Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Sunday Playoffs Discussion Thread

This thread is for in-game discussion of Saturday's two playoff games: Pittsburgh-Indianapolis and Carolina-Chicago.

You can find discussion of the Saturday second round games here.


by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:54pm

It's a good thing ESPN didn't come out and say the Colts are the greatest football team ever and they will march to the Super Bowl and win...

First USC, now Indy? Foolish...

by dd (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:54pm

And the sounds of "game over" being written in notebooks can be heard all over the world.

by Jon M (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:54pm

I am astonished. Hats of to the Steelers. The last time a #6 seed beat a #1 seed was...

by TomC (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:55pm


by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:55pm

You've got to be kidding me...

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:55pm


No one else can complain about officiating. No one. That was complete bull.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:55pm



by Independent George (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:55pm

Bad call. I thought that was a clear interception.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:55pm

Incomplete pass? Someone really wants Indy to win.

by Vash (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:55pm


I think that takes the cake for horrible calls.

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:55pm

The Colts must have dirty pictures of the ref. How do they overturn that?

by Pete Morelli sucks (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:56pm

What an awful call. Kill yourself.

by Paul (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:56pm

BULLSHIT!!! $#@&$#$*% Refs

by calig23 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:56pm


That's a BS call!

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:58pm

Looks like Polian brought his refs in from Denver...

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 5:59pm

This is ridiculous. This game should be over. If the Steelers lose this, I expect the biggest ass-kissing apology the league has ever written.

by Reno (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:00pm

I've never thought it was Manning, or at least his play, that was a problem. It really strikes me more as a coaching thing.

They're certainly pulling themselves up off that mat after that bizarre overturn.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:00pm

Colts defense always the same. Madly rushing up the field. Is it any wonder they cannot consistently stop Bettis? Freeney rushes upfield on OBVIOUS RUSHING DOWNS!
Don't they get it?
No surprise that Parker has been stuffed most of the game, because he plays into the hands of the defense.
Announcer gaffes:
"Robert Freeney." (combined the DEs)
"With the Colts protecting a lead..."
The PPK kids all had weird bends on their caps.
Finally, I agreed with Cowher's decisions to go for it on 4th down, and the refs blew another call.

by kleph (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:03pm

that call was so horrendous my mother looked up from her knitting and called the refs idiots for overturning it.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:05pm

I have been watching and/or playing football for the past 20 years and I have no idea what the the refs did on the "offsides" call and that interception.

by Cody (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:05pm

WTF that ref should be fired. If the colts win this it is because of that call. He said he overturned because polamalu's knee was still on the ground when he lost possesion, even though he rolled twice with the ball. Anyone else look at this and think that the knees were off the ground when he fumbled anyway?????

by Steve Z (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:06pm

Disgraceful call on the challenge. Just disgraceful. Bad calls are always a part of it but there is no excuse for that one.

by Pete Morelli sucks (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:14pm

Oh my god! They're going to blow it!

by foos (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:15pm

Move over, Ernest Byner.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:15pm


Ben saves a TD.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:17pm

Oh. My. God.

Hey Cowher -- haven't you ever heard of Joe Pisarcek???

by Holloway (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:21pm

Should we genuflect towards Indy?

by joel (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:22pm

Wow, terrible kick. This is the Goat Bowl. First Bettis now Vanderjagdt.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:25pm

Funniest moment I've seen in quite some time is seeing Dungy, then Cowher, then Bettis, then Manning all saying the same thing after the FG attempt. "He missed it."

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:31pm

"This is a historical weekend. It has seen the end of Peytom Branning, it will soon see the end of the Rebel Alliance."

by putnamp (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:31pm

I can't remember a crazier piece of playoff football since maybe Tennessee/St. Louis, and maybe even moreso than that.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:35pm

"This is a historical weekend. It has seen the end of Peytom Branning, it will soon see the end of Little Ronnie."

by David (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:35pm

Wow. I cannot belive the amount of sheer weirdness and incompetence in that second half. The interception overturn, the completely inexplicable offsides/false-start no-call, the fumble, the QB making a game-saving tackle, and Vanderjagt missing the worst kick of his life (perfect at home this season? To dredge up an old TMQ-ism, he rues the day he didn't miss.). How about we just all agree it never happened?

by Pete Morelli sucks (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:36pm

Hey Cowher — haven’t you ever heard of Joe Pisarcek???

Indy had three timeouts. Kneeling down three times and kicking a field goal would've given them the ball back with over a minute left.

by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:39pm

Guys... you know this is going to turn the Manning/Brady debate to Defcon 2, right? I'm suprised we haven't heard the airhorns blaring and had a special report from the President yet.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:39pm

I love how I can always count on Vanderjagt to shank the big ones.

And dear god, Shannon Sharpe made a funny. He called Pete Morelli "Archie Manning."

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:43pm

Drama > FO server

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:44pm

Can we all agree that justice was done? Morelli should never referee another game after his performance today, and for the Colts to win on the strength of that call would have been a travesty.

The sentimental side of me is also really pleased that Bettis doesn't go out with that fumble costing his team the game, and I hope the Steelers go on and win it all now.

Finally, Vanderjagt just guarenteed himself the chance to explore the free agent market.

by Reno (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:46pm

Um, Bears? Hello? The game started when that little guy kicked the ball off the plastic tee.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:46pm

can you imagine, CAN YOU IMAGINE, how happy the NFL is that the Steelers won?

so they don't have to lamely try to explain how the overturn was the "correct call"

cf tuck rule

by Independent George (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:47pm

Wow. What a choke. I think most people overreact to missed kicks, but to shank it that badly when the pressure is on...

Nice job, Vanderjagt.

by dd (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:54pm

Carolina likes to throw to Steve Smith? What a shocker.

by Michael (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 6:56pm

The only reasoning I can see on the false start/offside no-call is that after conferring the officials realized that no one had thrown a flag, no one had seen actual contact, and that the linesman had blown the play dead. If that is what happened, then they might have made the only call available--basically, it's an official's timeout and no play.

by scarface (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:00pm

I think that missed kick was on Manning - why not make it easier on your kicker when you have 2nd and 2 with 2 timeouts? I think he got over-excited and made the wrong play-call on 3rd and 2. Don't get me wrong, he played an amazingly ballsy game from the moment he waved off the FG unit, but he screwed up the end more than Vaderjagt did.

Makes me think that Tony Dungy doesn't have a positive impact on the offensive play-calling.

Of course Cowher not play-actioning with Indy's 9-in-the-box was pretty bad too.

by Holloway (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:03pm

Are the Bears intentionally covering Steve Smith one on one?

What other options do the Panthers have? (besides the Inanimate Carbon Rod, of course)

by joel (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:05pm

So it's official: the Terrible Curse on the House of Manning is in full effect.

Back in the day, when there was a Terrible Curse on the House of Atreus, it wasn't lifted until Atreus' great-grandson killed his own mom and then went nuts. Let's hope the Mannings don't have to resort to anything that drastic.

by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:07pm

Pitt winning makes the NE loss hurt a bit more since they would have hosted the game, and if NE would have lost that game, we could have at least seen Bill Belichick in a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:08pm

Manning in the postgame:

"I am going to try to be a good teammate here, but we had our protection problems."

Yep. That's exactly how someone tries to be a good teammate.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:09pm

Well crow tastes like shit (While a PIT fan I was one of many who thought they had no chance). Wow did the Defense look good. I now think they will beat DEN even with 90% of this weeks performance.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:10pm

Walt Coleman???? Why is the NFL using its worst refs in the playoffs??

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:10pm

I would just like to say to the Colts fans that their team grabbed it by the horns, every chance they got. That was a heck of an effort, and though they shouldn't have gotten the chances, they grabbed them and worked it for all it was worth. Hats off.

And now, Denver... I think we win this game. I haven't been this happy in a long, long time.

Also: Yay Grossman! He's still bad.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:10pm

Re: 344
I agree. I didn't understand why he was passing it... also why let the clock go from 1 minute to 30 seconds?

by Cody (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:11pm

Let me just take this time to say.... PIT>>IND

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:14pm

Holy wow. Great hit. Great heads up play. I hope they don't overturn that, because that was a heck of an effort stripping that.

by dd (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:15pm

Come on guys, there is plenty of time to talk about the Colts and the Steelers. There is another game going on RIGHT NOW.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:16pm

I'm an impartial observer. Let me just say that the Steelers-Colts game was arguably the worst officiated football game I have ever seen. The Polomalu call was the capper to a terrible day.

2)Troy Walters must have been taking lessons from Williams of Seattle.

3)Pam Oliver annoys me, and the fact that TV always cuts away from the skirmishes annoys me.

4)When will defenses ever learn? PUT TWO GUYS ON STEVE SMITH. Period!

5)I hate screen passes where they can't get the guy in motion. If he's just standing there, and has to stop, secure the ball, and then run, good defenses will eat the player up. The receiver has to get a chance to do something.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:16pm

I dont think this gets overturned, but I've already said that once today.

by Zach (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:16pm

Wow, that's not the call I was expecting

by Dante Svalbard (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:17pm

Right knee down - down by contact. Isn't that the same exact call as the Pitt-Indy overturned pick?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:17pm

Yeah, wow. I'm applying for ref school today. This is sad.

by Pete Morelli sucks (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:17pm

His knee was back off the ground before contact. Refs aren't having a good day under the hood.

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:18pm

Re: 359,
No one touched Polumalu, so it can't be down by contact.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:18pm

#359: The problem was that it's a judment call as to whether his knee was down DURING the contact. If it's that fine, you defer to the call of the field. I like Chicago, but that was a really bad call.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:21pm

Re: 348,

On the other hand, you now Vanderjagt is going to publicly call out Manning for not getting them closer for the field goal. I mean, it's a justifiable statement to make, but you don't actually need to say it.

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:22pm

Another bizzare reversal.WTF is going on? Is this league mandated?

And Chicagos' punter sucks.

by scarface (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:28pm

Re.348: Wow, are you serious? I realize manning was pissed off, but that's not gonna earn him any friends! I'm curious about why Harrison didn't play today ( :) ), and about where the Indy tight ends went in the second half of the game to serve as an outlet for the pressure - I guess they were pass-protecting unsuccesfully and not available to receive too often?

