Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Varsity Numbers: Honing in

Bill Connelly again looks at which college football teams the F/+ ratings are sure about, and which teams remain a mystery (led by Appalachian State).

05 Oct 2010

Week 4 Quick Reads

by Bill Barnwell

While the Giants were inducting great players from their past into their new "Ring of Honor" on Sunday night, Jay Cutler was busy setting a record that won't earn him any trips back to Chicago in his middle age. He might have helped Osi Umenyiora or Justin Tuck earn spots in Giants lore, though.

As you might suspect, the record Cutler set is sack-related. Cutler dropped back 20 times on Sunday; on at least nine of those attempts, Cutler was sacked. (A tenth play was initially ruled a sack, but Cutler was eventually given credit for throwing the ball out of bounds before touching the sideline with his foot.) That's a sack rate of 45 percent, and no quarterback has ever successfully attempted 10 passes or more in a game with a sack rate that high.

The previous record was 41.7 percent, held by two players under very different circumstances. In 1987, former cornerback and special teams player Guido Merkens started a game for the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFL players strike and was sacked 10 times in 24 dropbacks. Before him, Packers quarterback David Whitehurst (Yes, Charlie's dad) was also sacked 10 times in 24 dropbacks during a game in the 1978 season.

While Merkens and Cutler ended up losing, though, Whitehurst's Packers actually won 24-3. How? They managed to force the opposing Chargers into 11 turnovers, with six fumbles and five interceptions from three different Chargers quarterbacks. The Packers also forced three additional fumbles and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. Packers corner Willie Buchanan picked off four passes alone, despite only having one other season in his entire career with more than four passes picked off over a full year. The game resulted in the resignation of Chargers head coach Tommy Prothro immediately afterwards; he was replaced by Don Coryell, who promptly led the Chargers to their greatest period of success as a franchise.

Whitehurst was able to win, but most quarterbacks can't survive that sort of shellacking. Historically, quarterbacks that have been sacked nine times or more in a game -- like each of the three quarterbacks mentioned above were -- have won just 9.2 percent of the games they played, with a dismal record of 6-57-2. If we look specifically at the DVOA Era, Cutler's loss takes those quarterbacks to an incredible 1-20-1, with the only win coming from Damon Huard in a 31-30 victory over the Patriots in Week 6 of the 1999 season. That was Huard's first real action as a pro. Cutler has no such excuse.

The most recent comp for Cutler would be a quarterback better known to the Tri-State area's other team: Neil O'Donnell. The worst sack rate of the DVOA Era is 38.1 percent, set by O'Donnell in his debut for the Jets. Playing a Broncos team that would eventually go 13-3, O'Donnell went 7-of-13 for 50 yards with eight sacks.

Chicago will certainly hope for more from their big acquisition at quarterback. Cutler has not been gifted with a particularly effective offensive line, but there were a handful of sacks that simply saw Cutler keep the ball besides himself for far too long. We're not yet at the point in statistical analysis where the blame for a sack can be separated between a quarterback and his offensive line, but Sunday was a night where there was plenty of blame to go around.

