Talk amongst yourselves
9/1: Updated ADP data.
8/31: Updated at 3 p.m. EDT with further final cuts.
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14 Dec 2013
Oh no, the end of Thursday Night football! How will you live without this one poorly-played game in your life each week?
Posted by: Rivers McCown on 14 Dec 2013
180 replies , Last at
18 Dec 2013, 10:39am by
This is a pretty good game, though right? SD in the hunt at a division rival with the o/u on a 100 points... That would be the best game on some sundays.
Who do I start for my fantasy football QB this week?
Tannehill vs New England, Brady at Miami Dalton at Pittsburgh or Cambell vs Chicago. I know I gotta weed out these QB but I need some points for the second game of our playoffs!
To be fair, with the two best QBs in the league (by DYAR) on the field, this is likely to a significantly less poorly played game than some previous entries.
With that said, good riddance to TNF.
This was my first year of being able to watch TNF (I'm a Time-Warner subscriber). Good to know I wasn't missing anything in previous years, good riddance is right.
Well, the offenses should play well.
Don't expect the same from the defenses, esp. on the part of the Chargers' D.
Weddle got very high on that pass-block.
#1 passing offense vs. #32 passing defense. And the Broncos only have 10 points at halftime.
That's certainly unexpected!
what's going on? Gamecast has crapped out--no PBP available. Last I have it was mid 3rd with SD up 24-10.
Still that, but Broncos are doing dumb things to help Chargers drive (neutral zone penalties and 12 men so far...).
Thanks. What happened to the Den passing game after their first two drives? Two drives averaging 60 yards, followed by a flurry of failed 3-play drives. Ptooey.
I keep getting a sense the Chargers defense might be remembering who they are, but,... nope, there they are.
This looks like a 4-down-all-the-way drive for Denver.
"It's been all San Diego tonight." C'mon, Mayock, admit it. We all were sure Denver was going to drive for the tying TD there.
So the #32 pass defense defeats the #1 passing offense?? A very special Any Given Sunday, on a Thursday night.
I didn't get to watch any but the last 4 minutes... but how in the hell did Denver's offense do nothing against the San Diego defense?!
A lot of reasons. The Chargers got some good pass rush at times. Eric Weddle had a fantastic play knocking down a pass. Good coverage at times.
But mostly, they controlled the clock by having long drives based on running plays.
The Broncos had 3 drives in the 2nd quarter, and each was a 3-and-out. And only one drive in the 3rd quarter, which lasted only 4 plays.
1st of those four: Eric Weddle jumps something like five feet in the air to knock down a pass on 2nd down. Broncos cannot convert 3rd and long.
2nd drive: good coverage breaks up 2nd and 3rd down passes
3rd drive: with less than a minute left in the half, they have to pass. Three passes, only one complete, for short yardage.
4th drive: convert a first down on first play, one more completion, then two incompletions. More tight coverage.
That was the middle half of the game. Hard to say exactly what went wrong. I think they missed Welker. Also, they had no rushing game to speak of tonight.
I really don't understand it. The Chargers played good defense tonight. They didn't look like a team that had been shredded all season long.
I don't understand it either, I'd love to see some film breakdown. Coming in the Chargers were ranked #31 and #30 against no.1 & 2 receivers, yet Thomas and Decker combined for only 6 receptions from over 40 pass attempts? Could they really not get open? Why were the Broncos not prepared to challenge the defence more vertically even when they were 2 scores down late in the game?
Christmas comes early to New England care of San Diego.
Marlon McCree must have had something to do with it. Maybe a pep talk to the D? A fruit basket gift for Belichick?
The Broncos did one of my big peeves at the end of the game. When teams need a TD and a FG, why do they waste time trying to get the TD instead of kicking the FG as soon as they are in range? Denver got inside the 30 with just over a minute left and they could have kicked the FG. Instead, they wasted 30 seconds, gained about 5 yards, and kicked a FG anyway. It was moot because they didn't recover the onsides kick anyway.
I don't think not kicking right away was that bad.
What was bad was continually taking the check downs rather than taking the risk of an interception and forcing throws into the endzone. A score and an unrecovered onside kick (90% when expected) ends the game so a game ending interception isn't really that big of a deal but they definitely needed the TD so the risk was mandated. Brady knew this when they were running out of time and needed 2 scores and so he wasn't worrying about an interception, he threw it where it needed to be. The fact that the DPI call was terrible at the end of the Patriots/Browns game (I'm a Pats fan and I knew it was awful) was terrible doesn't change that Brady made the right decision (and a slight overthrow).
With the way DPI is being called I'm surprised Manning didn't try to force it into the endzone. DPI gets called pretty frequently and OPI rarely does, as long as you've got receivers that will fight for the ball I think you'd be fine even just throwing up floaters into the endzone, it worked for the Bengels earlier this year.
I think it would be absurd to waste chances to gain the TD just to make sure you kick the FG. You can get the FG on either drive, and hence if you're in range it makes sense to start taking shots for the TD on 1st and 2nd. The benefit of this is on 3rd down you've also softened up the coverage underneath and you may be able to get an easy 1st, allowing for more aggressive shots for the TD.
You definitely shouldn't kick it as soon as you're in range.
