Welcome to PatsFans.com

Did Belichick use the"Maddux Gambit?"

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by thunder509s, Jan 20, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. thunder509s

    thunder509s Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    The Maddux Gambit
    In chess, a gambit is the sacrifice of material (such as a pawn) in order to gain another type of advantage in the game (such as a positional advantage). This strategy can also be used in sports such as football or baseball, where a player or coach may sacrifice something on one play (sometimes even allowing one or more points or runs to score) in order to gain another kind of advantage.
    I think a "gambit" occurs when a player or coach makes a sacrifice in one game in order to achieve an advantage in a game played at a later date. This might be done in a situation with a lopsided score, or when the later game has more importance than the current game (for example, the second game is an anticipated matchup during the playoffs).
    I am choosing to call this strategy the "Maddux Gambit" because the first description that I remember reading about such a strategy refers to a pair of situations in which Greg Maddux pitched to Jeff Bagwell. These are the events as described by George Will:
    "Leading 8-0 in a regular-season game against the Astros, Maddux threw what he had said he would never throw to Jeff Bagwell—a fastball in. Bagwell did what Maddux wanted him to do: he homered. So two weeks later, when Maddux was facing Bagwell in a close game, Bagwell was looking for a fastball in, and Maddux fanned him on a change-up away."
    Did Bill Belichick Use the "Maddux Gambit" Against Tony Dungy?
    This weekend, we will see the third post-season matchup between Tom Brady's New England Patriots and Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts. As my fellow New Englanders know, the Patriots have won the previous two games. At least some of the credit for these two wins was given to Belichick for "outcoaching" Tony Dungy in both meetings.
    But when the Pats and Colts played in Foxboro during the regular season this year, it looked like Dungy was doing the "outcoaching". Even though the Patriots were having success running the ball up the middle, Belichick chose to try several trickier plays such as a reverse that was stopped for a big loss and a delayed draw that had Brady and Faulk tripping over each other in the backfield. The Patriots lost 27-20.
    At the time, I was baffled by Belichick's play-calling. It seemed like Belichick was more worried about trying different plays than about winning the game. And then I wondered if Belichick was actually willing to lose during the regular season if it created an advantage that the Patriots could use if they met the Colts again in the playoffs.
    Of course, this is ridiculous. Why would Belichick be so crazy as to use the Maddux Gambit in a game that decided home-field advantage in the playoffs?
    When you think about it, there are several reasons that Belichick might play the game this way.
    1) He wanted to "save" his best plays. This is the primary argument for the "Maddux Gambit" at work. Belichick gave up an advantage during the regular-season game so that he would still have an advantage in this area if the teams met again. In the first three quarters of the game against Indy, Corey Dillon rushed up the middle six times for gains of 4, 4, 7, 9, 9, and 10 yards. In short, they had found a play that worked consistently against the Colts defense (if I rememeber correctly, most of these plays involved trap blocking by the Tight End or Guard). But when the 4th quarter started, Brady went to the air and the trick plays came out, even though the Pats were only down by 4 points.
    The Pats ran Dillon up the middle enough to learn that it was effective, but not enough to win the game. If Bill had kept calling this play in the 4th quarter, they could have driven for a game-winning score, but they also create more film for Dungy and the Colts staff to study. If you assume instead that Bill's primary goal wasn't to win the game, but to use the game as a practice session where he found the Colts' weaknesses, then it makes sense to stop calling this play before the Colts see it enough to figure out how to defeat it.
    2) He used the game as a scrimmage. The best way to see how a team will respond to a play (or defensive scheme) is to use it in actual game against them. It's possible that some of the trick plays weren't intended to win the game, but simply to test the Indianapolis defense in case he needed to use these plays at a later time.
    3) He didn't want to spoil the Colts undefeated record. Last season, the media spent much of the season talking about the Colts matching the feat of the 1973 Dolphins and playing a "perfect season". Peyton Manning has never even played in a Super Bowl, but the media was assuming the Colts were good enough to not only win the Super Bowl, but also finish 16-0. As it turns out, the Colts not only lost a couple of regular-season games, they didn't even make it to the AFC Championship Game. An undefeated record can distract a team more than it helps them, and Belichick knows that.
    4) He didn't want home-field advantage. The Patriots were 7-1 on the road this year, and only 5-3 at home. The Patriots players have been quoted as saying there are fewer distractions on the road; you go straight from your hotel to the game.
    5) He wanted to create a psychological advantage. Beating a team builds confidence. But losing by only a touchdown when your QB throws 4 picks and your coaches are making unorthodox play calls. I wouldn't be surprised if Bill sits down with his team this week and admits that he got "cute" with the play-calling in Week 9, and assures them that he learned a lot from his experimentation and now he has a complete plan to pick apart the Colts and go to Super Bowl XLI.
    I'm not saying Belichick threw the November game. But it's not the craziest idea that winning a single game in Week 9 wasn't his only goal that day.
  2. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    17,999
    Likes Received:
    179
    Ratings:
    +397 / 5 / -6

    #75 Jersey

    Paralysis by overanalysis IMO.

