Down 15? Go for 2


In yesterday’s game between the Browns and Titans, Cleveland found themselves down 28-13 late in the fourth quarter.  With 2:07 left in the game, Terrelle Pryor caught a touchdown to cut the score to 28-19.  Hue Jackson decided to go for the 2-point conversion which failed.  And twitter was quick to call him out on it.

Science and math, the common enemy of the misinformed.  Here is the thing, Hue Jackson’s decision was 100% correct.  Not “kind of” correct, not “maybe” correct, absolutely correct.  This isn’t a gut-feel type of decision, you go for two as soon as you can.  You can disagree if you want, just know that you are wrong.

Let’s go through this entire scenario.  You are down 15 points.  You need 7 and 8 points in your next two possessions assuming the opponent doesn’t score.  The reason you go for the 2-point conversion first is so now you KNOW what you need for the rest of the game.  If you get the 2-point conversion, then now you know you need the 7 in order to tie the game.  If you miss the 2-point conversion, then you now know that you need to score two more times in the game.

The odds of the 2-point conversion working are the exact same each time.  The amount of time left in the game doesn’t increase or decrease your chances of converting.

If the Browns take the 7 first, and they still score the second touchdown with 27 seconds left, they still have to convert the 2-point conversion then.  If they run the same play (likely) and it fails, then they are literally in the exact same position anyway.  Only they may not have been in as much of a hurry because they didn’t know that they needed a second possession in case the 2-point conversion failed.  In the end, knowledge is better than hope.

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