Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Losing At Landshark

OK, I know some of you don't want to re-live the pain and resentment you went through last night, so I won't go into too much detail here, but the question should be answered.  How does a team that completely dominates the game as far as time of possession (3 to 1) and controlling the line of scrimmage (239 yards rushing lose the game?

Well, here's what we did right:
  • Did not turn the ball over in the game.  1 fumble was recovered and the INT occurred with no time left on the clock on a hail mary. 3rd down efficiency was a respectable 15 for 21.
  • Good blocking up front and a near flawless gameplan of running the ball.  49 carries for 239 yards (4.9 avg).
  • Special Teams coverage.  The Colts averaged just 3.6 yards per kickoff return and 2 yards on punt returns.  Lex Hilliard showed up big time.  Needless to say they once again didn't report Jason Allen as making any tackles, even though he clearly did before Hilliard started heating up.
  • For most of the game, the Dolphins played the ultra-conservative defense I suggested they play to minimize getting burned on quick one-step drops by Manning. 
Unfortunately, that was it, and would've been enough to win the game.  But here is what we did wrong:
  • Did not stick to the defense that was working.  Almost predictably on 3rd down late in the game, the Dolphins started to blitz.  The well rested Manning and Co. thrived on the blitz, finding Garcon for a 48 yd WR screen for a TD,  as well as Reggie Wayne throughout the game for big gains.  I need to rewatch the game, but I would wager on most of Indy's big plays being on downs where we sent an extra pass rusher or two.  I know it wasn't exciting to see only four players rushing, but it was working for most of the game.  On the opening TD pass to Clark, Randy Starks got through the line and would've squashed Manning for the sack had he half a second longer.  Clark got open because the Dolphins didn't do what I said they needed to do which was to hit him in the mouth at the LOS.
  • We did not go for it on 4th and 1 from the Indy 27 yard line.  We kicked a FG to take a 3 point lead with 43 seconds left in the 1st half.  We then kicked off, and the Colts returned to their own 27, the same spot they would've gotten the ball had we not made the conversion (but we were 100% on 4th down conversions in the game, not counting the final play).  Had we ran another play, more time would've come off the clock, which could've prevented the Colts from running a final play of the half with 2 seconds on the clock, which turned out to be a field goal to tie the game heading into the locker room.  But had we converted, there definitely wouldn't have been any time for Indy to march down the field even if we had to settle for a FG 30 seconds later.  A touchdown would've changed the entire game, giving us a 7 point lead at the half.
  • Big plays.  We kept the Colts offense off the field, but it didn't matter much because we gave up 356 net yards.  Keep in mind, had we split the game time of possession, that could've translated into 700+ yards!  We were awful in coverage, with even the only highlight, a Sean Smith deflection that was batted up into the air for Gibril Wilson to drop.  That drop led to a Colts conversion and score.
  • Jason Taylor was AWOL.  He did not register a tackle, and since they weren't blitzing much, he didn't have any QB hurries/sacks either.  We are missing Matt Roth right now.  But that brings up another point....why didn't we play a smaller group against the Colts?  I realize we had to have Shawn Murphy pulling to run downfield and avoid all blocks at all costs, but wouldn't we have been better served with an extra safety (Clemons) or a more athletic linebacker (Wake)?
  • Missed opportunities.  Ted Ginn dropped two TDs, although the first one was a difficult one IMO.  Anthony Fasano dropped a TD and on his only catch of the game, failed to gain any yardage or get out of bounds with the clock winding down.  Wilson's dropped INT, and Nate Jones' lack of ability to turn and make a play on the ball when it was thrown directly to him, were our only chances at turnovers in the game, and we whiffed on both of them.  Had just one of these things been executed better, we would've won the game.
  • And finally, Chad Pennington.  I know I'll take some flak for this, but our QB has not been performing the way we need him to.  For the second straight week his passes looked like dead ducks, he refused to throw the ball away when no one was open, taking sacks instead, and allowed the ball to be stripped from a strong side rusher (i.e. someone he could see coming).  The final drive of the game was one of the worst examples of game management I've ever seen, and it was only due to Ginn's great route running (yes, he dropped the TDs, but otherwise had a great game) that we were able to move the ball. Also, on that play where we supposedly stepped out behind the 1st down marker, re-watch and see where the spot was and where he stepped out.  It was a VERY close call, yet the refs marked the ball a good yard and a half short.  Pennington is not playing the way he played last year, and hasn't throughout the pre-season til now.  He is not comfortable with the o-line, and is taking way too long to make decisions.  
And that, is why we lost the game.

