Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Let's be honest: we have reached the point in the season where a lot of games are pretty pointless. But the games that are relevant have a lot on the line. To wit:

  • Thursday night: New Orleans (9-3) at Atlanta (7-5)
  • Sunday, early: Minnesota (10-2) at Carolina (8-4)
  • Sunday, early: Oakland (6-6) at Kansas City (6-6) with first place in the AFC West on the line
  • Sunday, late: Seattle (8-4) at Jacksonville (8-4)
  • Sunday, late: Philadelphia (10-2) at L.A. Rams (9-3)
  • Sunday night: Baltimore (7-5) at Pittsburgh (10-2)

Use this thread to discuss all that action, as well as New England's visit to Miami on Monday night.


by Hextall_27 :: Thu, 12/07/2017 - 10:36pm

I estimate that the Saints will win twice tonight

by milo :: Thu, 12/07/2017 - 10:49pm

If they beat Atlanta, it will be two wins. They are playing against the refs too.

by JustAnotherFalc... :: Thu, 12/07/2017 - 10:52pm

Ryan's trying to give you the game. Just line up properly for the FG, all you had to do.

by JustAnotherFalc... :: Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:31am

What a weird ending. Sean Payton wraps it up for the Falcons because he can't get the timeout called quickly after the fumble was recovered.

Tons of Saints hurt in the game, but hard to say it's a Thursday Night effect as the Falcons were relatively untouched. Think the biggest injury was Kamara early on; certainly changed the Saints offense away from throwing to the RBs.

Not looking forward to the rematch in two Sundays in New Orleans.

NFC South; the Lake Wobegon of the NFL, where everyone is above-average. Even the Bucs are an above-average last-place team.

by ChrisLong :: Fri, 12/08/2017 - 9:22am

A lot of games are pretty pointless? What nonsense. There's the games you listed plus:

-Green Bay fighting to stay in the playoff chase until our Lord and Savior Aaron Rodgers returns
-Buffalo and Detroit fighting (two different games) to keep their heads above water
-The Chargers face off against a good Redskins team, attempting to keep pace with the winner of the KC/Oakland game.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 12/08/2017 - 1:10pm

This weekend's game may be Cleveland's best chance to avoid 0-16.

by Guest789 :: Fri, 12/08/2017 - 2:35pm

Yeah, I didn't get this comment at all. The only games without any possbile playoff implications this week are Bengals-Bears, 49ers-Texans and Jets-Broncos. 13/16 is pretty damn good.

by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 12/08/2017 - 2:52pm

Even all of those, technically, have playoff implications. Bengals, Texans, Jets and Broncos are all still alive! Just barely!

by sbond101 :: Fri, 12/08/2017 - 3:36pm

I get where this comment is coming from - There seem to be a ton of teams right now that are technically alive, but when I look at the required scenario I roll my eyes a bit (e.g. Bills, Bengals, Cowboys & Detroit). I know that from a statistics point of view, one of these teams probably makes the playoffs, but I just can't bring myself to believe their games are meaningful at this point. Sunday night is going to be great though.

by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 12/08/2017 - 5:47pm

All depends on what you mean "technically", I suppose.

Personally, I'd consider Dallas, Washington, Arizona, Tampa Bay, NY Jets, Cincinnati, Miami, Houston, Indianapolis and Denver all essentially dead, even if there are mathematical ways for them to get in. Add that to Cleveland, Chicago, NY Giants and San Francisco being ~actually~ out, and that just leaves 18 teams.

In addition, Philadelphia, Minnesota, LA Rams, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, New England and Jacksonville are all essentially in, just jockeying for position and seeding. So those games still absolutely matter, but maybe a little less dramatically than those for the remaining 11 teams that are neither realistically in or realistically out at this point in time:

Seattle, Carolina, Atlanta, Detroit and Green Bay in the NFC
Tennessee, Kansas City, Baltimore, LA Chargers, Buffalo and Oakland in the AFC.

by Dan :: Sat, 12/09/2017 - 5:25am

Just jockeying for seeding? Philadelphia, Minnesota, LA, and New Orleans and fighting to win a playoff game before the playoffs even start.

It's like winning outright in regulation instead of just sending it to overtime.

by Bryan Knowles :: Sat, 12/09/2017 - 2:16pm

Oh, it's absolutely important -- but secondary to the goal of making the playoffs in the first place.

It's a reason the LA-Philly game is so huge, though. For the sake of argument, let's assume the Eagles lose, but otherwise win out to get to 13-3:

*They'd lose a tiebreaker with Minnesota, based on either common games, conference record or strength of victory (depending on which game Minnesota lost)
*They'd lose a tiebreaker with Los Angeles based on head-to-head

The Saints loss really helps, because the Eagles would have lost a tiebreaker at 13-3 to New Orleans, as well, due to the strength of victory tiebreaker -- and still would if they fell to 12-4.

A win, on the other hand, not only makes it that much harder for anyone else to catch them atop the conference, but also gives them the tiebreaker over at least LA (Minnesota probably still would win by strength of victory, but at least it would require a road win against Carolina to do so).

I haven't run the FO numbers, but we're probably talking a 60-65% chance of winning home field advantage if they beat LA -- irrespective of whatever else happens Sunday -- versus a 10-15% chance if they lose. A win would essentially lock up a bye week (~99%ish compared to 55-60% if they lose).

So yeah. That one matters a little bit.

by jonsilver :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 5:47pm

Mostly dead is partly alive...Dallas, Arizona, Denver and Miami (for a few more hours) are only mostly dead...

by nat :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 5:55pm

With all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

What's that?

Go through their roster and look for unrestricted free agents.

by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 6:15pm

Why won't Aaron Rodgers' arm move?

Well, he's been mostly dead all season.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 8:29am

No games are poiintlezs unless you are trying to say only concern is Super Bowl. Even Gsjnfa playing Squirrels and Cowboys importNf. Or 49drs playing Cadrindla because another look at Garoppolo and draft position gets affected and platers put plays on film and it all impacts rroster building for 2018 and free agency and some practice squad plauers may get called to active rpster Week 17 and play
. then you also have fantasy football where two also-rans may face off but you start a guy from one team. Now you are heavily invested in that game.
Officials still gst graded in crappier matchup games and thsi can help decide whihc officials gwt used in playoff games

So all the games are importantin soem way

by Athelas :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 9:28am

I think you and Belichick would get along quite well.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 9:51am

yes, in som e ways can actually see tha .t

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 9:49am

picks are in-

Bils 23, clots 16
Cowbits 33, Gusmts 25
Buccaneers 24, Loisn 20
Raiders 41, Chiefs 16
Jafurs 17, Seahakws 16
49ers 24, Texnas 17
Packers 20, Browns 19
Bengals 30, Bera s 10
Panmtehers 26, Vikigns 24
Squirrels 31, Chargers 20
Jets 28, Brocnos 23
Totnas 22, Cardinals 13
Eagles 27, Rams 24
Ravens 12, Steelers 10
Patriotns 44, Dolphsin 24

by Megamanic :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 11:21pm

Well, all the AFC West games went the other way :)

You guys need to come to L.A. and win your second home game of the year against the Chargers...

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 2:10am

Overall 7-7 . luckilh only done here. Was in no pick 'em pools this year.

Rotten fsntsys experience today as opponent in key game bolted from league. didn't bother pullingj. MIxon and J. Smith-Schuster from his lineup giving easy win to playoff hopeful. Very Bad for league. Tainted now.

Real team lost too which alresdg had me grumpy but am much more used to that. Can get over that much easier.

The fantasy thing is so rotten that ahave decided not playing traditional anymore. Will do points onlg or best ball

by Megamanic :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 11:21pm

Well, all the AFC West games went the other way :)

You guys need to come to L.A. and win your second home game of the year against the Chargers...

by joe football :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 1:17pm

Time for another season of FO slack gameday chat! For people who are already in, just go to https://kotakuites.slack.com/messages/fo/details/. For anyone that wants to join a star-studded cast of their favorite FO posters for gameday chat, just email me at gamadict@gmail.com and you will receive an invite

by ammek :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 1:59pm

I've a sneaking suspicion that the themes of this week's Any Given Sunday are going to be:
1) Josh Gordon – playmaker
2) Packers still vulnerable to rushing QBs
3) Brett Hundley is crap
4) McCarthy punting or kicking field goals on 4th-&-1.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 3:05pm

5) Packers mediocre secondary makes Kizer look like an all-pro

by Joshua Northey :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:04pm


by justanothersteve :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 3:12pm

Watching Red Zone and wishing I could watch the Colts-Bills game locally just for the snow.

by Steve in WI :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 2:24pm

There needs to be a league rule that snow games must immediately be flexed into every market.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 3:26pm

Atrocious officiating in the Vikings Panthers game. Nothing annoys me more than a receiver, Treadwell, pushing off the entire route and then getting a defensive pass interference call. Second bad defensive interference call so far in the first half.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 3:38pm

He was being held for about 10 yards before he started pushing off. I'm a Packers fan and I even thought the Panthers deserved the penalty.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 3:51pm

Did he dive onto the neck of the DB while he was on the ground? I've been informed that's the reasonable response.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 5:23pm

Ha! That does seem to be the argument.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 5:22pm

You mean his stiff arm was being held?

by Joshua Northey :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:03pm

Wow are the refs out for MIN in this game. A couple of fairly week face mask calls in the first five CAR a TD. Then MIN loses a TD on one of those silly "bobble"calls where the WR didn't coke close to losing it (at least the are being consistent with this idiocy).

Then a fumble call on a 15 yard forward pass that is upheld.

That said MIN has a couple of real bad mistakes, the Dan totally blew his assignment on the first 60yd rushing TD and abandoned his gap. Rudolph dropped a big reception right after the announcers mentioned he had no drops this year, and then Hendricks gave up a TD when cheating a bit in coverage.

On the second face mask on Newton I kind of looked like Newton turned his head himself.

Anyway, MIN actually looks pretty good despite alll this and I thuonk if you play this 10 times they win 7 of them.

by milo :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:14pm

Mr. Reggie Bush, circa 2008, would like all Viking fans to STFU regarding facemask calls.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 5:20pm

Those two 'weak' face mask calls on the first drive? Only penalties called on Minnesota the entire game. Yeah. They went 55 minutes without a penalty.
The fumble was absolutely a fumble. No question about it.
The non-TD catch. I disagree with the rule, but the rule clearly states that if the ball comes out of both hands while going to the ground out of bounds it's an incomplete pass. That one wasn't controversial.
Both of those of course were decided at the head office.
How is it that Zimmer gets away with being on the field at the goal line on that last touchdown? That is no where near the coaches box.
Or yelling, and I will paraphrase, 'FU' at the ref?
I would prefer that there are no penalties called during a game. But if the refs aren't calling them, then don't call defensive pas interference when the receiver has a stiff arm on the defender the entire run down the field. If he hadn't been so busy man-handling the defender, he could have made a play on the ball.

by thewhitesnake8 :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:41pm

Those face masks were the right calls. The first one, on 3rd and 14, was the worse of the two. Just a DUMB mistake to make.

Thielen didn't "complete the catch." You can argue the rule, but the application was correct. Although it would be a catch under Lombardi's "If 50 guys in a bar all think it's a catch, then it is a catch" rule. He dropped one two plays before, so ... karma, I guess?

Last, don't f*ck with Zimmer.

by dank067 :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:06pm

Packers fail to convert 3rd and 4th and 1 runs out of heavy formations with the Browns stacking the box and flying downfield. Ensuing Browns drive, in a 3rd and 1, they spread out the defense and go zone read for a huge gain. Could not be a more neat summation in my mind of how utterly predictable, uncreative, and ill-suited to the strengths of his personnel McCarthy's offense has become.

by Ben :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:07pm

Joe Webb now in at QB for Buffalo. I won’t be surprised if the Bills don’t attemp another pass for the rest of the game (Colts didn’t attempt a pass until the second quarter).

by sbond101 :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:13pm

this game is so much fun to watch. Sorry to see Peterman go down, but I think football is more fun when it's really hard to kick and hold on to the ball.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:15pm

He might not be better, but Logan Thomas has QB'd as well.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:08pm

Damnit Minnesota. Either win this game, or agree to lose the next three as well.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:28pm

Are you really that eager to see the Lions lose in the Wildcard round yet again?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 9:43pm

Beats the alternative.

by Joshua Northey :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:24pm

Yeah MIN just doesn't have it today. Nice performance by CAR.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:41pm

Nice play by Brissett on the two-point conversion. Glad the Colts went for two in a game like this.

Edit: Whoops. Penalty on the Colts.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:43pm

Wow, Colts have a ten-minute drive with a two-point conversion to likely win the game against the Bills. I believe they had at least two fourth-down conversions along the way too.

EDIT: NVM, there was a penalty. If Indy can get the XP now we are highly likely to finally see the first tie under the new ten-minute OT rules.

by Joshua Northey :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:53pm

Thiugh MIN has looked the better team generally I am surprised CAR couldn't put this away considering how many times MIN shot themselves in the foot.

by sbond101 :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:53pm

Somewhere out there BB is laughing at the Colts for not trying to get any more yard before trying a long field goal and missing. Now their going to OT.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 4:56pm

This was set up by the Bills trying to pass with Joe Webb as QB, on their own side of the field with less than a minute remaining, resulting in an interception. I don't think being aggressive there was the right decision.

by sbond101 :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 7:42pm

got the ball back with 52 seconds left and only managed to run the ball once. I really have to believe they could have run the ball twice there to try to get the some yards (preserving the 3rd down spike before the FG try). with how warn down the Bills defense was, there was every chance of getting 5-10 more yards. 5-10 more yards in that situation might add 15% to winning percentage; you don't get too many chances too add to your winning percentage like that by just going more quickly and running from the I between the takles.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 5:09pm

With about four minutes left in OT, the Bills opt to punt on fourth-and-one from the Colts 41. Just based on their record I'm guessing a tie doesn't help the Bills much in trying to get to the playoffs, so that's a bad call I think.

by vrao81 :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 5:49pm

That was the Browns best chance to get a win, right?

by dank067 :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 6:39pm

Can't beat having a 14 point lead late in the second half at home, but Christmas Eve at Soldier Field is probably their best shot.

by herewegobrownie... :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:31am

I don't know, Da Bears looked awfully good on the road against Cincy.

They might have just as good a bet hoping Baltimore has one of its flatlining-on-offense days, or the Steelers resting their starters - the Pats laying an egg tonight threw a wrench into the probability of the latter, depending on what happens this coming week.

by Theo :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 6:53pm

I think the Browns defense with their strong run defense is a good fit to stop the Bears offense.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 7:52pm

The cheering after the Eagles TD on fourth down made me check to see if the game was in Philadelphia.

by jtr :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 8:36pm

That Colts-Bills game in deep snow was something else. Later on in the game, it looked like both coaches figured out that the way to win was to dig deep in the playbook for college-style plays with multiple layers of misdirection. Slow developing plays are fine when the defense is slowed down by the snow, and once you get the defense leaning the wrong way it's very hard for them to recover in the bad footing in the snow.

by vrao81 :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 8:38pm

Wentz is out, but this game is still close. Lives up to its billing. 35-34 rams late in fourth.

by Pen :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 8:42pm

Jacksonville defender stumbles and leaves Tyler Lockette open for the game winner so in desperation he reaches out and pulls Lockett down. No DPI called though a ref was standing right there.

by iapetus :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 3:54am

A shocking call. If the refs had called a better game that would have probably led to a TD. Just like the even more egregious missed PI call against the Seahawks earlier in the game. While it's painful to have the last bad call go against you, there was plenty to go around in that game...

by Kopalec :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 8:54am

That game was all about Russell again. In the first half he was a bust missing his receivers deep and the ensuing interceptions. Some of them were effectively arm punts, but he had to much air under a couple to Baldwin that would have been large gains. Then the Jags getting caught with their pants down in the 4th quarter. The non call on that play hurt, but the drop/errant throw to Graham hurt more. They got off schedule and things went downhill from there.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 9:08pm

Possibly a Pyrrhic victory for the Eagles. NFL Network said Rapoport is reporting Wentz is out for year with ACL injury.

by RickD :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 9:42pm

Not that he deserves the injury, but had he slid instead of going head first, he wouldn't have been injured.

