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Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Oswlek, Dec 10, 2007.

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  1. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Those are the guys that I know and love. Welcome home gentlemen.

    With regard to my long-winded thoughts, I have to admit that a birthday party distract my usual laser-like focus on the game, so this may be a little discumbobulated. Feel free to correct any errors.

    * Pitt has Brady to thank for that game even being close at halftime. I am sure that he would agree with me that he had a C-/D+ performance in the first half. I'll highlight NE's very first drive to illustrate.

    Play #1 - Pitt gets good pressure and collpases the pocket. Brady is forced to dump it off to Faulk but without a good lane Kevin has to make a shoestring catch. A better throw - one that Brady typically makes despite similar pressure - and Faulk probably gets 3-4 more yards than the 4 he actually got. This was the only play that Pitt forced the mistake.

    Play #2 - Brady with plenty of time has Welker open up the seam and throws it behind him.

    Play #3 - Again, Brady has time. It appears that the coverage is decent, but Brady underthows Stallworth who would have had the first down with a decent throw. Again, there was nothing about the defensive performance on this play that Brady didn't shred in the second half.

    Add in a couple other sideline overthrows and an overthrow of Welker (who should have caught it anyway) when he was open for a solid 20 yard gain on a crossing route and you have a mediocre performance for Tommy in the first half. Good thing he was decidedly better than "mediocre" in the second.

    * Just one week off on my flea-flicker prediction, dammit! I knew that NE had something in the works for these defenses.

    * On that play, I was a little disappointed that the safety was allowed to get back into postion until I saw who it was. Getting completely toasted and then just missing an incredible breakup only to have a dramatic TD scored in your face seemed just right to me. :D

    * Someone said that Bruschi missed the goal-line stuff, but I would have sworn that he was the one who stoned the lead blocking guard. I thought it was one of the best plays of the game, frankly. If it wasn't, could someone let me know who it was, please?

    * It seemed to clear up later in the game, but was I alone in seeing that Vrabel was being held on the majority of Pitt's passing plays on their first couple drives? In particular, on the 3rd down red zone thowaway, it was pretty blatant and even ended with the OT grabbing his facemask and pulling him into the turf.

    * I think that I have isolated the biggest issue with AD. I keyed in on him on a few plays and it seems to me that he has real issues with changes in direction. Get him a straight line to the target and he is awesome, but if the QB slides forward or the OT rides him just outside enough, he has a hard time recovering and getting back into the play. By comparison, Vrabel is excellent at this and that is one of his greatest attributes as a pass rusher. Hopefully this is a correctible area.

    * For all the gnashing of teeth about Maroney, I have to say that he is excellent at selling the play-fake. Time and time again, I see teams being completely fooled leaving them open to deep throws. For some reason, teams still feel the need to focus on Laurence when he is in there. It almost seems as if NE is purposely keeping his plays one dimentional for just this reason.

    * Oddly enough, despite the above statement, Pitt really didn't bite that hard on Maroney's playaction on the long Moss TD. Only one ILB moved towards him and it looked like he had coverage responsibilities anyway. The safeties just let Moss go right by them.

    * Was it me, or was NE in nickle for most of the second half? Is that how they are going to keep the LBs fresh because they really don't seem to be using anyone but the big 4?

    * I was disappointed somewhat in NE's run defense. From what I could tell, Pitt targeted the gap between the DE's and OLBs (C gap I think?) with excellent success. The most disappointing run was the Parker ~35 scamper after Moss' second TD. A stop there and NE has the chance to put the game away early. That run was through that gap on Warren's side, but Pitt ran mostly between Seymour and Thomas with very good success. IIRC, Thomas actually did a decent job of holding his ground, but Seymour was consistenly moved out of the way with a single blocker.

    * Indy needs to send NE a giant gift basket for getting the completely deflated Baltimore team they faced. Admittedly, Indy was flying aroung and they played a great game. Baltimore seems to have matchup issues with Indy's speed that NE's size didn't quite bring to the table. So Indy deserves a ton of credit. But by the same token, that was not the same team that we saw last week. They had no fire at all on either side of the ball and Boller reverted back to being one of the worst QBs in the league. My God was he terrible yesterday. Even his completions looked bad. How did he look competent last week again? :eek:

    BTW, Indy should also be sending baskets to NE for another reason. How often does an 11-2 championship team that lost its two games by 6 combined points face a team that just doesn't care? In any other season, Indy would be the team that teams get fired up for, but NE has just overshadowed this entire season. I just find it amazing that a team that won it all last year and got markedly better seems to fly under the radar.
     
  2. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good stuff, I saw the face mask on Vrabel in the 1st quarter as well.

    Awesome, awesome win. I loved the energy level the team played with, now for some observations and nitpicks.
    • Gillette Stadium - Noise level was very good, nice job. More importantly I think the Patriots are just more comfortable at home. obvious advantage for the team. Sleep in own bed, wake up next to super model, play good game...
    • Brady - Once he got in his rhythm was poetry, just brilliant. Because of the early drops it took a while for the offense to emerge.
    • Veteran defense - Vrabel, Harrison = Playmakers.
    • Run defense - Better than against the Ravens, they played with a lot more energy. Still basic fundamentals such as gap control are not very good. Has Warren made a tackle this year?
    • Bruschi - Team target him in the passing game but he uses every ounce of his savvy and competitiveness to be moderately effective.
    • Mike Wright - Terrible play when he ran past Big Ben, as soon as he missed I said look out this is going to be a TD. Hobbs was asleep at the wheel on that one.
    • Samuel - Interesting near the end of the game, Hobbs and Wilson (remember him?) came over to the sidelines for water, they were in la-la land having a good time. Samuel comes over to ask Pees for advice and runs back onto the field. I thought it showed why Samuel has gotten better each year and Wilson has stayed the same or regressed. Wilson had no idea or concern about the next play while Samuel wanted information from the coaching staff on what to look for.
    • Drops - Still too many.
    • Stallworth - I don't understand how he isn't open down the field more, Moss gets double coverage, Welker gets attention, it should put him in a lot of 1:1 situations.
    • Romo - He is good, I really like the Dallas offensive game plan, their formations in some cases are so simple but they create just enough space for the offense to flow.
    • LT - Little cry baby, worst thing I have seen in a while.
    • Defensive Coordinators - LeBeau, Ryan and Johnson 3 weeks in a row, those are some pretty damn good coaches.
    • Playoffs - Looks like we will play Jacksonville and the have Indy come here.
    • Chad Jackson - Remember him? Looked good one one of the kickoffs, a bit of a work in progress on punts. Good example of how the Patriots are using their depth to help preserve players like Hobbs, Welker and Faulk.
    • Cheap Shot on final punt - That was garbage, the Steelers always like to think they are the biggest, baddest gang in town, they got their ass thumped on national tv and a reserve special teamer hs to blindside someone, very cheap. The Patriots showed a lot of restraint, BB was pissed. question - who was hit on that play?
    • Mankins - Is there anything not to love about that big tough SOB?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2007
  3. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Tell you the truth, I am anxiously awaiting the week that all the armchair coaches just give it a rest. Teams seldom play perfect from the opening kick. I never doubted Pittsburgh would give us a fight, for a time, but I also never doubted we would get things figured out, which is btw our MO and has been for seasons, and win convincingly.

    And for the record, had Vrabel not been held on at least 75% of his rushes, it wouldn't have been much of a game. As for the great Hobbs/Samuel debate, when they go man Hobbs finds a way. But the scheme is not his to choose. As someone else mentioned in an earlier thread, I doubt the #2 RB was his responsibility on that TD play, he just had the misfortune to be the only one trying to get to him to late, and fans tend to hang that on a player as his failure. Somebody blew a coverage. In zone, Asante gets his chances although he blew one last evening with a pick passing right through his monied grasp...

