Anyone who frequents this space occasionally – and bless you for so doing – knows that I’m a major fan of Football Outsiders. At the risk of spoiling the ending, here’s what Football Outsiders’ Scott Kacsmar thought of the Atlanta Falcons’ goal-to-go series against Philadelphia:
Kacsmar on the first-down choice: “I think we can live with the non-rainbow fade to (Julio) Jones in single coverage.”
(Personal note: Just about everything thrown Julio’s way has a chance of being caught; this was the exception.)
Kacsmar on second down: “Ryan tried a little shovel pass to Terron Ward (read: not Tevin Coleman), but he looked like someone trying to score 50 points on Skee-Ball.”
(Personal note: I have one game on my iPhone. It’s Skee-Ball. Small world.)
Kacsmar on third down: “Atlanta had just one receiver run a route into the end zone … I’m not sure Jones ‘survived the ground’ on his catch.”
(Personal note: I wasn’t, either.)
On the fateful fourth down: Kacsmar notes that of the Falcons’ five eligible receivers, only fullback Derrick Coleman was aligned on the left side; Coleman and tight end Levine Toilolo wound up blocking. The math does itself.
“Instead of giving Ryan five receiving options to go through over the whole field, he was limited to two options on one small part of the field,” Kacsmar writes. “That was the nadir of fourth-and-season calls. … This whole red-zone sequence should be remembered for being one massive failure in play-calling.”
Kacsmar goes into much more detail, but to include any more would be bad internet etiquette. If you’re a Falcons fan, you’re strongly advised to click the link and get depressed all over again.