compiled by Andrew Potter
Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to turn into (if they can).
On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.
While these e-mails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Steelers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching, just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.
Minnesota Vikings 13 at Chicago Bears 21
Cian Fahey: The Vikings' play calling on offense has been maybe the most conservative I've seen this season. Although, Matt Kalil's play may justify it as he continually looks to be getting beaten by Jared Allen. Kalil's drop-off for the Vikings has been one of the biggest surprises of the season for me.
Matt Kalil needs to be benched. Allen is destroying him without being asked to do too much. Kalil looks slow, weak, and unbalanced. You'd never guess he was a high draft pick a few years back.
Mike Kurtz: Minnesota's conservative play calling is one thing, but apparently Teddy Bridgewater has been coached to never stop going backwards. Every single passing play is a 10- to 15-step drop, usually followed by a dumpoff to a tailback who is already 8 yards behind the line of scrimmage. There is nothing about the Vikings' offensive performance from planning to execution that makes any sense. I believe Bridgewater has had two completions to wide receivers and a whopping 40 yards of passing offense. It's just fundamentally broken.
Sorry, Bridgewater had one (1) completion to a wide receiver in the first half.
To add to the comedy, the game clock at Soldier Field is borked. The side judge is keeping the game clock on the field. It is basically impossible to keep an accurate game clock on the field. Good times.
Cian Fahey: Designed quarterback sweep at the goal line with Jay Cutler on fourth down. Part of me thinks Marc Trestman is trying to be fired. Another part of me hopes he's trying to be because otherwise he's just plain dumb.
Mike Kurtz: From the 4-yard line, Bridgewater drops back to the back of the end zone, panics, and throws the ball out of bounds like 10 yards in front of Cordarrelle Patterson. Officials really stretched the definition of "in the area."
Houston Texans 23 at Cleveland Browns 7
Vince Verhei: Every once in a while -- not all the time, and not even often, but sometimes -- I'll look up at this and see J.J. Watt going one-on-one with Joe Thomas. Just that the Browns would trust Thomas in a scheme like that says a lot about him, and he looks like he's holding his own. Watt's moving all over, so it's not an every-down thing, but it is the kind of thing I'd like to go back and watch more of later.
Atlanta Falcons 19 at Carolina Panthers 17
Rob Weintraub: Panthers go super conservative at the edge of field goal range, with plenty of time left, and of course Graham Gano misses by a hairbreadth.
Calling it now -- Falcons go 6-0 in the division, finish 6-10.
Andrew Healy: This decision was even worse because of the time left. Even if Gano hits the kick, the Falcons would have had about 1:30 to win it with a field goal, anyway.
Aaron Schatz: Sigh, the research article I've always meant to do and haven't had the time yet: showing just how tiny the chances of a turnover are in those situations, and why teams need to be more aggressive in long field goal range.
Rob Weintraub: Thanks to a pair of hook-and-ladders, the Panthers actually got into position for a 63-yarder at the gun. Of course, it was blocked. Falcons win, lead division at 4-6.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 at New Orleans Saints 10
Rob Weintraub: Jermaine Gresham catches a pass near the goal line, and predictably, in fighting for the stripe, he fumbles. But he manages to fall on it for the touchdown. The announcers go on and on about how Gresham kicked the ball to himself to make the play, which is ridiculous -- he couldn't possibly have seen the ball. He got lucky. Good opening drive for Cincy and Andy Dalton after the debacle last week. 7-3 after one quarter.
Scott Kacsmar: Trent Green is all about that "Take the Points" life. Said it at least twice this quarter. I think he was right in this case with the Bengals, but I liked the Saints going for it. Just didn't like the call of a flat pass short of the sticks to Erik Lorig.
Rob Weintraub: I liked that call a lot...
Bengals up 10-3 with seconds left, run the give-up handoff, and Jeremy Hill busts it for 62 yards, cutting back into the middle of the field in what could have been disaster. But Cincy got the timeout with 1 tick left, and kicked the field goal to go up 13-3 at the half. Easy to get on both Hill and the Saints defense (Trent Green wondered why they "didn't hold him up for another second") but we're not the ones running fill tilt. The players can't see the clock, let's remember. It was similar to the accusation of Gresham kicking the ball to himself -- announcers and fans tend to ascribe way too much awareness from their catbird seats.
Also one injury note -- Zach Streif out with a concussion.
Bengals roll down a short field to take a 20-3 lead on a pass to Gresham again. Now two touchdowns today for the man the locals call the "Villain" after zero in the first nine games. After he scores Gresham goes to toss the ball to a pretty lady in a Bengals jersey, but a Saints fan yanks it away with an elbow to her grille on top of it. Classy.
Saints cut the score to 20-10 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Cincy, on its first play of the drive, gets set behind the chains when A.J. Green is called for OPI, wiping out a 13-yard gain. But on third-and-19, with the Dome howling for the first time all day, Dalton lays in a perfect ball to a streaking Green for 40 yards. He then hits him for 15 on third-and-1, and then for a touchdown pass on another gorgeous ball into the corner. Having a healthy Green makes something of a difference -- this is the closest he's been to that since the opener.
Developments on the "Terrible Fan" front -- in the best effort from a sideline reporter in years, the Saints fan who took the ball from the Bengals fan was interviewed, and said he had "no plans" to return it. Nice. But it appears the Saints responded well (on this lone front, given the fact they were blown out 27-10) and got the lovely lady a replacement ball.
Sideline reporter was Evan Washburn, by the way. Credit where credit is due.
Dalton's passer rating was 143.9. So that's a jump of 141.9 from his last effort, which if it isn't a record has to be darn close.
I'm not in the least surprised. Thursday last was an anomaly, even by Dalton prime time standards. Whole team appeared to realize they were actually scheduled to play at about 4:30 that afternoon.
Denver Broncos 7 at St. Louis Rams 22
Cian Fahey: The Broncos will probably win this game by 500 points or something close to that before it concludes, but these recurring slow starts can't be encouraging for the franchise as a whole.
A massive stand before the end of the first half by the Broncos defense. Giving up a touchdown already down 10-0 is huge compared to giving up a field goal with Peyton Manning on the other side. 13 points against this Broncos offense can disappear in a hurry.
Scott Kacsmar: Shaun Hill just completed a pass to himself, but Kenny Britt has been the man today with four catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. This is like a 2009 flashback. I was anxious to see Hill this year and he didn't make it to the third quarter in Week 1. He has always played pretty well when given a shot and the Rams are surprisingly up 13-0. With Julius Thomas out, Denver's just not the same when Jacob Tamme is playing almost every snap. There's also not any faith in the running game right now. Without a score before the half, this next drive is crucial.
Aaron Schatz: Do the Rams lead the league in obscenely blown coverages this year? Egads. Remember when they let Brandon Lloyd go 80 yards in the last minute of the first half? They just somehow left Emmanuel Sanders with nobody within 10 yards of him for a 40-plus-yard touchdown on third-and-10. The Rams defensive backs were arguing with each other after. Guys, try figuring out coverages in practice, not during the game, OK?
Scott Kacsmar: Can't forget the Dez Bryant touchdown the Rams gave up too. Always someone in their secondary arguing with a teammate on these plays. Pretty bad it's still happening in Week 11.
"Fox-ball" is a real thing, and it's dangerous. Fox could have used his timeouts on second-and-10 and third-and-4 to get the ball back with a minute left in the first half. He waits to call timeout with 23 seconds left and Denver takes a knee after the punt. It's as if he still thinks he has Jimmy Clausen at quarterback sometimes.
