What Playoff Calls Would Coaches Have Done Differently?

Examining what coaches on the wrong side of things could have done differently last week.

What Playoff Calls Would Coaches Have Done Differently?
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Criticizing coaches can be difficult. Many of their decisions account for factors that we cannot know just by watching on the other side of the screen. And very rarely do fans acknowledge the 99 out of 100 times that coaches get it right. Every game includes smart calls with bad outcomes. However, Sports Illustrated writes, there were three “poor, costly coaching moves in the conference semifinals.” First is the Saints defense of the Minnesota miracle. The Vikings had 10 seconds and no timeouts and the ball at their own 39. There were two ways they could win: get the ball out of bounds about 30-35 yards downfield in under nine seconds and kick a field goal, or score a 61-yard touchdown. The Saints should have rushed zero, with one defender on each side of Case Keenum. There was no reason to rush the quarterback, especially since Keenum has not shown the arm strength for a 60-plus pass. The Saints should have dropped nine into coverage but they called a traditional coverage.

The second bad call was the Falcons fourth-and-2. The Falcons put all their eggs in one basket instead of tightening Julio Jones’s split to create a rub/pick element in his route.

The final bad call was the Steelers on fourth-and-inches. The Steelers should have gone with a QB sneak, since Ben Roethlisberger is your best bet at gaining a crucial inch.

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