LaPolice's 3rd and long gamble second guessed
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Paul LaPolice's call to gamble on third-and-six late during Friday's loss to the Alouettes is being second guessed. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - Second guessing coaches is what sports fans do, and Bombers boss Paul LaPolice served up plenty of fodder with a curious decision on Friday night.
The Bombers were trailing the host Montreal Alouettes 34-23 with 5:23 to go in the fourth quarter when, on third-and-six, LaPolice had his team go for a touchdown.
The move backfired. Quarterback Buck Pierce tried to roll out and pass, but was smothered by Alouettes defenders and fumbled out of bounds. Montreal took over at the Winnipeg 11, and the game’s outcome was no longer in doubt.
Arguments for and against were plentiful on Twitter and on the message boards following the game:
GO FOR IT
— Kicking a field goal and then asking the defence for a stop was a tall order, considering Winnipeg’s defensive dozen couldn’t stop anything on Friday night.
— Since Winnipeg’s red-zone offence was struggling, being as close as the six-yard line gave them as good a chance as any of getting it into the end zone.
— They needed two scores, and the order didn’t matter.
KICK THE FIELD GOAL
— Conventional wisdom states you always take the sure points. A 13-yard field goal would have gotten the Bombers to within eight points with five minutes to go.
— Winnipeg’s red-zone offence had been pitiful up to that point. The chances of a six-yard touchdown weren’t great.
— Kicking the field goal would have given the Bombers an emotional boost, knowing they were back to within a touchdown and a two-point convert with enough time on the clock.
More troublesome, though, are rumblings the decision didn’t go over well in the Bomber locker-room, which is the only place that matters. Confidence in your coach is crucial, and moves like that can be detrimental to the player-coach relationship.
Personally, I would have kicked the field goal, but I also understand why he went for it. After thinking about it for a while though, I don’t think it mattered.
The Bombers, because of their dreadful defence and putrid penalties, weren’t going to win the game anyway.