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Lowest in a decade:
What is? The table linked shows that punting distance has been constant within random variation for the past decade, and higher than in any years prior to that decade. Clearly, punters kick further than they used to. But as I noted a while ago unthread, Sammy Baugh--a QB!--set a punting distance record that lasted for decades. Since he was a QB, I wonder if that record was helped by fake plays, in which the opposing team was caught without a return man.

XP % is down, obviously, because of the rule change, requiring kickers to make it from a much longer distance. That rule was changed specifically because over time, kickers had become so efficient that the XP was automatic, there was no justification for having it.

FG % is down this year, but that may be random. It was quite constant for the previous decade, and even with this year's drop, is well over what the % was more than a decade ago. Accuracy also depends of course on distance. Notice that beginning about a decade ago, kickers have attempted more FG from > 50 yards. This is more evidence that today's kickers are stronger and more accurate than those in the past.

Personally, I think kicking is one of the most unappreciated aspects of the game. Before the change in XP distance, kickers were making XP as high as 99.5% of the time. That is five misses out of a thousand. To me, that would be incredible even if the ball were teed up, with no defence in front of the LOS. When you consider that the ball has to be snapped, caught by the holder, placed just so on the ground, and the kicker has to time his kick so he gets the ball off before the defense can block it--extraordinary. Also--this goes back a long time--the goalposts used to be placed on the goal line, not at the back of the end zone, making XP kicks even shorter.

Some interesting stats from the Ravens upset. The Ravens were only the second team in history to gain > 500 yards in a playoff game at home, and lose. The Steelers did it a couple of years ago, but they didn't lose for lack of getting in the EZ. The final score of that game was 45-42. Also, only two teams in modern (post-merger) NFL history have gained > 500 yards and scored fewer than the Ravens's 12 points, regular or pos-season TB did it last year, losing 16-3, and the 40ers did it in 1986, losing 14-6. Both those teams barely made it, gaining 501 yards, whereas the Ravens gained 520. So gaining > 500 yards and being held to 12 points is almost incomprehensibly improbable. Using NFL stats for yards/point, the yards the Ravens gained on average would be parlayed into 35 points.

I also found out why 538 has the Titans favoured in a potential SB vs. the 49ers. They use the Elo rating, in which teams start with some fixed number of points, and points are added or subtracted as they win or lose, depending on strength of opponent and margin of victory. The Titans picked up a lot of points with their wins over NE and BAL, and now are ranked fourth in the NFL (since Elo is cumulative, teams that advance in the playoffs are likely to end up higher than teams that don't make the playoffs or get eliminated soon, regardless of their regular season performance). The 49ers are ranked fifth. Moreover, if the two teams make it to the SB, the Titans will get a lot of points beating a higher-ranked team, KC, which is second in Elo, while the 49ers would get less beating the Packers, which are fifth, unless they won by a large margin.

As far as I can tell, this is the current Elo standings:

  1. BAL (despite the loss to TE, based on regular season performance)
  2. KC
  3. NE or NO? (again, regular season overcoming TE loss to some extent)
  4. TE
  5. SF
  6. GB
 
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Cut him some slack. He's old and his vision must be going. (An absolutely total joke! Love ya' Merckx, as you may be the only person on here older than me! Oh, I am wearing reading glasses while typing this, yes.) :relaxed:

I was also wrong on my Ray Guy comment. Guy actually broke 45 yards per punt in his rookie season. Oddly, that was one season he didn't win the punting title, Jerrell Wilson of the Chiefs did. Never the less, as Merckx says, punters consistently punt farther than before as a whole. Tres Wey of Washington nearly broke the 50 yard average this season, a number that's been attained a few years (Lee, Lechler, the aforementioned Baugh, who also played some defense!).

