In Bill We Do Not Trust?

ilol@u

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It's been a slow off-season and I wanted to propose a few calls that Bill Belichick did/did not make and determine whether statistically it was the right decision, and what YOU would do in the same circumstances. Feel free to discuss other ones (4th and 2, intentional safety, etc). The ones I'm interested in discussing are:

Superbowl 53: Patriots vs Rams
Scenario: With 1:12 remaining in the 4TH QTR, the Patriots elected to kick a 41 yard FG by Stelhen Gostowski on 4th and inches. Patriots lead 10-3.

My opinion:
Bad call. Gostowski missed a 46 yard FG earlier in the game in the first quarter. There is just so much that can go wrong. He can miss it which would give the Rams the ball on the 24 yard line with 1:12 remaining and a timeout. The ball could have been bipped/blocked and/or fumbled which would have given a better chance for the Rams to score. Gostowski has missed 4 kicks in the Superbowl (2 XPs, 2 FGs), so I would not have been that comfortable with him being successful. Expecially with Donald and Suh on the line. The question is, do you trust Brady and the offense to pick up an inch on 4th down, or do you trust Gostowski to nail a 41 yard FG? I trust Brady more.

Superbowl 49: Patriots vs Seahawks
Scenario: Bill Belichick doesn't take a timeout after first down run by Marshawn Lynch. Ball is on the 1 yard line with 1:06 remaining, with the Patriots up 28-24.

My opinion:
Bad call. I was screaming at the TV for him to call a timeout, let the defense rest and perserve time for Brady to potentially lead the game tying drive with about a minute left if Seattle scored on the following play. Obviously the Malcolm Butler happened right after this. But if they scored, the Patriots would have 20 seconds remaining to get in FG range down 3. Was it the right call?

Superbowl 42: Patriots vs Giants
Scenario: 4th and 13 on the Giants 32 yard line, 3rd QTR Belichick goes for it. 7-3 Patriots.

My opinion:
Bad call again. Brady ended up missing Moss and it was a turnover on downs. Did we not trust Gostowski then to kick a 49 yard FG? What has a better success rate, a 49 yard FG or a 4th and 13 conversion knowing the Giants Dline was destroying them. The Patriots ended up losing by 3. I will go to my grave thinking that if they kick the FG there, they will win the game.
 

DJnVa

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Superbowl 49: Patriots vs Seahawks
Scenario: Bill Belichick doesn't take a timeout after first down run by Marshawn Lynch. Ball is on the 1 yard line with 1:06 remaining, with the Patriots up 28-24.

My opinion:
Bad call. I was screaming at the TV for him to call a timeout, let the defense rest and perserve time for Brady to potentially lead the game tying drive with about a minute left if Seattle scored on the following play. Obviously the Malcolm Butler happened right after this. But if they scored, the Patriots would have 20 seconds remaining to get in FG range down 3. Was it the right call?
Yes. There is a time and place for gut decisions and we've heard from multiple people that BB saw confusion on Seattle's sideline and decided not to take TO. Then the Pats recognized the formation and got Butler in the game because they fucking knew what was coming.

That's football genius. BB goes for it and all that more than a lot of coaches and knows the math. But sometimes hunches ARE the right call.
 

InstaFace

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I remember the game in Denver in 2003, where we were down by 1 late in the 4Q, backed up against our own endzone on the 1. It's 4th and 10, and Belichick takes an intentional safety, with Lonie Paxton clanging the snap against the uprights to leave nothing to chance. Now down 3 points, we get a resulting free kick from the 25, TBC tackles the returner for a loss, so huge field position gain, and the soon-to-be-legendary defense holds to a 3-and-out. Receiving the ball now at his own 42, Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk and David Givens rip down the field in 6 plays, scoring the winning touchdown with 36" left.

I sat there in slack-jawed amazement. It was at that moment that I swore I would never again second-guess Bill Belichick, because he was clearly and obviously smarter than I was, in general but especially at football. I decided it would be better for me to just keep learning why he was right all the time, than to persist in thinking he might not be.

---

That said, the one and only time I've ever thought "Really Bill? Man, I'm not so sure..." were the 3 decisions in the 4Q of the 2015 AFCCG, to go for it on 4th rather than kick a FG.

6:03 remaining: 4th and 1 at the DEN 16, down 12-20, 3 TOs remaining: I get why he wanted to tie the game there, no telling what possessions remain for you and it's just 1 yard. But I figured we'd need two scores to win, might as well get one now.

2:25 remaining: 4th and 6 at the DEN 14, down 12-20: After a Marcus Cannon false start on 3rd and 1, this seemed like a tougher conversion. Having made the previous decision to go for it, a FG would be silly here - I realize you can't assume another possession - but if he'd gotten the FG previously, I think kicking here would then have been obvious given the 3 TOs remaining.

