Ugh. The Eagles ended their Week 3 game with a very weird (read: dumb) tie after overtime against the Bengals. Head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters following the game about his decision to punt for the tie, about his message to the team, and whether their issues are scheme-based or with execution.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On not kicking the 64-yard FG in OT
Pederson explained that they were going to go for the win, and they were in Jake Elliott’s range at 59 yards, but then Matt Pryor drew a flag and pushed them back. They decided then to go ahead and punt, rather than risk giving the Bengals the ball back towards mid-field, give them a short field and allow them to kick a field goal and win the game.
“Just made that decision, and hopefully something positive might have come out of the punt.”
The head coach was later asked about how deciding to punt in that situation might affect the players, who have gained confidence with Pederson’s aggressive mindset over the years.
“That’s probably a decision I’ll look back on tomorrow and say we could’ve done something else, but it is what it is. We’ll learn from it — I’ll learn from it — and we’ll get better.”
On not going for 2 points at the end of the 4th quarter
“I did consider it, but I also felt like the way our offense was playing, you know, down the stretch — battled to get ourselves back in position —, Carson in overtime, I felt comfortable there to just kick the extra point and then put it back in our offense’s hands at that time. So, just elected to kick the extra point.”
On his message to the team
“I told them in the locker room after the game that we weren’t a very smart football team today. I think, 11 penalties, came at crucial times and we couldn’t get off the field on defense, and offensively we didn’t execute well enough. We had some injuries, and, you know, that’s going to be part of the game. But, just not a smart football team right now, and that’s on me, and we’ll get that fixed as we get ready for this next week.
I like how our team battled. Hung in there. Came back to tie the game at the end. But, just overall, not very smart today, not very disciplined, when those are some of the things we talk about quite a bit.”
When asked if Wentz’s mechanics were the reason why he was missing so many throws, Pederson simply answered, “No,” and didn’t care to elaborate.
On scheme vs. execution
Pederson talked about how there was an execution problem on Sunday, and they’re turning the ball over without the defense getting take-aways. Winning the turnover margin was something that they focused on during the week, and they didn’t do that. He has to continue to talk to the team about that, and they have to catch a break and give the offense a short yard at some point.
“The penalties today were more costly, like I said, and can’t happen.”
He agreed that looking back they probably could have gone to the run game a little more, but at the time, the Bengals defense did some things with their nickel-edge pressures that deterred them a bit from their ground game. They knew that could be a possibility going into the matchup, with the Bengals often showing different fronts, but they thought they could make some gains with the ball in Carson Wentz’s hand.
On the offense’s lack of chemistry
Pederson noted that it is hard with so many moving pieces due to injury, but they’re not making excuses for anything. They have to continue to work, and practice, and get better. It was tough to find a rhythm against the Bengals, with the Cincinnati defense mixing up some of their looks and fronts.