With a 4th and goal from the 2-yard line and a minute to go vs. the Bears, Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson decided to call the first of his timeouts instead of savings all three timeouts for a potential defensive stand had the Eagles been stopped on fourth down.
The Breakout Live team debates whether Pederson was right to use a timeout to set up the critical fourth down play, or if he should have saved his timeouts, knowing the Bears would have been backed up against their own goal line.
Pederson is an analytics guy, and the analytics absolutely, positively say save the timeouts. If the Eagles had failed on fourth down, the Bears would have be starting from inside their 2-yard line. If the Eagles had saved their timeouts, there’s a high degree of likelihood that the Eagles would have stopped the Bears on three plays from that position and received the punt inside Bears’ territory with 45 seconds or so still remaining on the clock. But by using the timeout, Pederson made the fourth down a do or die play.
They got it, and yes, the third timeout came in handy when it led to the missed field goal. But hindsight is 20/20. The right decision is to save the timeouts and give yourself as many chances to win as possible.
Senior News & Fantasy Editor
Hindsight is always 20/20 but I was aghast Pederson called a timeout in that situation. He turned two potential chances to win the game into one with the burning of that timeout. Of course, we all know it worked out so it had to be the right call? No.
Of all the teams in the NFL, we’ve been subjected to the idea that nobody relies on analytics more than the Eagles. Some have suggested it’s why the Eagles won the Super Bowl last year. There is no analytics sheet that told him to take that timeout. Had they failed, with only two timeouts the Bears could have run out the clock. With 3 timeouts they couldn’t have, had they not gotten a 1st down. Pederson was bailed out on that one as we fans were subjected to watching two Andy Reid disciples badly mismanage the final 2-minutes of that game, as Nagy let 30 seconds just tick off the clock under 2 minutes.
George “Cannonball” West
Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson played the end of the Wild Card game in Chicago perfectly. He needed to call time out to put in the play that scored the winning TD, and leave the clock with as little time left afterwards to prevent the Bears from having a legitimate chance to answer after that ultimate Eagle drive.
Pederson knew with the defensive secondary he has, ravaged by injury and #30 against the pass, they had no chance to stop the Bears. For the Eagles to win, they had to use that time out to score on the drive they did score on, after which the number if timeouts they had would be irrelevant. Or to put it more succinctly, Pederson’s choice to call his timeout when he did was obviously correct, because he won.
I’ll be real: I was perplexed when the Eagles called that timeout. Then again, I’m the same guy who won’t even invest without a guaranteed return, so what the hell do I know? Of course it worked out and Pederson looks like a genius. If that 4th down play had failed, though, we’d probably be talking about how dumb it was, especially with Chicago backed up against Philly’s incredible defensive front.
Doug Pederson is a guy who’s made a living on going high-risk, high-reward in his short tenure in Philly, and guess what? He’s been right more often than not. The dude called a successful reverse TD pass from his TE to his QB on 4th down in the freaking Super Bowl, for Pete’s sake! He’s built an identity in Philly and he’s committed to it, which I have to respect. Even if Philly goes down in New Orleans this weekend, you can guarantee it won’t be for a lack of cajones. Dougie and his boys will go down swinging.