Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy repeatedly determined to punt on Sunday in conditions the place the analytics stated they need to have gone for it, and the final of these selections was the primary query he was requested after the sport.
With the Cowboys dealing with fourth-and-10 and trailing 19-12 with 2:11 left within the recreation, the analytics advice was sturdy: Go for it. McCarthy was requested why he punted.
“What was the down and distance?” McCarthy requested the reporter.
When the reporter replied that it was fourth-and-10, McCarthy responded, “Yeah. That’s the reply. Yeah.”
However whereas a fourth-and-10 conversion try is a low-percentage transfer, punting the ball again to the opposite workforce if you’re down by seven factors simply earlier than the two-minute warning is an excellent lower-percentage transfer.
That wasn’t the one time McCarthy punted when a extra analytics-minded coach might need gone for it. On a fourth-and-5 on the 49ers’ 40-yard line, the Cowboys took a delay of recreation penalty after which punted when the analytics advice was strongly to go for it. On a fourth-and-5 on the Cowboys’ 48-yard line, the Cowboys punted when the analytics advice was moderately to go for it.
We’ll by no means know whether or not the Cowboys would have gained had they been extra aggressive on fourth downs, however they misplaced a winnable recreation on a day after they repeatedly punted when the analytics stated they shouldn’t.