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Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Week 15 Open Game Discussion
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The biggest game of the week is on Thursday night. With a win, Kansas City can all but wrap up home-field advantage in the AFC -- but with a loss, they open the door a crack for the L.A. Chargers to slip past them and win the AFC West. We've got a pair of Saturday games (Texans-Jets and Browns-Broncos); critical Sunday games such as Cowboys-Colts, Dolphins-Vikings, and Patriots-Steelers; and finally the Saints and Panthers on Monday night. Use this thread to discuss them all.

Comments

184 comments, Last at 20 Dec 2018, 9:35am

1 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I see Schofield hasn't improved from when he was on the Broncos and is still about as effective at pass blocking as a traffic pylon.

2 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

First comment! Chiefs defense looking good. 1 int and 4 sacks, up 14-7. Hopefully Keenan Allen can come back - he was hurt in the 2nd quarter.

4 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Hmm ... not sure if Phillip Rivers intention was to throw the ball away or just chuck it up there, but it looked like he needed a bigger arm on that throw.

6 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Speed kills. Tyreek Hill was so fast that he overran the ball, and the ball popped him in the head. On what was a sure TD!

11 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

LA (I was about to type SD) needed to take a timeout immediately after that missed helmet to helmet call. You aren't going to convince the refs so don't burn clock pointlessly.

12 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

LOL. Aikman doesn't understand a blatantly obvious PI call. And he's still yammering about it!

20 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

That was what I thought, too (that the pass was likely uncatchable), but that wasn't what Aikman said. Instead, he kept saying that the DB had merely "grazed" the WR's arm.

I'm guessing that during his playing career (even with the rules they had back then), Aikman would not have been happy if, say, Darrell Green had "grazed" Irvin's arm in that way.

23 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Despite being a retired QB, Romo seems to be sympathetic to the difficulties faced by the defense in terms of the game and rules, and considers a lot of penalized QB and WR hits to be ticky-tack.

So better announcers do this too.

17 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I'm surprised Philip Rivers knows immediately after the game the Chargers had more first downs. Do players keep track of stats like that during a game?

24 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Chargers bust a move...glad for Rivers-been a long time 'comin. Noticed in article (USA-sports) that
Mahomes won't excel because, like Dan Marino, he's got no D. Hmmmm....next up it'll be off. line's fault, then OC, then HC. Trust me, seen that scenerio a time or 2 b4. He's exciting, he's good & all yes, but tends to be inaccurate/take unneccesary chances & in playoffs, it'll be exposed.

26 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Based on history, including even the very recent history of the way the first half ended, with the end zone pick, yes. I spent the whole fourth quarter wondering how the Chargers were going to lose this game.

Even with the kick off with 4 seconds remaining, mentally I had the chances of the Chargers losing the game at 50 / 50. LOL

27 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

For what it's worth the KC pass D is ranked 15th by DVOA. It's a horrendous run D that drags down their ranking. The Chargers were obviously in a passing situation late in the game.. Chiefs just got beat.

The offense did nothing to bleed the clock when it was 28-21 so they can be partially to blame as well.

They were a mess on special teams for the 2 point conversion.

Sometimes elite teams just lose to other elite teams. This was likely a battle between the 2 best teams in the AFC. It's a shame one of them won't even get a home field playoff game.

29 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

The Chiefs have now lost three games this year - by three points to a 9-4 team, by three points to a 11-2 team, and by one point to a 11-3 team. While that's a pretty impressive record, it also doesn't bode well for them in the postseason.

32 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Which would bode better?

- losses by more points
- losses to lesser teams

The Patriots have four losses to teams in the bottom half of the DVOA table. Are they better poised for a long playoff run than the Chiefs because they are 6-0 vs top 16 teams?

I ask this not sarcastically (well, not really). I'm just wondering what principle troubles you here. Clearly it's better to not lose at all. But what kind of losses are preferable to others?

I'd have thought close losses to good teams would be preferable to big losses and/or losses to inferior teams.

