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WP: Pre-Week 13 – Time of Knockout

One of my favorite articles of the year is now live at the Washington Post.

Many games are decided in the final minutes. For proof, look no further than the Baltimore Ravens. While the team is just 4-7, Baltimore has played a truly remarkable set of games. Every Ravens game this year has been either tied in the final two minutes, or seen the trailing team possess the ball in a one-possession game. The Ravens won their last two games on the final play; another two Ravens games went to overtime. A fifth game, against Jacksonville, saw Baltimore lose on the final play of the game, and losses to Arizona and San Francisco were decided in the final 15 seconds.

It has been a remarkable roller coaster ride for Ravens fans. It also means the team’s record can be a bit deceiving.

Games decided in the final few minutes can be a bit of a crap shoot: the difference between winning and losing can down down to one play, and often, one play that’s the result of an unsustainable set of factors. Conversely, if a team can knock out its opponent early, that’s a pretty good indicator of team strength. So what’s the best way to measure how early (or late) in games the winning team puts the game away?

You can read the full article here.