Fact or Fiction: Analysis of Voronov’s analytical decisions about fourth-down and 2-point conversions.

As Ravens coach John Harbaugh joked on Monday, the analyst has been around since his father, Jack, coached. In those days, it boiled down to figuring out which games weren’t viable on a losing third.

“Football has always had analytics,” said Harbaugh Jr. However, in 2021 there will be “just a much more advanced version of what has been happening in football for many years.”

Mindfulness is also greater. The Ravens (8-6) face off against the leading AFC North Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) in a three-game losing streak, defined by both tight margins (four points in total) and the number of defeats. analytical calculations left after each game.

Steelers lose 20-19 to Ravens went for a good 2-point conversion With 12 seconds left, he was determined not to let Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger take advantage of an exhausted minor. Lost to the Browns 24-22The Ravens went for a 2-point conversion after they cut Cleveland’s fourth-quarter lead to nine points instead of waiting for the next touchdown to make up for the lead.

And in Sunday’s 31-30 defeat to leading NFC Packers, the injured and coronavirus-affected Crows traded for 2 points at the last minute, hoping for the last good score. might be enough to hold back Green Bay and star guard Aaron Rogers. All three plays failed. All three sparked conversations in sports about the use and abuse of analytics.

If the pitch may seem incomprehensible, it is because such is a large part of football. No team has such staff, trainers or analytical models. But as discourse reaches new decibel levels amid Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley’s bold play-call and Harbo’s failed two-point attempts, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.

Fact: The Crows are some of the most analytical teams in the NFL.

Just look at the results ESPN October Poll of NFL Analysts: The Ravens were considered to have the second most analytical team in the league, the second most “analytical”, and the second most integrated analytics into decision making – second only to the Browns in all three categories. (No wonder the Ravens also have one of the largest analysts in the NFL.)

In practice, analytics have the greatest impact on the fourth-placed play-call. According to the outsiders of footballHarbo “set an all-time record for fourth-fall aggressiveness” in 2019, hitting 23% of what the analyst site called qualifying fourth falls. The Ravens took the lead in the NFL that season, losing their fourth loss, completing a total of 17 of 24 opportunities.

In 2020, Harbo was the fourth most aggressive coach, losing fourth. by Football Outsiders metricstaking advantage of 15.3% of qualification opportunities. The Ravens’ conversion rate fell to 63.2%, still ranked eighth in the NFL.

The Ravens have already had as many fourth-down attempts this year as they did last year (21), but with increased efficiency (66.7% conversion rate, # 2 in the NFL). Some of their fourth down successes are highlighted highlights of the season: Jackson’s 2 yard run to hold the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, 1-yard pass to touchdown to defender Patrick Ricard in Week 9 comeback, and Minnesota Vikings is defeated. , showing the 30th result. – completing a yard from Huntley to long-range receiver Rashod Bateman at the end of the rally against the Browns two weeks ago.

Fiction: The Ravens’ Sunday decision-making process is in line with conventional analytical thinking.

Harbaugh said he decided to go for two Sundays. was based more on feelings than numbers – “mostly intuitive”, as he put it, because “numbers are not perfect.”

In this case, the numbers were also ambiguous. ESPN’s Model Showed That Trying An Extra Point Would Give The Ravens only slightly better chance of winning… EdjSports Model also approved of Justin Tucker’s hitbut not quite so.

The most important variable in Harbaugh’s calculations was time. With a 2-point conversion 42 seconds left, he seemed to admit that the Ravens would have a better chance of stopping the Packers once than a second time, in overtime.

In his third week win over the San Francisco 49ers, it took Rogers just 37 seconds – and no timeouts – to lead Green Bay in the 42-yard run, capped by a last-second field goal. On Sunday the packers had more time and a break. Meanwhile, the Crows, lacking four of their six top-backs and two starting defenses, were allowing 8.6 yards per pass attempt.

“Forty-two seconds is a little more than you really want to spend in two seconds; I would have preferred it to be about 20 seconds, but decided to do it at the end, ”Harbo said on Monday. “If we had more time, we would have kicked him out for sure.”

Harbaugh’s more interesting decision was made at the previous landing of the Ravens. When Huntley got out three yards at 4:47, cutting the Packers’ lead to 31-23, conventional wisdom told Harbo to go for two. With a theoretical 50-50 chance of transforming, the Ravens will be well placed to either take the lead after the second touchdown or tie the game with another two-point attempt in its final moments.

