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10 Nov 2014

Audibles at the Line: Week 10

compiled by Andrew Potter

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to turn into (if they can).

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

While these e-mails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Steelers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching, just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.

Kansas City Chiefs 17 at Buffalo Bills 13

Aaron Schatz: Here are the first three Jamaal Charles runs today: -3. -2, and -4. Yeah. Chiefs offensive line is getting killed by the Bills early. We've got some blown blocks, and we've got a play where I don't think anybody got blocked at all. I don't know if that was some sort of slide protection that was just called all wrong, or what.

I'm used to the "there are no plays on the play sheet for this situation" line from broadcasters for stuff like third-and-42 or second-and-35. But Solomon Wilcots just used that line for Andy Reid calling plays on first-and-20 after a hold. Solomon, dude, first-and-20 after a hold happens all the time. Drop the hyperbole. Trust me. Andy Reid has plays on the play sheet for first-and-20.

Halftime update: these are two good defenses and two really mediocre quarterbacks who can manage games for good defenses, but aren't going to do as well managing the game if they other defense is also really good. That being said, wow, what jumps out to me about this game is how horrendous the Kansas City offensive line looks. Yes, I know, Buffalo's defensive line is great, but what on earth are they doing starting Matt McGlynn? Didn't he lead our blown block count for, like, the last two years or something?

The other thing that jumps out at me watching Kansas City is that as much as we talk around here about how bad Bill Belichick has been drafting wide receivers... Kansas City has NO wide receivers. It's amazing. Junior Hemingway? He looked like he might have gotten hurt on a special teams play and I was trying to figure out who was next. Frankie Hammond, I guess? This team would KILL to get Aaron Dobson, who can't even get on the field for New England.

So here's a thought about the whole fourth-down aggressiveness thing. Bills just brought in Dan Carpenter to kick a field goal on fourth-and-2 from the Kansas City 3-yard line. Score now 13-3 Buffalo. Now, on one hand, this game is very clearly a defensive struggle. This really could be one of those games where every point matters and you don't want to "leave points on the board." On the other hand, I was thinking... Is it easier to get those 2 yards because there are 3 yards to go for the touchdown? Do you go run up the middle on fourth-and-2 because you figure Kansas City is more concerned with keeping you out of the end zone than keeping you from getting to the 1-yard line?

Andrew Healy: Kyle Orton has Robert Woods open for such an easy touchdown in the middle of the end zone and airmails it. So it's 13-3 Buffalo instead of 17-3.

Aaron Schatz: Hey, Kansas City just figured out a way around the fact that their offensive line has been completely dominated by the Bills' defensive line: run a play where you don't have to block anyone! On fourth-and-1, the Chiefs went for it instead of punting from the Bills' 39-yard line and ran everyone's favorite Madden play: FB Fake HB Pitch! Jamaal Charles got the first down easily and then outmaneuvered a couple of deeper defenders to go all the way for the touchdown. 13-10 Buffalo.

Bills had the ball on first-and-10 on the Kansas City 15-yard line, three minutes left, and we saw why Kyle Orton is not, in fact, the savior of Buffalo Bills football. He's a fine backup, but he's not a top-20 starting quarterback in the NFL. Orton had fine protection on four straight throws. First down, back-shoulder throw to a covered Sammy Watkins. Watkins is good, but that was asking for a lot. Second down was a jump ball to Chris Hogan in the corner of the end zone, which was just a really strange play call. Third down he overthrew Hogan, who looked open over the middle. The Bills go for it on fourth down instead of trying the godforsaken "let's reduce the deficit from four to one" field goal. Another back-shoulder try to Watkins on the right side, only this one was a little underthrown and Ron Parker jumped the route to almost intercept it. The dropped pick didn't matter anyway since it was fourth-and-10, but... seriously, every analyst is going to watch this thing on film and wonder how the hell Kansas City won this game. The Bills' defense SO dominated the Chiefs' offense for almost the entire game.

ESPN Stats and Information says that according to their win expectancy model, the right move would have been for Buffalo to kick the field goal on fourth-and-10 and then try to stop Kansas City, force a punt, and try to get another field goal to win. I'm a bit surprised.

Miami Dolphins 16 at Detroit Lions 20

Andrew Healy: Nice to have Calvin Johnson back. Earlier a 49-yard touchdown on a deep post where he used his body to shield the defender. Now, though, it's the Joique Bell show early in the second quarter. He catches a swing pass and just trucks Cortland Finnegan for about a 25-yard gain. And then a powerful run on the next play.

Ryan Tannehill just missed Mike Wallace on a deep post where Wallace looked like he had a play on the ball, mid-second quarter. Then a good throw on third down in the face of a rush. But then he undoes it with a horrible throw on an out that James Ihedigbo easily intercepts and returns for about 65 yards. On the Lions' first play, though, one of the best interceptions of the season. Brent Grimes goes up and one-hands a ball intended for Megatron in the end zone. Stafford had Johnson with a better throw, but that was a ridiculous pick.

Vince Verhei: For pure, brilliant athleticism, it's going to be very hard to top Brent Grimes' leaping one-handed interception to take a touchdown away from Calvin Johnson. There are very few human beings on the planet who could have pulled this off.

Andrew Healy: Huge game-changer with a field goal block almost brought back for a touchdown by Dion Jordan. Next play is a touchdown to Mike Wallace to put the Dolphins up 13-10 late third quarter.

Am I allowed to criticize Calvin Johnson's receiving technique? Matthew Stafford finds Johnson in the back of the end zone and Johnson fails to come back to the ball. By waiting on it instead, he allows Dion Jordan to close and knock it away. It's academic with a very nice Stafford throw on the move for the touchdown to Theo Riddick on the next play. Detroit goes ahead 20-16 with 29 seconds left.

Strange outlier stat of the day: The Dolphins' block of Matt Prater's 42-yard field goal dropped the Lions to 1-for-9 for the year on 40- to 49-yard kicks. The rest of the league is making 87 percent of those attempts. 16 teams have not missed a kick in that range all season.

Dallas Cowboys 31 "at" Jacksonville Jaguars (London) 17

Cian Fahey: The field in Wembley is going to be favorable for Denard Robinson today. He is so decisive and controlled in his cuts, whereas defenders tend to slide on this field when changing direction. It helped on his long touchdown run at the start of the game.

The Jaguars seem intent on not winning this one. Bad fumble from Denard Robinson in Cowboys territory after a long Cecil Shorts reception on a slant route. Robinson had played well outside of that play despite not being given much room in which to work.

Blake Bortles' accuracy terrifies me every single week. He just fires the ball towards his receivers rather than to them. On the other side, Joseph Randle continues to be impressive on very limited touches.

It's 31-7. Jacksonville just turned the ball over in field goal range in the third quarter. Tony Romo is still in the game for some reason that is unknown to me.

San Francisco 49ers 27 at New Orleans Saints 24

Vince Verhei: Saints have been hurt in the first half by multiple dropped passes, including one on third down by Marques Colston where he was behind the defense and might have scored.

Aaron Schatz: Is this more shocking than the Jets beating the Steelers by 17? 49ers up on Saints 21-10 in New Orleans at halftime. I just flipped over right before halftime and Drew Brees threw a horrendous pick in the red zone. It's one of those plays where on TV it looks like he's throwing into triple coverage because there are two guys in zones behind Jimmy Graham and one of them picks the ball off. You know that on those plays, it never looks like "triple coverage" when the quarterback throws the pass. But here's the thing... even when Brees threw the ball, Graham was completely draped by the linebacker, Michael Wilhoite. Even without the other defenders hanging out in deep zones, Brees only should be throwing that ball if he knows he is going to place it where Graham can outjump Wilhoite and Wilhoite has no shot at it. And it wasn't that kind of pass, it was a bullet, not a lob. It's like Brees decided he was going Graham no matter what and paid no attention to the coverage at all.

Andrew Healy: Out of five or so Drew Brees passes I saw in the first half, three were poor decisions about where to go with the ball, two leading to picks. The first pick was on an out where there was no room. Slight underthrow and a pick by Antoine Bethea. Then an inexplicable throw down the seam to a double-covered Graham. A three-man rush and it was hard to see how Brees missed the zone in which Antoine Bethea was sitting. Chris Culliver actually comes from covering the wideout on the bottom to make the pick. A bad underthrow on top of it. Just a totally unnecessary throw with lots of room for Brees to step up in the pocket.

Cian Fahey: It appears that the San Francisco 49ers have forgotten about Frank Gore in the second half...again.

Vince Verhei: First play of the fourth quarter, Saints trail 21-17 and have a fourth-and-1 at their own 33-yard line. They go for it, and Brees sneaks for 2 yards and a first down. Yay aggressiveness!

Four plays later, the Saints have a fourth-and-2 at their own 43-yard line, and this time they punt. What the hell? Where did the aggression go? If anything, given the field position, going for it should have been even safer there. Is there that big a difference between fourth-and-1 and fourth-and-2?

Scott Kacsmar: I think on pass plays, the difference between fourth-and-1 and fourth-and-2 is negligible, but on runs, I want to say there might be a difference of about 10 percentage points.

The Ryan brothers have watched Martavis Bryant and Michael Crabtree get wide-open deep in situations. This should never happen. The Crabtree play could cost the Saints another win.

Andrew Healy: Watch the play at the end of regulation. Ball on the San Francisco 47-yard line. The Saints line up trips right. The Niners basically concede the short out. It sure looks like they could have just grabbed 7 yards and gotten out of bounds with :01 left. As it is, they almost complete the Hail Mary, but Perrish Cox goes all George Iloka (against Steve Smith a couple weeks ago) and gets the offensive PI call. Overtime.

Aaron Schatz: It was offensive PI, but wow, did Cox sell it. He gets Best Supporting Actor rather than Best Actor because he was supporting an actual pushoff, but that was a super flop.

Scott Kacsmar: I'm picturing the promo already with one of those movie guy voices doing the narration. "If you were moved by George Iloka's performance in 'Spiting Smitty,' you will be shaken to your core with Perrish Cox's brilliant turn in 'Grifting Graham in the Big Easy.'"

Tom Gower: Jimmy Graham gave him the full arm extension shove. Full arm extension = offensive pass interference. I don't care if you think Cox flopped (and since it's irrelevant to the call, I don't care one way or the other), Graham gave him the shove. That's offensive pass interference and a good call.

Andrew Healy: Definitely a penalty and you had to call it, but Cox gets credit for selling it so well he got two officials to call it with absolute certainty. Those referees zinged those flags.

Rob Weintraub: Saints throw it on third-and-1 in 49ers territory, pass knocked away, then choose to punt, and the gunner rolls into the end zone instead of downing it at the 1-yard line. Niners getting plenty of breaks.

Andrew Healy: Would have liked to see the Saints go for it on fourth-and-2 on the first drive of overtime, of course. I guess the Niners haven't done much since the first half, but still.

Rob Weintraub: Brees played with fire holding the ball in the pocket the play before, and got sacked. This time he held it too long and Ahmad Brooks came all the way around to strip sack him, and the Niners are set up for the game-winning figgie.

Niners win it thanks in large part to that colossal breakdown in the secondary on fourth-and-10. And there goes any shot the Bengals have of an upset at the Superdome next week.

Scott Kacsmar: The rare "non-offensive game-winning field goal" situation. Can't say I blame the 49ers for sending in the kicking unit immediately, but man that was an ugly kick by Phil Dawson.

Tennessee Titans 7 at Baltimore Ravens 21

Scott Kacsmar: Just briefly had this game on and the CBS analyst definitely implied that because the Titans are facing third-and-long for the third time today, they're going to run out of plays for this situation and the Ravens will capitalize. That's nutty.

Vince Verhei: Tennessee getting zero points on an eight-plus-minute drive to open the game might be the most Titans thing ever.

Terrence Brooks might have had the hit of the year on Delanie Walker. Walker went over the middle and Brooks met him with a clean-as-a-sheet shoulder-to-chest shot. Walker outweighs Brooks by about 40 pounds, but he went straight backwards like he had run into a train, knocked out cold. Thankfully, he was able to leave the field under his own power, though he was immediately carted off and ruled out with a concussion.

Tom Gower: It was pretty much a great first quarter for the Titans, particularly the offensive line. They opened up holes in the running game. They gave Zach Mettenberger plenty of time in the pocket to find open receivers against a depleted Ravens secondary. This was the line a lot of people were expecting to see this year. The only real blemish, and it was a significant one, came when Shonn Greene fumbled at the goal line. That made it just 7-0 when the Titans scored almost at the close of the quarter on their second possession, after holding the Ravens to a third-and-out their first drive.

The second quarter looked a lot more like a typical Titans quarter. The offense sputtered. Michael Oher and Brian Schwenke got beat for sacks, though Mettenberger contributed by holding the ball for a while on both of them. The Ravens converted fourth-and-1 for a score on a drive that started in Titans territory. Delanie Walker took a concussion-inducing shot on a third down conversion that, to add insult to injury, was reversed for his bobble after being ruled a catch on the field. If the Ravens were doing a better job of catching the ball (they've had four catchable passes go off a player's hands), they'd be up. Instead, it's just 7-7 but a whole different feeling after 30 minutes than after 15.

After playing great in the first quarter, the Titans gained 31 yards on their next 22 offensive plays. Baltimore's passing offense continued to struggle, while the run game was less of a sustaining factor than I thought it would be. But they did just enough, and when Flacco found Torrey Smith on a Random Deep Ball to make it 21-7 in the fourth quarter, it was all over but the shouting.

Pittsburgh Steelers 13 at New York Jets 20

Cian Fahey: The Jets are following the right blueprint on offense to beat the Steelers today. Run-heavy, misdirection and giving Michael Vick easy throws.

Vick just misses Jeremy Kerley in the red zone at the end of the first drive. Surprised they didn't look to use read-option at the goal line.

Scott Kacsmar: Jets probably had at least five broken tackles on that first drive. Poor defense from the Steelers, who surprisingly have allowed an opening score in eight out of 10 games this year.

Cian Fahey: Is that really a surprise? They've been pretty awful all season.

Anyone who has ever watched a high expectations Mike Tomlin game isn't surprised by the Jets' 17-0 start.

Matt Waldman: Or, anyone who ever watched Steelers fans continually hope that Pittsburgh will start fast derives great enjoyment from their misguided optimism.

Andrew Healy: Good patience by Vick on the Jets' second touchdown. He waited on a three-man rush and then found Jace Amaro in the back of the end zone. Earlier, just a gorgeous deep post for a touchdown. For all of his weaknesses (and high variance), few have had that effortless deep ball that Vick has.

Cian Fahey: Ben Roethlisberger's interception at the goal line is an example of the negative side of playing the inexperienced, raw Martavis Bryant. Roethlisberger threw the ball expecting Bryant to be in a spot, but Bryant's route was awful and gave the defender the chance to read him before breaking on the ball ahead of him.

Vince Verhei: The Jets' 17-3 halftime lead is why I never bet on football. Especially when Ben Roethlisberger is having his worst day of the season against the worst secondary he'll see all year. Don't even try to analyze this half. It is a radical outlier. It makes no sense. Wipe it from history.

Scott Kacsmar: Steelers-Jets is actually why I wish I bet on games, or at least Pittsburgh games where I know they're going to disappoint. As I say that, Roethlisberger throws his first interception since Week 1 that wasn't a tipped ball. Thought he had something and floated it too far.

Vince Verhei: That looked like miscommunication to me. Ben was pointing like he wanted the receiver to move deeper, but I don't think the receiver got the message.

Scott Kacsmar: Michael Vick seemingly got away with a fumble in the first half even after a challenge. Now he made a terrible decision to throw in the red zone and William Gay dropped the interception. Jets up 20-3.

Andrew Healy: Michael Vick has looked pretty good on a small number of passes. And then he rolls left before throwing a touch pass for Percy Harvin across his body that falls right to William Gay, who drops it. Roethlisberger has 88 yards and 3.7 Y/A on 24 passes with under five minutes left in the third quarter. Amazing the variation week to week. But the next drive, the Steelers are moving and it seems almost certain that this one will get closer. Most of the yardage on this drive came on a jump ball to Martavis Bryant. Fourth-and-2 on the 5-yard line here for Tomlin with the Steelers down 20-3 as the third quarter ends. Tomlin needs to go for this. I'm guessing he won't.

Scott Kacsmar: Huge mistake by the Steelers to kick a field goal here, down 20-3 with 15:00 left. It's fourth-and-2 at the 5-yard line. I know teams feel the need to kick when it's a 17-point game, but the defense has shown very little resistance today and I literally am stopping mid-sentence to f-bomb Shaun Suisham for shanking this 23-yard field goal that never should have happened in the first place.

That's what you deserve, Mike Tomlin.

But to finish that thought process, when you have a quarter left and your number of possessions are limited, the field goal just isn't a smart option in that field position with that down-and-distance situation. Go for the touchdown and focus on getting the field goal last if you have to to make up the 17-point deficit.

Vince Verhei: Watching Vick is kind of mind-blowing, and not really in a good way. I mean, even at 34, he's still got the pretty deep ball, and he can still run like few others. (He became the first quarterback to surpass 6,000 career rushing yards in this game, and that's despite missing essentially three seasons due to his off-field crimes.) But he's still running downfield with the ball in one hand like he's playing flag football, and still throwing into double coverage, and still sailing passes over the heads of open guys in the flat, and still holding onto the ball and getting sacked. He's playing like a mistake-prone rookie, but he was drafted thirteen years ago, and save for one miracle season in Philadelphia, he has pretty much always been the same guy.

Andrew Healy: It's a terrible decision. Tomlin somehow is only middle-of-the-pack on the aggressiveness index, I think, but it sure seems like he never goes for it down inside the ten. Maybe it's that first drive play against the Cardinals in the Super Bowl that sticks in my memory so much, but I think he more generally always kicks field goals down there.

And Vick is so frustrating and always has been. So much talent. Almost none of that has been visible this season, but today there have been a few flashes. But bad Vick is lurking and Mornhinweg has just been limiting his chances to come out (17 passes through three-plus quarters). Still can't believe how bad that rollout that Gay dropped was. Big Ben starting to roll now with about 10 minutes left.

Matt Waldman: I still smile about Vick when I think that the Falcons could have had Drew Brees, whom the late, great John Butler engineered a deal to give Atlanta its top overall pick and what they got in return was LaDainian Tomlinson and Brees. Many of these running quarterbacks are back-up passers with elite athleticism. I have little doubt that many of these players could become better passers if teams didn't enable them to be less as pocket quarterbacks because they could be more as runners

Robert Griffin compared much more to Aaron Rodgers in style and development potential than how Mike Shanahan used him. While Kyle Shanahan's offense helped Washington early on, the way Washington encouraged Griffin to run may ultimately have stalled Griffin's career development. He has the brains, deep ball, and toughness in the pocket to become a fantastic pocket passer. However, two years like he had are enough to alter the course of any player.

Vick never had that potential, because he was intoxicated with his athleticism. When your team brings in Steve Young as a consultant of sorts and Vick fails to maximize that opportunity, it's a sign he doesn't "get it."

Scott Kacsmar: Once Mike Tomlin called timeout with the Jets facing third-and-1 with more than six minutes left, I should have just turned the channel.

Cian Fahey: James Harrison just had Percy Harvin dead to rights in the backfield. Harvin skipped past him with ease. He's such a freak. Although it's still way too early to judge it properly, so far the Jets have comprehensively come out better from that trade.

Andrew Healy: Down 20-3 with under eight minutes left, the Steelers run their third-and-goal play after a second-down run with two seconds left on the play clock. These are small things that nobody talks about at the end of the game, but can make a difference. The Steelers could come close to running out of time here.

After five runs, the Jets roll out Vick on third down. A poor throw under pressure to the back, but I also think he can't quite get to the edge the way he used to. With four minutes left, I think you can make an argument that the Jets actually should just run there. Not usually my preference, but with Vick being unreliable and a 20-point lead, seems OK to run the clock. And Ivory got 8 yards on first down when they were looking run, so they might get the first down that way, too.

Vince Verhei: With 1:16 to go, Roethlisberger unleashes a deep ball to Martavis Bryant, and it's a rainbow and an easy touchdown. WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THAT THREE QUARTERS AGO?

Cian Fahey: The Jets don't do anything easily. Martavis Bryant's sixth touchdown of the season comes in a situation where the Jets should have been playing prevent, but instead left their cornerbacks in single coverage.

Atlanta Falcons 27 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

Matt Waldman: FOX's shot as it returns from commercial after Tampa Bay's long field goal drive is that of yellow tape with black lettering hanging from somewhere in the stadium. Wonder if they're trying to subliminally say, "Crime scene, do not enter."

Roddy White with a nice start early with 4-49 in the first quarter, but it appears he now has a stinger. Carrying his right elbow as if it's numb. Falcons do what they usually do while working with this makeshift line: run early, take a couple of deep shots, and get away with a few five- and seven-step drops to hit intermediate passes. The next series, a little more pressure reaching the pocket, a penalty, and Atlanta being forced to play short ball.

Atlanta manages to drive to the 10-yard line with the help of a slant to Julio Jones, who makes up for a drop the play before with a good run after the catch after breaking a tackle. In the next four plays, Atlanta is called for a false start, Matt Ryan takes a sack, and then Devin Hester drops a pass in the end zone while running wide-open.

Ryan misses a couple of throws for Atlanta in the third quarter. Tampa Bay marches down-field and scores by early fourth quarter on a 1-yard throw to Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Atlanta has been outscored 91-24 in the fourth quarter this year, and its receivers lead the league in dropped passes. I wonder how many drops are aided by pressure that forces Ryan to alter his throws or rush the process (intentionally or otherwise).

Vince Verhei: Well, in theory, none. Dropped passes are on the receiver, basically everything else in on the passer. In real life, of course, everything doesn't always fit neatly into a little box, and one man's overthrow might be another man's drop.

Matt Waldman: Yeah, I don't care much for theory in that case.

Mike Evans makes a dynamite catch at the sideline to get inside the 5 late in the game. Josh McCown then targets Evans at the same sideline in the end zone and safety Dwight Lowery makes a diving interception in the end zone to seal it after Robert Alford tips the ball, but it's called incomplete. McCown throws a nice ball to Evans on a fade that was likely score to close the gap to three with 1:29 left if not for the official's review that reverses the call and gives Atlanta the ball to run the clock.

One might say that Atlanta got the memo to run Steven Jackson as much as possible, but the carry count and distribution isn't much different than past weeks. The game script is more favorable.

Denver Broncos 41 at Oakland Raiders 17

Scott Kacsmar: I'm not sure what D.J. Hayden was looking for, but Emmanuel Sanders accelerated past him for a 32-yard touchdown. Oakland was hanging tough by batting down five Manning passes on a real pass-happy day, but a bad decision by Derek Carr was intercepted, C.J. Anderson's great effort broke the defense on a third-and-long, and now that strike has Denver on top 20-10. Still have some serious questions with Denver's offensive line on the road. They just look far worse than at home, but maybe more runs in the second half will get them going.

Cian Fahey: C.J. Anderson looks so much more like a running back than Ronnie Hillman. By that I mean his comfort and decisiveness with and without the ball. Hillman is just a better athlete.

Aaron Schatz: Since one of us has to mention it... Yes, the Raiders just had Derek Carr panic under pressure and throw a pass to his right guard, Khalif Barnes. Barnes looked like someone had thrown him a live grenade, then decided what the heck, tried to run with the illegal pass, and had it stripped. Denver gets the ball and declines the illegal touching penalty. At first I thought this was the most Raiders thing to ever happen, but upon further review, this was actually the most Jets thing to ever happen to a team that is not the Jets.

Andrew Healy: Derek Carr is awful. He is doing his best to throw more picks. Also in range to make some unusual history. Nobody in NFL history has thrown for more than 20 completions, at least 35 attempts, and less than 95 yards. Carr's stat line is 21/37 for 93 yards, one touchdown and two picks as the fourth quarter begins.

Scott Kacsmar: It took Derek Carr 41 pass attempts to hit 100 yards today, but breathe easy Oakland fans. Raiderjoe still sees a bright future:

Cian Fahey: I can't talk about Derek Carr on Twitter anymore. For some reason it's popular to suggest he's a great rookie talent? He has been below average in an offense that has done everything possible to protect him.

Scott Kacsmar: I have to watch later tonight how James Jones managed to catch eight passes for 20 yards. Looking at PFR's database back to 1960, that's the lowest yards per reception (2.5) by any non-running back with at least six receptions. Tight end Paul Coffman had 6 catches for 16 yards (2.67) in a 1982 game. Joey Galloway had 6 catches for 18 yards (3.0) in 2001, so that was the previous wide receiver low. Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 29 yards (3.63) in 2007, but at least he scored twice. Pretty rare one for Jones. I'm guessing bubble screens of death, but his longest gain was 10 yards, so he still had seven catches for 10 yards.

St. Louis Rams 14 at Arizona Cardinals 31

Aaron Schatz: Jared Cook with a beautiful run up the seam and catch for a touchdown. One of those two or three plays every year where Jared Cook reminds us of why Jared Cook occasionally gets everyone excited. Occasionally. Announcer says something afterwards about how Cook used to be his teammate in Tennessee... I'm trying to figure out who this is. It turns out it is Matt Hasselbeck. FOX is running three guys in the booth for this game, using Hasselbeck on his bye week from the Colts, apparently as training with the idea that Hasselbeck will probably be a regular in the booth next year.

Andrew Healy: And a beautiful throw by Austin Davis on that one. He had Sam Acho coming right in his face on a stunt and couldn't really step into the throw. He still put it right on the money 25 yards downfield, hitting Cook in stride to the outside away from the safety help.

Cian Fahey: As much as Jeff Fisher gets abused for being a bad head coach, he has done a great job with this Rams team this year. With Austin Davis as the starter and all their injuries, they shouldn't be competing as well as they are.

Rob Weintraub: Cards had it inside the Rams 20-yard line. Carson Palmer stared his man down then threw way too late. Alec Ogletree made a nice pick and looked like he was going the distance. Yes, it was a terrible pass, but Palmer saved a sure touchdown by Ogletree on the return with rare quarterback hustle in that situation. Don't like the Rams to score unless they take it in on the pick.

Tom Gower: Jeff Fisher has so many 8-8 seasons because he's a coach who can go 8-8 with a 6-10-caliber team and 8-8 with a 10-6 caliber team. The current version of the Rams is an example of the former.

