A Passing Fantasy Issue 95

NFLBP Player Newsletter 2001 Season Week 10

ed Robert Crowther

Firstly, apologies for last week. I didn't get my turn in on time and so none of you got the newsletter. It was available at my website, but for those without internet access I will send you a copy if you write and ask. The address, as usual, is:


79 Petworth Road

Finchley

London

N12 9HE


Or email at '[email protected]'.


Review of Week Nine


New England were never likely to be troubled by the visiting Jaguars, an explosive second quarter buried any hopes Jacksonville may have had for the upset allowing the Patriots to coast home. Miami showed what a dangerous team they can be when they broke out of a tight, defensive struggle with Cleveland with a stunning 31 fourth quarter points. The Kansas City offense had a terrible time in New York, unable to establish the run or convert a third down they spent a large portion of the game sitting on the sideline watching the Jets' QB pick the Chiefs' defense apart. The Oakland passing game was again on top form, blasting past the Buffalo secondary to secure the game by halftime. Cincinnati were always too good for the hapless Broncos, even Denver's second half comeback attempts left them further behind. Pittsburgh squeaked past a Seattle team that had been moving into playoff contention, coming from behind in the fourth quarter.


Arizona could only manage 1.9 yards per carry against the Bears but their backs did at least hold onto the football, Chicago's three turnovers were their downfall. Philadelphia brought the Packers crashing back down to earth with a dominating display – controlling the ball and the clock and taking advantage of Green Bay's mistakes. The San Francisco offense had a field day in Washington while the defense demonstrated 'bend but don' break' at its finest – surrendering yardage and first downs but holding the Redskins to just over 4 yards per play and keeping them short of the endzone for most of the game. Carolina slumped to another shock defeat, this time in Dallas – a lack of leadership, perhaps? Tampa Bay's efforts to resurrect their season were dealt another, possibly terminal, blow by the New Orleans hurry up offense. The Bucs held a narrow lead at the start of the fourth quarter before the Saints blew them away with three touchdowns. St Louis' hopes of a divisional title lay in tatters after an improbable last minute victory was engineered by the home town Lions.


Offensive performance of the week goes to Cincinnati for 32 first downs and 70% completion percentage. Defensive performance of the week goes to Philadelphia, for dominating a previously free wheeling Green Bay offense. Special teams performance of the week goes to New England for some great punt returning.


Predictions Standings

Darren Birtchnell


Martyn Williams

13.56

(9)

Rob Crowther

13.13

(8)

Darren Birtchnell

12.25

(8)

Martin Devine

10.50

(2)


ST LOUIS POST-DESPATCH

Martyn Williams


Our usual reporter has been tied up with other important work this week so no Post Game report or Game of the Week articles. However, rookie journalist Mike Martz caught up with Coach Williams a few days after the Lions game.


You looked very angry at the end of the Lions game, now you’ve had a few days to reflect on it what are you thought’s now?


Firstly, no disrespect to the Lions as they are not a bad team, but that is a game we should have won and I’m still angry we threw it away at the end. First half was just terrible, nothing went right for us but that’s football and you have to learn to live with it. Second half we shut them down and Warner performed heroics dragging us from 19-6 to a 23-19 lead. And then after all that good work our secondary falls asleep and gives up two desperation passes and a TD. I was just stunned, as were our offensive line seemingly. Their protection was appalling and Kurt didn’t deserve to end up on his backside in the endzone at the end there. By throwing that game we’ve basically thrown away any hope of winning the West this season, irrespective of the 49ers result this Monday night.


The defence under performed all game…


Correction, our pass defence under performed. No interceptions and more importantly no sacks is not Ram defence. But I can’t complain with them holding Detroit to 2 yards per carry.


You must be concerned with your running games’ lack of production these last two weeks?


Most definitely, but at least the passing game has picked up. We’ve shown on a couple of occasions this season that we can blow teams away when our offence clicks as a complete unit, but we are still not quite there yet.


So how are you approaching the 49ers game now?


Well firstly, obviously we still want to win. I’ll say now that no one in the NFC can touch the 49ers this season so I’m not going to worry about them again unless we meet in the playoffs. But with the Saints breathing down our necks we still need to win games. Every year since I have been here has seen improvement in St Louis and I don’t want this year to be any different. At the least I’d like to finish 11-5 and host the Wild Card game, so we can’t afford to lose any more stupid games this season, but we can probably afford to lose this one. With that in mind, I’ve told the players that the pressure is off for this game only, I’ve made extensive changes to both offensive and defensive gameplans and I just want to see how the players react. If we lose that’s fine, as long as it isn’t down to stupid mistakes.


You started at 6-1 last season and finished 10-6, losing to the 49ers on Monday will make this season so far a mirror image of last year. Does this concern you?


Not really, it all depends on who you lose to, and how you lose. The only team that has significantly out performed us this year is San Francisco, we were unlucky to lose to Carolina and Detroit, in fact I’d go so far as to say we didn’t deserve to lose either game. Last season we were being soundly beaten by every playoff calibre team we faced, so we have improved this year even if the record looks the same. There are obviously still 2 or 3 areas I’m not entirely happy with, but you can’t build a successful franchise overnight. Even the Bengals have stuggled in the past, admittedly that is hard to believe, but my counterpart at the Raiders has assured me that it was so!


And with that Coach Williams left to oversee the first team practice with the new gameplan. No one at these offices thinks that a new gameplan is going to be enough to beat the 49ers just yet though.


Stats Corner

Martyn Williams


Rushing Rating


Team

Att

Yards

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Bengals

227

1088

4.79

13

6

81.16

Rams

298

993

3.33

15

4

77.58

Packers

271

976

3.60

10

4

72.89

49ers

273

1095

4.01

8

4

71.95

Saints

397

1194

3.01

15

5

71.35

Eagles

282

1136

4.03

7

4

70.48

Patriots

317

1405

4.43

8

6

70.29

Raiders

285

1163

4.08

5

6

64.39

Buccaneers

261

817

3.13

6

5

62.77


Rushing Yardage


Team

Att

Yards

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Patriots

317

1405

4.43

8

6

70.29

Saints

397

1194

3.01

15

5

71.35

Raiders

285

1163

4.08

5

6

64.39

Eagles

282

1136

4.03

7

4

70.48

49ers

273

1095

4.01

8

4

71.95

Bengals

227

1088

4.79

13

6

81.16

Redskins

322

1055

3.28

4

13

48.66

Panthers

324

1017

3.14

5

7

58.56

Rams

298

993

3.33

15

4

77.58

Packers

271

976

3.60

10

4

72.89


Passing Rating


Team

Cm

Att

Pct

Yards

TD

Int

Sk

Rating

Packers

136

201

67.66

2147

17

6

28

118.73

Saints

147

220

66.82

2131

15

5

10

111.38

Patriots

171

257

66.54

1844

20

3

17

108.50

Panthers

114

180

63.33

1417

17

5

17

107.57

49ers

203

318

63.84

2301

26

8

27

102.20

Bengals

199

305

65.25

2390

19

7

29

100.31

Raiders

177

290

61.03

2275

23

11

22

96.26

Broncos

185

296

62.50

2404

14

6

42

95.33

Cardinals

115

182

63.19

1374

9

4

9

93.52

Lions

135

254

53.15

2408

14

10

21

87.84


Passing Yardage


Team

Cm

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

Int

Sk

Rating

Seahawks

187

379

49.34

3131

16

13

40

77.40

Jets

216

390

55.38

2631

11

9

41

76.13

Lions

135

254

53.15

2408

14

10

21

87.84

Broncos

185

296

62.50

2404

14

6

42

95.33

Bengals

199

305

65.25

2390

19

7

29

100.31

49ers

203

318

63.84

2301

26

8

27

102.20

Raiders

177

290

61.03

2275

23

11

22

96.26

Bears

189

313

60.38

2190

10

14

34

73.57

Rams

166

294

56.46

2169

12

12

28

76.47

Steelers

175

305

57.38

2162

10

10

31

76.70


Rushing Defense


Team

Att

Yards

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Eagles

258

490

1.90

4

12

39.94

Chiefs

226

633

2.80

1

7

47.79

Bills

262

866

3.31

2

9

49.90

Patriots

187

564

3.02

3

7

50.28

Seahawks

253

750

2.96

2

7

51.65

Rams

275

651

2.37

1

5

51.70

Bengals

266

852

3.20

1

6

53.74

Jets

286

878

3.07

2

5

56.91

Dolphins

227

556

2.45

6

6

57.10

49ers

308

808

2.62

8

8

58.02


Passing Defense


Team

Cm

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

Int

Sk

Rating

Patriots

196

368

53.26

2286

7

10

31

67.37

Dolphins

177

330

53.64

2244

12

12

29

72.08

Bengals

168

294

57.14

1836

11

11

28

72.60

Raiders

157

280

56.07

1659

5

4

34

73.50

49ers

146

261

55.94

1941

8

9

27

75.53

Cardinals

134

228

58.77

1695

7

9

23

75.82

Browns

138

252

54.76

1818

11

9

21

77.45

Bills

197

329

59.88

2284

14

13

22

78.63

Broncos

202

361

55.96

2541

15

11

39

79.20

Panthers

185

316

58.54

2420

13

13

21

79.35


Week Ten Preview


Predictions and commentary from myself, other predictions from Martyn Williams and Darren Birtchnell.


Patriots at Bills – New England are starting to reach the levels of play that had them tipped for superbowl glory last season, Buffalo will not be able to keep up. Patriots by 14


Dolphins at Jets – That New York ever manage to win any games with the state of their O-line always amazes me. Miami have been slumping but are well equipped to take advantage of this weakness. Dolphins by 10


Bengals at Jaguars – Will Jacksonville be the team to upset Cincy's perfect season? No... Bengals by 14


Steelers at Browns – Pittsburgh pulled one out of the fire last week, while Cleveland suffered from a fourth quarter outburst. I don't think this will be close enough for the Steelers' fourth quarter performance to make any difference. Browns by 10


Chiefs at Seahawks – Seattle always seem to play better in the second half of the season, while Kansas City look to be heading downhill fast. Seahawks by 7


Raiders at Broncos – Wasn't even close in week eight, Denver might have more luck at home but it would be an upset if they could make up that much ground.


Cardinals at Cowboys – Arizona still need their defense to help with the point scoring, Dallas have the edge if they can hold on to the ball. Cowboys by 3


Eagles at Redskins – Philly demonstrated their playoff credentials with the demolition of Green Bay last week, Washington will not present much of a challenge. Eagles by 14


Bucs at Bears – The Chicago defense has actually been doing better than Tampa's this season. Eventually things will go right for the Bears. Bears by 1


Lions at Packers – Defeat for Detroit will see the NFC Central crown heading back to Green Bay. They won't be wanting to see that happen, but they'll not be able to do much about it. Packers by 10


49ers at Rams – St Louis have nothing to lose and could take unbeaten San Francisco by surprise, but it'll have to be a fairly big surprise to upset the 49er applecart. 49ers by 3


Panthers at Saints – The champs seem to have lost focus in recent weeks, a dangerous thing in a division as tough as the NFC West. New Orleans have a big chance to grab second place with this game, with that to play for and homefield advantage they have the edge. Saints by 3


Lock – Bengals

Shock – Bears

Blowout – Eagles

Shootout – Lions at Packers

Slugfest – Chiefs at Seahawks


MW – Patriots by 21, Dolphins by 10 (Shock – Jets), Bengals by 28 (Lock, Blowout), Browns by 10, Seahawks by 7, Raiders by 21, Cowboys by 7, Eagles by 21, Bears by 3 (Slugfest), Packers by 10 (Shootout), Saints by 3


DB – Patriots by 20, Dolphins by 3 (Slugfest), Browns by 7, Seahawks by 7 (Shock), Raiders by 20, Cowboys by 3, Eagles by 17, Bucs by 7, Packers by 10 (Shootout), 49ers by 7, Panthers by 3. Lock, Blowout: Bengals.

NFLBP Player Newsletter

-4-

ed Robert Crowther