Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Week 12 Game Discussion II

This thread is for discussion of action on the field before, during, and after this week's games. You can talk about who you think will win or lose before the games start and last-minute news on Sunday morning. Then during the games, discuss strange plays, great performances, and stupid announcers (of which there are plenty). After the day is done, we'll discuss the results of the week Sunday night and Monday before our weekly commentary articles appear.


by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:42am

This is kind of pathetic. The Steelers's O is (was) good. They were pretty good running and very good passing, and now they're terrible at BOTH. I just don't get it.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:42am

I'm sorry. It's more properly the Tampa 2, which is a slight variation of a standard cover 2. But the deep middle is still not the hole between the safety and the corner, as Madden identified it. It is normally (and clearly was on that play) the hole between the safeties, and behind the linebackers. The corner was very clearly playing sideline/flats coverage on that play.

Re: 593 - It's illegal to go low to take out someone blocking for the return man on a change of possession. On that play, the Steeler dove, took out a blocker by hitting him below the knees, and got just enough of Doss to bring him down. It was a penalty because he hit the other Colts player first, and hit him low.

by MAW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:43am

I'm wondering if the Steelers are doing what I am: looking ahead to next week's game.

That should be a hell of a game. I hope it's shown here in LA.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:43am

Feel stupid burning a post for this, but:

Aaron: Agreed.

I can't watch this anymore. It's Fire Emblem time.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:44am

When Jason David is picking off passes, you know you're in trouble.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:46am

Trogdor: It's stupid to penalize someone for getting the ball carrier when he manages to do it EVEN THOUGH THERE'S A GUY IN THE WAY. There are low tackles and blocks all over the place. Is this situation somehow special because the guy is powerful enough to go through a man to make the hit? And why is that so heinous that he's penalized for it, instead of being rewarded for making a great play?

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:47am

Are they going to let edge rush for 10 yards on every first down? This is pathetic. I am in a state of shock that the Steelers were out hit by the freaking Colts.

by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:47am

Agree with you Aaron.

Last weeks game, the Colts looked like the same one-dimensional offensive team with a defense that became "good" by feasting on a weak schedule.

This Colts team can do no wrong. They're running over the Steelers, the Steelers can't even run on them. Ben Roethlisberger has looked confused and inaccurate for the entire game.

With Denver's close game, this might bump Indy over Denver. Maybe over Cincy but Cincy REALLY steamrolled the Ravens.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:47am

It must be a lot easier to just run clock when your clock-killer plays are getting 10 yards.

by Paul (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:48am

This is why I wanted Roethlisberger to play last week. He is definitely rusty. Even with a bum knee and rust he could have beat the Ravens last week. But against the Colts, he needed the rust gone. It'd also help to have decent play calling and a running game.

by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:49am

This game had to have set a record for personal fouls.

by The Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:51am

RE: 601

The play calling has not been good tonight. I know that everyone said we should be able to run on this D, but guess what? If it's not working early and they're run blitzing and what have you, you must adjust. The passing game has to be used to open up the defense a little bit. By the time they threw the ball with any consistency, it was too late.

I'm usually not one to blame coaches for anything and everything, but this was not Whisenhunt's best game.

Also, the offensive line? Merely good now, as opposed to really good, especially when Smith isn't healthy. Hartings has declined, and even Faneca may be declining slightly. Don't be surprised if Kemoeatu is the starting RG next year...Kendall Simmons has been disappointing.

Not to mention all the penalties...

But overall I think the defense played quite well when considering the caliber of this offense. There's my one positive from tonight.

by TWD (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:54am

Thanks, MDS. Classy move by FOX, as always.

On a related note, is it true that ESPN Monday Night Football next year will be Michaels and Theismann?

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:56am

Well that will make it a 19-point game.

