If there was any slim chance left that Dan Campbell still could rise from the ashes and win NFL Coach of the Year, the Detroit Lions head coach probably put that to bed Sunday in a Week 5 game against the New England Patriots.
Campbell, who has been far and away the most popular pick to win the award at season’s end, made a handful of questionable coaching decisions on the road against Bill Belichick’s team. On the contrast, Belichick’s ability to scheme up a defense to complement rookie Bailey Zappe in his first career start, coupled by Campbell’s insistence on giving the game away, led New England to a lopsided 29-0 verdict.
Campbell went for it six times on fourth down, including the first drive of the game, and did not convert on one of them. The Lions also committed seven penalties for 82 yards, were 0-for-3 in the red zone and lost the turnover battle 2-0.
Detroit initially was unable to convert a fourth-and-1 from its own 45 yard line, which helped the Patriots rookie signal-caller with a short field on his first possession. New England finished the drive with an easy-earned field goal. In the second quarter, Campbell then opted for a mind-boggling fourth-and-9 from the New England 32 yard line in a 6-0 game. On that play, Matthew Judon stripped Detroit quarterback Jared Goff and Patriots safety Kyle Dugger recovered the fumble and took it 59 yards for a defensive touchdown. It helped the Patriots take a 13-0 lead into the half.
Detroit later went for it on fourth down on each of the second-half possessions, in large part because they allowed their deficit to continue to balloon. The failed to convert a fourth-and-2 at the New England 34, fourth-and-goal at the New England 5, fourth-and-1 at the New England 31 and fourth-and-4 at the New England 18.
The latest showing from Campbell probably served as the final straw in regards to Coach of the Year futures, as it dropped Detroit to 1-4 on the campaign. Given that Campbell is responsible for 23.4% of the tickets and 17.2% of the handle for Coach of the Year, as shared by BetMGM Sportsbook entering Week 5, it’s probably not a great day for many future bettors. Of course, oddsmakers have been paying attention to Campbell’s Lions during the first quarter of the season, too, which caused Campbell to move from 16-to-1 to 40-to-1 to win the award entering Week 5.