11.8.21 7:31PM UTC
Mike McCarthy’s 4th Down Decisions. Not much went right for Dallas in their blowout loss to Denver yesterday, but Mike McCarthy tried to keep his team in it with his aggressive 4th down decisions. On the opening drive, the Cowboys went for it on 4th and 1 from the Broncos’ 38-yard line, increasing their pre-snap win probability by 4.6% vs. a long field goal attempt. Unfortunately, they were stopped and turned the ball over on downs. On their next possession, after a Denver punt, they once again faced 4th and Short in Broncos territory. McCarthy chose to forego the field goal attempt again, with our model giving Dallas 2.3% greater chance to win by going for it. Yet again, Denver was able to get a second 4th down stop in two Dallas possessions. After allowing a Broncos touchdown on the following possession, the Cowboys faced a third 4th and Short in as many possessions. This time, however, perhaps with the two failures fresh on his mind, McCarthy chose to punt on 4th and 1 from his own 45-yard line. This decision cost Dallas 5.6% pre- snap win probability (worst 4th down decision of Week 9). Things continued to go downhill for the Cowboys, but midway through the 3rd quarter, McCarthy chose to remain aggressive instead of surrendering down 19-0. Facing 4th and 1 from their own 40- yard line once again, the Cowboys went for it on 4th and 1, increasing their pre-snap win probability by 2.7%, a relative increase of nearly 50%. All told, it was a pretty good showing from McCarthy, as far as 4th down decisions go.
1.7% GWC
Defense Wins the Day. There were four interceptions returned for touchdowns on Sunday: • The first, and longest, belonged to the Cleveland Browns. Denzel Ward’s 99-yard pick-6 on the game’s opening drive got them on the board first, increasing their win probability by 26.7% (4th most impactful play of the week). • Next up was the New York Giants, who trailed by three prior to Xavier McKinney’s interception. He returned the Derek Carr pass 41 yards for a touchdown, giving the Giants the lead and increasing their win probability by 22.9% (6th most impactful play of the week). • Just about 15 minutes later, the Patriots extended their lead with a pick-6 off Sam Darnold. J.C. Jackson’s 88-yard interception return put New England up two scores, increasing their win probability by 22.7% (7th most impactful play of the week). • After the late window of games, the Titans got the fourth of the day off Matt Stafford on Sunday Night Football. Kevin Byard’s 24-yard pick- 6 extended the Titans lead, increasing Tennessee’s win probability by 19.9% (9th most impactful play of the week).
0% GWC
Baltimore’s Comeback + Harbaugh’s Aggressiveness. The Ravens trailed by as many as 14 points on two separate occasions against the Vikings on Sunday, before coming back to win in overtime. The low point came late in the 2nd quarter after Lamar Jackson’s 1st down interception, which dropped Baltimore to 9.9% win probability. After holding the Vikings to a field goal and scoring a touchdown just before the half, Baltimore went into halftime trailing 17-10 with 26.1% win probability. The Ravens proceeded to give up a kickoff return touchdown to open the second half, cutting their win probability nearly in half, down to 13.4%. John Harbaugh then did what he does best and went on the offensive. On the ensuing Baltimore drive, he chose to go for it on 4th and 2 from his own 36-yard line (+2.6% pre-snap win probability) and 4th and Goal at the 1-yard line (+4.4% pre-snap win probability), getting the Ravens within seven points again. After a Minnesota punt, Baltimore faced 4th and 1 from their own 27-yard line, with another GO increasing their pre-snap win probability by 5.6%. The Ravens converted to extend the drive, going on to convert a 3rd and 15 (+12.2% win probability) and eventually tie the game. Minnesota and Baltimore traded touchdowns late and went to overtime, where the Ravens survived another Jackson interception (-38.5% win probability, 2nd most impactful play of the week) to win.
8.2% GWC
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