Pederson Explains Play-Call on Two-Point Play
The Eagles fought hard, but their valiant effort came up just short, when Carson Wentz's pass to Jordan Matthews was battled down at the line of scrimmage on their two-point conversion attempt, falling incomplete.
While the decision to go for two was embraced by many, it was the play-call that had people scratching their heads.
The Eagles were running the ball with regularity and success with Ryan Mathews running 20 times for 128 yards and a touchdown, but wasn't even on the field for the most important play of the game.
"In my mind there was zero opportunity to run, because what we anticipated is what we got defensively," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said when asked if he thought Mathews should have been on the field for the two-point play. "They gapped out. They zero blitzed us. There was not going to be a lane. It was going to be a one-yard loss if we tried to run the football at that time."
I always say on the Sports Bash if you can't get one year when you need it the most, maybe you aren't a good team. While the Eagles needed two yards on this play, Doug Pederson's response today told me a lot about what kind of coach he might be moving forward. Pederson's answer suggests that he will allow what the other team does to dictate his play call, as opposed to calling what his team does well. On Sunday, they were running the football well, but he didn't have confidence to stick with what was working.
"It didn't matter who was in the back field at the time," Pederson explained. "The fact of the matter was we weren't going to run the ball in that situation."
Maybe he should have.
Ryan Mathews was gaining 6.9 yards per carry, and had already scored on a two-point conversion attempt earlier in the game. Meanwhile, Wentz was gaining just 4.0 yards per pass attempt and Jordan Matthews just 4.5 yards per catch - yet Pederson elected to go with Wentz over Mathews.
"I know what we did the first two-point conversion," Pederson said when discussing why Mathews wasn't on the field after he scored on a two-point play earlier. "It was in the first half of the game when really I decided to go for two then because of the weather. So, that's a different situation, different scenario. This was a true, got-to-have-it situation and we had our best play at that time against that defense."
"They knew we were throwing the ball."