I lean slightly towards going for it, but I don’t have strong feelings here – my numbers tell me that either going for it or attempting a field goal could be the best play. Specifically, attempting a field goal would be the right call if you think the Bears’ chances of converting on fourth down are less than 21 percent. (Based on my analysis, I’d give the Bears a 46 percent chance to get a first down here.)
Here's the full breakdown of my calculations:
|Option||Chance of converting||
Chance of winningBefore play
|Go for it4th and 2, opp. 2||46%||2%||3%||+1%|
|Field goal try19 yard kick (est.)||>99%||2%||2%||-|
|Go for it||51% of the time|
|Field goal try||49% of the time|
Brian Hoyer pass to the right to Zach Miller for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. Brian Hoyer pass to the right to Zach Miller for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
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!