What's up with that first Panthers TD? Don't the Bears watch game film and realize that Smith is Jake's first and only look? Corner too aggressive and no safety help!!

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:31pm

Steve Smith for MVP!

Does anyone think Carolina would've gone anywhere with him this year?

by Tice London UK (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:35pm

Just finished watching the first game on Sky+ which I assume is the UK equivalent of Tivo (can't stand all the adverts breaks on Sky). There is a God, the show pony is going home again despite two appalling calls against Pittsburgh which nearly cost them the game. The words Homer and Referees fly to mind.

by Dan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:35pm

Bears should've challenged that catch. Tillman caught it in the air and Smith just had one hand on it until they came down.

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:35pm

We've just has a view in the UK of the Gage fumble that never was, and it shows Gage with his knee down as Gamble makes the initial hit.

With that view, it's apparent that the ref got it right on review. (I like my humble pie, served warm, with custard).

Terrific stand by the Bears to hold Carolina to a FG.

by qsi (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:38pm

Grossman doesn't want to get his head full of information? Just wants to watch the game?

Isn't he the QB?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:42pm

I'm impressed by that quick out to not-steve smith. And Brian Urlacher. I loooove defence! :D

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:42pm

Great move by Tillman to go for the pick there. Much better to intercept it on the 2 than to bat it away and risk them punting it on 4th and pinning you deep, on your own 2 or something.

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:43pm

Tillman knows what it looks like "behind the woodshed". He's been terrible.

Urlacher picks one off. Fantastic catch.

by joel (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:44pm

This Carolina defense is like Tupperware. The Bears just can't get anything going.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:58pm

This Carolina defense is like Tupperware.

Um... what?

Wow! Lucky bounce!

by Richardinhingham (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 7:59pm


The Pats losing was sad, but it seemed as though the magic beans just plain wore off. The Steelers are my childhood team, so I am very happy to see them live another week. I see Cowher doing his annual conference final choke, which he TRIED to do in the second half but somehow the Colts bailed him out. But I can't believe that the BEARS are a playoff team. This is some dreadful offense.

OOPS. No sooner do I say this, thinking it is time to go to Kyle Orton, then Rex the wonder QB marches them down to the six.

I never imagined it.


by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:00pm

"This Carolina defense is like Tupperware. The Bears just can’t get anything going."

Fox gave away Carolina's secret earlier in the game on a close up. One of the cornerbacks is a ninja. You just can't gameplan for that.

by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:00pm

RE #375:

So you shouldn't keep tomato sauce in Carolina's D or it will leave a orange stain?

by joel (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:01pm

Damn, two nice completions in a row by Grossman with a defender right in his face. He needs to work on his play-faking though.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:01pm

He's Joey Porter's kind of QB...well the not wanting to get his head all full of info.

First, Pantares looking pretty swell, as I was just about to type that Foster is trying to eliminate the FO no respect...he fumbles to himeself. One quick little question...I know they want Steve Smith with the ball in his hands, but punt returns...really guys?

My Ward jersey was nearly ruined as the paramedic attempted to cut it off, luckily my heart re-started of its own volition and I can wear 86 for another week.

I was almost convinced I was watching the wrong game as the Steeler's D stopped people (and the Colt's to boot) on the first few series. I really hope that this doesn't get blown out of proportion, it was a big win but we still have an excellent Denver team, at home and they've got an extra day of rest.

The officiating was absolutely atrocious.

The Marlin "his parents know that's a fish right" Jackson no call...well I'm glad to see OSU isn't the only Big 10 school where mugging is an elective.

Polomalu INT 1: He caught that, I don't see an angle where he didn't.

Polomalu INT 2: WTF?!@#!@$!%
Welcome to 1906 America, there's no way that you can have a forward pass completed using the standard that the ref used.

Okay, sorry for the ramble. I'm ready to go drink about 8 pints.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:02pm

DAMN that was a nice job to stop Gage on the 1 foot line.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:05pm

Re #375

They need to be burped?

by Eugene (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:06pm

TD Bears! Yee-ha.

Now someone take the torch that's been cooking Charles Tillman all game and point it at Maynard's foot!

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:08pm

A lot of Stones being shown tonight. A nice drive, and a good call by the Bears to go for it. Grossman looked like he'd woken up.

by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:10pm


When a QB emerges from the bottom of a pile after the defensive line has just conducted a team meeting on top of him two seconds after the snap, the explanation for what happened is not "he was confused". A verdict of confused would need some evidence -- specifically, either: a) open receivers not seen by a QB, or b) inappropriate audibles.

When the over/under on running plays is 1 or 2 yards, that's the O-line getting an ass-kicking, not a QB confused. Same for the pass rush.

BTW, did you notice that the Steelers, like the Chargers, often didn't even bother with pass rush moves like the swim. spin or rip? They just used the basic bull rush -- i.e. push the blocker back into the QB.

When 3 O-linemen get pushed back into a pile on top of the QB, the offense has "protection problems".

Not a confused QB.

by Pete Morelli sucks (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:15pm

Another blown pass interference call. Jesus Christ.

by joel (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:15pm

"Is he a beauty or what?"


by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:16pm

Oh look, another blown PI call.

by lagfish (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:17pm

That was the clearest case of PI that I have ever seen and the ref eas right there....puzzling to say the least.

by lagfish (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:19pm

Where is the ref who worked the skins/bucs game last weekend? Why isn't his crew working this weekend?

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:22pm

If this is the current state of NFL officiating, I foresee no problem with Rodney Harrison getting a job after his playing career is over. I bet he's also a firm believer in "let the players play." No disrespect intended, Mr. Harrison, sir.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:22pm

Mugging, also an elective at LA-Lafayette. Have they quit calling pass interference?

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:26pm

We want Denver! *clap clap clapclapclap* I really wanted the Steelers to get NE on the Vengeance Tour (as someone else here termed it); I'll settle for watching them against Denver.

So far, the Panthers and Bears are only 7 points away from reaching the over/under. For these guys, this is a shootout.

by Eugene (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:27pm

"I'm going to be a good teammate here, but my offensive line sucked." I'm paraphrasing Manning's press conference quote, but not by much.

Awesome to see Peyton Manning act his age after a playoff loss, yet again. Keep it in the locker room, man. Everyone can see what happened.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:27pm

Wow. Astounding win by the Steelers, despite damn near giving the game away in so many ways and having the game taken away from them in so many ways.

I would've sworn after that 4th and 2 and the fumble by Bettis that the legend of Manning was about to begin - but nope, he'll be remembered still as a choke artist. And yeah, it was close - but if Manning doesn't go 2-7 with two sacks in his first three possessions, the game is not a close one - it's a win.

So yeah, totally blame Manning, and totally give credit to a great plan by the Steelers. Good job guys.

Also, such a BS call on the interception. I understand the logic behind it, but it's a BS call.

As to the Bears game - Grossman showed some life. I'm hoping that wasn't just a one-time abberation. The Bears have had no luck getting near Carolina so far, which is a surprise.

All the ref crews should be taken behind the woodshed and shot. Where's Mike Carey and Ed Hochuli? What the hell?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:35pm

#377: I dunno, Cowher played it well, I think. I get the feeling that Roethlisberger's hand was till numb and Cowher wanted to play chicken (He has to pass eventually... right? Right?!) and Indy just didn't bite.

And yeah, where is Ed Hoculi? You have the best ref and we haven't even seen him yet.... If he DOES show up, the fans should start chanting "HOC-U-LI!" to let him know that we appreciate him while his colleagues are sucking it up.

Grossman reminds me of Favre, but without Favre's talent. Bad combination.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:38pm

Wow, Chicago's WRs are all having career days. Where were these guys during the regular season?

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:39pm

TD Bears. We have a game in Chcago, and where did Bernard Berrian come from?

by Dante Svalbard (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:42pm

that little fade in the end zone works pretty well when the defender falls down, doesn't it?

by Adam (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:42pm


The NFL tried to give it to the Colts.

The Steelers tried to give it to the Colts.

No one gave the STeelers even a fighting chance.





by Dan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:44pm

Yes, Bernard Berrian. Who in the world would have thought that this little-used speedster would make big plays today? Who in the world?

by Queequeg (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:44pm

"Where did Bernard Berrian come from?"
Straight out of Aaron's preview. Well done Mr Schatz! Berrian looked pretty dazed after that last hit tho.

by Tim (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:52pm

Totally agree with #395.
Regardless of what the stats say, Manning was outplayed by Rothlesburger, but blames his OL and blocking backs for his performance under the pretense of being a good teammate. Great leadership there, golden boy.

As to CHI-CAR, I can't believe what I'm seeing. The Bears have an offense.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:52pm

Hey, that Steve Smith fellow is pretty good. Maybe the Bears ought to pay some attention to him.

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 8:56pm

Bernard Berrian regular season stats:

13 cts 246 yds 18.9 av
54 long 0 tds

Bernard Berrian today:

4 cts 59 yds 15 av
17 long

So in less than 3 quarters of a game he gets nearly 25% of his total recieving yards and nearly 25% of his total receptions.

I know Aaron picked Berrian out in his preview, but not as the go to guy.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:00pm

re 348, 395: How funny would it have been if Peyton in his press conference said "We have a drunken kicker problem" instead.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:03pm


by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:06pm

I for one will start genuflecting on post 89.

by the K (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:06pm

Maybe I'm not as smart as I think I am, but I think someone should tell the Bears that apparently the Panthers like throwing to Steve Smith. 23-14 Carolina.

by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:06pm

Why is smith not triple covered on every play.
Did he just breaj carters recieving yards record?

by the K (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:08pm

Oh, yeah. 11 catches 215 yards 2 TDs.

by Eugene (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:08pm

Steve Smith is so fast he can even tie the shoelaces together of the cornerback covering him.

Where's the safety coverage over the top on that last Smith TD? On 2nd and 20? I know that's typically a vulnerable zone in the Cover 2, but that's blown coverage in my book, even if Thompson doesn't fall down. BTW, who is Thompson? Did Tillman borrow someone's jersey in the hopes they wouldn't keep throwing at him?

