Audibles at the Line
Unfiltered in-game observations by Football Outsiders staff

Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2006.

By the way, the discussion thread for this roundtable is an excellent place to suggest injuries you would like to see Will Carroll cover in this week's Black and Blue Report. And at the end we'll give you a little preview of what games we're analyzing later in the week.

Minnesota Vikings 24 at New York Giants 21

Mike Tanier: Am I the only one watching this mess? Eli can't seem to throw the ball straight.

Al Bogdan: Nope, I'm sitting through it too. The one accurate pass he's thrown so far was dropped when Jamaar Taylor was planning out his run to the end zone instead of actually worrying about catching his first catch of the year.

Edinger's on pace for an amazing Loser League week. Two missed field goals and we're not even out of the first quarter yet. Nice block on the second one, but the first miss was all on him. It's a good thing the Giants are playing Minnesota and not an actual NFL team or they would be down by at least 14 by now.

Tim Gerheim: Reminds me of watching Marcus Vick spray his aerial detritus against Maryland and Miami. It must be some kind of younger brother bad karma thing.

Vivek Ramgopal: Did people just catch that Vikings stat? 212 yards on special teams and 63 yards total offense. Lot of sprints during practice on Tuesday.

Ned Macey: I am waiting to read the first person who seriously comments that Brad Johnson is 2-0 or the Vikings are better off without Culpepper or any other such nonsense. Johnson is done. He has no arm strength, and he gets rid of the ball so quickly as if he is in constant fear of being hit.

As for the Giants, when Eli is playing this badly (and he was terrible) why throw 48 passes when you were never down by more than 8 points? The Vikings doubled Burress, and Manning was rendered helpless. Is it really that easy? All year, it seemed to me that Manning would just throw to Shockey or Burress with no concern about how well covered they were. As I say every time I watch a Giants game, this is still Tiki Barber's team, and Manning still needs to improve a fair amount to deserve to be the focal point of the offense. After Manning threw a pick in the red zone, they drove back down and went to Barber for both the touchdown and the two-point conversion. Unfortunately for them, this was too little too late.

Al Bogdan: Has the horse collar tackle penalty been called at all this year? On the Giants' kickoff return after Koren Robinson's TD, Willie Ponder was brought down by what looked to me like a clear horse collar tackle, yet no penalty was called and no one seemed to complain about that either.

Russell Levine: I think I saw one horse-collar called in the preseason, but can't recall seeing one since, and I've seen two or three obvious examples go uncalled.

Mike Tanier: The Vikings have a terrible offensive line. And watching Koren Robinson and Travis Taylor run routes is kind of sad. They need to pick up R. Jay Soward, Marcus Nash, and FredEx. Though yes, I know, Koren had a touchdown.

But, Curtis Deloatch wears a "kick me" sign on his back. I think neighborhood kids must throw footballs in his direction when he walks down the street.

Al Bogdan: I thought Deloatch looked pretty good for most of the game. He got faked out of his shoes by Koren Robinson on one TD, but had some great pass defenses otherwise.

Eli was terrible today. In many ways, this was almost the complete opposite of most of the Giants' games this year. The offense and special teams killed them, while the defense just dominated the Vikings. Minnestoa really misses Birk at center. The Giants were able to get great penetration up the middle of the line most of the game. Manning had open receivers, and plenty of protection, but he just couldn't complete a pass. For some reason, he seemed to completely forget that Plaxico Burress was covered by two players the entire game. Manning had one beautiful pass to Burress streaking down the sidelines, if only there wasn't a Minnesota defender sitting exactly where Manning was throwing the ball.

Arizona Cardinals 21 at Detroit Lions 29

Michael David Smith: The Lions scored on their first possession and were driving on their second possession until an illegal formation penalty pushed them back and they had to punt. The penalty came when Charles Rogers lined up in the backfield when he was supposed to be on the line of scrimmage. What are they doing putting this guy on the field? He's killing them. And what does it say about the Arizona defense that they need that to stop the Harrington-led offense? And why did Steve Mariucci tell the sideline reporter, "It's nice to get our receivers back, Roy and Charles"? Roy Williams, yes, it's nice to get him back. Charles Rogers, it would be nice to hear that the Lions finally wised up and cut him.

Neil Rackers had a 51-yard field goal and a touchback and two tackles on kickoffs. Is there anything this guy can't do?

San Francisco 49ers 9 at Chicago Bears 17

Mike Tanier: How does DVOA adjust for a 50-mph wind? I think we should turn all the spreadsheet rows into columns and columns into rows for that Bears game, as if the whole formula was just blown sideways.

Al Bogdan: How do you attempt a 52-yard field goal in that stadium? Didn't the 49ers see Gould's hysterical missed FG attempt earlier in the game in the same direction? The short field goal returned for a touchdown is easily my favorite football play.

Michael David Smith: My wife says the Bears' orange jerseys clash with the 49ers' uniforms.

Mike Tanier: I agree with MDS's wife. Bears in orange ... next, instead of helmets, their heads will be stuck in honey pots.

New England Patriots 23 at Miami Dolphins 16

Aaron Schatz: This is the ultimate irony. Tom Brady really has become Peyton Manning. He's almost the entire team right now. Although the defense was better today for two reasons:

1) Ellis Hobbs is not Duane Starks.
2) Richard Seymour was back. In one of the the threads last week I think someone criticized me for picking the Colts over the Patriots in last year's playoffs because offensive teams don't win in the playoffs. Actually, I was picking the Colts over the Patriots because I think Richard Seymour is the second-best player on the team and he was injured in that game. They've missed him a lot more this year than they did when he was out last year because the linebackers and secondary were a lot better last year to make up for his absence.

I'm not sure when Heath Evans became Jerome Bettis. That has to rank as one of the strangest sudden outbursts of the year. Miami's run defense is very good, but they seemed to overpursue a lot of the Pats run plays, which involved some delays and counters. Maybe they thought a lot of them were play fakes because why on earth would the Pats be running with Heath Evans?

On the other hand, a little criticism. At one point early on the Pats ran a slow-developing handoff on third-and-1 instead of just lining guys up in the I and stuffing it in there. It's not as bad as passing on third down, but still, why get fancy? Just get the yard and let's get on with our lives.

Eugene Wilson dropped an INT. Ellis Hobbs, I think, dropped an INT. Willie McGinest dropped an INT. I think that the Pats defense has more drops than the Pats offense has catches.

Phil Simms said, "Two running backs who both want the bulk of the carries; when they get along, it's good for your football team." Um, I don't think Ricky Williams cares how many times he gets the ball, he just doesn't want to owe the Dolphins all his money.

Mike Tanier: Ricky Williams carried 11 times for 13 yards. But he's underrated, and if he got the ball 25 times he would have had a good game.

Aaron Schatz: Have we mentioned this year how awesome Zach Thomas is? According to the individual defense stats, he's been involved in a higher percentage of his team's plays than any other defender (a better measure than total defensive plays or tackles). On one play he easily sniffed out a running play before the snap and stuffed it for a loss. On another play he didn't fall for a fake screen left and when the screen was thrown right he just went right through the blocker to make the tackle.

Department of unfair calls: There should have been a face mask penalty called on New England on a late third-and-11 Frerotte incompletion. Pats got away with that one. On the other hand, Wes Welker's heel went out of bounds on his big catch and run right before the two-minute warning. I rewound my DVR and watched it in slow motion twice. The Pats should have thrown the red flag there, I think that would have moved Miami back about 15 yards.

Pat Laverty: I'd like to think that Belichick could even consider it, cornerback Michael Stone would be sent packing for his constant "Canty-dance." He has wide receivers that run him over and slip by him on the sideline, yet he'll make a downfield tackle and dance like he just won the Super Bowl. You'd think that if you suck and you're only on the team because the team has five guys at your position on IR, you'd keep pretty quiet. Can't stand the guy. Plus I see #24 running around and I just want to think "Ty Law's covering him ... oops, nope." At one point yesterday, it looked like 2000 all over again as the cameras showed the pre-snap from behind the Patriots' defensive backfield and I saw #24 talking with #36 (James Sanders??) talking. Oh how did I want that to be Law and Milloy.

