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Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Divisional Round Open Game Discussion
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Your weekend viewing plans (all times Eastern): SATURDAY: Indianapolis at Kansas City, 4:35 p.m.; Dallas at L.A. Rams, 8:15 p.m. SUNDAY: L.A. Chargers at New England, 1:05 p.m.; Philadelphia at New Orleans, 4:40 p.m. Win or go home. Use this thread to discuss them all.


192 comments, Last at 15 Jan 2019, 5:18am

131 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Both Melvins on the field distracted the Pats defense long enough for the Chargers to get a TD. Now you need 3 more TDs.

133 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Ok, Brady being on the field confuses me. The Panthers did this, leaving Cam on the field during a blowout (Yes, they were losing, but still there was no reason to have Cam there) and he got pummeled play after play in a game that eventually broke the Panthers. Why is Brady, who is going to come out as a winner of this game, still on the field risking a hit? I mean, he's not going to get hit too much, because the Chargers don't blitz as much as the Steelers did against Cam, but why risk the old man?

138 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Anytime you're on a football field you can get hit. In fact, a defensive player deliberately going after a star opponent in the late stages of a blowout loss doesn't sound too far fetched of a scenario at all.
Not everything Belichick does is right. For example, he's not aggressive enough on fourth down decisions. This seems like one of those times.

141 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

It's OK to let go of the anti-Belichick animus and notice that all Brady is doing is handing off the ball.

If you're going to be afraid of opponents making dead ball cheap shots, you might as well be afraid of walking across the parking lot.

"Not everything Belichick does is right."

Weird day to make that argument. But I guess the haters had to find something that Belichick was doing wrong.

A few years ago Belichick put in Matt Cassell with a large lead and he immediately threw a pick six.

Since then he's taken the attitude that he doesn't care about people second-guessing his QB choices at the end of the game. Brady has been in the NFL for 19 seasons and is exceptionally good at avoiding injury, especially if we remove passing plays from consideration.

143 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

LOL. Now, saying that Belichick is anything short of a perfect, omniscient being who's decision making can never be criticized means you have anti-Belichick bias. "Not everything Belichick does is right," isn't an argument, it's a fact, because, ya know, Belichick is a fallible human being, not the football coaching version of Jesus.
Leaving your star player in a game that has long been decided is dumb no matter who does is, because it is a decision that has no upside at all, but a potentially terrible downside.

177 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

No, I'm saying that, on a day when the Patriots clearly dominated a team that was supposed to beat them, that it's pretty pathetic to search so desperately for something to criticize that you have to settle on "doesn't bench his QB late in the game in a rout." This argument is advanced as manifestly true, even though there is neither any support for it, nor is any similar demand ever made of any other coach.

You repeatedly build straw men and try to ascribe them to me. I will thank you to only accuse me of saying things that I have actually said. This thing you do, where you construct an easily defeated straw man argument that I've never made - well, it's a childish way to discuss things.

I have not said Belichick is perfect, and now you've accused me of saying exactly that, twice. I can think Belichick isn't perfect without thinking that any criticism you make is accurate.

You may think that handing off a football in a late game situation is too risky for Tom Brady. Clearly everybody in the decision-making process disagrees with you. In my ~5 decades of watching the NFL, I have never seen a QB injured handing off the football. But hey, you think it's risky.

167 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

I get that this is an analytics site, and from a numbers point of view it's not especially rational to have Brady in there in the second half of a game your up by 4 scores in - but lets not forget that there are actual human beings on the field and that leadership over the long term does actually matter. Your star, first ballot HOF QB on the field with the rest of team is a dramatic way of emphasizing that everyone in the organization is subordinate to winning the game in front of you, and it's a powerful message. Lots of people around football marvel at how the Patriots cobble together a roster without high draft picks year after year out of cast offs - stuff like this is part of how that's done. Hard to say whether it's a net benefit, the benefit and cost are both pretty marginal, but it's disingenuous to ignore the case BB would make for his choice.

170 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

What are the chances Bill Belichick has read Ender's Game? Somewhere north of 99%?

I was thinking about how every year at the beginning of training camp, he chews out Brady in front of everyone ("I could get a kid from Foxboro High who can make that throw" and etc.) and it always impresses the rookies who think "oh shit, anybody can be called out here." But I bet Belichick is deliberately getting double mileage out of the stunt: he's endearing Brady to the team, in a subtle way, the opposite of what Graff does to Ender.

I wonder if any of the "Belichick tree" guys do something similar.

179 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Not sure about the leadership argument, sounds a little nebulous to me. My (speculative) explanation would be that somewhere along the line Belichick has gotten bored of having to decide when to pull Brady in blowouts, and having people second guessing and questioning him about it. So, together, they've simply decided Brady is staying in whatever. Even if it is occasionally sub-optimal, it means there is one less thing to worry about.

147 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Drew freaking Brees. Is this going to be like the Chargers-Ravens game where Rivers threw a pick on the first play then nothing went right for San Die.... LA?

155 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

This is starting to look like last year's Steelers-Jaguars, except you could say the Saints are even more unprepared. Additionally, how you eat a delay of game penalty like that?

156 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

HAHAHA! All right, so Drew Brees fumbles, and I think Brandon Graham picks up the ball, but the official THINK he fumbled again (It doesn't look like he even got control) and the Saints recovered. If that stands, it's 1st and 10 for New Orleans.

158 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Wait, when does the bye week end?
Foles has been incredible, but the Philly line dominance is unexpected, especially running the ball.

160 Pats-Chargers

I had to work and missed the entire first half. What the #!*^¢! happened?

164 Re: Pats-Chargers

In reply to by RobotBoy

Brees connected with an Eagles defender on the first play from scrimmage, then everything went to hell after that. Seemed like the Saints were on bye week still.

165 Re: Pats-Chargers

In reply to by RobotBoy

Sorry, didn't read. Pats-Chargers. Well, Patriots were nearly unopposed through the whole game in offense. The Chargers couldn't get consistency, Rivers ate 2 delay of game penalties because he changed the protection scheme with 3 seconds on the play clock and he was hit on nearly every play. He was mad.

166 Re: Pats-Chargers

That Miami Miracle L could prove to be the difference maker. Hard to believe a team that flawed was only one win away from homefield throughout.

163 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

The Saints did the same thing the Steelers nearly did to them. Fake Punt Run. Difference is that it was 4th and inches instead of 4th and 5, and Taysum Hill (Hilariously athletic QB) is faster than Roosevelt Nix (Not nearly as athletic FB)

171 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

All right, didn't knew that you can pull down a defensive back that is going for the ball if you are falling down and don't get called for OPI.

176 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Definitely the Rams. If New Orleans has another cold start and Rams get out to an early lead I can't see the New Orleans defense slowing them down in the same way they did Philadelphia. Also New England has looked beatable all year and I can't see them slowing down Mahomes on the road.

174 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Ross just hires expat scout Marvin Hamlisch blah blah blah

I didn't realize that this was a "thing" .. a certain fanbase jumping through hoops to deny that their division has been a dysfunctional joke for two decades comprised of owners with next-to- zero football IQ. Smarter move would be to humbly accept the free first round bye that is gifted each year. A certain amount of intradivisional losses are unavoidable due to familiarity, boredom, lack of effort/ambition, incidental factors, etc but there is only one division in football on systematic failure mode.

175 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

I must say it's been a good year for the preseason projections. 8/12 teams predicted made the playoffs. Correct division winners for 4/8 divisions and 3/4 of the conference championship teams were picked correctly. I recall that New England and New Orleans had the highest preseason odds of making the Super bowl so it's still possible that FO has predicted the Super bowl matchup correctly.

178 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

If it isn't a NO/NE superbowl, we will be spared the high comedy of Payton's special ops machinations trying to mess with the Patriots' hotel reservations, like they did with the Colts, but this time in rival city Atlanta. Expect pictures of Ornstein to circulate around Foxborough ... "If you see this man around hotel or practices ..."

192 Re: Divisional Round Open Game Discussion

Most times we don't fully comprehend the times we live in.
We are living in a window of greatness yet emotions close
most eyes to it. Thats right, I'm talking NE.

Love 'em or hate 'em....8 straight AFC championship games.

Question is, was it the coach or the QB? Perhaps a part of
both but even though its tiring to see the same team up
there (NE) for so long, its got to be respected.

Not bad for a 7th rd 2nd string Michigan QB eh? Most
amazing run I've seen (and I'm almost 70 yrs old).

Haters hate, but real true fans appreciate.