I’ve been throwing out my thoughts on Monday mornings on Twitter and will probably continue to do so, but felt like a proper article makes a ton of sense.
With that in mind, welcome to NFL Late Hits, my new Monday article here at The Thundering Blurb. It won’t cover everything that happens in the NFL on a Sunday, just the stuff that for whatever reason sticks in my brain by day’s end.
Two huge plays yesterday have caused some chaos in the NFL media and Fantasy Football community – one was the 4-2 call to go for it by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, the other, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew taking a knee at the one to milk the clock in the Jets game.
Let’s start with the call by Belichick. I’ll admit, I didn’t see it when it happened.
I did discover a new food allergy so, you know, win!
Instead, I went over the hightlites and looked over the game info at NFL.com. I can’t say I thought it was the best call, but I’m not sure it’s the worst ever.
Say what you will, but Belichick goes on fourth pretty often and it works out for him more than most coaches. I may be remembering wrong, but on NFLN last night, I believe Mariucci said it worked somewhere in the neighborhood of 78% of the time for him.
It’s not a bad percentage – on the other end of the field.
Look, Belichick has forgotten more about football in the time it took me to type this sentence out than I know now. So I’m sure he had all the facts, figures and percentages in his head when he made the call.
I just don’t know why you risk giving Peyton Manning the ball on your side of the field.
A great coach rolls the dice. Sometimes you hit the point, sometimes you crap out. Like The Hoodie said in his press conference, people will question you anyway.
I think it was a bad call. I also think the media shouldn’t be pulling their hair out over it.
Especially since, had the Pats made it, we would have had another round of ‘This is the kind of GENIUS which has made him so successful’.
A little perspective please.
Speaking of perspective – ok, so if you lost your Fantasy Matchup because Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee on the one yard line, you might want to skip a few paragraphs to where I chat about Brian Westbrook.
This was the right call. Could Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee have biffed the extra point kick? Sure. It happens less than 2% of the time, but like the man said ’so you’re saying there’s a chance?’.
Listen, when people say Fantasy Football is ruining enjoyment of the game, it’s because of reactions like this.
Scobee – shaky though he has been – wasn’t missing that kick. A short, high, kick is very hard to block. I know it cheeses you off not to get the 6 points but the Jags needed to milk the clock.
Whether reports are true that Head Coach Jack Del Rio called for a knee prior to the play or not, it was the right decision.
Seemingly overlooked in the ‘DAMMIT MJD YOU COST ME MY GAME’ shouting was the fact that Jones-Drew picked up the first down. That game was done. They could burn the clock all the way to the wire (which they did) and kick a ‘gimme’ field goal (which they also did).
It’s a no brainer. Sure, like Belichick’s call above if something bizarre had happened and the Jets had gotten the ball back and won, it would look foolish.
But the best way to finish a game and win is to keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing offense’s hands. They did that. As much as I don’t love the thought of Mark Sanchez having to lead his team 80 yards to a win, all it would have taken was a missed tackle and the Jets could have walked away with a win.
Why take that chance? Keep the ball in your hands as long as you can. Milk the clock. Kick the field goal.
It’s maddeningly simple to me, as it was when Brian Westbrook did it previously.
Hell, MJD even apologized to you which he really didn’t need to. Of course he admitted he had himself and screwed himself too, but also pointed out that hey ‘you play to win the game’.
Side note: With players owning themselves and other players in leagues that often deal with pots of prize money, is the league going to come down on this as gambling? I know the arguement has been Fantasy isn’t gambling, but you have to wonder if the NFL worries.
Things didn’t go all that well for the guy who last took a knee at the line either. Brian Wesbtrook suffered his second concussion in less than a month yesterday and you have to start thinking we’re seeing the end of him in the NFL.
Listen, I’m no doctor – in fact I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night – but twice in a month is bad. In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s awful.
The more often you get them, the more easy it is to get them. More than one player can testify to that and with the recent discussion in the media and NFL circles about head injuries and their long term effects I cannot imagine the Eagles rushing him back out there.
Especially not with LeSean McCoy there. I mean, isn’t this what you picked him for?
Maybe not, if you run a grand total of 13 times. The Eagles only threw to the backs a total of five times as well.
Sure, they were down and yes they moved the ball through the air effectively in the fourth quarter. Still, there was never a threat that they were running the ball – I wonder if the success moving the chains via air freight than on the ground says more about deficiencies in the Chargers secondary than the Eagles pass attack
Either way, one hopes the Eagles – and Westbrook himself – are very cautious this time out.