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07 Dec 2010

Week 13 Quick Reads

by Bill Barnwell

On Sunday, Peyton Manning threw four interceptions for the second week in a row. Perhaps more disturbingly, for the second week in a row, Peyton Manning threw two interceptions that were returned by the opposing team for touchdowns, giving him four pick-sixes in the course of seven days. You've only got to think back to the Super Bowl to give him a fifth crucial pick-six, his throw to Tracy Porter that just about sealed the game for the Saints.

Just 10.1 percent of interceptions are returned for touchdowns, so in light of all this, questions have to be asked. Is Peyton Manning slipping? Is he prone to pick-sixes in a way that other quarterbacks are not, or is that even something quarterbacks can control? And has there been a quarterback in recent memory who has seen as many of his interceptions taken to the house as Manning has?

There's one thing we can say beyond any shadow of a doubt: This is not common for Peyton Manning. Those five pick-sixes were as many as Manning threw in the regular season from 2002 through 2009; he had one in 2003, one in 2006, and three in 2008. Even if we add in the four passes from the past two weeks, Manning has seen 7.9 percent of his interceptions over that timeframe returned for touchdowns, a figure below the league average.

Four would be an impressive total for any quarterback, though. Since 2002, only two quarterbacks have thrown as many as five touchdowns in a single season: Brad Johnson threw five in 2003, and A.J. Feeley had five of his own a year later. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler managed to throw 26 interceptions last year without having a single one returned for a touchdown, the most of any quarterback over the timeframe.

Is it a consistent skill to throw pick-sixes or avoid them? It certainly doesn't appear to be. Over the remainder of their careers from 2002-2010, Johnson and Feeley threw six pick-sixes out of their 46 interceptions, a rate of 13.0 percent. Look at the other end of the spectrum and there's not much of a difference: Outside of 2009, Cutler's thrown six pick-sixes in 45 attempts, a rate of 13.3 percent.

There's no obvious player type linking the guys at the top and bottom of the pick-six charts, either. Among quarterbacks with 50 interceptions thrown or more, the lowest rate of interceptions returned for touchdowns belongs to ... Jake Plummer (4.6 percent). He threw three pick-sixes admist 46 interceptions, one fewer than Peyton Manning's thrown in his last eight picks. Right behind Plummer are such notable speed demons as Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Green, and Tom Brady. The highest rate belongs to Johnson, at 18.9 percent, with Joey Harrington, Carson Palmer, and Brian Griese all at 15 percent or better. Famed gunslinger Brett Favre (10.1 percent) is right at the same level as the ultra-cautious Chad Pennington (10.0 percent).

