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  1. Well, yes and no. Yes, to a man it looked like the Bills line got beat. But no, your O line doesn't HAVE to be able to a gain of several inches against EVERY team in the league. Being able to get one yard against every team in the league is not the stat that correlates best with winning. The whole game, every game, doesn't turn on your ability to get one yard. I agree, you'd like to be able to get that yard against anyone, but it just isn't the case every week. What is more important is being able to get the first down on fourth and one. You don't necessarily have to get it with power up the middle, but you have to be able to get it. Even so, you aren't going to get it every time. Allen was supposed to know how good their defensive front is, and he was supposed to recognize that the defensive formation made the defense difficult to attack. Allen failed at that. Maybe he changed out of a play that also wasn't going to work; I don't know. That play was a failure, and yes, if you want to win a championship, you shouldn't be failing there. But I'm sure that the Bills coaches spent no more time this week teaching about that play than they did on several other plays, each of which was as easily responsible for the loss as the sneak. Failing on fourth and one there was disappointing, and the Bills need to be better, but it's far from the crisis you seem to suggest it is.
  2. I can't argue with this. It's a pretty good way took at it. Year after year, it becomes more obvious that McDermott's teams are not ready to be great in October. They're still building. Even some of the early wins by big scores didn't feel like blowout wins. I don't remember drive by drive of the playoff game when the Bills beat the Raiders 51-3, or whatever. That was a blowout. Bills were in control every series on offense and on defense. Except maybe for the Texans game, none of the Bills' games so far this year have felt like that kind of blowout. The team has looked incomplete. I don't say that at all as a criticism. It's a statement about how McDermott builds his teams. They're never as good in October as they are in December. Every September and October, it's frustrating for the fans, but I try to remind myself that McDermott has a plan. Losing isn't part of the plan, but he will not sacrifice his team's growth just to win a game. And, by the way, it was a GREAT football game to watch. Frankly, I guess I would have liked to see Josh in the shotgun with the line blocking straight ahead. Josh takes a quick look to see if he has a gimme pass to one of his receivers. If not, then from five yards back, pick a spot, run to it, and dive over the pile. I'm no offensive coordinator, but we all know the sneak was a bad decision. Still, I'd rather Josh learn that lesson in week 6 than in the playoffs.
  3. I agree you can see it in his face. It was definitely there last night. Gotta get that under control.
  4. Exactly. He runs very much the same way. I've noticed it for years. Even down to being pretty emotionless as he plays. The stiff arm - Brown was masterful. It's all there.
  5. That's interesting too. Obviously, the Bills already had struggled in the red zone, but they certainly should have plays that will work down there, especially with three good short route runners, plus Davis. They were missing Knox. Also, as I said, and as someone has a thread about, the game was lost on the previous possession. Josh, who generally had a great game, completely lost it.
  6. That's interesting, and generally a good thing. Josh has a big head and is going to be inclined to call his own number. He needs to be humbled a few times for him to make better judgments. I don't know what the play call was - I don't know what would have worked. First and foremost, Josh has to stay on his feet. He shouldn't have had his feet slip like that. He didn't add his push to the pile (and Moss didn't, either).
