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06 Feb 2012
In this week's MMQB, Peter King covers Eli Manning, Andrew Luck, the Hall of Fame voting, his Steve Gleason story, and the Orlando Magic's Saturday travel difficulties.
Posted by: Tom Gower on 06 Feb 2012
71 comments, Last at
11 Feb 2012, 6:36pm by
He's got Welker as his goat of the week. I feel sorry for that guy. That was not nearly as easy a catch as it's being made out to be. It's a team game and they lost as a team. They did the same thing later in the game as the Giants did early--they dominated play but didn't capitalize enough to put the game away.
Making Welker the goat makes no more sense than it would to single out Brady for giving up the safety on the intentional grounding. (Interestingly enough, that mistake actually led to points and without it the Pats would only have needed a FG on the final drive to tie it at 20 as the Giants would have kicked the PAT on their final TD. He's Tom Brady so nobody says anything about the safety. If it'd been Tony Romo, that would be all people would be talking about. Maybe not fair, but that's how things go.)
I have a hard time goating a guy for not making a diving catch on 2nd-11, especially when the corpse of Deion Branch dropped a 3rd-11 conversion.
It's utter nonsense to single out anyone, but unfortunately that's the way the world works. There was no goat in this game, just a series of plays in which various players fell slightly short of perfection. Same as most other games. But that's just boring.
I am really surprised at how much negative attention Welker is getting for his "drop." This all comes down to people wanting to protect Brady's image more than Welker's. In real time it was a very hard catch to make and was not routine in any way. The degree of difficulty was much lower for Brady on that play.
The lesson, of course, is that nobody will give you the benefit of the doubt if you rock a hipster mustache.
Much agree. Fact is, Brady had two bad games in a row. The underthrow to Gronk was horrid. Imagine if Tebow, Vick, Henne, or Cutler had made that throw in a SB...
You left out Sanchez.
Don't even joke about Tebow being in a Super Bowl.
Now, had McNabb done it, I think Eagles fans would have murdered him getting off the plane at PHL.
Tebow Broncos: 7-4 regular season
Eli Giants: 9-7 regular season
If the latter can win the league, so can the former.
I'm sure this argument is missing the middle part.
Schedule, dear boy, schedule. The Giants were a far better team than the Tebow Broncos, whatever their regular season W-L.
The INT traveled nearly 60 yd on the fly, and Brady was still half-scrambling. I don't think he could've thrown it any farther. Probably would've been better to throw it away, especially on 1st down, but I'd guess he was hoping his much taller receiver could make the play.
The Welker pass was off-line (looked like Brady "aimed" it rather than throwing with his usual motion), but any time an NFL receiver gets both hands fully on the ball, he should come down with it, especially when nobody is slamming into him. (Disclosure: Wes Welker is my favorite NFL receiver, so that play had some extra hurt.)
Brady fell well short of excellent, but he was far, far better than in the Ravens game.
Welker as the goat is pretty awful, given that Brady's throw was high, behind the receiver/on the wrong side, and that two worse drops were sandwiching it (Deion Branch's throw was also behind him, but at least he wasn't jumping; Hernandez' drop was just terrible).
The INT was a bad decision, but Brady set his feet to throw. If he underthrew that ball, it was because he either didn't or couldn't put more on it. New York's defense started working when they started making him throw downfield, because unfortunately, he's just not that good at it. That was underthrown by close to ten yards at least. If Brady can't put the ball in the air far enough, he shouldn't be trying.
It's hard to make 27 of 41 for 276, 2-1 a goat of the game either though. When the Giants were playing soft coverage, Brady looked unstoppable. There just isn't anyone deserving of the goat of the game award this year. (My money is on Ahmad Bradshaw, even though the Giants won!)
"Imagine if Tebow, Vick, Henne, or Cutler had made that throw in a SB..."
You can already hear the script: The safety would prove how rattled the QB was on the big stage and it'd be mentioned a dozen more times throughout the game along the lines of "It's amazing so-and-so has been able to overcome his horrendous gaffe to complete 16 passes in-a-row", only to have it brought up again on the INT and Welker passes as in "Really an uneven game by so-and-so, he got off to that horrible start, settled in, but now with the game on the line he's lost his touch again." But since it's a legendary QB, it's like the mistakes never happened and afterwards it all becomes the receivers' fault. It's no different than when Favre could do no wrong.
