Dec 1, 2008
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
- When watching parts of this game on Sunday, I thought they were in shotgun formation more. They actually came out in many one back sets under center with Le’Ron McClain getting the carries.
- One of the more underrated traits about Joe Flacco is that he looks to extend passing plays by moving around in the pocket. He won’t throw the ball away unless he has to. A great example of this was his first quarter 40-plus yard completion to Mark Clayton.
- Later in the quarter, he waited as long as he could then ran for a first down.
- McClain is so hard to bring down. He had many runs getting yards after first contact.
- Great job by Flacco of creating space on his TD throw to Todd Heap. He made a subtle move to create a better throwing lane. Flacco is clearly well ahead of where anyone thought he’d be at this point in his career.
- The one issue with McClain is that he lacks explosiveness on his runs so he actually leaves potential big plays on the field. Ray Rice isn’t really explosive either. McClain also fumbled twice in the game, but they retained possession on both plays.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick had time to throw the ball early in the game, but as time progressed, he started to get hit on many of his throws.
- Even with a four-man rush, Baltimore was able to hit Fitzpatrick when he was in the process of trying to throw the ball.
- Fitzpatrick missed T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a TD late in the first half on a throw to the right corner of the endzone. TJH had a step on Samari Rolle but the ball throw was thrown to far ahead of him.
- Bad drop of Chad Johnson on a third quarter pass over the middle for about 20 yards.
Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers
- The first play of the game was a flea-flicker from Jake Delhomme to Muhsin Muhammad well down field. It was caught but Muhammad wound up fumbling the ball away.
- It was clear that DeAngelo Williams was going to be the focus of their offense in this game. That’s a smart move considering the inaccuracy of Delhomme.
- Williams ran hard and well on their first quarter scoring drive. He also got great blocking up front by his OL.
- Delhomme missed Steve Smith on an early second quarter drive for a TD inside the five-yard line. Smith drew two flags on the play.
- Great block by G Travelle Wharton on Williams’ second TD run in the half. Wharton and RT Jeff Otah played well in this game.
- Green Bay really shut down Smith until the fourth quarter. Tramon Williams looked to be on him for most of the game. Smith drew a bunch of penalties though. Great throw and catch by Delhomme under duress on a fourth quarter thrown down field to Smith which took that play to the one yardline.
- They actually controlled D. Williams in this game. He scored four times but he didn’t break off any real long runs like he’s done against other teams.
- Unbelievable adjustment by Smith with Charles Woodson covering him on a late fourth quarter thrown well down the middle of the field. The ball hung up in the air and Smith shielded off Woodson and made the catch.
- Aaron Rodgers was high on his throws on the first series.
- They worked the middle of the field on many of the first half throws. It appeared CB Richard Marshall was the target.
- Ryan Grant got a lot of carries before he got hurt in the first half. And he was getting consectutive carries. It was clear they thought they could run against Carolina, but the holes were just not there.
- Brandon Jackson had two really nice runs. One in the first half and one early in the second half where he showed a nice change of direction.
- For a guy who’s not supposed to have a great arm or a totally healthy throwing shoulder, Rodgers put it out deep to Donald Driver for a 45-yard completion early in the third quarter. Chris Gamble used inside technique to force Driver to run down the sideline which he did. There was no safety help on the play. Driver dove for the ball and made a great catch. Rodgers then made a poor decision on a throw later on the drive that nearly got picked off.
- Going forward on that drive, Rodgers make a great stick throw on a quick slant to Greg Jennings. He led Jennings to get the ball. A few plays later, Rodgers hit Donald Lee for a TD and a two-point conversion to Greg Jennings. Great drive for Rodgers.
- The chemistry between Jennings and Rodgers is remarkable. You can see it clearly in this game. Their timing is really good and they were totally insync on an early fourth quarter TD throw and on other throws. You’ll recall that was our only issue with Jennings coming into the season was the timing between the two. But the dissipated early on.
- This was a great game for Rodgers, especially considering how good the Panther secondary has been this season.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Reggie Bush started but looked rusty. Surprisingly, he got the carry on a third and one not surprisingly he took the ball to the sidelines for no gain.
- No passes down field in the first quarter for the Saints. Mostly everything was within 10 yards or so.
