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Content Post Idle thoughts: The bye week edition

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patfanken

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I was ready and all fired up to do a posting Monday night... and my computer died. I took solace that it seemed to be a quick and painless death. I took a couple of days to grieve.... and moved on. And for the first time I got an apple lap top. Still trying to figure out all the differences in the operating it. If anyone knows how to replace the right click function on a PC, I'd appreciate it. ;). At any rate, getting back to football, I'm not going to take a lot of time on the Monday night game. There were 37 pages devoted to that topic, I can't imagine anything more I can add on this game that won't be redundant.....but I undoubtably will make a few anyway. ;). Let's get started.

1,My first thought after the game was "man, that was UGLY!" My second was, "at the end of the season that win will count the same as a so-called more satisfying win like Cleveland". In the end that isn't the final truth of the matter. A win is a win. I mean we've had a few "satisfying losses" this season, and this felt MUCH better, Right?

2. One factor that didn't get as much play as I thought it would was the impact of getting that 8-0 lead. I get that Bill didn't want to throw the ball against the wind, but the fact we didn't throw the ball with the wind either. (except the 3 passes). I believe that once the Pats got the lead, Bill felt they were going to run the ball as long as the Pats were in the lead, PERIOD, If the Bills had gone ahead or tied the game, then no doubt things probably would have been a LITTLE different. Thd Bills never took the lead, so the Pat never HAD to stop running

3. So then there is the impact of the 2 point conversion. When the Bills decided to take the one point conversion an the Pats got their first FG, for most of the game, the Pats were in a position where the Bills had to score a TD to go ahead, and Bill didn't think they could do that and it turned out that he was right....though it looked dicy there at the end. Never understood why the Bills didn't go for 2 when they scored. No difference between being 4 points down and 5

4, I think all the "Bills season was destroyed" or "The Bills should be embarrassed" or "the Pats left the Bills a damaged team" talk is just BS...to some extent. It was just ONE game in a long season. Think about it. Teams are going to have losses and this season it looks like in the AFC, that ALL the top teams are going to have at LEAST 4 or 6 losses going into the playoffs.

Now I think that the Bill's HC is a whinny B!tch that should be slapped down, but he made some reasonable point in defense of his team. On defense they DID hold the Pats to 2 of 12 on 3rd down. On offense they WERE able to get into the red zone 4 times. Take away a couple of so called drops and we are telling a completely different narrative. The point IS each game is an INDIVIDUAL event and while the public constantly looks at the past to predict the future, that is much harder to do in the NFL. And is why we are constantly being shocked at some of he results we get. (like my 2-3 record in my pool for last week :mad: ).

5. The Bills are STILL a very dangerous team and we will be seeing them again VERY soon and under much different conditions. I REALLY like Josh Allen as a QB, I know he only completed half his passes on Monday, but in those conditions thats not a bad result, especially when you consider the 3 or 4 drops there were in the game. Christ he put the ball right on Digg's in the endzone. He was good that night under tough conditions IMHO. HE wasn't the problem with Buffalo last week.

6, What WAS the problem was how they USED him. I was kind of shocked that the Bills kind of wasted Allen's running ability by failing to run any RPO's or otherwise set up opportunities for Allen to use his legs much during the game, His 22 yard run was their longest play of the game (I think), and yet they never seemed to follow up with that dangerous asset,

7. I HATE it when players call for flags on virtually EVERY play that involves them. ! I hate it even more when coaches do it, Every time Allen was even TOUCHED he was calling for a flag. AND McDermott's CONSTANT whining was almost embarrassing. No it WAS embarrassing. I really think that some of the flops and CONSTANT whining needs to be penalized as unsportsmanlike conduct more often. Its one thing for a coach to say something like "Hey, keep an eye out on number 73, he's holding almost every play". It's another to be yelling and screaming about this call or that call the entire game. BUT sad to say all that whining seems to work. That ridiculous roughing call on Bryant being a prime example.

