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The Seahawks took the early lead with an 89-yard drive that consumed more than half of the first quarter. Leading 10-7, the Seahawks forced a Falcons punt that Devin Hester returned 80 yards to the Falcons¡¯ 7-yard line. A holding penalty on the return negated that runback, though, and two plays later, Russell Wilson was sacked in the end zone for a safety. The safety, the Falcons¡¯ third in eight postseason games since the start of the 2004 season, increased their win probability from 55 percent to 70 percent.
The sequence was especially pivotal considering what the Seahawks missed. Had Hester¡¯s punt return not been negated by penalty, the Seahawks (already leading 10-7) would have had a 59 percent chance to win. From ¡°what might have been¡± to the safety was a 29 percentage point swing in favor of the Falcons.
This game marked the most exciting game of wild-card weekend, based on the movement in the win probability chart. The Packers started slow, with five straight punts, but because of a few missed opportunities by the Giants, the Packers were able to stay in the game. New York probably felt like it was in a good position going into the half until Green Bay¡¯s final drive, which was capped by another Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary, which increased the Packers’ chance of winning by 13 percentage points.
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Green Bay entered halftime with a 14-6 lead and an 87 percent chance to win, but the game was far from over, as the Giants stopped the Packers on fourth down and scored a 41-yard touchdown two drives later. That long touchdown was the biggest play of the game, based on win probability added, as it increased the Giants¡¯ chance to win from 19 percent to 41 percent. The Packers answered with a touchdown on their next drive and never looked back, as they scored the game¡¯s final 24 points.