Josh McDaniels explains the two-point conversion decision late in the loss

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With 4:26 left in the game, the Las Vegas Raiders scored a touchdown to pull the game within one point of the Kansas City Chiefs. Easy decision, right? Make the game 30-30, right? Not so fast.

Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels decided a one-point lead was the best option. So he invited the Raiders to go for two.

Derek Carr passed it to Josh Jacobs and he was stopped just short of the goal line. Thus keeping the Raiders down by one. That 30-29 score would be how the game ended as well.

Naturally, Josh McDaniels was asked about his decision after the game. This is what he said:

“I felt like in that situation, they had a lot of momentum offensively in the second half and we had a game that we felt really good about,” McDaniel said. “I thought they were going to give us a look that would definitely give us a chance. We had a chance. We had a fair fight in it. But they played it a little bit better than us and we gave ourselves a chance to take the lead there and then maybe put a little more pressure on them when they had the ball. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Just trying to be aggressive, trying to win the game. I know it was four-thirty or whatever the time was, but our team felt good about it and it just felt like it was the right call at the right time.”

Derek Carr was asked about it and he clearly said “I like it”. That he loved aggression. Which is good in theory. The Raiders have been aggressive to get to this point. But you have to ask yourself if the potential downside outweighed the upside.

If it was in the last minute or so of the game, I could see how they could have done this to try to win it in regulation instead of allowing the Chiefs to take it to OT. But not with so much time left.

Tying the game on the PAT would still stop the Chiefs on their ensuing drive. And then the Raiders could still choose to be aggressive on their final drive, just like in the end. The difference is that they would do so knowing that if they failed, they would have another shot at overtime.

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As it was, they seemed to be working under the assumption that the right play was to risk letting the Chiefs run out the clock or drive for a game-winning score for the potential benefit of forcing them into four-down territory to drive for a score ;

The closest I’ve seen anyone make sense of this approach was to show the player who missed a field goal in the game but also nailed a 59 before halftime. Maybe the Raiders were supporting either their defense by making the stop or the kicker missing the potential game winner?

As it happens, the Raiders defense held up, forcing the Chiefs to punt. This gave them the ball on their own seven-yard line, which meant they had ways to score.

Although if the Raiders had scored on the two-point conversion and gone up by one, the Chiefs would have been playing to score against the running clock and also had one more down, which is no small variable.

Obviously there are many variables. But with so much time left on the clock, the risk of going down by one seemed greater than the potential gain of going up by one. Certainly not when easily tying the game was an option.

In the end, it was the Raiders who were put into desperation mode. And instead of going on the attack with a tie game and playing for the win on their last move, they were playing not to lose.

So while McDaniels talks about trying to put “extra pressure” on the Chiefs, he ended up putting extra pressure on himself. On third and one or fourth and one, they could have given it to Josh Jacobs. Or if they took it to the air like they did, the game would have been tied in overtime shots.

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