Vince Verhei: Rams appear to be using a heavy dose of the Seahawks' Super Bowl defense, inviting short completions over the middle, begging for them, then popping the receivers when the throws arrive. And it's obviously working: Broncos dropped four passes in the first half. And then, they're the Rams, so the Sanders catch happened.
Aaron Schatz: Start of the fourth quarter in St. Louis, and the Broncos have lost Emmanuel Sanders to a concussion, Julius Thomas to an ankle injury, and Montee Ball to the groin injury that he was just coming back from in the first place.
And it turns out that Peyton Manning's communication with C.J. Anderson and Andre Caldwell is not going to be the same as his communication with Ronnie Hillman and Emmanuel Sanders. Broncos blow some sort of option route thing on third-and-4. They go for it on fourth-and-4, down 19-7, at the St. Louis 28. Rams send five and Orlando Franklin and Will Montgomery fail to properly trade off a stunt. Sack, Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald. Turnover on downs.
I think that Denver's road struggles this year are a prime example of "splits happen," but golly, this split sure is happening, ain't it?
Tom Gower: It's not just the injuries to Denver's pass-catchers, but it seems like the injuries to the offensive line have gone a little under the radar. That was bad news against the Rams defensive front, notably when Robert Quinn came unblocked on a loop rush past center Will Montgomery (playing due to injury). Field position was also a major issue, as they didn't start a single possession beyond their own 25-yard line.
Seattle Seahawks 20 at Kansas City Chiefs 24
Aaron Schatz: The Chiefs offensive line that got crushed by Buffalo a week ago is easily pushing around the Mebane-less Seahawks. It helps that they have almost entirely given up on pass blocking. It seems like their offense is all runs and screens. Between Jamaal Charles and Marshawn Lynch, there is a lot of tackle breaking going on today.
Vince Verhei: Chiefs lead at halftime 14-13, but their offense has been a lot more dominant than that. They only had three drives in the first half: two 80-yard touchdown drives, and a "three-and-out" where they appeared to have a first down, but replay showed that Travis Kelce fumbled and the Seahawks recovered. Chiefs wideouts have just one target and no caches, but Alex Smith has been able to throw to his backs and tight ends because Seattle's pass rush hasn't been much to get excited about. I really miss the 2013 defense. Remember, everyone, defense is less consistent than offense.
Mind you, Seattle is moving the ball very well too, until they get to the red zone, anyway. It's not as dominant as last week, but they already have 118 yards on the ground, including 41 by Russell Wilson on four carries. At one point they called eight running plays in a row, which you rarely see these days. Together, the two teams have more first downs rushing (17) than passing (eight). Quite a nice little throwback game as we get close to Thanksgiving.
Tom Gower: The first half was a fascinating example of "just how effective can offenses be without having a wide receiver-based passing game?" With explosive players at other positions and running backs who get a lot of yards on their own (or in the case of Seattle a quarterback who does so much with his legs), the answer is "really, really effective." Vince noted Kansas City's offensive success, and Seattle has been inside the 10 on their three possessions after starting the game three-and-out. I can't decide if, aesthetically, this is great or awful.
Vince Verhei: As a football fan, I think it's wonderful. As a Seahawks fan, it's pretty frustrating. It also occurs to me that the Chiefs' offense, in a lot of ways, is the offense the Seahawks want to run, but can't. They're using DeAnthony Thomas the way Darrell Bevell wanted to use Percy Harvin, and their wide receiver screens actually work, unlike Seattle's, which are usually drive-killers.
Seahawks recover a Jamaal Charles fumble to set up a go-ahead touchdown to ex-Chief Tony Moeaki, but the Chiefs drive down the field again and take the lead back on a Charles touchdown. It's 24-20 in the fourth and the Chiefs still haven't punted.
Earl Thomas has had a hot and cold day. He has run down DeAnthony Thomas in space a few times, which is no mean feat, but he has also missed a handful of tackles.
