Week 13 Open Discussion

Denver Broncos CB Patrick Surtain
Denver Broncos CB Patrick Surtain
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 13 - Thursday Night Football sees the Dallas Cowboys (7-4) at the New Orleans Saints (5-6).

Big Sunday games include the L.A. Chargers (6-5) at Cincinnati (7-4) and Baltimore (8-3) at Pittsburgh (5-5-1). The Sunday night game pits Denver (6-5) against Kansas City (7-4), while New England (8-4) visits Buffalo (7-4) on Monday night. Use this thread to discuss them all.

Comments

126 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2021, 11:33am

3 Not sure what has happened…

Not sure what has happened to Sean Payton but he has kicked FG’s in crazy situations lately.  I guess he is not aware that guys that can make 56 yard FG’s are not available on the waiver wire.

4 Ah, aggressiveness

Forgot Mccarthy is out.

Love to see points to end a half. 

Sidenote: should the Saints iced that 34 yarder? Or would that waste our time? Can't remember if it works that close. 

10 A random call on a random…

A random call on a random play would have a better chance to be a penalty than that. Seriously, I'd love to hear the justification for it. I'd imagine a prerequisite for a blindside block would be that the player who is blocked does not see it coming? At least the block would have to be against the flow of the play, right?

12 Here in Minnesota

We get to see Minnesota-Detroit.  And that's it for the early games.

14 Jets 2nd XP

Should've gone for two if he already missed one. 7 more important than 6 anyway but now it's still 5.

16 Totally Predictable

Zack Minshew is 19-23 with four TDs.

Also, FO listens to subscribers and separates the discussion threads…for one week.

21 Justin Herbert is taking out…

Justin Herbert is taking out his frustration from last week on the poor, unsuspecting Bengals: 11/15 for 172 yards and 3 TDs, and there are still 10 minutes left in the 2nd. On defense, they haven't missed Bosa so far, with a couple of sacks, a couple of turnovers, and only 2 first downs allowed so far. Though as I type that they get a long catch-and-run to get into Chargers' territory for the first time.

23 Well apparently that got…

Well apparently that got Burrow fired up, and he hit a very similar long TD jump ball to put Cincy on the board (though a mere 30 yard strike, not 44 like Herbert).

Though they then lined up to go for 2, inexplicably got a delay of game penalty on the try, decided to kick instead, and missed. That was... well, it was pretty funny, honestly, but if I were a Bengals fan I'd be throwing things.

24 QB tackling:

I know it's a no no but Herbert just saved a TD. And he's perfectly fine. I get they can get hurt but as with most injuries, people overestimate them. I wouldn't mind if they tried or not, I wont stop them. It's not like they're willingly putting him (or someone else valuable) out there to return a kick/punt lol.

31 Yeah that was a textbook…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Yeah that was a textbook form tackle by Herbert. Really nice play, given the circumstances.

It helps that he's pretty big (unlike, say, Bridgewater, who's built like a CB). But in general, QBs are used to/built for getting hit, unlike K/P (who I'm more ok saying shouldn't even try to hit the returner) - they could get hurt on the play, sure, but that's true in the pocket too, and at any rate it's a team sport and sometimes it falls to them to clean up the mess (often of their own making, through of course it wasn't on that specific play).

36 I dont think it's too much

To ask them to at least prevent a td on their turnovers. But it's whatever for me, I'm not even gonna mention it to him. 

And I feel the same about specialists. Probably force them to be more aggressive and play for the win. 

Would love actual injury numbers on such plays for both em though. We just remember the exceptions it seems. 

60 Follow up:

Teddy *tries* and...is still fine despite giving up a pick 6 to DANIEL SORENSEN. Vastly overblown concern from what I see.

28 I can't decide if being back…

I can't decide if being back in NY and able to watch Giants games is a good or bad thing. On the one hand, I've missed these guys. On the other hand, well... my eyes! My eyes! This might be worse than watching the Bears.   

29 Interesting timeout usage by Cincy

Used their last one before a Chargers 3rd and 25. Herbert arm punts it but you'd think they'd save it so they can stop it on 4th. Interesting playcall on the Chargers side too. 

33 The Bengals weren't able to…

The Bengals weren't able to spike the ball despite appearing to get lined up with fully 10 seconds left. Maybe someone was still moving or they had some issue with the ball, but that's the second time this half they couldn't get a snap off.

34 Mike Glennon's neck is so…

Mike Glennon's neck is so long and skinny that I'm afraid for him every time he takes a hit, and he looks like a bobblehead. I keep thinking he's going to get whiplash on every play.

63 Pencil Neck!!!

I have totally thought this every time I see him.  I don't know how has hasn't gotten fatal, brain-sloshing whiplash yet in his career. He's played tackle football for at least 15-20 years, right? At no point has anybody hit him suddenly enough to make the weight of his head snap that little thing?  Boggles the mind. I bet even a mild set of jumping jacks or a good sneeze are enough to threaten his cervical spine.

I bring a wrestling bias to this topic, but as far as other athletes are concerned, he has the neck of a golf pro. Or maybe a 15 year-old Olympic skateboarder.

35 Woof, second lost fumble…

Woof, second lost fumble today for Ekeler. That one I thought was a little questionable, since the "move natural to the game" was pretty much just him turning into the tackler, but I hate that part of the rule anyway so I can't get too upset about it.

62 Yup.

In reply to by Spanosian Magn…

  Although it will look strange that all the Vikings will be on the injury report for the exact same thing.

42 Lolololololol vikings

Shouldn't have passed on their last td. Gave the loins too much time

43 Cousins goes 30-40 for 340…

Cousins goes 30-40 for 340 yards and the Vikings lose? Statistically, this is a strange result no matter how you look at it. The Vikings had an advantage in yardage, yards per play, and won the turnover battle 2-1. I guess the conversions were significant. Minnesota went 0-3 on two-point attempts while the Lions made two XPs.

45 Houston had 141 yards on…

Houston had 141 yards on offense today. The Titans somehow lost to them. I think DVOA's lack of faith in Tennessee has a solid basis.

46 Lamar Jackson throws a pick…

Lamar Jackson throws a pick on the Ravens opening drive. Goofy stat alert: 16% of his total career regular season interceptions have come in the last four quarters of play.

51 Ravens score but fail on the…

Ravens score but fail on the game winning 2 point attempt, steelers win.

Seahawks get the sweep of 49ers with a goal line stand.

52 Damn, Steelers-Ravens ended…

Damn, Steelers-Ravens ended up being a fantastic game, greatly enhanced by having Tony Romo on the call. The difference between him and Buck/Aikman is colossal.

Steelers did nothing on offense for three quarters, then drove up and and down the field repeatedly in the fourth. This game is more evidence that it is the Bills and the Patriots who are the class of the AFC. Baltimore isn't a top team.

61 I think the AFC is kinda…

I think the AFC is kinda defined by not really having a top tier right now. No team is better than 8-4 and 12/16 teams are 6-6 or better and #13 is the Dolphins who have now won 5 straight games. NE is definitely the hottest team but they could lose 4 of their last 5 and miss the playoffs and it wouldn't exactly be shocking. To be fair the 2 teams you mentioned do seem to be in a tier of their own in DVOA, but that has been true for a while.

66 Yeah it's kinda nutty. I…

Yeah it's kinda nutty. I haven't sat down to think this all through, but eyeballing the future schedules and tiebreakers, I think it's possible that the #1 seed finishes 13-4, while more than one 11-6 team misses the playoffs.

53 That last SF drive covered…

That last SF drive covered 115 yards over 12 plays. Has to be one of the longest drives ever by yardage that resulted in no points.

58 Good job Denver!

Weren't even scared by the near pick (and near is why you go for it again)!

As expected net 0 but they gave it a shot and kinda got close

64 Monday Night Football

I see everyone in the media picking the Patriots. As a Patriots fan married to a Bills fan, I’m skeptical of that confidence. It seems the variance is just massive here.

First, obviously the Bills have been all over the place this year. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s a decline. The Colts game was their worst game but they were missing their two most important run defenders in DT Star Lotulelei and LB Tremaine Edmunds. Both are back. I’m not saying they win against the Colts with those guys, but it makes a difference. So I still think they are highly erratic with a high ceiling.

Second is the weather. In theory it favors the Patriots because they are physical, especially when running the ball. However, I don’t know if it completely neuters the Bills pass game because of Allen’s arm talent. He has the velocity to overcome bad weather which Mac Jones doesn’t have. The Bills defense can safely play close to the line and make everything very crowded while the Patriots still have to respect downfield a little more. Again, this leads to major variance. The Bills could nail a few long throws and get up big or Josh Allen could be bad and throw very long INTs and take bad sack fumbles.

Third is the Bills O-line. I’d say the biggest culprit in the Bills variance is their O-line performance. Some of that has been injuries. Cody Ford has turned out to be as bad a pass blocker as I’ve seen, letting in pressure up the middle and also blowing assignments. Spencer Brown is a rookie third rounder but he still improves the oline with his presence by forcing Ford out. Additionally, the Bills O-line in general is far more discombobulated in their assignments than last year. The Jacksonville game was the worst. They just let DE Josh Allen run free at QB Josh Allen on blown assignments and poorly planned assignments. To let a teams beat pass rusher go crazy like that when you are already going to have problems blocking him is insane. What’s equally insane is that this doesn’t always happen. There are games where the oline functions well and those are the games the Bills offense functions well. The O-line is healthy this game though again, it’s not just Cody Ford. They have been all over the place when healthy.

Fourth, these are both defense first teams and defense is generally more variant. It wouldn’t surprise me if either team shutout the other. Josh Allen could be dealing with Judon in his face all game and turn the ball over. The Pats might get nothing going because the Bills defensive line and linebackers are all healthy and play extremely well. Tre White is a substantial loss but I tend to think the Bills middle secondary is more important in this game, and they are all healthy. I don’t want to see Mac Jones in third and long in this game. The Patriots do physically hurt teams in the long run, but the Bills do a great job rotating 7-8 defensive linemen all game.

Finally, Josh Allen. It’s fair to lay a lot of blame and on him for the Bills variance. The Steelers loss was him not taking first downs that were there. The Titans loss he was actually pretty good. That’s on the defense. The Jaguars game was an incredibly bad oline play combined with Allen pressing too much. The Colts game was everything bad including Josh Allen. That’s just the losses. The second Dolphins game he was pressured a lot and inaccurate when not pressured. Analysts say that the Bills offense is predicated on a lot of Allen improv, which is true but the Bills offense is great when he has some idea what he’s going to do. When he stands in the pocket, his revamped mechanics and arm strength allow him to get the ball anywhere. If he knows where pressure is coming from, he’s usually composed in escaping it. But no one on the Oline has been reliable, so it could come from anywhere and Josh isn’t the best at diagnosing it. 
 

A few final thoughts. Dawson Knox’s health has usually been good for the offense. He provides an underneath threat, a red zone threat, and even a few intermediate looks. When he’s not on the field, Allen tends to bail on the middle of the field even with Beasley around. He’s developed into a solid TE.
 

I think the largest impact of Tre White’s injury in this game will be to reduce the threat of a turnover. He’s great at disguising his coverage and slipping underneath with perfect timing to threaten shorter routes. It can bite him sometimes (last years Baltimore playoff game he almost let up a touchdown) but it also causes a lot of double clutches and bad throws. Backups Siran Neal and Dane Jackson are going to be predictable in coverage. 

Judon should be pressuring Allen all game. It could be a frustrating game in terms of roughing the passer calls. Isn’t it always. Also, it will be key for Van Noy and Hightower to cover the underneath receivers or to play zones close enough to threaten Allen’s rush lanes but far enough to make those intermediate throws difficult. The weather hurts the former and helps the latter. It should be an varied mix of 5 man pressure packages by the Patriots while they count on controlling the point of attack and 3-4 man pressure packages with the LBs doing all they can to mix the zone looks.

65 Let me be the one to correct them!

I am picking the Bills over the Patriots tonight in a bit of a mismatch.

Allen over Jones every day of the week, and especially Mondays!

I have the Bills sweeping the Pats to clinch the AFC East early.

 

67 I'd pick the Bills

The weather reminds me of a Packers-Bills game about 20 years ago. Packers won because Favre could still throw into the wind. Bledsoe couldn't. You need a rifle arm in this game which Allan has. Jones has an NFL arm, but not for this wind. 

72 Buffalo

what is you doing

Go for 2! Cowards!

91 Well, it was fun. We learned…

Well, it was fun.

We learned a little about the teams.

The Patriots can run against a stacked box, a lot, and somewhat effectively. We kinda knew that already.

Allen can throw in strong winds, a lot, and somewhat effectively. We kinda knew that already.

N’Keal Harry’s an idiot. We definitely knew that already.

78 Mac Jones

Bill Belichick is just hoping and praying he doesn’t need this kid to win the game. Eighteen runs against one pass? He doesn’t think he can put a damn thing on this kid’s shoulders tonight. It’s obvious he’s hiding him and hoping the Bills beat themselves. 

80 Seriously. There are…

Seriously. There are literally 60mph winds and it's 20 degrees out. 

 

 

Letting the bills beat themselves would be going really well if Nkeal Harry wasn't an idiot. 

81 Timeout waste counter

Forgot to start. First one was by NE.

Result: -4 yards 

0/1 for success.

93 2nd waste

Buffalo

Result: no gain

0/2 to end the night.

