Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Defense and Rest Time

Do defenses really wear out over the course of a game? Do defenses benefit from long drives that give them more time to rest on the sideline? Guest columnist Ben Baldwin investigates.

16 Oct 2017

Audibles at the Line: Week 6

compiled by Andrew Potter

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

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

While these 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 solely to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.

(Ed. Note: There is some discussion of Colin Kaepernick below in conjunction with the Green Bay Packers. However, don't want political arguments to take over a discussion of this weekend's games. We have a separate XP post about Kaepernick's lawsuit against the NFL. Please limit discussion here to Kaepernick specifically in relation to the Packers and take other Kaepernick discussion to the other discussion thread. Thank you. -- Aaron Schatz)

San Francisco 49ers 24 at Washington Redskins 26

Bryan Knowles: Kirk Cousins and Washington march down the field with roughly no resistance from the 49ers defense. With Reuben Foster still out and NaVorro Bowman released, to describe the 49ers as "thin" at linebacker would be a bit of an understatement. The touchdown came to Josh Doctson; Jaquiski Tartt gave him about an 8-yard cushion expecting the fade. Doctson cuts inside instead, touchdown Washington.

Cousins was 4-for-4 with a perfect passer rating. John Lynch had to be physically restrained from handing him a massive check to come to San Francisco between drives ... one would imagine.

49ers fire sale watch: Carlos Hyde has been the running back early on, getting all the carries ahead of Matt Breida. Breida got the lion's share of the carries last week against Indianapolis, and scuttlebutt has the 49ers shopping Hyde this week, a few days after they released Bowman. Is Hyde's extra workload a way of keeping him happy after he was disgruntled with his workshare last week? A way of highlighting him for potential suitors? Over-analyzing two drives because the team is sort of falling apart and it's more interesting than discussing yet another San Francisco three-and-out caused by a dropped pass? Maybe it's the last one.

Dave Bernreuther: To this I'll add that Greg Manusky is a seriously underrated coach who was unfairly scapegoated for a lack of talent in Indianapolis. It's no surprise to me that his defense can get after a quarterback now with some actual talent in the ranks. Especially when it's not an elite quarterback.

(Before anyone says anything, yes I'm aware that Brian Hoyer's career day last year came against Manusky's defense...)

Bryan Knowles: It turns out that Brock Croyle is not an NFL starting linebacker. Reuben Foster can't get back soon enough -- Washington is targeting Coyle early and often, running in his direction and throwing the ball when he's covering their running backs. That's where Bowman would be had he not been cut this week.

Vince Verhei: What's working for Washington today: screen passes. I know San Francisco is playing third-stringers at linebacker, but the way Washington is executing these screens, with whole convoys in front of the running backs, they'd be effective against anyone. Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine are over 60 yards combined receiving, and it's still midway through the second quarter.

What's not working for Washington: deep passes. Kirk Cousins just threw interceptions on back-to-back plays, though the first was ruled incomplete on instant replay. Neither throw was anywhere near a receiver or had any chance to be caught. Chris Myers (who has been terrible all day, missing tons of calls) asks what is wrong with Cousins and his receivers. Well, it's probably not the receivers, Chris.

Brian Hoyer is 4-of-11 for 34 yards, and he has been benched for C.J. Beathard. Feeling pretty good about picking the 49ers to get the first draft pick this year.

Bryan Knowles: It's apparently the end of the Brian Hoyer era in San Francisco. C.J. Beathard's in, and the 49ers get a first down before punting, which counts as improvement. However, receivers drop a couple of his passes and the end result is another punt. Beathard also nearly threw an interception and was a bit inaccurate, though I'd say he looked better than Hoyer in an extremely small sample size.

Feels a bit early for Beathard -- I was betting on him starting at Week 9, when the 49ers schedule goes home against Arizona, home against the Giants and then a bye. But you can cross Hoyer off the "Potential 2018 49ers quarterbacks" chart now.

49ers decide to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 at the end of the half, and they score a touchdown. That puts them at 17-7 rather than 17-3 going into the half, which is probably flattering them. Full credit going for the touchdown rather than just kicking the give-up-shrug field goal; they're not likely to be down at the goal line much today, so get the most out of your opportunities.

Hoyer ends at 4-of-11 for 34 yards. Beathard's at 6-of-14 for 89 yards and the touchdown drive. That's nothing really to write home about -- though he lost a good couple completions due to drops -- but Hoyer can go ahead and take his helmet off, as he's not coming in. Beathard has been a bit inaccurate, and the big play of the drive came on a great reception by Marquise Goodwin on an overthrown pass. At the very least, however, Shanahan looks more willing to call big plays with Beathard behind center, which might be a plus in and of itself.

For Washington, Trent Williams is playing on one leg and it is showing. Solomon Thomas beat him for a sack, and he has been on the back foot quite a few times in the first half. Kirk Cousins has 201 yards passing, but a lot of that is coming on quick screens, taking advantage of the lack of depth at linebacker for the 49ers. They're still likely going to win, but at least Beathard makes this game more intriguing in the second half.

Kind of a bizarre play in Washington. Cousins hits Vernon Davis with a pass, and Davis goes down. About two seconds later, the ball pops out, Jimmie Ward scoops it up and runs all the way down to the 2. Turnover is reviewed, of course, and there's no clear view of Davis' knee on the ground. It looked, to me, like Davis' elbow was down while he was being contacted. Refs don't see it that way, and the 49ers punch it in on the next play. 17-17 game.

Vince Verhei: Vernon Davis loses the ball going down. Everyone assumes he is down, except Eric Reid, who picks it up and returns it 40-some yards inside the 5. The play is reviewed, and Myers insists the replay shows Davis is down before the fumble, and he is plainly wrong. I promise you, he is having a worse day than any player, coach, or ref today. Carlos Hyde scores for San Francisco to tie the game at 17 -- and Robbie Gould missed a 47-yard field goal, or the 49ers would be ahead right now.

Bryan Knowles: Zone read's still not dead. Kirk Cousins pulls it down, the 49ers fail to contain, and it's an easy walk-in score for Washington. That's a nine-play, 84-yard drive right when they needed it most. 26-17 with 3:28 left in the game probably ends this one. Of course, I said that last week...

I am going to stop predicting things are over. Beathard moves around in the pocket (which Hoyer cannot do), buys time (which Hoyer never did), extends the play -- and hits Aldrick Robinson for a 45-yard touchdown. Two-point game at the two-minute warning.

The 49ers got the ball back and had a chance, but Beathard's last-gasp pass is intercepted. Washington holds on to win, 26-24.

That's the 49ers' fifth consecutive loss by three points or less. That's an NFL record.

The 49ers have a -33 point differential this season. As best as I can tell, that's the best point differential ever for an 0-6 team:

  • 1944 Brooklyn Tigers (-39)
  • 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-45)
  • 1962 Los Angeles Rams (-50)
  • 2004 Miami Dolphins (-52)
  • 2007 Miami Dolphins (-54)

The New York Giants could join this list too, tonight, if they lose a close one against Denver -- they're at -40 through their first five games.

(Ed. Note: The Giants did not lose a close one at Denver.)

Detroit Lions 38 at New Orleans Saints 52

Andrew Potter: Saints open things up in New Orleans with a defensive touchdown. After a great job on punt coverage by Nate Stupar pins the Lions at the 2, Matthew Stafford drops back into the end zone on third down and, with a blitz coming, tries to leak out of the pocket to his right. Greg Robinson had pushed Alex Okafor around Stafford's back, but the quarterback's movement gave Okafor a clear path for the strip-sack and Kenny Vaccaro recovered in the end zone. It didn't look like Stafford was especially impaired on the play, he simply made the wrong move against a blitz.

On Detroit's second drive now, Stafford hasn't taken a single snap under center so far. The Lions are mixing up shotgun and pistol to make things easier on Stafford's legs, but he did just scramble for a third-down conversion.

Tied at seven now, after Golden Tate scores a 45-yarder that was about 40 yards after catch. Tate came back on the right sideline for the catch, Ken Crawley fluffed the tackle, Rafael Bush had Tate dead to rights about 10 yards later but went for the strip instead of just, ya know, TACKLING THE RECEIVER, and Marcus Williams took himself out of the play with a horrible pursuit angle. So we've seen the good and the very, very bad of the Saints defense already here.

My goodness. Craig Robertson just took the ball right out of the hand of Stafford after coming through untouched on a blitz. A healthy Stafford tries to spin away from the pressure, but all the gimpy Stafford can do is try to pull the ball away. Robertson drags it out of his hand and recovers the fumble, to put the Saints deep in Lions territory. Second huge strip-sack for the Saints defense.

Saints just ran an option pitch from Zach Line to Alvin Kamara, and followed it up immediately with a flea flicker to Brandon Coleman. This is the most expansive their playbook has been all year. They've also scored on every drive except the opener. Funny that.

We're getting a crazy run this season on weird "going to the ground" catch rule plays resulting in turnovers, and the first Saints turnover of the season is the latest example. Darius Slay wrestles the ball away from Michael Thomas as the two players land on a play that would have been called down by contact if the rule was slightly different -- Thomas had caught the ball firmly but was going to the ground, so when Slay pulls it away instead it's an interception. NFL record for games without a turnover to start the season stays at four.

I've never heard a referee sound as angry as Jeff Triplette did when announcing the taunting penalty on Jamal Agnew's punt return touchdown. It sounded like Triplette took the wave as a personal slight.

Don't look now, but this game has gone from 45-10 to 45-31 in only three Lions drives and that punt return, while the Saints have only one first down over that period. It's like the Saints thought the game ended when they got to 45 and simply stopped playing. With 11 minutes still to go, they should probably think about getting started again.

Derrik Klassen: Was this the Lions' "come back to Earth" game? Heading into this week, their defense was eighth in DVOA, ranking top 10 in both run defense and pass defense. Just giving the roster a quick eye test, I do not know how anyone thought they would be that good this season. Good on them for enjoying some early success, but that defense is still lackluster outside of a few cornerstones in Darius Slay and Glover Quin. The Saints have already put up 45 points on the Lions with about half of the fourth quarter left to go. This feels closer to Detroit's reality than when they held the Giants to 10 points and the Vikings to 7 earlier in the year.

Andrew Potter: Two of those Saints scores came on defense: a fumble recovered in the end zone on the first Lions drive, and a pick-six by Marshon Lattimore. Another was a 31-yard drive after a Craig Robertson strip-sack. So the Lions defense has allowed 31, which isn't amazing, but it's not as bad as it looks. Saints offense was excellent in the first two-and-a-half quarters, but has been shut down completely since the middle of the third.

Dave Bernreuther: And the Lions are halfway to closing that DTD gap ... Fat Guy touchdown from the 2 just made a game we were about to switch off into something very interesting.

Rob Weintraub: Yes, the Saints are about to blow a 45-10 lead.

A'Shawn Robinson jumps to bat a ball down, but picks it off instead and rumbles in for the score.

Incredibly it is 45-38 with plenty of time left.

Andrew Potter: A'Shawn Robinson just pulled a J.J. Watt: point-blank range interception of Drew Brees for a pick-six. Outstanding play, and this is now 38-45 with six minutes to go.

Scott Kacsmar: I can't believe a game that was 45-10 is going to end up in Clutch Encounters, but apparently it won't be a winning kind. Another weird defensive touchdown puts the Saints up 52-38, and maybe that will be enough. There are somehow five minutes left still.

Andrew Potter: This game is absolutely nuts. Third Saints defensive touchdown of the day, fourth in total. Stafford has had a crazy number of passes batted today, and Cameron Jordan caps a magnificent game with the pick-six.

That's five non-offensive touchdowns in total here.

Rob Weintraub: Now the Saints get a pick-six in the end zone. Football Follies in the Dome.

52-38 still lotta time to go.

Green Bay Packers 10 at Minnesota Vikings 23

Bryan Knowles: Aaron Rodgers has been carted into the locker room. Anthony Barr sacked him, and he fell awkwardly on his right shoulder. Pretty much immediately was sent to the back

Brett Hundley is the backup.

Dave Bernreuther: My first reaction was "that's not so bad. Why don't they just take a timeout so he can get back out there for third-and-9?"

But now I just saw Rodgers being carted off and I kind of want to cry. Football will be far less fun to watch if he's seriously injured.

In on-field news, I disagreed with everything about Case Keenum's decision and throw to Adam Thielen on a third down short of the line. But wow, what a catch by Thielen while wearing a defender. So the end result is a first down.

Two plays later, an uncatchable ball on a deep out again nets a first down due to Thielen being mauled. Those of us with high exposure to Thielen in DFS are feeling somewhat slighted by this unrewarded productivity.

Just while typing this, two more flags and two more poorly placed Keenum throws have happened. With Rodgers being done a real possibility, this game suddenly looks really unwatchable.

Vince Verhei: Hey, there's our No. 4 prospect from FOA 2017, Brett Hundley, scrambling on third down and finding Davante Adams over the middle for a game-tying sandlot touchdown. Most of the credit for that score goes to the defense -- Jake Ryan forced a Jerick McKinnon fumble, and Clay Matthews scooped it up and returned it 63 yards into the end zone.

Bryan Knowles: Jay Glazer is reporting it's a broken collarbone for Rodgers. That's at least a couple months, right? The only other quarterback the Packers have active is Hundley; Joe Callahan is on their practice squad, but they'll have to add somebody else for the next portion of the schedule, I'd imagine.

Tom Gower: Vikings up 14-10 at the half. The big story of the first half is the Aaron Rodgers injury. We'll know a lot more about the severity of that later today or tomorrow, so I'll pass on speculation there beyond noting Jay Glazer's early report Packers fear a broken collarbone, and missing Aaron Rodgers for two months or more would be bad for the Packers.

Both teams have been offensively challenged most of the game. The Packers' scoring drives both started in Minnesota territory, as did the Vikings' first touchdown (their second included a 42-yard pass interference penalty). Quarterback play is part of why. Keenum, we know, he's a backup or bottom-8-type starter. Will make a couple throws, miss a couple throws, doesn't have the ability to force things, can make some plays with his legs. Adam Thielen has played an expectedly large role in the run game. Jerick McKinnon has looked like the better Vikings back. He had a long gain wiped out by linemen way way downfield, and has both of the touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers being out has mostly emphasized how much he does for the offense in all phases. Hundley went down twice to Harrison Smith on safety blitzes it's hard not to think Rodgers would have done more against; neither Aaron Jones nor Ty Montgomery has found the going easy; and the later-down pass plays just haven't been there. Hundley did have a good third-down conversion to Jordy Nelson on a good throw, and the touchdown wasn't a bad play either, but c'mon, it's Rodgers, there's a huge drop-off to the backup.

It's official. Rodgers has a broken collarbone and could be out for the rest of the year. Injuries suck.

Scott Kacsmar: I have to agree with Mike Zimmer's decision to kick the short field goal on fourth-and-1 to start the fourth quarter. Take a 20-10 lead and make Hundley play from a two-score deficit. Green Bay's only scoring drives have come on very short fields.

Rivers McCown: Brett Hundley's first game was bad, but I think we need to see some time with him actually having starter practice snaps before I'm willing to bury him. I'm all about getting Colin Kaepernick a job, but I regard Hundley highly enough to think that's a situation where I'd at least see a few weeks of Hundley before I wanted to make a move. There are plenty of better places to wishcast Kaepernick on.

Rob Weintraub: I think the "wishcasting" for CK to the Packers, at least for me, would be the irony of it -- no team was tortured by Kaep's Keepers and his overall game worse than Green Bay.

Plus, since the community "owns" the team, there's no phony old rich white guy to stand in the way...

Bryan Knowles: Also, just generic "won't someone sign Kaepernick already?"

Expect the call to go out in Tampa, too, if Jameis Winston's injury keeps him out for an extended length of time. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the ideal answer to, well, anything.

Aaron Schatz: I made a big deal about this on Twitter, but let me say it here: the way Kaepernick has been treated is practically criminal but the answer to the problem is not to take a promising young African-American quarterback like Brett Hundley and cut him off at the knees. Hundley is not a retread. He deserves to see what he can do with the Green Bay offense with a couple of weeks of experience and starter preparation. I don't think these calls for Kaepernick in Green Bay are about how Joe Callahan doesn't deserve to be the backup. Kaepernick would be a huge upgrade on Callahan, but that's not what people on Twitter are asking for.

Rob Weintraub: I'm just trying to figure out how we can blame Olivia Munn for this...

New England Patriots 24 at New York Jets 17

Vince Verhei: Jets go ahead 7-0 on the opening drive, which goes 13 plays and includes four third-down conversions. Josh McCown scrambling for a first down on third-and-8 is a pretty good summary of this whole season for both teams so far. Biggest play was McCown on the run hitting Jeremy Kerley for 30 yards on third-and-6 down to the 1, then a touchdown pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins (again on third down) to finish things off.

The teams trade punts after that, then Mike Gillislee fumbles and the Jets recover just outside the red zone. Seven snaps later, McCown finds Kerley again, this time crossing to the left side. The ball just clears the fingers of the Patriots defender, and Kerley reels it in for a 31-yard touchdown. Jets now up 14-0 early in the second. They're really living on the edge -- five-of-six on third downs through three drives.

