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  #151  
Old 01-13-2019, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by storyteller0910 View Post
To whoever it was wondering upthread why the Eagles are committed to Carson Wentz over Nick Foles for the long-term: that's why.
I don't get it. Foles didn't cost them the game; butter-fingered receivers did.
  #152  
Old 01-13-2019, 08:20 PM
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And by extension, no team that played Wildcard Weekend is playing in the Conference Championships.
That bye week really helps.
  #153  
Old 01-13-2019, 10:39 PM
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I don't get it. Foles didn't cost them the game; butter-fingered receivers did.
Foles threw for 201 yards, 1 td, and 2 interceptions. Not a great showing. After a very good first quarter, he was just plain bad. He certainly didnt cost them the game, but he also had many opportunities to win it for them and failed.

Foles was a great story, was a ton of fun, and played very well at times. Enjoy that part. But he's pretty much just an average NFL QB who played great for a little while at the right time. Maybe he can parlay that into a huge contract and a secure starting gig like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco, two other average NFL QB's who had very brief bouts of greatness at the right time.
  #154  
Old 01-14-2019, 02:48 AM
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Foles threw for 201 yards, 1 td, and 2 interceptions. Not a great showing. After a very good first quarter, he was just plain bad. He certainly didnt cost them the game, but he also had many opportunities to win it for them and failed.

Foles was a great story, was a ton of fun, and played very well at times. Enjoy that part. But he's pretty much just an average NFL QB who played great for a little while at the right time. Maybe he can parlay that into a huge contract and a secure starting gig like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco, two other average NFL QB's who had very brief bouts of greatness at the right time.
Lol. Foles had his team driving in the last two minutes. Playing in one of the toughest road stadiums in football. The Eagle running game was anemic. He was far and away the best of the losing QBs this weekend.
  #155  
Old 01-14-2019, 06:19 AM
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Lol. Foles had his team driving in the last two minutes. Playing in one of the toughest road stadiums in football. The Eagle running game was anemic. He was far and away the best of the losing QBs this weekend.
Now you're just being silly. Phillip Rivers threw for 130 more yards, 2 more TDs, and 1 fewer interception and lost (thanks to a defense that gave up almost 500 yards of total offense). Dak Prescott threw for 60 more yards, same td's and no interceptions, which was a pedestrian showing, but still much more efficient than Foles. And Luck was about the same without the interceptions.

Foles' performance yesterday was like his career. A short bout of greatness (the first quarter), but mostly just pedestrian. He missed a bunch of throws, couldnt move the ball, and needed a defense playing prevent to find success late.

Last edited by Hamlet; 01-14-2019 at 06:20 AM.
  #156  
Old 01-14-2019, 07:29 AM
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I don't want to take the role of Guy Who Dumps on Nick Foles; he seems like a cool dude, and his story is a great story. He does some good things, he does some bad things, and on a good team with a good defense, he can win games... but he's not a guy who makes a fundamental difference.

The Eagles scored 14 points against the Saints yesterday (who allowed an average of 22 points per game during the season), and 16 against the Bears last weekend (who allowed an average of 18 points per game during the season). Allowing for the fact that the Eagles were on the road for both games, this is the Platonic ideal of league-average quarterback play. And this is not an insult - there is genuine value in a league-average quarterback. I know because my own team won two Super Bowls with a (slightly better than) league-average quarterback, and they would not have won those Super Bowls with a worse one.

But the Eagles believe Carson Wentz can be something bigger than a guy who gives you a chance every week - they believe he could be an actually good quarterback, one who is the "reason they won" rather than "not the reason they lost."
  #157  
Old 01-14-2019, 08:23 AM
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I watched Rivers throw a number of good passes that were dropped also. He and Foles both had that problem. The difference is that Rivers still was more productive because he’s actually a better than average passer (much better than average this year, this year we was very good).
  #158  
Old 01-14-2019, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by storyteller0910 View Post
But the Eagles believe Carson Wentz can be something bigger than a guy who gives you a chance every week - they believe he could be an actually good quarterback, one who is the "reason they won" rather than "not the reason they lost."
At some point they're going to have to wonder if Wentz can stay on the field consistently enough to be That Quarterback, though. Maybe they need somebody dependable instead.
  #159  
Old 01-14-2019, 09:29 AM
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All home teams won this weekend.
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And by extension, no team that played Wildcard Weekend is playing in the Conference Championships.
I was wondering when was the last time this happened. Turns out it was only 3 years ago, in January of 2016, following the 2015 season. In the conference championship games, both the #1 seeds defeated the #2 seeds.

In the AFC, Denver defeated New England, while in the NFC, Carolina defeated Arizona. I had totally forgotten that the Cardinals were 13-3 just 3 years ago.
  #160  
Old 01-14-2019, 10:42 AM
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Its fucking exhausting listening to Aikman and Buck talk about Cole Beasley and his injury.
I find it exhausting that Aikman gets to show his bias for Dallas every time he calls one of their games.
  #161  
Old 01-14-2019, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by storyteller0910 View Post
Nick Foles [...] can win games... but he's not a guy who makes a fundamental difference.
Agreed. He's a modern day Jeff Hostetler.

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[his performance was] the Platonic ideal of league-average quarterback play. And this is not an insult - there is genuine value in a league-average quarterback. I know because my own team won two Super Bowls with a (slightly better than) league-average quarterback, and they would not have won those Super Bowls with a worse one.
Three. Don't forget Hostetler!

And maybe even four; the Phil Simms era was before my time. He played out of his mind in the Superbowl, but other than the 1986 postseason was Simms much better than league average?

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 01-14-2019 at 10:54 AM.
  #162  
Old 01-14-2019, 11:34 AM
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And maybe even four; the Phil Simms era was before my time. He played out of his mind in the Superbowl, but other than the 1986 postseason was Simms much better than league average?
He was probably in the better half of starting QBs for his era, but probably not a lot better than that. He only made the Pro Bowl twice (and one of those was in his final season). I remember when he was drafted, and Giants fans had huge expectations for him (he was the #7 overall pick). He was a starter for much of his rookie year (which was rare for QBs in that era); he was pretty mediocre early in his career, which likely doesn't help his overall stats, either.

Pro Football Reference shows that the other QBs whose careers his most resembles are Jim Plunkett, Joe Flacco, Jim Everett, Roman Gabriel, Jim Hart, and Jay Cutler. A bunch of above-average quarterbacks, but not a Hall of Famer in the bunch.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-14-2019 at 11:34 AM.
  #163  
Old 01-14-2019, 11:50 AM
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I find it exhausting that Aikman gets to show his bias for Dallas every time he calls one of their games.
It's amazing, isn't it? Romo is by far the better broadcaster, if you have to have an ex-Cowboy.
  #164  
Old 01-14-2019, 12:24 PM
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Don't ask me to speak objectively about Phil Simms. I was nine years old in 1986. I had a VHS tape that went through the '86 season game-by-game that I watched so many times that the tape eventually wore out and broke. My lizard brain has one and only one important association for Simms, and it's this:

https://www.giants.com/video/film-va...nd-17-14850922

Realistically? He was better than Hostetler, better certainly than Nick Foles. He was probably not as good as Eli Manning and never more than the 9th or 10th best QB in the league. But he's still my favorite quarterback of all time.

(And by the way, one thing I will say about Phil is that he never once had a truly excellent (let alone great) wide receiver out there. He got two good years out of Mark Bavaro before Bavaro's body broke down and other than that, it was dudes like Bobby Johnson and Lionel Manuel and Stephen Baker).
  #165  
Old 01-14-2019, 12:35 PM
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In the AFC, Denver defeated New England, while in the NFC, Carolina defeated Arizona. I had totally forgotten that the Cardinals were 13-3 just 3 years ago.
The Cardinals were good for a few years, from 2013 (3rd place in the NFC West but still 10-6, wow the division used to be strong!) to 2016 (they were divisional champions that year and made it to the NFC Championship as you said). They started to fall apart in 2017 (had a losing record) and this year they were statistically the worst team in the NFL. Itís crazy how fast a team can fall apart.
  #166  
Old 01-14-2019, 12:38 PM
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It's amazing, isn't it? Romo is by far the better broadcaster, if you have to have an ex-Cowboy.
Donít forget Jason Witten!

...Scratch that, letís forget Jason Witten.
  #167  
Old 01-14-2019, 02:12 PM
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My favorite ex-Cowboys announcer is Daryl "Moose" Johnston, and by a pretty significant margin over Aikman and Romo.
  #168  
Old 01-14-2019, 05:08 PM
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Now you're just being silly. Phillip Rivers threw for 130 more yards, 2 more TDs, and 1 fewer interception and lost (thanks to a defense that gave up almost 500 yards of total offense). Dak Prescott threw for 60 more yards, same td's and no interceptions, which was a pedestrian showing, but still much more efficient than Foles. And Luck was about the same without the interceptions.

Foles' performance yesterday was like his career. A short bout of greatness (the first quarter), but mostly just pedestrian. He missed a bunch of throws, couldnt move the ball, and needed a defense playing prevent to find success late.
There are some things that don't show up in the stat sheet. You can look at a QB and say he threw 1 TD and two INTs but that doesn't tell the story. It's not just whether Foles threw INTs, but when he threw them. And we all agree that the last INT wasn't really on Foles at all. He was driving his team down the field. Also, throwing down field into coverage, showing that willingness to be fearless and aggressive led to a pass interference penalty. Now that's something that's not going to impress most people, but his situational football, which is magnified in the playoffs, becomes a more important element of his overall performance.

I think the difference between Foles and Wentz is that, when he's feeling well mentally and physically, a coaching staff can do more with Wentz than they can with Foles. Wentz is probably a better true pocket passer than Foles.
  #169  
Old 01-14-2019, 08:14 PM
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There are some things that don't show up in the stat sheet. You can look at a QB and say he threw 1 TD and two INTs but that doesn't tell the story. It's not just whether Foles threw INTs, but when he threw them.
Like if he threw one that ended the game?

I know that's not fair, that second int wasn't his fault. But he threw one while the Eagles were driving in the second quarter. That interception led to the first points the Saints scored and changed the momentum of the game. Which should emphasize how amorphous discussing shit like "when he threw them" is.

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Originally Posted by asahi
He was driving his team down the field.
That one drive against a prevent defense before the Eagles got to the red zone? Sure. They were driving the ball. Big whoop.

What about the 6 prior Eagles drives before that? Interception. Punt. Punt. End of half. Punt. Punt. Punt. The only reason that last drive could have mattered was because the Eagles D held and the Saints missed a field goal try.

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Originally Posted by asahi
Also, throwing down field into coverage, showing that willingness to be fearless and aggressive led to a pass interference penalty. Now that's something that's not going to impress most people, but his situational football, which is magnified in the playoffs, becomes a more important element of his overall performance.
This just reeks of pseudo-football crap. Giving credit to a QB for a DB being called for a ticky tack DPI? You really got to stretch for that. And Foles averaged 4.0 yards per attempt in quarters 2-4, which is really poor.

I like Nick Foles. He had a great run last year and is seemingly fun to root for. But the excuses that get made and the excitement that he engenders seems to blind people to his actual play. It's like trying to talk about what a shitty NFL QB Tim Tebow was.

Last edited by Hamlet; 01-14-2019 at 08:16 PM.
  #170  
Old 01-14-2019, 09:41 PM
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Like if he threw one that ended the game?

I know that's not fair, that second int wasn't his fault. But he threw one while the Eagles were driving in the second quarter. That interception led to the first points the Saints scored and changed the momentum of the game. Which should emphasize how amorphous discussing shit like "when he threw them" is.

That one drive against a prevent defense before the Eagles got to the red zone? Sure. They were driving the ball. Big whoop.

What about the 6 prior Eagles drives before that? Interception. Punt. Punt. End of half. Punt. Punt. Punt. The only reason that last drive could have mattered was because the Eagles D held and the Saints missed a field goal try.

This just reeks of pseudo-football crap. Giving credit to a QB for a DB being called for a ticky tack DPI? You really got to stretch for that. And Foles averaged 4.0 yards per attempt in quarters 2-4, which is really poor.

I like Nick Foles. He had a great run last year and is seemingly fun to root for. But the excuses that get made and the excitement that he engenders seems to blind people to his actual play. It's like trying to talk about what a shitty NFL QB Tim Tebow was.
Or discuss rationally Colin Kaepernick.
  #171  
Old 01-14-2019, 09:47 PM
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I was impressed with the Chargers last game, sadly, it didn't turn out the way I wished
  #172  
Old 01-15-2019, 12:17 AM
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There are some things that don't show up in the stat sheet. You can look at a QB and say he threw 1 TD and two INTs but that doesn't tell the story. It's not just whether Foles threw INTs, but when he threw them. And we all agree that the last INT wasn't really on Foles at all. He was driving his team down the field. Also, throwing down field into coverage, showing that willingness to be fearless and aggressive led to a pass interference penalty. Now that's something that's not going to impress most people, but his situational football, which is magnified in the playoffs, becomes a more important element of his overall performance.

I think the difference between Foles and Wentz is that, when he's feeling well mentally and physically, a coaching staff can do more with Wentz than they can with Foles. Wentz is probably a better true pocket passer than Foles.
I'm with you here...as a Raider fan. Foles has been very good when asked to come off the bench in high pressure situations.
  #173  
Old 01-15-2019, 06:21 AM
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In the Cowboys @ Rams game, the Cowboys were down by 15 when they scored a touchdown, pulling within 9 before the conversion attempt.

I've always held firm that the smart play in that kind of situation is to kick the PAT to pull within one score, which is exactly what they did and IIRC the commentators didn't even mention it, or at least discuss it much.

Years ago I remember getting into a spirited debate here on the dope about whether you should go for 1 or 2 in this kind of situation. Several people were adamant that you should go for 2, which on its face seemed absurd to me. Their reasoning was that "if you miss it and are still down by 9, at least you know how many more scores you need." As if recovering multiple onside kicks was a reasonable proposition. Those people were totally insane, IMO.

Anyway, since that game situation has come up in a playoff game, would anyone like to argue for the "go for 2 first" strategy?

(I think VarlosZ may have been the one leading that argument, and he doesn't post here anymore, but I'm almost positive he wasn't the only one. I remember thinking that the board had gone insane, as opposed to just one guy.)
  #174  
Old 01-15-2019, 06:56 AM
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What was the timing on that? Was their only chance to score, onside kick, score, with one of those scores needing to be a 2 point conversion?

Then going for 2 at first is fine, probably slightly advantageous. The game is over when you miss your two point conversion. Delaying that potential failure gives you the illusion that you were closer to winning (we weren't out of the game until the last minute!) but the end result is the same - you need one conversion, and if you miss it, game is over either way. So if you take it early, and miss, well, then the game is over and you've got a few more minutes left in the game. That feels bad. Because you want to give your fans hope until the very end. But that's just incorrect intuition on the part of the viewer. Either way, the two point conversion has to be made on one of the touchdowns, and if it fails on either one, you lose. It doesn't matter if you lose with 3 minutes left or 30 seconds left.

So why do it first? Two reasons. One is that getting it gives you the option to go for the game win at the end (by attempting a second 2 point conversion) instead of the tie, depending on how you feel about how gassed their defense is vs how effective your offense is being. And two, in the event of a penalty on the two point conversion attempt, like a false start, then you can line back up for an extra point and try the 2 point attempt on the second score, instead of trying to convert 2 points from 7 yards out.

I don't know the specifics of what you're referring to in a previous thread, but I'm basically willing to say Varlos was right, whatever he said. I've never known him to be wrong in matters of strategy.

Last edited by SenorBeef; 01-15-2019 at 07:01 AM.
  #175  
Old 01-15-2019, 08:32 AM
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He was (and you are) wrong in terms of strategy in that situation. Did you watch Cowboys/Seahawks? Did you think the Cowboys made a mistake by going for 1 after their last TD?

The main problem with your analysis is the difficulty of the next score. If you miss the 2, you now need 2 scores instead of 1. That means your next drive will be much more desperate and less likely to produce a score than if you were only down by 8 and could focus all your effort on a single drive.

If you need 2 onside kicks, the game is already lost.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 01-15-2019 at 08:34 AM.
  #176  
Old 01-15-2019, 08:41 AM
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If you need 2 onside kicks, the game is already lost.
This year itís lost if you need one. The new rules make it so unlikely to succeed they might as well eliminate the play from the rules.
  #177  
Old 01-15-2019, 09:03 AM
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This year it’s lost if you need one. The new rules make it so unlikely to succeed they might as well eliminate the play from the rules.
Indeed. IIRC, in recent years, the conversion rate on onside kicks had been something around 20%. This season, it was down to 8%. I suspect that there'll be yet more tweaks to the kickoff rules for next season, as they likely realize that that's just too low of a percentage.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-15-2019 at 09:03 AM.
  #178  
Old 01-15-2019, 09:26 AM
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I think you're inventing a win condition that isn't plausible and then assigning it to the other side of the argument. I'm not talking about recovering two onside kicks. I'm already declaring that a loss. Going for the 2 pointer early is still the generally correct strategy disregarding that.

Looking at the stats on the Cowboys/Rams game, the Cowboys scored their last TD with 2:17 on the clock. I don't know what the timeout situation is, but I'm assuming for simplicity's sake that if the Rams get the ball back the game is over.

So the Cowboys just scored a TD and are down by 9. They have to make a 2 point conversion either now, or after their next touchdown, in order to tie the game.

If they go for the 2 point conversion after the first TD and fail, the game is practically over, and they lose. Under a 1% chance of winning at that point.

If they go for the PAT, and then execute the two point conversion on the second TD and fail, the game is over, and they lose.

Either way, if you fail the 2 point conversion, regardless of when you take it, you've lost.

The former scenario has a slightly higher chance of success, simply because you have more information earlier about what you need (and conserve time for a potential third TD) but we're talking about fractions of a percent chances of winning. This is the miniscule chance of the two onside kick recoveries that I'm willing to, declare an almost certain loss. Both scenarios almost always result in a loss. But if there is any advantage to be had, it's by the earlier 2 point attempt. But this is what I dismissed at the top of my post for simplicity's sake. I'm just saying that if there's an advantage to be had here, it's gained by going for 2 early.

So, then, why not take the one that gives you more options? If you go for the 2 point first, you can change your mind and kick a PAT if you get a penalty on the 2 point conversion attempt. Think of it this way: you get a false start on the 2 point attempt the first try. So you change to a XP and put off the 2 point for later, because having to go 7 yards instead of 2 is a bigger difference in win chance than choosing to go for the two early or late. But if you kick the PAT first, and go for the 2 second, and commit a false start, then you have to go for the 7 yard 2 point conversion, you have no choice. This alone I feel should be intuitive and compelling.

Additionally, you will go into the second TD with the ability to tie (XP) or win (2 point) the game, your choice. XP first only allows for a tie.

Or, let me try it another way way. I think this is an impractical argument, because the likelihood of winning in either case is so low, but I'm illustrating it to demonstrate the logic of it.

You have 2:17 on the clock. You just scored a TD. You go for a 2 point conversion. You fail. Now you know you need to get 2 more scores in order to win the game.

Or the second scenario. You went for the PAT. You drive down for another TD. There's, say, 15 seconds left on the clock. You go for the 2 point conversion. You fail. Now you know you need another score - the same knowledge you had in the above example - except now there's 15 seconds on the clock when you found out instead of 2:17, limiting your options.

Again, since both of these cases are a miniscule chance of winning, this is not the basis of my argument. I'm just trying to say that you don't get an advantage by finding out later whether you succeed or fail in the 2 point conversion.

Here's where you may be going wrong. It feels wrong and counterintuitive to you to basically lose the game at 2:17 instead of 0:15. "You gotta give your guys a chance until the end" is the intuitive response. But that's not actually what's really going on here. What's going on is that you will need to attempt a 2 point conversion regardless of whether it comes earlier or later. If you fail either time, you lose the game. So failing at 2:17 is the same thing as failing at 0:15, even if it feels different.

Let's say that going for 2 is a 50/50 chance, a coin flip, for simplicity. If you go for two, you flip the coin. It comes up heads. Great, you completed a necessary step towards winning the game. Or it comes up tails, you lose. But you have to flip that coin at some point, either this TD or the next one.

Waiting to go for 2 on the second attempt is basically flipping the coin and not looking at it until 0:15, when you score that second touchdown. That's when you find out if you got heads or tails. It feels more intuitive to put off knowing whether you've lost or not until the end of the game, but it doesn't actually make any difference. If it was tails, you lose whether you flipped it after the first TD and looked, or waited until the second TD to see what the result was.

The only actual differences work in favor of the earlier 2 point attempt. Being able to change strategies in the event of a penalty is a significant factor. Being able to go for 2 2-point conversions and flat out win the game if the defenses are worn down at that point and you don't want to risk being on defense in overtime.

There's no way in which going for the 2 point attempt second gives you an advantage. It feels more intuitive, because finding out whether you've lost or not comes at the end of the game instead of at 2:17, but it doesn't help your chances to win.

This is sort of like the Monty Hall problem. It's hard to explain the correct answer to someone who isn't seeing it the way you are. Varlos is a poker player, and so am I - you have to be able to understand how to break up strategic decision into their game theory components. It gives you a different perspective on problem solving and how to separate the intuitive from the logical. This is the sort of decision that is simple for a poker player by counterintuitive for most people.
  #179  
Old 01-15-2019, 09:34 AM
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He was (and you are) wrong in terms of strategy in that situation. Did you watch Cowboys/Seahawks? Did you think the Cowboys made a mistake by going for 1 after their last TD?
Down 15 and scoring a TD, going for two is generally correct, although the margin is quite small. It's a pretty minor point, especially considering that coaches won't even go for 2 after having been down 14, which is a much larger mistake. 538 has a pretty good analysis:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features...or-2-for-real/

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The main problem with your analysis is the difficulty of the next score. If you miss the 2, you now need 2 scores instead of 1. That means your next drive will be much more desperate and less likely to produce a score than if you were only down by 8 and could focus all your effort on a single drive.
You're right that if you go for 2 on the first TD, and miss, then your chances of winning are very small. However, if you wait, focus on a single drive down 8, and then miss the 2, then your chance of winning is even smaller; zero, if you've used up the whole clock.
  #180  
Old 01-15-2019, 09:37 AM
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To add one more thing:

Quote:
The main problem with your analysis is the difficulty of the next score. If you miss the 2, you now need 2 scores instead of 1. That means your next drive will be much more desperate and less likely to produce a score than if you were only down by 8 and could focus all your effort on a single drive.
Think about this: what makes that next drive so desperate? Because now you know you need an increasingly improbable series of events to win. You need to preserve as much time as possible to allow this possibility to come to fruition, even if it's like a 0.2% chance. Once you fail the 2 point conversion - in either scenario - your chances of winning become very slim.

But imagine, for a moment, that you knew you'd fail your 2 point conversion. Would you rather know that with 2:17 left to go, down by 9, or with :17 left, down by 2?

Or, just to make the point even more clear, let's imagine you score the second TD as the clock runs out rather than with 17 seconds left.

In the first scenario, you fail the 2 point conversion at 2:17. You know now that you need 3 scores to win. It's desperate, and highly unlikely that you will win. But you conserve as much clock as you can to facilitate this long shot.

In the second scenario, you know it's all going to come down to whether or not your 2 point attempt ties or not. You'll probably actually deliberately run down the clock so that if you do tie the game up, the other team can't score a quick FG on you to win it.

In the first scenario, you find out that you need 3 scores with 2:17 left and can plan around trying to make that longshot. Call it a 0.2% chance of winning.

In the second scenario, you don't find out you need 3 scores until after you make your second score and the clock is at 0:00. The game is over. 0% chance of winning.

Every way you look at it, going for it first gives you better odds or better options than going for it second.
  #181  
Old 01-15-2019, 09:58 AM
Ellis Dee is offline
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Did you watch the Cowboys/Seahawks game? When they lined up to kick the PAT, did you think they were making a strategic mistake?

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Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
Once you fail the 2 point conversion - in either scenario - your chances of winning become very slim.
Agreed. Even further, I'd say your chance of winning becomes effectively 0% if you miss the 2pt regardless when you try for it.

After kicking the PAT, then somehow getting the ball back and driving for a game-tying TD, the defense will be more tired out and possibly easier to score the 2pt against They've just (unsuccessfully) defended two drives in a row with little break in between. Maybe they're a little more demoralized, feeling like overtime is inevitable, so they're a fraction of a second slower on the 2pt attempt as the last play of regulation.

It seems so intuitively obvious to me that the most fundamentally sound strategy is to put off any "make or break" decisions until the last possible moment. Since the 2pt is "make or break," I would always want to delay it until the last possible moment. I would think this would be some kind of law or philosophy in game theory -- even if it were a discredited one --but a quick google hasn't turned anything up.

The closest I could find is the concept of the Last Responsible Moment in software development: A strategy of not making a premature decision but instead delaying commitment and keeping important and irreversible decisions open until the cost of not making a decision becomes greater than the cost of making a decision.

Quote:
But imagine, for a moment, that you knew you'd fail your 2 point conversion. Would you rather know that with 2:17 left to go, down by 9, or with :17 left, down by 2?
I absolutely would rather know with 0:00 left, but I'd take :17 over 2:17 in a heartbeat, yes.

Much like I view a "successful" season as one where the last game you play is meaningful -- I got that from Wellington Mara -- a game is "successful" when the last drive you have is meaningful. If the last time you have the ball you are down by 2 scores, that's not meaningful, that's garbage time.
  #182  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
In the Cowboys @ Rams game, the Cowboys were down by 15 when they scored a touchdown, pulling within 9 before the conversion attempt.

I've always held firm that the smart play in that kind of situation is to kick the PAT to pull within one score, which is exactly what they did and IIRC the commentators didn't even mention it, or at least discuss it much.


I concur with this approach. First go for 1 to make it a "one-score game." And then worry about what comes afterwards. If you are so lucky as to score yet another TD, then, at that point, you try the 2-point PAT.

It's firmly a case of "Cross that bridge when you get to it."

Last edited by Velocity; 01-15-2019 at 10:02 AM.
  #183  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:06 AM
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Well, you are going wrong in the way that I had guessed, and what I wrote didn't seem to change your mind. I understand where you're coming from, but the arguments you make pertain to what you enjoy as a fan, and what seems intuitive to you, rather than any case that your side of the argument has a greater chance of winning the game.

But let's just say I'm right for a moment, and going for the 2 point conversion first gives you some non-negligble higher chance to win. Let's say if you do it my way, you have a 3% greater chance to win. Would you take a 3% higher chance of winning against the possibility of suffering 2 extra minutes of garbage time if you lose?

If not, would 10% make a difference? 20%? When does it change over?

To me, I'm not sentimental about the whole thing. I'd take a 0.0001% greater chance to win over any sort of desire to make the game interesting until the end. And I think that's what a coach should be basing their decision on. I could kind of see how, as a fan, you'd prefer leaving it up in the air until the last possible moment, but surely it doesn't make sense for a coach to make decisions based on that. The coach should be focused solely on maximizing the team's win chances.

Last edited by SenorBeef; 01-15-2019 at 10:09 AM.
  #184  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:13 AM
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Your other point - where the defense will be easier to score a 2 point conversion on after the last TD because they're more worn down, is a valid point and makes sense, since it relates to actual chances of winning rather than just being what feels intuitive. I still feel like the advantages of going for 2 first outweigh it (especially the penalty issue), but you could make a case with the wearing down argument. It would be hard to empirically prove either way since it's a pretty close decision in either case. It's certainly not the case that the side who advocates the early 2 point conversion is totally wrong or crazy - that reaction stems from your intuitive sense of how it should go down, rather than your logical analysis of the winning percentages of each strategy.

Last edited by SenorBeef; 01-15-2019 at 10:15 AM.
  #185  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
It seems so intuitively obvious to me that the most fundamentally sound strategy is to put off any "make or break" decisions until the last possible moment. Since the 2pt is "make or break," I would always want to delay it until the last possible moment. I would think this would be some kind of law or philosophy in game theory -- even if it were a discredited one --but a quick google hasn't turned anything up.
This is the conventional wisdom in football. Coaches and commentators will talk about "extending the game" and similar things. But if your goal is to maximize your chances of winning the game, then the idea of extending the game is literally irrelevant.

There are reasons to care about things other than increasing your winning chances. If you put extra value on continuing to have winning chances later in the game, then delaying important decisions might make sense. Coaches seem to put value on that, and on not losing by larger margins, or looking stupid by making a non-standard decision that goes wrong.

It's a bit similar to deciding what your strategy should be as a big underdog. If you're only concerned about winning the game, then you should use a high-risk strategy to increase your variance. This will increase your chances of being blown out, decrease your expected scoring margin, but also increase your chances of winning the game.
  #186  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by borschevsky View Post
It's a bit similar to deciding what your strategy should be as a big underdog. If you're only concerned about winning the game, then you should use a high-risk strategy to increase your variance. This will increase your chances of being blown out, decrease your expected scoring margin, but also increase your chances of winning the game.
I was actually thinking of asking something like this as a hypothetical, to demonstrate the point of separating the intuitive from the logical.

Something like "would you rather have a 55/45 chance of winning, but if you win it's a small win, but if you lose it's a blowout? Or would you take 50/50 with a more normal range of outcomes?"

Intuitively, it feels worse to be blown out, obviously, but if your only concern is maximizing your win chances, then winning or losing should be all that matters.

One of the reasons that Belichick is so good is that he makes these sorts of decisions all the time, because he has all the job security in the world, and he's very strategy minded. He doesn't mind doing what seems unconventional if he thinks it'll give him even a sliver of a greater win chance, even if it gets him all sorts of criticism when it fails.

Football fans love to jump on coaches who do the unconventional thing. They like an easy target for blaming. So as soon as a coach makes any decision that strikes fans as unconventional or counterintuitive, and it fails, they get a way overblown undeserved amount of criticism. NFL coaches largely play to avoid making unconventional decisions in this way, because while it very well may be the correct decision, and given their team the best chance to win, when it fails it may cost them their job. So they keep their heads down and make the wrong decision. This is why, as an example, NFL coaches are so wrong so consistently on when to go for it on fourth down in marginal situations.
  #187  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:32 AM
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Let me throw another wrinkle into the discussion.

Suppose, when the Cowboys scored with 2:17 left to pull within 9 points, they had all 3 timeouts left. Would that make a difference in the XP decision?

I say it does. SenorBeef offers some interesting points in the decision-making process, but all of them (I think) depend on a recovery of an onside kick at some point. If the Boys had all of their timeouts left (plus the 2-minute warning), then I think the correct strategy is to kick the extra point. You would then hope that your defense can stop the Rams without a first down, and you get the ball back, down 8, with somewhere around 2 minutes to play, and a chance to drive for the game-tying TD/2-point conversion.

However, if you go for 2 with 2:17 left, and fail, then you MUST recover an onside kick at some point to have a chance to win the game, because you are still down 2 scores.
  #188  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:43 AM
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But let's just say I'm right for a moment, and going for the 2 point conversion first gives you some non-negligble higher chance to win. Let's say if you do it my way, you have a 3% greater chance to win. Would you take a 3% higher chance of winning against the possibility of suffering 2 extra minutes of garbage time if you lose?
You haven't established that there is a higher chance to win by going for the 2 first. Regardless what you do, you need:
  1. A 2pt conversion (slightly higher % chance my way as the defense is more tired)
  2. A next TD (higher % chance my way since you have more time/timeouts to spend while doing it compared to saving time for another drive)
  3. If you miss the 2pt, another FG after that (0% chance my way, your way is technically still alive)
I'm saying that the higher success rates of #1 (very small) and #2 (significant) in the conventional strategy add up to much higher than the advantage your way has in #3.

Quote:
I could kind of see how, as a fan, you'd prefer leaving it up in the air until the last possible moment
This would be my strategy if I were coaching or playing, not just as a fan. I mean, it's not like I would do it your way while playing Madden but then want my NFL team to do it my way in a real game.

I think my way actually maximizes the chances to win, while your way makes it less likely to win. For example, down by 2 scores with little time left my offensive players might mentally check out because they're facing hopeless odds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by borschevsky View Post
It's a bit similar to deciding what your strategy should be as a big underdog. If you're only concerned about winning the game, then you should use a high-risk strategy to increase your variance. This will increase your chances of being blown out, decrease your expected scoring margin, but also increase your chances of winning the game.
I'm a Giants fan. The Giants have been big underdogs in three different Superbowls that they won, and the way they won them is exactly opposite to what you advocate here. They employed low-risk ball-control strategy to reduce variance and rode that strategy to victory all three times. The one time they didn't do that while underdogs in the Superbowl they got massacred by the Ravens.

It's worth noting that for the first of those three underdog championships, the architect of that game-winning low variance approach was Bill Belichick.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 01-15-2019 at 10:47 AM.
  #189  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:43 AM
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But if you wait, get the ball back, get another TD, and then miss the 2 point, then you also must recover an onside kick (if you've left yourself any time). Missing the 2 point forces the onside kick, regardless of when you try the 2 point.
  #190  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by borschevsky View Post
But if you wait, get the ball back, get another TD, and then miss the 2 point, then you also must recover an onside kick (if you've left yourself any time). Missing the 2 point forces the onside kick, regardless of when you try the 2 point.
If you wait, and before you get the ball back the other team scores a TD, you now need 2 more scores with one 2pt.

If you didn't wait, and missed the 2pt, you now need 3 scores. (Or two scores with two 2pt conversions. Either way it's worse.)

So in this equally (ir)relevant hypothetical, you have a higher chance to win if you wait.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 01-15-2019 at 10:54 AM.
  #191  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:54 AM
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A 2pt conversion (slightly higher % chance my way as the defense is more tired)
Absolutely. If you believe that the chances of actually converting the 2 point is higher after the second TD than after the first, then waiting is probably correct, since the other advantages we're discussing by going first are small.

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Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
I'm a Giants fan. The Giants have been big underdogs in three different Superbowls that they won, and the way they won them is exactly opposite to what you advocate here. They employed low-risk ball-control strategy to reduce variance and rode that strategy to victory all three times. The one time they didn't do that while underdogs in the Superbowl they got massacred by the Ravens.

It's worth noting that for the first of those three underdog championships, the architect of that game-winning low variance approach was Bill Belichick.
I probably shouldn't have used "high risk" there, as it's not necessarily that you want to increase the risk on individual events. The point is to increase variance, which you can do by reducing the number of possessions in the game, as the Giants did.
  #192  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:03 AM
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Absolutely. If you believe that the chances of actually converting the 2 point is higher after the second TD than after the first, then waiting is probably correct, since the other advantages we're discussing by going first are small.
That's not really the main focus of my position.

I'm saying that no matter what you do, you need at least one more touchdown. My position is that your chances to score that next TD are significantly higher if you can focus all your resources (game time remaining, timeouts, emergency plays you've been cultivating for years but haven't used them yet so nobody has film on them) into that one single drive than if you need to save time for another drive after that.

My position is that the difference in chance to succeed on that next TD drive -- which you need no matter when you go for the 2pt -- positively dwarfs any trivial advantage you have if you went for the 2pt first and missed.

Picture 30 seconds left, no timeouts, you're about to attempt an onside kick, and you need a FG to win. What's your chance to win? Not much higher than a couple %; Beef said 3%. Sure, let's go with that. 3% higher than the 0% if you waited until time expired before missing the 2pt.

You would have had a much higher than 3% extra chance to succeed on the touchdown you just scored if you didn't need to save that 30 seconds for this onside kick / FG drive.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 01-15-2019 at 11:04 AM.
  #193  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:25 AM
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Yes, the overall chances of getting that touchdown may be higher than in the 3% case, but that doesn't matter. It's not comparing the right things.

Go for 2 on the first TD:
- Make the 2-point, score a single drive TD, game is tied
- Miss the 2-point, win with the 3% miracle (or whatever percentage you want to assign)

Go for 1 on the first TD:
- Score a single drive TD, make the 2-point, game is tied
- Score a single drive TD, miss the 2-point. Lose.

In both scenarios, you force OT by making a 2-point conversion and scoring a focused, single-drive TD. In the first scenario, you also have the miracle chance. In the second scenario, you don't. In the second scenario, scoring that second TD is overall more likely; that means you're more likely to lose by 2 instead of by 9, but you're also slightly less likely to win the game.

Like you said though, it's possible the 2-point is more likely to be successful after the second TD than the first, which would mean the chances to force OT aren't the same in the two scenarios, which could overwhelm the miracle chance.
  #194  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
I'm saying that no matter what you do, you need at least one more touchdown. My position is that your chances to score that next TD are significantly higher if you can focus all your resources (game time remaining, timeouts, emergency plays you've been cultivating for years but haven't used them yet so nobody has film on them) into that one single drive than if you need to save time for another drive after that.
You can do all those things if you successfully run a 2 point conversion first, too.