A reminder that opponent adjustments begin to appear in our numbers this week, currently at 40 percent of eventual strength.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Peyton Manning IND
33/46
352
2
1
163
163
0
Some of the air will come out of Manning's performance against the Jaguars once opponent adjustments hit 100 percent, but not as much as it perhaps should. Manning nearly threw the game away on the final drive with a bad pass that was picked off by David Jones, only for the consistently-burnt Jones to suddenly have his hands disintegrate. Given a second chance, Manning promptly completed two passes for 58 yards and then tied up the game on third down. His overall performance was effective enough to rank amongst the top of the leaderboard, but he should not have been gifted a chance to continue his onslaught on the defense by Jones.
2.
David Garrard JAC
17/22
163
2
0
137
117
20
If tarps could buy football jerseys, the upper sections in Jacksonville would undoubtedly be decked out in Garrard attire after his performance on Sunday. Against Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis -- who had pulverized Eli Manning in Week 2 -- Garrard and his pair of young tackles (Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton) were able to make it through 22 dropbacks without even one sack. Although Garrard only attempted two "deep" passes, which we consider to be further than 15 yards downfield, he completed the most important one. A 22-yard throw to Tiquan Underwood with 14 seconds left got the Jags into range for an improbable game-winning field goal. Garrard finished second in DYAR, though, because of his work as a runner; he picked up a 25-yard score on an option, and then converted two third downs inside Colts territory in the second half on the ground.
3.
Philip Rivers SD
16/20
241
2
0
137
137
0
The latest KUBIAK release projects Rivers to set the all-time passing record, and it's not all that surprising when you look at his schedule. Before his Week 10 bye, he gets to face Oakland, St. Louis, New England, Tennessee, and Houston -- only Tennessee has anything resembling a good pass defense among those five, and the Patriots and Texans are terrible. Next week's matchup against the Raiders will be interesting -- will the Raiders stick Nnamdi Asomugha exclusively on Antonio Gates?
4.
Drew Brees NO
33/48
275
1
0
125
125
0
Brees's biggest play, by far, was the 46-yard pass interference penalty drawn by Robert Meachem at the end of the first quarter. That gave the Saints the ball inside the Panthers' 5-yard line, and set up Brees's only touchdown pass. On passes to his tight ends, Brees was 11-of-14 for 100 yards and six first downs. It's pretty clear, though, that the Saints don't trust Chris Ivory as a pass blocker and receiver. Ivory frequently came off the field in passing situations, and Brees didn't throw a single pass in Ivory's direction while getting five to Ladell Betts.
5.
Kyle Orton DEN
35/50
341
2
1
124
116
8
Without any running game to speak of, Orton's been forced into throwing 175 attempts through four games. During his rookie season in Chicago, Orton threw 368 passes in 15 games. In Week 4, Orton was great on first down: 15-of-19, 124 yards, one sack. On third down, when the Titans were expecting the pass, Orton was pretty bad: 12 third down dropbacks yielded just two conversions, with an interception and four sacks.
6.
Joe Flacco BAL
24/37
256
1
1
115
112
2
Flacco didn't look all that great on the field, but the introduction of opponent adjustments and his game-winning late touchdown pass get him up into the upper echelon. What stands out is how remarkably streaky Flacco was: He started the game with five straight completions. Then, starting in the second quarter, he had this stretch through the end of the game: Six straight completions, three straight incompletions, three straight completions, three straight incompletions (with one an interception), four straight completions, three straight incompletions, and then four straight completions to finish the game. Most of that came when Flacco got close to the endzone and didn't have an answer for the Steelers defense; inside the red zone, he was just 3-of-10.
7.
Carson Palmer CIN
25/36
371
2
0
113
113
0
Palmer would rank second behind Peyton Manning if it wasn't for the aborted snap and stripsack he took, both of which resulted in lost fumbles. (Palmer would receive an equally negative figure if the Bengals had fallen on either fumble.) The play-by-play gathered for this game had some beautiful mistakes; my favorite was a seven-yard pass to Jermaine Gresham that was listed as a completion 32 yards downfield with -25 YAC. I truthfully didn't see the play, but I'm going to assume that's not what actually happened.
8.
Matt Schaub HOU
16/28
192
2
0
87
85
1
This game was a great advertisement for Andre Johnson's contract renegotiation, as the Texans were mostly bottled up against a middling pass defense. Poor Kevin Walter went from a great matchup against Stanford Routt to an afternoon against Nnamdi Asomugha. So with Johnson out and Owen Daniels still far from 100 percent, who emerges as the primary receiving threat? Why, the inimitable Joel Dreessen! Dreessen led the team in catches (five), targets (eight), first downs (four), and receiving yards (73). Maybe he needs to get a new deal, too.
9.
Vince Young TEN
17/28
173
1
0
82
73
9
What happened to Vince Young in the second half? He went 4-of-10 for 35 yards with a sack and just one first down. Three of the passes were in what amounted to a Hail Mary situation, down six with thirty seconds left and 85 yards to go, but still.
10.
Kevin Kolb PHI
22/34
200
1
1
74
67
7
A really weird game that should end up being just slightly above replacement level after the opponent adjustments get stronger. The dropped shotgun snap/desperate near-interception combination Kolb pulled out early in his start was pretty ugly. And he followed four straight completions (for 12-17 yards) with four straight incompletions, which wasn't very pretty. The biggest complaint I read was that Kolb just steadfastly refused to look downfield and completed checkdown after checkdown, which is true, but I'm guessing that the Redskins scheme was to take away the deep stuff and let the Eagles work underneath. Michael Vick's short day consisted of checkdowns, too.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
11.
Tom Brady NE
19/24
153
1
0
73
74
0
12.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
15/24
161
2
0
73
88
-15
Sanchez's best work came once the Jets had a two-score lead and were running over the Bills on most downs; with nine attempts, Sanchez threw two touchdowns and picked up four additional first downs. Before a 41-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards at the end of the second quarter that started that stretch, Sanchez was truthfully pretty mediocre, going 9-of-16 for 73 yards with six first downs. He's still yet to throw a pick in 103 attempts this year, an amazing figure for a guy who threw picks once every 18.2 passes last year.
13.
Aaron Rodgers GB
12/17
181
3
2
68
58
10
Rodgers packed a lot of excitement into 19 dropbacks: Three touchdowns, two interceptions, two sacks, and five plays of 15 yards or more. The problem was that the Lions held the ball for nearly 38 minutes, which simply didn't give Rodgers much time to work. He looks great in the rate stats, with a 70.6 completion percentage and 10.6 yards per attempt, but you can only be so valuable with so few opportunities.
14.
Shaun Hill DET
34/54
331
2
2
58
39
19
And across from Rodgers was Hill, who was just about the inverse of his opposition. It took Hill 59 dropbacks to get to 331 yards, although a decent chunk of his overall value came on a 40-yard rush in the third quarter. Including that and another third-down conversion on the ground, Hill picked up nine of the 16 third downs he faced, and they were some of the harder ones, too. Hill converted third-and-9, third-and-12, another third-and-9, and then a third-and-goal from the 21 with a jump ball to Calvin Johnson for a touchdown.
15.
Seneca Wallace CLE
18/30
184
1
1
46
48
-2
Wallace actually did nice work on first down against one of the league's better secondaries. The Bengals are strongest on the edges and weakest against backs and tight ends, so that's where Wallace went -- he was 9-of-15 for 92 yards throwing to the likes of Ben Watson and Evan Moore. On first downs, he was 9-of-12 for 86 yards with five new sets of downs and just one sack. Will Browns fans actually dread the return of Jake Delhomme next week? Of course, that's a trick question. Wallace could have played like Seneca Williams and Browns fans would dread the return of Jake Delhomme.
16.
Donovan McNabb WAS
8/19
125
1
1
27
12
15
As has become custom, McNabb was not helped out by his receivers. Fred Davis dropped what would have likely been a touchdown pass on McNabb's opening throw, something which seems to happen about once a game. Although McNabb helped win the game with a key scramble for a first down on the final Redskins drive, though, his second half was putrid: 2-of-11, ten yards, one sack, one interception. The Eagles should not have had a chance to win with a Hail Mary.
17.
Sam Bradford STL
23/39
289
2
1
26
25
2
Bradford had six different completions of 15 yards or more (and three more of 14 yards). That's good. Although the game was mostly out of hand in the second half because the Seahawks weren't moving the ball, Bradford took two megasacks -- one on third down, another on fourth down -- that prevented the Rams from scoring points. Bradford also took a 13-yard sack against the Raiders in Week 2 on third down, with that sack coming inside the red zone. The longest sack of the year so far, by the way, is the 14-yard sack Donovan McNabb took in the fourth quarter against the Texans.
18.
Chad Henne MIA
29/39
302
2
3
19
19
0
19.
Charlie Batch PIT
12/21
141
0
1
18
22
-4
Batch's 34-yard strike to Antwaan Randle El in the first quarter was a thing of beauty, a perfect pass just beyond the defender's fingertips that hit Randle El's hands in stride. Unfortunately, Batch only picked up a combined two first downs in the second and third quarter, so while the Ravens offense was scuffling, the Steelers weren't able to take the sort of commanding lead they needed to put the game away.
20.
Jimmy Clausen CAR
11/21
146
1
0
9
6
3
As bad as Matt Schaub had it without Andre Johnson all day, Clausen spent a fair amount of the second half without Steve Smith, who will miss the game against the Bears with a high ankle sprain. Keep in mind that Clausen was then throwing to a group of receivers led by David Gettis, Brandon LaFell, and Jeff King. At some point, it just makes sense to split out Jonathan Stewart every play, right? Clausen picked up an impressive fourth-down conversion on the final drive with a 16-yard out to Gettis on fourth-and-4, but he took a sack on third-and-12 and was not able to convert the fourth-and-16 pass he needed to get the team into range for a game-winning field goal.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
21.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
12/27
128
2
0
4
-22
27
22.
Eli Manning NYG
18/30
195
0
0
0
0
0
Eli actually had a tipped pass hit the ground, which was a nice change of pace for a quarterback that hasn't exactly had all that much luck so far this year. It was lost in the shuffle because the Bears were such a laughingstock, but the Giants just could not move the ball for about half of the game. Manning had a stretch from the first quarter to the third where he went 6-of-13 for 35 yards with two sacks and a fumble. Once Ahmad Bradshaw started to make hay on the ground, though, Manning found opportunities downfield. He finished the game up by going 9-of-12 for 120 yards, including five first downs.
23.
Alex Smith SF
22/32
188
1
2
-10
-13
3
The 49ers were unlucky to lose a game they had all but sealed up with Nate Clements' fourth-quarter interception. That's for sure. But Smith didn't help things by ending three key drives in Falcons territory. He threw interceptions in the second and third quarter inside the Falcons' 40-yard line, and on his final dropback of the game, he took an intentional grounding penalty on third-and-4 from the Atlanta 34-yard line. A 51-yard field goal in the Georgia Dome isn't an awful proposition, and had Smith actually been able to convert the down, the Falcons may not have gotten the ball back once, let alone twice.
24.
Todd Collins CHI
4/11
36
0
1
-41
-41
0
25.
Bruce Gradkowski OAK
25/39
278
2
2
-43
-47
4
What's good for fantasy football isn't always good for real football. Gradkowski finished with 16 fantasy points, but he took four sacks, fumbled twice (losing one), threw two interceptions, and had an intentional grounding penalty. On passes that weren't to Zach Miller, he was just 13-of-26, although he picked up 156 yards on those completions. Oh, and remind me never to recommend Darrius Heyward-Bey in fantasy football ever again.
26.
Matt Ryan ATL
27/43
273
1
2
-45
-51
7
What was it with intentional grounding this week? Ryan's the fifth and final quarterback of the week to pick up a grounding penalty. There were only two grounding calls per week last season, and eight before Sunday. There was only one week -- Week 15 -- last season with as many as five IG's. (Can we start calling it that?)
27.
Max Hall ARI
8/14
82
0
0
-73
-73
0
"Anyone but Derek Anderson"? Well, here's a good test of 'anyone'. Hall was sacked six times on 20 dropbacks, fumbling once. Those dropbacks yielded just three first downs, with Hall's longest pass going to anonymous seventh-round tight end Jim Dray for 24 yards. In all fairness, his 30 percent success rate does compare reasonably well with Derek Anderson's season-long rate of 36.2 percent.
28.
Matt Hasselbeck SEA
20/36
191
0
1
-82
-81
-2
29.
Derek Anderson ARI
7/14
64
0
2
-93
-93
0
Should Ken Whisenhunt be fired for deciding on Derek Anderson as his starting quarterback? We can't say how bad Matt Leinart might have been, but Whisenhunt could have brought in somebody else to compete with Leinart in April. By choosing Anderson, he's just about consigned his team to hopelessness; the Cardinals' two victories include wins where the margin of victory was Steve Breaston stripping a defensive lineman at the goal line and Sebastian Janikowski missing a 32-yard field goal. They've lost their two other games by 75 points. They have 0.6 Pythagorean wins. This is a bad, bad football team, and the biggest reason why has been the worst decision Ken Whisenhunt ever made.
30.
Jay Cutler CHI
8/11
42
0
1
-220
-220
0
Cutler's -220 DYAR day ranks as the 28th-worst game of the DVOA Era. He's just about tied with Rick Mirer, who went 10-of-25 for 68 yards with two picks and four sacks in a game against the Steelers in 2003. Of course, Cutler did all his damage in one half, and while we don't have half-by-half data available for DYAR, it's hard to think of a player who did so much damage in such little work. The best example might be Ryan Leaf, whose third start as a pro was one of the most devastating performances in league history: 1-of-15 for four yards with two interceptions and two sacks. You don't want to be in a boat with both those guys, but that's exactly where Cutler ended up on Sunday.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Arian Foster HOU
131
1
56
1
71
33
38
All you needed was a cell phone and a friend with Arian Foster on his team to experience the highs and lows of fantasy football on Sunday. Foster's benched for the opening quarter without any warning to fantasy owners because of a "coach's decision!" This is why the Texans can't have nice things! As visions of last year's eight-way at running back went through fans' heads, Foster got back in the lineup and broke off a 74-yard touchdown run. He had a 56 percent success rate on 17 carries, and each of his three catches went for 10 or more yards with either a first down or a touchdown. In other words, while he missed a couple of meetings during the week, he was probably busy signing all the thank-you cards and marriage proposals he got from fantasy owners that took him in the eighth round in August. So give the guy a break.
2.
LaDainian Tomlinson NYJ
133
2
22
0
57
54
3
OK, so it was the Bills. But LT sure is making the 2009 Chargers offensive line look like they were the problem. A 79 percent success rate on the ground is excellent against any team, and Tomlinson even went 1-for-2 on carries near the goal line. Tomlinson could have padded his numbers even further, but he took the fourth quarter off.
3.
Ricky Williams MIA
56
0
45
1
52
24
28
Williams took over on a first quarter drive, with four consecutive plays producing a total of 29 yards and two first downs. Unfortunately, he didn't touch the ball again until late in the second quarter, and after a 16-yard run, Chad Henne was picked off. After the Patriots blitzed the Dolphins with 14 points in three minutes, Williams had his first unsuccessful play of the day -- a two-yard run on first-and-10 -- but followed it later on in the drive with a run for 11 yards on third-and-1 and a 28-yard touchdown catch.
4.
Joseph Addai IND
63
2
19
0
44
32
12
Addai wasn't even a sure bet to play, but he ended up having an impressive game. Addai finished just behind Tomlinson, with a 75 percent success rate. He had just one carry for negative yardage, and while his longest carry was for seven yards, six of his 16 attempts were for either six or seven yards.
5.
Michael Bush OAK
40
1
16
0
40
29
11
Bush only got seven carries, but he scored a touchdown, picked up two first downs, and five of the carries went for four yards or better. Both his receptions were also successful plays. With Darren McFadden now struggling with a hamstring injury, it's Bush's turn to take the bulk of the load in Oakland for a couple of weeks.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Laurence Maroney DEN
5
0
10
0
-53
-48
-5
About the only thing Laurence Maroney has going for him these days is that he was once a first-round pick in the NFL Draft. He's been just miserable during his short tenure as a Broncos back. Last week, he was stuffed three times on the Colts' one-yard line. This week, Maroney's mediocrity wafted across an entire game. His 11 carries somehow yielded just five yards, including seven carries for no gain or a loss. He fumbled on the Titans' 17-yard line inside the two-minute warning with a three-point lead, which could have cost the Broncos a shot at extending their lead, but fellow ex-Patriot Daniel Graham covered for Maroney's mistake. An earlier fumble was ruled to be down by contact. It's hard for a running back to lose a game single-handedly, but boy, did Maroney try.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Antonio Gates SD
7
7
144
20.6
2
81
Last year, the Cardinals ranked 11th in the league against tight ends, allowing them a -3.2% DVOA and just 48.2 yards per game on an average of seven attempts. Those Cardinals had Karlos Dansby, though, and this group decidedly doesn't. (Note: This looked far more trenchant before Dansby got worked by Danny Woodhead on Monday night.) While Arizona was able to slow down Tony Gonzalez in Week 2, Zach Miller had a decent game against them last week, and Gates just took over against them on Sunday. When Philip Rivers wasn't throwing to Gates, he went 8-of-12 for 97 yards with an intentional grounding penalty and a sack. On throws to Gates, he was 7-of-7 for 144 yards, and the only one of those passes that didn't go for a first down was a 12-yard gain on second-and-13. Gates is now on pace to muster 1,544 receiving yards, which would set the record for tight ends by almost 20 percent. The original Kellen Winslow went for 1290 yards in 1980.
2.
Terrell Owens CIN
10
15
222
22.2
1
70
Before Sunday, Terrell Owens had 14 catches for 152 yards, a line that did his mundane level of performance justice. On Sunday, though? Owens clowned former teammate Sheldon Brown and top-ten pick Joe Haden. Admittedly, Owens's 78-yard score came on a short pass after Brown fell down, but even if you throw out that one big play (and you shouldn't), nine catches for 144 yards would still place him towards the top of the wide receiver rankings. He had six catches of 17 yards or more, and eight of his ten catches went for first downs. At 70 DYAR, it ranks as the eighth-best game of Owens's career; number one was his 20-catch, 283-yard game against the Bears in Week 16 of the 2000 season for the 49ers. That was good for 130 DYAR, which was the fifth-best game of the DVOA Era (1993-2010).
3.
Eddie Royal DEN
8
8
113
14.1
1
59
The general rule of thumb is that a receiver who catches everything thrown in his direction has had a good day. Royal's eight targets produced eight catches, four first downs, a touchdown, and 113 yards. Meanwhile, while Brandon Lloyd had 115 yards and nine first downs, it required 18 targets to get him those figures. Efficiency matters.
4.
Donald Driver GB
3
3
89
29.7
1
52
We should probably score Driver's 48-yard catch in the second quarter as something closer to a punt than a pass. The Lions defensive backs were apparently in another universe at the time. Touchdown and two first downs is the way to go about your day if you're going to be targeted three times, though.
5.
Braylon Edwards NYJ
4
7
86
21.5
1
49
Three incompletions in the first quarter. After that? Four completions and a defensive pass interference, netting 100 yards with four first downs and a touchdown. Edwards is sensitive to matchups more than most, and the undersized Bills cornerbacks are a good one for him.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Louis Murphy OAK
1
7
5
5.0
0
-36
Raiders wideouts were supposed to have a field day against the Texans. Instead? Darrius Heyward-Bey goes 1-of-5 for two yards, and Murphy picks up one five-yard reception on seven targets. At least it went for a first down.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 05 Oct 2010

92 comments, Last at 07 Oct 2010, 2:59pm by PatsFan

Comments

1
by ammek :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 11:52am

AFC quarterbacks: 10 of top 12.
AFC running backs: top 5.
AFC wide receivers: 4 of top 5.

Note to self: watch fewer NFC games; they're killing the fun.

5
by >implying implications (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:18pm

Oh yeah, that Monday night primetime division-rivalry AFC matchup was good football, right?

9
by tunesmith :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:30pm

Trend!
...
Cherry-pick one example of counter-trend. HA HA! GOTCHA!

28
by >implying implications (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:53pm

Obviously you're not a fan of Popper's 'falsification' standard for theoretical validity...

30
by Karma Coma :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:00pm

He said trend, not theory. Otherwise clever, though.

:P

32
by andrew :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:06pm
75
by Anonymous Jones :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 7:25pm

A little bit of knowledge really *is* a dangerous thing.

If only I were Alvy Singer and could just pull Popper out from the line and he could say, "I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work!"

Seriously, knowing the falsification theory is one thing, knowing how to apply it is apparently something different entirely.

I hope you were being sarcastic. FWIW, I am too.

29
by Temo :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:59pm

Speaking of cherry-picking, fine week to pick where Vince Young, David Garrard, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, and Mark Sanchez all out-produce Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, and Tony Romo (DNP). How many weeks do you think THAT will be the case?

72
by Mig (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 6:33pm

Maybe it had to do with the fact that 3 of 4 bye teams were from the NFC.