I'd love to see 3 new rules changes for next season. One would be to make it a penalty when a player obviously flops to get a call. The second would be a point of emphasis where sideline would get penalized for constantly whining on on calls. One warning and then the flag. The third one is another point of emphasis "adjustment". I'd like the refs to stop rewarding bad plays when they call PI flags on uncatchable balls. IIRC that was in the original Polian changes to PI, but over the years the "uncatchable ball" part of the rule is often ignored. In the end I want to see flags on infractions that impact the play. Calls on infractions away from the ball, unless they are egregious, should be ignored. The game would move along better and the players, fans, AND coaches would be much happier.

The fact is that during almost every game, you are going to get some calls that go against you. As a coach you have to teach your team to MOVE ON to the next play. Its just part of the game. Officials make mistakes....just like players. It's all part of being human, I think Bill does a VERY good job of this. Oh yes, Bill will occasionally erupt on the sideline, but for the most part, we see him TALKING to officials. And when he DOES erupt like he did on that ridiculous roughing penalty, he always right, But in the end being right isn't going to change the call. Your team has to accept what happened and MOVE ON to the next play. If they can't it won't go well. Teams often take on the persona of their HC, like Allen and his HC, and it's why the Pats are out coached VERY rarely,

8, Kyle Dugger is going to be a perennial All Pro in this league for a LONG time. I have never heard so many players after a game that he DIDNT participate in, mentioned the impact of him not playing had on the team. THAT is how good Kyle Dugger is, even in his 2nd year.

I can remember in my first year after college we were playing down in RIchmond and we had a 3rd an 6 and I had the FB if he came out of the backfield.....and he did. He ran a little hook route at about 7 yds and I KNEW he was getting the ball. But here's the thing. INSTEAD of making a play on the ball, I made the tackle, I took the SAFE way. Think about it, this was a single play 50 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday because I regret it to this day. . I mention it because this is the difference between Kyle Dugger in 2020 and Kyle Dugger in 2021. He is no longer making the safe play, he is going with his instincts, going with what he sees and making plays on the ball.

Duggar has a unique combination of size and acceleration that allows him to play all over the secondary. He didn't run a 3-come at the combine for some reason, but I would bet it would be in the CB range of quickness. By the time his rookie contract runs out, he will be someone who is well known by the general public. He's going to be a special player in this league

9. I am STILL trying to get my head around the fact the Pats have gone from 2-4 to "the Pats are in the top 4 of everyone's power rankings, and usually #1 in the AFC". I was one of those who thought THIS year would be all about absorbing all the new talent, POSSIBLY making the playoffs, but show overall improvement and competitiveness. NEXT year would be the year to really compete for a championship. Well "next year" appears to he here and I'm not sure what to make of it.

I mean 2 losses in the next 2 games and we are back to our original expectations and all the talk about the next galactic empire is a thing of the past. (BTW that WAS a spectacular clip and should be a sticky). Again each game is individual event, and our expectations should be tempered. 3 of our last 4 games are going to be VERY competitive

10, And now to the QB. I think for everyone the last question everyone needs answered is, can Mac Jones carry the Pats to a victory with his arm. We might never really get this question answered this season because the offense isn't being structured that way. But I predict sometime in these next 4 games we are going to need Mac to lead a 2-3 minute drive to win a game in the 4th with his ARM. BTW- in that dome I wouldn't be shocked to see Bill, at some point in the game throw the ball 10 times in a row

11About the Colts. I was going over their schedule and it was enlightening. Over their last 8 games they are 6-2 and their 2 losses were an OT games to the Titans and a one score loss to the Buc's, They are a GOOD team. Good enough to beat anyone. Their run D gives up only 111ypg this season. In comparison we are averaging 114. BOTH stats are very good but it shows it isn't going to be.easy to run against this group. We are going to need to get them to respect the pass enough they stay in a 7 man front. They average giving up 230 ypg in the air, which is about Mac's average (at least before Monday night ;) ). In other words this isn't going to be a soft defense and the game will be in a dome on the road and LOUD.

Wentz has been a REAL feast or famine QB this season. He followed a 400 yd passing game and the next 2 were 230 and 150yd games. He's got some weapons. He's got some talent....AND he's been inconsistent as hell. Taylor is terrific and heir OL IS the best in the league. Bill will want to set his defense to force Wentz to beat us. I think the way to combat this is to spread out the D and nickel and dime with the pass. Run the ball 5 on 5 with that great OL and do a little RPO looks for your QB who is a run threat. That's all very simplistic, but Buffalo didn't use it and tried to match our power runs with power runs of their own and played right into our hands. Reich is a better offensive mind. It will be interesting in how he plans to attack our defense.

12. Speaking of the defense, its been AWESOME. Across the board its the #2 defense in the league and #1 in the most important stat of all, points allowed per game at 15.4. In this day and age, that is a remarkable average, Ironically the team that is #1 are the Bills, who are allowing just under a point more per game, but are slightly better against the run, pass and total ypg.

a. I think its going to take scoring in the high 20's or getting to 30+. to win this game. Over the last 9 games the Colts have AVERAGED around 33 ppg, so they do put points on the scoreboard. And about those TO's we are so proud of and expect to get every game, the best team in the league in TO differential are those same Colts at +13 while we are 3rd with a +10. Bottom line: and I am repeating myself here, the Colts are a good team. They started even worse than us, 1-4, but since that time they have been almost as hot as us with a 6-2 record with both those losses by a total of 10 points. Did I mention its going to be a tough game. ;)

b. Devon Godchaux's development over the season only goes to show you that you can't take a snapshot over a game or three or even a year and determine that THIS is the player you have and that's all he's going to be. Players CAN improve and Godchaux is a prime example. Bedard did a great piece on how the success of this defense over the years has been largely determined by how good our play over the nose has been. When we've had good play at NT the defense has been solid to great, when its not good, the defenses have been average to poor. Good nose play in this defense determines how good the run defense is, plain and simple, and if you can stop the run, then you make a team one dimensional and THAT's when this team can eat you up.

Now Godchaux will get even a bigger test against a much better interior OL vs the Colt plus a much better RB. It will be interesting to see how he fares against an OL that allows just 1.6 sacks a game (we allow 1.8). He won't have Mitch Morse around to beat up on. (until the week after) BTW- anyone have any idea when or if we are getting Uche back? I can assume Dugger comes back next Wednesday.

c. My best guess on Harris is that he will miss the next 2 games. Hamstrings injuries are funny. They are the gift that seems to keep on giving, and in the long run its better to be a week too long than a week too early. On Phillips I am REALLY hoping his ACL thing is just a scare. After Godchaux, he was our best defensive player on Monday, and when he and Dugger are both available our defense becomes a lot more flexible and thus better. I guess we won't know until Wednesday, which will be about when you will finish this post if I don't stop here.

d, BTW. Next time you hear a hater complain that the "the Pats get ALL the calls", currently, there are 23 NFL teams that have FEWER penalty yards than the New England Patriots. I'm sure this is a stat Bill knows, and is PISSED about it.

Enjoy and comment
 
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n6249c

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Sorry to hear about your computer dying. Congratulations on joining the ranks of real computer users. I forget the magic equivalent of the right click, want to say it’s a two finger tap But it’s been so long since I did anything on the MacBook because the iPad is just so portable and convenient. Except today my iPad rejected the power cord, might have been something stuck in the lightening socket but it was already due for replacement so a new one is en route. Meanwhile I may be using the clunky MacBook Pro again so I’ll try to get you a real answer about the right click equivalent.

glad to see you’re posting as cogently as ever despite the new hardware platform. Very much appreciated, as always.

best of luck with the new ‘puter.
 

Nikolai

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Two finger tap on the trackpad is what I do with my MacBook. I've been using them since 2008 and I love them.

Great write up! I tend to agree on all fronts. I actually think the Indy game is the toughest remaining game on the schedule. I'm really hoping the games fall in our favor this weekend to make a possible loss there easier to absorb. Although, with this team for some reason, I feel like the bye isn't AS critical, but it could be that fourth glass of bourbon talking...Friday night!!
 

raduray

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On MacBook tapping the lower right corner of the touchpad is the same as the right key press on a PC mouse. You can configure a two finger tap on the touchpad to act as a right click. Click the apple icon on the left corner of the screen, select System Preferences, select the Trackpad icon, select the Point & Click tab, and then enable the Secondary click check box.
 

n6249c

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Two finger tap on the trackpad is what I do with my MacBook. I've been using them since 2008 and I love them.

