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

Audibles at the Line: Week 12

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.

St. Louis Rams 33 at Houston Texans 27 (OT)

(early in game)

Mike Tanier: The Texans are up 17-0. Tim, where are you?

Tim Gerheim: I'm enjoying it, thank you very much. But I'll just get the second half on the radio, since I'm gonna be driving back to Austin.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is in because a big hit on a blitz knocked Martin out with a concussion. Martin has really big eyes, so they've been showing some hilarious shots of him looking vacuous on the sidelines while the trainers tended to him and his wounded brain. (The eyes being hilarious, not the brain injury.)

This is the beginning of the easy schedule for the Texans. The Rams are getting almost no pressure, and when they do get pressure Carr has a good lane to run in, and he's picked up at least two first downs running. But he's had time to throw it well, and Andre Johnson has finally been a factor again.

The best was after the Texans' third touchdown of the first half -- let that sink in for a moment. Carr had a huge grin on his face, and eventually ran up and literally tackled Corey Bradford. The announcers got it right: they looked like 10-year-olds out there. This, I think, is why people love David Carr.

(late in game)

Bill Moore: Are we sure Tim hasn't swerved into on-coming traffic?

Michael David Smith: Wow. Rams-Texans is one of those times you're really thankful to have DirecTV. Great execution by the Rams to get the onside kick -- have a heavy-hitter nail the receiver trying to grab it, then have your good hands man, Torry Holt, scoop it up.

Mike Tanier: I predict a long, depressing post from Tim when he returns to Austin. Didn't see that game at all -- couldn't exactly convince the bartender to switch over.

Michael David Smith: Didn't Neil O'Donnell just cause some controversy by saying last week that Kevin Curtis wasn't very fast? He sure ran through the Texans' secondary with ease. And it's ridiculous how long the officials huddled after the winning score in order to determine whether it was an illegal formation. That should be a reviewable penalty, but if they're not going to review it, they shouldn't just stand around talking about it.

Tim Gerheim: Losing to the Rams, even like that, is nothing compared to where I would have been if A&M had won. That was much scarier.

I don't think you can take blowing a 24-3 lead as anything but an indictment of the coaching staff. Clearly the Rams out-adjusted them. Of course, it's also an indictment of the defense, which is frankly worse than the offense. It's clear that letting Jamie Sharper, Jay Foreman, and Aaron Glenn go was a mistake. But the latter is no surprise -- He Who Shall Not Be Named was his replacement before going on IR. But our run defense completely fell apart between last season and this season, and that's all about the inside linebackers.

Even so, this wasn't a game about our run defense getting exposed. Which is surprising, because Steven Jackson is really good. But because the QBs were Jamie Martin and then Ryan Fitzpatrick, we sold out against the run, at least early. Somehow, we got seven sacks and an interception and still lost the game because of the pass defense. There just isn't an NFL-caliber #2 corner on the Texans roster, and a team with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce exposes that.

San Diego Chargers 23 at Washington Redskins 17 (OT)

Al Bogdan: What's going on in Washington? Are the weather conditions bad? Nate Kaeding has been great all year, but I see he's missed two field goals. He's killing one of my fantasy teams with those misses.

Ryan Wilson: It's not raining in DC and it's about 48 degrees. Kaeding pulled both kicks, and looked bad doing it. The 'Skins defense is puzzling. They give up 36 to Chris Simms, and then pummel Brees and the Chargers.

Vivek Ramgopal: Just another example of why not to use an early draft pick on a kicker.

Mike Tanier: Classic flat performance on the road by the Chargers. Dropped passes, missed field goals. Drew Brees wasn't sharp. The game plan appeared to be to pick on that rookie Rogers at cornerback. Burn that game plan, because you can't burn Rogers. The Chargers seemed shy about just feeding LT the ball. Late in the game, they remembered him.

Aaron Schatz: The more interesting strategy decisions came at the end of this game. Washington intercepts Brees in John Hall's field goal range, but a holding penalty knocks them back to third-and-14 at the 35-yard line. So that's a 52-yard field goal, 45 seconds left. If they run, maybe they get a couple extra yards to make it easier on Hall, and they run the clock down to zero seconds before trying the kick. If they pass, a complete pass has a better chance of making it an easier field goal, but there's more chance of a turnover, and an incomplete means they leave San Diego time on the clock -- and if the field goal misses, they leave San Diego time on the clock and the ball on the Washington 43-yard line.

Of course they pass, incomplete, San Diego gets the ball back and almost gets into field goal range themselves. Except that they throw a four-yard out to LaDainian Tomlinson on second-and-5, with no timeouts left, and instead of turning and running diagonally out of bounds to pick up an easy first down, he runs horizontally out of bounds and sticks the Chargers in third down. You can't really fault the guy who basically won the game single-handedly, but dude, you gotta get the first down there.

Vivek Ramgopal: This game epitomized untimely penalties. Not just the holding penalty on Casey Rabach that killed the momentum on that final drive for the Skins, but also the Antonio Gates false start with six seconds left that pushed the Chargers out of field goal range.

Baltimore Ravens 29 at Cincinnati Bengals 42

Ryan Wilson: The first half of this game was the Perfect Storm. The worst of Kyle Boller (2 picks, 3 fumbles) coupled with a Baltimore defense that basically quit with about four minutes to go in the first half. Apparently, the Ravens thought last week was the Super Bowl and this week was the Pro Bowl. Hey Pittsburgh, you lost to this team.

Mike Tanier: I think the weather was fine, but Kyle Boller slipped and fell about four times. I wrote this song in his honor. I stole the melody from some South African artists:

Slip Slidin' Away
Slip Slidin' Away --hey hey hey
You know you really should throw to Mason but no -- you're slip slidin' away.

