Bill Belichick didn’t give much consideration to going for it on fourth-and-3

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New England Patriots
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Down by two with 59 seconds left in Sunday night’s game against the Buccaneers, the Patriots faced fourth-and-3 from the Tampa Bay 37.

Quarterback Mac Jones‘ third-down pass had just been batted down by linebacker Lavonte David to set up a significant decision — would the Patriots go for it or attempt a 56-yard, go-ahead field goal?

Of course, the Patriots sent out Nick Folk and he sent the kick off the left upright in the rain. That was it, as New England lost 19-17.

In his postgame press conference, head coach Bill Belichick was asked if he gave any consideration to going for it on fourth down instead of attempting a field goal.

“I mean, not really,” Belichick said.

Nick Folk told reporters he had full confidence in his 56-yard attempt and had made it from 58 yards in warmups. In fact, he even thought he made that 56-yard attempt.

“This one’s on me for this team,” Folk said, via Zack Cox of NESN. “This one’s on me.”

Even if Folk had made the kick, the Buccaneers would’ve had just under a minute with two timeouts to get in field goal position. That’s more than enough time for quarterback Tom Brady, who has been in that situation countless times over the course of his long career.

But Folk missed it and Brady came away victorious in his homecoming.

8 responses to “Bill Belichick didn’t give much consideration to going for it on fourth-and-3

  1. That was disappointing. With a first down, they control the game. Why give up with a minute left and facing a long kick in the rain? Give Jones the chance to win the game by at least getting them closer. This just felt timid and tepid.

  2. The Patriots would have had a better chance of winning by going for it on 4th and 3. Getting just a little closer dramatically improves the chances of a successful FG, and getting a first down would have resulted in TB having no chance to respond.

  3. I said it as soon as it happened. Horrible call. Maybe in ideal weather conditions you can try that. A rainy night, balky kicker and 60 seconds, with 2 time outs for Brady. Made no sense to kick there.

  4. I was surprised at the time, less by the attempt (though it was not at all a good distance historically for Folk) than by the fact that it would have given Brady almost a full minute and two time outs. Tough decision and I’m glad I don’t have to make them.

  5. Based on Jones’ completion percentage for the night, there would have been a 77.5% chance he completes a pass to pick up the first down. That would have used more time (that Brady would not have had), and would have at least gotten them closer if they needed to try a FG later. Given the weather conditions and Folk’s historical performance, were the chances he makes that kick even as good as 50-50??? I didn’t like the decision at the time, and – hindsight being 20/20 – I like it even less since the kick was no good.

  6. The Patriots were 2-9 on 3rd downs all night. Why are people here acting like it was a no brainer that they would have gotten the 4th down conversion? Why risk it when you have a chance to win the game right now? I think it was clearly the right call, albeit a very tough one. The fact that Brady would have had some time and timeouts is irrelevant. People are acting like converting would have been 100% and then Brady marching into FG range with 50 secs. (AND THEN the kick needs to made) was 100%.

  7. If they went for it on 4th down and came up short, the same people would be crying over the chance to take the lead with a field goal attempt. If the Pats O-line had dominated all night I could see it. Not here.

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