Agree with both continuing the drive and that repeatedly taking the check downs was not wise. It was like Jason Campbell had taken over the offense. The Thomases and Decker are all big guys who have a good chance to outjump the defenders.
Yes, the check downs were what was wasting the clock. If they would've taken three shots into the endzone and then kicked the FG, that would have been different because they wouldn't have wasted as much time if they didn't get. Completing that stupid first down pass for 5 yards wasted 15 seconds. And if they would've completed that third down pass, it would've used up another 15 seconds.
I would love to see the win probabilities, because maybe I am completely wrong. But it seems to me that if you nave a minute left and no timeouts and need two scores, you are better off getting the first score as quickly as possible to maximize the time you have to get the second score.
My bigger peeve is when kickers kick the ball and it doesn't go the 10 yards. Make sure it goes forward far enough! The Pats also won because their onside kick was sure to go at least 10 yards because it was kicked downfield and not mostly (only) cross field.
It looked like the Patriots' onside kick didn't go 10 yards either; I thought a Browns' player touched it first.
Correct. But it was closer and might have made it the full 10 yards. Tonight's kick had no chance of making it 10 yards.
The NE onsides kick was touched just short of the 10 yd point and had plenty of momentum left, so it definitely would have gone 10 if left alone.
The Broncos moved 50 yards in something like 40 seconds. There was no reason to think they'd be hung up and forced to kick a FG. A TD there seemed within reach.
And I would prefer trying to score the TD first. I think it's much easier to score a FG with a very limited clock than a TD.
But it's easier (relatively speaking, neither is particularly easy) to score a TD with 50 seconds left than to get a FG with 10 seconds left, which is about what the Broncos would have had left if they got a TD.
The Broncos had unusually bad clock management on the last drive. I've never seen Peyton Manning manage the clock that poorly.
This is really a 6 to one half a dozen to the other situation. If you need both, it doesn't really matter which one you get first, but the TD is harder, so you want to give yourself 2 shots at it.
You are exactly wrong. Taking the FG is the dumb play. Just so you know. You always want to try hard things sooner so if you fail you can adjust your strategy.
It is a much easier situation if you just need 3 instead of 7.
You're neglecting the time factor. It's a much harder situation if you only have 10 seconds left and need a FG than it is if you have 50 seconds left and need a TD.
Hat doesn't make any sense. So say you are the 32 (reasonable fg range) and you need 9 pts. There is 1:00 left. You can take a fg, then try an onside kick and get the ball back with say 45-50 secs from the 50. So now you have 45-50 secs to go 50 yards. Or you could try to go get the td from the 32 in some yndetwrmined number of seconds (presumably less than the 45-50 it is going I take you to go 60% further). Lets say 35 seconds. So now you will have 10-25 second to get a fg from the 50. You don't think that sounds like the better plan? The math sure does.
On top of that if the plan goes ary you want that to happen as soon as possible not as late as possible. You are falling into the classic fan mistake of recommending the course of action whih b keeps the game entertaining for the longest time instead if the one that gives the beat chance of winning. It's the same reason you p for 2 FIRST if you are down 15 and are going to onside kick.
"You don't think that sounds like the better plan?"
No, I really don't, and contrary to what you claim, the math bears this out as well.
The Win Probability Calculator says that the probability of getting a TD within 35 seconds from the 32 is 0.36. The probability of getting at least 18 yards (onside kick recovery at the 50 - reasonable field goal at 32) in 23 seconds (25 seconds - 2 seconds left to kick the field goal) is around 0.5, for a total of 0.18. Meanwhile, the probability of getting a TD within 50 seconds from the 50 is 0.25, which is higher.
Plus, kicking the field goal first eliminates the really difficult decision of deciding whether to go for a really long 4th down when a field goal is there for the taking if the initial TD drive stalls.
The AFC is looking more and more wide open with every week. Those who are interested in having high-quality football in the playoffs should be rooting for the Chargers to get in over the Ravens or Dolphins.
I suspect the Patriots will still drop a game over the last few weeks and the Broncos will get the top seed. In the long term things keep on looking better and better for the Bengals, as the other AFC contenders struggle or fall of the pace.
Things are looking up for the Bills. Today's forecast is now calling for no Shorts.
That doesn't sound comfortable.
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Seattle punts twice on 4th and 1 in the first quarter. Okay, Seattle has a good defense, yes, but seriously, trying to score points might be a good choice sometime?
Seahawks playcalling seems pretty conservative in general. The run hasn't been working lately... I want Wilson throwing downfield more.
Tate makes a great adjustment when Wilson heaves it downfield...and racks up his second drop of the game. Commentators continue to talk about how awesome he is, like they have all game. They mentioned Harvin earlier. So why is it that no one in the media seems to know that Doug Baldwin even plays for Seattle?
(Admittely, at least they're not going gaga over Jermaine Kearse. That would be Dierdorf/Simms-grade absurdity.)
Manning to Sherman for a big gain. Sherman ran a great route.
Beast Mode sighting!
Also, let the Chicago QB controversy continue; Cutler throws two first-half picks, one in the end zone to kill a drive, the other a pick-six. Great fodder for second-guessers everywhere.