Ogletree won't live that Palmer tackle down, but he seems to be playing a lot better lately. I've noticed him some, and not just in the "confusing activity with effectiveness" way.

Andrew Healy: Larry Fitzgerald is very pumped-up. You can almost seeing him celebrating with "I have competent quarterback play" on every reception. He has nine catches today on nine targets for 112 yards. And as I'm writing this, Carson Palmer goes down awkwardly and takes his helmet off, clearly in pain. Hope he's OK.

Scott Kacsmar: That was scary the way Palmer just crumbled on the play. Holding his knee as they cart him off.

Cian Fahey: Silver lining for him is that he just signed that contract extension.

Tom Gower: First Drew Stanton drive, with Cardinals backed up and completely ineffective running the ball pretty much all game: complete to Rob Housler for 11 yards, scramble under pressure for 4, complete to John Carlson for 26, bomb to John Brown for 48 yards and a 17-14 lead.

Rob Weintraub: Bad memories for us Bengals fans on Palmer's injury -- he had just signed the largest contract in franchise history when he who shall not be named blew out his knee on a low hit. History (sort of) repeats itself.

Cian Fahey: (Kimo von Oelhoffen, for those reading who are picturing some Voldemortian figure.)

Rob Weintraub: He is to me!

I may have undersold that first Palmer contract -- am I misremembering or was it the largest in NFL history (at the time of course)?

Andrew Healy: I think it might have been No. 2 after Vick's contract.

Scott Kacsmar: Palmer's 2005 contract was worth a total of $118.75M. I believe Michael Vick's 2005 deal was around $130M.

Back in the days of 56k modems, there probably weren't any stat geeks writing about the improbability of Vince Tobin's close-game success with Jake Plummer and the Arizona Cardinals. What Bruce Arians has done since 2012 blows Tobin away. Palmer goes down and he still dials up a bomb for John Brown, who made a great catch on the throw from Drew Stanton. Then Patrick Peterson just turned this one around with two picks of Austin Davis, including a spectacular pick-six. Now Antonio Cromartie has locked this down with another defensive touchdown. Pressure gets it done again. Talented players making big plays at the right time, and doing it with unbelievable consistency this season. This can soften the blow of any significant Palmer injury, but I think this team would struggle greatly without him against Detroit and at Seattle the next two weeks.

Andrew Healy: On defense in the fourth quarter this year, Arizona has given up one more touchdown (four) than they've scored (three). The last one scored by a blitzing corner (Cromartie) when the Cardinals were up ten with four minutes left. And they're still mixing in blitzes up 17 with three minutes left. Awesome stuff.

Rob Weintraub: At this point I truly believe Bruce Arians could pull someone from the stands and he or she would complete a game-winning bomb for him.

New York Giants 17 at Seattle Seahawks 38

Vince Verhei: Well that was quite the entertaining first half. Seahawks offense just running all over the Giants, for 149 yards and nine first downs. I'm not sure the Giants have ever seen Russell Wilson play before. They're not playing contain on the read option or the bootleg keeper, at all, and Wilson is running all over the place. They would have more points, but Wilson was intercepted when Paul Richardson forgot the "curl" part of a deep curl pattern, Robert Turbin lost a fumble, and Wilson overthrew a wide-open Jermaine Kearse for what should have been a touchdown.

Meanwhile, the Giants' receivers are pretty much having their way with Seattle's corners. That's expected for Tharold Simon and Jeremy Lane, but Odell Beckham scorched Richard Sherman on an out-and-up for a big play too.

Cian Fahey: I'm not sure if it says more about Preston Parker's rise or Victor Cruz's decline, but Parker has looked better than Cruz did when he was healthy this year. That's not saying a huge amount because Cruz hasn't been a good receiver for a long time now, but Parker obviously has come from essentially nothing.

Aaron Schatz: Wait, you don't think Victor Cruz has been a good receiver "for a long time now?" How long is "a long time?" And why has he not been a good receiver? That's news to me. He had nearly 1,000 yards last season with 1.0% DVOA.

Cian Fahey: He's really poor at the catch point and his routes are rarely consistent. He drops too many passes for me to consider him good. Helped contribute to that dysfunctional passing offense the Giants had last year rather than help fix it.

Aaron Schatz: Cruz had three dropped passes last year. That's a pretty low number for a guy with 120 targets. And even if he was subpar last year -- and while I don't think he was a bad receiver, I also don't think he was good as previous seasons -- I don't think one season really qualifies as "a long time." It just seems like a really out-of-nowhere opinion about a fairly well-regarded player.

Cian Fahey: Drops are very subjective, I didn't track the exact numbers but I'd have a much bigger number than that if I did. Well regarded doesn't always mean good. One season is a pretty long time when you're considering a player for what he is right now (or in this case, what he was when he was healthy a few weeks ago).

Vince Verhei: Seahawks tie the game with a field goal after a big play from Wilson to Kearse. Giants then dink-and-dunk their way down the field and move into scoring range. They then go with the Crabtree, the deep fade to the right corner of the end zone to a receiver (Beckham in this case) who is well covered by Sherman, resulting in a tipped pass and an interception. This resulted in classic Eli pouting face and Tom Coughlin Angry Old Man pose. Seahawks then crush, crumble, and chomp their way down the field, running wherever and whenever they want to. I think they had three straight 10-plus-yard runs at one point. They have also used six offensive linemen about as often as I've seen an NFL team do it. And they're not even subtle about it, they're putting the extra lineman in motion across the backfield and sending him crashing into the line like a wrecking ball. Lynch caps off the drive with a touchdown and Seattle is up 24-17.

Aaron Schatz: Seahawks have two fumbles on their next drive that they recover themselves. It's pretty slippery out there, and they're pretty lucky.

Cian Fahey: There was at least one business decision made by a defensive back on Marshawn Lynch's fourth touchdown run. Preserving that career.

Vince Verhei: Seahawks finish with 350 rushing yards and 19 first downs on the ground. Wilson got what felt like his 30th first down on a bootleg at the two-minute warning. They cut to Perry Fewell laughing his ass off on the sideline. Because, by that point, what can you do but laugh?

It helps that Seattle shut the Giants out in the second half. New York couldn't run all day, and once the lead hit double-digits, the pass rush suddenly started getting home virtually every play.

Chicago Bears 14 at Green Bay Packers 55

Tom Gower: After a blown coverage results in a long Jordy Nelson touchdown to make it 21-0 early in the second quarter, the Packers now have eight touchdowns and two field goal attempts in ten possessions against the Bears this season. At some point, I just don't know what to say.

Scott Kacsmar: This year's new defensive wrinkle is to pass off the best receiver on the field on third-and-long so you can cover a potential 3-yard route. Nothing will probably beat what the Falcons did with Golden Tate on third-and-25 in London, but Tim Jennings there on Nelson on third-and-11 is pretty close. By design or not, I can't get over how dumb some of the secondary play has been this season.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 10 Nov 2014

226 comments, Last at 12 Nov 2014, 10:31pm by mehllageman56


by big10freak :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:31am

Clay Matthews played inside linebacker last night and was tremendous. But I think that has more to do with Clay being a great player than the change in position. The Packers have a fair number of solid outside linebackers so any way to get better play on the inside is ok with Packer fans. Will be interesting to see how teams adjust.

Both GB guards played hurt last night and played pretty well. That certainly contributed to the passing game.

The Eddie Lacey screen pass going for a 56 yard TD was likely the most d*mning indictment of the Bears defense. A because nobody touched him and B because Lacey is not that fast and nobody could get a hand on him. That's just sad defense

I hope Marshall is ok. I didn't think the tackle was dirty by Richardson

And does anyone know why MIke McCarthy threw a challenge flag on a three yard pass up by like 40 points? The general response among Packer fans was "because McCarthy" which is funny but doesn't explain anything. There has to be SOME reason a coach would challenge in that situation. Right? RIGHT???

Otherwise he's either stupid or being a jerk.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:01am

Collinsworth may have had the best guess, when he said that he thought McCarthy lost track of the first down marker, and wrongly concluded that the completion had gained a first down. At least McCarthy seemed to have a sense of humor about the silliness of it.

by Flounder :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:44am

That screen showed 1) how not too fast Lacy is; 2) some really terrible effort by the Bears; and 3) how fast Nelson's top-end speed is, as he streaked past Lacy to throw the TD sealing block.

by dank067 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:33pm

It was a lot of fun watching Clay play lights out from the inside last night. I also think that it may work against Philadelphia next week—I trust him a lot more than Hawk or the other ILBs on the roster to step up and make tackles in space in the box on read option concepts, which just killed them at Seattle. But I don't know how well he will hold up against teams that are going to want to run straight at him, where he'll need to make quick reads and shed blocks, and I really don't have a good feeling about the Patriots game, where Belichick and Brady are probably going to try to isolate him on Gronk in coverage.

by JFP :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:37am

Can't say I blame the 49ers for sending in the kicking unit immediately, but man that was an ugly kick by Phil Dawson.

No kidding. I swear the way that thing moved it broke some basic laws of physics.

by Arkaein :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:23am

If the Saints had made that kick, I would've thought "Voodoo really does work".

by Anger...rising :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:52am

Drops are very subjective

Nice save...

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:08am

I thought some mention might be made LeGarrette Blount's fiasco at the goal line, where he turned a 2nd and goal, at the 1 or 2, into a 3rd and goal at the nine, because he decided to run backwards until he was tackled. Hell, if the Jets had just surrounded him, The Blounster might have retreated another 91 yards, and given the Jets two points and the ball.

I was sure it was going to be the dumbest play of the day, until I saw the Bears play coverage worthy of having "Yackety Sax" as a soundtrack.

by JFP :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:32am

Yakety Sax just makes everything better! This clip proves my point. Stay with it for 20 seconds.


by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:51pm

Thank you for not linking to the buttfumble.

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:00pm

That was awesome!!!!

by Mike W :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:19am

Brees has looked really average for most of this season. His WRs haven't helped him much - Stills alone is good for about two drops per game - but Graham bailing him out all the time balances that. If it weren't for Graham's ability to win jump-balls and screen DBs with his body, especially near or in the end zone, Brees would look a lot worse. He makes several bad decisions each game, and typically misses a couple deep throws badly each game. Plus, he's fumbled a few times due to not protecting the ball adequately in the pocket. If Brees is average, NO isn't going anywhere.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:22am

How much has their o-line play declined? Of all the great qbs, I've always thought that Brees needed good o-line play more than the others.

by Mike W :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:49pm

Not that much. They certainly have had a lot of success with the running game. I get the impression Brees has less time than he used to, but that can't, if true, be used as an excuse. Plenty of top QBs have poor OLs in front of them. Brees simply isn't a top QB any longer.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:58pm

That's been my impression of him, too. It looks like Brees has hit his dropoff at an earlier age than most great quarterbacks do. He's still very good, but not great.

Also, he's made two very bad plays that led directly to losses (the fumble yesterday, and the bad interception against Detroit to allow the Lions to score the winning TD). I guess because he's got a ring, he doesn't get the Tony Romo treatment.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:04pm

Brees's decline the past three years has been slight, but now it looks pretty noticeable. He's still good for the odd awesome game (Green Bay this year), but in general he's missing deep throws, holds on to the ball longer than he should, and has forced way too many throws into tight coverage.

He's always been a little int-prone (though when you throw 640 times a year, you will throw interceptions), but this is the first time where it looks like age. The picks he threw against Tampa Bay were all terrible (especially the first two, which were SHerman-era Favre-ian). The DET pick was awful, and yesterday's weren't any better.

For all the talk of Brady regressing early in the season, Brees is the one who definitely looks like time has caught and passed him.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:37pm

Brees has clearly never been a cannon-arm guy and has relied over the years on almost supernatural-level timing and accuracy; the ball always seemed to be in the perfect spot at the perfect time. Whatever decline he's had has messed up that timing, and I'm assuming he's overcompensating by forcing balls. Really, really badly. The offensive line has regressed and all the great skill position players are growing older and declining themselves, so it's all kind of falling apart. Fortunately, the NFC South has turned into the football equivalent of a port-a-potty three days into a biker festival, so the Saints are still alive.

by RickD :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:53pm

Fortunately, the NFC South has turned into the football equivalent of a port-a-potty three days into a biker festival, so the Saints are still alive.

Vivid imagery! Thanks for that.

by theslothook :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:32pm

TO be honest, I watched Brees very carefully both this game and the GB one. Arm strength wise, I didn't notice a physical decline in his skills yet.

His decision making looked bad this game, but frankly, Brees has always been a gunslinger.

Anyways, I think it's more likely that of the elites, he's most affected by regression from the o line. That coupled with a shaky defense has meant he's been pressing a trying to do too much. You only need to go back to his 2012 season to remember how Brees can come unglued when things aren't going well around him.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:01pm

Well, like I said, I've always thought that Brees, although HOF caliber, would suffer more than his HOF contemporaries, given substandard protection. I never thought he could approach what Manning did his last few years in Indy, especially in the 2010 season. Hell, swap out the o-lnes in the February 2010 Super Bowl (2009 season), and Indy likely wins pretty easily.

Before The Saints fans go nuts, please remember I just called a Brees a HOFer. I'm making a pretty mild criticism.

