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  1. Looking back on this play call, do people still think this was a good move? I was cursing at the TV when we decided to go for it, and ecstatic when we made it. Everyone seemed to agree at the time that it was a great, gutsy call by our Coach. However, I never really saw it that way, but I guess I was too pumped up about the win to really get too critical. Now that the sweet warm feeling of victory has faded however, I think it's time to go back to this play and define it for what it truly was... A horrible call at the end of the game by Dan Quinn. To do this let's go back and look at the context of the decision and it's statistical implications. This is going to be a long post but bear with me: The Context: After inexplicably being unable to run down the clock with the ball on the Carolina 40 yard line and 1:40 seconds left in the game; it's fourth down and everyone including the in game commentators are stunned when instead of punting and forcing Carolina to march 90 yards with no timeouts for a TD, Shayne Graham, a 38 kicker who had recently been signed as a FA, goes in the game to attempt a career long FG. The kick was good, and Atlanta stops Carolina in their final drive to win the game. Dan Quinn is a hero... Or is he really? Let's look at the statistical implications of this decision. Breaking down the call: I am going to be using the statistics I found in Advanced Football Analytics regarding the odds of scoring a TD with under two minutes left. http://archive.advancedfootballanalytics.com/2009/11/two-minute-drill.html First let's look at our odds of winning if we had decided to punt. According to their graph; The odds of scoring a TD with under two minutes left from the 10 yard line (likely field position after Bosher punt) are at around 10-15%. So let's assume we had punted there and that it wasn't blocked (which has only happened once in 60 attempts this season) we are looking at around an 85% chance of winning the ball game. These are great odds. Now let's look at how the made FG impacted our chances of winning: Well. Instead of having to drive 90 yards for a win, now Carolina must first drive 80 yards to tie the game, then win it in overtime. The first event has a 20% of happening now (up from 10% in the previous scenario), However now Carolina is relying on another event altogether which is winning in overtime. To calculate the aggregate odds of both of these events occurring let's assume what the odds would be of Carolina winning in OT once they had tied it. Let's be kind here and give them a 40% of winning had the game gone to overtime. Considering this we can calculate the aggregate odds of a Carolina win after the FG make as (20% x 40%) = 8%. Which means the decision to Kick netted the team, at the very most, an extra 2-7% chance of winning the game. But what if we had missed? We are looking at Carolina possession from our 40 yard line now, which gives them a 30% of winning the game. This is by far Carolina's best case scenario, as the swing in probability from punting to missing the FG, is a whopping 20% (10%-30%). To summarize: By Kicking instead of punting Dan Quinn is risking a 20% swing in odds for a 2-7% advantage. Not only that but Dan is putting that crucial 20% swing on the shoulders of a player who had never made a FG from that distance in his entire 15 year career! This is not good a good decision. In fact it’s downright terrible. This decision was only marginally better than the one to Kick a FG on fourth and goal in San Fran. Anyway, Just felt it was important to point out that in just 16 games we have had two of the worst late game decisions I have ever witnessed by a Falcons coach. Considering the main reason that we fired Mike Smith to begin with was this very same issue, to me this has been the single most disappointing facet of the Dan Quinn era so far, and it confuses me why he gets a free pass from people on this.
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