After a frustrating 37-20 loss against the Arizona Cardinals, the Los Angeles Rams look to bounce back onThursday night against another rival at the Seattle Seahawks. But on Sunday, head coach Sean McVay raised some eyebrows with his questionable decision-making and his lack of aggression in going for it in critical situations.
He used to be the standard in high percentage chances and using analytics to go for it rather than just settle. The new wave of younger generation coaches and coaches under the McVay tree all have changed how offenses operate in the recent past. But for some reason, McVay has just not been his old self in going for it on fourth down.
According to Ben Baldwin’s analytics on Twitter for aggression on fourth downs, Sean McVay was said to cost his team more “Win Probability per Game” than any other coach save Washington’s Ron Rivera.
Another season of Sean McVay really struggling on 4th downs.— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) October 4, 2021
Has anyone ever asked him about why he's so scared to go for it? Having Jared Goff isn't an excuse anymore pic.twitter.com/2PsuXN6QY2
You would think trading two first round picks and quarterback Jared Goff for a higher caliber QB in Matthew Stafford, that this would change, but it hasn’t.
The Cardinals offense was firing on all cylinders against LA’s defense and there was no reason to trust that side of the ball in several points of the game.
The first fourth down that was highly criticized came in the game when the LA Rams were down 21-10 on Arizona’s 49-yard line with 7:32 left in the second quarter. It was fourth-and-3 that was manageable for the way the offense was moving on the drive and the team elected to punt.
The next questionable fourth-down decision came after Stafford and the offense were driving down 21-10 still with 3:29 left in the half. They had just hit wide receiver Cooper Kupp for a 30+ yard pass into Cardinals territory and then a back-shoulder throw to tight end Tyler Higbee to get into the red zone.
The Rams ran Henderson on first and goal for six yards to the four-yard line. The next two passes were incomplete. Instead of going for it on the four-yard line, McVay opted to kick the 22 yard field goal to make it 21-13.
---> ARI (27) @ LA (13) <---— 4th down decision bot (@ben_bot_baldwin) October 3, 2021
LA has 4th & 4 at the ARI 27
Recommendation (MEDIUM): Go for it (+1.9 WP)
Actual play: https://t.co/aUDNkbeaFo 46 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Right, Center-M.Orzech, Holder-J.Hekker. pic.twitter.com/j26h6R1kAH
The graphic listed above was the fourth down in the game that was the most questionable, in my opinion.
Instead of going for it with a 53% chance success rate and trying to make it a one-possession game, the Rams opted for a field goal again. Kicker Matt Gay was perfect on the season but this time he missed this one wide right. If you make the kick you’re still down 11 late in the third quarter and it is still a two-possession game.
Analytics said go for it but McVay stayed conservative and trusted his gut in which did not pay off. This has happened in all four games throughout the start of the season, so will we see a more aggressive coaching style this Thursday night in Seattle?
Do you believe Sean McVay should be more aggressive in fourth down situations or is it right to trust his special teams and defense to help him get the W?