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RavingManiac

4th and goal

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4th and goal and Philly goes for it. I know many of you talk about how stupid Harbaugh is for going for it. Was it stupid to go for it there? Why or why not?

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Going for it on 4th down from inside the one-yard line isn't necessarily over-aggressive if you make it or stupid if you don't.

Turning the ball over on downs that close to the goal line might be deflating, but it isn't the worst thing in the world because the other team now has play cautiously for fear of giving up a safety or turning the ball over. Oftentimes they'll run a line plunge on first down just to get some breathing room, and that enhances the possibility of forcing a three-and-out and thereby flipping field position as a result. That play call by Philly may have been a bit daring, largely because you're putting it in the hands of a non-QB, but the overall strategy wasn't the stuff of Evel Knievel.

Harbaugh may be tactically aggressive, but he's strategically conservative. Had he gone for it in that situation and missed, odds are he never would have called a blitz to try and at least force a holding call in the end zone and get a safety? Probably not. His philosophy would have been to sit back in a soft zone and make the other team "earn" every yard. Harbaugh isn't likely to try and force the issue in that instance. And the other team more than likely would have marched right down the field.

When Philly went for it on fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter from their own territory, I think that was more of a concession that the Eagles' defense wasn't going to stop Brady if they gave him back the ball, so the best way to stop him was to keep him on the sidelines. If it had been a game where the defenses were actually coming up with some stops, the Eagles likely would have punted on fourth down and took their chances.

If the Eagles had lost that game, Pederson wouldn't have been lauded for his aggressiveness of offense, but he'd have been roasted for his lack of the same defensively. Their corners--as they typically do--played seven or eight yards off the New England receivers, they never blitzed Brady, and they never adjusted their zones even while the Patriot receivers were running free basically all afternoon. They relied on personnel matchups more than aggressiveness on defense, and only the final result ensured that the narrative wasn't altered.

 

 

Edited by mdrunning

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It’s our playcalling on 4th and 1 that irritates me. 

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Had the Eagles not scored on 4th and 1, the first half would have ended before NE had to punt.  So I was really questioning it at the time.  And then they run such a brilliant play. 

Totally understood why they went for it again later on.  Also....if they had failed, and the Pats drive down and score, it still would have 'only' been an eight point game.

The Ravens have had their fair share of failures....and successes.  I totally questioned the fail against the Browns in Week 16.  Run, incomplete pass, incomplete pass, run.  And that run on 4th down was so badly designed. . 

 

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21 hours ago, RavingManiac said:

4th and goal and Philly goes for it. I know many of you talk about how stupid Harbaugh is for going for it. Was it stupid to go for it there? Why or why not?

Pederson was consistent in his aggressiveness though. John Boy would have gone for it in the 3rd Q and then run the ball 3 times late in the 4th, handed the ball back to the Patriots, and they would have beaten us.

Pederson kept his foot on the gas the entire game. John Boy is like one of those idiots on the highway,  passing you and then falling back behind -- foot pressing down on the gas, foot letting off the gas.

If you're going to be aggressive, be aggressive all the time. Don't pick and choose when to be.

Edited by Pickle20

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Ok so what I gather here is that its ok to for it on 4th as long as you keep going for it on 4th. So John Harbaugh needs to go for it on 4th more often to stay consistent. That's cool. Thanks for the input

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I found the call to be incredibly stupid, from my perspective.  However, I am certain that if they did not go for it there, and some of the other times, they would have lost the game. 

This is why I'm not a Superbowl winning head coach.

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The only time I've seen the Ravens reach that level of aggressiveness in playcalling was the second half of the 2012 AFCCG. Flacco took over and they basically threw on every down.

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1 hour ago, alienrace said:

I found the call to be incredibly stupid, from my perspective.  However, I am certain that if they did not go for it there, and some of the other times, they would have lost the game. 

This is why I'm not a Superbowl winning head coach.

I think it is one of those typical great call if it works and incredibly stupid if it doesn't work. I know there would have been at least one thread on here talking about how stupid of a play that was if that pass fell incomplete. It would have been the hottest thread on this forum. It worked so nobody really has a problem with it because it was a gutsy call. Yeah. It would not have been a gutsy call if it failed. I can assure you of that.

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2 hours ago, alienrace said:

I found the call to be incredibly stupid, from my perspective.  However, I am certain that if they did not go for it there, and some of the other times, they would have lost the game. 

This is why I'm not a Superbowl winning head coach.

I agree with this. I thought the decision to go for it was sound, but I didn't like the play call, either. What the play called for was a back-up tight end to throw a pass to a non-receiver. Had the play failed and the Eagles lost, the second-guessing probably would have been not about the decision to go for it, but the actual play call. 

Psychologically, however, it was a huge boost for the Eagles. They were already at a point where they leaving too many points on the field, and to settle for a field and go in at the half up by just six points would have been a victory for the Patriots at that point.

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To be honest I was yelling at the TV for them to take the points.

But I think the play call was genius. On 4th and 1 you're expecting a QB sneak, run play or a short out. No one expected it at that moment. Plus it was a nice way to rub it in Brady's face too, for dropping the pass earlier in the game.

Sometimes football is a chess match. Pederson definitely checkmated Belichick there, and it probably impacted the game aside from just that score.

Edited by Pickle20

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On 2/6/2018 at 0:01 PM, RavingManiac said:

4th and goal and Philly goes for it. I know many of you talk about how stupid Harbaugh is for going for it. Was it stupid to go for it there? Why or why not?

Pederson knows the only way to beat the Pats is to play aggressive for 60mins.

If and when the Raven's face NE in the championship game, they will have to do likewise. So, no, in the case of the Eagles, it wasn't stupid, but it's always a risk, of which they took several in that game.

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And another team will try the same type of play next season but that ref crew will call an illegal formation penalty.

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14 hours ago, mikemor1 said:

Pederson knows the only way to beat the Pats is to play aggressive for 60mins.

If and when the Raven's face NE in the championship game, they will have to do likewise. So, no, in the case of the Eagles, it wasn't stupid, but it's always a risk, of which they took several in that game.

Well why does everybody on here talk about how stupid Harbaugh is for going for it on 4th down?

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24 minutes ago, RavingManiac said:

Well why does everybody on here talk about how stupid Harbaugh is for going for it on 4th down?

Because most times he is unsuccessful. 2 seasons ago the Raiders gambled a lot on 4th down and succeeded. Last year not so much. The Eagles might have different results next year and the fans will turn on Pederson.

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I'm not one that will often criticize Harbaugh (or most coaches) for going for it on 4th and 1.  I usually like 4th-and-short aggression in general.  The Ravens were 6 of 8 when running on 4th-and-3-or-less...

My beef with the Ravens / Harbaugh / OC is more what they do in the larger percentage of short yardage offensive situations, like 3rd and short.  Frankly, 1st and 2nd down too, but I'll focus on 3rd for now.  Using the "play index" tool on pro-football-reference.com, the following interesting stats come up for 2017...

In 2017, on 3rd-and-less-than-4:

Rush: 24 snaps, 17 first downs... 71%

Pass: 51 snaps, 24 first downs... 47%

You might say, well there's a difference between 3rd-and-really-short and 3rd-and-4... so I also took a look at 3rd-and-less-than-2...

Rush: 22 snaps, 16 first downs... 73%

Pass: 17 snaps, 9 first downs... 53%

Rewind farther back to 2016, the numbers in 3rd-and-less-than-4:

Rush: 21 snaps, 16 first downs... 76%

Pass: 55 snaps, 26 first downs... 47%

2016... 3rd-and-less-than-2:

Rush: 18 snaps, 14 first downs... 78%

Pass: 18 snaps, 9 first downs... 50%

Going in to 2018, if I know that my chances of picking up a 1st down in 3rd-and-short are historically, statistically... about 20-25% higher when running the ball than they are throwing the ball... personally I'm going to adapt my offensive scheme to be much more run-focused in general, and on 3rd and short.  Situations near the end of the CHI game (in OT) and the second PIT game stand out where Marty called for the pass in spots where a 3 yard gain could have iced the game, or made it MUCH more difficult for the opponent to score late.  Yet I "know" that we'll probably just see more of the same scheme in 2018.

The Eagles, who are having a SB parade today, pretty much split their 3rd-and-4 playcalling down the middle.  Offense Marty prefers to go 2-to-1 / 2.5-to-1 pass in those situations.  

Edited by Ravens2006

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2 hours ago, RavingManiac said:

Well why does everybody on here talk about how stupid Harbaugh is for going for it on 4th down?

When you play the Patriots, you go full tilt.

However, John takes points off the board by going for it in non-essential situations. He's got the best kicker in the game, let him kick it.

I can't recall the different situations but he's gone for it on 4th a few times at home against mediocre teams, and left points on the field in games we lost.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Pickle20 said:

 

When you play the Patriots, you go full tilt.

However, John takes points off the board by going for it in non-essential situations. He's got the best kicker in the game, let him kick it.

I can't recall the different situations but he's gone for it on 4th a few times at home against mediocre teams, and left points on the field in games we lost.

 

 

This^   New York Giants two years ago was one instance.  You have to weigh the situation and game plan accordingly.  Against NE you need points and you know you will need points.  Being aggressive just to be aggressive is not smart.   Justin Tucker is automatic within 40 yards.  Sometimes you should just take the points.  I will say that I thought this year the Ravens were a little more restrained on going for it on 4th down and had better results.  Two years ago was bad.   

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1 hour ago, cprenegade said:

This^   New York Giants two years ago was one instance.  You have to weigh the situation and game plan accordingly.  Against NE you need points and you know you will need points.  Being aggressive just to be aggressive is not smart.   Justin Tucker is automatic within 40 yards.  Sometimes you should just take the points.  I will say that I thought this year the Ravens were a little more restrained on going for it on 4th down and had better results.  Two years ago was bad.   

Looking back through some losses, one rings a bell. It was the 4th quarter against the Bears. At the time I was in my section 540 seat begging Harbaugh to kick a 49 yard FG with 6+ mins left. It would have put us down 17-16 had Tucker made it. But Harbaugh went for it and they converted. But two plays later Flacco threw a pick 6.

Now, Harbuagh had no way of knowing Flacco would do that, but you have to think the best kicker in the NFL can nail a 49 yarder, you can force a quick 3 and out against a rookie QB, and get the ball back with plenty of time left to kick another FG to win it.

I'm not going to kill Harbaugh for going for it in that situation, but he didn't necessarily need to either, and the worst result occurred.

Edited by Pickle20

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4 hours ago, RavingManiac said:

Well why does everybody on here talk about how stupid Harbaugh is for going for it on 4th down?

because if they're like me, they don't have confidence in the play calling. 

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6 hours ago, stevez51 said:

Because most times he is unsuccessful. 2 seasons ago the Raiders gambled a lot on 4th down and succeeded. Last year not so much. The Eagles might have different results next year and the fans will turn on Pederson.

Why would you say he is unsuccessful most times?

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5 hours ago, Ravens2006 said:

I'm not one that will often criticize Harbaugh (or most coaches) for going for it on 4th and 1.  I usually like 4th-and-short aggression in general.  The Ravens were 6 of 8 when running on 4th-and-3-or-less...

My beef with the Ravens / Harbaugh / OC is more what they do in the larger percentage of short yardage offensive situations, like 3rd and short.  Frankly, 1st and 2nd down too, but I'll focus on 3rd for now.  Using the "play index" tool on pro-football-reference.com, the following interesting stats come up for 2017...

In 2017, on 3rd-and-less-than-4:

Rush: 24 snaps, 17 first downs... 71%

Pass: 51 snaps, 24 first downs... 47%

You might say, well there's a difference between 3rd-and-really-short and 3rd-and-4... so I also took a look at 3rd-and-less-than-2...

Rush: 22 snaps, 16 first downs... 73%

Pass: 17 snaps, 9 first downs... 53%

Rewind farther back to 2016, the numbers in 3rd-and-less-than-4:

Rush: 21 snaps, 16 first downs... 76%

Pass: 55 snaps, 26 first downs... 47%

2016... 3rd-and-less-than-2:

Rush: 18 snaps, 14 first downs... 78%

Pass: 18 snaps, 9 first downs... 50%

Going in to 2018, if I know that my chances of picking up a 1st down in 3rd-and-short are historically, statistically... about 20-25% higher when running the ball than they are throwing the ball... personally I'm going to adapt my offensive scheme to be much more run-focused in general, and on 3rd and short.  Situations near the end of the CHI game (in OT) and the second PIT game stand out where Marty called for the pass in spots where a 3 yard gain could have iced the game, or made it MUCH more difficult for the opponent to score late.  Yet I "know" that we'll probably just see more of the same scheme in 2018.

The Eagles, who are having a SB parade today, pretty much split their 3rd-and-4 playcalling down the middle.  Offense Marty prefers to go 2-to-1 / 2.5-to-1 pass in those situations.  

Very nice post. Thanks for all the details

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3 hours ago, RavingManiac said:

Why would you say he is unsuccessful most times?

Well seeing it happen several times last season.

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Eagles made a decision that they were gonna have to take chances in order to beat the patriots. Compare that with the Jaguars who pussed out before halftime instead of trying to put more points up. Who ended up winning?

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19 hours ago, stevez51 said:

Well seeing it happen several times last season.

Yeah he was unsuccessful several times last season but he was the exact opposite of what you said. He was successful most times not unsuccessful.

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