Teams seeking balance on offense had success in Week 2
In this pass-happy era, Pat Kirwan finds it refreshing to see some teams relying more on the run in Week 2 -- and being rewarded for it.
Last week, a number of teams lost sight of their running game early. And before they knew it, they became one-dimensional passing teams -- and most of them lost.
It was great to see -- and equally expected -- that the coaches would look at their game tapes and make the proper adjustments to bring the running game back in the picture. Here are the five teams that got it right on balancing up the offense in Week 2, and here are the run game changes.
(I excluded QB runs, which tend to be scrambles on a called pass play.)
|TEAM||WEEK 1||RESULT||WEEK 2||RESULT|
|Green Bay||9 runs, 18 yards||Loss||25 runs, 125 yards||Win|
|Carolina||8 runs, 6 yards||Loss||28 runs, 148 yards||Win|
|Indianapolis||13 runs, 52 yards||Loss||26 runs, 63 yards||Win|
|New Orleans||10 runs, 32 yards||Loss||25 runs, 163 yards||Loss|
Now, the Saints played the Panthers in Week 2, so there had to be a loser, but the point is: When teams make a real effort to run the ball and not give up on it when they fall behind, good things usually happen.
Two penalties I keep an eye on
Every week, coaches send in their issues and complaints about things being called and not called by officials. The two penalties I track every week are offensive holding and defensive pass interference.
In Week 1, holding was called 41 times, and it was predominantly a first-half call. In Week 2 (before the Monday night game), holding was called 43 times and also was a dominant call in the first half of games.
We all know holding could be called on every play of a game, but it appears like the refs are trying to set an early tone for the game that they are looking for holding, but after halftime, things change. Either the players stop holding (which I doubt) or the officials feel like they set the tone for the game and now are letting them play.
On average, holding is being called three times a game, but there are certain crews calling it a lot more. And coaches are studying the officials.
David Scott's crew called holding eight times in Week 1 in the Washington-New Orleans game. This week, that crew had the New England-Arizona game and called holding four times -- one of the calls was the Gronkowski hold that negated Danny Woodhead's potential winning touchdown.
The pass interference call was called more in Week 1 (27 times) than it was called on opening day in 2010 and 2011 combined.
One coach told me he wanted his players to push the limit, play physical, and find out how much the replacement officials were going to let go. All the coaches found out with the 27 pass interference calls.
This week, the officials might have been told they went too far, because all of a sudden there were only 11 pass interference calls in 15 games.
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