- It started to rain with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter.
- Drew Brees missed Lance Moore for a 15-yard completion early in the second quarter on a third down play. Brees may have had trouble seeing through the rain, hard to tell. But he threw it over Moore’s head.
- The rain stopped with about 13 minutes in the third quarter which partially explains why they keep throwing. But they also couldn’t run the ball at all. It started to rain again with about 7 minutes left in the half.
- They tried to get it to Devery Henderson for a 31-yard completion over the middle but he couldn’t haul it in.
- Moore looked to be the third option on the play that he caught the touchdown on late in the half. Brees looked left and waited for someone to get open and that was Moore in the middle front of the endzone.
- Deuce McAllister wasn’t in the game until the third quarter. It was obvious he’s not the same player he was earlier in the season so Bush and Pierre Thomas are sharing touches. McAllister wasn’t in on that short-yardage play Bush got earlier in the game.
- Ronde Barber deflected away a what would have been sure TD catch by Jeremy Shockey late in the third quarter which resulted in an INT. Shockey is a shell of the player he once was. He doesn’t move well and he gets next to no RAC yards. He does get open at least.
- It started to rain harder again in the fourth quarter.
- Marques Colston was getting open quite a bit in this game. Brees missed him a few times and it also looked liked their timing was off a bit.
- Players started slipping after it started to rain including Antonio Bryant who was wide open on a pass for about 20 yards in the first quarter. He fell before the ball got there causing an incompletion. Warrick Dunn also slipped on a run.
- Carnell Williams converted a fourth and one play. He may continue to get short-yardage work.
- It started to really rain hard late in the first quarter and into the second quarter.
- Jeff Garcia was playing way too fast and gave up on plays too soon.
- The Saints were loading up the box in this game, daring Garcia to throw. So it became harder to run the ball.
- On a late first half drive, Garcia ran around like a madman and then threw the ball off balance inside the 10-yardline and missed a wide open Michael Clayton.
- Dunn looked to breakoff a big run in the beginning of the second half but he slipped again.
- Antonio Bryant had a lucky catch off of a deflection on that same drive.
- Bryant scored on their next drive. Garcia threw the ball behind him a bit but he was wide open and he adjusted and caught the pass.
- This was one of the worst games I’ve seen Garcia play. He restricts play development because he moves too much.
NY Giants at Washington Redskins
- Domenik Hixon has tremendous athletic ability. While he needs to get stronger physically, he constantly flashes his talent–especially on their first drive of the game. I’ll be interested to see if they give a chance to start next season if Plaxico Burress is cut.
- Great pass by Eli Manning down field to Amani Toomer for the TD. Fred Smoot lost Toomer for just a split second and that allowed him to get a little separation.
- Nice call on a slot screen to Derrick Ward for a big play. It’s amazing a guy who weighs 230 pounds can make big plays from time to time like this.
- Ward caught another pass lined up out wide. We’ve seen this from him time to time this season. He was their hurry up back in this game.
- This was a grind-it-out type of game for Brandon Jacobs. The Redskins didn’t give him any big holes to run through.
- Manning just missed Hixon for a fourth quarter TD catch. Hixon beat Carlos Rogers in one on one coverage but Manning threw it too far.
- Ward lost a 40-yard plus run late in the game due to a holding penalty.
- Clinton Portis just couldn’t find any running room in the first half. The holes just weren’t there.
- When Jason Campbell was getting time to throw, the WRs were coming up short of the first down marker or they weren’t getting open consistently.
- There was a light rain throughout most of this game so players were slipping every now and then and balls were coming out of the QB’s hands off the mark from time to time.
- Campbell still holds on to the ball too long and he takes unneccesary hits every now and then. By holding on to the ball too long, he’s late on certain throws. This makes it easier for the defenders to deflect the ball or to catch up to the receiver.
Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns
- Joseph Addai fumbled the first offensive play of the game which resulted in a turnover.
- He still got a lot of touches on their first quarter drives.
- Anthony Gonzalez was on the field a lot again in the first quarter although I didn’t see one pass come his way.
- Reggie Wayne dropped a sure TD pass late in the first quarter. At the last second, CB Brandon McDonald knocked it out of his hands.
- Peyton Manning got time to throw the ball but WRs were being covered fairly well in this game.
- It looked like the Browns were playing more 4-3 fronts than usual. OLB Kamerion Wimbley played with his hand down quite a bit.
- Addai came out of the game for most of the fourth quarter. We’ve seen this rotation with Dominic Rhodes from time to time. It seems that when they want more speed from the position, they go with Rhodes.
- They didn’t attempt a pass on their first drive where they moved it well on the ground to set up a field goal.
- Jamal Lewis got lots of work in the first half and ran well again.
- Derek Anderson didn’t attempt a pass it seems for more than ten yards until mid way through the second quarter.
- Anderson missed Steve Heiden open at about the two yardline and he might have scored late in the half. Instead, he decided not to pass it ran it.
- Anderson missed a wide open Josh Cribbs for a likely TD catch down the right side. Anderson wound up throwing it too far right and out of bounds.
- They couldn’t get anything going in the passing game which is why they ran it as much as they did in the first three quarters.
San Francisco 49ers at Buffalo Bills
- The first 6 plays were all runs I believe and even with an extra defender in the box. When is the last time you that from a Mike Martz offense?
- When they passed the ball, they got time to get it out of Sean Hill’s hands.
- Frank Gore really couldn’t find much running room in this game. The problem is teams know Hill can’t throw the ball so they are loading up the box and daring them to throw.
- Hill is basically a #3 QB, he’s not even a good #2. I can see why he held the #3 QB job for this team until they had to play him.
- Vernon Davis clearly pushed off on his TD catch which got called back. It’s funny, they send him out to catch 1-2 times down field each game. It’s the same play basically. They have him run down field and they’re hoping he beats the defender. He has no game and it’s pretty evident.
- Trent Edwards seems very comfortable in the shotgun when they run it. He does a good job of scanning the field.
- Fred Jackson had a long run (40 yards?) down the right side line called back by a penalty.
- While Marshawn Lynch ran more decisively in this game, he still wastes too many steps by going right and left instead of just picking one way to go. He misses open holes way too many times.
- Lynch started to get it going in the second half and was able to break off a few really good runs. He did a nice job of making defenders miss on his long third quarter run. He ran straight through the hole without getting touched then made would-be tacklers miss on his way up field.
- Went Trent Edwards got hurt on the last play of the half, that really ended any chance of them being able to get a rhythm in the passing game. J.P. Losman has poor field vision and doesn’t know where he’d going with the ball.
Miami Dolphins at St. Louis Rams
- They were rotating all three backs in the first quarter. Patrick Cobbs got carries as the upback.
- Not only is Ted Ginn their deep threat, but he’s clearly the top target in the passing game with Greg Camarillo out. I don’t look at stats when I watch games, but it sure looked like Ginn was targeted quite a bit in the first half.
- I’d say Davone Bess is their second passing option. He has really quick feet and runs well after the catch. He made a great over the head catch late in the first half and did a nice job of making sure he got his feet in bounds. He just missed a TD catch later on the drive as he had a step on Will Witherspoon but the pass was just a tad high. Or you can even say he mis-timed his jump.
- They really kept rotating all three backs as the game progressed.
- Nice play to Bess to the right side line for a big gain. He beat coverage easily. There seemed to be a mis-communication in the secondary.
- They ran three “wildcat” formations that I noticed in the first three quarters. None of them really worked well. Two were off of bad snaps.
- Chad Pennington’s weak arm clearly showed in the second half. Ginn had a half step on the DB for a TD and Pennington threw the ball off the mark and without accuracy and power.
- Steven Jackson ran hard in the first quarter and he really looked fresh. Being out for so long obviously has helped him.
- Marc Bulger, after a poor first drive, started to find a rhythm as the first quarter progressed.
- They tried to get Donnie Avery deep but he was well covered. He did draw a PI penalty.
- Bulger then started to struggle with his accuracy again as the next quarter developed.
- They got Antonio Pittman on the field more as the game progressed so Jackson wouldn’t wear down.
- Bulger threw two bad fourth quarter INTs right to the defender. Those were unforced errors.
- Jackson didn’t get much playing time in the fourth quarter. Pittman seemed to see more snaps and Ken Darby also saw time on third downs.
Atlanta Falcons at San Diego Chargers
- Nice first drive by the Falcons. Very methodical a nice use of run-pass ratio. Matt Ryan missed a wide open Michael Jenkins for a easy TD. Jenkins broke free with no one 5 yards close to him in the end zone and he just missed him and overthrew the ball. Inexusable. You have to see it to understand what I’m talking about here on this play.
- Tough first quarter for Michael Turner. Because he lacks lateral quickness, he needs big holes to run through. But what he does well with is getting yards after first contact.
- Great catch by Roddy White on a deep pass down the right sidelines. He beat coverage late in the throw but the ball hung up too long and was to the right of him. He dove for it and caught it on his way to the ground. These type of throws Ryan will struggle with because he doesn’t have a strong arm. He has an intermediate throwing arm. Those throws he excels at.
- On the next play, Ryan threw a strike over the middle threading it through coverage. White dropped it, but it would have been a TD catch. I think the shadows might have thrown off his depth perception. Ryan made a big-time throw here.
- Another nice throw for Ryan on his second TD, early in the second quarter. He threw it over the middle to TE Justin Peelle. He threw it high where only Peelle could grab it over the defenders.
- Turner started to find some success in the second quarter. He started dragging defenders on a few runs.
- Atlanta really needs a go-to TE. They really could have used one on their late second quarter drive where they stalled after four straight running plays from the one yardline. They should have at least used playaction passing on one play.
- Ryan actually was able to throw the ball 50 yards down field to White. But again, the shadows made it hard for him to see the ball coming. He dropped the pass, but drew a PI penalty.
- Smartly, Turner was asked to run the ball more outside of the tackles instead of inside where Jamal Williams lurks. Turner started to find more success.
- Ryan does a nice job with pocket movement and he finds ways to get the ball out of his hands and into the intended receivers’ hands. He has a good sense of where to move to.
- Turner had a real nice run around right end. He found open space near the sideline and just barely went out of bounds or he would have scored. On the next play, Ryan hit a wide open Harry Douglas for the easy score. Man the SD secondary is bad. No pass rush either.
- One of the biggest reasons why LaDainian Tomlinson isn’t doing as well as expected, yet no one is talking much about it, is the loss of FB Lorenzo Neal. Rookie FBs Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester aren’t nearly as good as blockers. I would also say their OL isn’t nearly as physical as in year’s past.
- Tomlinson didn’t look explosive at all on a first quarter screen pass. He had the easy first down but he ran out of bounds instead of trying to cut it up field. Very surprised at that.
- In the first quarter, Hester, who was filling in for Tolbert, was not in the backfield much. They used him to go out for passes. So Tomlinson was alone in the backfield.
- Philip Rivers seemed to be moving away from pressure that wasn’t there. It’s never a good sign when a QB perceives pressure that’s not there. Wasted movement for no reason leads to bad decisions and bad mechanics.
- The WRs were non-factors in the first half. SD tried to run the ball a ton and didn’t find much success.
- Noticed that the TEs/WRs didn’t have a catch for almost two quarters. I know that SD didn’t have the ball much because ATL possessed it quite a bit.
- Rivers wasn’t driving his back foot into the ball and that caused his passes to go off mark in this game. No better illustration than on an early fourth quarter throw. The ball to Chris Chambers was easily batted away.
Denver Broncos at NY Jets
- Was surprised at the holes the Bronco OL was able to open up against the NYJ front seven. Peyton Hillis was able to find open spaces.
- The rain kind of forced a shorter passing game early on.
- Great throw by Jay Cutler and nice catch by Eddie Royal on their first quarter TD. Cutler threw it to the sideline and defender missed the ball and it went right to Royal and he was able to grab it and run after the catch for several yards.
- Again, Hillis was able to find room to run inside where Kris Jenkins roams. They were able to move Jenkins off the ball surprisingly.
- Brandon Marshall had a throw to him in the endzone which he dropped with two defenders draped on him.
- The one really good trait with Hillis is that he follows his blocks well and will find the hole. No dancing or wasted motion here.