In the long run, there's nothing suggesting that Manning's two-game stint is anything but a colossal fluke, a confluence of mistakes and bad luck. Even if Manning were to continue throwing four interceptions a game, it would be a shock if more than one out of every ten or so were to be returned for a touchdown.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Tom Brady NE
21/29
326
4
0
251
248
3
Considering how well the Jets pass defense has played since Darrelle Revis turned back into the 2009 version of Darrelle Revis, opponent adjustments might actually be underrating this performance, which is remarkable. We ran the list of Brady's greatest games a few weeks ago, and at 251 DYAR, this ranks as Brady's ninth-best game as a pro. After four straight incompletions in the first quarter, Brady was 19-of-23 for 297 yards with nine first downs and four touchdowns (plus a 36-yard defensive pass interference penalty).
2.
Drew Brees NO
24/29
313
2
1
135
135
0
Brees had four plays of 40 yards or more, including two to Robert Meachem in the second half that scored one touchdown and set up the game-winner a few plays later. That was part of an unconscious second half for Brees, who was 12-of-13 for 143 yards with three first downs and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, the one incompletion was an interception, and he took a 15-yard megasack on one third down. He finished the day with 134 DYAR; this year, that would have been about the sixth-best performance in an average Quick Reads. It wasn't a great week for quarterbacks.
3.
Matt Schaub HOU
22/36
337
2
1
130
130
0
Schaub kept the Texans in a shootout with Michael Vick and the Eagles playing his own team's awful pass defense, which is reasonably impressive. At one point, he converted five consecutive third downs, and he had four completions for 20 yards or more on first down.
4.
Michael Vick PHI
22/33
302
2
1
127
129
-1
The Texans got back in the game, meanwhile, during a three-drive stretch in the second and third quarters that saw Vick go 5-of-12 for 28 yards with just one first down, ending in a deep interception. The Eagles went from leading by 11 to losing by three in the meantime, but Vick turned the jets back on after that stretch; Philly scored touchdowns on their next two drives to get the lead back, and Vick led the way by going 6-of-8 for 115 yards, throwing for one touchdown and running in another.
5.
Jason Campbell OAK
10/16
117
1
0
121
93
28
Against a Chargers defense that had made Peyton Manning look downright human the week before, Campbell took just one sack on 17 dropbacks and completed eight of his first nine attempts for a total of 71 yards. He also finished the day with a gorgeous pass to Louis Murphy off of play-action for 37 yards, setting up the game-clinching touchdown. Four of his five carries were also successes, including a nine-yard run for a touchdown on fourth-and-1 set up by his "unsuccessful" carry, an eight-yard scramble on third-and-9. He also converted another fourth-and-1 and a third-and-8 for first downs later on.
6.
Drew Stanton DET
16/24
178
1
0
104
101
4
Can't say I was expecting Jason Campbell and Drew Stanton to go fifth and sixth in a Quick Reads this year. Stanton faced the league's fourth-best defense and put up respectable numbers, converting four of the ten third downs he faced while avoiding turnovers and taking just two sacks on 26 dropbacks. 120 of his 178 passing yards (67.4 percent) came after the catch; the rest of the league had 44.9 percent of their passing yards in Week 13 come with the ball in their receivers' hands.
7.
Aaron Rodgers GB
22/30
298
3
0
102
84
17
Rodgers had a total boom-or-bust day, with four of his passes going for a total of 203 yards. His other 30 dropbacks produced 95 yards, with Rodgers taking four sacks and an intentional grounding penalty in the red zone. Those four big plays either scored touchdowns or were the primary plays on drives that ended up in the end zone.
8.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
22/38
253
1
1
98
98
0
No bonus points for leading a game-winning drive with an S-shaped nose, alas. Roethlisberger produced 13 first downs on 41 dropbacks, taking just three sacks against the Ravens defense while avoiding a couple others with escapes and/or throw aways. His two longest pass plays of the game went to Emmanuel Sanders and David Johnson. That would have been a fun prop bet to win.
9.
Jay Cutler CHI
21/26
234
1
0
83
77
6
Clutch is a funny concept. With Detroit leading, Cutler took three sacks on four dropbacks in the third quarter, fumbling one of them away. He finished the quarter with a nine-yard checkdown on third-and-24. In the fourth quarter, though? Cutler went 8-of-8 for 87 yards with five first downs, a touchdown, and no sacks. He also drew a personal foul call against Ndamukong Suh that seemed to amount to Ed Hochuli's pity.
10.
Jon Kitna DAL
18/25
167
1
0
76
87
-11
Kitna was 9-of-10 for 94 yards with five first downs on second down. He was also 11-of-11 on throws to his running backs and tight ends, but just 7-of-14 on passes to his wide receivers. Then again, six of those passes were thrown 15 or more yards downfield, and only one of the passes to his non-wideouts traveled more than six yards past the line of scrimmage. If only there were a statistic that adjusted catch rate for pass distance. (Alas, it requires charting data.)
11.
David Garrard JAC
14/19
126
0
0
73
61
12
After his adventures in the option last week, Garrard joined in the run-heavy offense against the Titans for seven carries, five of which were successful. One of the unsuccessful runs was a third-down sneak that Garrard just went and converted on fourth down. He only dropped back 20 times as a passer, but he didn't turn the ball over and had a 45 percent Success Rate against one of the better pass defenses in the league.
12.
Carson Palmer CIN
23/33
249
1
0
64
64
0
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Joe Flacco BAL
17/33
266
1
0
63
57
6
His receivers didn't help, with drops by Ed Dickson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh standing out. The game obviously changed on his fumble, but Flacco hadn't done much for a while before that. After his 67-yard completion to Donte' Stallworth in the second quarter, Flacco had just six first downs on 25 dropbacks, and didn't complete a pass for more than 19 yards the rest of the way. In fact, he only threw five "deep" passes (15 yards or more downfield) the rest of the way, and he completed three of them. The crucial sack came when the Steelers were able to get pressure on Flacco, but the Ravens probably could have gone max protect a couple more times and tried to get Stallworth or Houshmandzadeh matched up with Ryan Clark or Bryant McFadden in one-on-one coverage.
14.
Philip Rivers SD
23/39
280
1
1
61
59
2
Maybe he was better without the receivers. Even with Nnamdi Asomugha far from 100 percent, Rivers didn't have a completion longer than 25 yards, was 5-of-15 on passes 15 yards or more downfield, and converted just three of the ten third downs he faced on the day. Although we're not exactly the establishing-the-run crew at FO, there's probably something to be said for calling more than seven runs on 52 plays. After a fourth-and-1 stuff of Mike Tolbert at midfield for a loss in the second quarter, the Chargers didn't call a run play again until there was 10:40 left in the game. And that was the last one of the day.
15.
Donovan McNabb WAS
26/44
298
1
2
46
57
-11
