2017 Season Gets Kicked in the Johnson

2017 Season Gets Kicked in the Johnson

Pictured: Simba and Anand just want the King to get up

Football is back, bigger and better than ever.  With four new teams it’s a whole new world for our league.  That may have been a bad idea for us hold-overs as the only new player to not win their first game was when two new teams played each other.  Time will tell how things shake out, but was a rather inauspicious start for the old guard.

With new roster alignment we’ll get new scoring trends and averages, but overall this seemed like a pretty low scoring week (for 9 of us).  After a few weeks we should have a better sense for what is normal.

With all the new teams, it may be tough for me to keep up with these writeups or they may come later in the week.

Game Recaps:
McCaffeinated 205.02, Magic Mike Evans 78.90

It’s probably a bad sign when your number 1 pick – the player you decide to name your team after – is out of the game due to a hurricane.  After that, things only got worse for Magic Mike Evans.  They would have been better off starting a QB who was off for the

Marvin Lewis Pleading with Ref
“C’mon man! You gotta help me out.  I’ve got Andy Dalton as my QB!”

hurricane than Andy Dalton.  “Bad Andy” showed up this week putting up the first negative score of the year in what ESPN says is the 3rd worst QB performance in the history of their QBR rating (back to 2006). Early picks Demarco Murray and Isaiah Crowell disappointed as well.  But it really didn’t matter how well the Magic Men played because they were facing a juggernaut.  McCaffeinated started with over 45 points from rookie Kareem Hunt, then continued to pour on points all weekend to claim the first weekly high score. In addition Hunt, they had the top two scoring WRs and tied for the top Defense in the league.  The margin of victory in this game was more than all but 3 other teams scored in total.

 

pUSHing Chains 112.94, McCownasty 99.78

After basking in the glory of last year’s championship all off-season, McCownasty met the harsh reality of 2017 as soon as the season started.  Early picks Tom Brady and Brandin Cooks laid an egg on the Thursday night opener, but with the return of 2016’s top player David Johnson, things still seemed manageable, right?  Johnson was fairly pedestrian for most of his game, but he’s had so many big 4th quarters it still seemed like things would still be ok when he caught a 24 yard pass near the goal line.  But then he didn’t get up.  With a wrist injury sending him for at least 8 weeks and returning “hopefully by… Christmas”, things suddenly look dire for the returning champs.  It doesn’t help that Several other starters (Joe Mixon, Tyler Eifert, Kelvin Benjamin) also stunk up the joint.  pUSHing Chains had a nice solid outing from several starters, and combined with the poor showing from McCownasty, it was enough to pull out the win, despite starting Fat Eddie Lacy and his 3 yards instead of Mike Gillislee and his 3 TDs.

Fournettecation 133.54, Breaking Bad 127.14

Autopick strikes again. Last year, several autopick selections led Anand’s team to the championship.  This year, at least for 1 week, the autopick selection of Leonard Fournette worked out as well as the rookie piled up carries against the hapless Texans.  But the real team MVP may have been Hurricane Irma, which took out planned starter Jameis Winston allowing replacement pickup Sam Bradford to lead Fournettecation with over 30 points. Tyrell Williams scored just enough in the late Monday game to pull out the close-fought victory. Breaking Bad got balanced but unspectacular scoring led by LeSean McCoy.

Fly Eagles Fly 135.44, Llamageddon 133.42

The runner up (a.k.a. first loser) the last two years, Fly Eagles Fly started the year off right by beating Llamageddon in an extremely close match.  The Eagles were led by their eponymous defense, and got a big game from Todd Gurley as well to jump out to a Allen Robinson Hurtbig early lead.  The Llamas had balanced scoring but with no player topping 20 points they fell 2 points short of making up the difference.In what is probably a blessing in disguise, the Eagles have been relieved of having to watch Allen Robinson attempt to catch the “passes” thrown by Blake Bortles thanks to an ACL injury to the WR.

Game of the Week
Make the Racial Slurs Great Again 115.34, Plan XVII 113.72

MRGA really doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but I guess it’s better than McCownasty so we’ll roll with it. The Fantasy Redskins fared far better than the NFL Redskins this week as they squeaked out the closest victory of the week.  Aaron Rodgers led the way with only 18.54 points, and Mark Ingram piled on a few garbage time catches to build up just enough of a lead to hold off the Seventeeners.  french surrenderPlan XVII lived up to the heritage of their namesake – French military strategy – as they open the season with a surrender loss. Plan 17 had the high scorer of the game with Adam Thielen’s big monday night performance, but Frank Gore, LeVeon Bell, Greg Olsen, and the Vikings defense all stunk.   Keenan Allen tried to make the miracle late Monday comeback but fell just short.

Questionable Move of the Week

With the results of the first week, I’m tempted to say it’s the 6 holdover owners for letting all the new guys in so they could win the league, Fat Eddiebut this one has to go to Dmitry for benching Mike Gillislee. It’s bad enough that the 3rd highest scoring RB in the league and his 22+ points were left on the bench, but the fact that it was to put Fat Eddie Lacy into the lineup is definitely….questionable.

 

 

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Week 16: Worst to First – Fitzchize Wins Championship

Week 16: Worst to First – Fitzchize Wins Championship

Pictured:  Jordy Nelson and David Johnson celebrate the first championship for Fitzchize

Fitzchize continued its late season domination with their seventh straight week of over 197 points and 5th win in the last six weeks to complete their Worst-to-First journey with a resounding win in the championship game.  David Johnson and Jordy Nelson turned in superstar performances while Dez Bryant, Tom Brady and Matt Ryan also had good performances to put away the slumping Eagles.

Fly Eagles fly continued their late season swoon by posting the lowest score in the league in the game that counted the most.  LeSean McCoy, Mike Evans and Jamies Winston had respectable games, but the rest of the team fell flat.  This was the fourth straight week that the Eagles put up less than 170 points.

The Fitzchize Trophy
The Fitzchize Trophy

After finishing in last place for the past two years, Fitzchize bounced back in a big way this season.   After winning a 8 games over the past two seasons combined, Fitzchize responded with 11 wins this year (counting the championship victory).  They displayed incredible consistency throughout the year, with only two scores (weeks 7 and 9) below 195 points.  The next closest team in that category was the Killer Rabbits with 5 weeks below 195.

This week also made official the Fitzchise victory in total points, giving them a clean sweep of the major awards.  The Rabbit Killers had a huge week to solidify their hold on 2nd place and claim the final weekly prize of the season.

 

Final Accounting

Anand:  5 weekly wins($50), Championship  (110), 1st in total points (75) – 75 entry fee = +160

Jason: 3 weekly wins (30), Runner up (75) – 75 entry fee =+30

Terry: 2 weekly wins (20), 2nd in total points (30) – 75 fee = -25

Chris: 5 weekly wins (50) – 75 fee = -25

Doug: 1 weekly win (10) – 75 fee = -65

Dmitry: -75 fee

I suggest Doug and Dmitry pay their dues to Anand.  Terry can pay his to Jason, and I’ll split mine 20 to Anand and 5 to Jason.

Week 15: Super Bowl Preview

Week 15:  Super Bowl Preview

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Holy crap.
 In researching data to write this I came across something somewhat significant.  It doesn’t affect standings, or anything like that, but it does affect the money situation for a couple players.  In reviewing scores for the past few weeks I noticed that Jason had 1 point less in the system than what I had recorded.  It appears that the NFL released an official Stat correction for week 12 that changed one sack of Derek Carr to a -1 yard rushing attempt.  The Raiders were playing the Panthers that week, and that is who Jason had as his Defense, so his score was reduced by 1 point for one less sack.  Here’s the rub: in week 12 Jason had (we thought) barely squeaked past Anand for the high score of the week. But with this stat correction, Anand actually had the high score by .06 points 210.6 to 210.54.  That bumps Anand up to 5 weekly wins and drops Jason back down to 3. The stat corrections usually come out on Thursdays each week.  The one in question is listed on the Fantasy.nfl.com site if you have any questions.  Sorry it took so long for me to notice.

Not much to talk about after a relatively meaningless week 15.  The Super Bowl matchup was already set, so the games meant very little in the standings. Therefore I won’t dwell on them this week.

