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Patriots' rally is almost one of a kind

11/25/2013
USA TODAY Sports/Greg M. Cooper

Tom Brady and the Patriots rallied from a 24-0 halftime deficit With their 34-31 overtime victory Sunday night, the Patriots became just the 2nd team since 2001 to win a game after trailing by at least 24 points at the end of the 1st half. The only other team to win after trailing by that much? Denver last season against San Diego.

Since 2001, teams are 2-148 in games in which they trailed by at least 24 points at the end of the 1st half.

Patriots special teams added 11.8 expected points Sunday, their most in a game since 2010. Tony Carter’s fumble on Ryan Allen’s punt with 3:11 left in overtime added 4.6 expected points for the Patriots. Stephen Gostkowski kicked the 31-yard game-winner 2 plays later.

Should the Packers have gone for it?

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy opted to kick the field goal on 4th-and-2 in overtime, thereby giving the Vikings a chance to match Green Bay’s field goal and extend the game.

But according to ESPN’s win probability model, this decision did not give the Packers their best chance of winning. Going for the touchdown would have made a Packers victory more likely.

Since 2001, NFL teams are 30-for-66 scoring a TD on 4th-and-goal from the 2 (45%). Taking into account the risk of not making it, the Packers would have had an 82 percent win probability had they gone for the touchdown on 4th-and-goal.

After the field goal, the Packers had a win probability of 71%. If they had not scored the touchdown, they would have had a win probability of 67% with the Vikings taking over inside their own 5-yard line.

There was very little to gain from making the field goal - approximately 71% chance to win versus 67% if the Packers missed but left the Vikings backed up.

The upside of the touchdown – guaranteed victory – makes going for it, given the fact that teams had scored a touchdown on 45% percent of previous such attempts, the better decision.

Romo leads Cowboys over Giants

On the 1st 10 Cowboys drives against the Giants, Tony Romo posted a total QBR of 32.3. The Cowboys converted 12.5 percent of their third downs and punted 7 times.

On the final drive, Romo posted a 92.8 QBR and went 3-for-3 on third down, converting all of those attempts for 1st downs. The Cowboys chewed 4:45 of clock as they drove 64 yards downfield, allowing Dan Bailey to kick the 35-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise – since 2011, Romo has 11 game-winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime, most in the NFL.

Over last 3 seasons, Romo has posted a 75.0 Total QBR with his team trailing by one score or tied in the 4th quarter or overtime, 4th best among quarterbacks with at least 10 such games in that span.

Chiefs’ offense thrives, defense struggles against Chargers

It was a wild one in Kansas City, as the Chiefs and Chargers traded blows, but the usually dominant Chiefs defense could not keep up with San Diego.

Entering the week, the Chiefs defense had added an average of 9.4 expected points per game, best in the league and on pace to be the best by any defense since 2009.

Sunday, the Chiefs D posted a minus-25.0 EPA, the 9th-worst EPA posted by a defense in any game this year. Chargers receivers ran for 228 yards after the catch, the most the Chiefs have allowed since at least 2006. Philip Rivers posted an 86.7 QBR, more than 59.4 rating points higher than the Chiefs NFL-best average entering the week.

While the Chiefs defense struggled, the offense was the best it’s been in a while. The Chiefs offense posted a 16.4 EPA, the best output Kansas City has had in a game since 2010. Alex Smith posted a season-high 79.4 Total QBR.