Cutler definitely looks rusty (though healthy). Interesting to see what happens in the 2nd half...if the Bears pull out a win here, then it seems like going back to Cutler was the right move. The first pick was questionable while the 2nd one was definitely his fault. Hopefully he gets it together in the 2nd half.
How about the third one? (and the second pick-six?) Seriously, this is approaching worst-case scenario for Cutler and Trestman; the Bears defense actually showed up for he game and the offense is in near-meltdown mode.
Ignore me; wrong team. ^_^
I wondered for a minute there. :)
When the Bears lose this game, the narrative among the meatball Chicago fans is going to be "Cutler sucks! McCown should be the starter!" despite the fact that they really aren't losing because of Cutler. The first interception took points off the board for Chicago but didn't *really* lead to points for Cleveland (they took over on about their own 30 and drove for a field goal...I don't really blame Cutler for them scoring). And the rest of the Bears team is doing their best to lose the game what with giving up a touchdown to a freaking practice squad RB and turning the ball over themselves (thanks, Martellus Bennett). All I see with Cutler is a guy who looks expectedly rusty after missing so much time.
Nice 1-handed TD catch by Hoomanawanui. Gronk must be proud.
Great pass and catch in the NE game. Wow!
So Trestman eschews a 56-yard field goal attempt to punt and pin the Browns inside the 5...and they've marched right back to where they would have been if the Bears had missed the field goal. Nobody could've seen that coming, right?
Interesting color commentary there:
"That's the trust Wilson shows in his receivers; it's either going to be a catch or an incompletion" ... after a play in which Wilson just flung the ball out of the back of the end zone where only Plastic Man could have made a reception.
Was the commentator trying to say that Wilson doesn't trust his receivers? Usually a throw into coverage is interpreted as a sign of trust.
That was my point--the commentator was saying what you're talking about (there was additional context for that in the conversation), that he has such trust and faith in his receivers that he'll throw into coverage and let them make plays. Except the play that prompted the discussion was a pass on which Wilson overthrew everything and flung it out of the back of the end zone, exactly the opposite of what the commentator started talking about when discussing the play. It's like they'd just decided to talk about that subject and didn't bother actually watching the football game.
Not the first time that has happened :)
Can you challenge a FG call? The NE kick looked awfully close. Can a team challenge the call if a missed FG?
You should see a doctor. Your vision is a few yards to the left.
Already have an appointment scheduled for the 4th! No, I didn't think it was good but I was wondering what the rules are for challenges.
Oh, it wen't from awfully close to you knew it was no good but you just didn't know the rule. Why didn't you just ask, "Can you challenge a missed field goal?" then instead of claiming that a kick that wasn't close was close? Seems easier and quicker.
or you answer his question without being a dick about it...
This is what I found after the 'Dawson rule' came in effect:
The call was not reviewable because the ball went over the top of the upright.
Field goals and PATs are reviewable. Here is the wording in the rule book on a reviewable kick: “A field goal or Try attempt that crosses below or above the crossbar, inside or outside the uprights when it is lower than the top of the uprights, or touches anything.”
So, “(a) field goal or Try attempt that crosses above either upright without touching anything” is a non-reviewable play.
You must be really fun to be around in person. Seems easier and quicker not to be an ass, but I guess you'd know from experience. Wow, not getting any or the dog ate your homework or what the hell is your excuse?
I know how to use Google rather than ask a stupid question?
For a dancer, Michael Bennett is a hell of a football player.
Chip Kelly goes for it on 4th and less than one from his own 24 with 6 minutes left in the 3rd. It's short and now he's going to waste a TO on a challenge.
Vikes answer with a FG now up 18.
Vikings without Peterson or Gerhardt are up 18???
11 now, and with the ball back after the Cassel pick...
Until the int he just threw. Cassel was looking really good. And all of a sudden it looks like it's going to be just a 4 point lead.
Wow, fabulous TD grab by Ertz!
Injuries to the Eagles secondary. Looks this could be a wild 4th Quarter shootout.
Is anybody actually watching the Colts/Texans game? The play call on ESPN read that Keenum got strip-sacked in the end zone, that Duane Brown recovered it for a safety, and then got flagged for taunting post-play? Like, "Ha ha, you losers, you only scored two points and are going to get the ball back up 22 in the second half! You suck!" taunting???
Brown tried to pick it up and run, got knocked down and let the ball slip out. He got it back. It not before some Colts piled on trying to get the ball. He was pissed so he threw the ball at a few of them when he got up.
Facing fourth and two at the Miami five, down seven with under eight to play, the Patriots kick. Don't think that was a good decision… but I guess they have to prepare for their inevitable ludicrous late comeback.
It's the Patriots. Winning is inevitable, but they have to inflict the maximum amount of suffering as well. Belichek flirted with overwhelming blowouts for a while, but decided that they weren't quite soul-crushing enough, so he's back to late comebacks.
(Though in this game, they were up early and had to let the Dolphins back into it, so the scriptwriting was a little more WWE.)
And lo, only a few short minutes later a Patriots touchdown already looks inevitable.
And now the Pats are ahead again with four minutes to go.
Pats score 10, Dolphins score "17 unaswered" and then Pats score another 10.
But are the 17 points really "unanswered" if the Pats score 10 more points? When did "unanswered" become the same as "consecutive"? Shouldn't it mean, well, "unanswered"?
