Around The NFL With Babes

Sports and Bets — November 25, 2014 at 1:17 am by

(This piece was written before and edited after the Ravens 34-27 win.)

The Ravens have some serious work to do this week with the Chargers, Bengals, and Browns all winning. All three of those teams saw their records go to 7-4, as the playoff race is heating up and ten wins will have you playing golf in Boca in January.  (The Ravens did their work, beating the Saints and keeping pace on Monday night.)

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If the NFC South wasn’t so abysmal and the Falcons weren’t technically in first place, Mike Smith would have been fired this morning. Their gross mismanagement of the clock at the end of their home game against the Browns cost them a victory. With 55 seconds remaining in the game, both teams possessed all three of their timeouts. Cleveland held a two point lead, 23-21. On second and nine, Matt Ryan completes a seven yard pass to Harry Douglas, setting up a third and two at the Browns 35 yard line. The 35 yard line was well within the range of kicker Matt Bryant’s range if they didn’t advance the ball any further. Instead of burning some of the remaining 55 seconds, or forcing Cleveland to use its first timeout to conserve time for themselves, Mike Smith uses a timeout. I have never seen a coach so bad at clock management. Remember the Falcons gave another victory away in London when they failed to run out the clock on Detroit.  The Lions overcame a 21 point halftime deficit to beat Atlanta a few weeks ago. So after the Atlanta timeout, they choose to try a passing play on third and two that fell incomplete, again stopping the clock. If they had just decided to run the ball, even if they didn’t get the first down, they would have forced Cleveland to use their second timeout. Instead the Falcons hit the go ahead field goal, leaving 44 seconds on the clock, and the Browns with all their timeouts. Brian Hoyer had no trouble moving the Browns into field goal range with the ability to use the whole field because he had all of his timeouts. Had Mike Smith played the situation right, Cleveland would have gotten the ball back with around forty seconds and one timeout. That limits Hoyer to working the sidelines, and maybe the Falcons terrible defense could have held the Browns out of field goal range. Instead, there is another seven win team in the AFC, and more importantly in the AFC North

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Watching the Sunday Night game last night, the whole world was introduced to the next superstar skill position player in Odell Beckham Jr. ODB as he is referred to, made the greatest catch I have ever seen on a go route down the sideline. As he was being interfered with, he was able to work one arm free from the arm bar the defender had on him. With his inside hand, he contorted his body as he fully extended to snag the ball with basically three fingers. He fully controlled the ball with only his one hand, and held on as his body slammed to the ground, all while staying in bounds. The funny thing about the whole thing was Chris Collinsworth basically foreshadowed the catch with a montage of ODB making a series of ridiculous one handed grabs in pre game warmups. Not two minutes later, ODB makes the catch of the year. Beckham Jr is legit and next year will be a top ten fantasy receiver.

 

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As a former offensive coordinator myself, I thought it was funny that on both the Giants and Cowboys’ first drive, they hit a big play on the exact same screen pass.  Back in the day, we called it I Right Jet Z Ghost A Screen Right.  The “Z” receiver comes in short motion from right to left and there is a play action fake lead to the right where the fullback and tailback flow right.  The QB fakes to the tailback right, then fakes an end around to the “Z”, only then to throw the screen to the tailback to the right in front of a wall of interior lineman, who have worked their way out to the right flat.  The play is an oldie but goodie, and it works perfectly on over aggressive flowing defenses.

The rest of the AFC has a very serious problem in that LeGarrette Blount landed back with the Patriots. Before this week, undrafted runner Jonas Gray didn’t really scare anybody, but Blount in a Pats uniform does. He gives them the element of a power run game on top of everything they can do in the passing game. With the emergence of Brandon Lafell and the health of Gronk back to form, the passing game for Tom Brady is clicking on all cylinders. Furthermore, the Pats defense is playing lights out even with the losses they have incurred due to injuries. The addition of Akeem Ayers has softened the blow of losing Chandler Jones, and helped them keep a decent pass rush. As much as I hate to say it, the Pats once again turn chicken shit into chicken salad with their off kilter personnel moves. Everyone laughed when they traded all pro guard Logan Mankins right before the season started, but they have been able to rework the offensive line and they have gelled together into a formidable group. That draft pick acquired for Mankins was the one they used to acquire Ayers. The Ravens should be taking notes due to their secondary issues.

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The Redskins have quite the issue on their hands. Quarterback Robert Griffin III seems to be the least popular person in the Skins locker room, and that doesn’t bode well for the health of a franchise. He and Jay Gruden definitely don’t seem to be meshing well at all, to the point where Gruden is threatening to go to Colt McCoy as the starting quarterback. This is completely idiotic to me. The Skins are 3-8 and clearly out of the playoff picture. They have a king’s ransom invested in Griffin with all the time and draft picks they gave up. They need to see what he can do. He had a great rookie year, when the offense was tailored around his skills. He gets hurt late in the year, and it ruined his whole second season as he wasn’t fully healthy. Then they change coaches and offensive systems, and two games in, Griffin goes down again. They have seen what he can do when healthy, so they have to tough it out the rest of this season to give this kid a chance. Because ultimately they are screwed if he isn’t the answer because Colt McCoy definitely is not.
I feel it’s bullshit that Marshawn Lynch had to talk to the media. He was fined $100,000 for not accommodating the media on two separate occasions, more than most Americans make in a year. If the guy doesn’t want to talk to the media, don’t make him. He is clearly uncomfortable doing it, so why force him? Let him exercise his constitutional rights, and keep silent if he wants. You see the result of making him, it’s a complete waste of everyone’s time as he gives a series of “yeah” and “maybe” answers. That interview just creates more of a mockery of the whole situation, rather than just leaving things alone

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A quick note on the Ravens game tonight, their season is on the line. They have had two weeks to prepare, and if they don’t come out and defeat a 4-6 team, they don’t deserve to be in a playoff race. The offense in particular needs to put up close to thirty points to have a chance in this one. Running the football will be paramount in this contest, as the offense needs to control the TOP and keep Brees on the sideline.  (Ravens answered the call, babes.)

cover: SBnation

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