Panthers head coach Ron Rivera’s decision to punt at the end of his team’s loss against the Falcons rather than go for it on 4th and less than a yard has been a topic of discussion among Carolina fans this week. The Panthers were past midfield, and Rivera decided to pin Matt Ryan and company deep rather than trying to ice the game by converting a first down.
It sounds like wide receiver Brandon LaFell disagreed with the decision.
“It’s fourth and inches, we’ve got Mike Tolbert, we’ve got Jonathan Stewart, some of the best power backs in the league,” LaFell told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte Tuesday. “I felt like we could have got that yard. And I didn’t want to put our defense in that situation, because we should have won the game right there with that possession.”
The situation the defense had to face was not a difficult one. Carolina was able to pin the Falcons at their own 1-yard line with 59 seconds remaining. Rivera clearly made the right choice, but his defense put Atlanta in a position to win when it allowed Roddy White to come down with a 59-yard prayer on the first play of the drive. They then failed to protect the sidelines and allowed Ryan to easily get his team into field goal range.
It’s easy to second-guess the coach when the end result is not ideal, but Rivera made the right call. As an offensive player, you can understand why LaFell wishes the coach would have given the offense a chance to win it. The fact that Atlanta prevailed doesn’t make Rivera’s decision the wrong one.
Thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for transcribing the interviewGoogle+