Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why Moore shouldn't backtrack

In today's Charlotte Observer, Panther quarterback Matt Moore second-guesses himself for running the ball instead of passing it on third-and-4 from the Tampa Bay 7 midway through the fourth quarter Sunday.

I was part of Moore's group interview in the Panther locker room Wednesday where he said, among other things, about taking the conservative route on that run-pass decision: "I kind of just wanted to be really super-safe. I didn't take a chance there and I wish I would've. I wanted to guarantee points."

Moore caught heat from the coaches and the receivers after the call and laughingly labeled himself "weak" for not throwing the ball on Wednesday. Jonathan Stewart gained two yards on the play, John Kasay kicked a 23-yard field goal, Carolina went up 16-6 after that and that was the final score.

But here's the thing: Although I criticize coach John Fox a lot for conservatism, in this case I would have done exactly what Moore did.

Tampa Bay wasn't scoring. A 10-point lead, a two-score game -- that was going to seal this one. But what if Moore had thrown the fade route the coaches wanted him to throw and got it intercepted? He had overthrown one of those already, so maybe he underthrows the next one and it's picked off.

Then it's still 13-6, Carolina is only a TD ahead and it's still a game.

I think Moore's initial instinct on this was correct. Do the sure thing. Take the sure win. No need to backtrack.

Now it will be different Sunday. New England is vulnerable in the secondary. Drew Brees made the Pats look silly, which is one thing, but so did the Dolphins' Chad Henne, and that's another. Moore is going to have to "trust himself" more, as he said Wednesday. If he doesn't throw for at least 200-250 yards in this one, no chance the Panthers win.

But in the Tampa Bay situation, I think Moore did the right thing to start with. No need to apologize, no matter what the coaches and receivers wanted.


rickb said...

I'm glad you wrote this, Scott, because I agree with you completely.

Matt Moore's decision - at that point in the game and with that score - was asolutely the right one. Late in a game, two scores is a huge lead, even if one of those scores is only a field goal.

In fact, such a choice makes me respect Matt more: it was a sign of maturity and professionalism. Many a young backup making his first start of the season would have taken the opportunity to showcase himself by throwing the ball and coming out as some sort of underappreciated gunslinging hero.

Matt was willing to take the best chance for a "W" for the team, which means more than all the passing stats combined.

Julie said...

I don't know if I necessarily agree Matt Moore has to light it up for us to win. Our run game is still our bread and butter and I think it could give us a win as well. I think there should be points to be had in the passing game, but maybe not 200 yards passing.

Andy said...

Scott I was thinking the same thing when I read that article this morning. I'm glad you wrote this one!


(can you tell that the super bowl is still a thorn in my side?)

MrBernz said...

I dont think Moore has to have 200 or more yards passing to win. The Panthers are a running team, as long as Moore can keep drives going now & then with 5 & 10 yard passes, no tirnovers, the Panthers have a shot to win.

Matt said...

I hope the Patriots go for it on 4th down. A LOT. Especially deep in their own territory. The Panthers defense should concentrate on shutting Wes Welker down. I wouldn't worry too much about Rnady Moss, as he seems to have more or less disappeared from the New England offense for whatever reason.

SURCUTT said...

Very interesting comment Matt made. All along I did not think the QB's had the right to make changes to the plays sent in on this team. So that makes me even more upset with Jake for this season. All along I thought it was Davidson making these dumb calls .....guess not. Well Matt in my opinion you doing just fine at least your interception was an actual interception not a gimmie like Jake has been doing all year long.....Go Panthers you still have fans out here believe it or not. Look forward to seeing Matt play the next several weeks.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I fealt the same way about the play call. I think Matt made the right decision by going up by two scores. Maybe he scores a TD, but he could have thrown a pick, which would have pout TB in the game and maybe given them hope they were going to win the game. After that FG TB looked like they were going through the motions and had lost hope to win. Matt's gonna have to lead this team to TDs whether he throws them or not, but on Sunday he made the right call and gave us the win.