Eagles vs. Chiefs: The Andy Reid Super Bowl

Kansas City Chiefs HC Andy Reid
Kansas City Chiefs HC Andy Reid
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Conference Championship - Andy Reid faces off against his legacy when the Kansas City Chiefs face the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

If you think that's an overstatement, consider this: Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Jason Kelce all played for Reid's Eagles in the early 2010s. Ten full seasons, three coaching changes, one previous championship, and multiple rises-and-falls later, three of Reid's players remain part of the Eagles' core. And of course, Reid's former personnel majordomo Howie Roseman is the Eagles general manager after gaining, losing, and regaining power over the last decade. At their foundation, the Eagles remain the franchise that Andy Reid built and his descendants and their descendants remodeled.

For a lifelong Eagles fan (ahem), Eagles-Chiefs is a dream matchup. Heck, long before Reid took over the Chiefs, Dick Vermeil made them Philly's unofficial AFC favorites. Only the contrarians of Greater Philly will really be rooting for Reid's Chiefs two weeks from now, of course. But Reid's presence reframes the last 20-plus years of Eagles history. The bittersweet playoff/Super Bowl heartbreaks of the Reid era aren't quite so bitter now, 10 years after the semi-amicable divorce, with both parties doing so well.

As for the matchup itself: Reid is the better coach, Patrick Mahomes the superior quarterback (even on one ankle), Travis Kelce and Chris Jones perhaps the second- and third-best players who will participate in Super Bowl LVII. The Eagles, however, have everything else: better wide receivers, running backs, offensive linemen, a not-even-close comparison for 10/11ths of the defense, and—critically—a shorter injury report after a brutal evening in Kansas City.

The Eagles open as 2.5-point favorites. But an ankle can heal significantly over two weeks, and that line is likely to hopscotch around in the days to come.

Let's recap Sunday's wild and unpredictable action, take a brief look ahead to the Super Bowl, bid fond farewell to the Bengals and 49ers, and—just for the heck of it—wrap Walkthrough up by taking potshots at the Denver Broncos.

AFC Championship Game Spotlight: Kansas City Chiefs 23, Cincinnati Bengals 20

What Happened: The Chiefs outplayed the Bengals in the first half but only led 13-6 at halftime because:

  • Kadarius Toney could not quite control a Patrick Mahomes pass in the end zone;
  • An Isiah Pacheco touchdown run was nullified by holding; and
  • Joe Burrow led a 90-yard field goal drive with no timeouts left in the final two minutes before halftime.

The Bengals tied the score at 13-13 with a leaping Tee Higgins touchdown early in the third quarter. The game then devolved for a while into Joe Burrow searching for his receivers with zero protection from his offensive line versus a gimpy Mahomes trying to figure out who to throw to with Toney, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Mecole Hardman all hurt.

Mahomes appeared to have the edge thanks to a touchdown laser to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but no Chiefs-Bengals game would be complete without a few rolls of the ol' "rare play" chart:

Whoopsie! Ja'Marr Chase then out-leapt a pair of defenders on a fourth-and-6 deep ball and Samaje Perine bulldozed into the end zone to tie the score again at 20-20.

The Chiefs got a break on the next series when an apparent third-down stop was declared a non-play because an official blew the play dead but didn't make much of an effort to tell anyone. So third-and-9 became fourth-and-4 before a glitch in the matrix made it third-and-9 again. The temporal loop did not impact the outcome—the Chiefs punted a few plays later—but it sure did make the game feel like it would be decided by the refs instead of the teams.

Speaking of which: let's roll up more rare/random plays!

  • A bomb that ricochets off Ja'Marr Chase's noggin (lots of defensive contact on the play, though Walkthrough respects the no-call), followed by a tip-drill interception by Joshua Williams!
  • Reid punting instead of attempting a 55-yard field goal or pulling out the perfect Mahomes-to-Kelce concept he has kept in a safe for five years on fourth-and-8!
  • Ticky-tack intentional grounding on Burrow, followed by a third-and-16 conversion to (rolls dice) Hayden Hurst!

And the final spin of Fortuna's unforgiving wheel after a Bengals punt:

  • Linebacker Joseph Ossai shoving Mahomes several yards out of bounds at the end of a scramble to give the Chiefs the yardage they needed for a 45-yard Harrison Butker game-winner.

Close game? Yep. Thrilling? Certainly. Interesting? In the best and worst possible ways. Satisfying? Bengals fans can be forgiven for not feeling that way.

What it Means for the Kansas City Chiefs: We all know about Mahomes, Kelce, and Chris Jones. But the Chiefs got step-up performances in the AFC Championship Game from rookie cornerbacks Jaylen Watson (early interception), Bryan Cook, and Joshua Williams (the fourth-quarter tip-drill pick); from Pacheco (5-59 as a receiver when Mahomes had nowhere else to turn); and from Skyy Moore (a 29-yard punt return to start the fateful final drive.) Several of those rookies were silent (Moore) or dreadful (Watson) for much of the year.

The Chiefs' Super Bowl prognosis may come down to the health of Smith-Schuster and the other receivers, as well as Pacheco, who looked banged up in the fourth quarter. Mahomes will have trouble hobbling his way into miracles against the Eagles pass rush, and the Eagles offensive line won't crumple nearly as easily as what was left of the Bengals line on Sunday. If Mahomes has a reliable target besides Kelce, the Chiefs have an excellent chance of winning their second Super Bowl of the last five years. If not, well, you saw what the Eagles just did to the NFL's most physical team.

What's Next for the Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals enter their offseason with $43 million in paper cap space, a short in-house free-agency to-do list (pay Jessie Bates and/or Vonn Bell, perhaps work up a Higgins extension), few real weaknesses, and a mandate to sign Burrow to his Young Zillionaire contract before someone else drives up the price.

In the past, Walkthrough would insert a joke about the thrifty/pokey Bengals front office, but Duke Tobin handled last offseason well, and even if the Bengals lose Bates to pay Burrow, they should be able to add a safety in the draft or promote Dax Hill and remain among the AFC's top contenders.

Burn This Play!

The Travis Kelce hook 'n' lateral makes sense until you realize that Kelce is great at everything football-related except throwing the ball, which transforms him immediately into Garo Yepremian:

Worst of all, once Kelce got a taste of the hook 'n' lateral it nearly became his addiction:

The hook 'n' collateral was about the eighth-weirdest thing that happened in the AFC Championship Game, which gives a sense of just how weird the game was.

NFC Championship Game Spotlight: Philadelphia Eagles 31, San Francisco 49ers 7

What Happened: Brock Purdy suffered an elbow injury while getting stripped by Haason Reddick with the Eagles leading 7-0 in the first quarter.

Enter Josh Johnson, America's Fourth-String Quarterback. The 49ers may have been in trouble, but they still had their defense, Christian McCaffrey, the Mighty Deebo Horn Section, and a knack for manipulating field position to their advantage. Nick Bosa and company shut the Eagles offense down on several series before McCaffrey capped a 46-yard drive with a 23-yard elusiveness-clinic touchdown to tie the game.

The Eagles answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive, getting a boost from several 49ers penalties in what was an interestingly-officiated game. Then Johnson—who may have never taken a snap from starting center Jake Brendel before, even in practice—fumbled a shotgun snap that led to a Boston Scott touchdown run just before halftime.

Johnson suffered a blow to the head and entered concussion protocol early in the third quarter. Purdy re-entered the game but clearly could not grip the football well enough to throw it across a studio apartment. Kyle Shanahan emptied his playbook of screens and trickery to no avail: the 49ers weren't coming back from (initially) a two-score deficit with ZERO downfield passing capability.

The 49ers totally lost their cool late in the game, with Trent Williams getting tossed for a late-game choke-slam. It was a shame to see a team that played with such intensity and pride through adversity all year to come unglued at the end of a truly remarkable season.

What it Means for the Eagles: The NFC Championship Game ultimately came down to one team having a healthy non-rookie quarterback while the other did not. And yes, DeVonta Smith's non-catch catch in the first quarter and a roughing the punter penalty that probably should not have been called in the second quarter helped tilt the game in the Eagles' favor. But give Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen credit for switching to a zone-read heavy ground game when Jalen Hurts was a little wild early, and to the Eagles defense for swarm-tackling after getting embarrassed on McCaffrey's run and avoiding mental errors while playing with a lead against what deteriorated into a high school offense.

Oh, and miss Walkthrough forever with those Eagles had an easy road to the Super Bowl takes. Two weeks ago Daniel Jones was supposed to be Eli Manning, and the 49ers didn't look like an easy out anytime in the last two months. (Yeah, Purdy got hurt—because the Eagles pass rush actually got to him, folks.) The Eagles just won two playoff games by a combined 69-14 score. It was an easy road because they made it look easy.

The Eagles know how to win the games they are supposed to, and they are built to turn every game into one they are supposed to win.

What's Next for the San Francisco 49ers: Shanahan should announce an open competition between Purdy and Trey Lance starting in OTAs. He can invite the HBO cameras in, televise April 7-on-7s in prime time, and turn the whole saga into a moral parable for our times.

The 49ers will win the Purdy-Lance competition no matter which of the contestants stands triumphant. The only risk would be a double-knockout that leaves coaches/players/management choosing sides while both young quarterbacks look over their shoulders instead of playing to their potential. What would be the chances of that happening? (Narrator: that's actually the most likely outcome of such a scenario.)

Most of the 49ers nucleus returns next year. The team will free up the cap space to re-sign tackle Mike McGlinchey and/or defensive Jimmie Ward once it does something with Nick Bosa's contract (playing on the fifth-year option is possible, a massive extension full of 2024/2025 bucks is more likely.) Jimmy Garoppolo is gone, although … hear Walkthrough out: trade Lance AND Purdy for first-round picks, resign Jimmy G., and then … nah.

