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Another SD breakdown

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by tabzilla, Jan 8, 2007.

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  1. tabzilla

    tabzilla Rookie

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    I'm just going to post some stuff I've seen with SD since some of the stuff I've read so far seems very vanilla


    Sand Diego on Offense:

    1. San Diego tends to stretch out the run in both directions (left or right) and is the top in the league at wide runs to both sides. They actually run the ball better the more the play is stretched. Which partly attests to LT's ability/vision to cut up whenever there's a hole and partly because of his and his O-line's speed.

    To beat SD's strength (running the ball) we will have to hold the corner with TBC and Rosie (and possibly Vrabes at times) and force the run up inside. In fact SD is mediocre at best in running the ball inside. Not sure if its because their O-line isn't strong enough or whether they are not technially sound at "fighting in a closet" as is often the description of that kind of work). In terms of personel and stats they will not be able to run up inside on us Our D-line will prevent them. We've already faced the best in the league at the up the gut running and held our own (Jax, Buffalo, Chicago). But can we set the edge or will LT get outside???

    2. In terms of passing the ball Rivers is only good because of play action. If they can't run, Rivers will not pass. Its kinda like Indy's running offense in reverse. When LT's numbers go down, up come River's Int's.

    3. The third thing that stands out to me is when SD is on offense is that they are very poor at third down efficiency. Is it because they become predictable??? If so This could be a long day for SD.



    With the Pat's on Offense:

    1. We have a decent Running game.. which means it comes down to matchups. Lucky for us, SD has problems with a power running O-line (our hallmark this year, we actually run better against strong teams rather than finesse teams). Meaning we line up and try to knock the snot out of you... no silly blocking.

    Case in point SD has given up big yards to the top Power run teams (KC, Buffalo, and Cleveland - yes Cleveland is the #3 power running team) and in each case had a hard time winning, or have los tthe game. On the flip side, scheme running teams like Denver get mauled by SD... can't say exactly why, but I imagine that if SD gets outmuscled, their defense loses most of its advantage. I would have liked to see Jax or Carolina go against SD to test this theory.

    2. With Brady clicking.. we should be able to move the ball well against them without resorting to the run. SD isn't very good at stopping the pass.

    3. I wonder how the screen will work against Merriman. I haven't seen much of this strategy used against him and given our recent success as the screen it will be interesting to see how this matches up.


    I could see this as the typical setting up the run with the pass and when we get within 15 yards... just going back to the power run.



    Just some thoughts and things to watch when the game starts.
  2. kotong

    kotong Banned

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    -----------------------------------

    Maybe the Pats can do this at the 1 yd. line but not further back. No team has run straight up the gut against San Diego.
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    The Chargers have allowed 4.2 YPC - I doubt it's all to the outside.
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Good analysis tabzilla.
  5. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Very interesting. Thanks for the post.
    Yes I was thinking about PATs use of the screen. It will probably depend
    on how agressive Chargers want/able to be.

    Is there any chance BB changes things up and uses a lot of 4-3?
    Waren and Green as DE's and Seymour and Wilfork as DTs.
    That alingment may make it more difficult for Charges to stretch out the run especially if Warren and Green can use their
    power and quickness to get off their blocks and penetrate the backfield. Plus on playaction you got the speed of
    Green to get to Rivers.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  6. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    The Chargers' D is not at all what it is cracked up to be. I will do a larger post with offense and defense as well as end of year trends, but here are the breakdowns on the SD defense based on my points for/against style of analysis.

