Enough exclamation points will be printed in the coming days regarding Tim Tebow's latest escape act, so I thought I'd let the numbers do the talking. Below is the wildly fluctuating win probability graph from advancednflstats.com, covering the entirety of the Broncos' ridiculous 13-10 overtime victory.
The biggest single-play swings (+/- refers to Denver's chances of victory):
+0.38 WP -- Matt Prater's game-tying 59-yard field goal at the end of regulation. I actually think this drastically understates Prater's chances of making the field goal; a win probability of 0.01 at the start of the play seems far too low. Conversion rates from this distance hover between 35 and 40 percent, and may be even higher for a kicker with a leg like Prater's. Regardless, it was still arguably the game's largest turning point and most unlikely play -- until the next one on this list.
+0.35 WP -- Marion Barber's fumble in overtime, derailing the Bears' potential game-winning drive. By the way, Barber had lost exactly five fumbles in 1,298 career touches entering this week, a rate of 0.39 percent.
+0.29 WP -- Matt Prater's 51-yard, game-winning field goal in overtime, extinguishing whatever doubt remained in the football world that this sport makes sense.
-0.23 WP -- Tebow's scramble for no gain on 3rd and 10, forcing the Broncos into Prater's desperation 59-yard attempt with 14 seconds left in regulation.
+0.18 WP -- Tebow's 19-yard pass to Matt Willis with 30 seconds left in regulation that advanced the Broncos from their own 40-yard line to the Chicago 41, putting Denver within Prater's range.
For all his late heroics, remember that, at one point, Tebow was 3-for-16 on his passing attempts; that is, until the Bears decided to extend Tebowmania another week by playing an extreme prevent defense, with two deep safeties about 30 yards from the line of scrimmage. Tebow took what they gave him, completed 18 of his next 24 passes, and set the stage for a crazy spectacle next weekend in Denver.
As great as I think the disparity in overall team quality is between the Patriots and the Broncos, the head-to-head matchup may be much closer than expected. Denver's problem has been scoring, especially in the first half; New England's problem has been stopping anyone from scoring. If the offense sputters early, with the Broncos' fierce, young pass rush in Tom Brady's face, the Pats may find themselves face-to-face with the prospect of more late-game Tebow magic -- and, as we've seen, that's when you can throw team quality and win probabilities right out the window.
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Stats Driven features a closer look at statistical analysis, sports strategy and trends within Boston sports. Andrew Mooney, a student at Harvard College and an active member of the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective, is the primary contributor. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @mooneyar.