Fire Mike Tomlin! How do you throw away a 90% chance of winning?
By going full coward and not trying to convert a single first down and punting to the other team. I couldn’t be prouder of Mike Glennon for taking that one more chance and making the Steelers pay. (chart from Advanced Football Analytics)
Elsewhere, the same strategy worked for Bill O’Brien, reinforcing coaches everywhere to “just punt it back to the other team and hope they don’t score.” Mike Tomlin’s mistake will be forgotten, just as Sean Payton’s was last year against the Patriots.
Earlier today, Teddy Bridgewater and Christian F. Ponder combined to beat the Falcons by 2 scores. This is in spite of some pitiful clock management at the end of the first half that cost them 4 points. Instead of using a timeout with 23 seconds and having plenty of time for 2 plays and then a FG, Zimmer let the refs run the clock to 13 seconds, ran one terrible play, then kick a FG. At the time the FG made the score 24-14. They allowed 28 so it’s not like they were coasting or had hit some magic number.
Jim Harbaugh used his first challenge within the first minute of a game, on a play where the Eagles got a first down at their own 31! Not to be outdone by first half Jim, second half Jim burned a timeout in the 3rd, a second timeout at 14:00 in the 4th, and threw away his third timeout of the half on a terrible challenge. Somehow none of this cost him the game, as the Eagles offense managed ZERO POINTS. Two plays from the SF 1 yard line near the end were inexplicable.
Ron Rivera decided not to use any of his first half timeouts. Certainly I prefer this to him wasting them in the first quarter, or on terrible challenges, but goddammit man, they don’t carry over! That last drive of the half would be a good time to get back in the game, no?
I don’t know what happened to the Bears at half time, but that 2nd half was a disaster. Here’s the drive chart:
Brandon Marshall was running wide open for a TD that would have made it 31-24 in the 3rd quarter, but Jay Cutler threw the ball directly to the defender that Marshall had worked so hard to beat. Ballgame. And then with 4:47 left, Marc Trestman pulled Cutler and put Jimmy Pickles Clausen in. I understand Cutler isn’t 2003 Peyton Manning, but it seemed a bit of a capitulation.
I’d love to tell you I understand the Saints and Cowboys, but I don’t. All I know is Jerry Jones will be insufferable this week. I’m just hoping J J Watt is a beast next week.