2
by ChaosOnion (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 11:55am

The complaints came from replays showing open receivers down field that Kolb either missed or did not bother to look for. It is difficult to tell whether or not those receivers came open after Kolb completed the checkdown as the replay only showed the receivers downfield. He took what the defense gave up, which dink and dunk in the flat and the middle. WAS did not have to worry about bleeding the clock, the Eagles defense did it for them.

I do not think any defense can completely shut down receivers the caliber of Jackson and Maclin on every single down. I would like to have seen Kolb take some more shots. I would also liked to have seen some intermediate routes, even if it was McCoy on a wheel route. Kolb may have not practiced with the starters this week and the game plan that day was designed for Vick, but Kolb was the #1 all of preseason. Did everybody forget that gameplan?

6
by >implying implications (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:22pm

I think Kolb is playing scared. He drops back too far, and looks for an out too soon without reading downfield. These are the same problems that Vick had that they spent all of last offseason trying to train out of him (i.e. not looking downfield, tucking and running at the first sign of trouble).

Kolb, under the pressure of being #1, lost his mojo: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/blogs/birds-nest/Kevin-Kolb-The-Quarterba...

Somebody needs to tell him about how Aaron Rodgers had a great season last year, despite having the shit sacked out of him constantly.

7
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:27pm

"The complaints came from replays showing open receivers down field that Kolb either missed or did not bother to look for. It is difficult to tell whether or not those receivers came open after Kolb completed the checkdown as the replay only showed the receivers downfield."

Yeah, that really irritated me, watching the "analysts" harping about how Jackson was open repeatedly and showing the secondary where the CB clearly dropped off him when the ball was thrown. It doesn't matter if you get open after the ball is thrown.

10
by qed :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:31pm

...and now we're back to the old Philly debate: who's fault is it when the offense stalls for prolonged periods of time? I don't remember seeing Kolb take many 3-step or 5-step drops, but it could be that his quick routes were taken away by the defense. I think the patience and downfield passing will improve with time, what I'm concerned about are the quick timing routes. Supposedly those are Kolb's strong point and I didn't see that on Sunday.

17
by ChaosOnion (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:57pm

I thought I was the only one. Those quick timing routes were the only ones I expected to see in the preseason. I cannot think of one then or during the GB/WAS games. A WC offense defuses the blitz by hitting those quick timing routes. You could see the fabled accuracy on the TD to Celek and that ball was out in under 3 seconds. More of that and routes that exploit that.

67
by horn :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 5:09pm

It's obviously the O-line's fault.

Both DeSean and Maclin struggled to get open against physical coverage, and WAS kept both safeties deep, throwing 25-yd outs into double coverage ain't Vick or Kolb's game. I saw Kolb miss one open throw to one of them, and miss another open read 20 yds downfield, but as for the rest - as others have said they show DeSean open after the throw was made.

Given the fact that insert PHL QB almost never has even 3 seconds to throw, the fact he's throwing checkdowns is not surprising, on top of the fact that's all Marty seemed to be calling. And without McCoy on Sun nite if he doesn't play, then you can expect more 2-deep safety as the running game is now Mike Bell who's simply awful and Owen Schmitt.

Kolb played fine for his first action in 3 weeks.

3
by lester bangs (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:03pm

Murphy also had a horrendous drop on Oakland's final play, sealing the loss.

4
by nat :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:04pm

It's too bad this table doesn't include single-game DVOA. I find that I am always calculating "DYAR per attempt" in an effort to separate quantity from quality in the QBs list. For example, Rivers and Garrard had much better days (in terms of per-play quality) than the top of the list Manning. But how about the number 13 Rodgers? How close, per-play, were Brady and Sanchez to a top performance? Including DVOA would be enlightening.

8
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:29pm

" How close, per-play, were Brady and Sanchez to a top performance? Including DVOA would be enlightening."

Brady actually looked pretty good.. he just didn't get the ball all that often with all the special team and defensive scoring.

15
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:52pm

Yeah, he was okay, but the announcers gushing over him at the end of the game was just weird. "Man, he is on a mission" and "Man, I wouldn't like to get in his way." Now they're both former QBs so they know their QB stuff, but it sounded like somebody in the control room goosed them to say something and the camera was on Brady at the moment. He had a high comp % but pretty low yards, and it was Moss's 1st game as a Pat without a reception. I didn't watch that closely, so don't know if it was O scheme, D scheme or what.

Um, Jaws and Gruden, the real story of the game was Patrick Chung's 21 direct and indirct points.... Talk about a man on a mission.

21
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:23pm

The first paragraph in the ESPN production manual clearly outlines it: "On any play in which a famous player does not sponteaneously combust, said famous player will be described as the wonderfullest wonderful player in the wonderful history of the wonderful game of football. Remember, the producer has his finger on the button of the control box for the electrode-lined jock straps that the broadcast talent is required to wear, and the producer thinks it is wonderful to use said control box whenever this wonderful rule is not adhered to."

38
by JPS (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:27pm

Absolutely Fabulous!

54
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:35pm

You're right, of course. My ESPN production manual must be out of date. It mostly references proper camera number and angles for archery and chariot racing.

22
by Doug Farrar :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:28pm

Incorrectamundo, Bobman! The story of last night's game was obviously 2-foot-6-inch Danny Woodhead, the grittiest, gutsiest little dude we've seen since the days of the last overcooked short white guy. By the end of the third quarter, the affection from the booth approached Brenneman-Tebow status. Truth be told, Chung kinda got in the way.

23
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:32pm

Hey, he's deceptively fast, and just having fun tonight! Anybody can Wang Chung tonight!

24
by Led :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:33pm

Somebody needs to edit the Direct TV Russian oligarch add to replace the miniature giraffe with Li'l Danny Woodhead.

44
by Doug Farrar :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:41pm

"Woodhead ... I has it."

46
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:05pm

Lucky Mrs. Farrar.

85
by The Other Ben Johnson (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 12:00pm

The Patriots traded Moss because they also like savings the money.

86
by the silent speaker (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:24pm

So when football from Dolphins becomes available ... they jumping on it.

49
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:21pm

I didn't get to watch the game. Was he repeatedly referred to as "scrappy"? Because, I think there's actually a law mandating that all white receivers must be referred to as scrappy at least once for every three times they are mentioned overall.

52
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:32pm

They mostly compared him to his uncle, Scooby.

76
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 8:16pm

To be fair, I don't recall anyone referring to Kevin Walter as "scrappy", at least not for a while. Maybe it's because he's big.

51
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:31pm

Good point, Doug. Maybe they felt they had given too litle love to Brady all night (he didn't have a lot to do) and were just settling accounts.

Truth be told, I found myself developing a crush on Woodhead myself. Quite the admission for a 40-year Colts fan. I understand he can reverse global warming and just before signing he fed the entire Sudan with a basket of Spam and a few Chicklets.

Did Chung's beard remind anybody else of Victor Buono playing King Tut on the old Batman series?

59
by nat :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:54pm

Such hostility!

Woodhead is 5 foot 9 inches tall, which certainly qualifies him as a "little dude" in the NFL, regardless of the color of his skin. And he's running at a DVOA of 94.2% over (sample-size alert!) 11 runs. So if you're going to get objectively excited about any back-up RB with three handfuls of rushes, this is the right guy for now. He's produced more DYAR than Joseph Addai, and more YAR than Ronnie Brown, with a lot fewer runs.

It's not as if the broadcast team wasn't also paying attention to Chung and Ninkovich too. But they're one-game wonders right now.

65
by Arkaein :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:49pm

During the broadcast the announcers actually said Woodhead is 5' 7".

Don't know which height is right, but after seeing Woodhead standing next to Brady on a field-level camera angle just after his TD run, I can believe the 5' 7". He looked like a high schooler that ended up on the wrong field.

62
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:12pm

It didn't help Moss/Brady's stats that the defense severely limited their posessions in the 2nd half.

81
by Bobman :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:07am

Special teams, too. That could actually fire a guy up--"Hey, I wanna get out there, a-holes, don't return EVERYTHING for a TD, will ya?"

79
by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 8:44pm

Yeah, I was kind of ignoring the game after awhile, but there was a line that Jaworski said about Brady still 'playing with a chip on his shoulder' because he was a 6th round draft pick. Tom Brady has three Super Bowl rings, he lives with a legitimate 'super model', he's one of the greatest QBs of the modern era, he's a millionaire how many times over, and he's still got a 'chip' because he was drafted in the sixth round? That MNF crew is laughably bad. Jaworski and Gruden elevate every single player towards folk-hero status as though the fans don't already know who these players are. It's really nauseating.

82
by Bobman :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:18am

Well, it is a mass-produced, broadcast for millions and millions of viewers. Hard core football fans (and players--I understand Peyton Manning does it) often watch with the sound off. I cannot do that myself, but you could give it a shot.

It's irritating, but they're entertainers and following their script. It's probably better than having actual comedians in the booth.... "You want to keep your fancy job, make the wives and part-time fans out there care about some guy. Yuck it up, focus groups indicate that the kids love that...."

Car nuts hate the fact that every car on the planet comes with more cup holders than a family of octupi needs; oenophiles can't understand why the wine industry prostitutes itself making white zin (or why people swill it); purists and afficionados worldwide are frustrated by the mass culturification of our passions.... but it's the way of the world. People have to make a buck, and broadening their audience by dumbing down the product is a tried and true method.

If you'll excuse me, I need to get back to a book I've been reading: "Masturbation for Dummies."

83
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 5:02am

I actually wonder sometimes, if you just put a few comedians in the booth, and let them be "unrated," if it wouldn't be more enjoyable. I was thinking Adam Corrola, Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Simmons. 3 guys who have occasionally been funny (especially when combined), and love sports. They wouldn't try to do any real analysis, it would just be all fun and games.

It would be nice for people who can't find any friends to watch a game with them at any rate, as that is what it would basically simulate.

84
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 7:41am

I understand the phenomenon, but at some point it seems just possible to me that the NFL will realise that distribution mechanisms are now very cheap, and that many hardcore fans would likely pay extra to have a separate sound feed with no booming and yucking and lots of intelligent analysis, and that it wouldn't cost them very much to provide it. I pay something like £10 a game to watch the Texans rather than whoever's showing on Sky; you don't think people would pay for an online stream with commentary targeted at the hardcore audience?

87
by Crizzle (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:09pm

I would take it step further.

I would pay at least $10 a week to get a sound feed with NO commentary. Just the live audio stream from the field. No analysis, commentary, updates, inane statements. Nothing. Just the on-field audio. I bet it would be VERY popular as well. And they wouldn't have to pay anyone other than maybe an additional tech in the booth to ensure the feed is running smoothly. The tougher part would be on the distribution end, but it wouldn't be THAT hard.

88
by Dean :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:19pm

The NFL has tried on a couple of occasions, broadcasting a game with nobody in the booth. It turned out to be a disaster.

The fact of the matter is that we forget how small a minority we are. Most fans LIKE inane statements and actually think folks like Aikman actually add something of value to the broadcast.

For those like you and I that want more and are bothered by less, we don't have to pay extra. We have that wonderful "mute" button.

At the end of the day, sadly, there is no money in an audio-free option.

89
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:21am

You think you're a small minority? I'm a hardcore NFL fan outside the US. And yet the NFL thinks it's worth its while providing a niche service for me and people like me in the form of Gamepass (no-one who is not a hardcore fan is paying that much to watch games, and no-one who lives in America can get it).

I'd be staggered if there wasn't a large enough hardcore fanbase to justify a subscription web channel with a different audio feed, assuming the next set of network contracts allow them to do that (far from a given, I know). Certainly if I was the NFL, I'd be telling the networks it was something I wanted to be able to do under the terms of the next contract, even if only as a bargaining chip.

90
by Dean :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:51am

Sorry. That was not intended as any sort of "woe is me" at all. We all have the luxury of seeing every game if we choose, and even if we don't have the NFL Network and don't order the Sunday Ticket, we still have sports bars that will be glad to ply us with beer and fried cheese if only we choose their bar instead of someone else's. Or, we can sit at home and hit mute.