0:17 remaining: 4th and Goal at the DEN 4, down 12-20: Obviously we threw the TD to Gronk and failed the 2PC. But had we kicked twice prior to this point, we'd be milking the clock and kicking the game winner as time expired.

There are a ton of BB decisions that looked dumb in retrospect, but with the information at the time were totally reasonable and even the odds-on advantage play. This was the one time that, at the time the decision was made, I wasn't so sure it was right. I'm not sure it was wrong, either, but it's the closest I've come to breaking my promise not to second-guess BB.

Edit: God, did that game suck a big fat one.
 
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Blue Monkey

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I’m at the point where I’ve completely stopped questioning BB. If he wants to run Pat the Patriot out there in the wildcat I wouldn’t have any issues. 6 Super Bowls!
 

Seels

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The only thing I'm willing to say was a bad call was just not even attempting to win game 17 in 2015.
 

SoxVindaloo

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Yes. There is a time and place for gut decisions and we've heard from multiple people that BB saw confusion on Seattle's sideline and decided not to take TO. Then the Pats recognized the formation and got Butler in the game because they fucking knew what was coming.

That's football genius. BB goes for it and all that more than a lot of coaches and knows the math. But sometimes hunches ARE the right call.
My favorite part of this was watching Michaels' and Collinsworth's heads explode as BB just stood there watching the chaos on the Hawks sideline with his death stare and refusing to call TO. It was ballsy as hell but I also think it was the right call then and now.
 

InstaFace

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Superbowl 53: Patriots vs Rams
Scenario: With 1:12 remaining in the 4TH QTR, the Patriots elected to kick a 41 yard FG by Stelhen Gostowski on 4th and inches. Patriots lead 10-3.

My opinion:
Bad call. Gostowski missed a 46 yard FG earlier in the game in the first quarter. There is just so much that can go wrong. He can miss it which would give the Rams the ball on the 24 yard line with 1:12 remaining and a timeout. The ball could have been bipped/blocked and/or fumbled which would have given a better chance for the Rams to score. Gostowski has missed 4 kicks in the Superbowl (2 XPs, 2 FGs), so I would not have been that comfortable with him being successful. Expecially with Donald and Suh on the line. The question is, do you trust Brady and the offense to pick up an inch on 4th down, or do you trust Gostowski to nail a 41 yard FG? I trust Brady more.
Do you know who trusted Gostkowski* more? Tom Brady. Who went over to the sideline, asked the distance, and then said let's kick it and ice this thing. BB confirmed with Ernie ("you OK with the field goal?"), and went along with it.

And I'm with DD as far as the Lynch/Butler timeout call. BB knew it was 2nd down on the 1, his odds were slim whether they ran or passed. But a glimmer of hope presented itself in the form of momentary chaos on the opposing sideline. When your enemy is making a mistake, do not interrupt them. He could have maybe gained some slight edge with a timeout that turned his chances from even 1% to 2%, but measured against the wildcard of "put the opponent under pressure and see what happens", he chose the best option.

I think the Scottish Game question is the fairest of the three, to the extent that there was such a thing as a wrong move with that offense.

* (btw, his name has a K in it, unless that's some old "Ason Kidd" style joke)
 

snowmanny

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The one play I just don't get, although many seemed to support it in the game thread, was going for it at Denver 2015 down eight 4th and 1 from the 16 with 6+ minutes to go. You need to make the first down, score a touchdown, make a two-point conversion in order to tie the game....and then you have to score again anyway (ED: and you've taken who knows how much time off the clock). You are getting the ball back (unless Denver holds the ball long enough to kick a game-winning field goal) so take the easy points and go from there.

The opposite of this was kicking the FG to make it 28-12 in LI and the final FG in LIII to go up 13-3. Exactly right.
 

tims4wins

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I’ll have to look up the details but I believe he also passed up a FG or two in the 2013 AFCCG in Denver that he regretted. Not that that team could have beaten the 2013 Seahawks anyway.
 

Super Nomario

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Superbowl 53: Patriots vs Rams
Scenario: With 1:12 remaining in the 4TH QTR, the Patriots elected to kick a 41 yard FG by Stelhen Gostowski on 4th and inches. Patriots lead 10-3.

My opinion:
Bad call. Gostowski missed a 46 yard FG earlier in the game in the first quarter. There is just so much that can go wrong. He can miss it which would give the Rams the ball on the 24 yard line with 1:12 remaining and a timeout. The ball could have been bipped/blocked and/or fumbled which would have given a better chance for the Rams to score. Gostowski has missed 4 kicks in the Superbowl (2 XPs, 2 FGs), so I would not have been that comfortable with him being successful. Expecially with Donald and Suh on the line. The question is, do you trust Brady and the offense to pick up an inch on 4th down, or do you trust Gostowski to nail a 41 yard FG? I trust Brady more.
They failed on a 46-yarder earlier in the game, but they failed on 3rd-and-1 *on the play before.*

The math checks out here: conversion rates on 3rd- or 4th-and-1 was about 70% in 2018, FG rate was about 84%. They made the percentage play.
 

