There were a lot of big decisions to be made during the Buccaneers' Week 2 bout with the Falcons, but according to EdjSports, Bruce Arians' decision to go for it on 4th and 1 from the Bucs 41 was the biggest -and best- decision of them all.
In fact, it was such a good call that EdjSports listed it as one of the top-5 best coaching decisions of Week 2.
Atlanta had made it a 28-25 game with just under 2:00 left in the third quarter. The Bucs received the ball after, but immediately faced a 4th and 1 from their own 41. Atlanta was cooking with grease at this point. Punting the ball back to them probably meant the Falcons would score a field goal, at least. Plus, the Bucs accrued just three total net yards at this point in the third quarter. So, they needed some kind of offensive spark.
Ronald Jones II broke through the line for a gain of five yards and got the first down. A holding call on the very next play pretty much stalled the drive, which led to a Bradley Pinion punt. He boomed a 57-yarder that pinned the Falcons at their own 4. Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense would then go three-and-out thanks to a big stop by Rakeem Nunez-Roches on 3rd and 1. A poor punt by Cameron Nizialek gave the Bucs the ball back at the Falcon 43 and the Bucs made it a 35-25 game.
Arians' decision was responsible for the sequence of events that followed, but it certainly put his team in position to make all of that happen, which is what coaches are supposed to do.
Per EdjSports, the Bucs' chance to win the game stood at 81.7% if he went for it on 4th down as opposed to 77.0% if he decided to punt the ball. EdjSports' calculations do not include whether or not the conversion is successful, which is why the 4.7% difference landed Arians in the top-5 category of best coaching decisions. But, there was a drastic difference in the success of each play, as well. If successful, the decision to go for it boosted the Bucs' chances of winning to 84.6% whereas the successful punt only gave them a 69.6% chance to win the game.
The Bucs would go on to win the game, 48-25, and move to 2-0 on the season.
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