Overreaction Monday: Week 4 Edition

Posted: October 3, 2011 by dontbeskerritt in NFL

This is week’s Overreaction Monday comes from our great contributor Scoopbald.  Also, please read LBC’s Panic Button story as we finish a quarter of the NFL season this week.

My Over Reaction of the Week

At this point I just need to vent for a moment.  I finally got to watch an NFL game with my father for the first time in like 4 years and as always it proved to be an enlightening experience; let me explain.

Killa Cam Loves the Wide Open NFL

We were watching the Green Bay Packers put a spanking on the Denver Broncos.  I was thoroughly enjoying the target practice exhibition that Aaron Rodgers and his receivers were putting on for the fans, my father, not so much.  All that he could muster up to say about the game was, “They didn’t used to play like that when I was a kid!”  Now when it comes to sports, my dad can be pretty judgmental and very close-minded so initially I felt that he was in a poor mood because our beloved Cleveland Browns were on the opposite end of a similar spanking earlier that day. Hell, I also was a little sour about that defeat.

Yet how could my father not embrace the GB offense? It’s like a well oiled machine.  Rodgers hitting Jennings, Driver, Finley and Jones in stride with pinpoint
precision.  James Starks abusing the cut back lanes.  Great protection.  Great rhythm. Effective scheme etc.   Then it hit me, he does not like any team where the QB is the focal point more so than the actual team itself.  This would include Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Brees and even Colt McCoy.  I figured it was just another bitter Cleveland sports fan jealous about the fact that we just can’t seem to get a franchise QB or even an above average QB at that.

Then it happened, I watched the Baltimore Ravens take on the New York Jets in what was supposed to be a competitive matchup of two Super Bowl contending teams.  While the game proved to be very entertaining from the standpoint of a fan, it was also very sobering in the fact that football has changed a great deal and not always for the better.  When my father kept repeating “They didn’t used to play like that…” he was speaking in terms of the concentration on the pass.  Now the QB position has always been the glamorous position of the NFL, but there was never any doubt that a good running game and a solid defensive unit (ground and pound) could get you to the Promised Land.

Nowadays it seems like the QB position is sensationalized more than ever and the problem is that it is not always deserving.  Even worse is that it seems that this focus on having a flashy, productive QB put up big numbers is affecting the way O-Coordinators call games.  Both, the Jets and the Ravens should be run first, defensive minded football teams hands down!  Yet for some reason, they seem insistent on making their QBs prime time players and I personally think it’s going to be the downfall of their respective seasons.

Look at the numbers from last night.  The two quarterbacks were a combined 21 of 66 for a combined total of 282 yards. Neither had a QB rating above 40!!!
Mark Sanchez was especially putrid accounting for 4 turnovers, three of which went the other way for scores. Flacco is not to be let off the hook either as he had two turnovers himself, one returned for a TD to let NYJ back into the game and another which gave NYJ a golden opportunity to pull even closer until well, Sanchez touched the ball.

What surprised me the most about this game is that it took until about midway through the 4th quarter for the Ravens to realize that Flacco did not need to throw the ball; in fact, they were better off when he didn’t.  At one point, Joe Flacco failed to connect on 12 straight passes.  That’s right, no check downs, screen passes, crossing routes, slants, jump balls nothing!  But let’s be honest, unless it was 3rd and long, why would he even drop back to pass in a game where they were up by twenty and the opposing offense was struggling to move the ball on the BAL defense?

But I will give the Ravens credit for figuring it out before it was too late which is more than I can say for my fellow mancaver’s beloved Dallas Cowboys.  Even though the Cowboys held a 27-3 lead over the Detroit Lions in the 3rd quarter they continued to put the ball in his hands and he responded with three interceptions.  Sad to say, this performance is more or less typical of Romo, but it seems to have no affect on the play calling.

All over the league, teams have become pass happy and almost abandoned the run.  Look at the Rams, or even my own Cleveland Browns, Sam Bradford almost always throws over 35 passes and this past Sunday, Colt McCoy dropped back a whopping 61 times.  Hell even Donovan McNabb has passed more than
30 times in 3 of the four Vikings contests (only exception being that 39 yard debacle), while AP has only surpassed 25 carries once this season.  Same thing goes for the Chicago Bears; Jay Cutler has attempted 30 or more passes 3 times while Matt Forte has only surpassed 20 carries once.

The thing is I don’t understand why.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of a handful of elite quarterbacks who can carry a team alone.  These quarterbacks in no particular order include, Rodgers, Brady, Brees (although his most successful season came with a decent running back trio), Manning, Vick and Rivers depending on the day of the week.  If your team does not have one of these players on its roster, then you need to establish some sort of running attack to be successful.  It’s even more discouraging with teams like the Jets, Ravens and Bears who really should just rely on their running game, defense and special teams to out grind the competition.

Now I’m not going to say that football as I’ve grown to love it is doomed, but the landscape is definitely changing.  As a fan of the sport I enjoy a contest where
teams can score, but I don’t want to see every guy that lines up under center chuck the ball downfield 40 times.  I actually enjoy games like the Ravens vs. Steelers a great deal due to the physicality of both defenses combined with their downhill running styles.  As entertaining as it may be to watch Green
Bay or New England rip a team’s pass defense to shreds teams need to realize that these are exceptional quarterbacks in exceptional systems and those
systems work for those teams.  All I ask is that a team sticks to its identity so that I can watch good football.

Texans’ Hold ‘Em

Kudos to the Houston Texans for their victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.  What makes this even more special is that they did it with defense and a very potent rushing attack.  Arian Foster put together a 30 carry 155 yard performance (the most since Vietnam) against the vaunted Steelers rush defense.  On the other side of the ball the Texans held the Steelers below 300 total yards, and also held Big Ben to a passer rating of 61.3.

I’m torn though on whether or not to believe this performance can be considered “On the Money” or not.  I have zero faith in the Texans’ defense.  Although they are pretty much middle of the road (10th in passing and 17th in rushing), that comes against a struggling Colts offense, a poor Miami offense and a very
mediocre Steelers offense.  The only “good” offense that they faced (NO) torched them for 40 points.  It will be interesting to see whether or not they can stop the Raider rushing attack next week.  As far as the Steelers are concerned, yes the defense is a step slower than last year, but I can’t say with great confidence
that this -10 turnover margin that they currently carry will sustain.  Furthermore I still believe that this will continue to be a team that will be tough to run on.  Then again, they did make it to the Super Bowl last year and we all know what happens to them the year after making the Super Bowl.

  1. LBC says:

    Great post, I have to agree the game of football is completely changing to see who can score the most points. I started recognizing this when recently the superbowls were all about offense with an occasional defensive stand every now and then. As much as I enjoy shootouts, the Ravens vs Jets game was great. So many defense plays sacks, blitzes, and most of all people getting hit without having a penalty flag thrown for every single tackle.

    I do hope Jason Garret and Romo come to realize that if we up 24 points it is within the rules to run the ball and kill that clock lol.

  2. DaDoc says:

    Man. That was a great post. I really hate to see teams try to become what they really aren’t built to to do on offense. I like the old school grind it out type of game.

    • scoopbald says:

      Peep this, we are in week 4 of the season and each individual week constitutes one of the top 4 most prolific passing weeks yardage wise in NFL History. Wes Welker is on pace for 160 receptions and 20 TDs. Calvin Johnson is on pace for 32 TDs. Eyepoppin statistics…

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