If Mac Jones led the New England Patriots offense down the field and scored a touchdown in the final two minutes, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni would have received criticism for his result-altering decision.
Sirianni kept Philadelphia’s offense on the field on a fourth-and-2 from the New England 44-yard line with 1:57 remaining and the Eagles ahead 25-20. He could have opted for a punt and pinned the Patriots deep in their own end. Instead, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who uncharacteristically struggled to that point, was unable to connect with DeVonta Smith and reset the chains.
Fortunately for Sirianni and the Eagles, the decision didn’t end up costing them. But as Jones led the Patriots into the red zone with 51 ticks left, it certainly was a talking point. Not one Sirianni had any regret about, though.
“I guess really the word, again, I’m going to say is conviction,” Sirianni told reporters after the Eagles earned a 25-20 victory at Gillette Stadium, per the team. “Conviction that our offense is going to succeed. Conviction that we’ll call the right play to put them in position to make a play and conviction if we don’t that our defense will get a stop.
“… I was convicted there. You know, it didn’t work. Sometimes that’s going to happen, that you make that call that you feel good about but it’s about the process that you put to get to that position; that there wasn’t a hesitation in my mind because we have put ourselves in that scenario in the film room all week. We didn’t execute.”
Sirianni did second-guess the play-call itself, noting the Eagles could have called a “little bit better play.” The wiry Smith tried to beat Christian Gonzalez on a slant with the Patriots rookie cornerback laying out to make the break up. Gonzalez was well-deserving of the praise he received after his debut.
Following Philadelphia’s failed fourth-down attempt, Jones and the Patriots proceeded to take over at their own 44-yard line and covered 37 yards on the next five plays, including a 17-yard gain by tight end Mike Gesicki. However, the drive ultimately sputtered in the red area. New England receiver Kayshon Boutte was unable to get both feet in bounds on a pass from Jones on fourth-and-11, which ultimately ended the game.