Spiderfan's 2018 Wild Card Round Random Thoughts & Stuff Jan 8, 2019 15:02:40 GMT -8
Post by spiderfan on Jan 8, 2019 15:02:40 GMT -8
Playoffs everyone, it is me Spiderfan here! Wait let me re-try that.
Hey everyone, it is me Spiderfan here (that is better). Today I am going to be giving you my thoughts on Wild Card Weekend 2018 (technically it is 2019, but you get the idea). Let us begin! (reminder to click Watch on YouTube to see highlights)
Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans
As long-time readers are aware, I don't like Texans HC Bill O'Brien. This is primarily because O'Brien decided that during that weird period where Brock Osweiler was the franchise QB (Yeah, that happened) that O'Brien would take over the offensive play-calling duties because O'Brien thought that Osweiler's poor play was due to then OC George Godsey. Somehow, the combination of Brock and O'Brien actually made things worse, so bad in fact that franchise QB Brock Osweiler was benched for Tom Savage much to the celebration of Texans fans (Yeah, that also happened). After that, the Texans lost in the playoffs to the Patriots and instead of hiring an OC or giving up play-calling duties back to George Godsey, O'Brien stayed the course, fired George Godsey, and was still calling offensive plays. One 4-12 season later and not only is O'Brien STILL calling plays, but because then Texans GM Rick Smith (who has now been shown to be the only guy in the Texans organization who realized how bad O'Brien is) had to retire to take care of his wife's health, O'Brien not only got a contract extension, he also got his own personnel puppet Brian Gaine to be the Texans GM.
Why I'm regurgitating all of this information now? Because the Texans loss to the Colts contrary to what you will read and/or hear has very little/nothing to do with the "greatness" of Frank Reich and Andrew Luck. Is Frank Reich a good coach? Yes. Is Andrew Luck a good QB? Yes. The Texans loss is because of Bill O'Brien's amazingly bad play calling and lack of adjustments. Let's dive into that.
The Houston Texans have not 1, not 2, they have count it THREE talented running backs who each at some point or another deserve to carry the ball. Colts DC Matt Eberflus runs a zone scheme and the zone scheme was DESIGNED to shut down the passing game, thus leaving the defense vulnerable to the run game. Texans RBs Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, and D'Onta Foreman had a COMBINED 8 carries for 29 yards resulting in 3.6 yards per carry. You wanna know how many times the Texans called passing plays? Officially 49, but it is actually more than that when you account for Deshaun Watson scrambling. Deshaun Watson had 235 passing yards on almost 50 pass attempts. May I repeat, the zone defense is DESIGNED to shut down the passing game. Why, would you keep calling passing plays, when it is clear that it isn't working? Why would you not make the adjustment either during the first half or at halftime to start running the ball and go away from the passing game? WHY WOULD CALL A PASS PLAY ON 4TH AND 1 WHEN YOU ARE DOWN 21-0 AND NEED TO SCORE?!!!! WHY WOULD KEEP CALLING PASS PLAYS WHEN YOU ARE DOWN 21-7 AND NEED TO SCORE?!!!! THIS IS ABSURD!
That was a lot of capital letters yelling and the reason I feel that way is because it infuriates me that O'Brien is treated as a great coach and that the Colts are being paraded around like they are the best franchise in football. Good for you Indy, ya drafted some Offensive lineman. The Cowboys and Titans can tell you that you need more than that to win anything above a shirt that says "division champs".
Seattle Seahawks vs Dallas Ostriches
The Seahawks had the exact opposite problem of the Texans, the Seahawks ran the ball for the majority of the game and then turned to the passing game too late. Russell Wilson had 233 passing yards on 27 attempts and the Seahawks RBs produced 59 yards on 21 carries. The Seahawks loss is on OC Brian Schottenheimer and HC Pete Carroll. Despite that being the case, Papa Ostrich had this to say via PFT
“I think that this win against a very credible Seattle team will make people think more highly of Jason, And you look around at all the teams that are on the search for Red October, trying to find them a head coach right now, and we’ve got one that has a lot of experience on our dime over the last several years. And I’d like to use it.”
I don't think of Coach Ostrich any higher and no one else should either.
