Trailing 20-7 early in the third quarter on Sunday, the Eagles faced fourth-and-1 at their own 34-yard line. Most coaches would have punted.
Doug Pederson is not like most coaches.
Pederson kept his offense on the field and called a quarterback sneak for Carson Wentz, who picked up the first down. The Eagles would then march down the field for a touchdown on the possession, and from that point on they took control of the game and won going away.
The FOX announcers said during the game broadcast that Pederson should punt, but Pederson said he didn’t consider that for a moment.
“It was about a half a yard, so there was no hesitation. I was going for it there,” Pederson said after the game.
Pederson has consistently shown a willingness to go for it on fourth down at times when other coaches won’t, and the results speak for themselves: He took over a moribund franchise and won a Super Bowl two years ago, won a playoff game last year and is 1-0 this year.
Perhaps we need to start thinking of Pederson as the coach who does the safe thing, and the coaches who take the ball out of their quarterback’s hands on fourth-and-short, and give it to the punter instead, as the ones who are taking a risk.