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2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

Here's the open thread for pregame and live discussion of Sunday's two conference championship games: Jacksonville at New England (CBS, 3:05 pm EST) and Minnesota at Philadelphia (FOX, 6:40 pm EST).

Comments

224 comments, Last at 22 Jan 2018, 7:25pm

1 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by PatsFan // Jan 19, 2018 - 9:15am

I will draw some very slight assurance from the fact that NE hasn't added a 3rd QB to the roster. Yet. Otherwise, pretty worrisome. Wonder if Vegas knows something or is just reacting to changes in the money flows.

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2 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 19, 2018 - 10:19am

Everyone has fallen for Belichick's ginned up misdirection nicely, I see.

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3 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by nat // Jan 19, 2018 - 10:38am

They skip the chance to prepare and practice plays based on their scouting of the opponent, and gain....

...nothing?

That is unless the Jags decide NOT to prepare for Brady being healthy enough to play. In which case, they deserve whatever they get.

Enjoy your paranoid fantasy.

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4 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 19, 2018 - 11:02am

[insert Allen Iverson here]

Tom's started 286 games in 18 seasons. Jacksonville isn't going to show him anything he hasn't seen before. Manning was skipping practices for his last two years.

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6 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Purds // Jan 19, 2018 - 11:17am

What the hell does Manning have to do with any of this? Or as a Brady fan, are you still grabbing at straws to settle an old argument, and if so, that's pathetic. Stick with the here and now.

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7 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by jtr // Jan 19, 2018 - 11:34am

....what? He's just saying that sometimes old QB's skip practice and it isn't the end of the world. The paranoid defensiveness of certain Pats fans never ceases to amaze.

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10 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Anon Ymous // Jan 19, 2018 - 12:33pm

This is hilarious. Do either of you realize that neither ABGT or Purds are Pats fans? :D

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12 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by nat // Jan 19, 2018 - 12:45pm

Is jtr two people? When did that happen?

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14 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Anon Ymous // Jan 19, 2018 - 12:54pm

LOL! Read back through the conversation and you'll see two people wrongly accused of Pats fandom. :)

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15 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by nat // Jan 19, 2018 - 1:15pm

I though everyone except jtr knew that Purds was joking. I guess you were taken in as well.

LOL, indeed.

Poe's Law strikes again. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

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13 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 19, 2018 - 12:51pm

A) I'm not a Pats fan
B) I don't think Brady is so injured for it to matter
C) I don't think it matters if he goes through the mechanic part of practice week (he can watch tape even with an injured hand)

and D) I'm not sure it would matter even if he were hurt

The corpse of Manning won a SB while more injured, practicing less, and facing more difficult opponents.

Wasn't Brady hurt in the run-up to his first SB?

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16 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Will Allen // Jan 19, 2018 - 1:47pm

However, it would be interesting to see how well the Patriots defense holds up against a pretty competent Jaguars o-line, on a day when the Patriots offense is playing far less efficiently than the norm. I'd still expect the Patriots to win, but the 4th quarter could be interesting.

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9 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by PaddyPat // Jan 19, 2018 - 12:12pm

I thought your joke was hilarious...

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28 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by justanothersteve // Jan 21, 2018 - 1:15pm

It's just an example. You could also say the same thing about Favre, Montana, or Marino missing practices. Stop worrying about the Brady/Manning debate.

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5 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cheesehead_Canuck // Jan 19, 2018 - 11:11am

Do people actually think Brady might not start? Remember when he was in a walking boot a few days before SB42? Please. I don't buy it for a second.

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8 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Eddo // Jan 19, 2018 - 11:36am

The fact that he was noticeably injured prior to a game in which the opponent pulled a big upset by repeatedly getting pressure on him is not exactly a ringing endorsement for an "everything will be fine" attitude...

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21 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by MC2 // Jan 20, 2018 - 7:42am

Yeah, I've always thought Brady was more injured in that game than people realize, and that said injury played a big part in the outcome. Sure, the Giants had a great pass rush, but they had played the Patriots the last week of the season, and they had allowed 38 points, only sacking Brady 1 time. Then, barely over a month later, they allowed just 14 points, and sacked Brady 5 times. Something changed.

(And for the record, no, I'm not a Brady fan, and I'm not trying to make excuses for him. Injuries are part of the game, and no matter how injured Brady was, the Giants still fully deserved to win.)

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11 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by bravehoptoad // Jan 19, 2018 - 12:42pm

It's more likely that the worry is he will start but throw big-fat-thumb balls all over the field with only a vague approximation to where he'd like them to go.

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17 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by PatsFan // Jan 19, 2018 - 3:24pm

DING! DING! DING! DING!

"Able to start" is pretty meaningless if he's ineffective. Remember, they told us Gronk would play in SB46.

Though again, given that NE has not brought in another QB leads me to believe they think Brady will be able to be at least as good as Hoyer (low bar, I know). I can't imagine Belichick going into the AFCCG with only one functioning quarterback. So there's that.

Now, if they add one to the roster by the 4pm deadline today, then I'm heading for the fallout shelter.

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20 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Eddo // Jan 19, 2018 - 5:24pm

Right. A playing-but-ineffective Brady is probably not a good thing.

Regarding the active QB situation, it could be that Belichick feels that even an injured Brady will be as effective as anyone he could bring in off the street to backup Hoyer, so he'd rather keep the rest of his roster as-is.

To me, that sounds like a valid choice. If Brady can't play at his normal level, the Patriots will need to win this game with the rest of their roster, the same way the Jaguars would. Belichick might be reasoning that, if Hoyer gets hurt, no matter what, they will get bad enough QB play that it doesn't matter, and he'd rather stick bad-hand Brady back there to at least make the correct pre-snap reads and be threatening enough that the Jaguars don't put ten men in the box.

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18 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by PatsFan // Jan 19, 2018 - 4:52pm

Brady officially listed as "limited participation" today (after "did not practice" yesterday) and as "questionable" for the game.

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19 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by PatsFan // Jan 19, 2018 - 5:06pm

And from beat writer Tom Curran, who generally has good sources:

Brady’s right thumb bent back badly when he was smashed into by a running back. Somehow, the ball got jammed back into the webbing between his thumb and index finger and it caused a cut. Might have been the laces. There may be stitches. He’s not taking snaps under center. He can take them in shotgun. He’s trying not to aggravate the thumb between now and kickoff so the reps are at a minimum. He can throw. I have no idea how hard, how far or how accurately.

http://www.nbcsports.com/boston/patriots/what-were-hearing-new-england-p...

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25 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Raiderjoe // Jan 21, 2018 - 12:47am

Soft Balls Brady willl probably want balls soft tomorrow

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22 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 20, 2018 - 9:30am

Apparently the NFL has been running ads for a Pats-Vikings super bowl on their Facebook site this week. Something to watch for during the games.

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23 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by aces4me // Jan 20, 2018 - 4:12pm

Odd because you would think a Philly/NE match up would be the best TV draw. Although I have no idea if that even matters for the Super Bowl.

