The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Detroit Lions in Sunday's NFC Championship Game partly thanks to two key fourth downs that Lions head coach Dan Campbell rolled the dice on that failed.
Niners star defensive end Nick Bosa had a blunt comment after the game on the field about Campbell's decision to go for it twice on fourth down:
Nick Bosa says about Dan Campbell's aggressiveness: 'That definitely bit him in the butt'
In the video above, Bosa told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco when asked about Campbell's decision to go for it on fourth down multiple times.
"That definitely bit him in the butt," Bosa said. "I feel like going for it on fourth down a lot kind of will come back to bite you."
This was a key storyline going into this game. The Niners were well aware that Campbell is one of the most aggressive head coaches in the NFL when it comes to going for it on fourth down. They knew that whenever there would be 4th-and-short tries, Campbell would likely roll the dice and try to get a first down.
Surprisingly, at the end of the first half, Campbell decided to kick a field goal on 4th-and-goal rather than go for a touchdown. But he was not as conservative in the second half. On the first drive for the Lions, they got the ball into San Francisco territory fairly quickly but were then faced with a 4th-and-short try. Even though they were in field-goal range, they went for it and did not get it which completely flipped the momentum in the game.
Then in the fourth quarter, the Lions were again well within field-goal range, and this time, they were down three points. A successful field-goal try would have tied the game, but Campbell decided to go for it, and the Lions failed again.
The 49ers went down and scored on their next possession to take a 10-point lead and were able to hang on for a three-point victory.
It can be argued that Campbell's aggressiveness is part of what got the Lions to the NFC Championship game in the first place, but it is that same aggressiveness that may have cost him and the Lions as they came up short in Santa Clara.