Yesterday Nate filled in for me on my Monday morning overreaction piece, so today I’m going to take over for him on two of his usual Footbawl Blog duties: this feature, and laughing heartily at the Falcons.
Last night, as Nick Folk’s kick sailed through the uprights and Rex Ryan started doing his patented jiggly fist pumps, the first thing I thought about was the Jets’ margin of victory. It was less than three points. At the end of the first half the opposing coach had a chance to take a virtually guaranteed three points. He didn’t do that. And why you ask?
Because your favorite coach is Mike Smith…and he fucking sucks.
Mike Smith doesn’t suck simply because of the sequence at the end of the first half, or because they lost in the end, he sucks because he has all the restraint of me playing Madden after bar time hammered off my ass. He is one of those coaches, like Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy for instance, that while they might have great football minds…really have a tendency to make inexplicably bad decisions in key situations. Mike Smith sucks because last night wasn’t an isolated incident. Let’s turn back the clock a bit, shall we?
November 13th, 2011. The Falcons had a fourth and inches on their own 29 yard line in overtime against the Saints. Smith decides to go for it, because hey who gives a shit right? It doesn’t work. Saints win and take control of the NFC South. About the only rational explanation for this decision would be some kind of Walter White scenario where Smith was diagnosed with cancer, felt like he had nothing to lose, but later went into remission. YES I’M STILL DOING BREAKING BAD REFERENCES SCREW YOU.
Want something a bit more recent? Sure. September 29th, 2013. The Falcons are down 7-3 early in the contest and have a fourth and two at the Patriots seven yard line. If it was fourth and inches, I think going for it in this spot is acceptable. I still probably take the points, but I can make a case for it. But two whole yards means that you are going to have to complete a pass most of the time, and I just don’t understand the risk. It is as if sometimes Mike Smith is reduced to a petulant child who doesn’t understand how much time is actually left in a game. “Seven points is better than three! Waaaaah!”
There are plenty of other examples of Mike Smith’s irresponsible fourth down conduct, but let’s talk about last night.
Trailing 17-7 with under ten seconds left in the first half, the Falcons faced a fourth and goal situation from just outside the one yard line. If I’m playing against an offensive juggernaut, I can make a case for going for it here. If I have a running game that I could trust at all, I could see going for it here. But neither of those things were true last night. In a post-game press conference, Mike Smith stated that they “needed” a touchdown before the end of the first half.
Mike Smith sucks because he doesn’t have any idea what the word “needed” means.
Geno Smith played fantastic last night, but he was only able to do so because his team was winning (and by multiple scores) for most of the game. If you kick a field goal in this spot, you start to put more and more pressure on the young QB. And despite the Falcons only having seven points to this point, they had moved the ball effectively almost every possession. Going in down by seven was not going to be a problem at all. Instead they tried a play action pass that EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE STADIUM KNEW WAS COMING and were lucky enough to get a pass interference call. So then with one second left in the half, Mike has a chance to evaluate the situation again. These were the choices he was left with:
1. Try another play action pass that EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE STADIUM KNEW WAS COMING.
2. Run the ball with the smallest guy on the field into a stout Jets defense and hope to God he could get a yard.
3. TAKE THE FUCKING POINTS YOU DICK.
Mike Smith sucks because he did not take the points. He elected to run the ball, something the team has struggled to do without Steven Jackson, and went into the half down by ten. The Jets run off the field like a high school team that had just won their homecoming game and the Falcons looked like someone had died.
Mike Smith sucks because no matter how talented their team has been over the last few seasons, no matter how well they play, there is always a chance that he will sabotage everything.