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

Audibles at the Line: Week 12

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

compiled by Andrew Potter

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around emails 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 tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those emails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

While these emails 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 Seahawks 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 solely 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.

Miami Dolphins 24 at Cleveland Browns 41

Bryan Knowles: Jarvis Landry revenge game? Jarvis Landry revenge game. Landry gets involved early in his first game against his old team, catching two passes and ending up in the end zone against Miami. He has apparently had this game circled for two years, as there's no love lost between Landry and the Dolphins ownership, even if the coaching staff he worked with is long gone.

Rivers McCown: Odell Beckham actually caught a touchdown! It happened!

FOX pointing out that the deep safety on the play actually left both deep receivers open, so Rashard Higgins was also in the end zone.

Rivers McCown: Kalen Ballage's run paths are like a batted baseball. Even if he's heading right towards someone, he approaches like he doesn't understand he's allowed to try to move around them.

Rivers McCown: The booth just initiated a DPI review and won it, putting the ball at the Miami 6 on a ball targeting Odell Beckham. Kareem Hunt runs it in, it's 28-0. I'm finding a different game to watch.

Scott Spratt: Apparently the referees overturned a non-call and made it a defensive pass interference in this one. Maybe the NFL protocol is to only overturn ones that have no game impacts since the Browns are now up 28-0 over the Dolphins.

Scott Spratt: Dolphins interception! It's 28-3, the same score the Patriots came back from in the Pats-Falcons Super Bowl. Time to get excited.

Scott Spratt: Dolphins comeback update. 28-3 is now 28-17 after a Ryan Fitzpatrick rushing score. Still have the entire fourth quarter to complete the miracle.

Seattle Seahawks 17 at Philadelphia Eagles 9

Carl Yedor: The teams trade three-and-outs to start the game, with the Eagles ending Seattle's drive by taking advantage of Seattle center Joey Hunt's lack of size on third down. Hunt gets bull-rushed straight back into Russell Wilson's lap on third-and-long, leading to a sack. Michael Dickson's punt goes out of bounds at the Seattle 43, setting Philly up with great field position (it's very windy today).

Philly ends up getting into the red zone and frankly should have scored a touchdown on a third-down checkdown to Miles Sanders out of the backfield, but Carson Wentz airmails the short throw incomplete. He might want to blame the wind for that one. Ugly throw either way. 3-0 Philly.

Bryan Knowles: Given the respite of the missed touchdown, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks march right back down the field. 21 yards to Jacob Hollister, 17 yards to DK Metcalf, and then 33 yards to Malik Turner on a flea flicker. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am, 7-3. That was too damn easy!

Carl Yedor: That little flea flicker design has been in Seattle's offensive playbook for years. They've run some variation on the run-right, throwback-left multiple times since Wilson has been in the league, though the formations/window dressing have been a bit different. This time featured sixth OL/jumbo TE George Fant motioning across the formation pre-snap. Here's a similar setup against the Giants from 2017, and then another one against Carolina in 2015.

Aaron Schatz: Most seasons, there's a flea flicker roughly once every two weeks. This year, there has been more than one per week. I love flea flickers. They work great.

Aaron Schatz: Wentz just airmailed another throw to Sanders out of the backfield. This seems to be a theme early on today. However, the Eagles are also running all over the Seahawks when they hand the ball off.

Vince Verhei: Seahawks up 7-3 at the end of one with Philly driving at midfield, but the real story here is who's not playing today. The Eagles are out Lane Johnson, Nelson Agholor, and Alshon Jeffery. Their top wide receiver today has been Greg Ward, who spent most of the week imitating Russell Wilson on the scout team. But he has gotten open in the flat for several short-yardage conversions. Wentz has airmailed easy completions to his running backs a couple of times, though I disagree the first one to Sanders would have been an automatic touchdown -- I think Seattle had the pursuit in the middle of the field to make a tackle, though it would have been first-and-goal.

Seattle, meanwhile, is out Jadeveon Clowney on defense and Luke Wilson on offense. So of course, they come out for their first play of the game in an I-formation with Nick Bellore at fullback and practice squader Tyrone Swoopes at tight end and run into the middle of the pile. Carroll/Schottenheimer gonna Carroll/Schottenheimer.

Vince Verhei: Seattle adds a field goal after Wilson airmails a wide-open Jacob Hollister in the end zone. Given his baseball background, I think the most appropriate way to score that one is "E4."

Aaron Schatz: Philly just sacked Russell Wilson twice in a row, both coverage sacks. The first one also had the problem where Malcolm Jenkins rushed the passer late and nobody picked him up, but Wilson should have gotten rid of the ball. He's holding on to it a bit too long today. Eagles coverage also has improved since they got some of their defensive backs from injury.

Bryan Knowles: The Seahawks dominating the Eagles and still being up only seven points is the most Seahawks-Eagles thing that has ever happened.

Aaron Schatz: I realize there are a lot of injuries in Philadelphia, and Wentz isn't used to some of his wide receivers, but he's just straight-out missing guys today. Accuracy looks awful and I don't think you can blame the missing receivers or the right-side offensive line backups.

Bryan Knowles: Seattle is gaining 5.9 yards per play, Philadelphia just 3.2. Wentz has thrown a bad interception and has fumbled twice, turning the ball over once. He is both not on the same page with his receivers (a function of so many backups) and is flat-out inaccurate (a function of Wentz not being very good). Seattle is moving the ball more or less at will. Philly gets booed off the field at halftime ... And it's still 10-3, Seahawks. I would love to see the first-half DVOA splits here.

Carl Yedor: Seattle's first drive of the second half doesn't get very far, picking up a first down after a questionable OPI had set them back behind the chains. On a later third-and-long, Wilson and Metcalf just missed connecting yet again, with the deep shot down the sideline going off of Metcalf's fingertips. I wouldn't consider that one a drop given that Metcalf had to dive just to come close. Eagles ball now and driving.

Derrik Klassen: I sound like a broken record of everyone who has seen Philly's offense this year, but it's so clear how important a vertical threat is to their offense. Carson Wentz needs to be able to attack the 15-plus area of the field and it's tough for them to do that with who they have out their right now, especially with the offensive line playing nowhere close to 2017 quality. Still believe Wentz is a plenty good quarterback (despite being mostly awful today), but I don't think he can make up for how bad this offense is as a whole right now. Granted, I'm not sure how many quarterbacks can make up for Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (rookie), and Jordan Matthews being their top three receivers.

Carl Yedor: After forcing a fumble on a draw play, Seattle pulls a Keystone Kops routine for the entirety of the time they possess the ball. Defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson attempts to pitch the ball to another Seahawk defender while returning the fumble but pitches it forward. This would have been a penalty if not for the fact that his knee was down, so no harm, no foul. Then, Seattle starts the drive with a false start and delay of game prior to their first play. They end up in third-and-15 and pick up about 8 or 9 on the play, but center Joey Hunt is flagged for tripping, putting Seattle in third-and-25 instead. Wilson's next pass is tipped and results in an interception, giving Seattle no points on a drive that began around the Philadelphia 30.

Vince Verhei: Worth noting that fumble was forced by Shaquem Griffin, who came off the edge and blew up the play in the backfield, the biggest impact he has made in his young career.

Per Derrik's point about Philadelphia's limited arsenal today, it is honestly funny how much disrespect the Seahawks are showing to Philadelphia's wide receivers. It's not just that Zach Ertz is double-teamed on virtually every play, but one of those double-teamers has often been a starting corner, either Shaquill Griffin or Tre Flowers. Even when he makes the catch, he's tackled immediately -- he has a half-dozen receptions, for a total of only 35 yards. For that matter, Ward is at six for 40. It's the like field is only 10 yards deep for the Eagles offense.

Bryan Knowles: Carson Wentz has gone to the locker room, injured. Fortunately, they have SuperSub Nick Foles ready to come in and … oh.

(It's Josh McCown in case Wentz doesn't come back, for the record.)

Rivers McCown: I understand why the traditional body stereotypes are a big scouting deal as far as projecting health, and why they are preferred.

On the other hand, Carson Wentz gets hurt every season.

Bryan Knowles: Wentz is back, but it may not matter. Rashaad Penny, whom everyone on my Twitter timeline has been yelling at all season long, just ripped one up the middle for 58 yards and a touchdown. 17-3 may be an insurmountable lead for this Philly offense.

Vince Verhei: Rashaad Penny, of all people, just put this one away for Seattle. First play of the fourth quarter, he takes a third-and-1 pitch to the left and makes a man miss to pick up the first down. Later in that drive, he explodes up the middle for a 58-yard touchdown, the longest run of his career. He also has a career-high 128 yards today, on only nine carries -- which is still more than the seven of Chris Carson.

 

 

Vince Verhei: Well let's not get ahead of ourselves. Seahawks take over after a Philadelphia fumble, but on first down Chris Carson fumbles, his seventh of the year, most of all running backs. Seahawks recover, but on second down Carson fumbles AGAIN, his EIGHTH of the year, and this time Eagles get the ball. That was a blown handoff and the fumble might get charged to Wilson, but there's a common thread to Seattle's worst ball security issues this year, and it's not Wilson.

Vince Verhei: Fourth-and-2 after that fumble, Wentz throws while stepping backwards in a clean pocket, and the pass is wide of an open J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and incomplete. This guy was the MVP favorite at this point two years ago. What the hell happened?

Carl Yedor: Part of me feels like Wentz's drop-off in play has somewhat similar underlying reasons as that of his 2016 draft classmate Jared Goff's decline. Philly had the healthiest set of wide receivers in the league in 2017 by adjusted games lost, and that obviously has not been the case this year. They only lost 0.7 of a game for their tight ends, good for seventh, and they finished 12th in AGL on the offensive line. If I recall correctly, Wentz also ran hot on third downs that year (which may be related to having a fully healthy receiving corps). Performing well in high-leverage situations like third down is a great way to win a lot of games and generate MVP buzz. This year has felt like the complete opposite swing, if someone can pull up the split stats for third downs this year and in 2017.

Bryan Knowles: Wentz's 2017 and 2019 third-down conversion rates are about the same, but he had an 87.1% DVOA on third and fourth downs in 2017. Coming into today, he's at 32.7% this season.

Vince Verhei: Eagles get a touchdown with 20 seconds left. They do go for two, which is smart, but they don't get it, and then Seattle recovers the onside kick to end this.

Zach Ertz is a fine candidate for "great fantasy numbers by a guy who made no real impact on the game," finishing with a dozen catches for 91 yards and that score.

Carolina Panthers 31 at New Orleans Saints 34

Andrew Potter: Second drive in New Orleans, Sean Payton challenges an extremely soft OPI against Jared Cook that wiped out a massive gain. Looks to me like the defensive back, Javien Elliott, simply lost his balance in the usual maneuvering as Cook made his route break. Naturally, the challenge is unsuccessful.

Saints lead 7-0 after their first opening-drive touchdown of the season, a 26-yard run by Latavius Murray. It's early, but both Saints lines are dominating their Panthers opponents.

Andrew Potter: And now, Payton is using his second challenge of the first ten minutes on a potential punt muff. A short punt appeared to hit the leg of Rashaan Gaulden, recovered by New Orleans. The ruling on the field is that it didn't touch Gaulden. This, at least, looks legitimate, and would set the Saints up in the red zone, but that wasted first challenge is already potentially very significant.

Scott Spratt: The Saints defense forgot to guard Christian McCaffrey on a swing pass near the end zone at the end of the half. McCaffrey scored on the play, but the replay is showing he was down just short. With two seconds left in the half, the Panthers are down by eight. Will the Panthers go for the score?

Scott Spratt: Haha, it was the exact same play. McCaffrey unguarded again, touchdown.

Bryan Knowles: The Panthers have been pesky all game, as CMC is out-Kamaraing Alvin Kamara today, but the Saints have finally started to pull away. A 20-yard pass to Jared Cook and a 30-yard Kamara run sets up Michael Thomas for a short touchdown pass to make it 30-18. The Saints go for two to make it a 14-point lead, but they get called for pass interference. Tony Romo questions what the analytics say about going for two from the 12-yard line. I'm pretty sure they say kick the dang thing at that point, which the Saints do. 31-18. Still time for the Panthers to come back, but the Saints are beginning to look comfortable again.

Scott Spratt: After McCaffrey's second touchdown, Joey Slye missed his second extra point of the day. So there have been at least five extra point misses by kickers today. And possibly more I don't know about.

Scott Spratt: Massive play by Panthers safety Tre Boston to elevate and take the ball away from Tre'Quan Smith at midfield. The Panthers are still down one touchdown but have 12 and a half minutes left in the quarter.

Scott Spratt: After a big defensive pass interference penalty set the Panthers up with a first-and-goal from the 1, Alex Armah and Christian McCaffrey were stopped in the backfield on both second and third down. But Kyle Allen finds D.J. Moore on fourth down for a touchdown that ties this game up at 31-31.

Bryan Knowles: It took four tries, but the Panthers do turn a first-and-goal from the 1 into a touchdown, and we have a tie game! Love the Panthers throwing it on fourth down, rather than just slamming into the line yet again, though I do wonder how you only give Christian McCaffrey one touch in that situation. All's well that ends well, though; it's a 31-31 game.

Scott Spratt: Greg Olsen broke a tackle! I don't believe it. It's his first of the year according to SIS charting (subscription required) and the first of his Panthers career according to my informal count.

Scott Spratt: Haha, Tony Romo summarizes the pass interference challenge debacle of 2019: "He did literally pass interfere him ... "

Ron Rivera is challenging a non-call here with two and a half minutes left. If he doesn't get the DPI, then the Panthers will likely try a field goal, allowing the Saints plenty of time to answer or win outright on a two-minute drill.

Scott Spratt: Oh man, the refs actually ruled it pass interference. First down Panthers near the goal line. Not sure these refs are going to make it out of New Orleans intact.

Bryan Knowles: Wait, what, the wish DPI challenge actually worked?!

Scott Spratt: The anti-karma of the Saints getting killed by that DPI overturn is unbelievable. The rule wouldn't exist without their playoff loss last year.

Andrew Potter: As a Saints fan, I'm not even mad. This is just hilarious irony. I'm also kinda relieved. I was sure that one was being saved for the playoffs.

I should also add, it was 100 percent blatant pass interference.

Scott Spratt: The Saints probably still win this one though since the Panthers failed to get the touchdown after their gift DPI. I assume they are going to kick a field goal after the two minute warning.

Scott Spratt: Or Slye will just miss the 28-yard field goal attempt. After already missing a couple of extra point attempts. Yikes, Panthers.

Bryan Knowles: And Slye misses the field goal ... but there's a flag! The crowd goes bananas ... but the refs pick it up.

So it's a tie game, with the Saints having a timeout and needing just a field goal to win. 1:56 left.

Bryan Knowles: The Saints march down the field and kick a chip-shot field goal to win. The Refs get a pass!

The Panthers really, really needed this game ... and they have no one to blame but themselves for losing. Forget about missing the field goal; how do you not run McCaffrey and make the Saints use their last timeout before they get the ball back? Mismanaged at the end of the game, and at 5-6, I don't see them getting back into anything in the NFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35 at Atlanta Falcons 22

Scott Spratt: Looks like the Falcons are back to their bad defensive form. On a long throw to Chris Godwin in the middle of the field, two defenders collide with each other and miss the tackle. It ended up as a 71-yard touchdown.

Andrew Potter: I see that Buccaneers and Falcons fans are getting the full Jameis experience today. Five passes, two interceptions and a 71-yard touchdown, and that's only in the first quarter.

Scott Spratt: Wow, that second Chris Godwin touchdown catch was amazing. The pass was thrown a bit in front of him in the end zone, but Godwin reached and secured it while getting tackled in the head. No idea how he even saw the ball.

Bryan Knowles: The platonic ideal of the Jameis Winston game is an even balance between insane interceptions and impossible touchdowns. We just had one of the latter, though the credit goes to Chris Godwin and not Jameis. Falling in the end zone, Godwin taps an off-target throw back towards himself, and the Buccaneers take a 13-10 lead. Winston's up to two touchdowns and two picks. Balanced, as all things should be.

Godwin's up to 125 yards and two touchdowns with eight minutes left in the second quarter, by the by. Atlanta's defense IS back!

Bryan Knowles: Big Man Touchdown! Vita Vea catches a little screen from Jameis Winston, and the Buccaneers take a 19-10 lead!

Scott Spratt: Vita Vea touchdown! He's so big!

Bryan Knowles: Here's the Vita Vea touchdown.

 

 

And a note, courtesy of Football Perspective: Jameis Winston is responsible for 7.8% of the league's interceptions this season. The record since the merger is Vinny Testaverde's 1988 season, where he threw 6.3% of the league's picks.

Vince Verhei: That's a stunning statistic, because there are 32 teams now, but there were only 28 in 1988, and only 26 in 1970. It's harder for one player to have such a high percentage of anything just because there are more teams now.

Andrew Potter: Wait, three touchdowns leading to 19 points? Did they re-sign Roberto Aguayo while I wasn't looking?

Bryan Knowles: Matt Gay has missed two extra points, yes. It has not been a good day/year/decade/lifetime for Tampa Bay kicking. Oh, and one more footnote on that Vita Vea touchdown -- at 346 pounds, per PFR, he now beats out Jonathan Ogden as the heaviest man to score a touchdown in NFL history. The 100th season truly is historic.

Scott Spratt: Sadly, it was Matt Gay, my bye week fill-in kicker in one league. He missed two extra points and a field goal in the half and has -7 fantasy points in that format haha. Also, I'll take the over on 346 pounds.

Andrew Potter: Man, the Falcons have been confusing the past three weeks. A Ronald Jones touchdown gives the Buccaneers their fourth touchdown of the day, and a team that just won in New Orleans and Carolina in back-to-back games is trailing 25-10 at home to the Buccaneers. Yes, 25-10, because Matt Gay kicked his third unsuccessful extra point of the day. At least this one was blocked.

Oakland Raiders 3 at New York Jets 34

Bryan Knowles: There have been some very borderline calls in this game already. The Jets had a touchdown taken off the board on review, when they added pass interference (wasn't a coach's challenge, so obviously there were no concerns in the league office about overriding the officials). And then, on the next drive, the Jets were kept alive by an … interesting roughing the passer call, allowing Sam Darnold to rush in for the score and a 10-3 lead. The Raiders' defense isn't good, but even considering that, Darnold has looked sharp. He's 9-for-10 for 120 yards with a rushing touchdown to boot. Not a terrible start for New York.

Bryan Knowles: The Raiders slipped into the sixth seed in the AFC after Thursday's game. They're slipping right back out, however, with the Jets now taking a 27-3 lead midway through the third quarter. It has been an absolute stomping from start to finish. The Jets have looked really good over the past three weeks; that was dismissed because they were playing the Giants and Redskins, but looking good against terrible teams is still something worth noting. And now they're looking sharp against a team with playoff hopes. Worth noting: the Raiders are 2-8 in their last 10 early-window games. And one of the wins was in London, where there may be slightly larger jetlag-related issues for both teams.

Denver Broncos 3 at Buffalo Bills 20

Vince Verhei: They had a graphic in this game saying it's only the fourth time in league history that two unrelated quarterbacks with the same last name have faced each other. (Lots of Davises and Johnsons on that list.) Josh and the Bills lead Brandon and the Broncos 6-0 at halftime, but as you can tell by the score, neither Allen has been terribly effective. Neither has thrown for 100 yards yet, while each has thrown an interception. Josh has put together some impressive scrambles, and between him and Devin Singletary (12 carries for 63 yards), the ground game is the biggest reason the Bills have their lead.

Scott Spratt: Touchdown-scorers now range from 174 pounds to 346 pounds this week because Cole Beasley just scored to put the Bills up 13-0 over the Broncos.

Vince Verhei: Allen Bowl update: the Bills drive 59 yards in eight plays and score a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. Josh Allen had a great play on third-and-10 in the red zone, going through his reads and taking a big hit to drop an easy pass to Cole Beasley on a seam route for an 18-yard score. Bills lead 13-0, which feels like more than that given Denver's struggles today (still under 100 yards of total offense).

Rivers McCown: Buffalo got Denver to use a timeout in the waning moments of the third quarter, on third-and-2 from midfield, as they hurried up and got a mismatch. Embarrassingly, Buffalo wasn't even going to snap the ball. File that one away if this game gets closer. Bills converted the third-and-2 after the timeout to keep the drive alive.

