Saturday Wild-Card Open Discussion
NFL Wild Card - The playoffs kick off with Las Vegas (10-7) at Cincinnati (10-7), then New England (10-7) visits Buffalo (11-6) in the night game. Use this thread to discuss them both.
140 comments, Last at 17 Jan 2022, 10:05pm
#3 by Alex@ // Jan 15, 2022 - 4:30pm
I see the Bengals coming out fired up. First playoffs since 2015 doncha know.
I do think it'll lead to some early fireworks, with Burrow and company putting up 150 yards in the first quarter. I don't think they'll come away with more than a couple FGs though.
The second quarter will probably get each team a td, since the Raiders aren't just going to roll over. I think a 13-10 halftime score sounds right.
I'm expecting the Bengals to pull away in the 3rd quarter and finish it 34-17, which is too bad because the Raiders don't deserve to be remembered as quite that outclassed.
#6 by jheidelberg // Jan 15, 2022 - 5:12pm
Bengals settle for FG, I believe stat is Raiders worst red zone defense in 30 years.
Follow up with awful mistake on special teams on kick near sideline, player does not establish himself out of bounds and goes out at 2, instead of getting ball at 40.
Quarters ends with huge 3 rd down play to start quarter 2.
EDIT: Red zone defense not a reliable stat, Raiders could be blown away, but two RZ stops for FG’s and its only 13-3 despite total Bengal domination.
#7 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 15, 2022 - 5:12pm
Weird. LV had three consecutive snaps inside their own 5 and didn't call a QB sneak on any of them. Of course, the second of those was a false start, which they might have avoided if they weren't going the hyper-aggressive route of trying to run a draw play.
Edit: and on third down Carr gets sacked on his half-yard line and somewhere Joe Judge is yelling "See! I told you!!"
#10 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 15, 2022 - 5:41pm
First big 4th-and-1 situation and CIN goes for it at the LV 31.
I hate the play call - slow developing pitch end around to Chase which would be blown up if any of about 5 defenders beats his block - but all the blockers do their job and they convert.
#14 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 15, 2022 - 6:05pm
Tough to coach players to stop on the whistle if you're going to allow scores to count when they're made after the whistle blew. I'm not 100% certain that the DB on coverage would have been able to break up the pass if the whistle doesn't blow, but it's clear he stops trying to make a play when the whistle sounds, as does the DB coming in the other direction (who also likely wouldn't have been able to break it up, but pulls up and doesn't even try).
EDIT: watched it again from a different angle and there's no way the DB coming from the other direction is close enough to lay a hit on the receiver, he's way too far away. Also, the DB in coverage is definitely beat, too, so I don't think the whistle affected anything and it would have been a TD regardless. It's still a really dangerous precedent for the league to set, though, allowing a play to continue after a clear whistle on the field.
#19 by oaktoon // Jan 15, 2022 - 6:17pm
The ball was inches away from the receiver's hands when the whistle blew. It is impossible for a human being to react that fast-- in fact, even if it was 5 feet away, it likely would have been impossible for the defender to react-- and he was more than an arms length away anyway...
#15 by big10freak // Jan 15, 2022 - 6:09pm
The whistle almost certainly blew (very late) because a ref thought the qb was out of bounds. Which was clearly not the case
So because of an official error in judgment the official then blows the whistle and the offense would be penalized due to compounding officiating errors.
I know Raiders fans are likely upset. But I am ok with the outcome. And yes I know why the rule is in place.
#16 by oaktoon // Jan 15, 2022 - 6:14pm
Why are these clowns (former coaches/former officials) so stupid? "Officials can't ignore rules"-- Dungy said. sure they can when the whistle blew a millisecond before the ball hit the receiver's hands. At the point when no one could possibly have reacted in time-- and of course the nearest defender wasn't even arms length away. That "call" if enforced would have been one of the worst in the history of the league.
#17 by big10freak // Jan 15, 2022 - 6:15pm
is dreadful. Tirico seems confused on what is happening play to play. Love Brees but he is super dull. All the camera work seems a step slow. I would expect this from the fourth string ESPN crew covering a nothing college bowl game. Not these guys. Geez
#18 by jheidelberg // Jan 15, 2022 - 6:16pm
The turnover letting CIN get ball at 15 and only get a FG and the terrible ST gaffe leading to a punt from the 1 only leading to a FG. along with Raiders end of half TD with their extra first half possession from receiving opening kickoff, thats a lot to have happen to save this game and only be down 20-13 at half.
#22 by oaktoon // Jan 15, 2022 - 6:23pm
And you're looking at a Rodgers-like era of 8-10 straight years of playoffs/contention Burrow is that good
Which is why I think Mayfield is gone in CLEV-- they can't afford to have an average (At best) QB in that division
#24 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 6:28pm
Boyd was wide open, the ball was already on its way past the defender, and the play should have been a touchdown. If the worst thing the refs do in this game is blow a bad whistle a fraction of a second before a wide-open touchdown that then stands, this is a win for the NFL.
