It seems most of us already know: the biggest factor in losing a football game is usually when your turnover-to-takeaway ratio is a big fat round number. Say, like 3-to-1.
Of course, this is as simplistic as saying the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. No big revelation here...
Still, our guest columnist Andrew Kulp of The 700 Level insists it is the key reason why the 49ers and the Giants are still playing today...and the Eagles are not.
Here's Andrew Kulp's take:
"In an NFL season, 16 teams play 16 games each, producing 256 winners and 256 losers. Fans and even some analysts believe brilliant coaches and elite talents separate the two columns. In theory, they would be wrong.
"ESPN reporter and former Philadelphia Inquirer scribe Ashley Fox published a telling piece on Friday about the only statistic that ultimately matters on the gridiron: turnover margin. "Since 2000, teams that have been plus-1 [or better] in turnover margin have won 92 of 128 postseason games (a winning percentage of .719). Teams that have lost the turnover battle have won just 14.8 percent of the time."
Fox specifically details turnover margin during the playoffs, but the same holds true during the regular season as well. In 2011, teams that were plus-1 or better won 157 of 200 such games -- a winning percentage of .785.
"No surprise, the Eagles were 3-0 when they won the turnover battle, and 3-6 when they lost. "
Here's where Kulp and Fox lose me a little bit:
"While many would argue defense was this team's biggest problem, we've maintained all along it was turnovers first and foremost. The Eagles had a 6-3 record and allowed 16.6 points per game when they gave the ball away two times or less, but were 2-5 and allowed 25.6 when coughing it up on three or more occasions. Still, plenty are not convinced the defense couldn't have done more.
"To put those numbers in perspective, all 32 teams combined to win 17 out of 103 games when they committed three turnovers or more -- a winning percentage of .159. In eight of the 17, or nearly half of them, the losing team was also on the hook for three-plus.
"Amazingly, the Eagles won two of the 17.
"As for the defense's part in this, the league average was 29.4 points allowed. By comparison, it was 20.4 PPG when there were two giveaways or fewer. Interesting that the difference for both the Eagles and the entire NFL was exactly the same -- nine points."
However, the Eagles were actually superior to the rest of the league in overcoming turnovers. Whether they committed five turnovers or zero, Philly's defense almost always allowed fewer points per game, and the club's winning percentage was the same or better. See for yourself:
|5+|| 0-13 (.000), 34.4 PPG
|| 0-1 (.000), 31.0 PPG
|4|| 5-24 (.172), 32.2 PPG
|| 1-1 (.500), 25.0 PPG
|3|| 12-49 (.197), 27.0 PPG
|| 1-3 (.250), 24.5 PPG
|2|| 59-74 (.444), 22.6 PPG
|| 3-2 (.600), 16.8 PPG
|1|| 101-70 (.591), 20.1 PPG
|| 2-1 (.667), 20.3 PPG
|0|| 79-26 (.752), 18.0 PPG
|| 1-0 (1.000), 7.0 PPG
|3+|| 17-86 (.159), 29.4 PPG
|| 2-5 (.286), 25.6 PPG
|2-|| 239-170 (.584), 20.4 PPG
|| 6-3 (.667), 16.6 PPG
"There have been some accusations that we are cherry picking stats that support an agenda, but all we're talking about here is points scored, and how it correlates with giveaways. Clearly the defense was fine when they weren't being bludgeoned by turnovers, and in practically every instance, they were above average at keeping points off the board. This isn't sorcery, folks, and there really is no disputing it."
Okay, I get it... turnovers were a problem, but not the ultimate dagger relative to points allowed by the Eagles... and the Birds' defense outperformed the rest of the league in general when it came to points allowed.
But the chart above doesn't change the fact that everybody in this city saw this defense get rolled time and time again in the first 3 months of the season---whenever the Eagles needed a big-time stop, a big play or a big 4th-quarter performance, this defense rarely provided that.
Yes, in the Atlanta loss, the first three scores given up by the defense were set up by turnovers all starting on the Eagle side of midfield. In the loss to the Giants, the two second half NYG scores followed a failed 4th-and-1 and a Kafka INT. Both drives started around midfield. Both of these games also featured a redzone turnover by Vick.
But a better defense rises to those occasions more often than not. A better defense does not constantly crumble after its offense commits a turnover or gets stopped on a 4th-and-1 at midfield. Offensive turnovers and mistakes happen---but good defenses rise to the occasion.
I say they should have a stat equivalent to a turnover when your linebacker or safety is burned for big yardage by the opposition because they are exposed in a clueless position in a must-stop situation.
