Monday, December 17, 2012

0 Are we still having the "should you go for it on 4th" argument?

By Kenny Howell

Down by seven with 2:24 to go, Bill Belichick decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 deep in his own territory. The Patriots didn't make it, and the 49ers kicked a field goal to seal the game, although New England did make a decent run at it at the end.

Since the Patriots didn't make it, the Monday morning quarterbacks came out today saying he made a questionable decision, or the common second guesser question, "what was he thinking?"

He was thinking about winning, that is what he was thinking.

The Patriots had two timeouts and the two minute warning, that is correct. But what did they gain by punting away to the 49ers? If they run three plays, the Patriots use their timeouts and the two minute warning, then the 49ers punt back to them, they are probably in the same exact place they were, but now with less time and no timeouts. And the Patriots were 5-for-7 on fourth downs going into the game last night, when they were 1-for-2.

The NFL is such a scared league. I really believe most coaches would sleep better if they could just run it three times, punt, and hope the other team makes a mistake. Most teams are playing not to lose, and a few, like Belichick and his counterpart Sunday, Jim Harbaugh, are playing to win.

In his press conference last night, Belichick looked perturbed at all the questions about what some people are referring to as "4th-and-2: The Sequel." First of all, it was 4th-and-1, which Belichick repeated over and over, as if to say, if you can't get one yard, you don't deserve to win. The Patriots didn't, so they came away with the loss. But that doesn't mean Belichick should stop taking those chances. Those chances are sometimes what makes the difference.


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