Belichick's ballsy call vs. Kubiak's balls-less call

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ice_Ice_Brady, Nov 24, 2009.

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  1. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

    Warning: Rant

    My buddy and I were talking about Belichick's 4th and 2 call last night and concluded that no other coach would have made that call, it was probably the right call (but it ultimately failed), and that NFL coaches are conservative the point of nausea. Most of all, no one wants to make that call because the media will ultimately bleed them to death for going "unconventional." You may recall Peter King act like a 13-year old girl with a broken nail when he called it "arrogant" and felt like Belichick believed he was "smarter" than the average football fan. Really, Peter? Naaahhhh... most of us on this board would have built the New England dynasty.

    Just as we finished the conversation we turn our attention to some MNF. The Texans are down by three points with one timeout left and under 30 seconds on the clock. They are moving the ball at will. They complete a pass over the middle with 17 seconds left. They run to the line to stop the lock with 8 seconds left. (Already a stupid decision. With 17 seconds left, you might get a sideline-out pattern, and have time for another passing play.)

    8 seconds left, 31 yard-line. One timeout. Matt Schaub. Andre Johnson. Steve Slaton. I'm ready for some prime time. Crowd hushes. Ball snapped. Schaub takes the ball and falls down at the middle of the field like a beached whale, losing a yard, so apparently his kicker will have a "straight-on" field goal. Where do I begin?

    If I were a Texans fan, I would be about 8000 times more irate than even the staunchest Belichick critic. Kubiak didn't want to take the 1% chance of somehow being in worse position after the play, due to fear of criticism, so he put on a summer dress and put the game on the foot of Kris Brown.

    Kris Brown missed a shorter field goal to tie the Colts two weeks ago.

    Yikes. If you want a prime example of a coach who misplayed the percentages, look no further. Unlike with Belichick, there is no rational argument that this wasn't an incompetent and wussball decision, but one that will escape heavy criticism since it's conventional wisdom.

    What are the chances of the ball getting intercepted, or a play taking more than 8 seconds? 5% at most?

    What are the odds of kicking a 49 yard field goal, versus a 40-45 yard field goal? That stats say they are much, much, much greater than 5%. At the very worst, an incomplete pass puts you in the same position. Why not AT LEAST give the ball to a running back to take it up the middle, getting those very critical 4 yards? Nope.

    Kubiak instead had his quarterback lose a yard, playing completely against reason, for the grand prize of kicking the ball from the middle of the hashmark. This isn't a college field, and these aren't college kickers. The irony was that the ball went left, and might have gone in had the spot been at the right hashmark, as it was placed originally. I don't think there are statistics about where the ball is on a hashmark, but I highly doubt the percentages increase much. This is something you do on a 20-yard field goal, trying to run the clock down to 0:01 when the only play left is to position the ball since gaining more yards don't help you.

    The jury of the media and public football world grills Belichick and ignores the much worse sin by Kubiak. Belichick's call was unconventional, but arguable, Kubiak's call was conventional, but wrong.

    The situation reminds me of a similar game in January 2005 when Herm Edwards made the worst series of calls I have ever seen. The Jets went to Heinz field to take on the 15-1 Steelers, a David vs. Goliath story. In the 4th quarter, the score tied 17-17, Doug Brien missed a 47-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining, as it hit the post. Yet, at Heniz Field, THE hardest place to kick in the NFL, especially on those windy nights, that distance would have set a record.

    The Jets got the ball back on a Roethlisberger interception and drove down the field, apparently learning from their first mistake and determined to drive deep in Steeler territory. With Chad Pennington leading the way, the Jets marched down to the Steelers' 30 yard line and picked apart the secondary, still with nearly a minute left. But Herm Edwards was again too smart to win the game. Calling conservative run plays into the middle of a stifling Pittsburgh defense, he succeeded in killing his offense, awakening a raucous crowd, icing his own kicker who was already on suicide watch, and setting up a "gimme" 43-yard field goal, which statistically is made less than 50% of the time at Heinz. I'm still convinced that this was the weakest set of calls I've seen.

