Originally Posted by Atwater His Ass
It just sure seemed like Fox inserted himself more in this game in regards to play calling and direction (conservative vice aggressive calling). Which was basically what was happening the first 5 games of the season. Once the training wheels were allowed to come off, this team was an a tear.
Why did Fox decide to go back to the stoneage **** that wasn't working earlier in the year? Why not just let the team continue to roll with what was working and trust his players and coaches to continue to execute that vision? Boggles my ****ing mind.
Fox has a number of attributes that has made him well suited for helping to stabilize this turn around project and provide the steady, good 'ole boy hand that all the players could feel comfortable with ... and yet he has shown one glaring consistent weakness, at least when it comes to being a very successful playoff calibre coach, and that is his innate ultra-conservative viewpoint on life that overall makes his first instincts to go for the safest option in all situations when there is risk and yet high reward for a bit of boldness at the right time.
That isnt always a bad thing, but since this is so ingrained in his instincts, the few times he does try to go for it ... like on a 4th down or a fake FG for instance, it so often lacks the kind of natural instinct for the right time and place to go for it, that those few attempts at breaking his conservative pattern too often backfire on his and fail.
This then has only reinforced his tendency at the end of games when we have had a lead, usually what he considers a safe lead of 10+ points midway through the fourth quarter, to then pull back on the offenive reins .. which means curtailing or preventing any passing even when Peyton Manning is in a groove!
Instead at these times Fox then tends to fall back on his conservative formula of three straight 'dive plays' up the middle with hardly even any intention of getting a first down. If the RB happens to stumble forward enough to get a first then all the better and he looks more like a genius in his own mind, but in reality he is just as content to run some more time off the clock and then punt and let his beloved defensive side of the ball hold the other teams offense in check until 'hopefully' the clock runs out. This can work when its mathematically next to impossible for a come back, but not with only a 7 point lead with 2:30 minutes left in a playoff game!!!
I'm not at all suggesting there is no place for playing it so safe late in a game, but Foxy's failure and his Achilles heal, lies in his lack of nuance and 'gut feel' of when to use it and under what scenarios and circumstances to call for going for it with bolder and some what higher risk but much higher reward play calling!
He may have a whole bucket of stats proving to himself that 80% of the time this strategy works out for the best... However, the problem is he then uses it almost 100% of the time at the end of games when ever we have a decent lead, but even as tonight an unsafe 7 point lead in a critical win or go home playoff game against a very skilled and experienced playoff opponent!
Almost all the cases he has used it this year, we still won which only reinforced his conviction no doubt in his strategy. Even though it always resulted in us winning by a significantly lesser margin than we would have won by had we played more like what got us the lead to begin with, until very near the game's end. And if we did not also go into a prevent defense mode at the same time that we took the foot off the offensive gas.
This kind of myopic shortsightedness which is clearly driven by his inherent aversion to even modest risk/ high reward game planning in the last half of 4th quarters when running out the clock seems so much more his own speed, and is just what killed us tonight!
For sure, there were plenty other factors, including a big let down by our whole secondary tonight .. except for our best CB Chris Harris (Tony Carter also made a few good plays plus one costly PI penalty), the untimely loss of Knowshon for the whole second half which threw off the Offensive rhythm for all of the third quarter and half of the 4th quarter before Hillman and Manning both got the flow back in sync.
Not to mention the several really awful and game costing Referee screw ups including gift wrapping 7 points for the Ravens which by itself was more than the difference between winning and losing tonight's game.
But in spite of all that, we were still mostly in control and had a slim but steady upperhand in the game and several times had come back from allowing the big throw TD passes by Flacco.
The real back breaker tonight was all on Fox when he clearly assured failure by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with his asinine but all too predictable play calling with less than 3 minutes to go when we got the ball back with a 7 point lead and we squeezed out their last time outs.
At the very time when Fox needed to go against his own innate tendency to keep it safe against a solid playoff tested team, he played it conservative once again and it killed us.
The Ravens response was anything but conservative with a 70 yard Hail Mary for the tying TD!! And why not, it had worked three times already and this was the BIG Dance after all!
In contrast, Fox resorted to his beloved 'small ball' which his stats says is the safest way to go 'most of the time', and yet he failed to recognize the perfect time to not go with stats but trust his $90 million dollar all world QB to get you seven yards when the Ravens were not even stopping our pass game much and it wound up costing us everything!
So while you are clearly right in seeing this problem too, 'Atwater his Asz', I wouldnt say he suddenly went back to it. He just continued tonight resorting to the same 'dont risk a bigger win' scenario at the end of games that he did all year long!
I really hope Elway can sit him down and do an honest critique of all of Foxy's many good points as a coach and this major weakness that has played a role in separating him from the elite level head coaches and flexible game planners like Belichek and even the Harbaugh brothers who seem to have than knack for getting it right more often than wrong just when to buck the trend and forget his idea of 'absolute safety first' and go for it.