Josh McDaniels had some explaining to do after the Pittsburgh Steelers earned a 23-18 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium.

Las Vegas trailed for parts of the game but seemed to find an offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter after a second touchdown pass to Davante Adams. On their next drive, the Raiders faced 4th-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 8-yard line. Trailing by eight, going for a short-yardage conversion attempt could have allowed Las Vegas to score a touchdown and a potential game-tying two-point conversion.

Instead, the Las Vegas head coach elected to kick a field goal to cut the deficit to five with under two and a half minutes remaining in the game. Either way, the Raiders were in need of a touchdown.

The Steelers ran the clock down to under 25 seconds after the Raiders forced a three-and-out. With the ball at the Las Vegas 15-yard line, Jimmy Garoppolo threw his third interception of the night, this time to Levi Wallace, to seal the game.

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After the loss, McDaniels addressed the decision not to go for it on fourth down, despite considerations to do so.

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“Of course,” McDaniels told reporters on considering going for it, per a team-provided video. “You have two choices there. You try to make it a five-point game where you have a chance to win it with a touchdown if you get the ball back. You try to go for it there, and if you happen to convert, you have to make the two-point conversion and all the rest of it. Those are the decisions we have to make.”

The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator reiterated that the decision to kick was not in a lack of confidence in the productivity of his offense.

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“You’re going to need another possession anyways,” McDaniel explained. “It’s not a lack of confidence. We went for it multiple times.”

Down 16 in the final minutes of the game, the Raiders did make the game close while time ran off the clock. McDaniels explained that trying to vary tempos remained important for the offense.

“When the score was what it was, we needed multiple possessions to go,” McDaniel added. “We needed to do the right thing with multiple possessions. Whether we were mixing in the tempo, we were mixing in huddling, trying to stay with some of the runs there in the second half… Just trying to do the right thing. Trying to be productive as best we can.”

With the loss in the rearview mirror, McDaniels acknowledged the need to reflect on decision-making to adjust to similar situations down the line.

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“Ultimately, those are mine,” McDaniels said. “We confer with some other people and discuss what the options are. Like I said, it doesn’t matter what the decision is if we don’t execute well. If you choose to kick it there, you’ve got to play defense. It is what it is. You can go either way with those.”

The Raiders move on to a key divisional matchup on Oct. 1 at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images