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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Revisiting Rams/Broncos: Bulger misses a wide open Holt

    One of the big criticisms of Marc Bulger was that he was shaky and missed his receivers at times. While I certainly agree with that assessment from an overall game standpoint, perhaps the most telling example of this that fans would cite would be Bulger missing a wide-open Torry Holt in the end zone in the middle of the fourth quarter. I remember Mike commenting in the chat that it was a tough throw but the consensus was that Marc just blew it. However when reviewing the tape of the play, I really don't think that's the case.

    Fourth quarter, 2nd and Goal from the Denver 6 yard line. I-formation with twin receivers to the left. It's a designed play-action rollout to the right side of the field with what looks like three potential targets - a short route Paul Smith in the flat right at the five yard line, Bruce running a crossing route in the middle of the endzone, and Holt running a crossing route near the back of the endzone and later than Bruce. What you see from the side view is Bulger rolling out, seeing Holt, and throwing a pass that's at least an arm's length if not more behind Holt.

    What is clear as crystal is that Holt was wide open. What isn't so clear is how difficult of a throw it was, and how Bulger essentially put that pass exactly where it needed to be. This is somewhat clear from the side camera view, but even more clear from the replay angle that follows which shows the field from the QB's perspective and shows his passing lanes and obstructions.

    As Bulger rolls out to the right, one Denver linebacker sticks with Paul Smith as he runs toward the flat. Al Wilson, arguably one of the best middle linebackers in the league, is directly in Bulger's throwing window, not playing anyone inparticular but rather just following Bulger on the rollout. Bulger can't lead Holt forward on that pass because if he does Wilson makes the easy interception. Whereas Bulger's throw was an arm's length behind Holt, it was also an arm's length behind a laterally-moving Wilson, and any attempt to lead Holt means you're also leading Wilson in front of him. Bulger's only choice is to throw behind Holt, which is also behind and out of reach of Wilson, and hope Torry can somehow make a spectacular catch.

    Bulger clearly saw Wilson right in front of him, and made a throw that tried to make a play without giving Wilson a gift interception. I would call on anyone with a video copy of this game to check out the fourth quarter and tell me if they're seeing the same thing, because it looks pretty clear to me especially after the additional camera angle. This goes back to what Marc and Scott Linehan were saying about the new offense - minimize mistakes and don't force it in there.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Revisiting Rams/Broncos: Bulger misses a wide open Holt

    I agree 100% Nick. While Holt wasn't covered directly, it would have taken one hell of a throw to get him the ball. Initially, I thought Bulger made a god awful throw, but that one replay angle definitely shows how well the Broncos had it defensed. Just gotta give that one to the Broncos defense and credit Bulger with not making a mistake.

  3. #3
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    Re: Revisiting Rams/Broncos: Bulger misses a wide open Holt

    In fact, I might add that many fans in here are forgetting that we played one of the best defenses in the NFL yesterday. Which is why we had trouble in the Red Zone. That, coupled with some poor execution by the Rams, but remember, those guys are good. Bulger will get 'er done fellas, don't worry. Tha man is one of the most accurate passers since becoming a starter. That's not a fluke, and it's not because of Mad Mike. The guy can throw, and he'll get it together in the new system soon.

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    Re: Revisiting Rams/Broncos: Bulger misses a wide open Holt

    Good analysis Nick. On that play, Bulger was sprinting to his right, throwing across his body to a moving Holt, all the while trying to avoid an interception. Under the circumstances, Bulger made a good decision by not trying to force the issue and made a good throw by puting the ball where only his guy had a chance to make the catch.

    I'll bet most Denver fans wished Plummer would have exercised the same sound judgement on a few of his throws, namely those three big interceptions.

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    Re: Revisiting Rams/Broncos: Bulger misses a wide open Holt

    While I wish we scored, and think we will get there sooner than later, I have a question about the replay and don't have access to it. You mention the defender just following MB and that was why he could not lead Torry Holt. Since Holt was running the baseline at the back of the endzone, could he have thrown it up high so that the defender could not have got it and Torry would have had to go up and get it?

    I also made comments in chat that that was a difficult throw as he was rolling right and throwing back across to his left. That and the Denver defense doing a good job made me not "expect" to get that TD, but "desire" to get one next time.
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    Re: Revisiting Rams/Broncos: Bulger misses a wide open Holt

    Quote Originally Posted by thoey View Post
    While I wish we scored, and think we will get there sooner than later, I have a question about the replay and don't have access to it. You mention the defender just following MB and that was why he could not lead Torry Holt. Since Holt was running the baseline at the back of the endzone, could he have thrown it up high so that the defender could not have got it and Torry would have had to go up and get it?
    That's certainly a possibility, though I think at that point you risk (1) Wilson reacting to that pass by dropping back to try and break it up or (2) the safety trailing behind Torry or cornerback Champ Bailey in front of him being able to gain ground toward Holt due to the additional amount of time a higher lob would be in the air.
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    Re: Revisiting Rams/Broncos: Bulger misses a wide open Holt

    Thanks Nick. Like I said, I had no problem with it at the time, then didn't see the replay as I was at the PC making a comment in chat.
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