NFL Week 11 Analysis: Panthers Punt Away the Win

Chief Analyst Keith Goldner takes a look at just how much the Panthers' decision to punt with a minute left on Sunday hurt their chances of winning. Chief Analyst Keith Goldner occasionally takes a look at some of the big NFL decisions of the week and the advanced numbers behind them. Today, he wonders why NFL coaches just never seem to learn to be aggressive at the end of the game.

On Saturday, I watched as my Northwestern Wildcats punted on 4th-and-1 from midfield, up three with 1:30 remaining. A conversion would have guaranteed a win, allowing the Cats to kneel down. By punting to Michigan State, I was certain NU would lose in dramatic fashion once again. Luckily, the Cats defense came up big, making what seemed like their first fourth-quarter stand of the year. Ron Rivera had an eerily similar decision against the Bucs this week.

With just over a minute left, the Panthers had the ball at the Tampa Bay 49, up 21-13. The Bucs had used all three of their timeouts, so a conversion wins the game. Not only do the Panthers have one of the best goal line backs in the league in Cam Newton, but they also have the human bowling ball, Mike Tolbert, who was born and bred for those situations.

Want to know about this decision and more? Check out Keith's full analysis at