Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Nov 2005

Week 11 Rundown

We've discovered the one thing that will stop people from talking about T.O. for a while. That's right, one of us is officially going on record: The '72 Dolphins are popping the champagne Sunday night. Plus the usual look at the other games this week as well as the next cover of Celebrity Car magazine.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 16 Nov 2005

44 comments, Last at 18 Nov 2005, 9:34pm by mshray63


by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:28pm

I don't understand why some people get so upset at the old Dolphins' tradition of drinking champagne when their record survives another season. I'm sure the story of their celebration only got out by accident. It's just a good way for some old buddies to get together once a year.

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:30pm

What's a "pastry dance"?

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:37pm

Re: the Bengals interceptions - I think they have had fifteen of their twenty against the NFC North and just five in their six games against other opponents. This week will be the real test of their pass defense.

by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:48pm

RE: #2

cake walk.

Nice rundown, as always.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 11:08pm

First the honey pots for new Bear helmets (does Olin Kreutz' come with a skullcap?), now a blustery day reference. Someone's been reading their infant daughter Winnie-the-Pooh, I think.

by thad (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 11:15pm

Al Harris?

by noahpoah (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 11:17pm

Re: #2, #4

Why pastry dance?

Why not a tort stroll? How about a bundt mosey? Or a muffin saunter?

by noahpoah (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 11:21pm

...Tony Dungy vs. Marv Lewis as two defense-minded coaches gear up to stop Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks.

No mention of heavy doses of both Rudi Johnson and Edgerrin James? It wouldn't surprise me at all to see lots of running against the 19th and 31st ranked (by DVOA) rushing defenses.

It actually kind of surprised me that Cincinnatttiitni has a worse rushing defense than Indidnanndpolis. I suppose that is also a function of Indy's schedule so far. Perhaps after they face the Steelers and the Chargers, they'll join the Bengals and the Bills at the bottom of the barrel.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 11:25pm

Say, the remarks about keeping closer track of cornerback performance makes me think about another useful stat that would reveal much. Knowing how often an offensive coordinator uses two blockers to occupy one pass rusher would be a useful indicator of a pass rusher's value, better, I think, than merely counting sacks. Anybody can see, for instance, how the Colts' other defensive players benefit by how often two blockers are assigned to Freeney, but it would be interesting to see this quantified as a percentage, and compared to other dominant pass rushers.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 11:32pm

Hey, Harris has looked very good when I've seen the Packers this year. I'm so used to seeing him torched by Moss that it makes it hard for me to think of him as a top-notch corner, but I think Mike is pretty accurate regarding Harris' performance this year, albeit it must be noted that shutting down Hines Ward, when Charlie Batch is making his first start since the demise of leather helmets, probably needs an asterisk.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 12:12am

#7: tort stroll? Is that, like, "A man walks into a negligently-placed bar..."?

My personal favorite is the confection canter.

by djcolts (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 1:06am

Weather.com forecast for Sunday:

High 53
Low 32

Few showers

Wind ranging from 2 to 9 mph

Looks like good weather to me.

by djcolts (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 1:07am

Re #12 - This is the weather forecast for Cincy.

by Mike Singleton (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 1:49am

The forecast for Chicago is flopping back and forth from snow flurries to cold breeze. If it ends up snowing it should get an honorary bump to "Games you will watch" as the first snow game of the season.

by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 1:59am

I'm sure it's my Colts homerism showing, but the one thing I think will make a difference is the Colts O-Line versus Cincy's D-Line.

Just taking a look at the line stats from this site. The Colts are the #1 team in not getting 'stuffed', Cincy is the 31st team in 'stuffing'. The Colts are #1 in adjusted line yards, Cincy #31. The Colts are #1 in protecting the passer, Cincy is #32 in adjusted sack rate.

Going by those stats, the Colts are going to get very few negative plays, and so, in theory should get a lot third and shorts, which while not a strong suit for the Colts, the Bengals are 32nd in stopping...

Certainly the reverse is also true, with Cincy's running game being better then the Colts run D, but the disparity is not nearly as great. The Colts offense has been much more patient this year, and might grind out several long drives.

by bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 2:34am

RE #15: Nice analysis, Ben. Too easy to look at the flashy names--Manning, Palmer, James, Johnson, etc. I suspect all the big O names will have at least moderate success and your line v line issue might tip things toward the Colts.

Also, regarding #12 and #13... I would not worry about the weather either way. In the past 1.5 seasons, the Colts and have lost one game away from the RCA Dome (reg season) and are 17-1 in their last 18 reg season games. Add in the playoffs and you get a whopping two losses "away" with one being to the eventual SB champs. No shame there.

by bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 3:05am

Arrrgh, check that, in their last 27 games (incl playoffs) BOTH Colts road losses were to New England in Foxboro.

by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 4:59am

They also lost at KC last year and at Denver in the last game of the season (the Jim Sorgi show).

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 5:02am

Yeah, I was looking at that too Ben.

I don't think Cincy realistically wins this game - It'll be billed as Carson vs Peyton, but in reality I think Edge gouges the Bengals throughout the game.

The Colts entire offense revolves around the PA pass and the stretch handoff. If you look at the O-Linemen stats, the Colts are one of the leading teams on running outside.

If Edge is running wild, Peyton will eat them alive. The only way the Bengals D can realistically stop the Colts O is they'll need to play smart and be able to handle Edge with 7 in the box - and I just don't see that happening.

by Israel (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 6:17am

"I always use the expression that when you throw a football you throw it much like you'd flick a booger off your finger," Wyche told the USA Today a few weeks ago. "You take it, and you swing your wrist, and you flick it. You flick a booger, and you throw a spiral with the same motion."

OK guys, let's own up. How many out there made the motion after reading this? I certainly did.

by Falco (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 9:42am

Re: 16, 18. I am glad I am not crazy and living in some alternate universe. I could have sworn that I watched the Colts lose to the Chiefs in Arrowhead last year.

Re: 3. It sounds more impressive to say it this way, I guess, than to say the Bengals had 5 interceptions in each game against Culpepper, Orton and Favre, and 2 each against McNair and Dilfer, but were unable to intercept the dynamic trio of Carr, Leftwich, and Anthony Wright. This week will be the obvious test to see if they can reverse that clear trend of feasting on bad quarterbacks, while struggling against the league's best.

Re: Winnie the Pooh. When can we get some Dora the Explorer references? My two year old now tells me "Gracias, daddy" all the time.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 10:38am

Apparently, I've been flicking boogers incorrectly my entire life, choosing the "paper football field goal" method over the "throwing a spiral" method.

As a Patriots fan, I'd take the Saints and the points. With the possible exception of San Francisco, I don't think the current edition of New England is good enough to beat ANYBODY by ten.

by MikeT (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 11:10am

21:Bengals Secondary no Swiping! Bengals secondary no Swiping!

Oh, man ...

by MKH (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 11:11am


Maybe it's because I'm a law student (and therefore in need of a better sense of humor), but that made my day.

by Drew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 12:44pm

Re 20

I did. I even stood up in my cube and attempted to figure out what he meant with the shotgun snap reference.

by Nate (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 1:05pm

John St. Clair has actually not had his name called a single time in the two games he's played so far. Few penalties, and no standing around while his QB gets killed.In related news, there is a 30% chance of freezing rain in Hades this afternoon.

by Mike B. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 2:30pm

MT, am I losing it, or was that Harrington remark an Iron Maiden reference?Re: #20, I'm guilty.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 4:00pm

#20: I must throw the ball really weird, or not understand the fundamentals of nose-picking, because I can't make heads or tails of that statement. I always thought of it as clapping with one hand on release.

Then again, that might explain my QB performance....

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 4:22pm

Mike B., you're not losing it. And to think that before I read the article, I thought the Iron Maiden/Harrington comment would be about an albatross ...

by Tom Keiser (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 4:44pm

Re: #5, I'm surprised Tanier didn't refer to fact that he has an infant SON, and not a daughter, last I heard. Either way, Dorothy Parker would hate you all for reading Winnie-the-Pooh.

by Tom Keiser (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 4:46pm

One more thing, do you think the 1960 Cowboys or the '76 Buccaneers broke out the Cristal when the Texans finally won?

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 5:02pm

What's the O/U on the number of Mike "McNabb" references in the Giants/Eagles game? If the ESPN Sunday Night crew had this one, I'd put it around 23, but I'm not sure who's broadcasting.

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 5:04pm

Re 31:

Nah, they prolly busted out the Natty Ice.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 6:37pm

I said daughter instead of son because I wrongly assumed Aaron had written the article. As Aaron himself pointed out the AGS/Atlanta thread, there is more than one writer on FO. Mea maxima culpa.

All that aside, what's wrong with reading Winnie-the-Pooh to your son? It could keep him from growing up to be Olin Kreutz.

And I'm thinking they broke out the Ripple that the Bucs have had on ice since 1977.

by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 7:28pm

RE: #29

It would be great to see a reference about An Albatross.

I'm sure two other people got that. I should go home.

by Kuato (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 2:37am

I've read about 5 articles today that said something to the effect of . . .

"The Colts have no visible weakness."

I just wonder if these guys actually watch the games? The O is getting back on track, the D is greatly improved but not unstoppable, but most obvious is the HORRIBLE state of the special teams. I cringe every time a ball is kicked (except on Vandy's FG attempts which I feel pretty good about).

If Cincy beats the Colts this weekend, it will be because of a great big special teams play (or two) that give Carson and Rudi a short field to work with.

by malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 7:16am

Re #6, 10:
Yeah, I never really consideres Harris a top-tier corner either. I was really surprised when Chad Johnson - of all people - a few weeks ago called him one of the two best - the other being Champ Bailey, IHO.
I think it's because in terms of staying with the WR he's quite impressive - both in speed and strenght - while on tv he looks a bit out of place sometimes when not in man coverage. I guess the opposing WR would be more impress with the guy you can't get separation from than the guys who's just in the right spot. And of course now, where no Packers are anyway near the right spot, Harris' man coverage stands out more, since it's basically everyman for himself in the Packers D. Thoughts?

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 10:45am

Re #36: According to most commentators, special teams only involves field goals and exciting kick returns. No consideration is given to the abilities or lack thereof of the kickoff/punt coverage units.

by MikeT (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 11:52am

30- Hey Tom, I don't expect readers to know all the details of my family.In fact, it would be creepy if they did.

Former students are another matter. In fact, former students should remember that my son was born while they were in school. So "infant" may not be the appropriate term.

Take that, Darth Keiser.

by TomS (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 1:21pm

On the cincy proficiency to intercept the pass:

Vs Cle 43 pass 18 rush 2 int
Vs Min 37 pass 21 rush 5 int
Vs Chi 39 pass 28 rush 5 int
Vs Hou 26 pass 23 rush 0 int
Vs Jax 24 pass 37 rush 0 int
Vs Ten 41 pass 24 rush 2 int
Vs Pit 14 pass 47 rush 1 int
Vs GB 39 pass 22 rush 5 int
Vs Bal 31 pass 25 rush 0 int

I think that the trend is that the more a team is forced to throw vs Cincy, the more likely they are to intercept you. The more teams keep their throws short / quick routes, the less likely (Baltimore, Jax, Houston). I would compare this game more to the Pit game in route types, although Indy will try to stretch the field more, which I think will play into the strength of the Cincy secondary. Pit only threw the ball 14 times and Ben does not throw many interceptions, but Cincy did get one in that game (.07 interception to pass ratio) which is higher than their season average.

So, Peyton will probably throw the ball 20-30 times, Peyton being Peyton. Cincy will intercept a couple of balls, Cincy being Cincy. Cincy wins it late, 28-27.

by Mike B. (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 1:44pm

Re: #35

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 2:12pm

I got the Maiden reference, and Monday Night Football provides an opportunity to make a Maiden reference on a weekly basis...

by MCS (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 2:39pm

Just how good is Harris? I don't have the answer, but I have some intersting stats for all to review.

According to NFL.com, in 9 games, Harris has:
28.0 Tackles
2 asst
3 sacks
2 int
1 TD
6 passes defensed

6 passes defensed in 9 games. Based on that stat, he's either monumentally bad or really good. Which is it?

Looking at Defensive DVOA, GB ranks #1 against the opponents #1 WR (this is predominantly Harris' responsibility). But look at how bad they are against the other receivers.

WR 1 -56.6% 1
WR 2 24.7% 29
WR Other 55.8% 31
TE 52.6% 29
RB 28.9% 30

Maybe he looks better than he is because, although he makes the most of his opportunities, opposing offenses seldom throw against him because the rest of the secondary is so bad.

by mshray63 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 9:34pm

Re 20, 22 & 28, me too, guilty on all counts.

Re 23, Thanks Mike. I'll have to show my little boy that one. He has little lavender Dora slippers, which reduces me to saying things like, "Are your feet cold? Go get your Doras."