issue ten

the bg issue

season 2003

Playoffs


Welcome to another BGI, loads of contributions this time – keep up the good work! Thanks to Martyn, Jerry, Peter, Dex and Apple.


Contacts Section


Name

Address

City/County

Postcode

email

Robert Crowther

25 Colman Court, Christchurch Av

London

N12 0DT

[email protected]

Peter Swindells

115 Long Walk, Epsom

Surrey

KT18 5TU

[email protected]

Jerry Ward

50 Desmond Drive, Old Catton

Norwich

NR6 7JN


Richard Appleby

12 Sunningdale Drive, Borough Hill, Daventry

Northants

NN11 4NZ

[email protected]

Neil Arthurton

23 Turnberry Court, Watford

Hertfordshire

WD1 6BE

[email protected]

Martyn Williams

33 Eastern Way, Letchworth,
Hertfordshire
SG6 4PE

[email protected]

Kevan Parrott

11 Hollins Lane, Sheffield

South Yorks.


[email protected]

Derek Barton

75 Alexandra Mews, Tamworth

Staffordshire

B79 7HT


			


For Gameplan related stuff on the web go to 'www.gameplan-pbm.com'. If you want to chat about Gameplan check out the Gameplan Club on Yahoo! at 'uk.clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/gameplan'. Next issue will either be a Superbowl preview or a Superbowl review, time and contributions depending.


Week Sixteen Review


Surprises galore this week and the playoff picture, though not turned completely upside down, was at least knocked slightly squint. In the AFC the Jets, confirmed as divisional champions several weeks ago, were well beaten by their great rivals the Colts. New York dominated the yardage but Indianapolis were able to ease up after two defensive touchdowns. Baltimore put an end to any hopes the Oilers may have harboured for the divisional title. Houston have slumped badly after a strong start while Baltimore have looked stronger and stronger as the season has worn on. In the West the Broncos pipped the inconsistent Raiders to the divisional title by a mere 16 points. In the NFC the Redskins claimed the Eastern title with a comfortable win over Dallas, New York would have needed a bucketload of points to steal it from them and their offense didn't look up to the task against Arizona. The Packers went into Minnesota as underdogs and very nearly stole the division title, a fourth quarter touchdown from the Vikings was just a consolation score on the day but was ultimately the deciding factor in the destination of the title. Atlanta took full advantage of the Vike's slip up, thrashing the Rams to claim homefield advantage.


Coach Williams Mid-Week Press Conference


Coach Williams understandably had a smile on his face when addressing the Washington media on Wednesday morning. "Hi guys, good to see you all as happy as myself. It’s great to be sitting here as head coach of the NFC Eastern Division Champions, only a year after I took up Mr Snyder’s challenge of bringing this club back to the playoffs. I credit Coach Laird at the Giants for making this season extremely challenging in the East, and credit my defence for playing like their lives depended on it each week. Way back in mini-camp they knew the deal, that they had to carry the club this season while the offence was rebuilt, and every one of them stepped up their performance accordingly, and never once pointed fingers at an at times disappointing offence. And now the real fun starts, and it is great to be a part of the Super Bowl race. Many people will have us way down in the pecking order as far as possible Super Bowl Champions goes, and rightly so. But we are confident of playing tough against our forthcoming opponents, remember we only lost by 6 against the Falcons week one, and 7 to the Vikings week 15 so we have no reason to fear playing either of those great teams. Of course the Packers humbled us 29-0 back in week 13 but rest assured that won’t happen again.


Looking toward the draft we are in the lucky position of having all our key personnel under contract, and so we can really concentrate on improving our offence through the draft. There may be some turnaround in the receiving corp but otherwise this team will be back bigger, better, and more experienced for next season. And I’d just like to say welcome to Coach Hodges at the Cardinals, I fully expect him to improve the franchise and make the East even more of a challenge to us next season."


This Week in History


Jerry Ward gives hope to the wildcard contenders:


"As the 2003 season moves into the post-season, delving into the NFLBG archives shows that during the previous 14 seasons, only two teams have ever won the ‘big one’ as a wild-card team. These were the 1992 Atlanta Falcons and the 1998 Oakland Raiders. What links these two victories is that both teams were coached by the same person – Richard Goodley.


The 1992 Falcons finished the regular season 12-3-1, finishing half a game back on the San Francisco 49ers, whilst conceding the fewest points (185). The wild-card game pitched them at home against the New York Giants, a high scoring football team founded on a strong running game. The Falcons effectively killed the game with 21 points in the second quarter and in restricting the Giants to just 40 yds on 18 carries, ran out comfortable 31-10 winners, posting 30 first downs along the way.


The win gave them a trip to Dallas to meet the Cowboys (13-3), winners of the NFC East and the top NFC ranked offence, plus a mean defence to boot. In a tense first half, the Cowboys edged it 14-12. However, their defence wore down in the second half as the Falcons controlled the clock with a total of 210 yds on 47 carries at 4.5 yds a pop. Despite this, they weren’t able to break the goal line and had to settle for a couple of field goals, resulting in a tight 18-14 win.


In the NFC Championship Game, the Falcons travelled to meet the San Francisco 49ers, who boasted a league best 14-2 record and like all the Falcons previous opponents in the play-offs, a strong running game. Again this proved to be an edgy game as both teams struggled to generate any offence. The Falcons defence was outstanding, limiting the 49ers ground game to just 43 yds on 25 carries and intercepting QB Steve Bono 3 times. The Falcons shut out the 49ers in a 13-0 squeaker, thus advancing to the Bowl Game to take on the AFC Central’s Cincinnati Bengals.


The Bengals were perhaps a surprise package to reach the Bowl Game, having only posted a 9-7 regular season record. Unspectacular on offence and behind a QB who threw 3 times as many INTs than TDs, they relied heavily on a defence which was very strong against the run. In a scrappy game, the Falcons missed an extra point, scored a safety and nailed 2 field goals to lead 14-0 going into the fourth quarter. As they continued to convert third downs and move the chains with controlled football (their longest run from scrimmage was only 8 yds and the longest pass a mere 14 yds throughout the match) the Bengals hit back with a 55 yd TD bomb. It was to be too little too late and as the teams exchanged scores, the Falcons ran out 24-14 winners.


By 1998, Coach Goodley had returned to the league following a break to take the reins at Oakland. By the end of the regular season, the Raiders had posted a 13-3 record, scoring the most points (507) along the way. Not surprisingly, they had the leagues number 1 ranked offence, plus the number 3 ranked defence, but still finished a game back on the Seattle Seahawks.


The wild-card round saw them host the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had a very respectable 10-6 regular season record, but a very suspect defence. The Raiders showed no mercy and were near flawless in a  45-3 romp. QB Jeff George threw for over 300 yds, completing 74% of his passes and tossing 5 TDs, with no picks. The ground game weighed in with nearly 200 yds and no fumbles on the way to a 4.9 yd average.


In buoyant mood, The Raiders travelled to Cincinnati (12-4) to clash heads with the league’s top ranked defence. This was a close game and at the half, the Bengals were up 12-7. The Raiders made some adjustments and had their noses in front 20-19 going into the fourth quarter. It was only then that they pulled away to win 30-19, a score which slightly flattered them.


The AFC Championship Game saw them travel to divisional rivals Seattle Seahawks. During the regular season, they had split their games, although the Steelers had only won in overtime when hosting the Raiders. This time the Silver and Black didn’t hang about, got on the board early and having done all the damage in the first half, ran out comfortable 41-21 winners. The Seahawks still managed to amass 247 yds on the ground in 53 carries and a healthy 4.7 average, but perhaps didn’t offer enough variation with a passing game.


The Raiders now advanced to the Bowl Game to meet the St Louis Rams (14-2), the NFCs top ranked offence. Both defences failed to show up as neither side created any turnovers and the punting units were only called upon 4 times. The Rams recorded 31 first downs and QB Tony Banks connected on 31 of 50 passes for a staggering 461 yds. The ground game also yielded 113 yds. In response, the Raiders had 25 first downs and QB Jeff George completed 73% of his passes for 355 yds and 5 TDs. The tandem of FB Joe Aska and HB Harvey Williams rumbled for 143 yds as the Raiders won 49-26, the highest aggregate points total in the history of the NFLBG."


Final Rankings


Courtesy of Neil Arthurton. Rankings are calculated on a spreadsheet developed by Dave Marsdin, see http://www.endzone1.co.uk/ for details.


Pos:

Prev.

