Doug Pederson Explains 4th and 4 Decision, Says Running Back “Missed the Blitz”

What did you make of the 4th and 4 attempt late in the third quarter?

The Eagles were up 17-14 with the ball on the Washington Football Team’s 45 yard line. They were struggling offensively and had given up two unanswered touchdowns.

Doug Pederson decided to go for it, and Carson Wentz was blown up by Jon Bostic on a free run after a blown blitz pickup from Boston Scott.

The head coach explained his reasoning behind the decision, and why it went wrong:

“So you’re at the 45 yard line, you punt the football and it comes out to the 20, that’s only a 25-yard (net gain), if you call that ‘field position.’ it’s a situation where a lot of times when you cross the 50 yard line you’re in four-down territory.

This was one that our running back’s eyes were in a different spot. He missed the protection, he missed the blitz. We had an open receiver that Carson was going to. The timing of the route, when you look at the play, Carson’s feet were good and he was in position to make that throw. We just missed the protection from the backfield. These are obviously things that are very correctable, very fixable, and it’s disappointing. These are some of our veteran players making mistakes.”

I clipped the play for the morning recap, so you can watch it here (the second play is Washington’s first down call after the turnover on downs) –

You see Chase Young line up on Jason Peters there, but he detaches and goes with Boston Scott, who isn’t even really running a route. He’s just sort of flaring out when it was his responsibility to see that blitz coming and put a body on Bostic. That results in Peters standing there with nobody to block.

Pederson also said Wentz was “going to the right” and that the play “was open,” which is true. Greg Ward was just about to hit his break and tread the first down marker, four yards from the line of scrimmage, but when you freeze it at that point, Carson is about to get lit up by Bostic:

I was arguing with a guy on Twitter about this play. He thinks Wentz could have tried to sidestep here and float one to Ward, or just absorb the hit as the target comes out of his break, which might have been possible. Dunno.

It’s one thing to take a hit as you step into a throw, but to have a guy come right down the middle untouched, with a full head of steam, that’s bad news right there. Bruised ribs all day long, and maybe a flighty ball that gets picked off. I don’t know how many quarterbacks are gonna take a hit like that and lob a ball to a guy just hitting his break.

Anyway, the point of the story is that Boston Scott is to blame for this one, per the head coach. Not Wentz, not Jason Kelce, and not Nate Herbig.

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