Do any of you have comeback stats off the top of their head? If not, I'm going to go look it up. While watching the game yesterday and seeing Miami take the lead with 2:39 left, I looked over to my father in law (who HATES the Patriots), and said "You can't feel too good about this now, can you?" He said no. Sure enough, Brady does it again. I think that's his third late in the fourth quarter comeback win this year. Out of five. Everyone talks about Elway and Montana being comeback kings, but how many did they pull off? Where does Brady rank? I'd also want to look into tandem comebacks. Do the Brady/Vinatieri combo have more tandem come from behind wins than any other QB/K pairing?

Bill Moore: More injuries for the Pats including Ashworth, Graham, and Givens. Ugh. Ah Heath Evans, where did he come from. First carry for 21 yards. Mike Cloud? Not so much. I've always marginally liked Cloud as a slasher, but when you have it third and 1, run the bruiser not the slasher. When the announcers talked about how he's never fumbled, I was sure that was a jinx.

Ellis Hobbs starts at CB. I like it. I watched Hobbs in the preseason and really liked him -- both as a DB and a return guy. He played well today. For once, the Pats DBs are actually somewhere near the ball. Samuel who plays inconsistently didn't have his best game, but on one play he LEVELED Ricky Williams. 185 lbs vs. a listed 228. I guess E=mc^2 works. Yet a quick fumble by the QB and he basically FORGETS to cover his guy.

Pats OLBs do a good job at containing RBs to the outside. Coverage is their weak spot.

Bruschi saved seven points when he outta nowhere tipped a sure-TD on third down. Mare missed a rare easy FG.

Brady. What can you say? Clutch, yet not particularly consistent today. I was a non-believer when the doubters said that losing Charlie Weis was going to hurt him. Yet the offensive inconsistency surely makes me wonder. I was never real high on Weis, I always thought his "weird" play calling was unnecessary. However, I have begun to think this year that maybe the offense is too predictable. Then Brady goes out and throws two passes for 76 yards to take the lead with three minutes to go. Are you kidding me?

Houston Texans 17 at Indianapolis Colts 31

Michael David Smith: Indianapolis looked bored in the middle of the game there, then realized Houston was getting back into it and quickly put the Texans away.

Ned Macey: This game was not as close as the score, as sad as that is for the Texans. They scored 10 of their points when they covered two separate muffed punts (neither of which were touched by the actual return man). Otherwise, the Texans were not going to let Carr be sacked, so they threw short, short, and short again.

Colts scored at will when they were trying. Early it looked like they were making a concerted effort to attack Phillip Buchanon with Wayne, and I was going to write about how impressive Dunta Robinson was. Then, the Colts come back to Harrison, and he has his way with Robinson. I was really afraid after the St. Louis game that Harrison had lost a step and that was really hurting the Colts offense. After his play the last two weeks, he looks like he is still among the top receivers in football if no longer the best.

By the way Edgerrin James picked up 122 yards on 26 carries with a long of 12 yards. He is absolutely relentless, and his ability to consistently get yards is ruining the plan of letting James run wild while holding down the passing game.

Tim Gerheim: I do recall one Harrison touchdown where Harrison beat Robinson, but Dunta's body language made it look like he expected safety help, which is why he let Harrison past him. Maybe this is just the man-crush talking, but I'm quite confident that Dunta can run with Harrison. Last week, though, he did look a mess, missing tackles like it was his job, whereas he's usually a great tackler (like on that huge highlight reel hit on Wayne today).

Jonathan Wells had pretty good success against the Colts. Jonathan Wells! The Colts still don't have a good run defense, and maybe this game, where Houston sort of made a comeback until Indy decided they did need to show up for the second half after all, will show teams that they mustn't abandon the run against the Colts. Perhaps the only reason games like this don't turn into college blowout scores is the lack of an NFL BCS, since there aren't any pollsters to impress.

Ned Macey: I think a lot of Dunta myself, which is why I was impressed with Harrison. Even taking out the TD, he had six catches for 78 yards, and he caught seven of nine passes intended for him. For the most part, Manning was definitely looking left, so they clearly respected Robinson.

Green Bay Packers 33 at Atlanta Falcons 25

Aaron Schatz: Atlanta's second touchdown was a play fake where Vick pretended to hand to Warrick Dunn, stood there whistling and minding his own business while everyone tackled Dunn, then ran right and into the end zone with the ball. Aboslutely, positively beautiful, both in design and execution.

Russell Levine: Saw that, and it was a thing of beauty by Vick, but in other highlights I've seen, he continues to take unnecessary punishment. He's got to learn to protect himself.

Michael David Smith: Damn, too bad the Falcons couldn't come up with Roddy White's fumble. They're usually so good at recovering fumbles. I wonder what went wrong.

Bill Moore: "[Vick] likes to get hit." - Jim Mora. Well he must have LOVED this game. Going into the last drive that was basically run against a prevent, Vick was a 16 for 20 (great) for 140 yards (not so much). We won't have the data really until after the season, but I would love to know what Vick's yardage (and completion) stats look like without YAC. He throws so many dump offs. When did Atlanta hire Paul Hackett?

After last week, Vick wanted to keep his critics off guard by staying a pocket passer. Oh well.

Darryl Johnston noted late in the game that one thing that made Atlanta good in the first half of the year was that it didn't turn the ball over much. With three fumbles by Vick and three by the rest of the team, it seemed to be going the other way. Hmm, where have I heard that before?

Washington Redskins 35 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 36

Russell Levine: Tampa Bay is turning back the clock today. The fans and media have been calling for Alstott to get the ball more in recent weeks, in part because the home crowd goes beserk every time he gets a touch. Perhaps because the o-line doesn't seem to be able to create lanes for Cadillac, they're giving the ball to Alstott since he just kind of looks for people to run into anyway. He's got a couple short TD runs already, and some nice places on check down passes. The crowd is as loud as it has been all year.

Simeon Rice also came to play today, causing all kinds of havoc, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an INT.

Tim Gerheim: Edell Shepherd is Tampa's Ernest Wilford.

The end of this game was nuts. Blocked game-tying extra point, but it didn't count because Washington was offside. So it would be an easy tie. Then Gruden decides to go for two to go ahead by one, and Alstott barely makes it. The only thing that would have made it better would be if the booth review overturned it, but that didn't happen.

The thing that makes the least sense to me is that Buck and mostly Aikman thought Tampa shouldn't go for two because there are still 58 seconds on the clock, leaving Washington time to drive for a winning field goal. But that's equally true if they go for one. The only thing I can figure is that Aikman expects that if the game is tied, Washington would be content to go to overtime rather than try to win it in regulation. And if that's what he, putting himself in Gruden's shoes, is afraid of, then wouldn't Washington want to go for it no matter whether they had overtime available? (The easy answer is that Aikman is an idiot, which given that he's a commentator is a highly reasonably conclusion, but I don't think it's the case.)

Aaron Schatz: No, no, Aikman is definitely NOT an idiot. Remember, this is the guy who went to a statistician he knew and said, "listen, this ranking teams by yardage thing is crap, let's design something that does a much better job of showing which teams are really doing the things that win games." Thus, the Aikman Efficiency Ratings, which are computed very differently from DVOA but end up with similar results.

(As an aside, the main differences are: opponent adjustments, fumble randomness, special teams, and considering all plays equally instead of splitting rushing and passing, which causes the Aikman ratings to have strong ground games and run defenses higher than DVOA would.)

Derrick Brooks is still damn good. Broke up a screen with an awesome hit. I love when guys blow up screens. Next year, with the game charting, we should have a new stat: Screen Blowups.

Russell Levine: Every time I watch TB I'll see a couple tackles during the game that I just know were made by Brooks without even seeing him. It's just the way he explodes into the ballcarrier.

