By Mark Gaughan
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone explained his rationale for going for the two-point conversion a bit earlier than conventional wisdom suggests in Sunday's victory over the Carolina Panthers.
The Bills had scored a touchdown with 4:18 left in the third quarter to pull within 14-12. The conversion pass from EJ Manuel to Robert Woods tied the game. It proved critical, because the Bills won by a point, 24-23, on their final-seconds touchdown.
Coaches who go for two too early in the second half run the risk of "chasing the points," before it's necessary. A classic example was in the Super Bowl in 2003, when Carolina's John Fox went for two early in the second half and wound up losing to New England on a last-second field goal that would have only tied the game if he had kicked extra points in the second half. However, that was a high-scoring game.
The Bills-Carolina game Sunday was a tight affair.
Said Marrone on the decision: "The possessions and feeling how the game was going. ... At that time normally I don’t look at the two-point chart until the fourth quarter. That has been my philosophy, that’s what I’ve always done. I just had a feeling that this was the right time. I felt that we had a really good play. I felt that we were going to be able to execute it. I felt like we needed to go ahead and get the two points now and tie the game. That one’s more of a feel than it was from the strategy of what I’ve done before."
Obviously, it was the correct decision.