I think people who don't really follow football will assign most of the blame for the loss to the Cowgirls on Shawn Suisham. I don't. Missing field goals is part of the game. Their kicker missed one, too.
I blame it on clock mismanagement. Not just in the 2nd half, either, as the first half mismanagement was actually more damaging because the FG Suisham missed didn't need to be attempted if there were more timeouts. They could have scored a TD (possibly) or gotten a little closer (fairly probable). But they didn't value their timeouts. Two of them were wasted outright.
One particular instance that I yelled at the TV was after a first down completion near the end of the first half. The Skins called their last timeout instead of running to the line of scrimmage and spiking the ball. That's just awful, awful clock management...
Simply put, timeouts should be treated like gold, and only, only, only used when all the other options are really bad (EX: Your defense has 12 men on the field and if the ball is snapped they'll get a first down from the penalty, or if it's 4th down and you need time to get the right play in.) I mean, seriously, if you analyzed how important it is to have timeouts at the end of halves and then tracked all the timeouts coaches take -- you'd be amazed at just how stupid their decision seems. And yet they keep doing it. Not just Zorn, although he seems to specialize in it... The only thing that frustrates me more during a game is poor effort (Like DeAngelo Halls' missed tackles on Manningham in the Giants game and on Delhomme in the Carolina game). Why coaches can't realize that oftentimes taking a delay of game is smarter than wasting a timeout, especially in the 2nd half, boggles my mind.
You can't control the bounce of the ball, when it will be tipped, or if a field goal will always be true -- but you can control your decision making, and clock management falls entirely under decision making. I would guess at least 2 (probably more) games are lost each week due to bad clock management... In reading Bill Simmons, I know he's been a longtime proponent of having a clock management expert on each coaching staff -- and that being their only job (he goes further to suggest you can hire a 15-year-old Madden game expert to do the job -- and sadly that kid would make better decisions than a lot of these coaches who waste timeouts).
That's what I blame this loss on. The Defense played great. The offense played gutty (with all the O-line and RB injuries) against a good Dallas D... The coach let his team down by wasting timeouts in both halves -- and not coaching his players to value them more.
In the second half, if the timeouts weren't wasted, the game wouldn't have been over after the interception. Granted, the odds wouldn't have been good because they still needed to get the ball back, and then drive the field with little time... But, it was the first half wasted timeouts that cost points, and this game.
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