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 Post subject: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:28 pm 
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Dominate TOP, out-rush, out-throw, out-sack, and give up the win as the clock ticks down. In the Smith/Ryan era, these are ALWAYS the games we win, which now that we're tied with the Panties and the Saints are running away with the division, the year is looking pretty dark. I swear, the 3rd Quarter of every game feels like its 35 minutes long...

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:41 pm 
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What is it about this team that they cant get a stop or score when they need it in the second half of games? We just gave a game away to the Dolphins and know we have the Pats coming to time after it seems that there O is coming around. I dont want to say that the "Sky is falling" because that is Emmit's weekly feature, but the Falcons need to step it up. I expected nothing less from the Dolphins since we were playing soft off coverage like we had a 14 point lead.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:01 pm 
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I feel empty after this loss. We should have won this game several times over.

I do have some HARSH criticism for Mike Smith... With the Dolphins driving the ball down the field at the end of the game, we should have been using our timeouts. We got the ball back with 37 seconds and two timeouts. We could easily have had over a minute left on the clock if we had been smarter with our timeouts. If we have more time, perhaps Matt doesn't try to force the ball because the clock is our enemy.

And if not for the defense handing the offense a gift at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, once again, we put up almost no points in the 2nd half.

The coaching staff is going to blame the injuries, but it's about time that they took some of the blame for this. This team SUCKS in the 2nd half. We get out coached week after week in the 2nd half. At what point do we start looking at that as a coaching problem?


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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:06 pm 
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Also frustrated, in the last few years we've won a bunch of games we could of and maybe even should have lost. Today Karma, caught up to us and we chocked this one away. There were so many bright spots in today's game I still can't believe we got the loss. I guess the good news is the NFC had a terrible day against the AFC, with many other wild card type teams losing as well.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:27 pm 
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lets all line up to forgive Smitty again :ninja: :dance:

It is time for the Cavalcade of Excuses ! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:46 pm 
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I can't believe we didn't call timeout when the dolphins had it first and goal on the 8 with 1:40 left in the game. At best for us we hold them to a field goal. I guess smitty was counting on a fumble or interception on our goal line stand, like we've sometimes done in the past. I guess it's like the statisticians say, you're not going to win every close game and they will even out at some point. As critical as I am of smittys clock management, Harry Douglas fumbling the punt totally changed the complexion of the game. It went from "we got this" to "o s*** we could lose this."


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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:34 pm 
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This really is one of the worst losses I can recall in a while. Easy to get hyperbolic and busy constructing a gallows for this week's goats. I think what got us ultimately is the same thing that has been keeping us from the ultimate goal for a little while now and that is red zone offense. We really could not have asked for a much better performance from the folks we thought were going to hold us back--OL, running game, pass rush, etc. It was the the "stars" as much as anyone who just didn't get it done...dropped passes and punts, penalties, etc. Really discouraging loss. :|

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:21 am 
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Yeah, I disagree on the clock management at the end of the game.

You have a 3-point lead with 3 timeouts, Miami has 1. By calling timeouts, you're only helping Miami. You certainly can't be arguing that the Falcons should have been calling timeouts before the 2-minute warning. Well maybe you are, but I simply can't imagine that you actually believe you have a compelling argument for the Falcons burning TOs with 4 minutes left in the game and a 3-point lead. And you can't really argue the Falcons should have burned a TO on any of the next 4 plays following the 2-minute warning since incompletions and plays out of bounds led to only 15 seconds coming off the clock. So you're basically saying the Falcons should have burned a TO after Clay's catch that put the ball at the 8. Why? Because the Falcons had no chance of stopping them?

If you're in the mindset of burning a TO for the sake of maximizing the amount of time your offense has on the field, then why not just let them score at that point in the game? It's the same thing, because you're basically saying "We're not going to stop them, so let's give Matt Ryan the best chance.

