there are other examples...quite a bit on the season if you look at the lead on the whole, even in the playoffs.
if your defense hasn't been successful against the other team's offense during the bulk of the game, but your offense has been faring pretty well against their defense, i'm sorry but you go with the one that's working, not the one that hasn't been.
you go with what has been working, not what "should" work or what some obsolete textbook says.
Yeah, tell John Fox and the Bronco's their late 4 qtr lead was big enough against the Ravens.
And in the same token, tell Atlanta, that their big lead against the 49ers were big enough as well.
You can't stop scoring (or trying to score) in this league, until its' 2min left in the 4th qtr and you have the ball--with a first down. If not, you keep trying to score. And if the other team keeps their starters in the game--trying to score points during a blow out, then you do the same. Don't stop scoring, until the other team pulls out their starters and cries uncle.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure if Rivera will ever learn his lesson. He appears, anytime he has more than a 14 pt lead (even if it's in the early 2nd or third qtr), he wants to run the clock out for the rest of the game. It's only when teams catch up and get close, when he wants to run a regular offense again. Even the Oakland game, the Panthers should have won by a much bigger margin. And Cam Newton could have thrown for over 300 or 400 yards. I think he had 230 (or so) by the half.
Rivera had done this through out the season, even in games the Panthers have won, he alway slows down the offense when he has a lead (even if some of us don't always realize it when the Panthers win by a reasonable margin). You never stop trying to score, unless/until the 2 earlier examples/reasons I gave (2min left in the 4th with a 1st down or other team takes out starters).