The raw numbers for this game are pretty ugly for both McNabb and the Redskins, but McNabb has a fair amount of excuses. First, the Giants have the league's best pass defense, so the bar is low. Second, his second interception was a Hail Mary, thrown with one second left in the game while the Redskins were down 24 points. It was meaningless. Finally, while McNabb fumbled twice on sacks, his receivers fumbled away three different completions. While McNabb's total isn't affected by the fact that the Giants recovered all three fumbles, the possession change denied him the chance to continue those drives, all of which ended on the Giants side of the field.
16.
Jake Delhomme CLE
24/34
217
1
0
39
39
0
What a rare treat! A Jake Delhomme game without an interception, his first such game since Week 10 of last year and only the fourth game he's avoided a pick in over the past two years. He had an eight-play stretch in the third quarter that saw him go 7-of-7 for 137 yards with five first downs, a touchdown, a sack, and five plays of 15 yards or more. Did he hit some kind of cheat code that disabled the defense for a quarter? He had two first downs on his other 28 dropbacks.
17.
Matt Ryan ATL
18/36
205
2
2
34
34
0
Sure enough, Ryan followed a streak of five straight incompletions (one of which was actually an interception, and all of which were intended for Roddy White) with five straight completions (one of which was a DPI) to finish the game, ending with his touchdown pass on an out to Michael Jenkins to end the game. With Jason Snelling injured and Michael Turner unable to catch passes, Ryan threw five balls to Gartrell Johnson and Ovie Mughelli; Mughelli even picked up a 17-yard touchdown on a checkdown.
18.
Peyton Manning IND
36/48
365
2
4
14
14
0
The Colts were able to stay in the game despite Manning's interceptions because he kept extending drives; Manning picked up seven of the ten third downs he faced on the day, including the first five. All four of Manning's picks were listed as coming on passes thrown to the left side, but he only had three interceptions on throws to the left before Sunday.
19.
Matt Cassel KC
18/30
196
1
0
4
3
1
With Dwayne Bowe going 0-for-3, Cassel wasn't able to adapt. After a six-play stretch that gained five first downs and the team's only touchdown early on, he had just five first downs on his subsequent 23 dropbacks. He took a 13-yard megasack on fourth-and-goal from the Broncos two-yard line, and then finished the next drive with an intentional grounding penalty on third down. And this all came against the dismal Broncos defense. Very unimpressive.
20.
Matt Hasselbeck SEA
17/30
229
0
2
1
1
0
21.
Troy Smith SF
10/25
194
1
1
0
-14
14
During this game, Brian Billick -- who I think is generally pretty good -- suggested that Vernon Davis was the fastest guy on the 49ers roster. How could he be the fastest guy on the roster with Ted Ginn around? He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash; I would figure some of the defensive backs must be able to beat that. Now, if we're talking about Speed Score? Davis would have a figure of 135.8, which would be incredible if Speed Score had some useful predicative value for tight ends. Anyway, Davis promptly scored a 66-yard touchdown that saw him run 45 yards down the sideline on a blown coverage, so point, Billick. Smith went just 3-of-12 with an interception and two sacks on the 49ers' final three drives.
22.
Eli Manning NYG
15/25
161
0
1
-1
-1
0
Manning was 2-of-5 in the red zone, including an ugly interception to Kevin Boss in the end zone. While most of Manning's picks this season have been of the unfortunately tipped variety, Manning just totally misread the situation and forced a throw into a lane that wasn't there on first down. I'm tempted to just call that a Cutler. Manning also failed to convert a single third down all day, with his three completions coming on third-and-8, third-and-12, and third-and-23. He finished 0-for-7 there.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Sam Bradford STL
18/28
187
0
1
-8
-4
-5
The first half of Bradford's day on third downs was even worse than Eli's: He had three straight incompletions, a completion for two yards that was well short of the sticks, a sack, another incompletion, and then an interception. As a result, the Rams had a total of six points. After that, he went 4-of-5, with each completion going for at least 10 yards and a first down. The Rams subsequently scored 13 points.
24.
Tarvaris Jackson MIN
15/22
187
2
3
-19
-25
6
Jackson combined with Brett Favre, meanwhile, to throw three interceptions on eight third-down attempts. On the other hand, Jackson also had a 46-yard completion to Sidney Rice. He also completed his first seven attempts on first down and his first three attempts on second down, but it's hard to fade three picks on 24 dropbacks against the Bills, of all teams.
25.
Derek Anderson ARI
7/20
93
0
1
-37
-37
0
If this is it -- and I've already done this for Anderson once this year, thinking that the Cardinals would be willing to stick with Max Hall for more than a couple of weeks -- it ended in particularly Andersonian style. Before he was benched, Anderson's last ten dropbacks resulted in two completions for a total of 11 yards and one first down. He took a sack, threw six incompletions, and was picked off. Hall managed to top him, though, as his five dropbacks produced two sacks, an interception, a first down on a checkdown to Reagan Maui'a, and two fumbles.
26.
Josh Freeman TB
20/38
181
1
1
-43
-54
11
27.
Chad Henne MIA
16/32
174
1
3
-55
-53
-1
Ended the Dolphins' season on an incomprehensible interception on third-and-9 with one minute left. Of course, this was like some sort of weird karma bounceback for Eric Mangini after his decision to try and score against the Jets at the end of overtime. Henne had picked up just two of his eight previous third downs on the day, and the Dolphins would have needed to go about 40 yards to get onto the very edge of Dan Carpenter's range. Why not run it and take your chances with better field position in overtime?
28.
Kerry Collins TEN
14/32
169
0
2
-67
-66
-1
29.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
15/25
158
1
1
-75
-42
-33
As the Vikings got out to a 24-point lead, Fitzpatrick had one of his longest stretches of ineffectiveness. He finished the first half 4-of-8 for nine yards with a first down and an interception. That includes completions for zero and -3 yards. It got a little better after that, but it wasn't of much consequence because of the scoreline. He also managed to pull off the stripsack/aborted snap back-to-back combo to start the fourth quarter.
30.
Kyle Orton DEN
9/28
117
0
0
-88
-88
0
If you enjoy wide swaths of ineffectiveness, this is the Quick Reads for you. With the defense having arguably its best game of the season, Orton simply couldn't complete passes against the Chiefs, with Brandon Carr in particular having an impressive game. His second half line: 4-of-18 for 46 yards, with as many first downs (two) as sacks. One of the sacks was a Tamba Hali stripsack that saw Hali run right by a gimpy Ryan Clady. This was the inverse of a typical 2010 Broncos game, actually: The running game was fantastic, the defense showed up, and the passing game was left somewhere in Denver.
31.
Jimmy Clausen CAR
18/34
169
0
1
-124
-124
0
Clausen actually converted his first pass on third down, getting 14 yards on a throw to Brandon LaFell. The subsequent 10 chances resulted in a pick-six, an aborted snap, two sacks, five incompletions, and a four-yard checkdown to Dante Rosario on third-and-17. In the end, it will actually end up being the Panthers prediction that turns out as the worst one in FOA2010, not the Texans.
32.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
17/33
164
0
3
-143
-133
-10


