I, for one, didn't blink in week 2 when the Pats punted from the Saints 35 yard line. It was the last drive of the game for us. We had recovered an onside kick, picked up two first downs and moved it to the saints 18. Then a penalty and bad end around later, we were looking at 4th and 25 on the Saints 35. That's a 52 yard FG. Chump change. But we punted with just over a minute left. A very un-Death Star like move, but at the time I viewed it completely as a sign of respect for Sean Peyton. One of the few other coaches in the league I have a lot of admiration for, and another one of Roger Goodell's victims of unlawful tyranny. A brother in arms if ever there was one.
But then last week happened. Down 10-7 early, we punted on 4th and 5 from the Texans 37 yard line. Then late when we were still up 28-27 we punted on 4th and 13 from the Texans 38 yard line. All of sudden this is becoming something of a trend.
I'm of the opinion that you should go for it on fourth down every single time. Literally no exceptions. For all the fourth and longs that you don't convert deep in your own territory, you will convert that many more fourth and manageables on the other end of the field. That leads to scoring more points than the other team which can sometimes lead to victories.
I won't apologize for both fourth down failures that cost us the KC game, because at least I could sleep at night knowing that I asked Gilly to get me a yard and he couldn't do it on that occasion. That sounds a whole lot better than trying to count sheep while knowing I willingly handed the ball to Tom Brady with 2 minutes left when he was down 5. Just like I don't think Bill will apologize for this.
Mostly because we converted that first down according to everyone on earth who isn't blind, a moron, or the refs, but also because it was the right decision.
So I really hope that Bill hasn't shied away from the idea due to our lack of success on 4th down (and all short yardage, read the think piece god damnit) so far this year. Don't go away from what makes us US. When we get the chance to break necks and cash checks we have to do it. The 4th and 5 was an obvious go for it and the 4th and 13 was at least a FG attempt, if not a go for it.
Per PatsPulpit "the last time that Patriots punted inside the opponent’s 40 yard line and it was not garbage time (defined as a win expectancy of over 99.9%) was in September 2013. It was Ryan Allen’s 1st career game and his 4th career punt. The Patriots have already done it twice this season."
It would be one thing if the D was showing more resistance than wet cheese. Then there's somewhat of an argument to make them go the full field and blah blah blah. But when we are getting gashed for 90 yards drives like they are going out of style I don't see how it matters where they start with the ball.
And that's before we even discuss the performance of Ryan Allen this year. At one point on Sunday we stalled pretty deep on our side and needed a bomb. Instead Allen kicked a ball that looked like me on the first tee when I tee the ball up too high because I'm nervous of hitting a slice. The ball went a mile in the air and gave the Texans possession in plus territory, which two plays later turned into a Texans tuddy.
Then, on the aforementioned 4th and 13 punt from the Texans 38, when I could have used that moon shot, he bombs one half way into the end zone. I mean it wasn't even close. Right before he kicked, Tea Pot challenged the call on the field, saying Brady was actually down before he sent his grenade lob to Gronk avoiding a sack. Dumb-dumb challenge from Pot there because he sure could have used that time out later, but that's beside the point. When the call was upheld and the Pats gained 8 yards on the play, I-AN-EAGLE, the wordsmith that he is, said the Texans should be happy the Pats got up to the Texans 38 because now the punt is "likely to go into the end zone."
Now I don't have the advanced metrics on this or anything, but you should NEVER punt the ball into the end zone. I'd love to see what percentage of punts that are kicked from the opponent 38 land in the end zone. It can't be that high, right?? And it can't be over 50%, thus making it "likely." Just a ridiculous comment from our boy I-AN. While he might not have been surprised by the ensuing touch back, I sure as shit was. Ryan, buddy, you're over thinking it. You shouldn't even be noticed out there. Just hit a mediocre punt every time and people will say you're great. Stop being so noticeable, because it's very rarely a good thing in your profession. If you don't, my buddy DP is a lefty with a good foot. I make one phone call and you could be out of a job, because we know Bill likes lefties more than Derek Zoolander.
I understand we all can't be me. I'm unique as hell. So I'm not asking the Pats to cut all our special teams players at once like some Bluth Company Black Friday and start going for it on every fourth down til the sun burns up our damaged but undeniably beautiful planet. All I'm asking is that moving forward, when we pass the opponents' 40 yard line, tell Ryan Allen to put his helmet on one of those spikes that look like they could be holding Ned Stark's head. Take a load off, pal. You look much better on the bench anyway.