ball as a runner"; and I don't see how that's possible. Unless they're going to bring one of the broad, catch-all unnecessary roughness rules in to this, it seems that Harrison found a chance to legally hit McCoy just as he would a running back.
I suppose the parenthetical "(without attempting to advance the ball as a runner)" could be an exception to the first category, a QB who "continues moving with the ball," but not an exception to the second category, a QB who "throws while on the run." That's the only consistent way I see to match the League's statement affirming the penalty with the rule; but I think it's pretty weak. In that case, the hit was only illegal because of a last-second toss by McCoy, not because of anything Harrison did.
lntropy, until you join the rest of us in what I like to call the wide world of "visual reality" your question about the "rulebook" is really a waste of time.
I'm afraid I don't follow. What do you mean?
I assume he's referring to your assertion that Harrison's head and arms were up, with which a few other posters have disagreed.
Oh. Well, I'm just going by the video, which I have. And, um, his head is up, and his arms are at chest level. I'm not sure what there is to debate about that. I guess you could argue as to how many degrees from vertical constitutes a "lowered" vs. an "up" head, but we're talking maybe 15, which would be pretty silly to call down.
About 90 minutes away from my weekly trek to the local BWW to watch the Texans. This is the third week in a row when I've been watching on pins and needles waiting for the inevitable QB collapse that triggers a team-wide meltdown. After nearly a decade of suckitude and frustration to have the team's playoff hopes riding on someone who uses initials for their first name is just painful.
In the most lazy tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces yet, the Redskins have opted to leave "Army" and "Navy" painted in their end zones.
As a longtime Jets fan, it is so hard to reconcile the two Mark Sanchezes. the one who looks overwhelmed and makes horrible decisions/throws leading to INTs and then the guy who keeps his cool on 3rd and goal, scrambling and keeping the play alive long enough to get a defensive holding call.
Also, KC, really 3 throws by Palko on the opening drive? Predictably, 3 and out.
So, what has arian foster getting 3 yards behind the same line getting ben tate oodles?
Is poster drunk?
Well, Tate got 44 on one run where there was an absolutely vast hole. Take that play out and there's essentially nothing in it.
But Tate might be a better pure runner between the 20s - worse vision, but harder to bring down and better speed. Foster's just vastly, vastly better in the passing game (catching and blocking), in the red zone, in short yardage, running the draw . . .
Hasselbeck hurt his left calf and missed part of last series. Locker is starting this series. Don't know if Hass will come back. On the plus side, into the second quarter the defense has held the Saints to just 3.
Brady is throwing really poorly today.
The Panthers are doing the Bears and Lions a huge favor so far, leading the Falcons 23-7 late in the second quarter. The Falcons are playing like they do not want to make the playoffs.
The falcons also need to finish a game ahead of the bears to make the playoffs because of the H2H loss.
They don't actually, if it's a 3-way tie between Lions-Falcons-Bears. I think Marko has done the breakdown before.
That is correct. Assuming that the Bears (Week 16) and Lions (Week 17) both lose in Green Bay and that the Lions beat the Vikings today (the Lions currently lead 28-14 at the half), the Bears would be the odd team out if the Bears, Lions and Falcons all end up tied at 10-6 or 9-7. The Lions would finish ahead of the Bears in the NFC North based on common opponents (or on division record if they all end up 9-7 and the Bears other loss is to Minnesota in Week 17), the Falcons would get in over the Lions as the #5 seed based on a head-to-head victory, and the Lions would be the #6 seed. So the Bears head-to-head victory over the Falcons wouldn't come into play.
Interestingly, the Bears might actually need the Lions to beat the Packers to make the playoffs. That would be the case if entering Week 17, the Lions are 10-5 and the Bears and Falcons are 9-6. At that point, a Lions loss combined with a win by the Falcons would knock out the Bears even if the Bears win their last game. But wins by the Lions and Bears would put the Bears in. Basically, the Bears do not want to end up tied with the Falcons if the Lions also are tied with them.
I haven't looked at what would happen if all 3 teams end up 9-7 and the NFC East 2nd place team also ends up 9-7. That would require both the Giants and Cowboys to win out other than their two head-to-head games, and for the teams to split the two head-to-head games or the Giants to sweep the Cowboys. I haven't factored in possible tie games because they are extremely unlikely and because Donovan McNabb is not currently on any team's roster. Also, if there is a tie game, there probably won't be a tie-breaker needed for the wild-card spots unless one of the other teams in the race also has a tie.
