• Author:
  • Published: Jan 19th, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What did we learn from the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs?

What did we learn from the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs?

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nfl

Note: I will discuss the NFC tomorrow.

Ravens 3 @ Colts 20

Ravens

The Raven O just couldn’t match the fire power of the Colts. RB Rice had only 13 carries because the Ravs fell 14 points behind in the 2nd quarter. Flacco played better than expected going 20-35 for 185 but had 2 very costly picks. Rice also lost a fumble.

The Ravens’ D was hoping that they would create turnovers. They picked off Manning once but the Ravs were unable to convert that to a touchdown because S Reed fumbled the ball returning it.

Reed is considering retirement and that would hurt the D badly. Reed and LB Lewis are the heart of the D. In 2010, the O is going to have to provide more points because the D will be older and not as versatile.

Colts

The Colts O was a little rusty but thanks to the D was able to win the game and move on to face the Jets. They were not able to run the ball effectively. They averaged only 1.7 yards per carry. That could cost them against the Jet D. The most important stat from the game is 6 runs resulted in lost yardage. There could be a lot more than 6 against the Jets. Manning had a good not great game. He was 30-44 for 246 and 2 TDs with 1 pick.

The Colts D allowed only 87 yards but that is misleading. They gave up 4.6 per carry. Had the Ravs not fallen so far behind, the Colt D would have had to deal with a lot more than the 19 running plays by the Ravs. The Jets are the top running team in the league. Unless the Colts’ D can do better against their run, they could be in some trouble.

Jets 17 @ Chargers 14

Jets

The Jets pulled off the only upset of the weekend. The key to the game was the ability of the Jets to run the ball. They ran 39 times for 169 yards and a 4.3 yard average. The Charger D could not stand up to the ground game. The injuries at NT cost the Chargers the chance to move on. Pro Bowl C Mangold handled the NT man to man allowing the guards to get to the second level to block the backers. The running game also allowed the Jets to throw when they wanted to rather than in only 3rd and long situations. QB Sanchez was just good enough to get the win. He was 12-23 for 100 yards and 1 TD with 1 pick. If the Jets can run the ball as well against the Colts, they will have a real shot at a win.

The Jets D was outstanding. They were helped by the fact that the Charger O was not as sharp in the last month of the season. The Jets D shut down the Charger running game and made the team one dimensional. That allowed the pass rush to pressure Rivers. That pressure resulted in 2 interceptions.

Chargers

The Chargers were on an 11 game winning streak going into the playoffs. However, they had not been sharp offensively. The Chargers had struggled with the Browns, Cowboys, Bengals and Redskins in December and had in those games averaged 25 points a game against those teams. Their only blowout was a 42-17 win at the Titans in week 16. That offensive sluggishness continued into the Jets game.

The biggest problem was the total lack of a running game. RB Thomlinson had 12 carries for 24 yards. There were no big runs like there were in previous playoff games. The lack of a running game was devastating to the Charger O.

The Charger D struggled with the Jet running game. The inside backers were not able to get to the ball because they were being blocked by the OGs of the Jets. That put a great deal of pressure on the DBs to make the tackle. Some times they did but often they did not. When the Charger safeties came up to help against the run, the Jets passed.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,nfl playoffs,divisional round,Ravens,Colts,Manning,Flacco,Jets,Chargers,Sanchez,Bengals,Redskins,Browns,Cowboys,Titans,Thomlinson

What to look for in the Saturday January 2nd bowl games.

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football

PAPAJOHNS.com BOWL South Carolina 7-5 Connecticut 7-5

Despite losing a key player to tragedy and being out-manned regularly, UConn has played a handful of ranked teams close only to lose heartbreaking game after game. Starting CB Jasper Howard was murdered on Oct. 18th. The team carries his memory and his jersey as a rally flag. The heart and hard work was rewarded with an overtime win over Notre Dame followed by a couple of wins to end the season.

UConn’s O scores 31 points per game and is fairly balanced between the run and the pass. The running tandem of Todman and Dixon provide a good ground attack despite not having even an average O line. QB Endres took over half way through the year and has done fairly well completing 64% with 6 TDs and 4 picks. His favorite target is WR Easley (5th round). The D has gotten better over the year but still is young. It is led by DE Witten (4th) and FS Vaughn (5th).

The Ol’ Ball Coach Spurrier still throws the ball all over the place. “Running backs, we don’t need no stinkin’ running backs” seems to be the game plan for SC. QB Garcia has a rating of 124.5 with 2733 yards and 17 TDs. He has had 394 attempts while the top 2 running backs had a total of 211 carries.

The SC D has been very erratic. They allowed 41 points to a bad Georgia O and then held a highly rated offense of #4 Mississippi to just 10. The D is led by OB Norwood (late 2nd) and SS Stewart (6th).

While UConn has won 3 straight, SC has lost 3 of their last 4. SC is a 5 point favorite but I doubt they will win that big. This could be another upset.

COTTON BOWL #19 Oklahoma St. 9-3 Mississippi 8-4

Ole Miss QB Snead needs to have a good game to impress NFL scouts. He came into the season as a top QB draft prospect but has fallen to the point he would be better off to stay for his senior year. He has completed only 54% with 20 TDs and 17 picks. RB McCluster (3rd) is just 5-7 169 and will have to play WR in the NFL. WR Hodge (6th) and G Jerry (5th) are also prospects on the Rebel O.

The Rebel D has been inconsistent. They held the high powered O of Arkansas to 17 then let a below average O of Miss St. score 41. DE Hardy (1st or high 2nd) is the highest rated player on the team but FS Lewis should be a late round pick.

Oklahoma St. had a disappointing season as well. They were expected to compete for the Big 12 South title but lost to Houston in the pre-league schedule then had lopsided losses to Texas and Oklahoma. QB Robinson is a 3 year starter but had a less than expected senior year. He had a passer rating of 135 but that was down from 149 in 07 and 167 in 08. He is a late round prospect. The O line is led by top OT prospect Okung (early 1st) and G Lewis (6th). RB Tolson (6th) averaged 5.4 with 11 TDs.

The OSU D features CB Cox (2nd) and safeties Sexton and Antoine who are marginal prospects in the 7th round.

Mississippi is a 3 point favorite but expect OSU to win in an upset.

LIBERTY BOWL East Carolina 9-4 Arkansas 7-5

Hog QB Mallett led the team to the 10th best passing game in division 1. He threw for 3425 with 29 TDs and just 7 picks. His top receiver Childs had only 45 catches. Mallett spreads the ball around. G Petrus (4th) heads up his protection.

The Hog D is horrible. It allowed 33 points to LSU in their overtime loss. Only DT Sheppard has a chance to be drafted from that group.

EC’s D will challenge Mallett. It is led by DE Wilson (3rd), DT Ross (7th) and S Eskridge (6th). The D has played very well this year and seem to be getting better each week. The O is led by RB Lindsey. Most experts don’t believe he is a pro prospect but at 5-10 200 he is big enough. Behind an average line he averaged 5 per carry. I like his toughness.

The line is Hogs by 8 but I don’t think so. Take the points and EC may win outright.

ALAMO BOWL Michigan State 6-6 Texas Tech 8-4

This game will be ugly quickly. MSU had a horrible pass D even before the suspensions of several starters on D. TT G Carter (5th) and T Winn (fa) will protect QB Potts. He will be throwing the ball without concern for the MSU d. TT is an 8 point favorite. MSU will be very lucky to keep it that close.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Bowl games,NCAA Football,NFL Draft,PAPAJOHNS BOWL,South Carolina,Connecticut,COTTON BOWL,Oklahoma St.,Mississippi,LIBERTY BOWL,East Carolina,Arkansas,Mallett,ALAMO BOWL,Michigan State,Texas Tech,suspensions

What to look for this weekend in football

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football

College

Pac10 Championship—sort of

Oregon beat Oregon State 37-33 for the league title and the Rose Bowl ticket. In the end, it was the running and passing of the Ducks that won the game. The Ducks will give Ohio State all they want.

SEC Championship We finally get to see #1 Florida against #2 Alabama. It should be a defensive struggle again this year like it was last season. However, Bama seems to have a little more explosiveness to their O than the Gators. The game will be determined by turnovers and will be low scoring and close. The Bama D is as good as the Florida D so the game will depend on the QB’s ability to move the ball on the opponent. Most experts think that Bama will win but I can’t go against Tebow. When the game is in the balance he always seems to find a way to win.

Big12 Championship

#3 Texas will have their way with a good but too young #22 Nebraska team in this game. The game will be the showcase for QB Colt McCoy and should elevate him to a Heisman award as much for his body of work as for this season. The Huskers are a year away from challenging for a B12 title.

#5 Cincinnati @ #15 Pitt

The Bearcats are playing for a BcS game and should win. Pitt looked very ordinary last week in a loss to West Virginia. I expect the Cats’ D to be too much for the talented but turnover prone Panthers.

