Monday, December 1, 2008

McCarthy defends call on goal line

Good story about the now infamous goal line call.  And by "infamous,"  I mean so infamous---and "shocking"--- that it has been compared to the 4th and 26 debacle:

It might not have the same ring to it as fourth-and-26, but the Green Bay Packers' first-and-goal blunder during Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills will be scrutinized.

With a near-dominant running game in his hip pocket, first-year Packers coach Mike McCarthy shocked just about everyone at Ralph Wilson Stadium with his decision to call a slant pass on first-and-goal from the Bills' 1-yard line in the fourth quarter of a game they trailed 17-10.

The play went awry when quarterback Brett Favre's quick-hit pass to Donald Driver was poked loose by Bills cornerback Nate Clements, who popped the ball to safety Ko Simpson for an interception. Simpson returned it 76 yards, and from there, the Bills scored to beat the Packers 24-10.

That's right.  Calling a pass from the one yard line is bone-headed. . . unless the coach calls a run and it didn't work.  In that situation of course he should have dialed up a one yard pass. Isn't it obvious?  A lot of fans have a very short memory.

At bottom, there was a whole lot of gnashing of teeth back in 2006.  Now there is a huge uproar by what seems like an overwhelming number of fans who have had a 180-degree change of heart.  Which means that there are a whole lot of fans/commenters that are full of shit at least 50% of the time.  That's equal to a coin flip (trust me, I've run the numbers on that one.)

I anticipate some might argue that the two situations are totally different because the Packers had such a "dominant running attack" against the Bills in 2006.  The problem with that argument is that Packer running backs averaged 5.25 yards a carry against Buffalo, and 5.22 yards a carry against the Panthers last night.

I also expect some to argue that calling a run wasn't a bad idea, but giving the ball to Kuhn was. The problem with that argument is that going into that play, Kuhn was 5 for 6 on 3rd/4th and 1. Pretty automatic. (Jackson would have been a fine option as well.)  Passing the ball would have been the worst choice McCarthy could have made.

By my tally, the Packers have faced a 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 on 32 different occasions this season.  Here is the breakdown of play selection:

  • The quarterback sneak converted 5 out of 5 tries.
  • Grant converted on 8 out of 10 tries rushing.
  • Jackson converted on 2 out of 2 tries rushing.
  • Kuhn converted on 5 out of 7 tries rushing.
  • And pass plays converted on 3 out of 8 tries.

For the record, I actually defended McCarthy's decision back in 2006.  Largely because it was a first down play.  If the ball was incomplete, so what, the Packers still had the opportunity to run it on second and third down.  It would have been totally different if it was a pass on third and one (or so was my reasoning). Everytime the Packers pass the ball on third and short, a kitten dies. Every time the Packers line up in the shotgun on third and short a whole litter of kittens die.  True story.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff. Of course, you ARE quoting Rob Demovsky, just about the worst Packer writer there is...

    As I said this weekend - I defended McCarthy as well after the Buffalo game and after the Charger game last year. And I still think the FB dive was a horrible call. But that's why you have your blog and I have mine.