Well Tex...this is one of those occasions where I agree with you 100%. Thanks for your post.
Well Tex...this is one of those occasions where I agree with you 100%. Thanks for your post.
The play calling is ALL on Billick...regardless of how the players executed it. Did McNair play poorly...yes, but the game was STILL there to be won and Billick couldn't find a way to overcome and adjust and find a way to win.
In case you people have forgotten we haven't won a playoff game since 2001and the offensive problems can be traced back to Billick. Sure he did a nice job of getting things turned around after Fassel was fired...but Billick hired Fassel in the first place. We had a terrible QB situation b/c Billick wanted Boller. I don't see why Billick's past mistakes all magically disappear b/c of what happened this year.
1) Turnovers! Turnovers! Turnovers!
A part of the regular season success was winning the turnover battle and taking advantage off of those turnovers and converting them into points.
2) Game plan
The panic button was hit too early in giving up on the run. Lewis had 13 attempts for 53 yards and average of 4.1. Mike Anderson for 4 for 18 yards at a 4.5 clip. Every team that had success this season against the Colts defense wore the smaller Colts out by pounding on them. This was a cause for concern from me going into the game as the Ravens have become more pass first than run first. It has proven successful but, for this game they had to let their huge lineman stuff the slight front seven. The offensive sets didn't have the same air of unpredictability that they had in spots during the season. Playing too conservatively. The trying not to lose arguement that many have brought up.
3) No breaks. Two tipped passes for sure interceptions. A Colt fumble that falls out of bounds. A Clayton "fumble" that negates a huge reception. It didn't help on a day where not much else was going right.
As for Billick being too conservative here are parts of a article on just such a topic in the NFL.
The conservative party
Dr. Z, SI.com
They knew it was the defining moment of their season, maybe, for the older members of the Arizona Cardinals, for their careers. And man, were they ever on their game. At least for three quarters. How could I tell? The concentration. I didn't see a Matt Leinart pass dropped. I saw tackling that was sure.
Say on third-and-5, Chicago competes a little swing pass for a few yards, and you know the momentum will get the guy the first down. Not against Arizona on Monday night. The runner was stopped in his tracks, forcing a punt, time and again. Eric Green, the right corner, was in a tackling frenzy. I mean, these guys really wanted it.
The coach wouldn't let them have it. It isn't certain which coach. Dennis Green wouldn't take responsibility for the gutless play-calling that cost Arizona the game. I mean, what did you expect? By implication he indicated that the fault lay with offensive coordinator Keith Rowen, because he fired him the next day. A convenient bail out for sure. And who says the head coach can't get on the phone to the booth and tell his assistant what he wants run. Timeouts had been taken during the crucial period -- by the Bears, no less.
We all know that Chicago never should have been ahead. But that's been rehashed enough. The point is that after the punt return that gave the Bears the lead, Leinart and the offense didn't just fold up. The kid drove his team into field-goal range, and that was against a defense that didn't hold back. Chicago was throwing a lot of blitz pressure on Leinart, and sometimes it forced bad passes. One blind side hit in the third quarter had knocked the ball loose for a score.
But he was still hitting his hot reads often enough to set the Bears on their heels, and at the end he brought his team from its own 38 to the Bears' 24, second-and-3. And then the Cardinal coach (Green ... Rowen ... who knows?) took the game away from his team.
Anyone who had watched the contest had to know that no amount of running plays was going to get the Cardinals a first down, not when you've got one of the worst offensive lines in football trying to block the best. Slobs trying to block athletes, lots of athletes, all crowding the box.
Edgerrin James was on his way to setting an all-time record for fewest yards gained (55) on most carries (36), an unbelievable chronicle of frustration and failure. Out of 19 third-down situations up to that point, the Cards had tried to run on only one of them, falling five yards short. That was the track record of their running game. That's how much confidence they had in it, until, of course, they decided to play to lose.
I don't know what percentage of coaches in the NFL would have played it conservative in that spot and called two straight running plays, as Arizona did, or how many would have tried something a bit different, such as the kind of short pass to Anquan Boldin that had been driving Chicago crazy all night. Get your first down, pick up a few more yards somewhere and you give your kicker a chip shot and take a lot of the pressure off. I'd imagine that most coaches would have gone conservative and played these kind of percentages.
