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

Audibles at the Line: Week 16

compiled by Doug Farrar

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 2008. Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live.

Pittsburgh Steelers 41 at St. Louis Rams 24 (Thursday)

Aaron Schatz: What's wrong with the Steelers defense? Thoughts? It isn't just Aaron Smith, because the decline started before Aaron Smith got injured.

Stuart Fraser: It seems to me most of the problem is that St. Louis is running a lot of short routes, quick throws to take the Pittsburgh pass rush out of the equation. Pittsburgh is traditionally vulnerable to this because the corners rarely play tight on the wide receivers, which -- when you've got guys like Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce and an accurate quarterback -- generally means they'll make a lot of short passes. New England did the same thing (when not victimizing Anthony Smith, anyway) -- hence the five passes in a row to Welker.

The Steelers are also A) mostly worried about Steven Jackson, and B) not tackling well at all.

Another general piece of conventional wisdom about the Steelers is that their pass defense is always less effective in the final few weeks of the season, as teams figure out the blitz packages and Dick LeBeau starts holding new schemes back for the playoffs, or something.

For more on the Steelers defense, check out the early holiday edition of Every Play Counts.

Dallas Cowboys 20 at Carolina Panthers 13 (Saturday)

Doug Farrar: Well, there's Jacques Reeves, America's most targeted cornerback, getting schooled on a touchdown lob from Matt Moore to Steve Smith one play after DeAngelo Williams stiff-armed Terence Newman and put him on the bench.

Bill Barnwell: And I thought Ken Hamlin was the Cowboys' least deserving Pro Bowler -- boy, has Nick Folk had an ugly pair of first-half kickoffs.

Aaron Schatz: I don't mind Nick Folk as the NFC Pro Bowl kicker. As MDS and I discovered when he was writing his Pro Bowl article, there really were no good NFC kickers this year -- nobody was good at both field goals and kickoffs.

Mike Tanier: I had Mason Crosby of the Packers over Nick Folk for the All-Rookie Team, so I was surprised by the Pro Bowl selection as well. Crosby was the NFC scoring leader entering the week. That seemed like a pretty good reason to make him All Rookie.

Aaron Schatz: Through Week 15, Crosby was above-average on kickoffs, Folk was below average. However, Folk was worth more on field goals than Crosby. I would have picked Crosby, but like I said, I don't really mind the choice. There isn't a huge difference.

Doug Farrar: Speaking of undeserving, how many teams have running back starters who really shouldn't be, with backups who have proven to be more effective? Both teams playing tonight, the Minnesota thing seems to have resolved itself … any other teams?

Michael David Smith: The Falcons and Titans also have the lesser running back in the starting lineup.

Bill Barnwell: I really dislike Carolina's defensive game plan, especially after Terrell Owens went out. As much as I like Patrick Crayton, he's not really going to be beating Richard Marshall deep. Tony Romo's clearly not 100 percent -- it makes sense to send some blitzers to the weak side of the Cowboys' line and try and lure Romo to zip it into Jason Witten and fail.

Doug Farrar: It's especially odd in that the Seahawks employed the same sort of tentative defensive plan against Carolina last week, and Matt Moore was able to pick them apart.

Aaron Schatz: Moore is impressing me with his pocket presence in this game.

The missed pass interference against Reeves early in the fourth quarter on Drew Carter may be the most egregious pass interference non-call I've ever seen, and was a good example of why PI should be reviewable.

Doug Farrar: Yep. I ran it back a few times to see if Reeves was playing the ball at all, but he's turning his head down to Carter as the ball's coming in and before he puts his hand on Carter's arm.

Oakland Raiders 11 at Jacksonville Jaguars 49

Doug Farrar: On the second play of the game, Fred Taylor says, "Nuts to you and your Pro Bowl" and heads 62 yards for a touchdown. The Jags like the cutback, and they've got the blockers for it. This time, everyone went right and the entire Oakland defense bit because they know they have to respect that running game and their own run defense is so bad. Taylor cut left, fullback Greg Jones eliminated cornerback Michael Huff (who was more late in his overpursuit than he was in the right place), and Khalif Barnes was right downfield to block. Taylor, Jones, David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew all scored touchdowns in the first half, and the Jaguars have now scored at least 24 points in nine straight games.

Ben Riley: Jaguars offensive line, where were you Weeks 1 through 5? Because right now, the line looks dominant, particularly after Fred Taylor plows through the open holes they are creating. And Khalif Barnes did throw a sweet downfield block on Taylor's big run.

Doug Farrar: To whatever extent playoff success is about momentum, this is the team that nobody wants to face right now. The defense is great even with the losses of Marcus Stroud and Mike Peterson (I'm very impressed with rookie linebacker Justin Durant), the offensive line is really coming along, and the special teams are exceptional -- Garrard's touchdown was set up by a 56-yard Scott Starks punt return, which was, in turn, set up by a lateral from Dennis Northcutt.

On the Oakland side, I've watched this team a few times this year, and what surprises me after last year's performance is the lack of discipline on defense. Against the Packers last week, everyone in the secondary seemed to be running around with half a clue. On Jones' touchdown today, Huff and Ricky Brown blocked each other out of the play. And dig this sequence at the end of the first half:

(:21) PENALTY on OAK-99-W.Sapp, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at OAK 35 - No Play.

(:21) PENALTY on OAK-56-D.Burgess, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 10 yards, enforced at OAK 20 - No Play. PENALTY on OAK-99-W.Sapp, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced between downs.

(:21) PENALTY on OAK-99-W.Sapp, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 3 yards, enforced at OAK 5 - No Play.

Warren Sapp wouldn't stop mouthing off to the officials and got thrown out. On the next play, Garrard threw his third pick of the season to Kirk Morrison. One of the oddest series of events I've ever seen in a game. The weirdest part was that it all happened after a penalty called on a Jacksonville player -- illegal use of hands on Tony Pashos.

Ben Riley: Doug's play-by-play doesn't do justice to just how bizarre the entire end-of-half series really was. Warren Sapp lost his mind and yelled at various officials for approximately three minutes. Some of the other Raiders decided that Sapp was having too much fun so they started yelling too. And the entire time, Lane Kiffin just stood there, Art Shell-like, doing absolutely nothing to control his team. And even though Garrard threw a pick on the next play, Josh McCown still coughed up a fumble as time expired.

Bill Barnwell: JaMarcus Russell's in, and he's a mix of good and bad things: His motion and his footwork looks consistent, even if he's a little too quick to leave the pocket. His draw motion footwork, on the other hand, was comically bad. His accuracy is ... iffy. He overthrew a wide-open target on his first pass, but he also hit another receiver in stride when he rolled out.

Lowlight was when Russell ran left to elude pressure, and then threw a duck against his body, jumping, into coverage that closed long before the pass got there. A Jacksonville defensive back picked it off, but he fumbled on the way down and the Raiders recovered. This led to the particularly peculiar challenge by Jack Del Rio that his team did not, in fact, intercept a pass.

Russell's second interception was the same -- against the grain, into double coverage. He threw a third duck while running out of bounds, as high as he could, into coverage. It was knocked down by a Raider before Russell got hurt on the play and came off.

Tim Gerheim: I didn't see that second Russell interception the same way at all. I didn't notice where he was in the pocket, but I thought it was a fairly pretty looking pass, except that it was two or three yards overthrown. Terry Cousin was coming across and made a nice interception, but if he hadn't, somebody else (possibly safety Sammy Knight) was right behind him and would have had an easy pick.

Russell is inaccurate both in and out of the pocket. He threw something like a deep fade at some point in the second quarter and it came down too far downfield and out of bounds by about three or four yards. He's been missing passes of many different sorts, in all directions, in lots of different ways. He looks like Eli Manning on a bender.

Ben Riley: Russell did not look good. His mechanics looked very suspect, his decision-making was poor, and he struggled to avoid the rush when the pocket started to collapse. Raiders fans -- be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Doug Farrar: Quinn Gray threw a touchdown pass to Richard Angulo with five minutes left in the game for Jacksonville's 48th point. This struck me as a definite Statement Game, the first since the Pro Bowl announcements were made and the Jaguars were completely snubbed. The statement to most of America would seem to be, "How do you like us NOW?" followed by at least one profanity. I know the AFC playoffs will be a hornet's nest, especially since they'd have to play Indy and/or New England on the road … but I don't know. This is the team that could upset the established order.

Bill Barnwell: And in response, Russell threw his first touchdown pass and then the Raiders successfully completed a two-point conversion to make the score ... 49-11.

Doug Farrar: Well, if you're the Raiders, that's a statement of sorts.

Philadelphia Eagles 38 at New Orleans Saints 23

Mike Tanier: Well, I got to see the Eagles team I expected to see back in September. Better late than never, fellas.

Doug Farrar: I loved the play when Donovan McNabb scrambled for 40 yards, Josh Bullocks popped the ball out of his possession, the ball rolled into the end zone, and Kevin Curtis (playing the role of Freddie Mitchell) fell on it. Just another boring touchdown!

New York Giants 38 at Buffalo Bills 21

Bill Barnwell: Mea culpa from before the season: David Diehl and the Giants have both been better than I expected. That being said, Diehl's an acceptable placeholder, not someone who I'd want to rely on for the length of his contract. He stays too high in pass blocking and defensive linemen end up getting underneath him and driving him back into Eli Manning.

The Bills' offensive scheme on their first two drives is great. They're getting Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson out into the flats on screens. They do this much better than the Redskins. The Redskins use immediate bubble screens, which means the linebackers can flood to them. The Bills' screens are traditional and delayed, so the defensive line penetrates and overpursues the quarterback, while the linebackers have to react and then pursue. They combine this with throwing at the weak points of the Giants defense -- the linebackers, who still can't cover -- and, after the corners are looking into the backfield, deep.

Worst corner in the NFC East: Corey Webster? Will James? Jacques Reeves?

The Giants came back with a bit of luck (a bad snap on a punt that gave the Giants the ball inside the Bills' 35), some good route-running by Amani Toomer, and then smart play calls, running Brandon Jacobs behind the strong right side of the Giants' line straight at the Bills' smaller ends.

Sean McCormick: Manning is having another bad-luck game. A week after Amani Toomer dropped a long bomb, Steve Smith went ahead and did the exact same thing on a deep pass that would have resulted in a touchdown. Then, to open the third quarter, Manning had a pass knocked straight up in the air, resulting in a pick. He's not throwing the ball badly at all, especially considering the conditions, but he's not getting results.

Mike Tanier: Manning is mixing bad luck with bad play. The best part of this game so far was the sudden downpour that lasted for about half an hour. The Bills look really bad when they are playing in the elements. Which is bad news because, like, they play in Buffalo. Jason Peters got hurt early in the game and Trent Edwards was a heavy bag for the rest of the half.

Bill Barnwell: It's amazing how dramatically the Bills collapsed without Jason Peters in there. Their offense simply shut down.

Aaron Schatz: Part of that was receivers dropping a lot of passes with the wet ball, as well as a couple routes where clearly the receiver and Trent Edwards were not on the same page.

I said this when the Bills played the Patriots, and I will say again now: John DiGiorgio makes plays. They should consider moving him to the outside next year so they can keep him in the starting lineup with Paul Posluszny back. He's better than Angelo Crowell.

Of course, DiGiorgio was the only Buffalo defender making a lot of plays on the running game. Except at the goal line, Giants ran on the Bills at will. Huge, wide alleys. Great blocking. The undersized Buffalo defensive line was pushed around all day.

Michael David Smith: Just a general observation, from Bears-Packers to Bengals-Browns to Eagles-Saints and otherwise -- it always amazes me when there's one team out of the hunt and one team in the hunt, and the team that's out of it looks more motivated.

Aaron Schatz: Oddly enough, that's what I expected to happen in Buffalo: I expected the Bills to be more motivated because the Giants were falling apart. The Bills were plenty motivated, but the Giants looked motivated too, and it turns out they're the better team -- especially without Jason Peters in the game.

Mike Tanier: Well, the Bills and Saints both came out smokin'. The Eagles looked flat as hell in their first few series, and I was writing Giants Collapse Rundown scenarios in my head at around 2 p.m.

