Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Calm Down, Calm Down

We were prepared for this, weren't we? I mean, not exactly this per se. Not a game that brought back memories of the crushing defeat we suffered to the Broncos in similar fashion last year, but we were prepared for a loss, right? And at the end of it all, it was a real tight loss, against a real good team. Not buying it? Okay, think of it this way. We spent more than half the game manhandling a Superbowl contender that everyone thought would steamroll us without a problem. They didn't start steamrolling us until halfway through the third quarter. This is a young team that has not played together more than a half of full speed football and they played with a lot of heart. But it'll take more than heart to get this thing going.

The O-Line played a pretty valiant game, but by midway through the second half they were getting manhandled pretty well, and it led to a pivotal pick six later in the game. I would have loved to see more of that underneath passing game that everyone was talking about during camp. That's just the sort of thing that can neutralize an aggressive front, but it just wasn't there.

Another part of the problem the offense has is that clearly the coaching staff still does not trust Ryan Mathews to protect the ball. He was playing well out of the gate, yet barely touched the ball in the second half of a game where we held a 21 point lead late.

And the drops. Both Eddie Royal and Antonio Gates dropped critical passes they should have handled in the second half. At a point where it was of the utmost importance to get any kind of spark, those have got to be caught.

And the offensive playcalling in the second half was downright Norvian at times. Again, where was that underneath passing game? There absolutely has to be something you can do between running the ball inside the tackles and heaving the ball downfield when you need to kill clock.

As for the defense, well they tried. This young secondary is going to get beat up like that a lot this year, which is why it is essential to have a consistent pass rush. And honestly, I liked our pass rush. But every time we got into third down we dropped everybody into coverage and got torched for it. That is gutless. When nobody on your team is all that good at coverage and you can't get any pressure with only 3 or 4 guys, dropping everybody into coverage is pointless. Watching that old Wade Phillips defense from the wrong side was tough. Wade is fearless. He doesn't call Defense for Dummies plays like that and it fires his guys up. And that results in huge plays that suck the wind out of the stadium. Maybe the first step is finding out whatever the Texans are giving to JJ Watt that is apparently undetectable and giving it to our guys.

We have no answer for guys like Andre Johnson. To all of you who gave Jammer so much shit because he'd get beat a couple of times a game by big play receivers, I tell you this: Johnson would not have had 12 catches for 148 yards if Jammer were there. And if he had, he would have had to earn it, rather than just basically jog to the first down marker and turn around. With guys like DeSean Jackson, Dez Bryant, Denarius Moore, AJ Green and Victor Cruz on the schedule, we're going to have to figure something out.

So, that all sounds terrible, and it sort of is. But the important thing is that even with all that, we were in this game. At one point we had this game. And this is the first time these kids have hit the field together. They'll get better. This is not last year's Denver loss. That team and that coach had played together for years and were unable to handle themselves in the face of adversity. This team went out there and nearly shocked the world. It'll come.

Go Bolts!!!

P.S. Berman is the damn worst.

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