And it's not like the Chiefs haven't beaten any good teams. They started the seasons with road wins vs. Chargers and Steelers, and also have beaten Ravens and Broncos (twice). They also beat the Jags before the Jags' massive collapse.

37 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I did say that it was very impressive, and I would subjectively rank the Chiefs as the best team in football right now. But if they get into a dogfight against a good team, Andy Reid can often find a way to honk up the game.

33 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Never, ever, use 3 data points in a series of extraordinarily complex events to extrapolate a trend. Hell, don't even do it with simple events, but doing so with something as complex as a football game is just insanity.

38 Re: Week 15 picks

picks are in-

Ciefs 24, chargers 20 (of course game now over but this was my pick)
Texans 20, jets 16
Browns 31, Bobrocs 23
Falcons 27, Cardinals 17
Ravens 27, Buccaneers 17
BNills 23, Loins 22
Bears 36, Packers 16
Raiders 45, Bengals 20
Ckots 20, Cowboys 19
Squirrels 24, Jaguars 14
Vikgins 24, Dkpois 20
Titans 17, Giants 13
49ers 23, Seahawks 20
Patriots 38, Steelers 17
Rams 38, Eagles 30
Saimts 32, Pantehrs 27

39 Re: Week 15 picks

Bold pick on the squirrels game, there, r.j., in the collision of two sinking ships.

43 Re: Week 15 picks

Yep tiugh ti pick them. Also tough to pick Jaguars these days. Toss up of two teams really stinking it up lately

Haven't ssen tumors about it but wonder id Squirrels keep losing if Jay Gruden woudl be canned. Woudl think he would be a good candidate for Browns or Jets.. not sure about Packers. Think Packsrs would like a first time head coach but what do i know

46 Re: Week 15 picks

In reply to by Raiderjoe

I haven't seen the tumors in Washington either, but I'm certain they're there. It explains a lot, really

40 Re: Week 15 picks

"Does anyone here speak RJ?" "Excuse me stewardess, I speak RJ."

> Bears 36, Packers 16

Correctly spelled; I'm worried the scores are a typo. I'm expecting the Bears to lose 61-36 now.

> Dkpois

I had to figure this one out through process of elimination.

I had the Chiefs last night as well. For the rest of the weekend, I've got:

Texans 24 Jets 13
Browns 29 Broncos 15
Cardinals 9 Falcons 7
Bucs 31 Ravens 24
Lions 24 Bills 10
Bears 31 Packers 14
Bengals 36 Raiders 27 (sorry RJ)
Cowboys 28 Colts 24
Jaguars 31 Squirrels 3
Dolphins 25 Vikings 24
Giants 22 Titans 13
Seahawks 31 49ers 3
Patriots 27 Steelers 24
Rams 45 Eagles 10
Saints 51 Panthers 38

44 Re: Week 15 picks

Yeah, Dkpois = Dolphins. That eas really mangled typijg while typing the other day

45 Re: Week 15 picks

Giants over Titans interestij pick. Would really get Giants fans excited and bum out Titans fans.usually somethijf weird will happen one og tjese final weeks. Yiu havd Bucs over Tavens and I havd 49ers over seahasks. If one of tjose does not happen then somethijg weird will happen in another game

47 Re: Week 15 picks

Yeah I like a meaningless late season Giants win streak to get everyone excited so they keep Eli and suck again next year. :)

174 Re: Week 15 picks

So, I had the Bears Bengals Texans and Browns as winners. That's 4/13. Good thing I'm not in Vegas this week.

49 Re: Week 15 picks

In reply to by Raiderjoe

Browns 18 broncs 24
Cards 21 falcs 24
Raiders 21 bengel s14
Dolpgs 23 vuks 26
Cowbs 17 clots 24
Bucs 31 rabens 26
Loins 20 bils 11
Wadh 9 jags 9
Tits 20 gits 24
Seahwz 38 56ers 27
Pates 20 zteelfez 20
Easg 19 rama 36
Saint 39 pants 22

42 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

today, like the Texans to win by 10 or more....Browns/Broncs, wow, thats a tuff one to
call, both underrated....tossup in my opinion but I lean towards Browns. Mayfield is
wildcard in game.

