Monday, November 16, 2009

The Belichick Gamble

As is expected, Bill Belichick is being widely criticized for his decision to go for it on 4th and 2 on his own 28 with a 34-28 lead and roughly 2 minutes left against the Colts Sunday night.

I actually didn't think this was that bad of a decision, had the Patriots played differently after the play came up short.

If you get it, you win. If you don't get it, then you basically allow the Colts to score a touchdown too quickly, get the ball back, and try a field goal to win it.

They had a chance for this to happen with about a minute left, when they decided to tackle Joseph Addai one yard short of the end zone just before the winning TD to Reggie Wayne. Had they allowed Addai to score there, then the Colts would not have run off more time before finally making the winning play.

We've always heard of the idea of allowing the opposition to score to get the ball back with time on the clock (I've never seen it), and this was the perfect time to do it. And I thought they were going to allow Addai to score on that play. It looked like half the defenders were thinking that, but the other half didn't get the message.

Whenever a decision such as Belichick's last night occurs, and it doesn't work, then the idea must be, "What is our best chance to win now?" rather than "We should have punted." Once it didn't work, Belichick should have said, "OK, make it look as good as you can, but let them score, unless Manning throws a gift-wrapped ball your way."

Then you put the ball in the hands of Brady, and I'm sure he could get the yards required to put them in position for a field goal.

I think people might be too hard on Belichick considering he just saw Manning carve up his defense in 2 minutes on the previous drive. A punt would have put the Colts around the 25-30 yard line depending on the kind of return, and with 2 minutes and a timeout he could have easily gotten them back to that same spot in no time.

So, the bad decision to me was not going for it on 4th down, but not allowing the TD earlier. Because you knew that was going to happen anyway, so give yourself a chance to win.

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At 11/16/2009 01:23:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

At the end of the Jets-Jags game, the Jets tried to allow the Jags to score with over a minute to play, only to be outsmarted by Maurice Jones-Drew taking a knee at the one. Just like Westbrook a couple years back, except that the defense was trying to stop Brian.

NFL RedZone rules! I saw it live.

At 11/16/2009 02:47:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

The Pats still could have tried this on the ensuing play, and bought themselves more time. The onus is on the Colts to score a TD there. They can't just keep intentionally missing the end zone.

You have to hope the runner is not clever enough to think of MJD's tactic earlier in the day.

At 11/16/2009 03:09:00 PM, Anonymous rakeback said...

Great coach/terrible call. Whether the play succeeded or not, you just cant go for it on 4th down on your own 28 yard line with a 6 point lead this late in the game. Make the Colts go 80 yards to beat you.

At 11/16/2009 03:17:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

I agree with this rakeback person.

At 11/16/2009 03:23:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

I still think Belichick felt it was inevitable the Colts were going to score with 2 minutes left, and he thought that if he went for it and missed, there would be enough time on the clock to go for a field goal.

If he punts, and the Colts score going the length of the field, then there definitely would have been no time left.

This isn't an opinion on whether he made the right or wrong call, it's just what I believe he was thinking.

At 11/16/2009 03:46:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

I'm willing to buy that you're explanation of his logic is possible. But it just doesn't sound like Belichick to me. To assume his defense can't stop a team they'd stopped a ton already that game... just seems defeatist. He doesn't strike me as a guy to just give in like that and put 7 points on the board for the opponent before they're actually scored.

That being said... he is a numbers guy. Maybe the analytical side of him said this was the best shot. I'm willing to buy that.

But I can't separate myself from my Colts-fandom. I can't believe it was an entirely scientific decision. I've seen him run up the score on many teams just to flex his muscles (especially during that season when Brady broke the TDs-in-a-season record, I mean come on!), I've seen him go for it on fourth just like this (though not as far deep in his own zone) many times.

He doesn't want to win, he wants to choke the life out of anyone who would dare suggest he might lose.

But, as I said, I'm a Colts homer. I might be the tiniest bit biased.

At 12/17/2009 06:54:00 AM, Anonymous Online Casino said...

nice blog but you have to hope the runner is not clever enough to think of MJD's tactic earlier in the day.


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