Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Week 15 kicks off with Broncos-Colts in the Life Was Better When We Had Peyton Manning Bowl, and then Saturday football returns with Bears-Lions and Chargers-Chiefs. Big Sunday games include Packers-Panthers, Rams-Seahawks, and of course the game of the year in Patriots-Steelers. Sunday night has Cowboys-Raiders, and it wraps up Monday night with Falcons-Buccaneers. Use this thread to discuss it all.


by TimK :: Thu, 12/14/2017 - 9:45pm

What a horrible interception (again) from Siemian. Not even a ‘gunslinger’ type throw into tight coverage, there was no window to complete that pass, thrown like that. If he’d thrown it over the top it would have been risky but at least there would have been some intelligible process to the throw, but that was embarrassingly poor.

As a Broncos fan I figured after last year at worst he would be a long term serviceable backup, if he cannot stop these facepalm worthy throws he isn’t even that.

by dmstorm22 :: Fri, 12/15/2017 - 1:45pm

I love that the TNF game got just one comment.

On the whole, I have found TNF way more palatable (quality of play wise) this year than in other recent ones, but still that was a stinker of a game. Also, the Colts color-rush unis were hideous.

I'm interested if the Colts ever considered that game for Manning's ceremony into the Ring of Honor? It would have been fitting, also a way to symbolically take ownership of Manning back (if that ever was in question). Kind of like how after he had his retirement press conference, he had a second, final, one in Indy.

by ChrisS :: Fri, 12/15/2017 - 2:26pm

I hate to add to the content volume of such a crappy game. Too bad Simian (sp) was hurt but Osweiller played well (unadjusted for a terrible defense) and Anderson had some good runs/blocking in the second half.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 12/15/2017 - 2:52pm

Didn't see the game but for the Colts to lose to that Broncos team is surely the final nail in the coffin for Pagano, isn't it?

by dmstorm22 :: Fri, 12/15/2017 - 2:55pm

They've now lost 5 games after leading by double digits.

Pagano should have been gone years ago. If he somehow survives this he'll literally be the unkillable cockroach of NFL coaches.

by Cythammer :: Sat, 12/16/2017 - 7:19pm

ESPN's Total QBR stat gave Osweiler a rating of 99.2 for the game, which is actually the highest for any quarterback in any game this year.

by deus01 :: Fri, 12/15/2017 - 2:53pm

I think I prefer the broncos color-rush jerseys to their normal ones, however, pairing them with orange pants is just too much.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/15/2017 - 4:46pm

The Sunday Night game isn't horrible, but besides the obvious Pats-Steelers match, I have more interest in Rams at Seahawks, Packers at Panthers, or Chargers-Chiefs.

by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 12/15/2017 - 10:11pm

Yeah, the NFC West showdown may not be as important as Pats-Steelers, but it's the one I'm the most looking forward to. A win basically (if not mathematically) wraps up the division for the Rams; a loss makes missing the playoffs entirely a realistic (if not favored) possibility. Plus, hey, Russell Wilson running around that Rams defense is always a thing to see.

by BJR :: Sat, 12/16/2017 - 5:24pm

Kurt Warner in the announcers booth here, interested to hear what he offers

by Tim R :: Sat, 12/16/2017 - 7:58pm

What's the verdict?

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:23pm

Warner has been okay on the radio, if nothing special. I didn't see any of his game today.

Brady Popoinga is FANTASTIC on radio broadcasts, by the way. I'd encourage anyone to pick up an AM broadcast if he's calling the game. He's sort of like a Romo of audio ;)

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:32pm

My opinion is that he’s competent. Doesn’t add a whole lot to the viewing experience, but doesn’t actively detract from it either.

by joe football :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 12:41pm

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 Eddo :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 2:32pm

Aaron Rodgers is back, and so are dumb timeouts as the play clock winds down. Third and nine from the Carolina thirteen, and he calls timeout. On the next play, he hits Davante Adams on a post route about five yards into the end zone.

by Eddo :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 2:46pm

Apparently, Cam Newton is emulating Rodgers; he just called timeout on a third and fourteen from the Green Bay fifteen. Good grief.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 3:38pm

THAT’S your takeaway from Rodgers being back?

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:25pm

Wait, what is your criticism here? It sounds like that was a really smart timeout to take, seeing as how the result was a touchdown.

by Eddo :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:27pm

That he should have let the play clock run down rather than waste a timeout. The touchdown would have been good from the eighteen, just like it was from the thirteen.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 3:02pm

So on those first two long drives for Carolina, the Panthers apparently ran 26 plays without once having a WR touch the ball.

by ChrisS :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 3:29pm

How can people not be ranting about the Lions 'jerseys'. They are the ugliest things I have ever seen on a football field and I say that as Lions fan of 50 yrs who has seen lots of ugly things on a football field.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 3:54pm

I agree that its one of the worst color rush unis. If they had solid blue numbers, itheybwould be a little better (not good, mind you, but better). The grey with white numbers is just awful, however.

by Jovins :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:04pm

I like the Lions jerseys...