And I knew a man -- His name was Kyle
He could overthrow receivers by a quarter mile
Bad throws to Wilcooooox, bad throws to Heap
And if I'm forced to watch the Ravens I'm afraid that I might fall asleep.

I have serious comments too, but screw them.

Ned Macey: I was in the car from 12 to 5, but I randomly got most of the Cincinnati game on the radio from the local Cincy broadcast. Nothing beats local radio guys. "Carson takes the snap, handoff to Rudi, Rudi runs left behind Levi, makes four great moves, and gains four yards up to the 46." Tanier: the Bengals color man kept saying "slip sliding away" over and over when players kept slipping. He had a theory that a drizzle was more difficult to gain footing on than a soaked field. No idea why that would be the case or if it is the case. Also, great line from the lead announcer calling Boller's first-half performance Akili Smith-esque.

I know the Ravens have defensive injuries, but wasn't this supposed to be the best secondary in football? Coming into the game they were 22nd against second receivers and 26th against 3rd and 4th receivers. Then Housh just abused them today. By the way, how much better are the AFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks going to be --Manning, Brady, Palmer -- than the NFC ones.

Aaron Schatz: Don't forget Jake Plummer. I have no idea who gets left home from that quartet but I have a feeling this next game will have a lot of impact on that decision...

New England Patriots 16 at Kansas City Chiefs 26

Bill Moore: Does the return of Roaf help the situation of Tony Gonzalez, freeing him up in the passing game? That was the question of the morning. Aaron discussed Roaf in the latest mailbag. Does Roaf's addition to the line give Green more time, or does it free up Gonzo from blocking responsibilities, or both? I don't think this game answered the question. Gonzo had a decent game, but only four catches, albeit for 63 yards.

The Boston Globe featured an article about Heath Evans, and how he has admirably filled in at the halfback position. In the NFL, Evans has primarily played the fullback position; however, in an honest read of his abilities, Belichick noted that he was a weak blocker. That wasn't more obvious than today when KC ran a strong-side safety blitz, and Evans seemed completely oblivious to his blitz pick-up responsibilities. Needless to say, Brady was sacked.

The Brady-haters will have a field day with this game. KC, whose pass defense has been one of the worst in the league, will get a nice boost in DVOA from this game (NE came into this game ranked fourth in passing) but I have to say that most of the great defense came from poor Brady play. Other than a modest comeback attempt late in the game, he was really off. Four picks – of which 3½ were his fault. He was continually overthrowing the ball, including sailing passes into the hands of Greg Wesley three times (doubling Wesley's INT count for the year). The fourth was an OK pass thrown somewhat behind Tim Dwight, who bobbled it and flicked it into the air and into the hands of KC's defense to end the game. It was raining late in the game, which could affect the feel of the ball, but Brady had two interceptions before the rain started.

KC did a good job on rush defense which, given NE's struggles and KC's #2 rush defense, shouldn't be very surprising.

Mike Tanier: Heath Evans and Patrick Pass are OK players, but it's not like opponents game-plan for them. The Chiefs line sold out to get to Brady often, and they blitzed a lot.

Bill Moore: NE's defense was Jekyll and Hyde – a little Jekyll, mostly Hyde. (Hyde was the bad one.) I was surprised to see the defense hold KC twice from inside the five-yard line and once from the 15. Later in the game, with KC trying to run down the clock, NE's defense was effective in keeping the offense in the game. However, for the rest of the game, NE's defense looked unable to stop anyone. KC only punted three times (none in the first half) and two of those times were when the team was trying to kill the clock (and the Pats defense made that surprise appearance).

Mike Tanier: I saw a lot of shots of Trent Green wiping his hands on his butt. Don't quarterbacks carry towels anymore?

Dante Hall's touchdown in the third quarter was a blown play by safety Michael Stone. He was supposed to help cornerback Ellis Hobbs but stepped up, either biting on play action or to jump a route.

Michael David Smith: How many times did Brady have to call a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty? I thought I saw three, but I was flipping between a few games.

Aaron Schatz: Three is the right answer. I've noticed Tom Brady throwing high all season, but it was never a problem to the degree it was today. To be honest, this game meant nothing to the Pats. With Buffalo losing, they'll still be two games up on the division with two Jets games and two Florida teams (Miami, Tampa) coming to Foxboro.

Chicago Bears 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10

Mike Tanier: The Bucs offensive tackles are awful. Anthony Davis was terrible. Alex Brown is good, but not that good; he basically speed rushed off the edge on every play. Late in the game, Gruden was leaving two tight ends (Alex Smith and Becht a' Becht) in to help with Brown and Ogunleye. It didn't work.

Russell Levine: You're dead on about the Tampa bay tackles. Ogunleye and Brown were beating them off the ball the entire game. I think part of the problem was that Simms wasn't varying the snap count. Those guys were timing the snap and were a full step into the rush as the tackles were getting out of their stances.

Gruden was trying to play field position the entire game but could never get on top of it. In the first half, Tampa punted from the Chicago 31 and missed downing it at the one-yard line on a close call.

Galloway is ridiculous. Clayton has done nothing the entire year, yet Galloway is still able to turn upfield on nearly every catch, even as the team's only receiver threat. The color guy had a good observation that Galloway turns into a punt returner on every reception and can start and stop better than anyone.

Orton didn't do much, but I was still impressed that he avoided the killer mistake and that the coaching staff has faith in him to pass late instead of just trying to kill the clock running the ball. I really doubt Grossman's ever going to get his hands on that job if Orton stays healthy.

Cleveland Browns 12 at Minnesota Vikings 24

Mike Tanier: Do opponents think Darren Sharper is a wide receiver now? Is this a mind control thing? It's not like he's doing something spectacular. Opponents are throwing the ball right between his numbers.

Michael David Smith: I know we're not supposed to say this, but I'm going to: The Vikings are better with Brad Johnson than they were with Daunte Culpepper. I don't know what was going on with Culpepper this season, but he just wasn't making big plays, and he was throwing some terrible interceptions. Johnson is avoiding the big mistakes and finding his second and third options. I don't see them catching the Bears, but I think it's possible that they could be playing for a wild card when they meet the Bears in the last game of the season.

Green Bay Packers 14 at Philadelphia Eagles 19

Michael David Smith: I think Brett Favre is playing really well when you consider how little talent he has around him, but I just don't get why he so often gives up on plays. He just felt some pressure and threw this bizarre backhanded toss to no one in particular.

Al Bogdan: Maybe he's giving up on plays because of that lack of talent around him. Madden was making the case when they were on Monday Night Football that the only person Favre has any confidence in is Driver. From what I've seen of Green Bay, Favre does seem to force the ball to him more than anyone else on the team.

Mike Tanier: That win will help the whole Philadelphia organization. It wasn't pretty, but the youngsters on the offensive line played well, Trent Cole had another good game, Rod Hood played well, Ryan Moats got into the act.... Obviously, the offense is still strictly station-to-station, but you can see hope that this team can bounce back.

Carolina Panthers 13 at Buffalo Bills 9

Aaron Schatz: I watched a bit of Carolina-Buffalo when the Pats game got away from them. Mike Wahle was really abusing the Buffalo defenders with his pulls, especially Jeff Posey. If you watch Buffalo play for at least a half an hour, you may catch a play where Losman waits more than three seconds before pulling down the ball and scrambling.

New York Giants 21 at Seattle Seahawks 24 (OT)

Al Bogdan: How does the same player have consecutive false start penalties on a punt? If Frank Walker is still on the team come Monday, I'd be shocked. Penalties have killed the Giants this year, especially on the offensive line, and especially Luke Petitgout. They struggled with penalties on the line last year as well. I'm surprised that with a "disciplinarian" like Coughlin that 1) this is and has been such a big problem, and 2) more hasn't been made of this by Coughlin critics to show that all his dumb rules don't really lead to a more disciplined team.

Bill Moore: Who's watching halftime of the Giants game? I don't think I've ever seen a Dept. of Sanitation commercial before. Only in New York.

Michael David Smith: I like Tiki Barber, but on that third-and-2 in the fourth quarter, he just looked really lazy. He dove to the ground on a blitz pickup, then just lay there while Manning scrambled around looking for a receiver. If he had gotten up and run downfield, he probably could have gotten open and caught a pass for a first down. Instead the Giants punted.

Aaron Schatz: The whole idea was that if Seattle won the top seed, it would be very difficult to beat them at home. But everyone else in the NFC has to be feeling a lot better tonight about their chances of winning in Seattle in January, because the Giants came as close to a win as humanly possible.

As much as Jay Feely is the goat of this game for missing THREE possible winning field goals, the Giants didn't really help him by getting stopped in long field goal range for the two overtime chances (45 and 54 yards).

Last week Al said that Luke Petitgout was a "walking holding penalty." It turns out he meant "walking false start penalty." Eli Manning loves to pass in the flat to Jim Finn. The fact that the Giants may go to the Super Bowl has more to do with the run defense than it does with Eli Manning's play, but he sure is unflappable during the two-minute drill; it's pretty impressive. The Seahawks kept playing zone defenses instead of covering Burress man-to-man, and Burress kept running curls and other patterns to the middle of the field to find the seams.

I was impressed with Rodney Bailey, a defensive lineman who was in Pittsburgh for three years, then signed with the Patriots last year as a restricted free agent but lost the year to injury. The Pats couldn't fit him on the roster this year -- defensive line and quarterback are the only positions WITHOUT injury -- and Seattle just signed him a couple weeks ago.

The announcers said something early in this game about Willie Ponder losing the kick return job. Anyone know what's up with that?

Al Bogdan: Ponder lost the job a week ago. He was a healthy scratch from the Eagles game. Morton returned kicks last week. The only thing mentioned as an explanation that I saw was his fumble on the opening kickoff against the Vikings two weeks ago.

Ned Macey: Count me among those happy to see how "disciplined" this Tom Coughlin-coached team was. But while everyone says these penalties are infuriating Coughlin, do we think that any coach not named Martz or coaching for the Raiders wouldn't be infuriated by 11 false starts? Would Mike Nolan just shrug them off, but because Coughlin is so gruff it somehow irks him more?

I agree with Aaron that the key was that the Giants didn't capitalize more when they were in long field goal range. This is especially true after Feely missed the first one. The worst sequence was after Shockey dropped the pass (which would have nearly guaranteed the win). Next, did they call a quarterback draw or was that me? Finally, they threw for the first down where nobody was open without checking down for a sub-50 yarder.

Speaking of the Shockey drop, how did the replay official need the Seahawks to call timeout before calling for a review? The FOX crew showed a replay that made it pretty clear Shockey never caught the ball, and one would hope that the replay officials have access to more angles. Coaches should not have to waste timeouts in that situation if the opposition is not going into a hurry-up to force the defense's hand.

Al Bogdan: Now that's how you lose a football game.

Feely hooked that first miss slightly, and the second one was out of his range, but if you're an NFL kicker, you can't come up short from 40 yards out. The Giants shouldn't have been in a position to win to begin with after all their sloppy penalties. The biggest one was in overtime, a false start erroneously given to Petitgout, when it was really Diehl that jumped. That pushed the Giants out of realistic field goal range.