Juran Bolden had a very nice day at nickel corner today too, with an INT and a pass break up that led to another one. He's really been a nice find for them this year after Mario Bates didn't work out last year.

Really, really good stuff out of Simms today, bringing them back down the field three times after the defense couldn't stop anybody. He was careful with the football, but still went down the field quite a bit. 279 on 15 completions, not too shabby.

The Bucs have been trying to find some playing time for Shepherd for years, but he kept getting hurt. Nice to see him have an impact. I continue to be amazed by Galloway. The guy's 33 and still routinely runs past corners like he's jogging. He's got to be one of the five fastest players in the NFL.

As a Bucs fan, today was special for Alstott. I've always been an Alstott defender because I think he had the Favre Syndrome. In other words, he became so known for being overrated, that he was actually underrated. He went through a lot to come back from a very serious neck injury and a knee injury last year and I'm sure he was wondering if it was worth it if he was never going to see the ball except in garbage time. But you could just hear the crowd go nuts every time he touched it today and I loved that they gave it to him on the two-pointer, when everyone in the stadium knew he was getting the ball. A vintage Alstott run, too. He absorbed a huge hit and rolled off, and maybe, maybe made it by an inch.

New York Jets 3 at Carolina Panthers 30

Mike Tanier: I watched a lot of an unwatchable Panthers-Jets game. Zzzzzzz. I did see one beautiful interception by Ray Lucas. I watched for an hour and saw about six Panthers offensive plays. Their defense won the game, Delhomme and company sleep walked.

Bill Moore: I didn't watch the whole game, but saw most of it. It was a game until Bollinger turned into Zeke Bratkowski. Actually if Bollinger just leads Coles in the endzone, this is a tied game with seven minutes to go in the third quarter.

Maybe its just all the Jets games I've watched this year, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone have so many gimme INTs than Ty Law.

Amazing stat, that I hadn't realized. Curtis Martin fumbled today. I knew it was a rarity, but I didn't realize he hadn't fumbled in two years. (According to the announcers. Yet, I look up the stats and he had two last year, so hmmmmmmm. Moral of the story: never believe the announcers. You'd think I'd know that by now.)

Speaking of announcers, they noted that with five minutes to go and down by 27, the Jets were running out the clock (YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!). I didn't disagree. They were just trying to get out of there. That sat Martin and rolled out back up Houston, they went to rollout their backup QB and realized he's already in the game.

Aaron Schatz: I'm sure the announcers were talking about Martin losing fumbles, because if you lose the ball and your lineman happens to pounce on it, golly, it's like you never dropped the thing.

St. Louis Rams 16 at Seattle Seahawks 31

Ned Macey: This game was much closer than the score. St. Louis was just inept in the red zone and on the Seahawks side of the field in general. All but one of their drives included plays in Seattle's territory, and only one of those did they not have the ball in the red zone. On that drive, Curtis was blatantly held by Herndon leading to Bulger's only interception. (Which was only fair since Hassebleck had been intercepted after Stevens had been bumped after five yards). On the Seahawks score to go up 24-6, the Rams stopped the Seahawks on a third down play, except a blitzing Tinoisamoa had lined up offsides. He did not get anywhere near the quarterback. On the clock-killing drive that made it a two possession game and clinched the win, the Rams jumped offsides on a third-and-8 leaving the Seahawks with a third-and-3 that they completed to, as always, Bobby Engram. Engram typically came through with four first down conversions on third down. Also, not sure where Will gets his info, but he was right about Torry Holt. Holt was definitely not 100 percent in his first game back. A healthy Holt would have had two more touchdowns.

Alexander was great as always with 165 yards and three touchdowns. The announcers were big into whether or not he was the best running back in football. I am not sure how I feel about the issue, but I do think it is odd that Tomlinson is just universally considered the best back, particularly given his injury-plagued season a year ago. Alexander is so improved over where he was a few years ago. The only knock on him is that he is not a receiver, which would lead me to consider Tomlinson and James (who also is never in this conversation despite averaging more yards per scrimmage per game than any player in history) over Alexander.

Cleveland Browns 21 at Pittsburgh Steelers 34

Tim Gerheim: I just want to briefly give the refs some props. Their job is so ridiculously difficult, I can't even imagine doing it successfully. How do you simultaneously see when a guy's knee goes down, and also where the ball is at that exact point in time, like on Droughns' touchdown? Or where a guy's feet are, and also whether he has possession of the ball. I'm surprised they don't all have lazy eyes so they can look at two points, about 5 feet separated, at the same time.

Mike Patrick: "I'll tell you what, there's no place for anybody afraid out there tonight. If you're afraid, go home and get a dog." WHAT!?!?

That was great, watching L.J. Shelton literally pull Droughns into the end zone. I think from now on I'm going to call Shelton "Bull" just so that I can refer to that as the "Bull Pull," as opposed to the "Bush Push." (I think I've watched too much college football this season.)

Russell Levine: Too much college football? There's no such thing!

Coming This Week

Tuesday's Any Given Sunday: Packers over Falcons
Thursday's Every Play Counts: Pittsburgh Front Seven


105 comments, Last at 16 Nov 2005, 4:17am

1 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Tim Gerheim: "I just want to briefly give the refs some props. ... That was great, watching L.J. Shelton literally pull Droughns into the end zone."

I thought that assisting the ball carrier was against the rules. Oh, well, a W is a W.

2 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

The refs to whom you give props missed a face mask on McCutcheon on the TD pass to Ward that was overturned in the Steelers/Browns game. I guess they really can't look everywhere at once.

Also, wasn't the point of instant replay to allow obviously, egregiously wrong calls to be overturned? Doesn't the rule say something like "incontrovertable visual evidence?" I have seen quite a few plays this year where the replay was ambiguous enough that the guys in the booth couldn't agree on what happened, yet the call was overturned. They seem to be using a definition of "incontrovertable" with which I am not familiar.

And did anyone else notice how many times the crack ESPN announcing crew mixed up Cleveland and Pittsburgh? When they said that Bill Cowher would have to figure out what to do with Keenan McCardell Jr. next year, it passed into the realm of the bizarre.

I'd be curious to see the QB DVOA comparisons of Antwaan Randle El (1/1, 51 yards, 1 TD on 1st and 10 from the PIT 51) and Tommy Maddox (4/7, 22 yards, and an interception cancelled out by face mask penalty). By my count, Tommy had two good plays (a 4-yard completion on 2nd and 4 and a 9-yard completion on 3rd and 7), five bad plays (4 incompletions and a 3-yard dump off on 3rd and 17), plus was unable to get a play off twice, once calling a timeout and once getting hit with a Delay penalty.

3 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Not wanting to be lumped in with the rest of the FO geezers (whose idea of pop culture is Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan), Mike T. goes straight for the most important consumers of all with his Winnie-the-Pooh reference. (Cue NFL Films music and John Fassenda intoning: "Terrifying to behold in their orange shirts and honey-pot helmets, the Windy City Poohs.")

5 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

I also couldn't understand what Aikman was thinking as he criticised Gruden for going for 2. It was a complete mental breakdown on Aikman's part, indicated when he referred to last week's Vermeil decision as a decision to go for 2, which it wasn't. he just lost it.

Also, Alstott didn't get in. His elbow hit short of the goalline with the ball in that same hand. But, I like that NFL coaches are catching on to this avoiding OT thing when you have a high probability of getting the win.

Question: The Redskins had a deadball offsides before the penalized block. Why didn't the Bucs opt to enforce that penalty half the distance and go for two then? Was that not an option? When I saw the first penalty, I was thinking, 'move it to the one and go for it,' never imagining that Gruden actually might do it. So, I was even more shocked to see Gruden take the second penalty and do it. So, now I'm just confused. What are the rules on penalty enforcement on extra points?

Oh, and did I mention I'm certain Alstott didn't make it in?

6 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

ken lucas not ray lucas, ken's having a pretty good year so show him some respect

7 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

is it impossible to put a little chip in the ends of a football that shoots out a beam of lite that only the linesman who is wearing special goggles can see

Can you tell I'm just a little peeved about that 2pt conversion by Tampa Bay? It doesn't matter. If the refs had overturned the 2pter, the Redskins would have let a kickoff team consisting only of Chris Simms kicking off the ball recover the onside kick. Then on the very next play, even though the clock would have been stopped they would have fallen for a fake spike touchdown pass to some other guy I've never heard of before


8 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re #5: On the deadball offsides penalty, the Bucs could choose to have the penalty assesed on the kickoff.

10 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

For the third straight week, Brooks Bollinger has focused almost exclusively on the left side of the field. It's already gotten him into trouble- in crunch time both the Falcons and Chargers sent overload blitzes to the left side and batted down Bollinger's pass attempt-and it was just a matter of time until someone picked him and took it to the house. Every three or five step drop results in a throw to the left. There was actually one point where Bollinger dropped back, looked left, saw that his receiver was covered and then seemed to just gape for a second or two, hoping against hope that he wouldn't have to turn his head to the right. Then he looked at another receiver.

Even with Fabini out, the Jets line continued its upward trend. Because the quarterback play is so poor, the only way it's going to be felt statistically is in an uptick for Curtis Martin in the second half of the season. (At least until the rest of the starting five goes on IR, which seems to be just a matter of time at the rate things are going. What a season.)

11 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

OK, now it can be told:

That wasn't the Bears yesterday -- their bus got held up in the Edens express lanes, so the Cook County work-release crew that was there to clean up the stadium filled in. Hence, the orange jerseys that had fans across America throwing their HDTV's out the window.

This also explains why there were wrappers flying all over the place -- the crew was too busy learning the three plays Ron Turner calls to actually clean the stadium.

12 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

look, i'm a redskins fan and i'm happy they lost. Why because it was the defense that lost him. Now gibbs and williams get walt harris the hell of the field. I don't care how carlos rogers looks. put him in.

13 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

look, i'm a redskins fan and i'm happy they lost. Why because it was the defense that lost it. Now gibbs and williams get walt harris the hell of the field. I don't care how carlos rogers looks. put him in.

14 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

How is the defense so much worse than last year? Aaron please do a 20/20 style investigative report on this subject. The skins were top 5 DVOA last year I believe. This year they are middle of the pack somewhere. What gives? It's the same guys.

15 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

5 bad plays for Maddox should be 3 incompletions, 3-yard dumpoff on 3rd and 17, and 6-yard pass to Kranchik at 4:35 of the 4th.

Both the 3rd down passes were in sorta field goal range--the problem with the 3-yarder wasn't so much that it didn't get the first but that it didn't get them into FG position. But if I remember correctly they weren't even trying to go downfield on that play.

Both 3rd down passes were followed by delay of game penalties--then the second one was the blocked FG return. (And to be fair to Maddox, they were already trying to grind the clock at this point.)

16 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

15 was re:2. And the 6-yard pass was on 3rd and 7, that's why it was bad.

17 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Damn, too bad the Falcons couldn’t come up with Roddy White’s fumble. They’re usually so good at recovering fumbles. I wonder what went wrong.

made my day right there. Was expecting more, but the delicious subtleness was perfect.

18 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

I realize they could choose to have the penalty enforced on the kickoff. But, I'm curious why they would choose such a thing, and then the second time choose to move the ball to the 1 and go for 2. Why not just do that in the first place? Unless you have no choice on the dead ball offsides, which is what I'm curious about.

One could say that 5 yards on the kickoff is valuable, making a touchback much more likely, while an additional 5 yards would then be pretty unimportant. But that seems like pretty small potatoes compared to the choice of a coin flip in OT vs. a likely lead in regulation. I guess we ask Will Krasker to come in and tell us if the 5 yards on the kickoff really changes things that much.

19 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

"I guess E=mc^2 works."

Asante Samuel runs very fast. But I doubt he is anywhere near that fast.

20 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Regarding the Bucs 2-point:

I was confused as well about why they had the first penalty assessed to the following kickoff, and THEN the second one on the 2-point attempt and went for it. The only thing I can think of is that going for 2 hadn't occurred to Gruden (or he had already decided against it), but after getting the second penalty in his favor, it made him think twice and decide to go for it.

I agree that I don't THINK Alstott didn't get in. BUT I think the officials made the right call. Why? In real time you really can't see the elbow--watching the play, and the replay in realtime I was sure he got in. So I think the official was right to call it a TD at the time. Under intensive replay in slow motion, you can see that maybe, even probably, the elbow touches while the ball is maybe, even probably, not in the endzone. But now we're back to the incontravertable thing. Maybe and probably isn't enough to overturn a ruling on the field. So I think they were right to let the call stand, even though it was probably wrong. I can't fault the refs for that.

21 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re comebacks: Elway had 48 career comebacks. Brady has 21. I'd say he still has a little ways to go before he's in Elway territory. Heck, Dan Marino had 38 or so, too.

That said, Brady has the most 4th quarter comebacks since 2001. THAT said, I read somewhere last season that Kerry Collins was #2 on that list. Just a mandatory note from the "take it with a grain of salt" department.

Re "Vick likes to get hit?":
Did Mora really say that? That's about the stupidest thing I've ever heard a head coach say about one of his players. Heck, the reason why Vick insisted on playing QB instead of moving to RB or WR is because he didn't like getting hit.

Re Shaun Alexander:
I always thought the knock on him was that he was soft, and that it was Seattle's O-line that was doing all of the hard work. Holmgren definitely felt like anyone could have succeeded behind that line.

22 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Larry and james:

Its irrelevant if Alstott's elbow came down outside the goal line. A football is much, much larger than an elbow. With Alstott essentially holding it directly above the elbow and near the head (hold a ball against your chest, then lean back and make like your elbow is about to hit the ground - now look at where the ball is - close up towards your chin!), there is little reason to think that it did not cross the plane, other than Redskins homerism.

Anyway, this was Refs Karma payback for the reviewed Ladell Betts TD runback where he clearly goes out of bounds on several steps (unless you believe a runner can run without his heels touching the ground - perhaps Betts is a ballerina???), yet was inexplicably ruled inbounds.

23 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Ummm, unless we're converting Asante Samuel into a being of pure energy (e.g. by canceling him with an anti-Asante Samuel made of antimatter, which would be pretty cool...), E=mc^2 isn't really all that relevant here. What I think you're looking for is P = mV (momentum) or E = 0.5mv^2 (kinetic energy). Still, I would just as soon not get hit by Samuel the way Williams got hit...

24 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re #1: Those were two unrelated thoughts. There are a lot of rules that exist that nobody enforces (horse collar anyone?), and I was just praising the officials for being able to see a guy's knee go down and where the ball was at that moment.

I just realized that the play I was talking about wasn't a touchdown, but rather the refs calling Droughns down at about the one-inch line.

25 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Aaron Brooks also has a lot of 4th quarter/overtime comebacks since 2001. I think he is #2 or 3 to Brady, and tied with Jake Plummer and Trent Green.

This sort of statistic says more about the rest of your team or your own earlier ineptitude in the game, than about the abilities of the quarterback.

Many "great comebacks" by many quarterbacks occured in games where those quarterbacks previously coughed up the ball in a fumble or tossed a few picks, or where the defense insisted on letting the other team score 21 points in the last quarter.

Why did Brady have to comeback against Miami? Because he and the defense were doing everything possible to keep Miami in the game, and Miami was only stopped from winning by its own stupidity (1st and goal from the 5 - run frigging Ronnie Brown up their throat!) and ineptitude (McMichael fumble, Mare missed field goal, etc.).

Brady shoud get credit for taking a game that Miami had in the bag and gave away, in the stadium he has consistently played his worst in.

27 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Okay, I'm a Shaun Alexander guy. But who is the best RB in football today? I see three basic candidates (now that Holmes seems to be done). Alexander, LT and James.

Alexander is "on pace" for about 2000 yards and 30 TDs, which would be probably the greatest running season by a back in history. Also last year he was one yard shy of the rushing title.

