Drew Brees made several big plays to will the Saints into overtime and give his team a chance at beating the 49ers. But in overtime Brees was sacked and fumbled, which led to San Francisco's game-winning field goal. The fumble was the detrimental play of the week according to data from Brian Burke of Advanced Football Analytics as it lowered the Saints' Win Probability 33 percentage points from to 43 percent to 10 percent.

Burke's Win Probability measures a variety of things, like time remaining, score, down, and distance. To get his team into high-leverage overtime situations, Brees made a few big plays near the end of regulation. With about three minutes remaining, he hit Marques Colston for a 24-yard gain on fourth down, which was the most helpful play of the week as it raised the Saints' Win Probability 45 percentage points from 14 percent to 59 percent.

Advertisement

Three plays later, he connected with Jimmy Graham for a go-ahead touchdown, giving the Saints a 24-21 lead with under two minutes remaining. The touchdown increased the Saints' Win Probability 30 percentage points from 51 percent to 81 percent. But there was enough time on the clock for the 49ers to sprint down the field for a tying field goal, on a drive that included a bomb to Michael Crabtree on fourth-and-10, and a Hail Mary touchdown to Jimmy Graham as time expired was called off due to offensive pass interference.

Below are the most and least helpful plays of the week.

Play Team WPA EPA Qtr Time Down Distance Yd Line
Drew Brees pass to Marques Colston for 24 yards NO 0.45 4.13 4 3:10 4 3 34
Colin Kaepernick pass to Michael Crabtree for 51 yards SF 0.35 4.60 4 1:34 4 10 78
Drew Brees pass to Jimmy Graham for 2 yard touchdown NO 0.30 1.37 4 1:55 3 2 2
Matthew Stafford pass to Golden Tate for 6 yards DET 0.26 0.43 4 0:57 1 10 17
Matthew Stafford pass to Theo Riddick for 11 yard touchdown DET 0.23 2.33 4 0:36 3 4 11
Drew Brees sacked for -5 yards, fumble, recovered by SF-Chris Borland at NO 17, returned for no gain NO -0.33 -3.63 OT 5:28 2 15 85
Matt Prater 42 yard field goal is blocked MIA-Earl Mitchell, recovered by MIA-Dion Jordan at MIA 39, returned 58 yards DET -0.32 -7.17 3 1:35 4 6 24
Leodis McKelvin punt return for -1 yards, fumble, recovered KC-Anthony Sherman at BUF 26 BUF -0.30 4.85 4 9:57 4 2 84
Kyle Orton pass incomplete to Chris Hogan BUF -0.24 -1.14 4 2:37 3 10 15
Carson Palmer pass intercepted by SL-Alec Ogletree at SL 11, returned for 44 yards ARZ -0.24 -5.43 3 4:24 3 11 15

[Advanced Football Analytics]