Pederson explains ill-fated, two-point strategy
BALTIMORE (973espn.com) - Everyone loved the decision but not everyone was on board with what Doug Pederson drew up for the Eagles’ ill-fated two-point conversion attempt that was the difference between winning and losing in Baltimore on Sunday.
After a fourth Caleb Sturgis field goal on the afternoon brought the Eagles to within a TD with just 2:22 remaining and Baltimore responded by bridging the two-minute warning with three ineffective runs, Philadelphia was in business when Sam Koch’s punt put the Eagles at their own 41-yard line.
Although it wasn’t exactly the most aesthetic drive you’ll ever see Carson Wentz marched Philadelphia down the field and put the Eagles on the precipice of victory with a 4-yard scramble into the end zone with just four seconds remaining.
The fans who braved the wind and rain for hours in Baltimore sat in stunned silence as Doug Pederson went for the kill and two points to win it.
Both sidelines were imploring their sides to finish things but the Eagles’ rookie signal caller sped up his read a little too quickly as Jordan Matthews broke off the line for a quick slant.
The ball came out of Wentz’s hands wrong.and was tipped at the line of scrimmage, allowing the Ravens defense to engage the receiver and hold on for the breathless victory.
While it was unanimous in support of Pederson’s idea to go for the win, some, including one really high-profile member of the Eagles’ front office was questioning why Ryan Mathews, who ran for a season-best 128 yards in the game, wasn’t in for the final play.
“We have certain packages that we do,” Mathews explained. “So, when my number is called, I try to make plays. ...I’m a player not a coach. You make it, you become a hero. Miss it and you don’t but I trust my teammates and coaches.”
Pederson also gave his spin in that he was expecting zero coverage and zero blitz and in essence preferred to have the better receiver on the field, which in this case was rookie Byron Marshall, just promoted from the practice squad this week and playing because Kenjon Barner injured his hamstring earlier in the game.
“In those situations, it’s a got-to-have-it situation for both teams. It doesn’t matter who the back is, they’re going to cover up all the gaps and either run it or throw it. Your chances with Carson throwing it are a little better in that situation.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen