Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Oct 2006

Manic Monday: From Green Day to Green Bay

The Ravens and Chargers played to a thrilling (for Baltimore) and confounding (for San Diego) finish in the AFC's top contest. The NFC's #1 matchup was far less compelling, as the Bears thrashed Seattle in every possible fashion and took the conference lead. Jerricho Cotchery and Marques Colston get namechecks, the other receiver in Dallas is discussed, and the true magnitude of “370� is revealed again.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 02 Oct 2006

26 comments, Last at 03 Oct 2006, 10:46pm by Sebastian


by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 10:47am

I think the most bizarre thing about the end of the Colts/Jets game was at one point, the ball carrier was running behind three blockers, with his only pressure coming from the right, and the sideline to the left... and he still lateralled the ball. Am I missing something? Three blockers, a sideline protecting you, and only 20 yards to go for the end zone? And you think someone else is going to have a better shot at the end zone than you?

I think if that guy (I think it was Coles, but I'm not sure) had just kept running, and had coordinated with his blockers a bit, the Jets might've won. As it was, they just never seemed to gain yardage on that final play.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:07am

I know Mangini will get second-guessed by the New York media, but I'm not sure all of it is deserved. You can't just criticize the call to go for it cause they didn't make it.

The call for a pass might not have been a good one (if you run it and get stuffed, the colts start from the one) and the throw was terrible, just terrible. But you can't say Mangini's a bad coach just cause the final score's a field goal apart. If the onside kick had failed, would that have made it a bad play call?

I understand newspapers looking at the final score and calling for Mangini's resignation (has that happened yet?), but I do remember an article on this site not too long ago saying maybe you should always go for it on 4th. I think they should have here too.

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:17am

We need to decide whether the discussion of the Jets' decision to go for it on 4-G at the 2 will happen here or in the Audibles thread, or we're all going to go cross-eyed.

Since I love Audibles so much, I'm going to discuss it over there.

by masocc (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:27am

See Alexander, Shaun? What is that referring to?

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:40am

Re: #1

You aren't the only one who thought that.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:01pm

Re: 1,5

Just watched the replay. At first, I didn't agree, cause there was a guy on Coles' (yes, it was him) left who seemed to turn him around. But then I noticed Mangold come and lay the guy out. Then it seemed incredibly stupid.

It might have been designed or something, since he was tossing it to Pennington. But then it's just like Gamble's lateral.

Also, you gotta be impressed with Mangold that he throws a block 30 yards downfield and then stays with the play to get the ball from Coles (second time). Although, his no look pass behind him was what ended the play.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:10pm

The Bills lost to the Jets last week, not the Patriots. The Patriots were busy getting trounced by the Broncos.

by Doug Farrar :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:33pm

Thanks, #7 - that was my brain spasm. Edit request sent.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:08pm

#6: Coles' lateral actually wasn't that bad: #98 for the Colts was bearing down on him. That wasn't when I was talking about. It was Pennington's cross-town heave that was awful. By then, Jets blockers had blocked #98, and Pennington had an easy angle to the sideline, with blockers everywhere. Instead, he ran inside, and threw the ball across the field where there were swarms of Colt defenders.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:04pm

Hey, Doug, here's another number for you: 76.

That's the amount of passing yards for Philip Rivers the REST OF THE GAME after that first drive. Total yards passing for the game -- 145. Rushing yards for LaDanian Tomlinson -- the best running back in football, and a fellow TCU alum -- 98.

It is interesting to see all the contortions people are going through to avoid saying that Baltimore's defense took control of the game as it wore on, and then the offense finally started attacking San Diego's weak spot in the secondary. Gimmicks like no-huddle drives have a very short lifespan in a game; they certainly shouldn't be the basis for the entire game analysis.

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:37pm

"Y'know, Rex Grossman has a little Brett Favre in him"

"Not that there's anything wrong with that."

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:24pm

Re: 4

I was also confused by that. I assumed it was a reference to something I didn't see. Can anyone help out with that?

Re: 370

According to PFP 2006, 370 carries is not just an injury risk, but also a drop in effectiveness (average of -26% total yards and -10% YPC).

Enjoyed the article.

by sm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:00pm

"...but I do remember an article on this site not too long ago saying maybe you should always go for it on 4th. I think they should have here too."

Just for the record, that article was arguing that you should never punt on 4th down, it wasn't saying that you should never kick a field goal.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:19pm

#11: I wonder if Mrs. Favre is at all troubled by that....

And how about that Bill Parcells quote? "He was trying to cut some tape off his uniform He had his hand down in his pants and he missed. Fortunately, he cut his hand." That man can be really funny.

Tom Kelso, no-huddle drives have a short life-span in a game? Not sure what you mean but there are teams that use the NH offense a ton, almost as their base, and usually use it well. Or do you mean that we shouldn't extrapolate for a traditional huddle offense that uses the NH once in a while to great effectiveness?

by dfarrar777 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:33pm

Re: #4 and 12 - it was a backhanded swipe at the league and official Larry Nemmers for the way the two horse-collar tackles on Alexander were handled in the week two SEA-ARI game. Not only were there no flags thrown by one of the most penalty-happy crews in the NFL, but the fines ($7500 and $5000 on Darnell Dockett and Antrel Rolle, respectively) seemed a bit light for flagrant violations of a rule which a.) can't seem to be clarified to anyone's satisfaction; and b.) was established and then redefined to protect players.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:34pm

I consider the Philly game a litmus test for the impact of McCarthy's coaching on Favre. I am of the personal belief that Sherman did not hold Favre accountable for his mistakes which eventually led to his regression from top-flight QB almost without peer to a player who still had the physical skills to compete but little or no discipline.

Favre has shown legitimate restraint in the last two ballgames. It will be noteworthy if that trend continues.

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:39pm

Re: 10

I certainly couldn't see the coverages, but my subjective impression after the game was that Marty did more to shut down Philip Rivers than the Ravens D did. The Ravens certainly played well, but I never thought to myself that Rivers was in over his head.

Instead, I came away thinking that if Marty had shown more confidence in his QB, the game might not have come down to a last-minute drive against a secondary which was exposed because the front 7 had spent most of the 2nd half on the field. The stats may not bear out that impression, but it sure looked like McNair suddenly had some time to find receivers which he hadn't had before.

As for Hasselbeck's INTs, I thought Manning made a heck of a play jumping the slant route--I wonder if Hasselbeck had locked in on Branch. The second INT, though, was all Hasselbeck--even before I saw where the pass was headed, I thought, "Oh, crap." I hadn't seen THAT Hasselbeck since Week 1 of last year against the Jags. I hope he goes back into a hole during the bye week, never to appear again.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:33pm

Re: 13

Fair point. Though it was based on previous research about how coach's should go for it on fourth more often. Still, I definitely stand corrected.

Re: 15

Thanks for clearing that up. I had thought it was something Shaun Alexander had done wrong, which confused me.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:38pm

Incidentally, the "never punt" article is just one writer's opinion. Just because it's here doesn't mean that the writers here all believe it. There's a big, big disclaimer in the front of that article for just that reason.

by kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:52pm

The whole Grossman/Favre comparisons are old hat. When Grossman came out, it was concluded that he was the most Favreian QB to enter the draft since the man, himself.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 8:40pm

Okay guys, it's nearing quitting time on the west coast, past dinner time in the east, and Monday's Quick Reads are not up yet.... can we rename them in Monty Pythonesque fashion, "Reads That Are Not So Terribly Quick, But That Are Quicker Than The Slow Reads Nobody Much Likes?"


by paytonrules (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 10:11pm

According to Fox Sports it's not the quick reads - but the Quick Redad.

I don't know what Redad means - but it's COOL

by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 10:15pm

"The second INT, though, was all Hasselbeck–even before I saw where the pass was headed, I thought, 'Oh, crap.'"

I had the exact opposite reaction (if there is such a thing in this context - perhaps "Oh, yes!") before I saw where the pass was headed. But then, I'm a Bears fan. When watching the replay, I counted the players in the vicinity of where the pass landed. There were 2 Seahawks - and 6 Bears.

by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 10:53am

I just don't understand Schottenheimer's rationale. This kid was the 4th pick in the draft, and had 2 years to learn the offense. That'a far cry from, say, Kyle Orton, a later-round rookie. But I don't think Orton got this kind of kid glove treatment.

Eventually, this team will need an average or better quarterback. They are playoff-caliber in many respects, but you're going to face tough defenses in December and January. Why doesn't Schottenheimer allow Rivers to take some lumps against Oakland (who was incapable of coming back on them anyway) and Baltimore (a tough defense in a cross-country, non-divisional game that you may not win anyway) in the first few weeks of the season, in order to make him more ready come January?

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 2:00pm


Thanks for clarifying it for me -- my point was precisely that SD's no-huddle was a gimmick FOR THEM; a team like Cinci or your own Indy that uses it more regularly is mroe polished with it, with the sidebar that teams are more prepared for it, so it is something of a wash. But for the Chargers, it is more of a feint to get a quick lead in a tough road game -- and given the hobbled status of their receivers, it isn't something you're going to see for long stretches, because a defense will be able to attack it pretty quickly, once they have time to adjust.

So Marty went back to what he thought he could grind out a win with; which, when you have LaDanian Tomlinson, isn't the worst idea in the world. The Chargers' inability to sustain a drive, especially in the second half, made them vulnerable, but the Ravens did hold Tomlinson to a 3.6 ypc, so they have to get SOME credit for winnign the game.

You can't blame it all on Marty, guys, that the "powerful" Chargers offense (as per Aaron in his preview thread) was shut down. Antonio Gates should have had a good day against a gimpy Ed Reed and a rookie Dawan Landry, but he didn't produce much, either. I'm sure someone will say that Marty should have thrown to him more, but Marty doesn't throw the passes, and if a man is covered, it's hard to complete a pass to him.

I hate to sound like 2005 Falcons fan, but really, can't the Ravens get some credit for winning the game?

by Sebastian (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 10:46pm

Re: 2

I think you've missed the point on that article. It argued that you have to go for it on every fourth down (and know that in advance) to benefit from this strategy, not that going for it on any given fourth down is a good idea. However, I absolutely think Mangini's call was pretty good (at least going for it, I'm not sure about the passing part, although I guess fumbling on a running play isn't completely impossible either). I kind of get the feeling that with a fourth down inside the five, there are only very few situations that merit kicking a field goal.