LT is not far off in total yards and TDs (on pace for 1900 and 27, respectively).

James plays on a team with a lot of weapons. Unlike the other two players, he's (probably) not the best offensive player on his team. Maybe not even the second best. And he was injured, which greatly limits his carreer numbers. However, he's having a great year, catches the ball well, and is arguably the difference between the Colts having a great offense, and an unstoppable jiggurnaught.

Which of these three would you want o build you team around?

28 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Given the remaining schedules, the Giants giving away the game yesterday opens the possibility that Vikings-Bears matchup in the Metrodome on the last weekend will be meaningful. If the recently acquired Fonoti gets down to 350 pounds before the end of December, and gets back on the field, the Vikings interior o-line will likely improve, and the component parts of their defense seems to be improving.

The Vikings have two road games in places where they have traditionally played well, Green Bay and Detroit, as opposed to their usual abysmal road performance. Their only other road game is against a team with a terrible offense, Baltimore, and their only top-echelon home opponent is Pittsburgh. I'm tellin' ya (and haven't started drinking yet today), the last game against the Bears might be worth watching!

What is astounding is that the Vikings, absent a phantom offensive
pass interference call that came in week one against the Bucs, could be 5-4. Truly bizarre.

29 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re: 15. Yep, I misread my notes. And I'd even go so far as to say the 6-yarder to Kranchik wasn't that bad -- it took a good open-field tackle by Mickens to stop him short of the first down, and it made the FG try 39 yards: Reed was 12-12 this year inside 40. But then he gives the five yards back on the delay, and while I'm not sure whether the blame for that goes more to Tommy or to the coaching staff, he should at least have called a timeout instead of giving up the penalty.

Still, I don't think that 2 good plays, 4 bad plays, one so-so, and a brain freeze are exactly instilling confidence in the Stiller faithful.

30 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

(1st and goal from the 5 - run frigging Ronnie Brown up their throat!)

What makes you so sure this would have worked?

31 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re: two penalties before the 2 pointer.

I suspect that they had the option of
enforcing the second offsides on the
kickoff as well, but in order to do that
they would have to accept the result of
the play. Since the PAT was blocked,
they wanted to replay the down, which
required the yardage enforcement on that

32 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

4th quarter comebacks is a bit misleading, isn't it? There is little context around the stat. If the opposing team kicks a FG to go up 23-21 with 10:00 left in the game and you end up winning, it's a 4th quarter comeback. Whooppeee.

33 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re: 14
Skins defense is the same guys as last year?

How quickly us fans forget about Antonio "Practice Squad" Pierce and Fred Smoooooot. I like to call Pierce that because he has been on the Skins since 2001, and every time he played the announcers would talk about how he is a guy who worked his way up from the practice field.

I think they miss Pierce as defensive QB and Smoot as an under-rated #2 corner. It's a tough choice on who I would take back, how much better does Pierce make everyone else... it's hard to measure. It's easier to see how valuable a solid #2 cornerback is.

Yesterday their two best defensive players were also out, Sean Taylor and Cornelius Griffin.

I also heard a rumor that Portis was threatened with ejection if his uniform wasn't proper this week.

34 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

...Panthers looked terrible. Going into the 4th quarter up by 1 touchdown over the pathetic, Bollinger led Jets is a disgrace. They looked nothing like a superbowl contendor. If I were a Panthers fan, that game would alarm me. Steve Smith was a non factor. Davis couldn't rush for 100 yards against a soft, depleted defense. That game said more about the Panthers than they probably will ever want to know.

35 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10


there is a reason why track shoes are made with no spike on the dont sprint with your heels touching the ground.

I believe the replay review was correct. You cannot see the ball, so by the letter of the law there is not evidence. My gripe is that using logic, after seeing the replay its clear that he is not in(you hold the ball under your elbow, between you sternum and forearm or else it pops lose when you get hit).

Without seeing the ball it doesn't matter. My real beef with the game is the softness of the skins defense. I'm positive that TB would have gotten the onsides kick and scored anyway. If not then in overtime Patten would have dropped a pass in the end zone that would have been returned by the Bucs fattest lineman after he breaks 15 tackles for a 105 yard Int return.

The skins just didnt have it yesterday.

37 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10


I was trying to think of who the secondary was missing. Smoot it was. I completely disregarded his season last year because it was his contract year. I forgot how well he played. Good point

38 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

#30 Better chance of success: 4 Gus Frerotte passes (two directly in front of the sun) or 3 Ronnie Brown runs? Discuss.

39 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10


The panthers are the most overrated team by the talking heads this year. No one is saying a peep about Seattle. I think they are the clear front runner in the NFC. They are only great at running the ball, but they are solid in every other phase of the game. Every other NFC teams has glaring weaknesses.

They are probably only about as good as Cincinatti who I consider overrated by they have the convenience of having to go through the NFC and not the gauntlett in the AFC.

40 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Anyway, this was Refs Karma payback for the reviewed Ladell Betts TD runback where he clearly goes out of bounds on several steps (unless you believe a runner can run without his heels touching the ground - perhaps Betts is a ballerina???), yet was inexplicably ruled inbounds.

Well I can't speak for Ladell Betts, but I would have severe hamstring problems if my heels touched the ground while running.

When they showed the overhead replay, I thought for sure that he was out of bounds, but the ground-level camera seemed to indicate pretty clearly that he did not touch out of bounds. And I'm an Eagles fan.

41 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re #s 19 & 23:

Perhaps the simple equation for force F=ma would be more appropriate.

42 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re 14: Actually, Washington's D was ranked 6th going into the Tampa game. I'm guessing it looks so much worse than last year because:

1. They've faced tougher offenses this year, like Denver, Seattle, KC and the Giants, with San Diego and Oakland still on the schedule;
2. They have had terrible luck recovering fumbles, as has been noted many times on this site;
3. The Harris/Rogers platoon is not as good as Fred Smoot (check their DVOA against nr 1 receivers versus all other receivers);
4. Cornelius Griffin has missed some little action. Seriously, how much would you have liked to see him in on the game-winning deuce?

Just my quick thoughts. I am sure there are other factors.

43 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

A general comment on the officials.

I think the officiating in the NFL leaves a lot to be desired. During the Lions-Bears game 2 weeks ago, I saw a sure defensive TD taken away from the Bears on an "incomplete pass" where Thomas Jones clearly caught the ball, had possession and made a football move. I've seen this play about 3 times while following the Redskins. It seems like Dolphin fans can be upset with a missed "roughing the passer" call. Raider fans last week upset by the missed "leg whip" call. Ignoring the horsecollar tackle this far into the season means a team will go ballistic if it is called correctly on them. Not to mention the same old problems of jump ball end zone pass interference... when is the last time I saw offsetting pass interference calls?

If you watch the NFL Network, you see the show where they have the head official on. He NEVER calls out the refs for a poor call and NEVER admits mistakes, but will always defend the referees to death. If Phil Luckett is still officiating, something is wrong. The only reason I know the name Tom White and Bill Vinovich is because they do a consistently poor or mediocre job. Come back Jerry Markbreit! Come back Red!


44 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Yeah...I used to run 3 mile cross country races on my toes the entire time. It's not terribly hard. In fact, since most of those guys (even the receivers) have their ankles taped, if they want to get any speed at all, they *have* to run on their toes, because they can't push off with their foot flat on the ground. (Try sprinting in a pair of ace bandages sometimes and see what I mean.)

45 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10


I think he was referring to how Asante Samuel's body vaporized in a fusion reaction as he tackled Williams. It was a big hit, man.

46 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re: #27

i don't think alexander is the best offensive player on his team. that would be walter jones.

47 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

I think that the Mora quote was that Vick doesn't mind getting hit, which is different from liking it.

