Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week 11 NFL recap

So, recap time, and I'm afraid it's going to be a brief one again this week. Now I received an e-mail (you can reach me at keepingthechainsmoving@live.co.uk ) which enquired as to why the recaps have been much shorter in recent months, especially when compared with this time last year. The answer is two-fold; a) My work schedule and b) the way I go about doing recaps Problem A is solvable. My current contract ends in about two, maybe three weeks, and I have no plans to renew it. Problem B is a bit more difficult. The simple reality is that it's humanly impossible to watch every game, every week. Thus in many cases I'm reliant on a combination of; a) highlights and b) statistics, specifically the box score. The two are conjured together with a dash on knowledge and past form to create the recap. Last year this process was helped immeasurably thanks to; a) NFL.com's highlights with radio calls and b) some player specific highlights (such as a QB or RB) As you can see, I like lists. The key was that last year they condensed the game into a 5 or 6 minute reel, including most of the key plays. More to the point, I was able to click back on the time stream and re-watch certain things like a TD pass without the whole video stopping and having to reload itself from that point, in order to check multiple things such as (here comes another list); a) Receivers routes, b) blitz's c) The QB's movement in the pocket, his head movement etc This year however the radio call highlights are gone. All that is left is a "highlight" reel that sometimes amounts to as little as showing 50 seconds of footage, with the NFL networks Gameday crew yapping over the top (There's something about Steve Mariucci; I just can't stand his OTT presentation style). If you think I'm the only one who doesn't like it, go to Google and type in "nfl.com highlights with radio calls". Some of the posts on various team forums are hilarious. This means that in order to get a decent look at the game I have to do the following (another list); a) Go to NFL.com b) Click on the game in question c) Click on the highlights tab d) Click on the sub tab for fantasy highlights e) Watch each individual highlight with the more helpful radio calls (down and distance for example) f) Endure a 15-30 second advert before every second highlight clip. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) this process is thus extremely laborious. Coupled with typing and proof reading, on average doing a full and proper recap takes between 5 and 7 hours (the condensed version a mere 3-4). Again, needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) this does not mix well with my current work schedule. So now you know. I'm sure those of you who are still awake are delighted about that. On with the recap: Baltimore Ravens 37 @ Carolina Panthers 13: - What were you expecting? For Brian St. Pierre to pluck an unlikely win out from his butt? - The crowd turned nasty when he started throwing picks (into triple coverage) but I guess you have to credit Carolina for giving the comeback a go. - Panthers RB Mike Goodson took 22 carries for 12o yards. Coupled with Jonathan Stewart next year, the Panthers now have little reason to renew DeAngelo William's contract. - 9 first downs to 22. Guess who had which. - Both teams were shocking on 3rd down (Baltimore: 2/11. Carolina: 1/13) Buffalo Bills 49 @ Cincinnati Bengals 31: - "The Fitzpatrick Strikes back". I warned you (21/34, 316 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs). - I couldn't help but laugh at the Bengals, who finally learned how to put up first half points... only to crumble as Buffalo mounted a second half comeback that would have made the Bengals proud (if they hadn't just had their butts kicked of course). - Both teams produced a 100+ yard rusher (Bills; Fred Jackson, 21 carries, 116 yards, 2 TDs. Bengals; Cedric Benson, 25 carries, 124 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble). - Credit to Bills receiver Steve Johnson (8 receptions, 137 yards, 3 TDs). - Bengals corner Johnathan Joseph grabbed two picks (one for six), but his lack of production compared to last year has hurt the Bengals this season. Detroit 19 @ Dallas Cowboys 35: - My sympathy's to regular reader/commenter Kevin... a Lions fan (ha, ha). - Shaun Hill was 32/47 for 289 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT. That is some serious dinking and dunking right there. - Conversely