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Maurice Jones-Drew JAC
186
0
4
0
70
71
-2
You may have heard about committing to the run; the Jaguars gave it a ring and tattooed its name on their arm. Jacksonville ran the ball 50 times on Sunday, including 29 times in the first half. The Jaguars only threw the ball 13 times before halftime, and after seven attempts in the third quarter, they were done passing the ball for the day. They were able to do that because MJD was so effective. He had a 65 percent Success Rate on his carries for the day, including successes on eight of his first nine attempts. He was only stopped for no gain or a loss twice all day, and he averaged better than five yards a pop on 19 first down carries. That's almost as much as the average pass play on first down across the league in Week 13 (6.3 yards).
2.
LeSean McCoy PHI
44
1
86
1
63
13
50
McCoy had the sixth-most receiving DYAR of the week, catching all eight passes thrown to him and turning six of them into successful plays. That all came after the catch, as McCoy didn't have a single pass to him travel more than one yard past the line of scrimmage. He had 104 YAC, including 44 yards on a screen pass to set up the final score of the game.
3.
Brandon Jacobs NYG
103
2
0
0
53
58
-5
The Jacobs that was throwing his helmet into the crowd and brooding on the sidelines has given way to one that, while sharing carries with Ahmad Bradshaw, is wildly effective. His eight carries on Sunday produced 103 yards, including runs of 28 and 39 yards. He had four first downs and two touchdowns on those carries, and while the Giants gave Jacobs just two of their 15 carries in the second half, he's done enough as a back to justify a bigger chunk of the playing time down the stretch.
4.
Adrian Peterson MIN
107
3
1
0
50
55
-5
Peterson scored on two of his three touches inside the five-yard line, and added a third touchdown with a 43-yard run at the beginning of the fourth quarter. He had a 63 percent Success Rate against the league's worst run defense, while Toby Gerhart was at 42 percent. Peterson also picked up his only third down attempt on the day.
5.
Knowshon Moreno DEN
161
0
14
0
49
57
-9
Moreno was basically the Broncos entire offense. He got every one of the team's 23 carries and produced eight first downs and a 52 percent Success Rate against the league's tenth-ranked run defense. Not a single one of his carries went for fewer than two yards, and he had six carries for ten yards or more, including a 24-yard scamper to close out his day.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Rashard Mendenhall PIT
45
0
18
0
-40
-25
-15
Let's hope Mendenhall really likes round numbers and wins. His team won, and he got to 1,000 rushing yards on the season, but Mendenhall wasn't able to get anything started on the ground. His 19 carries produced just 45 yards, with six of those carries going for no gain or a loss. Only four of them were successful, and he ran for just one first down all day. Including his work as a receiver, his longest gain of the day was just nine yards.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Sidney Rice MIN
5
6
105
21.0
2
66
Even without Brett Favre, Rice had three catches for 90 yards and an incredible 31-yard touchdown by the time the first quarter was over. He added another touchdown in the second quarter, and was only targeted on one incompletion all day (which was actually an interception). Before Sunday, Rice had caught just one of the eight previous targets thrown in his direction; playing the awful Bills pass defense goes a long way in improving a receiver's confidence, perhaps even beyond the opponent adjustments in our numbers.
2.
Robert Meachem NO
3
3
106
35.3
1
60
Meachem's three passes: A 12-yard completion for a first down on third-and-9, a 52-yard touchdown, and a 48-yard completion to put the ball on the Bengals 15-yard line. Simple enough.
3.
Andre Johnson HOU
6
9
149
24.8
0
58
While the bumbling idiots on the NFL Network were debating whether Johnson had actually had an impact on the game (forgetting some of his catches along the way), Johnson had six first downs on nine targets, with three completions for 30 yards or more.
4.
Wes Welker NE
7
7
80
11.4
1
55
Welker started off the game matched up against Darrelle Revis. Consequently, he didn't really receive the ball all that much, with just two catches in the first quarter. Once Revis started moving around, though, Welker started getting more in the way of opportunities. He ended up catching everything that was thrown to him and produced a success each time, including an 18-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
5.
Earl Bennett CHI
7
8
104
14.9
0
52
Bennett did have an incompletion on third-and-two, but he was pretty marvelous otherwise: Seven first downs on seven completions, including four third down pickups. Before Week 9, he had been thrown 11 passes on third down and converted just one of them. Since? He's got 14 third down targets with nine first downs and a touchdown.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Roddy White ATL
7
16
74
10.6
0
-39
It's hard to imagine someone who gained 25 yards on third-and-20 ending up at the bottom of the receiver list, but the Falcons' propensity for forcing the ball to White came back to haunt White's numbers this week. Even with Aqib Talib out for a fair amount of the game, White was targeted on eight incompletions and an interception, producing just four first downs on 16 targets.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 07 Dec 2010

137 comments, Last at 11 Dec 2010, 8:23am by onetime91

Comments

1
by PatsFan :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:25pm

What would Brady's numbers be if you took away the 50yd "pass" to Woodhead? It was basically a pitch except Woodhead was a yard in front of Brady instead of a yard behind him.

26
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:37pm

Still pretty good, given the previous strength of the Jets defense. I'm more curious about what the YAR total was (with the D removed).

To me, last night's game was one of those games that really highlights how different a team plays/prepares from week to week. A good game plan and preparation can turn an awful D into a decent one for just one week, and that kills the D-adjusted stats for the opposing team. Or a good defense can roll over and play dead like last night. In each case, I think the D adjustments can overdo it.

Not to take away anything that Brady did (except to note that I wouldn't exactly give him any credit on that DPI, given that the throw hit the beaten defender in the trailing foot), but it ranking at #9 in his career already seems a bit high... nevermind the argument that the adjustments should even be stronger. He did what he does, which is calmly execute his offense without screwing up (a strength that is being magnified lately, at least to me, while watching the struggles of his main rival), and the properly prepared team simply steamrolled the poorly prepared team that's more interested in boasting than doing simple things right on the field. I've seen dozens of games where I came away more impressed with the plays that he made or thought "wow, noone else could've played that well." (Often it's against the Steelers.) Last night was one of those games where I felt like any of the younger guard - Rivers, Rodgers, Romo - could've also shredded that defense.

This is all entirely my opinion based on watching and not on stats, and not an argument I expect to gain traction here. (And yeah, at this point the Pats offense is so effective that they'd dominate just about anyone now, so a lesser D might've been much worse.) I don't mean to sound like the guy that comes here and bitches about the stats (I promise I'm not that guy); only to say that my impressions of last night leaned more towards the "amazed (and amused) by what frauds the Jets are" side than the "Damn that Brady sure is amazing" side. Not that the latter side isn't true.

The Jets have deserved to lose a lot of games lately... I would've rather seen them just lose several by 3-4 points, but I guess losing one by 42 is pretty satisfying too.

39
by Stephen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:55pm

The TD pass to Branch was pretty impressive. There was a pretty tight window to throw that in there. Not only was the pass accurate enough to avoid deflection in a crowd, it was accurate enough to hit Branch in stride and allow him to score the touchdown.

I'd agree that many quarterbacks could have made the throw, but I'm not sure more than a handful could make the throw accurate enough to allow the receiver to score a touchdown.

42
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:57pm

The throw itself was great. There were two defenders in his path. Ihedibo (sp?) missed his tackle horribly. The throw was great, but the TD was on Branch and the Jets missed tackle.

51
by Purds :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:11pm

I am openly a Pats basher, but I have to say that Brady did some really nice things that can't be measured in the stats last night. He was very evasive in the pocket early in the game. Yeah, he took some sacks eventually, but he really did well to avoid the rush on a few plays he turned into big plays (he also had some plays with great protection, but I am not thinking of those).