Just an edit for clarity. While I've been biased about Guy, and felt it was obvious he'd be the first punter to into the Hall, I also feel as though a few others could, maybe should be there. Wilson being one of them. Jeff Feagles and Reggie Roby also come to mind. Roby had a huge leg and quick step, and there must be a highlight reel of Feagles having balls bounce inside the 5 yard line and go out of bounds, pinning teams deep, he did it so many times for so many years. I'd have to do some research, but a few other guys could get there as well, Lechler evevtually.
Personally, I think kicking is one of the most unappreciated aspects of the game.
Here's what I will say, it is indeed an underappreciated skill. I believe it was Phil Simms who said kickers face more pressure than any other player, including the QB, and I don't disagree with him. There are already numerous factors to deal with and take into consideration before the ball is even snapped, then the kicker has to make on the fly timing adjustments as well, on top of kicking the ball extremely hard, and straight. Numerous times the entire game, season even, rides on their shoulders.

Never the less, I find games decided by FG's a lot less interesting that games decided by plays featuring the offense vs. the defense when it comes down to the last plays. This is why I advocate removing the flags from the poles at the very least (yes, I realize this does nothing in domes), and would even be good with them moving the uprights closer together, like they tested in one of the Pro Bowls a few years back. Some years ago Joe Gibbs advocated eliminating the FG in football entirely. I wouldn't go that far, but it's food for thought.
 
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And for kickers if the field goal is for the win or tie if they miss it is all on them from fans for why they lost. They could be perfect all night and something in the kicking process is off from any of the three and causes a miss and it's all on the kicker. Plus if the snapper or holder screws up, the kicker still receives majority of the blame.
 
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Cut him some slack. He's old and his vision must be going. (An absolutely total joke! Love ya' Merckx, as you may be the only person on here older than me! Oh, I am wearing reading glasses while typing this, yes.) :relaxed:

I was also wrong on my Ray Guy comment. Guy actually broke 45 yards per punt in his rookie season. Oddly, that was one season he didn't win the punting title, Jerrell Wilson of the Chiefs did. Never the less, as Merckx says, punters consistently punt farther than before as a whole. Tres Wey of Washington nearly broke the 50 yard average this season, a number that's been attained a few years (Lee, Lechler, the aforementioned Baugh, who also played some defense!).

Just an edit for clarity. While I've been biased about Guy, and felt it was obvious he'd be the first punter to into the Hall, I also feel as though a few others could, maybe should be there. Wilson being one of them. Jeff Feagles and Reggie Roby also come to mind. Roby had a huge leg and quick step, and there must be a highlight reel of Feagles having balls bounce inside the 5 yard line and go out of bounds, pinning teams deep, he did it so many times for so many years. I'd have to do some research, but a few other guys could get there as well, Lechler evevtually.

Here's what I will say, it is indeed an underappreciated skill. I believe it was Phil Simms who said kickers face more pressure than any other player, including the QB, and I don't disagree with him. There are already numerous factors to deal with and take into consideration before the ball is even snapped, then the kicker has to make on the fly timing adjustments as well, on top of kicking the ball extremely hard, and straight. Numerous times the entire game, season even, rides on their shoulders.

Never the less, I find games decided by FG's a lot less interesting that games decided by plays featuring the offense vs. the defense when it comes down to the last plays. This is why I advocate removing the flags from the poles at the very least (yes, I realize this does nothing in domes), and would even be good with them moving the uprights closer together, like they tested in one of the Pro Bowls a few years back. Some years ago Joe Gibbs advocated eliminating the FG in football entirely. I wouldn't go that far, but it's food for thought.
Several things:
-All games should be inside.
-FGs should only be one point (if we want to get into changing rules).
-Underappreciated, yes. Because of that and other factors though, you don't get the best guys kicking FGs.
-BUT, my OP about this was that it seems like there were more misses, and maybe more specifically, more misses in crucial situations this year than in past years (this century I think I said).
-Punters weren't part of my OP because I feel like punters are better than they used to be as a whole. Coverage guys probably help this.
-Average yards isn't as important as the number of punts pining a team deep. If your O sucks, you get to punt from your own 20 a lot and kick the crap out of it every time, but if your O is better, you kick from the other side of the field more often (reducing your average).
 
And for kickers if the field goal is for the win or tie if they miss it is all on them from fans for why they lost. They could be perfect all night and something in the kicking process is off from any of the three and causes a miss and it's all on the kicker. Plus if the snapper or holder screws up, the kicker still receives majority of the blame.
That would depend on the definition of 'fan'. :)
 
-FGs should only be one point (if we want to get into changing rules).
I think I said before on here that field goals would be interesting if you got points based on how far the kick is:
1 point- 0-19 yards
2 point- 20-29 yards
3 point- 30-39 yards
Etc.

As 40 plus it starts getting harder for the kicker to make while the closer you are do you really want to settle for 1 or 2 points.
 
Skip Bayless picked the Titans to beat the Patriots and the Ravens and he is now picking them to beat the Chiefs. Kudos for that because most of the ESPN and Fox so called experts never mentioned the Titans pre playoffs or just as an afterthought. It seems most of them are tipping the 49ers to win the other game as well. Some people are expecting something miraculous from Rodgers. I still think most of the pressure is on Andy Reid and Rodgers with their playoff records. For me the only way that Green Bay can win is to not let the 49ers defense settle and mix up their play calls and tempo and hope that the 49ers have some turnovers and flags. If the 49ers run game works as well as it did against the Vikings then GB will struggle. I still tend to think that the 49ers will find a way to win and for once I will agree with Bayless and take the Titans who look out gunned on paper but I think they have the style of play to bother the Chiefs who don't have a great run defense usually. Expect the Titans to stick to the script that has served them well so far in the playoffs.
 
While I was out to eat tonight I spied a TV with a 'classic 1998' NFL playoff game: GB vs. SF. I saw Favre duking it out with a SF lineman! And Mariuci having an absolute meltdown at the refs about something. It would have been fun to watch more but those two peaks almost got me in trouble! :)

EDIT: in other news...Garrett does end up at NYG. It just feels wrong to me.
 
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I get the most improved but also comeback player? Would have been better to give it to someone else. He came back from being ***, others came back from serious injuries and played more than 10 games.
 
While I was out to eat tonight I spied a TV with a 'classic 1998' NFL playoff game: GB vs. SF. I saw Favre duking it out with a SF lineman! And Mariuci having an absolute meltdown at the refs about something. It would have been fun to watch more but those two peaks almost got me in trouble! :)

EDIT: in other news...Garrett does end up at NYG. It just feels wrong to me.
Yeah Garrett at the Giants is an odd one but not the oddest so far ! Yet he wasn't calling the plays at the Cowboys anyway and McCarthy has agreed that he won't be calling the plays either.......for the moment ! Sounds like another Jerry decision but one that might end up being overturned later if the Cowboys are not looking playoff bound.
 
While I was out to eat tonight I spied a TV with a 'classic 1998' NFL playoff game: GB vs. SF. I saw Favre duking it out with a SF lineman! And Mariuci having an absolute meltdown at the refs about something. It would have been fun to watch more but those two peaks almost got me in trouble! :)
Yeah...I was watching some of that game last night on the NFL Network. I remember watching it live on my old Panasonic tube TV back when I was a young(er) man. Lol. Did you happen to notice a young Andy Reid there on the sidelines? He was quarterbacks coach & assistant head coach under Holmgren.

Another interesting tidbit: That was Steve Young's last full season - the following year he played in only the first 3 games before a season-ending concussion and ultimately his retirement. If they had the helmets they have now, he might have been able to play a few more years.
 