Los Angeles Comebacks vs Baltimore Ravens
There is a play concept known as the short pass and it falls under the umbrella of the short passing game. Had the Ravens used the short passing game earlier than 9 minutes to go in the game, I believe the Ravens would have won. Because the Ravens initially tried to run the football which had been their bread and butter in recent weeks, the problem was the Comebacks played the Ravens a couple weeks ago and were not fooled. Then once the Ravens were trailing the Comebacks, Ravens OC Marty Morningweg panicked and decided to try to throw the deep ball. The problem with throwing the deep ball was that the Ravens O-line could not withstand the Comebacks defensive line. Then finally after the crowd starting booing and Boomer Esiason and Tony Romo called for Joe Flacco to be put in, the Ravens finally decided to use the short passing game and after being down 23-3 cut the deficit down to 23-17 and had the ball near midfield. The greatest 4th quarter comeback in NFL playoff history was set to happen and then the ball gets stripped from Lamar Jackson's hand by Uchenna Nwosu and the Comebacks won a game that in previous years they wouldn't have won.
For one thing Comebacks kicker Michael Badgley was 5/5 on field goals, Melvin Gordon made a great play to get into the endzone on 4th and Goal, and the defense came up when it ultimately had to. The Comebacks in previous years lost on missed FGs and either their offense or defense didn't come up when it had to. This year appears to be shaping up to be different although as I wrote a while back, I do wonder if the luck will eventually run out. We'll have to see.
As far as the Ravens are concerned Lamar Jackson is getting way to much flack and the person who should be criticized is Marty Morningweg for not making the necessary adjustments earlier. The game may very well be John Harbaugh's last game as Ravens HC as there has been talk of a possible trading of Harbaugh. The game is also highly likely to be Joe Flacco's last game wearing a Ravens uniform and I would imagine that Flacco at least starts out as the starter somewhere next season.
Philadelphia Eagles vs Chicago Bears
The conclusion to the Wild Card Round was the best game of all. Neither team had an "advantage" because the other team's OC was not making adjustments. Both QBs had over 250 yards passing and the atmosphere inside Soldier Field was electric.
Mitch Trubisky showed that the Bears did right by picking him No. 2 overall and Nick Foles showed that when it matters most he delivers, something which not all QBs do (cough Kirk Cousins cough).
The most talked about things during the course of the game were the incomplete pass fiasco and the tipped FG at the end.
First, whoever the ref is that picked up the ball thus preventing a clear recovery needs to reprimanded. Second, in the offseason, the league needs to change the rule from "well it is an incomplete pass and not a fumble because of... reasons" to something else because while the Bears ultimately kicked the FG and took a halftime lead and didn't ultimately affect the outcome that much, a scenario where the fiasco could have affected the outcome is plausible thus the league needs to address the issue, which I imagine they will.
Second, the tip at the end of the game by Treyvon Hester to make the FG bounce twice was absolutely clutch. The Eagles move on and the Bears stay home because of it. Doesn't get any more clutch than that.
Head Coaching Hires
Arizona Cardinals hire Kliff Kingsbury
There are ultimately 2 people ultimately responsible for this hire by the Cardinals. 1.) Sean McVay who has now made it popular to hire young offensive gurus and 2.) Patrick Mahomes who played under Kliff at Texas Tech and who's GORN status makes it more appealing to hire Kingsbury, as Kliff recruited and helped make Mahomes what he is today.
I think this is a really good hire by the Cardinals despite Kingsbury's sub .500 record at Texas Tech because unlike in college where you have to recruit and you have to recruit against other teams in the state (something which Kliff wasn't that good at) in the NFL it is more about Xs and Os and less about personnel at least from Kliff's perspective. Kliff can worry about the offense and clock management and not have to worry about the defense as he did at Texas Tech because GM Steve Keim picks the players. I imagine that at some point within the next couple years the Cardinals offense will be top 5 in the league which will get Kliff all sorts of praise as it should. Did he leave USC early? Yeah, but would you rather be an NFL HC or the OC at USC? The choice is easy.
Green Bay Packers hire Matt LaFleur
My read on the hire is this: Aaron Rodgers and friends wanted to keep Joe Philbin, but the Packers didn't look that great with Philbin as the interim coach, so the compromise between Packers management and Rodgers was that the Packers would hire someone from the outside that would play the role Rodgers wants a coach to play AKA Aaron Rodgers is the real HC. Matt LaFleur is the Tyronn Lue of the National Football League, a guy whose job it is to pretend to be the head coach. We'll see if the Packers end up like the Cleveland Cavaliers or not.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire Bruce Arians
You know your quarterback is bad when the only person who wants to work with him is a guy who has spent the season calling games for CBS. Nonetheless, Bruce Arians is a good coach and I think it is a good hire by the Buccaneers as if anyone can revive Winston's career, it is probably Bruce Arians. Worth mentioning that Arians is also friends with Bucs GM Jason Licht, which was a big part in the hiring as well.
With all of that said I hoped that ya enjoyed this edition of Random Thoughts & Stuff and as always this is Spiderfan out.