Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Monday Night Football

Patriots 41 @ Dolphins 14 -- What's worse than a pick gone wrong? A pick gone wrong largely because of special teams? What's worse than that? Typing up a recap and then having Internet Explorer eat it like the bag of s**t that it is. I'm pretty stunned at how bad this went. It went so badly that Dolphins special teams coach John Bonamego got the boot today. After a first half that was kept close thanks to two picks by Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich (who also finished the game with a sack), the second half went down the toilet for Miami real quick. First Brandon Tate took a kick off back 103 yards for the score, then Patriots safety Pat Chung took advantage of a numbers mismatch on the left side of the Dolphins protection to block a punt that led to a short field and the Patriots first offensive TD. An exchange of TDs finished off the 3rd quarter, then in the 4th the meltdown was complete as Chung came free on a field goal rush and blocked a kick that was scooped and returned for a TD by Kyle Arrington. Not satisfied that he'd caused Miami enough misery, Chung then came up with an interception which he returned 51 yards for another score. And that my friends is a Bill Belichick second round pick all over; looking for guys who can contribute on special teams as well as at their normal positions. On offense Brady was clinically efficient completing 19 of his 24 passes for 153 yards and a TD. LB Jerod Mayo gets a nod as well for his game leading 14 tackles (eat your heart out Patrick Willis). It shouldn't be overlooked that despite a crappy special teams show and the four interceptions, the Dolphins did collect 23 first downs, went 10/15 on third downs and gained 400 net yards on a Pats defense that still looks like it's about to implode at any minute. But then with special teams play like this I doubt Bill Belichick cares much.... I'll round off today with some extra points: -- The Patriots were the latest team to bust out the old "fake spike". In the end the throw was poor and Moss was unable to corral it (he had zero catches on the night). But still, I have to complain because I hate this play. You might be wondering why I frown on this type of deception given that teams routinely fake run plays and then pass. The reason is simple; on a play-pass the defense understands that the ball is live. On a fake spike they're being fooled into thinking the play is dead. That means everyone on defense stops. It's a breach of the good faith that exists on such plays and it stinks. Might as well run the "Coach, wrong ball" play (look it up on YouTube). -- Nice to see Peyton Manning and the Colts are still getting away with running pick plays in the red zone to get some of their TDs. If the league thinks it's not a big deal then that's fine... but remove the rule banning them. Otherwise just enforce the damn thing already! Oh wait, I forgot. Colts GM Bill Polian is on the competition committee. -- The assault on Kevin Kolb (classic idea to put the "publish" button next to the "save draft" button) continues in earnest. This week he is being bashed from all corners for checking down too much in the game against Washington. If you don't like check downs then that's ok, but almost every commentator/analyst/expert is basically following the line "If you keep passing short you'll never win games".
I think some people need to go back and watch some film on Joe Montana. In any given game you can count the number of passes he throws beyond the 20 yard line ('air yards') on two hands. You can count the number of completions involving 20 or more 'air yards' on one hand. Scratch that. Often on one finger.
It's not ideal so far, but Kolb can and most probably will get better. His receivers will start making up the yards after the catch. And the longer, ball control type drives might be just the remedy that the Eagles defense needs. Take the fingers off the panic buttons Eagles offense. For now at least.
Have a great day everyone.

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