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Week 4 Patriots vs Chiefs: Best and Worst Plays

Let's give a statistical look at the best and worst plays of the day.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Reference has added a neat feature to their play-by-play to show the expected points added or lost on any given drive. The concept is based upon historical information; what are the points scored by a team on any given down, distance, and line of scrimmage?

Monday Night Football presented some pretty rough plays, but we can see which plays stood out and which plays cost the team the game.

According to the numbers, Tom Brady's 44 yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell in the third quarter was the play of the game, exceeding the expected play value by 4.35 points. The 5th best play of the game was Jimmy Garoppolo's slip screen to LaFell for 37 yards, with 3 added points.

The three plays in between belonged to the Chiefs, including a 1st quarter 15 yard pass from Alex Smith to Dwayne Bowe to the Patriots 17 yard line, which was a 3.48 added point play. Knile Davis' 48 yard scamper from the Kansas City 14 yard line added 3.33 points, while Alex Smith's 33 yard pass to Travis Kelce on the following play added 3.01 points.

The website also features "winning percentage", which shows the team's chance of victory at any given point. Smith's 15 yard pass to Bowe increased the Chief's winning percentage by 11.4%, the largest jump in the game. The back-to-back plays by Davis and Kelce combined to add a 17.9% chance of victory for the Chiefs.

The Patriots best plays came on a Brady to LaFell connection on 3rd and 4 that picked up 14 yards, which helped the team 5.6% to start the 2nd quarter. The next best play was a 59 yard punt by Ryan Allen, that shifted the field from the Patriots 14 yard line to Chiefs 27 yard line, resulting in a 5.4% shift in the Patriots favor- which sadly leads some credence to Matthew Slater (credited with the takedown) being the MVP of the day.

The worst plays of the day belong to Tom Brady. His pick-6 cost the team an expected 6.84 points, while the interception on the failed out-and-go with Julian Edelman cost the team 5.12 points. The third worst play was Tamba Hali's strip sack in the middle of the third that cost the Patriots 4.61 points.

The fourth worst play was the Chiefs' field goal right before halftime, with -3.28. Of course, the time on the clock plays into that game decision, which shows a contextual need when reading these numbers.

The fifth worst play was from Danny Amendola; James White had a 3 yard gain called back with a 15 yard face mask penalty from Amendola, a play reducing the expecting points by 2.28. So at least he's doing something, right?

Side note, you can kind of use these as a measure of a player's success. I summed up a player's expected points added (EPA) over the course of the game based on whether they initiated or finished the play (ie: ran/pass or received). This doesn't really work for defenders.

Alex Smith led the game with 18.39 EPA, followed by Dwayne Bowe (9.11), Travis Kelce (7.80), and Brandon LaFell (7.16). Tom Brady (-13.38) is the only player to score worse than -0.73 (Shane Vereen).