Week 3, 49ers at Seahawks
4th-and-2, 6:56 remaining in 3rd quarter, Up by 21
The Seahawks attempted a field goal on a 4th-and-2 on the 49ers’ 14. 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 Seahawks’ 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
Field goal try31 yard kick (est.) 95% >99% >99% -
Go for it4th and 2, opp. 14 55% >99% >99% -
Punt >99% 99% -
What coaches usually do
Field goal try 80% of the time
Go for it 20% of the time
Punt -
Based on about 991 fourth downs in similar situations since 2001.
What happened

Steven Hauschka 33 yard field goal attempt is GOOD. Steven Hauschka 33 yard field goal attempt is 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!