75 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

close on texan prediction (but wow, Watson holds onto that ball waaaay too long!)
Right on on the Browns prediction....they are comin them Brownies.

today I'm thinking Falc over Cards by 7+
Raiders/Bengals-a tie (both deserve a tie based on years performance)
Vikes by 7+
Colts by 7-
Ravens 10+
Bills 3-7
Bears/jags/Gians=7 or less winners 7-
Seahawks/Patriots by 3 or less 3-
Rams 7+
Panthers in upset

Biggest thing is Rams back on the rails...SB winner. They'll beat NE because
of defense getting to GOAT.

149 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

close on texan prediction (but wow, Watson holds onto that ball waaaay too long!)
Right on on the Browns prediction....they are comin them Brownies.

today I'm thinking Falc over Cards by 7+ (good pick I might add) :)
Raiders/Bengals-a tie (both deserve a tie based on years performance)
Vikes by 7+ (another good call)
Colts by 7- (knew they'd do well or beat them but thought it'd be closer)
Ravens 10+ (figured they'd win by a ton but hey, a win is a win)
Bills 3-7 (won by 1 but at least they won :)
Bears/jags/Gians=7 or less winners 7- (bears/giants yes.....jags...my heart over my head (jags fan))
Seahawks/Patriots by 3 or less 3- (two losers..my bad, but both were "in it" till the end)
Rams 7+ (absolute misfire)
Panthers in upset (who knows, its monday morning now)

Biggest thing is Rams back on the rails...SB winner. They'll beat NE because
of defense getting to GOAT. (now a shaky call but going to stick wi/it)

48 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I notice the games today are only on NFL Network. I'll just leave this reddit link here in case anyone is unaware of the magic available to them.

If the reddit streams aren't working, I also use this one. It's generally better for European soccer games, but they have NFL too.

50 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

On the plus side, the announcers I f8nd are much less painful than most of the standard network announcers. At least, they do not seem to feel they need to fill every second with noise

51 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

First time I've watched Darnold for a few weeks and he looks good. Mobile and mostly accurate. With better talent around him and more imaginative coaching the Jets have their future there..

52 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

The Browns brought in Kobe stupid Bryant to talk to the team. He said "impose your will on your opponent." That's an insanely tone-deaf thing for a rapist to say. Fuck Kobe. Why is he still here? Why do assholes always love that shithead?

54 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

So, the Broncos are running out of DBs right now. They are down to 1 CB, and I think 4 to 5 S. When things like this happen, do you just put receivers there Troy Brown or Keyshawn Johnson style and hope that the opposing team just doesn't use spread sets with more than 3/4 WRs?

55 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

.... I'm just shaking my head right now. 4th and 1 in Cleveland territory. Trailing 17-13. Joseph elects to kick an FG, following a delay of game penalty

57 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Was going for it on fourth the right call for the Browns?... If you fail, a mere FG will beat you. I'd be interested to know what the fourth down calculators say about that play. I wonder if, as a team in a dominant position, it doesn't make sense to opt for the lower risk, lower benefit option.

62 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I'd say it was worth the risk. The 1st Down ends the game, a failure gives the Broncos poorer field position than a kick would usually give you, at the cost of FG beats you (Consider Vance's history with FGs however). The FG forces them to get a TD, probably from their own 25 (Barring a Touchback or Great return or poor return) If the FG fails (Somehow) is the same as a rushing failure, just with a tad better field position.

67 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I think it was right call. If Browns had got it, Broncos D would have had to try to make them score a TD on that play (and hope they didn’t go for 2, and make it).

I’m not sure though Williams or Joseph would understand why you go for 2 not 1 in that position after the game mangement today.

59 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Gregg Williams is settling nicely into the role of Browns head coach, calling an unusual time out that prevented a Denver penalty that would have given the game to the Browns.

