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Jets vs Patriots: The Biggest Play

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

What was the most important play of the New York Jets loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday?

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 hurt the Jets' chances of winning the game the most on Sunday by that formula?

Pro Football Reference says Tom Brady's 25 yard pass to Chris Hogan with 2:17 to go in the game, bringing the Patriots to the Jets 8 yard line, swung the game more than any other play.  Their win probability graph says that the Jets chances of victory dropped from 26.77% to 1.63% on that completed pass.  Shortly thereafter the Patriots scored the game winning touchdown.

What do I think?

I'm going to disagree with Pro Football Reference on this one.  That was a big play, but for me the biggest play of the game occurred at the 10:40 mark of the second quarter. With the Jets up 10-3, having just held the Patriots in the red zone to a field goal, the Jets were driving for a potentially game changing score.  Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Robby Anderson with a big 24 yard catch and run play and the Jets were on the 50 yard line, driving for potentially a two touchdown lead.   But Anderson fumbled on the play, the Patriots recovered and immediately drove for a game tying touchdown, and the Jets only led for a brief eight minute stretch the rest of the game.

It was a huge, potentially 14 point swing, and completely changed the game. Pro Football Reference attributes only an 8.3% drop in the Jets chances of victory to that play, largely because it occurred early in the game, but for me that was the biggest momentum swing in the entire game.  If the Jets score a touchdown on that drive they're up two touchdowns and the Patriots are in deep trouble. If the Jets just advance another 15 or 20 yards and kick a field goal it's a ten point Jets lead, the Jets are completely dominating, and the Jets likely go into halftime with a decent sized lead.  Instead the Patriots quickly drive for the tying touchdown and you never got the feeling the Jets were really in the driver's seat the rest of the way, even after they briefly took the lead in the 4th quarter on the Butt Tumble.  This play for me was the biggest play of the game.

What do you think?

Which play do you think was the biggest play of the game?