73 comments:

  1. Ted Ginn is a Miami Dolphin!

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  2. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    That was a heartbreaking loss because on offense we had the game plan to win the game. The defense failed to get enough pressure on Manning to get him off the field. Our time of possession and running game was perfect to limit his chances but when he did have the ball he made plays to score points 5 of 8 possessions. Not good!

    Gibril Wilson played like Renaldo Hill and that's alarming. Missed tackles and a step late on too many passes.

    I didn't view it as Ginn dropped 2 TDs, but he didn't make the special catch. Neither ball was an easy TD. He did step up running various routes and caught a lot of balls to keep drives going.

    The defense lost this game. We were beaten by a great QB who has won many a game like this. We used to have QB who did this to other teams when we were clearly outplayed. Now we know how other teams and fans felt when they faced our special QB and lost.

    Okay we're 0-2 and we need to keep running the ball. That's still our strength, Ronnie and Ricky. I'm not sure how good our defense is though. We still don't make the plays we need to win the game. Very frustrating!  :(

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  3. Nick Saban is a LIAR!!!September 22, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    Tell me about it.  This game was basically won and we dropped it.  I don't know what's worse, thinking the offense is horrible and unfixable or the defense is horrible and unfixable.  So disappointing ............

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  4. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    I'm amazed at all the Ginn bashing on the SS. Maybe I shouldn't be. But please, he's not the reason we lost the game. Put this one on the defense. It's funny how quickly fans turn on their players when they lose. Without Ted Ginn last night we're not even in the game. He kept drives alive. I saw people saying Camarillo would have caught it. Well where was he? 3-11 yards receiving and one was for 10 yards. Wow! Big time stuff right there.

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  5. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    You know none of the so-called TD drops, two by Ginn and one by Fasano were lock TDs. They were chances. None of them were perfect easy TDs. They were all played by defenders. It would have been great to get one or two of them but it didn't happen. It's not like they were wide open and just dropped them. We needed great catches and that's what would have been called by the announcers if any of them were caught. Oh what a great catch by Ginn or Fasano. So not making a great catch doesn't then become a drop. There is a difference.

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  6. I am listening to Sparano's press conference and it might just be me still stinging from last night, but he just does not seem like he did last year. He seems resigned. No?

    Anyway, it has been said I have to agree but we played to not lose this game, we did not play to win. Going for it on 4th down would have been a way to show the league we mean business even when we lose. Instead we go for 3. Yes it is points but it could have changed the emotion of the game.

    Where were the other receivers? Cam? Hartline? TE's? I know Ginn was getting open but it just seemed like the others were non existant when we needed them. What about throwing to our running backs? Or how about having White throw instead of just hand off (those hand offs were sooooooo stiff)...could not be any worse than what he did while he was in?

    Channing Crowder needs to be benched. Is he the Zach Thomas of this defense...I mean is he the one giving the plays and adjustments at the line? Because it just looked like there was a ton of confusion most of the time??? Every team is going to go the middle of the field on us because we just cannot seem to cover it well. I look at the defense and how they got burned and I cringe at what we are going to see next week. I Know we turned it around last year, but it is hard to stay up late and watch a game like that unfold and try to be positive about what is coming....

    UGH...I could ramble on this all day and it still would not make sense and it is just depressing how much I was looking forward to this season after the leaps we made last year.

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  7. your point is valid, Knight, but as far as stats go, if the ball touches
    your hands and you don't catch it, it's counted as a drop.

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  8. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    Tin, technically you're probably right but realistically I view those as chances. Defenders also had their arms and hands in there. A drop to me is when a guy clearly drops the ball once he had it. That wasn't the case in any of those. The player never had the ball.

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  9. I have a ??...how did Ginn get hurt in the FL-OS game? I remember watching it but all I could think about was wooo hooo that is good for FL, never thinking we would get ginn. It is known, that I don't like Ginn (probably more for him being a bad decision from Cam man boobs himself but whatever) he plays afraid. No one can argue with that. So WHY does he play afraid? Was he like that at Ohio?

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  10. On the second Ginn chance, I think he was about to grab hold of it when the
    defender yanked him down by the hips, making it more of a fingertip play
    than it should have been.
    I was defending Ginn last night, despite the fact he came up 2 points short
    in my fantasy league.

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  11. Slush, I don't think he plays afraid at all. He returns kicks/punts and he
    almost got killed over the middle last night and he elevates for the ball,
    etc, etc. So, he didn't make the big play last night...that doesn't mean
    that he hasn't won plenty of games for us and would've won more if not for
    the 5 TDs called back in 2 years.

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  12. Slush:
    I think there is something going on with Sparano too, have thought so for weeks now.  I have asked more than once if anyone else is seeing it, so at least I'm glad someone else is seeing it too.  Maybe it's something just us girls are picking up on!

    Agreed about going for it on 4th down--we would have done that last year.

    I DO NOT understand why they are forcing Pat White on us when he obviously is not ready.   Try that chemistry experiment when you have an insurmountable lead.

    UGH is right.

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  13. 84 plays, 15:07 time of possesion, 239 rushing yards, how and the F do we lose that game ?

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  14. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Slush, the offense wasn't the problem last night. The defense didn't make a big stop when they had to. Once again Crowder is the whipping boy. The Colts only rushed the ball 11 times so how many tackles is he suppose to make? If we expected our ILBs to cover Dallas Clark then that's on the coaches. He was one guy we had to stop and right out of the gate he goes 80 yards for the TD beating Ayodele and then Wilson misses the tackle.

    Not enough pass rush and poor tackling by the safeties all night was our downfall.

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  15. um...I already answered that in the article!

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  16. "<span>I DO NOT understand why they are forcing Pat White on us when he obviously is not ready."</span>

    I answered that last night...shoulda put down the margarita and paid attention. ;)

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  17. But do you not agree that he runs out of bounds or does not head up field for more yards? I mean what is his PAC percentage? I do recall him having some run backs at some point, but to me he is definetly not worth the first round pick coinage he is getting paid.  He does extend to "try" to catch some balls, but I do not feel that he is aggressive in going for the ball. He made a comment that someone made a play to get it away, well dammit man, make a play and get it back. Sorry, don't mean to vent on you per se (don't want you to ban me from my new home away from home Fin site ;) ) just aggrevated in general.

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  18. Well, If that is the reason, they need to rethink it.  It isn't helping their case at all.

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  19. Exactly, the safety should've been covering him because he lines up in the
    slot. If he was on the line, then the OLB would've been covering him, but
    for some reason the Dolphins didn't seem to account for him.

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  20. Slush, why are you falling into the trap of how much someone gets paid?
    Reggie Torbor gets paid more than Ginn, why don't you tear into him? How
    about Gibril Wilson who gets more than both of them? Yeremiah Bell was
    invisible last night. and Will Allen was awful, he's our most expensive
    DB. Or Chad Pennington aka mr Fumble? Seems to me that Ginn's routes and
    hands were fine for the 11 catches and 108 yards....no one complained about
    it when he kept the drives going.
    Ginn is one of our best players, but you can't expect him to be something
    he's not, which is 6'4", 225lbs. He's a little guy who dives for extra
    yardage rather than plow through people, which he can't do because he's not
    a tank.

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  21. ohhh now I see why you like Ginn ;)   ;)   ;)  

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  22. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 12:33 PM

    Tin, drafting Ginn at #9 is what still irks so many fans. They ignore what he is and they want him to be Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson when it's impossible for him to be that.

    I'm glad someone else sees it like I do and I'm not just a Ginn homer. LOL

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  23. After three hours of fitfull sleeping last night, I feel like sh*t now and that loss just won't go away.

    Here are some of the things going round in my head still.

    Wow. The O line kept Chad upright and opened holes that even BP coulda run through. Ronnie ran through them at full speed and looked like the old Ronnie. That was a big improvement and hopefully gives cause for optimism in the future, but I'm not sure we handle every D line in the league like we did last night.

    I agree with Knight - that loss wasn't on Ginn. He dropped some difficult balls, but that was the third best all-time receiving performance in terms of catches. Tough to lay the blame at Ginn's door. You could accuse him of not pulling the game out of the fire, but not losing it for us.

    Our D mostly got some pressure and hurries on Peyton without over-committing for most of the game, but when we gave up big plays, they were monsters, just like the 1-15 season. The garcon TD reminded me of a very similar moment in the Gianty/Boys game - Romo audibled when he saw an opportunity the Giants D line-up was giving and the Giants checked out of that coverage into zone and got a pick. When Peyton did the same thing last night, it seemed like our D just stood and watched, waiting to be picked apart. Ouch. 27 points conceded against Manning isn't disgraceful, but the way we gave them up was. It was just too easy. Considering our D was supposed to be the most advanced unit, it went backwards last night.

    I listened to Chad's post-match comments and he was spot on - one thing we didn't do well was come away with TDs from our red zone or amber zone possessions. We ran on that disasterous 3rd down attempt before kicking a FG and we susbequently missed a FG, then came away with another 3 to go ahead - a lead we ultimately surrendered. If either of the FGs had been TDs we would have tied at worst and if the missed FG was a 7 we would've won.

    Last year, we started slowly but came together. This year, we have a better squad, we are going to come together slowly again, but I agree that Chad hasn't hit his stride yet and coach seems very up and down. Some days he seems chilled out completely, others he seems like he needs a punch bag. Maybe the way the ball has bounced for us so far makes Sparano like that, but he doesn't seem "in command" the way he did last year and that seems to be feeding down to Chad.

    It will be really interesting to see how the coach and team bounce back from this one.

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  24. the third best all-time receiving performance in terms of catches (by a dolphin)

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  25. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    "You could accuse him of not pulling the game out of the fire, but not losing it for us."

    uk, good way to say it. I agree with that. Okay Ginn didn't make the great play. But where was the great play by the defense all night? Non-existent. I'm very disappointed in our defense. I thought we were better than that.

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  26. To get film on him so they can trade him!  I'm not thinking this is going to be a marketing point. :(

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  27. I thought our D was better too, but ..... you weren't the only one reminded of Marino watching Manning at work. I bet they could both hit Ginn in stride!

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  28. Since no one has commented on Chad P, I'll do it, and I'm just speculating.  Perhaps the reason there isn't much chemistry is that he got the bulk of the snaps preseason last year in order to get ready, and a lot of those snaps went to Henne and White this year.

    And I don't know if it was him or if it was coaching, but the clock management was awful the last drive.  I'm sure because they didn't want to give Manning the ball back, but they looked like they weren't even aware of it.  And its not like they even had the choice of going for a tie with a field goal or a win with the TD.  They needed to get in the end zone and acted like they had all day!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry about that.  Now I'm taking a deep cleansing breath......

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  29. Herd, this was on Mando's blog (so take with a pinch of salt?) but coach and Chad don't seem to be on the same page?

    ........ Even after the Colts took a 27-23 lead, the Dolphins had the ball at their 18 yard line with 3:18 to play. And although they moved the ball, it was not exactly organized. Actually it was a clock management collapse.
    The Dolphins used a time out one play into the drive at 2:26. Terrible. "We had to use a time out that I didn't really want to use," quarterback Chad Pennington said. "but we had to do it."
    The problem originated on the sidelines. And although head coach Tony Sparano is not necessarily responsible for getting the right personnel on the field, he fell on the grenade because the buck stops at him.
    "What happened there, I have to take responsibility for that," Sparano said. "We had the wrong personnel grouping in. So we needed to take the time out at that point."

    This link also identifies the turning point in the game, which I happen to agree with.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/peter_king/09/22/mail/index.html

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  30. "or amber zone"
    uk, you may not get this reference, but the only amber alert last night was
    for our missing defense...

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  31. Pennington is getting a lot of blame for this game, but if your honest with yourself, it was not him that dropped 3 passes in the endzone.  We can say the Colt definders made nice plays on those passes, but did they really.  Our receivers get paid to catch the ball when it hits them in the hands.  What is Pennington to do, throw and catch the ball also.  Lets not make excuses for poor execution.  The bottom line is at the end of the game Penny put the ball where it needed to be poor time management and all.

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  32. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 3:03 PM

    Fang, none of those throws in the endzone were exactly where the ball had to be. Be fair. Two of them were overthrows.

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  33. ...sigh ...another post lost into the tinshaker nether :'(

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  34. Nick Saban is a LIAR!!!September 22, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    Why even talk of offense, when the problem was obviously defense.  This game should have been well wrapped up in the fourth quarter.

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  35. The Knight who says Ni!September 22, 2009 at 4:13 PM

    I agree, Satan. LOL

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  36. Tinshaker:
    I hate to bring this up now, I feel as if I am always complaining when in fact I think you have done a fab job with your blog.  To think that this is a 'hobby' and not a profession for you makes it that much more impressive.  That said, it is taking an eternity for the page to load.  I am wondering if it has something to do with the blog archive to the right.  It used to only show the most recent posts for the week and now it has all of them for the current month.  Could this be the reason? AND, so as not to have another one of these later, when I am reading comments and refresh the page, it takes me back to page one and I then have to click thru to get back.  Maybe I have some screwed up settings on my end of things, wouldn't be the first time! 

    I am trying not to think about the game any longer.  No point in crying over spilt milk!  It is over, and time to move on to next Sunday, and a short week to boot.  I am hoping for a cheery, optimistic post tomorrow to get things started!  :)

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  37. herdfan, it's hard for me to gauge loading speed at work because it takes
    forever for every website to load here, if it loads at all. The blocking
    software is so retarded it sometimes blocks Google, saying that it's an
    'adult' site. I also cannot get into my blog editor because the software
    now thinks it's a "games' website, though it had no issue with it until this
    last week or so.
    I don't think the archive is the culprit, because the archive was always
    there, plus it's only loading text links which shouldn't take long at all.
    One of the issues I had was with the ustream window I used to stream the
    game, but I have edited it so that it's no longer on the front page (I'll
    try to do so faster next week).
    As for the comments refresh, I will have to contact the support team about
    that, so it may take a while, but I'm on it.

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  38. Finally watched the Derby last night at midnight and almost woke up the whole house....what a crazy match!
    Thanks for not spoiling it for me ;)

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  39. You know, I just finished my morning coffee and can see relatively clearly now, so I'll ask the question - why are you refreshing the page to begin with?  This is not the SS - the comments here refresh live because it is flash based.  Basically, someone writes a comment, it goes to js-kit (the software) and then gets posted here.  If you have the comments open, and stared at the screen long enough, you'll see the new comment just appear (it usually flashes yellow for a few seconds.

    It's basically like an instant messaging system.

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  40. Tin,
    Good work - there are now more comments per page and when you refresh, it doesn't go back to p1. " big improvements. I have the same problem as Herd that I have to refresh ...... having said that, I'm going to sit and stare at the sapce below this comment until Satuirday at least to give the blog the chance to update itself by magic!

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  41. are you watching this appear magically?

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  42. Don't know if you saw, but I left a comment to say I finally watched the Derby.  It was fantastic!

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  43. Btw Tin, did you manage to see the derby game? We play Wolves in the League Cup tonight - it's not a major trophy, so Fergie tends to "blood" his youngsters in those games.

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  44. Yes, I left you two replies about it already, but I'll respond here.
    I remember watching it and wondering why every match I've watched this
    season had Foster in goal, then literally 4 seconds later, he had that muff
    with Tevez and gave up the easy goal. Then two minutes later they showed
    Van Der Saar in the stands and explained it.
    I saw the banner for the Wolves match...who are they? Wolverhampton?
    A couple of notes: Berbatov was more active than I've ever seen him, but he
    doesn't seem to move well without the ball at all - tall, lanky, and a bit
    clumsy. Still, he does get shots off, and that's what he's there for.
    Despite the entire team playing an attacking formation most of the time,
    Rooney was not playing in the box, instead staying in place where you'd
    expect to see the midfielders. Left Berbatov by himself up front most of
    the time....didn't understand that.
    Actually, watching this match was very similar to the Dolphins game,
    especially in the 2nd half the way United completely dominated time of
    possession and moving the ball. I don't think City had a single shot in the
    first 35 minutes of the 2nd. Yet they only needed short time to equalize
    like the Colts.
    Stock Report: Up - Rooney (could have a career-year), Evra (does not make
    mistakes on D like Vidic and Ferdinand, and plays major role on offense
    too), and Giggs (he seems to be getting better with age?). Down - Anderson
    (why was Scholes out? I know he got a red vs Besiktas, but I thought cards
    didn't transfer over in diff. leagues?), O'Shea (We must have someone better
    than him on the squad?), Berbatov (he tried harder this match, but he seems
    REALLY one-dimensional).

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  45. No - I had to refresh! Saturday was just too long to wait ;)

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  46. No - I didn't see. City have become the Skins of the Premier League. What a sweet win. That was the best derby game I can remember!

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  47. Oh and one more thing, when the hell did Michael Owen sign with United?
    That was a shock to the system seeing him come out off the bench...is he so
    old that he can't start?

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  48. Tinshaker:
    I haven't noticed comments magically appearing, but I have had a few disappear, lol.  On the other hand, I don't usually sit and look at it waiting either.  Lets just say I have numerous tabs open and I click back and forth, and usually refresh the page when I click back here to update to see anything new.  I may be wrong, but I think I have had to do that to see any additional comments.  In reading uk's post, it seems he is like me; we are mere mortals and don't possess any magic.  I guess this means we aren't elite!
    :'(

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  49. a pre-requisite for being elite is to update your flash driver
    regularly....;)

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  50. soccer?  soccer? are we that tired of bashing ginn that we are now talking soccer?  

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  51. and guess i am an elitist, i never have to refresh my screen

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  52. see, it works for some people!

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  53. FFR, I'm pissed off the USF vs FSU game is not televised!

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  54. then me rubbing it in that i will be at the game wouldnt be a good idea lol

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  55. good for you. I wouldn't miss this game if I were in Florida.
    Apparently the only TVs it will be aired on is on ESPNU on campuses. I
    can't believe we didn't even make the ESPN360 lineup or that Bullsvision
    isn't airing it. Ah the agony!
    Did you see the Grothe press conference? What a bad ass he is. I hope he
    gets a shot to play again.

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  56. i missed his press conference,  i feel bad for him his college career and probably football career ends like this

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  57. Great, and I thought I couldn't be feeling any worse.

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  58. I didn't realize how articulate he is. He said he would like to coach down
    the road, and he'll be helping out as a sort of intern coach with USF, but
    he still hopes to play professionally. He seemed to be handling it really
    well, but some jackass reporter had to ask how he felt about not being able
    to play in their biggest in-state game ever. He responded well, saying it's
    just another game, he wouldn't approach it any differently than any other
    game, but you could tell at the end he almost choked up about it,.

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  59. Most of you won't see this post.  But this is the week.  This week Miami puts all together, all the parts start working as they should.  We won't see one unit performing as the other watches, this is the week.

    I know because the stars are out at night, and the moon is where it should be "up there", the grass is still green, and the water is Auqa well is down here anyway.  This is the week.

    It won't matter if Pennington has a bad game the Phins will win,  Ginn may drop every pass the Phins will win, the defense may have break downs the Phinl will win, it won't matter who we play or where the Phins will win. This is the week.

    I don't know how they will do it and I don't care I just know the Phins will win.

    The Dolphins are going to win this game against San Deigo on Sunday.  Don't miss it.  !!!!! THIS IS THE WEEK !!!!!!

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  60. I'll never be elite - I don't even know what a flash-driver is .... unless it's someone who drives a lotus?

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  61. There's nothing flash about driving 100mph into a tree....

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  62. I think it means mooning someone driving down the freeway.  :-D

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  63. I hope you didn't post all that somewhere else or if you did you pasted it!?
    Foster is a good shot stopper, but he sometimes has brain freezes tactically and scares the sh*t out of me. I heard Van der Saar would be out for 8-10 weeks, but that was before the season started. He certainly should be back by November hopefully - maye before? Did they comment on your feed?
    Yes, Wolves are Wolverhampton Wanderers - a once great team that fell out of grace, but were promoted back into the PL last season. They have a full strength squad out tonight and Utd are playing their 2s, so it isn't going to be a classic like Sunday's game.
    Berbatov is an enigma - apparently he stays later than anyone else in training, but a lot of the time he looks like he can't be bothered. He has what I think they refer to as mercurial talent - capable of pure genius and inspiration, but he comes in and out of games and isn't either reliable or a goal machine. He certainly isn't a fan favourite, but he needs more time and my jury is still out, but with a leaning towards a guilty verdict at present.
    Much to the dismay of most Utd fans, Fergie often plays Rooney on the left. He isn't even left-footed! He does do well out there though and never complains, but he is certainly the best current England player and goal scorer. 9 out of 10 reds would want him in as centre forward and Fergie does play him there occasionally, but not enough for the mob.
    City's box was under siege in the second half and their third goal nearly made me puke - as you said, just like the Fins/Colts. All sport has that theme running through it - you have to take your chances! Bellamy got 2 great goals, but they shouldn't have been still in the game. Sound familiar?
    Agree with stock up on Rooney. Perversely, the best player in the world leaving United could be the making of Rooney. He has played second fiddle, doing a lot of the work and Renaldo took the glory. Now, with Renaldo gone, the team is looking to Roon to get the goals and so far he hasn't disappointed. Renaldo was sick. He scored 66 times in 93 league games (probably more than some teams?), compared to Rooney's 38 in 83, but the expectation is that the hit rate will go up this season. So far he is top-scorer in the PL with 6 goals in 6 games. Fergie does seem to know what he's doing?!? In Europe, he works like a dog out there often up front on his own away from home, but he just gets on with it and never complains. He's a Wes Welker, Zach Thomas or Patrick Cobbs-type .... all effort and a shed full of skill thrown in for good measure.
    Evra is fantastic. They had Mikael Silvestre (French) and Gabriel Heinze (Argentinian) at left back and the latter (typical of his countrymen) had some bite to his game, but both provided attacking options. Neither can hold a candle to Evra though. He is the full package and that's why Heinze is in Spain (I think) and Silvestre at Arsenal.
    Vidic had a wobble last season, but this season he looks more solid. As for Ferdinand .... he seems to have regressed back to his schoolboy days. He needs a rocket up the a**e and I'm sure Fergie gave him one on Sunday. He made Gibril Wilson look safe as houses on Sunday!
    Giggs may be a God .... I have no other explanation of why he is immortal.
    Scholes, unfortunately, looks a tad more mortal and age is catching up a bit, so Fergie rotates Anderson and Scholes. His distribution, skill and vision is still the stuff of legends, but Anderson is the future (at least for now). The midfield is still in flux, with Owen Hargreaves due to come back November(ish) and Carrick being in and out of form. It is not a typical Utd midfield that stamps it's authority on games. You are right about cards being tournament-specific btw.
    O'Shea is a jack of all trades [...]

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  64. Wow, thanks UK, I think I'm all caught up now!  Actually, I still have several questions/comments...here's a few:

    What happened to Tevez - he looks like he got into a fight with the Grim Reaper and won.  Either that or he looks like the killer from a 1970s horror movie.

    Showing my lack of Old Trafford experience here, but what is the song they are singing to the tune of "This Old Man"?  At first I thought they were just singing that song, but then I realized there was no 'knick knack paddywack'...or at least it doesn't sound like that.

    ESPN 360 has stopped showing Man U game for some reason (plenty of other games are still on, but no PL I think) so I am now downloading torrents and watching in glorious HD, which is why I'm now watching the games days later instead of hours later.  But the good news is now I'm not watching the ESPN coverage, but seeing the same coverage as the locals, so no more of the weird drunk irish commentator who was always going on about players' buttocks...

    I love how the official united website compares Berbatov's playing style to Cantona.  I read that and scratch my head in response...

    Oh, I should mention my fave part of watching the Derby was seeing the 3 Sikh fans in way too tight United jerseys going crazy behind the bench.  They were on camera a good dozen times and were very animated in their reds and turbans.  Fantastic stuff!

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  65. Not sure exactly what caused the Tevez thing, but it looks like a burn/skin graft deal to me? He isn't a good looking lad anyway, but that doesn't help. Still, with his wages from City, he shouldn't have problems pulling the girls (he may be married for all I know?)
    Do you mean U N I, T E D, United are the team for me, with a nick  NACK PADDY WACK
    GIVE THE DOG A BONE, WHY DONT CITY F**K OFF HOME


    Here are a couple of funny sites with different song words
    http://www.prideofmanchester.com/sport/mufc-songs-team.htm
    http://www.red11.org/mufc/songs.htm

    Glad you got a better source for the United games - are NFL games downloadable (for free?)

    Well, neither are English. After that you got me!

    Chuckle. I noticed them. We are famous for our pies up here and it looks like they've had too many? Btw, that's one of my fave chants at a match, if ever a fat guy has to walk anywhere near the pitch .... "who ate all the pies? who ate all the pies? you fat b*stard, you fat b*stard, you ate all the pies!"

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  66. Two pictures from the derby - don't know if this will work?

    <img src="http://picsrv.manutd.com/?fif=/manu/img_10_31010_5782.jpg&obj=iip,1.0&wid=500"/>

    <img src="http://picsrv.manutd.com/?fif=/manu/img_10_31002_1251.jpg&obj=iip,1.0&wid=500"/>

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  67. ahh...the brits are funny...anyway, you can download most games, but it's
    not easy, you basically have to be lucky enough to get accepted by tenyard
    torrents, huge waiting list, then you have to do the peer-to-peer thing to
    keep your download/upload ratio even or else they'll ban you, so basically
    you have to be lucky enough to get the chance then smart enough no to blow
    that ONE chance. It took me about a year and a half to get off the waiting
    list.
    The problem with these sites is that you grow to expect your game/programme
    to be there on a weekly basis, and then you get disappointed if it's not up
    until Tuesday morning, or worse, not at all, because it depends entirely on
    volunteers doing the work of editing/coding, etc.
    Still, I use the box.bz religiously to catch united games and tv shows as
    well, because they have insane seed/leecher ratios on there. For example, I
    downloaded the latest X factor (yes I do like SOME trash) in about 4 minutes
    from there.
    but back to your questions, yes you can download american football games
    (NFL, NCAA, CFL, some highschool even) on tenyardtorrents but you have to
    apply and wait, and the games are usually up within 48 hours of airtime.
    This is the site I used to watch Hard Knocks (I don't have HBO or SHowtime,
    but I watch primarily HBO and Showtime, lol)

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  68. "Oh Manchester, (Oh Manchester),
    Is wonderful, (Is wonderful),
    Oh Manchester is wonderful,
    It's full of tits, fanny, and United,
    Oh Manchester is wonderful."
    sounds like a nice place...

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  69. uk, there is an 'Add Images' button at bottom of comment box. 

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  70. Thanks Tin, I'll try checking that out. You know a lot about this stuff huh? I'm an old luddite in comparison!!!

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  71. One of my all-time favourites!

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  72. uk, when you move around like I do and also not live anywhere near the teams
    you support, etc, you eventually discover these things. I wish I had
    discovered them earlier!

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