    We play bend but don't break, and that is exactly what we did last night with the exception of one missed sack and blown coverage and one missed execution against a guy and team whose bread and butter is just that. The first half was about figuring out how to approach their best effort on both sides of the ball. The second half was a punishing asskicking backed up by a shutout.

    My only caveat is, please - enough of getting Chad Jackson some playing time. If we don't want to overwork Wes and Hobbs down the stretch or expose them to late season injury, activate old reliable.
     
  4. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The second half was a punishing asskicking backed up by a shutout.

    nuff ced...
     
  5. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    :confused:

    I see a huge difference between the criticism that I lay on the players and those of the negative crowd. I'm sorry if you feel differently, but I am not going to only post positive things because the team is 13-0.
     
  6. Buchanty

    Buchanty On the Game Day Roster

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    I agree with almost all your points. That is not the first time that Brady has started off cold and had bad throws, the good thing is that they are always low and short rather then the opposite. But once he is in rhythm it is a joy to watch.

    The holding on Vrabel was as bad as Welker's undressing last week, I can only assume that the refs see obvious holding by the Pats and are just addressing the balance by not throwing a flag. But really some of them are just so blatant I would love to here how Perriera explains the non-calls (I know he only explains the controversials ones that are called).

    The run defense is worrying, especially as this to be one of the hallmarks of Patriots D in previous years. The gaps are huge and the tackling remains pedestrian at best. I dont understand how we can take Westbrook out of the game one week and allow McGahee and Parker 100+ yards the next two. Admittedly Westbrook IS the Eagles' O, but still this needs more attention before we face Taylor, Addai or Parker in the playoffs.

    I dont think Hobbs can be blamed for the TD. As far as I could tell he was covering Holmes (I think) on the outside, meaning someone else had blown the coverage on Davenport, even though no-one was probably assigned to the back-up running back (How many receiving yards and TDs does he have in his career?). I think we were in nickel so the fault lies with either Gay or Sanders. Hobbs did make an adjustment to drop Holmes and cover Davenport and given half a yard might have made a saving play - so I cant call him out for putting maximum effort into the attempt.

    I also liked the fact that BB pulled a big play out of the cupboard. I am sure they have plenty in store for the playoffs. Brady said that they ran this in practice often. Makes you wonder what else lies in wait for January and February.

    Running game - I hope they play more runs against the Jets and the Fins, because time is short to polish run execution. Oh and I still need fantasy points from Maroney.....:) And no I am not trading him.

    Finally I loved the way the team responded to the day off (partly) by coming out excited, eager and fresh. Nice way to bounce through the season's lull.
     
  7. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    I didn't see the last punt. What happened?

    Smith should have been flagged for UNR when he gave Stallworth a cheap shot in the back of the endzone as well.

    I thought Jackson was OK on KOs with the exception of a very tentative first one.

    I give more credit to Ben than I blame Wright on the long TD.
     
  8. Lockdown06

    Lockdown06 On the Game Day Roster

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    Regarding the pats D vs. the run for this game, I think that the hallmark of the pats is taking out the opposing team's best offensive player, and making the rest of their offense beat you.

    while willie parker is a a good back, I think the pats were definitely focusing on not letting Roethlisberger kill them through the air and with his feet on broken plays - they held him to under 200 yards passing, and only 1 TD, and 24 yards rushing, while sacking him 3 times.

    Yeah willie parker got over 100 yards, but it reminds me a little of the time we played the colts in the home opener in 2004 - Edgerrin James ran all over the field against us, but we didn't let manning beat us, and that won us the game.
     
  9. blackglass3

    blackglass3 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It was Kyle Eckle that got cheap shotted.
     
  10. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Did you read the Globe article? Apparently that play was supposed to be against the Ravens (and NAMED "Ravens Special"), but they never ended up calling it. So you were still, on some level, deeply prescient.

    Great stuff, as always, Oswlek!
     
  11. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    :rocker: :woohoo: :woohoo: :rocker:
     
  12. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

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    - Vrabel got held like crazy, but so be it.