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:10pm


by theslothook :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:46pm

Eh; that forgives how bad the defense and special teams were. Frankly; take 18 off that team and who knows what they'd be. Wait a sec...we do know what they'd be

by big10freak :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:05pm

The guard play has certainly regressed. Two years ago those guys were stoning the opposition more often than not.

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:33pm

I would say that Brees was always more sensitive to interior line play. If he can step out, edge pressure doesn't seem to bother him too much. If defenders are in his face, I think his height is a bigger detriment than otherwise.

by big10freak :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:05pm


by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:19am

Carson Palmer's earnings have already exceeded 117 million. Now he's injured again and due another 20 million. Not bad for a guy with 225 tds and 155 interceptions, but that's better than Vick, I guess.

by FireSnake :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:25am

What a pathetic posting ...

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:28am

Facts are pathetic?

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:32am

People seem to like to forget there's an awful lot of awful in Palmer's career.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:34am

Hey, I appreciate the fact that really unlucky injury plays a huge role in the guy's career, but 137 million is 137 million.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:35am

delete repeat

by FireSnake :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:36am

Your posting doesn't rely on facts, it relies on the fact that the Cards extended the contract last week and Palmer suffers a severe injury in the first game after that. Haha, how funny that the cards weren't able to predict that event last week (says the guy who posted this http://www.footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/2014/palmer-signs-three-ye... on Saturday.)

Now, if you make that statement on Friday, that looks like a valid albeit marginal point. Peyton Manning had a severe injury, Tom Brady had a severe knee injury, Aaron Rodgers was injured for a couple of games, yet they still are awesome studs and nobody questions their teams for paying them. Carson Palmer leads his team to a 7.33-1* record and is a stud, and injures his knee and becomes a laughingstock?

That is why the stuff you wrote is pathetic.

* he didn't start all games

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:39am

Um, you may want to change the mushrooms in your omelettes. My only point was that Carson Palmer ranks extremely high on the all time NFL career earnings list, and is going to get at least 20 million more, and his career productivity has fallen quite a bit short of his earnings.

by FireSnake :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:00pm

Hindsight is 20/20. Pretty much sums up all that you said.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:04pm

I'll endeavor to do better, since earning your esteem is one of my goals.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:33pm

Do we have our first Cards troll?

The FOMBC is looming...

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:46pm

Gosh, I really wasn't even trying to be too hard on Palmer, whom I mostly view as unlucky; stick him on Lovie Smith's Bears, and given him decent injury luck, and he might be now viewed as a great player. I was just noting the disparity between earnings and productivity.

It always strikes me as strange when fans get fanatical about protecting front office suits from perceived criticism. It's like rooting for faceless bureaucrats at Proctor and Gamble on a new toothpaste rollout.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:42pm

Clearly Palmer was better value than Jamarcus Russell who got about $40-60 million for 3-4 seasons of half-hearted effort.

Do you think Carson is better or worse value than Alex Smith?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:53pm

That's a very interesting question. Smith has "only" been paid 66 million, so my thinking is that Smith has been a better value.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:38pm

Smith was an awful value for the 49er's and a decent value for the Chiefs.

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:29pm

Palmer has always been a better value than Smith. A better comparison is probably Donovan McNabb, in the sense that Palmer is a top tier quarterback when healthy, but almost never is.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:09pm

Yeah, Smith was usually pretty bad for the Niners. The career earnings of Carson Palmer, of about 4 top ten DYAR years really jumps out at me, however.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:41pm

My reading of Will's comments isn't that it was dumb of the Cardinals to sign the extension for Palmer because he got injured. He was commenting that Palmer has made a lot of money for a guy who's career had a great beginning and a lot of mediocrity afterwards (he was looking really good again before he got injured, I actually feel bad for him). I don't think he was casting a judgement on Arizona's decision making.

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:05pm

More on the teams luck, I think.

by FireSnake :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:23am

On the Graham call: It's easy for the refs to call opi on that play because that sends the game to OT. If they don't call it, Saints win on a potentially controversial call by the refs. If the game goes to OT, both teams get a shot and the refs are out of the equation. So the only way the refs take their lower backs out of the fire is to make that call. That's simply not a symmetric decision ...

Even though I think it was the correct call, you see that happening without inteference being called all the time.

by LyleNM :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:45pm

After the mis-named "Fail Mary", referees are more careful to watch for OPI on Hail Mary passes. And no, I don't see that kind of push-off happening all the time without it getting called.

by Sakic :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:18pm

I could possibly buy into Graham's argument (and even then it's unlikely given the replay) if it wasn't for the fact that multiple officials were throwing flags on the play...and decisively at that. I can buy one official being wrong in what he saw (happens all the time) but considering both of them seemed quite sure about what they saw I'm going to say it was a legit call.

On a side note, nothing infuriates me more than the late flag. If you need time to think about it before throwing the flag it probably wasn't a penalty.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:23pm

The notion that the defender was flopping really strikes me as unlikely as well; a guy would risk the game, and hand Graham a touchdown, because he was so confident that the flop could be sold?

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:05pm

I also think people are under-estimating just how much have a huge man shove you while you're running and off balance will affect you. Go run 49 yards and have a 6'7" athletic freak push you "slightly" as you're turning around. See if you need to "flop" to the ground.

by beargoggles :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:50pm

Yeah, I really don't the get the "flop" argument. Cox is a little guy. Graham is always described as a "freak" and he had leverage.
It's a good thing it was called PI, because Bethea was playing it like USC did against Arizona State, i.e trying for a basket catch. What the hell was that?

by Devin McCullen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:29am

I could be wrong, but looking at the ESPN Stats explanation for why Buffalo should have kicked the FG, it seems like they're leaving out the possibility that the Bills could have picked up a TD on the 4th-and-10 play. Obviously that's always a possibility, but it's a more significant one at that spot on the field. But they just talk about the result of a successful conversion being 1st-and-goal from the 5.

That said, if you do kick the FG, you still have all 3 timeouts and the 2-minute warning, and if you stop them and get the ball the back (and it sounds like the Buffalo run defense was having a very good day), you just need to get into FG range. I think it's a pretty close call either way.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:31am

Eh, I applaud the process - most times going for it is the right call there. The results were less than optimal. At least this should end the "Kyle Orton, Franchise Savior" talk in Buffalo. It might also cost Marrone his job, even though I thought they called this one pretty well - the players just didn't deliver.

by mrh :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:10pm

Chiefs fan. The Bills defense was very good and had Smith under pressure all day. But the rush defense was not as effective as the game wore on. After holding Charles to -9 yards on his first 3 carries, he ran for 107 yards on his next 12 carries. He was banged up and sat out the last series (or more?) so the Bills may have been able to stop Davis if they had taken the FG and kicked off, but at the time I thought going for it was the right move.

Thru three qtrs, the Chiefs were averaging 4.2 yards per play; in the 4th qtr they averaged 8.4 and that's with three predictable runs and a punt on their final three plays.

The Chiefs were lucky. They got some fumble luck. And good RZ defense - helped by bad Bills playcalling/execution.

The Bills were killing the Chiefs throwing to their tailbacks: 10 comp in 12 att for 104 yards. And running with their tailbacks: 107 yards on 19 carries.

Passing to WRs was barely more effective than running it: 15/25 for 143 and just 14/24 for 118 after the TD catch by Hogan on the 1st drive. Minus that one play, that's more yards per carry than YPA to WRs .

They wasted a lot of plays on their FB/TE: 1/3, 2 yds throwing to the FB, 3/8, 17 yds to the TE.

I get the need to mix some of the playcalling. But at some point, I don't understand why the Bills didn't just challenge the Chiefs to stop their RBs. I was very glad they didn't try.

The Chiefs now have wins against three of the teams in the WC hunt with them. They have two OAK games, tough road games @ARI and @PIT, and SEA, DEN, and SD at home. They probably need four wins and maybe five out of that. They will need better games than yesterday to get there.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:29am

That screen to Lacy was epic.

By which I mean it unfolded in slow motion and lasted about 3 hours. WTF is up with the Bears? I know they were pretty defensively rotten last year, but it looked like they missed a memo and went to Milwaukee for this one.

Collinsworth aptly pointed out that this is the kind of game that loses someone their job.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:31am

At this point the only question would seem to be whether they draw the line at the defensive coordinator. The fact that Trestman was Ermey's first hire may provide some insulation for Trestman.

by CaffeineMan :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:50pm

"Private Jennings do you believe in the Hail Mary?"

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:46am

They're poorly coached, do a poor job with talent evaluation, and are dealing with an unusually high number of injuries.

by big10freak :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:13pm

so, not great Bob!

by TomC :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:18pm

Going into the game, the only injured week 1 starters were Tillman, Houston, and Slauson. That's not an unusually high number. Unless you think Marshall and Jeffery are both still injured, which I could believe given how ineffective they've been, particularly getting downfield. But all in all, I think injuries are a very small part of the performance the last three games, and the posters above are right that this will almost certainly cost at least one person his job.

by Roch Bear :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:56pm

Sounds right. There is a major credit assignment difficulty in a multifactor situation like this, but the way to guess now is that losing the current DC won't hurt much and may well help.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:00pm

What I saw last night was as bad, if not worse, in terms of guys not knowing where to line up, and being clueless as to assignments, as anything I saw from a Ted Cottrell defense, and I sure didn't anticipate ever writing that.

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:20pm

Yeah, I guess the injury thing is more of a year long problem (we have had at times 5 members of the secondary out).

by Steve in WI :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:53pm

For the linebackers at least, the real "injury problem" was that the defense played better when all three of the starting linebackers were out.

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:44pm

Yeah I don't know how much to read into the game since the Falcons are dealing with a Chicago Bears level mess at offensive line, but I do find it pretty funny.

Point to anything that's the defensive line and chances are it's broken for the Bears (defensively).

by The Powers That Be :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:09pm

"Collinsworth aptly pointed out that this is the kind of game that loses someone their job."

That's because Collinsworth's seen it happen in almost identical circumstances.

The Cowboys went into Green Bay (check) for a Sunday night game (check) in 2010 (it was week 9 instead of week 10) and laid a gigantic egg, going down 28-0 in the second quarter (check) and showing no will or desire to be on the field in the second half (check). The next day, Wade Phillips was fired and the Jason Garrett era began.

by oaktoon :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:05pm

Packers got Childress fired that same year... But Emery ain't gonna do this until end of season...

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:14pm

Childress got Childress fired. Or maybe it was Tony Kornheiser with glasses pretending to be Childress.

by big10freak :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:06pm

Whatever happened with that guy?

by Steve in WI :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:51pm

I've concluded that nothing matters unless Ted Phillips loses his job. The players are a combination of badly coached and lacking in talent...okay, so who trusts Emery to fix that? I don't. I want Trestman fired, but why would I trust Emery to hire another coach? I don't. Everyone was all set to be optimistic about Emery after suffering through the Jerry Angelo era, but the problem goes above him to the people who either are incapable of hiring smart football people or just don't care.

The Bears are screwed.

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:18pm

Coaches have input on player acquisition. The defense looked pretty darn good with Emery and Lovie.

by BJR :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:32am

I don't understand how a unit can be as woeful ill-prepared as the Giants were in run defence last night. Having Lynch stomp all over you is one thing, but continuously allowing huge chunks of yardage to Wilson on basic bootleg keepers is an extraordinary failure. By the end it seemed they simply given up on defending either. Is there any obvious explanation?

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:05pm

Well, it made me laugh out loud, so there's that. To fail to account for the QB once is a fail, to do it time after time is comedy. On the other hand, Lynch was an absolute beast. What a way to break tackle after tackle, play after play.

On the 4th quarter fumbles, the first one falls right next to the Giants player who fails to grab it. If recovering fumbles is pure luck, I guess the Giants were pretty unlucky there.

Who, me?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:12pm

Think of the entertainment provided if a team could execute the run defense the Giants showed against the Seahawks, with what the Bears put forth with pass defense against the Packers! Before the end of the 1st quarter, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth would be showing slides of their family vacations circa 1991.

by BJR :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:23pm

I considered that. We were privileged to witness two historically awful defensive performances yesterday, back-to-back (I'm sure DVOA will agree, although opponent adjustments may spare the Giants/Bears some ignimony). It's really not a great time for defense in the NFL, in general.

by EricL :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:49pm

One of the announcers made the comment "that play's been working since the Giants got off the team bus."

That's the first time I've actually heard my wife laugh out loud at an announcer's comment. And, it was certainly true. I don't recall a single instance of them stopping that play the entire game.

There was one time a player stayed at home, but he got juked by Wilson and beat around the corner anyway.

by pablohoney :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:58pm

Yeah, it was pretty humorous when on a 3rd and 2, Wilson kept it on the bootleg and the Giants LB stayed at home yet Wilson still outraced him to the sideline and got around 5 yards. On the replay all Aikman talked about was how the defense did a good job on the play and how they got their most athletic LB on Wilson...completely ignoring the fact that they still failed to prevent the first down.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:10pm

The linebacker did get his assignment right but he should then have been criticised for taking a terrible angle and failing to make the stop.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:06pm

They managed one stop, when Brown also stayed home, avoided Wilson's stiff arm and took him down by grabbing his jersey from behind, although Seattle ended up converting the resulting fourth down anyway.

by jacobk :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:34am

The Seahawks were down to one tight end for most of the game, and I think the last guy was actually banged up for a while. I think that may have been the reasoning behind the 6-OL looks. It seemed to work pretty well, I wonder if they'll go back to it.

by Jeff M. :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:04am

Yep. And the one guy they had was Cooper Helfet (a UDFA with 7 career catches) who's more of a "big WR" than a true TE (listed at 239lbs). Zach Miller was already out, Anthony McCoy put on IR before the season started, Luke Willson lost during the game, and Tony Moeaki (who they picked up this week) not activated, so the pickings were pretty slim at TE.

The extra OT they were bringing in, Garry Gilliam, did play a little bit of TE in college before converting to tackle, so he's probably more comfortable than some in motioning across the formation to slice block the force defender, and could possibility even leak out on play action without looking quite as awkward as a 300lbs pass-catcher normally does.

Since the Seahawks have filled one of their other injury holes with 290lb "fullback" Will Tukuafu, Lynch actually had *seven* OL-sized blockers in front of him for a number of snaps. It's not actually that surprising there were some big holes, especially with Wilson "blocking" another player with the read-option--unless the defense is going to stack 9 in the box you're asking somebody to get off the block of a 300 pounder and then solo-tackle Lynch on every single play.

by johonny :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:44am

Mia-Det. Tannehill had a great tackle on a terrible interception. Grimes gets the pick and it should have saved the team, but Joe Philbin sucks. At 3 minutes when he went Norv Turner Turtle (yet again) 3 and out and punted the ball back to the Lions I text my brother game over they lost. Sure enough they did just that. It was green bay all over again. You had to be blind or Joe Philbin not to see it coming. Joe Philbin can't win big games... well he gets another chance Thurs. Miami has to go 5-2 down the stretch to have any hope at the play offs. He has a team he can't beat which he'll play without his starting LT, RB, back up RB, and starting corner. Meanwhile the Bills have their own problems. The winner of the week was clearly the Pats who stayed home and gained most likely yet another division crown. Props to Dallas Thomas who shocked the world by playing decent at RT in emergency duty. The Bills will go after him Thurs count on it.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:23pm

You didn't like the play calling or just the result? They ran on first and second, then passed on third. And it's not like they were moving the ball at will on the Lions. It's like blaming Philbin for everything has become a meme. The Lions did a heck of a job on defense and Stafford made an amazing play on 4th down to win the game. You have to give them credit.

By the way, Calvin J. put up some good numbers, but I thought Grimes did an incredible job. Only goes to show how big injuries are. This game is played a week earlier and the Dolphins win. And now Miami has suffered their first key injury of the year and facing a tough test against the Bills, who match-up so well against them. Big game.

Who, me?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:47pm

Sorry to be pedantic, but the TD pass was on 3rd down, not 4th.

That play by Grimes was amazing. Even the TD he gave up to Johnson, he was expecting help from Delmas, who decided to help double-cover Golden Tate instead. Otherwise he did as well as any NFL corner besides Charles Tillman has against a healthy Megatron, with a minimum of help.

This game was a lot of fun to watch. Two defenses just balling out, with a few big plays turning the game. I actually texted my own brother (no joke) that we lost when Stafford went three and out on his second to last possession, because the Lions weren't doing anything against the Dolphins D outside of a couple of drives.

by James-London :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:09pm

A typical Miami heartbreaker.

My girlfriend (who has no interest in football whatever) asked my why I was swearing at the laptop with 3-ish minutes to go. "Because Miami can't get a 1st down to f*cking close out the game" wasn't the most enlightening reply. The swearing continued as Philbin took another bizarre Time Out.

Beyond that I thought the Detroit O-line did really well, Brent Grimes was superb; even on the Johnson TD he had really good coverage-sometimes all-timers just make a play, and the INT was one for the scrapbook.
Losing Finnegan might have been the difference here; Stafford picked on Jamar Taylor when he came in to replace Finnegan.

Looking for consolations, I thought Tannehill did well under duress (the INT aside), and if any QB has suffered from more drops in the endzone this year I'd be suprised. Also while the Albert injury is a big one, I thought J'wan James did OK at LT; well enough that you didn't really notice him.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:47pm

After they kick the FG because they can't score the TD on the last drive -

Giants friend:

So you think they got it?


WTF do you think, d*ckhead?

Do fans of other teams have to go through this? Literally EVERY time it's close at the end. Every single person who knows this team knows they're going to lose.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:58pm

Oh, sure they all go through it, if you mean losing close games. If what you mean is knowing your team is going to lose, well, that is a pretty personal choice, I'd think. One can only hope the players don't fall for such "knowing", because then there really is no chance.

Who, me?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:29pm

Lions fans went through this in 2012 and 2013 with the Jim Schwartz Lions. The 2013 collapse was especially memorable: Leading or tied in the 4th quarter of the last seven losses.

As I'm sure you're aware, since you're on this site, that stuff tends to even out, and luck will eventually turn.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:30pm

Double Post.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:25pm

I stand corrected. Anyhow, yeah, it was a fun game to watch. And not nearly the ST clown-show you'd expect from simply looking at the DVOA of each team. I like both of these teams going forward, specially the Lions, since the AFC is hell this year... and also the Albert injury, that one is going to hurt.

On the other hand, I find it interesting that you thought Detroit would lose late. Maybe you can debate it with the Miami posters who all knew it was they who were going to lose. /jk

Who, me?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:35pm

"I find it interesting that you thought Detroit would lose late."

See my post above...some habits die hard.

Yea, the Albert injury is gonna hurt, since improved OL play IMO, is a big reason why the MIA offense looks so good lately. But that defense is still really good. And they still have two games against the Jets, and the Bills and Vikings at home. Don't they still get to play an AFC South team, too (too lazy to look up the whole schedule). The games against the Pats and Broncos are still brutal, though. Losing head to head against KC might end up being what sinks them.

by James-London :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:11pm

No AFC South team sadly-we had Jacksonville 3 weeks ago. Instead we get Baltimore in Miami. Given tiebreakers, Miami almost certainly need to win 6 of their remaining 7 to be a playoff team.

In no particular order:

2 vs Jets
@ New England

While Miami's D is really good, I think they lose the Denver game, which means picking up the rest, and that seems unlikely to say the least. Without Albert I'm not sure they beat Buffalo on Thursday, at which point the Head Coach search might as well begin

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:36pm

Ouch, that's a brutal schedule....

Looks like whoever wins this Thursday night still has a tough road to get a wildcard, but the loser is definitely done for.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:36pm

Deleted, system keeps double posting me for some reason.

by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:55pm


by johonny :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:24pm

The offense seemed to really be clicking the drive before. The two runs, short pass, punt seemed very Norv Tunerisk. Then after stonewalling them the drive before, they called off the dogs and did a lot of three rush max defense. Didn't work against Green Bay and it didn't work again. In Joe Philbin's case he lost again. It doesn't matter anything but that. He gets another chance Thursday to win a big game. A lot of fans still remember his pathetic last two games of the previous year. Win the pressure is on the line Joe Philbin's teams... don't win.

by Rick_and_Roll :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:07pm

IMO, the difference was that they changed up how they were calling the offense. In the prior few weeks when Tannehill was doing well, he was running more. Yesterday he was much more in the pocket.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:00pm

Yes, but Detroit didn't give them the QB keeper. I think the one time Tannehill kept it he was stopped for a loss. In fact, the Lions made it a point to hit Tannehill every time he ran the option even when he handed off.

If only we'd been playing the Giants...

Who, me?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:36pm

"Props to Dallas Thomas who shocked the world by playing decent at RT in emergency duty."

Did he really play that well? I felt like Tannenhill was under constant pressure and getting the snot kicked out of him the whole game. I guess you could argue that Thomas at least didn't play much worse than the starters.

In fact, even though his standard and advanced stats probably don't look very good, I was very impressed by Tannenhill. I thought he did as well as any QB could manage with zero running game and getting assailed by the pass rush like that. I assumed he would melt away after being down 10-0 and going literally bacvkwards on the 2 offensive drives. But he, and his team hung in there and almost pulled it out.

by johonny :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:33pm

Detriot's Defense line is great. Miami's oline really hung in there better than you'd expect given the tackle situation. They really had several nice drives that ended in field goals. The last field goal was a heart breaker drive. They needed to punch that in. I think we'll find out Thursday how good the tackle pair is. Thomas has been alright at guard. His play has been pleasantly surprising given he was thought to be plain terrible. I imagine the Bills will test him. They'll also likely press the rookie at LT. Miami hasn't looked good again the Bill D-line in several seasons. The winner of Thursday is still alive and the loser is likely toast. It should be an interesting game between two teams trying to prove to their fan bases they're not the same old s... stuff. I was down on Tannehill early in the season but right now he's playing the best he's ever played. He didn't run much this week, but he had an injury. We'll see if he can run Thursday night.

by Joshua Northey :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:41pm

Detroit has a very good D line. They might have been grading on a curve.

by Ryan :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:45am

"Cian Fahey: I'm not sure if it says more about Preston Parker's rise or Victor Cruz's decline, but Parker has looked better than Cruz did when he was healthy this year. That's not saying a huge amount because Cruz hasn't been a good receiver for a long time now, but Parker obviously has come from essentially nothing."

This is borderline #HotSportsTake.

by armchair journe... :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:46pm

Simply dumbfounded by that passage.. Obviously Cian hasn't seen any of Parker's previous games this season. He's been not just merely worthless, but an obvious impediment to the offense all season until this Sunday, with week 9 perhaps the absolute nadir.

One might say instead that the performance difference between PP in week 9 and PP in week 10 was approximately a Victor Cruz.. But only due to how deeply negative Parker's value was last week.

Given their respective resumes, it seems far more likely PP regresses back to his sub-replacement level performance. Besides, its obviously Beckham who has taken over Cruz's role in the offense. A few of those Beckham catch and runs looked quite like the highlights from Cruz's breakout season, to boot.


by big10freak :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:57am

Anyone else think that Vick fumbled along the sideline? That sure seemed pretty clear to me and I have no dog in the fight

by Led :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:33pm

I agree that Vick fumbled, but I'm pretty sure the ball hit a player in the back of the leg (I think it was a Pittsburgh defender) who appeared to be partially out of bounds at the time. Not a great job by the TV coverage on that replay, including the never informative Mike Carey.

by big10freak :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:38pm

Vick dropped the ball, it deflected off a guy in full dive off the ground and then lay on the ground in bounds.

Sure seemed like a fumble.

There were 15 other things that the Steelers did to lose the game, but I think that call hurt their chances more than most of the other foolishness

by Led :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:42pm

Do you have a link to a clip? I'm going from memory and have not been able to find a clip.

EDIT: The reason I say it was a bad job by the TV coverage was that the ball clearly seemed to hit someone after Vick dropped it, but they never focused on that contact or where the guy was when the ball touched him. Maybe he was off the ground at the time, and therefore in bounds, but neither the announcers nor Mike Carey even asked the question.

by Travis :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:40pm

Gif here. I think Vick did fumble before his knee touched and it never went out of bounds or was touched by anyone out of bounds, so it probably should have been Steelers ball.

Mitigating factors as to how game-changing and terrible the call was: 1) Vick was hit late in the head (basically because he doesn't know how to slide or protect himself) without drawing a flag; 2) the clear recovery comes with a ref standing next to the ball waving his arms in the air (no idea if this counts as continuing action); and 3) it was almost certainly no more than a 4-point swing (the fumble came just before the 2-minute warning with the Jets up 17-0 - the half ended 17-3).

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:56pm

As a Jets fan who wants Mariota, let's get that reviewed and the score changed right now.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:06pm

Hush, now, the general humor level of the universe requires Jameis Winston to try to operate under the spotlight of the NYC media. Mariota has to go toil in obscurity in Tampa.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:48pm

Mariota won't end up being that obscure, unless Lovie Smith or the Raiders ruin him. At this point, I'm assuming he goes to Oakland. I'm also hoping Harbaugh, Malzahn, or someone else saves Geno, because I don't have it in me to root for Winston. Watching him destroy the AFC East and the Pats would be hilarious, as well as him getting arrested the day after winning the Super Bowl, but I just can't. Watching yesterday's game and just rooting for both quarterbacks to be hit as hard as possible is enough for me.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:01pm

I think with everything emerging about Winston at this point, that he's not going to be drafted anywhere near the Top 10. And especially with the cloud hanging over Clowney as far as drafting a player with red flags, that teams are going to be very reluctant to draft a rapist who is now accused of being involved in a points-shaving scheme. An absolutely idiotic points-shaving scheme at that. Personally, I think he's going to end up being one of those Marcus Vick types who someone take in the 3rd round and is lauded for getting a steal, but then he's cut before the season starts. He's a problem, even by the NFL's lax standards...

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:10pm

I don't have any regard for Winston, but I am reluctant to call somebody a rapist unless I've seen the evidence of that assertion subjected to vigorous examination by a skilled attorney.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:16pm

In the Winston case, there is far more evidence that a rape investigation was suppressed than that a rape did not occur. I would have loved for Winston and his accuser to have their proper day in court, but it seems extremely unlikely considering all that has already been ruined by the very justice system in which you're putting your faith. Right now, the best that can be said in his favor is "we'll never know what really happened" which is unfortunate for him, but really unfortunate for his accuser.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:23pm

You don't need to have "faith" in a system of justice to be reluctant to assert that a person has committed rape, until you've seen available evidence subjected to vigorous examination by a person skilled in doing so. I assume that alleged victim has the civil legal process available to her, and if she avails herself of it, we will see the evidence so tested.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:36pm

You make a false assumption that an egregiously handled case, one in which their is clear evidence of suppression, can ever be satisfactorily tried in any court. That's why guys like Winston who are accused of a crime should make every effort to face their accusations in a fair, just setting rather then rely on using subterfuge and law enforcement behavior that is either criminal or negligent to make sure no one gets a fair day in court: it means they will NEVER get their name cleared.

