With less than five minutes remaining in Super Bowl 46, the New England Patriots had a 1st-and-10 at the New York Giants 43 yard line and a 17-15 lead.
At that point, based on Win Probability Added* (via AdvancedNFLstats.com), the Giants only had a 20 per cent (0.20 WPA) chance of winning the Super Bowl. And yet, over the next 4:40, the Giants reversed their nearly sealed fate, and became Super Bowl champs.
The five biggest plays of the turnaround included (corresponding to the letters on the chart below): A) Tom Brady’s incomplete pass on 3rd-and-11 at the Giants 44, forcing a punt; B) Eli Manning’s 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham to start the game-winning drive; C) Manningham’s 16-yard catch to the Patriots 34 putting the Giants in field goal range (this was the biggest play based on WPA); D) Hakeem Nicks 14-yard catch to the 18; and E) Ahmad Bradshaw’s take-a-dump-on-the-goal line touchdown.
* WPA is the probability of a team winning a game at any particular point during the game, and how much that probability changes from play-to-play.
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