0:17, 3rd Quarter, 4th and Goal from the 2.We all know what happened. The cameras caught Steve Spagnuolo resignedly making sweeping motions with his arms, almost like a trainer throwing in the towel. "We aren't going to try to win. We're just going to get some cheap points. Go ahead. Bring in the cheap point guys." I don't know if he was listening to someone on the headset (if so, fire that guy!) or the little Piglet voice in his head, and inside everyone's head, that's constantly afraid of something bad happening. But what if the Rams had gone for the TD, down 21-3 with the ball on the Arizona 2? How much difference would it have made? What advantage did the field goal give us that we would have lost? To answer in hard numerical terms, here's a quick win percentage chart, courtesy of the Win Percentage Calculator at Advanced NFL Stats, of the potential outcomes of each strategy.
|Action||Result||Chances of winning|
|Rams lose the ball on downs||21-3, ARZ ball on 2||3%|
|Rams kick the field goal||21-6, ARZ ball on 25||3%|
|Rams score a TD, kick a PAT||21-10, ARZ ball on 25||12%|
“We never wanted something (bad) to happen and we just couldn’t take the chance. I think it was the right thing to do.”If these Rams are going to learn how to win, these coaches are going to have to learn when to grab scoring opportunities by the throat and not let go. This makes three games that the Rams could have, and likely should have won, but for a pattern of gutless calls.
Let me just say, for the record, I am still a believer in Coach Spagnuolo. He has pulled a rotating cast of players together and turned them into a Team that is earning respect on the football field. This team, by and large, doesn't deserve to be booed for its effort. I get that he is still learning as a tactical head coach, and we have to put up with that. His head is in the right place in terms of building a team, and that's the first and most important step for long-term success. But learning the tactics of winning is an equally important step. Winning is the lifeblood of a team. And ultimately, it is what keeps coaches on the payroll.