Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s decision to punt on 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ 26-17 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders was one of the five worst coaching decisions of the week, according to EdjSports.
EdjSports rates coaching decisions based on its proprietary winning probability simulation that it calls Game-Winning Chance. According to Edj, Tomlin’s decision to punt on 4th and 1 from his own 34-yard line, down two scores with 8:32 left on the clock decreased the Steelers’ game-winning chance by 5.6%.
EDJ says the Steelers would only have needed to expect to convert the 4th and 1 about 22.5% of the time in order to justify going for it and that NFL teams convert that opportunity around 70% of the time.
Tomlin defended his decision, noting that his defense got the ball back, but the Steelers were unable to do so a second time, allowing Las Vegas to score another field goal and ice the game.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seemed to disagree with Tomlin’s decision, though he avoided saying so directly.
The only coaching decisions that reduced a team’s Game-Winning Chance by more were both by Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who twice punted in the fourth quarter with his team trailing by one score. Zimmer’s decisions cost his team 12.4 and 5.8% Game-Winning Chance, respectively.