The Rabbits came back from the dead to claim their first weekly win since Week Six.   The Rabbits have had the overall high score in the league five times, and they are 2-8 in the other 10 weeks.

Other than the weekly win, the only thing still in play was the total points race. Fitzchize has a pretty firm grip on first place with more than a 100 point lead.  But there is suddenly some drama for 2nd place.  The Rabbit Killers remain in second, but their lead has been cut down heading into the final week.  By puttin up the high score of the week the Killer Rabbits have jumped back to 3rd place, less than 31 points behind.  The Rabbits outscored the Killers by 42 this week, so the gap is significant but definitely achievable.  The Eagles dropped down from third to fourth, an additional 28 points behind the Rabbits, so their hopes in the points race are dim at best.

Super Bowl Preview

On paper the big game looks like it should be a one-sided affair.

Fitzchize has dominated the league for the latter part of the season and has actually outscored the Eagles in each of the last 5 weeks.  Running back David Johnson has been the most reliable scorer in fantasy football this year.  To put his performance in perspective, his worst game of the season was 14.4 points in week 4.  If he had scored 14.4 points in his 15 games, he still would have been the #8 running back in the league.  Instead he often scored much, much more than that, topping 20 points 10 times and scoring over 30 points five times.  But strength across the board is the key for Fitzchize who also features #3 QB Matt Ryan, #4 WR Jordy Nelson, #1 Tight End Greg Olsen, #1 Kicker Justin Tucker, and #2 Defense Denver.

Fly Eagles Fly looked to be on the rise during the middle of the season, but they have tailed off considerably over the last few weeks. Over the last five weeks the Eagles have averaged less than 170 points per game – fourth in the league during that span.  LeSean McCoy and T.Y. Hilton have been the main bright spots down the stretch.  The Eagles will be looking for the likes of Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, and Marcus Mariota to return to their stellar mid-season form for one last game.

We only need to look back to last year to find hope for the Eagles.  Last season it was the Eagles who dominated the latter portion of the season, only to get crushed in the Super Bowl by an inferior foe.  It’s just one game, and anything can happen.

Week 14: Jingle Bell! Dashing Through the Snow

Week 14: Jingle Bell!  Dashing Through the Snow

Pictured:  Le’Veon Bell goes dashing through the snow in Buffalo

So last week there was all this drama about end-of-season scenarios and possible three-way tie breakers with coinflips and all that stuff.

Well, yeah.  None of that matters.  Terry lost, Anand and Jason both won and the Super Bowl pairing is set.  Regardless of what happens in week 15, the championship will be between Fitzchize and Fly Eagles Fly.  Feel free to rest your players this week, guys!

The points race still has a little drama left.  Anand has jumped out to an 87 point lead, which is actually the largest lead anyone has had all season by a significant margin.  Despite falling out of championship contention, Terry holds on to 2nd place, while Jason jumps up to third, about 30 points further adrift.  I dropped to fourth, more than 40 points behind Terry and am just clinging to a dream of maybe making up the 70+ points to finish in the money.  Keep in mind that total points scoring and weekly scoring goes through week 16 even for those out of the championship game.

Fly Eagles Fly 164.88, Boiled Bunnies 110.22

boiled-bunny1_zpsjsndtx9p
Looks like Glenn Close got to my team.

The Rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail has been turned into the bunny from Fatal Attraction.  The team which had the top score in the league 4 of the first 6 weeks hasn’t topped 200 points in a month, and just set the record for worst single game score since the league re-formed in 2013. The Eagles didn’t really have any standout performances other than LeSean McCoy, but that was enough to annihilate the putrid Rabbits.

Fitzchize 199.22, The Klinks 154.44

Tom Brady and Matt Ryan once again led the way for Fitzchize, with Carlos Hyde, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams pitching in as well.  The best player for the Klinks was Aaron Rodgers, but with Nelson and Adams on the other side, all his points were more than negated. Emmanual Sanders was the only other Klinker to top 20 points.  This is the 4th overall weekly win and 3rd in the past 4 weeks for Fitzchize, who has been running away with things to end the season.