"But what if you fail the 2 point conversion? Then you need to hurry up on your next drive and can't pull out all the stops for one last drive"

... but in this example, if you go for it second, and fail the two point conversion, you lost the game.

You're essentially acknowledging being forced into a losing/long shot/desperate situation if you go for 2 on the first TD and fail, while not weighing that against the fact that if you go for 2 and fail on the second TD, you lose. You're counting the upside in one scenario against the downside in another scenario.

There's a hidden bias I think you're not picking up on, which is that you're weighing a (known) failed two point conversion against an (unknown) 50/50 two point conversion. That's not a fair comparison. Obviously an unplayed two point conversion is more appealing than a failed one.

Consider:

1. You go for the 2 point conversion early. You succeed. You pull out all the stops for one last drive to run out the clock and then either kick the xp (tie) or go for another 2 point conversion (win)

2. You go for the 2 point conversion early. You fail. You make a desperate long shot attempt to make 3 scores to come back.

3. You go for the XP early. You pull out all the stops for one last drive to run out the clock and go for a 2 point conversion to tie as time expires. You succeed. (tie game)

4. You go for the XP early. You put out all the stops for one last drive to run out the clock and go for a 2 point conversion to tie as time expires. You fail. You lose.


You appear to be saying that 3 is better than 2. Well, yes, it is. But those aren't comparable outcomes. You can't choose to compare the downsides of going for the two pointer early and failing to the benefits of going for the two pointer later and succeeding. Obviously it's better for your two point conversion to succeed than to fail.

So the comparison is between 1 and 3 (which have the same upside of being able to have that focus on one drive, with the additional benefit of being able to choose to tie or win at the end) and 2 and 4 (in which 2 has at least a slim chance over 4's zero chance).


I've gotta run for today. I'll be around later tonight to continue this.

Last edited by SenorBeef; 01-15-2019 at 11:40 AM.
  #195  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:44 AM
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Is the logical conclusion to what your saying that you should pretty much never kick a PAT barring extreme circumstances? (Down by 1, game almost over.)

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 01-15-2019 at 11:45 AM.
  #196  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:48 AM
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I already gave a scenario in which you'd kick the XP - if you committed a penalty on the 2 point conversion and had to re-try it as a more difficult conversion from further out. That's part of what going for 2 first allows you. You can always fall back on the PAT on the first attempt if you botch the 2 pointer with a penalty - after all, changing the XP distance from 25 to 35 yards is much less of a big deal than taking a 2 point conversion from 2 yards to 7 or 12), which is part of the flexibility that going for two first allows. If you get a penalty on the 2 point conversion after waiting for the second TD, you have no choice - you have to attempt the 7 or 12 yard conversion.

It's not a big swing either way in terms of expected winning percentage, I don't think, so you could decide to kick the XP for small reasons. If for whatever reason you thought your chances of making the 2 point conversion were notably higher the second time (maybe your RB is gassed because he just ran a 90 yard TD and you think your best chance at a conversion is with him) then it would probably swing things mildly in favor of going for the PAT first.

But generally going for the 2 pointer first will be correct more often than not, I think.

Alright, taking off now.

Last edited by SenorBeef; 01-15-2019 at 11:50 AM.
  #197  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:52 AM
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No, I mean in general. Is the logical conclusion that you should always go for 2, even in the first quarter? That way you leave even more time to make up for missed 2pt attempts, right?

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 01-15-2019 at 11:54 AM.
  #198  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
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Is the logical conclusion to what your saying that you should pretty much never kick a PAT barring extreme circumstances? (Down by 1, game almost over.)
Well, as a matter of fact...

Before they moved the PAT back to a snap from the 15 yard line (making it effectively a 32 yard try), conversion of a one-point PAT was 99+%, and conversion of two-point tries was at around 50%. From an expected-points POV, it was pretty much a wash, though I think that risk-averse coaches likely preferred a close-to-sure thing over a 50/50.

However, the change to the PAT has taken the success rate down several percentage points (the conversion rate has been around 94% for the past three seasons). Assuming that the conversion rate for 2-point tries is still above 47%, it would actually make long-term sense to try for 2 as often as possible (though certain game situations and point spreads would still call for the one-point play).
  #199  
Old 01-15-2019, 12:03 PM
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The only issue that answers the question is whether or not there is a significant difference in likelihood of scoring a 2-pt. conversion the first time or the second time. All other arguments are essentially meaningless in comparison.
  #200  
Old 01-15-2019, 12:13 PM
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Hey, I found the old thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by borschevsky View Post
A. Kick the PAT on the first TD, go for two on the second TD. You need to:
- Make the PAT
- Get the ball back
- Stage a touchdown drive
- Make the 2PC

B. Go for two on the first TD. You need to:
- Make the 2PC
- Get the ball back
- Stage a touchdown drive
- Make the PAT

It seems to me that the chances of success are the same in both cases.
It seems I'm repeating myself

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
No, I mean in general. Is the logical conclusion that you should always go for 2, even in the first quarter? That way you leave even more time to make up for missed 2pt attempts, right?
No, it isn't, because early in the game you're generally trying to maximize the points you score (and minimize the opponent's), and late in the game the score dictates the value of different possible scoring. But this was discussed in the old thread too, so I'm out
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