Football Outsiders
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Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Here's your thread for open discussion of Super Bowl LII, Philadelphia vs. New England, leading up to the game on February 4, then during and after the game.


190 comments, Last at 13 Feb 2018, 5:22am

1 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Patriots 27, Eagles 23

I'm ready for some football. These wings are DEFINITELY going to get cold before Sunday night...

2 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

I have been feeling like this is a Eagles 38 Pats 31 kind of game, but news reports this week are that the Patriots have all 53 men as full participants in practice, while the Eagles have several noteworthy players out or limited with illness.

If you know something of disease biology... and depending on what this exact illness is... this should frighten the hell out of Eagles fans. Many diseases have a 1-2 day period where someone's caught the bug, but isn't feeling sick yet. So the disease spreads throughout the locker room on that delayed period, and then 3-5 days later everyone's either got it, or is just coming down with it, or is just starting to get over it. That would put the final, intense stretch right around... Super Bowl Sunday.

These are tough guys who will surely play through a little dehydration, soreness, and whatever other lingering effects are present. But, these are relatively evenly matched teams. You can be 1 step late and still beat the Giants or the Browns. Against the Patriots? Not so easy.

3 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

As a NE fan who had to live through the 2006 AFCCG, I know all about what illness can do to a team. NE got hit by something, likely norovirus, that had a number of players in bad shape during the game.

I remember the beat writers mentioning on Thursday before that game that several players looked like death warmed over, and thinking "oh no". Horrible timing.

4 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

It's been a long time since I've been so uninterested in a Super Bowl matchup. I'll probably watch it. But when the most interesting thing about tomorrow's game is the halftime performer (and I'm not a Timberlake fan), I can't say I'll care.

6 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Nelson Agholor received an IV Saturday morning after feeling sick with " flu-like symptoms."

Rapoport goes on to say Agholor is "feeling better" and should be "fine" for Sunday.

10 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Eagles good opening drive, but couldn't get into the end zone. Pats first drive looking real good.

12 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

On their second kickoff New England earns their first positive Gostkowski Above-touchback Yardage, bringing their total to 1.

19 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Pats look very sloppy tackling and somewhat in the coaching department. This is an odd, messy game so far...

23 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Excellent special teams play by Philly, especially blocking for kickoff returns. New England is down to -4 Gostkowski Above-touchback Yardage

24 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

I know I’m in the minority, but man do I find these kinds of games to be mind-numbingly boring. Over 600 yards of offense in the first half. Two Super Bowl participants should be able to play better defense than this.

35 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Which makes it equally important as offense...look, obviously both of these teams deserve to be here. I just think a matchup where defense has meant so little (there’s been one three and out in the first half, correct?) is boring to watch.

27 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Both teams had a pass to the QB in the playbook? That's crazy!

I don't know why Collinsworth is making such a big deal about going for it on 4th down from the two. That seems like a standard situation to go for a 4th down.

32 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Arguments against going for it: it’s the end of the half so you don’t benefit as much from flipping field position if you fail. Plus you have the lead, so even settling for a field goal increases that lead.

Argument for going for it: you are facing the Patriots offense so basically no lead is safe.

I like the call, especially with a trick play that if executed properly had a very high probability of success.

31 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Why is the sideline reporter talking to [and possibly distracting] Pederson and not Belichick? I'd love to hear Belichick put on the spot and contractually forced to talk about something

37 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

I can’t help but contrast the philosophy with Jacksonville’s decision to give up at the end of the first half. It would have been defensible to kick the field goal and put a near-guaranteed three more points on the board, but Pederson and the Eagles took a calculated risk to do more. Jacksonville thought that continuing to execute their offense was too much of a risk. History has shown that the Patriots will almost always prevail if you play it safe.

173 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Pederson's 2 seasons worth of demonstrated lack of fear was certainly reinforced by the immediate precedent of Jacksonville's illustration of why easing off the gas against New England is sub-optimal.

36 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Halftime thoughts:
Neither defense playing well. Too many big plays. Zero qb sacks by either team. Defenses need to step up in the 2nd half.
Gronk has one catch in first half..will he be targeted more in the 2nd?

39 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Gronk was targeted 5 times and clearly the main target on several other plays where Brady went elsewhere. He's not getting open and he's not winning 50-50s. Philly is forcing the ball outside and leaving space on the deep routes for Hogan... and Cooks... Dorsett may have to step up somehow.

38 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Philly defense looks garbage outside the redzone and 3rd down... except maybe on some of the screens/swings. Pats defense breakdown on the RB pass was predictable. Given how badly NE screwed around in the first half, from the missed kicks to the sloppy fourth and third down calls, etc. I think NE is pretty lucky to be only down 10 points.

40 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

McD's play-calling was very dubious in the first half. Use Tom Brady as a receiver? The slowest man in the NFL?

The various special teams' failures are bizarre.

Officials are apparently going to let all sorts of grabbing and hitting go on with receivers.

Big difference so far is the Eagles' run game plowing through Pats' front seven.