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:09pm

Who decided that Steve Smith wasn't worth covering?

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:09pm

Most receiving yards, single game, Playoffs:

240 Eric Moulds, AFC-FR: Buffalo vs. Miami, 1998

227 Anthony Carter, NFC-D: Minnesota vs. San Francisco, 1987

221 Reggie Wayne, AFC-FR: Indianapolis vs. Denver, 2004

Smith has got this one in the bag.

by Tim (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:10pm

So much for this bears D being as good as than the '85 crew. Is there something inherent in the Cover 2 zone which prohibits double coverage?

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:12pm

Seriously, other teams need to figure out what John Fox puts in opposing D-coordinator's water that SS is always singled covered. Like every game this year he has big catches in single coverage against 2nd and 3rd corners. Are CAR schemes just that good or is this all luck or what?

What am I missing?

by the K (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:13pm

Joe Buck on the Grossman sack: "Groosman's going to have to eat this one." That was entertaining.

by Dante Svalbard (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:13pm

I think Grossman might actually be a competent pro quarterback in the making... if he can keep all his bones in one piece, that is.

by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:15pm


If you think Big Ben outplayed Manning today, you are either stupid or ignorant of what happens on a football field.

by Underground Man (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:17pm

Wasn't defense supposed to be on display in this game?

by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:17pm

I just want to point out that Terrell Buckley did a better job containing Steve Smith than the vaunted Chicago defense.

Food for thought.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:22pm

That was not even remotely a TD.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:22pm

The amusement value of stan's mancrush keeps on climbing the charts :-) Which reminds me -- is getting officials to hallucinate when looking at replays of an obvious INT also one of Manning's magical mental powers? :-)

As for the game at hand, Steve Smith -- wow! And now Chicago probably about to score. I had thought for sure that when CAR pulled out to a double-digit lead there was no way CHI was going to be able to make a game of it.

by Jon M (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:23pm

Can I borrow someone's time machine? I'd like go to back to this morning and bet large sums of money that the Panthers/Bears in Chicago would outscore the Steelers/Colts in Indy.

Also I could start an alternative forum for intractable Manning-related QB debates.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:23pm

Manning had some great drives near the end, but he needed to be good in the beginning for the colts offence to work the way it's supposed to, and he didn't. Roethlisberger had to come out shooting and get a lead to mitiage Edgerin James.

Roethlisberger succeeded. Manning did not. Manning was outplayed.

Also, even if Carolina pulls it together and wins this game, everyone will be hurt. This seems like a lose-lose situation.

by Underground Man (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:23pm

So what happens when Carolina wins the challenge? Is it still the Bears ball?

by Justus (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:23pm

#420 - You know, stan, you don't have be a jerk all the time. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar and all.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:24pm

#427: Tiny chance for a touchback, Carolina ball.

by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:25pm

OK is it is it just me or is the officiating horrible in the playoffs.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:25pm

I must say, Fox's camera angles are much better than CBS's. Speaking of irrational threads, is it time to start the irrational Rothlesberger/Plummer thread? I say Plummer has the better facial hair, and anybody who disagrees is either stupid or ignorant of what goes on in a barber shop.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:26pm

Wait, automatic first down for a 5-yard facemask? Superceding a touchback? The heck?

by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:26pm


I hate to break this to you, but I have news that you clearly need to hear -- Santa Claus isn't real. Ditto for the Easter Bunny. And that politician who swears he's your very best friend, doubtful.

Oh, and those e-mails from Nigeria promising to share millions with you -- fake.

Sorry to have to shatter all those illusions, but you clearly need some adult guidance and my humanitarian instincts just took over.

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:26pm

Re: 431,
CBS had their endzone cameras on the OTHER side of the field--that is where the Patriots were going in for a score. Perhaps they should looking into having a dedicated camera at each end for the playoffs.

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:28pm

Does anyone in here understand the rules? It was a 15 yard facemask which results in an automatic first down. Just like an interception where there's a roughing the passer call, you enforce the penalty and keep possession, there is no turnover.

by foos (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:28pm

If Jones' facemask wasn't grabbed he would have scored easily.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:29pm

It was a 15 yard (personal foul) facemask penalty, so there is an automatic first down. As for overturning the touchback, a penalty on defense, if accecpted, would negate the results of the play.

by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:29pm

Manning sucked at the beginning of the game.
You remember the beginning of the game right?
Steelers didn't blitz, and Manning made bad throws.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:29pm

Okay, to clarify, I'm actually confused. Penalties on a team on a change of posession play are assessed after the change of posession. On fouls prior to the snap or automatic/yardage for first down penalties, the other team keeps the ball. The facemask was neither. So, why is it not a touchback and then CAR starts from the 15?

by foos (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:30pm

The facemask happened before the change of possession. What's the problem?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:30pm

Okay, I mistakenly thought it was a 5-yard. My mistake. Thanks for insulting my intelligence, though, #433. It helped a lot!

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:31pm


Well played.

by Matlock, Attorney at Law (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:31pm

That's the thing, the facemask was a first down, being of the 15-yard personal foul variety. If it had been a 5 yard facemask, you'd be right.

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:31pm

1) It was a personal foul, 15 yards.
2) The penalty was before the change of possession, not after.

by Matlock, Attorney at Law (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:32pm

Note to self: Type faster.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:32pm

You know why they're shaken up? It was a freakin' helmet to helmet hit, that's why. You could hear it.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:32pm

Speaking of facial hair, Grossman should grow a neck-beard if he wants to proprely surpass Orton as a "winner."

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:33pm

Sorry, I'm just tired off all the complaining for the Steelers fans, whose team actually won today. No, I'm not a Colts fan either.

by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:33pm

Rodney Carrington needs to call that Bears fan with all the neon lights on and tell him to settle down. That, my friends, is an overachiever.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:33pm




by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:34pm

well, Seattle is sure praying for the Carolinas to hold on...they won't have anybody left to play next week

by Dante Svalbard (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:35pm

446 - Another statistical matter FO should take up - is there a correlation between facial hair and being a winner?

And, to be serious for a moment, when is the Bears' defense going to start playing?

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:37pm

So Grossman has already led Chicago to 21 points. I'm guessing if Chicago loses, you'll still have a bunch of detractors come out of the woodwork to claim that the Bears should have played Orton--he would have managed the game better.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:37pm

is there a correlation between facial hair and being a winner?


Abe Lincoln/US Grant vs Stonewall Jackson/Robert E. Lee


by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:37pm

I think Chicago wants to make a dramatic goal line stand. Maybe a fumble recovery returned 100 yards for a touchdown.
Or not.

by Underground Man (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:38pm

Where is the Bears D?

by Luke (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:39pm

re 450

Steve Smith is still healthy, and he scares the hell outa me.

by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:39pm

Fnor, it seems like a lot of panthers are going down, but doesn't it seem like Smith can carry them alone?

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:39pm

What a huge miss! Now the Bears can actually tie it in one possession! The over/under was 31. We're already at 50.

by Matlock, Attorney at Law (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:39pm

453: You forgot Burnside. Advantage: Union.

by mike (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:40pm

Who'd have thought the Bears would have needed to man up to summon a stop? And they still failed.
They'll need to consider an onside kick after their next catchup TD.
Wait, the Cats clanked the PAT! It's still a one-score game!

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:42pm

did Jeff Davis have a beard?

by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:42pm


Thanks for the advice, but I'm not trying to catch flies. After years of trying to talk sense to the stupid, ignorant and lazy, I don't care as much. I've given up trying to correct those whose idea of intelligence is the latest cliche from some fool on TV who failed to finish his degree as a P.E. major.

Screw the flies. They smell like the crap they find so attractive.

Besides, it isn't like I don't get personal insults and crap from people on this site. Anyone who has put up with all the personalized vitriol from the asshole Pat fans knows exactly what I'm talking about.

by Matlock, Attorney at Law (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:43pm

No, I believe Jeff Davis was clean shaven.

Oh, and something about football... Steve Smith is really good.

by mike (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:44pm

Passing on all three downs is just not good football for the Bears. The classic Bears hurry-up play is the sprint draw.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:44pm

But Stonewall died during the war, princeton, so I think that gives Abe and US the edge, at least post-'63 or so. Abe was smart enough not to croak until the war was ended.

On the other hand, FDR vs. Hitler (Churchill and Stalin cancel each other out on the Allied side). Take FDR and the points.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:45pm

If you're counting anything more than historical grooming impact (for providing the name), Burnside's got to be a negative.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:45pm

Yesterday when I said that no one giving us even a chance to win would make it even sweeter when we won........i'm not afraid to say that I was right in that line of thinking.

This is pretting freakin' sweet.

And as a Steelers fan, i'm damn glad we're going on the road next week.

Damn. Freakin'. Glad.

And we're the early game too.

Just like we were the last time we went to the Super Bowl.

I remember that.......

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:46pm

Take FDR and the points.

FDR was an underdog?

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:47pm

when is the last time there was a playoff game where both QB's had facial hair?

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:49pm

Well, FDR was in a wheelchair. And the US wasn't yet considered the Super-Duper US. And Japan kept him plenty busy (did Hirohito have facial hair?). Maybe it was more of a pick 'em.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:49pm

How so, Shelley? FDR and Churchill were both clean-shaven and Stalin was an Ally. Hitler and the Japanese emperor both had tiny moustaches, while Musolini didn't wear facial hair. In this case, take the drunks over the teetotlers.

by Gerry (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:49pm

The Bears are showing much more offense (and much less defense) than I ever would have expected.

by Dante Svalbard (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:50pm

453, 459 - I dunno... my recollection is that many of the southern generals had enormous beards - Stuart, Hood, Laws among them...

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:50pm

Has anyone thought over whether Indy should have gone for the TD at the end of the first half? I was undecided then and still am--but I thought Dierdorf made a surprising good point when he said pass if FG on 4th, and run if go for it on 4th.

Chicago had the same dilemma in this game, went for the TD, and got it. Now they're down one score instead of two.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:51pm

471: the correlary to the facial hair=winners rule is never trust a man with a tiny moustache. That's why Plummer didn't become a winner untill he ditched the porn stache for the beard.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:51pm

Well, FDR was in a wheelchair.

Oh, right. There's no way he could've covered Hitler without safety help.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:52pm

Apparently illegal contact is the new black and pass interference is dead.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:53pm

Oh, right. There’s no way he could’ve covered Hitler without safety help.

I thought we used a cover 2

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:53pm

I think Grossman should try for a Ho Chi Minh beard.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:54pm

Awwww... well it was only a matter of time.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:54pm

If you're the bears, can you challenge for the Delay of game and say "No pick happened"?

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:54pm

and Grossman has an Eli Manning moment

by kleph (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:55pm

what's the over under on posts until stan starts proclaming his expertise because he "was a coach once"?

by Luke (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:55pm

and Luke writes in his notebook Game Over.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:55pm

Excellent situational awareness by Goings to fall down in bounds instead of staying up and getting ridden out of bounds.

by Matlock, Attorney at Law (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:56pm

452: I think that Grossman interception all but guarantees at least one analyst saying playing Orton would've have been a better idea.

In which case we have conflicting cliches: Who manages the game better vs. Rookies can't win in the playoffs.

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:57pm

More strange officiating. How do you miss delay of game?

Given that the play should never have happened, is that challengable? Challenge, have the penalty for delay of game enforced, cancel the play and take you chance on 3rd & long.

Did anyone really think that the Bears would score 21 points and lose? Their defence has been bad, especially on 3rd down.

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:58pm

Apparently delay of game is not challengeable. I tried to look it up after the play and the closest thing I could find to challenging delay of game is "other detectable infractions." I wonder if the play clock is officially tied to the video replay.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:59pm

take the drunks over the teetotlers.
So, who among the remaining quarterbacks have been arrested for DUIs?

by Tim (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 9:59pm

Sorry to get you riled, Stan. Maybe we should look at some stats.

Manning: 22/38, 290 yds. 7.6 yard average. 1 interception(regardless of the actual call).

Led 2 touchdown drives in the final quarter. No TD drives first three quarters. 6 punts and a field goal.

Rothlesburger: 14/24 197 yds 2 TD 1 INT. 8.2 yard average. Led 3 TD drives in the first 3 quarters. Key tackle in the 4th quarter.

Pretty similar lines. While its not a glaringly obvious, I don't think concluding that Rothlesburger had a better game than Manning at the QB position is an ignorant and stupid statement. Judging from your post in 386 you seem to have some sort of insight into the psychology of QB play in the NFL and I'd be happy to read any papers you have produced on the subject which might increase my understanding.

BTW Stan, my degree is in Computer Science not PE. Go back to the gym.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:00pm

We've secretly replaced Nathan Vasher with Antwaan Randle-El...

by TH (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:01pm

Re: 489

I remember vaguely some Jake Plummer bar incident in Arizona a very long time ago. Is that enough evidence?

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:01pm

I would like to take this opportunity to remind all of my fellow Steeler fans to remain calm and dignified lest we are felled by the FOMB curse.

Inre: 469. Princeton, I think the NFC championship last year featured two QBs w/facial hair. Not big burly manly facial hair like Ben and Plummer. Ron Mexico has that little herpes hiding thing and Chunky Soup had a chinstrap going iirc.

by Michael (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:02pm

Is the stadium play-clock the actual, super-secret official clock? Or does the umpire keep the real time? If so, there could be a discrepancy between the two.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:03pm

Anyone else think that running it on 4th and 1 would have been a good idea?

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:04pm

492: That's enough evidence for this discussion
493: See, never trust a thin moustache.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:04pm

#489 I have to believe Plummer was drunk when he allowed himself to be photographed with that molestache.

by Eugene (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:05pm

Did Grossman complete a single pass today when throwing the slant to Gage against Lucas? I'm going to go slit my wrists now.

by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:06pm

Pretty good game. Grossman showed potential tonight, and if the Bears D had shown up (or Tillman hadn't), Grossman probably does enough to win.

If I'm the Seahawks and the Panthers can get 45 fit players on the plane I'm afraid.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:08pm

Re: 492
Okay then. I'm confidently predicting a Broncos win, unless Big Ben gets arrested for starting a drunken brawl tonight (more recent drunken incident prevails). Ah, but what if Ben gets drunk and shaves all the facial hair?

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:08pm

The Bears threw the ball 41 times. Thomas Jones only had 20 carries, and the team only had 27. After the way Dallas and Tampa ran over Carolina near the end of the season, I think someone calling the plays diverged from the gameplan.

Also, what happened to the Bears defense? I do believe they were very good, despite how hyped Brian Urlacher is.

Man, Carolina's offensive DVOA is going to be ridiculous.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:11pm

Jimmy Johnson has got some crazy hair going on. Sitting next to the military issue haircuttery of Howie Long puts it in stark relief.

by Luke (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:12pm

Steve Smith. Sounds like a mild -mannered alter ego to me. The guy is clearly a super hero in disguise. Green Latern? The Flash? Powdered Toast Man? I cant tell, that disguise is even better than Clark Kents.

by kleph (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:14pm

Man, Carolina’s offensive DVOA is going to be ridiculous.

agreed. i thought the upward curve on aaron's chart for the panther's DVOA was crazy last week but it looks like it is going to be even steeper in next week's preview.

by Dan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:15pm

Why do all you "Beard Power" people hate America?


(and click on my name for more)

by Yaxley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:16pm

Re 493: I second the motion for Steelers fans to remain gracious in victory.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:16pm

The Bears only had one sack. They got some pressure on Delhomme, but other times he had all day to throw, even occasionally to guys not named Steve Smith. Of course, Smith had as many receptions as the other Panthers combined, so maybe triple-covering him would have been a good idea.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:22pm

#449: My problem with Grossman, like I said, is that he thinks he's Brett Favre. Bad idea. Takes lots of risks, throws lots of balls he simply isn't good enough to try. He was lucky to only have one INT.

Shorter Bears QB controversy: Orton is bad in a rookie, can't-do-anything way, Grossman is bad in a might-work-sometimes flashy way.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:37pm

#506: I third. That was a great game, with some major gaffes, but the colts never quit and deserve a lot of respect for what they did in the second half.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:43pm

I really do want to kill all the refs after this weekend. This weekend seemed like bad call after bad call after bad call. And they were non-denominational bad calls. Again, where was Hochuli and Carey? I didn't have nearly the problem with them that I did with the crew this week.

Grossman looks like he's got some promise. I wish he could throw the out and the fade corner route better, but his in and slant and curl routes are pretty decent.

Carolina's DVOA is going to be ridiculous.

by mike (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:48pm


Are you saying the Seahawks should be afraid of a team that got to the title game by beating up on Eli Manning and Rex Grossman? Of a team that is down to Nick Goings as their starting RB?

I'd say Seattle has to like their chances. At least they won't fall for the "of course you can single cover Steve Smith" trick.

by Robert L. (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:55pm

The reversal of Palomalu's interception was indeed an atrocious thing, but I believe it may be a case where a referee is upholding an utterly ridiculous rule that must be changed immediately. However, since referees have leeway in choosing what they wish to enforce (i.e. the absurd crowd noise rule), the referee did a disservice to logic by taking away what was obviously an INT. Essentially, Polamalu was penalized for getting up off the ground. Awful.

As for the false start fiasco, consider this: what's to keep a defense from getting a free time out/play stoppage by having two or three lineman simply stand up, walk away, and point to the offensive line, claiming "They jumped!" If there was no flag, the officials should not have blown the play dead.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:56pm

That's just it, #501. They didn't get there by beating up Grossman; they got there by beating the #1 defense in the league, handily. When you can put 29 points on a team that stuffed you, hard, last time - and stuffed basically everyone last time - and only get one sack and one turnover - then you've got to wonder. Seattle's D is not the best ever, especially against #1 receivers, and that's not a great thing.

What's worrisome for the Panthers is how they'll deal with a QB that can do better than Grossman. It might be a huge shootout. It very much depends on whether Alexander can come back. If he can, Carolina has to at least respect the run similarly to how they did vs. the Bears, and there should be some opportunities. If Seattle becomes one-dimensional, I think they might be hosed.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 10:58pm

Oops, that was meant for #512, not #501. Sorry.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:00pm

Want to add a couple on Steelers-Colts:

1. Best Steeler win of the Cowher era. Bold, exciting game plan on both sides of the ball.

2. Breakthrough game for Big Ben. Please let this put to rest the tired idea that he's just a game manager. They put the game in his hands on the road in the playoffs and he delivered. If Brady and Manning are 1, then Ben now belongs with a healthy Palmer at 1A. Is there any doubt that he'll be joining the big two on the A level some day? Just a phenomenal leader.

3. Ike Taylor quietly had an outstanding game. He did an unbelievable job on Harrison. Sweet redemption for the guy who was so memorably burned in the first PIT-INDY game. This kid is emerging as a top five cornerback.

4. Troy Pola is turning into the Brett Favre of defense, and I mean the old Brett Favre. Jaw-dropping raw skills, incredible playmaker, will still do something stupid occasionally, can't take your eyes off him.

What a day to be a Steeler fan. What a job this team has done in the last three drafts. Whatever happens next week, the core young talents of this team - Ben, Pola, Ike, Heath - make me drool. This team will be playing in January for a long time.

Colts fans....I've been there. Nobody knows better than fans of the B&G what a sick, empty feeling it is to see a great season come to an end at home. That's a great team with so many guys you have to love - Freeney, Sanders, that kid #18 - and a coach who's just a great ambassador for the league. We'll see a rematch of this game in a future January. Count on it.

Sorry this was so long-winded. I'm still pretty jazzed. On to Denver. Any chance Champ Bailey's wife has a mean streak???

by Patrick (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:01pm

Well I am pretty bummed after the Colts' offense again failed to show up for half of a playoff game.

The blocking by the O-line was horrible in the first half and I have a question about the blocking schemes the Colts used that maybe someone can answer.

Especially in the first half, it seemed that on a lot of passing plays the Colts guards would pull back off the line and then take the outsider rusher while the tackles would slide down and take the inside ones.

The problem was that Pittsburg's rushers were coming straight up the gut right at Manning and there was no one there to stop them (since the guards were pulling out that space and tackles had not yet moved in). I watched the Colts' O-line get manhandled using this this strategy time-after-time and I couldn't figure out why they continued to use it.

Later in the game the O-line seemed to use more traditional blocking schemes which, while not perfect, appeared to give Manning slightly more time to find a receiver.

Did anyone else notice this or know what the Colts were doing?

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:06pm

501: Clearly the path for a Steelers victory is for Ben to get drunk and shave Plummer's beard.

by TomC (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:06pm

Just got back from watching CHI/CAR at my local watering hole, and I'm checking in to take my Bear fan lumps.

If you leave your 8th-string, equilibrium-challenged CB one-on-one on the oppositions's ONLY OFFENSIVE WEAPON -- on 2nd and 20 -- then you don't deserve to win anything.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:08pm

Smith has shown that he doesn't have trouble with double coverage either, really. If I'm Carolina, I'm more worried about the defencive injuries.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:09pm

So did we learn today that if you let Steve Smith make subtle moves to trip the DB covering him, the Panthers can beat a good defense?

by Michael (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:10pm

I think that is the crux of the matter, that the linesman blew his whistle and called the play dead. That's a mistake. He should have been more disciplined. Still, the only proper choice (assuming this was the case) was to treat it as an inadvertent whistle and play the down. After all, you can't call a penalty when no one's thrown a flag.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:25pm

Re: 420. Dear Stan--Evidence that Manning outplayed Roethlisberger today: (1) Stan says so. (2) more total yards passing. (3) R. threw an interception, Manning "didn't." Evidence that Roethlisberger outplayed Manning today: (1) Higher QB rating. (2) more yards per completion (albeit only by one yard, but still). (3) more yards per attempt (albeit only by half a yard, but more is more) (4) More TD passes. (5) R. sacked twice for 14, M. sacked 5 times for 43. (6) R. played like a man and made a key tackle when called upon; M. whined like a punk in public about not getting enough protection. (7) as players say when someone starts crowing about an individual achievement: "Look at the Scoreboard." After you look at the scoreboard, look at the evidence with your brain and not your heart and then decide whether you really want to accuse someone of being "stupid or ignorant of what happens on a football field." What happens on the football field today is what has happened plenty of times in the past--the team featuring Peyton Manning has come up short.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:29pm

RE: 144

Not my fault you don't read the game threads.

by Patrick (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:30pm

#513, #522 -- The defensive line didn't just stand up and start pointing, they cross the neutral zone and moved between the O-linemen (apparently not touching anyone, which I can't believe). Pittsburg's line then stood up. Something had to be done at that point because both sides agreed that there shouldn't be a play run.
I think the refs screwed up double on the call.

First, there should have been a false start penalty. Second, if there wasn't a false start penalty there should have been a penalty on the defense for offsides or encroachment or something. Overall, I thought this weekend's games were horribly officiated. Truly embarassing for the NFL.

by NF (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:31pm

#420+523: If only we had some sort of non-arbitrary statistical measure of a QBs performance, one that looked at each play and compared it to the average result of NFL plays in that situation, then adjusted for the strength of the opposing defense.

by luz (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:38pm


well said! case closed.

by zip (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:39pm


Well said.

DVOA/DPAR will show Big Ben had a better game.

However, Manning has a reasonable excuse in that his O-line wasn't giving him very much time.

He was outplayed by Big Ben... but it's not entirely his fault.

by Michael (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:40pm

If the Colts D doesn't touch anybody, then they can't be called for offsides if the ball isn't snapped. The minute the linesman blew his whistle, everything was dead. If a Pittsburgh O-lineman stood up after the whistle blew, means nothing. After the whistle, there is no play. Maybe the refs missed a false start, but the reaction of the defense isn't the point. Without a flag, there ain't a false start. Without contact or a snap of the ball, there's no offsides. It's not an elegant or poetic resolution, but it might just be the right one.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:43pm

By DVOA, Indy actually has a better pass defense than Pittsburgh, so Ben will most likely have the higher DPAR. Howver, subjectivly, Manning faced a much tougher pass rush, and the #2 cb opposing Ben got stabbed yesterday, so I think it's safe to say Manning had the more difficult opposition. Perhaps the better question should be what happened to Freeney.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:45pm

529: The defense could be called for "performing an unnatural act" by inducing the offense line to false-start. I don't know if this is applicable to the play in question, however.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:46pm

Re 526. It would be great if someone were to devise such a statistical measure. This person would undoubtedly have had the benefit of a first rate education at one of our country's most distinguished academic institutions, a trait that he would, remarkably, share with other astute (if sometimes grouchy) observers who record their pithy comments and germane notions in discussion threads like this one.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:50pm

Re 531. If the defenses start "performing an unnatural act," Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" will pale by comparison.

by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:51pm

It probably is inconsequential in the long run, but Peyton Manning cemented his reputation in my mind at the two minute warning today.

For those that don't have a vivid memory, the Colts had just moved the ball forward to around their 20, and the clock was around 2:15 or so when the previous play was called dead. The Colts actually managed to get lined back up by 2:07 or so.

Plenty of time to get off one more play in a hurry-up and potentially catch the Steelers off guard before the two minute warning, right? Well, suddenly, Peyton goes into his infamous chicken dance, and wastes so much time that the two minute warning goes in. I (an Eagles fan, so I don't have a rooting interest in this game) immediately scream at the TV. I immediately wonder if Peyton knows how to win a football game, how to keep momentum going, and how to give his team every shot at winning.

Of course, the play immediately after the two minute warning, Manning gets sacked. If I was an Indy fan, I would have lost any hope of winning a Super Bowl right then and there. Of course, I imagine all that will be forgotten given the excitement following (among other things, I never knew "Vanderjagdt" was Dutch for "Honk a big one"). But still, that is burned in my mind as a black mark on Peyton.

Finally, I wonder - can I become an NFL ref now, or do I need to be trepanned first?

by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:52pm

re 139
Sid, sorry this took so long but yes, I agree.
Adam, look I understand you must be very happy right now.
The Steelers played very well in a great game with a wild finish.
But back to mememe
as a Cowboys fan with nothing to realy look forward to I miss the Sunday nght imitations you did.

by Michael (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:53pm

No flag was thrown. No false start was called. The defense cannot be penalized for inducing a penalty which was never called.

Freeney was doing what he often does--setting world records for the upfield 20 whilst the running back just slips inside him. I watched Derrick Thomas for years in KC and Freeney is Thomas with a different position designation. They were/are both limited players with one amazing, breath-taking skill that hypnotizes many observers into believing that they are well-rounded, game-changing players. Well, they may change games against the Saints and Texans, but the playoffs ain't the same shindig.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:59pm

RE: 162

I can't believe I just read a post complimenting that crew. ;)

Oh yeah, what the heck was going on with XPs in the Bears game? Kasay was fine on FGs, but he missed one XP and almost missed another. Was the field that bad? If it was, why did he only have problems with XPs? And Gould almost missed a XP, too.

Downright college atmosphere. I mean, it was windy, and the field wasn't great, but still...

by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:01am


I thought Manning's failure to run a play before the two-minute warning was also... what? Puzzling? Disheartening? Whatever the proper word, in my mind today's game put a lot of weight on the "Manning doesn't rise to the occasion" side of the scale. Still, John Elway lost a lot of big games and Dan Marino, well, we all know how that story went. Peyton is the offensive Brian Urlacher--a great, great player who is still somewhat overrated.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:03am

Can anyone explain to me how Steve Smith gets isolated on some 4th CB or whatever?
Is keeping 2 guys on him so hard? Screw the zone. Make sure two guys are shadowing Smith. If you can just cover Smith, the Carolina offense loses its potency. It is simply inexplicable for Smith to be running free, or for him to be only covered by one man (Thompson, no less!).
When you play the Panthers, you need to base the defense around Smith. Forget the usual cover 2 junk, or not changing corners around. Just make sure Smith has 2 guys following him.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:05am

No flag was thrown. No false start was called. The defense cannot be penalized for inducing a penalty which was never called.

Is there anything stopping the refs from throw a flag well after whistling the play dead, as they so often do with pass-defense fouls?

by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:10am


Yes. As late as a flag may seem on an interference call, the infraction did take place during a timed down (refspeak for a play). The minute the linesman blew his whistle, world ends, play over, nothing can be called after that unless a dead-ball foul (unsportsmanlike conduct, for example) is called.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:15am

I didn't say anything before, and I have no witnesses to this, but when the colts failed to gain any yardage on 2nd and 3rd down before the Vanderjet kick, I realized it was only destiny that he would miss. My suspicions were confirmed when they threw up the stat that he hadn't missed a kick in Indy all year.

by kleph (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:15am

man, the pile-on peyton bandwagon didn't even wait for the morning editions to get rolling... (click my name)

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:17am

Also, Chicago's defense is different without Mike Brown. Mike Brown is a playmaker.

I only heard Mike Green's name once... on a blown assignment.

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:22am


Yeah, and the grapes are probably sour anyway.

by Sara (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:45am

"Who decided that Steve Smith wasn’t worth covering?"

Why don't you go ask the Coach of the Year? ;)

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:47am

“Who decided that Steve Smith wasn’t worth covering?�

Why don’t you go ask the Coach of the Year?

oooo..that's gonna leave a mark

by 40rock (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:49am

Not a Colts' fan; long-time reader, first time poster. Not a fan of any playoff teams, so neutral...

I will be interested to see what the Colts do now. I think they still need to get a little bigger and meaner, on the o-line and elsewhere. I know that is not a very analytical statement, but with the center of the team being Manning and Dungy, they seem to lack a little primal fire, which is of course a part of the game.

The Patriots were just better than they were the last two years, and the Colts were on the road, but today's performance in the first quarter is a different matter. And, as sympathetic as we all are to Dungy's immense personal tragedy, a lot of that has to fall on him--and on Manning.

