Denver game observations from PFF

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    Denver game observations from PFF

    2013 REFO den@ne wk12We were treated to some fine games on Sunday but the New England Patriots come from behind, overtime victory over the Denver Broncos was arguably the best of the lot.

    A true game of two halves (with an additional quarter thrown in for good measure) we bore witness to a display of dominant interior run blocking in the first half before a precise passing attack made a potential blowout anything but. In the end there was very little between these two teams despite their very different makeups, with the game ultimately decided by unfortunate muffed punt.

    What odds on these two meeting again later this year, and what odds on it being as entertaining?

    Broncos – Three Performances of Note

    Miller Time

    Last week was that rarest of rare things. A quiet day for Von Miller. As my colleague Sam Monson broke down, the Chiefs were able to slow down the often unstoppable Miller, but the Bronco seemed determined not to let that happen again.

    It wasn’t the quantity of pressure that was amazing (though two sacks, two hits and two hurries is a solid number) but it was the speed of the pressure he was bringing. If you’ve seen Nate Solder play this year you’d have seen a guy pushing on the door of being regarded as one of the top tackles in the game, but he was no match for Miller, beaten early (9.30 in Q1) for a sack on his outside shoulder before allowing another sack with 5.15 to go in the first half. By the end of things he alone had allowed five of the six quarterback disruptions, resorting to compensating so badly against the speed off the edge of Miller that he was beaten viciously inside with a spin move (Q4, 2.00).

    In years gone by we’ve seen Miller work over right tackles but now he’s putting all the left tackles out there on notice.

    Passing Game Woes

    On the surface of things a +1.9 grade for Peyton Manning isn’t all that bad. But the truth is that outside of his touchdown throw to Jacob Tamme and a wonderfully orchestrated game tying drive late in the fourth, he really struggled with the conditions. By the end of the day he’d completed just four of 10 attempts aimed over 10 yards in the air (though it should be noted he wasn’t helped with his receivers dropping five passes). The encouraging thing is that he did seem to adapt to the conditions as the game went on but it does get you thinking about how he might handle a New York Super Bowl if the Broncos make it that far.

    Of course it wasn’t just him to struggle. The five drops were far from ideal with Demaryius Thomas sidetracked by his battle with Aqib Talib often enough that he didn’t do a good job securing the ball when it came his way.

    Magnificent Manny

    Last week I was fortunate enough to watch Marshal Yanda put on a blocking clinic as he tossed the Bears defenders left, right and center. This week? Well it was center Manuel Ramirez(+7.7) who made an impression on me. He was ably supporting by Louis Vasquez (+3.8) as the duo worked wonderfully, often double teaming one of the overmatched Patriots defensive tackles before moving to the second level to open up a running lane for their backs. What makes Ramirez so impressive is that you often see centers struggle to hold up at the point of attack in one on one situations. But Ramirez, a former guard, is big and strong enough that it never looks a problem for him. He constantly sealed of Joe Vellano and Chris Jones who just couldn’t get any push on him.

    Patriots — Three Performances of Note

    Secondary Stands Up

    Now the wind was always going to help them but faced with the three pronged attack of Thomas,Eric Decker and Wes Welker this was always going to be a test for the Patriots’ developing secondary.

    To say they stood up to it would be an understatement.

    Veteran Aqib Talib manned up with Thomas, allowing 3-of-6 into his coverage for 30 yards and a touchdown with one pass break up to his name. The stats may flatter a bit when you consider Thomas dropped two passes in his coverage, but the constant close coverage ensured Manning was rarely prepared to test his arm against the ball skills of the former Buccaneer.

    That left Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington trying to stop Welker and Decker, and as the combined +6.0 grade shows, you can consider that mission accomplished. The two were targeted seven times in coverage with the result two receptions for 15 yards, two pass break-ups and one interception. If they’d found a way to stop Jacob Tamme then it could have been a whole different ball game.

    Brady Beats the Conditions

    While it took Manning three and a half quarters to adapt to the wild wins, life wasn’t quite as hard for Tom Brady (+4.7). The deep game rarely worked (one of five on passes 20 yards in the air or more) but he ate the Broncos up in the second half as he worked the middle of the field, going 23-of-28 between the hashmarks. That 110 of his yards came throwing to Julian Edelman wasn’t lost on viewers as Welker watched from the sideline as the Patriots receiver turned in the kind of consistent display that has seemed to evade him despite the repeated attempts to get him going in New England. If he can keep this up then who knows what the Patriots are capable of with Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola (as much as a non factor as he was here) in the mix.

    Pushed About Up Front

    Amidst all the euphoria, Sunday Night Football provided a great example of the most glaring weakness on Team Belichick. As Vince Wilfork watched on, two rookie defensive tackles were, as the kid would say, owned.

    It was never going to be easy with both men facing a number of double teams, but while their opposing numbers stood their ground to squeeze running lanes, they were moved off the line of scrimmage. It wasn’t much better when they were left one on one with the Broncos interior, and while they did win some battles in the run game (they finished with five defensive stops) they lost an awful lot more. The problem for them came at the initial point of attack where upon losing the initial exchange they were rarely able to work off the block and be in position to slow the Broncos running game down. It left their linebackers (who did a commendable job going head to head with the bigger offensive linemen) exposed, and left Knowshon Moreno with a career day.

    Game Notes

    - Speaking of Moreno he averaged 6.1 yards per carry and a staggering 7.3 yards per carry on his nine runs through the right B-gap.

    Aaron Dobson ran 23 pass routes but wasn’t targeted once. Meanwhile Kenbrell Thompkinsran 30 and found nine balls aimed his way.

    - Not a game for missed tackles. Denver missed just four and the Patriots just five.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Muzwell. Show Muzwell's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    Every team has flaws. If your team's flaw (or one of them) is at the QB position, it's fatal. Always. That's a reality of the modern NFL.

    If it's some other position, like DT (see New England) you can find a way to compensate. It's not fatal.  If, like the Pats, you have a great QB, you can outscore people to cover up flaws.

    Used to be you might get away with that in the reg season, but the playoffs were different. That's not the case anymore. You have to be able to score, a lot. It's not enough to play great defense. The rules are different, the games are officiated different. You have to be able to pass the ball, you can't rely on a running game. The Denver game proved that.

    Look at the Super Bowl last year, two allegedly strong defenses in a shootout. Might as well have been a reg season game between New Orleans and Green Bay. Defense in the NFL isn't dead, but it's in a bad way.

    That's the reason Denver's flaw is fatal. Manning can't play in weather. Unless they build a roof in Denver (or Foxboro), he won't need to worry about the weather in New Jersey in February.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from JimfromFlorida. Show JimfromFlorida's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    It is not the weather. Manning was not allowed to throw in the middle. They made him throw to the outside which is difficult with the wind that day. The Pats were not worried about the run game as the more time spent running is less time of Manning passing. BB and coaches took away the bread and butter once again of a team. The only reason they scored the tying TD was perfect throws on nearly perfect defense. Just look at the catches they made the D was right there.

    BB and coaches out coached the other team plain and simple and the players did everything right in the 2nd half

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    I hate PFF. 

     
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  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from coolade2. Show coolade2's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    In response to DeadAhead's comment:

    In response to Muzwell's comment:

    Every team has flaws. If your team's flaw (or one of them) is at the QB position, it's fatal. Always. That's a reality of the modern NFL.

    If it's some other position, like DT (see New England) you can find a way to compensate. It's not fatal.  If, like the Pats, you have a great QB, you can outscore people to cover up flaws.

    Used to be you might get away with that in the reg season, but the playoffs were different. That's not the case anymore. You have to be able to score, a lot. It's not enough to play great defense. The rules are different, the games are officiated different. You have to be able to pass the ball, you can't rely on a running game. The Denver game proved that.

    Look at the Super Bowl last year, two allegedly strong defenses in a shootout. Might as well have been a reg season game between New Orleans and Green Bay. Defense in the NFL isn't dead, but it's in a bad way.

    That's the reason Denver's flaw is fatal. Manning can't play in weather. Unless they build a roof in Denver (or Foxboro), he won't need to worry about the weather in New Jersey in February.



    He should have picked arizona.  Would get 9 games in a dome per year, plus more domes in the nfc than afc.   Welkie also went to the wrong place to chase the ring.




    I ain't over yet...   As bad as the 2 looked in foxboro that night was brutal.    They both will likely regroup and come back fighting from that tough loss.  then who knows if they get good weather Peyton might   not look so terrible the next time.  Hard to predict.  Old age gets everybody eventually .  Both welker and peyton looked 40 plus  last sunday.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from seawolfxs. Show seawolfxs's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    I am sure the game plan wasn't to allow 289 running yds, but

    PM said the pats had 8-9 in coverage all nite. Bb gave up the rub, except there were times they did stop it.

    and the plan was to make PM throw outside, which he probably knew PM COULDNT DO IN THE WIND

     

    it is becoming clearer to me that Bb is bringing his 14 rookies slowly along this year, slowly getting them to speed, but more importantly they won't hit " the wall" at the end of the season and into the playoffs, 

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from TFB12. Show TFB12's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    In response to seawolfxs' comment:

    I am sure the game plan wasn't to allow 289 running yds, but

    PM said the pats had 8-9 in coverage all nite. Bb gave up the rub, except there were times they did stop it.

    and the plan was to make PM throw outside, which he probably knew PM COULDNT DO IN THE WIND

     

    it is becoming clearer to me that Bb is bringing his 14 rookies slowly along this year, slowly getting them to speed, but more importantly they won't hit " the wall" at the end of the season and into the playoffs, 




    Even if you give up the run, 280 rushing yards is inexcusable.  They need to do much better.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from seawolfxs. Show seawolfxs's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    In response to TFB12's comment:

    In response to seawolfxs' comment:

    I am sure the game plan wasn't to allow 289 running yds, but

    PM said the pats had 8-9 in coverage all nite. Bb gave up the rub, except there were times they did stop it.

    and the plan was to make PM throw outside, which he probably knew PM COULDNT DO IN THE WIND

     

    it is becoming clearer to me that Bb is bringing his 14 rookies slowly along this year, slowly getting them to speed, but more importantly they won't hit " the wall" at the end of the season and into the playoffs, 




    Even if you give up the run, 280 rushing yards is inexcusable.  They need to do much better.



