2019 Game Ball Thread: Wk. 12 vs Cowboys

Bowhemian

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Lots to like for grinding out a win. But seriously WTF was wrong with the clock operator on the Pats last offensive play?
 

j44thor

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Given the circumstances I thought it was one of Brady's best games of the year and drops made the final line look much worse than it should have been.
That said, why on earth was he snapping the ball with 10+ seconds left when they were on their side of the 50 nursing the 4pt lead with around 4min left? Three straight plays they saved DAL about 30 seconds collectively. Not sure if that was coaching or on Brady but seemed like a very odd decision.
 
Apr 24, 2019
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I also felt - not in hindsight, at the time - that the time left on the clock called for a couple of those “back up a few yards and THEN take the knee” snaps.
 

Harry Hooper

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Given the circumstances I thought it was one of Brady's best games of the year and drops made the final line look much worse than it should have been.
That said, why on earth was he snapping the ball with 10+ seconds left when they were on their side of the 50 nursing the 4pt lead with around 4min left? Three straight plays they saved DAL about 30 seconds collectively. Not sure if that was coaching or on Brady but seemed like a very odd decision.
I noticed that too. Get it down to 4-5 seconds left on the playclock, Tom.
 

SMU_Sox

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Once again Jon Jones. I think we’ve answered the would you rather have Jon’s Jones vs a 2nd round pick last year.

Gilmore and Slater. Those are my 3. HT @Brand Name
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Given the circumstances I thought it was one of Brady's best games of the year and drops made the final line look much worse than it should have been.
That said, why on earth was he snapping the ball with 10+ seconds left when they were on their side of the 50 nursing the 4pt lead with around 4min left? Three straight plays they saved DAL about 30 seconds collectively. Not sure if that was coaching or on Brady but seemed like a very odd decision.
They do that. It isn’t the first time. I think maybe Bill or Josh think that it’s more important to run things their regular way to try to make the play instead of rushing things at the line for the snap. Dunno. But they don’t seem to put a premium on play clock management until after the two minute warning or close to situational victory formation time.
 

Bongorific

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I wasn’t in the game thread today but it looked like the Harry TD was on the same route AB ran in his lone game. Someone mentioned in the AB thread that they would think about taking AB back because the Pats don’t have anyone on the roster that can make that play. A very timely response.
 

Super Nomario

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Given the circumstances I thought it was one of Brady's best games of the year and drops made the final line look much worse than it should have been.
That said, why on earth was he snapping the ball with 10+ seconds left when they were on their side of the 50 nursing the 4pt lead with around 4min left? Three straight plays they saved DAL about 30 seconds collectively. Not sure if that was coaching or on Brady but seemed like a very odd decision.
It makes sense if you don't want them to time the snap and you're trying to catch them unawares, but they didn't really do that effectively. The one that killed me was they snapped with 10 seconds left on second down and DAL jumped the snap anyway and took down Michel for a big loss. That shouldn't happen.

I wasn’t in the game thread today but it looked like the Harry TD was on the same route AB ran in his lone game. Someone mentioned in the AB thread that they would think about taking AB back because the Pats don’t have anyone on the roster that can make that play. A very timely response.
Harry's was trickier because he ran his on the outside, while Brown was in the slot so he had a lot more room to work with. The play at the catch point looked very similar.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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A few random thoughts.

Zero sacks today and not all that close to getting one at least as I recall. I think it was pretty straightforward today. Take away their best receiver, contain Dak, let Zeke get what he gets in the first level but keep him from getting past the linebacker level. And they did it all. They were content to seeing if Cobb or Gallup could win the game for the Cowboys. Those two made some nice plays and weather helped but you have to say the apparent defensive plan worked right down the line.

I though Witten might be able to make some plays today. The conditions seemed right for it. Who had him? Chung? Did Chung ever come back after he got banged up?

Part of evaluating Brady I think is to appreciate that the defense seems to have made it so the offense is always putting a huge premium on being conservative.

