After another week of exciting games, here are the Best and Worst Decisions from Week 2.
BEST Decisions - KC vs BAL
The Sunday night match-up of KC vs BAL showcased two of the AFC’s elite teams and it did not disappoint.
If we fast forward to the end of the game, with 1:05 remaining in the 4th quarter and ahead by 1 point, the Ravens faced a 4th and 1 from the BAL 43. Coach Harbaugh made the correct call by deciding to go for it. The decision increased the Ravens (pre-snap) win probability by +17%. This was a huge decision!
Based on our Edj Power Index, or otherwise known as our EPIs (which account for how these specific teams match up) and the game state (i.e., score, down, distance, field position, time outs remaining, etc.), if the Ravens go for it, they are expected to go on to win the game 90% of the time and if they punt, they are expected to go on to win the game 73% of the time. Great call Coach Harbaugh!
And while the 4th down decision will get the most attention, there were several other very interesting aspects to this game on Special Teams. Overall, there were only 5 punts in this game (KC with 3, BAL with 2) and there was only 1 field goal attempt. Coach Harbaugh and Coach Reid are two of the best at leveraging analytics and both realize that in close match ups, maintaining possession and scoring TDs (as opposed to FGs) are critical factors.
Coach Harbaugh also faced two 2-PT attempt decisions. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Ravens scored a TD and cut the Chiefs lead to 5 points. The Ravens went for the 2-PT attempt in an effort to cut their deficit to 3, despite a penalty that resulted in their attempt being pushed back to the KC 7-yard line. The decision increased the Ravens (pre-snap) win probability by +1%. It was a close call but the correct decision. And despite failing to convert, it remained a one possession game.
After forcing the Chiefs to punt, on their next possession the Ravens scored another TD and took the lead by 1, with only 3:14 remaining in the 4th quarter. Once again, BAL correctly went for a 2-PT attempt. This decision increased the Ravens (pre-snap) win probability by +7%.
All in all, this was a very good and well coached game and likely a prelude to a rematch in the playoffs.
WORST Decisions - MIN vs ARZ
In this game, Coach Zimmer made three decisions that cost the Vikings -23% in (pre-snap) win probability. Based on our EPIs and these game states, the Vikings should have been a lot more proactive and aggressive.
- 2:53 remaining in the 4th quarter and trailing by 1, MIN faced a 4th and 6 from the MIN 29.
The decision to punt cost them -12% in (pre-snap) win probability.
- 6:29 remaining in the 3rd quarter and trailing by 1, MIN faced a 4th and 1 from the MIN 40.
The decision to punt cost them -6% in (pre-snap) win probability.
- 1:54 remaining in the 2nd quarter and leading by 6, MIN faced a 4th and 1 from the MIN 34.
The decision to punt cost them -5% in (pre-snap) win probability.
While most people (including Coach Zimmer) will attribute the Vikings loss to their missed 36-yard field goal attempt on the game’s final play, analytics shed light on all the less-obvious decision-making errors that also played a big role in the final result.
Notable High School Games of the Week
Westside Rams (SC) vs Hart County Bulldogs (GA)
With 3 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter and trailing the Bulldogs 7, the Rams faced a 4th and 9 at the Bulldogs 26-yard line. Coach Earley made the correct decision to go-for-it, increasing his team's (pre-snap) win probability by +5%. Great call by Coach Earley!
Tottenville Pirates (NY) vs Erasmus Hall Dutchmen (NY)
With 5:14 remaining in the 3rd quarter and trailing by 5, the Pirates faced a 4th and 3 at the Dutchmen 23-yard line. Coach Neville and the Pirates decided to go-for-it, increasing their team’s (pre-snap) win, probability by +8%.
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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.