Doug Pederson stands by Jaguars bold decision to go for 2 late in loss to Browns

• The Jaguars tried a two-point conversion late in the loss to the Browns

• The attempt failed but Doug Pederson thinks it was a good decision

Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws a
Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws a / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Cleveland Browns 31-27. Trailing 31-21 in the fourth quarter, they had a chance to get within three points of the Browns. But after Trevor Lawrence connected with tight end Evan Engram to make it 31-27, they tried a two-point conversion, instead of getting the extra point.

Had the Jags taken the safer route, they could've had a chance to tie the game with a field goal if they successfully tried an onside kick. Unfortunately, their gamble failed, and they lost to an AFC North team for the season week in a row. Following the game, head coach Doug Pederson defended the decision to go for two.

"Analytics puts you down too in field goal win to get the onside kick, then field goal wins the game," Pederson told the media after the loss. "Try to be aggressive there, the way the game was going felt like we needed to make something happen and that was such a good time. We had them on their heels at that time and it was a good decision through that."

Later, Pederson says that avoiding overtime seems like a good idea from an outside perspective, but at the time, he thought that going for two was the best course of action.

"Sometimes, that's maybe the easiest thing to think about, right? But when you're down there, and your team just scored we got a little momentum right there. For me, it was an easy decision to go forward at that time, because if you get a chance to get the ball back, you know exactly what you got to do, so either way, it worked to your advantage," Pederson said.

The Jaguars have previously had success in 2-point conversions

This isn't the first time Doug Pederson has made a bold decision with a game on the line. Last year, the Jags were trailing the Baltimore Ravens 27-20 in Week 12. But instead of tying the game when they scored a touchdown with 14 seconds left in regulation, they opted for the two-point conversion. Trevor Lawrence then connected with Zay Jones to get the Jags on top 28-27.

Justin Tucker then tried a last-resort, 67-yard field goal that failed short, giving the Jags the win. Had Jacksonville tied the game, they could've still won in overtime but there's an equal chance they lost. Something similar happened against the Browns.

Had the Jags gotten the two points, Doug Pederson would been praised for being aggressive. Because it failed, the decision was scrutinized but the only reason they had to be aggressive is that both their offense and their defense were inconsistent through most of the game, and they only woke up when they had a slim chance of turning things around late in the fourth quarter.

One drive before they made it 31-27, they turned it over on downs, not to mention that their two first offensive drives of the second half ended in a punt and interception. Simply put, they shot themselves on the foot so many times that they had no other choice but to be aggressive with the game on the line.

Think about it, even if Jacksonville kicked the extra point, their offside kick had to be good for them to have a chance to tie the game. By then, their chances of winning the game were narrow, so why not go broke?

Again, the gambit didn't pay off but that's not the reason they lost to the Browns. They had several chances but they couldn't get the job done. At 8-5, they need to have a hard look at themselves, if they don't want the season to slip through their hands.

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