Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Dec 2011

Week 16 Open Discussion Thread

Here's your thread for discussing all of the Week 16 games as they happen, starting with the Thursday Night Colts-Texans game, and continuing into Sunday.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 23 Dec 2011

91 replies , Last at 27 Dec 2011, 4:14pm by TomC

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by bernie (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 7:39pm

Wow, the colts defense just allowed an opening drive touchdown. Hang on a minute, the game hasn't even started yet.
Oh well, I'll just leave this here, since I am sure it will be true anyway.

3
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Insancipitory :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 9:11pm

If you really are a wizard or some other sort of supernatural agent, anything you got which would aid in the collapse of the niners, lions and falcons would be greatly appreciated.

2
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Alexander :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 7:39pm

Who is the best player in this game? Is it Foster (the obvious choice) or someone else?

5
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 9:20pm

It probably is Foster, but don't discount Cushing and Joseph, who are both having outstanding seasons.

7
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Alexander :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 9:35pm

Cushing is having a good year, but I think its bizarre how people always forget about his steroids test.

On steroids, I can't believe teams in the NBA/MLB/NHL (where there are guaranteed contracts) don't have a voiding clause for positive tests. I mean, Rashard Lewis, Manny Ramirez, Shawn Merrimen, never recovered from losing the juice. We will se what happens to Ryan Braun, but in 2015 that contract could look horrid.

8
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 9:40pm

It's interesting that he had such a big drop-off last year after the suspension, and such a big rebound now. I have to assume that he's being tested all the damn time now, though.

9
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:11pm

Which could simply suggest that he has found another new steroid that passes the tests at the moment, or shifted to HGH. I hate that I can't be sure that players are clean.

4
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 9:13pm

Poor NFL Network. Following recent criticism, this would have looked like a great matchup when the schedules were announced; now they are stuck with trying to hype Dan Orlovsky v. T.J. Yeats....

6
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 9:35pm

So, how long before we see Jake Delhomme hand off to Derrick Ward following a Bryan Braman strip sack . . . ?

10
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:15pm

Ben Muth's articles have made this game slightly more compelling as now I can watch the texans run blocking.

The comparison between Terrell Davis and Arian Foster was interesting too. Seeing it like that there were two things that stood out to me, they both lean forwards well as they run and they both take little steps that allow them to change direction quickly (it probably helps the lean too). It makes them both ideal runners for this scheme.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:19pm

How the hell is that roughing? Watt looks like one hell of a young player.

11
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:19pm

Wow. Shocking personal foul call on JJ Watt there.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:19pm

Good Lord that was a horrible roughing the passer call on Watt.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Insancipitory :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:33pm

Yeah, if they absolutely must throw a flag on shit like that in the interests of player saftey, it should be assessed against the player ducking their head into contact.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 11:13pm

I agree in principle, but in that particular case I don't even think there was helmet to helmet contact. It's the sort of call that makes the case for a lot more penalties being reviewable. That was a factual error, not a judgment call.

14
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:27pm

It must be quite intimidating for the Colts' backup QBs trying to perform under the gaze of Peyton Manning on the sideline. Knowing the camera is panning to his anguish-ridden face after every failed play. Can't be much fun for Manning either having to endure watching his offence stink and trying to put on a brave face. It's what he's expected to do, but would probably be better for all parties if he was just sitting in one of the boxes instead.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:56pm

What the hell was Reggie Wayne doing on that last play? That was a well thrown ball he could surely have made a play on.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 11:25pm

Matt Turk still can't punt worth a damn.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 12:11am

On the bright side, at least this game can't go to overtime.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 12:20am

I don't think it has been a terrible game at all. The offensive play-calling has been understandably very conservative, but it hasn't been mistake ridden and both teams have played some good defence.

Main complaint is with the refs - at least three nonsense personal foul calls now.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 11:21am

Meh. Quarterbacking and refereeing that putrid together is definitely enough to ruin a game as far as I'm concerned. I might have enjoyed it as a comedy spectacle if I didn't have a rooting interest, but . . .

