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2015 Playoff Game Scripts Data

With the playoffs over, let’s take one last look at Game Scripts data from the 2015 season. Some high-level notes:

  • In the wild card round, all four road teams won. No road team won another game in the postseason.
  • Just two teams won playoff games this year with negative Game Scripts: the Broncos against the Steelers (-0.5) and the Seahawks against the Vikings (-2.5). The Steelers led 10-6 for much of the 2nd quarter, and 13-9 in the third quarter. In fact, Denver trailed 13-12 until there were three minutes left in the game. The frigid game in Minnesota was a tale of three quarters… and a disastrous fourth. The Vikings entered the 4th quarter up 9-0, but Seattle scored the final points of the game to emerge with a 10-9 win.
  • The most pass-happy game by a winning team in the playoffs? That came by the Patriots in the division round against the Chiefs. Even without adjusting for Game Script, it was pass-happy, but a 76.4% pass ratio with a +8.3 Game Script is incredible. Remember, New England attempted a pass on 24 of its first 26 plays, and the Patriots finished with just 10 non-kneel runs.

Below are the 2015 playoffs Game Scripts data:

WkTeamH/ROppBoxscorePFPAMarginGame ScriptPassRunP/R RatioOp_POp_ROpp_P/R Ratio

The Broncos ran on close to half of the team’s plays in the first two playoff games, and then on exactly 50% of offensive plays in the Super Bowl. In three of the 11 playoff games, the winning team ran more frequently than they passed; in a fourth game, the Vikings also pulled off that feat.

What stands out to you?

  • sacramento gold miners

    Patriots will need to address the running game soon, especially as Brady nears 40. Matt Forte would be a great fit in NE.

  • Daniel Menezes

    The 18.1 game script for SEA @ CAR jumps out.

    I realize they led 31-0 halftime, but that script really shows that even during the Seahawks comeback, they were never really in the game. I believe they never got the ball with a chance to tie. I don’t think the Panthers Win% dropped below 90 at any point in the second half.

    What was the last team to reach the Super Bowl with two games that high?

    • Tom

      Without looking, I’m thinking the 1985 Bears? They shutout both playoff opponents on their way to the SB.

      • If I’m not mistaken, the 1994 49ers maintained a very high WP throughout their playoff run and continued it in the Super Bowl. The final score in the Dallas game is a little misleading, considering San Fran was up 24-7 at one point and 31-14 a little later. Much like Seattle against the Panthers, the Cowboys never had a second half possession with an opportunity to tie.

        As a side note, I’ve long considered the 1994 Cowboys to be better than that year’s 49ers and the 1995 49ers to be better than that year’s Cowboys. Of course, the “worse” team won the title those years, so maybe I’m just a fool.

        • sacramento gold miners

          I think the 1994 49ers would have beaten the ’95 Cowboys, ’04 Patriots, and ’15 Broncos. They were dominant after the blowout defeat at home against Philadelphia. The 1994 Cowboys had two cracks at SF that season, but just couldn’t handle them. In 1995 SF beat the Cowboys by 18 at Dallas, but succumbed at Green Bay in the playoffs, so we didn’t see a 1995 rematch. But the 1995 Cowboys now had Deion Sanders, and that helped push them over the edge.

          • I think the 2015 Chiefs would dominate the 40s/50s Browns, the 60s Packers, the 70s Steelers, and maybe even the 80s 49ers. The 1990s Cowboys/49ers/Packers/Broncos would probably beat the 2015 Chiefs though.

            • Tom

              Woah….hold on a minute buddy. You’re saying that the 2015 Chiefs would not only beat, but dominate those legendary teams? I think I have some ideas as to why you say that, but can you elaborate?

              • While I don’t think the difference in physical ability at the skill positions is as different as people make it out to be, I think the battle in the trenches would give the 2015 Chiefs an insurmountable advantage (not to mention the fact that they run an offense than no one in the any of those dynasties had ever seen before).

                A little experiment: I’ll take arguably the five best OL from those 40s-70s dynasties and make an all star squad out of them.
                LT – Lou Groza
                LG – Jerry Kramer
                C – Mike Webster
                RG – Gene Hickerson (not really part of the dynasty Browns, but whatever)
                RT – Forrest Gregg

                That’s four HOFers and one guy who isn’t in the HOF but was named first team all pro five times for teams that won five championships (that’s a snub if I’ve ever seen one). Those guys weights ranged between 240-255 pounds. I don’t care how sound their technique was, they are going to be stuck blocking Justin Houston and Tamba Hali on the outside. Houston and Hali are generally more athletic than the guys blocking them today, but against this squad they’d also have the advantage of being much larger and stronger. Then, of course, you have Dontari Poe in the middle. Mike Webster is possibly the greatest center ever to play, but he never had to block anyone (or anything) like a 350 pounder who ran a sub 5 forty.

                The Chiefs would also dominate with their offensive line, and they could probably win without ever passing the ball, healthy Charles or not. Any RB they put on the field would get 5 yards before contact on most plays.

                If that weren’t enough, the Chiefs would also have a decided advantage in the kicking game. Groza is easily one of the top kickers of all time, but head-to-head he doesn’t touch even an average modern kicker.

                I think even the 80s Niners would have a great deal of trouble against them, and it isn’t until the dynasty Cowboys that you find a offensive line I’d feel confident about.

                • Tom

                  Well, that makes some sense, thanks for replying Bryan. Although I’m aware that players now are generally bigger, faster and stronger, I really have no clue as to the degree of that (never really been interested in how much guys weigh or 40-yard dash times, etc.), which is why I asked the question. If you’re saying a very good (but not “legendary”) team like the 2015 Chiefs could dominate (not just beat) a team like, say, the 1976 Steelers at full strength, the difference in player abilities is much more drastic than I would have thought.

                  I also think, as you alluded to, that the types of offenses run now would be somewhat alien to what defenses saw back then…and I have to assume that the amount of technical attention paid to every tiny detail as far as positions go, playbooks, schemes, etc., today probably far outstrips what they were doing back then.

                  Hate to drag this on, cause we’re way off topic, but I have to think that the 1985 Bears would at least be somewhat of a challenge for the 2015 Chiefs? Or would they get dominated as well? C’mon, they had the Fridge!

                  • I still think the Chiefs. I can’t get past the disparity in the line play. Perry was a monster, but I’m not sure he was technically proficient enough to do anything against the KC offensive line. The Fridge may have been scary back then, but 335 pound NTs are par for course these days.

                    Another aspect I overlooked before is how little coaches and backs seemed to care about proper ball carrying technique. Walter Payton may have been the great RB in history, but he fumbles at least 5 times in every full season he played. Opportunistic defenses would be chomping at the bit to go after a ballcarrier with that technique today.

        • Tom

          And they were ahead of the Bears 37-3 going into the 4th quarter in the divisional round.

      • Daniel Menezes

        Yeah, there definitely were if we go that far back (the ’89 49ers probably as well), but I was thinking if anyone recent could compete.

        The ’04 Pats maybe? Though they didn’t have a huge lead against the Colts until the 4th quarter. The ’02 Bucs had a giant lead for pretty much the whole game against SF, and a 20-10 or 27-10 throughout the second half, so they would probably come the closest.