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Pat Shurmur on fourth-and-1 punt: “I think it worked out”

Pat Shurmur AP

Browns coach Pat Shurmur made the most baffling decision of the week in the NFL when he punted on fourth-and-1 from the Colts’ 41-yard line while trailing 17-13 with 6:38 left in the fourth quarter on Sunday. At least, it was baffling to most people watching. According to Shurmur, it was the right call.

Shurmur said on Monday that he thinks punting in that situation is the correct strategy, and he’ll do the same thing if the Browns face the same situation again this season.

I’d do that again,” Shurmur said. “I think it worked out. I had two timeouts after we decided to punt the football. We kicked it to them and it was better than six minutes left. At the end of the day, we had a first down with over three minutes left on the other side of the field. [It was] basically in the same spot we punted from, give or take a yard, with a chance to win the game and we didn’t.”

Um, coach? Your decision didn’t “work out” just because you eventually got the ball back “basically in the same spot.” Your decision only would have worked out if you had gotten the ball back and scored a touchdown. And you didn’t do that. By the time you had the ball “basically in the same spot,” the Colts had been able to take two and a half more minutes off the clock, and you ended up having to go for it on a fourth-and-6, and your team failed to convert. In what circumstance can you say “it worked out” if you end up in a situation where you have to go for it on fourth-and-6, two and a half minutes after you didn’t think your team could convert a fourth-and-1?

The CBS broadcast of the Browns-Colts game showed new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam in his box wearing a look of disgust at the Browns’ fourth-and-1 punt, but Shurmur said he doesn’t know anything about that.

“No, I haven’t talked to him about that,” Shurmur said. “I haven’t watched the TV copy, so at this point it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on it.”

Haslam has already promised not to comment on the coaching situation until the end of the season. But if Haslam ends up firing Shurmur, decisions like this fourth-and-1 punt will be a big part of the reason.

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59 Responses to “Pat Shurmur on fourth-and-1 punt: “I think it worked out””
  1. wryly1 says: Oct 23, 2012 7:26 AM

    Shurmur had his shot as an NFL Head Coach, but it hasn’t worked out. He isn’t growing into the role and there’s no evidence he will. New ownership will replace him with someone who can take this young (and finally improving) team to the next level.

  2. pl4tinum514 says: Oct 23, 2012 7:28 AM

    If he has any balls, Haslam WILL fire him at the bye. He’s a loser.

  3. lightcleric says: Oct 23, 2012 7:37 AM

    I guess it worked out for Browns fans in that he might have gotten himself fired with this and throwing Richardson under the bus.

  4. maddog111 says: Oct 23, 2012 7:39 AM

    Dead man walking.

  5. tannethrill says: Oct 23, 2012 7:40 AM

    If you’re confident that your offense can’t get the yard then it was a good call. If you think your defense or special teams could cause a turnover then I might do the same.

    Honestly I think Shurmur may have made the right call when you take everything into consideration plus the fact that he got the ball back and still had a chance to win.

  6. kleppnasty says: Oct 23, 2012 7:40 AM

    Seems like he was right. If they go for it and fail, best case scenario is two minutes off the clock and the ball deep in their own territory. Punting to put the colts in a bad spot gives a best case scenario chance for a def td or safety, and a decent chance at getting the ball back at the same spot minus 2 minutes. What world do you live in where 7 mins and two timeouts left is a ‘four down situation’?

  7. clownsfan says: Oct 23, 2012 7:41 AM

    Can’t wait until this chump gets canned

  8. peilocal says: Oct 23, 2012 7:41 AM

    If the offence had gotten the job done in the end, nobody would be criticizing the punt. And if they went for it on 4th and 1 and failed, the media would be all over Shurmur as the Colts would have a short field to put up more points. It’s a no win situation but with over six minutes left and two timeouts, you’ve got to show some faith in your defence. They did their job and gave the offence another chance to win the game.

  9. whoisedgy says: Oct 23, 2012 7:42 AM

    Brandon Weeden put up better stats than luck and RG3 Sunday. So the decision not to be more aggressive with draft-day trading worked out too…right coach?

  10. browntown57 says: Oct 23, 2012 7:50 AM

    I am by no means a Shurmur fan, but I did watch the TV copy and I saw Josh Gordon drop the potential go ahead touchdown pass, which was a perfect pass from Weeden on the 3rd and 1 play. I still think punting was the wrong call, but at some point you have to blame the players for not making a play. Shurmur’s call gave the Browns another opportunity with plenty of time left for a go ahead drive.

  11. theandy59 says: Oct 23, 2012 7:52 AM

    I believe that under almost any circumstance, punting on 4th and 1 in enemy territory is stupid. It’s hard to score when you don’t possess the ball.

  12. htowntexan says: Oct 23, 2012 7:54 AM

    Unbiased observer, and it sounds like the call worked out. He got the ball back with three minutes to go at the 50 down by a score. Not much more you can ask for. Now, not playing colt, that’s another story.

  13. jimthebuilder27 says: Oct 23, 2012 7:56 AM

    It made sense to everyone except those with common sense and a BRAIN. Unfortunately, Shurmur has demonstrated how incompetent he is. Browns fans deserve better.

  14. mossnomore says: Oct 23, 2012 7:58 AM

    The past 2 Browns coaches would have have made the same call. Magini and Crennel were also great at making terrible decisions and defending them after the fact. I think Childress invented it with the Vikings, but I remember Crennel implementing the genius Timeout-Then-Challenge strategy.

  15. archetypeobscure says: Oct 23, 2012 8:01 AM

    He basically said he didn’t trust his offense to get one yard but he did trust his defense to make a stop…. which they would have to do anyway if the conversion failed. It’s not like they were deep in their own side of the field, they were driving. Trying to play field position while down with 6min left is perplexing.

  16. adx321 says: Oct 23, 2012 8:05 AM

    There was actually a sillier decision earlier when the Browns could have gone for 2 to tie the game but instead accepted the extra point and a 1 point deficit

    Instead of trying to tie it they accepted being down lol

    Poor Browns fans it’s going to be a long season with this db coaching.

  17. seahawks80 says: Oct 23, 2012 8:06 AM

    What Shurmer meant to say was it worked out…..for the Colts.

  18. realitypolice says: Oct 23, 2012 8:07 AM

    If he goes for it and doesn’t make it, the Colts get the ball at the 41. If they have the exact same drive and get a good punt off, the Browns get the ball with three minutes to go probably around 90 yards, needing a TD to win.

    With 3 minutes to score a TD, would you rather have the ball at midfield or at the 10?

  19. mymanmccoy says: Oct 23, 2012 8:10 AM

    “No, I haven’t talked to him about that,” Shurmur said.

    Oh, you will Pat, you will. And by the way, why not be more aggressive? I’m sorry, did I miss the fact that the division title was on the line? Are we leading the division and protecting a loss? GO FOR IT PAT! We’re the youngest team in the league for craps sake, just go for it! Let these young guys have some fun and go for it, even if you did and didn’t make it, you’re still in the same place you are today, but you can say “we played aggressive and did all we could to win.” That sounds much better at a press conference my friend!

  20. bringbackkosar says: Oct 23, 2012 8:12 AM

    The offense is starting to show some life. If Haslam will write the big check and get Cowher to come on board, there’s a lot to like about this team (for a change).

  21. iamthefootballjerk says: Oct 23, 2012 8:14 AM

    To say that it “worked out”, seems like a poor choice of words. Saying it was a good football decision under the circumstances might have flown a bit better. Regardless, the media second guessing coaches is what pays the bills for sites like this. And as a supporter of another AFC North team, I hope he continues to coach like this for many years. :)

  22. wewantmoretebowandfavrearticles says: Oct 23, 2012 8:15 AM

    Coming soon: “I think it worked out.” -Jimmy Haslem after firing Pat Shurmer at the end of the year.

  23. stebutt says: Oct 23, 2012 8:16 AM

    They get the ball back in roughly the same position but now on 1st down and not 4th. Hindsight is 20/20 vision, I think it was a defendable call. The Browns players are playing for him, they don’t need to rip it all up yet again in Cleveland. But they probably will.

  24. citiciti says: Oct 23, 2012 8:17 AM

    Clean sweep.

  25. 49erstim says: Oct 23, 2012 8:17 AM

    He made the right call from the perspective that the other team failed to score and they got the ball back. So (technically) he is right…HOWEVER… His job is on the line and if he has ANY chance to keep it (and I don’t think he does) he needs to be bold in that situation. Andy Reid is coming for your job Pat. Go for it from a yard out.

  26. the5wagners says: Oct 23, 2012 8:26 AM

    The look on Haslam’s face after that call said everything. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what Haslam was thinking.

  27. bingocostello says: Oct 23, 2012 8:32 AM

    Shurmur is simply incompetent,Haslam will have to decide how much losing he can stand quickly as fans forget to show up! My guess he’s gone bye week to send a message to all!

  28. justautumnwindbaby says: Oct 23, 2012 8:38 AM

    Uhhhh, if they go for it and don’t make it, the colts would have had the nall on their own 41. Even if they ran 3 straight dive plays and don’t. Get a first down, they still run off a couple of minutes, if the browns don’t use their timeouts. Plus, punting from around midfield, they most likely pin thebrowns deep in their own territory……….

  29. nflofficeadmin says: Oct 23, 2012 8:45 AM

    Pat, you’re fired.

  30. vngnce says: Oct 23, 2012 8:47 AM

    Isn’t this an example of Affiming the Consequence, and as defined a logical falicy (total B.S.)?

    Premise 1: If punt, get ball back
    Premise 2: Got ball back
    Conclusion: Punt

    This is why his “I’d do it again” comment shows that Shurmur needs to go. His response was as predictable as his play calls.

  31. patsfanvt says: Oct 23, 2012 9:06 AM

    Even if it worked out, it doesn’t mean it was a good decision at the time. “Well, it worked out” is some unbelievably stupid reasoning.

  32. joemammy says: Oct 23, 2012 9:32 AM

    Shurmer wants an aggressive football team on the field. Fine. No problem. He has that.

    The Browns players want an aggressive gameplan, aggressive implementation and a coach who believes in their ability to make a single yard with the game on the line. These are where Shurmur fails. The players will not bust their asses for a coach who does not trust in their game. Period. He’s going to lose the team.

    You want a winner? Bring Jon Gruden to Cleveland, Mr. Haslem.

    Jon. Gruden.

  33. chris6523 says: Oct 23, 2012 9:44 AM

    With that much time in the game and with the opportunity to continue to possess the ball on the opponents side of the field, you can’t punt. You take a shot at getting the first down, which you are better than even odds to get. If you don’t get the first down, you’ve essentially given up anywhere from 20 to 40 yards of field position. The chance to keep possession of the ball is worth that risk and it’s a no doubter. If you don’t make it, you still have a chance to get the ball back with time on the clock, albeit not in as good of field position. Belicheck, Tomlin, Payton, McCarthey, Coughlin. I guarantee all those guys, you know, the ones with the rings, are all without a doubt going for it in that case.

  34. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Oct 23, 2012 9:48 AM

    If you coach like a wuss when your team is 1-5 and there’s nothing to lose, what’s going to happen if you really need to make a tough call? It was a fireable offense.

    What’s more likely. Picking up 1 yd and ultimately going 40 more yds with ample time on clock,and scoring the TD; or executing a successful punt, stopping the other team on 3 downs, fielding a punt, and then with no timeouts driving the field with a rookie QB and scoring the TD.

    Makes me nuts how coaches demand so much toughness, yet exhibit so little.

  35. pacodawg says: Oct 23, 2012 9:49 AM

    His decision would have been better if he would have punted before calling the TO, thus saving a timeout Take the 5 yard penalty, punt, 3 timouts, I could live with that. Also, he said he didn’t want the return man to make a play. The chances of the return man making a play is about 2% because of the short field the Browns were kicking from.

    Just terrible.

  36. whodeytn says: Oct 23, 2012 9:49 AM

    Even Marvin Lewis thinks Shurmer is a terrible coach

  37. ralphiepower says: Oct 23, 2012 9:50 AM

    He probably thinks strippers like him too!

  38. shadylamp says: Oct 23, 2012 10:05 AM

    I want to see an article like this about his decisions to go for one point in situations that clearly warrant going for a two point conversion. He did it in the Eagles game, week one and we lost by ONE POINT.
    Last week, down by 2, this idiot goes for 1 point again. Being down by 4 points instead of 3 points CHANGES THE ENTIRE DYNAMIC of the game.
    Being down by 5 points instead of 4 points CHANGES NOTHING about the game play. Even if Shurmur is too dumb to figure out the math, that make a chart that tells you exactly when to go for 2 and go for one. He should be canned NOW!

