I'll admit it, when Sanchez threw the interception near the end of the Houston game I turned the TV off in disgust. How could we lose to the Texans? For the first time in weeks I'd managed to breathe easy in the third quarter. "We've got this one in the bag," I thought. Then came the meltdown after the fumble. Our legendary fourth quarter, final drive defense was in full swing and before I knew it we were down by one.
After about 30 seconds of moping I turned the TV back on back on to watch it till the bitter end. Our defense managed to hold Houston to a field goal and I thought to myself, "Great. Nice time to show up guys." However, as the offense came back on the field and we had time I knew we were going to win. I just did. Why, you ask? How could I be so sure we were going to pull off the unlikely, the improbably, the miraculous... again?
We were down by four. That's why.
When this team plays like it NEEDS a touchdown, it always seems to find one. Our last minute wins in the previous game had less to do with luck and more to do with changing to a tempo that suits our team and, specifically, our quarterback. When this team plays like a field goal is an option, conservative play calling and mentality put a block wall around what our offense seems to do best.
I know Rex loves his ball control. I know Shotty loves trying to be oh so clever. However, I also know that this team has demonstrated for multiple weeks now that it excels at big plays and quick scores. Why do we save that for the last minute when we could use it to jump out to a comfortable lead and then use our ball control power from then on?
I really feel as if we're trying too hard to push a philosophy on this team that the talent isn't best suited for. Also, ball control offenses are best suited to shutdown defenses. Hype and reputation does not a shutdown defense make. Even last year, defensive 4th quarter meltdowns accounted for losses to Miami, Jacksonville and Atlanta (the difference between a 12-4 team and a 9-7 team). This year our offense is capable of saving us and if I had to trust a unit this year to save us in the end, it's the offense and not the defense.
We need to play like what we are and not what the coaches wish we were. Until we build a philosophy around our talent, rather then try to cram our talent into a philosophy that's not best suited to them, we're going to continue to play to the level of our opponents rather than dominate them. I'm not implying it's realistic for us to dominate EVERY game, but we should have handily beaten the Texans, the Vikings and the Lions. And, frankly, we should have beaten the Ravens and the Packers. (Unlike the Falcons and the Pats, we haven't been owned this year either.)
We're legit. We're the real deal. We've got what it takes to play any team. We need to let our talent play and win.