Brandon Staley doubled down on his late-game, fourth-down decision, again expressing no second thoughts after watching the film from Sunday’s game. The Chargers coach decided to go for it on fourth-and-one at his own 46 with 1:14 to play, while holding only a two-point lead.
The decision prompted even his own star receiver, Keenan Allen, to question Staley’s thought process while home with a hamstring injury.
“WTF are we doing,” Allen wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Staley said he met with Allen on Monday morning.
“I was made aware of that after the game,” Staley said, via a transcript from the team. “The thing that I will say is that Keenan Allen is a captain for us, and he and I, since I’ve become the head coach, have become extremely close. There’s no one that I have more respect for than Keenan Allen. What makes him special is his competitiveness and how much he cares about our team.
“Anyone that has been a part of competition knows that when you’re not a part of it, you can feel some type of way. Keenan’s heart is with me; it’s with us. To me, I have an understanding of where he was at that moment, because he’s not with his team. They’re in the fire. That’s a money down that he is used to being out there for, which makes it a lot better for us. It’s just part of sports. We’re going to become closer because of it. We already became closer this morning because of it. We’re going to keep it moving to Denver, try and get him well and get him out there playing for us.”
Justin Herbert threw incomplete to Mike Williams on fourth down, and the Browns went only 10 yards before kicker Cade York saved Staley by missing a 54-yard field goal with 11 seconds left.
ESPN’s win probability model was about the only support Staley found, with an 84.1 winning percentage to 78.9 percent with a punt.
Staley said again Monday that it was the “right” decision.
“There is going to be some decision that some majority are going to disagree with,” Staley said. “You just have to have conviction in what you believe in, and also be transparent with your process, don’t feel defensive or insecure about it. I understand it in all ways. When you say, ‘Does it affect you?’ It doesn’t affect me from a decision-making standpoint, no. I also understand the scrutiny. I understand that there should be scrutiny on all of the decisions that we make. It’s pro sports, and that’s what’s cool about sports. I just know that it’s part of the job. You’re ready to face it every Monday.”