EnvyBonus
EnvyBonus
Joined: Nov 24, 2009
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November 24th, 2009 at 7:50:17 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed


Oh, as to the Pats game, here are two alternatives I contemplated:

1) Do a tight formation loudly indicating a fullback run, then do a long, highly variable snap count and try to draw the Colts offside. If it works you win the game, if it doesn't you take the delay of game penalty (5 yards) and punt.



I like your thinking, but this isn't really much of alternative to just punting on 4th and 2. All you have done is calculated, in your own mind, that the odds of the defense jumping offside (and the reward of winning the game if they do) are worth the risk of giving up 5 yards, or put it another way, worth the increased odds that the Colts would score from 5 yards closer after the punt. Belichick decided that going for it was worth giving up all the yards from the punt; you, admittedly, have just taken a more conservative approach.

Quote: Nareed



2) Do the formation exactly as they did, only Brady punts the ball rather than throw it, meanwhile the wide receivers and tight ends run towards Indy's side. This works only if Brady is a fair punter, and I've no info on that one way or another. But there'd be no Colts players downfeld, so even a measly thirty yard punt would bounce and roll furhter downfield, while New England would be in a good position to cover the ball and kill it inside Colts territory. It cold rattle the Colts a little, too.



This is where I think you have chosen a much more risky alternative than Belichick chose. To be sure Belicheck would have had even more critcism for punting with his QB instead of his punter. I know that QBs have punted in the past (I recall Randall Cunningham punting once, on third down I think, for over 70 yards), but you don't really think this is a 'conservative' alternative, do you? I wuold also point out that the rules do not allow more than 2 players downfield before the ball is punted, so in your scenario the tight ends would actually have to stay behind the line of scrimmage, but that is a minor detail not really related to overall issue: this seems a VERY risky alternative.
Nareed
Nareed
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November 25th, 2009 at 6:58:25 AM permalink
Quote: EnvyBonus

I like your thinking, but this isn't really much of alternative to just punting on 4th and 2. All you have done is calculated, in your own mind, that the odds of the defense jumping offside (and the reward of winning the game if they do) are worth the risk of giving up 5 yards, or put it another way, worth the increased odds that the Colts would score from 5 yards closer after the punt. Belichick decided that going for it was worth giving up all the yards from the punt; you, admittedly, have just taken a more conservative approach.



I don't know how to calculate the odds for drawing the defense off-side. So qualitatively I'd say they're small. Going off-side is a mistake. Now, the tension, plus the fear the Pats would convert and win the game, might or might not make the Colts' defense more prone to such a mistake, it's hard to tell.

The five yards don't matter much when measured against turinign the ball over on downs at the 28.

Quote: EnvyBonus

This is where I think you have chosen a much more risky alternative than Belichick chose. To be sure Belicheck would have had even more critcism for punting with his QB instead of his punter. I know that QBs have punted in the past (I recall Randall Cunningham punting once, on third down I think, for over 70 yards), but you don't really think this is a 'conservative' alternative, do you? I wuold also point out that the rules do not allow more than 2 players downfield before the ball is punted, so in your scenario the tight ends would actually have to stay behind the line of scrimmage, but that is a minor detail not really related to overall issue: this seems a VERY risky alternative.



I'm not too clear on the rules for a surprise punt. But it does make sense the same rules apply. So, yes, you'd have to use a different formation with a backfield to pretend to block, sending only two WRs downfield at first. Once you punt everyone can move downfield. The punt would be quick, so that may not matter. In any case Indy would have no one downfield at all, and many defensive players would take a moment to realize what just happened.

The risk is higher than just punting, and very dependent on how well the QB can punt. I don't know if Brady can punt at all. Maybe all he can manage is a 20 yarder, in which case you're better off doing almost anything else. But overall the risk is less than going for a conversion.

BTW Terry Bradshaw played punter in highschool and he subbed for Pittsburgh's punter in a few games as I recall. I think in the old, old days of Football the QB was the punter, but then in those long gone days everyone played offense and defense too.

An alternative I didn't mention is a fake punt. That is, lining up for a punt, then passing the ball 3 yards downfield. In this case it may have worked better since a punt would have been expected by everyone. But we have the mirror-image problem of Brady punting: how good a passer is the Pats' punter?
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raland
raland
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December 1st, 2009 at 11:27:50 AM permalink
I can't find the Wizard's article on this. Can someone post a link?
Nareed
Nareed
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December 1st, 2009 at 12:54:42 PM permalink
It was in the last column where the Wizard answers questions in the sister site Wizard of Odds.
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EnvyBonus
EnvyBonus
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December 1st, 2009 at 6:16:41 PM permalink
It is at the end of this column.

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