Cleveland Browns 14 at Cincinnati Bengals 19

Ryan Wilson: To add a team to MDS' list: the Bengals. The Browns could've wrapped up a postseason berth with a win, and Derek Anderson ended up throwing four picks. All four were on Anderson, too. Two resulted in 13 Cincy points, and another was tossed in the Bengals' end zone. There was some discussion that Anderson should've been a Pro Bowler, but he's way too inaccurate, and I think what David Garrard did with half the pass-catching talent is much more impressive. That said, I can buy the argument that Joe Thomas deserved the nod over Jonathan Ogden.

Vince Verhei: Anderson was, indeed, horrible today. His two interceptions just before halftime both lead to Bengals touchdowns, quickly turning a 6-0 deficit to a 19-0 gap, and when he had a chance to pull the win out at the end, he ran a very ugly two-minute drill, throwing short passes in bounds over and over again. I must also say that he got no help from his receivers. The Browns were dropping passes all day today. Much like the Eagles, the Browns team we expected to see all season showed up today.

Houston Texans 15 at Indianapolis Colts 38

Ned Macey: Went to this one in person, which probably made it a lot more enjoyable than if I had watched it on TV, where I would have been bored. The Texans scored easily on their first drive. It seems that once a game, the Colts defense looks eminently mediocre, and then the rest of the game they are very good. They shut down the Texans without any semblance of a pass rush.

We didn't see Hunter Smith until Jim Sorgi had entered the game. More remarkably and worth noting, we didn't really see Mario Williams except on a coverage sack. Tony Ugoh stoned him, admittedly with help, but Williams was a non-factor.

Tim Gerheim: That's not entirely true. Williams had one or two sacks when the game was still within reach (I think the first was at the beginning of the drive that made it 17-7, so would have made a lot of difference), but Travis Johnson hit Manning when he was down (a little bit, anyway) and negated the sack with a 15-yard penalty. I was only listening to the game, but they commented that the Colts were keeping a tight end on Williams.

The Texans often look really good on their first drive, especially if it's off the opening kickoff, and then afterward they're awful. Today, I think, was another example of that.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19 at San Francisco 49ers 21

Mike Tanier: Was Jeff Garcia injured or taken out?

Bill Barnwell: Taken out, although he didn't really look great when he was in there. Not a lot of zip on his throws.

Baltimore Ravens 6 at Seattle Seahawks 27

Doug Farrar: A week after giving far too much time and too little pressure to first-time starter Matt Moore, the Seahawks wised up and are bringing extra men after first-time starter Troy Smith. Most encouraging was the fact that while Smith converted his first third down of the game against the blitz, Seattle kept bringing pressure, especially Julian Peterson off the right edge as an extra rush end. Peterson is playing at a very high level after a couple of invisible weeks. They didn't give up as they did last week after a couple of successful third-down conversions. Smith does have good mobility, and he seems to be averse to the kinds of blatant rookie mistakes I saw out of JaMarcus Russell today. Judging from the quotes I read this week from his veteran teammates, he's got the confidence of those around him.

Add the Ravens to the list of teams that apparently scout officiating crews. Bill Carollo's crew doesn't call offensive holding anywhere near the league average. And if rookie right tackle Marshal Yanda holds Patrick Kerney any tighter, I could start to make some very inappropriate jokes.

Matt Hasselbeck's second interception was pretty bad in that Hasselbeck had the kind of time he doesn't usually have anymore, he threw a quick slant to Deion Branch, and Derrick Martin easily jumped the route. His first interception was absolutely a product of a missed pass interference call on Kelly Gregg. However, there's a ray of hope with Seattle's running game. Shaun Alexander is getting some yardage in the one formation that seems to work for him at this point: running outside the guards in an I-formation, with Leonard Weaver leading the way.

Tim Gerheim: Troy Smith just threw a pass to Musa Smith, which fell incomplete. I don't mention that to point out how undermanned and/or undertalented the Ravens offense is, but because both of them have "Smith" on the back of their jerseys, not " T. Smith" and "M. Smith." Weird.

Aaron Schatz: The NFL changed the rules last year, and teammates who have the same last name no longer have to have first initials. That's why the Pats' No. 12 jersey doesn't say "T. Brady" now.

Michael David Smith: But there's a grandfather clause, so players who already had an initial on their jersey are allowed to keep it, if they want.

Aaron Schatz: Actually, I think the rule isn't that you can't do it, just that you don't have to. I think teams and players get to choose now.

Doug Farrar: I'm not nominating this for KCW because I sort of understand the thinking behind it, but … down 21-0 with 10:41 left in the third quarter from the Seattle 43-yard line, Brian Billick decides to punt on fourth-and-2. Backup running back Mike Anderson had been gashing Seattle's defensive line pretty well in relief of Willis McGahee, and I'd guess Billick was reacting more to Smith's three consecutive incompletions and just shutting down his ineffective offense. But … if not now, when? You've lost eight straight games; don't you even want to try?

Stuart Fraser: Yeah, I think "next season" is your "when" there.

Tim Gerheim: I think it's becoming clear that Brian Billick doesn't do anything unconventional that could be criticized. If he's going to be criticized, it's going to be for doing things by the book -- the book that doesn't appear to have been updated in decades.

Stuart Fraser: Oh, he does. Normally it's calling pass plays on third/fourth-and-short when you have a perfectly good running game and some rather questionable quarterbacks. I don't know what to make of Billick. You have to give him some credit for the Ravens being largely an excellent team whilst he's been there, but he never seems to do anything tremendously smart. Herm Edwards v1.5, maybe -- except that I never get the impression his players love him either.

Bill Barnwell: What happened to McGahee? And for that matter, Shaun Alexander?

Doug Farrar: McGahee hurt his ribs early in the game. Alexander is actually getting good blocks at the line of scrimmage, which makes a difference. As I've said before, he's not a one-cut-and-go guy who can slip through the tiniest opening. He needs a functional offensive line more than most other backs. He hasn't had one with any consistency since Super Bowl XL.

Ben Riley: Cadillac Williams. Santonio Holmes. Jeff Garcia. Alex Smith. Willis McGahee. What do these players have in common? They've each been knocked out of a game against the Seahawks this year. Very, very quietly, the Seahawks defense has turned into one of the most fearsome in the NFL. They still lack size in the secondary -- Jordan Babineaux is a huge liability, and Brian Russell seems to enjoy randomly running back and forth toward the line of scrimmage -- but if the Seahawks are going to go anywhere in the playoffs this year, it's going to be on the strength of the defense.

Vince Verhei: Last week in Audibles, a reader asked why anyone from would watch football in a sports bar. Well, here is a perfect example of why: I had to attend a birthday party at a relative's house, where we watched the deathly boring second half of this game. Had I been in a sports bar, I could have been watching Randy Moss and Tom Brady chasing records, or the Falcons come-from-behind- then-fall-from-ahead game with the Cards, or the 49ers hanging on to upset Tampa Bay. Instead, I had to watch a meaningless second half between two teams that both looked like they just wanted to get out of the rain as quickly as possible.

You know what I like best about the Seattle defense? Unlike Tennessee, which looked like an entirely different defense when Albert Haynesworth was injured, the Seahawks don't seem to be reliant on a single superstar. Yes, Kerney leads the league in sacks, but they can also get pressure from Peterson and Darryl Tapp. All three linebackers are consistent playmakers. I guess the worst-case scenario would be an injury to Marcus Trufant, which would press Jordan Babineaux into starting duty. OK, that is a scary thought.

Doug Farrar: Losing Lofa Tatupu for any length of time would be the worst-case scenario. I dont even want to think about that. But the interior line was pretty solid in this game without Rocky Bernard, who's been their best tackle all year. In 2006, the whole thing fell apart without Marcus Tubbs.

Miami Dolphins 7 at New England Patriots 28

Aaron Schatz: So, the Patriots are in the red zone, and Miami is double-covering Randy Moss. Well, at least, that's apparently what they were trying to do. Instead, they decided to double-cover the right corner of the end zone. Rookie Kelvin Smith has the shorter coverage, Moss makes a move and Smith pushes him towards the middle of the field. The only problem? Jason Allen is still standing in the damn corner, not even moving towards Moss. Smith pushes Moss in the direction Moss's route was going anyway, and away from the deep defender in the double coverage. Touchdown No. 20. Man, that is some bad, bad pass coverage. Like the Patriots need these kinds of gifts on offense.

Cleo Lemon has gotten out of a couple of what seemed like sure sacks. He's slippery. Not like this is doing much for the Dolphins, but hey, scramble for one is better than a loss of six.

Laurence Maroney scored a 59-yard run in the second quarter, the longest run of his career. The previous longest run of his career happened in the first quarter. The lane Maroney ran through on this touchdown was so wide that Jabba the Hutt would have scored, even if he was tied to Fat Bastard in a three-legged race.

The second half of the game was a bit strange. The Patriots kept Tom Brady in there and kept throwing and throwing until halfway through the fourth quarter, trying to get Brady (and Randy Moss) the all-time touchdown record(s) in front of the home fans. Instead, they had all kinds of problems, including three turnovers by Brady (although one was a fumble on fourth down). The defense still dominated in the second half, though -- the Dolphins did score one touchdown, but the Patriots were all over Cleo Lemon all day. As slippery as he is, he couldn't get away every time.

I think the Pats outgained the Dolphins by something like 275 yards to 35 yards in the first half. Any writer who turns this into "the Patriots didn't score on Miami in the second half which shows they are vulnerable" is officially an idiot.

New York Jets 6 at Tennessee Titans 10

Stuart Fraser: No offense in Nashville today. Well, not much -- the Titans kinda have a running game, which is slowly leading to them moving into field goal range over an exchange of several punts. Thomas Jones fumbled without actually needing to be tackled. Vince Young got sacked on a play where the right defensive end just rushed over the left tackle and threw him to the ground, unfortunately head first. Young took his time getting up and people wondered if he'd return, but he came right back for the next series (though he doesn't look entirely happy). The pass protection isn't entirely horrible, but Young is taking forever over throwing the ball (and this comes from somebody used to watching Ben Roethlisberger), which generally allows the Jets to get to him.

Sean McCormick: Is it me or has Vince Young's mobility been negated to the point where his most positive athletic plays come from him getting free just long enough to throw the ball away?

Stuart Fraser: To an extent, the degree to which a quarterback's mobility is useful is limited by how well the receivers can improvise. It's all very well being able to extend plays, but if the receivers don't come open, throwing the ball away is all you can do. Of course, having the vision to see the receiver who does come open and the accuracy to find him whilst on the run are also required. I haven't watched enough Titans football to know where the problem lies.

Jerricho Cotchery now has three catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. On all of these occasions he appears to have been man covered and beaten his corner really quite easily -- including one deep pass where the corner (No. 21, I think) more or less watched as Cotchery ran by him. If this was a "Pennington can't throw it that far" play, well, he can, and anyway he's your man and you're supposed to cover him. The Titans might want to think about shading towards him a bit.

Aaron Schatz: Who's on him, Cortland Finnegan or Nick Harper?

Stuart Fraser: Seems to be mostly Finnegan. Though the Jets now seem to be mostly pounding Thomas Jones now for no particular gain. The passing game is doing a lot more for them than the run has, though Pennington is certainly taking his lumps in making those passes.

The Jets have thrown a lot of screen passes in this game, and very few of them have gone anywhere. By the time the screen is completed, the secondary or the linebackers have sniffed it out and there are many defenders and few blockers waiting for the reciever. I suspect Jets fans would like to blame this on Pennington, but to me it seems that the offensive line does a really bad job of selling the screen, and the wide receivers and tight ends aren't anything to write home about as blockers, either.

Sean McCormick: Yeah, they're just not a very good screen team, which is strange, seeing as their left tackle and center are both very mobile.

A very nice fourth-down conversion by the Jets. The offense went out in a heavy set, tried to draw Tennessee offsides to no effect, shifted into an empty backfield, tried again to draw Tennessee offsides with no effect, then Pennington stood up as if he was ready to let the play clock run out before suddenly getting back under center and quick-snapping. It bought a moment of hesitation that got him the first down. Of course, you need to do all that when the other team's defensive line is much bigger and stronger than your offensive line.

Well, the story of this game was the dominance of the Titans defensive line over the Jets offensive line (and for Jets fans, this is not a new story). Haynesworth was a wrecking ball in the middle of the line, but Tennessee was also able to get pressure off the edges, particularly against Anthony Clement. The Jets tried repeatedly to establish a run game, but it's hard to do so when your front line is getting blown away like tent pegs. So they were reduced to putting the game entirely on Chad Pennington. Pennington completed a very high percentage of passes, but he was picked twice for what turned out to be a 14-point swing, as his first interception set up Tennessee's only touchdown and his second interception was in the end zone.

