Morris miscue

The Falcons-Bucs game might not have been one of Week 12's marquee matchups, but I'm going to write about it for two reasons:

1) I was there
2) Raheem Morris gave me material for a rip

Fans who saw highlights know that Chris Redman (filling in for the injured Matt Ryan) hit Roddy White on fourth-and-goal from the five with 26 seconds left in the game. Had the Bucs made a stop on that play, they would have won.

But what will never get mentioned is that there was a play two minutes earlier that also would have won the game for Tampa. The problem is, Morris didn't allow his team the opportunity to win.

Leading 17-13, Tampa had the ball on Atlanta's 33-yard line with 2:30 left and faced a fourth and four. Morris elected to try a 51-yard field goal. Wrong decision.

If Tampa makes the field goal, Atlanta gets the ball back trailing 20-13 with 2:20 left at whatever field position it would get following the kickoff.

If Tampa misses the field goal, Atlanta gets the ball back trailing 17-13 on its own 41. (That's what happened, and the Falcons ended up driving down the field for the winning score.)

What Morris should have done is tried for the first down. If Tampa makes the first down, assuming the play didn't end out of bounds, the game is over. Tampa qb Josh Freeman would just have to take a knee three times.

Assuming the probability of making a fourth-and-4 is similar to that of making a 51-yard field goal Morris made a misguided decision.

The benefit of making the first down is infinitesimally better than making the field goal (a guaranteed win vs. a 7-point lead with 2:20 left) and the downside of failing to convert wasn't as bad (opposition gets the ball trailing by four at its own 33 compared to its own 40). And even if a 51-yard field goal is more likely, it certainly doesn't make up for giving up an opportunity to end the game.

Another NFL Sunday. Another blunder by a clueless head coach. And this one may have cost his team the game.

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