Nick Sirianni and Staff Studied this Sequence from Another NFL Game

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Sirianni dropped an interesting quote Wednesday. He started to spill the beans, and then reeled himself in before mentioning that he might talk to reporters off the record about it.

Here’s the exchange, with my emphasis in bold:

Q. What’s one scenario that you saw this weekend that would change the way you operate? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: That Jacksonville one — I don’t want to give away — maybe I can tell you guys off the record on the side. That Jacksonville one was interesting. It spurred a lot of thought on both the offensive and defensive sides. That wasn’t one where I was just texting [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] and [Eagles quarterbacks coach] Brian [Johnson] and [Eagles passing game coordinator] Kevin [Patullo] and the offensive coaches. I was texting [Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon and the defensive coaches, too.

It was like early on. It was a Sunday morning game. But that is the one that really spurred the most thought. Then there are some things that happened in college games, just a couple mistakes here and there we always talk through. But that’s the main one.

What’s the Jacksonville scenario he’s talking about? It’s the wacky finish to the game.

If you missed it, here’s what happened:

  1. Game is tied at 20 at the end of the fourth quarter.
  2. With the ball on their own 47-yard line, the Dolphins decided to run on 4th and 1, but were stopped short, and Jacksonville took over.
  3. Jaguars committed false start on 1st down.
  4. They lost yardage on the next two plays.
  5. They regained some yards on third down, then Miami decided to burn their final timeouts with just five seconds on the clock.
  6. On 4th and 8, with Miami expecting a Hail Mary, Jacksonville instead THREW A SLANT, got the first down, and then fired off a timeout with one second remaining on the clock.
  7. With the ball now on the Dolphins’ 35 yard line, they sent out their kicker and nailed a 53-yard game winner.

It was super-fascinating. Miami was set up to defend the deep heave, like this:

But Urban Meyer pulled a fast one, took advantage of the space underneath, and Jacksonville was able to move the sticks in just four seconds.

Funny thing is that the Jags’ kicker was a software engineer who was signed off the street last week. Then he got to play hero in London. Go figure.

Sirianni studied that sequence. Texted with his staff about it. A very interesting case study in situational football and late-game decision making.

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