In summary, the Niners will be back in the playoffs in 2023 with sacks, YAC, and someone still on his rookie contract at quarterback. There are far worse fates.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

Never forget that Christian McCaffrey's thrilling second-quarter touchdown might have been a 1-yard loss if Marcus Epps (22) didn't jam his thumb into the dive button and try to take flight instead of just breaking down to make a sound tackle.

Worst Supporting Actor in His Own Highlight

It's hard to find a replay that really show it, but DeVonta Smith wasn't exactly wearing his poker face when he leapt from the ground after his first-quarter fourth-and-3, ahem, reception.

You can see a little bit of it in the clip above: Hey guys hurry hurry hurry let's run a play ASAP no particular reason for the rush look I am making the HURRY UP OFFENSE gesture with my hands let's go let's go!

Kyle Shanahan and his staff saw Smitty acting like a quick snap was the difference between success and disaster and thought, "Welp, looked like a clean catch to us. No reason to challenge a play that could mean the difference between possession of the ball and a quick Eagles score."

Many NFL coaches, even the best ones, have the common sense and street smarts of a parsnip.

Burn This Play

This Christian McCaffrey "why the hell not?" option pass looks ridiculous..

... but Christian D'Andrea of ForTheWin raises a good point in that Tweet: why didn't McCaffrey, or Deebo Samuel, or some other playmaker start taking some of the snaps once Purdy was injured? A few Wildcat wrinkles would have taken pressure off Johnson, and a full-time read-option would have made more sense in the second half than the one-armed Purdy offense. But that's the Shanahan coaching experience: A++ in several important areas, but with some weird D-minuses sprinkled in.

Rando of the Week

There was a fellow roughly Walkthrough's age in a Brian Dawkins jersey palling around former Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins before the Eagles game. Wait, was it a bird? A plane? John Oates? Art Garfunkel?

No, it's hip-hop pioneer DJ Jazzy Jeff, who also performed at halftime!

Yes, that Oates-Garfunkel joke was lame, as Mr. Jeff has had a fine career without Will Smith. (Garfunkel was in major motion pictures in the 1970s, too ... but never mind.) With that post-Smith career in mind: hey you Eagles fans, stop what you're doing (especially if you are climbing a lamppost) and set it in motion: It's the Next Movement.

Around the NFL

Coaching carousel stuff, and more.

Rams hire Mike LaFleur as offensive coordinator.

Sean McVay gets his BFF's baby bro as a wingman. The Rams get an heir apparent for when McVay for-real gets bored and wanders off next year. LaFleur gets to rebuild his rep by tinkering with Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford. And the Jets keep slowly self-immolating in real time because they flew too close to a wild-card berth. It's a real win-win-win-Jets.

Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol, won't participate in Pro Bowl activities.

Sadly, we can all see what's coming.

Dolphins make Vic Fangio the NFL's highest paid defensive coordinator.

It's not gonna matter because ... see previous item.

Jonathan Taylor undergoes ankle surgery.

If the Colts head coaching job starts looking any worse, Jeff Saturday will turn it down.

Rob Gronkowski thinks Tom Brady would choose the Buccaneers over the Raiders if he plays in 2023.

"The fiduciary impact of renewing a contractual commitment with a franchise whose ownership group offers greater capital liquidity, combined with Florida's favorable personal-taxation policies, makes the cost-benefit analysis of Brady's decision elementary," Gronk said. "Also, shiny beach sun prettier than hot desert sun."

Kyler Murray posts a picture of his reconstructed knee on Instagram.

Read the tone of this Darren Urban post on the Cardinals website for a sense of how relations between Murray and what's left of the organization are going. The Cardinals in-house media team aspires to someday graduate to becoming the Cowboys in-house media team so they can publicly rip Dak Prescott.

Steve Wilks (and his lawyers) express disappointment over the Panthers' decision to hire Frank Reich.

The NFL's regressive hiring practices for minorities in leadership positions remains abhorrent. Walkthrough supports all efforts to break up the old-boy network, push back against implicit bias, and diversify head coaching/general management hires. We're watching DeMeco Ryans, Brian Flores, Jim Caldwell, and others and hoping for the best. But Reich is more qualified and a better fit for the Panthers than Wilks. We're keeping our powder dry until some overqualified coach of color is passed up in favor of some white dude with peach fuzz who was coaching MAC quarterbacks three years ago. In other words, tune in next week.

Broncos have spoken to Jim Harbaugh.

Sean Payton apparently said no. Why? Perhaps because Broncos coaching interviews go something like this…

Meanwhile, Deep Inside Denver Broncos Headquarters...

SEAN PAYTON: Thanks for flying me in on that stealth bomber. I'm excited to share my vision for the Denver Broncos, but I was expecting to speak to Greg Penner.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Sit down, Saints boy. I'm running the show here. I'm not assembling a football team. I'm assembling a task force.

PAYTON: A task force?

CONDI: What happens if Patrick Mahomes suddenly goes rogue? We're the first line of defense if that happens. So I am assembling a squad with unique skills. And I need someone to lead that squad on the field.

PAYTON: You can count on me, ma'am. I'm a winner. Unless a call goes against me in a playoff game where I take a fourth-quarter lead on a field goal on the next play and then get the ball first in overtime. Then I lose but spend weeks throwing little baby tantrums.

CONDI: Oh, you will fit right in on this squad. Let me introduce Deadshot, the most accurate sniper on earth.

RUSSELL WILSON: I just visualize the target in my mind and then I hit it! In my mind!

CONDI: And of course, every team needs a fashion-forward but unpredictable femme fatale.


CONDI: Then there is Captain Boomerang.

JORDAN MAILATA: G'Day mate! Let's throw another shrimp on the barby.

PAYTON: I am almost certain Jordan Mailata does not talk like that. Or play for you.

CONDI: Adam Gotsis would have been too obscure a pull. Then there is the man who cannot be covered by anyone, Slipknot!

KJ HAMLER: Ouch! I fell!

CONDI: Sigh. I meant the man who cannot be tackled by anyone, Slipknot II!

JAVONTE WILLIAMS: Ouch! I fell too!

CONDI: Whatever. We'll grab Melvin Gordon again or something. And this is The Sorcerer Surtain. He's got my back. I would advise not getting covered by him. His cleats trap the souls of his receivers.


PAYTON: Listen lady, I don't know what kind of circus you are running, but I am looking for a team where I am the one calling the shots. I'm gonna go work someplace where everyone is highly professional and there are no political operatives playing mind games, like the Arizona Cardinals or FOX television.

(exeunt Sean Payton.)

CONDI: Sigh. (on intercom) Did we implant the explosive in DeMeco Ryans' skull yet?

GEORGE PATON: (on intercom.) No ma'am. Our agent got stuck in traffic in Santa Clara.

CONDI: Very well. Send in the big guns.

(Door swings open.)

JAMES GUNN: Have I got a reboot for you! I call it THE Denver Broncos!


198 comments, Last at 31 Jan 2023, 2:42pm

#1 by glitteringtailor // Jan 30, 2023 - 6:22am

How Greenlaw's Jake LaMotta impression didn't make it into BSAISEH I do not understand.

Points: 0

#8 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:10am

There's a *hilarious* shot of CJ Gardner-Johnson diving at a pile for a fumble waaay late which would've worked for Random of the Week too.

Points: 2

#2 by Run dmc // Jan 30, 2023 - 6:34am

Sounds like you had wished Jeffrey Lurie had chosen a minority candidate instead of Nick Sirianni. Lurie who is probably as a Liberal and DEI minded owner as you could find has hired 4 white men in a row, his first hire was Ray Rhodes, who by all accounts is a nice man and not a good head coach (as the team go progressively worse each of his 4 years as HC.) That's 20% minority hires. By my count we have Mike Tomlin, Ron Rivera, Robert Salah and Todd Bowles as minority coaches, that's 2 below Lurie's 20% mark.

But if we instead use years of minority coaching instead of raw numbers (a better indicator of the shot minorities are getting) Lurie has had a minority coach 13% of the time.

So basically NFL hiring practices are in line with the most DEI oriented owner.

While 60% - 70% of NFL players a black that is not the talent pool coaches are drawn from. I would guess most NFL coaches barely sniffed playing in the NFL just like Sirianni (and Reid, Belichek and McVay). That means the talent pool is far more like the US population (or HS football roster) than the NFLPA.


Points: -11

#66 by garion333 // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:21am

Liberal-minded or not, Lurie is still a billionaire Boomer. ;) 

Points: 0

#179 by GwillyGecko // Jan 30, 2023 - 3:06pm

it makes 100% sense for it to be in line with the US population, rather than the population of the NFLPA, because there's no "athletic" component to being a head coach

Points: 0

#186 by SteveCoxNot // Jan 30, 2023 - 4:57pm

Right, the US Population must be the right comparison pool because of the >50% of coach.years held by female head coaches in the NFL.

Points: 4

#3 by CJS at NYC // Jan 30, 2023 - 6:50am

Pedantry alert! “Exeunt” is plural. (“Exeunt omens” means “everyone leaves” the stage.) The singular is plain, old “exit.”

Points: 7

#4 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 7:39am

Glad for Andy.  


Feel for Kyle.  Though there were elements where he contributed to this game spiralling in the wrong direction.


Boy the Bengals punter picked the wrong time to line drive one to the middle of the field.  Yikes  But KC had the upper hand on special teams all game.  Cincy routinely had rough field position save for the Mahomes fumble.


Eagles managed a Milton Berle so still have more to pull out for the Super Bowl.  Talented roster.  QB chance to get healthier so that likely adds more qb run option to the playcalling.  Plus the misses downfield yesterday could just as well become connections.  And that defense is darn good.  


Mahomes was tremendous obviously.  But hey look at you MVS!  That is the second conference championship game where the young man showed up strong.  I mentioned in one of the previous threads that he might be the guy if he remembered to bring his hands to the game.  And there he was doing everything that teased GB for several years.  Glad for MVS.  Fun guy to watch when he's catching the balls thrown in his direction.

Points: 2

#5 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 7:45am

Though credit Orlando Brown against Hendrickson.  Yes Brown got some help at times.  Yes the refs let him get away with some pulls, tugs, and general holding that wouldn't have been out for line for being called.  But Brown was still better than in previous matchups.  Major difference maker yesterday

Points: 2

#24 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:17am

Yes the refs let him get away with some pulls, tugs, and general holding that wouldn't have been out for line for being called.

They conspicuously haven't called that sort of thing all year.

Points: 2

#95 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:51am

Yeah, as I've posted elsewhere, offensive holding is (statistically) significantly down this year, as is defensive pass interference. Ineligible man downfield, of course, is so obviously way up that a kindergartener could see it.

Points: 1

#99 by Rufus R. Jones // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:55am

Where do you find up to date and reliable info on this?

Points: 0

#157 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:40pm


You have to add the "called" and "declined/offsetting" (I think those are the headers) yourself, since obviously what you're interested in is how often the refs throw the flag. DPI especially varies a lot because whether or not it's declined is often whether the receiver makes the catch.

Points: 2

#12 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:30am

Ok double checked and Cincy starting field position not quite as bad as it seemed


Bengals drives starting position:


19 yard line

38 yard line

25 yard line

25 yard line

5 yard line

38 yard line

25 yard line

KC 45 yard line

18 yard line

6 yard line

Points: 1

#16 by occams_pointed… // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:36am

Part of the reason for bad field position on those last two drives was having that whole do-over thing and then getting a penalty on the extra down that moved the chains a bit further. So people who are saying it didn't impact the game are a bit imprecise.

Points: 1

#17 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:39am

My original post was sharing that I thought the Bengals were battling a field position deficit in the game.  I just wanted to validate that impression.

Points: 0

#127 by JonesJon // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:31am

You can only argue that impacted one drive. The Chiefs took over at their own 14 after Burrow arm punted so the reason they got bad field position the next drive is because their defense struggled to get a stop and get off the field. 

Points: 0

#128 by JonesJon // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:31am

You can only argue that impacted one drive. The Chiefs took over at their own 14 after Burrow arm punted so the reason they got bad field position the next drive is because their defense struggled to get a stop and get off the field. 

Points: 0

#6 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 7:49am

Injuries are the worst aspect about football, for all involved, and we fans received our (relatively minor) rotten taste of that aspect of it yesterday. The first game was ruined, and the second made significantly less interesting. Hope everybody has better luck in 13 days.

As for the nonruined game, it puzzles me that I haven't heard more about what looked like a block in the back on the Chiefs big punt return on the last possession. I'm pretty sure the t.v. production truck showed the Bengals s.t. coach getting into it with the refs, and it looked pretty clear to me that it was a foul, but they never showed a good camera angle, and I've heard no mention of it. The peoole in souhthern Ohio, I imagine, have to be talking about it, right?

If the 1st game hadn't been wrecked (I was really looking forward to it), the nonchallenge of the phantom reception might have been huge. If you aren't going to risk a timeout, early in the 1st, on a likely 7 point swing, and possession with good field position, when the opposing receiver is clearly indicating he didn't make the catch, when the hell are you going to do it?


Points: 11

#9 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:12am

Oh yeah.  You saw it flash in real time


That crew yesterday was just all over the map.  No roughing on Burrow on a call made pretty regularly during the season.  The Bengals line were penalized and rightly so on holding but the Chiefs were doing pretty much same against guys like Reader and the flags didn't get tossed nearly as often.  And Hilton gets called for a DPI when the Chiefs dbs were grabbing for dear life to keep up with the Bengals wideouts.  


And before anyone accuses me of Bengal fan bias I wear the Packer G all day long.  I just think Cincy has reason to grouse about the refs.  


Pick a lane guys.  That's all we ask.  

Points: 8

#75 by Noahrk // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:29am

I will say on the grounding that I'd like those to be called more often. I've felt this way since Eli. Throwing the ball to the ground is a spike, not a pass attempt.

Points: 5

#130 by JonesJon // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:34am

Agreed. You really should only be able to dirt the ball like that on a screen. 

Points: 4

#36 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:34am

As for the nonruined game, it puzzles me that I haven't heard more about what looked like a block in the back on the Chiefs big punt return on the last possession. I'm pretty sure the t.v. production truck showed the Bengals s.t. coach getting into it with the refs, and it looked pretty clear to me that it was a foul, but they never showed a good camera angle, and I've heard no mention of it. The peoole in souhthern Ohio, I imagine, have to be talking about it, right?

The gunner fell because he got his feet tangled with the Chiefs outside blocker.


Now, that might have been intentional. (Sort of looks that way) But it was not a block in the back. He was never touched in the back.

Points: 3

#47 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:59am

Like I said, the camera angle isn't terrific, so my impression might be wrong. Just thought it deserved some closer examination.


Points: 2

#49 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:06am

Closer examination of what? Even at the NCAA level, you can't review for an uncalled penalty.

\absent a specific set of exceptions related to ejectable offenses such as targeting and fighting

Points: 0

#109 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:04am

Just thought it was interesting  enough that some additional replays, from different angles, would have been worthwhile.

Points: 1

#40 by rh1no // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:38am

I saw it in real time, but I was honestly okay with the non-call.

Watch the replay. The KC defender is trailing the Cincinnati gunner, and as the gunner slows down, the defender slows down a little slower, running into his back and shoving him a bit inside of the punt returner. But the KC defender doesn't use his hands, the impact isn't too bad, and the Bengals defender sells the contact like a red devil flopping for a friendly call at Old Trafford.

Could the refs have called that? Sure. But they didn't. It was a little ticky-tacky anyway. No biggie.

I'm more concerned with the uneven nature of other calls. Obviously, intentional grounding was called inconsistently, but so were holding calls. The whole debacle with the third down "do-over" just seemed to confirm that the refs that were only selectively paying attention to what was happening on the field.

Points: 7

#55 by Kaepernicus // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:11am

Kyle was pretty bad early and it cost the team a lot. Honestly though I am happy they didn't find some fluke way to win to see a hobbled Jimmy get drubbed by the Chiefs. Being a long time fan this may be the least depressing NFCCG loss I have seen. 2011, 1990, 1992, and 1993 were all way worse. The defense played great all game while getting really sloppy with the penalties when it was obvious the offense could literally do nothing. The Eagles offense was not impressive at all. Out gaining a team 3.8 to 3.6 yards a play at home with your starter while the other team has no functional QB is really bad. I need to monitor the injury reports for the Chiefs, but at this point that +2.5 looks like a really good bet.

Points: 1

#158 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:42pm

Out gaining a team 3.8 to 3.6 yards a play at home with your starter while the other team has no functional QB is really bad.

They weren't trying to gain lots of yards for basically the last quarter-and-a-half. That last TD drive was a total win even without the roughing the punter penalty.

Just a weird game overall.

Points: -1

#176 by jkevinking52 // Jan 30, 2023 - 2:33pm

Well, if the Eagles offensive and defensive lines were not impressive to you, I'll just take that as sour grapes. The best defense in the NFL was taking away the pass against Hurts not at his best, so they stuffed the ball down that defense's throat with the run, consistently. Also, the Niners offense didn't look that great with Johnson, who at least had the ability to pass. The Eagles were harassing both QBs to my eyes. They just manhandled the "most physical team in the NFL", as I keep hearing. The injuries to the QBs were not fluke injuries -- both were a direct result of pressure.

I wish Purdy hadn't gotten hurt. That would have made it a real game.

(Of course, it's part of the game that sometimes you have to win the backup QB ... ahem, Foles, et al. I kept on hearing about how the Niners had the better roster. Despite that the Eagles have an o-line with two hall of famers, and a defense that had 70 sacks.)

Points: 2

#191 by Oncorhynchus // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:20pm

The defense played great all game while getting really sloppy with the penalties when it was obvious the offense could literally do nothing. The Eagles offense was not impressive at all. Out gaining a team 3.8 to 3.6 yards a play at home with your starter while the other team has no functional QB is really bad. 


I mean, I know you're a homer but c'mon man. The Eagles defense also played great - in fact they played better (Marcus Epps tackling notwithstanding). And the Eagles offense was pretty damn impressive on the ground. In fact, I said before the game that I thought the Eagles finding success rushing against this defense was likely and you replied that "no, they're much stouter against the run then they were against the Falcon early on." They were hard yards, sure, but they broke off a lot of good plays that were the result of good design and execution (unlike McCaffery's touchdown which would've been a 1 yard loss if Epps had better tackling form - the defense design was good, execution was bad). They had a number of long runs - including two touchdowns that were based off a bubble-screen look to the strong side with a run to the weak side behind Kelce's pull. They had the players and the design to put stress on that number 1 run defense. If it was a competitive game I think we'd have seen even more yards.

As for the passing game - Hurts was off. He was inaccurate. He overthrew Brown on what should've been a touchdown. He overthrew DeVonta on the 4th and 3rd catch/non-catch. He underthrew DeVonta later as well (the one that bounced off his chest after he had to turn back and fight threw the CB). The receivers were getting open, but Hurts couldn't deliver. How much of that was because of his shoulder sprain? I don't know - but my homerism suspects lingering injury is more likely than him suddenly turning into a pumpkin.

I would've loved if this game featured both a healthy Hurts and a healthy Purdy (or Lance or Garapollo - whoever your best QB is). I think the Eagles still win that game. Their defense was better. Their coaching was better (sidebar: I love how Shanahan was describing the play where Purdy got injured "Aiyuk was open - it was going to be a big play" - like yeah, dude, sure but Reddick was also "open" and he made the big play). And I think even if Purdy didn't get injured and what we saw from Hurts was really him healthy - the Eagles offense more likely than not still does more than enough to win this game.

Yeah, the officials sucked. But it cuts both ways the 49ers gave up some 1st downs on some ticky-tacky stuff. The Eagles weren't given a runback opportunity on Purdy's fumble. The whole punt hitting the wire thing. The officials always suck. Such is life.

Also - I'm not sure how you came up with you per play stats and frankly I don't care. It was certainly hard sledding but the Eagles scored on 5 of their 8 possessions (excluding the final drive of the game). That includes 3 long touchdown drives that weren't the result of turnovers. This against the best defense in the game. They won in every phase.


Points: 1

#196 by bravehoptoad // Jan 31, 2023 - 2:33pm

Being a long time fan this may be the least depressing NFCCG loss I have seen.

Yeah, not for me. This is the most depressing I've seen. Losing 4 QBs in a season just stinks. And now we have to sit through all these happy Eagles fans crowing that they would have won anyway based on very little evidence, or like Mike, "The Eagles deserved to win because they CAUSED those injuries." Jeepers. That's, respectively, smug and disgusting.

I'm mean, I'm glad Eagles fans are happy. I'd be happy, too. My wife's from Philadelphia. She's happy. My mother-in-law is delirious. I'll be pulling for them in the Super Bowl. But that NFCCG encapsulated so much of the absolute worst about football.

Points: 0

#7 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 7:58am

I heard last week that both officiating crews tossed among the fewest flags this season, and I wondered if that meant that all 4 teams would try to take advantage of that. I think they did, but the stripes didn't go along with the plan, for the most part.  It resulted in some pretty chopoy viewing.

Points: 0

#10 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:16am

Were those regular season crews? I know earlier they scrambled them for the playoffs. Not sure about this week.

Generally the games felt very "let them play" - no questionable RTP, no illegal man downfield. I know the repeat down looks terrible, but it *is* Arrowhead.

Points: 1

#15 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:34am

I heard that they were regular season crews, but I can't vouch for the reliability of what I heard. Both game just seemed to be called in a very choppy manner, although that may be in some measure due to the players fouling all the time.

Points: 0

#44 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:50am

I think the main reason it seemed bad is because of the combination of the DeVonta Smith missed call (not on the refs, wasn't visible , that's why there's replay), the "did the punt hit the wire" mess, and then the "duplicate 3rd down" weirdness. Maybe even adding the "backup chains 2: electric boogaloo" bit that was a fun callback to last week.

But I really agree that the "choppy" nature was just the teams playing chippy. The 49ers were badly out of control by the second half. Badly.

Points: 2

#26 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:19am

What's weird to me is that something similar happened in the Bills-Dolphins game, although that seemed to be as weird scoreboard error where they could not add time to the game clock, so they staggered-started it after the snap.

Points: 0

#11 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:22am

You know a 1000 years ago I played the game.  Been watching a long time.


I still do not 'get' the current 'chuck it downfield' on short yardage to get downs.  Rodgers began doing that 4-5 years ago and now it's so much a part of his game that it's a standard meme on Packer message boards.  4th and 1 and yup, there is the 40 yard pass falling to the ground.


And Burrow had 2nd and 3 and back to back downs throws into double coverage.  I think the young man is a great player and has done tremendous work.  But late in the game that just seemed like poor decision-making.  Especially on the third down where the tight end on replay is WIDE open for 8 odd yards.  


Just don't 'get it'.  What's wrong with a first down?

Points: 5

#14 by occams_pointed… // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:32am

This right here.

The read in that situation is you don't go for the kill shot unless there's no other option or the kill shot is WIDE open.

I hope they look at that film and make that point.

Points: 1

#35 by apocalipstick // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:34am

I think Ja'Marr Chase against the KC seconday is always 'WIDE open'.

Points: 1

#37 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:35am

I still do not 'get' the current 'chuck it downfield' on short yardage to get downs. 

What part don't you get? The Eagles and Bengals converted busting drives into scoring ones by doing precisely this. The Eagles have been doing this all year.

Points: 4

#52 by rh1no // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:09am

Last year, the Bengals offense was oriented around throwing long bombs to JaMarr Chase -- and sometimes Tee Higgins -- and praying he comes down with the ball. This was in part because it was effective, but it was also in part out of necessity; due to Cincinnati's poor offensive line play, teams liked to pressure our inexperienced signal-caller and dare him to beat the blitz by launching deep against mam coverage. Well, Burrow and Chase -- and sometimes Higgins -- proved that they were up to the task, and we were able to ride this boom-and-bust offense all the way to the Super Bowl.

This off-season, we reinforced our offensive line through the draft and free agency, improving the unit from "god-awful" to "mediocre." With a little better protection, we were able to establish our running game and use more slow-developing plays. Teams played differently against us, giving the Bengals more plays underneath in an attempt to stop our deep threats. Burrow excelled at long drives taking whatever the defenses gave him throughout the 2022-20223 season. Until yesterday.

Due to injuries on the O-Line, the Bengals were starting three of the same linemen who were routinely picked apart last year. Remember, even though the Bengals won last year's AFC Championship against Kansas City, the Chiefs still managed to get four sacks on Burrow and had opportunities to win the game.

So the Chiefs worked within the same blueprint, hammering Cincy's offensive line from the opening whistle. This was effective, as the Chiefs had 4 sacks when Burrow had only 4 completions early in the first half. Burrow reverted to long bombs in an attempt to counter the Kansas City blitzes, but either he was misreading the coverages or just playing a little desperately because he definitely threw deep into double coverage on a few plays.

I, too, get a little frustrated when I see similar plays called throughout the league. If a team has a deep threat, it's probably not a bad idea to take a shot every now and again just to stretch defenses and open up running lanes and crossing routes underneath on future short-yardage situations. But most of the time I see bad quarterbacks heaving up an inaccurate ball in these situations, proving to the defense that they DON'T actually have to respect the deep threat.

Points: 4

#80 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:36am

I still do not 'get' the current 'chuck it downfield' on short yardage to get downs.  Rodgers began doing that 4-5 years ago and now it's so much a part of his game that it's a standard meme on Packer message boards.  4th and 1 and yup, there is the 40 yard pass falling to the ground.

There are two types of 4th down attempts:

1) Desperation - Down late and losing possession is or nearly is a game-ending situation. In that case, yes teams should maybe play a little more conservative to try to retain the ball.

2) In the area of the field where a punt has limited upside - For a team like the Bengals, every defense is going to fixate on stopping their deep shots on nearly every play. Short yardage is about the only time where you'll be able to hold the safeties' attention at the LOS long enough to get one of your guys in a 1v1 downfield, so I can see the argument for taking a shot sometimes in that situation. It can be tough to watch though.

Points: 1

#90 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:46am

Neither applies to Rodgers.  Feel free to check with any Packer fan.  He is almost programmed to take these shots in any context around a short yardage setup.  

Just wanted to clarify 

Points: 2

#94 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:51am

I watch Josh Allen every week, I have seen my share of YOLO balls when a short one is there for the plucking.

Points: 3

#185 by Mike B. In Va // Jan 30, 2023 - 4:47pm

So much so that I suspect they're a "feature" of the offense. 

Points: 1

#147 by BigRichie // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:17pm

Packer fan here. No, I don't see that.

(but then I don't think Packers management is a cross between spawn of the Devil and one of Jerry's [Lewis] lesser-capable kids)

Points: 1

#139 by JonesJon // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:49am

The philosophy is that oftentimes the defense is selling out to stop short yardage making it much easier to get a 1v1 deep shot than it would otherwise be. It was perfectly on display with the Higgins TD. The Chiefs sacrificed 1v1 to the far side of the field with Higgins to keep Chase doubled and the middle protected for a throw beyond the sticks. Burrow took the Higgins matchup, made a perfect throw, and Higgins made a perfectly timed leap for the TD.

The only real issue with what Burrow did later is that in both those spots he wasn't throwing into a favorable matchup. Both throws were into tight double coverage. The first was a perfect throw that Chase couldn't locate in time and hit his helmet. The 2nd was slightly underthrown allowing for a tip and INT. 

The TE you reference being wide open is open because Burrow isn't read the far side of the field so the coverage had sagged off. If he is looking to that side the defenders are right up on the TE and it isn't an easy throw for a 1st Down. If you watch his eyes his first read is the slot WR who runs right to the sticks and sits down. That throw isn't there so he moves to the 2nd option which is Higgins deep and by the time he lets that go he's being pressured. 

Points: 0

#13 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:32am

Eagles 25 first downs on 269 total yards with 7 first downs by penalty


Man SF seemed to want to make winning as hard as possible

Points: 1

#18 by Chuckc // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:47am

I don't know how you can call the grounding on Burrow ticky-tack. He threw it straight into the ground in the middle of a cluster of linemen. Grounding should be called a lot more than it is and that was a perfect example.

Points: 7

#27 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:23am


That's not particularly ticky-tack. The ball doesn't make it to the tackle, and he's four yards behind the LOS. The nearest eligible receiver is seven yards away from the tackle, with two Chiefs between him and the ball.

Who, plausibly, was he throwing toward?

Points: 5

#38 by apocalipstick // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:35am

And he was already in the grasp of the defense, and he never looked at a receiver. It was pretty much a PowerPoint on what grounding looks like.

Points: 4

#28 by dmstorm22 // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:23am

Yeah, I'm all for them calling that grounding and doing it more often. It's not one that always gets called but usually the intended receiver on those types of groundings on screens are generally in the middle of the cluster of lineman.

Personally, I do think grounding should be called more often. My favorite example is the 2015 AFC Title Game, where Brady could've been called for gronding 5 or 6 times, throwing passes that had 0% chance of completion while 3/4s of the way to being sacked, but there was a receiver within a very generous radius of "in the area"

Points: 7

#87 by Noahrk // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:43am

Yes, Brady and Eli used to get away with it a lot. I agree with all that's been said on the matter. When you're about to get sacked you shouldn't be able to do a semi-spike and call it a pass attempt.

Points: 4

#45 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:56am

Totally agree, although there's no real way to do it. I would seriously prefer if there was a way to make the "chuck it at the feet of your receiver" play grounding (say, if the receiver is facing away from the QB, it's a penalty), and it could even be balanced by making "downfield pass when no one's around" not grounding, too, because there are times when that gets called grounding and it's not (receiver broke the wrong way, for instance).

Like I said, there's no way to do that, but I hate seeing quarterbacks be able to get away with crap like that.

Points: 0

#51 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:08am

say, if the receiver is facing away from the QB, it's a penalty

I'm with you, except it seems a couple of times each game a WR gets drilled in the head or the back well downfield because they didn't think to turn and look for the ball.


Points: 2

#92 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:48am

Yeah, that's why I think it's a minefield. I get why they can't change it, it'd add way too much subjectivity. But it pretty much sucks.

Points: 0

#146 by apocalipstick // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:16pm

Please cite a play where intentional grounding was called because a receiver broke the wrong way.

Points: 0

#160 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:53pm



On the broadcast, CBS turned to in-house rules expert and former official Mike Carey to break down the call. Carey maintained that the call was correct even if Watkins simply ran the wrong route, because miscommunication does not justify intentional grounding. 

There are other more questionable examples (like the intentional grounding Brady got in the Super Bowl in '12, which some fans claim was because a receiver didn't adjust his route deep like Brady expected) and of course, the main question is whether it actually was Watkins's fault, but the explanation is exactly what I'm talking about.

Points: -1

#122 by rh1no // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:22am

Here's why I think it's ticky tacky ...

Mahomes did something similar earlier in the game. Under pressure, with contact imminent, Mahomes dumps the ball over the middle, 6 yards away from two different receivers, one of whom is actually looking at the quarterback and makes a step towards the ball. But the ball falls to the grass a few yards in front of the line of scrimmage, a completely uncatchable and desperate attempt to avoid a sack.

No flag? Cool. Technically there was a receiver in the area and the refs aren't penalizing intent. You could also argue the impact of the defense affects the throw.

Now watch Burrow. Is this exactly the same as Mahomes' pass? No, of course not. But Burrow throws the ball while getting hit amd still manages to get the ball about 7 yards away from Perine, who is running a crossing route. The only real difference to me is that Burrow's ball goes towards the feet of an offensive lineman instead of a patch of green space. Does that make his ball more desperate and less catchable than Mahomes' desperate and uncatchable dump off? This seems a bit subjective to me, especially when I've seen Burrow -- and other QBs -- get a lot of leeway on those calls throughout the season. 

So this call is TOTALLY REASONABLE if you've watched a bunch of games this season and you found yourself screaming "Why aren't they calling Burrow and all these other quarterbacks for intentional grounding literally all the time?!"

But if you've watched a bunch of NFL games and said "I guess the refs have been told to swallow their whistles on intentional grounding calls to protect quarterbacks from injury," then this one is not even in the top 100 worst examples of intentional grounding.

No matter which side you come down on, i think we can all agree that it's a shame we are talking about the refs instead of Mahomes' heroic effort, the clutch punt return, etc.

Points: 3

#131 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:38am

Item 2. Physical Contact. Intentional grounding should not be called if:

  1. the passer initiates his passing motion toward an eligible receiver and then is significantly affected by physical contact from a defensive player that causes the pass to land in an area that is not in the direction and vicinity of an eligible receiver; or

Points: 1

#137 by Rufus R. Jones // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:47am

This seems a bit subjective to me,


All intentional grounding calls are subjective.


No matter which side you come down on, i think we can all agree that it's a shame we are talking about the refs instead of Mahomes' heroic effort, the clutch punt return, etc.


Sure it is. It's a damn shame. It's what happens when a team's fans are disappointed and grasping for excuses.

Points: -2

#141 by JonesJon // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:58am

Don't think those are all that similar. Mahomes is unable to get much on his throw but he is definitely trying to complete it. Burrow was intentionally throwing it at the ground hoping to get it close enough to get the benefit of the doubt. 

Points: 3

#171 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 1:48pm


still manages to get the ball about 7 yards away from Perine, who is running a crossing route

Five yards is pretty much the dividing line. They say "receiver in the area" but it's basically five yards. When Mahomes chucked it, there was a receiver literally five yards away. The Burrow play was actually much farther: it's distance not yardage. Perine was actually well more than 7 yards away, since he was 7 yards deeper (yardage) but a few yards off to the left as well.

I don't know how anyone can look at those two plays and think they're in any way comparable, to be honest.

Points: -1

#19 by mehnsrea // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:50am

But surely the genius Shanahan had a genius reason for not challenging the Smith play. He’s a genius after all. And surely his genius allowed the Eagles to run the ball down his defense’s throat and to leave Bosa singled on Lane Johnson where Bosa was dominated and rendered invisible and irrelevant. But yeah the genius would have prevailed had his overmatched rookie QB not been injured by the league’s best pass rush.

Points: -7

#20 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 8:59am

FWIW I thought Bosa played well.  Held the edge (most of the time) and snuffed out some run plays where he was the only guy who could make the play.  Flushed Hurts off his base several times leading mostly to runs out of bounds for limited gains or throwaways.  And on the running game not clear on how SF was dominated.  Sure they gacked on run defense in the red zone (which was weird of all places) but mostly kept all runners in check even accounting for kneel downs.  Not a single runner averaged even 4 yards a gain.  


I thought asking the second tight end to try and hold the edge against Reddick was curious.  Though maybe that the Eagles seeing a matchup opportunity and exploiting in real time versus play design

Points: 3

#22 by AMPa // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:14am

I feel like trying to block Hassan Reddick with a backup tight end and getting your quarterback murdered isn't getting enough attention (and to be fair, it is getting a lot of attention).  I hope that play gets broken down in Word of Muth, because that can't have been the plan on that play.

This isn't the first time it's happened either...I feel like at least once a game someone tries to block one of our edge rushers with only a TE or RB, and the play ends with the QB trying to stuff his guts back into his body.  So I wonder if it's a defensive scheme that attracts mismatches, or if we're just getting lucky with whoever develops blocking schemes having a rough day.

Points: 3

#25 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:18am

GB tries that nonsense periodically during a season (and have since MFL took over as head coach) so given the linkage between Matt and Kyle suspect there is some common element in play design that defenses can exploit when given the chance.



Points: 1

#32 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:28am

The Shanahan system sort of tries to win like the 1980s Redskins teams. The problem is that only Mark Rypien ever survived a full season of that.

Keep in mind, it's not just SF. McDaniel ported it to Miami and injured three QBs -- Tua's career might be over!

Points: 5

#31 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:27am

They shifted more attention outside, and then Suh ended Johnson's season (and perhaps career).

\and for all the carping, it was a completely clean hit. He hit him in the arm before the ball is released and didn't land with full weight.

Points: 2

#48 by navin // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:05am

That's part of the play design according to Shanahan to sell it as a run fake. He said the Eagles did it too a number of times.

Points: 0

#30 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:25am

Bosa did well in run defense, but it seemed his run-responsibility orientation adversely affected his pass rush.

The Eagles sort of put you in a bind. You can stop their pass, or you can stop their rush. But it's hard to stop both at the same time.

The 49ers did a lot of good things. They contained Hurts and took Goedert out of the game. They slowed the run. The trouble was then Brown and Smith were exploiting them. They pivoted towards slowing them, but that let the three RBs start to gain efficient yards. 

And while their total yardage wasn't impressive, the Eagles are perfectly happy getting an early lead and just suffocating you the rest of the game.

Points: 3

#42 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:47am

Eh, the Niners defense played very well in the 1st half, up until the 4th string qb dropped the snap. They stopped the Eagles on possessions, only to have the Eagles gifted a td via a phantom catch. Yes, they gave up a 70 yard penalty filled td drive, but the Eagles are an excellent offense; it's not as if you expect to shut them out. Then they are asked to to go out and defend a short field at the end of the half,in what looks obviously to be a hopeless situation. 

Trying to judge a game where one team can't get any basic functional qb play, a few minutes into the contest, is pretty futile.

Points: 7

#53 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:10am

Trying to judge a game where one team can't get any basic functional qb play, a few minutes into the contest, is pretty futile.

But we have experience at that. We've been covering the Jets for years.

Points: 10

#54 by navin // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:10am

This is one of the few reasonable takes I've read (and of course it's somehow been downvoted). The Eagles only averaged 3.8 ypp. Yes they packed it in during the second half but they didn't average much more in the first half.