Meanwhile in the Saints/Titans game, the officials are incapable of keeping it in their pants for two consecutive plays. Every time either team makes a vaguely interesting play, out comes the laundry. It's one of those games where I can see both teams getting together at halftime and locking the officiating crew in the equipment room.
Yeah, it's really starting to get pathetic.
London Fletcher gets flagged for touching Tom Brady.
Second awful QB overprotection call this game, one apiece. The Brady one was more blatantly wrong though.
Having said that, if Fletcher actually tackles Brady instead of simply hurling himself at him, there's no foul.
just to clarify ... the roughing call came on the right forearm, NOT because Brady slid. Brady slid late, but the penalty would have been called even if he wasn't going down.
One can argue whether it was a roughing ... I am a Pats fan and at first don't think it was roughing. The replay showed Fletcher used his right forearm and elbow to hit ...
And arguably the Andre Carter on Grossman going low Roughing call was at least as quiestionable.
The ref said forearm to the head, which is clearly untrue.
while a h2h shot on gronkowski isnt called. maybe gronk is never defenseless.
It wasn't a head shot, the helmets collided. What was not good to see was Gronkowski thowing himself in the air like a salmon junmping a waterfall. I am seeing way too much of that in the league these days (and it may be Goodell's fault).
The sniper that haunts soccer fields worldwide is showing up at football games more and more.
Regarding the Patriots two minute drill at the end of the first half ... that was bad clock management they didn't use the timeout before the 3rd and goal?
I know it mattered little since they would kick on 4th down anyway and couldn't have run more plays, but they needed to leave time on the clock and the 3rd down play looked rushed (Brady immediately rifled to Gronk instead of checking other receivers).
Similar thing against the Steelers in the end. The Patriots prefer to rush to the line instead of taking a timeout and allowing the defense to reorganize.
Backfired twice now in my eyes ...
I disagree. Brady had the throw. He just missed. Even if Gronk had stopped, the throw was still a poor one.
Brady / Gronk ridiculous TD. Woah.
And Cam Newton helps out the Falcons with one of the most ridiculous passes ever that is easily intercepted. Even Aaron Brooks thought that was a stupid throw.
Edit: The Falcons quickly convert the interception into a TD and close to within 23-17.
Are refs just inventing personal fouls now? Was that Wifork hit an actual penalty as defined by the rule book?
If the Fletcher "foul" earlier is anything to go by, I wouldn't trust anything this crew calls.
Wait, was that a penalty on Todd Haley? What happened there? The commentators didn't actually say anything about it.
A KC coach was flagged for misconduct. I don't think I've ever seen that before, which makes it interesting. I hope they had a camera on it for later viewing since there was no replay in situ.
It happens a couple times a year. Usually for swearing at the ref or similar.
The Chiefs team may just forfeit after the penalty calls on that last drive, including Unsportsmanlike Conduct on the Head Coach.
Ok, so you can drag two toes on the sideline in the endzone and never put your heel down inbounds and it's a catch. If you put one foot clearly down and then the heel of the other foot, make sure that you big toe cleat does not graze a white blade of grass, or it is an incompletion.
By the way, Titans-Saints is not a football game. It is a fitness class for referees to work on their flag throwing motion.
Yeah that was a terrible call. That said as much as there were a lot of flags, both teams were playing very physically on defense and were deserving flags constantly by the letter of the law.
Now of course typically the NFL doesn't enforce the letter of the law, but....
wow Palko throwing into what, quadruple coverage? Got away with that one...
The Titans and Saints offenses were asleep for a while (first 3 quarters).
Then the Titans decided to wake up with a loud alarm, waking up the Saints too.
Saints go for 2 - trying to make it a 14pt game instead of a 13 point game.
Dreadful pick by Brady. You've got a 7-point lead, a FG puts you up by 10, so you throw a pick on 3rd down? And I know the defender got away with a jersey grab.
I blame CBS for putting up a graphic "Tom Brady has thrown 200 passes without an INT, the longest current streak in the NFL."
Wow were Brady and the Patriots O coordinator going at it after that INT.
Also a little confused as to why the DBs can maul the WR within 5 yards, but if the WR push back it can be called OPI. Don't get that.
FINALLY a team, that tries to score quickly.
The Titans get behind 12 points with 6 or 7 minutes left in the 4th Q. So they come out and try to score quickly.
So many times you see teams run the ball, not hurrying at all until 4 minutes are left to play. With 4 minutes left, I see teams that are down 2 scores punt with 4th and 2. Man I hate that.
I agree completely, teams need to go into panic mode about twice as early as they currently do.
So many teams wait until their odds have already dwindled to nothing. Just another symptom of extreme coaching conservatism where coaches don't try to maximize wins but instead aim to minimize criticism.
QB gets hit. Is the arm going forward, or the rest of the body going backward?
(But yes, the hit on Locker was a pass...)
It should have been intentional grounding.
Do they ever add that after a review? I can't remember seeing that.
I feel like the Pats should be calling timeouts here with 1st and goal at the 9 after the 2 minute warning.
Can anybody elaborate on the following (ATL-CAR)
when you are up 1 pt, score a TD with ~4 mins (situation becomes more imminent with less time) left in the game, why doesn't anybody go for the 2 pt conversion to make it a 9pt/2 score lead???
If you get the conversion, it's 9 pt lead, two scores, game essentially over (esp. since onside kicks almost never work these days). If you fail, it's a 7pt lead, meaning overtime if other team scores TD. If you go for PAT, 8pt lead, it is almost as likely that OT will come of the other team scores a TD (plus 2).
Why do coaches always go for the 1pt PAT and the 8pt lead?
I don't get that.
They generally play 2 pointers as if they were a 45% shot, so it's better to have the other guy take that chance than to try to pre-empt it with your own.
Do you have numbers to back that up?
And I guess your deduction is a bit too simplistic.
Three factors I see ...
1) run plays on 2pt conversions have a significantly higher conversion pct than pass plays, even if you adjust for sacks
2) you have to factor in whether you are playing a good or not so good defense
3) factor in momentum. You are rolling. You want to control your destiny, instead of giving the ball back.
... I think you need to coach to win.
I think JLPanick was just saying that's the way most coaches appear to approach these decisions, and the jibes with my sense of it too: they behave as if the chance of making a two point conversion was always .45ish. Obviously it's not, as you note, but I see no evidence of thinking along the lines of being more likely to try it the better the opposition offense is or less likely the better their go-to-goal defense is, more likely the better your go-to-goal offense is or less likely the better your defense is. Most NFL head coaches are lousy at these types of game management decision.
This is about right. I don't know what the two-point conversion rate actually is.
Let's say the coach goes for two points and doesn't make it. The other team then marches down the field, scores a TD, and makes a two point conversion to go ahead along with leaving so little time on the clock that it is the last score of the game. The first coach, instead of coming out with a victory or at worst a chance for a win in OT, has lost the game. I realize this is a bunch of what-ifs, but I'm basing this on your original idea has all that except for how the points after are converted.
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This Broncos offense is so 1972. Everything is either run or bomb. 10-hooks, WR/RB screens and 8-yard slants have compeltely disappeared from the playbook.
There may be more punts than points in this game. A defensive or special teams TD may end up deciding it.
Penalties are killing the Bears in this game.
A bunch of that is bad calls. It hasn't cost you guys much on D yet, since they blocked the FG.
I'm a Bears fan, and I thought both roughing the passer calls were the correct calls. Briggs contacted Tebow in the head, and Idonije contacted him at the knees.
I thought the Brigg's call was terrible. He lead with his arms right into Tebow's chest.
That's true, but the penalties definitely helped flip field position, which is very important in this game (and in every game in which the QBs are Tebow and/or Hanie). I thought the call on Briggs was marginal, while the call on Idonije was a good call but a careless play by Idonije.
The false start penalties also hurt the Bears on "offense."
TJ Yates is doing a better job overall than I could possibly have hoped, but he does need to learn to keep his eyes downfield under pressure. Any time a defender gets so much as a fingertip on him, his eyes come down and he runs up into the inside rush.
Big day for the Jets. They finally get an easy win, then the Bengals and Titans both lose at the wire. Now the Raiders are getting stomped, so assuming that holds, they will be alone at 8-5 for the wildcard.
Packers - 189
Texans - 122
I breathlessly await this week's lame justifications.
189 and 122 what?
I think the answer is in the subject line: Point Differential.
Ah, it's always the last place you look.
Only a fool continues looking after he has found it.
Oh! It's in the subject line!
I won't matter. Did you see how the Raiders just marched down the field at the end of the first half. It won't matter the ball was intercepted. The Packers gave up a long sustained drive while ahead by 31 points. DVOA hates that.
I don't think this site is what you think it is. This isn't the "point differential rankings". It also isn't the which team has the most style points rankings.
It is perfectly reasonable for a system measuring play by play data to not have the packers first. Heck MOST of the advanced metrics out there don't have them first.
I suppose there is the super advanced metric of W-L that has them number 1.
