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Old 01-14-2013, 10:47 AM   #76
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I thought that it was the wrong call. You go for the win instead of playing not to lose.

You don’t bring in a HOF QB and pay him $20 million to hand off to the 3rd string running back at the most critical point in the game. You let your best player make a play to end the game.
You also have to look at the way the game had shaped up. They were not getting pressure on Flacco and he’d beaten them deep a couple of times already, and the officiating was not helping you out at all. Of course they were going to throw one up – especially with the potential for PI call. You don’t let it go to that, you go for the win when you have the ball.

You also don’t take a knee with 30 seconds left and 2 time outs. The 3rd and 7 is at least debatable. This is unforgiveable.

The minute they ran the ball on 3rd and 7 I had a very bad feeling they would lose. You can’t keep giving a veteran playoff team chance after chance to beat you.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:58 AM   #77
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There was all kinds of options on that 3rd and 7. Manning didnt have to throw it if no one was open. Slide or fall down and the clock still runs. At least it would've been a TRY. Don't throw into a tight window but at least see if a route was open. If not drop to the ground and let the clock roll. It was a terrible punt to make things even worse.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:01 AM   #78
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IMHO, the worst running plays were handing the ball off to Hillman on 2nd or 3rd and inches and still not getting the first down.

how about a QB sneak? Anyone think of that option?
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:06 AM   #79
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As far as the kneel down Fox just said he would do it again 10 out of 10 times.
So forgot about him ever changing.

He also said they were "punch drunk" from the big play given up and he felt they needed to "get out of the round"

News conference here: http://www.1043thefan.com/home.aspx

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Old 01-14-2013, 11:06 AM   #80
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IMHO, the worst running plays were handing the ball off to Hillman on 2nd or 3rd and inches and still not getting the first down.

how about a QB sneak? Anyone think of that option?
Or how about Hillman on the edge?

Let's try to run right at Cody and Ngata!

Creativity was sorely lacking in those situations.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:11 AM   #81
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Why is it on the OM when someone doesn't agree with your point they are a "retard" or "retarded"? Simple minds resort to that mindset when their arguement is weak
Logic. Get some.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:14 AM   #82
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I thought that it was the wrong call. You go for the win instead of playing not to lose.
They went with the option that gave them a 97% chance of winning the game. By definition, that IS going for the win.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:19 AM   #83
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They went with the option that gave them a 97% chance of winning the game. By definition, that IS going for the win.
Exactly. I'm surprised people are upset about this. When they went to the commercial for the 2 minute warning I just assumed we would run and take the clock down to a minute. Didn't even consider passing. An incomplete pass would have been just like Marion Barber running out of bounds last year.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:22 AM   #84
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They went with the option that gave them a 97% chance of winning the game. By definition, that IS going for the win.
Okay. I'll change the way I phrase it - you go for the jugular.

I think you know what I meant though. I think when you start to play percentages there, you are no longer playing for the win...you are playing the odds to not lose.

The game ends with a 1st down. Period.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:23 AM   #85
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As far as the kneel down Fox just said he would do it again 10 out of 10 times.
So forgot about him ever changing.

He also said they were "punch drunk" from the big play given up and he felt they needed to "get out of the round"

News conference here: http://www.1043thefan.com/home.aspx

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This is what I pretty much thought, that is, this is what I speculated the logic to be. The Broncos have been a second half team all year, they almost always played better in the second half and this was the logic behind the knee down, get into the lockroom and make adjustments.

That being said, with 30 seconds and 2 time outs and Peyton Manning, I try to get some points.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:27 AM   #86
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This is what I pretty much thought, that is, this is what I speculated the logic to be. The Broncos have been a second half team all year, they almost always played better in the second half and this was the logic behind the knee down, get into the lockroom and make adjustments.

That being said, with 30 seconds and 2 time outs and Peyton Manning, I try to get some points.
I'm somewhat okay with not going for it at the end of the half. The old "go into the locker room with the lead". But not going for it tied at the end of regulation? Stupid.

Edit: just remembered it was tied at the half...

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Old 01-14-2013, 11:29 AM   #87
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I think you know what I meant though. I think when you start to play percentages there, you are no longer playing for the win...you are playing the odds to not lose.
Make no mistake. Every coach in the NFL plays the percentages on every single snap in every single game before they call a play.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:33 AM   #88
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Make no mistake. Every coach in the NFL plays the percentages on every single snap in every single game before they call a play.
Like Sean Payton when he did the onside kick during the SB? What were the odds on that one? He didn't play the odds, he played for the win and got it.