Still, at least we might yet keep Luck out of the division.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 3:13pm

Perhaps it was just that my expectations were at rock bottom. Colts played impressively hard I thought, considering all the Suck for Luck talk. They certainly didn't look like the worst team in the league, with Orlovsky playing a solid game under centre. It probably goes to prove that this is about a 6-win team without Manning, providing there is at least replacement level QBing - which the Curtis Painter Experience and the corpse of Kerry Collins obviously are not.

21
I think Jerome had the Colts and the money line
by Ugh (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 12:27am

Those two roughing penalties he called were embarrassing.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 12:28am

Egads, what a stinker.

Side note: people other than Wade Phillips running Wade Phillips' defense does not appear to work very well.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by SFC B (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 5:14am

I think the Texans defense was just smoked at the end. The Texans couldn't sustain any drives and I think the Colts wound up with a 10-12 minute TOP advantage. The weak sauce RTP penalty at the end didn't help.

Regardless though, unless the coaches get with Yates and figure out a way to convert a freaking third down the Texans are done. I think some of it is the game plan, Kubiak just isn't willing to risk much with Yates under center, and I think some of it is Yates. On the pass to Dreesen (I think) on one of those bootlegs it looked like Jones was open deep. Did the Texans even attempt a pass of more than 15 yards?

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 11:19am

Yates' horrendous pocket presence is a problem, but the lack of a receiver other than Jacoby Jones who can stretch the defense is at least as big a one. This team desperately needs Andre Johnson back.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 3:16pm

The Texans are done for the year with Yates. Its unfortunate, because they are probably the class of the AFC this year with Schaub under center. Still, the future looks bright with all that young talent on defence.

28
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mash Wilson :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 12:58am

The Texans ran the most vanilla offense I've ever seen an NFL team run, and I say that as someone that's seen the Broncos this year. Is it just because Yates is being handled that delicately? The Texans were more or less locked into the 3-seed already and I can't help but wonder if keeping Luck out of their division wasn't at least in the back of the coaching staff's minds when they put together the gameplan this week...

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Jonadan :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 1:52am

Yates is a 3rd-string QB, right? Honestly if I'm the Texans' coach, with a playoff spot wrapped up I'd be just playing out the string and hoping nobody else gets dinged up.

---
"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr Shush :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 9:25am

Never mind third string, he's a rookie fifth round pick. This particularly manifests itself in his instinctive reaction to anything resembling pressure from the outside, which is to dive at the feet of the nearest DT.

I don't think he's ever asked to make more than at most two reads, and often only one.

One thing that can be said to him is that he throws a nice deep ball, and when Johnson's healthy the first down play action bomb is definitely in the game plan.

31
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by PatsFan :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 2:37pm

Pats looking in trouble. OL is having a total suck game. Light couldn't play today, Mankins is playing tackle for the first time in NFL, some scrub is in at guard.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by justanothersteve :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 2:53pm

Why would anyone try to throw against Revis on third-and-goal? Eli Manning does and, not surprisingly, Revis knocks the ball away.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by justanothersteve :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 3:12pm

Coolest leap for a touchdown ever (surprisingly, by a Bengal not named AJ Green).

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 3:15pm

What the heck happened on that McKelvin punt return? Completely untouched, didn't have to sidestep anyone except the punter

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by BJR :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 3:18pm

Manning to Cruz, a whiff by Cromartie, and 99 yards later - TD.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by James-London :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 3:21pm

Miami are eating the Patriots O-Line alive. I almost feel sorry for Tom Brady. Almost.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 3:54pm

Phil Simms showing usual poor form.

Take the Broncos ST out of the thin air, and their horrendous coverage shows. Holeee

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Purds :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 3:55pm

Seriously? Gifting the Pats 5 yards when their TE should have had a false start penalty.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by PatsFan :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 5:30pm

A long-time Colts fan complaining about alleged gifts from refs. Too funny.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Purds :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 3:58pm

Pats D should revel in this game. It's the 6th in a row against 2nd string or worse QB.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by JonFrum :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 7:02pm

That defense now has a bye for the playoffs, and one more win - against the hapless Bills - gives they home games through the conference title game.