BaseballJones

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That said, the one and only time I've ever thought "Really Bill? Man, I'm not so sure..." were the 3 decisions in the 4Q of the 2015 AFCCG, to go for it on 4th rather than kick a FG.

6:03 remaining: 4th and 1 at the DEN 16, down 12-20, 3 TOs remaining: I get why he wanted to tie the game there, no telling what possessions remain for you and it's just 1 yard. But I figured we'd need two scores to win, might as well get one now.

2:25 remaining: 4th and 6 at the DEN 14, down 12-20: After a Marcus Cannon false start on 3rd and 1, this seemed like a tougher conversion. Having made the previous decision to go for it, a FG would be silly here - I realize you can't assume another possession - but if he'd gotten the FG previously, I think kicking here would then have been obvious given the 3 TOs remaining.

0:17 remaining: 4th and Goal at the DEN 4, down 12-20: Obviously we threw the TD to Gronk and failed the 2PC. But had we kicked twice prior to this point, we'd be milking the clock and kicking the game winner as time expired.
Not playing Butler at all in SB52...
The only thing I'm willing to say was a bad call was just not even attempting to win game 17 in 2015.
I'm fully on board with these three instances. The Miami game in 2015 was the ultimate WTF because it wasn't like it was just one play that he could claim a hunch on. It was the entire first half they just ran uninspired running plays with Steven Jackson into the Dolphins' middle. Getting stuffed every time. It was like he simply did not care about the game. I know he DID care, and he must have had his reasons, but man at the time I'm like what the HELL is going on?

Butler...again, reasons, but still.

The 2015 AFCCG was torture for lots of reasons and the bad decisions to not kick came back to bite them. Still...they nearly pulled that one out anyway, such is the greatness of Brady and Gronk.

But in 18 years to only have a handful of WTF moments....just an unbelievable record.
 

tims4wins

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They failed on a 46-yarder earlier in the game, but they failed on 3rd-and-1 *on the play before.*

The math checks out here: conversion rates on 3rd- or 4th-and-1 was about 70% in 2018, FG rate was about 84%. They made the percentage play.
They gained yardage on 3rd down. It was 4th and a couple inches, right? Also, getting stopped on the previous play was more because Develin tripped Michel IIRC.
 

tims4wins

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Oh, well they should have gotten a do-over then.
I just mean it wasn't a straight up "4th and 1". It was 4th and inches. Sneak situation. Brady over the top like a TD. Whatever. I can't have been the only one who liked those odds better than the FG. I think 70% is way too low of an estimate there given the actual yardage to go, and Brady's prowess at sneaking. Plus you have to factor in the 7 yards of field position. You also have to figure in the fact that the game isn't over with a made FG like it is with a successful conversion - Rams could have returned the kickoff for a TD, scored on the first play, etc.
 

Bowhemian

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I just mean it wasn't a straight up "4th and 1". It was 4th and inches. Sneak situation. Brady over the top like a TD. Whatever. I can't have been the only one who liked those odds better than the FG. I think 70% is way too low of an estimate there given the actual yardage to go, and Brady's prowess at sneaking. Plus you have to factor in the 7 yards of field position. You also have to figure in the fact that the game isn't over with a made FG like it is with a successful conversion - Rams could have returned the kickoff for a TD, scored on the first play, etc.
Sneak wasn't there, the Rams stacked the box and covered the center and both guards. High risk going over the top in the middle of the field. On a TD play, if the ball gets stripped it doesn't matter since the ball is dead once it crosses the goal line. In the middle of the field, it's not a dead ball until forward progress is stopped/whistle.
 

Super Nomario

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I just mean it wasn't a straight up "4th and 1". It was 4th and inches. Sneak situation. Brady over the top like a TD. Whatever. I can't have been the only one who liked those odds better than the FG. I think 70% is way too low of an estimate there given the actual yardage to go, and Brady's prowess at sneaking. Plus you have to factor in the 7 yards of field position. You also have to figure in the fact that the game isn't over with a made FG like it is with a successful conversion - Rams could have returned the kickoff for a TD, scored on the first play, etc.
The Patriots were one of the worst teams in power situations (3rd and 4th down, 1-2 to go, or goal-to-go on the 1-2) per FO: 29th in the NFL at 58% conversion. @Bowhemian addressed the issues with the sneak and going over the top. I don't think you're going to get better than the 84% odds you're getting on the FG.

The 7 yards on the missed FG is fair; that's worth about 0.4 of a point. The game being effectively over versus literally over doesn't move the needle a lot for me. LAR had 1:12 left, zero timeouts, and needed two scores. Scoring twice is hard there even leaving aside needing an onside kick, which is practically impossible under current rules.

