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EdjVarsity - NFL Best and Worst Decisions and Execution (Week 3)

In addition to looking at NFL and High School games, going forward we will also look at a few college games. Here is the Best and Worst from Week 3.

Best-Execution

NFL BEST Execution - BAL vs DET

The Ravens vs Lions game gave us one of the weekend’s most exciting finishes.

With 1:04 remaining in the 4th quarter and trailing by 1 point, the Ravens faced a 1st and 10 at their own 25-yard line, with no timeouts. Needing a field goal to win, the Ravens had a win probability of 42%. Three plays later and with only 26 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter, the Ravens faced a 4th and 19 from their own 16-yard line and a win probability of only 15%.

Unfazed, Lamar Jackson (QB) calmly completed a 36-yard pass to Sammy Watkins (WR), and the Ravens hustled to the line and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 7 seconds remaining. On 2nd down, after some confusion between attempting the FG or running another play in an effort to gain a few more yards, the Ravens somehow avoided a delay of game penalty, which would have ended the game (the refs missed this one). The play resulted in an incomplete pass and set up Justin Tucker (K) for an NFL record 66-yard attempt. At this point, the Ravens had a win probability of 6% win.

Tucker showed why he’s the NFL’s best kicker. His attempt had just enough distance and bounced off the cross bar on its way through the uprights, giving the Ravens the win!

Worst-Decision

NFL WORST Decisions - GB vs SF

The Packers vs 49ers game came down to another last-second field goal finish.

In this game, Coach Shanahan made three decisions that cost the 49ers -13% in (pre-snap) win probability. Based on our EPIs and these game states:

  • Q1 with 2:03 remaining. Trailing by 10, SF faced a 4th and 1 from the SF 34.

Punt cost them -4%.

  • Q2 with 5:00 remaining. Trailing by 10, SF faced a 4th and 1 from the GB 49.

Punt cost them -5%.

  • Q3 with 4:32 remaining. Trailing by 3, SF faced a 4th and 3 from the SF 35.

Punt cost them -4%.

Each of these punt decisions also came with the implicit decision to give the ball back to Aaron Rogers (QB) – two of the three subsequent drives resulted in TDs by the Packers. These decision-making errors played a big part in the 49ers’ loss.

NCAA-Games

Notable NCAA Games of the Week

Duke vs Kansas

On their first drive of the second half the Blue Devils took possession at their own 25-yard line, trailing the Jayhawks by 6 points, and a win probability of 33%. On this drive the Blue Devils scored a TD and never looked back; this drive increased Duke’s win probability by +18%. The biggest play of the drive was a 53-yard pass completion from Holmberg to Durant that increased their win probability by +9%.

Later in this quarter the Blue Devils defense also made a big play. Shaka Heyward’s (LB) interception increased their win probability by +12%, going from 76% to 88%.

Congrats to Duke and the 52-33 victory!

Georgia Tech vs North Carolina

With 14:09 remaining in the 2nd quarter the Yellow Jackets forced (and recovered) a Tar Heels fumble and returned it to the NC 10-yard line, increasing their win probability +13%, going from 36% to 49%.

In the 3rd quarter with 11:25 remaining, the Yellow Jackets defense stopped the Tar Heels offense on a 4th and 1 attempt, increasing their win probability +9%. And, on the ensuing possession the Yellow Jackets offense scored a TD, increasing their win probability by another +9%. In this short span of plays, the Georgia Tech win probability went from 67% to 85%.

Congrats to Georgia Tech and the 45-22 victory!

Highschool (2)

Notable High School Games of the Week

San Jacinto Tigers (CA) vs, Beaumont Cougars (CA)

With 9:55 remaining in the 3rd quarter and trailing the Cougars by 8 (14-22) the Tigers faced a 4th & 6 at the Cougars 12-yd line.

Coach Galliano and the Tigers made the correct decision to go for it, increasing their (pre-snap) win-probability by +3%. As result of this decision AND the actual play execution, the Tigers increased their win probability by +17% (they scored a TD on the play). This proved to be the turning point in the game.

Great job Coach Galliano!

Submit your play of the week here.

Bottom Line

In addition to X’s and O’s, football is a game of coaching decisions and player execution and it’s important to understand both in the context of their impacts on win probability.

For more information about how coaches in the NFL, NCAA and High School levels are using our analytics to coach with confidence, visit www.edjvarsity.com.

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