Bryan Knowles: Frank Gore has passed Barry Sanders for third all-time on the rushing yards list. How he's averaging nearly 50 yards a game at age 36 is beyond me. Only John Riggins, Marcus Allen, and now Frank Gore have had 500-plus-yard rushing seasons at that age or older.

Pittsburgh Steelers 16 at Cincinnati Bengals 10

Vince Verhei: Potential upset alert: The winless Bengals lead the Steelers 7-3 at halftime, with Ryan Finley's 15-yard touchdown to Tyler Boyd providing the advantage. Otherwise, this has been one of the ugliest games on a day full of ugly games. We've got a total of 13 first downs, eight punts, two fumbles (both recovered by Cincinnati's offense) and one interception (by Mason Rudolph, on third-and-goal from the 9).

Bryan Knowles: Down 7-3, Pittsburgh has made a quarterback change. Mason Rudolph has been benched in favor of Devlin Hodges.

The Bengals are mathematically eliminated from the postseason. The Steelers are still fighting for a playoff spot. You wouldn't believe that from watching this one.

Vince Verhei: Mason Rudolph's no-good, very-bad November continues. He's 8-of-16 for 85 yards and a pick, and Devlin Hodges has come in at quarterback for Pittsburgh to start the second half.

And it pays immediate dividends -- Hodges uncorks a deep ball to James Washington, running wide open on a deep crosser from right to left. It's going to be a big play anyway, but Washington then completely emasculated B.W. Webb, stiff-arming him into oblivion, and going into the end zone for a 10-7 lead. Hodges has thrown two passes and already gained more yards than Rudolph did today.

 

 

Scott Spratt: Did Mason Rudolph get benched? Because Devlin Hodges just threw a bomb to James Washington and Washington threw a stiff-arm that hilariously threw B.W. Webb to the ground after a recoil delay.

Tom Gower: Mason Rudolph did indeed get benched for Devlin Hodges, per multiple reports. Finally.

Scott Spratt: The Bengals just kicked a field goal that tied this game at 10-10. A Bengals win would be huge for the Dolphins since, one, the Dolphins own the Steelers' first-round pick and, two, the Dolphins play the Bengals in Week 16. The fish tank lives!

Vince Verhei: Tyler Boyd has basically been the Bengals' entire offense today -- he's got five catches for 101 yards and a score -- but he made a massive mistake in the fourth quarter. Down 13-10, his 22-yard catch is going to give the Bengals a first-and-goal, but Devin Bush forces a fumble, and Minkah Fitzpatrick (naturally) recovers the ball and gets a big return. A Carlos Dunlap sack leads to a Steelers punt, so the Bengals will get at least one more shot at this, but with less than six minutes to go, they're running out of chances.

Rob Weintraub: Key element to the Boyd strip was Devin Bush punch -- right to Boyd's groin.

Vince Verhei: Thanks to a bad Bengals punt and a big Benny Snell run, the Steelers reach the red zone. On fourth-and-5, though, they kick the field goal for the dreaded six-point lead, 16-10. Bengals will get the ball back, still with plenty of time left, more than three minutes.

Bryan Knowles: Bud Dupree gets the sack, the strip, and the fumble, and the Steelers should hang onto a victory over the mighty Cincinnati Bengals.

Detroit Lions 16 at Washington Redskins 19

Vince Verhei: Potential upset alert: I'm not watching this, but Detroit's special teams may well cost them this game -- they have given up a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (when Stephen Sims muffed the catch, picked it up, and dashed for the end zone) and Matt Prater has missed a field goal, and Washington leads 13-6 at halftime.

Rivers McCown: Looks like the Bengals just created a two-game lead on the rest of the NFL for No. 1 pick! Washington took a Jeff Driskel gift interception in Detroit territory to take a 19-16 win.

Vince Verhei: Jeff Driskel throws his third interception of the game to end this one. And then in a cool moment, Case Keenum takes the field for the kneeldown so Dwayne Haskins can celebrate with fans. There were tickets for this game available for $4, but the folks who showed up had a good time at least.

Bryan Knowles: Case Keenum had to take the final kneeldown for Washington, as Dwayne Haskins had run to go celebrate with fans. That is hilarious.

New York Giants 14 at Chicago Bears 19

Bryan Knowles: We haven't touched on this game much, because both these teams are mostly playing out the stretch. Trubisky has been mostly Trubiskying it up, but he did just find Allen Robinson down the middle for a 32-yard touchdown throw to retake the lead. The Bears had just 144 yards in the first half; they've already hit nearly double that on their first drive of the third quarter. 10-7 Bears in a game which definitely requires extra servings of pie to get through.

Jacksonville Jaguars 20 at Tennessee Titans 42

Scott Spratt: Apparently the Titans have scored a touchdown on 10 straight red zone trips. Pretty amazing, but CBS should have worked in a Nashville hot chicken pun instead of labeling that stat a boring hot streak.

Scott Spratt: And so much for that streak. The Titans had a Derrick Henry screen touchdown called back on a penalty, and then Ryan Tannehill lost the ball on a strip sack. Still 0-0 with the Jaguars.

Bryan Knowles: So, as Tannehill rumbles in for the touchdown on a called bootleg, going up and smashing through Jaguars into the end zone ... is he the answer for Tennessee going forward? He has played really good this year, but he is still Ryan Tannehill. Do the last few weeks of this year make up for seven years in Miami?

Rivers McCown: I mean a lot of that comes down to what you feel an answer is. Do I think Tannehill can be a fringe top-15 quarterback with a good system around him? Sure. Do you want to pay him $Nick Foles to do that? Not sure about that.

Scott Spratt: They wouldn't need to do that though, Rivers. Since he's with the team, can't they just franchise him to keep his price tag down?

Vince Verhei: There are only two games in the late window today. One of them features the league's two most high-profile teams, the Patriots and Cowboys; the other features its two most anonymous teams, the Jaguars and Titans. Since the league apparently wants everyone watching New England-Dallas, Scott and I are among the dozens and dozens of fans across the country with an eye on Tennessee.

There have been two big plays in this game, one for each team. The first was the fumble Scott mentioned -- Taylor Lewan had to briefly leave the game, and Yannick Ngakoue took advantage of his absence with the sack, the fumble, and the recovery.

Tannehill redeemed himself, though, scrambling 21 yards for a touchdown. Considering Tannehill started his college career as a wide receiver, I have always been baffled that he has not run more in the NFL. His career-best is 56 rushing yards against Pittsburgh in 2013; he's already over 40 yards today, midway through the second quarter. He's also having a big day passing: 8-of-10 for 122 yards.

Bryan Knowles: For the record, the franchise tag for quarterbacks is expected to be $26.7 million next season. Foles only counts $22.1 million against the cap.

Scott Spratt: Sure, but the benefit of the tag is the lack of long-term impact.

Vince Verhei: I almost threw up at the concept of franchising Ryan Tannehill ... but the more I think about it, it makes some sense. They're not going to be bad enough to draft a quarterback in the top ten to replace him, so they're going to have to gamble on a veteran one way or another. Better to risk a one-year contract than a multi-year deal. You risk becoming post-Kirk Cousins Washington, which is bad, but it would be the safe move. And the safe move definitely seems like a Tennessee thing to do.

Vince Verhei: Titans lead just 7-3 at halftime. Titans have moved the ball consistently -- they've got 181 yards of total offense, 6.7 yards per play -- but have had bad results in scoring range, both Tannehill's fumble, and a fraidy-cat punt on fourth-and-8 from the 41. (Jaguars also had a punt from the 41, but it was on fourth-and-23 after a penalty and a sack.) For thirty minutes, they have been clearly the better team, but they still have plenty of time to screw this up.

Bryan Knowles: Another big-man touchdown! At 321, Dennis Kelly is positively tiny compared to Vita Vea, but I appreciate the effort. Titans extend their lead to 14-3.

Vince Verhei: Titans get creative on their opening drive of the second half. Derrick Henry throws a pass in the red zone, and the Jaguars commit DPI to set up a first-and-goal from the 1. Next play, we get a big-man touchdown and a redemption story. Dennis Kelly, who gave up the sack-fumble filling in for Lewan earlier, lines up as an eligible receiver and is wide open in the end zone for the score. Titans up 14-3.

Bryan Knowles: I'm pretty sure Derrick Henry just ran this one into the books, running 74 yards to give the Titans a 21-3 lead. And then the Titans recover a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, so, uh, yeah. At least the Cowboys-Patriots game is still close.

Vince Verhei: Once again, Derrick Henry destroys the Jaguars, this time on a 74-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. He did not have the stiff-arm that James Washington did for Pittsburgh earlier, but he did stiff-arm Jarrod Wilson twice while tightrope-walking the boundary.

 

 

And then Jacksonville fumbles the ball back to Tennessee on the ensuing kickoff, and Henry scores another touchdown on first-and-goal, and Tennessee suddenly leads 28-3.

Derrik Klassen: How does Derrick Henry always turn into Walter Payton against the Jaguars? I think Henry is a generally good back, but against the Jaguars, he always rips off one insane run with a handful of broken tackles. It's made even funnier by the fact that he's from the Jacksonville area. It's the most Jaguarsian curse possible.

Vince Verhei: Make it four touchdowns in barely eight minutes (and three in their last five offensive plays) for Tennessee. A.J. Brown catches a slant route off play-action right at midfield and zips into the end zone untouched for a 65-yard score. That makes it 35-3 and I'm officially focusing on Pokes-Pats now.

Vince Verhei: The Jaguars blog at SBNation has declared the season over during the third quarter of a November game. And, I mean, I don't blame them.

Tom Gower: With only two games in the window and a number of larger cities getting the game as a single-header affair thanks to the local team playing early, this game ended up with more attention than it deserved.

