By Brian Burke
First, WAS was the underdog in the game. They were probably lucky to get to where they were, just down a point at the end of regulation. Their chances in overtime were not much better than the baseline 47% success rate of two-point conversions. Better teams win more often because the very tiny advantage they have on any one play adds up over the course of a game. An underdog should prefer to bet the game on a single play when the opponent’s advantage is slight, rather than bet the game over the course of many plays in overtime as the opponent’s advantage accumulates.
Second, both WAS and ATL have solid offenses and weak defenses. The Redskins’ best matchup in any phase was when its defense and special teams were not on the field. It’s to their advantage to settle the game with their offense vs the ATL defense. Shanahan bet the game on a situation in which they would have his best squad facing ATL’s weakest squad.
The conversion attempt failed, causing the Redskins to lose, but that does not make the decision wrong. It gave WAS its best chance of winning.