Kyle Shanahan says he never considered going for it on fourth-and-2 in fourth quarter

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams
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The 49ers set up the Rams’ game-tying field goal drive in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game with a punt in Rams territory on fourth-and-2. Kyle Shanahan never even considered going for it.

Shanahan admitted after the game that he was never thinking of going for it, even when he sent the offense onto the field to attempt to get the Rams to jump offside.

We were never thinking about going for that,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan should have thought about it: A two-yard gain would have given the 49ers first-and-10 at the Rams’ 43-yard line, and they would have been only a few more yards from getting into range for a Robbie Gould field goal. So why didn’t he think about it?

“We just didn’t want to,” he said. “We were up three points and didn’t think it was the right decision.”

The analytics models said it wasn’t even close: The 49ers should have gone for it. Shanahan didn’t. And he lost.

25 responses to “Kyle Shanahan says he never considered going for it on fourth-and-2 in fourth quarter

  1. I can’t get over the second and one call. No success running Mitchell between the tackles all game. Rams have loaded the box. When is the right time to run playaction?

  2. If this guy’s last name wasn’t Shanahan, would he still be in the NFL at all, let alone head coach of a team?

  3. The analytics are wrong. Punting it was the right choice.

    The analytics are all percentages. Percentages across the league – every game, every team is different. 49ers struggled on short yardage all game. Punting it was the right thing to do, especially with their defense.

  4. Playing to not lose is a poor strategy. I guess Shanahan didn’t learn from the 28-3 meltdown.

  5. He made the right FOOTBALL decision! The 49ers have a very good defense …they just didn’t close the game out. Analytics is waaaay overrated.

  6. Another NFL coach felt the pucker factor in the playoffs and crunch time. Time and time again these guys prove they will play not to lose rather than play to win. They are so afraid of making a mistake, that they play conservative (a mistake).

  7. Are you saying that if he had gone for it they would have won? If they had gone for it and not gotten it, would this post be about why Shanahan went for it at midfield, set the Rams up for a score, while he had the lead and one of the best defenses in the league? The Chargers analyticed themselves right out of the playoffs.

  8. Shanahan probably never thought about it because all day long on short yardage they’d pound it up the middle for no gain. Maybe he should have thought about changing up his run plays after that strategy failed the first half-dozen times.

  9. Exciting game that had some of the worst displays of coaching in the playoffs. Whether Shanahan’s cowardice noted here, or Sean McVay’s absurd challenge with ten minutes left in the game which left them with no timeouts or challenges in a tight battle, both coaches found ways to put their team in bad spots. Simply dumb decisions.
    But somebody had to win…

  10. It was the perfect call. The next play should have been an INT for SF if Tartt could catch a cold. The football gods tried to gift the Niners for not following that stupid analytics stuff but they just didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

  11. While I agree he should have gone for it, I think Shanahan got spooked when the Rams stopped the earlier short-yardage play on 3rd and 2 to Juszczyk with Trent Williams as tackle eligible in motion. It was a nice play design that he’d probably been saving and I think he was shocked it didn’t work.

  12. Gotta believe that he goes for it there in the regular season. Between this decision and McVay’s dubious challenges, it sure seemed like both coaches were feeling the pressure.

  13. Personally I have never figured Shanahan as a top-drawer HC anyway. Yesterday’s loss for the 49’ers is just more evidence.

  14. I am not even a 49er fan and I live in Los Angeles and I was screaming for Shananhan to go for it.

    You don’t give up a chance to put up points in a 3 pt game in order to punt a net of only 25 yards.. thats a single kupp catch.

    So dumb. Playing not to lose. You can’t possibly think a 3 point lead is good enough.

  15. Did the same “analytics” tell the Chiefs to go for it at the end of the first half vs the Bengals? Analytics do not factor in game conditions, momentum, pace of the game…all of that was against the 49ers at that point. The right call was to punt it.

  16. This guy is a master at protecting-the-lead football. He executes it perfectly in every clutch game…

  17. Shanahan is a great coach. There are so many subpar coaches in this league, and you’re going to bag on a guy who’s getting you to the superbowl and NFC championship game in the last 3 yrs??? SMH

  18. Not only that, they were 2nd and 2. They had three chances to get two yards. And couldn’t do it. Two predictable runs up the gut. Why not a QB bootleg to the TE? I was screaming at the TV.

    Between that play and the Tartt dropped pick, this game was over.

  19. The Rams were the better team this day. Niners played ok but Jimmy is/was a huge deficit. Time for the Trey era to begin is SF.

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