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Brandon Staley: “No apologies” for going for it on late fourth down

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley’s fourth-down decision-making has made him a magnet for criticism over the last few years and he set himself up for more brickbats in Minnesota on Sunday.

Staley opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 24-yard-line while leading by four points with just under two minutes left to play. Running back Joshua Kelley was stuffed short of the line and the Vikings got the ball in prime position to pull out a win.

They couldn’t get the job done, thanks in part to the noise of their home crowd, and Staley said after the game that he had no second thoughts about his decision.

“It was fourth down and less than a yard,” Staley said in his postgame press conference. “They had no timeouts. And I believe in our offense. I believe in our offensive line, our tight ends, our quarterback. I felt like we had a good play for what they would be in, and it didn’t go down. We were protecting four points, not three. Again, if it was a three-point play it would have been a different decision. I felt like our defense could play the way it did down the stretch. Again, I’ve got full confidence in our group. It’s your job as a head coach to make sure your team knows you have belief in them. We came here to win. It was a tough road game against a team that made the playoffs, so we were trying to go win the game. I make no apologies for that.”

Wide receiver Keenan Allen told PFT that he liked the decision and other Chargers players shared similar views in their postgame comments, but one imagines the reactions would have been a bit different had the Vikings found a way to finish off a 24-yard drive with a touchdown.