    Teams adjust in game all the time. Teams don't lose games on purpose, but neither do they show everything in a regular season game they would in a playoff.

    Jeff Bagwell knows Maddux is going to throw him the outside curve when it counts. Problem is, he can't hit it.
  3. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    40,971
    Likes Received:
    99
    Ratings:
    +175 / 5 / -22

    Some of the points make sense, but agree with the overanalysis of this though. Do not believe that BB or any very good coach would deliberately loose a game to go on the road. Loosing games can create a trend, and even though our team came back it is a hell of a chance, BB is not that much of a gambler. But I think that a lot was learned from this loss, and am confident that BB will scheme for the deficits... the only thing you cannot coach is a team not executing, making mental mistakes, stupid penalties or just coming out flat.
  4. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    9,852
    Likes Received:
    27
    Ratings:
    +46 / 2 / -0

    You mean like taking a safety and giving up 2 points to get better field position?

    Nope. Not going to happen. Not on Belichick's watch. ;)



    Of course, a safety is one thing - losing games early in the season to a conference rival (as opposed to a final, pointless regular season game)?

    Purposefully hurting your chances of getting a playoff bye?

    That's REALLY not going to happen on BB's watch.

    The reporter who asked that question at a press conference would get a long disgusted stare in response.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2007
  5. thunder509s

    thunder509s Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    But BB did give up a safety two years ago in a game against Denver. 4th down with the Patriots on thier own 1 yard line BB called for a deliderate safety down by one point with three minutes left in the game. The Patriots ended up winning that game 30 - 26...
  6. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    18,466
    Likes Received:
    139
    Ratings:
    +290 / 0 / -3

    #75 Jersey

    You hit it on the head. I do disagree with the premise that BB was willing to lose, but I do agree that it was more important to him to hide the power running game in that second half.

    I posted something similar, though less thorough, two days ago about this and several folks agreed.

    At the time of the regular season game, however, I wasn't taking the long view and was absolutely livid after the game. It made no sense (for that game) to go away from the very effective first half power running game.

    To steal your analogy a bit, BB is playing chess while the rest of the world (Including short attention span fans like me) are playing checkers.
  7. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,338
    Likes Received:
    16
    Ratings:
    +16 / 0 / -0

    I don't agree he was throwing the game, but one thing I did wonder was why the cornerbacks were palying about 6-8 yards off Wayne and Harrison. I think that was more of a product that James Sanders just entered the game after Rodney went down.

    I do think they will employ some sort of different strategy whether it's some sort of press coverage or have Chad Scott line up over Wayne or Harrison to mess up the timing.

    Will we see safety blitzes on third down Nickle packages?
  8. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,338
    Likes Received:
    16
    Ratings:
    +16 / 0 / -0

    why would he want to hide the power running game? what's the difference with Dungy having 8 runs versus 22 runs to watch film on?

    If something works that an opponent can't stop it doesn't matter how much film you have and if the opponent does figure out a formula to stop it then the pats will find a counter attack.
  9. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    18,466
    Likes Received:
    139
    Ratings:
    +290 / 0 / -3

    #75 Jersey

    Unbelievable, Mr Big, I was just going to add that as the second "Maddux Gambit" from that night (great minds think alike - - except for the Merriman Fatigue Gambit, about which I admitted after the game that you were right and I was wrong!).

    The zone-cover two that the Pats secondary was using that night was also driving me up the wall. How many passes were being caught by Harrison and Wayne underneath with no coverage for at least 10 yards that night? And they never adjusted for it even while the Colts were taking what they were handing them. It was very mysterious.
  10. skaIownsIyou

    skaIownsIyou Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    i thought i was the only one who thought this...

    because at that point of the season, the nfl knew that the colts run defense wasnt all too great....(nobody thought it'd be THAT bad by the end of the season)


    i thought this way b/c BB didnt run the ball as much in the 2nd half...so i figured,....if BB doesnt use the run in this game, later in the playoffs (figuring they'd have to play the colts in the playoffs) the colts wouldnt have so much tape on the pats running game, at least against them...

    at least i'm not the only one that thought this way...
  11. The Gr8est

    The Gr8est Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    2,770
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    The problem with all this is that you are suggesting that BB is a better coach than Tony Dungy. All you have to do is see all the teams raiding the Colts in search of the the next Dungy to see how wrong that is.

    ...OH WAIT!
  12. scout

    scout Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    7,700
    Likes Received:
    26
    Ratings:
    +36 / 0 / -2

    #15 Jersey

    I think to a point that this may be true. For instance, I would think BB did not show Manning everything he had to throw Manning off. Holding back strategy for the playoffs is reasonable. Holding back plays such as Dillion pounding it up the middle or holding a rookie out for his explosive break-out game is not reasonable. That game was close, take away that acrobatic catch in the end zone and who knows.
  13. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    17,730
    Likes Received:
    125
    Ratings:
    +160 / 4 / -4

    I think in every game, BB tries to win by superior execution, but I think we he faces a potential playoff opponent in regular season, he doesn't reveal his full hand. What he showed Indy in the November game is not what he plans to show them now, and he knew that at the time. In November, had we executed perfectly we might have won. In this game, the Pats will still have to execute perfectly, but they will create more opportunities for Indy to make mistakes. I do think BB holds back during the regular season so that people like Dungy cannot be sure what to prepare for.
  14. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,338
    Likes Received:
    16
    Ratings:
    +16 / 0 / -0

    Great minds do think alike. Let's just go Asante jumps one of those sideline routes and brings it to the house. It's just a matter of time Asante takes the gamble with safety help over the top of course.
  15. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    3,638
    Likes Received:
    12
    Ratings:
    +29 / 8 / -1

    I think it will play out like the Rams games in 01. We threw the kitchen sink at Warner in Foxboro. He threw for 400yds and beat us by a td. Played, much more coverage defense in SB XXXVI. Rodney got hurt early in that game and he probably thought he'd have to score a lot to keep up with the Colts. Rodney still out but defense is playing well. Slowed the best offense in football down last week. I'm sure he has more confidence in D now. And, will rely on coverage to slow them down.
  16. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    13,027
    Likes Received:
    29
    Ratings:
    +43 / 4 / -3

    The year we killed the Colts in the playoffs, they visited Foxboro in the first regular season game, and really outplayed the Pats. They came out on the losing end, but it wasn't pretty for the Patriots.

    So, I really don't see how a regular season game tells us anything about this coming game.
  17. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    17,999
    Likes Received:
    179
    Ratings:
    +397 / 5 / -6

    #75 Jersey

    So BB is so smart he intentionally had Brady throw an interception early so the Patriots wouldn't get early points so they would have to throw later and run only on predictable downs so Indy could stuff the run and keep point totals down so they would get overconfident?

    Brilliant! ??:confused: :confused:
  18. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    17,999
    Likes Received:
    179
    Ratings:
    +397 / 5 / -6

    #75 Jersey

    And why would we play the safeties deep against the Colts and allow the short stuff?

    It's not like they could go deep and score a lot of points on us???:confused: :confused:
  19. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,338
    Likes Received:
    16
    Ratings:
    +16 / 0 / -0

    Allow me to clear up the confusion.

    Bend but don't break allows underneath completions.

    The Ravens played alot of two safety deep play.

    Last game Peyton rolled out and completed a long pass to dallas clark where rodney was injured. Lucky or not he completed the pass.

    we could also see cover two with corners playing short outside routes and safeties over the top.
  20. JGaffney

    JGaffney PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    No, definitively no.

    BB (much like any coach in the league) wants to win every game he can - look at the benefit/cost of ditching the Titans game (the last game of the year, where seeding was set except for a small possibility of affecting the seeding vs. the same team we're discussing now!) - it's obviously more benefit to ditch (give the starters a bye, save some gas for the playoffs, do an extra week of study against the possible opponents in the playoffs, etc.

    And that game wasn't tanked. NO game is ever tanked (with the possible exception of some vying for the #1 draft picks). Every game matters.

    IMO the reason BB does better against teams the 2nd time in a season is because we are a team of constant adjustments. We try stuff in a game, if that doesn't work, plan B comes out, then C, then D. If C works, we lay it on until it doesn't, and then D comes out.

    In the second game of the year we start with what worked the first game (even if it was at the end of a losing game) and the other team has adjusted to handle it, or it hasn't - if not, we're starting off in a better place in the sequence than we otherwise would and tend to win the game, if they do adjust, we keep poking and finding what will work.

    It's not necessarily genius - it's doing smart stuff, and having a team with brains enough and strength in enough areas that we aren't tied to being a one-trick-pony - BB has created a pony with enough tricks that one of em might get the job done (or confuse the rookies on the other teams enough just by sheer number of things coming at 'em).

    The Colts are wise to this - they've seen it enough if anyone has. However, it's still a hard strategy to adjust to, but they've coached through the confusion it engenders in teams seeing it for the first few times. Doesn't mean we win or lose, it means it'll be a good hardfought game - just like the last one we played against em.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

unset ($sidebar_block_show); ?>