Dan Campbell admits he ‘Gambled and lost’ on crucial decision vs. 49ers
In the NFC Championship game's closing moments, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell faced a critical decision. With the Lions trailing by ten points and just over a minute remaining, Campbell chose to run the ball on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, a gamble that resulted in a loss of yardage and necessitated a time-out.
Why it Matters
This choice, which Campbell later acknowledged as a gamble that didn’t work out, was made in the belief that the Lions could capitalize on their previous offensive momentum. However, the failed attempt and subsequent loss of a crucial timeout played a pivotal role in the game's final outcome, as the Lions were unable to recover the onside kick, allowing the 49ers to run out the clock.
What Did Dan Campbell Say?
On Monday, Campbell admitted that his decision to run the ball on third down rather than throwing was a gamble that lost.
“Yeah, look the easy thing to do is to throw it,” Campbell said. “Probably should’ve been the right thing, but for me, I wanted to run it. I thought we would just pop it. We had just (ran a) two-minute (drill) all the way down the field, throwing the football, and they were in a four-down front. I believed we’d walk right in. We just missed a block, so then yeah, I’ve got to use a timeout.
“… It didn’t work out. I gambled and lost.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Crucial Decision: Campbell chose a running play on third-and-goal, which resulted in a loss of yards.
- Reflecting on Choices: He acknowledged the decision to run the ball as a gamble that backfired.
- Outcome Impact: The failed play and loss of a timeout contributed to the Lions' inability to recover an onside kick, sealing their fate in the game.
The Bottom Line – A Lesson in Leadership
Dan Campbell's candid admission of his decision-making gamble against the 49ers offers a lesson in the complexities and pressures of NFL coaching. His openness in acknowledging a failed gamble is a testament to his integrity and commitment to learning and growing as a coach. As the Lions move forward, Campbell's experience in this game will undoubtedly shape his future decisions, illustrating the continuous evolution and adaptability required in NFL coaching. For the Lions and Campbell, this moment, though painful, is a stepping stone in their journey toward building a resilient and competitive team.