The controversy over the busted 4th-and-2 playcalls deep in Giants territory early in the game on Sunday won’t go away fast enough for Eagles HC Doug Pederson.
“I still feel strong about those,” Pederson said at his day-after news conference. “I think the decisions to go for it just show confidence and belief in the guys at that time. I felt like we were moving the ball, and again, at the end of the day when you look at it, we had more opportunities in this game. To me, in my opinion, it didn’t come down to those two plays. There were enough things in this game, again, that cost us this football game. I still stick by what I did, how I chose to go for it in both of those situations.”
Facing a 4th-and-2 from the Giants 23-yard line, a run by quarterback Carson Wentz to the left was wrecked in the backfield for a loss of four. “We just failed on a block,” said Pederson. “It wasn’t a mental thing, it was just a physical error that we just missed on a block and it caused us not get a first down.”
Later in the quarter, Pederson dialed up a Darren Sproles run on fourth-and-1 from the Giants’ 6-yard line. The Giants got penetration up the middle and the 5-foot-6, 190-pound Sproles was stopped for no gain.
“I felt comfortable in everything we did, the way I called the game,” Pederson said.
He’s the head coach who also calls the plays on offense, so what choice do I have as a fan but to accept such decisons? I just come from the old school of scoreboard building which says if you are trailing 14-0 on the road in the 1st quarter, you take the chip-shot FG for 3 points.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins agrees with my old school, sort of:
“We’re not going to win ballgames like this being overly aggressive offensively and giving the ball away,” Jenkins said, via ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “We can’t be turning the ball over. We have to stay patient on offense, stingy on defense, aggressive on special teams. We have to be precise in everything we do.”
Jenkins implies he thought Doug should have put 3 points on the board early in those two first-quarter situations referenced above— that if he goes for field goals there, he has a chance to bank six points in a game that was decided by five.
“I really felt good about how we were moving the football,” Pederson said of his decision-making in those spots. “It was my decision, again, to stay aggressive on the field and stay aggressive with our team. It just came down to the way we were operating at the time.There’s a fine line, obviously, between being crazy, borderline crazy, and doing the right thing. But at the same time, I felt like, at the time, it was the right thing to do.”
“We’re right there. We’ve just got to continue to stay together and make sure that we don’t kind of wander off and forget what our whole goal is,'” Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge, but at the same time, we’re up for it.
“We’re going to get this thing turned around. We’ve got a bunch of guys in here who don’t like losing, and we all want to get it corrected. We ain’t going to blame nobody for nothing. We’re all in it together, and I think this group is definitely going to turn it around.”
Carson Wentz embraced the aggressive calls on offense, of course:
“In the middle of the games, as an offense you’re excited. It shows the coach believes in you. Obviously, we didn’t get a couple of them and that’s frustrating. That’s just kind of Coach Pederson’s style. He’s going to play aggressive, he’s going to be aggressive and we just have to execute those,” Wentz explained.
“We fully believe we’re a good football team. We fully know all four of these losses we have a chance to win and most of them we kind of hurt ourselves. Today was the two interceptions early … we just kind of keep kicking ourselves in the tail early on. We know we’re a good football team and we’re going to bounce back,” Wentz added.