Dennis Allen defends not letting Janikowski try a 58-yard field goal


In the first quarter of Sunday’s loss at Atlanta, the Raiders faced fourth-and-8 at the Falcons’ 40-yard line, and coach Dennis Allen decided to punt instead of letting Sebastian Janikowski try a 58-yard field goal. In a game the Raiders ended up losing by three points, does Allen now wish he had tried to score three points there?

Nope. Allen says that in the first quarter, he didn’t want to risk giving the Falcons good field position.

Not that early in the game,” Allen said, via “A 58-yarder against that offense, your percentages, even though Sebastian is very capable of kicking a 58-yarder, I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Sebastian kicking a 58-yarder, but I think in that situation against that team, my decision was it was the right thing to do to try to pin them back and make them go the long way.”

Allen noted that the Raiders were playing a good team with a good offense as part of the reason he didn’t want to risk giving the Falcons good field position, but you could also make the opposite argument: Because the Falcons are a good team with a good offense, the Raiders are probably going to need to put a lot of points on the board to beat them, so why eschew an opportunity at three points in the first quarter? Especially when Janikowski has one of the strongest legs in the league and had made a 64-yard field goal in pregame warmups?

It’s impossible to know how the rest of the game would have been different if the Raiders had tried that field goal, but it seems like a situation when the Raiders should have been aggressive.

54 responses to “Dennis Allen defends not letting Janikowski try a 58-yard field goal

  1. His reasoning did not make sense. You have a kicker with arguably the strongest leg the league has ever seen kicking in a dome and you don’t try to go ahead and kick it? It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Just like the hiring of Greg Knapp

  2. You can’t defend not going for the field goal. Sebass has one of the strongest legs in the league and was kicking in a dome, what more do you want. And even if he missed it was early enough in the game that you could have over came anything the Falcons would have done. He is a joke….

  3. I agree his reasoning is flawed. He’s a young coach. Hopefully, he’ll learn. That’s the problem when you make a guy a head coach for the first time, he has to learn on the job. If he didn’t have an idiot like Greg Knapp as the OC, they would be scoring touchdowns and not worrying about 58 yead field goals.

  4. I think kickers are a strange breed. Sebastian probably took it in stride because he’s a professional. Other kickers in the league might not.
    Not kicking a long one early can send the wrong message to the rest of the team, not just the kicker.
    I would have insisted on the points.
    Get them when you can, not just when you need them.

  5. All good points. Unless Jano shanks it or the Falcons block it. Then the story is what was he thinking going for it so early in the game and giving the Falcons such great field position. Raider fan is never happy…

  6. Pet peeve of mine when some use a final score and how things would have played out from a play so early in the game. Say he made/missed that early game field goal…Who’s to say events would have played out with the rest of the game in the exact same way that would have made that three point loss a tie (assuming the kick was made)?

    As for GoRaidersGoSpurs there is the other side that he does have faith in his ‘D’ that burying the Falcons would allow his ‘D’ to rise up and once more get good field position by the punt. Not to mention the Raider defense has been prone to giving up good yardage to opposing offenses….

    No that early in the game I have no problem with playing the field position game….

  7. This is a classic case of Monday oops Tuesday no wrong again, Wednesday, sorry missed it by a day, Thursday morning quarterbacking. You could do this every week, every game and every with every coach. Come on MDS, give us something news worthy.

  8. FG tries of over 50 yards is not a high percentage kick. Just because it’s in a kickers range doesn’t mean it’s a chip shot. Seems like most of you have poor understanding of odds and probability and risk and reward.

  9. It seems to me its one or the other, either he has all the confidence in the world in Sebastian, in which case he let’s him kick, or he doesn’t.

    Actions speaking louder than words, and that will come back to bite him in the ass because destroying the confidence in your kicker is never good for the team.

  10. I don’t know whether or not this dude is a good coach, but clearly he has some trouble with the English language. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world…” Does he require all the confidence in the solar system? The galaxy? Playing not to lose…

  11. that explanation should get him fired. that’s the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard.
    if you have confidence in your kicker, KICK THE BALL AND GET POINTS. last i checked it was the SCORE that determined the winner, not who had the longest drives….idiot
    ya didnt have any reservations about trotting him out there against us

  12. I agree with the coach here. You don’t try 58 yard field goals in the first quarter. If you miss, which is likely, you give the opponent a short field. The percentage play is to punt and try to pin them deep.

  13. A 58 yarder for Seabass is like a 40 yarder for anyone else. He says he has “all the confidence in the world in Sebastian”, yet his actions show otherwise. If the have the best kicker in the league, USE HIM. Also, if you are playing a team with a great offense, why wouldn’t you want to put up as many points as possible instead of just giving them mediocre field position? The Raiders where a long shot to win this anyways, they should of known to go for points ANY time they could.

  14. It does not make sense that a coach does not take advantage of his team strengths. Seabass is one of the best kickers in football and any time he is in range he should be used. That three would have won the game and people would be talking about a victory instead of yet another loss. You Play To Win The Game!