How's your team doin'?

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by RickD :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 8:34pm

They beat a team starting its 3rd string QB.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Purds :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 12:01am

Trying to choke away some Luck. You guys getting ready for another one-and-done? Per-season is going to end for you sooner or later. I am enjoying the bravado before the fall, again, by the entire NE region. In the radio per-game the guys suggested that the top three MVP candidates for the year should be Brady, Welker then Wilfork. The radio hosts were serious!

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by RickD :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 12:44am

Enjoy the hate. It's all you've got.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Eddo :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 10:11am

When did this become a trash-talking board?

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 2:16pm

I actually enjoyed it. They kept it relatively civil - no cursing.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Mr. Guest to you (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 4:08pm

Purd rhymes with turd

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by chemical burn :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 7:39pm

no, the milquetoast civility of it makes it even more depressing/stupid.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Karma Coma :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 4:20pm

"Pouncey able to pounce on the football!"

Groan. I guess it had to happen sooner or later.

41
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Karma Coma :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 4:56pm

... followed by "There was no holding the Mayo that time."

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by montanapanthersfan :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 6:18pm

I hope for Chargers' fans sake that the Lions have just ended the Norv Turner era, in San Diego. A probable 24-0 score at halftime, in favor of the Lions.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by JonFrum :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 7:03pm

Bring back Marty-Ball!

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by montanapanthersfan :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 7:07pm

Which is now 24-10, due to an onsides kick and general improvement in competence by the Chargers playcalling, and the Lions deciding to not cover Gates or Vincent Jackson.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Jonadan :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 8:05pm

Having corrected that oversight, 38-10 and playoff bound. Be still my beating heart.

---
"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

48
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by RickD :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 8:33pm

Seahawks show that they, too, have no idea how to run a 2-minute offense. I know it's a handicap to have Tavaris Jackson at QB, but

a) nice reception on 1st down, but WR doesn't go out of bounds when he can, so...
b) 2nd down wasted on a spike (no play ready?)
c) better get a first down - oops, incomplete pass
d) oh wait, this is fourth down already! another incomplete pass

50
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Insancipitory :: Sat, 12/24/2011 - 11:14pm

Forsett (RB btw) is a classic all-effort guy. I would bet he was probably thinking he was going to run between them, use their momentum to keep himself up, and scrape one off the other, hit the big play there. He's reasonably fast, and he breaks through, that's going to be a VERY long play. It's greedy, but I don't know if I would say it was stupid.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 12:24am

It looked to me like he wasn't even trying to stay up on that play. He dove for extra yardage. I really think he just completely forgot about the clock.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by John (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 1:07am

Wow, Vikings lose Peterson and Luck on the same day. Merry Christmas, purple.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by justanothersteve :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 10:05pm

Why are the Packers handing off to Grant on 3rd and 1? Especially against the Bears? At least put Starks in. Grant goes down as soon as you touch him and has no vision. He will run into a hole as designed, even if the hole isn't there.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by RedZone :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 10:07pm

Woodson gets up holding his knee. I'm a Bears fan, but this is not that good.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 10:21pm

What the hell is a pancake social anyway?!

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by RickD :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 10:46pm

Compare the Packers' confidence in the 2-minute drill with what the Seahawks did yesterday. The Packers complete a pass to the 5 yard line with about 30 seconds left in the half. But instead of getting all panicky and wasting a down spiking the ball, they calmly walk to the line of scrimmage with no huddle, ready to execute the next play. Indeed, the Bears are so freaked out they call a timeout. Doesn't help them as the Packers throw a TD pass on the very next play.