I fully agree that brady was most responsible for missing all 3 chances to put the game away (the Gronk Int, the Welker "drop" and the Branch "drop" where all inaccurate throws).
BUT I take a lot of offense with with calling a game which broke the SB record for continous completions against an above average Defense a bad game.
The same logic which applies to Tebow should apply to Brady. He put them in the position to need one more succesful drive to win the game, and he was at least partially responsible for not delivering that drive. So in total he had an above average game, when a very good game was needed.
Look, Brady played a great game. He set a Super Bowl record for completions in a row. Welker also played a great game. If DVOA is to be believed he was the Pat's most productive receiver.
In fact, most of the players on both of the teams played at a very high level. It was a great football game. I think the need to find someone to "blame" the loss on is stupid.
Agreed. My read on the play watching it live was that Brady missed a wide-open Welker pretty badly, and that Welker came close enough to bailing him out (turning his body around completely, slowing his momentum, getting his hands to the ball) for pundits to jump all over him instead.
Welker is by all appearances a class act, takes responsibility in the media, and presumably is actually beating himself up over not getting back to that ball, but I'm convinced that one's on Brady.
Other than some fan posts on message boards, I haven't seen a single article call out Brady for the grounding call. And those points ended up making a huge difference in the game. And his INT marked the point where momentum turned for the Giants, even though they didn't end up getting points out of it. The Pats would have used up at bare minimum another minute or two if not for the interception.
Mind you, I don't believe Brady was the goat that lost them the game. But if you were going to pick somebody for that label, no matter how unfair that label might be, it'd be hard to go with Welker over Brady. And now Gisele is calling out the receivers?! Where was she when he struggled against the Ravens and the rest of the team bailed him out?
The grounding call brings up something I've always wondered about...
If that's grounding, why is it never called grounding when a QB takes the snap at the opponent's 10 yard line, drops back in the pocket, and then under heavy pressure fires the ball through the endzone, 15 feet over any receiver's head?
(I hasten to say that grounding call isn't why NE lost. They blew the execution of more than enough other plays to lose the game.)
There's some allowance, and then there's "there was no eligible receiver within 30 yards of the ball."
But when a QB fires the ball out of the endzone 10+ feet over everyone's head, that's just as clearly intentionally getting rid of the ball as is throwing it to "no one within 30 yards of the ball".
There's a difference between intentionally grounding the ball to avoid a sack (as Brady was doing) and throwing the ball away in the red zone when all your receivers are covered. In the red zone it is easy to give the QB the benefit that he was attempting to hit his receiver, but the pressure forced a bad throw.
I think the difference is only the amount of pressure on the QB. Or at least, that's how it's supposed to be. Brady could have thrown that pass if he'd not been under pressure and there would have been no penalty.
Although I believe, strictly speaking, there should be. If you delay before spiking the ball, it's intentional grounding, isn't it?
No you have to be under duress.
In her defense, in Brazil, when a player falls to the ground for no apparent reason and the balls bounces away, it's usually a penalty on the other team.
She was just thinking the wrong football.
The need for a scapegoat is pretty sad. A lot of players could have played better, starting with Brady. A lot of players played very well, starting with Brady. I'm not going to make Brady the "goat" in a game where he completed 16 passes in a row. But his poor throws had more to do with dropped passes than PK and others are willing to admit.
Maybe they just lost and there shouldn't be a goat?
In any case, my nominee for goat would be Sterling Moore, who was badly torched by Manningham for the 38-yard catch. But Moore played fairly well most of the game. Above his ability level.
The Pats have a weak secondary and it ultimately cost them. It's that simple.
I heard a great point that Brady had a classic Romo game. Two big mistakes (intentional grounding, pick on bad throw), marred what was a good game all around (16 straight completions, two TDs). If Romo has that game, though, he gets killed for it, and people talk about how he's not clutch and can't win. I guess it's nice to start out your career with a string of close wins with a great defense than it is with a bobbled hold.
Come on. The safety was a ridiculous call, beyond absurd. Brady made the play that any QB would in that situation, and 99.9% of the time the Refs would not not call you for intentional grounding.
Well, he did ground the ball.... intentionally.
Sorry, but that's not the play that "any" QB would make. Some quarterbacks don't take seven-step drops into the endzone and stand still for six seconds before making a throw that isn't even within 30 yards of an eligible receiver.
It wasn't quite that long, but the sheer magnitude of the overthrow was insane. If you're going to throw it away, you throw it at somebody's feet, or over their head an out of bounds. You don't aim for midfield when nobody's running a deep route and the farthest safety is at the 40.
It was fully 30 yards. The nearest receiver was running towards the sideline at the 25, and the ball landed mid-field at the 45.
Whoops - I meant the time he held the ball, not the distance he threw it.
I blame the English language.
Or you take three steps towards the sideline and throw it into the stands.
Or you pump fake, and then as you tuck the ball back into your body, you let Justin Tuck hit you and knock the ball loose, resulting in an incomplete pass. (That would be perfect to have a tuck rule play involving a player named Tuck.) And if the officials call it a fumble, you challenge the play and get it overturned.
I have been eagerly awaiting for Tuck to cause a tuck rule fumble for his entire career. He once recovered one, but forcing one would be even better.
I think part of the confusion around this intentional grounding call stems from the fact that, by my observation from watching NFL football for over 40 years, this is indeed a call that once was never made on throws downfield, but has been enforced in the last decade or so. I don't know if this is as a result of a league directive, but it seems to me that perhaps the NFL decided that as it was adding new QB protections, it would dial back on giving the QB "the benefit of the doubt" on grounding and actually start enforcing the rule as written. Sure, it's still a rare call, but that's because it's rare that a QB so blatantly chucks the ball so far downfield over every eligible receiver.
So you're saying I am out of touch with the new rules?
The thing that pains me is that Welker really looks like a nice and smart guy (don’t know much more about him, just some interviews), that cares about that kind of stuff. For some other players, 2 hours later they'll be like "Who gives a F? I'm getting my money anyhow" - I'm pretty sure this drop will be on his mind for a loooooong time.
For soccer fans, that’s the thing with the World Cup 2010 french fiasco – In the end, the “bad guys” didn’t care at all about the backlash (Evra, Anelka), and the “smart” ones(Toulalan, Gourcuff, Sagna...), are the one that suffered the most out of this (Toulalan said he thought about retiring, and it took him one full year and a transfer to recover).
"For some other players, 2 hours later they'll be like "Who gives a F? I'm getting my money anyhow" - I'm pretty sure this drop will be on his mind for a loooooong time. "
For some maybe, but I think that number is quite small, and I doubt any of them are starting receivers for a good team.
Kevin Gilbride now has more rings than Buddy Ryan. Think he's smiling now about Houston all those years ago.
How many does Gilbride have? I know Buddy Ryan has two (obviously one with the 1985 Bears, but also one with the 1968 Jets, for whom he was a defensive assistant).
B. Ryan 2
B. Ryan coached in 3 super bwosl
Gilbride coached in 2
For all the rage about Brady's underthrown long pass to Gronkowski, what's the problem? Because end result was like a good inside the 20 punt - so that's OK. I guess it's the botched TD opportunity that grates? I can accept that, but I think it's just as much Gronks fault as Brady's. Sure Brady underthrew it, but at the same time he's hoping that if he gets the ball in the general area, then his allstar TE can make a play vs a pretty random MLB. Gronk couldn't and Blackburn took a great catch. Shit happens.
And wasn't the Branch 'drop' tipped by a defender? I'm sure I sure Kenny Phillips hand hit that pass.
Yes. That pass to Branch was definitely tipped. It was a spiral when it left Brady's hand, but was a wounded duck when it got to branch.
The tip was 7-8 yards in front of Branch, and only made a slight change to trajectory though it spoiled the spiral. It turned an easy catch to a quite difficult one, but Branch would probably be the first to say he should've made the adjustment and grabbed it.
Not sure what down it was when Brady threw to Gronkowski. But if it wasn't third down, then it's not really the same as a punt.
It was first down.
Someone said this above, but it was 1st down. That is not effetively a punt. That excuse only works on 3rd down. That was a foolish throw (especially since Hernandez seemed wide open underneath) on 1st down. I feel like Brady is great at evading the rush momentarily (they'll catch him pretty soon if he tries to run), but one half of the time he'll finish it with a good play (the 4th and 16, the TD to Edelman) while the other half he'll feel rushed and just fling one downfield.