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Skip Bayless picked the Titans to beat the Patriots and the Ravens and he is now picking them to beat the Chiefs. Kudos for that because most of the ESPN and Fox so called experts never mentioned the Titans pre playoffs or just as an afterthought. It seems most of them are tipping the 49ers to win the other game as well. Some people are expecting something miraculous from Rodgers. I still think most of the pressure is on Andy Reid and Rodgers with their playoff records. For me the only way that Green Bay can win is to not let the 49ers defense settle and mix up their play calls and tempo and hope that the 49ers have some turnovers and flags. If the 49ers run game works as well as it did against the Vikings then GB will struggle. I still tend to think that the 49ers will find a way to win and for once I will agree with Bayless and take the Titans who look out gunned on paper but I think they have the style of play to bother the Chiefs who don't have a great run defense usually. Expect the Titans to stick to the script that has served them well so far in the playoffs.
I think there's a lot of pressure on Reid. This is their best chance to get to the SB as NE was their stumbling block last year (no surprises there). NE was one & done and Baltimore, who I thought would have the inside track to the SB, was upset. I think KC is the better team and they're at Arrowhead with a 100% Mahomes. So, as much as KC has to stop (or slow) Henry, Tennessee has the monumental task of stopping Mahomes. And since KC lost to them earlier in the season, they won't be taking them lightly and the revenge factor will be in full mode.

IMO, absolutely no pressure on Tennessee - they've exceeded expectations. Though Vrabel was on the hot seat this year after going 9-7 in his first season and no playoffs, I can't imagine ownership would have expected them in the championship game via beating NE & #1 seed Baltimore. I think a playoff win was the expectation given the fact that Varbel's predecessor, Mularkey, who also went 9-7 (his third season) and was one & one in his only playoff appearance that year that ultimately got him fired in 2017.

Credit Vrabel in making that QB change way back against the Broncos in week #6. They were 2-4 with Mariota and 7-3 after the switch to Tannehill. Some coaches would have continued to ride the storm with Mariota a few weeks more before making any changes.
 
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Yeah...I was watching some of that game last night on the NFL Network. I remember watching it live on my old Panasonic tube TV back when I was a young(er) man. Lol. Did you happen to notice a young Andy Reid there on the sidelines? He was quarterbacks coach & assistant head coach under Holmgren.

Another interesting tidbit: That was Steve Young's last full season - the following year he played in only the first 3 games before a season-ending concussion and ultimately his retirement. If they had the helmets they have now, he might have been able to play a few more years.
I could listen to Steve Young talk football all day. Definitely one of the better NFL media experts out there.
 
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I get the most improved but also comeback player? Would have been better to give it to someone else. He came back from being ***, others came back from serious injuries and played more than 10 games.
Jimmy Garappolo comes to mind. Earl Thomas as well.

A little off the radar, but very significant is Darren Waller, TE for the Raiders. He's had so many problems, substance abuse, suspended a few times, once for an entire season. His best year was 2016 with 10 catches before missing all of 2017 due to suspension. Last year he "survived" the season and sat the bench, with just 6 catches all year. This year? Played all 16 games, a whopping 90 receptions for 1,145 yards and a 12.7 average. These are pro-bowl numbers, Just astounding for a guy who hardly played last year, and two years was essentially out of the league.

I agree Nomad, the pressure has to really be on Reid now. If there is one thing that will benefit them, it's the way they almost botched last week's game. That game will help them focus a little when they get on the field, knowing this is possible. But Reid has to be thinking, "I can't blow this one, this year".

I also agree with Movingtarget that I can see SF grind the ball on the ground quite a bit against GB. I don't expect a blowout like before, but I think SF's running will be the key to them getting enough points to win. They just can't swap FG's on long drives for TD's, or make bad turnovers (ask Baltimore) in this process.
 
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Maybe what helped him getting Comeback was being injured all of 2017, injured again in 2018 and missed 5 games from it (not close to the amount of time as Grappolo or Thomas), completely overlooked, talked down upon, and demoted. To then come out and have the regular season he had with the possibility of career highs if he played all 16 games. I think he deserves both as that criteria makes me think of both awards. I could see a big passing game tomorrow. Some people forget that the Titans were averaging 30+ with Tannehill and have like a 97% red zone TD percentage. They haven't kicked a field goal in weeks.
 
