Thursday, January 5, 2012

8 comments TMQ: Gregg Uses Them Statistics Thingies to Prove Passing the Ball a lot May or May Not Be Effective in the Playoffs

After last week's "unwanted" player debacle, Gregg has taken to identifying how the Packers and Patriots are last and second to last in defense, yet both made the playoffs. I thought at first that Gregg would use this information as further proof the 3-4 defense is just a fad (it is so interesting how Gregg wrote a TMQ last year about the 3-4 defense in TMQ and called it a fad, yet he has not mentioned this "fad" since that time. It's almost like Gregg is wrong, but can't accept this), but I am wrong. Gregg doesn't really use this information as proof of anything except that offense is fun to watch and that it is very interesting both teams have statistically bad defenses and played so well this year. The fact the Patriots and Packers had statistically the worst defenses in the NFL doesn't mean a hell of a lot if you know they also had statistically one of the best offenses in the NFL. The great offense and bad defense could help explain both team's overall records in one of two ways:

1. The Packers and Patriots could score a lot of points so they won games by outscoring the other team.

2. The Packers' and Patriots' opponents often had to throw the ball a lot in order to attempt to come from behind in a game.

(On a side note, I may have had a record year for my 2011 NFL predictions. I still sucked, but not quite as bad as I have in the past. I got seven of the teams right and my Super Bowl prediction is still intact, as are my AFC/NFC Championship matchups.)

According to ESPN Stats & Information,

Oh sure, NOW Gregg starts looking for factual information instead of just making things up as he writes TMQ. When Gregg wants to be right, he busts out with statistics and research. When Gregg wants to speculate, he just pretends he found statistics or research that back his claims up.

twice before (the '91 and '93 Bills) the league's second-worst defensive team won a conference's first seed. Only four other times has the league's second-worst defensive team reached the playoffs, all as wild cards. Never before has the league's worst defense been invited to the postseason party.

I am sure this means something very know, unless it doesn't, but it probably does. All this tells me is teams that don't play very good defense generally don't make the playoffs. I wonder why the Packers have made the playoffs then? Other than the obvious reason being they have five tight ends on the active roster. It could be because they have a very, very good offense and a quarterback that will probably win the MVP.

In a year of stat-a-rama, this seems the big development. Drew Brees setting the all-time passing yards record for a season is important, but he averaged 16 more passing yards per game than Dan Marino did in 1984. That's not hugely different. The two lowest-ranked defensive teams finishing first in the NFC and AFC: That is hugely different.

Wow, great comparison of two different records that were broken using two different sets of data in order to give us no perspective about what you are saying. I don't even know why or how Gregg expects to compare 256 yards over a season to two teams finishing first in the NFC/AFC with the two lowest-ranked defenses. I think my mind is blown.

"When Xavier Graham broke the record time for running a mile, he broke it by three seconds. That's not hugely different from the previous record. There were 10 space shuttle launches during the 2000's and 62 space shuttle launches during the 1990's. That's hugely different."

The defending champion Packers just allowed one player, Calvin Johnson, to gain 244 yards against them. And it didn't matter -- Green Bay won.

It's almost like Green Bay has their own very potent offense that can score points. Did you know Michael Jordan scored 63 points in an NBA playoff game and his team still lost that game? It's almost like in sports more than one player has to perform well in a game for that team to win (yes, I know Matthew Stafford threw for 500+ yards against the Packers, but hopefully you get my overall point).

The Patriots just allowed a losing team, Buffalo, to gain 402 yards against them, and it didn't matter --New England won.

I wonder how many times Gregg can re-state the exact same concept in order to kill space?

"Both the #1 seeds in the AFC and NFC gave up 400 yards of total offense on Sunday and both still won their games."

"New England and Green Bay both played teams with seven letters in their city name AND gave up over 400 yards...verily, both teams still won their games."

What jumps out about the Packers and Patriots is their yards per pass attempt. Green Bay gains 9.3 yards per attempt, the NFL's best, while New England gains 8.6 yards per attempt, second-best. The most efficient rushing team this season, Carolina, gained 5.4 yards per attempt, and finished with a losing record.