Aaron Schatz: I'm not a big fan of Seattle's decision to throw a corner fade to Doug Baldwin on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, but I think Sean Smith totally got away with DPI bumping Baldwin in the back right after the pass was thrown. Unless the ref decided not to throw the ball because the pass was uncatchable -- it wasn't the best throw by Wilson.
Vince Verhei: OK, now I'm pissed. After the failed fourth-and-goal play, Seahawks force their first punt. They then have a fourth-and-1 in Kansas City territory. Now, I'm not sure Seattle has thrown a deep pass all game, so Kansas City crowds everyone up on the line, effectively running an 8-0-3 formation. There are corners covering the receivers, but there are no real safeties or linebackers, just everyone pressed up to the line. Also, Max Unger is out again. So what do they call? Read option? Bootleg keeper? Quick slant? Nope. Straight handoff to Lynch up the gut. Nobody is fooled, nobody is beaten, the play loses yardage. That play probably fails 99 times out of 100. That's a much worse call than the goal-line fade route.
Hawks force a three-and-out, so they're getting the ball back with nearly three minutes left and things are definitely not over. But my God have they been outcoached today.
Seahawks got one first down on the final drive thanks to a couple of good plays by Wilson, but the way Kansas City's pass rush was eating Seattle's linemen alive there at the end, that drive never had a chance. They were all over the quarterback every play at the end there.
I'm trying to mitigate the damage here in my mind. Seattle still plays two games each against Arizona and San Francisco, and if they take care of business there they'll still take the division. And if they don't take care of business there, well, that will be the reason they miss the playoffs, not so much this non-conference loss.
Still, though... GRRRRRR.
Oakland Raiders 6 at San Diego Chargers 13
Scott Kacsmar: Watching some of the passes Derek Carr has forced the last few weeks, you wonder if his brother had a better idea in just taking a lot of sacks. Last week he had the play where he threw to his lineman, who fumbled. Today he floated one to the running back, who wasn't even looking, and Dwight Freeney almost made a spectacular play on the ball. The Raiders are barely hanging on here in San Diego, but I'm not seeing much progression here. Unfortunately, the Chargers are worried about their quarterback now with Philip Rivers hobbling around after a low hit by Khalil Mack at his knees. It wasn't dirty or anything, but not what you want to see if you're a San Diego fan. We know Rivers has played on a torn ACL, but no quarterback can be effective in that situation.
Tom Gower: Holding on to a 13-6 lead at the two minute warning, San Diego has been moving the ball just well enough to not do anything with it. In its own way, it's just as inspiring as Kansas City and Seattle's offenses earlier today. Oakland has done very little on offense most of the game, nor have they come close to doing many things. They had three first downs until matching that on a single possession that began, as I recall, late in the third quarter. The run game finally showed some life when Latavius Murray got carries rather than Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. Imagine that.
Khalil Mack is still really impressive, by the way.
Scott Kacsmar: Raiders should have had time for one more play, but the shadiness of NFL clock operators strikes again. That play was dead with a second or two left.
Detroit Lions 6 at Arizona Cardinals 14
Vince Verhei: Exactly halfway through the first quarter, the Cardinals had a first down in the red zone. Larry Fitzgerald lined up wide, came in motion towards the formation, and just drilled the edge defender with a crackback block to set the edge. It was almost primal how he eyeballed his target so intently, like a cat watching a bird before pouncing. That was better than some of his catches.
Andrew Healy: For Arizona's first-drive touchdown, Drew Stanton threw up a jump ball, perhaps thinking it was a free play with Detroit apparently offside. The penalty actually wasn't called and it might just have been a terrible pass. But with a good result. Michael Floyd comes back to almost fair-catch Stanton's punt-like pass.
On Arizona's next drive, Robert Hughes catches a pass on third-and-8 for 49 yards that was one easy third-down conversion. Hughes lined up wide left and just ran a slant. Completely uncovered with Detroit playing zone on that side of the field. After a nice throw on an out to Floyd off trips right, Arizona is quickly up 14-0 on the No. 1 defense.
