Haley Goes For Another Fourth

From Arrowhead Stadium

If we looked closely at the Haley family tree it seems probably that the Chiefs head coach is related in some manner the famous Flying Wallendas.

Don’t know the Wallendas? They were the family of tightrope walkers who were famous in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s for strolling along high wires without nets and doing what seemed impossible. They were part of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for many years.

Todd “Wallenda” Haley is doing the same thing in the football circus. He again made a fourth down decision in Sunday’s victory over the Bills where he left himself without a net. Luckily for him, his team was eventually able to overcome the decision and still win the game.

Setting the scene: it’s early in the second quarter and neither team has scored a point. The Chiefs have the ball at the Buffalo 19-yard line and its 4th-and-2 for the Chiefs. The coaching book says it’s a situation where the team with the ball kicks the field goal. It would have been a 37-yard effort for Chiefs K Ryan Succop and it would have been kicked towards the west uprights. On a windy day at Arrowhead, there was less wind at that end of the stadium.

But Haley has his own book when it comes to fourth down. Invariably, if the ball is on the opponents’ side of the 50-yard line and it’s in the first half, he’s going for the first down.

This time, it did not work. QB Matt Cassel was sacked for a one-yard loss and the Bills took over at their 20-yard line.

Not only did they not get three points, but they gave up 53 yards of field position. Buffalo went three plays and out and P Brian Moorman’s kick went 56 yards and out of bounds at the Chiefs 27-yard line. That’s some of the hidden yardage that Haley often talks about in games.

There was another factor in this decision by Haley and that was the wind.

“I thought today, there was a pretty significant wind clearly making kicks difficult throughout the game,” said Haley. “The wind today was interesting because it was coming from the opposite direction of what it normally does; going a certain direction is something that we were a little more concerned about.”

Ultimately, if everything else remaining the same, the Chiefs would have had a three-point lead at the end of the game and the interception by SS Eric Berry would have sent everyone in red and gold home happy in regulation time.

Instead, they had to play through an entire overtime before Succop got a chance to kick the game winning field goal.

That wasn’t the only fourth down that caused the Chiefs some problems. Late in the fourth quarter they faced 4th-and-1 at their own 20-yard line. The score was tied 10-10 and there was 1:29 to play in the game. Common sense says you punt the ball away and have your defense stop Buffalo.

Eventually, that’s what the Chiefs did. That only came after they lined up and Cassel leaped over center to get the first down. Haley called time out before the snap and the play was no play. Given time to ponder the circumstances, Haley sent P Dustin Colquitt on the field.

Haley wasn’t happy with how that who scenario went down.

“We were running the ball at a major clip for a bunch of yardage and the hard part is that the pay was run and the timeout was called so that decision from there was easy,” Haley said. “You saw some indecision there. That’s one of the coaching things I’m talking about. You’re in the game and I don’t like to get far away from the initial intent or game plan.”

So now the Chiefs are six of 11 on fourth down plays, or a 54.5 percent success rate. Luckily for Haley, the team’s success rate is now 5-2, or 71.4 percent.

7 Responses to “Haley Goes For Another Fourth”

  • November 1, 2010  - Cliff says:

    I like our coach, but to walk away from near certain points in a scoreless game makes no sense. Sometimes a game can be won by playing smart football and I am begining to fear for my Chiefs with Haley being the decision maker in these situations. I hope Pioli can wake Haley up before he ends up costing the team a game with these bold (or stupid) calls.

  • November 1, 2010  - PAChiefsFan says:

    I am glad the Chiefs were able to pull out the win. I do wonder why Coach Haley gambles sometimes to the extent he does. He said at the beginning of the season that the Chiefs don’t have enough talent and that their margin of error is thin. So in a hard fought scoreless game if you have a chance to get points it would seem like you would go after the points to increase your margin of error. I do wonder also why on third and 1 we are lining up with an empty backfield and passing when we had been running all over Buffalo. I have never been much of a gambler and I don’t want to see the Chiefs get burned by taking too many chances. Just glad to be 5-2 and looking to beat the Raiders. Go Chiefs!

  • November 1, 2010  - Michael says:

    The Chiefs (Haley)will continue to go for it on fourth down; so everyone might as well get used to it. The Chiefs aren’t what you would call a team that takes a lot of chances otherwise, and this is the kind Haley feels good about. I think it shows the team that he has confidence in them, and the more they do it the more comfortable the whole team will get with it. Down the road, that could come in handy. I like it. It’s not good for my heart or digestion, but I still like it.

  • November 1, 2010  - Dave says:

    I hated the call, just like I hated the very similar call from the Jacksonville game. It’s early in the game and momentum is everything, so just take the three points and move on.

  • November 1, 2010  - jim says:

    I have only one concern. Haley stated that in a certain series of downs or field position, he tells Weiss way before it comes to fourth down that ‘we’re in four down territory’. This gives Weiss a chance from a four down mindset to calculate a third down play.

    Here’s my concern. Knowing that you have another down (4th), do you call a play that may not necessarily be THE BEST third down play for a first, because you know you have another (4th down) chance?

    Does it alter Weiss’ aggressiveness on third down, and is that necessarily best for the team?
    Just askin——–

  • November 1, 2010  - Craig says:

    There was a stat on one of the Sports News scources that said 50% of all football games are won by 3 points or less. If that is true then, this penchant for gambling will ultimately bite Mr. Haley.

  • November 1, 2010  - Michael says:

    How many games do teams win when they make it on fourth down plays like that? And, it already has bitten Mr. Haley in the butt. It’s just that most of the time the team has overome it when they haven’t made it. Maybe they find it inspirational?

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