Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Uncertain Smile

a broken soul stares from a pair of watering eyes,
uncertain emotions force an uncertain smile...

Well if you thought last week's loss to the Denver Broncos was painful...

I'd really rather not go into detail about the final game of the Bengals' 2006 season against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. The one thing that really pissed me off as I drunkenly watched another playoff opportunity go down the toilet was the end-of-game clock management by Marvin Lewis. Lewis decided to burn a timeout with a minute left in the 4th quarter before a FG attempt by the Steelers. He did this previously at the end of the FIRST half of the Baltimore game (and it worked), but unfortunately no one informed Marvin that this was a very different situation. It was the 2nd half, the FG was a chip shot, and even if it was good, the Bengals still had a minute to kick a field goal of their own. The Bengals ended up needing that timeout very badly, as they almost immediately moved the ball to the Steelers' 20 with 30 seconds left in the game on 50 yard pass to Chris Henry. Had they still had two timeouts, the Bengals could've used one after the completion, then ran two or more plays to get into better field goal position or even go for the endzone. Instead, a team that had just lost to the Broncos because of its failure to convert a PAT put even more pressure on its special teams. The last four offensive plays of the Bengals' season looked like this:

1st down from the 20: Spike
2nd Down from the 20: Palmer takes a knee
3rd Down from the 22: Spike
4th Down: Graham misses a 39 yard FG attempt.

The spike-timeout sequence was particularly embarrassing. This was the last game of the season, how in the world is this team not prepared to run a two minute drill? The spike stops the clock, then you call any play your little heart desires, because you still have a timeout left. Fucking maddening.

In other news, Marvin Lewis is heading up a NFL group this offseason that will lobby for a new rule implementing a league wide policy that allows each team one "do-over" a game on kicking plays. Shayne Graham, Brad St. Louis, and Kyle Larson however are all terrified by the thought of fucking up twice in a row.

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