I've been hearing that a lot from football commentators this year. It's like how about ten years ago, the word "fired" replaced the word "threw" as the most-common synonym verb for "passed." Only more inaccurate, since "fired" is just silly over-dramatization instead of actually being wrong.
At least we don't have to hear the basketball call of "they need to score the basketball."
Double post. No new thoughts yet.
Hawks D pitching a shut out. Giants with 81 total yards. Eli with 4 INTS. Hawks playing extremely conservative on offense all day. If you're into defensive dominance, then this was a great game, otherwise, a bit of a yawner.
Ok, a poll for non Pats fans: is Julian Eddleman the best player it is easy to hate because he celebrates after every catch that is a first down, or there, a TD?
Why aren't the Dolphins running the ball? There's no need to give Brady the ball back with time on the clock and timeouts.
And with a TD pass to Baldwin, Wilson is all but assured to take the record for winningest QB in his first two seasons.
And there's the set-up for the soul-killing winning TD.
Dolphins score, leaving a little over a minute for the Patriots to score a winning TD… Well, the ending is predictable from here. The only question is what kind of controversial call we're going to have on the last play.
Will this end like the Saints game or like the Panthers game?
Not sure what's predictable here.
According to my father, who called to share the good news, the Panthers game, on account of some uncalled DPI during the drive, though not on the final play.
Dolphins' defender mauled Hoomanawanui on second to last play. Seemed similar to the play that Fletcher was whistled for DPI. Except, of course, the flag.
That was the most interesting interception return I've ever seen. ET with the end around. Too bad the play will get overturned.
Wow, Vikes score again, Bears with another TD, and five picks for Eli.
And an amazing tip drill, Sherman to ET, saves the shutout. Some say tip drill interceptions are luck, not entirely with this team. It's something they practice and excel at.
The beautiful dream of the Jaguars being a playoff team officially dies. *Sigh*.
Darn. I was genuinely rooting for them to at least pass the Titans for second place.
Watching another Patriot tight-end get mugged in the end zone at the end of a loss and waiting for all of the Pats haters to explain how New England always gets all of the calls....
Your tears taste delicious, like fine wine wine running down the river of lulz. Thank you for this.
Really hard watching the Pats lose close games with so many key players out. I really think a healthy team would be a legitimate Super Bowl competitor. Today, Nate Solder joined Gronkowski, Vollmer, Mayo, and Wilfork as Pro Bowl caliber players on the sideline.
Every team has injuries. Do you hear Denver fans crying about missing Clady or Welker being perennially hurt? God I'm so sick of primadona NE fans who expect everything good to happen to them and only them. Something they put in the water there?
Get over yourself.
"Perenially" doesn't mean what you think it means, unless you think Welker has been on the team for more than one season.
I don't think any real, objective measure of time lost to injury could conclude that Denver has lost as many players of such high quality as the Patriots have this season. The Broncos' IR has, what, Clady? That's basically it. Unless you count Koppen, but he's really not at the same level.
The Patriots have lost Wilfork, Kelly, and Mayo from the center of their defense, and now they've lost Gronk and Vollmer from the O-line. That's, objectively, a lot of people to lose. Don't pretend that's typical. Yes, there are other teams that have lost as many, or more. Well, there's Green Bay.
But Denver isn't one of them.
Please note I mentioned Denver - but also brought up other teams. NFL teams get injured. It's a fact of life. Please, keep crying and grasping at straws random NE fan. I never get tired of seeing that from your ilk.
Rick's opening post really didn't merit either of your sneering, insulting replies.
I hate injury pissing contests, but way worse are random anonymous posters who only post to insult other people.
Rick constructed an absurdly stupid hypothetical (if the Patriots had their ideal team available for every game but hermetically sealed from injury and wear and tear they would necessarily be Super Bowl favorites) for absolutely no reason whatsoever (I suspect not everyone would agree with this fantasy ideal, I'm sure Rick still thinks the Pats should be favored throughout the playoffs, plenty of other teams are experiencing similar adversity)... and for what reason? Considering the timing, let's say it's safe to say it was the loss and the fact that the Fins just showed that the Pats could be one and done in the playoffs, maybe even at Miami's hands, and Rick was trying to make himself feel better. With delusional nonsense that should get laughed at.
If I could partake in illegal substances without losing my job, I'd want some of whatever you're taking.
The F stands for "fantastically high".
That's not remotely what he said, but whatever. I'm sure you feel better for laughing.
Much as I hate the Pats as a loathed division rival who have been an excellent team for over a decade now, I have to agree. They've taken injury hits that would have crippled most teams and still are one of the best five or six teams in the league as they are right now by any rational measure. If they actually had all their players, they'd have to be considered AFC Super Bowl favorites.
(And honestly, I'm still not counting them out for that.)
I don't know about best five or six in the league. I'd say right now every NFC playoff team is better, and the Bengals and Broncos at least in the AFC.
Broncos, Seahawks, Saints, Panthers, and 49ers, I'd put ahead of them right now today. Bengals I'm not sure about, especially with the mounting defensive injuries. I'd still take the Pats over the Lions, Bears, Eagles, Cowboys, Chiefs, Ravens, and, yes, Dolphins to win a game on a neutral field.
I would take the Pats over the Lions or any team from the NFC East.
The Broncos looked bad on Thursday. We'll see about the Bengals. Chargers have won most recent games at KC and at Denver and have to be considered a legitimate dark horse.
The Dolphins are without Incognito, Martin, Keller, Gibson and lost Soliai, Grimes, and Carroll early in the game... and Thomas is limping along on a bum leg that people considered season-ending. Brady was throwing against a player signed two days ago from a practice squad and a rookie who's barely gotten on the field because of poor play and injuries.
So, the Dolphins are without Incognito and Martin, eh?
That kind of proves my point. Incognito and Martin are not Vollmer and Solder. One could argue the Dolphins' O-line is improved by their absence.
Injured Reserve does not tell the entire story, but as of the start of this month (the most current data I could easily find), the Patriots and the Broncos both have placed 9 players on IR. The teams who have more are Panthers (15), Packers (13), Buccaneers (12), Jets, Steelers, and Colts (11), and Giants (10). Although your point that many of the injured Pats are key players is accurate, and it is remarkable that they maintain such a high level of play, I would offer that Pittsburgh has been at least as damaged by injuries (and, admittedly, they have NOT maintained a high level of play.) I don't want to get into a "match Wilfork with Keisel, match Mayo with Foote" type of analysis to determine the precise gradation of problems due to injury, but I will mention that the Steelers have been uncannily prone to injuries on their offensive line, which was generally regarded as a potential trouble spot for the team even with all the projected starters healthy. I agree with you that, take away injuries and New England is a legitimate Super Bowl threat; take away injuries and one of the teams they would have had to beat to get there is Pittsburgh.
FWIW, the Pats have 14 players on the IR, not 9.
I don't know how you found only 9, but you seem to have missed a lot.
Patriots official website only lists nine players on IR. While BB can obfuscate some things, I doubt this is one of them.
The Patriots official website that says the rosters and depth charts aren't official?
Is it possible that some players have been placed on IR, and subsequently released or bought out? Reiss' language says; "Since the start of training camp, the club has placed 14 players on season-ending reserve lists", which doesn't necessarily mean the club is currently paying fourteen players on IR. Could there have been five released-from-IR players?
Not really. Just that you have a low measure of Dolphin players, and I'm unsure how that supports your argument when the backups to these players who are not in the same class as the Patriots defeated the Patriots.
Logic being that if the Dolphins' backups beat the Patriots' backups, that means anything at all about the relative skill level of the starters?
Need to work on your partial orders.
No, logic being I think there are several teams that can send the Patriots home in a one-and-done scenario -- whether it's the actual team they can suit up or your fantasy world. And this has been shown over the last 8 years or so of Patriot's playoff history. So, no, I still do not think that if we could fantasize that a paper roster has the Patriots in the Super Bowl nor do I see ANY value in pursuing such hypotheticals.
One could argue that, but one could act foolishly as well. Such a homer attitude, to suggest an opponent is better off without two of its starting 5 on the offensive line. Do the Pats have injuries, yes. Does everyone, yes. How can you dismiss the injuries to Miami that had Brady throwing to whoever was covered by a guy signed off the street two days ago? Only through homerism. Cry me a river.
The Colts have been without their #1 TE since game one, the #1&2 RBs since game three, the best interior lineman since about game four, and their top WR since game eight.
Denver lost its head coach for a few games.
GB lost a legitimately elite QB.
The list goes on.
You're over reacting because your team lost. Injuries are not an excuse as most of the top teams have major injuries.
The Colts lost their TE who is as good as Gronkowski? No.
Their RBs, are they good? Not very. I'll grant you Reggie Wayne. That's an injury that has hurt.
I'm pretty sure that I granted that the Packers have lost as many or more players of total importance more than the Patriots have.
Denver and Houston both lost their HC's. Houston got theirs back, and then fired him.
With all due respect to John Fox, Del Rio runs the defense and Peyton can certainly run the offense as well as any OC.
It's easy to make accusations of "homerism" or "bias". People seem to be predisposed to think that any accusation of bias is valid. But really. Wilfork is a Pro Bowler. Mayo is a Pro Bowler. Gronkowski is usually considered one of the two best TEs in the NFL. Vollmer is considered one of the best (if not the best) RTs in the NFL. As Ben Muth about that.
Is Ahmad Bradshaw at that level? Chris Rainey surely isn't. Dwayne Allen is an above-average TE. And it would have been nice to include their names so I could look these guys up to see how good they really are.
And really, Richie Incognito? The guy has been continually mocked on this site for years. Are we supposed to pretend he's actually an elite lineman?
You are totally looking through NE-colored glasses. Stop, for just ONE SECOND. Okay, that obviously won't work, so how about putting into perspective from the game they played today: NE's defense was playing against an opposing offensive line missing two starters, and Tom Brady was passing to guys being covered by someone who was signed of another team's practice squad on Tuesday. That's enough opposition injury for a team to overcome it's own losses. It's not like the Pats were lighting it up with Gronk; yes, they were a better team, and yes, they have won a lot, but they haven't been exactly pulling away in games, relying on last-second heroics or failures to decide games all along.
