This is a question I often ask myself whenever there is a major coaching decision to be made. 4th and 1 on the opponents’ 1 yard line? There is no question that Belichick would have gone for it…with Matt Cassel behind center or Tom Brady…with RB BenJarvis Johnson-Smith-Claxine-Waters-Green-Ellis or Corey Dillon…wouldn’t matter. He would have gone for it. Belichick wouldn’t have run it 3 times either – would have probably tried at least one pass play.
That said, at the time, I was hesitant myself to agree with Steve who was screaming over the phone that we had to go for it. His case was understandably based in part on the horrendous kick-off coverage – noting it would be relatively easy for Carolina with that much time to get down the field to at least tie on a field goal – but much harder for them to score a TD. After talking for a minute, I agreed with him, but I was still thinking about the need to just get points on the board to take the lead. I don’t see McCarthy’s decision as an egregious, unforgivable error. It was an understandable decision. But this did strike me as one of those situations where a coach could put himself on the line a bit and make a ballsy call. So again, ask yourself what the best coach of the last decade would have done (OK yes, he probably would have had the advantage of knowing ahead of time what defensive line-up Carolina would have used due to having studied the illegal video library of their situational defenses…but still) – he would have gone for it.
Also, in the end, I would have rather lost having taken a chance with our strong offense than losing the way we did.
We could also ask what Mike Sherman would have done – probably punted.