The New York Times has something they call the 4th Down Bot which analyzes in real time whether teams should have punted or gone for it on fourth down. The Chiefs were awarded the "Worst Fourth-Down Strategy Of Week 5" by the bot.
Let's take a look at the three fourth down decisions from last Sunday that they highlight.
4th and 1
Chiefs 32-yard line
7:20 4th quarter
With only seven minutes left in the game and the 49ers leading, the Chiefs again should have strongly considered going for it. The 49ers offense was running the ball well against the Chiefs so the best option is to keep them off the field. The 49ers did what the Chiefs were afraid of here and had a long, five-minute drive taking precious time off the clock while adding a field goal to boot. Andy Reid had mentioned he was happy that his team was physical enough to match the 49ers. If they were physical enough to match the 49ers, don't you think they're physical enough to gain one yard?
4th and 4
49ers 36-yard line
0:47 3rd quarter
The 49ers got the ball back, faked a punt and went down and kicked the go-ahead field goal. This punt frustrated me because it only netted 16 yards. If the Chiefs had pinned them inside the 1-yard line maybe I would feel differently but this decision did hardly anything for the Chiefs. If Andy Reid knew the punt would be downed, would he go for it then? Would he kick a field goal? I will say this, an NFL team needs to have faith in their kicker to make a 54-yard field goal. It's unfortunate the Chiefs apparently didn't at that point in time.
4th and 1
Chiefs 29-yard line
4:14 3rd quarter
I can understand the punt here more than other times. The Chiefs were leading the game. Their defense was playing well to this point. Statistically I am sure this is a no-brainer decision to go for it because teams have such high odds to gain one yard (something NFL teams apparently don't understand) but in the context of the game itself Reid can defend this decision more than the other two.
Would the Chiefs have been better off if they went for it on these fourth downs but only converted, let's say, two of them?