48 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

#39, I agree. I think Seattle's passing game is under-rated almost everywhere except here...They currently (not counting this week) have the #4 rated passing offense and are the only team with 3 receivers in the top 25 by DPAR (25 is admittedly an arbitrary number). With Engram back, I think their offense could be tough to stop in the playoffs...the question I see is whether their mediocre defense will stop their opponents enough for them to get to the SB--and be sacrificial victims to the AFC champ :-)

49 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

The thing about 4th quarter comebacks is you have to be down in the 4th for them to happen. What you look for is a team that has a fairly high winning percentage but a low points for/against ratio. Between 2001 and 2004 the Saints averaged 8 wins per season but were outscored by 75 points. A lot of close games by a team that defines mediocrity is a sure-fire recipe for a lot of come-back wins.

50 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

James, Andrew

There is no one view where you can see where the elbow comes down and the football at the same time. But putting two views together, it is obvious the ball is short of the goalline when the elbow hits. I don't understand why that isn't evidence. Using your brain with your eyes is (or ought to be) allowed. Of course, I acknowledge the officials never do this.

Jeremy (#31). right, duh. Of course. Although it still doesn't explain why Gruden didn't enforce the penalty half the distance the first time.

51 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Aaron Schatz: I’m sure the announcers were talking about Martin losing fumbles, because if you lose the ball and your lineman happens to pounce on it, golly, it’s like you never dropped the thing.

Well, it does SEEM LIKE you never dropped the thing. Someone else mentioned Vick's three fumbles and I thought "that's wrong, he only had one." I was thinking of the lost fumble. Then I remembered one fumbled snap from center. I still can't remember the third.

Anyway, my point is that most fans, casual or diehard, will forget about fumbles that are recovered by the offense, and only remember those lost to the defense.

52 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

re refs,
I think the refs do an excellent job. They do a far better job than any of us layman could. They have to know the letter of the law and follow it to a "T".

We viewers benefit from hindsight and an unobstructed view provided by one of 20 video cameras.

Complaining about calls is the same as us complaining about head coaches not making perfect game time decisions when they have 100 other responsibilites besides playcalling and clock management(the usual complaints).

None of us could do the job as well as the refs do. Also, many of us fans don't understand how the rules have to be interpreted. For example, it is very clear that what the rule book specifically calls a catch and what us fans interpret as a catch are not on the same page.

Do we all seriously think that these refs watch the replay 100 times and then arbitrarily decide what the call should be. Probabably not. They have two minutes on those calls. They get it right according to the rules.

If it so close that it could be either way then who ever the call goes against is just unlucky but by no means should the game be blamed on the ref when there is a call that is 1 mm away from going for the other team.

End uneven referee rant.

53 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Time-synched instant replays!
Everyone say it with me!

I keep repeating myself like Peter King. I don't understand why the NFL can't synch up their replays in order to correlate different angles together.

About Seattle, I think they have a sick offensive line. The NFC playoffs will be interesting this year. You'll have Seattle, Carolina, Chicago, Giants, with WC coming from the NFC East and South. Whoever comes out of the NFC East will already be toughened up by the regular season.

54 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

41 - No, I think knietic energy is what Bill Moore (the FO writer in question) had in mind. 1/2mV^2 expresses the importance of velocity over mass that seems to be exactly what the author was looking for. In addition, force requires acceleration, something we aren't going to know about until AFTER the hit, when we know where Ricky and Asante end up.

Unless Asante Samuel really IS that fast. Just like Ned Niederlander.

Onto a related tobic, who else wants to see what would happen if Samuel really DID hit Ricky at V = C (or even close to it)? Yes, once we expand the formula (E=(MC^2)/1-(V^2/c^2)) and get V close to C, this becomes a really, hugely, massively ugly amount of energy. But I just really want to hear Al Micheals or Dan Dierdorf sputter that much further into incomprehensibility. This would get downloaded off some site and become my welcome sound entering Ubuntu. Good TV there, even if the physics would make my physics professor (1990!) puke and has retroactively cost me a letter-grade.


55 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

#43, In last week's official review, Mike Pereira called out Jeff Triplette's crew for screwing up twice on the same play in the Bengals-Ravens game during the apparent fumble TD return. I agree that when the call is close or when a subjective judgement call is involved, Pereira usually defends his crews, and I suppose that's fair (absent indisputable visual evidence). But if a rule is misapplied, Pereira will definitely say so.

The NFL conducts internal reviews of all its officials by reviewing game films. I really believe that they should publish the results. It would increase public confidence that the officials are being held to a high standard.

56 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

54 - I'm pretty sure the correct answer is "They would fumble."

Assuming the ball doesn't combust in midair that is.

57 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Chorus of voices, April 2005:
Matt Jones, taken too high!

Chorus of voices, November 2005:
Matt Jones, taken too low!

Jacksonville, the young WR core overshaddowed in the Williams/Rogers/Williams hype...

58 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

I think Seattle might be the team to beat in the NFC, but they have a major weakness, which I noticed during yesterday's game: They cannot tackle. I saw so many missed tackles against the Rams, where Steven Jackson and others just danced around the linebackers and secondary like pinballs.

59 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

57: I'm not impressed with Matt Jones. My evaluation of the Jacksonville offense is they don't throw the ball enough, but when they do, they force it to Matt Jones too fequently. Jacksonville would be much better off if they took all the plays designed to get the ball to Jones, and used them to get the ball to Ernest Wilford instead.

60 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

re: #51

I was only listening to the webcast, but I think there was a point early in the game where Vick fumbled it as he was heading out of bounds. I could be wrong, though.

61 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Asante Samuel already HAS E=mc^2, this was Einstein's brilliant insight. This is the "rest energy" of a massive object, in this case an NFL DB. On top of the E=mc^2, there is even more energy, his kinetic energy, which adds an additional 1/2 mV^2. There are, in fact, higher order corrections, but these only come in if the velocity is close to the speed of light.

I didn't get to watch the Jets game, but I'm getting mixed signals here. Was the Panthers D doing a good job, or was Bollinger just terrible? Or both? This offense clearly needs to run through Martin, but the O-line play hasn't been there due to injuries and such, and Curtis isn't getting any younger. I've noticed that Ty Law is getting better each week (he wasn't 100% to start the season) and has been playing pretty well in the games I've watched(not great, but well), although he does seem to get a lot of "cheap" INTs (if there is such a thing in the NFL). I can't believe Martin lost a fumble...

62 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Just realized we forgot to stick on the preview of articles later this week. For those who have asked, yes, Any Given Sunday will be Packers-Falcons.

63 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Random comments:

Much like the flag indicators, I wish the broadcasting stations would either mic the refs or have a "play dead" indicator. Numerous times I've seen plays that end without an audible whistle heard on the tv broadcast, and I can't tell if it's because the TV microphones missed it or because the referees don't want to blow the play dead for fear of getting an unreviewable call wrong.

Related to that, I've seen a few times (from my vantage point of a tv viewer) where the play continued, in a seemingly dangerous fashion, because a hesitant referee didn't want to blow the whistle prematurely even though the carrier legitimately assumed the play was dead.

Also, I agree that the idea of time-synced replays would greatly improve the accuracy of IR. The referee could use any angle to find the time-code where the runner was down, out of bounds, etc. and then limit all other views to the footage up to that time-code. Seems like a no-brainer, so maybe they're already doing it.

Which leads me to my last comment: I think the rules should be written to disambiguate them as much as possible from a ruling sense. What I mean is that judgement calls should be minimized. Examples being catches where the ball touches the ground even though it's in a receiver's possession. It should not be a catch if the ball hits the ground at any point, no judgement required as to whether he had adequate possession or not. Same for catches going out of bounds. If contact with the ball begins when a receiver has established himself in-bounds, and the receiver remains in contact with the ball and catches it out of bounds it should remain a catch. This would eliminate adequate possession judgement calls such as the reversed TD in the Detroit Tampa Bay game earlier this year.

p.s. - Sorry about the formatting, it would seem that line and paragraph breaks aren't automatic when posting from Safari.

65 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

I assume you picked Atlanta/Green Bay because New York/Minnesota was just too bizare for "Any Given Sunday"

66 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

There hasnt been too much controversy this week.