The reason you don't do that is because there is still a decent chance the Falcons get a stop and force a FG. Which still gives Matt Ryan less than a minute to get the Falcons into FG position for a game-winning kick, which he has done 3 times in his career. And having 3 TOs is better than having 1, 2, or none. And it still leaves the possibility that the game goes into OT.

Look, I know I sit back here and in the eyes of many make excuses for Smitty and his game day decisions. But so often on these forums over the years people kill Smitty for decisions that I think there is a lot of leeway on it.

It's really an either or decision. And to suggest that it's a simple right/wrong scenario and Smitty was wrong IMO is ridiculous. You have a choice to make:

1) Burn your timeouts with little more than a minute on the clock. That potentially gives Matt Ryan more time to score, but it also certainly gives the Dolphins more time, thus increasing their chances to score as well.

2) Show some confidence in your defense, and hope they make the stop.

And it's not as if those are the only two ways that could have played out.

Let's imagine a scenario where after teh Clay catch, Smitty burns his first TO. That leaves roughly 1:36 on the clock. The next play in the real game was the pass to Gibson that got down to the one. Smitty let an extra 3 seconds burn off the clock before calling a TO in the actual game, which means that play took about 10 seconds of game time. So let's say now it's 1:26 on the clock.

So in this scenario, the Dolphins have 1st & goal from the 1 with 1:26 on the clock, and now both teams only have 1 timeout. Let's say the Dolphins run up the middle and the Falcons stuff them. Let's say that takes 5 seconds off the clock. Does Atlanta then burn their TO or let Miami burn theirs? Let's say Atlanta burns theirs. So now it's 2nd & goal from the 1 with 1:21 left on the clock. Then Miami runs another play up the middle, but is stuffed. It's about 1:15 on the clock now, does Miami burn theirs, or do they let 40 seconds drip off the clock and set up a 3rd & goal with 35 seconds left on the clock. If they score a TD, then the Falcons burning their timeouts didn't do squadoosh. Because as you are aware the Falcons did get the ball back with 38 seconds, but in this scenario they now have roughly 30 seconds instead.

If they don't score on 3rd & goal, they call their final TO and kick the FG that ties the game and the Falcons now have 30 or so seconds to either score or let the game go into OT.

So your notion that burning those TOs at the end would have been better for the Flacons is pure speculation. There is certainly a likely scenario where the Falcons could have had less time to score had they burned their TOs.

You are more than free to disagree with Smitty's decision in that situation. But you're fooling yourself if you think there was a clear right/wrong decision in that scenario, and that Smitty made the wrong one. Because you're only playing out 1, maybe 2 scenarios in your head rather than the 6 or 7 that could have occurred.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:06 pm 
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After Clay's catch which made it 1st and goal, we should have used a timeout. From that point, there were only two (realistic) outcomes. Either we stop Miami, and they end up with a field goal which ties the game, or they score a TD and go up by 4. In either case, they have four downs and 1:45 left to go. Three of these four downs are potential running downs, however, the odds are good that they will be passing in this situation. An incomplete pass stops the clock. A run, or a pass short of the end zone requires us to use a timeout.

The notion that timeouts would be helping them at that point is just silly. 1st and goal from the 8 with 1:45 left on the clock AND a timeout. The clock was their best friend and our worst enemy.

If Smith had used our timeouts, worst case scenario, by the time 3rd down comes around, there's about 1:20 left on the clock. On 3rd down, Miami could either try to run it in again and run time off of the clock, or they could try to pass it in, if the pass is incomplete, it freezes the clock for us. A touchdown here gives us more than a minute to work with. (though no timeouts) A failed run gives us a max of 25 seconds after the field goal, but the game is tied, so we have 25 seconds to get down the field to make a field goal. (for the win... if we don't get it, we're in overtime) If Miami gets a TD, it's possible that Miami would kick the ball short to run some time off of the clock, which would result in better field position to start the drive. (though probably 5 less seconds on the clock)

Those are the worst case examples. In the situation that did happen, if we had called a timeout after Clay's catch, and after the next play, the Falcons would have 1 timeout and about a minute and a half on the clock. To me, it was very obvious (at the time even) that we should have been using timeouts. Often, it's in hind sight that we second guess what happens on game day, but I was literally mumbling with my arms folded about how crappy Smith's clock management is while I was watching this live.


