NFL 2018: The Tale of two fascinating finishes from Week 6
Week 6 is probably one of the best weeks in the NFL so far this season. We witnessed two amazing finishes to cap off the week. Texans eeked out another close win, Big Ben and the Steelers had their own game-winning drive. But it was the two prime-time games that provided two of the best finishes in recent times.
The Sunday Night Football featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots and the Monday Night Football featuring the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers lived up to the billing.
These two games proved why Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers will forever be in the Greatest of All time discussion. These games should also be in the weekly prep for all the teams in the NFL. There are a lot of Dos and Don'ts in the final five minutes of these two games that coaches can use to teach the players and learn themselves. Let's take a closer look at the final five minutes of these games.
The Best 4-minute Drive Of The Year
The downfall of the Kansas City Chiefs as the lone undefeated team in AFC started with 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. There are three lessons to be learned from this Chiefs' loss.
-> Patriots down three, Brady executed one of the best drives and put Patriots in the scoring position. With third down and goal near the five yard line, the Chiefs secondary did a great job with their coverage and the linebacker Breeland Speaks had a clear shot of sacking Tom Brady instead he let go of Brady fearing the Roughing the passer flag, which let Tom Brady scramble unceremoniously to a Touchdown giving Patriots the lead.
The sack wouldn't have mattered much because there was a holding call on the defence which would have wiped out the sack and give first down to the Patriots, but this should be a teaching moment to the players to not fear a flag and let the play run. Brady also did a great job with the pump-fake which probably made the defender hesitate to sack.
->After the Brady run, Chiefs had the ball but patriots defence held the Chiefs offence to Punt and Chiefs defence did a decent job by restricting Brady and Patriots to a Field Goal. Mahomes and Chiefs got the ball back with 3:15 left on the clock. With down by TouchDown this is the best opportunity to tie the game and take it to the OT, instead Chiefs went for the big play 75-yard bomb to Tyreek Hill giving Brady and Patriots a comfortable 3 minutes to seal the game for Patriots.
I can see why Chiefs went for it, they trusted their defence to stop the Patriots and get the ball back and also could have thought that even if Patriots score the offence could get another crack at it to tie the game.
Both are bad ideas because the Chiefs defence isn't good, they rank 31st against the pass this year and Brady, who read the Chiefs' mind, had other things in mind. He used the full three minutes and threw a perfect bomb to Rob Gronkowski down the sideline who was tackled inside the red zone with about 40 seconds left on the clock. Brady milked the clock down to three seconds for a Gostkowski game-winning Field Goal.
Understanding the game situation, Understanding the strength of your team and the opponents are key to success in NFL. Chiefs failed in all those aspects. They overestimated the Chiefs defence and underestimated Brady's thought process. Brady has been in the league long enough to fall for it and give Mahomes and Chiefs another crack at the offence. That is where Brady and Belichick, separate themselves from the rest of the league.
-> The Third lesson is something of a too nit-picking on my part but I think Coaches and Players can learn from it. Gronkowski got tackled in the field with almost about 45 seconds left on the clock. If he wasn't tackled and let go and Gronk would have scored and the Chiefs offence would have gotten another crack at it with about 35+ seconds and a timeout.
Players like to stop and it is overwhelming to think something like this on the field. But, this kind of thinking is what needed during the Playoff times. Those 35 odd seconds are more than enough for an offence like Chiefs. This is something coaches should and probably do impart in their schemes and help players to understand the game situation.
On Monday night another unexpected comeback ensued. Green Bay Packers fell behind the San Francisco 49ers led by C.J. Beathard. Beathard went toe to toe with the future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Beathard threw for two deep touchdown passes to Marquise Goodwin putting 49ers ahead of the Packers.
Just like Chiefs, Packers are in the similar situation with down by 7 points and three minutes on the clock Aaron Rodgers milked the clock till the other side of the two-minute warning to tie it up with a beautiful TD pass to the Devante Adams. The touch, the angle of the throw and quick release all are key for that Touchdown which only Rodgers can throw especially in such critical situation.
With little over a minute left and a third down looming CJ Beathard took a deep shot to Marquise Goodwin. With Pressure on his face, Peterman threw it up which was picked off by the Packers' Kevin King at 10-yard line giving Rodgers and the offence ample time to drive down for a game-winning field goal by Mason Crosby.
Beathard there effectively took the shot thinking they would have to punt it anyway in the next down. The Packers defence, which isn't that great and gave up big plays earlier to warrant a comeback were in the same situation as Chiefs defence was but came up big. This speaks more about the QB than the defences. Beathard who is starting just his eighth game went with his first read and didn't see a wide-open George Kittle in the middle of the field.
If Beathard was able to see Kittle in the middle of the field it would have been 49ers game, seeing the entirety of the field is very important for a quarterback, and only a very select few are able to do that. After the Pick, on third down and 15, Packers were blessed with a penalty that gave Rodgers new set of downs. 49ers too busy covering the wide receivers left the middle of the field open for Rodgers to scramble for 21 yards to the midfield.
In next three drives Rodgers hit his receivers to 8 yards, 19 yards, and another ridiculous 19 yards all in next 15 seconds before wasting down in 1st and goal to give only 3 seconds for Crosby, who missed 4 of 5 field goals in week 5, to hit a game-winning field goal so that 49ers offence will not be taking the field.
These two games showed how much coaching and experience are needed to have success in NFL. Coaches need to impart wisdom on to their players to understand the situation and the strengths of both the teams. Rodgers and Brady have been in the league for long and have some of the best coaches in their buildings and they also learned under best quarterbacks themselves.
Same goes with Patrick Mahomes. He is going to be in the league for a long time and Chiefs should be happy they finally are able to find a homegrown quarterback. C.J. Beathard, on the other hand, did not have the luxury of sitting out and learning under elite players, but he did grow a lot as a starter from last year to this year. There are going to be some growing pains but there is a lot Beathard and all the other quarterbacks and coaches can learn a lot from these two games.
The coaches should put up a film of these two games combined into a session to be a nice guide to their players and quarterbacks now and in the future. There are no better quarterbacks to learn from about Today's NFL than Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, the LeBron James and Michael Jordan of the NFL.Published 17 Oct 2018, 08:43 IST