Vince Young was profoundly unimpressive. His mobility has absolutely no impact on the game at all. He's nothing like Michael Vick, or even like a young Donovan McNabb. He has no problems throwing deep, but he doesn't get any mustard on his intermediate throws, and he doesn't place his short throws particularly well. I recognize that his receiving corps is nothing to write home about, but still, Tennessee has to be disappointed with his development to this point.

Washington Redskins 32 at Minnesota Vikings 21

Doug Farrar: Ladies and gentlemen, the Tarvaris Jackson Experience!

Aaron Schatz: Yeah. Tarvaris Jackson is not very good. How many interceptions has this guy thrown this year that have made you cringe and say, "How can you throw that ball from that position?" The jump pass -- who are you, Bob Cousy?

Ben Riley: So I think it's pretty clear how to stop the Vikings now: put everyone in the box and wait for Tarvaris Jackson to make a mistake. Seriously, did anyone think the Redskins would be in control of their own destiny after today? It's looking like the Seahawks will be hosting the Redskins in a rematch of the 2005 division round game. Weird.

Tim Gerheim: The Minnesota Vikings: Pass defense optional. (TM)

Doug Farrar: While Brad Childress is trying to figure out if he should challenge a somewhat suspect fourth-quarter completion to Santana Moss, the Redskins hurry to the line to prevent the red flag -- and a fumbled center-snap exchange by Todd Collins puts the ball in the hands of Minnesota's Kevin Williams. Then Joe Gibbs challenges, claiming that Minnesota had 12 men on the field. The successful challenge puts the ball back in the hands of the Redskins, who go on to score a touchdown.

Bill Barnwell: Well, the Washington "Check to see if the other team has 12 guys on the field" coach, the "Check to see if the other team has 12 guys on the field" assistant coach, or the "Check to see if the other team has 12 guys on the field" quality control coach deserves a raise after that challenge.

Doug Farrar: I think they have some extra money in the coaching budget after the "Call two timeouts in a row" guy was fired.

Aaron Schatz: That was some Patriots vs. Ravens-level serendipity right there.


175 comments, Last at 27 Dec 2007, 5:25pm

1 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Harper was inactive for the game. It mostly looked like #21 Reynaldo Hill was playing Cotchery, and that Cotchery did most of his damage in the first half and less of it in the second half, which, coincidentally or not, was when Hill went out with an injury and was replaced by Kelly Herndon, who was seeing his first real action this year. Not that Finnegan is a great corner, because he's miles and miles away from where Pacman was last year, but the corner on the other side, whether Harper or Hill has been picked on a lot more. Really, for Hill, he didn't have a really bad game-I don't think I charted a single Defensed for him the first 6-8 weeks of last year, and he had a couple today.

2 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

You rightly pick on the Dolphins defense for making Moss's first TD easy, but Moss's second TD was a pretty nifty bit of deception. Ball was on the 1, and the Pats ran play action. That's not too unusual, but Moss was set on the left side, and he just walked forward to somewhat engage as a blocker the DB covering him. He basically just stood there for a half second as if he was just taking up space on a run, then he sprinted to an inside slant, and Brady hit him with another easy TD pass. Pretty neat execution of the play.

3 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

"Ben Riley: Jaguars offensive line, where were you Weeks 1 through 5? Because right now, the line looks dominant, particularly after Fred Taylor plows through the open holes they are creating. And Khalif Barnes did throw a sweet downfield block on Taylor’s big run."

Brad Meester came back around Game 5, I believe. Dennis Norman's good, but his value is more that he can play just about any OL position, not so much that he's great at any one of them.

As far as being impressed with Justin Durant, that's nice. Everybody thought he was a stupid draft pick in the 2nd round, that he was a reach, blah blah blah... well, he's been thrown into the starting lineup ahead of schedule and exceeded expectations. The guy can flat-out play. In fact, when they go to a nickel defense, he usually comes stays in and 2nd-year LB Clint Ingram goes out. Maybe Jack Del Rio can accurately judge the talent of linebackers after all.

4 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

The bad taste of the Packers dreadful showing against the Bears is mitigated by 2 things:

1. The Bears are likely to convince themselves that Orton is a viable solution and waste perhaps the entire 2008 season finding out otherwise. C'mon Bears fans, you know it could happen. Late at night you are startled out of slumber by this nightmare.

2. The Vikings playing a solid, not exceptionally good mind you, team and rediscovering the incredibly obvious fact that their qb is a bit "challenged". But having endured Childress at WI I am quite familiar with his borderline flat learning curve. Good to know that Ziggy is so open-minded about hiring that he would employ someone learning-impaired in such an important role. GB fans applaud this hiring practice.

5 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I understand there are all sorts of variables, but of this group (Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Ryan Grant, Reuben Droughns, and Ahmad Bradshaw), Bradshaw was EASILY the best looking Giants' RB in the preseason.

Only Kevin Gilbride could do a bad job on a day his offense runs for nearly 300 yards. Immediately after an insane downpour starts, Gilbride goes to the shotgun 7 YARDS FROM THE END ZONE on first down. They stay in the shotgun and Eli almost fumbles the ball before handing off on the Jacobs TD run.

Eli was TERRIBLE, but in typical Giants fashion, the one great throw he makes all day is dropped by Steve Smith. It was a certain TD that would've made the score 24-14 before the half.

6 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

On the first touchdown run by fred taylor, does anyone know if that is a designed cutback play or is that just the vision of Greg Jones to get backside like that?

Because Taylor has always been a great cutback runner but when you give him a fullback to seal off the edge you get huge gains like we have been seeing this season.

7 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I love the fact that Washington is playing its most balanced and fierce football in December. Collins isn't the long-term answer, no, but his mistake-free football has been one of the keys to this late season run. Nothing feels better to Skins fans than to see the high-paid, high-profile guys like Moss, Portis, Smoot, Cooley, and Fletcher all produce in the same game. If we get in the playoffs, we could be dangerous!

8 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

By the way, I wonder if anyone in the media is going to awaken to the fact that thanks to injury and fatigue the GB d-line is now all but kaput. This is all too similar to the 2002 finish when a 12 win Packer team got embarrassed by a solid Falcon team due primarily to a defense that collapsed at the end. The bye week might help but right now KGB's explosive first step is MIA, Kampman has clearly worn out, Williams is playing pattycake with O-linemen to keep from getting hurt and not landing a big contract this offseason, and nobody other than Pickett can hold the point. Harrell was a turnstile yesterday.

Sigh. A fine season and quite possibly for naught. Rats.....

9 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Is there any explanation how inserting Todd Collins into the starting lineup magically improves the Redskins OL?

I have an answer; the other changes that occurred in the OL during the Chicago game were removing Todd Wade from the RT position and inserting Stephen Heyer (UDFA). That guy looks like he's been better than Jansen was at RT.

I think Todd Collins makes his receiver progression quicker, doesn't lock onto WRs, and also uses his eyes well to fool DBs (Cooley TD).

Also, I'd really love to hear the rationale for over-turning Sellers TD. I thought NFL replay rules mandate the evidence should be incontroversial or something like that. From what I saw it looked like yes, he did rotate the ball around after he was on the ground, but that didn't look like it changed the "breaking of the plane". I'd say this play was nearly the same as Alstott's 2 point conversion from 2005 vs. the Redskins. You got the feeling he might not've been in, but not enough visual evidence.

Also, Brad Childress was whining about the officiating on the 12-men play claiming the Redskins didn't allow them time to substitute. Guess what buddy? If the officials did blow the Redskins dead, than Collins probably doesn't fumble the ball.

Anyway, here is the AP write-up, and I'm confident that Childress is wrong.Childress was livid about the call. Because Washington made a last-second substitution before the snap, he contended that the rule — one of the league’s points of emphasis this season — is supposed to allow the defense time to match the substitution. “I just want to see it even-handed,” Childress said. “That’s all I want to see. The video’s going to show it, and it’s irritating as hell.”.

Back to the game, the Redskins played like a veteran team desperate to make the playoffs should play, and the Vikings didn't show up to play. I was shocked they completely abandoned the run even after the Redskins went to a more prevent-like defense and stopped stacking the box... although T-Jax played well at that point.

I don't remember exactly the situations (3rd/4th and short) but it seemed like Childress went away from normal play-calling with some bootlegs, the fake-sneak throwback-pitch, and other plays that I would think the Vikings would stick by early. Now maybe that's a good adjustment but it seemed to me like they had the attitude of "we can't beat this team straight on so let's add a few wrinkles and be cute."

It was nice to beat the Vikings especially after hearing about their vaunted run offense and defense this week, especially how the Redskins manhandled their d for a lot of the game (and when it mattered). \

It was also nice not to see their stone-hands... Smoot got some sweet revenge...

10 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

The way you can tell it's not the playoffs yet is that Favre stood up to talk to the media afterward. In a few weeks, he'll surely resume his playoff tradition of heaving multiple crippling INTs and then silently sneaking out the back door.

11 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re #6- Coughlin is slow to trust rookies- prob comes from being a Parcells guy- so that explains the Bradshaw thing. Not a huge deal... it's not like they haven't been running the ball great all season. The O-Line has been tremendous- not sre who the line coach is, but let's hope the Giants hold onto him for a while.

12 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Also, I'm not so confident in the game against Dallas for one reason: Brad Johnson. Last year when he started the Vikings MNF game he was completely fired up. I don't know what type of gameplan Dallas is going to bring, but there's plenty to be nervous about and the Redskins better come to play, although I fully expect Washington to be fired up, motivated, hungry and ready, especially at home against Dallas.

13 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I don't think the Bears are in any danger of thinking Orton is good enough. There's probably a far better chance of bringing back Grossman on a modest contract and drafting a QB. Orton's best asset is that he's bad enough for Ron Turner to not call 14 bombs a game. I personally hope for young offensive linemen next year, and a safety that can tackle or cover.

14 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

No comments on the play where Cleo Lemon got called out of bounds when he was running toward the goal line? Is there a consistent rule as to whether the goal line actually does "extend" beyond the pylon? I keep hearing that it does, but then on a play like that, Lemon is expected to get the ball "inside" the pylon, so which is it? I would some insight into this rule.

15 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I think the rule changed so that you must get the ball inside the pylon. The goal line no longer stretches out infinitely.

16 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

The teams "motivated" for the playoffs aren't really always motivated. If you are a team that is fighting for a wildcard birth to stay away from your family for another week ( only to go playa tough road game in say Pittsburgh and get stomped) then who cares? Do you really think say the Cleveland Browns think they are going anywhere in the playoffs?

More Eli bashing. Horrible conditions yet another week and Steve Smith drops an easy TD. When an Atlanta Falcon would drop a Vick pass fans would say he has no help and go ape shit, but when Eli has 12 dropped balls last week and an easy dropped TD this week everybody just bashes him for a sub par line.

The NY Giants have won their last 7 road games in a row, but nobody would guess it after reading the constant Eli Bashing here at FO. You also give the guy 0 credit for the impact he has on the run game. What is easier, running ISO run plays or being in the shotgun and running draws when your opponent thinks it could be a pass? The guys main targer hasn't even practiced all year and we are in week 16! Oh, but Eli sucks and the Giants should start the Pillsburgy throwboy. You guys got the NFC East horribly wrong this year with the Eagles winning it, you were high on the skins, not hot on dallas and you thought the Giants would be picking Jake Long #1 in Aprils draft.

17 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

#5- Who cares who looked better in preseason. Do you honestly think Bradshaw is better than Jacobs or Ward? Don't get me wrong, I do like Bradshaw as a change of pace and returning kicks, but he isn't a better option as a starter than Jacobs or Ward. How come no credit to Eli for the run game?

To say that Eli looked terrible was an ignorant comment. The wind was gusting 50mph at times and it was POURING rain. He outplayed Trent Edwards and his team won the game.

18 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I'd like to point out a number of young players contributing for the Redskins.

Starting RT Stephen Heyer (UDFA)
Starting SS Reed Doughty (2006, 6th round)
Starting DT Anthony Montgomery (2006, 5th round)
Rotating LB HB Blades (2007, 6th round)
Rotating DT Kedric Goltson (2006, 6th round)
Nickel CB Leigh Torrence (2005 UDFA, signed late in 2006, was put on practice squad).
DT/TE Lorenzo Alexander (2007 UDFA).

All of these guys seem better than what the Redskins had last year to replace their depth after suffering those injuries.

19 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Can we all say that FO was wrong about that over hyped Jason Campbell too? He ran the dink and dunk offence no better than Mark Brunell last year or Todd Collins this year.

Todd Collins is 3-0 and the reason why you don't see much variance in performance is because the redskins run the most conservative offense in the league with all screens/short passes.

Campbell has a slow release, slow reads and a long windup. He reminds me of a little bit better version of Byron Leftwhich and that isn't a very good comparison to have. Not only that but the guy runs the 2 minute drill horribly and can't drive his team down the field to win close games. Better luck next draft.

20 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: 15
That's news to me. The plane has extended beyond the pylon forever... no?

21 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: 14, 15

The rule was changed. Now, you have to get the ball over the pylon, and the only "infinite" is vertical. The change was made after people (i.e. Vick) realized you could get the TD by stretching the ball way out of bounds in one hand, while grazing the pylon with the opposite pinky of the other hand, all while doing your best Airplane:-the-Movie-belly-landing imitation.

It's a relatively new change, so many images of the horizontal infinite are fresh in our minds.

22 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I love how the media was talking about how " Tavaras Jackson has been playing well the past few weeks". He had one lucky long pass against the Giants a few weeks ago followed by all passes 10 yards or less downfield. Screens, passes to the running backs etc.

This guy can not read a defense to save his life. He is not a smart human being and he couldn't even beat Matt Jones out at playing quarterback. He wasn't even that good in Division 2. Brad Childress should have his bald head examined.

23 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

If Will Allen or PV wants to argue that the Redskins did make an illegal substitution (just because Childress' whining has struck me in the wrong way).

The 11 Redskins on the field for both plays: Samuels, Kendall, Rabach, Fabini, Heyer, Todd Collins, Clinton Portis, Antwaan Randle El, Brian Kozlowski, Chris Cooley, Santana Moss.

If there is any evidence otherwise I'd be interestied in seeing it.

24 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

As a Ravens fan, I don't know what is more embarrassing: losing to the Dolphins or getting gashed by Shaun Alexander.

Note: The absence of Ray Lewis was definitely felt. When Hasselbeck made a check at the line, there was nobody making adjustments for the defense, and the result was typically a big play.

25 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Vince, I am the reader who asked why you would watch a game in a crowded sports bar. If you take your job/hobby seriously, then why not be at home on Sundays and pay the 280 bucks for the NFL Ticket? Are times really that rough?

You guys brought up a good point about the hard hitting Seahawks defense. Leroy Hill is an underrated hard hitter and putting him next to Lofa and Peterson makes the Seahawks have maybe the best LB core in the NFC.

Brian Billick is a scmuck and the only reason he wins is because his talented GM Ozzie Newsome keeps the shelf stocked with premier talent. Billeck and Marvin Lewis the fallen genius need to go downgrade to college football where they can be genius again with top talent of a big program against the filler schools.

26 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: 14, 15, 20, 21

Since the NFL website doesn't have an explanation of it, a link to an unofficial write-up of the rule is in my name. Go down about a third of the page to the "Field" category and it's the first listing. Again, it's unofficial, but it's accurate.

27 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


I don't care how bad the weather is, five fumbles is inexcusable, especially when so many of them weren't forced by the defense, but were of the "oops, the ball slipped out all by itself!" variety. Even the most biased Giants fans realize that Eli is at best an inconsistent and mediocre quarterback more likely to lose you the game than win it.

I will grant that last week's loss against the Redskins wasn't his fault- there were something like ten WR drops. But the Vikings game? That ball of suck was all Eli.

28 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

"If you're a Raider fan be afraid".

I don't think you are paying enough attention to the Raider master plan for the next few years, with its three main features.

1. By engineering the Moss trade we convinced everyone that it pays to trade for Raider players because they will improve on leaving. This offseason we will be able to get 3d or 2d round draft picks for Fargas, Howard, Russell, Asomugha, Lechler and Burgess, perhaps even some firsts.

2. We have a solid group of veterans in Janikowski, Walter, Sapp and Huff around which we can build a powerful team by using those draft picks.

3. For the first time in years our legal team is fully rested and healthy.

If you are a Raider fan be very optimistic.

29 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I think the Pats outgained the Dolphins by something like 275 yards to 35 yards in the first half. Any writer who turns this into “the Patriots didn’t score on Miami in the second half which shows they are vulnerable” is officially an idiot.

True, but I think it does expose the line about how the Patriots are all about the team, wholly unconcerned with individual stats as a bit of a fraud, no?

30 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Thanks for the link. I found some verification that this rule was changed this year. From the link in my name: The rule regarding pylon touchdown dives also has been revisited and clarified. Previously, a player just had to have some portion of his body over the goal line or pylon to count a touchdown, but the rule has been revised for 2007 to make it necessary to have the ball touch the pylon or break the plane above the pylon to count as a touchdown.

31 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I should have either quoted more of the paragraph or a different section. To clarify, I wasn't implying that the yards gained were just to pad stats, but remarking on Brady's insistence on hitting Moss for the record(s).

32 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Lost in all the "Eli sucks/stop bashing Eli" talk is the line. The Giants have had four backs- Jacobs, Ward, Droughns, Bradshaw- log significant time this season, and despite that they've maintained a top-level run offense. Amazing job by an under-heralded line.

33 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

"The Bears are likely to convince themselves that Orton is a viable solution and waste perhaps the entire 2008 season finding out otherwise. C’mon Bears fans, you know it could happen. Late at night you are startled out of slumber by this nightmare."

I've got to disagree, Badger T1000. The Bears are not going to go into 2008 with Orton as their projected starter, so that isn't a nightmare that could cause me to be startled out of slumber. Now, determining who IS going to be the 2008 starter is another story . . . .

And I echo AmbiantDonkey's call for young offensive linemen and a safety that can tackle or cover. (Two safeties that can do both would be even better.) Maybe Santa can leave those under the tree this year, along with an explosive running back and new contracts for Briggs and Berrian.

34 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

#27- Wrong Chris, How can you say " I don't care about the weather" but those fumbles were horrible. That is like saying " I don't care about those WR drops, those incompletions were terrible". The NFL Schedule makers didn't do Eli any favors with his last 4 games in NY, NY, Buff, NY in cold/windy/rainy/snowy december. If his stats are worse than say Mcnabb playing in the dome against the 31st defense at least he has a reason.

So when Eli has games in Buffalo NY, or rainy on the rainy London pitch then he sucks, but when Tom Brady has sub par stats agains the Jets in the rainy Meadowlands then Schatz and the boys want to ALTER the DVOA for weather. Last week people were talking about weather altering DVOA because Brady didn't have blowout stats. Ohhhh but Eli Manning sucks and he shouldn't get his stats altered.

Eli and the Giants have gone 7-0 in their last 7 ROAD games but you would never know if all you read was the Eli bashing online. Many young QBs can't win on the road, but Eli was almost perfect on the road this year if not for a 13-2 team in Dallas.

35 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

The argument shouldn't be about whether or not the goal line extends infinitely. The question should be if Cleo Lemon is a complete wimp or a complete moron. 2 plays in a row he should have forced his way into the end zone.
If I remember correctly, the first play (on 3rd down) he has a lane to the end zone but passes to a covered guy.
The 4th down play he should have piled in. He would have gotten hit, but Miami would have scored.
You can't have people like that on your team. Otherwise, you're bound to go 1-15.

36 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

You can't jump on Eli for the Vikes game without praising him for the first Dallas game, when he singlehandedly kept us in the game and played through a seperated shoulder. Every QB has bad games- even Brady once this year. Eli is an above-average QB who plays poorly in bad weather- yes, a bad fit for Giants stadium (I think Giants fans were ruined by Simms- a cold weather god). And like Chris said, his #1 reciever hasn't practiced in four months, his #1 back can't catch a swing pass, and his coaching staff doesn't seem to trust any of the young recievers they've drafted recently. So the guy has a lot of things going against him. Hopefully he figures out the cold-weather thing, but outside of that I really like what I've seen from Eli this year- he's def maturing into a lower top tier QB.

37 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: Kyle Orton

When the team would rather hand off to The Original Adrian Peterson 22 times IN THE FIRST HALF than have you throw the ball, I'm pretty sure nobody thinks you're a good quarterback.

His press conference comments were apparently legendary

38 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

32- Running draw plays out of the Shotgun makes running easier. Especially when Eli audibles to the weak side of the defenses formation. Eli also does a good job of audibiling out of pass plays to run plays when in favorable situations.

Some of the posters/authors here aren't sophisticated enough to give the guy ANY credit on the run game.

Running draws out of the gun is easier for a back because the LBs are initually dropping back instead of charging ahead to stop the run. This creates a larger gap inbetween impact and allows a guy like Brandon Jacobs to get a full head of steam and make contact further downfield and gain extra yards.

There was a stat on TV that said something to the effect that Brandon Jacobs gains 4 or more yards 45% of the time and that is the definition of a cloud of dust back. He was averaging around 5 yards per carry with a long of 20 up until last week. Consistant yards are better than a boom/bust back any day of the week.

39 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

the redskins run the most conservative offense in the league with all screens/short passes.

Dude, give this canard a rest. Now that Saunders has a QB he trusts, they've opened up the passing game. Collins threw mid and deep last week vs. the Giants and again yesterday vs. the Vikes. Both Collins TD passes were mid to long range.

But you keep those blinders on all you want.

Re: Campbell, I agree about the slow reads and slow windup, and terrible 2 minute drill. The only real reason to have hope for him is that he can throw the ball forever (not much reason for hope) and he is still pretty inexperienced.

Re: Santana Moss -- welcome back!! Heck of TD catch yesterday.

Re: ARE -- welcome back to you too.

Overall, I'd say the Redskins are peaking, somehow, at just the right time. The OL is playing their best. They still can't run block to save their lives, but the coaching staff seems to get that, so they don't just run, run and face 3 and 8 every drive like earlier in the year.

The D seems capable of playing great for a half before they wear down from lack of depth. Smoot and Springs are playing their best in probably several years for both of them.

Maybe the skins ought to skip 1st round draft choices every year. They do seem to do well with the lower picks & UDFA(Montgomery, Golston, Cooley, Heyer, Alexander, etc.). Their top picks have not been successfull (Campbell, McIntosh and so far anyway, Landry).

By the way, I thought there wasn't uncontrovertible evidence to overturn the Sellers TD, and I thought there wouldn't be uncontrovertible evidence to overturn S Moss's long catch before the fumble.

The only dismaying thing for the skins was the complete inability of the front four to get any QB pressure in the 2d half. But, hey, that's a quibble on a day when the run D was phenomenal.

40 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

#29 - The quote shows that Aaron Schatz is proactively hyperdefensive about hypothetical criticism of his beloved team.

41 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Chris- it's not often I find myself agreeing with you, but I def do on all your points here. Eli has all the little mental tricks down. It's prob his strongest area.

42 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Mario Williams only had one sack (the coverage sack where Johnson got the personal foul). The Colts kept Utecht in to double team Williams, but only for the first quarter or so. After that Ugoh did a very good job handling Williams one-on-one. They had Keith/Dawson shading to Williams' side in the 2nd and 3rd quarter, but Ugoh handled him so they would go out into a dumpoff pattern.

43 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Writers making fun oif Russell now, but cry later. Russell showed good skills yesterdya team just ned another offseason to refine team.
Raiders show alot of progress this year, young L Kiffin one of best young minds in game. Raiders very good chance to make playoffs in 2008. People laugh at Browns last year and even after 1st game in 2007, but they don't laugh now. Just like Raiders in 2008

44 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

36- I love the argument that " Eli isn't as good as Peyton". Well who is? Honestly, Peyton and Brady could go down as the #1 and #2 best quarterbaks EVER. To say that Eli isn't Joe Montana or Dan Marino is fine... he doesn't have to be. That is such an unfair comparision. Do people run around and say that Carson Palmer is good, but he isn't as good as Peyton Manning?

The Giants offense in general has had it's flaws the past couple years and when things go wrong the QB takes the blame. That is magnified when the QB is an introvert with a stud brother playing QB.

