Mario Manningham’s catch was a key turning point in yesterday’s Super Bowl, but not for the obvious reason.
Of all the storylines of yesterday’s game – Manningham’s catch, Wes Welker’s drop, Gronkowski’s absence, why is no one talking about Bill Belichick’s time management decisions late in the fourth quarter?
Why don’t you call a timeout after Bradshaw’s seven yard run on 1st & 10???
This is the most underestimated moment of the Super Bowl, and I can’t figure out why this has garnered zero attention. After Bradshaw’s run on 1st & 10 with 1:45 to go, I smirked when I realized Bill Belichick was not going to call a timeout. The Patriots had two left, and it was 2nd & 3.
What on Earth are you saving those timeouts for? Offense? The Giants are going to run the full 40 seconds off the clock – about 40% of the time you have to work with.
They ran the time off, then scored two plays later. Here’s what Belichick should have said during the timeout he should have called:
“If they get the first down, call our last timeout to stop the clock. We’ll let them score the next play. But when you stop the Giants on this second down play, call a timeout, and we’ll stop them on third down.”
The worst case scenario of either listed above is the Giants get a first down on third down. You let them score the next play, which would take those same 40 seconds off the clock. The only drawback at that time would be one less timeout, but that’s the educated gamble you need to take.
The ideal, yet realistic Patriots’ scenario late in the game was to have the ball after they let the Giants score, but with 1:37 left to play, not :57.
Ninety-seven seconds is enough for Tom Brady. Fifty-seven seconds was not. His head coach let him down.
On another note, I’m almost 100% sure Belichick would have called a timeout if he had three left. He only had two because of earlier in the drive:
Challenging Manningham’s catch was the wrong decision.
…most importantly because no highlights showed any indication Manningham’s feet were out of bounds, but that’s the guys upstairs’ fault.
By challenging the play, you put yourself at risk to lose a key timeout. I think it was more beneficial for Belichick to keep the challenge flag in the arsenal, play the cards you were dealt, and save the timeout.
With about 3:40 to play, the Giants are at midfield, and if they score quickly, you put yourself in the exact position Tom Brady said he wanted to be in: down and with the ball late in the fourth quarter (but with more than :57 seconds).
If the play came on third or fourth down, challenge it, but the Giants were in four down territory. In the self-destructive “prevent” defense every team plays in that situation, Eli Manning would have gotten a first down in three plays anyway.
Granted, you can say, “Corey, so then why don’t you just not play defense and let them score from midfield?” I’m not arguing let them score, but the lost timeout ended up leading to a huge Belichick mental error.
I am arguing if Tom Brady had 1:37 left instead of :57, the Patriots are your Super Bowl Champions.