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:11pm

He means the grey color rush jerseys they wore yesterday.

by Jovins :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 5:03pm

I know.

I like their grey color rush jerseys.

by jonsilver :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 3:28am

As a Lions fan of 60 years standing, I agree with ChrisS and Mr. Piano...however, they are not even the worst NFL jerseys of the week; that award goes to the Colts' color rush abomination...and the all time worst color rush game is still the red-green color blind Bills-Jets game of unlamented memory...

by iapetus :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 3:40pm

Blake Bortles, of course, is still terrible.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:01pm

I’m not paying attention to that game, but the stats say 31-0 Jags, and Bortles has 3TD passes, 247 yards, and no turnovers. Not sure what more you want him to do. (For the record, I think his competent season this year is an outlier).

by iapetus :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:46pm

There may be a hint of sarcasm in my original comment...

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:04pm

The league continues to not know how to define a catch in the end zone.

by Anger...rising :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:10pm

Or out of it, as the case may be.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:10pm

Yea I thought the edge of his butt clearly landed out of bounds. At least it was enough in doubt to not overturn the original call.

by Eddo :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:24pm

I thought it was pretty clear his left butt cheek hit in bounds before his right butt cheek hit out of bounds. And once any part of his butt is on the ground, he's down.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:16pm

I guess I can understand why Fox chose Green Bay vs Carolina as their national game with Rogers playing again, but still, really Fox? Does anyone actually believe this is a better game than the Rams at Seattle later?

Fox is assuming that more viewers care about a big name quarterback more than they care about watching what promises to be a more exciting and likely more well-played game, and even if they're right it's still bullshit because if that's what people care about, it's Fox's own fault because that's all football consumers have ever been given! And I DON'T think they're right anyway, considering the universal praise Romo's been getting, both from hardcore fans like us and from anybody with a twitter account.

by dank067 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 5:21pm

I don't think there's much Fox could do given the way the schedule fell. They don't have the doubleheader this week, Seattle can't host a game in the early slot, and CBS already has a huge matchup in the late slot. Now I think Seattle/LA would have made for a great Sunday nighter, but with the Cowboys involved...

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 6:40pm

That brings up another good question: why the hell is NE-Pitt in the late slot in the first place?

by dank067 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 7:21pm

The NFL's broadcasting regime is complicated, so this might not be a 100% complete explanation, but basically they are trying to set up an exclusive window for one network in the late afternoon slot to get a large national viewing audience. Therefore the lead late doubleheader game is usually one of the best, most appealing games of the week.

Purely as a fan, I think it would be great for the NFL to experiment with making major changes to how their system works, and they'll probably be forced to pretty soon given how rapidly TV viewer habits are changing. (They may not have even fully understood what their fans really wanted in the first place, as you alluded to.) But giving most of the country their home team in the early slot and NE/PIT in the late slot does probably maximize ratings just within the framework of the current system.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:18pm

The Jets have actually been at least kinda hanging around with the Saints. If they still had McCown rather than Petty I think they might be winning.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 4:34pm

The Saints can’t seem to stop fumbling.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 5:06pm

Wow, two successful onside kicks in the early games. Cutler throws and arm punt INT. Let’s see what Rodgers can do.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 5:23pm

Jets came very close to getting one as well. Down by 5 after a failed two-point conversion, the ball was loose down the sideline after a Panther player failed to catch it, but with only Jets players nearby the ball rolled out of bounds.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 7:58pm

Even worse, a Panther player failed to field an onside kick and it resulted in a Green Bay Packers recovery down in Carolina at the same time. How bad is your special teams when they are fumbling two kicks at the same time in different cities?

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 5:15pm

Of course he’d fumble it after all that.

by vrao81 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 5:22pm

Eagles Giants coming down to the wire.

by RickD :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:18pm

As a Patriots fan, I'm embarrassed to see the game won that way.

It's a stupid, stupid rule.

by nat :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:25pm

It's a fine rule. Just a stupid play. Finish the catch before you stretch, man. If you're going to the ground, just finish the catch.

Second and a foot would have been fine.

by deus01 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:30pm

The problem is that the rule discourages exciting athletic plays. Making a catch and reaching to the end zone is fun to watch but increases the chance of the ball moving slightly when it hits the ground. There's no reason why the rules for a catch when going to the ground should be that much more strict than any other situation.

by Joshua Northey :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:18pm

I am not a big fan of Pittsburgh, but that no TD call is I think that last time i intentionally watch a NFL game, no one even on the patriots had any questions that was a TD. And that is like the 8th time this year that I have had to sit through that and I only watch about half a game a week. It happens almost once a game now.

by Yu Narukami :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:23pm

It was the right call. It is a dumb, utterly ambiguous rule, but that's it.

by Joshua Northey :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:27pm

If it was the wrong call it would be much less infuriating. They have just butchered the concept of a catch and be excitement of watching a game.

by RickD :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:31pm

It's a dumb rule, but they called it consistently with the Megatron no-TD.

