Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Week 11 Open Discussion Thread

* Thursday, Nov 13
o N.Y. Jets at New England, 8:15 pm
* Sunday, Nov 16
o Denver at Atlanta, 1:00 pm
o Detroit at Carolina, 1:00 pm
o Philadelphia at Cincinnati, 1:00 pm
o Chicago at Green Bay, 1:00 pm
o Houston at Indianapolis, 1:00 pm
o Tennessee at Jacksonville, 1:00 pm
o New Orleans at Kansas City, 1:00 pm
o Oakland at Miami, 1:00 pm
o Baltimore at N.Y. Giants, 1:00 pm
o Minnesota at Tampa Bay, 1:00 pm
o St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:05 pm
o Arizona at Seattle, 4:05 pm
o San Diego at Pittsburgh, 4:15 pm
o *Dallas at Washington, 8:15 pm
* Monday, Nov 17
o Cleveland at Buffalo, 8:30 pm


by joe football (not verified) :: Thu, 11/13/2008 - 5:03pm

Be sure to join a star-studded cast of your favorite FO posters for IRC football chat! cognet.catch22.org, channel #fo

Brief tutorial for the IRC-shy:

- Download mIRC from mIRC.com
- type /server cognet.catch22.org into the status window
- type /join #fo

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 11/13/2008 - 10:04pm

Wow, do I hate the play-by-play guy. Better than Gumbel, I guess, but that's a bit like saying "I got stabbed in the arm instead of the stomach, so I'm having a good day."

by Ben Stuplisberger :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 2:54pm

I like him. He's got one of those baseball announcer talking through an old microphone voices.

by RickD :: Thu, 11/13/2008 - 10:09pm

I really have to wonder what is up with the Pats' return coverage tonight. It's been so good all season - it's surprisingly bad tonight, even before the Washington TD.

by AndyE :: Sat, 11/15/2008 - 5:13pm

Ray Ventrone, the splitter (or whatever you call the guy who sprints downfield in the center, to force the return man to one side) was taken out on the opening kickoff. That, and they had some serious problems staying in their lanes.

by RickD :: Thu, 11/13/2008 - 10:36pm

A tipped pass cannot be intentional grounding???

by B :: Thu, 11/13/2008 - 11:03pm

Technically yea. Once the ball is tipped, the refs can't determine who was the intended receiver, so they can't call intentional grounding.

by RickD :: Thu, 11/13/2008 - 11:28pm

Two bad plays by Gaffney in a row. First, he ducks out of bound 1 yard short of the first down marker. Then he drops the third down pass.


by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 11/13/2008 - 11:46pm

Jerod Mayo does not suck.

by RickD :: Thu, 11/13/2008 - 11:49pm

I wonder if the Jets will ever make an adjustment to stop Cassel's 25-yard QB scrambles.

by RickD :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:03am

bs holding call on Vrabel to keep Jets' drive alive.


by RickD :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:12am

A complete list of Pats' linemen who can block Kris Jenkins 1-on-1:

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:58am

3rd and goal and the Jets call a play-action pass. Thomas Jones comes off the play fake, and the Pats defender wraps him up for the tackle. The defender then realizes Jones doesn't have the ball and lets go. And this is called defensive holding?????

I see RBs get hit every game coming off of play fakes. This should not be "holding," it is "playing defense."

The NFL.com announcer says that it was a good penalty because the defender was "beat." No, he was about to make a tackle for a loss, or so he thought.

ALSO: The Pats have a BenJarvus Green-Ellis ANNNNNNND a Jarvis Green? LOL. Yeah, right, NFL, you expect us to believe that? This is clearly the work of a fiction writer, perhaps Nabokov.

by Love is like a bottle of gin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 2:18am

People are such homer... this was NOT a playfake, I just looked right at the replay, no fake a straight up hold.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 2:46am

I'm a Redskins fan, so maybe I wasn't watching closely. And I want to know what happened to Ben Ellis.

by AndyE :: Sat, 11/15/2008 - 5:17pm

I'm a Pats homer, and that was a great decision by James Sanders. Sanders expected Jones to chip-block him on his blitz, but Jones just headed past him - he'd have been wide open for a touchdown. Wisely, Sanders wrapped him up, sacrificing the penalty to save the touchdown (and hey, maybe a ref would have seen it the way you did, but being wrong in fact doesn't negate a penalty). Right after the play, you could see Sanders tapping his chest in the universal "team, that penalty was on me, I know it" sign.