Not sure what he saw in the way the teams were lined up that he wanted to adjust, but following the adjustment Chubb is tackled in the backfield on 4th and 1 and now Denver has the ball back with time to drive for a field goal (but no Time Outs).

PS I'm okay with him going for it on 4th and 1 there. It was all the other stuff that was oh-so-Browns.

60 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Yep. Should have turned the game off after they kicked it on 4th and 1 from the 6 yard line.

127 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

After Sunday, the Browns can't win the division (Pittsburgh always has better tiebreaks, even if the Ravens get involved.)

The Browns have a minute chance at the second wildcard; they need to win out, have Indianapolis/Tennessee both lose in week 16 and tie in week 17, have the Ravens not win against the Chargers in week 16, and have Miami lose once or tie twice; in that case the Browns win tiebreaks at 8-7-1 for the last postseason berth.

Given that the Browns need Indianapolis/Tennessee to tie each other, it's not that implausible of scenario.

65 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Cannot defend that decision to kick a FG by Broncos. Not sure if Joseph is salvageable as HC after that. Of course with Steelers perhaps surrendering the AFC North to Ravens, Harbaugh might be staying there (and with these late season results poor Browns fans might be stuck with Gregg Williams). Oh well, keeps the off-season interesting I guess.

68 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Yeah. That's playing based on you wishing for some magic to happen because you're too afraid to try and go out and win. A failure there also turns the game over to your D and gives them more field to work with.

69 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I'm not sure it makes sense to fire coaches purely for game management failures, seeing how common such shortcomings are. There's a good chance whoever you hire next will make the same sort of mistakes. In addition, the Broncos have been a decent team this year and have shown a lot of improvement over last season, which is an excellent sign for a second-year coach.

70 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Right.

I don't mean this as a defense of Joseph, who I have very little opinion on, but SO many coaches make poor timeout or challenge decisions, that using that as a primary reason to fire a coach seems misguided to me.

An example that just happened: Mike McCarthy was often used as an example of poor in-game coaching, with his critics often citing challenges as a specific weakness (though it's not like that was the main reason the Packers fired him). His replacement then went out and used both challenges in the first 90 seconds of his first game. (Again, not using this to say McCarthy shouldn't have been fired, just that the baseline for things like that is super low.)

71 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I guess it's a question of what other things they're bringing to the table. Questionable coaching decisions have probably cost the broncos a few games this season so unless the positive aspects make up for that it may be better to replace a coach who makes poor in game decisions.

Joseph seems like he does just enough to try and keep his job, the broncos are suffering from OL, WR and DB injuries so he has some excuses for why the team can't execute (really missing Sanders).

87 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Yes. Agree with all of that. I've been defending Joseph a lot for the general improvement in the team and the amount younger players have stepped up. I just worry that the same ham-fisted game management things seem to keep happening. I've defended some, on the basis of the rest of what I think he does bring to the team (and if Joseph and his assistants were able to spend the off-season learning some of the pointers to make better choices at these moments that might be all it takes - he is young enough to hopefully not be to stuck in his ways yet).

I'm really conflicted, I still see some good things in Joseph's coaching, but I fear they are starting to get swamped by the bad. The state of things on some Broncos boards and Denver media I've seen seems terribly toxic towards Joseph (although a lot of people saw the next generation of Shanahan as such an obvious fit that they've never given Joseph much of a chance), and if that is influencing to doing what he hopes won't get people more upset then I wish Elway would show some leadership and just say something like "there are more improvements to make, but Vance will be back next year after the team improved despite a bad combination of injuries and tough schedule".

I'm not meaning I don't think he can be a decent Head Coach in the league, just that I fear that he might find himself fired by a management that feels every year should be SuperBowl or bust (and a fanbase that has many people thinking the same way). I honestly cannot see a better option amongst the likely available retreads, and if you get a first time Head Coach you never know exactly what you'll get (remember McDaniels in Denver, for example!). Personally I'd rather keep any coach with some signs of ability for a few years to give them a proper chance to learn and grow with their team.

