First-year New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is gaining a reputation as a riverboat gambler. He's been doubling down on fourth downs, and the cards have been coming up in his favor more often than not.
The Giants went 2-for-2 on fourth downs in last Sunday's 22-16 win over the Chicago Bears. They've attempted the seventh-most fourth downs in the league this season (11) and their six conversions are tied for fifth most. However, while they converted 56.3 percent of fourth downs last season (9 for 16), they have succeeded 54.5 percent of the time this season, which ranks 14th overall.
Their decisions to go for it on fourth down stem from their poor third-down conversion percentage (35.4 percent), which ranks 27th in the league. Nine of their fourth-down attempts have come in opponents territory, six of which have been between the 30-yard line and midfield -- which can be too far to kick a field goal and too close to the end zone to punt.
"You know that if we get close there's a good chance we might go for it," said quarterback Eli Manning, who has converted six of his last eight fourth downs. "He (McAdoo) told me before the game that with the windy conditions, the kicking game might be tough. We got into the 30-yard line and if it's a manageable situation, we might be going for it a few times."
Manning was asked if the intensity was raised in the huddle when a play is called in.
"I never thought on fourth down that the intensity has to crank up," he said. "It's just going through your same process. Trying to see your coverage and trying to have a good starting point on what receiver and plays you want to run. Guys have done a good job. Rashad did a great job making a guy miss. Shepard did a good job of getting open and the offensive line did a good job allowing me to go through my progressions. Guys are doing a good job of winning their individual route battles and making plays."
Why can't they be as successful on second and third downs, you ask? Well, that is the million-dollar question.