07 Jan 2007
Here's what we were talking about at Football Outsiders over the Wild Card weekend:
"This Colts first drive has been all runs and checkdowns. Apparently, the Colts' offensive plan is to keep their own defense off the field."
"Herm Edwards might be the worst in-game manager in all of sports."
"If it weren't for the two penalties on the punt return team, I'd say the Colts' defense and special teams have been entirely replaced by actual professional football players."
"My god, is Ty Law a lucky mofo."
"What's up with all these drops? Are they using the new NBA ball or something?"
"OK, this was funny and all, but does the real Chiefs-Colts game start after halftime?"
"It is 6:32 PM Eastern time. The Chiefs have their first first down."
"The long Indianapolis third-quarter drive that ended with the Joseph Addai touchdown run - 12 plays, 89 yards and seven minutes off the clock - was a masterpiece of consistent, measured playcalling. The Colts saw that gasping defense, and they went with the Long, Slow Goodbye. Just great football."
"I don't know if its the Colts defense suddenly changing into Mr Hyde. I don't know if its the absolute inability of Herm Edwards to change a plan that clearly wasn't working. But this was a stunning game."
"Why is Kelly Jennings solo on Owens? He weights about 175 pounds and isn't a good tackler."
"Why is Pete Hunter solo on Terry Glenn? Dude, it isn't like the Seahawks have choices right now."
"Let's start a pool... when will Tony Romo finally throw a pass above a guy's ankles?"
"Did Seattle just call a DRAW TO THE FULLBACK on third-and-7 in the red zone? Who thought that one up?"
"The two fourth-down conversions on Seattle's first touchdown drive were nice flashbacks to the past. Of course, there's nothing line a 93-yard punt return touchdown on the next play to kill that momentum!"
"That was one of the goofiest defensive plays I've ever seen. Catch, fumble, but the ball went out of bounds in the air before Lofa Tatupu batted it back in."
"This is going to be the longest replay challenge in the history of replay challenges."
"This is the craziest F'in game I've ever seen!"
"Well, it's hard to say that the same week as that Boise State game. A couple weird plays are nothing compared to that thing."
"As a statistical analyst, it is not my job, nor is it my forte, to psychoanalyze Tony Romo and figure out what this mistake will mean for the rest of his career. However, this will not stop many, many writers and talking heads from doing just that over the next few days."
"Psychoanalyze Romo? Who would do such a thing? 'Hey, Carrie's man, what's your game, boy? Can anybody play?'"
"Chad Pennington surprises me with his arm strength when he throws downfield."
"I'm surprised that the Pats sideline is in the sun to the point that Bill Belichick is continuously shielding his eyes with his arm. (I guess he can't afford a visor to go with his hoodie.) This seems like exactly the sort of detail Belichick would have micromanaged."
"Watching Belichick and Mangini trying to outsmart each other is kinda like two Mathletes having a nerd off while everybody else in junior high is as the dance."
"Shawne Merriman is on national TV at halftime, and he can't put on a shirt? He's either wearing a wifebeater, suspenders, or a pair of overalls without a shirt, like the big guy from the original Final Fight."
"Kickoff distance is one of those things that nobody notices without looking at the numbers first, but the difference between Steve Gostkowski and Mike Nugent has been mind-bogglingly obvious this week."
"I don't agree at all with what Phil Simms just said: 'You look at this 37-16 score and it's misleading.' The Pats pretty much dominated this game. The Jets had a handful of good drives, but this was basically the Patriots' game all day. At halftime when it was 17-10, they commented that all the stats (16-7 first downs, for example) showed that the Patriots were dominating, and that was right. The score just started to reflect that by the end."
"Cris Collinsworth last night: 'Kevin Gilbride has changed the outlook on offense; they run Tiki Barber and they throw the ball long.' Yeah sure, that's not at all what the Giants offensive game plan looked like for all of 2005 and 2006 prior to last week.
"Jared Lorenzen: The unholy offspring of Michael Vick and Refrigerator Perry."
"Somebody needs to get the Giants offensive line some anti-anxiety medicine or something."
"Koy Detmer earns his paycheck with two tough holds on field goals on a rainy day. Koy for MVP."
"The only person who was playing with any sort of urgency in that game was Tiki Barber. The performance was entirely indistinguishable from any other Giants game this season, and I'd like to think that they'd focus more and play better. I'm normally not inclined to blame a performance on a coach, but this team isn't going to get any better with Coughlin at the helm. They need a change."
"Seeing Jeremy Shockey stretching for first downs with his helmet knocked off, taking off Coughlin's headphones to talk to him... he seemed to be playing with urgency. And you've got to give Plaxico Burress credit for some good receptions there. On the other hand, when your tight end is coming up to your head coach and just taking off his headphones to talk to him, and your offensive line then false starts 37 times, yeah, I don't think the discipline thing is working."
"I think the Giants were playing hard out there, but you don't just flip a switch and acquire intensity. If you have a month of the season where everyone is playing like shit, yapping in the media, and tuning out the coach, then you have dozens of practices that are just shot to hell. Guys can fly around on Sunday and hit hard and yell and scream, but football requires precision and controlled aggression. The Giants have been an imprecise team all year."
The league's northern divisions pose a number of meaty questions, such as: "Is the Bears' offense due for a repeat performance?" "Why do the Lions have such pronounced splits?" and "Has Johnny Manziel made the Cleveland brass even crazier?"