If one team's point differential is so staggeringly superior to the other's, and your "advanced" metric favors the second team, it stands to reason that the metric isn't advanced as you imagined.
So: because of point differential, there's no room for any dissent?
Or: perhaps point differential isn't itself as perfect a stat as you think it is.
I think you have just completely missed the point of things like this. Why do you come here? Just to rage at people or what?
Did you adjust those Point differentials for strength of opponent? Didn't think so. Go be ignorant somewhere else please.
So as long as a metric agrees with point differential, it's ok.
(Don't know if you're joking or just don't understand these stats)
Houston Cougars: +362
Boise State: +300
Oklahoma State: +282
South Carolina: +135
Baylor Bears: +94
So how can people not justify making Houston #2?
Are you seriously comparing college football, with its drastically different strengths of schedule, to the NFL?
I'm not sure what's getting more ridiculous, the loudest Packers homers or the loudest detractors.
And for what it's worth, points differential is one of the best stats for full team evaluation behind DVOA. At least the guys behind FO think so, based on the correlation with wins (don't take my word for it, check out the FO FAQ).
If this Bears-Broncos game goes to OT, I wouldn't be surprised if the team that wins the coin toss chooses to kick off and start on defense. You're probably more likely to score on defense or get a turnover deep in the other team's territory than you are to drive down the field for a score.
"Tebow 0 for his last 10."
Yikes. Although he hit Demayrius Thomas in the hands 40 yards downfield, and Thomas dropped the touchdown (Tilmann i believe was in coverage)
That pass was a little bit overthrown, but it definitely was catchable. There were at least two other drops that were more egregious but obviously not as important (one by Decker and one by Thomas).
I thought the announcers were giving Thomas a bit too much criticism. A good receiver could have caught that ball, but it was still overthrown. They talked as if Tebow threw it perfectly.
I may have been laying it on a bit thick there as it wasn't a matter of being hit between the numbers, but technically - it did hit him in the hands, plural.
Hey look, Roy Williams did something to help the Bears score a TD. It was just blocking a DB on Barber's run, but still.
Very nice blocking, in fact.
Barber looks good today.
And Hester would have had the touchdown had he broken outside on that return.
With that turnover/Buffalo TD, I'm wondering if even Rivers wants Norv fired.
I've seen more stiff arms resulting in facemask calls this season than in the rest of my life combined.
On the last play of the Titans game the Saints got away with about 4 penalties in the end zone.
In the Vikings game where Webb had his game losing fumble forced by an uncalled blatant facemask.
That 57 yard field goal by Gould would have been good from 67 yards.
I mean... WOW. I don't like the call to kick it there, but... WOW.
That robbie Gould 57-yard FG would've been good from 70. Huge play in a low scoring game
The bears are simply too fast for this offense to work. The streak certainly will end here
And disciplined, too. They have lost containment only a few times. They haven't had any major breakdowns like the Jets did against the Broncos on Tebow's game-winning TD run. Of course, the story may be different if the Broncos had cashed in that long pass to Thomas that should have been a TD.
Ah the Jinx Gods strikes back. Wonderful.
Demayrius Thomas is having a stinker.
Tewob thinks completion% is overrated.
How do teams manage to keep the Broncos in the games so deep in the game??
The key to this drive, as other Tebow drives, is the prevent D. Tebow hasn't suddenly improved because he's clutch. The Bears have given him the field.
What's the point of a prevent defense, when it's ineffective? Tebow is still performing better than most in these late-game situations - DVOA agrees with this.
I agree that it's ineffective. I haven't looked at the numbers. Does everyone's DVOA improve late games? Is Tebow substantially ahead?
I assume not. DVOA is adjusted for situation - meaning score and time left.
Prevent defense only prevents 50 yard bombs.
It sucks at defending vs 10 yard comebacks, 15 yard crossers and 10 yard QB scrambles.
It's another coach thing of not trying to win, but at least not losing on a big bomb.
Fox seemed to disagree that it was a prevent D. I forget the exact terminology they used but the prevent D was apparently just cover 2, but that they switched back to "one under" (or was it "one over") pretty quickly after that.
John Fox turned dow 4th-and-8 at his own (i think) 40-yard line. This now means he probably has to hope for an onside kick.
Bears kick coverage is just lights out. Hardly breaking news, I know.
Are you kidding me?
Okay, I have now decided. Tebow *IS* the second coming of Jesus Christ. There is no other explanation for how week after week after week, God descends from Heaven and cheats at football!
I fear for my sanity in a Packers-Broncos Super Bowl.
