Lions' Dan Campbell explains logic behind fourth-down play call
Green Bay, Wis. — While trying to go punch-for-punch with two of the NFL's most-potent offenses the first two weeks of the season, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell has shown a willingness to go for it on fourth down in an effort to keep pace.
As he explained following the team's season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, he felt his team needed touchdowns, not field goals, if they were going to have a shot to win the game.
Facing a similar situation in the third quarter of Monday's game against the Green Bay Packers — trailing for the first time in the game — Campbell once again opted to go for it on fourth down with his offense needing a yard to go at the Packers 25-yard line.
But despite his team running the ball well the first two weeks, the Lions called a pass play out of a shotgun formation. That led to an incompletion on a throw to Quintez Cephus.
Campbell explained his logic after the contest.
"We were hoping we were going to be able to get a single (coverage) with T.J. (Hockenson)," Campbell said. "If not, it's really, (Cephus) Q's got to win.
"... There's an argument for (running the ball)," Campbell said. "But hey, I didn't. "Ultimately, you're playing your odds that you're hoping you're going to get that (look) to T.J. and it didn't work out. You still got a one-on-one and now your guys got to win. And it didn't work out, so you know, it's easy to second guess it, certainly."
Cephus did have a shot to make the catch on a low ball away from the defender, but couldn't haul in the diving effort.
"That's showing he has a lot of trust in us and that's why I have to come up with plays like that," Cephus said. "I felt like that's a play I gotta make. Things like that are things I have to clean up, continuing to build trust in everybody. Yeah, it sucks I didn't make that play and that's something I'll continue to get better and work to clean those things up."