Week 1, Chargers at Chiefs
4th-and-2, 11:25 remaining in 4th quarter, Up by 17
The Chargers attempted a field goal on a 4th-and-2 on the Chiefs’ 36. It doesn’t matter to NYT 4th Down Bot.
If you disagree

To be honest, I've kind of checked out at this point. The Chargers’ chances of winning are pretty high no matter what they do. Given that, playing conservatively and attempting a field goal isn't a bad idea.

Here's the full breakdown of my calculations:

Option Chance of converting
Chance of winning
Before play
After play Change
Go for it4th and 2, opp. 36 56% 98% 98% -
Field goal try53 yard kick (est.) 55% 98% 98% -
Punt 98% 97% –1%
What coaches usually do
Go for it 44% of the time
Field goal try 43% of the time
Punt 12% of the time
Based on about 759 fourth downs in similar situations since 2001.
What happened

54 yard field goal attempt by Josh Lambo is NO GOOD. 54 yard field goal attempt by Josh Lambo is NO GOOD.

Where did these numbers come from?

To estimate a team’s chances of winning, I use a mathematical model that accounts for a whole lot of variables — including the difference in score, the time remaining in the game, and the number of timeouts each team has left. On top of that, I have models for the likelihood that a team makes a field goal and the likelihood that it will convert a first down.

By combining all of this information, I can come up with the best decision a team can make, according to math.

If you want even more details about the numbers behind my decisions, my full model is available on GitHub. Help make me better!