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Old 10-13-2009   #1
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Default Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

With 1:44 remaining in the 2nd Qtr, LF scores a touchdown by running across the back of the end zone. 1st, our pass rush was pathetic. This play took way too long to develop.

Secondly, you get to see Dunta Robinson man to man on Larry Fitzgerald. I know we saw them earlier, when Fitz caught that 21 yarder down the seam, then broke off another 8 yards after the catch, but Dunta slipped..

This time, Dunta is lined up on the LOS. At the snap, Dunta doesn't jam him, instead he gets beat with an inside move. They're doing the hand jive for 8 yards then Fitzgerald puts his forearm in Dunta's neck, and pushes off. That's how he gets the seperation you see at the back of the endzone. That's why Dunta is throwing up his hands, wondering why the referee's didn't say anything.

Bernard Pollard was watching Warner the whole time. He made a move to his right, then to his left, then to his right again.... I don't know if Pollard realized when Fitzgerald began running across the back of the endzone (Pollard was about 2 yards in the endzone), but you would think at some time, he would have locked on, and ran with him.
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Old 10-13-2009   #2
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

Of all the plays in the game, this is the one where nothing different really could have been done. Fitz was Fitz and made a great play for that TD. No CB could have done much more. It was the first and second TD drives that hurt the most. But no matter - the defense held one of the most potent offenses in ALL of football to 21 points - ZERO POINTS and 43 TOTAL YARDS in the second half. We should have won this game.
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Old 10-13-2009   #3
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

Now the TD that I really want to talk about. After the offense went three & out again, and Matt Turk put up a 29 yard duck, our defense tries to do the impossible. Keep the Cardinals from scoring when they're 10 yards from field goal range.

Eventually the Cardinals get to the 26 yard line. They've got 4 WRs, 1 RB, no TEs. Fitzgerald runs a skinny post & scores an easy touchdown. I think Rich Gannon was the commentator, & he was blaming the safety (Bernard Pollard) for taking a bad angle.

After the Extra Point, & after the kick-off, they break down the play.

We had our nickle package out there. Pollard on the QBs left, Wilson on the right, playing 12 yards behind the LOS. Dunta was lined up on Fitzgerald 3-4 yards back. Cushing was lined up on Bolden 6 yards back. Dunta was in the middle of the field, McCain had the slot receiver to the QB's right, & I think that's Reeves on Breaston at the top of the screen.

Kurt Warner never looks to his right. He's watching what's going on to his left very hard, which is why I think Gannon diagnosed this play all wrong.

They didn't use motion or anything to "figure out" if we were in Man or Zone. Just from the way we lined up, you'd think we were in 2 man under. If that is the case, he should have been expecting Bolden to be able to seperate from Cushing, knowing Bolden was going to run a 5 yard out pattern.

Now before the snap, Fitzgerald is pointing at Cushing. I don't know if he was making sure this was the same mismatched they took advantage of a few plays earlier, or to tell Warner that he planned on running behind Cushing. Since Fitzgerald didn't run behind Cush, I'm going with the former.

So they snap the ball, Fitzgerald runs his post, Bolden runs his out.... Dunta has to make a decision. It didn't matter if that was Dione Sanders, or Brian Cushing on Bolden in the slot. There was no stopping Warner from getting the ball to Bolden.

Now, understand that at this point, Cushing has no idea what Bolden is going to run. He's probably thinking Bolden is going to run right by him the way Fitzgerald was pointing at him. He might be thinking that he can't let Fitzgerald get behind him. He might be thinking that Warner is going to make whatever he does look like the wrong choice. So to expect the rook to crowd Bolden on the line & take away the out-pattern is not very realistic.

Dunta on the other hand. He decided to cheat on Bolden, and let Fitzgerald go.... no more underneath coverage on the 2nd best wide reciever in the NFL. Touchdown.

Surely it's possible, that Gannon is right, and Pollard is supposed to be all Shazam and whatever to take that play away from Fitzgerald. But with Bolden in the slot on that side, & 2 receivers on the other side....... I find it hard to believe.

& when you watch the two receivers on the other side... they ran the exact same pattern, just like it shows in Madden. Our guys played it exactly like I think Dunta & Cushing should have. Dunta Maintaining underneath coverage on the deep pattern, Cushing not allowing that 5 yard out pattern to become a big gain.

This, IMHO is just a case of us not trusting each other. Dunta should have done his job, handled his responsibility, and trust Cushing to do the same.
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Old 10-13-2009   #4
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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Originally Posted by DerekLee1 View Post
Of all the plays in the game, this is the one where nothing different really could have been done. Fitz was Fitz and made a great play for that TD. No CB could have done much more. It was the first and second TD drives that hurt the most. But no matter - the defense held one of the most potent offenses in ALL of football to 21 points - ZERO POINTS and 43 TOTAL YARDS in the second half. We should have won this game.
Did you miss the part about the illegal contact? Or the safety watching Warner's eyes, when Fitzgerald ran right behind him?
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Old 10-13-2009   #5
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

*** As usual, I must insist that I have no football background! ***

On their 2nd TD, the Cards were in their shotgun spread, with the RB Hightower on the right of Warner.
Fitz and Boldin in the right slot, Boldin slightly behind (it serves a purpose.)
Breaston #15 wide left and #83 TE Spach in slot right.

Texans played 3 men up.
Reeves on #15 the wide-out;
Wilson on #83 TE in the slot;
Dunta on Fitz;
Quin played off-man on Boldin from the start as the WR motioned from the outside into the slot (understandable as he's a rookie.)
All 3 man-up guys gave the receivers a chuck as they came across the LOS.


We loaded the strong side - the RB was on this side - (understandable);
Cushing 4-yd off LOS, checking Hightower and following him as he released out of the backfield up the middle and veered left;

Ryans played mid-centerfield 5-yd off the LOS and backpedaling as he read pass;
Pollard as single safety, just behind the goal-line.

The last part, I don't like.
They spread you out and you have a mid-Center-Fielder (Demeco), and a deep-CF (Pollard).
You're asking them to cover side-line to side-line; not a good idea, IMO.
On top of that, you rushed only four.

A corner route on either side, and your deep safety becomes a long shot in helping out.
And when the QB has all the time in the world to make his reads,
both of your center fielders are rendered useless against that route.


To make it worse, you put your deep safety in a helpless situation of indecisiveness.
Should I stay in the middle; should I commit to the weak-side when I saw Reeves got beat to the outside;
or should I ran over to help the rookie on the opposite far side when I saw Boldin doing the same to Quin?

Warner took a long look to his left toward Breaston and Spach
(he was able to gauge the pressure on the blindside already);
both Demeco and Pollard started shading to that side.
Ryans took five steps to his right;
Pollard was deeper and can see a little better, so he only shuffled just past Warner and the weak-side hash marks.

Then Warner took a long look to his right (also checking the pressure on this edge);
that's when Pollard changed direction and started to go helping out Quin.

But then Warner, seeing that there's no pressure up front, simply stepped up the pocket,
pointing his toe slightly to his right, looking right; all indications to Pollard of a corner pass.
Especially, Fitz ran his route with the idea to show Pollard that he was to screen off Quin from making a good break to the outside.
Boldin ran a post-corner route behind Fitz (started to the inside toward the goal post than cut sharply to the corner.)

Demeco turned back quickly as he could,
but he was too far off the LOS to have any chance at deflecting the ball.
It was a lost cause.
Our coaches want to make out center fielders super-heroes;
and they kept insisting they put the guys in position to succeed, to make plays.
Sorry, but I just don't see that (not just in this particular play.)

You're right TK; Fitz illegally pushed off Dunta a yard or two beyond the 5-yd limit.
And I also agree with DL that there was nothing our secondary (Dunta and Pollard) can do about the situation.

Warner released the ball just past the 3-1/2-sec mark.
Barwin (LDE) spinned to the inside, allowing Okoye to stunt around the edge.
The RT did a great job recognizing it, and slid over to impede Okoye,
who was about 1/8 to a 1/4 of a sec from getting to Warner from the back.
And that's an infinity in the NFL.

Mario was two "infinities" from getting there from RDE.
Too bad, he wasn't 100%, and so he was shoved back by the LT originally (shocking!)
It was pretty amazing that he recovered so "quickly".

Smith made a mistake, IMO.
He charged the weak-side A gap, met the double team, and worked it hard.
He was able to advance almost 3 yards beyond the LOS.
But then he tried to disengage to the strong-side A gap and got shoved off.
Had he stayed put, the Center would be right at the place where Warner was when he stepped up the pocket.
It would be impossible for Kurt to step fully into his throw as he did.
The throw would have to be high as Warner had to be short-stepping and/or he would have to short-arm the throw.
(it would have a higher trajectory and slower to get there, allowing Dunta and Pollard time to recover - quite possibly.)
Either that or Kurt would have to side-step to throw unless he wanted to run right into his Center.
As it was, Smith was shoved off clear way-away from the passing lane when he could have completely obstructed it.

That would have been a sack; or perhaps more likely, Warner would have to throw that ball away.
He could also scramble and ran for his life to his right, which is something I don't mind seeing.
It was only 1st and goal at the 9. They could still score a TD.

But they wouldn't have time to score the third TD.
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Old 10-13-2009   #6
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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Originally Posted by DerekLee1 View Post
Of all the plays in the game, this is the one where nothing different really could have been done. Fitz was Fitz and made a great play for that TD. No CB could have done much more. It was the first and second TD drives that hurt the most. But no matter - the defense held one of the most potent offenses in ALL of football to 21 points - ZERO POINTS and 43 TOTAL YARDS in the second half. We should have won this game.
I disagree, Fitz pushed off and extended his arm, that is supposed to be an easy call for the official to make.
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Old 10-13-2009   #7
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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Originally Posted by Hardcore Texan View Post
I disagree, Fitz pushed off and extended his arm, that is supposed to be an easy call for the official to make.
I took it to mean DL was talking about the third TD play, where nobody touched Fitz at all. (He did say that it was the 1st and 2nd TD that hurt.)

(But TK was talking about the second TD in his first post, and DL mistook it as the third TD since the title of the thread is "Fitz" TD before halftime.)
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Old 10-13-2009   #8
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

Cards' 3rd TD (Fitz' second).

This play is a text-book example of football.
The Cards ran two quick-out routes (receiver runs 5-6 yards from LOS and make a sharp break to the outside)
and two flag routes (receiver runs 12-15 yards then turn to the corner.)

We were in a two-deep, five-short zone.
Cover 2.


IMO, this one is on Cushing for being a rookie, or at least as much as Pollard for not being the greatest cover safety in the league.

Cush needs to stretch his zone to the seam;
ie. he needs to turn quicker and run harder toward the dead spot in the zone (around the spot where Fitz made his cut.)

Dunta was correct in staying with his outside zone (and the underneath receiver).
Fitz was just too fast; and Pollard had to watch the post route also
(if Fitz started to turn inside toward the goal post instead of turning outside toward the flag - the pylon in the back of the end zone.)

It was a perfect route for the actual distance from the LOS to the end zone.

IMO, with the clock rolling down under 1/2 min, we would have been better in 3-deep or 4-deep coverage.
They're already at our 26 yd line.
If we don't blitz, then might as well give them the short zones and cover the deep ball.
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Old 10-13-2009   #9
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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Originally Posted by 76Texan View Post
Cards' 3rd TD (Fitz' second).

IMO, this one is on Cushing for being a rookie, or at least as much as Pollard for not being the greatest cover safety in the league.

Cush needs to stretch his zone to the seam;
ie. he needs to turn quicker and run harder toward the dead spot in the zone (around the spot where Fitz made his cut.)

Dunta was correct in staying with his outside zone (and the underneath receiver).
If you're right, & Dunta was right, & Cush & Pollard erred..... then that would also mean the three guys on the other side of the field also erred. Because they play it differently. The faster CB stays with the reciever & provide outside/underneath coverage..... which would be very difficult for Cushing to do from the LB position. If the Safety were leveraged outside..... it would make more sense.

So I had to think....... 6 guys in the backfield...... did one guy mess up? or did 5 guys mess up?

With this team, it's just as easy to believe either or.... so then I asked myself.... why would the 5 decide to do what they did instead of what they were supposed to do? The only reason I could think of, was that it made more sense.

Why would the one player do what he did, and not what he was supposed to do? Fitzgerald bringing attention to the LB. Boldin beating said LB earlier in the game. Said LB also being a rookie. & the one player suffering from "Superman" syndrome.

Dunta's "indecision" also helped me lean towards his fault as well.
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Old 10-13-2009   #10
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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Originally Posted by DerekLee1 View Post
Of all the plays in the game, this is the one where nothing different really could have been done. Fitz was Fitz and made a great play for that TD. No CB could have done much more. It was the first and second TD drives that hurt the most. But no matter - the defense held one of the most potent offenses in ALL of football to 21 points - ZERO POINTS and 43 TOTAL YARDS in the second half. We should have won this game.
If I hadnt watched the game and this is all I was told - I would assume the Texans won going away ... thats an impressive half of defense. Lets hope that the defense has turned a corner and improves each week.