Or, step away from the cool aid for real, and imagine a team without its top 4 offensive skill players after the QB. That's what the Colts have lost, and no one's making excuses for them. Right now, they are just not that good, injuries or not. NE lost today, but don't be a whiner and blame injuries. Everyone has them. (As a side note, I was only mentioning the Colts who are out on IR -- if you want the complete list of today's guys out with injury, you need to include a starting DL, the #2 starting CB, the FB who the Colts actually rely upon, the starting Center...they started the 6th different lineup on the OL, and those changes are because of injury, not demotion due to poor play).
All you're doing is accusing me of bias. Stop, for just ONE SECOND.
The Patriots have lost more and better players than other teams have. That is the sum total of my argument.
The Dolphins were playing without two of their starting linemen, but not linemen who had been known for playing particularly well. The Patriots were playing without either of their starting tackles, two tackles that Ben Muth has referred to as the best pair of tackles (collectively) in the NFL.
If you don't see how having Gronk might have helped the Patriots score a game-winning TD at the end of the game, there's really not much I can say. If you haven't noticed how the Patriots' defensive rating has gone done since Wilfork, Mayo, and Kelly all went on the IR, there's not much I can say.
Again, all you're doing is accusing me of being a homer. You are completely dismissing the possibility that one could objectively measure how damaging injuries have been to different teams.
Let's phrase this in terms of different teams, since you evidently cannot let me talk about the Patriots without playing the "You're a homer!" card. The Packers have lost Aaron Rodgers. The Bills have lost EJ Manuel (at least for great parts of the season). If a Packers' fans said "you know, given how weak our division is, I think we might have won the division with Rodgers playing" would you point out that other teams have also lost QBs, for example, the Bills? Or the Titans?
I keep trying to talk about the total quality of the players missing, and you just ignore that point. There's not point in discussing this if you're going to simply ignore my central point. This really can be done in a relatively objective manner. Really! List the players missing and judge their standing in the league.
And really, try to make an argument without patronizing me. It makes it that much harder for me to get through to you.
"Stop, for just ONE SECOND. Okay, that obviously won't work, "
Did you even read what I had typed?
Purds calling someone a homer is hilarious. And no, he probably didn't read what you typed. He's almost as bad as morganja
You really added some depth to the debate there. Bravo!
"The Patriots have lost more and better players than other teams have. That is the sum total of my argument."
I thought it was that the Patriots paper roster would be in the Super Bowl, and that your current level of enjoyment watching them is affected by the realization that they don't get to play their paper roster.
Here's the original comment:
"Really hard watching the Pats lose close games with so many key players out. I really think a healthy team would be a legitimate Super Bowl competitor. Today, Nate Solder joined Gronkowski, Vollmer, Mayo, and Wilfork as Pro Bowl caliber players on the sideline.
Also, if that is your point, why is it inappropriate to respond by mentioning the losses to other teams? If that is your point (that the Patriots have lost the most players both quantitatively and qualitatively), a rebuttal would naturely involve a comparison to other team losses, no?
You write and argue as though the injured Pats team is playing against full strength opponents by dismissing other teams' injuries with trite generalizations. That's why it is so biased.
You dismiss Denver's loss of its head coach by saying the DC can continue to run the defense while being HC, and the QB can just run the offense. Would you be so dismissive if NE lost its head coach for a few weeks? Don't the DC and QB have vital other chores than be the HC and OC? Manning clearly needs hours of ankle rehab daily.
You dismiss the Colts' loss of their top 4 skill position players on offense (after the QB) because none of them is as good as Gronk. Yet, if NE lost Gronk, Vareen, Edleman and Ridley/Amandola for the year, do you really think that would be nothing? Just because you think NE guys are better doesn't mean the opponent injuries are insignificant, as you suggest.
And to the Pats themselves, it looked to me like the #2 TE made a one-handed catch in the end zone while screened by the defender. Are you saying Gronk is so much better than that, that Gronk would have caught it with one finger while doing a one-handed handstand and signing autographs?
Sure, NE has injuries, some of them vital, and sure, some of the stats listed are wrong (most Colts site list 15 guys placed on IR this year, not the above cited 11). But NE isn't suffering at an astronomic rate that others do not approach. You may not, for example, think much of the loss of Dwayne Allen from the Colts, but he was something like #9 ranked receiving TE in his rookie season last year and they need to now rely upon Colby Fleener, who is not only about 20 spots in DYAR lower in ranking as a receiver but is not really a blocker at all, while Allen is a great run blocker.
Know the opponents and don't be so offhandedly dismissive. I guess my bottom line in response to your argument is that you don't demonstrate enough understanding of or respect for opponents to be able to judge their losses accurately, thus why I suggest your argument is too homer based. I mean, when you act like the loss of a head coach is no big deal, well then you're not respecting or judging fairly the other teams
I'll add one more point to address your specific laments about Patriot injuries. You suggest that Wilfork's loss (also with Mayo) is the reason for the decline of the NE defense, but perhaps you should also look at opposing QBs. The rankings NE created at the start of the season came in the first three games against QBs EJ Manuel in his first professional start, then Gino Smith in his second precessional start, and then Josh Freeman just a few weeks before being cut. Those first three offenses were amazingly bad. They may have gotten better, but they weren't any good then. Since then NE had played Manning, Breeze, Newton...
