The Oakland Raiders beat the New Orleans Saints in thrilling fashion on Sunday, charging down the field in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter and scoring a touchdown with 47 seconds left to pull with a point of the Saints, 34-33. The game appeared to be headed to overtime, but Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio had other ideas. Instead of sending out his kicker to attempt a game-tying PAT, he decided to roll the dice and go for two and the win.
Quarterback Derek Carr launched a fade to Michael Crabtree in the corner of the end zone, and the Raiders took the lead and the game, 35-34.
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2016
It was a gutsy call, but now that the PAT is no sure thing, going for two in situations like that is a more reasonable proposition. It certainly adds an extra layer of excitement for fans as well.
Still, not everyone agreed with the decision. ESPN’s Stats & Info Twitter account tweeted out this probability analysis of Del Rio’s coaching move.
Based on ESPN’s win prob. model, Raiders had 51% chance to win if they kicked PAT & 44% chance if they went for 2 https://t.co/2FNbZxRwzj
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 11, 2016
Of course, someone in Del Rio’s situation would reasonably fire back the only stat the matters is 1-0. And, well that is exactly what he did.
Good thing ESPN isn't coaching the Raiders https://t.co/X6tB1YlZ4d
— Jack Del Rio (@coachdelrio) September 11, 2016
He even gave a thumbs-up emoji to a tweet from an Oakland beat writer praising Del Rio for exercising situational — not conventional — strategy on Sunday.
Jack Del Rio's two-point decision an example of a coach making a decision on what's going on in front of him, not convention.
— Jerry McDonald (@Jerrymcd) September 11, 2016
For those keeping score at home, ESPN is now 0-2 this Sunday.