    After the game, Herm threw Brien under the bus by saying "the kicker needs to make that kick." Brien was never the same. Statistically, the chances of making that first kick was around 25%, and the second kick around 45%. Both missed by inches.

    In closing, be glad we have a guy who has a pair. It doesn't always work out, but at least you went down fighting.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  2. cmasspatsfan

    cmasspatsfan In the Starting Line-Up

    I heard a pundit opine after BB's 4th and 2 in defense of punting that all the other coaches would have punted and have been doing it for years for a reason. Yeah, because they're afraid of criticism and dont play to win, BB PLAYS TO WIN THE GAME.
    Just because every other coach would do it doesnt make it right.
  3. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    I know a lot of people hated that 4th down call by BB, and a lot of people loved it, and it is a passionate topic.

    But surely we can all agree that Kubiak is a ****ty coach.
  4. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    I recall a game a few years ago, I believe in the last game of the regular season. Tampa Bay had the ball and was moving down the field, got to about the 30 yard line. Tony Dungy suddenly goes even more conservative than usual, with a couple of runs up the middle that might as well have been kneel downs. Martin Gramattica comes on for a 47 or 49 yard field goal, and it goes wide.

    The hing that makes that decision even worse was that back then the media was constantly making a big deal about how Tampa Bay had never won when the weather was less than 40, or 32, or something like that. The result of that loss was that rather than host a playoff game the next week, Tampa Bay had to play somewhere cold like Green Bay or Philadelphia, and sure enought they lost in the first round.

    Perhaps not a coincidence then that Herm Edwards was an assistant under Dungy for many years.

    Anyways, back to Kubiak and his decision. Yeah, I agree, I hate it when coaches act as if field goal attempts from over 40 yards are a gimme, especially outdoors. Not saying they shouldn't be attempted; just saying there's no need to stop trying to advance the ball.
  5. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Another wimpy decision that is getting scrutinized even less than Kubiak's decision was that of Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh's loss to the Chiefs. In overtime the Steelers had a 3rd and 2 on the Kansas City 35. Pittsburgh runs a sweep and loses yardage, making it 4th and 5 on the 38. Tomlin goes 'by the book' and punts the ball, and of course it goes into the end zone. As a result, Pittsburgh gained a mere 18 yards of field position; Kansas City scores to win the game on the next possession.

    First there is the play call of a sweep, a play that has a relatively high percentage chance of losing yardage. Second, Pittsburgh didn't hesitate for one moment to put their punting unit on the field. How about at least leaving the offense out there and try to draw an offsides? Or take a false start or delay of game to give your punter more room? Or best yet, go ahead and run another play to try and get a first down, given the fact that at that area of the field a punt doesn't do you all that much good?

    Yet nobody mentions that decision at all, simply because the concept of going for it on 4th down is so foreign to so many fans and so many in the media. It's as if to many the only acceptable time to go for it on 4th down is when you are losing with no time left.
  6. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    - Harbaugh immediately calls a timeout to stop the clock on the Colts final drive at 2:19 when the Colts got the first down. Then he challenged the spot even though there wasn't a chance that he would win. Final two timeouts (and the game) flushed down the toilet. This was so messed up it is almost beyond comprehension...

    1) The clock would stop for a measurement, so there was no rush to call a timeout. If the Colts had come up short, let the clock go to the 2 minute warning. Much rather have the ball at 1:50 and 2 timeouts than at 2:09 with 1 timeout...needing only a FG to win.

    2) While the spot was being measured, he had plenty of time to check the replay and see that the spot was either accurate or potentially a little to his benefit...meaning a challenge would be pointless.

    3) Once it was clear the Colts got the first down, he could immediately stop the clock with timeout #2. That would leave the Colts facing 3rd down just after the 2 minute warning and the Ravens getting the ball with a little over a minute to go...again needing only a FG to win.

    - Mangini at the end of the first half lined up for a 38 yard FG facing 4th and 9 with 13 seconds left. It is a FAKE!!!! Direct snap to the kicker and a completed pass to Furrey! I LOVE this call for a suckish 1-8 team...

