Late in the fourth quarter against the Falcons, Cam Newton and the Panthers were driving, down two, when Newton hit his rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin for a 17-yard gain, taking Carolina down to the Atlanta 32, within field goal range. It represented the biggest gain in WPA for the week—28 percentage points by the measure of Brian Burke and Advanced Football Analytics's formula—and set up a 46-yard field goal try to take the lead. A 46-yard field goal isn't a gimmie, but Graham Gano was 5-6 from 40-49 yards this season. He missed, of course. The kick lowered Carolina's Win Probability 47 percentage points from 51 percent to 4 percent. And is visualized in the chart below by the tall line near the end that's headed toward "ATL Win."
Burke's Win Probability measures a variety of things, like time remaining, score, down, and distance. Prior to the missed field goal, Newton had two of the most helpful plays of the week. His touchdown pass with about six minutes remaining raised Win Probability 24 percentage points from 30 percent to 54 percent and gave Carolina a one-point lead. After Atlanta retook the lead, the 17-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin raised Win Probability 28 percentage points from 40 percent to 68 percent, and put Carolina in position to kick the game-winning field goal. But we already know how that ended.
Below are the most and least helpful plays of the week.
|Cam Newton pass to Kelvin Benjamin for 17 yards||CAR||0.28||1.65||4||1:49||2||10||49|
|Cam Newton pass to Philly Brown for 47 yard touchdown||CAR||0.24||4.07||4||6:29||1||10||47|
|Matt Ryan pass to Harry Douglas for 8 yards||ATL||0.20||1.41||4||3:14||3||5||35|
|Jamaal Charles run for 47 yards||KC||0.19||3.72||4||14:15||2||1||56|
|Shaun Hill pass to Kenny Britt for 63 yard touchdown||STL||0.17||5.05||1||1:18||1||10||63|
|Graham Gano 46 yard field goal is no good||CAR||-0.47||-2.44||4||1:26||4||6||28|
|Marshawn Lynch rush for no gain||SEA||-0.23||-1.52||4||3:38||4||1||36|
|Frank Gore rush for -3 yards, fumble, recovered by NYG-Zack Bowman at NYG 31, returned for 6 yards||SF||-0.20||-5.58||1||9:16||1||10||16|
|Ryan Tannehill rush for 1 yard, fumble, recovered by BUF-Duke Williams at BUF 9 and returned for 3 yards||MIA||-0.18||-4.33||2||13:03||1||10||14|
|Matt Ryan pass incomplete intended for Julio Jones||ATL||-0.18||-0.59||4||2:28||1||10||27|