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Examining Frank Reich’s controversial decisions in Colts’ playoff loss to Bills

To be frank, not an ideal day to be Frank.

The Colts have been handed a 27-24 playoff loss by the Payments on Saturday, and there was a lot baked into that rating: Critiques, debates over 2-point conversions, challenges and factors left on the sphere all grabbed headlines within the wild-card thriller.

Regardless of the rating sticking the way it did, some individuals have been left questioning simply what head coach Frank Reich was pondering all through the afternoon. Whereas the Colts barely got here up quick — the sport was decided by their final drive with simply over two minutes left — there have been a number of completely different conditions that unfolded that left their followers scratching their heads.

Indianapolis made it aggressive on the finish, however the loss had individuals fairly offended at Reich. Here’s a breakdown of three of his debated selections:

Did not kick the sphere objective earlier than half

If you happen to imagine in “momentum,” then the Colts had a ton of it heading towards halftime.

With a 10-7 lead, the Colts opted to go for it on a fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line, aiming for a landing somewhat than the simple factors from contained in the 5. The fourth-down play failed, and the Payments then marched down the sphere 96 yards to take a 14-10 lead heading into halftime.

Reich’s supposed reasoning is sound: the explanation you go for the landing in that state of affairs is out of respect for the Payments’ offense, top-of-the-line in soccer. Having to remain forward of them is vital, and the following Payments’ drive was indicative of that offense — they went 96 yards in a minute-and-a-half for the rating.

Whereas it is unfair to anticipate the sport to fold out precisely the way in which it did had Indy truly kicked the sphere objective, these three factors might have been the hole within the last rating.

Questionable fourth-quarter problem

The Colts had no timeouts left after they took over with simply over two minutes remaining within the recreation, and one questionable and eventual failed problem left Reich and Indy with only one timeout for the rest of the sport. 

Payments working again Zack Moss misplaced management of the soccer within the fourth quarter — and ultimately needed to be carted off — however Moss’ knee was clearly down earlier than the ball popped unfastened on his rush try. As Moss was tended to, Reich threw his pink flag, resulting in a failed problem and the Colts being docked a timeout.

On the ultimate drive of the sport, Indianapolis had a chance to attain to place them forward or tie. Sadly, additionally they could not actually work the center of the sphere to place them in higher place, provided that they’d no timeouts remaining; a near-direct results of Reich’s questionable problem earlier within the body. 

Quarterback Philip Rivers was as a substitute left to work the sidelines, a method that, properly, you could not need within the 12 months 2021.

Two-point try within the fourth

Considerably surprisingly, Reich’s resolution to try a 2-point dialog within the fourth quarter whereas down 24-16 is definitely essentially the most defensible factor on the listing.

The  analytics-savvy people make it clear: Assuming that it’s a must to, at minimal, rating one other landing whereas in that state of affairs to maintain tempo with the Payments, going for 2 is sensible. Here is why:

  • A profitable two-point strive in that state of affairs (bringing the rating to 24-18), implies that a landing later would tie the sport at 24 (assuming the rating held), with an extra-point placing you up by one level (25-24) and put you within the lead.
  • A failed 2-point strive (24-16) means it’s a must to play for the tie, anyway, so you would need to go for the 2-point conversion late within the recreation regardless.

ESPN’s Seth Walder explains that the chances of failing two, 2-point conversions aren’t excessive. So it was truly the fitting name — in the event you go by the numbers.

So, essentially the most defensible seems to be essentially the most controversial, however not one of the selections equalled a W for the Colts on Sunday.

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