It's unfortunate that the Giants didn't win today so that we could end this whole "Eli can't win against a good team on the road" thing. Eli did everything in his power to win this game for the Giants. In OT, he threw some great balls that were dropped by Shockey and Burress that would have given Feely a better shot at his two field goals. Eli wasn't called for any false starts or holding penalties.

Vivek Ramgopal: After watching the Seattle-Giants game, was anyone else left wondering if Tony Siragusa adds any value to the broadcasts? Seriously, everyone throws out an ADD-induced, off on a tangent one-liner now and then, but Siragusa was spitting them out every five minutes.

Miami Dolphins 33 at Oakland Raiders 21

Bill Moore: I only caught the end of this, but Ricky Williams scored a touchdown to put Miami up by nine. Flash to the Oakland bench, and #93, DE Thomas Kelly, was brooding on the sidelines. He looked to be getting into it with LaMont Jordan – possibly others. #67 Ron Stone appeared to ask Kelly to cool it. Flash a few play later and the defensive coordinator appeared to be trying to calm down an annoyed Ted Washington (who was not animated, but looked agitated). A play or two later, Washington was speaking angrily toward CB Nmamdi Asomugha (whether seeking a sympathetic ear or preaching at him, I could not tell).

Bits 'n' Pieces

Bill Moore: Is anyone else frustrated with wide receivers' seeming ability to lobby for pass interference calls?

Mike Tanier: Someday, instead of hearing "The Team X is 8-1 when Joe Bagadonuts rushes for 100 yards" I will hear "When Team X wins, Bagadonuts averages 100-some yards," getting cause and effect correct. Someday.

Bill Moore: Madden '06 ad – “as real as it gets.� Yet they show McNabb running an effective 2-munute drill against the Patriots. Shouldn't there be a lot of standing around and an occasional dry-heave?

Today's poll is the following: “After the undefeated Indianapolis Colts, who is the second best team in the NFL?� I think it's interesting that the staff doesn't give the public the option of choosing the Colts as the #1, but rather forces the opinion on them.

Aaron Schatz: One of the great mysteries of the NFL is this: Why does CBS broadcast its games roughly 50% louder than FOX broadcasts?

Bill Moore: In HD? I think the reason has to do with HD tech formats. FOX runs 780p (?) vs. CBS 1080i. The sound comes through at marginally higher quality on CBS. I think. I'm not expert.

The real frustration is the sound level of commercials vs. the broadcasts. I think they want you to hear the commercials in the bathroom.

Coming Later This Week

Any Given Sunday: Dolphins-Raiders or '72 Dolphins-Colts
Every Play Counts: Chicago Bears defense


69 comments, Last at 01 Dec 2005, 7:30pm

1 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

RE: QB towels,
There was a Uni-watch article on Page2 all about towels recently, kinda interesting if you like that sort of thing. Just thought I'd point it out to anyone interested.

2 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re: CBS vs. FOX volume

I'm in DC and I've noticed that the FOX broadcasts are MUCH louder than the CBS ones. With CBS, the crowd noise is so quiet it sounds like every game is played in Arizona.

On a somewhat related note, has anyone else noticed that the CBS broadcasts tend to be blurry and show signs of "ghosting" on fast-action shots, similar to old LCD monitors? It's really annoying and seems to happen independent of play site. Perhaps its an HD thing, as I'm still using a regular NTSC TV, but I've never seen it on FOX, ABC, or ESPN.

3 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Regarding the Seattle timeout/challenge: shouldn't Seattle have gotten that timeout back? I thought when there was a booth review, and it was overturned, that negates everything that happened after the play was over. Or is that just college, and I'm mixing things up?

In any case, it should be a rule if it's not. If you take a timeout to stop the clock, and it turns out the clock should've been stopped anyway due to a miscall on the field, uh, you shouldn't be charged a timeout.

4 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Oh, and was there an Audibles for the Thanksgiving games?

Have we officially crowned Mike Shanahan as "God of Running Backs" yet? Ron Dayne gained 98 yards, for crying out loud. Ron Dayne!

5 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

"Bill Moore: Madden ’06 ad – “as real as it gets.� Yet they show McNabb running an effective 2-munute drill against the Patriots. Shouldn’t there be a lot of standing around and an occasional dry-heave?"

Even as a diehard Eagles fan, I laughed incredibly hard at this.

In reference to Tony Siragusa, I say this every time he's mentioned: I feel dumber every time he opens his mouth. And having him mic'ed up while standing on the field is a nice gimmick and all, but I don't need to hear his heavy breathing every five minutes. It sounds like he's broadcasting through a megaphone.

And finally, after watching that Eagles-Packers game yesterday, I have to say that although I'm pulling for Favre to do well in what should be his final season, he has to realize that he's no longer capable of willing his team to victory. He made two of the worst throws I've ever seen him make on the Packers' final drive, both of which were picked off easily by Rod Hood (the first was called back on a terrible roughing the passer penalty).

I feel for him, but at this point he's trying to make plays when he doesn't have any playmakers, which is really a rookie mistake.

6 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

In response to the Seattle timeout--I think it was in the Redskins-Chargers game that the Chargers called timeout after a run play, then the run got called back for holding. They didn't get the timeout back and then used their final timeout on the next play. It's pretty unfair to the team calling the timeout in that case. At least Madden video games seem to get it right.

7 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

You may not be able to burn Carlos Rogers, but man, you sure can kill the Redskins defense late in the game.

Do they just get tired? What's happening?

8 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Had Mr Shanahan been born 500 years ago, I believe he would have listed his proffesion as alchemist.

9 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

How come the Chargers didn't lose 10 seconds off the clock when they had a false start with 6 seconds left? Does time get run off the clock only if it is still running?