"Dare to be bold. Yeah, it sounds nice, but so few of them do it. They're basically conservative people. Sam Wyche dared to be different. Remember what they called him? Wicky Wacky. I might lose, say the coaches who take his lesson to heart, but by God, no one's gonna make fun of me.
What Green, Rowen or the combination found was the easiest way to lose. Run twice, get stopped, miss the 40-yard field goal, which isn't exactly a chip shot, go home with your loss, knowing that at least you didn't do anything unusual. Besides, it's the players who get the loss, right? Bunch of chokes, right?
Coaches are always taking victories away from their players. What did Marty Schottenheimer do but close up shop and try to sit on a tiny lead for half a game. San Diego vs. Baltimore earlier this season, remember? He isn't a bad guy, and on an organization level, he's a hell of a good coach. But it's just that old-boy mentality.
You'd have thought that he learned his lesson two years ago, when he shut it down against the Jets at the end of the wild-card playoff and set it up for a 40-yard field goal to win the game. Not exactly a gimme, but Marty decided to pay the hand he had and not draw any more cards. Nate Kaeding missed the kick and San Diego went home
And you'd have thought that Jets coach Herm Edwards would have profited from watching Marty go down, following that slavish adherence to those kind of percentages, but next week he did the same thing in the divisionals in Pittsburgh. Only he told his QB to actually take a knee and lose some yards in order to set up a 47-yard field goal. And this was in Heinz Field, where no one ever had kicked one longer than 46. This one didn't break the streak, either, and the Jets said sayonara.
Why do coaches keep doing it? Why do they refuse to take the smallest bold step, with such a reward at the end of it? Beats me. You see it on the other side of the ball, too.
Have you ever rooted for a team that's on defense, and you practically beg: Hold 'em, please just hold them this time. And they're rushing four, only four, play after play, and no one's getting through. They're just getting tired. And there's this thrashing storm, going nowhere, in front of the passer as he takes his drop, sets his feet, looks straight downfield, and you know, you just know, that it's gonna be a quick post or a comeback or a crossing pattern good for 18 yards, minimum.
Atlanta vs. the Giants last Sunday. The Falcon defensive line is wearing down. People are getting hurt. They're out of ammo, but they keep storming the walls. They are being coached to lose. And they oblige. You don't pressure the passer, you don't win the game.
Floyd Peters, the great 49ers defensive coach who masterminded the famous Gold Rush, with Cedrick Hardman and Tommy Hart, used to say that he'd go to bed at night and wake up in the morning creating rush schemes. He'd dream of them and reach for his notebook and start diagramming them.
Sometimes he'd bring only four, but they were always twisting and looping and running stunts. It was never a static rush. If four didn't get there in time, he'd bring one blitzer, two, whatever it took.
"Sometimes I can use a rush scheme only once," he'd say, "and then back on the shelf it goes, and I start working things off it. Then when they catch up with that, it's shelved and I work on new ones."
Dare to be different. Dare to create. Don't lose the game for your team."
To summarize that long section. It's always easy to look in hindsight at decisons. I just did that earlier didn't I? But, to fire Billick or blame it all on him shows little real understanding of sports. Players make plays and coaches take the blame when they don't make those plays. All coaches can do is put the players in the best spot to win and then they do the rest. Much of the condemnation of Billick are points that he is arrogant and a control freak. Ultimately it's his job on the line. The shelf life of a head coach isn't a long one. With 8 seasons, Billick is tied for 4th with the Eagles' Andy Reid for NFL head coaching seniority with the same team...Bill Cowher , formerly of the Steelers was 1st with 15 seasons, the Titans' Jeff Fisher is 2nd with 13, followed by the Broncos' Mike Shanahan with 12. In six seasons, the Ravens under Billick have had a record (regular and post-season) of 61-42 (.593). Two divisional titles (2003/2006). Four trips to the playoffs.
Now let's look at the game plan Billick apparently went into this past weekend with. "Conservative," you say. Now, if you'd told me before the game that Billick was going to have a "conservative" game plan, I would have said, that means we will run the ball 50% or more of the time. If we had this discussion *before* the game, would you have agreed with me? I bet you would have.