72 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I agree with all the comments above that the Broncos should have gone for it, down 4, instead of kicking the field goal. That was just a gutless move.

However, I disagree that the Browns were right to go for it. I think you have to kick the field goal there, and make them go the length of the field, with less than two minutes and no timeouts. If you go for it, and don't make it, you let the Broncos off the hook for the aforementioned gutless field goal. Throw in the fact that Denver has a pretty good kicker, and even more importantly, Denver is by far the easiest place to make long field goals, and I think it's a no-brainer to make them score a TD.

Given the poor coaching, I was almost hoping it could somehow end up a tie, even though I absolutely despise ties, just because it didn't feel like either coach really deserved to be rewarded with the win.

76 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

not that I really care either way, but on the last sack on Keenum, how was that not RTP in the modern NFL rules? he was hit in the head.

78 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

It didn't appear to be a "weight of the body" hit and Keenum lowered his head below Peppers' helmet; not sure given the wording of the rule if that matters.

Refs tend to swallow the whistle late in the game on those, as well.

79 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

it's hard to keep up with the ever morphing explanations, changes, etc on the rules, but I was under the impression any head contact regardless of cause was a foul- unless the QB himself like headbutts the defender- even then they'd probably call it .

Anyways, like I said, I don't have a dog in the fight, I was just genuinely perplexed because like you said, in the 1st Q I bet it's flagged.

77 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I'm not watching the game, I'm just looking at Play by Plays. Did the Colts really scored a TD on a blocked FG?

EDIT: Nope, they didn't. Just checked.

80 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Miami just punted on 4th & 3 from the Vikings 40, down 21-0, having allowed a TD on their first 3 drives.

Put these coaches out of their misery, please.

81 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Who in the world allowed the colours combination of the uniforms for Atlanta-Arizona?

82 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

4th and 2 at the Baltimore 2. The Bucs just kick the FG, to go up 9-7. Going for it was possible, and a failure gives the Ravens 2 minutes to drive 98 yards for a TD or tad less for an FG, Success probably gives them a TD, or a 1st down at the 1. Your thoughts on this one?

84 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

First Keenan Allen, now Aaron Jones goes down early in the game. The fantasy football gods are killing me.

86 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

It's a dreary, wet, miserable day in New Jersey, and the first half of Titans at Giants has been an appropriately dreary, wet, miserable slog. It feels like this whole game has been Giants punts and replay reviews.

The representative play of the game came inside 2 minutes with Tennessee inside the Giants 40 on 4&5. The Titans lined up to punt, then motioned some players around to try to get the Giants to jump offside. It doesn't work, and the Giants decline the delay-of-game. Titans line up...and do the exact same thing all over again. Two delay-of-game penalties in a row is an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct, backing Tennessee back to midfield. They finally punt it, and the giants run it out to about the 20. That whole painful sequence ended up being equivalent to a damn touch back.

88 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Being a little silly, but, an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct outside of the regular play...Isn't that the kind of thing you get ejected for doing two of them in a game, would that be the punter, the long snapper, or the coaching staff getting called there?

This seems like the kind of abuse of the rules to get what you want that is kind of clever, but seems petty more than smart.

100 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

The rules need to have SOME contingency built in to prevent an infinite loop of one team taking DoG penalties and the other team declining them. It certainly seemed like both teams could have been happy to do so today. Failing to get a play off multiple times in a row is cynical and shitty, so unsportsmanlike conduct seems like a fair call to me.

89 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Hmm? So, a Wild Cat play by the Bears, a Read Option, on 3rd and 1 results in a fumble. Why you get so tricky on a short situation? Just let your QB sneak it

98 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I hated that and I hated the fake punt. If you’re going to be aggressive and go for it, especially when you’ve had decent success running the ball more traditionally, just do it. Overall I have liked Nagy’s willingness the past couple games to do the obvious thing and let Howard run when there are only 1-3 yards to gain; it just seems like he still needs to prove he’s the smartest guy in the room a couple times a game.

