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NFLN replay: Pats vs. Miami constructive analysis

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Patspsycho, Dec 10, 2009.

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  1. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I watched the game closely, and have made a number of observations in addition to reading most everything that has been written about the game. I am not going to get too much into X and O's because Pats1 has done an excellent job of that:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/10/300868-dolphins-tape-breakdown.html

    Now since I do not have DVR, I must defer to those who do and stand corrected where applicable. With that in mind, here are my conclusions:

    1) There is fundamentally nothing wrong with our defense, except the pass-rushing. The two-gap system that BB uses, works just fine. However Gasper does have a point when he complains about the sparse use of the stunt, twists, etc. since our only sack of Henne came out of a TBC stunt, where Miami lost track of him- he emerged behind Henne and along with Mayo, hammered Henne.

    2) BB is not "out of touch" in terms of how to run a football game. Miami made adjustments, he and the OC/DC made adjustments, back and forth. The final adjustment that Miami made, doubling up on Welker with 4 minutes left occured so fast it didn't allow our OC to adjust or for BB to override, before Brady turned it over.

    3) Moss was just fine in the game. He did nothing that was really amiss except for the blown block on Faulk. However, he was not the only one to blow his block. Light also blew his block on that play. People don't understand that his mere presence is often enough to change the complexion of the game. In his notes, Pats1 discusses the cover 1 that led to the Aiken TD. What I want to add to that is that the top safety had already veered over to Moss's part of the field and got caught flat-flooted when Brady threw to Aiken, and made things worse by just standing to watch the play, and only kicking into gear after he realized Aiken had come up with the ball.

    4) There is nothing wrong with our TE productions. They were very busy. I saw Baker in passing routes only 9 times and 1 of them, he caught a pass. The rest of the time he and Watson were busy blocking, something they did well. TE blocking was crucial to that long completion to Welker, with 3 minutes left in the half. They did a good, solid job.

    Now for the culprits, I have identified 3 of them, and the last one will get me hung, quartered, and drawn in this forum (and especially by a few posters), but it is my conclusion and I will stick to it. I had the gut instinct during the game and re-watching it confirmed it and gave me the evidences by which to argue my premises:

    1) Henne is happy he doesn't have to wash his uniform:

    This is a testament to how non-existent our pass-rushing is at this point, and with that in mind, it is unfair to indict the upper two levels of our defense, the LB and secondary corp, when there is no pressure on the QB. Even Ryan Leaf could pick them apart if he had all day to throw. Key stat for Henne: 52 attempts. Yes, 52 pass attempts, and the last time that was done in Miami was when Marino was still throwing.

    I will tell you this right now: both Burgess and AD are gone. I don't know how they define pass-rushing in their heads, but whatever they are doing in there isn't anything remotely resembling pressure. Sure you can run headlong into the DL or blocking TE, but the point of pass-rushing is to find a way to pressure or to get to the QB. On the one time that AD managed to get close enough to get into Henne's field of vision, Henne threw the ball right into Meriweather's hands.

    One key to Henne being able to have a field day was part of the game plan they implemented and stole from the NO game plan which was to throw pretty much on all 1st down when the base defense (and therefore the heavier D) was on the field, and when the Nickel or Dime came on, Miami was almost always in run or play-action option. They went right after Butler, picking on him as much as they could. They also went with an unbalanced line sometimes as Pats1 pointed out, but the Pats adjusted without a beat. To Butler's credit, his performance in the 2nd half was much better. People are also too hard on Wilhite. The guy is a work in progress. He doesn't lack for effort and willingness to try to do something, he just needs to wait for the game to come to him and to stop playing on pins and needles, and jump on every little twitch. The man needs to just relax and allow himself the right to evolve.

    As Brady points out, the ability to close out a game is essentially mental toughness, being able to deliver the knockout punch, and the defense just didn't do that. It gave Miami life, time and again, by allowing them consecutive FG's that were really not much in the way of points, but psychologically let Miami feel like they could come back in the game anytime, and they did.

    Pats1 talks about thebreakdown on Bodden where he gets hi-lowed and Miami got their TD in the 3rd quarter, but what I want to point out here is that the breakdown actually occurred on the previous play where Bodden lost Hartline in zone coverage handoff. To Sparano's credit, he caught that and called for the same play again, and those of you with DVR can see that right away Henne is just telegraphing on the next snap, doing a little Manning shuffle, then hits Hartline. Why nobody picked up on the fact that this was essentially the same play, and especially the way Henne just telegraphed- again, the inexperience of the defense.

    People think that the Wilhite PI was a killer, but to the credit of our defense, we only gave up a FG.


    2) Our return game sucks:

    We only have 99 yards on 5 KR and the average return ends on our 25 yard line, that is just not acceptable. Part of it is I believe that Slater just doesn't have a KR vision of the field. He nearly always gets whacked on the first contact. Execution was sloppy- breakdowns on the blocking, communications, what have you's. I would like to have someone else on KR- hopefully we will see that. I just don't believe Slater has the vision and talent to feel how the ST coverage is getting deployed.

    3) Tom Brady's ability to finish game was just NOT there:

    Before you line up to assassinate me, please let me present my arguments and evidences.

    First, prior to this year, our record when leading at the half: 66-1
    This year, it has been 6-4.

    Now, this game in particular, Brady was doing fine up until his red zone INT. That is when things just went downhill.

    That was plain and simple on Brady. He lost track of the clock, and knowing damn well that it was a quick and out no-read play, he should have called timeout or at least taken the DOG, but he threw right into coverage. He did not even throw a jump-ball. No way it is Moss's fault on this play.

    Now, the usual Brady would have bounced back and come back big, except he didn't.

    On the next drive, he overthrows Aiken. To his credit, the next play, a bad Faulk draw was not his fault.

    Yet, with a little over 4 minutes left, Miami made a drastic shift on defense, electing to double up on Welker. 4:01 3rd and 11, what does Brady do except force a throw into double coverage, trying to hit Welker?

    Then on the next play, he overthrows Welker by a good 5 yards.

    On the next to last play, the long throw to Aiken was not his fault. Aiken actually messed up on the play which was a rub with Welker going over the top and out, except that Aiken turned and sped up the sideline for some reason, crowding the space.

    However, the next play that kills the game, is the INT he threw. Why throw it? It's only 2nd down, ball is spotted on our 35. 35 seconds to drive 30 yards into FG range. Just how hard is that?

    That is a progressive chain of errors that is simply unheard of for Brady. It is an aberration. And since it is an aberration, I have no reasons to believe it will happen again. Maybe prior to the game, he knew Gisele was having contractions? Who knows? I really don't see it happening again.

    Now on that last Miami 4th down conversion crucial to their FG that pushed them over the top- we have more of the same fear that our secondaries have about getting caught underneath, so they play too high and Butler gives up that rollout throw. Pats1 talks more about this.

    In conclusion: Miami didn't win the game, we lost it. That's all there is to it. People are jumping off the bridge for no good reason. Sportswriters are writing our obituaries and once again they will be doing an about-face. I really feel that if we came into this game 8-3 or 9-2, people would just say "damn that Miami stadium, why do we always lose there." However, we came in with 4 losses which is pushing it, and of course when it turns to 5, it's a major crisis.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  2. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Consider the effect of the following:

    DEFENSE
    1) The loss of Seymour
    2) The loss of Hobbs (both as a nickel/dime and as a kick returner)
    3) The offseason choices to improve our LB's and passrush
    4) The use of AD
    All of these were conscious decisions by Belichick
    The situations at passrusher, linebacker and returner weren all known in the offseason.

    OFFENSE
    5) this team is 6-4 and is being outcoached when AHEAD going into the third quarter.
    6) the offense has not been able to close the deal (perhaps a real OC would help)
    7) we have failed to give Brady any WR receiver targets other than Moss and Welker. What do we think is going to happen if there is a long-term injury?
    Much of this is a consequence of offseason decisions by Belichick.

    BOTTOM LINE
    A) Belichick is said to have done a great job in this last offseason. Although I cannot understand his blindness with regard to the LB siuation or a couple of the draft decisions, I tend to agree that Belichick did a fine job in the draft and in free agency. After all, we did acquire Bodden, Banta-Cain, Taylor, Baker, Springs and McGowan. McGowan and Springs were serious injury risks. belichick took a chance. One of them worked out this year. maybe both will be healthy next year. That's fine.
    B) Unfortunately, all that Belichick did was not nearly enough. The TEAM WAS JUST NOT AS GOOD as the media or most of us thought. Belichick knew this was a rebuilding year. So, he cleaned house.
    C) Perhaps if we did not have such rose-colored glasses, we might have seen what some posters did in fact predict, especially after Seymour was traded. This team just didn't project to be a 12-4 team. Anything could happen, but 12-4 just wasn't reasonable. There were many who thought 11-5 before Seymour left was reasonable and 10-6 thereafter.

    We'll see if these posters were too optimistic or right on the money.

    Personally, I thought we'd go 3-2 in the last 5 games, winning our division games. I think I counted on more team cohesiveness than really exists.
     
  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    This is good stuff as usual, thanks for doing this.

    I do think you're being harsh on Brady. The pass to Moss was terrible, but so was Moss' effort, he could've broken it up. 99/100 times, Moss keeps the DBs at bay with his arms and rises up before the DB can, just off the top of my head I can think of specific examples of this exact catch and throw that resulted in a TD in 07: Washington, Buffalo, NYG. Ball was thrown more to the oustide in those cases, but in all those instances, Moss used his physicality to sort of push off the DB and rise up. This is the first time in 3 years we haven't seen Moss do that - either he didn't know it was coming, or he's fighting through an injury that prevents him from doing so.

    As for the last interception, I forget how many timeouts we have, but I believe it was 0, which means if Brady was sacked, its game over. It's irrelevant, Aiken should've caught the ball on the play before in FG range and we should've been kicking a game winner. As for the overthrow to Aiken, I'm guessing that's a timing issue, when you're used to throwing a deep ball to a guy like Randy who runs a 4.3, its hard to turn around and toss one to a guy who runs in the 4.6. Plus I thought Aiken turned early and slowed down, aka a Chad Jackson.
     
  4. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    My assessment of Brady was that I thought it was an aberration and hence unlikely to happen again, because it is so unlike him to make quite a few mental errors consecutively. So I don't really hold it against him to blow a game every once in a great while.

    In regard to whether Moss could have broken up the play- I don't have the privilege of being able to rewind on that, so my snap judgement was that I think it happened so fast there was just no time for anyone to really react.

    I was not aware that we were out of timeouts by the end of the game.
     
  5. Mack Herron

    Mack Herron In the Starting Line-Up

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    #24 Jersey

    Excellent post, thanks. One question: didn't they replace Slater with Butler on KO returns? He looked no better unfortunately, and this remains a weakness despite drafting a couple of guys specifically for this purpose (Slater, Tate). It says something about Wheatley that he cannot get on the field to get a chance here. If Taylor ever comes back, then I say its Maroney's job.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  6. satz

    satz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Adding

    1)Butler created 5 incompletion before the 4th down play. Again in such a scenario if he had played off the receiever he would have seen the QB run outside the pocket giving away that hartline is the primary receiver.

    2)Pass rush : Last year due to injury we saw woods in there and he was making progress .This year i expected he will get some playing time on the right side , where you stop the run first and foremost and have limited pass rush duty.Instead we got burgess and play him there way too much.Its not a knee jerk response but with Woods we had decent pass rush and very good edge setting without rotating personal .

    3)Brady did not look himself .He looked like someone on pain killer injection or something. Might be i am the only one who noticed this . I thought when he went in after getting slammed he got injured.The announcer said he was wearing his rib gaurd around his hip for some reason.

    4)Neal is so critical for us. If vollmer returns and neal is still injured i want to see kazur moved inside to play gaurd .He has trouble inspace but playing as a gaurd he will not in alot space.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  7. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    I can't remember if we were or not - I deleted this from my DVR out of disgust when it happened, which I do now regret. But if I recall, we did use up all our TOs on Miami's previous possession - does anyone else remember?

    Fair enough on the Moss play. I just think that while it certainly wasn't Brady's best throw, it needn't have been an interception. Credit Davis for a great play, of course.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  8. ForThoseAboutToRock

    ForThoseAboutToRock Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Anyone who can watch the last interception thrown that ended this game should take an extra moment to watch Nick Kaczur get blown backwards by his man, who wound up wrapped around Brady's legs and forced the horrible throw. Poor Nick was not even remotely competitive in that situation, and it was a 3 man rush!
     
  9. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, we were indeed out of timeouts. They were used on the previous MIA possession to give us some time left. This is why I personally don't fault TB as much as some others on the last INT--because if he takes a sack it's game over anyway. Maybe they could've gotten one last play off, but it's pretty much irrelevant.

    The only real problem I have with Brady was the INT in the endzone, and sometimes, stuff happens, and even the great ones make mistakes. While I can agree TB had some execution issues and overthrows, he also was playing with at least 2 injuries that we know of, and if his shoulder is indeed still bothering him at all, that makes 3 injuries.

    I was impressed with his toughness, his ability to get back on the field, and his ability to shake off some pretty major blows. At one point I kept thinking he was gonna get killed back there, yet he kept shaking it off and coming back for more. His toughness is to be credited. He played 3 great quarters, and made a poor descision/mistake with the end zone INT. If you couple that with leaving the ball inside the 10 on the failed 4th down attempt, they left the ball inside the 5-10 twice, which of course would've led to more points.

    Considering his total lack of weapons, and the way he still distributes the ball around, I am impressed still. I don't feel he has too much to work with, and has played through adversity and injury. I have gotten impatient before this season with Brady--but I feel he gets a pass here because he still was overcoming a lot.
     
  10. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Anyway, real nice analysis Psycho, great job.
     
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