So, what I am arguing is that while the earlier posters may be right in saying that some of Brady's stats are helped by his teammates last night doing great things after catching the ball, the stats also don't really reflect how well he did some things, especially avoiding the rush and then getting a good pass off. He looked pretty darn awesome last night.

55
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:15pm

Yeah. On the first replay I actually thought it was behind him a bit, since he caught it on the back shoulder. But then it became clear that it had to be there.

Great job all around by Branch lately too. I've been watching him run his routes, even on incompletions, and I've come to the conclusion that he's really underrated. I imagine his effort has increased since returning to a team with a worthwhile QB, which is understandable, but his ability is higher than people give him credit for. (Or maybe I'm just selectively remembering the non-credit implied by the never-ending "Brady never had anyone to throw to" arguments made by dumb people.)

44
by nat :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:00pm

Like last week against the Lions, the D in DYAR doesn't matter much to Brady's numbers. The Jets are (were) 15th in pass defense DVOA, slightly better than the Lions' 16th. This was an excellent passing game against a mediocre pass defense.

I know it's surprising. But I love DVOA because it gives insights like this: the Jets aren't as tough on passing defense as we hear, just as the Lions are tougher.

As for your subjective impressions, I'd agree this was more of a methodical dismantling rather than a series of gaudy explosions. It was the kind of game that makes you think anyone can do this to the Jets. Guess what. They can't.

48
by AudacityOfHoops :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:08pm

"this was more of a methodical dismantling rather than a series of gaudy explosions. It was the kind of game that makes you think anyone can do this to the Jets. Guess what. They can't."

That was the same impression I got, but I felt like much of the dismantling was done via playcalling and route running. It was a game that made me question why every team can't do this on offense - quick slants, screens or quick flat throws, crossing patterns that act as legal picks, running backs running into the jungle of lineman and then popping out uncovered. The Patriots as a whole made it look easy, and I think a lot of credit for Brady's numbers should go to the entire team and whoever was calling the plays.

54
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:15pm

Earlier this year, when the Vikings played the Pats, I said that it was the worst Vikings defensive performance since the early Mike Tice era. In hindsight, I probably wasn't giving the Pats offense enough credit, although I'd also say what they did to the Vikings was more on order of a simply physical whipping, than a playcalling and execution masterpiece.

57
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:24pm

You could say that about his entire career and not be wrong. But it's rather simplistic.

Other teams do try to go against them with a similar game plan. No other team executes it as well, avoids mistakes, and keeps the pedal to the metal 100% the way they do. The Jets sort of gave them a gift with the two short fields; many teams just get 6 there. The Pats saw a chance to crush them and did. At 10-0, they smelled blood and just piled it on them where I think almost all the other teams might've eased off a bit. Not deliberately, but sort of subconsciously they'd think "OK, we're up big now, we've got this." These guys do not. And while yeah, they've got great planning and route combos and balance and protection, Brady's still better than the QB alternatives. Other guys would still screw up and stop drives, or just miss one little thing that changes things. He does not.

I think the focus of the Patriots organization, top to bottom, is head and shoulders above the rest of the league. You hear so much about Manning's preparation and how hard he works and studies and learns defenses, and yeah, that's admirable and his best trait... but I think everyone in the building in New England does that.

62
by AudacityOfHoops :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:37pm

Great, then we agree.

66
by dryheat :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:46pm

It was a game that made me question why every team can't do this on offense - quick slants, screens or quick flat throws, crossing patterns that act as legal picks, running backs running into the jungle of lineman and then popping out uncovered.

The throwing of the football is not why Brady stands if not alone, than in a very small crowd in this respect. It's the knowing what the defense is going to try to do, recognizing coverages that are often well-disguised, and making the correct reads, pre-and post-snap. Very few quarterbacks in history have been able to process that much information that quickly. And then there's the throwing the ball part, which is also very good.

I read a stat today that said that yesterday was Brady's 8th career game with 300 yards, 4 TDs, and no interceptions, the most since the merger. I found this to be very impressive.

72
by Shattenjager :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:06pm

I looked it up just to see what the rest of the list of players with the most 300 yard, 4 TD, 0 INT games looked like, so I figured I might as well post a link to it: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/1YSfQ

Interesting factoid: The only two to lose while doing that more than once are Jeff Garcia and Dan Marino.

77
by dryheat :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:23pm

I guess it's less impressive after reading the list.

86
by RickD :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:45pm

I'd say it's more impressive. Brady has done 8 times something that the great John Elway only did once, that the great Joe Montana only did once, Dan Marino 4 times, etc..

Even Peyton Manning only has 4 games of this nature. Neat tidbit: Manning's last 4-TD, 300+ yard, 0 INT game was in 2006, and all of Brady's 8 have been since 2007.
Given that he was out the entire 2008 season, that's phenomenal.

