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Dan Dakich, the host of OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me,” offered his take on the Detroit Lions blowing a 17-point lead in the NFC Championship, drawing from his own experiences as a head coach.
Dakich coached men’s basketball at Bowling Green and briefly at Indiana after playing four seasons under Bobby Knight for the Hoosiers.
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Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell walks off the field against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of the NFC Championship football game at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
He broke down the Lions’ failures in the second half and Campbell’s decision to go for it on 4th down instead of trying for field goals late in the game.
“Victory favors the team making the fewest mistakes,” Dakich said. “He made a career-changing mistake. And it was a simple move – kick the field goal, no momentum.”
The first attempt came with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter with the Lions up 24-10. Detroit had a chance to go up 17 points, but the team decided to go for it on 4th-and-2 on the 49ers’ 28-yard line. Jared Goff threw a pass to Josh Reynolds, but it was incomplete.
In the fourth quarter, Detroit may have been able to tie the game with a field goal but chose to go for it on 4th-and-3. Goff fired a pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown, but it was incomplete as well.
Dan Dakich calling a season-opening college football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers on Aug. 31, 2017 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. (James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Detroit had two opportunities to get at least six points on the board. However, their aggressiveness failed twice as the 49ers surged in the second half.
The Lions lost the game 34-31.
Campbell said after the game he did not “regret” the decisions.
“I just felt really good about us converting,” Campbell said after the game. “And getting our momentum and not letting them play long ball. They were bleeding the clock out – that’s what they do – and I wanted to get the upper hand back.”
The Lions have been going for it on 4th down more often since Campbell took over as head coach. The Lions were successful 54.76% of the time on 4th down, which ranked 12th in the NFL, according to Team Rankings.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, left, hugs Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell following the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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However, their game plan may have cost them a trip to the Super Bowl.
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