How can this be explained, assuming we ignore the possibility that you can't dissect the reason for a team's record based entirely on yards per attempt? More importantly, what is Gregg trying to prove? Is he trying to say teams that throw the ball effectively will make the playoffs, while teams that run the ball effectively will not make the playoffs? There are good running teams currently in the NFL playoffs, so I think that hypothesis goes out the window. The idea a team's record can't magically be explained through only the use of statistics like yards per attempt for the best running team compared yards per attempt for the best passing team seems to be an idea that eludes Gregg. There's more that decides which teams makes the playoffs and which ones don't.

What if Gregg was honest and revealed more information to the audience that would ruin his hypothesis? What if Gregg told his audience Carolina averaged 7.8 yards per pass attempt, good for 10th in the NFL? What would that tell you? Carolina ran the ball effectively AND passed the ball effectively, yet they had a losing record due to a bad defense...but New England and Green Bay had a statistically worse defense and they had the best record in the AFC/NFC, so what does that tell you? Perhaps it would tell you that only looking at yards per pass/run attempt and a team's defensive ranking isn't the best way to evaluate what that team's record should be.

The second-most efficient rushing team, Minnesota, with 5.2 yards per attempt, finished 3-13. Gaining the most yards per try with passing plays is the winning football formula of the moment.

(Mocking Gregg's fuzzy math) Christian Ponder averaged 6.4 yards per pass attempt. That's only 1.2 yards more per pass attempt compared to the Vikings run attempts. If you know Ponder threw the ball 26 times per game on average, then that is only 31.2 less yards the Vikings would have gained per game by running the ball 26 times instead of passing the ball 26 times. 31.2 yards. That's not much at all. Perhaps that's why offenses want to be balanced, so if a team has a mediocre passing game it still allows for the running game to succeed? Nah, probably not. I can screw up math and prove some vague conclusion too!

Passing plays have always averaged more yardage per attempt than rushes.

"All of my previous math showing teams are better off this year throwing the ball over running it means absolutely nothing. This has been true since the invention of football. Everything I just showed you about how passing the ball is more advantageous now has always been true. Look at my ability to kill time AND space on a weekly basis. Let me tell you about this science-fiction television show that lacks realism!"

I can't help but wonder at what point will Gregg admit Dan Marino's single-season passing yard record got broken by two quarterbacks and he was wrong in saying the record would never be broken?

Spoiler alert: Gregg never admits he was wrong.

Are Green Bay and New England of 2011 flukes? Both pass the ball with such efficiency that it doesn't seem to matter how many yards their defenses allow. Both often jump to big leads and don't care if their defenses give up yardage late. In the 2010 season, the Chargers finished first on defense and failed to make the playoffs -- take that, purists!

The Chargers were also first in offense. If only the Chargers inability to make the postseason could explained by something else, like terrible special teams...

The same is happening at the top of college football. Yesterday in the Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma State allowed Stanford 590 offensive yards, all but a few in regulation, while in the Rose Bowl, Oregon allowed Wisconsin 508 yards of offense. A generation ago -- a few years ago! -- such numbers would have been considered shocking defensive breakdowns, surely leading to decisive defeats.

No worries, these are still shocking defensive breakdowns. If Wisconsin or Stanford could have stopped the Oklahoma State and Oregon offenses from scoring points, both games would have been blowouts. But yet, neither games were blowouts because both Oklahoma State and Oregon have a great offense.

Kansas City showed that the Packers' defense has trouble with the run when Green Bay is playing from behind and the opponent is trying to control the clock.

Meanwhile, the other 15 games showed the Packers rarely have to play from behind, so this strategy of getting ahead and controlling the clock may not end up mattering at all. There's that too.

New England lost consecutive, relatively low-scoring games to the Steelers and Giants when opponents played the tough-guy style, jamming Patriots receivers at the line to throw off timing routes.

