I had a thought in the last few minutes of yesterday’s game that I’ve had a few times when a team is down 9 or 10 points with a few minutes left and driving. I wonder if it might make more sense to just kick the field goal as soon as you get within the kicker’s range. Like 2nd and 5 but you made it to somewhere that you trust the kicker, just bring him on.
My thinking is that you save however much time you would have taken if you get closer but still get the field goal. So if you can get the ball back, you have more time, and you know it’s 4 down territory the whole way.
The downsides are: (a) When there are 10 points: 2 touchdowns wins but a touchdown and a field goal only sends it to overtime. So maybe it only works on 9 points.(b) It maybe sends a message to your offense that you don’t trust them. I don’t think that’s true. Maybe tell them you’re going to go for 2 if they score if that will make a difference. (c) Something something momentum. Every football announcer talks about momentum like it’s a thing so 7 points is momentumier than 3. But I don’t buy momentum as a thing. (d) The other team only needs to get a field goal to put it away. Maybe, but the point here is that you trust your defense. If the other team can get to field goal range, they’ve probably eaten enough clock that the game would be over if you’d dilly dallied around for a few minutes before kicking the field goal.
I’m sure there are others downsides that I haven’t thought of. Generally the coaches who live and breathe this stuff know more than some jerk who has seen like half of the games. But the open threads are fast becoming a random thoughts column, so here’s another one.