Buffalos was extremely costly it turns out. SMH. I'll never understand them getting the playcall in 99% of the time and that one brain fart of a time just...happens.

83 Bad timeout management by…

Bad timeout management by the bills at the end of the half. They failed to call timeouts, leaving them with 2 unused. Could have had a chance for a late score. 

84 QBWINZ

Sorry, but if New England hangs on to win, Jones shouldn’t get a W. Literally every FO staffer and poster could have done what he’s done so far tonight. Ye gods. 

86 Perfect though

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

Five minutes to go and Jones has a 100% completion percentage 😊

87 Jinx!

In reply to by Stendhal1

So he goes and misses one.  Surely the team is now doomed.

88 I think it says a lot about…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

I think it says a lot about the Bills that they could lose a game to a team with Aaron Schatz at QB. 

99 They had a game back in 2008…

They had a game back in 2008 with Cassel as the starter against the bills - similar conditions. Threw 8 times, ran almost 50. 13-0.

 

60mph winds and 20 degrees SUCKS to throw the ball. I was pretty impressed with Allen given conditions - 15/30 for 145 is way better than expected - especially given how easy it is to have a ball just take off on you and end up floating to the deep safety. 

 

98 Line calls count too

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

He changed the run play at the line several times based on reading the coverage.

Is this game on his highlight reel?  No, but he did his job...I seem to recall that as a mantra of a team thats won a game or two this century...

102 The Peyton Manning special…

The Peyton Manning special on Mac Jones against the Browns (on ESPN+) is really good - he points out a bunch of times how good Jones is at adjusting line calls and audibling. Not for a rookie - just plain good at it. 

90 Csonka and Kiick

Didn't those Dolphins teams have games like this, where Griese threw in single digits?    Crazy..

95 So, my parents don't have…

So, my parents don't have ESPN at their house, so all I had was the gamecast. I am so pissed. 43 called runs to 3 passes? In the snow? And I missed it? Dangit.

Was the Manningcast on tonight? 

100 It was

As usual, it was....a thing. 

Neither Manning was prepared for this play call set,  it appeared.

108 I love watching Peyton's…

In reply to by Gormiepoo

I love watching Peyton's gigantic head explode when he sees really bad QB play. How did he take seeing 3 pass attempts from the Pats?

106 I thought the Mannings did well

Letterman, Aqib Talib, and Joe Buck as guests, and Buck was the weakest of the three.  

Once it became apparent that the Pats were basically not going to pass, ever, the Manning brothers started having fun with it.  Showing pre-game passes by Mac, critiquing his hand-off technique, etc.

Definitely a nice change from the usual coverage.

 

 

96 The Bills second half timeout usage...

The Bills second half timeout usage seemed like a major mistake at the time of the 1st and 2nd one.  How do you call those time outs in that kind of game where you are behind and know that you might have to use them to squeeze off an extra possession?

101 The first timeout was a…

The first timeout was a blown challenge on the Mac Jones sneak, which was obviously going to fail since there was no camera angle that showed him. The weather burned us again, because ESPN took down the cable cam - it would have been the only angle that could have seen what happened.

105 I'm not gonna be one of…

I'm not gonna be one of those talk radio jabronis calling to fire the coaches after that Bills loss. But they need to take a seriously long look at how this team mentally self-destructs a half-dozen times a year. Buffalo had two red zone drives in the final quarter of a game we lost by 4

  • We wasted a timeout lining up too slowly
  • Took two sacks, including one started by Allen tripping over his own blocker
  • Took an offensive penalty
  • Threw a no-chance pass into the end zone expecting a defensive penalty that never came
  • Missed a field goal

And that doesn't include us taking 3 quarters to figure out how to stop a high school rushing offense, fumbling a handoff, dropping three third down passes, and having Diggs' let a TD ricochet off his arm.

119 The biggest issue, in my…

The biggest issue, in my opinion, was the Bills playing too conservatively in H1.  Yes, Belichick was playing bizarro-ball, but you don't have to join him.  You do need to avoid the throws to the flats (the first two of which were almost picked off), but Allen (and every Winnipeg Blue Bomber QB ever) proved he could throw into the wind.  You can run your normal offense with the wind in your face and you can run almost your entire offense with the wind behind you.

Still should have won except for the Q4 red zone meltdowns.

121 Still should have won except…

Still should have won except for the Q4 red zone meltdowns.

 

To be fair on those, the Patriots defense is one of the best in the league and the Bills offense, isn't. Trouble scoring should have been the expectation for this game.  On both sides. 

115 I'm curious to see what it…

I'm curious to see what it does with the Pats offense - Bills defense is great - so big opponent adjustment. 

Run game was great. Pass game was 2/3 for 19 yards and a 1st is fine as far as rate stuff goes against a good defense. 

But a good run offense is much worse than an average passing offense - so the mix is going to be a mess, and I'm not sure how "Offensive DVOA" handles that. 

Also, given the discussion about hidden points - they're going to be a mess from this week. Harry's muff, the missed field goals, etc.

118 Rushing / Passing DVOA

The stats shown for the year are on a per play basis, so 3 passes will be added to the "pass" bucket - and given that it was a first down, failed completion, and incomplete pass - a not unusual set of results, it won't budge anything very much.

The running DVOA won't be spectacular.

So the DVOA numbers for the game won't evenly affect the outcome. The rushing DVOA bucket will get a lot of runs against a great defense, so it'll probably be a pretty neutral result, and the passing DVOA bucket grows by 3.

I think the Pats could have passed more than they did (I was predicting that they'd throw something like 10 passes as Cassel did), but it was apparent that they didn't because they didn't think they needed to.  If they did need to they would have later in the game (As with the two consecutive passes late in the game). No need to take on the extra risk.  Mac's first throw was nigh uncatchable, but the other two passes were fine.  They wouldn't have been going down field but they could have worked the short passing game, but it'd probably end up being 5 yards/passing attempt and less consistent than the run game.

I was impressed with Josh Allen.  The wind was NOT kind to those balls.  Watch the kickoffs - they were NOT flying in parabolas last night! 

126 Nigh is a good word

Mac's first throw was nigh uncatchable…

+1 for a technically correct use of the word ‘nigh’.

If I recall, The Tick was ‘nigh invulnerable’. With occasional reminders of what ‘nigh’ really means.

120 Most impressive thing about…

Most impressive thing about that game was that NE's RBs never put the ball on the ground even once.  I think that's a low odds event in those conditions and we should have expected at least one NE fumble while executing that game plan.  Although I suppose Harry's brain fart sort of made up for that.

Beyond that, Belichick's gameplan mostly didn't work.  BUF's D didn't whither in Q4, another data point against the "keep running at them and we'll tired them out" trope.  The decision to avoid passing reminded me of Belichick's approach during the first month of the season, when he refused to let Jones run the passing attack until he absolutely had to.  Yes, the play calling needed to adjust to the conditions, but as a longtime CFL fan, I can tell you that you absolutely can run a passing attack in windy condition, especially when the wind is in your face (it's a little trickier when the wind is behind you as that can induce balls to sail).  NFL passing windows are usually smaller than CFL ones, but in those conditions receivers can generally get a little more separation than they can on good weather days, giving a little more leeway.  You need to throw smart, but you don't have to stop throwing at all.

Tossing away a modern offense for a 70s-style attack and relying on your defense to hold the opposition to less than 15 points shouldn't have worked, and wouldn't have worked except that McDermott played too conservatively himself in H1, and then BUF choked on multiple chances in Q4.

All that said, it was a fun game to watch!  I'm really looking forward to the rematch in a few weeks.  Wonder if the weather will be better or worse for that one?

122 Beyond that, Belichick's…

Beyond that, Belichick's gameplan mostly didn't work

Im with you here. It seemed to me like the Patriots squarely outplayed the Bills for a solid 50 minutes, and ended up in a very losable game because of how conservative they were. 

A handful of play action passes over the course of the game would have very much changed the complexion of the game and made the adjustments Buffalo made late both less likely and less effective. 

I was waiting for Buffalo to score with 2 minutes left and have them be in a situation where your cold rookie QB has to throw in obvious throwing situations against an elite defense in terrible weather. 

123 Belichick's been coaching…

Belichick's been coaching for so long and is such an historian of the game, I wonder how much of last night's game plan was him just enjoying the unusual conditions and wanting to see if they could win with an old school offense?  Sounds like he was pretty excited by the win (https://www.nfl.com/news/belichick-on-patriots-game-plan-for-bills-rematch-in-week-16-we-can-use-our-whol).  At this point in his career, maybe doing something different was a nice break from the routine.  

125 What I'm curious about is…

What I'm curious about is what they were practicing on Wednesday, and how their game plan changed by Friday/Saturday. They knew they were going to be playing in the cold, but I don't think the wind could be predicted 60 mph gusts until shortly before gametime. "Run it 40+ times" couldn't have been the game plan early on except maybe as a backup backup plan, kept inside a dusty folder in the back of the safe. 

Are the press conferences archived online anywhere? I really hope a reporter asked about that really obvious question, instead of the usual BS questions.