Welcome to PatsFans.com

Better to be up 3 or 4 at the end of the game?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatsFaninAZ, Oct 25, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,097
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0

    Two minutes left on defense. Do you want to be up 3 or 4? I think the stats plainly have to favor being up by 4, but man is it more uncomfortable. When you're up 3, the other team has two concerns -- getting the game tied and not leaving you with much time. They'll take a td of course, but it's not the top priority. When they are up 4, they have 4 downs on every series to get 10 yards, often against a gassed defense. They also conserve time instead of letting the clock wind down, so they have more options.

    Yesterday, once the Chargers got to the 35, they let the clock wind down in case they didn't get the first down so the Patriots wouldn't have time left. They also, of course, decided to kick on 4th and 2 from the 25 when they would have gone for it if they were down 4. The way they were going, converting a 4th and 2 was at least a 50/50 proposition.

    Anyway, like I said I'm sure the stats don't back it up, but unless you have a lock down defense, being down 4 late with the other team having the ball stinks. I think the Giants and Colts have both beaten us in big games in this situation. It's not exactly the same principle, but it kind of reminds me of the situation against the Giants in the super bowl. If we hadn't converted on the 3d down on the Moss TD, we probably would have kicked an FG and tied. The Giants would have had to punt on 4th down instead of going for it and it would have been the Patriots with the chance for a game winning drive.

    It just seems like most times when you're down 3 late, the other team plays for a FG unless the get a big play that puts them in a goal to go situation. Whereas when you're down 4 the other team plays for the win.
  2. letekro

    letekro Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,178
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ratings:
    +17 / 2 / -3

    Is this a joke?
  3. sieglo

    sieglo Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,244
    Likes Received:
    7
    Ratings:
    +16 / 0 / -0

    With the Pats pass defense on third and fourth down, it might not be.
  4. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    11,787
    Likes Received:
    389
    Ratings:
    +1,066 / 9 / -2

    #11 Jersey

    There's no question it affects strategy. In most cases I'd take the 3 as a no-brainer, but with a vertical offense like San Diego's that can eat up chunks of yardage in a hurry, there's something to be said for making them play conservatively.
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    20,835
    Likes Received:
    125
    Ratings:
    +330 / 21 / -2

    I presume that it is.

  6. WhiteWesWelker88

    WhiteWesWelker88 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Messages:
    862
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    wtf..... this is stupid:mad:
  7. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    11,787
    Likes Received:
    389
    Ratings:
    +1,066 / 9 / -2

    #11 Jersey

    I think folks are laughing this off a little too easily. In the vast majority of cases you'd obviously prefer to be up 4. But I think it's a legitimate point that in the case of the Chargers, making them think conservatively, run down time and position themselves for the field goal worked to the Patriots' advantage.
  8. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,097
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0

    It's not a joke, and I prefaced it by saying I'm sure the stats were in favor of the 4 point lead. The point of the post is that 2 minutes left up by 4 is a very precarious situation. The patriots have been knocked out of the playoffs twice in that very situation in recent years. Watching the GB/Vikings game last night was similar. Vikings lost, but they came a step away from winning. If they had been down 3, they would have kicked an FG earlier in the drive (or at least tried). GB would have held the ball at the end.

    It's a way different vibe when your team is down 4 late than when it's down 3 and the other team is in the 2 minute offense.

    Here's a way to think about the question -- Chargers have a 4th and 1.5 yards at the 25 yard line, one minute left in the game. You get to be in that position right now. Which would you rather have -- a 4 point lead or a 3 point lead? My answer is a 4 point lead. But it's really really close. With a 3 point lead in that situation, they almost always kick. So, you have multiple ways to win -- missed field goal, get the ball back with 1:00 left and win the game, win in OT. You will rarely lose in regulation in that situation. With a 4 point lead, losing in regulation is very firmly still on the table. Against a team that has had 340 yards passing and has scored 14 points in 6 minutes of clock time in the 4th quarter, it's hardly a no brainer. I was pretty relieved when the Chargers lined up for a field goal instead of going for it in that situation, and if they had been down 4, they go. If your answer to my question is you'd rather have the 4 point lead, you also must be saying that you would have preferred the Chargers to go for it on 4th down in that situation. I agree that's probably the higher percentage play for the Pats, but, still, as I said, it's not a no brainer and it's a different vibe.
  9. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,030
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    very interesting question. here is another I've been pondering lately.

    is it harder to move the ball 80 yards on offense or 55 yards? tough one!
  10. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    8
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0 / -0

    I'll take the 4 every single time.

    PS: Down by 3 or 4, you play the first 3 downs just about the same. They only go crazy with big plays for the TD when the clock is really low. The first down from the 30/40 is still very valuable whether you are down by 3 or 4. And if they are in a situation where they have to take big play chances then it's easier to defend them.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  11. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,097
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0

    Well, in this case, the question was whether it was harder to move 50 yards or 20. But that's not the whole question. The question really is: Is it harder to move 50 with 4 downs per series than thre play per series inside the 35 and when you manage the clock to preserve time instead of running time.

    In addition, you conveniently leave out the most important part of the equation: Moving 20 only gets you to OT. Moving 50 gives you the win.

    I'm not asking whether it would be better to have a 7 point lead over a 3 point lead.

    For everyone criticizing the question, it's really just another way to look at the do you go for it on 4th down question. Coaches get killed in the press for going on 4th down. So, when up by 3 in field goal range, they never do it. And they often lose. Being down by 4 forces you to go.
  12. ewg_gestalt

    ewg_gestalt Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    434
    Likes Received:
    9
    Ratings:
    +29 / 0 / -0

    I think the OP is trying to ask a valid question, but is not asking the right one. Obviously it's better to be up by more points at the end of the game. However, asking if the team that's behind on a two-minute drive uses a different strategy when they're down by 3 versus down by 4, as a result of being able to use the FG to tie the game, is, I think, a legitimate question. The need to cover the greater amount of the field to reach the endzone leads to riskier plays, which increases the chance of a turnover during that last drive versus a good defense.
  13. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    11,787
    Likes Received:
    389
    Ratings:
    +1,066 / 9 / -2

    #11 Jersey

    I'd be really interested to see solid stats on this.

    Edit: And in the opposite direction, a purely emotional analysis: suppose SD had decided NOT to run down the clock and had gone for it on 4 and 2 instead. As a Pats fan, would you have been delighted about that decision?
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  14. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    8
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0 / -0

    I think there are simply many flawed assumptions in your question.

    The redzone are the hardest yards to get. Just because you are down by 4 doesn't mean you are attacking the endzone from the 50. You are still playing relatively the same in the 1st 3 downs whether down 3 or 4. A win when down by 3 is still very much the goal. Teams will take their strikes, go for the big plays and try to score the TD when down by 3. It's not like they concede the TD and just go for the FG. The real big change is like, as you said, they'll go for it on 4th rather than kick a FG.

    So unless the odds of making the 4th down attempt PLUS still getting into the endzone exceeds the chance of hitting the FG and winning in OT then it's not better to be down 4. I'd say there are no situations where the former is true.

    Another flawed assumption is that moving 50 is impossible or even improbable when down by 3. If the team driving has a high enough chance to score the TD that it would be better than kicking the FG and going to OT, then that means that same team still has a high chance to get that TD when down by 3.

    You are asking a question with flawed assumptions. The chance for TD being down by 3 is very close to the chance of TD being down by 4, while slightly lower because of the additional chance on 4th downs inside the ~40.

    I don't think there will ever be a situation where being down 4 is better than being down 3.
  15. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,097
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0

    At the end of the day, this really is the question I was asking. Are you sure of your answer? You're probably right -- the Colts were down 3 and rolled us in the 2007 AFCCG. Still, I don't think it's obvious. The red zone issue cuts both ways. Once a team gets in the red zone and the field is compressed it's much easier as a defense to know you only need to stop them from getting 10 in 3 plays than 4. Would you have rather had a 3 point lead against the Giants in the super bowl? In hindsight, of course. But hindsight is 20/20.

    You need to add in other factors too -- home versus away, weather, how the defense looks, time outs, how your team's offense is playing in case they get the ball back.

    At the end of the day, the question is much more about the fan experience than the numbers. Another poster put their finger on it. If the Chargers had 4th and 1 on the 25 with a 1:00 do I want them to kick or run a play? The answer probably is that I want them to run a play. But, ouch.

    One second left on the clock. 4th and one at the goal line. Three point lead. Do you want your opponent to kick or go for it? Reasonable people can disagree. But here's the real question once you answer that one. Now your team is in the same position. Is your answer consistent? In other words, if you would prefer your opponent to kick, does that mean you would prefer your team to go for it? Or if you would prefer your opponent to go for it, would you also say you want your team to kick? Seems you have to say these things to be consistent, but I bet lots of people wouldn't be consistent.
  16. shakadave

    shakadave Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Messages:
    2,234
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0

    PatsFaninAZ is absolutely not crazy. If you can't see his point you can't see his point. I am torn and probably lean toward preferring the 3-point lead over the 4-point lead. It may be that the 4-point lead is better statistically, but raises my blood pressure more.

    On a slightly related note, it's also a killer to take the lead with 2 minutes left against a good offense. If you have the ball and you're 3 points behind the Colts with 2:10 left in the game, I think I'd rather have my receiver get tackled at the 2 than get in the endzone. If I'm 7 points behind, I KNOW I'd rather get tackled at the 2. I wouldn't be surprised if stats don't bear me out, and I expect lots of you would disagree here, but that's my preference. This is the same "mistake" the Rams made against us in Super Bowl 36.
  17. Simkin

    Simkin Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    remember AFC and Superbowl 06 and 07. a 4 point lead was bull****. with our defense better be up by two scores BTW.



    when u are down by 4, you play for win . with 3, its like a overtime , cause you usually sets for the FG
  18. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    8
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0 / -0

    No I'm not "sure" of my answer, we would need to see the numbers but logically it makes sense that there's not a big difference. But if the numbers proved to be in favor of going for it on 4th down, I'd say that would be a valid argument for teams to go for the win rather than the tie when down by 3.

    I'd want them to run the play there too because our offense sucked so I don't want to have to score anymore, regulation or OT.

    Well if we are talking about emotional fan bias here then things inevitably change. Frequently we will -feel- like the wrong option is the better option. As for the 4th and goal, I want them to go for it and us to kick it ;). Then again it really depends on how I feel about the defense in those situations. e.g. if it's the gassed defense in Indy I want to go for it on 4th and not play OT. Similarly if I feel like our defense is solid and our offense is good then I rather them kick it because there's more room for error for the -good- to show up than on a single 1 yard play.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  19. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,030
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    no, you are confusing and combining issues. coaches SHOULD always make the decision which maximizes their win %. the fact that they don't act rationally doesn't mean you would rather need a TD than a FG. that's completely crazy.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  20. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,030
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    also, I don't get why this thread exists. you answer the question yourself in your second sentence

    as a fan, I want to win. ergo, I want to be up by 4. if you are more comfortable being up by 3 than 4, you aren't thinking clearly
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

unset ($sidebar_block_show); ?>