The League

Sean Moroney
Sports Writer

Sean Moroney

Lead writer, editor and creator of the Pro Quarterback Manifesto

The football Gods are smiling


Bill Belichick's decision to go for a fourth down from his own 28 yard line with just over two minutes remaining has been ridiculed beyond belief in the wake of the Patriots 35-34 loss. However, let's not go overboard here on our pal, Bill.

For anyone who watches football knows, the percentages of Peyton Manning scoring a touchdown from either 22 yards out or 70 yards out with two minutes remaining, would have been essentially inevitable.

So with that being said, Bill Belichick did the anti-normal coach decision and decided to go for the win on a two yard play.

Was it wrong? Perhaps. Would any other coach do that? Hell No!

Coaches are bred to make decisions that shifts blame away from themselves. If Belichick simply punted, he could have simply pointed the blame onto his defense. Instead, Belichick manned up, made a decision that he would live or die by, and fell short. Yes, he will be killed by the media for who knows how long because of this, but from a football's fan point of view, it sure was refreshing to see a coach put himself on the line and go for the win instead of hoping not to lose.

Still, Belichick did make a number of mental errors that made this decision flawed. The Patriots blew two timeouts on their final drive, leaving them with no timeouts to stop the Colts touchdown drive. Again, Belichick's fourth down move only really makes sense if you know you're definitely going to get the ball back with enough time left to answer. Having at least two timeouts would have been mandatory. Another blunder was on the Colts second play of their drive, Belichick should have ordered his defense to let the Colts score the touchdown, which would have given the Patriots a little over a minute to get in field goal position.

So although Belichick made a bold move, other coaching moments made this very flawed. I would love to see a MIT scholars' take on this situation, running the exact percentages of probability. My guess -- the Patriots would have essentially had a little over 50% chance of converting that fourth down, which would have won the game. If they had punted, I would assume Peyton's Colts percentage of scoring a touchdown with two minutes left, would have been close to 75%-80%. Let's put it this way, punt or no punt, everyone would have been shocked if Peyton didn't lead the Colts to a touchdown.

Either way, Bill Belichick will be thrown under the bus with Monday Morning Quarterbacks around the country, but don't fret Patriots' fans, the Football gods were pleased by the boldness, and you will be rewarded in the near future.

By Sean Moroney  |  November 16, 2009; 12:23 PM ET  | Category:  Indianapolis Colts , New England Patriots Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The offense had a chance to get two yards on third down. They failed so lets give the defense a chance to stop a 80 yard touchdown drive.

Posted by: Tjoel | November 16, 2009 3:36 PM

Sorry, Sean. Belichick let the intensity and hype surrounding this game (plus his ego)outweigh sound judgment. He had a six point lead so even a Colts'field goal wouldn't have mattered. Just a dumb decision for which he is justifiably criticized.

Posted by: jwmorrison | November 17, 2009 2:18 AM

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