As Rams fans we know all too well this week the pain of trying to kick a FG rather than going for it on a short yardage 4th down situation. It's a move that may have cost us the game.
King Kaufman, always a bastion of interesting sports writing in an industry clogged up with Bill Simmons clones, has a great piece at Salon today, underscoring the failure of nerve among NFL coaches this weekend, as they opted for the kick rather than going for it on 4th down. He really takes Mike Holmgren to task for going for the kick on 4th and 1 inside the Arizona 10 yard line and the score tied at 17-17, noting that it was an especially ludicrous move in light of the fact that Seattle had just moved the ball 78 yards on eight easy plays to get to that point.
Here's what Kaufman said about Linehan's decision:
No, he did not. Scott Linehan is an NFL coach. He sent out the field-goal unit for a 56-yard try. No good. To be fair, it didn't miss by much, but what are the odds of hitting a 56-yarder and what are the odds of converting a fourth-and-3?
Linehan went for that coaching favorite: The safe move that's actually more risky, but somehow feels safer, so it gets you less criticism.
Linehan certainly didn't escape criticism. In fact, calls for his head seem to be more numerous than ever as STL sports fans thirst for some sacrificial blood to make up for the a Cardinals team not even willing to try anymore, a hometown hero linked to performance enhancers and now, two games into the NFL season, a Pro Bowl running back with no touch downs.
I think even if going for it on that fateful fourth down had failed - the end results turned out the same anyway - it might have been easier to live with the loss knowing that the coach made a gutsy call and showed faith in a veteran offense.