Review and Preview: Week 4

football, news, week 4


False Start: A penalty that occurs when a player on the offensive line crosses the line of scrimmage or makes any sudden movement prior to the snap of the football. Penalty: 5 yards, replay down. (From Tuesday’s post)

Offsides: A penalty that occurs when a player on the defensive line crosses the line of scrimmage or makes any sudden movement prior to the snap of the football. Penalty: 5 yards, replay down. (From Tuesday’s post)

Encroachment: A penalty that occurs when a defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage prior to the snap and makes contact with an offensive player. Penalty: 5 yards, replay down. (From Tuesday’s post)

Neutral Zone Infraction: A penalty that occurs when a member of the defensive line moves offsides and causes a member (or members) of the offensive line to false start. Penalty: 5 yards, replay down. (From Tuesday’s post)

In Motion: The one offensive player who is allowed to move across the formation prior to the snap (but if he moves forward prior the the snap after arriving in his new position, it’s an illegal motion penalty). (From Tuesday’s post)

Intentional Grounding: A penalty that occurs when a quarterback is getting pressured and throws the ball a) from inside the pocket, b) short of the line of scrimmage, c) where there is no eligible receiver to catch the ball. Penalty: 10 yards, loss of down. (From Wednesday’s post)

Roughing the Passer: A penalty that occurs when a defensive player touches the quarterback after he has released the ball (either by passing or handing it off). Penalty: 15 yards, automatic first down. (From Wednesday’s post)

Roughing the Kicker: A penalty that occurs when a defensive player touches the kicker or punter without having touched the ball first (as in a blocked punt of field goal attempt). Penalty: 15 yards, automatic first down.(From Wednesday’s post)

Holding: A penalty that occurs when a player uses his hands or arms to push from behind, hang onto, or encircle an opponent. Holding can be called on the offense or the defense. (From Wednesday’s post)

Offensive Holding: Usually called on offensive linemen who are blocking defensive linemen and trying to open up holes for running backs, but offensive holding can also be called on receivers who are trying to gain an advantage over the defensive backs covering them. Penalty: 10 yards, replay down.

Defensive Holding: Defenders can legally block a receiver within the first 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. After 5 yards, they are held to the standard definition of holding. Penalty: 5 yards, automatic first down.

Pass Interference: A penalty that occurs when one player impedes another player’s ability to do his job during a passing play. Usually this takes the form of pushing, grabbing, or blocking without looking for the ball. Pass interference can be called on the offense or the defense. (From Wednesday’s post)

Offensive Pass Interference: Most frequently called when a receiver makes an obvious attempt to create space between himself and a defender, usually by shoving him out of the way. Offensive PI can also be called in a “pick play” scenario, when another offensive player intentionally runs down a defensive player in order for a teammate to get open. Penalty: 10 yards, replay down.

Defensive Pass Interference: Most frequently called when a defender illegally impedes a receiver’s ability to catch a pass – especially if he does so without looking behind him for the pass (telltale PI giveaway). Penalty: automatic first down at the spot of the foul (unless it occurs in the end zone, in which case it’s an automatic first down and the ball is placed at the 1-yard line).

Personal Foul: A personal foul isn’t a specific foul; it’s the name given to any number of undisciplined actions that endanger the health of another player.  It’s usually called in reference to unsportsmanlike conduct or unnecessary roughness, but is also called for plays like roughing the passer or kicker, face mask, excessive celebration, and others. When the offense commits a personal foul it’s a 15-yard penalty; when the defense commits a personal foul it’s a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down. (From Wednesday’s post)

Unit: The name for the group on the field – either offense, defense, or special teams. (From Thursday’s post)

Special Teams: The unit that takes the field in any kicking situation. More often than not, most of the members of the special teams unit are members of the offensive or defensive unit as well. The main exceptions are the punter and kicker (or sometimes just one punter/kicker), who only has kicking responsibilities.

12th Man: The term fans (specifically Seattle fans) use to describe their influence on the game; their boisterous, deafening presence is like having a 12th man on the field. (Only 11 men per unit are allowed on the field.)

And just because I love you guys…I condensed the penalties posts into a quick reference printable. Check out yesterday’s post to save it, pin it, or print it out for game day!


Normal Girl Game of the Week:

Bills at Browns, Last Night

This was a true normal girl pick because it was all about love of the underdog. I was so excited to see how the resurgent Browns would far against the up-and-coming Bills. It was a good game, but different than expected, since both quarterbacks ended up getting sidelined due to injury by the end of the game. And the Browns roll on! Great home win for them.

Also on the Radar:

1. If the Giants are going to win a game before their Week 9 bye week, their best bet might be this Sunday, at home against the floundering Eagles.

2. The Lions put a beat down on the Bears last week, who had been looking pretty darn good prior to that game. If they can make a similar statement in another divisional games against the Packers on Sunday, it’ll be something to cry about talk about.

3. Last Sunday the Seahawks proved that they can come back to win on the road against a tough AFC opponent. They’ll be looking to prove the same thing against the Colts on Sunday.

At the Water Cooler : Week 4

football, games

It was another wild week in the NFL. Here’s what you need to know to keep up at dinner tonight!

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (49ers won, 35-11)

This easy win for the 49ers was sponsored by the Rams, who had anything but an easy night.

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills (Bills won, 23-20)

This win was sponsored by Joe Flacco and his 5 interceptions.

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (BROWNS WON, 17-6)

Perhaps every struggling team should trade their best player and see what happens? It’s clearly working for the Browns.

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (Lions won, 40-32)

Well, the NFC North just got interesting.

