An Answer To The Most-Asked Question After The Pack's Loss in Chicago
"Is the Green Bay running game dead?"
"Are the Bears THAT good?"
"What's up with all the Packers penalties?"
Each is a solid question after the 20-17 defeat in Chicago Monday night but the one I'm hearing most is: why didn't the Packers let the Bears score in the closing minutes instead of letting Chicago burn the clock before kicking the eventual winning field goal?
It was easily the top question coming from listeners to Bill Michaels' post-game show early Tuesday morning, and it continued to get kicked around on other sports talk shows I dipped into the following day. And, it was still being asked on ESPN Radio Jayson Smith's gabfest early Wednesday.
He, in fact, found a place with the statistical answer.
Advanced NFL Stats broke down the probabilities:
"Mike McCarthy missed an opportunity Monday night. With the score tied at 17 and 1:44 on the clock, the Bears managed to earn a 1st and goal from the 9. The Packers had only one timeout, so CHI could run nearly out the clock and kick a field goal if they chose. FGs from that range are successful about 94% of the time, and with the good conditions, it's probably even higher.
Had CHI scored a TD on 1st down, that puts GB down by 7 with 1:40 to go, which gives the average team about a 10% chance of winning. A FG attempt after 3 clock-burning runs, gives GB almost no chance to win. GB's only hope would be to prevent a TD on 3 straight downs and hope a FG misses.
Depending on which down a possible TD might occur, the Win Probability (WP) for trying to stop the score is less then 0.03. A FG misses 6% of the time, which could lead to a tie at best at the expiration of regulation time. Assuming a 50/50 chance in OT, that's 0.06 * 0.5 = 0.03.
By not allowing CHI to score the TD on 1st down, McCarthy cut his chances of winning from about 10% to about 3%. Neither prospect is very appealing, but every little bit matters."
My lingering question: why did McCarthy opt to review James Jones' very obvious fumble, burning a badly needed time out in the process when the appeal failed?
That's it. I'm now officially done with the loss to the Bears. Bring on the Lions. Is it Sunday yet?