Sun Dec 06 04:54pm EST
They say special teams is one-third of the game, though studies done by Football Outsiders indicate that the real value is more like one-seventh. That value rises when great special teams bails out bad offenses and defenses, and rounds into sharp focus when teams of any quality boot games or possessions with special teams miscues of the "HUH?!?!?" variety. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to ask the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs, who drew up plays today that blew up in their collective faces like poorly-made firecrackers.
The Bears, who have been famous for their great special teams for years now, put up a real woofer against the Rams. With 7:35 left in the first half, the Bears attempted a field goal from the St. Louis 10-yard line already up 10-0. Or so we thought. At the snap, holder Brad Maynard(notes) took the ball and gave tight end Greg Olsen(notes) a little shovel pass. Olsen was unable to make any gain on the play, and the Rams took over at their own 10. The Bears would up beating the Rams, 17-9, but that's more to do with the fact that they were playing the Rams than anything else. Jay Cutler(notes) had another iffy day, going eight-of-17 for 143 yards and one touchdown. Given Cutler's predilection for throwing picks at the worst possible time, at least Maynard's throw wasn't a red-zone interception...
The Chiefs' play outdid the Bears' for sheer FAIL value. At the beginning of the third quarter, and down 14-6 to the Broncos, Kansas City went three-and-out (big surprise) and lined up to punt at their own 28. Coach Todd Haley decided to swap punter Dustin Colquitt(notes) out with backup quarterback Brodie Croyle(notes) in perhaps the most obvious non-fake fake punt in NFL history. Croyle took the long snap and threw the ball a good 10 yards short of the nearest eligible receiver. The Broncos got a field goal out of their great field position gift on the way to a 44-13 thrashing of the Chiefs. Of course, maybe Colquitt was tired -- he punted seven times in the game, yet another indicator of Kansas City's offensive futility.
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