As has been commented upon, it was a nominally even affair for the first 30 minutes, with Tennessee holding a 7-3 lead at the half thanks to a red zone turnover. It was kind of a good and kind of a sloppy first 30 minutes by Tennessee. They got a number of chunk plays to move to or into scoring position, basically all of them thanks to an undisciplined Jaguars defense that seemed unprepared for a steady diet of misdirection-type plays from the Titans. Ryan Tannehill naked boot for 20 yards to start the game. Plow Derrick Henry into the line a couple times, nobody other than Myles Jack (easily blocked by the men charged with it) recognized the screen to Dion Lewis on third down. The second drive was the one with the screen to Derrick Henry that got called back. They got into scoring territory with a pass to non-receiving tight end MyCole Pruitt. Ryan Tannehill found the end zone on a scramble the next drive, which featured some "you'll make the tackle, right?" work on defense. This wasn't the 2008 Thanksgiving Day annihilation of the hapless Lions, where "we'll run misdirection the first five plays and quit trying after we're up 14-0" was the order of the day, but the second half brought the really big plays as it went from 7-3 to 35-3 in one heck of a hurry. After that, it was all over but the shouting and the only remaining drama was whether Tannehill would go the distance or Marcus Mariota would get some snaps in garbage time and/or the closing kneel. He did not.

Nobody's going to care and I'm not in the mood to write it up right now, but it seems like it might be time for a franchise reset in Duval even if teal-colored glasses could theoretically point to the "we won 17-7 after going down four scores" as progress of a sort.

Dallas Cowboys 9 at New England Patriots 13

Scott Spratt: Great play there by Matthew Slater to block a punt when he wasn't directly in line to block the kick. He had to reach back across his body but basically took the ball right off of Chris Jones' foot.

N'Keal Harry caught his first career touchdown two plays later. 7-0 Patriots in the rain in New England.

Aaron Schatz: Cowboys have gone three-and-out on two of their first three drives. The third one was a nice march down the field until Brett Maher doinked a 46-yard field goal try. Stephon Gilmore has totally erased Amari Cooper so far, I don't think Dak Prescott has even looked at him. Patriots offense is getting much more rushing yardage than usual for this year, with some big holes, but they've had poor pass protection and so nothing has really worked ... until the Patriots just blocked a Cowboys punt which gave them great field position. Don't need a lot of offense when you start with the ball on the Dallas 12. One run, then a 10-yard touchdown pass to N'Keal Harry, his first of his career, and it's 7-0 Patriots.

Bryan Knowles: Well, Dak did finally look towards Amari Cooper, and Gilmore makes an incredible diving pick to take the ball away.

Aaron Schatz: Offense went three-and-out, though, Tom Brady put it past Julian Edelman's fingertips on third-and-7. Nick Folk 44-yard field goal to make it 10-0 Patriots.

Scott Spratt: A false start penalty on the Patriots moves their 41-yard field goal attempt to 46 yards. That may have been the difference as Nick Folk missed it close but wide to the right. Pats still up but just 10-3.

Aaron Schatz: Tom Brady just had three straight incomplete passes and they did not look good. He has thrown into traffic today, he has overthrown guys, he has been under a lot of pressure. He had a 32-yarder to Jakobi Meyers but that was almost all YAC. Nick Folk had a 41-yard field goal, false start Patriots, so he honked the 46-yard field goal that followed. 10-3 Pats.

Aaron Schatz: I don't quite understand the Patriots' clock management on their final drive of the first half. They took their sweet time early on, which means they ended up running out of time on the 30. So instead of trying for a touchdown, they had a 48-yard field goal try by Folk into the wind. It died in the wind and missed to the right. We go to halftime at 10-6 Patriots.

Derrik Klassen: This is not actually related to any game in particular, but I think Rob Gronkowski on the FOX halftime show is maybe the greatest entertainment idea in the history of football broadcasting.

Vince Verhei: My thoughts on Gronk:

 

 

Aaron Schatz: The Cowboys coverage is pretty good here today. I mean, they're covering two rookie wideouts, but still. Brady has had a lot of plays with nobody open. He just took a sack on third-and-long to end the Patriots' first drive after halftime.

Aaron Schatz: Dallas three-and-out their last two drives and this drive looked like it was going to be a 10-yard Elliott run followed by three plays and a punt, so effectively four-and-out. But Prescott made a great play, getting outside the pocket on a third-and-8 to extend the play and then finding Michael Gallup with J.C. Jackson just a little bit off him. It looked like the Cowboys would move the chains on the next third down, which was a third-and-3, Prescott finally found Amari Cooper for his first catch of the day, but it got nullified by a holding call on Tyron Smith. Third-and-13 was caught by Tavon Austin out of bounds, so time for another Cowboys punt. Smith is a great left tackle but that was his third penalty of the day.

This game makes me wish I had more intricate weather adjustments for major rainstorms in the DVOA system.

Bryan Knowles: Down 13-6, facing fourth-and-7 from the 11, with six minutes left in the game, Jason Garrett ... kicks a field goal.

I mean, I suppose technically there's TIME left, and it means a touchdown takes the lead rather than just tying it but ... no. Just ... no.

Aaron Schatz: Dak Prescott finally gets a deep pass to hit, getting Randall Cobb in stride and Cobb added on a bunch of YAC (I believe that's a technical term) for a 59-yard gain. A pass to Ezekiel Elliott brought them closer to the end zone, but things stalled out with fourth-and-7 on the Patriots 11. It's 13-6, so there's no way that Jason Garrett kicks a field goal to turn a touchdown game into a touchdown game, right?

He did. It's now 13-9 and the Cowboys need a touchdown still, except it would win the game instead of tying things up.

Rivers McCown: Jason Garrett just understands that the NFL rules give you five extra minutes in the fourth quarter if the game is within seven.

Oh, they don't? Well, nevertheless.

Dave Bernreuther: It would serve them right to never see the ball again. Fourth-and-7 is not a high-percentage play but come on. You just went from needing a touchdown to ... needing a touchdown.

Prescott bought time nicely on a few of the previous plays, but on the third-down play, I thought he overthrew Jarwin in the back of the end zone when there was a flatter-trajectory pass he could have thrown that would have tied the game.

Aaron Schatz: Well, the field goal may work out, because the Patriots are punting on fourth-and-10 from the Dallas 41 and the Cowboys will get a shot at going 92 yards for what would now be a game-winning touchdown.

Andrew Potter: Awesome. Whatever they do, I won't get to see it because this game is blacked out on Game Pass in the UK thanks to the league's broadcast deal with Sky, and RedZone won't show any more of it after the Jags game went final. Guess there's nothing else to do but go to bed.

Bryan Knowles: So, by passing up fourth-and-7 from the 11, Dallas has to instead convert fourth-and-11 from their own 25.

And, on the field, it's ruled that they convert! So it looks like it's a point for the Cowboys and no point for the narrative ... but we're going to review, and looks like an incomplete pass to me.

Aaron Schatz: We tend to complain a lot about the officiating around here. I certainly didn't see things closely from up in the press box but let the record state that Twitter is very angry about the two tripping calls on the Dallas Cowboys, especially the one on Travis Frederick that just made that attempt at a game-winning drive a lot harder for Dallas.

Rivers McCown: The great thing about that one is the clip where Mike Pereira defended it to a clearly upset Troy Aikman who was essentially like "Agh!! He's blocking!"

Aaron Schatz: Here's a clip of the play. It definitely looks like a bad call based on this clip.

 

 

Green Bay Packers 8 at San Francisco 49ers 37

Bryan Knowles: Things get off to a fast start. Davante Adams makes a huge gain, but gets flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, pinning the Packers back inside the 25. On third-and-25, Fred Warner gets into the backfield for the sack, Rodgers coughs up the ball, and the 49ers recover at the two. Easy enough to punch the ball in from there, and the 49ers lead 7-0.

Carl Yedor: So far, the vaunted 49ers defense has been putting its stamp on this game. The Packers' first five drives have consisted of the fumble, three three-and-outs, and a fourth-down stop on the first Green Bay drive that covered more than 6 yards. Impressive stuff thus far from San Francisco's defense. The offense hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders just yet, but they've taken advantage of good field position for their two scores. 10-0 a little less than halfway through the second quarter as Green Bay looks to get something going on offense.

Bryan Knowles: The one thing that IS really going right for the packers is Za'Darius Smith against Justin Skule at left tackle -- Joe Staley is still out with a hand injury. Smith has a sack and has forced a holding call and a couple other pressures, as the 49ers' offense hasn't quite gotten things going yet. Smith's disrupting a lot.

Rivers McCown: Green Bay really should've been the team to pick up Emmanuel Sanders, is what this game has taught me.

Aaron Schatz: Right now, Green Bay has 2.2 yards per play and the 49ers are at 3.0 yards per play and these guys don't even have a rainstorm to blame.

Bryan Knowles: The 49ers swapped out left tackles, going from Justin Skule to Daniel Brunskill. Since then, the 49ers' offense has come to life, with a 59-yard field goal drive (which ended up a field goal on fourth-and-2 in the red zone, c'mon Kyle Shanahan) and a 61-yard touchdown drive, with Deebo Samuel racing into the end zone for a 20-0 lead.

Cris Collinsworth suggests that the 49ers' worry about their receivers has ended with Samuel stepping up. I can categorically state that that is NOT true, but Deebo's up to 50 yards tonight, after two straight 100-yard games.

Rivers McCown: I'm guessing given the respective DVOAs coming into this game that the 49ers are going to have a ridiculous defensive DVOA score for this one.

When the Green Bay offense isn't working they look like the 2018 Titans, right down to the part where they don't play their best running back.

Bryan Knowles: At halftime, the two teams have combined to go 0-for-14 on third and fourth downs, so it's kind of amazing that 23 points have been scored. Then again, the 49ers have scored on big plays on offense and defense, circumventing third down entirely. At some point, someone's going to have to convert, one would assume.

The Packers are averaging 1.8 yards per play -- 0.5 yards per pass play. Yes, the 49ers' defense remains very, very good, but Aaron Rodgers is just not being crisp when he does have time. They've also been eaten up by penalties -- ticky-tack, for the most part, but penalties notwithstanding. The entire offense just looks out of sorts. The Smiths are having a nice day, but even that ended over the last couple of drives when the 49ers swapped tackles on them. There's plenty of time left, but this is the second time this season Green Bay has come out to California and just laid an egg.

Aaron Schatz: Alex Light, the right tackle replacing the injured Bryan Bulaga, is getting killed out there.

Bryan Knowles: The Packers end the game with 81 net yards passing. That's the fifth time this season the 49ers have held their opponents to 100 net passing yards or fewer; no one's had more than that since the 1970s. The only other team to do five in a row in the 2000s were the 2000 Titans and their -23.0% pass defense DVOA.

