Dan Campbell knew all along.
Right after Twitter users roasted the Detroit Lions coach Sunday for his analytically backed decision not to punt to the Minnesota Vikings on fourth down inside the Lions' 30, Jared Goff led the team on a game-winning drive.
The Lions beat the Vikings, 29-27, just how you'd draw it up.
Detroit's near-collapse prior to Goff's pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown as time expired gained a lot of attention on social media. But it all goes down as a W, the first of the season (yes, we're in Week 13) and the first in nearly four years vs. Minnesota (yes, the Lions play the Vikings twice a season).
After the game, Campbell dedicated the game ball to the Oxford community, after a horrific high school shooting last week left four students dead and seven others injured.
Coach Campbell dedicated today's game ball to the Oxford community. pic.twitter.com/kcC2zQ3IVt
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 5, 2021
The Lions led the Vikings for more than three quarters Sunday but needed a desperation two-minute drive without timeouts, down four, to snatch a victory.
To recap, Detroit led most of the game but failed to convert a fourth-and-2 from its own 28 while holding a narrow lead. Minnesota took over with about 6 minutes left and great field position, down two. The Vikings eventually scored but couldn't convert the 2-point try.
The analytics say Campbell's much-maligned decision was the right call. Your average Lions fan or football viewer? Not so much.
"ESPN's win probability model agreed with Dan Campbell's decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 on their own 28 with 4:08 remaining (that the Lions failed to convert). WP go: 57.8% WP punt: 55.6% Needed a 59% chance of conversion to justify going for it. We estimated Lions' chances of converting at 66%," tweeted ESPN's Seth Walder.
Let us enjoy the moments of anger turning into joy.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!! I REPEAT THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!! THE LIONS WON A GAME 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉
— zao (@zao1122) December 5, 2021
Dan Campbell has made numerous mistakes in critical junctures this season, and today was no exception.
But happy for him getting his first win.
Still have major doubts about whether this will work out, but the Lions have been in more games than I would have thought this year.
— Seth Berry (@berry_seth14) December 5, 2021
Slow down, you already got him for five more years as it is.
Dan Campbell extension coming soon
— Aiden (read pinned) (@ElSobrinoJrRBW2) December 5, 2021
I want to see Dan Campbell succeed for the Lions so bad. So happy for him right now. That's how you bite a mfing knee cap
— Hobby Connection (@Hobby_Connect) December 5, 2021
Dan Campbell 1000% gonna cry in the press conference
— Wyclef Dijon. #onepride (@Wyclef_Gene) December 5, 2021
HORRENDOUS coaching by the vikings.. Lions had 0 timeouts and walked the ball up the field. 0 pressure on Jared Goff after he’d thrown an INT and fumbled smh
— Laurice Ivy (@IvyLeagueReese) December 5, 2021
You can count this assistant sports editor among those who thought the fourth-and-2 go-for-it call was bad. Apparently, I wasn't alone.
I’m not one to usually fire someone in the middle of a season or even after just one year. But this is a different situation, this guy is CLUELESS. Dan Campbell needs to be let go today.
— Trevor Darnell (@Trevor_Darnell) December 5, 2021
— Roy Tapia (@rtapia24) December 5, 2021
I can’t believe Campbell just went for that 4th&1. My jaw has been on the floor for 4 plays.
— Martin Weiss (@martinweiss) December 5, 2021
Dan Campbell has completely lost me.
I’m still in shock over that decision and play call.
I can’t even.
— Scott Warheit (@swarheit) December 5, 2021
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions fans' anger with Dan Campbell turns to joy