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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:14 pm 
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I just want to know why they were playing off I understand that leaves you vulnerable to getting beat over the top, but if you are beat your only down by 4 with 1:40+ on the clock. So it looks like if the Falcons score 20 or less points any week they will lose. We need Roddy to get back soon becaue Gonzalez and Douglass are not handling business.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:22 pm 
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The Mattural wrote:
So it looks like if the Falcons score 20 or less points any week they will lose.

That's not unique to the Falcons. Collectively since 2008, NFL teams are 286-958-2 in games where they score 20 or less points.

RobertAP wrote:
After Clay's catch which made it 1st and goal, we should have used a timeout. From that point, there were only two (realistic) outcomes. Either we stop Miami, and they end up with a field goal which ties the game, or they score a TD and go up by 4. In either case, they have four downs and 1:45 left to go. Three of these four downs are potential running downs, however, the odds are good that they will be passing in this situation. An incomplete pass stops the clock. A run, or a pass short of the end zone requires us to use a timeout.

The notion that timeouts would be helping them at that point is just silly. 1st and goal from the 8 with 1:45 left on the clock AND a timeout. The clock was their best friend and our worst enemy.

If Smith had used our timeouts, worst case scenario, by the time 3rd down comes around, there's about 1:20 left on the clock. On 3rd down, Miami could either try to run it in again and run time off of the clock, or they could try to pass it in, if the pass is incomplete, it freezes the clock for us. A touchdown here gives us more than a minute to work with. (though no timeouts) A failed run gives us a max of 25 seconds after the field goal, but the game is tied, so we have 25 seconds to get down the field to make a field goal. (for the win... if we don't get it, we're in overtime) If Miami gets a TD, it's possible that Miami would kick the ball short to run some time off of the clock, which would result in better field position to start the drive. (though probably 5 less seconds on the clock)

Those are the worst case examples. In the situation that did happen, if we had called a timeout after Clay's catch, and after the next play, the Falcons would have 1 timeout and about a minute and a half on the clock. To me, it was very obvious (at the time even) that we should have been using timeouts. Often, it's in hind sight that we second guess what happens on game day, but I was literally mumbling with my arms folded about how crappy Smith's clock management is while I was watching this live.

You've made several assumptions.

To say that there are only two realistic outcomes is BS. Those are the 2 likeliest outcomes. But to suggest the Falcons forcing a TO or the Dolphins missing a FG as being unrealistic is not accurate. They are certainly unlikely, but that doesn't make them unrealistic. That sort of thinking would say that the only realistic outcomes of calling a pass play is that the ball is caught for a completion or is incomplete. Not accounting for sacks, fumbles, interceptions, botched snaps, etc. All of which are realistic.

Saying that the odds are good that Miami throws the ball at some point is another assumption. The Dolphins had run 4 plays inside their opponents 10 thus far this year and had run it all 4 times. With no guarantee they run more 3 plays from scrimmage, then that tells you that the odds aren't good that there is a pass.

And why is it silly to say that the TOs would be helping the Dolphins? Your entire premise is built off the belief that the more time the Falcons have on the clock, the more likely their chances of scoring. Why doesn't that exact same principle apply to the Dolphins?

The only way that principle wouldn't apply is if you've already made the forgone conclusion that Miami will score. And while, yes the odds are very high that Miami will at least be able to tie the game at that point with a FG (there's a 97% chance a kicker makes a FG from inside the 8 yd line), there isn't a 97% chance that the Dolphins get that opportunity. Based off the Falcons history under Mike Smith and Mike NOlan, the chance Miami scores either a FG or TD in that situation is about 87%.

