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Should the Packers Have Let the Bears Score?

Green Bay and Chicago were tied at 17-17 near the end of the game.  After the Packers were called for a pass interference penalty at the 9-yard line, Chicago got a 1st and goal with 1:44, the clock stopped because of the penalty, and Green Bay had only one timeout left. Should they have let the Bears score a touchdown so they could get the ball back with a timeout remaining?

I’m inclined to say yes, so long as they chose to do it on first down before burning the final timeout, and leaving themselves 1:30 left to score a touchdown. It depends on whether you think the Packers’ chance of scoring a touchdown were greater than the chance of a miss by Gould. Yesterday, in the Garrett Hartley post, I pointed out that kicks of 20-29 yards were successful 97% of the time. Do we think Green Bay had better than a 3% chance of scoring a touchdown with 1:30 left and a timeout? I think most would say “yes.”

My guess is that Green Bay would have had around a 10% chance of winning by scoring a TD and going to overtime. But once it got inside a minute and Green Bay had already used the timeout, I think they had to try to stop Chicago and hope for the best. First down, after the penalty, was the down to make that move.

After writing this, I also ran over to Advanced NFL Stats, and Brian Burke says the play was to allow the Bears to score also. His number is 20% that the Packers score a TD (based on timeout and time remaining), and then of course, they would also have to win in overtime. It appears the play was to allow the score to give the offense time to respond with a timeout remaining.

 

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