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Eagles in rare territory with goal-line TD swings

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#1 herbicide

herbicide

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

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Eagles in rare territory with goal-line TD swings

November 8, 2012, 2:56 pm


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Athletes and coaches never blame a loss on one play here or one play there. The Ravens’ AFC Championship loss last January was about more than Lee Evans’ drop. The Patriots didn’t just lose to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII because of David Tyree’s catch.

But Michael Vick’s interception that hit Brent Celek’s outstretched hand and was returned 99 yards for a Saints defensive touchdown was such a negative scoring swing for the Eagles that it almost single-handedly cost them the game.

It’s an extremely rare play. According to Bill Barnwell of Grantland, there have been 30 turnovers in the NFL this season while a team was inside its opponents’ 10-yard line. Of those 30 turnovers, only two have been returned for touchdowns. The Eagles were the victim both times, with the previous swing coming in a blowout loss to Arizona in Week 3.

“You can't simultaneously take away such a meaningful play for your own team and provide such a valuable scoring play for the opposition at the same time in any other sport,” Barnwell wrote. “It would be like if you struck out with the bases loaded and somehow produced a grand slam for the opposing team in the process.”

The swing was worth 13 points, according to Barnwell. Teams with the ball at the goal line have an expected scoring output of six points, and the 99-yard TD going the other way resulted in seven. As he points out, the 13-point swing made up almost all of the Saints’ 15-point margin of victory.

If you want to be truly depressed, here’s another stat from Barnwell: From 2007-11, only one NFL team had more than one turnover inside their opponents’ 10-yard line returned for a TD – the Giants. The Eagles have had two such plays in their last six games.