There is no way to test the evidence in Winston's case because it the investigation was outrageously mishandled from the beginning. That IS a fact. The reprehensible behavior of the crime's original investigators is not in question. (Which you might notice is very convenient for Winston, as his accuser now has to not only has to use court-time to prove the original crime, but negligence on the part of its original investigators.)

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:45pm

I made no such assumption. I said if the alleged victim brings a civil action, we will see available evidence subjected to vigorous examination. This statement has the virtue of 100% accuracy.

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:42pm


Presumption of innocence FTW.

Examination or it didn't happen.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:05pm

Oh, unless someone is seeking to jail Winston, I don't it is unreasonable to think he is guilty, without a jury verdict saying so, if the evidence has been tested in a proper setting. I think it was pretty reasonable to declare O.J. a murderer, for instance, even after the jury verdict of not guilty. In this matter, however, I don't think the evidence has been tested enough to have a strong opinion.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:41pm

Let me ask you this, to see if there's any point in having this conversation:

Do you believe that there are any behaviors by which law enforcement misdeeds can corrupt the ability of victim to receive justice?

If so, what would some example of those misdeeds be?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:48pm

Sure, and there isn't a single thing I wrote which asserted or implied otherwise. Look, I enjoy some of my interactions with you, but there seems to be a consistent problem in you simply reading the words I've written, and responding to those words, as opposed to things you'd wished I'd written.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:03pm

Maybe my misreading here is that I'm assuming you know anything about the case you're commenting on - any kind of fair and comprehensive investigation in this case is impossible because of how it was handled by the police initially. That's not in dispute here. No disputes that time sensitive evidence was not collected in a timely or comprehensive fashion, that clear investigative protocols were ignored, that evidence "disappeared" (either by negligence or criminal destruction) and that witness statements were mischaracterized in both official reports public statements made by law enforcement officials.

There's no undoing this - it's ruined already and taking it to a courtroom gets it no closer to justice than the state it is in now. Especially for Winston who cannot be conclusively cleared of the charges. There's a miscarriage of justice that has ALREADY occurred. It's not a matter of anyone having their day in court anymore, neither Winston nor his accuser because law enforcement has already made fair and accurate judgement literally impossible. That such a miscarriage of justice benefits Winston makes me unwilling to sweep the problematic situation under the rug - if she can no longer prove her case because of the miscarriage of justice, he has to operate under of a cloud of suspicion.

Neither party can get justice in this case. Winston doesn't get to pretend that a lack of charges equal justice.

And if you believe (as I do) that all of the aspects of the miscarriage look coordinated to benefit Winston, then I think it's more than fair to call him a scumbag rapist.

(Also, you go to the "read what I wrote more carefully!" well too much and with too many other commenters for me to take it seriously at this point. And doing it in response to me asking you to clarify your position and then failing to directly address the specific questions I had doesn't help...)

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:09pm

And one more thing, you were the most vocal theorist on this website for coming up with ways in which Ray Rice could have been absolved for knocking out his fiancee before the second tape emerged - I don't even disagree with your basic concept that drunk people injure themselves in crazy ways, to boot. But in light of that and this argument, it makes me feel like it's very loaded to have any conversation with you about violence by professional athletes against women. I really don't mean that as an ad hominem attack, just that you clearly don't have much interest in the complicated aspects of victims of sexual and domestic violence getting their day in court (which is the exact opposite perspective I'm starting from...)

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:36pm

I don't really mean this as an ad hominem attack, but it is pretty clear that you don't have much interest in being intellectually honest about what is entailed in being able to honestly state that a citizen is guilty of a crime. For you, it's good enough to just kinda' "know" it, because it conforms to your preconceived notions. Look, it ain't complicated. If you want to be able to definitively state that citizen x committed crime y, then cite the evidence, and cite where the evidence was tested, and no, the fact that law enforcement failed in its professional responsibility does not prove the the citizen committed the crime.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:46pm

I understand that you think it is fair to call a person a rapist despite the evidence in support of the assertion not being tested, in part because law enforcement screwed up . That's why I disagreed with you; because such a position is intellectually lacking, since pretending to know things that you don't really know is intellectually lacking.

Look, you are consistently dishonest, via implication, with regard to what I have written. I don't really care what you take seriously, because, to be frank, you lie with frequency. I apologize for engaging with you on the topic, and I promise that in the future I will avoid engaging with you, if you will extend me the same courtesy.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:57pm

In most cases I would be reluctant as well but the facts are pretty damning and the "investigation" was a sham. From a NY Times article
"As she gave her account to the police, several bruises began to appear, indicating recent trauma. Tests would later find semen on her underwear.

After a Florida State student accused quarterback Jameis Winston of rape, the police did not interview him or obtain his DNA. In his announcement, the prosecutor, William N. Meggs, acknowledged a number of shortcomings in the police investigation. In fact, an examination by The New York Times has found that there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university."
Most/all of the evidence has disappeared so I don't think any civil trial is going to happen.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:06pm

What evidence has disappeared? They tested for semen, and then destroyed the evidence? In a civil trial, a jury needs only find the alleged victim more believable than the alleged rapist. It's not an incredibly high bar to clear.

by LyleNM :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:32pm

Are civil trials for rape common?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:37pm

Define common. I know it isn't terribly uncommon for a lawsuit to be filed for unwanted sexual contact, or for a party so accused to settle with an accuser prior to trial or discovery.

Look, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Winston is guilty of what he has been accused of. I'd just like to evidence tested before I claim to know that someone is a rapist.

by LyleNM :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:28pm

I actually have no idea how common they might be since I am not involved in the legal system. I would however be surprised if they actually made it to trial very often because I am having a hard time picturing what benefit the plaintiff will actually get out of it other than the right to hand over their money to their attorneys.

But I completely agree with your second paragraph. I just question the whole civil lawsuit aspect of your argument.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:57pm

When the defendant has a lot of money, or an insurance policy which pays on lawsuits, the plaintiff can get a lot of money. For instance, in the aftermath of Kobe Bryant's alleged rape, the settlement was kept confidential, but credible reports put it in the low 7 figures. Ben Roethlisberger paid damages to the woman who accused him of rape in Lake Tahoe. Michael Jackson's alleged victims reportedly received tens of millions of dollars. Numerous victims of rape by Catholic priests have received large amounts of money as a result of lawsuits.

by LyleNM :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:00pm

Which seems to answer my original question - "uncommon".

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:06pm

What is the definition of "numerous"?

by LyleNM :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:18pm

Compare against the actual number of rapes, rape accusations, criminal sexual encounters, etc. please.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:00pm

Look, if you want a precise answer, ask a precise question. Yes, I think it very likely that the overwhelming majority of those who engage in sexual assault are judgement-proof, meaning they lack the assets or insurance that makes suing them a worthwhile endeavor. On the other hand, it appears as if when such people with assets or insurance do engage in such behavior, it is possible to recover considerable damages. I would not be surprised if the accuser in the Winston allegation is going to wait until the accused obtains some wealth before filing suit; that would be a logical thing to do.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:14pm

I mean, look at this thread, Will. You're totally disinterested in the consensus that the case was totally mishandled and focusing on how the accuser might be able to get money? Do you understand that there's a chance that no amount of money could ever be an adequate replacement for real, live, actual justice?

If I'm misreading you, just say: yes, justice was miscarried and money would be poor substitute for anyone who cares about it, especially, you know, other potential victims. And anyone who likes to think their law enforcement officials will at least do a DNA test on the person you claim raped you.

It's just not clear what your position is and, trust me, I'm reading this thread closer than anybody...

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:32pm

I think his point is that a mishandling of a case does not a guilty man make.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:50pm

Exactly. I really start to question the ability of people to read sometimes. Either that, or they are just spoiling to have an argument against a certain position, regardless of whether the person they are arguing with actually took that position.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:55pm

Um, did ever occur to you that the positions of "The case was totally mishandled" and "There has not been conclusive proof supplied that Winston committed rape, even with the case being mishandled" are not mutually exclusive? Do you grasp that the only reason I addressed the topic is because you inaccurately wrote as if it has been established via tested evidence that Winston is a rapist? Do you grasp that your feelings are not facts?

by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:19pm

Will, what I grasp is that the powerful (like Winston) are often able to hide behind "unclear facts" after the system has done everything in their power make the facts unclear. The lack of clarity is this case is a tool being used by law enforcement as a method of absolving him. That's what makes it a miscarriage of justice for both Winston and the accuser.

That's why I ask you, what is the threshold for "mishandling" (as you so bullshit-ily put it) for you to agree that justice is impossible. Destruction of evidence? Disregard for clear protocol? Mismanagement of witnesses? This case meets all those standards. If you agree justice is impossible in this case, we simply have a difference of opinion on what that miscarriage of justice means.

If you think this case doesn't meet the standards justice-underminig for mishandling, I need to know your standards for the conversation to even be worthwhile. Otherwise, you'll just keep moving the goal-posts and saying "read what I wrote!!!!!"

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 5:35pm

I already answered your question. You just chose to ignore that I answered. The handling of the investigation has exactly nothing to to do with a simple factual matter. Has evidence been presented and tested which establishes that Jameis Winston is a rapist? If the answer to that question is "no", then it is morally illegitimate to state as a factual matter that Winston is a rapist.

Say whatever you want abut the people who investigated this alleged crime. There's a decent chance I'll agree. That doesn't make it right to claim that Winston is a rapist.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 6:08pm

Mishandling of evidence by law enforcement does not mean that the suspect is guilty of the crime as charged.

There have been many, many case of law enforcement mishandling evidence that led to the conviction of an innocent person.

Misconduct or incompetence by the state has nothing at all to do with the guilt or innocence of a suspect. If you can't undersetand that, you shouldn't be arguing about it.

Please stop misreading Will's comments.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:01pm

"By the time the prosecutor got the case, important evidence had disappeared, including the video of the sexual act." It is true that in civil cases you only need the preponderance of evidence, so it might be winnable if she could find an attorney who agrees and if she can stand the vitriol of the (small crazy minority) FSU fans.

by Anger...rising :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:28pm

Seemingly everyone in the world is using a New York Times hit piece as support for their argument in this case, when hundreds of pages of evidence have been made available to the public, and not a single piece supports the accuser's version of events. I don't exaggerate; there's nothing at all that points to rape. Never mind the statements of the two eyewitnesses to the sexual encounter -- simply dismiss them as the product of bias on the part of Winston's teammates. The physical evidence and the accuser's own friends contradict her story.

She has made multiple statements with a common theme: that she could remember only bits and pieces of her ordeal because her assailant hit her over the head... or drugged her... or took advantage of her extreme intoxication. Her physical exam showed no evidence of any blow to the head, toxicology showed she had insufficient alcohol in her system to produce the claimed effect, and she tested negative for over 100 drugs, so she wasn't slipped a mickey. Given these facts, her attorney resorted to claiming that labs run by the FBI and the University of Florida were part of the vast conspiracy against her; alternately, the nurse who took her samples must've switched them out for someone else's. These were public statements in front of assembled press.

The physical evidence is supported by the statements of her friends, who say she'd been drinking but was not drunk, and that she left voluntarily with someone she'd given her number to earlier in the night. She claimed to have received a shot of unknown origins while at the bar, but the member of her party who acknowledged giving it to her had no connection to Winston and did not leave with her. A friend also says the attorney wanted her to lie and claim ownership of the accuser's clothing because it tested positive for another man's semen.

These are facts that the New York Times doesn't deem fit to print because they don't fit the inflammatory narrative being pushed. It works because the readership can be relied upon to never question what it's being fed or seek out the easily obtained documentation that would expose the lie.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:41pm

Why, to hear you tell it, articles in the New York Times are not a good venue for testing the veracity of accounts of alleged crimes, or the quality of the evidence put forth to support such accounts! Who'da' thunk it!!

by ChrisS :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:34am

I disagree, the determinant facts are straightforward and need no adjudition. There was a sexual act (both parties agree). Winston claimed it was consensual. The woman calimed it was non-consensual. The women had bruising and vaginal trauma. Evidence disappeared. There is room for interpertation/belivablity, but when I look at the facts I see a rape and am comfortable hearing Winston called a rapists. Others may and do disagree.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:02pm

Yes, I understand that others are comfortable with calling a citizen a rapist without any evidence being tested, thus saying untested evidence is straightforward and not in need of adjudication. I believe this to be a travesty every bit as large as a law enforcement agency performing a wholly inadequate investigation of an alleged rape.

by Led :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:37pm

Hold on a second, Will. You're saying people expressing an opinion is "a travesty every bit as large as a law enforcement agency performing a wholly inadequate investigation of an alleged rape"? I think you may want to walk that last comment back a bit.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:11pm

Yeah, there's just too much crazy (this is clearly a sensitive subject for Will) coming out here for this discussion to lead anywhere...