Here's the logic to call it a TD:
a) receiver has control the ball
b) ball crosses the plane of the end zone

That should be it!! Why should I care if he's "going to the ground" after he scores a TD?
The NFL really needs to fix this rule.

This is really confusing me. I should be cheering for the Pats but the rule is so stupid it bothers me.

(Of course, the Steelers didn't have to follow that up with an interception...)

by deus01 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:19pm

Brady makes some terrible throws to Gronk and the Patriots get the lead. Steelers improbably get a 68 yard play on a dump pass. Make a play that everyone in the world thinks is a touchdown except the NFL. Then on a tipped pass the Patriots get an interception to win the game. Ridiculous

by RickD :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:31pm

Well, for 58 minutes it was a great game.

by deus01 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:35pm

That's the problem. My enjoyment of that game is entirely ruined by the end and I'm not a fan of either team.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 9:59am

Agreed. Tony Dungy had it exactly right on NBC later when he said something like "at every level OTHER THAN THE NFL, that's a touchdown".

The rule is stupid. The NFL is still trying to cover for the Megatron bullcrap all these years later. Hell, 15 yeas ago IN THE NFL that's a touchdown. It was a great game to watch until that point.

I'm not even going to go into the brainlock of the fake spike play. Throw it into the stands and go to OT, Ben, sheesh.

by Anger...rising :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:19pm

What an utter fraud.

by travesty :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:20pm

That Pittsburgh catch...

The ball moved, sure, but did it touch the ground? It's not clear to me that it did.

by Eddo :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:22pm

It clearly did. As badly as I wish it didn't, it did.

by DRohan :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:31am

Clearly? Really? I don't know about that. And even if it did, the ball can touch the ground and still be controlled. His right hand stayed on the ball the whole time, and even as his left hand kind of twisted off of it, he kept control of it with his arm. Watch when he got up--there was no attempt to re-establish a grip on the ball. It was securely in his hand.

In previous Steeler games alone, we've seen that "control of the ball" can include pinning it to your helmet with one hand or with both hands behind your leg as you do a somersualt in midair. I think James maintained as much control in this case as either of those.

by Eddo :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:21pm

Goddamnit Jesse James, hold onto the freaking ball. Everyone knows by this point you can't let go at all if you catch it while not on your feet.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:26pm

Um, he did by any common sense measure

by Joshua Northey :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:29pm

I am curious in what percentage of backyard or non replay assisted games this person thinks that is not considered a catch? The answer is zero percent. And that is the problem with the rule.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:33pm

"This person" lol and who are you? What was just saw was a big FU to anybody who still thinks these games are being called fairly.

by Hextall_27 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:35pm

Everyone is completely wrong on this.

The ball hitting the ground was NEVER a catch until Burt Emanuel.

They changed the rule to make it easier to make a catch but there is 1 caveat.

You must maintain full and absolute control through the catch when the ball hits the ground.

The ball moved when it hit the ground so clear and obvious NO CATCH.

This was the correct call with 100% certainty.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:03am

Except that, in this case, the TD would have been secured when the ball broke the plane prior to the Megatron rule. The ground would have had nothing to do with it, since he had control when the ball broke the plane. In 1980, that's a TD. In 1990, that's a TD. In 2000, that's a TD. In 2017? Who knows?

by Eddo :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:33pm

He did not. The ball was loose when he hit the ground. That is no catch, anywhere.

This was a far less ambiguous play than most "controversial" calls.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:35pm

Right on cue, here come the Pats' homers. You think for a second that gets overturned if it's Gronkowski?

by deus01 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:37pm

It's controversial because normal people would consider a person to have caught the ball when then start extending in a controlled way, going to the ground is a stupid additional condition that should be completely irrelevant.

by JMM :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:38pm

No, he hit the ground, but the ball never did.

by RickD :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:40pm

The ball certainly did move.

You may hate the rule or the ruling, but visual evidence is out there for everybody to see.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:44pm

It's allowed to move. His freaking hand was under the ball the whole time. Wouldn't you be defending this if it was Gronk? Get real

by JMM :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:58pm

There is also an element of was there enough in the replay to say he definitely did not have his hand under the ball. I think the ball did move as his left hand lifted off it. He then reestablished position. It should have been a catch.

by deus01 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:08pm

Since the standard to overtun is irrefutable evidence I would agree that I think it should have been a chance since it's not clear whether his right hand was under the ball and was ruled a TD on the field.