    ...except it was a short swing pass that barely got a first down. Timeout. Next play? 29 yard FG. They pulled out the trick play to turn an easy FG into an easier FG. They took a sure 3 points and risked it on a pass from the kicker on 4th and 9 to get....a sure 3 points.

    What makes this even worse? They called the timeout with 6 seconds left. They didn't even end the half and so they still had to defend the kickoff.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  7. Kubiak's call is the sole reason why I'd take BB over anybody else in the NFL. I complain about a lot of things BB does in terms of personnel, but he's only coach that has a set of balls in the NFL. I was totally on board with BB's decision to go for it on 4 and 2. I'd rather have them go for the kill instead of dying a slow death on defense. Had the Pats punted it, I don't think the defense would've stopped the Colts.

    Meanwhile, I can't stand it when coaches like Harbargh play scared and kick a field goal at their opponents one yard line. If you can't punch it in the end zone in four tries at the one yard line, your team doesn't deserve any points.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  8. ALP

    ALP Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    u definetely missed the colts ravens game...
  9. eagle eye

    eagle eye In the Starting Line-Up

    #85 Jersey

    I'm a fan of all, well not all but 99% of things that Bill Belichick does. I take my time if I'm confused by something he does and try to find the logic in it.

    I still cannot see how going for it on 4th and 2 was a good play and we got there but alas bad officiating cost us the game. It was mathematically a bad call too despite what some people here would have you believe. And others who were saying that our D was tired are even more ludicrous, they spent very little time on the field in the second half.

    I believe that our D would have stopped Manning with less than 2 minutes on the clock and one timeout remaining.

    Back to the op anyways, the big flaw in your statement is what you say about how coaches are swayed by the media. Coaches don't think of the media when they are making a call at the end of the game, they are thinking about winning or tying a game and nothing else. Some might play safe and some might gamble but its got nothing to do with the media, its what they believe is the best play given their players and the opposition. And Bill Belichick is the master of that, he rarely makes mistakes, less than any other coach in the game over the last decade anyways.

    There is no coach in the NFL who thinks of the media in these situations, if they did, they would have never made it that far in the NFL.
  10. eagle eye

    eagle eye In the Starting Line-Up

    #85 Jersey

    Oh and you guys say that Bill Belichick makes ballsy calls. I call it a ruthless, cold, calculating mind.

    When you say ballsy and gamble I don't see Bill Belichick.
  11. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    - Harbaugh with 12 minutes left, down by 2, 1st down at the Indy 1. At this point, you should be committed to 4 downs...especially against the undersized Colts.

    1st down - QB sneak by the 245 lb. Flacco. Stopped at the goal line.

    2nd down - Handoff to McGahee stopped for no gain. Why not sneak your 245 lb. QB again? Anyone? Bueller?

    3rd down - Slow developing, deep handoff to McGahee. Loss of 1. Slink off to the sidelines and wonder how bad the feeling is going to be when you lose by less than 4 points.

    How about you try this. QB sneak on 1st down. QB sneak on 2nd down. If you aren't in the end zone, line up in the same formation and run McGahee between the tackle and guard...watching him go in untouched by the mass of Colts defending the sneak. I seem to recall this exact combination working in a game this weekend against a much better run defense.

    And if for some reason you still aren't in on 3rd down? Run it again on 4th down. Kicking a ***** FG isn't showing confidence in your defense. That is just being a *****.
  12. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    I think it's somewhat a matter of terminology. For a lot of people, doing whta is correct over what is conventional is what makes his calls ballsy.
  13. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    - Sporano's Fins recovers a Panther onside kick up by 7 points with 1:40 left. Three straight dive plays up the middle burns the Panther timeouts and leaves 4th and 3 with 44 seconds left. One more dive play up the middle and Panthers take over at their 28 with 39 seconds left. The Panthers move to the Fins 26 and get a final pass into the end zone. It was incomplete, but way too close for comfort.

    While I don't mind going for it on 4th down (wouldn't question a 45 yd. FG to end the game either), I would at least give maximal effort to get the first down. Four dive plays, all of them by someone other than Ricky, just doesn't cut it. Since the clock is going to stop after 4th down anyway, try a play action pass. Bootleg (burning time) and throw to a TE sneaking out into the flat. Worse case you throw a pop fly to the back of the end zone, burning an extra 5 seconds or so. At the very least, run the guy who had 120 yards in the game and had just scored on a 46 yard run a couple of minutes earlier.
  14. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    - Mangini facing a final untimed play at his own 1 up by 6 points. Stafford is hurt so play is stopped. Detroit doesn't have a timeout so Stafford has to come off the field. Culpepper runs onto the field. Hasn't played. Hasn't even warmed up.

    Mangini calls timeout, which allows Stafford to re-enter the game and the rest is history. Mangini says he wanted to get his defense set...but what was he doing during the time the penalty was being assessed and Stafford was being treated? The stupidity level is so high that he has to be on a reality show to see how long he can last in this job despite killing the team. "Survivor: Moron"
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  15. BradyBranch39

    BradyBranch39 In the Starting Line-Up

    Yeah, the way they were moving the ball, a 5-yard sideline pattern may have been a gimme.
  16. PatSunday

    PatSunday Third String But Playing on Special Teams - Yahoo! Fantasy Football Live 1/6

    Idiot moderator:

    As a player, do you think Belichick's 4th and 2 hangover will create long-term problems for the patriots down the road, from the players perspective?

    Tiki Barber:

    "Not a chance... The players believe in Belichick and have no doubt in his decision against the Indy Colts.

    "Let's face it.. One of three things was gonna happen. They were gonna punt, and Manning was going to go down the field and score. They go for it and don't make it, Manning will go down and score. If they make first down, then the Pats win the game. They didn't have a choice, Manning was gonna score if you give him the ball. Forget the criticism. Why are we even talking about it? Belichick is now thinking about the next game."

    Tiki also criticized Rex Ryan for crying and for telling his own players that he doesn't have the answers.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  17. BradyBranch39

    BradyBranch39 In the Starting Line-Up

    haha I'm glad you brought that up. I was laughing in amusement that he did that and then kicked anyways. And who knew that Phil Dawson threw like a left-handed girl?

    Oh, and he so did that to "be like Bill".
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  18. SeauOUCH

    SeauOUCH On the Game Day Roster

    I posted this in the Childress given extension thread but it fits well here..

    Childress is the anti Belichick, did anyone catch the Vikes / Ravens game this year?

    Minny drove down to the 15 yard line ( all passes, Favre was on fire ) trailing by 1 with 3 minutes on the clock & proceeded to run the ball on 1&10, 2&8 and 3&7. They kicked a field goal to go up 2 with 2 minutes on the clock giving the Ravens plenty of time to march down the field & score. Childress's no balls decision to play for the field goal was sadly rewarded when the Ravens kicker shanked a 40 yard field goal to lose the game.

    The worst part was the Vikings D had been absolutely torched in the 2nd half giving up 28 points ( 21 in the 4th Q alone ), how he could play for a 2 point lead there makes me hope BB never retires.

    I ALWAYS root for the kicker to MISS when a coach stops trying to move the ball & plays for a long field goal. Having no balls should not be rewarded in football.
  19. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

    I also root for teams to miss when they go into "kill momentum mode." Unless it's against the Colts, Jets, or Steelers.

    It's just stupid, especially when your team is absolutely shredding the defense. The chances of turning the ball over are easily outweighed by the benefit of a shorter field goal...or, yelp... a touchdown.

    Coaches would rather blame a loss on the kicker than do the right thing.
  20. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    They might not directly think of the media, but it definitely influences their decisions about trying to win the game. They feel pressure just like players do, and many make "conventional" decisions to avoid any negativity afterwards.

    Classic example is when a team is being blown out. Coaches switch objectives from trying to win to trying to keep the score down. How many times has a coach kicked a meaningless field goal late just to avoid the "shut out" talk afterwards?

    The odds of coming back are slim, but those odds become 0 when the coach packs it in and kicks that lame field goal. And it's doubtful you'll see the onside kick afterwards because again, the coach doesn't want the score differential to get too high. The objective has changed because the coach doesn't want to be embarrassed.
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