    Season
    PA - 18.9 vs. 19 ~ +.1

    Season minus the first two games
    (I exclude this not because they were the best two games of the year by SD, but because it was the Raider's first game of the year and it was the Kerry Collins led Titans. We all know that those are not indicative at all of what will happen on Sunday)
    PA - 21.1 vs. 19.6 ~ -1.5

    Season excluding the games Merriman missed
    PA - 16.3 vs. 19.8 ~ +3.5

    Games Merriman played minus the first two
    PA - 18.9 vs. 20.6 ~ +1.7


    This is a nice group that contains some very talented players. But there is no way that anyone could objectively look at these numbers and come away thinking that SD is a defensive force. Even the best of the above numbers (+3.5) more than two points away from what the Jets had been doing since their bye week. As I said before, if NE stops SD's pass rush, most will be surprised at how well NE moves on them.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  7. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Rookie

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    I'd love to know where you get your running inside versus running outside stats, since the rest of your stats are so inaccurate.

    The Chargers are 5th in the league in 3rd down conversion at 43.8%. How does this translate as "poor?"

    Rivers 9 Ints came in 7 games where the Bolts averaged 141 yards per game rushing, so your play action comment is totally bogus. Rivers actually had his worst games when LT's numbers were their highest. In Rivers' worst game of the year, versus KC, the Bolts rushed for 265 yards.

    I really don't know if you were just lying about the stats, or if you were looking at the wrong year, but you just got it almost all wrong. The Bolts thrive against power running teams and struggle against zone running teams. The Donks averaged 160 yards rushing in two games against us. The Bills rushed for 68 yards against us and the Browns rushed for 89. The last time we played KC, we gave up 90 yards rushing.

    The Bolts Pass D relinquished only .6 yards more per game than the Pats this year. Our completion percentage against was also within just a few percentage points of the Pats.

    Screens and draws have been fairly effective against the Bolts this year, but they seem to have gotten better at defending those the last few weeks.

    Again, thanks for the inaccurate analysis.
  8. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Rookie

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    Does your analysis factor in "garbage time" points? Because in their last five games, the Bolts have allowed a total of 13 points in the first half, while jumping out to leads of 17-0, 28-3, 14-3, 10-0 and 27-7.
  9. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    No because it would require a lot more time than I have to do everything.

    The quick and dirty of it is if you look at how many total points better than the opposition allowed/scored the two teams are, the one that nets out the best average usually wins playoff matchups. So far I have not factored garbage time into things, but the stat has been 10-1 in games that I looked into.

    I am sure that SDs offense will certainly help their total score, but the points allwed figure is surprisingly mediocre.
  10. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Rookie

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    So do you know the total score yet?
  11. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Probably Thursday.
  12. FloridaPatsFan

    FloridaPatsFan Rookie

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    There are a lot of posters here who love to digest the stats to come up with reasoning for why/why not a team will win. I look at the stats occasionally but I think stats can be useless when looking at the Pats on offense and defense. We are niether a primary passing or running team. We are both. Defensively, we will take away what you are trying to accomplish and make you go to plan B, or Plan C, if you have one.

    You San Diegoans have plenty of good reasons to be confident that you will win the game sunday. If my team went 14-2 and was playing at home, I would feel great about our chances.

    But instead of getting some wanna-be championship team, the Chargers reward is facing the Pats.....In a nutshell, its worst case scenario for Marty Schottenhiemer and Phillip Rivers.

    The Chargers might win, but honestly son, your great season is probably going to end Sunday. If there is one thing I know, one thing that Pats fans know, its this: The Chargers are a good team, but they are going to play a team that has won the biggest games of the year on the road when few would pick them to win. They are Champions with a burning hunger for more. And you guys are on the menu.......good luck.
  13. The Dude

    The Dude Banned

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    you were favored by 12 over oakland and almost lost :singing:
  14. FloridaPatsFan

    FloridaPatsFan Rookie

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    Exactly. This is exactly what the Pats will feed on this week during practice.

    Not sure whats so funny about that...but go ahead and laugh.
  15. Mainefan

    Mainefan Rookie

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    The one thing I like best about fans of other teams. You rarely hear from them after the game.
  16. FloridaPatsFan

    FloridaPatsFan Rookie

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    Yup. losing will do that to ya.
  17. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Rookie

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    So where is the guy that started this whacked out thread? All of the stats he cited were wrong. Is he just not going to respond?
  18. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This probably is pretty much just an expansion of Tabz' comments... rip me a new one at will, if it seems "off". This is just how I see it:

    Been thinking about the D side of this, and I'm no guru, but here's where I'm going with it thus far -

    Base 3-4 D (vs. LT)
    The Pats' 2-gap 3-4 is made to stop the run first and foremost, and I think that's order #1 of the day. I know LT is as good outside as in, so the edge is obviously as important as the gaps - so this is where we get to see Rosey Colvin earn his way into his cap-stomping contract for next year, and we get to see just how good TBC has gotten. A lot of people forget that, as good as the SD running game is, we're within a hair of the best in the league at stopping the run, and are the best in the red zone.

    Other stuff
    The problem is, SD is not going to obligingly run the same play over and over, and there need to be answers for Gates and (somewhat less threateningly) Jackson. Both are oversized targets, and giving both "special attention" on every play is impossible. LT coming out of the backfield creates a mismatch as well.

    Defense on the offensive (getting to Rivers)
    A potential area of exploitation is Rivers as a new QB; as identified by other posters, rattling him early and often would be a sweet "wannahave," if it is not at odds with the "gottahaves" of defending the primary playmakers. To blitz or not to blitz? It is a huge gamble, especially against SD, especially coming from the "control the gaps" philosophy NE has, to feature a Pittsburgh-esque blitz attack. If NE comes out blitzing, I'd say early and often, until it does not work. Otherwise, you're building SD's confidence rather than detracting from it.

    Let's get physical
    Every time LT gets the ball, gets near the ball, or even smells like he's near the ball, he needs to be punished. I'm not talking about cheap shots, going for injuries, or any of that crap. I mean nasty, mean, solid hits, legal hits. Every time. This was a big part of the Super Bowl 36 game vis a vis Faulk, and if the Pats win, they'll have a tape of the SD game they should play after season, with different guys taking turns yelling "You got FAULKED UP!"

    Play the corners up in man coverage and keep away from soft zones. SD's receivers aren't scary fast (and Rivers, good as he has gotten, is no Manning,) so you don't need a cushion. It also gives you that bump moment, and you could pass over a guy to a safety, and let Samuel (especially) come back to support a run play or help in the middle. Seems to me Samuel is physical enough to handle that -- and of course if Rodney is 100%, you want to alternate bringing him in for run support/blitz, and putting him in coverage. You need these guys from the secondary coming at the line of scrimmage in turns, and in turns throw additional coverage at outlet receivers (Gates/Tomlinson.) Predictability will = death in that regard... if SD knows who is coming, and there will be open field underneath for Gates, it's over... ditto outlet passes to LT. But one thing is certain, letting the safeties consistently cover deep and keeping the CBs in coverage, will put the Pats back on their heels, having to eventually pit our red zone D against their red zone O, even if it comes a little at a time. We're going to have to gamble that we won't lose this game on the big aerial play, and go from there.

    Having that flexibility underneath will hinge on getting bumps on every receiver coming off the line, then herding the bastids to the outside (knocking them off their routes...) You have to pick your poison, and I would pick setting these guys comparatively free, man coverage... and see if Rivers can beat us deep.

    Gates, Gates, Gates... Gates is a read/react concern (or nightmare, whichever the case may be.) Both Gates and Tomlinson deserve instant reaction when the play does not unfold into a run play, but both need to be whacked off the line of scrimmage - that's a pretty quick read/react, but that is the one aspect of the game I trust the Pats with more than the Bolts. They've been there before, they're very sharp, and they're incredibly good as a team (i.e., being the right place each play, even if they're not the most athletic linebackers in the league.) We're definitely going to lose some of those mis-matches (LBs against Gates or Tomlinson...) and in those situations, it's still important that SD is punished even for success. Fundamentals first, make sure the guy's getting down... but punish the ballcarrier at all times (again cribbing from the SB 36 notes.)