I understand (sort of) what Gregg is saying, but these were both relatively low scoring games. This means the Patriots 31st ranked defense didn't give up many points just like they didn't score man points. So the Patriots defense showed an ability to stop the opposing team. So I could understand Gregg's point if the Patriots defense gave up a lot of points in these two games, but they didn't. The Patriots lost these two games, but the key to beating the Patriots isn't necessarily to limit their offense to less than 20 points. The Patriots beat Miami and Dallas in relatively low scoring games, so the Patriots were 2-2 in games where they scored less than 20 points. My point, and I do have one, is though the Giants/Steelers played tough defense against the Patriots this necessarily isn't a formula that will guarantee victory against the Patriots.

The top four defenses -- Pittsburgh, Houston, Baltimore and San Francisco -- all made the postseason. We'll soon find out if defense still wins championships.

Again, I have to ask what the point of this exercise is? Gregg has essentially shown a team can have a bad defense (in terms of yardage given up) and still excel if the offense is very good. San Francisco has shown a team doesn't necessarily need a great offense (in terms of yards gained) if that team has a great defense. I don't know, maybe only to me this all seems fairly obvious, and the fact New Orleans has a high scoring offense and are 24th in total defense (in terms of yards) shows teams with great offenses often give up a lot of yardage due to being ahead by so many points. Just like teams with below average offenses can succeed with a quality defense.

In other football news, it is official that the Colts want Andrew Luck -- or maybe Robert Griffin. Trailing 10-3 in the third quarter, the 2-13 Colts faced fourth-and-goal on the Jacksonville 2. Jim Caldwell sent in the field goal unit, to ensure the Colts would finish 2-14

Because it only makes sense for Jim Caldwell to do as little as possible to try and save his job. I'm sure complete disregard for keeping his job and ensuring the next Colts head coach gets the #1 overall pick was in the forefront of Caldwell's mind. I like how Gregg constantly says in TMQ that head coaches do whatever it takes to make themselves look good and then unknowingly contradicts his own principle by believing a head coach on the hot seat would intentionally lose a game and potentially ensure his firing. It just doesn't make sense to believe Caldwell tried to lose this game. How does Gregg Easterbrook believe Caldwell would intentionally want to keep the #1 overall pick if he also believes head coaches do whatever it takes to keep themselves looking good and employed?

Instead Pro Bowl voting closes after 88 percent of the season, leading to TMQ's contention that the gentlemen going to Hawaii should be called the 88 Percent All-Pros.

Just like the Unwanted All-Stars should be called the "88% Unwanted All-Stars?"

I did my All-Unwanted All-Pros this season after 14 games in keeping with the Pro Bowl metric, and though I had Cruz on the first team, Doug Baldwin was my Unwanted Player of the Year. Had I waited till the season ended, Cruz would have been the man.

Nevermind Cruz had more yards, receptions, and touchdowns than Baldwin did after 14 games. So really, Cruz should have been the Unwanted Player of the Year regardless. That doesn't matter at all, it was those last two games that really set Cruz apart for Gregg. The rest of the season when Cruz was a better receiver than Baldwin wasn't so impressive enough for Gregg to award him the Unwanted Player of the Year. But boy, those last two games were great and utterly more convincing than the previous 14 games!

The opening-round pairing of 12-4 Pittsburgh at 8-8 Denver is more evidence of TMQ's longstanding contention that the NFL playoffs should be a seeded tournament, like the NCAA basketball tournaments.

Some evidence this is a bad idea is the 7-9 Seahawks victory over the 11-5 New Orleans Saints. Regardless of what you think about a seeded tournament, the fact a 7-9 team beat a 11-5 team just last year has to be admitted into evidence when debating this topic. It shows an 8-8 Denver team could very well beat the 12-4 Pittsburgh team. I can get on-board with the Steelers getting a home game instead of having to play on the road in this game and I wouldn't probably care one way or another on a seeded NFL playoff.

If the postseason were seeded, the Steelers would be hosting the Broncos. Pittsburgh won four more games than Denver did -- shouldn't the Steelers host?

Okay, well I do sort of agree with that. It just works out this year the pairings would be the same if there was a seeded tournament. I don't believe this would always be the case.

On the winning play, tall tight end Jermichael Finley split wide. The trendy action to tall tight ends split wide at the goal line is the "bang" slant -- tight end steps across the line and looks in, ball arrives fast and hot. Green Bay ran a bang slant. Defensive back Amari Spievey, 5-11, didn't jam Finley or even try to cover him --

Another trend is to take a tight end, say a 6-foot-5-inch tight end like Jermichael Finley, and throw a fade to him over a smaller cornerback, like maybe a 5-11 cornerback. So jamming Finley caused have caused Finley to catch a fade or result in a pass interference call on Spievey, while not jamming Finley left Spievey open to a quick slant. That's why call this matchup on the goal line a "mismatch." It's almost like the Packers planned this.

As for the Packers, winners of 21 of their last 22 -- um, that's adequate. But Green Bay rushed for just 81 yards at home in snow. In the NFL of the moment, obviously passing is more important than rushing.

Four of the top 10 teams in rushing yards per game made the playoffs. 3 of the bottom 10 teams in rushing made the playoffs.

Six of the top 10 teams in passing yards per game made the playoffs. Two of the bottom 10 teams in passing yards made the playoffs.

I don't know if passing is more important than rushing, but I think there is proof a team can run the ball well or pass the ball well and make the playoffs. I guess we'll see in the playoffs if a passing or running team goes further.

But the Packers' allergy to the running game is, just like this time last season, a worry going into the playoffs.

And last year the Packers found a running game in the playoffs. I would worry more about the Giants and Lions since they had fewer running yards during the 2011 season than the Packers did.

Now it's the real game, scoreless, Giants facing third-and-9 on their 5. Ryan sends a corner blitz -- since the typical NFL play gains about five yards, straight defense is likely to result in a stop --

Not exactly. The typical NFL play includes all running plays and this was a passing situation. So the typical NFL gain on 3rd-and-9 or the typical gain in obvious passing situations would be the correct way to determine if a stop is "likely" or not.

Both plays look eerily similar -- short pass intended for a first down, careless missed tackles, safeties way out of position.

And naturally these missed tackles would never have occurred if the Cowboys weren't blitzing. Never.

Jersey/A receiver Hakeem Nick threw a seal block; then safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who just signed a megabucks contract extension, celebrated by not reacting till Cruz was halfway down the field.

Sensabaugh signed a 5 year $22.5 million extension with an unspecified amount being guaranteed. I don't know if I would call that a "megabucks contract extension."

Again Ryan sends a big blitz -- his defensive calls are about drawing attention to himself, not about winning. Abram Elam misses a tackle in the backfield, Nicks pastes Newsman and Ahmad Bradshaw walks into the end zone.

Again, Gregg wants us to believe this missed tackle would have never happened if the Giants didn't blitz. I didn't see this play, Elam may have not even been in the backfield to miss the tackle if it weren't for the big blitz.

On the play before the punt, Tony Romo threw a short checkdown pass, even though it was third-and-13.

Why didn't Romo throw a risky pass that could result in an interception rather than go for a checkdown in the hopes the receiver could make a first down? Everyone knows it is better to throw a risky pass rather than rely on your receiver to gain a first down off a short pass. Turnovers are good, you know.

The Falcons head to New Jersey to open the playoffs; under Mike Smith, they are 43-12 in the regular season and 0-2 in the postseason. TMQ continues to think Atlanta has become so obsessed with its no-huddle offense -- everything called at the line, with multiple checks before the snap -- that the Falcons are losing track of the fundamentals.

I am sure that is exactly what is happening. The Falcons are in a no-huddle and losing track of their fundamentals. Plus, the Falcons have that selfish asshole Julio Jones on the roster. He's such a selfish dick who convinces the Falcons offense coordinator to throw him the ball at the expense of the Falcons running game.

This even happens to talking bears and cartoon characters! In "The Golden Compass," the noble talking polar bear, voiced by Ian McKellen, lies defeated and awaiting death after a savage fight with the pretender to the polar-bear throne. Then suddenly the noble bear becomes angry, leaps up and kills the pretender in a single motion. Seventy-eight-year-old Carl Fredricksen gets severely beaten, then suddenly rallies to become super-strong, in the animated "Up."

So when evaluating a movie where a house floats up in the air over thousands of miles, dogs can talk, and there is an epic fight on the side of a blimp which is currently thousands of feet in the air...Gregg has a problem with the old man rallying to become strong and defeat the antagonist?