Biggest question left unaddressed by NBC: where the hell is Malcolm Butler? The last Eagles' TD was set up by Jordan Richards' inability to play in the secondary at a very basic level. Eric Rowe has had his difficulties so far, but Richards would have to play a lot better to reach merely bad.

I have to think the benching is an act of discipline by BB. What did Butler do?

42 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Butler had the flu, or so the report goes. I have the flu right now. It is pretty crippling. Outside of that, makes no sense at all. Butler seems to have lost a step this year, but he's still a very reasonable player...

44 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Apparently Butler had the flu earlier this week, though a one-legged Butler would be better than the Jordan Richards abomination.

Also, the trick-play TD shouldn't have stand.

So much for the pats conspiracy.

49 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

The referees also didn't flag a 3rd and goal from the Pats when the running back motioned up to the line. The running back was still shifting up to the line of scrimmage as the ball was snapped. The pass was incomplete, so it didn't matter much, but the officiating has been sloppy as much as the defenses.

61 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

I guess it's a missed call, but outside receivers usually verify their alignment with the official on the sideline. (You'll often see them stick their arm out as they get set.) Assuming he checked with the official and got the ok, there shouldn't have beem any ambiguity that he was considered to be lined up on the line of scrimmage

52 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Butler continues to ride the pine and CBs lower on the depth chart continue to play like crap. Terrible missed tackle by Bademosi.

The story here is Belichick would rather lose the game than give an inch on a disciplinary matter.

65 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Great. It's literally unpredictable what the call will be after this review

Edit: I think the 10-yard penalty to begin this drive should count for Gostkowski Above-touchback Yardage, because a simple touchback doesn't give the return team the opportunity to commit a penalty. So NE is back to a positive 6 Gostkowski Above-touchback Yardage

59 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Hopefully the pro-Patriots officiating meme will die the long-deserved death now after that TD was upheld.

Not that it ever stood up to scrutiny. It was always a dumb theory.

70 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

As I said, it never stood up to scrutiny. It was a dumb theory.

In the second half of the Jags' game, when the Pats needed a comeback, a grand total of one flag was thrown all half. And it was a PI that simply couldn't be ignored.

Dumb theory.

Non-dumb theories stand up to falsifiability tests. They have more going for them than "the Pats aren't getting flagged enough!"

71 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

This is a weird game. Brady has been on fire, but the Pats' defense is garbage. And what the heck has happened to the Philly defense? Their vaunted pass rush??

77 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

The clement to was a catch. The ball moved but was under control the entire time. Or at least there wasn’t indisputable evidence that he lost control.

84 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Just because Philly seems to be on to them, New England is going to give up completely on their kickoff strategy? What is going on here?

86 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Great decision to go for it there. I really want the Eagles to win just because I like seeing guts rewarded.

90 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

The ball doesn't come out until he's rolling over and then catches it again before it hits the ground. I think that has to be a catch.

155 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

It's more than that. He didn't go to the ground from the catch. He went to the ground due to the Patriots' player. If that player hadn't been there and he still fell in, maybe. Caveat: if he hadn't been there, Ertz wouldn't have fallen in.

96 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

That sure looked like clear interference to me. Regardless, it’s bad announcing to ignore it and keep showing replays of the previous touchdown that was already adjudicated. This has got to be Michaels’ last Super Bowl, right? Not that Collinsowrth has exactly provided stellar analysis either.

101 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

The pass was way out of bounds.

You guys reallyneed to find something better to do with your time than whine about officiating.

As an exercise in displaying bias, it's long since this nonsense became uninteresting. There's absolutely no attempt to approach these questions in an objective manner.

105 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

I don’t know if the pass was out of bounds or not because NBC chose to continue to show multiple replays of a previous play rather than explain what just happened. If it was in fact an uncatchable ball, I’d like a broadcast to clarify and explain that.

140 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Completely agree with your original post. Saw an Eagles defensive back grasping the jersey of an open Patriot that Brady overthrew. That's normally interference. By the way, NBC didn't show a replay of that, but decided to show the hit Brady took to throw it.

102 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Yes, it sort of comes down to the one sack, but you can't really expect to win a game when your defense is as absolutely putrid as NE's has been. This is one of the worst NE performances of the entire year.

178 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

I was yelling the same thing at my TV. As soon as I saw their formation, I knew they were just going to predictably run the ball to the strong side for little or no gain. That was the only time all game that Pederson fell into the usually-fatal trap of taking your foot off the gas pedal against the Patriots. It gave the Pats a comeback opportunity that the Eagles just didn't need to give them.
The clock stops after that play anyways due to the 2MW, you should try a safe pass in that situation. A six-yard pass would have set up 3&short, and then a successful QB sneak would end the game.

104 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

I get the increase of trick plays in general towards the end of the playoffs, but BELICHICK is getting too cute by half? What a weird game

115 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

McDaniels is in charge of the play-calling. Unless you mean the attempt at a reverse on the kickoff return. I view that as a 'meh'. I can see trying a reverse, but not with Burkhead. Maybe with Cooks or Dorsett or even Hogan - one of their fast guys.

107 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Good job by the Eagles. When both defenses were playing awful in the 2nd half, the Eagles got the key turnover to put the game out of reach.