Derrik Klassen: It's time to sound the alarm on the Patriots. The defense was bad through the first five weeks, nobody would dispute that, but to give up 14 points to the Jets by early in the second quarter is disastrous. Josh McCown is having one of his rare games where all of his tight-window throws just hit. He's moving around well and negating the little pass rush that the Patriots provide.

On the flip side, the Patriots offense is starting off slow. They cannot seem to string together more than a couple good plays before things stall out and they have to punt. Given how good the offense has been all year, they probably figure it out later in this game, but it is not looking good. Best-case scenario for the Patriots right now is this becomes a weird shootout, in which they are better equipped for because of Brady.

Jets lead 14-0 right now and just received the ball off a Patriots punt.

Aaron Schatz: Elandon Roberts looks like he has no idea what he's doing on pass plays. He bites on every play fake and never seems to be in the right place on coverage. The Patriots' pass rush is also getting manhandled by the Jets offensive line today. McCown has tons of time to throw.

Scott Kacsmar: It's 2017 and this still happened: refs throw a flag on the Patriots defense for helmet-to-helmet hit, discuss the call, replay shows it was a legit call, but they pick up the flag anyway. Jets ended up punting, but should have had 15 yards and a first down. How has the game not changed to the point where Todd Bowles can challenge that botched case of officiating? A helmet-to-helmet hit is pretty binary. It happened or it didn't, and here it did, but no foul. And now the Patriots are driving for points in a 14-0 game instead of potentially being down 17-0 or 21-0.

Make that two awful calls against the Jets in a short period of time to make this 14-7. The Jets were flagged 24 yards for defensive pass interference, but Rob Gronkowski had a chokehold on the defender, who did turn his head around for the ball. That's either OPI or just let them play.

Aaron Schatz: There's one thing that isn't working right for the Jets today, and that's the run defense. This was one of the best run defenses in DVOA history in both 2015 and 2016 and suddenly this year the Jets can't stop the run at all. Ranked 25th in run defense DVOA through Week 5 and so far today the Patriots have 12 carries for 58 yards and now a touchdown to make it 14-7. It's particularly strange because of the research I've done showing that run defense is more consistent from year to year than pass defense. The Jets have the same players on the defensive line as last year; they're missing Sheldon Richardson (who moved all over the place but actually played a lot of outside linebacker a year ago) and David Harris (who is aging and can't even get on the field for the Patriots). There's really no explanation for why the Jets suddenly can't stuff any running backs at the line of scrimmage. It's the one thing the Patriots have going right in the first half of this game.

The refs in the Jets-Pats game really aren't covering themselves in glory. Scott noted some questionable calls, and now we've got a couple more. Buster Skrine pushed Philip Dorsett on the deep Brady interception, I thought pretty clear DPI, and then Kyle Van Noy just had a hit to the head on McCown on a third-down sack, also not called.

Remind me again why the Patriots cut Kony Ealy? Wait, actually, I don't need to be reminded, because I never minded or understood the move in the first place.

Bryan Knowles: Um, can anyone explain what just happened in the Patriots-Jets game? They ruled Sefarian-Jenkins was fumbling when he went over the goal line?

Aaron Schatz: I don't understand what the hell the guys in New York saw. The officiating in this game has been bad but that wasn't even on them.

It looked to me like ASJ caught a touchdown pass. Fine. On further review, I guess the ball was moving a little bit in his arms, so maybe you overturn it to incomplete. But how on earth do you get a fumble out of the back of the end zone? The ball never left his possession, at all. There's no fumble. There's no "football move." If he didn't have the ball, then it is an incomplete pass. And if he did fumble, I think he recovered in the end zone. I can't exactly rewind here because of the technical problems I'm having with streaming today but that was just totally messed up. And here I was about to post something into Audibles about how Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is finally fulfilling his potential now that he's cleaned his life up.

Vince Verhei: Oh, wow, I hadn't even seen that. I just though Seferian-Jenkins had scored and it never occurred to me there was anything to review. But yes, they said he fumbled the ball into the end zone and then out of bounds, and that's a touchback for New England instead of a touchdown for the Jets. Same rule that bit the Rams on Todd Gurley's near-touchdown against Seattle last week.

And then on New York's next drive, the Patriots lose all track of Jermaine Kearse, who gets open for a 44-yard gain, and the Jets are back in the red zone right away. And the drive stalls there and they kick a field goal, but they're only down 24-17 with 3:40 to go.

Patriots hang on for the 24-17 win. I've seen some replays of the ASJ fumble, and believe it or not, by the letter of the rule and the benefits of modern technology, I think they got this right. Seferian-Jenkins caught the ball near the hashmarks and took three or four steps to the sideline, where he collided with a gaggle of Patriots. Then, in the space of a few frames, Seferian-Jenkins lost control of the ball in midair, regained control in midair, and then landed out of bounds. It's clearly a fumble. Although ... the more I watch this, the more I have no idea how you can definitively say he was short of the goal line when he fumbled, but then across the goal line when he landed. Based on where he landed, he must have already been across the goal line when the ball came loose.

I don't watch baseball, but I heard there was a similar play this week when super slow-mo high-def replay showed a guy had stepped off the base and was called out. The way it was described to me, they technically got the call right, but he would have been called safe in every game ever played for the prior 100 years and nobody would have complained. This feels like that.

Aaron Schatz: To wrap this up... Yes, the Patriots won the game today to go to 4-2 but it was yet another close game. Every week we wait to finally see the emergence of the Patriots team we thought we were getting, and every week it keeps ... not ... happening. This Patriots are 4-2 and they are still going to have a DVOA about 20th with the worst defense in the league and I don't see any subjective reason to disagree with our system about that ranking. Among the other problems today, the linebackers just seem to have no ability to cover running backs in the passing game at all. I mentioned Elandon Roberts earlier. Coming into this game the Patriots were 27th in DVOA against running backs in the passing game. Today, Matt Forte and Travaris Cadet combined to catch 11 of 11 targets for 85 yards. Oh, and hey, look, next week it is the Atlanta Falcons.

Cue Charles McDonald complaining about the way Sarkisian is calling the offense this year. Is he going to realize how much Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman should just obliterate the Patriots on pass routes?

Miami Dolphins 20 at Atlanta Falcons 17

Zach Binney: The Dolphins offense actually has been moving the ball better, at least on the ground, than they have in weeks. But any drives they have strung together have been cut short by penalties (it's a chippy game with two personal fouls in the first half, one on each side) and a Jay Cutler interception.

Some bold time-out usage from Atlanta, too. They had so little fear of the Dolphins on third-and-6 in Atlanta territory that they called their second time out with 1:55 left in the half. Miami converted but gave it back with 40 seconds left via the aforementioned pick. It still almost paid off for Atlanta, but Matt Bryant came up just short on a 59-yarder to close out the half. It's 17-0 Atlanta, though.

Coming out of the half, Miami starts with a 15-play, 8:42, 75-yard touchdown drive with, I think, four third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion. Very un-Dolphin.

Then the defense, perhaps rested and fired up, sacks Ryan and forces at Atlanta three-and-out. The punt takes a Miami bounce, and suddenly the Dolphins have the ball back at midfield with four minutes left in the third, down 17-7.

But Miami has lost center Mike Pouncey to a concussion.

Two rough penalties for the Falcons nullify a dropped pick and an actual pick, respectively, keeping a Miami drive alive. They make Atlanta pay on a beautiful play that had Jarvis Landry looking like he might be taking a shovel right, but then he suddenly reverses direction, Cutler and the running game make the entire defense bite right, then Cutler goes back left to Landry without a defender within 7 yards. Easy touchdown. Miami pulls within three late in the third quarter.

Charles McDonald: Falcons continue to shoot themselves in the foot. Conservative offensive approach, silly penalties on defense, and horrific play on special teams. Really, really disappointing coming out of a bye.

Zach Binney: An incredible turnaround for Miami. The Falcons botch a punt and give Miami the ball at midfield again. Gase is showing good aggression, going for it on fourth-and-2 from around the Falcons 45 to continue the drive, which ends with a 47-yard field goal. It's the third fourth down they've gone for today, and Miami has picked up two of them. 17-17 in the fourth.

The 11-point underdog pulls out the upset in Atlanta. A field goal put the Dolphins up 20-17 with 2:40 left. Atlanta was driving and was well into field goal range for the tie. But then rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley punches out a pass intended for Taylor Gabriel, it bounces straight into the hands of safety Reshad Jones, and Miami kneels to win the game out.

A Tale of Two Halves it was. Atlanta 17-0 in the first, Miami 20-0 in the second. Very impressive half by the Dolphins defense, and the offense finally got rolling with Jay Ajayi and the short passing game despite losing two offensive linemen during the game. The whole offense really runs through Ajayi in Miami. When they get him going it sets up everything else and they're able to hang with better teams. The game reminded me of the Pittsburgh-Miami game last year when the 1-5 Dolphins won on the back of 200 yards from Ajayi.

Rob Weintraub: Stunning comeback by the marine mammals! The Falcs blow a 17-0 lead, but down 20-17 Matt Ryan leads them well into Miami terrain with under a minute left. But a tremendous deflection by Tankersley pops the pass to Reagan Jones, who picks it to ice a stunner. Big picture, the Falcons still win with Rodgers out, but they were pushed around pretty good from what I saw in this one.

Chicago Bears 27 at Baltimore Ravens 24 (OT)

Dave Bernreuther: It's not just New York where the officiating is changing games. Or at least trying. In Baltimore, where Joe Flacco has been having another positively elite day, the Ravens throw a give-up swing pass on third-and-17, and Christian Jones spun Bobby Rainey by the shoulder as he went out of bounds with a gain of a few yards. Flag, personal foul, free first-and-goal.

Flacco being Flacco, the Ravens quickly failed and kicked the same field goal they would have anyway, but boy was that awful, and suddenly I'm in the Belichick/Kacsmar camp that everything should be reviewable.

Without sound, I assumed they called a horse collar, but now I'm reading unnecessary roughness, which is equally absurd, but a bit harder to disprove.

Zach Binney:I swear I'm not gonna talk about my fantasy team on here, but ... yeah, I'm gonna brag about having the Tarik Cohen-Zach Miller connection. I TOTALLY called that. Not a result of bye week flyers in a 16-team league AT ALL. Nosiree.

Vince Verhei: Halftime in Baltimore. The best quarterback in this game isn't Joe Flacco or Mitchell Trubisky -- it's Tarik Cohen. His 21-yard completion to Zach Miller is the longest completion of the game for either team, and the game's only touchdown. It wasn't necessarily an easy throw either -- Miller had a few steps on his defender, but Cohen had to drop the ball in over his shoulder before he ran out of bounds. The Bears have 50 yards receiving, and Cohen has been the pitcher or the catcher for 35 of them. Trubisky only has eight dropbacks in 33 Chicago offensive plays -- they're going to extremes to hide him.

Meanwhile, the Ravens offense has been terrible all year, and they're no better with Jeremy Maclin out today, and now Breshad Perriman leaving the game too. Flacco has 22 throws already today, for less than 100 yards, with an interception and a couple of sacks. Meanwhile, the Ravens are averaging 6.6 yards on 11 carries. Maybe run more and pass less, guys?

Bears go up 17-3 when Baltimore loses track of Dion Sims in a bunch formation. Trubisky underthrows the ball, but Sims is so open it doesn't matter, and it's a 27-yard touchdown.

The ensuing kickoff results in an all-time great folly. Bobby Rainey collides with his own teammate, Tyus Bowser, and goes flying ass over teakettle and goes down. But nobody from Chicago touched Rainey, so he popped up and kept running. There's a shot of Bowser sitting on the ground in shame as the play continues down the field behind him. Benny Cunningham ran Rainey down and had a chance to make a tackle at about the 10, but Rainey threw on the brakes and let Cunningham pass him by, and that was that.

Joe Flacco appears to tie the game on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, but the play is nullified by a penalty -- on Flacco, who was at least 3 yards past the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball. He looked so completely clueless there, trying to scramble, then stepping back to pass, and still being way too far downfield.

On third down near midfield, Lardarius Webb gets a sack and forced fumble on Trubisky, and C.J. Mosley recovers to give Baltimore great field position. Buck Allen picks up a fourth-and-1 conversion on a fullback dive, and now it looks like the Ravens are going to get their go-ahead touchdown. But then Flacco tries to force a pass to a well-covered Chris Moore. Kyle Fuller tips the ball in the air, and Adrian Amos reels in the carom and returns it 90 yards for what sure feels like a game-clinching pick-six. Ravens now trail 24-13, and the only touchdown they've scored today was scored by a guy they signed off the street this week.

Rob Weintraub: Flacco compounds trouble in the next series. Nice coverage by Kyle Fuller leads to a deflection and Adrian Amos takes it back some 80 yards for a touchdown. Flacco went to make the tackle, but turtled. In so doing though he wiped out Perriman, who was chasing Amos and about to make the tackle. Oh, Joe.

Vince Verhei: Well, I spoke too soon. Ravens get a field goal and then force a punt, and then Baltimore special teams take over again, as Michael Campanaro gets a 77-yard return touchdown. Flacco then hits Nick Boyle for a game-tying two-pointer. Boyle was wide open, but Flacco threw behind him and forced him to make a one-handed catch. So we're all tied at 24, and Trubisky has about 100 seconds to get a go-ahead field goal.

Rob Weintraub: Bears are giving me a coronary. First they give up a punt return touchdown inside the two-minute warning, essentially the only way the Ravens can score. Two-point conversion ties it at 24. Then on third-and-long, Jordan Howard runs out of bounds, stopping the clock for the Ravens to get it back for one last try. Already in Justin Tucker range, which is the whole field pretty much.

But they didn't get it off I guess because now it's overtime.

Tom Gower: Ravens get the 77-yard punt return score and two-point conversion to tie inside two minutes. The Bears get flagged for OPI then take a sack. Rather than take a knee and let the clock run out with the Ravens out of timeouts, John Fox decides to hand off. Jordan Howard goes out of bounds, forcing a punt and giving the Ravens a chance. Baltimore starts on their own 44, which wouldn't even be the third-longest field goal attempt in NFL history. They run a play. Mike Wallace catches it and runs upfield. He's tackled in-bounds, and the Ravens don't come close to getting a field goal attempt off. Gift squandered, me left frustrated, and off to overtime we go.

Rob Weintraub: Bears get the ball first in overtime, and predictably they go nowhere, and then shank the punt. Ravens start at their own 40, just need 3.

Jordan Howard redemption! Deep in his own territory after the Bears stuff the Ravens, Howard sheds several tacklers (main culprit: Eric Weddle tackling the ball not the man) and burst free near midfield. Still hope for Chicago.

The Trubisky and Kendall Wright make very athletic plays on either end on third-and-11. Bears in field goal range.

Connor Barth is good from 40 and the Bears win it!

Cleveland Browns 17 at Houston Texans 33

Vince Verhei: Kevin Hogan's position over Cody Kessler on the depth chart only makes sense if the Browns are going to go to a full-time option offense (which wouldn't be the worst idea). Hogan had a good second half last week but otherwise has never looked remotely capable of being an NFL-caliber passer, and that hasn't changed today. Kessler's very limited, but we know he can at least run a functional offense and not hand the ball to the opposition on a silver platter, which is more than can be said for Hogan or DeShone Kizer.

(A quick note on Kizer, by the way: he probably won't see the field again this year, but let's not write off his career just yet. Beyond the fact that he is a rookie and rookies often improve in later years, he's still only 21. He's younger than Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph, who are still making plays in the Big 12. With that in mind, he may warrant even more patience than usual.)

Someday we're going to have to break offensive plays into three categories: runs, passes, and passes to guys behind the line of scrimmage that work the same as runs. Houston keeps running these plays that are really fly sweeps, but Watson is lining up in shotgun and pitching the ball forward 6 inches, so technically it's a pass. They had one for a touchdown earlier, but tried another one just now and it resulted in a loss of yards and a third-down stop.

Derrik Klassen: The Browns are upholding their reputation as one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has 207 passing yards and three passing touchdowns on just 25 attempts. Be it blown coverages allowing Will Fuller to run free or failing to match up one-on-one in the red zone, the Browns just cannot contain anyone, and Watson is making sure to find the open receivers.

On a more macro level, this game is propelling Watson to the rookie touchdown record. His three passing touchdowns today put him at 15 passing touchdowns on the year. From here on out, Watson needs just 11 more passing touchdowns to tie Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning's record of 26. Watson is on track to shatter that record.

Vince Verhei: To add to Derrik's note: the rookie record for passing plus rushing touchdowns is 29 by Dak Prescott last year; Watson is up to 17 already.

Derrik Klassen: Wouldn't the plus-rushing rookie TD record be Cam Newton's 35?

Vince Verhei: Whoops. Derrik's correct. Newton does have that record.

While we're talking about quarterbacks in this game, we should note that Hogan is playing with much less than a full deck today. No Kenny Britt, no Corey Coleman. His top wide receiver is Ricardo Louis, who should be a third guy, and then he's left throwing to Kasen Williams, Sammie Coates, and Bryce Treggs -- quite literally, rejects from other teams.

