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EdjSports' Fourth-Down Report: Super Bowl LIII

EdjSports' Fourth-Down Report: Super Bowl LIII
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Ian O'Connor, EdjSports

Sean McVay has been lauded for his aggressiveness all season. Bill Belichick went for it on fourth down twice in the AFC Championship Game victory over Kansas City. We expected we’d see some aggressive fourth down play calling during Super Bowl LIII, especially around midfield. Man, were we wrong.
 
Of the 12 fourth downs of 5 yards or less to go (including the punt formation delay of game by the Rams), there was only one attempt to go for it, a failed attempt by New England on fourth-and-1. We saw six high-confidence errors (HCE) in the game, four by New England and two by Los Angeles. All but one of these came from beyond the team’s own 45-yard line.
 
1. New England fourth-and-4 @ LAR-44, fourth quarter, 14:57 remaining, tied 3-3
Edj Play (Pass): NE GWC 53.5%
Actual Play (Punt): NE GWC 46.8%
Difference: -6.7%
 
2. New England fourth-and-2 @ NE-49, third quarter, 10:14 remaining, NE leading 3-0
Edj Play (Rush): NE GWC 63.7%
Actual Play (Punt): NE GWC 57.2%
Difference: -6.5%
 
3. Los Angeles fourth-and-3 @ NE-42, first quarter, 3:32 remaining, tied 0-0
Edj Play (Rush): LAR GWC 61.0%
Actual Play (Punt): LAR GWC 55.6%
Difference: -5.4%
 
4. New England fourth-and-5 @ LAR-40, first quarter, 0:18 remaining, tied 0-0
Edj Play (Pass): NE GWC 46.1%
Actual Play (Punt): NE GWC 41.9%
Difference: -4.2%
 
5. New England fourth-and-2 @ NE-25, second quarter, 6:24 remaining, NE leading 3-0
Edj Play (Rush): NE GWC 52.4%
Actual Play (Punt): NE GWC 48.5%
Difference: -3.9%
 
6. Los Angeles fourth-and-5 @ LAR-46, third quarter, 13:05 remaining, Rams trailing 0-3
Edj Play (Pass): LAR GWC 42.3%
Actual Play (Punt): LAR GWC 39.6%
Difference: -2.7%

Comments

6 comments, Last at 07 Feb 2019, 3:27pm

1 Re: EdjSports' Fourth-Down Report: Super Bowl LIII

NE's conservative play might have been a function of their confidence in their defense. It's not a stretch to look at this game and say "The only way the Rams are scoring is if we bust a coverage or hand them a short field", and then play to minimize those chances.

Yes, it's a good idea to be more aggressive in general. The risk reward ratio last night is not the same as it was in all the other games that inform the model they're looking at, though.

Certainly being aggressive against the Chiefs, knowing you likely won't throttle their offense, is a different proposition than doing so against a Rams team whose QB you are confident you can make uncomfortable at best all night.

3 Re: EdjSports' Fourth-Down Report: Super Bowl LIII

McVay's simple offense has been figured out.
Play Quarters keeping extra players close to the box and clogging the short to intermediate of the field. taking away Goffs first read and making box count unfavorable to the run.

and or just wait till McVay's Mic gets cut off and audible your defense so Goff has to read it himself instead of McVay doing it for him.

5 Re: EdjSports' Fourth-Down Report: Super Bowl LIII

"McVay's simple offense has been figured out."

It's not that McVay's "simple offense" has been figured out - it's that if you take away Goff's first read he's not fast enough at progressing to the next one to avoid getting into trouble.

Every replay I've seen where Goff gets under pressure, takes a sack, whatever, he had a better option that he just didn't see. ForTheWin has a great article on it (which just ridiculously debunks the "great tight coverage" story people push for the Patriots- they weren't tightly covering everyone because they knew they wouldn't have to).

6 Re: EdjSports' Fourth-Down Report: Super Bowl LIII

We can say things happen at x% off the time but football isn't like a dice roll where the percentages don't change. You can find matches for down and distance etc but not for these guys against those guys after these things have happened.

I prefer the old fashioned approach of calling every decision genius if you win the game and every decision stupid if you don't ;)