Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Upon Further Review: OAK@TEN Offense

Hey, I'm actually getting a game up the week thereof. Yes, I'm still behind, but here's the Oakland game in its entirety. Additional commentary to come later.

T24110Standard 2-TERun6WhiteCutback
Run up the middle-looks like there was probably a pretty decent alley, and White runs forward for a good gain on first down.
T3024I-Form, 3-WRPassIncMouldsIn
It's a bootleg play to the "strong" side, where Gage and Moulds were. Gage runs a little short out, while Moulds runs a deeper (9 yard) in. VY boots and throws it to Moulds, who has the pass go off his hands. Yeah, that's a drop. (CA)
T3034Shotgun 4-WR ClosePassIncWhiteCheckdown
White slips out of the backfield and is right in front of VY standing at the first down marker. VY puts a decent pass for him, but LB Howard makes a good defensive play to bat the ball away. This is another one of those plays that shows why I lust after coaches' film-no clue if this is VY's best option, but it's not a great one. In the basence of more information, (CA)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 1Q 14:15. Good first down run, then a dropped pass and a nice defensive play. That's the problem with passing-as the Woody Hayes quote goes, "Three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad." Of course, the same is also true about running, but being fair to people who thought differently wasn't necessarily Woody's agenda.
Blah, short run up middle. Moulds blocking DT Kelly isn't exactly fair to Eric, but that's life.
T2327Shotgun BaseRun0WhiteRead Option
VY makes the right read on the DE, but the give to White is supposed to be up the middle, and there's aboslutely no running room there.
T2337Shotgun BasePass4YoungScramble
Watching this play, I had a really unpleasant thought-do the Titans only send 3 pass-catchers out on a pattern because they think they need 7 to block even if the other team only rushes 4, like the Raiders did here, or is it because they don't trust the QB to have to make that many reads? Is either a good sign for the offense? On this play, Burgess is making a wide rush around the outside of Scaife on the right side, so of course White stays up the middle rather than helping on the outside. And with 7 to cover 3, none of whom has spectacular individual skills, there's nothing for VY to do but to try to take off, which doesn't work because the WRs aren't that far downfield. Problems compounding problems. (SCR)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, 1Q 8:40. If you can't run the ball with consistent success or pass the ball with consistent success, your offense is going to struggle to score points.
T34110Strong I, Standard 2-TEPassIncGageDeep Drag
VY does the bootleg action, and Gage comes all the way across the formation about 55 yards downfield, where VY tries to hit him. The pass is thrown too far ahead of where Gage is trying to go, and Gage appears to stumble trying to get to the ball. This may have been a DB-aided stumble, but the ball is too far to realistically call pass interference. (IN)
Another "we don't respect your passing game" defensive call-the Raiders have 5 guys over the line at the line of scrimmage, the slot defender to the left is on the edge of the box, and LB Morrison is on the other edge of the box. There's enough of a lane created by the offensive line to get 4 yards, but that's all you can realisitically hope for from this play if you don't have a running back who can make one or two guys miss. And White isn't that guy. Incidentally-this is how Texas stopped White in the 4th quarter of the Rose Bowl, a subject I will opine on at minor length if prompted.
T3836Shotgun BasePass8WhiteCheckdown
VY looks, but quickly dumps it to White in the left flat. White makes a nifty move to avoid Howard's diving tackle (see, actual, non-sarcastic praise of LenDayne!) and the rest of the Oakland D can't get there in time to prevent the first down. The "analyst" talks about how White "has to get more involved in the passing game," because he has "good hands," "good feet," and "can make people miss in the open field." I admit to having less than perfect vision, but I don't recognize this "LenDale White" person.
T46110Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun11WhiteStretch
Some bad work by the Raiders here, and some beautiful blocking. The play an overload to the strong side, and blitz an LB up the middle. The 4 DLs are also in the middle, which leaves 4 defenders in the area, plus a deep S. 4 Titan blockers take care of the 4 defenders, and White gets brought down by the first guy to hit him, Schweigert, though he does manage to fall forward for 2 yards and the first down. If White can sidestep the former Boilermaker, he has at least 5 more yards and may have a shot at a TD.
O43110Standard 2-TE, 2-WR RightRun3WhiteIso
Blah, short run left side.
The Raiders stuff the middle of the line well on this play, aided by Kelly getting an early jump. Fisher makes the right call on 2&2 v. 3&7.
O35222-TE StrongRun13HenryCutback
What a beautiful cut by Henry here. There's not much up the middle at first, and it looks like the Raiders with 8 in the box have this play stuffed. Then, on the right side, Hartsock(!) shifts from one defender to the other, and Henry has a lane to run through. He cuts back to it (almost a real, honest-to-goodness jump cut), and bursts through the hole. He gets about 5 extra yards because DB Routt takes a bad angle on the play.
O22110Standard 2-TERun5HenryCutback
8 in the box again, and the Titans pick up 5 yards. Nice job by Huff, who got caught up in the trash on the previous play, to adjust to the inside cutback lane from his outside contain responsibility and stop Henry.
O17253-WR, Slot WeakPassIncTroupeOut & Up
Where the split end on the slot side is Hartsock and the SE on the other side is Troupe. How does Troupe get this wide open? "Yes, Deion, it's a double move," and Alston bites on it, big-time. He's wide open, and VY's pass can't connect. How good of a pass this was has already been debated. See Andrew's thoughts, my thoughts in the comments section, and, just for grins, I'll give you a real-time excerpt:
[12:35] [NewsToTom] open Ben Troupe drops TD pass
[12:35] [NewsToTom] pass a little overthrown, but Troupe was wide open, Gannon blaming VY
[12:35] [wbarnwell] that was a young overthrow, not a troupe drop
[12:36] [NewsToTom] Troupe slowed down with the pass in the air rather than keep running
[12:36] [wbarnwell] he slowed down to look back and catch the ball
[12:36] [wbarnwell] young should've put it in that spot
where I am NewsToTom and wbarnwell is Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders. After watching the play another half-dozen times, I've decided the blame here is almost entirely Troupe's. Once VY throws the ball (excellent timing on the throw, right when it should be), Troupe appears to stop running as hard as he was. This means that he's late coming to where the pass is supposed to be, letting it fall incomplete. Gannon knows that passes this wide open have to be complete, but VY didn't know when he threw the pass just how wide open Troupe would be. And if Alston has decent coverage on Troupe, that's exactly where you want the pass to be, where Troupe has a legitimate chance to catch it and there's no chance for an INT. The problem, of course, and why I can't always blame Troupe, is that a pass this good has been a rarity for VY, especially this year. His deeper passes haven't always been crisp, on time, and accurate, instead being late and underthrown-if the pass is late and underthrown, Troupe's in a better position to catch that ball. Errors compounding upon errors to create more errors. (DO), and it really feels like a while since I've written that.
O1735Shotgun Trips RightRun0YoungQB Draw
As the official scorer properly noted, this is a QB run, not a scramble on a pass play-you can tell because the linemen go downfield immediately. The play probably should work for a first down, except that Kelly beats Olson and VY can't get out of the backfield without getting hit.
Drive Notes: FG, 3-3, 1Q 1:18. A couple good runs, a third down conversion, but the drop costs the team 4 points, and that's what happens to bad offensive team.
T48110Shotgun 4-WRPass8ScaifeSlant
Scaife lines up split wide right and VY hits him on a little 7 yard slant route. The ball is placed between two defenders, but Scaife has to dive to catch it, but obviously limited the YAC possibility. And Scaife isn't the best guy on a route like this-you'd prefer Gage or Roydell, who might break a tackle, or Davis, who might dodge the defender. (CA)
O4422I-Form, 2-TERun1WhiteCutback
Short run right side. It looks like White gets the first down on the second effort, but he's ruled just short.
O43312-TE StrongRun-1WhiteIso
And on that third and really short play, Morrison bursts up through the middle and tackles White for a loss. Tough to do something with an LB is able to meet you in the backfield like this.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-3, 2Q 14:13. Two runs, 0 net yards. Tough to convert 2&2 when you do that.
T321102-TE Strong, Weak IRun6WhiteCounter
The counter makes its first appearance this game, and it's a pretty good one. In fact, the reason White gets only 6 yards on this play is because he can't get his feet (read trips?) over the defender on the ground, then falls forward.
T3824Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun17WhiteCounter
And after the counter puts in an appearance, it's another counter run, albeit one of a slightly different type-almost more of a wide outside cutback Obviously, all my play terminology knowledge comes from (a) video games and (b) making stuff up, but I figure (a) is more and more popular these days. The Mawae hold is because Mawae tackles the DT, who may otherwise have tackled White for a loss of 1 or so.
T28214Weak IPass-7YoungSack
VY never has a chance on this play. Sapp beats Olson (-1) right at the snap and comes straight up the middle. By the time VY takes his drop, Sapp is already about to bring him down, and there's nowhere for VY to go. (PR)
T21321Shotgun StrongPass43GageHitch & Go
T21321Penalty-10GagePass Interference
Decent little play design-at the start it looks like the hitch they like to run for Gage out of the slot, but he turns upfield. Compared to what sometimes isn't called, this OPI call is really rinky-dink, but that doesn't mean it's not a legit call. The pass, coming on a rollout with a defending coming after VY isn't a bad one, but I'm not sure how open Gage would be if he doesn't push off. (CA)
T11331Shotgun StrongRun6HenryDraw
