Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has addressed his decision to punt the ball away with less than five minutes remaining in today’s 22-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Stefanski called for a punt on 4th-and-9 from his own 32-yard line with 4:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Browns had one timeout at the time.
Cleveland would not get the ball back. Kansas City closed the game out with a couple of first downs, including the final one on a stunning fourth down play call. After the game, Stefanski elaborated on why he didn’t go for it on what wound up being his team’s last possession.
His reasoning was that the distance (nine yards) was “just too long” and if it had been shorter, he’d have pulled the trigger.
#Browns HC Kevin Stefanski on not going for it on 4th and 9 on their final offensive drive: "That was just too long there, that distance. If it was tighter, without a doubt."
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) January 17, 2021
Stefanski’s logic makes some sense, but the fact that Cleveland only had one timeout left probably should have given him more pause.
Additionally, the first-year head coach likely regrets his ill-fated decision to challenge a completed pass to Tyreek Hill earlier in the fourth quarter, which resulted in the Browns forfeiting a timeout.
These are all things Stefanski can think about during the offseason as he tries to hone his in-game coaching heading into his second season in Cleveland.