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The Case For Aggressive Defense During The Final 2:00 Drive


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Interesting discussion going on around the internet.

 

Last night Raiders moved the ball at will versus the KC defense.  They scored to go up by 3 with 2:00 or so left in the game.  Of course that was too much time for Pat Mahomes and he went down the field and scored the go ahead TD.  
 

The discussion is about the type of defense that Oakland should’ve played.  In most cases, teams will play a zone and protect vs the deep ball and leave the flats or middle of the field open to kill the clock until a team gets closer. The problem is QB’s and offenses are so good they can easily beat that defense.

 

The question, is if you’re a defense do you go all-out with pressures, blitzes, and trying to jump routes in the secondary, as opposed to more of a safer defense?  The thinking is, if you gamble and get burned for a deep TD, at least there is time left for your offense.  
 

You obviously don’t fold and let a team go 75 yards uncontested for a TD just to get the ball back.  But, is there a better chance to generate a turnover plying aggressive than safe, and again - you if they score you have more time to win at the end 

 

On one hand you can argue it’s reckless defense - almost surrendering and possibly overthinking it.  On the other hands it’s logical in the sense that it might be easier to score on a team like KC as opposed to keeping them out of the defense.  What do you think?

 

Edited by JohnNord
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I’ll never fault a defense for being too aggressive.  
 

I will fault them for sitting back and getting burned.  
 

Never mind the busted coverage that lost them the game.. the Raiders seemed perfectly content in allowing Mahomes to move into game tying FG range. 

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Just now, SCBills said:

I’ll never fault a defense for being too aggressive.  
 

I will fault them for sitting back and getting burned.  
 

Never mind the busted coverage that lost them the game.. the Raiders seemed perfectly content in allowing Mahomes to move into game tying FG range. 


Exactly, it looked like their base defense without anything different.  Many have said, they said this should’ve been the time to blitz the hell out of Mahomes

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A lot depends on how much time is left and timeouts. As well as the team. 
 

But generally speaking. I’m blitzing and being aggressive. If they score I want them to do it quick so I can get the ball back. Or I’m going to force them to make a mistake, sack, penalty or something else. 
 

You give elite QBs time and play soft and they are going to beat you. 

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i think you have to show a full house blitz and make the O guess if you are faking or going at it.  az did that to us through out the game and it worked at times.

 

basically, you need to play some rock paper scissors and make the O guess.  letting a good O, let alone a great one, pick at you is a surefire loss (take the miracle play that beat us vs zona, for example).

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Just now, wvbillsfan said:

A lot depends on how much time is left and timeouts. As well as the team. 
 

But generally speaking. I’m blitzing and being aggressive. If they score I want them to do it quick so I can get the ball back. Or I’m going to force them to make a mistake, sack, penalty or something else. 
 

You give elite QBs time and play soft and they are going to beat you. 

Agreed.  But I’m thinking in the situation last night where there was about 2:00 and 2 timeouts for KC.   Different situation with 40 seconds left on the clock.  
 

It also makes you wonder about using timeouts on defense to preserve time.  It’s taboo, and coaches sometimes don’t consider the possibility of their defense surrendering the go ahead score

2 minutes ago, colin said:

i think you have to show a full house blitz and make the O guess if you are faking or going at it.  az did that to us through out the game and it worked at times.

 

basically, you need to play some rock paper scissors and make the O guess.  letting a good O, let alone a great one, pick at you is a surefire loss (take the miracle play that beat us vs zona, for example).


Arizona took a fluke play - the type of catch you see every few years.  

 

Yesterday’s game was a better example of a defense getting picked apart for the ahead score 

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Great topic. Mahomes is the Brady of the next era. I’d certainly not sit in the soft zone. Get after the QB! I think another component is could the Raiders have purposely slow driven the final TD. Bills scored with .34 and to lose in that scenario is not what I’m taking about. But to try and go under 1 minute in the Raiders case. Literally practice and slow pace game winning drive. 

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31 minutes ago, JohnNord said:

Agreed.  But I’m thinking in the situation last night where there was about 2:00 and 2 timeouts for KC.   Different situation with 40 seconds left on the clock.  
 

It also makes you wonder about using timeouts on defense to preserve time.  It’s taboo, and coaches sometimes don’t consider the possibility of their defense surrendering the go ahead score


Arizona took a fluke play - the type of catch you see every few years.  

 

Yesterday’s game was a better example of a defense getting picked apart for the ahead score 

 

Sure, but it was very slow to come on that play, and they moved the ball a bit prior to.  if there was second guessing about a blitz, they may have thrown it to a short route which would have been brought down and clock with it, if it was an full on blitz, addison being clumsy and greedy may not have mattered as other rushers would have come free.  at the end of the day, no passes to the middle of the field would be attempted unless out of outright duress, and then one tackle wins the game.

 

i still think vs a solid O, instead of the "honorable" failure of playing % D and losing by script, you should at least make the O adjust and guess so that you have a shot at the rock paper scissors win.  my base assumption is that you aren't going to be able to stop them doing it straight up, so you take some risks, but not just out right rushing all the time, but always putting it out there.

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47 minutes ago, JohnNord said:

Arizona took a fluke play - the type of catch you see every few years.  

 

Yesterday’s game was a better example of a defense getting picked apart for the ahead score 

Yeah, Arizona was the perfect example of sit back, make them use the middle of the field, and keep everybody in front of you.  They didn't have enough time to do anything with the football other than try a hail mary, which never works except the one time it did, but there's nothing we can do about that.  

 

Give a team with halfway decent QBing two minutes and all four down to work with and it's really hard to stop them with passive play.  I strongly agree with you that it's better to keep bringing pressure in that situation.

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1 hour ago, SCBills said:

I’ll never fault a defense for being too aggressive.  
 

I will fault them for sitting back and getting burned.  
 

Never mind the busted coverage that lost them the game.. the Raiders seemed perfectly content in allowing Mahomes to move into game tying FG range. 

Good post.

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1 hour ago, JohnNord said:


Exactly, it looked like their base defense without anything different.  Many have said, they said this should’ve been the time to blitz the hell out of Mahomes

 

 

Mahomes is like Brady, he absolutely loves frequent blitzes. Eats 'em up.

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1 minute ago, Thurman#1 said:

 

 

Mahomes is like Brady, he absolutely loves frequent blitzes. Eats 'em up.

 

Not arguing that, but things are a little different when the clock is in play.

Those quick hitters behind a blitzer are in the middle of the field and while they can move the chains they still eat up big chunks of time when you have to reset after every one of them.

 

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1 hour ago, JohnNord said:

 

It also makes you wonder about using timeouts on defense to preserve time.  It’s taboo, and coaches sometimes don’t consider the possibility of their defense surrendering the go ahead score

I don’t think it’s that taboo any more. Reid did it last night iirc. If he is doing it then I think it’s pretty standard clock management. 

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1 minute ago, YattaOkasan said:

I don’t think it’s that taboo any more. Reid did it last night iirc. If he is doing it then I think it’s pretty standard clock management. 

He did but I think he waited until it was a goal-to-go situation and inside the 2minute warning.

I'm assuming SenorNord is referring to using them before it becomes a mandatory situation like that.

Flores used one with over 5:00 left yesterday when he got the Broncs into a 2nd/12.

It didn't work out though because the Phish got tagged with a weak Roughness call a down or two later.

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1 minute ago, Simon said:

He did but I think he waited until it was a goal-to-go situation and inside the 2minute warning.

I'm assuming SenorNord is referring to using them before it becomes a mandatory situation like that.

Flores used one with over 5:00 left yesterday when he got the Broncs into a 2nd/12.

It didn't work out though because the Phish got tagged with a weak Roughness call a down or two later.

I see thanks for clarifying. Not sure how I feel with that much time. There are a lot of variables to manage.

 

I do agree with the OP that in the situation last night (Opponent in red zone but only up 3 with ~ 2 min to go) it makes a lot of sense to sell out. It’s not what we were trying to do against the pats but getting the TO ended the game versus us trying to salvage OT while they milk clock looking for a go ahead TD. 

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3 minutes ago, YattaOkasan said:

Not sure how I feel with that much time. There are a lot of variables to manage.

Yeah, that really gets into a gray area that far out from 0:00.

Although yesterday they were still down 10 points and at the time I thought he was being smart about being proactive with it in that down and distance against that offense.

I don't do it against the Chiefs, Packers, Bills etc. And I don't do it if it's a one score game.

But down two scores against a struggling Broncs offense that's behind schedule on what could be construed a passing down? I don't have a problem with it there.

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2 hours ago, JohnNord said:

Interesting discussion going on around the internet.

 

Last night Raiders moved the ball at will versus the KC defense.  They scored to go up by 3 with 2:00 or so left in the game.  Of course that was too much time for Pat Mahomes and he went down the field and scored the go ahead TD.  
 

The discussion is about the type of defense that Oakland should’ve played.  In most cases, teams will play a zone and protect vs the deep ball and leave the flats or middle of the field open to kill the clock until a team gets closer. The problem is QB’s and offenses are so good they can easily beat that defense.

 

The question, is if you’re a defense do you go all-out with pressures, blitzes, and trying to jump routes in the secondary, as opposed to more of a safer defense?  The thinking is, if you gamble and get burned for a deep TD, at least there is time left for your offense.  
 

You obviously don’t fold and let a team go 75 yards uncontested for a TD just to get the ball back.  But, is there a better chance to generate a turnover plying aggressive than safe, and again - you if they score you have more time to win at the end 

 

On one hand you can argue it’s reckless defense - almost surrendering and possibly overthinking it.  On the other hands it’s logical in the sense that it might be easier to score on a team like KC as opposed to keeping them out of the defense.  What do you think?

 

I have to say the Bills have now gotten burnt twice (playoffs and AZ) using that soft, "keep everything in front of you" approach.

 

They either need to be better at it, or try something else.

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