Another assumption you're making is that the Falcons are in a better position if they have a minute to go with no timeouts vs. having 40 seconds to go with 2 or more timeouts. Now I don't think that's a crazy assumption to make, but you're assuming that in the former situation your bad OL won't give up a sack or the Dolphins won't tackle you in bounds on a play. Having the TOs on offense is very valuable because it gives flexibility to your play-calling, and I don't fault Smitty for being reluctant to give those up.

Again, I want to stress Robert that you are more than free to believe that calling the TOs was the smarter/better decision. But IMHO, it's not as obvious a smart/better decision as you claim it to be, and thus I can't fault Smitty for going in a different direction. Nor should you. There is a difference between "it may not have been the best clock management" and "it was definitely bad clock management."

There's a lot more gray area than you are allowing.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:10 pm 
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Pudge, can you give me a scenario where Miami runs out of time with 1st and goal from the 8 with 1:45 left on the clock and a timeout? (and assuming that a 3 year old isn't in charge of the Dolphins)

In the absolute worst case, they are complete idiots and take a knee on the first two downs, which leaves them 25 seconds and a timeout. Let's say that they are complete idiots and do that. If the QB scrambles for 10 seconds and gets sacked, that leaves 15 seconds for them to call a timeout and kick a field goal. Even if we were to commit a penalty in the end zone and give them a fresh set of downs, 1:45 is more than enough time to run 6 downs in the NFL. (assuming we let them get to 3rd down, and then committed the penalty and then let them get to 3rd down again) I can not think of a scenario where the Falcons calling a timeout would be to the benefit of Miami.

Now, if your argument is, "we were playing for a turnover or a missed field goal," then the time element is almost completely meaningless. Miami has one timeout. Assuming they run ONE play and turn the ball over, we get the ball with 1:40 on the clock. We run the ball. 1:35 left on the clock. Miami timeout. We run the ball again. 50 seconds on the clock. We run the ball again. Assuming we don't get a first down, we call a timeout with 10 seconds left on the clock and punt the ball. The punt will likely be the last play of the game. (all of this assumes that the plays are the shortest possible play time) If they turned it over on 2nd or 3rd down, or missed the field goal, then it's game over.

There is exactly ONE scenario where the Falcons not using their timeouts might be to their detriment, and that one scenario is the immediate turnover on first down. Even in that scenario, they would punt the ball with 5 - 10 seconds left on the clock. (perhaps even less) I'm pretty darn certain that Mike Smith wasn't using his epic clock management skill because he knew that one scenario would be the one that played out, and he knew in that scenario that Miami would return the punt for a TD.


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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:23 pm 
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But it wasn't 1st and goal at the 8 with 1:45, it was 1st and goal at the 8 with 0:56 on the clock. Remember because the Falcons didn't actually take their timeout at the time you say they should have.

So your scenario is that on 1st & goal from the 8, the Falcons sack Tannehill. That backs MIA up to say the 15 and they are forced to burn their last TO. They are out of TOs with roughly 48 seconds.

Now it's 2nd & goal from the 15 with 48 seconds left. Dolphins are out of timeouts. Tannehill throws the ball and the receiver is tackled shy of the goal line in bounds. Let's say he gets it to the 2. Now, it's 3rd & goal from the 2 with the play whistled at around 0:40, but the clock is still ticking. So the Dolphins run up and have to make a quick decision: A) spike it and burn a down to set up the field goal on 4th down with around 25-30 seconds on the clock or B) try to run 1 more quick play with the hopes that it still leaves you at least 5-10 seconds to attempt a field goal.

It's a tough decision, and my assumption is that most NFL coaches will opt for the spike and the field goal in that scenario. Obviously that missed FG by Matt Bryant could have potentially been huge in such a scenario.

