Chip Kelly Was Right Not to Challenge the Spot on Chris Polk’s Run


One storyline that’s gone mostly uncovered (I’m guilty, too) is the very real possibility that the Eagles had a first down inside the 1 on their final scoring drive yesterday.

LeSean McCoy was obviously stopped on third down, forcing the Birds to kick a field goal. But did Chris Polk get a first down before that?

On 2nd and 4 from the 5, Polk rushed up the middle and was stopped inside the 1. It seemed like the Eagles had to get into the end zone, but they were in the rare situation of being able to get a first down just in front of the goal line. As you can see in the replay, Polk clearly got past the first down marker at the upper part of the screen:

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 10.09.59 AM

But here’s the thing: That marker wasn’t accurate. The Eagles got their previous first down juuuuuust outside the 10. Here’s the snap:

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 10.25.08 AM

Obviously, to get another first down Polk would’ve needed to get the ball well inside the 1. Which he did. How far inside? It’s debatable. But Chip was probably right not to challenge the play. As he explained on the WIP Morning Show today, the odds weren’t in his favor:

“I don’t think the league rate at overturning spots, in terms of where his knee was down—most of the time the err, I think percentage wise in the league, if you study the percentage of it there you err on the previous call on the field because it’s very difficult to tell on the spot unless it’s kind of a clear-cut open field kind of thing.”

He’s right. The spot – which is the only thing you can challenge on this play – was seemingly accurate. Generous? Probably not. But close enough that the officials weren’t going to move it.

We of course want the Eagles to do everything in their power to get a first down (and touchdown) on the drive, and it is slightly maddening that they didn’t take a chance challenging the play, but not doing was almost certainly the right call.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 10.10.14 AM

The Eagles would’ve burnt a timeout probably unnecessarily (they wound up using one for an injury on the ensuing Cardinals drive), and that would’ve been a whole other, Andy Reid-esque issue had the clock run out on them on their final drive.

Unfortunately, the marker at the far end of the field was in the wrong spot, which made it seem, on TV, as though Polk had a first down, which he probably didn’t.


31 Responses

    1. still cant get over the decision to run up the middle when the cardinals have pretty much their entire defense in the box

    2. chuckle at a shotgun draw on the 1 yard line. Shocking, it was stuffed! Chip Kelly has no clue when it comes to red zone offense. The worst I’ve ever seen at it.

      As for the secondary….. Jenkins is the only one that is worth anything. Fletcher, Allen, and Cary Williams hopefully all get their walking papers this offseason. Cary Williams is one of the worst football players in the league, not to mention a total punk. Amazes me that he gets paid for what he does on Sunday’s.

  1. The upside of winning that challenge FAR exceeds the downside. Saying not challenging the spot was the right decision is absurd.

    1. Bingo.

      Chip & company called a very Andy Reid-esque game yesterday.

      And to lose two (2) very winnable road games because of an inability to punch it in from the 1 yard line (and LeSean McCoy!) is just absurd. Just shouldn’t happen.

      1. I didn’t really think it was possible. But Chip might actually be worse than Andy in the Red Zone. They legitimately can’t score from inside the 10.

  2. You challenge it anyway.

    You don’t run a shotgun sprint dive on the one yardline when you need 6 inches for a first down and your QB is large.

    Probably should’ve just gone for it on 4th down.

    Put this one to bed and start worrying about keeping Foles alive vs. JJ Watt, and how the hell they’re going to stop the resurgent Arian Foster. I really hope both Kelce AND Mathis are ready this week…

    1. Mathis is on the IR/designated to return list and isn’t eligible to come back until week 10. You’re out of your element.

      1. I was under the impression that if he practiced for two weeks even in a limited capacity that he was eligible and he practiced every day last week.

        I could be wrong here though.

        1. Nope. IR designated to return means you have to sit out for 8 full weeks and not play. He played week 1, so he is required to sit out weeks 2-9. He can play as early as week 10.

  3. definitely should have challenged it. upside much higher than downside at that point in the game. Also, I would even debate that the nose of the football may have broken the plain of the goaline.

    Also, QB sneak is pretty effective the majority of the time when you have a big QB, don’t understand why we can’t just do that sometimes. Brady has done it a million times. Just line up two RB’s behind and push the QB in like the Bengals did earlier in the day.

  4. Hate to pile on Kyle, but this seems like a very clear cut challenge to make. And that video you have posted is the best argument for it…there’s no way that wasn’t a first down. Worst case, you lose a time out, which in theory you won’t need again if you score a TD. Best case is obviously a fresh set of down, then pound pound pound until you get the TD (and burn the time off the clock). Chip’s explanation on WIP was just bullshit and he was covering for the guy who’s job it is to challenge plays. Hopefully that guy got an earful from Chip, because he blew it there.

