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Monday, January 24, 2005

Did anyone else sort of wonder about the Eagles calling a timeout at the end of the first quarter yesterday?

The situation: Atlanta was driving into a howling wind and had just gotten stuffed on third and short, bringing up a fourth and one at about the Philly 30. Atlanta has a decision to make now, and it's my instinct as someone who's watched a lot of football that the correct decision is to go for it, even without taking the wind into account. (Sorry, Jay Feely.) It's obviously correct to go for it with the wind in your face. So the Eagles call a timeout to basically force the Falcons to do the right thing according to my hypothetical game theory. Falcons run Duckett off-tackle, first down. They eventually bog down in the red zone and settle for a field goal anyway.

What were the chances that you'll stop a fourth and one? Ten percent? Twenty percent? Probably not even that high. Put the ball on the kicker's leg if you have the opportunity. Mora said later that they were going for it anyway, but at least give the opposing coach the opportunity to make a mistake.

The NCAA started providing a mess of downloadable statistics this year. When everything is boring in the summer I plan on breaking some of that info down and trying to draw some conclusions. I hope to theoretically prove that you should never punt once you pass your opponent's 50. Definitely not from the 35, Lloyd.