Game notes: early kickoffs

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Let’s check out some quick game notes from the Week 15 early kickoffs. Five things that stood out from my perspective.

1. DeSean Jackson: The play itself to win a game on a punt return is amazing—but let’s look at it even closer. For some reason, Giants’ punter Matt Dodge gives Jackson an opportunity by kicking the ball down the middle of the field. That is bad football from a situational standpoint. Kick it out of bounds—and sacrifice field position at the end of the game—but don’t give one of the league’s most electric players a chance to beat you. For Jackson, he does what you want to see from a good returner—gets vertical with speed. Pick a running lane and go. Unreal comeback for Philly capped by a play we will see over and over all week long.

Peyton ManningICONManning threw 2 TDs in the 34-24 win over the Jaguars.

2. The Colts’ offense: Similar game plan that we saw in the win at Tennessee last Thursday. Balance on offense with Donald Brown (14-129) in the one-back running schemes and the patience and accuracy of Peyton Manning. Go back to the two TD throws from the Colts’ QB. Run the china-7 (or smash-flag) in the red zone to Austin Collie and then come back with the standard 4 verticals to Collie again vs. the Jags’ Cover 2. Surprised? Shouldn’t be, because when the Colts have balance on offense these are two of the top routes concepts that we will see every Sunday. And the Colts now have the inside track to the AFC South title—again.

3. Ray Rice: Big day for the Ravens’ RB. 31 carries for 153-yards and a TD vs. a good defensive front in New Orleans. On top of that, Rice catches five passes for 80-yards and another score. Two things stand out when I watched him run today: vision and balance. Picks his spots to cut back and when he is in the open field, he can break tackles and stay on his feet. When you get a playoff atmosphere in these late December games, it is time to ride your franchise players. Exactly what we saw today from the Ravens’ offense in the 30-24 win.

4. Charles-Jones: Even with Matt Cassel back under center for the Chiefs, this is the game plan you want to see from Charlie Weis. Jamaal Charles runs for 126-yards and a TD (on 11 carries) and Thomas Jones finishes with 62-yards on 22 carries. Win with a ball control offense and control the tempo of the football game. I like this style of football from the Chiefs—because it can win in the post season when you can play defense.

5. Dimitri Patterson: This is a great example of how offenses will target personnel in the NFL. The Eagles’ CB was tested with double-moves, the curl, the out, the deep post, etc. And, it won’t stop until you can step up and make a play. Find a weakness in the secondary and go after it. WR Mario Manningham had his way with Patterson for most of the afternoon. He will have to spend some time in the film room this week and self scout his own game—because it is going to continue until he makes the corrections.

Check back to the NFP for my quick notes following the late afternoon kickoffs.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

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