In the aftermath of last week’s game against the Detroit Lions, many fans (and analysts!) have been questioning coach Raheem Morris’s decision to only go to a no-huddle offense late in the fourth quarter. The Bucs had two successful drives with the no-huddle late in the game — not to mention one before the end of the first half — but they didn’t have quite enough time to score as many points as needed. So if the no-huddle worked, why didn’t they go to it earlier in the game?
Thanks to Stephen Holder from the St. Pete Times, we have an answer. If you were paying close attention, the Buccaneers actually started the second half using the no-huddle offense — hey, it worked at the end of the first half, so why not? — but they were stopped on downs on two consecutive drives. And when you get stopped quickly using the no-huddle, all of a sudden you’re putting a huge tax on your defense.
Or as center Jeff Faine explains it:
We started the second half and (had) two 3-and-outs. That’s putting our defense on the field for an extended amount of time. Not necessarily clock time, but real time. Then (the offense) is going out there for 30 seconds and (the defense) is out there for another five minutes, six minutes. If you don’t convert, it’s quick.
Then those guys are right back on the field during a hot game. That starts to mount. When it’s working, of course (you say) let’s start the game off like that and play 2-minute all the time. But when it’s not working, a lot of things can go bad, and it’s not just the offense. It affects a lot of people.
Also, Raheem Morris is hesitant to use running back LeGarrette Blount during the no-huddle offense, as they feel he’s not a good enough blocker. Also, when you’re trying to prevent the clock from running out, you don’t exactly what to be running the ball right down the middle of the field terribly often. Blount only had five carries in Sunday’s loss, and the Buccaneers simply can’t win if they give him so few handles:
“That’s not how we want to win games,” Morris said. “We want to win games with (LeGarrette) Blount bludgeoning you for 130 yards and having a couple of play-action bombs and being efficient with (Josh Freeman). When we go to that 2-minute offense like that, we kind of take Blount out of the game. That’s something we don’t want to do.”
So Bucs fans, there was a reasoning behind the madness. I still think the Bucs should have been better with clock management at the end of the game, but it’s at least a logical, justifiable explanation. Here’s hoping the Bucs are able to plan a bit better in this upcoming week’s game against the Vikings.
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