#49 by turbohappy // Jan 15, 2022 - 8:01pm
Ended the game with a lot of time left on the clock. It's one thing if you are going to mix in a run or throw short or something but they were going for the end zone every time, didn't need the extra time.
#46 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 15, 2022 - 7:56pm
Oohhh that roughing the passer call on the final drive of the game looked brutal based on the replay angles shown in TV. Wonder if there was anything there from other angles?
Bit of a sloppy game, lots of FGs, a few too many bad officiating moments ... and still a great finish to the game and great start to wildcard weekend.
#52 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 15, 2022 - 8:26pm
MVP-candidate Josh Allen shows up on the first Bills' drive, aided by Judon and Hightower whiffs on two big Allen runs and capped by a beautiful touch pass to the back corner of the end zone that would have doubled as a throw away if not for the great catch by the TE.
#58 by Anon Ymous // Jan 15, 2022 - 8:36pm
Annnnnnnnnddd..... That's all she wrote. Pats actively make things easier for Buffalo when the Bills weren't even on schedule. Hard to imagine things turning out better when Buffalo's plays go as planned.
40-13 here we come.
#62 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 8:52pm
But if they come up empty on Buffalo’s next drive, they might not have much choice. It’s becoming clear that the Patriots still have no answers on that side of the ball, because they still have no answers for Josh Allen.
#65 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 9:11pm
They have played a mix of man-to-man and some against Buffalo, and it hasn’t mattered at all. Any idea when the Pats last got a sack, got a turnover, or forced a punt against the Bills? Because I think it’s going on seven quarters now.
Edit: I looked it up. As Buffalo takes over with 3:33 left in the second, the Patriots haven’t sacked Allen in a game and a half, haven’t forced a punt in nearly eight full quarters, and haven’t forced a turnover since Matt Breida’s fumble in the first quarter of the MNF game.
#137 by t.d. // Jan 16, 2022 - 12:17pm
when russel wilson came in to the league (in the super-loaded 2012 draft), he graded as the top prospect in the draft (in fact, the top qb prospect FO metrics had ever measured at the time), but because he was only 5'11 and not expected to go highly in the draft, they hedged their expectations for him (their formula only counted guys who are graded as 1st or 2nd round prospects), so his nickname on this site for his first few years was 'the asterisk'- sorta the guy who broke the system. FO were low on Josh Allen coming out of the draft (but, then, just about everybody in sports media was- hell of a job Buffalo's coaching staff has done turning raw potential into outstanding play), so presumably he's another guy who 'broke the system' in a different way
#75 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 9:32pm
I looked up his worst playoff loss as Patriots coach earlier today and then told some friends that with Buffalo’s game plan and New England’s injuries, I felt the 19-point margin was in play. I’ll admit that I didn’t think they’d clear it with 23 minutes and blast well past it by halftime. By the end of the night, Josh Allen will own the biggest regular-season win against Belichick and should own the biggest playoff win against him as well.
#86 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 10:12pm
They’ve beheaded it, chopped it up, and grilled it, and now they’re getting ready to serve dragon burgers to all the Pats fans out there. Oh, and Boston media, too. Those guys said they wanted the bull; hope they’re enjoying the horns!
#98 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 15, 2022 - 10:53pm
The big man touchdown just makes all this even better and it was pretty great already.
I think part of why this blowout is so good is that NE isn't playing horribly. It's because Buffalo is playing so good it doesn't matter. I enjoy well executed football a lot more than sloppy and a lot of blowouts are because one team is just executing like crap. NE looks like they are having an average game execution wise. Buffalo is just on another level tonight.
#114 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:40pm
Agreed. From the first BUF drive with Allen playing lights out and the first NE drive with Hyde making that great INT, the entire BUF team was at the top of their game.
Now the question is can they sustain it for 3 more games? Or will their next game be a let down after today's emotional win against their historic bully?
#125 by ThatWasAHold! // Jan 16, 2022 - 1:14am
Buffalo was on fire tonight, and the ultimate nail in the coffin was the big man TD. But part of me wonders why the Bills would blow that trick play right now, when it could have scored them a touchdown in any of the remaining playoff games. Was it worth it to have another +7 on the Pats?
#127 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 16, 2022 - 1:34am
Every team has this play in its goal-line arsenal, and the Bills have already used it at least once this season. (They actually tried to get Dawkins a touchdown against the Jets.) It’s nothing special, and nothing an opponent wouldn’t prepare for after having watched film of McDermott and Daboll over the last few years.
#116 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:44pm
If weighted DVOA only took the last 4 games, it likely would've looked quite different. NE's best games, I believe, were in the middle of the season. They were middle-of-the-road to start and end the season. BUF has been playing better recently, I think. In any event, BUF certainly played extremely well today.
