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Jets vs Browns: The Most Important Play

What play swung the odds in the Jets' favor on Sunday?

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

What was the most important play of Sunday’s win over the Browns?

What does Pro Football Reference's win probability think?

Pro Football Reference has a win probability formula that estimates a team's chances of winning based on factors like score, time, and down. Which play swung the game the most in the Jets' favor Sunday by that formula?

They say Quincy Enunwa's 3rd quarter 57 yard reception swung the game more than any other play. With the Jets trailing 20-14, this huge pass play set the Jets up with a first and ten at the Cleveland 13 yard line.  A few plays later Matt Forte punched in a four yard touchdown run to give the Jets the lead for the first time in the game.  It was a lead the Jets never relinquished.  According to Pro Football Reference the Quincy Enunwa reception raised the Jets’ chances of winning by 28.4 percentage points, from 18.9% to 47.3%.

What do I think?

I will go with the Forte touchdown run a few plays after the Enunwa reception.  The Jets moved the ball to the 4 yard line but faced a 4th and one.  They could have played it conservative and kicked a field goal there to move within three points of the Browns.  Instead Todd Bowles chose to go for it on fourth down.   If Forte gets stopped at that juncture there would have been a huge emotional swing.  The Browns would be sky high having staged a great goal line stand.  Instead of the Jets taking the lead the Browns would have dodged a bullet and would still be up by six with the clock winding down late in the third quarter.  Manage a first down or two and the Browns would have entered the fourth quarter still up by six and the Jets would have had the wind knocked from their sails, a huge Quincy play would have gone for naught and the Jets would still be scrambling to catch up.  Instead Forte doesn't just get the first down, he punches it in for a touchdown, and the Jets take a lead they would never relinquish.

Failing to come up with any points on that drive could have had a disastrous effect on the team's psyche at a crucial point in the game.  On the road, trying to recover from a horrendous first half, the Jets got a huge lift from Enunwa's big play.  A failure to capitalize and punch the ball in could easily have deflated the Jets.  I think it was of the utmost importance to take the lead on that drive.

What do you think?