Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell defended his fourth quarter play calling in Sunday's 37-31 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, insisting he wasn't playing for the tie after getting the ball back with 1:44 left in regulation.
"I never felt like we were crunched against the clock to score a touchdown," Campbell said. "We didn’t feel that offensively because we still had time, we had timeouts, and it wasn’t that we just — we weren’t able to convert. It was really more that. I felt like the time was — we were good. We were good.”
The Seahawks went three-and-out on their next possession, and after a penalty and sack forced Seattle to punt from its own 3-yard line, the Lions started their final possession at midfield.
Goff hit Reynolds for 12 yards and a first down on the first play of the drive, and Kalif Raymond took an end-around 11 yards on the next snap, giving the Lions a first-and-10 at their own 27.
LIONS GRADES: Turnovers to blame, not Campbell's time management
But rather than take a timeout to conserve clock, the Lions didn't snap the ball again until 32 seconds remained. Goff threw short to Jahmyr Gibbs on first down, then after a timeout, missed a throw low to Amon-Ra St. Brown on second-and-4.
When Gibbs was stopped after another short pass on third-and-6, Campbell let the clock tick down to 3 seconds before using his second timeout and sending Riley Patterson out for the game-tying field goal.
"There’s always the dance of how quickly you want to score," said Goff, who snapped the ball with 15 or fewer seconds on the play clock on each of the Lions' first three plays of the drive. "I wish I would’ve hit St. Brown on the in-breaker that kind of put us behind the sticks a little bit. Maybe I get through some of my progression on some of those other ones to get a little bit further down the field, get us in a little better strike zone to take that shot at the end zone, but ultimately we just didn’t get it done and it stinks.”
Campbell said he started the drive with two objectives: Do not give the ball back to the Seahawks, and drive down as deep as possible to score.
He said he would have gone for it on fourth-and-3 had the Lions been closer to a first down.
"I think the best way to put it is there was a risk I was willing to take dependent on what that yardage was for fourth down," Campbell said. "Once it hit fourth-and-3, it wasn’t worth it anymore for me."
The Seahawks won the toss in overtime and scored a touchdown on the period's first possession to win the game without giving the Lions offense another chance to touch the ball.
"It’s kind of always the worst-case scenario as a quarterback or an offense is get to overtime, you lose the toss, unfortunately, don’t get to touch the ball and it’s a credit to them," Goff said. "They got the ball in their hands and finished the game with it. But yeah, you’d like to have a chance there."
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions' Dan Campbell defends late-game play calling in OT loss