FanDuel - WFBC

December 04, 2007

Last minute rally moves Patriots to 12-0: but how much longer can the defense let teams run the ball down their throats?

posted by Ghastly1 to football at 10:25 AM - 53 comments

I don't really understand all the kerfluffle about the holding penalty. I thought it was going to be pass interference since Watson (?) was clearly smacked before the ball got there. And Gaffney never bobbled that ball for a second. /Not a Patriots fanboy, but kind of rooting for them now the same way I root for the heels in the WWE.

posted by Cyrano at 10:52 AM on December 04

I agree that Patriots' run defense did not look good, particularly during the drive that led to Baltimore's last TD. What seems to be overlooked is the adjustment that NE might have made after this, because Baltimore then seemed unable to do much on the ground. When forced to pass, Kyle Boller looked alternately very good and very ordinary, and this was one of the keys to the 4th quarter. (Insert Patriots Homer Alert Here): Baltimore has some grounds for complaint about the officiating in the 4th quarter. For the first 3 quarters, the Baltimore secondary was treating the New England receivers in the same manner as the New England secondary used to treat the Colts. That is, hold, hit early, obstruct, etc. The rules were changed, or at least enforced more strictly, (seemingly at the request of Indianapolis) to allow the receivers more opportunity to catch the ball. Until the 4th quarter last night, the officials seemed to forget that. I can understand Baltimore's frustration once something that was not called previously became a penalty, even though replay shows that they were good calls. A performance like last night's by the officials could almost make me believe that they were under orders to keep it close for the benefit of the TV ratings, and then allow NE to prevail.

posted by Howard_T at 10:55 AM on December 04

And Gaffney never bobbled that ball for a second. Did you even watch the game? Gaffney had more bobbles than a bobble-head doll. ...kind of rooting for them now the same way I root for the heels in the WWE Yeah, I'm with you on that one. I'm a Triple H fan myself but he gotta switch from face back to heel.

posted by BornIcon at 10:58 AM on December 04

Did Billick call the time out that negated the 4th-down stop at the end? It looked as if much of the Ravens' defense wanted to kill the Baltimore coaching staff...

posted by ajaffe at 11:00 AM on December 04

Rex Ryan, the defensive coordinator, called the timeout. So the defense got screwed by their own coach. I'm sure it stung. I think that if the officials on the field had called the TD pass an incomplete, the booth would have upheld it. It was just a close, close play. On the other hand, if the booth had overturned it, then it would have been second and 4 with plenty of time, and I think the Patriots most probably wind up getting the touchdown anyhow.

posted by Bryant at 11:04 AM on December 04

ajaffe, it was the defensive coordinator, I believe. The Pats need to tighten up the run defense. If they come up against a team with more than one decent running back, it could be a problem, adjustment or no adjustment. For that matter, they have to get their own running game going, but it's hard when you don't have a brilliant running back or a group of 3-4 yard workhorses. They have to strike with the pass to be able to go to the run, and with the winds last night (and the officiating as Howard_T noted), the pass just wasn't happening.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:08 AM on December 04

I missed the game, but this is two weeks in a row now that the Patriots have nearly been beaten by a significantly weaker team. If they don't lose a game and catch a breather, it'll make them more beatable in the playoffs.

posted by rcade at 11:16 AM on December 04

Point one: I gotta agree with Cyrano on Gaffney's TD catch for the win. That was a catch all the way. Personally, I think they get a little ticky-tack with that bobble as you go out of bounds stuff. If you keep posession of the ball, to me, it's a catch. Now if you're doing some sort of a big, obvious juggling act on the way out of bounds and finally get ahold of the ball out of play, then there is a case for no catch. The "getting pushed out of bounds/ momentum carries you out" ruling is another completely arbitrary call. Officials have no consistency when it comes to these two occurances. Point two: Belichick, as I have been trying to tell people this season, is a trollish soothsayer. No other explanation for it. Don't give me the argument that his team is loaded with talent or that he is a football mastermind. The Patriots were BEATEN last night and that imp cast a spell on the Ravens to lose. Prediction for Super Bowl: Patriots-42.....Other team-a bit less than that.....human souls sacrificed for the win-countless.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:37 AM on December 04

The Pats have looked terrible the last two weeks. And I'd like to personally thank NBC and ESPN for making these horror shows completely unwatchable with their pre-game "This game is a laugher" coverage segueing straight into "OHMIGOD, THISISTHEONE!" If that's what Kornheiser and Jaws are like every week, no wonder no one watches (and I like both of those guys when they're not on MNF). Gaffney had more bobbles than a bobble-head doll. NUF CED

posted by yerfatma at 11:39 AM on December 04

If they don't lose a game and catch a breather, it'll make them more beatable in the playoffs. How would losing a game get them a breather? ...or maybe you just mean something very different than I do when I say "breather"...

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:27 PM on December 04

How would losing a game get them a breather? Without an undefeated season to play for they could relax a little bit, rest players, etc. Every game wouldn't be so intense. Or am I confused about what you're confused about?

posted by justgary at 12:35 PM on December 04

l_b_b "when you don't have a brilliant running back or a group of 3-4 yard workhorses" (attempts/yards/yds per attempt) Laurence Maroney 118 / 511 / 4.3 Sammy Morris 85 / 384 / 4.5 Kevin Faulk 49 / 218 / 4.4 Heath Evans 33 / 117 / 3.5 That's what baffles me about the Pats - they do have the workhorses but they don't use them enough. The weather was terrible for the long passing game and Moss/Welker were well covered. Last night, there was a beautiful outlet pass to Maroney that he broke for 43 yds. Few (if any) screen passes (same as last week), but when they use the screen it gets them decent yards. The gameplan seems slow to respond when the O line is getting tossed around like rag dolls and Brady is getting pressure. Seems like that's the time to find your workhorses to create some space.

posted by kokaku at 12:44 PM on December 04

Well, Morris is out hurt and Maroney seems to break everytime he gets more than 10 carries. Evans and Faulk are nice change-of-pace guys, but they're not going to get you 100 yards in a game (though I must mention when the story of the 2001+ Pats is written, there's no chance Kevin Faulk will get enough credit).

posted by yerfatma at 01:01 PM on December 04

Agreed they're not the guys who are going to produce a majority of O yards, but you'd think with the kind of pressure Brady has been seeing and the sudden weakness of the O line (a 3-man rush got a sack when Light couldn't handle his man), that we'd see more use of the rush on the outside (w screens and dumpout passes).

posted by kokaku at 01:10 PM on December 04

As someone with no real rooting interest in this game, I thought Gaffney did bobble the ball and that the call should have been overturned. However, because of Bart Scott's meltdown after the play (two unsportsmanlike penalties which still would have been assessed), the Pats would have had 1st-and-goal from the 2 with :45 left. Gut feling says they would have found a way to get the ball into the end zone. That being said, Baltimore got very unlucky with the 4th-and-1. Not only did they stop it on the play where Rex Ryan called timeout just beforehand, but they also stopped it right afterward when New England committed a false start which meant that play didn't count, either. One of the few cases where a penalty actually helps the team that committed it. If either of those plays count, the defensive holding and/or bobble don't come into play.

posted by TheQatarian at 01:13 PM on December 04

justgary: Without an undefeated season to play for they could relax a little bit, rest players, etc. Every game wouldn't be so intense. Or am I confused about what you're confused about? No, but I do nurture the hope that they're not playing for an undefeated season. Sure, by now it's gotten under their skin some, but OTOH it has been an explicitly stated non-goal since the possibility was first raised. They are in the playoffs, and unless they manage to monumentally screw the pooch, they'll have homefield advantage as well*. They were playing to get into the playoffs, now they're playing to win the Super Bowl. I just don't see them throwing away a Super Bowl in pursuit of an undefeated season. kokaku: you'd think with the kind of pressure Brady has been seeing and the sudden weakness of the O line (a 3-man rush got a sack when Light couldn't handle his man), that we'd see more use of the rush on the outside (w screens and dumpout passes). Agreed -- my only guess is that maybe they felt these would be too easy to read? *As near as I can figure, the Pats would lose homefield advantage throughout the playoffs in one of the following ways: - Losing to the Steelers and then losing at least two of the next three games, while the Steelers win the next four (which would give the two teams identical 13-3 records and the win to Pittsburgh) - Losing any three of the four remaining games, while Indy loses none; OR losing all four while Indy loses only one I think even if NE loses all remaining four and Jacksonville wins all remaining four, NE wins the tiebreaker (based on beating Indy, perhaps?).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:25 PM on December 04

You can't give a team and a quarterback like N.E. and Tom Brady second chances.They stay poised and don't panic and will win the close games as the last two weeks have proved.But the Ravens had them beat I believe 3 times on that last drive.What a terrible time to call a time out,and the other two costly penaltys.Watching SportsCenter this morning and listening to the Ravens players saying that the refs were on their side and wanted them to win I think was kind of a cop out for losing such a close game.They have no one to blame but themselves for the costly penaltys and the horrible timeout that was called.They had the Pats beat.But they gave them 2nd and 3rd chances.Shame on them for doing so.

posted by Ghastly1 at 01:40 PM on December 04

No, but I do nurture the hope that they're not playing for an undefeated season. Sure, by now it's gotten under their skin some, but OTOH it has been an explicitly stated non-goal since the possibility was first raised. They can say it's not a goal, but there are some achievements in sports that can't not be striven for. If that makes sense. It's like a playoff-bound pitcher taking his first no-hitter into the seventh on the last day of the season. Does he really leave enough gas in the tank for the playoffs? There was a member of Denver's team on an ESPN radio crew this morning talking about the pressure his team faced when they reached 13-0 in 1998, and he said it was a massive relief to lose so they could focus on the real goal: Super Bowl.

posted by rcade at 02:01 PM on December 04

I definetly think that there has got to be alot of pressure on them every game now with four left to go for the undefeated regular season.I can see how maybe the fact that losing a game could relieve that.I'm sure that no team in their position in the past ever wanted to lose,but it not only be a big relief,but also a heartbreaker knowing how close they were if they are to lose.

posted by Ghastly1 at 02:22 PM on December 04

Yeah, as a Pats fan, the most frustrating part of these nail biters is the constant "Seriously, how are you not stopping the running game?!" and watching the offensive line get beaten like it owes the defense money. Not that every game should be a blowout, but the last two close wins were against losing-record teams, so... what's going on? Maybe it's simply the teams saying "Well, we can't out-finesse or out-play them, so let's just be really physical" and the Pats aren't adjusting to a more basic, physical game. Amazing that they've still squeezed out wins, though. Can they do it for 6 more games (I'm already assuming a first round bye, call me crazy)? Will those records they were threatening still stand (beating the 556 points for the Vikings, 49 TD for Manning, 22 TD for Rice)?

posted by hincandenza at 02:49 PM on December 04

It was an entertaining game, and between the time out Baltimore must wish they hadn't called, and the pass Gaffney didn't look to really have control of before going out of bounds in the end zone, the Patriots really dodged a bullet. As someone who has been a huge critic in the past of Willis McGahee, I have to give him a hell of lot of credit for the game he played last night. I've never seen him run with that kind of fire and determination, or be that animated after runs. That's how Baltimore should have been using McGahee all year, relying on him to carry a fairly-pathetic offense. And hopefully Boller gets a chance to stay in as quarterback with McNair now out for good. McNair should call it quits and settle off into the sunset. Hopefully he doesn't suffer another injury walking to the podium to announce his retirement.

posted by dyams at 03:45 PM on December 04

Samari Rolle is lodging a complaint with the NFL, saying head linesman Phil McKinnely repeatedly called him "boy" near the end of the game. Before you jump to conclusions, McKinnely is black. Also, despite Rolle saying, "Don't call me a boy on the field during a game because I said, 'You've never played football before,'" is a former player for three NFL teams during the 1970s and '80s and played collegiately at UCLA.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:21 PM on December 04

I agree with you Hal,as I to am a Pats fan living only about 15 miles from Foxboro.I was getting used to the blowouts.Now these "nail biters"have got to stop.Really would like to see them go undefeated,but another Super Bowl win would be just fine.And as for Rolle filing a complaint with the NFL,he and the Ravens should stop their crying and just get ready for next weeks game.I realize they think they got screwed,but it's not going to get them anywhere.They gave the Patriots the second and third chances,and the Pats took advantage.

posted by Ghastly1 at 05:21 PM on December 04

Did you even watch the game? Gaffney had more bobbles than a bobble-head doll. Dude, I live in Houston. I know all about Gaffney. I was just taking about the last touchdown.

posted by Cyrano at 06:20 PM on December 04

"How would losing a game get them a breather? Without an undefeated season to play for they could relax a little bit, rest players, etc. Every game wouldn't be so intense. Or am I confused about what you're confused about? posted by justgary at 12:35 PM CST on December 4" Wow, such awesome logic. Any team that goes undefeated during a regular season is going to fight like hell during the playoffs. The 72 Dophins (my God, I spelled Dophin right, now I will not be crucified for that small error) got better with each game after completing an undefeated regular season, I would expect to see the Patriots do the same.

posted by Cave_Man at 06:39 PM on December 04

It's Dolphin.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:59 PM on December 04

"Not only did they stop it on the play where Rex Ryan called timeout just beforehand, but they also stopped it right afterward when New England committed a false start which meant that play didn't count, either. One of the few cases where a penalty actually helps the team that committed it. If either of those plays count, the defensive holding and/or bobble don't come into play. posted by TheQatarian at 1:13 PM CST on December 4" The offense gets a "free" play when a defensive player jumps offside, it would be fair if the league change rules so that defenses can chose to take an illegal procedure play against the offense or take the result of the play. Last night allowing the defense to take the result of the play after the motion penalty against the Patriots would have essentially ended the game and gave Baltimore a win.

posted by Cave_Man at 06:59 PM on December 04

The 72 Dophins (my God, I spelled Dophin right, now I will not be crucified for that small error) It's Dolphin This is why I keep coming back to SportsFilter.

posted by THX-1138 at 07:14 PM on December 04

"It's Dolphin. posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 6:59 PM CST on December 4" Crap. Did I spell that right?

posted by Cave_Man at 07:16 PM on December 04

I believe this year it is actually spelled Dullphin.

posted by PAPhinFan at 07:47 PM on December 04

Wow, such awesome logic. Is that sarcasm? Tough for me to tell since your next comment had very little to do with mine. Any team that goes undefeated during a regular season is going to fight like hell during the playoffs. As opposed to teams that just don't give a damn during the playoffs, huh? This is why I keep coming back to SportsFilter. You can't script that kind of comedy.

posted by justgary at 07:53 PM on December 04

Last night's Monday night game is another example where the refs feel compelled to determine the outcome of a great football game. How many times do the fans have to put up with this struggle for supremacy? After hearing what the Ravens defense had to put up with on the "just play boy" references from the refs (according to ESPN) is enough to pull your hair out. The Ravens defense is right, what's up with that nonsense? Suffice it to say the NFL will sit there and now start counting their penalty money over a situation they have yet to control themselves - their refs getting out of hand, but yeah lets watch them levy out the fines now on the Ravens. Although I thought the calls went somewhat evenly, I am tired of seeing great games get determined by the refs on both the college and pro level at critical times. Enough already. BTW what have we become? Instant replay shows three millisecond frames of bobble on the winning TD and its treated under the microscope as a potential non touchdown/controversial play. Let's get real already. Refs, let them play ball!

posted by whodatman at 08:30 PM on December 04

The L is silent. Duh.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:36 PM on December 04

Whether a team goes undefeated or not and makes the playoffs is going to fight like hell to win the Super Bowl.

posted by Ghastly1 at 09:20 PM on December 04

THERE IS NO 'L' IN THE 72 DOPHINS!!!!! signed TBH

posted by tselson at 10:49 PM on December 04

The offense gets a "free" play when a defensive player jumps offside, it would be fair if the league change rules so that defenses can chose to take an illegal procedure play against the offense or take the result of the play They can't (and won't) change that rule. The play never happened since it was a false start before the play occurred. They also blow the whistle when this happens so how do we know the reason the defense stopped them the 2nd time wasn't because 2 or 3 players stopped playing when they heard the whistle instead of otherwise blocking people?

posted by bdaddy at 09:10 AM on December 05

So glad the Pats won. Hope the streak ends at 12 this weekend :)

posted by scully at 09:33 AM on December 05

THERE IS NO 'L' IN THE 72 DOPHINS!!!!! signed TBH That's why you're my favorite person named tselson in the whole world! This year, it's been more like watching the D'oh!-phins.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:51 AM on December 05

Which streak will end first, the undefeated Patriots or the winless Miami Acquatic Mammals (without the "l" it comes out as Acquatic Mammas, which seems appropriate)? The question might not be settled until the fall of 2008. Baltimore can cry all they want about the officiating, but it looked to me that New England had cause for complaint as well. There appeared to be a lot of obvious calls (by the standards of the 4th quarter) that were overlooked. I think the following statistic tells more about the outcome of the game than anything else. Baltimore yards rushing, 3rd quarter, 11 rushes for 91 yards; 4th quarter 6 rushes for 4 yards. I too would like to see the implementation of the false start penalty changed. Why not just throw the flag and not blow the whistle until after the play has been run. I've not kept track, but there have been a number of times when the defense has had a turnover or a long loss taken away because of an offensive violation. To be "rewarded" for one's transgressions just doesn't seem right.

posted by Howard_T at 11:02 AM on December 05

The L is silent in Dolphin just like the second "r" in Library.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:06 PM on December 05

Seriously, enough Pat haters! Like them or not they are the best team in the NFL. Not the best defense or special teams but they are the all around best team. It doesn't matter if Bill Bel was cheating or not. It doesn't matter if you hate moss or despise Brady or whatever. The fact remains that Bill Bel will be in the hall of fame along with 3 or 4 of his players. What matters is the Brady will probably have, after this season, 4 rings in 8 years. What matters is that you watching history take place before your eyes. I know Pittsburgh fans especially have a problem with Brady and Bel, THAT'S CALLED JEALOUSY! We'll save that for another post. Hate them or not they are winners! Hate them or not they will go undefeated, If Monday night wasn't a wake up call for that than I don't know what will be. The NFL wants this to happen and it will. Cry all you want wine asses, GAME OVER.