#120 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 16, 2022 - 12:24am
Some thoughts on weighted vs full season DVOA
It may have changed but weighted DVOA (as listed on the team DVOA page) wasn't really any more predictive of playoff success than full DVOA. The playoff odds say they use weighted DVOA, but what they really use is weighted DVOA + select manual adjustments. The odds page doesn't have it anymore but at one point the DVOA for GB on the odds page was like 8 points higher than the weighted DVOA on the team stats page (which is higher than full season DVOA) mostly because of the Jordan Love game vs KC getting discounted or removed from the offensive calculations. I don't know if there were adjustments made for NE or BUF that might change the playoff odds DVOA vs weighted DVOA. BUF had better odds in all the playoff categories Conference Appearance 27.2% vs 25.5%, Win Conference 17.9% vs 12.8% and SB win 8.9% vs 6.5%. While the 3 seed would help them get an easier path sometimes in the simulations it seems like whatever DVOA was being used for both teams was pretty close still. I don't know what if any HFA is being used this year for the playoff simulations either.
I do need to look and see if weighted has been better in the playoffs recently I really haven't paid attention to that for years now so maybe it's got a slightly better correlation now than in the past when they were basically the same.
Some thoughts on this single game DVOA
Clearly either version of DVOA, regular which had this as the closest match-up of the weekend in favor of BUF by 4.3% or weighted which would be the 2nd closest match-up this time in favor of NE by 5.0% didn't expect this result. (LV-CIN was the closest weighted match-up at 4.2% diff vs the regular diff of 5.2%). So yeah I expect a huge single game DVOA. But watching the game if BUF didn't always have nearly flawless execution and a little luck they may not have gotten the 2 INT. I think those would have both just been incomplete passes. Hyde made a great play but the NE receiver wasn't going to catch that. The 2nd INT the BUF defender did a great job tipping it up in coverage but the other BUF defender catching it was still lucky. I don't think NE was ever going to stop the BUF offense but they played well enough that this could have been a 47-24 or 27 game. A huge win still but not quite as dominating as 47 - 10 (+7 against the back-ups). It's a data point against DVOA sure, but it's not like a smoking gun or anything. Lots of blowouts are way bigger than DVOA would expect, football happens and teams playing as well as BUF did for a whole game is not common. It was pretty awesome.
Breaking down the game and my guesstimates at DVOA.
BUF offensive DVOA should be through the roof. Over 100% easily. A 9.7% (full, 11.3% weighted) offense scoring a TD on every drive that DVOA will measure (since it removes end of half and end of game kneeldowns) that went 6-7 on 3rd downs and averaged 9.5 yards per play (if you remove the kneeldowns) against a -12.8% (full, 14.8% weighted) DVOA defense. Yeah that's going to be a monster awesome rating.
I'm not sure what the defensive DVOA will be in part because I never factor INT into DVOA correctly. I also am not sure how much garbage time will impact things. I think DVOA needs it to be a 21 point lead (so the entire 2nd half) but may still only limit it to the 4th quarter. Still even before the last meaningless TD drive* NE was 5-10 on 3rd downs and 2-2 of on 4th and averaging 5.4 yards a play. That seems pretty reasonable against a team with -18.1% (full, -15.0% weighted) DVOA by a team with a 10.5% (full, 16.5% weighted) offense. The 2 INT are likely to help a lot but BUF ending with a defensive DVOA near their season average wouldn't surprise me at all. But the unknowns could still give them a big rating.
Special teams again I don't know how much 2 missed extra points will cost. The Hyde scramble drill return will help and NE kick returns were nothing special. So I'm guessing ST will be close to 0
*meaningless to the game I fully supported give Mac Jones another offensive series in a playoff game
#132 by muscle417 // Jan 16, 2022 - 4:19am
Hyde made a great play but the NE receiver wasn't going to catch that.
I think you've seen too many Agholor memes. That ball was a good throw, and Hyde snatched it out of the air before it dropped in Agholor's bread basket. That's a TD 98% of the time.
#133 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 16, 2022 - 4:50am
You know what, you're right. The game angle and the one live replay at full speed made it look like the throw was going to land about 3 feet short, but I hunted for some replays and slowed them down and yep that throw was right on target. Thank you for calling that out so I could look again.
#102 by TomC // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:14pm
I'm a bears fan, but I have a bills fan friend who invited me to watch with him at the one bills bar in Chicago, and holy crap was that fun. Congrats, bills fans, and savor this no matter what happens the rest of the postseason.
#103 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:16pm
When they are on their game, they are the best team in the league. They’re unstoppable on offense, and they have the league’s best defense, which is chock full of players who have been playing in the same system for years now. Not having Tre might get them beat at some point, but this was never gonna be that week.