Huge blow to the Eagles.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 9:48pm

I give Belichick credit. Whatever it was he sacrificed to the dark gods? It must have been really good. Because that shit has longevity and effectiveness.

by RickD :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 10:14pm

I wasn't expecting the Eagles to make the Super Bowl in any case. Not that they are a weak team, but the NFC is pretty deep at the top. Any of the Vikings/Saints/Rams/Seahawks/Panthers could make a solid opponent.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:18am

Nobody would have been too surprised if the Eagles played in the Super Bowl either prior to this injury. I agree all the top teams are fairly equal. Most people would be surprised if the Eagles made it now because almost nobody expects a return of 2013 Nick Foles, which could thwart Darth Belichick.

by RickD :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 11:32pm

Great pass defense by Mike Wallace on that play.

by sbond101 :: Sun, 12/10/2017 - 11:48pm

There really ought to be a scramble award named in honor of Flacco for drawing marginal PI calls in high leverage situations. That one Mike Wallace just drew was a pretty incredible result for a ball that really should have been picked.

by deus01 :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:26am

Can Flacco just throw the ball deep and get a DPI every time? I turned this game on late but some of these interference penalties are ridiculous.

by erniecohen :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 1:12am

The last one might be one of the worst I've seen lately. Marginal interference *and* an uncatchable ball.

by roguerouge :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:49am

Why did Brown just run out of bounds after the big catch without being force? He had a step on the guy and if he breaks that tackle he scores a TD. Very weird to give up field position like that at the 30 on Heinz Field, where it's not exactly an easy kick.

by erniecohen :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 1:10am

Not to mention the clock - if he stays inbounds and they run three times, that uses up the entire clock.

by RickD :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 1:38am

Bad defensive fail by the Ravens. Gotta lock that game down at the end. They cannot expect to score 38 points very often.

by Hextall_27 :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 2:00am

The Steelers entire season has been play poorly and then survive by chucking the ball deep to Antonio Brown to catch up at the end.

They have been tap dancing on thin ice all year.

by jtr :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 9:01am

I can't get over Cam Newton's TD pass to Funchess. He was falling backwards with his shoulders all the way open and he still fired a dart. His arm strength is just unreal, and it lets him throw fastballs from totally impossible body positions on a regular basis.

by jtr :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 9:49am

Oh my god. I had seen the footage yesterday of Savage's apparent seizure on the field yesterday. I hadn't realized until this morning that Houston SENT HIM BACK IN after that. It was only after he looked bad on the field that they decided it was time for the concussion protocol to actually work. And Bill O'Brien had the gall after the game to claim that it isn't his responsibility to ensure that his quarterback has a functioning brain when he's on the field. I agree with Tanier's take this morning that the NFL needs to start suspending coaches who send players back on the field after obvious concussion level blows. When a player is in bad enough shape that the entire audience can diagnose a concussion from their couch, there's no excuse for the team to miss it.

EDIT: it's come to my attention that Savage's arm position is known as the "fencing response" and it is one of the classical symptoms of a concussion. If the NFL concussion monitors aren't pulling players after seeing that, they are literally not doing anything at all.


by Hextall_27 :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 7:20pm

Bill Barnwell, the people running the ESPN Playoff Machine, and who knows who else keep pretending the Vikings are in better position than they are for the #1 seed.

Philly has a 100% chance at the #1 seed at 3-0 or any 2-1 scenario.
-No head to head
-Philly is 9-1 in conference and Minnesota is 8-2
-Philly is a lock for tiebreaker 3, common games at 5-0 vs Minnesota at 3-1 with Chicago left to play.
(the Panthers win and the Eagles win locked this for the Eagles)

New Orleans and the LA Rams can't catch either team if they finish 13-3 so there are no 3 or 4 way ties to consider.

by Hextall_27 :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 7:41pm

What a strange Barnwell article on ESPN.

He also makes a leap in logic that the #1 seed Eagles will face the #4 seed.

The NFC Wildcard home teams are 17-13 since realignment.
That's something like a 67% chance that they don't play the #4 seed based on 2 rolls at 57% each. In practice 7 #1 seeds played the #4 seed in the NFC playoffs since 2002 (15 seasons).

by morganja :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 10:27pm

There's the Patriot TD giveaway. DPI on the Miami defender for using his facemask to interfere with Cook's stiff arm. Let's see how many more TD's the refs will gift the Patriots.

by milo :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 10:34pm

Turned on the game and it's the first play I see. OPI NE not called. DPI called.

by RickD :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:50am

Officials running behind the play probably did not see the hand to the face mask. But did see the defender's arm grabbing Cooks.

by BJR :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:19pm

Xavien Howard, first time I've seen this guy play

by BJR :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:43pm

I can just about understand the Miami offense having success against a Patriots D starting several players of whom I have never heard. The pass rush and shutdown corner play they are producing is something of a surprise, however.

by RickD :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:09am

The Dolphins have a good pass rush. (Checks stats). OK, Cameron Wake is good. Though it certainly helped that he got to tee off on the Pats' 3rd string right tackle.

