In the second half of Sunday's NFC Championship game, Lions coach Dan Campbell denied fourth-and-short field-goal tries twice. Detroit failed both times.
First, the Lions led 24-10 with 7:03 left in the third quarter. Fourth and two from the 49ers' 28. If successful, a 45-yard field goal would have put the Lions up 27-10. Reynolds dropped pass.
Lions fell behind three later. They had fourth and three from the San Francisco 30 at 7:38. The Lions tried again instead of a game-tying 47-yard field goal (which may have been missed). Now it wasn't dropped since the throw never had a chance.
The 49ers marched down the field, scored a touchdown, pulled ahead by 10, and that was it. Lions coach Dan Campbell was asked about the two fourth-down missteps after the game.
"I just felt really good about us converting, and getting our momentum and not letting them play long ball," he added. You know, they bleed the clock out. Regaining the upper hand was my goal. I understand hindsight's ease. Yes, I understand. I don't regret my choices. And that's hard? It's hard. It failed because we didn't provide. I just don't. I know I'll be watched. That's the deal, man. It didn't work out."
An argument about balancing aggressiveness/analytics and good football tactics will be saved for later. Campbell's aggression has propelled Detroit's revival.
He may learn from this. He may stop being mindlessly aggressive by making more calculated decisions that weigh all circumstances. Overall, he's right. It failed. There will be plenty of criticism for his decisions.
That's the drawback of unabashed aggression. Sometimes taking a breath and stepping back changes your mind. Decision that may have changed everything. A move that may have put the Lions in their first Super Bowl. The Lions advanced by being aggressive. Aggression also halted progress.
STAY TURNED FOR DEVELOPMENT