Good sports IQ

Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

It seems counter intuitive to think that scoring a late-game touchdown is a bad decision, however, in last week’s contest between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets, the Brown’s running back Nick Chubb admitted that he should not have run the ball into the end zone with 1:55 to play. 

Despite the fact that Chubb’s TD put Cleveland up 30-17 with short time to go, it gave the Jets possession of the ball and they used the opportunity to not only close the gap, but pull ahead by one, apparently making them the first team in 21 years to pull out a W in the final two minutes of play after being down 13 points. 

Obviously, there were many more things that went wrong with the Browns’ game in order for the Jets to score twice in less than two minutes. Defense had to have missed an assignment in order for Corey Davis to be wide open on the sideline and allowed to go 66 yards for a touchdown.

And offense had to know that the Jets would go for the onside kick, and been ready for it, yet New York was able to recover and then score again.

The rookie Cade York missed the PAT for the Browns after Chubb’s touchdown which, if he had hit, would have meant a tie at the end of regulation.

However, what it came down to is that the smart thing to do with under two minutes to play would have been for Chubb to go down rather than score that touchdown, because his team could have then knelt on the ball to secure the victory.

Chubb admitted it. He was in a similar situation two years ago where he stepped out of bounds rather than score so that his team could finish the game without the potential of giving their opponent another opportunity on offense.

Coaches also realized that they should have communicated to the huddle that keeping possession at that stage of the game was more imperative than scoring.

That’s just good football IQ, and all of these professionals have it. The reality is that sometimes, no matter how knowledgeable we are, we just make a mistake.

I had a conversation last week about sports IQ and high school athletes. It’s usually pretty apparent when athletes have knowledge of the game or, as I often call it, court/field sense.

They anticipate what is coming next. They read the defense, or the offense. Even if they don’t possess some amazing skill, their intelligence puts them at an advantage over even those who might be better athletes.

Understanding the ins and outs of your sport gives you an intangible advantage and can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

The cool thing about that is, even if you may not be the most talented athlete on your team, you have the potential to make a real difference in the success of your team. You can dedicate yourself to learning your sport to increase your IQ which benefits everyone but your opponent.

On another note, I have to give it up to the Jets because scoring twice in less than two minutes is pretty impressive. I remember watching Joe Montana (the GOAT) march his team (the 49ers) down the field in under two minutes to beat the Vikings back in 1989-1990 season and I remember the thrill of watching that play out. 

To score twice in less than two minutes is just plain amazing, so hats off to the Jets.


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