1. So Ryan Wendell Forget How to Snap A Football?
A year ago we reluctantly gave Wendell the benefit of the doubt when the former UDFA and multiple time practice squad member took over one of the most difficult/important jobs in the league as Brady’s center. It paid off great. He was outstanding last year and sent longtime anchor Dan Koppen packing. The O-line was stronger than ever. But what the hell happened yesterday? Wendell’s snaps were consistently low or off target. Brady is good enough to adjust on the fly but not even the best can deal with it all game. It seemed like any time he had to lineup in shotgun the snap was guaranteed low or off target. That’s dangerous in a timing route system and even more so against a pass rush that came as fast as Buffalo did Sunday. They were bringing multiple pass rushers consistently and getting good penetration all over. To me that was where this game started to go wrong. The seconds lost salvaging a bad snap were throwing off the synch of the offense early and often. Which leads me to…
2. What the Hell Was the Rush To Get That Goal Line Snap Off?
It was fourth and goal in a critical situation. A full play clock to work with. Wendell was struggling with his snaps all day. And the Patriots rush to the line of scrimmage and snap the ball with 13 seconds left on the play clock? WHY? Settle down and run the play correctly. And even then, I’m still curious as to what exactly the play was. If you look at the replay you’ll see Develin take off on the strong side with Blount behind him. If they had run this play they had a touchdown. Develin found his gap correctly and had a linebacker blocked. All Blount would have had to do was truck a DB and it was 6 points. But I’m not certain that’s what the call was. Blount appears to be running full speed behind Develin and doesn’t turn his head towards Brady until he sees the fumble. Look how far away he is from the ball.
The only other play I can think of would have been a Brady misdirection type sneak out of the weak side. They’ve run it before with success. But here it would have been doomed. Look at the far side of the defense: #25 Da’Norris Searcy was right there waiting for it.
He’s lined up wide of the tackle, but the fact that he didn’t jump immediately makes me think he was was almost in a spy assignment waiting for something sneaky to come through that back door. The play was completely doomed unless they actually calmed down and checked into another play with the 13 seconds they had left. That’s all very very easy for me to sit here and say in hindsight but the fact is they had the time to settle down and run the play right and they rushed it.
3. Has Doug Marrone Ever Watched A Patriots Game?
I ask this for a couple reasons. First and foremost, anyone with a 5th grade understanding of the game knows you do whatever you have to do to keep Brady off the field. Especially in the 4th quarter. ESPECIALLY WITH A LEAD. Buffalo had a 4 point lead with 11:03 left in the 3rd quarter. They had 4 possessions to chew up as much time as they could and did the following:
- 6 plays. 27 yards. 2:46 elapsed.
- 3 plays. -2 yards. 1:00 elapsed.
- 6 plays. 18 yards. 1:58 elapsed.
- 3 plays. 4 yards. 1:11 elapsed.
DRIVE TOTALS: 18 plays. 47 yards. 6:55 TOP
AVERAGE: 23 seconds per play. 2.61 yards per play
Part of this was the defense doing its job and coming up with stops when it had to. But what kind of rocks do you need to have in your brain to know that this wasn’t the time to make a statement about your awesome no-huddle offense? Run the ball. Go with some high percentage plays. Chew up the clock. If you don’t Brady is happy to do it for you.
And did Marrone even take a peak at the AFCCG or maybe Scott Chandler’s track record against the Patriots? New England struggles against tight ends on the regular. They were the 29th ranked team against TE’s a year ago with the exact same safety personnel. Chandler had 4 touchdowns in 5 career games against the Patriots and they barely even looked at him. Who set up their first touchdown drive with a 19 yard reception? Surprise. Scott Chandler. What works works even if throwing to a big bulky white guy doesn’t fit your Fast & Furious dream offense. Marrone should have gotten the game ball from Belichick. No question. MVP performance.
4. How Did CBS Actually Get Worse At Broadcasting Football?
If I had the patience or the stomach I’d go back and re-watch the game to count how many different names Dan Dierdorf called KenBRELL Thompkins other than his own. I understand the kid isn’t Jerry Rice if you did your homework at all you knew Thompkins was going to get a lot of looks that day. Do your homework and learn his name.
And holy shit do any of the producers actually watch football? The sideline camera ops were totally out of position to get a useable replay angle the entire game. The first Ridley “fumble” went to break without even checking the replay. They come back from a 60 second break with a replay of Ridley’s ass hitting the ground and half the Buffalo defense eclipsing the play. That was the replay they chose to lead with with an entire break to think about it. This went on for the entire game. I’ve worked on major market sports broadcasts before. The camera director meets with all the camera ops before the game and gives them their individual assignments. Somehow with all those cameras they consistently found ways to get bad angles on every replay and really not seem to care that they were producing a garbage product.
Also, I get that white uniforms in a day game don’t translate very well to video but CBS day games always look like butts. The camera is either washed out or too dark. I’m also in the minority of people that refuse to pay for an HD set top box from Comcast after paying $90 a month to watch SD broadcasts on an HDTV. So I get to deal with macroblocking and image artifacts all game because if you’re not watching HDTV in 2013 no one cares about you. Still the FOX broadcast looked 100 fold better and that was played in broad daylight as well. FOX also had the foresight to include some actual stats with its score ticker to accommodate the ultra underground little known cult phenomenon known as fantasy football.
5. How Did Brandon Spikes Get Dehydrated In the First Quarter?
Fifty Five plays with about 300% intensity on average, so I’ll almost always give him the benefit of the doubt. But this should never happen. If he was dealing with the flu or something then sit him. The last thing this team needs right now is a flu outbreak. Patriots S&C coach has been very vocal about the importance of proper hydration in his players, so I find it very hard to believe that this was a matter of improper game prep on Spikes’ part. This was a really bizarre turn of events and tells me that someone isn’t doing their job somewhere. Whoever it is, they’re on a lengthy list right now.