Eagles coach Doug Pederson had a lot questions, but none more than the decision to punt with 19 seconds left in overtime of Sunday’s 23-23 tie with the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.
With 19 seconds left in the extra period, Jake Elliott lined up for a game-winning 59-yard field goal attempt, but the Eagles were penalized five yards for a false start by Matt Pryor. Instead of a 64-yard field goal attempt, Pederson then sent out the punt team.
The Bengals called a fair catch at their 11-yard-line and then ran out the clock on the next play.
“We were going to go for the game-winner with the kick, felt comfortable with Jake, had the wind,” Pederson said in his postgame press conference. “The false start backed us up so we just said ‘Hey, let’s just let’s just punt the football here.’ We didn’t want to give them the ball toward midfield, or even a chance to go for it on fourth down and long, an incomplete pass, something like that."
“They get the ball on a short field, they can kick a field goal and win the game,” he added. "So, I just made that decision, and hopefully something positive might have might have come out of the punt.”
Pederson will likely be asking himself about this decision a lot in the next 24 hours.
“Looking back, I mean hindsight is 20-20, I guess and I’ll look at that decision and tomorrow with clear eyes," he said, "and make a decision later.”
Quarterback Carson Wentz took the politically correct approach when asked about Pederson’s decision to punt.
“I understood the decision,” Wentz said. “Tying is no fun. It is kind of an awkward way to end the game, but it is frustrating when you have a chance there to kick the field goal and even with our drive offensively, a couple times we felt like we were in field goal range, we had plays and then we had penalties and things just kept backing us up.”
“The fight was there, the effort was there from our guys we just got to be smarter play cleaner,” Wentz added. "I got to be better as well and yeah that’s a frustrating way to end the game for sure.'
In regulation, the Eagles got to 23-22 on Wentz’s 7-yard run with 21 seconds left. Pederson elected to go for the tie. He was asked if he considered going for two points in that situation.
‘I did consider it," he said, “but I also felt like the way our offense was playing down the stretch, battled to get ourselves back in position, (with) 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 I just selected to kick the extra point.”