By Brian Burke
Under the old sudden death OT rules, every coach would have undoubtedly attempted the FG in that situation. But under the new OT format, things have changed. Because the opponent gets an opportunity to match a first-possession FG, or to trump it with a TD, long FG attempts are not the percentage play.
If you make it, you've given your opponent all four downs to cruise down the field to respond. Plus, there is no urgency like in other four-down desperation drives because the clock is not a factor. And if you miss the FG, you've given the ball to your opponent in decent field position while triggering sudden death rules. Now, an opponent FG would end the game.
Oddly, punting at longer to-go distances all the way up to the opponent's 28 yard line is the percentage play. And going for it on short to-go distances, like Lewis chose to do, is just as smart as it usually is in regulation. Going for it up to 4th and 5 or 6 yards to go from the 33 would have been the percentage play.
Here is the full analysis, which yields this chart of 4th down decisions in the first possession of OT.