Quote:Sweet 'N' Sour Overtime Fourth Down: In overtime, Atlanta faced fourth-and-inches on its 29, and went for it. This absolutely was the right decision, as Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats shows in detail. If you can't gain a few inches you are not likely to win, while punting to the Saints would have given Drew Brees good field position to seek a field goal and victory. TMQ contends that NFL coaches do not go for it enough on fourth down because if they kick and lose, the players are blamed; if they go for it and lose, the coach is blamed. Sure enough, that's what happened to Mike Smith.
Stuffing the Falcons' run was sweet for New Orleans -- the sour part was a good decision but a bad play call by Atlanta. TMQ's lead last week was that bland straight-ahead rushes don't work on short-yardage downs. Atlanta's call was a bland straight-ahead rush to the power side of the formation, exactly what New Orleans expected. There was no misdirection -- and misdirection is essential on short-yardage downs, when the defense is cranked to charge straight ahead.
To top it off, the extra blocker at the point of attack was skinny wide receiver Roddy White, while running back Michael Turner took the handoff four yards deep in the backfield, meaning he would have to fight just to reach the line of scrimmage. Atlanta might have employed some misdirection; or simply had Matt Ryan sneak, starting the play much closer to the line of scrimmage; or play-faked and gone deep for the win. Instead a bland straight-ahead call, and seemingly no audible available to Ryan if the defense was overstacked. TMQ's law holds: Do a Little Dance If You Want to Gain That Yard. Here is theme music for TMQ's law of short yardage.
If Baker wasn't hurt would our chances have improved with Svitek and Baker out there at the same time?