Four seconds remained on the game clock when Doug Pederson made a controversial decision to go for two points. Carson Wentz had just led his Offense down the field and rushed for a touchdown to bring the Eagles within a single point of the Baltimore Ravens. A 2-pt conversion would seal the deal and snap a vicious losing streak..an extra point sends it to overtime. Pederson opted to go for two, a decision that ultimately failed, handing Baltimore the victory..but the decision was absolutely the right one to make, regardless of what some might say.
Carson Wentz’s development:
The development of the Eagles franchise quarterback has become the prominent focus of the team this season. After being thrown into the deep end, Wentz swam to safety and has learned more in his rookie year than he arguably ever would have sat holding a clipboard.
The one thing he hadn’t done, was lead a game winning drive..and that very nearly changed after a clutch touchdown. Some writers have pleaded for the Eagles to sit Carson Wentz while others criticize the mentality of Doug Pederson, but the point is simple. In three years time, Wentz could find himself in a very similar scenario..only the result isn’t a meaningless win, it’s the difference between being crowned national champions and going home empty handed.
It’s absolutely imperative for Wentz to experience as many variables and different situations as possible in his rookie season, so he can be better prepared for when they next occur with higher consequence. If Doug Pederson decided to take the game to overtime, isn’t that displaying a lack of trust in a quarterback who had just led the team all the way down the field to put them in this scenario to begin with?
Wentz has far exceeded expectations in his rookie year, but the decision to go for two points gave him an experience that will be invaluable when the bigger picture is taken into account. It’s all about dealing with pressure and being prepared for any situation. The more you experience, the better suited you are to deal with it.
A short turnaround:
The Eagles play the Giants this Thursday, giving them the dreaded short turnaround. Take into account that the Bye Week was in week-4 and the Eagles are down to two running backs and an Offensive Line that helped the birds rush for over 100 yards against one of the most dominant Defenses in the league..and suddenly an extra quarter against such a well rounded team doesn’t make much sense.
Playoffs aren’t on the line, the season is over. Playing an unnecessary extra quarter only to potentially deflate the team with a loss makes little to no sense whatsoever. A short week and an extra quarter of football is a recipe for a sloppy showing on Thursday Night..and given that the Eagles are still winless against divisional opponents, they need all the help they can get.
Trust in the team:
The players are still all in on Doug Pederson, who is maturing week-by-week in terms of coaching. But after a rocky loss to the Bengals, he very nearly divided the locker room. By putting trust in his Offense to go out there and win this game, it naturally encourages synergy and reciprocation..two vital aspects to any successful Head Coach.
It would have been easy to kick the single point and walk off the field..but the Offensive leaders wanted to go for two..and depriving them off that opportunity may only cause yet another blip on the radar. Pederson made a bold decision in going for the home-run..but it was one that would have enhanced the respect of the locker room.
Making a statement:
The Eagles were 4/5 on 2-pt conversions this season and had already made one against the Ravens. Why wouldn’t you look to secure the game and walk away with a win, knowing that when inside the five, your Offense gets the job done? To give the Ravens a metaphorical advantage and then rip the heart of the stadium away from the team with a two point conversion would send shockwaves through the NFL’s playoff race and the way that many view both Pederson and his Eagles Offense..a risk worth taking.
Team were running hot:
The Eagles had just stormed their way down the field and drained the clock, meaning it all came down to this. As a perennial clock manager, this was a dream scenario for Doug Pederson, whose Offense drove the length of the field to pull the lead to a single point. Extinguishing that flame in order to send the team into another quarter of Football, in which they may never even see the Football seemed like a far greater risk given how balanced and efficient the Ravens Offense had been.
Would you rather:
A) Give Carson Wentz a shot at a home run and clinching the game, given that the team were 4/5 this season in these situations and had tired the Ravens Defense out on this drive?
B) Risk giving Joe Flacco and the Ravens Offense a shot at crushing a struggling Run Defense, burning an inconsistent Secondary and draining any remaining life out of the Eagles roster?
It’s a no brainer.
Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports