You can be like Michael Spinks fighting Mike Tyson and say, "Well, I'm probably going to lose anyway so I'm gonna go toe to toe and take my shot." You will likely wind up knocked out on the floor in under half a minute. Or you can box and give yourself a chance to win.
But you're not giving yourself a chance to win because of the deficiencies of this team (Bottom 5 OL, Bottom 5 defense), you can't outbox. He has you beat in speed, stamina, and power and if you just sit there and try to punch-block-counter and wait
for an opening, you're not going to find it. You're only chance is to be aggressive early in the fight and try to get him on his heels. He can't use his superior abilities if he's just blocking your punches. You have to land the first blow, and hope that when you do it blows up their plan.
"Everybody has a plan until they get hit."
my point about CAR throwing deep is that throwing deep in and of itself guarantees nothing.
I understand that. But you guys know that this team wasn't built for long drives. You know that because they didn't have the playmakers at WR and because they had a bad OL. They didn't have a sustaining offense. The issue I had is the Falcons seemingly went out of their way to avoid the deep ball. It wasn't that they were below average, they were essentially a statistical outlier. Pretty much every NFL team is throwing the ball deep 15-30% of the time, with the average being somewhere between like 18-22%. The Falcons OTOH, were down in the 10-12% range, significantly lower than even the second worst team.
Look at the numbers I pointed out in this post
. The gap between the Jaguars (the next worst) who had a comparable OL is significant. Just on 1st & 10, the gap in those percentages of deep passes thrown is about 13 attempts over the course of the season. When you have a QB that completes 40% of his deep passes, that is about 5 big plays that you left on the field just from play-calling alone. The gap between us and Arizona (who also had a comparable OL) is about 28 passes, and again with a 40% passer, that's about 11 big plays. And when you see the link between big plays and scoring for this Falcon team, it's a no brainer that they should be trying
to generating more big plays.
The Falcons had 50 plays of 20 or more yards last year, on 46 separate drives. On those drives, they scored a total of 217 points, about 60% of their season total. That's an average of 4.7 points per drive.
That means the Falcons scored 136 points on their other 133 possessions, an average of 1.02 points per drive.
The Falcons had 49 drives to the red zone this year, 29 of them of included 20+ yd plays, roughly 60%. That means that on the 46 drives in which we made a big play, we would make it to the red zone about 63% of the time. On the drives where we didn't get a big play, we made it to the red zone about 15% of the time.
Essentially the Falcons were 4 times as likely to reach pay dirt and going to score 4 times as many points from successfully completing big plays. This is all the incentive you need.
And if you factor in that 11 big play difference between us and the Cardinals, that's 51 points that we could potentially had added to our season total that was left on the field. That's roughly 3 more points per game. And the difference between a team that averages 22 points per game (as we did) and a team that averages 25 points per game (as we could have if we were as aggressive as Arizona) is the equivalent of about 1 win per season. And that's ONLY considering 1st & 10 plays.
Just a handful more shots down the field could be the difference between a handful of wins in a season. This is what Bruce Arians understands and why he's been very successful in his last 3 stops despite having very porous OLs in each because he understands that a 6-yard sack here and there isn't enough of a detractor to avoid the incentitve of trying to attack an opposing defense with a 35-yard play.
That's why Carolina taking 6 shots early in that game, even if they weren't be completed is worthwhile.
And a big part of my beef with our coaching staff is that as I'm watching the tape and reviewing the stat books, I'm seeing this correlation/link between big plays and us scoring touchdowns as clear as day. But the coaching staff made little to no adjustment, and in fact went the opposite way and got more conservative. So apparently they weren't able to see it or simply ignored it. And that's why I've thrown around words like incompetent when describing their performance this year.