SPORTO: The Anatomy Of Defeat


BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY I’ve got two boys under five years old and that alone means that I know more about Time Outs than Andy Reid. OK, that was a cheap shot. But when the Eagles got the ball down 13-9 with 3:42 left in the game, weren’t you shocked that they had all their timeouts left? The Eagles under Reid have made a habit of using their timeouts too early. They’d burned all their 1st half T.O.s with 4:30 left in the 2nd quarter, which didn’t stop Donovan McNabb from trying to call a extra one with 27 seconds left in the half. That hurried end-of-the-half Eagles drive ended in 3 points; with a timeout or two they would have been able to handle things differently (from the 15-yard line with 27 seconds left, the Igs went penalty, sack, spike, FG on 3 rd down).

But it was the timeout management at the end of the game that cost the Birds a final chance with the ball. Reid called the first when the offense was facing 4th down with 2:21 to go. No issue with that call. When the 4th down failed and the Raiders got the ball back, Reid called timeout after a 1st down run with 2:10 left. Fine. But he blew it with the last timeout. The Raiders ran again, and the Eagles stopped the clock with 2:02 left. This saved two seconds, if they let the clock run, it would have stopped for the two-minute warning and Philly would have had one timeout left. The theory behind Reid’s call is that if you wait for the 2-minute warning, then use your timeout after the Raiders run on 3rd-and-10, you are in the same situation but with two fewer seconds, and any time saved is valuable. But there are two massive flaws in this theory. First, what if the Raiders throw an incomplete pass on 3rd down? Whoops. Now you really have used your timeout only to save two seconds. The other flaw is that with the clock stopped and 2:02 left, the Raiders  no longer had any incentive to run, because the clock was going to stop either way for the two-minute warning. What the Eagles did was invite Oakland to pass on 3rd-and-10; the Raiders did and picked up 12 yards. First down. Ballgame.

I don’t think Oakland would have picked up a first down running the ball, and then the Eagles would have gotten one more chance. Sure, they may oakland-raiders-nfl-betting-wwwcasinoguidecanadaca-online-betting-winning-streak.jpghave thrown anyway had the Eagles saved the timeout for after the two-minute warning, but they would have had incentive to run and make the Eagles burn their final timeout. I say it’s 50-50 they would have thrown, but with the way the Eagles managed the clock, they made sure it would be 100% throw. In other NFL news, I’d like to apologize for leaving the Titans off last week’s list of SHIT (Substandard Horrific Irrelevant Teams). This was the top seed in last year’s AFC playoffs! Now they are 0-6, season over. New England put up 59 unanswered points in the first three quarters against this sorry crew, and if Bill Belichick was still in his “I’m an asshole and I’ll run up the score on anyone” phase, I think they could have broken the NFL record for points in a game (73). The Titans’ Jeff Fisher is an excellent coach. After 15 years, I hope he gets the benefit of the doubt after this putrid stretch.

Other Shit List news: Chiefs win! (over the Redskins, another List member). Bills win! The Rams were 8 minutes away from a tie! With the Titans now officially added to the List, it’s time to include the Lions as well after their shutout loss (the original premise was that the Shit Seven were all worse than the Lions). That balloons the Shit List to nine. Through Week 6 these teams have a record of 9-45.  Seven of those wins have come against other List members! The only wins by the Shit Nine outside the group are: Bills over the Jets and, wait for it, Raiders over Eagles.

Bonus Phillies/Dodgers Note: Why has Chad Billinsley turned into a pariah in LA? This guy was one of the National League’s best pitchers in 2008 and for the first half of 2009. Yes, he had a shaky 2nd half, but it wasn’t that bad…he finished the year with an ERA of 4.03. That’s better than Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Vicente Padilla, to name a few. Instead of Billingsley, the Dodgers would rather use Hiroki Kuroda, another up-and-down guy who hadn’t pitched in 20 days because of a neck injury, with Billingsley relegated to mop-up duty. Well, Kuroda got obliterated last night. Serves the Dodgers right.

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