John Kitna came back to haunt his previous team with 18/24 for 147 yards and 3 TDs (plus a rushing TD.... on a bootleg. John Kitna. On a bootleg). - Rookie Bryan McCann made another smart play to earn a TD this week. Nice to see a young player being rewarded for his hard work and smarts. Cleveland Browns 20 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 24: - The Jaguars left it late again, coming back with two 4th quarter TDs. - The Browns wont win games on a regular basis until they learn to punish teams for their mistakes (Garrard threw 3 interceptions, Jones-Drew another, and the Jaguars fumbled twice). - It wasn't a great day for offensive linemen, with 10 sacks (Browns; 4. Jaguars; 6) - Keep an eye for the rest of the season on Browns LB Chris Gocong, who (if I remember correctly) is a free agent at the end of the season. Could be a bargain basement scoop for someone. Arizona Cardinals 13 @ Kansas City Chiefs 31: - Yep, the Cardinals are bad. - Cardinals QB Derek Anderson (25/46, 295 yards) produced just 1 TD. - The Chiefs got back to their running game again (Jamaal Charles; 12 carries, 88 yards. Thomas Jones; 15 carries, 71 yards, 2 TDs). - Dwayne Bowe; 6 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs. Beware again. - Kendrick Lewis, Eric Berry and Javier Arenas (1 sack) (all watch Lister's) filled three of the top four tacklers slots on the Chiefs D. Green Bay Packers 31 @ Minnesota Vikings 3: - When Brad Childress urged his team before the game to "get a sack", I don't think this was quite what he had in mind. - Brett Favre's glorious return fizzled out into 17/38 for 208 yards and an INT. - Aaron Rodgers meanwhile cruised to 22/31 for 301 yards and 4 TDs. - Greg Jennings did ok to; 7 receptions for 152 yards, 3 TDs. Houston Texans 27 @ New York Jets 30: - Oh dear, the Texans blow another good comeback. - Two sacks for Texans DE Mario Williams is promising though. Now, if they can just trade in the rest of that D.... - Mark Sanchez (22/38, 315 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) came through in the clutch again, as did WR Santonio Holmes (7 receptions, 126 yards, 2 TDs) - LaDanian Tomlinson showed everyone the versatility which is part of why the Jets picked him up and why those backing him in Free Agency should be considered geniuses... (*cough, cough*) (12 carries, 36 yards. 7 receptions for 71 yards). Oakland Raiders 3 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 35: - ... Unless of course they picked the Raiders to beat the Steelers. - How do you overcome 14 penalties for 163 yards? By playing the Raiders it seems. - On a serious note, if the NFL is trying to prove that they are not biased against Pittsburgh, as many Steelers fans believe they are, then this will amount to a PR disaster. It was almost blatant at times. - Funniest moment of the week? Watching Ben Roethlisberger run up to Raiders DE Richard Seymour and appear to talk smack... only to get clubbed right in the kisser. Seymour was ejected and has since been fined $25,000. - The Steel Curtain descended once more with 6 sacks. - Roethlisberger completed just 18/29, but did so for 275 yards and 3 TDs. Washington Redskins 19 @ Tennessee Titans 16: - Donovan McNabb; 30/50 for 376 yards and an INT. One TD. One. - Vince Young; 12/16 for 165 yards, one set of pads picked off, one locker room lost. - The Titans failed to score an offensive TD. Their sole TD of the game was picked up by emerging weapon, rookie WR Marc Mariani on an 87 yard punt return. And yet the Redskins still struggled just to take the game to overtime. Seattle Seahawks 19 @ New Orleans Saints 34: - Drew Brees; 29/43, 382 yards, 4 TD's, 2 INT's. This is a bit more like the real Drew Brees. - Matt Hasselbeck; 32/44, 366 yards, 1 TD. Another of the season favourite "all yards, little scores" performances. - Saints RB Chris Ivory stopped being a threat and actually became a factor with 23 carries, for 99 yards, 1 TD. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21 @ San Francisco 49ers 0: - Guess I shouldn't have laughed at the Lions fan really. - Troy Smith; 16/31 for 148 yards, 1 INT. Dare I say "bring back Alex Smith"? - Credit to Smith though, he put up more rushing yards on 5 carries (45) than Frank Gore did on 12 carries (23). - The 49ers O-line looks F***ing horrid. Worse, they look like Seattle. - Josh Freeman; just 13/20 for 136 yards, but crucially 2 TD's. - LaGarrette Blount; 26 carries, 82 yards. - Patrick Willis finished the game with 9 tackles and 2 sacks. Now if the rest of the defense could just pitch in we'd be well away. Atlanta Falcons 34 @ St. Louis Rams 17: - The QB battle was fairly even (Matt Ryan; 26/39, 253 yards, 2 TD's. Sam Bradford; 27/42, 233 yards, 2 TD's, 1 INT). - The RB battle wasn't (Michael Turner; 28 carries, 131 yards, 1 TD. Steven Jackson; 11 carries, 54 yards). - Predictably, Curtis Lofton led his team in tackles with 7. In fact, the Falcons played it pretty much exactly as I called it. I'm starting to like the Falcons. - Rams Tight End Michael Hoomanawanui. They need to get this guy the ball more so we can laugh at announcers trying to pronounce his name. Indianapolis Colts 28 @ New England Patriots 31: - Say what you like about the Colts and the Patriots, they put on an entertaining game. - In the run up to the game, Peyton Manning was worried about the Patriots listening in to the Colts locker room. Turns out it was the Colts pulling out the underhanded tricks; Brady complained after the game in a radio interview that the Colts D-linemen were trying to mimic the Patriots snap count during the final few plays. - It was a tale of two very different QB performances (Peyton Manning; 38/52, 396 yards, 4 TD's, 3 INT's. Tom Brady; 19/25, 186 yards, 2 TD's). - Running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead played a pivotal role in the Pats win (Green-Ellis; 21 carries, 96 yards, 1 TD. Woodhead; 7 carries, 69 yards, 1 TD). - The Colts 3rd down efficiency (11/14 - 78%) and red zone efficiency (4/4 - 100%) were scary. Shame about the picks hey Peyton. New York Giants 17 @ Philadelphia Eagles 27: - Eli Manning; 20/33, 147 yards, 2 TD's, 3 INT's. Tack on an incredibly stupid fumble near the end of the game and you have a receipe for an over rated QB. - The Giants receivers must bear some of the blame. At times their technique and awareness were appalling. - Michael Vick; 24/38, 258 yards. Stood up to the blitz well. A key stat though is his 11 carries for 34 yards and a TD. Much reduced compared to last week. - Despite losing, the Giants D set a precedent for keeping Vick under control (sort of), by blitzing from his left and forcing him to scramble right. With defenders in hot pursuit he was unable to stop and cock back his left arm for a throw. - Eagles RB LeSean McCoy busted out a few big runs to end the game with 14 carries for 11 yards and a TD. - When he gets going Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw can be outstanding. The trouble is his O-line seem to have trouble remembering who they're supposed to be blocking and how to make the blocks when they do remember. - On the other hand, the Eagles O-line were largely pretty good. - Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora are beasts. Tuck took home 6 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Though Umenyiora doesn't ave the stats, his athleticism was on display, blocking off running lanes for Vick and forcing him back into the rest of the Giants D. Denver 14 @ San Diego Chargers 35: - Classic. I should have known that the "Modest Yards, actually scores points" Chargers would show up. - Speaking of which; Philip Rivers; 15/24, 233 yards, 4 TD's, 1 INT. - Mike Tolbert; 25 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD. - Question; given the success of Fullbacks like Mike Tolbert and Clevelands Peyton Hillis, plus power backs like LaGarrette Blount, will we see a rash of FB type running backs next year? I hope so, it's one of the reasons I put Charles Scott on my watch list (He's on the Giants practice squad at the minute), and backed Brit Miller, formerly of the 49ers (now on the Rams practice squad). - Kyle Orton; 24/38 for 217 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. How can he and the Broncos offense fluctuate so much week to week? - The Chargers D racked up 5 sacks, including 2 for LB Shaun Phillips. Given Phillip's performance this season, it's much easier to understand why the Chargers dumped Shawne Merriman. - Comparing 3rd down efficiency tells us a lot (Bronocs; 1/12 - 8%. Chargers; 7/14 - 50%). - Is this the start of the Chargers now annual comeback streak? There we go then. 15 games, all wrapped up. Including the Thursday night game that means I finish the week at a respectable 11-5 from a pick perspective. For the season I'm now 83-77, which is still bad. Now hopefully this week I can get my retrospective of the rookie watch list done. He says..... Have a great day everyone

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