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24 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by herewegobrowniesherewego // Jan 21, 2018 - 12:03am

Even if Philly is the bigger market than Minnesota and shares the Atlantic coastline with NE, there are a lot more storylines that come with the Vikes making it, and arguably more national pull...

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26 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:09am

If the Jags offensive line plays as well as they did against the Steelers, I like their chances, but the Jags defense has never played against anything like the tempo stuff New England's going to play with, and most teams blow some coverages when they play against it the first time, so communication is going to be the key. In terms of physical talent, New England hasn't blown me away since 2014, yet the machine rolls on (otoh, this is a better, more opportunistic defense than Brady has faced since 2015 in Denver, and they don't just cause turnovers; they look to score- they had about 1/2 a touchdown a game, plus four or five that got taken away by incorrect, inadvertent whistles, which theoretically won't be an issue with the "best officials") Guess we'll see

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27 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:10am

dp

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29 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by vrao81 // Jan 21, 2018 - 4:39pm

Nice jags drive to take the lead!

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30 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by BJR // Jan 21, 2018 - 4:40pm

Jags O-line dominating again thus far

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31 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Jan 21, 2018 - 4:53pm

Looks like Jax offensive line is dominating, AND Good Bortles has shown up today. Not a good sign for NE.

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32 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:05pm

Pats' run D has been way too soft. Van Noy was in the right place on the 2nd TD and Fournette just pushed him into the end zone.

Don't know how that's a problem that can be solved by the coaches today.

On offense, I'm baffled at the choice to pass on three consecutive plays there. They have to run the ball to win today. Doesn't matter if they're down 11 points.

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33 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:06pm

Watching the ads:

Would Barry Sanders ever really need to take out a mortgage?

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34 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:07pm

Not a fan of the quick snap just to avoid the challenge.

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35 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:11pm

Last two penalties by Jags have been silly. Bad formation on rushed play and delay of game.

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36 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Anger...rising // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:14pm

That Jacksonville's offense immediately devolved to failed run-failed run-dropback pass on its first possession after taking a 14-3 lead suggests doom.

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59 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by JIPanick // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:08pm

Got away with on the first set of downs this series, but the second down crossing route and the flea flicker give me optimism.

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37 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:18pm

No. That is not the correct call.

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38 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by BywaterBrat // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:18pm

6 or 10 point delay of game?

And of course the absurd PF?

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39 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:19pm

No flags in the first quarter. Suddenly the flags are flying.

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40 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:19pm

I hate the officials. WTF? I'm trying so hard to watch a playoff game. Why can't the refs not make so many terrible calls to the benefit of the Patriots? I mean, seriously?

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42 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by justanothersteve // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:23pm

The game is being well called. Jax is just suddenly making mistakes. I'm not thrilled with how the game is going, but I'm not blaming the refs here.

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44 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:27pm

No it's not. Where was the DPI? That was a BS call.

Only call against NE a useless special teams 10 yard penalty. A NE touchdown coming strictly from penalties. Typical day in New England.

Or do you think that the refs are going to make an actual call against the Patriots at some point today?

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53 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by justanothersteve // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:46pm

Every penalty except the pass interference isn't even debatable. The DPI gets called about half the time and the host team usually gets that call.

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55 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:50pm

Actually they are. But in any case. The refs haven't managed to call a single thing against the Patriots all day.

It's just another typical BS Patriots game. They call a couple of non-impacting special teams penalties on the Patriots, and then 10 penalties against their opponents, including at least one touchdown that is exclusively a gift.

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45 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:30pm

"So many terrible calls"?

The last four accepted penalties:

an illegal formation on a quick snap
a delay-of-game penalty
the obvious helmet-to-helmet that knocked Gronk out of the game
the DPI.

I won't argue the DPI, but that is at most the only debatable call.

Also, one of the Jaguars did a body throw on James White when he was five yards into the end zone. That could have been called a personal foul.

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48 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Anger...rising // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:34pm

That obvious helmet-to-helmet was actually an obvious shoulder-to-shoulder. The contact between helmets was secondary and incidental.

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50 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by TimK // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:41pm

There was helmet to helmet, the tackler was hitting not wrapping, and the receiver was falling so unable to defend himself. That will be called pretty much every time, and correctly so.

The DPI seemed a fairly home-field call to me - both the WR let himself get run out of bounds, and both players were doing a bit of arm wrestling along the sideline, also the pass seemed far enough away to be considered uncatchable.

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54 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Rocco // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:47pm

The Jags spent last week grabbing Steelers receievers and were flagged for it zero times.

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61 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:12pm

You cannot be serious.

This is not a comment that will stand up to scrutiny.

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189 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by ChrisS // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:32pm

Is poster drunk or watching a different game?

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190 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by ChrisS // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:32pm

Is poster drunk or watching a different game?

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153 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Treima // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:32pm

I come to the comment threads to see intelligent, deep football discussion...but nothing satisfies quite like the morganja salt I can expect each and every Patriots game. Stay mad, bro.

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41 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Rocco // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:22pm

Feel badly for the Jags- mauling receivers downfield was perfectly legal last week.

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43 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:26pm

Looking back, that delay of game was a huge killer. Instead of a first down and probably more points, the Jags have to punt and then give up a last-minute TD. And such a stupid penalty! The clock wasn't running at all so there was no advantage to trying to bring the play clock down to zero.

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46 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve in WI // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:31pm

55 seconds to go, two timeouts, and you KNEEL? It’s not like an extra 3 or 7 points might be useful against the Patriots or anything. The Jaguars deserve to lose.

(I know you don’t want to throw three incompletions and give it back to NE, but maybe call a running play on first down and use one of those timeouts if it’s successful? Or do literally anything besides give up?)

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47 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:33pm

It bespeaks insecurity when you're so afraid of punting with 30 seconds left in the half that you won't even try to run your offense.

Elite teams try to score there. That's what the Seahawks did in the Super Bowl three years ago. I understand the Jags aren't built for fast drives, but you have to be really paranoid to not even try. The Pats didn't have any time outs left! Try two offensive plays and then if it's third and long, burn the clock then. Bortles has looked good passing to the sideline. Why not try?

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49 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve in WI // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:36pm

Actually, I just realized it’s even worse than that. NE was down to one timeout, right? The Jaguars could’ve thrown a pass on first down and even if it was incomplete and they ran on 2nd down and NE burned their timeout, they could still run on 3rd down and run down the clock if they failed to convert. The only way NE scores again in the half is a turnover, and if you’re that scared, may as well just forfeit the game now.

I kind of hope the Patriots come back and win by 1-2 points now. I hate gutless coaching.

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192 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve in WI // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:35pm

I still can’t get over this decision. You’re a road underdog against Brady/Belichick and you’re satisfied to go into the half with a 4-point lead. With the correct playcalling, the only disaster is a turnover, and you’ve got a very reasonable chance at a field goal at least. I hate kneeling before the half in general, but with 20 seconds I get it. 55 seconds and two timeouts? Inexplicable.

I wouldn’t have predicted that the Jaguars would lose this game if Bortles never turned the ball over, and wouldn’t have predicted he could go three straight playoff games without a single turnover. I feel bad that his defense couldn’t stop the Patriots on their last drive, because I’d have really liked to have seen him try to lead them to the winning score. He played well and I think the conservative playcalling was more the reason they lost than anything he did or didn’t do.

