olyfan63 wrote:I was thinking SF might do a couple run plays in the mix, just to avoid leaving too much time for Russell if they have to punt.
This is the problem with using hindsight to argue that outcome trumps process.
If you're the head coach of an 8-0 team in OT playing the second place team in the division and you've played a hard fought game and your players have seen a bunch of their teammates go down to injury how do you stare them in the face after the game after going for the tie instead of the win?
If he had played for the tie instead of the win in that situation it would have been a media bloodbath. The fans would be furious, the media would be down his throat, and you guys would have had a field day mocking him.
The correct strategy in that position is to split the difference between being hyper-aggressive and hyper-passive to drain clock.
You do what EVERY TEAM does in that situation, and you take the short routes that the defense is giving you to slowly work your way up the field while draining clock before you start taking your shots. That's exactly what he did.
The PROCESS on first down was an underneath route (correct), and the outcome (a batted ball at the line) was bad.
The PROCESS on second down was another underneath route (correct), and the outcome (a dropped pass) was bad.
Now you're at third down and you have to either go for the first or concede the chance to win and pray that Russell Wilson with a minute and fifteen seconds can't get into field goal range whereas Russell Wilson with two minutes can.
Do you wanna make that bet about Russell Wilson? I definitely don't.
Basically, a batted ball and a dropped pass are just crapping out on your dice rolls, even if you're playing the game the right way.
The outcome massively sucked for the 49ers and 49ers fans, but that doesn't mean the strategy was wrong at all.
Excellent post as usual, Popeye, and I can't really dispute your point that the Niners got unlucky on the dice roll. A completion on either underneath route, probably gets tackled in bounds, and uses some clock time to avoid giving Wilson too much time if/when he gets the ball back. I totally agree with your emphasis on correct PROCESS over BS 20/20 OUTCOME, as if *outcomes* could be accurately predicted controlled. Ha! Every NFL snap is a freakin' roll of the dice.
BTW, I was absolutely NOT advocating to play for a tie. However, a coach would also want to make things AS DIFFICULT AS POSSIBLE FOR THE OPPONENT to win the game. My thoughts AT THE TIME, was that it would be wise (bet-hedging) (PROCESS) for SF to RUN the ball on 1st down, maybe 2nd down, against the quasi-prevent defense the Hawks were in. A run should get between 5 and 20 yards against the D Seattle was playing. 3rd and 5, vs. 3rd and long, and maybe JG completes or even runs for a 1st down, and still leaves the winning FG on the table, and reduces the time and increases the distance Russell Wilson and the 'Hawks must travel, IF (when) they get the ball back. As it was, 3 passes, no completions, NO YARDS, only 15 seconds taken off the clock was an absolute DISASTER of a possession, WORST POSSIBLE outcome for SF in the situation, short of a turnover. SF gets even ONE first down there, Seattle doesn't likely win. Someone probably play-by-play (win %) has analytics for all this. I don't.
Really, only the 2nd down drop was the Hawks getting lucky/bad dice roll by Niners. The batted ball on 1st down was more a sign of a good, hustling defensive play, and Griffin's pass breakup on the long 3rd down throw was simply an excellent defensive play.
Clearly, as a Hawk fan, I was happy with the outcome. SF gave the Hawks a gift with that possession. I really don't know how Pete Carroll does this, pulling wins out of very tenuous circumstances, I only know he does it consistently, so therefore it's not just luck. Or maybe it's simply Russell Wilson.