  15. ddogdaddy says:Oct 18, 2012 7:49 AM

    This is a classic case of Monday oops Tuesday no wrong again, Wednesday, sorry missed it by a day, Thursday morning quarterbacking. You could do this every week, every game and every with every coach. Come on MDS, give us something news worthy.


    I was on a live chat of one of the Raiders beat writers during the game and there was unanimous backlash from the fans and even the reporter right when the punt was called. So, no, this isn’t a case of MMQB.

    Dennis Allen is not an aggressive coach.

  16. db105 says:
    Oct 18, 2012 8:03 AM
    FG tries of over 50 yards is not a high percentage kick. Just because it’s in a kickers range doesn’t mean it’s a chip shot. Seems like most of you have poor understanding of odds and probability and risk and reward.
    Not when it comes to Seabass, he’ll make that kick 9 times out of 10.

    It seems like it’s YOU that has a poor understanding here, buddy.

  17. This season is basically a 16 game tryout for next year for everyone except the coaches. All things considered, the most effective player on this squad right now is Jano. I think most coaches would want to utilize their best weapons whenever the opportunity arises. Playing it safe has NEVER been the Raider way.

  18. Here’s a fact, jano has a better chance making a 58 yard field goal than the raiders winning a game. When the best player on your team is the kicker, you let him do his job

  19. Raiders have a good kicker and a good punter, and use them both too much. Having to settle for a kick after being 2nd and goal at the 1 bothered me a lot more than not trying one from 58.

  20. I never understand the “not that early in the game” concept. Are field goals worth more in the fourth quarter? If you have “every confidence in the world” in your kicker, you take points where you can get them. The idea of trading points for field position is ludicrous.

    Doesn’t it occur to anyone that leaving points on the table is the REASON you are forced later in the game to take more risks to make up for the points you didn’t get earlier?

  21. Im with allen id rather back them up then give them half a field to score. Then sebas misses and people are saying y did he go for it…punt it idiot. People know everything after the facts. Smart coaching finally.

  22. As strong as Jano’s leg is, it doesn’t mean he’s automatic. He’s slightly above 50% for his career in 50+ yd FG’s. His percentage for over 55 yds is probably lower too.

    Not to mention, two play later the Raiders picked off Ryan and kicked a FG as a result. This had no affect on the game.

  23. “A 58 yard FG for Seabass isn’t a big deal.”

    He is 36-68 on 50+ yard field goals. so 55.9% on his career from 50+. So while he definitely has the leg to kick a 58 yard FG the chances of him making that field goal are almost a coin flip. So in this case I think it was the correct call.

    Plus like Nabby said they picked off Ryan 2 plays later so not kicking that FG didn’t cause them to lose the game. Nice try though.

  24. “The idea of trading points for field position is ludicrous.”

    Disagree. In most cases yes it is ludicrous. However when you are talking about slightly over 50% chance of getting those points or pinning them deep and not letting them have the ball at around midfield I’d go with the punt.

  25. Actually, it’s not a chip shot even for him.
    Sebastian Janikowski is about 70% from +50. That early in the game seems like sound reasoning. If
    Janikowski would have missed and the Falcons had marched down and scored, everyone would have criticized Allen for not punting. Maybe if Allen could trust his defense, he would have kicked it. But you’re in Atlanta with a good team, you don’t gamble that early in the game.

  26. Actually, Sebass is about 50% from that distance. What the coach would be risking is about a 50% chance of putting 3 points on the board v. giving the Falcons a very short field.

    I think he did exactly the right thing. Try to pin them deep and that defense that people are saying he didn’t trust can keep them deep and you create a field position advantage.

    If All-Pro punter Lechler pins ATL deep rather than kicking into the EZ maybe OAK wins the game and nobody is questioning the decision to kick.

  27. As a Raider fan living in Dallas I see the same criticisms of Allen that I heard down here about Jimmy Johnson during his first season. Not saying Allen will win 2 Super Bowls, but I know a guy who played football with him at A & M and he told me no one will out work Allen. They are rebuilding. They are playing a guy at corner that has never played it before. They have below average receivers/linemen on both sides of the ball/and almost any other position you can name. Give them time. To quote Shemp, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was Syracuse.”

  28. talonh says:Oct 18, 2012 12:14 PM

    Seabass is 38 for 68 55.9% career from 50+. Shane Lechler is your punter.

    Coach made the correct decision.


    More recently, Janikowski is 9 of his last 12 from 50+ (75%).

    All three misses over that span were on grass, outdoor fields and one of the three was blocked.

    This game was in a dome.

    Whether he makes it or misses it, not going for it sends a message about playing scared. That’s something we never had to worry about with Hue Jackson.

    Should’ve kicked it.

  29. just saying if they would of, could of ,should of, is all hype……bottom line they lost….and there are plenty of more reasons than this. If they did and missed, article would have been, does allen regret trying that kick?

  30. also lets point out the other fact…raiders were on the 40, and lechler punted the ball into the end zone, placing the ball on the 20…so it was a net 20 punt….i think allen was hoping that lechler was going to pin them inside the 10, but most raiders fan know lechler just has a cannon, not precision. Allen will learn that as well

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