But now, here we are, after the game. We had a great many more passing plays then running plays, but we lost.
Therefore we can assume the play calling was conservative.
It's funny, Skay, when I asked you for an example of conservative play calling, you went away from the Colts game to get a game from the regular season. We played 16 times in the regular season, sixteen 60 minute games. Isn't it interesting you happened to pick out one of only 3 losses?
For you and Tex and the others all across Baltimore who make this same argument, we lose because of the conservative play calling. We never *won* because of it, but on the rare occasions when we lost this year, that's why.
I'm not going to persuade you, or Tex. That's fine. The readers can decide for themselves.
To tell you the truth, I don't know what to classify Billick's gameplan as, because as other posters have stated, we didn't run the ball very often (espeically the 2nd half), which is a trademark of a conservative gameplan. I tend to think if we were ACTUALLY conservative on offense, we might have had a better chance. That's the part I didn't understand. It's like we had absolutely no identity on offense on Saturday, we didn't know if we were a west-coast pass happy team, or a conservative ball control team.
That above + bad player execution = failure on offense.
If we ran the ball more, I think we might have had a better chance, but at the same time, if our offensive skill players had executed better, we'd also have done fairly well.
It seemed to me that in the second half Billick didn't want to fall into the "trap" of what happened to KC the previous week. Except in the first half, we were relatively successful running the ball, AND passing to Jamal out of the backfield. He had some NICE runs after the catch -- better than I'd seen him make in a long time. During one of those runs after the catch, he juked the defender right out of his jockstrap. And we weren't down by that much, so it wasn't as if it were panick time. But he seemed to get away from what had worked during the first half, and then...it was time to pack it in and gear up for next year.
So I think the answer is, there WAS no "type" of game plan -- and that, maybe more than anything else, explains a lot of why we got the results we did. And why so many fans are scratching their heads, wondering WTF did Billick DO for those two weeks as far as DEVELOPING a game plan. It was obvious what Indy did. And even when it didn't work (I think even Dierdorf said that the real fast "hurry up" wasn't working for Indy and they needed to knock it off), at least they TRIED something. We tried NOTHING. And THAT'S what's so hard to take about Billick and his coaching "style".
I think you're right, Tex, as far as a coach needing to have alternatives, since it's impossible to know if your "A" plan is going to work. But the reality is, we weren't down by THAT MUCH at halftime, so it's not clear to me that the "game plan" in the first half wasn't working. The EXECUTION wasn't working, and we were shelling out more turnovers -- and getting fewer takeaways -- than normal, but it was NOT time to push the panick button and abandon what WAS working in the first half. How can anyone say that the yardage JL got in the first half wasn't on course for a 100+ yard game?
I don't know, man. The game sucked; the bounces sucked; the coaching, IMO, sucked (except for Rex); and McNair sucked. I am NOT going to say that either Heap or Clayton sucked; that is absurd, IMO. And what really sucks is having to wait and see what "great genius plans" Billick has in store for next year. Even when he took over and was winning, it STILL was vanilla, although after a steady diet of Fassell/Billick, Billick/Billick was an improvement. But then it stopped. And it was painfully lacking against Indy. And some people are not satisfied with Billick's "status quo", approach, and some are. I clearly am not.
Oh, btw...I don't know if you were at the game, but in the warmups, they had McNair and Boller throwing diagonally across from each other. And at one point, after McNair threw the ball to the guy standing next to Boller, that guy flipped the ball to Boller and he bobbled it; then he went to pick it up from the ground and he bobbled it again; and all I could do was laugh and think about you.
1st half - 14 running plays/12 passing plays
2nd half - 6 running plays/19 passing plays
We threw on 7 consecutive offensive plays to open the 2nd half.
This makes no sense to me - against a defense that is statistically poor against the Run & statistically good against the pass.
We were out coached in this one plain & simple - embarrassing - especially with 2 weeks to prepare.
There is no excuse Billick - And you didn't even take any personal responsibility in your press conference.
I guess you are ready to "move forward"
Props to the NEWBIE!