Key Coaching Decision #1 (4th & 5, Q1 3:46 , tied 7-7):
• With the score tied 7-7 and facing a 4th down at the CIN 44, Atlanta attempted to convert the 4th down and was stopped short, giving Cincinnati the ball back at the 49 yard line. Cincinnati would score a touchdown on the ensuing possession. This not only created a major momentum swing in favor of Cincinnati, it forced Atlanta to play from behind for most of the game. Cincinnati had scored a touchdown on their only possession of the game prior to this decision, so there was no indication that Atlanta’s defense was up to the task of stopping them (indeed they were not, as Cincinnati scored touchdowns on each of their first half possessions). We feel Atlanta did not properly measure the risk/reward ratio of this decision and thus severely reduced their play calling score.
• Cincinnati was forced to burn 2 timeouts in the first half in order to get the right personnel onto the field. This resulted in a downgrade to their game clock management.
• Both defenses held on the opening possessions of the 2nd half, and generally performed better throughout the 2nd half. Credit to each team’s in game adjustments.