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#pounditThursday, December 7, 2023

Josh McDaniels explains puzzling decision in loss to Steelers

Josh McDaniels in Raiders gear

Aug 4, 2022; Canton, Ohio, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels reacts during the Pro Football Hall of Fame game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One late-game call from Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels against the Pittsburgh Steelers changed the complexion of the game on Sunday night.

The Raiders lost 23-18 against the Steelers in part due to a decision to kick a late field goal as the Raiders trailed by eight at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Raiders were facing 4th-and-4 at the Steelers’ 8-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game. Instead of going for it, McDaniels brought out the Raiders’ field goal unit and cut the deficit to five. The Steelers would go on to burn precious seconds off the clock before punting with just 23 ticks left in the game, leaving very little time for Las Vegas to mount a comeback.

McDaniels was asked about the decision to attempt a field goal rather than go for it during his postgame press conference.

“Five-point game where you have an opportunity to win it with a touchdown if you get the ball back. Or you try to go for it there. If you happen to convert, then you’ve got to make a two-point conversion,” said McDaniels.

Oddly, McDaniels said they needed two possessions, potentially indicating he didn’t realize they could tie the game with a touchdown and 2-point conversion.

“You’re going to need another possession anyway,” McDaniels said.

McDaniels chalked it up to having to make a tough decision on the fly. But given the clock situation at the time with just around two and a half minutes left, the decision seemed like a losing gamble when they were down eight and needed a touchdown and two-point conversion.

McDaniels also pointed to their defense just being unable to force a stop at 3rd-and-2 following the two-minute warning. But given that they were still down five points, the Raiders would have still needed a touchdown following the field goal regardless.

The loss drops the Raiders to 1-2. McDaniels’ men will have a chance to get back to .500 next week against the Los Angeles Chargers.

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