Dan Campbell’s 4th down gambles were costly in Lions loss to Seahawks

In a perfect game

What would you expect the score to be ?

To me the Lions needed the handful of plays
No turnovers as a start or getting some back. Dan said they’d continue to work at stripping the ball.

The nfl games are mostly close. To me the biggest was not going up two scores which imo would’ve impacted Seattle play calls

But playing close in a game where your minus in the turnover battle is also a coach doing decent of keeping team engaged and competing.

Defense needs to get better but team needs to be clutch and close out those few meaningful plays.

Gibbs drop and missing Gibbs alone would’ve gone a long way towards making him look like an impact player. Those are execution … unless it’s coaching.

Here’s my thing. It’s very unlikely IMO that it gets toned down all that much. I believe that the braintrust really does believe it’s the best way to play and tbh I think the probabilities probably support their thesis. Since I don’t think it will change much I’m not going to get too worked up about it.

My problem with his calls in this game vs the chiefs game.

In the chiefs game his calls were on the basis of trusting his players.

In this game the decisions came across as not trusting his players.

Fake punt trusts your players. Going for it on 4th and more than a yard is not trusting your defense.

Dont leave points on the field unless you are sure you will make it. The fake punt has a surprise element to it. Going for it doesn’t.

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I believe there are parameters.

  1. Overall football strategy, which I think folks are still struggling to accept, especially with clock management to end halves. There is a point when timeouts begin getting called. Same with 4th downs. When a drive stalls in plus territory, just beyond the kicker’s range, playing for the 1st is the calculated best move. So, you’re at the +42 and looking at a 59 yard field goal or a punt, we’re going for the 1st down.

  2. The energy of the team. Will a shot here have a bigger chance of building your team’s energy and confidence? Greater than the risk it could deflate them? He’s going for it. Is it a kill shot that could put your opponent in panic mode? He’s going for it.

  3. Strategy against specific opponents. Specific weaknesses, tendencies or matchups that dictate a tighter or more patient approach vs a more wide open approach. Do you expect a 12 to 7 slobberknocker or a 41 to 38 shootout.

For me, it’s hard to just categorize all 4th down decisions in a single bucket labeled “aggressive” or to either condemn or praise those decisions without considering all of the variables.

This is where I’ve landed, too. Get those 3 points. Pin them back. Down and distance made both of those decisions easy, but he trumped them, which backfired. That surprise punt against KC (and success doing it) puts pressure on the opponent, too. This is what I think he was trying to do against Seattle, too, but it was an unnecessary gamble, IMO.

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I’m not going to rehash it but obviously I was a fan of the approach to end the game. I would tweak the approach but I thought making sure Seattle had no time to respond was the correct course of action. I respect the right of potentially the majority of fans to disagree but I personally I get what he was going for and dig it. I’ve seen Sean Payton treat the clock similarly as well so I’m not surprised but it. I very much disliked the lack of urgency on the second to last drive though.

I agree with most everything else.

Though I believe that Dan was very much trusting his offense. He was giving them the highest degree of difficulty assignment. Give me a TD with six seconds left. That IMO shows a lot of confidence in Jared and the offense.

I agree that he did not have faith in the defense but can you blame him?

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Agree and as an example I submit Caldwell who went for it enough in 4th his stat sheet suggested aggressive but then if you add in the times they had to go for it on 4th due to no other option

If you take those out
Imo he looks much more conservative
While on paper
He looks like he was aggressive

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Just remember….the losses are much more than the wins since 1957

I will say I think the 4th down antics cost us the game against the chicks. But so many other things did as well.

I unfortunately have to say that same bullheaded 4th down attitude probably won us the KC game.

I disagree about the 4th downs.

Where Campbell blew this game was 1:44 left with 3 time outs and on the 50 yard line, he played for a FG instead of the win.

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I will just leave this here:

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Nice. Data says our coach is a better game manager than all but 3 in the league.

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Feast your eyes on this…

Campbell is a risk taker. It’s going to backfire sometimes. It also helped us win a lot of games last year. Some of those fake punts completely changed the momentum of games. So you gotta look at both sides of it.


Even last start to season
His aggressive calls that missed were close and perhaps the difference in losing
But became the clutch plays/ aggressive calls they started to convert later in season for wins.

Scary, I think Carlos M wrote an article that you just summed up in four sentences, prior to the Seattle game.