So I am left to conclude that either something crazy is going to happen tonight or the DVOA ratings are going to have the Colts ranked 15th somehow. I'll go with the crazy monday night game.

Luckily for Cedric Benson he only sprained his knee. That look nasty. I'm happy for the young man.

End bizarre rant

67 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

56 -

The problem wouldn't be the ball - it would be the stadium, city and greater metropolitan area.

Even forgetting the relativity, and sticking with a boring and probably non-applicable equation:

V = 300000000m/sec
Mass = 84kg

KE = 7.6x10^18 J

By way of comparison, an overbearing, expensive and massive SUV, like an H2 (about 2950kg), travelling at 100mph (161km/h) has this much kinetic energy:

KE = 9.6x10^12 J

A Boeing 767's max rated takeoff weight is 181,890kg. It's max cruise speed is 900km/h. If it could somehow get to max cruise at max weight, it would manage:

KE = 2.0x10^13 J

According to the official site, the Empire State Building weighs about 332 million KG (365000 tons standard). If you could get the Empire State Building free of Manhattan and crash it into Rickey Williams (or anyone else) at 214km/h or 133mph, they would be hit like Asante Samuel moving at the speed of light.

That's gonna cause a little more than a fumble. And this doesn't even begin to touch on the trickier part of the equations...


68 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

#'s 35, 40, 44:

Well, my heels sure touch the ground when I run or sprint. I just went outside to confirm this.

Its also important to use the heel when you turn a corner, like when you come up to the sideline at an angle and want to start running down it.

Maybe this is a matter of running style.

69 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10


Guess we just have to agree to disagree. I definitely don't run on my heels. But I love that you even conducted a test. If only the Falcons fans would conduct a test before stating their opinion as fact last week would have been less eventful.

See you when DVOA week 11 comes out.

70 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re: 61, the Panthers were getting a very good good rush, in part because the Jets RT was Scott Gragg (although the way Fabini has played he probably wouldn't have been much better) and in part because Rucker and Peppers are tough customers. But Bollinger was terrible. Don't let anyone tell you different. The Jets actually ran the ball decently, but Bollinger was terrible. Did I mention that Bollinger was terrible? How pathetic is it to be pining for Jay Fiedler.

71 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re 65: Well, what could you really say about Minny over NYG? The Vikings couldn't do anything on offense but scored on three returns. I don't think this really exposes a secret weakness of the Giants or anything.

Re 66: The controversy will come on Thursday if MDS dares to call a Steeler "underrated."

72 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Note that a "good good" pass rush is better than a good pass rush, but not as good as a "double plus good" pass rush. Note also that I don't proofread.

73 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

The Jets offensive line has actually played much better the last two weeks. Yes, they were giving up some pressure, particularly off the right side, but at least it was off the edge as opposed to the stuff up the A gap that they were giving up against Atlanta. You can do some things to combat pressure off the edge, but immediate penetration of the A gap is fatal to an offense.

Here's what I posted about the game on a Jets board:

The most obvious thing on display was that Bollinger's good performances were the product of teams playing soft coverage while protecting three score leads. When forced to make throws against a team that was playing tight coverage, he simply couldn't do it. His penchant for throwing to his left over and over again is getting embarrassing, and it's no surprise that he had one picked and taken to the house while telegraphing to his left yet again. At this point, there's no reason not to keep playing Bollinger for the rest of the season, but I thought this performance was pretty indicative of Bollinger's abilities and his limitations.
-It's getting harder and harder to defend McCareins, who is just having a terrible year. He wasn't giving Bollinger anywhere to put the ball on vertical throws, and he's catching well under 50% of the balls thrown in his direction. That's just not acceptable. Of course, Cotchery didn't do anything to suggest that he should be replacing anybody in the starting lineup, and he had a bad drop of his own- it just happened not to bounce into the air and get intercepted.
-The line play is actually getting better, and as it improves, Curtis' effectiveness goes up accordingly. I thought this was Martin's best game. I'm sure a few people are going to get excited by Houston's long runs in garbage time, but I suggest you see exhibit A- Bollinger, Brooks before you get too worked up over yardage gained with the team down 27 points. Still, Scott Gragg had a tough time with Peppers, and it's clear why Fabini will be starting as soon as he's healthy again.
-Aside from the crushing fumble and the blown coverage on the first touchdown (and that's a big aside), I thought Justin Miller played pretty well today. At the very least, he showed the burst and the hip movement to stick with small, explosive receivers. He has a long way to go, but Miller showed more potential at the corner than he has all season.

74 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

I am a Chargers fan and a Seahawks fan. (Now that they aren't in the AFC West)
Any way I've seen LT and S-Zander play quite a bit. I think that the Seahawks have one of the top 3 OL's in the NFL. SA rarely makes guys miss. He is one of the best backs I have seen at finding a hole...of which there are LOTS, and BIG ones, all the time!! Look at at his runs and count how many times at the end he is in the fetal position.

Now consider Tomlinson. At the end of his runs you will find him stretched out north and south having just gotten his shoulders 6 inches from the ground and driving for the extra yards. And this is after making at least 1-3 ankle breaking moves to squeeze through or make his own hole.

I find that watching plenty of both teams that SA gets rediculous stats directly because of his OL, while LT gets rediculous stats many days inspite of his OL.

And that argument is ignoring the recieving and passing skills.

I predict that if Alexander does not come back to the Seahawks, and goes to a team such as Green Bay, or Arizona that he struggles to get 1200 yards and 10 TD's while MoMo goes for 1300 and 13 at least.

75 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

71: Maybe MDS should do an article on the underrated Falcons. You know, everybody on the team not named Michael Vick. It would be worth it just to hear the sound of every Atlanta fan's head exploding.

76 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Emergency fantasy question:

Do I start Julius Jones or Marion Barber tonight?

77 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Some rough numbers on Asante Samuel's kinetic energy.

If he can run a 4.5 40, he's going about 27 ft./sec. Since he weighs about 200 lbs, at 1/2mv^2, that means he's got about 2270 ft. lbs. of energy.

A Colt 45 bullet has 423 ft.-lbs. at the muzzle.

So if Asante Samuel could hit Ricky Williams at a very small point, it would be the equivalent of getting all 6 bullets from the Colt 45 at once at pint blank range.

No wonder he left his feet.

78 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

I looked at the upcoming Bears schedule (Carolina, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Atlanta).

Then I looked at MN's schedule: at GB, Cleveland, at Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburgh.

Then for kicks I checked out GB's: MN, at Philly, here, Lions, at Baltimore

Detroit? at Dallas, Atlanta, MN, at GB, Cincy

This division could get very interesting.

79 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

james and Larry:

I tried running with my high-ankle work boots to simulate taped ankles, and my heel still touched the ground.

If some people run just on their toes, and I don't, it definitely must be style.

80 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

james, wmjr, MAW:

Think about this. If Seattle did nothing in the offseason but focus on beating the Rams, and otherwise played just like they did last year and 2003, suddenly they are 11-5 or 12-4 and are a "contender".

Is Seattle really a better team than 2003 and 2004, or have they just beaten the Rams twice?

81 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re: 77

Well, that's not entirely accurate. A bullet will end up absorbing much less energy in an impact than Asante Samuel. Some of that energy is being absorbed by Samuel's pads and own body, whereas Colt .45 bullets usually do not wear pads and usually transfer almost 100% of their kinetic energy into you as opposed to absorbing it on their own. That's why it's much, much worse to get hit by one 423 ft.-lb. bullet than even many 2000+ ft.-lb. Asante Samuels. Not that I would want to be hit by even 1 Asante Samuel after seeing what he did to Ricky Williams. Ouch.

82 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Seattle better? Last year v. AFC 1-3 Road 4-4

so far... v. AFC 1-1 Road 2-2

Valid point

83 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

RE: 29
I’m not sure whether the blame for that goes more to Tommy or to the coaching staff, he should at least have called a timeout instead of giving up the penalty.

Considering Maddox called two timeouts to stop the play clock running out and took a delay penalty while Batch never did anything of the sort, I'd say it's Maddox's fault.

85 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Sean (#73): I 100% agree that Miller was a bright spot for the Jets. I don't think the TD was his fault. Looked like a cover two and Coleman simply fell down. The receiver wasn't too much wider than the seam -- the safety's gotta cover that. I thought it was a pretty darn good play for Miller to get there when he did and the hit was explosive. Miller's got loads of talent and the only question in my mind is whether he's got the smarts. If you put Law's head on Miller's body you'd have one nasty corner.

86 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

The kinetic energy comparison between Samuel and a .45 bullet illustrates why movie depictions of people being struck by bullets are generally ridiculous. A bullet, as a rule, will not cause a human to leave his feet. I have heard the momentum transfer compared to a hard punch, which could certainly cause one to lose one's balance, but not to flip backward.

(Although, if a bullet actually did flip someone, that might bode well for the victim, as it would mean that more of the kinetic energy was transfered to the body as momentum, and less was dissipated in/absorbed by the tissues the bullet passed through.)

87 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

The sad thing is that I stopped working on my physics homework to answer that...

Thanks to Sean and Led for clarifying those points. I agree about the reciever situation in general. It's been pretty bad. And Baker, whose been a bit of a surprise this year, goes and gets injured (of course!). But it's difficult to seperate that from the QB situation, which goes beyond horrible. I had mixed feelings about the Moss/Coles trade, but seeing Moss have the kind of success he's having combined with our offense's woes certainly doesn't make me feel good. But I think this offensive unit could come together under the right QB (Pennington?) and that any major offseason moves might be a little premature and rash.

88 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

re Seattle,

If they are an awesome home team(seems so) and get homefield advantage by beating the Rams then the mission is accomplished.

I don't think any NFC team is well equipped to go on the road and win. Of all the potential playoff teams, not one of them is equipped to play well on the road. Giants get stomped on the road. The Redskins dominate on offense and get torched on defense(Den,KC, TB). The Eagles dig a giant hole that is impossible to overcome. Tampa Bay lost to the 49ers. Carolina will show its true colors(I have no solid evidence yet, but Delhomme throws td's to other team db's alot, they just haven't lost because of it).

89 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

#39: More people would probably be on the Seattle bandwagon if they hadn't made a habit of imploding so spectacularly in the postseason. Once bitten, twice shy. The Panthers still have a lot of room to improve if they want to get back to the Super Bowl, but as far as media hype is concerned they're benefitting from recent history. For instance, two years ago they were playing in the big game while the Seahawks were sitting at home after once again spectacularly imploding in the postseason. Sorry.

90 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10


The touchdown was essentially the result of three things. The Panthers called the right play for the defense, as they had a route pinning down the corner and stretching the safety. Miller bit too hard on the short route and didn't get enough depth on his drop. And lastly, Coleman slipped and wasn't able to get over to his area of coverage. All three contributed to the receiver being as open as he was.


There are going to be a great many changes to the team in the offseason. They are up against the cap with only 44 players under contract for next season, they have a lot of age at the running back and offensive line positions, and they have a quarterback who just finished signing a big contract and who may never be able to play effectively again. If Bradway can get some sort of assurance from Woody Johnson that he won't get canned, I can see him drafting Leinart or Young (assuming he comes out) and blowing up the roster a la Tennessee, with the idea of fielding a competitive team two seasons from now.

91 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

i wasn't going to get sucked into this physics conversation, but i just want to point out that using the newtonian equation for kinetic energy on asante samuel moving at the speed of light is wrong, but only by a factor of ... infinity. if he were actually traveling at the speed of light, his KE would be infinite. naturally, it is not actually possible to accelerate a massive object all the way to c.

of course, in a collision, what matters is not the energy, but the momentum transferred to the other object, and the length of time it took to transfer that momentum. assuming an inelastic collision, the energy wouldn't even enter into the equations--only the two masses and the initial relative velocity. so whoever said p = mv is more relevant than E = mc^2, you win a gold star.

-end lecture-

92 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re: #75

An article on every Falcon other than Vick? Are you kidding? That would be AWESOME!

Oh, you said underrated Falcon. After last Sunday, I'm not sure who exactly that would cover. Maybe Koenen, the rookie punter/kickoff man. Possibly Justin Griffith, the fullback/reserve tailback. Certainly not anyone on the defensive side of the ball. Sigh.

93 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re 92: Actually I was thinking Warrick Dunn, Duckett, & the offensive line. I guess Dunn isn't really under-rated but the rest of the team isn't given enough credit for the Falcons success running the ball.

94 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

"Neil Rackers had a 51-yard field goal and a touchback and two tackles on kickoffs. Is there anything this guy can’t do? "

There must be something in the water there in AZ cuz we ran Neil outta the Queen City on a rail. He was so bad here even my wife is surprised he has a job.

96 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Maybe he's one of those aliens in "Signs." Super strong but water is poison to him.

97 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Also, wasn’t the point of instant replay to allow obviously, egregiously wrong calls to be overturned? Doesn’t the rule say something like “incontrovertable visual evidence?� I have seen quite a few plays this year where the replay was ambiguous enough that the guys in the booth couldn’t agree on what happened, yet the call was overturned. They seem to be using a definition of “incontrovertable� with which I am not familiar.

I've seen several Sunday night games where the announcers were TERRIBLY WRONG on their opinions of a play.

So much so that I can't beileve they'd make a decision like that.

I really put my trust in to the referees more than the announce team.

98 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

The refs to whom you give props missed a face mask on McCutcheon on the TD pass to Ward that was overturned in the Steelers/Browns game. I guess they really can’t look everywhere at once.

And referees should be able to call penalties on the replay.

That play deserved to be overturned, but there was a facemask call. You could see it. It was obvious.

Please allow them to call obvious calls. I don't care as much about something like holding, but a facemask? That's obvious.

So like.. no subjective calls like pass interference? But the bump call?

okay, maybe it gets too complicated..

99 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Ned Macey: I am waiting to read the first person who seriously comments that Brad Johnson is 2-0 or the Vikings are better off without Culpepper or any other such nonsense.

Don Banks of SI. See link here.

100 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Reply #88
Delhomme hasn't had a pick six since the two against Detroit in mid october. It will come down to gets home field in the NFC I believe, if Seattle gets it, they have the best chance to go the Super Bowl. I think Carolina is the best team in the NFC though, I think they will ultimatley win out and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

102 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Re 98

And referees should be able to call penalties on the replay.

What replay would they watch? The jumbotron (TundraVision in Green Bay) isn't showing the TV feed, and home scoreboard operators are already being careful about not showing replays where a good play for the home team might be challenged.

103 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

i agree with the comments on zach thomas , i'm a huge dolphin fan after watching every gam this year he looks like he is having his best year ever. seems to be in better shape and a step quicker. ellis hobbs looks like he is going to be a really good corner.

104 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Tim Gerheim: Jonathan Wells had pretty good success against the Colts. Jonathan Wells! The Colts still don’t have a good run defense, and maybe this game, where Houston sort of made a comeback until Indy decided they did need to show up for the second half after all, will show teams that they mustn’t abandon the run against the Colts.
To me, 15 for 58 & 1 TD by former Buckeye J. Wells isn't a bad effort for the Colts D against a team that will not abandon the run (because they cannot pass). It's not like they got gashed by small-college nobody Sam Gado.

The Colts run D will surely be tested in the next 2 weeks by Cincy & Pitt followed by strong rushing teams in Jax, SD, Sea. But I think they will hold their own this year due to a talented & deep DL.

105 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 10

Hobbes certainly looked a lot better than Starks did, and I can live with that. If the secondary improves to below average, and the Pats find a running game, and have an increase in variance, they have an outside shot at going 4/5. But, I wouldn't bet on it at all, it's just fanboyish hope, I supposed.

Re: The Samuel hit on Williams - in my household, we just day "Williams was Harrisoned!". It works nicely. :)