"You don't have a play for 3&31." Sure, you do, and it's called the "draw play," aka the "give up play." After two costly offensive penalties to wipe out big gains, picking up a couple yards and getting the offense off the field doesn't sound like a bad idea.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-6, 2Q 2:35. Penalties can be drive-killers. And these were.
T7110Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun8WhiteIso
Call this one karmic justice for White's trip earlier-he falls over the defender and lineman in the hole and picks up 8 yards when he should have had 3 or so. Of course, I would have rather had the 15 the previous play and the 3 on this one, but that's the way life happens sometimes.
T1522Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun6WhiteStretch
Against 9 in the box, what do you do out of a 2-TE, 2-RB set? Run to the outside! No, the outside where the Raiders didn't really overload the formation. Good blocking nets White a good gain and the Titans a first down.
T21110Shotgun 4-WRPass12GageDrag
Gage lines up in the slot to the right, then runs a drag and catches the pass on the left hash. He's able to outrun trailing LB Howard and picks up the first down. (CA)
T33110Shotgun BaseRun21WhiteRead Option
VY makes the proper read on DE Burgess, and this time there's a good lane for White to run up the middle. All White has to do is run forward, and he has almost 15 yards before he's touched.
O46110Shotgun BasePass7GageOut
Gage lines up in the slot and runs a little short out route. VY hits him for a decent gain. (CA)
O3923Shotgun BaseRun1WhiteRead Option
VY makes the proper read, and LenDale screws up this play. He sees the Raider LBs playing off, waiting to fill the hole when he takes it. So, he dances right a little, and tries to bounce outside of Stewart and Olson. Except by waiting, he gives Burgess time to close the gap and is tackled after a minimal gain when he should have had the first down. This is a benching offense in my book, and a great example of why I don't like White.
O3832I-Form, 2-TERun-9YoungSack
O3832Penalty&-5YoungDelay of Game
9 in the box again, so the Titans decide to pass on 3&1. Fine in theory, but the execution is lousy. The Raiders overload the right side of the Titans' line, and VY gets taken down by a pretty much unblocked Burgess. White excels in pass protection again, taking the outside guy, Howard, instead of the inside guy, Burgess. Yes, that's sarcasm. (PR)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-9, 3Q 7:13. The White parade of excellence rolls on, killing another Titan drive!
T31110I-Form, 2-TE Strong?Pass4ScaifeBootleg
The formation is a guess because CBS is late coming back from commercial. The play is a bootleg off the play action, with Scaife slipping out from his blocking position. The pass is low, but Scaife manages to haul it in and get a couple yards before Howard is able to bring him down. There are worse first down plays out there.
T3526Strong I, 2-TE StrongRun27WhiteCounter
I don't understand why this play works-you ridiculuously overload one side, then you run that way on the counter. And against 9 in the box, no less. This should be a 1 yard gain, but S Michael Huff takes a terrible angle on the play and doesn't fill the whole, leaving White to run. He flails at White has he goes by, but aside from that nobody touches White until he's 25 yards downfield. Good blocking + bad defense = good play.
O38110Strong I, 2-TE StrongRun14WhiteIso?
This looks like a hint of counter action, but it's mostly a run at left guard, to use my generic nomenclature from last year. White shows good patience, or maybe there's just a great running lane (there's at least a pretty good one), and Howard from the side can't get a good angle, giving White an extra 6 or so yards. Good run.
O24110Strong I, 2-TE StrongRun24-TDHenryCounter
Counter action, this time to the weak side, and the Raider defense can't adjust to it at all. Good blocking at the point of attack, Gage has a nice block on the CB Asomugha, and then it's just a footrace to the end zone. Henry beats Howard and Schweigert with the very smart dive (remember, the ball has to be inside the pylon, else it's not a TD), and that's 6 points for the team in two-tone blue.
Drive Notes: TD, 10-9, 3Q 2:24. And now it's time for me to praise the offensive line, and criticize a Raider defense that's not very good against the run, and saw how nice it is to watch Chris Henry run fast instead of LenDale White run slow.
T20110Strong I, Standard 2-TERun4WhiteCutback
Blah, short run middle.
T2426Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun1WhiteCounter
A play in which LenDale White runs inside of his fullback, into the defender, instead of outside his fullback, into the lane where there's green grass and no defender in front of him. This is another bencahble offense, but only if you have somebody who might not do the same thing.
T2535Shotgun StrongPass6YoungScramble
It's a fake of the read option handoff to White, followed by a bootleg. aided by a pulling Olson. VY looks like he's about to run inside, but pulls back and runs outside, by which point Morrison has lost contain to the outside, allowing VY to pick up the first down. Sapp is credited with the "tackle" for his late hit out of bounds on VY, which is probably the official scorer's idea of joke, and one I don't find very funny. Once again, it's another uncalled roughing the passer committed against Vince Young. One of these days, one of these hits is going to hurt VY, and I (and other Titan fans) are going to blame the NFL for failing to protect VY like they do other QBs. (SCR), not that I'm convinced this couldn't have been a disguised run.
This play is probably at least half over by the time CBS deigns to show it. So, blah, short run middle.
T3526I-Form, 2-TE StrongPassIncCramerBootleg
Cramer is the FB, he's about 2 yards downfield, covered by Huff. The Raiders have good contain on the boot, so VY looks to Cramer to get rid of the ball. And chucks it way too far for Cramer, out of bounds. Maybe he was throwing the ball away, but there's no reason to-this pass could have been completed, and maybe Huff misses the tackle and Cramer gets the first down. (IN)
T3636Shotgun Trips RightPassIncWhiteDumpoff
VY looks, and takes the easy pass to White on the dumpoff. And underthrows it. With Morrison closing, this play may lose yardage and almost certainly doesn't get the first down, but this is still a putrid throw by VY. (IN)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-9, 4Q 13:13. Bad throws = punt.
O91GStrong I, 2-TE StrongRun4WhiteCounter
Weak counter action, not much different from a run strong side. A couple yards on the play, decent enough.
O52GWeak IPassIncGantherFlat
Ganther slips out from his FB position into the flat. Morrison has coverage responsibility, and he lined up a little to the left of center, so he has a ways to cover. The pass hits Ganther in the chest, and he just flat out drops it. If he snags it, it's probably a 3 yard gain and the Titans are short of the end zone, but I'd take 3&G from the 1 over 3&G from the 4. (CA)
O53GTrips LeftPassIncR.WilliamsIn?
Not only trips left, but White motions out of the backfield and is in an H-back position to the right when the ball is snapped. Roydell comes from out of the trips and VY finds him in the end zone, but he can't bring it in. Good job by VY to motion in the pocket and find the open WR, then put the ball on his chest. This should be a TD. Dead On is considered, but on balance (CA) is deserved.
Drive Notes: FG, 13-9, 4Q 11:26. Way to waste strong field position by not catching the ball, Titans.
T20110Weak IRun5WhiteStretch
Decent little gain on the left weak run on first down.
T2525Strong IRun2WhiteCounter
And again White runs inside of the blocking instead of running outside of the block where there happens to be a lane. That's the mark of a marginal NFL RB.
T2733Weak I, 2-WR WeakPass3R.WilliamsCurl
The 2-WR are in a stack. Roydell comes off the stack clean and runs a short curl route right at the first down marker. VY hits him, and the Titans have a first down. Simple play, not designed to get anything other than 3 downs and a clock that will continue to move, but it worked. (CA)
T30110Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun3WhiteCounter
Does he do this just to annoy me? White again runs to the inside of his blocking when there's open space to the outside. Sure, maybe if he runs to the outside, he's pushed out of bounds. But there are more than 5 minutes left, so the clock re-starts anyway. Maybe you get 7 yards instead of 3, and then it's easier to get another first down and burn some more clock. Be a good back, LenDale, please. Confound my years of observation to the contrary.
T3327Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun-4WhiteStretch
Cramer at FB sucks. He's too slow to get to the corner and block Morrison, and Howard beats his block. White tries to string the play out, which may have worked against the Oregon States of the world, but won't work in the NFL. Just run upfield and get as much as you can. Don't try to make something happen when you can't.
T29311Shotgun Trips RightPass3YoungScramble
I suspect the biggest issue with VY's lack of improvement this year is that he's under orders not to make mistakes with the ball, and to try to throw the ball here. At the same time, though, he wants to make plays and help his team win. So, he avoids the dumpoff to Henry, which is probably the smart play, in favor of scrambling out of the pocket and trying to find an open WR downfield. He ends up taking off, but there are multiple Raiders between him and the 1D line, and he goes down after only a couple yards. I think VY did the wrong thing here, ergo (BR). In terms of grading justice, I bet I missed a BR elsewhere from lack of information, so I don't feel bad about this one.
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-9, 4Q 5:44. I have nothing personal against any of the Titans. I don't know them. They're all much, much better football players than I was. None of that means I won't criticize them if I don't think they did their job right.
T9110Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun2WhiteCutback
Short run middle.
T1128Strong I, 2-TE StrongRun-1YoungFumbled Snap
VY drops the snap. Fortunately, he's able to get it back, else this could have been disastrous for the Titans.
Short run middle. This play never had a chance of getting a first down-the Titans just wanted to run clock and force the Raiders to use their last TO. I don't like this sort of give-up play-if you get a first down, the game is almost over.
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-9, 4Q 2:20. Once again, the offense has a chance to seal a win by getting a first down to kill the clock and can't get the job done. Once is bad enough, but repeating that offense is a sign of a bad offense. I guess I'll put it in the pile with the rest of the reasons the Titans are bad offensively.

