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Failure of PATs to use sweep-slide play at end of Dallas game 11/21/19

Posted by John T. Reed on

I saw the end of the Pats-Cowboys game at the gym today. The Pats take-a-knee looked screwed up to me. Indeed, the Cowboys got to run one play at the end of their 13-9 loss. (completed pass but immediately tackled)
Let’s look at the play-by-play of Pats last possession.
1. Pats had 1st & 10 at Dallas 25 1:43 remaining Pats up 13-9
5yd run
2. Dallas timeout at 1:40 at Dallas 20
pass 12 yds at Dallas 8
3. 1st & goal at 8 1:33
4. Dallas timeout at 1:33
5. PATs take knee for -2 1:32
6. Dallas last timeout 1:32
7. 2nd down Pats lose 4 yds on run left
8. 3rd down Pats take a knee :47
9. Pats timeout at :05
10. 4th down Brady drops back and throws high long pass out of bounds near teammate Edelman
11. With :01 left Dallas throws complete pass but receiver is tackled before he can lateral
They started to take a knee with 1:33 left and their opponent having a two timeouts. Does the NFL TD needed table in my Football Clock Management say that is a take-a-knee situation?
Page 68 of the 5th edition of my book says you need to be at 1:28 to take a knee in the NFL. So what pray tell was Belechick doing taking a knee at 1:33?
I have another type of take-a-knee that you can run that burns more time. In that one, the QB keeps and loses about 15 yards deliberately as he runs near, but not to, the sideline. In that table, you need 1:44 left to run four such QB sweep slides. That play culminates in the Pats running out the back of the end zone for an intentional safety. They should have run that albeit with 42-year old Brady handing the ball of to a never fumble speedster.
When they ran the play at #7 that lost 4 yards, I thought it might have been a half-assed sweep slide. Maybe it was. They should have run four sweep slides. Just one could have cost them the game.
Pats only burned :01 on the first take-a-knee. Seem like they could have gotten :02 by not being in such a hurry to take the knee.
The second down run should have burned about :06 for the run then :40 for a total of :46 with the clock running because the Cowboys were out of timeouts. In the event, they burned :45, nice job.
The PATs took another knee which should have run another :03 + :40 = :43. They got :42. Good job. :05 was left. The clock operator let it run down to :02, but the ref made the clock operator put it back to :05.
On the fourth down, the PATs dropped back and threw a deliberately high long pass to run out the clock. That particular play for burning clock is in my book.
The game was at PATs. By my count, it was six seconds from the snap until when the ball touched something out of bounds. The clock should have run to zero. But the hometown clock operator only ran off :04. I thought that was reviewable. Apparently not.
Dallas got the ball back at :01 but their play failed to score a TD game over.
According to my table, the Pat should have only been able to run six second total off on the first three snaps because the Cowboys had all three timeouts.
My verdict? Pats should have run four sweep slides culminating in an intentional safety if necessary. Doing just one half-assed sweep slide cut it too close and ended up turning the ball over on downs.
The Cowboys bought my book from me. I gave a free copy to the Pats because their owner is a fellow Harvard MBA.

Purchased by the Bills, Colts, Cowboys, Eagles, 49ers and Titans, as featured in the 1/26/09 issue of ESPN magazine ("3-2-1...MELTDOWN") ESPN Magazine - There's plenty of help out there if teams want it. John T. Reed, a Harvard MBA, Northern California real estate guru and former high school footbal...

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