Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians will always hit on 16 against a dealer’s 10 in blackjack. He might hit on 17 and 18, too.
The NFL is shifting its attitude on going for it on fourth down. For most of the NFL’s first 100 years, going for it in almost any situation other than desperation at the end of the game was taboo. Then, coaches started figuring out that possession of the ball is pretty nice and shouldn’t be given up so easily.
We have seen coaches near midfield going for it more and more the past few years. But going for it at your own 20 in the first half? Arians certainly likes to gamble.
The Buccaneers were short of the first down by a few inches at their own 20 early in the second quarter. Even with the new-age views on going for it on fourth down, that’s a punt for just about everyone. But Arians left his offense on the field.
And on fourth down from his own 20, he had 43-year-old quarterback Tom Brady sneak it.
Brady got it, which saves Arians some explaining. It’s not a bad call. The quarterback sneak is almost automatic, no matter the QB’s age, and possession of the ball is paramount in the NFL. Coaches still punt too often, though they’re getting better.
Fortune favors the bold. The Buccaneers kept the ball after Brady’s sneak, drove deep into Bears territory and kicked a field goal to take a 13-0 lead. That’s better than punting.
Whatever the record is for the deepest any team has gone for it in their own territory before the final minutes of a game, Arians might have broken it on Thursday night.
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