Rivers McCown: Ah, peak Jevon Kearse days.

Tom Gower: 2000 Titans also did it to the Ravens in the playoffs for a sixth such game, but lost anyway.

Comments

113 comments, Last at 26 Nov 2019, 1:26pm

1 49ers

Did pick Pack to beat 49ers in close one but did feel and still do feel 49ers are better tema. Found 49ers to be in little rough patch abd thoufht gB would have better showing. So was quite surprised 49ers smoked them.

2 Other

Did thibk Falcs would be back to their crap nonsense. Sure enough they were. Horrible team.

Grey Cup surprisingly not close. Occasionaly put it on. Score wa s never close after 1st qusrter. Probably not worth wwtching so may delete from dvr.

Raiders got drilled by Jets. Will still win AFC West. Did notice Jets better witj A. Maulet and B. Austin at cornerbakc. Pass dsfense incompetent esrlier in season wirh other CB tandems.

Tripping call at end of cowboys sv Pates game was bad. Tripping is when you stick out leg to side to make anotjer person fall. Usually see kids do thias as trick on classmates. Somrtimes see this in football and soccer football but is pretty much always obvious act to see. Moving leg up or down is nota tripping motion. That si walking and runmimg motion. Officuals need to learn abo7t kinesiology.

What else. Let's see. Ohx, Loins lsot to Squirrels. Lpins have big history of losinf in Squirrels Nest. Dont have thing inbfront of me but think they did finally win there few years ago after multiple decwdes of never winnin g there. Did not see mucug of this game but dud see very end when j. Driskel offered ntohing but crap on last ditch effort

Jaguars have tough time stopping d. Henry

Saints tiogher time with Caroluna than expected

Bioos no prob wirh denver. Going to be interestikg seeing josh allen Buff qb vs Dally while home drinking. Will see bears vs Loins gsme while eating Thanskgivjng food. Hoep to have collard greens, potato salad and macaroni and cheese. Will see famuly makes all that. Bears shiuld beat Liins. Ciwboys will probably beat abills. Ssints shpuld beat Falcs by like 44-17 score. Will repay them for blowout in New orleans by blowing them out in Atlanta. Will stick them like your mom putting stuffing in your turkey's butt area

Monfay night game shoukd be fun at least to start
Gb vs SF matchup on paper seemed good. Then the game happened. Could one team manhandle the other? Sure could happeb. But think game wull be good game. Tihnkinf J. Ramsey has to be good in game. Will have to shut down his man. That way rest of defense can be disciplined to keep L. Jackson from brraking game ipen with runs. If balti is good in gsme it means probably could run . Woupd play a lot of quarters defense vs Baltimore, m'self.

17 truth

In reply to by Raiderjoe

Officuals need to learn abo7t kinesiology.

 

I've  been saying this for years.

97 Yes Loins have history of…

In reply to by Raiderjoe

Yes Loins have history of losing to Squirrels in DC but no excuse even with Stafford out. Pathetic and I didn't even see the game -- I watched the Seahawks and Eagles play like actual NFL teams.

3 The Greatest Show on Meadowlands

Jets have scored 34 in the last 3 games.
Now they have @Bengals and Redskins to continue the streak.

On a more serious note, I'll highlight that even the FOX booth (Buck/Aikman) was lobbying for a 4th down attempt/GoForTD strategy, even earlier in the Dallas drive.

Even if you fail, considering the weather condition, the status of the Patriots offense, the performance of your D in the game, the performance of the ST in the game; you have a reasonable proposition that you are getting the ball back in a great spot for a chance of a winning TD.

The worse thing is that the redzone playcalls were already made with the mindset of not going for in the 4th.

Regarding the Pats, some special teams shenanigans not noted in the Audibles.

A) On a punt kick for the Cowboys around midfield, they did not put any PR/fielder (made sense, considering the slipping balls and the fact they were out PR #1 and 2# and Edelman is hobbled), instead they go full rush.
Cowboys panicked and delayed the game.

On the 2nd attempt, they choose the same scheme and a Cowboy illegal shifted.

Ten free yards.

Then, on the 3rd attempt (back in the 30ish), they finally put a PR.

B) Pats elected to high kick the kickoffs, in order to create a dangerous situation for the returner or whoever was in the area. It worked excellently, with three muffed balls (all recovered by the Cowboys, but that was just luck) and optimal field position (except that in one case, but you take these odds). It was baffling seeing that Dallas was NEVER prepared for that, even later in the game!

5 Fumbled Kickoffs

"B) Pats elected to high kick the kickoffs, in order to create a dangerous situation for the returner or whoever was in the area. It worked excellently, with three muffed balls (all recovered by the Cowboys, but that was just luck) and optimal field position (except that in one case, but you take these odds). It was baffling seeing that Dallas was NEVER prepared for that, even later in the game!"

This is interesting - and I'm disappointed to say I didn't really realize what was happening until I saw the punt-block play later in the game and realized how poor the conditions were for fielding kicks and it all snapped into place. The weird comments about "into the wind" even though length on kicks/punts never seemed to be a critical issue outside of kickoffs (with directional control being a big problem). The consistent choices by the Pats not to fair catch playable punts. Unfortunately for BB the Pats didn't really net much positive out of this very much because they did really badly out of the punts they chose to let land rather than field (and the Cowboys ended up recovering every ball they mishandled in this game) but it was still a good piece of special teams coaching completely missed by the announcers.

8 yeah, Jets probably get to 6…

yeah, Jets probably get to 6-7 with Bengals and Phins on deck (then Baltimore, so an 8-0 finish to steal the last wc is probably off the table).  It's a shame, Darnold's mono and the first Dolphins game might actually cost them a playoff spot, but Darnold has looked great for a month, probably the second best of the 2018 rookie class

19 special teams play

Great day for Pats' special teams.  Garrett was incredibly confused by the Pats not having a deep guy on that one punt.  BTW, it was clear after that sequence (and at other points) that Aikman doesn't really have a great amount of respect for Garrett.  I'm' sure it's frustrating for Troy.  The Cowboys have enough talent to be a Super Bowl contender.  

For fun, Pats fans are discussing the likely result if the coaching staffs switched sidelines.  The consensus is that the Cowboys would win in a rout.  

As for the Jets, sadly they do not get to face the Redskins again, but their 34-point streak gets the Dolphins instead.  They'll get oh-so-close to .500 before they need to travel to Baltimore and get reminded what real NFL teams look like.

 

 

74 Belichick vs Garrett- if coaching staff switched sidelines

Two playoff wins, what is known in New England as a failed season, is the career total for Jason Garrett, who started coaching the Cowboys in mid 2010.  Why didn't the Dallas sideline doctors put Garrett in concussion protocol when Garrett was sending out the field goal unit late in the 4th quarter down by seven points?  The replacement coach would have had enough time to call a timeout and put the offense on the field.

4 Narratives & Audiance Seeding

NE-DAL was in my view one of the great examples of how audiences get manipulated by game-script and announcers into picking up specific narratives while leaving others irrationally unexplored. In my viewing there were to big calls in that game that went in favour of NE, the first and most significant occurred on the first touchdown - Pats Receiver Harry pretty clearly pushes off the DB to create space in the corner of the endzone and gets away with it, in the context of the game the Refs let a lot of downfield contact go both ways, but that's OPI most of the time in the NFL. The announcers don't talk about it because there very focused on whether the receiver actually comes down in bounds (he did) and so a pretty questionable call on one of the biggest plays of the game (with the way the game was going it is by no means likely the Pats get in on a later play should the penalty be called). Obviously later in the game there is the tripping call being talked about endlessly today because it was late in the game and the announcers harped on it. I suppose I shouldn't hold my breath for this kind of thing to end but it really does inhibit intelligent discussion of the game.

9 Here's the link to the NLFN…

Here's the link to the NLFN recap, the Harry TD starts at 1:40 and he is visible at the top of the screen the entire time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDj76YId6WI

I'm trying to see what you are seeing, but if that is OPI then it should be called at least 20 times a game.  IMO, that is actually less of a shove than you usually see on those types of throws.  

The tripping call was pretty bad.  The first one was defensible at first glance, but the second one was clearly without intent even at game speed.  

At the same time, Edelman was interfered with on an early 3rd down stop that could have led to points and NE was terribly unlucky with all of the loose balls somehow hopping straight into Cowboy arms - as well as a time keeper who stopped the clock a bit too early to give Dallas a free attempt at the end - so that stuff no worse than evened out for Dallas, IMO.

11 Harry Touchdown

The below link has the slow-mo:

\https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRNZeLzYrYs

At 0:22 on the clip you see Harry with his left arm extended fending off the DB to maintain their mutual distance from the sideline so that when he makes the catch he'll be able to come down inbounds. The extended arm with the ball in the air is what you typically see in OPI calls (though I take your point that receivers quite often get away with this).

The broader point I was trying to make wasn't that the Pats got a great break and it gave them the game (as you noted the Pats also got a series of terrible breaks, especially the magic-hands moment from Randal Cobb to recover his own fumble in an area of the field where the offense rarely recovers (50 yards downfield without a blocker in sight, and the unending mishandled kicks that the Cowboys magically got away with). The point was that there is an irritating tendency to dismiss the other 59 minutes and the other x number of close calls in a game where a big call like that is made at the end of a game, and it's exasperated when the announcers actively participate.

22 slo-mo

In reply to by sbond101

It's not a great idea to use slo-mo to try to judge a penalty like pushing off.  You gotta watch that kind of thing at full-speed to better judge how much actual force is involved.

I agree with this: 

The point was that there is an irritating tendency to dismiss the other 59 minutes and the other x number of close calls in a game where a big call like that is made at the end of a game, and it's exasperated when the announcers actively participate.

People claiming that the tripping call "ruined the game" should look at it in the larger context of a game that had several dubious officiating moments.  And even if the Cowboys had gotten that first down, they'd have been a long way from scoring a TD (which they never managed to do all day yesterday) with very little time to pull it off.  

I appreciated Pereira standing up for the officials on the field (but not surprised).  That made a good counter to Aikman's bitching.  