- All of the passing options were on display in the first half. Royal, Marshall, Tony Scheffler, Brandon Stokley, and even Chad Jackson were involved in their second quarter drives. You can see why we’re so high on Jay Cutler this year. Even though this was a tough matchup, Cutler was able to spread the ball around.
- Because the rain was moderate the entire half, it made it hard to throw down field so Cutler took the shorter route on his throws. It worked. He completed a lot of passes within 20 yards.
- Hillis had a TD run called back in the third quarter on a holding call.
- C Casey Wiegmann was great in this game and he got the better of Jenkins. Wiegmann was called for that penalty that took away Hillis’ TD.
- Two dropped passes on their first drive. Neither were easy to catch though.
- Great block by G Brandon Moore on Thomas Jones’ long TD run. All Jones had to do is make one sharp cut through the hole and he ran to daylight.
- Brett Favre wasn’t very accurate in the first quarter. He missed Leon Washington on a possible big play on a screen. He had blockers out in front and the Denver defenders were down field.
- Favre looked much better on an early second quarter drive with accurate, short tight throws.
- Thomas Jones’ second TD was a fluke. He was tackled but never hit the ground. He fell on a defender but got right up because he didn’t hit the ground and he just ran down field and scored.
- The one deep throw Favre made in the first half was easily picked off.
- Favre missed Dustin Keller on a slant over the middle down field for 25 yards or more. Keller beat coverage and was in stride. Could have been a big play but Favre overthrew him.
- It was the Leon Washington show on a third quarter drive. Four straight plays. A long screen and run and then two flair passes and then one running play. He does a great job of setting up his blocks. They still can’t get him enough touches especially early in the game.
- Keller is easily their over the middle passing target. They continually look to get him the ball 15-20 yards down field as much as possible.
Steelers- Nice run by Willie Parker on his first carry. He was able to make a sharp cut and he hit the hole that was created.
- It started to rain quite hard in the first quarter.
- Bad drop by Santonio Holmes on their second drive. Would have been close to a 20-yard completion.
- Nice run by Mewelde Moore in the second quarter where he ran to the left sideline and broke about four tackles for a first down. It should have been a no gain on the play.
- Moore is having to play more than usual because Parker’s injuries won’t allow him to play his usual minutes.
- Great pump fake by Ben R on their second quarter score to Holmes. CB Deltha O’Neal was totally faked out on the play.
- Several nice runs by Moore on their first third quarter drive. Moore started the half for Parker who missed half of the second quarter. So he missed almost 12 minutes. It will be interesting to see how they use both backs going forward.
- Great throw for a score to Hines Ward late in the quarter for a TD. Ben R put it between two defenders for the score.
- Both Moore and Parker rotated just about the rest of the quarter.
- Bad drop by Nate Washington for what would have been an early fourth quarter TD. He took his eyes off of the ball. That right there is why Washington isn’t a starter. Very talented player but has inconsistent hands.
- Parker had almost all the carries in the fourth quarter and ran well. However, on a 30-yard run, he didn’t look explosive. He might have been able to make it a score had he had more explosion.
- Matt Cassel missed Ben Watson for a possible TD on their first drive. Watson was headed to the left corner of the endzone but Cassel overthrew him.
- Bad drop by Randy Moss on what would have been a 35-yard completion late in the quarter. Moss was wide open, but just dropped it.
- There were at least three drops in the first half that could have resulted in big plays.
- With the offense running out of a spread formation the last two games, Kevin Faulk has clearly become a bigger factor. He had a great run late in the half where he made a few unblocked defenders miss.
- Sammy Morris also is getting on the field and both he and Faulk are clearly splitting playing time. Each is valuable in their scheme.
- Moss dropped another pass late in the half. Cassel hit him in the back of the middle of the endzone and he bobbled it. It would have been for a TD.
- Too many drops in this game (at least six). Ben Watson dropped one in the fourth quarter which resulted in an INT (not an easy catch though). Jabar Gaffney dropped a 30-yard pass in the quarter where he was uncoverered.
- While Cassel didn’t play well and his pocket awareness wasn’t good, I wouldn’t put this game on him. He was at least average. His receivers/tight ends let him down. LT Matt Light also struggled all day with protection (James Harrison gave him a hard time).