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#pounditThursday, March 23, 2023

Brandon Staley defends 4th down calls against Chiefs

Brandon Staley on the sidelines

Brandon Staley has faced some criticism in the wake of his team’s overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, but the Los Angeles Chargers coach stood by his aggressive approach after the game.

The Chiefs beat the Chargers 34-28 on a walk-off touchdown in overtime. L.A. was plagued by poor execution in the red zone, and they turned the ball over on downs three times deep in Kansas City territory. A lot of people questioned whether Staley should have gone for it on fourth down in all of those situations. He said he didn’t feel like any of the calls were risky.

“From where my mindset is, I know that the quickest way to win a game like that is to score touchdowns, not field goals, especially considering who’s on the other side,” Staley said, via’s Kevin Patra. “To me, when you feel like you’re in an advantage situation, when you don’t feel like it’s a gamble, and you feel like this is an advantage for you, then that’s going to be our mindset. I don’t think that any decision that I made tonight was a gamble. We felt like it was an advantage situation for us. That’s why we did it. If we didn’t feel like that was the case, then we would have kicked a field goal or we would have punted.

“That’s the way that we’re going to do things around here. I know that our team embraces that mindset. We’re going to continue to do it every game we play moving forward.”

Execution and playcalling were much bigger issues for the Chargers than decision-making. The first time they turned it over on downs was on their first possession of the game, when they threw four straight incompletions from the Chiefs 5-yard line. They then went for it and were stopped on 4th-and-1 from the Kansas City 1-yard line with just 1 second left in the first half. L.A. was leading 14-10 at the time, so you could argue that taking the points in that situation and going up a touchdown would have been a better choice.

Then in the second half, the Chargers went for it on 4th-and-2 from the Kansas City 28. Again, the pass fell incomplete.

Staley is right to defend the calls. He knows teams typically need touchdowns, not field goals, to beat a potent offense like Kansas City’s. If the Chargers want to win important divisional games, they need to be better on fourth down.

Photo: Oct 31, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley looks on during the second half against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports


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