Updated: May 15
Colts Vs Texans
At the time when I was watching the conclusion of the Colts/Texans game I found myself doing a double take, no a triple take at the TV and here is what was going through my mind. Let me remind the readers if you are not aware of the situation. Tie game, end of overtime (less than 30 seconds left on the clock), Colts have the ball – 4th and 3-ish around mid-field.
I realize a tie might be hard to accept but when your other option is A LOSS, a tie sounds more reasonable. Colt Rookie Head Coach Frank Reich decides to go for it instead of punt to remove all doubt in the outcome. First thing going thru my mind, and the announcers is, he’s just going to try to draw the defense offside….he’s surely not going to snap the ball. It was akin to watching a train wreck from afar that you saw coming clearly down the tracks. The only way he can lose the game is to snap the ball and not get the first down. Sure enough, that’s what happened. Then, the Texans easily move the ball into field-goal range, kick an easy FG and pick up a division win on the road and head back to Houston with the gift of all gifts.
When Coaching Decisions Take Center Stage
Then the explanation, I thought to myself, surely this will enlighten me on some angle I totally had disregarded. WT-IF? “I’m not going to play for a tie”, “I’d do the same thing 10 out of 10 times”. Are you serious? I can promise Frank will not get a chance to do this 2 times, much less 10. One decision like this will never be forgotten, two like this, until you have a Bill Belichick size pile of chips built up in front of you, will get you an apple and a bus ticket, and that’s only if you escape your own locker room. Then the Colts rolled out their QB who had his back, obviously, god-bless-Andrew luck. Putting those players in the position of having to defend a crazy decision like that will cause you to lose credibility in the locker so fast you won’t know what has happened.
I know Frank well, I’ve been on the same staff with him in San Diego. He’s a good coach and a great man but this one goes in the same category as Marty Mornhingweg’s coin flip episode in 2002 when head coach of the Lions chose to take the wind entering overtime after winning the toss, in a sudden death situation. The Bears went right down the field, kicked a FG and the Lions never got the ball or another serious look from anyone after that. These two decisions will be on my all-time list of head scratchers. I feel terrible for those players, fans and all those involved. Lots of hard work for 7 days went into that game. I’d be shocked if a tie wouldn’t have them feeling somewhat better and more confident in their coach and direction in Indianapolis today.
Quarterbacks Who Were Blazing
I’m torn between giving Jared Goff crazy credit for the numbers he put up vs Minnesota on Thursday night and looking at the flawed plan that the Vikings rolled out to stop him. Seriously? Goff was 26-33 for 465 and 5 TD’s. He was pin point accurate, saw the field well and stood tall in the pocket, all things that he’s still working to perfect. But I can’t help but question the Vikings requiring Anthony Barr to be running all over the field in coverage against players he had no business trying to cover and this is beside the point that Anthony Barr’s best quality is as a pass rusher. Something tells me Bill Belichick would not have had a very good pass rusher chasing faster players in coverage. What part of that makes sense. Having said that, Goff identified to right matchups all night and showed he has enormous upside.
Now here is a name that nobody thought, least of all me, would be mentioned in the QB barometer on the upside portion of this column. I gotta hand it to Blake Bortles. He used a play action passing game (126 yds rushing as a team) to his advantage and passed for 388 yds on 29-38 numbers. He was everything that has been questioned to date as a player, he was accurate, he looked coverage off with his eyes and he showed touch to drop balls in over under coverage. If this becomes the norm the Jags will be very hard to beat in the AFC.
Bottom of the Barrel- Very few were worse than Ryan Tannehill from the Dolphins. He was 11-20 for 100 yds before his benching but beyond the poor numbers his “deer in the headlights” impression while standing in the pocket, his poor decision making and the body language of a defeated player before the game was 1 quarter old. These are the games that have given everyone in South Florida reason to doubt him getting the nod as the long-term answer at QB for the Fins.