Analytics show what Dan Campbell should have done on 4th down

What a Sunday it would have been had the Detroit Lions held on for a huge road win over the Minnesota Vikings, but Dan Campbell made a decision that ended up costing the Lions the game.

Late in the fourth quarter, leading 24-21, the Lions had the ball fourth-and-4 on the Vikings’ 36-yard line and Campbell made the decision to kick a long field goal rather than punting or going for what would have been a game-winning first down.

Lions’ kicker Austin Seibert proceeded to miss the 54-yard field goal attempt badly, and the Vikings took over at their own 44-yard line.

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins when proceeded to lead the Vikings down the field for the game-winning touchdown.

Analytics show what Dan Campbell should have done on 4th down

Following the game, Detroit Lions HC Dan Campbell spoke to reporters and he admitted that he regrets his decision to kick a field goal rather than going for the first down on the Lions' second to last possession of the game.

“For me, I freaking regret my decision there at the end. I should have gone for it there on fourth down,” Campbell said. “I told the team that, I should have gone for it.”

“I regret that decision 100 percent, I really do. I hate it. And I do feel like I cost our team,” Campbell said. “I really do, man.”

So, what do the analytics say Dan Campbell should have done?

Well, according to Seth Walder of ESPN, Campbell should have made the decision to punt the ball or even go for it on fourth down rather than kick the field goal.

“Dan Campbell has made a lot of good decisions on 4th down, but late Sunday against the Vikings he made a costly error. Campbell elected to attempt a FG while up 3 points on 4th-and-4 at the Vikings' 36. Win probabilities from ESPN's model based on the decision: Go: 89.6% Kick: 85.4% Punt: 90.0% So the model slightly preferred punt as the best option over going for it. But it substantially preferred either over attempting the FG. The difference between being up 3 and 6 late is very small.”

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