There were also two kneel-downs to finish the clock after the Raiders failed to convert on 4&14, but I don't chart those.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Upon Further Review: ATL@TEN Offense

In Week 5, the Tennessee Titans defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 20-13. What follows ia play-by-play breakdown of the Titans' offensive performance that game.

The whole game is now up. The additional commentary will be added later, which is a term without legal meaning.

T33110I-Form, 2-WR WeakRun6WhiteOff Tackle
Beautiful blocking here as the Titans run off Roos and just beat the Falcons 1v1.
Stretch run to the right side, only Grady Jackson blows the play up. Good play by Jackson to shoot the gap between Mawae and Olson.
T3736Shotgun BasePass8GageOut
Good fairly quick out to Justin Gage split out left. Gage snags the ball and gets a couple more yards to be sure he's past the sticks. (CA)
T45110Penalty6ATL-SandersPass Interference
Jones runs 5 yards and catches the pass. Sanders hits him before the ball gets there, so Fisher chooses 1&10 from the Falcons 49 over 2&5 from midfield. Smart guy. (CA)
A491103-WR, Slot LeftRun1-FumbleWhiteStretch
Stretch run to the right side. Anderson beats Stewart just enough to hit White in the outside arm where he's (correctly) carrying the ball. Stewart should've stopped Anderson better, and White should have kept the ball better. The ball bounces right to DeAngelo Hall, who has an easy 56 yard TD run.
Drive Notes: Fumble-returned for TD, 0-7, 1Q 10:00. The TD return is a bad bounce, but turnovers are always bad. And the turnover shouldn't have happened.
T42110Standard 2-TEPass13TroupeDrag
VY hits Troupe running across the formation, and Troupe takes advantage of an older Lawyer Milloy to run through the arm tackle and pick up a good 9 YAC. (CA)
A45110I-Form, 2-WR WeakRun8WhiteIso
Great blocking, and White has a nice lane to run through.
A3722I-Form, 3-WRPass4R.WilliamsSmoke
Quick pass to Roydell split out wide with the corner playing well off. Not a long gain, but maybe sooner or later you break enough tackles to get a really good play. Still, a good play on second and short to pick up the first down.
A331103-WR, Slot StrongPass9TroupeQuick Hitch
Troupe moves from left to right across the formation as VY snaps the ball and throws it immediately to Troupe. The WRs head out to block for Ben, who's able to drag LB Michael Boley for a 9 yard gain. (CA)
A24212-TE Strong, 2-WR WeakRun3WhiteIso
Blah, short run middle. Fisher for some reason declines the first down run to accept a longer gain and still a first down on the penalty.
VY playfakes and moves to bootleg, then moves back into the pocket before finding Brandon Jones open downfield. Decent enough throw and grab, and it's first and goal inside the 5. (CA)
A31G2-TE Strong, 2-WR WeakRun3-TDBrownIso
Ah, what a healthy Chris Brown can do. He tries to go up the middle, but the Falcons have good penetration. So, he bounces the run to the strong left side, outside of Roos and Scaife, picks up a block from Hartsock, and has a good lane to the end zone. Nice run.
Drive Notes: TD, 7-7, 1Q 6:15. It's nice to come back and score a TD after giving up one. Griffin started this one out with a good kickoff return, the Falcons aided it with a couple penalties, and there wasn't a single third down chance to fail. If you can get good gains on first and second down consistently, you'll score a lot of points. Alas, this offensive success didn't last for the entire game.
T30110I-Form, 3-WRRun5BrownIso
Decent first down run right side. I'd need the end zone angle to tell you anything very good here.
T3525Shotgun BaseRun4BrownDelay
A little bit of a counter trap on the delayed handoff to Brown-decent yardage to set up 3rd and less than a yard.
T3931I-Form, 2-WR WeakRun1YoungSneak
VY goes for the quick snap here and dives up the middle for a yard.
T40110Weak IRun4BrownIso
Blah, short run right weak side.
T44262-TE Strong, 2-WR WeakPass5MouldsFlat
A bit of an odd formation-Moulds is basically lined up as a 3rd TE to the "weak" side. It looks a little like a waggle, except Moulds is covered. The defender eventually releases to pursue VY, who has an easy pass to Moulds in space with the opportunity to run. (CA)
T49312-TE StrongRun2WhiteIso
Moulds is essentially lined up as a 3rd TE again, this time as another H-back behind the H-back. White runs that side, and it's enough for a first down.
A49110Weak I, 2-WR WeakPassINTScaifeGo
The Falcons bring 5, then a 6th later, and get a little bit of pressure. Scaife is running an up on the left sideline, and VY's pass isn't where it needs to be. LB Boley has very good coverage on Scaife, and has a fairly easy interception. This pass needs to be farther, between Scaife and the sideline, or thrown somewhere else. (.5 IN, .5 BR)
Drive Notes: Interception, 7-7, end 1Q. A decent little drive, a couple conversions on 3&short, then a bad play by the QB costs you possession and, apparently, everything good you did on offense in the first quarter.
T23110Shotgun StrongRun0YoungRead Option
VY makes the proper read, as Anderson is crashing in, but White needs to get a good block on Anderson for VY to have a running lane upside. White barely brushes him, and VY turns it back inside, where there's not much running room.
T23210Strong I, 3-WRPassIncHallCheckdown
The Falcons bring an overload blitz to the Titans' left side, and get pressure on VY, forcing an errant throw to Hall slipping out of the backfield. (PR)
T23310Shotgun BasePassIncR.WilliamsDeep In
Roydell is lined up outside to the left and runs a deep in about 15 yards downfield. VY feels pressure on the Falcons blitz, scrambles outside the pocket, and throws one to him. Alas, Hall is there to break up the play, primarily by running into Roydell before the ball gets there. No, the pass interference isn't called. An earlier throw by VY is probably completed. (CA)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 2Q 10:20. 3 unsuccessful plays, and that's a dead drive.
T18110I-Form, 2-WR WeakRun6BrownIso
Pretty decent run to the strong left side.
T2424I-Form, 2-WR WeakRun-2BrownIso
Same formation, this play mroe up the middle. The Falcons defense, particularly Grady Jackson, does well to get penetration, and Brown has nowhere to run.
T22364-WR ClosePass4YoungScramble
VY looks, tries to scramble, gets outside the pocket, but doesn't have much room. Good play by Boley, but Sanders was there between VY and the first down marker anyway. (SCR)
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 2Q 6:48. Blah, 3 and out.
T43110Shotgun BasePass3GageOut?
I don't really get what happened here. Kind of like a bootleg, only interrupted. Short pass to Gage for a couple yards, but I though VY shortcircuited what was supposed to happen on this play. (CA)
T4627Weak I, 3-WRPassIncBrownScreen
What looks like a nice middle screen is set up, but a backpedaling VY throws a laser that Brown can't catch. Not a good throw by VY. (IN)
T4637Trips RightPass6HallCheckdown
The Falcons bring a slanted blitz, sort of, with the 4 DL to the Titans left, and a LB and DB to the Titans' right. Stewart has blocking responsibility for the blitzing LB Boley, and does poorly. VY has to take a dumpoff to Hall, who was lined up as part of the trips. He slips away from Brooking at the start, but can't get the first down. (PR)
A48412-TE, 2-WR RightPassIncScaifeFlat Drag
Scaife is moving from left to right across the formation and continues into the flat, while the two WRs on that side run clearouts. VY has Scaife open past the sticks for the first down, but doesn't get the ball there. Bad throw. (IN) FWIW, this was another of those stupid rollout plays where VY has to look to his primary targets or eat the ball-I don't like that in this situation, since it takes away one of VY's most valuable assets, his running ability.
Drive Notes: Downs, 7-10, 2Q 1:57. I liked the decision to go for it on 4th down, against a Falcons offense that hadn't done anything, from only a yard out, but didn't like the playcall. It would've been nice for Stewart to do better against Boley on the third down play-those misplays can be pretty awful.
T45110Standard 2-TEPass9JonesComeback
Jones runs a little 9 yard route and hauls in VY's pass. Good, productive play on first down. (CA)
A4621Shotgun BasePass3BrownCheckdown
Simple play-see if anything deep opens up right away, else take the checkdown to Brown for the first down. Not A, then B. (CA)
A43110Shotgun StrongPass10MouldsComeback?
I think "comeback" is my basic name for pass play near defenders where I'm not sure how the player got open. Fairly simple pitch and catch for VY. (CA)
A33110Shotgun BasePass8MouldsComeback
See preceding play, only this is more of a sideline play. Looks like a pretty good route by a veteran WR, and smartly steps OOB instead of trying for extra yardage. On a drive where plays are taking longer than they probably should, that's nice to see. (CA)
A2522Shotgun BasePass1YoungScramble
VY looks, doesn't see anything he likes, and tries to take off up the middle on a scramble, but the lane closes quickly and he doesn't get what he wanted. This isn't a very good scramble to run-just take the low percentage pass to the sidelines instead and stop the clock. (BR)
A2431Shotgun StrongPass8MouldsOut
Ok, maybe it was more of a comeback instead. Same sort of play as before-a pretty good route and not too bad of a pitch and catch. Sanders tries to make a play on the ball, but is too far off. This play is challenged by the replay official and upheld. (CA)
A16110Shotgun BasePass4YoungScramble
VY looks, but the Falcons drop 7 into coverage and, since there's nowhere to go in the end zone, he smartly just takes off, gets what he can to make it an easier FG, and gets out of bounds. I have no complaints with this play. (SCR)
Drive Notes: FG, 10-10, end 2Q. It's a successful drive, in that it results in points and doesn't give the other team a chance with the football, but this drive highlights (1) the Titans lack of a big play passing game, and (2) non-excellent offense. The Titans weren't able to attack the ball downfield, because their passing game sucks, and an excellent offense would have been more prompt at getting to the line and plays executed. Still, it's tough to kvetch too much about this. Tony Boselli whines about how the Titans didn't attack the end zone on the drive, and also suggested that the Titans should have run a WR short of the end zone. What, so he could get tackled and the half could expire without getting any points?
T20110Strong IPass11HallBootleg
VY with the fake to White on the strongside run, followed by a bootleg back to the right. Hall moved like he's going to block weakside, but instead slips out into the flat. VY hits him, Hall makes a nice move about 8 yards downfield to avoid LB Nicholas and pick up a few extra yards, and the Titans start out with a first down. Bootleg passes like this are a staple of playbooks from college to the NFL because they can often be very effective, and this play was. (CA)
Blah, short run left side.
T31210Shotgun 4-WR ClosePassINT[White][Sack]
The Falcons rush 4, and White stays in to block. White slips out of the backfield, and Brooking comes up the middle like a ton of bricks, absolutely unblocked. By this point, Roos has also lost control of Abraham on the outside, and he and Brooking meet at VY. VY tries to dump the ball off to White, but Abraham has a hold of his arm. It don't really know that this is an interception, but maybe instead should be a fumble, but either way it's a turnover. (PR) Of course, no clue what's going on downfield, so VY may have had options.
Drive Notes: Interception, 10-10, 3Q 13:37. One nice play, one blah play, one turnover. Turnovers are bad, mmkay? Also, RBs who can see and block the blitz are good-Brown had a key block on VY's TD run to win the game against the Texans in OT last year, the sort of quality block I don't recall ever seeing from White.
T21110I-FormationPenalty-5ScaifeFalse Start
T16115Standard 2-TEPass11JonesComeback
T16115Penalty+15ATL-BrookingRoughing the Passer
Hey, right after I criticize him for being a terrible pass blocker, White gives a chip to Abraham off the play-fake, causing Abraham to absolutely give up on the play. That's something John Abraham had never done before, and is not at all a reason why the Jets traded him away! The Falcons bring one extra guy on a delayed blitz, but the 8(!) Titans in to block don't do a great job of it, though I'm pretty sure this time it's Scaife's fault. VY's pass for Jones is perfectly fine, and a nice gain on 1&15. The RTP on Brooking is totally justified-he was the delayed blitzer again, took 2 extra steps, and brings VY down to the ground by the neck. I guess you have to commit two PFs on the same play against VY to see it flagged. (CA)
T421103-WR, Slot WeakRun14DavisEnd-Around
The Falcons line up in another of those "we don't respect your pass game" defenses, playing a base 4-3 in the box against a 3-WR set. Davis starts weak left and runs toward the formation. VY tosses him the ball, and Davis dos almost a one man reverse, turning around and running up the field to the left. Davis finds an alley, Roos and Mawae are downfield blocking, and the Titans had their best run of the day so far.
A44110Weak IPass20YoungScramble
And they immediately follow it up with their longest ground gain on the day. This is mostly a 2-man play, although Hall does slip out after blocking on the play-fake. VY looks, then takes off. I believe it's DE Jamaal Anderson who drops off and has contain responsibilities, but VY v DE is a matchup the Titans will take most every time. VY avoid his tackle and picks up a score of yards before being tackled by LB Nicholas. Nit: VY should stepped OOB, even if it cost the team 5 yards. He fumbles too much, and you don't want to see him take unnecessary hits. (SCR)
A24110Weak IRun2WhiteStretch
Stretch play to the weak right side. The left side of the Falcons DL does a good job here, forcing Stewart (Anderson) and Olson (?) back in to the backfield, forcing White to run more outside and allowing the Falcons to stop White after a short gain.
A22284-WR CloseRun0WhiteIso
There's no running room here, and White gets nothing. I don't like this playcall-playing 4-WR Close doesn't make the Falcons show much of anything, and the deep handoff allows them to hit the hole before the back does. And the O-line doesn't seem to do a very good job on this play, either. Not a good call on 2&8 IMO.
A2238Strong IPassIncScaifeOut
If anybody knows what VY is doing on this play, please let me know. He throws for Scaife in the right flat about 6 yards downfield (note: 3&8) with two defenders in the area (note: minimal YAC possibility, turnover possibility), and compounds the error by throwing the ball two yards short. (.5 IN, .5 BR) is the grade, but this play is a good example of why I've considered switching to a numerical per-play score, rather than these vague descriptions-.5 BR, .5 IN just doesn't convey how bad this play is by VY.
Drive Notes: FG, 13-13, 3Q 7:00. Drive gets as close to goal as it does due to quirky, non-sustainable rushing plays of the type not otherwise seen this game. Drive sputters closer to goalline, thanks to poor plays by players and a mediocre playcall. At least they do get the tying FG after Bironas hits from 40.
T39110I-Form, 3-WRRun1BrownIso
Short run right side. Stanley holds up well against Olson, and Jackson beats Bell badly. Stanley really has the key play-if Olson beats him clearly, Hall's through the hole and Brown follows him. Instead, there's no hole for Hall to block through, and Brown has nowhere to go. Note Tennessee's rushing success comes up the middle, not on runs right tackle like this one.
T4029Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WRPass15R.WilliamsSkinny Post
Roydell lines up wide left alone, and snags the pass from VY about 13 yards downfield The pass by VY is a little behind Roydell, thus (CA) instead of dead on, but it's nicely placed to avoid the LB. So, it's late rather than inaccurate, and complete which is good, but I believe limited Roydell's YAC ability.
A45110Strong I, 3-WRPassIncJonesComeback(?)
VY stands, looks, looks left, then finally throws left to Jones, who's the sole receiver left. The pass appears to be too hard and off-target, and I don't like the way VY seemed to stare Jones down. (.5 BR, .5. IN) is the grade again, though this pass isn't nearly as bad as the 3rd done one for Scaife.
A452103-WR, Slot WeakPassIncMouldsBootleg
VY boots, and the Falcons keep contain after Scaife, who has backside contain, leaves Davis to go out into the pattern. VY doesn't have anywhere to throw the ball and can't turn upfield, so he throws it away. (CA) since I ditched Brian's grade of Thrown Away.
A45310Shotgun StrongPassIncGageGo
Gage lines up in the slot, and VY basically just chucks it for him after looking around for something else. Gage was double-covered, but VY's pass is far enough that it falls harmlessly to the ground. On this third down, though, you'd like to see something your receiver can make a play on. Even if the ball is intercepted, where Gage is, it's like a punt (Hentrich's punt would be fair caught at the 9), ergo (IN).
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-13, 3Q 4:22. Let's throw the ball unproductively! Yes, let's! I know I advocate throwing the ball as a superior way of getting downfield compared to rushing, but I am also sympathetic to the idea the Titans shouldn't do this too much because they don't have a very good passing game.
T40110Shotgun StrongPassIncMouldsDeep Out
VY fakes the read option, then rolls right and tries to hit Moulds along the sideline about 32 yards downfield. Moulds lets the pass go through his hands, but the ball is thrown out of bounds and I don't think Moulds would be able to keep his feet in even if he does haul it in. (IN)
T40210Weak IRun7WhiteStretch
Stretch run to the strong side. The Falcons are on the outside, so White slides off Stewart and takes the cutback into space created by an overpursuing Falcons line, sidestepping a flailing Grady Jackson. And in the open field, White turns into LenDayne and is taken down by the first Falcons defender to have a decent chance. Good use of "lumbering" by Ron Pitts to describe White's running style.
T4733Penalty+15AndersonUnnec. Roughness
Scaife (left) and Hartsock (right) line up standing up a little off from the O-line. Moulds, the WR to the right runs a flat route, while Hartsock runs a little 5 yard route into the zone. Simple, easy play that gets first down yardage. (CA) The penalty looks much more like hands to the face than the headslap that was called, as former O-lineman Tony Boselli points out, but the Titans will still take the 15 extra yards.
A31110I-Form, 3-WRPass4GageHitch
Since the Falcons are playing 7 in the box, the Titans try to burn them by getting a WR in space. Gage snags the quick pass from VY, and Moulds goes out to block, but Gage can't avoid the tackle of Houston. (CA)
A27263-WR, Slot WeakPassIncJonesGo
The Falcons run a zone blitz, bringing Boley and Milloy off the Titans' left side and dropping the other side DE, Anderson I believe, into coverage. Roos in particular doesn't handle Boley well, and he hits VY has #10 lets the pass for Jones go. Crocker leaps for the pass, but just misses it, and Jones has it in his hands, almost, in the end zone, and can't haul it in. Not VY's fault this is incomplete, though throwing into the vicinity of 3 defenders isn't necessarily the wisest idea. (CA)
A2736?Penalty-5[Young]Delay of Game
A32311Shotgun StrongPass3ScaifeDumpoff
Abraham comes off the right edge and beats Stewart, bringing pressure on VY. Scaife stayed into to block a blitzing Crocker, who stays with him as Scaife moves to help VY. VY chucks it to Scaife, since there's no good running lane and 6th round TEs aren't nearly as valuable as #3 overall pick QBs. (CA)
Drive Notes: Missed FG, 20-13, 4Q 10:48. And Bironas misses the 47 yard field goal. Sheesh. Shame on Jones for dropping a pass that would effectively have clinched the game-the Falcons weren't scoring 2 TDs against the Titans in 11 minutes.
T12110I-Form, 2-WR WeakRun3BrownIso
Brown tries to take the run left tackle, but is forced to bounce it outside. Because of the lack of contain, he has to go far enough outside that the short side run prevents him from getting more yardage. Bonus: after this play, the announcers (Pitts) say something about how you haven't heard a lot from John Abraham, who only disrupted the Titans' previous passing play and forced VY to dump the ball off. They'd also said something similar about Abraham right after his previous particularly good play. It's almost like the people feeding the announcers information are trying to make them look stupid. If so, I mostly approve, but I'm cruel like that, and not always to be kind.
T1527I-Form, 3-WRRun3BrownCutback
The difference between the Jaguars and a team with actual coaches: Falcons play 7 in the box, plus an 8th on the slot WR shaded toward the box. Brown avoids one tackler, then meets another, who gets help from another, and they take him down after a short (3 yard) gain rather than a safety tackling him after a long (15?) one.
T1834Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WRPass4BrownSwing
Brown lines up to VY's right in the shotgun, and it's his job to beat Demorrio Williams to the first down line after VY throws him the quick pass in the flat. Fortunately, Brown is fast. No, this is not a play you run to White. (CA)
Blah, short run left side.
Fox is kind enough not to show us the start of this play, so I'm not really sure what the formation is. VY throws the ball for Gage, but Demorrio Williams takes off his VY-invisibility cloak to intercept the ball. Just a DREADFUL throw by VY, right to the defender. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best, this is about a 1.5. (BR)
Drive Notes: Interception, 20-13, 4Q 4:22. Ok, the last thing you want to here is turn the ball over. So the Titans turn the ball over. Don't do this to your QB. Don't do this to your team. I don't mind running a pass play. I mind running a pass play where your QB could easily turn the ball over fewer than 40 yards downfield.
T191102-TE Strong, 2-WR WeakRun4WhiteCutback
Gage is lined up as an H-back, so it's almost a 3-TE type set. White has a decent cutback lane and snags 4 yards, a nice gain on an obvious running situation.
T23262-TE StrongRun0WhiteIso
Or, you know, you have a play like this one, where White appears to run right into the defender for no gain, where it looks like a back with actual speed like Brown could have gone outside and gotten at least a couple yards, if not the first down.
T23362-TE Strong, 2-WR WeakRun4WhiteCutback
White cuts it back and gets a couple, but in the end this is just a run that leaves you significantly (>1 foot) short of the first down on 3rd down when you really need a first down to help salt the game away.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-13, 4Q 2:26. "We let them off the hook!" The Titans should be saying that to themselves offensively after this drive, when they had a chance to finish the game, really finish the game, and couldn't do it.