While the clock may not actually hit 0:00, if the Dolphins get tackled in bounds twice with under a minute to go, they basically run out of time.

1:45 comes into play on 2nd & 10 at the ATL 29, on the play where Clay makes that grab to get it down to the 8. The play is whistled at about 1:38 and thus it's reasonably to think it would have been roughly 1:36 when Smitty could have called the TO and it gone into affect.

Your strategy is built on the premise that the extra 40 seconds between when Smitty could have initially called the timeout and when the Dolphins ultimately ran a play at 0:56 on 1st & goal is 40 seconds the Falcons could have potentially gotten added to their own time and increased their chances of winning.

That is sound and plausible reasoning. But I'm trying to stress to you that is one of several scenarios, and even if you make those TO calls there is far from a guarantee that those 40 seconds actually find anyway to benefit the Falcons. You yourself have already laid out 1 scenario where with your TO-based strategy the Falcons would have had 13 less seconds of time than they would've had had they done nothing differently. That completely undermines your argument of: my way is the right way and Smitty did it wrong.

My point is there is much more gray area involved here than your simplistic outlook of one way is right (by using TOs are early as possible) and the other is wrong (by not using those TOs) allows. It's no different than the above decision I outlined above where if Philbin decides to spike and settle for the FG or try one last chance. If he settles for the FG and Sturgis misses the chip shot or it's blocked, people would second guess that and say he should have went for it on 3rd down instead of spiking. If he goes for it on 3rd but Tannehill is sacked or Clay is tripped up before crossing the goalline or the fumble the snap, etc. then everybody in hindsight will say you should have just kicked the FG.

There is no right and wrong answer in that scenario. Rather, it's more like a left or right choice. In that scenario, the spike & FG is probably the smarter choice and it's definitely the more conservative choice. You only need a FG to stay alive, and the odds that the FG is blocked/missed from that short a distance is probably a lot lower than the odds that you get sacked/stuffed/turn it over on 3rd and goal. But if a coach had that much confidence in his team/QB and wanted to try one more shot to win the game, then I wouldn't fault him in that scenario. Would it be the best choice? No. But does that make it a bad choice? No. My old mantra is better is not the same as good, and the exact opposite is true in that worse is not the same as bad.

Because now imagine that you actually call the TO at 1:36, and the Falcons defense makes that stand I outlined above. It's now 2nd & goal at the 15, but because Miami can use their last TO, they now have 1:28 or so on the clock instead. If they don't get it on 2nd & goal, they won't have to rush and be presented with that spike/go for it choice, because even if they let 40 seconds tick off the clock they are still going to have roughly 45-50 seconds to run a play at their leisure. They can huddle up. And if they don't get it now on 3rd & goal they still have plenty of time to get their kicking team on the field to set up for a FG with under 10 seconds to go and send it into OT.

In the scenario, even though the result of the game didn't change (Dolphins kick FG and send it into OT, or actually score on 3rd & goal), the gift-wrapped 40 seconds you gave them by calling that initial TO does actually benefit them.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:03 pm 
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I think this was a healthy loss for this team. A genuine wake-up call. At some point we have to learn how to go for the kill when the opportunity presents itself. The problem is, I don't see any indication that we have anyone on the field or in the locker room who will show us how to do it.

Now I'm not blaming anybody, but the culture on this team is to soft. Thomas Decoud absolutely refuses to tackle the ball-carrier. I hate watching this guy play football. He's ok in coverage, but why should we have a guy who meows like a cat during interviews and sings half-naked at a high pitch be our last line of defense? Especially when he intentionally won't hit anyone :x :x Why doesn't someone grab this dude by the shoulder pads and tell him to act like a man?

Sean Weatherspoon is an ok tackler but he smiles way too much. Nobody on this team plays with a chip on their shoulder and I think that has to be one of the differences between this team and others who have won the championship i.e. Baltimore, Steelers, 2010 Green Bay.

