It only took six plays for the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles to take a lead they would never give up against the New York Giants. More impressive was the throw that Carson Wentz made to put those points on the board.
NFL Next Gen Stats tracks all types of interesting stats and have created fascinating new metrics; one of which is “Completion Probability” and it’s companion “Improbable Completions”.
“The machine learning model takes into account Next Gen Stats such as Air Distance, Air Yards, Receiver Separation. It also leverages other previously unrecorded metrics such as receiver distance from sideline, and more. Improbable Completions looks at passes with the lowest Completion Probability each week with a minimum of 10+ air yards, and all scoring plays.”
Carson Wentz found Alshon Jeffery for a 13-yard TD on their opening drive. The pass had a 18.2% Completion Probability, the most improbable completion of the season for Wentz based on:— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 12, 2018
QB Speed at Throw: 14.75 MPH
Time to Throw: 6.77 seconds
WR Separation: 1.1 yards#PHIvsNYG pic.twitter.com/NzZP6FUWTs
This play highlights the double edge sword we’re living with at quarterback. There are times where Wentz going to hold onto the ball longer than your average bear, but the highlight reel plays that come with that make it all worth it.
Wentz talked with the NFL Network crew about the throw after the game.
“They dropped into Tampa 2, they had a good coverage on and down there we always talk about that’s when sometimes you just gotta improvise... They locked up the coverage and I know coach a lot of the time says to not throw across your body in the red zone but sometimes, especially when you got a guy like [Alshon Jeffery] that you can really trust back there, you can kinda take those chances sometimes.”
The key word there is trust. Wentz trusts Jeffery to make a play which frees him up to make a typically ill-advised across his body throw in a key area of the field. With a few obvious exceptions, those tight window throws were something largely lacking from Wentz’s game this season. That was not the case on a special throw that got everybody buzzing.