Before the Jaguars could win Saturday night’s game with a 36-yard field goal, they needed to convert a fourth and short. As they lined up for the play, coach Doug Pederson decided to take a time out and change the play.
“I just didn’t like the look that we had for the play we had called, and so I just took the time out,” Pederson told reporters after the game. “We reloaded, regrouped, put our heads together, came up with that call, and just a great effort by Travis [Etienne] to obviously hit an off tackle there and get the first down and more.”
Pederson was then asked the fairly obvious question of whether he was fine with the risk of running to the outside, Pederson made an equally obvious (but critically important) revelation.
“Listen, if they’re outside, you go inside,” Pederson said. “If they’re inside, you go outside, and Travis is a heck of a back that can do that, and with his speed and ability, made a great play in that moment.”
Indeed he did. And it came with three running backs behind quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Via the NFL’s Next Gen Stats account, teams have lined up with three players in the backfield only six times this year on fourth down. The Jaguars have done it three of those six times.
For the most important one of the year, it worked by not only getting the first down but putting the ball firmly in field-goal range for the kick that completed an epic comeback.