Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Giants: Coaches decisions in last few minutes

Much has been talked about and analyzed regarding the tactics used by the coaches in the last minute or so of the game. With a little over one minute left and the Giants with a second down inside the 10, Bradshaw carried the ball and the Patriots let him get into the end zone. That left them with 57 seconds left on the clock and 1 timeout still in the bank to move the ball down field for a winning TD. Bradshaw should have given himself up at the 1 foot line, because that would have given the Giants the best chance to win. It would have forced the Patriots to use their last timeout to stop the clock. Giants then could have taken a knee one time and let the full 40 second clock run before 4th down, leaving about 15 seconds left in the game. Then they would call a timeout and kick a FG from 18 yards away giving the Patriots nothing left on the clock to move the ball. It's true that the Pats would have needed only a FG, not a TD, but with no timeouts left, it is virtually impossible to move the ball 40 or 50 yards down the field, rush up to spike the ball and get a FG attempt in the air.

Coughlin said after the game that he didn't think of it and therefore didn't advise his players to lay down at the 1. However, he's happy that it worked out the way it did, because he would want the Giants to score a TD, instead of just a FG try, because anything can happen and you want to take the score when you get a chance for it. Coughlin even said that the Baltimore kicker missed a chip shot FG last week against the very same Patriots team, so who's to say it won't happen again. Well, of course there's no guarantee in football, but the job of the coach is to maximize the chances for winning with each call he makes. And it is certainly more likely to make a <20 yard FG than it is to give Brady another chance with 57 seconds and one timeout left. Saying that "anything can happen" is not an argument that resonates with me - the only question that the coach needs to answer is whether this decision (whatever it is) improves or limits the team's chance for winning. "Anything can happen" is a rationalization by the coach who did not prepare well enough.

So it looks like Coughlin was outfoxed by Bellichick - but a better questions remains. Why did Bellichick wait until 2nd down to let Brashaw scored. He should have done this on 1st down and guaranteed more time on the clock.

Interesting few articles I read about the Giants during the last few weeks. Coughlin had the players themselves evaluate film of previous weeks on Monday mornings. It would not be a coach breaking down film, yelling and chastising players for messing up. Instead the players themselves evaluate their own performance without the coaches in the room, Fantastic idea for team building and developing accountability and responsibility for the team members.


Yankev Pinchus Paul said...

This has been debated ad nauseum, but I still think the TD was the right move. Simply put, you can't compare SB-clinching kicks, to anything else. Which is why I reject the stats (90% completion percentage for close range FG) bc its apples and oranges. I can't blame Coughlin for entrusting the SB with his D, rather than the kicker. Also, anyone who thinks that 19 seconds for a field goal is impossible, must have forgotten the game (i think against the Eagles?) a few years ago, when kicker kicked it out of bounds, so the opponent started at the 40, threw a 20 yard pass, then kicked game winning field goal.

wolfman said...

Exactly my point - the game you referred to where the kickoff went out of bounds happened a few years ago. I remember it happening in a game between Giants and Cowboys when Parcells had gone over to the dark side and was coaching the bad guys, while Fassel was still our coach, so that was 10 years ago or so. You know I am a math/stats freak so, let's assume in your example that a "few" years ago is 4 years. There are 256 games played each year, so that is a total of 1,024 (or 1K) games. The o-o-b kick happened once that you recall at the end of a game - which is a very small number. The point being - of course it COULD happen and it DID happen, but it has a smaller likelihood than a TD in 57 seconds.

Of course, take a look at my next post and you'll see me contradict myself.

The main