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two more (one requested by Rory) from GB@PHI

Posted By: Steve Mellen
Date: Monday, 10 January 2011, at 5:05 p.m.

In Response To: two more (one requested by Rory) from GB@PHI (Chuck Bower)

I think it is clear to kick a FG in the first situation. You're going to score a TD maybe 30% of the time if you go for it (surely the chance to convert 4th-and-5 is not greater than 40%, and you still need to get it in the end zone). You will convert the FG 90% of the time and I doubt a TD in this situation is 3 times as valuable as a FG. Even though the deficit is a multiple of 7, it is still the first half and I think putting raw points on the board matters more than trying to match totals. Also, echoing a recent discussion in this forum, there is little residual equity associated with pinning your opponent deep in their territory when your 4th-down play fails, since there is so little time left in the half.

In the second situation, I thought it was crystal-clear to go for the TD for any number of reasons. I dread reprising our discussion about "making it a one-possession game," but the fact is that you need at least one TD and this is your best opportunity to get it, since 4th-and-half-a-yard is a high-percentage situation. Also, there is a benefit to attempting the 2-point conversion now because you know right away whether you will need a TD or FG on the next possession.

I would also note a painful bit of analysis at the end of the New Orleans-Seattle game. With about 1:30 left, New Orleans scores a TD to pull within 5, and one of the announcers volunteers that he thinks it's probably right to go for 2 here. Gee, ya think? I'm not sure who the announcer was, although I question where NBC finds a 2nd announcing team in the first place since they only broadcast one game a week during the regular season. Even better, as the teams prepare for the 2-point conversion attempt, the announcer volunteers that this is about to be the biggest play of the season for both teams. Not to get in the way of the pressing need to hype every moment, but it seemed to me that the ensuing onside kick would probably be a tad more pivotal.

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