Why did the Patriots not use the running backs in a shorter passing game? Conditions? 3 catches for 8 net yards. With rookie receivers it seemed like this was an option but pretty much nothing. The running back in the flat seems to be a regular feature of the offense of pretty much every NFL team but the Patriots haven’t really looked for like they did earlier in the year. Which is weird since they have a guy that is so very good at it.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Why did the Patriots not use the running backs in a shorter passing game? Conditions? 3 catches for 8 net yards. With rookie receivers it seemed like this was an option but pretty much nothing. The running back in the flat seems to be a regular feature of the offense of pretty much every NFL team but the Patriots haven’t really looked for like they did earlier in the year. Which is weird since they have a guy that is so very good at it.
I think it was a combination of using the RBs to block a lot in the passing game and also not liking the matchup against the Cowboy coverage LBs, who are very good (especially Jaylon Smith). Those three RB catches came on 8 targets so it wasn't like this option was working when we went to it.
 

DaveRoberts'Shoes

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Apropos of nothing, Dallas had at least five fumbles/live balls that they managed to recover. If the Pats had even one or two of those this game would have had a whole different feel
 
Apr 24, 2019
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I kept wondering where the hell James White was all day. Would like to have seen him make some plays. Didn’t notice them specifically taking him away, but maybe I missed it. And teams focus on taking away Edelman, too, and Jules makes his share of plays. We’re gonna need White if the offense is going to get to a level where we can see them as a legit complement to a super bowl level defense.
 

E5 Yaz

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Maybe not the right thread for this, but what do we make of the disappearance of James White? Three touches today, and two other incompletions sent his way. Even Aikman was citing the mismatch with Sean Lee in particular.

Saving him for the stretch run? Phasing him out? Injury we don't know about?
 
Apr 24, 2019
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My favorite aspect of Gronk commentary is the serious nod he gives after making a point. I don’t actually think he’s that bad, tells some stories, has some insight and is certainly likable. But yeah, the “all you need to do is all you need to do” of it all is pretty damn funny.
 

Marciano490

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I loved Gronk’s opening about Jones putting up the bubble every time it drizzles in Dallas. I think he’ll be fine once he slows down and doesn’t try to fill every second with words.
 

Cotillion

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Gronk is being groomed for Bradshaw’s replacement. You can tell that’s the seat they have picked out for him. The lovable lug and mug not too “bright” character.
 

BigSoxFan

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Maybe not the right thread for this, but what do we make of the disappearance of James White? Three touches today, and two other incompletions sent his way. Even Aikman was citing the mismatch with Sean Lee in particular.

Saving him for the stretch run? Phasing him out? Injury we don't know about?
Strange to say the least. I make it my December ritual to whine about James White touches so I’m on the case.
 

Marciano490

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Gronk is being groomed for Bradshaw’s replacement. You can tell that’s the seat they have picked out for him. The lovable lug and mug not too “bright” character.
Could Gronk spell cat if you spotted him the c and t?
 

5dice

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Maybe not the right thread for this, but what do we make of the disappearance of James White? Three touches today, and two other incompletions sent his way. Even Aikman was citing the mismatch with Sean Lee in particular.

Saving him for the stretch run? Phasing him out? Injury we don't know about?
I have been thinking about this too.
Part of me thinks that the blocking in the screen game and wheel routes he has excelled at has been diminished by bad OL (piling on to OL), no Develin, Gronk, Allen, etc...
Also, many of the passes he has received this year are less designed and more “safety valve” as TB is getting demolished or about to be and White is instantly tackled.
Or maybe, much to my chagrin, his feet are just getting less sweet.

The line got better holes in the run game today, maybe the RB passing game is next.
 

Joe D Reid

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Maybe not the right thread for this, but what do we make of the disappearance of James White? Three touches today, and two other incompletions sent his way. Even Aikman was citing the mismatch with Sean Lee in particular.

Saving him for the stretch run? Phasing him out? Injury we don't know about?
Lee and Smith are unusually athletic LBs. I can see why the idea was to try to run them over rather than attack them through the air. I wouldn’t be worried about workload or injury unless it happens again next week.
 

DeadlySplitter

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I figured pregame Dallas would be expecting a ton of passes to RBs with little other passing threats on the active roster. maybe our gameplan simply was to counter that.
 

BigSoxFan

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I figured pregame Dallas would be expecting a ton of passes to RBs with little other passing threats on the active roster. maybe our gameplan simply was to counter that.
Sure that was part of it. That screen to White fooled absolutely no one.
 

streeter88

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Watching on tape just now, the Jedi mind tricks played on Dallas as they were punting end of third quarter resulted in a huge change in starting field position. That drive ended in a Folk FG.

Also, Folk should have been 3-4 today - false start was the difference between a good performance and an average one in today’s weather.

And a game ball to the weather, which definitely played to the Pats strengths.
 

j44thor

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Watching on tape just now, the Jedi mind tricks played on Dallas as they were punting end of third quarter resulted in a huge change in starting field position. That drive ended in a Folk FG.

Also, Folk should have been 3-4 today - false start was the difference between a good performance and an average one in today’s weather.

And a game ball to the weather, which definitely played to the Pats strengths.
Yep thought Folk was very good in those conditions. Maher might have the strongest leg in the NFL and he was struggling in that direction as well. On the Folk 48yd miss he might make that if they run the previous play towards the left hash mark not the right. Given his previous miss went wide right I thought it was a mistake to run the last play of the half towards the right hash. I get you have to take what the defense gives you but Folk had no shot on that kick from the right hash in that weather.
 

Ralphwiggum

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I love Gronk, but man he's horrendous at the commentator thing, I cringe every time he opens his mouth. I also wonder who beyond Pats fans wants to hear from him, particularly if he's going to be a ridiculous Patriot homer. I don't get it.
 

lexrageorge

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These games are the types of slogs that good teams win in November. It also shows why the Pats should play for home field for the playoffs.

Game balls to Gilmore, Slater, and the rest of the defense. Containing Prescott and Elliot was the order of the day, and mission accomplished.

The WRs had too many drops or missed catches for a game ball, but still deserve an honorable mention. Edelman is clearly playing through injuries, and Harry and Myers made some important catches when it mattered. And another HM to Wynn for staying healthy.
 

Byrdbrain

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To add to the drops mentioned above I saw a tweet that said per PFF the Pats had 6 drops and were 0 for 4 on "50-50" balls.
Part of that was the weather but part of that was on the receivers.

Brady played better than he has lately it just didn't show up in the numbers.
 

NomarsFool

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I was glad to see TB and Harris hook up early, but it didn't seem like he had many targets the rest of the way - especially after that drop. Was obviously tough conditions, although I feel like the Pats had more drops than the Cowboys. Maybe it was just because the Pats had better defense so the receivers never touched it. Or maybe the Pats' drops just frustrate me more so they are more memorable.

Overall, the offense seemed much improved - even without Sanu. Brady just seemed to have much more time than he has all season.
 

EdRalphRomero

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Meyers seemed to run the wrong route (Edelman's route) on one if his receptions. They both wound up in the same spot and the broadcast showed Meyers doing the pat your chest to take responsibility for a screw-up thing. He's been good for a UDFA who should be the #5 receiver on the team. Hopefully next week he can be back at a more appropriate spot on the depth chart.

And I'm not sure the Pats were playing mind-games on that punt return. I think they were screwed up as well and Burkhead saw the uncovered gunner and went and covered him.
 

Super Nomario

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I was glad to see TB and Harris hook up early, but it didn't seem like he had many targets the rest of the way - especially after that drop. Was obviously tough conditions, although I feel like the Pats had more drops than the Cowboys. Maybe it was just because the Pats had better defense so the receivers never touched it. Or maybe the Pats' drops just frustrate me more so they are more memorable.

Overall, the offense seemed much improved - even without Sanu. Brady just seemed to have much more time than he has all season.
I think Harry was mostly matched up against Byron Jones, so it makes sense he didn't get a ton of targets. Edelman and Meyers had more favorable matchups. I do like that Brady looked his way in a couple congested spots even when he didn't have separation; the TD was like that, and the jump ball late that went through Harry's hands.
 

NortheasternPJ

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I think Harry was mostly matched up against Byron Jones, so it makes sense he didn't get a ton of targets. Edelman and Meyers had more favorable matchups. I do like that Brady looked his way in a couple congested spots even when he didn't have separation; the TD was like that, and the jump ball late that went through Harry's hands.
If they can get through this, forcing Brady to work with these guys may be a huge benefit down the stretch. If Harry and Meyers can just provide some value and they get Sanu and Doresett back, the offense may actually start functioning again.
 

Super Nomario

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If they can get through this, forcing Brady to work with these guys may be a huge benefit down the stretch. If Harry and Meyers can just provide some value and they get Sanu and Doresett back, the offense may actually start functioning again.
I would probably phrase it as "getting these guys more practice and game reps" rather than "forcing Brady to work with these guys." You seem to be implying that it's Brady's fault they're not more of a factor on offense.
 

BaseballJones

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cbssports.com's grade and explanation for the Pats vs. Dallas:

C team logo Patriots
It wasn't pretty for the Patriots, but they know how to win ugly games, and so they again did just that. Their defense contained the No. 1 offense in the league -- aided by inclement weather -- but they were bailed out by the Cowboys'' decision to pull back on feeding Elliott. The All-Pro running back was having his way whenever he touched the ball, and the Patriots had no answer for him, but they didn't need one because the answer was the Dallas coaching staff; opting to pass at inopportune times and refusing to take what the Patriots defense was giving them. They used the poor decisions by the Cowboys to land a four-point win, and it didn't have to be their most polished outing to do it. All they had to be was average, and they were, against a Dallas team hellbent on being graded an F in Week 12.


Here were Elliott's touches:

1st drive:
4 yd run

2nd drive:
7 yd run
7 yd run
19 yd reception

3rd drive:
4 yd run
-3 yd run
4 yd reception

4th drive:
0 yd run

5th drive:
8 yd run
3 yd run
12 yd run
5 yd run
2 yd run

6th drive:
2 yd run
5 yd run
2 yd run
3 yd run

7th drive:
3 yd run

8th drive:
5 yd reception
2 yd run

9th drive:
10 yd run
2 yd run

10th drive:
5 yd run
12 yd reception
3 yd run

11th drive:
(3 yd reception called back on penalty)

12th drive:


Elliott had a solid game: 25 touches, 126 yards, 5.0 yards per touch. But it wasn't like he was destroying the Pats. 37 yards on 4 touches to start the game their first two drives (9.3 per touch). 89 yards on 21 touches after that (4.2 per touch).

Not a bad game, and he was fine. But he wasn't rolling all over the Pats until Dallas decided to stop giving him the ball.
 

8slim

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I have been thinking about this too.
Part of me thinks that the blocking in the screen game and wheel routes he has excelled at has been diminished by bad OL (piling on to OL), no Develin, Gronk, Allen, etc...
Also, many of the passes he has received this year are less designed and more “safety valve” as TB is getting demolished or about to be and White is instantly tackled.
Or maybe, much to my chagrin, his feet are just getting less sweet.

The line got better holes in the run game today, maybe the RB passing game is next.
The funny thing is, assuming White doesn't completely disappear in the last 5 games, it's likely that he'll end up with his second most rushing attempts and receptions in his career.


His usage this season is looking much like the past three, where he got a lot of targets/attempts early-to-mid season, then trailed off.

