Keenan Allen Appears Puzzled by Chargers' Controversial 4th-Down Decision

A late-game gamble by Chargers head coach Brandon Staley nearly backfired in Cleveland on Sunday

Keenan Allen appears puzzled by Chargers' controversial 4th-down decision originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley made a late-game decision Sunday that seemingly left one of his star players scratching their head.

Clinging to a 30-28 lead in Cleveland, the Chargers were faced with a fourth-and-2 on their own 45-yard line with less than 80 seconds remaining in regulation.

But rather than trying to pin the timeout-less Browns deep with a punt, the Chargers went for it on their own side of the field in an effort to put the game away.

The aggressive gamble didn't pay off, as Justin Herbert's intended pass for wideout Mike Williams fell incomplete for a turnover on downs.

Five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen, who's been sidelined for several weeks with a hamstring injury, appeared to express his confusion with the move on Twitter.

Fortunately for Staley, the controversial fourth-down call didn't cost the Chargers a win. Though, it almost did.

The Browns' offense gained 10 yards to set up a 54-yard field goal for Cade York, who missed the potential game-winner.

Allen was relieved to see the kick go wide of the uprights.

The Chargers also went for a fourth-and-2 on their opening drive of the game, passing up on a 42-yard field goal in the process. That fourth-down try had a similar outcome, with Herbert failing to hit Williams.

"We believe in our process, we believe in our players on both sides. We were coming out here on the road to win this game, not kick it and then go hope to win," Staley told reporters of the late fourth-down decision, via Nick Cothrel. "I believed our defense would get a stop if we didn't make it because I knew that we could cover them.

"You got to live with it when it doesn't go down. We went for it on the first drive and it didn't go down, and we're willing to live with that. But we know what that means to our group by playing that way. There's no way I was taking our offense off the field at the end of the game."

Los Angeles has been one of the NFL's most aggressive fourth-down teams under Staley. In 2021, the Chargers went for it on fourth down 34 times, which was tied for third-most in the league, and converted at a 64.7% clip, which was tied for fourth-best. This season, they're up to 11 fourth-down attempts, which is tied for third-most, but their success rate is below 50% at 5-for-11.

Copyright RSN
Contact Us