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196 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:49pm

I was surprised Lewis got free for that last conversion. Everybody watching knew it was going to be a run. It's not like the D had been on the field all that long, as the Jags had ten minutes more of possession (although the Pats had started to control possession in the 4th as their D clamped down and the Jags froze a bit).
Lewis is a very underrated inside runner though. Being that short and having that burst he really can disappear behind blockers and then zip through small holes. I don't think Lewis is all the way back to what he was before the ACL - at times he moved like Barry Sanders - but he is a top lead back in the league, amazing considering that Belichick picked him up off the trash heap.

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206 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by TheIdealGrassLaw // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:53pm

The coaching decision to kneel makes more sense based on the Jaguar's likely drive of handoff, handoff, RPO, screen, gain 15 yards, end of half.

The Jags are in there with a grind it out game plan, rather than anything looking to have Bortles make multiple quick strikes. Asking Bortles to come up with a 1 minute drill based drive, not turn it over, and advance a bunch without anything risky, is a bit much.

You're correct that elite teams would have a suite of options for the 1 minute offense. But those teams aren't the narrowly focused, run first 2017 Jags employing a David strategy.

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51 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by jtr // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:44pm

We're told Gronkowski is not concussed. He's just still in the locker room in the second half nursing a head injury. The NFL shouldn't even pretend they care about head injuries if they're just going to feed us halfhearted bullshit like that every time a star takes a headshot in an important game.

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52 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by duh // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:45pm

What this most reminds me of is a pre-2007 Patriots Colts game with the Jags in the role of the Patriots

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56 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by vrao81 // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:50pm

Starting to look like Super Bowl XXV - Jags controlling the ball like the Giants and the Pats with zero third down conversions (Bills had just 1 all game).

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57 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by vrao81 // Jan 21, 2018 - 5:57pm

Think the pats should have gone for it, 4th and 6 in Jax territory?

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60 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:09pm

Then on 4th and, what, 2 the next drive?

I think it's 50/50 either way. Great drive for the Jags after that 3 and out

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66 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by duh // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:17pm

That one I really thought they should have gone for

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58 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by drillz // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:00pm

it's the beginning of Jacksonville's end

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63 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:14pm

Not really.

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65 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:16pm

Maybe so, but what exactly are you basing this on?

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62 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:13pm

Ha, I love how the Patriots mystique is working against them for once. Like Romo pointed out, this drive is where you need your hometown fans standing and cheering the defense. Instead, down by 7 at the end of the third, they've given up until and unless Brady can tie it later

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64 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cheesehead_Canuck // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:15pm

Gillette has never been the loudest stadium out there unless they’re up by 20.

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67 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by vrao81 // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:18pm

Gronk ruled out - is this a game changer?

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68 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:20pm

Wow what a play by Jack! I thought his angle for the tackle was a great play in itself, then the fumble? Awesome.

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73 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Dan // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:27pm

It looked like Jack wasn't down by contact - he was clear of Lewis by the time he controlled the ball. They should've let him return it instead of blowing the whistle.

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69 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by vrao81 // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:24pm

They have to punt it back though.

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72 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Rocco // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:27pm

Still managed to flip field position when the Pats were in FG range.

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70 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Anger...rising // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:26pm

Jack wasn't being contacted by the time he gained control of the ball, so it's unfortunate the whistle blew and deprived him of a return.

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71 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:26pm

Jacksonville looks like a well coached team today. I love the misdirection on that punt to try and force an offsides or timeout, without taking the delay of game. Pats didn't bite though because they're pretty well coached themselves.

When's the last big game Belichick was equalled?

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93 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:00pm

Pete Carroll got too much crap for the pass call in the Super Bowl 3 years ago. I thought he did a good job that day.

Gary Kubiak?

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74 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:31pm

Plenty of missed opportunities for the refs to have called holding on the Patriots on that drive. You know. For the first real penalty against them today....

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75 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:38pm

So..with all the camera panning around the stadium instead of showing the snap when the Jaguars have the ball, I can't help but notice there are no black people in the stadium.
Do they not allow black people into Gillette Stadium?

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79 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:49pm

That's hardly unique to New England.

Did you know that middle and upper class white America made most of their wealth from appreciation of their homes/real estate? The problem was the post-WWII laws preventing black people from being allowed to take loans to buy houses. And then all the other legislation supporting racial discrimination

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112 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by voytron // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:30pm

Black people are only 13% of population of the US and they aren't evenly distributed (Chicago is 33% black, Detroit is 84%). So there are going to be regions of the country without a lot of black people because of simple math. Absence isn't necessarily evidence of discrimination.

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150 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:30pm

There are two white people for every black person in Boston.
But no black people in the stands.

No black people in the stands in Indianapolis is one thing. But no black people in the stands in a city where the ratio of whites to blacks is only 2-1. That's remarkable.

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114 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:36pm

You have to cross Blackfan Ave to get into Fenway.

It's the last time you'll see one.

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117 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Alternator // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:39pm

First the conspiracy theories, now the baseless accusations of racism.

This is for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuDwUnhwPAk

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127 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:06pm

yeah, racism in Boston, what a crazy suggestion

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128 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:06pm

yeah, racism in Boston, what a crazy suggestion

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76 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve B // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:42pm

One penalty on NE. One.

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133 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:42pm

and it was on special teams. plenty of jags receivers were being mugged, but hey, jags aren't old enough to get those calls

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134 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:42pm

and it was on special teams. plenty of jags receivers were being mugged, but hey, jags aren't old enough to get those calls

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77 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve in WI // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:43pm

Man, is there some poor officiating in the second half. I know the NFL doesn’t want the Jaguars in the Super Bowl, but this is ridiculous.

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78 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by lenny65 // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:46pm

NE's "12th man" is on the case today. The Pats hold on every play, never flagged.

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82 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:51pm

Wow how insane would you have to be to believe this?

Or drunk, I guess. That's probably about the same thing

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89 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:56pm

Seriously, since when do you want the refs to take a larger part in the game? "Letting them play" is a refrain in playoff football.

Or can you point to the many holding calls against Jacksonville to show uneven standards? I'm sorry but this is just childish at this point

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100 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Rocco // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:06pm

I want the refs to call it evenly. Which DPI flag against New England was the most unjust?

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80 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by deus01 // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:50pm

I guess you might as well not even bother reviewing the catch by amendola when you know you're just going to give it to the pats anyway.

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86 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:55pm

His feet were clearly in.

Every TD gets reviewed.

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87 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by deus01 // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:56pm

I meant the pass before the TD where the ball hit the ground and moved.

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94 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:01pm

Oh grow up. There's no way that's overturned in any game. You're forcing a narrative that never existed. It was a funny joke for much of the regular season, but that's all it ever was. This is so tiresome and juvenile

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96 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by deus01 // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:03pm

Please. Everyone was talking about how that was the rule in the Pats vs Steelers game and suddenly it's no longer the rule in this game when it benefits the Pats? I thought it should have been a catch in the Steelers game and was a catch here but if you're going to have a stupid rule you need to at least enforce it consistently.

