Again, I think we've had many of these debates on this forum over the years in regards to Smitty's decisions. And for the most part I have defended Smitty.
I think it's another instance of where Decision A is the aggressive decision (i.e. going for it on 4th down, kicking the FG, etc.) and Decision B is the conservative one (i.e. punting, etc.)
And as has been often the case with the questionable decisions of Smitty over the years, I don't think one is right and the other is wrong. I think both have their pluses and minuses. One may be "smarter" than the other, but I don't think there's a clear-cut "smart vs. stupid" dichotomy here.
I tend to favor aggressiveness, and thus Smitty went aggressive, so I don't fault him really.
Going back to the 2-point conversion debate, he should have gone for two. That was the smart decision. But what I really had an issue with, not so much the decision to go for 2 or the PAT, was that he had a card that said: "Never Go for 2 before the 53-minute mark." That card needs to be revised. In the end, Smitty could have had 12 factors all going off in his head that told him to kick the PAT rather than go for 2, and as the head coach of the team, that is his prerogative.
Just like here, let's say in his mind, he figures that if the punt is successfully executed, the chances the Falcons win the game is 96%. If Bryant makes that FG, it's 99%. But if he misses the FG, the odds drop to 90%. If the punt is not executed properly, then the odds are 93%. So thus, in his mind, risking the -3% chance of losing on a missed FG against the +3% chance of winning was a worthwhile risk.
Maybe he's factoring in that the chances of the FG being blocked is much lower than the punt (the Falcons have had a punt blocked, and a couple of near misses in recent games).
Now if you move the ball 3-5 yards, or add another 5-10 seconds on the clock, then these risk factors change significantly. But maybe Smitty figures Barth's effective range is 52 yards (he's never made a kick longer than 48 at home in the 4th qtr), thus the odds that the Bucs can go 20 yards in 8 seconds is pretty low to get into his range.
So again, I don't see it as clearly this decision is right, and the other is wrong. There are degrees of right/wrong, and I'm not going to jump on Smitty's back because he made the "lesser" decision. I chalk that up to simple human error.
but that is not 'being aggressive'. there are any number of ways to seal the deal, and it was 'fortunate' but let's not ignore the elephant in the room for some 'cute stats'.
This is what concerns me a little. We have to learn how to 'step on the throat' when were playing a division foe in a tight game. Look at the end of the first half. Again : NO SENSE OF URGENCY. Bad clock management. Settling for FG's instead of TD's. And then, at the end of the game: take the ball OUT of Ryan's hands. Trust the kicker. Or, why not take the DOG penalty, back it up 5, and poochpunt it? OK, yes, they could probably block it. Or, they could run it back, or any number of things could happen.
But this is what I can't get...I mean, FINALLY Quizz is getting more touches then Turner. That is a good thing. But for the most part, when you see Turner and Cox going in, there's only 2 or 3 plays they can call. That's being clever ( getting Quizz more involved ) but not 'aggressive'. When everyone in the room isn't 'fooled' when they see those two clowns going in, it's waaay past time to put those 2 or 3 plays on the backburner...
And can anyone tell me where the no-huddle went? When is the last time we have seen it? 'Aggressive' is having the ball go through Ryan and this is the one thing he has had locked down since his rookie year. BUt the last two games, when it really mattered, I didn't see practically any of it. Why?
I have to hope that the 'new improved coordinators' ( which I must say are leagues better ) must be seeing something or know something we dont, because this season is giving me the queasy stroll down memory lane( 2010, anyone?)
I guess that's my point: is that even when we show we can play a complete game, we still lack the 'killing instinct'. Maybe going for it on those 4th and 1's last year against the Saints is in Smitty's head.