Also, If the average interception return is longer than the average punt return, then it is not the same as a punt.
"Tom Coughlin was walking off the NFL Network set on the field after the game, and Flava Flav, the guy with the big clocks around his neck, hugged him affectionately. We all, apparently, can get along."
Of course Coughlin can get along with him. How can he not love a guy who should always know what time it is and therefore always be able to be 5 minutes early?
... megawhiff on his Steelers/Haley comment
LOL, good job Pete
Also, congrats to Touchdown Tom Terrific for getting what he asked for in the pregame interview piece
There also won't be any talk of Brady choking this game away at all. Not that I believe that by any means, because I thought he played well enough to win if receivers had caught passes they should have, but if Peyton Manning had had that exact performance, people would be crowing all over the internet how he just chokes in big moments, and Brady shines.
What are you talking about? Everyone in Boston is saying Brady choked. He's choked consistently since the 2006 AFC Championship Game (if you listen to Boston fans). Brady is having Elway's career in reverse.
And that is why most of the sports media is a worthless joke. They just have zero idea what they are talking about and just spew garbage to satiate a demand for readers instead of only saying something when they have something worthwhile to say.
"In three straight games against the best coach of this era and against an all-time quarterback, Manning has taken the ball with less than four minutes to play, trailing every time. And won every time"
PK gives Eli credit for the game-winning drive because Brady was NE's quarterback? How does that make any sense at all?
Also just because Eli has run a great drive to end the Superbowl doesn't necessarily mean that he's the best in the game at it.
Agreed.. And his comment that everyone would take Eli as the clock is winding down in a big game.. Isn't his luck bound to run out sooner or later? The fact that he constantly puts himself in these situations certainly says something, I'd much rather have Aaron Rodgers in that situation because chances are in those winding seconds he's taking a knee (assuming, of course, it isn't one of the Packers' off games.. if Eli is allowed 7 Rodgers is certainly allowed 2), and the last time he was in that situation against the Giants, he got the ball down the field for the score in under a minute. Besides, if Eli is the quarterback I want, shouldn't he be able to put more up on the Patriot's putrid defense than 21 points, especially on an off day for the Patriots? Even with the fact that Eli has gone on two lucky runs to win the Super Bowl, I still don't think he's elite, he needs to be more consistent for that. Maybe if he could get more than 10 wins in a season I'd be more of a believer.
You can't deny the dude turned a corner this year though. This bullshit about who's elite and who isn't is just a matter of opinion. Some people are convinced Eli is now a hall of famer, and others aren't. Some are convinced Brady is on a downhill slide, and others aren't. At the end of the day, the amount of credence you put in either argument all depends on your own feelings on the matter. Who really gives a shit?
I believe Eli definitely took the steps this year to belong in the elite conversation, but he needs to maintain that level of play to truly belong there.
DVOA shows Rodgers, Brees, and Brady as head and shoulders above the rest of the competition, and Eli is all the way down at number 8 (and 6 in DYAR). With a gap that large between those three and Eli (52.6% DVOA for Rodgers and 23.6% for Eli), I'm really not seeing much of an argument for him being elite other than his team has won at the right time.. But if you put him on the Packers, Patriots, or Saints with those defenses, I don't think he's good enough to consistently win. The fact that he lost more regular season games than those three combined despite having the best defense keeps me from thinking he's elite, let's see him put up a 13 win season and we'll talk about it.
Does it really matter if Eli is "elite" or not? He's got two rings, which is more than Rodgers or Brees have. I'm not saying that means he's as good or better than them, just that he's proven he can win the Super Bowl. So it doesn't matter if he is an elite qb or not, he's good enough to win it all.
If you're interested in predicting what dumbass MSM sportswriters will write and idiots on sportstalkradio will spout, then no, it doesn't matter. If you're interested in who is likely to win the Superbowl next year, or the year after, then yes, it matters.
When does Brady start getting slapped with "he can't win the big one anymore"? He's lost four of his last six postseason games, and one of the wins was over an 8-8 team. In three of the four seasons they were the top seed in the AFC. Any other QB who did this would get slammed, instead it's all Welker's fault.
We're at the point where the same statement is sarcasm for the one, but serious for the other.
For a while there I thought you were joking and wanted to jump on and claim he lost his clutcheness followed with something along the lines of: "maybe they'll have to sign Vinatari back to win the big one again!".
