Doug Pederson

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

An ideal situation to go for two, Pederson got scared

Andrew Porter
December 10, 2018 - 10:32 am

With under two minutes to go in the game, 35-year-old warrior and should-be future Hall Of Famer Darren Sproles caught a short pass from Carson Wentz and wiggled his way into the end zone between two defenders. 

Related: Blame Pederson for Eagles' loss to Dallas Cowboys​

Despite being outplayed the entire game, the Eagles eliminated the deficit, making it 23-22 Dallas with under two minutes to go, pending the extra point. Doug Pederson had a decision to make: Go for two and the win? Pederson elected to kick the extra point, which was successful tying the game, but there was a penalty on the Cowboys. Pederson had yet another chance to go for two and the win, this time from one-yard closer, but he elected to enforce the penalty on the kickoff instead. 

He played it safe. 

Angelo Cataldi asked Pederson's about last season, when the same situation arose in a game at the Carolina Panthers. After a penalty, Pederson successfully went for two from the one-yard line and referenced a "60-40 success rate" after that game

"This year and last year are two different situations, two different scenarios, two different times," Pederson told Cataldi on Monday morning. "My thought process going into this one was, at the time—first of all, the Carolina I think was in the third quarter and we had plenty of football. This was in the fourth quarter and you're starting to run out of possessions. I felt at the time that we were still going to win that football game. And our defense was gaining momentum, we were beginning to put pressure on Dak, and doing some things that way. And so I felt real good about the decision just to kick the extra point and tie the score and give us an opportunity to win the game with another possession."

Amari Cooper, who had 217 yards, was destroying the Eagles' backup corners. 'The defense was gaining momentum?' That's debatable, Doug. This isn't hindsight or revisionist history, either. If there was ever an ideal situation to go for two and the win, that was it—and, simply put, Pederson got scared. 

The Eagles, who did gain some momentum late, were dominated throughout the game. 

Plays: DAL 93, PHI 48

Yards: DAL 576, PHI 256

First-downs: DAL 32, PHI 16

Third-down efficiency: DAL 10-19, PHI 1-9

Turnovers: DAL 3, PHI 1

To compound the issue, the Eagles were on the road, the penalty would have moved the ball to the Dallas one-yard line, and Philadelphia is 5-5 on two-point conversions this season. 

Let me be clear; the decision to kick the extra point does not make Pederson a bad coach and he's not the reason the Eagles lost the game (I'm not going as far as ESP did). All I'm saying is, Pederson played not to lose. He did not want to face the media if the Eagles failed on the two-point try and lost the game there. It's easier for the fans and media to swallow the overtime loss, it's more conventional. But that doesn't mean it was the right decision, because it wasn't. 

The Eagles should have gone for two, it was a no-brainer then and it's a no-brainer now.