90 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

What percentage of kick returns are called back due to an illegal block penalty this year? I'm guessing close to 97%. Why do teams even bother trying? It's not smart to return kicks!

92 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Rodgers' streak of pass attempts without picks ends due to Jimmy Graham's hands and Eddie Jackson.

94 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Alongside the Bills, the Redskins become the second team this year to win a game started by their fourth QB of the season. That must be unusual. They defeat the Jags 16-13. They are still terrible and have very little chance at the playoffs.

97 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

The Bears were my preseason pick for the surprise SB contender this year, so that's looking pretty good right now. The Chiefs might have been the ideal pick, but I did not foresee Mahomes coming.

99 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I thought about putting a little money on the Bears when they were 100-1 to win the SB right after last season but didn’t want to throw my money away. Then I thought about putting a little money on them when I was in Vegas the weekend they traded for Mack and the odds dropped to 40-1. I’m really kicking myself now.

101 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

I don’t understand why the Packers didn’t kick the FG when they still had a reasonable amount of time on the clock. Either way, they’d need to recover the onside kick to have a chance to tie the game. I feel like scoring a TD with something like 45 seconds on the clock and no timeouts is more likely than scoring a FG when you’ve got ten seconds or less on the clock.

107 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Well, they made it inside the 10. Once you are that close to the end zone, unless you are really short on time, I would think the improved odds of getting the TD in that situation (and theoretically there's only so much time that can run off) compare favorably to looking at FG + onside kick + drive 55 more yards for a TD/Hail Mary. Plus if you do get that TD, onside kick + 1-2 completions + FG can feasibly be pulled off in 10-15 seconds.

105 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

So, in the Bears-Packers game, anyone know why the clock stopped entirely with no run-off on the declined penalty right after the sack?

Seemed really weird.

106 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Hah! On 1st and 14, the Steelers try a back shoulder fade to Smith-Schuster. That fails, because he was tightly covered and Ben put that about 2 yards deeper than what it should have been. On 2nd and 14, the Steelers try literally the same play. That works, because JuJu hauls it in despite similarly tight coverage.

111 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

21 seconds on the clock, 2 time outs, from your own 20 ... I think you should at least give your team a shot to extend the lead. Hell, even an FG try is a win.

112 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

The radio announcers just said AB and Gilmore were separated after "throwing punches and jabs." Isn't that an automatic ejection?

113 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

If Pittsburgh does make it to the playoffs, they NEED a different kicker. Boswell went from very reliable to coin flip.

114 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

So, Pittsburgh managed to get a fumble going it's way. The play was dead because the runner was down by contact. Moments later, Tomlin challenges the play. But the official say that forward progress was stopped, making it non reviewable.

155 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Smart play by Tomlin regardless, since (as Romo pointed out) the Steeler's D was completely confused. It's so unusual to see Tomlin do something smart with a challenge, it should be pointed out.

117 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Houston in strong position to claim a bye. I imagine they will be one of the least respected top two seeds in recent memory if they hold onto that spot. I don't think the Steelers or Patriots are too much better, though.

151 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

As a Texans fan, I absolutely do think the Steelers at least are significantly better. The team's strengths are real, but the weaknesses (offensive line, CB) are just too severe to get away with against playoff teams, and the record is a product of the weak schedule. If they do end up #2, I predict an ugly divisional round loss to the second place team from the AFC West.

170 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Texans getting to play the Pats at home instead of a likely date in Foxboro would be huge! I think I'd favour the Texans heavily at home.

It would be a gigantic stumble for the Texans to let either of their upcoming games slip away from them. Philly's going to be a challenge, though, and the Jags are a divisional rival so anything goes that game, too.

118 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

The Patriots shot themselves with penalties (Mostly offensive. Hectic ton of false starts) and the Steelers did the right number of plays on defense to get a W on that low scoring game.

120 2018 NE = 2009 NE

I'm telling you -- it's the 2009 Pats all over again. Then Brady was shaky because he was coming back from the injury. Now he's shaky because he's old.

And "I can't get them to play the way I need them to" is a perfect tagline for both those squads.

148 Re: 2018 NE = 2009 NE

Back when Peyton Manning was fading fast in his final season, he overthrew a lot of receivers and some said "see, his arm's as strong as ever" until a former QB on TV (no idea who) said that's a common by-product of having a weaker arm because he's then over-compensating and has a little less control. Throwing is a foot or two higher doesn't look so bad 3-4 times a game and is easy enough to ignore, until the fastball is gone entirely.
Sad to see, but we're all human. Well, most of us.

121 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Neither the Texans nor Pats seem like 2 seed quality because the two best teams in the AFC are in the same division. I love the 6 team format but sometimes I hate the way the seeding works.
Nice to see NE might have to play in the wild card game and be on the road in the divisional for once.

123 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Interesting. So, Robert Woods got flagged for OPI on a WR Screen, he was blocking on that play. This is interesting, because a bunch of weeks ago, Pittsburgh receiver Justin Hunter didn't got flagged for a similar play that gave the Steelers a win over the Bengals. The plays looked somewhat similar (Although PIT's play was a slant, not a screen).

153 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

What Cheesehead said. Also, worth noting that offensive players can block 1 yard downfield without it being OPI. So if a guy is within a couple of yards of the LOS, the refs might let it go since they're not sure if he's beyond his allowable 1 yard.

126 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Ugh. Pathetic. Have to stand in there on 4th-and-ballgame. Can't throw a flinching heave. That team just doesn't have it this year.
https://twitter.com/MikeGiardi/status/1074492606778875905

128 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Something confused me about that 4 play series. Brady focused exclusively on Gronkowski (They didn't look for Gronk early on, considering PIT's incapability to defend TEs. But I guess Gronk's injuries have reduced the amount of touches he gets. I guess), despite having some other receivers (I was expecting Josh Gordon specifically) AND either the play calls didn't considered getting a few short gains and getting out of bounds to make the 4th down play easier, or Brady didn't want to go that route. Then on that 4th and ballgame, Josh Gordon was removed and Cordarrelle Patterson moved in. Patterson is pretty good, but I think Gordon would have been better on that play. Of course, 4th and 15 with so many defenders deep is tough (Doubly so because the dice roll that is the Steelers D actually fell on the "Fairly good" side), and no timeouts + limited time made it tougher, but I don't think it should have been 4th and impossible.

131 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

On the 3rd-and-15 play all the PIT defenders retreated into the endzone as receivers ran their routes, leaving James White wide wide open at the left sideline for an easy 10 yards (or more) and a clock stoppage. Instead Brady forces/throws away the ball to a triple-covered Gronk. Something's not right in Brady's head this year.

159 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

The interception to Haden was really baffling. I don't think I've ever seen Brady just blindly lob it off his back foot like that. Maybe he was trying to throw it away in Gronk's vague direction but didn't have the arm strength to get it out of bounds?

160 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Old qb's lose their confidence in their physical abilities, and it can ruin their decisionmaking at times as well. One of the really admirable things I found in Peyton Manning's last game is how well mentally disciplined he was with regard to extreme physical limitations. The opposing coaching staff, both on offense and defense, really helped out, however.

166 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

You could say that about any QB. Alex Smith may never recover from being "Theismanned". Reportedly his leg fracture has led to an infection. Not good.

Over the years, Brady has been incredibly resilient with regard to injuries. Aside from the season lost to the ACL tear (and the suspension), he's started every game since late in 2001. Jimmy G may have already lost more games to injury than Brady has.

For me, the key is arm strength. Most QBs just fall off a cliff at some point. Kelly, Marino, and Peyton, all declined incredibly fast. Elway retired before he hit the cliff, but he was clearly no longer the biggest gun in the West when he retired.

167 Re: Week 15 Open Game Discussion

That's what I mean. His resilience is likely gone, because his norm is now just barely physically acceptable. Yes, every NFL player is at risk of a creeer ender on every play. Old players, however, face a much, much greater risk. With qbs, arm strenghth is a function of the entire body working in unison. This is an old body.