clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Saints vs. Buccaneers: Tampa Bay should have punted to end the game

The Tampa bay Buccaneers made the wrong call on fourth down, but maybe not in the way you think they did.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I complained about Greg Schiano's conservative decisions yesterday, and I'll continue to complain about them as long as they keep happening. I didn't run the numbers at the time, though, and I did do that this time. And the results confirmed that Greg Schiano was indeed too conservative, at least if we can believe Advanced NFL Stats' fourth-down calculator, based on league-wide baselines.

One result was interesting, though. Going for it would give the Bucs an 88% chance of winning, punting would give them an 89% of winning the game, whil kicking the field goal would give them an 82% chance of winning the game. Yes: punting was the best option, unless you think Freeman can pick up a first down 60% of the time, or more.

A few numbers. Field goal attempts from that distance are successful just 64% of the time, league-wide. Even if the Buccaneers make the field goal, their likelihood of winning just change much: it goes from 74% if they fail to make it, to 86% if they make the field goal, if we go by Advanced NFL Stats' league wide statistics.

By Advanced NFL Stats' numbers, too, the average chance of making the first down is 57% in that situation. Maybe you don't think that applies to Josh Freeman in this case -- and I can't fault you for thinking that. So maybe you really don't want to go for it. But that's not the key to that decision:

Punting is still the better option over kicking the field goal.

Not for Greg Schiano, though. In fact, the Buccaneers head coach said that punting never even entered his mind, and that the decision was between kicking the field goal or going for it. That is some terrible decision making, and it goes back to what I've said over and over again: someone needs to sit Schiano down and give him an intro to win probability.

Maybe he'll finally get it after losing two close games to conservative playcalling. Somehow, I doubt it.

More from Bucs Nation: