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Josh McDaniels defends questionable call to kick late field goal in Raiders loss

9/25/2023 1:41:38 PM
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Las Vegas Raider head coach Josh McDaniels made the choice not once, but twice, to kick a field goal down by eight instead of attempting to keep the drive alive late in the Raiders' 23-18 loss to the Steelers at home.

"You have two choices there," McDaniels said after the game via Bryan Murphy of The Sporting News. "You try to make it a 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 and then if you happen to convert, you have to make a two-point conversion ... those are the decisions you got to make."

With Las Vegas trailing Pittsburgh by eight and less than four minutes to go, the Raiders head coach made the curious decision to attempt a field goal to make it a five-point contest instead of going for it on fourth down and keeping the drive alive. 

Daniel Carlson knocked the 48-yard attempt through, but a flag was thrown on the play against the Steelers. Pittsburgh defensive end Demarvin Leal was called for leverage, which is when one player uses another to assist jumping up. 

Despite the second chance, Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense could not connect for a first down, setting up a 4th & 4 at the Steelers' 8-yard line with 2:22 remaining in regulation. Once again, McDaniels surprisingly elected for the three points, sending Carlson out for the 26-yard chip shot. 

McDaniels was asked about if the decision was due to a lack of confidence in the offense, who struggled against a tough Steelers defense for a good portion of Sunday night's contest. However, he shot down that hypothesis quickly. 

"No, you're gonna need another possession anyway," McDaniels said. "It's not a lack of confidence, we went for it multiple times."

The decision made little sense in either circumstance. Regardless if the team was down eight or down five, Las Vegas still needed to score a touchdown in order to stay alive in the contest.

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