Let’s just call a spade a spade. Arthur Smith has got big balls, and they were on full display in the Falcons comeback win over the Packers.
In what capped off the best performance of his young career, Bijan Robinson converted a fourth-and-1 with a seven-yard run to set up Younghoe Koo’s 25-yard, go-ahead field goal with less than a minute to go.
The fourth-down conversion came with the Falcons already in field goal range, especially with Koo in the fold. Atlanta’s offense was at Green Bay’s 23-yard line with 2:08 left on the clock. Arthur Smith decided to gamble, and his team rewarded him.
Instead of leaving Jordan Love multiple timeouts and the two-minute warning, Smith chose to put the ball in his playmaker’s hands and go for it. His gamble paid off, stating after the game that he didn’t want to get cute and wanted to be aggressive.
“So wanted to be aggressive, and then even late, with a minute being 4th and 1 at that point, I didn’t want to get too cute, and I knew our defense, if they had no timeouts, I had a lot of confidence we were going to stop them,” Arthur Smith on the decision to go for it on fourth down late on the final drive.
It took a lot of guts for him to make that call, and there’s a ton that goes into it. Was it just who he is as a head coach? Or was it his belief in his team?
“Well, every one of those are different. You know what the numbers are, and you’re certainly aware, but again, there’s a human element to it, and the way that our guys were coming off the ball, again, the call — again, they’re all an educated guess. They have a chance to change it up, and they did at times.
That’s what the league is. But there was a lot of conviction. Felt great about the call and really about the guys. That was why,” Smith said.
The Falcons are making Arthur Smith look great, and that gamble might be a galvanizing moment for the rest of the season.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire