I think msdmnr spells out the if-thens well, but I respectfully disagree with Penso's It worked ergo it was the right call. Down three, perhaps you follow msdmnr's playcard and don't play a high risk set of calls, but the safe-safe-safe-punt doesn't ensure Penso's win. In fact, a penalty ensured that; without the penalty, Dawkins is in range and accurate. We didn't create our fate with that playcalling, we allowed the Brownies to dictate their own fate, which they stupidly crapped away with the penalty. To say it was the right set of calls ignores that the outcome was far from clear, and that against a more disciplined team the whole comback is for naught.
Well, we'll have to disrespectively disagree irregardless of what our agreeing should of been.
It still seems to me that people focus on the hypothetical ("What if we had passed for a first? What if they don't get penalized?") rather than the facts that were facing Tomlin at the time. Field position and condition, time on the clock, weather and the fact that they didn't have a first down in the second half, or timeouts remaining.
I agree with the agree-to-disagree assessment and the post-agree-to-disagree post-assessment of working with available data.
Thing is, you have to account for contingincies. If we punt the ball, how much time do they have, what are the chances we can hold them off the board, etc. Bottom line, when we made that final punt I was uneasy about the outcome. Arians doesn't know what lies ahead: punt returns, penalties, quick outs, missed tackles, whatever. But he has to account for these contingencies, and minimizing the opponent's opportunites to advance the ball.
I don't agree that he did that.