In sports, everyone is a winner-some people just win better than others. Like Andy Reid, Jim Caldwell and Nate Clements, who proved that of all the metrics and intangibles required for NFL success, having a single goddamned brain cell is most important.
A stupidity play, in three acts:
Act One: The Eagles are driving at the end of the first half, down 14. Donovan McNabb's no longer the guy behind center, so presumably the Birds' clock management problems are a thing of the past. Perhaps it should have been a warning sign that it took them nearly 9 minutes to go 74 yards, but whatever. On third and 2, LeSean McCoy was brought down at the goal line.
Was he in? The refs went to the videotape, for one of those absurdly long reviews. Five minutes, they looked at it, before spotting the ball at the one-yard line. Five long minutes that the Andy Reid and his staff ostensibly spent drawing up a play, should the play be upheld. It was. Fourth-and-1. Time out, Eagles?
We'll forgive that timeout. Reid says they had assumed it would be fourth and inches, but after the review, it became fourth and maybe two feet. So, the timeout gave the Eagles another minute to get a play in.
Six minutes to plan a crucial fourth-and-1, and what happens? They don't get the snap off in time. Delay of game. They settle for three points. A touchdown there, and their score late in the fourth ties the game up. But alas.
Act Two: Jaguars and Colts tied up, less than a minute remaining. The Jags call a run on first down, clearly content to run down the clock and head to overtime. But after an 8-yard gain, Jim Caldwell calls a time out.
Let's be clear on Caldwell's thinking here. Rather than go to overtime, he would prefer to gamble that his defense can stop Jacksonville from picking up two yards in two plays, and get the ball back with 30 seconds remaining and no time outs.
You know what happens next. A couple of big completions, and the Jags are able to kick a 59-yard field goal as time expires to get the win. Hey, maybe overtime is a crap shoot. Maybe it comes down to a coin toss. But even 50/50 is better odds than whatever fanciful scenario Caldwell had dreamed up in his head.
Act Three: With 90 seconds left, San Francisco's Nate Clements picks off Matt Ryan over the middle. That's the game right there, if played correctly. If Clements slides, or runs it out of bounds, they've got the ball in Atlanta territory. Pick up a first down, and the Falcons can't stop the clock. Worst case scenario: you pin the Falcons deep in their zone with a minute remaining.
But Clements has highlight reels in his eyes. He wants the pick-six, and goes down the sidelines. Of course, Roddy White comes from behind and jars the ball loose. Of course, Atlanta recovers, marches down the field, and kicks the game-winning field goal. Had Clements stepped out of bounds rather than tried to make SportsCenter, the Niners aren't 0-4 right now. But at least he made SportsCenter anyway.
Three plays, where just an iota of reason would have changed the outcomes of the games. We're not supposed to use the r-word, but perhaps we can put it in an acceptable context. Clearly, Reid's, Cadwell's and Clements' developments in football common sense have been retarded.