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Field Goal Attempts vs. Going For It on 4th Down in SBLII

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ice_Ice_Brady, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Am I crazy for not understanding these two decisions?

    The Patriots had the ball on the Eagles 8 yard line, 4th and 1 (after that failed Cooks hurdle) and attempted a field goal (bad snap and miss.)

    The Patriots had the ball on the Eagles 35 yard line, 4th and 5 and went for it (and failed with that incredibly low-percentage sideline lob to a double covered Gronkowski.)

    I'm not trying to hindsight this one. When Gostowski lined up for the first one, I was really shocked. When they didn't bring him out for the second one, I was more shocked.

    Did they just lose faith in Gostowski on the second decision? 52 yards is a very make-able, fairly high percentage attempt. Maybe these were Ernie Adams percentage calls? It just seems counter-intuitive.
     
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  2. archstanton543

    archstanton543 In the Starting Line-Up

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    "52 yards is a very make-able, fairly high percentage attempt."

    Lol, wut? No it isn't.
     
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  3. mosslost

    mosslost Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    shanked a ten footer by like 12 yards left ...?
     
  4. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Gostkowski is 23/30 in his career from 50+. That's 77%. I guarantee that's a higher percentage than making the first down on 4th and 5. And it's not like the Patriots were so close to the end zone that the extra four points was worth a big risk...that would have applied to the 4th and 1 at the 8-yard line.
     
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  5. archstanton543

    archstanton543 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Your definition of "high percentage" and mine vary greatly.
     
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  6. Jackson 2

    Jackson 2 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    At the time, I was angrier about choosing to not go for the first down than I was about the botched snap and kick.
     
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  7. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    77% is not "fairly high percentage"? What exactly is a fairly high percentage of success in a given football scenario?
     
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  8. sambam94

    sambam94 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I was more angry that cooks tried to leap over a stationary defender when he had a head of steam going and just needed one cut to blow by him.
     
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  9. robertweathers

    robertweathers PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club

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    Yea that bothered me. Shoulda lowered his head and plowed though.
     
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  10. primetime

    primetime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    This is probably true but you have to weigh 3 points against 7 points there. Say it's a 75% chance you hit the field goal but a 33% chance the drive ends in a touchdown if you go for it, then a 95% chance of hitting the extra point.

    If you kick the field goal, your expected points on that drive is 2.25. Going for it, your expected points is 2.93. You would need to calculate a percentage chance the drive ends in a touchdown below 22% from that point for the field goal to be worth the opportunity cost. In other words, even if you think you only have a 50/50 shot of making the 4th down conversion and then a 50/50 shot thereafter of scoring a touchdown, you're still likely to come out ahead of settling for the field goal from that range. (There's an additional factor here since a 1st down makes a shorter field goal more likely and thus increases expected points as well).
     
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  11. sieglo

    sieglo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Cooks wins the idiot player of the game award.

    Idiot coach of the game right now is provisionally awarded to Belichick, pending more info on the Butler decision.
     
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  12. primetime

    primetime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    He should have run to the sideline. He might be the fastest player in football. He didn't need to score a touchdown, he just needed two yards to get the first and he could have easily beat the defender to the stick if he just beelined for it. He gets greedy though, wants to end up in the end zone every time he touches the ball. It's why he ran backwards on the catch he got knocked out on. I'm a Cooks fan but that's a bad, bad habit and the Patriots paid for it twice last night.
     
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  13. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Thanks for breaking this down...but wouldn't this mean they should have gone for the 4th and 1 at the eight yard line with even more statistical backing? I realize the field goal try is higher percentage (say, 75% to 95%, but the touchdown percentage would increase greatly over 33%.)
     
  14. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, not only for the attempted hurdle, but also for going backwards instead of just cutting upfield and making a nice play on the helmet shot that knocked him out of the game.

    Can’t blame the guy for trying to make a play, but those were two bad decisions where he was overthinking things.

    Sorry, I see this has already been addressed.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  15. primetime

    primetime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    To do this sort of thing you'd have to take that conversion percentage and then look at the Patriots' chances of scoring a touchdown on 1st and goal and multiply them. Patriots converted 4th downs at a 62.5% clip over the course of the year, though it's a relatively small sample size. Figure they then have a 70% chance to score a touchdown or something, then yeah you're looking at 3.6 or so expected points versus maybe 2.85. So yeah, they probably should have gone for it on 4th and 1. Even if they don't get it, they give the Eagles a very long field.
     
  16. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    This is exactly what I was thinking, though not in such a well-organized manner. Also, though , 4th and 1 must have a much higher conversion percentage than 4th and 5. I don't see any logical reason why you attempt a field goal on 4th and 1 at the eight and go for it on 4th and 5 at the thirty-five.
     
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  17. mosi

    mosi In the Starting Line-Up

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    In the 4th and 1, the Pats went for the field goal but you know the Eagles would have gone for it. The Eagles came to win.
     
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  18. primetime

    primetime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Risk aversion, I suspect. Teams generally aren't aggressive enough about going for it on 4th down. Obviously, you have to keep the situation in mind, so it doesn't always make sense, but at that point they definitely should have. The Patriots normally go for it in those situations. I was a bit surprised they kicked it.
     
  19. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    It was like they went against the correct probabilities because they didn't have faith in their offense (which was moving the ball at will.) And then the went against the correct probabilities the second time because they didn't have faith in their kicker.
     
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  20. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Were you also surprised that they went for it on 4th and 5 from the thirty-five? To me, that seems like an easy decision for a field goal attempt. Similar to a bizarre fourth (and I think 11) in SB42, the team opted to go for it rather than attempting a 50+ yard field goal. I'm not sure why these decisions are different in the Super Bowl, but in the regular season I imagine they attempt the field goal. I realize they don't want to give the opponent a short field, but the best way to do that is to take your best odds of success (field goal, 75%) over converting a fourth down play which is fairly difficult and likely somewhere around 50%.
     

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