FanPost

Worst 4th Down Decision in 2008

Advanced NFL Stats is a tremendous website for nerds who find the numbers behind the game interesting.  The author doesn't typically post on a daily basis, but when he does the post is usually thought provoking.  I check his site about once per week.  Today I stumbled upon this gem where Andy's decision to punt the ball back to Cincinatti late in the game is derided as the worst 4th down decision of the year.  According to the author's methodology, giving Cincy the ball back with so much time left in the game gave Cincinatti almost a 1 in 3 chance of pulling out the game, whereas converting the 4th and 1 would have given the Birds about a 60 percent chance to pull the game out in regulation (they only would have needed another 15 yards for a long FG)...

The author's methodology for determining win probability is fairly sound and well documented (that last link is not for the faint of heart).  It's also something which can be evaluated on a play by play basis and the site provides in game win probabilities for some (all?) games during the acutal game.  

Knowing what we know now, playing for the draw worked just fine, but at the time we all would have liked to have seen a little more aggression.  Would you have punted, or gone for it with the game on the line in the fourth quarter?

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