The Redskins have played 11 games this year and have turned the ball over 10 times. Four of those turnovers came in one half of play, the second half of their 27-23 loss to the Giants on Oct. 21.
When you turn the ball over four times in one half and lose by four points, you have to wonder what might have been. Let’s take a look at each of those turnovers and see what impact it had on the game using the Advanced Football Stats win probability calculator.
—With the score tied at 13 midway through the third quarter, the Redskins had driven from their own 36 and had a first and 23 at the Giants 41 after a questionable leg whip penalty on Tyler Polumbus. Alfred Morris fumbled on a carry up the middle and Michael Boley recovered at the New York 39.
Win probability before the play—.59 (meaning that the Redskins had a 59 percent chance of winning the game). WP after the play—.45 This play reduced the Redskins’ chances of winning by 24 percent.
—With the score still tied later in the third quarter the Redskins mounted another drive, this time from their own 16. On second and five from the New York 42, Robert Griffin III threw a head-scratching pass that sailed over Logan Paulsen’s head and into the arms of Giants safety Stevie Brown. He returned it 41 yards to the Redskins 35
WP before the play—.59 WP after the play—.38 This play reduced the Redskins’ chances of winning by 36 percent.
—The Giants scored a touchdown after that drive to take a 20-13 lead. The Redskins took the ensuing kickoff and drove from their own 20 to the New York 27. On first and 10 from there, Jason Pierre-Paul stripped the ball from Griffin and Linval Joseph recovered at the New York 29.
Win probability before the play—. 31 WP after the play—.11 This play reduced the Redskins’ chances of winning by 65 percent.
—The Redskins intercepted Eli Manning on the very next play and kicked a field goal. Then, with 1:38 left Griffin threw the go-ahead touchdown pass to Santana Moss. After Washington kicked off and the Giants had the ball on their own 20, the Redskins’ win probability was .88. But New York scored on Manning’s bomb to Victor Cruz. While trying to mount a miracle comeback, Griffin threw to Moss, who fumbled. Jayron Hosley recovered.
Win probability before the play—.05 WP after the play—.01 Skipping the math, this play reduced the Redskins chances of winning from very slim to none.
You can’t add up the percentages because that is not the way the metric works. But it is safe to say that the Redskins’ turnovers cost them dearly in this game. It is also safe to say that if they can hold on to the ball they have a very good chance of winning on Monday night.