I love what he brings to the offense, so I want to see him more involved, but this might just be how BB sees his skill set = not a major December player.
 

lars10

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Maybe not the right thread for this, but what do we make of the disappearance of James White? Three touches today, and two other incompletions sent his way. Even Aikman was citing the mismatch with Sean Lee in particular.

Saving him for the stretch run? Phasing him out? Injury we don't know about?
The pats have a weird combo at RB right now and seems like they’re not sure of their identity. Michel has also started catching a few more balls.. as has Burkhead. I wonder if either are better at blocking than White? Perhaps the weakness of the OLine has dictated keeping the RB in more to block which doesn’t play to White’s strengths? It has been an odd season for him.

I’m hoping that the pats are keeping things vanilla since they’re 10-1 and are working on some wrinkles for the playoffs.. perhaps also keeping people healthy with the hope of an extended playoff run?

edit: also what 5dice said
 

Super Nomario

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Maybe not the right thread for this, but what do we make of the disappearance of James White? Three touches today, and two other incompletions sent his way. Even Aikman was citing the mismatch with Sean Lee in particular.

Saving him for the stretch run? Phasing him out? Injury we don't know about?
It was a weird game where the Patriots either converted a first on first or second down or wound up in third-and-long. White is money on those 3rd-and-four-type downs, but they only faced three three downs where they had less than seven to go. One of these Brady got sacked, one he threw to White (well-covered on a hitch, incomplete), and one he threw the seam ball that Meyers couldn't hang on to.

They also led almost the whole game, so it makes sense they wanted to keep the run threat with their better runners.
 

m0ckduck

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Here were Elliott's touches:

1st drive:
4 yd run

2nd drive:
7 yd run
7 yd run
19 yd reception

3rd drive:
4 yd run
-3 yd run
4 yd reception

4th drive:
0 yd run

5th drive:
8 yd run
3 yd run
12 yd run
5 yd run
2 yd run

6th drive:
2 yd run
5 yd run
2 yd run
3 yd run

7th drive:
3 yd run

8th drive:
5 yd reception
2 yd run

9th drive:
10 yd run
2 yd run

10th drive:
5 yd run
12 yd reception
3 yd run

11th drive:
(3 yd reception called back on penalty)

12th drive:


Elliott had a solid game: 25 touches, 126 yards, 5.0 yards per touch. But it wasn't like he was destroying the Pats. 37 yards on 4 touches to start the game their first two drives (9.3 per touch). 89 yards on 21 touches after that (4.2 per touch).

Not a bad game, and he was fine. But he wasn't rolling all over the Pats until Dallas decided to stop giving him the ball.
I was just thinking about this. His stat line was virtually identical to Sony Michel's-- Ellliot had one more yard on one more carry. Yet somehow it felt like he was on the verge of breaking out the whole game. I guess part of this was just the running game looking good in comparison to the passing game— a trick of perception. But it also seemed as though he was close to breaking much longer runs off in some of those 8+ yard runs, only to be brought down by sure-handed tackling in secondary.
 

Super Nomario

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I was just thinking about this. His stat line was virtually identical to Sony Michel's-- Ellliot had one more yard on one more carry. Yet somehow it felt like he was on the verge of breaking out the whole game. I guess part of this was just the running game looking good in comparison to the passing game— a trick of perception. But it also seemed as though he was close to breaking much longer runs off in some of those 8+ yard runs, only to be brought down by sure-handed tackling in secondary.
Elliott was more consistent. In that list you've got one run for a loss and one for no gain. His longest run was only 12 yards but he was consistently gaining yardage. Michel had four runs for 12+ (which ups the average considerably) but two for no gain and three for -4.

Note that "Eliott" and "Michel" in the above paragraph are shorthand for "Dallas run game with Elliott running" and "NE run game with Michel," respectively. Not making this about the RBs specifically.

It should be noted: Elliott is not really a breakaway threat. His longest run this year is 27 yards.