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The Confidence Man... (OT, long)

Posted By: Joe Russell
Date: Monday, 9 February 2015, at 6:25 p.m.

In Response To: The Confidence Man... (OT, long) (Taper_Mike)

Great post! I don't think either coach considered all the ramifications and complexities while making their decisions.

The first decision for both coaches took place after the first down run put the ball at the one yard line with about a minute to go. Bellichik could have used a TO and let Seattle score on the next play. That would have given the Pats almost a minute and a TO to get a FG against the league's best defense. And, if they got the FG, they would only be 50%. Right or wrong, he decided to not do this. Another option was to use his TO's and still play defense, hoping to stop Seattle, but possibly conserving some time if Seattle scored quickly. He chose not to do this because Seattle had 3 wide-outs in the game and he did not want to give them a chance to bring in their run package and he did not want to give them a chance at 3 runs, which they could have done if the Pats called a TO.

At the same time, Carroll could have used his last TO with a minute to go, brought in his big blockers, and probably had time for 3 runs. He hesitated, thinking about what play to call, as time ticked away. He may have been saving his TO, thinking the Pats would call one. If he wanted to run 3 times, he had to call an immediate TO or hope NE called one at some point. Once he had burned off 10 seconds or so it was too late to call a TO and run 3 times-they may not get off the 3rd run. After the 10 seconds had ticked off, he found himself in a situation where, to get 3 cracks at scoring, he would have to pass on either 2nd or 3rd down. There was no need to call a TO if he was going to pass on 2nd down. He knew he had 3 wide-outs in the game and saw that, even with the wide-outs, the Pats were ganging up against the run, with the 8 men in the box. If he called a run and it was stopped, they would have to call a TO and pass on 3rd down. If he called a TO before the play and brought in the run package and was stopped, he would have to hurry the play and pass on 3rd down. In either scenario, the Pats would know Seattle was passing on 3rd down.

I think the decisions were made based on Bellichik not wanting to give Seattle a chance at bringing in the run package and on not giving them a crack at running 3 times. Carroll, once he knew the Pats were not calling a TO and he did not have time for 3 runs, preferred to pass on 2nd down, when the Pats were lined up against the run, rather than pass on 3rd down, when the Pats would be expecting it.

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