Preparation counts for a lot.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 11:41pm

well, my worries about Packer offense are dissipating. But the defense-- well it'll be a high-wire act as far as they go. Still not sure if the bigger risk is ball control Niners; hybrid teams Atlanta, Detroit and New York; or shoot 'em up Saints. Would think neither Woodson nor Matthews will play next week-- nor Rodgers, of course.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Alexander :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 11:47pm

I still think jennings is a huge loss. The Pack have gotten their points, but it just doesn't feel right.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2011 - 11:57pm

first half I would agree. They were only good in the hurry-up. But clearly they made some adjustments in the second half to spring Jones and Nelson repeatedly. And the pass protection has been excellent. Starks looked pretty rusty tonite plus his two blown assignments-- that should shake out next week, even with Flynn in there. And as of this moment no further injuries. Would think either Clifton or Bulaga or both get some work in next week.

But from ths sound of it Jennings will have no problem returning for the first playoff game-- he was running around pretty good this week.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 12:16am

I'm no longer on my high horse about it, but this game is the poster child for how the Packer defense is still rated too low in many places.

First half-- three good Chicago drives result in 3 pts-- a turnover and a long FG miss. Second half one more good Chicago drive for a TD, followed by a stop and another turnover that helps break the game open. And then when it's 35-10, two garbage time scores that are utterly meaningless (assuming they score-- ball at 20 with 2 minutes to go).

I am totally aware of their deficiencies-- but tonight they bent but did not break, forced two INTs (and two other fumbles that the Bears recovered), and gave up immense garbage time yardage.

67
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by tuluse :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 12:23am

I don't think you are aware of their deficiencies.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 12:34am

Based on what do you say that? I see a run defense that's pretty mediocre (yes, no Pickett tonight-- but the real problem is their right side with Walden simply not doing the job at OLB),a weak pass rush, coverage in the secondary at times disconnected or badly communicated-- but as Matthews said after the game, "with this QB we can make a couple of mistakes". Yup, let's hope it's only a couple-- they are eminently beatable right now, Lambeau or no Lambeau.

BTW, not sure this has ever been done before-- in calendar year 2011, the Green Bay Packers defeated their archrival, the Chicago Bears, four times. The final regular season game in GB, the NFC championship in Chicago, and the two regular season games this year.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by tuluse :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 1:00am

Sorry that was totally unclear, I meant the Bears. Who are just so awful at offense you can not learn anything about another team's defense from how they play them.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 2:28am

With a couple of exceptions (Raiders, Rams) pretty much no matter who the Packers play gains 400+ yds vs. their defense. Orton, McNown, Manning, Brees-- you name the QB-- they generally look good vs. GB.

There are three potential saving graces for the Packers pre-Super Bowl (where the ultimate saving grace lies-- the Indianapolis Dome): 1) Lambeau (cold, wind, crowd) hurts one or both of the offenses they must match up with; 2) they force a couple of turnovers in each game and don't turn it over themselves-- which has been the general pattern; 3) Rodgers and Co. are too good.

FO had the Packers at about 21% to win the whole thing-- which is roughly a 60% chance of victory in each game. I think the truth might be closer to 25%-- but hardly a big difference. They might be 75% to win the opener; 60% to win the NFC title game; and perhaps 55% to win the SB-- which is almost exactly 25% to win the whole thing.

74
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 10:36pm

The Packers are probably better off avoiding Lambeau, ironically. Because as much as it hurts their opponents offense, it hurts theirs just as much, and they are more reliant on their offense than the other teams.

Indeed, SF and Detroit benefit most from a Lambeau game. Stafford has a cannon and it throwing to a receiver who's 8ft tall, and SF just grounds and pounds, which is fine on the tundra. I'd say Atlanta, but Matty Checkdown suffers outside of domes.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 11:01pm

That has been a common theory around these parts since last season. But-- they have also won their last 11 Lambeau games, i believe-- it might be 12. In their last two Lambeau games they scored 46 pts vs the Raiders and 35 pts against the Bears before they pulled the plug early in the 4th quarter. Candlestick might be their least favorite venue-- but they don't have to worry about this year. I'm agnostic-- I think a neutral-site dome is their best venue-- which will be the SB, of course.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 11:22pm

The argument regards Lambeau in winter. They've played, what, one game in cold+wind (frozen tundra conditions) in the Rodgers era, and that was that 10-3 game against Chicago where Chicago looked totally disinterested? Who cares how they do in Lambeau in summer?

