2016 Week 1 Situational Football


You’d think with the ending of Super Bowl 49 being so fascinating that coaches and players would have started to pay attention. But Situational football is only getting worse. Here are some examples from yesterday. I didn’t see all the games, so I’m sure there are many more examples.

Chargers @ Chiefs

Philip Rivers blew all 3 first half timeouts, the 3rd with 14:10 left in the 2nd qtr.

Rivers blew the 1st 2nd half timeout in the 3rd qtr.

With a chance to win the game after the Chargers defense allowed a comeback, the Chargers only had 1 timeout and the drive went nowhere. In overtime, they never got the ball, as the Chiefs TD on the opening drive ended the game. 

Packers @ Jaguars

Down 7, Bortles blows last timeout with 7:29 left in the 4th qtr.

Raiders @ Saints

The Saints kept throwing, leaving enough time on the clock for Derek Carr to beat them.

After going up 35-34 on a 2 point conversion with :47 left, Crabtree insists on celebrating so much he gets a penalty. Sebastian Janikowski and the Raiders special teams bail him out, putting the Saints at the 20. Raiders rush 3 and play prevent, Brees completes 23 yd pass. Spike. Raiders rush 3 and play prevent, Brees completes 15 yd pass. Spike. Raiders rush 3 and play prevent, incomplete. 61 yd FG missed. And Del Rio gets celebrated. 

The 2 point conversion call was correct, but earlier in the game Del Rio had DJ Hayden play press man against Brandon Cooks. The result was an easy 98 yard touchdown pass to Cooks. So let’s not celebrate Jack Del Rio too much. He’s still an idiot.

Lions @ Colts

Down 34-28, with the ball at the opponent’s 12 yd line, Colts HC Chuck Pagano calls timeout with 1:15 to go instead of running the play clock down to 1 and calling timeout with about :45 left. The Lions use the time Pagano left on the clock to win the game with a FG.

When asked about it, Pagano said he did it to get the personnel right, which has nothing to do with the point, as he could change personnel after running the clock down some more. He not only screwed up, he didn’t understand how or why he screwed up, so he’ll do it again. 

Giants @ Cowboys

The Cowboys had :12 on the clock and no timeouts, and needed to get some yardage for a game-winning FG attempt. The pass was complete to Terrance Williams. Instead of running out of bounds, he turned around and ran up field, getting tackled, and the clock ran out.




Situational Football Strikes Again

Everyone’s killing Cam Newton for not diving for the ball. But one year after situational football cost the Seahawks the Super Bowl, it cost the Panthers the Super Bowl. Cam Newton explained that he didn’t dive for the football because he didn’t want to get hurt. This is the correct decision, as Drew Brees career was nearly ended by diving for a ball. RG3’s 2015 season was ended by the same thing. BUT! In the fourth quarter of a one-score Super Bowl, the uniqueness and importance of the situation outweighs the risk. In the Super Bowl, down 16-10, you dive for that ball. Cam’s failure isn’t “not wanting it,” as ignorant Broncos players said, it’s not understanding situational football. But Cam’s coach Ron Rivera is to blame. After Rivera wasted both challenges in the first half, and mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half, how can his player(s) be blamed for also not understanding things? It’s Rivera’s job to teach them.

So Cam, who insists he wins his way, lost the Rivera way.

Obituary: Riverboat Ron, d. Feb 7 2016

We lost a bad man yesterday. Riverboat Ron, preferred name Analytical Ron, showed his incompetence on the largest stage. Wasting both of his two challenges on small gains in the first half, mismanaging the clock at the end of the first half, and punting repeatedly when he should have gone for it.

Say what you will about their game plan and play calling, Riverboat Ron put the nails in his own coffin.

Punting on 4th and 1. Punting on 4th and 4. Punting on 4th and 3.

And again near the end, in the play by play it looks like this:

4th and 24 at CAR 6
(1:57 – 4th) B.Nortman punts 57 yards to DEN 37, Center-J.Jansen, downed by CAR-K.Coleman

That’s right. Down by two touchdowns, with a Super Bowl on the line, Riverboat Ron only offered a meek punt instead of trying to win.