  39. brownsapologist says: Oct 23, 2012 10:29 AM

    Most incompetent coach I’ve ever seen. This loser was basically saying that he didn’t think his offense could get 1 yard when they absolutely had to have it. Holmgren forced him to hire an OC after last year to hold his hand and take some pressure off of his feeble, dim witted brain. But he’s still on the sideline calling plays and blowing every challenge and mismanaging the clock while both coordinators sit upstairs and pick their noses. What has changed?! Well, despite the fact that Weeden is a promising rookie QB the team is actually worse and has lost more games. He has managed to lose more games with a better QB. It takes a special kind of loser to do that. But he is more concerned with playing field position than actually winning the game.

  40. patriots61 says: Oct 23, 2012 10:30 AM

    I agree with Kleppnasty, when is it ever 4 down territory down by a score with 6 and a half minutes left with 2 timeouts and the two minute warning. My bet says most if not all the head coaches in the leauge would have made the same call, everyones calling it a bad call because the Browns havent had any success for a long time and they always need something to blame bad football on.

  41. rowdymon says: Oct 23, 2012 11:12 AM

    I’m for Gruden – just don’t let him draft QBs. Football strategy mind but terrible at picking QBs.

  42. phillynac says: Oct 23, 2012 11:14 AM

    To say that it wasn’t the right call be wise the team didn’t score a touchdown is absurd. So what if they weren’t going to score if he went for it? Are you saying it was a bad call no matter what he decided? What a ridiculous argument! The guy got the ball back in the same spot with 4 downs to work with instead of 1. It was a good decision that worked out. The team wasn’t good enough to capitalize on first and 10 from the opponents 45 yard line. What is he supposed to do?

  43. phillynac says: Oct 23, 2012 11:16 AM

    because…not be wise

  44. klownboy says: Oct 23, 2012 11:18 AM

    Stick a fork in Shurmur’s arse: it’s over for him in Cleveland…

  45. boyshole25 says: Oct 23, 2012 11:25 AM

    That was the right call they have a stout d u have to play field position when your team is bad

  46. dukemarc says: Oct 23, 2012 11:46 AM

    So he gave up 2 and half minutes of clack to have a 1st and 10 on the 50 – how is that not “working out”? Obviously Shurmur is in over his head as a coach but that was the right call. 3 minutes left with 1st and Ten on the 50 should be plenty of time to score.

    I’m not really sure what this article is about MDS. You’re talking about the final score, Shurmur is talking about that one decision.

  47. audient says: Oct 23, 2012 11:57 AM

    The Browns haven’t had a head coach that sounded this bad in front of the media since Bill Belichick.

    The similarities stop there, though.

  48. heyguru1969 says: Oct 23, 2012 12:01 PM

    And because of such logic, the Browns are “basically in the same spot” they find themselves mid-season year after year:
    Looking up at the competition and dreaming about next year’s draft picks.

  49. joemammy says: Oct 23, 2012 12:27 PM

    rowdymon says:

    I’m for Gruden – just don’t let him draft QBs. Football strategy mind but terrible at picking QBs.
    ———————–
    Check out Gruden’s pre-draft video, where he put Brandon Weeden through his paces.

    Gruden loves Weeden.

    If memory serves me well, it was done on that four-letter word place…

  50. hbdbrowns33 says: Oct 23, 2012 12:27 PM

    What the article and the Shurmur supporters didn’t mention was on 3rd and 1 Shurmur threw the ball 25 yards up the sideline to Greg Little and Weeden threw it out of bounds. On 4-1 the offense went out and THEN Shurmur called timeout and punted. The best part is Reggie Hodges only kicked it 20 yards!!! So how was that any better than going for it? It’s not like they pinned them back inside the 10 and when youre 1-5 it’s time to take chances. Winners play football not waste a timeout to kick because they’re too timid to take a chance.

  51. sactogary says: Oct 23, 2012 12:32 PM

    Would turning it over on downs at the Colts 41 have been better? So the Colts can run three minutes off the clock and punt to inside the Browns 10 yard line?

    You can’t say it was a bad call unless you know that the Browns were going to convert 4th-and-1. His tactic worked, they just weren’t able to follow up.

  52. autumnwind999 says: Oct 23, 2012 12:49 PM

    Brownies would be wise to make Hue Jackson their next head coach.

    Hue had a top-10 offense as Oakland’s OC a couple of years ago with two raw, second-year WRs and a mix and match of Jason Campbell and Bruce “Almighty” Gradkowski at QB. Last year the Raiders were averaging about 27 ppg before McFadden went down and they had to bring Palmer in off the street mid-season.