However, I also think irrefutable evidence is a stupid rule and I would like to see both of these changed.

by DRohan :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:39am

Unfortunately, I don't know if "irrefutable evidence" is even still part of the rule. The league changes the standard every damned year, it's impossible to keep track. Reading through the message boards debating this play, I'm seeing little bits from previous versions of the NFL's failed attempts over the years to clarify this mess. No one has a clue, and it gets more embarrassing for the league every week.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:30am

Had it been Gronk, they would have defended James running onto the sideline and taking Brady out.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:22pm

Fuck the NFL

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:23pm

2 penalties for 4 yards against the Patriots in Pittsburgh. 6 for 63 against the Steelers, including a completely bogus DPI to gift the Patriots a FG. And a non-catch catch in the end zone that overturns a game winning Steeler touchdown. In Pittsburgh.
The one sided refereering for the Patriots in big games is the main reason that the NFL is losing viewership. Why should we bother watching NFL games when every year it is the same nonsense? Most people outside of New England don't want to see the Patriots 'win' year after year based on the most extraordinary 'luck'.

by PatsFan :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:27pm

Don't let the door hit you on your way out. Or is this another one of your toothless "why should I watch another game again" whines?

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:45pm

Oh I forgot the other reason. The incredibly classless Patriot fans who gloat in everyone's faces after their team 'wins' by another reffing 'miracle' as if their team actually won something and didn't have it handed to them. Again.

by DRohan :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:43am

No kidding. When your team receives a BS gift like this, have enough class to take your W and keep your trap shut.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:32am

Just so you know, we all prefer Yankees fans.

Hell, we prefer Cowboys fans.

by RobotBoy :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:39pm

Maybe the calls were uneven because Pittsburgh intentionally pushed the envelope on physical play and dared the refs to throw flags? For example, on the Pats last FG drive on 3 and 10, the defender had his hands in the receiver's chest the entire time the ball was in the air, never turned around, and finally as the receiver reached out for a catchable ball, the DB shoved him to the ground, still not turning his head. That's the easiest call in the world to make and it gets made every time, except for this Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh's strategy on D was extremely successful and worth the handful of flags. How they lost this game, I still don't understand.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:49pm

Easy. 2 penalties for 4 yards. Bogus DPI. Bogus catch called on the field for a TD overturned.

That's how the Patriots always 'win'.

by Hextall_27 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:39pm

A Patriot receiver was hit in the facemask while trying to make a catch in the end zone by a DB who made no effort to look back for the ball... no call.

Not sure why they don't call that if the league wanted the Patriots to win.

You know, Goodell and the league loves the Patriots.

They keep taking away draft picks over memos and science denial, but hey lets cry favoritism!

by ncuba :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:27pm

"The one sided refereering for the Patriots in big games is the main reason that the NFL is losing viewership."

Love this!

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:23pm

Rogers was TACKLED in the EZ before the ball got there

by Rocco :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:32pm

Well I'm just shocked the flag happiest crew in the league flagged the Pats all of one time.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:37pm

How do you allow Correntte's crew to call a game of this magnitude?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:34am

They had Steratore in the late game.

Maybe they should lock the referees out again.

by Yu Narukami :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:35pm

I am Jimmy G and the only thing I do is winning games.

by RickD :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:43pm

Take it to the bank!

People might notice next season when he wins his 14th start in a row.


by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:35pm

After Deflategate, the idea that the NFL is biased in favor of the Patriots is disproven forever, and anyone who argues otherwise is full of it. The fact that a rule was enforced properly is not a sign of a vast conspiracy.

by RickD :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:45pm

Yes, it's not an argument that can be taken seriously. And the ruling today was entirely consistent with how that rule has been enforced in the past: just ask Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant.

It's a terrible rule! I agree! Fix the rule!

(Also, don't try to win the game with a slant inside at the goal line.)

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:17pm

Hand was under the ball whole time. It's allowed to move. ZERO chance they do that to NE if it's Gronk and the game's in Foxboro.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:56pm

Are you still trying to pretend that Brady wasn't deflating footballs? He got caught and got punished.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:02pm

Virtually every independent observer (Washington Post, NYT, SI, etc) agrees that the Patriots got screwed. But hey, thank god we have Ben “He was never charged” Roethlisburger, paragon saint of virtue, right?

by RickD :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:23pm

Every independent expert who looked at the raw data concluded there was no evidence of anything other than cold weather and wet footballs.

Pats were robbed of draft picks b/c NFL decided their gut feelings should trump real science.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:26pm

I wasn't aware of any independent experts that concluded that there was no evidence. The Patriots trotted out all kinds of bought 'experts', but not one report I saw made a credible argument that Brady didn't deflate the footballs. Doesn't matter now.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:26pm

I wasn't aware of any independent experts that concluded that there was no evidence. The Patriots trotted out all kinds of bought 'experts', but not one report I saw made a credible argument that Brady didn't deflate the footballs. Doesn't matter now.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:27pm

What do you call MIT?

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:51pm

I read it. It wasn't credible. It was written by a huge Patriot homer. After reading it, I thought he should have been expelled by the university. It's one thing to write garbage like that as an independent person, which he did. But when he signed it as an MIT professor, and invoked his credentials, despite the university not having anything to do with it, he ventured into fraud.
It was garbage written so that Patriot homers could pretend that Brady hadn't cheated.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:06pm

That's your opinion. I would rather trust the MIT Department of Chemistry, the most prestigious one in North America, than some guy on a chatboard. Unless there's some other equally valid authority that you can cite to back up your contention that his report is invalid, your opinion on whether or not an MIT professor is a liar on a question of science doesn't hold much weight in my book.

by Hextall_27 :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:06am

We are on a stats based website and there are clowns arguing that Deflategate was real.

