## Close series

Posted by Doug on November 13, 2006

Rams fans have got to be smarting after another heartbreaking loss to the Seahawks on a last-second field goal. Perhaps you Ram-backers can take some solace in the fact that you're not alone. Here are all other instances (since 1970) of a team losing twice in the same season to the same team by two points or fewer each time:

TM1 TM2 YR Scores

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kan sdg 1986 24-23, 42-41

buf nwe 1974 29-28, 30-28

cin pit 1980 30-28, 17-16

bal nwe 1981 23-21, 29-28

jax bal 1997 28-27, 29-27

While we've got the program fired up, here is a list of the opposite kind of series: those that were split, but with blowouts in both games:

TM1 TM2 YR Scores

============================

kan sea 1987 41-20, 14-43

dal was 1986 14-41, 30- 6

nyg was 2005 20-35, 36- 0

cin hou 1990 17-48, 40-20

bal mia 1970 17-34, 35- 0

oak sea 1995 34-14, 10-44

dal was 1993 38- 3, 16-35

det min 1980 0-34, 27- 7

nwe nyj 1979 26-27, 56- 3

cin hou 1989 24-26, 61- 7

bal mia 1973 0-44, 16- 3

cin hou 1988 6-41, 44-21

mia nwe 1971 41- 3, 13-34

chi gnb 1980 6-12, 61- 7

cle pit 1989 51- 0, 7-17

buf nwe 2003 31- 0, 0-31

atl nor 1982 35- 0, 6-35

buf ind 1987 27- 3, 6-47

kan sea 1984 34- 7, 0-45

What's up with 61-7? There were two different 61-7 scores in the second table. That strikes me as a weird score. I remember the Bengals one. It was great, because I (one of the few who will openly admit it) am strongly in favor of running up the score. They did an onside kick up 45-0, which was hilarious.

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I have a suggestion for another topic that isn't completely unrelated. I studied the scores in a season in the early 90s (I forget which year) to see if my observation was true. At the time, it seemed to me that teams that score exactly 14 points almost always seem to lose, while those scoring exactly 13 seem to win more often than those scoring 14. I counted all the instances of both, and I was right. The winning percentage for the 13-point scoring teams was considerably higher, in spite of the fact that there were 14-13 games! I don't know if this holds true for all seasons, but I wouldn't be surprized.

As a suggested topic for another time, I'd be interested in seeing the winning percentages for each different number of points scored. For some reason, I think it'd be instructive. Just a thought.

Considering that in both cases they were before the advent of the 2-pt conversion, it was probably 7 TDs (with XP) and 4 FGs. I wonder if that ratio of TDs to FGs is close to the league average (and therefore, certain combinations of TDs and FGs are more common than others).

Bill:

Teams that have scored 13 points have a .3356 winning percentage (386-781-34); teams that have scored 14 points have a .2581 winning percentage (393-1154-26). Very interesting.

Wowzers! It took me what seemed like forever to compile the figures for a single season. How many seasons do your figures cover, Chase? How'd you do that so fast?! Also, why is 14 scored 30% more times than 13?

Bill, I would hazard a guess that the way one would figure out how often a certain number is scored would go something like this:

Figure out what percentage of time an offensive drive results in scoring:

- No points

- Field Goal (3 points)

- 6 point TD (missed EP)

- 7 point TD

- 8 point TD

Figure out some curve of average number of offensive possetions in a game, and then you have your curve to run simulations on. (Note: I am aware I am leaving out safeties, the theory should, I think, be similar - but I am ignoring them). I think, you also have to include special teams & defensive possetions, and the liklihood of scoring on them, however in those cases it is ALWAYS TD's (6,7 or 8 pt variety). This probably means that BAD teams are much more likely to score TD's than FG's. Probably merits some looking into...

Anyway, what I suspect is that (ignoring safeties again) there are three scenarios that lead to 14 points:

2 TD-7's (probably reasonably likely, and only 2 scores, and can be achieved without any offense, or on 1 lucky play)

1 TD-6 and 1 TD-8 (probably almost never)

1 TD-8 and 2 FG's (need 3 scores, and good offense)

However, for 13, there are not as many ways of doing it....

1 TD 6 and 1 TD-7 (how many times has this happened?)

1 TD-7 and 2 FG. Again, this requires 3 drives, and is pretty difficult to achieve with essentially no offense, probably contributing to it's relative rarity.

Hope this makes some sense....

Am I reading that second table correctly? Is it true that there has never been a team that blew out an opponent twice in one year? All of those series look like they are 1-1.

Nevermind, I just saw that was an additional criteria you imposed.

Jacob- Nice rundown. After reading your analysis, I would assume that teams scoring 13 points win more because, in most cases, they are scoring on three drives (vs. 2)--- AND, I bet, are controling the ball longer, leaving less time for the opponent to score.

An interesting additional stat would be the average time of possesion for teams winning with 13 and 14 points.

CHASE- Is this something you can easily run?

Patrick -- on Wednesday there will be a long post about the 13/14 distinction, and every other points for total. Unfortunately, time of possession is not something that I can run.