Tuesday Morning Quaterback: It Doesn't Pay To Punt

Last night my TMQ e-mail box got more than 400 messages from people watching "Monday Night Football," as the United States Saints ran a reverse and the MNF crew called it a double reverse. Drew Brees faked up the middle, then handed to Reggie Bush running left; Bush handed to Devery Henderson running right for the touchdown. That's one change of direction (Bush handing to Henderson), making it a reverse. Count the handoffs: two handoffs mean the play is a reverse. For the play to have been a double reverse, a third handoff would have been needed, from Henderson to someone running left, Bush's original direction. Danny Chamberlin of Memphis, Tennessee was among many readers to point out that Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser erroneously described the play as a "double reverse," while former quarterback Joe Theismann correctly described it as a "reverse." Mike and Tony, you're not alone. Adele Stannard of Springfield, Ore., noted that even the official Game Book erroneously describes the play thusly: "Double-reverse handoff Brees, D. to Bush, R. to Henderson, D." Hey official Game Book, that's two handoffs and thus cannot be a double reverse! See the entry at 3:04 of the first quarter.

Maybe the Seattle Cheerleaders Outfits Explain All This: The Seahawks certainly made a statement against the Giants, yet coaching decisions on both sides were puzzling. Seattle leading 35-0 with three seconds remaining in the first half, Jersey/A on the Hawks' 28, Tom Coughlin ordered a field goal. Sure a 28-yard touchdown play is unlikely, but haven't you seen a lot of touchdowns that long or longer? By kicking, Coughlin ran up the white flag. The Giants might as well have left and gotten blueberry-almond martinis with crumpets. (Note: Seattle insider reference.) With the halftime margin 35-3, to prevail in the second half the Giants would have needed to match the greatest comeback in pro football history, and that greatest-ever comeback was by a home team. Jersey/A was the visitor; scoring a touchdown before halftime was, in practical terms, the Giants' last hope. Coughlin seemed to be motivated by avoiding a goose-egg, so that when his performance review comes up at the end of the season, one of the strikes against him will not be, "You got shut out in Seattle." But coaches are not supposed to be maximizing their career prospects, they should try everything possible to win. When Jeremy Shockey said the Giants were "outcoached," this is one of the decisions he was referring to, and Shockey is right.

On the other side of the ball, it's Blue Men Group 42, G-Persons 10 with 9:53 in the fourth quarter. What in heck is Matt Hasselbeck doing on the field? Why in heck are the Seahawks still passing? Hasselbeck tosses an interception, the Giants score quickly; Hasselbeck trots back out onto the field and throws another interception the Giants return for a touchdown. Suddenly it's Hawks 42, Giants 24 and now a prudent coach leaves the starters in. Starting on its first snap of the fourth quarter, had Seattle done nothing but rush up the middle for no gain, Jersey/A's semi-comeback would not have happened, and Seattle's starters could have taken seats.

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