My apologies for being MIA guys and gals. I had an awful case of foot-in-mouthitis. Also, my apologies to everyone on staff here at MHR for being such a jerk. Thank you all for working so hard to make MHR the community it is. I appreciate what you cats do.
Now to the fun stuff: What a great game to behold. Overall I remember at the half thinking, "If we weren't shooting ourselves in the foot, we'd have this game well in hand already!" I expected us to do better in the 2nd half, but wow...everything just clicked. I sincerely hope that is a sign of things to come because that 2nd half was exactly what I see as the plan being for our team since we landed PM...build a lead, play aggressive defense, and completely take control of the tempo of the game in every phase.
- Let's start off with a note about our WR corps. These guys are really running some nice routes. Route running from these guys is really looking smooth. If this keeps improving we will be putting a ton of points on the board through the 2nd half of the season.
- Seeing Tamme, Stokely, and Decker have great timing with PM. You don't see this as much with DT except on those screens they throw. Nevertheless this is just a fantastic tool to see being developed. I saw at least 3 3rd down conversions that I can recall that were all timing passes. 2 went to Tamme and 1 to Decker. That's just what I recall - there were probably more.
- The Manning to Dreessen TD was just a superb throw and catch. Both guys did a better than average job on that play.
- Tamme had a real break-out game to me...he was catching everything thrown at him and was Mr. 1st down. I was very impressed with his one-handed reaching behind him catch.
- The end-around to Caldwell looked very good...I would like to see more plays like this thrown in to keep defenses on their toes. PM threw a shoulder at a defender even...if you have NFL Replay go back and watch it. I was pretty surprised given how QBs usually don't throw themselves out there like that.
- Decker should have had a TD in the back of the end zone on a crossing pattern. I know the ball was tipped, but it hit him in the hands. You have to come down with that...against the faders we can afford to have a FG instead of a TD, but you can't miss that against the better teams or in the playoffs.
- McGahee runs with a lean that is just so wicked. It looks like he's about to fall on his face most of the time. It is great because it is a big reason he is always gaining positive yards. The way his body is held means if someone hits him he will fall forward. The downside is that it causes him some balance issues at times...he would have broke a long TD if not for his tripping over his own feet.
- Also he's just so deceptively quick. You see him game after game powering through holes to get 4 yards and a cloud of dust. But if he has a little room that cat can duck and move with surprising agility.
- This guy is a key to our season if you asked me. Knock on wood, but if he gets injured we have no one that can make our running game work like he does.
- Thomas fumble: Really? This is the NFL son - go practice running and switching hands. That was a TD all day if you had it switched which should have happened much earlier in the play so your right hand was free for the stiff arm.
- Thomas ran great out route for 3rd down conversion. It was even in perfect timing with Manning. I hope to see more and more of this as we move forward. This is the weak area of Thomas's game and if he gets good at routes and timing, he will turn into an absolute monster NFL WR.
- Dude was in beast mode in the 3rd quarter. He was out muscling people on his receptions and threw some very nice blocks when his teammates had the ball.
- Hillman inside was not impressive. I definitely though that he looked like a weapon in space. Great speed and acceleration. I saw him picking up blocks well too when he was in on pass protection. It is about time to start planning some plays for him every game. I'd like to see us try to get him in space 3 - 5 times a game.
- Lance Ball - so mediocre no one covers him on a TD pass (not true...the LB on him slipped, but that line read so well I couldn't NOT write it). Runs for nothing up the middle as usual. Someone better than Ball would have gotten the 3rd down and short run converted. He is the main reason I worry about McGahee getting hurt.
- Eric Decker TD - They predicted the defense...there was no audible on the blitz they brought. I was excited as the play was about to be hiked because I knew we had a great play ready. I must say it is so fun to see PM run our offense...it is almost like we are watching the game at a different level of play.
- Manning got hit in the 3rd because they didn't have a short option in the play for him to throw to. Moving forward they really need to keep a short option somewhere for him in every play...either a TE or RB.
- I've been paying a lot of attention to the edges of our rushing defense the past few games. That's where I see most of our "problems". It hasn't been poor by any means...it just ebbs and flows a bit. In the first half we had great edge setting followed by utter failure a couple times. It is good to see Miller getting so much better in this area. He was the edge a lot in this game (especially in the 2nd half).
- Our run defense was impressive. They had very few holes to work with and our guys absolutely swarmed the ball carrier all game long.
- Miller looked good on first pass coverage assignment. Again in the 4th as well. This guy really looks like a different player in space compared to last year. What a great pick for our team. This guy really does have the potential to be a special player in the NFL.
- We dialed up a blitz early...executed perfectly with Doom beating everyone there. As a matter of fact, we destroyed the raider's line consistently as the game wore on. It was actually a game of "who gets there first". I seriously applaud our front 7 for their work this game. It was inspiring defensive football.
- CB blitz by Harris was just gorgeous. Cheers to Del Rio for a well designed play that the guys ran with perfect execution.
- Wolfe superb TFL and almost safety. In case you guys are curious he's demanding a double-team fairly often. Given that he's usually on and end this surprises me a bit, but it is a big reason you see the other guys shining early in the season. This to me screams of another great pick by our FO. Wolfe has a lot of potential.
- Soon after that, our D almost gives up 1st on poor angles. We had to use a challenge to get them to punt though so there was a cost. That guy shouldn't have gone anywhere. (Noticed Miller legally had a nice little escort out of bounds on McFadden that play that made me smile)
- The big pass on Porter was just a perfectly thrown ball. Porter's coverage was spot on on that play.
- Bailey superb awareness 2nd half - comes off his man to break up a pass that would have given the raiders a 1st down. Also Bailey like a boss tackling 1st down dump-off in the 3rd quarter. Love having CBs who play the run game as hard as the pass game.
- 2nd half 3 and outs: 4 Just wow...your defense is doing something incredibly right or their offense just sucks eggs. I think it was a bit of both honestly.
- Speaking of 3rd down...at 5:45 left in the 3rd Q our whole defense won every battle - that's what I want to see on 3rd down.
- Adams dropped an easy pick. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot D!? Get out there with a juggs machine and practice a bit...I think we've seen at least 3 dropped easy INTs so far this season. I can live with a few, but it is happening consistently.
- Woodyard kills it on sack through double team. Soon after that he was all over a screen play with at least 3 raider players around him. This guy is really making a statement. When DJ gets back, there is NO way you bench Woodyard for him. NO WAY.
- I guess safe is better than sorry, but Leonhart has nothing in the return game. I still scratch my head at him returning punts. I know we have PM, but even fast guys can consistently field punts. Get a weapon out there!
- Fake FG = dumb call and poor execution. I am ready for us to have one game where there isn't at least one play call that has me thinking I could do a better job than the guys out there at calling plays.
- Bruton - cash money on the block - he looked like one happy cat on the sidelines afterwards too.
- I seriously cracked up at Ramirez and a lineman I didn't catch the name of dumping a raider lineman on an extra point.
- Complimentary football was played for the first time this year for a large chunk of a game. All 3 phases were working together as a well-oiled machine that just crushed our opposition.
- Replacement refs were back? Decker controlled the ball with no roll or movement visible when it was touching the ground - that is a friggin catch. I'm very happy to see the regulars out there, but I still get a little bent about them not calling this right. Go read the rule book.