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 5:21pm

Saying "Citizen x is a rapist" is not an expression of an opinion. It is a statement of fact. To make a statement of fact that a citizen is rapist, without tested evidence, to support a statement of fact regarding such a serious matter, is as immoral as mishandling an investigation of that serious matter.

by Led :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 6:08pm

I'm not going to argue the semantics of facts vs. opinions. However you characterize it, you appear to think saying in an internet comment that a dude is a rapist is as egregious as official government misconduct and suppression of evidence to protect an accused rapist. You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but I have to say I'm shocked by it. Frankly, I think your priorities are clearly out of whack on this point.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 6:13pm

Claiming that someone is a rapist without evidence is defamation. The fact that such defamation is widespread on the Internet simply means that anonymity allows commenters to make outrageous statements without consequences.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 6:45pm

I'm shocked that you are shocked by an assertion that labeling a person as a rapist, despite there not being tested evidence to support such a label, is as morally wrong as failing to investigate a rape adequately.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:19pm

Furthermore, the case was definitely handled in a way to maximize the "room for interpretation" which is why this is a miscarriage of justice. If the mishandling had benefitted the accuser, I would be just as outraged.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 5:26pm

This is a perfect example of your dishonesty. I never once stated or implied that miscarriage of justice did not occur in this matter. I stated it was a travesty to baldly assert that a person has committed rape, absent tested evidence that establishes that fact. The two are not remotely similar, it really is quite contemptibly dishonest of you to write in the manner you that you choose

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 10:31pm

This entire thread proves why the Jets will not be drafting Seven time Super Bowl MVP Jameis Winston ever.

by RickD :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:00pm

Looks like a fumble to me.

Vick was a non-sliding QB on the run so he's treated as a RB there. Might have been a late hit or unnecessary roughness, but I'm OK with the no-call.

Heads-up play by the Steeler who fell on the ball. I don't understand how the officials not only missed the initial call, but couldn't correct it with replay.

Mike Carey was right. There, I've said it.

The loss of the fumble recovery was just one of the many things that the football gods were using the express their disapproval of Ben Roethlisberger, and Scott Kacsmar's puff piece last week prematurely inducting him into the Hall of Fame.


by RickD :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:28pm

Double post

by Led :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:40pm

Thanks for the gif. Yes, it looks like the ball hit #94 before he touched the OOB line, so he was in bounds. Should be a fumble and a live ball. However, the play was blown dead and the ball was surrounded by players from both teams who made no attempt to recover it. Everybody involved in the play stopped at the whistle. Does the "continuing action" rule apply in the NFL or just in college? Because this seems to be exactly the type of situation where the recovery was not in the continuing action. A dude 10-15 yards away who was not even involved in the original play dove on the ball long after everybody else on both teams stopped competing. The whistle should mean something.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:51pm

The irony is, the refs did the same thing to the Jets against Chicago. Replay gave them the ball at least, but it took away a defensive touchdown.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:57pm

Yeah, this seems like a messed up call, but it's tough to award the ball to the Steelers since everyone anywhere near the ball was dead stopped by the whistle. I think also in the context of Babin's repellent hit on Roethlisberger on the delay of game penalty, Harrison's repellent cheap shots versus the Ravens last week and the general cheap-shotiness of the game, that making sure these guys stopped at the whistle was in the game's best interest. I mean, the hit on Vick on that very play was on the border of deserving a flag, a blow to the QB's head as he's going out of bounds. The refs screwed up, it should have been a fumble, but after the call was screwed up on the field I just don't think there's anything reasonable to be done about it.

The Steelers defense should learn: if you don't want quick whistles, don't push the boundaries of what's a late hit.

by Led :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:15pm

Jesus, that Babin late hit was so stupid. He turned what would have been a 3rd and 10 and a good chance to get off the field into a 1st down, almost in FG range. Plus it was just a s****y thing to do. I wanted him benched for the rest of the game.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:19pm

Oh, he's such a scumbag, too, you can't even consider the possibility of a legit confusion on his part. Just a dumb, reprehensible play...

by Led :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:25pm

In other news, Nick Mangold remains a national treasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOmIweiq_j0. Almost makes me want to buy a Pepsi.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:27pm

Yeah. His back shoulder drop of that Steelers safety on the victory formation was delightful. (And Jesus, what a stupid, cheap-shot filled game.)

by Travis :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:39pm

I liked how Harlan asked Mike Carey for his opinion before the call was made, was interrupted by the ref's announcement that the play stood, followed by Carey stating that he would have overturned the call.

by Pat :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:51pm

Really stunk that they made that review so fast- it would've been great if Mike Carey could've added yet another incorrect call.

Seriously, whenever I see Carey give his opinion, I just flat assume the review is going to give the opposite answer. At this point it's a much, much safer bet.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:59pm

It's little disconcerting that the guy headed a crew for as long as he did, and was assigned the Super Bowl.

by Lance :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:02pm

Did you really just talk about Vick and then mention having a dog in the fight?

by RickD :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:00pm

Good catch.

by RickD :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:06pm

Watched a lot of the Steelers-Jets game, and it was baffling.

"Vince Verhei: With 1:16 to go, Roethlisberger unleashes a deep ball to Martavis Bryant, and it's a rainbow and an easy touchdown. WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THAT THREE QUARTERS AGO?"

Yes, exactly.

Twice, early in the 4th quarter, the Steelers had the ball inside the Jets' 10-yard line. The first time was discussed above, and ended in the FG shank. The second time they got a 1st down at the 1-yard line after Antonio Brown almost made the end zone.

And then the Jets got flagged for roughing the passer on 1st down! Somehow that led to this:

(8:56) L.Blount left guard to NYJ 1 for no gain (D.Davis, D.Harris).
2nd and 1 at NYJ 1 (8:19) L.Blount left end to NYJ 9 for -8 yards (Q.Coples).
3rd and 9 at NYJ 9 (7:32) (Shotgun) B.Roethlisberger pass incomplete short left to A.Brown (M.Williams).

The second down play is baffling. How do you lose 8 yards on what should be a 1-yard dive????

It's like the Steelers got within inches of the goal line and said "We know their secondary is awful, but we're the g*ddamn Pittsburgh Steelers, and we're going to run it in!"

Just a baffling game. Incredible ineptness on the part of the Steelers offense. Oh well, I guess we can end the "Roethlisberger for MVP" talk.

How the Steelers have managed to provide 2/3 of the total wins for the Jets and the Bucs is beyond me. With a modicum of consistency they would be 8-2 right now and in great position to get the #1 seed.

by RickD :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:07pm

..and I should add, in spite of all this, they looked much, much better than the Bengals!

by big10freak :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:09pm

I do think the Jets generated a good pass rush most of the day. But the Steelers were doing an ok job in pass protection. And I always fall back on the "if you really need a play do you ask your best player to make it" notion. so many coaches ignore this maxim which puzzles me. The 'surprise' factor only goes so far. If you REALLY need a first down or a score do you want Ben as the centerpiece or someone else.

I know what my answer would be.

by Travis :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:19pm

And then the Jets got flagged for roughing the passer on 1st down!

And on that play, the Steelers had James Harrison, fresh off retirement and 13 years on defense, go out for a pass.

How do you lose 8 yards on what should be a 1-yard dive????

It should have been 5 (Wilkerson blew up a run to the outside), but Blount thought he'd do better retreating and then trying to outrun the entire defense.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:21pm

Blount's run for a minus 8 yards on the goal line really should earn a -8000 DYAR, for the single dumbest thing a running back can do. Sure, fumbles are worse, but that's a matter of physical failure, whereas Blount made a conscious decision to give about 7 yards to the Jets on that play.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:38pm

Bucs fans have many memories of Blount being simply awful at short yardage; for a big, strong guy, he likes to imagine he's Darren Sproles or something. He has the body of a truck, the feet of a scatback, and the brain of a bucket of oatmeal.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:56pm

Now, now, let us be fair to oatmeal; it is an excellent source of nutrition. Brains however, even non-Blount brains, are inadvisable for consumption, due to prions, and association with zombie apocalypse fiction.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:44pm

Darren Sproles would never get caught dancing behind the line of scrimmage. It's McCoy you're thinking of... and yes that Blount play was positively bad McCoy-esque...

by Jodeci23 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:09pm

"Aaron Schatz: Cruz had three dropped passes last year."

Completely false. I clearly remember watching two games in which he dropped at least 3 passes last year. Cian Fahey is absolutely correct. He is an average receiver with poor hands and who runs inconsistent routes.

by pablohoney :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:07pm

FWIW, Pro Football Focus had him with 5 drops in 2013 and 6(!) drops in 2014. From what I've seen PFF is pretty conservative when it comes to calling something a drop, so if anything it understates any issues he's had.

by armchair journe... :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:03pm

Aaron's definitely understating the case.. A half dozen a year sounds more plausible, if even a bit conservative, but on a really high level of targets. Cian, meanwhile, is in talksportsradio hyperbole land.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:53pm

A lot of people are saying the Cardinals are screwed now that Palmer is out, but I don't think the dropoff between him and Drew Stanton is so much of an abyss that it will totally sink them. Stanton struggles with accuracy sometimes, but he's got a pretty good deep ball (which is why Arians loves him) and is a pretty good runner.

I've always rooted for Stanton to get a shot somewhere. He was so bad in the first couple of years after the Lions drafted him, that I assumed he would be out of the league after his rookie deal was up. But when he was pressed into action in 2010 with both Stafford and Shaun Hill hurt, he looked suprisingly competent. I'm not suprised that the Cardinals managed to win all the games that he started and finished.

by dank067 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:23pm

I think a lot of the Cardinals-are-screwed sentiment results from looking at their remaining schedule: DET, @SEA, @ATL, KC, @STL, SEA, @SF. And not only are there a lot of good teams on that list, but a lot of pretty good defenses too. It is hard to imagine them losing at Atlanta or at St. Louis, so that should give them at least 10 wins, but if they need more than that (and they probably will), they'll probably need to squeeze a bit more than just competence out of Stanton.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:31pm

I think they can beat the Chiefs at home. Let's remember they beat the 49ers at home already with Stanton without having to do anything too unrepeatable.

I think this definitely opens the division up for the Seahawks, but I still think the Cards should get 11 wins, which will likely put them in the playoffs.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:51pm

DVOA agrees on Stanton vs. Palmer - Palmer was ranked 9th with a nice 11.2% but Stanton is at 2.6% which would put him 16th in the league. Not a drop like, say, Austin Davis' -8.1% vs. Shaun Hills' "holy shit that is awful" -93.5%. Palmer vs. Stanton is essentially going from an above good starter to an average one.

On that note, have there ever been two Top contenders in a conference to both lose their QB's for the regular season almost simultaneously and have a lot of folks say "eh, they'll be fine." For a QB driven league, that no one is hitting the panic button for the Eagles or Cardinals right now seems surreal...

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 8:12pm

Stanton's other problem, beyond inaccuracy, was a propensity to make boneheaded decisions.
While the DVOA dropoff might be relatively small, I feel better about the Lions' chances in Phoenix next week.

by chemical burn :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:08am

Oh, the lions are going to eat them alive. They're built on defense to annihilate one dimensional passing-focused offenses. Ask Rodgers and brees about that. And one led by an inexperienced backup? Forget it.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:49pm

I sure hope you're right, but the 49ers probably thought the same thing when they travelled to Glendale to face the Drew Stanton-led Cardinals.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:47pm

Is advise the Lions to try not committing about twenty penalties, that would be a good start. This year's Lions might even be able to manage that too.

by Mugsy :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:55pm

Mark Sanchez --super!
Ben Roethlisberger --terrible!

Gotta love the NFL

by BroncFan07 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:05pm

"we saw why Kyle Orton is not, in fact, the savior of Buffalo Bills football. He's a fine backup, but he's not a top-20 starting quarterback in the NFL."

No, he sure is not. He will always be Completely Competent Kyle Orton (copyright V. Verhei).

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 1:39pm

I can't be the only person who is now wishing Matt Hasselbeck has a very, very long career as a backup just because it will keep him out of the booth a long as possible. I never realized how annoying and nasally his voice is until I had to hear him interrupt Ronde Barber for a few hours.

by Guido Merkens :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:39pm

You know an announcer is bad when taking time away from Ronde Barber is a problem.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 2:39pm

Tampa committee three offsides penalties yesterday. On Atlanta’s first drive. No, really, three times, one drive. Did I miss something where Matt Ryan had suddenly become the master of the ninja hard count? Just stupidly sloppy.

Mike Evans continues to give me some small shred of hope for the future that the Football Gods will undoubtedly string along for a while before crushing them to the ground in a ball of fire. Having dealt with the promise of rookie Michael Clayton and then rookie Mike Williams, I’d like to believe the third time is the charm for rookie Tampa WRs named Mike who do well and . . . seriously, I realize it’s an incredibly-common name, but, what are the odds of having three good rookie WR seasons from guys named Mike in about ten years?

This was an AWESOME game for fans of the NFL’s replay system. On about 3rd and 25 McCown scrambled and hit Evans for a long gain, but he was ruled past the line of scrimmage. It was challenged and reversed, he was behind the line. A few plays later, long pass down the left sideline, Mike Evans makes a freakishly good catch, is ruled out of bounds. Is again challenged, again reversed. Next play, deflected pass in end zone, ruled incompletion, yet again challenged, yet again reversed. Three challenges on that drive, all three calls overturned. That has to be a record, right? Not exactly a strong day for Clete Blakeman’s crew, to put it mildly.

by Roch Bear :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:23pm

Is autocorrect a RaiderJoe product?

by Otis Taylor89 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:56pm

RaiderJoe is/has been on Twitter since 2011.

