What I Hate...
The Chicago Bears were down 20-17 to the Carolina Panthers and on the road. The clock was winding down, this was there last possession of the ball game. Chicago was at midfield. 4th and 1. Give it to your fullback right? That's what the Bears did. Grind it out for the first down. That's what I would do...If it was 1958 and I was Bear Bryant.
Bears fullback Jason McKie was stuffed. Bears lose.
By calling a fullback dive on 4th and 1 with the game on the line, Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner basically said "I don't trust quarterback Kyle Orton to hit a one yard curl to a tight end when the game is on the line." Not only was his call vanilla, old school, and timid, it was a no confidence vote for his starting quarterback. Playing it safe in a comeback situation is not going to get you a W.
Kyle Orton is no super star, but he's proven that he is very accurate in the short passing game. Running Back Matt Forte is very capable in the passing game and would have been a great target for a short two or three yard dump off pass out of the back field. They just had to get into field goal range.
The Panther's weren't about to let the Bears recievers get down the field to make a reception that would put the bears in field goal range, so it was the perfect time for a fast-cut route for minimal gain. That short, easy to make passing play would have kept the Bears alive. Instead Ron Turner went with the ground a pound running game, serving the mentality the Bears have preached for decades, and why they will sadly always be also rans.
Back in the 60's, it was smash mouth, today, it's just cowardly.
What I Love...
Mike Shanahan and going for the win
This just doesn't happen enough. In the age of coaches being brought in and kicked out every three seasons, many are too afraid of failure to take victory.
During Sundays Denver-San Diego game, the Broncos were down 29-38 with 24 seconds left. Follwoing a controversial call by the refs that allowed a clear lost fumble by Jay Cutler be ruled an incomplete pass, Cutler connected on a four yard pass on 4th down to rookie reciever Eddie Royal. Down by one, conventional wisdom says kick the extra point, squib the kick off, and then battle it out in overtime. That's the safe call.
It's not, however, going for the win. Shanahan opted to go for two, and Cutler connected again with Royal, who was in double coverage, for a game winning two-point conversion.
Shanahan has two super bowl rings, and it doesn't seem like he's worried about losing his job anytime soon, but going for two was still an awesome call.
The NFL has the hands down worst overtime setup in all of sports. Instead of using the overtime style used in both college and high school football, were both teams are given an equal shot at scoring, The NFL decides there overtime on a coin flip. One team gets the ball and tries to score on a tired defense. If they score, it's game over. The NFL says hey, you know what's more important than fairness? Ending games in a timely fashion
San Diego is a better team than Denver, at least on paper. It was upset time and the last thing Shanahan wanted was to risk the Chargers getting the ball in overtime and letting Darren Sproles break off another huge touchdown run.
Yes, they could have been stopped by San Diego's defense, but when your that close to the goal line, isn't that situation really in the offenses favor? If someone bet you 10 bucks that Denver wasn't going to get the 2-point conversion, wouldn't you take it? I would. Both defenses looked suspect all game, and as the game goes on, favor falls with the offense.
The possibility of failure hand-cuffs too many play-callers. Props to Mike Shanahan for not being afraid to fail.