The earlier hold call on Vrabel was bogus (not maliciously so, just wrong), but this one was correct.

by RickD :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:28am

Very exciting game. I wonder how many people are watching?

by B :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:36am

I would, if I got the NFL Network, or lived close enough to NY or MA. I guess VT doesn't count for getting the game on TV.

by Harris :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:31am

I guess the Jets dropped off to prevent the fade to Moss on the game-tying TD, but the lack of pressure was just a terrible decision. Of course, going to the prevent with that much time left and allowing the Patriots to waltz down the field was just as terrible.

"A little celery is always nice after a good pee."

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:39am

They do realize they didn't have to stop covering Keller just because it's overtime, right?

by Dales :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:46am

That was a fun game.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 2:02am

Hell of a game by Mayo. Seriously does not suck.


Mayo is the best player on the defense.
Sam Aiken moves really well when he actually catches the ball.
Jabar Gaffney on Ty Law is a serious mismatch. How sad is that...
Pierre Woods is better than Mike Vrabel. See above.
Cassel looks much better each week.
Russ Hochshtien is not an NFL center.
Pats WRs dropped a TON of passes. They certainly aren't helping Cassel...although that Moss catch at the end was beautiful.

My oppionion? The Pats played better football, but made much more mistakes. That botched snap, and the Ben Watson "STOP LOOKING AT ME" fumble were killers.

by PatsFan :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 10:39am

Cassel is the first player since the merger to have at least 400yd passing and 60yd rushing in a single game. I guess his rushing DYAR will be positive this week. 1/2 :)

by AndyE :: Sat, 11/15/2008 - 5:18pm

The amusing stat from Mike Reiss is that the only other player to go 400+/50+ is Steve Young, who also lost that game - 34 to 31.

by Ben Stuplisberger :: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 2:58pm

Watched the game on the NFL live online broadcast, with the sound off of course. They had a camera just following Moss so every po dunk blogger and not just espn writers could accuse him of taking plays off. It makes me cry in the face of the sublimity of our democracy.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:22pm

Dear Brad Childress--please keep throwing. Please please please please. Running Adrian Peterson is the easy way out, and if you were a really smart coach, you'd do the unexpected and have Frerotte throw about 50 times.

Do it. You know you want to.

by Rainer K. Sachs (not verified) :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:30pm

Oakland Has a good game plan: get the ball in the hands of your best offensive player, namely Lechler.

by CathyW :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:36pm

Well, this is shocking - Eagles D playing pretty well but offense very slow so far, gaining only 1 yard so far. I haven't seen this before all season (ok sarcasm over).

by CathyW :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:39pm

I think I may have a stroke. McNabb fumbles the ball and it's returned for 1st and goal. By the Bengals!!!!!!!!! Holy f*****g shit!

by Joel (not verified) :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:39pm

Unstoppable force vs Immovable object in the Meadowlands

Immovable object owning so far.

by Joel (not verified) :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:41pm

Well I botched that last comment pretty badly.

by Crus :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:49pm

McNabb and Andy Reid are determined to drive Eagles fans crazy in the 1st quarter in recent games; McNabb keeps coming out rusty or cold or some other adjective to describe a QB who can't hit a pass at any depth (either too high, behind the receiver or wide) and Andy insists that the only way to get McNabb out of the slump is to keep him passing the ball - leading to more missed passes. Until, sometime in the 2nd quarter, he warms up and turns into a top 10 QB again.

Also, the Eagles can't run currently, so basically the Eagles offense are now a Hockey team playing 3 periods only.

by Crus :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:51pm

Just to compound the point, we're now mere seconds into the 2nd quarter and McNabb reels off 3 straight passes for a total of 55yds. wtf?

by James-London :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 2:59pm

Refereeing shenanigens followed by an ugly pick form Aaron Rogers.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Rocco :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 3:00pm

Are the Giants that good or are the Ravens playing like crap?

Roddy White had a fantastic catch which set up a Michael Turner TD on the next play.

by Dales :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 7:33pm

I won't extend it beyond today, but the Ravens, and particularly Flacco, were not playing bad (at least as far as my eyes could see).

Today, the Giants were just that good. The only Giant who struggled was Ross, who had two interceptions (including a pick-6) to make up for it.

by ChrisFromNJ :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 3:03pm

...Aaaand Lawrence Tynes shanks the kickoff out of bounds.

Remind me again why he's even still on the team?

by CathyW :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 3:28pm

AAIIEEE!!!!!!!! McNabb throws a terrible INT. Ugh!

ETA: And the Bengals convert the turnover for a TD. Ay carumba.

by CathyW :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 3:36pm

What the f*** is wrong with McNabb today? Another INT to end the half. Nice.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 3:52pm

Bucs get a first down on 3rd and forever. I, for a moment, cheered Jerramy Stevens. I feel dirty.

by CathyW :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 4:17pm

Four turnovers now by McNabb.

by Pat F. :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 4:20pm

Aikman is advocating putting Grossman in for the remainder of this game on the grounds that Kyle Orton will get killed by the end.

by King (not verified) :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 4:24pm

Colts gashing the Texans now. 30-20 Colts.

by TTLG :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:20pm

33-27. Very entertaining game. Manning looks like he's getting back to pre-injury form. The Colts could have scored 40 if their receivers would have held on to the ball in the first half.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 4:29pm

Bucs just plowing through the middle of the Vikings defense on running plays. Apparently, Davin Joseph + Arron Sears > Pat and Kevin Williams.

by Rocco :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:21pm

Troy Polamalu had one of the most incredible INTs ever. Just watch the replay- words don't do it justice.

by Rocco :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:40pm

James Harrison gets thrown to the ground and it's not holding. However, Vincent Jackson runs into Ike Taylor and it's DPI. Wonderful.

by Joel (not verified) :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:42pm

If this game doesn't knock the Eagles down the DVOA standings nothing will

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:48pm

Eagles-Bengals. No words to describe the utter badness of this game. I need a vomiting emoticon and I need it now.

by morganja :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:49pm

Another home game for the Panthers in which the visiting team possesses a magical ability to not commit penalties. The Detroit Lions for God's sake. The only penalty assessed against them, in Carolina, was a blatant personal foul which, despite being committed after the play right in front of two refs, neither managed to throw a flag. It had to come in from the side judge well after the infraction.

This is why we are so tired of teams like the Patriots who get the benefit of the calls every game, home and away. We can't even get home team calls in Charlotte. Maybe it has something to do with that stupid NFL logo in the middle of our field instead of the team logo like every other stadium.

by B :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 6:15pm

Confirmation bias is effecting your perception of the refs. You see the favoritism because you want to see it, when the simplest explanation is incompetence.

by Arson55 :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:52pm

So after somehow managing to get a tie against an incredibly talented team such as the Cincinnati Bengals I fully expect the Eagles to raise to number 1 in DVOA. How could they do otherwise?

by CathyW :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:56pm

Ugh. What an abysmal end to an abysmal game.

by Harris :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 6:45pm

Not true. This is the perfect ending to a game where neither team deserved to win. Say, when you see the Eagles are on TV, do you say to yourself, "I haven't cleaned the gutters in a while, and the glands on the cat's rectum need expressing and it's been ages since I hit myself in the face with a frying pan. If I do all that and completely rebuild the engine on a bulldozer, I just about miss the entire game."?

"A little celery is always nice after a good pee."

by RickD :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 7:58pm

I was pulling for a tie before the end of regulation time, since neither offense was doing anything competent.

DVOA notwithstanding, Philly is not an elite team. The difference between the Eagles and the Giants is fairly large. The Eagles' knack for not winning games they are supposed to be dominating is becoming too pronounced to ignore.

by CathyW :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 10:07pm

Point taken. I did find myself voluntarily running the vacuum, dusting, taking out the trash, and generally finding stuff to do that would take me away from the TV. There was no escape from the vortex of suckitude that was this game, though. My brother insisted on calling me afterwards and explaining at length how the Eagles need to fire Reid and bring in Spags or Cowher as the head coach.

by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 5:58pm


by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 6:18pm

My six-year-old son asked the exact same thing.

by B :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 6:23pm

It's hard to be successful at QB sneaks if your O-line can't block.

by troycapitated p... :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 9:05pm

Proabably when Big Ben gets healthy. The last QB sneak they ran was a TD, but it also knocked Ben out for the rest of the game...

by B :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 6:20pm

Did Simms just say QBs should back up more? That doesn't seem like good advice to me.

by Rocco :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 6:26pm

Darren Sproles signals for a fair catch, starts running forward, gets tackled, and the flag of course goes against the Steelers, who will probably also draw a fine this week for daring to tackle someone too hard. I'm bitter at the moment.

by Arson55 :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 7:15pm

I don't know. That call didn't look that bad. When I saw it, I wasn't sure he was trying to return it.

