Not a fair fight
Lack of pressure cost divisional losers; final four picks
Posted: Monday January 14, 2008 8:31PM; Updated: Tuesday January 15, 2008 12:04PM
What I Saw In Divisional Playoffs
I used to root for the Indians in westerns. When I saw some movie about Britain and the Zulu Wars, I'd pull for the Zulus. What killed me about all those movies was the way the battle scenes always went -- Zulus or Indians or some kind of native warriors attacking British troops or cowboys or other well-armed forces, but the attackers never had guns. They'd have spears or arrows or fancy war chants. Never seemed fair to me.
"He rushes at the smoke when you let drive," Kipling wrote in his poem, Fuzzy Wuzzy. And that's what they did, wasted themselves hopelessly, and when the battle was over, and the ones with the guns had triumphed, greatly outnumbered but possessing all the firepower, they were always the ones who got congratulated as heroes.
It would leave me terribly depressed. And it was the same feeling I had watching the Jaguars and Colts rushing at the smoke when Tom Brady or Philip Rivers or even Billy Volek "let drive," trying to bring down these passers without a pass rush. It ain't gonna happen. It has seldom ever happened. But defensive coordinators always seem to go down in flames the same way, praying that a non-rush will arrive before the ref signals for the next first down, trying to play coverages against receivers who have time to work their fancy moves downfield, while the QB has all day to deliver the ball.
Jacksonville rushed four linemen, who got blocked by five of the same type of people, sometimes six, when the Patriots left their massive tight end, Kyle Brady, in tight, and the Jags didn't vary from that operation. This achieved, for Jack Del Rio and his defensive coach Mike Smith, an entry into the record books. They were the "against the ..." part of Tom Brady's record for most accurate day in history ... 26 for 28, or 92.9 percent.
Wait a minute, I did see them blitz a couple of times. One time they sent five. It didn't achieve much. Another time they sent six, and Brady threw quickly and got a 53-yard completion to Donte Stallworth out of it. Now that's a hot read. It was shock therapy, and any thought of future departure from the Jags' ineffective method of, ahem, rushing Brady was forgotten forever.
Every announcer, ever writer who described the game, everyone I talked to, thought this was one of the most magnificent sights every seen on a gridiron. Personally, I thought it was like watching a seven-on-seven drill. You admired the accuracy but longed for a bit more drama.