January 10, 2011
I'd like to offer my compliments to whoever is responsible for stitching the Seahawks' names on the back of their jerseys. Roman Harper spent his entire Saturday inspecting your work, and offered nary a criticism.
The man who bit on play-action before turning around and watching John Carlson(notes) catch a wide-open touchdown pass in the first quarter? Roman Harper. The throw of the weekend, where Hasselbeck lifted a beautifully timed lob to Cameron Morrah(notes) down the sidelines for 39 yards? That was Harper biting on a hitch-and-go. Carlson's second touchdown, when he faked a blocking effort, went to the ground, got up and then caught a touchdown pass? Roman Harper was the man who was fooled. The safety who should have been deep on the long touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley(notes)? Roman Harper.
Matt Cassel's strong suit this season was protecting the football. In 450 throws through the regular season, he was intercepted just seven times. Sunday, over 18 throws, he was intercepted three times. Had he thrown interceptions at that same rate over the regular season, he would have been intercepted 175 times this year.
Some of the throws he made Sunday, Brett Favre(notes) thought were irresponsible. He had a brutal day, which is kind of a shame, after he grew so much between Week 1 and Week 17. I'm curious to see how he'll do next season in someone else's offensive system.
At this point, no one expects Reggie Bush to ever put a football team on his back and run, run, run them to victory. That's fine. But when your top two running backs, Pierre Thomas(notes) and Chris Ivory (both undrafted, by the way) are out, is it not reasonable to expect the second overall pick from the 2006 draft to contribute something?
You can be mad at Julius Jones(notes) for fumbling and failing to convert third and fourth downs if you want to, but why should the Saints have to lean on Julius Jones to begin with? Why are we handing the ball to DeShawn Wynn(notes) to convert a crucial two-point conversion?
Exactly what does Reggie Bush do in New Orleans?
It wasn't a great day for David Akers, as the usually rock-solid kicker missed a couple of field goals that he'd normally bury. Some kind of unknown off-the-field issue is bothering him, but, to his credit, he won't use it as an excuse. No one would even know about it if teammate Quintin Mikell(notes) wasn't talking about it after the game.
• Jim Caldwell, Head Coach, Indianapolis Colts
I like to give coaches the benefit of the doubt, and in general, I think there are too many people out there who believe they are clock management savants and would play it flawlessly on NFL sidelines. That said, that last Jim Caldwell timeout has me completely befuddled.
His explanation -- that he wanted the Jets to have another play in the hopes that they'd take a sack or turn the ball over -- doesn't help me much. Essentially, he was gambling that the Jets were the dumbest team of all time. The decision he made was basically that he liked the chances of the Jets turning the ball over better than the chances of Nick Folk(notes) missing a 50-yarder.
The percentages disagreed. Vehemently.
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