26 October 2010

Giants Make History with Sloppy Win at Dallas

While jetting down the New Jersey Turnpike earlier this morning, I tuned into Boomer (Esiason) and Carton--the morning sports talk show on New York's WFAN 660--hoping to catch their take on the New York Giants' sloppy yet resilient win at Dallas on Monday Night Football.

Effusive (for a non-Giants fan) about the NYG victory, Craig Carton bet the listening audience that NO team has won an MNF game on the road after allowing A) three interceptions, B) two fumbles, and C) a punt return for a touchdown as the Giants did last night. It's an interesting--if rather specific--query, and Pro Football Reference's Team Game Finder can help us find the answer.

The Game Finder won't allow us to search specifically for fumbles, but we can search for games played on Mondays in which the road team allowed at least three INTs, at least one punt return for a TD, and finished with a turnover differential of -3 or worse (the Giants allowed five turnovers to the Cowboys' two, three of which were INTs and two of which were fumbles).

And it turns out that Carton is indeed correct. How many teams have won on the road on Monday after allowing at least 1 punt return for a TD and at least 3 interceptions with a turnover differential of -3 or worse? Just one.*

Of course there's nothing particularly special about Monday night other than the national TV audience, especially now that MNF is a cable show playing second fiddle to NBC's Sunday Night Football. So, how many teams have won on on the road on any night after allowing at least 1 punt return for a TD and at least 3 interceptions with a turnover differential of -3 or worse? Again, just one.

Let's broaden the criteria a bit. How many teams have won on the road on any night after allowing at least 1 punt return for a TD with a turnover differential of -3 or worse regardless of INTs? Just one.

What about teams that have won on the road on any night after allowing at least 1 punt return for a TD and at least 3 interceptions regardless of the turnover differential? Only two have done so, and I remember the other one well: the Giants lost to Detroit in the midst of a seven-game losing streak that sank their 1994 season.

Finally, how many teams have won at home or on the road on any night after allowing at least 1 punt return for a TD and at least 3 interceptions with a turnover differential of -3 or worse? Only four.

So, as Carton and conventional wisdom would indicate, what the Giants did at Dallas last night is indeed rare. The win forces the Jets--surging at 5-1--to share some of the Gotham media spotlight with their roommates at New Meadowlands Stadium. If last night is any indication, the only team who can stop the New York Football Giants is the Giants themselves.

*Criteria limited to post-merger NFL games.

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

2 comments:

Puneet said...

Nicely done, didn't realize Pro Football Reference had a play index too. It really was an odd game, both dominating and infuriating at the same time. Figured it would set some sort of quirky record although I'm surprised you even had to narrow it down to just night games to get those results.

One other tidbit I looked up, Eli's game (3 INT, 100.4 rating) is only the 15th time since 1960 where a QB has thrown 3+ INT with at least a 100 rating. Last guy to accomplish that feat on the road?

Phil Simms also at Dallas over 21 years ago.

J-Doug said...

You know I thought about looking that one up too. Pretty neat.

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