The NFL spent the following year measuring every football in every condition. They looked at the data that clearly exonerated Brady and buried it so no one would ever see it. The original measurements of the footballs in question that day were not written down!

The NFL was caught lying multiple times in court. The Wells report was written by people who also wrote reports stating that asbestos and second hand smoke are not harmful.

The only people who don't know that this was a farce are the ones who don't want to know.

The Earth is not flat and it revolves around the sun in case this is unclear to you.

by JMM :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:36pm

I thought it was the wrong call. I did see the bobble and understand the rule, but I thought he had his hands under the ball and reestablished possession without the ball hitting the ground. At least I didn't see anything in the replay to say that the ruling should be overturned. Two strikes.

Hopefully these teams will meet again soon and the Steelers can close it properly.

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:28am

There is zero doubt that he lost control of the ball and it hit the ground. It's an odd rule, but it was applied correct here.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:42pm

The most Brady era Patriots-type of ending to that game. Can we just hand them the Lombardo now and save everyone the trouble?

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:54pm

While we are talking missed penalties, how about that incredibly classless Gronkowski taunting after the 2-point conversion? A black player gets 15 every time.
Or is it no longer a penalty to tackle a receiver in the end zone before the interception? That's a DPI every time if its Gronkowski on the receiving end.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:58pm

Your tears are salty and delicious

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:09pm

What are you talking about? Gronkowski gets OPI called against him more than any other player in football. Also, trying to make a questionable officiating call into a race issue is proof that you have no reasonable evidence to support your claims.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:18pm

It is a race issue. If a black player acted like Gronkowski he would be labeled a thug and have so many OPI's called against him that he would be out of football. Instead, he is allowed to push off just about every play, attack defenseless players on the ground, taunt players without getting penalized, and while he gets the occasional OPI called against him, he gets DPI calls whenever the Patriots need one to steal another game. Like today.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:24pm

Gronkowski DOES get more OPIs called against him than ANY black player. And the fact that you're arguing that he gets away with everything literally in his first game back from a suspension for one of the incidents you cited is proof that you're either trolling or not thinking clearly.

by Rocco :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:34pm

He's had the 2nd most OPIs against him this season. Deandre Hopkins leads the league, and Gronk is tied with Michael Crabtree. He had none called against him last year, tied for the league with Mike Evans in 2015 and none accepted in 2014 (one declined). He gets called for OPI because he pushes off all the time.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:43pm

He also missed a large portion of the 2016 season and was fined for unnecessary roughness several times in 2014. In the past three years, he's finished 2nd (so far), none because he was injured, and 1st in OPI called. He gets called for OPI all the time because there is no such thing as incidental contact with him- he's so big that any incidental contact always looks like his fault.

by Rocco :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:47pm

Or he gets called for OPI because he shoves defenders off when he makes catches.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:46pm

I see.
Let me spell my argument out for you, since you seem to be struggling with logic.
1) Gronkowski commits (Y) far and away more OPI than any player that ever played the game;
2) Gronkwoski is called for very few of these OPI's (X);
3) Even thought the ratio of OPI calls (X) to OPI offenses (Y) for Gronkowski is much lower than most players;
4) Because he commits so many, he gets more OPI's called than other players;
5) Which is to say, the ratio of OPI calls (X) to OPI offenses (Y) committed by Gronkwoski, is lower than the ratio of OPI calls (A) to OPI offenses (B) committed than any other player;
6) Therefore, my argument, and the argument of most football fans outside of New England, is that:
(X)/(Y) < (A)/(B)
7) So, Y > (X)(B)/(A)

Let's say the next worse player commits 20 OPI's a year, and gets called for 10 of them.
A = 10 B =20
Now let's make a conservative estimate for Gronkowski. He commits 100 OPI (Y), and gets called for, let's see, oh yeah. THREE 3! (X) this year.

So, the math is 100 > (3)(20)/(10)

100 > 60/10

100 > 6

Does that clear it up for you?

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:55pm

Your entire argument is based on the faulty premise that the NFL is biased in favor of the Patriots/Gronkowski. But if the NFL was biased, why wouldn't they just, I don't know, not call more penalties on him than any other player? What's the difference between calling 10 % and 5% of the penalties he allegedly commits? Your argument, as I see it, is that the NFL calls him more than any other player but less than he deserves because they're biased in favor of him. If I wanted to help a player cheat, I would definitely call far more penalties on him than any other player too. Occam's Razor is in effect here, and you don't seem to understand that. The fact that you think the NFL is biased in favor of him is disproven by the very fact that they punish him more than any other player. Your hypothetical that he commits hundreds of uncalled penalties (the central prong of your argument) is pretty ridiculous, and if there was any evidence of it, wouldn't some respectable journalists or commentators have pointed it out by now? Your argument requires conspiracy-theory levels of twisted logic to follow.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:03pm


Offensive Pass Interference penalties called against Gronkowski this year.


