As the minutes ticked away in the fourth quarter on Sunday, it was clear the Cardinals were perilously close to an 0-2 start to the season. But just how improbable was their comeback victory over the Colts?
ESPN has an algorithm that computes a team's win expectancy after every play. The Cardinals' low point, not surprisingly, came as they stared down a third-and-20 from their 18 with 8:14 remaining in the fourth quarter. The deficit was already at 10 points, and before the snap, their odds of winning were tabbed at only 3.2 percent.
In a vast majority of cases, a team facing a third-and-20 will have to punt two plays later. If the Cardinals did that, it would have taken a perfect finish to win.
Instead, quarterback Carson Palmer found Jaron Brown for a 22-yard gain, and a roughing the passer penalty tacked on 15 more yards. J.J. Nelson caught a 45-yard touchdown one play later, and all of a sudden, the win probability jumped to 28.2 percent.
Once Phil Dawson connected on the overtime field goal, the Cardinals officially completed the biggest comeback on the young season, according to ESPN.