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29 Oct 2007

Audibles at the Line: Week 8

compiled by Doug Farrar

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2008. Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live.

A reminder that we're trying to move most of the non-strategy-related Colts-Patriots talk into this Irrational Colts-Patriots Armageddon Thread.

New York Giants 13 "at" Miami Dolphins 10 (London, England)

Aaron Schatz: I just want to explain why this "Super Bowl in London" thing is a bad idea. Did anybody enjoy watching two teams slog through the rain in Miami last year? OK, now imagine that but 20 degrees colder. There's a reason why they hold the Super Bowl in warm weather cities or domes. Mexico City? I'm fine with that. London? No.

Bill Barnwell: They could play it indoors in Cardiff.

Stuart Fraser (resident FO Brit): Wembley has a retractable roof too, I believe. They just never close it.

Russell Levine: Europe is full of brand-new retractable roof stadiums. If they ever play a Super Bowl there, Germany might be a better bet. American football is more popular than in England and they have a bunch of acceptable stadiums that were built for the World Cup. The Allianz Arena might be the finest sports facility on the planet from what I've read.

Bill Barnwell: Great block by Marty Booker on Cleo Lemon's screen where he actually went from one side of a Giants lineman to the other to get underneath him, then beat the lineman to the angle and blew him up. The Giants are immediately going downfield with Burress against Michael Lehan and Jason Allen. Let's just say they look a little over their heads.

Doug Farrar: When Eli Manning sauntered into the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown run (Note: Eli's highest running speed is "saunter"), I thought to myself, "I guess I'll be the one to make the first, 'Boy, the Dolphins sure could have used the 25-foot tall Jason Taylor on that play' joke."

And of course, the week after Hell freezes over and I actually say something complimentary about Manning's game, he completes eight of 22 passes for 59 yards against the team with the worst defensive DVOA against the pass.

Stuart Fraser: Eli seemed to be back to his bad old habits of throwing every third pass two feet above the receiver. Nice scrambling skills, though, and he didn't throw any pass which caused me to go "UGH," unlike Cleo Lemon, whose deep ball is a thing of ugliness.

Wembley's grass is really not intended for this sport. It looked, visually, different from grass pitches in the U.S., and it got seriously cut up as the game went on. The announcers kept talking about it, and it was a contributing factor in the way nobody seemed to be able to tackle properly (especially if they were trying to tackle Brandon Jacobs). It may have been a contributing factor for the kickers being lousy too. I'm sure they'll say it was. For what it's worth, there were similar rumblings about the grass being useless after the first couple of soccer games played there as well, though these now seem to have quieted down.

Ted Ginn completely blew by the defender trying to cover him on that touchdown reception. Not that I think he'll prove to have been worth the draft pick, but it's good to see something from him.

Bill Barnwell: If you can teach Ginn how to sell double moves and he's alongside an offensive line that actually gives the quarterback enough time for the route to develop, Ginn can be a dynamite downfield guy -- with a peak of something like Alvin Harper in Dallas. It's just a) lots of guys can do that without being a top-ten pick and b) that's not the easiest scenario to put together.

Doug Farrar: Here's my question. When a league spends so much time and so much money putting something like this together, that same league is so persnickety about trivial details that players can get fined thousands of dollars for wearing the wrong color socks, and that same league has a team (the Arizona Cardinals) with a stadium so advanced that they can literally roll in different kinds of turf, how is it that nobody checked on the logistics of this and asked for the right kind of turf? Did Roger Goodell get caught with his figurative pants down on the details of the actual stadium, or was his excitement about the game so extreme that he didn't really think about it? Or, was this America's punishment for sending the Dolphins to England?

Oakland Raiders 9 at Tennessee Titans 13

Doug Farrar: Early on in this game, the Raiders had one play in the book: "Have Daunte Culpepper throw underneath the zone." Over and over. And that was a good idea, because anything he threw that wasn't in a hole was either picked off or damn near. The Titans, not wanting to be outdone, had two plays, "LenDale White run" and "Chris Henry run." Vince Young's passing numbers were pretty bad, but in his defense, he had two sure touchdowns dropped early in the fourth quarter. And after last season, if we said that the difference between these two teams would be their defense -- specifically their front four -- we could have surprised just about everybody with the fact that it's Tennessee that now wins that particular battle.

Philadelphia Eagles 23 at Minnesota Vikings 16

Vince Verhei: Wasn't a study done on coaches' records in games where they had the lead at some point in the fourth quarter? How did Andy Reid measure up? It seems like every week, the Eagles are either surrendering the lead or escaping by the skin of their teeth.

The Eagles scored a touchdown on a shovel pass from Donovan McNabb to Brian Westbrook that gained six yards. I saw a number of other shovel passes today, and they worked more often than not, but I still hate that play. It seems to me that if the timing and execution of your running back, offensive line and quarterback are all perfect, you basically get a fancy draw play. And if any of those things are less than perfect, you're risking an incompletion or turnover.

The good news for Vikings fans is that Brad Childress finally realized that Adrian Peterson (20 carries) should get the ball more often than Chester Taylor (six carries). The bad news is that Peterson is human after all. He turned those 20 carries into just 70 yards, and made an enormous mistake on a kick return to open the second half. As the ball bounced along toward the pylon, Peterson tried the "step out of bounds and catch the kickoff to set your team up at the 40" trick. Unfortunately, he screwed it up, catching the ball first, THEN stepping out of bounds. Childress then compounded the problem by challenging the play, when it was very clear what had happened. When the dust finally settled, the Vikings had a first down inside their own 1- yard line and were down a timeout before a single second of the third quarter had ticked off the clock.

Mike Tanier: I, too, hate the shovel pass on the 5-yard line. To me, it's a twice-per-season play. Run it too often and teams will just sniff it out. The Eagles have used it tons of times in the last four years. This year, with all of their red zone problems, I was sure I would see it soon. It worked well this time because Andy added a crazy wrinkle: The play started with a full-house backfield. Jason Avant went in motion and occupied a lot of defensive attention.

The Eagles also ran a misdirection pitch play in the red zone, and their first drive ended with a patented 19-yard field goal when Andy Reid tried Westbrook up the middle once, decided that wouldn't work, and broke out the play-action and rollouts. Westbrook did go over the top for a score, but Reid seems convinced that his team cannot power the ball into the end zone using old-fashioned football. I can't see why not: Shawn Andrews is an All-Pro, Jon Runyan is still good, and Brian Westbrook or Correll Buckhalter should be a capable goal line runner.

Some things I liked in this game: I liked seeing Reggie Brown working the middle of the field for 10-yard gains. I liked seeing accurate McNabb throws into tight spots. I really liked the way the defensive front seven looked in the first half. Broderick Bunkley had a good game. Trent Cole is a real force.

In answer to Vince's question, the Eagles don't put opponents away very well. They don't often surrender fourth quarter leads, but they always seem to be up by six and trying to nurse the lead late in the game. It's rare to see them get the ball with a four-point lead with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter and embark on a 10-play clock-killer of a drive. It's one of the frustrations of rooting for them.

Cleveland Browns 27 at St. Louis Rams 20

Doug Farrar: During the time that I've observed them in preparation for next week's matchup with the Seahawks, the Browns have moved up from "interestingly frisky" to "officially dangerous." They have a great aerial game, and perhaps the NFL's most underrated offensive line. Actually, they're a great argument for putting your money in the line if you want to improve your offense. They drafted Joe Thomas and stole Eric Steinbach away from the Bengals, and they're 10th in Adjusted Line Yards and 15th in Adjusted Sack Rate through Week 7. Last season, they were 31st and 26th, respectively, in those categories. Meanwhile, teams like the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams are looking around for answers on offense, and their line deficiencies have a great deal to do with that.

Cleveland's defense has been pretty atrocious, but they stopped a late drive by the Rams on a fourth-and-1, FO favorite Leigh Bodden intercepted Marc Bulger's desperation pass to Torry Holt with seconds left in the game on the next drive, and the Browns moved to 4-3. I'm just telling you, Seahawks fans -- if you don't know about the Browns, and you think this game will be a gimme based on previous years, you could be in for a very rude awakening.

And since Derek Anderson is looking so good, why don't the Dolphins just give up next year's first-round draft pick for Brady Quinn? This would give Quinn a chance to play, and it would take what might very well be the first overall pick out of the hands of Miami's front office.

Ned Macey: The inverse to this, however, is that you need a defense that can get to the quarterback. Playing a team with no pass rush, the Rams suddenly showed some offensive spark. Willie McGinest has fallen to the point where his best strategy was to fail on his rush but put his hands up. He got at least two tips that way.

Braylon Edwards is developing into a beast. He made an extraordinary catch in the first half down the left sideline, just tiptoeing in on the outside. But, in a sight familiar to every Michigan fan, he also dropped what would have been a game-clinching third down pass in the final two minutes. Still, he finally has a borderline competent quarterback, and he's looking at sort of a Lee Evans, 2006-type season. Time will tell if Anderson is a better player than Losman. Winslow is certainly better than anything else the Bills have.

Vince Verhei: I thought the "sight familiar to Michigan fans" was going to be when Edwards yanked off his helmet after making a catch. I'm as strong a pro-celebration guy as you'll ever find, but taking off the helmet -- literally stripping away the team identity to get your own face on TV -- annoys me.

This does not change the fact that Cleveland is a team that must be taken seriously, and would likely contend for a division title if they played in the NFC. I continue to be blown away by Joe Thomas. Every time I watch Cleveland on offense, I see him dominating somebody.

Detroit Lions 16 at Chicago Bears 7

Bill Barnwell: Is Cedric Benson officially a bust yet? Is there anything he does well? I saw him drop a flare that hit him in the hands.

Awful pass interference by Danieal Manning where he just bumps Roy Williams literally seconds before the ball arrives on what was going to be a jump ball. Ugly, ugly coverage. Makes Adam Archuleta look good.

The Lions appear to feign an onside kick before basically pooching a kick to Hester. The Bears run a pitch to Hester out of the backfield and of course Kenoy Kennedy reads it and runs full-speed six yards into the backfield to blow it up. On second down, Brian Griese tries to throw over a linebacker onto Olsen's back shoulder and misses badly, the Bears false start, and then Adrian Peterson gets half the yardage back on third-and-21. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007 Bears offense!

The Lions have had awful field position all day but are moving the ball with Kevin Jones through the middle of the Bears defense, running right at Urlacher. They're doing a really good job of handling Tommie Harris.

Vince Verhei: Griese threw four interceptions today, and three of them looked exactly the same: floating lobs into the end zone that gave the safety plenty of time to make his way over and catch the ball. You can't pin this loss entirely on him -- the Bears couldn't run the ball or stop the run -- but at some point, don't the Bears have to find a way to acquire a big-name quarterback, just to preserve the sanity of their fan base?

Doug Farrar: Right now, I think the Vikings might need that even more.

Michael David Smith: I'm not prepared to say the Lions are a good team, but I will say that for the first time in the Matt Millen era, the talent on the roster roughly matches what the coaches are trying to do with the talent. In the past, it was like Millen was building one team and Mariucci and Mornhinweg were coaching a totally different team. This year you can actually see that the offensive players fit with what Martz wants to do and the defensive players fit with what Marinelli wants to do.

Indianapolis Colts 31 at Carolina Panthers 7

Doug Farrar: The Colts played the time-of-possession game so effectively in their Super Bowl postseason, and the Panthers have taken a page out of their book. Can't stop an offense? Keep them of the field. They have a 15-minute TOP advantage in the first half; this came mostly on their opening scoring drive, an 18-play, 11-minute marathon. That's basically why they're down by only three points at half. Of course, the Colts start the second half with a methodical touchdown drive to go up by 10. Back to you, Phil...

Michael David Smith: They really should just do away with the force-out rule, but as long as the rule exists, how was the incompletion to Reggie Wayne not a touchdown? He got one first down and the second foot just out of bounds by a couple of inches. You're going to tell me that even a minor bump from a defensive back isn't going to move a guy's foot a couple of inches?

Aaron Schatz: Mike Tanier likes to remind us all the time that "Tampa-2" teams don't necessarily play Cover-2 all the time. And, in fact, the Colts came out against the Panthers playing a lot of man. I do think that's the right move when you face a team with a stud number one like Steve Smith, preventing him from finding easy holes for midrange gains, as long as you still keep a safety deep to prevent Smith from beating your corner with his speed. I think Antoine Bethea is doubling Smith on nearly every play.

The Panthers did pull off a sweet play for their first touchdown. They were on the five, and Carolina had its safeties pulled wide, effectively double covering Smith and Colbert. So the Panthers ran right up the middle with DeShaun Foster. (Foster actually ran straight up the middle, no shake-and-bake.) Fullback Brad Hoover just destroyed Tyjuan Hagler on the lead block.

That being said ... the Panthers have been running a lot on first and second down, right into a wall of Colts defenders. Remember 2005? The Chargers (and then the Steelers in the playoffs) beat the Colts by PASSING early in the game, particularly on first down, when the Colts were bringing Sanders up expecting run. Then when the Colts moved Sanders back, the Chargers and Steelers amped up the run. It shocked people because we all thought of the Steelers as a run-first team, and they came out firing downfield to start that playoff game. It seems to me this is the correct strategy against the 2007 Colts as well, especially since their defense is much more like that of the 2005 Colts than it is like that of the 2006 Colts.

Charles Johnson did such an excellent job filling in at right tackle during the Super Bowl that it is a bit shocking to see how much trouble he's having filling in at left tackle today with Tony Ugoh out. This is definitely the most pressure that Manning has felt all season, and the most pressure that the Panthers have put on any quarterback, and Johnson is a big reason.

Doug Farrar: Your comment about Johnson having so much trouble on the left side after looking solid on the right makes me think of Seahawks tackle Tom Ashworth, who is a decent-or-better fill-in on the right side, and an absolute walking disaster area on the left. I haven't seen enough of Johnson to know if it's the same, but Ashworth's problem seems to be that he simply can't handle the quick burst of the speed rushers that often come from right end. If he's given that extra half-second to engage, he's OK.

Aaron Schatz: By the way, wherever the 2005 Colts defense was hiding last year, apparently the 2005 Chris Harris was hiding there too. That guy was back today, the one who was a pretty good rookie safety with the Bears. He was all over the field in the first half -- slapping balls away, recovering a fumble by Ben Utecht, making the stupidest attempt to lateral a turnover return that I've ever seen in my life...

Doug Farrar: Panthers rookie middle linebacker Jon Beason is impressing me. He's striding pretty well with Dallas Clark, and he doesn't seem to be frequently out of position as you would expect from a young player with his athleticism. I've seen him deflect two passes to Clark in this game, and given the colossal mismatch Clark usually has with a middle linebacker (especially with a middle linebacker who stands only six feet tall and weighs about 240), it would seem that the Panthers drafted wisely with the Miami product. He played outside a lot in college, and he has that type of speed.

Aaron Schatz: It's a little stunning how sloppy the Colts offense was today. Manning was Manning when he wasn't under heavy pressure, but it didn't seem like anyone else could hold onto the ball except Reggie Wayne. Keith, Addai, Clark, Utecht -- they were all dropping passes or fumbling the ball. If they play like this next week, they lose. Then again, next week they probably have Harrison back. I don't know the situation with Ugoh.

As for the Panthers, Vinny Testaverde hurt his ankle, David Carr came in, and we immediately had a David Carr "happy-feet special", the two-yard scramble up the middle on third-and-5. The Panthers kept up the "short stuff chew the clock" offensive mindset the entire game. That worked well on the long, drawn out initial touchdown drive, but when the score was 24-7, it was pretty stupid.

Ned Macey: Peyton Manning, like all quarterbacks, struggles when he is pressured. He has a great deal to do with his pass protection, reading defenses, adjusting plays, quick release, but when pressure comes, he's jittery. Once the Colts figured out protection, they dominated. Single coverage on Reggie Wayne when Harrison is out? Not a good idea.

The announcers were convinced that the Panthers had a perfect first drive, but it was actually a fluke. They took 11 minutes off the clock, and everyone thought it looked like the 2006 Colts, but they went 80 yards in 18 plays, i.e., just over four yards per play. They went six-for-six on third down (one was a defensive holding penalty, an eight-yard completion on third-and-10). That is not sustainable, and after the first drive, they went one-for-five on third down, including an end zone interception by Vinny.

Stuart Fraser: Ah! Now we know where Marvin Harrison is. According to Dick Enberg, he's throwing challenge flags at Paul Brown. Seems a strange thing for a Colts receiver to do whilst injured, but everybody's gotta have hobbies, I guess.

Aaron Schatz: That's okay, Jim Nantz just said that Carolina had to get to the 47 of the Patriots. The Patriots are not in this game, Jim.

Doug Farrar: If you had to listen to Phil Simms blather on for three hours with no hope of escape, you'd wish you were elsewhere, too.

Aaron Schatz: Phil is now asking why nobody copies the way Bill Polian has built the Colts. Yes, Phil, I'm always thinking, "Why don't other teams draft one of the five best quarterbacks who ever lived?"

Bill Barnwell: There is something to be said for a defense that can plug in Day Two draft picks like it was nothing. I think that might be more on Tony Dungy than it is on Polian.

Stuart Fraser: To be fair, Polian's method worked in Buffalo, too. So it doesn't need a top-five ever quarterback -- any generic Hall of Fame guy will do.

Aaron Schatz: On behalf of Houston Gamblers fans everywhere, I say: "Touché."

Speaking of quarterbacks ... I didn't pay much attention to the draft before I started doing this for a living. Why was David Carr considered the number one prospect in the 2002 draft? What did people say about him at the time?

The top of the 2002 draft may be the worst of all time. There are some great players in the mid-first round, but the top of the draft goes:

David Carr
Julius Peppers (the exception)
Joey Harrington
Mike Williams (offensive tackle bust version)
Quentin Jammer
Ryan Sims

Jammer is totally overrated, but he's actually the second best player on that list.

Doug Farrar: How can you say such negative things about a man who averaged 3.8 yards per attempt in this game?

Bill Barnwell: Here's what Dr. Z had to say at the time -- "Oh my, what a mob. Twelve rookies, including the franchise QB. Should we worry about that fluky three-quarter arm delivery? Well, that's what they're paying Chris Palmer for."

Vince Verhei: An excerpt from one of Carr's scouting reports: "Buys time for his wideouts and throws the ball away instead of taking a sack if nothing is available." That is hysterical, and also a good example of why the draft is so overrated.

I ask this question whenever somebody mentions Carr, or Kyle Boller, or Joey Harrington: If Cal coach Jeff Tedford is so good at taking mediocre quarterbacks and making them look great in college, why has no NFL team hired him to make their mediocre quarterbacks look great?

Mike Tanier: In fairness to Carr, all of the tough guy stuff was true, and he looked a lot more legit as a prospect in the first half of the 2004 season. We are talking about a guy who was sacked 10,000 times. My take on him, watching him last year, was that he was a guy who couldn't afford to lose 10 percent of his athleticism because it would make him too slow and less zip-armed. After the beating, he lost about 20 percent of his athleticism, and a little bit of that grittiness seemed beaten out of him because he would get rid of the ball too soon. The Texans were left with a smart, hard-working pocket guy with a medium arm and a bunch of bad habits. A long way from a prospect.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24 at Cincinnati Bengals 13

Bill Barnwell: Cincinnati driving downfield with throws but they're all plays where Palmer's flushed from the pocket and throwing seven- and eight-yard lobs. So the good news is that the Steelers are collapsing the pocket, but the bad news is that Palmer's picking apart their zones. Great double-move by Holmes on Leon Hall and even though Roethlisberger's arm is hit as he throws, Holmes has enough space behind Hall to slow down and catch it.

Stuart Fraser: Pittsburgh's first touchdown was set up by a 42-yard reception by Santonio Holmes, where he was in single coverage on Leon Hall, faked inside and beat him deep, and then sealed by a 21-yard reception by Hines Ward, in single coverage on Leon Hall, who faked inside and beat him out. Think the Steelers might have noticed something in the film room?

Bill Barnwell: Bengals defense in a bad spot -- they're not good enough on the line to get pressure on Roethlisberger regularly without blitzing, but their secondary is nowhere near good enough to hold up if they blitz. Even when they drop back seven, the Steelers are just finding easy holes in their zones or using double-moves (with Roethlisberger having all day for them to develop) to exploit their weaknesses at corner. When they do get to Roethlisberger, their tackling is dire.

Hint: Hines Ward versus Rashad Jeanty is a bad matchup.

The Bengals have two scaredy-cat field goals and are getting booed off the field. Fourth-and-1 from the 3 is apparently too much for Marvin Lewis' offensive line to convert. The Steelers run a great draw on first-and-10 right before the two-minute warning, basically a draw sweep, a really different play call. They get to use their excellent blocking receivers against the Bengals' awful corners and the whole Bengals team has no idea. Parker gets 32.

EVIL ROETHLISBERGER strikes again: While the Bengals are dragging him down, he throws a ball up for dear life. It goes out of the end zone (to the point where the refs have to remark that it's not intentional grounding) but that's the scary Roethlisberger, not the one who's been picking apart the Bengals today.

Stuart Fraser: Cincinnati had a fourth-and-1 on Pittsburgh's 3, or thereabouts. Palmer clearly wanted to stay on, started getting guys lined up, and Lewis got cold feet, called a timeout and kicked. Pittsburgh had a first-and-goal on Cincy's 1, with 0:09 left in the half and one timeout remaining. Tomlin called a run off left tackle and Parker punched the ball in. Partially as a result of these plays, the score is 21-6 at halftime.

The really weird thing about the Pittsburgh draw sweep play that Bill mentioned is that Roethlisberger ran outside Parker and preceded him downfield, almost as if either a) he was blocking (he did throw a block on an fullback screen to Davis earlier, though that was a broken play) or b) that's actually an option play, and Parker can toss the ball back to Roethlisberger, who'll take a downfield shot.

Bill Barnwell: Pittsburgh looks like the Patriots against the Bengals. Roethlisberger has time to throw and when he does eventually get flushed, there's an outlet 15 yards down the field. In the running game, the Bengals neither cover their gaps well nor gain penetration. That's how Justin Smith is running from right defensive end to the left side to catch Willie Parker after he's run 13 yards downfield on a cutback.

EVIL ROETHLISBERGER returns as he gets flushed from the pocket, and as he gets outside the tight ends, makes a terrible throw right to a Bengal on their 2-yard line. Whoops!

Vince Verhei: We've talked about EVIL ROETHLISBERGER, but there's an awful lot of GOOD ROETHLISBERGER too. He makes his offensive line look a lot better than they really are. He breaks a lot of sacks by just being too big to go down, and he's also got surprising mobility and the ability to throw accurately on the run. If the Steelers decided to trade him, I suspect they'd get at least 25 offers.

Stuart Fraser: The Bengals converted a fourth-and-8 on a curl to (Chad) Johnson. Tomlin challenged, because (I think -- most of Tomlin's challenges seem to be motivated by "wouldn't it be nice if we got an overrule here?") the catch was low. Ruling was upheld. Johnson had blatantly pushed off Ike Taylor, but of course the absence of an offensive pass interference flag isn't a reviewable feature of a play, so...

a) The ruling was upheld;
b) The NFL has whacked-out replay rules;
c) I am a whining Steelers homer who should shut up and be happy with a 21-13 lead.

Bill Barnwell: I think what's more interesting is what led to that decision -- since the Bengals didn't go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 2 before, they had to go for it on fourth-and-3 from the 35 the next quarter, and then Ocho Cinco false started, making it an even more difficult fourth-and-8. Coaches ignore the consequences of the decisions they make in one moment for later in the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars 24 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23

Russell Levine: The Jaguars clearly did not trust Quinn Gray to throw the ball. They ran on their first eight snaps and stuck with the plan until they absolutely had to pass late. That said, he actually made some big plays late, although the game-winning touchdown drive was aided by two absolutely fantastic catches.

This was an incredibly physical game. Reggie Nelson and Jermaine Phillips/Tanard Jackson were playing "can you top this" in the big hits department. I call it a draw. Nelson is a tremendous hitter, but I'm not sure he can last at his size if he doesn't learn to protect himself a bit.

This is the second straight game the Bucs basically gave away. They outgained the Jags and were facing a quarterback who made no pretense of throwing for much of the game. Jeff Garcia missed two wide-open deep balls that would have given the Bucs the win, and they couldn't get a three-and-out when they absolutely needed one to give themselves a better shot at the end.

Garcia took another month's worth of punishment. I don't know how he stays upright with some of the hits he takes. Still, I think the Bucs O-line is improving, particularly in the run game. Earnest Graham has actually resembled a functional NFL running back the last two weeks. This was a great win for Jacksonville, escaping against a decent opponent with a QB they tried to hide for 60 minutes.

Ned Macey: Is there a quarterback controversy in Jacksonville? Quinn Gray is undefeated as a starter, so shouldn't he be the starter? I spent the first three quarters waiting to write about how nice it is to second guess Jack Del Rio again, since he got me on Garrard over Leftwich. But Gray actually played better down the stretch once he realized that his receivers weren't eight feet tall. His numbers were awful, but he actually made a couple of nice throws in the fourth that were negated by penalty. He's not good, but he won't be a disaster going forward.

Jeff Garcia went up against his first really good defense, and whoops, suddenly he has thrown an interception (three, actually) and completed under 50 percent of his passes. Not sure why the Bucs threw so much given Graham's success on the ground.

Vince Verhei: Quinn Gray had good numbers in limited action in 2005 and 2006. I think it's safe to say those were aberrations. How can you continually overthrow so many enormous receivers so often?

I'm not a big fan of Jack Del Rio, but I applaud him for recognizing the relative strengths and weaknesses of his team and just running and running and running the ball.

Buffalo Bills 13 at New York Jets 3

Sean McCormick: Good sequence for Jets rookie cornerback Darrelle Revis. On a second down, he blitzed out of the slot and hit Trent Edwards, forcing an incompletion, and on third down he had tight coverage on Roscoe Parrish and was able to step in front of a hurried deep out for his first pick. And Revis ends another drive with a blitz on third down that gets to Edwards and forces an incompletion.

Doug Farrar: What was funny on the Revis pick was that the Jets' front three weren't even lined up at the snap -- they were moving to the line. Actually, six guys were within five yards of the line of scrimmage, but none of them were set, and they all tore off after Edwards at the snap. Was that one of those weird Belichickian formations?

Vince Verhei: I saw Pittsburgh do something similar. They had three linemen on the field, but while one lined up at nose tackle, the other two just kind of milled around. It was the first 1-6 formation I ever saw.

Mike Tanier: The Steelers have been doing that since the start of the season.

Patrick Laverty: How about last year, when the Patriots had a few 0-7 formations where no one put a hand on the ground, and they all just sort of milled around?

Stuart Fraser: Pittsburgh picked part of that up from Baltimore, who was doing it last season. Dick LeBeau calls it the "Eleven Angry Men" defense, in which the team just sort of mills around prior to the snap in an attempt to confuse the heck out of anybody trying to read it. It could just be me, but I don't think the Steelers actually rush fewer guys when they line up 2-4-5 or 1-4-6 than in a more normal 3-4.

Mike Tanier: The stuff I saw looked like a lot of four- or five-man rushes. The thing is, the four men wind up being the nose tackle, a linebacker, Polamalu, and a cornerback. Opponents cannot really pick on the defensive end that drops into coverage because the "defensive end" is really somebody like outside linebacker James Harrison, who is fast enough to do the job in coverage just fine. It must be a pain to read and pick up, but the Broncos hit them with some screens and really quick slants and had success against it

Sean McCormick: The Jets have clearly decided that the way to defend Trent Edwards is to blitz him. Whenever Revis is lined up on the slot receiver, he's been blitzing and getting hits on the quarterback. Against conventional sets, they're blitzing six or seven and consistently putting Edwards under pressure. Part of the reason why they're able to do so is because their run defense has been dramatically more effective with David Harris in for Vilma, which is putting the defense in better positions to dictate on third down.

Bill Barnwell: Shouldn't the Bills be adjusting to that by changing the slot receiver's route to an out?

Sean McCormick: Edwards hasn't even been looking in the right direction. It's as if Roscoe Parrish basically doesn't exist for the offense, and Edwards just locks in on wherever Lee Evans is. (Of course, on the one throw he did make at Parrish, Revis picked it, so there's that.)

Vince Verhei: Last week, everyone seemed impressed with how Trent Edwards played. He played more like a rookie today. The interception he threw could be found in the dictionary under "rookie mistake." He threw the ball a) in midair, b) while being hit, c) into double coverage. I saw a number of passes that were basically extended handoffs, designed for guys to catch the ball short and run around, and they weren't able to because they were adjusting to catch passes thrown behind their heads or out in front of them.

Sean McCormick: The Bills come out of the locker room and try a short kickoff, placing the ball between the two coverage teams. They didn't hit on it, but they didn't give away more field position than they would have by kicking to Leon Washington, so I can understand the strategy. Eventually Edwards was going to beat the blitz, and on third-and-2 he fired a ball into Josh Reed running up the seam for about 32 yards. Then, Edwards is on his way to the locker room, which means we're about to have a J.P. Losman sighting!

Bill Barnwell: Did Losman just run a leaping handoff?

Sean McCormick: It's amazing how different quarterbacks will read the field differently. Faced with a third-and-long, Losman responded to the heavy blitz up the middle by hanging tough and then launching a 50-yard bomb into double coverage in the hope of somehow hitting Lee Evans. Incomplete. Punt.

And then Losman tried it again, another 50-plus-yard chuck into double coverage, only this time Lee Evans wrestled the ball away from Revis at its highest point, the safety took a bad angle, and Evans scored an 85-yard touchdown to clinch the game. It's amazing how different quarterbacks will read the field differently.

Houston Texans 10 at San Diego Chargers 35

Bill Barnwell: Houston punter Matt Turk just chopped wood. A snap went over his head and as the ball lay unmoving in the end zone, he overran it and San Diego recovered for their second touchdown.

Vince Verhei: I know I have a tendency to hyperbolize sometimes, but I really, really think that fumbled snap into the end zone was the worst play I've ever seen in an NFL regular season game. The Houston snapper, unforced and of his own volition, launched the ball several feet over his punter's head and into the end zone. The punter, Matt Turk, unforced and of his own volition, then ran right by the ball instead of falling on it or picking it up. Antonio Cromartie fell on it to score a touchdown for the Chargers, but it was no achievement. I say this with no exaggeration: Any high school team in America would have scored a touchdown on that play.

Bill Barnwell: The Texans are down 21-3 because they can't stop Antonio Gates or fall on loose balls, but I like the way their running game attacks the 3-4 -- they run right at the outside linebackers, keeping them away from Jamal Williams and at the guys who are pass rushers first. Of course, Matt Schaub throws an interception as I type that and it's 28-3 and this game is virtually over before halftime.

Doug Farrar: Norv Turner and A.J. Smith have seen quite a bit of bashing on this site (and many others), and it's hard to argue that any of it hasn't been entirely justified. But someone in that organization has to get some credit for putting together all those plans and keeping things together through some very difficult circumstances.

New Orleans Saints 31 at San Francisco 49ers 10

Doug Farrar: I'm not sure what the positive predictions surrounding of the return of Alex Smith signify more -- the fact that Trent Dilfer needs to go into broadcasting, or the last vestiges of optimism in what appears to be a lost season for the 49ers offense. Smith was rusty after his injury layoff and it showed, but the real issue is the offensive line, and the holes that line isn't opening for Frank Gore. Gore hasn't even rushed for 90 yards in any game this season, and he's only had more than 20 attempts once. And yes, they've lost five games in a row, and I obviously get that you don't run as much when you're behind, but they weren't running a lot when they won their first two games, either. Gore's ankle seems like a real problem.

The 49ers were impressive in the second half of 2006 because Gore rushed for over 1,000 yards and his team rallied around him, but I'm not seeing a bit of that this year. And usually, when a line falls apart, you can point to the loss of a major component. When Steve Hutchinson leaves for Minnesota, or Orlando Pace gets hurt, you can understand ... but the only real change in this line was the addition of rookie Joe Staley, who's supposed to be an upgrade over Kwame Harris.

New Orleans, on the other hand, has seen a renewed offense based on solid blocking -- Drew Brees hasn't been sacked in his last four games -- and Reggie Bush's ability to bounce outside. They're not trying to make him a Deuce McAllister anymore. Seems obvious, really. When you have a smaller guy with tremendous outside speed, you get him going outside. Brees threw to nine different receivers, and Marques Colston burned just about everyone for three touchdowns. Whatever ailed that Saints' offense at the start of the season, they appear to have figured it out.

Washington Redskins 7 at New England Patriots 52

Bill Barnwell: What I'm intrigued about heading into this game is whether the Redskins change (or use the part of) their scheme that attacks the Patriots weaknesses -- tight ends and underneath patterns -- instead of running the smoke-and-mirrors screens and bombs stuff. Sellers gets totally turned around by Rodney Harrison on a safety blitz and blows up a play, flushing Jason Campbell from the pocket.

I really can't stand the Redskins' offensive scheme. Why do you have a 700-page playbook when you run four pages of it? It's a great scheme against the Bengals, who can't defend downfield and can't tackle, but it's an awful scheme against the Patriots. This totally frustrates and confounds me.

I've said some bad things about Mike Vrabel and the steps he's lost, but he had an amazing rush coming off the edge, beating both the right tackle and Clinton Portis to Jason Campbell's arm, causing him to fumble.

By the way, It's Week 8 and Donte' Stallworth is still running to the wrong side of the field after leaving the huddle.

Ned Macey: Wow. I hadn't watched New England much other than the second half of Dallas. I assumed that you could just play two-deep and punish the receivers underneath and at least slow them down. Maybe not. Brady didn't complete his first pass over 15 yards in the air until the fourth quarter, and they still dominated. What are Brady's yards after catch? I can't believe he isn't dominating that like he is every other stat.

One crucial event from the Panthers-Colts game was Marlin Jackson's injury. I'm not sure his status or even what his injury was, but he plays the slot in nickel, i.e., on Wes Welker.

And, while the Pats have a great defense, I've now watched Jason Campbell two consecutive weeks. I'm not impressed. I'm starting to agree with the poster who pointed out that Campbell has had one good game, against Detroit. Campbell is a little older. He's already 25, turning 26 by the end of the season. He has fumbled a Warner-esque eight times in eight games. I'm still a believer in the Lewin Career Forecast, but that doesn't mean it has never missed on a player. Campbell looks like a Delhomme upside to me.

Doug Farrar: Did anyone else find it funny when Troy Aikman started talking about Randy Moss' pushoff on the fake-spike touchdown reception? I can't think of another quarterback in NFL history who should more fervently wish that sleeping dogs would forever lie on that particular subject.

Aaron Schatz: How on earth do the Redskins not cover Mike Vrabel in the end zone?

Stuart Fraser: All I know is that one of my most common notes on red zone pass plays is "the tight end, cover the tight end!" (This is normally whilst watching Pittsburgh, for which one can substitute "Matt Spaeth" for "Mike Vrabel," though Heath Miller is also often disturbingly open.) I assume that part of all this non-covering of tight ends is due to the fiendish and nefarious scheming of offensive coordinators, and their dread lieutenants, quarterbacks, to get them open.

Mike Tanier: In goal-to-go situations, defenders have an almost impossible task. Linebackers have to aggressively attack the run, then cover the pass as their second responsibility. The tight end play works because no defensive coordinator can say "screw the run, just make sure the tight end doesn't get open." If they did, that team would give up 50 one-yard rushing touchdowns per year.

Aaron Schatz: The Patriots are winning by so many points that they just brought in Eric Gagne at quarterback.

Doug Farrar: Mon Dieu!

Posted by: admin on 29 Oct 2007

452 comments, Last at 03 Nov 2007, 1:19am by Fergasun


by MDZ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:48pm

Calling for a cheapshot or an injury to any player is classless. However, playing Brady (or any other QB in the 4th quarter of a 3+ score game) just isn't worth the risk of injury. There is always a risk of injury in football, and you play your best players when it's not a blowout because the reward the player brings is greater than the risk of injury. In a blowout the reward of playing a starter isn't there so it's not worth the risk.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:48pm

Waverly, I think head coaches should start sporting sabers in scabbards, and when the losing team does not wish to become humiliated, the losing head coach should cross the field and surrender his saber. Maybe a blown out Super Bowl coach could commit ritual suicide at midfield!

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:49pm

"t. To me, that’s like watching a boxing match that should have been stopped two rounds ago"

Yes, and watching an offense stop playing, and just giving the ball back to the other team, is like watching a big bully with his hand on a little kid's head, while the little kid keeps swinging, but can't reach.

Neither one is all that fun to watch.

by Brandon (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:51pm

Maybe the effort to sustain drives via 4th down attempts late in a blowout is in fact an attempt to keep a defense off the field and fresh for a huge matchup the following week. I hate the Pats by the way, just trying on the other shoes.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:53pm

#303: Agreed. But I'd rather see the big bully hold the little kid's head than knock the little kid down again and again.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:53pm

kaveman, why not just change the channel, or leave the stadium? Why on earth do you want to watch guys aren't trying? I'm with UK-Phil. Quitting has zero appeal.

by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:55pm

I'm always impressed by the old statistic like "The 1940 Michigan team outscored opponents 410-23". If a NFL team is dominant enough to pull off something like that, then I'd feel cheated if they didn't try. I agree w Bill Simmons' take on this (as best I remember)- if you have a chance to go undefeated and become the greatest team ever, you shouldn't settle for playing it conservative just to win the Super Bowl. Go and make some history.

That said, here's hoping they only lose two games all year- week 17 and the Super Bowl to my Giants.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:58pm

Well, the analogy is somewhat inapt because A) these aren't kids, and B)nobody is getting bullied, since the participants both agreed to the competition.

by Brandon (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:58pm

The bully/little kid matchup is a bad analogy. Because the "little kid" in this playground is bound by a clock that says he must keep fighting. The bully should not stop and absorb the punches needlessly though he may be completely dominant. And in this case it's more like two multimillion dollar, highly developed bullies. One can fight, the other can't.

by Mike B in VA (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:58pm

#143 -

Edwards got hurt, and Losman came in fo rthe end of the game. Losman didn't look much better until Lee Evans bailed him out on a HORRID decision to throw into double coverage. (Apparently, he'd watched a lot of Brady film that week.) That touchdown was a nice game-winner, but scary - most of the time (or against a competent defense) that ball is intercepted.

by Brandon (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:59pm

Yeah, what he said.

by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:59pm

Will, I was thinking about that drop-kick thing...probably a much lower percentage of scoring than with a conventional field goal, therefore less insulting.
I assume if Flutie misses, the opponent gets possession from the spot of the drop.

by Mike B in VA (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:01pm

Congrats. A few Pats haters (and homers) have managed to make sure I don't make more than a cursory glance at this thread anymore. Can you *please* move this crap to the "Armageddon" thread on the message board, at least?

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:03pm

#306: As I said already, I did stop watching. I find it interesting (see? polite word) that some of you who aren't Patriots fans found the rest of that game entertaining.

There have been times when my Broncos have been playing the hated Raiders and I've wished for 52-0 drubbings. Now, I actually hope Shanahan never does that... or has he already? There's an ugly thought.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:03pm

306: That's what I did. I switched to Jets/Bills. Talk about watching two teams that just stopped trying, that game was even worse.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:03pm

Re #296
This isn’t college where one team can build a powerhouse and make Tim Couch look like a superstar, the NFL doesn’t have that kind of talent disparity between teams.
I present to you Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien!

Couch is a poor example of your point-he was in a gimmicky offense and the scouts didn't realize it and put an inflated value on him because of it. There's a reason subsequent Mike Leach passers haven't been high first round draft picks, and it wasn't because they didn't put up good numbers.

Not to pick on Miami, but Gino Torretta and Ken Dorsey are far better examples of your point, though NFL scouts did at least realize those two gentlemen probably won't be good NFL quarterbacks.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:04pm

Would the pats haters think it insulting if Brady came out in the fourth quarter with one hand tied behind his back? Maybe Welker and Moss could each have an ankle tied to the other's, and they could run patterns three-legged style?

by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:14pm

RE: Will

"Would the pats haters think it insulting if Brady came out in the fourth quarter with one hand tied behind his back? Maybe Welker and Moss could each have an ankle tied to the other’s, and they could run patterns three-legged style?"

Step away from the keyboard. Take a deep breath. Maybe get some water. You need a break.

by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:15pm

I wouldn't call Kentucky a powerhouse team in the Tim Couch era. But your point is still a good one.

by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:15pm

Kaveman, my memory is going back about 10 years ('96?), but remember when your Broncos beat the tar out of the Patriots, then late in the game, Shannon Sharpe got in front of the camera with a phone (I think) and said something like "Call the Army, call the National Guard, because we are killing the Patriots right now."?
Was that still Reeves?
Anyways, it was funny.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:15pm


Having Welker tied to his leg would most certainly hinder Moss's ability to go up and get the ball. He'd probably still score those two TDs against Miami though.

by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:18pm

not to change the topic away from the always fascinating "belichik sux" topic, but two things I really liked about the Pats gameplan yesterday (this is probably typical for them, but I don't watch them that much):

1. The QB sneak from a spread formation. Brilliant. Why doesn't every team do this? If you're going to sneak, then why do it out of the heavy/jumbo formation that most teams do, which gets you 11 defenders in the box. I also liked the quick snap on those plays, too. Just darned smart.

2. The Pats short passing game seemed to always hit the receiver/rb while he was running fwd (a la the original west coast offense). The skins, to pick one example, have an inordinate number of short passes that hit the receiver/rb when he is standing still, running to the sideline or worse.


by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:19pm

Nathan, I'm not serious, if you couldn't tell. The idea of being offended by a football score, or how that score was arrived at, is kind of amusing to me. Sorry if my amusement is not shared.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:20pm

316/319: Yea, I don't really know anything about college football.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:35pm

#320: Shanahan took over the Broncos in 1995 so that was during his time. From here, about Shannon Sharpe:

As caught by NFL Films, speaking into a sideline phone during Denver's 34-8 rout of New England on Nov. 17, 1996 -- "Mr. President, call in the National Guard! Send as many men as you can spare! Because we are killing the Patriots! They need emergency help!"

A mere 26 point lead though. Heh. That doesn't make me feel bad.

Will, et al. I don't understand the point of all the sarcastic suggestions. It is hardly unknown for a team with a lead to abandon the pass.

by billsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:37pm

Tony Romo did the goal-line-spread-sneak play at least once last season, although they weren't up 38-0 at the time. It's a fairly standard play for a pass-wacky offense, just like the fake/throw-handoff that Brady keeps doing.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:43pm

The point, kaveman, is that it is silly to be offended by a football team playing football. If teams want to stop passing, fine, if they want to keep passing fine. Especially on the professional level, where teams can't intentionally schedule weak sisters that they can pound into mulch. Read UK-Phil's comments; a lot of people who paid a lot of money to see a game would prefer to see the best players trying to score touchdowns. They should be denied this so millionaires on the losing side don't feel humiliated? To use some UK lingo, bollocks!

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 6:45pm

"A mere 26 point lead though. Heh. That doesn’t make me feel bad."

So taunting with a 26 point lead is less offensive than playing football with a 36 point lead?

by CA (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:00pm

I’m pretty sure I’ve read the word “whilst� more times since Stuart Fraser joined the FO staff than I did in three semesters of British literature.

Re: Aaron: Speaking of quarterbacks … I didn’t pay much attention to the draft before I started doing this for a living. Why was David Carr considered the number one prospect in the 2002 draft? What did people say about him at the time?

I don't know about anybody else, but I was blown away by Carr his senior year at Fresno State. He went in and shredded the defenses of BCS conference teams and non-BCS conference teams alike. He was incredible to watch, and if I had to compare him to somebody, it would be John Elway. He was big, athletic, had a strong arm, was accurate despite being a downfield passer, made good decisions, threw a beautiful spiral despite an unorthodox throwing motion, and seemed to carry an otherwise marginally talented team into the top ten (at one point in the season). Up until that point, I had never watched a college QB who I thought was more likely to become a star at the NFL level.

Re: 30 football is supposed to be played in cold, crappy weather. man up.

I couldn’t disagree more with that attitude or conclusion. I don’t like to watch my favorite game ruined by bad weather. I’d rather see high-quality play than allegedly visually appealing precipitation and mud. I’m a lifelong resident of the Upper Midwest, so I don’t feel the need to pretend to be tough when it comes to bad weather.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:01pm

260: There is a world of difference between acknowledging that these things happen, and advocating that it's right for them to happen. I don't see anyone here pretending it doesn't happen. I see a lot of people protesting that advocating retributive violence for lost honor is abhorrent. To illustrate, compare these two statements:

1) You should be careful in that area of town, there've been a lot of murders/muggings/rapes in that neighborhood lately.
2) If you go to that area of town, I hope you get murdered/mugged/raped because you deserve it.

I think my stance here corresponds to statement 1 - acknowledging that such reprehensible things do happen, and that precautions should be taken against it. Morganja has repeatedly advocated statement 2 - if it happens, you're getting what you deserve. There is a world of difference in these views.

And to address morganja directly on a few comments:

1) You frequently appealed to human nature as an excuse for retribution. Are you kidding? It may in fact be human nature. It is in no way excusable. No more than stealing is excusable, because human nature takes what it wants when it wants it. I would advocate things like "morality" and "civilization" as more significant in determining acceptability behavior than mere base instinct.

2) Comment 237 used an appropriate illustration - go to a courthouse and see how many people are on trial for responding to insult with violence. I find the irony delicious. Here you are advocating that this is what they *should* do, yet in your very illustration they are going to jail for that behavior! Are you really trying to advocate a course of action by appealing to people who aren't fit to remain a part of free society? People are being sent to jail for acting like that - obviously, this is the right thing to do!

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:07pm


I didn't see Carr play in college, but I'm a firm believer that getting sacked 925 times in his first 12 games as a starter was detrimental to his developement as a QB.

I think he got to play way too soon, and hes developed some awful habits because of it.

by Nick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:08pm

Guys how can you disagree with morganja, he played football.

by BD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:26pm

I don't like the Pats or the Skins. But it sure seems like the same people bemoaning the Pats "unsportsmanlike conduct" are saying the skins should have gone after Brady's knees.

News Flash! The Redskins are professionals. They are not high schoolers who play for East because they live in the district. The skins players who got 52 hung on them make the same money as the Pats players who put up the 50-spot. If you don't like it, get better, or join the Arena league. There are plenty of players dying for a shot.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:27pm

#327: I wasn't offended. I was bored and a little sickened by that game.

Ah, I see... other posters have talked about being offended and the Redskins' feelings. Teach me to jump into the middle of a discussion.

As for people paying good money to see touchdowns, you'll forgive me if I don't accept UK-Phil as Everyfan. There's a lot of people who are as turned off by unsporting behavior as I am.

#328: Let me just roll my eyes at you, Rich Conley. As I'm sure dozens of readers here do, every thread.

#330: It's a pity that morganja seems to always go too far with his posts because he does make some very good points that are lost in the ensuing furor.

by Glazius (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:31pm

You evaluate QBs based on their accuracy given the amount of time they have to throw. Brady had a number of poor passes and all freakin day to throw.

Not necessarily. Remember the Pittsburgh/Seattle game - a lot of the time Pittsburgh brought 3/4 and put 8/7 back in coverage. Coverage sacks and throwaways resulted.

Hasselbeck had plenty of time but nobody was getting open.

This may or may not apply, though - I saw maybe the first quarter of the game, realized what shape it was going to be, and went off to play some Dwarf Fortress.

by PhilL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:39pm

The NYG/MIA could have been played at Twickenham, home of the English Rugby team. The grass has deeper roots and you wouldn't have had the problems yesterday. The beer is cheaper there too.

The NFL boys went for Wembley though with shallower turf and a roof that only partially closes (it would have cost another $500,000 for the full deal).

Nice stadium, good sightlines but a poor game.

by PhilL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:42pm

Did I say $500,000? I meant $500m

by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:42pm

okay, my last contribution on this topic. Note that I haven't heard a single complaint from the skins players or coaches. Not even the hopelessly homertastic WaPo is complaining. Long cut and paste, and then I'll sign off. Linked in my name.

Let's start with a disclaimer: There's no crying in football. You get your butt kicked like that, all you can do is suck it up.

Anyone who has a problem with what Bill Belichick is doing, there's a real simple solution. Just make him stop. Make him punt. Pick off a pass. Do something about it. In the ultimate ubber-macho sport Belichick is letting everyone know each and every week who the Alpha Dog is and how loud he can bark.

I love it. It's clean and pure. There's no guessing involved. Belichick won't talk about. Doesn't have to. He can utter all the useless jibberish he wants after games, the reality is so glaring he need verbalize it. He's doing it to you every week.

You know exactly what to expect - going for it on 4th down, throwing TD passes to the linebacker - and you still find yourself beat down by fiddy. Look at it as him doing you favor. He's going to expose any and all of your flaws on film every Sunday for all to see. He's taking all the guess work out of it for you; you just have to rebuild your team's psyche and correct all the mistakes (yikes!).

You don't have to wonder, like, what the score would be if the Pats really kept pushing in the second half? You don't have to imagine just how better they are then you. Belichick is telling you. Over 60 minutes you know where you stand. They are going for your throat on every single play and if you're guard isn't up you'll come out looking silly.

I don't blame him. The idea that he has to show some respect to Coach Joe, or any coach, befuddles me. That's not how Belichick rolls. It's missing the point. It's irrelevant. He doesn't care who is on the opposite sideline; these are equal opportunity beatdowns. This dude is going after Gibbs 1.0, Bill Walsh, Vince Lombardi. He's slaying ghosts. He's chasing history.

And it's plain as day for all to see. He wants to end any debate about the greatest team in NFL history. He wants to go undefeated, score more points, have the biggest margin of victory and have his quarterback post the single most prolific season in league history. What's to hate about that? Hell, I'd love to play for the guy.

by Randy S. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:44pm

This is the worst thread I've seen on FO. What a disaster.

Sad to see Ben Riley missing Audibles this week. I hope he's still writing for the site.

by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:45pm

Re: 330
Once again a bad analogy. I'm not sure what pleasure people are getting from distorting my comments. I have a much more appropriate analogy. There is a black ghetto with lots of violence and murder. Someone chooses to don some KKK sheets and wander on down there to express his views on miscegenation of the races.

Now, one can surely understand if someone chooses to beat the crap out of our white-sheeted friend. One can even say he deserved to have the crap beat out of him. One can even say that he is glad someone beat the crap out of him.

That is my position on poor sportsmanship. The Patriots just didn't wander into the wrong section of town. They deliberately attempted to disrespect and humiliate their opponents.

Furthermore, you confuse my explanation of why there is violent retribution to an excuse for violent retribution. My argument is that people naturally feel anger and want to get revenge when they feel disrespected and humiliated. Good sportsmanship is a technique that we have developed over a long period of time in order to prevent this needless violence.

My excuse for violent retribution is that it is sometimes necessary in order to enforce the moral code we know as good sportsmanship.

Now that I have clarified my arguments, everyone can act all shocked and confused and continue to misconstrue my comments and defend the sanctity of poor sportsmanship.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:55pm

340: KKK references? Okay, this has gone beyond ridiculous. I'm done with reading comment threads on this site.

by mm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:56pm

349-I couldn’t disagree more with that attitude or conclusion. I don’t like to watch my favorite game ruined by bad weather. I’d rather see high-quality play than allegedly visually appealing precipitation and mud. I’m a lifelong resident of the Upper Midwest, so I don’t feel the need to pretend to be tough when it comes to bad weather.

Well, I live in the south, and I like having some games in bad weather sites. I wouldn't want the Super Bowl played in bad weather environment, but I think its a good thing to have a league with open air stadiums in places like Cleveland, Buffalo, and Green Bay, where we can see teams adapt to different conditions.

by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:00pm

The funny thing is, all this gleeful talking of knee-capping Brady, not only from knuckledraggers on football discussion boards, but also from some commentators who should know better, are more likely to have the opposite effect: refs are going to pay extra attention to late hits on Brady, and thus are more likely to call even minor violations early in games, just to make sure defenders don't get strange ideas. More space and time for Brady, more TD's, more score-running.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:06pm

Kaveman, I wasn't asking you to accept UK Phil as everyfan, which is why I said "a lot" of people are like him. I guess my question is, why watch something if the two choices are 1)watching a team that is not trying it's best, or 2)watching teams which are so mismatched that it is sickening? If you sensibly aren't watching, because those are the choices available, why do you care what happens? Why is it more unsporting to try hard against a poor opponent than it is to quit against a poor opponent? I can see the case in college ball, where teams purposely schedule teams because they are bad, but in the NFL, with a salary cap and a draft system which gives the bad team first crack at the young talent, it seems to me the most unsporting thing to do is to stop trying one's best with 20% of the game left. If people are going to quit with 20% of the game left, let'em redistribute 20% of their game and coaching checks to the paying customers.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:20pm

Morganja, when it gets to the point that an analogy is drawn between the deliberate infliction of life or career changing violence, in response to someone dressing in the garb of people who have murdered others in large numbers, and the deliberate infliction of career ending violence in response to having a feeling of humiliation because the opponent scored a couple of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, well, that's just nuts.

Finally, would you prove the existence of a code, somewhere outside your head, which says the the proper way to demonstrate respect for an opponent is to say that they aren't worthy of your best effort?