USA Conference Championship

If you haven’t seen Houston QB Keenum, take a look at this game. He is fun to watch. The Houston O is a wide open passing game that will throw the ball all over the East Carolina D. Nobody is going to want to get paired with Houston in a bowl game.

NFL

Eagles @ Falcons

QB Vick makes his return to Atlanta but won’t be a factor. Both teams are chasing after a playoff spot. The loser will likely be out of the race. The Falcons play well at home but the Eagles should win.

Titans @ Colts

QB Young will have his winning streak ended with a thud but most likely it won’t be his fault. The Titan D has been playing better with Young at QB because he has been able to keep drives alive with his legs. The problems in the pass D of the Titans will be exploited by Manning. The Colts won’t blow them away because they tend to play down to competition but the Colts will win.

Cowboys @ Giants

Well, it’s December and time for the Boys to take their annual dive. Everything points to a Boys win but Romo doesn’t play well after Turkey day. The Boys need a win to keep up on the Eagles. I have to think that the Boys will find a way to lose rather than Giants winning the game.

Vikings @ Cards

IF QB Warner plays, this should be a good close game filled with offense. But I don’t think he will and the Vikes will win. QB Leinart couldn’t beat the Titans last week and folds under a good pass rush. The Vikes turn up the heat on D and win the game.

Ravens @ Packers

The Ravens have struggled in the last couple of weeks but should find the Pack D a little easier to run on. But in the end, the Pack O will be too much for an aging Raven D. Pack wins in a close game.

Seattle fires their GM.

Tim Ruskett, the GM that replaced Coach Holmgren in that role. Some people are assuming that Holmgren will come back to take that job along with the Presidency of the team. I don’t think that will happen. Holmgren didn’t have a great history drafting players. Check out my analysis of his draft history on NFLDraftDog.com.

Browns lose all hope.

The Browns lost their best player on D—NT Rogers and best player on O—RB Lewis to the IR. What will hurt even more, their best player overall in Mr. Everything, Cribbs. Cribbs let a kickoff free ball lay in the end zone against the Bengals. That was not a brain cramp; it was a signal that he has given up on the team, the coaching staff and his chance for getting the contract that he was promised. Again, I will comment on this more in my weekly article on NFLDraftDog.com.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Oregon State,Oregon,Pac10,NCAA Football,Rankings,BCS,BCS Championship game,Ohio State,Florida,Alabama,Texas,Nebraska,SEC Championship game,Big 12 Championship game,Cincinnati,Pitt,Houston,East Carolina,Eagles,Falcons,Titans,Colts,VICK,Cowboys,Giants,Vikings,Cardinals,Ravens,Packers,Browns,Seahawks,Holmgren
  • Author:
  • Published: Nov 26th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving—The NFL Provides the Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving—The NFL Provides the Turkeys

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nfl

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

What we learned from last week.

QB Vince Young has turned the corner—Not yet.

Looking at the 4 straight wins of the Titans, many would assume that Young is now an NFL quality QB. Young has given the O a shot in the butt however it is more from his ability or his threat to run than from his passing. Against the Texans he had 116 yards passing.

He has improved his mechanics. His footwork is much better. He is planting his feet before he throws and is not throwing as often off his back foot. That has improved his accuracy. He has been over 50% in every game and over 60% completions in two.

Unless he continues to improve his passing, defenses will adjust to the Young led O and stop this version of the team as well.

The Browns find their O but have lost their D—Not yet.

You and I could move the ball against the Lions even if you were having a bad day. The O of the Browns Sunday means nothing. However, we did see indications that QB Quinn can throw deep but he must work on accuracy.

The Bengals will play up to their competition or down to the Raiders.

This is a team that is just starting to learn how to win again after being the joke of the NFL. It will take them a couple of years to get used to putting their foot on the throat of a weak opponent and winning the game.

The Turkeys served up by the NFL

GB @ DT – UCH! Forget the tradition. Detroit won’t be a competitive team any time soon. Put some team in that won’t make us lose our dinner.

OK @ DA Couldn’t the NFL have found a more accomplished team to match against the Boys than the Al Davises?

NYG @ DV The Broncos are hanging on for dear life and the Giants D will force them further down into the muck. Giants win even without a running game.

Indy @ HO This is the last chance for the Texans to prove they are better than a 500 team. To do that they have to beat the Colts. They are not better than a 500 team. They will lose and end up with a new coach next season.

PT @ BA This is the battle of reserves because these teams are really beaten up. The Steelers called me early this week asking if I would play backup QB because Roethlisberger was banged up last week and Batch was out with a bad wrist. They also could be missing S Polamalu and G Kemoeatu.