I think LDT happened to the Redskins defense, at least in the 4th quarter. In OT Washington defense (Arrington and Taylor) bit on a play fake and Gates out-ran them. The next play (LDT TD)it looked like Taylor hesitated because he was worried about biting again, and he wasn't able to get to where he could make a play. I don't know what happened to the LBs during the play, but the other safety (Clark) got stiff armed.

I think the Redskins offensive play calling was horrible during the fourth quarter. They didn't mix in the pass at all, which they did effectively during their two TD drives. You can't attempt to run out the clock with 14 minutes remaining.

10 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

One of the national sports radio networks, I think it's Fox Sports, runs a NFL homer call of the week feature on its morning show. Very funny stuff. Lots of incoherent, breathless, Santoesque grunting and shouting over big plays.

11 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

I understand that Tomlinson is a force of nature, but this is the third straight game the Washington defense has laid down late. And, I might add, they did a halfway decent job the rest of the game.

Is Sean Taylor the new Roy Williams?

12 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Doug -

That's a terrific analogy! OK, we absolutely have to propagate this. Henceforth Mike Shanahan shall be Mike "The Alchemist" Shanahan.

For the two of you who don't get the reference, he turned lead (Ron Dayne) into gold.

We all should send an email to TMQ, who I'm sure will be glad to use it.

13 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Outsiders -

I'd like to suggest an experiment for next weeks open game thread.

Ask the readers to pay special attention to one aspect of the game and comment on it. Something on the order of, "Today pay special attention to and comment on Left Guards or Blitz Pickup blocking by RBs or somesuch". I think it might be a nice addition to the "did you see that?" kind of comments.

As always great site and keep up the good work.

14 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Okay, I have to turn in my Football Snob card for this, but could someone give a quick explanation of what it means for a D-line to "sell out against the run"?

15 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

How does the same player have consecutive false start penalties on a punt?

Bryant McFadden had consecutive pre-snap penalties on a punt at the end of last week's game. The second was called when he asked the official if he was lined up right this time.

16 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Regarding QBs and towels, Trent Green used to wear two:

17 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

The real frustration is the sound level of commercials vs. the broadcasts. I think they want you to hear the commercials in the bathroom.

"Commercials"? I have Sunday Ticket and TiVo -- I know nothing of these "commercials" of which you speak.

18 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

When is NFL films going to mic Tom Coughlin for a game or two? This would be a gold mine. Fox could have a bleeped version at halftime and HBO could run the full tape. And just for the record, I think the bleeped version would be much funnier-

@$#!$@ Petigout, how do you $#%@ the %&#@@$& every $*#&#@'n play?!?!?

19 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Adam B.:
Dunno if you were referring to my use of the phrase talking about the Texans, but I'll pretend that you were. I'm not so much talking about the D-line selling out against the run. Unless you're Dwight Freeney, you don't have to do anything spectacularly differently from a D-line to be in position to stop a run even if you're playing pass. I'm thinking more about the linebackers and possibly the safeties coming up and playing run first on most downs.

In retrospect, that wasn't so much an observation of how the Texans were playing as an expectation. I do remember the commentators saying something about it, but I don't know how much I trust Curt Menefee and JC Pearson, given that I've never heard of them before. (I'm used to the bottom-of-the-barrel CBS announcers. Bottom-of-the-barrel FOX announcers was kind of a welcome change. And frankly they were much less aggravating.)

20 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

I'm surprised Aaron didn't have a not on the Jets-Saints game, just to take a shot at the Nugent selection again. I feel badly for the kid- he finally got some action and he kicked really well yesterday, hitting on his first four attempts and coming up about a foot short on a 53 yarder to win the game. It was a surprisingly well played game, actually.

Considering how rarely you see intentional grounding called, there were two big calls made yesterday, and I thought both were wrong. Matt Hasselbeck got called for grounding on a play where it sure looked like Seattle was setting up a screen pass. Hasselbeck went deep and hit it on the next play, making the call a moot point, but it could have cost Seattle the game. The other call was on the Jets final drive. Brooks Bollinger got called for intentional grounding on a play where the Saints blitzed, Bollinger threw deep and the receiver cut his route short. It was clearly a miscommunication between quarterback and receiver rather than Bollinger bailing out on the play from the pocket, but the refs threw the flag, which resulted in Nugent having to try a 53 yarder to win the game rather than a comfortable 40 yarder.

21 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Not only is McNabb running the 2-minute offense against the Patriots in the Madden ad, he's doing it in Super Bowl XL. If that's as real as it gets, there's hope in Philly after all. In New England, too.

22 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re# 20:

I saw Jets-Saints and agree. Those were some questionable pass interference calls. If I recall Tery MacAulay was effing that game. Do the the game charters have any score for quality of officiating? I'd bet that MacAulay would come in near the bottom

23 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

FWIW it is obvious that Dayne has lost a significant amount of weight. Whether that has improved his speed or agility I have no idea.

But he actually looks in football shape as opposed to the pudgy (to be kind) player from NY (and last seasons at WI)

24 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Lost in all the Mike Nugent talk is still the fact that the replay officials took 4 game changing points away from the Jets.

How can they take that away but not the Shockey "touchdown"?

Is anyone else concerned that the way linesmen call a goal-line touchdown is to run up to the pile and "unpeel" it like an onion to determine where the runner is?

A coach suggested a better method for determining if a runner got into the goal line... was it Dungy? At first I thought it wasn't worth it, but now I'm not so sure. There's no way they can see what is going on from the sideline. Cameras in every helmet!