And, with the full Ne team minus Gronk at the start of the season, it's not like Ne was ripping the schedule up:
2-point win over Buffalo
3-point win over the Jets
Good wins over TB and Atlanta (who turns out to be miserable) but then
A loss to Cincy
A 3-point win over NO
A loss to the Jets
So, my point is this: even at their best so far, they haven't exactly been a dominant team. Since, then all teams have had injuries, and everyone has had to deal with it.
Wilfork is probably done, so you may as well be lamenting the loss of Teddy Bruschi. Gronkowski would be a pro bowler, except that the pro bowl is played at the end of the season, and he's always hurt by then. The rest of the guys are j.a.g.s
In an attempt to be fair, I looked into some of these claims. I agree that Gronk and Wilfork are great, and were great before the injuries.
But Mayo and Volmer were Pro Bowl selections in one season each, and not since 2010. Calling them Pro Bowl players is a half truth. Lots of guys were pro bowl players once, and no longer are.
In the same breath, you dismiss Bradshaw, who was in the top 8 of DVOA and DYAR in 2012. Clearly not a pro bowler, but also clearly in that same league of level as Mayo and Volmer.
That's not a biased vision of the strength of players?
Redskins go for the two-point conversion to win the game against the Falcons and don't get it. So we get another week of "Cousins better than Griffin because he gave us a chance to win!" narrative (ignoring the awful defense), whereas if it had been Dallas and Romo we'd hear "Romo is a choker because he didn't get the conversion."
Nobody on either sideline or in the stands wanted that game to go into overtime.
There may have been CIA torturers hoping for such an ending.
Don't you mean "CIA enhanced interrogators"?
Romo looks like he will have no such problems this week. Matt Flynn looks more like a deer in the headlights with every game he QBs. I think the Packers looked better with Tolzien.
More like deer on a windshield.
And now Flynn gets a gift TD when Nelson takes an easy INT away from the Dallas DB.
Nels Bohr, the Danish physicist once said, "Predictions are difficult, especially about the future."
I still don't think Flynn looked that good. I just didn't realize the Cowboys defense was that bad. Flynn's first TD pass should have been intercepted if not for a great play by Nelson. Flynn continues to stare down receivers. Plus, Eddie Lacy is a beast. Best Packers RB since at least Ahman Green. It's a lot easier to find receivers with 7-8 in the box.
What kind of a joke is the Pro Bowl ballot that Jeremy Lane isn't even on it. The Seahawks are about to break two records on special teams that have stood since the 60's and 40's. Total punt return yardage allowed and avg. yds per punt return allowed. Unarguably the greatest punt return unit in NFL history and their greatest gunner is Jeremy Lane. yet he's not even on the ballot.
The absurdity of that is stunning.
Today he got knocked out of bounds, on his butt, got back up and made the tackle, which held the return to 4 yards. The first yards allowed on a return since October. Giving Seattle opponents 19 whole entire yards all season. And they only got that because the refs missed a blatant holding call on Kearse, who would have nailed the returner for no gain otherwise.
And Jeremy Lane is not even on the ballot. Un-Fing-believable.
Quick Reads is going to look pretty weird in the RB section with the receiving day Charles is having. Wow.
Scandrick looking bad in the second half. First the non-play on the TD, and now he holds Nelson and can't even prevent him from making a circus catch.
Someone inadvertently allowed the Cowboys defense to see a calendar reminding them it is in fact December, but without that interception we're not going to be able to blame this loss on Romo.
Don't worry; he tried it again and got it right.
Seriously, though, I cannot help but agree with Aikman here. That's two drives in a row where Dallas seemed unwilling to hand off in a situation where running to kill clock seems obvious--especially since Dallas has had success all game running. I can see not abandoning the pass entirely to give a better chance to gain yardage, but this is absurd.
Mind you, there's genuine blame available for Dallas and its offense as well, because it's left points on the field by having to settle for five field goals. If they lose the defense has to take most of the heat for the total collapse, but the offense wasn't perfect either even before the INT.
You've got to appreciate the moxie Romo demonstrates in his pursuit of furthering narratives simple enough to Skip Bayless employed.
The Jets were better than expected against the Panthers. They ran the ball with some effectiveness and the passing game was okay. They played well enough that with a few big plays on defense or special teams, they might've been able to win, which was about all that could be expected. However, those big plays went to the Panthers instead. A blocked punt and a pick-six turned a three point deficit into 17 in the fourth quarter. Barring every domino falling into place in the last two weeks, that's it for the Jets' season. I hope Rex stays.
Didn't get to see it, but I have been hoping they play well enough that Rex stays. I was pretty annoyed that Santonio Holmes badmouthed the Panthers' secondary, that probably did not help things. Firing Rex would probably lead to the defense tanking, ending with the team looking like Jacksonville 2013. I don't know if Geno is the guy, either. They might want to draft somebody early next year.
Please. Fire the entire Dallas coaching staff.
Jason Garrett got your memo and promptly threw Tony Romo under the bus.
Why on earth wasn't that interference on polamau? They seemed to briefly joke about it, but it stopped a 3rd down conversion and seemed really blatant?
Not sure on this, but I would imagine that interference doesn't apply to players behind the line of scrimmage. You never see interference on screen plays that I can remember, so there's likely a rule exception to keep normal blocking by offensive skill players being able to get PI calls.