I am sure if Gregg watched "Finding Nemo" he would have an issue with the type of drill the dentist uses. IT'S JUST NOT REALISTIC HE WOULD USE THE SAMPSON 3019 TO FILL A CAVITY! EVERYONE KNOWS THE SAMPSON 3019 CAN ONLY BE USED FOR ROOT CANALS!

Like movies and TV shows that depict good guys being shot yet unharmed, depicting good characters as beaten to a pulp then suddenly super-strong and winning the climactic fight, presents audiences with an unrealistic impression of the harm done by violence.

Right, because after watching the movie "Up" any five year old would immediately start beating the shit out of someone and want to watch that person rally from my beating enough to throw the five year old off a cliff. Wait no, that's not what would happened at all. What would happen is most five years old would want to buy a house that could float in the air with balloons. Was Gregg around his children at all when they were younger? Does Gregg really think anyone believes this part of an animated movie is ruining the mind of the general public and numbing them down to violence? I've seen "Up" three times and did not recall this part of the movie. I'd like to think I have a better memory for the movie than a five year old who has seen the movie three times.

In the second half, San Diego faced third-and-4. The Raiders ran a strange zone blitz that had enormous defensive tackle Lamarr Houston dropping into coverage on Antonio Gates, who picked up an easy first down. The Packers occasionally drop enormous defensive tackle B.J. Raji into coverage with good results, but he is a rare athlete; Houston is not.

Shut up. The only difference in these two plays is that one worked and the other play did not. Raji even weighs more than Houston does. But no, Raji is a rare athlete and Gregg isn't basing his criticism of the Raiders dropping Houston into coverage only on the outcome of the play.

San Diego reached third-and-7 at the Oakland 13, and sent speed merchant Vincent Jackson over the middle -- covered by linebacker Rolando McClain.

Perhaps this was a well-drawn up play and the Raiders were running a zone defense? I am sure that is an impossibility and the Raiders only play man defense and this defense was designed specifically by the Raiders defensive coordinator to have a linebacker covering the Chargers best wide receiver.

Oakland receiver Jacoby Ford was running a comeback, but never turned to look for the ball -- then passively watched a Bolts player intercept it.

Well, if Ford never turned around then it would be hard to aggressively go after the ball since he didn't know it was coming his way.

But even as someone who loves a good football game, my sense is the country is beginning to devote too much money and emphasis to the sport.

But hey, everyone don't get so tired of football you quit reading TMQ every week.

If Denver is to go anywhere in the playoffs, Broncs coach John Fox must end his ultra-conservative ways.

So Denver, who made the playoffs by being ultra-conservative, can only go somewhere in the playoffs if their head coach goes against the very nature that has caused him to make it to one Super Bowl, two NFC Championship games over his coaching career, and helped his team to make the playoffs this year...with a quarterback whose strength lies in a more conservative game plan? Good luck with that happening.

Kansas City leading 7-3, Denver punted on fourth-and-7 with 2:37 remaining, holding only one timeout. Sure it's fourth-and-7, but in this situation you must go for it!

It's like Gregg has never seen John Fox coach before. Not punting on third down WAS him being aggressive.

The Bills surprised the weak New England defense by opening in a fast-snap no-huddle.


Which brings us to Stevie Johnson. Already this season he'd drawn a celebration penalty which hurt his team, in a close game against the Jets. Johnson scored against the Patriots and immediately got a celebration flag for pulling up his jersey to show a message on his T-shirt.

Don't you mean "lowly drafted Stevie Johnson?" That's right, Gregg only mentions a player's draft position when it is a highly drafted player performing poorly or a lowly drafted/unwanted player performing well.

Offensive linemen and linebackers tend to make the Pro Bowl on name recognition rather than performance. Consider that no one from the Denver or Houston offensive lines made the Pro Bowl, though the Broncos and Texans are first and second in rushing. No one from the Buffalo or Tennessee offensive lines made the Pro Bowl, though the Bills allowed the fewest sacks and the Titans tied for second-fewest.

