A pair of curious coaching decisions played a pivotal role in the St. Louis Rams' overtime loss at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher cited the swirling winds as a determining factor in opting for a two-point conversion late in the first quarter rather than have Greg Zuerlein attempt an extra point into the stiff breeze following his team's first touchdown.
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"I felt like we were going to need as many scoring opportunities as we possibly can," Fisher said. "And it was indicative of how the wind was. I liked what we had up, and I let the coaches know after I observed the wind. It's a long kick, and it was pushing the ball around. Whether it worked out or not, I would do it again."
Rookie running back Todd Gurley was stuffed on the conversion attempt, a point that came back to haunt the Rams when the game went to overtime tied at 18-18. Fisher typically places an inordinate amount of trust in Zuerlein, which he showed by sending him out to attempt a successful 61-yard field goal in the second quarter - albeit with the wind.
"The wind definitely played a big role," said Zuerlein, who also has attempted 64- and 63-yard field goals this season. "We only scored six points going one way and all the other points in the game were scored going the other way, so I think that says a lot."
Fisher went a safer route with the wind in his favor late in the game, running Gurley up the middle on a third-and-11 situation to set up a 48-yard field goal that Zuerlein missed. St. Louis got the ball back and Zuerlein redeemed himself with a 53-yard boot to force overtime.
"Big picture, we felt confident defensively that we could get the ball back and have a chance perhaps to win the game in regulation," Fisher said of the conservative third-down call. "And then we missed the kick."