Reed makes the field goal and gets the onside kick right, and it's at most 16, probably closer to 6-10.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:56am

The playcalling was fish left behind the radiator stinky. The boneheaded onsides kick started it and it snowballed from there. Down by 16 with a pretty decen defense, that had started to get some stops together. You have 25 minutes to make up two scores and you go into two minute drill. Idiots!!! Also the runs weren't necessarily effective right off the bat, but the screens were doing the trick...try it, it works, stay with it!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:56am

I'm not saying it's a good rule, just giving the explanation why it was called.

I think the rule might be in there to prevent cheap shots, so after an INT a few non-involved offensive players can't just turn around and chop the defenders' legs. Maybe they saw this happening a lot after turnovers, or for some reason it's more dangerous than a normal cut block. It's possibly a variation of the Sapp/Clifton rule about blocking people not involved in the play on change of possession.

On that particular play, I do think it is rather silly that he was penalized for making the tackle, because he went through a blocker to do it. He looked like he was going for the ballcarrier, and actually got a piece of him, so I'm not a big fan of the call. There may not be much wiggle room for the officials there, to determine if it was cheap/unnecessary or whatever.

by TWD (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:58am

And the leading rusher for Pittsburgh is... Ben Rothlisberger (21 yards).

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:00am

One loss can be invigorating, but two straight is just demoralizing.

The Steelers have one game to get back on track. Cincy is a must-win. They win, the division is theirs. They lose, the division is gone, and the wild card is a long shot with a game against the Bears coming off a three-game skid.

If the Steelers get back on track next week, I like them to blast through the playoffs. If they lose, I don't see them making the playoffs.

by Tom (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:01am

why bring big ben back in to hand the ball off? either take him out for tommy or let him make some passes and get back in synch.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:04am

Next week, it's all on the offensive line, really. They're what's broken about the Steelers lately, and if they don't fix it, Pittsburgh is toasted.

by Androo (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:07am

So, in summary, Edge thinks they should "take it one game at a time."

by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:08am


Steelers pass game was always dependent on the great running game. No run -- no pass game.

by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:15am

RE: 601

Time to start buying into the Indy D. :D

RE: 602


by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:19am

it was amazing how indy steamrolled pitt even with the constant shooting themselves in the foot (penalties).

RE: 613

it'll be thiesmann and michaels on mnf next season.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:22am

I still don't think the Indy D is all it's cracked up to be. The Pittsburgh offensive line has been ugly the last few games. Poor O-line play makes any defense look great.

by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:35am

The 5 years Matt Millen has been in charge has been the worst 5-year stretch in the history of the franchise. Which is more puzzling: The fact that he got hired in the first place, or the fact that he has hung onto his job while firing and hiring HCs left and right?

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:37am

Game stats without the 80-yard touchdown pass:
Roethlisberger 17-26-111-1TD-2INT-3 sacks
Manning 14-24-159-1TD-1INT-2 sacks

Pittsburgh 25-86 (3.4 ypr)
Indianapolis 32-127 (4.0 ypr)

Total yards PIT 197 IND 286
First downs PIT 10 IND 16
3rd down PIT 4-13 IND 5-13
Punts PIT 6-46.0 IND 5-45.8
Penalties PIT 10-62 IND 12-106
TOP PIT 29:13 IND 30:47

Really not that different. Take out that one play, the Steelers don't get behind, and it's a game.

by admin :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:52am

Our long national nightmare is over. I'm not going to make you all wait, the new top 5s will be up before I go to sleep.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:01am

Vash if that name is from Trigun, well cool...that was a groovy series.

But I always always hate that "take out one play logic". It is meaningless and 99% of the time unprincipled. Take out the Manning INT (which never would have happened if that had been Wayne instead of Harrison) and PIT gets shutout. 26-0 isn't really a cause for much confidence.

Harrison really gave up on that play from what I saw watching the replay slo-mo.
Just kind of stopped running hard then fell down.

Anyway IND made PIT look real bad IMO and the Harrison TD was just a symptom not a cause.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:03am

#625 It isn't. You just keep thinking that...