You and I will just disagree with this. I see the logic in running off the clock...but in the context of the game, it was a mistake to give the ball back.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:33 AM   #89
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Agree with this thread. Now where is the thread about the 30 second kneel down with 2 timeouts left and game is tied? THAT was the worst ****ing call of the day, not the 3rd down run.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:38 AM   #90
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Agree with this thread. Now where is the thread about the 30 second kneel down with 2 timeouts left and game is tied? THAT was the worst ****ing call of the day, not the 3rd down run.
I don't think you're going to find anybody to take the "pro" position in that debate.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:44 AM   #91
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They went with the option that gave them a 97% chance of winning the game. By definition, that IS going for the win.
99% when it was 3rd and 3 from the 30 yard line with 40 seconds left.
I agreed with the call at the time sitting in the stadium

General comment:

IMO, You don't change your coaching style once you get to the playoffs. If you want a guy that goes for it then you need a different guy to start the season with

What are the odds Denver makes a 3rd and 7? 99% no way. Denver was 7 for 17 in 3rd down so you are looking at 40%
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:54 AM   #92
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"In a tie game, the Broncos started their final drive on their own 20 with 0:31 seconds remaining and two timeouts in hand. John Fox says, "Let's take it to overtime" and has potentially the greatest quarterback ever kneel down instead of trying for the game-winning field goal. That wasn't the first time the Broncos made this mistake. In fact, they made an eerily similar gaffe at the end of the first half. After missing a field goal and allowing a long Torrey Smith touchdown, the Broncos received the ball at the 20 with 0:36 seconds left and three timeouts. John Fox ran the ball one time and headed to the locker room. The only real explanation is that Fox believes momentum has predictive power. His thought process was probably that after two huge plays from Baltimore, the only thing that could come from an attempted 30-second drive is a game-changing mistake.


Let's look at the facts. The Broncos have Peyton Manning at the helm. They are playing at Mile High which adds about 5-yards to field goal range. The Broncos have 2+ timeouts in both situations. At the end of regulation, if it's tied, you go to overtime where there is a 50% chance of winning the game. According to Brian's win probability calculator, the initial win probability of the final drive was 54% (if you include the fact that it was played at Mile High).

I pulled all the drives that started between 20 and 40 seconds left in the game with 2+ timeouts, in a 3-point to 0-point deficit range (those ranges where a field goal would be the primary goal of the offense) since 2000 where the offense did not just kneel or run the ball into the end of the game. It was also limited to those drives that started inside a team's own 30-yard line. I found 21 such drives, here were the results:

Attachment 32000

First thing to note is that 21 is not a huge sample size, but at least it provides a baseline for an analysis of the Broncos decision. Out of the 21 drives, seven resulted in a field goal attempt and only one of those was from over 60 yards. One drive resulted in a huge mistake and ultimate loss (Donovan McNabb threw an interception in a tie game which ultimately resulted in a Redskins game-winning field goal). For those 16 drives with no score (including the field goal misses), there is no difference to just kneeling down. In other words, there is no downside, both result in a 50% chance of winning the game as it goes to overtime.

I could have pulled similar situations at the end of the first half, which would have increased the sample size and allowed us a better look at the first half decision to just run the ball, but I wanted to focus especially on the end-of-game scenario where score was the primary factor. These results would suggest that if a team decided to go for the win, it would result in about a 57% chance of winning the game. Add Peyton Manning into the mix and that number certainly increases.

Last game of the season, can't hold anything back.

Oh, and the Atlanta Falcons started their final drive at the 28-yard line with 31 seconds left and two timeouts, and they kicked a go-ahead game-winning field goal (essentially the identical situation). C'mon, John.

http://www.advancednflstats.com/2013...al-drives.html



Fox Gets Conservative

Did the Denver coach’s risk-averse approach cost the Broncos a playoff victory?


By Brian Burke|Posted Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, at 10:21 PM ET


Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos reacts against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.

Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images.


For the second year in a row, Slate and Deadspin are teaming up for a season-long NFL roundtable. Check back here each week as a rotating cast of football watchers discusses the weekend's key plays, coaching decisions, and traumatic brain injuries. And click here to play the latest episode of Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and Listen.

NFL coaches will often refer to “playing the percentages.” But if there's one thing I've learned by studying strategic decisions, it's that coaches don't have a firm grasp of those percentages. And when anyone is uncertain of the odds, he'll fall back on the sure thing. That was the case with Broncos coach John Fox, who opted for the conservative approach at almost every opportunity in Saturday’s playoff game against the Ravens. Even so, Fox is getting more criticism than he deserves. The Denver coach isn’t the reason the Broncos lost.

Fox’s first conservative decision came after a Baltimore touchdown tied the game at 21 near the end of the first half. Denver had a first-and-10 at its own 20 with 36 seconds left on the clock and all three timeouts—five more seconds and one more timeout than the Falcons had when they drove for the winning field goal on Sunday. Even so, the Broncos elected to call a throwaway run play and head for the locker room. In recent league history (since 2000), teams in that situation score slightly more than 10 percent of the time, the vast majority being field goals. Turnovers are definitely a risk, and they occur about 8 percent of the time on half-ending drives. But the bulk of those turnovers are on Hail Mary-type passes, which virtually never result in an opponent being able to score. Taken all together, the numbers say the scoring expectation was positive for Denver by a factor of 3-to-1. That's analytics-speak for, yeah, they should have tried to score there.

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Fox’s next risk-averse decision came late in the fourth quarter. With the Broncos up 35-28, the Denver coach chose to run the ball five straight times. Fox's strategy succeeded in gaining one first down and forcing the Ravens to burn their last two timeouts. That left Denver with a third-and-7 at its own 47. Convert there and the game is over. Fox, though, decided to run rather than let Peyton Manning put the ball in the air. Ronnie Hillman was held to no gain, and the Broncos punted with 1:15 left on the clock.

Calling this running play was the safe, “sure thing” for the Broncos. Fox virtually ensured that he’d burn an additional 40 seconds of time and pin Baltimore deep in its own territory with about 70 seconds to play. There was also a slim chance that Denver could have converted with the run, winning the game outright. A pass would have been a gamble. A successful conversion would sew up the win, but an incomplete pass would have given Baltimore the ball with about 1:49 left. Passing also brings an extra risk of a turnover, either via an interception or a sack and a fumble.

For teams that need a touchdown to survive, time makes a big difference. With 1:09 to play, a team typically has a 13 percent chance of scoring a touchdown. With 1:49 to go, they have around a 26 percent chance. The choice, then, is between conceding Baltimore the 13 percent shot or gambling that you’ll either win the game outright or give Baltimore a 26 percent chance to win. League-wide, third-and-7 situations are converted 42 percent of the time. That means if Denver drops back to pass, Baltimore’s chance of winning is (1 - 0.42) * 0.26 = 0.15 = 15 percent. According to the math, then, Fox made the right call: Punting was, just barely, the right probabilistic call.

Conservative call no. 3 came at the end of regulation, after Jacoby Jones got past Denver safety Rahim Moore to tie the game with his 70-yard touchdown catch. With 31 seconds to play and 2 timeouts, Fox repeated his decision from the end of the first half, electing to take a knee at his own 20 rather than let Peyton Manning try to maneuver into position for a game-winning field goal. It's undeniably risky, but the odds are strongly in the offense's favor there. Yes, the chances of scoring to win in regulation are small, but they significantly exceed the probability of a meaningful turnover.

But in Fox’s defense, the Broncos and Ravens weren’t playing in the Georgia Dome. The wind was in Denver’s face on the final drive of each half—kickoffs in that direction were regularly getting returned, while kickoffs the opposite way were sailing out of the end zone. Field-goal kickers also get less accurate in cold weather, meaning the Broncos would’ve had to advance a long way down the field given the single-digit temperatures.

There was also the matter of Peyton Manning's arm. For whatever reason—possibly the cold weather having some effect on his grip—Manning did not appear to have the velocity needed for deep passes. Only 2 of his 43 attempts went more than 15 yards downfield. (Quarterbacks typically throw about 20 percent of their passes deep downfield, and Manning averaged 19 percent in the regular season.) So even if the probabilities suggest that Denver should’ve tried to score, you can understand why, given all these factors, Fox sat on the ball.

The coach’s final conservative decision was a bit more under the radar. In overtime, the Broncos faced a fourth-and-1 from their own 39, and Fox should have gone for the first down. Intuitively it might seem suicidal to go for it in your own territory in overtime, but the rules of sudden death make possession far more valuable than field position. Punting was the sure-thing option, virtually guaranteeing the Ravens get the ball near their own 20. Going for it is obviously an enormous gamble, but believe it or not, the odds favor it. Manning's short game was working well. He completed 68 percent of his passes on the year and 65 percent on Saturday. Fourth-and-1 situations are converted about 72 percent of the time, and given Manning's accuracy a quick pass would have been a high probability bet. The math works out so that, based on general averages, the punt would have given Denver a 49 percent chance of winning, but going for it would have worked out to a 53 percent chance.

But again, Fox didn’t necessarily do his team a disservice here. The Broncos were heavy favorites, having beaten the Ravens 34-17 in Baltimore just a few weeks earlier. The right overall approach for Denver was a “low-variance” strategy, relying on the team's overall superiority to methodically come out on top. The better team should avoid high-leverage situations that put the game at the mercy of a few big plays. Unfortunately for John Fox, Baltimore succeeded by pursuing a high-variance strategy. They went for the big play time after time, getting touchdown passes of 59, 32, and 70 yards. That’s exactly what a big underdog needs to do to win.

Fox's conservatism may have cost his team slightly, but he didn’t decide the outcome of the game. The effect of these four calls was swamped by the impact of a few big plays, any one of which would have given Denver the win had it turned out differently.




Brian Burke is a former Navy fighter pilot and the founder of the website Advanced NFL Stats. He is a regular contributor at the New York Times' Fifth Down and the Washington Post's The Insider.

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Old 01-14-2013, 11:54 AM   #93
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It was the right call. Specially with a coach as Fox. We lost the game not on 1 play. We screwed up a lot. All over. It was a team loss. Only Holiday and Wood came to play, and unfortunately as is the routine, the QB get most of the blame.

On a side note, I do think that with another type of coach, say Shanny,... I would bet the mortage we go for it.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:59 AM   #94
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I would also add that Fox didn't have his #1 and #2 RBs. That, along with the weather, would also factor into the decisions.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:00 PM   #95
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If you attempt to pass the ball and go for getting the first down and then getting it then your opponent has a 0% chance of winning. Going for the first down than giving your opponent a chance at coming back is always the best option. Therefore, you and John Fox fail. End of the ****ing story.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:04 PM   #96
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It was the right call. Specially with a coach as Fox. We lost the game not on 1 play. We screwed up a lot. All over. It was a team loss. Only Holiday and Wood came to play, and unfortunately as is the routine, the QB get most of the blame.

On a side note, I do think that with another type of coach, say Shanny,... I would bet the mortage we go for it.
OT should not have existed.

The entire offense put together a game winning 10 play 88 yard drive late in the 4th. Adams broke up a 4th down pass to seal it. Had this been a win everyone would be calling that the drive of 2000s. Moore stops that reception and its a win. Fox put Moore in that position by giving ravens an opportunity with the conservative BS.

Bottom line is with 2 minutes in the game up a TD with the ball and they flat out choked. I don't want an HC that is scared or doesn't trust his offense. His reasoning and comments are baffling to me.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:06 PM   #97
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If you attempt to pass the ball and go for getting the first down and then getting it then your opponent has a 0% chance of winning.
If you attempt to run the ball and go for getting the first down and then getting it, then your opponent has a 0% chance of winning.

Two can play that game.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:07 PM   #98
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I would also add that Fox didn't have his #1 and #2 RBs. That, along with the weather, would also factor into the decisions.
So no 1 or 2 RB, he decides to put the fate of the game in the RBs hands? No 1 or 2 I'm trying to get that 1st down another way. Who says manning needs to throw an incomplete? He could've just fallen to the ground if no one is open.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:08 PM   #99
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Who says manning needs to throw an incomplete? He could've just fallen to the ground if no one is open.
Except every time he got touched on Saturday, he seemed to fumble the ball.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:08 PM   #100
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If you attempt to run the ball and go for getting the first down and then getting it, then your opponent has a 0% chance of winning.

Two can play that game.
How many 3rd and 7s are converted by running the ball in the NFL? How many are converted by passing? Ravens were looking run the entire drive.

The priority of that run play was to take time off the clock. It wasn't to get the 1st down.

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