With about 8 minutes to go and a 16-point lead, the Atlanta Falcons faced a third and inches from their own 36 yard line. If Atlanta rushes the ball–first down or not–the clock keeps running. Worst case scenario, they punt it deep and NE begins a drive in its own territory, with a 16-point deficit and with only 7 minutes left. It leads to an Atlanta win.
If Atlanta picks up the first down, they can knock a couple of minutes off the clock, and–again, worse case scenario only–they punt back to New England, who would still face a 16-point deficit, this time with about 5 minutes left.
There was one and only one play call. RUSH THE BALL. Instead, those idiot birds took a lesson from Pete Carroll and called a pass play. Inconceivable as it is, they did it. They needed a few feet and called a 7-step deep dropback pass. Only Joe Philbin, Adam Gase, Pete Carroll and my reader Karmatourer would do something that ridiculous. Add Dan Quinn to that immortal list of geniuses.
It was among the worst Super Bowl play calls in history. For a few minutes. Because a worse one is coming.
Still with an 8-point lead and the ball deep in New England territory, well within chip shot field goal range, with only 3+ minutes on the clock, all the Falcons had to do was rush it a few times, kill clock, and kick an easy field goal. World Champions. Matt Ryan could have taken a knee. It leads to an Atlanta win.
Any kind of rush. Anything at all. Anything except call a pass play. You guessed it. As if Dan Quinn didn’t learn his lesson in the previous series, he baffled the world by calling consecutive pass plays, which resulted in a sack and then a penalty, NEITHER of which would have occurred if he just ordered Matt Ryan to take a knee.
I have plenty of colleagues and many readers who say that I call for rushing plays too much. This isn’t so at all. I simply point out when it’s correct to rush the ball, and when you never ever ever pass it. When Jay Ajayi is picking up 6 yards per carry and the Dolphins lead by 17, you keep giving him the ball. And when you need to kill the clock and gain a foot or two to clinch a Super Bowl, you hand off.
For centuries, we’re going to have to hear about the heroics of Tom Brady. As if he had anything to do with the the brain paralysis that Dan Quinn demonstrated Sunday night in Houston. People will talk about the total collapse of the Falcons. But lost will be those plays I pointed out above. A pass-happy team got burned by one-sided playcalling and horrendous decisionmaking all around. And Dolphins Truth called it early in the 4th quarter, and Atlanta kept passing and passing.
After handing the Patriots their 4th Super Bowl title a few years back, Pete Carroll still got to keep his job. I would have fired him on the spot. You’ll note that since then, the Seahawks haven’t advanced far. The same will hold true for the Falcons. You don’t recover from losses like this. The coach will not suddenly get smarter. The players will let this one fester and not recover.
If only their coach had called a running play. We wouldn’t and shouldn’t have to be going through this again.
But as it turns out, yet another team has handed a free win to the Patriots because they tried to be too cute and ignored Football 101…DON’T CALL PASS PLAYS WHEN YOU NEED TO SIMPLY KEEP THE CLOCK MOVING.
–And the worst part is that we have to hear all the Patriots tell the same old lie forever: “We always knew we would win.” No, only Dan Quinn knew you would win, and he ensured it. The Patriots’ body language showed they gave up much much sooner.
Now we have to forever hear about Little Julie Edelmann’s “miracle” shoestring catch, instead of recognizing that it was a 100% lucky bounce.