The wind gusted right as Chip Kelly and special teams coach Dave Fipp got together to make their decision.
Matt Barkley had just been dropped for a five-yard sack and the Eagles were facing a 4th-and-10 from the Giants’ 32. The options were to trot Alex Henery out for a 50-yard field goal attempt into a wind that was showing off its strength, or put the ball in the hands of a rookie quarterback in fourth-and-long.
“I made it in pregame,” said Henery. “But it’s just like the kickoffs — you’re kicking that way, you can kick it five deep or you can hit a wind gust and it be on the 15, so it’s just one of those things, either you’re going to make the field goal or you’re giving them the ball right there.”
Kelly elected to go for it. Barkley mishandled the snap, scooped it off the ground and threw wildly in the direction of Jason Avant over the middle. Incomplete. A 12-play drive and nothing to show for it.
“That was a tough wind. That’s why we went for it on fourth down down there,” said Kelly. “Whenever we get close, Fipp’s right near me and I’ll ask him, and he’s like ‘We need to get a little bit closer in that situation.’”
“It’s just one of those things where you kind of have to play the odds of whether the wind’s going to [cooperate],” added Henery.
The odds of Henery connecting on a long field goal this season are well below the league average.
Peter King took a look at the success rate for kickers across the league through eight weeks. He found that there is a conversion rate of 82.4 percent on tries from 40-49 yards (126 of 153). Kickers are hitting on 66.2 percent of their attempts from beyond 50 yards.
“Kicking field goals has just become too easy,” King wrote.
Henery, meanwhile, is 4-of-7 on kicks between 40-49 yards for a success rate of 57 percent. He has only one attempt from beyond 50 yards — the confounding 60-yard attempt last week against the Cowboys that was no good.
Three of Henery’s four misses this season have come at home. He has connected on 62.5 percent of his tries at the Linc compared to 90 percent on the road. Two of those misses came in big moments against the Chargers and Chiefs, respectively.
In this spot, Kelly and Fipp opted to keep him on the sideline.
“I go out there when they tell me to,” said Henery.