Add former Falcons wide receiver Roddy White to the vast number of people who think Atlanta should have just run the dang ball in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI.
White didn’t pull any punches on the We Never Played the Game podcast hosted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Jeff Schultz and Zach Klein of Atlanta’s WSB-TV. He said he would have “literally” fought former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan over the play calling decisions that led to the loss.
The Falcons led 28-20 in the fourth quarter, and after catches by Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones, Atlanta found itself on the New England 22-yard line. After a run play for a loss of a yard on first down, Shanahan called a pass play. Ryan was sacked on a five-step drop, resulting in a loss of 12 yards and pushing the Falcons out of comfortable field goal range for Matt Bryant.
White said he told Jones that, had he been on the field for that second down, he would have jumped offsides on purpose to keep the play from happening.
“At that point, it’s second-and-16, you know they’re going to run the ball,” White said. “Or they’ll throw quick game (quick pass off a three-step drop). It wouldn’t be anything you can take a sack on.”
White did single out the former offensive coordinator for the play calls, but he also acknowledged that Shanahan shouldn’t bear the blame alone.
“As a coaching staff, you’re on the headset,” White said. “Nobody said, ‘Were going to run the ball three times.’”
There’s a history of conflict between White and Shanahan. White was vocal last season about his dissatisfaction with his role in the Falcons’ offense. His perspective hasn’t changed.