Instead, Harbaugh sent Tucker to try to get an extra point, which he converted. When asked about the decision on Monday, Harbaugh referred to the Crows’ defeat in Cleveland last week when they went two, nine back, and failed.

“I wasn’t so sure there would be a two-touchdown situation in this game,” he said. “There could be a different account, so I just wanted to wait and see how it ends. That’s why I didn’t go for it on the first count. I wanted to wait for the second point. Plus, you never know how much time you have left. So if it was more time, we would definitely spend it on overtime or try to do it overtime and try to stop it. ”

Fact: The Ravens failed to achieve a two-point conversion.

Every year, trying to get 2 points in the NFL is almost a coin toss. This has been the case for more than three months this season: in week 16, 129 attempts were made and 63 converted (48.8%).

However, the production of “Ravens” was not up to par. After a failed conversion on Sunday this season, they are out 2 out of 8 on 2-point attempts. Teams that have made at least five attempts this season are only ahead of New Orleans Saints (0 out of 5) and Vikings (1 out of 7) in terms of success.

In previous years, the Ravens fared better. They converted both of their two-point games last season. They lost 0 out of 3 to the Chiefs in 2019, losing in September and then 2 out of 2 for the remainder of the season.

While offensive coordinator Greg Roman has been criticized for his game design on two-point attempts – the Steelers star outside midfielder T.J. Watt was not blocked in Week 13 and Huntley’s Sunday tight end by Mark Andrews eliminated half of the field of potential targets – a more visible criticism may be his choice of the play.

A 2018 study found that teams passed the ball nearly four times as often as on two-point attempts in the previous seven seasons, even if the conversion rate on runs (63.6%) far exceeded the pass rate (44.9%). This season, while J.C. Dobbins was involved in both of their 2020 transformation attempts, the Ravens have lost all but one of their eight two-point attempts. (Jackson was stopped due to the quarterback’s planned run in his fifth week comeback over the Indianapolis Colts.)

Fiction: Analytics is useless in the long run.

Analytics is a tool, not an orthodoxy. They help teams make more informed decisions in the game. They help shape team building strategies during the offseason. They may have applications that are as important as Level 4 Aggressiveness and as overlooked as Special Team Values. (Raven Player Sam Koh told the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska This summer, according to analysts, antlers on the 13- and 18-yard line “could be the difference” between a 13% goal chance and a 28% goal chance, respectively, for an opponent.)

Every modern sports team uses some kind of analytics, and even progressive franchises like Ravens can use old-school strategies. In 2019, when the Ravens had the most effective offense in the NFL, they had soccer research coach Daniel Stern sitting next to Roman and spreading the word about game situations. They also rolled the defense without throwing the ball, as an analyst, almost all crimesbut the league leader in a hurry.

Analytics also did not doom the Ravens to death on Sunday. Long before the Crows scored a last-minute goal that brought them closer to the Packers, Harbaugh seemed controversial. That was what the numbers told him. That’s what his intuition told him. And that was what his players told him.

Huntley said Harbaugh told him that the Ravens, then 31-17, would score two touchdowns and make a 2-point conversion on one. But in Harbo’s Sunday conversations, the footage of which the team posted on Monday, he still wasn’t sure what to do after Huntley’s score was drawn.

Harbaugh asked several strikers, including Huntley, “What do you want to do?” He added: “We can go to overtime or go to it.” It wasn’t just the data in the spreadsheet that had to be considered. When one of the players told him to go to win, Harbo agreed. The attack returned to the field, and Tucker remained on the sideline.

“I’ve been thinking about it all night,” Harbo said Monday. “There are two options and both are viable. Either one might be right. Or you can be wrong. Basically it’s 50 to 50. We talked about a lot, [and] we decided to go for it. It didn’t work out. I know half of the people will say we had to give it up. I understand; they can definitely criticize me for it. I agree with it; I criticize myself for that. I understand it. It’s just the way it is. …

“I think it’s a bit like making decisions in life. Maybe everything would have turned out differently, maybe it would have turned out the same. There is no guarantee that we would quit the game and win overtime. This is where we are. We will do everything in our power with such decisions. ”

Week 16

RAVEN @ BENGAL

Sunday, 13:00

TV: Ch. 13, 9 Radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM

Line: Bengals 2 ½ each