    Hue didn’t get a fair shake in Oakland. Never had the freedom to implement his own defense and then got canned after one 8-8 season in which he lost his best player, his owner/GM and his starting QB after a 4-2 start.

    Plus Hue is a fun, exciting guy who would bring a jolt of confidence and swagger to a Browns organization that has had little reason for either since its return.

    I wish he were still calling the shots in Oakland, personally.

  53. pemory says: Oct 23, 2012 12:58 PM

    Not a Brownies fan, so my question is: why was this man ever hired in the first place? When I heard his name a few years back, my reaction was “Who???”

  54. cow395 says: Oct 23, 2012 1:04 PM

    offence got another chance with plenty of time, so the punt seems fine to me….and i guess he was right about the 1 yard because his offence failed again anyways

  55. mrfrostyj says: Oct 23, 2012 1:22 PM

    Hindsight is 20/20 right?

    Fact is he WAS correct about the call and it did work out for Cleveland the way the game plan called for. It’s the PLAYERS that failed to convert the opportunities (plural) the coaches game plan gave them that are to blame in that situation. Unless Shurmur has ESP he probably had enough faith in his players to think that his defense could get the Colts offense off the field quickly (and they did) and then his offense could seal the game (which they didn’t).

    This is just one of those situations where it’s only a bad call because the team didn’t win. Had the players played slightly better no one would even remember it.

  56. mrfrostyj says: Oct 23, 2012 1:30 PM

    hbdbrowns33 says: Oct 23, 2012 12:27 PM

    What the article and the Shurmur supporters didn’t mention was on 3rd and 1 Shurmur threw the ball 25 yards up the sideline to Greg Little and Weeden threw it out of bounds. On 4-1 the offense went out and THEN Shurmur called timeout and punted. The best part is Reggie Hodges only kicked it 20 yards!!! So how was that any better than going for it? It’s not like they pinned them back inside the 10 and when you’re 1-5 it’s time to take chances. Winners play football not waste a timeout to kick because they’re too timid to take a chance.

    —————————————————-

    You mean you wouldn’t call time out if you thought you were going to catch the opposing teams defense off guard just to see that they have your “sneaky play” sniffed out?

    As I stated above its a situation that only works if the Browns win. No matter what route was taken as long as the game ends in an “L” Shurmer makes a bad call in most fans eyes. It’s no different then the last time the Colts and Patriots had a playoff game against each other and Bellichick was put in the same position and went for it. When it didn’t work people did nothing but talk about how dumb the move was.

  57. macbull says: Oct 23, 2012 1:42 PM

    49erstim says: Andy Reid is coming for your job Pat. Go for it from a yard out.

    49erstim…you must not be up to speed on the Andy Reid/Joe Banner feud, that went on for years in Philly. Banner lost that power struggle and was fired in early 2012.

    Andy Reid will never work under Joe Banner.

    Those dreaming of Haslam hiring hi-profile candidate like Jon Gruden or Cowher…they will not work for Banner either.

    No one wants to talk about it, but…when Banner became part of an investment group, he let it be known, he joined the group to assure himself of the Pres/CEO job of the franchise the group bought.

    Banner has an unpleasant history of poor relations with players and coaches while in Philly, which finally cost him his job.

    No other franchise called to hire Banner so he found a way to leverage his position with the investment group to insure he would be given the Pres/CEO job.

    Banner is now a problem for the Browns and it will cause some good coaches to turn Haslam down.

  58. frenzy95 says: Oct 23, 2012 2:28 PM

    phillynac says:
    Oct 23, 2012 11:14 AM
    To say that it wasn’t the right call be wise the team didn’t score a touchdown is absurd. So what if they weren’t going to score if he went for it? Are you saying it was a bad call no matter what he decided? What a ridiculous argument! The guy got the ball back in the same spot with 4 downs to work with instead of 1. It was a good decision that worked out. The team wasn’t good enough to capitalize on first and 10 from the opponents 45 yard line. What is he supposed to do?

    ___________________________________
    The problem is he passed on 2-1 and 3-1, deep passes at that. If you are doing that instead of picking up the first down, then you better be going for it on 4-1. Because you needed a TD or two field goals.

  59. sfm073 says: Oct 23, 2012 9:04 PM

    I really don’t think this was a terrible call. Not a call I would make if I’m in the browns situation with nothing to lose.

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