Here is the Best and Worst from NFL Week 8. This week we focus on the TEN vs IND game for its examples of Best/Worst decisions and play execution.
NFL Best Decision (TEN vs IND)
This week, 8 of the Top 10 Best GOs occurred on 4th and 1 with the other two attempts coming on 4th and 2.
In the TEN vs IND game, with 3:22 remaining in the 4th quarter and the game tied, the Titans faced a 4th and 1 at the 50-yard line. Coach Vrabel made the correct decision to go for it, increasing the Titans (pre-snap) win probability by 19%. Going for it comes with an expectation for the Titans to go on to win the game 59% of the time and punting comes with an expectation to go on to win the game just 40% of the time.
NFL Worst Decision (TEN vs IND)
While most coaches are becoming more aggressive on 4th and short, the week’s worst decision is an example of a 4th and medium that many coaches still miss.
Later in the TEN vs IND game, with 1:39 remaining in the 4th quarter and the game tied, Titans faced a 4th and 6 from Colts 45-yard line. Coach Vrabel’s decision to punt cost the Titans -11% in (pre-snap) win probability. Punting comes with an expectation for the Titans to go on to win the game 41% of the time and going for it comes with an expectation for them to go on to win the game 52% of the time.
NFL Play Execution (IND vs TEN)
As is often the case, good decisions and errors get overlooked because of play execution. This week is no exception. With 5:56 remaining in overtime and facing a 1st and 10 from the IND 27-yard line, Colts QB Carson Wentz threw an interception that cost his team -50% in win probability. At the start of the play, the Colts had a win probability of 65%. After the INT, the Colts only had a win probability of 15%.
Notable NCAA Game of the Week
Michigan State vs Michigan
In this great rivalry, Michigan State made the most of their opportunities.
Of the Spartans 5 touchdowns only two were the result of plays in the redzone. The other three touchdowns came on runs of 27 yards, 58 yards, and 23 yards. And they also successfully converted two 2-PAT attempts. Michigan, on the other hand, seemed destined to settle for FG attempts. Of their 7 redzone drives, four resulted in FG attempts.
Congrats to Michigan State on the 37-33 victory and maintaining the Paul Bunyan trophy.
Notable High School Game of the Week
Williston Northampton Wildcats (MA) at Suffield Academy Tigers (CT)
With 8:13 remaining in the 3rd quarter and trailing 13-7, the Wildcats faced a 4th and 1 from their own 39-yard line. Coach Tommy Beaton’s correct decision to go for it increased his team’s (pre-snap) win probability by 5%. Based on how these team’s matched up and the game state, in this situation a GO comes with an expectation for the Wildcats to go on to win the game 32% of the time and a punt comes with an expectation for them to win the game only 27% of the time.
Great call by Coach Beaton!
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.
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