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Giants coach Ben McAdoo defends late decisions in win over Bears

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo answers

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo answers questions from journalists during a press conference at Syon House in Syon Park, south west London, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Credit: AP / Matt Dunham

Ben McAdoo isn’t pleased with everything the Giants have put forth during their five-game winning streak, or even in Sunday’s win over the Bears.

“We have to clean our house,” he said. “We have some sloppy football out there.”

Some might say the same about McAdoo’s play-calling and decision-making in the fourth quarter on Sunday as well, but the head coach defended his thinking in both cases.

Asked on Monday if he thought the offensive play-calling was too conservative on the final few possessions, during which the Giants had three three-and-outs that resulted in a total of 11 yards, McAdoo gave a terse: “No.”

“I thought we were running the ball physically,” he said of keeping the ball on the ground for nine of 13 plays in the fourth quarter. “I thought we had some opportunities to convert and complete the ball. I am fine with the way the game was called.”

He also, undoubtedly, had faith in his defense to stop the Bears from scoring. At that point in the game, besieged by injuries, it seemed as if Chicago would have a better chance of finding the end zone on an interception or fumble return than on offense.

The bigger issue might have come on defense during the Bears’ final drive. They had the ball at the Giants’ 44-yard line after a key sack by Jason Pierre-Paul and on second-and-24 Jay Cutler threw an incompletion. The Bears were flagged for an illegal shift on the play.

The Giants could have (many would say should have) declined the penalty with 1:23 remaining, giving the Bears third-and-24 from the 44. Instead they accepted the penalty and gave the Bears an extra down, making it second-and-29 from the 49.

“Any time Jay Cutler has the ball, the farther you can back him up at the end of the ballgame, the better,” McAdoo said of his reasoning. “If anyone can cut through the wind and get one in the end zone, it’s Jay.”

Five yards, in this case, probably wouldn’t make much difference between reaching the end zone or not. And giving an extra down allows for the possibility of something happening on defense — a holding or pass interference call — that comes with an automatic first down.

Even after a day to digest it, though, McAdoo stood by his call.

“Felt like it was the best decision for our team,” he said.

Landon Collins intercepted the pass on second-and-29 to seal the win on the very next play, so maybe it was.


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