Before I Do This Week's TMQR, Let's Take a Minute to Remember that Gene Wojciechowski is Fucking Atrocious
See, the thing is this- I'm reasonably certain Bill Belichick made the right call in going for that 4th down against the Colts on Sunday night. It was a chance, with a great QB and a great receiving corps, to put the game away by gaining two yards. There are arguments to be made against it, of course, but I think it was the right call. What does Gene think? Mostly, Gene thinks that Gene is very clever and funny. He also thinks this is the most cut-and-dried situation in the history of sports, which I guess is the kind of hyperbolic attitude you have to write with to be considered for a position as a sportswriter at a major media outlet these days. Let's dive straight into the retardery.
With 2 minutes, 8 seconds remaining in the game, with the ball on the Patriots' 28-yard line, and with one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game standing at his side,
Exactly. With an awesome QB and and awesome WR corps by his side... yeah, I already talked about this.
Belichick decided to go for it.
This is like saying "With Albert Pujols by his side, 1 out, and runners on first and second in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th, Tony La Russa decided not to bunt and instead to let one of the greatest hitters in recent history swing away." Actually, Tony La Russa is a dumbass so he probably would call for the bunt there. But you get the idea.
Not play it safe and punt. Not make the Colts drive 50, 60, 70 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
Something they had done twice in the quarter already. Both times from 79 yards, actually, and both times in about 2 minutes. Now that's playing it safe!
But go for it in a "Top Gun" "I've got a need for speed" sort of way, even though everybody is staring at their TVs and saying -- no, screaming -- "What is he doing?!"
It's worth mentioning, of course, that if the 4th down attempt had succeeded Wojciechowski's article would have been titled "Gutsy Belichick knows how to push all the right buttons!"
Not me. I knew what Brady was going to do. He was going to drop into the shotgun formation and try to use a hard count to coax the anxious Indianapolis defensive line into a 5-yard penalty.
Because the Patriots had no timeouts at that point. And surely, if the hard count didn't work, taking the delay of game penalty and punting from 5 yards further back would be no big deal.
Fourth down would become a gift first down.
The hard count trick works like 10 times per season across the entire NFL. Thinking the Patriots were going to try it there, in situation where every yard is critical, is ridiculous.
And it did.
Wait, it did?
For the Colts.
You can rationalize the decision any way you want, but Belichick cost New England a crucial victory.
Well, sure, he sort of did. And so did Kevin Faulk. And so did Tom Brady, for throwing to Faulk when Faulk was dangerously close to the first down marker rather than safely past it. And so did NE's defense, for allowing 21 4th quarter points. And so on and so forth. The result doesn't invalidate the decision. If the Belichick had decided to punt, and then the punt had been blocked and returned for the game winning TD, that decision would have cost New England a (questionably crucial) victory too. But who am I kidding with this logic stuff- trying to explain this to Gene is like trying to explain to a small child that they can't eat cookies for every meal.
Two yards isn't six inches. This wasn't a gimme quarterback sneak; it was a pass, meaning lots of things can -- and did -- go wrong. The first wrong thing was going for the first down.
This decision was wrong for several reasons. First, for being wrong. The way the federal government gave stimulus funds to banks earlier this year was irresponsible for several reasons. First, it was irresponsible.
The second wrong thing was Faulk's bobble.
Yeah, like I've said, let's not not throw him under the bus here. Catch the ball, butterfingers.
The third wrong thing was not having any timeouts to challenge the mark of the ball after Melvin Bullitt's tackle.
0% chance that gets overturned if reviewed. 0%. Ugh, it sickens me, but I'm channeling my inner "Oddsmakers" Mike Wilbon right now. ZERO PERCENT, TONY. ZERO PERCENT CHANCE THAT I WILL MAKE ANY REASONABLE OR NON-BOMBASTIC ARGUMENTS ON THE SHOW TODAY.
But where Belichick's logic springs a very large leak is why he chose Brady and fourth-and-2 over the Patriots' defense and first-and-70. That's about how many yards Manning presumably would have had to cover in the final 120 seconds (with one Colts timeout).
Because, you know, the Colts had only gone 79 yards in 1:49 and 2:04 on separate occasions earlier in the quarter. Clearly, the best way to analyze this decision isn't to look at all the specifics of the situation- it's to simply say "Duhhh, 70 yards is a long ways! Question: ANSWERED."
Giving Manning two minutes and one timeout from his own 30 is taking a chance. He's that good. But giving him two minutes with the equivalent of two timeouts from your 29 is football suicide.
Classic "double wrong" situation. Not only is this idiotic because taking one chance to gain 2 yards with the Patriots' offense is probably less of a chance than giving it to Manning on his own 30 with 2 minutes left (expressed mathematically: [odds of making 4th down attempt] + [odds of stopping Colts IF turnover on downs] > [odds of stopping Colts IF punt]), but they didn't give it to the Colts on the NE 29 "with the equivalent of two timeouts." The turnover on downs happened at the 2 minute warning. The Colts weren't able to use it as a timeout.
If Belichick was worried that his defense couldn't stop the Colts from scoring a touchdown from 70 yards out, why would he possibly think it could stop them from scoring one from 29 yards out?
Wow. You are a simpleton. You are a mental midget. You are a fucking stump.
Evidently Belichick was enjoying a Slurpee as he made this decision.