The clock management for the final 2 drives for the Cards this afternoon was absolutely horrible. With a 10 point (2 possession) lead, there should be no reason to risk throwing the ball. The final drive, we shouldn't have risked even running the ball.
|Arizona Cardinals at 05:09|
|1-10-ARI28||(5:09) M.Hall pass short right to B.Patrick to ARZ 33 for 5 yards (R.Harper).|
|2-5-ARI33||(4:26) C.Wells up the middle to ARZ 34 for 1 yard (J.Vilma).|
|3-4-ARI34||(3:36) (Shotgun) M.Hall pass incomplete short right to T.Hightower (A.Brown).|
|4-4-ARI34||(3:32) B.Graham punts 46 yards to NO 20, Center-M.Leach, fair catch by L.Moore.|
The 1st down run started at 5:09 used 43 seconds. the 2nd down play used 50 seconds. The incomplete play on 3rd down used 4 seconds. New Orleans got the ball back at 3:25. If we had run on 3rd down and used 46 seconds... They would have got the ball back at 2:43 (with 1 TO remaining).
Arizona Cardinals at 01:48
|1-10-NO35||(1:48) C.Wells right tackle to NO 33 for 2 yards (R.Harper).|
|2-8-NO33||(1:44) C.Wells right tackle to NO 33 for no gain (J.Vilma).|
|3-8-NO33||(:59) M.Hall pass short left to B.Patrick to NO 30 for 3 yards (R.Harper). FUMBLES (R.Harper), touched at NO 30, recovered by ARZ-L.Fitzgerald at NO 25. L.Fitzgerald ran ob at NO 25 for no gain.|
(:34) B.Graham punts 16 yards to NO 9, Center-M.Leach, downed by ARZ-H.Abdullah.
With 1 TO left rather than kneel on the ball Whiz chose to run with it. (Am I the only guy who remembers the fumble against the Rams just 4 weeks ago)?
1st down used 4 seconds before the TO. 2nd down used 45 seconds. If we kneel on the ball..same results so far.
3rd down FUMBLE!!! even with Fitz recovering the risk was just too much. If we kneel on the ball and use 45 seconds, the punt goes off with 15 seconds left. If you count 5 seconds for the play, New Orleans would get the ball with a maximum of 10 seconds left. No timeouts and probable field position of no better than 20 yard line (assuming a touchback on the punt).
Had we run the ball instead of the incomplete on the previous drive, this play would not even have to be considered.
Also, the TD runback by DRC was a very STUPID, SELFISH play. I have the Cards defense and special teams on both my fantasy teams, but I'm more concerned with getting the win than the points.
DRC's run only padded his stats and the final score. If he drops to ground, the game is over, We win. If he fumbles, he gives New Orleans a chance. Don't the players watch other games? The 49ers did this same thing just last week against the Falcons. Nate Clements fumbled a late pick and the Falcons came back to score the winning Field Goal.
2 years ago on a 4th down against the Patriots (in a playoff game), rather than just knock the ball down,or fall down after the interception, a Charger player tried to run with it, fumbled and New England recovered. They went on to win.
I'm a big Coach Whisenhunt supporter, but the play calling and clock management in this spot was unacceptable. I know he has a lot on his mind during the game, but if simple clock mathmatics is too much for him to think about, he needs to hire a clock coach to make these calls for him.