Seems like an odd exception, but the rules don't always make sense. Why would a defensive player want to hit an offensive player other than to disrupt a pass?
Think if a pass rusher could get called for pass interference if the QB threw it at the feet of the RB who was blocking him.
Wouldn't the ball be placed at the spot of the interference, so behind the line of scrimmage?
Probably, but isn't DPI an automatic first down?
Correct. From the rules digest
"It is pass interference by either team when any player movement beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders the progress of an eligible player of such player’s opportunity to catch the ball."
I learned something today. I didn't even know it was possible to fair-catch a kickoff!
That's a reason a lot of onside kicks are designed to bounce it off the ground first. You can't fair catch it after it hits the ground.
geez all these years I assumed it was just to make it harder to field. Now that you say it though it makes perfect sense.
Nice to see on a day that I decide to root for Cincinnati, they forget to show up and someone hands a local college team their jerseys.
Go, Steelers, go! Protect that Patriots' bye!
Not a good weekend for the top teams of the AFC. Colts and Chiefs have to be happy.
So far this is a real Folger's Crystals game. "We've secretly replaced the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers with the 1979 version. Let's see if anyone notices."
I never have understood why when the wind is high and the kick off team needs a holder, the holder has to be one of the cover guys. Why can't they just have a 12th person come out and hold it, and its a bad penalty if the guy doesn't make a beeline OoB? The kicking team has to mess up their own kick coverage because of the wind?
If you're gonna change anything, wouldn't it make more sense to just use the practice holder that kickers use to warm up? Take away all rough edges, or have the ref clean it up after the kick and you're done.
I don't really see what's wrong with the current situation though; the game is 11 vs 11, and the kick cover strategy just means that 10 guys have their own lane to cover, often there are 2 'safeties' that clean up behind the rest. The holder can just have the inner lane, or be one of the 'safeties'.
Hmm, well, as long as you are right that they generally have people who slow down after the initial 'run up' to play clean up, then its not an issue. From someone who doesn't know they do that (because it really isn't obvious on TV coverage), it always just looks like one of the 'gunners' gets to start late and slower, and that annoyed me.
The holder scenario would be sufficient, though I would bet the ref would have to clean it up. Tripping over it or slowing down would raise a huge outcry the first time is stopped a KO return from being a TD.
Bengals making a game of it.
Too little, too late, probably.
With 2 division games left, AFC North teams should be undefeated at home against each other, other than the Steelers win at Cleveland.
Kind of anticlimactic in the end for the top of the AFC, as all the upsets cancel each other out.
Good week to have Justin Tucker as my fantasy kicker.
Justin had a shout out to you (and all the other people who had him in their fantasy teams) in his post game.
I guess the Ravens are allowed to grab arms when in pass coverage.
It's because I bet on Detroit. Seriously, you want something nuts to happen, have me bet on them!
P.S.-I had Dallas as the 2nd half of a winning teaser at +0.5. Comeback was not even surprising.
Wow. Epic FG. The Ravens are going to beat the Lion in Detroit using only FGs. That's like some sort of crazy All-Madden challenge.
There's the game icing pick. Pretty (unconventionally) amazing way to take control of your playoff destiny.
As a Bears fan I'm incredibly glad the 61-yarder was good, but I can't help but think that if they were going to be willing to try a very long field goal to take a 2-point lead, they should have run different plays on 1st and 2nd down. Gaining a few yards with runs or short passes to make it, say, a 56-yard attempt would obviously have helped, but more than that, it would have burned some clock/timeouts. That Stafford pick was a thing of beauty, but when that drive started with 38 seconds left and all 3 timeouts, I felt like the Lions were very likely to get into field goal range.
That's what happens when arguably the 2nd best WR in history leaves 50 yards on the field in drops in the first four series, you get hosed on multiple calls in the secondary, and you have Matt Stafford as a QB. It really is amazing that a team with this much innate ability can continue to find ways to fuck things up. If they could put it together for 4 straight games they'd be world champs, but there is no way this outfit will ever get that done.
Truly an amazing outfit.
"Truly an amazing outfit."
I read this in the voice of the man in black talking to Vizzini.
Interesting week...if I'm not mistaken, every division leader with something to play for lost this week (Indy already clinched the division but won't get a bye, and while the Seahawks still haven't technically clinched homefield it's pretty much assumed).
Here in Wisconsin we bow down to mystic elements (Thank You, Mel Brooks for this one)-- and tonight you saw the greatest demonstration yet of the "Power of the Schwarz" (I was mystified why he wouldn't call at least one timeout in the series that culminated with the FG-- surely knowing a long FG was distinctly possible giving Stafford and Co. more time to win it back might have been a priority) Maybe we should just blame Stafford and Johnson-- but I don't know and don't care.
All I know is that Hollywood could never write the scripts we've seen in this league the past few weeks. As bad as the Packers have been the past 6 weeks-- as bad as their defense is (so bad I've taken a moratorium for more than a month from complaining about DVOA!!)-- the simple fact is that if they decide to play Rodgers Sunday vs the Steelers-- and win-- then he and they get to play for the NFC North title in Chicago-- against their biggest rival which happens to be the team that knocked him out for the past six weeks. You truly can't make this S--t up.
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