Lions convert fourth-and-5, setting up touchdown to take 7-0 lead at Minnesota

Washington Commanders v Detroit Lions
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Lions head coach Dan Campbell has a reputation for being a meathead, but he might be the coach whose approach to fourth downs most closely aligns with the stat nerds. And in the first quarter today, that paid off for the Lions.

Campbell and the Lions went for it on fourth-and-5 at the Vikings’ 32-yard line in the first quarter today, a decision that the math says was correct but most old-school football coaches would see as a time to kick a field goal.

It worked: Jared Goff hit Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 30-yard gain and a first down, and two plays later Jamaal Williams ran for a two-yard touchdown to give the Lions a 7-0 lead.

It was a great call by Campbell, one of the coaches who really understands the statistical revolution that has taken place on fourth downs in recent years. He may not talk, look or act like a math nerd, but Campbell understands analytics.

2 responses to “Lions convert fourth-and-5, setting up touchdown to take 7-0 lead at Minnesota

  1. That was exactly it. I doubt he goes for it if the kicker hadn’t missed. It really puts the math on your side.

    That said, nothing beats knowing the ebb and flow of the game, understanding momentum, and knowing your team. All this analytics stuff in useless if you can’t put it in context.

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