Yesterday's game was glorious. I am still exhausted from getting on the limo bus at 10 am and then tailgating until 4pm and getting back to Brooklyn at about 11. After working today it has been two full days. A longer narrative about yesterday will be forthcoming but I wanted to give my keys to the game. We won where we had to and took every advantage we could.
We had 3 for 20 and they had 9 for 104. Our total offense was a mere 226 to their 304, but add the penalties and things look a wee bit more even. As the game continued, I noticed that the penalties kept us in the game.
I am having a hard time finding the average starting yard-line for our drives but I would wager it was past the 30. By my count they only kicked to Sproles three times. Two kick offs and one punt. Every other time they kicked away from him and we made out like a bandit because of it. There were a couple of times we started our drives at or near the 50 yard line for no other reason that that they did not want the ball in Sproles’ hands. They have no confidence in their special teams. And we probably gained 10+ yards on most kicks because of it.
I love the Boricua himself, Ron Rivera, but have been really down on him lately. This game gave me a glimmer of where this team could go within the limitations of our players. I have been focusing on learning more about defense and defensive schemes as of late. I thought we ran a 3-4 and so did everyone else but during the first half there were many snaps where we had a 4-3. I was specifically watching to see what Rivera would call and (mostly) in the first half there was at least one extra person on the line. They may or may not have been in a three-point stance but the line had 4 or five people on it for most of the first half. Our outside linebackers were playing a glorified defensive end. This increased the pass rush and shows the confidence Rivera had in Jammer and Cromartie and Weddle. The second half things changed a little but the flavor was still there. Running a 4-3,3-4 hybrid. This makes a lot of sense to me as we lost the most important position to a 3-4, Jamal Williams. To compensate we posted a rotating nose and stacked the line with 4-5 people. Interestingly I only counted one time where four people actually were in the three-point stance in the game for a true 4-3.
In all, it was a scrappy game and I’m glad we came out ahead. This finish in this game reminded me a lot of the game in Seattle three or four years ago. We were losing, and a throw to Jackson in the waning seconds stole the game for us. I’ll post pictures and stories (of which there are many) tomorrow or the following day.