Mike McDaniel, Kirk Cousins and John Harbaugh explain themselves
Hey, what a SUPER Wild Card weekend right? We may not have seen great NFL football games, or great executive sessions, or even great decisions from players and coaches, but we did. witnessed a lot of chaos. And, as we all know, chaos is where the real fun begins—unless your team is the ones fumbling in the dark despite the harsh national spotlight. But with apologies to Vikings, Dolphins and Ravens fans, let’s take a look at some of yesterday’s truly-terrible-but-al0-a bit hysterical endgame decisions.
Gotta get the play in, Mike
We’ll start with the first game of the day, Dolphins – Bills. Can Miami survive and thrive without Tassel? Is Josh Allen the next Patrick Mahomes? Is this finally the year the Mafia Bills get their final reward? Yes, maybe. And this one is a lot closer than it should be, thanks revenue from Allen. Yet America waited, holding its breath, on the edge of its seat… when Miami’s head coach, Mike McDaniel, inexplicably let a minute expire without playing. Look:
So what did McDaniel say to himself then? Reader, he said this:
“There was some crowd noise related to mishearing some of the wristband numerals. There are some problems in the communication teams and going to the script line.
“And there’s a reason that you don’t use, which is a real complicating variable, that there are many different people in the group chat where the communication is — when you’re having a good habit, or maybe having a The offensive linemen group is being contacted by the same person. When you have that kind of flow, it should happen, it shouldn’t happen as much as it did.
We’re rolling out a pool of players for the first and 10th call. It’s been made clear that, no, it’s down to fourth. That misinformation – that’s all you do in this business. You never stop looking for things that you can improve on. And that’s part of the reason why they couldn’t win. But that’s certainly not the only reason.”
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That’s really more of a description of what happened than an explanation, but okay. The worst part was that McDaniel said all of this while still wearing a truly terrible Dolphins’ hat, which I get was supposed to look distressed and edgy, but just wound up looking like several people had sweated in it multiple times. Yarg.
Kirk Cousins: Never not conservative
Up next, we have the Vikings and Giants, and kudos to our Jon Hoefling for call this properly. Vikings never looked great (although Kirk Cousins actually played pretty well)but at no point did they look worse in the final play:
So there’s no way this is a real play call, right? This should be a check down. And if you’re going to watch a play that has an entire season running, what do you even have Justin Jefferson for? Looks like it’s time to let one fly and hope Jefferson grabs it is in the final seconds of a post-season game, doesn’t it? Alas. It doesn’t even matter how well the Cousins played on Sunday – this is the only game everyone will remember.
Here’s what Cousins had to say:
“Yeah, it was just a shell read there. I have seen single high (relevance) and tried to work Justin (Jefferson) and didn’t feel comfortable giving it to Justin. And as I progressed, I just felt like I was about to be fired. I felt I had to put the ball in play. I can’t go down with a sack.
So I just kicked it with TJ, and I missed the club a few times in the game and came back a few weeks. I just feel that throwing a stick isn’t the end of the world, and it’s clearly tight coverage. But I felt like I was going to go down and get a sack and put it out.”
I suppose that’s understandable, but you can’t dance naked after winning giant sequences and then choose the safe option when necessary. Cousins have always had a reputation for being overly conservative (on and off the pitch), and Sunday’s decision isn’t going to change anyone’s mind.
Finally, we come to Sunday’s final game, the Ravens – Bengals. We all know Lamar Jackson is on the bench for this game, that’s the source of some disappointing low beef among former players. However, even without Jackson on the field, Baltimore still has a chance.
What the hell is John Harbaugh doing?
Head coach John Harbaugh had a rough start at the Ravens – Bengals, having been a complete fool when he sidelined reporter Melissa Stark before halftime:
Harbaugh’s bad day continued, as his team fell into a tug-of-war TWO TIMES in the final minute of the game, 24-17. Not only that, but Harbaugh left TWO timeouts across the board until the match was down to just 8 seconds. And then Harbaugh pauses when the clock has stopped. In the name of all that is holy…
Guess what happened? THEY RUN TIME OUT. QB Tyler Huntley threw one in the direction of the heaven Baltimore almost fell. Imagine what they could do if they actually, oh, I don’t know, use the timeout to reset and call in a play? Haven’t we reached the point in American football where kids spend years learning how to manage the clock through Madden? Isn’t anyone on Harbaugh’s staff under 40?
Anyway, here’s what Harbaugh had to say:
“We wanted to save time waiting for the red zone. What killed us was the penalty. That knocked us down. The idea is, we want to maintain the timeout to throw the ball. So we tried to do a run there, we call the timeout afterwards and we still have the run/pass option. We want to score without returning the ball. We think we’re going to get into the red zone, we think it’s going to be a certain number of plays and we’ll work until the end of the game. Instead of scoring with 30, 35 seconds left, you give them a chance to shoot on goal late in the game.
“So I think we played right. Unsuccessful in the sense that then we have imperfect passes. If you complete the pass, you get the ball in the red area, you call timeout. So I think at the elementary level, you can say, ‘Ah (discovery), they should have used timeouts.’ But we got the timeout working properly.
In J. Peterman’s iconic parlance, that’s certainly a lot of words. I really don’t know what to say except that nothing in the last minute “works normally”, Harbaugh won’t convince anyone of that and saving your timeout for the red zone only works if you really can Okay to the red area.
I can’t wait to see what tonight brings.