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So, what were the Panthers doing there?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatsFaninAZ, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    Arguably the biggest game of the year. If you win, you have an enormous leg up on the playoffs. A virtual lock.

    You're down in position where there should only be two possible options -- either a win, or overtime. And you lose the game. You simply cannot throw an interception there. You can't run any play where an interception is a possibility. What a bunch of morons.

    Even more incredible is what they were doing with the clock. Two time outs and two minutes left inside the 20, and they are just letting the clock run out of on them. For some unknowable reason, they let more than a minute run off the clock. Why would you ever do that? I can understand wanting to get it down to a minute once you're inside the ten to avoid leaving too much time if you need to kick a field goal. But they were not even close to that. They had first and goal on the seven, and they just let the clock evaporate down to about 25 seconds.

    They put themselves in position where they could not have run 3 running plays. Why take that option away from yourself?

    More than that, imagine this scenario. You have first and goal from the seven, with two time outs and 25 seconds on the clock, just as Carolina did. Fox lets the clock tick all the way down, because he assumes that they only have three cracks at the win and then will have to kick the field goal. WRONG. Imagine that they run on first down and get to the 4 yard line. They run another play and get to 2 yard line. Now they have 3d and goal with 10 seconds left. What do you call? They have a time out, so they can run anything. Let's say they call a run (or a pass, it doesn't matter), and they don't get the touchdown. But, suppose that Philly commits a penalty -- let's say hands to the face. It's an automatic first down on the half yard line, but now there's only 4 seconds left, and you have to go for the tie. Even worse, if you're philly there, and they run a pass play, just go ahead and commit pass interference all over the field to make sure they don't win. You're still in no worse position. They never ADD time to the clock. The worst you can do is have an untimed down from the one yard line with a 3 point lead.

    If you're in position where a field goal can win the game, you run the clock down and then win. If you're in position where a FG only ties, but a TD puts you up 4, you never run the clock that far down, expecially if you have time outs and your opponent has fewer than 3.

    Coaches ask alot of players, but when they don't hold up their end of the bargain, it's a real shame.
     
  2. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Delhomme=Jake the Snake
     
  3. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'm not entirely sure what that means. Doesn't Jake have like the most 4th quarter comebacks of any active QB? When you figure he got a bunch of them on a team that struggles year in and year out to win 5 games a year, that's something at least.

    Anyway, Delhomme made a bad pass, for sure, and the defender made a great play. But I put that result squarely on the coaches.
     
  4. Michigan Dave

    Michigan Dave Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    NEM is right. The clock management was spot on. Figure, with the timeouts, 20 seconds is more than enough to take your shots and kick the FG if you have to. This kills any shot they have of beating you on anything other than a Stanford-Cal like fluke return. The clock management was fine. What seemed weird to me was that final play. It looked real awkward. I think Delhomme made the right read, and was correct in his postgame presser when he said he'd take that matchup again. It looked like Keyshawn jumped way too soon, and the spacing behind him and Lito Sheppard seemed abnormally deep. If Keyshawn takes 2 more steps, he comes down with an easy TD. From the route he ran, it almost looked like he was looking for a quick pass instead of a jump ball, when it clearly was a jump ball situation.
     
  5. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #95 Jersey

    >>>But, running the clockdown , IMO, was the right thing to do.


    Absolutely. If you don't run it down, you find yourself in the same position as the Giants on Sunday. They scored but left enough time for the COwboys to move down the field for a Grammatica FG as time expired.
    As another poster said, time managment was okay, it was the playcalling and execution.

    Just my $0.02,
     
  6. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    Actually, you're not in the same position as the Cowboys. The Cowboys needed a touchdown just to tie. The Panthers only needed a field goal to tie, and they would only have kicked a field goal on 4th down, so they had at least 3 more plays (and possibly more in the event of a penalty) to run before they had to settle for a tie, and plenty of time to get the clock down in those three plays if they decided that was what they wanted to do. But first and goal on the seven is way too early to do that. There is no way the Eagles are going to ever call a time out there, unless it's 4th down. As long as losing is still on the table, as it was for the Eagles, you have to let the clock run and hope Carolina settles for a field goal, so the two situations are entirely not comparable.