    - The play-action bomb to Moss was ridiculous. Nobody bit on the play-action except the safeties. For God's sake, how can you let Randy Moss get behind you?

    - I think the biggest reason the safeties bit on that play-action so hard was Maroney's 11yd pile-moving run on the previous series. The Pats showed some muscle with the running game on that play and made the safties think there might be more of that to come. Little did the safeties know that there wouldn't be more to come. Good timing with the call.

    - The lateral/flea flicker TD was the exact same play Pittsburgh used @ Cindy in their wildcard game in their SB40 run. I find it hilarious that the Pats stole that play right from their playbook and scored with it.

    - Moss dropping the lateral inadvertently helped the play work. By muffing the toss, guys in short coverage converged on him and guys in deep coverage let up a bit, figuring he'll never regroup and have time to set to throw deep. After he got the ball back to Brady, the coverage was blown and all the convergence on Moss gave Brady all day to throw.

    - Brady threw that ball 63yds in the air. It would have been tough to throw it farther, so if anyone critiques him for forcing Gaffney to wait for it and let everyone's favorite Steeler get back and almost break up the pass, get real.

    - Brady and Welker put on a clinic in the 2nd half on how to torch a blitz. Welker would zip to the spot where a blitzing linebacker vacated and Brady would just pitch it to him. Pitch-and-catch at its finest.

    - Tone-setting play of the game: Moss' bobbling catch over Ike Taylor on 3rd down early in the 2nd series. If Moss didn't convert that 1st down, that would have been two straight 3-and-out drives to start the game. Considering the Steelers ate up a bunch of clock on their first drive, a second 3-and-out could have really skewed the early TOP in their favor on their 2nd drive. Also, their D could have really built some momentum from those stops and the Pats' O might have had some doubt seep in against this #1 D. Instead, Moss makes a great catch, the Pats go down and score and turn the tables. Now they know they can score, that Steelers D is nothing to fear and give their own D some rest.

    - I thought the run D was good when it needed to be. The Steelers didn't do much up the middle. The biggest damage came when they ran off-tackle for two big Parker runs, but otherwise the Pats got the job done. The Steelers also racked up some ground yards down by three scores with the Pats D looking pass. Considering the Pats' defensive gameplan clearly consisted of taking away Hines Ward (pretty much non-existent), they did a decent job handling Parker. This game was a far cry from the horrible job they did for 3 quarters vs. McGahee, the Ravens' only weapon to concern oneself with.

    - Things we've come to expect, but really shouldn't take for granted: After the big 4th down stop on Ward's inside end-around (horrible call, BTW), the Pats line up empty-backfield shotgun on 1st down at their one. We're used to the Pats lining up in that formation so it's nothing new, but seriously...when do you ever see a team do that on their own one? Teams usually line up in a run-heavy formation and dive into the line to try and make room to avoid a safety. Not the Pats. They have no fear. It's almost like they're daring Pittsburgh to go for the safety. The Pats are extremely confident in their spread offense and that call in that situation was one of the ultimate proofs of that.

    - I've heard/read Steelers fans lament Polamalu's inactive status and wish they had both starting safeties for yesterday's game. A lot of the comments state that Polamalu would not have bitten on the play-action or gotten beat on the flea flicker. Maybe so, but do these fans remember Polamalu abandoning deep help on Branch's 60yd TD catch in the AFCCG? Do these fans remember Polamalu getting beat by Branch on a 40yd bomb later in that same game? Sure, maybe he's learned from January 2005 and wouldn't repeat such mistakes, but who's to say?

    Regards,
    Chris
     
  13. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    the Steelers are the most run oriented offense in the league. they certainly don't try to throw the ball all over the place. their offensive #'s last night weren't far off their season averages at all
     
  14. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    What a great game.
     
  15. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    The Ravens didn't blitz as much as Pitt did, which left more defenders in coverage. Also, Baltimore repeatedly would muscle Welker at the line and then grab his jersey if he was about to get away. It really was quite ridiculous.
     
  16. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes. How could I have forgotten about the grabing??? My bad.
     
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