Packers coach Mike McCarthy decided to punt on fourth-and-2 with 4:20 left in Green Bay's 27-24 loss to Seattle on Thursday. He said after the game that he was "playing the numbers" in choosing to give up the ball instead of going for it.
I crunched the win probability numbers on Pro Football Reference, and it's pretty much a wash in terms of which decision would have historically favored the Packers. In either case, they would have had about a 25 percent chance of winning after the decision.
But the Packers had been gouged all night in the running game, which should have been a factor in McCarthy's decision. So, too, is keeping the ball in the hands of one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. To me, the most relevant numbers are 1 and 0.
The first is the number of plays Aaron Rodgers was guaranteed had the Packers gone for it, vs. the number of plays he was guaranteed with a punt.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.