Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Sep 2005

MMQB: Best in the Business

Peter King praises the Patriots, although he does rank the Colts ahead of them in his Fine Fifteen. I think the most interesting aspect of his article is where he writes that "Belichick would have coached this game differently than Bill Cowher: he wouldn't have left so much time on the clock. The Steelers had plenty of time, 3:19, to score the tying touchdown. But they left 1:21 on the clock."

I did think the Steelers made some odd clock management decisions late in the game, although I'm always a little hesitant to talk about that because those are the types of decisions that everyone can question after the game, when we already know the outcome.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 26 Sep 2005

140 comments, Last at 27 Sep 2005, 9:35am by Vash

Comments

1
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:27pm

I think someone needs to tell Dwight Freeney how many games there are in a season. His quote after the 3-0 Colts' win over Cleveland: "We still got, what, 15, 16 games, 14 games left. So we're gonna keep on ballin.'"

That's absolutely great.

2
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:31pm

Honestly, I don't understand the argument that the Steelers should have taken time off the clock. You're down seven points with less than two minutes left in the game, you score in any way possible, no matter how quickly you do it. That play-action pass that worked so well on first down wouldn't have worked nearly so well on 3rd and goal from the 4.

I also don't understand the suggestion that Belichick wouldn't have scored so quickly. There have been plenty, plenty of occasions in which the Pats have won a game with their defense keeping their opponent from mounting a last-minute drive: last year's Super Bowl comes to mind, as does the first AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, the goal-line stand game in Indianapolis, and others. This idea that the Patriots are the model of efficiency is becoming incredibly overstated. They don't do everything at optimal efficiency -- but they have the talent to overcome their inefficiency when necessary.

3
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:33pm

Hmmm 14 games left = first round loss in playoffs
15 games left = 2nd round loss in playoffs (Or AFC championship loss & first round bye)
16 games left = First round bye & superbowl.
Maybe he's on to something.

4
by Kami (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:38pm

To Peter King: You don't think the Colts are going to the postseason? I think Freeny does.

5
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:39pm

Jeremy:

Yah, I agree with you. You can't play games when you're losing. You can play games when the game is tied, and teams probably do.

But coaches, as I've said many times, don't play to maximize their chance at winning. They play to not lose. These are two different things.

6
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:41pm

I agree with Kami. I get the feeling this team might very well play 18 or 19 games.

"However many times, this was one of them."

One assisted most ably by a head coach who mysteriously calls time outs that work for AND against him! Not to mention bad special teams play.

7
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:41pm

Yah, I agree with you. You can’t play games when you’re losing. You can play games when the game is tied, and teams probably do.

I'll even go a step further and say that you can play games in the red zone and down a field goal. But a touchdown? Nope, not a time to fool around.

8
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:42pm

"safety Rodney Harrison and tackle Matt Light"

I would argue the latter is more important than the former, especially long-term.

9
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:43pm

"Same thing I would have said had I not been transfixed."

And it's only 25 cents per view! Clean up when you leave the booth.

10
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:45pm

"Richard Seymour sacks better."

Eh? If you put your clothes in the dryer, and the cycle completes, can they be 110 percent dry?

A sack is, ahem, a sack.

11
by DMP (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:46pm

When do we start getting concerned with the lack of production of the Indy offense? Everyone seems to be running on the assumption that soon enough they'll just turn it on... yet here we are 3 games into it and it's looking surprisingly off.

12
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:51pm

DMP:

I agree. Take a look at those top 5 over there. Some of those are going to fall, definitely. But those 5 over there are "teams which have beaten their opponents convincingly, and rarely played poorly."

Is Indy there? Nope. Because they simply haven't been playing well. 13-6 is an interception returned for a touchdown away from a tie game.

13
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:53pm

"He can't hear himself think there in Copeville."

For non-Pittsburghers out there, he's making a passing reference to Myron Cope.

Something more about Myron: Despite being one of the nicest guys in the world, he owes the name "Cope" to anti-semitism.

His real name is Myron Sydney Kopelman. An editor demanded that he change his name so the readers wouldn't realize he was Jewish.

I guess the goyischen don't grasp the strangeness of "Feh," "Double Yoi" and the "Oy" here and there.

At one time, he was one of the nation's finest sports writers, on par with Shirley Povich (yes, his father) and Mo Segal.

14
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:56pm

"Corny as it sounds, even if you bleed black and gold, you've got to appreciate the greatness in progress."

Try mumbling that in the heart of Copeville. You'll be bleeding something, but it won't be black or gold.

15
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:59pm

"In the end, Sunday's game proved Ben Roethlisberger's not in Tom Brady's league yet."

Who made that comparison? Roethlisberger was the THIRD STRING QB last year before Batch, then Maddox got hurt. No one expected him to be the sorta wunderkind he became (although I voted for Clayton as rookie of the year).

Technically, however, not only is Roethlisger in Brady's League, he's also in his conference.

16
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:03pm

"Any defense that confuses and chases Kyle Orton all over the field is a good one."

And Kyle Orton learned he's not in Brady's League, too!

As for defenses that confused and chased Kyle Orton all over the field, please add Ohio State, Michigan, (fill in other Big 10 teams), Georgia and Arizona State.

Oh, yeah, and the Redskins in Week 1.

But let's start it now: Who is better? Peyton or Orton?

17
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:04pm

I agree that you can't fault Cowher for "scoring too fast." That is King being ridiculous, but it does give us something to talk about. Some things I wish King had brought up are:

1) The fact that after Light went out, the Steelers actually seemed to blitz less, and they certainly did not target the replacement LT. The Steelers sent one blitz from that side (which resulted in a sack when the new LT whiffed on two Steelers) and then...nothing. After Light went out, the Steelers actually seemed to blitz less than they had when he was in the game. When they did blitz, they were coming up the middle. Seemed odd to me not to just overload the Pats left side and feast on the newbie.

2) The reason the Pats won the game was because of their front defensive four. Seymour was a beast and deserves lots of props. He made Simmons look bad. In an odd twist, the Steelers were the ones who were guilty of false starts, which is not a good thing when you are playing in your own house. The right side of the Steelers line got beaten badly, and pressured Big Ben all day. More than anything else, that seemed to me to be the difference in the game. While Brady will deservedly get lots and lots of credit for the win, the unforgotted guys on that d-line are the ones who deserve it.

I'll go on record and tell everyone I'm a die-hard Steelers fan, and I was disappointed in the game. The Pats whipped us, and it would have been worse if they had not kept turning the ball over in the red zone. The score was closer than what it should have been. The one thing I don't get, and I would love to hear ideas from everyone on this issue, is why can't the Steelers stop a short passing game? Late in the game the Steelers were rushing four and the rest were in coverage and there were still guys open all over. Brady made a few nice throws, but for the most part he was not really threading his throws - he was hitting wide open guys. On the TV I can't see what the coverage scheme is, but it certainly did not seem to be working! The Steelers need to work on that an play something a little tighter.