The Lions get a piece of good field goal luck! Matt Prater's 50-yard kick clanks in off the left upright. Their curse apparently gets lifted if it's not a 40- to 49-yard kick.
Tom Gower: Down 14-0, on fourth-and-2, I would have liked to see Jim Caldwell go for it there, but luck bails him out, or something.
Andrew Healy: Todd Bowles needs a head coaching job and a desirable one. Just love what Arizona is doing on defense. They blow up a wide receiver screen on the drive after the Stanton interception with great anticipation, forcing Matt Stafford to not even throw the pass.
Fourth-and-a-half-yard and Jim Caldwell kicks a field goal to cut the deficit to 14-6 with :30 left in the second quarter. He gets a smidgeon of credit back for at least trying to draw the Cardinals offsides before chickening out.
Andrew Healy: Great stop by Arizona on third-and-less-than-a-yard, brings up fourth down and the same distance from the Detroit 45-yard line at the end of the third quarter. Caldwell has to go for this one, right? And he punts. Man is that a brutal decision.
Arizona gets it back up 14-6 and is past the spot of the punt within two minutes. Now they have their own fourth-down decision. They punt on fourth-and-5 from the Lions 36-yard line. Don't like that either, but not as bad with their fourth-quarter defense and the lead. Then a very interesting play. The Cardinals bat the punt back into play from the goal line and then a great decision by Jeremy Ross to pick up the loose ball at the 5-yard line with no potential downside. He takes it back past midfield.
Aaron Schatz: Uh, never mind. That play got reversed. Mike Pereira seems to be quite annoyed at the officials' interpretation of the rule, and it just cost the Lions 49 yards of field position.
Vince Verhei: I've been watching football pretty religiously since the Reagan administration, and I don't remember seeing a return like that. I know the Seahawks tried it a few years ago and I lost my mind, thinking they had fumbled the ball away, but there's a weird rule there where once the kicking team touches the ball, the fumbles by the receiving team don't count.
Speaking of not counting, now that whole mess is wiped out by the loosest definition of possession ever and the Lions start at the 1-yard line.
Andrew Healy: Oh, wow, and it's overturned as possession at the 1-yard line before he threw it back. Huge play. And probably a bad call by Jerome Boger. I agree with Pereira, although I won't claim to be sure. He certainly seemed to be intending to throw that back the whole time. Have to check the wording of the rule.
Then on third-and-7 from their own 4-yard line, Joique Bell goes airborne, hurdling the safety. Then another third-down conversion off a corner blitz. Like the play calls on each of those plays. Really good one there with the throw in the flat to the vacated area.
Arizona threatens the blitz on fourth-and-2 from the Arizona 47-yard line (a particularly believable threat for them) and then drops off. Stafford goes for the quick out to Johnson and there's really no room for it. Arizona ball up 14-6 under 7:00 left.
Cian Fahey: If anyone can explain the 2014 Arizona Cardinals, they deserve a Nobel Prize in Football Analysis.
Aaron Schatz: I realize that the Arizona defense is good but Detroit has to figure out what is going wrong with its offense. Things haven't gotten any better since Calvin Johnson's return. Detroit has put up negative offensive DVOA in six of nine games and I'm guessing today will be the seventh out of ten. Offensive line seems to be some of what's going on, and Stafford's accuracy is also an issue, but that's just my first impression only from watching parts of today's game.
I'll probably look closer at similar teams for the DVOA analysis, but I don't think that the Cardinals are that hard to figure out. Sometimes, good-but-not-great teams just win a lot of close games. It's a combination of luck and good coaching. (I can't prove it, but I feel pretty confident that at least some of the difference between Arizona's record and DVOA rating is coaching.) I agree that it's surprising to see the defense playing so well despite the players they lost in the preseason -- Daryl Washington, Darnell Dockett, John Abraham -- but it does seem to be a lot about the scheme and a lot about Calais Campbell. Meanwhile, the offense really hasn't been that good. It's been just good enough to help them win. Drew Stanton threw picks today and I expect him to not be as good as Carson Palmer in the long run.