UPDATE (10/26 0046 CT): The entire first half is up. Intro revised accordingly.
UPDATE (10/31 0038 CT): Whole game up. Intro revised accordingly.

UFR Update

PBP for all of the Titans' offensive plays against the Saints is now up. I still have don't comments on that game or the Colts game that preceded it. My goal is getting chart up on actual PBP work, so comments will probably be coming Saturday while college football is on in the background.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Book Review: Bolls, Polls & Tattered Souls

As I've noted before, with probably my review of The Missing Ring being the most recent decent example, college football is pretty screwed up, as befits a supposedly organized system without any centralized rule-giver. You can run a decent anarchic system, but you have to be forthright about what you're looking for. And that brings me to one of college football's biggest problems: the massive level of stupidity, willful or otherwise, associated therewith. And that's the biggest problem with Stewart Mandel's Bowls, Polls & Tattered Souls. Billed as "Tackling the Chaos and Controversy That Reign over College Football," Mandel is currently's lead college football writer and apparently likes his job, at least enough to really pull his punches when fans (normally) are being really stupid. At least I hope he's pulling his punches, because it doesn't speak well of him if he isn't. Worse, the book reads like a 250 page mailbag column, except without any mentions of the celebrity crush. Recommended only for people who don't actually know anything about college football, which is unfortunately most college football fans. Alternatively, catch me in a weak moment while bored, or frustrated some Saturday in the FO IRC chat, and I'll opine at length.

FYI, most of the best material in Mandel's book apparently comes from Saturday's America by Dan Jenkins, particularly the great anecdote about how Notre Dame won their first national championship (over lunch). The book is out of print, but appears to be available online. I'll probably buy it and read it one of these years, and will let you know if you should if/when I do.

Book Review: Brand NFL

I believe I've remarked on it before, but there are a number of very good or excellent books on baseball, but very few of those on the NFL. To date, I've only found two of those, namely Instant Replay by Jerry Kramer and America's Game by Michael MacCambridge. I'm pleased to add a third book to that list, namely Michael Oriard's Brand NFL: Making & Selling America's Favorite Sport.

Oddly enough, I first heard about this book from Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley, whose full review I commend most heartily to you. As with my review of Instant Replay, I am loath to add to Yardley's fine work, but will only add encomia to Oriard for writing about the game we both love from a knowledgeable, sympathetic, yet not uncritical perspective. So, yeah, if you think you might like it, go read it.

EDIT (3/8/10 2201 CT): Found an interview with Prof. Oriard did with UNC Press about Brand NFL while looking for stuff on Bowled Over.

Thoughts on College Football: Week Eight

Again, the obligatory link to SMQ, the inspiration for all of this and the best college football blog out there. See also a scoreboard and the Seventh Day Adventure thread.

Rutgers 30 - South Florida 27
About all of what I have to say on this game I said on the SDA thread:
So, what does this tell me about USF?
1. The offensive line didn’t do a good job of protecting Grothe. RU was able to get pretty consistent pressure, particularly in the second half.
2. USF outside of Grothe was not able to run the ball consistently.
3. Grothe didn’t make enough plays, and made some bad plays that helped cost his team the game, in part because of 1.
4. USF is a well-coached college team, but not particularly so. If USF wins a national championship under Leavitt, it will be because of the strength of the program, not because he outcoaches the other guy (unless it’s somebody like Les Miles, whom I still have little respect for as a coach).
5. Rice ended up with 39 carries for 181. The USF defense made some good stops, especially later in the 4th to give the offense a chance, but had been gashed for long runs earlier in the game.
6. I’m sorry I cursed Alvarado-if USF hits their FGs, they win the game, notwithstanding everything else they did wrong.
7. This result still looks like an upset to me. If they played 100 times on a neutral field, I’d expect USF to win maybe 65 times. USF is in my eyes still a top 10 team.

UConn 21 - Louisville 17
Most of the ESPN/2 Friday night games have sucked. This one wasn't much of an exception. See SMQ for the fair catch that wasn't. I was really not impressed by Brohm this game-total dinky dunk offense, no downfield action at all. Some credit, obviously, goes to UConn's defense, but I'm not giving them that much.

USC 38 - Notre Dame 0
Ha ha. Also, the Vidal Hazelton TD is really, really fun, as in atrociously bad defense. I saw this play on ESPNews at a restaurant and a 6 year old laughed.

Ohio State 24 - Michigan State 17
Note to all: Michigan State had 2 defensive TDs, not offensive accomplishment.

Kansas 19 - Colorado 14
Win and go on, win and go on. I haven't Kansas much, but they haven't looked like a great team when I have. Still, if they go undefeated I think they'd be worthy of playing in the BCS CG.

Oregon 55 - Washington 34
Oregon had 43 first downs, just short of the record of 45. Also, 2 rushers over 100 yards and QB Dennis Dixon with 98 officially.

Virginia 18 - Maryland 17
Virginia scores the go-ahead TD with :24 seconds left. Only the clock runs down to :16 before the refs bother to call it. Virginia converted a 4th down with a very questionable spot earlier in the drive.

Michigan 27 - Illinois 17
Illinois can't pass. Early success passing gave them a 14-3 lead, but they couldn't stop a Michigan team playing without Mike Hart. Henne actually had a very good game when he was in, which was about 2.5 quarters. I suspect I won't be hearing much about the Illini on Monday at work.

LSU 30 - Auburn 24
Something you probably don't expect from me, but kudos to LSU QB Matt Flynn, who, a week after having a poor performance in the Tigers' loss to Kentucky, completed 22 of 34 for 319 and 3 TDs and an INT on a pass dropped by a WR. His total included the game-winning TD with ":01" left. That's ":01", because the pass was caught with :04 left and :03 ran off the clock to reduce Auburn's chance of coming back. Kudos to Auburn, though, for scoring a TD with 3:21 to go after an 11 play, 82 yard drive. That doesn't mean, however, that I have any confidence in Brandon Cox's quality as a QB. I coined the "Brandon Cox mantra: 'at least it wasn't a turnover,'" for Tiger fans to repeat after their QB made yet another poor/stupid play. He's not as bad as Reggie Ball, at least most of the time (4 completion, 4 INT game v. Georgia last year a notable exception), and ended up with superficially decent stats, but simply doesn't play well enough on a regular basis to give me much confidence in Auburn's ability to beat non-lousy teams, plus the lows (see aforementioned performance v Georgia) to give other teams a chance to win the game. Yes, excellence in college football is overly determined by whether or not a team has a good, bad, or mediocre QB.

Yeah, I saw more college pigskin than I expected I would this week. Next week should see a return to a full viewing schedule and concomitant recap.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Upon Further Review: TEN@NO Offense

In Week 3, the Titans beat the Saints, 31-14. What follows below is a play-by-play breakdown of the Titans' offensive performance that game.