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101 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:07pm

So you're saying it's been enforced differently against Jacksonville today? I'm sure you have specific examples?

I don't know what you're talking about from last week, but was that the same crew? Different ref teams call things differently, what's important is they don't favor one team over another, and I don't see any unequal standards here

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104 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by deus01 // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:10pm

The Pats vs Steelers game I meant, where the receiver extended the ball towards the end zone but it was ruled incomplete because it hit the ground and moved in his hands and the Steelers lost the game as a result

The pass to Amendola hit the ground and moved in his hands. To be consistent it should have been incomplete but they didn't even bother spending the time to review it.

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91 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Anger...rising // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:58pm

Wrong catch.

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81 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by duh // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:50pm

that is a crushing blow for the jags to see jack hobbling off what a game he has played.

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83 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cheesehead_Canuck // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:51pm

Well, they let us think it was a game for 3 quarters.

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84 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:54pm

This is why you don't take a knee with 55 seconds left in the 1st half.

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85 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve in WI // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:55pm

Also, I thought Joe Buck slobbering all over Aaron Rodgers in every broadcast was bad, but good god, Romo. At least pretend to be objective.

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88 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:56pm

Which announcer is that who is cheering for the Patriots so passionately?

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90 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by GwillyGecko // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:58pm

ive never seen a team get this big of a boost from the refs in a single game as todays game

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92 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cheesehead_Canuck // Jan 21, 2018 - 6:59pm

Are you new to watching games played in New England?

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95 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by GwillyGecko // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:03pm

this one takes the cake

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97 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:04pm

I might just start rooting for new england just to antagonize the 13-and-under crowd seeing ghosts in all the shadows.

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99 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by deus01 // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:06pm

If you can handle Brady promoting his pseudoscience bullshit.

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105 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:10pm

Half of my favorite players are fundamentalist christians, what do I care what they believe? I don't worry about Russell Wilson's pseudoscience either

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126 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by deus01 // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:01pm

Most of them aren't out there selling garbage to gullible people like Brady is. I dislike Russell Wilson for the same reasons.

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203 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by MC2 // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:27pm

"Gullible people" usually get what they deserve. Caveat emptor.

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98 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:05pm

That announcer, whoever it is, is just outright cheering for the Patriots. What's up with that?

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102 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:09pm

Another game given to the Patriots by the refs. I shouldn't have watched it. I knew it was going to be exactly like this. No penalties on the Patriots. Two touchdowns given to the Patriots by the refs.
And next year there is going to be another drop in NFL viewership. I loved football all my life. But the NFL is just a sick, and boring, joke at this point.
The Patriots were clearly the second best team on the field. They in no way deserved to win. Oh well. Same old. Same old.

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119 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:41pm

it is truly, truly awful (and the jags receiver got mugged on their "failed" 3rd down at 20-17) Agree that it has gotten discernibly worse since Goodell has been interested in managing outcomes, but, hey, the networks are happy, though I won't be watching

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120 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:42pm

it is truly, truly awful (and the jags receiver got mugged on their "failed" 3rd down at 20-17) Agree that it has gotten discernibly worse since Goodell has been interested in managing outcomes, but, hey, the networks are happy, though I won't be watching

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121 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:43pm

it is truly, truly awful (and the jags receiver got mugged on their "failed" 3rd down at 20-17) Agree that it has gotten discernibly worse since Goodell has been interested in managing outcomes, but, hey, the networks are happy, though I won't be watching

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103 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve B // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:09pm

NE's o-line never holds. Ever.

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106 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RickD // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:14pm

Lesson for the Jags is the same as the lesson for the Falcons: gotta play 60 minutes. Gotta stay aggressive on offense. With 15 min left I was convinced Pats would lose. 0 points in 3rd quarter and they looked flat. Run D was terrible.

And then the 4th Q happened.

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108 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Yu Narukami // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:22pm

You mean RUN O? Since Pats barely ran at all.

Anyway.

@MikePereira

From what I could see from here in Philly, looked like the crew led by Clete Blakeman did a good job. Believe me, there is no such thing as a perfect game, but their errors were minimal. 7 total fouls in the game. I hope our game here goes as well. It is loud already.

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132 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve in WI // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:28pm

Yes, and only 1 penalty against NE.

I will grant that it is possible for a team to commit only 1 penalty in an entire game, but it’s highly unlikely.

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159 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by billsfan // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:49pm

Only happened 10 times this season!

11 if you count NO@Car (week 3) twice.

Today's NFC game has only one penalty so far...

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109 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Dan_L // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:23pm

Watching Belichick make two wrong 4th down punt decisions, then come from behind anyway, was fairly annoying from a smart football perspective. However your points on the Jags and Falcons remain true.

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125 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by justanothersteve // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:59pm

I think they'd have gone for the fourth down if Belichick saw a better QB on the other sideline. He basically dared Bortles to play up to the situation. Other than the one drive for a FG, he couldn't. Some of it is also on the playcalling.

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141 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Dan_L // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:11pm

But I think this is a hidden luck factor. Bottles was what, two big plays from winning the game? Even if you think he's kinda crappy, you're lucky if you gamble that he absolutely can't make two plays in the fourth quarter.

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107 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by alljack // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:17pm

Officiating in the NFL has become so arbitrary as to be essentially random.

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110 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Rocco // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:24pm

On the plus side we don't have to watch the Jags headhunt in the Super Bowl.

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111 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cythammer // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:27pm

Seems like the refs decided that one for sure.

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113 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by t.d. // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:30pm

predictably brutal loss, with some predictable shady pi calls, made and not made, that really bailed NE out (3rd down jags 2nd last drive, almost all of the calls against jags secondary on several uncatchable balls, but NEs the league's cash cow, so what do you expect), but jags still need a better qb so they arent predictable on 1st and 2nd down. your website going out at this point isnt a good look. hope gronk misses sb and thinks about retirement

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208 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Geronimo // Jan 22, 2018 - 12:04am

New England might have been able to overcome penalties properly and fairly called but as it stands, it's clear they were helped by markedly uneven officiating. I will admit that I tend to be flatly incredulous that the NFL has failed so miserably in figuring the Patriots out that I can't help but think there's a dozen little ways they're cheating that part-time officials aren't capable of noticing.

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115 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by jtr // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:36pm

I ran some numbers on how overly conservative the Jags were on first down but a server error ate my post. Wasn't the website supposed to be redone like two years ago? It's only like eight years overdue at this point.

Anyways, the Jags largely lost the game because they tried to turtle on a fairly small lead against an all time great QB. A big part of why NE wins so many games is that they seem to be the only team that's immune to having games where they just shut down once they're up two scores.

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116 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by jtr // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:37pm

I ran some numbers on how overly conservative the Jags were on first down but a server error ate my post. Wasn't the website supposed to be redone like two years ago? It's only like eight years overdue at this point.

Anyways, the Jags largely lost the game because they tried to turtle on a fairly small lead against an all time great QB. A big part of why NE wins so many games is that they seem to be the only team that's immune to having games where they just shut down once they're up two scores.

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118 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by voytron // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:39pm

Jags are a good team, totally legit. I'm glad the conspiracy theory tinfoil hat crowd continues to salt it up around here, and I'm glad the Pats are going back to the super bowl. That pass defense by Gilmore was friggen awesome!

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122 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Will Allen // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:44pm

No 4th quarter pass rush will nearly always lose to a great qb. To all the moon-howlers, go ahead and supply the video evidence of the blatant holds that went uncalled.

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123 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:46pm

I'd like to recommend a website:'Butthurt Nation' 'where all the fanboys that the Patriots were mean to can cry on each others shoulders.' They also have local chapters that provide coffee, plenty of hugs, and Kleenex for all your salty tears.

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124 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cythammer // Jan 21, 2018 - 7:55pm

Well, it's not exactly a surprise to see refs be biased in favor of the big market, legendary team against the small market upstarts. Just like star players get special treatment too. I guess it's probably just human nature to be overawed by one of the most accomplished franchises in sports, maybe expecting fair reffing in such circumstances is simply unreasonable. Reminds me of the NBA playoff series between the Lakers and Sacramento in 2002, where something similar seemed to occur.

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129 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cythammer // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:07pm

Wow, maybe one first down from being in position for at least FG and a two score lead, instead it's tied. Huge play.

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130 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cythammer // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:16pm

Double post.

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131 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cheesehead_Canuck // Jan 21, 2018 - 8:27pm

My god can you imagine if the Eagles pull a win out tonight? It would be a bloodbath instead of a close game that would inevitably blown in the 4th quarter.

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140 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by voytron // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:09pm

Except the Eagles aren't pulling out a win, they're dominating. That's why they play the games, we don't know who's better until they play. I don't see how that crushed the Vikings is a better match-up for the Pats than the Vikings who got crushed.

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135 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Rich A // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:00pm

To all the people complaining about the reffing, I suggest you replay the game for people who don't have a rooting interest. People who aren't football and see with Patriots hate. See what they say.

The camera doesn't lie and you're all looking at ghosts through your own perceived biases.

In regards to the calls; the DPI for Cooks deep: Cooks looked for the ball early and tried to work back into the field and Ramsey just ran him straight to the sideline. That's the correct call. Yes, Ramsey looked for the ball but he didn't locate it. If he located it, then he may actually picked it because he was way closer to the ball.

The drive before, where NE had to punt, the jags defender was hanging all over Hogan on the 3rd down pass attempt before the pass arrived. Chungs later coverage was much cleaner. It just was. Chung wasn't drapped on his WR.

The Gronk hit, there may have been shoulder contact but it would've been simultaneous with the helmet to helmet, against a defenseless receiver. That's clearly a foul.

The Amendola catch, before the TD, his hand was under the nose of the ball. The James Steelers catch his hand was on the side of the ball and the nose of the ball hit and the ball moved. All different acts. Look at the film.

Finally, the reason why the Pats weren't called is they were mostly playing softer coverage, hence why the Pats gave up yards and yards to short outs and middle curls.

And why no calls on the NE O-line? That was very biased. For the jags. The jags were basically holding and dragging NE linemen to the ground, and then blocking them in the back into the ground if they got through. The refs mostly swallowed their whistles on the line play, except for one call against the Jags. The Jags were blessed to not have 4 or 5 holding calls against them. I think I recall maybe one arm bar lock to shoulder/elbow that was semi-callable for the NE line.

I won't be responding to any replies since anyone who's complaining about the reffing has no ability to evenly judge reffing.

However, if you want to talk about bracket coverage on Gronk, presnap motion, jags run D, and play efficiency then I'm interested in talking about those things.

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136 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by justanothersteve // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:01pm

As a Packers fan who was hoping the Jags would win, I didn't have a problem with the refereeing. Jacks' incredible strip/fumble of the RB was also a close call; the call was "The play stands" meaning it could have gone either way. The early DPI on the sideline was close but I've seen that called more often than not. I also thought Amendola kept his black-gloved hand under the ball.

Bortles and the Jags offense had the chance to show they deserved to get to the Super Bowl. They didn't. The defense played good enough for them to win the game with a decent offense. That unit deserved better.

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145 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Hoodie_Sleeves // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:23pm

Neither one of the DPIs was "close".

On the first one, Ramsey grabbed cooks by the neck and pulled him down. You can't do that when the ball is in the air.

On the second one, the DB pushed the WR out of bounds while the ball was in the air. You can't redirect a WR while the ball is in the air.

Both were textbook calls that get called every single time.

The refs let a lot of stuff go uncalled - but both those plays were stuff that absolultey gets called even with loose refereeing.

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157 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by justanothersteve // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:41pm

The first DPI was the one down the sidelines early in the game. It was the play immediately after the one that knocked out Gronk. I agree with you on the other PI calls, and if you check earlier I also stated that.

Your pro-Pats boosterism is almost as bad and annoying as morganja's anti-Pats bias. Note: Nothing is worse than an ungracious winner and it's all the Pats fans whining in shadow of winning that makes Pats fans easily the most annoying fan base right now. You can't win without picking fights with anyone who doesn't worship at the feet of Belichick and Brady. Get over yourselves.

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162 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Alternator // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:54pm

Honest question: where's the whining?

All I see is people contesting the conspiracy theories that the NFL referees actively seek to favor the Patriots.

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204 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by MC2 // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:33pm

Well, how about every week on the DVOA Ratings thread, when people constantly gripe about DVOA's failure to hail the greatness of the Patriots defense?

Or how about every week on the Quick Reads thread, when Brady's blurb is endlessly scrutinized for anything that could be perceived as a slight?

Look, some of the Patriot haters on here can be very annoying. But so can some of the Patriot worshipers.

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205 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:42pm

There's an enormous difference between saying, 'I don't agree with DVOA's ranking of the Patriots' and saying, 'It all rigged! Grassy knoll! Exploding cigars!'

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211 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by MC2 // Jan 22, 2018 - 12:40am

Oh, I agree that there is a difference between constantly whining about imaginary conspiracies and constantly whining about imaginary disrespect. I'm simply saying that both types of whining can be rather annoying, in their own unique way.

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216 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 22, 2018 - 3:32am

Fair enough. I'm a Pats lifer who suffered through '85 and the phantom pass interference against the Raiders in '76 and I can't stand the combination of whining and entitlement of far too many Pats fans.

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222 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 22, 2018 - 9:48am

Oh please.

Lions, Browns, Texans, and Jaguars fans would kill to have a season like the 1985 Pats. Their high-water marks are getting slaughtered in the conference championship.

Evens Bills and Vikings fans have brutal close SB losses.

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209 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Rich A // Jan 22, 2018 - 12:23am

In regards to the Pats defense and DVOA, I think it comes from a disconnect between what DVOA measures and how the game is measured. Namely points scored. And that disconnect is in the minds of all observers as well as built into the stat itself.

DVOA is an efficiency stat and the Pats Defense is great at preventing scoring even given their terrible efficiency ("bend but don't break"). Hence the commentary from Aaron regarding the schism between DVOA and red zone performance/scoring. There's a difference between moving the ball efficiently anywhere on the field and in the red zone but schematically most teams don't actually do much differently. Hence DVOA usually agrees with general perception and scoring trends. However, the Patriots are schematically very different in the red zone. Not just with different personal packages but they'll switch their coverages. It's like Corners that have given cushion the whole field are suddenly trained to look to jump routes. A similar example is Superbowl LI where the first half the Pats played Cover 2 (man and zone), Cover 3, and Cover 4/6. And then the second half they blitzed half the downs and went Cover-0 and Cover 1 the rest of the way. Most teams don't make those huge game plan changes.

I wonder if DVOA would be more predictive if it also incorporated a stronger weighting of red zone plays. So for instance, all plays in the maroon area (let call that 10-30 yards out), get double weight in DVOA. And all plays inside the 10 get a triple weighting. And maybe this could be another column that speaks about scoring-Dvoa. If they factor for long explosive plays not being predictive beyond a certain yardage (when clearly some teams simply are more boom-or-bust)(the metric thus has some tempering for toning down weight of some yards - this is the reverse (or is that Dyar?)), then maybe they should look at how they can factor red zone performance as more distinct than open field performance.

That way it's not just measuring DVOA on the whole field the same way but gives more weight to how teams play in the red zone. This isn't to criticize DVOA. It perfectly does what it's currently described and intended to do. It's just that yardage efficiency =/= scoring efficiency or vice versa.

But of course you know all this I'm sure.

Even as a Pats fan I can tell you they would be terrible in the CFL. They play covering what's behind them and play to come up to plays. They don't run with the play and play Cover 0 rarely. As a Canadian I can tell you the difference between 10 yd endzone and 25 yd endzone is just enormous. Defenses really can to an extent bend but not break in the NFL. It's just that most coaches don't do crazy things like rush 2 and drop 9 (a great Madden strategy too), have a 3 corner goal line package, super heavy packages, know hurry up trends, or know opponent tendencies quite as well/emply Ernie Adams. It's just that without other coaches doing the same it's hard to know if teams can really bend but not break quite as well and thus team efficiency across the field is pretty good for measuring unit play even though the goal line is very different.

I am an interested Pats follower in Canada both because my Dad loved seeing the Bills beat the Pats in the early 90's and I resented how he spoke down about them, but also the schematic genius of Belichick. I really only started following them in 2002 though after playing lots of Madden with my friend. Maybe that makes me a bandwagon jumper. Though they're a very interesting team to follow simply alone for following the X's and O's.

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217 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 22, 2018 - 3:43am

Great points. The Belichick Patriots are a singularity in football history and I can understand why it doesn't make sense for the FO crew to try and adapt their metrics for one outlier.
Your point about the vast shifts in coverage over the course of a game hints at why the Pats have such a small number of really remarkable players considering their success. Belichick needs players who can play different systems, not just game to game but quarter to quarter.
The fact that the Belichick coaching tree has produced only withered fruits indicates, I think, that it's the man and not the system, or maybe that the man is the system. There isn't a series of guidelines you can institute - West Coast Offense, 46 D, it's about adapting on a weekly basis drawing on the football computer that is BB's brain.

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137 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cythammer // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:02pm

Except that the neutral fan consensus, seen on other sites, is that the reffing was horribly in the Patriots favor. There are even plenty of Patriots fans who are willing to admit it.

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143 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by voytron // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:17pm

There is no neutral fan. There are only people who hate the Patriots, and people who like them. There is no one left who hasn't made up his mind.

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201 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by El Muneco // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:24pm

Not so sure about that. I'm ambivalent, and that's kind of like being neutral. As a pre-12s Seahawk fan, I'm not happy they were the recipients of our brain fart, but I can't exactly blame them for that. I don't like their politics. I don't like how deep that woo has penetrated their locker room. And some of their on-field tactics are ticky-tack.

On the other hand, Belichick and Brady are legitimately legendary (possibly Gronk too). They have a remarkable ability to reshape themselves around new talent and change philosophies on a dime to take away your strengths and accentuate theirs.

Plus I have gained a lot of sympathy for them due to the conspiracy-theorist wankers. Among other things, I have yet to see one of them explain why, if Goodell is influencing game results based on ratings, why (1) there hasn't been a hint of an actual news agency discovering boo, while the actually-spectacularly-corrupt FIFA loses officials on a regular basis for much lower levels of interference, (2) he doesn't do anything at all for the Cowboys, who are still even a bigger national draw.

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210 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Rich A // Jan 22, 2018 - 12:27am

This is a very rational and balanced position to hold. Kudos and Thank you!

More posts from poster like this would be appreciated!

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214 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by voytron // Jan 22, 2018 - 1:55am

El Muneco, I stand corrected. Your cogent, fair analysis, even after suffering a devastating super bowl loss at the hands of the Patriots (I'm not saying that to rub it in, I'm saying that with sympathy. If I was on the other side of that, that I recognize that it would be pretty tough). "Everyone has made up his mind on the Patriots except El Muneco, who is the last reasonable man on the internet."

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142 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by deus01 // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:13pm

You're the one not being objective if you think the Amendola catch wasn't at least borderline. His hand was under the ball but it looks like the nose of the ball touches the ground possibly twice, on the initial catch and again as he rolls over. If you wanted to argue that the evidence isn't conclusive to overturn the call on the field I could accept that but to say it clearly doesn't touch ground is obvious bias. I don't think the referring was that one sided but the Patriots did benefit from a few blown calls.

Replay of the catch in question:
https://twitter.com/_MarcusD2_/status/955211281744695296/video/1

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147 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Hoodie_Sleeves // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:25pm

You mean the play that Jacksonville didn't challenge?

Maybe it would have been overturned.

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220 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Lyford // Jan 22, 2018 - 7:39am

"You're the one not being objective if you think the Amendola catch wasn't at least borderline. His hand was under the ball but it looks like the nose of the ball touches the ground possibly twice, on the initial catch and again as he rolls over"

I don't see anywhere in that catch where the ball appears to hit the ground. I don't see anything that would lead an official to call that incomplete live, and I don't see anything that would lead them to overturn the completion on a replay that the Jaguars could have asked for, but didn't.

In short, I don't see any reason whatsoever for this play to come up in a discussion of the officiating and whether or not it benefited the Patriots.

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223 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Digit // Jan 22, 2018 - 10:17am

Probably because he thinks 'the ball cannot move while the catch is being maintained to the ground', instead of 'maintaining continuous control all the way through.' The James catch showed both: hands moving off the ball -and- the ball moving. He didn't maintain control all the way through.

Amendola did maintain control all the way through, it looks like, since both hands were on the ball, stayed on the ball, and stayed in the same position almost all the way through. In that situation the ball can move when it hits the ground, -so long- as the receiver hasn't let go of the ball at any time during the catch.

You'd think Jacksonville would've challenged that if they had thought at all it had any chance of being incomplete, yeah.

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138 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cythammer // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:04pm

This is still a game even with the Vikings failing to get a score right before the half, but another Eagles TD on the other side of halftime and it could be close to over.

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139 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by vrao81 // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:09pm

24-7. This game feels over.

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144 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve B // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:18pm

Sure does. Philly's dominating in the trenches. Surprising after how the game started.

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160 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by billsfan // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:53pm

Great demonstration of what to do when you get the ball back with a minute left before the half!

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146 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Hextall_27 // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:25pm

Foles is a very good QB.

This was obvious to anyone who could let go of 2015 and a week 17 preseason game.

Chumps who bet against him are down 20 1/2 points right now.

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155 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve B // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:37pm

It wasn't just that one. Their O looked bad the week before against Oakland, too. They didn't look like world beaters last week, either.

I think everybody knows Foles is capable of playing very well, but nobody could've expected THIS against Minnesota's defense. Helps that his o-line is dominating, of course.

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148 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cheesehead_Canuck // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:28pm

31-7
It is absolutely over. As a Pack fan, I’m fine with the Vikings blowing a NFCCG.
As a person who is sick to death of the Patriots and seemingly every break going their way for so long, I’m pissed that they’ll play the team that (in my mind) doesn’t match up as well against them.

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149 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve B // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:29pm

Definitely over now.

It was understandable that people had doubts about Philly when the playoffs started, but it turns out they're a pretty damn good team even without Wentz. Not just him. No Jason Peters, either.

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158 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by BJR // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:46pm

It's clear now that the drop off from Wentz to Foles is nothing like as steep as was anticipated by almost everybody (including myself), particularly after a few weeks worth of reps as starter.

This is a very well coached team, with good blocking, and solid receiving. Many QBs would prosper here.

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167 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Dan_L // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:58pm

I wonder if this game will change opinions on the value of run-pass option plays? I often hear that these "don't work in real games" or "only work if you have Aaron Rodgers". Foles effectively used a lot of them today, against a tough defense in a conference championship game.

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175 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:10pm

The entire concept that college offenses don't work is a joke.

Some aspects don't work. But most pro concepts were worked out at lower levels.

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176 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cheesehead_Canuck // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:11pm

Kind of like New England.

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151 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Hextall_27 // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:31pm

Foles has a 131 rating right now.
His WR dropped a 54 yarder in his hands.
His TE jumped and stepped out on an easy throw for another 20 or so.
Another throw hit Celek in the hands.
He threw 2 balls away because of coverage.

He has missed on 2 throws all night.

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152 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Hextall_27 // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:31pm

repost on lag

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154 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:36pm

I think a lot of people are going to take a pass on watching the Super Bowl this year.

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156 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Cheesehead_Canuck // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:40pm

I’ll be watching because I’m a glutton for punishment. It’s like a form of self-hate or something. I’ll have to live with the Pats fans in my life for another year until Belichick retires.

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165 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:57pm

I think you need to draw a line at some point.

Would you hang out with Nazis?

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169 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:04pm

Yes, equating Pats fans with Nazis is a fair, defensible position.

Isn't there an Aaron Brooks good and evil twin here? Are they the same person? I think you're on the wrong account

And what a surprise to learn moreganja thinks everyone cares about the refs as much as he does.

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171 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:07pm

I wasn't talking to Morgan or you.

\say what you will, at least it's an ethos

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178 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:14pm

Now you're accusing me of nihilism? You, sir, are outrageous!

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181 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:20pm

Just solipsism

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187 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:27pm

No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.

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188 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by morganja // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:29pm

We believe in nothing, Lebowski. Nothing. And tomorrow we come back and we cut off your chonson.

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179 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by amin purshottam // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:16pm

Dude,
I think you need to get some therapy. At this rate you are on your way to a heart attack. Seriously, just let it go. It’s obviously eating you up inside. I can’t go back and forth with you anymore. It’s just a game. I am just as passionate as you are. Obviously I am on the other end being a Pats fan. Let it go.

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161 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Alternator // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:54pm

It's the end of the third quarter, and there have been two penalties called in the Eagles - Vikings game. The refs have evidently decided to largely allow the teams to just play this week.

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170 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:04pm

Penalties have ticked up a bit...

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163 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by BJR // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:55pm

Sit Foles for the 4th quarter? Would hate to see an injury ruin any semblance of a competitive Super Bowl.

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164 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:55pm

Aikman: "It's amazing that I know the Eagles were great on 3rd down this year, but they weren't great with Foles."

What do you know, Aikman is right. It *IS* amazing that he knew that

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180 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by billsfan // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:20pm

Also Aikman: "It's a good thing for the Eagles that [overturned Vikings TD on a 4th down] was called a TD on the field, because now it will be reviewed..."

man I hate listening to this crew

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184 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:22pm

You have to filter Aikman through an institutional hatred of Philly.

It makes him more insipid than usual.

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212 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Hextall_27 // Jan 22, 2018 - 1:28am

Foles hit Smith 54 yards downfield with a strike in his hands over the shoulder and his first reaction was that he should have led him more.

Foles also hits Burton with a great pass but for some insane reason he leaps in the air and lands out of bounds instead of standing there for the catch.

At the start of the second drive he mumbles something about they did "Not much with Foles" on the first drive.

One of the truly great performances in NFL history and Aikman starts it off by making insane nitpicks.

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213 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Will Allen // Jan 22, 2018 - 1:51am

Aikmam was correct on that first long pass. If the ball is thrown to the middle of the field, the db cannot make up the space. Why shouldn't an analyst point that out? Aikman also clearly stated that Burton screwed up.

Hey, I usually watch games with the sound turned down, unless I'm watching with other people, so I have no affection for any announcer. The way people mind read the talking heads always strikes mevasvweird, however.

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221 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by billsfan // Jan 22, 2018 - 7:56am

I just liked how you could hear the recognition in his voice, mid-sentence, that he had just said something incredibly stupid. Then he just trailed off...

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166 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 9:58pm

Glad to see the page back up after one of the "ref truther" kiddies got their hands on a DoS/DDoS script

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168 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:03pm

So 4 of the last 5 blowouts in the NFC championship game haven't gone well for the winning team.

\5 of 5 for the losing team

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172 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Will Allen // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:09pm

The Vikings have missed interior pass rush all season, Griffin hasn't had his burst since midseason, due to plantar fasciitis, and they have covered for it with excellent play by dbs. That went away tonight, especially with the two long tds. Foles has been red hot before. I thought all along the Vikings o-line would not hold up on the road against the Eagles defensive line, and it was the two turnovers in the 1st half that set the table for the blow out.

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173 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:09pm

The much maligned Patriots run D gave up a 3.2 avg. ypc. Bortles rushed for -2 yards. They spied him and dared him to beat them as a pocket passer. He couldn't.

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183 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve B // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:21pm

He only rushed twice. Bortles had a great game overall. Seemed like his coaches were scared to give him a chance to close the deal. Play calling was too conservative in the 4th.

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193 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:38pm

That's sort of my point: he only rushed twice because there was nowhere to go, no easy running lanes because an LB was always spying him.
Bortles was decent and the threat of his scrambling meant the Pats had to limit their coverages. He'll never have the pinpoint accuracy of a Class A QB but he's good enough.

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200 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve B // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:23pm

They spied him the whole game? I missed parts, but I'd be surprised if that was true. Regardless, they went too conservative in the 4th.

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219 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 22, 2018 - 7:17am

If it isn't true, or if they didn't have extra men around the line, why didn't he run more? That's one of his strengths. He didn't scramble because there was nowhere to go.

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174 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by vrao81 // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:10pm

If you had told me that this weekend, one game would be a blowout, and the other a close one not decided until the final minutes, I would have bet a fortune that the Eagles-Vikes was the close game.

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182 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Will Allen // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:21pm

I thought the Eagles would win by a few, but the only thing that really surprised me was the two long tds in the 1st half. Given that, the blowout isn't a big shock. Once things get out hand, they often snowball.

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185 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:27pm

Any thoughts on why the receivers have looked so off?

Keenan hasn't been great, but I don't think he was the big problem.

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191 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Hextall_27 // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:33pm

Hold tight to those delusions if they help you sleep at night.

Keenum has 4 turnovers and could easily have 6.

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197 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:58pm

Not a Vikings fan either, but Will is.

It seems like the moment was too big for Diggs and Rudolph disappeared after the first drive. Keenum and Thielen at least were competing.

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199 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Will Allen // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:06pm

Diggs was fine. 8 receptions in 12 targets. Rudolph was targeted 4 times, and without looking at the all 22, it is hard to evaluate his game.

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194 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Will Allen // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:39pm

Keenum has erratic accuracy that receivers have concealed all year, less so tonight, and that has combined with a predictably outmatched o-line. The blocking was pretty good until November, then the injuries started piling up, resulting in 8 different starting combinations, and guys playing with significant injuries. If they had managed to beat Carolina in week 14, and get the home field, they might have held up much better.

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177 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Broncos2015 ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:12pm

Wait who is in the booth right now? That didn't sound like Aikman's voice there: "what can you say about Belichick and the Pats that hasn't been said for years?"

Whoever that cliched idiot is, maybe you could start with some of the 51 players on the roster who haven't been there for years. Or maybe cite specific examples of tactics that they only recently started employing. How many yards did the Pats scrape together in a close game today through short kickoffs and good coverage? There's a million things to say if you know anything about the sport you're covering

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195 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by deus01 // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:44pm

The average fan isn't smart enough to understand anything complicated. It's easier to just know that Brady is good and he's the only the reason they've won all the super bowls.

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186 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Hextall_27 // Jan 21, 2018 - 10:27pm

How many millions of dollars did Keenum lose tonight?

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198 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:03pm

Anyone who doesn't think the hit on Gronk wasn't helmet to helmet is looking through some pretty distorted lenses. You could argue that the shoulder hit simultaneously, but that doesn't change anything. It was a call that gets made 99% of the time.

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202 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by PatsFan // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:24pm

I'm still amazed by (and grateful for) Jacksonville wasting virtually every first down play in the second half.

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207 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve B // Jan 21, 2018 - 11:54pm

Right, like I said above it seemed like Jacksonville's coaches were afraid to let Bottles close it out. If Philly's in a similar position two weeks from now, they MUST keep attacking. Of course, that doesn't mean get stupid like Atlanta and Seattle did. There's a difference.

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215 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by voytron // Jan 22, 2018 - 2:18am

I think it's interesting that here and elsewhere the narrative is "the Jacksonville coaches were afraid to let Bortles finish the game" when Romo kept warning that there were only so many play action plays that they had and eventually Bortles was going to have to stand in the pocket and make throws. Maybe it's true what people are saying here, that they tightened up in the second half, but is it also possible that Romo was right, and they simply ran out formations/plays that were working against the Pats in the first 3 quarters?

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218 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by RobotBoy // Jan 22, 2018 - 4:08am

Or they just stopped being able to respond to the adjustments the Patriots made as the game progressed.
I'd love to see an All-22 breakdown of how the game went in terms of shifting coverages, substitutions and even what techniques linemen were playing. Does any website go into that level of detail?

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224 Re: 2018 Conference Championship Open Thread

by Steve in WI // Jan 22, 2018 - 7:25pm

From NFL.com, these are the plays and results every time the Jaguars had 1st and 10 in the 2nd half. All of them except the last two occurred when the Jaguars had the lead:

1-10-JAX 25
(15:00) 27-L.Fournette left tackle to JAX 27 for 2 yards (92-J.Harrison, 98-T.Flowers).
1-10-JAX 47
(13:41) 27-L.Fournette left end to JAX 48 for 1 yard (98-T.Flowers).
1-10-NE 42
(11:52) 27-L.Fournette up the middle to NE 39 for 3 yards (93-L.Guy, 53-K.Van Noy).
1-10-JAX 10
(7:31) 5-B.Bortles pass incomplete short right to 11-M.Lee.
1-10-JAX 9
(4:41) 27-L.Fournette up the middle to JAX 9 for no gain (93-L.Guy, 52-E.Roberts).
1-10-JAX 34
(2:48) 5-B.Bortles pass short right to 88-A.Hurns to JAX 49 for 15 yards (25-E.Rowe). flea flicker handoff to 24-Yeldon and pitch back to 5-Bortles
1-10-JAX 49
(2:06) 27-L.Fournette left guard to NE 49 for 2 yards (90-M.Brown, 94-R.Jean Francois).
1-10-NE 41
(:48) (Shotgun) 27-L.Fournette left end pushed ob at NE 27 for 14 yards (23-P.Chung). NE-98-T.Flowers was injured during the play.
1-10-NE 27
(:12) 5-B.Bortles pass incomplete short right to 83-B.Koyack.
1-10-JAX 33
(13:37) (Shotgun) 27-L.Fournette up the middle to JAX 35 for 2 yards (90-M.Brown, 55-E.Lee).
1-10-JAX 16
(8:38) (Shotgun) 27-L.Fournette left tackle to JAX 17 for 1 yard (90-M.Brown, 52-E.Roberts).
1-10-JAX 37
(7:19) (Shotgun) 27-L.Fournette left tackle to JAX 38 for 1 yard (23-P.Chung, 98-T.Flowers).
1-10-JAX 10
(5:53) (Shotgun) 27-L.Fournette up the middle to JAX 9 for -1 yards (23-P.Chung).
1-10-JAX 25
(2:48) (Shotgun) 5-B.Bortles pass short middle to 11-M.Lee to JAX 33 for 8 yards (24-S.Gilmore).
1-10-NE 38
(2:12) (Shotgun) 5-B.Bortles pass incomplete deep left to 27-L.Fournette.

Again, excluding the last two plays where Jacksonville was trailing and was desperate to score, on 1st and 10 they ran the ball 10 out of 13 times. Only 1 of those runs was successful (14 yards). The unsuccessful runs went for 2, 1, 3, 0, 2, 2, 1, 1, and -1.

They did Bortles no favors by consistently putting him in 2nd and long, and I would argue that they made the Patriots D's job even easier by trying so blatantly to salt away a small lead with tons of time left in the game.

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