One team that might provide a good comparison for Arizona is the 2010 Chicago Bears. That team did it all with defense. The Bears went 11-5 despite being only 14th in total DVOA (28th offense, fourth defense, first special teams) and not getting the advantage of an easy schedule. The Bears were 7-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less.
Vince Verhei: My takeaway from the Arizona game was, holy cow, the Cardinals have a really good secondary. Different from last year's Seahawks, because Seattle's scheme was mostly about press coverage and never letting guys get open in the first place, while Arizona asks their guys to break on the ball and make plays to break up passes. But man, the way they can zoom in and make plays is impressive.
Philadelphia Eagles 20 at Green Bay Packers 53
Aaron Schatz: The Packers laugh in the face of your third-and-longs. Just went up 10-0 with a nearly seven-minute drive that included conversions on third-and-18, third-and-10, and third-and-9.
NFL Matchup show suggested that the Packers would try to get at Mark Sanchez with a lot of blitzes, since that's what Dom Capers loves and the Panthers didn't blitz much last week. And so they are. Just took Sanchez down on third down with a nice overload blitz that had four guys coming after three linemen from left tackle to center. Micah Hyde then returns the punt for a touchdown. 17-0 Green Bay and we aren't at the end of the first quarter yet.
Packers play fakes are really bringing up the Eagles linebackers today. It's pretty.
Scott Kacsmar: Must be due to that awesome running game in Green Bay. Oh, wait. Eddie Lacy has seven carries for 21 yards. Just business as usual. Defenses biting on the play-action fake out of instinct.
Andrew Healy: The Packers keep getting pressure on Mark Sanchez. Towards the end of the half, they're getting home with four after earlier using the blitz to get at the always shaky-under-pressure Sanchez.
New England Patriots 42 at Indianapolis Colts 20
Aaron Schatz: So the Pats come in 31st in run offense DVOA, then spend the first drive completely stuffing the ball down Indy's throat with six-offensive-lineman sets and run after run. (Colts were 22nd in run defense DVOA, so at least that part makes some sense. Plus, they employ Erik Walden.)
Andrew Healy: The Colts are only 18th in pass defense, too, so surprising the Pats came out running. Looked like last year's playoff game, the last time I remember the Pats running like that.
The Pats got the Colts to settle for a field goal when a Jamie Collins blitz up the middle forced an errant throw from Luck. Those Collins blitzes have been effective all year.
Aaron Schatz: Given the struggles the Colts are having against tight ends this year, I'm surprised that a) Rob Gronkowski hasn't done more in the first half and b) we're not seeing more of Tim Wright on the field.
Scott Kacsmar: Colts are also 32nd in DVOA against running backs, so I'm waiting for the screens. Really, the running back position in general has had a huge impact on this game. Led the way for New England's first touchdown, and the Colts are killing themselves with seven carries for 6 yards and a big dropped pass by Ahmad Bradshaw.
Andrew Healy: Like I said in the preview, the Patriots will dominate the Colts on the ground, averaging about 9 yards per carry. After Jonas Gray's second touchdown, the Patriots have 15 carries for 138 yards (9.2 YPC). They're getting a huge push from the middle of the line (Stork, Wendell, Connolly) on some of these runs.
It's mostly the line, but Gray (already at 95 yards on 13 carries) looks really good, too. Really, you do not need to draft a running back.
Cian Fahey: Weird game so far. Colts fan feel aggrieved by a couple of calls from the refs in terms of illegal contact for Patriots and against them, but their real issue is their inability to stop the running game. Was asked on Twitter and couldn't think of anyone, has an offensive line ever turned it around so quickly and so emphatically like this year's Patriots?
Luck has been somewhat jittery. Rushing plays from relatively clean pockets more than once and making some simply stupid decisions with the ball.
Tom Gower: If you're including turnarounds from one season to the next, Baltimore's O-line is miles better than it was last year. Just in terms of in-season turnarounds, it's probably more common than you think. I know the Titans improved a lot during the season in both 2006 and 2009 (the second half wasn't ALL Chris Johnson).
Aaron Schatz: Tom Brady has been off tonight. But wow, not as off as he was on the audibled play-action pass near the end of the first half. The guys up the middle blow their blocks and a pressured Brady makes a terrible, stupid throw while falling backwards for a pick that put the Colts right into scoring territory. Yikes.
Andrew Healy: On third-and-a-half-yard, no less. The Colts weren't lined up super-tight to stop the Brady sneak, either. Surprised we didn't see it.
Aaron Schatz: I'm sure Brady thought he saw one-on-one coverage on Gronk and decided to take a shot. I don't think the audible was that bad a move. Gronk was open downfield. You could have a big play there... if the line doesn't allow pressure. But once the pressure was allowed, there's no way Brady can throw that in that way.
Cian Fahey: Brady has done that a lot over the past two years, not with the same awful results as that, but the protecting himself against impending hits. It's understandable considering how old he is. Manning does similar, but he often just drops to the ground for the sack instead of risking the throw.
Andrew Healy: Jamie Collins with a great tackle on Coby Fleener in the flat. Collins is in the running for the most underrated defensive player in football. Collinsworth loves him, but maybe that's a name thing.
Such a bad decision to kick the 53-yard field goal on fourth-and-1 from the 35-yard line. Vinatieri makes the kick to make it 21-13.
Aaron Schatz: SackSEER loved Collins back when we were considering him a defensive end. If I remember correctly, he played safety, linebacker, and defensive end at different times at Southern Miss.
This whole game can just be summarized as "the Colts can't stop the run." Usually pass defense is so much more important than run defense, but the Colts are a giant exception right now.
Andrew Healy: Yes, he did great on explosiveness, if I remember. Not surprising when you watch him in the rush or in coverage. That Southern Miss team went 0-11, I think. I wonder how many players as good as Collins won no games their last college season.
Cian Fahey: In their previous meeting, the Patriots running backs rushed 43 times for 235 yards and six touchdowns. I'm not sure what the Colts coaching staff is doing over there, but it certainly isn't working.
Scott Kacsmar: Best game I've ever seen from Coby Fleener. He was pretty good in his last outing too against the Giants. Extra important with Dwayne Allen's injury tonight. Brandon Browner just doesn't seem cut out for getting physical within 5 yards and actually staying with the receiver. If he's not continuing to grab he's getting beat. Probably has given up near 100 yards already tonight.
Aaron Schatz: In case anyone was STILL wondering whether the running back or the offensive line is more important to the running game, I present to you Jonas Gray. Undrafted, came off a practice squad a month and a half ago. Four touchdowns tonight.
Actually, make that "the offensive line and the lack of run defense is more important than the running back," not just the line.
Cian Fahey: It's hard to watch the Colts. They're so awfully put together and coached. They feel like the Bengals in the sense that they're settling for slightly above average except they're doing it in the opposite way: with a great quarterback and average everywhere else.
Andrew Healy: Yes, the game ball goes to the Pats' line. Kind of amazing that the group includes Cameron Fleming. They came up with a scheme to get one of the previously-disastrous offensive linemen back on the field all night and it comes up aces.
Tom Gower: Man, that Rob Gronkowski touchdown to make it 42-20...
Running the ball was basically the only thing the Patriots weren't doing well offensively. That made this unexpected, yes, but it also makes it a statement about what could be going forward if this isn't just a one-off.
Cian Fahey: This is the kind of game they played when they were at their best last season. Against the Colts and the Ravens the running game was outstanding. Once Broncos stopped it in AFC Championship game, the offense faltered.