Week 5 BEST & WORST Decisions (2020) - EdjVarsity

Week 5 BEST & WORST Decisions (2020)

For this week’s Best and Worst Decisions, we’ll focus on the Buccaneers and the Thursday Night Football game…

BEST Decision – TB @ CHI

In the 2nd quarter and leading the Bears by 10 points, the Bucs faced a 4th and 1 at the TB 19-yard line. Coach Arians made the correct call by deciding to go for it and the decision increased the Buccaneers (pre-snap) win probability by +2%.   

Our EdjSports Power Indexes (EPIs) had this run-game match up as even, with the Bucs rush offense ranked above league average (#7) and the Bears rush defense ranked among the league’s best (#4). Based on our EPIs and the game state, teams that go for it, go on to win the game 79% of the time and teams that punt, go on to win the game 77% of the time. 

We see lots of opportunities for teams to make 4th down “Go” decisions in minus territory and increase their win probability, but rarely see teams actually decide to go for it from the field position the Bucs faced last weekend.   In fact, in the last 20 years, this is only the third time  that a team has gone for it on 4th down, in the first half of a game, from inside their own 20-yard line (not including fake punts or the final play of the half). 

Great call Coach Arians! 

Honorable Mentions – LV @ KC

With 0:35 remaining in the 3rd quarter and the game tied, the Raiders faced a 4th and 1 from the Chiefs 16-yard line.  Coach Gruden made the correct call by deciding to go for it.  The decision increased the Raiders (pre-snap) win probability by +4%. 

Our EPIs had this run-game match up as even, with the Raiders rush offense ranked among the league’s worst (#27) and the Chiefs rush defense also ranked among the league’s worst (#30).  Based on our EPIs and the game state, teams that go for it, go on to win the game 45% of the time and teams that attempt the FG, go on to win the game 41% of the time. 

The Raiders were able to hold the Chiefs to 8 points in the second half of this game, partly because of decisions like this one that enabled the Raiders to maintain possession and score points, while at the same time denying the Chiefs offensive possessions and opportunities to score. 

Good call Coach Gruden! 

WORST Decision – TB @ CHI

With 4:52 remaining in the 4th quarter and trailing the Bears by 1 point, the Bucs faced a 4th and 1 at the CHI 46-yard line. However, on this decision Coach Arians made an error by deciding to attempt the FG. The decision cost the Bucs -8% in (pre-snap) win probability.

As mentioned earlier our EPIs had this run-game match up as even.  Based on our EPIs and the game state, teams that attempt the FG, go on to win the game 52% of the time and teams that go-for-it, go on to win the game 60% of the time.  

In this game, TB come out behind CHI in terms of their net gain/loss on 4th down decisions: 

Rest assured, the Bucs -16% overall differential in win probability, played a role in the outcome of this close game.

Notable High School Calls of the Week

Rockford Rams (MI) vs. West Ottawa Panthers (MI)

With 6:13 to go in the 1st quarter and the game tied, the Rams faced a 4th and 2 at the Panthers 37-yard line. Rams Coach Brent Cummings made the correct call by deciding to go for it, increasing his team’s chances to go on to win the game by +6%.

North Jackson Chiefs (AL) at Randolph School Raiders (AL)

Leading 22-18 and facing a 4th and 4 on the Raiders 34-yd line, with 1:56 remaining in the 3rd Quarter, the Chiefs elected to GO for it instead of kicking the field goal.  This decision by Coach Tygard increased the Chiefs pre-snap win probability by +6%.

Great calls Coaches!

Submit your play of the week here

Bottom Line

Once again, analytics show that good calls aren’t always conventional and don’t always result in wins 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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