I still stand by my assesment, though, that an audioless option isn't a moneymaker for the NFL, simply because they've experimented with it already and it was a ratings disaster.

91
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 1:57pm

Audioless wouldn't be favourite as far as I'm concerned, but how long ago was it tried? My point is that the audience that is necessary for something to be monetizable is far smaller now than it was even a few years ago.

92
by PatsFan :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 2:59pm

It was NYJ-MIA and it was back in the 1980s.

Back then you needed announcers to give you stats. Now (for better or worse) that's all on the screen.

16
by Led :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:56pm

Sanchez's passing DYAR would put him at number 8. Given the relatively low number of attempts, his VOA might actually be in the top 5 (not sure what full strength opponent adjustment would do). Obviously below Rivers and Garrard, and probably Manning, too. But probably above Orton and Brees, who had twice the number of attempts. His conventional numbers are pedestrian, particularly his completion percentage, so the high per play efficiency is surprising. The only explanation I can think of is that a lot of the incompletions were 1st/2nd down attempts (albeit ugly ones) thrown down the field. He was much crisper on 3rd down with short and intermediate passes, and DVOA gives those passes more weight. All in all, that's three very solid games in a row. Given his massive suckitude last year, his performance this year is nothing short of incredible even considering a few lucky breaks in terms of dropped interceptions. I'm trying to avoid getting too sucked in. But it's not crazy to conclude that he can be an average QB the rest of the year. If you offered me that on opening day, I'd take it in a second.

11
by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:33pm

Has Parcells historically had bad special teams or are the constant blah of the Miami special teams under him a product of a lot of blah at the bottom of the roster? Perhaps it takes more than 3 years to rebuild a total 53 man roster?

12
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:37pm

Miami's ST were better than average last year (+1.5ish%), but close to the bottom of the league the year before (-4%). I don't remember his special teams being bad in his tenure in NE, but I didn't pay much attention to his time in Dallas.

45
by roguerouge :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:42pm

IIRC, the standard Parcells rebuild strategy was to improve special teams during the first year, as it was a low-cost way you could improve any team, which boosts the offense and defense in subtle ways.

13
by Sidewards :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:47pm

I liked the player comments this week, it seems like you might have made an effort to quiet some of your critics. RE: the Ryan comment, no we cannot start calling them IG's.

Also, "Hey Bill, never recommend Darrius Heyward-Bey in fantasy football ever again." (Singing in the Rain reference)

14
by Levente from Hungary :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:49pm

"... last season with as many as five IG's. (Can we start calling it that?) "
English is not my mother tongue, but I think you cannot. It would be IGs.

33
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:13pm

I agree with you. TDs, FGs, IGs.

50
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:26pm

I don't know if it only applies to abbreviations where you actually use the "." after the letters, but the appropriate way to pluralize abbreviations is with an "'s". Such as C.D.'s, Ph.D.'s.
Or at least that's what the awesome book "Eats, shoots and leaves" told me.

63
by Keith (1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:19pm

You are partially correct. According to http://www.protrainco.com/essays/spelling.htm, and the reference contained therein, you will only use 's to pluralize when the acronym uses periods, or if making the phrase plural causes it to be read incorrectly. That is, if you are going to say "The girl got all A's," you would use 's. There is a trend of not using periods in acronyms, so you will likely find it better to just say CDs or PhDs.

70
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 6:04pm

That's why I threw the caveat in there that I wasn't sure if it only applied to abbreviations with periods. Thanks for giving a definitive answer.

18
by LinksterAC (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:57pm

Despite Tomlinson's success with the Jets, blame can't be placed on the Chargers O-Line for his lackluster 2009 campaign. San Diego is tenth in the league in rush yards per game at 132.3--a vast improvement over last year's squad, and not too bad for a team that's predicated on passing the ball.

41
by Big Johnson :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:30pm

and they are running efficiently. I know it seems more like LT is ready to show san diego they made a mistake but the chargers are trying to do the same. I thought LT was done with but im glad hes doing good. Both sides benefitted hugely from this move.

53
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:34pm

LT was hurt in Week 1 in both 2008 and 2009.

77
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 8:21pm

This. He was hurt two straight years. Given his age, it seemed reasonable to doubt he would ever stay healthy again. He appears to be healthy. Also, while the Chargers line may be improved, the Jets line was and is excellent. Also, Buffalo.

19
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:59pm

Bill B,

You cannot rhetorically ding Peyton Manning for the late-game non-pick that was dropped if you actually include the INT that rolled out of his TE's hands at the goal line. Both were flukey plays (caught off the DB's ankle?) and effectively reversed each other. One prevented a TD and the other (after the drop) preceded a Colts TD. Actually, including them (rightly) as a pick and an incomplete hurt Manning's case more than if they were a pick and a completion (which they could easily have been).

And if you ding Manning in graf 1, why not ding Garrard for an equally badly dropped pick (and likely pick-six) in the next graf?

Selective amnesia?

Yeah, I know, double standard; Manning is judged by a tougher grading scale--and rightfully so, but having those entries adjacent just pointed that out in a rather stark manner. One dropped pick in a game-saving drive is griped about and the other, also in a game-saving drive, was ignored.

35
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:18pm

A real a clutch QB would have willed his player into making that catch.

This is elementary stuff Bobman.

55
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:36pm

I am just full of fail today. Maybe now I can play safety for Indy.

61
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:03pm

Forward your MRIs to one Bill Polian; the Colts aren't interested if you look unusually sturdy.

69
by Dave :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 6:03pm

Garrard's decision and throw on that play were so bad that there should be some sort of massive 100-YAR penalty that cancels out the rest of his day. It was almost impossibly stupid.

20
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:02pm

Reggie Wayne is really behind Braylon Edwards? The guys with no misses, okay, but Edwards with 4/7/86/1?

hmmmph.

43
by B :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:36pm

Could be opponent adjustments. They aren't at full strength, but they are partially on.

25
by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:38pm

An awkward tarp joke is the antithesis of innovative and intelligent.

47
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:09pm

Tarpism is racism!

57
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:37pm

Maybe an economic/political TARP joke instead?

26
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:39pm

Seriously, Wayne was unstoppable. Maybe it's the TD? Wayne didn't score.

