Dolphins coach Brian Flores defended his decision to go for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on Sunday this way: “You’ve got to be aggressive to beat a good team.”
He’s right, even if the result — a dropped touchdown by Preston Williams in a game the Dolphins lost by a field goal — was ugly.
The analytics website EDJ Sports says Flores’ choice was the fourth-best decision of the week, and it increased the Dolphins’ game-winning chance by 5.4 percent.
The strategy — score as many points as possible — was sound. The execution — a perfect ball through Williams’ hands — was not.
Williams has had a rough return to the field after missing half of 2019 with a torn ACL. He slipped twice in critical moments of the Dolphins’ Week 1 loss to the Patriots and has caught just three of 12 passes thrown his way.
Williams, while explosive, is not efficient. He’s averaging just 5.6 yards per target, behind teammates Mike Gesicki (10.0), DeVante Parker (8.3) and Isaiah Ford (6.4).
What’s more, five of his 12 targets have been drive-enders.
In fairness, Williams is demonstrably still limited from last year’s injury.
DeVante Parker knows how frustrating rehabbing an injury during the season can be.
When asked what advice he gives his teammate, Parker said: “I just tell him do what you can. Fight through the pain if you can.”
Given Williams’ limitations, why did Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey draw up a play for Williams at one of the most critical moments of the game?
Here’s how Gailey explained his decision-making process:
“We have a goal-line package every time we walk into a game. We had plays we thought would work and we didn’t execute them to the best of our ability and we didn’t get into the end zone. That’s a product of maybe I’ve got to do a better job of planning those plays and getting better play management in that situation.
“Then we’ve got to execute better. If he catches the ball, we’re not having this discussion. Since he didn’t, we are. Everybody has decisions to make on the football field, and (Ryan Fitzpatrick) made the decisions he made and most of the time it works when he makes them, but this time it didn’t.”
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