With one single play call, we learned something about what Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians thinks about his football team.
On 3rd and goal from the 7-yard line with less than two minutes left in a 10-10 game, Arians had quarterback Carson Palmer line up a field goal instead of trying to score a touchdown.
When things are tight and the game is one the line, it is human nature to make decisions based on what you trust most.
In 2009, Bill Belichick made the controversial decision to go for it on 4th-and-2 from the Patriots’ 28-yard line up six in a high-profile regular season game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The move backfired, but Belichick decided he wanted to try and win or lose the game with the ball in Tom Brady’s hands instead of entrusting a leaky defense.
The Cardinals-Buccaneers game obviously didn’t have the same national profile as Pats-Colts, but Arians’ play call does tell you what he truly thinks about his offense just as Belichick’s did about his defense.
The Cards’ head coach was willing to take a risk of losing the game instead of giving Palmer the opportunity to put the ball in the end zone.
Circumstances have to be taken into account. The way the second half went for the Tampa Bay offense plus the fact they had Mike Glennon, a rookie quarterback, making his first start, I do understand the logic behind Arians’ move.
With that being said, just because Glennon is inexperienced doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable of moving the ball down the field to tie the game with a field goal or win the game with a touchdown.
Rookie quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Geno Smith have both led game-winning drives with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter in the first four games of their careers.
Arians was willing to give Glennon the chance to add his name to the list instead of ensuring the Bucs could do nothing more than tie.
There’s no guarantee Arizona would have scored a touchdown, but as long as Palmer or anyone else on the Cardinals offense didn’t turn the ball over, that same Jay Feely field goal would have been there on the next play.
I don’t know who or why, but Arians made it abundantly clear when the game is on the line he doesn’t yet trust his offense.