The Ravens will also be struggling with injuries to C Birk, LB Lewis and S Reed. Look for the Steelers to win IF big Ben plays.

Game of the Week—NE @ NO The Saints get the first real test of the season. The key will be how well a bad Pat D backfield deals with the passing of Brees. The Saints should win but this is the type of game that the Pats seem to steal.

Stinker of the Week—SE @ STL Ram QB Bulger is hurt and the O line is not good enough to create running lanes against air. Seattle is no gift to football fans.

Please take a moment this holiday to think about those that are on the other side of world risking their lives to make us safe. May the men and women of our military stay safe.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL Draft,Young,Titans,Browns,Bengals,Raiders,Davis,Packers,Lions,Cowboys,Al Davis,Giants,Broncos,Colts,Texans,Steelers. Ravens,Patroits,Saints,Seahawks,Rams

Tuesday morning QB. Analysis: Sanchez has all the tools except experience in the NFL.

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New York Jets 2009 Football Headshots

Note: I am considering making this a regular feature during the NFL season. Let me know what you think.

When the first all out blitz came from the Ravens, Jet QB Mark Sanchez put the ball up for grabs. Ray Lewis came in untouched and caused the Int. The Raven D linemen Haloti Ngata caught it and ran it 25 yards for a TD. I was thinking about John Madden. As he said in the movie The Replacements, he loved to see a big guy score.

There was almost a second interception when IB Lewis caught Sanchez staring down his receiver. In part because he had been so rattled by the blitzes he never took his eyes off his intended target. Again, the ball never got there because it ended up in Lewis’ hands. Lewis dropped it or it would have been the second D TD for the Ravens. At that point, Sanchez was probably wondering where the red no tackle jersey was.

The problem is in part the same increase in speed that every rookie QB goes through coming into the NFL from college. But with Sanchez there is another issue at work as well—He just doesn’t have enough experience playing QB. Sanchez sat for a year behind Matt Leinart then 2 years behind John David Booty. Leinart was a 1st round pick but Booty was a 5th round after thought of the Vikings.

The history of QBs in the NFL is littered with those that played only one year. The most obvious was the 1999 3rd overall choice by Cincinnati of Akili Smith of Oregon. Smith started only one year for the Ducks and went from undrafted rookie camp invitee to the 3rd pick in the first round. He never worked out in part because he didn’t have the experience or patents to learn the offense. The one thing we can say about Sanchez is that he has patents. He waited for 3 years as USC.

Sanchez has improved a little in his 4 months as a pro. He looked good against the Rams in his first action of the preseason. But the Rams D is bad and he was going against their 2nd and 3rd team guys. Most of those guys will be learning key phrases for their future profession like “would you like fries with that?”

A couple of things that Sanchez is doing now he was not doing as a USC starter. Perhaps the most important is that he is holding the ball much higher as he drops to find a receiver. That is critical because it reduces the time between him finding a potential target and getting rid of the ball. His release has been improved by better mechanics.

He is accurate on the move when he finds someone to throw to. As Sanchez was being chased to the sideline he found a WR open and got the ball to former Missouri QB Brad Smith. The completion was called back for Smith interfering with the DB.

The lack of experience shows the most in his inability to make quick reads of the coverage. There are a lot of blitzes and combinations of man and zone coverage he has not seen before. All young QBs are easily confused. One that has only one year of starting in college is particularly behind. He goes down in part because he is watching the blitz rather than looking down field for a receiver.

I do like the improvement in his footwork. Like all young QBs, at USC, Sanchez tended to have happy feet. He would not set his feet before he threw the ball. He is doing better with the Jets. He showed a couple of happy feet dances when the rush was coming close. But on a TD throw under some pressure, he set his feet and drilled the ball to Washington for the score.

OVERALL: Sanchez is going to be OK. I am not sure he will ever become a dominant QB that would justify the 4th overall pick. He has a lot to learn. The entire organization is new and has some time to turn the fortunes of the Jets around. We all are sure that the other QBs on the Jets can not lead them to a Super Bowl. Because the Jets have a good O line, I would put Sanchez in and let him learn on the job. I have never been a big fan of how much better a QB gets holding the clipboard. Whether he starts or not, the Jets will take a step back in overall record. But they will be better off in the long run. The Colts didn’t win much when Payton Manning was a rookie starter either but that has worked out pretty well.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Jets,Ravens,Sanchez,Ngata,Vikings,Cardinals,Smith,Bengals,Leinart,Booty,Madden,USC,Oregon,Manningham,Colts
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 22nd, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The pressure is on Delhomme to take the Panthers to the next level.

