Alok Pattani of ESPN's Stats & Information department dissects two late-game decisions by the Patriots in their 20-18 loss to the Cardinals from a statistical perspective:
1. Passing vs. running on 2-point conversion. Tom Brady's pass to Rob Gronkowski was incomplete on a 2-point conversion that could have tied the game. "Since 2001, NFL teams have converted 55.7 percent of two-point conversion attempts when rushing, compared to 41.7 percent when passing," Pattani writes. "Since 2001 (entering Sunday), the Patriots were 9-for-12 on rushing 2-point conversion attempts, compared to just 7-for-16 when passing."
2. Settling for a 42-yard field goal instead of trying to get closer. The Patriots had time for a few more offensive plays, but elected to go for a 42-yard field-goal attempt. "Gostkowski himself was 16-for-22 (73 percent) on kicks of 40-44 yards in his career before Sunday’s miss. And if you look more specifically at similar 'pressure' situations – go-ahead or game-tying kicks from that range in the final 30 seconds of the 4th quarter or overtime – the league conversion rate drops down closer to 60 percent," Pattani writes. "If the Patriots even attempted to move the ball farther and got about 10 more yards, the kick would have been a much higher percentage. NFL kickers are 88 percent on kicks from 30-34 yards, and above 80 percent even when you look at late-and-close kicks from that distance."
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