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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Biggest Two-Yard Run Of Week 14

Illustration for article titled The Biggest Two-Yard Run Of Week 14

Glancing briefly at box scores will tell you the Colts beat the Browns and Andrew Luck threw a go-ahead touchdown with 32 seconds remaining. But the box score won't tell you the leverage of the plays leading up to the touchdown, or that Boom Herron's two-yard rush immediately preceding the touchdown was the second biggest play of the week—a WPA swing of 45 percentage points, boosting the Colts' Win Probability from 40 percent to 85 percent, according to Brian Burke of Advanced Football Analytics. Herron had been stopped on the previous play, putting the outcome in doubt, but on fourth down with the game on the line, he came up huge in setting up the game-winning score.

Marching down the field near the end of the game, the Colts' Win Probability shot up significantly, which is what happens in those situations. But the Browns' stop of Herron on third and short, gave Cleveland a legitimate chance to win the game as it lowered the Colts' WPA 29 percentage points from 69 percent to 40 percent, and was the costliest play in the NFL this Sunday. As seen in the chart below, for a brief moment, Cleveland had WPA in their favor near the end of the game. But on the next play, Herron picked up the first down, and Cleveland's chances of winning pretty much evaporated.

Illustration for article titled The Biggest Two-Yard Run Of Week 14

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

Play Team WPA EPA Qtr Time Down Distance Line
Teddy Bridgewater pass to Jarius Wright for 87 yard TOUCHDOWN. MIN 0.58 7.12 5 10:35 3 5 87
Dan Herron run for 2 yards. IND 0.45 3.69 4 0:44 4 1 3
Andy Dalton pass to A.J. Green for 81 yard TOUCHDOWN. CIN 0.35 6.37 3 0:10 2 7 81
Andrew Luck pass to Coby Fleener for 13 yards. IND 0.34 2.07 4 1:55 3 10 25
Drew Stanton pass to Jaron Brown for 26 yard TOUCHDOWN. ARZ 0.24 4.3 3 3:32 3 18 26
Dan Herron run for no gain. IND -0.29 -2.88 4 1:08 3 1 3
Andrew Luck pass INTERCEPTED by Jim Leonhard at CLV 43, returned for 34 yards. IND -0.26 -5.24 4 10:21 2 5 58
Blair Walsh 56 yard field goal is No Good. MIN -0.25 -2.44 4 0:03 1 10 38
Geno Smith pass INTERCEPTED by Gerald Hodges, returned for 27 yard TOUCHDOWN. NYJ -0.23 -6.76 1 14:54 1 10 77
Tom Brady pass to Brandon LaFell for 2 yards, FUMBLES, RECOVERED by Darrell Stuckey at SD 47, returned for 53 yard TOUCHDOWN. NE -0.23 -7.73 2 11:20 3 3 49

[Advanced Football Analytics]

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