+/-

Team

Tot Pts

Pass O

rank

Rush O

rank

Kick

rank

Turn

rank

Pass D

rank

Rush D

rank

Poss

rank

1

1

0

Jets

30

89.85

6

66.20

3

98.44

1

10

4

73.94

11

44.98

1

12.65

4

2

2

0

Falcons

32

104.24

1

61.63

10

76.57

5

3

10

57.58

2

49.68

3

18.53

1

3

4

1

Packers

39

88.91

7

63.65

7

87.97

3

14

2

55.98

1

56.29

9

2.8

10

4

3

-1

Vikings

44

84.45

8

65.17

6

88.58

2

9

5

68.12

7

52.04

7

3.61

9

5

6

1

Ravens

49

90.81

4

57.62

13

73.95

8

8

6

61.82

3

58.32

13

17.65

2

6

5

-1

Colts

50

96.27

2

65.33

4

80.94

4

13

3

76.36

12

58.71

14

2.27

11

7

7

0

Bills

61

90.27

5

66.64

2

59.28

19

4

9

76.40

13

56.73

10

16.18

3

8

11

3

Giants

61

74.48

11

58.98

12

71.24

10

1

12

65.75

6

50.06

4

4.93

6

9

10

1

Redskins

63

69.45

13

54.71

16

75.75

7

-3

16

63.14

4

49.09

2

6.29

5

10

8

-2

Raiders

66

80.66

9

57.21

14

69.79

12

0

13

64.40

5

51.85

6

4.44

7

11

12

1

49ers

70

79.06

10

65.21

5

75.99

6

8

6

84.72

19

61.34

16

3.86

8

12

9

-3

Oilers

72

69.21

14

69.21

1

72.32

9

3

10

69.79

8

61.97

17

1.54

13

13

13

0

Broncos

89

94.17

3

46.02

20

64.21

15

27

1

80.96

17

57.55

12

-11.37

21

14

14

0

Steelers

98

62.84

18

53.37

17

61.63

16

-1

14

73.26

10

57.38

11

2.11

12

15

6

-9

Titans

116

68.16

15

62.19

9

61.57

17

-15

21

87.41

22

62.05

18

-1.02

14

16

20

4

Panthers

116

66.89

16

56.12

15

54.80

22

-2

15

77.91

16

60.76

15

-6.1

17

17

19

2

Dolphins

117

52.57

23

44.91

21

64.22

14

-15

21

76.76

14

51.41

5

-6.98

19

18

18

0

Cowboys

119

65.79

17

39.08

22

47.93

24

-8

18

76.87

15

53.47

8

-1.22

15

19

15

-4

Rams

119

56.19

22

59.81

11

53.17

23

7

8

70.62

9

65.81

24

-14.96

22

20

21

1

Bears

120

70.54

12

46.71

19

70.81

11

-8

18

86.23

21

65.56

23

-3.2

16

21

17

-4

Seahawks

121

60.39

19

62.58

8

65.42

13

-9

20

89.26

23

63.55

20

-6.17

18

22

22

0

Lions

134

59.21

20

51.74

18

56.68

20

-7

17

84.87

20

62.60

19

-9.32

20

23

23

0

Chargers

154

56.98

21

36.91

23

60.91

18

-21

24

90.42

24

63.99

21

-16.61

23

24

24

0

Cardinals

156

46.83

24

29.67

24

56.61

21

-19

23

83.01

18

64.94

22

-19.45

24


Playoff Preview


Views from around the league on the main contenders in the playoffs:


Derek Barton – Predictions for the wildcards, Packers by 17 & Colts by 20. The remaining rounds Vikes to play Falcons in NFC Championship Game and Jets & Ravens in the AFC. Superbowl Ravens Vs Falcons, but it's gonna be close.


Richard Appleby – Having made the decision to leave BG at the start of the season, I found that running down my credits was a bad thing: the longer the season went on the more I became interested in defending my title. I put in three gameplans all season and it definitely cost me the division as well as homefield. Having beaten the Jets up in week 16 I feel I can get to the bowl, having to go through as a wildcard is going to be difficult though. I cannot see how the Oilers are going to win but you never know. Travelling to Baltimore will be the biggest game for me, I always beat them but having played up a game more maybe one game too much, if I can get past them then I think I can take the Jets out again and defend my title.


Peter Swindells – Wildcard Games: Colts to beat the Oilers, Packers to beat the Giants. Divisional Games: Jets to beat the Broncos, Ravens to beat the Colts, Vikings to beat the Redskins, Falcons to beat the Packers. Championship Games: Ravens to beat the Jets, Falcons to beat the Vikings. Superbowl: Falcons to beat the Ravens.


Robert Crowther – The Vikings were badly prepared for the week sixteen game in Green Bay and it showed, the result cost us homefield and nearly the division. To be honest the team has not been playing too well over the last few weeks and we'll have to buck up our ideas if we have any hope of improving on our miserable playoff record. Two very tough games lie in the way of the superbowl, home for the Redskins and then (probably) a visit to the Falcons, both teams we were lucky to beat in the regular season. In the AFC the main contenders are the Jets, Ravens and Colts – New York are favourites but will be hoping the Baltimore can knock out Indy because they just can't seem to beat them late in the season.

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