Eli isn't the most accurate QB out there, but neither was Donovan Mcnabb ( and I don't see the Mcnabb throwing groundball jokes anymore). Both Eli and Mcnabb aren't good because of throwing pinpoint accurate passes, but because of their reads. Also don't forget that Eli does get to throw the ball downfield and isn't running a Joe Gibbs/Herm Edwards/Jack Del Rio/Trent Edwards dink and dunk offense. People love those dink and dunk quarterbacks but are they really learning and getting any better running that stuff?

Sure, David Garrard has played "efficient" this year, but "efficent" doing what? Throwing swing passes to MJD with the occasional jump ball?

Then you have QBs like Jason Campbell who haven't called 1 audible this entire season. He gets the play call and runs it. If it is a run right and the line is stacked he has to run it. How much better is that guy getting?

Eli might have F-ed up his fair share this year, but he audibles a lot, studys a lot, and often calls his own plays in the 2 minutue drill. People learn from mistakes and I'd take Eli ( who made the playoffs every year as the starter) over some of the other young guys like Alex Smith, Leinart, Young, Campbell, Losman etc. etc. etc. But I'm still bullish on Carson, Mcnabb and Brees who still have years of success ahead of them.

45 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

43- How does Russell with LSU look tearing up Brady Quinn and Notre Dame now?

1. It makes Russell with 3 first round pick Wrs against a terrible ND defense not as impressive.
2. It makes Brady Quinn taking a team of undrafted players to the runner up Nat Title game look a heck of a lot more impressive.

46 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Question for everyone- knowing all we know now, in what order would you draft the QBs? I'd go


did I forget anyone?

47 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

nice dovetailing posts there Chris... I didn't see yours while I was typing

48 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

39- I think the ultra conservative offense is more when Gibbs has his hand on the operation, while the more outgoing play calling is Al Saunders. Head coaches in general don't want to do anything that is too unconventional and Gibbs didn't even have Shotgun in the playbook his first year. Remember those playoff games in Tampa and Seattle 2 years ago where the Redskins had the worst offensive outputs in playoff history? THAT is why they brought Saunders in, but Gibbs didn't let him run the offense. He was "parenting" the whole thing. Gibbs needs to go back to Nascar or the nursing home. The guy doesn't even understand the rules anymore " timeout man".

49 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

So when Eli has bad games in the rainy/snowy/windy meadowlands he sucks, but when Brady has under 200 yards people want to have a weather factor to the Dvoa?

Brady Quinn should be at the top of your list. Edwards looked alright this year. He should at WORST be a solid backup, but he could turn into a real solid starter one day. He is already better than JP Losman.

50 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I meant to say when TOM Brady has a bad weather game people want to adjust the DVOA.

Troy Smith
Beck so far. I am not high on Jemarcus Russell. Quarterbacks labeled with a cannon arm are a dime a dozen. I understand his arm might be even Stronger, but the reason for a lot of these guys failures isn't that there arm isn't strong enough. Smart wins... see Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

51 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

44- woah woah woah, I'm pretty sure Garrard doesn't dink and dunk. He throws L A zers and is clearly the black Tom Brady (version 1.0 sans moss,welker,stallworth etc..)

Did you see his hat after the Steelers game? Thats pure pimp stuff, next comes the models and then the irrational Garrard vs Anderson thread. Book it

52 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


What are you talking about? Everyone on this site crucified Vick for years.


McNabb has a 4% higher completion percentage than Eli does. That's dramatic.

and Garrard is efficient because he's thrown 3 INTs all year to 18 TDs. His 7.7 average YPC is nearly a yard higher than McNabb's (6.8), and a yard and a half higher than Eli's (6.3).

53 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

#5 - I meant to say something about Bradshaw in the comments. Seemed like every time he took a step, it was for five yards. Interesting story, too -- a walk-on at Marshall who blew up for over 1,500 yards last year. compared him to Maurice Morris, but I've never seen Morris with that extra gear.

54 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

35: Couldn't agree more. That pylon play should have never happened; on the previous play, it appeared he had a wide open lane into the end zone if he had ran. Then in the second play, when he did run, I don't understand why he didn't try to either just dive and take the hit, or at least get the ball inside or at least over the pylon. Regardless of the rule, it sames that every other player in the league tries to get the ball inside the pylon when in that situation. One can't even argue that it was a mental mistake as he did make that one half-hearted attempt to kinda sorta get the ball closer to the pylon, so it is obvious that he knew what needed to be done, just that he didn't have the fortitude to do it.

Regarding the Patriots, are any Pats fans at all concerned about Brady's apparent insistence on forcing the ball to Moss at times, regardless of the coverage? I realize that he was going for the record, but I seem to remember him doing that in the first Miami game too (with more success). Obviously one can get away with that sort of thing against the Dolphins, but if that is an ongoing trend, it seems like the sort of thing that could really come back to bite them if he should try it against a good team.

55 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

51- Has David Garrard ever called an audible? He runs the same Byron Leftwhich offense with either a swing pass, or a predeterimed jump ball downfield ( I understand he throws the occasional over the middle pass too). It isn't as impressive as what Brees/Mcnabb/Palmer run.

The FO staff was high on the Jags ( and Byron this year) and they were pissed when Del Rio cut the black pillsbury dough boy. NOW it appears it was the right choice.

I always said that if you are going to run that simple no audible offense, then you might as well run it with the much more mobile Garrard than the black pillsbury dough boy Leftwhich.

56 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

53- Bradshaw slipped in the draft because of legal stuff. He reportedly stole a playstation from some Student at Marshall and teams don't always want that extra baggage. His 4.6 40 time also didn't make scouts drool at the combine but he is shifty.

52- Eli throws balls out of bounds to avoid sacks too where as Garrard might scramble and run to avoid pressure which makes him more likely to get hurt ( which he did).

You also have to factor that Eli throws the ball downfield, has lots of drops, and has had games in rainy london, buffalo, and multiple games in the windy/rainy meadowlands in late Nov./Dec. instead of games in Florida against Oakland or in the Dome this week against the Saints.

Eli throwing the ball away results in an incompletion, but it does NOT result in a sack. Like Disco was saying, Eli does a lot of those things well. Hard counts, not taking sacks, throwing the ball away, managing the run game etc.

57 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Chris, you can't have it both ways - Garrard isn't a good QB because the offense is simple, and he runs the same offense that Leftwich ran, but Leftwich was noticably worse than Garrard. If it's a simple offense, why didn't it succeed with Leftwich?

Furthermore, who cares how "simple" an offense is, as long as it produces points? It's clearly not simple for opposing Ds to stop. Was Drew Brees a worse QB in San Diego than he was in New Orleans just because his SD scheme had a better D and running game and didn't ask him to single-handedly win games?

Also, question - have you seen Jacksonville play much this year?

59 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

52- And Mcnabb is an a West coast offense, has been in the league longer etc. Mcnabb is NOT known for being accurate whether you want to admit it or not.

I am not saying Eli is better than Mcnabb either so don't straw man me. I am just saying those guys aren't know for their accuracey, but Eli can be a very good player like Mcnabb has been.

At the same time I am saying that Garrard is running a very different offense than Eli and Mcnabb are running.

Yards per catch is irrelevant when he throws a swing pass to MJD which is really a long handoff etc.

60 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

What was the Packer's Special Teams DVOA for the game vs. the Bears? With 2 blocked punts, a fumbled snap on a punt, and another punt that only went 9 yards it must be pretty bad. Also, I think they fumbled/muffed a kickoff or two...

61 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

57- Because Leftwhich isn't as good at Garrard. He has a horribly long windup, slow reads, etc. He gets hurt every year because of it. Jack Del Rio couldn't have dumbed that offense down any more for Byron. That slow release might have worked playing at Marshall against the Miami of Ohios of the world, but not in the NFL.

Yes, I watch all the teams. I watch at least 8 games per week thanks to NFL Sunday ticket.

I am less impressed running a dummy offense than the Patriots/Colts/Bengals/Eagles/Saints/Giants offense because any decent QB can run the Redskins/Chiefs/Jets offense, but not everybody can do what Peyton Manning or Tom Brady do.

If you run a "smart offense" right it is pretty much impossible to defend. The simpilier offenses are more about execution and talent.

62 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


"True, but I think it does expose the line about how the Patriots are all about the team, wholly unconcerned with individual stats as a bit of a fraud, no?"

You would think so, but then really, anyone who honestly bought into that crap and\or promoted it for all this time(I'm looking at you, Bill Simmons) is such a homer that I doubt this obvious display is going to change that.

63 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


We're not grading McNabb for what he's "known" for being. He's not super accurate, but his 58% is still dramatically better than Eli's, and that's with more YPC also.

My argument is that Eli isn't even comparable to McNabb. They run different offenses, and in terms of raw production, Eli is inferior to McNabb in every category. What makes you think "Eli can be a very good player like McNabb has been?"

Also, It must be a long handoff, if it's 7.7 yards downfield. and isn't it totally unfair to criticize Garrard for throwing to his RBs, when McNabb, Eli, et all have had that as crucial parts of their offense?

And if any competent QB can run the Redskins/Chiefs/Jets offense, why are they struggling so hard putting an offense together? and isn't the Redskins offensive playbook 700 pages long, and well known for being one of the most complex in football?

64 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I'm not offended, but I am surprised that there are no Audibles on the Packers-Bears game. Wasn't that Fox's featured matchup in the 1:00 slot? Did no one really watch it?

65 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

The Chiefs/Jets/Jags offenses are simpilier and easier to defend. What is harder to defend, a receiver running a stop or a receiver running where the defender isn't?

Mcnabb throws screens to Westbrook that can often times be logged as 40 yard completions after the Tazmanian devil runs far. Eli throws a checkdown to Brandon Jacobs or Derrick Ward and it is an incompletion after they drop it.

I believe Eli will improve because players aren't just stuck in time getting no better or worse. Eli studies a lot and will improve as he learns from his mistakes and is running the real thing instead of a simple no audible checkdown offense.

My whole point is that Mcnabb isn't accurate and he turned out well, and Eli isn't terribly accurate and he can turn out just fine too.

To compare Garrard's stats to either of then is comparing apples to oranges. It's like when Jake Plummer had an efficient year in 05' and people were tooting his horn.

66 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Garrard isn't running the Leftwich offense. Hello? First, New offense this year. Leftwich never ran Koetter's offense. Second, the offense has shown a lot of different looks this year. Seam routs to tight ends, deep and intermediate posts, quick out, short out, short slants, deep slants, double move-corner route, curls, hitches, jump balls, swing passes, drag routes, deep crossing routes, quick screens, rb screens... and more. He's had 11 or more different guys catch passes in a single game, and he's also had games where one or two players catch the bulk of the throws. It just depends.

He's taking the check-downs instead of forcing it downfield when the receivers are covered, but the receivers are getting open. Chris, I don't know what your problem is with black quarterbacks or Jacksonville quarterbacks, but watch more than one Jaguars game before you spout off crap about which you know next to nothing.

67 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

And yes, Garrard does audible at the line.

Chris, this is not a west coast or check-down offense. Repeating it won't make it true.

68 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

54 BDC
The man's name escapes me, but there was a Vikings fan here who mentioned that Culpepper never quite developed fully as a quarterback because he always used Moss as a crutch. I definitely see that type of regression in Brady because of all of the attempts toward the end zone. It's not as bad as everyone thinks, but it certainly is a low percentage play (lately)that puts the Patriots offense in a bad spot: lots of 2nd or 3rd and long situations, which is not the Patriots offense that I remember.
On the other hand, there are situations where teams have actually been creeping their safeties up (what? why?), and some of these deep shots are merely keeping them honest.
Trying to gauge the wind (move along, no science here), I'd say 66-75% of those throws have been forced and unnecessary.

69 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


I don't recall seeing any muffed kickoffs, just one that went to one of the up men (a D-lineman?), who basically just fell on top of it.

70 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I think us Viking fans are going to have to create Chris Jericho style "Save.Us.005" in reference to Donovan McNabb.

This is ridiculous, for the last month the Vikings have been going against 4-4 (as in 4 DL and 4 LB) or 5-3 (5 DL and 3 LB) defenses. Let me repeat this, teams are playing goal line stand defense as their base defense against the Vikings and our passing game is so inept they cant take advantage of 3 DB coverage.

