Monday, November 16, 2009

Kill Bill?

The Patriots should've won that game. They out gained the Colts by 70 yards. They controlled the ball for 10 minutes longer than the Colts. They forced Manning and his vaunted offense to punt six times in the first half, and lead by 17 with 14 minutes left in the game. What do they have to show for it? A one point loss that everyone is talking about.

There are plenty of people who will say this is just a regular season loss, so it doesn't mean that much. But like Ron Burgundy, it's kind of a big deal. The way the last two minutes panned out makes this game a huge deal. I don't have a problem with the 4th and 2 call that cost the Patriots the game. It's the mismanagement of the team on the infamous drive that aggravates me.

Many sports pundits have an issue with Bellicheck going for it on 4th and 2. Believe it or not, the math slightly supports Belichick decision. More importantly, the Patriots had a 75% success rate against the Colts on 4th downs since 2000, including 4-4 in the playoffs. The numbers were there, including the most overlooked number: 12. If the game is weighing in the balance, I want it in Tom Brady's hands every time.

The problem with the decision lies in the execution. Before even taking a snap, the Patriots called a timeout, leaving them one left. Call me crazy, but you just spent the last few minutes on the sideline. After the Colts scored there was even a TV timeout, so the Pats had plenty of time to decide what play to run on first down. Nonetheless, they retreated back to the sideline to get the play.
Next, might be the most frustrating as a Patriots fan. After a failed 3rd and 2, members of the offense started running off the field, and the punt team came running on. According to Belicheck , the Patriots coaching staff made the decision before third down that if they didn't convert, they would go for it on 4th down. Which brings up two questions:

1. Why not run the ball on 3rd, and make the Colts use their last timeout? You might be a yard closer and if you convert, you can run almost all of the clock out.

2. Why was punt team coming onto the field? The faux paux cost the Patriots another time out, one that might have changed the spot of the ball on the 4th and 2 play.

Maybe if you're a fan of the Lions, Browns, or Redskins, you've become accustomed to blunders like this. But as a Patriot fan during this decade, you just don't expect to see this from the guy in the hoodie. This season I've noticed Bellicheck has wasted timeouts more than usual, but it didn't hurt the team. Here it certainly did.
From bringing in Corey Dillion, to an intentional safety in Denver, every controversial decision has seemed to work for Belicheck. Patriots fans utter, "In Bill We Trust," because his on the field and off the feild moves have been flawless. The decision against the Colts has changed all that. Now people either think Belichick is a progressive genius who was playing the numbers, or a pompous jerk whose big ego is killing his team. For me, it's wasted timeouts and lack of communication that has shown Bill Belichick is fallible.

1 comment:

  1. P good post. I am still on the fence about this call half of me says it was a good call from a football genius the other says follow the text book and punt from the 29. However the most disturbing part was the clock management there was no since of urgency. I expected more out of the Patriots...