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Monday, January 27, 2014
Brady, Pats Blow Conversion Call and Game
In last year's Super Bowl, down to the final play, the 49ers opt for an all-or-nothing "fade" route to Michael Crabtree. Everyone knows that didn't end well for the Niners. It is a bad philosophy to call a play with only one option when you are down to your last play. The 49ers should have rolled out their extremely athletic QB Colin Kaepernick and given him 3 or 4 receiving options (Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin aren't bad choices either) as well as Crabtree doing something other than a fade. The 49ers weren't down to their final play in this year's NFC Championship game with the Seahawks, but their season ended in eerily similar fashion again, but this time it was Richard Sherman on a deep "go" route, tipping the ball away and sending Seattle to the Super Bowl.
In the AFC Championship, the Patriots were attempting to make another dramatic comeback from a large deficit to the Broncos and needed to convert a 2 point conversion to give them a chance to get within a two score difference. I don't know who made the ultimate call, but Josh McDaniels is the offensive coordinator, so the blame has to fall to him unless someone else steps up and says something. The Patriots took the ball out of Tom Brady's hands and handed it to a running back on what also has to be considered an all-or-nothing play. Failing to convert and the game was certainly lost. Brady is arguably the game's best signal-caller and willed his team to many wins this past season. To call a play where any missed block means defeat and also handing the ball off from shot-gun reduces the success rate even further, was derelict and a complete coaching mistake. Obviously, since these "mistakes" are being made at the NFL level, I shouldn't be surprised to see it at other levels, but let us all learn that when you have Tom Brady or any other QB in the backfield, when you are down to the last play of the game or similar situation, give your team a much better chance at success by rolling out and giving your QB 3 or 4 options to win instead of only one. It hasn't worked out for the 49ers or the Patriots in some of the biggest games in recent years!