I get it if you would have done differently. But the math favors what they did, and describing the FG as a "bad call" is ridiculous IMO.
 

tims4wins

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The Patriots were one of the worst teams in power situations (3rd and 4th down, 1-2 to go, or goal-to-go on the 1-2) per FO: 29th in the NFL at 58% conversion. @Bowhemian addressed the issues with the sneak and going over the top. I don't think you're going to get better than the 84% odds you're getting on the FG.

The 7 yards on the missed FG is fair; that's worth about 0.4 of a point. The game being effectively over versus literally over doesn't move the needle a lot for me. LAR had 1:12 left, zero timeouts, and needed two scores. Scoring twice is hard there even leaving aside needing an onside kick, which is practically impossible under current rules.

I get it if you would have done differently. But the math favors what they did, and describing the FG as a "bad call" is ridiculous IMO.
I don't disagree with any of that. I wouldn't label it a bad call either. I'd have gone for it personally.
 

TheoShmeo

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Do people here think that the way Bill/Josh handled the last drive in the Scottish game was panicky or screwed up? I had a friend recently make that argument. His point was thar they could have driven down the field and did not need so many long passes. My response is that he had a HR hitter in Moss and that it almost worked. I had never really questioned that move.

I agree that cherry picking Bill is silly in that he makes a gazillion decisions every year and hits on so many of them.

That said, if forced to engage, two that stand out are

- Gronk in at safety against Miami; given where Miami was on the field, McCourty was an obviously better guy to have in there; and

- entering 2006 with such a thin WR group; losing Givens and Branch with no suitable replacements was bad planning, and that was a call many of us made in advance. The WR groups in 2012 and 2013 were also weak.

The 4th and 13 call is another one I can’t justify given the odds of converting and that the FG was in SG’s range.
 

Hendu for Kutch

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Do people here think that the way Bill/Josh handled the last drive in the Scottish game was panicky or screwed up? I had a friend recently make that argument. His point was thar they could have driven down the field and did not need so many long passes. My response is that he had a HR hitter in Moss and that it almost worked. I had never really questioned that move.

The 4th and 13 call is another one I can’t justify given the odds of converting and that the FG was in SG’s range.
Those two, both in the game that shall not be named, are the two that have always stuck out in my mind. There was an air of invincibility about the team, and I've always wondered if it went to their head in that game. 99.9% of BB's decisions, even if I wouldn't have made the same decision, I see the logic behind it or a story comes out later that explains what they were thinking (like not using timeout in SB49). And even the ones that don't make any sense to me (Butler in SB52), I trust that there is a reason I'm just not privy to. But this one....

Most egregious was the 4th and 13 conversion attempt. What's the chance of converting 4th and 13? A quick googling shows ~20%. That just seems uncharacteristically reckless over choosing a 48 yard FG attempt. It was in the 3rd quarter and they had the lead, so there's no desperation excuse. I don't think I've ever heard anyone even attempt to justify that decision, and I can't even think of a whisper of an argument that would justify it. If they had that little faith in Gostkowski (and to be fair, he'd only gone 3/5 in 40-49 yard attempts that year), then they should have brought in another kicker. You can't just pretend the position doesn't exist. I was stunned when it happened and I'm still stunned that it did happen.

The last drive of that same game...39 seconds and 3 timeouts from the NE26. That's a lot of time to get into FG range and potentially tie the game. 40 yards gets you into very realistic range, 50 yards gets you a pretty easy FG. Instead they attempted low % deep throws when that's what the opponent is most geared up to stop, and also left themselves open to a sack, the most disastrous non-turnover play, because the plays were naturally slow to develop. It never made any sense to me.
 

Super Nomario

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The WR groups in 2012 and 2013 were also weak.
Brandon Lloyd was a pretty nice pickup for 2012; I don't have any issues with that receiving corps. Gronk and Hernandez got hurt; so did Edelman. They scored 557 points, which is the best total other than the 2007 team.

2013 I think was largely beyond their control. Hernandez was arrested in June, after FA and the draft. Amendola was a big signing; he got hurt in Week 1. So did Vereen. Gronk missed the first few weeks, then came back, then got hurt again. The offense was pretty good when people were healthy; it was just a year like 2015 where everyone got hurt.

FWIW in both 2006 (Chad Jackson) and 2013 (Aaron Dobson) they tried to augment the WR corps with a rookie ... not great results though.

The last drive of that same game...39 seconds and 3 timeouts from the NE26. That's a lot of time to get into FG range and potentially tie the game. 40 yards gets you into very realistic range, 50 yards gets you a pretty easy FG. Instead they attempted low % deep throws when that's what the opponent is most geared up to stop, and also left themselves open to a sack, the most disastrous non-turnover play, because the plays were naturally slow to develop. It never made any sense to me.
It was only 29 seconds after the kickoff, per pfref.
 

InstaFace

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But in 18 years to only have a handful of WTF moments....just an unbelievable record.
Right, every post in this thread needs like 5 caveats to be even half-sensible. Part of it stems from the thread title, I think. In Bill we better fucking trust, or we're the morons, not him. Maybe a "Bill Belichick: Not quite infallible?" would be more suitable.

I occasionally watch other, non-Patriots games. Invariably, there are 2-3 instances per game where I can pick out that the coach probably screwed up. A play call that went to the non-disguised strengths of the defense. Poor time management. Not changing what's clearly not working on either side of the ball. Tactical decisions on kicking, on 4th down, or even accepting/declining penalties. Play calls that are for the wrong down and distance. Penalties that seem to derive from confusion or conflicting instructions or the like. A timeout on 4th and goal by the defensive coordinator that hands the game to the opponent. Stuff that, were I rooting for that team, I would find infuriating, consistently infuriating. I'm not even sure I'd continue watching some of these teams if I were a fan, because at this point I understand pretty well how games get pissed away, and there's frankly nothing worse than watching errors of discipline and preparation lose a game, rather than just physical execution errors or insufficiencies.

Meanwhile, we have to strain our memories to come up with instances where Belichick maybe was more-likely-than-not making a poor decision. Claims of such in a reactionary game thread are routinely mocked. I can't think of a single other coach who gets deservedly second-guessed on tactics as little as Belichick does. Maybe Gregg Popovich and Pep Guardiola come close.
 

ilol@u

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Mods, feel free to change the thread title. I was going for something click-baity.
Just wanted to see what us 'Madden coaches' would have done in certain situations compared to what Belichick ended up doing.
 

Hendu for Kutch

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It was only 29 seconds after the kickoff, per pfref.
My mistake on that one, it was 39 seconds before the kickoff, you're right. I still would have liked to have seen them work the intermediate routes and use timeouts to give themselves the whole field to work with and see what happened before going to the desperation heaves, rather than jumping right to them.
 

Archer1979

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My favorite part of this was watching Michaels' and Collinsworth's heads explode as BB just stood there watching the chaos on the Hawks sideline with his death stare and refusing to call TO. It was ballsy as hell but I also think it was the right call then and now.
Everything you need to know about that was answered when Belichick was caught mic'd up asking where the other team's coach was. That's valuable intel for Bill.
 
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All In BB We Trust caveats, GOAT, better than Parcells, etc..., I have a hard time believing that, if BB had gone to Butler at the start of the second half or even the 4th quarter and said, "All right, get the fuck out there and play" (a simple, "Malcom, GO!" would have sufficed), Butler wouldn't have run out onto the field and played like his fucking HAIR was on fire. And given all the 3rd and 4th down conversions the defense failed to stop, it's EASILY my "one I will never get over." That game was ridiculous. The only reason to have the guy ACTIVE at all is for a "break glass in case of emergency" situation - it was undeniably an emergency.

Oh well. And oh yeah - SIX. RINGS.
 
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Remember that time someone posted all caveats - in a thread built on assumed and shared caveats - and even referenced the SIX RINGS of it all, and someone STILL felt the need to SOSH him about it? That's why this site is great. Thanks, buddy!
 
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mcpickl

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Superbowl 49: Patriots vs Seahawks
Scenario: Bill Belichick doesn't take a timeout after first down run by Marshawn Lynch. Ball is on the 1 yard line with 1:06 remaining, with the Patriots up 28-24.

My opinion:
Bad call. I was screaming at the TV for him to call a timeout, let the defense rest and perserve time for Brady to potentially lead the game tying drive with about a minute left if Seattle scored on the following play. Obviously the Malcolm Butler happened right after this. But if they scored, the Patriots would have 20 seconds remaining to get in FG range down 3. Was it the right call?
I'm stunned this one is still being litigated. Even if you ignore the result, it makes sense unless you just have zero confidence in your defense.

Once Seattle doesn't take the timeout right away, they pretty much have to throw the ball on second down, which is what Belichick wants. With Seattle only having one timeout left, when they don't take the timeout they're forced to throw the ball on either second or third down if they want to make sure they get three cracks to get in the end zone. They'd be stone morons if they ran it on second down, don't get in, call their last timeout, run again on third down if they don't get in the game likely ends with them wasting fourth down.

Since they have to throw once to get in three plays, the only real option is to throw it on second. If they run on second and don't get it, it becomes so obvious they have to throw it on third to get two more plays. Throwing it on second was their only chance to catch the Patriots surprised by a throw.

I think once Belichick saw them change personnel, he was very confident they'd be throwing it and much preferred his chances stopping a throw he confident is coming, then possibly two runs he's confident are coming. If he calls timeout, it opens up Seattle to run or throw on all three downs and it's going to be much tougher to stop trying to defend against both options.

