Throw Deep Young Man

Last weekend, the NFL had 4 very close games; 3 ended on a fg with no time and the other in OT. In all cases, the winning team went right down the field to set up the victory.

With little resistance from the defense.

So this begs the question I have had ever since I started watching football in the early 80’s: why don’t these teams score more?

I mean it seems like almost every time a team needs a few yards to line up a field goal to end a half or game, they do it. Regardless of team, regardless of offense or defense, inevitably the team who needs points gets in a position to do this.

Now to be fair, I know this doesn’t happen every single time, but you have to admit, it seems like it happens a lot. Especially considering that teams don’t score with that ease during the middle of the game.

Think about this:

  • On average, both teams get 9-12 possessions in a game

  • The average points per possession is mostly between 2.0-2.5

  • This loosely translates to every 4 possessions, a top end offense kicks a fg and scores a td (50% of possessions turn into points)

  • A typical team scores less than 50% of offensive possessions

Now think about an end-of-game scenario: you have time constraints, you can’t really open up the playbook because you don’t have time to set up that run game, you have to throw it deep, and favor sideline routes. You would think given all of this, a good offense that scores around 50% of the time would have less than a 50% chance of scoring at the end of halves and games.

Yet how many thought the Bengals were not going to get into fg position after the Titans int? Remember, they still needed around 20 yards to kick it. How many thought the Packers were going to stymie the hapless 49er offense and prevent a fg chance? How many thought the Rams were going to OT with 30 seconds left? How many thought the Bills were going out on downs on their final drive? Note: 15 seconds for the Chiefs…yeah I’ll leave that one out of this.

Maybe one of those should have happened, but NONE of them did. And we really shouldn’t be too surprised. It just seems to happen all too often.

So the question is….why?

It is either one of three reasons:

  1. It is all psychological and teams don’t try hard enough on offense throughout the game or defenses get scared.

  2. Offenses are too conservative throughout the game and should open up sooner

  3. NFL is rigged

It may be a bit of 1, probably less of 3 (although those refs….sometimes it really feels that way), but it has to be 2.

So I propose just throw the ball deep….all the time. Worst case scenario, interception which is sort of like an arm punt. Normal scenario, you get a PI because the NFL doesn’t know how to handle their own rules.

I’m sure there will be my doubters, but people doubted Bill James and sabermetrics, now look at where we are!

So heave it far, heave it long, heave it recklessly. Make it feel like desperation. It seems to work more times than not.