The Cardinals came away with a win. That is awesome. But the end of the game was kind of a mess. The Cards really were lucky to win. Here are the things that the Cardinals coaching staff botched in the last part of the game.
Editor note: I added the previous paragraph to give context to the rest of the post
LSH doesn't run the kick off out of the end zone. It would have run those 6 seconds off the clock and then the 3rd down run would not have taken place at all. But since he didn't do that. 1st down--5 yard gain--2 minute warning. 2nd down--gain of 13 to the 38. 1st down. NE uses their 2nd TO with 1:53 left.
At this point, if we kneel on 1st down and they call their final TO with 1:48...2nd down would start the clock, 3rd down (another kneel down) would be at 1:09 left--4th down (after a TO when the play clock runs down to 0:29) would be a punt. The Pats would get the ball back at around their own 20 with roughly 0:23 seconds left and no TO's.
They would need to get about 40 yards for a realistic FG try. Instead... 1st down--run for -4 yards to the 34. NE does not call a TO. The ball was "spoted" by the refs with the clock at 1:49. The 2nd down snap occured with 5 seconds left on the play clock at 1:14 on the game clock. (this is bad game management by Kolb). A smart veteran QB would take 4 more seconds off the clock. The play is a run up the middle for a gain of 1 to the 35 and NE uses their last TO at 1:10 remaining.
If we kneel on 3rd down, the clock would start and the 40 second clock could down to approximately 25 seconds. We would use our final TO and punt. They could get the ball at around their own 20 with roughly 0:20 seconds left and no TO's They would need to get about 40 yards for a realistic FG try.
Instead... The Cards call TO before the 3rd down snap. Then they run a pitchout to the left. This is perhaps the stupidest play call I can think of. What was the objective of the call? Were they trying to gain 13 yards for the 1st down? If they were, why run left?
The only long run left the entire game was Peterson from the wildcat during the opening drive. All other long gains from the run, came to the right or Williams run up the middle 3 plays ago. If they were just trying to run a play to run the clock, then a run up the middle or a kneel down would suffice. If they were trying to get a 1st down in that spot, then a screen pass (like the one Kolb botched earlier or a play fake and throw to Fitz towards the sidelines (A less risky pass than over the middle) should have been the play call.
I'm not a professional football coach. I have been watching pro ball since I was a child. Despite the stupidity of network announcers, I have apparently learned more watching the game on TV than our coaching staff. I can not think of exact game details now, but I know I have complained about end of game clock management issuses before. Whisenhunt is a good coach, when it comes to having the team prepared. He gets them to play hard. Losing this game this way would have been unacceptable. We were "lucky" at the end. I'm thankful for that, but a good football team should not beat itself.