Great write up! I tend to agree on all fronts. I actually think the Indy game is the toughest remaining game on the schedule. I'm really hoping the games fall in our favor this weekend to make a possible loss there easier to absorb. Although, with this team for some reason, I feel like the bye isn't AS critical, but it could be that fourth glass of bourbon talking...Friday night!!
Fourth glass of bourbon? Damn I’m way behind!

Maybe that’s why I disagree about the bye. I think it’s very important, for a couple of reasons. Mac, Barmore, and Mondre are three rookies playing important roles this year, and the timing of the bye seems to me to be a good antidote for the rookie wall. Also the key to any team making a deep playoff run is injury status, and the late bye gives a good chance for minor dings to heal before they become major dings. Examples could be Harris, Dugger, Barmore, and hopefully Phillips.

I do agree about Indy. And that’s another reason the bye is important. IIRC Belichick teams do reasonably well the week following a bye. So I’m hoping that will help give an edge over Indy.
 

Chevy

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Bourbon tip - Devil's River out of Texas is a solid choice, especially for the price.

Duggar - is he what we all expected Tebucky Jones to be? An athletic DB who can hit, play in close or coverage, and had big play ability?
 

Mike the Brit

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Bourbon tip - Devil's River out of Texas is a solid choice, especially for the price.

Thank you. I'll look out for it when I'm back in the USA. Any views on Buffalo Trace and Michter's? (My capacity to drink is dropping all the time, but having a nice American whiskey to offer my Euro friends always seems to be welcome.)
 

Mike the Brit

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@patfanken A great read, as always. Thanks.

I agree with you strongly about Allen. The throw on 3rd-and-14 at the end was pretty remarkable and I was relieved that the refs didn't call PI. Not that they should have done (Phillips just held his position and their player ran into him) but, given some other calls and that whiny little snit, McDermott, it wouldn't have surprised me. Let's see how the centre of the D line holds against the Colts. For the moment, it's a very enjoyable bye week.
 

Chevy

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Thank you. I'll look out for it when I'm back in the USA. Any views on Buffalo Trace and Michter's? (My capacity to drink is dropping all the time, but having a nice American whiskey to offer my Euro friends always seems to be welcome.)
Buffalo Trace is supposed to be pretty good.

Full disclosure - I am not a bourbon aficionado, but several friends are. I bought a bottle for some - went with Devil's River, and Pritchard's double barrel. no complaints.

For single malts, hard to beat Aberlour 16 - a very smooth malt for under $100.
 

Mike the Brit

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For single malts, hard to beat Aberlour 16 - a very smooth malt for under $100.

A long, long time ago I went salmon fishing with my old man in Aberlour. The whisky wasn't even sold separately outside the town then (used for blends)! You may also have seen Walker's Shortbread. Aberlour is the home of the company -- the original Mr Walker was the village baker. Even in 1970, it was noticeable that the owner's son drove around in a BMW!
 

Chevy

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A long, long time ago I went salmon fishing with my old man in Aberlour. The whisky wasn't even sold separately outside the town then (used for blends)! You may also have seen Walker's Shortbread. Aberlour is the home of the company -- the original Mr Walker was the village baker. Even in 1970, it was noticeable that the owner's son drove around in a BMW!

Walker's ... always picked some up at Tesco's when I was stationed in England (RAF Mildenhall).
 

sb1

Hall of Fame Poster
3. So then there is the impact of the 2 point conversion. When the Bills decided to take the one point conversion an the Pats got their first FG, for most of the game, the Pats were in a position where the Bills had to score a TD to go ahead, and Bill didn't think they could do that and it turned out that he was right....though it looked dicy there at the end. Never understood why the Bills didn't go for 2 when they scored. No difference between being 4 points down and 5
That 2 point convert probably won the game. I heard McDermott considered answering it on their own TD but they just went for the safe point. That was a mistake. Bills were chasing that point all night long.
 

DropKickFlutie

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Nice. This deserves a 'content thread' tag....


