Turning Points

Disclaimer: If you have a pet peeve when it comes to subject statistics, you may not want to read on.

Hey there MCM'ers. Let me tell you a story!

In my infinite boredom, I went around aimlessly browsing. I ended up going to a sports site called 'Pro Football Reference', which is a football site that does nothing but keep detailed statistics. Then I aimlessly clicked on the Titans' box-scores. I opened up all of them, tab by tab, for no particular reason. At that moment, I saw that Pro Football Reference had this neat little thing called "Win Probability", with a line chart and percentages, and anywhere you clicked on the line, it would highlight that play in the play-by-play box.

I thought it was pretty cool. Then I thought of something cooler. What if I took that line graph, looked for the points in the line graph where the game dramatically swung for or against the Titans and list them? So, I did that. Then I thought of something cooler. Why not make a fanpost on that subject?

So... I did!

First, let's do turning points in games, according to Pro Football Reference.

Turning Points in wins:

Steelers - Steelers have redzone fumble early in first quarter ; Alterraun Verner interception in second quarter.

Chargers - Justin Hunter grabs game-winning touchdown.

Jets - Alterraun Verner interception in first quarter ; Zach Brown forced Geno Smith fumble in the second quarter.

Rams - Kellen Clemens sack-stripped by Jurrell Casey with 3 minutes left in the game.

Raiders - Ryan Fitzpatrick to Justin Hunter for a 54 yard touchdown in early third quarter; Titans convert 3rd and 7 with Justin Hunter's 8-yard catch in late fourth quarter.

Turning points in losses:

Texans - Pass to Andre Johnson for 21 yards to the Titans' 2-yard-line in the last 3 minutes of regulation.

Chiefs - Titans' muffed punt recovered in endzone for TD in first quarter.

Seahawks - Russell Wilson scrambles for 23 yards on a 3rd and 3, midway through the third quarter ; Titans fail 3rd and 1 conversion with Darius Reynaud late in third quarter ; Russell Wilson pass to Marshawn Lynch for 55 yards on first play of fourth quarter.

Niners - Colin Kaepernick pass to Vernon Davis for 24 yards early in first quarter.

Jaguars - Chris Johnson fumbles on first play of the game ; Ryan Fitzpatrick sack-stripped by Will Blackmon for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Colts - Devon Wylie fumbles kickoff return in the early third quarter.

Then I had an even cooler idea. Why not invent a statistic for it? It's not going to be official, of course, but it'll be my own personal one. It can be yours too, if you want.

I hereby coin the terms -

+TP (Positive turning point)

-TP (Negative turning point)

A +TP is a play where the win probability is changed dramatically in the Titans' favor, and the final result was a win.

A -TP is a play where the win probability is changed dramatically in the opponent's favor, and the final result was a loss.

Now that I've made up a statistic, let's apply it to the team, shall we?

Positive turning points:

Justin Hunter: 3 +TP's (vs. Chargers, Raiders)

Alterraun Verner: 2 +TP's (vs. Steelers, Jets)

Ryan Fitzpatrick: 2 +TP's (vs. Raiders)

Jake Locker: 1 +TP (vs. Chargers)

Zach Brown: 1 +TP (vs. Jets)

Jurrell Casey: 1 +TP (vs. Rams)

Opponent mishap: 1 +TP (vs. Steelers)

Justin Hunter leads the team in positive turning points, and is tied with Alterraun Verner for most games with a +TP.

Negative turning points:

Defense: 4 -TP's (vs. Texans, Seahawks, Niners)

Offense: 3 -TP's (vs. Seahawks, Jaguars)

Special teams: 2 -TP's (vs. Chiefs, Colts)

Chris Johnson: 1 -TP (vs. Jaguars)

Ryan Fitzpatrick: 1 -TP (vs. Jaguars)

Darius Reynaud: 1 -TP (vs. Seahawks)

Devon Wylie: 1 -TP (vs. Colts)

The defense as a unit leads the team in negative turning points, and has the most games with a -TP.

Now you know what's the coolest? Sorting it week-by-week, so we know who to thank for each win, and who to blame for each loss!

Week-by-Week Turning Points:

WK1 - Win vs. Steelers: Opponent, Alterraun Verner

WK 2 - Loss vs. Texans: Defense

WK 3 - Win vs. Chargers: Jake Locker, Justin Hunter

WK 4 - Win vs. Jets: Alterraun Verner, Zach Brown

WK 5 - Loss vs. Chiefs: Special teams

WK 6 - Loss vs. Seahawks: Defense (x2), Offense, Darius Reynaud

WK 7 - Loss vs. Niners: Defense


WK 9 - Win vs. Rams: Jurrell Casey

WK 10 - Loss vs. Jaguars: Offense (x2), Chris Johnson, Ryan Fitzpatrick

WK 11 - Loss vs. Colts: Special teams, Devon Wylie

WK 12 - Win vs. Raiders: Ryan Fitzpatrick (x2), Justin Hunter (x2)

Some notable omissions to this whole thing:

- Darius Reynaud's safety vs. the Steelers: According to the win probability data, the safety didn't impact the result of the game at any substantial amount. The game also resulted in a Titans win.

- Darius Reynaud and Damian Williams in the muffed punt vs. the Chiefs: It was more of a total special teams failure than the failure of any individual player.

- Darius Reynaud and the fumble-for-touchdown vs. the Niners: According to the win probability data, this play decreased the Titans' chances of winning from 0.10% to 0.00%. Therefore it's not really a turning point, but more of a mathematical dagger.

- Multiple touchdown omissions: Most of the touchdowns omitted were due to a play that happened earlier in the drive already being the true turning point.

- Any of Jake Locker and Ryan Fitzpatrick's interceptions: None of our interceptions in 2013 made enough of a splash in the win probability percentages to warrant being called a turning point. Almost all of them were followed up by the defense recovering and nullifying it, or they happened late in the game when an earlier turning point had already forced things well into the opponent's favor.

- Everything outside of the game-winning catch vs. Chargers: This is actually because the only turning point in that game was the winning Hunter touchdown. The win probability didn't favor the Titans at any point in the game, nor was there any dramatic shift in the Titans' favor... until the final play, where it changed from 93% Chargers, to 96% Titans.

Thank you for reading/skimming through this random post. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think of it! Should I make this an official stat of mine, or never let boredom guide me again? Let me know!