Going for it on Fourth Down

2020 Patriots Season:
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Sep 20th

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gitgronked82

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
We should've punted on 4th and 2... or at least ran faulk past the sticks.

is that not what we're talking about?
 

SlowGettingUp

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
if a team scores after the opponent s fail a 4 down try do the points count as legit?
The WSJ table was based on expected points immediately before and after the play. What actually happened doesn't factor into it.

Thus if you punt you will have a (modestly) negative expected points outcome because the other team will have the ball. If you succeed on your 4th down try you'll have a 3 point or better positive expected outcome because you'll have the ball on first down on the opponent's side of the field.

In overtime you sometimes see an "always go for fourth down" strategy out of necessity after the other team has kicked a field goal. It does make it a lot easier to score and it serves to somewhat reduce the advantage of having the ball first.
 

TheBostonStraggler

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
But what are the situations of the fourth down attempts? Where are they on the field and what is the yards needed to get the first down? Are these all 4th and short beyind the 50? I'd be happy to see the Jags on their own 40 going for it on any fourth down. In that situation making it = another set of downs but still a tangible amount of yards away from a FG opp/points. Not making it = almost certainly giving the Patriots, at minimum, a good FG opp.
But if these are 4th down attempts always on the opponents side of the field? I see the argument to go for it especially if the punter is not good at inside the 20 kicks.

The Patriots are one of the best at opponent starting field position. The value of that is significant - making teams have to drive a greater length of the field. And if the 5 DB D (Chung as a "LB") is stopping the run satisfactorily, that coupled with the longer field to drive makes the Patriots tough to score a significant amount of points on. So despite the Jags 4th down success and the completely understandable desire to want to get that one yard and keep the possession/drive going (for all fans of all teams), that field position formula works for the Patriots. For the Jags, if they have their own formula of more often going for 4th and short? Let them. If the Patriots Run D in general is playing well then I'm good with the Jags risking field position for the benefit of extending the possession/drive. Whatever happens from there is what will happen from there...
 

K. Dog

On the Game Day Roster
I had thought that studies uniformly showed that teams should nearly always go for it on 4th down. I'd said earlier that the Jaguars are one of the few teams the Patriots have faced this season that isn't going to beat themselves with moronic coaching errors. (It's really kind of ludicrous how strategically incompetent so many NFL head coaches are. Just basic things - managing time outs, running more when up, changing strategy in response to what the other team does - are just far beyond what most coaches are capable of).

The fact that the Jags are going for it on 4th plays into what I was saying about the profound threat the Jags and their coaching poses.

One point also is that the studies I've seen are based on just analysis of points and field position etc. But if you factor in the extra fatigue on the defense that occurs because you go for it on 4th down, then it seems like teams should nearly always do it or at least do it way more often than they do now.

Are there are any studies that say teams shouldn't go for it on 4th more?

The results I looked at, this was years ago, seemed very clearcut as these things go. My understanding is that reason teams don't is that their fans, owners, and GMs tend not to be comfortable with statistical reasoning, and that coaches do the wrong thing purely to avoid criticism by the innumerate.

But like I say I haven't looked in the matter in years. Maybe there are more recent studies.
 

MainePatsFan26

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
teams should go for 4th and 1 more, even in their territory (around the 40yd)
Sometimes going for it on 4th down on your own 40 could help kickstart a longer drive. However, if you are stopped you not only give the opponent great field position with only 5-10 yards needed for a field goal, but you also give their defense a huge jolt of momentum.

I'm not a fan of going for it on 4th unless you are on the opponent's 30-40. Otherwise, either kick for points or punt to try to pin them deep.

The Jaguars might try to play like a riverboat gambler, but they have the highest likelihood for success getting pressure, forcing Tom into mistakes, and worst case making us drive 90 yards for a score with dink and dunk passes and 4 yard runs.

Tomorrow will come down to chunk plays barring either team does something profoundly stupid like going for it in their own territory on a regular basis. That's not smart football and even if it has worked before, the Jaguars haven't played Belichick and Patricia.
 

QuantumMechanic

Burn it all down!
PatsFans.com Supporter
This actually makes sense of the "keep Brady off the field" meme. When I first heard it it made no sense because each team gets (roughly) the same number of possessions. But your point makes it valid, as does the notion that Brady generally gets better as the game progresses and he figures out the defense.
It's not that he gets better. It's that they are better.

If you score 2 pts per drive on average against NE's defense and NE scores 3 pts per drive on average against your defense, if each team has 10 possessions you will lose by an average of 30-20. But if you slow the game down and limit each team to only 6 possession you will lose by an average of 18-12. Now things are close enough for some lucky play to make the difference.

It's like gambling. The more bets you place the more the house edge is guaranteed to grind you down. For example, if you need to double your money in roulette your best strategy is to make a single bet with all your money. Sure, you have a 52%ish chance of losing it all, but you have a 48% chance of achieving your goal. If you bet a single dollar with each bet, while you have almost no chance of losing everything you also have almost no chance of achieving your goal.
 

Plunkett2Vataha

Practice Squad Player
We should've punted on 4th and 2... or at least ran faulk past the sticks.

is that not what we're talking about?
I agree about running Faulk maybe a yard or two deeper. But he got a lousy spot. He had the first down but the Patriots got screwed on the spot. I agree with one of the earlier posters who said it was the right call by BB. It was unconventional and I had never seen it before in that situation, certainly not by the Patriots. But the defense was gassed and had shown no signs of stopping Manning the previous couple of possessions. The game was over if the ball was spotted correctly and BB would have been lauded for his ballsy move. Instead most of the country gleefully pegged him as a pompous idiot.
 

Simpelton

In the Starting Line-Up
getting 10 yards on 4 downs doesn't seem that hard...If more teams consistently went for it on 4th down. I would be amazed if more points weren't scored
If the team was having average or better success moving the ball it would not be 4th down

Just saying
 

RayClay

Hall of Fame Poster
I had thought that studies uniformly showed that teams should nearly always go for it on 4th down. I'd said earlier that the Jaguars are one of the few teams the Patriots have faced this season that isn't going to beat themselves with moronic coaching errors. (It's really kind of ludicrous how strategically incompetent so many NFL head coaches are. Just basic things - managing time outs, running more when up, changing strategy in response to what the other team does - are just far beyond what most coaches are capable of).

The fact that the Jags are going for it on 4th plays into what I was saying about the profound threat the Jags and their coaching poses.

One point also is that the studies I've seen are based on just analysis of points and field position etc. But if you factor in the extra fatigue on the defense that occurs because you go for it on 4th down, then it seems like teams should nearly always do it or at least do it way more often than they do now.

Are there are any studies that say teams shouldn't go for it on 4th more?

The results I looked at, this was years ago, seemed very clearcut as these things go. My understanding is that reason teams don't is that their fans, owners, and GMs tend not to be comfortable with statistical reasoning, and that coaches do the wrong thing purely to avoid criticism by the innumerate.

But like I say I haven't looked in the matter in years. Maybe there are more recent studies.
They have a number of studies every Sunday showing how the team [I believe the Pats are outstanding this year] who wins the field position battle in a tough game wins. Isolating one factor is not a scientific way of analyzing.

This year, apparently, they are outstanding in field position and that could be a reason an injury riddled team was able to get 13 wins.

In fact, Patriots opponents have started in their own end of the field for 94 consecutive drives, the longest such streak in the NFL in the last 25 years.

The last time a Patriots opponent started on New England’s side of the 50-yard line was in the first quarter of a Week 3 matchup against the Texans.
Only two opponent drives have started on the Patriots’ side of the field all season.

For comparison, the Patriots have started 17 drives in opponents’ territory this season.
Patriots winning field position battle at historic rate
 
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