After opting to go for it on fourth down instead of attempting field goals twice in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell is steadfast in defending his choices, regardless of the ultimate outcome.
“I don’t regret those decisions,” Campbell affirmed to reporters. “And it’s hard, it’s hard because we didn’t come through and it wasn’t able to work out. But I don’t. I don’t.”
During the game, the Lions held a 17-point lead at halftime but faltered in the second half, allowing the 49ers to mount a comeback and secure a 34-31 victory. Campbell made two critical decisions to aggressively pursue extended possessions rather than opting for field goals.
“I just felt really good about us converting.” – Dan Campbell on aggressive 4th down calls pic.twitter.com/ia3ZjA5qbB
With a 24-10 lead in the third quarter, Detroit had the chance to make it a three-score game with a field goal. Instead, Campbell chose to go for it, and a dropped pass by Josh Reynolds from Jared Goff thwarted the first-down conversion.
In the fourth quarter, trailing, a field goal would have tied the game at 27. However, Campbell once again elected to go for it on fourth down. Unfortunately, Goff’s incomplete pass allowed the 49ers to seal the game with a touchdown.
Acknowledging the skepticism surrounding his decision-making, Campbell stated, “I understand the scrutiny I’ll get, that’s part of the gig, man. But, it just didn’t work out.”
While Campbell sees a bright future for the Lions under his leadership, the sting of Sunday’s loss will linger. Detroit can only hope that Campbell will glean valuable lessons from his mistakes as the team aims to remain in title contention in the upcoming seasons.