18
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:06pm

"You have to address them. Sometimes when you win, it masks things. We're addressing the things we need to address, like the offensive line.''

Mike Tice, thank you! Finally, some honesty! Too bad you told reporters last week that the line played great! Screw ol' Peppy!

No %&$&&^% the line has been playing like poop. But any line will improve against one of the worst defensive fronts in the NFL, the New Orleans Saints.

Atlanta will eat poor "Peppy" like cold cuts, which is a shame. He deserves better from his front office.

19
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:09pm

I love how he has Indy's D coach as the Coach of the Week, and compares him to the Pats...
Oh wait, who have the Colts played? Absolutely NOBODY? That's right, I almost forgot.

Wake me when Indy plays someone I expect to win more than 6 games this year...oh wait, that would be the New England Patriots...after their bye week :P

Way to go schedulers of the NFL :p

20
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:09pm

SLB, you beat me to it, but I wanted to discuss how poorly the right side of Pittsburgh's line played. Last year, they had more depth on the right, but free agency took care of that. For many of us, we've been looking at the right to see how it would make it.

The Pats exposed just how short that side has been. The Stillers have to really regroup there before they play the Colts.

21
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:13pm

""NFL Hurricane Relief, this is Art Shell,'' he answered.

"Raiders SUCK!'' said a guy, who promptly hung up.

As much as we bash King, that was perfect.

22
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:15pm

""I've been saying that our goal is to get a team back to L.A., either through expansion (...)"

You can end the sentence right there. The other NFL owners want EXPANSION franchises, not moves, because prospective owners must pay gajillions to the other clubs. It's a huge infusion of profit that goes unshared with the players.

Absolutely no one in the NFL wants to see a team move into LA except the Saints.

Al Davis, show 'em how it's done!

23
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:17pm

"I knew there was a reason why I think he's going to be a pretty good player."

Yes, he has man hands AND he's king of his castle.

24
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:17pm

Carl, I agree that losing Light is probably more damaging than losing Harrison, but I am amazed that the Patriots could stick a rookie, middle round draft pick, in at olt, during a game at Pittsburgh, and still enjoy the offensive success they had yesterday. The Pats simply must be a significantly better-coached team than is the norm in the NFL.

I have also determined that the sun rises in the east.

25
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:18pm

"Erickson's still got the bug. Pac-10, here he comes."

Probation, here it comes.

26
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:21pm

"I wonder where Maurice Clarett watched the games Sunday."

In a just world, it was with a former lacrosse co-ed, sipping hazlenut lattes, in a state of messy undress.

Then they went out and got tatoos.

Sigh.

26
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:21pm

"I wonder where Maurice Clarett watched the games Sunday."

In a just world, it was with a former lacrosse co-ed, sipping hazlenut lattes, in a state of messy undress.

Then they went out and got tatoos.

Sigh.

28
by Mike B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:22pm

Re: #15 -

I agree - it's strange, I seem to remember Brady not being in Brady's league during his first full season as the starter.

29
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:29pm

Yep, carl, unless the Vikings find a magic wand to wave at their center and left guard, Atlanta is going to have some fun next Sunday. Tice better tell his defense that they need to hold Atlanta to 16 or less, and then figure out some way to rush for more than 150 yards. The tough thing is that Withrow seems to have more diffculty in run blocking, while their left guards can't pass block to save their souls. McKinney (who, along with Liewinski, has been decent) needs to know that they can't give him any help with Kearney on Sunday, since they need to plug the dike in the middle first.

As to holding Atlanta to less than sixteen, it won't help if Willie Offord, who really has been playing well, and Brian Williams are out, since that will severely limit what schemes the Vikings can use.

30
by MdM (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:29pm

RE: SLB

No one can stop a short passing game! See vintage 49er's, pre-Dillon Patriots. Brady just seems to be a cut above everyone else, doesn't he?

31
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:29pm

"I think the New Orleans Saints continue to learn a very painful lesson each week, and it has nothing to do with not having a home field: The more you rely on Aaron Brooks to win, the more you lose."

Yes. King instead wants to rely on the brilliant skills of Deuce "I Blow on First, Third on Important Yardage Downs" McAllister.

Brooks plays behind a mediocre line. He has two very fine receivers, and can scramble. So, instead of throwing early and often against defenses in his division that aren't exactly known for their fine secondaries, King makes the tacit suggestion, again, that they run.

In three games this year, McAllister has impressed us all with his mighty 174 yards on 55 carries.

Recipe for success: Stir in a whole lotta Deuce!

To which I say, "Feh."

32
by Johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:30pm

-Will the Raiders ever have a five-penalty game? Ever?

I remember an old study showing teams that wear dark uniforms get more penalties than teams dressed in lighter uniforms. Anyone know if that is still true?

33
by Vern (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:30pm

Re: 17

Acording to Mike Felger at the Boston Herald (linked), Brady saw the Steelers were in a Cover-2 and knew that meant RBs in man-to-man coverage against LBs. He took the easy route and they were smart enough and fast enough to get out of bounds. The Pats offense is based on taking what the defense gives.

And as for the Cowher clock management, I don't think you can fault the TD that much. I do think you can fault the Steelers for not using another timeout before the final kick, particularly after they called one with 50 seconds. Calling another after Given's catch would have meant at least 20 or so seconds left after the FG for a last ditch effort. Given the Pats horrendously bad kickoff coverage this year, (and/or a possible squib) the Steelers would likely have started around their 40, and had to make just a couple of plays to at least line up for long FG to tie it.

34
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:32pm

Make that, "their right guards can't pass block to save their souls".

35
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:32pm

"Mark Schlereth, the lineman-turned-ESPNer, predicted a Baltimore-Minnesota Super Bowl."

Mark Schlereth, the apparently stoned-out-of-his-skull ESPNer...

36
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:34pm

Vern, I thought one of the keys to the game was that nifty pass to Pass when the Steelers went to Cover 2.

I say this only because in another part of FO I suggested that the Pats mix up short passes to Faulk and Pass.

They did this in the crucial fourth quarter drives (with Farrior pulling down Faulk, which shows you his great range as a covering LB).

Bill, you can send me a check now.

37
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:37pm

"Even though the tentative new stadium deal announced last week in suburban Blaine includes a retractable-roof stadium, Wilf still wants it open air."

What do the taxpayers want?

38
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:37pm

Criticizing a team for scoring a touchdown too quickly against the Pats to tie the game must either be a facetious remark , or a sign that the writer is suffering from latte intoxication.

39
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:37pm

"Last eight Saints quarters: 10 turnovers, 28 penalties, 60 points allowed."

But they're America's team!

40
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:38pm

I agree with those here that have commented the Steelers needed to score whenever they could rather than play games with the clock. But I did think it was odd for the Steelers to take one time out (when the Pats had the ball in field goal range) but not take the other. What was the point? Why take the first one to preserve time, if you're not going to take the second?

Also agree with the commentary on Orton. The analyst on that game (Randy Cross, I think) kept going on about what a terrific steal he was for the Bears and and how they were either lucky or brilliant for picking him. Then Orten would throw another pick. Hilarious. Orton may turn out to be the next Johnny U, who knows. But all he's done so far is 'manage' a team to one victory (supported by a terrifc defensive and speacial teams effort)against an apparently disinterested Detroit team.

41
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:38pm

MdM,

I agree that stopping a short passing game is tough, but I still have to think that teams can it least slow it down. I agree that Brady is a cut above, but allowing him to go 12 for 12 in cruch time strikes me as a problem with the Steelers' scheme. I think that the Steelers are going to have to take some more risks in the secondary and let guys try and make plays. They have made speed in the secondary a focus of the past three drafts and it is time to put it to use. I'd like to see the Steelers play more bump-and-run coverages and tighten it up because the Pats yesterday did the same thing to the Steelers that they did in the opener in 2002 (spread the field, take five step drops and get rid of it quick) and it was just as effective. It is somewhat disappointing that the Steelers got beat with a similar game plan three years after this problem was recognized.

Also, I know that there are lots of Pats fans here so I am not knocking Brady at all. He was money. I just wish the Steelers had done something to at least try and present him with something new.

42
by MarkB (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:38pm

Regarding the "scoring too soon" business: If you were as old as I am, you'd remember that the Lombardi Packers were famous for milking the clock before scoring at the end of a game. Teams like the Colts had higher scoring offences, but the Packers won the big games. Sound familiar?

43
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:40pm

"Giants playing very small in a very big game for them."

Uhhh, am I the only one who noticed in the first two games that NYG doesn't exactly have a very good defense?

The offense, I thought, came out and played well for two, three quarters.

But when you're playing as far behind as they will against good teams because of that horrible, horrible D, it's hard to keep pouring it on.

His brother could in Indianapolis, but he had a better line, tailback and receivers.

44
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:41pm

The politicians in Anoka County, which is the taxing body proposed to be most on the hook for a new Vikings stadium, wants a roof, so the proposed new mall complex can have more frequent crowds .

45
by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:41pm

#31:

Brooks this year is 57/101 with 2 TDs, 5 picks, and a 66.7 passer rating. So Deuce isn't the problem any more than Brooks is the solution.

I haven't really followed the Saints so maybe I have missed something, but to the casual observer, Brooks' stat line doesn't make me want to rely on him to win games.

46
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:42pm

"Inconsistency on pass interference calls. It's happening again. Too much."

Actually, I'll defend the pass interference calls in Pittsburgh. I thought they were good calls. And I say this as maybe the biggest fan of cornerbacks in the NFL.

47
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:46pm

"Across the concourse, I paid $2.25 for Newsday, the Post, and the Daily News, combined. Stop the gouging, Seattle."

If Starbucks starts sticking ads on the 142 cups they sell you for one latte, will you keep complaining? Seeing as ads are the most important revenue stream for publications. One would assume a reporter for A MAGAZINE might realize that.

48
by Pittsburgh Phil (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:50pm

You score whenever you can. Post #2 was right on the money. Everything else is revisionist history.

49
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:50pm

Re: 47

Isn't in amazing that Starbucks hasn't just given him a "Free Coffee Card" that is good at any Starbuck's on the Planet. I wish Starbucks would just give the guy his friggin' coffee so he would stop complaining about what it costs! What does he think, that the two pounds of sugar that they put in a quadruple Hazlenut Latte is free? Good grief. Starbucks, please, please, please, give this guy what he wants so we don't have to suffer through his bulls**t anymore!

50
by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:50pm

“Across the concourse, I paid $2.25 for Newsday, the Post, and the Daily News, combined. Stop the gouging, Seattle.�

I do not understand this comment. Is he saying that the newspapers are also price gouging or that affordable newspapers shouldn't be near expensive coffee? I don't know if $2.25 for 3 papers is expensive or not because I haven't bought a newspaper in, I dunno, forever.

51
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:50pm

Uhhh, am I the only one who noticed in the first two games that NYG doesn’t exactly have a very good defense?

PFP noticed it before the season. Projected NYG to have the worst defense in the league. That's probably a bit overstated, but "one of the worst" looks like it might be true.

52
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:51pm

Orton, by the way, says he's seen every Seinfeld episode 10 to 15 times, and now his favorite show is Curb Your Enthusiasm. I knew there was a reason why I think he's going to be a pretty good player.

I've read that 5 times and I still can't figure out if he's being ironic

here is where Belichick would have coached this game differently than Bill Cowher: he wouldn't have left so much time on the clock.

in King's eyes, Belichick has now moved into the 4th dimension

The fact that after Light went out, the Steelers actually seemed to blitz less, and they certainly did not target the replacement LT. The Steelers sent one blitz from that side (which resulted in a sack when the new LT whiffed on two Steelers) and then…nothing.

I was thinking zactly the same thing--after that first play, I thought, "well, we'll be seeing that for the rest of the game", and then---nothing!?

53
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:53pm

Don't get me started on Brooks. I'd put him at about the 20th best QB in the NFL, which is probably where FO puts him, too.

All I'm saying is that New Orleans has a better chance of winning if they pass than if they run. McAllister, as I've written before, is not so great, especially in the situations you want your RB to be good.

Horn, however, is the real deal. I thought his season last year was excellent (and no one noticed).

I've never been a big fan of Stallworth's, but he's been better this year. So I say, THROW!

They're not going to win anyway because they're the New Orleans Saints. But at least they will have a slightly better chance of winning by keeping it aloft than on the ground, which is what King always wants.

54
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:54pm

Re: 52

What makes it even more odd is that last year Light got hurt too and missed, I think, about two and half quarters. Joey Porter went nuts on the replacement and got a bunch of sacks. I, like you, was hoping for more of the same but it just did not happen. Of course, maybe the replacement tackle is the second coming of Jonathan Ogden, but I highly doubt it.

55
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:56pm

Re: 46

I thought the last call (Scott on Morgan) was marginal. And given the situation, I was surprised they bailed the Steelers out on jump ball play. Not saying their technically wasn't interference (though I didn't see any, Scott was definitely late in turning to the ball) just that it's more common for the refs not to call it in that situation.

56
by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:57pm

The thing that always gets me about people who complain about prices is that 95% they say stuff like "I can't believe I had to pay [price] for [item I didn't need]!"

If the gouging bothers you, there's two choices I can see making sense:

1) Take a stand and don't buy it.
2) Buy it and curse your weakness for caffeine.

No one ever said capitalism was fair.

57
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:59pm

Re: 55

We can debate whether that was a good call or not, but as a Steelers fan I will tell you this - You better get used to Chad Scott getting flagged! Holding, interference, you name it. To say that Chad has lost a step is being generous.

58
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:02pm

Carl,

the second one was made clear by Scott not looking back to the ball, but the first PI call was questionable.

I wouldn't have nearly the problem with it if they would just call it both ways. Moss and Burress are constantly using the technique known as "the two handed shove" to get open in the end zone. Rarely are they called. But a defender grazes a shoulder 1/4 of a second before the ball arrives in an obvious attempt to play the ball? No way can we allow that.

59
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:02pm

"If the gouging bothers you, there’s two choices I can see making sense..."

In the event of a CBA implosion, Zip, I want you to remember that sentiment. Because when the NFL PR machine ramps up for a lockout, you'll hear a lot about how the owners are just trying to keep ticket prices low for their fans, but those greedy ol' players are fixin' for a fight.

When it's mentioned that perhaps the owners are charging market rate for tickets, with value-added perks such as high parking rates, expensive club concessions, season fees, etc., tacked on -- revenues that by and large do not go to players -- just remember that he's kvetching about paying $6 for a triple shot of coffee.

I say this because King will parrot the NFL line about fans getting screwed by the greedy players. I guarantee it.

60
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:04pm

I'll chime in on the clock mgmt. thing as well: Cowher did fine. That drive was scraping and clawing even to REACH the end zone and it took a blunder by Chad Scott to get close. You score however you can, then you let your D hold them. Belichick would have done the same, I bet. Actually, it was Belichick that was more nerve-wracking, as I thought they might not get the FG kick away in time...

61
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:04pm

I saw the Morgan play from many different angles. The DB pushed him, then tried to make a play on the ball to cover up the push.

It was illegal contact and I yelled, "You've got to call that!" And the ref did.

Because I blurted it out, it was so.

62
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:04pm

I thought the scheme the Vikings employed with Horn yesterday was interesting; giving their best cover guy, Smoot, sole responsibility with other receivers, and then using two guys to deal with Horn. The Saints weren't all that good to begin with, and the circumstances they find themselves in just aggravates matters.

63
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:04pm

Re: 58

Oswlek,

You need to get your terminology correct. It is not referred to as the "two handed shove" because it is known as the "Michael Irvin Technique" after the receiver who perfected it!

64
by Jerome (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:07pm

"Neil Rackers is really good. He's the Arizona kicker. That's why nobody knows him. Who knows the Arizona kicker? He scored all the Cards' points in a 37-12 loss at Seattle, two of his four field goals coming from 54 and 50." Yes!

65
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:12pm

Re: 58

Burress got away with it in a big way on his TD last night.

Re: 60

Can you tell me why he called one time out (when the Pats were in FG range) and not the other? What was the point?

66
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:12pm

Yep, ol' Kingey will howl that the greedy players are shafting the fans, if an uncapped year comes about. Meanwhile, he seems to be a booster for taxpayers helping out billionaires, who are well-known for their altruism. To be fair, however, I think he did once congratulate Kraft for not sticking his hands as deeply into the public coffers than is the norm for NFL stadiums.

67
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:17pm

The two-handed shovers are pikers compared to the master of the one handed shove, Drew Pearson, who I personally witnessed practicing his craft at the old Met Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota, in a somewhat famous instance.

I was ten years old, and it has forever scarred me. The horror, the horror.....

68
by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:26pm

Carl,

27 out of 67 posts.

Any chance you might visit the "less is more" school of posting?

Don't get me wrong...I love...ok, like reading your stuff...but even Brian Billick turns down an interview request once in a while.

69
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:30pm

Haven't read the comment syet, somaybe this has been said, but...

I'm getting sick of scrolling down to read the Kansas City comments in a ranking or game preview piece, and only hearing about Vermeil's wine. This has happened three times the past couple weeks. I don't think they were all King (I believe at least one was Dr. Z), but come on, gimme some football talk.

70
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:42pm

Regarding the short passing game:
I think the Pats were so successful at it because the Steelers were taking away other things. You can't stop everything! Over the last few games, the Pats have shown an increasing propensity for the deep ball. Yesterday, they had exactly 1 deep attempt. I'm guessing that's because the Steelers were using a pressure defense with a safety (or safeties) back deep to stop the deep attempts, and to have more people on the line to stop the run. What do you do when your opponent does that? You go to short passes, slants, and screens. What were the Pats having success at? Short passes, slants, and screens. The Steelers mistake was not shifting their coverages to stop the underneath routes, and maybe backing off some of the pressure to get more people in the short zones.

Regarding the PI calls:
I thought, after seeing the replay, that the first one was a blatantly bad call. Scott MAYBE had his hand touching the reciever's back, but he in no way pushed, redirected, or otherwise interfered with the reciever. But the reciever's reaction was good enough that in real time I can understand why the official would make the mistake and throw the flag.

The second one is interesting because it highlights my biggest problem with the rule change of last year (and yes, I call it a "rule change" because they actually re-wrote the rule book to clarify their "point of emphasis". If you change text in the rule book, it's a rule change). To me it looked like Scott (the CB) was covering the reciever closely. When the reciever looked to catch the ball, Scott also turned also look for the ball. Because the ball was slightly underthrown, the reciever decelerated, and since Scott had already started turning, he bumped into the WR and his forearm pushed him. I am an admitted Patriots fan, and to me the contact looked "incidental", but I will concede that the fact that Scott had possibly not quite seen the ball when the contact occurred (since he was turning to look for it) might be enough to rule pass interference, if the ref is being very picky. But now, what is a CB supposed to do? Before, the understanding was that if the CB was focusing on the WR, it was interference, because he obviously wasn't going for the ball, and if he ran into the WR because he was looking around for the ball, it was not interference because the CB was making a play on the ball. Now, CB's still can't watch the reciever and only the reciever, but if they turn for the ball and inadvertently run into the WR (say, because the WR's decelerates), it's still interference. The CB can't look at both the WR (to avoid him) and the ball to make a play on it, and canny WR's have figured this out and have started to wait for tightly covering CB's to start to turn to look for the ball and then to decelerate so that they get "interfered with". The only other option for the CB is to give the WR a 1-2 yard cushion, which obviously is dangerous.

71
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:45pm

Where's the love for Randel-El's attempted lateral at the 10? That's my nominee for this week's Keep Choppin' Wood award.

72
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:56pm

RE: 71

My only complaint with the lateral is not that Randel-El tried it, but the fact that it looked to me like after he made his cut he had a better opportunity to make the end zone than Ward did. If you take into account that Ward would have probably have been in position to throw a block, Randel-El looked like he could have went in untouched. Unfortunately, though, I saw the game on the small screen and can't say for sure, but on the replay it looked like he could have got the six himself.

73
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:04pm

RE: #24

"Carl, I agree that losing Light is probably more damaging than losing Harrison, but I am amazed that the Patriots could stick a rookie, middle round draft pick, in at olt, during a game at Pittsburgh, and still enjoy the offensive success they had yesterday. The Pats simply must be a significantly better-coached team than is the norm in the NFL."

----------------

In addition to playing much of preseason at LT, the rookie Nick Kaczur had gotten significant playing time at both RT and LT in each of the Pats two first games and was scheduled to play several series in relief of Matt Light yesterday, regardless.

Belichick likes to rotate O-linemen in September games because it's hot and the big fatties aren't fully in game shape and because it builds depth for the long haul of an NFL season.

On top of that, Kaczur had earned playing time based on an impressive training camp. Many Pats fans were already predicting that he would be the starting RT by the mid-point in the season. I'm not suprised that Kaczur was able to step in and hold down the fort at LT. He'd already been doing it for two or three series in each of the first two games. Nevertheless, playing a full game at LT against the Blitzburgh pass rush is a tall challenge.

Kaczur will make rookie mistakes as he learns on the job, just as Light made rookie mistakes at LT in the 2001 SuperBowl run. But, many Pats fans believe that Kaczur is quicker and more athletic than Light.

The fact that Mankins was the day one starter at LG and Kaczur was getting significant reps indicates that Belichick has been impressed with their progress.

74
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:09pm

Re: 72

I'm with you. It seemeded to me like Ward was already looking to make the final block that would have let Randle-El walk in, when the pitch came his way. He saw the pitch, but it was too late for him to adjust to the ball.

OTOH, I think you're being generous in not faulting Randle-El in a more general sense. Anytime you wing something like that, you need to be confident the other guy has at least an idea it's coming. Typically, guys at least make eye contact.

75
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:09pm

I really don't understand the love for Akers this week. Maybe this is the Philly guy in me always critiquing, but Akers did far more to hurt his team by trying to play than he helped them by making a kick that may put him out several extra weeks. Reid is also to blame, he has to stop taking his players at their word when they say they can play hurt. Between the lousy kickoffs, the missed XP and the fact they needed to get inside the 10 to try a game winning FG, this could easily have cost them the game.

Also, did anybody else think that the Eagles should have gone for 2 on the first TD? You only have to drop the XP success rate to 80% to try for 2, and I doubt you could expect Simoneau to make 80% of his tries.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled Carl comment.

76
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:14pm

Regarding Cowher's clock management: I just didn't see whatever PK thinks he saw. I have seen plenty of games where teams panic and use their timeouts unwisely later in games (see Carolina Panthers in Superbowl 38), leaving too much time on the clock. Yesterday's game wasn't one of those games though.

Regarding pass interference: I think it's been ruled pretty consistently for all of the 16+ years I've watched football. Simply put, if the defensive back is not looking back at the ball and there's contact, the DB is in trouble. Commentators and coaches frequently debate these calls, but I think the calls are usually pretty consistent when you consider the above simple premise.

77
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:15pm

Reid is also to blame, he has to stop taking his players at their word when they say they can play hurt.

He didn't. Akers was fine. He was kicking 55-60 yard field goals before kickoff. They showed those kicks during the game. Akers also didn't hurt the team. He didn't know the leg was going to give. It certainly didn't give during practice - you think they wouldn't've noticed that? Or you could again just look at pictures from before the game. He was fine.

In fact, Akers injured a different portion of his hamstring this week. Yah. It's a different injury. It's bad luck, yes, but it is just luck.

78
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:17pm

On the Deuce vs Brooks argument. I watched the Saints/NYG game closely last week, and I can tell you this much. Running Deuce between the tackles is suicide. Getting him in "space" either with passes out of the backfield or runs to the outside is a much better use of his talents. Brooks is a QB who can scramble around, make amazing passes, and will make very dumb descisions. Really, there is no good answer.
And I just want to say that I, too, knew the Giants defense (and offense) were going to be bad.

79
by Artemis (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:24pm

Hey! The only reason I come in here on Mondays is to read Carl's comments on MMQ! I would not read King at all if I could not compare notes.

Go Carl!

80
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:28pm

Translation: We'll be challenging any effort by Saints owner Tom Benson to move the Saints to San Antonio. Hartford/New Haven, Raleigh/Durham, and Greenville/Spartanburg are all bigger markets; San Antonio is 16,000 TV households bigger than Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, the No. 38 market.

I don't know about TV data, but when I read that Grand Rapids was bigger than San Antonio, I got a little skeptical, since San Antonio has over 1,000,000 in its city limits. I took the liberty of looking up some info on the U.S. census site, and here are the places he mentioned, along with metro area populations (2000 data).

Hartford/New Haven ... 1,725,259
two separate areas
Hartford metro area ... 1,183,110
city of New Haven (which is actually included in the NYC metro area, according to the census) ... 542,149

San Antonio ... 1,592,383

Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek ... 1,540,851
two separate areas
Grand Rapids metro area ... 1,088,514
Kalamazoo/Battle Creek metro area ... 452,851

Raleigh/Durham ... 1,187,941

Greenville/Spartanburg ... 962,441

The biggest metro areas without a team are Seattle and Phoenix, both with just over 3,000,000 people.

81
by Balaji (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:29pm

“Corny as it sounds, even if you bleed black and gold, you’ve got to appreciate the greatness in progress.�

Yes, just like I'm sure Raiders and Oilers fans in the '70s appreciated the greatness of the Steelers. It might be easier to take if some of their greatness weren't, you know, at the expense of our preferred team.

#71, George: "Where’s the love for Randel-El’s attempted lateral at the 10? That’s my nominee for this week’s Keep Choppin’ Wood award."

My exact thought when that happened was, "There's the KCW award this week." My next thought was, "I need another beer."

82
by Joel (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:32pm

"The biggest metro areas without a team are Seattle and Phoenix, both with just over 3,000,000 people."

Tell that to the Seahawks and Cardinals.

83
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:46pm

My first thought on the attempted lateral was, "Why???!!!". My second thought was, "Wait, did I flip to the wrong channel and wind up watching rugby by mistake?". My third thought was, "Why???!!!!".

84
by Daniel Warehall (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:46pm

If the Seahawks and Cards don't count, can Detroit be added to the list of cities without a "real" NFL franchise.

85
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:46pm

Tell that to the Seahawks and Cardinals.

Exactly. I don't see a team there.

rimshot

86
by melissa (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:48pm

I must confess I didn't read ALL the posts, so this may have been said, but did the Patriots really manage the clock that well in the game? I mean, yes they won and that is all that matters in the end, but the Patriots had no time outs on that final drive because they used one on the Steelers previous drive immediately after the Steelers time out. I assume this was to change the defensive scheme and would have been great if they had gotten a stop, but becuase it resulted in the interference penalty criticized above, it was kind of a waste. Also, what if the Steelers had run instead of throwing that last touchdown and taken time off the clock and then the Pats would have had the ball with a lot less time and no timeouts. I think the Pats were pretty lucky that it didn't come back to bite them (although I guess maybe they figured there was always overtime and I know they didn't spike the ball when they could have).

87
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:53pm

The Pats didn't do a good job managing thier timeouts. In addition to the one melissa mentioned, they blew thier other timeouts cause Brady couldn't get a play off on time, at least one of them was caused by crowd noise preventing Brady from audibling.

88
by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:57pm

The biggest metro areas without a team are Seattle and Phoenix, both with just over 3,000,000 people.

What about Los Angeles?

89
by Phil (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:58pm

Carl, you do know you are allowed to have more than one point in a post, don't you?

90
by Daniel (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:59pm

Re: Cowher's Clock Management
Calling the last timeout wouldn't have mattered. The Pats kicked the FG on 3rd down and if Cowher calls the timeout Belicheck would have just run another play and kicked the FG on 4th down.
In general the Steelers played pretty poorly. As a fan I was disappointed. Randle El not only made a bonehead play with the lateral, he dropped an easy pass on third down late in the game. If it wasn't for Faulk dropping the ball every time Haggans looked at him funny the score would have been 35-13.

91
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:04pm

I meant to put "other than LA" in my post. As for the Seahwaks and Cardinals... I wish I could say I was making a joke, but wow, I don't know how that happened... serious brain fart. I'm gonna go with "East Coast Bias" as my explanation.

92
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:04pm

"If it wasn’t for Faulk dropping the ball every time Haggans..."

Haggans, it should be noted, played an excellent game. I think all the Steelers' LBs played well, and that the Pats did a very good job picking up the pressure in the second half.

As I mentioned earlier, the passes to the FB and slot third down back by the Pats were genius because they exploited obvious breakdowns in Cover-2 assignments that, normally, would not have happened with more pressure on the QB.

That, and because I mentioned they should do that against the Stillers on Friday, in another part of FO.

93
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:11pm

In that case it's Portland with 2.2 million, Sacramento with 1.8, Milwaukee with 1.7, then the cities King mentioned

94
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:13pm

Re: 90

Then why did he call the second timeout? Frankly, I think calling no timeouts would have been best. Not sure if the Pats call the last pass if they don't have the Pitssburg timeout to think it over.

Also, once you've used the second TO, why not use the third. Then, at least, you force NE to make the decision to kick on third (and leave some time) or kick on fourth (and eliminate any possiblity for a 'do over'). As a Steeler fan (I'm a Browns fan) you know how valuable the 'do over' can be. :-)

95
by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:20pm

"In the end, Sunday's game proved Ben Roethlisberger's not in Tom Brady's league yet."

Tom Brady, through his first 16 NFL regular-season starts (1 game not started counted):
318/491, 3406 yards, 23TD/13INT, 34 20+, 6 40+ (64.8 pct, 6.94 ypa, 89.54 rating)
Ben Roethlisberger, through his first 16 NFL regular-season starts (1 game not started counted):
231/355, 3309 yards, 23TD/11INT, 53 20+, 13 40+ (65.1 pct, 9.32 ypa, 103.83 rating)
Brady's career stats give him a 61.7 pct, 6.95 ypa, 1.85 TD/INT ratio, and a rating of 87.5.

Roethlisberger's regular-season stats are--dare I say it?--better than Tom Brady's, and quite significantly. Of course, Brady is a better clutch quarterback, but a QB needs to perform at his best the entire game, not just in the last 30 minutes.
9.32 yards per attempt, by the way, is ridiculously high (not that you couldn't have figured that out yourself). By comparison, Peyton Manning's 2004 stats (the ultimate benchmark with which to compare a quarterback's performance) put him at 9.17 yards per attempt.
I don't think you can really say any current quarterback is out of Roethlisberger's league, with the possible exception of Manning.

96
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:23pm

is it possible that King wrote an entire MMQB column without any man-love for Brett Favre?

97
by snik75 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:24pm

I thought Cower's timeout management was pretty clever at the end. I certainly thought Pitt would call another timeout, and when they didn't it seemed like NE wasnt quite ready to kick. I mean, they did get it off, but it was kind of rushed. Could it have been an attempt to conufse the Pats by NOT calling another one?

As it turns out, though,it would have been better to make them run another play. You lose a yard with a kneel down, and maybe a RB fumbles with a rush. Right?

98
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:29pm

but a QB needs to perform at his best the entire game, not just in the last 30 minutes.

Actually, if his performance in the latter 30 minutes is good enough to win the game, no, no he doesn't.

99
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:30pm

RE: 97

That is something I hadn't thought of, but it makes sense. I thought that Cowher called the first TO just to give his defense a chance to catch a breather.

100
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:33pm

Vash: You're missing one very important stat in that comparison.
Brady's starting RB during his first 16 starts: Antowain Smith.

101
by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:36pm

He didn’t. Akers was fine. He was kicking 55-60 yard field goals before kickoff. They showed those kicks during the game. Akers also didn’t hurt the team. He didn’t know the leg was going to give.

Yes, yes, I have stopped cursing Big Andy since these facts came to light. However, it is still unfathomable to me that punter Dirk Johnson, who feeds his family based on having a strong leg and an uncommon ability to propel an oblong pigskin with said leg, can't do a passable job on kickoffs, extra points, and field goals within 30 yards. Or if not passable, at least better than Simoneau and Bartrum. Without exaggeration, I think that there are a lot of high school kickers who could have done a better job than Simoneau and Bartrum (as long as they didn't crack under the pressure). How can Dirk Johnson's skills not translate to be better than a high school kicker?

102
by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:39pm

First off, apologies for the double post.

Now, the comment on Bill Cowher's clock management is ludicrous. You don't play clock games when you're behind by a touchdown. Doing that is far more likely to lose you the game than is scoring a minute too early. When you run garbage plays at the goal line to run down the clock, you leave your team with only one or two downs to score, and with much more limited play-calling options. Clock games are extremely profitable when you only need a field goal (since you already have a chip shot), but when you need six, you can't waste chances to get the ball into the end zone.

And since when are the Patriots the AFC "gold standard" on defense? They've allowed over 20 points every game this year, and last year, Pittsburgh's defense led the NFL in points and yards, and was 3rd in yards per play and 2nd in first downs. New England was second, ninth, tenth, and eleventh. Pittsburgh's D also had a lower 3rd down % and fewer penalties for fewer yards than New England's. The only major defensive category in which New England outdid Pittsburgh was turnovers (36 to 32). Pittsburgh is the standard by which a team should compare its defense.
King has lost it.

103
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:45pm

The top two defenses in the AFC last year were Buffalo and Baltimore, Pittsburgh was third.

104
by Aaron (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:10pm

Yeah, let's keep the discussion threads free of pedophilia jokes, okay? Thanks.

105
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:11pm

I'm glad you mentioned that, B. Last night, I was talking to a former coach during the Steelers-Pats game and he dropped, "Well, defenses win championships, you know, and (...)"

I wanted to interrupt him and say, "2004-05. Buffalo, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Washington and Denver."

Whoopee...

106
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:16pm

Of course Akers didn't know the leg was going to give, you can't know that. But the liklihood was substantially increased over normal. I missed the shots of him hitting 55 yarders before the game, I guess.

However, I'm not buying on the injury Akers siffered this week being unrelated to the one from last week (i.e. 'new'). How much Akers practiced during the week we don't really know, and whether he did it at game intensity or not, we don't know either. But, color me skeptical that everything was fine, and Akers just collapsed on the opening kickoff. The fact the Eagles were offside on the kickoff suggests that Akers approach was different than normal, which means he was hurting. Given all that, should the Eagles really have gone without another dressed kicker? I don't see the defense of Reid convincing me here. He rolled the dice, based perhaps on incomplete info from Akers, and I don't think any info I've seen absolves anyone.

Anyway, I'm hoping Will can provide us a bit more insight in his column this week.

As for the lateral by Randle-El, I loved it, but maybe because Ward is on my fantasy team and I thought for a brief second I'd get a cheap TD. Other than that, it was crazy dumb.

107
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:18pm

I find it humerous that on the CNN.SI site currently, they have a faux magazine cover for MMQB and, and this is the great part, Big Bold Letters advertising FEATURING 10 THINGS I THINK I THINK, as if that's a reason to go read the piece.

Not quite Til Tuesday FEATURING AIMEE MANN but same ballpark.

108
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:18pm

How can Dirk Johnson’s skills not translate to be better than a high school kicker?

Because Dirk's not a kicker.

He's a converted safety.

He only ever learned how to punt. They've said that they're going to probably teach him how to placekick, but that situation hadn't come up before. This year I'm sure they've just been working on having Dirk rehab.

109
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:21pm

However, I’m not buying on the injury Akers siffered this week being unrelated to the one from last week (i.e. ‘new’).

Thankfully, the Universe does not need your belief for something to be true. Unless the Eagles are lying to the media (which might be illegal, given that it's medical information) that's what they've stated. I don't see the reason for them to lie on that, either. It was in a different, lower, portion of the leg.

Quotes linked on my name.

I missed the shots of him hitting 55 yarders before the game, I guess.

They showed them right after halftime.

The fact the Eagles were offside on the kickoff suggests that Akers approach was different than normal

Yah. Because Akers collapsed.

110
by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:27pm

"The top two defenses in the AFC last year were Buffalo and Baltimore, Pittsburgh was third."

If you go by either yards per play or defensive DVOA, that is correct. However, Pittsburgh was ahead of both of those teams in most other stats, giving up fewer yards and points. Washington was ahead of the Steelers in third-down percentage, while Buffalo had more takeaways.
You could really argue for any of the three. I, clearly biased in favor of the Steelers, go with Pittsburgh.

111
by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:28pm

I'm not sure who mentioned, but someone wrote something about making eye contact before winging a lateral like Randle El did. Actually, according to Ward and El, they did make eye contact and they do that sometimes in practice. I don't want to apologize for Randle El because I think that that play plus his drops plus his lack of punt returning cost the Steelers dearly, I just wanted to point that out.

112
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:43pm

Vash: I don't feel that total yards or total points allowed are the best way to measure a defense, because both are strongly influenced by factors not under the defense's control (for example: your teams offense and special teams, strength of schedule). If you're a Steelers fan, you might want to jump on the DVOA bandwagon quickly, as it will demonstrate that the Steelers defense is much better than the Colts.

113
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:48pm

Re: 111

I'm still skeptical. Ward looked like he was drawing a bead on some soon to be plastered DB. And if he had suspected that pitch was coming, I gotta believe he would have a) slowed down a little and b) altered his course away from the defense (and Randle El as well).

Their story is possible, but I tend to believe it's a case of Ward being a solid teammate and helping Randle El out.

114
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:50pm

However, Pittsburgh was ahead of both of those teams in most other stats, giving up fewer yards and points.

I would think that this might have something to do with a very successful ball-control offense.

115
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:54pm

rk,

If they practice that it certainly isn't during regularly scheduled team practice time. Cowher seemed to be as surprised as any of us. (See link)
______________________________________
For the record, I think Cowher's non-TO was the best way to go. AV has made so many big kicks that an "icing" was not going to phase him. However, a false start, which is a definite possibilty with the hurried manner that the kick was made in, includes a 10 second run off. If the Pats O-line jumped, the rest of the clock would have run off and OT here we go.

To my understanding, since the clock is not running after a TO, the run-off is not applicable.

And, criticizing a team that scores a gametying TD with less than 2 minutes to go for doing it too quickly is absurd.

116
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:54pm

Playing four games against the Browns & Ravens helped, too.

117
by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:59pm

Note that you don't need DVOA to see that the Colts' defense isn't as good as its points allowed suggest. It ranks around the midway point (or worse) in every major defensive category but points.

By the way, do you happen to have any idea how the Steelers have dropped from the league's best in time of possession (34:00) to below average (28:29) despite executing 2.74 rushes to every pass so far this season (counting the 5 scrambles as rushes and ignoring the 5 sacks)?

118
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:02pm

I agree, the full text of the press conference suggests more about the differences in the injuries. But, what I was saying is a tear in your hamstring might not be unrelated to a significant strain in it already, even if the two aren't in the same spot. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me, though I am not a doctor. Andy's comments state otherwise, which, being informed by the doctors, changes my opinion. I still think Reid, as evidenced by McNabb's history as well, has a problem removing an injured players against the player's say-so. Each individual situation may be explained, but when they add up, you have to ask questions. I'm not of the opinion that you say, "They won the game, so everybody did the right thing."

I skipped halftime with the TiVo, so that's why I missed the kicks.

119
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:07pm

Vash,

Well, the Steelers did let up a few extended drives to the Pats. And based on my conversations with a Steeler fan, he actually said this was a problem going into the game. He told me that the D keeps making big plays near the red zone, but has been letting teams drive on them.

Second, Pitt has been more "explosive" this year. Faster scoring means less time on the field.

The run/pass diferential has much to do with the 4th quarter of blowout wins. Teams are stacked to stop the run, but your going to do it nonetheless, so those drives usually don't go the length of the field.

Just a guess. I could be wrong.

120
by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:20pm

The Steelers threw only 11 passes in their first game, relying almost exclusively on the run even when they led by only a touchdown, and in Game 2, they continued to throw a reasonable number of passes even after taking a big lead. But the big-play capability of the offense seems to factor into this... odd how having a playmaker like Willie Parker makes things tougher on the defense.

121
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:22pm

Each individual situation may be explained, but when they add up, you have to ask questions.

Well, hindsight's 20/20, of course. By the same logic, Reid should've sat out McNabb, and probably should've pulled him from the game when he broke his ankle a while ago.

