Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni bucked the trend of essentially automatically punting on fourth downs.
The second-year head coach instead routinely opted to keep the offensive personnel on the field in many situations in an attempt to secure a first down.
However, Sirianni’s aggressive approach was met with some criticism when it came to a pair of crucial fourth downs in Super Bowl LVII.
But, on 4th-and-3 from the Eagles’ 32-yard line, trailing 28-27, with under 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Sirianni decided to punt.
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The decision led to Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney’s record-setting 65-yard punt return. Tony was tackled just a few yards short of the goal line, and just two plays later Kansas City found its way into the end zone.
Despite the result, Sirianni stood by his decision.
“I think you get 32 out of 32 NFL coaches punting there. There are no regrets,” Sirianni said.
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What other NFL coaches would have done in that situation is anyone’s guess, as the analytics were not in favor of Sirianni’s call.
Sirianni did stick with his normal aggressiveness late in the second quarter of the game, when he left the offense on the field on 4th-and-5. With the game tied at 14, Philly dialed up a quarterback draw, which resulted in a 28-yard gain by Jalen Hurts.
Just five plays later, Hurts scored a touchdown on another quarterback draw. The Eagles later went into the locker room up 24-14 at the half.
Conversely, a conservative decision by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid resulted in a missed opportunity for Kansas City in the first quarter. With the game tied at seven, Reid and the Chiefs faced a 4th-and-3 at the Eagles 24-yard line.
Kicker Harrison Butker would go on to hit the left upright and miss a 42-yard field. The miss seemed to shift momentum to Philly’s side for much of the remainder of the first half.
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The Chiefs could only muster 11 yards on eight plays up until halftime.
The Eagles converted an impressive 22 fourth downs over the course of the regular season, which represented the second-most in the league.