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I disagree, Fitz pushed off and extended his arm, that is supposed to be an easy call for the official to make.
He did this on multiple occasions .... in plain view , the refs just didnt call them.
Wont blame the refs for the loss . The offense blew several opportunities ti win this game.
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Old 10-13-2009   #11
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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He did this on multiple occasions .... in plain view , the refs just didnt call them.
Wont blame the refs for the loss . The offense blew several opportunities ti win this game.
Exactly. How many times have we said..... if our defense was just avg?

I know this isn't the greatest show on turf.. But I still respect their offensive explosiveness. & I'm excited to know that we held them to 7 points in the first half.... up until 1:55 left in the second half.

I'm not talking about moral victories or anything like that, I'm talking about marked improvement. Our defense was on the field for the majority of the first Half, and the Cardinals had only scored 7 points when we got to the 2 minute mark.

Our offense couldn't stay on the field. Even though the defense kept us in the game, for the most part..... again, I'm very excited.

You know, we're saying... you got to play 4 Qtrs.... You've got to play a whole game.

Against Arizona, our defense played 58 minutes of tough Texas football. & I was glad (proud) to see it.
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Old 10-13-2009   #12
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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Originally Posted by Corrosion View Post
If I hadnt watched the game and this is all I was told - I would assume the Texans won going away ... thats an impressive half of defense. Lets hope that the defense has turned a corner and improves each week.



He did this on multiple occasions .... in plain view , the refs just didnt call them.
Wont blame the refs for the loss . The offense blew several opportunities ti win this game.
The main one being Schaub's pick six.


If he just had a stronger arm....
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Old 10-13-2009   #13
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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The main one being Schaub's pick six.


If he just had a stronger arm....
Had nothing to do with arm strength - he hesitated - flat out poor decision - with DRC jumping the route.
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Old 10-14-2009   #14
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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Had nothing to do with arm strength - he hesitated - flat out poor decision - with DRC jumping the route.
Besides the poor decisions which he made a little often for my taste, his throwing mechanics can get out of whack quite a bit.

That throw is an example.
He opens up too wide, bringing his arm a little too far back and a tad below his chest; therefore, the ball is away from his body slightly more than it should.
His front arm extends forward a bit too early.

He needs to keep the ball with both hands and bring it up close to his ear and throw from there; that way he can generate more zip with the whipping motion of his front shoulder and arm as he swing his body forward.

That's as much as I read from Joe Namath.
I also found this video that demonstrates just the thing.

http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-throw-a-football-2

Last edited by 76Texan; 10-14-2009 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 10-14-2009   #15
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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Originally Posted by thunderkyss View Post
If you're right, & Dunta was right, & Cush & Pollard erred..... then that would also mean the three guys on the other side of the field also erred. Because they play it differently. The faster CB stays with the reciever & provide outside/underneath coverage..... which would be very difficult for Cushing to do from the LB position. If the Safety were leveraged outside..... it would make more sense.

So I had to think....... 6 guys in the backfield...... did one guy mess up? or did 5 guys mess up?

With this team, it's just as easy to believe either or.... so then I asked myself.... why would the 5 decide to do what they did instead of what they were supposed to do? The only reason I could think of, was that it made more sense.

Why would the one player do what he did, and not what he was supposed to do? Fitzgerald bringing attention to the LB. Boldin beating said LB earlier in the game. Said LB also being a rookie. & the one player suffering from "Superman" syndrome.

Dunta's "indecision" also helped me lean towards his fault as well.
If I was the DC for the day, and I have to employ a nickel package, I would have put Adibi in there instead of Cushing at this point.

IMO, nobody messed up on his assignment.
It's just that neither Cushing nor Pollard carried them out well enough.
One due to being a rookie; one due to not being able to keep up with Fitz - I don't think many out there can do it on this particular play.

.......

The guys on the other side had to play it a little differently, since there was also the RB Hightower to account for.

Quin stayed up in his zone longer, making sure that Demeco stretched his zone to take over Hightower, before Quin stretched his to the outside toward the underneath receiver.

Because of that, Reeves had to stretch his zone to the max to follow the deep receiver. It's only logical that he stayed with him all the way.

Wilson wanted to be in position to help out all three of his buddies so he stayed at the dead spot for as long as possible; while watching the QB's eyes the whole time.

When he saw Warner pull the plug, he headed straight to the other sideline just in case he's needed; which is exactly what a safety should do.
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Old 10-18-2009   #16
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Default Re: Fitzgerald TD Just before Half-Time

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