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Jets-Falcons: What Was the Most Important Play of the Game?

Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

What was the most important play of Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons?

What does Pro Football Reference think?

Pro Football Reference has a formula to calculate a team’s chances of winning at any point of the game. Which single play swung the odds the most in Week 8?

The formula indicates Jeremy Kerley’s muffed punt with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter recovered by the Falcons at the Jets’ 13 was the game’s most important moment. Instead of the Jets getting the ball back down 2 points with a chance to take the lead with a field goal, the Falcons got it deep in New York territory.

The formula indicates the Falcons had a 62.9% percent chance of victory before the punt, which rose to 94.8% after the recovery. It was a robust 31.9% swing.

What do I think?

I felt like the sequence of plays in the fourth quarter that led to the Falcons taking the lead was critical. It started with the Jets taking a sack that made a field goal attempt longer. The kick was missed, giving Atlanta good field position. The Falcons eventually scored a touchdown.

For the single most important play, I can’t go with the sack or the missed field goal. The Jets still had the lead after those plays. The ensuing touchdown did put Atlanta in front, but they were already in chip shot field goal range trailing only 17-16. Even had the Falcons not punched in the touchdown, they probably would have kicked a go ahead field goal.

With that in mind, I am going with the play that put them into that field goal range. It was Tevin Coleman’s 52 yard run from the Atlanta 38 to the New York 10. Juston Burris missed an opportunity to make a tackle and limit the gain.

That play put the Falcons in a position to win. I think it was the most important play.

What do you think?