Godchaux hasn't proven to be a consistent NT. Last game the Bills still ran for 100 yards on 24 carries and the prior week gave up 270 rushing yards. It's funny how there are org plants here (not pfk but in general here) trying to play up obvious draft busts (Harry) or crappy FA signings (Godchaux)
 

Patriot Missile

Pro Bowl Player
Great read. Colts will be the toughest challenge yet. They are built similar to our team or vice versa. Its basically going to come down to defense but not necessarily who runs the ball better. For all we know Bill is going to emphasize stopping the pass and do their best to buckle down on the run? Unlikely, but you never know. Right now I’m not ultra confident they come out of there with a win but I do think this team has the tougness, smarts and attitude to edge out a win or even lay a beatdown. We’ll see what happens.
 

Patriot Missile

Pro Bowl Player
Nice. This deserves a 'content thread' tag....


Godchaux hasn't proven to be a consistent NT. Last game the Bills still ran for 100 yards on 24 carries and the prior week gave up 270 rushing yards. It's funny how there are org plants here (not pfk but in general here) trying to play up obvious draft busts (Harry) or crappy FA signings (Godchaux)

It’s pretty easy to trash Godchaux for his earlier play in the season. Just like the oline you had a big thread on earlier, this guy is also making a late season surge making his way back back into the lineup. He has been one of the best players on the defense the last 2 weeks and he crushed the run Monday night. You could make the argument he was the Patriots mvp last game.
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
2. One factor that didn't get as much play as I thought it would was the impact of getting that 8-0 lead. I get that Bill didn't want to throw the ball against the wind, but the fact we didn't throw the ball with the wind either. (except the 3 passes). I believe that once the Pats got the lead, Bill felt they were going to run the ball as long as the Pats were in the lead, PERIOD, If the Bills had gone ahead or tied the game, then no doubt things probably would have been a LITTLE different. Thd Bills never took the lead, so the Pat never HAD to stop running

There is another simple REASON: NE had 4.9 ypp with their game plan . BUF 4.0 despite throwing 30 times.
btw - the “drops“ you are talking about were 90% the result of weather conditions - thats why you don't do it.
Of course when you can't run it you have to throw it. Bills were actually very lucky.

BB would have no problem throwing the ball if need be.
Lombardi said Mac had 1 incompletion when they practiced outside with c. 30 mph wind (prob. gusts).
He probably exaggerated the wind a bit . the point is they were prepared and confident (within reason).

Look at the success throwing chart towards the end of this clip:



I was kind of shocked that the Bills kind of wasted Allen's running ability by failing to run any RPO's or otherwise set up opportunities for Allen to use his legs much during the game, His 22 yard run was their longest play of the game (I think), and yet they never seemed to follow up with that dangerous asset,

Bills didn't “waste“ Allen's run ability or “failing“ to run RPO. NE did not allow it - similarly how they did not allow it vs TEN.
The difference was TEN was able to run with their RBs bc they actually have well established running game.
And Bills could not really threaten with passing due to conditions.

-.-
 
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PScottman

In the Starting Line-Up
4, I think all the "Bills season was destroyed" or "The Bills should be embarrassed" or "the Pats left the Bills a damaged team" talk is just BS...to some extent. It was just ONE game in a long season. Think about it. Teams are going to have losses and this season it looks like in the AFC, that ALL the top teams are going to have at LEAST 4 or 6 losses going into the playoffs.
Ken, the other side of this isn't talked about at all - the corrosiveness of expectations. It's the movie that's hyped to the moon that once seen is like...eh, it was okay.

There is just as much chance (not certainty, just chance) that the Pats believe the press clippings after being fed them for a straight week in the run up about how they destroyed the Bills' will to play anymore, how they can run on them easily, especially when there's a threat of pass, etc that the Patriots don't practice as hard, don't take them as seriously, don't give max effort themselves in the follow-up matchup at Foxboro.

I remain one that feels the Patriots staff realizes this and will reverse psychology the heck out of them on how poorly THEY played in the tornado game, but it remains a possibility that they subconsciously let simple expectations rule their preparation given the hyperbole stated about the game in Orchard Park.
 

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