Did Denver make a strategic mistake by electing to receive in OT? I think so

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by SoCal Bong, Jan 10, 2012.

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  1. SoCal Bong

    SoCal Bong Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I believe that Denver won the OT coin toss and elected to receive and I think this was a mistake if you ignore hindsight. Due to the overtime playoff rules, if you believe that your defense is more than likely to give up a touchdown in one possession, then you should receive but in most cases you should choose to kick.

    Think about college football OT; when you win the toss you always choose to start on defense so that the offense knows what they need. If the other team fails to score, a field goal wins so you can go conservative and kick once you are in confident range rather than running more plays and risking a turnover. If the other team scores a TD then you know that you are in 4-down mode from the start. This of course does not apply to the NFL but the end objective is still the same.

    I know that a TD in NFL playoff OT ends the game on the first possession but if you hold them to zero or a field goal, then you do know what your offense has to do. The difficulty in strategy comes in when you face say a 4th and short at say around the 35. Try the long FG to stay alive or get the first down to try and win while risking that you’ll lose if you don’t convert but that’s a whole nother discussion.

    Well less than half of NFL possessions result in a touchdown (anyone know the %?) so it seems to me that the proper strategy is to choose to kick off rather than receive when you win the OT coin toss.

    Of course Denver scored a TD on their first possession and won but I'm talking about general strategy that maybe some coaches have not given a lot of thought to but I'm sure BB has.

    If this has already been discussed, please delete this thread.
  2. patsfan06

    patsfan06 On the Game Day Roster

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    LOL no.

    In the 2nd half Pittsburgh was driving up and down the field with ease. You said it yourself. And it is different than college football 80 yards>20 yards.
  3. nabwong

    nabwong PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have to say no. Because Pittsburgh outscored Denver 17-3 in the 2nd half and were likely to score another touchdown. I also believe Pittsburgh dominated time of possession in the 2nd half which makes Denver's D slightly more tired.

    Besides, I think you always want your offense out there because you never know if you are going to get a stop from the D.
  4. PatsDeb

    PatsDeb PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Huh? They won the game on the first play from scrimmage - how is that a mistake? Even if they didn't score as they did, they had the opportunity to go down the field first, and if they score, game over. Even if they just kick a figgie, if their defense holds, game over. How can a team take such a chance? If you think your D is good, then elect to receive, at least get a field goal and then let your D hold the other team.
  5. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I think they proved that receiving is always going to be the better option. When one mistake can end the game, you want the ball first. This isn't college where you're gauranteed a possession.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  6. strngplyr

    strngplyr In the Starting Line-Up

    The fact that you can lose in 1 play says you always take the ball first. If you can put up a FG at the minimum, you know you're pretty safe.

    I would never choose to give the opponent a chance to beat me before I had the chance to beat them, you are purposely giving them the initiative, you never do that in a battle.

    Denver scoring that 80 yard TD pretty much guaranteed that nobody will ever elect to play defense first. You are overthinking and over complicating the new rules in order to develop a new strategy, nothing has changed, only one portion of the 'sudden death' element has been eliminated, and as long as that is the case, I would NEVER choose to be on the defensive side of that battle.

    I also think that in most OT games, when a team scores on a first possession, they move into FG range quite easily and probably could have scored a TD if they desired, but never had to. Kicking a FG was just a faster and easier way to finish because there was no need for a TD.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  7. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

    Denver made the right decision. You cannot evaluate strategy in a vacuum. Pittsburgh had been dominating the second half. Under the circumstances chances are fairly high that if Denver had deferred they would have never seen the ball again. On top of that Tebow ended the game so second-guessing is pretty useless at this point. We will face Denver next. Prepare accordingly. The Pats should aim to score early and often so it doesn't come down to OT where anything can happen.
  8. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    One other thing to factor in is that by receiving you are giving your defense a little extra time to catch their breath, while at the same time not letting the opposing defense have that time to rest. I think overall the benefits to receiving the ball in overtime outweigh the benefit of knowing exactly how many points you need to score.
  9. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze In the Starting Line-Up

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2012
  10. fnordcircle

    fnordcircle brady plz PatsFans.com Supporter

    You always want to be the ones in a position to put pressure on the other team.

    If you score a TD or a FG they are under the gun and that's what you want - players feeling the pressure.

    Or you can also get a first play 80 yard TD catch and run and win the game outright.
  11. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I actually agree, although it worked I think the Broncos didn't play the odds. With an offense like the Patriots you have to take the ball. By taking the ball the Broncos gave themselves a very real possibility of not getting a lot of yards and punting leaving the Steelers closer than 80 yards from the end zone and only needing a FG.

    IMO, unless you have a top offense you're better off starting on defense, eliminating the "only a TD wins" and becoming the first team eligible to win with just a FG. It's a close call and Denver's defense faltering gives me pause but as someone rooting for Denver it was quickly obvious that a 3 and out for Denver was a disaster.

    I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions.
  12. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If they only deferred, they would be playing the Pats in Foxboro this Saturday night instead of the Steelers..... oh, wait.

    Sorry, they made the right call. As long as the overtime rules allow the first team who has the ball to win the game without the other team having a possession, you take the ball if you win the toss. Even if your defense has kept the opposing team out of the end zone for the entire game, you gotta account for one broken play changing that.
  13. SoCal Bong

    SoCal Bong Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Thank you BelichickFan!

    I concede that this is difficult to analyze without knowing the percentages of possession that result in a touchdown, field goal or nothing but my gut feel is that most end up in zero which leave the 2nd possession team with a large advantage in only having to get to field goal range to win the game. If the game involves the Saints, Packers or Pats then yeah, those teams would take the ball first but if you a defensive team, wouldn't you rather get the stop and then hold the advantage?

    Unfortunately it could be awhile before there is a large enough sample size to see what decision coaches make but I'd put down $100 right now that within 5 years you'll see some coaches choosing to start on defense.

    Maybe Cold Hard Football Facts can settle this.
  14. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Both coaches said that they would take the ball first if they won, although I suspect that something truly extraordinary (e.g., the Buffalo wind game) might cause them to reconsider.
  15. ewg_gestalt

    ewg_gestalt Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Something to keep in mind: TFB has never lost in OT, except when he hasn't had a chance at a possession.

    As far as the stats, there were 400 rushing TD's and 745 receiving TD's in the NFL last year, in addition to 19 PR's, 9 KR's, 48 INT returns, and 31 fumble returns. So that's 1154 offensive touchdowns, 19 touchdowns scored on special teams, and 79 defensive touchdowns.

    If you assume that each team in a game gets about 10 series a game, then that's about 5120 total series in a season. Make it 5000 to make the math easier. You have about a 23% chance of scoring a TD on an offensive possession.

    On the other hand there were 838 FG's and 21 safeties. So, in the regular season you'd have about a 17% chance of kicking a field goal, so about a 40% chance total of a score that would win the game, and about a 2.5% chance that a mistake will end the game by the other team scoring.

    In the playoffs, the other team's scoring to win remains the same, but your chance of winning on offense on the first position goes down to the 23% of scoring a TD. Note that these are on average. NE, GB, and NO, for instance, probably converted about 35-40% of their drives into TD's, while GRONK had a better conversion rate than a team like the Rams.

    The Broncos scored 31 TD's this season via the pass or rush; the Steelers 34. So it's about a wash on that front.
  16. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    They won the game so how could it be a mistake.
  17. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm sorry, but you're both wrong.

    Analyse the problem this way.

    Imagine that the only possibility was to score a field goal (or not score at all). In that case, there'd be an advantage to having the ball second because you'd know what you had to do. If the other team scores you are, in effect, playing four-down football. How much of an advantage is that? Small but not negligible.

    Now, in fact, there's a further pay-off -- the chance that a team has of scoring a touchdown and ending the game forthwith. How big is that? Touchdown scoring percentages of teams in the red zone range from 33 to 66 per cent. So call that 50 per cent. What's the chance of reaching the red zone? Even if it's only 1 in 3 that still gives you an extra 17% chance of winning. Far outweighs the advantage in the field-goal only case.
  18. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The Denver TD was sort of a fluke play.

    Where the hell was Polamua? A TD is the fatal blow - game over. With a FG, at least youve got a shot at tieing things up.

    The NE Safeties will be protecting the big play from happening I can guarantee you that.
  19. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No, because:

    That's the biggest difference between the college and NFL rules. That's why you don't want to kick off.
  20. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Are you serious? :rolleyes:
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