Now, the pass interference call early on that put the Chargers in range for their touchdown; that was crap. And I say that as someone that has no particular love for the Steelers.

by RickD :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 7:45pm

You're forgetting to mention the part where Sproles was "running forward" before he caught the ball. He wasn't running after the catch. He was decked immediately.

It really was a textbook call.

by RickD :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 7:49pm

If the Steelers don't win this game, it's their own fault. Been watching most of the game and it seems like the Chargers have been dominated. And yet the Steelers only have 8 points.

by bob (not verified) :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 8:23pm

There is also the slight discrepancy in penalties.

Specifically, one penalty for five yards. Versus... um, thirteen for a hundred and fifteen yards.

Most of the ones called on the Steelers weren't bad calls. But there's a penalty on every play if you want to call it and for some reason they were calling things holding on one side and letting them slide for the other team. As some player got fined for cleverly saying earlier this season, "I ain't never played a team that played a penalty free game", which the Chargers apparently did, if you ignore their no-judgement false start.

by RickD :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 7:50pm

And, of course, Rivers makes another terrible pass to nearly kill another drive.

by RickD :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 8:52pm

Does anybody understand what happened at the end of the Steelers-Chargers game?

The Steelers had an 11-10 and the Chargers tried a wacky play involving a short pass and laterals, one of which was knocked away by a Steeler who then returned the ball for a TD, which seemingly ended the game at 17-10.

And then there was a call of "illegal forward pass" and for some reason the TD was taken off the scoreboard and the final score was 11-10.

I'm wondering how this was received in Vegas, where Pittsburgh was a 4.5 point favorite.

by Calig23 :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 9:29pm

The illegal forward pass made it a dead ball immediately, negating anything that happened afterwords.

by Dales :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 9:54pm

Sure did not look forward, though.

by troycapitated p... :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 10:01pm

You have to look closely at the position of the players on the first lateral, not the second one, which was clearly backward.

The ball carrier flips the ball as he reaches the 26 yard line, but the guy who caught it was standing across the 26. Although it appears that he flipped it backwards, and the guy catching it does reach back some to get the ball, I think the position of his feet ahead of where the ball was released is the key to the call.

(the nfl.com highlight reel shows this at about 3:50)

by DGL :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 10:26pm

But a complete illegal forward pass doesn't kill the play; only an incomplete forward pass (legal or illegal) kills the play. On a complete illegal forward pass, the play continues, and the defense has the option to decline the penalty. The refs just blew the call.

A conspiracy theorist would look at the number of "judgment" penalties (PI, holding) against the two teams, and the fact that the refs took 6 or 7 points for Pittsburgh off the board when the game was otherwise decided - changing it from "Pittsburgh covers" to "Pittsburgh doesn't cover" - and claim something untoward. Me, I'm just happy that (a) the Steelers won and (b) I didn't have the Steeler defense on my fantasy team.

by Flagstaff :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:02pm

As of right now, the NFL calls the "second lateral" a fumble in the play-by-play, which an attempted lateral that hits the ground is. From the view on the one video available to the public, it's impossible to determine if that first lateral was forward or not. That might mean there was no indisputable evidence the call on the field was wrong. It should have stood as a lateral, fumble, touchdown.

The Jolly Green Jerks on NBC have pointed out that the eventual decision was incorrect, agreeing with blogger DGL here, above. IOW, an illegal forward pass doesn't stop play, anyway. Once again, a referee will be demoted at the end of the year for not knowing the rules. Assuming the aforementioned DGL and the TV Talkers DO know the rules.

However wrong, it was mishandled as only an NFL replay decision can be.

Jacks RULE!

by Flagstaff :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:08pm

We should remember that in a league that has a rule as ridiculous as the "tuck rule," anything can happen.

Jacks RULE!

by DGL :: Mon, 11/17/2008 - 1:08am

8-1-1.b, "When any illegal pass is caught or intercepted, the ball may be advanced and the penalty declined." The presumably illegal forward pass from LDT to Chambers was caught by Chambers without hitting the ground. The ball is still live; the backward from Chambers was a fumble, which was recovered by Polamalu.

Oh, and the third thing I'm happy about is that I didn't have money on the Steelers.

by Arson55 :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 10:33pm

I say this as a Cowboys fan. God, the Cowboys suck.

Update: Still sucking.

Update: And are unable to pass the ball on offense.

Update: I don't know what to make of the Cowboys offense actually working.

by Arson55 :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:09pm

Yes! T-New! I love you man. I am so freaking happy you're back.

Edit- Ugh, did I type T-New? I hate those one letter-first syllable nicknames.

by Rocco :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:15pm

What's the record for penalties that negate 3rd down conversions in a season? Are the Cowboys close?

by Rocco :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:30pm

The Redskins always seem to throw the ball short of the line to gain on 3rd down plays.

by Arson55 :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:34pm

Watching Crayton return punts is just painful. Always has been. Have the Cowboys ever had a punt returner who was a legitimate threat?

by dmb :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:42pm

He was pretty obscure, so you may not have heard of him, but they once had this guy named Deion Sanders who was pretty decent at returns.

by Arson55 :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:45pm

Okay, yeah, I deserved that. Still, the Cowboys consistent mediocrity on special teams drives me crazy.

by Arson55 :: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 11:56pm

Damn straight! There is nothing better than your favorite player stepping up in a close divisional game.

And I may be the only Cowboys fan who considers Newman his favorite player. Actually, I know that's not true, but there aren't many of us.

by Key19 :: Mon, 11/17/2008 - 2:37am


What a beast.

And the Cowboys' Playoff Hope Train is back on track!

Other thoughts:

Shaun Alexander is simply terrible now.

Is Jim Zorn Native American? I always get that connection when I see him.

I'd say that Cowboys' <1% Playoff odds will be changing after this week.

The Eagles are putrid.

Will Dallas be the only NFC East team to not be taken into OT by the BENGALS???

It's amazing what a defense can do when they aren't battling both their opponent's offense and their own offense for the entire game (see DAL vs. NYG).

Dallas' Special Teams is the only part of their team that isn't underrated by DVOA.

If the Eagles are even in the top 10 of DVOA after this week, there is something wrong. I'd love to see them next year be the first 0-16 team to finish in the top 5 of DVOA. It's certainly possible based on their rankings this year.

Now that the Cowboys have beaten the supposedly superior Redskins (as I predicted), I now can't wait for them to beat the Giants and Eagles as well. DVOA will be put on its head!

by Shane S. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/17/2008 - 10:16pm

QB Bills channelling his inner Delhomme tonight...

by MontanaPanthersFan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/17/2008 - 10:26pm

...that's not funny.:( *just got out of therapy*

by Sid :: Mon, 11/17/2008 - 10:36pm

Worst starter in the NFL benched, Browns up big. Coincidence? I think not.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/18/2008 - 12:54am

ESPN couldn't just let Lindell try for a game-winnning FG without bringing up Scott Norwood.

And of course, Lindell misses. Wide right.

by ChrisH :: Tue, 11/18/2008 - 12:59am

That drives me crazy. Bills get a short kick, move it quickly their first pass, then go into ultra conservative mode, just like Dennis Green vs. Bears, or any college coach when the first team fails to score in OT. If the Browns had no timeouts I could excuse it more, but try to get closer, or even score there!

Oh, and since I had it muted, why didn't Lynch go up the middle on 3rd down instead of getting the ball placed on the left hash?

by RickD :: Tue, 11/18/2008 - 1:03am

I have to agree - they seemed to be content to settle for a 47-yard FG attempt.

The announcers had nothing to say about Lynch going to the hash mark. They were too busy talking about Scott Norwood.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/18/2008 - 1:00am

BTW, the last two minutes of the Bills-Browns game was terrific, for those of you who may have missed it.

Almost made me forget the ineptitude of the end of the Eagles-Bengals game.