The Crescent and Cheese

where east meets the midwest

The Gonzalez Non-Catch and Non-Challenge

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By request, here’s an uncut video of the entire fourth and 3 sequence. A few things to notice:

1. The Packers bring four: Mathews, Zombo, and two D-Linemen. They are actually quite effective at applying pressure. There’s a couple of places Matt Ryan might have been able to go to with the ball initially, but he has to get out of the pocket, and so he’s unable to.

2. The Packers have great initial coverage.

3. When Ryan rolls out, Zombo and Hawk do a kind of rotation. I don’t think it’s planned, but it happens that way: Hawk rushes the exposed flank, leaving his position, and Zombo heads into coverage towards the center of the field. He’s probably following Ryan’s eyes. If Zombo rushes a bit, he actually takes that lane away.

One last thing before the video: the non-challenge.

1. McCarthy can’t see replays (they don’t show any on the jumbotron). Thus, he’s relying on his initial reaction (he thought it was a good catch, as he said in the post-game. Also note that the catch takes place near the opposite sideline), the reactions of the Atlanta players (especially Gonzalez), and the reactions of his players (probably in particular Zombo and Peprah).

2. Gonzalez does a great acting job. Notice how he gets up completely casual. He’s not giving away the fact that he didn’t catch it.

3. Peprah is tackling Gonzalez, so he doesn’t really see the drop. It’s Zombo who probably saw it (or should have seen it) and has to say something to the coach.

4. Wilde and Demovsky reported that the feed in the booth was very delayed. If it’s a different feed, then the onus is on the assistant coaches in the booth. If it’s the same feed, it’s straight cheating.

5. The “asl” as we say in Usul (meaning the default position, or standard position) is that of not challenging. There needs to be good reason to challenge. If the booth people don’t say anything to McCarthy, nothing on the field should lead him to challenge. Remember how upset we were *last* time he challenged without having anything on the field to tell him to? Remember, he didn’t see the replay! That’s on the booth guys.

6. As for the argument that “he should have challenged such a big call!”: I believe that is totally a result of two things:

A. Hindsight Bias

B. Being fans with no responsibility on our shoulders.

7. Look at the time on the clock: 3:32. There’s a good chance they score. He’s hedging his bets that he’ll get the ball back with 1 to 2 minutes left to play in the half. For that, he’ll need his TOs. Thus, a TO here is not like a TO if this were two minutes before or one minute after. As it turns out, that isn’t the case: the Falcons score with 12 seconds left. But what happens if he makes a dumb challenge based on a “gut feeling” and loses, and then he gets the ball back with a minute left and needs an extra TO? Oh yeah, it happened earlier this season with the Bears. McCarthy learned from previous mistakes, and now we’re blasting him for it.

That being said, here’s the play in question:

In conclusion: would it have been nice had McCarthy challenged? Absolutely. But for him to do so based on a “gut feeling” or a “what the heck, right?” decision is reckless and stupid. It’s not McCarthy that failed here. It’s the booth guys upstairs (even after the initial replay, it’s obvious that there’s a case to be made here) that failed–that is, if they had the feed. Also, Zombo needs to tell his coach to challenge that play. I’d rather have him *not* challenge this play and keep a TO than have him challenge a JJ play and lose a TO, a lost TO that really cost us down the stretch.


Written by AdmiralPrice

December 2, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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