I've spent way too much time on this today, partly out of desire to avoid some unpleasant tasks, but it really has been a fascinating experiment regarding people's priorities, and what they believe important.

by Madison (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:34pm

29, 211: There were some real corkers on display. A Marino college jersey; a Sterling Sharpe Packers one, through to a LenDale White Jersey, Jon Kitna from the Seahawks days, and NFL Europe jerseys of various vintages. Shirt spotting was quite a rewarding pastime...

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:59pm

Wow, I felt bad that three of my five posts in this thread were about the Patriots, but I think I've probably improved the ratio by this point.

How did we get to whacking people in the knee and referencing the KKK?

by hector (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:03pm

Jersey spotting is always a cool exercise to me. Saw a cute girl wearing a Jeff Reed replica at the bar Sunday. She was taken, I forget by who - Hines, I think.

by prunemike (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 11:06pm

I have spent many years around high school football - all three of my sons played - and the one constant that I observed when the score was out of reach that it was up to the defense to wave the white flag. They did this by taking out their starters and played those kids who spent most games standing on the sidelines. It was considered unsportsmanlike if the other coach didn't replace his offensive players in the same manner. If anyone could be accused of unsportsmanlike behavior (and I don't believe that to be the case) it would be Gibbs. I am positive if Gibbs waved the white flag in the same manner that I saw high school coaches do - like pulling Campbell and Cooley - the Pats would have responded the same way. Gibbs clearly intended to play his team (and risking injuries to a Campbell and or a Cooley knowing that Washington's real challenge lies with the NFC east and not the AFC East)If I were a Skins fan I would be complaining about that and not about this nonsense about running up the score.

by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:20am

I see it was a great weekend to not have internet access to this thread!

Some Colts/Pats ideas, having watched both games this weekend (and most of the games this year):

1) Colts looked like a team coming off a road MNF to a road Sunday game: many, many dropped passes, rotating D linemen in the first 10 plays of the game, sloppy play re penalties.
2) Dungy gave the Colts players Monday and Tuesday off. Probably the right long-term plan, but won't help this weekend. That's the difference between a team that has already had its bye (Indy), and a team heading into its final week before the bye (NE). NE will have plenty of time to rest after this.
3) The Colts only chance to win is to put pressure on Brady, even if they have to blitz on occassion and get burned because of that blitz. I wasn't sure why Washington never blitzed as the game continued -- clearly, their base rush wasn't doing squat, and even having 7 in pass coverage could not get it done. Why not take the chance?
4) Colt injuries will make a difference: Ugoh is much better than Johnson at LT. Harrision is much better than Gonzales at WR. Heyden is a DB who hits and is much better than Jennings. If that trio plays (and is healthy), Indy is much better than if they don't.
5) NE's been passing and setting up the run by loosening up the D through the air. Hard to cover that mix of receivers, as Moss excels against man coverage, and Welker excels against zones. Is Stalworth really that good after the catch? He's been impressive.

I do think that every NE/Indy game comes down to pressure on the QB. I've always thought this. The QB who gets pressured by the front 3/4/5 makes mistakes. The QB who is not pressured usually has success.

I am a Colt fan, but I don't see a win coming. The Colts always start slowly, and the Pats always start quickly. This year, NE's good enough to run away after a quick start.

But, I am glad Indy gets to see NE in person during the regular season so that they know what they are in for in the playoffs.

by AndyE (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:21am

In a radio show appearance today, Bill Belichick basically said that he felt that the most disrespectful things he could have done were kick the field goal, or kneel and hand over the ball; that as a defensive coordinator who had been walked all over in the past, he never expected the other offense to let up.

So publicly, at least, the play of the Patriots is consistent with that philosophy.

On an interesting note, I have seen several comments that the Redskins were not fooled by the fake spike. From what I could see, it definitely seemed like half the Redskins D was standing around, while half of them were playing. And certainly it didn't look like the D-line was really trying to rush. Of course, that might been their usual appearance.

And similar comments about stopping Vrabel; he was again in on three snaps; you can sell out to stop Vrabel, or get burned by him every so often. Note that Russ Hochstein also lined up at TE, so now you have three weird bruisers in the goal line mix.

by Carlos (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:53am

I have seen several comments that the Redskins were not fooled by the fake spike. From what I could see, it definitely seemed like half the Redskins D was standing around,

I'd say the skins defended it well, it was the refs who clearly weren't ready. That pushoff by Moss on a jump ball gets called 95% of the time (as distinct from the Michael Irvin patented soft push on the cut, which still never gets called). Of course, it made zero difference in the outcome, but it was a bad noncall, which i speculate was caused by the fake spike.

And similar comments about stopping Vrabel; he was again in on three snaps; you can sell out to stop Vrabel, or get burned by him every so often.

Replaying it on my DVR, it looked pretty clear that sean taylor was responsible for him, as he followed him in motion across the field, but then inexplicably once the ball was snapped and vrabel immediately went out for the pass, Sean Taylor crashed the line. Taylor does a lot of things great, but playing smart doesn't appear to be one of them.

by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:00am

1. good comments, nice to see some football analysis.
2. "I do think that every NE/Indy game comes down to pressure on the QB. I’ve always thought this. The QB who gets pressured by the front 3/4/5 makes mistakes. The QB who is not pressured usually has success."
What about the 2004 afccg?
For much of the game, the Pats rushed 2 and dropped 9.
Manning really had nowhere to go with the ball.
That was one of the most interesting things I have ever seen.
I must say that when people talk about rushing the passer...well sometimes they are right, but sometimes they are way off.
Too many times I have seen a 3 man rush, qb has all day to throw, and he throws a pick. OK obviously Manning and Brady are very good, and its hard to come up with some uber plan to stop them.
I will say this, except for the 2005 Steelers game, Manning has been amazing against the blitz. One of the best I have ever seen. I think Blitzing Manning is way too risky.
I realize that the rush three drop 8 is very unpopular, but I think its the way to go against these two.

by oldnumberseven (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:55am

So, I watched this half hour show show on the NFL network the other day which showcased the top ten feuds in the NFL. Number two was Glanville, when he coached the Oilers, and the rest of the AFC central. Wyche, Noll, and probably Rutigliano, (Trogdor help me out.) Those were some games with running up the score. Wyche would kick field goals, call timeouts, score touchdowns on a lopsided game inside of two minutes because he wanted to pile it on Glanville. And the late hits were ridiculous. Running up the score is if you call a time out with under two minutes to go and you have a sizable lead, so you can score again.

Glanville was the only guy I ever saw Chuck Noll yell at midfield after a game.

The number one feud was, or course, Al Davis versus the NFL.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 3:08am

353: I think what Purds means is that you have to get pressure with as few rushers as possible.

I remember the day after 2005, reading an ill-informed article in the Washington Post about how some of the blame for the Colts' loss lied with Manning, because 5 linemen can't block 8 blitzing pass-rushers.

If you watch that game, the Steelers were rushing 3 or 4 men and getting total jailbreaks with them.

That's the key. You have to fool Manning with exotic blitzes (which is difficult) or have Shawn Merriman, or have some other trick up your sleeve. If you don't get pressure, you're screwed, and if you get pressure with five or more guys rushing the pass, you're screwed.

I'd assume that the same is true for New England, although I'd commit more resources to attacking Brady than to Manning. I think Brady enjoys holding onto the ball longer than Manning does.

by Fergasun (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 4:18am

You know, I'm sick of hearing/reading people say "If the Redskins didn't want them to run up the score, they should stop New England from scoring." That's the point man... the Redskins hadn't been able to stop it all day... they know that they should be stopping them... but it's not working... the Patriots know the Redskins couldn't stop them that's the point!. If they could stop them maybe they would do it before the score got to 7-14-17-24-31-38-45-52? I can't believe not one posted this clear fact in the mostly 300 posts of less than ESPN caliber banter of garbage going back and forth.

I really don't have much of a problem with what they did, it's football and a game, and teams vary in the scale of how much class they have at one time or another.

So if I can't stop the Patriots running my base 4-3 defense the whole game, maybe the next time Brady comes out you'll see my new 5-5-5 defense... that's what Buddy Ryan would do.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:45am

Re: 354

Thanks for reminding me of those days. I lived in/near Cincy in the 80's and can remember those Glanville/Wyche fueds. Wyche was steamed about Glanville running up the score one time and he took the opportunity to return the favor whenever he could.

By the way, Marty S was the Browns coach in those days.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:50am

Re: 350

Not sure why folks aren't more optimistic about the Colts chances on Sunday. Certainly their FO metrics are comparable. They do need to be relatively healthy but if Harrison and Ugoh are ready to play I would expect a very good game from the Colts. People still don't seem to be believers in their defense, but seven games seems like enough to say it's playing very solidly this year.

by Nick (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:07am

Totally disagree re: whoever said that pressure would be the key in the Indy/NE game. Pressure with the front 4 maybe, but both Manning and Brady destroy the blitz. I think for the most part both teams will sit back at the expense of letting the other drive down the field, and just try to hold them to field goals.

I mean, Ellis Hobbs has been getting picked on terribly lately, and I don't see the Pats giving Wayne/Harrison many chances to get a big play.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:13am

Re 223:
Yes, the Pats sucked so bad, they went to the Super Bowl five times in the last 22 years. Can't you realize how ridiculous that sounds compared to 90% of the rest of the fans in the league? Even the Super Bowl in 1985 and the one in the 90s is more than most teams in the league over that time.

Re 287:
I haven't looked at all their games (though I suspect this happened a lot) but in the Super Bowl they pulled McMahon before the 4th. Partly because McMahon was a walking injury. I don't have the gamelogs handy but McMahon threw 313 passes to Fuller's 107. Payton had 324 carries to Suhey's 115. They had nine wins over 16 points and four of those were over 35 (counting the playoffs). Maybe they ran up the score, I don't know, but I don't think many people would argue if you called Ditka an ass. People in Chicago like him because he won, but he acted like a jerk to his players, the media, and at times, the fans.

Re 325:
He's a Vikings fan, you can't expect much.

Re 329:
I like when the elements are involved but not to the point where it's sloppy. The wind game in Chicago, some rain and a few snow games are unwatchable because neither team can execute but a little inclement weather provides a nice spice of unpredictability.

Re 354:
They screwed up then - you need to look up the rivalry between the Bears-Packers:
In Week 12 of the 1986 season Green Bay defensive tackle Charles Martin wore a towel with a hit list of specific Bears numbers written on it, such as #34, Walter Payton, #9 Jim McMahon, and others. Following a McMahon interception Martin came up from behind and body slammed him to the turf, separating McMahon's shoulder, ending the quarterback's season. Martin would be suspended for two games, at the time the longest suspension in NFL history.

Forrest Greg and Mike Ditka made the rivalry very petty and violent.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:17am

Last night I saw both Merril Hoge and Keyshawn Johnson defending what the Patriots did. That right there should tell you which side of this discussion reasonable people should gravitate to.

by Ben (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:35am

re: 359 I disagree with you about the Pats giving Wayne and Harrison chances. I think that's the one thing they are going to risk.

The bread and butter of the Colts passing game this year has been the center of the field with Clark and the RBs. I'm guessing the Pats are going to clog the middle, press the receivers and force Manning in to making tough throws along the sideline.

The last few games, it doesn't seem like the Pats have been afraid to play Harrison and Wayne man to man. Sure, they may give up a long play now and again, but it's not like their offense will have trouble keeping up.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:39am

Re: #362

Not just that -- look at last year's AFCCG. For the first 1.8 quarters the Colts were trying to throw to the WRs and couldn't do anything. On the final drive of the half they finally decided to switch to going over the middle and WHAM. Straight through the Pats' defense.

by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:46am

Re: 353

Coldbike, the Colts gave up 200+ yards rushing that day in the snow, and receivers were fumbling all over the place. I don't think of that one as typical of the recent games. But, if we include that game, I would suggest that strategy no longer works, as Manning will run the ball or dump off for small gains (and help his defense rest, too).

I did mean pressure with 4 guys, or perhaps a 5th.

Look, I don't think the Colts can't win, but it's an uphill battle. Psychologically, I think Brady's had a tough recent stretch in big, close games. The last two playoff years have ended with Brady throwing interceptions to end his team's chances (what most NFL fans called "choking" when Manning did it). In fact, if you add the SD playoff game, he threw what in most usual situations would have been the game-ending interception there as well. So, I don't think Brady is beyond reproach. But, if he has anywhere near the time he's had this season so far, he won't make mistakes. That TD to INT ratio of his doesn't lie.

by Lyford (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:47am

So, I was trying to figure out what the rule was on "running up the score," what it was, exactly, that would spur great discussion and vitriol. And I decided that throwing into the endzone with less than 10 minutes left and the starting quarterback still in the game, and a four touchdown lead, that would probably be it.

But then I saw this - "(8:13) D.McNabb pass incomplete deep middle to M.Schobel", with the Eagles already up 49-21, and there was nary a comment about it - so that must not be right...
On the other hand, that thread somehow turned into a long discussion of the tuck rule. Which suggests that it doesn't matter what the Patriots do in any given week. Someone is going to find something to attack them for, and someone else will defend them...

