Matt Nagy thought 65-yard field goal and Hail Mary had about the same chance of success

Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers
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On the last play of the Bears’ loss to the Steelers on Monday night, Matt Nagy decided to try a 65-yard field goal instead of a Hail Mary. It didn’t work.

After the game, Nagy said he felt that a 65-yard field goal and a Hail Mary had about the same chances of success, according to Bears sideline reporter Mark Grote.

That’s a puzzling thought. Bears kicker Cairo Santos has never shown anything close to 65-yard field goal range: His career long is 55 yards, and his 65-yard attempt came up well short. Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field is also a notoriously difficult place to kick.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields, meanwhile, at least has the arm strength to throw a football into the end zone from midfield. A Hail Mary is a low-percentage play, of course, but not as low percentage as the 65-yard field goal.

If Nagy truly thought the odds of success were the same on a 65-yard field goal and a Hail Mary, he either underestimated his offense or overestimated his kicker. The Hail Mary would have been the wiser choice.

25 responses to “Matt Nagy thought 65-yard field goal and Hail Mary had about the same chance of success

  1. Why are we questioning the decision making of a lame duck coach?

    We don’t need any more convincing that he’s fired.

  2. A hail mary is like an 8% success rate. Let’s not pretend it’s 50/50. I’d say it was pretty close either way. Just because he’s never attempted a kick that far, doesn’t mean he can’t kick that far. It didn’t work out but that doesn’t mean it was a bad call.

  3. I mean, as a Ravens fan I do not see how the hail mary has a better percent chance. 65 yards isn’t even the match range you could responsibly try from. 🙂

  4. If he would have saved his final timeout, instead of trying to ice the kicker, they could have used it to run another play to get closer. I haven’t heard anyone mention this dumb decision to burn that final timeout.

  5. If your team is in that position at the end of a game. You had a bad game. Should have played better during the game. Don’t let it come down to impossible odds on the last play.

  6. billybmore says:
    November 9, 2021 at 6:57 pm
    If he would have saved his final timeout, instead of trying to ice the kicker, they could have used it to run another play to get closer. I haven’t heard anyone mention this dumb decision to burn that final timeout.

    ————

    He had to call that timeout. It had nothing to do with icing the kicker. The Steelers could’ve ran the clock down to the last play.

  7. jake6879 says:

    November 9, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    A hail mary is like an 8% success rate. Let’s not pretend it’s 50/50. I’d say it was pretty close either way. Just because he’s never attempted a kick that far, doesn’t mean he can’t kick that far. It didn’t work out but that doesn’t mean it was a bad call
    ——–
    Let’s just say the 8% you pulled randomly were true, that’s still about 7.99999% better chance than a 65 yard field goal. Only ONCE in NFL history has there been a 65 yard field goal or longer and that was Tucker with 66 so to say a hail mary that seemingly once a seasons works for someone is A LOT better odds than something that has happened ONCE in NFL history to pretend otherwise is foolish.

  8. Nagy is not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. He gets into these peeing contest with the refs and they take it out on his team with iffy penalties at opportune times.

  9. Also you have the chance that the defenders will have a pass interference called against them , putting the ball on the 1 yard line with 1 snap to go.

  10. If your kicker has never made one from 65 yards then there’s no chance you’re making it. On the other hand, about every QB in the league can throw it 65 yards. Nagy looked unprepared last night. As a Chiefs fan, and never really watching Chicago, I thought he’d be better.

  11. Not defending Nagy but a certain team jumpstarted a push to a SuperBowl championship by hitting a 60+ yard FG to win in the final seconds.

    It can happen and it has.

  12. What are the percentages you’re relying on and who is calculating the percentages? Without that information, you’re no better than Nagy.

  13. It wouldn’t have mattered either way. If the kick was good, they’d have called the Bears for holding. If the Hail Mary was good, they’d have called the Bears for offensive pass interference.

  14. Most NFL level kickers can make 65-yarders in practice with no rushers. Santos also has 24 touchbacks on kickoffs this year, so he obviously has the legs to reach.

    It’s entirely different with 11 guys rushing you and sticking their hands up trying to block though. So yes, they DO both have roughly the same chance of success.

  15. He just missed that kick, that was the right decision!

    He’s going to finish up the season and will be gone. Go for the best draft pick and hopefully the new GM drafts ALL offensive linemen!

  16. billybmore says:
    November 9, 2021 at 6:57 pm
    If he would have saved his final timeout, instead of trying to ice the kicker, they could have used it to run another play to get closer. I haven’t heard anyone mention this dumb decision to burn that final timeout.

    Chicago wasn’t trying to “ice the kicker” as you said. The clock was running, so either call timeout or watch as the clock runs all the way down to less time then they had. So that’s why you haven’t heard anyone mention that SMART decision. The timeout needed to be used

  17. Going for the field goal is a great idea if 1.) You have a great kicker and 2.) You are in the right stadium and 3.) The opposing defense is relatively short or bad at jump blocks. From that range, you basically need to split the uprights of the tallest defenders arms (because of the low angle).

  18. A throw downfield probably has about a ten percent chance of drawing a penalty, but the refs are reluctant to throw a flag on a desperation play. But also, there is a chance of getting your QB injured on a Hail Mary, too. That will get your coach fired. The way Fields is starting to play, it wouldn’t surprise if if Nagy doesn’t end up in Coach of the Year conversations in a couple months. Coaches go from incompetent to geniuses when a young QB comes of age nicely.

  19. The chances of making that kick were about the same as Nagy’s chances of coaching in Chicago next year — which is to say none, if we’re lucky…

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