Oregon Coach Dan Lanning Channeled His Inner Brandon Staley With Dubious 4th Down Calls In Loss To Washington

Dan Lanning Oregon
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Multiple goal line stands. Wild two-point conversions. No shortage of dynamic playmaking from Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix.

The highly anticipated Pac-12 duel between Oregon and Washington definitely lived up to the hype.

Alas, somebody had to lose, and Ducks coach Dan Lanning had a lot to do with the outcome.

In addition to turning down a chip shot field goal to end the first half on fourth down, he decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from Washington’s 47 with 2:11 on the clock.

The Huskies had already burned all their timeouts. Kicking it deep and forcing Penix to drive the length of the field would’ve been a prudent strategy. Hindsight is 20/20 of course. That said, this was downright reckless behavior. The scoreboard indicates most of what ensued from there.

Two incredible downfield strikes, including the winning, back-shoulder TD to Rome Odunze, sent Seattle into a frenzy.

It’s far from a nonzero chance that Penix has a cracked rib or two based on how he was laboring from some of the hits he took. To still hang in the pocket, wait for deeper routes to develop, and send in some absolute seeds with everything on the line? NAILS.

Credit Nix for taking what Washington’s defense gave him to position the Ducks for a game-tying field goal with mere seconds on the clock. A successful kick and overtime period could’ve saved Lanning from a lot of grief and scrutiny. The football gods had other ideas…

I could only think of one man in the aftermath of this debacle, someone who’s similarly in a serious relationship with “analytics” and prone to sudden, bizarre game management aggressiveness: Brandon Staley of the LA Chargers!

Sure, if Oregon converts that final fourth down near midfield, they’re champs and Lanning looks like a boss. But like, any sensible human being would try to pin Washington as deep as possible, especially with Penix laboring to the degree that he was.

There was another fourth down deep in Huskies territory sandwiched between the ones I’ve already talked about, by the way! Nix couldn’t hook up the throw to Troy Franklin. Gave him a shot on a 50-50 ball. Didn’t work out.

At least Lanning took it all on the chin afterwards.

I’m all for being proactive. Playing to win and not to lose. Not being a dinosaur as a head coach in terms of schematics and tactics. Dan Lanning embodies these characteristics.

It’s just that, you have to have some sort of governor or checks and balances at some point, right? I’m sure there’s some genius nerd crunching numbers in real time to help Lanning sort through a bazillion variables in real time on these fourth down decisions.

Whatever the approach was, it backfired big time and may well have cost the Ducks their shot at the national title.

Some of the reactions on the social media platform known as “X” are fantastic. Not everyone thought he was in the wrong, which is surprising.

…But I’m here for Lanning catching ALL the smoke.

High comedy. Love it. All told, I’m sure we’ll see these teams meet again in the Pac-12 title game. Or at least let’s pray for that. Check out the highlights below from this instant classic.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock