That clever Chip Kelly saved four points in an 18-point loss

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The 49ers made one of the smartest defensive plays of the season yesterday.

Of course, if they were a little less clever, they might not have lost by 18.

Via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, the 49ers did a very aware and heady thing yesterday, which might have saved them some points.

In short, the 49ers committed premeditated penalties (plural) to burn time and cost the Saints a shot at the end zone just before halftime.

With eight seconds left, three 49ers defenders just grabbed Saints receivers and hugged them as soon as they stepped away from the line. Safety Eric Reid took it a step beyond, tackling Saints tight end Coby Fleener. In case you don’t have your rulebook handy, that’s illegal.

But it was of little harm, because it burned four seconds, and moved the ball from the 49ers’ 13-yard line to the 8-yard line. The Saints settled for a field goal just before the half, and ended up winning 41-23. But it was smart because it kept them from having a chance at a touchdown.

“We practice all sorts of scenarios at the end of the first half and the end of the game,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said. “So we got flagged for a penalty there, which is a 5-yard penalty and then they kicked a field goal. They were [already] in field-goal range.

Kelly said the 49ers had worked on such situations in practice, saying: “There’s a lot of things that we practice in practice that cross our minds.”

Now if he could only come up with a brilliant plan which would prevent his defense from playing two extra games’ worth of snaps in half a season, he might be onto something.

And it’s also the kind of blatant display which could catch the attention of the league’s competition committee, and prevent such chess moves by blatantly overmatched teams in the future.

47 responses to “That clever Chip Kelly saved four points in an 18-point loss

  1. siriusred67 says “That’s such a cheap move, I’m surprised Bill Belichick didn’t think of it first.”

    He had already, BB just never put in a position at the end of the half where Tom Brady hasn’t already milked the clock and scored

  2. Literally the only thing I’ve been impressed with Chip’s coaching the whole year

    I think Chip has the ability to be a good head coach, but he needs to scrap his offensive philosophy in order to do so.

  3. yeah this is interesting and something I can’t see the NFL not addressing for the…wait for it… “integrity of the game” yup you all knew that phrase was coming 😛

  4. I was saying this at the end of the first half of the Vikings game…8 seconds left on the goal line…im like just tackle the WRs…take the penalty and either A. It comes down to one play or B. Force them to take the FG instead of getting a TD. Smart play.

  5. Intentional holding calls and a QB that sets up indoctrination camps for middle schoolers. Who doesn’t want to root for this?

  6. What’s the difference between premeditated penalties and CBs holding or causing PI because they got burned? Anything is better than a TD. Teams should be thinking about how they can make rules work in their favor instead of complaining about them.

  7. Sorry but I don’t think that’s very smart. In my mind it would be more likely that the receiver would get behind the defense if the DB were to get faked out and whiff or loose his grasp on the defender than if the defender just played conventional soft coverage and keep the receiver in front of him in that situation.

    Do you think that might be a reason that we don’t see that more often? Despite what he and some of you might think, Chip is not smarter than everybody else.

  8. I find it amusing this is seen as “clever”.

    While most teams practice preventing scoring and making a play – Kelly practices giving up points.

  9. I give him a “B.” The smartest play, if he were really a genius, would have been directing his DE to take a step-too-late shot at Brees. Not advocating a cheap shot…just an illegal one. Big difference.

  10. Yes, it was a brilliant move. If Belichick had done it first, the rules committee would already be discussing the option of adding one play that would not be timed after this strategy is deployed.

  11. Three words – Palpably Unfair Act

    It’s in the NFL rule book and should have been enforced in yesterday’s game to the tune of New Orleans being awarded a touchdown.

  12. The obvious counter-measure that could be implemented by the competition committee would be to give the offense an option to add 10 seconds to the game clock whenever the defense commits a penalty during play within the last 30 seconds of a half (i.e. the opposite of the 10-second runoff).

  13. “What’s the difference between premeditated penalties and CBs holding or causing PI because they got burned?”

    If the Pats did this and it was premeditated, there would be hundreds of posts demanding Belichick be suspended and the Pats docked draft picks.

    However there is nothing in the rules that says you can’t commit an intentional penalty, only that you pay the price in yards.

    You see DBs and other players commit intentional fouls regularly in order to save a TD from being scored. This is no different other than 3 of them did it at once on orders of the coaching staff.

  14. footballgodtb12 says:
    Nov 7, 2016 1:30 PM
    siriusred67 says “That’s such a cheap move, I’m surprised Bill Belichick didn’t think of it first.”

    He had already, BB just never put in a position at the end of the half where Tom Brady hasn’t already milked the clock and scored

    ================================

    Actually the Pats should have used that right before halftime in Super Bowl 49, and Seatlle would have only got a FG instead of the TD to Chris Mathews, and it would have been 14-10 instead of being tied

  15. chrisk61 says:
    Nov 7, 2016 1:37 PM
    god bless you niners fans

    we saw too much of brainiac kelly in 3 yrs in phila
    ———————
    Now you find every way possible to lose games. Wentz is a check down QB, and your coach is a wild maverick. Great combo there.

  16. jeepster77 says:
    Nov 7, 2016 2:43 PM
    footballgodtb12 says:
    Nov 7, 2016 1:30 PM
    Actually the Pats should have used that right before halftime in Super Bowl 49, and Seatlle would have only got a FG instead of the TD to Chris Mathews, and it would have been 14-10 instead of being tied
    ===================

    They were probably planning on Wilson throwing an end zone int.

  17. Not that smart

    Offense gets a “free” play at worst…..QB can still scramble for a TD or hand it off to RB or throw it up for grabs

    Then if they don’t score they get closer and another chance……an un-timed down if the clock runs out to kick the FG

  18. They did a favor to the league by pointing out how the (lack of) rule is badly in need of being fixed.

    Penalties in last minute should provide the other side the opportunity of an untimed down, if so desired–as is currently the case ONLY on the last play of the half or game. This is easy fix–needed for a long time and ignored by competition committees until this embarrassing blemish on the sport.

  19. @jeepster,

    I was thinking the same thing at the time it happened.

    The Seahawks only had enough time for one play before halftime, so all the Patriots’ defenders would have had to do was mug all of their receivers to keep them from scoring a TD. That would have moved the ball down to about the 6 yard line and given them a first down, but all they would have had time for was one untimed down. They’d have been forced to settle for a FG.

    I was very surprised that Belichick didn’t think of it.

  20. I think I can sense where this will end up going. So I want to proactively suggest….Don’t put officials in the position of determining if it is intentional holding or not. Simply put the time back on the clock or include the option of an immediate untimeded down in addition to the yardage for any penalty in last 30 seconds (could be last minute).

  21. sariff420 says:
    Nov 7, 2016 3:24 PM

    Kind of like how spiking the ball is not intentionally grounding?
    ———————————————————
    Amen brother!

  22. iriusred67 says:
    Nov 7, 2016 1:21 PM
    That’s such a cheap move, I’m surprised Bill Belichick didn’t think of it first.
    ———————————————————————————–
    He’s probably used it before. The difference is that he wouldn’t mention it so that others wouldn’t know and copy that.

  23. The Ravens did much the same thing at the end of Super Bowl 47. Baltimore held everyone rushing the punter knowing they were giving up a safety anyway. It gave the punter more time to run around the endzone to kill more clock so SF would have no time left after the free kick.

  24. As a Saints fan I have to admit this was actually a smart move! Upside you prevent a TD and there really is no downside because they were already in field goal range.

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