The number 3. 1,2 3!

Wait. How many OPI calls against Gronkowski this year?


by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:09pm

Which is still more than other players. In the past two years when Gronkowski has played, he's finished in the top two in OPI and offensive holding calls. Either the NFL is totally incompetent at helping a franchise cheat, or they aren't helping a franchise cheat. I'm a Redskins fan, not a Patriots fan. I just find it ridiculous when people act like the NFL and the Patriots are colluding to rig the sport when that is very clearly not the case.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:11pm

You know the old saying: when reasonable arguments are exhausted, go to Caps Lock.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:14pm

If it was 25 to 24 for the next-most flagged player, would that be better? No one else in the league has been punished more over the last few years.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:37pm

This is correct in absolute terms, however, Gronkowski also missed a large part of the 2016 season and yet still finished 2nd. Hopkins didn’t.

by Rocco :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:55pm

Technically correct is the best kind of correct. He had no OPI called against him last year. You can admit you're wrong, it's okay. You're entitled to your own opinions, not your own fact.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:04pm

By respectable journalists you mean Boston area talk radio no doubt.

by Hextall_27 :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:09am

MODS: Please remove all crazy racism talk in this thread.

Thank you

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:55pm

What's amazing to me is that Roethlisberger didn't just throw that ball through the endzone. The receiver was completely covered up, and with only one wr running a route, and bounce had a high chance of INT. Terrible decision.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:56pm

Covered up? No, he was TACKLED.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 8:58pm

The receiver hadn't been tackled yet when Roethlisburger threw it.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:04pm

Watch it again. DPI clear as day

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:11pm

That's why it's DPI.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:01pm

Kudos to RickD for being classy in victory here. The rest of these Patriot fans could take his lead...

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:10pm

He’s an outlier.

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 9:09pm

Interesting. I just went back and read the rule. It's not enforced the way it is written:
"Player Going to the Ground. A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), HE MUST MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE BALL UNTIL AFTER HIS INITIAL CONTACT WITH THE GROUND, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."
His initial contact with the ground is his knee hitting the ground, at which point he has control of the ball.

by Kyndynos :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:01pm

Here's a link to Al Riveron explaining why the NE-PIT touchdown thing was the correct call: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000894633/article/patriots-clinch-a...

by RobotBoy :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:41pm

The rule is problematic but the application in this instance was pretty unobjectionable.

by roguerouge :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:52pm

Yup. It's been ruled this way for a while. Not a good rule, not an intuitive rule, not a rule we should have, but a consistently enforced one.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:04am

I never saw the ball clearly hit the ground, so I have no idea what the basis was for overturning the call.

There definitely was dpi on the interception, but that was a bang-bang call that is very, very, easy to miss in real time. Nothing like hallucinating the ball coming into contact with the ground, while watching it in super slow motion, because it just seems like it must have. Such contact wasn't shown on my television, however.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:46am

I don't know what you're watching Will

At one point, he's only got 1 hand on the ball, and the ball is literally laying on the ground, with his second hand cupping the side of it.

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:34am

Yeah, this is cut and dried. I can see having a problem with the rule, the application was correct.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:34am

Not what I saw. I think it is very, very, very, likely that the ball was on the ground, but the camera angle, and the lack of extreme close up shot, resulted in the ball not being shown on the ground.

by Rich A :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:57am

Yeah, from the replays it looked very likely that the ball was on the ground. It wasn't definite from those angles though.

There are however photos plastered on ESPN that show your thought that it was highly likely to be on the ground to be correct.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 2:13am

Which suggests the question as to what the zebra saw to produce the reversal. If all he saw was what was available to the broadcast audience, then the call should not have been reversed.

by deus01 :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 8:59am

I believe there was a camera angle from the other side which for some reason they only showed once on the game broadcast where the ball was in contact with the ground. He never seemed to regrip it with his right hand though so that to me suggests he had control through the whole process.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:01pm

Agreed. As he hits the ground his left hand comes off of the ball and hits his face mask so cannot be unbder the football. His right hand is on the side of the (3 fingers visible) ball so only 2 fingers and part of a palm could be between the football and the ground. All of his weight is bearing down on the ball. So given a deform-able football and physics the ball must be touching the ground. I feel like I am examining the Zapruder film (but for higher stakes (smiley face emoji)).

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:03am

I don't know what mushrooms Al has in his Sunday omelettes, but the ball touching the ground is not clearly visible on that video. It's highly suggestible, by the movement of the ball, but, no in that shot we do not clearly see the ball hit the ground.

by ClavisRa :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 5:58am

So what? The broadcast doesn't show every camera shot available, and the producers often fail to show the shots that give the best view. The replay officials get to look at all of the shots. There were shots that very clearly show the ball on the ground.

