Superb Owl thoughts

I’ll get back on my health insurance beat this afternoon or evening with Part 3 of pricing a plan series, but I’m still in happy shock about the results of last night’s game.  Here are a couple of quick thoughts.

  1.  I was bitching mightily to Loki or whatever trickster deity after the Kearse catch — not another Super Bowl loss on a WTF catch where the first player to touch the ball was a perfectly positioned Patriots defender.  Not another Helmet catch, not another Manningham catch.
  2. Holy Shit was my reaction to the Butler interception.  I don’t have a problem with a pass play at the 1.  I have a problem with an inside slant to the #4 receiver.  If there was a pass play, I would have thought it would have been one of the following three choices: play action to a leaking tight end, a corner fade to play on the Seahawks height advantage or a roll-out high low comination.  There were 22 seconds left and a time out.  The goal was to score a touchdown with minimal time on the clock.  A run, time out, run combination gave them two chances, a pass, run, time-out run sequence gave them three chances.  I understand the logic, and it is an aggressive logic (see the last 10 seconds of 1st half), execution fail.
  3. The basic philosophy of the Seattle’s defense is that they’ll more than willing to concede as a pass catching area a zone that is three yards behind the line of scrimmage to five yards in front of the line of scrimmage and outside of the tackle box all day long.  That allows them to minimize deep plays and stuff the run.  The bet that the Seattle defense makes is very few offenses can consistently generate points at five or six yards a pop ten or twelve times in a row.  That is a good bet against most teams.  It is a bet they lost.  The Patriots game plan reminded me the plan that they used against the Vikings when they were a run stopping wall.
  4. The basic philosophy of Seattle’s offense is to be extremely efficient at running the ball inside, force safeties and linebackers to cheat up and then take a series of low percentage, high pay-off shot plays downfield.  It worked.  The Seahawks #3,4,5 receiving options picked on the Patriots #3 and #4 cornerbacks while the 5th cornerback won his match-ups.


30 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    I thought you might have a thought about the Nationwide ad.

  2. 2
    D58826 says:

    OT but still health related. Gov Christie was asked about vaccinating kids. His answer was well his are but he believes in a ‘balanced’ approach. Whatever the heck that means. What do you do vaccinate the boys but not the girls? Or maybe some get the whooping cough vaccine and the others get the measles. I think we should change the nation symbol from the eagle to the Panda or Pander as I guess the folks in New England would say.

  3. 3
    MomSense says:


    Someone on Twitter took a still of the Nationwide kid and had him say “I would have given the ball to Lynch but I’m dead”

  4. 4
    Amir Khalid says:

    I would have asked the governor, “Balanced between what and what?”

  5. 5
    raven says:

    @MomSense: I posted that in the last thread.

  6. 6
    Baud says:


    Someone else did before you as well. Best one I’ve seen so far.

  7. 7
    MomSense says:


    What do we know about the various sub groups of anti-vaxxers? Just from personal experience I have known the liberal, all natural, organic, holistic medicine types and the home school, fundamentalist Christian, anti science types. Is Christie afraid to piss off that part of the base?

  8. 8
    MomSense says:


    It’s funny how fast new memes are born.

  9. 9
    MomSense says:

    USA Today has a great article on Butler.

  10. 10
    Matt says:


    Y’know, a “balanced approach” – like when the Gamegate morons insist that we need “balance” between “women are people” and “women are birthing vessels and sex objects”.

  11. 11
    D58826 says:

    @MomSense: Not sure. He certainly doesn’t care about the treehuggers. But the GOP right has a strong anti science bend to it so maybe he figures he can appeal to that

  12. 12
    wuzzat says:

    @MomSense: The Seahawks’ game died in a preventable accident.

  13. 13
    Amir Khalid says:

    Per TPM, Chris Christie spent Superb Owl Sunday watching football: Arsenal-Aston Villa in the English Premier League. He was a guest of the home team.

  14. 14
    MomSense says:


    Ha!! Btw I didn’t see any reference to accidental gun death in that Nationwide Ad. Did they touch on that at all?

  15. 15
    scav says:

    @D58826: It’s also just a dull numbers game. Quarantining everyone theoretically exposed to Ebola on relief missions is only likley to inconvenience people unlikely to vote for him. But people going to Disneyland? On balence, there are far more of those and as it’s an amusement park a continent away, they’re unlikely to be of the class that takes well to inconvenience and being unamused.

    It’s also the current decision mostly likely to net him a headline.

  16. 16
    Rex Tremendae says:

    trickster diety

    God could stand to lose a few pounds.

  17. 17
    1weirdTrick says:

    “I don’t have a problem w/a pass play at the 1”. If you had a Marshawn Lynch, you would.

  18. 18
    Turgidson says:

    There were 22 seconds left and a time out. The goal was to score a touchdown with minimal time on the clock. A run, time out, run combination gave them two chances, a pass, run, time-out run sequence gave them three chances. I understand the logic, and it is an aggressive logic (see the last 10 seconds of 1st half), execution fail.

    A strategy of not milking the clock and assuring yourself that Marshawn BeastMode Lynch gets THREE chances to carry the ball less than a yard makes a lot more sense though.

    And for the argument that Seattle didn’t want to leave Brady too much time, well I find that pretty fucking stupid too. An immediate TD and PAT puts the Seahawks up three with less than a minute left. So a heroic Brady drive into FG position only gives them a chance to tie, not win. And Seattle has the best freaking secondary in the league. Trust them to hold up for a few downs, and even if they don’t, you’re going to OT at worst unless someone really, really fucks up.

    If you snap the ball on 2nd down reasonably quickly and don’t get in, you can probably run it again if necessary before being forced to use the timeout.

    Play call seems just as indefensible now as it did at the time. Give Marshawn the ball and trust your defense. If the Pats can stuff Marshawn from a yard out three freaking times, well, you went down giving it your best shot at least.

  19. 19
    Arclite says:

    @Turgidson: Apparently Lynch is 1 for 5 on the 1 yard line this year. So there’s that.

    The ‘Hawks had an immaculate catch. A few plays later, the Pats had an immaculate interception. That’s football in a nutshell.

    Interestingly Arclite daughter called a Pats interception, and 10s later, there it was.

    It was a great game that could have gone either way. You’ve got to love a SB that is decided in the last 30s. Fantastic.

    @ Richard. Great thoughts.

  20. 20
    rusty says:

    In regards to Seattle’s defensive philosophy to allow short passes up front, it’s contingent upon having a healthy Chancellor, Thomas, Avril and 1st team nickelback to tackle the receiver, none of which they had for a full 60 minutes. Even Sherman is important in this scheme if the short pass is to the outside in his direction, and we now know that he too was playing with a torn up elbow. That’s 5 starters who aren’t playing anywhere close to 100%.

    Tough, tough game for a Seahawks fan – but admittedly a very exciting and entertaining game.

  21. 21
    Elie says:


    Isn’t this the “the fog of war” when balanced judgment becomes clouded by emotions and impulse creating hubris — resulting in loss of situational awareness. This would be when a small decision support computer could help if you were willing to use it… it would give you the probabilities and key risks for any play call… like you just did… It was a horrible decision but unfortunately happens … it contaminated all three key principals in the decision: the head coach, OC and the quarterback.. no one truly assessed their strength and risk accurately.

  22. 22
    Tree With Water says:

    Run, pass, run to control the clock. Check.

    But if a receiver isn’t wide open when you pass, a QB should throw the ball into the cheap seats. Or in yesterday’s case, into Utah. It’s the worst coaching blunder in the history of the game, and THAT’S THE FINAL WORD (sorry, I have sports talk radio on in the background).

    I watched darn near every Raiders game the year they beat the Browns in the playoffs on their way to a Lombardi Trophy. With Cleveland on the Raiders 12, and trailing by two in the game’s final seconds (and while Brian Sipe was still huddled up), I remember thinking: “Way to go Raiders. I didn’t think you’d get this far, and you got beat playing tough against a good team”. When Sipe proceeded to drop back to pass on the Brown’s final play of the game, my instantaneous reaction was: “What’s he doing?! Good! But he’ll throw it into the cheap seats if a receiver isn’t wide open”. He didn’t either, of course. But it wasn’t a Super Bowl, the Brown’s weren’t a couple of yards off the goal line, and Marshawn Lynch wasn’t in the backfield. I still can’t believe Carrol’s decision, and never will. But then, I can hardly believe the reception that set the table for the pick either. It was a really great game.

  23. 23
    Turgidson says:

    @Tree With Water:

    Once the play call was decided, I actually don’t blame Wilson. No QB is going to audible out of a play that gives them a chance to make the game-winning play, and Lockette looked quite open when he released the ball, almost to the point where it looked improbable that Butler would get to the spot in time even if he did read the play and break hard towards the throw. But he got there in time, great play, game over.

    It was calling that play in the first place that defies explanation. Some solid football analysts have tried (Barnwell at Grantland, for example) to at least provide some rationale for why it wasn’t the stupidest play ever and I just…no.

    Less than a yard. 2nd down. Plenty of time and a timeout in your pocket. Marshawn f’n Lynch. Mediocre Pats run defense. League’s best pass defense ready to defend the lead for less than a minute.

    Even if you’re too amped in the moment to factor all of those things into your decision, all you really need is “less than a yard” and “Marshawn f’n Lynch”

    Maybe somewhere deep in the recesses of Carroll’s brain, he knew the Seahawks had only gotten that point because of the seemingly inexhaustible supply of horseshoes they had stuck up their asses, and couldn’t go through with stealing another win on the back of a nearly miraculous play.

  24. 24
    Tree With Water says:

    “No QB is going to audible out of a play that gives them a chance to make the game-winning play..”.

    Deion Sanders disagrees (as do I). He said last night that were Wilson more seasoned, he’d of done just that. Nope, although the air is always thick with recriminations and second guessing the day after any failed goal line push, sometimes a blown play call is just a blown play call. This one was necessarily 100 times more egregious, is all, because the stage it played out on was Katie Perry’s Super Bowl.

  25. 25
    Tree With Water says:

    They’ve posted a conversation over at, and a guy named Sharp asked this pertinent question:

    Sharp: “Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn?

    [Deep breath.]

    Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn? Why wouldn’t you run it with Marshawn..”?

  26. 26
    Turgidson says:

    @Tree With Water:

    Ehhh, ok, I’ll add an “Almost” to “no QB…”

    I think the vast majority would seize the opportunity to go for glory, though. Even Peyton, perhaps the NFL’s all-time most seasoned practitioner of line of scrimmage adjustments, would want the ball in his hands, I think. But on this, like on so many other things. I could be wrong.

  27. 27
    Tree With Water says:

    @Turgidson: Wouldn’t it have been funny if Starr had audibled on Vince Lombardi in the Ice Bowl, and thrown a pick on a slant pattern instead of crashing over Kramer?

  28. 28
    Wallis Lane says:

    The pass play was dumb enough, but calling it right into the middle of the end zone, WHERE ALL THE PATRIOTS ARE STANDING! was what really made this the worst call ever. Jeez, call a fade or a roll-out, where if it’s incomplete, no one else can get it either. Throwing right into the teeth of the defense means that the pass has to be perfect. If you throw it too quick or too slow or too high, or if the receiver bobbles it, there are at least six defenders there who can be standing right where the ball ends up.. They unnecessarily set themselves a very high degree of difficulty for an otherwise simple score,

    And my question is: did they forget that not only do they have the TD-monster Lynch, but they also have the most mobile QB in the league. Why not fake to Lynch, and have Wilson roll out? He probably could have read a newspaper and had a coffee on his leisurely stroll in for a uncontested TD.

    Belichick is fortunate, because he would have second-guessed forever , and rightly so, for not using his own time out, which decision was also insane. Take a TO and if Seattle scores you have 55 seconds (very possible) instead of 20 seconds (improbable) for Brady to get them into field goal range for at least a tie.

    That said, it could have happened to a nicer guy. Carroll is a complete douchebag, who delighted in running up scores and laughing in the other team’s face when he won. This was a lovely comeuppance.

  29. 29
    Tree With Water says:

    @Wallis Lane: I think Belichik made the correct call in not folding his D in order to get the ball back. Tom Brady came close to proving otherwise yesterday, but even he’s no superman. He had done his bit to win the game, and at that point it was up to his teammates to finish it.

  30. 30
    Wallis Lane says:

    @Tree With Water: I’m not saying he should have folded, just that he had to have a contingency plan in case Seattle beat his D and scored. You have to assume they will score from the one with Lynch and Wilson in two or three tries, regardless of how good your D is (unless they do something crazy like, say, throw a pass right into the midst of the entire Patriot defense), and you need to have some time left if they do score. I’m sure Carroll & Co. were ecstatic that Belichick didn’t call the TO, which is why they ran all 30 seconds off.

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