    1. This is the best post I have ever had the good fortune of reading and the answer is easy.
      Nick Foles is not nut-kick worthy yet and RAJ is nothing more than a puppet of management. Two candidates are eliminated.

      1. i vote for my pan face partner Sean Brace. Btw do you know I got married, she’s so special!

    2. Can I do a write-in for myself?
      I’m deserving because I’m an egotistical, self-absorbed, pompous blowhard who’s only interest is me, me and me.

  5. You ***definitely*** still challenge. Risk is losing a time-out you wouldn’t envision needing on any sort of drive to salvage game (tangential benefit of extra time to prep third down call), and reward is assuring that you can score to end the game. It was a no-brainer. Love Chip, but he blew that one.

  6. Wait, you’re saying that the TV superimposed line of scrimmage blue line was “accurate” but the field judge’s marker was not? Have you not heard the announcers say 10,000 times that the blue and yellow lines are not always accurate? The first down marker is the only thing that mattered there, not what the TV thought was the line of scrimmage. And when you look at the replay, Polk comes within a hair of crossing the GOAL line. You really have to challenge that. Big Balls Chip came up laughably small here, especially with his ensuing 3rd and 4th down calls.

    1. The first down marker in that picture is not official. The first down marker on the near sideline was the official first down marker, the one shown in the picture above is just an estimate but not the official one. Look at where the ball was when it was snapped on first down, and look at the marker that was brought out onto the field for the measurement. It’s no where near where the first down marker in the background of the picture of Polk’s run is.

  7. My thought was that the challenge flag absolutely had to be thrown. At the very least, you get a chance to really set up a good 3rd and 1 foot play (other than a stupid hand it off five yards back from where you were!!!). When I saw the play live, and on replay, the yellow first down line was on the screen. I was not looking at where the marker was at the top of the screen. It looked clear to me that he just missed getting the ball across the plane of the goal, which means, he did get across the first down line.

    Either way, you QB sneak, or pound it up the gut from UNDER CENTER! Shady is a dancer, not a pounder. As phenomenal as Barry Sanders was, he was never a great TD scorer because he lost yards a lot of times during the course of a game, so he wasn’t a good goal line back and similarly, neither is Shady. Find someone who can go straight ahead and gain a frickin foot for God’s sake. Cost us two games already.

  8. I actually agree. A challenge in this situation would have just been a wasted timeout
    It does not matter how close it looks in a replay. There is no substantial evidence of where to put the ball because you can’t see where his knee comes down. It doesn’t matter how much it looks like a first down on the replay for them to overturn the spot of the ball you have to see where the knee comes down the Refs can’t just guess.

    On another note, about the 3rd and short play call. First, everyone talks about a qb sneak. This isn’t Madden it does not work 100% of the time. How quickly everyone forgets the Dallas game last year . Second, can someone explain to me why lining up in shotgun in short yardage situation is a bad thing. Just because old school football wants you to believe you have to line up under center to run power it is just not true. Shady gets hit in the backfield on the play. What part of lining up in the shotgun effects the offensive lines ability to get a push on the play and keep the D out of the backfield?

  9. Kyle has a major hard on for chip Kelly stop fucking making excuses for the guy he definitely should’ve challenged the spot.

  10. Kyle’s Reasoning: The guy who botched the decision said that he didn’t botch the decision.

  11. So, Chip challenges spot, call stands, and all you would hear today: “Why would you challenge that!!? You cost yourself a timeout that you could have used on the final drive!” Good job Andy!”

  12. Note last line in the definition of a downed player. Polk fell on two Card defenders. He was down when his elbow hit, at which time the ball was breaking the plane of the goal line. First down for sure…probably a TD.

    A player carrying the ball (the runner) is downed when any of the following occurs:
    Any part of the runner other than his hands or feet touches the ground. Ankles and wrists count as downed. This may be as a result of: Contact by an opponent (called down by contact) where the opponent tackles the runner by pushing him, grasping him and pulling him to the ground, sliding into his legs, or touching him in any manner prior to any part of the runner other than his hands or feet touching the ground. Unlike the use of the word tackle in other sports, if the opposing player fails to down the ball carrier, it is merely an attempted tackle. If the ball carrier falls onto another player but he doesn’t make contact with the ground, he can still get up and keep playing. A player on the ground is not considered part of the ground.

  13. Culture wins football games boys… Not challenges. And I would like to kick Miss in his va jay jay.

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