The Mattural wrote:
So it looks like if the Falcons score 20 or less points any week they will lose.
That's not unique to the Falcons. Collectively since 2008, NFL teams are 286-958-2 in games where they score 20 or less points.
After Clay's catch which made it 1st and goal, we should have used a timeout. From that point, there were only two (realistic) outcomes. Either we stop Miami, and they end up with a field goal which ties the game, or they score a TD and go up by 4. In either case, they have four downs and 1:45 left to go. Three of these four downs are potential running downs, however, the odds are good that they will be passing in this situation. An incomplete pass stops the clock. A run, or a pass short of the end zone requires us to use a timeout.
The notion that timeouts would be helping them at that point is just silly. 1st and goal from the 8 with 1:45 left on the clock AND a timeout. The clock was their best friend and our worst enemy.
If Smith had used our timeouts, worst case scenario, by the time 3rd down comes around, there's about 1:20 left on the clock. On 3rd down, Miami could either try to run it in again and run time off of the clock, or they could try to pass it in, if the pass is incomplete, it freezes the clock for us. A touchdown here gives us more than a minute to work with. (though no timeouts) A failed run gives us a max of 25 seconds after the field goal, but the game is tied, so we have 25 seconds to get down the field to make a field goal. (for the win... if we don't get it, we're in overtime) If Miami gets a TD, it's possible that Miami would kick the ball short to run some time off of the clock, which would result in better field position to start the drive. (though probably 5 less seconds on the clock)
Those are the worst case examples. In the situation that did happen, if we had called a timeout after Clay's catch, and after the next play, the Falcons would have 1 timeout and about a minute and a half on the clock. To me, it was very obvious (at the time even) that we should have been using timeouts. Often, it's in hind sight that we second guess what happens on game day, but I was literally mumbling with my arms folded about how crappy Smith's clock management is while I was watching this live.
You've made several assumptions.
To say that there are only two realistic
outcomes is BS. Those are the 2 likeliest
outcomes. But to suggest the Falcons forcing a TO or the Dolphins missing a FG as being unrealistic is not accurate. They are certainly unlikely, but that doesn't make them unrealistic
. That sort of thinking would say that the only
realistic outcomes of calling a pass play is that the ball is caught for a completion or is incomplete. Not accounting for sacks, fumbles, interceptions, botched snaps, etc. All of which are realistic
Saying that the odds are good that Miami throws the ball at some point is another assumption. The Dolphins had run 4 plays inside their opponents 10 thus far this year and had run it all 4 times. With no guarantee they run more 3 plays from scrimmage, then that tells you that the odds aren't good that there is a pass.
And why is it silly to say that the TOs would be helping the Dolphins? Your entire premise is built off the belief that the more time the Falcons have on the clock, the more likely their chances of scoring. Why doesn't that exact same principle apply to the Dolphins?
The only way that principle wouldn't apply is if you've already made the forgone conclusion that Miami will score. And while, yes the odds are very high that Miami will at least be able to tie the game at that point with a FG (there's a 97% chance a kicker makes a FG from inside the 8 yd line), there isn't a 97% chance that the Dolphins get that opportunity. Based off the Falcons history under Mike Smith and Mike NOlan, the chance Miami scores either a FG or TD in that situation is about 87%.
Another assumption you're making is that the Falcons are in a better position if they have a minute to go with no timeouts vs. having 40 seconds to go with 2 or more timeouts. Now I don't think that's a crazy assumption to make, but you're assuming that in the former situation your bad OL won't give up a sack or the Dolphins won't tackle you in bounds on a play. Having the TOs on offense is very valuable because it gives flexibility to your play-calling, and I don't fault Smitty for being reluctant to give those up.
Again, I want to stress Robert that you are more than free to believe that calling the TOs was the smarter/better decision. But IMHO, it's not as obvious
a smart/better decision as you claim it to be, and thus I can't fault Smitty for going in a different direction. Nor should you. There is a difference between "it may
not have been the best clock management" and "it was definitely
bad clock management."
There's a lot more gray area than you are allowing.