View Full Version : Statisically Onside kick was the right call.

sd steel
12-21-2009, 04:01 AM
http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/12 ... nside.html (http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/12/should-steelers-have-kicked-onside.html)

12-21-2009, 08:24 AM
Very interesting site, esp for stat geeks. The write-up on the Steelers on-sides kick worth reading.

12-21-2009, 08:33 AM
I agreed with it. The D was getting no stops. The strategy was sound given the situation. If you get the ball then great. If not, then you force a situation where the other team scores but leaving you significant time on the clock. With the amount of time left on the clock and a normal down-field kick, everything was shaping up for a 30-yard FG for GB with under 45 seconds on the clock and no timeouts for us. Besides given the 5 or 6 times this year that the D could have won games with stops at the end and ended up failing, I was greatly preferring the game in Ben's hands that in the D's.

I was actually finally glad to see a little bit of STRATEGY in the decision-making ... you know where you consider two or more outcomes and have a reasonable plan in case the worse outcome ends up playing out. Where has that been all season?

12-21-2009, 08:40 AM
Excerpted from that article:

Up by 2 points with 3:58 left against the Packers, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin called for an onside kick. Was this a good decision?

When onside kicks are expected, they are successful only about 20% of the time. But unexpected onside kicks are successful a surprising 60% of the time. I think we can say this particular kick was certainly unexpected. And surprise onside kicks can be the most beneficial when a team is ahead late in the game. Possession is critical.

Essentially, the Steelers traded 30 yards of field position for the chance to keep the ball out of the Packers' hands.

12-21-2009, 10:26 AM
If IKE TAYLER stayed true to the angle of the kick it would have been perfect execution, but he cut inside at 8 yards. The ball had plenty of room between IKE and the sideline and there were no FREE Packers around to even fight for the ball.

Great call, poor execution.

12-21-2009, 10:29 AM
Statistics...I don't need them.
Right call period. This was a shoot-out game and the Steelers D showed no signs of stopping the Packers. The onside kick gave the Steelers 2 chances. Recover and run out the clock...Or shorten the field for the Packers and if they score it's early. Plus the fact that the kicker was struggling. A TD didn't change the posession count so why not.

12-21-2009, 04:01 PM
Right call indeed....

Specifically considering the way our defense was playing and has played in 4th quarter this year versus the way the Steelers defense was playing and that our QB excels and no-huddle and the 2-minute drill.

But those stats just re-enforce how much less of a gamble the surprise onside kick was.

I think it was a good calculated risk and I'm pleased to see MT has the guts to make it.

12-21-2009, 04:04 PM
So, can we take that onside kick decision to mean that Lord Tyrone is gone next season? LMAO!!!! :mrgreen:

12-21-2009, 04:12 PM
You know I just realized another thing about that onside kick last night. There was more strategy behind it than was apparent to the eye. The onside kick was kept alive as an option by the several kickoffs before that, using our weak STs play as a "bush to hide behind." We actually turned a weakness into an advantage/strength.

On the several kickoffs before that, Reed didn't line up like normal. He lined up further to the side and did little bloop kicks that prevent a big return, ostensibly a statement that we have given up STs TDs and would rather give up yards and protect against it. Reed's further-to-the-side set up was needed for the onside kick but also served as good "bloop kick" position. This conditioned and set up the Packers not to expect it. When it came, it ended up being a total surprise and d*mn near worked if not for poor execution. In other words, it was a great job of hiding intent behind a perfectly "reasonable excuse" and creating some advantage.

It seems like someone is finally THINKING about utilizing some d*mn strategy for once.

12-21-2009, 06:16 PM
I am getting a kick out of the talking heads on ESPN, even Hoge and Dilfer, sayign how it was absolutely the wrong call. Yet, a few weeks back, the Talkng heads were pretty much split 50/50 on Bellicheats call at his own 30. I am also getting a kick out of the replays . . . it is clear the Packers are totally taken by suprise, and only one member of the frontline actually saw what was going on. He was completely blocked out of the play and had Ike just let the ball bounce, the only way we wouldn;t have gotten it was if it took a bad bounce out of bounds. We all know ike and his great hands would never have let that happen. :lol:

Either way, we have watched that exact same scenario play out over just about every loss this season . . . take a late lead midway through the fourth, score points to get a lead or extend it, give the ball to the other team, and watch them drive the field and score a go-ahead TD with not enough time to do anything about it.
Most have held Tomlin responsible, so he does somethign about it. Was it risky? Absolutely, but everything about it worked brilliantly except for Ike touching it a yard early.

Yet just about everyone, instead of talking about possibly the most thrilling game of the year in the NFL, instead of talking about Ben who passed for 503 yards, instead of talking about how it muddies the playoff scenarios, instead of talking about how it crushed GB's playoff hopes . . . they choose to spend time talking about how bad a call it was. :roll: Nice

12-21-2009, 07:04 PM
Shows what the talking heads know.

I'd like to see them answer 3 questions:

#1 What's the probability that the Steelers defense keeps them out of the at the end of the game if the kickoff? 40%? 50%? 60%?

#2 What's the probability of Ben and the offense being able to execute a game winning drive with 2-minutes left in the game? 10%? 20%? 30?

#3 What's the probability of a successful surprise onside kick?

Then explain the situation to them after they answer those 3 questions.

Number #3 is 60% (fact). But even if we assume that it's only 50% for the Steelers crappy special teams.

If we assume that #1 is 50% (even though their 4th quarter defense has been awful and GB just scored a TD on the last two straight positions), and assume #2 is 20% even though Ben and the offense already put up 30 points and 400 yards passing on the day... and Ben excels and no-huddle/2-minute situations.

That would give the odds of us winning if we kick off at about 50%.

If we try an odd side kick, we would recover it 50% of the time. Of the other 50% of the time that they recover and score, our offense wll successfully counter 20% of the time. So that resutls in 50% + (50% x 20%) = 60%. That's a 60% chance of winning if we try the onside kick versus a 50% chance of winning if we kickoff.

It's not genious. It's merely a calculated risk that Tomlin made with some assumptions based on incomplete/imperfect information. The expected value (or results) from the onside kick call out ways the expected value of kicking off.

The only arguement to be made is did he undervalue his defense or overvalue his offense. That's a difficult call and one that Tomlin is well paid and more experienced capable than us to make. But given Ben's 4th quarter comeback history and our defenses 4th quarter debacles this season, it's hard to say he is wrong (dispite the outcome of the GB game)