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NFL Week 4 Sunday notes

National Football Post

Let’s run through my game notes from the Week 4 Sunday schedule in the NFL. Some Xs and Os, personnel, etc. Here are ten things you should be talking about...

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Aaron Rodgers
US PRESSWIRERodgers threw for 4 TDs in the Packers' 28-27 win over the Saints.

1. Packers hold on vs. the Saints: Drew Brees (446-yards, 3 TDs) came to play for New Orleans and he made plenty of big throws vs. the Packers’ 2-Man and 3-deep looks on 3rd downs. But I’m looking at Rodgers and this Green Bay offense. The Packers’ QB threw 4 TDs, Jordy Nelson made an impact play winning on the Slant route in the 4th quarter, Cedric Benson ran hard, Mike McCarthy got creative with Randall Cobb and James Jones caught two TDs while making a catch to ice the game that I still don’t know how to defend.  This game was wild. There were blown calls (and coverages). However, from the perspective of the Packers, just get the win. That’s what this team needed after the Monday night debacle in Seattle.

2. Asomugha forces a crucial call in Eagles’ win: The play that we should be talking about after the Eagles’ 19-17 win is the OPI call on WR Ramses Barden that bumped the Giants back 10-yards and forced a missed game winning FG. Great coverage and technique here from Eagles’ CB Nnamdi Asomugha vs. the 9 route. When you can “stack” on top of a WR in the vertical game, it allows you to pin them to the sideline. A technique that is coached across the league because it forces the WR to go over the top if he wants to make a play on the ball. Often times it isn’t called, but because Asomugha created position here, it is the right call. And it stars with technique.

3. 49ers’ whip the Jets: I can understand why there is already talk out there about Tim Tebow taking over for Mark Sanchez after seeing the Niners handle Rex Ryan’s club 34-0 on Sunday. San Fran’s defense held the Jets to 145-total yards of offense and created four turnovers. Positives for the Jets? You won’t find any in this league when you get shutout and beat up for the majority of the afternoon. That’s a bad loss for Rex’s team and the type of game I expect to see from the 49ers.

4. Patriots’ comeback win: New England played sloppy football to start that game in Buffalo. Turnovers, poor angles in the secondary, etc. However, look at how they established the line of scrimmage in the run game with Bolden (16-137-1TD) and Ridley (22-106-2TDs) vs. a Bills’ D-Line that has some talent. What does that lead to? Play pass opportunities and favorable matchups for Gronkowski (5-104-1TD) and Welker (9-129). Brady and this offense completely took this game over in the second half.

5. Peyton Manning, Broncos’ route tree: Think short to intermediate concepts in the Denver route tree. That’s what you want with Manning, The Broncos’ QB did throw the inside vertical seam for a score, but the Hi-Lo concepts and multiple underneath combination routes give Manning the ability to work over a back seven all afternoon long. He was accurate, didn’t force the ball and put drives together in the 37-6 win over the Raiders at home. The arm strength? I didn’t see any issues as Manning threw for 338-yards and 3 TDs.

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Robert Griffin III
US PRESSWIRERGIII put up big numbers again, but it was his execution in the two-minute drill that set up the winning FG for the Redskins.

6. More RGIII: The rookie continues to impress. Another 300-yard plus passing day for Griffin, but let’s focus on the two-minute drill to set up the wining FG. RGIII showed the ability to read and recognize pressure at the line of scrimmage, take the underneath routes and once again make a play outside of the pocket when he ran for 16-yards. The final drive for Griffin: 4-4 for 45-yards in the Redskins’ 24-22 win. He does take some hits, but putting together a defensive game plan to limit his production wouldn’t be easy.

7. Texans’ D: Watching the Texans play defense in the 34-14 win over the Titans, I can understand why the secondary in Houston is so aggressive. Look at the consistent pressure from Wade Phillips’ unit can generate. As a DB that allows you to shorten your depth--and even sit on some routes--because the ball has to come out. After four weeks, can we call this the best unit in the NFL? I think so. And let’s not forget about what they bring to the stadium on offense with Schaub, Foster, Johnson, etc. There are multiple reasons the Texans are a legit 4-0. 

8. Lions’ special teams: Here is the thing about the kicking game in the NFL: technique wins over scheme. Special teams are all about getting off of blocks, winning with leverage, staying in coverage lanes and breaking down to make an open field tackle. To give up two TDs on kick returns (for the second week in a row) is unacceptable at the pro level. Give the 3-1 Vikings some credit here for making plays in the return game, but there is no excuse for Detroit to play that poorly on teams.

9. Matt Ryan’s 2-Minute throw: Think about the play call from the Falcons in the two-minute drill with the ball at the their own 1-yard line. Posse personnel (3WR-1TE-1RB) on the field with reduced splits. Use play action, max (counter) protection and throw the 9 route to WR Roddy White to pick up 59-yards—which eventually sets up the game winning FG. However, a coaching point to take note of here. Carolina FS Haruki Nakamaura has to play this ball vs. White at the highest point. Give yourself enough depth (and an angle) to climb the ladder and attack the football. Nakamaura was out of position and allowed White to finish the play.

10. The Chiefs continue to play bad football: I picked K.C. to win the AFC West back in the preseason, but watching this offense today how can you trust a team that is so undisciplined with the football? Look the Jamal Charles putting the ball on the ground, Matt Cassel’s INTs and WRs that are unable to finish plays. You turn the ball over 6 times and you aren’t going to win many games in this league. Rough start for the 1-3 Chiefs.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattBowen41

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