  7. You know that GEICO ad with the four young adults in the horror movie? “Why don’t we jump in that running car?” “Are you crazy? Let’s hide behind the chain saws.” My wife thinks Mike Vrabel looks like the guy in the barn, smirking and shaking his head as the rubes fall into his trap. Vrabel starred in the Bills’ own horror show Monday night, as the Titans beat the Bills 34-31. I like Vrabel. He was the kind of player Sean McDermott loves: tough, versatile, team guy. I like how none of the coaches in the Belichick tree have had success as a head coach, but a player in that tree – Vrabel – coaches the team no one wants to play. At the heart of Belichick’s approach, and at the heart of Vrabel’s approach, is that football starts with, and is always about, one-on-one physical toughness. Every day, every play. Simple, straight-forward toughness. If you don’t bring it, you don’t play. So, one thing is a certainty: when it’s fourth and one with the game on the line, what you’re going to get from Vrabel is incredible toughness. Vrabel’s team is not, absolutely is not, going to get outmuscled on the line of scrimmage. His teams do not get beat on the most basic play in all of football. You might beat him some other way, but Vrabel will not let his team get beat straight up the middle. The Bills passed up a possible game-tying field goal to go for it on fourth and one, and they never had a chance. The offensive line was overpowered, Josh Allen lost his footing, and the game was over. Did McDermott make the wrong decision in going for it? No. I’m sure the analytics say the Bills had a better chance of winning the game right there than winning if they went to overtime. Did he and Brian Daboll call the wrong play? No. Wait, if Vrabel’s Titans are so absolutely tough up the middle, shouldn’t the Bills have attacked differently? Well, yes, I suppose, but Sean McDermott lives in the Belichick-Vrabel school, and he wants HIS team to be one of those teams. Fourth and one, game on the line, the Bills are going to be as tough as they come, right up the middle. McDermott is not going to back down, he’s not going to run misdirection, he’s not going to throw. On Monday night, McDermott challenged his team to be as tough as they come, and they just weren’t. Vrabel is in at least one way the luckiest coach in the NFL. No, he hasn’t won a Super Bowl, and no, he doesn’t have the most gifted quarterback in the league. What he has is a running back who thrives on toughness, a running back with straight-ahead strength and speed unparalleled in the NFL since Jim Brown. For Vrabel, it’s heaven – build a powerful offensive line and give Derrick Henry the ball, play after play. Pound the opponent with toughness, and pound them again. The Bills weren’t tough enough to stand up to the pounding. By the fourth quarter, it was clear – the Titans’ offense would not be stopped. McDermott had no choice. Overtime meant facing that offense again; he had to go for it. The Bills are the better team. Their mistakes lost the game. They failed often in the red zone. Critical penalties cost them at least two touchdowns. Spencer Brown was atrocious in the first half. Worst of all, Josh Allen played like he has forgotten the lessons of the last three years. The game wasn’t lost on the Bills’ last possession. It was lost on the second-last possession, when the Bills had a chance to put the game out of reach. Leading 31-27 with nine minutes left, the Bills got one first down, and then Allen went haywire. On first down, he stood in the pocket way too long, looking deep, looking deep, ignoring his outlet receiver in the right flat with plenty of open field in front of him. Sack. On second and 17, he locked on Sanders going deep, waited and waited, and then threw into double coverage. On third down, he led Kumerow out of bounds way up field. Allen completely abandoned the smart passing game he displayed all last season and that had allowed the Bills to control this game. Instead of taking the throws the defense was giving him, he went after low-probability explosive plays. The Bills punted, the Titans drove for a touchdown, and the Bills died on fourth and one from two with time running out. The Bills weren’t going to overpower the Titans, but they could have outscored them. They should have. McDermott’s teams often have struggled at this time of the season. They team isn’t a finished product yet, and it will get better. But it needs to continue to pile up wins. They need to be 6-2 at the midway (sort of) point, and then they need to win consistently from there. There’s plenty of work to do. It’s an early bye, and the Bills probably would prefer to go back on the field next week to get back to winning. Instead, they have to wait, digest the loss, and get better. Go Bills!
  8. I'll say it again - the NCAA reviews stuff quickly and efficiently. New Orleans was a travesty that was completely preventable. As big-time gambling becomes a realty instead of backroom problem, the league cannot afford the appearance that the occasional bad call presents. I noticed, for example, that as the Cowboys-Pats game was winding down, Joe Buck made a veiled reference to the point spread. I didn't look it up, but I'm guessing the spread was or 8. The Cowboys were winning by 6. If their final drive stalled, they'd kick the field goal and put the game out of reach, but if they kept getting first downs, they'd run out the clock. The clear implication of what Buck said was that although the outcome looked to be clear, a lot of people cared about that field goal, which would change the betting outcome. If they're talking about the spread on national broadcasts, it's a clear sign of the growing importance of betting on these games.
