With his team trailing 17-13 and facing fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with three minutes to play on Sunday, Falcons coach Dan Quinn made a surprising decision: He kicked a field goal rather than going for the touchdown.
As it turned out, that decision didn’t work. The Falcons’ defense couldn’t stop the 49ers’ offense on the next possession, and the 49ers ran out the clock to win 17-16.
But Quinn isn’t willing to concede that he made the wrong decision. After the game, he defended his call.
“I chose to kick it there,” Quinn said. “Thought we were getting the stops defensively, we’d get the kick, get stops, use our timeouts and then go attack on offense. We’re a really good two minute team on offense. So, that was the reasoning for it. We didn’t stop them on the third down, they converted. Really that’s where the game took place, so I wanted to make sure I explained our thinking going into that one.”
Quinn says his decision shouldn’t be seen as a lack of confidence in his offense’s ability to gain a yard when they need a yard.
“The way I chose to do it in that one was to, ‘Let’s kick it, get the stop.’ I felt like we were stopping defensively and we’d go stop it again and go win it that way,” Quinn said. “Looking back, yeah, it’s always a chance to second guess. You have two ways to go win it, go try and get it right there, kick, get another stop and then go down. So, could have went either way. I chose to go the way to kick it and get a stop and go win it in two minute. I just have such belief in our guys both offensively and defensively.”
That explanation won’t sit well with a lot of Falcons fans, who think that if the coach has such belief in his guys, he should believe in them to score the game-winning touchdown from the 1-yard line. Quinn can defend his call, but it was the wrong call.