Keeping the Passers Protected

Quotes of the Week

I
“It’s terrible. It’s not fun. As great as it is to win, it’s lousy when you lose any game. Sunday Night Football is a big game and a big environment. To come here and come up short hurts and stings. But how many teams have ever gone undefeated given the history of football?’’

—Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, after his team suffered its first loss of the season at Denver Sunday night. The loss meant there are no undefeateds left in football this year.

II
“Please move away from the windows and the front row of the press box. Severe weather is approaching.”

—A warning in the press box at Soldier Field Sunday, as a series of black clouds approached the stadium.

In other words, Those windows in front of you might get blown out. We’d like to keep you scribes around for the second half.

III
“Absolutely not.”

—Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, asked Friday if the club had buyer’s remorse over trading its top draft choice in 2014 for Trent Richardson in September.

Trent Richardson has yet to make an impact in Indianapolis. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Trent Richardson has yet to make an impact in Indianapolis. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The trade was two months ago today. While I am not ready to say it’s a debacle of a deal, Richardson has not done well in either making people miss or powering out of the grasp of tacklers at the line of scrimmage. Richardson has played eight games for the Colts now (96 carries, 272 yards, 2.8 yards per rush), and on Thursday in Nashville the Colts seemed to be transitioning to the hotter hand, incumbent back Donald Brown.

Here’s what would be alarming to me if I were Pagano: Richardson has gone four straight games averaging fewer than three yards per carry (2.6, 2.5, 0.4, 2.8). He has not had a 20-yard run as a Colt. His longest run in the last month is eight yards.

“We’re going to stay patient,’’ said Pagano. “His numbers will come. His yards will come … We miss a block here or there and a guy is sitting there free in the hole. I don’t know if he’s snake bit, I don’t know what the heck is going on. We’ll get it fixed. We’ll get the holes there. He’s making the right reads, he’s doing all the right things, he knows what to do. He played great without the ball, protection-wise.”

Eight games is too early to call the Richardson trade a terrible one. But it’s not too early to start thinking it.

IV
“I don’t think it will ever go away. Just that little chip. It’s not anger or resentment or anything like that. But it’s a little chip.”

—Saints quarterback Drew Brees, to me, on how he’ll always carry the feeling of the 2012 league sanctions over the Saints’ bounty scandal with him.

Listen to my podcast with Brees: 

V
“Everywhere we went for the next couple of years, people booed us when we ran out on the field.”

—Former Cowboys defensive tackle Bob Lilly, on fans around the NFL booing Dallas players in the years following the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Lilly’s quote is from a one-hour Bob Costas special Wednesday at 11 p.m., on the NBC Sports Network. No Day For Games: The Cowboys and JFK

I haven’t seen the show, but I’ve heard very good things about it. I recall last year Gil Brandt, who was the Cowboys’ chief scout in ’63, talking about what it was like for a Dallas team to fly to Cleveland the day after the assassination. The Cowboys were to play the Browns that Sunday. “The bellmen wouldn’t take our bags,’’ said Brandt. “I never have seen that. But we were from Dallas, the city that killed the president.”

The killing of the president is one of my first vivid memories. For those too young to remember it (meaning most of you), I’d recommend getting educated about it this week. It was quite an extraordinary time in the country, an extraordinarily sad time.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Number of Green Bay starting quarterbacks over last three games: 3 (Aaron Rodgers, Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien).

Number of Green Bay starting quarterbacks over previous 371 games: 3 (Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn).

Stat of the Week

Peyton Manning is an equal-opportunity passer. Look at his four main targets through 10 games. He’s thrown to the four between 62 and 92 times, and completed between 45 and 61 balls to each. The details:

Receiver Targets Completions Completion % TDs
Demaryius Thomas 92 60 65.2 9
Wes Welker 88 61 69.2 9
Eric Decker 81 54 66.7 3
Julius Thomas 62 45 72.5 10

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

I have five:

1. Sat next to noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on a plane from Grand Rapids to LaGuardia Thursday morning. (Yes, you can actually fly Grand Rapids to New York nonstop.) I thought, “What can I say to one of the smartest men in America?’’ We were on our way to some small talk—he commented on the unkempt state of my backpack—when, about five minutes after takeoff, he fell asleep and was out for the entire flight. Doubtless had we spoken he’d have left me with one of his gems, like: “I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday, and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” (Follow him on Twitter: @neiltyson.)

2. Thought I’d have a chance to try one of the autumnal Michigan brews during a meal stop at Ruby Tuesday’s in Grand Rapids. Bell’s Brewery, maybe, from nearby Kalamazoo; the Winter White or the Octoberfest, maybe. Nope. Largely chain beer, except for one Brooklyn selection. There’s a thriving Michigan beer culture, and none of it here. Why, Ruby Tuesday’s? Why?

3. Killed two flies in my room and relocated a ladybug from the room desk in the Chicago O’Hare Marriott over the weekend. What’s that all about?

4. Wasting too much plastic with all those tiny water bottles, Delta.

5. Passed a nut shop in the O’Hare terminal Saturday advertising toffee-covered nuts, calling them “luxurious.” Synonyms for “luxurious’’ in my online dictionary: opulent, extravagant, palatial. Never really thought of a toffee-covered nut as opulent or palatial, but maybe that’s just me.

* * *

Tweets of the Week

I
“RG3-7”

—@NatePlay60, after Washington, and its celebrated quarterback, fell to 3-7.

II

“Marcus Mariota in 2013: 25TD, 0 INT.
“Nick Foles in 2013: 16TD, 0 INT.
“Think Chip Kelly’s offense works?’’

—@nfldraftscout, Matt Miller, NFL writer for Bleacher Report, on Saturday night.

III
“Badgers with 323 rushing yards in one half? Must have a good fullback … #IMightBeSlightlyBiased’’

—@JJWatt, the Houston defensive end, on Saturday. Derek Watt, his brother, is the 6-2, 227-pound starting fullback for Wisconsin, which had a productive day on the ground (finishing with 554 rushing yards) in a 51-3 rout of Indiana Saturday.

IV
“President Kennedy 50 years ago today was at home in Palm Beach-attended church, watched @ChicagoBears v @packers, screened film ‘Tom Jones.’ ”

—@BeschlossDC, presidential historian Michael Beschloss, on Sunday, documenting how John F. Kennedy spent the last Sunday of his life 50 years ago.

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377 comments
BenderIrish
BenderIrish

Hey King, nice comments about the Colts. You do know they have had a terrible run of injuries and still win! Oh, by the way they've also beaten your #1, 2 and 8 of your top ten! Shut up!

Gs1
Gs1

Typical corrupt journalist. How about showing the picture the instant Brooks hit Brees? The split second before Brees subsequently started to duck. Not as clear as you say it is. An ethical journalist would have shown the sequence of photos & let the people make up their own mind. Even better yet, how about putting the pictures side by side with the more obvious clothesline on Kaepernick and contrast why one got called but not the other? Good thing you don't cover politics or the real news.

miltonmarkowitz
miltonmarkowitz

Dear Pete,

Talk about the Steeler prison attire. They did that twice last year. You would think the Rooneys would have learned a lesson and acquiesced to the Steeler Nation and burned the uniforms but there was too much retail inventory leftover and they refuse to take the markdowns. Hope we don't have to suffer another embarrassment next year and be subject to more public ridicule

son of lee
son of lee

the refs were so biased during the saints/niners game. from greer's hang gliding act when he basically hung onto the WR in mid air (injuring his knee as he came down), to vernon getting held in the endzone, to jed collins late hit on brown and kaepernick getting sacked by his neck. all of those calls were plain to the half-sleeping fan watching the game. if the refs called one of those plays...we may have a different outcome, but instead the only close call they choose is the game-defining penalty on brooks forced fumble.

son of lee
son of lee

what did you think about the sack on Kaepernick by HIS NECK? nobody is mentioning the back injury to tarrell brown caused by jed collin's diving-knee to his back sooo late after the tackle had been made. That absolutely should have been flagged, and should have pushed them back. Instead, they get a 1 yard TD plunge the next play.

gregc
gregc

You can repeat a lie all you want but that won't make it true. Brooks hit on Bree's was legal and it was wrong to reverse the play. That bad call took a sure win for the 49ers and turned it into a loss.

The refs got it wrong and Peter King is wrong too.

workinOvatime
workinOvatime

Can we please stop with the kaikus? It's like watching your dad say "hey dawg, how's it hangin??." It's embarrassing. 

EP1
EP1

I like how, now that he is winning, Cam Newton has seemingly matured and has grown since his days of sulking and being a bad leader (when he was losing). Just like how it was reported that Dez Bryant has matured because he bout PS4's for 4 people at walmart. ha... those are sure signs of maturity I tell you what! I hope the Panthers continue to play well, I really do. But lets see how mature Cam is when they either dont make the playoffs or they lose in them.

seamillguesthouse
seamillguesthouse

Again Peter King is full of himself saying that  the Drew Brees  call was THE RIGHT CALL. .../.CASE CLOSED .

Looks like a lot of former players disagree including quarterback Steve Young. 

Dolphins1972
Dolphins1972

beat Miami on a Thursday night. NO. The game was on monday. Glad that your beloved Patriots didn't have the refs on their side for the first time

Serena
Serena

So wait a second defenders can't tackle QB's around the knees, can't tackle them around the head and now according to Peter can't tackle them across the chest? 

Why not just red shirt them and make any contact with them whatsoever punishable by a 3 game suspension, that is what it is coming too if Peter thinks that the Brees sack was a justifiable penalty  

Drake59
Drake59

King claims that Brooks tackle was an "obvious" call .  His gross error of what is a penalty and what is not has been washed away with too many fancy buffets and a no host bars. That in no way was a penalty. Not even in this pathetic watered down version of NFL football. Tell Joe Montna and Kenny Stabler, Steve Young Roman Gabriel that is a penalty.. really a sickening call .. gutless and wrong.

mikep435
mikep435

i thoroughly enjoy peter king's columns but i frequently disagree with his opinions. I watched that sack of drew brees several times and it looked like brooks'  arm was on brews' collar bone. as a fan of good tough defense it seems to me that the rules are totally unbalanced in favor of the offense.

OK
OK

Goodell's Chief Spin Doctor: Patriots 20, Panthers 16

"With Shane Vereen’s return adding to the weaponry, I like Tom Brady to outplay Cam Newton, who has posted a couple stinkers in a row (56.5 completion percentage, one touchdown, three interceptions)."

The Game's Actual Result: Panthers 24, Patriots 20

Final Play: The White Quarterback throws the game's only interception in the Panthers' end zone. 

The White Quarterback, after starting 23 for 26, finished 6 for 14 with the game's only pick.

Passing Stats

Cam Newton

19 for 28, 209, 3 TD, 0 INT

The White Quarterback

29 for 40, 296, 1 TD, 1 CHOKE INT

Which Patriots will Goodell's Chief Spin Doctor blame for the loss?

The offensive line, for not protecting The White Quarterback?

The receivers, for not catching each of The White Quarterback's passes?

The running backs, for not gaining the necessary ground yardage to take the pressure off The White Quarterback?

The defense, for allowing the non-white quarterback to throw his third touchdown pass of the night with less than a minute left in the game?

The Patriots coaching staff, for failing to develop a proper plan for The White Quarterback?

Just who will Goodell's Chief Spin Doctor blame to defend The White Quarterback?

Sdwalt
Sdwalt

Lots of SF fans upset, if your team would have played better, you would have won.

djbake6798
djbake6798

As a Niner I understand the call (they way over protect the qb- especially superstars)- but what gets me is Brees didnt see Brooks coming and actually stepped towards Brooks and ducked (changing the target). I know it's a bang bang play and it was high and it was very violent- but it's football.

WillWillis1
WillWillis1

I'm unclear on why you have a section for Special Teams Player of the Week. Don't you and the other Hall of Fame voters teach us every year that there isn't a place in the game for special teams? 

NeedARealGM
NeedARealGM

"With 3:18 left and San Francisco up by three in a crucial game between the Niners and Saints, linebacker Ahmad Brooks sacked Drew Brees and forced a fumble, which the Niners recovered. The problem was the sack, and the mechanics of it"....and that, my friends, is why the NFL will never again be the great game it once was....like it or not, agree or not, the NFL as we know it is over. 

Mulva
Mulva

I disagree with the Ahmad Brooks call and Peter King's description of it. 

 Sure, a "clothesline" to the neck sounds like a personal foul, but it wasn't "clothesline". Brooks had his arm out to hit and WRAP UP Brees. He didn't propel himself or use his helmet as a weapon. He used the "heads up" method to try and wrap him up with his arm while his helmet/shoulde rpads were not used as a weapon.

I thought it was a bad call in real time, on replay and I still do even with PK's biased account.

And I'm a Broncos fan so no dog in the NFC fight...

KirkNewsted
KirkNewsted

I agree on the Ahmad Brooks call, but the niners should have kept the ball.  The penalty shouldn't affect possession.

KirkNewsted
KirkNewsted

"The more the NFL can hark back to a simpler day, a muddier day, the better."

But play a Superbowl outdoors in New York?  Never, says Peter King.  Hypocrite.

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

Had to to just laugh at Drew Brees sheer arrogance to act like he has a right (at all) to have some sort of "chip" on his shoulder over the NFL sanctions of his cheating team, the Saints.  Here's a chip for you, Brees, you whiner, YOUR TEAM CHEATED and got busted.  Stop whining, stop acting like you were the victim and play football fairly and honorably.


Pathetic cheaters. 

PWINGS
PWINGS

"....Week 11 made it clear again: The QB is sacred!"

Incorrect. The QB is NOT sacred. However, the ratings and TV revenues ARE sacred. Evidence: What were the TV ratings for Packer games before the Aaron Rodgers injury? What are they now? What were the TV ratings for Patriots games before the Tom Brady injury in 2009? What were they after? The NFL's protectiveness of the QB's is nothing more than protecting the "goose that lid the golden egg". Fans watch games to watch TD passes being scored. Fewer TD passes = lower ratings = reduced advertising revenue. This is the same reasoning behind tightening the rules protecting WR's downfield and limiting contact by DB's in pass coverage. Please don't confuse concerns over TV revenue with concerns over players health. They're not the same thing. They're not even close!

Jon8
Jon8

As I have said for many weeks, the Jets are overrated! I also believe the Panthers are overrated!

The Redskins and the Falcons need an off-season, top-to-bottom-overhaull!!

DavidMManzi
DavidMManzi

Doesn't anyone realize where the Steelers got their throwback uniforms? They stole them from the Three Stooges who wore them in the episode "Three Little Pigskins." But the Stooges wore them better. No contest.

SemperFiDTM
SemperFiDTM

You kill two flies, yet "relocate" a ladybug? Thats textbook speciesism Peter. For shame.

GustavoRodriguez
GustavoRodriguez

How in the world umpire Corrente saved  or protected Brees AFTER the bam-bam play was over?

Does the league think that kind of penalties will be preventing those kind of plays from happeningin?


rickberk
rickberk

Peter, you were in Grand Rapids and went to Ruby Tuesdays looking for local beer?  That's weak.  Should have gone to HopCats.  50 local craft brews on tap. You'd have been in heaven.

sedeibel
sedeibel

You find irony in the '10 things' section. See 1i where he says Colston is "terminally underrated" yet omits him from 1d. where he's talking about the great receivers. I'm thinking...he's underrated because of people like you Peter!! Not a media darling = underrated.

ReddickHarris
ReddickHarris

Mr. King, I read and enjoy your column all the time, whether or not I agree with you, which I do most of the time. I enjoyed your paen to Bailey and I shared your sorrow. I have shared my life with four rescue dogs, two of whom I have had to put down. I stayed with them until the very end and held them in my arms as they took their last breaths. Each one was/is different and brought so much pleasure to our lives.Thank you for sharing Bailey with us.

There is another rescue dog wanting for you.

I am a supporter of the Beagle Freedom project. You should check into it.

Thank you.

Reddick Harris


stianv83
stianv83

@Serena Look closely at Brooks' shoulder and where it is. In case you don't know your anatomy, the neck starts at the shoulders, and go up to the jaw.

mjhellund
mjhellund

@Serena Check your glasses and take another look at the photograph, ma'am.

Goon
Goon

@OK I'm sure you hear this a lot, but you're an idiot. 

JPG
JPG

@OK "The White Quarterback" - ?

Can we please keep racism out of the story.

Please.

Gs1
Gs1

@Mulva King also fails to mention the more obvious clothesline on Kaepernick that wasn't called. That was a true clothesline.


MatthewWayneWilson
MatthewWayneWilson

I think the Ninerz should be investigated for cheating after your coach praised a player for a hit on the QB that was deemed illegal. What's the difference between that and paying a player a few bucks for an illegal hit?

kingma183
kingma183

@RomarioDelLago  It is amazing how ignorant you are!! The Saints were not santioned for cheating.  Drew Brees is a man of incredibly high character, all he does is give back to his community, and last time I checked there is no report whatsoever of Drew not playing football "fairly and honorably".  Being upset about a call is one thing, but you have no right to make false accusations and act like you know the least bit of what you are talking about!

Jerkzilla
Jerkzilla

@Jon8 Jets aren't over rated, everyone thought they would suck this year.  They have played over their heads at times and played their way out of the top 5 draft pick they deserve.

cozmikrebl
cozmikrebl

@SemperFiDTM  To be fair though flies are hard to relocate unless you have a lot of time and patience. Sadly they are on my 'kill list' as well. Brown reclusive spiders residing on the ceiling on the other hand, those are fun to do battle with while trying to capture/release.

George
George

@rickberk True that

but then king wouldn't have been able to savor their healthy and super nutritious deep-fried four-way sampler.

Gotta' keep up that pk no-neck look, ya' know!

:D

Serena
Serena

@mjhellund Look where initial contact is made, what do you want the defender to do let Brees go when Brees' knees collapse?

OK
OK

@JPG

Only if your willing to overlook the blatant racism that is The NFL's Chief Spin Doctor at SI.

SportPage
SportPage

@kingma183 @RomarioDelLago Drew Brees lost any right to call himself  "a man of incredibly high character" when he first claimed there was no such thing as bounties in the Saints locker room, and then afterward claimed he knew nothing about it.

Jon8
Jon8

@Jerkzilla @Jon8 

If the Jets do not make the Playoffs, and I believe they will not, then they have flopped and Ryan should be fired!

kingma183
kingma183

@SportPage @RomarioDelLago and by the way obviously he would claim there was no such thing as bounties in the locker room if he claimed he knew nothing about it.  The only question is weather or not he was lying about it.  And I'm guessing you have no evidence suggesting he was

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