Brandon Staley didn’t feel like Chargers were gambling on fourth down calls

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The Los Angeles Chargers elected to go for it on fourth down on five separate occasions in Thursday night’s 34-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chargers were successful on just two of the five attempts against the Chiefs, all of which came at least in field goal range. The decisions to go for it on fourth down unquestionable left some points on the board in lieu of looking for touchdowns instead of field goals. However, head coach Brandon Staley said after the game he remains committed to making such calls in the future and explained his rationale for the ones made Thursday night.

“It’s life in the NFL in decision making like that,” Staley told reporters after the game. “I think that from where my mindset is is that I know that the quickest way to win a game like that is to score touchdowns, not field goals, especially considering who’s on the other side. And to me, when you feel like you’re in an advantage situation, when you don’t feel like it’s a gamble and you feel like this is an advantage for you, then that’s going to be our mindset.

The first try came on the opening drive of the game with a decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the Chiefs 5-yard line. It looked like it would be successful too as Justin Herbert threw for for Donald Parham Jr. in the end zone. However, Parham was injured when the back of his head heavily impacted the turf and the ball came free. Parham would go to the hospital for further evaluation.

A quarterback sneak from Herbert led to a conversion of a fourth-and-1 on a second quarter drive that would end with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Guyton that gave the Chargers a 14-10 lead.

The Chargers could have kicked on a 19-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to make it a 17-10 game but elected to go for the end zone instead with Herbert throwing incomplete to Keenan Allen from the 1-yard line. A fourth-and-2 try in the third quarter fell incomplete on a pass to Jared Cook when a 46-yard field goal was a possibility.

Joshua Kelley converted a fouth-and-1 in the fourth quarter from the 11-yard line that continued a Chargers drive inside the Kansas City 5-yard line. However, Kelley would fumble three plays later attempting to drive over the line of scrimmage into the end zone as the offense came away with nothing once again.

The Chargers have been one of the most aggressive teams in the NFL at going for it on fourth down and Staley is confident in their decision making in such circumstances.

“I don’t think that any decision that we made tonight, I made tonight, was a gamble,” he said. “We felt like it was an advantage situation for us, and that’s why we did it. If we didn’t feel like that was the case, then we would have kicked a field goal or we would have punted. And that’s the way we’re going to do things around here. I know that our team embraces that mindset and we’re going to continue to do it every game we play moving forward.”

Via ESPN Stats and Information, and the Elias Sports Bureau, the Chargers are the first team to fail twice on fourth-and-goal tries in the first half of a game since the Chargers themselves did the exact same thing against the exact same opponent, the Chiefs, on the exact same day, Dec. 16, in 1984.

Brandon Staley didn’t feel like Chargers were gambling on fourth down calls originally appeared on Pro Football Talk