5 Things We Learned This Week

... guess what. You can't learn anything from a single game.


One Game Syndrome (or OGS as I prefer to call it) is one of the worst aspects of sports fandom and analysis. Every week you will hear "Team X really can do Y" and then next week "Team X cannot do Y".

Until last week, the Saints rushing attack couldn't do nothing. Then Ivory ran for 50000 yards, and the problem was "fixed" according to a fair few people. This week the same running problem emerges - and so we ask ourselves - what is the truth? And the truth is that like everything, you need a lot of data to make valid analyses.

Personally, I believe that it takes at minimum 1/4 of a season (whether 160 games, 13 games, 16 games, or 32 games) before you can even begin to identify major trends. Of course, it's even better if you combine that sample with information from the year before to identify long term validity.

A single game, in isolation, tells you nothing. It leads either to absurd pessimism or ridiculous optimism.
Jake Ingram can't long snap? Well, he's done dozens if not hundreds until now without a problem. A few issues today doesn't indicate he can't long snap anymore than Brady's dirt balls indicated he doesn't know how to pass anymore. Dan Connolly can't pass block? Well, he could in 5 games, and not in 1. That's an 83% success rate.

I see this ALL THE TIME on the PatsPulpit game threads. Early on, we give up a 3rd and 10 and you'll see "this is going to be a long day" and "our defence sucks" and "STOP PLAYING THAT F**KING SOFT ZONE!!". Every. Single. Time (admittedly I didnt discover patspulpit until this year)

And yet what does the long term (season) data suggest? Well, it suggests we are as good as any team in the league.

The mindless pessimism I see because people only see the last play (or the last negative play) is ridiculous. Imagine if you guys were Bills fans or Chargers fans. You'd be in a warm bath with the razor on the bottom.

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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