Sadly the outcome of this game doesn't really surprise me that much since the last time we played without Winfield and Rice we got shut out in Lambeau. Rice is the only WR that could punish the Skins D. I can only imagine Smoot, Springs and Landry rofl when they saw the starting WR poo poo platter of Wade and Ferguson.

I have to say Madden was in rare form yesterday, he was actually providing insightful information.

71 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: Brady to Moss in the second half:

Having two young children, we paused the Tivo at halftime to take care of them through bedtime, but I followed the game via the discussion boards, and was prepared (a bit) for a dismal performance in the second half.

The grumpy half of me is that, in fact, McDaniels, Brady, and Moss were idiots for so blatantly only feeding the ball to Moss. But that's silly. Some of the blown plays weren't even close to the end zone, so "going for the record" isn't a good argument.

The homer half of me thinks two things. First, that the rain and wind around my house picked up at halftime, and I'm only 20 miles from the stadium, so possibly conditions got really bad - and the Patriots were "practicing" in foul weather conditions (to no avail). The second is that, having won the game, the Patriots were beginning to play against the Giants. Having established that Brady wants his next TD pass to be to Moss, the G-Men will ignore that pesky Troy Brown guy, who will be the 22nd Patriot to score this season, and Brady's 49th TD throw.

At least, that's what I tell myself.

As for Cleo Lemon - take the damn hit. Replay was totally inconclusive on your pylon run, except that it showed that you were too afraid of Vrabel to deserve a touchdown.

72 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: 29 and 62, in regard to individual records.

I don't think it invalidates their overall belief. I understand what you both are saying, but I think the point of their stance on individual records was that they don't outweigh those of the team. Not that they are completely meaningless.

In other words, they don't go for individual records at the expense of a team victory. Or, more simply put, yes the records are nice (and they'd be more than happy to get them), but a Super Bowl victory is more important.

It's the media that's twisted it (slightly) into the idea that they're saying they don't care about records at all.

The players understand that they can break all the individual records they want this year but, should they lose in the playoffs and not win the Super Bowl, they will not have accomplished their goal. This team will be remembered down the line far more for it's wins than the players will for any individual records they may attain.

To use yesterday's game as an example. When the game was still a game, Brady was distributing the ball and the offense was clicking. Once they were up 28-0, you could see they switched philosophy into a just heave it to Randy to get the record mode.

73 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


I don't agree with you. Up until this year, I thought Eli was, as you said, developing to a lower top-tier quarterback. Not super elite, but consistently one of the better QBs, which would make him over the long haul extremely valuable.

I have seen remarkable regression this year. Not maintaining the mediocre level of the last two. Not improving. Getting worse.

He panics now, it seems. He did not used to; he just had accuracy problems. He does not seem to have much touch. And he does not do a good job, at all, of avoiding the pass rush. I think in most games we go in having the lesser of the two quarterbacks. I did not think that before this year.

I still have hope, because occasionally he makes throws that very few quarterbacks can ever make. But right now, I think we have a below average quarterback.

74 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

For the record, I watch Sunday football in a crowded sports bar because a) I can keep track of multiple games at once simply by turning my head instead of changing the channel, and b) There are no five year olds clamoring for Spongebob at sports bars.

Many pro and college football writers watch games from sports bars with multiple televisions when they are not covering games in person, for the same reasons I do.

For deeper analysis, I have a DVR

75 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: #61 -- Call me a purist, but in the long run I believe football success is ALWAYS about execution and talent.

76 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


If only we had an *objective* system to measure how good a particular QB is we could avoid this entire argument....

All kidding aside though, while I agree that I would take Eli over such QBs as Alex Smith and JP Losman, is that really a compliment?

You keep mentioning bad weather as an excuse, so lets look at those Buffalo and Miami in London games. Miami: Eli went 8/22 for 59 yards. If weather was the problem, then how was Cleo Lemon able to go 17/30 for 149 and a TD? Buffalo? Eli went 7/15 for 111 and 2 picks. Meanwhile Trent Edwards 9/26 and 2 TDs and 3 picks. If weather was the problem in those games, how is it that Eli was outperformed by substandard QBs playing in the exact same conditions (and with worse overall offenses)? I suppose you might argue that he played a little better then Edwards (using conventional stats at least, that is incorrect but I don't have the FO numbers yet so perhaps he did). Is that really your argument? That he *may* have slightly outperformed an undrafted rookie QB who had 8 starts going into the game and who has more career picks then TDs? You really DO damn with faint praise.

Further, if it is so easy for a QB to run the "simple" offenses you mentioned(KC, NYJ, WAS), then why do all those teams have bad offenses? On a related note, if that is the case, then why the teams like say MIN who seem to be good teams in desperate need of a QB not switch to a "simple" offense that any QB can run?

77 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Without questioning Moss's tremendous contribution to the Pat's offense this year, as a Pat's fan I preferred it when Brady's favorite receiver was the one who was open rather than the one who is capable of beating double/triple coverage. This will be even more important in the playoffs.

Regarding Eli Manning, some of the criticisms of the criticisms have validity, but when you take #1 pick money, you have to expect #1 pick expectations. Rounding into an above average quarterback in your fourth year probably doesn't hit that mark.

78 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


What exactly do we know? Russell has looked no better than Peyton Manning did in his first few games, Edwards has looked like a good rookie QB, but thats different from an out and out good QB, and the others haven't played.

79 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

My FFL money-league keeper team in the finals had Addai, Parker, Colston and TO. My goodness, that was a painful weekend.

80 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

76- Throwing 3 picks on 9 completions is outperforming Eli? So going 7-1 on the road is unimpressive?

75- So then coaching doesn't matter? Having lesser talent is meaningless and you are ineviatably going to lose? Ask the 01 Patriots about that one?

Why bring race into the QB discussion? Mcnabb is good and yes he happens to be black, Leftwhich sucks and Garrard is sufficient. I don't see how that is racist and I think you playing the race card is a joke. Go troll somewhere else.

81 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


Nobody suggested players are "stuck in time". What I really more suggest about Eli is that he's about as good now as he'll ever get. What element of QB play will improve him that for some reason he hasn't already learned in his 4 years in the league? What'll happen that'll suddenly make him dramatically more accurate?

Your point about McNabb not being accurate and that turning out well has a problem - McNabb despite his "inaccuracy" is still decidedly more accurate than Eli - and that's with McNabb's superior mobility and pocket awareness to Eli.

You're also dramatically misjudging the Jags offense. They don't just line up and throw jump balls and swing passes the entire game.

82 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Hi all,

Yes, we are biased in favor of our favorite team, like me. I love the Giants and would never say a mean word about Eli Manning.

Oh, wait.

Anyway, yes, we are biased towards our favorite team and skew our stats to try and make them look better, we irrationally hate certain players and put them down whenever we can, and we have never got a single prediction right, ever. If you really want to argue these and other fine statements, hey, go to town. The evidence is right in front of you and archived on the Internet for posterity. Just make sure that you get everyone's favorite team and your facts right, please, since it sure makes you look stupid when you repeat the same facts and they're wrong.

That's all fine. That being said, hint: If you feel the need to describe someone as "the black ______", don't. It's a good way to end up having your comments moderated and filtered for a few months, as well as a sign of a shitty argument. Find a better way to say what you're saying.

To those of you playing nice, a very merry Christmas Eve.

83 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Being as this is FO and all I feel like maybe I should use actual stats to look at the current Eli Manning Debate:

8.2 25 11.1 23 -9.4% 29

Hopefully that formating works out.
Now onto the debate...above average? I wasn't really aware that 25, 23, and 29 were above average but your mileage may vary. In terms of win-loss, I was not aware that Eli Manning was a starting pitcher. Since he's not, perhaps we can use something other than win-loss as a way of measuring how good a QB is?

85 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Sure, David Garrard has played “efficient” this year, but “efficent” doing what? Throwing swing passes to MJD with the occasional jump ball?

Through Week 15, the Jaguars running backs had 75 targets, 18.8 percent of their team's total.

Through Week 15, the Giants running backs had 96 targets, 20.2 percent of their team's total.

In short, the Giants throw to their running backs more often than the Jaguars do.

86 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Good point. Kyle Orton is never not the man. Therefore, DVOA is flawed. I suggest using the ATKO (Are They Kyle Orton?) stat in the future. The sub-stats in this system would be neckbeard density, ability to chug Jack Daniels, and general awesomeness quotient.

87 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

68: You know, now that you mention it, I remember it as well. I don't remember the details but I do distinctly remember that being mentioned. Now, I am not saying it makes him bad QB of course, but rather, that in the playoffs, against a good team, even one little mistake can sometimes be the end of your season.

71: I realize that you probably don't seriously consider that, but to be honest, I have seen that sort of thinking mentioned fairly frequently in regards to the Pats where it obviously is considered seriously. Someone on the Pats (QB, HC, whomever) makes a mistake that may or may not cost them a game, and the homers come out telling everyone how it wasn't really a mistake, they meant to do that, etc. Classic example is two years ago (if I remember correctly) where they lost a game and we have people like Simmons claiming they let the other team win because they didn't want to have to divulge any scheme secrets that might be useful in the playoffs. You don't see that sort of thing too often with other teams though.

72: The problem I have with this though goes back to the whole running up the score controversy we saw earlier in the year. Now I don't care about running up the score; if your team is up 49-0 against my team going into the 4th quarter and you want to leave your starters in and try for more points, that is fine by my. Where my problem comes from, and I suspect where the backlash towards the Pats came from, is that for how many years did we have to hear about how they were not like that? Especially in 04 and 05, we had to hear over and over again from Pats fans led by people like Simmons about how Manning sucks, how he doesn't care about winning, all he cares about are personal stats which he acheives by running up the score against crappy opponents. Meanwhile, the class act Brady is too busy winning SBs to care about such trivialities. After a while, it got old for non Pats fans such as myself (note: I am not a Colts fan either). Especially when, this year, after finally getting the weapons to run up the score themselves, the Pats are doing the exact same thing their fans complained about the Colts for. It isn't the act that annoys me, it is the hypocrocy. Further, there was the claims that while Manning was willing to risk his team's success for his own personal glory, a "team" player such as Brady would never do such a thing. And yet isn't that exactly what he did in the Miami game? They were up 28-0 against an inferior team, no need to score more. Doing so only leads to him setting a personal (or I guess shared) record. But, in order to do that, he risks the one thing that could potentially lead to Miami getting back into the game which is a pick. Now I don't care about that per say, I would do the same thing in their position. But what makes it annoying is having had to listen over and over again for so long about how what made the Pats so special is that the DON'T do that sort of thing.

88 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

You know, Football outsiders has always been pretty fair concerning Eli. They've said, time and again, that Eli will develop into a solid passer. As for Vick, any enthusiasm heading into the previous two years was forced (He MIGHT develop into a competent passer if X coach teaches him footwork etc)and at points people said "He will never develop into a passer. I took a look at Eli's road games, and there are a number of good performances, but he still fades down the stretch. I will admit that the Giants receiving corps has looked like the Eagles' receivers of last year, and that it's not all Eli's fault. He earns one more year in my book, but I think the real heckling came about because of the watch commercials.

Since you guys had little to say about the birds, I'll add a few.

A) Is anyone else high up on Stewart Bradley? I was excited when we drafted him, and he had 6 tackles, a sack, and a pick. I'm hoping we have our own Barret Ruud.

B)Part of me would love to see McNabb move on from this team, but part of me wants to see one more run. Am I wrong in getting my hopes up (even just a little) about next year? Bunkley looks like he might actually develope, and the pairing of Gocong and Gaither shows some promise. The secondary is pretty weak, especially if Dawk leaves, but I really do see some of the young players stepping up.

89 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


"76- Throwing 3 picks on 9 completions is outperforming Eli?"

So you are saying 2 picks on 7 completions is outperforming Trent? At least he had a few TDs to go with his picks. And more completions, yards, YPA, completion percentage, QB rating, etc. All in all, I would call it a draw. But let's assume for a moment that you are correct, and that Eli did outperform Trent. Let me ask you again, is that really the best you have to say about Eli? That the number one pick in the draft (for all intents and purposes), with 4 years experience managed to maybe, maybe, slightly outperform an undrafted rookie with 8 games experience?

I also noticed that you didn't mention anything about the Miami game, where it is clear that he was outperformed. Yea, sure the Giants won. But it sure wasn't because of Eli and his 36% completion rate for 59 yards.

91 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Actually, Childress was right about the 12 men on the field. The rules specifically prohibit, except in the last two minutes of a half, a team that has substituted or simulated a substitution from rushing to the line of scrimmage to collect a too-many men penalty. So if the Skins subsituted, they couldnt hurry up to catch the Vikes with 12, which is exactly what the refs let them do.

92 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


In fairness, yesterday's Pats/Fins game looked a lot like once the Pats were ahead, they just wanted to bomb it to Moss every play and try and set the record at home. They went for it on 4th and 7 on the opposing 25. I wouldn't look too much into that game as any sign of Brady regressing.

93 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


I don't know you and therefore I cannot say that you are (or are not) a racist. I'm also no troll. It just seems that everytime I see you post here, you're bitching about a quarterback of color. If that's a mistaken impression, then I'm sorry. But the vitriol for Jason Campbell, Michael Vick, David Garrard and Byron Leftwich is hard to get past. If they succeed, they're running a simple offense. If they fail, it's because they're no good.

The fact is that Garrard is running a pretty balanced offense. Go away.

94 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

91: I believe the Redskins were rushing to the line because they did not want the previous play reviewed. I don't think they made any substitutions.

95 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Did anyone watch the Dallas - Carolina game? It wasn't just the most blatantly obvious PI ever being missed, the Cowboys had a number of terrible calls all go their way. Steve Smith's Mysterious non-catch, offensive PI/facemask called against the Panthers instead, an incredibly generous spot on fourth down.... I have never seen a game in which it appeared clear to everyone, including the announcers, that the officiating was so bad and so consistently one-sided.

I would love to hear some explanations from Baghdad Mike Pereira on that game. I would remind him of the quote he game after the Baltimore-NE debacle:

Pereira said it's clear the Ravens defender had an arm around Benjamin Watson's chest.

"To me, it is contact well beyond the 5 yards, and it is a call that needs to be made," Pereira said.

96 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


he also makes bad comments about J Russell all the time,

he has to face the facts that Russell is great rising star and will dominant the league for a long time.

So what if he is black?

99 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

For all the fussing over the 12 men stuff it wasn't the 'Skins who fell behind 22-0. At HOME. With ALL their key guys.

Though yes, both teams had a lot at stake.

To quote an old baseball guy the complaints about the 12 men issue is "the whelp of a beaten cur".

Classic Childress though. The Wisconsin offense would be manhandled by Michigan who knew a thing or twenty about defending a stretch run and Brad would be harumphing about the refs. With no real purpose.

Madden was solid last night. He's getting cranky which works in the booth. Him being older likely gives him some latitude plus he's likely not so interested in being pals with coaches. So his criticism of the Vikes was both spot on and entertaining.

Though of course I am biased. You could put together a 24 hour marathon of Viking "bloopers" finishing with Andersen missing that kick and I would be popping No Doze to watch it nonstop.

100 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: 98

It is amazing how quickly people jump on the 'he sucks' bandwagon.

Lots of QBs end up being average. Most starting quarterbacks are pretty near being average.

Occasionally, you get a top draft pick who is a bust and either is not a starter or is a below average one.

Occasionally, you get a stud.

But there is little evidence right now that Russell sucks. McNabb was awful at first. Back in time, it took Simms and Bradshaw a while to become good. Rich Gannon was a nobody for a long time before playing at an elite level for a few years.

Check out Peyton's first year.

The QBs that come in and start playing at an elite level are few (Marino) and far (Roethlisberger) between.

Odds are, Russell will be a serviceable quarterback. He could be great. He could be good. He could suck. We simply don't know at this point.

101 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

russell does notsuck. raiders to be great soon and it so becasause of russell and coach an rest of presonnel. major reason is russell. you see next sunday when he start against chargers consider it a opreview of 2008 when raiders take back afc west crown

102 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


"It is amazing how quickly people jump on the ‘he sucks’ bandwagon."

I'm not jumping on any bandwagon. I didn't think he was all that impressive at LSU, and I didn't think he was very good on draft day, and I don't think he's very good today. I think Raider fans will rejoice when he hits "average" and that they'll be glad when he plays a good game, because there will be lots of bad games. I think he's going to be inconsistent, and that he won't make the players around him on offense better.

To me, your franchise qb should not fit that description. Time will tell.

103 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Haven't read everything. But I just gotta say this: guys, it's a playoff berth. Not a playoff birth. Please. Make the pain go away.

104 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

37: I'll say they were. My favourite:

"It was pretty cold out there, especially with the wind. But then I have a beard, so that helped a bit..."

105 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Re: 12 men on the field substitution
And even if Childress is right that the Redskins had to let the Vikings fairly substitute, doesn't it mean the subsequent play is blown dead (ie the Collins fumble)?

And I'm pretty sure Moss had two feet on his catch... he was dragging one got the other one down. Also the NBC replay clearly showed Childress with his head turned watching the big-screen on the Metrodome... so I don't know how he could tell that the Redskins simulated a substitution or didn't... pretty daft if they could fake personel changes and run to the line to subvert replay (which I think is dumb strategy).

106 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Let's make this nice and simple...Garrard is an above-average QB. What could cause him to fall to an average QB is what happens when the Jags running game becomes less effective.

To everybody jumping on the jags bandwagon...their weaknesses are pass protection and pass defense. (Brady)(Moss) That is all.

107 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Though it seems Scrooge-like to criticize any aspect of the Bears' Xmas gift to their fans yesterday, I continue to be distressed by the gaping cutback lanes available to any RB who wants them. It's one thing to have Purple Jesus shoot through them for 200+, but Ryan Grant? And it wasn't just the TD run -- he could have gone all the way the first time he touched the ball and again later in the game (when he slipped at the line of scrimmage).

Can we (Bears fans) chalk this all up to safety play, or is the whole pursuit defense scheme flawed? (And remember, you can't blame Mark Anderson this time.)

108 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

I think watching Brady and co. trying to get the records without a care in the world about winning was about as funny as could be imagined, especially when it wasnt working at all. Hearing for years about how Brady and the Pats were all about the team and stats/records didnt mean a thing, hmm now that they can actually get a few they try for as many as possible. Interesting when the shoe is on the other foot.

109 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

90: Right you are. Not sure where I got the idea he was undrafted. However, I don't think it changes my point all that much.

110 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Congratulations to Jerry Rice and Peyton Manning for still holding the true NFL records of receiving and passing TDs in a single-season. Rice scored 22 TDs in 12 games and Manning had 49 TD passes through 15 games (and on more than 30 fewer attempts on the season). An asterisk should be used for whatever stats the Patriots pad against the back-up NYG defense this week in a meaningless game.

112 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

104, As a person who struggles with wolfman syndrome (seriously if I let it go the beard would start just below my eyes and continue around my whole f'ing body) I can assure you that even a modest amount of scruff can take a lot of bite out of a chilly wind. What Captain Jack Daniels is rocking, in my professional estimation, would be about as effective as a typical lightweight scarf.

113 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

1) As a skins fan, I'll back up Chris a little bit, if only because Eli's had so much bad luck recently. I don't know where to put Eli on the QB list league wide, or even what would be considered acceptable (league average?). I don't think anyone expects him to be top 5. I'd take him over Jason Campbell right now and for the future, that's for sure... maybe not Garrard though.

The skins game, that was ludicrous, he played pretty good, there's not much you can do when you manage to hit your receivers in the numbers more than half the time in gale force winds and they drop half of them.

2) The skins got totally screwed on the Sellers TD overturn. That's just absurd. It was completely clear that there was no visual evidence that he was or wasn't in. A total screwjob, fortunately it didn't matter.

3) On the 12 man overturn, first I think the Moss play WAS a catch. Second, they didn't sub, so while the 12 man thing is incredibly lucky for the skins, and a terrible break for the Vikings, there wasn't anything unfair about it. The vikings actually got a few good breaks in that game too.

4) It's so sad to think as a skins fan now, about all the many many games we've choked away that if we had any of them we'd be sitting pretty right now. Really if we don't get in now it will be a truly disgusting season.

114 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Badger: I wouldnt call missing your #1 corner and #1 receiver "having all your key guys".

115 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

#70 - Jin, I'm also not ready to completely write off T-Jax. While I still think he was a draft reach, I have seen a few flashes to think he might turn out ok. But he'll never make any progress with those WRs. The Vikings need to replace every WR except Rice. (Bryant Johnson, Bernard Berrian, and DJ Hackett should all be available.) For the record, I'm a Packers fan.

116 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Clasic footballoutsiders. Ben Roethlisberger has a perfect passer rating and not one word mention of him in the "audibles." Could it have something to do with their poor prediction of 19TD and 15 picks in Prospectus?

117 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

#341 HERE HERE! but you have to understand this is the NewEnglandoutsiders. New England will be the first team to go undefeated in over 30 years. And they are the first team to get caught cheating. Coincindence?

118 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

#115: Tjack needs more seasoning, a painfully evident fact on display the last couple of weeks. Comparing his 12-game progress against other QBs at that time provides hope, but the Vikings are a team that needs to win NOW. The stadium issue is a double-edged sword hanging over their head.
I believe an offseason which brings in Chad Pennington for vet competition would do wonders. Even Chad can take advantage of all those 4-4 lineups the Purple has been seeing lately.
Top that off with a good safety signing (Madieu Williams?) and a solid pass rusher (Suggs if he doesn't get franchised) and voila, suddenly we have a contender.

119 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

This is totally off topic, but I need to post a rant about this somewhere, and this seems as good a place as any.

I really, really hate the Titans. And Albert Haynesworth is a classless jerk. Yeah, I know, not exactly a news flash...

I just read a quote by Haynesworth, saying facing the Colts would be "fun", especially if they don't rest their starters, and then bringing up last year, saying how the Patriots playing their starters in that game cost them Harrison (although he doesn't mention how it cost them Harrison because of a borderline cheap shot by the Titans), and that in turn cost them the AFC CG and the Superbowl. I.e. he's indicating to Dungy that he should rest his starters 'or else'.

I hope the Colts don't rest their starters, or if they do that Jim Sorgi and Co cream them. Yes, I (a hardcore Pats fan) am rooting for the Colts. I dislike the Titans that much. They've been a dirty team for a couple of years now, and every time I see them play I like them less.

Any team that needs to rely on another team not trying, and uses bullying tactics, cheap shots, and threats to try to get the other team to not try is classless and doesn't deserve to be in the playoffs. I would never wish injury on a player, or any human being, but I'm not sure Haynesworth qualifies as such...

120 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


Hmmm, number 1 Viking receiver. Akin to the tallest dwarf I believe.

Dude, your team had EVERYTHING to play for last night. EV--ER---Y--THING. Only Linda Lovelace has had bigger chokejobs.

Kinda sad really. Seeing that team with all its ability led by Childress is like England with Neville Chamberlain calling the shots. Was last night Minny's Munich? The team did give away the store with nary a peep.

Enjoy your Christmas. Maybe the Cowboys hand over a belated Xmas gift.

122 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Crushinator #52, Chris #44:

McNabb can also scramble better than anyone else playing the game, and a couple of good scrambles per game is well worth his completion percentage being a few points below Brady and Manning and Palmer. Additionally, McNabb throws fewer interceptions than anyone else who has ever played the game, while Eli is way to the wrong side of that statistic. McNabb's inaccuracy, such as it is, comes from throwing low and hard. Eli's comes from high lobs to centerfield.

123 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

What's with the bitter complaining about people criticizing Eli Manning and the random pot-shots at FO if they happen to miss your favorite player? It seems awfully immature, unproductive, and ungrateful.

124 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

re: 119

Umm, Bobby Wade did not cheapshot Harrison. In actuality, Harrison took a cheapshot on Wade on the prior play.

When will you Patsies get this through your thick skulls?

125 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

On McNabb:
I think if he had stayed healthy after his 2004 season, he'd be known as the unquestioned 3rd best QB in the league. He had a monstrous season in 2004 that was largely ignored because of Manning. Through four games in 2005, he was on pace for about 5400 yards passing and 44 touchdowns, before he began to build up a pile of injuries from which he's never recovered.

At this point the guy is a good quarterback, and I hate to see the obnoxious Philly fans try to run him out of town. I don't want Kevin Kolb to fail because I like him, but I'd love to see McNabb go to Minnesota and win a Super Bowl there or something like that.

127 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Gerry #73:

Up until this year, I thought Eli was, as you said, developing to a lower top-tier quarterback. ... I have seen remarkable regression this year.

Here's a fun way of looking at things Gerry with conventional stats. Eli Manning in the 16 games from Week 1 2006 to Week 17 of 2006, then Eli Manning in the 16 games from the Wild Card Playoff of the 2006 season to Week 16 of the 2007 season.

311 of 540 (57.6%) for 3357 yards, 24 TD, 21 INT, 10.8 ypc, 6.2 ypa, 74.6 passer rating.
303 of 549 (55.2%) for 3347 yards, 22 TD, 20 INT, 11.0 ypc, 6.1 ypa, 71.7 passer rating.
I'd say its a tempest in a teapot over Eli's "regression". The numbers are almost identically bad and there is nary a dimes worth a difference. Lower completion percentage but more yards per catch, lower TD total but also lower INT total.

Gerry #111

McNabb was awful at first.

Huh? By what meausure? McNabb's 2000-2002 career including the playoffs is 48 games total. Here's the three 16 game stretches (Week 1 to 17 2000, Wild Card 2000 to Week 15 2001, Week 16 2001 to Championship 2002).

330 of 569 (58.0%) 3365 yards, 21 TD, 13 INT, 10.2 ypc, 5.9 ypa, 77.8 passer rating AND 87 rushes for 629 yards and 6 TD.
308 of 528 (58.3%) for 3305 yards, 25 TD, 13 INT, 10.7 ypc, 6.3 ypa, 82.3 passer rating AND 88 rushes for 483 yards and 3 TD.
338 of 574 (58.9%) for 3676 yards, 26 TD, 11 INT, 10.9 ypc, 6.4 ypa, 85.0 passer rating AND 93 rushes for 669 yards and 8 TD.

So McNabb was a 58-59% passer, had a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio, increasing ypc and ypa and passer rating, AND he was a running QB unlike anything in the league since a young Randall Cunningham. McNabb's career total in runs are worth an entire additional season of QB play - 557 rushes (including kneeling), 3323 yards, 27 TD.

Comparing Eli to McNabb at the same point in their careers, Eli and McNabb are about the same in attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns, but Eli throws almost twice as many interceptions, completes fewer passes, and lacks McNabb's scrambling ability. So nowhere is young Eli better than young McNabb (except in taking fewer sacks), but young McNabb was much better than young Eli in several important areas. In wins and losses, young McNabb was 28-13 and 4-3 in the playoffs. Eli is 29-18 and 0-2 in the playoffs with this years yet to come.

128 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Dont know if it is the egg nog taking or not but really think J Russell next Sunda lead Raiders tea to win over Chargers, this good preivew of 2008 season when raiders take league by storm and put you Raiders haters back in place.

129 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Badger: Sydney Rice is the only receiver on the team that is worth a damn (he's a 21 yr old rookie btw, tells you how much the other guys stink), the other guys aside from Allison whos a 5th round rookie, are known scrubs, busts and #3 WRs at best.

Any knowledgeable Viking fan let a big "oh,oh" once the news hit that Rice had a high ankle sprain after the Bears game. All you have to do then is stack the box to stop the running game.

The outcome of this game wasn't that hard to predict.

130 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Gerry: Badger must be bitter after the Packers handed home field to the Cowboys.

131 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

re: 119

Dude, Seymore's driving Kellen Clemens into the ground was a tackle done specifically to injure a player. Reminiscent of Siragusa's shot on Gannon during the Ravens super bowl run. Get off your high horse.

133 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Go Raiders!

#5, Regarding Gilbride, there was a reason Buddy Ryan tried to punch him out on the sidelines during a game.

134 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Regarding the Patriots, are any Pats fans at all concerned about Brady’s apparent insistence on forcing the ball to Moss at times, regardless of the coverage?

It should be noted that, in the last two games, the Pats played with no tight ends. The only healthy TE was a guy they picked up off the street 10 days ago. This put much of their offense on the shelf. The only packages they could run were the spread offense out of the shotgun and the short yardage power running package with Seau and Vrabel.

There's also a growing suspicion that the Pats are playing with an eye towards the playoffs -- putting on game film only what they want to put on game film. Specifically, there is no way that a playoff opponent could crowd the line of scrimmage after seeing nothing but game film of Brady chucking the ball downfield to Randy Moss. The Eagles and the Ravens were somewhat successful blitzing like crazy and playing press coverage on the receivers. It could be that the Pats are trying to pre-emptively force defensive gameplans away from that notion. If Brady has his druthers, I think he'd like to face a nice conservative Cover 2 in the playoffs with lots of room to work fifteen to twenty yards downfield.

135 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16


I am bitter that a complete tool like Childress has a job in football. I have been subjected to that doofus now for 15 years, and it's d#mn annoying.

He's inept. Incompetent. Incomprehensible. Infuriating. Inane.

Even though he's ballast on a divisional rival I want him OUT of my football life.

Merry Xmas to all.

136 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Chris, it is quite obvious that you are not interested in things like facts and instead have a binky or two who you will make millions of excuses for while castigating others for doing the exact same things as said binky. I find it hilarious that when David Gerrard or Jason Campbell throws a pass to a running back or a deep ball to a reasonably covered receiver it's because they're stupid idiots who can't be trusted to do anything else while when Eli Manning does it, it is apparently due to his intelligence and game reading ability or something. Also, whoever noted that Chris is always bitching about black quarterbacks, you forgot Tavaris Jackson (remind us how you were the only person who knew he wouldn't be good, o great one), Daunte Culpepper and Jamarcus Russell.

137 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

132, McNabb in 99 was still much, much better than Manning in 04. Hell, McNabb in 99 had a TD/INT greater than one, something Manning doesn't have this year.

138 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

"True, but I think it does expose the line about how the Patriots are all about the team, wholly unconcerned with individual stats as a bit of a fraud, no?"

Hard to expose something everyone already knew. Did you also believe that they weren't really thinking about 16-0 before this week? It's rhetoric. Belichick put Testaverde in last year to throw a TD pass to keep his stupid consecutive seasons streak alive, and they don't care about the all time points/TDs/etc records?

139 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Don't forget the Flutie drop kick -- that was in a game they ended up losing by a point. They kept Corey Dillon in to rush for 1600 yards in a meaningless end-of-season game in 2004, too.

I'd go so far as to say that the Patriots care deeply about records and milestones and stats. And that Bill Belichick will eat their livers if they say anything like that out loud to the press.

140 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

re: 139
Why would you say they care deeply?

The second half of the Miami game was the first time the Pats specifically geared their offense towards a record, and it was just within reach.

And you're saying Corey Dillon shouldn't have played the last game in 2004? That's really weak. When do productive RBs ever take the last week off? Every season, all the top RBs are running in the last game to get as many yards as possible, especially those who have a shot at the rushing title. Did Shaun Alexander skip the last game? Did Curtis Martin? The three of them were all competing for the rushing title and none of them skipped the last game.

This is the kind of thing that annoys Pats' fans. We have a new rule, invented wholly to apply to a Patriot that is never applied to anybody else.

Most Pats fans are not at all concerned with the media-created notion that the Pats represent some kind of morally superior enterprise. We just root for them because they are our team. And if the coach wants to do something like let Flutie kick an extra point via drop kick, who cares? If Brady wants to pass Manning just as much as Manning wanted to pass Marino, does that mean he's a bad person? If Moss wants to be considered the equal of Jerry Rice, or to pass a record of Rice's, shouldn't we appreciate that?

It really is amazing how people are negative about anything the Patriots do, when they would make no comment if anybody on a different team did exactly the same thing.

141 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Why would you say they care deeply?

Because they take specific actions to gain those records and milestones and stats.

And you’re saying Corey Dillon shouldn’t have played the last game in 2004?

Considering that he had exactly one good game in the playoffs, and fell off the map afterward, that might have been the better course, yes.

142 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

It really is amazing how people are negative about anything the Patriots do, when they would make no comment if anybody on a different team did exactly the same thing.

I mentioned it because every time someone gets picked up by the Patriots they always talk about how wonderful it is to finally come to a place that's all about the team, eventually trotting out the line about how "there's no chest thumping here." Please. If you want to argue that the front office is the best in the league, there's a case for that. You could also argue the same merits about the quarterback and the head coach. Just don't sit there and tell me they win because they care more, or because everyone on the team is willing to make sacrifices that other teams don't.

143 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

140, of course Manning wanted to pass Marino. His team was down 8 pts against a very good San Diego team in the final minutes of the 4th quarter in a game that decided who was the 3rd and who was the 4th seed in the AFC. He broke the record in dramatic fashion when the team needed it.

Brady will be out there, trying to break the record in a meaningless game against the back-up defense of a weak Giants team that will rest their guys for the wild card game.

Get the asterisks ready, please.

144 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

The missed pass interference against Reeves early in the fourth quarter on Drew Carter may be the most egregious pass interference non-call I’ve ever seen

You gotta be kidding. I didn't read all the comments, and considering how late I am, no one will probably read this one, but there are "missed" calls and there are "bad" calls. That one was missed, not bad. The reason is that TV never, never when it really matters, gives you a full-speed replay. At full speed, it looks like a pretty good (and close) play. Egregious? Please.

145 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Get the asterisks ready, please.

I agree. After Brady passes Manning, there should finally be an asterisk on Manning's second place spot that says:

* Played for a dome team and in a division where all of the teams play in fairly warm weather environments

I'm glad someone finally pointed that out.

Good on ya.

146 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

81- Drew Brees got better after everybody gave up on him.

Mcnabb runs a west coast offense and scrambles more as opposed to throwing the ball away to avoid sacks. You can't just look at both of their completion percentages and say that Mcnabb is accurate because his pct. is a little higher than Elis. Neither guy is known for his accuracy whether you'd like to admit it or not. Eli throwing an incompletion instead of taking a 7 yard sack is a good thing, although statistically a bad thing because QBR doesn't factor in sacks.

83- Well DVOA doesn't take everything into consideration and being 7-1 on the road says something considering how much the Giants are shit on at FO. You would think they are 1-7 on the road as opposed to 7-1 because the FO Bible said they would suck.

85- Stat man Vince, you can't just look at stats to make a definitive statement ( isn't that what this site is about?). There is a big difference between looking downfield and THEN throwing a checkdown and dropping back and instantly turning to your side and throwing a screen pass. I admited the Jags run more than the Leftwhich years, but it still isn't a very complicated offense. Jason Campbell and the skins would throw these instant bubble screens to Randel El which are different than throwing the ball downfield into coverage.

My point is if you take Brady/Manning/Carson Palmer off of their teams they fall to shit really fast. If you take Jason Campbell or some other game manager out of the offense you don't lose much.

89- Trent Edwards thew 2 interceptions for defensive touchdowns. He also had what was it, a 2 yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans off a play action? Whoopdy shit. The Bills could have easily ran that in for a score. Meanwhile Eli had a deflected ball that was picked, and he was handing the ball off in the redzone so Jacobs could get 2 Tds. The stat geeks at this site take the stats a little bit too far.

147 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

113- I think Bill Wallace highlights a point that many of the posters and writers on this site are in a state of "group think" whether you would like to admit it or not.

If anybody says anything different than Father Schatz or anything out of the FO bible that person gets shit on by the FO lemmings that follow this site.

You didn't like Frank Gore before this season started because Norv Turner left... You were wrong because FO guys said so. You though that the Cowboys were going to be real good this year? Well you couldn't say that because the FO guys disagreed with you.

Don't get me wrong, I might not agree with all their predictions, but I've seen some pretty dumb things said by them. Maybe a month ago one of the guys was saying how the Packers were running some weird sets on offense with 3 backs in the backfield?... Ummm heloooooo do you even watch the games?

148 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

One last shot about watching a game in a crowded sportsbar. Somebody said something to the effect that " many writers do it and plus I supplement my stuff with my DVR".

Now think about that. FO guys are supposed to pride themselves on being better than the regular writers, and now you want to immitate them?

Do you really want to watch the games like Tony Kornheiser does? Do you really want to have that shallow analysis where you are more interested in interviewing Charles Barkley in the booth than breaking down the X's and O's of the game?

No thanks. If you want to be like Kornheiser and the other sports writers than good luck.

150 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Did we just go 149 posts without someone mentioning the FOMBC (or equivalent) to Chris?