    Put another way, the difference between the Giants/Dallas game and last night's game was that the Giants did not have any option where they could take the lead, and thus win the game, on their last drive. When you're in that position, you want to score close to the end of the game -- but actually you don't want to score AT the end of the game. 20 to 30 seconds is fine, because you want to give yourself the opportunity to have more plays if the defense commits a penalty. Once again, the error that coaches make here is to assume that once it's first and goal, that you only have three or four plays to score a TD. You may get more in the event of a defensive penalty, and you don't want to be in position of having the downs to score a TD but not enough time to do so.

    So, anyway, Carolina was in a much much different situation from the Giants. If you're Carolina, you don't mind scoring a touchdown with a minute left on the clock. You'd much rather do that than score a field goal with time expired, because the reality is that on the road, a 4 point lead with a minute left gives you a much better chance to win than kicking a field goal for overtime does, so you'd take that every time.

    So I agree entirely that IF you kick a field goal, you want to make sure that you leave very little time on the clock. It doesn't need to be the last play of the game, but you want it to be no more than 25 seconds or so, or less if your opponent has time outs. BUT you don't want to use up so much time that you deprive yourself of the opportunity to win the game. If it were second or even third down, and they were still seven yards away from a win, with the Eagles having two time outs, then I agree, you start to put pressure on your opponent to use their time outs if they want to preserve the clock. (Which the Eagles would never have done.) But first and goal from the seven in a 3 point game is not the time to let the clock run down to 22 seconds. As long as the touchdown is still in order, it's way too early.

    I think I'm partially proven correct by what happened. The correct sequence there is to wait until there's a minute left then run three times to try to score a touchdown to win the game. If you score earlier, great. You'll take your chances with the Eagles having to go 70 yards to win in a minute. That's better than trying a field goal (which you might miss) to get to overtime. Instead, I think Carolina feld compelled to try at least one pass in that sequence, in part because they didn't have enough time to run three times with only two time outs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
  7. PatsSox363804

    PatsSox363804 In the Starting Line-Up

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    He seems to have lost it this year, I think all of their 4th quarter collapses had to do with Jake INTs. I was actually waiting for it last night.
     
  8. Michigan Dave

    Michigan Dave Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    No way. If you have the timeouts, you run the clock down right away, and then that way if you score on 1st down, you're still in a good position. You never play for the tie there. The odds of getting a touchdown on that possession inside the 5 with 1st and goal and 2 timeouts, are better than playing for OT and hoping you win the toss. Bleed the clock, your TOs allow you to absorb and situation and still be OK, and this way, you've maximized your opportunity.
     
  9. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    I think we're talking past each other. I agree you never play for the tie. That's kind of my point -- giving yourself as many opportunities as you can for the touchdown without running yourself out of time.

    What about my hypothetical situation? You run the clock down to 25 seconds on first and goal from the seven. You run a couple of plays and don't score. Now it's third and goal with 10 seconds left. You've just taken winning off the board in the event of a defensive penalty. In fact, if you're the defense, and it's a pass play, why not drag down every single receiver on the field? No matter what you do, they are still going to kick.

    I've probably seen this exactly scenario half a dozen times watching the NFL. Team is down by 3 in the red zone, and they worry so much about running the clock down that they run out of time after a defensive penalty. Most defensive penalties are automatic first downs, but the teams can't take advantage of all the new downs to win the game, because they don't have any time left.

    First and goal on the seven, there is absolutely no reason to run the clock to less than a minute. If you don't score on first down, then you can start thinking about taking time off the clock. The reality is that in one play you can use up 40 seconds at any time, unless it's 4th down, because the Eagles are never going to call time out there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
  10. Michigan Dave

    Michigan Dave Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    You play under the assumption that each play is going to be successful. If you fail to run down the clock when you have the chance, score on first down, and get beat by the opponent having time left, you're going to (rightfully) take heat as a coach. In theory, you've found a great solution (the defensive penalty), but you don't coach for the outside shot that the defense may commit a penalty to extend the game. In fact, keep in mind that your WORST CASE here is the FG, and OT. Hence, you hold the cards. The defense isn't going to commit a penalty for the sake of commiting a penalty, namely because they never know if a coach will be crazy enough to go for the win with the ball on the 1. The defensive penalty is just as likely to occur with more time on the clock as well, because the only time they are intentionally taking a penalty is to save a sure TD.

    In football strategy, you always take what you can control. That's why on offense, you control in this situation the end of the game. You run the clock down, score a TD, and the opponent has little to no time to win/tie. Worst case, you run it down, tie, and go to OT. This is a better scenario than playing for the outside shot of a defensive penalty, and leaving enough time for the OTHER team to sieze control.

    On defense, you can take the penalty, but only if it prevents a sure TD.
     
  11. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

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    There was a TON of contact between MeShawn and Lito Sheppard on that final play. I know there's a five-yard buffer where contact is legal, but the Panthers were on the 5 yard line and the contact was past the goal line. Both guys appeared to be making a play on the ball, yet the ball was clearly thrown farther outside than either player expected and Lito had the dexterity to adjust at the final moment. It's easy to criticize the Panthers after the fact, but when have you ever seen so much contact with the ball in the air and no flag thrown (on either guy)? That was an oddity of a non-call.

    Regards,
    Chris
     
  12. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    That's really the main difference I think between our positions. You and I would be very different coaches. I don't agree with either of these statements.

    I think the key to game-coaching is doing taking exactly situation that's presented to you as it's presented to you, using every piece of information you have at that moment, and making the choice that gives you the highest chance of winning. Not winning the play, or the situation, or the battle within the battle, but the game.

    Because the reality is that every play is not going to be successful. We can disagree about whether up by 4 with a minute left kicking the ball off is a better chance of winning than first and goal from the 7 with 22 seconds left. Seems like an easy call to me, but reasonable minds can differ.

    My more fundmental point, and I guess what I think makes a great coach is one who understands that with first and ten from your opponent's 20, a 9 and a half yard run is better than a 10 yard run. (Just to take a silly example.) Or, to put it in Belichickian terms, one who realizes at 4th and forever from the two yard line down by 3 that a safety is the better play than a punt. That coach ain't, in my opinion, John Fox, which is really my only point.

    Good debate though. I respect your view.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
  13. PatsSox363804

    PatsSox363804 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'd rather them never throw that flag than throw it every time. Shappard didn't impede MeShawn to the point where he couldn't catch it, it was a poorly thrown ball, and Lito took the inside route and has just as much right to it not to mention the fact that MeShawn was contacting Sheppard just as much as the other way around. Further, when I watched the replay it wasn't really that much contact, mostly just hands reaching out but no obvious push or hold and it was equal on both parties.
     
  14. Michigan Dave

    Michigan Dave Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Fair enough. I come from the University of Michigan coaching tree, so control is what has been preached to me. I can definitely understand your point, I just tend to play the percentages within scenarios that I control. I think 9 times out of 10, Carolina comes away with at worst a tie in the game last night.



    I agree with those statements as well. I'm a HUGE fan of the 2nd and 1 play, anywhere on the field. It's a freebie. That's why I almost always root for the opponent to get the first down when they measure in that situation. I hate giving up free plays. The safety call is smart, too.

    While we're debating coaching philosophies, I'd be interested to hear your point of view on the Holmgren decision in SB XXXII when he chose to allow Denver to score to take the lead to preserve time on the clock for Favre. Personally, I think that you never relinquish the lead in that situation. I have a friend who is firmly in the "let them score" camp, and actively advocates letting a team score late so that you can counter and win. Drives me mad.
     
  15. PatsSox363804

    PatsSox363804 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yep. Whenever it's 2nd and 1 I want to see a play action deep down the field.
     
  16. Michigan Dave

    Michigan Dave Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I don't even think you necessarily need to go deep there. It's a great opportunity to pick up free yards over the middle of the field, because typically teams help toward the sidelines anticipating a go route. 10-15 yard ins, slants, deep drags, those are perfect in those situations, especially to TEs releasing.

    If field position dictates, I LOVE the 3rd and 1 PA downfield, especially with an offense as efficient as ours is in short yardage and 4th down conversions.
     
  17. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    I thought that one was a tough one. It's just a bad situation either way. Wasn't the game tied there? I think that's a harder call than if you're winning. I think Holmgren let them score from out about the 20 yard line, which was maybe a bit too generous. Still, I think if the game is tied with 2 minutes left, and I don't have time outs, and they are inside the 10 yard line, I probably let them score, rather than run the game down to nothing and kick a game winning chip shot. Going back to my philosophy, I think the chance that they will kick the field goal is greater than the chance that I will score a touchdown to tie and then win in overtime. Not much, but still higher.

    Here's a related scenario. You're on defense, up by 1, with less than 2 minutes. Your opponent is out of time outs. You intercept the ball with a clear path to the end zone. The correct play there is to sit down on the field or run out of bounds. If you're the team that has been intercepted, the correct play is to get the heck out of the guy's way and let him score if he wants to. Better to be down by 8 with the ball back than to have the other team just kneel on the ball to run out the clock.
     
  18. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    Depends on where on the field. If it's a second and one at my opponent's 11 yard line, I really want at least a 3 or 4 yard play. It's way better than having first and goal at the 10 yard line.

    The stats for touchdown converstions when you start with first and goal from the 9 or 10 yard line are amazingly low. It's way under 50 percent, maybe even under 30 percent or so. Wheras scoring a TD when you start a 1st and goal inside the 7 yard line goes way up. It's just really hard to get 10 yards on 3 plays with only a 20 yard field (the 10 yards and the EZ) to work with.

    For as much as announcers like to talk about red zone conversions, it's really all about where you start your 1st and goal from. In fact, in NCAA football, apparently you're more likely to score a TD if you start overtime from the 25 than if you start it from the 20, which is somewhat amazing if you think about it, but the opportunity to get 2 first downs (instead of just one) is apparently a big advantage. Whenever a team gets inside the other team's 50, I always pay attention to that. There's really not much you can do about it to control it, but if you're a receiver and you've picked up the first down, and your choice is to get tackled at your opponent's 10 yard line or his 15, the 15 is actually the better spot, as weird as that sounds. Not that any receiver can actually make that decision on the spot (and not that we'd want them to try).
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
  19. Michigan Dave

    Michigan Dave Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    That is hilarious, because a similar situation happened to us at Michigan in 1999. We blew a big lead against Illinois, at home, and had just turned the ball over on downs with almost enough time for Illinois to run out the clock. A first down seals the game, and we would've needed a quick stop just to hope to get the ball back for a Hail Mary. Lo and behold, we pinch at the line, and Illinois' RB Rocky Harvey breaks through, and makes a move, running 50+ yards for the score. The Illinois bench erupted, the Illinois fans erupted, and so did we, because we realized they had given us hope. Brady drove us down, but a TD pass went through Dave Terrell's pass in the end zone, and we lost.

    It was still an amazing realization that their TD was a good thing for us.
     
  20. Krugman

    Krugman Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #87 Jersey

    Outside of the clock management issues,which have been well stated,didnt the
    Panthers throw the same type of pass on an earlier scoring drive?I was listening on the radio,didnt see that ,Esiason or his winger mentioned that.If so,thats a huge faux pas,the Eagles defence would e looking for that.
     

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