I said prior to Sunday's Match-Up with the Saints, how that was probably the one game of the season we could actually afford to lose. I'm glad I wasnt given the opportunity to tell Head Coach Jon Gruden such utter ridiculousness.
Late in the fourth quarter of yesterday's ball game, with his team down by 3 points, Gruden decides to GO FOR IT on fourth down and one from the Saints 28 yard line. We were clearly in K Matt Bryant's field goal range. Although it was 4th and 1, that one yard looked alot closer to two yards from my vantage point. Gruden allowed 3rd String RB Earnest "Earned it" Graham to take the ball to extend the drive. Graham got the first down with ease.
Here's Graham's take on the play call:
"I was happy as heck to have that play because I was kind of disappointed that we didn't get it on third down," said Graham, who had also carried the ball on the previous three plays. "Once [Gruden] made that call, I just knew in that situation we were going to get it. I knew we weren't going to leave it out there on the field. An inch – we'll get that all day. I'm happy he made that call; it was the call of the game." - Buccaneers.com
If you'll remember, Gruden actually had the Field Goal Unit on the field prior to taking a timeout. Here's Gruden on his second thoughts:
"I felt good about our fourth-down play selection," said Gruden. "I just changed my mind [and decided to go for it]. I looked at a lot of things, but there is not a lot of time to ponder. You’ve got a 47 yard field goal, whatever it is. [You’ve got] a chance to push it into overtime or you have a chance to take advantage of the opportunity while you are there."
"You have to make some tough calls during the course of the game," Gruden said. "That was certainly a tough call. We had been making real good yardage off the right side throughout the game. I’d just as soon go home without a victory getting shut out on that play. If they could stop that play, I was willing to go home without a win." - Buccaneers.com
I think I finally learned to live with Jon Gruden as our Head Coach yesterday. That final quote says it all "If they could stop that play, I was willing to go home without a win". I would have NEVER gone for it at that point in the game, but Gruden has the nads and the trust in his players and that is a great thing to see at this stage in the Season.... About those players, they seem to have really bought into Gruden's system. I thought it was Jeff Garcia that made this team whole, but its really become a Full Team effort out there. That makes for exciting football and builds a cohesive unit that will only get better and build more confidence.
I gotta tip the hat to Gruden for that play call, he was out on a limb calling that play and it paid off!!! Very Impressive