You can say they had the advantage even if Purdy is healthy and I wouldn't argue with you. But no metrics from the game point to a surefire Eagles win if both teams are healthy.

Points: 2

#59 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:16am

Well, I kinda think Purdy getting knocked around and struggling was going to happen no matter what, so I think I'd still lean towards the Eagles even if they were healthy. Obviously, Purdy and Johnson getting knocked out of the game were due to the Eagles. And they switched towards pushing more to a zone read offense in the second half and were moving the ball, albeit in fits and spurts.

But yeah, that 49ers defense is a pain in the neck. Holy crap can they tackle well.

Points: 0

#79 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:32am

Except in the red zone. I'm not sure what changed there. I'm curious if Ben Muth or someone more versed in film has an explanation for what the Eagles were doing right/49ers were doing wrong.

Points: -1

#93 by navin // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:50am

The Eagles ran some awesome run concepts in the red zone. Nate Tice of the athletic had a good thread on twitter about this. Basically the Eagles were disguising their RB alignment in pistol so the LBs didn't know which way to flow to the ball. Plus the RPO threat kept them passive (cue shot of Warner not moving on one of the TDS). The 49ers eventually adjusted after the TD.

Points: 3

#162 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:58pm

Yeah, I noticed that back-and-forth adjustment! One of the things I was actually expecting the Eagles to do at one point (which they probably would have) is tell Hurts to intentionally make the wrong choice on an RPO, because on several of them the 49ers were basically bluffing the commit to the RB, so when Hurts did keep it they still could close stupid-fast. But the Eagles RBs are harder to tackle than Hurts is (just due to size) so if you just say "fine, whatever, you want to half commit? try to tackle him" you've got a good chance of Sanders/Gainwell/Scott just making you look foolish.

It really does suck that the game basically got cut short, because there were really interesting back-and-forths happening on the Eagles offense/49ers defense side.

Points: -1

#60 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:18am

It's just a shame, and I had zero rooting interest going into it. I just thought it was a fascinating match-up, on many levels, so it really sucked to have it rendered over so early. 

Points: 1

#77 by Kaepernicus // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:30am

They were on the field 38 minutes and 19 minutes in the first half. I was really impressed with Mooney Ward's play on Smith and Brown. They had a game winning defensive plan that might have worked if Purdy never gets injured. I think the single biggest reason I have been impressed with Purdy has been how good he was at avoiding pre-snap penalties. That includes the road Seattle game on a Thursday. Then you see Josh Johnson come in and immediately start racking up the delay of game penalties. CMC obviously had no wildcat game plan installed because they didn't expect to lose 2 QBs. The one throw he made was obviously a trick play they practiced. Twitter coaches are the worst though. How many times has Kyle even used a wildcat this year? I have watched most of all the games and I can't really remember a single wildcat play outside of that one Rams game with CMC.

The Eagles had at least 4 runs of 10 yards or more and still only averaged 3.4 yards a carry. The DVOA stats for this game are going to be really interesting.

Points: 0

#192 by Oncorhynchus // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:38pm

And on the running game not clear on how SF was dominated.  Sure they gacked on run defense in the red zone (which was weird of all places) but mostly kept all runners in check even accounting for kneel downs.  Not a single runner averaged even 4 yards a gain.  


The Eagles gained 148 yards on the ground. That's the 2nd most of any opponent all season. The Eagles had 4 different runners with runs of at least 10 yards. The Eagles had 12 rushing 1st downs - the most of any opponent all season. It doesn't matter if you hold your opponent to under 4 yards a gain if your opponent knows they can get 3 yards a gain and then shove a sneak down your throat for the last yard. On their second TD drive, the Eagles faced 3rd and 2 twice. The first time, the Eagles ran a QB sneak on 4th down from their own 34 in a tie game, the second Gainwell did well enough to gain a new set of downs. The 49ers got bullied by the baddest bullies on Broad Street. 

Points: 0

#197 by bravehoptoad // Jan 31, 2023 - 2:35pm

But yeah the genius would have prevailed had his overmatched rookie QB not been injured by the league’s best pass rush.

Looks like now we'll never know.

Points: 0

#21 by DGL // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:08am

Prediction: Next season the NFL will bring back the "Emergency QB" roster spot, at least for the postseason.  They'll couch it in terms of "player safety" - "we don't want a team to get punished for doing the right thing and removing a QB with a possible concussion leaving them without a QB" but 90% of the motivation will be to avoid the situation where a game becomes uncompetitive and borderline unwatchable due to both QBs being injured.

Points: 6

#23 by thok // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:15am

I also sort of suspect that we might see an automatic review process for fourth down plays next year; those are high enough leverage plays and relatively rare enough that it makes sense to auto-review them in the same way that scoring plays and two minute warning plays are reviewed.

Assuming Purdy still gets injured, it only would have made Niners-Eagles closer rather than change the result, but this is a case where a closer game is clearly better for the fans.

Points: 1

#33 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:30am

Can you imagine how slowly a Lions-Eagles game would go if you stopped for two minutes to review every 4th down result? It would take up both TV windows!

Points: 3

#132 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:38am

Or just get rid of a separate practice squad and inactives. College sidelines show it's not a space issue 

Points: -1

#138 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:48am

I was onboard with eliminating inactives, but you'd need a short term IR where teams could stash mildly hurt guys for a week or two and replace them, or else the game would be unbalanced. Right now the rosters are 53 guys with 2 call-ups and 46 active on game day. If you have a 5 guys with minor injuries you can stick them on the gameday inactives list and you still have the same 46 (presumably) healthy players. Without inactives, that means you have 50 guys vs. 55 for the opponent, etc.

Points: 4

#181 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 30, 2023 - 3:34pm

IR is different then those though. It wouldn't really have to change. 

Points: -1

#195 by Steve in WI // Jan 31, 2023 - 2:15pm

I'm fine with it from a player safety standpoint, but 99.9% of the time the game is still going to be uncompetitive and borderline unwatchable if you get down to the 3rd QB on the depth chart.

Sure, Purdy started the season as QB3 and he was unquestionably good enough for games to be watchable, but he also moved up to QB2 before being pressed into starting. And his example brings up another point...if the emergency backup QB is really QB4 or QB5 rather than QB3, then it's even less likely he'll make a meaningful difference. I have yet to hear anyone advocating for the emergency backup QB for any rationale besides player safety who's thrown out a name for who the 49ers would have pressed into service in that spot on Sunday if it existed.

Really I don't understand how a professional football coach could think that trotting out a QB who literally could not throw due to injury was a better option than having another player come in and try. It's almost certain you're going to lose at that point, so why not go down swinging?

Points: 0

#29 by johonny12 // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:24am

Stupid question of the day: Given both Miami and SF multiple QB whoas this past season, is there something about their QB protection packages that just hangs their QBs out to dry? I mean, they both got not one, not 2, but 3 and 4 QBs knocked out of games. 

Points: 7

#81 by Kaepernicus // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:36am

Kurt Warner has done some really good breakdowns of the 49ers offense and he constantly criticizes the lack of hot routes he works into his play design. It's one of the play design areas that he needs to improve on. I am guessing McDaniel brought that tendency with him to Miami. Another thing their offensive designs do is make bad offensive linemen look better. An example is Laken Tomlinson being a pro bowl level player in SF and then struggling badly with the Jets. It's why I think they are going to let McGlinchey walk and replace him with the rookie Zakelj they have been stashing on the PS all year.

Points: 5

#91 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:47am

Kurt Warner consistently gives great analysis, and also speaks like a man who was once targeted for assassination by Mike Martz.

Points: 9

#129 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:33am

In reply to by Aaron Brooks G…

Mike Martz, the most prolific serial killer in NFL history.

Points: 4

#133 by Kaepernicus // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:38am

Outside of the scheme advantages he also got to play right next to Joe Staley and Trent Williams the whole time. I have to believe having a great LT next to you the whole time helps a lot too.

Points: 1

#134 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:39am

Replacing a multi year starter with a practice squad member sounds pretty risky. 

Points: 0

#198 by bravehoptoad // Jan 31, 2023 - 2:42pm

An example is Laken Tomlinson being a pro bowl level player in SF and then struggling badly with the Jets. 

But the Jets run the same system that the 49ers and Dolphins do. McDaniel and Mike Lafleur were both coordinators with the 49ers in 2021.

What make Tomlinson look less good was no longer playing next to Trent Williams.

Points: 0

#39 by big10freak // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:37am

Thought the Bengals burning through their timeouts in a stretch end of first half was suboptimal.  Thought they could have saved some time for another play or two near the goal line. 


But that impression could be off base

Points: 1

#41 by Rufus R. Jones // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:42am

Let the excuses roll, Bengals fans! Run the mouths all week, still running them the next day.

Points: -11

#82 by rh1no // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:37am

Excuses from a Bengals Fan

In Order of "Things that Cost Us the Game, Most Impactful to Least"

  1. Offensive linemen Hakeem Adeniji and Jackson Carman are good enough to fill in against inferior opponents, but will get absolutely steamrolled by talented pass rushers
  2. Kansas City has talented pass rushers
  3. Patrick Mahomes is a very good quarterback, even with limited mobility
  4. Man, we should've kicked the ball out-of-bounds late in the 4th in order to avoid the potential for a game-winning punt return
  5. Man, we really should've NOT HIT MAHOMES THREE YARDS OUT OF BOUNDS with 8 seconds left to gift the Chiefs with a game-winning FG attempt
  6. The refs could've called the game more consistently

Points: 10

#118 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:16am

  1. Man, we should've kicked the ball out-of-bounds late in the 4th in order to avoid the potential for a game-winning punt return
  2. Man, we really should've NOT HIT MAHOMES THREE YARDS OUT OF BOUNDS with 8 seconds left to gift the Chiefs with a game-winning FG attempt

That first is a post-factual. Skyy Moore going back to field a punt is going to make something interesting happen. Usually it's something bad.

