Monday, 23 January 2012

A Question of Timing

Is it better to be emotional on the sidelines, or the strong silent type? Last night showed the positives of the latter.

Towards the end of the Ravens @ Patriots game the cameras showed a passionate John Harbaugh pushing one of his coaches out of the way to call a time-out that the Ravens could ill afford to waste, at a guess because he didn't like the play call. This disarray on the sidelines would prove to be a harbinger of what was to come.

With only a few minutes left on the clock Ravens offensive coordinator had called his best drive of the season, picking on wide receiver turned defensive back Julian Edelman with Anquan Boldin in the slot (Edelman was responsible for a blown coverage that sprung Boldin down the sideline), but the drive started to stall inside the Patriots red zone and the Ravens unravelled when their goal within their reach.

The first marginally questionable Ravens call came on 2nd and 3 just inside the 15. The Ravens called a pass play that almost came off with receiver Lee Evans having the ball knocked out of his hands by former Raiders practice squad player Sterling Moore. If they had run for the first down (a high percentage play with the Patriots more likely to give up the first down instead of the score) and called a time out they would have had time for a couple of shots with 20 seconds on the clock and even the possibility of spiking the ball if a player came up short.

The next questionable call (this one more definitely questionable) came on 3rd and 3 with 22 seconds on the clock. If the Ravens had gone for the 3rd down (again with the Patriots more likely to give up the 1st in return for stopping the TD) on a run play and called a time out they would have had between 15 and 18 seconds left on the clock, enough time for at least one more shot to win the game with a TD. It would also have given the Ravens an opportunity to centre the ball on the field for the field goal attempt if it fell short. Instead the Ravens limited their options by passing on 3rd down, which hit the ground and stopped the clock on 22 seconds.

On 4th down with the clock stopped only by a dropped pass the Ravens field goal team ran onto the field in a hurry to get the snap off with a kick from the right hash. Again this appears to be mismanagement by the Ravens. If they had called their lone timeout at this time they could have given Cundiff and co time to set up, maybe even have a few warm up swings, before taking the game tying kick.

Instead the poor clock management meant that the Ravens field goal unit had every possible thing going against them on a cold day in Foxborough, kicking from a hash at a tight angle with limited time to set up and the "easy chip shot" was hooked wide right.

Not a happy day to be a Harbaugh...


  1. Nice article.

    I thought it was a brilliant job by Belichick of not calling a TO to ice the kicker. That would have benefited the Ravens field goal squad, who did seemed rushed.

    Of course hindsight is wonderful, and a different result and it would be "why didn't Belichick ice the kicker"

    Simon H

  2. I knew there was something left out! Icing the kicker is over rated anyway (statistically makes no difference), I can't recall Belichick ever icing a kicker.


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