Norm Smith Medallist
- Nov 18, 2015
- AFL Club
- Western Bulldogs
People show there true character when drunk and by him not even checking on her shown himself to be a scumbag.
Twitter is rife with reminders that there’s no football to watch today. Here’s an idea — watch the Super Bowl again.
That’s what I’m doing. And I’ll have some thoughts as I do it. I’ll post some of them, because I’m bored. Because there’s no football to watch today.
Here’s an item regarding the first big decision from Super Bowl LVI. Facing fourth at one from the L.A. 49, the Bengals went for it. They failed to convert, with a short throw from quarterback Joe Burrow to receiver Ja'Marr Chase landing incomplete, the pass broken up by Rams linebacker Ernest Jones.
As to the key question of whether the Bengals should have gone for it or punted, the NFL’s Next Gen Stats account on Twitter explained that, based on the Next Gen Stats Decision Guide, the Cincinnati win percentage by going for it in that spot was 27 percent, and the win percentage by punting was 25 percent. Going for it prevailed by a 1.9 percent margin.
So what? With 55 minutes left to be played in the game, a 1.9-percent ultimate-victory margin means nothing. The outcome of a fourth and short in that setting has negligible relevance to the outcome of a game that has barely gotten started.
Run the numbers with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter? Fine. With 10 minutes left in the first quarter, it’s just plain goofy. Too much still has to happen in the game, and the outcome ultimately will turn on something far more consequential than the outcome of the opening drive by the Bengals.
This is a prime example of the manner in which hyper-reliance on analytics overtakes common sense. The Bengals eventually throttled the L.A. offense on the opening drive. Why not trust the punt team to pin Matthew Stafford and company deep in their own end of the field for the second drive of the game? Why not get into a field-position battle for the first score?
That’s what the Bengals did, frankly. They surrendered field position, gave the Rams the ball only 51 yards from the end zone, and watched Stafford lead L.A. on the drive that delivered the opening touchdown.
By going for it, the Bengal tried to retain possession, obviously, and to position themselves to notch the first points. This is where the process of converting should not be regarded as mechanical but as strategic and dependent on preparation and execution.
What play did coach Zac Taylor have ready for that spot? How well would his players run it? What should quarterback Joe Burrow be looking for before he throws the ball?
The play could have worked. Receiver Tee Higgins, who was in motion from left to right before the snap, ended up wide open after safety Nick Scott collided with cornerback Jalen Ramsey. If Burrow had noticed, he could have had an easy first down. Instead, Burrow thought Chase was open, not realizing that Jones had broken toward the ball.
The effort to boil outcomes down to percentages overlooks that the go-for-it decision opens the door to various factors like that. It’s not a coin-flip or a single-factor proposition, like kicking an extra point or a field goal. It’s about play design, play selection, preparation, execution, defensive effectiveness, and the ability of the players to seize an opportunity that arises, or not.
Finally, the officials missed a fairly obvious post-play taunt by Ramsey, who stood over Chase with the same kind of posture that drew plenty of flags all season long. Yes, the rule sucks. Not enforcing it consistently sucks even more. The Rams should have started the drive from their own 34, not from their own 49.
Here’s the bottom line. Decisions made and not made that early don’t decide the game. Whether going for it or punting provides an incremental bump as to the eventual winning percentage should be ignored. What matters is whether the head coach believes that his offense can and will create a better outcome than trying to pin the Rams deep in their own end and hoping to keep them from driving the length of the field. The Cincinnati offense, in that moment, didn’t get it done.