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 11:39pm

You must not live in Wisconsin. "Summer" is barely applicable to a football season-- maybe a game or two in September is in warm weather. "Winter" usually sets in well before the actual calendar date, though to be honest, this year it has been unseasonably warm.

But the week before the Bears game you accurately cite, Rodgers lit up the Giants for over 400 YDS and 4TDS at Lambeau in a late December game the Packers had to win. Just like he lit up the Bears last night, and the Raiders two measly weeks before that. No, those games were not candidates for the Ice Bowl but they were hardly summer games either.

But is the Saints historical playoff record on the road applicable here? I believe they have never won one. Just saying.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by John Courage (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 8:13pm

"this game is the poster child for how the Packer defense is still rated too low in many places."

Funny, this game gave me the exact opposite impression. They made a 3rd string quarterback who was coaching high school 5 weeks ago and 3rd and 4th string running backs (one of whom just got promoted from the practice squad) playing behind an atrocious offensive line look pretty damn good in my opinion. Chicago's offense looked competent after 4 weeks of looking completely hopeless against 4 Western division teams. I would be worried about how the defense does against a first string playoff team.

Remember that long missed field goal was set up after Chicago had back-to-back procedural penalties back them up. I wouldn't credit the GB defense for that. Most playoff teams won't make those stupid mistakes. Kudos to Matthews for a great play, but again playoff teams with first string players won't be as likely to fail to chip him and then throw right at him. Now, if the GB offense keeps playing like they did in the 2nd half it won't matter. This game did not improve my opinion of the GB defense, though.

Granted, I think McCown, Bell and Rudy (or whoever the diminutive Notre Dame practice squad RB is) deserve a lot of credit. They looked like the were giving it their all and fighting for jobs next year. I hope they do replace Hanie and Barber. I was impressed with McCown's effort diving after that fumble. Mostly I was impressed with his pocket presence, several times the pocket collapsed around him and he just shot forward and escaped to make a play. He threw some McNabb specials at receivers' feet and the picks, but after the Caleb Hanie experience he was a huge step up.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by TomC :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 10:30pm

Yeah, I don't see how anyone without a pair of serious Packer wish goggles could see it any differently. (Sorry, Paul M, I know you're generally a reasonable person.) The Bears were already a J.V. offense without Cutler and Forte, and then you take away Knox, Barber, and Hester. But maybe the biggest indictment is that Lance Louis (who is bad) got sick and was replaced with Frank Omiyale (who is unspeakably awful), and the Bears were still blowing the Packers' DL off the ball and giving McCown time to throw. I really don't see this defense stopping the Saints without interceptions, which Brees will occasionally throw, but only slightly more often than Rodgers.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 10:56pm

OK-- let's talk.

Yes, they need INTs to beat the likes of the Saints.. or the Pstriots.. or pretty much anyone. Last year in the playoffs they picked Vick when it mattered; Ryan (turned the game completely around); Hanie (to bust the Bear game wide open and then end it); and Roethlisberger (Collins' TD in the 1st half which helped establish a clear lead. That hasn't changed.

And yes, they are not as good as last year-- not close. But then again Rodgers and the offense is clearly better than last year-- not close.

As for the actual Bears game-- again, let's deal with the actual components of the game. And I stipulate that the Packers run defense was poor throughout, and it wasn't simply because of the loss of Pickett. But... a kicker missed a long FG at Lambeau in the wintertime-- it happens, if not to Gould before. They stopped them a 2nd time short of a TD. And Matthews made a play. So the net effect of what seemed like a poor defensive performance in the 1st half-- certainly by yardage standards-- was only 3 pts allowed. The Packer offense was the bigger story, but two rapid-fire drives that produced TDS sandwiched a bunch of three and outs. So what seemed like a pretty mediocre performance against a depleted opponent actually produced an 11 pt lead. That's the mark of a team that outperforms its internal metrics-- the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