25 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

I don't know where else to post this, but during the Tampa-Chicago game, the Fox crew quoted Gruden as telling them in the production meeting that he was "fired" in Oakland and had to "move all the way across the country" because of the tuck rule. It's the second time I've heard announcers repeat this line during Bucs games, and neither time have they given any sign that they know it didn't go down quite like that.

26 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

I know the Ravens have defensive injuries, but wasn’t this supposed to be the best secondary in football?

3/4ths of the starting secondary wasn't playing yesterday after the 1st quarter

27 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

I'm sure this has been discussed here elsewhere (and perhaps often), but I've not seen it.

Am I crazy for thinking Clinton Portis is nothing special? Look, obviously the lineman and blocking schemes in DC are not nearly as good as they are in Denver (especially the latter... how is that teams aren't all copying the Broncos run blocking??).

But I've seen maybe 12 Redskins games over the past 2 years, and I'm not sure I've seen Portis break a single tackle. Okay, I must have seen him break one at least once, but boy is it rare.

And he seems to get tripped up incredible easily. I've never seen a "marquee" back so often taken down by a hand blindly stuck out grasping at a guy's feet.

28 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Dungy's idea was for cameras at the goal line. It would give a perfect angle to see if the runner scored. Makes a lof of sense and couldn't cost that much.

29 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re: #23, #27

portis has been disappointing overall, though he's had some big games. in denver, he was so good not so much because he broke tackles everywhere, but because he was so explosive. he could get to the hole ridiculously quickly and then make guys miss (and look baaaad doing it) once he got into the open. with the redskins offense, it seems like last year was a disaster because they kept plowing him into the middle of the line, but they hadn't really opened up any holes. then this year he showed up to camp with 20-25 extra pounds of muscle, which i guess is better suited to running up the gut every play. but as sports guy put it, "did anybody look at portis before and say, 'what that guy needs is 25 extra pounds'?" his acceleration seems to be a bit worse this year.

that's why i'm confused about ron dayne. he's supposed to be a bruiser. so is the reason he's playing better that he's shed weight, or because the denver blocking schemes just rock? i'm much more inclined to think the latter. of course, if the weight he lost was fat and not muscle, then it stands to reason that his physical skills have improved.

30 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12


I cannot help but think defensive coordinators are going to catch up to Johnson. He is a Jim McMahon (at the end of his career) all over again: immobile, not much arm, smart, good accuracy.

Green Bay exposed that on MN which is why MN turned to running the ball. My guess is that the move was out of desperation (Tice ain't that smart), but it obviously worked. Brad won't be able to throw well in bad weather or even subpar weather.

31 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re 24:

Agreed. I have no idea how they managed to overturn that Coles touchdown at the end of the first half. He caught the ball and had two feet down in the end zone. I'm not sure he even lost control until his entire body was lying down in the end zone. I watched the replay a good three or four times and never saw anything that would lead me to believe that wasn't a touchdown.

32 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Two questions about the Seahawks-Giants game:

1. The Jeremy Shockey TD -- he catches the ball in air, appears to establish possession, lands one foot in the end zone and then gets his blonde bell rung and drops the ball before his other foot lands. Seahawks challenge, the refs uphold the call without explanation. What's the rule on this? Don't you have to land both feet in bounds to get credited with a TD? Or does the fact that Shockey established possession while in the air mean that he "broke the plane"?

2. Why can't I answer this question by finding a copy of the NFL rulebook online? Can someone explain why the NFL would want to limit access to the rulebook? Conspiracy theories welcomed.

33 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

The challenge late in the game on Shockey's bobbled drop was ridiculous. The Announcers mentioned nothing about it, they showed the replay once, and the Giants easily took their time back to the line. Then the Seahawks called time-out to get that challenge.

That was probably the smartest call by the Seahawks all game, as it appeared everyone in the challenge booth was completely asleep.

34 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re: Portis

The Redskins longest run yesterday was Rock Cartwright's 13 yard run. He did have a nice 18 yard reception on a "WR Screen" type of play.

I think their offensive line is just average. Portis doesn't have the room to run, and teams are still stacking against the run.

It could be a good candidate for an upcoming Every Play Counts, maybe not in the upcoming weeks... but the Redskins are playing against each NFC East rival the last 3 games of the season. Something like Portis vs. Giants run Defense...

35 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re 32: I believe you do need to get both feet down and it's questionable if Shockey did. But since the call on the field was touchdown to overturn it the replay would have to clearly show his second foot didn't scrape the ground.

36 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

32: Breaking the plane is only relavent when possession has already been established outside of the endzone. At that point getting any part of the ball over the "plane of the endzone" counts as a TD. You can actually score without ever touching the endzone, as several players have done in the past. Touching the pylon with your foot ala Jimmy Smith or leaping over the line and out of bounds ala Vick still counts because possession was already established.

In Shockey's case, he was in the endzone but possession first had to be established. Possession in the NFL is defined by securing the football and getting either two feet inbounds or an equivilent (either one knee, elbow, wrist, etc.). Shockey did not get both feet down before the ball came loose, so it should have been ruled incomplete. However since officials tend to be incompetent, they ruled it a score and did not have enough evidence to overturn it. Actually I thought there was enough evidence, but they did not. Either way they got away with one and later in the game they nearly got away with another before Holmgren made a great decision calling that timeout.

37 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re #5:

Somewhat tangential, but related to those XBox360 Madden 06 ads about how real the games look:

Did anyone see the NBA 2K6 ad with Shaq? They show how you can see every detail right down to his profuse sweating (though why you would is a mystery) and try to impress you with its high end graphics and realism.

Then they show Shaq sinking the free throw. Lost all credibility right there.

