Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:33am

I just realized I must be getting tired, because I completely wrote the ending backward. Apparently I forgot what I was talking about halfway through. I think if I were Belichick I would feel good about being able to get that at least 69% of the time, and so then it's the right decision.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Dan :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:39am

The .92 can't be right - they could kneel and run out the clock if they convert it. Ballgame over, basically. Change that to 1.0, and the break even point becomes 54%.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:40am

Hmm. You're right. I don't know why it says .92 instead of 1.0.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by SFC B (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:59am

Is the .92 reflecting the possibility of something stupid happening on one of the ensuing snaps? Some sort of horrific fumble giving the Colts their 8% possibility of scoring if the Pats make the 4th and 2?

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Big Johnson (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 5:52am

wouldnt the break even point be .67? basically there are two possible outcomes of NE going for it.... getting stuffed or getting the first down. Add the win probability of both together and divide it by possible outcomes (1+.34)/2 = .67

this is assuming the research was correct.

the probability of an interception or a fumble outweighs the probability of a punt return for a td. It more than outweighs it.

the average punt nets about 40-45 yards im guessing. lets say 43. whats the odds of peyton composing a comeback touchdown drive 71 yards in 2 minutes with 1 timeout? in my mind its about 50/50. Good call by bilichick. although when you play with chance you are bound to get burned

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by perly :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:46am

The clock stopped on the 2-minute warning, not the change of possession. The Colts had 1 TO left, so the Pats would still have to punt on another 3-and-out.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Colts Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:24am

As a Colts fan, I was really hoping that New England would punt. I've seen Manning orchestrate too many 2 minute drives not to like his chances even with 80 yards to go. New England converts that play 3 times out of 4, I'd guess, and if they do, they win.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:25am

Well, I'm off for the night. And I likely won't be on next week--I have a study group for one of my finals (yes, all day).

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by andrew :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:38am

It was a good call. Indy scores anyway if they punt. That they scored with 13 seconds left isn't a factor, Manning said they were trying to run clock.

Dilfer is saying he's never heard of a team making a decision like this.

Really? I remember Dallas doing this against the Giants, deep in their own territory, in a game with the division on the line, and they ran Emmitt Smith into the line and failed to get it.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Blank (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:46am

It was against the Eagles and they weren't leading at the time.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 1:45am

I'm trying to look at it objectively, so can anybody justify either that fourth down spot or that patrick chung PI where he was completely turned around looking at the ball and the reciever came though him? I thought the defender was entitled to the ball too?

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by sldfkjsfls (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 3:26am

No, no one can. BB is going to get an apology from Mike Pereira for those.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Dave :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:03am

I loved the call and it was lucky for the Colts that Faulk bobbled it. They had no business winning that game after giving up 5 20+ yard plays in the first 25 minutes.

Of course, I'm not the best guy to ask. I love the idea of never punting, plus I'm a huge pessimist. I didn't even stand up on 3rd and 2 because I figured they had no shot to stop them - had to watch it on the big screen. I assumed 4th and 2 would be an easy conversion (which is why I think it was a great call) and had no confidence there either. So maybe I'm not the best Colts fan.

Still, as bad as the rest of that game was, I like their chances to beat them again in January. A better game plan on D is really all it'll take. I don't think the rookie WRs make those drops again, and I think any other ref crew likely calls a few more holds on both teams (this helped both lines, but there was a bad one on that big punt return), which typically works in the Colts favor.

I'm with whoever complained about the results-based analysis. Belichick'll win "Goat of the Week" from PK and many other writers, whereas if they converted, which was a hell of a safe bet, everyone would talk about what a great call it was because the game would've been over. Seriously - aside from incomplete passes, how many plays did they have all game for less than 2 yards?

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by perly :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:06am

Chung was looking at the ball, but running away from it. His right to a spot on the field doesn't apply in motion. It's especially awkward when you're not talking about an underthrown ball on a go route, but if a receiver changes direction like that, the defender can't just run through him no matter where his face is pointed.

On the spot, it was close, but I don't think it was conclusive one way or the other, and I don't think it gets overturned even if Belichick has a timeout left to throw the challenge flag. Of course that's a bit moot; there's a system for challenging such calls and the Patriots surrendered that opportunity.

Objectively, I think both calls (as well as a ton of other things, some of which were flagged; some weren't) were within the margin of error. Unsatisfying if you're a Pats fan, I guess, but it's just part of football.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:11am

so if the ball is a little more underthrown, and chung catches that pass, is it still called PI?

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by sldfkjsfls (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 3:33am

Who cares? They have no business in the world throwing a thirty yard flag for that level of contact.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:08am

I agree. It was a good call. I also seem to be seeing a lot more calls of the sort this year. maybe I'm just looking for them now, but it seems like 'hidden stat' philosophy is getting noticed by more and more people who make the actual calls these last few seasons...

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Nathan :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:15am

I'd just like to thank everyone here for being a bastion of sanity and logical analysis. It was absolutely the right call, it just didn't work out. The two things are not mutually exclusive results.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:36am

nelchick moron for going for it on 4ht and 2. doesn't guy know odds of winnign are decreased a lot if Pates don;t make 1st down? Is coach drunk?
if some other coach did that he get fird next day. like if Mangoni do that on Monday night vs Baltimore he get fired after game. of course Browns not going to be in close game vs Baltimore so will nebver know if Manging try somehting as stupid.
maybe if Bill Belcihcik still could use vidoe cameras game wouldnt have come down to him making deicison like blind ape

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by tally :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:41am


Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:54am

of course if mangini went for it he should be fired. but mangini going for it with his brady is not the same as belicheck going for it with his

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 4:12am

actually, I've been thinking about this. now I'm pretty sure that if this situation came up, the browns with a lead against flacco and the baltimore offense late, sure you kick it away, right? but if a team like the browns managed a lead late against the colts, you still go for it on fourth and two, don't you? manning is the variable, isn't he?

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Luke :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 2:41am

yep, it wasn't a bad call to go for it. Wasting all 3 2nd half time outs was a bit ordinary. They should've been in a position to challenge that bad spot. Probably wouldn't have got the overrule, but it would've been close. And I agree with the guy who said the 30 yard PI call was BS. Otherwise, another great Ind v NE game.

A Champion of the Lost Cause

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by sldfkjsfls (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 3:25am

It was complete bullshit, and it ruined what should have been a great game.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 3:21am

I hope this horrible horrible coverage by ESPN will lead to some re-evaluation of their practices when they realize how wrong they are. I love the leading poll questions like "what was BB biggest mistake?" Or the 4 different articles by people presenting no insight or research, just raw intuition and conventional wisdom. Whatever gets eyeballs I suppose.

The kiddie pool depth of their coverage would be a lot easier to stomach if they didn't take themselves so seriously.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Yaguar :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 3:56am

I'm going to throw a theory out there. I know that some people may not accept this argument on the 4th and 2 debate, but I believe that the Colts defense often gets better in game-deciding situations.

I don't want people to take this as some sort of irrational "lol my team has clutch qualities because of its general moral superiority" claim. You've probably heard enough of those from Patriots fans for nine years.

Rather, I think that the Colts' defensive scheme requires manic pursuit of the ball, and therefore, players suffer from fatigue, more so than the average defense. Therefore, they don't play at 100% of their ability level on every down. They can, however, play at that level for a few select plays. Therefore, I'd suggest that the Colts were more likely to make that stop than, say, a 3rd and 2 in the second quarter.

Brian Burke's WP model is going to be somewhat inaccurate in evaluating this decision. First, the offenses are too good. Second, the model is likely to have difficulty accounting for the exact processes of clock management at the end of the game, where a dozen seconds or a timeout can make a huge difference in win probability. It probably works much better when a large number of plays remains in the game.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 4:18am

I guess I would respond by saying, would you, as a colts fan, rather see your defense, minus sanders, hayden, and every other starting secondary guy deciding the game, or would you rather see manning, wayne and clark with the game in their hands?

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Yaguar :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 4:30am

My gut feeling kind of wanted them to punt, and was really frightened. That would seem to indicate that Belichick made the right call. On the other hand, I don't trust my ability to be rational or make the appropriate judgments when I'm watching the Colts on a game-deciding play against the Patriots.

My guess is that it was a fairly close decision. FO readers seem to be more in favor of the decision than against. However, FO readers are so used to praising aggressive 4th down decisions that they might not appropriately call out a poor 4th down decision if they saw one.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Dave :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 4:34am

I think the numbers and the gut instinct both make it the right call.

But I'm not sure I would've made it if I was on the sideline. The downside is just so great. Which is why I love that he had the balls to do it.

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 4:39am

that's what has me thinking about my comment @623. I feel like against most other teams in the league except maybe the saints and possibly the steelers, it's a punt. but in this and possibly a few other situations where you have extenuating circumstances (prolific offense/sick defense, or some combination of the two) and you have the offense that you have, that I don't think anybody would argue is much better than your defense, you go, right?

and homer glasses, they did get it...

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/16/2009 - 11:44pm

Baltimore should just go for it on every fourth down. I mean, seriously, you think cleveland is going to score two touchdowns in the second half?

Re: Week 10 Open Discussion Thread
by jayinalaska :: Tue, 11/17/2009 - 1:41am

Just finished watching my recording of the MNF game. Some thoughts:
1) The Cleveland defense looked much better than I expected them to. The announcers said the Browns were missing both their starting inside linebackers. At least from this game, one might think the Browns have the nucleus of a good defense in place. Of course, I don't really know how good the Browns defense has been this year, so their good play tonight might be more of an indictment of how poorly the Ravens offense played.
2) I've seen the Packers play a couple of times in the last few weeks and saw the Steelers Sunday. I thought those two teams had struggling offensive lines. After seeing the Cleveland offensive line tonight, the Steelers and Packers offensive lines look like the Great Wall of China. That Browns offensive line is remarkably bad. At one point, Jaws or Gruden said that Peyton Manning, Tom Brad, and Drew Brees would not be able to be successful behind that line. I'm inclined to agree. That's not to say they wouldn't be better than either Quinn or Anderson. They just wouldn't be successful.
3) Poor ESPN. They got the first scoreless half of football in the NFL this year.
4) The casual fan will want to say that the Ravens defense played well tonight. I don't want to say they didn't play well, but it's hard to make any meaningful evaluations given the nearly total ineptitude of the Browns offense. About the only thing I can say is the Ravens defense didn't seem to play worse than they should have given the Browns offense.
5) As a Notre Dame fan, I really want to see Brady Quinn have success in the NFL. He doesn't have to be a super star, but I'd like him to be above average to good. I don't see how he's going to have a chance to make any meaningful development this year with the team that surrounds him. I also feel like Mangini doesn't like him and isn't particularly interested in seeing him succeed. I know that's emotional and probably wrong, but there it is. Having said that, there's not a lot to like about Quinn's performance tonight. The first interception was all on him. He was probably equally responsible for the second interception he threw. When he was finally given a chance to throw down field (and had time to do so), the passes were not accurate at all and he threw about half of them out-of-bounds.
6) I thought Tirico, Jaworski, and Gruden did a good job tonight. This is a hard kind of game to announce and they kept my attention. Once the game got to 16-0 and they started talking about things not directly related to the action on the field, most of the topics related in some way to either the Browns or Ravens history. When that wasn't the case, it was information about Jaws or Gruden growing up or playing college ball in Ohio. There was moment of fawning over the greatness that is LeBron James. The only other topic that came up that I recall was a discussion of Belichick's 4th down decision last night and that was done rationally. At no time during any of these "digressions" did they miss a play on the field. Tirico's play-by-play remained at a high level throughout. The only annoyance is they couldn't find more creative ways to say the Browns sucked, but that was probably beyond the abilities of any announcing crew. This might very well have been their best performance as an announcing team all season, and I've watched every minute of every Monday night game.
7) The Cleveland fans were reportedly going to protest the badness of their team by staying in the concourses during the first quarter. Apparently the Browns' owner convinced them not to do that. I was a little disappointed it didn't happen.
8) A couple of fun signs I saw (and remember):
- At least one team in Ohio can beat Pittsburgh. WHO DEY!
- Rebuilding since 1964.

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