I can't say I wouldn't've made the same decision, though. Not only would you have to have released someone from the 53-man squad, you would've had to deactivate someone else, as well, as they would've needed 2 active kickers.

If the guy looks fine, says he's fine, and the doctors say he's fine, hey, those are the people who's opinion you trust. I wouldn't say they made a mistake. The Eagles probably just got very unlucky.

122
by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:30pm

If the guy looks fine, says he’s fine, and the doctors say he’s fine, hey, those are the people who’s opinion you trust. I wouldn’t say they made a mistake. The Eagles probably just got very unlucky.

I absolutely agree. People tend to get too results-oriented. Here, even more than anywhere else, we should avoid that... this is a prospectus site, and I'd think the visitors here should generally be more objective than those at other sites.

123
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:35pm

MSNBC.com is reporting that Rodney Harrison is out for the year with a torn ACL. No word yet on whether BB is lying about this and no word yet on whether Harrison will pull a Rod Woodson and return in time for post-season festivities.

124
by ChrisG (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:47pm

I know this is the wrong thread for TMQ, but I'll bet the Steelers will be mentioned for best use of TMQ this week. The play-action on first and goal they ran makes it look as if Cowher will be sending Easterbrook a check.

125
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:57pm

RE: 124

The thing I want to know is whether TMQ will criticize the Steelers for Roethlisberger's pooch punt or whether he will argue the Steelers should have went for it.

126
by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:01pm

The thing I want to know is whether TMQ will criticize the Steelers for Roethlisberger’s pooch punt or whether he will argue the Steelers should have went for it.

When playing with a lead in the first half, fourth-and-5 is not an optimal situation in the Maroon Zone.
Either way, he's going to say something about it.

127
by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:11pm

Re:123
Rod Woodson got hurt in the first game of the season and didn't make it back until the Super Bowl. So this injury may be a little too late in the season by those standards. I do remember Jerry Rice tearing his ACL in week 1 and returning in the regular season only to hurt himself again. I guess medical technology is better now than it was then, but I'm guessing that if his ACL is blown, he won't be back.

128
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:18pm

Well, hindsight’s 20/20, of course. By the same logic, Reid should’ve sat out McNabb, and probably should’ve pulled him from the game when he broke his ankle a while ago.

Well, yeah. That's pretty much my point, except for the hindsight part. And...

If the guy looks fine, says he’s fine, and the doctors say he’s fine, hey, those are the people who’s opinion you trust. I wouldn’t say they made a mistake. The Eagles probably just got very unlucky.

Umm, McNabb this week and in the broken ankle game 'looked fine?' In what universe? He can't run, can't step into his throws, is turning the ball over more, etc.

I absolutely agree. People tend to get too results-oriented. Here, even more than anywhere else, we should avoid that… this is a prospectus site, and I’d think the visitors here should generally be more objective than those at other sites.

It is true that decisions should be evaluated based on the information available when the decision is made, not on the result. However, if you flip a coin 30 times and it comes up heads every time, then eventually you conclude, maybe it isn't a fair coin. Is that the exact same as the current situation? No, but maybe you conclude Andy Reid has a bad estimate on the bias of his players when he asks, "Can you go?" Because, the answer is going to be, "Yeah." On the other hand, sample size here is small, and selection biased.

I was responding to Akers, special teams hero of the week. And I, not unreasonably, thought, maybe he (or his coach) had some culpability for being in that situation by trying to play somewhat hurt (and he wasn't 100% even given that the two injuries are said to be unrelated).

129
by RCH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:40pm

Regarding the Steelers blitzing...they didn't abandon it completely, it was just generally picked up. And if they had got into a predictable pattern of overloading Kaczur's side Brady would have eaten them up all the more.

Also - agree w/Oswlek that the biggest threat to the final field goal was an offsides or a haste induced mistake. If you want to say that Cowher should have used a TO earlier in the drive to conserve time, maybe. But not just before the FG.

130
by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:44pm

ESPN.com is reporting that because of a clock error New England had an extra 52 seconds to complete their game-winning drive. How can no one on the field or sideline notice that an extra 52 seconds just got put on the clock?

131
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:20pm

Cause it happened with over 14 minutes left in the quarter, when nobody is watching the clock.

132
by the K (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:25pm

No one noticed because the extra time was actually put onto the clock early in the fourth. I didn't get to see that game but I believe what I heard was that the clock was reset to 14 minutes and change after a failed end around (going by ear, remember I did not see the game) when there was actually 13 and change after the play had ended. It was at that time nobody else noticed, including the officials, both coaches, or any of the players. I had thought about mentioning this in retaliation to the absurd notion that Pittsburgh should have milked the clock more to score, but then the entire game probably would have turned out differently if the clock was right. At least the last four or five minutes would have likely played out differently.

133
by Paul (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:45pm

The time controversy happened with just under 14 minutes left in the third quarter. There was a restart and the clock operator (Pittsburgh Steeler employee) misread his notes and set the clock to the previous stopped clock (14:51 left) Oops. The official who is responsible for the clock missed it as well. 52 extra seconds.

134
by SLB1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 9:11pm

Re: 133

The error occurred after the second play of the 4th quarter, according to the linked site.

135
by Neptune1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 9:22pm

ESPN is now stating that Harrison hurt his ACL,MCL and his PCL. I do not know what a PCL is, but that is one B-A-D injury.

136
by Dan Babbitt (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 10:46pm

IIRC, Kaczur specialized in LT in college And he's 26 years old.

re: #74 I too thought that Randle-El had a clearer path than Ward.

137
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 12:16am

PCL = Posterior Cruciate Ligament. It crosses behind the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), which is why it's posterior (and cruciate, for that matter).

MCL is the Medial Collateral Ligament. So Harrison has one untorn ligament (Lateral Collateral) left in his knee.

B-A-D sounds about right. Maybe a bit understated.

138
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 2:53am

He should be fine as long as he doesn't do anything that involves applying a forwards, rearwards, or medial force to his knee. You know, like walking or running...

(And if anyone tries to correct me, you should know that I just made that up, so I don't even pretend to believe I am correct.)

139
by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 9:34am

B-A-D is right, but if he was five years younger, I'm sure he'd come back fine. I mean, as bad as the injury is, Robert Edwards' was much worse, and he came back to play a season or two with Miami, and at last check, was performing pretty well in the CFL. Edwards isn't the explosive player he was before, but a safety doesn't place the same stress on the knees that a running back does, and Rodney's never relied on his speed.

Now, maybe at Rodney's age, he doesn't want to put in the year-plus rehab. Entirely possible, and I couldn't blame him if he didn't want to do that. In which case, we'll see him in zebra stripes on the sidelines in a couple of years, and that's one official that will get respect!

140
by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 09/27/2005 - 9:35am

So if he tears his LCL now, will his knee fall apart?