38 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

If the Madden people wanted to show how real the game is they should have just run clips of Manning at the line of scrimmage. Most annoying opponent ever. He seriously keeps calling audibles right up to the end of the play clock.

39 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Well...there was no real evidence to overrule the Shockey TD (i.e. there was no direct video evidence that his second foot didn't hit the ground). Every angle I saw was about 6 inches above the ground (BTW how do networks have so many cameras and not et one good angle?).

On the Coles non-TD if the receiver goes to the ground he has to maintain possesion until he either stops rolling or gets up (i.e. while he's rolling the ball cannot come loose at any point). It was pretty clear from the replay that the ball did come loose which is why there was no TD.

BTW I know they said it on TV, but Uminora (sp?) dominated Jones which is probably the first time that's happened in 2 years.

40 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re: The Shockey TD

As much as I didn't want the TD to be given I actually thought that Shockey's left foot scraped the ground just before the DB hit him.

On the subject of challenges in general, the more games I see the more ridiculous the rules appear. I think the game would be much better off if they dispensed with coaches challenges altoghether. The booth can be used if glaring mistakes are made.

More importantly, though, I'd also let refs ask for assistance from the booth themselves when they're not sure about something, on the proviso that it is not based on "irrefutable evidence", but rather their opinon.

This works extremely well in both codes of rugby. Replays are used surprisingly infrequntly, particularly in Rugby League, which has had the system in place for a few years longer.

41 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re 40: The thing I like about the coach's challenge, rather than all reviews coming from the booth, is that only important plays are reviewed-- specifically, those plays important enough to risk a timeout.

In most college conferences, all the reviews come from the booth, and once in a while they'll stop play over something ridiculous like a yard of field position.

42 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

3/4ths of the starting secondary wasn’t playing yesterday after the 1st quarter

What is this "starting secondary" thing of which you speak?

--A Pats fan

43 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re: 39 ...

Umenyiora definitely deserves another mention. The way he used his hands was incredible.

On every play that I watched his arms were spinning so fast that Jones just couldn't make any meaningful contact with him.

He was helped by the fact that the Giants defense put Seattle into passing situations on practically every play after first down, but even so I would have never expected anyone to come out so far on top of Jones.

44 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re 41 ...

I guess you're right.

Thinking about it, the game would be better off with no chalenges at all (so long as officials can still ask for replay help when they're not certain).

The thing that gets to me most about the rule is how the "indisputable evidence" part of the rule can be ridiculously unfair.

I think I'm dreaming if I think the NFL will ever ditch challenges. Coaches will never be able to trust the officials enough to allow them to exercise a bit of common sense (do officials have common sense?).

45 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

re: #20 - Make that three big intentional grounding calls. With 6:30 left in the Bears/Bucs game, Orton sailed one about ten feet over the head of a receiver in the flat and got called for IG (and boy was he pissed; I've never seen him that agitated). It made it 2nd and 20 (instead of 2nd and 10), which we all know is effectively impossible for the Bears to convert. The ensuing Bucs drive ended in the 29-yard field goal attempt, the missing of which is the only reason you haven't heard Bears fans screaming about that call already.

re: 13 - Great idea. I second the suggestion.

46 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

In the Coles vs. Shockey TD... why is someone diving treated differently than someone who is not? I'm not even comfortable with the rule that states a catch can be made even if the ball hits the ground.

So a ground can't cause a fumble, but it can cause an incomplete pass... except it's not an incomplete pass if the player doesn't fumble.

I think receivers should have to maintain possession if they get hit by a defender as well as getting hit by the ground. What was wrong with the way the rules were written last year?

47 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

to Pat re: #4

lets remember, Ron Dayne had 98 yards but pretty much had one big 55 yard run that did help win the game, but that means he had 6 carries and 43 yards which isn't that impressive.

and Mike Anderson's 11 carries and 31 yards weren't that impressive either.

48 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

I think there was one play I saw where Simms did mix up the snap count, toward the end of the first half with the Bucs in the red zone. Their center played about as poorly as possible on that play. One of the DEs jumped waaaaay offside, but stopped and hustled back. For some reason, the center didn't just snap the ball for the free play. When he finally go around to snapping it, he completely missed his block, and just tackled the DT from the side for a holding penalty. So instead of a free shot at the end zone with a worst-case 5-yard gain, they got pushed back to about the 28. Bravo.

Since nobody else seemed to watch Cleveland at Minnesota, I will summarize the Vikings offensive strategy. Get close enough that Johnson can throw it into the end zone (so like, the 15), then isolate Robinson on a corner and throw it high. Three corners giving up at least six inches, three pass attempts, three easy touchdowns. Combine that with Cleveland's amazing skill at creating turnovers out of easily completed passes, and you have a Minnesota win.

49 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

re 41 and 44.. if you don't want replay you're not being liberal about the game.

It's happened in baseball too when umpires decided to try and get every call right instead of take a stance of being intolerable of change.

I think that the officials do a great job and replays are limited (by the challenges) and the official reviews are effective (because you want the review to change or help a controversial call). The game does slow down but the games still go only 3.5 hours or so, right?

College football is just starting replay. Among the factors that make replays hareder to get to in college are:
- the 25 second game clock gives the replay officials little time to decide.

They need to learn that teams need challenges in at least 3/4 of the game. I say give college coaches 3 challenges and let them challenge from Quarters 1-3, then official reviews can be done in the most important quarter to change plays: the fourth.

50 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12


First, there were people here who believed (probably justifiably) that Dayne wasn't physically capable of running for 55 yards at any time. (Okay, okay, he's rushed for longer runs before, but hey, it's humor)

Plus: 6 carries for 43 yards isn't impressive? What? That's over 7 yards per carry! Dayne previously was averaging 3.4 or so yards per carry.

It's definitely Mike "The Alchemist" Shanahan's magic, baby.

51 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Pat: I respect that Dayne had a good day.
But his runs were for:

14, 2, 4, 16, 5, 4, 2, 55

so the Dallas defense couldn't stop him 3 times of 7.. take away the 10+ yard runs and he's below-average.

52 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Mike T.- I hate to be annoyingly pedantic here, but "Slip Slidin' Away" actually dates from his pre- Graceland days.

Ah, who am I kidding? Love the reference.

53 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Re: #51
so the Dallas defense couldn’t stop him 3 times of 7.. take away the 10+ yard runs and he’s below-average.

You could say that about anyone, though. Take away all those times Tiger Woods won a tournament, and he looks like a pretty average golfer. Take away all the times any athlete does something good, and they suddenly don't look so good. I'm not sure what you can glean from that kind of analysis.

I realize the sample size is somewhat small, but he broke for 10+ yards on almost 50% of his carries. Sounds like a job well done to me.

54 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

but saying his 98 yard day was impressive is taking away from the fact that he had four times when the Dallas defense stuffed him under 5 yards. if you say he's getting 7 yards per carry, that's just a badly used average saying he had a good day..

would you say that a running back who had runs of 2,4,5,4,5,10,60 had a great day? I'm just making up numbers but still, you can tell that Dayne was only really effective at remote times, the 2nd quarter and in OT, when he had the TD run and the run that set up the game winnnig FG.

I'm just saying maybe Shannahan's magic was misplaced, because Mike Anderson didn't play that well. He must only have enough magic for one running back per sunday which doesn't go well because they like a rotation of RB's.

55 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

That sequence of numbers describes a typical Barry Sanders day, except that there would be a couple more 20+, and a fair amount of 0s and negatives.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree; I think his numbers were impressive, given the context they were earned in. He was the number 2 back, played a stout run defense, and didn't get stuffed for zero gain or a loss a single time.

56 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Were there a lot of grounding calls yesterday (I don't know if it seemed this way but I figure you can do a quick total). Kind of in connection with the pass interference pleading...

but I actually did like seeing some of them called.

57 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

What is this talk of Ron Dayne not having a good day? Did you watch the game? He was running very well.

Here is Dayne's day:

14 yds on 1st and 10
2 yds on 1st and 10
4 yds on 1st and 10
16 yds on 1st and 10, TD
5 yds on 1st and 10
2 yds on 1st and 10
2 yd pass on 2nd and 8
7 yd pass on 3rd and 15(both of these were dumpoffs)
6 yds on 2nd and 3
55 yds on 2nd and 6

By my count, that's a 75% success rate on the runs, on a day when Mike Anderson got shut down. It looked like Dayne was finding cutback lanes, and while he wasn't exactly burning everyone on the field like Tatum Bell(he did get caught from behind on the big run in OT), he was hitting the holes that were there and he consistently got a couple of yards after contact. He definitely isn't the fastest RB, and he didn't push the pile that much for a big guy, but he looked pretty good. He does need some room to get up to speed - he didn't explode as soon as he got the ball, but with a couple of yards to get going, he does pretty well once he's moving.

What exactly would he have had to do to have a good day, if that wasn't one?

58 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

but saying his 98 yard day was impressive is taking away from the fact that he had four times when the Dallas defense stuffed him under 5 yards.


I think you're a bit demanding of your running backs. Of those 4 times, only 2 would be considered failures - all but one run came on first down. 4 yards on first down? Cool. Heck, even 2 yards on 1st down isn't really a killer. Dayne was 5/7 in "successes" (according to FO standards) that game. That's far, far better than most running backs are.

59 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Well my thinking was that you were establishing he had a great game because of the yardage, which is skewed by the one big run. I did watch the game and I thought Dayne did do well and I might be demanding but I also don't think this Shanahan magic will continue on Dayne.

60 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Holmgren needs to find the clipboard that says "Run the ball." He called 1 run on first down in all the first half possesions. Hawks were in 2nd and 20 many times (50%?) and Umenyiora teed off on Jones.

61 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12


Seattle P-I is reporting that BOTH NYG TD's should have been overturned:

Wonder what that would do for SEA's Red Zone D stat.

62 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

#39: So if a receiver catches the ball in the end zone and puts both feet down, it's a touchdown; but if a receiver catches the ball in the end zone, puts both feet down, puts a knee down, puts an elbow down, hits the ground, rolls over four times, and on the fourth roll the ball comes out it's not a touchdown?

That makes no sense. I'm not saying you're incorrect; I'm just saying if that's the rule, it makes no sense.

63 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

RE: #60

Joe Gibbs has that clipboard, and he needs to give it up. Washington never passed on first down in the fourth quarter yesterday.

65 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Should the umpires have penalised the Broncos for taunting by gaining yards with Ron Dayne? Did anyone see if he gained yards over the Dallas Star?

66 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

If Denver beats Indy in the playoffs, or wins the Bowl, would that make him Mike "Full Metal Alchemist" Shanahan?

Amazing how the guy's being rehabbed for sainthood already -- let's let the season play out, shall we?

67 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12


There just isn’t an NFL-caliber #2 corner on the Texans roster, and a team with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce exposes that.

What happened to Dunta?

68 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

RE: 10

On ESPN Radio, that is done every week on the Dan Patrick Show.

There was a ton of homerism on the Giants broadcast on WFAN. It got ugly.

69 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 12

RE: 29

Dayne is not a bruiser. Never was, never will be. That's not how he runs. The trouble with the Giants was that he weighed 250, had a higher body fat % than he does now, and he was a finesse runner.

But a lot of the improvement also has to do with Denver's offense and its blocking.