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:06am

Man, the Colts D came out and tackled well today. When they tackle and get to the quarterback they look unstoppable, when neither of those things happen they look very average (which is still much better than last year when they looked terrible when things weren't going right). I liked what they were doing with rotating Freeney out more, I hope they keep it up (assuming they're not up against the no-huddle).

Having Harrison come out and return punts (ended up being just the one) when Walters went down was interesting. To be honest, I wouldn't have a problem if they brought out Harrison or Wayne or Stokely or someone to just fair-catch all punts and kickoffs. Turnovers and penalties on returns have far out-weighed any positive runbacks this year IMO.

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:10am

BTW, I realize the reason why Freeney has been playing 90% of the snaps this year is probably because Josh Thomas has been injured most of the season. But it was still nice to see!

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:11am

Wow, Indy ends up WAY on top in estimated wins.

by Ben (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:23am

Harrison has returned punts before when the regular returner has been injured in the game. He usually does just fair catch them...

As for the Colts D, it's all about getting pressure on the QB. Give the QB time (like Palmer had last week) and they'll eat up the poor covering secondary.

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:37am

Sure, I didn't mean interesting in the "oh wow, I'm mind-boggled" way like Madden did. I just meant interesting in a possible ST gameplan way.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:40am

How did both the Indy offensive DVOA and the Pittsburgh defensive DVOA go down? Did opponent adjustments from previous weeks go down?

by bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:41am

Not sure how you call those numbers minus the big play "not that different." In terms of rushing, passing, and overall yardage, it's roughly 3:2 (or the Colts have a 50% edge on the Steelers.) So let's see, I'm six feet tall and you're 50% taller, so you're nine feet tall. The difference is really just three feet--add a midget to my shoulders. We're really "about the same." Let's shoot some hoops.
And as Becephalus notes, you can take out "just one play" on either side and things get MUCH worse (if you remove Troy's INT) or slightly better for Pitt (removing Marvin's TD). And after 91 TDs, you can't say the 80 yarder was a freak or something--two defenders bit hard on the play fake--something Manning has never really tried before, so it's understandable that they'd bite--and he and Marvin were on the same page.
You take out that one play, and it's still a pretty good beating.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:53am

I won't deny we got beat pretty badly, but that one play was worth a lot of statistics and a lot of momentum.

More reasonable adjustment: Adjust the yardage of the play to 40. We still got routed in basically every part of the game, but it makes things a bit more even. I hate it when long plays blow stats out of proportion in either direction.

And the height analogy is horrible, because the standard in height is far smaller than the standard deviation in football yardage.

In other news, shit, we need to either get back on track against Cincy or win out coming off a three-game losing streak to make the playoffs. Not really liking that.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:55am

Anyone else agree they should train Troy Polamalu to catch punts? Because he's a hell of a returner on interceptions.

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 4:02am

Definitely. Polamalu is quite elusive.

Who's most likely to beat IND now? SD or SEA? Losing Leftwich moved down the likelihood of JAX beating them on my list. I've got their chance of 16-0 at 22.7% now, BTW.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 4:24am

#636, where are you seeing the #s? I'm a neophyte to navigating the FO site still, I see :(

by Comrade Jason (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 4:28am

#640. It seems like SD has the offense to keep up, but after the last few weeks I'm not sure if anyone does. As for SEA, who knows? I'd say no, but the Football Gods seem to be on the Seahawks' side, so anything's possible.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 4:37am

641: They're on the left side of the main page. Click the headers on them to see the full lists (note that the full lists aren't updated to Week 12 yet).

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 4:42am

SD's offense matches up well, but their defense has questions. SEA's defense matches up well, but is overall questionable and their offense doesn't match up as well. JAX matches up very well on defense, but I'm not sure they can score enough, especially with Garrard under center.

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 4:45am

Vash, those are weighted stats, so lowering the importance of earlier games will also affect the total #.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 5:48am

645: Aha, forgot about the system that devalues less recent games.

by Michael David Smith :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 10:27am

It's certainly still a longshot, but the Colts' chances of going 16-0 are looking better every week. My percentage chance that they'll win each of the remaining five games:

TEN: 95
JAX: 65
SDG: 60
SEA: 55
ARZ: 95

That works out to a 19 percent chance that they'll go 16-0, or, if you prefer, an 81 percent chance that they'll lose a game.

Of course, even if they get there, I'd give them maybe an 80 percent chance of beating the Jaguars in the playoffs, a 65 percent chance of beating the Broncos (my hypothetical of how the AFC playoffs would go), and a 65 percent chance of beating whoever comes out of the NFC in the Super Bowl. So even if they go 16-0, I'd take the field if you gave me even money.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:20am

Is there any site that runs simulations of the rest of the season ala Baseball Prospectus?

I'm buying the hype. Sorry. Resistence is futile. I was floored by last night's game. That's still a pretty good Steeler team and they were absolutely destroyed and embarrassed in every aspect of football (longtime Steeler fan here, btw). This is, I think, the best team we've seen since the 99 Rams, at least.

The Colts will score at will on their remaining opponents. The only thing standing between them and 16-0 is a career day from LT or Alexander, and I'm talking like a 40 for 200+ and 5 TDs day. I'd put their chances of winning each remaining game thusly, assuming the starters play every game:

TEN: 98
JAX: 90
SDG: 80
SEA: 80
ARZ: 99

That's a little better than 50-50 to get to 16-0 and right now I think that's reasonable.

by stereochemistry (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 12:07pm

Re: 627

But if you do take out that 80 yard play, you're also completely removing an entire drive by the Colts. What if instead of one 80 yard TD play, they run 3 times, throw 5, and have an 8 play, 80-yard TD drive? What if Pitt intercepts the very first play and has possession on the Colt's 30 yard line? Then their raw yardage stats would be less because they didn't start their second drive off of the kickoff.

by MAW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 1:13pm


Huh, the impression I got from the Steelers last night, as well as the few other times I've seen them (with both Ben and Tommy at QB) is that they're really not that good. Wild-Card good, yes, but not Super-Bowl good.

The Colts last night seemed to not want to put the game away, as they kept running in passing situations (3rd and goal from the 15 or 20 was one such situation; they seemed to just give away 4 points by running and then taking the field goal).

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:23pm

They seemed to be taking it a little bit safe. The first INT gave the Steelers life, they didn't want that happening again.

by james (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:58pm

They seemed to be trusting their defense. If the other team isn't going to score, you don't have to pass.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:00pm


I actually agree with you that the Steelers are Wildcard good and not Super Bowl good. For the Colts to take-apart what I consider a solid B+ team that thoroughly was very, very impressive.

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 5:48pm

Did anyone else notice that Freeney wasn't running himself out of plays last night? He needs to do that more often. Many times he just flies upfield to never-never land, putting himself way out of position for a run and not even absorbing the double team. He's got to trust that the other guys on the line will make some noise if they have to use a double on him. Great job IMO.

by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 8:55am

RE: 648

I still think they will not go undefeated. I think the most likely loss is at Seattle.

by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 8:59am

RE: 647

It’s certainly still a longshot, but the Colts’ chances of going 16-0 are looking better every week.

Naturally. Each week they win means they're closer to 16-0. ;)
I really thought they'd lose to Jacksonville, but if Leftwich doesn't play, and with Taylor's status up in the air, I'm not so sure.

by Mark (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 11:04am

Aaron, you must be from N.Y. on your power rankings. Did you not even consider the Broncos were a much better team than the Seahawks, and the Cowboys could have easily won that game, without referees giving them 2 TDs.

by J Martin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 4:42pm

Giants DT Clancy blows up "replacement" Center Andre Gurode, snatches football...walks in for TD.

That's the game. The Giants are possessed today. Yes, I'm a Cowboys fan.

If the Cowboys didn't find some motivation at halftime, I don't know what to say.