Very unimpressive performance by the Pats' defense. Great coaching by Doug Pederson. McDaniels pissed me off a number of times in the first half. I'm also interested in the benching of Malcolm Butler. Was it the after-effects of the flu or a disciplinary matter? Aside from Gilmore the secondary was a disaster.

Best wishes to Matt Patricia in Detroit and, presumably, Josh McDaniels in Indy. Now you guys get to put up with his decision-making!

109 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Crazy game. Congrats Eagles- although it may come with an asterisk, due to that controversial last TD.

113 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

I think the Clement TD was the much closer call; Ertz caught the ball while running and thus became a runner, so going to the ground didn't matter for it to be a completion. But Clement was bobbling when he had his foot on the line, I thought.

122 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

The weak TD was the one with the pass to Foles, when they had an illegal formation that the officials let slide. Meh. Though Al and Cris are hyping that play, it really didn't make a huge, huge difference.

I didn't disagree with any of the replay calls. Bizarrely, Collinsworth was more pro-Pats than I was tonight. The last TD seemed to be a case where enough happened to change the receiver to a runner. The previous one that bothered CC was when I didn't think the receiver juggled the ball, even though he was gripping it in an unusual fashion.

111 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

LOL my TV reception went out literally while that last pass attempt was in the air. No big deal since it fell incomplete and didn't matter much, but funny timing.

116 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

It was a look-a-like 2011 desperation throw (a ball that had a better chance to get caught in the ricochet).

Even if the offense performed well, situationally it was so-so. Even in the last drive, Gronk was open for the chunk-outside in the first snaps, still they went with long-developing plays.

112 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Pats put 613 yards on the board and never punt. Yet, they lost.

Guess the terrible D's finally showed up. Without Butler that was more probable.

As a Pats' fan, I admit I felt 1/10th of the thrill I had last year (2014-2011-2007 were sky-rocketing) coming into the game. Maybe it was the same for the defense.

124 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

That's got to be a record. Zero punts, 1 Fumble Lost, 505 yards passing (3 TDs 0 INTs), 613 yards of offense, Lose by 8.

Oh well. Matt Patricia's underwhelming and overrated defense heads to Detroit. Enjoy him, Lion's fans.

139 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

No man, he's all yours.
For fun, here's the Patriot's defensive DVOA since MP took over in 2012:
2017 31st 10.9%
2016 16th -1.8%
2015 12th -3.3%
2014 12th -3.0%
2013 20th 4.2%
2012 15th 1.4%

Six years, zero defenses in the top 11 by DVOA. If it were totally random you'd hit top 10 in the 32 team league about 1 year out of every 3.

151 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Look, I'm not running his fan club, but when perhaps your most athletically impressive defender in a playoff game was a guy 90 days short of his 40th birthday, who was cut by another playoff team in December, coaching isn't the biggest issue.

119 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Would've been interesting if the Eagles had been able to run the whole clock down and kicked a FG to win it as time expired. Then we would've had the bizarre phenomenon of a team scoring a TD on EVERY possession of the second half, but losing. Has that ever happened? I doubt it.

121 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

The Ertz TD was a no-brainer, as much as was the Jesse James' overturn. The Clement one was more tricky, but if they had not enough evidence...

129 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Common Sense One, Evil Zero.

Though for the life of me i can;t understand going for 2 up 15-3 in the first half or running on 2nd and 6 with the 2 minute warning about to stop the clock anyway and NE out of timeouts.

On Catch One, he did not JUGGLE the ball. He moved it from one hand to the other never losing control. left foot was down already-- Touchdown.

On Catch Two, Ertz took three steps and then leaped for the end zone. That was not Jesse James, as bad a bastardization as that was-- the New England defense was awful when it counted most, and one trick pass to a QB worked, and the other didn't.

So it goes...

130 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

So Philly went 14-0 in games in which they won or tied the TO battle. That fumble was huge. They lose without it.

NE's defense was worse than their offense was good. Their key all year.

131 Re: Open Super Bowl LII Discussion

Congrats to the Eagles. They outplayed the Pats. Great game.

I do wonder what the game would have been like if the refs had actually called, you know, penalties. There's let them play, and then there's this. Would have been lower score, I think.

But to any Pats fans whining about the "questionable" TD calls for the Eagles:

* It wouldn't have mattered. Four points fewer, the Pats would have been trailing by 1 in the penultimate drive, and the Pats still would have been driving the same way at the end, Graham still would have forced the fumble, and the Pats still would have needed a Hail Mary to win.

* Barring the possible illegal formation call on the trick Foles catch, the refs got them right. The Ertz TD was very clearly a catch--Ertz caught the ball and established himself as a runner. He went to the ground not as part of a catch, but because of an attempted tackle by McCourty. So it was a TD the moment the ball broke the plane. And the Clement TD was *probably* a catch--yes, the ball moves, but it appeared to be intentional on the part of the receiver (tucking it closer) and he never appear to not be in control of the ball. Had a Pats hand caused the move, it would have been different. But there was insufficient evidence to suggest that he wasn't in control.

Good game, and happy for Philly fans who finally have their first SB win.