After the SD game and going against a Dick LeBeau defense, they had to know the Steelers were going to blitz out of the gate, but they sure did not look ready for it early on.

FWIW: Panthers, Broncos.

by a. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:56am

It amazes me that the announcers including the former players do not know or understand nfl rules - looking at you boomer & sterling.

the referee's overturn on the polamalu int was correct. the game is played by nfl rules not sandlot common sense. and the rules are that a player must have possession coming off the ground after falling to make a catch. he lost it before his right knee came up.

in theory he could have rolled ten yards and the call would have been the same

btw...i would have loved to see bettis' mom reaction to the fumble...

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:56am

On the not a false start, not an offsides call in the Colts-Steelers game -- isn't it Encroachment if an offensive player moves as a result of a defensive player crossing into the neutral zone? So either Faneca moved, in which case it should have been a false start, or else it should have been encroachment from the right side of the Steelers O-line standing up when the Colts crossed into the neutral zone pointing.

Oh, yeah, the refs were using the "kids playing in the backyard" rulebook: "Do over!"

On the Polamalu interception/not an interception: I think I'm with Robert L. -- I can actually understand the ruling if the rule reads that the player must have posession when he gets up off the ground for it to be a completion. If any part of Polamalu's body other than his hands or feet was on the ground when the ball came out, then by rule he was still "on the ground," because his knee was on the ground when the ball came out. But the rule is idiotic in this case -- he catches the ball, goes to the ground, and rolls over, and at that point it's a catch: if he's touched by the opposition or stays down, it's a catch, but if he gets up and drops the ball in the act of getting, it somehow is uncaught?

by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 1:03am

I don't know what it says about me, but when Roethlisberger tripped up Harper, my first thought was "There goes Indy's best chance." I really didn't believe the Colts' offense would score.

Carolina is a decently rounded team that has hit its hot streak. As Al McGuire used to say, "It's not who's the best team, it's the team who's playing best."

Did the Chicago D believe the Grossman hype? Did they think sexy Rexy was going to put up some points and ease their burden? Or was the myth of the "second coming of '85" exposed as hype?

by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 1:07am


Not if the Pittsburgh O-line stood up after the linesman blew his whistle. They could have donned grass skirts and performed synchronized high-kicks; once that whistle blew, there was no play. The linesman probably blew his whistle too soon. That was a mistake, but the enforcement could be correct.

by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 1:14am


The officials may have missed the false start on Faneca, but without a flag, there isn't a penalty. Indy's D-line was jumping up and pointing at something that, for all intents and purposes, never happened. If Pittsburgh snaps the ball before the whistle while Indy is in the neutral zone, then you've got an encroachment penalty.

by Adam (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 1:14am

Did anyone else just see that new Mastercard Peyton Manning Commercial on ESPN?

It has all of Peyton Mannings outtakes doing that commercial and at the end it says:

"Not being perfect: Priceless."

I swear to God I almost crapped myself when I saw that.....

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 1:33am

a: Sour grapes much? There was an excellent point made: does getting up make an extra requirement for possession? Does getting up cancel in some sort of anti-football move? Possession is a requirement, once you fulfill it, everything past that is post-posession. If you want to be disgustingly literal, he even had two feet with possession, as it was while he was trying to bring the ball up to stand while kneeling on one foot, after dragging either one of two (I forget which) after catching it and pulling it in.

by kleph (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 1:33am

i thought this fark.com photochop was entertaining as well. (click my name)

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 2:02am

Deshaun Foster has a broken ankle, and Nick Goings will start against Seattle. Who will back up Goings? He Hate Me?

RE: 284

I’m hoping for 21-10, just for the sake of what happens with the guy who made the prediction in #31.

So close. :(
If it had ended up 21-10, I would have called the show myself to demand that Francesa live up to his end. Ah well.

RE: 293

Marvin Lewis puts up with Chad Johnson, though. Did you hear about the locker room fight at halftime of the Steelers game?

by Murr (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 2:28am

I'm an Eagles fan - born and raised. But nonetheless, I've been cheering for the Colts to make it to the Super Bowl for 3 years running now.

But after Peyton's press conference -- he's dead to me. I hope he loses 10 playoff games in a row from here on out.

I sincerely hope that Sportscenter, NFL Live, and PTI just *crucify* that guy. I don't care if you are the single-most talented individual player in the league -- you do NOT throw your teammates under the bus like that.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 3:27am

Agreed, #558. I know it was the heat of the moment, but that heat was the thing that showed me no matter what else, Peyton Manning doesn't understand what it takes to win in the NFL - because he will always see it as someone else's failure for losing. He will always attribute it to breakdowns in blocking or someone making a bad play or whatever.

And as long as he does that, he's not going to be the best QB.

I had been one of the bigger supporters of Peyton's talent, saying that losing games is not just his fault. I stand corrected.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 3:30am

What a weird day. The first game was so strange that I just knew The Idiot Kicker was going to miss the field goal; it was the only outcome consistent with the rest of the game. As much as I wanted to see Dungy get to the Super Bowl, it would have been awful to have Bettis get the loss hung around his neck, so I can't dislike the outcome too much.

Is it necessary to say Manning sucked in order to give Roethlisberger his due? Manning got hammered repeatedly, and if every time a QB in the playoffs starts the game with two three-and-outs, it means said QB is lacking, well, there are a fair amount of HOF qbs who are lacking. The primary difference in this contest was the Colts getting thoroughly whipped at the line of scrimmage.

As to the second contest, I must admit I did not anticipate Charles Tillman being outplayed by Terrell Buckley. Defense is better executed when cornerbacks don't fall on their faces as the oppostion's best wr runs down the field. Maybe the Bears can highlight this concept in the defensive playbook next year. That said, the Bears' defensive tackles in particular got whipped repeatedly in third and long situations, allowing Delhomme to maneuver around until a receiver came open.

Finally, the officiating stunk, even conceding that the interception call in the first game may have been a correct interpretation of the rule book. In fact, the officiating stunk all weekend, and the games would have been better if they had been called right.

by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 3:35am

Did anyone see any other angle on the Polamalu interception-that-wasn't than the primary one? The only reason I can think that the play was overturned is that the ground interfered with the catch when he originally fell to the ground. When he rolled over in the act of falling to the turf and getting back up, his body was blocking the view so it's impossible to tell for sure. (It looked like he had the ball secured, but you can't say for sure with that angle.)

If the replay official had access to an endzone shot from the other direction, he might have seen something that led him to overturn the INT. I'm not saying this was the case, but it can't be ruled out. Did anyone see any alternate angles?

Even if the refs got somehow got this call right, I agree with the general consensus that this was the worst-officiated weekend of games I've ever seen, in any sport. The incompetence was absolutely breathtaking.

by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 3:35am


That was me!!! haha at least someone liked the way i deemed it. but this is actually pretty good, we can avenge the loss to denver in 97, you know, the one where carnell lake got called for PI if he breathed in the direction of a receiver. and the way PIs were called(or should i say not called), you could prolly pull a drive-by on a receiver and not get flagged

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 3:38am

kal, I am of the opinion that it is unwise to judge remarks that appear in the media unless one can gain the full context of the conversation. Maybe Manning blurted this out at first opportunity, but I've only seen the snippet of the remarks themselves, and not what led up to them.

A guy who is beat up and frustrated, and still professional enough to talk to the media, unlike many of the non-professionals who duck the media after a bad outcome, can be pestered into making what appear to be inflammatory remarks, if the reporter is persistent enough, and keeps beating a dead horse. I'm not saying that this is what happened here, just that I'd like to see the five or ten minutes which led up to those remarks before passing judgement.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 3:58am

I see a lot of emphasis placed on Steve Smith for the NFC Championship game, but both of his TD catches were on plays where the CBs covering him *tripped*.

I'm sitting here listening to ESPN and Sean Salisbury is putting up a clip of Smith's 2nd TD catch, and as the defender is tripping, he's saying "You simply cannot give him this much room to catch the ball, he will do it every time."

No sh*t?

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 3:59am

I saw the press conference, Will Allen. They didn't cut it or anything. He basically first starts out with 'I don't want to be a bad teammate, but we had protection issues'. Then he goes on to say the rest of the stuff. They're playing it pretty regularly on NFL network. I'd not be as mad about it if it wasn't so clearly a selfish call.

Regardless, it's not something someone else would say. They'd not start with 'I don't want to be a bad teammate'. They'd start by saying 'it was my fault. It was all of our fault. We didn't play well.' Players are taught this from day one, especially QBs, especially QBs like Manning.

If it was twisted out of context, he should go on record and state that it wasn't his line's fault. Period.

#563, it has nothing to do with the angle and everything to do with how the rule works. Basically, until you get up from the ground or you are touched by the opposing players, anything can cause an incomplete pass. The exception is the end zone or a play called dead. Polamalu could have rolled around for ten yards, and if he got up and hit that ball out of his hands while his knee was on the ground it would have been ruled an incomplete pass. It wasn't that he didn't have control when he hit the ground; it was that he was on the ground, went to get up and before leaving the ground lost the ball.

It's a mutant rule. Period.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:00am


Agreed. I can't imagine anyone I know, here or elsewhere, who could go through the emotions of a game like that, talk to reporters with the expectations of being the singular point of representation for your team, and not stand a good chance of saying something they regret.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:02am

#565, what I don't understand is that it looked like his knee had cleary come up from the ground about half a foot before the ball left his hands; so even that part made no sense to me...

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:03am

1) I didn't see too many people mention what Big Ben did to save the game. Tackling a fast guy in the open field when you're running backwards like he was is really freaking hard. That was an amazing play. Another part of the amazing athleticism that makes him so great.

2) I echo what others said about Manning not getting a play off before the 2 minute warning. For some reason he sunk several notches in my eyes just on that play.

3) This Steve Smith think is just getting ridiculous. Let me throw something out there. Lovie Smith can't adjust to situations. Not redesigning his defense to account for the unusual nature of Carolina's offense is one thing. Here's another, in the 'wind game' against SF, 40 mph winds, his punt returner muffed 3 punts, and it almost cost them the game. But he wasn't smart enough to change strategy and just stop fielding punts.

4) If I had to pick one QB for a team for next season only, I might take Roethlisburger over Brady or Manning. He avoids the pass rush as if he has an overhead view of everything, like he's playing a video game... it's really amazing. Brady is great at that, but Ben is even better.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:13am

Well, Kal, if you saw it, fine. Could you recite for me the exact question which prompted that remark, and some of the questions prior to that one?

Look, if you want to say Manning is a horrible teamate for saying what he said, fine. I just know that I have more respect for a profesional who never ducks the media, no matter the situation, than I do for the amateurs who, when things go bad, can't be found, or who simply say "no comment".

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:15am

#567, I don't know if I can find a video of it, but it was pretty clear from the replay I saw that he was getting up, one knee hit the ball out of his hands while the other knee was down on the ground.

Honestly, I really think they should get rid of the whole 'down by contact' rule and simply make it like college. If you go down, you go down. Put a knee down, that's it, you're done. It's simple and easy to rule and judge and results in a lot less bizarre counterintuitive rules.

by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:18am

Wow. I was at the Colts game today and here's my comments...

Just to get these out of the way,
1. On the PPK, actually they didn't mute the boos. Maybe Colts fans are too nice, but we cheered the kids that made good throws, no matter what team they were "representing".
2. Dungy doesn't do much with the offense at all really. I think everyone has noticed he has had a serious impact on the defense though.

On to the actual in-game comments...
1. Even the Colts fans were pretty sure that was a clean INT by Polamalu (the one where he rolled over and kicked it out). Although we WERE pretty excited when it was overturned.
2. The Steelers did a pretty good job keeping the crowd noise from being too much of a factor most of the game. However, when the Colts got to 21-18 and the defense needed a big stop, it was absolutely deafening. How loud it was didn't come through on TV.
3. Terrible call on 3rd and 2 before the field goal. There was a lot of running room for James there, they had timeouts, just get the first down and then get the TD or an EASY FG.

Overall reaction...
1. (Start with a positive) Man, Harper played a GREAT game for getting stabbed yesterday!
2. Just like last year, the offense really lost this game for them. Interestingly, they had a lot of trouble with the 3-4 even though Saturday had a good game (I think, haven't watched the TV version yet and my seats weren't outstanding).
3. Manning's comments after the game make me want the Colts to cut him and use his $$$ elsewhere. Sorgi is good enough, we don't need that shit. I've always defended him before, that it wasn't him choking that lost the game, but most of his passes in the first half were TERRIBLE. And a lot of the time he really wasn't under that much pressure. Of course he got killed on the drive right before the Bettis fumble, but other than that the pressure wasn't nearly as good as the Chargers got. Last year he blamed the defense for "not giving the offense enough chances" after the offense forced them on the field almost the whole game. This year we get "there were some protection issues" after he had a pretty iffy game when he wasn't pressured?

Still a Colts fan, but not a Manning fan today. Man, Artest and Manning both now? Come on, you're killing me!

by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:21am

#569: I was wondering the question that prompted that too. Last year, I let a similar comment go. It's just not acceptable to hang your teammates out to dry 2 years in a row.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:26am

When it gets to the point that it is advocated that Manning be cut, to use that money elsewhere, since Sorgi is good enough, well, there is nothing more to say.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:28am

Will Allen, this is the same guy who called Vanderjagt his 'liquored up idiot kicker'.

I do respect a person who will speak his mind, but I respect the person more who speaks his mind without insulting other players - especially his OLine.

On another subject - why did the Colts totally abandon the run? James ran for 4ypc and was getting better as the game moved on, but it seemed like they just went totally away from it.

by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:29am

#565, I understand that part of it, and agreed, it's a stupid, stupid rule. My question was whether the ball got jarred by the initial contact with the ground, not if it came free from contact with the knee afterward. I just found a quote from the ref saying that the call was made based on the "knee" fumble, however, which answers my question.

Hard to know what to think about Manning after yet another playoff choke, coupled with the quote about his line. I saw the clip where he talked about protection problems, and my take was that he was indeed criticizing his line. He might not have meant it exactly how it came out, but it's wasn't complimentary. A bit reminiscent of Shaun Alexander's "he stabbed me in the back" comment from last year.

Not happy times in Indianapolis these days. With their free agent situation in the offseason and renewed questions about Manning's leadership abilities, you have to wonder if their window just shut.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:39am

Well, Kal, when the kicker appears on a Canadian cable t.v. show, in an apparently inebriated state, and says that his team can't win a championship because of the qb's inadequacies, the qb's subsequent description of said kicker as being a liquoured up idiot is entirely accurate. If Manning were to appear drunk on Leno tomorrow and say that the Colts can't win a Super Bowl as long as they have their current offensive line, I would hope that Jeff Saturday would call Manning "our liquored up idiot quarterback".

by Reno (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:41am

My take on Peyton Manning had always been that he was brilliantly gifted, both mentally and physically, and despite his horrible body language when things didn't go perfectly, that he got too hard a time of it for his team's past failures (he doesn't play defense or officiate games, after all).

But if I were a Colts fan, I'd be pretty deeply troubled after today's game. I know that Manning's done it before, and gotten accolades for it, but waving off the punt team was one of the more egregiously "me-first" acts I've ever seen in sports. A little bit better than Ricky Davis shooting on his own basket, but not by much. That a football player would dismiss his head coach so obviously - and that the other players on his team would LISTEN so readily - is amazing to me.

Don't get me wrong, punting there is stupid, but what does it say about the Colts if their players have that little respect for the judgement of their head coach? Dungy looked like he was going to cry after that, like he knew it wasn't his team. And apparently, if he was thinking that, he'd be right.

I don't see how Dungy can be the head coach of the Colts anymore. He's given WAY too much power & responsibility to one player, who seems to have completely gone wild with it. Peyton Manning's essentially Kobe Bryant without the rings at this point - probably the best player in the game, probably destined for a lot of amazing regular season performances, tremendously competitive, and so consumed with himself and convinced of his own individual greatness that he's got little to no chance of winning a title unless he wisens up. Manning essentially mutinied in the most public way possible on that call, on the sideline, and after the game. If I'm Dungy, given the horrors of the last month and what transpired today, I'd turn in my resignation tomorrow.

And if I'm Bill Polian, I'm stumped. An offensive line coach less committed to his scheme would be nice. But who can keep Manning in line? I think he needs a coach who isn't afraid to give him a benching or public calling out, but who has that prestige? Belichek & Parcells aren't available, Coughlin isn't available and doesn't have the cred, Jimmy Johnson doesn't strike me as that kind of guy. Make an obscene offer to Charlie Weis, in addition to buying out his massive extension? Not likely, though that would certainly lend itself to all kinds of further Pats-Colts histrionics.

Hey, I don't think the Colts have played my team in a remotely meaningful game in thirty years. I hate sounding negative, because I have nothing against them whatsoever, but I'm really curious to see how the media deals with Manning tomorrow. He deserves exactly the same ripping that Kobe, TO, Ricky Davis, et al have gotten for similar antics in the past.

And if they don't, then I'll have to wonder how much it has to do with the fact that he's got dirty blonde hair and says "gosh."

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:45am

#577, Dungy has gone on record and stated that he wanted to go for it on 4th down, and Dierdorf simply misinterpreted what happened and the punting team got a bit ahead of themselves. I don't know if you can believe that or not, but it's what he said.

I know what Vanderjagt did to deserve it. And for the record, I do think that the OLine played pretty poorly today, much like they played against San Diego - and with similar results. But it just is a classless move to call 'em on it publicly.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 4:59am

Again, Kal, if you could recite the questions which led up to Manning's remarks, it would help put them in context. Maybe it was as awful as you say, but, to me, the Colts' QB saying that the Colts had protection problems just isn't all that inflammatory.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 5:05am

Yeah, Reno, Manning is just like Kobe Bryant and Terrell Owens, and if not for insidious racism, he would be subject to the same degree of scorn.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 5:08am

Yikes...it seems like people are calling this the tipping point in Indy. I'm pretty sure that that's not the case, and I'm certain that 12 hours after a loss you can't come to any definitive conclusions on this.

Manning blaming his line, that's classless. Pure and simple. He's not getting enough time, well that's the breaks amigo. Call David Carr..he's be happy to play the world's smallest violin for you.

Casey Hampton chasing Manning and then talking about it on the sidelines is an image I will have forever. You would've sworn that Manning had ice cream or steak in his back pocket the way Hampton chased him.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 5:17am

I can't find the absolute specific question, Will Allen. The question was something like 'why was pittsburgh able to pressure you so successfully all day'.

Another good quote:
"Certainly it has not been for a lack of effort due to my part," Manning said. "I've never stepped onto the field or walked off the field saying I could have done more to prepare for this game. There's certainly throws I'd like to have back or series you'd like to have back, or games I wish I would have played better."

Yeah, that sounds nice and humble.

I mean, come on Will Allen - you know he knew he was going to say something bad when he said "I'm not trying to be a bad team mate". How do you take that out of context?

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 5:29am

My impulse is to feel sympathy for Manning. On the other hand, he's not a naturally likeable guy (for the record, Brady's toothy blankness also leaves me cold) and the comments about the O-line are a bit troubling. For God's sake, there's virtually a script to read from in those situations: hard-fought game, they made big plays, we didn't make enough big plays, all credit to the [NE Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Idaho State Secessionists], etc. How hard is it to just not fight in front of the children?

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 5:36am

Well, one can look at it on a bright side, I suppose. Manning is often blamed for not being emotional or 'up' enough for playoff games. Maybe he'll be up for them now.

I guess I think this was the Colt's best chance they're ever going to have. James is either gone or not going to be in great form next season, Wayne is probably going to leave to try and be a #1 somewhere else, they had HFA and the superbowl was in a dome, and they had the Patriots out of the playoffs (and even if they didn't, they were weakened). The nice thing is that the defense will almost certainly be better next year than this year, but their offense is going to be in some serious decline.

by Zach (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 6:35am

I think the big issue with Peyton and the control he's given over the offense is that, like most top athletes, he has an inflated view of his abilities. In order to be a top NFL QB, he has to think he can make any throw, can convert in any tough situation, and so on. That's fine when he's running the plays and executing the strategy and gameplan the more dispassionate coaching staff has called, but it's a problem when he's constantly changing calls and waving the punting team off the field. As a counterpoint, look at what Matt Hasselbeck did against Washington on Saturday. Facing an all-out blitz on third-and-six, instead of putting the game in his own hands, as he would certainly be justified in doing as a Pro-Bowl QB, he audibles to a run to a 34-year-old fullback.

Obviously, Manning has all the talent in the world. And we know he has a great understanding of football. But he also has a (necessarily) large ego, and that ego needs to be checked by an offensive coordinator. Unfortunately for the Colts, the myth of Manning has grown so large that it seems like it would be hard to take some of the power out of his hands, though it seems necessary at this point.

by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 8:30am

As an ex-official wanted to chime in on some of the calls / rules:-

1) Refs can call a penalty any time before the next snap, so if there is no flag on the false start / encroachment it doesn't matter, they can huddle for minutes then call a penalty. The flag techncially isn't neccesary - it's purely a visual indicator and sometimes a spot marker.

2) If you are going to overturn a play on some obscure rule you need to explain it clearly. That way if it's the rule that sucks people can say that. If the ref was right to overturn the INT then that rule needs changed.

3) The crews only do one playoff game each except the Superbowl crew who also do a Wild Card game , I suspect the lot from the TB-WAS game are going to get the call.

by Tice London (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 9:18am

First of all as a 49ers fan, I’d like to thank the Packers for hiring Mike McCarthy. I’m sure the Jets fans feel the same kind of gratitude to Kansas City.

Anyway, I thought it might be a good idea to resend the message I sent after last year’s divisional games as it’s even more appropriate today. I look forward to sending it next year as well.

“Be grateful The Colts didn’t win…..I like Tony Dungy but Peyton Manning is someone you’d never get tired of slapping. Their franchise will suffer for the contract they’ve given to the sanctimonious little toad (This is a well reasoned and unemotional view. I just hope this doesn’t come back to bite me in the arse).�

by lagfish (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 10:33am

I'm no Manning fan but saying they had "protection problems" was putting it mildly. The Oline sucked and deserved to be eating bus tire rubber, Peyton was restrained IMO.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 10:35am


I was at the game. Exciting atmosphere throughout but clearly not the outcome I was hoping for.

A few in person observations:

--both offensive lines were holding at a furious pace. Since it was even not much to gripe about. But I think there wasn't a sack until late in the second half and if anyone wants to know why it was because the refs were looking the other way.

--I was disappointed Chicago didn't run more often even though they were behind. Thomas Jones really looked energized as he turned the corner several times yesterday.

--Peppers had a TD stolen from him. I had excellent seats and by mere chance had my binoculars on the play. In real time that was a fumble and a return. When I got home and saw the replay nothing changed my mind. Just a terrible reversal.

--The Bears secondary just looked confused most of the second half. Mike Brown isn't a world class safety but he is a pretty SMART player who gets those guys organized. Without him they looked lost.

--Delhomme is an interesting guy. When he's bad he's dreadful. But yesterday he made some throws just over one guy (or guys) and to just the right spot that impressed the h*ll out of me. That and he is a freaking nut job when things go well. You have to hear him to appreciate that he is a total loon. In a good way.

Don't know what else to say that wasn't pretty obvious from the broadcast.

Just plain phooey.

But at least my quarterback didn't pitch his offensive line under the bus out of frustration. That was about as pathetic a display as I have seen from a supposedly great player in quite a while context or no.

I haven't read this whole thread so if I am repeating multiple comments sorry. But having seen the likes of Staubach, Bradshaw, Dawson, Griese, Marino, Montana, Namath, Elway, Favre, etc. I am dumbstruck that the leader of the team would say such a thing. And like it or not the QB is one of the leaders if not THE leader. Has to be. Just is.

Stupid Bears.............

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 10:42am

Just to make it clear: at the halftime interview, Dungy said clearly that the punt team got ahead of themselves and ran onto the field. He had already told Manning that they were going for it on that 4th down play. This, at least, wasn't Manning being "arrogant" or whatever words have been used.

On the other hand, I saw that snippet of the news conference where he threw his OL under the bus. I don't really care what question prompted that; there was no class in saying what he said. But worse, he seems blind to his own failures, constantly pointing the finger elsewhere.

Our QB might not have the gaudy numbers, he might not take us all the way (although he's closer than both of the "best" QBs in the league), he might flip off fans, and he is unfortunately hirsute, but I'll take him. He's a team guy.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 10:45am


I'll remember to credit you from now on when I use that phrase. I remember the 97 game, but it doesn't upset me that much because I thought Denver was the better team that year anyway, and they just faded down the stretch before getting it back together in time. Besides, beating the Pats would have had that "settling all family business" feeling.

by Robert L. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 11:00am

In defense of NFL officials....we have to keep in mind when we blast them that as we watch a game on TV, we become very dramatic and outraged over isolated "big" calls, but we have no conception of the way the refs are watching the line and the defensive backfield, play after play, making constant judgements. We would never praise a ref for making a terrific call on a holding penalty or for a 5-yard facemask that we might have missed on TV, or for showing restraint on a possible motion penalty or roughing the QB situation that occurs outside the camera's eye. On every play, linemen grab each other and wrestle while receivers and d-backs shove and jostle, and the refs must see everything at once to determine what's legal, what's not, and what should be seen as a gray area and thus subject to a split-second judgement. It's a mathematically daunting task, and it all happens at hyper-speed. Any call which seems obvious to us at home is almost always far from obvious at field level with everything happening that fast, and never from an ideal angle.

by bengt (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 11:17am

What a game! My adrenaline was too high for sleeping for another three hours
(the game ended shortly after ten p.m. here in Germany). Good thing for me it
was the early game...
Seven observations from the second half:
1. Casey Hampton chasing Manning around. There are obviously 'protection issues'
when the QB has to run away from a defender; but when it's the nose
tackle and he almost gets the sack, you should maybe ask yourself if you could
work on your speed a bit to make life a little easier for your o-line.
2. Ben's tackle after the fumble. Through the season I had the impression that the Steelers were prepared
for everything, and now even their QB executes a difficult tackle in a decisive
situation perfectly.
3. The non-Interception: My first reaction was 'ridiculous', same as #304ff. Now,
after reading up on the rule, it's more like 'sad': that a stupid rule almost
destroyed a great game. On the other hand: Had Indy
recovered the 'fumble', would Cowher have challenged it as being an incomplete
pass? You bet (if he knows the rule, that is).
4. Polamalu jumping up and getting back to work after the call. Great focussing
and concentration. What a contrast to the slouching on the Indy bench.
5. The Bus runs it in through the complete red zone in five stages. To win a
championship, you must be able to stop this from happening.
6. Faneca flinched? I even wore my glasses and didn't see nothing.
7. After Indy's first TD, I said to my buddy 'They'll run at least for a couple
of first downs, and they'll either score or give the ball back with six minutes
to play.' :-)
So what was the main reason for this result? I think the Steelers learned more
from the regular season game (and probably Indy's San Diego game) than the Colts
were able to learn. The Steelers found a winning formula, the Colts were not
able to anticipate it, neither to adjust to it. If the Steelers can duplicate
this for the Championship game, Denver will be in trouble.
Go Steelers!

by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 11:20am

re 589

"–Peppers had a TD stolen from him."

You had the same reaction I did - until you see the still frame with the receivers knee on the ground and Peppers tackling him. One of the most obvious reversals I have ever seen.

by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 11:21am

Man I've read so much criticism of the overturning of the interception this morning - but not one quoted from the rule book and explained why the Ref was wrong. I wonder why that is?

by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 11:23am

I should add I was aiming my barb at lots of sports writers not the guys on here - where there has actually been some discussions about the wording of the rule.

by bengt (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 11:23am

My apologies for the poor line breaking in my last post. This seems to be the first time that the 'automatic' worked for me. Let's see what happens this time.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 11:34am


The cornerback tackled the receiver. Peppers was hustling out to help and was in the right spot at the right time. Think I'm wrong. Check out the video highlights and see for yourself.

And I disagree. And note I am a BEARS fan. A BEARS fan. OK? So no sour grapes here.

Just a guy who wants the game called correctly. And I think that call was wrong.

I think folks can gripe about officiating when things contradict common sense.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:06pm

kal, I never said Manning was humble, nor is he my favorite. I just think that, after a big steaming pile of kill the quarterback has been served up, in the immediate aftermath of the game, it isn't a great travesty for the quarterback on the receiving end to say that there were protection issues, in response to a question which asked about pressure. Geez, if people are going to get all out of whack about this, maybe players would be better served by just not attending press conferences after the game.

For all the attention on Manning (and he does bring it on himself to some degree by demanding such a large percentage of the salary cap), the key element of this game was that the Colts' offensive line was thoroughly whipped, while the Colts' defense sleepwalked through the first quarter.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:14pm


Nobody should be disputing that Manning's assessment is accurate.

But folks intuitively understand that the comment will not be well received in the locker room.

All the guy had to say as a quick follow up was something like, "we had protection issues and I made some terrible throws" or "we had protection issues and I didn't do a good job of adjusting to the Steelers defense".

Anything where he chimes in as being responsible as well.

He didn't do that. Manning strong inferred that his offensive line s*cked. Again, a true statement.

But not something that gets stated publicly without it being a GROUP condemnation. As in WE all stunk today.

I think if you review past performances by other "great" QBs you will notice that common thread. Actually, most of the time they talk about how THEY stunk it up.

And to be an annoyance to Manning fans, if this guy is supposed to be such a mystic at reading defenses he couldn't see Joey Porter revving his engine on the corner before the snap? Or Troy looking to blast up the middle? It wasn't like those guys were disguised in Colts uniforms immediately before the snap.

And I think Manning is a great QB. But this whole routine about how he sees all is rubbish. Otherwise, yesterday never happens.