T201102-TE Strong, 2-WR WeakPass19ScaifeDeep Out
VY with the playfake to White, then bootlegs to the strong side. He guns a pass downfield for Scaife, who goes up and hauls it in for a good gain to open the game. (CA)
T39110Shotgun Split Backs, Slot LeftPass13R.WilliamsComeback
Fake the handoff to one of the backs, then stand in the pocket, look for an open receiver, and hit Roydell on the left for a dozen yards on the comeback. Two plays, two good pitches and catches, two first downs. (CA)
Blah, short run middle.
N4628I-Form, 2-TE StrongPass4ScaifeDrag
Scaife comes out of the second TE position, then runs a shallow drag route from left to rigt. VY hits him, but the Saints are able to converge quickly and tackle him short of the first down. This is a play that works better with (a) a slot-type WR with better YAC ability, like maybe Davis, and (b) a team that's more of a threat to attack downfield. (CA)
N42343-WR, Slot WeakPass10MouldsIn
Moulds lines up left, almost in a sort of stack behind Jones. VY does well to put the ball in between a couple defenders on the 7-yard in. (DO) is a little inflated, but it's a third down play and a fairly tight window.
N32110I-Form, 3-WRRun4WhiteIso
Short run right side. Note here that, like the Colts, the Saints learned from the Jaguars' error, and are playing 7 in the box when the Titans go 3 wide. In fact, it looks like they're in the base 4-3 and didn't even bother to go nickel.
N2826Trips RightPass12YoungScramble
I believe the trips are Troupe, Scaife, and Jones, with Moulds close left and White the lone setback. VY looks, then takes off. He dodges a tackler in the backfield, picks up a couple blocks, and scoots out of bounds after getting the first down. Well-done scramble for the entire team. (SCR)
N16110I-FormationRun-11R.WilliamsEnd Around
This was an all-around disaster of a play. The Saints got huge penetration and totally blew the play up. If you're going to run a play like this, do it out of 4-WR so you can act like you might go downfield. The Saints probably expected run and just killed this play. All the good momentum you had from the first couple plays of the drive is gone now.
N27221Shotgun (2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak?)PassIncMouldsDeep Out
Thanks to ESPN for showing us VY and only VY up to and through the snap of the ball, so the formation is a guess. There's not really anybody open, so VY throws deep corner for Moulds, in a play where it's going to be Eric or nobody, and it's nobody. If I hadn't gotten rid of Thrown Away, it'd be that, so instead it's (CA).
N27321Shotgun Strongn/a-12YoungFumble
The shotgun snap appears to be a little bit to the left of VY, not too far, and he does a terrible job of handling it, almost like he wasn't concentrating enough on it. It's all he can do to fall on the ball and avoid the turnover.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 1Q 8:52. Great start of the drive, terrible ending. The Roydell end around was a terrible call, the 2nd down pass play was well defended, and the fumble snap is just VY's fault.
See, this is more the sort of play where the shallow drag makes sense. The only problem is the Titans still have problem (b) I mentioned earlier, that they're not attacking down the field deep. This play is actually batted away by the guy covering the WR in the flat who started on that side, but that's not the worst result for the Titans, as the defender had good enough coverage on Davis that a pick if the shorter defender hadn't been there was quite possible. The defender could afford to make that jump because the other WR who started to the side the pass was thrown to had run a comeback. This is a ball VY should not have thrown. (BR)
T452103-WR, Slot WeakPass10WhiteScreen
For a change, I shall praise White. And Norm Chow, but that's not as unusual. This play was set up by the bootleg the first play of the game. VY moves a little into the boot action after the fake, then throws to White. White actually runs forward(!) rather than dancing to try to find a bigger hole, and gets 2 extra yards by just diving forward, enough to get the first down. (CA)
And we now return to your irregularly scheduled criticism of LenDale White. He sees a sort of cutback lane to the outside here, but moves more forward at first, then kind of tries to take the cutback lane but is brought down by an arm tackle of S Roman Harper. For a big back, White doesn't seem to break that many tackles. Then again, neither did Ron Dayne, and we all know what a great NFL player he is. Ok, Dayne probably doesn't even try to make the cut outside here, but the result is probably the same.
N45210Weak IRun3WhiteCounter
Scaife motions from a 2-TE set to a FB spot opposite Hartsock. The play is supposed to go off tackle to the strong side, but contain isn't great, so White takes it up the middle for a short gain.
N4237Shotgun StrongPass19JonesIn
Jones lines up alone on the right, then runs an in about 15 yards downfield. The middle of the field coverage is too deep to matter, and CB McKenzie was playing outside. Easy pitch and catch over the middle of the field. (CA)
N231GWeak IPass13JonesIn
Playaction, and it's another in route, this time on the left side for a dozen yards. VY at this point is 7 of 9 for 88 yards, plus a scramble for a dozen more. Ignoring the (costly) fumbled snap, that's 11 yards per play on pass plays. (CA)
Whatever this play was supposed to be, the guy to the left (Moulds, I think, but it might have been Troupe) was supposed to get a chip on Will Smith, but didn't, so the former Buckeye is in the backfield to blow up the play. Brown never had a chance.
N152GShotgun Split Backs, 3-WRPassIncR.WilliamsComeback
The Saints blitz, but the Titans pick it up. It looks like all the WRs should be single-covered. VY throws for Roydell down about the 2 on the comeback, but his pass is a little high and Roydell can't bring it in. (IN)
N153GShotgun Trips RightPassIncScaifeOut and Up
Ok, maybe it's more of a flat and go than an out and up. Scaife comes from the trips and runs an out route. VY, who's getting pressure from the DEs, throws it for Scaife like the pass for Moulds on 2&21 earlier, except this one is far enough out that it wasn't a realistic possibility to catch. Kudos to the Saints here, for getting pressure with 4 and seemingly not giving VY anywhere to throw the ball. (IN) solely because the ball goes OOB.
Drive Notes: FG, 3-0, 1Q 2:48. I swear, it seems like the Titans are really good at getting first and goal from the 8-10. And this is the second straight time a first down running play in the red zone has last yardage. At least they threw the ball down the field and moved down to the red zone, though only 3 points for two red zone trips is disappointing.
N451102-TE StrongRun6WhiteIso
White runs forward up the middle. Good gain. If I had an end zone view of this play, I'd probably break it down to see just how the hole was created.
It's a cutback run up the middle. And we see the evolution of the defense. The Saints are playing 4 DL, plus 2 LBs, plus the two defenders on the slot WRs are shaded in like the Colts players were. The best call here is a quick pass to the far WR on the left side. DT Hollis Thomas does a good job to shed the block and get enough to Brown to stop him for a short gain, but the LB was there to stop him from getting much more.
N3833Shotgun 4-WR ClosePass2HartsockFlat
Hartsock runs a simple 2 yard route into the right flat. VY throws the ball for him, and it's a catch, but Harper makes a good tackle to take him down short of the first down. A better pass is ahead of Hartsock and maybe lets him get the first down. (CA)
Blah, short run middle. Good energy by Brown here-too many times it seems like the first effort that met him in the backfield on this play would get him, but he's able to dive forward for the first down. Again, another play I'd write more about with game tape from the end zone angle.
N351102-TEPassIncR.WilliamsFlea Flicker
It's a two-man route, and the problem with that is you depend on the Saints being irresponsible defensively and committing heavily to the run. They don't, and there's nowhere to go with the ball. The Titans seem to throw this drag over the middle on every single flea flicker, because the deep guy isn't totally uncovered. Good play by Josh Bullocks to break up the pass. (CA)
N35210Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WRPass35-TDJonesIn
Let's hear it for bad defense! VY hits Jones on a basic 17 yard in over the middle, and Jones is able to split the Saints D and take the ball to the end zone. Thanks to S Roman Harper for making a terrible read. (CA)
Drive Notes: TD, 10-0, 2Q 12:55. A little bit of a gamble, to go for it on 4&1 from the NO36, pays off. See the power of big passing plays? Thanks to the Saints for good field position.
N311103-WR, Slot StrongPassINTTroupeDrag
Troupe is the guy in the slot to the strong side, and VY tries to hit him about 20 yards downfield. Alas, there are about 3 Saints between where Troupe's supposed to be and where VY's pass goes and the Saints get their interception right back. I have NO idea what Vince Young saw on this play, but whatever it was he was wrong. (BR)
Drive Notes: INT, 10-0, 2Q 10:05. Turnovers are bad, mmkay?
T17110Standard 2-TE, 2-WR LeftRun3WhiteCutback
See LenDale run. See LenDale run into his own blocker. See LenDale slide off his blocker into the hole. See LenDale actually gain yards that way.
T2027Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun5WhiteIso
Blah, short run forward.
T2532I-Form, Standard 2-TEPassIncGageFlag
I don't understand this playcall out of this formation. You run a single WR and you send him deep on third and short, leaving both backs in to block. And the single WR is Justin Gage, not Randy Moss, or Chad Johnson, or Steve Smith, or some dominant WR. Justin Gage, the guy who had 4 catches last year. I don't really want to punish VY, since I know it's not his fault the only place he seemed to have to throw the ball was double covered, but yeesh. (IN)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-0, 2Q 5:35. Bad times on third down are good ways to end drives.
T20110Shotgun BasePass8BrownCheckdown
Collins in at QB for this drive that ends the first half. I figured the Titans would just kneel the ball, since they could, but Collins comes out throwing. He eventually dumps it off to Brown, who dodges a tackle at the line of scrimmage and gets a couple yards. (CA)
T2822Shotgun StrongPass7BrownCheckdown
See above. Brown dodges a tackle to get the first down, and gets tackled without doing any further damage. The Titans for some reason take a TO after taking a leisurely 30 seconds, half of their time, to get 15 yards. (CA)
T35110Shotgun BasePass6R.WilliamsQuick Out
Roydell lines up wide left, runs 6 yards, turns out, catches the ball, then runs out of bounds. Simple, productive play in the two minute drill. (CA)
T4124Shotgun StrongPass1BrownCheckdown
Short pass to Brown after he gets the chip, but he can't dodge the LB's tackle this time. Fisher elects to just let the clock run rather than potentially giving the ball back to the Saints on a return after a failed third down play. Conservative, a little too conservative for me, but it's his team that largely outplayed the other team in the first half and is only up by 3. (CA)
Drive Notes: End of half, 10-7. See above. This was a disappointing for half from a score perspective.
T9110Weak IRun6WhiteCutback
It's a cutback run, and there's a great cutback lane to the right. White being White, he runs left into the pile and only sees the cutback lane after he runs into the pile. For a change, an arm tackle by an off-balance player doesn't bring him down, and he gets 6 yards instead of 3 or 25 like a good back would.
T1524Standard 2-TERun1WhiteIso
Blah, short run up middle.
T1633Shotgun BasePassIncMouldsDrag
VY stands in the pocket and tries to hit Moulds at the sticks on a drag route. VY puts the pass a little behind Moulds instead of ahead of him, perhaps being a little too conscious of the LB-he had a window here, but didn't hit it. If he's going to err, this is the direction to err, but better not to err. After further consideration, I don't like where VY put the ball still, but this was a better throw by VY and a better play by David than I initially realized. (CA)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-7, 3Q 12:54. If you can't convert on third down, you can't sustain drives.
T43110Weak I, 3-WRRun19BrownIso
It starts out as a run left guard, but as soon as Brown breaks through the hole, he sees lots of space to the right side and cuts it back. Last year's Chris Brown is tackled after about 8 yards, but he dodges Jason David, picks up a block from Moulds, and gets 19. Awesome run.
N38110I-Form, 3-WRRun4BrownOff Tackle
Another play where Chris Brown 2007 does significantly better than CB06. This is a run right tackle that isn't blocked particularly well, but Brown is able to avoid the arm tackles and burst through the hole before getting brought down by the next wave after a good first down gain.
N3426Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WRPass2BrownCheckdown
VY looks, looks, dumps it to Brown over the middle, and he gets tackled immediately by LB Scott Fujita. (CA), but given Brown's minimal YAC opportunity and big hit taken potential, I think I would have rather seen a low percentage, low risk pass to a wideout, if such a thing had been available.
N3234Shotgun StrongRun8WhiteRead Option
It's a handoff to the back! The Saints pressure from the strong side, and White takes the carry to the weak side where he goes 5 yards before being touched, and then only by Jason Craft. Craft, for those of you who don't know, is a CB who tackles like a CB and covers like a S.
N24110Strong I, Standard 2-TERun3WhiteIso
Blah, short run middle.
N2127I-Form, 3-WRRun4WhiteCutback
White has a great chance on a cutback run to pick up some good yardage. And falls down.
N1733Shotgun 4-WRPass2YoungScramble
The Saints jump offside and, rather than take a shot deep, VY takes a quick look, then takes off. He moves forward, then, instead of just falling down and making sure he has the 3 yards for the first down (really more like 2.1 yards), he tries to get out of bounds on his own and gets what's probably a bad spot just short of the first down. It's not a bad idea to take off or to try to avoid the hit, but it wasn't the best decision from where he was on the field. At least with the penalty it didn't matter. (SCR)
N12110Weak I, 2-TE StrongRun1BrownStretch
Stretch play to the weak and short left side. Roydell doesn't get a good block on David, and Brown isn't capable of running through people.
N1129Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WRPass10MouldsOut
VY scrambles a little in the pocket and throws way outside to Moulds, who does a good job to comeback for the ball and haul it in despite pressure from McKenzie, who forced him out on the play. Didn't really matter, as Moulds hauled it in anyway, but Payton does blow a challenge on the play. May I just say I love Mike Carey and the explanations he gives? (CA)
N11GI-Form, 2-WR WeakRun1-TDWhiteIso
Short run middle into the end zone.
Drive Notes: TD, 17-14, 3Q 2:19. It's always nice to end a drive in the end zone. Good return by Griffin to set the Titans up with pretty good field position, Brown with a couple nice runs, and White didn't manage to kill the drive by his lonesome.
T49110I-Form, 2-TE StrongRun6BrownCounter
Brown takes the counter off tackle and uses his speed to just run laterally to get outside and pick up 6 yards. Good use of the speed, though I think if Bell gets a better seal on the pull, Brown can use that speed to run upfield instead of laterally.
N4524Shotgun BaseRun2BrownCounter Off Tackle(?)
Can you really have a counter run out of the shotgun without any motion? I'm undecided. Anyway, Brown is lined up to VY's left and takes the handoff for a run behind Stewart. He needs to go further laterally and get outside the defense, but instead tries to go just off tackle and is tackled after a short gain.
N43324-WR Close(?)Pass18R.WilliamsDrag?
I have no idea what happens on this play. ESPN doesn't show us the formation, instead concentrating on VY, so 4-WR close is a guess, with Scaife one of the 4 WRs. The pass is a throw to Roydell on the right side, and he's wide open and picks up 15 YAC. As best I can sell, the defender responsible is Jason Craft, who fell down as he was following Roydell across the middle of the field. (CA)
N251102-TE Strong, 2-WR WeakRun0BrownCutback
Well, I don't see the snap, but I think I'm right that this was a cutback run where the cutback lane was filled, so Brown took it up the middle into the pile for not much.
N25210Standard 2-TERun11YoungBootleg
VY fakes the cutback run up the middle and runs a keeper to the outside. Lots of space, so he gets the first down and scoots out of bounds. This is a fun to play to run in Madden with VY, FYI, or at least I enjoy it.
N14110Strong, Standard 2-TERun3WhiteIso
Power running formation = power run = short gain strong right side.
N1127Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WRPass6JonesSlant
The Saints bring a big blitz up the middle, so VY throws the quick slant to Jones, who's split out to the left side. Kudos to Jason Craft for defying my expectation of his (lack of) competence and making the tackle to prevent the TD. (CA)
N531I-Form, Standard 2-TERun2WhiteRight Tackle
Power running formation = power running play = short gain to the right side. All White has to do is go forward, which is easy enough even he can do it.
N31GI-Form, 2-WR WeakRun0WhiteIso
Short run middle.
N32G2-TE StrongPass3-TDScaifeRollout
VY with the move right and throws it back to Scaife, who came open when the defender went to cover Hartsock, who was nearer VY and the sidelines. Good play design, forcing the defense to have to be disciplined. Most defenses will fail sooner or later, and the Saints did on this play. (CA)
Drive Notes: TD, 24-14, 4Q 8:55. It's always nice to end a drive with a TD, especially a drive as important as this one. Good job to take advantage of good starting field position after LaBoy forced Brees to fumble.
Stretch play right side. This is just a zone read for Brown, and he finds an alley that lets him pick up 7 yards.
N623I-Form, Standard 2-TERun2BrownIso
Power running formation = power run = short run middle.
N431I-Form, 2-WR WeakRun-1WhiteLeft Tackle
Blah, short run left side
Drive Notes: Missed FG, 24-14, 4Q 4:53. Starting with this sort of good field position, you'd really like to come away with some points here. A TD really seals the game, while a FG means the Saints would need 2 TDs. And the offense can't execute on third down, because the defense stacks the box, while Bironas honks the short FG.

The Titans also had 2 kneeldowns after Keith Bulluck's 3rd interception of the game ended the Saints' final drive. And, of course, Vinny Fuller's interception return for a TD prevented the office from running another actual play, but I'm not going to complain about that in the least.

UPDATE (10/24, 2134 CT): Whole game PBP up. Additional comments to follow sooner or later-probably Saturday.