I understand what Gregg is saying, but he also should acknowledge (assuming he even knows this) that an offensive line can excel and not have individual members of that line who excel. An excellent offensive line can be made up of quality, but not top quality, players who mesh well together and work strongly as a unit. So if an offensive line has blocked for great rushing totals or given up few sacks it doesn't necessarily mean there are great individual performers on that offensive line.

The recent season finale of "Rizzoli & Isles" offered a plot about a Boston firefighter who had snapped and was engaging in arson "because he wanted to draw attention to these massive layoffs of firefighters." Several lines of dialogue in the show referred to how horrible it is that the ranks of firefighters are declining while the few who remain must fight ever-more fires.

Both claims are completely wrong. The ranks of professional firefighters have risen rapidly, while fire incidence is in sharp decline, the latter owing to stricter building codes and the spread of smoke detectors.

And this "Rizzoli & Isles" show must be a documentary. Wait, it isn't? Well then shut the hell up and quit acting like the show is a documentary. It is a fictional television show and probably not intended to depict stories exactly 100% true to reality. Seriously, how bored is Gregg that he watches shows and then does research to determine the plot's accuracy?

UCLA lost to Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, meaning the Bruins finished 6-8 -- a bowl entrant that finished two games below .500. Perhaps this year's UCLA team could play last year's Seattle Seahawks, which made the NFL playoffs and finished 8-10.

But that 8-10 Seahawks team did win a playoff game last year. I feel like this is very important to mention. Even though the Seahawks had a losing record they showed perhaps they belonged in the playoffs after all.

Game tied at 17, the stat-a-rama Saints were on the Panthers' 42. Marques Colston ran a simple "up" on the offensive right. Cornerback Chris Gamble let Colston go, in order to double-team Darren Sproles short.

He didn't double-team Sproles, Carolina was playing a zone defense and Gamble was not responsible for man coverage on Colston. He was responsible for the zone Sproles was currently occupying.

Safety Sherrod Martin let Colston go -- Martin was making the high-school mistake of "looking into the backfield" trying to guess what the quarterback would do, rather than simply guarding his man.

In his defense, Sherrod Martin is simply terrible and any pass thrown his way has to be graded on the "Martin Scale of Terribleness." This scale encompasses how a safety grades out in making tackles, taking angles to make tackles, understanding what the offense is attempting to do, covering receivers/tight ends, and providing help for the cornerback when the play call requires help for the corner. So this blown coverage has to be compared to Martin's other body of work in these five categories. Compared to some of the tackling angles Martin has taken to wrap up a ball carrier, this blown coverage only graded out an "8" on the "Martin Scale of Terribleness."

For the first time since 1944, no Notre Dame player attempted a forward pass in the NFL. Does anyone "own" this stat? An upcoming TMQ will analyze.

Oh great! Can we not do this?


jacktotherack said...

"Again Ryan sends a big blitz -- his defensive calls are about drawing attention to himself, not about winning. Abram Elam misses a tackle in the backfield, Nicks pastes Newsman and Ahmad Bradshaw walks into the end zone."

What a penis. Seriously, how does ESPN continue to allow this man a forum to say this crap? Yes Gregg, Rob Ryan is only making calls on defense to call attention to himself. He doesn't care about stopping the opposition because it is clearly in his best interest for the other team to score as long as he calls a "mega-blitz" that shows everyone how smart he is.

What is extra special dumb about Gregg's criticism here is whether he knows it or not, he actually validates Ryan's defensive call when bringing up Elam's missed tackle. All defensive calls are designed to do are put players in position to make plays, which Elam was in the opposing backfield (Gee I don't know, maybe because of that FUCKING MEGA-BLITZ!!!). But since Elam missed the tackle it was a dumb, selfish call by Ryan, not a blown play by a mediocre DB.

How does this man make it through the day when his logice works this way?

Brizzle said...

Using the same example, but to point out the ever present hypocrisy of TMQ:
"Ryan is so concerned about drawing attention to his own perceived genius, he can't just orchestrate a regular defense"
Later in the article, TMQ drops these two gems.
"Not entirely unnoticed -- a month ago, I detailed the Fed action in TMQ. Sports columns are unlikely to be your best source of fiscal policy news. But doesn't it say something about the state of the mainstream media that a quirky ESPN column had important information about Federal Reserve activity before most major newspapers noticed?"

"But you read about it three months ago in TMQ. Same point: Doesn't it say something about the state of the mainstream media that a quirky ESPN column was ahead of the news curve on a major international-affairs story?"
It sure seems like the only reason TMQ writes this article is to draw attention to himself.

And some more fun with the hipocrisy of TMQ, in regards to the average NFL play being about 5 yards,
"Giants facing third-and-9 on their 5. Ryan sends a corner blitz -- since the typical NFL play gains about five yards, straight defense is likely to result in a stop -- and the Giants convert."
"But later talking about the same game, he notes in his same column,
Then Giants leading 24-14 with 5:13 remaining, Dallas punted. I don't care if it's fourth-and-13, there is 5:13 left in your season! TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook. On the play before the punt, Tony Romo threw a short checkdown pass, even though it was third-and-13. Outraged, the football gods caused the pass to be dropped. When it was 31-14 with 2:30 remaining, Romo was still throwing short."
If I was the coach I would have just punted on the 3rd down play, since the average play is 5 yards the Cowboys didn't have a chance anyway of getting a 1st down on 3rd or 4th down. And just to confirm that TMQ is as consistently, inconsistent as you can be,
"Denver punted on fourth-and-7 with 2:37 remaining, holding only one timeout. Sure it's fourth-and-7, but in this situation you must go for it!"
THis is more than 5 yards, the Broncos had know chance.

Thanks for all the effort you put in Ben, I love reading your stuff.

Ericb said...

Offtopic: I'm greatly amused how the "Greatest Story in the NFL for the Past 27 Years" has vanished seemingly overnight. Has anyone issued a mea culpa for this yet?

rich said...

But the Packers' allergy to the running game is, just like this time last season, a worry going into the playoffs.

Ya, it really hurt them last year when they wont the Super Bowl.

then safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who just signed a megabucks contract extension

That would be 5th round pick Gerald Sensabaugh.

I mean, we're talking about the NFL, most starters are "megabuck" players if Sensabaugh is one.

Again Ryan sends a big blitz -- his defensive calls are about drawing attention to himself, not about winning.

What the hell? How is calling a blitz "drawing attention to himself"? I'm legitimately confused as to what this means. You know how it's about winning though? Because the Giants won a Super Bowl with a mediocre secondary (like the cowboys have), a shit group of LBs (Cowboys have an advantage here) and a great D-Line (advantage to the Giants)... so how is it not about winning?

Tony Romo threw a short checkdown pass, even though it was third-and-13.
Both plays look eerily similar -- short pass intended for a first down, careless missed tackles, safeties way out of position.

The fact that TMQ can write that first sentence, then turn around and write the second one and not see an issue with it is why I hate him.

Maybe they have great blocking on the play, maybe the checkdown receiver breaks a few tackles, maybe the defense is out of position.

Especially on a 3rd and 13, most of the secondary will be 10-15 yards downfield, so it gives your receiver a chance to make a play with some open field.

everything called at the line, with multiple checks before the snap -- that the Falcons are losing track of the fundamentals.

TMQ is like a guy who shows up at meetings using words like "synergy" and "capitalization" without actually knowing what they are.

How in the heck are multiple checks and a no huddle leading to a loss of fundamentals? If they were losing fundamentals, then there wouldn't be a shift at the playoffs, there'd be a shift in the later parts of the regular season.

What's so special about the week b/w the regular season and the playoffs that they lose fundamentals?

But even as someone who loves a good football game, my sense is the country is beginning to devote too much money and emphasis to the sport.

What basis does he have for this claim? It's a point I'd likely agree with, but what is his rational behind it?

Oh and part of that money is being spent on research into new safety gear... something TMQ talks about almost every week.

Denver punted on fourth-and-7 with 2:37 remaining, holding only one timeout. Sure it's fourth-and-7, but in this situation you must go for it!

You have a QB with a YPA under 6.5, while completing half his passes.