#110 by andeux // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:31pm
Yes, the Pats may have been overrated (and had some injuries), but Buffalo would beat anybody the way they played today. Absolutely dominating.
I am especially encouraged by the revitalized running game, and how well the offensive line has been playing for the last 4 weeks or so. What looked like a weakness for a lot of the season is now a strength.
#104 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:18pm
- New England still owns the division.
- Bill Belichick has a single clue as to how to stop Josh Allen.
- JC Jackson can hang with Stefon Diggs.
- Josh Allen can’t play in the cold.
- Josh Allen can be beaten by [insert defensive game plan du jour here].
- The Patriots have a better coaching staff than the Bills do.
That is all!
#109 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:31pm
According to the local radio hosts, this is the first game in NFL history in which a team didn't punt, didn't have a turnover, and didn't attempt a field goal. And Josh Allen authored that. Josh Allen!
#112 by beargoggles // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:34pm
“Bills’ Porn” seems to fit.
I hope they didn’t shoot their wad, to torture the metaphor. Very impressive. Perfect match of effort and execution. Just flying around like crazy. You Bills’ fans in here must have been ecstatic. That kind of game as a fan if you attend especially brings lots of memories.
There sure were a lot of fake story lines pre-game. “Poor circulation”, receivers going to drop the cold hard thrown balls, etc.
#115 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 15, 2022 - 11:41pm
But it was close. Five touchdown passes versus four incompletions. No third down with more than four yards to go. Might legitimately be the best offensive game of all time. Just a fantastic night, especially after twenty years of Patriots dominance/cheating/nonsense.
Edit: Aaron Schatz tweeted that this might be the best offensive game of all time, so I’m curious to see how all that shakes out.
#121 by mehllageman56 // Jan 16, 2022 - 12:38am
I have a bad feeling about this, as if in ten years I'll be pointing to this game as when I started getting sick of the Bills as a Jets fan. For now though, I love the schadenfreude even if the team I root for didn't do it.
#122 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 16, 2022 - 12:41am
Thank you NFL for a very entertaining Saturday afternoon and evening. The LV-CIN game was sloppy at times and had some controversy*. But it was competitive and fun for a fan that has no rooting interest for either team.
The NE-BUF game was just a thing of beauty. As I've said earlier in the thread seeing BUF just be so lights out on everything except extra points was fun and it stopped right at the point where it was going to get sad. NE made mistakes yes, but honestly they didn't look like they made any more unforced mistakes than the other 3 games I've seen them in this year. They looked like NE playing decently but not being able to do anything against a team that was doing damn near everything exactly like you hope they will when you plan a game. That kept me interested. If NE was completely inept and BUF just playing OK and the score was what it was the game would have gotten boring for me I think. But since NE wasn't just shooting themselves in the foot play after play but playing like NE and BUF was doing something you just don't get to see very often it was awesome.
Actually I may have had some rooting interest. Like every non Pats fan I probably was getting a little more out of it because I'm tired of the Pats. I also have a soft spot for Josh Allen because I get Favre vibes from him and Favre provided me so many years of fun. I also still root for Micah Hyde so seeing him do some great stuff was probably more fun than if it had been Poyer who made those plays. But it's still a small factor.
Anyway, felt like a great start to a playoffs that going into them felt like everyone but PHI, LV, and PIT had a least a punchers chance of doing something. (Comment 5 here if you care more about my thoughts on each team). If tomorrow can give us 2 games as entertaining the other 2 can be snoozers and it's still a first weekend big win.
* I actually didn't understand all of that at first since I was watching it muted I thought the replays were just trying to make sure Burrow was inbounds before he threw it wasn't until after that I realized it was because of the whistle, which turned what looked like an awesome play into a mess.
#128 by oaktoon // Jan 16, 2022 - 2:08am
Patriots were nowhere near an elite team.. Unless Buffalo is head and shoulders the best team in the NFL... Which they might be, but I doubt it. Mac Jones is an ordinary QB--- barring the construction of a Ravens-like defense by an aging Belichick, that means the days of SB appearances are over....
#129 by Kaepernicus // Jan 16, 2022 - 2:19am
If the 49ers beat up on the Cowboys tomorrow are you going to take a long hard look at your weighting for blow outs over three scores? Top DVOA has been losing for about 2 decades now and it seems to tie directly into the blowouts getting too much love. You are missing style differences. The 49ers for example tend to step off when up a lot with Kyle. GB and KC do the same. Dallas, Buffalo, and NE run up scores against shitty opponents. I think this is a big problem for the rating even if Dallas wins tomorrow. SF could have hung 50 on the Jaguars but didn't. Also the furious garbage time comebacks are overrated as well. Seems like DVOA could benefit from a bit of weighting adjustments. Open source an old version of the algorithm and the data and we can start cracking the code