To put last night's Russell Wilson-to-Golden Tate Hail Mary That Shouldn't Have Been in perspective, consider these sets of plays from Week 3 that add up to +0.99 WPA, the total awarded for the Seahawks' game-winning play.
- JAX @ IND: 1st and 10, 0:56 Q4, 16-17: B. Gabbert pass short right to C. Shorts for 80 yards, TOUCHDOWN, 0.73 WPA
- NE @ BAL: 3rd and 9, 2:28 Q4, 30-28: T. Brady pass short right intended for W. Welker INTERCEPTED by L. Webb at NE 40. L. Webb to NE 40 for no gain. PENALTY on L.Webb Illegal Contact 5 yards enforced at NE 32. 0.22 WPA
- BUF @ CLE: 2nd and 6, Q2 0-14: T. Richardson right guard for 6 yards TOUCHDOWN. 0.04 WPA
- DET @ TEN: 2nd and 10, 0:06 Q4, 34-41: Sh. Hill pass deep middle to T. Young for 46 yards TOUCHDOWN. 0.42 WPA
- KC @ NO: 4th and 5, 2:26 Q4, 21-24: M. Cassel pass short left to D. Bowe to NO 39 for 7 yards. 0.27 WPA
- NYJ @ MIA: 3rd and 7, 10:53 Q3, 10-10: M. Sanchez pass short right intended for S. Hill INTERCEPTED by C. Clemons at MIA -5. Touchback. 0.20 WPA
- NE @ BAL: 2nd and 15, 6:43 Q3, J. Flacco pass deep left to T. Smith pushed ob at NE 47 for 38 yards. 0.10 WPA
- JAX @ IND: 1st and 10, 1:33 Q4, 14-16: A. Luck pass short left to D. Brown pushed ob at JAX 28 for 39 yards. 0.39 WPA.
- NE @ BAL: 2nd and 7, 1:26 Q4, 28-30: J. Flacco pass deep right to D. Pitta pushed ob at NE 35 for 17 yards. 0.34 WPA
- DET @ TEN: 1st and 15, 3:23 Q4, 27-27: J. Locker pass deep left to N. Washington for 71 yards TOUCHDOWN. 0.19 WPA
- HOU @ DEN: 3rd and 6, 3:05 Q4, 18-31: P. Manning pass short left to J. Dreessen for 6 yards TOUCHDOWN. 0.07 WPA.
These are some of the biggest plays from around the NFL this week. It only takes a handful before we arrive at the point where refereeing decisions swing an entire game one way or another.
Sometimes it only takes one. Monday night's situation was rock bottom; the worst possible outcome from incompetent refereeing. We might just see these replacements back on the field next week, and pure odds tells us they probably won't make a similarly awful mistake next week. But they might make three or four smaller ones, and as you see here, snowballs can turn into avalanches.
The locked out referees are not perfect. Nobody is suggesting they are. But sports are supposed to be one of the few things in life where the results are truthfully representative of what actually took place. The closer we are to the truth, the better. Simple as that.