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Dan Quinn had 'gut feeling' on failed fourth-down call

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Most coaches punt on fourth-and-1 from their own 45-yard-line in overtime. Dan Quinn had a gut feeling his team would convert in that situation Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

His gut was wrong. Devonta Freeman got stuffed by Denzel Perryman, giving Philip Rivers the ball in prime location to lead to the game-winning field goal.

"Honestly, I had a real belief we were going to make it and just keep the drive going and keep extending it," Quinn said of his fourth-down call in the 33-30 home loss, via ESPN.com. "Just a gut feeling that I went with. It didn't work. We can second-guess. That's easy to do, but it was more a mindset. I had such a belief in the guys to go get aggressive and get that half a yard that we needed. So when we didn't, that was a costly mistake.''

The initial thought from the layman is Quinn didn't trust his defense to stop Rivers and the Chargers offense, which racked up 426 yards on the day. The coach disputed that theory.

"That didn't have a factor on it in that particular time," Quinn said. "It was really just a factor of, 'I think we're going to get it and this drive is going to keep going, and we're going to finish with some points at the end of it.'"

The analytics showed that Atlanta had a slightly higher win probability by punting, but the numbers were close enough to make a case for going for it -- especially against an offense the Falcons couldn't stop late.

"I just thought we had a good shot," Quinn said. "We had a good look at a good run on that one. We didn't execute like we can. We had the look there and what we wanted, and we liked the call. We just didn't execute it, and they did.

"It wasn't a matter of if we had a different one. Obviously, in those times, you can throw it. We just thought, 'Hey, here's a chance for us. Let's get behind the line.' They made a good play, too. I've got to give them credit as well."

With Sunday's failed call, the next time a situation like that comes up, Quinn's "gut" might tell him to make a different decision.

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