A Questionable Decision

Not a long post today because I’m on the road (bye week excuse), but I just wanted to touch on an question that’s been bugging me since the Eagles-Redskins game last Sunday.

Why did the Eagles not try to kick the field goal on fourth and two from the Redskins 32 yard line, with three minutes left in the third quarter? 

A successful field goal in that spot puts them up 23 to 6, meaning the Redskins would need three scores to get even or go ahead. That was an unlikely proposition given that their offense was led by Rex Grossman. But Andy Reid opted to go for the first down instead.

Making a field goal from that distance certainly isn’t easy. Last year kickers made only 75 percent of kicks between 40 and 50 yards. A 47-harder would have been on the lower end of that too. But converting the first down is no picnic either — it’s roughly in the range of 55 to 60 percent likelihood. 

What did the Eagles stand to gain with that first down? A touchdown doesn’t do you significantly more good at that spot than a field goal. And even if you make the first down, there’s a good chance you still won’t reach the end zone.

So why did Reid go for it? Was it the better strategic decision? Does he want to set a new, aggressive tone, like he has told the media a few times? Or could it be something else?

Perhaps something like he doesn’t trust his rookie placekicker? You know, the one who has attempted just a single field goal this season over 38 yards.

Just a thought.