Of course Jake Elliott wanted the chance to kick a 64-yard game-winning field goal in overtime on Sunday to beat the team that drafted him in 2017.
He also understands why he didn’t get that chance.
“Looking at it from a kicker’s perspective, especially mine, I’m going to be confident going into every kick,” Elliott said. “I want to kick every kick, obviously. I know that’s not extremely realistic. I think in that circumstance in the game, I would have loved to try it. But I understand the timing of it. There’s time on the clock, a lot of risk-reward there. Like I said, confident in myself but understand the situation.”
Elliott was going to get a chance at a 59-yarder to break the 23-23 tie and play hero with 19 seconds on the clock in overtime, but Matt Pryor jumped offsides.
That left Doug Pederson with three options and not long to make the decision:
1. Punt the ball away and settle for a tie
2. Put the offense on the field and try to convert a 4th-and-12
3. Kick a 64-yard field goal
Pederson went with Option 1 and the next day admitted he should have opted for No. 2. It doesn’t seem like No. 3 was ever in consideration.
“We would love to trot out there and try field goals from all distances,” said Eagles special teams coordinator Dave Fipp, who went super micro during the Zoom discussion. “I think if you talk to any of these kickers in this league, they all feel really confident in their abilities. We’re certainly confident in Jake’s but there is a risk-reward and there’s a lot that goes into that decision.”
Fipp on Tuesday mentioned that the end of the Bengals game can be a learning experience for him. He obviously didn’t expect a five-yard penalty but he admitted he hadn’t thought through what they might do if there was a penalty.
While Fipp doesn’t speak for Pederson, it seems like the head coach didn’t have a definite plan for that scenario either. He sent out the punt team and then even if he did start to second-guess that decision, the Eagles took a delay of game penalty and then faced a 4th-and-17.
Either way, it seems like Pederson’s choice came down to punt or keep the offense on the field. A missed field goal would have given the Bengals the ball near midfield and around 14 seconds to work with.
“As far as the 64-yarder, one guy’s hit one in the history of the National Football League, so is it a common thing? Are the odds great? Probably not great,” Fipp said. “What are they? I couldn’t really tell you."
The only 64-yard field goal in NFL history came from Matt Prater back in December of 2013. Elliott’s career-long was the 61-yard game-winner he hit against the Giants in 2017.
Before the Eagles’ final drive began, they had a target line at the Cincinnati 40-yard line, which would have set up a 58-yard field goal. So when the Eagles got to the 41, it was a no-brainer to line up for a 59-yarder. But 64? That’s different. During pregame warmups, the farthest out Elliott attempted one was from 60. He said he made it, but “barely.”
What’s the probability he would have hit a 64-yarder?
“I think if I really got a hold of one, we could have gotten it in there,” Elliott said.
We’ll never know.