    Agree with you there, I sort of remember when Bb was with giants vs buf in SB, he said Thurman would get 100 yds but Giants would win. I have to look at the 3rd wer to see how the pats stopped them, I know there were TOs

    Soap wasn't on the field that much and I hope the new guy helps

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    Any chance we can bubble wrap Amendola, Edelman, Talib, Dennard, Gronk and Vereen for the playoffs? I think it's clear having those guys out there gives us a chance, but it's also clear losing any one of them at this point is going to be the straw that broke the camel's back (we can't lose anyone from here on out).

    The thing I'm surprised about is Hightower's ability to NOT play inside. A guy that big (who has played there in college) should be a Levon Kirkland for us. That's what I thought we were getting when we drafted him...an answer to what was missing from our front seven...a jack of all trades type/swiss army knife. The worst player on the field was this guy, luckily they benched him and the play from that position seemed to improve. On the flip side Collins looked decent too me at times.

    Any chance we can get a defensive tackle off the street at this point? We've done it before, but then again they have all looked better than they really were playing next to Vince. But seriously, how hard can it be to find a big guy that can hold his ground for 5-6 games?

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from rtuinila. Show rtuinila's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    In response to TFB12's comment:

    In response to seawolfxs' comment:

    I am sure the game plan wasn't to allow 289 running yds, but

    PM said the pats had 8-9 in coverage all nite. Bb gave up the rub, except there were times they did stop it.

    and the plan was to make PM throw outside, which he probably knew PM COULDNT DO IN THE WIND

     

    it is becoming clearer to me that Bb is bringing his 14 rookies slowly along this year, slowly getting them to speed, but more importantly they won't hit " the wall" at the end of the season and into the playoffs, 




    Even if you give up the run, 280 rushing yards is inexcusable.  They need to do much better.




    Not if it wins you the game! If it's between giving up 280 yds per game and winning or giving up less than 100 yds and losing, I'll take 280 yds every game!

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    In response to seawolfxs' comment:

    In response to TFB12's comment:

    In response to seawolfxs' comment:

    I am sure the game plan wasn't to allow 289 running yds, but

    PM said the pats had 8-9 in coverage all nite. Bb gave up the rub, except there were times they did stop it.

    and the plan was to make PM throw outside, which he probably knew PM COULDNT DO IN THE WIND

     

    it is becoming clearer to me that Bb is bringing his 14 rookies slowly along this year, slowly getting them to speed, but more importantly they won't hit " the wall" at the end of the season and into the playoffs, 




    Even if you give up the run, 280 rushing yards is inexcusable.  They need to do much better.



    Agree with you there, I sort of remember when Bb was with giants vs buf in SB, he said Thurman would get 100 yds but Giants would win. I have to look at the 3rd wer to see how the pats stopped them, I know there were TOs

    Soap wasn't on the field that much and I hope the new guy helps



    Soap only played 17 snaps. 

    NE was in nickel and dime almost all day. 

    It's basically the game plan against Denver. 

    You take away the thing THEY want to do. Force them to play a game they don't normally play. Against them ... take away the timing routes across the board. Manning is a system QB who runs timing patterns. We've seen this ad nauseum throughout his career. If you shake up the timing mechanism, he just isn't as good. 

    Without NE's fumbles it probably would have been a blowout in NE's favor. 

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Denver game observations from PFF

    In response to rtuinila's comment:

    In response to TFB12's comment:

    In response to seawolfxs' comment:

    I am sure the game plan wasn't to allow 289 running yds, but

    PM said the pats had 8-9 in coverage all nite. Bb gave up the rub, except there were times they did stop it.

    and the plan was to make PM throw outside, which he probably knew PM COULDNT DO IN THE WIND

     

    it is becoming clearer to me that Bb is bringing his 14 rookies slowly along this year, slowly getting them to speed, but more importantly they won't hit " the wall" at the end of the season and into the playoffs, 




    Even if you give up the run, 280 rushing yards is inexcusable.  They need to do much better.




    Not if it wins you the game! If it's between giving up 280 yds per game and winning or giving up less than 100 yds and losing, I'll take 280 yds every game!



    That is the point. 

    Sure you would like to see more from your defense, even if they are in nickel against the run all day .... but Denver can run for 400 yards if it means a Patriot win. 

     
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