Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?
22 Nov 2013
by J.J. Cooper
There’s Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Drew Brees’ 54-game touchdown streak and Wayne Gretsky’s streak of 51 consecutive games scoring at least a point. Streaks that spoke not only to a certain level of talent, but also to a certain level of consistency.
Raiders tackle Khalif Barnes has managed to avoid joining that lofty level, but just barely. For only the second time all year, Barnes made it through Sunday’s game without being flagged for a penalty. Barnes carried a six-game penalty streak into the Raiders’ Week 8 game. Apparently the bye week in Week 7 helped, as he stayed flag- and sack-free against the Steelers. But after avoiding the officials’ wrath for one week, he returned to form with a penalty in Week 9 and an amazing four penalties against the Giants in Week 10.
Barnes’ 4.5 sacks are pretty middle of the pack for an offensive tackle. But his penalties offer a pretty strong indication that he’s a tackle often in over his head. That’s somewhat understandable as he was supposed to compete for the Raiders’ right tackle job in training camp. Instead, because of the season-ending injury to left tackle Jared Veldheer, he’s been asked to play left tackle.
If you’re watching a Raiders game and you see a flag on the field, there’s a pretty good chance Barnes is involved. Barnes has been called for 12 penalties in 10 games this year, easily the most in the NFL. He’s been flagged for four false starts and called for seven holding penalties. He threw in an illegal formation penalty for good measure.
Jets guard Willie Colon can’t match Barnes flags for flags, but nine penalties for 63 yards is a pretty hefty bill of its own. Colon has five false starts, three holding penalties, and an illegal use of the hands infraction this year. The following chart looks at all offensive linemen with six or more penalties this season.
If it was a better week for Barnes, it was a rough week for his teammate Tony Pashos. Pashos returned from a hip injury that had sidelined him for three weeks. Maybe he needed another week to recover. Barnes was tossed around by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, giving up a pair of sacks including this beauty where Watt actually threw him to his knees.
Packers linebacker Brad Jones had one of the best-timed blitzes of the year as he shot through the the Giants line at full speed right after the ball was snapped.
Because he had waited until the last minute to take off, Giants running back Andre Brown didn’t really have a chance to pick him up. Jones was already hitting Eli Manning. From snap to sack, this play took only 1.3 seconds.
Bills quarterback EJ Manuel has been known to take a long sack -- nine of his sacks this year have taken 3.5 seconds or longer. But before Sunday none came close to taking as long as the eight-second beauty he endured against the Jets.
Manuel had plenty of time in the pocket. But eventually the pocket began to collapse, leading Manuel to do a complete 360. Anytime a quarterback has his back to the line of scrimmage, bad things are likely to happen. In Manuel’s case it lead to him being run out of bounds. To his credit, at least he didn’t lose any yardage.
12 comments, Last at 23 Nov 2013, 12:49am by tuluse