By Fred Schwager.
Week Eight of the NFL season is on the horizon, and we will be reaching the halfway point for some teams. First, we’ll start off with a quick look back at the game in Miami, the one I predicted would be a Miami upset.
The fact that Miami lost at home against New Orleans rests solely on the shoulders of the coaching staff: Tony Sparano’s decision to make the halftime timeout aside (as that is a mistake that might happen once in a while), Miami still had a 24-10 lead, and they were to start the second half with the ball.
So, Miami, a running team that ran the ball well in the first half, decides this is the time to dial up the pass. On their first two drives, they called five pass plays and one running play. The result was an interception that was returned for a touchdown and a three-and-out. Their next two possessions, they dial up five running plays and one pass, resulting in another three-and-out and a field goal (as they got the ball back off of a turnover, in field goal range).
Miami needed to mix it up more than that. It’s hard to expect to beat the Saints when you run 16 plays (punts and field goal included) over four drives. Miami’s next three drives featured eight called pass plays, and one running play. Those drives yielded seven points, and two more three-and-outs. Miami is now down 37-34, and the Saints have the ball with eight minutes to play.
There’s no excuse that the game could ever reach that point. Miami had the ball seven times, called 14 pass plays and seven running plays. Both of Chad Henne’s interceptions came in the second half, and both were returned for touchdowns. That’s not what they do, and there’s no reason anything should have been changed after a very solid first half. They needed to eat up clock and limit Drew Brees’ chances, and they did nothing of the sort...