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:54am

I have no idea whether the Colts will win, but I do think they are going to try to force the Pats to put together multi-play drives, as opposed to quick strikes, so I don't think they'll take chances with Moss. I do think the pats will take chances with Wayne and Harrison, but I don't know if their linebacking crew is still athletic enough to clog the middle effectively, even with safety help. I also agree that if either team tries to blitz a lot, they are completely nuts, so the d-line/o-line pass rush match ups are the key. Who will win? Got me, but I would think the homefield advantage is especially hekpful to Freeney and co., but then again Moss has always had huge days on the road in domes, so maybe not. Yes, I typically deliver such decisive insights.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:07am

#352, I'll wade back in one more time on the topic, and say that if the Redskins wish to concede they can't stop them, and are concerned that their feelings are being hurt, let the Redskins start taking a knee, and demonstrate they have conceded. The people who paid money to see two teams trying can then leave in disgust. I can't believe that in 300-plus posts of ESPN caliber comments that there are still people who think that highly paid coaches and players, playing in front of customers who paid substantial sums of money to see the highly paid coaches and players compete, should stop attempting to compete with a substantial percentage of the game remaining.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:11am

I think you are entirely right, Lyford, and like I've said repeatedly, I'm rooting for the Colts. Somehow, it's more important for Belichik not to hurt the feelings of the Redskins than it is for Reid to not hurt the feelings of the Lions. Poor, poor, Lions......

by bengt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:19am

#271: My exact thought as well. Especially since I seem to remember a discussion here at FO not long ago, which ended with the statement (even attributed to Mike Perreira, I think) that every rule infraction can be sanctioned after review, even if it was not the infraction that had been originally challenged.
So what could/should have happened was that an offensive pass interference penalty should have been enforced and that the Steelers should have lost a timeout because their challenge of an incomplete pass was unsuccessful.

by Al 45 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:21am

Re: 361 Wanker

Last night I saw both Merril Hoge and Keyshawn Johnson defending what the Patriots did. That right there should tell you which side of this discussion reasonable people should gravitate to.

You mean Steve Young's side? Steve Young's disgust was, well, quite disgusting.

Can someone sit Mr. Young down and show him some tape of Super Bowl XXIX (or some of his games during the 1994 regular season)? Apparently he has completely forgotten what went on during that game.

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:23am

I'm a Viking fan and over the years I've disliked other very successful teams because the Vikings never win and I'm jealous. But beyond that some winning teams are quite a bit more annoying than others.

As a Viking fan I should perhaps dislike the Green Bay Packers. But I don't. Why? Because Brett Favre is so likable and so is his wife by the way (I was incredibly impressed by here appearance on MNF last night, I normally hate the booth guest stuff, but I found her geniune and intelligent).

I find Belichick arrogant. I can't just toss aside his mistress on the side thing and pretend it has nothing to do with football. I find Tom Brady vacuous and enthralled with his own celebrity. Randy Moss is a selfish front runner who is only a good teammate when things are good. I also think this team has had a good dose of good fortune through the last few years but I don't hear any humility.

To debate the merits of running up the score is to debate the empathy a winning team should hold for it's defeated opponent. People will fall on either side of the issue - it is not a debate that can be won.

by Al 45 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:31am

re: Jimm

I find Tom Brady vacuous and enthralled with his own celebrity.

You're entitled to your opinion, but I wonder, do you feel the same about Peyton Manning?

I mean, I understand where your feelings come from with regard to Belichick and Moss. I don't, honestly, understand where your ideas come from with Brady, especially if you're OK with Manning.

by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:38am

Regarding the actual game upcoming:

I do, also, think that Rodney Harrison is not nearly the safety he was 3 years ago. Yes, he still gets in some good, physical hits, but they are now almost exclusively after someone else has made the first contact. He's not much of an open-field crusher like he used to be.

But, overall, I am glad (as a Colts fan) that Indy will get to see NE before the playoffs. For the Pats, the Colts team is not doing anything new, or with any really new personnel. For the Colts, it's the opposite: they need to see what the new WR corps is like, and it will help them to see if Thomas is a huge factor or not in the NE pass defense against Clark. (I suppose NE wants to see the "new" Colts defense, with almost all new LB's and CB's).

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:40am

jimm, I think it is almost always a mistake to form personal opinions about people who you see on t.v.. I don't know any of these people, but I can guarantee that they are all, as Easterbrook once pompously intoned about Parcells, "failed human beings". Yeah, some are no doubt worse than others, and when people start being found guilty of crimes, especially violent crimes, by juries of their peers, I'm willing to put them in a different category, but short of that I try not to form comparative personal opinions about people about who my knowledge is so sketchy. I do have high regard for Dungy, but that is due to the non-trivial number of people I do personally know who played with him or for him through the years, and what they have said to me about him. Yeah, it's once removed form personal knowledge, but that's a lot better than gaining insight from what we see on television.

As for empathy, I am a failed human being as well, so I don't have unlimited amounts of that quality, and I choose to not expend it on people who are getting their feelings hurt in an athletic competition for which their participation is being extraordinarily well compensated. There are literally billions and billions of people on this planet whom I do not know who I would rather use my empathetic energy on. I know the argument is that Belichik should have empathy for Gibbs and his team, but everybody contracted to compete as hard as they could, so I just don't see how Belichik's empathy should trump that.

by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:40am

I also think this team has had a good dose of good fortune through the last few years but I don’t hear any humility.
Weird, because if there is a team in the NFL that consistently and unanimously shows respect for their opponents, may they be the Colts or the Miami Dolphins, week after week, with no public bragging, calling out opponents before the game, or stunts of any kind, it's the Pats, starting with Belichick, through Brady, down to the last rookie.

I think you are confusing the team with its fans. But then again, all fans brag and annoy the crap out of other teams' fans when their team wins, it's just that Pats fans had more chances to do so recently than any other team's fans.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:43am

Yeah, Purds, I think that Harrison and the linebackers that play in front of him are old enough that Manning can exploit them, no matter that Belichik will likely scheme to take the middle of the field away.

by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:46am


Well said.

Al 45:

Does every comment have to be an "either-or" thing with NE (or Indy)? Can't anyone criticize one without implying a comment about the other?

Here, I'll do it: Manning needs to learn to play better on the first series in a game. He does well after figuring out an opponent, but he needs a better first-series game plan.

There, see. That doesn't mean Brady does or doesn't do the same. It's a criticism of Manning, without reference to Brady.

by Al 45 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:59am


Does every comment have to be an “either-or� thing with NE (or Indy)? Can’t anyone criticize one without implying a comment about the other?

If you bothered to read, rather to get in a tizzy about it, you'd have seen that I had no problems with is Belichick and Moss comments and see how he could have those feelings.

His Brady comments, however, strike me as odd. I don't see anything Brady does that would lead someone to think he's vacuous or enthralled with his own celebrity.

I asked about Manning because, well, let's face it, if anyone is enthralled with his own celebrity, it's surely Peyton Manning, who's the biggest commercial whore in the NFL.

My comment was mainly out there to see if he was simply being irrational, based on who Brady plays for, or if he had legitimate reasons.

But yeah, you can stick with your either/or theory, Purds.


by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:18pm

Re: 370

If I had to choose which side of an arguement was more reasoned and intelligent without ever hearing a single fact or arguement in any given discussion except that one side is Hoge and Keyshawn and the other is Steve Young immediately following another concussion, I'd side with Young in a heartbeat. And I'd guess that the majority of the time I'd still be happy with that decision after learning the details.

by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:20pm

Pats (and their fans) are boring... They just can't enjoy their team, everybody must tell them how great they are or it's disrespectful...

I hope it's post number 360, 30 genuflexions !!!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:16pm

yeah, Wanker and I'd take Jim Mora's opinion (which was that what Belichik did was fine) over any of those guys', because he's been on both sides of the fence as a head coach. Ultimately, though, arguments from authority on something like this aren't very useful, especialy when the authority doesn't hold himself to the same standard as the people he criticizes. Young threw plenty of fourth quarter tds while up a ton, so his opinion on this is, well, just a little rich.

by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:22pm

Not to jump the gun, but it looks like the Pats' DVOA jumped over 70% this week (both total and weighted).

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:32pm

s-m-j: where did you see the numbers? The "Just the Stats" pages still are back on week 7.

by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:35pm

Front page, left-side boxes. Numbers always show up there first before the main post comes up.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:40pm


by Ben (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:41pm

I'm surprised the Colts DVOA went up. Even if it was just a tick. The 1st half against Carolina was pretty bad...

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 4:53pm

372. AJ45: You must remember these are superficial feelings based on not knowing these individuals in any real sense. But in answer to your question I find Peyton Manning a little much but he seems to have a decent sense of humour.

by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:04pm

I am stunned SD is 4th.
I really thought they would collapse under Norv.

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:04pm

Will - I'm only judging these people within the context of watching a football game. When I sit down to watch a game I understand that it is simply a diversion from real emotion so attributing a like or dislike to an individual or group of individuals enhances the entertainment.

Having said that I think one can clearly judge Belichick as an unrepentant cheater at least within the rules of the NFL. I don't have any real knowledge as to the facts of his extramarital activities, so I'm in no position to judge him, but lets just say it doesn't surprise me.

by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:27pm

Hey Jimm, you'll be happy to know that Gregg Easterbrook agrees with you: last week he was just being "satirical" in comparing Belichick to Beelzebub, but this week he is convinced he is "exactly" that! Top that, you lame-ass, amateur haters: Belichick IS the Devil.

In reality, there is no more evidence that BB is an "unrepentant cheater" (within or without the rules of the NFL) than there is that Dungy is an unrepentant hate-filled homophobe, or that Manning is an unrepentant arrogant brat who likes to humiliate his underlings by placing his naked butt on their face. Let's move on.

Does anyone know what the "L" hand gesture that Asante Samuel makes after his play means?

by nat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:53pm

1) Played really well
2) Against a team that had been pretty highly rated in DVOA
3) Some of the teams they previously beat now look much better (SD)
4) Opponent adjustments are increasing, making all previous opponents look somewhat better - they had to play New England, for gosh sake!

Yes, it is not too surprising that the Patriots DVOA increased a bunch.

by Carlos (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:55pm

hey Will Allen in 367,

You claim to be responding to me (#352). And then you go on the attack against points I haven't made. In fact, if you bothered to read anything I've written here, cf. 157, 170 (or in last week's very similar discussion), you'd see that I'm on the same side as you in "running up the score" debate.

so, WTF is your problem?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 5:59pm

Carlos, my problem is that I can't type. I meant to write #356. Sorry.

by Carlos (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 6:05pm

Will Allen - cool, thx. I overreacted to getting lumped in with the Nancies on the other side. (note to the Nancies, I'm just kidding).

by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 6:51pm

Some of Keyshawn's speculations on why Belichick ran up the score. 'Maybe he has some personal problem with Gibbs.'

Revealing in two ways. First, despite arguing for Belichick, Keyshawn admits that there must be a reason Belichick ran up the score. That shows that not running up the score is the standard which Belichick deviated from. Second, who could possibly have a personal problem with Joe Gibbs? One might not like his current coaching, but has anyone ever even heard of someone having a personal problem with Gibbs?

I think Mike Wilbon summed up my feelings very well. The Redskins shouldn't complain, and as a team they didn't. But in the old days, there is no way Brady walks off that field.

Finally, Will, when I watch a contest I am watching a contest, not just 60 minutes of people playing football. Why do you think they bother keeping track of the score? Part of a contest is how a team handles victory and defeat. Belichick has shown that no matter how many games they win, they will never be champions, they will never be worthy of respect.

by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:02pm

Re: slo-mo-jo,
'In reality, there is no more evidence that BB is an “unrepentant cheater� (within or without the rules of the NFL) than there is that Dungy is an unrepentant hate-filled homophobe,'

Has Belichick cheated and been fined cash and a first round draft pick? CHECK

Has Belichick not repented? CHECK

Has Dungy been convicted of the things you claim? NO CHECK

Slo-mo-jo, You have already established that you are a complete Patriot Homer, has anything you written in the past year contributed to the conversation beyond that already established position? You could save everyone, including yourself, a lot of effort if you just cut and paste 'PATRIOTS GOOD! EVERYTHING ELSE BAD.' whenever you feel the urge to post. That way you don't have to bother coming up with a different verbose way of saying the same thing and we don't have to read endless variations of the same.

by hooper (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:13pm

In the Colts-Panthers comments, I just realized how much space they took to rail on Nantz and Sims. I've had the honor of listening to that crew for all weeks but one so far. It felt good to see that they had the same take I did.

(Ooh! A comment on the other teams! Neato!)

by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:16pm

Morganja, you make no sense: one can't be convicted of homophobia.

However, Dungy has publicly lent his name and support to a homophobic organization, and to my knowledge has never recanted his support. In fact, BB has explained his "cheating" with respect to violations of the taping rule (whether you accept his explanations or not) to a much further extent that Dungy has explained his implicit support for hating homophobes.

That said, I do not think that Dungy is an unrepentant hating homophobe, because everyone can make mistakes, and everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt (while still deserving appropriate punishment for their mistakes, just like BB did) in the absence of obvious recidivism.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:21pm

morganja, believe it or not, who you consider worthy of respect is not a pressing matter. To be fair, my opinion on the matter doesn't mean much either. As for Keyshawn Johnson, who cares what his speculation amounts to, or what he "admits" to regarding decisions that Belichik made? Keyshawn Johnson has nothing to "reveal". I heard Jim Mora say last night that he didn't think Belichik did anything wrong; are you going to tell me that Mora doesn't know anything about football? Or is he part of the secret Belichik cabal?

As to the old days, guys don't act like that nearly as much any more, for a very, very, smart reason. They are all making a ton more money playing football than they could doing anything else, and one guy trying to end another guy's career leads to more of the same, leaving a lot of guys millions poorer. Revenge fantasies pertaining to having one's feelings hurt aside, very, very few guys are going to go down that path, because they aren't the complete total morons you seem to think they are or should be.

