It's time for another situational coaching seminar.
Two coaches blew it big time Sunday.
The first was Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak. With his team trailing 24-12 with 5:12 left in the third quarter, the Texans faced a fourth-and-4 from the Tennessee 10. Instead of kicking the field goal, which was the right play, he opted to go for it and the Texans were stopped.
The play there was to cut it to 24-15. That's because later he had a fourth down inside the Tennessee 10 and went for it. Why? He was down 12. If he was down nine, he kicks a field goal to make it a 6-point game.
Chasing points in the third quarter is stupid.
The second coach who gets scrutinized here is Colts coach Tony Dungy. His end-of-the-game play calling may have cost his team a game.
Here's the situation: Colts have it first and goal at the Jacksonville 2 with 1:18 left. The Jaguars had three timeout. So what do the Colts do? They throw two incomplete passes to stop the clock before scoring. The Jaguars didn't have to use a timeout.
When they got the ball back with 1:07 left, they had all three timeouts. They needed them. When Josh Scobee nailed a 51-yard field goal to win the game with four seconds left, all the timeouts were burned. If the Colts had forced the Jaguars to use just one of those timeouts, who knows?
I know the idea is to score. But why not run it at least once?
---While we're at it, let's take on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Down 15-6, the Steelers had a fourth-and-10 at the Eagles' 22 with 37 seconds left following a sack of Byron Leftwich. They should have kicked a field goal there and then tried an onsides kick. But they went for it and were stopped. You need two scores. Kick the field goal.
---And I love Ken Whisenhunt as a coach, but he should not have punted on fourth-and-4 from his own 48 with just over two minutes left against Washington. The Cardinals never saw the ball again. Even stopping the Redskins, they still needed a stop and a touchdown. Knowing Ken, he'd probably agree now.
---If you’re looking for a star in the making take a look at Tennessee Titans corner Cortland Finnegan. His 99-yard interception return for a touchdown iced the Titans' victory over the Houston Texans. He now has four interceptions in three games. He also did a heck of a job on Andre Johnson Sunday. Finnegan is short at 5-9, but he is a feisty, willing tackler who is on his way to his first Pro Bowl. He also did jumped into the stands after his touchdown. Why? He was always a fan of Brett Favre and the Packers.
---One thing that stands out about Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is his passes tend to stay in the air a long time. Schaub has a good arm, but he floats passes too many times. He had three picked off by the Titans, ending with a passer rating of 27.8. Don't be shocked if the fans start clamoring for Sage Rosenfels. Schaub looked a little jumpy at times in the pocket against the Titans.
---When I wrote this summer that Derek Anderson was a one-year wonder, many ripped me. Am I right? It's time for the Browns to go to Brady Quinn. Anderson can't get it done. They're lucky they put a roster bonus in his contract last spring. They will never pay that next spring now.
---I remember the look of excitement on the face of Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden this summer when he talked about wide receiver Antonio Bryant. Out of football for 2007, Bryant is showing why. He had 10 catches for 138 yards Sunday against the Bears. Bryant had off-field and attitude issues at his previous NFL stops, but he's supposedly matured and put that all behind him. If he can continue when Joey Galloway gets back, Gruden will actually have two speed players to choose from. Maybe we'll see Brian Griese throw 67 passes again sometime.
---Ronnie Brown scored four rushing touchdowns off a direct snap against the Patriots and more and more teams are using the Wildcat formation. But I don't like it. I'd rather see the quarterback behind center. Let's hope this doesn't catch on. It's too gimmicky. It worked Sunday, but let's not get too carried away.
---Atlanta defensive end John Abraham has six sacks this season, two more coming Sunday against the Chiefs. Part of the reason Abraham is having so much success is because of the way new coach Mike Smith is using him. Abraham is rotating out more than he has in the past. He wasn't happy with it at first, but Smith explained to him that he wanted him fresh when teams had to throw. What defensive end wouldn't want that? Abraham is eating it up with the league-high six sacks.
---The Jaguars won in dramatic fashion when Josh Scobee nailed a 51-yard field goal with four seconds left to beat the Colts. That hid the obvious lack of trust in quarterback David Garrard from the team's last drive. Leading 17-14, the Jaguars had a third-and-goal from the 5 with 2:43 left in the game. Instead of trying to get the game-clinching touchdown, they ran the ball for a yard. That's playing it way too safe. That's playing not to lose rather than to win.
---Was Ben Roethlisberger hurt or did he just check out after taking a beating? You have to wonder.