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4th Down: Go For It! The Field Goal Teams went 8-15. The Go For It Teams went 33-13.

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Sixty-nine times a team faced a 4th and 1 in the first quarter of a game during that stretch. The coach went for the touchdown exactly two-thirds of the time, so going for the touchdown is the more common play. "Taking the points" usually means kicking the field goal to most people. From that short distance, it is virtually automatic. 22 of the 23 teams that kicked there made it, and the one that didn’t was a botched snap. Of the 46 teams that went for it, 25 converted it into a touchdown (54%). Some quick math, and assuming 7 for a touchdown, will tell you that the teams that went for the touchdown averaged 3.8 points versus 2.9 for the field goal kickers. In this case, "taking the points" should mean going for the touchdown. We can also look at the result of those games. The Field Goal Teams went 8-15. The Go For It Teams went 33-13. The teams that went and failed: 15-6. The teams that went and succeeded: 18-7. That’s right, the teams that went for a touchdown, that didn’t take the points on a field goal, won more when they failed than the field goal teams did. The "Go For It" Teams went 12-7 in close games decided by 4 or less. The "Kick It" Teams went 2-6 in similar close games.
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