This is such a straightforward play, I kind of feel sorry for everyone try to make a "Federal case" over it, because of their desperate fan emotions. When you catch the ball in the air, and lose control of the ball when you hit the ground, and the ball also hits the ground, it's an incomplete pass. That is..obvious, and pretty commonplace in football. The ONLY thing that made the play surprising was the initial broadcast angle the ball wasn't even visible, and the ref called touchdown, so no one had any initial suspicion it wasn't a catch. But, when you get a clear look at it, it's a slam dunk incomplete, easy for any ref to call correctly, and they did.

Making the story about the call is..lazy and stupid. The story is the same one with Derek Carr fumbling the ball into and out of the end zone for a touchback to lose the game: take care of the ball, or lose football games. Hmm, maybe that's why ball security "#1 on my hit parade" for Bill Belichick. He may be on to something...

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 9:41am

Lighten up, Francis. The only thing I wrote is that what was shown to the broadcast audience didn't show the ball on the ground. If the referee was provided a shot that did, fine. It would be nice to provide that shot to the broadcast audience, however.

by Steve B :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:30pm

Mike Pereira said the call shouldn't have been overturned.

by Lyford :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 7:55am

"Mike Pereira said the call shouldn't have been overturned."

"Forget the lunge. He's going to the ground and the ball hits the ground...Look, here is the rule. If you’re going to the ground you have to hold onto the ball when the ball hits the ground…Going to the ground trumps lunging/reaching to try and get extra yards or score a TD. You do that at your own risk. It’s incomplete…just ask Dez...People are saying a runner breaking the plane causes the ball to become dead…which is true. BUT the receiver does not become a runner until he completes the process of the catch. TOTALLY DIFFERENT"
- Mike Pereira

by morganja :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:54pm

The call was complete BS. The application of the rule is when his knee hit and whether or not his extending into the end zone was a football move in the context of the rule. Was he diving for the ball and then it came out when he made contact with the ground? Or did he make the catch, knee on the ground, and untouched, then purposely extend into the end zone.

It's even worse when contrasted with the no-call on the following interception.
Has it been reviewed and called just as wrong in other cases?
Is there any doubt that if it was Gronkowski on the catch, it would have stood?
Unfortunately, no.
The penalty disparity, the bad calls, once again, clearly the Patriots were the beneficiary of something going on behind the scenes.
The only question is how stupid does the NFL think their fans are? It's been going on way too long, and people are losing interest in the league. Clearly the NFL can't do anything about it.
That much money. An owner tied to organized crime in Las Vegas. Maybe there really is nothing to be done. One would think the other owners would have enough at some point.

by slomojoe :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:40pm

"Is there any doubt that if it was Gronkowski on the catch, it would have stood?
Unfortunately, no."

Well... against Denver, Gronk had a TD catch taken back for a ball that NEVER even touched the ground. How's that for crazy refereeing?

Everyone agrees that the catch rule sucks, but in this case, it was applied according to the letter. (Still sucks.)

As for the PI on the last play, Rowe goes for the ball and touches it first. Sure, there was contact, but that too is hardly ever called, especially on the last play of the game.

And compared to the the Kuechly mugging of Gronk a few years back, this was nothing, but I don't remember you complaining about that one... ;)

by Cythammer :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:55pm

Whatever the eventual result, it doesn't seem like the Patriots played particularly well in that game, especially when you factor in Antonio Brown being injured. Frankly neither of these teams seem to be up to the caliber of the best teams in the NFC though. Jags probably have a much better shot of winning the AFC then most people would think, though having win two straight on the road will likely ultimately be too tall of a task.

by dank067 :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:10pm

Yeah, I believe a Steelers win today would have put the Jags in position for a first round bye. Then again, the Steelers (now sans Brown) only have to drop one more game relative to Jacksonville to give up their current hold on the #2 seed. I would agree that the Jags have a serious shot at the AFC if they can get that first round bye and a home game in the divisional round.

by RobotBoy :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:48pm

Pats definitely seem weaker than last year, at least on D. I'll have to see All-22 but it looks like Gilmore got roasted on several occasions. The struggles to get off the field on 3rd down were ugly.
When the Pats got the ball back (after, finally, a 3rd down stop) they had something like 2:07 left. ESPN gave the Steeler an 85% win probability at that point, which was preposterous. The Killer B's have not lost 85% of their games in that situation. I'm guessing though that it's just percentage for all games across entire league.
The most remarkable thing about the game though is that they Pats were in any position to win. Pittsburgh outgained them by almost eighty yards and dominated time of possession by ten minutes. Wherever Belichick earned his degree in the dark arts, it was worth every penny. Even when his team is getting outclassed, he always seems to keep the score close (Clunker in Miami last week aside. That was a game the team could lose and not have it ruin a shot at the #1 seed. I think he rested players he wouldn't have in a must win game).

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

Can't wait for FO write-up of the game for perspective on how the Pats stayed alive. Leaving Gronk one-on-one with a safety for most of the game was part of it.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:45am

This is the downside of playing man against the Pats - you have to try and cover Gronk - and if you don't have a guy who can do that, he's gonna get his pound of flesh.

by ClavisRa :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 6:11am

Pats put the Steelers into a lot of 3rd down situations. That's a credit to the defense, not a knock on it. The Steelers converted at a high rate, but that's what kept the game close. If the Steelers bank on repeating that in the playoffs, they're likely to be disappointed.

