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Sean McVay defends decision to kick on late fourth down

NFC Championship - Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams looks on in the first half while taking on the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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Rams coach Sean McVay eschewed a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, instead kicking a field goal. He knew he was going to get some flack for that.

So McVay brought it up himself after the game, explaining it without reporters even having to ask.

“With the fourth-down deal, we were moving the ball really well. I think our defense had played really good football up to that point, [so the thought was], ‘OK, if we get it to tie a game, we feel good about the outcome being able to turn in our favor if we are able to get a couple of possessions.’ Ultimately it ended up working out for us because of our players,” McVay said.

It worked out, but that doesn’t mean it was the right call. The Rams’ offense likely would have scored the touchdown from only a yard out, and even if they’d been stopped, they would have had the Saints backed up to their own 1-yard line. With the Rams’ defense playing well, that would have allowed them to stop the Saints and get the ball back in good field position.

If the Saints had gone on to win the game, as they easily could have if not for a missed pass interference call, everyone would be saying today that McVay chickened out when his team needed him to be aggressive.