    Beyond that, coverages will (as always) need to be mixed up, to catch Rivers off balance and keep him that way. But Rivers still needs to be second billing - take LT out of the game (or more realistically, contain LT,) and the Bolts become pedestrian. Confuse the issue vis a vis Gates, and they become frustrated. Throw in a zone blitz or two (scary as it sounds,) and you may rattle Rivers from the get-go -- assuming you pick the right side to zone-blitz (study that tape! Study them tendencies! rah rah sis boom bah.) Oh yeah, and when a guy catches a pass? Beat the crap out of him.

    Offense

    I left this for last, because the Pats have the advantage the Bolts don't -- you can not take away one or two players and cripple the Pats' attack. Protecting Brady is job 1, of course, and using Maroney out of the backfield a lot would be an excellent wrinkle (as would an aerial attack to Gaffney/Caldwell/YourNameHere.) There's no particular receiver the Bolts can shut down and knock us off our game plan, because the NE offensive game plan is unusually resilient to the "great man" theory of football.

    The preference, of course, will be to keep the pace of the game brutal and grinding, using Corey to grind out the clock, and Maroney for explosive bursts, until and unless it's shown that SD can shut down our run game. I do not see that happening, ultimately. We may not do the job as well as LT will for the Bolts, attention or no attention, but we will be able to do the job four yards, five yards, three yards at a time, keeping the D fresh -- which they'll have to be, because they have their work cut out for them.

    But that's how I see this one -- won or lost in the trenches. We need to think about the secondary as being 3 or 4 guys pretty much on islands, to be able to handle the job underneath and in the trenches (barring any wizardry I fully expect to see from BB.)

    Okay, this post is long enough to contain about 50 basic football knowledge mistakes... have at it!

    PFnV
  19. tomlinson21

    tomlinson21 Rookie

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    Good take, P. I think if that works out as you planned it: you win. I'm not so much worried about your running game. I'm more worried about your brady's passing ability and accuracy.

    The only problem Brady will have however is:
    1. Caldwell coughing up the "big one". He's notorious for that.
    2. Pass protection against 2 SD OLB's that have over 10 sacks each for the season.
    3. No huddle offense will be almost nearly impossible to do with a crowd that is hungry for it's 1st playoff win in over 10 years. Not like Brady's never been in those situations....but the Q's going to be rockin. Interesting to see how he audibles out there on Sunday.
    4. 2 ILB's in Godfrey and Edwards who play pass coverage like DB's.

    You guys can get us good if:
    1. Brady takes advantage of the middle of the field. For some reason that area is always left open.
    2. Run to Edwards side of the ball. He can't defend the run better than how he defends the pass.
    3. Get the ball out of Brady's hands as quickly as possible. Tough feat to do when Merriman's running down his throat all game long. Double team, triple team 56...there's another guy to worry about and that's Philipps. But if Brady can use the short, slant patterns....you may pull it off.
  20. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So the entire 2nd half is garbage time in your opinion?

    The Bills were down 17-0 at halftime scored two TD's in the first 7 minutes of the third quarter to make it 17-14 and then no one scored until LT scored with just over 3 minutes left in the game. Then Losman threw a TD with 30 seconds left to get within 3 and chance for an onside kick. How is that garbage time?

    The Broncos were down 28-3 at the Half then scored 17 points to make it 28-20 in the third quarter only to have your Chargers score 20 garbage time points in the 4th quarter to pull away. :rolleyes:

    The seachickens were down 7-0 at the half and then 13-7 after the third. They went up 17-13 in the 4th quarter, only to lose the game on a Jackson TD reception in garbage time (30 seconds left in the game) ;)

    You make it seem as if all the points were scored late in the 4th quarter when the game was out of hand and that the Chargers were in cruise control for the entire second half. That wasn't even close to being the case, as I have shown, every one of those games were down to a single posession during the second half.

    The KC game was low scoring for the most part. The only game that your premise holds true in is the Arizona game.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  21. tomlinson21

    tomlinson21 Rookie

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    Very good observations....but morale to the story? Don't expect you got us by the balls until the game clock ticks to 00:00. This team is resilient enough to catch up from behind. Sitting on leads against us just won't work.
  22. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't think either team will really control the entire game and could very well come down to a FG or a late TO. That guy had some revisionist history going on. I watched all but the last two games he mentioned and I certainly didn't remember a lot of garbage time scoring going on.
  23. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Rookie

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    I seem to recall that when we've been burned by LT, it has been the bounce-out type of run and not the stretch. They showed last year in the playoffs they could stuff the Denver stretch play. Pats seem to be able to stuff the run when determined, like against Pittsburgh and Denver. Rivers will have to win this game for SD if it has to be won on offense.

    I expect a very physical, low scoring game -- then again, I did when the Pats beat the Steelers 41-27. I'd like to feel more confident in the kicking game because it could come down to STs.
  24. DagoTom

    DagoTom Rookie

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    This may appear to be true but in reality a lot of plays designed to go off-tackle end up being taken outside by LT. Not every run we do outside is designed to go outside. LT is as good as there is at improvising.

    Not sure where you got this. LT, like any RB, will struggle when teams are stacking the box to stop him. But LT does very well at getting 2-5 yards on runs where you think he's stacked. And you obviously haven't seen much of Michael Turner. He's a power-runner and he CAN run between the tackles. He averaged over 6 yards per carry and almost all of them were right up the gut. LT is the lightning and Turner's the thunder.

    Yeah. Worked really well when we killed Pittsburgh in the second half after they shut down LT. It worked for KC in our first game against them for a half...and then we game out and scored 21 in the second half. Then LT went on a run of 10 games where pretty much no one stopped him.

    When we were down 28-7 on the road in Cincy it was PR who led the comeback with his arm. When we were down 24-7 on the road in Denver, it was PR who led the comeback with his arm. And of course LT was involved in that, but it wasn't "hand off LT, hand off LT, Rivers makes 3-yard pass."

    This is just plain bad research. The Chargers were 5th best in the NFL on third-down percentage...two spots better than the Pats. What are you looking at? Under NO system can you call our 3rd down conversion rate poor.


    You need to account for the fact we're healthy again in the front-seven for the first time all year. Getting Luis Castillo back is huge. He's our Seymour.

    We gave up big yards to KC? In the first game yes. In the second game? Not so much. Against Cleveland? Gimme a break. Against Buffalo? Come on! What are you looking at? Cleveland had 90 yards rushing on us and 27 of that was Frye. Buffalo had 63 yards rushing and 26 of that was Losman. You really couldn't do better than that?

    We maul Denver because we see them twice a year. The teams that give us the most trouble are the teams that can do two things: Pass protect at an elite level and who have elite receivers. See: Cincinnati (who we still beat, btw.) Our defense is also somewhat vulnerable to screens and misdirection, but only in stretches. They tend to get exploited on those kinds of plays for maybe a series and then they close it down.

    With Brady clicking? That's kind of a self-fulfilling statement, isn't it? That's like saying "if we move the ball well against them we'll move the ball well against them." And as to SD not being good at stopping the pass, we're better than average. We've had some trouble against teams that have multiple elite receivers...Chad Johnson/Houshmanzadah, Anquan Boldin/Fitzgerald, Torry Holt/Bruce...but you guys don't even have one elite receiver, do you.

    We are sometimes vulnerable to the screen, but Merriman also bats a lot of those kinds of passes down at the LoS.

    Good luck with that. If you can avoid negative plays you will probably have success. But the thing is that Brady can't complete passes from his back.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  25. tomlinson21

    tomlinson21 Rookie

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    You're right, there never was a game this year I would call "garbage points" in any game we played this year.
  26. tomlinson21

    tomlinson21 Rookie

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    I agree....time of possession will be key. I think it will ultimately be a game that will be played quite strategically --- almost like a game of chess. Both teams trying to establish the run and then pass second.
  27. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    Brady has one of the quickest releases in the game and unusually high pocket presence. The Pats don't need the Bolts to "worry" about their running game. They just need to have one so that they can play a balanced offense. Sunday will come down to which team stops the run better I think.

    And better minds than us will be plotting and scheming. I am confident BB will come up with a great plan. It is up to the players to execute. And speaking of playoffs, that's when experience is another factor, and the Pats have the advantage in that department.

  28. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Exactly looking back through your schedule with the exception of the 49ers, Broncos and Cardinals game all of your games were essentially one or two posession games (The cardinals actually scored some "garbage time" points). The 49ers held it close for a half and then you guys blew them away (thanks, I laid some heavy points in that one). The Broncos made it a game in the 3rd quarter only to get slaughtered in the 4th. Every other game was somewhat close. As a guy who watched his team win 21 in a row without blowing anyone out, I can't hold that against ya.
  29. DagoTom

    DagoTom Rookie

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    There's only one thing that I will predict for what I think is an extremely unpredictable matchup: The Chargers will go hard for 60 minutes and will never think they're out of the game, even if you guys get up on them early. That's been a common theme this year. The Chargers tend to put up point in bunches. I've seen them held for long stretches to 3 or 7 points and then bust out 21, 28, 27, 42 points in the second half. Once Cam Cameron gets a defense figured out he can pour it on like no other.

    And don't say it can't happen to your team because that's exactly what happened when we played you last year. I'm not saying it will happen but I've seen a lot of Pats fans who simply assume that BB will figure us out and will shut us down. You may even think he's succeeded after a half of play, but don't ever count this team out.

    Bill Belichik's gift is taking away a team's strength, and that's especially effective against teams that are one-dimensional. Even the Colts were always one-dimensional in the playoffs against you guys because Manning always thought he was going to win the game on his own. The Raiders were a heavily predominant passing team. The Steelers, heavily running. The Rams...heavily passing. The Eagles, heavily passing. The Jets, heavily passing. You played a balanced Denver team last year and lost. Why to them?

    Because it's not that hard to gameplan to take away a team's ONE strength. It's much harder when a team is balanced, and the Chargers are a very balanced team.

    The one major caveat that I will give you is the Philip Rivers factor. Let's face it--we won't know about him until a week from today. So far he's passed every test. No one thought we'd be better with PR than we were with Brees, and we are. No one thought Rivers was ready to beat a pressure defense like Pittsburgh and win when LT was a non-factor, and he did. No one thought PR was ready to lead the team on multiple 4th-quarter comebacks to win and he did it 5 times this year. No one thought PR could have a horrible game and recover to play well at the end, and he did it against Seattle. And just when everyone thought PR was in a season-ending tailspin he came out and played great in our last game.

    The playoffs are uncharted territory. I'll grant you that, and it will be a challenge, no doubt. But so far PR has passed every test, so it's not like some optimism from Charger fans is totally unwarranted.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  30. PatsFanInVa

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    Yeah, believe it or not, I see the short passing game as an option to go to if necessary, but not as the primary mode of attack, because as you say, Donnie is a "drag three yards then tackle" guy.

    As far as "why the middle always seems soft," that kind of goes with "two guys over 10 sacks." They get the QB, it's a sack. They don't, it's a dump-off. I do agree with previous posters regarding Brady's mobility, release, and pocket presence. He won't be throwing on his back all day, but you might get to him a time or two.

    Although the short passing game can keep the clock running, it's not nearly the clock-eater that a good running game is. I think the Pats will at least attempt to make the ground game a featured point of attack, despite SD's reputation for stopping the run.

    All in all, I think most people here are seeing this being a classic matchup, as opposed to a blowout for one side or another... I see it that way too. But I do have to say, the Bolts are going to be the tallest order we've seen all season. Maybe even tougher than beating the Ravens the following week ;)

    PFnV
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