Monday, December 11, 2006

GO for it!

At points in the season, Running Redskins engaged in a low level, friendly debate with The Curly R on whether to take the points or go for it on fourth and short situations. Master4caster usually holds that you are better off taking the easy field goal rather than risk coming away pointless. The Redskins Sunday were in two situations when they should have taken their chances and gone for it.

When you have something to lose, you limit risks and play the percentages. The Redskins have nothing more to lose. There isn't much difference between a 7-9 and a 5-11 record, so they are free to take calculated risks.

In the third quarter on third and twelve, Jason Campbell scrambled for ten yards to the Eagles two. The way Ladell Betts was running, and no assurance the team would make it back to the Red Zone, a fourth down running play for a touchdown was the smart play; "smarter" meaning a better chance to win. The successful field goal still left the Skins down by two scores. A touchdown would have had them down by one score, 21-13. Assuming all subsequent scoring, the Skins would have won the game 23-21. If they missed, with all subsequent scoring, the team would have lost 21-16; no worse off than the actual outcome.

In the fourth quarter, with 5:37 to go, the Redskins held possession on the Eagles three yard line. A stupid illegal substitution penalty moved the ball back to third and eight on the Philly 8 (I believe this was too many men in the huddle. Someone got their packages mix-up) Now, I'm not as smart as million dollar coaches, but I know that's not the situation to run another Randle El gadget play. The Eagles gave up yards in chunks to Ladell Betts all day. It's the three yard line. It's four down territory. A touchdown puts you ahead. There's no assurance The Skins get that close again. You go for it! That was the smart play. The smart call was Betts.

Instead, the Skins called another trick play and 'Twaan Randle El was sacked for a nine yard loss to bring up fourth and 17 at the Philly 17. That presented more of a challenge. Situation analysis says field goal, but the team's situation still allowed them to go for broke. The Eagles' control of the last five minutes made the Skins' successful field goal irrelevant.

In fact, the coaches took the wrong risk at the wrong time. Few Randle El trick plays worked this season - that 40 yard pass to Brandon Lloyd earlier in the quarter was a beautiful thing! The high probability play on third and eight deep in the Red Zone was Betts. It was four down territory. If Betts gained six, or even four yards, it would have set up a manageable fourth and short with options involving Betts, Cooley or Sellers. Randle El trick plays are risky - more so than fourth and goal plays.

The season is gone. The playoffs are gone. Losing another game makes no difference. This year, the offense has to help the defense. On third/fourth and short, inside five yard line, go for it!

Twice inside the five yard line and no touchdowns!

Any more Randle El trick plays and I'm going to call him Randle El Gadget!

The way Betts is playing, TJ Duckett may never touch the ball again as a Redskin!


1 comment:

Ben Folsom said...

Although I am a proponent generally of conservatism, there are times that call for going for it. The 7 plays from the one in Dallas: should have kicked the field goal.

Random times early in close games between the opponent's 32 and 40 yard lines: why the hell not if you need less than a yard, you know the snap count and the line is playing with confidence. I am something of a proponent of the philosophy that says, if you can't get one yard, you have bigger problems so tell your boys they will be asked to deliver the mail a couple times a game.

This is the effed up thing about that 4th qtr situation last week against the Eagles: Betts was getting it done, 5 carries on that last drive. Then they hit the 3 yard line and not only does Betts come out for Duckett, but they call the play to Randle El!

Stop being so goddamn clever and shove it down their throat! Redskins fans love simplicity. Redskins fans want to see the Redskins beat your team with a steady diet of fundamental blocking and tackling. Save the razzle dazzle beacuse it's more fun to say, yeah we beat you by running it. A lot. In the middle.