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EdjVarsity - Best and Worst Coaching Decisions (Week 2)

Brought to you by our friends at EdjVarsity:

The Best and Worst Decisions from Week 2 all come from perennial contenders.

BEST Decision - KC @ LAC

In overtime, the Chargers won the coin-flip and were unable to score on their first possession. The Chiefs took possession at their own 21-yard line, with 7:47 on the clock, and in a position to win the game with a FG. Ten plays later, with 4:06 remaining in OT, the Chiefs faced a 4th and 1 at the LAC 46-yard line (i.e. just out of FG range). Coach Reid made the correct call by deciding to go for it. The decision increased the Chiefs (pre-snap) win probability by +20%.

Our EdjSports Power Indexes (EPIs) had this a fairly even match up, with the Chiefs rush offense ranked above league average (#7) and the Chargers rush defense ranked among the league average (#17). Based on our EPIs and the game state, teams that go for it, go on to win the game 67% of the time and teams that punt, go on to win the game 47% of the time.

A few plays later the Chiefs successfully converted on three consecutive 50+ yard FG attempts (only the last one counted) and won another close and exciting game.

Honorable Mention - LA @ PHI

After making a huge error last week, Coach McVay bounced back with a great call this week. With 6:51 remaining in the 3rd quarter, 3 timeouts, and leading the Eagles by 5 points, the Rams faced a 4th and 1 at their own 29-yard line. Coach McVay made the correct call by deciding to go for it. The decision increased the Rams (pre-snap) win probability by +3%.

Our EPIs had the Rams at a disadvantage in this match up, with the Rams rush offense ranked among the league average (#14) and the Eagles rush defense ranked among the league’s best (#2). Based on our EPIs and the game state, teams that go for it, go on to win the game 63% of the time and teams that punt, go on to win the game 60% of the time.

Despite the match up disadvantage AND being in minus territory, analytics show that deciding to go for it gave the Rams the best chance to go on to win the game. This was a good call by Coach McVay.

WORST Decision - SEA vs NE

With 1:49 remaining in the 4th quarter (both teams had 2 timeouts), and leading the Patriots by 5 points, the Seahawks faced a 4th and 1 at their own 31-yard line. Coach Carroll made a huge error by deciding to punt. The decision cost the Seahawks -17% in (pre-snap) win probability.

Our EPIs had the Seahawks with an advantage in this matchup, with the SEA rush offense ranked above league average (#9) and the Patriots rush defense ranked below league average (#26). Based on our EPIs and the game state, teams that punt, go on to win the game 72% of the time and teams that go-for-it, go on to win the game 89% of the time.

Let’s take a closer look at the most likely outcomes for the Seahawks on this 4th down:

Edj201

Based on the numbers above, the “Risk” is 18% (72%-54%) and the “Reward” is 26% (98%-72%), which means the required success is 41%, calculated as 18%/(18%+26%).

In other words, if the Seahawks believed they could convert this attempt at least 41% of the time (an average NFL offense is expected to convert this attempt more than 70% of the time), then they should have gone for it. Needless to say, this should have been a clear “GO” for Carroll.

In fact, the Seahawks had to dodge three bullets on the Patriots next, and final, drive of the game - defending two NE attempts from the SEA 13-yard line, and the game’s final play from the NE 1-yard line. If SEA had lost, this error would have been a big part of why.

Notable High School Calls of the Week

edj202

Holt Indians vs Fort Zumwalt South Bulldogs (MO)

With 3:12 to go in the 3rd quarter down 21-14, the Indians faced a 4th and 1 at the Bulldogs 11-yard line. Indians Coach Place made the correct call by deciding to go for it, increasing his team’s chances to go on to win the game by +10%

Lee’s Summit Tigers (MO) vs Oak Park Northmen (MO)

On the opening drive of the game, the Tigers faced a 4th and 2 at the Northmen’s 40-yard line. Tigers Coach Thomas made the correct call by deciding to go for it, increasing his team’s chances to go on to win the game by +2%.

Great calls Coaches!

Submit your play of the week here.

Bottom Line

Analytics show that good and bad calls aren’t always conventional and bad calls don’t always result in loses. The one sure thing is that every decision matters and it’s important to make the ones that give your team the best chance to win the game.

For more information about how coaches are using analytics to make better decisions, visit www.edjvarsity.com.

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