Such a stat would destroy any chart that correlates offensive turnovers with defensive failure. I would call this new stat a "burnover"... One defensive "burnover" would be equivalent to one offensive turnover... Each is as potent as the other for causing games to be lost in the NFL.
I'm still surprised a bigger stink wasn't made over that failure to review Lee Evans' "TD catch" from the booth... I thought the ball was firmly in his possession with two feet in the end zone. I thought the strip came late. Maybe they've changed the old rule, but this looked different from the Calvin Williams ruling, too. I thought under the NFL rules he had a TD. I've only seen it from 3 different angles, though. Maybe a 4th or 5th angle will surface that proves me wrong.
Or maybe I'm just jealous of Tom Brady!
Niners org. should be proud of acquiring Harbaugh last off season. from 6 wins in '10 to NFC Championship game this year. Coach of the year IMO. Of course they already had 99% of the talent and it didn't hurt to hit a homerun on Aldon Smith in this years draft either.
I hate this...I really hate this...but, and I hate this...Eli is turning into a facsimli of his brother...and I hate that...I really, really hate that......
Damn Giants....oh well....to your diddy TJ...another good one and a point well taken...turnovers are essential in any win or loss...but I would agree with you in one of your observations...I wonder what our percentage of stops on third down were on defense? I suspect they would be pretty dismal the first 8 games...after that a lot better...your point is well taken..our defense couldn't stop a slight breeze on third downs the first half of the season...and we lost most of those games...nuff said....
Yur GK,..6-0 in playoff predictions,..had Giants,..who incidentally are my B/U team winning 23-20. You can't make that up,..no brag,..just fact,....nite ladies.
You know the worst thing about this is... And being real here when I say this, Eagles could have beaten any of these 2 teams handily... I admit I am a homer but I really feel they could have smashed these guys the way they shaped up nearing the end of the season. I mean we weren't lighting the field on fire on offense but still, all the same....
eff'n Giants... iffen Eli beats Brady twice in the SB... I proclaim him better than Peyton.... something else Big Bro did not do (beat Brady twice in the Playoffs + 1 SB ring vs. 2)... iffen he beats Brady... I hate them stink'n Giants.... they suks!! - I've never seen a QB throw and/or complete more 50/50 jump balls than Eli... now, he's pulling out all these Favre type flip passes and stuff... I hate that guy...
I have to give Credit where credit I'd due and Eli took a asswhooping and still got back up. Take away those two Williams turn overs and it could be an entirely different story
I'm not suprised by this, although the manner we got here suprised me. I wanted a Pats victory today because I felt they could beat the Giants while the Ravens couldn't. In other words my only interest is to see the Giants lose
I'm sure most of you guys have no idea how much this Super Bowl suks for me...considering I live in Connecticut, a veritable black hole of Patriots and Giants fans...
@Tom Jackson Yeah, was gonna say maybe another angle would help clear it up.... But probably not.... Ahh well. Its over and done now baby! Moving along! Yeah I hate that fuckin brady, bellidink, pats as a whole... They just win too fuckin much.... Fucking show off muhfukkas..... Padon my french.....
@Birdcrazy Yeah man, I am big enough to admit that his statement early this season that he is "elite" isn't so far fetched. I would have to rank him in the top 5 QB's in the league pretty easily.
@Tom Jackson Hmmmm shouls be gloating already...he must a tied a huge one on...so bad maybe he can't type...
@Tom Jackson Yea..he suks...smart...but he still suks....
@briview U suk...but you called it...but you still suk.....
@fieldsr69 No doubt. A lot of their struggles were on A. Smith. He looked a little Mc5-ish tonight. There were a few that looked like he was trying to find out how close he could get it to the WR's feet and how many times he could get it to skip across the turf.
@l30p1221n1 That ain't no shit Leo. Eli is the jump ball master. Though admittedly, he really is a good qb. Some of those plays tonight when he had 3 defenders closing in on him and he still stood poised and delivered an "accurate, catch-able" ball.
@l30p1221n1 his recievers save h'm alot.
@Kenemeka I think it can if he tries not to be too cute...
@tboned208 Ot didn't appear as if the Niners would have scored in overtime if they had to go the length of the field
@AbeLinc64 Was hoping McDonald would block it
If'n anything it woulda been the longsnapper this time, that snap was on da ground, good save by Weatherford... @AbeLinc64
@Blasphemizer I live in Springfield. This is the worst case scenerio.
@tboned208 My stomach is turning
@tboned208 Gave it away
@Demappulls! If nothing else, at least there's that.
@Demappulls! I hate that man, I really, really, hate that......
@Poet Mine to. But what can an Eagle fan do ?