NFL fans crushed Dan Campbell for his absurd Lions fourth-down decision late in NFC title game

The Detroit Lions had an NFC title within their grasp. After a half in Santa Clara, the Lions’ 24-7 lead over the San Francisco 49ers seemed insurmountable. Everything was rolling for Detroit — even a capacity watch party crowd at Ford Field.

Then, an epic second-half collapse ensued.

As the wheels came off for the Lions in a disheartening NFC title game loss, one sequence probably stood out the most. With a Detroit fourth-quarter drive stalling just before the red zone, the Lions could’ve taken the points with a field goal and potentially knotted up this instant classic at 27 points apiece. It likely would’ve been a very different finish.

Instead, Dan Campbell elected to go for it on fourth and 3. When the Lions couldn’t convert, their defeat seemed all but assured. The analytical recommendation appeared to indicate this was a smart decision, but it sure didn’t feel like it:

—> DET (24) @ SF (27) <—
DET has 4th & 3 at the SF 30, Q4 07:32

Recommendation (MEDIUM): 👉 Go for it (+2 WP)
Actual play: 👉 (Shotgun) J.Goff pass incomplete deep right to Brown.

— 4th down decision bot (@ben_bot_baldwin) January 29, 2024

The Lions only got to their first NFC title game in nearly 30 years, expressly because of Dan Campbell’s aggressive mentality. The Lions play like they wear their heart on their sleeve, and it’s all because of their head coach, who doesn’t shy away from big moments — even with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. From this perspective, it’s hard to fault Campbell much for doing what he’s done all season.

Still, a field goal felt like the more prudent decision in this situation, especially after blowing a 17-point lead. Campbell got a little too much dip on his chip. And now, the Lions are going back home to Detroit instead of making the trek to Las Vegas.

everyone to dan campbell after not kicking the FG

— Annie Agar (@AnnieAgar) January 29, 2024

Hey, Dan Campbell. If you had kicked the FG guess what the score would be now?

— B (@BSmoov_) January 29, 2024

I applaud Dan Campbell for skewing more aggressive in his coaching but that was all-time bad decision making there.

— Muhammad Alinked-in (@PBSImpulse9) January 29, 2024

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