Maybe what helped him getting Comeback was being injured all of 2017, injured again in 2018 and missed 5 games from it (not close to the amount of time as Grappolo or Thomas), completely overlooked, talked down upon, and demoted. To then come out and have the regular season he had with the possibility of career highs if he played all 16 games. I think he deserves both as that criteria makes me think of both awards. I could see a big passing game tomorrow. Some people forget that the Titans were averaging 30+ with Tannehill and have like a 97% red zone TD percentage. They haven't kicked a field goal in weeks.
Can't believe people are knocking him with his stats. Comparing him to Mahomes and others. Sure he doesn't rack up huge yards regularly but he makes plays and limits his mistakes. He has surprised many people. He doesn't have the raw skill of a Mahomes or Rodgers but he's become a winner on a pretty well balanced team. Some of those deep balls he has been throwing have been outstanding. He's the right QB for a team like the Titans and it's working well at the moment. See how he copes with the Kansas pass rush. I think it could turn out to be the better game of the two.
 
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Can't believe people are knocking him with his stats. Comparing him to Mahomes and others. Sure he doesn't rack up huge yards regularly but he makes plays and limits his mistakes. He has surprised many people. He doesn't have the raw skill of a Mahomes or Rodgers but he's become a winner on a pretty well balanced team. Some of those deep balls he has been throwing have been outstanding. He's the right QB for a team like the Titans and it's working well at the moment. See how he copes with the Kansas pass rush. I think it could turn out to be the better game of the two.
Especially since people's biggest criticism on him with the Dolphins was his deep ball accuracy and arm when he had Wallace, Landry, Stills, and Parker. Though he showed plenty of times he had that, Gase and Philbin just didn't trust him.

I hope he does good and I wouldn't be suprised if the Titans go for big on the first play with a playaction. Especially since all the Chiefs defensive players have done is talk about Henry. I agree, I think it'll be the better game tomorrow. Stinks it starts at a busy point of work but I digress.
 
Let me start this Sunday with #44!!!!! :)

EDIT Post Game:
PM's run at the end of the first half was the game. Yes, he is an amazing athlete, but even the worst D in the league, let alone TEN, CAN'T let that happen!

The O runs through Henry and they abandon that...WTH?! Its hard to say who is to blame, but them not doing what they do, is inexcusable.

Congrats Chiefs/Reid /Et al!
 
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Congratulations to the Chiefs progressing, their offense definitely is something else with their speed and Mahomes ability to extend plays. Andy could finally get his Super Bowl. The defense stepped up huge.

Not anywhere near the reason they lost as the Titans had some bad penalties and I felt the Chiefs got away with a little but the refs doing ref things:
View: https://mobile.twitter.com/TJCarpenterShow/status/1219033007413026816?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet
 
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Congratulations to the Chiefs progressing, their offense definitely is something else with their speed and Mahomes ability to extend plays. Andy could finally get his Super Bowl. The defense stepped up huge.

Not anywhere near the reason they lost as the Titans had some bad penalties and I felt the Chiefs got away with a little but the refs doing ref things:
View: https://mobile.twitter.com/TJCarpenterShow/status/1219033007413026816?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet
Yes, there were several 'questionable' calls (and that one was CRAZY!).

The 40 yard PI penalty is 'correct' as the rule is written (I guess), but as has been discussed adnauseam, 40 yard penalties, especially on an under-thrown ball that had <1% chance of being caught is not good for the game. I have hated the stupid rhetoric 'he didn't get his head around' since the first time that I heard it. Who cares if his head is around, the ball wasn't going to make it to the receiver and the receiver jumped into the DB. Even if someone argues that, that is PI, it shouldn't be a 40 yarder.

Lineman gyrating all over the place, the center moving the ball and pointing, the tackle swinging his hips in to hear the call, the QB waving and dancing, the RB moving over to talk to the QB...most of the time its pin the tail on the donkey as to false start vs. off side/encroachment.

OOPS...I'm ranting!
 

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