“Burned by a pass interference call and then a touchdown catch by now Hall of Fame Tight End Tony Gonzalez, strong safety Clinton Hart swatted away Tyler Thigpen’s 2-point conversion pass intended for Gonzalez with 23 seconds left to preserve the Chargers’ 20-19 win over the lowly but scrappy Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.” -Associated Press November 9th, 2008
The 2008 Kansas City Chiefs were 1-8 after that 2-point conversion attempt. It was probably the right call by Coach Herm Edwards. He had Pro-Bowl talent on the field who were playing for pride at that juncture in the season.
A Peek at Herm’s NFL Resume
In 2006, Herm’s first year with Kansas City, he took Dick Vermeil’s Chiefs from 10-6 to 9-7. That year 9 wins were good enough for a Wild Card Play-Off Game.
The Chiefs lost to Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts 23-8. Manning tossed 3-interceptions and still won. Herm’s play-off team ended year one with one more win than a loss at 9-8.
In that playoff game, Coach Herm’s KC offense was described as “inept” and Kansas City’s initial first down came with 3:34 remaining in the third quarter. Indianapolis had four sacks and two interceptions while the Chiefs managed 126 total yards.
ASU’s 23 Games Under Coach Herm Edwards
In 2018 Herm Edwards had talent at every skill position and carried a 7-6 team in 2017 under Coach Graham to a 7-6 team in 2018. However, in the first year under Herm, there were several signs he was moving things in a new, more competitive direction, specifically on the defensive side of the football.
Four of ASU’s seven Wins in Herm’s inaugural season came by three points or less. With a talented roster, the Sun Devils could have finished 4–8 just as easily as 9–3. Although Arizona State was in the hunt for the Pac-12 South title, it was a down year for the division. Four of the six teams including perennial front-runner USC finished with losing records.
The Significance of the ASU-Oregon Game last year
On the second to last Saturday of the season, a 31–29 loss at Oregon ended ASU’s prospects for a shot at the PAC-12 Championship.
The Sun Devils won three consecutive games en route to Eugene. Like several times this year, Danny Gonzalez’s Defense was stout in the second half, surrendering just 3-points to the Ducks.
After a 10-play, 75-yard drive, Manny Wilkins ran in a 1-yard touchdown with 4:31 remaining in the game. Then…
Herm Edwards called for a 2-point conversion to tie the game.
On the attempt, Frank Darby caught a dart from Manny in the back of the end zone. It was ruled his toe was out of bounds. Minutes later, Oregon secured the 31-29 victory.
Should Herm have opted for the extra point instead and then played the next 4:35 to “win the game”? Perhaps. He could have depended on his stout 2nd-half defense to put ASU in a position for a game-winning field goal, but 4:35 was more than enough time for the Ducks to put another 7 on the board.
After the Oregon Loss, Herm said, “We fell a little short, and that’s kind of how it’s been for us. We’ve lost games by one score, and if you win a couple more of those, you’re not sitting in this position. Our record is what it is, and we fell a little short tonight.” Herm used this same statement 26 times in his last two years in Kansas City by the way.
Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal is now in his second-year in Eugene. Last year he finished 9-4, and his Ducks currently sit at 9-1 this season. In the two years prior to Cristobal’s arrival, Oregon finished 7-6 and 4-8.
The Ducks will try to extend their winning streak to 10 games and keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive on Saturday night in Tempe. On the other side, Arizona State has lost 4 straight conference games.
Today, the Sun Devils sit at .500, with five wins and five losses. Last year ASU was 6-4 at this same juncture. The Devils have speed, athleticism, and talent this year, but the result has been inept offensive numbers, a sliding defensive game, and finally, undisciplined play and increased penalties.
You won't want to miss intros this week 👀 pic.twitter.com/szUWFCEk1F
— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) November 21, 2019
At this point, the 2019 Sun Devils are playing for an additional 15 practices and a lower-tier Bowl bid in December, a far-to-frequent scenario in Tempe when fans are clamoring for more.
How prepared Herm and the Sun Devils are for Oregon and Arizona will be a sign of where this program is going.
Watch for our Arizona State vs. Oregon analysis tomorrow morning. In the meantime, shop StayTrueApparelCo.com and enter special code “DUCKCONFIT” at checkout for an added 15% Off.
More Good Stuff
— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) November 18, 2019
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 18, 2019
Go Dad!!! https://t.co/6g6zMtkKHH
— Jordin Sparks (@JordinSparks) November 22, 2019
The first NFL catch of many for @NkealHarry15 😈
— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) November 19, 2019