## What were the most pivotal plays against New Orleans?

Now that I can obtain play-by-play win probability data from Pro-Football Reference, we can look at which plays actually changed the game the most. There are two ways to look at it:

Here is the play-by-play sorted by WPA:

As you can see, the most damaging play in the entire game was the intentional grounding call on Drew Brees. However, the second most damaging play in the game was the sack of Kaepernick with 2:06 remaining in the 4th quarter -- that reduced our chances of winning by 25%. Next are the Brooks INT (21%), the 26-yarder to Colston (20%), Hartley's game-tying 4th quarter FG (16%), and Cadet's KO Return (16%).

The Galette sack was the most critical play in the game. Canal Street Chronicles has an entire article breaking this play down. Boldin, who Kap is about to fire the ball to, breaks wide open at the very second that the D-line stunt breaks through, unfortunately.

Simply put, Kaepernick did not cost us the game. Terrible, terrible blocking assignments and confusion on the Galette sack was the most damaging play. Scrolling through the list, Kaepernick's performance made neither a positive nor negative impact on the game. Hence, his near-50 QBR for the game.

Now, let's look at Clutch EPA. Here’s how I calculated clutch-adjustments:

1. I converted win probabilities into a new measure that looked at how far from 0.5 the game was. so,

=IF(WP>.5,WP/.5,1-WP/.5)

2. I then wrote an IF statement that took the largest of four numbers:

a. converted WP-before, WP-after, WP-change, or the largest converted WP that the play traversed (i.e. if the play flipped the game from one team to the other).

3. So what we end up with is that if a play occurs when the game is 50-50, it has a weight of 1. if it occurs when its 100-0, it has a weight of 0.

4. I then multiply those weights by EPA.

Now, let's look at the play-by-play:

As we see here, there aren't a lot of negative plays from Kaepernick -- excluding the critical sack on the blown protection scheme. We see an incomplete pass on 3rd and 2 that led to a FG, and a couple other failed third down conversions. In fact, we see that Clutch EPA per play for Kap looks not all that different from Brees'...somewhere around zero. ESPN gave Brees a 55 and Kap a 46 after applying 'credit adjustments' -- i.e. if a WR made a great play or something like that. That's a black box -- I don't know what adjustments they're applying.

So, Summary: Kap is having average games with poor protection and receivers who aren't getting open. I don't know what you expect. My own \$0.02 is that Kaepernick isn't running as much as he should be...I see wide open running lanes and he throws into tight coverage or out of bounds. I suspect this is a risk management issue from Harbaugh and Roman -- the majority of he league's starting quarterbacks have missed games this year. I think they want to ensure he's healthy for Dec/Jan.

I think we're going to end up with 11 or 12 wins...we don't have many tough games left. remember, we won 11.5 games last year. So, chill, please. And no more silly posts about drafting another quarterback.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

## Trending Discussions

forgot?

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

I already have a Vox Media account!

### Verify Vox Media account

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

We'll email you a reset link.

Try another email?

### Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

### Join Niners Nation

You must be a member of Niners Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Niners Nation. You should read them.

### Join Niners Nation

You must be a member of Niners Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Niners Nation. You should read them.