Since most of you are new to the game of football and these message boards, I have a few pointers for you to help guide you through an emotional playoff round. My experience has been living through 2 Patriots Super Bowl championships, and a Red Sox championship, so sit around kiddies and let the knowledge flow through you.1. #### about your QB. There will be doubter(s) voicing their opinion, so don't gang-jump them because they believe otherwise. Here is the fact. Your QB HAS WON ####. I don't care if your cheap QB won his first 14 games, or if your QB broke a TD record, it means very little come playoff time. A QB is only as good as his last game, with Kordell Stewart and Elvis Grbac saying hi. Both were pro-bowl QBs going into their playoff games, and were hailed by their respective fan bases. KC in 97 was outstanding, as were the Steelers in 01. The results have looked pretty bad. Dan Marino (2nd season and on) and Warren Moon for other instances. This leads to pointer 2.2. You're teams can and WILL choke at any moment, thanks to the coaches. As a Pats fan, Dungy and Cowher are excellent coaches if you like regular season stat padding, but when the clock is counting down during playoff time, they just can't seem to stop tripping over themselves. And as a Pats fan, I honestly tell you that most of the game comes down to coaching. Positional coaches working during the week with he players, head coaches making adjustments midgame, offensive and defensive coaches creating creative schemes to confuse the opposition with the correct play calling to execute their plans. Talent is great, but a cohesive and fluid offensive or defensive unit can shutdown a heavily talented opponent.In 2001, the Patriots coaches discovered the Steelers were tipping off their runs or passes based on how the offensive linemen would angle their legs pre-snap. The Pats coaches in 2003 discovered that Manning had never seen a Pats defense with two shallow safeties and the corners deep. **** Vermeil took down the Patriots 2002 season when he figured out that they didn't have enough team speed to stop sweep run plays and had to overcompensate and allow big plays. A great coaching staff can turn a bunch of no-names and make them pro-bowl players. Just ask Mike Shannahan how many no-name RBs he has created, or just ask Cowher how many great linebackers he has created.3. The stats. Sorry kiddies, but this is the part you hate. The numbers.
Can all this injury crap. The Patriots lost the Miami game because Gay was injured early 3rd quarter, and the numbers were worse because Earthwind Moreland was burned by just about every WR he had to cover. The Pats secondary will be Gay, Asaunte, and Wilson at DB, with Reid/Davis and Harrison at safety. Troy Brown will be the 6th DB. Law and Poole weren't injured yesterday, and if we can get Otis Smith and Terrell Buckley to shut down Bruce and Hakim, then I am not as worried as others about Harrison/Wayne/Stokley or Ward/Plax/Randle match-ups.And for a fun reference.RUSH DEFENSE Games 1-7 207 att, 886 yds, 4.28 yd/att, 126.6 yd/G, 5 TDs Games 8-16 197 att, 701 yds, 3.56 yd/att, 77.9 yd/G, 4 TDs Clearly, the rushing defense has stepped it up BIG TIME. 50 yards less per game, 3/4 of a yard less per carry, less TDs allowed in more games. Seeing that Edge rushed for 202 yds against us the first time around, this might put a little crimp in the Colts plans to try that again. PASS DEFENSE Games 1-7 132-235, 56.2%, 1487 yds, 212 yd/G, 6 TDs, 7 INTs, 17 sacks Games 8-16 183-303, 60.4%, 1998 yds, 222 yd/G, 12 TDs, 13 INTs, 27 sacks The pass defense did take a little hit when Law went down, but not really very significant. A few percentage point increase in completion percentage and 10 yds more per game. The biggest increase was allowing twice as many passing TDs, but that was offset by about twice as many INTs and an increase in sacks. Overall the pass defense really didn't suffer that much. Passer rating against rose from 71.4 to 75.2 when Law was out. Some other stats to consider, when Law has been OUT: -They're allowing 2.6 ppg LESS -They're allowing 40 yds/G LESS -They've been BETTER at defending 3rd downs (36.4% vs. 41.4%) -They've allowed LESS Red Zone appearances (10 vs. 25) -They've forced a turnover per game MORE (2.67 TO/G vs 1.71 TO/G) So, really, as strange as it may seem, the defense has actually been playing BETTER without Law.
One team prides itself on offense, one team prides itself on defense, and the 3rd team prides itself on........both. If you can name these three teams, you win a prize, and the knowledge that usually the most balanced team and talented team on both sides of the ball wins it all, and that balanced team just so happens to be winners of 2 of the last 3 super bowls.It was the Steelers and Rams fans in 01, Colts and Titans fans in 03, and now we have the Colts and Steelers fans back 04! So take my advice and can the cheerleading. Your team has a shot, but will probably lose just like every other year. And don't talk to me about your team not getting enough respect, the Patriots all but created the no-respect mantra.Pass Offense Rank http://www.nfl.com/stats/teamsort/NFL/OFF-...ar?sort_col_1=8Indy 1 Pats 6Steelers 28Run Offense Rank http://www.nfl.com/stats/teamsort/NFL/OFF-...ar?sort_col_1=7Steelers 2 Pats 6 Indy 11 Overall Offense Rank http://www.nfl.com/stats/teamsort/NFL/OFF-...ar?sort_col_1=4Indy 2 Pats 7 Steelers 16Scoring Offense Indy 1 (32.6 ppg)Pats 4 (27.3 ppg)Steelers 11 (23.2 ppg)Pass Defense Rank http://www.nfl.com/stats/teamsort/NFL/DEF-...ar?sort_col_1=8Steelers 4Pats 19 Indy 31 Run Defense Rank http://www.nfl.com/stats/teamsort/NFL/DEF-...ar?sort_col_1=7Steelers 1Pats 6 Indy 24 Overall Defense Rank http://www.nfl.com/stats/teamsort/NFL/DEF-...ar?sort_col_1=4Steelers 1Pats 9 Indy 29 Scoring Defense http://www.nfl.com/stats/teamsort/NFL/DEF-...ar?sort_col_1=3Steelers 1Pats 2 Indy 19
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