The pressure is on Delhomme to take the Panthers to the next level.

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t

It’s hard to find many holes in the Carolina Panthers but there is one Empire State building size question mark—Can Jake Delhomme take the team deep into the playoffs? Delhomme enters his 11th season but he has only 6 seasons starting (not counting his 3 games in 07). He is a slightly above average QB but not the guy that can get a team over the hump to the Super Bowl. In 04 and 05 he threw 53 TDs and only 31 picks. He made the pro bowl and looked like he was about to become a star. That star faided quickly because in 06 he was back to throwing about as many TDs (17) as Ints (11). 07 was a lost year with injuries. Last season was another average season (15TDs and 12 Ints). What was worse, he blew up in the playoff game giving away the hard earned home field advantage and throwing his team right out of the playoffs.

This year will decided if he is the guy or if the team will try to get a starter of the future in what is expected to be one of the all time great QB drafts in 2010. That will be hard without a 1st round pick next year. My projection is that he will not get back to his 04/05 level and will be replaced. The team has Matt McCown who has started but doesn’t scare anyone.

The RB combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart is excellent. Williams is under rated and is a good bet for Fantasy football this year. He very quietly had 1,500 yards with an astounding 18 TDs and 5.5 yard average. WOW! One reason was he got some relief from rookie Stewart who ran for over 800 yards. This combination needs Delhomme to be more consistent so that the opponents don’t load the D line against the run. The team added rookie Mike Goodson in the 3rd round. FB Brad Hoover is a solid blocker and can catch and run as well.

Delhomme’s problems are not due to a bad group of WRs. Steve Smith not only can land a punch (for which he was suspended for the first 2 games in 08) but passes like few others. He averaged 100 yards per game and went to the pro bowl again. It seems like Smith had been doing that since 1950 but he is only 30. His running mate is Muhsin Muhammad. He was the #1 WR in Chicago before coming to be Smith’s wing man. At 36 he has lost a little speed but still has the hands and runs sharp routes. Dwayne Jarrett is a solid #3 WR and the team has a few candidates for the 4th guy.

TE is a question mark as well. Jeff King starts because he is a very good blocker and reliable receiver. Gary Barnidge and Dante Rosario who is coming off injury will try to unseat King again.

The O line is one of the great strengths of the team. LT Jordan Gross is consistently playing at a pro bowl level. C Ryan Kalil and RT Jeff Otah are both very young but growing into stars. LG Travelle Wharton is a little over rated but consistent. RG Keydrick Vincent is starting quality but still has upside. The depth was hurt by losing players to free agency due to salary cap concerns.

The D line took a huge hit when DT Maake Kemoeatu was injured and put on IR. He will be missed from a D that had trouble last year stopping the run and getting off the field verses top teams. Franchised E Julius Peppers will have to be most of the pass rush again. The team brought UFA Tyler Brayton in last year but he is over rated. RDT Damione Lewis is OK nothing more. The team traded their 2010 #1 pick to move up to get DE Everette Brown. So far, Brown has not dazzled anyone. The team also has Charles Johnson and Hilee Taylor both of whom can rush the passer.

The linebackers are WLB Thomas Davis, MLB Jon Beason and the always challenged SLB Na’il Diggs. The team has been trying to replace Diggs for several years but finally realized he is fine. Beason has developed into a very good pass defender and can blitz effectively. He made the pro bowl in his 2nd season. The depth consists of MLB Dan Connor and WLB Landon Johnson. Both are good and would start on a lot of teams.

LCB Chris Gamble, RCB Richard Marshall, FS Charles Godfrey and SS Chris Harris start for the Panthers in the D backfield. Gamble says he is a top corner. So far he has been good to very good. Marshall replaces CB Lewis and is a bit of a concern. He has been with the team for 3 seasons and has talent. The safeties are fine but not extra special. CBs Sherrod Martin and C.J. Wilson back up the corners. Reserve Nate Salley at safety really came on last year but was hurt.

OVERALL: The Panthers are as good as any team in the NFC with the exception of QB. That will hold them back again this year and even with a very good record in the regular season, they will be bounced out of the playoffs by Delhomme.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Panthers,Delhomme,Williams,Stewart,Goodson,Smith. Muhammad,Jarrett,Gross,Kalil,Otah,Kemoeatu. Peppers. Beason,Davis,Diggs,Gamble,Marshall,Godfrey,Harris

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