In real time, like pretty much everyone else I was yelling for a timeout. As soon as I stopped running around the house after the Butler pick, I thought about why Belichick did that and it made sense to me.
 

BigSoxFan

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Can I add putting 5’10 Ellis Hobbs on an island against 6’6 Plaxico Burress? I’d like to know what the plan was for that play. Show blitz to a QB who loves to throw the ball up and then give him half the field to throw the ball to a WR with an 8 inch height advantage. That...did not work.
 

Super Nomario

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Can I add putting 5’10 Ellis Hobbs on an island against 6’6 Plaxico Burress? I’d like to know what the plan was for that play. Show blitz to a QB who loves to throw the ball up and then give him half the field to throw the ball to a WR with an 8 inch height advantage. That...did not work.
It was the same zero blitz call that won them the Super Bowl a couple months ago. C'est la vie.
 

wiffleballhero

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In the simulacrum
I assumed this was some sort of super sophisticated "meta" or parody thread, given that the first two examples worked and the third example appears to depend on refuting most of the logic of the first example.

Oh well.
 

dcmissle

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Can I add putting 5’10 Ellis Hobbs on an island against 6’6 Plaxico Burress? I’d like to know what the plan was for that play. Show blitz to a QB who loves to throw the ball up and then give him half the field to throw the ball to a WR with an 8 inch height advantage. That...did not work.
Pats uber-fan, Jerry Thornton, wrote this long, interesting piece pre-draft.

https://www.barstoolsports.com/boston/belichicks-pre-draft-press-conference-was-full-of-gems

One portion discusses the Pats’ efforts to stay ahead of the NFL’s evolutionary curve. In that section, Thornton opines that one of Belichick’s biggest miscalculations was figuring that Polian’s tinkering with pass interference rules would favor small, fluid cornerbacks. That begat Hobbs, Sanders, Wilhite, Wheatley and Butler. Others, most notably the Seahawks, took the other side of that bet and won.

Interestingly in that connection, this morning’s PFT brings this:

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/04/12/belichick-wonders-who-can-cover-all-the-big-receivers-in-this-draft/
 

BigSoxFan

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Pats uber-fan, Jerry Thornton, wrote this long, interesting piece pre-draft.

https://www.barstoolsports.com/boston/belichicks-pre-draft-press-conference-was-full-of-gems

One portion discusses the Pats’ efforts to stay ahead of the NFL’s evolutionary curve. In that section, Thornton opines that one of Belichick’s biggest miscalculations was figuring that Polian’s tinkering with pass interference rules would favor small, fluid cornerbacks. That begat Hobbs, Sanders, Wilhite, Wheatley and Butler. Others, most notably the Seahawks, took the other side of that bet and won.

Interestingly in that connection, this morning’s PFT brings this:

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/04/12/belichick-wonders-who-can-cover-all-the-big-receivers-in-this-draft/
Interesting. Every time I see that play (and I try to avoid it), it’s pretty obvious that Eli was going to Plax. Very similar to when the Pats would split Gronk out wide in the red zone. Would have preferred to make Eli have to make a tougher throw but that stupid game was just doomed. I’m sure he would have pulled another play out of his ass anyways.
 

tims4wins

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Pats uber-fan, Jerry Thornton, wrote this long, interesting piece pre-draft.

https://www.barstoolsports.com/boston/belichicks-pre-draft-press-conference-was-full-of-gems

One portion discusses the Pats’ efforts to stay ahead of the NFL’s evolutionary curve. In that section, Thornton opines that one of Belichick’s biggest miscalculations was figuring that Polian’s tinkering with pass interference rules would favor small, fluid cornerbacks. That begat Hobbs, Sanders, Wilhite, Wheatley and Butler. Others, most notably the Seahawks, took the other side of that bet and won.

Interestingly in that connection, this morning’s PFT brings this:

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/04/12/belichick-wonders-who-can-cover-all-the-big-receivers-in-this-draft/
That is a really, really interesting thought. Thornton is usually just a Pats colored glasses homer, but that was insightful.
 

Archer1979

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I assumed this was some sort of super sophisticated "meta" or parody thread, given that the first two examples worked and the third example appears to depend on refuting most of the logic of the first example.

Oh well.

This is the thing about the "In Bill We Trust" mantra. We're all just arm-chair quarterbacks here. Some better than others (or in my case, most a LOT better than me). We're all watching the games, trying to anticipate the next play, and screaming at the TV when they send in the punting team on fourth and 1. In a lot of instances, his unconventional moves pan out, and we're collectively sitting there going from screaming into the wind to varying degrees of "Oh... didn't see that, good call" to "They had it all the way!!!". The expanse between our knowledge of the game and Belichick's knowledge, is akin to one of us arguing with the world's smartest termite.

Now Grady Little not pulling Pedro is an entirely different story...

In Bill We Trust.
 

TheoShmeo

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Remember that time someone posted all caveats - in a thread built on assumed and shared caveats - and even referenced the SIX RINGS of it all, and someone STILL felt the need to SOSH him about it? That's why this site is great. Thanks, buddy!
I enjoyed this. Thank you.

And yes, even though I am "pinch me, is it real?" grateful for everything Pats related, including the fact that they should be serious contenders again this year, that loss to the Eagles is also my "shoot me" moment. The combo of not being able to get a freaking stop, the Butler weirdness and my five Eagles fans spitting distance neighbors, make that game still very annoying, even with all the winning. I make no apologies and don't think that annoyance makes me any less over the moon about my football team.
 

Super Nomario

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Pats uber-fan, Jerry Thornton, wrote this long, interesting piece pre-draft.

https://www.barstoolsports.com/boston/belichicks-pre-draft-press-conference-was-full-of-gems

One portion discusses the Pats’ efforts to stay ahead of the NFL’s evolutionary curve. In that section, Thornton opines that one of Belichick’s biggest miscalculations was figuring that Polian’s tinkering with pass interference rules would favor small, fluid cornerbacks. That begat Hobbs, Sanders, Wilhite, Wheatley and Butler. Others, most notably the Seahawks, took the other side of that bet and won.
It's an interesting theory. But I don't really see a shift post-2003, nor do a see a shift recently. Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel (drafted before the AFCCG that prompted the rule change) are the same kinds of smaller DBs as the "busts" Thornton mentions. They've gone for bigger DBs at times with not a lot more success - Ras-I Dowling comes to mind. I think they value having a guy with decent size at CB (Law, McCourty, Revis, Browner, Ryan, Gilmore) but are not afraid to run out smaller guys either (Malcolm Butler, Jonathan Jones, Kyle Arrington) or draft them (Cyrus Jones). Last year all three of their new DBs - Dawson, Crossen, Jackson - were 5'10.5" or shorter.

I've heard Mike Lombardi liken CBs to a basketball team - you want a big guy who can defend bigs, you want a fast, quick, small guy who can defend fast, quick, small guys, you want medium guys who can defend medium guys. I don't know that Belichick subscribes to this idea, but it seems to me like he builds his team that way.

It's worth noting they've met with a ton of big receivers this cycle: Jalen Hurd, Miles Boykin, N'Keal Harry, (all at least 6'2" and 220+), A.J. Brown (who's only 6'0" but 220+ lbs). The only smaller receivers they've met with are Deebo Samuel (built like an RB at 5'11" 214) and Mecole Hardman (who is actually small at 5'11" 187).
 

joe dokes

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This is the thing about the "In Bill We Trust" mantra. We're all just arm-chair quarterbacks here. Some better than others (or in my case, most a LOT better than me). We're all watching the games, trying to anticipate the next play, and screaming at the TV when they send in the punting team on fourth and 1. In a lot of instances, his unconventional moves pan out, and we're collectively sitting there going from screaming into the wind to varying degrees of "Oh... didn't see that, good call" to "They had it all the way!!!". The expanse between our knowledge of the game and Belichick's knowledge, is akin to one of us arguing with the world's smartest termite.

Now Grady Little not pulling Pedro is an entirely different story...

In Bill We Trust.
BB also stands for black box. We can see the output. We're guessing at everything else.
 

dcmissle

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It's an interesting theory. But I don't really see a shift post-2003, nor do a see a shift recently. Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel (drafted before the AFCCG that prompted the rule change) are the same kinds of smaller DBs as the "busts" Thornton mentions. They've gone for bigger DBs at times with not a lot more success - Ras-I Dowling comes to mind. I think they value having a guy with decent size at CB (Law, McCourty, Revis, Browner, Ryan, Gilmore) but are not afraid to run out smaller guys either (Malcolm Butler, Jonathan Jones, Kyle Arrington) or draft them (Cyrus Jones). Last year all three of their new DBs - Dawson, Crossen, Jackson - were 5'10.5" or shorter.

I've heard Mike Lombardi liken CBs to a basketball team - you want a big guy who can defend bigs, you want a fast, quick, small guy who can defend fast, quick, small guys, you want medium guys who can defend medium guys. I don't know that Belichick subscribes to this idea, but it seems to me like he builds his team that way.


It's worth noting they've met with a ton of big receivers this cycle: Jalen Hurd, Miles Boykin, N'Keal Harry, (all at least 6'2" and 220+), A.J. Brown (who's only 6'0" but 220+ lbs). The only smaller receivers they've met with are Deebo Samuel (built like an RB at 5'11" 214) and Mecole Hardman (who is actually small at 5'11" 187).
Will be interesting to see whether they draft WR early. Thornton is right when he says that it’s not that they can’t, it’s that they don’t.

Edit. Just noted Hogan to Carolina.
 

InstaFace

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I enjoyed this. Thank you.

And yes, even though I am "pinch me, is it real?" grateful for everything Pats related, including the fact that they should be serious contenders again this year, that loss to the Eagles is also my "shoot me" moment. The combo of not being able to get a freaking stop, the Butler weirdness and my five Eagles fans spitting distance neighbors, make that game still very annoying, even with all the winning. I make no apologies and don't think that annoyance makes me any less over the moon about my football team.
It sounds like, annoyed though you may be (and I was as well), you did indeed get over it.

Which is good, it makes you something less than impossibly entitled.
 

TheoShmeo

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It sounds like, annoyed though you may be (and I was as well), you did indeed get over it.

Which is good, it makes you something less than impossibly entitled.
Ha, yes.

Though I still throw up in my mouth when I think about that game.

Honestly, as much as I want the Pats (and Sox, Bs and Cs) to win every game and the title every season, I’m very much aware that I’ve gotten way more than my anticipated or actual fair share. So if we’re talking about entitlement, I think the answer is that I have none. That’s again a far cry from what I want, which is: it all.
 

snowmanny

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It's really hard to win a football game. But the Patriots with B/B are 9-4 in AFCCG and 6-3 in Super Bowls, and a lot of those games both ways have a but if....
But the fact that it is established that for around two decades you could put up any and all of the very best teams in the league against New England and that year's Pats team was going to win 2/3 of the time, and most of the losses would be a bit of a fluke, mostly takes care of the shouldas and wouldas. Mostly
 

InstaFace

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There's only one game that makes me throw up in my mouth.

The second Philly SB, we put up 33 points, and couldn't get a stop to save our lives, and one team had to blink and shockingly, for like the first time ever, it was us. Well, Shaq Mason specifically, but still. We had a second half lead, by some miracle. We had drama and made some great plays. We already had a super bowl win over our opponent. And it wasn't a mental mistake or some epic, Miami-style disaster that led to the loss, it was an accumulation of execution errors, first by the D all game, and finally by the OL for the coup de grace. There's no coaching that would improve upon that.

It'd be hard for me to come up with a playoff loss that bothered me less than that game. Maybe 2009 Baltimore, but that's it. Shit, I'm more bothered by not making the playoffs in 2008 than I am about losing that super bowl.
 

BigSoxFan

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There's only one game that makes me throw up in my mouth.

The second Philly SB, we put up 33 points, and couldn't get a stop to save our lives, and one team had to blink and shockingly, for like the first time ever, it was us. Well, Shaq Mason specifically, but still. We had a second half lead, by some miracle. We had drama and made some great plays. We already had a super bowl win over our opponent. And it wasn't a mental mistake or some epic, Miami-style disaster that led to the loss, it was an accumulation of execution errors, first by the D all game, and finally by the OL for the coup de grace. There's no coaching that would improve upon that.

It'd be hard for me to come up with a playoff loss that bothered me less than that game. Maybe 2009 Baltimore, but that's it. Shit, I'm more bothered by not making the playoffs in 2008 than I am about losing that super bowl.
Definitely not in agreement here. I was at the game. Place was extremely loud with Philly fans and having Brady rip their hearts out a second time and completing another repeat and 3 of 4 would have been glorious, especially after the 28-3 game. Having 28-3 and then 500+ yard performance in consecutive SB winning years would have been great. And then you factor in the Butler situation, which adds to the sentiment.

SB53 happened so I don’t care much anymore but at the time, that one stung, as much as a game can sting for a team that has had ridiculous success.
 

mwonow

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I assumed this was some sort of super sophisticated "meta" or parody thread, given that the first two examples worked and the third example appears to depend on refuting most of the logic of the first example.

Oh well.
That was my assumption as well - this is kind of the bizarro-world Celebrating What Is. I figured the over/under on "LOL wut?" responses would be at least 50%.

Taking a step back - what happens if you ask friends who root for other teams whether they'd take an 18 year stretch in which their team was in half of the SBs and won one-third, especially those that LOST AFCCGs or SBs because BB's team out-executed them down the stretch?
 

Bergs

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It'd be hard for me to come up with a playoff loss that bothered me less than that game. Maybe 2009 Baltimore, but that's it. Shit, I'm more bothered by not making the playoffs in 2008 than I am about losing that super bowl.
I hadn't really thought about this, but I think I agree with you. That was an amazingly palatable loss considering is was a fucking Super Bowl.
 

Super Nomario

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Will be interesting to see whether they draft WR early. Thornton is right when he says that it’s not that they can’t, it’s that they don’t.
Yes. They are meeting with everyone this year. But they met with D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, and Christian Kirk last year and then didn't draft a WR until the 6th.

If they want to get one of those big WR, they're not likely to have a better opportunity. And it really can't be overstated how much of a need WR is. Not just for 2019, but the 2020 depth chart looks like this:
Braxton Berrios

(that's it)