Monday, November 16, 2009

Week 10 Postmortem

Man alive, what a disastrous weekend.

For the record, I agreed with Belichick’s decision. You want to keep the ball out of Manning’s hands, especially with more than 2 minutes left in a six point game. Let’s face it, if Faulk didn’t bobble the pass everyone would be talking about what a fucking gutsy, genius he is instead of questioning the call.

You don’t win games like that by being timid.

Alas, it didn’t work out.

I, do, however have an issue with a trend that has become more and more common this season: Passing in short yardage situations.

It’s happening so often now nobody even questions it. The Colts, Patriots (although less so this year) and especially the Eagles get in shotgun formations when they have to gain 2-3 yards. Really? You can’t run the ball for 2 yards?

Last night on 4th and 2, the Patriots…well…you know what play they called. But why call a pass? Maroney has been running well and all they needed was two fucking yards. Why chance an interception that close to your one goal line? If anything wouldn't you want to run to keep the clock running? Obviously it doesn’t matter as much on a fourth down play, but when did passing become the new running?

The Colts pulled the same thing on their winning touchdown but that made sense for a couple of reasons. One, they had no time outs left. So if they ran it, got stuffed, then the clock would keep ticking away. Second, their best player is obviously Peyton Manning and you want your best player deciding the game for you. Certainly not Addai, who’s been sporadic at best or a rookie (Donald Brown).

Still, these numbers have to be concerning to any Colts fan: On the year (so far), Indy has attempted 357 passes to only 201 rushing attempts. This doesn’t include plays that may have been pass attempts but ended in sacks. I can at least understand this as Peyton Manning is in charge of that offense. However, has a pass first offense ever won a Super Bowl? Even the 17-0 pass happy Patriot’s team came up short to a run first Giants team.

Since I’m slow on Monday mornings, can anyone tell me if a team that passed much more often than they ran ever won a Super Bowl? The Kurt Warner led Rams, maybe? I’ll bet they were nearly half and half, though. I’ll look that up later.

If you’re wondering, the Patriots have passed 366 times and rushed 249. Again, Brady is the man, so you can sort of understand this trend. The Eagles have passed 322 times and rushed for 204. Westbrook’s injury may have to do with that, but Reid and McNabb have been pass first for years now. Now, check out the Saints, who you would think would top this list: 291 pass attempts to 288 rush attempts. Shockingly, the Saints have become a balanced team.

I’m going to go out on a limb and pronounce that none of these pass first teams will win the Super Bowl. You need to run the ball in order to win; especially in the playoffs. Those that can’t always stagger around after another ‘shocking’ playoff loss to a team that knows how to disrupt a passing game.

Sadly, the Patriots game wasn’t even my lowest moment. Let me give you some numbers: 1.5, 1.3, 5.2, and 6.

What are those numbers? Why those are my starting wide receiver and running back numbers for my so called fantasy team. Respectively: Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Marion Barber, Kevin Smith. Watching the Green Bay – Dallas game was especially frustrating as Barber busted off a 13 yard run during their opening drive. Want to guess how many carries he had after that?

Guess. I dare you. His first run netted 13 yards. After that he was handed the ball four more times. That’s 4. What the fuck is that? Does it surprise anyone that Dallas was nearly shut out? Who is in charge of that play calling?

Let’s get to some of the games. My addiction to Red Zone reached new lows (heights?) yesterday. Not only did I blow off the gym because the one o’clock games were starting, but I also held off falling asleep on the couch because I didn’t want to miss anything. Yup, dissed nap time in favor of football time.

I think I made the right choice.

- You think Bear fans are looking back fondly on the Rex Grossman Era? At least you have Derrick Rose to appreciate for the next few years.

- I alluded to this last week, but after watching the Titans completely dismantle the Bills (I know, it’s the Bills) I’ll reiterate it today: Vince Young looks GOOD! I’m sure it helps having Chris Johnson on your team, but Young has never looked comfortable and confident until the last three games. Something is different about him and the results are there to prove it.

- Which begs the question: Why did Fisher wait so long to make the change?

- Speaking of change, when will the Bills make Fred Jackson the starter again. He looks so much more effective during games. Yesterday he had 8 carries to Lynch’s 9. Trend or aberration?

- Chad Henne was guilty of the single stupidest, most confusing, mind boggling play of the year. I really don’t think this will be topped. Allow me to set the stage: Miami up 6 with a shade over 2 minutes to play; third down and about 6; Henne drops back to pass only everyone is covered. He looks to the right sideline for his outlet option, finds him covered, too. So Henne simply throws it to the Tampa Bay defender. If you can find this highlight, you have to watch it. It simply defies comprehension. He threw it right to the other team!! It wasn’t even close. He was looking right at him!! It was so blatant that I wondered if Henne had money riding on the Bucs. I still can’t get over it.

- Great move by Maurice Jones-Drew, although I really wish he hadn’t apologized to his fantasy owners (although a player acknowledging that in the post game press conference was a bit surreal). Winning the game is the only objective and his dropping down on the half yard line rather than running in for the uncontested touchdown (the Jets were trying to get the ball back quickly) was a genius move.

- Quote from the Cincinnati Bengals: ‘Any questions?’

- Now that Denver has lost 3 in a row after winning their first 6, should we not have blamed Mike Shanahan? And now that Cutler is with the Bears and there are a bunch of new players, maybe it’s time to investigate the air in Denver. Maybe there is something that makes the team start strong only to fall to the side after week 8. If not the air, then how about the water?

- While we’re here, the Chargers are now 6-3, as well. Chargers and Broncos meet this Sunday. Boo Yeah!

- Another team that is coming around: The Carolina Panthers. Too bad The Interception Kid is still running the show. There is no way this ends well.

- In a huge upset, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders. Of course, by upset, I mean the stomach of everyone who watched this game.

Holy Shit Stat of the Week: Chris Johnson accounted for 61% of his team’s total yards. This wouldn’t be that impressive if the Titans hadn’t run up 41 points and 378 yards of offense.

Random Monday Night Prediction: After witnessing the Ravens making the Browns’ combo quarterback, Brady Anderson, cry; ESPN becomes so frustrated with such a lousy matchup the announcers switch over to the second half of last night’s Pats – Colts game.

Today’s distraction: Some very specific signs. I need to know the story behind the toilet beer sign. Something tells me I would want to work with that dude.


Clayton Bigsby said...

Going for it was definitely the right call. Manning already had two 65+ yards drives that only took around 2 minutes. You don't let their best player beat you. Why didn't the Pats take away Wayne? Wayne is more dangerous than Clark. I still think the Pats are better, but Manning just has "it" this season. Whatever "it" is. Even after his game winning TD he acted as if he knew it was going to happen all along.

thepowerof10 said...

Jeff Fisher waited this long because he was probably clinging to last year. Collins led almost the same roster to a 13-3 record, so he probably thought it was just a wave he needed to ride out. Plus, (in hindsight) it's not like Vince was a sure thing. He's been anything but consistent his career. I can understand waiting, but I think he waited two weeks too long.