Those paid to pay attention held their criticism for another time. “Ron Rivera says this gives me a better chance to get it,” remarked the often-wrong Phil Simms. Once Simms was corrected by his hack but correct partner, Jim Nantz, who pointed out there were less than two minutes remaining after the punt, the Panthers only had two timeouts, and they were down by 14, Simms could only offer silence.

He will be mourned by few, and I’m not in that number, because he never was very good. But Super Bowl 50 was a fitting way to go. Visitation is in Charlotte, the casket will be closed. He is survived by no one, as we are in this world alone.

Further Adventures in Pick Slants

It’s still crazy that Pete Carroll risked a Super Bowl on one, but here’s a successful Pick Slant, proving that a better QB against a worse coverage can make it work…

Colts at Texans, Week 5 (Thursday)

11 Personnel (same as Seahawks in SB49) with a stack

At the snap:


CB on LOS not aggressive enough fighting the pick route:


It’s already too late….


At the moment of the catch:





Mike Tomlin Trusts His Gut (Again), Fails (Again)

Bruce Arians is far from perfect. But since Mike Tomlin ran Arians out of Pittsburgh, Arians has proven he’s one of the better minds in the game. Last year, he offered this quote: “I quit trusting my gut a long time ago. That sumbitch has been lying to me forever.”

But who’s a famous gut-truster? Mike Tomlin, whose gut musta laid a few bucks on the Ravens to win outright last night. How to explain NOT giving the ball to Le’Veon Bell on two key plays? Nants and Simms are stupid, they were saying Tomlin should send his terrible kicker out to miss another FG. But Tomlin, with the game on the line, repeatedly ran plays without even a FAKE to Bell. On the last bad idea play, Bell wasn’t even in the backfield.

Mike Tomlin has been making idiotic decisions since his first year. I don’t care if he’s been the HC of a SB winning team, they’ve won what they won in spite of him, and he’s run two of the best minds of the past twenty years (Arians and LeBeau) out of town.

But, as Nantz and Simms explained on the broadcast, Tomlin goes with his gut.

His wallet is glad his gut seemingly can’t get him fired. I don’t know if the Rooneys are just asleep at the wheel while the money rolls in or if they are afraid of a race-based lawsuit. No other reasons can explain NOT firing Tomlin. The man who has challenged opening kickoffs, and gotten in the way of opposing players because he, ahem, lost track of where he was, gave a game away to a division rival. He lost to the Ravens the last time he played them, in Pittsburgh in January, and yet he didn’t seem to think they were capable of beating him.

Somehow, the QB being an accused rapist is the least offensive thing about the Steelers’s decision-making.

As for X’s and O’s, the Steelers DC Keith “Don’t Cover Gronk” Butler ran a great trap coverage that produced a Flacco INT. Flacco proved (as most QBs do) that somehow Tom Brady is a master of the QB sneak but Flacco can’t get out of his own way.

I’m not sure what the Ravens defense was doing, they didn’t do well against Bell but they convinced Tomlin to not give the ball to Bell with the game on the line, so maybe it was voodoo.

Who’s worse at understanding their own protection calls – Joe Flacco or Matthew Stafford? I’m not sure. But like Stafford, Flacco seems to often have no clue what’s happening. The Steelers ran CB blitzes on back-to-back 3rd and 4th downs with the game on the line, and Flacco didn’t see either one.

But Flacco’s team won, because Mike Tomlin was on the other sideline, busy screwing himself, gut-first.

Season Preview Delayed

Don’t cry, I’m trying to add lots of pictures. But at least we have real football today.

Lots of ignorance in the pregame, plus Bob Costas. Hardly any football discussion.

Here’s a prediction. Belichick will outcoach Tomlin, it might rain some or a lot, and we won’t learn much, because it’s just the first game of the season.

I just hope Tomlin doesn’t challenge the opening kickoff. Baby steps to being a decent coach. He’s now run off BOTH Bruce Arians and Dick LeBeau. That Steeler job security is something special!

I’ll try to look at the X’s and O’s of the game tomorrow.