Chargers head coach Brandon Staley earned a reputation as someone who likes to go for it on fourth down during the 2021 season, but he veered away from that habit in Kansas City on Thursday night.
Staley opted to kick a field goal on fourth-and-2 from the Chiefs’ 13-yard-line at the end of the team’s first possession of the game and then punted on two more short fourth downs in Chiefs territory in the second quarter of the game.
After the 27-24 loss was in the books, Staley explained why he made those choices.
“Just wanted to give our defense a chance to compete, I really loved the way we were playing,” Staley said, via the team’s website. “I felt like that was the formula, to slip the field there. I felt like we were aggressive when we needed to be tonight, converted all four of our fourth downs. But felt like with who’s over there and the way our defense was playing, field position would be a big edge for us to pin them back there.”
The Chargers defense did not give up any points after the two punts, so Staley’s faith in his defense paid off in those spots. He probably wouldn’t have had the same faith in the unit last year and that change is a significant one even if the game didn’t wind up going the Chargers’ way on Thursday.