posted by B10 at 01:16 PM on December 05

Can you do us a favor and defend the other side for a while? There's a reason people are sick of Boston sports teams/ fans and it sounds a bit like "Cry all you want wine asses, GAME OVER". The Pats got incredibly lucky this week. We can trot out the "luck is the residue of design" canard like they did on MNF, but it's two weeks running and they better shape up before Pittsburgh or they're going to be 12-1.

posted by yerfatma at 01:33 PM on December 05

wine asses I think you mean whine asses, but here we call them ass clowns, or alternatively....assclowns. Now, that being said, Rah, Rah, Rah, my team is better than your team.

posted by tommytrump at 01:45 PM on December 05

"Can you do us a favor and defend the other side for a while? There's a reason people are sick of Boston sports teams/ fans and it sounds a bit like "Cry all you want wine asses, GAME OVER"." I'm not from Boston, never lived anyehere near Boston and am certainly not a chowder head. All I did was state a fact about the team. It's not my fault if you don't like what you hear. therefore you are a perfesct example of a whine ass! Thank you for proving my point!

posted by B10 at 01:53 PM on December 05

GAME OVER = NUF SAID

posted by tahoemoj at 02:19 PM on December 05

Tiger Woods is a robot

posted by hawkguy at 03:09 PM on December 05

If you're being a wine ass, then you're drinking it wrong.

posted by chicobangs at 03:50 PM on December 05

"The offense gets a "free" play when a defensive player jumps offside, it would be fair if the league change rules so that defenses can chose to take an illegal procedure play against the offense or take the result of the play They can't (and won't) change that rule. The play never happened since it was a false start before the play occurred. They also blow the whistle when this happens so how do we know the reason the defense stopped them the 2nd time wasn't because 2 or 3 players stopped playing when they heard the whistle instead of otherwise blocking people? posted by bdaddy at 9:10 AM CST on December 5" You have a good point. My idea did not take into account that some players stop playing when the whistle blows. The REFs do not blow a whistle when defensive players jump offsides, they do drop the flag, maybe if the same thing is done for an offensive procedure penalty the play would be valid because no one would stop (coaches will coach that after the rule change).

posted by Cave_Man at 04:45 PM on December 05

The REFs do not blow a whistle when defensive players jump offsides, they do drop the flag, maybe if the same thing is done for an offensive procedure penalty the play would be valid because no one would stop (coaches will coach that after the rule change). Actually, they do blow a whistle when a defensive player jumps offside if they feel that the player has gained too much of an advantage and might get free access to the quarterback. Otherwise, you might have a dirty little strategy of taking an offside penalty on the first play of the game to get a free shot at the quarterback to knock him out of the game.

posted by grum@work at 11:04 PM on December 05

Not the best defense or special teams but they are the all around best team. Another fine example of authentic frontier gibberish. In fact, that entire post should be hermetically sealed and held in posterity forever. You know, for the children.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 07:25 AM on December 06

Evil. Magical. Necromancer. 'Nuff said.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:43 PM on December 06

The Pats got incredibly lucky this week. We can trot out the "luck is the residue of design" canard like they did on MNF, but it's two weeks running and they better shape up before Pittsburgh or they're going to be 12-1. One of the reasons I find this streak more and more impressive (and subsequently find '72 more impressive) is the fact that every team is stepping up their game against them every week with huge amounts of motivation to be the team that stops them. AJ Feeley has a career day against them one week. The Ravens defense shows signs of life again. McGahee's legs never stop moving. The fact that, given these things, the Patriots can have two off weeks, have teams play above their level of play against them and escape with victories are going to be learning tools. Bellichek is going to drill it into their heads that they're better than this. Hell, as a Patriots fan, I felt like the last two games were losses. A performance like last night's by the officials could almost make me believe that they were under orders to keep it close for the benefit of the TV ratings, and then allow NE to prevail. I wonder if you'd have the tin foil hat on if the calls went the other way.

posted by dfleming at 01:21 PM on December 06

Until the 4th quarter last night, the officials seemed to forget that. Ideally the refs would call the game by the rules, however, they should not change the way they're calling the game during the game. they come up against a team with more than one decent running back, it could be a problem And the Vikings finally win the Super Bowl! (I can dream, can't I?)

posted by kirkaracha at 02:59 PM on December 06

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