View Single Post
Old 01-14-2013, 01:25 PM   #106
El Minion
Ring of Famer

Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,772

Originally Posted by Al Wilson View Post
It was 3 & 7 not 3 & 2 or 3 & 1 sherlock. The chances of getting a first down on an obvious running down on a 3 & 7 is slim to none. Passing the ball would have been the better option.
From Brian Burke

Fox’s next risk-averse decision came late in the fourth quarter. With the Broncos up 35-28, the Denver coach chose to run the ball five straight times. Fox's strategy succeeded in gaining one first down and forcing the Ravens to burn their last two timeouts. That left Denver with a third-and-7 at its own 47. Convert there and the game is over. Fox, though, decided to run rather than let Peyton Manning put the ball in the air. Ronnie Hillman was held to no gain, and the Broncos punted with 1:15 left on the clock.

Calling this running play was the safe, “sure thing” for the Broncos. Fox virtually ensured that he’d burn an additional 40 seconds of time and pin Baltimore deep in its own territory with about 70 seconds to play. There was also a slim chance that Denver could have converted with the run, winning the game outright. A pass would have been a gamble. A successful conversion would sew up the win, but an incomplete pass would have given Baltimore the ball with about 1:49 left. Passing also brings an extra risk of a turnover, either via an interception or a sack and a fumble.

For teams that need a touchdown to survive, time makes a big difference. With 1:09 to play, a team typically has a 13 percent chance of scoring a touchdown. With 1:49 to go, they have around a 26 percent chance. The choice, then, is between conceding Baltimore the 13 percent shot or gambling that you’ll either win the game outright or give Baltimore a 26 percent chance to win. League-wide, third-and-7 situations are converted 42 percent of the time. That means if Denver drops back to pass, Baltimore’s chance of winning is (1 - 0.42) * 0.26 = 0.15 = 15 percent. According to the math, then, Fox made the right call: Punting was, just barely, the right probabilistic call.
El Minion is offline   Reply With Quote