Ok, everyone else is talking about it, I might as well chime in real quick. Last night’s decision by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick to go for it on their own 28 yard line on 4th and 2 with 2:08 remaining. Get the first down, the game is essentially over. Don’t get it, well Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts probably beat you, which they did, 35-34.
I’ve listened to both sides of the argument today from many different people. Here is my take. Punt the ball. I get you want the ball in Tom Brady’s hands. If Kevin Faulk doesn’t bobble the ball, he probably has the first down by inches. Fact is, he did bobble the ball and left Manning only 29 yards to pay dirt.
To me, the decision tells me you have no confidence in your defense. If you don’t make it, what do you think happens at that point? I mean, if you don’t trust your defense to hold them for 70 yards, what makes you think you can at 30 yards? Essentially, the decision was get the first down or lose.
Belichick doesn’t make many bad decisions. It doesn’t mean he get’s a pass on this one. You play the percentages. Imagine if Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt made the same decision. We probably wouldn’t still be talking about it unless it was on Sunday Night Football in front of a national audience. This was Patriots vs. Colts though. The rivalry clearly has a following outside of Boston and Indianapolis. By going for it, you have clearly told the millions watching New England’s defense is not very good, or at the very least, can’t be trusted to win a big game.
If Whiz made that decision, I know for a fact we would be saying same old Cardinals. There’s that black could that’s been hanging over the franchise for so many years, it’s back. It would be talked about Sunday night and maybe Monday morning, but otherwise it would be ho-hum for the national audience.
Now, Whiz did go for it a couple of times on 4th downs inside the Red Zone. One time it worked out, one time it didn’t. The Red Zone is where those decisions are more popular, not on your own 28 with two minutes to go.
This decision is not popular, gutsy, but not popular. If Faulk had made it would the decision have been questioned. Yes, sure. Not to the extent though it has because Faulk didn’t make the marker.
I’m not going to run Belichick over the coals like some have, but if you can;t trust your defense to stop even Peyton Manning over 60-70 yards and less than 2 minutes, then you’ve lost them, possibly for the season. The Pats defense can do one of two things now. Go out and prove Belichick wrong over the past seven games, or sit and sulk over the decision and let it affect you the rest of the season. Should be interesting to see what happens.