Herm Edwards did it again. He got a small lead and thought he could squat on the ball for a few decades without letting the other kids play. Unfortunately, for the eighth year in a row, he was wrong. With a mere three point lead and 5:20 left in the 4th quarter, Herm did the next best thing to kneeling the ball down; he ran three times off left tackle with a third string running back and an unreliable offensive line and then punted. Unfortunately for Herm, this only ran 2:20 off the clock. Oops. He must have forgotten there are only four downs to one set. That happens to all of us in our eighth year of being a head coach and making the same mistake many times.
This was inexcusable and indefensible, in my opinion, and helped lead directly to our loss. In fact, here’s a quick rundown of what I see as irrefutable facts:
a) Herm obviously abandoned what was, up to that point, a successful offensive game plan in favor of running out the clock. There is no doubt that the play calling changed for this series in light of the “insurmountable” three-point lead and it being “late” in the fourth quarter.
b) Running three times off left tackle is the second most conservative thing you can do, with the first being kneeling down.
c) Herm was trying “not to lose the game” and failed. He has done this and failed many times before, both with the Jets and Chiefs.
Throw in the following facts and I have an instant Hermache on my hands due to Herm’s egregious act of forfeiture:
- We’re giving three minutes to Brett Favre, one of the better comeback artists of all time.
- We currently have one of the worst defenses in the NFL (statistically and observationally) so why put the game in their hands right now?
- Our QB was hot, hitting 72% of his passes at that point.
- Herm, do you know the clock also runs on successful passes, even high-percentage passes like screens?
- Kolby Smith is effectively our third string running back and we had not established a running game with him at any point in the game (he average 1.4 yards/carry).
- End-a-rounds, draws, etc. are also runs to consider, you don’t have to run the same play three times.
- The Jets know as well as anyone Herm’s ultra-conservative ways and saw this coming a mile away.
Herm is credited with his now famous misnomer, “You play to win the game.” I find this sadly amusing being as he probably exemplifies this statement the LEAST of all NFL coaches. He constantly plays not to lose, and loves to credit his team for close losses; those “almost not lost” games, if you will.
What did the then 1-5 Chiefs really have to lose at that point by aggressively trying to win the game? Amazingly, if we’d have won, we’d only be two games out of first place in the surprisingly mediocre AFC West. Not that I have any delusions of grandeur this year.
The Jets tried to gift-wrap this one by over-thinking their offensive game plan and trying to pass while we looked run. This helped give us a chance with multiple turnovers, much like we received in the Denver game. The Jets should have watched the Tennessee game more closely where they’d have realized they could run on us even if we were expecting it. But in the end it didn’t mater. At least this game was entertaining and highly competitive until the Herm of old took over…
Oh, and don’t get me started on the fact that we got destroyed by Leon Washington, the man that we effectively traded (via a fourth round draft pick) for Herm Edwards, a man who was about to get fired anyway. This could be one of the most lopsided trades in history. Not because one team got a huge amount of talent and the other got very little. No, it’s because one team got good talent, while the other got hugely negative talent that single handedly set their team back years… I told you not to get me started.
VLTC’s OTC (off-the-cuff) Grades:
- This was a completely different Tyler Thigpen from the one we saw in Atlanta. He respected the pocket, held on to the ball when necessary, and played smart. Big kudos to Thigpen.
- Not much to argue with. He got away with one potential “pick-6″ that was luckily dropped by the defender.
- Larry Johnson was benched again for off field problems.
- Jamaal Charles looked good in limited action before getting hurt.
- Couldn’t establish the run game with Kolby Smith.
- Tony Gonzalez is the consummate professional and still one of the best in the league.
- Brad Cottam emerged as a legitimate threat .
- Dwayne Bowe was solid with a 102 yard game.
- Still searching for that second receiver. Is Chicago castoff Mark Bradley (5 catches, 1 TD) the answer?
- Apparently don’t have enough clout to get pass interference calls.
- I admittedly didn’t focus too closely on this group today.
- Did well enough to open up the passing game.
- Right side still the weak link.
- We finally got a sack, and the first from our starting defensive line!
- Tamba Hali was finally moved back to the right side of the opponent’s offensive line where he spent the first two years of his career. The move came with spectacular results (1 sack, 2 hurries/hits that led directly to interceptions).
- Too bad the rest of the line is still very weak.
- Gouged for another huge run.
- Short of the interceptions, our defense wasn’t very good.
- Big drop by Derrick Johnson, but then again, catching the ball isn’t a priority for his job.
- Again, short of the interceptions, we weren’t that great.
- Some big missed tackles at the safety position.
- Barth and Weatherford were fine.
- Return coverage horrible!
- One of the best game plans of the year spoiled by the moronic and ultra-conservative play calling late in the game.
- Good job molding Thigpen into the starting role (this week at least).