  9. I like this analysis. It's probably in the right order of magnitude. So, you have one or two blown calls per game. That's probably a little low, but it's not crazy. Carry it out a little further. That's one or two blown calls per game. Most blown calls don't change the outcome of the game. Only a few do, maybe one out of 50, or one out of 100. If that's correct, that means that once every two, three, four weeks, a blown call will change, or at least appear to change, the outcome of the game. That, too sounds about right; every month or so we see something in some game that makes us say some team got screwed. The problem is that we aren't talking about a 162-game baseball season or even an 82-game (or whatever) basketball season. This is 17 games, and one game easily can be the difference between the playoffs or not. Cutting the number of blown calls in half or better would be worth it.
  10. All true but misses the point, which is not about the depths of the rule book or the fact that everyone makes mistskes. It's about easy ways, which exist, to correct obvious mistakes that unfairly penalize teams, like phantom roughing calls and the blown pass interfernce call in the playoffs a few years ago.
  11. Well, this question is interesting, in that it points what an unusually good QB class it was. I'm not a huge Baker fan - I think he doesn't have the physical tools to be a great one. He isn't gifted with great arm strength, and that may limit him. He's more like Flutie - a winner, great determination, good athlete, going to do some good things. He will have a nice career. Yes, I think the Jets were that bad. Darnold looked really good his rookie year, and the Jets experience caught up with him. Yes, he doesn't have stats that match Baker's not yet, but I'd guess that ten years from now it will be clear that Darnold was the better choice. Allen, of course, should finish ahead of both of them. He's turned out to be the complete package - physical and brains. There were a top-four coming into the draft, and although the teams may not have gotten the order right - Baker went first, Darnold went second and Josh third, when it probably should have been Josh, Sam, Baker, they all went in the top-seven, and the teams let Josh Rosen fall. That's pretty good scouting and drafting. Most everyone, of course, missed on Lamar Jackson, which was understandable. But that just adds to the luster of the class - three good starters in the top seven, plus a late-first-round surprise.
  12. First, I used to complain about the part-time ref thing, but as I understand it, the NFL has changed that. A few years ago they introduced full-time refs, and I saw something a year ago that said that the program was enthusiastically adopted by the officials. The NFL's objective was to have at least one full-time official per crew, and I think they've ended up with a significant number (maybe approaching half) being full-timers. I'm sure the NFL grades the refs, and I'm sure their assignments, even their ability to keep their job, depends somewhat on their grades. I don't think NFL officials get tenure. I'd hope they also have conditioning requirements. I think they must - we used to see guys waddling around out there, but not so much any more. They seem to run with the plays pretty well - obviously, they aren't going to be as fast as wide receivers, but they generally are in position to make calls and to get out of the way of plays. That's all on the good side. I officiated soccer for a few years, even though I'd never played, and you're correct that knowledge of the game is critical. I was often out of position, even with 12 year-olds, I didn't see things very well, and I missed a lot of calls. I didn't understand, at least not well, what was going on - the players saw th,e game better than I did. However, I think that having-played-the-game thing becomes less important the longer you officiate. If you watch the NBA, those officials are not former NBA players, nor even college players. But they've officiated games for years and years, they've worked their way up from town leagues to high school to AAU to D-III to D-I to the pros. When they get to the NBA and are there for a few years, they do remarkably well watching and controlling the game. It's impossible to get those calls right all the time, but they really do pretty well. I think the NFL officials are the same. In a game where they can't call everything, and a game where it's impossible to see everything, they do pretty well. I'm amazed, for example, how good they are at spotting the ball. Most of the time when I think they got it wrong, replay shows they got it right. I don't think the problem is the quality of the officials. I think the problem is that the NFL refuses to use technology to increase the percentage of calls made correctly. Tennis has more or less instantaneous in-or-out replays. Baseball has (but doesn't use) very accurate ball-strike calling mechanisms. Football is tougher, but please - there's no reason why they don't have a chip in the ball so that on replay they can locate the ball precisely in a pile of players at the goal line, or so they can tell whether the ball passed inside or outside the pylon. And to Beast's point, there's no reason they can't use replay quickly and efficiently to correct clearly bad calls on 15-yard penalties. They don't have to review missed calls - maybe there was a facemask an official missed and it shows up on replay. Okay, let it go. But when they call the facemask penalty, while it's being assessed and marked off, a replay official would have time to look at it and be sure it actually happened. Same thing for offensive holding and roughing the passer. The calls are right or at least arguable 90+% of the time; why can't they fix the ones that were obviously wrong?