The culture is too white collar and conservative. it's hard to watch.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:19 pm 
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40 seconds is FOREVER. It would be under pressure, but the outcome still heavily favors them putting points on the board. (where are your percentages at this point?)

Let's say that it takes 25 seconds for them to reset after they get down to the 2. They snap the ball with 15 seconds left on the clock. The QB has two options, end zone, or incomplete. It is certainly possible that the QB could lose his mind in that instance and take a sack, but what are the chances of that happening?

In any case, the field goal team is ready to go as soon as the play is over, and it's a tie ball game with no time on the clock for our offense.

Even with the scenario that you present, the Falcons lose nothing by calling a timeout. If anything, it slows down the offense, which works in the defense's favor.


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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:46 pm 
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Look, Matt Ryan threw an interception. I don't blame him for this and he had no time to pass. If I looked at Matt Ryan the way you look at Coach Smith then I'd be wanting to trade Ryan?? Why??? Well he can't win with our defense and offensive line!!

Coaches are fired from many teams every years but usually they just keep on losing.
Ryan had the ball most of the first half and again in the red zone in the second half... Why can't Ryan produce touchdowns from the red zone?? Its the same reason
we're losing games. The team is average at best ..... I'd never blame Ryan for this and if we only win 6 I won't blame Ryan or Coach Smith.

The season won't be better if we lost Ryan or Coach Smith.

Now ask yourself who are our best players---I'd guess Ryan & Julio and Roddy. With
Roddy hurt Ryan & Julio aren't good enough to win games by themselves. Coach Smith will still have them in position to win 6-9 that difference is breaks; the rest is we're rebuilding and you won't recognize it.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:03 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
It is certainly possible that the QB could lose his mind in that instance and take a sack, but what are the chances of that happening?

Considering the Falcons had already sacked Tannehill 5 times, probably not as low as you think.

RobertAP wrote:
40 seconds is FOREVER...Even with the scenario that you present, the Falcons lose nothing by calling a timeout. If anything, it slows down the offense, which works in the defense's favor.

Like I said, I'm not arguing whether calling the timeouts is the smarter decision. I'm arguing against whether not calling the timeouts is a bad decision. The thesis of your argument that calling the timeouts in the attempt to leave more time on the clock for the offense is a sound one.

But your claim is that Mike Smith made a bad decision by not calling the timeout and that was an example of bad clock management. And I disagree. Because calling the timeouts increases the chances that you have more time on the clock for your offense, but doesn't guarantee you have more time on the clock. And thus I'm not going to fault Smitty too much for in that instance favoring that his defense will get a stop.

RobertAP wrote:
(where are your percentages at this point?)

FYI, that decision to let those 40 seconds tick off the clock (according to Advanced NFL Stats WP Calculator) resulted in lowering the Falcons chances of winning the game by 9%. A significant dropoff no doubts. But it's worth noting that Thomas DeCoud's earlier blown coverage on 3rd & 2 earlier on the drive, as well as Joplo Bartu giving up the 21-yard completion to Charles Clay to set up our scenario each cost the Falcons 12%. Robert Alford getting beat by Brandon Gibson on 3rd & 4 just a few plays before cost the Falcons about 8%.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:20 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
[FYI, that decision to let those 40 seconds tick off the clock (according to Advanced NFL Stats WP Calculator) resulted in lowering the Falcons chances of winning the game by 9%. A significant dropoff no doubts. But it's worth noting that Thomas DeCoud's earlier blown coverage on 3rd & 2 earlier on the drive, as well as Joplo Bartu giving up the 21-yard completion to Charles Clay to set up our scenario each cost the Falcons 12%. Robert Alford getting beat by Brandon Gibson on 3rd & 4 just a few plays before cost the Falcons about 8%.


sorry, Pudge, IMO that is a weak argument. It's akin to 'well he did so I can, too'. Alford or Bartu are rookies who play defense, they get more of a 'pass'. Not the HC who has been in the league this long. :snooty:

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:56 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
sorry, Pudge, IMO that is a weak argument. It's akin to 'well he did so I can, too'. Alford or Bartu are rookies who play defense, they get more of a 'pass'. Not the HC who has been in the league this long. :snooty:

That's fine fun gus. Just trying to illustrate how that -9% stacks up in terms of on the field play. Adding context, not trying to sway people one way or the other. People can make their own judgments.

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 Post subject: Re: An impressive way to lose a game...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:57 am 
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Pudge wrote:
People can make their own judgments.



http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-trian ... ing-week-3

Mike Smith's conservativeness nearly cost the Falcons a couple of times last year, most notably in the divisional-round win over the Seahawks, which was a game Smith nearly lost by failing to consider a two-point try from a half-yard out in the third quarter. Even though he has one of the league's best offenses, Smith has remained hesitant to make aggressive decisions since the playoff loss to the Giants, when the Falcons famously failed multiple times in short yardage. That conservative nature might have cost them a win against the Dolphins.

First, Smith went into no-man's-land and came away with an ill-advised three points. After a third-down pass to Jacquizz Rodgers in the second quarter lost a yard, the Falcons passed on a chance to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the 34-yard line so they could let Matt Bryant attempt a 52-yard field goal. Bryant — just 11-for-20 from 50 yards and beyond as a pro — hit the field goal, but that's a very risky play given the excellent field position Miami would get from a miss.

His decision to kick later was more egregious. There, the Falcons were up 10-7 with 2:08 left in the second quarter, facing a fourth-and-1 from the 2-yard line after Jason Snelling had been stuffed on the previous down. Was that one miss really enough to justify kicking a field goal from the 2-yard line with 32 minutes of football to go? The Falcons only needed a yard for the first down, which might actually have been the best possible outcome, since they would get four more shots at a likely touchdown while leaving less time on the clock for the Dolphins to run their own two-minute drill (which they did after the field goal, producing a field goal of their own). I can understand that the Falcons were missing Steven Jackson and left tackle Sam Baker, but the Dolphins were without Cameron Wake, their best player. Unless it ties or wins a game deep in the fourth quarter, the 20-yard field goal just shouldn't be in a coach's playbook.

Smith also neglected to use his timeouts at the end of the game. With Miami down to one timeout, it advanced the ball to the 8-yard line for a first-and-goal situation with 1:36 left at the beginning of the play clock. This possession was the entire game for the Dolphins, who were down 23-20. With three timeouts, the Falcons could have stopped the clock and left themselves time to launch a one-minute drill, regardless of whether the Dolphins scored a touchdown or kicked a field goal. (If Miami turned the ball over or decided to go for it and failed on downs, Atlanta could kneel twice to end the game.) Instead, Smith let the Dolphins wind the clock down and run a play with 56 seconds left, moving the ball to the 1-yard line. Smith waited several seconds after that play to use his first timeout, calling it with 43 seconds left. Miami scored a touchdown on the next play, and Atlanta eventually got the ball back down four with 38 seconds left. Had Smith used his timeouts optimally but seen his defense allow the same plays at the same rate of speed, the Falcons would have gotten the ball back with about 1:25 left to go. Do you think Atlanta could have used 47 extra seconds to work with at the end of that game?
The Worst Decisions of Week 3

3. Smith's time-wasting at the end of the Falcons-Dolphins game.
All three of these decisions are plays in which a coach did something or failed to do something for which there is virtually no defense. Smith, I guess, could argue that the Dolphins have a young quarterback and he didn't want Ryan Tannehill to get time to settle down. Tannehill didn't end up having much of a problem punching the ball in even with Smith saving two of his timeouts, and a timeout also might have given Smith's pass rush some fresher legs. The upside of giving his offense nearly a full minute of extra time to work with to try to win the game, regardless of what Miami did, was far more meaningful. It was a blunder, plain and simple.

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