After the Kansas City Chiefs shocked the Buffalo Bills with a 42-36 overtime victory in Sunday night’s Divisional round playoff game, you may have seen a graph like this one floating around the Internet.
January 24, 2022
If you’re not familiar with it, win probability is a statistic that can be calculated after every play of an NFL game. Taking the score and the situation — which team has the ball, where it is on the field, time remaining in the game, down and distance and so on — the likelihood that each team will win the game can be determined. Those individual calculations for every play can then be graphed as you see here, giving you a clear sense of how the momentum of a game changed.
The Chiefs spent most of the second half in an excellent position to win the game — and then, as you’ll recall, the end of the game featured wild swings back and forth. These are clearly documented on the graph.
But here’s the most amazing thing about Sunday night’s game: it wasn’t the first postseason game in which Kansas City had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. On Thursday morning, ESPN Stats and Info laid it out:
The Chiefs are 3-1 in the playoffs with Patrick Mahomes when their in-game win probability dips below 5%.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 27, 2022
The rest of the NFL is 1-38 since 2018. pic.twitter.com/gJ6PHFwCUX
Here’s the moral of the story: you should never count Patrick Mahomes out — especially in the postseason.