You have a defense that had shown that they could stop the opponent's offense and has, at various points in the season, gotten key turnovers late in games.

You have an offense that had scored late in games several times to win or force overtime.

But ya, totally needed to go for it on fourth down.

Consider that no one from the Denver or Houston offensive lines made the Pro Bowl, though the Broncos and Texans are first and second in rushing.

No mention that the Broncos were the first rushing team because they can't pass the ball very well and so running is their primary means of moving the ball?

He didn't double-team Sproles, Carolina was playing a zone defense and Gamble was not responsible for man coverage on Colston.

It truly baffles me how someone who gets paid to write about football still can't figure out what a zone defense is.

rich said...

To clarify my point about the Giants and Cowboys:

The Giants won a Super Bowl by blitzing the ever loving crap out of everyone.

With the personal that the Cowboys have, it would make sense that a similar type of formula could be used.

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, I agree. Gregg's criticisms aren't even consistent. Exactly like you said, why would he want to show everyone how smart he is when it isn't in his best interests to do that? At some point, he would get fired for being bad at his job if "mega blitzes" don't work. So it isn't about him, though Gregg seems to think a coach can fail intentionally at his job in an effort to somehow keep his job by doing it poorly.

That's what I was thinking about Elam in the post. He may not have even been in position to miss the tackle if it weren't for the defensive call. It seems bad tackling was the issue more than anything. I bet he gets pageviews and that's why he is kept around.

Brizzle, great point about Gregg tooting his own horn. I have never thought of it that way. Now I will end up thinking about that every time I do TMQ and he mentions the things he brings up that others don't.

What you just brought up is how consistently inconsistently Gregg can be. He changes his criteria for criticizing a team/player/coach when it is convenient. On one hand, if the Cowboys don't blitz they are "sure" to get a stop since the average gain on a play is just over 5 yards. On the other hand, Gregg throws this criteria out the window when saying a team should go for it on any down longer than 3rd-and-5. After all, if the defense plays straight up they are likely to stop the offense, right?

Thanks for reading. I do enjoy writing. Smart commenters makes it worthwhile.

Eric, never. You will never get a mea culpa for that huge story magically disappearing in TMQ. I'm not complaining b/c I am Tebow'd out at this point!

Rich, Sensabaugh is a well-paid player, but definitely not megabucks. Also, good teams can find a running game when they need to. The Packers last year are a good example.

I don't get how a blitz is drawing attention to himself. I also don't get why a checkdown was a bad pass. Obviously it isn't ideal, but why throw into coverage if you can get your receiver some room to run and hope he can cause players to miss?

That's a great comparison. Gregg does remind of that guy who shows up at meetings and uses words that he believes to have meaning, but don't really. He reminds me of one of my superiors. Fundamentals...please, I don't believe that's the problem. Everyone knows Julio Jones is the problem.

I don't see a reason to go for it on fourth down there. Especially with the Broncos defense showing they can win games for Denver late and the fact the Broncos would be giving away field position by not getting the first down.

Offensive lines can be sub-par and have great individual performers. It does happen.

Carolina was running a two-deep zone and Gamble let Colston go because he thought he had safety help. Unfortunately, Martin sucks. I rewound this play just to be sure Gamble didn't screw up and I don't believe he did. If Gamble had followed Colston deep, then Gregg would have complained he left Sproles (the NFL's all-time all-purpose yardage holder) wide open.

I think effective blitzes can work for teams. Teams can win games, like the Giants did, by blitzing well. The Cowboys appeared to be in position to make tackles, they just missed those tackles.

Murray said...

I actually didn't mind Gregs Pats analysis. Locally every week the Boston media is determined to find ways to tell us how much the Patriots suck. You would think they are 3-13.

I know that GB and NE give up allot of yards but they are both middle of the pack in points allowed and top of the league in takeaways. That should count for something

Bengoodfella said...

Murray, I am glad I don't live up there then. That's so negative. I'm not used to hearing negative things a/b the Pats, so I guess everything Gregg said are things you had heard before already.

I think takeaways and points allowed count for something. Look at Oklahoma State's football team. They weren't a great defense but had a ton of takeaways this year.