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 Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock? 
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Post Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
In the Dallas game both teams faced a strategic conundrum. There's 1:50 left on the game clock and Dallas has a 3 point lead and no time outs, but Detroit has the ball 1st and Goal from the 2.

If you're Detroit, do you:

(A) Make scoring the winning touchdown your top priority regardless of clock management issues, in which case you would attempt to score the TD on first down.

or

(B) Intentionally eat time off the clock on first down (running play up the gut for 1 or 1.5 yards) and maybe your second down and then hope to get the TD on 2nd or 3rd down?

Option (A) increases your chances of scoring that touchdown, but it also leaves the other team with 1:40 to win the game by scoring a touchdown. (If the pass is incomplete then you have to reweigh this strategic equation and ask yourself if you would want to kick the game-tying field goal with 1:30 left on the clock after three incomplete passes.)

Option (B) decreases your chances of scoring the touchdown, but if you do score it, you've increased your chances of winning the game by reducing the amount of time Dallas has to drive down the field for their own game-winning touchdown. On the other hand, if you have to kick the chip shot field goal then Dallas will have less time to drive down the field for their winning field goal attempt.

From Dallas's perspective, do you allow Detroit to quickly score the touchdown so that you have 1:40 to drive down the field and score your own touchdown? Or would it be better to do all you can to prevent Detroit from scoring a TD allowing the game to go into overtime on the chip shot field goal?

If you're Dallas and the Lions have a passing play, then by all means it makes sense to defend against it. If it's incomplete it only eats a couple seconds off the clock. I guess the real question is what to do if you anticipate that Detroit will score the touchdown after eating a good chunk of time off the clock? It's better to let Detroit score a TD on 1st down leaving 1:40 on the clock than it is for Detroit to run one play up the gut, burning 45 seconds off the clock, and then scoring the TD on 2nd down leaving 50 seconds on the clock. Do you gamble the time clock that you can hold them to the field goal?


October 5th, 2011, 3:10 am
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
No matter what option you decide, if you win you're the hero, if you lose you made the wrong call. So really, as long as the game is won you made the right call. If you lose, you made the wrong call.

Myself? Well, if my team is already losing, im going to try to take every opportunity to score. If you don't score you lose anyway. Ill try to score every down.

Football is a game of inches. I have a philosophy of not giving up any free yards. Make them fight for everything they get. You never know. They might fumble, sack/fumble, interception...anything. Who knows, they might be trying to be too smart and eat time off the clock to score on 3rd down and fail and have to settle for a field goal, which you could block or the kicker could miss. Point is...I would never give any yards up for free...let alone give them points without fighting for it.

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October 5th, 2011, 3:17 am
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
It depends on if you trust your defense to hold them. Schwartz was going for the points. CJ 1-on1 is something he wasn't passing on. Yes, it gave Dallas the ball back with 1:50 left, but with 4:30 left he kicked a field goal and trusted the Defense to get the ball back. If you can trust your defense when you are down 3, you can trust them up 4. There was no conundrum.


October 5th, 2011, 9:51 am
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
njroar wrote:
It depends on if you trust your defense to hold them. Schwartz was going for the points. CJ 1-on1 is something he wasn't passing on. Yes, it gave Dallas the ball back with 1:50 left, but with 4:30 left he kicked a field goal and trusted the Defense to get the ball back. If you can trust your defense when you are down 3, you can trust them up 4. There was no conundrum.


+1

I think the difference in that game was the fact that Detroit believed in its defense, but Dallas didn't believe in theirs.

Why have Romo throwing the ball when you are up 24 points? The only reason I can think of is the fact that Jason Garrett thought 24 wasn't enough because the Dallas defense wasn't going to prevent Detroit from scoring. I suppose there is also a matter of them not believing in their running game.

If I were Schwartz, I would have done the same thing. Kick the FG with that much time left, and believe in your defense, which has already brought you back from the brink in the game.

At the goal line, you get the points when you are behind. You don't worry about how much time is left. 1st down, 2nd down...whatever....the object is to have more points. Once you achieve that, gameplan to stop the opposing offense.

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October 5th, 2011, 9:57 am
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
I'm amazed by Garrett's hints that they gave the one on one coverage to CJ to allow the Lions to either stop the clock or score quickly. Just stunned.

His comments seemed to suggest that he thought that if we ran it three times, we would definitely still score. Had he seen our running game for the previous 58 minutes? No way with the push our OL were getting we were guaranteed to punch it in from 1 yard out.

In his shoes, I would have gone all out for limiting us to a FG.

From our perspective, particularly given their lack of time outs, I'd have gone all out for the score regardless of how much (or how little) time that took off the clock. I think M2K summed up that decision perfectly.


October 5th, 2011, 10:10 am
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
Actually, our running game isn't generating big yards, so the perception is that we aren't running the ball well, but the running game is efficient. KWill's runs when we were backed against the goal line are the perfect example. 6 yards to give room was efficient. A 4 yard run when you need 3 is efficient. We might not be lighting up the fantasy stats that most people focus on, but the running game is efficient enough to compliment our passing game.


October 5th, 2011, 10:20 am
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
KWill's runs on our goal line vs Dallas were good, I'll give you that. Equally, Best's run when we were backed up vs the Vikings was terrifying - only some excellent play from Best got us out of giving up a safety there.

Our running game isn't terrible, but equally Garrett's implication that it could produce a guaranteed TD seemed far fetched to me.


October 5th, 2011, 10:32 am
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
i think you score a TD when you can if you trust your defense. If you only need a FG than you should kill the clock

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October 5th, 2011, 1:54 pm
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
UK Lion wrote:
KWill's runs on our goal line vs Dallas were good, I'll give you that. Equally, Best's run when we were backed up vs the Vikings was terrifying - only some excellent play from Best got us out of giving up a safety there.

Our running game isn't terrible, but equally Garrett's implication that it could produce a guaranteed TD seemed far fetched to me.


I guess I didn't read Garrett's statements in the same light. I believed he was saying that he gave one on one coverage to CJ because he was strengthening the defense to stop the run. He felt that if the Lions either scored quickly via the pass, or had an incompletion, it would work to Dallas' advantage. He felt he needed to stop the run game in order to have a chance, or allow Detroit to score quickly to leave time on the clock.

Now, he could have felt that after the penalty that left us with first and goal from the two we would eventually punch it in and burn some time. But as I said, Schwartz and Stafford did the right thing. Their offense wasn't effective in the second half, so time on the clock wasn't a factor. Get the points and let the defense do their job. Garrett was outcoached in the second half, and that is really what lost Dallas the game, not Romo.

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October 5th, 2011, 1:57 pm
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
In my opinion we should have run the ball at least on 1st down and take time off the clock. I was actually surprised that we threw the pass on 1st down.

In the end however its, a moot point, we won and the coaches decision worked. Had Dallas marched back down and scored, we would have never heard the end of it. Everyone would have pointed their fingers to the decision to not burn time of the clock, IMO.

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October 5th, 2011, 8:13 pm
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Post Re: Strategic Conundrum--Score ASAP or Eat the Clock?
In this situation, scoring is of utmost importance. The Lions have the single best red zone target in the NFL in Calvin Johnson, so you have to let him make a play for you--especially if he's getting single coverage. Ideally you'd like to take time off the clock but that is a secondary concern--you have to score a TD in order to have a chance. I think the Lions did the right thing, and fortunately the defense was able to step up and make plays vs. the Cowboys 2-minute offense.

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October 6th, 2011, 9:40 am
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