In the 2nd half, they gave up a long drive, then produced a stop and another turnover as their offense put the game out of reach. Sure-- depleted opponent-- but when the score was 35-10 early in the 4th quarter, I can't be too critical. The rest was pure garbage time as the Packers were simply trying to let the clock run out on both sides of the ball. So the combination that is this team-- warts and all-- produced a 25 pt lead-- a basic blowout. Based on bending but not breaking, forcing turnovers, and converting their opportunities on offense into touchdowns. It is a winning formula-- of course against Brees, Brady, and a bunch of other playoff QBs they will have to repeat it, and perhaps play better. The point is that the defense-- for 20 of the past 21 games-- has been good enough. We'll see if that is still true a month from now.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 11:24pm

All fine -- but lately, even replacement-level teams have only given up 3pts to the Bears, and many fewer yards. It's not like Cutler or Forte were playing.

81
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 11:41pm

neither was Hanie.

88
Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by TomC :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 11:29am

Paul, you're arguing that the current Packer defense is good enough to win the vast majority of games if you pair them with the current Packer offense. That is a very low bar. Given that the Packers' and Patriots' offenses are quite similar, that's like saying "the Packers' defense is a couple of wins better than the Patriots'." And, lo and behold, there they are, ranked five spots higher than New England. Same with New Orleans.

Now, you could argue that somehow DVOA is penalizing defenses that play with historically great passing offenses, but that's a different tack than you're taking. But saying: "see, they were good enough to beat a god-awful offense, as long as their QB throws 5 TDs" is not anything like saying "they should be ranked higher" or "they're good".

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 11:41am

First, I'm allowed to shift my argument as facts warrant-- it's the American way; (see Romney, Mitt)

I am arguing something a bit different than what you suggest. This group of players-- minus Collins and Jenkins, it is true-- came through when it mattered for all five of the must win games that closed out the 2010 season. Williams' two INTS helped bust the Falcons game out; he, Collins, Woodson, Bishop, and Shields all made huge plays that stopped the opposition with the game on the line in the 4th Quarter in the other four games.

So far this year, with the possible exception of the Giant game as the team was still unbeaten, this defense has not faced a similar situation-- not with the entire season on the line. They did allow the late TD to NO on Opening Night but stopped the two-point conversion. They did allow the late tying TD to the Giants, but failed to stop the two-point conversion. They bent but didn't break vs KC until the final TD drive and the final clinching set of running plays. But they were just games-- none were "the" do or die game.

They ain't anywhere near as good as last year's defense-- true enough. But they might-- underline the word might-- still be good enough for the Packers to win the next three games given the offense GB sports. They still have a bunch of playmakers that have produced a league-leading number of interceptions, continuing a trend ever since Capers took over the defense in 2009. If Rodgers had thrown the OT pass a few feet shorter in 2009, the Packers, despite a poor defensive performance, would have won that game (Though, to be fair, Arizona blew a FG in regulation that would have won the game). A similar fate might be in store vs. the Saints or Patriots.

They don't have to be great with this offense-- they might not even have to be good. That's all I'm saying. They should be ranked a bit higher, IMHO, but that still doesn't make them good-- just less bad than various metrics, including DVOA< make them seem.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by TomC :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 4:14pm

You're making two arguments, one of which ("this defense is probably good enough for the Packers to win the Super Bowl again") is reasonable and not particularly controversial, the other of which ("this defense should be objectively ranked higher") I still can't understand. Your evidence for the second point gets dangerously close to the "clutchy winner sauce" brand for my taste and suffers from the logical flaws that all of those types of arguments have---namely, if the GB defense is good enough to turn on a switch and make a big stop or intercept a pass when they know it's '"the" do or die game', then why not just do that on every play and blow teams out 63-0 every game? Is it because they want their fans to enjoy the suspense? Furthermore, while it's just inside of the realm of plausibility that a defense could motivate themselves to stiffen and stop a running play, how exactly is a defensive back going to psych himself into an interception without the opposing quarterback's cooperation?

