What goes into the decision to go for it?
Saints coach Sean Payton was asked Friday about risk taking as a play-caller, and he indicated the call on whether to go for it was often related to the playbook.
“We will look closely at situations, timing in the game,” Payton said according to a transcript from the club. “A lot of times the decision to go for it on fourth down or hypothetically a two-point play is based on whether you still have a play you like.
“Sometimes, say in short-yardage situations, you’ve run a play you really like, converted, maybe you would run another one. A lot of times it depends on if you have that play still that you haven’t shown. That factors in more than you think.
“I think it also is based on the game in itself and how it is unfolding, what you are doing defensively and what you are doing offensively and paying attention to that and trusting your instincts when the time comes. Each game is different.”
Excluding 2012, the Saints are 51-of-111 on fourth downs (45.9 percent) in regular-season games in Payton’s tenure. Also, they are 5-of-11 on fourth down (45.5 percent) in postseason contests coached by Payton.
By the numbers, the Saints are a little less than a coin flip to convert on fourth down. But should they go for it, we can safely assume Payton — a well-regarded play-caller — has something he’s confident in springing on an unsuspecting defense.