Week 7 observations

It’s the Eagles’ bye week, so for me, it was a fun Sunday of watching football without much emotionally invested.   I watched most of the Jets-Chargers game early, the Steelers-Cardinals game late afternoon then the Saints-Colts game late (with NFL Redzone running throughout to keep me posted on everything else)  Here’s a few things I saw:

Tim Tebow: So I was wrong in my prediction that he wouldn’t see the field this year.  For a bit more than three quarters, he was absolutely terrible.   He looked confused, started to run around whenever he felt any pressure and was as inaccurate as any QB I’ve seen in a while.  Truly, it was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen by a quarterback, and it was against one of the league’s worst defences.  But (and a big but), in the end, he rallied his team past the Dolphins.   Good on him for getting his team the win, but much tougher challenges lay ahead for him.

Coaches of bad teams coaching scared:

(1) Arizona scores to close the gap to 12 points against Pittsburgh with less than 4 minutes to go in the 4th quarter.   Instead of attempting an onside kick (they need 2 possessions to have any chance of winning), they kick deep and never see the ball again.  

(2) Minnesota plays a competitive game against perhaps the top team in the league and is losing by 6 to the Packers with less than 3 minutes to play.  On a 4th and 10, they elect to punt (with the hope that they can use their timeouts and get the ball back for a game winning drive) – they never see the ball again.  

It baffles me that coaches of teams with nothing to lose continually make ultra conservative decisions like these.   By making the conservative calls, they are taking the heat of failure off themselves and putting it on their players (I’m not sure I’ve ever read that tactic in any book on leadership).   Every week you’ll see a couple of examples of this type of coaching behaviour, but never from championship-caliber teams.

Chargers slipping?:  I think Darren Sproles was more important to this team than many thought.  They lack a dynamic backfield presence, and that’s allowing opposition linebackers to help out in underneath coverage on short passing routes.   Their offence against the Jets looked confused at times (none more so than during their 4th quarter 2 minute drill where they couldn’t get plays called and when Rivers threw a pass out of bounds to avoid a sack on 4th down that ended the game).   With Kansas City suddenly coming on, perhaps they’ll be in for a challenge for the NFC west title.  The Chargers do have a habit of improving through the course of the season, so perhaps the loss to the Jets was just a bad day at the office.

Defences catching up:  The days of video game style offences seem to be cooling off (well, except for the 62 points that the Saints hung on the Colts).  Although the NFL is still a pass-oriented offensive league, the gap between offence and defence has narrowed as the affects of the lock-out on defences have mostly vanished after 7 weeks of practice and games.

Colts:  I probably should write about the Saints and their 62 points, but the Colts defence offered absolutely no resistance.   The Saints ran 30 offensive plays and put up 28 points before they had to convert a 3rd down.  Receivers were running wide open by 20 yards in places.  Granted, the Colts lack talent in their secondary, but they looked poorly coached.  If ever a team looked like it gave up on a game, it was the Colts on Sunday night. 

Steelers quietly win another game:  Without much fanfare, the Steelers have rolled off a couple of wins in a row.   Roethlisberger was as impressive as ever when scrambling to make passes downfield.  For the first time in years, the Steelers have speed to burn at WR.  The match-up next week against the Pats should be a great high scoring affair.   I foresee Brady and Roethlisberger battling to see who can get the ball last with a chance to win the game on the final drive.

Ravens offensive woes:  Their Monday night game was horrible.  No first downs until well into the 3rd quarter.   Joe Flacco looking like a rookie for most of the night.  That team can look spectacular one week and downright awful the next.  I still feel they’re not a true Super Bowl contender because of their ability to stink up the joint on any given day.

After 3+ weeks of almost constant traveling (10 places in 23 days in 5 countries), it was a week for easy repeat snacks.   Previously made and frozen pretzels early with nacho dip later in the afternoon. A nice twist this week was a 1L jug of homemade beer from Jodi’s brother.   It’s was outstanding with had a European blonde/wheat flavour.

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