After the Packers take a 35-10 lead into the 4th quarter, the Tebows furiously come back to tie the game at 38-38 and the game goes into overtime. The Packers win the toss, but out of habit McCarthy defers. In an ending straight out of a Buffalo Wild Wings commercial, Tebow takes a QB draw 80 yards for a game winning TD.
BOOOM! He kicked that one to Montana!
Special thanks goes out to Marion Barber. Everything breaking right for Tebow again.
I heard on the TV a bears rb went out of bounds on their last possession. Is this true, and if so, how could one be so dumb??
Marion Barber wins the KCW award there. The FOX announcers are wrong in saying that the Bears could have run the clock out if he had stayed inbounds, but they could have burned another 40 seconds off the clock. The Broncos would have had about 15 or 20 seconds left instead of the amount they ended up with.
I know he did go OOB. But honestly why was Chicago even running the ball. If they knelt x3 they win.
A first down would have ended the game. Three kneels, and the Broncos would have gotten the ball back with 15-20 seconds left. The Fox announcers were wrong in their math.
20 seconds would not have been enough.
Right, which is why Barber's act was so frustrating. But S.O.P. in those situations is to at least try to get the first down.
Awful job by Barber. I'm split on the Bears offensive strategy throughout the quarter. On the one hand, Hanie can easily shoot himself in the foot. On the other, not trying to get first downs is not very effective. It seems an especially bad idea when paired with a strategy of letting the other side march up the field.
Oh. My. God.
Barber continues to audition for KCW in OT, fumbling when he looked like getting Bears into decent FG range.
Barber fumbled while the Bears were in FG range.
That was a pretty ridiculous spot. The Broncos definitely were a half yard past the first down, but the ref marked it 2 yards past.
Sorry, Flounder. Barber fumbles the ball with the bears in (long) FG territory. Would've been about a 53 yarder
OK, just saw it. Wow. Even if Chicago somehow wins, Barber definitely gets KCW
This one gets an exclamation point.
Weird. Icing the kicker with your last TO with 8 minutes left.
Once again Tebow single-handedly wills his defense to give up 17 points or less. He is a defensive force like no other!
Did the Bears do a single sensible thing in the last 10 minutes?
Did something happen at the Packers game? After the safety and ensuing kickoff game cast has had the game stuck on the same play for 15 minutes.
They stopped the game to watch Tebow on the jumbotron.
It's getting a bit of a strawman these days, Joshua. I mean is anyone seriously suggesting that Tebow has some sort of special gift? Isn't it clear to EVERYONE that he's a below average QB, with a very specific skill set and a lot of good luck i key situations.
Umm honestly most of the casual fans and half of the "professional analysts" are suggesting exactly that.
Just 10 minute sago a former player was debating with his co-host whether he would rather have Tebow, Brady or Rodgers, and the player was arguing for Tebow...
I agree 100% with your comment regarding him, but your comment is the sensible one and is not the dominant narrative regarding him. The debates I have seen the past two weeks are basically "Tebow, a top 10 QB or the very best QB?". Maybe 1 in 10 times someone will mention the defense.
Matt Flynn just wins baby!
The Fox announcers kept harping on how Champ Bailey and other defensive players were now watching the offense play, due to Tebow's inspiration.
Never mind that they kept showing shots of Urlacher and Bears watching Caleb Hanie take snaps...
You get these same tired narratives about other QBs, too. Remember a couple of years ago when Kerry Collins kept bouncing passes off of the hands of wide-open receivers, and Vince Young, who magically inspires more confidence in his teammates, came in and Just Won?
Or, even better, remember 2001-2003 Brady, the guy who couldn't throw a pass more than 5 yards downfield?
Napoleon Bonaparte was supposed to have been in favour of having lucky Generals under his command. It is looking as though he was onto something...
I keep thinking of Vince Young too.
He's a below average passer, but if you compute his stats to include his rushes (comparing them to other QBs under the same conditions) he comes out at about the same level as Dalton/Fitzpatrick/Flacco/Rivers (or at least did two weeks ago, Rivers has gotten back on the wagon and may have left him behind), and that's before figuring in the benefit of running QBs on the RBs behind them.
I think that advanced metrics just aren't handling Tebow well (didn't handle Vick well last season either, I think it has to do with rushing value) and he is actually an average to slightly above average QB. The low scoring games are more due to the extremely low "tempo" (to borrow a basketball term) of the run heavy O than offensive ineptitude.
I'm a little bit shorter on explanations for the late game shenanigans, but I lean toward Tebow's improvisational skills. They're probably the best part of his game.