  13. Beast - I haven't read the whole thread, so I don't know where this discussion went after the first page, but I wanted to throw in my two cents. First, as to fines or suspensions, I don't think so. Everyone makes mistakes. These guys are carefully evaluated, and their job performance is measured. The NFL should be doing everything a good manager does to minimize mistakes, to train people, and to get people out of the job if they aren't meeting minimum performance requirements. Should there be a rational review process? By all means. The NFL is still in the dark ages about reviews. A call like the one you're talking about can have substantial consequences for the outcome of the game, and anyone watching it, including someone with authority to overturn it, could see that this control was wrong. The NCAA has shown for years that their review process works better and doesn't disrupt the game. I don't think the NCAA reviews penalties, but the point is that any reviews can be done quickly. There's no reason why the NFL reviewer couldn't signal the ref to hold up the game so that the reviewer could take a quick look at the play and tell the ref it was no penalty. I get that they're trying to protect the QBs, and that's a good thing. But 15 yards and a first down at a critical point in the game can affect the season's outcome for both teams. That's a ridiculously drastic measure to say to one player "we don't want you even touching the QB." The NFL deals with that problem in a different way, anyway. There have been plenty of examples where whether or not the penalty has been called in the game, afterward the league assessed a significant fine. That gets the message out effectively without upsetting the competitive balance of the games. The league definitely should be worried about the appearance that they are trying to affect the outcomes. Watching the Steelers and Seahawks last night, when the word came down that the second last play in regulation was being reviewed (whether Metcalf had made the catch or not), my very first thought was that the officiating was giving an enormous competitive advantage to the Seahawks. It was completely obvious that Metcalf caught the ball - ridiculously obvious, so what was there to review. There also was no turnover, so there shouldn't have been an automatic review. All the review did was give Seattle multiple minutes on the sideline to get ready to spike the ball and then kick the field goal to tie it, instead of having to rush first to get the clock stopped, which they did, and then have to run their kicking onto the field and kick it. But at least the NFL review people were watching, had a question, and took the time to get it right. Why they can't do that on the bogus roughing the passer calls, I don't understand. And on the other issue people keep raising from last Sunday night, a couple of comments. If the referee named the right player when they assessed holding against Morse, then THAT play is another argument for quick reviews, because we all saw the replay and there was nothing at all that came close to warranting a call. And if people thought the subsequent roughing the passer call was a makeup call, I didn't. It was by no means a bogus call. I think it was completely consistent with the way the rules are written, and if not completely, then arguably. Frank whatever, 55, picked up Allen (you could tell because Allen's legs were flailing in the air), and whether he threw Allen to the ground or not, he definitely landed on top of him without trying to break his fall or protect Allen in any other way. That kind of play was made a personal foul a few years ago, it was called consistently the first couple of years, and players stopped doing it. It wasn't a makeup call.
  14. Waiting for a plane in Baltimore. Two Bills fans walked by. They went to a nearby gate. Plane is going to Nashville. Lots of Bills blue there. Two more just walked by. Go Bills!
  15. I have a 100 minute drive to the Harp. Worth it every time.
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