NFL teams can’t dramatically shift their strategy overnight to press the same way basketball or soccer teams might, although one recent example would be the Jets shifting overnight from a primarily man-based coverage scheme to heavy zone packages to confuse Tom Brady and win in Foxborough during the 2010 playoffs. In most cases, though, teams can’t change their stripes overnight.
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Hector Olivera Elite Jersey A more plausible way for them to shift gears is to be more aggressive in the red zone and on fourth down. Just about every model which uses historical data to gauge win expectancy suggests teams are far too conservative in those situations. Coaches who are underdogs against great offenses, as was the case in both games on Saturday, can’t settle for field goals or pass up fourth-and-short opportunities, and as a result, miss out on chances to match points with offenses that are too good to keep down for 60 minutes.
Burke’s model sees this as downright foolish; the Seahawks needed just a 25 percent chance of converting to justify going for it. His team still needed two touchdowns, and they were facing a Falcons team that was dictating the terms on offense. Hauschka should have been kept on ice.
The game was never really close afterward. Atlanta kicked a field goal on its next possession, and then Carroll punted on fourth-and-4 from his own 31-yard line down 16 with 14 minutes to go. Again, Carroll was asking his defense — down a star safety and two of its top three cornerbacks — to come up with multiple stops while his offense needed to score two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions just to force what would have been about a 45 percent shot of winning in overtime. The Seahawks were never meaningfully close to competing the rest of the way.