Last year Vick ranked 8th in DVOA for passing, and also led all QBs by far in running value added, so to say it didn't do well with him is strange, since if you combine those it makes him ~ a top 5 QB. He rates low in DYAR because he missed games.
Re: Tebow, if you are going to give him credit for helping RBs do well in the three games where they ran the ball effectively (OAK/SD/MN) you have to also debit him for the poor rushing performances vs. the Jets, Chiefs, Dolphins and Bears. I'm pretty sure that's not happening.
No, it places Vick as a borderline Pro Bowler when he was a borderline MVP candidate and deserved that status. That's significantly undershooting, and the model is even worse for Tebow.
Your second point is solid, except the running game murdered the Chiefs, so I'm not sure why have them up there.
I will point out that better offenses than Tebow's have been thwarted by the Jets, Bears, and (oddly effective recent version of the) Dolphins.
In terms of the efficacy of Denver's running backs, the improvement in their stats (this is all DEN runners other than Tebow) was equivalent to the difference between Cleveland and Houston in terms of yards per game and yards per rush. It's not impossible to shut down the latter, but it's a lot better to be them than the former.
I think to say 12 games of Vick was as valuable as 16 games of Rodgers, Rivers, Manning or Brady (forgive me if those guys missed a game or two...) is a very liberal definition of "borderline." Again, on a per-play measure he rates alongside those guys if you account for running, though clearly below Brady who was obscene and was really the only MVP candidate. And the per-play DVOA shows that he's 8th in passing, but you can bump him up for being by far the best runner, which is reflected in the running DVOA.
Well, the correct approach would be to give him partial credit for read-option runs by running backs, but not for normal straight-ahead runs by the running backs. In general the read-option runs have better YPC.
This would be true, except that defensive players have acknowledged following Tebow on his post-handoff rollout because of his threat to keep the ball and run. Basically, Denver is always running against one fewer guy in the box because there's a spy on Tebow even when he doesn't run an option play.
"if you are going to give him credit for helping RBs do well in the three games where they ran the ball effectively (OAK/SD/MN) you have to also debit him for the poor rushing performances vs. the Jets, Chiefs, Dolphins and Bears"
Not necessarily. It could perfectly well be the case that the RB production in those games would have been even worse had Tebow not been playing.
I don't think the "running quarterbacks boost RB production" notion is terribly controversial at this point. They may not do it evenly across all opponents (the Jets and Bears would be very high on any list of teams I would expect to be immune to such an effect), but overall/on average I think it's pretty clear cut.
I don't think this is true that the low scoring games have anything to do with a "low tempo." Denver has so many 3 and Outs in their Games on Offense that their Games I would bet feature more Possessions than most teams that consistently sustain Offense.
I'd guess that it is the case. There seem to be a lot of 3 and outs, but when drives get rolling they take forever. Not sure where to find those stats and see which of us is right.
The other major factor is that as well as Tebow protects the football nearly all points against Denver have to be "earned"; that is, the defense is rarely stuck defending a short field with no warning. That's another offensive benefit that shows up as a defensive one in conventional stats.
I believe one of the announcers on Fox was saying that Tebow should be in the consideration for MVP.
Apologies if this has been done/asked before, but any chance this week's Quick Reads could feature Tebow's splits between the first 3 quarters and the 4th quarter? Maybe the same splits for the rest of the team? Or maybe develop a new TVOA metric?
I think focusing on the splits is getting a bit overplayed at this point. I'm much more interested in finding out how the play calling is different in Denver's late-game drives than it is during the times when they're not effective.
For all the talk of Tebow's unsustainability, I imagine he'd look better if he wasn't played with a bottom five collection of skill players around him.
*playing, not played
Well, Hanie is playing with a Bottom One collection of offensive players.
By Skill Position Players I'll assume u mean WR/TE since the RB situation in Denver isn't horrible. Decker/Thomas/Royal might not be World Beaters but I think that is the type of WR that Denver should go for. It is in some ways a waste to devote significant resources to WRs that will be underutilized. In theory, Denver could try for a Deep Threat Type WR although I question how happy any good WRs would be to play in Denver.
Denver's starting RB is a 30 year old Willis McGahee, who had 6 DYAR and was 32nd in DVOA last year. I think that counts as pretty crappy, especially since Ray Rice so outperformed him within the same system last year. He was also one of the worst receiving RBs in the league last year. I don't know the DVOA splits for this season, but McGahee had 69 carries for 266 yards (3.85 ypc) in the first four games. Knowshown Moreno has been injured, but he also took a huge step forward after the first four games. Denver traded away their best receiver, and their next best either had negative DYAR and was 76th in DVOA last season (Royal), caught six passes last year (Decker), or has serious drop issues (Thomas). I don't think the skill players are doing him any favors.