Xavien Howard did a good job on Cooks. What baffles me is how the Pats never managed to get anybody else open. I know they missed Gronk, but Hogan was back, so they had Amendola and Hogan as well as Cooks running routes (+ any RBs). It's inexcusable that they could not produce more in the air. They had the people they needed. So what happened?

Also: enough with the screen passes for 1-yard gains!

by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:46pm

We are squarely in that portion of a losing game in which McDaniel thinks continuing to swing his magic hammer will allow him to impose his will/intellect on the other team, despite it being clear that shit just isn’t working...

by morganja :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:47am

"Ticky-tacky foul"roughing the passer setting up the Patriots....

by RickD :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:52am

You know, you are allowed to make other kinds of comments.

The "ticky-tack" call was a hit to Brady's helmet after he released the ball.
That always gets called. Pass rushers are not allowed to hit the QB's helmet after he throws a pass.

by morganja :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:24am

Does it? Cam Newton would disagree. Also, that was a hand to the shoulder which grazed the helmet, which is called only for Brady, as best I can tell.

by BJR :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:50am

That must be one of Brady's worst DVOA games in a long time. 0/11 on third down!

by RickD :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:04am

Just a bad game by Brady, bad game by the O-line, and bad game by McDaniels.

Case in point: late in the game the Pats had a 1st and 20 deep in their own territory. McD dials up two long passes on first and second down. Neither worked, which really shouldn't be a shocker since deep passing is not Brady's game nor is it the bread-and-butter of the Pats' offense. And then on 3rd and 20 they do a short pass for 10 yards. Which is what they should have done on first or second down!

Brady certainly takes a lot of the blame for missing receivers much of the night. Clearly not 100% physically. Both interceptions were 100% his fault.

McD never seemed to figure out what to do with the offense. When you have a top 3 offense and you're facing a bottom tier defense, an outing like this is inexcusable, even with Gronk out.

Aside, because it was really bothering me. How many plays did Brady deal with some edge defender getting a lot of pressure, have to step forward and run into Suh, who was basically stationary? How many times did Gruden heap praise on Suh for basically standing still while the edge rushers did the hard work? Just awful! (Gruden, not Suh.)

The Patriots apparently fell into the trap of overlooking the team they clobbered two weeks ago in anticipation of the big game in Pittsburgh. They simply did not look ready to play in the first half. Got some traction in the 2nd quarter, and then the 3rd quarter was even worse. Why is Elandon Roberts in coverage, ever? When Gruden looks at the screen and says "There's a mismatch with Elandon Roberts covering Kenyan Drake that the Dolphins are going to try to exploit" and the ball is snapped and Drake simply runs past Roberts for a 47-yard reception - how does that happen? _Somebody_ has to call a time out there and fix the defense before they give up half the length of the field because they have the wrong guy in coverage.

Certainly a game the Dolphins deserved to win. I don't know why they're so inconsistent - that was a completely different team than the one that was clobbered in New England two weeks ago.

by morganja :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:25am

Do you think McDaniels was getting back at Brady for last weeks's sideline tirade?

by milo :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 9:45am

You object to the play calling because you don't understand that the play call was "draw a defensive pass interference".

by morganja :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:21am

Watching Belichick doing the interview here, mumbling, surly, petulant, explain to me again why Cam Newton was skewered for his interview after the Super Bowl loss.

by t.d. :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 4:55am

You can't be seriously asking that, can you? I mean, he smiles too much. And finding kids wearing his jersey to give them the football after he scores a touchdown, what a phony move! We need more guys like Richie Incognito or Gronk who just have fun out there!

by morganja :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:15am

Maybe he should Gronk a kid after a touchdown?

