Pat Shurmur on Divisive Decisions in Giants Loss: 'It's an Aggressive Approach'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 22: Head coach Pat Shurmur of the New York Giants looks on during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur received some criticism after going for two (and failing) with his team trailing by eight late in the fourth quarter of Monday night's game, but he is not second-guessing himself. 

"I just felt like, we'd discussed internally the math on that," Shurmur said after New York's 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, according to ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan. "I felt like we had a good play, and I liked our two-point play selections, and we just didn't quite get it done.

"I think it's an aggressive approach."

After scoring a touchdown to cut the deficit to 20-12, Shurmur opted to go for two rather than take the conventional approach by kicking the extra point to make it a seven-point game. Had New York converted and held Atlanta scoreless the rest of the way, all the Giants would have needed was a touchdown and an extra point to win the game.

Unfortunately for Shurmur and Co., Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was unable to haul in the catch, keeping it an eight-point game.

New York would later make up for it, though, by converting a different two-point attempt in the final seconds of the game. However, Atlanta had added a field goal by that point to make it a two-possession game, meaning the aggressive decision did not wind up costing the Giants the game.

Shurmur isn't going to let potential backlash affect his decision-making. For him, it's all numbers-driven.

"You increase your chances by 50 percent if you go for it and make it there, so that's what you do," the first-year Giants coach said. "Because then if you score a touchdown, we just kick the extra point and win. I felt good about the two-point play. You guys saw that, I think we got the ball in there, right? And we just didn't connect on it."

As for running two quarterback sneaks with Eli Manning in the final minute while down 11, Shurmur has no regrets.

"We got to get them in, right? We got to sneak it from the 1," Shurmur said. "I don't...again I just saw a mush pile there, so I don't know why it didn't work. But from the 1-yard line there, we got to get it in."

New York ultimately scored on a one-yard pass from Manning to Beckham on third down. However, the failed quarterback sneaks cost the Giants valuable time on the ensuing kickoff, leaving just five seconds on the clock when they finally did find the end zone.

Running a quarterback sneak at the goal line is not a bad call—earlier in the game or when a team has timeouts. When the clock is running, though, the trailing team can't afford to have precious seconds tick off the way it did Monday night.

The Giants have lost six of their first seven games under Shurmur. Four of their losses, including Week 7, have come by one possession. Shurmur is hoping that aggressive play-calling will be the difference in the outcome. 

Thus far, the results just haven't been in his favor.

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