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Bills Coach McDermott Explains Puzzling Fourth Down Call

Matt Breida


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Matt Breida is tackled for a loss on a fourth-down play in opposition to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Buffalo Bills have developed a tried-and-true formulation for fourth-and-short conversions over the previous two years — stack the offensive line, put Josh Allen behind heart and let one of many league’s greatest quarterbacks go crashing ahead for a primary down.

However in Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Payments head coach Sean McDermott deviated from that formulation and bought disastrous outcomes. In his postgame press conference, McDermott defined precisely why he made the decision and the way he hopes the Payments will bounce again from the rough loss.

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McDermott’s Gamble Fails

The Payments had been main the Steelers 10-6 with slightly below 14 minutes left within the fourth quarter after they confronted a 4th-and-1. The Payments had already pushed to the Steelers aspect of the sector however weren’t but in subject purpose vary, so McDermott opted to maintain Allen and the offense on the sector and go for it. That is the scenario the place Allen would usually run a quarterback sneak, a part of the explanation the Payments led the NFL in fourth-down completion proportion final season, changing on 80 % of their makes an attempt.

McDermott tried a drastically completely different technique this time, nevertheless. After Allen faked a sneak towards the road, he rotated and threw a backward move deep into the backfield to operating again Matt Breida, which Steelers linebacker Jamir Jones snuffed out instantly. The Payments turned the ball over, and the Steelers took the subsequent drive for the go-ahead landing.

After the sport, McDermott stated that he believed subject place was essential and it was too near punt, however stated the Payments did not execute.

“I’ve bought to do a greater job of that, too,” he stated in a postgame press conference.

For some Payments followers, the play could have appeared very acquainted — and it performed out a lot better the primary time round. The Payments ran an similar play through the 2004 season, with Drew Bledsoe pitching to Willis McGahee and fooling the Seattle Seahawks protection.


McDermott’s Fourth-Down Choices Scrutinized

In every of the final two Payments video games — Sunday’s loss to the Steelers and the loss to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs within the AFC Championship recreation — McDermott’s fourth-down choices have come beneath scrutiny. Whereas on Sunday it was the play-calling, final season it was his resolution to accept subject targets.

After the loss to the Chiefs, McDermott additionally put the blame on himself and stated he regretted lining as much as kick to subject targets relatively than conserving the offense on the sector and attempting for a landing.

“Yeah, I did, I thought of it on each events, actually,” McDermott stated via video conference. “Perhaps if I needed to do it yet again I might have went for considered one of them.”

McDermott wasn’t the one one crucial of the workforce’s execution on Sunday. Allen stated there have been too many errors, although believes that the Steelers simply made an amazing play on snuffing out the ill-fated fourth-down try.

“It’s a play that we’ve type of had in our again pocket and coach calls the play and we go on the market and run it. Man made a superb play, I don’t know else to inform you, he made a superb play,” Allen stated, through WIVB.

READ NEXT: Analyst Predicts Monstrous Year for Bills’ Josh Allen, Makes New Prediction


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