That second basically converted your season from a 50/50 proposition (Butker didn't have the leg for a 60-yard kick) into a 25/75 proposition. That was probably worse than Dalton Schultz personally scuttling Dallas's last drive of the season.

Points: 3

#140 by rh1no // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:49am

Second-gessing the punt is definitely a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking. The Bengals have been bad at special teams all year, though, with the punt being a particular problem area.

We had to retire our long-time punter Kevin Huber mid-season and replace him with a guy who couldn't beat out an over-the-hill Huber in preseason. DVOA tags us as the 8th worst punt unit in the league. So it's not entirely surprising that a line-drive punt cost us in a high leverage situation.

Points: 3

#183 by occams_pointed… // Jan 30, 2023 - 4:00pm

The play selection and timeout usage on the last Bengals drive was also questionable. 

Points: 0

#135 by coltsandrew // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:40am

I'm not a Bengals fan, obviously, but I thought they played very well. Since this was a playoff game,it couldn't end in a tie, so one team had to win. I felt like it could have gone either right up until the final field goal. I don't think the Bengals should be ashamed for losing a close championship game, especially since they were down three starting offensive linemen. There's really no need to belittle them for losing a game that's essentially a coin flip.

Points: 6

#43 by theslothook // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:48am

The 49ers will win the Purdy-Lance competition no matter which of the contestants stands triumphant.

I still see a lot of uncertainty in whichever outcome the 49ers go with. Trey remains a complete unknown and I still don't think we know what Brock Purdy will be. You don't even need examples like Wentz and Goff. Guys like Case Keenum and Nick Foles have looked like world beaters on great rosters before reverting back into pumpkins.

And sure,  as of now, the 49ers are stacked,  but a lot can change in a year. Who amongst us thought after watching the Rams win the sb that they would then finish last in the division? 

I think the 49ers have a much more unsettled future than the Bengals by comparison.

Points: 4

#154 by rh1no // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:25pm

I think we have a pretty good idea of what Purdy will be ... a Garoppolo-style point guard who distributes the ball to talented playmakers while relying on his good judgment and ability to read defenses to create plays. Less upside than Goff but less downside than Goff as long as he's playing for a coach who will work within his limitations. 

Lance is the bigger unknown to me, but I think Shanahan has shown how much he REALLY wants a quarterback with a cannon arm. Lance has that talent, so he'll probably win back his starting job in preseason by making big throws that Purdy can't. Whether he can actually get it done in-game will be an interesting question to answer. And with Purdy showing fans what his baseline performance level is this season, I think Lance will have a short leash.

Points: 1

#169 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 1:44pm

The advantage Purdy seems to have is he can see linebackers.

Points: 3

#156 by Scott P. // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:38pm

As Tanier said, though, Shanahan's offense is built to run on pumpkins.

Points: 1

#161 by theslothook // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:55pm

that wasn't the case pre-Jimmy G's arrival and at any time during Jimmy G's absences except for Brock Purdy. 

Points: 1

#189 by serutan // Jan 30, 2023 - 7:00pm

That uncertainty has ramped up - ESPN is reporting Purdy has a torn UCL and that it's a 6 month recovery regardless of whether or not he needs surgery (ESPN says he is seeking second opinions to see if surgery can be avoided).

Points: 2

#46 by theslothook // Jan 30, 2023 - 9:58am

My initial reaction last night was the Eagles should be favored, for the reasons Tanier listed above.

I then started thinking about the last two opponents the Chiefs faced in the sb. I picked SF in 2019 because I thought the 49ers had the horses on defense and the Chiefs in 2020 because I thought the Bucs did not.

The common thread in all three of these is what happens on the other side of the ball. Both the 49ers and the Bucs were able to slow the Chiefs offense down,  but in the case of the Bucs, their offense capitalized and buried the Chiefs while the 49ers missed on critical plays and let the Chiefs hang around. Eventually,  Mahomes is going to bust the defense with a spectacular play that you just have to live with. 

I expect the Eagles defense to stymie the Chiefs offense for a while, but can the Eagles put the Chiefs behind enough to survive the inevitable insane plays that will come? Hurts, be it through injuries or relative inexperience,  makes me nervous. I get the same 49ers Chiefs vibes I got in 2019.

I picked the better overall roster then. I'll go with insanity and do it again this time as well.

Points: 4

#50 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:07am

The Eagles should be favored more than they are, especially given the injury situation. The Eagles pass rush, especially on a neutral field, is far superior to the Chiefs, and the Eagles have the better oline. Mahomes is going to take a beating, I suspect.

Points: 5

#56 by navin // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:11am

I wonder if Hurts is still injured. He looked pretty bad in the passing game yesterday. 

Points: 4

#64 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:20am

He is. It was clearly affecting his deep shots; he was missing stuff he hit most of the year.

Now, that said, the 49ers have a good defense, too.

Points: 3

#177 by jkevinking52 // Jan 30, 2023 - 2:50pm

He sure did, even his completions seemed all over the place. Also, I'm thinking of one miss to AJ Brown.

Points: 1

#58 by theslothook // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:16am

The Chiefs line is better now than in 2019 and the 49ers pass rush was somewhere in the same neighborhood of fearsome as this Eagles team.

That team had Bosa, Buckner, and Armstead all on one line. They had Warner plus Kwon Williams and Sherman as the top corner. 

I like that 49ers D overall better than I do this Eagles D. Of course, the Chiefs offense was healthier and more frightening than this current iteration. I still see it the same way. The Chiefs will struggle but will also find ways to score. It's hard to see anyone holding Mahomes below 20 pts if he's healthy. 

Points: 2

#67 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:21am

It's hard to see anyone holding Mahomes below 20 pts if he's healthy. 

I dunno: Andy seems to be contractually obligated to be overly cute several times a game, and that's really dangerous with a team like Philly that's full of playmakers in the secondary and on the defensive line. 

I think if the Chiefs receivers are healthy and they're able to force Philly to adjust underneath coverage constantly they'll be a serious handful for the Eagles defense, but I think the real key to the game is Philly's offense vs KC's defense. I'm just not sure they're built to handle a team like Philly.

Points: 3

#85 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:39am

".....but I think the real key to the game is Philly's offense vs KC's defense. I'm just not sure they're built to handle a team like Philly"


Especially when they aren't playing in Arrowhead, I suspect.

Points: 2

#115 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:11am

I think the real key to the game is Philly's offense vs KC's defense. I'm just not sure they're built to handle a team like Philly.

Who would be the closest AFC analogue to the style Philly runs? Lamar Jackson's Baltimore, albeit with a less dynamic QB but astronomically better wideouts? It seems like Philly is just unlike most of what's out there right now.

Points: 0

#124 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:23am

Philly is a rich-man's Baltimore. I think Jackson is better than Hurts and the Baltimore ST are much better than Philly, but the Eagles are the ground-pound and elite secondary team Harbaugh is always trying to build.

Which makes sense, as Harbaugh is Reid-tree and and Eagles are basically an aggressive version of a Reid team.

You could also think of them as the 49ers if Lance were both good and healthy.

In short, I think Baltimore, SF, and Philly are really trying to be the same team. Philly had better roster and injury luck.

Points: 4

#163 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 1:08pm

I think the other poster's basically right, but really the problem is that there just isn't an OL like Philly out there. There just isn't. I mean, it's not even particularly close. There are PFF grades out there for linemen and literally the worst you end up saying about Philly's OL is "Seumalo and Mailata have been average." That's literally the worst thing - Lane, Kelce, and Dickerson have been three of the best linemen in the league.

It's the OL. It's the same thing I said in 2017. You're literally watching a historically great offensive line, and at least this time, I'm super thankful that announcers are recognizing it.

If Hurts was healthy, having Goedert, Smith, and Brown would be friggin' lethal, but it's a damn hard offense to stop even without them being used to full potential.

Points: 2

#76 by Will Allen // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:29am

My unhappy strong suspicion is that he's going to be pretty unhealthy by the 2nd half, given the Chiefs receiver situation, which will eventually force Mahomes to extend plays. Much battering ensues. The Chiefs defense is one that obtains great benefit from a home field, but you're right, Hurts doesn't look 100% either. Like I said earlier in the thread, I hope everybody, players and fans alike, has better luck in the last game of the season.

Points: 3

#61 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:19am

Sirianni seems unlikely to hesitate in late-game situations in the way Shanahan does.

I think Philly would have preferred to see Cincinnati -- they are built to stop a QB+2WRs team like Cincinnati, especially one with a suspect line and only an okay defense. Cincinnati's defense is built on misdirection, but I'm not sure that works against Philly, whose offense is built around simply bludgeoning you until you forget to cover a WR, or repeatedly going deep until you forget to overload the box. They aren't trying to outthink you so much as force you into one of two bad decisions. It's not flashy, as exemplified by their f***-you sneak tactic.

KC has Mahomes and Reid, and their fleet of TEs and catchy-RBs and utter absence of reliable WR kind of hits at what the Eagles aren't great at. It's not all roses -- KC is completely unable to power run, and that's a problem against Philly, given it's their primary weakness. It may come down to whether or not KC's pass-only defense can slow Philly's power-run game and big advantage in the trenches. They did against SF, but Hurts isn't Garoppolo. If Philly can bear trap Mahomes like they did against NYG and the 49ers, KC will have a bad day.

