Each week, Hall of Fame wide receiver and Westwood One Sunday Night Football analyst James Lofton tells you about the teams, players and trends that are on the way out and those that are on the way up around the NFL.
HIDE: The hide is an outside route run in combination from a slot formation. The inside receiver goes straight upfield 12 yards and breaks high to the corner. The outside receiver delays off the line of scrimmage then pushes up to six yards and then comes inside into the zone area vacated by the inside receiver, thus hiding in that spot. Hide is also what Packers’ backup tight end Brandon Bostic wanted to do when the Seahawks’ onside kick bounced off of him. Just hide, baby.
OUT: The Colts were knocked out of the playoffs for the second year in a row by the New England Patriots, getting soundly beaten 45-7 in the AFC Championship. While the Colts did advance further this season than a year ago, I don’t think they were the second best team in the AFC by a long shot. I would’ve taken both Baltimore and Pittsburgh head to head. I think Andrew Luck will be better next year, but it’s up to the front office to put better players around him and that’s often easier said than done.
COMEBACK: Russell Wilson was way, way down after throwing four interceptions, but he wasn’t totally out. The 12th Man wouldn’t let the Seahawks quit and home field never felt so good as the Seahawks pulled off the most improbable comeback and left the Packers dazed and confused. There’s no crying in baseball, so maybe that’s why Wilson chose football. He let it flow after connecting on the game winner to Jermaine Kearse in the overtime period.
QUICK SLANT: Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Rex Ryan fizzled out in New York with the Jets because he had a stout defense, but suffered thanks to the questionable play and development of his quarterbacks. So in Buffalo, he inherits a Bills team that has a stout defense and a questionable quarterback who needs to be developed. As the head coach often belts out, “Run it again!”
UP! Hats off to the Hoodie and the gum chewer. Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll got their teams to where a lot of us figured they’d end up back before the season began. Both teams hit rough patches during the regular season and caused a few raised eyebrows in the postseason with some deflating antics, but overall they played their best football in December and of course January. So let’s now see who’s pumped all the way up and who has their air let out on February 1st!
– James Lofton
Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton is the analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of Sunday Night Football. You’ll find him on the sidelines for Westwood One at Super Bowl XLIX. Coverage begins at 2 PM on Super Bowl Sunday.