Thursday, October 8, 2009

TMQ - Denver Won Because They Couldn't Convert a 4th Down

TMQ - Week 4. That's the intro.

In other football news, going for it on fourth down continues to rise in NFL popularity: Chicago, Cincinnati, Miami, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Washington were among the teams that converted key fourth-down attempts this week when they could have kicked, and then went on to victory.

In week 2, he was all happy because teams were going for it more. In week 3, he spoke vaguely of a regression and teams going for it less. Using the crude measure of 4th down attempts per team per game, this is how it’s trending so far this season:

Week 1: 1.06
Week 2: 1.06 (When Gregg said there was a sudden burst of manhood, presumably over the week 1 total?)
Week 3: 1.31 (When Gregg said he was premature in week 3, even though it actually increased a lot)
Week 3: 1.32 (Virtually the same as week 3)

I am confused.

Of course, going for it doesn't always work; Denver was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 try, though the "challenging players to win" mindset that going for it on fourth down instills seemed to help the Broncos down the stretch.

Well obviously.

The Broncos probably don’t win that game if that 4th and 1 isn’t stuffed. Even when I’m wrong I’m 100% right. When I’m 100% right I’m 1,000% right. I am the smartest man alive. Verily. Cheerbabes. Flaming Thumbtacks and Jersey A/B!

Fortune Favors the Bold! No. 2: After the Redskins failed on fourth-down tries -- when they could have kicked -- in three straight games, Jim "Dan Snyder Hasn't Fired Me Quite Just Yet" Zorn still went for it on fourth-and-2 from the City of Tampa 36. For your faith you will be rewarded, spoke the football gods! Conversion, touchdown on the drive, Washington avoids losing to the winless Bucs, and Zorn's job is safe another week.

Okay. You got me. I take it all back. Football gods clearly exist and this is uncontestable proof that going for it on fourth down is always the right answer. The Redskins, like many other teams this year, have gone for it on fourth in a few different games, and they won in weeks 2 and 4. I have no idea what this means or proves or how it is the least bit interesting. They went for it on fourth in the second game, apparently, and failed, but they won the game. Gregg would say “alas, ye gods rewardeth the (stupid nickname) for showing such bravery and, yea, verily their faith was rewarded with a win! I like girls!!” But if you go for it and fail and lose, as they did in week 3, well shit that’s just part of the equation for winning in week 4. Make sense? I’m confused.

Single Worst Play of the Season -- So Far: Talk, talk, talk -- they sure can talk in Dallas. But when the pressure's on, they jog, jog, jog. Not only did multiple Cowboys defenders miss Brandon Marshall on the 51-yard zigzag scamper that won the game with two minutes remaining at Denver, other Cowboys didn't even try to chase the runner. Marshall cut back across the field twice; if more Cowboys had hustled to chase the play, Marshall would have run out of room. Linebacker Bradie James switched from running to jogging when Marshall was still at the Dallas 10. Dallas Cowboys, you are guilty of the single worst play of the season -- so far.

Here is the play. Great run. There are 7 cowboys chasing him. What does Easterbrook want? Sure, there were missed tackles, as there often are on runs like this, but that was just an amazing run. Brady James is number 56 and he is chasing Marshall for much of the play. He does let up a little early, but he was not catching Marshall anyway. There are players who stop giving chase when they have no chance on every play.

Yeah, pretty boring.

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