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The interceptions we throw. The plays that cost us a Super Bowl.

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatriotSeven, Feb 7, 2012.

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  1. PatriotSeven

    PatriotSeven Rookie

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    If allowing the winning touchdown in the 4th quarter didn't convince you that football and stats don't always actually represent reality, and that the Patriots employ percentages and statistics when they play the game, then here's something else that you probably will continue to see being repeated over and over and assume it's some sort of killer blow to your team.

    This write up refers to AdvancedNFLstats.com's awesome live winning probability game analysis charts:

    Advanced NFL Stats Win Probability - Current Games

    They track winning percentages live during games. You can go back and review the costliest mistakes or gains in each game as the game unfolded, as well as the highest swings in momentum. Very useful stuff if you wanna know "what play really cost you the game".


    The 50 yard interception.

    Baltimore Ravens AFC Championship.
    In the Baltimore Ravens game, Tom Brady threw an interception with a 1st and 10 from the 50 yard line following a turnover by Joe Flacco. As seen in the chart at the link above, the Patriots were 87% favorites to win the game prior to the play. Following Tom Brady's interception they were still the favorites to win the game even though they turned over the ball, but they did drop down to 61% favorites. Most people see this as a mistake, and pin it mostly on the quarterback, because it affects his NFL passer rating significantly, but it's not quite that simple.

    Most people would probably expect the Patriots to complete just about every pass, including this one. While you certainly do want to complete every pass if possible, this particular pass is a low % attempt. Coaches, and anyone that understands football percentages expect an incompletion. What they don't expect is a completion or an interception. But they do prepare for either. It's the complete opposite of what you, the fan, thinks when watching. The chances of either happening are almost 50/50 with the offense having only an edge over the defenders. They're both less likely to happen compared to an incompletion. Most times, it's missed or batted down.

    The reason they keep trying this is because of percentages, field position and the fact they were still up in score. If the Patriots make the completion, they basically go up two scores, and while 87% favorites sounds good prior to this pass, it's actually a long way away from the 100% you need to win the football game. A lot can still happen in 2-3 minutes. Completing this pass pretty much locks you down as the winners.

    While there's no real preparation for the completion if it happens(they leave it up to the receiver to find his own TD celebration) the interception is something they do prepare for. To correctly execute this play completely, the biggest part is that you have to be prepared for the interception prior to attempting the pass. The interception is only half the play.

    The Patriots didn't execute this play well because they allowed it to be returned to the Baltimore 39 yard line after being intercepted in the endzone. The correct execution should have been a tackle, not in the endzone, but just outside of it.

    You really would rather not tackle the player in the endzone because they automatically allow their offense to start at the 20 yard line(which might be why Tom Brady sometimes throws it short even though we've seen Brady drive a ball 70 yards before). What you want to do is attempt to complete it just outside the endzone, and if it goes bad, you tackle them right there.

    Pinning a team back within their own 10 yard line still gives you the same chances to score next. You can throw 100 interceptions but as long as you tackle your opponent within their own 10 yard line, and you are leading by 1 point, you are STILL likely to win the football game. Make it 1000. It won't make a difference. Your chances of winning will only improve as the clock runs down.


    Giants and the Super Bowl
    Evidence of the importance of field position couldn't have been emphasized more by the domination the Giants had over the Patriots in the field position battle beginning with them pinning the Patriots back within their own 6 yard line which resulted in a safety. They were still just as likely to score first despite the Patriots having the ball. And they did. Twice. Once on the safety, and once on the following possession.

    When the Patriots had the ball with the score 0-0 at their own 6 yard line, the Giants were 50% to win the game even though they had just given up the ball.

    As it turns out, the 50 yard interception also found its way into the Super Bowl. Same situation. Same "mistake". We are at midfield, up in score, and Brady takes a long shot downfield that gets intercepted. This time we had a 1st and 10 at our own 43 yard line. Unlike the Ravens game, we were only 67% favorites to win prior to the interception, so even though we weren't sitting quite as pretty as 87%, the offensive coordinator still views it as a positive play. We were only risking 43 yards of gained field position this time.

    However, unlike the Ravens game where the execution of the play cost us roughly 26% in winning percentage because of what happened after the interception, this time around the Patriots executed this play much better.

    Giants vs Patriots game analysis: Advanced NFL Stats Win Probability - Current Games

    Because the defender was immediately tackled after the interception, and we backed up the Giants at their 8 yard line, it still left us as 60% favorites to win the game. This interception only cost us 7% compared to 26% in the Baltimore game. Once again, it could have almost guarantee us victory if it was completed.

    Compare to the Ravens game, it's not even close. We executed much better. On the immediate possession we actually still had the Giants on the ropes when our defense had them in a 3rd and 7 situation backed up into their own endzone, but a very costly penalty, set them free.

    So while in most cases, turnovers are very costly, there are some that don't always mean the end. The "50 yard interception" from midfield is one of them. I expect Tom Brady and the Patriots to continue attempting this same pass when faced with the same situation. Most people will still view it as a "mistake", and chances are good that the "mistake" will happen more often than completing the winning TD pass. Despite what people perception of it remains, it is still a sound play to make.

    However, one should note, that in addition to it being a low % pass, it's probably not a good idea to attempt it when the player that's supposed to make the completion suffers from a high ankle sprain. But it also means, the last thing you wanna do after throwing a pick, is get down or deflated, but rather be on alert for winning the field position battle.

    Recap: A 50 yard interception from midfield, when you are up in score, that results in pinning the opponent back within their 10 yard line does not change momentum and barely hurts your chances of winning a football game. You are still the favorite to win. A completion of this pass, pretty much guarantees a win late in the game.

    Game costing mistake.
    Well it was neither the safety nor Wes Welker.

    -The safety cost us 8% because it took place early in the game.
    -Tom Brady's interception was worth only 7% despite it coming late in the game.
    -Wes Welker's dropped pass was only 6%.
    -The incompletion afterwards, the pass to Branch was more costly: 11%.

    But even at that point we were 63% favorites to win the game, and following a great punt that pinned the Giants back at their own 12 yard line, grew to 67% percent!

    The costliest play was the 2nd Mario Maningham catch:
    -the first catch, 38 yards, cost us 15%, but still left us as 52% favorites.
    -the second catch, 16 yards, was the killer which cost 22% completely swung momentum, and made the Giants 67% favorites to win the game.

    You can view it as mistakes, but in reality it looks more like 2 great plays by the Giants.

    The winning touchdown?
    -Improved our chances by 4%! The Giants were 89% favorites to win prior to scoring, but scoring a touchdown rather than chewing the clock dropped them back to 85%.

    The costliest of mistake? The clock.

    When we got the ball back on our final possession, the touchback gave us only a 10% chance to win. Despite traveling 30 yards to the 50 yard line, this 30 yard gain, resulted in a -8% swing. We had a 2% chance to win the game at this point because there were only 9 seconds left on the clock. The same 30 yards gained by Manning on the previous drive, improved their chances by 15%. The clock not only wiped out what should have been about a 15% gain, but further added a -8% on top of it, for a combined total of -23% swing just because of the clock.

    Outcoached.
    Bill's challene did nothing to slow them down, but it did put us in a situation where the clock killed our team. Perhaps next time, a better strategy to slow down momentum is to teach the Patriots how to fall down and pretend being hurt. It still slows down their momentum, gets you a free time out, while preserving a challenge flag. Couple this with the 12 man defensive penalty Tom Coughlin allowed, to squeeze the final seconds of the clock, and simply put: We got outcoached by a coach who wasn't afraid to use tactics that may be seen as "cheating". While ours, scarred by our past, played too damn fair! Bill, it's time to get serious again this year. You were right. Nobody plays fair, so why should you?
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  2. jcdavey

    jcdavey Rookie

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    yeah brady's int was simply like a drive killing nice punt

    i'd say the welker drop should be weighted more than other pats mistakes just because they would have killed alot more clock after that more than likely


    the manning to manningham play of course was huge

    anything after giants kicked off , IMO wasn't a huge mistake simply because with 57 seconds left, unless you're down by a fg or less, you can't be expected to score a td with so little time.
  3. PatriotSeven

    PatriotSeven Rookie

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    Well the completion on the following play to Branch was on 3rd and 11 while the one to Welker was on 2nd down. So the Branch incompletion was worse because we could no longer get a 1st down.

    For those wondering why we didn't run the ball to chew out the clock? It wasn't time for it and it didn't work very well either. At least not according to their win probability chart.

    With 7:22 left we ran a 1 yard run on 1st and 10 that chewed up nearly 1 minute of game clock and brought it down to 6:36. Despite the amount of clock we chewed down, this 1 yard run dropped our chances by 9%. Most of our run plays were -% plays even when gaining field position.

    The 3 yard gain by Green Ellis, followed by the Rolle "injury" also resulted in a net 0% despite chewing another minute. If you look at the chart, the "Rolle" injury which stopped the clock, did temporarily stop Patriots momentum. It's a flat line. That helped the Giants.

    Clock chewing is only indicated when up by more than 2 scores, or within the 2 minute warning, while the opponent has no timeouts. Which is what the Giants did to us. Chewing the clock, even with 4 minutes left, is simply a bad idea if they have time outs.

    I'm sure the one thing that's going to bother Bill most is the challenge and the fact that this time, it was Coughlin being the "dirtier" coach on that field. Dirty old man got us. Hard to believe, but true. If you ever hear the word "cheat" coming out of a Giant's fan's mouth, slap their teeth right out of it.

    We may be mentally tough. But certainly not dirty enough to win a Super Bowl this year. The public is right, we can't win a Super Bowl unless we cheat. But it seems like, nobody else can either! It's one thing to get beat by the Giants. It's another to be outwitted and out-cheated by them. How the **** did we lose our edge?

    I'm signing up for film school and moving to Foxboro. Who wants to invent the fake puke for our players? And let's hire a sharpshooter for home game FG attempts. Just shoot that damn ball right out. And someone grab a copy of the rule book and see what other rules other than the defensive man on the field penalty and the injury time out can be exploited. We cannot let this happen to us again:mad:
  4. sambam94

    sambam94 Rookie

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    I though they should have ran the kick off out of the end zone. Worse case(besides a fumble) would have been getting tackled at the 10-15 yard line. You're gambling on a better return past the 20. With under a minute, starting from the 20 would take a miracle.
  5. PatriotSeven

    PatriotSeven Rookie

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    Time was more important than field position at that point.

    Like you pointed out, there was a risk of getting tackled short and considering the Giants destroyed us in field position, there was no reason to believe that would have not happened again. Not to mention, under those circumstances, 20 yards at a cost of 0 seconds was likely worth more than even 35 yards, at the cost of say 10-15 seconds when running the ball and being held up instead of tackled. You also put it in the hands of the refs to blow the whistle and stop the play dead. Keep in mind we gained 50 yards and our chances of winning dropped from 10% to 2% because of time. 50 yards didn't make up for the 41 seconds we lost. With only 9 seconds on the clock it made no difference between being at the 30 yard line or 50 yard line. Still needed a Hail Mary and whether launched from the 30 or 50 it's still a jump ball with about the same chance of success. Less than 2%. We actually had a 10% chance of winning when we were at the 33 yard line with 32 seconds on the clock.

    They were discussing a valid point this morning on Mike and Mike in the morning. Why did Bill still try to stop them on 1st down, which forced us to burn a time out, and then allowed them to score on 2nd down?

    I personally think Bill should have let them score after the second Manningham catch and not challenge the play, which also cost a time out, but if not there, then why not on 1st down? Waiting to do that on 2nd down was terrible. Allowing them to score on first down would have meant an additional time out and over 1 minute. That would have made everyone feel a bit more comfortable on the following drive.

    You don't see that call made too often, especially in a Super Bowl, but it was absolutely the correct call. And everyone has his back. He should have made it earlier unless he or the OC was unprepared.
  6. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    at the moment the throw was made, it was a good play. brady just needed to put too much air under the ball to get it there. he had gronk, but threw it a little late.

    that said, patient, drive extending plays what should have been executed. they should have kept dumping the ball to woodhead and bjge......this killed the giants every time. if the pats had done this more, everything else including the running game.....frickin play actoin dump offs against a pass rush team like the giants is the way to go
  7. brdmaverick

    brdmaverick Rookie

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    #32 Jersey

    Nice, I enjoyed that analysis. As a math major, I enjoy the nerdiness of it.
  8. sambam94

    sambam94 Rookie

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    good points, but 57 seconds from the 20 and you need a miracle. There are just a handful of plays left in the game, to give up one play(the return) to gain 5-6 seconds?..hmmm..not sure about that? Maybe he breaks off a great return to their own 40, that would change things tremendously..or who knows, maybe he takes it to the house. I just think the reward outweighed the risk of starting 5-7 yards back.
  9. sambam94

    sambam94 Rookie

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    In regards to the pick..we have seen this story before...when Brady is scrambling and the play breaks down, he chucks it deep more often than not. With Moss, it worked a lot..since then...well..not so much.
  10. PatriotSeven

    PatriotSeven Rookie

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    Some people argue that it's better to take it slow and it's a valid point. But there is a reason why they do it, though I don't have the numbers to provide any kind of statistical comparison. Maybe someone else can chime in.

    They also seem to do it on 1st down which you wouldn't expect from a % point of view, but I can understand it from a surprise point of view. You're more likely to get a match-up on a 1st down than a 3rd and long. All I know is the chances of scoring anything from the 43 yard line is less than 50% regardless of how you do it.

    As far as the Giants pick, this wasn't a designed play. Here's the pick:
    Super Bowl XLVI (46) Chase Blackburn Interception (HD) - YouTube

    This is a decision because of a match-up. It definitely worked with Moss, but in a jump ball situation, Gronk's not a bad target either.

    I've seen Brady throw it for 75+ yards but this is off of a roll out, and doesn't appear to have time to put full power behind it. He doesn't have time to complete his throw and releases it with his back still arched backwards due to the defender. Not quite off the backfoot, but not able to complete his motion either. I think 60 yards is about the limit of the NFL when throwing from your knees and this is like the equivalent of that type of throw.

    Don Meredith holds the record with 83 air yard pass completion back in 1966 and I have no idea what kind of time he needed to make that throw. I don't know if even Cam Newton can do that without going through the footwork and full throwing motion and I doubt Brady has that type of range.

    The play was definitely improv but I couldn't tell you who was at fault, if anyone, in this situation. I just don't see Brady trying to throw it for 75 yards to the back of the endzone though which is what Gronk looked like was expecting when he kept running. I'm pretty sure standard procedure on jump balls is for the receiver to be in front of his defender. The question is did Gronk know this was a jump ball? I'm not sure Gronk realizes what kind of throw would have been required in order to hit him in the endzone from where Brady's standing.

    Tough call here but I'm betting Bill would say Gronk shouldn't have let that defender get underneath. I also think he'll get off the hook just because he looked like he could actually beat him in a foot race and that's gotta count for something too.:D
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  11. PatsSweFan

    PatsSweFan Rookie

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    One crucial mistake was to not let Giants score on the play before Bradshaws td run...we called a time out from the 8yds line with less than 1 min to play...

    So, how much would our chance increase if we let them score on the play before and got around 55 sec left with two time outs..?
  12. PatriotSeven

    PatriotSeven Rookie

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    Good question. That's what I'm wondering too and that's what they were talking about Mike and Mike in the morning.

    We got outcoached as far as clock-management goes.

    But due to new revealing evidence, I'm not sure who the coach was for the Giants. Eli might deserve even more credit.

    Coughlin was defending going for the touchdown, which was a bad decision from their end, as if he wanted to score all along, but I just heard Eli say he did, in fact, tell Bradshaw not to score.

    So.....who's the liar?
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  13. HowardRoark

    HowardRoark Rookie

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    That was a good read, thanks. My big problem with INT in the Superbowl was that it was on 1st down. I believe you need to factor in those 3 lost downs when you are comparing it to a punt.
  14. JFK

    JFK Rookie

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    Bradshaw did the right thing in scoring even though it looked like he didn't want to. Fgs can be blocked. Fumbles can happen
  15. Canuck

    Canuck Rookie

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    Great analysis. The only problem I have is you say the Welker drop cost us only minus 6%. The truth is a catch would have been been at least a +6% or likely alot more. So that drop was more like 12% or greater. Manningham's catches were +15 and +22%, so Welker's catch would have been just as much. I think if I read it correctly that we were at 80% chance to win and Welkers drop lowered it to 74%. A catch would have probably jumped it to +90%
  16. IndianPat

    IndianPat Rookie

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    Good analysis. The way I look at that interception is that it meant a loss of ONE possession. Every possession means there is a possibility of a score. In that sense, that interception brought down the probability of a win by a huge percentage.
  17. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    Thinking about the safety some more, I think that we actually would have been better off if Tom threw that pass into coverage. Even a pick-six would make it 7-0 rather than 9-0 after the punt and it would have been 20-19 on the final drive. All we would have needed was to get into field goal range (assuming Giants kick the PAT after their final TD). Fake an injury or two and voila!

    Makes you wonder why anyone would take the chance of the safety...unless they are assuming that they can get a stop after the punt. Try running those numbers!
  18. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    This was just bad situational football. We get the ball on the six. We haven't run a snap on offense yet so we have no idea how the pass protection will hold up (Vollmer got beat on the play). What do we do? Dial up a play with a five-step drop so that the QB ends up deep in the endzone. Awesome play call there. :mad:
  19. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The stats are fun but the Safety and INT were huge. Basically as soon as the Safety was called the Patriots were doomed to lose the time of possession battle, giving the Giants extra possessions and putting more pressure on the defense.

    The INT was not as good as a punt, it was thrown on first down. Instead of moving into possible field goal range or worst case taking another 2-3 minutes of the clock the Giants were given another possession. With two high quality offenses possessions are critical.

    Interesting (or not) the Giants and Patriots were essentially operating at the same efficiency just that the Giants had more chances:
    Measure 1) Yards per play
    Giants - 396/71 = 5.6 yards per play
    Patriots - 349 / 62 = 5.6 yards per play

    Measure 2) 3rd down efficiency
    Giants - 6/11 - 45%
    Patriots - 6/12 - 50%

    In the end the Patriots did it to themselves, I thought they were out played but despite it all still had a chance to win but couldn't close the deal.

    Oh well, there have been worse loses.

    C'est la vie, enjoy the nice weather everyone.
  20. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    I think we would have needed at least one first down conversion to ensure that they didn't have time at the end. They go the ball back at the end with 3:46 to go. A field goal would still have won it for them, so they didn't need to drive all the way to the goal line (not that we were able to stop them at that point with the defense having been out there a lot).

    I hate football right now.
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