FanShot

FO: A Notable Failure of the Week - Dallas 4th try

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Teams: Dallas at New York Giants Situation: fourth-and-8 at opponent 30, trailing 27-20 in fourth quarter with 1:56 left Play: Matt Cassel to James Hanna for 6 yards Air yards: 2 ALEX: minus-6 We had some good choices from Tennessee and Philadelphia, but those will be covered in Clutch Encounters tomorrow. This was a very crucial fourth-down play in the final two minutes. The Giants rushed four, Matt Cassel had time, but he still checked down to James Hanna, who was engulfed by three Giants two yards short of the sticks. Dallas never got another chance after muffing a punt to end the game. For starters, why was Hanna even on the field? He started the game and seemingly has moved ahead of the disappointing Gavin Escobar, but why have him run a route when he's so slow? Dallas' personnel should have been a running back, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Devin Street as its five eligible receivers. Hanna has two targets all season and this was the second one. It's a bad decision to have him out there and it was a bad decision by Cassel to throw his way. Cassel had plenty of time and room to move to his left and make something happen. He did that (moving to his right) on the previous touchdown drive in the quarter. He also had Darren McFadden to his left, who has a better chance of running faster and/or breaking a tackle to convert than Hanna ever did. This was just a lousy play with the game on the line. Since 2006, we rarely see a minus-6 ALEX throw on fourth down. Of the 25 times it's happened, 11 converted for a first down. However, all of those conversions were to faster backs and wideouts, and half were thrown over the middle. Passes to tight ends were 0-for-4.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | ALEX: Week 7