I agree. McGahee isn't as good as he's looked this year. He's been boom-bust and he's failed to convert too many short-yardage situations.
I'm done defending Royal and I defended him for a long time. He can do stuff if you can get the ball into his hands in open space, but that's a big if. The occasional punt return is about it.
Decker's supposed to be sure-handed but he's had the dropsies. I wonder if an offseason with Tebow would help. I dunno. It's not like Tebow is the first left-handed quarterback in history.
Anyone else think Barber might have just run it in if he didn't fumble? What happened to him must be gut-wrenching.
I do. And yes, it must be. For as bad as those two plays were, he was having a great game up until that point. He was the primary reason the Bears even had 10 points.
Yeah it's kind of sad. I was sitting there thinking "Marion Barber
is having a real good game."
Not a word on the San Fran game? The 49ers' O-line was absolutely manhandled by the Arizona rush, which kind of astonished me.
"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel
I was about to comment that they just can't deal with any sort of blitz, the interior linemen just seem to spin on the spot and then Smith tries to run away. Rinse and repeat.
I didn't think that Smith was in the grasp on the final drive, you see plenty of other qbs get away with that one.
Larry Grant was poor, he failed to drop deep enough on the first long pass to Fitxgerald, missed numerous tackles and generally failed to look as good as Willis, who we need back for the Steelers.
The whole offensive performance was very disappointing, I do winder why we didn't get the ball to Gore more.
edit: the long pass I referred to was by Doucet
While he was lucky to get to play against a Bears' team without Cutler, I think what astonishes me the most about him is that his confidence stays high when he can barely buy a yard through the air for 3 quarters. Most players' heads would dip and they'd question their abilities but his confidence never seems to take a knock. I think that is very unusual.
If it astonishes you to see players who suck have High Confidence, then you must have not witnessed Freddie Mitchell, Terrell Buckley, Lawrence Phillips, Brady Quinn, etc
Well I'd suggest that a qb is subject to a larger sample size during a game.
Vialli always used to say that the best thing about Mark Nicholls was how good a player he thought he was. Unfortunately, the worst thing about Mark Nicholls was how good a player he actually was, which is why he's now playing for Walton Casuals in the Ryman League.
How do the Giants leave Dez Bryant that uncovered? No defenders in his zip code.
To quote Mike Tanier, they f**ked up.
These officials are rapidly approaching "making stuff up" status.
Best day in Houston football in a long time. Texans clinch a playoff berth, and Dallas coughs up a 2 score lead with 3 minutes left to play.
Whatever happened to Raiderjoe? It amuses me to no end that the Broncos are going to win the AFC West this year. I'm also amused by the endless Tebow Derangement Syndrome that afflicts both fans and detractors alike. I live in Denver, so I get why people can get so tired of the discussion, but it'd be nice if someone actually made mention of the fact that what Denver has done the last two months is nothing short of remarkable. Luck is a major factor in winning football ( as evidenced by the end of the Giants game tonight ), and I understand that, eventually, the rabbit's foot has to run out, but I think you can make a fair comparison of this Denver team with the 49ers in the style of play they choose to win with,which involves stout defense, good special teams and solid running game with relatively safe passing, and yet while everybody is lambasting Tebow, nobody seems to have a bad word about Harbaugh's rah-rah bullshit, which is supposedly the reason the Niners have gone from the definition of underachieving mediocrity to clinching the division by Thanksgiving. It reminds me of a few years ago, when Aaron Schatz was gnashing his teeth on the BS Report over the fact that the Cardinals were going to the Super Bowl, seemingly furious that, even though Arizona was winning in the playoffs, it shouldn't be, because the numbers told us that they shouldn't. Sometimes things just happen. That's why football is fun, or at least is meant to be. Often, reading commenters and heads on this site makes me wonder if they even enjoy football, or if it's just something to be a blowhard about.
I am constantly impressed, too, by how the multi-talented Dallas Cowboys, led by a former QB poster boy, are such a staggeringly mediocre bunch who fold down the stretch and yet, whenever they win one game in a row, the narrative immediately turns to 'Look out for Dallas, boy, they've got all the tools.' I find that kind of accepted lie to be a lot more off-putting than anything about Tebow.
Matt Prater probably deserves some lower-level MVP votes for his kicking this year.
The stat that amazed me was that Denver won five upset victories in a row this season. That has happened three times in twenty years. That's pretty amazing. I mean, what happened actually really happened.
As a neutral fan I am certainly enjoying watching it. I mean, unless you are a fan of the Bears, or perhaps the Raiders, and you didn't get a buzz out of watching the end of that game last night then you really ought to find other things to do with your time than watch NFL (let's forget about the first 55 minutes). I think what upsets people is Tebow receiving all of the accolades. Football fans should be well seasoned in the hard-spun, bull-shit narratives trotted out by the mainstream media, but this episode is particularly insulting to the intelligence of fans who are trying to understand the game. Again, that is not to say that Tebow is without credit, but, for example,if ever a kicker deserved to hog the headlines it was Matt Prater last night, but all I saw was 'Tebow wins again'.
Conversely, despite scoring 2 TDs in the 4th quarter, the NY Times article on Dallas/Giants ended with Romo continuing his December trend of slumping.
He scored 2 touchdowns in crunch time and navigated his team into position for a tying FG at the end of the game, what more do you want from the guy?
(Didn't see the game, so maybe the narrative isn't all that inaccurate, but sure sounded like it.)
Sometimes, despite what you see in Indy this season, it isn't all about the QB. Even in Indy.
Perhaps the New York Times is not a disinterested party when it comes to a NYG-Dallas game.
Romo missed a wide-open Austin Collie in the 4th quarter between the two NYG TDs that would have iced it, so there is that. But anytime you throw for 371 yards and your team puts up 34 points, you had a pretty good day.
This is exactly it. The cult of Tebow didn't bother me until he started being talked about as one of the best QBs and solely responsible for several wins during a streak when his team has a below average offense.
Yes he isn't turning the ball over. That is about all that can be said about him in regards to contributing to the team's success. He is not a "leader". The ball bounces slightly differently, Denver goes 2-5 over this stretch instead of 6-1, and without one single thing changing about him or his leadership abilities no one would be talking about how he is a leader, or how he "inspires the defense". They would be talking about how he is not fit to be a QB in the NFL and should switch to TE or FB.
Oh well I guess it will take Denver until next year to figure that out. What is the over-under on Denver wins next year? 4? Unless he improves wildly as a traditional passer in the offseason this style of play is not going anywhere.
Four wins sounds about right. They're this next year's KC Chiefs, and will have the lovely first place schedule to go along with it. of course, they could figure out that they're really a four-win team, and continue to make changes that actually help the team. Their defense is young and pretty darn good.
But next year, Magehee will be one year older.
First place schedule means they theoretically have to play 2 more tough teams. I don't know who it will be but lets assume the divisions they are assigned are the AFC East and the NFC East. The schedule would then be
AFC West x2 6 games.
AFC East 4 Games.
NFC East 4 Games.
Had they finished 2nd the schedule would be the same except it would read:
Hardly much easier.
Colts (With manning back?)
Its really not the much of a difference.
Doug Baldwin making Seattle fans happy...he returns the opening kickoff past the 40, then catches the ensuing punt at the St.L 5 to down it, and then blocks St.L.'s ensuing punt, which Michael Robinson takes into the end zone for a touchdown.
(Speaking of which, is the reason Tate is starting in place of the (surprise, surprise) injured Rice because they prefer Baldwin in the slot? He is their leading receiver, after all...)
This unbiased fan says good no call on the blow to the head on Bradford. He ducked into it last second.
Officials in general have been leaving the flags in their pockets where they belong this game. The hit by James Hall on Jackson, for example, would have easily drawn a flag from some of the ego-strokers who were fouling up my television screen Sunday (NO/TEN game, for example). Hope it stays that way.
This actually biased commenter agrees. Jackson had become a runner, so he loses the QB head protection.
I was nearly aghast at the DPI call on Sherman in the end zone there until I saw the reverse angle; tough to ignore that (the earlier illegal contact was a little shaky, but that's not so bad).
Baldwin again with back-to-back catches to get the TD. I really like this guy. Undrafted rookie, leading the team in receptions and yards plus contributing on special teams.
...That halfback option Lynch-to-Robinson is a nominee for "Burn This Play," except that the play itself seems to be fine, it's just that Lynch needs to be a better passer to execute it.
The irony was they had a WR-like QB pitch the ball to a HB, who threw a duck to the FB, who had been a QB in college.
I think that play works better if you run it from a pro set, pitch to Robinson, and have him throw to a Lynch who has leaked under the coverage. You know, seeing how Robinson has thrown 507 passes between the NFL and NCAA, to Marshawn Lynch's 2.
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