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 CSNBayArea.com. “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.