Rivers McCown: I am enjoying Deshaun Watson but inwardly cringing whenever I hear about rookie touchdown records. Blake Bortles threw 30 touchdowns one time. I'm not saying the touchdowns mean nothing, because he's clearly capable of making big plays without it being garbage time, but I think they overstate his progress a bit. Watson's pick-six was a baffling throw, and he's clearly still learning what he can and can't get away with on an NFL field. He's been impressive, but I think a lot of the credit should also go to ... Bill O'Brien.

At this point Houston's offense is night-and-day from what they were in Week 1. The passing offense has easy throws installed for Watson, and his legs have improved the running game. It's a hell of a turnaround for O'Brien, and one that I would have never predicted after the first week of the season.

Cleveland's offense was horrendous and I don't really understand why they keep running out three receivers. The running game has a chance to work, and they have two solid tight ends in David Njoku and Seth DeValve. Duke Johnson looked spry in this one. Kevin Hogan's deep ball hangs for so long you could dry clothes on it. I'm not sure if Hue Jackson is just over this or what, but I think this offense could be managed to be a lot more productive. And since having two tight ends would also, in theory, help with blocking for the statue-esque Kizer, I think it's gotta be their base formation.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33 at Arizona Cardinals 38

Vince Verhei: Adrian Peterson in four games with New Orleans: 27 carries, 81 yards, no touchdowns.

Adrian Peterson in one drive with Arizona: four carries, 54 yards, one touchdown.

Andrew Potter: Adrian Peterson has his first 100-yard rushing game since 2015. Carson Palmer is 14-for-14 for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald has eight catches for 128 yards and a score. We expected the Buccaneers defense to regress, but ouch.

Vince Verhei: Ryan Fitzpatrick came into this game with Tampa Bay down 24-0. He rallied them to a 31-20 deficit thanks partly to a Lavonte David returning a fumble for a touchdown, and partly to Fitzpatrick's pass to Cameron Brate, the first Harvard-to-Harvard touchdown in NFL history. Then the defense forced a punt and the Bucs took over at their own 1, with 7:28 to go -- plenty of work to do, but plenty of time to do it.

Then on first down, Tramon Williams jumps a Mike Evans quick hitch for the interception and returns it to the 1. Adrian Peterson scores again one play later, and that should put an end to that.

The Bucs somehow pulled within 38-33 and were trying an onside kick at the two-minute warning. Don't ask me how. But in many ways, the NFL in 2017 is a game I don't recognize.

Andrew Potter: That was their second onside kick of the fourth quarter. The Bucs recovered the first, but it touched Peyton Barber before it had gone 10 yards so Arizona was awarded possession.

Patrick Peterson shut Mike Evans out solo in the first half, allowing the coverage to rotate elsewhere. After he left with an injury, it was Justin Bethel on Evans. That is not quite so advantageous. Add that the Cardinals made more mistakes on offense, including a Larry Fitzgerald fumble returned for a touchdown and a bunch of costly penalties, and the Buccaneers were able to chip away at the lead without ever quite having the chance to win the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers 19 at Kansas City Chiefs 13

Vince Verhei: The Chiefs are so blessed this year that even their most embarrassing mistakes work out in their benefit. With the ball deep in their own end, the ball is snapped over Alex Smith's head and out of the end zone for a safety. However, the Steelers have no idea what to do with the ensuing free kick. Nobody touches it as it's bouncing around, and the Chiefs recover for what is essentially a very long onside kick. The offense can't do anything after that, but they still kick a field goal for a 3-2 lead.

TL;DR: the Chiefs snapped the ball out of the end zone and it resulted in a net benefit of one point.

Aaron Schatz: Well, the Steelers may have found a solution to their offensive stagnation: never let Ben Roethlisberger throw the ball. On the last drive, Le'Veon Bell had eight carries for 64 yards and a touchdown to go up 9-3. The holes were colossal, with particularly strong blocking from David DeCastro.

Vince Verhei: Wait, Le'Veon Bell got a 15-yard penalty for using the goalpost as a heavy bag? Vai Sikahema was never called for that!

Carl Yedor: I know it's easy to harp on coaches not going for it on fourth downs, but I would have really liked to see Pittsburgh go for it at the goal line just now. The Steelers have been running the ball effectively all day today, and the Chiefs just got their first first down of the game in the two-minute drill. Pittsburgh likely could have gotten the ball back quickly, but the clock could have been an issue for scoring again, I guess. 12-3 Steelers at the half.

Vince Verhei: The Chiefs came into today No. 1 by a mile in offensive DVOA. (No. 2 New England was closer to No. 9 Houston than they were to the Chiefs.) Their first-half offense today: Four possessions, one first down, 11 total yards, 0.7 yards per play. First of all, Pittsburgh was already fifth in defensive DVOA, and is going to climb even higher now. Moreso, we have seen Kansas City's option-style scheme put up big numbers when they have been able to play with a lead or a close deficit. We haven't really seen them play when behind by multiple scores in the second half -- just a few plays against New England in the opener, right? So, now we'll see how they handle what seems like an obvious passing situation.

Aaron Schatz: The Steelers defense is playing phenomenal. Looks like stopping Kareem Hunt is their No. 1 goal, but they've also got everybody covered when Alex Smith drops back to pass. There have been a couple of coverage sacks here by Pittsburgh's Vince Williams, because Smith just can't find anyone open, even on his beloved short routes.

Bryan Knowles: It's interesting that Kansas City has struggled so much -- they were more effective against Pittsburgh last year in the playoffs, and were a worse offense back then. It's been an abrupt falling back to Earth in the first half. 6 net yards at the half.

If I had to put my finger on one thing to blame, it's the backup offensive linemen. Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif were both inactive coming into today, and Pittsburgh is winning up the middle. That kills the Chiefs' ability to get a consistent running game going, putting more pressure on a passing game that's missing Albert Wilson and Chris Conley. Just kind of a domino effect of trouble. Gotta go back to the drawing board at the half.

Best news for them is they're only down nine, so there's plenty of time to bounce back.

Aaron Schatz: Backup linemen seemed to do OK the last couple weeks for Kansas City. They were able to withstand Washington and Houston, which both have strong defensive fronts. It wasn't the offense that made that Houston game 42-34. So I'm not sure what has changed today. Just woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Good scheme from the Steelers? Pittsburgh defensive players just having a great day?

Steelers decision to take a delay of game and then punt instead of going for it on fourth-and-2 from the Kansas City 35 (or even trying a 53-yard field goal) is ridiculously conservative.

Scott Kacsmar: Steelers should be doing much better than a 12-3 lead, but still coming up short. Bell just had to stretch out to convert a third down, but he didn't. Brown gave up a first down after moving back a little, then Ben didn't see JuJu Smith-Schuster wide open on third down. Tomlin punted for some odd reason, but only after the lame attempt to draw K.C. offsides with the punt team.

Aaron Schatz: I'm sure the numbers will say the Chiefs were correct to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the goal line, rather than kicking a field goal to make the score 12-6. But as seems to be a trend with these plays, I'm not sure about the play call. They didn't go heavy, but they also maybe spread it out TOO much. There was no back in the backfield, so the only run option is an Alex Smith draw. And they are spread with a three-TE set. Is that where the Chiefs are, that they trust Ross Travis over one of the wide receivers or even something like Charcandrick West motioning from the backfield to a slot position?

I mean, I assume it was three tight ends. I saw Harris and Travis but not Kelce. But Kelce had to be on the field, right? Otherwise it REALLY makes no sense.

Well, all that amazing Steelers defense just got mostly flushed down the toilet. Artie Burns got caught looking in the backfield, leaving De'Anthony Thomas WIDE open, and he went and broke a couple tackles for a 57-yard touchdown, and now we've got a one-score game. 12-10, and the Steelers better be able to find those huge running holes from before so they can run this sucker out.

Vince Verhei: A thought concerning the Thomas touchdown: One of the reasons I was skeptical of Kansas City coming into the year was that after they released Jeremy Maclin, I didn't like any of their wide receivers. But in their scheme, they don't need wide receivers, they need playmakers. They will rely on scheme, matchups, and Alex Smith's decision-making to get guys open and get the ball to them, and then count on guys like Thomas and Kelce and Hill to make plays with the ball in their hands. It's really a good example of a front office and coaching staff on the same page, even if it's not working all that well today.

Scott Kacsmar: Jaw-dropping.

The Steelers go empty on third-and-2, and Roethlisberger's pass goes right to Phillip Gaines. Gaines deflects it up in the air, but Antonio Brown is able to reach back, grab it, and scamper downfield for a huge touchdown. Has to be seen to be believed; what a play. Luck, sure, but also a hell of a job concentrating by Brown to come down with it.

Bryan Knowles: The Chiefs just can't get past the Steelers. Since 2016, they're 17-3 against everyone else, and 0-3 against Pittsburgh.

I will say, it doesn't help your comeback chances when your receivers on the final drive are Demarcus Robinson, Marcus Kemp and De'Anthony Thomas. Injuries kind of banged the Chiefs up today -- that, and a fluke Antonio Brown touchdown. It's impressive that they were even in this one after getting absolutely shut down in the first half, but they have to feel like this one got away at the end.

Los Angeles Rams 27 at Jacksonville Jaguars 17

Vince Verhei: The Jags are wearing white jerseys with teal numbers and black trim, and black-and-gold two-tone helmets. The Rams are wearing blue jerseys with gold numbers and blue helmets with white horns. Nothing matches anything. It's a total eyesore.

Given that, I guess it's a good thing I missed the first quarter. But in that quarter I missed:

  • Pharoh Cooper returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
  • Leonard Fournette scoring on a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. (That's 165 yards on his last two carries going back to last week.)
  • The Jaguars getting another touchdown on a four-play drive with every play getting at least 17 yards.
  • The Rams answering with their own touchdown drive and a Jared Goff scoring pass to Gerald Everett.

So it's 17-14 Jacksonville midway through the second. On top of all that, there have been four punts per team too. Are they even running the clock here?

Who was it that faked a fake punt earlier this year? It was the Rams, wasn't it? Because they just did it again, shifting from a punt formation to a standard set with Johnny Hekker at quarterback, but then just taking the delay of game and punting from the 49 anyway. It ended with Jacksonville taking over at the 18, and then going three-and-out. And the Jaguars' punt is blocked and recovered for a Los Angeles punt. So I guess the fake fake punt worked.

Tom Gower: The Packers faked a fake punt earlier today. Like the Jaguars, the Vikings refused to jump offside and the fake punting team thankfully took the delay of game instead of burning a timeout after their nonsense failed to work.

Rivers McCown: Heading to halftime, neither quarterback has been impressive. Blake Bortles because he's Blake Bortles, and Jared Goff because the Jaguars defense turns opposing quarterbacks into Blake Bortles. Lots of rushing success, though, as would be expected by a glance at the run defense DVOAs heading into the game. Right before halftime the Rams blocked a kick to take a 10-point lead, and now we get to see if the Jaguars can overcome a negative game script. Should be popcorn-worthy.

Vince Verhei: It's 24-14 Rams at the half, but like Rivers noted, if you take away a handful of big plays the offenses aren't actually playing very well. (Or, if you prefer, the defenses are playing very well.) The teams have a combined 16 first downs, and are a combined 1-for-14 on third downs. (The Jags also converted a fourth-down play.)

They just showed a replay of Fournette's 75-yarder. John Johnson was playing middle safety and looked to be in position to at least try a tackle, but Fournette cut to the side and up and Johnson never even got a finger on him. Either Fournette is the most deceptively quick big man in the league (quite possible) or Johnson made a business decision and didn't really want to bring Fournette down.

Tom Gower: I was watching San Francisco's comeback against Washington, where a marginal but maybe real offensive pass interference penalty knocked them out of even marginal field goal range, and the Lions' follies against New Orleans, so it was 17-14 by the time I turned this game on. And it's 24-14 at the half, with the only score on that punt block. Both offenses have been mostly bad. Kind of to script, really, what with Blake Bortles on one side and the Jaguars defense on the other. The teams finished a combined 1-of-14 on third downs in the first 30 minutes of play.

Vince Verhei: A sample of the action in the middle stages of this game: The Jaguars take over after Robert Woods fumbles. Jacksonville picks up a couple of first downs, but then Blake Bortles fumbles on a third-down strip-sack by Aaron Donald. The Jaguars will try a field goal, but first the ball moves closer on a Los Angeles penalty, and then farther away on a Jacksonville penalty. Finally Jason Myers is good from 41, and the Jaguars still trail 24-17.

I don't know if I've ever really watched Blake Bortles play football before. He's really bad. He just hangs in the pocket and goes first read covered, second read covered, hell with it, he's not open but I'm throwing it anyway. So many passes that have a zero percent chance of being completed. Or, he hangs in there forever and gets strip-sacked -- it just happened again, but the Jaguars are lucky to recover it again. And the Jaguars are doing nothing with play-action or bootlegs do give him simple completions, they're taking a limited guy and making it as hard for him as they can.

And on that note, Bortles throws to Marcedes Lewis on a crosser, and despite tight coverage there is a pass to be made here. But Bortles is off-balance and throws it too far ahead of Lewis, and it bounces off his hands to Nickell Robey-Coleman for an interception. Bortles had a pocket to step up into, but he still just fell off to the side as he threw the pass.

Fournette's leg buckles as he makes a non-contact cut, and he's in obvious pain. It's scary, but word gets back that he is OK and he will return to the field when Jacksonville gets the ball back. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the Jaguars, the Rams are putting a sustained drive together for the first time in a while, killing almost four minutes already in protection of their one score lead, with a third-and-4 just outside the red zone ... and Gurley picks up the first down there on a pitch play to the right side.

Rams add a field goal and hang on for the 27-17 win. I guess I got a chance to see garbage-time Blake in action -- he went 4-of-6 for 44 yards on Jacksonville's last drive, but it was just dumpoffs against a defense happy to give up 12-yard gains, nothing special, and then a missed field goal to really end things. Nothing here to indicate garbage-time Blake is anything meaningful to build on. He plays quarterback like a junior who needs to come back for his senior year to prepare for the NFL, not a fourth-year pro with 50-plus starts under his belt.

Tom Gower: Jaguars do something sort of clever on their final possession. Down 10 points, knowing they need two scores, they don't try to maximize their touchdown chances but instead send Jason Myers out for a field goal attempt on second-and-8 with 1:12 to play and the clock stopped. My problem with this idea was that it was a 54-yard field goal attempt, not a distance I'd trust any kicker outside of perhaps Justin Tucker. Myers unsurprisingly sent the left hash kick wide to the left, and that was that. With less time left (say 30 seconds), I'd understand and even approve of that move. But you're in a must-onside situation, a field goal only puts you in a tie situation (unless you go for two for the win/loss), and I'd rather take another shot or two at more yardage than take the long field goal risk.

Bryan Knowles: I wasn't watching this one. So I wasn't listening to Dick Stockton's amazing announcing job.

Los Angeles Chargers 17 at Oakland Raiders 16

Derrik Klassen: The Raiders should have more control of this game. They lead 7-0 with about four minutes left in the first half, but the lead could be larger. Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch is averaging a sturdy 6.1 yards per carry right now, having ran for 49 yards on just eight carries so far. Derek Carr had a 23-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree in the first quarter, finding the receiver on an out route to the short side of the field. Carr got him the ball just as he was turning out of his break, enabling him to trot right into the end zone. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers struggled early on to get anything going and gave the Raiders chances to get out in front.

Turnovers and sloppy play is killing the Raiders, though. On their first offensive drive, Carr threw an interception near Crabtree on what appeared to be some route communicative. A few drives later, Carr was strip-sacked by Joey Bosa, though the Raiders recovered and were forced to punt. If the Raiders can tighten up their pass protection and sloppy play in the second half, this game should be theirs to control.

And there are the Chargers tying it up. After Hunter Henry nearly broke the plane on a third-down catch, Melvin Gordon took a fourth-down carry up and over the defense. Gordon's high-flying touchdown puts this game at seven apiece, which does not feel right given how sheepish the Chargers have looked on offense. Raiders are about to get the ball back with just under two minutes to go in the first half.

New York Giants 23 at Denver Broncos 10

Tom Gower: Giants up 17-3 at the half. What we've seen tonight has looked a bit more like the 2016 Giants defense that made them a playoff team than the 27th-ranked unit they have been so far this year. The Broncos have gotten zip going on in the ground game, and Trevor Siemian threw more incompletions than completions before leaving the game with a shoulder injury suffered trying to tackle Janoris Jenkins after that horrible interception. The Giants haven't done that much on offense -- they went three-and-out on three of five first-half possessions, but the other two featured enough good plays to get to scoring territory. I don't know if it was Ben McAdoo handing over play-calling duties, the newest version of the offensive line, or what, but they've looked ... almost functional? Not completely dysfunctional? Like they stopping eating paste? With a game plan that has a minor or larger focus of attacking Justin Simmons, or just calling plays that end up with him in coverage maybe more often than average? Either way, not the game most people were expecting through 30 minutes.

Vince Verhei: Wait a minute, the Giants are up 17-3 at halftime? In Denver?


Wait a minute, Paxton Lynch couldn't beat out Brock Osweiler on the depth chart?

Scott Kacsmar: If you're wondering if former first-round pick Paxton Lynch stinks, he is already decomposing behind Osweiler on the depth chart.

Tom Gower: Paxton Lynch is injured.

Bryan Knowles: Yeah, Lynch just started throwing again on Thursday, and is weeks away from a potential return.

Vince Verhei: OK, that makes me feel better. Hopefully he is feeling better too.

Aaron Schatz: If the Giants hold on to win this, underdogs will be 9-4 this week. I don't mean they will be 9-4 against the spread. I mean underdogs will be 9-4 STRAIGHT UP this week. With two teams, the Giants and Dolphins, winning as 13-point underdogs. Against the spread, the underdogs are 11-2 this week. The only favorites to cover were Houston and New Orleans. This has been a very, very, very unpredictable season so far.

Vince Verhei: And New Orleans needed three defensive scores to do it.

Scott Kacsmar: Orleans Darkwa just went over 100 yards rushing. There was that adorable stat that the Broncos held LeSean McCoy, Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, and Marshawn Lynch under 100 yards combined. Orleans Darkwa with 117 yards tonight. Yep, that makes sense from one of the worst rushing offenses in the league.

At least 2017 has one constant: the Browns suck and don't have a quarterback.

Rivers McCown: I'm pretty sure that was a worse game than I've seen the Browns play all season from Denver. And that's saying a lot.

Posted by: Andrew Potter on 16 Oct 2017

237 comments, Last at 19 Oct 2017, 3:37pm by Anon Ymous


by Not Jimmy :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:43am

Would Bill Belichick's yearly request for goal-line-in-pylon-cameras have helped with the ASJ TD/ Non TD review? Maybe... Will the fact that NOT having goal-line-in-pylon-cameras possibly helped the Patriots win a game make the NFL re-look at the request? Maybe...

- Anything is possible when you have no idea what you are talking about.

by deus01 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:46am

The fumble through the end zone rules resulting in a change of possession and a touchback are dumb and inconsistent anyway. Those should be just be changed so that it works the similar to a fumble out of bounds anywhere else on field (give the fumbling team the ball at the 1).

Goal line cameras probably won't help because usually in plays where you need to see if someone broke the plane there are going to be bodies in the way of a camera anyway. Though with all the advanced tracking stuff we have for players now I wonder if we could just add a chip to both ends of the football that would be able to tell us when the football breaks the plane.

by Scott P. :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:07pm

If you are going to say that a live ball going through the opponent's endzone goes to the possessing team on the one, then kickoffs just got a whole lot more exciting.

by deus01 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:25pm

On a kick-off and punt you are purposely giving away possession. There's no reason why they need to be treated the same way as a fumble.

by Led :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:42am

There must be a thousand past examples where a runner is hit, bobbles the ball, *almost* fumbles, but then re-secures the ball. We've all seen that kind of play. The play by play guy says something like, "so and so almost fumbled there," right? Is there any prior example where such a play was ruled a fumble and a recovery by the runner? I'd love to see it. Or any officially scored fumble in history that did not either hit the ground or end up in the hands of another player? It seems to me that no one has ever thought that a runner bobbling a ball and re-securing it was actually fumbling and recovering his own fumble. Has that ever been a thing? Legitimately curious. I don't think a bobbled but not dropped snap or handoff exchange has ever been considered a fumble. (This was not ruled a fumble, but I suppose it could have been ruled a forward pass: https://www.sbnation.com/2017/1/15/14280816/aaron-rodgers-bobbled-snap-h....)

Yes, when the runner actually loses the ball, we use replay to go back in time to see if a fumble started before the runner was down. But the beginning of what could be a fumble is not a fumble. . . until it's a fumble. Just like the beginning of what could be a forward pass -- forward motion of the arm -- is not a forward pass if the QB never actually passes (or drops) the ball. Is a bobble on a pump fake actually a completed forward pass?

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:42am

A fumble is only a bobble if the ball doesn't hit the ground, but regardless, a ball carrier has to have control of the ball either when he hits the plane of the end zone or before the ball or the ball carrier goes out of bounds for it to be a TD. In the ASJ play, he landed on the pylon, so there is little margin for error.

by Led :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:48am

The ball carrier has to have "possession" when he hits the plane. Losing possession and fumbling are the same thing. "Control," however, is different. Control is relevant to *obtaining* possession but it's never been relevant to *losing* possession unless the ball ultimately hits the ground (or ends up in another player's possession). If bobbling isn't a fumble so long as the ball never hits the ground, as you appear to concede, then it isn't loss of possession, and that's a TD.

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:41pm

The logical conclusion of what you are arguing is that lobbing a ball across the goal line is a TD.

I never said bobbling a ball doesn't imply losing possession.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:01am

I thought that the correct call was made ultimately...and I really don't understand what is at all controversial about it, other than some people think the rule makes no sense. Which is fine, but it's been a rule for as long as I can recall.

ASJ caught the pass, ran towards the goal line, was stripped and lost control of the ball when he was hit. On the replay you can see the ball floating in front of him with 0 hands on it as he crosses the plane. At some point in mid-air, he appears (although not definitively) to regain his grasp on the ball, comes down out of bounds, and loses control of the ball again when he hits the turf. That's a clear fumble out of bounds through the end zone.

by GwillyGecko :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:19am

considering dean blandino AND mike pereira BOTH said the WRONG call was made, im going to say it is not the right call.

they said it was wrong because

a)ASJ's knee hit down in bounds in the endzone after controlling the ball and before going out of bounds


b)there was no way near conclusive evidence, the standard required to overturn

horrible, horrible call, the nfl should be ashamed

by Scott P. :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:10pm

The standard for overturning a play is, and always has been, preponderance of the evidence, regardless of what the rulebook says. And good thing, too, because that's the most logical standard, so good on the refs for applying common sense.

by GwillyGecko :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:22pm

the standard is indisputable video evidence to overturn a call on the field

see: https://twitter.com/NFLonFOX/status/919681204772749314

"Former VPs of NFL officiating @MikePereira & @DeanBlandino think that the Jets late TD against the Patriots should have stood as called."

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:11pm

I exactly agree with point 2. So difficult to establish he didn't regain possession in bounds.

by MJK :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:49pm

See my comment below. He didn't need to.

Shorter version: The call on the field was "runner maintains possession until ball breaks plane". That was incontrovertibly overturned to "runner fumbles at the 1". At that point, there IS no call on the field as to what happens next, as to whether ASJ regained possession before or after his elbow touches out of bounds. So there is not incontrovertible standard applied; the refs just have to make their best guess.

Given that he was still bobbling the ball after he's clearly out of bounds, I understand why they ruled the way they did.

by Lyford :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:48pm

"The final shot that we saw was from the end zone that showed the New York Jets' runner, we'll call him a runner at that point, with the football starting to go toward the ground. He lost the ball. It came out of his control as he was almost to the ground. Now he re-grasps the ball and by rule, now he has to complete the process of a recovery, which means he has to survive the ground again. So in recovering it, he recovered, hit the knee, started to roll and the ball came out a second time. So the ball started to move in his hands this way…he's now out of bounds in the end zone, which now created a touchback. So he didn't survive the recovery and didn't survive the ground during the recovery is what happened here."
- Tony Corrente (Referee)

Whether you like the rule or not, it seems pretty clear that it was applied correctly...

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:48pm

Tony Corrente had access to more information than either Dean Blandino or Mike Pereira, and he thought it was "obvious" that the play was not a TD.

It's a bit reckless for people without access to all the information to presume that the information they see is the only information available to the officials. That should especially be true for guys like Blandino and Pereira. But Blandino, at least, will never favor the Pats over the Jets unless he's forced to. He was quite happy to lie to the public about the "sting" when it suited the NFL's purposes.

After years of seeing him as basically the propaganda mouthpiece for the NFL whenever they blew a call, it's kind of funny to see people now cite him as an authoritative source for anything.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 5:10pm

The guys in NY said they had the exact same information and replays as we had on TV.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:00am

I agree with this. The interpretation of what happened to ASJ is up there with the Dez Bryant "not a catch" fiasco for crap calls. He never lost possession.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:05am

How can you say ASJ did not lose possession?

There's a clear shot (I think it's the one attached to this very post, even) that shows him in the air with the ball separated from his body with both his hands off of it. He absolutely lost possession.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:10am

Then I haven't seen that one. All the shots I saw on NFLN showed the ball moving, but not separation.

In that case, it's probably ultimately the right call, although I stand behind the idea that the rule is stupid.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:32am

In going back and looking at it, there may be loss of control in the air, but it sure looks like he has control of it by the time he hits the ground.

Maybe this - like the Lobaton pick-off of first in game 5 of the NLDS that took two different replay angles synched to prove he was out. I think at the point replay might be going too far, since especially in the ASJ case you can hardly call it definitive proof to overturn.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:45am

"it sure looks like he has control of it by the time he hits the ground."

That doesn't matter though, because he doesn't need to establish "control" - he needs to establish "possession" - which means he needs to go to the ground, in-bounds, and maintain control through the contact with the ground. He both lands with part of his body out of bounds, and bobbles the ball as he rolls over.

by morganja :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:02am

Very good points. concerning the almost fumble, LED.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:11am

I said 6 weeks ago that if you tell me who is injured, and how badly, I'll tell you who makes the playoffs, which is why preseason win projections are so tenuous. I thought the NFC North might be the best and most entertaining division. Two starting qb injuries, one of them the league's best, one gimpy Stafford, one good rookie of the year candidate injury, a bunch of Packer injuries on the o-line and defense, has made that prediction ridiculous.

I couldn't figure out why the Saints signed Peterson, but he may be with a team now that can extract a lot of value from him, even if he's no longer a guy who can carry an otherwise marginally talented offense.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:27pm

Yea, I remember us speculating after week 2 or 3 that the NFC North might send 3 teams to the playoffs. That seems laughable now. The way things look, a 9-7 or at best 10-6 division winner will be the only team to make it (and be the sacrificial lamb to the #5 seed). There's way too much wildcard competition in the NFC for even a second team to be likely.

But you never know. Maybe the Vikings and Lions will get some of their key injured players back, and maybe Hundley will turn out better than expected.

by James-London :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:09am

If you didn't see Miami-Atlanta, please don't believe the "Miami Offensive is fixed" takes. Atlanta gave this one away. They had two horribly shanked punts which gave Miami great field position, and then a third punt which was aborted because of a bad snap. Atlanta also decided against running the ball, which given they were averaging 5ypc seems sub-optimal.
Cutler was bad all game and if Grady Jarret doesn't commit the stupidest late hit of the year, Cutler's INT stands and Miami don't win. If Miami can hang around and keep running there's enough there to hurt you and Atlanta fell into that trap.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by johonny :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:17am

It really is Cutler holding this team back now. They can't ignore it or pretend it's other players. It's him. IDK what they do. Matt Moore is Matt Moore and it's too late to teach Kaepernick the system. But man a decent QB on this team and maybe they'd finally be interesting again :(

by James-London :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:25am

Yes to all of that. Cutler's biggest issue (to my untrained eye) is that he's basically a random thrower. swing-passes one-hopped, overthrows, failure to see defenders and passes as good as anything you'll see all year, often in a single drive. You can't run an offense with that-it's like early Donovan McNabb after a mescaline binge

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:36am

So, basically Jacksonville with better beaches.

by James-London :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:43am

It's an improvement on Cleveland with better weather, which was where it looked to be going a fortnight ago...

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:18am

Bizarre to consider how close the Falcons are to be sitting on 1 win, with that coming against the Packers.

by johonny :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:13am

Mia-ATL IDK maybe the new O-line coach helped because the O-line played very chippy. It didn't pay off in the first half but did in the second. Miami's young corners really have looked good in back to back weeks. Miami's young WR's not so much. They basically have a one man WR corps with Parker out. Cutler,though, is really the only thing holding the team back, but Miami hasn't had a QB to elevate this team in 17 years or so. Atlanta has to be kicking themselves. They really fell apart after half time. The Penalty to erase that INT really changed the game. AFCeast watch 1)Pats, their schedule is looking easier and easier. 2) Bills, DNP. 3) Jets, they can sweep Miami next week so they'll stay here for now. 4) Miami-their next 5 are all interesting games due to injuries and poor play by their opponents, but unless Cutler shows he can put up 200 yrds in a game it's really hard to believe in this team.

by James-London :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:22am

I'm suprised by the D-it seems like they can actually play. No-one's scored more than 20 on them all season.
fun moment yesterday; Tankersley (Miami rookie cb) took one look at the pile forming on the goal-line for Coleman's rushing TD in the first half and decided he wanted nothing to do with it. Then he made the key play at the end of the came to tip the intercepted pass to Rashad Jones.
Tackled like Prime-Time, then played coverage like Prime-Time

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:56am


by James-London :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:03am

Jones is really good, and has been for 3 seasons.This year he's actually getting some help

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:17am

may have made ym official all-nfl team 2016 if was bale to play more games. as for 2017 team, is on way to serious consideration for ti. another safety am liking ni that division is M. Maye,r ookie on jets

by johonny :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:22pm

Getting Tankersley in place and having a starting Linebacker unit really changed their Defense. If they can control the clock a little with their offense and force teams to test their defense...IDK. They got the Jets at home. If they get swept by the Jets, any they might, I don't see how they compete for a wild card. The injuries have the NFL so shaken up at this point, if they can find a passing game, they're in the hunt for a wild card. Leonte Carroo really feels like he is holding a roster spot someone else deserves at this point. I guess he's a good blocker. He has that going for him.

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:24am

CBS did a poor job covering the Jets fumble. For starters, the officials provided an explanation of the ruling, which CBS simply didn't broadcast, preferring to air a commercial. Then we got to listen to Dan Fouts for a half hour decry the call for a half hour while they repeatedly showed the same inconclusive camera angle.
After the game a photo was being shared on the Internet that clearly showed ASJ bobbling the ball while in mid-air heading to the pylon. This camera angle was never shown to CBS viewers.

How do we know the fumble occurred before hitting the end zone? Because ASJ landed directly on the pylon.

Any argument decrying the call premised on the claim that ASJ never lost control should be ignored. The only question is whether he got control back before hitting the ground. We know he eventually got control, but if that only happened after he was out of bounds, it wouldn't help.

From http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/252749/nfl-owes-a-big-expla...

Referee Tony Corrente, who participated in the review via a sideline tablet, told a pool reporter that a replay angle popped up at the end of the review to confirm the reversal. Seferian-Jenkins lost control of the ball a second time, according to Corrente, and he recovered only after his knee landed out of bounds. "It was pretty obvious," Corrente said.

If the NFL has this camera angle supporting Corrente, they would be well-advised to share it.

by Led :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:38am

"Any argument decrying the call premised on the claim that ASJ never lost control should be ignored."

The question is not whether he "lost control" in some abstract sense, but whether there was a "fumble." Can you could point to a single prior example where a ball carrier bobbled the ball and re-secured it, and it was ruled or officially scored as a fumble and a recovery by the ball carrier? Every fumble I've ever seen ended up on the ground or in the hands of a different player. Nobody fumbles to themselves without the ball hitting the ground. On the other hand, I've seen lots of guys almost fumble and re-secure it, as ASJ did.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:07am

I'm sure it's happened. In your scenario, if the ball carrier bobbles the ball (after having it long enough to qualify as possession), steps out of bounds, and then re-secures it, it's a fumble out of bounds.

Anywhere on the field besides the end zones, the ball is awarded to the fumbling team at either the spot of the fumble, or the spot where the ball went out of bounds. Different rules apply in the end zone, though.

by Led :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:18am

"I'm sure it's happened. In your scenario, if the ball carrier bobbles the ball (after having it long enough to qualify as possession), steps out of bounds, and then re-secures it, it's a fumble out of bounds."

That's an assumption retrofitted to match the ruling on the ASJ catch. I'm confident almost no one would have considered what you describe to be a fumble out of bounds before yesterday. My challenge still stands. Point me to a an example before yesterday where a bobble by a ball carrier that had already established possession was ruled or scored a fumble if the player did not drop the ball (or another player took possession). We know plays like that happen from time to time. If it's never been a fumble before yesterday, it shouldn't have been a fumble yesterday.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:27am

What would you call that scenario, if not a fumble out of bounds?

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:35am

"Point me to a an example before yesterday where a bobble by a ball carrier that had already established possession was ruled or scored a fumble if the player did not drop the ball (or another player took possession). We know plays like that happen from time to time. If it's never been a fumble before yesterday, it shouldn't have been a fumble yesterday."

Point me to an example of a player fumbling just before going over the end line, recovering his own fumble before it hits the ground, but out of bounds, and it being called a Touchdown.

You probably can't - because its probably never happened - we're way off in edge cases here. There's no precedent either way.

Nfl rules digest:
A fumble is the loss of player possession of the ball

The ball was in the air, and he wasn't touching it - that's loss of possession.

You need possession of the ball to score a touchdown - which means you need to re-establish possession after a fumble. The referees maintain that he didn't do that, because he bobbled the ball while going to ground out of bounds. That's consistent with the way "gaining possession" is ruled.

by HPaddict :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:03pm

Here is another fumble that did not hit the ground nor another player:


by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:33pm

Wow. That seems even worse, because he regained control before crossing the plane. Frankly, I don't know what is going on here. Maybe a "fumble" should be a bit more than "failing to touch a ball with all your fingers fingers for a fraction of a second". Next thing you know we're going to need quantum physicists on the replay booth in New York. In today's case they might have quoted Heisenberg's uncertainty principle as grounds not to overturn.

by Not Jimmy :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:57pm

It seems, in this case, that he lost control and then basically became a receiver - landing out of bounds. But he hit the pylon on the way down while regaining control of the ball...

My head hurts. I'm done with football - Back to WWF for me.

- Anything is possible when you have no idea what you are talking about.

by HPaddict :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:07pm

I don't think that "failing to touch a ball with all your fingers fingers for a fraction of a second" is an accurate description of either play; better would be "failing to touch a ball with any of your fingers fingers for a fraction of a second".

Both players clearly did not have possession of the ball over a long enough time that the lack of possession was obvious.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 5:12pm

Yes, what you said. I still don't think a bobble and a fumble should be the same thing.

by Led :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:52pm

Good find. That is is the same scenario and the rulings are consistent in terms of the bobble being treated as a fumble.

It's weird, however, that bobbles don't seem to be considered fumbles anywhere on the field other than right by the pylon. See the Aaron Rodgers bobbled snap and handoff exchange above, which was not scored as a fumble. An example of a flawed quest for scientific precision trumping the common sense meaning of words in replay analysis. "Loss of possession" isn't (or is not generally understood to be) a transient condition existing in midair for only a fragment of a second -- it's an on/off switch.

by BJR :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 6:36pm

Agree that agonizing over replays to this degree doesn't add anything to the game.

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:57pm

That's essentially the same situation, except the video is far clearer about what's happening.

- RG3 lost the ball in mid-air
- he regained control of the ball in mid-air
- he clearly crossed the plane of the end zone
- he landed out of bounds

The tweet from Blandino is typical of the spin he produced while working for the NFL. And it doesn't address the real question: did RG3 (and later, ASJ) need to land _in bounds_ after re-establishing control of the football?

It seems like the TDs were reversed in both cases because neither did that.

Shame that DC doesn't have the pull that NY does with the national media to turn a local story into a national one.

by nat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:30pm

Assuming you are correct in your bullet list, then he didn't HAVE to land in bounds.

But the combination of the clear loss of possession in the air and going to the ground out of bounds for the recovery did make it much harder to get the TD call in both cases. By going to the ground out of bounds, RG3 triggered the most stringent criteria for control of the ball: complete and continuous control until after contact with the ground, similar to diving catches at the sideline. From the moment he crossed the side line to the moment he stopped moving on the ground, he could not even once have a bobble. A bobble would negate any possession he had earlier on his trip to the ground.

To put it another way, we didn't know if he really had "complete control" of the ball until we saw how he handled hitting the ground.

As it was, he had a huge bobble as he bounced on the ground. That meant he didn't get credit for complete control until he grabbed the ball again. As he was already out of bounds by then, the call was no possession and a fumble through the end zone for a touch back.

Bad luck (or skill) for RG3. If he hadn't let go of the ball during his leap to the goal line it would have been a TD when he broke the plane. Instead, it was a failure to demonstrate complete and continuous control to recover a loose ball.

Dems the rulz. Other than awarding a touch back instead of a new down at the point of last possession (in brief, my preferred rewrite of the rule), the rules worked pretty much the way a sensible person would want them to.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:26am

My take on the NE/NYJ call.

While I think in reality it really did occur as Corrente and Riveron describe, I also think that despite their assurances, there was evidence but not conclusive evidence to overturn the TD and so the TD should have stood.

But I'll take it as partial payback for the blown fumble call in the 2005 AFC divisional.

This does bring to mind the following question...anyone know the answer?

What's the standard to overturn on a play like this?

Is it: "Reviewer needs to see conclusive evidence that ballcarrier did not re-possess the ball in the EZ to overturn the original call."

Or is it "Because of the fumble, the rebuttable presumption of the truth of the call on the field is negated and the reviewer needs to be sure ballcarrier did re-possess the ball in the EZ to confirm the original call."

by James-London :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am

No idea how you overturn that-call on the field should have stood

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:30am

If there really is a replay that shows the ball loose in the ballcarrier's hands as/immediately after he contacts the ground, then the overturn was correct, as he had clearly lost the ball (and because of enemy action, even) before crossing the plane.

I'm saying that because I didn't see any such replay, it is inconclusive to me that he failed to re-possess the ball in the EZ and therefore the call should have stood.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:58am


by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:08am

There's no real way to tell if they had conclusive evidence, because we have no idea what they had to look at.

Corrente said "It was pretty obvious" which makes me think they had more views than we did.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:32am

" I also think that despite their assurances, there was evidence but not conclusive evidence to overturn the TD and so the TD should have stood."

If they were only allowed to see what we saw on TV - then yeah, absolutely - never should have been overturned.

But if they had the photo above (or video of such), it should absolutely have been overturned (If I understand the rule correctly). The rule - says that you basically have to do the same things a receiver does to establish possession of a fumble (gain control of the ball in the field of play, and be inbounds) - Sefarian-Jenkins corrals the ball in the air (I think), but lands out of bounds. Him landing out of bounds is pretty conclusive in the video - so if its conclusive that he lost the ball in the air, and the rules require him to re-eastablish possession, then the whole thing becomes pretty conclusive.

by Lyford :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:36pm

"If they were only allowed to see what we saw on TV - then yeah, absolutely - never should have been overturned.

But if they had the photo above (or video of such)..."

CBS had end zone footage that clearly showed him losing possession of the ball, either from the same angle as the aforementioned picture, or one nearly identical. They showed it several times, and there was no question that he lost possession. Fouts apparently wasn't watching the broadcast. But I was, and I was baffled until they showed the end zone shot, from which the loss of possession was clear.

by ClavisRa :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:47pm

This was an easy call to get right, which they did. The problem for the public was we didn't get to see the camera angles they saw that showed them very clearly what happened. CBS did a horrible job, because they kept showing a single angle, and failed to broadcast the ruling explanation given at the game.

There is nothing remotely controversial about this call, IF you have both the clear camera angles, and a good rules explanation at your disposal, which most people, even a day later, don't have easy access to.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:28am

Oh, and the "offense loses possession when they fumble through the defensive EZ" rule is dumb. Anyone know why that's on the books? Is it something from the 1920s that actually made sense then for some reason?

I'd give it to the offense on the 1, but if do want to punish the offense some for the fumble, mark it at the 10. But the offense should retain possession.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:05am

Yeah, I've never understood that one, either.

by nat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:22am

The rule has been around in some form for decades, maybe even a century. I remember it from the seventies, anyway. And it wasn't new then, I think.

It exists to discourage intentional fumbles and batting of loose balls, and to preserve the central idea that you cannot score a TD except by getting the ball into the end zone under your control.

There are similarly weird rules around fumbles in your own end zone. You can't avoid a safety by fumbling forward out of bounds. You can't earn a safety by knocking a loose ball into and through the opponent's end zone.

Think of it as a recognition that the anti-batting and anti-intentional fumble rules can't police everything. The rules need to remove the incentives for those things, too.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:27am

Any fumble recovered by the offense in the defense's end zone is spotted at the point of the fumble, and any fumble in the offense's end zone must either be ruled a td or safety by the defense?

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:34am

Seems much simpler this way.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:01pm

I watch a little rugby and understand a little less of the rules. But in rugby any ball that goes out of play (except for on a penalty kick) goes to the defensive team. So perhaps the change was to who gets possession on fumbles out on the sideline and the end-zone rule is the original rugby rule?

by HPaddict :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:07pm

Piggybacking on your comment: the rule is likely a direct descendent of the corresponding rule in rugby.

13.10 Drop-out

A drop-out is a drop kick taken by the defending team. The drop-out may be taken anywhere on or behind the 22-metre line.
A drop-out is used to restart play after an attacking player has put or taken the ball into the in-goal, without infringement, and a defending player has made the ball dead there or it has gone into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead ball line.

by BJR :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 6:42pm

I'd be perfectly happy to see a fumble out of bounds result in a turnover at any point on the field. A fumble is a bad play after all.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:02pm

I'd really prefer that the defense not be rewarded for knocking the ball out of bounds, and that's before we consider the replays involved in determining if somebody lost control a nanosecond prior to stepping out of bounds.

by BJR :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:43pm

Yes, I concede the point about the replays. I guess I just meant that, fundamentally, it doesn't make any more sense for the offence to retain possession after a fumble out of bounds than it does to award the defense a turnover.

by leviramsey :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:03pm

Maybe adopt the college basketball possession arrow for fumbles that go out of bounds (regardless of where)? Alternate which team gets the ball when it goes out of bounds.

by joe football :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:40pm

Giving up the ball in your opponent's redzone was always bad, but back when the rule was established, giving your opponent the ball on their 20 wasn't necessarily great for them


by leviramsey :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:01pm

For similar reasons, the reason it's called a safety (short for safety touchdown) is that it was often safer to spot the other team 2 points and give them possession on the other side of midfield than it was to attempt plays from scrimmage inside your ten.

Remember that the ball was somewhat larger and more rounded until the 1930s (28" around instead of the current 21") and thus harder to carry or throw with accuracy, so fumbles were much more common and passes were more likely to be intercepted. In an environment where a play is much more likely to result in a turnover, starting a play with the ball is a lot less important.

In the same vein, of course, in rugby, the team that was scored upon kicks off to the team that scored, but the kickoff is from midfield, and it's not uncommon for a team to score, be kicked off to, and then immediately kick the ball back.

by Scott P. :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:46pm

Because it's a general rule for live balls. See: kickoffs. If you kickoff and the ball goes through the opponent's endzone, the opponent gets the ball.

by jtr :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:31am

The funny thing about Pittsburgh's success on the ground is that it seemed to come entirely out of one play call, the counter trey. For the last couple of years it's been their signature run, and this year they've done a better job than in the past of diversifying the look. It used to be that they would just run it to the left with RG Decastro and whoever was lined up at backside tight end pulling to lead the way. This season they've been running it to both sides, and sometimes leading with a fullback instead of tight end. By late in the game, though, it felt like they were going to the well a few times too often and KC had figured the play out. Would have been nice to see them run something different out of a similar look, maybe split zone to show the pulling tight end, in order to have a "counter to the counter" in their bag.

This was my first time hearing a Romo announced game, and I thought he was a bit of a mixed bag. I like that he goes into detail on scheme stuff, but he wasn't always right about it. He talked quite a bit about how Pittsburgh was going to run against KC's two linemen looks and pass against their three linemen looks. But Pittsburgh had a lot of success running against the 3-3 and 3-4, which they did simply by directing their runs to the outside, away from all those big guys in the middle. Romo never picked up on that even though it had been a major talking point of his. But then again I shouldn't complain too much. Ding, dong, the witch is dead, and I'll take anybody who isn't Phil Simms.

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:03am

finney is a much better run blocker than foster.
not on DdC level, but well above average.

I could see them using a modified heavy set with him in and pulls and counters to every side/direction/TE/FB combo.

The standard is the standard!

by jtr :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:13am

I expect them to throw every possible wrinkle at this counter trey this season since it's working so well for them. I bet they pull Smith-Schuster out in front of the play at least once this season.

by Subrata Sircar :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 5:22am

The counter trey and other trap-block runs have been a Steelers staple forever (well, since the 70s). They popularized trap block schemes during the rise of their dynasty. Here's an SI article talking about a Franco Harris play against Dallas where they trap the DE:


by jtr :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:36pm

Sweet, vintage Dr Z. Thanks for sharing.

One thing that jumped out at me in that article is just how casual they were about head injuries. Bradshaw took a hit that left him bleeding from the mouth and feeling funny in the head, and he came right back for the next series. Staubach was knocked unconscious and didn't know where he was, but he downplayed it and talked about how he should have gone back in. It's kind of amazing no one died on the field in that era.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:44pm

Bradshaw likely came close.....


.....on this play.

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:01am

what kind of "leader of men" sends out idiots who don't know that a free kick is a live ball

oh, an equally idiotic one.

The standard is the standard!

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:44pm

The guy now coaching the Chargers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=truiQ0RsCcE

By the way, the guy forgetting to pick up the ball in the endzone is Gillislee, now playing for the Pats.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:57pm

Yeah, not one of Buffalo's finer moments.

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:02pm

They knew the ball was live. They just did a terrible job tracking it down. The kick returner took a terrible angle and it bounced far away from him.

Failure in execution, not in the understanding of the game.

FWIW, the Steelers dominated most of that game.

by Pen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:02am

That was plainly a Jets touchdown and stuff like that just enforces the belief that the Patriots pay off the refs. I know bad calls happen to everyone but the perception is that game winning bad calls always benefit the Pats.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:08am

Should have been a Jet TD? Yes. There wasn't enough evidence in replays shown on TV to the audience to provide conclusive proof ASJ failed to re-possess the ball in the EZ after (clearly!) losing it before crossing the plane.

"Plainly"? No way. He should have kept the TD because there wasn't anything conclusive to overturn it, not because it was a clear TD.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:09am

I would take the other side, and say that if this play happened to one of the 31 other teams and was ruled the exact same way, there would be no controversy whatsoever.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:15am

Sure there would, because the rule is so weird, changing posession despite there being no fumble recovery in bounds, and because the public has not seen any camera angle which justifies the initial ruling being overturned. If the zebra saw video which does justify it, then the league would be wise to release it.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:25am

There was a pretty similar play (although much more clear what happened on the video) last week in the Cardinals game, and basically nobody was upset about it.

The photo attached for this article is pretty definitive proof that he lost the ball - and it was a fumble. The rule says that after that it gets treated like a reception:

"The final shot we saw was from the end zone that showed the New York Jets' runner, we'll call him a runner at that point, with the football starting to go toward the ground... He lost the ball. It came out of his control as he was almost to the ground. Now he re-grasps the ball and by rule, now he has to complete the process of recovery, which means he has to survive the ground again. So in recovering it, he recovered, hit the knee, started to roll and the ball came out a second time. So the ball started to move in his hands this way ... he's now out of bounds in the end zone, which now created a touchback. So he didn't survive the recovery and didn't survive the ground during the recovery is what happened here"

There's a video from slightly upfield out of bounds where as Sefarian-Jenkins rolls over, you can see his hand come off the ball.

The videos are out there - people just aren't interested in them.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:44am

Blandino and Pereira aren't interested, or are part of the irrational anti-Patriot crowd? Huh?

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:59pm

It just shows that reasonable minds can disagree...even if they belong to the people who supposedly have the greatest grasp on the rulebook.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:09pm

Sure, I just really dislike, to coin a phrase speculation on motivation, as a means of argumentation,

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:22pm

I wasn't talking about Blandino (etc)'s motivation.

I was talking about normal fans - who, in my experience, largely couldn't give a crap about whether or not the call was correct, or what the rules are, but love getting incised when the patriots are involved.

We can argue about the recovery - but plenty of fans are still arguing about whether it was a fumble - when that absolutely shouldn't be in question. The photo attached to this article is clear, unquestionable evidence that the ball was fumbled.

by Pen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:07pm

The video has been out there that prove Golden Tate made a one handed catch before the defender even touched the ball, kept it in his grasp and came down with both feet while the defender was still in the air, never for an instant lost the ball. Clear td. No one in years was interested in that. Its still called the fail mary everywhere but in Seattle where its called the Wail Mary. Impressions are more important than proof. The impression the Pats are cheaters isnt helped by this call.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:29pm

Hey, I pulled an all-nighter to get that Tate article together. He did catch it first.

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:15pm

It was only two weeks ago that a questionable penalty overturned a key sack that would have given NE final possession in a tie game... the very same week when Kuechly admitted to getting away with a blatant hold on Gronk that should have given NE first and goal from the 1 in their game four years prior..... and only a few weeks after one of the Giant OL admitted to giving Seymour a literal choke hold to allow Manning to launch the pass that would eventually become The Helmet Catch.

Any perception that calls aways benefit the Pats is the fault of fan bias and fan bias alone.
But please, tell me again how the league fixes things for the Patriots' benefit.

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:09pm

Just a few years ago, the Jets beat the Pats in large part because they told the refs to call a penalty on a certain type of illegal rush they were using on FG tries.

Which is fine and dandy, to enforce the rules, except the Jets used the very same illegal rush themselves earlier in the game and were not flagged for it.

Anybody who "perceives" officials favoring the Patriots has serious bias issues. I hope I don't have to track down the video of the Giants "blocking" Richard Seymour during the helmet catch by grabbing his neck from behind.

And then there's Deflategate...the greatest frame in the history of organized sports, second only to the 1972 Olympic basketball gold medal game in terms of overt corruption.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 6:44pm

I'm completely fine with this ruling and this loss, if it gets the Jets Josh Rosen or Mason Rudolph. Find it funny most of the people griping about this play on this thread are fans of teams in other divisions; I don't expect playoffs this year, so refs ripping wins away from this Jets team just helps them in the long run. Dolphins and Bills fans should be more annoyed; the Pats look vulnerable to me, and an extra loss could turn the division.

by Eddo :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:06am

I don't see how the Sefarian-Jenkins non-TD could have been an incomplete pass. He caught the ball and took like four steps clearly in possession. At that point, an incompletion is off the table.

I generally agree there was not enough evidence to call that a fumble, though.

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:10pm

Nobody has said it was an incomplete pass. If it had been an incomplete pass, the Jets would have retained possession.

by Eddo :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 6:34pm

Aaron suggested it should be ruled one if ASJ was bobbling the ball (which he was):

"On further review, I guess the ball was moving a little bit in his arms, so maybe you overturn it to incomplete."

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:07am

regarding the ASJ "fumble"

let's see

1) install RFID or other sensor data

2) install some entry level parallax correction technology for off-angle cameras

3) learn basic human anatomy and biomechanics.

The standard is the standard!

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:23am

The officiating in the GB/MN game was so aburdly bad it almost overshadowed the terrible incident that shall not be named

There were so many plays to challenge MM ran out and since the refs kept blowing calls just had to stand there as the announcers called him a dunce for not challenging before correcting themselves later.

Add in poor game tactics on defense, more o line injuries and the refusal to play Jones over Monty and the chances to steal a game went from 5 percent to zero

To be clear the officiating remark does not refer to Barr’s tackle. Totally clean

And I think Hundley showed well given the extremely conservative playcalling that would make Bart Starr the coach version proud. Constantly running on first and second down is making things too easy for a very good defense

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:37am

The fact that McKinnon's clear scoop off the turf could not be challenged, and was allowed to stand, was about as clear of evidence as possible that the college games' use of replay is far superior. I prefer the NFL rules in almost every other instance; two feet in bounds, don't stop clock to move chains, winding clock sooner, even the long pi penalty. Certainly how overtime works. Video review, however, works a lot better in college.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:41am

The whole idea of the replay challenge system is ridiculous. There should never be a situation where everyone in the stadium (including the referees) know the call was wrong, but there's nothing they can do about it.

Let them challenge whatever they want - then give the referees the tools to punish obviously frivolous challenges with a clock stoppage, runoff, penalty yardage, whatever.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:46am

I think the college system works fine. I don't want the refereees to engage in motivation reading with regard to coaches.

by Jerry :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 7:19am

The idea of the challenge system is that it puts the onus on the coaches to decide if a play is important enough to review. If the replay official has the responsibility, he (or she) can't say a pass back to the line of scrimmage that might be incomplete isn't worth looking at, and the game would drag on with more reviews.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:04pm

College overtime is a travesty. I also like the college targeting rule, but I am probably the only person who does.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:07pm

No, you're right. The college targeting procedure is better than what the NFL does to get rid of the head hunting.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:09pm

I don't like the targeting rule when an offensive player ducks his head, the defender tackles him and gets ejected for hitting the player's head when he did not lead with his head or actively try to strike the offensive player in the head area

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:44am

Hundley wasn't good, but, on the road, in a loud stadium, against an excellent defense, and having to play catch-up? In that context he was certainly OK, but it's not like he had much chance to show something. The Packers' offensive line injuries were just insane.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:54am

Yeah, I think the idea that you can have any confidence that Kaepernick could step in, in mid October, and be more productive running the Packers offense than Hundley, is dubious bordering on ridiculous. The Packers run a very sophisticated attack, and unless McCarthy just wants to toss that after 6 games (which would be stupid, in my view), an unproven guy who has at least been in the system for a couple years seems the clearly better choice.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:04pm

Here are things just on the offensive side that had me puzzled.

The Vikes defensive front 7 is really fast. Running wide is ill advised. Packers kept running wide and getting wiped out

PLaying that defense a runner needs to cut and go. Jones is that type of runner. Montgomery is not. Who started and received the bulk of the chances? Montgomery

The Vikes pressure even before the injuries was coming from every direction. But sure, let's not call any slants or other quick hitting plays.

The screen was repeatedly blown to smithereens but sure let's keep calling it.

The officials had already called a defender for running into a guy who had come to a complete stop on his route. And you kept asking your line to hold up. So why not take some shots downtown if you were so adamant that the line COULD hold its blocks

Randall Cobb was matched up against a 39 year old defender. You think maybe call his number?

I am not asking Hundley to run the whole playbook. But repeatedly running on first and second down for a total of 4 yards and then asking Hundley to make a miracle happen like it hes an underwear gnome is bizarre.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:09pm

There's that famous story about the Colts' back in the Peyton days, where some reporter asked the offensive coordinator or some other coach why the backup QB wasn't getting any of the practice snaps, and the response was, "If #18 goes down, we're f*cked, and we don't practice f*cked." My assumption is Hundley has had very, very limited practice reps in terms of running the real playbook, as the Packers offense is almost entirely based around Aaron Rodgers being amazing. Hundley has likely been spending his time in practice switching between trying to learn things in the film room, and pretending to be the other team's QB so the defense can practice.

Essentially, #12 went down, and, regardless, they're f*cked.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:13pm

That makes for a funny story, but every company in the world has a business continuity plan. Not to be a jerk about but why would an NFL team be any different? That is breaking the unspoken contract with the remainder of the team, the organization, the other teams in the league and not the least the fan base.

I don't accept that one guy's injury 'f*cks' the season.

And yes, I am fully aware that Rodgers is awesome. Guess MM better hitch up his big boy pants and find a way.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:27pm

" Not to be a jerk about but why would an NFL team be any different?"

Because NFL coaches aren't CEOs, and football rosters aren't companies? (and yes, I understand that franchises are companies, but from the coach down, they aren't really).

In a business, you can have someone shadow the CEO, and be groomed and learn without making the CEO worse at his job - in the NFL, you have limited practice time - it's zero-sum - any throws you give the backup in practice take away from the starter, and vice versa. Some teams choose to bet on the starter - like Indy with Manning - Painter had almost no practice time before Manning got hurt, and it showed. In most years, that makes you better. Others, like NE, give the backup quite a bit of practice time - see NE last year. Indy was more concerned about getting their ceiling as high as possible - NE is more concerned with keeping the floor high.

There are costs to either choice

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:34pm

I think the 1972 Dolphins, 1990 Giants, and 1999 Rams would probably agree with you.

However, you have to admit that Petyon Manning and Aaron Rodgers are a couple of stratospheres above your usual franchise quarterback.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:55pm

1972 Dolphins and 1990 Giants precede the salary cap, and there was zero expectation that Kurt Warner would become KURT WARNER for the 1999 Rams. If you're looking at where they are respectively in their careers, Hundley has a significantly higher level of expectation for success than Warner did at the time; Hundley is a big-school prospect who at one point appeared to be a legitimate high draft prospect who has had several years' worth of learning from a great QB and some solid preseason performances. Warner was a UDFA who'd bounced around NFL Europe and the Arena Football League who came from a smaller school that had zero history of turning out anything resembling a quality QB, even if that school did eventually turn out a HOF QB and also incidentally a certain FO regular poster (unrelated: GO PANTHERS).

Your last sentence is pretty much what does it; if you have a truly all-time great QB, you are logically going to build your offense around that QB. Why wouldn't you? Instead of burning time and resources on mitigating that potential loss, you shove your chips into the middle and ride as far as you can.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:35pm

Well, more than one head football coach has referred himself as the CEO of his team. And I don't think there is a radical difference.

But I think you are referring to Rodgers as the CEO or similar and again, companies all over the place have to replace people quickly for reasons that come out of nowhere. (CEO is found guilty of malfeasance, CEO is found to be a serial sex offender, CEO gets suddenly ill with terminal issue, etc)

I don't know how one can run an organization worth over a billion dollars and on Monday morning go to everyone and say, "Well, this year is shot. Keep trying but your purpose now is for optimizing 2018." Didn't work for Marissa Mayer and shouldn't be allowed to work for Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson or Mark Murphy

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:44pm

"I don't know how one can run an organization worth over a billion dollars and on Monday morning go to everyone and say, "

Coaches don't run the organization, and coaches are the ones making the decision on who gets to practice.

Good backup quarterbacks don't grow on trees - they're tough to find, and having one costs cap space, and practice time, and both subtract from your starting roster. Having a competent backup quarterback who gets plenty of snaps in practice with the starters hurts you every week that the starting quarterback is healthy - that's simply not the case in business - having a competent 2nd in command helps there.

by Steve in WI :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 1:33pm

In one very important sense, Rodgers has almost nothing in common with a CEO because any large company would do fine in the short term if the CEO disappeared off the face of the earth and was not replaced. There are other executives, directors, managers, and the employees who do the actual work to keep things going for a while. The CEO's role is strategic and forward-thinking.

Rodgers is more like a very skilled technician who is needed to do a very important task, and cannot truly be replaced because there is no one else available who is that skilled.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:39pm

Also, companies don't have salary caps for top management, with the CEO salary greatly inhibiting the ability of other talent being prepared for the big stage.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:44pm

Kind of surprised folks are so willing to give the Packers, or any team for that matter, such an easy pass. 40 odd guys on this roster. You get paid to innovate.

I know what I tell my organization daily. Figure it the f8ck out or risk us being Amazoned

by Independent George :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:57pm

Sure, no need to come up with any ideas of your own, nor do you need to understand the actual environment you're working in - just order your people to innovate.


by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:02pm

Well, I mostly agree with BTF, in that the situation is not nearly as hopeless as many suggest, even if it is quite grim. Analogies are often problematic, however.

by Independent George :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:15pm

In this case, the analogy is the whole point. The nature of the NFL constrains teams in a way unlike the business environment he's talking about.

There is no federal regulation saying Google can only hire 53 employees, only 45 of which can work during a given week, and only on a set number off hours for specific tasks. NFL rosters are a zero sum - every dollar of cap space/roster slot/practice snap spent on one thing necessarily means not spending it on another.

No, the Packers' situation isn't hopeless; if it were, then they were never really a contender to begin with, as team depth should let you go 0.500 with your backup QB (the 2011 Colts are a perfect example of non-contender held together by the QB). But that's far different than pretending there are no resource constraints in optimizing a roster, and saying that anyone can just 'innovate' their way forward without their QB.

The Packers aren't hopeless if the goal is to play well enough to squeak into the playoffs and have Rodgers available in Week 17. Expecting to win the Super Bowl with Hundley by innovating your way forward is unrealistic unless Hundley turns out to be Kurt Warner.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:50pm


by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:06pm

>Not to be a jerk about but why would an NFL team be any different?

Because they are not operating in a competitive environment that selects for organizational efficiency the way many companies do. Because the coaches have distorted incentives due to their short time-horizons due to the fact that organizational decision makers need to keep uninformed and irrational fans happy instead of following profit-maximizing strategies with long-term returns on investments. Because they are competing in a tournament environment where rewards are disproportionately rewarded instead proportionately rewarded.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:10pm

Its also a limited supply of talent. There are literally about 20 or so people in the entire history of the NFL who could produce what Rodgers produces. Currently, there are, what, 2?

That's the reality of the NFL as a business.

by Independent George :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:49pm

Because both a team's roster, salary cap, and practice rules limit personnel in a way that doesn't exist in a business environment?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:31pm

That was Tom Moore, one of the all time great (and salty) NFL assistant lifers.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:19pm

Even with the awful You Know What, to You Know Who, I think the Packers could have won with a healthy defense, because Keese Cane'im threw some hideous crap that should have been picked with above average db play, with some pretty hefty int returns. The Vikings need to hang on and hope either Bradford or Bridgewater can get back.

More positively for the Horned Hats, if Rhodes and Smith are joined by a Waynes who now tackles reliably, and has better hands discipline when covering, passing on the Vikings is going to be extremely difficult.

Hey, are you paying McGinn's website?

by Arkaein :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:39pm

I think they did run a few slants, but they were both tipped at the LoS. I know Rodgers had one, and I think Hundley had one as well.

Also, according to box score, Jones had 13 runs to Montgomery's 10. Both averaged within a hair of 3 yards/carry.

I'm not sure what I would have done too differently in MM's shoes. I didn't love the first down runs, but in what was mostly a one score game I didn't really want Hundley throwing too many passes. He took a beating as it was, and after losing 60% of the O-line I'm not sure what was going to work.

by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:34am

...Myers insists the replay shows Davis is down before the fumble, and he is plainly wrong. I promise you, he is having a worse day than any player, coach, or ref today.

Also infuriating that he and Moose kept insisting the last penalty of the game, against Garcon for OPI, was a brilliant call, because pick plays can't happen more than 1 yard past the line of scrimmage. But Garcon was the target on the play. He can't be running a pick if he's the target. How do professional football announcers not know that? Or notice that?

There might have been a little shouting at the screen in my house yesterday.

So, -33 point differential on the season, but -20 of those were in the first game. Since then 0-5, -13 point differential. Change three plays, erase a couple bad OPI calls, and the 49ers could be 5-1. If each of those 2 and 3 point losses was a coin flip, that would be, what, a 3% chance one of the worst teams in the league is 5-1?

Its has been an odd and frustrating season to be a 49er fan. At least, if you have to be 0-6, this is probably the best possible way to be 0-6.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:39am

That call on Garcon was total crap.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:42am

One of the better things about Tampa going from utterly awful to just not that great is it means they've moved up enough in the announcer team rankings that I don't have to listen to Chris Myers much anymore. He's this perfect storm of being either disinterested or completely wrong. Ugh.

SF's 0-6 is certainly pretty good just from a draft position standpoint, which is basically what 49ers fans are undoubtedly looking forward to by now. They're a team showing promise, and a real QB makes them a viable team. So, more or less, Jacksonville, Miami, or a few other teams.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:01pm

The fact that Chris Myers still has a job calling NFL games is an insult to sports fans, and is proof that once you get to a certain level in any field where performance evaluation is highly subjective, you can be awful for a very, very, long time, without getting fired. That dummy was singing the praises of Gus Ferrotte a decade ago, as The Turnover Dynamo was wrecking a Vikings' season.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:04pm

Denver needs to move on from Trevor Siemian and probably from lunch as well. They are basically the pre Deshaun Watson Texans at this point, only they have a roster that's in complete win now mode.

by rj1 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:41pm

He was awful last night, but it's pretty damning on Lynch that Siemian has beat him out for the starting job for 2 years now. I wasn't aware Lynch was injured, but he's clearly the future based on his draft pick, and if he isn't the eventual guy after Siemian, that was a colossal failure of a draft pick. Still though, you have to play who is #1.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:50pm

The problem is, Denver is good enough roster wise to win most games with average or above qb play and Siemian gives them overall slightly below avg qb play on net. The hope is that he improves which is probably why they keep playing him, but barring a jump from TS, they are going to again top out at 8-8 and miss the playoffs.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:06pm

I am really disappointed that the Packer front 6/7 didn't cause more problems against that Vikes offensive line. Mike Daniels had a few plays. Kenny Clark did stuff. But otherwise not so much.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:25pm

It's remarkable how competent the Vikings blocking has been, with so many new faces. I guess Sparano can still coach at least competently, and the problem last year was personnel and injury.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:28pm

Rieff and Remmers are average tackles at best, but one should not discount the effect of improving from abysmal to average at a key position.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:33pm

Indeed, average can be a beautiful, beautiful thing. Especially through the eyes of an NFL quarterback.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:12pm

I watch every Bucs game, regardless of outcome. I turned off yesterday's game in the 2nd quarter, before Winston got hurt. I can only handle so much incompetence. Between Tampa's safety play (or what pretends to be safety play), Vernon Hargreaves looking to be a ridiculously huge bust as a first-round pick at CB from last year, and somehow allowing Adrian Peterson to look like a real RB again . . . ugh.

Great comedic timing from Fitzpatrick throwing that pick on the goal line, though.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:28pm

I wasn't a big fan of Lovie getting shoved out in Koetter's coup, but I acknowledged that it might turn out well. Maybe not.

by andrew :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:28pm

" Seferian-Jenkins caught the ball near the hashmarks and took three or four steps to the sideline, where he collided with a gaggle of Patriots"

The proper term is a militia of Patriots.

Consult this handy NFL grouping guide:

NFC East
A Posse of Cowboys
A Tribe of Redskins
A Convocation of Eagles
A Tower of Giants

NFC North=
A Pack of Packers
A Sloth of Bears
A Pride of Lions
An Alting of Vikings

NFC South
A Cast of Falcons
A Parade of Saints
A Clutter of Panthers
A Crew of Buccaneers

NFC West
A Drove of Rams
A Flock of Seahawks
A Prospect of 49ers
A College of Cardinals

AFC East:
A Fleet of Jets
A Militia of Patriots
A Pod of Dolphins
A Herd of Bills

AFC North
An Unkindness of Ravens
A Mill of Steelers
A Factory of Sadness
A Streak of Bengals

AFC South
A Rag of Colts
A Jamboree of Jaguars
A Republic of Texans
A Pantheon of Titans

AFC West
A Harass of Broncos
A Council of Chiefs
A Surge of Chargers
An Array of Raiders

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:31pm

Not bad, but I would make a few changes:

-Squadron of Jets
-Regiment (or perhaps company) of Patriots
-Horde of Raiders

side note:
I think this site's spam filter has gained sentience and is just trying to mess with me at this point by tagging every single one of my posts.

by RobotBoy :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 6:57am

'A Factory of Sadness' is wonderful. Trying to imagine what the workday is like at the Sadness Factory. Of course all the employees wear brown (or would, if it wasn't a black-and-white world). Smiling gets you fined. Hopeful speech is cause for immediate termination. Every few weeks a fire or explosion kills half the staff.
How about 'Modern Times' with Joe Thomas as the Little Tramp? Or maybe 'No Exit' where every attempt to escape, no matter how ingenious, brings you right back to 3-13.

by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:01pm

A murder of Ravens, surely.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:02pm

Well done

by andrew :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:09pm

Yeah, murder of ravens sounds better but that's crows, not ravens.

Just about all the animal ones are the actual proper term for a grouping of that animal. "Seahawk" and "Panther" were the only ones I didn't find actual ones for, Ospreys are just generaically Flock from birds, and Panthers can be many big cats but presumably they mean the ones found in the carolinas, which are the normally solitary mountain lions.

Oh, and Bills where I used Buffalos. Upon further reflection I want to make that money related... maybe a Stack of Bills, a Fold of Bills or even... A Wad of Bills.

Horde is fine for Raiders. I was thinking Redundant Array of Inexpensive Defenders.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:26pm

Based on kicking history, I suggest "A Shank of Buccaneers".

How about a Collapse of Falcons? A Breeze of Saints (I mean, he's been the team for years now)?

by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:32pm

(It was a Ray Lewis joke)

by El Muneco :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:07pm

Plus "A Flock of Sea..." resonates with people of a certain generation.

by runaway robot :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:37pm

Good stuff. I especially liked a College of Cardinals.

by Henry Atkins :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 6:03pm


A Confederacy of Clevelands.

by roguerouge :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:25pm

Ooh, good literary reference...

A Party of Raiders

by andrew :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:50am

A few updates from the #FO slack channel:

A Clash of Titans
A Lineup of Bengals
A Conspiracy of Patriots

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:38pm

By the way, everyone declaring that the Packers are ok for saying the season is screwed why bother you do realize that you are agreeing with talking heads at ESPN, etc?

That should concern anyone

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:43pm

But the season is screwed. Look when you have a transcendent qb, your team building and style change. For ex, you don't build a ground heavy unit to hide him. You get receivers, pass rushers, and an aggressive secondary. You also have a preference for pass blocking linemen and versatile running backs. If all of a sudden your qb is done, it's too hard to pivot mid season. Any coach or gm saying next man up is throwing out meaningless phrases.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:52pm

I disagree, as long as Rodgers has a chance of playing by mid January. They have 4 wins in the bank, and that is significant, in a league where 8 win, or even 7 win, teams sometimes make the playoffs.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:55pm

Sure and I haven't looked at their schedule, but you have to wonder which games would they be favored in without Rodgers? They are already pretty beat up and are looking like last year's late season team playing a large cast of unknowns

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:04pm

I saw Bill Parcells go 10-6, and the playoffs, once, with a roster that had maybe 6 guys who attained replacement level. As he always has said, you are paid to figure out a way to win these games. McCarthy has 4 in the bank, and until he hears that Rodgers is gone until next summer, he's gotta try to McGyver this thing.

by roguerouge :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:26pm

Matt Cassell: 10-6 season for the Patriots. It can be done.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:50pm

Parcells did it with Quincy Carter and Troy Hembrick as his major offensive ball handlers.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:13pm

top help your point further, Pates went 10-5 with Cassel as starter. so finished season 11-5. actually missed playoffs though due to tiebreaker

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:20pm

Here I invite the classic example of the 2011 Colts.

Also the Youngless 49ers basically imploded too. Can be done, sure, but how likely? Avoiding a colts level apocalypse seems plausible, but theres a wide gap in outcomes between Cassel led Patriots and Manningless Colts.

by Raiderfan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:23pm

Sure it can be done. Just start out with a team that went 16-0, give them the easiest schedule in the league, and you only wind up five games worse.
Problem is five games worse than last year’s GB record won’t get you in the playoffs

by t.d. :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:01pm

They actually went 11-5 (though a couple of years later Cassel did go 10-6 for the Chiefs). Sort of feel like the league is a little better than it was then

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:56pm

Here is thing. When Bhak was out the Packers ran the ball fairly well because whatever his pass blocking flaws McRay is a good run blocker. I don't know Taylor's status but those two helped cave in the Dallas line multiple times. Yes Dallas is a poor defense but they showed something.

I think GB, assuming they can get those two together on the line, playing Jones COULD hunker down and be a run heavy, play action pass team. Not quite the Wisconsin Badgers but along those lines.

Why? Well, why NOT?

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:19pm

B. Hundley pretty good at times at Ucla. huge drop ffrom al time greta to little-used Hundley but with good coaching, Hundley can help G.B. go 4-6 or 5-5 res tof way. 5-5 eoufl ber mesn 9-7. that mgiyht be good enough for playoff berth.
temaining games-
at bears
at steelers
at browns
at panbeters
at Lions

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:49pm

No team at 4-2 should ever write off the season, especially if there is a chance that their HOF qb might be able to play well by mid January. If they go even 4-6 the test of the way, they would have an ok chance of getting to the tournament. Of course, it is the other injuries, along with the qb, which makes things especially difficult. Then again, if the Vikings just an average year from their placekicker last season, they likely make the playoffs, even with all the injuries.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:50pm

Agreed on all points. You have to TRY.

by Steve in WI :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:41pm

I guarantee that no player or coach on the Packers is going to stop trying to win games just because Rodgers is hurt. But there's an objective reality that says that if Rodgers is out for the year, the Packers have a chance of winning the Super Bowl that approaches my chances of winning Powerball this week. I don't understand why anyone would ignore that.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:32pm

Well, it isn't guaranteed yet that he won't be back by January, and it is not Powerball unlikely that if they were squeak in, they would meet teams that all of a sudden similarly afflicted by injury. Weirder stuff has happened is sports. Look at the EPL in the spring of 2016.

by El Muneco :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:15pm

Denmark in Euro '92. Didn't even qualify - Yugoslavia got banned and replaced by Denmark who had to call their players back from beach vacations. Squeezed through into the semis without playing well, won the semis on penalties, then finally played a good game in the final and won the whole damn thing.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:52pm

I'd be curious to see how he plays if he comes back. This was his throwing side after all.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:08pm

What would it be like, I wonder, to root for a team that might have made the playoffs last year with a better kicking game. That would certainly be an interesting thing to ponder.

The Packers aren't going to give up, they're just going to have to have things go right. The big issue isn't just going to be the loss of Rodgers, but all the injuries to that offensive line. Without having a bit of time to digest coverage schemes it's going to be so rough for Hundley to try to acclimate to game speed.

The Bears, Ravens, and Browns are clearly winnable games. The Bucs and Lions (with a hobbled Stafford) are certainly possible. Problem is, they've got the Saints next week, so probably shootout, then still have tough Steelers and Panthers games, both on the road, plus a slate of tougher divisional games. Going to be a rough haul unless Hundley really sparkles.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:16pm

Lotta' ways to lose an NFL game, ain't there? The key for the Packers from here on out will be to win the ones that are within reach, by making all makeable plays that their depleted talent allows. The Vikings almost managed it last year, and they had no hope for HOF qb play come January.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:39pm

Anyone who watches the Jags, can you comment on which players are playing well on their defense? I know Ramsay is a monster, Bouy is playing well too, along with telvin Smith and Calais Campbell. Anyone else I'm missing?

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:13pm

Ramsey in early mix for my all-NFL etam. ditto Campbell. tevin smith very good. bouye played good. also have noticed Myles Jack, P. Posluszny,an dn Yannick Ngakoue good. very up and ciominger type of team. did say this would happen coupel years ago but has bneen more gradual than I thought. also thought jets and Raiders up and coming. that wa sin 2015. next deacde in AFC could be about Jaguars, Raiders, jets, Bills, and other teams here and there just as past decade was about Pates and Broncos, steelers and ravens and Clots and oither teams here and there

by t.d. :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:23pm

Fowler, too (four sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries) and Malik Jackson, and swapping out Cyprien for Barry Church has been an upgrade

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:09pm

Really, Mike needs to call Paul Chryst. The whole Badger philosophy is about limiting possessions of the opponent while maximizing your own. Run the ball with a very controlled passing game. Have solid special teams. Minimize penalties and turnovers to avoid disrupting your possessions.

Barry Alvarez implemented this approach years ago because at the time he could not get fast, explosive defenders to come to Wisconsin so needed to protect his defense as much as possible. Well gee, who has a defense that needs to be protected from having to get on the field a lot? The Packers have a solid field goal kicker and a reasonable punter.

Jones is the spitting image of every good Wisco back from the last 20 odd years.

Do it I say. Go full Wisconsin Mike. Doing it your current way is likely going to be way too hard on the qb and those around him

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:30pm

Speaking of the Badgers, I have relatives who went to Madison, and I can't tell you how much they are enjoying Razorback football these days.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:31pm

Im always a bit suspect when I hear such theories. The idea of control the clock basically amounts to picking up first downs - something a good offense will attempt regardless. And I'm even more leery of a predominant passing team suddenly switching to a ground and pound style all of a sudden and it working.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:47pm

Sure, but a good offense typically tries to pass deep downfield a substantial number of times. When you aren't talented at passing, it becomes more important to keep the clock running on your (mostly) unsuccessful drives. 3 incomplete passes and out is a disaster, two runs and an incompletion less so, because the latter ran an extra 60-80 seconds off the clock, and when the other guys have more talent, you need to shorten the game.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:50pm

Well, I guess its a math equation. Are you more likely to pick up a first down throwing three times with a weak qbs vs two runs and a throw.

Remember, the team is built as a pass first offense - not having had an offseason to build a team to hide the qb.

I like what the Jets offensively are doing. Why play ground and pound if you stink. Throw with McCown and live with the results.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:19pm

No, it's more complex that that. How MUCH more likely are you get the 1st down with three throws, compared to 2 runs and a throw, and what is the value of running an extra 80 seconds off the clock, compared to obtaining that added likelihood of moving the sticks? If you have a below average qb, and terrible pass blocking (which increases the odds of loss of field position and turnivers), you may be better off with running the time.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:51pm

I guess that's true. Still, I'm not inclined to think run run pass will lead to much clock burning. It's a shitty situation as is. My point was, if your goal as a team is to control the clock, building a good pass offense accomplishes that more than some ground and pound offense would.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:31pm

Sure, but when the building collapses due to injury, or, in college, geography puts you at a recruiting disadvantage, relative to other teams, the you need to start making alternate calculations. How you stink on offense can make a huge difference, in terms of your chances of winning a game.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:48pm

Regarding the latter the offensive line personnel has changed (or will change due to injury) It's also true that the Packer wide receivers are good blockers. So if you are integrating o-linemen who at their core are run blockers and you have a back(s) who are capable AND you want to minimize the risks your qb has to take it's worth exploring

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:03pm

Oh they will try. But remember - this was not how the roster was designed. I just find it hard to believe they have this wonderful reserve of run blockers ready to assume that role now that Rodgers went down. Remember, this team coached, trained, and practiced with particular style since the start of OTAS.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:12pm

The may have a reserve of less terrible, sometimes average, run blockers, who are more consistently terrible at pass blocking.

(Edit) And that would be a not unexpected outcome of a roster which uses a large % of cap space on one player. Run blocking is less expensive than pass blocking.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:18pm

Look I'm not saying they shouldn't try to hide their qb. They should. It might even work against weaker opponents at home.

Honestly, in the 10 games that remain, how many do we expect them to win? 4? 3? Expecting more than 5 feels unrealistic. And I don't think they are winning the division at 8-8 or 9-7, so the season is over imo

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:23pm

Why do you think the NFC wild card is guaranteed to need 10 wins, or why do you think making the playoffs as a wild card means nothing?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:47pm

Also, I don't think it is even close to being guaranteed that the Vikings or Lions will get to even 9 wins.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 6:28pm

Going full Badger would only work if Rodgers was still healthy. Teams are willing to let the Packers run with a healthy Rodgers. Hundley will need to prove himself before he gets the same respect in the passing game.

by big10freak :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:06pm

Given that pretty much every defense in the big10 has 8 and sometimes 9 and even 10 guys in the box I don't know if that is completely accurate.

Yes the pro league is different but a few items:

--run defense is primarily about effort
--run defense involves tackling and contact and frankly in today's game there are more than a few defensive players that look to minimize both
--it would be an outlier offense which brings an inherent advantage
--I think Hundley has skills to pass but needs a very structured environment

I am not some silly optimist. But I am stubborn about folks being professional when paid professional salaries to perform a professional job.

Arguably the best the player in the NFL got hurt and is gone for an extended time period. That is a tough break

Now use problem solving skills and find options. I already laid out what I would do. I trust Mike and his crew are far more creative about football than I.

by MJK :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:42pm

OK, I'll weigh in on the ASJ play.

* It's a good thing it happened to a player who has a handy three letter acronym, or we'd all get tired of typing. For example, what if the fumbling player had been TE Michael Ho'omanawanui?

* I'm definitely in the "it was correct as called, but a stupid rule" camp.

* The ball is definitely out before ASJ crosses the goal line. That is pretty clear and incontrovertible on replay.

* This is why the argument "it's not incontrovertible, so it shouldn't have been overturned" breaks down. The call on the field was that ASJ had control until the ball broke the plane. There WAS clear, incontrovertible evidence that this call was wrong. So the replay official was right to change the call from "Runner scores a TD" to "Runner fumbles at the 1-yard line".

Now this issue is what happened next. And here there WAS no call on the field, because, per the original ruling, the play ended the instant the ball broke the plane. There was no ruling on the field about whether ASJ regained possession prior to his elbow-shoulder landing out of bounds.

In situations like this, I suspect the "incontrovertible to overturn" clause doesn't apply, because there's nothing to overturn. Here's a hypothetical. Imagine a situation where a diving receiver questionably catches a ball just shy of the goal line and is tapped by a defensive player as he slides over the goal line. Say the ruling on the field is no catch, because the ref thought the ball hit the ground. The coach challenges and video evidence incontrovertibly shows that the ball never hit the ground and it was a catch. So the ruling is overturned. But then what happens? Say there is no conclusive angle that indicates if the ball was across the goal line or not when the receiver was touched down. And because the call on the field was "no catch", there is no call on the field as to whether the reciever was downed before scoring a TD. So the refs make their best guess and either award a TD or spot the ball inside the one yard line. They don't need incontrovertible evidence to say it was or wasn't a TD, because they're not overturning a call.

The call on the field for ASJ was that he did not lose control of the ball prior to breaking the plane. This call was overturned due to incontrovertible evidence.

So now what? The ball, while live, obviously entered the end zone before it passed out of bounds, so there is no way the ball could be awarded to the Jets at the 1. Either ASJ regained possession of the ball in the end zone before any part of his body touched out of bounds, and so he gets the TD, or he gained possession of the ball after some part touched out of bounds, and the Pats get a touchback.

I agree that there's no camera angle that shows clearly when he regained possession, and I'm in the dark as much as anyone as to the rules regarding what warrants "regaining possession". But in this case, the refs need to make their best guess as to when he regained possession and either award the Jets a TD or the Pats a touchback. They guessed the latter. There's no standard of incontrovertible evidence to overturn a call on the field, because there was no call on the field regarding ASJ regaining possession after his fumble.

* That said, I agree its a stupid rule. Everywhere else on the field, a defense has to actually take possession of a fumble to gain possession of the ball. But in the end zone, all they have to do is make sure no offensive player takes possession before the ball goes out of bounds. And I don't buy the kickoff argument for the rule...it's easy enough to have a different rule for kickoffs. Heaven knows, there are enough other rules specific to kickoffs...

I'll leave with one last hypothetical. Say a runner gets hit short of the goal line and, while he is trying to reach the ball across the goal line, a defender punches it out of his hands. It pops up into the air, into the end zone, and another offensive player jumps up, gets his hands on it, and is still bobbling it as he comes down and his foot lands out of bounds, before ultimately securing it. The refs rule a fumble out of bounds through the end zone and award a touchback. Do people have a problem with this call? That is essentially what they ruled here.

by milo :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:16pm

When a quaterback throws the ball out of the endzone, why doesn't the defense receive it? No one possesses the ball in flight, right? ASJ never lost possession, the ball never hit the ground, nor did anyone else possess it. And his shoulder hit first in the endzone when he had gained control. He had control, because the ball never hit the ground or lost contact with the player.
When a player reaches out with the ball to break the plane and then loses the ball out of his grip with nothing touching the ball except air molecules, how can one say he possessed the ball? Because the ball touched him through momentum, right? Same as on this play.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:24pm

You are demonstrably wrong on almost every point.

1. ASJ clearly lost possession. This should be obvious to everyone with eyes.
2. True, the ball didn't hit the ground. This is irrelevant to control. Juggling is not control.
3. It's not that nobody else possessed it. It's that nobody possessed it.
4. His shoulder did not hit first in the end zone. His upper arm and shoulder came down on the sideline. That is out of bounds.
5. He did lose control. See #1.

by milo :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:35pm

Does a point guard lose possession when he dribbles? The ball is not in contact with any portion of his body, right?

Hey, let's talk about the tuck rule. Possession or not? Control?

Left shoulder hit the ground inbounds before any other portion of body. Watch the shot from the corner of the endzone.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:28pm

And in basketball, a field goal is usually worth 2 points.

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:30pm

That he lost possession of the ball is indisputable.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 5:22pm

well, yeah. the ball was moved form one hand to other at 1 ayrd line. regained clear control of ball crossing plane of goal line. saw it 139 times, also still photo shows it. to argue otherwise is someone with agenda such as homer Pates fan, alberto riveron family member, league butt kisser, soimeone who had bet Pates to cover , or people playing against ASF or McCown in fnatays football.

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:41pm

The ball didn't move from one hand to another, it was stripped and ASJ lost complete control. He then quickly regained it, but due to the convoluted catch/recovery rule, he needed to retain control throughout the process of going to the ground.

None of this can be disputed, it is demonstrable fact. What can be debated is whether ASJ bobbled the ball when he hit the turf of whether he was merely transferring it from one hand to another, or whether the evidence was sufficient to overturn.

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:24pm

FWIW, what triggered the touchback was not the hairline decision you describe but the apparent bobble by ASJ when he hit the ground. At that point, he was akin to a receiver who needed to maintain control through the entire process, so any discrepancy meant possession was never regained. Had it not been for the bobble, it would have been a TD.

I'm not convinced there was a bobble, it looked to me like one could reasonably argue that it might have been a mere transfer between hands instead. That's why I don't think it should have been overturned.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:28pm

But as MJK said, (and by the way, really good job verbalizing) the only call that had to be overturned was that ASJ broke the plane of the endzone in possession of the ball. The call on the field was touchdown, and that was overturned on visual evidence.

The whole touchback angle needs not overturn anything. It was ancillary to the play -- like when the referees, upon overturning a play, use the replay to determine what the time remaining and the line of scrimmage should be going forward.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:13pm

MJK's assuming that's how it works. For all we know it may work on end states -- you see what the final result of the play was on replay (however it happens, however different from what refs assume) and decide if there is incontrovertible evidence that the final result is different from the call the refs made on the field and only then reverse.

by HPaddict :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:19pm

MJK also illustrates an example of a play in which using an 'end state' criteria leads to an indeterminable review, i.e., a play for which the original call was obviously wrong but the correct call is not indisputable.

How then should the correct result be judged?

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:51pm

That's how the NFL has said that it works...on coach's challenges, at least. The Coach challenges one specific thing, and the challenge is successful or not depending on whether that one thing changes. If the coach challenges the spot of the ball, and the ball moves 6 inches after review, but still doesn't get the first down (or still does), the challenge was successful. During the review, the referee can use replay to take a look at other facets of the play, though.

On the automatic review after a touchdown...I don't know. I assumed the play is reviewed to see whether or not the ball broke the plane or not, but your alternate process might make more sense in some cases. But I don't think the irrefutable proof standard is the one that applies in this case, where after the touchdown was shown not to have scored at first (because the ball carrier didn't have possession when the ball crossed the plane), because there was no subsequent ruling (ASJ did or did not recover his fumble in bounds) to overturn. It was simply, "what happened next when nobody was watching?"

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:50pm

I'm not convinced MJK's description is accurate. ASJ clearly fumbled away the TD attempt that was initially affirmed, but that wasn't the only scoring opportunity. A review must conclusively show that the second attempt failed as well in order to overturn the call. Otherwise, the call should stand.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 9:43am

" A review must conclusively show that the second attempt failed as well in order to overturn the call. "

Why? The "second attempt" isn't the call on the field.

by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 1:31pm

Why? The "second attempt" isn't the call on the field.

Nor was a touchback. Are you suggesting that, even if it was inconclusive whether ASJ regained and maintained possession on the second attempt, that the officials would be justified in overturning the TD solely because it wasn't scored in the precise manner as originally called?

by dryheat :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:10pm

Not to speak for another poster, but that's exactly the point I'm making. The TD was called because the official thought the ballcarrier had control of the ball crossing the plane of the end zone. Once that was shown to be false and overturned, he doesn't have to, or should, apply the standard of "indisputable evidence" for subsequent actions.

by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 4:21pm

If the initial thrust was the only opportunity for the TD, then I agree. The play is overturned and the refs use their best judgment in deciding the eventual outcome. That doesn't really apply here, though. While I've distinguished between the "attempts" for clarity's sake, in reality it is all part of a singular scoring attempt, ergo the failure must be conclusive throughout the entire play to overturn.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 4:42pm

" ergo the failure must be conclusive throughout the entire play to overturn."

Do you have any evidence for this assertion?

The fumble, and the recovery are completely separate acts in the football rules. Once the ruling was made that he had fumbled outside the end-zone, the 'challenge' is already successful, which leads to them needing to reevaluate the play. This is the way challenges are always done - they evaluate the specifics of the challenge, and then if its successful, they evaluate the rest of the play the best they can.

If a play is ruled a fumble on the field, and gets challenged - and they've only got an angle where they can see the knee down, and the ball still in possession, but can't tell whether the ball is over the 5 yard line, or the 5.5, they don't just say "Well, crap, we can't conclusively determine the spot, so the fumble stands". They determine that the fumble didn't occur, and then they evaluate the rest of what happened as well as they can.

by Anon Ymous :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:37pm

Once the ruling was made that he had fumbled outside the end-zone, the 'challenge' is already successful

This is completely false. As I already explained, that he lost control means he didn't score at the precise instant as originally thought, but it doesn't mean that he didn't score at all. It is the latter that must be satisfied for a touchdown call to be overturned.

If a play is ruled a fumble on the field, and gets challenged - and they've only got an angle where they can see the knee down, and the ball still in possession, but can't tell whether the ball is over the 5 yard line, or the 5.5, they don't just say "Well, crap, we can't conclusively determine the spot, so the fumble stands".

I've seen this spotting example mentioned, but it is a poor one that has no relevance here. They don't review to see if the fumble occurred when they thought it did, they see if the fumble occurred at all. It's only after making this assessment that contingent decisions about spotting and timing are made.

By contrast, the touchback was not a contingent decision, once it was clear ASJ didn't go down before the EZ, the TD either stood or it was a touchback. Comparing it to contingent calls like spotting is equivocation.

by duh :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:48pm

'what if the fumbling player had been TE Michael Ho'omanawanui?'

There'd have been speculation that Belichick had used him as a double agent since he used to be a Patriot :-)

We'd have all called him 'hoo-man'

by Biebs :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:09pm

You wrote: I agree that there's no camera angle that shows clearly when he regained possession, and I'm in the dark as much as anyone as to the rules regarding what warrants "regaining possession". But in this case, the refs need to make their best guess as to when he regained possession and either award the Jets a TD or the Pats a touchback.

So I guess a follow up question would be... If the evidence needs to be incontrovertible in order to overturn, does that mean the whole play need to be clear, or only part of the play. If the referees ruled that ASJ fumbled but recovered and scored a TD, would you agree that the play should remain a TD?

Supposedly there's an angle that shows that ASJ bobbled a 2nd time before going down, I didn't see anything like that in the angles they showed, but it would help the NFL to show that particular angle. If that is the case, I have no issue with the call there.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:10pm

This is something I talked about way upstream. It all depends on what the "need incontrovertible evidence" rule operates on.

Does it operate on the process of the play or does it operate on just end states?

I have always assumed it operates on just end states.

To me, that means when the reviewer reviews the play and has decide, regardless of how the play took place in actuality, regardless of how different that may have been from what the on-field officials assumed happened, if there is incontrovertible evidence that the end state was different than what was originally called.

So in the ASJ case the call was TD. So to me that means in order to overturn, Riveron has to look at the tape and decide that when all is said and done the final result of the play he saw on tape is incontrovertibly not a TD. Doesn't matter that the refs didn't see the fumble and that he didn't cross the goal line with the ball. It only matters whether or not he got the TD however he got it.

Now, since Corrente and Riveron say they saw conclusive evidence that ASJ did not re-possess the ball in the EZ we do not know which theory of overturning they are using because that is compatible with both.

But I really would like to know if review follows my "end state" theory or if it follows your "process" theory.

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:59pm

so regarding the letter of the law and reading the NFL rulebook and whatnot--- a point I raised in chat and nobody could answer.

how was the "famous" Odell Beckham 1 hand catch a "catch"? The clause ruling on possession says handS (plural) are required to complete the play and define possession.

So when do we follow the wording of the rules, and when don't we?

The standard is the standard!

by nat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:43pm

Among all the hubbub about the ASJ fumble, the what's complete and continuous control of the ball? what's a bobble? what's going to the ground? and why do we have this rule anyway? we're missing something important.

By "important" I mean central to the appreciation of football as fans of the game.

Despite being part of a horrible defense, the defenders in this particular situation made an excellent play. Stripping the ball from a runner inside the one yard line is huge. Doing it near the sideline is even bigger, precisely because of the higher chance of the defense getting the ball. Regardless of what you think of the ultimate call or the rule, we should give kudos to the guys who made the play.

Well done, guys!

by HPaddict :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:03pm

Here is the best view I've seen of the ASJ play:


by Lyford :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:17pm

Excellent. Clear and indisputable.


by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 5:29pm

yep. clear and indisputable evidence he possesses ball as crosses goal lien. there is a second bobble (well first bobble as initial issue was transfer from one hand to opther before entering endzone) after he already crossed end zone with clear possession.

hjorrible $^@*ing reversal

by RickD :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:18pm

I wonder why CBS didn't show this angle any of the 135 times Dan Fouts complained about the call. You can clearly see the loss of possession in mid-air. What's happening when he hits the ground is less clear. Also not mentioned: the fact that he has to have control when he hits the pylon. You can see the ball shifting/being shifted to his right arm as he rolls over.

If Corrente thinks that is a loss of control, then that's why they didn't get a TD.

Would be nice if the NFL could clarify what ASJ needed to do, after the ball was loose, for that to be scored as a TD.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:37pm

They were too busy bitching and moaning to look through the video, or actually listen when Corrente explained exactly why he called it the way he did. He explained that the player bobbled it on the ground and didn't maintain control through going to ground.

There was a play last week where Romo was yelling at his partner, and the video guys to go to another video because the angle was better - and the other commentor just kept talking over him, and they never cut to the better video.

They come to a decision quickly, and stick to it pretty much no matter what.

by Alternator :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 1:02am

The ball is loose and out while airborne, corralled and control is regained before crossing the goal line, and then lost on impact with the ground. As I understand the rule, the moment it came loose and then was re-secured the rules for a pass apply, not for a run, correct?

I previously viewed that as a terrible overturn due to lack of indisputable evidence (as a Pats fan, mind) but that angle seems pretty clear proof that review got it right.

The rule is, however, horseshit.

by nat :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 7:45am

Not exactly. This was never treated as an attempted pass reception.

The rule applied was for an attempted recovery of a loose ball lost by a runner, while going to the ground out ending out of bounds. Since that matches what really happened, it was the right rule to apply. Good job there by the replay ref. And good for the rule book to clearly cover this case.

The principle behind the rule seems to be that to have possession you have to demonstrate it some way. If you stay on your feet, that means "becoming a runner" which involves time and steps with control. If you go to the ground out of bounds, it means keeping a firm grip - called complete and continuous control in the rule book. A bobble, allowing your hand to flop loosely on the ball, etc, interrupts the proof of continuous control. If hitting the ground makes you bobble the ball, it wasn't really control of the ball yet. Or so goes the logic of the rules of possession.

Because the play ended out of bounds, the criteria are the same as for a reception. But the rule does not pretend this was an attempted catch of a forward pass. It's just being consistent about the definition of control.

The rule on possession is actually pretty good. It works the way we expect. Bobbles on the ground out of bounds have always been considered bad, as they should.

I have no issue with people questioning the bobble itself. Most people haven't seen the angle the refs relied on for the call. (End zone, high angle) and not everyone who sees it agrees with the refs about the grip coming loose twice.

I also have no gripe with people who dislike the touch back rule. Like all fumbles out of bounds, it's arbitrary.

But the Jets were in no way robbed of anything. Their guy bobbled a fumble recovery while out of bounds. Since the ref saw it, he had to call it as he saw it.

by PatsFan :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 9:02am

The rule actually does treat it the same as an attempted catch.

That's because the same rule covers it. The rule about having to "become a runner" and "act common to the game" (or whatever the wording is this year) and "going to the ground" and all that is a rule that is about gaining possession of a loose ball. It's not limited to catches.

Rule 3, Section 2 of the 2017 Rulebook:

Item 1. Player in Possession. A player is in possession when he is inbounds and has a firm grip and control of the ball with his
hands or arms.
Item 2. Possession of Loose Ball. To gain possession of a loose ball that has been caught, intercepted, or recovered, a player
must have complete control of the ball and have both feet or any other part of his body, other than his hands, completely on the
ground inbounds, and then maintain control of the ball long enough to become a runner. A player has the ball long enough to
clearly become a runner when, after his second foot is on the ground, he is capable of avoiding or warding off impending contact
of an opponent, tucking the ball away, turning up field, or taking additional steps. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously
touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground, there is no possession. This rule applies in the field of play and in
the end zone.
Item 3. Simultaneous Possession of a Loose Ball. If a Loose Ball is controlled simultaneously by two opponents, and both
players retain it, it is simultaneous possession, and the ball belongs to the team last in possession, or to the receiving team
when there has been a Free Kick, Scrimmage Kick, or Fair Catch Kick. It is not simultaneous possession if a player gains control
first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control.
The terms catch, intercept, recover, advance, and fumble denote player possession (as distinguished from touching or muffing).
(1) A player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball (with or without
contact by an opponent) must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the
field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control,
there is no possession. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, it is a catch, interception, or recovery.
A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is
clearly a runner.
(2) If a player goes to the ground out of bounds (with or without contact by an opponent) in the process of attempting to
secure possession of a loose ball at the sideline, he must maintain complete and continuous control of the ball until
after his initial contact with the ground, or there is no possession.
(3) If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered loss of possession. He must lose
control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession.
A catch is made when a player inbounds secures possession of a pass, kick, or fumble that is in flight (See 8-1-3).
(1) It is a catch if, in the process of attempting to catch the ball, a player secures control of the ball prior to it touching the
ground, and that control is maintained during and after the ball has touched the ground.
(2) In the field of play, if a catch has been completed, and there is contact by a defender causing the ball to come loose
before the player who caught the loose ball is down by contact, it is a fumble, and the ball remains alive. It is also a
fumble if the action occurs in the end zone being defended by the team of the player who caught the loose ball. If the
action occurs in the opponent’s end zone, it is a touchdown or a touchback.
An interception is made when an opponent who is inbounds catches a forward or backward pass or a fumble that has not touched
the ground.
A recovery is made when a player inbounds secures possession of a loose ball after it has touched the ground.

by nat :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 9:36am

Yes. I've already referred to those rules elsewhere.

I think you're quibbling unnecessarily here. The possession criteria are the same because the play went to the ground out of bounds, not because the play magically is considered a forward pass. That would be stupid. It's because the rules for possession are *almost* the same for fumbles and forward passes. The few differences are sensible ones, and didn't have an effect in this play.

FYI, here's one example of a difference:

Q: What happens if a loose ball in bounds hits the ground during an attempt to secure it?
A: That depends on whether it was a forward pass or not.

by Joe Pancake :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:27pm

In the Pittsburgh-KC game, Andy Reid made a subtle clock management blunder (shocking, I know). He called time-out with 2:06 left, when the Steelers had the ball on third down. He should let that tick down to the 2-minute warning, as he gave the Steelers a free chance to throw the ball, which they did, but they didn't make it.

If he let's it tick down to the 2-minute warning, then they have to run the ball (less likely to get the first) or they have to risk an incompletion (and the Chiefs would save a timeout).

This is one of those things I'm amazed still happens. With all the money teams put in to making marginal improvements, you would think a "clock management coach" would be a no-brainer.

by BJR :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:14pm

Just watching a rerun of the Giants/Broncos game, and in the 4th quarter the Broncos ran a perfect deep-ball pass interference drill on a 4th & 15. Sending their best receiver streaking down the middle of the field, then stopping dead and turning to face a badly underthrown ball so that the trailing DB clattered into him.

I'm completely unsure whether this was intentional and practiced, or was simply luck and circumstance. But every team should totally have this in their playbook.

by Grendel13G :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:46pm

I hate pass interference penalties, but this was a thing of beauty. And the Broncos' best offensive play all night.

by liquidmuse3 :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:04pm

Verhei...how do you watch football for a living and 1) think Kizer isn’t playing again this year 2) not know that Paxton Lynch is hurt.