Patriots Talk: McDaniels puts fourth down decisions in focus


In the aftermath of another New England Patriots loss, we're once again left discussing a controversial crunch-time decision.

In the Week 4 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was the decision to have Nick Folk attempt a 56-yard field goal on 4th and 3 late in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, it was punting on 4th and 3 rather than going for it in overtime.

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As a result, the Dallas Cowboys went on to score the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing drive.

On a brand new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry shared their thoughts on the Patriots punting away their chance to pull off the upset victory.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Josh McDaniels puts fourth down decisions in focus | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Curran wasn't a huge fan of the Patriots' decision to punt.

"If you're going to go on it on 4th and 2 in 2009 from your own 20 against Peyton Manning, then go for it on 4th and 3 from your 46. You're getting shredded the same way you were," he said.

Perry played devil's advocate and looked at it from Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels' perspective.

"Different times. Different times, you don't have Tom Brady anymore," Perry responded. ... "I think Bill Belichick's respect went up for Dak Prescott. The way Dak Prescott played, it's pretty clear he's one of the best in the league and that was really Bill's first experience of getting that Dak Prescott. ... When you're Bill Belichick, you know that in overtime it's better to have the football than not have the football And so to me, that's what makes the decision for you, the fact Dak Prescott's on the other side and the fact he got into field goal range eight out of 10 times in that game. ..


"Additionally though, the Patriots offense had not really done a whole lot outside of very early in that game when they had two touchdowns on seven total plays and late in that game when they did have a nice 13-play touchdown drive that was key to getting them back in it. ... I just think Bill Belichick looks at his defense big picture, the pieces that are on the other side, the amount he's paying some of those guys, and he looks at his offense big picture and what they've done to this point in the season and by most metrics, they're basically like a bottom third in the NFL offense, and he says, 'You know what? I just trust my defense more. Let's punt it away."

Hear what Josh McDaniels had to say about the decision in the full episode.

Also discussed in this episode: Making the case for the Patriots’ offense to throw the ball more, and Kyle Van Noy discusses the loss to the Cowboys and the Patriots' mindset moving forward.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube.