Here is the Best and Worst from Week 4.
NFL BEST Decisions – CLE vs MIN and WAS vs ATL
This week two defensive minded coaches both made great decisions.
In the CLE vs MIN game, with 8:57 remaining in the 1st quarter and the score tied, the Vikings faced a 4th and 1 from the CLE 9-yard line. And in the WAS vs ATL game, with 13:17 remaining in the 2nd quarter and trailing by 3 points, WAS faced a 4th and 1 at the ATL 36.
Both Coach Zimmer and Coach Rivera made the correct decision to go for it, increasing their team’s (pre-snap) win probability by 5%.
Based on our Edj Power Index (EPIs) and the game state, by going for it, MIN was expected to go on to win the game 63% of the time; but if they had attempted the FG, MIN would have been expected to go on to win the game 58% of the time. And by going for it, WAS was expected to go on to win the game 52% of the time; but if they had attempted a FG, they would have been expected to go on to win 47% of the time.
Great call coaches!
NFL WORST Execution – KC vs PHI
Entering this game as an underdog at home, the Eagles surely knew they needed to play their best to beat the Chiefs. Instead, two of their penalties nullified TDs and cost themselves -26% in win probability.
The first of these penalties (illegal formation) occurred with 4:25 remaining in the 2nd quarter and the Eagles trailing by 4 points. If the Eagles TD had not been nullified, PHI would have taken a 3-point lead and had a win probability of 44%. Instead, after converting a FG, the Eagles still trailed by 1-point and had a win probability of 32%. This penalty cost PHI -12% in win probability.
The second of these penalties (offensive pass interference) occurred with 7:11 remaining in the 3rd quarter and the Eagles trailing by 8 points. If this Eagles TD had not been nullified, PHI would have cut their deficit to 1-point (assuming they PHI attempted and converted a 1 PAT) and they would have had a win probability of 36%. Instead, after converting another FG, the Eagles still trailed by 5-points and had a win probability of 22%. This penalty cost PHI -14% in win probability.
Both of these execution errors could have been avoided. Understanding how much penalties cost your team is part of the process of controlling the controllables.
Notable NCAA Games of the Week
Auburn vs LSU (Bo Nix 2 TD drives)
With just over 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter Auburn took possession on their own 25 and trailing LSU by 9 points. And then Auburn QB Bo Nix went on to orchestrate two TD scoring drives and lead his team to victory.
The first TD scoring drive increased Auburn’s win probability by +17% (from 21% up to 38%) and the second TD scoring drive increased their win by +36% (from 39% up to 75%). Auburn’s defense claimed the games remaining win probability with an interception by SS Bydarrius Knighten.
How do you measure grit? QB Bo Nix’s two scoring drives increased Auburn’s win probability by +43%.
Congrats to Auburn and the 24-19 victory!
Notable High School Games of the Week
Rockwall Yellowjackets (TX) vs Mesquite Skeeters (TX)
With 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter and trailing 22-17, the Yellowjackets faced a critical 4th and 1 on their own 39-yard line with all 3 TO’s remaining.
Coach Brooks and the Yellowjackets made the correct decision to GO for it, increasing their (pre-snap) win-probability by +17%, instead of opting to punt. The Yellowjackets failed to convert (in part due to a controversial spot) but, remained confident and committed to their process – the decision to go for it gave their team the best chance to go on to win the game. And that’s what they did! Rockwall’s defense stopped the Skeeters offense on the ensuing drive, setting up what would be a game-winning drive. The Yellowjackets went on to win 25-22.
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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.