Game of the Week
pUSHing Chains 151.76, Rabbit Killers 149.80

In a game that had remained neck and neck all day Sunday, The Rabbit Killers came in to Monday Night Football with a slim lead while pUSHing Chains still had Julian Edelman to play.  The game was still in doubt late in the game, but Edelman scored just enough to pull out the win.  The Rabbit Killers were carried almost entirely by Le’Veon Bell’s monster 50+ point performance in the snow.  But that wasn’t enough to stay ahead of the more balances scoring for The Chain Gang with Jeremy Hill, Tyreek Hill and Tyler Eifert having nice games to lead the way.

Week 13: Who Needs Luck When You’ve Got a Big Johnson

Week 13:  Who Needs Luck When You’ve Got a Big Johnson

As we wind down the last few weeks of the season things are starting to shake out, but there’s still a bit of uncertainty left.

The Rabbits officially join the Edgars and pUSHing chains as having been eliminated from Super Bowl contention.  Terry moves up into third place, and Jason is now in 2nd with only a game separating them, but Jason holds the 2-1 season series edge, so Terry must win two and Jason must lose 2 for Terry to take over 2nd.  Anand has a 2 game edge over Terry, but in that case Terry holds the head-to-head tiebreaker edge, so if Terry wins both his game and Anand loses both of his, Terry would knock Anand out of the championship game.

There is an unlikely, but nevertheless possible scenario where Anand loses 2 games, Jason loses 1 game, and Terry wins both of his games.  If that were to happen it would be a 3-way tie at the top with each team at 9-6.  But each of the three teams has finished the season series at 2-1 against one team, and 1-2 against the other, so they would all have a 3-3 combined head-to-head record against each other.  If that were to happen, the tiebreaker would go to total points scored across all three, with the lowest point total left out of the championship.

It is possible (again highly unlikely) that the total points could also end up in a tie for the final playoff position.  I think i used to have multiple additional tiebreakers defined, but if I did, they’re long gone, so if total points does not decide the outcome for the championship game, we will go with a coin flip (or some other randomly generated outcome).  That coin flip tiebreaker will ONLY apply for playoff eligibility.  The tied players would split the winnings for total points evenly.

Anand just squeaked out another weekly win, his 3rd of the season.  He extended his lead in the overall points race to nearly 38 points, while Terry moved up to 2nd with about a 33 point lead over me.  Jason dropped from 2nd to 4th, trailing me by 12, but more importantly trailing the 2nd (final paying) spot by 45.

Rather than get into full game recaps, here are a few quick-hitter thoughts

Fitzchize 222.04, Fly Eagles Fly 157.58

I wouldn't challenge David Johnson to a skiing contest. This is awesome.
Not only is he good at football.  He’s gonna kick your ass in the slalom too.
  • As implied in the title to this article, David Johnson is pretty good.
  • Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco both scored 4 TDs.  Both were on the Fitzchize bench. (Did you actually think the Jets could stop anyone?)
  • Eagles had 5 players score less than 4 points including two scoring zero.

Rabbit Killers 218.46, Killed Rabbits 192.38

  •  Elmer Fudd finally got his wish, killing off the Rabbits for this season.
  • I guess it’s duck season, especially if you saw some of Drew Brees’ throws for the Rabbits
  • No one for the Rabbit Killers scored over 25, but 7 players scored more than 18 points

pUSHing chains 146.98, The Klinks 135.40

  • 146.98 is the lowest score this season to win a game and both scores were among the eight lowest of the season.
  • You guys realize you don’t get a better draft pick next year if you finish in last, right?
  • Out of 26 starters in this game, only one player topped 20 points.

 

 

 

Week 12: Brown Delivers for the Holidays

Week 12:  Brown Delivers for the Holidays

Picture:  Antonio Brown delivered yet again for Fly Eagles Fly

Based on the standings, it seems there is clear separation of teams into 3 distinct levels – Two teams with 8 wins, two teams with 6 wins, and 2 teams with 4 wins.  Two game differences between each clump with 3 games to go, that seems to be some pretty solid separation.  And certainly the 2 teams with 8 wins are in a much better place than the teams in the other two groups.

But there’s a catch.

Through an interesting quirk in the schedule, the two teams in each of the three groups play each other.  So, barring the very unlikely event of a tie, every team will be separated by exactly one game from the team above and below them.  We will have teams with 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4 wins after this week.  One of those top two teams is going to get a loss, while one of the teams in the middle will get a win to draw closer.  On the other hand, the loser of the teams in the middle is going to be only one game above the winner of the group at the bottom.  The question will be who moves up and who moves down from each group.

The winner of the 8-4 group will certainly be in the drivers’ seat and the loser of the 6-6 game will either be knocked out of playoff contention, or close to it.  But the loser of the top game and winner of the middle game will have only a game separating them with two more to play.

Because there are so many possible combinations still in play, I’m not even going to attempt to figure out what the tie-breaking scenarios might be until at least next week.

After holding the lead in total points since week 4, the Rabbits have not only relinquished that lead, but have fallen to 4th place.  Fitzchize and the Eagles, the top two teams based on win-loss record, also hold the top spots in total points

horse-race-down-the-stretch
It’s gonna be a close race coming down the homestretch.  Maybe someone should pick up Chad Johnson!

with the Fitzers holding a slim 18 point margin.  In fact the difference between first and 4th is less than 41 points so any of the four could easily pull out the points race over the next few weeks. It will likely be a close race all the way down the home stretch.

 

Also, note that the award for winning a week and the total points race go through the entire season, including week 16, so even if you don’t make the Super Bowl, there will still be something to play for that week!

Fitzchize 210.60, pUSHing Chains 170.66

With only 2 scores below 195 all season – by far the least of any team – Fitzchize just keeps plugging along with another solid finish to claim their 8th win of the year. Fitz was led by David Johnson’s 30 points, but it was the depth of good scoring across the board that got the win. The pUSHers got good performances from Davonta Freeman and Dak Prescott, but did not have enough top scorers to keep pace.  Fitzchize made a furious Monday Night run at the weekly win, but fell less than 1 point short.

Caerbannog Killer Rabbits 162.78, The Klinks 198.66

"I score over 40 points and the rest of you f**kers can only score 122?"
“I score over 40 points and the rest of you f**kers can only score 122?”

The Rabbits got another monster performance from Drew Brees, and good games from Philip Rivers and Zeke Elliot, the rest of the starting lineup stunk up the joint.  Leaving high scoring players like Mark Ingram on the

"Dude. Maybe if you'd thrown the ball to me more than, oh, zero times I could have scored more."
“Dude. Maybe if you’d thrown the ball to me more than, oh, zero times I could have scored more.”

bench certainly didn’t help matters.  The Klumsy Kommandants got big games from Michael Thomas and Jordan reed plus nice QB play from Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers.  That and a kicking clinic by Justin Tucker were enough to put away the reeling Rabbits.

Game of the Week
Fly Eagles Fly 211.54, Rabbit Killers 199.78

Antonio Brown and Mike Evans had the Eagles flying high as they claimed their 8th win of the season in a close match with the Rabbit Killers.  The Eagles also got a nice boost from their quarterbacks as Marcus Mariota continued his hot streak and Jamies Winston held his own against the Legion of Boom.  The Fuddsters were led by Odell Beckham, while QB Ben Roethlisberger got his share of points feeding the ball to Brown.  The Eagles went into Monday night with a razor thin lead and could have lost the game had real life Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis missed a kick or two.  But Sturgis did just enough, including a 50 yard FG late in the third quarter to not only seal the win in this game, but win the week as well.

Week 10: Top Four Teams Tied In Knots

Week 10: Top Four Teams Tied In Knots

Pictured:  Whether it’s Seahawks 9 – Cardinals 9 or Bengals 27 – Washington 27, the standings in our league, or these hideous things, nothing is as ugly as football ties.

NOTE:  I just noticed that no trade deadline had been set for the league this year.  I just updated the settings to make the deadline as late as the system allows – November 25th.  Any trades must be completed by that date.  Sorry for the mixup.

Sorry, but a combination of family mini-crises, writers block, and laziness has kept me from writing the past few weeks.  I’m sure you guys are all suffering from the lack of Pulitzer-worthy prose and goofy photo editing, but we shall soldier on.

