Thursday, October 8, 2015

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

In sports, as in life, sometimes there are decisions you disagree with, and sometimes there are decisions that are just plain wrong. Biggest difference is that in sports, it's fun to tear those decisions apart.

Decision I Disagree With
Starting the fourth quarter of its game at Clemson, Notre Dame was trailing, 21-3. The Irish's offense had done very little up to that point, but an interception in the endzone gave them life, and they capitalized with their first touchdown of the game to bring the score to 21-9. Brian Kelly decided to go for two.

I subscribe to the theory that you only go for two when you absolutely have to. In this situation, whether Notre Dame converted the two-point conversion or kicked the extra point, they would need a touchdown and a field goal to tie. But fail to convert the two-point conversion and ND would need two touchdowns. Since Notre Dame's offense hadn't done a whole heckuva lot up to that point, I would rather take the guarantee of needing a touchdown and a field goal to tie rather than needing two touchdowns to win.

As it happens, a Clemson field goal and a Notre Dame touchdown brought the Fighting Irish to within eight, 24-16, where if they had that extra point it would have been 24-17. ND scored again (24-22), went for two, didn't get it, ball game. I feel confident in saying that if the game had gone to overtime, Notre Dame would have won. Their offense seemed to be clicking better over those final 15 minutes.

But ok, that was a decision Brian (Don't Call Me Chip) Kelly made, and while I understand why he made it, I disagree with the call.

Decision That is Just Plain Wrong
Ladies and Gentlemen, the New York Football Giants.

I tweeted this at the time, and I'm still waiting for an answer: can someone PLEASE explain to me the Giants' offensive playcalling in the final minutes of their win over Buffalo?!

Let's review. 

Giants are up 24-10, with a first-and-goal at the Buffalo seven-yard line, 4:02 remaining. Seems simple, right? Two running plays right up the gut, if you haven't scored by then you have Eli take the snap on third down, get to the middle of the field and drop, kick the field goal, ice the game. Bing Bang Boom. But no - the Giants apparently have not learned from their mistakes from Game 1, or those same mistakes from Game 2, or those pesky mistakes again from Game 3. First down, they run Rashad Jennings out wide, and to his credit he realizes he needs to get down to keep the clock rolling but he can't because he's right at the sideline, surrounded by defenders who are pushing him out of bounds, so out of bounds he goes. Clock stops. Then Eli attempts a fade pass to Odell Beckham, Jr., incomplete. Clock stops. Then Eli throws an interception, because of course he does.

There is no defending that play calling, because it was awful. Just like it was late in the fourth quarter of games 1, 2 and 3 of the season. At least they're consistent.

Monday Morning Quarterbacking is fun, as is Saturday Night Quarterbacking. I might have disagreed with Brian Kelly's decision but at least I understand where he was coming from. The Giants...there are no words. Hopefully they've (finally) learned from their mistakes.

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