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My Thoughts on the NE/SD AFCCG Matchup

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Oswlek, Jan 16, 2008.

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  1. Oswlek

    Oswlek Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Yesterday I posted my numerical analysis that determined that the Chargers have, in fact, outperformed NE down the stretch and into the playoffs. I said at the end that I would delve further into my opinions of the game at a later time in order to keep the thread from getting too bogged down. Well, guess what?! That time is NOW! :rocker:

    * I keep hearing about this fabulously opportunistic defense that the Chargers possess. Despite some impressive numbers over their final 6 regular season games (even according to the points for/against) I haven't been all that impressed with their defense in the playoffs.

    First, the Chargers allowed three long red zone drives to a completely neutered TN team - at home. I have to admit that the fumble was a very nice defensive play, but what the hell were the doing allowing that much yardage in the first place? TN was playing without their top 2 WRs and with a hobbled running QB. It was probably the worst 6 point performance I have seen in a while. I said at the time that Indy would drive all over that defense and put up 35 points on them. Obviously this prediction came out wrong, but I don't think I was far off at all.

    Indy moved the ball almost at will against the Chargers, but were ultimately undone by their own errors. I'm sure that someone will counter this by saying that SD is great at forcing TOs, but that simply was not the case.

    Harrison fumbled on the most benign of hits.

    Wayne was open for a big gain and Manning just missed him. For all the accolades that Cromartie gets for making this int, he wasn't in any position to make a play if this is a better throw. This is similar to a C making a key rebound at the top of a key. Sure he made a nice play to get the ball, but why wasn't he under the basket where he was supposed to have been?

    The worst one was Keith's drop. Every relevent defender was sealed off from the play and Keith would have strolled into the EZ had he made the catch. The reason Weddle's catch was so amazing was because he was blocked completely out of the play!

    * Further along these lines, it wasn't just the TOs themselves that killed the Colts, it was the lost time. In a game where the TOP was basically even, Indy wasted 12 minutes of their offensive possessions by driving all the way down the field only to turn it over. Add in another 70 yard drive that ended in downs inside the 10 and you get a whopping 14:17 TOP and 223 yards on 4 drives that ended in 0 total points. 35 of Indy's 66 total plays were on these non-scoring drives.

    No matter what my feelings about the TOs are, SD definitely deserves credit for the final drive. But Indy could easily have kicked a FG had they chose to, even under those circumstances. So, for all intents and purposes, Indy put up 27 points on SD in effectively 18 minutes of possession. Why should I fear this defense again?

    Hell, even Indy's final drive could easily have ended in points had Clark made a relatively easy catch.

    My point here is not to make excuses for anyone. I am just pointing out that opportunities were more prevelent than the final score may have indicated. And this isn't "the guy was open and Manning didn't have time to see him but I saw him on the replay" type opportunities.

    * Last year, with less healthy TEs, an OL playing at a lower level, signifacantly worse WRs and a less effective running game NE still kept SD's pass rush at bay. And, frankly, their pass rush was quite a bit more fierce at that point than it is now. In fairness to SD, both Philips and Merriman left that game at various times.

    * All that said, the biggest reason why I am extremely confident that NE's offense will not be thwarted by SD's defense is.........


    Ted Cotrell.

    Ted Cotrell is a terrible scheming DC. I'm sure that he might be a fabulous guy at teaching schemes or motivating guys or something, because I can't see how else he would keep getting jobs. The guy just doesn't scheme for various offenses well at all. Some of this showed with a reluctance to put more than 6 guys in the box against the team that ran the ball the most in the entire league, but it was never a hinderance against Indy because Indy just doesn't alter their objectives much. Fortunately for SD, they run a defense that happens to give Indy trouble without mixing stuff up.

    Against NE, however, this just won't work. Even if SD's defense comes out with a few packages that NE wasn't expecting, Cotrell will keep running them long after NE has adjusted and he will not readjust until it is too late. NE's weapons are as plentiful as Indy's, but NE has the edge because they have more diversity of strengths, allowing them to tailor just about any type of offense needed.

    * I am worried about SD's offense. Regardless of whether NE has been playing extremely simplistic schemes, I don't see NE holding SD under 17 points, and frankly I can see them going over 20. However, I think this might be the first game in a while where NE takes a few pass rush tricks out of the bag. Rewatching some of those plays from Jax, it seems as if NE was focusing on keeping Garrard in the pocket.

    Against SD, no matter what QB plays, this won't be nearly as much of an issue against SD, but it is particularly so if Rivers plays. Scrambling and throwing on the run with two bad knees isn't exactly a winning formula.

    Additionally, in the past couple games, NE has basically sent AD and Vrabes on outside rushes every passing down. This is the game that I can see them being more exotic and disguising where the 4th and 5th rushers are coming from.

    * Many people have brought up the issue of the weather and how it affected the Baltimore game. I would like to point out a couple things:

    1) The wind was much gustier against Baltimore than it projects to be this weekend.
    2) Despite that and Baltimore's defensive tactics, NE was two dropped TDs - neither having anything to do with the defense - away from slapping down 35 points. On the road. In their 3rd straight night game.
    3) Watson's drop was the worst because it was both the most eggregious and because it gave Baltimore some life after NE drove right down the field on their opening possession.

    Against Philly, NE again did themselves in with a handful of drops with, amazingly enough, three of them coming on perfectly set up screens. Two of these happened on the same drive!

    Again, just like the Indy/SD paragraph, if NE makes several unforced errors then SD will most certainly capitalize. The past has shown that they aren't above having a few drops, but make no mistake. It wasn't the weather that stopped NE from putting up 30+ against Baltimore.

    * After the Jax game, I made a comparison to the TN playoff game if 2003. Well, this game is pretty damn close to the next one in 2003 as well. You have a #3 seed that plays extremely well down the stretch that wins a rematch in the first round and then takes down the #2 seed on the road. After the game, feeling a little too good about themselves, one of the players makes a (jestful?) comment that the NE could interpret as disparaging. Whether you take Olshansky's comments as a joke or not, you can be sure that NE took them very seriously. Just like last time.

    So, all that said, what is my actual prediction?

    For some reason the number 35-24 keeps jumping out at me. I don't particularly like it because I can't see NE scoring a TD every time they score, but I'm going to run with it anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  2. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

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    good post. ive got nothin much to add except heavy winds r pretty much all i can see stopping us from lighting this team up.
     
  3. Oswlek

    Oswlek Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I know it is a little long, but I'll keep bumping this for a little while.
     
  4. Horace's Ivories

    Horace's Ivories PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think the fact that the Pats D did a great job limiting (stopping) Garrard's running is a big deal. You would think that not having to worry about that with either Rivers or Volek will allow for better coverage in the secondary this week.
     
  5. Oswlek

    Oswlek Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Sending it through once again!

    Bombs away!
     
  6. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    In the draft forum, Ochmed Jones makes a very insightful analysis of why the Pats Defense has actually become more vanilla as the year has gone on. His conclusion is that the injury to Colvin and the move of AD outside has hampered the defense' ability to use exotic schemes in the back 8, forcing BB to go vanilla. This gives the opposing Qb simple reads, makes him feel comfortable in the pocket, and allowed turds like Feeley, Boller and E. Manning to go on a rampage. The context of OJ's post was that the team desperately needs LB depth in the coming years. Dimitroff in his opening Atlanta remarks stated that his draft philosophy was more "needs based" than best player available, and we all know from whom he learned his trade.

    The defensive inconsistencies, the confidence of these opposing Qbs as they survey the Pats D, gives me cause for concern. I haven't seen Qbs look so confident vs a Pats D since the middle of 2005.

    The Moss debacle, the burgeoning confidence of a SD team that shed its "choker" tag and became a symbol of clutch, gutty play, the Pats' swiss cheese D, all these things weigh on my mind. But the Pats have Brady, and that should be enough to win.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  7. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    34-17 pats
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  8. Oswlek

    Oswlek Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Because they are a good team and they have proven to pounce on others' mistakes.

    However, I think it is reasonable to believe that NE can control just how many mistakes that they make.
     
  9. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    some may argue this but the chargers had a soft schedule.... sure baltimore gave the pats fits.

    but how many playoff teams did the chargers face and beat during the regular season??

    they played 5 playoff teams and beat 2(colts and titans) and the titans were given a pass by the colts.
     
  10. NEPat

    NEPat Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I am not scared of SD's defense at all either. Manning had over 400 yds, and both picks were in the red zone.

    The Pats have the least amount of turnovers in the NFL, I think they'll do a better job of taking care of the football.

    I am resigned to the fact that the D is going to give up a good amount of points, and the offense will have to do its thing. If the Pats win, then the D against Green Bay (I think they win the NFC) is going to give me anxiety, but on Sunday the defense will do enough, and I don't see SD able to stop this offense. Especially not late in the game when SD is going to start feeling it in their legs that this is their third tough and physical game in a row.
     
  11. swuster

    swuster Rookie

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    Pretty much spot on with the conclusions I've drawn as well. As I've said time and time again, both on this forum and on the Chargers forum, if we want a shot at winning, our defense needs to get enough stops against your offense. I expect a few points against our offense, but we will be (already are, in fact) hard-pressed to keep the game close and squeak a win out. That being said, whoever's going to the SB is going to cream the other team. AFC over NFC any day.
     
  12. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    good stuff, Oswlek!
     
  13. Dojo Chargerfan

    Dojo Chargerfan On the Game Day Roster

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    All is very true. The Colts should have blown us out. The refs gave the Colts no opportunities at all to regain any momentum they lost during the game. We didn't play over the top defense that keeps the defenders in front of us and stiffin up in the endzone. We don't belong on the same field as the Patriots. We are just lucky to be here. Our defense actually sucks, no matter how good they look. It's all a fraud by the NFL so the Pats could embarass the Chargers once again in the playoffs :rolleyes:

    Do you HONESTLY believe anything you say? We made it here because we belong here, not because we got lucky. We were giving Manning some room, then taking it away, then giving it back, then taking it away again, trying to generate a turnover. But I guess it's all luck. BTW, Cromartie was overtop of the receiver while the safety made a quick break on the ball to break it up, only to quickly bounce into Cro's hands.

    Why so much Charger hating? Your "analysis" is full of holes and only providing Peyton Manning excuses but give no mention of the shotty calls that was only going against us. An analysis is supposed to be full of plus' and negatives. No mention of us leading the league in turnovers at all. No mention of the pass rush. No mention of the run stuffing defense. Just that Manning had 400 yards against us but we got lucky with the turnovers. Give me a break. I've been here since Saturday and this is probably the worst threads I've seen.
     
  14. Dojo Chargerfan

    Dojo Chargerfan On the Game Day Roster

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    ok ok. the first time i read this it made me mad but I realized that you're pretty much basing our defense on when you played us in week 2 and the Indy game. If I was a little harsh on the last post I appologize but our defense is a little different than we were in week 2. As you probably know, a coach needs to learn personel and vise versa. When we played you guys last it truely was embarassing but there's going to be changes to be made. I've been watching the Chargers all season and just the blitzing scheme and the impact that Steven Cooper has made since he's been named the defensive captain (16 tackles against Indy) has really turned our defense around. We are different since week 2 for the better. I know it's hard to fathom how that a teem could change so dramatically in 17 weeks but didn't the Patriots start 1-3 the year you won your first SB?
     
  15. NEPat

    NEPat Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    You haven't been reading many threads then.

    I fail to see the "Charger hate" in Oswlek's analysis. If you think he's wrong, fine, post why you think so. Don't act offended because he thinks the Chargers are going to lose, or because he thinks the Chargers D can be scored upon. That is not "hate."

    Either bring up something solid to counter his points, and you know, engage in some discussion on a discussion board, or go post in some of the other threads you think are so much better.

    Edit: Ok, you posted again while I was typing this. I'm glad you can see Oswlek was not taking shots!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  16. csfoster

    csfoster Practice Squad Player

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    Bottom line ---- Our defense is getting better while yours is slowing down.

    Whether or not the Bolts can bring consistent pressure against Brady is the only question and the answer is it remains to be seen.
     
  17. bradmahn

    bradmahn In the Starting Line-Up

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    Your defense allowed more points and yards last week than the Patriots. The Chargers' goal against the Colts should have been to stop the pass, they didn't. They struggled to get a consistent pass rush and allowed Manning to throw for over 400 yards (FOUR HUNDRED YARDS!). Sure they stopped the run, but the Colts have averaged 75 yards per game since playing the Patriots (meaning they have been one dimensional the entire second half of the season).

    The Patriots held Jax to nearly seventy yards below their season average in rushing. Fred Taylor averaged 3.6 ypc (1.8 yards below his season average) while Jones-Drew averaged 3.2 ypc (1.4 yards below his season average). Their goal was to stop the run; they did a damn good job of that. Doing that, though, was the reason Garrard had a very good game.

    Okay, so the Pats took away the Jaguars strength; the Chargers allowed the Colts' strength to pass for 400 yards and move the ball up and down the field. I'm sorry, which defense played better last week?
     
  18. DonBlackmon55

    DonBlackmon55 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Bottomline we have Tom Brady....you don't. That's where it starts and thats where it ends for you chumps. Our O cannot be stopped. I don;t care if your D is the second coming of the '85 Bears.

    We faced Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, Ravens pass rush and I'd say handled their pressure pretty well.
     
  19. Dojo Chargerfan

    Dojo Chargerfan On the Game Day Roster

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    I honestly think Carol that the Chargers does not need to rush Brady, I think they need to think of it as attacking a pocket. If they get to Brady, fine, but they need to break down the pocket and see if there's any chance at alll at getting to Brady.
     
  20. Dojo Chargerfan

    Dojo Chargerfan On the Game Day Roster

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    Here's
    a little bit of my "analysis" on the Patriots offense. Just in case you wanted to know.
     
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