Pats went for 4th and one in chip shot field goal territory; those four extra points from the TD that followed made all the difference, and is a good place to start if you're wondering how the Pats earned that victory.

by RobotBoy :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 9:21am

BB knew he had to gamble a bit given the circumstances, and so he did.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:09am

As a Bills fan, let me say that Gilmore getting roasted is not as odd as people think.

by Steve B :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:05am

Way it's looking, three of the top four seeds in the NFC, are going to be QBed by guys with a combined one start in the post season. Sure, the other team is QBed by Brees, but we know home field is big for them. NFC was supposed to be the better of the two conferences the previous three years, too.

by Cythammer :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:23am

NFC probably was better the last three years though. The result of a single game shouldn't be seen as the absolute determination of superiority, even if it is the Super Bowl.

by Steve B :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:34am

"Frankly, neither of the teams seems up to the caliber of the best teams in the NFC"
That reads as "frankly, I don't see these teams beating whoever comes out of the superior NFC". If the NFC's THAT much better, it's time to start proving it when it really matters. Sure two of the three previous three SBs should've been NFC wins, but they ultimately weren't.

by Cythammer :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:45am

Dude, it's the NFL. On a week to week basis, any team can beat any team. That phenomenon doesn't magically stop in the postseason. This isn't the NBA, where the better team really does win virtually every playoff series.

by slomojoe :: Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:40pm

Wrong place, sorry

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:08am

Lost in the officiating debacle is once again an example of the dropped int being the most overlooked play in football. Davis' drop on the Pats last td drive wasn't the most egregious I've ever seen, but considering how softly the ball was thrown, it was pretty awful.

by JMM :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:33am

I'll give Davis a pass. The ball was tipped and the flight of the ball went from being thrown in front of him to tipped behind him. A very difficult adjustment to make.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:45am

The cliche is, of course, that dbs are not receivers because they can't catch. Let's put it this way: if a replacement level receiver makes that catch on a tipped ball, nobody thinks it notable at all, if it doesn't happen on a scoring drive. It's just a very slightly above average reception. It was a floater, and thus eminently catchable. To win close games against good teams in big spots, guys have to make that interception.

by Rich A :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:34am

I think it was soft because the ball had been tipped, and thus had a really wonky spin on it.

Davis would've sealed the game with a pick there.

by Cythammer :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:34am

I think the Cowboys should definitely have gone for that fourth and goal. Not only is 7 much more valuable than 3 here, but even if you do fail, the Raiders are trapped on their 1, from which a successful drive with under two minutes is unlikely. The odds of a safety wouldn't be insignificant either.

by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 1:06am


by Hextall_27 :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:24pm

So the James reaching and slamming the ball into he ground so it spins is a delusional travesty but everyone was ok with the 4th down folded index card measurement?

The Party Bus is still paying dividends.

You can see the wheels spinning in the refs head ,”How the hell do I give this to the Cowboys? I’ll just use the old index card trick!”

Feel free to quote chapter and verse on folded index cards from the rule book to defend that one.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:56pm

Fascinating watching the Falcons pissing away this game. I think the coaching talent all left to the Forty Niners.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:59pm

The Bucs are pissing harder. That, and all of their players keep getting injured.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:20am

Jameis Winston in the right situation could be a great player.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:27am

When he doesn’t turn the ball over, he’s hard to stop. With better fumble luck, the Bucs could have won this game easily because of Winston.

by BJR :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 1:15am

Yes it's nice to be reminded that he is a very talented player.

I don't follow the Bucs at all, and therefore have no opinion on Dirk Koetter's continued employment, but they played hard to the end tonight in the face of a barrage of injuries. The players have clearly not given up on him.

Saying that, I'm confused as to why the Falcons passing game was so relatively unproductive. That ought to have been a complete mismatch, especially with Bucs defenders dropping like flies during the game. It certainly wasn't because Ryan was facing heavy pressure.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:01am

Chris Conte is not good, but he’s no coward. Devonta Freeman has run over him like three times, but Conte still isn’t shying away from trying to hit him.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:26am

If Sarkiesian doesn't try to pass for the 1st down, he should be fired immediately.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:29am

The Falcons are just a poorly coached team.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:36am

They only need one win to clinch a wildcard, but the Saints and Panthers are two of the toughest opponents any team could finish up with.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:40am

The Falcons offense is working at about 60% of its potential. I think they are damned fortunate to not be sitting on 7 losses already.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:35am

Gruden calls letting an injury riddled team without a pass rush hang around, for a last second field goal to tie, having "grit".

by ChrisS :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:56am

'Get Fu***ng set' is better than 'God damnit Donald' for a QB audible

by morganja :: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:23pm

I wonder what play that audibles into. Clearly not the fake spike, though that would be awesome.