Monday, December 5, 2011
2011 NFC West game changers: Week 13
By Mike Sando
NFL teams facing first-and-15 from their own 48-yard line with 11:56 remaining in overtime can expect to win about three-fourths of the time.
ESPN's win probability model put the rate at 76.2 percent, explaining why LaRod Stephens-Howling's 52-yard reception for the Arizona Cardinals ranked only third on our weekly list of most pivotal plays. The difference between 76.2 percent and 100 percent meant everything for Arizona even if two other plays in the game swung win probability by wider margins.
The 15-yard pass Arizona allowed on third-and-11 with 31 seconds left in regulation produced a 39.7-point drop for the Cardinals, the biggest in the division for Week 13. The 49-yard field goal Dallas missed with seven seconds remaining was also pivotal, obviously. I'll break out some percentages from that one in a separate item.
Thanks to Alok Pattani of ESPN's analytics team for crunching the NFC West numbers each week. He singled out Andre Goodman's interception for Denver against Minnesota's Christian Ponder as the NFL's most pivotal play from Week 13. It swung the Broncos' win probability from 43.0 percent to 87.5 percent -- a 44.6-point change.