Detroit head coach Dan Campbell is still drowning in criticism for the Lions collapse in last Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Lions were a feel-good story and the majority of the country wanted to see them beat the favored-Niners and make it to the Super Bowl … What a great story that would have been.
Unfortunately, for several reasons, Detroit blew a 17-point lead and saw their dreams turn into a nightmare.
— Mons Deangelo (@MonsDeangelo) January 29, 2024
One of the biggest reasons for the Lions loss was Campbell’s decision to go-for-it on not one but two crucial fourth-downs … As you know, they failed to convert either one of them.
"I thought Dan Campbell got outcoached severely in the 2nd half… I truly understand Dan Campbell loves to go for it on 4th down… Everybody's gonna talk about analytics… Sometimes you have to play the game that day & understand how your team is playing." – Booger McFarland pic.twitter.com/88E9cO5my9
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 29, 2024
While supporters of the decisions point to the fact that it’s that same aggressive approach which got Campbell and the Lions to that point – many people feel there is a fine line between aggressive and reckless, especially in the playoffs.
Lions fans watching Dan Campbell lose the game for them by going for it on 4th down pic.twitter.com/DeGraAkcc4
— No Hands Nation (@SpeedDe86282699) January 29, 2024
Campbell is not one for regrets … He is the most authentic coach in the league. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he is more than willing to live and die with his gut-instincts.
However, he did admit that he regrets one thing about the loss to the 49ers…
No, it’s not either one of the fourth-down attempts … It’s the decision to run the ball on the crucial third-and-goal play when the Lions were down 10 and the clock was the biggest enemy.
Me, watching the Lions run the ball pic.twitter.com/8JuvPa7GmR
— Chellez✊🏾🇹🇹 (@Islandtrinigyal) January 29, 2024
“Look, the easy thing to do is to throw it … Probably should’ve been the right thing, but for me, I wanted to run it. I thought we would just pop it. We had just (run the 2-minute offense) all the way down the field, throwing the football, and they were in a four-down front, and I believed we’d walk right in,” he said.
“We just missed a block. So then, yeah, I’ve got to use a timeout. So, hindsight, throw it four times. But I believed in that moment it was going to be a walk-and-run, and it didn’t work out. So, I gambled and lost.”
Watching the Lions run the ball… pic.twitter.com/diS3EAqRK6
— Broke Naysayer (@MrPeoplesInc) January 29, 2024
Of course, it’s easy to look back and Monday morning quarterback the decision. As Campbell said, he truly thought they would score on the play. However, they didn’t, and the consequence was massive.
Not to excuse it, but the Lions were in quite a desperate situation and needed a miracle to come back. It’s not like it was a one-score game and Campbell’s decision directly cost them the game.
Dan Campbell going for it on 4th down in field goal range up 14 in the second half of the NFC Championship pic.twitter.com/5xOWNfKWs0
— CO Attendance Bias (@matt_semione) January 29, 2024
What are your thoughts on Campbell’s aggressive approach?
Should he have kicked the field goal on one (or both) of those fourth-downs?
Looking at the big picture, what do the Lions need to do to improve this offseason?
Will they make it back to the NFC Championship Game? … Or will they prove to be one-hit wonders???
"That's the wrong call… The one thing I learned about these big comebacks is momentum is every series."
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 29, 2024