I’ve lost count on Falcons HC Mike Smith’s late game mistakes, but here we are again, so let’s break it down.
Late in the 4th quarter. Falcons with the ball, trailing 27-20.
Not Desperation Phase late, but arguably close. I’d lean towards punt here because:
1. the Falcons have all 3 timeouts and
2. failure would give the opponent the ball ALREADY IN FG RANGE which would
3. make it a TWO SCORE DEFICIT and force you immediately past Desperation Phase to Basically A Loss Phase.
I will grant you that the Falcons D had surrendered 17 second half points already and giving the other team the ball regardless of situation will probably end the game. So, what the hell, Mike Smith decides to go for and I can’t disagree too vociferously, so LET’S DO THIS.
Look at this crap. I’m openminded. I’m not one of those people telling you to “man up” and go Jumbo and dive into the A gap on every 4th and short. I’m the guy that says those people are
retarded stupid ignorant wrong. And maybe crazy. But definitely too predictable. I endorse two approaches to fourth and short from the “middle” of the field. Because goal line is different, and it should be treated as such.
Approach #1. Jumbo formation. Unless the opponent lines up incorrectly and basically gives you the A gaps, run a QB bootleg or RB misdirection or reasonable pass BASED ON THE COVERAGE.
Approach #2. Spread formation. Pick your best matchup and throw or audible to run if the box is light.
The approach to NEVER use is some sort of trips crap that will take too long to develop along with no reason for the defense to fear the run, so they can all just pin their ears back and pass rush.
What did Mike Smith do? He went with the crap approach. Granted, he’s tried the A Gap dive, which failed and cost him a game against the Saints. It’s failed many other times, and succeeded a few based simply on the Sun Shines on Every Dog’s Ass at Some Point theorem.
Sunday’s work is probably his idea of outsmarting the other team, even though he made it easier for the other team.
There’s one receiver at the 31 who could possibly be open cutting inside, but there’s a linebacker perfectly positioned to stop him, if not jump the route for a pick 6. The other 3 receivers are running downfield routes, all covered, as could be predicted by the coverage shown. If the WR was playing for a better team, he’s got plenty of room for a comeback or out. The RB was clearly held in to block, decided he didn’t need to, and has waited too long to go out for a pass. There’s a ton of grass and one man to beat, so i’d say he’s got a 66% chance of success but it’s irrelevant, because THERE’S A GUY HE NEEDED TO HELP BLOCK bearing down on the QB.
A moment after this screenshot, Ryan is sacked. A few plays later it’s 30-20, and the fat lady is singing.
Another classic tutorial in how not to manage the end of a game by Mike Smith.