36
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:20pm

It's gotta be the fumble.

58
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:40pm

D'oh! I really AM full of fail today. Of course it's the fumble. I actually missed it when it happened, so it must not have really happened. Naughty, naughty.

Also he did not score because they took so few shots downfield--only one really, and he would have scored on that 42-yarder if he didn't get toe-snagged.

27
by Basilicus :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:50pm

I'm surprised the Bears receivers aren't taking some of the blame. While there were plays in which Cutler clearly overlooked an open man, there were other plays in which the receivers were playing connect the dots straight from one defender to the next. Everyone does deserve the blame - including Cutler - and the O-line over the past two years has been the worst group I may've ever seen, but the receivers do not know how to read and adjust and I think it's getting massively overlooked.

34
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:15pm

Yeah, I don't really disagree, but that is the nature of Total Effing Disasters. Between the gaping hole in the hull, and the inadequate number of liefeboats, the fact that all the ice warnings were not sent from the radio room to the bridge, on the night the Titanic sank, sometimes gets overlooked.

31
by BJR :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:05pm

I'm confused by what happened differently to Cutler/the Bears' O Line in this game to what happened against Dallas two weeks earlier. That game began with Chris Williams getting hurt and Cutler looking like he was going to have his head taken off every single play, but ended with only one sack and him having a productive day in a Chicago win.

Was it as simple as that against Dallas he managed to get off a quick release to Olsen that went for TD, and then a bomb to Knox a few plays later, and that scared Dallas off blitzing? Or was it more complicated and schematic than that? Or was it because against the Giants he was concussed early on and unable to function properly?

42
by TomC :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:35pm

I sympathize. For most of the first half, I kept expecting one of the things that Martz/Tice tried to work. They went max-protect, they went empty, they switched out personnel at three O-line positions, and it was the same result every time.

78
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 8:25pm

My vote goes to (mostly) concussed. Think about some of Kurt Warner's bad games (and not just under Martz - I pick him primarily as an example of a player who I suspect spent a lot of time throwing passes when he should have been in hospital). Did it really look so different? Different enough for the awfulness of the O-line not to make up the difference.

37
by onetime91 :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:23pm

"Fred Davis dropped what would have likely been a touchdown pass on McNabb's opening throw"

That ball was actually horribly thrown and forced Davis to turn his body around and jump as high as he could. That is unacceptable considering McNabb had time to throw and there was no one near Davis. Spot-on analysis once again.

39
by BJR :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:28pm

Interesting to see Flacco rank highly. He's played a brutally tough schedule of defences so far and I expect this Baltimore offence to explode in the next few weeks against some weaker fare.

40
by MrBismarck :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:29pm

The play-by-play gathered for this game had some beautiful mistakes; my favorite was a seven-yard pass to Jermaine Gresham that was listed as a completion 32 yards downfield with -25 YAC. I truthfully didn't see the play, but I'm going to assume that's not what actually happened.

Palmer went to Gresham for seven yards twice. Sadly neither featured Gresham running the wrong way for a quarter of the field.

One. two.

60
by justme_cd :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:55pm

I misread your post and clicked your links looking for his -25 YAC. When I disappointedly reread your post, yes, I was sad.

48
by SkipWalk (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:11pm

I've suffered thru two Bears games in one week. I've watched them to see if Forte's first week explosion meant the second coming of Marshall Faulk. But I don't see Forte out in patterns downfield or called screens or even as dump off option at all anymore. He is there as extra pass protection seemingly every dropback as Knox and Hester run straight go lines. Is anyone else noticing this in Martz' playcalling? Of course Cutler was ignoring his second and third options all half on SNF so even if Forte or Chester Taylor were open in the flats underneath there is good chance they won't get the ball.

56
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 3:37pm

"Of course Cutler was ignoring his second and third options all his career"
I fixed that for you. I'm even a Cutler fan (an increasingly rare creature out here in the wilds of Denver, but one thing that always drove me nuts about him was his seeming inability to take his eyes off his first read.

66
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 5:08pm

I remember seeing that quite a bit last year from Cutler, but it seems like he was making a conscious effort to do better this year (in the first three games, at least).

71
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 6:08pm

Well, if that's the case, I apologize to the original poster and to Cutler. I just kind of assumed that he'd carried on with that awful, awful habit. I'd like for him to do well, but he's going to get ripped in half during one of these games.

64
by ammek :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:35pm

Mm, David Whitehurst and the 1978 Packers. How evil of you to bring them up.

That was the season the Packers started 6-1. They wound up missing the playoffs on a tiebreaker after tying the Vikings at Lambeau Field in a November sleetstorm. It didn't help that, during the last nine games, Green Bay averaged 8.5 points a game.

1978 did give rise to two of the more amusing fan interventions. After the 10-sack, 9-net yard disaster in San Diego, one incensed cheesehead invited OG Darrel Gofourth to "Gofourth and multiply". And of course it was the year when Packer fans learnt to "do the Terd" in support of RB Terdell Middleton.

And it turned out to be the best season in a 20-year stretch of futility.

68
by tronk (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 5:12pm

I really expected more out of you guys. Watching the game it was obvious to me at that at some point in the second quarter--probably early--Cutler suffered a concussion. He was clearly impaired, that's the reason why he was so slow to get rid of the ball and essentially unable to make a decision at the speed required of an NFL quarterback. Just because he didn't have a "lights out" moment doesn't mean he wasn't out of it for a good portion of that second quarter. It's absolutely criminal that the Bears let him stay out on the field as long as he did.

73
by Moridin :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 6:46pm

Well, if it makes you feel any worse about them, here. Nothing like playing a week later after getting your brain ripped apart.

80
by Basilicus :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 11:31pm

I'm going to be mind-numbingly pissed if Cutler's even in shoulder pads for the game. He definitely suffered a concussion and may have suffered two against the Giants. The NFL needs a fly-out medical staff to evaluate concussed players so that they can legitimately fine the crap out of any team that plays a concussed player the week after.

74
by Dan :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 6:51pm

From this video, it looks like it might have happened on the first sack of the 2nd quarter (third sack of the game).