Then I read the other part and I came to the frightening realization that you were serious.
To answer your question: I bet some writers are writing it, but frankly Dennis, I don't read them.
I'm half serious, half joking. I think the whole thing about giving wins and losses to QBs is dumb because it's a team game. At the same time, QBs do get slapped with these labels, fairly or not. So why is Brady getting a pass on it?
I think the "ColdHardFootballfacts" started slapping Brady with the "can't win the big one" anymore tag shortly after the 2006 AFC Championship Game. And they've been saying "I told you so ever since". Unfortunately Kerry Byrne actually gets a lot of exposure in Boston media, and asshats like Shaughnessey eat that up. The idea that Brady can't win the big one (or that Gisele has ruined him) is shockingly pervasive in New England.
I don't know that Brady can't win the big one (or why Belichick started to construct his team as a Colts clone...), but I think it's harder to rule out the Gisele effect.
And I'm not blaming it on Gisele -- she's more a symptom than a cause.
But the old Tom Brady played within himself, took what was given, and seemed happy to be there. The current incarnation of Tom Brady seems surprisingly joyless about football, and somewhat petulant. I don't think 2004 Brady throws the two moonballs that kept Baltimore in the game and helped NYG win. The change seemed to occur with Moynihan instead of Gisele, and frankly, I don't think Eli would walk out on his pregnant girlfriend to start spending his winters in Costa Rica dating a supermodel, and then just pretend his bastard doesn't exist. And I don't think early Tom Brady would have, either. I just think football is less important to Brady than it used to be, and it has some effect on how he plays.
Also, Brady is terrible in the secondary, which is where the Pats need the help.
I think one of the differences is, early Tom Brady had a defense he could rely on to stop the other team, so he had the luxury of being able to pooch a few drives if he needed to, and still be confident of having a chance to win later.
Now his defense is ordinary at best, and he needs to push a little harder on drives to keep his team ahead to allow his defense to bend. It would seem to me to be a lot easier to be brilliant in small stretches when your team needs you, than to be brilliant for 60 minutes every game.
Given the results of playoffs in the last decade or so (not the regular season) I'd say the season you need an elite quarterback to win a championship, is because they have better tools to be able to handle playing with a lesser caliber supporting cast. If the team uses its resources to be balanced on defense and offense, chances are the QB won't have 3 or 4 probowl WR/TE/RB in his arsenal to put up huge numbers, but his smarts and talent will be enough to overcome that and his above average defense will give him the opportunity to have a few poor drives. Most of the teams that are stacked on one side of the ball end up falling short, because another team game plans well for them in the playoffs, or they just have a poor game.
I think it's a bit simpler than that, but along the same vein. Tom Brady is not now and never has been the superstar he is made out to be. But he is quite good, and he does have a superb talent for the short pass game and an offense tailored around that gameplan. Never read your own press. In the Audibles comments MFurtek said "his interception it looked he just thought 'I'm Tom Brady!' and threw it up there" and that's how it appeared to me as well. When he sticks to what he's good at he's more successful than when he tries to do things beyond his capability (as would be the case for any quarterback). Brady trying to live up to the hype is not as successful as Brady playing to his strengths.
And of course Brady trying to play to his strengths is less successful than Brady playing to his strengths who also happens to know what play the defense has called.
You're an idiot. Brady says time and time again that he lives in Cali during the offseason to spend time with his kid with Moynihan. Also, life for everyone only becomes more complicated when wives and kids enter the picture, so obviously, football takes up less amount of his time today than it did when he was a rookie. Re Costa Rica, unfortunately, rich couples like to spend holidays in scenic, exotic places in the Caribbean. Sorry if that's a newsflash to you.
The change we've seen in his playing style is due to the evolution of the Pats offense in light of the new rules that encourage passing + the Pats defense's porousness. He's gone from being a game manager who relied upon the run and a stingy defense to keep games close to the leader of an offensive juggernaut that can really only move the ball effectively through the air. The lack of a championship level defense has caused him to press in search of big plays in ways that he would not have 4-7 years ago. The errant bombs to Gronk in the SB and Slater in the AFC championship were designed to put those games away and out of the defense's hands. The 2004 Brady didn't do those things because a) he likely wasn't capable of doing them and b) that wasn't the Pats' strategy back.
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