Now that we’ve completed the 2nd round-robin pass through the league, it seems as good a time as any to take stock of where things stand, and what it boils down to is a deadlocked 4 team race to the finish. The Eagles, Rabbit Killers, Fitzchize, and Rabbits are all tied at 6-4, and the difference in total points between to top team and the 4th team is less than 60 points.  Truly any of the 4 can make it to the championship or win the points race.

The Eagles currently hold the top spot by virtue of their advantage in combined head-to-head amongst the top 4 teams.  They are 4-2 against the other top teams. The Rabbit Killers and Fitzchise are 3-3 against the other top teams so the Rabbit Killers hold the 2nd spot by virtue of more total points.  Despite clinging to a slim lead in the overall points race, the Rabbits fall to fourth place after going 2-4 against the other three.

While it is possible, it is unlikely that all 4 teams remain tied at the end of the season. However it is likely that there will be some ties among the top 2 spots.  At that point, who ends up tied with whom may be the important factor in determining the participants in the Super Bowl.  Jason currently holds an insurmountable 2-0 edge over me, but is 1-1 against everyone else.  Terry is 0-2 against me, 2-0 against Anand and 1-1 against Jason. Anand is 2-0 against me, but 0-2 against Terry and 1-1 against Jason.  Of course some of those advantages may cancel each other if there are any 3-way ties so there’s a lot to be decided, but Jason is definitely in the best position at this point.

For what it’s worth, In the last 5 week round-robin, Terry went 4-1, Jason and I were 3-2, and Anand was 2-3.

Terry finally picked up his first overall weekly win of the season this week.  He joins Anand and Doug with one apiece.  Jason has 3 and I have 4.

 

Since we just got through an exercise in our version of democracy in the election, and we just observed Veterans Day, we should shake off the ugliness of those ties in the standings with some beautifully uplifting and patriotic images from the NFL’s Salute to Service campaign throughout this weeks’ writeups!

 

Rabbit Killers 258.94, Fly Eagles Fly 216.98

Tennessee Titans cheerleaders perform in camouflage for the NFL's Salute to Service during in the first half of an NFL football game between the Titans and the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Marcus Mariota’s performance for the Eagles was surely inspired by the Patriotism displayed by the Titans cheerleaders…

The second highest point total in the league was just enough to earn the Eagles the biggest blowout loss of the week.  The Rabbit Killers topped their previous high score of the year by nearly 30 points to run away with this contest  Russell Wilson led the way with over 35 points but Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell, and DeMarco Murry also topped 30 points, and Stephon Diggs and Odell Beckham were not far
behind that.  That sort of star power was

titans-cheerleaders-sts-2
…but DeMarco Murray got just as much inspriation for the Rabbit Killers

more than enough to make up for disappointing outings from Randall Cobb, Jay Ajayi, and Jimmy Graham.  The Eagles were led by Marcus Mariota and Antonio Brown, but there weren’t enough other big performances to make up for duds from Mohamed Sanu, Lamar Miller, Terrance West and DeAndre Hopkins.

 

 

Caerbannog Killer Rabbits 207.56, The Klinks 176.18

chargers-cheerleaders-sts
Philip Rivers was clearly wanted to Make the Rabbits Great Again after he saw the display of patriotism on the Chargers sidelines

A monster game from rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot powered the Rabbits past the Hapless Kommandants.  Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Julio Jones had nice games a well, to overcome duds from JJ Nelson and Mark Ingram.  The Klinks were led by Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and a too little, too late big game from Doug Baldwin, but that wasn’t enough to overcome a zero from Matt Jones and several other players who couldn’t get out of single digits.

 

Fitzchize 211.02, pUSHing Chains 191.66

arizona-cardinals-cheerleaders-salute-to-service-uniforms1
FItzchize stars David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald were clearly ready to fight for the stars and stripes on the Arizona sidelines this week.

After following up their highest scoring week of the year with their lowest scoring week of the year, Fitzchize bounced back to score enough points to pull off their sixth win of the year.  Jordy Nelson led the way for the Fitzers, while David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Dez Bryant contributed as wll.  The Chain gang was led by Tyrell Williams, Dak Prescott, Demaryius Thomas, and Blake Bortles, and had an outside chance to pull out the win on Monday night, but mediocre games from Jeremy Hill and Tyler Eifert left them well short.