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by jonnyblazin :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 10:29pm

Why is Michael Turner so fat?

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2011 - 10:45pm

Just read the ESPN insider story about how Brees has been playing the position in the last 6 weeks better than "anyone in history". Hmmm-- heard that one before. The rationale is that all the turnovers/INTs that have plagued Brees since have disappeared from his resume lately. And wouldn't you know it? A pick happens. And there could have been another that drive as Brees was forcing the ball a bit. He's real good. So is Brady. So is Rodgers. I think we ought to wait until a SB champ is crowned on all the hyperbole.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by RickD :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 12:52am

During the first two weeks of the season, Tom Brady was playing the position better than "anyone in history." Then, for the bulk of the middle of the season, Aaron Rodgers was playing better than "anyone in history." And now, Brees.

I say this not to disparage the efforts of any of these three excellent QBs. But it is maddening how whatever is happening at the moment must immediately be declared the best ever.

Congrats to Brees for getting the yardage record. The hype might get him more MVP votes. But I thought he needed a perfect performance on national TV and it wasn't quite that. I suspect he'll be behind Rodgers in DYAR and DVOA when the weekly numbers are released tomorrow.

Rodgers, for his part, will get the QB rating record if he doesn't throw a pass next week. And really, there's no good reason for him to throw a pass next week.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 1:02am

MVP in doubt has simply been a story in search of a story, if that makes sense. In vain. Rodgers has a) lost two fewer games than Brady and Brees; b) thrown for more TDS than both; c) thrown fewer INTs than both; d) thrown for nearly a yard more per attempt than both; e) had a better QB rating by whatever metric you care to use; f) and he beat Brees in their head-to-head matchup-- a game about which Skip Bayless ridiculously (I guess that's actually an unecessary modifier) claimed today Brees outplayed Rodgers-- check out the QB ratings or QBR ratings or whatever. It won't be a close vote, nor should it-- 2nd place might be interesting, and I suspect since the Patriots are an "older hat story" Brees will beat out Brady for the silver.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by RickD :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 1:11am

FWIW, I think the order should be Rodgers, Brees, Brady.

As for Bayless, he's a human straw man for his capacity to embrace arguments that no sane man would ever consider.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by milo :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 2:31am

Most yards ever.
Highest completion percentage ever.
Nest week: most team yards ever.

Was Rodgers setting any records that you forgot to mention? Did you mention any records that anyone can see without a computer?

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 11:50am

Highest QB rating ever for Rodgers-- all the computer does is figure out who amongst three really good players might be having the BEST season.

Who gives a damn about yards? (Those last 30 last night would never have happened with the Packers. I am not knocking Peyton, mind you-- it was a special circumstance. Just pointing out that Rodgers has probably lost the chance for at least 150-200 more yards this season compared to Brees because of game situations where the Packers pulled the plug) Player 1 threw 45 TDS and only 6 INTS. Player 2 threw 40TDS and, I believe, 13 INTs. The argument really doesn't have to go much further. But when it does, it also involves yards per attempt-- not close--; w/l record-- 2 game difference; head-to-head outcome-- we know who won that game.

And Player 1 runs a lot better than Player 2, including numerous first down scrambles.

But you know what? it doesn't really matter- whoever pervails at Lambeau in 4 weeks-- if they both get there-- has bragging rights.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by RickD :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 1:03am

On national TV, Drew Brees just thanked "the equipment managers, who rub down those balls."

There was much laughter.

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Re: Week 16 Open Discussion Thread
by Nathan :: Tue, 12/27/2011 - 1:36am

1) MVP Race: Diehard Pats fan, and it should go to Rodgers, no brainer.
2) Brees CRUSHED the locker room record speech. Speech of the year. RickD pointed out the "rub down the balls" line but there was a sneaky second line after the laughter... "You know what I mean. Full service." Great speech and props to Payton with the set up speech giving Marino his due.

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