Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

Follow Randball on Twitter

TFD: Maybe it was really dumb of Ron Rivera to punt on 4th-and-1

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional football Updated: October 1, 2012 - 6:04 PM

When is punting the ball going against the percentages?

Well, apparently Sunday in the case of Ron Rivera and the Panthers. ESPN Stats and Info ran the numbers, and Rivera (and us, more on that in a minute) was wrong:

The Panthers had 4th-and-1 from Atlanta's 45 with about a minute left. They were clinging to a one-point lead. The decision: Go for it or punt. If you go and succeed, the game is basically over since Atlanta is out of timeouts. If you go and don't make it, you give the Falcons a short field. If you punt, you give Matt Ryan the ball, but against a long field with little time and no timeouts. Per ESPN:

By choosing to punt, the Panthers decreased their win probability by 26.1 percentage points.

That's a pretty shocking number. We argued with Phil Mackey about the right move on Sunday via Twitter. Whereas in past instances we had come down on the side fo going for it, in this case we thought playing it safe was the smart move given how little time was on the clock -- even though we imagined the numbers might be slightly in favor of going for it.

We had no idea the gap was that wide. Even less so, we have no idea how the ESPN writer can conclude punting was the right move even as he presents all the evidence saying it wasn't.

In this case, it comes down to two things: Carolina is particularly well-equipped to pick up one yard given Cam Newton and two exceptional running backs. The Panthers, like Liam Neeson, have acquired a certain set of skills that makes getting 3 feet of turf less of a big deal than it is for a lot of other teams. They also have an awful secondary. And Ryan is on fire. So you match the numbers with the personnel, and the evidence mounts.

The other thing, which sounds weird, is that Rivera probably didn't want the blame that would have gone with what seems like the against-the-grain move (going for it) had it backfired. Even though the move he made was actually against the percentages.

The crazy thing is the Panthers had an exceptional punt to the 1 ... but their lousy DBs let Roddy White get behind them, and the Falcons won the game on a field goal. Would Newton and co. have gained 36 inches? We'll never know.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post By Category

Arts (1) Books (1)
Movies (3) Music (6)
Hobbies (1) Fishing (1)
Society (3) Crime (1)
Sports (523) Baseball (1)
Professional baseball (786) Basketball (13)
College basketball (6) Football (1)
College football (118) Professional football (560)
Technology (1) Food and drink (14)
Politics (1) Transportation (1)
Employment (1) Career development (1)
Cooking (2) Pets (1)
Vikings (1075) Men (3)
Games (1) Gambling (1)
Commercial (1) Animals (3)
Dogs (3) Gripes (1)
Newspapers (1) Beer (6)
Minnesota wine retailers (1) Wine retail + marketing (1)
Bad driving (1) Commuting (1)
High School Sports (1) Family activities (1)
Style (2) Pregnancy (1)
Car buying (1) Retirement (1)
Shopping (1) Chickens (2)
Fruit and berries (1) Weather (1)
Internet (2) Twitter (2)
Video games (2) Web pick (1)
YouTube (1) Birds in the backyard (1)
Business trends (2) Loopholes (1)
Problems on the job (1) The rich get richer (1)
Airlines (1) Midwest getaways (1)
Road trips (1) Skiing (1)
Travel deals (1) Wisconsin (3)
Gopher road games (1) TCF Bank Stadium (1)
NCAA: football (124) Basketball on TV (2)
Gophers coaches (1) Frozen Four (11)
North Dakota (1) College hockey (20)
Fantasy football (12) Golf (84)
Minnesota state tournaments (20) Preps (8)
Soccer (93) WNBA (16)
Wild news (8) Wolves news (393)
NFC (2) Super Bowl (1)
Vikings coaches (1) Behind the scenes (3)
Celebrities (1) Dance (1)
Local TV and radio (2) Ex-players (1)
Injury report (2) Baseball wisdom (1)
Target Field (262) Twins fans (807)
Twins game coverage (17) Twins management (3)
Twins offense (1) Twins pitching (3)
NBA playoffs (1) Wolves draft news (1)
Wolves guards (1) Wolves players (9)
Values and morals (2) Miscreants (1)
Wild coaching (67) Wild game coverage (3)
Wild off-season news (1) Wild player moves (3)
Wild pregame skate (1) Wild trade news (1)
Movies (1) Buffalo Lake-Hector (1)
Ortonville (2) Brad Childress (1)
Stillwater (1) Television (2)
NHL news (97) Outdoors Women (1)
Olympics (2) Olympic hockey (1)
Glen Perkins (1) Health + Beauty (1)
Beer (2) Wine (1)
Public safety (1) Gophers (203)
Pen Pals (1)
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT