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Managing the clock when you have a lousy defense

Discussion in 'Sports Forum' started by Alcott, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    If anyone has missed it before on this site, I was a Dallas Cowboys fan until Jerry Jones bought the team, and since then I've very slowly returned to being a partial fan-- that is, for me, mostly a fan when they play their old rivals, like Washington, Pittsburgh, and their oldest playoff rival, Green Bay. Hate lasts longer than love in football.

    So with that said, Dallas' clock management on Sunday, 10-8-17, was at first beautiful, then it stunk. They were down 4 points, so they had to have a touchdown, but they knew they needed to give GB and Aaron Rodgers as little time as they could reasonably manage. So they ran 17 plays, kept the clock moving with the running game (which hadn't worked for most of the game), and had a 2nd down and 1 inside the GB 15. They called a pass play and it fell incomplete-- QB Prescott said it was a run/pass option called from the sideline. So GB did not have to use their only remaining timeout. On the next play, a read option, Prescott kept the ball and ran for a touchdown. GB and Rodgers had 1 minute, 13 seconds, to come back and win with a TD or tie with a FG. They opted for the former against the Dallas defense that couldn't stop anything they did.

    Expectedly, there has been a lot of flak about Dallas not killing more time at the end and taking it away from GB before it took the ball back. But coach Jason Garrett and QB Prescott both stand firm that their only task in that situation is to score the TD, then it's up to the defense. But there is solid agreement, it seems, that the 2nd down pass should not have been attempted. But also, one of those things that fans often see quite differently from coaches and players, is the question of whether Prescott should have 'given himself up' near the 1 yard line and so have a 1st and goal there. GB would have used its timeout and just one additional play that did not get a TD would have run off close to 40 seconds of the 70, more or less, remaining. And Dallas had converted a 4th down and 1 easily with a QB sneak earlier in the game; so, however many of the 4 plays it took, sneak it for a TD.

    So I am agreeing that Prescott should have gone down at the one, considering it was Rodgers and GB against the porous Dallas defense. I think that is the only team and QB I would agree with that about. I know the arguments against it-- the possibility of a fumble, a penalty, a big loss... But I still say it was more logical to win the game with that strategy than by "trusting your defense" [Dak Prescott's quote].

    How about some other thoughts?
     
  2. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    I didn't see the game or the last minute scoring play by Prescott but you cannot ask a player, whose team is behind in the game, when seeing a clear path into the end zone, to pull up short. The offense's job is to score the points and get the lead. When the points are there you take them. The defense is then entrusted to protect that lead.

    What did Dallas do on their ensuing kickoff? Kick it out of the end zone for a touchback (no time off the clock) or kick it deep and risk a return (but use up some clock.)

    The mistake was made when they passed on 2nd and 1. They should have run the ball there and eaten up the clock. What were they thinking? If your offense can't get 1 yard on the ground in three attempts you deserve to lose.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
     
    #2 InTheLight, Oct 10, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    Here is one time that 'worked':

    Touchback. But when GB scored the winning TD, there were 11 seconds left. If the kick return had lasted 11 seconds, it would have been a long one.

    If they should have eaten up the clock, why do you say they should not have given up at the one and had those 3 (or 4) attempts to score from there? Certainly the pass on 2nd and 1 is far less debatable; but if it was a run/pass option, as Prescott said, he should have opted for the run.

    Finally, while everyone knows the defense's 'job,' it is not logical to trust a defense that is not trustworthy.
     
  4. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    The one time it "worked" was a totally different situation. Down by only one point the Jets could have kicked a FG and won the game at any time. In the game you are describing the Cowboys needed a TD to take the lead. Best to get that while you can.

    Imagine the howling if Prescott would have taken a knee at the 1/2 yard line and then for whatever reason the Packers held them scoreless.

    It is an intriguing problem to mull over. If Prescott would have taken a knee and the Cowboys subsequently scored the Dallas coach would be hailed as a genius. Take a knee and lose the game, they would have run him out of town.

    Consider another situation. Supposing the Packers were leading by 6 points. Supposing the Cowboys are threatening to score with a 1:30 left in the game and they are down on the Packers 3 yard line. Clock is stopped. Packers have no time outs left. Do the Packers let the Cowboys score? Knowing they have more than a minute to get into field goal range?

    (This discussion, or something like it, was had here on BB a couple years ago, IIRC.)
     
  5. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    I still say the flak they (the Dallas coaches and QB) have is no better than the flak they #might# have. As for Jacksonville's field goal in that game, what are the odds of a FG compared to 4 chances for a TD from the 1?

    What I was wondering was whether GB would 'let ' Dallas score to have more time to come back, as they did in that Super Bowl against Denver. But Dallas took that decision out of their hands.

    It kind of reminds of another SB where Baltimore had all its players flagrantly hold on a punt from the end zone in which they were going to take a safety anyway. "Unconventional" strategies do have value ast times.
     
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