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Re: [patriotzip] 4th Downs in the Carolina Game

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  • Ed Bryant
    Yesterday marked the occasion of the very last game of Philadelphia versus the New York Giants at Giants Stadium.   For extra credit, was the Pisarcik
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 14, 2009
      Yesterday marked the occasion of the very last game of Philadelphia versus the New York Giants at Giants Stadium.
      For extra credit, was the Pisarcik attempted hand-off to Larry Csonka, resulting in Herm Edwards TD, the first such game?  I have no idea what year Giants Stadium opened, but that had to be one of the first three Philly at Giants game played there.
      Two: was Pisarcik or Csonka credited with the fumble??????
      Three: no disrespect to Pete Carroll or the program he runs, but NE's successful 4th down conversion yesterday left me to wonder how Sam Cunningham could possibly have a year of eligibility left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   :)

      --- On Mon, 12/14/09, kmacalp@... <kmacalp@...> wrote:

      From: kmacalp@... <kmacalp@...>
      Subject: [patriotzip] 4th Downs in the Carolina Game
      To: patriotzip@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Monday, December 14, 2009, 6:20 AM

      The Pats went for it on 4th down a few times. One time was all too typical of what we've seen throughout this season. The Pats had a 4th and 1 at the Panthers 40 with 11:57 to play in the first quarter.
      A field goal attempt would have been a very unlikely 58 yarder, a low percentage kick even in ideal conditions and the conditions were far from ideal. The consequence of a miss would be the Panthers getting the ball at their 48 (the spot of the kick). Plus there is the wild card scenario of a block. Longer kicks are supposedly easier to block because they come out a little lower past the line of scrimmage because the kicker has to drive the ball to get distance.
      Going for it meant New England's drive could continue if they converted. The consequences of not getting it still meant terrific field position for the Panthers. No gain means the Panthers would get it at their own 40. Not as good as a missed field goal, but still good field position.
      On a cold day with bad weather, traditional football strategy is to play for field position. If the offense is going to struggle due to the conditions, then you want a short field for your offense and a long field for your opponent's offense. Going for it or kicking a field goal both risk giving your opponent good field position and squandering what you did to earn good field position.
      Punting the ball gives you a chance to pin your opponent deep in their own and end, 90-95 yards from your end zone. Even a touchback leaves your opponent 80 yards from your end zone.
      There are the wildcards of a good return or a block.
      The Pats went for it, lost a yard, and the Panthers took over 59 yards from the Patriot end zone. All the work the Pats did to win the field position battle was thrown away. They had to come back out and win the field position battle from scratch on their next drive. Even though Hanson had a horrible punt following New England's second drive, Carolina still started 80 yards from the Patriot end zone.
      Another time New England went for it was 4th and 1 from the Panther 15 with 1:55 left in the game with the Panthers last time out gone and New England leading by 10. The Panthers needed two scores and  an onside kick. In other words, while it was in the realm of possibility, it was highly unlikely. They needed two touchdowns to win in regulation. A field goal and a touchdown could get them into overtime. In either case, they still needed an outside kick.
      A field goal gives the Pats a 13 point lead. The Panthers can still win with a TD, onside kick, and a second TD. However, the Panthers would no longer be able to settle for a field goal on one of their drives.
      Going for it and getting the first down means the Panthers never get the ball back and the game is over. Even the highly unlikely chance of getting two scores sandwiched around an onside kick is taken away. (Even a repeat of  "The Miracle in the Meadowlands" something which happened once over 30 years ago only gets them one of the scores the Panthers would need.) The consequences of not getting it is that the Panthers get the ball around their own 15 yard line and need to score twice with less than 1:55 on the clock and no time outs.
      After having been stuffed on 3rd and 1, the Pats gained 6 yards on this 4th down and ran out the clock. Sure, the play was successful, but even if it hadn't been, it's still a sounder decision than the earlier 4th down attempt.
      Scott Sheaffer
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