by t.d. :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 5:09am

Said it in Audibles, if the Pats blow the bye, they're fucked (and if Gronk has his semi-annual injury, they're fucked then too). I'm sure it's happened before, but I can't remember the last time the two Super Bowl frontrunners went to longshots in 48 hours (if Brady keeps playing through the regular beatings he's been taking, a Peyton-esque nosedive gets more and more plausible every week; Peyton was taking his lumps and performing as usual until the Rams game in 2014, and then he was gone, forever; ask Richard Sherman how smart it is playing through a gimpy Achilles). if this lousy Pats team somehow manages to steal another ring (like they did against the Seahawks and Falcons). I'll be closer than ever to washing my hands of the sport (while, to be honest, i've enjoyed the last couple of years of watching vintage Brady, it'll take a lot of the enjoyment out of the sport for me if all it takes is a quarterback to turn a garbage team into the prohibitive favorite- what would be the point of all the team-building maneuvers if all it takes is one move to wrap up a championship?)

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 7:36am

In will say again that expanding the allowed are for contact with receivers to 10 yards would make for a more interesting game, in that it would provide for more alternative routes to building championship rosters.

by jtr :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 8:57am

I disagree that allowing more defensive contact would make the sport less QB-centric. That would make passing windows even smaller, which would make a very accurate quarterback like Rodgers or Brady even more valuable since they would be the only passers who could reliably fit balls into the tighter windows.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 9:12am

That wasn't the case prior to 1978. When passing becomes more difficult, running the ball becomes more valuable. Do we want to go back to the dead ball era? No, of course not, so we certainly want to not make pass blocking harder.

by jtr :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:01am

Running the ball would be more important, but making passing harder for everyone makes it even more valuable to be able to pass effectively. I think that making it harder for receivers to get open puts even more value on QB's who can either throw their man open or buy lots of time for guys to get separation. Plus, the law of unintended consequences is always at play, and I think it could even make it harder to run the ball. If your corners are allowed to maul WR's down the field, then you can trust them to play 1-on-1 more and you can put more defenders in the box to stop the run.
If you want to make running more valuable, I think you have to actually do something that makes it easier to run rather than harder to pass. Perhaps allowing a bit more holding on run plays?

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:02am

If running the ball becomes more important, then by definition any player who aids in running the ball becomes more important.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 9:12am

The Patriots, aside from Brady, are a much better team than they showed last night. I wouldn’t overreact to one bad game (one off my pet peeves is people making definitive pronouncements about the quality teams or players based on a sample size of one game). We have 12 other games from which to judge them.

Also, the Dolphins apparently have the same voodoo curse over the Patriots that Jeff Fisher’s Rams had over the Seahawks. The ‘Hawks put forth some stinkers against them, but they seemed to be otherwise fine.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:08pm

", but I can't remember the last time the two Super Bowl frontrunners went to longshots in 48 hours"

You're reading way too much into that game.

As they pointed out about 45 times during the broadcast, Brady is now 7-9 in Miami (.438). He's 186-45 (.805) everywhere else.

Its clearly not something scheme specific (because its over too long), and probably entirely mental, but he's clearly got an issue playing in Miami.

And yeah, Brady looked absolutely terrible - when he wasn't getting heavily pressured, he was missing open guys on relatively easy throws - which has to be the achilles. Strangely, he seemed to be able to move around fine.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:40pm

I didn't realize immediately how easy it would be for the Pats to drop to the #3 seed. The Jags have to win three winnable games, and the Steelers have to beat the Pats. That's it.

I have a feeling the Jags slip up somewhere, so the Pats should have some wiggle room.

I know correlation isn't causation and whatever, but it is interesting the Patriots have never gone to the Super Bowl in a year where they didn't have the bye.

Of course, it helps to not have a bye just three times (2005, 2006, 2009)

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:08pm

"I have a feeling the Jags slip up somewhere,"

That feeling is called "Blake Bortles is their quarterback"

by morganja :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:59am

It would go a long way if they would just start calling offensive pass interference regularly. Running into the defender, stiff arming the corner, and pushing off should be flagged.
DPI should be 10 yards and a first. Perhaps another class of penalty for deliberate cynical DPI.
The defense doesn't need an advantage. They just need the same rules they have to follow applied to the receivers, just as it states in the rule book.
Also there should be a serious penalty for teams that roll out 3rd tier JV quarterbacks while Kaep is unemployed.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:10pm

I'd love to see more offensive penalties be loss-of-down.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/12/2017 - 2:06pm

I'd make all that occurred after the snap entail loss of down.

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