Lions’ Alex Anzalone safeguards Dan Campbell’s fourth-down choices in loss to 49ers

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Dan Campbell’s fourth-down choices in the 2nd half of the Lions’ NFC Championship Game loss to the 49ers were fulfilled with a lot of examination openly, however his gamers were obviously on board.

Lions LB Alex Anzalone safeguarded his head coach’s calls in a letter attendedto to Detroit fans on The Players’ Tribune. 

“We were all behind Dan on the fourth-down call,” Anzalone composed. “Let’s get that out of the method . If you might rewind time, we’d all do it onceagain. A hundred times out of a hundred. The offense. The defense. Everybody. If you haveactually been following this group’s journey for the last 3 years, then you understand how we play football. You understand the mindset that got us here.”

While there were 2 fourth-down plays in the 2nd half that Detroit didn’t transform, Anzalone appeared to address Campbell’s choice to go for it on 4th down in the 3rd quarter. Instead of kicking a 45-yard field objective that might haveactually provided the Lions a 27-10 lead midway through the 3rd quarter, they chose to go for it on fourth-and-2. Jared Goff’s pass to Josh Reynolds fell through the receiver’s hands on the play, leaving the group empty-handed. 

Anzalone composed that the Lions were “always going for the eliminate,” including that Campbell’s fourth-down decision-making “took us from 0–10–1 to the NFC Championship Game in simply a coupleof seasons.”

“It was the right choice — and I’m not talking about the right choice for analytics or talk radio or whatever,” Anzalone composed. “It was the right call for us, specifically in that minute. When you’re in that scenario, 20 videogames into an NFL season, it’s not like a video videogame. You’re not playing Madden. You had guys out there playing with bottom ankles. Guys playing with MCL sprains. Guys taking nerve injections and toradol. Guys who might hardly get out of bed that earlymorning. 

“It’s a fight of wills at that point in the season. You’re simply running on pure belief and adrenaline. I feel like if you shy away from your identity in that minute, then you’re betraying the really thing that got you there.”

Anzalone lateron included that he was really more stunned by the Lions’ choice to kick a field objective from the 49ers’ 3-lawn line in the last seconds of the veryfirst half, which provided Detroit a 24-7 lead, than he was by the fourth-down choices in the 2nd half.

Campbell’s other questionable fourth-down choice came approximately midway through the 4th quarter. The Lions, who had currently blown a 17-point lead by that point, chose to go for it on fourth-and-3 from the 49ers’ 30-yard line rather of kicking a 47-yard field objective that might haveactually connected the videogame at 27-27. That play was likewise notsuccessful as Goff’s pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown fell insufficient. 

That was the last time the Lions had the ball with a opportunity to tie or take the lead in the videogame.

Is Dan Campbell getting too much hate for NFC Championship loss?

Campbell hasactually been understood to be aggressive in his fourth-down decision-making giventhat he endedupbeing the Lions’ head coach in2021 He appeared to take it to a greater level this season, though, choosing to go for it on 4th down 34% of the time throughout the routine season. 

Campbell protected his fourth-down choices instantly after the loss.

“It’s simple hindsight. I get it. I get that, however I wear’t remorse those choices, and it’s difficult,” he informed pressreporters at the time. “It’s difficult duetothefactthat we didn’t come through, and it wasn’t able to work out, however I puton’t. And I comprehend the examination I’ll get — that’s part of the gig — however it simply didn’t work out.”

Campbell currently appears to have turned the page to next season. Anzalone composed that Campbell informed him to watch Super Bowl LVIII and to usage it as “motivation.” Now, Anzalone is positive that 2024 will be the year the Lions lastly lift the Lombardi Trophy.

“This year, it draws,” Anzalone composed. “Next year, it’s us.”

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