Ultimately, if you want to go to Foxboro and win as a road team, you need to score TDs.  I thought Aikman's best moment was when he excoriated Garrett for taking the FG late in the game to close the deficit to 4 points.  Shows the difference between a QB used to winning big games against top-level opponents and a coach who never quite seems to pull that off.  

109 Excessively obvious, to the…

Excessively obvious, to the point of creating penalties out of non-penalties, in my opinion.

I personally believe penalties are better evaluated on regular speed replay.  The obvious mistakes are apparent on regular speed; anything you have to slow down to evaluate should stick with the call on the field.

Catch/no catch and reached/didn't reach line of gain are different.

6 weather adjustments

"This game makes me wish I had more intricate weather adjustments for major rainstorms in the DVOA system."

One of the things that doesn't get talked about enough, I think, in the Brady/Brees/Manning discussions is that Brees and Manning never had bad weather home games. (Yeah, Manning's year in Denver, Brees year when the Superdome was closed, but still...) Brady's played in more bad-weather games - snow, rain, wind - than the other two combined, and days like yesterday absolutely impact a team's ability to throw the ball.

10 imo, it isn't rain or snow,…

imo, it isn't rain or snow, but wind that strongly affects passing games (and Gillette isn't usually one of the worst stadiums for that, though it has been the last two weeks- funny there's been some "what's wrong with Brady" talk after the game- have to wonder if those people watched the game)

23 "what was wrong with Brady?"

Why can he not throw with laser precision to rookie WRs on a cold day with a driving rainstorm and heavy wind?

Even Edelman was dropping passes yesterday that he should have caught.  

Given the weather, I thought Brady was fine.  And the line play was much better with Wynn back.  

67 It was more than 'a year'

Just to point out, Manning played in Denver four seasons, three of which were remarkably productive, if not more productive than his most recent healthy Indianapolis seasons in 2008-2010.

12 Some may see the FOX pregame…

Some may see the FOX pregame as a Dobie Gillis remake, but I say that lacks vision. Let's put a red polo and floppy white hat on Gronk. Curt Menefee gets a blue polo, a cheap captain's hat, and refers to Gronk as "little buddy". Tony Gonzalez or Howie adopt a academic persona. Terry has been waiting decades to grow into the role of a southern fried Thurston Howell III. Jimmy's gotta go, sadly, unless we wanna get thoroughly modern, and cast him as Lovie, and I'm not talking about the Illini's coach.

Otherwise, ya' cast Meryl Streep to nail the accent and add gravitas, cast Christina Hendriks as the statuesque redhead, and for Mary Ann..........hey, help me out here!

13 SF's defense was ferocious…

SF's defense was ferocious last night. If NE's is like an anaconda, the 49ers are like being stuffed in a gold and red blender. I'm also envious of all the easy throws Jimmy G gets to make. It seems there's always a wide open guy 10 yards in front of him!

For a team that only scored 13 points, I was actually encouraged by what I saw from NE last night. The pass pro was more consistent and Brady's sacks were from trying to let a play mature. For the last month or so, he was throwing it away at the first sign of trouble. The rookie WRs flashed potential and the running game picked up. For the first time in a while, you could see the seeds of a productive offense starting to germinate.

14 If we gotta have the Pats in…

If we gotta have the Pats in another Super Bowl (and I really am pulling for the Ravens on that side), a matchup with the Niners would be damned interesting, albeit in a way possibly hazardous to an elderly qb's health.

15 Aaron Rodgers

Since 2015 Aaron Rodgers net yards per pass attempt vs league avg is 5% below league average. In his 7 years prior to 2015 he averaged about 21% above league avg.

Other categories from first 7 years vs last 5

Comp % fell from 17% above, to league avg

TD% from 26% above to 12% above (last two years are league avg)

Int % has improved from 17% above to 20% above (30% above last 2 years)

Sack % stayed the same at about 5% below league avg

When I watch I see a guy who is more hesitant and much more likely to throw the ball away. He also seem to miss some easier throws he seemed to always make.

He still has an elite arm and makes many great throws but is he really an elite QB anymore?

70 Sort of. Adams was in his…

In reply to by NYMike

Sort of. Adams was in his 2nd year and there was Randall Cobb, who was coming off a fantastic 2014 season that he would never come close to replicating. Also, two white guys named Jared and Jeff who were the last ones standing come playoff time.

Yes, that divisional game, where Rodgers flung TWO Hail Marys in a row to something called Jeff Janis, had 0 snaps played by Cobb and Adams. 

Having said all that, I don't think the receiving talent was that much better in 2015.

78 Janis had 101 yards…

Janis had 101 yards receiving on that drive. That's more yards than he ever had in any entire regular season, and more than half of his career regular season yardage total (200). All on one possession.

77 I don’t think he’s elite…

In reply to by jmaron

I don’t think he’s elite anymore. His accuracy and mobility isn’t what it once was, but a huge problem is that he’s risk-averse to a fault. He doesn’t throw 50-50 balls, which has both cut down on his throws downfield and neutered him in live-or-die situations. Last night was a prime example; he’d rather take a sack on 4th and 8 than throw the ball up and pray. It’s easier to defend a guy that you know won’t test good coverage. 
 

He’s still a very good player overall and his receiving talent is mostly garbage (and has been for a while now), but non-games like last night are more frequent than they used to be and some of that is on him. 

18 The highlight of DAL@NE for…

The highlight of DAL@NE for me (aside from Slater’s nifty punt block) was seeing the DAL kickoff return unit getting outcoached by Troy Aikman (!).

He was telling the returners to play up and on cue NE high-kicks another one which landed without being touched in the midst of a bunch of DAL players and rolled all the way back to the 10.

27 Aikman

Aikman really isn't impressed by Garrett's coaching ability.  

The issue with the kick-off you mention is that the deep guy was way too deep, given the wind conditions.  Aikman had noticed that none of the Pats' kickoffs in that direction had gotten anywhere near the 10, where the guy was standing.  And sure enough, this one landed ~five yards in front of the guy, who had to scramble forward to collect it, and then bounced over his head.  That was a near disaster for the Cowboys, as that was a live ball and if the Pats had gotten there first, they could have taken possession.  Deep guy had to scramble backwards and fall on the ball.  Given the wind conditions, that was a huge, unnecessary loss of yardage for the Cowboys.  

31 Just as a point of…

In reply to by RickD

Just as a point of clarification, the kick could have been caught easily enough, bit the deep man and the guy in front both thought the other would get it.  It actually bounced between them, not over the head of the incoming deep man.

35 Between his treatment of…

In reply to by RickD

Between his treatment of Garrett, and openly laughing at Flacco with contempt earlier this season, I have to say Aikman has really improved, simply by deciding that he doesn't care about diplomatic niceties.

20 Garrett did well

Bryan Knowles: Down 13-6, facing fourth-and-7 from the 11, with six minutes left in the game, Jason Garrett ... kicks a field goal.

I mean, I suppose technically there's TIME left, and it means a touchdown takes the lead rather than just tying it but ... no. Just ... no.

Aaron Schatz: Dak Prescott finally gets a deep pass to hit, getting Randall Cobb in stride and Cobb added on a bunch of YAC (I believe that's a technical term) for a 59-yard gain. A pass to Ezekiel Elliott brought them closer to the end zone, but things stalled out with fourth-and-7 on the Patriots 11. It's 13-6, so there's no way that Jason Garrett kicks a field goal to turn a touchdown game into a touchdown game, right?

He did. It's now 13-9 and the Cowboys need a touchdown still, except it would win the game instead of tying things up.

I thought it was the right call. 4th and 7 from that spot on the field is really hard to convert. On the other hand, making the field goal doesn't simply turn a touchdown game into a touchdown game. It also allows the Cowboys a one-score differential should the Patriots score a FG on their drive.

Considering the elements, and the fact that the Patriots weren't moving the ball, I think Garrett 100% made the right call, regardless what these numbers or those numbers say.

26 I looked at the Football…

I looked at the Football reference win probability calculator and the Pats chance to win before and after the FG were roughly the same, about 86%. I don't think it was glaringly obvious which choice was better. 

 

30 don't get too enamored with mathematical modeling

I don't think the models really can encapsulate qualities like "the difficulty of scoring a touchdown against this particular defense on this particular day with this weather."  Both offenses had tremendous difficulty moving the ball.  By taking the FG, Garrett basically set up the situation where his offense had to put together a 92-yard TD drive with <3 minutes left in the game.  I just don't think that was the easier option compared to converting the 4th down.  

33 Given that NE was kicking…

Given that NE was kicking into the wind, why should Garrett assume he'd have to go 92 yards?  A stop and punt would be at least as likely to give them the ball at midfield as inside the 10.  It ended up being the latter, of course, but it isn't like that was the only - or even most probable - outcome.

69 ok

What was the average ball placement and what was the average drive length for the Cowboys?  I'm pretty sure that the latter number was much, much less than the distance implied by the former.

Let's not nitpick irrelevancies.  The Cowboys didn't have any TD drives from their 25, either.  Or even from their 40 for that matter.  

My point wasn't that Garrett knew for a fact that the ball would be at the 8.  But that his decision-making set him up to have to deal with such a possibility.  

This is especially true considering the body of the playcalling there.  As many have pointed out, Garrett needed to understand that the entire drive needed to be a TD drive, and that meant using all four downs to move the ball all drive long.  It's much, much harder to stop an offense that has geared its play-calling with that understanding.  

 

51 So many coaches are…

So many coaches are disorganized in their thinking, and then don't address the game situation until it is too late, or nearly so. I always think of the last two minutes of Belichik vs. Carroll in the Super Bowl.

In game coaching may be among the least important duties of a head coach, but it still often makes a substantial difference.

57 Belichick is Mr Situationals…

Belichick is Mr Situationals !

Listening to Scott Zolak commentate on the last couple of mins, there were two things he stated they'd practice for.

1) On Dallas' 8yd line, the Pats had 4th down with 5-seconds to go.  Brady drop back 3-steps then throw the ball as high as possible so it would land out of bounds but eat that remaining time.   Zolak reckons they practice that every Friday - he knew the play even before they lined up.  But the clock operator stopped the clock at 1-sec even though the ball was still in flight.  Apparently Brady was still complaining to the referee after the game because he knows from practice that it should have run the clock out.

2) With that 1-second remaining Belichick had coached the situationals to avoid a repeat of last year's "Miracle in Miami". How many other coaches would find time to practice that?   He also called timeout after the Cowboys took the field to ensure everybody knew what's expected. Again, I wonder whether Garrett would have done that in the reverse situation.

71 re 1:

Looking at the replay, it was obvious the time-keeper stopped the clock early.  And, of course, Aikman covered for the time-keeper by noting that the ball was caught (presumably .03 seconds before hitting the ground).   

I have to admit that the Miami game was foremost in my mind on the last play.  Thankfully, Gronk wasn't out there.  ;) 

46 This, exactly. More than the…

This, exactly.

More than the fact that Garrett didn't go for it on 4th and 7 (although he definitively should have, given how unlikely he was to be in scoring position again in this weather and against this defense, regardless of what the general case win probability says), the play calling clearly indicated that he did not think his team was in 4th down territory. That's the real shame and it highlights the coaching shortcomings of this guy.

After a 3 yards run on 1st, the cowboys just took two shots at the endzone, and were obviously in score or kick mode. They had no interest in mixing a run or a short pass in there to get a managable 4th and short to convert.

60 If he's thinking about…

If he's thinking about making a splash and spending big on a college coach, he's got to at least give Lincoln Riley a call. I'd love to see him in the NFL, and I would think he'd love to come in to work with Dak. He might think two or three times about leaving one of the best college jobs in the country to go work for Jerry Jones, though.

68 this is the issue

After a 3 yards run on 1st, the cowboys just took two shots at the endzone, and were obviously in score or kick mode. They had no interest in mixing a run or a short pass in there to get a managable 4th and short to convert.

As Bill Simmons said on Twitter, it looked like Garrett was more focused on covering the spread than anything else.  

If he'd bet the house on "Cowboys +6", his strategy was terrific!  

42 I'd guess the chance of…

In reply to by dryheat

I'd guess the chance of converting the 4th-and-7 and scoring on that drive weren't that much different than the chance to make the FG, stop the Patriots, and drive for the winning TD.

If you convert the 4th-and-7 and score, you've got a better chance of getting a second score to avoid OT than you do after taking the FG, as you're in the same situation minus whatever time it takes to punch the ball in if you convert the 4th-and-7 without getting the TD on the same play, but with the big plus that you're only driving for FG range instead of a TD.

By going for it and failing, you pin the Patriots deep and the weather conditions plus game history to date suggest you probably get the ball back with a relatively short field to try and get a second shot at the game-tying TD.  Though at that stage, you're at best 50-50 to win in OT.

Then you get into edge cases like the Patriots driving for a FG but leaving enough time on the clock for the Cowboys to respond, though I'm not sure that really favours kicking the FG first as it's (a) more likely if you kickoff instead of pinning the Pats deep on a failed 4th down, and (b) if you convert the 4th-and-7 to a TD, you need a FG to respond for the tie instead of a TD.

Overall, I'd say the odds of success were pretty close (and also pretty low) with both choices, but I'd lean towards going for it in those conditions and in that spot on the field.

 

28 "I realize there are a lot…

"I realize there are a lot of injuries in Philadelphia, and Wentz isn't used to some of his wide receivers, but he's just straight-out missing guys today."

It's lack of confidence in the receivers. His decision-making's a step slow because he's also tacking in whether or not the WR can actually catch the damn thing. Throws tend to be a bit behind. Happens even when throwing to receivers he trusts (like Ertz) because on those throws plenty of times he's going to Ertz late, as it wasn't his first read.

Common thread from Philly fans for comments like this is that this is excuse-making for Wentz, but Philly fans should know better, since we've seen this before, in 2003. I mean, jeez, look at it: a deep threat who can't track/catch, a high draft pick who's barely even playing, best receiving option a tight end, a shifty/elusive RB who's their best big-play threat, even a plucky UDFA WR. If there was a Hall-of-Fame receiver who magically became available by complaining his way out of a team, I'd say the Eagles are the favorite for signing him the offseason.

Oh, crap...

110 There are basically two…

There are basically two groups of people who are criticizing Wentz at this point: there are people who are pointing out that he's holding the ball too long, not coming off his first read, and being poor in ball security. Those people are right. It's also not new - Wentz has struggled with all of those things since he entered the league. The fact that it's not new reinforces that those people are right.

Then there are people who point to some of the throws on Sunday and say Wentz's accuracy is a problem. If that were true, that would be very new. It'd also be very curious that it happened at exactly the same time his WR corps was replaced by Folger's crystals, somehow hoping Wentz wouldn't notice. Or we could assume that Wentz is actually accurate and those inaccurate throws are because the receiver's in the wrong position. Which makes a lot more sense, considering, well... the receivers are bad. And new. But also bad.

29 Miami non-rushing game

Ballage maintains his sub-2.0 ypc average after another stellar performance. Here's to hoping he can keep it up all season long.

The big question in Miami is when they put Rosen back in. At some point they have to look at him again, right?

Parker has quietly become a decent receiver this season ( currently 19th). If Williams returns from injury next pre-season, a Wilson, Grant, Parker, Hurns, and Williams receiving corps isn't that terrible. If the oline is actually good enough to use Wilson and Grants speed it might actually be good. I'm not sure there's another position in Miami you can say that of.

32 Rosen

Rosen's adjusted yards/attempt vs. the awful Redskins' D was actually negative.  Fitz has been significantly better.  I've yet to see anything that suggests Rosen can be an NFL starter - either in Arizona or Miami.  

39 The Washington game was a…

In reply to by RickD

The Washington game was a total disaster for Rosen, but at the same time, if you watched it, Rosen was facing an incredible level of pressure by that defense, awful or not. There were several plays when he got sacked just as he was finishing his drop. And then, miraculously, Fitz comes in and Washington starts playing soft, leading to a couple of TDs.

 

Rosen hasn't been exactly great, but he got a really raw deal on that game and he's shown some very good qualities even if he's also... well, raw. In particular, his pocket awareness and deep ball are really good. I think he's worth developing and see what happens.

48 If this was baseball, both…

If this was baseball, both he and Haskins would be overwhelmed single A guys that just aren't ready to be in the show. Unfortunately, the NFL doesn't have a minor league where they can develop.

83 I would think your answer…

I would think your answer there is simple: The book on Rosen is he locks up if you pressure him, so that's what the 'Skins did. I didn't see a major change in concept out of Washington in that game, but I saw a difference in the playcalling after some completed passes...

111 I'm very surprised by your…

I'm very surprised by your comment. To me the book on Rosen is try to confuse him with different coverages. I think he handles pressure exceptionally well for a young guy. Then again, nobody is truly good with pressure. The amount of pressure Rosen faced in that game is like nothing I've seen in Miami in the last decade, and that's saying something. When you don't have time to even set your feet for a moment before being hit, that's 85 Bears material.

113 Rosen couldn't diagnose the…

Rosen couldn't diagnose the pressure that was coming and Fitz could. I didn't notice a change - and I got stuck watching that game - until Fitz completed a couple of passes and then Washington backed off the pressure. 

80 Regardless of what happens…

In reply to by RickD

Regardless of what happens with Josh Allen, I have never, ever been more glad that Buffalo didn't listen to the draft experts. Rosen is terrible.

86 I imagine they're okay with him being really bad

In reply to by RickD

I think they've "evaluated" as much as they need to. It's time to lock in their loses the rest of the way with Rosen. At least, there's a lot of Miami fans seeing those traded for number 1 picks sliding into the 20s and worrying they won't even have the number 2 pick if they beat Cincinnati. 

36 Sadly due to my wife's…

Sadly due to my wife's insistence that we attend her friend's party all Sunday, I basically missed every game.

I was particularly interested to see the Patriots Cowboys and the niners Packers. From the comments it seems like weather played a huge factor in the Patriots Cowboys low-scoring affair, but the Packers 49ers score surprised me. 

 Not that niners won or that the niners scored well, but the complete curb-stomping of the Packers offense. Again I didn't see this game, but there was a time an Aaron Rodgers led offense would never get demolished like this. Does anyone have an explanation for it?

38 Well, when your 5 pass…

Well, when your 5 pass blockers get their asses whipped, that's a good start on your offense being demolished.  Getting behind 23 at halftime against 4 talented pass rushers kind of opens the floodgates..

 Rodgers was in signifigant danger of injury last night.

41 The Packers were beat almost…

The Packers were beat almost as badly in LAC 3 weeks ago. They've averaged 4.27/play on the road this year. I'm not sure there's much evidence that Rodgers is a great QB anymore other than eye test. It may be surrounding cast, but for 5 years he's put up some pretty average numbers. 

 

44 I do wonder about the lack…

I do wonder about the lack of receiving talent, and issues with scheme, but that's across  two coaching regimes now, so....

I think it is almost indisputable that Rodgers has been too risk averse, and I do wonder if a different coaching may have made a difference.

53 Its hard to pin point out…

Its hard to pin point out exactly what is going on with Rodgers, independent of last night's game which could happen to anyone.

 

2015 was a long time ago and like you said, across two different regimes. Tom Brady had a down year in 2013 when the talent was super injured. The talent snapped back to its high levels the next few years and he subsequently did well again. Some flavor of the same thing is happening now, but hes a million years old so its hard to tell what is the dominant effect here. There is no such argument for Rodgers. 

 

I'm at a loss to explain what we are seeing. QBR coming into this game suggested Rodgers has been an average qb this year. Even if there's a ton of error there, you would never expect to see a player of his caliber look like this. 

82 I'm at a loss to explain…

I'm at a loss to explain what we are seeing. QBR coming into this game suggested Rodgers has been an average qb this year. Even if there's a ton of error there, you would never expect to see a player of his caliber look like this. 

 

We've seen this recently: Flacco in Denver. Rodgers looks like his doesn't give a crap out there (though his skill level was always much higher than Flacco's).

64 Rodgers is 6th in DVOA and…

Rodgers is 6th in DVOA and 8th in DYAR. He may no longer be what he once was, but he's certainly well above average. An average starting QB is probably someone like Andy Dalton (outside of his MVP-quality 2015 season), Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Jacoby Brissett. I don't think there's ever been a time where Rodgers hasn't been at absolute worst a top ten QB.

55 The circumstances and result…

The circumstances and result of the game are eerily reminiscent of the Seahawks-Saints game in 2013. You got a dominant defensive one-loss team playing a string offensive two-loss team in primetime, with two very strong wildcard teams in each division nipping at their heels. Both road teams had an early turnover in their own red zone which led to a TD for the opponent, and the home team basically played a near-perfect game on defense which resulted in a 3-TD lead at halftime and cruised to a victory.

94 Their results may seem…

Their results may seem confusing at first blush, but Green Bay is really easy to evaluate. 

Their offensive line is pretty good, their two running backs are quite good, and Aaron Rodgers is still great, albeit not as good as he once was. Their receivers outside of Adams and Lazard (who is merely okay) are downright atrocious. If you can stifle their running game and get pressure rushing four (not an easy task of course), then they have no path to getting first downs. Rodgers won't take risks throwing contested balls and the receivers mostly can't catch them anyway. 

Their defense got off to a good start but the league quickly figured them out. They actually have a lot of talent on that side of the ball, but their scheme is awful and Pettine can't get his players in the right spots. He's extremely easy to out-coach and there's almost no way he's back next year.

Their special teams are also pretty bad. Mason Crosby has been accurate this year but his kickoffs are really bad which is made worse by bad coverage units. JK Scott got off to a good start but has been a trainwreck for a few weeks. They have negative punt return yardage on the season, with a long gain of 1 yard. 

If they get out to a lead and can keep their offense from being predictable, they have a great shot to win but their defense usually keeps it close. If they fall behind they're in real trouble. Unfortunately the other top teams in the NFC project to be really bad matchups for them. Outside of an NFC East team, I don't really see them having a good shot against any other potential NFC playoff opponent, regardless of what their final record ends up being. 

37 Frederick did move that leg…

Frederick did move that leg in a very unnatural way towards the path of the DL. I mean, it didn't look like he actually tripped him, but he sure tried to. I don't know if it's a penalty by the letter of the rules, but it's pretty understandable that they called it.

75 Agreed. It looks to me like…

Agreed.

It looks to me like he intentionally tried to trip (or at least impede with his leg) the pass rusher.  This was a ticky-tack call to be sure, but more so, it was just a bad decision (or reaction) by the O-lineman.  If you intentionally do a movement that would result in a penalty (which I think he did) then you don't really have grounds to argue that a penalty shouldn't have been called, even if it didn't totally work.

Flip-side: nobody is arguing for a trip if it's not called.  So, why call it?  There are enough penalties in football already.  It's a more enjoyable game if refs let stuff like this go.

112 Agree with your flip-side as…

Agree with your flip-side as well, but football is such a chaotic sport that as long as outrageous calls are eliminated, I'm fine with everything else. Of course, consistency would also be nice, but that might be too much to ask already.

76 I Wonder

It may well be that teams have been complaining about the Cows trips and sending film to the NFL offices so that it became something of a point of emphasis. Certainly wouldn't put it past Belichick to lead the lobbying.

43 Of course, all of my fears…

Of course, all of my fears from several weeks ago are coming true: we *still* haven't seen New England's secondary play a competent passing offense in decent conditions.

This season is really starting to piss me off. Gilmore absolutely looks totally locked in, and if he can keep this up for a while, could garner Hall of Fame consideration, which makes it a god-damned travesty that all he's faced so far is garbage offenses, an offense that barely needed to pass, and the Cowboys in a freaking hurricane.

Thank God for the next two weeks, but given the way the season's gone so far Hill will probably not be fully recovered in two weeks, and Watson will get injured or something in the beginning of that game.

56 When someone can sort out GB's punting issues

please contact MLF and his coaching staff. Because they clearly cannot figure out why a guy who earlier this season was nails is now unplayable. 34 odd yards net in perfect weather? WTH is that?

59 Wentz

I think people are overreacting over this last game. Wentz certainly isnt playing at a high level this season, but yesterday there were heavy winds in Philadelphia and that was the main cause of the poor showings by both Wentz and Wilson.

73 It's also really hard to…

In reply to by AlanRLD

It's also really hard to figure out accuracy issues versus what the receivers are doing. There were definitely some late throws (like a late crossing route to Ertz) and wind-caught throws but some of the other inaccurate throws were the receivers' fault, not Wentz's. A former Eagles WR specifically pointed out on Twitter that on one throw, the receiver stops for a moment, and then hops one step to the side (which is past where the specific point is supposed to be on that play - which again, the person commenting would know) - and Wentz ends up throwing it to where the receiver was (where he's supposed to be) instead of where he ended up.

It's just hilarious that a few weeks ago everyone's panicking about the defense when half the guys are injured, then the DBs start coming back from injury and gee whiz, defense is fine again! Now everyone's panicking about the offense when half the guys are injured. It's a little worse since DeSean Jackson isn't coming back, but still, the Eagles have 3 weeks off before the season's on the line with the Cowboys. Plenty of time for things to come together.

85 I am also fascinated by the…

I am also fascinated by the distribution of targets over the course of the season. Since Jackson went down, Hollins and to some extent Arcega-Whiteside have filled in, and until Agolohor and Jeffrey got hurt neither would could even get a pass thrown their way. I'm open to the idea that they suck, but honestly how can your roster 2 receivers who are apparently utterly incapable of getting open. Unless of course they were getting open but Wentz wasn't looking for them. When I see Wentz ignoring open receivers and listen to the announcers talk about Pederson telling them they need to show Wentz where the ball should have gone, it makes me wonder if there are actually some serious issues with Wentz. Maybe the better o-line play in 2017 and the pseudo-deep threat of Torrey Smith covered up some short-comings.

88 Arcega-Whiteside's a rookie,…

Arcega-Whiteside's a rookie, so honestly I don't really put much on him. It'd be nice if he developed quickly, but he wasn't drafted to be anything other than WR4 at most this year. Hollins is supposed to be a special teams player only, but that just reveals a roster building mistake: expecting Jackson/Jeffery/Agholor to hold up without injuries is nuts, and then you have to put in Arcega-Whiteside or Hollins into a stronger role. Should've just lived with the weaker special teams play and gone with a stronger receiver.

"When I see Wentz ignoring open receivers and listen to the announcers talk about Pederson telling them they need to show Wentz where the ball should have gone"

The problem is that if you watch it you also see receivers clearly screwing up routes - the 4th and 2 play was a dead-obvious screwup where Wentz practically throws it to the DB because the DB knew where the receiver was supposed to stop, whereas the receiver overran his spot. There's also a former Eagles WR who confirmed this, spelling out exactly where the sit spot was supposed to be on that play, and the WR just missed it.

Dan Orlovsky's got three plays on Twitter where he shows what looks like 3 inaccurate throws from Wentz, and they're all screwups by the receivers - Wentz throws the ball where it's supposed to be, and the receivers are all in the wrong spot.

So it's tough to know what's going on. Just because we see a receiver get open doesn't mean that he was even supposed to be there, and if Wentz doesn't know where to look for him, being open doesn't help.

Again none of that is supposed to suggest that Wentz had a good game or anything, he obviously didn't. But I think the biggest problem is that he's just second-guessing everything because the receivers are so frequently out of position that nothing looks right anymore.

81 why can't Wentz hold onto the ball

In reply to by AlanRLD

The wind wasn't making Wentz drop the ball every time someone touched him. Wentz has developed a very disturbing habit of just hanging out in the pocket until something bad happens. I'm sure a lot of this is that guys aren't open, but his radar seems off in terms of being able to sense pressure and knowing when to run. I also think he's just trying to do too much, he wants the big play and he'll stand there and stubbornly ignore an easy 5 yard gain, while he scans the field in vain for a big play opportunity. Inevitably he has to throw the ball away, or he tries to force a pass and gets picked, or he gets hit and fumbles. Checking down isn't always bad, especially when you have no viable deep options. 

I also think Pederson has been terrible the last two weeks. His only dynamic play maker is Miles Sanders, and he refuses to lean on him or feed him the ball. 14 touches per game for your only big play threat? 

 

 

84 "Wentz has developed a very…

"Wentz has developed a very disturbing habit of just hanging out in the pocket until something bad happens."

Wentz has always had bad pocket presence in the sense you're talking about. That's nothing new. The reason it's showing up now more is that he's doubting all of his options, and everything's taking just a bit more time because of that.

You're absolutely right though that he's holding the ball too much waiting for something to happen. That's a totally valid criticism. He needs to get the ball out of his hands and give the receivers a chance, even though they'll totally screw the pooch anyway. Either that or just get the heck out of the pocket and play backyard football. The receivers don't know how to run routes anyway so screw it.

"His only dynamic play maker is Miles Sanders, and he refuses to lean on him or feed him the ball. 14 touches per game for your only big play threat?"

Last week the Patriots took him out of the passing game explicitly, and once Lane went out the run game was a total disaster. Need to look at this week a little more closely before I have any thoughts on that.

edit: oh, and the ball security thing is totally on Carson, that has to be freaking improved.

89 Is Dak Prescott so dependent…

Is Dak Prescott so dependent on Amari Cooper that his game takes a major hit when Cooper either isnt there is completely blanketed?

102 Dak wasn't that great last…

Dak wasn't that great last year even with Cooper. He was 25th in DYAR and 26th in DVOA for the entire season. It's true that the Cowboys turned their season around after the trade, but I recall this website pointing out that was because other elements of the team improved, not the passing game. I don't know why Dak is suddenly so good this year, but I don't think it's as simple a matter as the presence of Amari Cooper.

96 Too many yards

"The Bears had just 144 yards in the first half; they've already hit nearly double that on their first drive of the third quarter."

I don't know if this means their first drive of the third quarter gained nearly 288 yards, or only gained nearly 144 yards and doubled their total, but I'm confused either way.

104 I watched that 288-yard…

In reply to by saneiac

I watched that 288-yard drive, and it was a thing of beauty. Took 19 offensive holding penalties and still matriculated the ball right down the field.

106 Clearly the Patriots are…

Clearly the Patriots are using yet another devious scheme hatched no doubt in a bond villain style hollowed out volcano.  I wouldn't be surprised if Gillette stadium doubled as a secret meth distribution center with Belichick himself overseeing the operation a la Gustavo fring. The only question is, what are the odds that Tom Brady also happens to be Heisenberg. I guess that would make Gronk the perfect Jessie.