NY Giants at Kansas City Chiefs (Chiefs won, 31-7)

When the schedule came out over the summer, did anyone think the teams in this game would come out on the other side 0-4 and 4-0…and it would be the Giants who were winless and the Chiefs who were undefeated?

Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings (in London) (Vikings won, 34-27)

If you look into Mike Tomlin’s eyes at his postgame presser, you can almost see the flames. One can assume there were no happy campers in that London locker room.

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Cardinals won, 13-10)

Carson Palmer is looking legit. Having Larry Fitzgerald to toss the ball to doesn’t hurt, either.

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (Colts won, 37-3)

It never really gets easier to be a Jaguar. Another week, another beat down.

Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans (Seahawks won, 23-20 OT)

Someone has to start beating the Seahawks on the road if the rest of the NFC wants a shot at the Super Bowl. Because who is beating them at home in the playoffs?!

NY Jets at Tennessee Titans (Titans won, 38-13)

Hated to see Titans QB Jake Locker go down with a nasty hip injury. He was having a great start to the season.

Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos (Broncos won, 52-20)

There’s the NFL…and then there’s Peyton Manning. He’s in a league of his own.

Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers (Chargers won, 30-21)

The Chargers tend to find themselves on the losing end of close games in the 4th quarter, but they pulled this one out – thanks in part to recovering a late fumble by the Cowboys.

Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders (Redskins won, 24-14)

It looked like this one was going to be all Raiders early on, but the Redskins came back to get their first win of the season.

New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons (Patriots won, 30-23)

Remember that league Peyton Manning is in? Tom Brady hangs out there, too. It’s the only explanation for how the Patriots are undefeated right now.

Miami at New Orleans (Monday night on ESPN)

This is the beauty of the NFL: a game that was initially seen as a bit of a snoozer is now a compelling match up between two undefeated teams. Hard to say which way this one will go, but the Saints might have the edge at home.

Bye (Off) Week: Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers

What To Know : After Week 4

It’s the end of the first quarter of the season, which means this week it’s time for teams to assess how they performed in the first quarter and see how they can improve in the next. For this week’s postgame review, let’s take a look at each Division and see where the stories are:

NFC North: The Vikings…are 3-1?! This has to be the biggest surprise of the season so far…and not just in the NFC North. The Vikings have a solid running game led by RB Adrian Peterson and QB Christian Ponder has been good – more than just efficient. The Bears are also 3-1 and the Packers aren’t far behind at 2-2, but the Lions shouldn’t be counted out either quite yet despite their 1-3 record.

NFC South: Atlanta has this all but wrapped up already. They are sitting pretty at 4-0 with the Bucs and Panthers back at 1-3 and the Saints a shockingly dismal (sorry, Liz!) 0-4.

NFC East: The NFC East is always exciting, but I think it will be a dog fight for 1st in this Division this year. The Eagles are 3-1 by the slimmest of margins, and the other three teams (Giants, Cowboys, Redskins) are all 2-2. In the end, I’d bet the Giants come out on top. They have a way of pulling it out at the end.

NFC South: It was kind of assumed that the 49ers would have this Division locked up at this point, with the Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks having a history of less-than-impressive records. But it’s been surprisingly competitive out in the West, with the biggest surprise coming with the Cardinals 4-0 start. The 49ers aren’t far behind at 3-1, but the Cards look way better than expected nonetheless.

AFC North: The Steelers and Ravens look good, the Browns look bad, and the Bengals look like a dark horse to challenge for a playoff spot. So: same old, same old.

AFC South: This is the Texans Division to lose. They’re undefeated, and the other three teams (Colts, Jaguars, Titans) only have one win a piece. Stranger things have happened, but barring an overwhelming collapse the Texans can basically punch their ticket to the playoffs already.

AFC East: You’d think, with the abysmal performances of the Jets and the Bills over the past few weeks, that this would be an easy domination for the Patriots. But the three are squarely tied at 2-2 with Miami pulling up the rear at 1-3. In my opinion, though, that won’t be the case for long. The Jets are beat up and confused and the Bills are…the Bills. Welcome to the playoffs, New England.

AFC West: The Chargers are 3-1 (somehow) and the Broncos aren’t far behind at 2-2. The Broncos schedule, however, is brutal, so they might take a dip in the standings over the next few weeks. The Raiders aren’t as awful as their 1-3 record suggests. The Chiefs are far worse than their 1-3 record suggests.

P.S. A final exam is forthcoming! Details soon!

What To Know : Week 4

Here’s what you need to know about Week 4 in the NFL:

GAME OF THE WEEK: I think Giants at Philly is going to be a great game, but ultimately I’m going with Chicago at Dallas on Monday night. Chicago has had to deal with the fallout from Jay Cutler hashing out some ill-advised emotions with his offensive lineman on national television. Dallas won their game last week…but just barely, in an ugly win against Tampa. Both teams are 2-1 and both seem to have equal amounts of strengths and glaring weaknesses, so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Christian Ponder, QB for Minnesota. The Vikings pulled out a surprising win over the 49ers last weekend, and perhaps even more surprising are Christian Ponder’s QB ratings: he’s currently ranked second in completion percentage and has respectable numbers in all other categories as well. He is the main reason the Vikings are 2-1 right now.

STORYLINE TO KNOW: The referees are coming! The referees are coming! The regular refs are back in action, which means that a) everyone will be in a better mood this week and b) games will actually make sense again…and won’t take 4 and 1/2 hours to play. And will be decided based on the quality of play, not the quality of officiating. How refreshing.


pear and granola muffins (let’s call these pregame fuel)

baked parmesan garlic fries

spicy caramel bacon popcorn

homemade snickers

triple dipped s’mores apples