Two great taste that taste great together?

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:25pm

Hey, you got your misspellings in my malaprop!!!!

by beargoggles :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:04am

Now the ultimate in programming would be design AutoCorrect that turns a coherent post into RaiderJoe post. I guess that would take all the fun out of it, but still.

by theslothook :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:14pm

Derrick Carr looked bad, but frankly, there isn't a rookie qb I would expect to do well on this raiders team facing a bronco team that got to pin its ears back and rush the passer.

This brings back a point I made last year about the bucs when they were winless. Carr, like Glennon, has played about as well as you would expect a high pick rookie to play, given the team he is on. But what will that mean going forward? The raiders are pretty much guaranteed to have a top 3 pick(I think they're going to go 0-16), so they will have a chance to draft a franchise qb. Should they do it? One argument is that this is a team that needs talent everywhere and Carr should be given the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, I tend to take the view that if you have a shot at a Franchise qb, you take him, regardless of what you feel about Carr's potential.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:25pm

With the rookie wage scale the way it is now, I don't see why you wouldn't try to stock up on possible franchise QB's - the best case scenario is a Rivers/Brees in SD situation where you give away Drew Brees because Rivers won the starting job. Not that it's comparable, but the Seattle Flynn/Jackson/Wilson situation was the same thing of over-stocking on QB. And it makes sense to over-stock at the most important position, especially if you're not going to be stuck with a Sam Bradford-esque contract. If they draft Mariotta and Carr wins the starting job, great! Having two "potentially" good QB's seems much smarter now than wasting a couple years to let someone develop (e.g. Blaine Gabbert and Geno Smith...)

by theslothook :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:48pm

That's fine, but its also an opportunity cost. If the chargers had instead traded Eli and instead used their pick on say Vince Wilfork, keeping Brees, they would have been better for it. Of course, that's all hindsight, but in the end, drafting another qb means the Carr pick was a waste of the first overall pick is a waste. Given that, is it still better to go after a franchise qb?

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:44pm

I think that is all hindsight - Brees definitely hadn't decisively proved himself when they drafted the big upside pick of Rivers. If you have a borderline QB and there are some high caliber prospects in the draft (unlike say last year, which led to Carr getting picked as high as he did) I think trying to hit a home run at that position is smarter than worrying about opportunity cost. I mean, if Seattle had passed on Wilson because they had just paid a ton of money for Matt Flynn, they wouldn't have a Superbowl victory. Or look at the years teams wasted on guys like Gabbert and Harrington because of their draft position.

The best of all possible solutions is, of course, to only draft and sign great QB's, but considering how tough it is to do that, stocking up at the position makes a ton sense in the context of the new CBA. I mean, the Rams are getting ready to waste another year on Bradford because they basically have no choice because of his contract - if they had a QB whose contract was structured under the new CBA, don't you think it would be highly intelligent for them to bring in some stiff competition for the job?

I know bad teams like the Raiders and Jaguars need significant help at all positions so the opportunity cost matters more, but for teams like the Rams and Titans and even Buccaneers who have shown signs of life in the past few years, don't you think bringing in a QB to compete for the starting job makes more sense than wasting another two years before they decide "nope, this is definitely not working" and then start the process all over?

(PS as an Eagles fan who really likes Nick Foles, I would be outraged if they used a first rounder on a QB this year, so I am likely talking out of my ass. And I'd be outraged for the exact reason you bring up: the Kelly drafts have been dubious thus far and I'm worried about restocking the cabinets at positions like S, CB, WR, LB and o-line, all positions where a first round talent would be welcome...)

by BJR :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 3:43pm

Speaking of rookie QBs, being in the UK I got my first chance to watch Bortles yesterday and it wasn't pretty. The numbers don't look terrible, but much of that was garbage time. I understand what Cian Fahey means when he says he just "fires the ball towards his receivers"; there is no finesse on any of his throws. Which is ok if the throws are consistently accurate, but that was not the case yesterday. He was actually helped out on several occasions by receivers catching short passes which were rifled away from their bodies.

And a note to the Jags defensive coaches: whether or not he's spent the previous evenings gallivanting around London's West End, it's not a great idea to persistently leave Dez Bryant in single coverage on the outside.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:50pm

He's one of those players whose team is so bad, I feel like I can't judge him. I mean, I've seen guys like Gabbert and JaMarcus who after a few games it's just 100% clear they have no business playing in the NFL and Bortles isn't one of those guys. Right now he looks a little like David Carr, a player who is rapidly developing awful habits because of the surrounding talent. Who knows if he ever would have been good, but so much of Carr's (and Bortle's) playing style is based on having no time in the pocket, marginal running game support and WR's who can't get open even when they manage to run the correct route. I agree that he has no touch, though - not sure how much that matters overall and "the ball was thrown too hard!" is not an excuse for a WR in the NFL.

by BJR :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 9:31am

Mostly agree, although I would argue that the Jags have some decent young talent at WR (as do the Raiders). OK, there's clearly no stud guy there who can soak up 10+ targets a game from his rookie QB and remain efficient, but there were several plays on Sunday when the receivers bailed out Bortles with good catches on passes thrown away from their bodies or provided some decent YAC. The O-Line is clearly bad though, which is probably the bigger issue for a rookie QB.

Also agree that 'no touch' doesn't matter a great deal - as long as he is accurate. Overall, even on a bad team with little help I would expect to see some playmaking ability from a QB selected 3rd overall - something positive to take away from the game - and I didn't get that from Bortles.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:04pm

You also can't underestimate how little relief he gets from the running game - go look at Gerhart's numbers as a starter. They are insanely bad. I think if you put Bortles on, say, the Texans, then he's a legit Rookie of the Year candidate. I agree the Jaguars wr's show some promise, but they don't even have some solid veteran that can be assumed to run the correct route or make a tough catch like the Raiders have. Overall, it's impossible to argue that any team in the league definitely has a worse set of offensive weapons around the QB than the Jaguars. Just give the man a Vincent Jackson like they have in Tampa before you judge him - I mean, the Jets offense would be a massive upgrade from what the Jaguars have.

All that said, he's developing awful habits very quickly and the lack of real repercussions for forcing the ball (no repercussions because they stink and everyone expects them to) is most troubling. He seems to be getting lazy with his reads, or maybe just conscious of his internal "don't get sacked!" clock and making many lame-brained throws he doesn't need to...

by Rick_and_Roll :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:19pm

Zane Beadles must have been they key to Denver's offensive line last year because they are not very good this year, with theoretically better personnel.

by theslothook :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:18pm

Now I didn't see the Jets Steeler game, but this is exhibit A about why I think RR is a great coach. He has a significantly worse secondary than either Baltimore or Indianapolis. I realize this game was on the road for the Steelers, but NY has managed to corral the passing games for Denver, NE, and Pitt despite a talent mix that is near the bottom of the league.

In other words, if the offense isn't actively ruining the game, RR gives you a chance that I think almost no coaches do.

I would take him as a my head coach over anyone not named BB and Harbaugh honestly.

by mrh :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:40pm

On some teams, the head coach has responsibility for the offense and the defense, and if one is actively ruining the game, he fixes it or gets fired.

I think he's a very good defensive coach and gets his players on both sides of the ball to play hard. But if the offense is bad, on his 2nd OC and multiple QBs, that's also on him.

by theslothook :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 4:47pm

Which coach do you know deserves credit for both sides of the ball? Walsh was never known as a defensive guru. And John fox sure looks like a passing game savant.

by Hang50 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 6:20pm

A few weeks ago, I'd have said that I'd strongly consider Mike McCoy as a good long-term coach, esp. with an intelligent QB (or prospect). The last three Bolts games may have me reconsidering that opinion, and San Diego's remaining schedule is no cakewalk (NE, BAL, DEN, SF). I'm not sure what happened to his offense in Miami; I'm not an SD fan, but I'd hate to see them rush to the cellar.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 8:13pm

If we could clone Rex, I'd take him as my DC and easily beat your team with Rex Ryan as head coach. It makes absolutely no sense to me why you would take him as head coach instead of DC. The best-case assumption is he adds nothing to offense, scouting or FA, why Peter Principle him?

Who, me?

by jonnyblazin :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 9:40pm

Actually I think the perfect coaching position for Rex is Defensive Line coach. The one consistent hallmark of his defenses over the years is great D-Line play, he turned out great units year after year for the Ravens no matter who was playing.

I think his success as a D-Coordinator is due to his skill at coaching the D-line, since having good D-line play is probably the simplest way to ensure a quality defensive unit. As far as a play caller, I think he may be too aggressive. I get the sense sometimes he'd rather try to totally stifle the offense rather than play conservatively when the latter will lead to greater win expectancy.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:09pm

I think at this point, he's a head coach or nothing. I can't imagine many head coaches want that well-established of a larger than life media personality working for them. You don't want your defensive coordinator (or d-line coach!) to be swarmed constantly by the press looking for good quotes and know that if you falter and the defensive is any good, the owner is going to be staring at the much-beloved in-house replacement. Fans love the dude, to an almost impossible degree. I just can't see some humorless personality like Harbaugh or Chip Kelly suffering him or a milquetoast small-market guy like Gus Bradley being willing to have to wrangle him...

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:34pm

"I can't imagine many head coaches want that well-established of a larger than life media personality working for them. You don't want your defensive coordinator (or d-line coach!) to be swarmed constantly by the press looking for good quotes and know that if you falter and the defensive is any good, the owner is going to be staring at the much-beloved in-house replacement."

The 1993 Houston Oilers are solemnly nodding their heads in agreement...

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 10:28pm

While Harbaugh wouldn't want him, and Gus Bradley is just a bad fit, why wouldn't a team like the Colts or the Saints hire him as a coordinator? Sure, he's larger than life, but not more than Andrew Luck or Drew Brees. In those cases, the team will either falter because of injuries or because Rex fails on defense.

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 10:23pm

There was a year or two where the Jets had problems stopping the run, and it was because the defensive line got old. I might also add that Jarrett had an insanely good game on Sunday at safety, with two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery. PFF gave him a 6 plus rating. Also, Revis made the Pro Bowl the year before Ryan got to New York, but he wasn't all world until 2009, and I think you need to give Ryan some credit for that. You have a point as far as his defensive playcalling, but he really is one of the best defensive coordinators in the game.

by liquidmuse3 :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:53pm

Preston Parker had 40 catches for 554 yards for the Buccaneers in 2011, but then he got Schiano'd, because Schiano. Parker also was underdrafted because of some nonsense at Florida St.

by dougenglish :: Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:53pm

Sadly as a European, I have a fair amount of experience with 'flopping' or as we call it in football/soccer 'diving'. The key observation is seeing Cox's hands go up as he falls, rather than immediately bracing to hit the ground. That throwing up of your hands isn't a natural response to falling but it is a good way to draw attention to the fact you've been pushed. Infuriatingly it's become a skill in European soccer, drawing the lightest of contact before going down theatrically. Hands raised.

Did Graham push off? Definitely. Has Cox been watching Barcelona v. Real Madrid, very possibly? Although luckily I think the NFL has got someway to go before you careen off into this particular embarrassing cul-de-sac of sporting behaviour... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVksdN4QnvA

by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:37pm

If throwing up your hands is not a natural response in soccer, wouldn't an easy fix be to not call fouls when such responses occur? You might miss some actual fouls this way, but it should immediately put a stop to all the acting.

by tuluse :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 5:17pm

Not really. Players will learn to keep their hands tucked and jump away.

Plus, a lot of people do spread their arms out when knocked off balance, it lowers your center of gravity.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 5:36pm

What I meant was, it should immediately put a stop to all the acting that's blatantly obvious. Of course players are still going to flop, but at least have the decency to do it in a natural fashion.

by dbostedo :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 7:33pm

I've always said the best way to get rid of obvious dives would be to suspend the players after the match based on video review; It's the same way NFL players get fined.

That would put an end to all of the no-contact diving. The "light contact diving", as I'll call it, would still probably continue. You know, where there is a slight push and the guy goes down when he didn't need to. But I'm guessing it'll be at a lower rate since you couldn't be sure of not getting suspended.

I think it's the single biggest positive thing I'd like to see happen to soccer. Other than Liverpool winning another title, of course.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 8:17pm

To be fair, he said "hands go up", not "arms go out".

by beargoggles :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:52am

I don't get this at all. If you are pushed with violent force down your arms are going to seem to go up first before they go down to break the fall, it's physics. It's like a hinge effect or something. If you AREN'T pushed and they go up while you're falling, it's a flop, so the ref still has to figure out whether there was forceful contact.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:52pm

The NBA enters this clip for consideration at the international diving/flopping awards:

by bubqr :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:39pm

Such a shame that the best soccer games of my life (the Guardiola-Mourinho era Barca-Real) were plagued by such an insane amount of flopping and attempts to influence the referee decisions. I just can't understand, while FIFA does not at least promote the same rule than rugby: only the team captain is allowed to talk to the referee. That, and video reviews for flops(that could be enforced at a league level without FIFA consent) leading to warnings/suspensions would go a long way into cleaning up the game.