The New England Patriots lost in overtime to the New York Jets 26-20. All the talk is centred around one thing: the coin toss prior to overtime that saw Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater win the coin toss only to elect to kick the ball off, giving first possession to the Jets. The Jets took full advantage, promptly marching down the field on the strength of a 48 yard reception and a 6 yard TD pass for the automatic win.
Slater started the confusion himself when after the official made the announcement that the Patriots had chosen to kick off he said “hey. We won. Don’t we get to choose?” But he wasn’t arguing that they should get to choose whether they want to kick or not at that point. He already made the choice to kick off, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick already told the officials they would choose to kick of they won. Slater thought the Patriots could still choose the direction they wanted to go. Unfortunately for him the team winning the coin toss can choose to kick or defer, OR choose which end to defend, but not both. That was the confusion. The strategy all along was to kick.
Looking at THAT decision I don’t see a problem with it. The offence had provided two field goals until the fourth quarter and the defence had the only Patriots touchdown. The offence finally came through with a game tying touchdown on their last real drive of the game, but they needed 4th down not once but twice to keep that drive alive.
The new overtime rules mean a field goal would not have won the game on the opening overtime drive for the Patriots and I strongly doubt they would have went for an extra play on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal, and the way the offence had played all game they likely weren’t going to score a touchdown for the win from their own 20. The smart choice was gambling that the Patriots defence could hold the Jets to punt, giving the Patriots offence the ball a little closer to mid field.
This made sense after the defence got themselves together in the second half scoring a touchdown in the third quarter and holding the Jets to just 31 yards of total offense in the fourth quarter, giving up a field goal and only two first downs. To boot, one of those first downs was on a pass interference call negating what would have been a 4th and 4.
The only controversy coming out of the overtime coin toss is the revelation that Matthew Slater is the special teams captain.
Verdict: I blame a Swiss cheese offensive line for the loss, not the coin toss.