Points: 2

#73 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:28am


I think Philly would have preferred to see Cincinnati -- they are built to stop a QB+2WRs team like Cincinnati,

I mostly agree, but only because of the line. If Cincinnati's like would've held up (that's totally a "if I would've had a million dollars" point, of course), Chase and Higgins would've been disasters for Philly's secondary. They can absolutely handle a single high-end WR, but with two, like Cincy has, you're not really going to be able to bracket both with high-end DBs.

Would've been interesting to see that game, though.

whose offense is built around simply bludgeoning you until you forget to cover a WR, or repeatedly going deep until you forget to overload the box. They aren't trying to outthink you so much as force you into one of two bad decisions. 

Totally agree. It's crazy to think that you're looking at San Francisco being like "they did a great job vs Philly" when they literally bled off 4 minutes in the fourth quarter even before that roughing the kicker penalty. That drive was an A+ win for Philly without the touchdown, the TD was just gravy.

Points: 2

#86 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:40am

Remember, Philly has their secondary healthy again. I suspect you'd have seen a game plan similar to the Vikings game, where they would try to bait passes to Chase when the DBs hand him off and undercut the route.

The Eagles have three good DBs and two decent ones. That's like having a flying unicorn. No one has that anymore. Some divisions don't have five good DBs.

Points: 1

#165 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 1:13pm

Yeah, but the issue is that would've left Higgins either one-on-one or having Epps trying to help out, and that's not a win.

The only thing rarer than having a secondary as good as Philly is having an elite QB + two elite WRs, which is why the Bengals scared the bajeezus out of me - if it wasn't for their OL.

I actually think the Bengals front office made a mistake by not trying to upgrade harder at OL. I don't think my brain realized exactly how little they spent on their "new" offensive linemen, because I was just thinking "oh, La'el Collins, he's great, that's a good signing." But c'mon, $7M AAV is a below-average starter at tackle - if that's the best offer he got, the Cowboys were totally right in letting him go.

Points: 1

#57 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:11am

Worst of all, once Kelce got a taste of the hook 'n' lateral 

That's because he's had that taste of it for years! Pretty sure he's gonna get an earful from Andy like "Travis, damnit, stop it!"

For a lifelong Eagles fan (ahem), Eagles-Chiefs is a dream matchup.

I am so glad to hear you say that, Mike, because other Eagles fans were pulling out trash crap saying "hoping for another Andy Reid choke special" and junk like that or "so glad Andy's out of here, we're 2-0 in conference championships since he's gone." Get those guys out of here. Reid's the coach. The players have to play. Looking back on the Eagles in the 2000s they did wonders with the talent they had.

Philly just has significantly better talent now, and Kansas City also has better talent. Both of them have multiple Hall-level players. The "Andy Reid choker" or "time management gaffes" or "run the ball Andy" crap has driven me nuts for years.

I'm rooting for the Eagles, 100%. Totally. Without a doubt. But to me this game is Philly West vs Philly East. I can't get over the fact that as a Philly fan I've gotten literally my absolute 2 dream matchups in a Super Bowl. Revenge for 2004, and now a game where my favorite team plays my favorite coach. It's fantastic. Sorry, everyone else. :)

Points: 4

#65 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:21am

I don't really feel great about rooting against Andy Reid. I like Andy Reid.

Points: 3

#70 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:26am

The Cincinnati game with a gimpy Mahomes was an interesting peek into Old Andy Reid. Peak Mahomes and his creative aggression covers for a rash of Reid sins (and vice-versa).

On the one hand, we saw a return to some of his old flaws -- interesting time and challenge decisions, a streak of conservativism. 

On the other hand, we also saw a return of some of his old strengths -- pulling out effective game plans based on an injured or semi-functional QB in combination with a series of fungible scrap-heap WRs. He did that with the Eagles, too.

I didn't really hate the punt; the go-for-it metrics don't know Butker knew he couldn't make the kick from 55, and didn't know none of the eligible receivers were healthy. Playing for a stop/overtime is risky, but he was stranded in no man's land decision-wise with no good options. It could have gone badly. It turns out it worked.

Points: 1

#83 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:37am

Playing for a stop/overtime is risky, but he was stranded in no man's land decision-wise with no good options.

That's a case where I hate the "go for it" metric crap. Hate, hate, hate. You don't risk everything on a 4th and 8.

A few percent game winning chance is absolutely nothing compared to picking the right play at the right time. You don't have good options on 4th and 8. You convert when the defense screws up.

Football is all about being patient and waiting for an opportunity, and that's why I hate the "go for it" stuff in unfavorable situations. Yeah, sure, teams have converted 4th and 8. They friggin' converted 4th and 26 once. But that's just dumb stupid luck. You don't take those choices unless you have to.

In fact, I'd actually say the punt was probably smarter because the best way to convert that 4th and 8 would've been to line up, see what they were doing/try to draw them offsides, and call a timeout, but in that situation they totally needed the timeout.

Points: 3

#110 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:06am

In fact, I'd actually say the punt was probably smarter because the best way to convert that 4th and 8 would've been to line up, see what they were doing/try to draw them offsides, and call a timeout, but in that situation they totally needed the timeout.

Given the field position, they could have just as easily taken the delay. Cincy may have even declined it.

Points: 0

#112 by Rufus R. Jones // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:09am

Well, you'd be wrong when it comes to the probabilities, just like most people. You have much company.

Points: 0

#116 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 11:14am

The criticism is not about the bulk stats. It's about using bulk stats in defiance of game-specific circumstances. The stats don't know your kicker has said he can't make that distance in this game, that your QB has one leg, or that you have one healthy eligible ball carrier.

Stats don't know whether or not your coin is fair.

Points: 4

#145 by BigRichie // Jan 30, 2023 - 12:13pm

They use garbage data to generate their conversion probabilities.

I've asked at least a half dozen times whether they include low leverage succeses/fails in their data base, and never gotten an answer. So one can only assume that they do.

Like a defense giving up a 4th-and-4 conversion while playing 3-deep with a 20-point lead has one blessed thing to do with how likely that conversion is to take place in a tight game.

Points: 0

#167 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 1:25pm

It's not even that - you could try to filter out that situational data, for instance.

But unless you go and check every single play, you can't filter out other situations where teams went for it because they had more information than the play by play gives. You run a play on 3rd down and the other team's in nickel - you get 7 yards, so it's 4th and 3, but they're still in nickel. So you rush to the line, no substitutions, and get the play off before they can call timeout.

Or, of course (much more appropriately) you notice that the defense crowds the line on a 4th and short call, so you counter by tossing a sweep around the outside. You don't run that play unless the defense handles it a certain way.

No matter what, all NFL plays have a long tail of success that isn't really representative of the game. Same as field goal kicking - FG average success rates at long distances are biased upwards because you don't try kicks you know you can't make.

edit: Bill Barnwell on ESPN made the mind-numbing comment of (basically) "I don't know what the kicker's chance was, but it wasn't 0%." No. You don't know that it wasn't zero. The kicker knows what his range is in those conditions. He kicked during practice. If the ball didn't go that far, the chance is zero. Kickers very rarely have their kicks fall short because they know what distance they can kick to. It's the left/right accuracy that's the issue.

Points: 2

#166 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 1:17pm

Well, you'd be wrong when it comes to the probabilities,

My old statistics teacher (heavy Russian accent):

"You have two chickens. I have zero chickens. Between us, we have one chicken each. Yet I am starving, and you are gaining weight."

If an NFL team was offered the flip of a slightly-weighted coin in their favor at the beginning instead of actually playing the game, how many would take it?

That's what a go-for-it decision late in the game basically is.

Points: 1

#178 by jkevinking52 // Jan 30, 2023 - 2:59pm

One hundred percent yes!!!!

I'll be sad the eagles lost, but some of the sting will be lightened to see Andy Reid winning it. Plus, I love Mahomes, too. We can't lose!

(Plus it would be ironic if some kind of clock mismanagement played a part, maybe of the first half so it doesn't directly affect the outcome without a chance to overcome it.) 

Points: 0

#62 by navin // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:20am

One more thought on the Eagles pass rush. I believe it's disingenuous to say Purdy got hurt because the pass rush got to him. That play was the first time he was hit in the game (and play #6 overall I believe). And he had already made it through a game against a Dallas defense that had a higher pressure rate than the Eagles did this year.

Sure the Eagles might have pressured him relentlessly after that, but it's not like the injury happened after a bunch of hits.


Points: 3

#69 by navin // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:23am

Addendum: the Eagles have nothing to apologize for either. They played and won the games they needed to and were the top team in advanced metrics until the Hurts injury so it's not like they were overly lucky to be in this situation.

Points: 0

#72 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:27am

The Eagles were better at converting pressures into hits/sacks than the Cowboys were.

In short, they rush differently. And that difference was why SF lost two QBs and almost got McCaffery snapped in two on an option pass.

Points: 1

#84 by Pat // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:38am

Yeah, it's just number of pass rushers. The Cowboys have a more dominant rusher (Parsons) but Philly's second, third, fourth, and maybe even fifth options are all more dangerous than the Cowboys equivalent.

I'd bet if they counted multiple pressures, Philly'd be higher.

Points: 1

#97 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 30, 2023 - 10:52am

Which is why it was Reddick (their best rusher) who hit Purdy, but Suh who hit Johnson.

I'm not sure which two hit McCaffery -- it looked like Davis and Graham -- but that basically means four different Eagles decked three different 49ers QBs and six Eagles had a QB hit. They just come at you in waves.

Points: 0

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