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Cowboys/Niners Strategy Question

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Ice_Ice_Brady

High Priest at Team Bill's Temple
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I see McCarthy and Prescott are defending the QB draw, so let’s say theoretically it worked and Prescott spiked the ball in time for one last play.

Would you rather have two shots at the endzone from the 41-yard line (assuming the first play doesn’t end in a turnover or sack), or one shot at the endzone from the 24-yard line?

Wondering if people think the odds favor one over the other, and also if there’s some kind of general statistical reference.

I could be talked out of it if I had more info, but intuitively I’d be more inclined to throw a hail mary-esque pass from the 41 with 14 seconds left, and possibly get another, than getting one shot from the 24.
 

doesntmatter1

In the Starting Line-Up
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Definitely the 24. It gives more options to throw without having to put too much air under the ball. Hell, a well designed screen is even an option from 24 yards out.
 

rochrist

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Yeah, I'd agree. The 41 is a hail mary. The 24 is a legitimate shot.
 

RobertWeathers

Author of the Port Huron Statement
I think the play was sound, but not executed right. Dak didnt go down fast enough, and for some odd reason he handed the ball to his center instead of the ref.
Bingo.

Logic is fine.

Method and risk involved was not appropriate for that situation.
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
At that point of the game your primary concern is the clock; yardage is secondary.

The decision to run up the middle of the field was questionable. He only needed a yard for a first down. There's zero chance of running for a TD. The furthest Prescott should have run was to the 30.


To answer the OP's question, from the 41 the smart play is to get some yardage and then a closer shot at the end zone. It was just poorly executed, or perhaps not communicated/reinforced enough about the need to finish the play earlier.

Mike McCarthy has a history of poor to questionable clock management, so I'm guessing that was never discussed.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

High Priest at Team Bill's Temple
PatsFans.com Supporter
Interesting chart here. Understanding that there are pretty big flaws here with sample sizes, team strength, etc., this is at least along the lines of what I was looking for. As you can see by the smoothed black line, the percentages are just estimated, but I think it’s still interesting. Fyi, the link is dead.

If you used this as a general rule of thumb, using the curved line (I assume it accounts for sample problems), it’s about a 12.5% chance from the 24 yard line, and maybe a 3% chance from the 41 yard line. If you got the two attempts, it’s roughly a 6% chance.

So based on what everyone has said and this data, it would be a smart move to run one more play and get one shot at the end zone, since the probability rises significantly immediately when you start getting past the 40. Right idea, poor execution.

 

Doctor DDS

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Dallas was getting 10 yards a pop on quick outs eating maybe 4 or 5 seconds a pop so I would have tried that one more time and if you make it you then get 2 shots from around the 30. I thought the run was way too risky with that little time on the clock.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

High Priest at Team Bill's Temple
PatsFans.com Supporter
Dallas was getting 10 yards a pop on quick outs eating maybe 4 or 5 seconds a pop so I would have tried that one more time and if you make it you then get 2 shots from around the 30. I thought the run was way too risky with that little time on the clock.

It looked like the 49ers shifted their CBs just before that play to cover the sidelines and now allow any more of those easy outs. They essentially conceded the entire field except the sidelines and endzone.
 

chasa

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
14 seconds with no TO isn't enough time to run that far and be able to line up and clock it.
yeah this is 100% not on the ref.

1.) the spot was wrong because there wasn't time and the ref was trying to let them get a play off, since the ball is dead where dak starts his slide the entire offense needed to move back 2 yards

2.) not handing the ball to the ump

3.) not leaving space for the ump to do his job.

The cowboys completely ****ed themselves, which is exactly what you expect from a mike macarthy led team.
 

Pape

In the Starting Line-Up
I see McCarthy and Prescott are defending the QB draw, so let’s say theoretically it worked and Prescott spiked the ball in time for one last play.
This right here is the problem with the play call.

They didn't spike the ball with one second left. And thats the problem with the play call. A crossing route into the middle of the field would have netted almost the same amount of yardage; and it would have been much easier to get to the line and clock the ball.

They were trying to be cute, and it bit them on the ass
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

High Priest at Team Bill's Temple
PatsFans.com Supporter
This right here is the problem with the play call.

They didn't spike the ball with one second left. And thats the problem with the play call. A crossing route into the middle of the field would have netted almost the same amount of yardage; and it would have been much easier to get to the line and clock the ball.

They were trying to be cute, and it bit them on the ass

If you’re going to come up with a really cool play, Prescott could have actually turned around and thrown the ball out of bounds, as a “lateral.” The play would be legal.

To stop running like that may be too difficult, but any WR could have caught a pass crossing over the middle and then thrown the ball backwards a few yards to the sidelines.

Unless I’m misunderstanding the rules, I believe that would be a legal play. A backwards lateral does not need to be intended for anyone, and I believe it would be treated as a fumble oob.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
I think the play was sound, but not executed right. Dak didnt go down fast enough, and for some odd reason he handed the ball to his center instead of the ref.

No, the play was certainly NOT sound.

The three big dummies should've realized that they simply DID. NOT. HAVE. ENOUGH. TIME.

****ing idiots.

I realize that the Cowboys winning would've been better to help stop A-aron from getting to the SB... But I still derive pleasure from watching the Jerruhs lose at JerruhLand...
 
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Vindicate

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
The margin of error on that play is completely one-sided and entirely too small for me to feel confident about it. The 49ers defense had to do very few things correct in that given circumstance. The Cowboys need a lot of things to go right, some of which they don't have control over, for a shot in hell of that working.

I do like the idea of seeing if you can squeeze another play out. However, don't go with that play call if that's your plan.

Relative to that play call, I'd imagine the margin of error on a Hail Mary from the 41 is actually a bit more open for Dallas. That run though? It has a lot of very rigid aspects that need perfection. At least a hail mary pressures a defense, and shrinks their margin of error quite a bit if not only for the fact that a successful hail mary wins the game. A successful run from Dak and clock with one second doesn't promise a win.
 

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