Finally, you seem to fail to grasp that the word "contest" entails competing, not quitting. You favor quitting in some circumstances, at least a lot more circumstances than I do. Why not just say so? I favor quitting too in some circmstances; like when there is less than two minutes left, the other team isn't using their timeouts, or has none left, and they are behind at least two scores. I don't favor quitting when the other team is still trying to score, and certainly not when 20% of the game remains. Guys get paid to play and coach as best they are able. Fufill the obligation, or give back the money.

by jbrown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 8:08pm

I have a question for those of you that watched the Chargers-Texans game. On the botched punt/touchdown for the Chargers I was wondering if maybe Matt Turk completely missing the ball in the end zone might be the best statistical play. In no way do I believe Turk had this going through his mind, but it did make me wonder if it was the best move. Your two choices are to a) fall on the ball and take the safety, giving the Chargers two points and the ball back, or b) give the Chargers the 7 points and get the ball back. I'm not looking at subjective factors like it being a demoralizing play, strictly just numbers and the key factor - how good does an offense have to be so that you are willing to trade those points in order to keep them off of the field?

My thoughts on the play were that if you take the safety you are not only giving the Chargers 2 points, but also likely 3 or 7 more because they are moving the ball so well AND they would eat up a TON of possesion time. I'm not sure if it's the right move but I could see how it might make sense to give them the touchdown so that you get the ball back and have a chance to score/control the clock.

Curious to see what you guys think.

by Omar (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 8:18pm

I know I'm late weighing in here but this stuff is too compelling to sit out.

This is the pros - it's the defense's job to stop the offense.

But what bugs me about this Patriots team is the fake humility and refusal to embrace what's blatantly obvious.

Wearing "Humble Pie" T shirts strikes me as the opposite of humble.

And clearly, they are running up the score which doesn't bother me, but only today did Belichick actually (sorta kinda) cop to it.

I have no problem w arrogance in sports - in fact I love it. But dont piss on my forehead and tell me it's raining.

As for retaliation, it would be merely human to take a cheap shot at someone who is not merely besting you in competition but trying to humiliate you after the competition has all but been decided.

That's not condoning any acts against Brady or any Pats but I'd definitely understand.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 8:39pm

Omar, why is it less humiliating for an opponent to say, with 20 % of the game remaining, that you are too pathetic to warrant a full effort any longer?

by Omar (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 8:52pm

I'm speaking in general terms.

There are times when your best effort is futile. That's really what every team (Dallas' 3rd Quarter lead being the exception) has experienced at the hands of the Pats this season.

So if I understand you correctly, you're asking me what's more dignified?

Clearly overmatched opponent crying uncle while in a submission hold?

Or team applying said sleeper hold seeing that he's choking his opponent out and deciding to let him up?

In this case, I believe that the clear victor has the responsibility of managing the concession.

All that being said, I DONT believe there is a moral law that mandates these actions. But I would clearly understand (not agree or condone) a "Rodney Harrison on Trent Green" type shot to the knee on Brady if he were throwing late in the 4th against any team while up SIX scores.

by Omar (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:04pm

What the Pats are doing is akin to beating a guy in a bar fight then making him toss their proverbial salad publicly.

You whupped him already! Does he have to beg to avoid the prison lovin?

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:24pm

But I would clearly understand (not agree or condone) a “Rodney Harrison on Trent Green� type shot to the knee on Brady if he were throwing late in the 4th against any team while up SIX scores.
Nitpick: it was early in the fourth. Brady started a drive in the third, it carried over into the fourth -- almost six minutes, but it was still the same drive.

In fact, on that level, the Patriots did the same as the Colts did: left the starters in to finish a drive that began in the third. The Colts were even passing to the endzone, from the shotgun, on Manning's ultimate drive (nfl.com Game Center linked):
3-7-CAR 7 (13:18) (Shotgun) 18-P.Manning pass to 29-J.Addai for 7 yards, TOUCHDOWN NULLIFIED by Penalty. CAR-41-C.Deloatch was injured during the play. His return is Doubtful. PENALTY on IND-63-J.Saturday, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at CAR 2.
The fact that the TD pass was nullified by penalty doesn't change the play call. Addai scores on the subsequequent 3rd and 12 play, and the offensive starters left for Indy.

The Patriots, I submit, did nothing unusual or terrible leaving the starters in to finish the drive. They shaved eight minutes from the clock with that drive, and almost two minutes of that was after the fourth down play (which is why they went for it, IMHO).

by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:31pm

395, 404, et al. What do you think of the following examples?

2005: Pittsburgh ahead of Cleveland 34-0. 7 and change left in the 4th quarter. Batch throws to Morgan for a 31-yd TD to make it 41-0.

I'm genuinely curious - is this offensive to you? If not, is it just because it was Batch, not Big Ben? And, isn't the fact that they're throwing at all violative of your basic argument - i.e., kneel or run, but stop throwing?

1999: Pittsburgh ahead of Cleveland (an expansion team) 26-0 in the 4th quarter. I can't tell for sure, but it looks like they threw for two TDs (or at least one at the very least) and a FG to make it 43-0. Again, it was Tomczak, but doesn't that still violate the basic sportsmanship principle?

1991: Washington ahead of Detroit 35-0 on Monday Night Football; Skins throw a 38 yd TD in the 3rd quarter to make it 42-0, and add a FG in the 4th quarter to make it 45-0. Why wasn't Gibbs kneeling? The Lions were clearly down and out (five scores before the deep pass, and six before the FG).

And this was found in a few minutes of internet research into a handful of fairly recent games played by just two teams, led by the paragon Cowher (referenced earlier in the thread) and the venerable Gibbs. And yet Rypien and Big Ben both stayed intact, and no one here has called for their injury, or dubbed their coaches "classless."

Perhaps the social norm of what constitutes running up the score isn't as prevalent as has been said - or, someone failed to inform Mssrs. Cowher, Reid, Gibbs, Levy, and Seifert, among others (at least three of whom are HOF coaches).

Heck, as another example, Otto Graham threw or ran for six TDs in a 56-10 championship win over the Lions in the fifties. That classless loser; good thing he didn't play in the good ol' days!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:40pm

Now, patriotsgirl, don't be bringing facts to the table. That'll just confuse the Running Up the Score Judges!

Belichik is a warlock! I mean it! I saw him casting spells last night! Tie him in a sack, and throw him in the river!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:49pm

Well, omar, I thought I was being clear, but I'll ask again. Why is it more humiliating for a person who has contracted to compete to the best of his ability in football games, in return for extraordinary compensation, to have an opponent fufill his contractual obligation to keep competing to the best of his ability, and thus keep scoring, as opposed the opponent deciding that you are so laughably pathetic that effort should stop with 20% of the game remaining?

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 9:50pm

Re: #406

And shoot and poison him too. If you're going to be historical, you gotta go all the way.

by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:03pm

I've been on the losing side of some pretty spectacular blowouts. You congratulate the other team, can even start joking about it. People on this board might be surprised how much conversation actually goes on during games between players on opposite sides. Mostly shit talking to one degree or another, a lot of which is clever enough to crack you up no matter how intense and close the game.

But when the other team starts throwing bombs and doing trick plays, obviously starting to try to run up the score more than necessary, and you know you can't stop them, it pisses you off. So you dig down a little deeper and start making the game a lot more physical than it needs to be. Instead of pulling off a block when the play is over in a dangerous situation, you keep going until the whistle is blown. You see a shot at a lineman's ribs while he is locked up with another player, you take the shot. The game is already lost so assignments really aren't that important anymore. Making them pay for it is.

SO far, we're just talking about playing more physical than necessary which very easily leads to injuries. But when you watch their star player score his fifth touchdown of the day and spike the ball vehemently in your end zone while celebrating, that is too much. That's when you take every opportunity to put as vicious a hit on that SOB as you can.

That is different from saying I'm going in to deliberately take out his knee with my helmet. I agree that is too far. But I am going to put a hit on that guy that he will remember. And you have to understand how often players could be injured but aren't because their opponent pulls up or grabs them to keep them from landing wrong. When a guy is rubbing it in your face, you don't pull up. You don't worry about your helmet hitting a vulnerable place. You don't worry about possible injuries.

That is what players mean by not letting the guy walk off the field.

by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:08pm

"Guys are coming after us. We need to come after them a little more," said defensive end N.D. Kalu. "It's almost like we're too nice out there."

Kalu said maybe the Texans defense should have retaliated for the hit.

"I didn't see the hit, but if it was dirty, maybe we should have a dirty hit on their quarterback," he said. "I'll pitch in and get the fine. We just don't have that mentality and maybe we should get it."

Obviously some players still feel the way I do. It's rare to get someone to actually talk about it, but most players think it.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:08pm

In other words, you're a psychopathic crazy with anger management problems who should be committed. And who probably would have been cheering on Preston Brooks in 1856. Glad we're finally all clear on that.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:32pm

Good gravy, morganja. will you get over yourself, and stop writing as if you are unique here, because you played football?Believe it or not, there are people who have considerably more football experience than you, who think you are ridiculously wrong. That doesn't prove you are, of course, but would you please can the phony argument from authority, with you as the authority? Guess what? You ain't.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:36pm

And damn that Belichik for running that dastardly trick play, known as a quarterback sneak!

by vis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:38pm

RE: Brady's accuracy

This may have been mentioned somewhere after #350 or so when I gave up on the chain, but I don't think the accuracy problems mentioned are directly related to the completion percentage (illogical as that sounds). I've noticed on more than a few occasions Brady throwing into double- and triple- coverages on Moss, or just somewhere in his general direction, "knowing" that he'll come down with it---a liberty he probably couldn't take in previous years. On those throws, he certainly isn't throwing accurately, even though the balls are hauled in.* Is this part of the accuracy fall-off being discussed?

* Note Derek Anderson's passing numbers with Braylon Edwards. Those are hardly accurate passes, but are still completions.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:45pm

No, vis, I am talking about examples where Brady inexplicably has badly, badly, missed compeltely wide open receivers while completely unpressured. Now, obviously it doesn't happen a lot, given the completion percentage, but it does happen enough to cause me to note it.

by vis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:04pm

ah, just trying to help reconcile the stats Will...

by Doug (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:34pm

Morganja you must be a real old school man's man...You tough ol' bastard

by Doug (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 11:45pm

Maybe the competition committee should put in a new rule saying that if after 3 quarters one team is up by, say, 35 points, that team must put in their 2nd string QB..This might restore some fairness and honor to this once proud league.

by oldnumberseven (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:44am

357. #

Re: 354

Thanks for reminding me of those days. I lived in/near Cincy in the 80’s and can remember those Glanville/Wyche fueds. Wyche was steamed about Glanville running up the score one time and he took the opportunity to return the favor whenever he could.

By the way, Marty S was the Browns coach in those days.

:: mawbrew — 10/30/2007 @ 8:45 am


2005: Pittsburgh ahead of Cleveland 34-0. 7 and change left in the 4th quarter. Batch throws to Morgan for a 31-yd TD to make it 41-0.

I’m genuinely curious - is this offensive to you? If not, is it just because it was Batch, not Big Ben? And, isn’t the fact that they’re throwing at all violative of your basic argument - i.e., kneel or run, but stop throwing?

1999: Pittsburgh ahead of Cleveland (an expansion team) 26-0 in the 4th quarter. I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like they threw for two TDs (or at least one at the very least) and a FG to make it 43-0. Again, it was Tomczak, but doesn’t that still violate the basic sportsmanship principle?

1991: Washington ahead of Detroit 35-0 on Monday Night Football; Skins throw a 38 yd TD in the 3rd quarter to make it 42-0, and add a FG in the 4th quarter to make it 45-0. Why wasn’t Gibbs kneeling? The Lions were clearly down and out (five scores before the deep pass, and six before the FG).

patriotsgirl — 10/30/2007 @ 8:31 pm

Mawbrew, Thanks for the reminder that it was Marty.

Patriotsgirl, I agree that with you that there is nothing wrong or evil about running up the score. Hell, when you are playing your division rival (Browns v. Steelers) you are obligated to run up the score. Some Patriot fans have in this very thread not even admitted the score was run up. One fan even saying the Patriots do not have a power running game and they had to throw in the 4th quarter when the Redskins brought their safeties up. That, to me, is the headscratcher. The score was run up, and only Belicheck knows why. Maybe he was sticking up for American Indians and wanted to humiliate the Redskins into changing their logo, maybe he hates Dan Snyder and or Joe Gibbs, maybe like Will Allen, he feels obligated to never stop scoring. I agree with Omar in post 401 I have no problem w arrogance in sports - in fact I love it. But dont piss on my forehead and tell me it’s raining. People can make judgements on whatever they want, and are entitled to their opinions, but the only person who knows why the score was run up is Belicheck. I would love to hear why.

by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 1:06am

#418: Nah, let's go with the Little League(R) mercy rule - if a team is up by 35 points at the end of the third quarter, let's just call the game.

by jason (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 1:30am


If you really want to understand Bill Belichick then why don't you spend some time reading and listening to what he says?

See link in name.

by Todd (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 2:03am

I was sick of the Colts-Pats game 3 weeks ago. This thread is nauseating. People whining and arguing about pointless things. I am absolutely positively dying to watch this game to see what happens, but this pre-game analysis (can you even call it that?) is driving me absolutely batty.

by Omar (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 3:01am

Re #407 -

Will, I thought I was pretty clear.

Both circumstances are pretty humiliating but only in one of those situations is the victor not only taking your lunch - he's making you watch him take your woman.

The difference is that the humiliation of having someone call off the dogs is at least allowed to be unspoken.

The Patriots are asking you to kneel and cry uncle.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 3:50am

Omar, it's a football game. Get a grip.

by Omar (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 4:15am

re 424

I totally have a grip.

I was using analogies to make a point that I couldn't get you to understand before. I hope I did a credible job in doing so.

Forgive me for seeing a difference in dominating your opponent vs. making him publicly/audibly acknowledge said domination.

by Omar (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 4:17am

re 424

and for the record, I think you generally make the most sense of anyone who posts on FO - even when I disagree w you.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 10:09am

Post counts for this thread (more than 10 posts):

Will -- 62
Rich -- 32
morganja -- 17
PatsFan -- 13
Chris -- 12

by Lyford (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 10:52am

A couple of thoughts:

- I'm a Patriots fan, and there have been a couple of things that I didn't care for.

- There has also been an enormous amount of vitriol aimed at things that don't warrant it. The "they shouldn't have gone for it on fourth down" thing that came up in Dallas and again this week is just silly, for example. (The Colts also went for it on fourth down in Panthers territory, late in the game with a big lead. No accusations of running up the score, I guess because they failed. But they went for it, which the Patriots are taking abuse for.)

More thoughts here...

by Al 45 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 11:00am


Clearly overmatched opponent crying uncle while in a submission hold?

When the other teams cry uncle, let us know. As far as I can tell, the other teams weren't replacing starters with backups. Jason Campbell and Portis, and Santana Moss, and the full complement of defensive players were still in the game.

Did you see Gibbs or Gregg Williams on the sidelines waving a white flag? I sure didn't.

How about Wade Phillips? Was he waving the white flag and crying uncle when he called a timeout with under 2 minutes left in the game, knowing full well that meant the Patriots could not take a knee and run out the clock?

If teams intend to yell 'uncle', then they should do so in a manner easily identifiable by the opposition. Continuing to run your first stringers out there doesn't cry uncle to anyone.

If the other team is going to continue to play, there's no reason why the Patriots, or any other team for that matter, shouldn't continue to play.

Furthermore, it was also mentioned, by oldnumberseven, I believe about people saying the Patriots don't have a power running game, that's why they continued to throw with the Redskins stacking the line.

There's some truth to this. One, Sammy Morris is out. Two, Kyle Brady went down in the game, which meant they were down two tight ends, which is their power running package. That somewhat limited what they could do.

I don't think they felt it was in their best interest to run dive plays, out of a 3 WR set into an 8 in the box defense.

Beyond scoring points, what is the one thing you'd like to do at the end of a game if you're the team with the lead? Ball control and run down the clock, right?

Well, how much better on ball control do you get than a 14 play, 88 yard drive, that carves 7:56 off the clock (started in the third quarter)? The fact that the byproduct of that drive resulted in a TD shouldn't take away from the fact that the Patriots did what they needed to do, which is maintain control of the ball and run down the clock.

Also, I heard 'trick plays' mentioned. Unless I'm mistaken, I didn't see any fake spike plays in the 4th quarter. There were certainly no reverses, flea flickers, fake punts, or fake FG's run by the Patriots. They ran their offense, straight up, while also taking any 'gimmick' plays out of their arsenal for the rest of the game.

Finally, in regard to Cassel, there's no reason he shouldn't be allowed to throw at the end of the game. Those minutes at the end of the game give him the opportunity to show what he has, against a 1st string defense, while also giving Belichick the opportunity to evaluate Cassel, in case the unthinkable should happen (Brady going down).

If I was Belichick, I probably would have taken out Brady during the last long 88 yard play drive, when they got into the 4th quarter. Beyond that, however, I don't have a problem with how they ran their offense.

I would, however, have had a problem if they were calling timeouts, running hurry up, calling reverses or flea flickers, in an attempt to keep scoring. They didn't do that, and I"m fine with that.

If the defense is going to play all out and play 8 men in the box, you go with the play that gives you the best chance of getting a first down and maintaining possession of the ball. In that instance, it's a passing play, not a running play.

If you think they should run it there, then you should just be man enough to say they should start taking knees with 15 minutes to go in the game.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 11:09am

Well, Omar, when analogies are drawn between scorimg touchdowns and "taking women", well, that's about on the level as the kkk analogy above.

Golly, Kaveman, if you are the thread monitor, you could at least break down my posts by subject matter!

by Doug (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:09pm

Will, you have 30 more posts than Rich! You should stop posting, or maybe type with one hand, or let your 8 year old kid post instead of you, so that Rich and the others don't feel too humiliated about your dominance in posts on this thread

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:27pm

Here's some interesting comments from former Titans GM Floyd Reese, Dan Reeves, and Theisman:


by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:31pm

Yes, Doug, humiliation in thread dominance is analogous to humiliation endured via kkk lynchings, rape and pillage, and the heartbreak of excessive dandruff! Oh, the Humanity! The Horror! The Horror!


by The 1950s (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:35pm

Re 430:
Golly gosh darn Will, you make swell points!

by Doug (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:37pm

I'm starting to think of Belichick in terms of the old Star Trek (TOS) method of identifying some bad guy alien ruler by placing him in context with Earth bad guys.....Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler....Belichick!!!!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:41pm

Thank you, 1950s! Was it less common to analogize between scoring touchdowns and belonging to an organization that murdered people in your time? Or "taking women"? Do tell!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 12:43pm


by PatsFan (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 1:18pm

You know, if it wasn't for that Enterprise arc explaining it all, Belichick could have been blamed for Klingon Forehead Disease.

by Phil (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 2:07pm

I find it pretty comical that the fellow who wondered aloud how any human being could possibly hurt an animal (Morganja), is now a staunch advocate for ending someone's career because the hurt their feelings during A GAME!

Not Practice....

But a Game...

What are we talking about here?

Guess what, I played H.S. football too. my teams were bad. really really bad. first year we went 3-7, second 3-7, thrid 3-7 and last year we went 8-2. So as you could imagine we suffered some major blow outs.

Nobody's life was in danger.

I must say your coachs and/or parents--unless they are the same person--have done a poor job teaching you about sports.

by Omar (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 2:30pm

re 430

I thought my bar fight/tossed salad (#404) analogy was more appropriate but unfortunately it left you w more questions.

I guess it's also not clear that I'm making attempts at humor. In no way can one equate rape/KKK w losing a football game.

But rape/pillage/war have been used as metaphors for competition long before me.

That being said, I still believe that the clear victor needs to manage the concession. Everyone keeps pointing out that the losing team doesn't quit so the victors should keep pushing.

If the point has been made that the losing team's best effort is futile what's the point in making them concede?

To use a less hostile analogy, it's like fighting your younger brother, whipping him handily and instead of just tossing him aside when he's got no fight left, making him say he's a panty wearing sissy in front of his friends.

Is that better?

And in my first post, I said that I dont really have a problem w running up the score. My problem has been the Pats and their fans denying it. It is what it is. Whether or not it's the kind of sportsmanship that one wants to practice is up for debate.

I'm awesome! I should wear a shirt that tells everyone how humble I am...

by The 1950s under God (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 3:02pm

Re 436:
Well, you have to understand that domestic violence was treated much differently back in my day, "Pow, right to the moon" and all that.

I'm glad you're around to remind everybody about me with your goshes, Tarkenton remembrances and other ramblings. To commed your efforts I salute you in the traditional manner with a gratuitous "under God."

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 3:04pm

Well, Omar, I've always intensely disliked those metaphors for competition; it seems to me that it greatly discounts the horror of those real world examples of the violence that some people are forced to endure.

I still think the latter example is inapt as well. Your brother and you haven't contracted to do your very best, to the end of a definite time frame, in return for extraordinary compensation, supplied by people who have paid large sums of money to see people competing as best they can. Sorry, but once you start accepting substantial compensation, your feelings are no longer a concern. Suck it up, or go do something where your feelings aren't subject to such bruising.

Having said that, I would have had no trouble if Gibbs and Williams had started calling for all-out blitzes on every play, essentially communicating that they were willing to trade the risk of yielding more points for a chance to do some real hitting within the confines of the rules. Given that Brady's last series began in the third quarter, however, I think people are entirely overstating how agressive Belichik was, as some examples of other coaches' behavior given above demonstrates.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 3:12pm

Golly, gosh, gee whiz, 1950's. I've never had a entire decade address me directly. To what do I owe the honor? You were before my time, so I really have no direct knowledge of you; there weren't atheists is your day?

Actually, I have no idea of what you are talking about.

by Omar (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 5:25pm

re #442 -

Thank you for the relatively civil discourse. We can agree to disagree about how we view sportsmanship but it was nice to discuss it in a manner befitting sane adults.

Like most of you reading, I have now grown weary of this topic.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/31/2007 - 5:51pm

No problem, Omar, and I'm sorry if I was a bit sarcastic above; the KKK reference somebody else made carried over and influenced some of my other posts unwisely.

by morganja (not verified) :: Thu, 11/01/2007 - 2:18am

Will, I don't know why this is such a blind spot for you, but I think it fair to point out I was not claiming to be an expert of how everyone who plays sports feels, only how I, and others I know feel when we play sports. I think it is a little absurd to criticize someone for sharing his own experiences on a subject. If experience is not allowed as a credible insight into an issue, than one is not likely to come to an intelligent conclusion. My argument has consistently been that there are some people who feel like I do. The opposition has held that no one does. Fair enough. But I remain convinced that others feel the same as I do, personal attacks on me notwithstanding.

Secondly, the analogy of the KKK was a restating of someone else's analogy that in the same loose way equated my argument with advocating for getting an innocent bystander beaten up in a 'bad' neighborhood. If one can't follow my analogy there than it is a case of poor logic on their part.

Finally, I am very consistent. I think that people should follow the rules and when they don't, they should be punished. Not torturing and killing dogs is one of the best rules out there. I am very passionate about making sure those people suffer the consequences of their actions. If one is fair, one can also see the exact same philosophy in this argument. I believe, whether you agree or not, that there is a code that should be followed when playing sports. I think people should follow this code or suffer consequences. I feel it is essential that every citizen does what is necessary to enforce the rules. At least the good rules.

I understand that people disagree with me, I can understand that people do not believe in a code in sports outside the written rules. But I do not understand why so many are passionate that there exists no one who believes in such a code when there is so much evidence to the contrary.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 11/01/2007 - 3:34am

Morganja, you repeatedly referred to your experiences on the field, while stating that others in this forum were in a state of ignorance about what happens on the field. You are wrong. Need I quote you?

Secondly, you have an extremely hard time grasping that a unwritten "code" exists only if people agree to it, and quite plainly in this instance, many, many, people, with football experience which exceeds yours, deny that such a code exists. Thus, no such code exists. It is a fiction that you and some others have created in your heads, and you become frustrated that many, many, people don't agree with your alleged code, so you start uttering nonsense that in the old days it was guaranteed that people wouldn't leave the field standing, despite clear evidence that, yes, people were throwing fourth quarter touchdown passes with huge leads in the old days, and yet, through some unexplained feat, they managed to leave the field standing. You have made this all up in your head, for some puzzling reason.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/01/2007 - 3:00pm

Is this still going on? From today's newspaper....I forget which one. Either the NYT or WP, and I think it most clearly states the one side of the debate:

The Patriots' philosophy is a lot more understandable -- and likable -- if viewed from the angle of what the alternative is. What should they do when the game gets out of hand? Let up? Pretend to play? Take pity? Eugene O'Neill said of that kind of pity, it's "the kind that lets itself off easy by encouraging some poor guy to go on kidding himself with a lie."

When you've already beaten a team so badly over the previous 45 minutes, why is it respectful to suddenly go easy, so they'll falsely feel better about themselves? What the Patriots are saying when they continue to go for the end zone is, "Hey, both teams out here on the field are pros, and this is what pros do." It would be far more demeaning to say, "We could score again, but we just feel too sorry for you to do it." When the Patriots score on an opponent, in an odd way, it's a gesture of respect.

So long as you're not running the no-huddle offense, spiking the ball, calling timeouts, or otherwise prolonging the game in order to score again, game on. In every game this season that the Patriots had the opportunity to kill the clock via the kneel down, they've done so. In other situations, they executed a play they felt had the best opportunity to bleed the most time off the play clock.

You don't step on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, and you don't kick field goals up by 38 in the fourth quarter.

by morganja (not verified) :: Fri, 11/02/2007 - 12:10pm

Alright Will. Whatever. You insist on being an idiot on this topic. I don't understand your blind spot, but if you don't want to believe that there is a code that many people do follow than you will remind blind to it.

A quick question. If a player is hurt by a cheap play I assume you are insisting that never in the history of sports has someone retaliated and taken the perpetrator out? It's the exact same code.

Or do you not believe in a player ever putting a cheap shot on someone? That just doesn't happen in sports either. Totally in my head.

People never get pissed off when they play sports, either. Also totally in my head.

You're right Will, I'm living in a bizarre fantasy world.

It's called Earth.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 11/02/2007 - 4:58pm

Morganja, apparently you are unable to grasp that saying that a phenomena occurs is not the same as saying that a an unwritten code has been agreed upon. With the sort of cognitive processes you have demonstrated in this thread, you would be well advised to refrain from tossing out ad hominem remarks about others' alleged mental deficiencies. Excessive irony can be unhealthy.

by Fergasun (not verified) :: Sat, 11/03/2007 - 1:19am

I'm surprised no one mentioned the "Phantom Personal Foul" on Reggie Nelson in TB-JAX. Garcia scrambles from the pocket, runs for 10 yards and slides. Nelson running full dives over him, makes no contact... yet the side judge felt it was a 15 yard personal foul?!