Bills coach says faith in players, not analytics, was behind doomed fourth-down call

·4 min read

Bills quarterback Josh Allen scrambled to his left and was pushed out of bounds at the Titans 3-yard line with less than a minute to play in Buffalo’s “Monday Night Football” game at Tennessee.

The Titans held a 3-point lead and a short Bills field goal likely would have forced overtime.

But Buffalo coach Sean McDermott chose to go for it on fourth and 1, hoping to win the game. Instead, Allen was stuffed at the line of scrimmage and the Bills lost 34-31.

Did McDermott make the right call? The Buffalo News said ESPN’s win probability model showed kicking a field goal gave the Bills a 47.5% chance to win. Going for it on fourth down was 48.9%.

Next Gen Stats and Edj Sports, which says it created the NFL’s first simulation model, both supported McDermott’s decision. Next Gen called it the “optimal call.”

But McDermott said his players were the reason for his decision, not analytics.

“I owe it to my players,” McDermott said, per Pro Football Talk. “I believe in my players. I believe in my quarterback. I trust my guys. Obviously we didn’t get it done in this case, but I trust my players.”

Slammin’ Sox

The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series against Houston on Monday by continuing a trend.

Kyle Schwarber hit a grand slam as part of a six-run second inning and the Red Sox beat the Astros like a drum, winning 12-3 in Boston.

That was Boston’s third grand slam in the first two innings of the last two games of the series.

Sports researcher James Smyth said the Red Sox tied the 1998 Atlanta Braves for the most grand slams in one postseason. Heck, Boston is the first team with three grand slams in one playoff series, as MLB.com’s Ian Browne noted.

Want to take it a step further? OK, Stats by Stats said this was the first time in MLB history (regular season or postseason) that a team hit three grand slams in the first or second inning in a two-game span.

Good news in Seattle

There appears to be good news on what was a scary situation during the Seahawks’ loss to the Steelers on Monday night.

Defensive end Darrell Taylor left the game immobilized on a cart. But according to an ESPN story Seattle coach Pete Carroll said an MRI and CT scan showed no damage to Taylor’s neck or spine.

“A really, really positive report,” Carroll said, per ESPN. “His MRI stuff was clear. His CT scan stuff was clear. He does not have a neck injury. He got jammed pretty good. We got to wait and see what it’s like. It may be a little bit more in his shoulder even as we figure it out.”

Coyotes sing the Blues

The St. Louis Blues scored five goals in a 5 minute, 7 second span of the second period and beat the Coyotes 7-4.

Klim Kostin netted a pair of goals 47 seconds apart in that spurt.

ESPN Stats and Info said that was 3 seconds shy of the Blues’ club record for fastest five goals in a game. They accomplished the feat in 5:04 in a January 1995 game against Anaheim.

No endorsement deal

Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown, who played Monday night despite recovering from food poisoning, was asked if he knew how he got sick.

Fast-food fans may want to stop reading here.

Brown said it was Chipotle.

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