Philip Rivers is threatening Marino's yardage mark, and he doesn't have a single 300+ yards, 4 TD, 0 INT game in his career.

84
by RickD :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:39pm

Interesting. Garcia not only lost more than once while doing that, he didn't win! He was 0-2. Marino was 2-2.

79
by AudacityOfHoops :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:24pm

I knew there was something huge I was overlooking.

So, do teams test for this somehow at the combine? I'm thinking like one of those driving or warfare sims, where there is video in front of you, and you have to make the right move (turn left, don't shoot the hostage, audible to a run). Anything remotely along those lines?

128
by dbt :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 2:43pm

It reminds me a bit of the skill of playing chess. Not that chess people are generically super smart, but that they have a specific mental capacity for holding lots of future potential moves in their heads. Grandmasters can often play 15+ moves ahead and understand what a single change on the board means for that future permutation.

In the same way, I think Brady just reads defenses faster than just about anybody. In that sense, I think the Bears are probably not a terrible matchup because they don't try to wow you with anything, they just try to keep their base zone coverage long enough for Peppers to get to you and tackle/strip the ball if he doesn't.

91
by BSR :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:55pm

It was a game that made me question why every team can't do this on offense - quick slants, screens or quick flat throws, crossing patterns that act as legal picks, running backs running into the jungle of lineman and then popping out uncovered. The Patriots as a whole made it look easy, and I think a lot of credit for Brady's numbers should go to the entire team and whoever was calling the plays.

This is true for any quarterbacks statistics. Manning, Brees, Montana and Marino are all great players but still need coaches to game plan as well as other players to block, catch and run. I'm really not sure of the point.

As for why every team can't do this type of offense, is because they don't have a HOF type quarterback that has the accuracy, consistency and ability to read a defense like TB or Manning.

106
by AudacityOfHoops :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:48pm

Yeah, I didn't express that well. When I said the Patriots made it look easy, I intended that as a compliment - their mastery of technique, preparation, and mental focus made it appear that they did not have to struggle to achieve what they did. I KNOW that what they did was difficult, but it FELT so easy that it was almost hard to believe that other teams don't do this.

On the other hand, sometimes when I watch a game, I will see some phenomenal pass/catch plays, where it takes a perfect throw and an amazing catch in order to complete the pass. Those plays tend to leave me impressed by the technical skills of the players, and I think "Wow, very few people could have done that."

It's kind of like watching a basketball offense carve a defense apart with great off the ball cuts, screens, backdoor passes, etc. vs. one that succeeds by clearing some space and letting their guard take his man 1-on-1. The former actually takes much more discipline and teamwork, but each little piece of the puzzle (the cut, the ball fake, the pass, the layup) is something that somebody might be able to convince themselves they could do, given the opportunity. Whereas I would never delude myself into thinking I could take Lebron James to the hole. HOWEVER, just because a team uses the former approach, does NOT mean they don't have the individual skills necessary to use the latter.

113
by BSR :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 8:36pm

Ahhh...yes I see now.

59
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:26pm

True. Great post.

60
by B :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:32pm

The Jets Pass D right now is better than their DVOA reflects as the numbers are being dragged down by the games without or with an injury-hampered Reevis. Of course, this might be mitigated by their loss at safety, but everything the Jets normally do in pass D is predicated on Reevis shutting down the primary receiver.

67
by nat :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:47pm

As always, DVOA and DYAR need to be taken in context. I was more focused on whether the D-adjustment was likely to change the story.

Maybe Brady deserves a bigger defensive adjustment. But DYAR uses the actual history rather than subjective adjustments. Aaron has been burned by earlier attempts to adjust for personnel changes. Brady himself is an example of an injury replacement that made a team better. So I'm OK with using the Jets pass defense DVOA as is for the DYAR adjustment. I can make other subjective adjustments in my own head, and know them to be opinions rather than statistical analysis.

36
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:50pm

I think the Pats ended up with around 200 YAC. Some of it should be credited to Brady leading receivers, but it's not like he was throwing a 24 yard TD to Branch, but throwing a 6 yard slant and Branch breaking tackles for a TD.

82
by BSR :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:37pm

How is this different then the stats for any QB? All are effected by the plays of the personnel around them.

88
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:46pm

This seems like a good spot to voice some thoughts about the Pats offense that I've been having for a couple of weeks.

Basically, I think that Belichick puts his teams in a position to succeed more than almost any other coach in the game, Brady then executes the offense at a very high level but DVOA/DYAR then gives him the credit (or people see his high FO numbers and translate that to Brady=GOAT, which wouldn't be FO's fault at all). Take the Steelers game as an example, their front seven is just awesome, even without Aaron Smith, so Belichick spreads them across the field, exiling the pass rushers to standing near the sideline covering a TE or running back and playing havoc with the alignment against the run. Last night he looked at the Jets, who love to see an offense in a base formation so that they can attack them in whichever manner Ryan devises while Revis shuts down the no 1 receiver. BB's answer is very similar, spread the field again, putting five players in receiver positions, be they TEs, WRs or RBs, and reducing Revis' effectiveness from taking 50% of the receivers away to taking 20% of the targets away. The spread also makes it harder to disguise the blitzes meaning that when they tried to bring pressure from cornerbacks or safeties while a lineman dropped into coverage, the lineman was totally exposed in acres of space. It was simply brilliant coordination.

It's genius but my MVP would be the dude in the hoodie. The offense gets to choose the personnel and the defense has to adjust, like a general who gets to choose the battlefield to suit his army's strengths. Belichick has also done a fantastic job of assembling a group of offensive player who are versatile enough to line up all over the field. I was very jealous last night of Gronkowski and Hernandez, both of whom can block and catch, meaning that the defense cannot key on either player as the probable receiver and so is forced to account for both, as well as the running backs. The 49ers have some great talent at tight end but because Delanie Walker blocks like a girl scout, they don't have the ability to be effective with their 12 personnel group from the I-formation or the 2 TE sets. If they want to go big and run they have to bring on either Nate Byham, who runs like a baby elephant, or Moran Norris, who doesn't really run at all. As a result the niners lack the ability to attack a defense on the terms they choose, with better coaching they could be effective but they're badly coached and so they're not.

I know that FO make no claim to be able to divorce player from scheme or his supporting cast but many people fail to make this distinction.

Rant over.

93
by BSR :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:05pm

Nothing that Belichick did last night was anything different then what teams have been doing against the blitz for ages. What it comes down to execution by the personnel and primarily the QB who needs to have perfect pre and post snap reads and accuracy. Not only that but they have to be incredibly consistent because such an offense needs to be able to put together long drives because each individual play is going to be for short yardage.

104
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:42pm

I don't really agree with most of that. Have most teams been lining running backs and tight ends outside their receivers on nearly every play in order to create matchups and reveal the defense for years? Not to anywhre near the extent the Pats do. The adjustment to the blitz requires that both the reciever and the qb have made the same read. Given the number of different receivers making those reads, alongside their relative inexperience, I'm inclined to credit the coach.

Please don't interpret what I wrote as a criticism of Brady, I regard him as a very, very good quarterback. I just give more credit to Bellichick. If I were a Pats fan I'd rather have a coach that was capable of getting players to play that well for 15 years than a qb who'll retire in five. Belichick has also managed to elevate teh play of Matt Cassel to a very high level too, it's clear to me that BB is the smartest coach in the game.

94
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:07pm

I've frequently wondered why more teams didn't draft with the goal of getting two tight ends who can catch and block, other than the obvious rejoinder that it is difficult enough to find one. Doubling down on this position just gives an offense tons more versatility, and creates match-up nightmares.

108
by Randy Hedberg (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:02pm

20/28, 276 yards, 4 TD, 0 int.

You're welcome.

2
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:29pm

I think you did a nice job with this writeup, but I wonder about this one.

"Welker started off the game matched up against Darrelle Revis. Consequently, he didn't really receive the ball all that much, with just two catches in the first quarter."

Is there something I'm missing? 2 catches for 23 yards in the first quarter doesn't seem too far off the 7 catches for 80 yard game he had. In fact, his 14 yarder on 3rd and 7 in the first quarter might have been the most important catch of the game.

5
by dryheat :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:40pm

You're not missing anything. Lazy analysis at its laziest. Welker had 2 receptions in the first quarter, 2 in the second quarter, and 3 in the third quarter.

24
by Bill Barnwell :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:23pm

Revis started the game on Welker. Welker's two catches in the first quarter did not come against Revis; in fact, Revis said after the game that the Patriots didn't throw a single pass at him. The one exception was the pick play in the endzone, which was called back for offensive pass interference on Branch. Cromartie was on Branch, as you may have seen on the touchdown catch. Game Rewind doesn't have the game up yet, but you can see for yourself when it does.

After the first quarter, Revis began to move around and cover different receivers, particularly Branch, who only had one target after the first quarter. Without Revis on him for most of the plays, Welker became a bigger part of the offense. After receiving just two of Brady's 12 targets in the opening quarter, Welker was thrown five of Brady's 21 targets the rest of the way, including five of the seven targets thrown at wide receivers.

63
by dryheat :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:38pm

Then I guess that the 1st quarter reception total didn't matter. No Patriot receiver did well against Revis. I would agree anecdotally. I remarked to one of the guys I was watching the game with that Brady appeared to be picking on Cromartie.

I don't get the OPI vs. Branch. At all. Branch was stationary, waiting for the ball when the defender ran right into him. He had clearly established position and wasn't even looking for the defender.

89
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:51pm

Unlike basketball, an offensive player can't set a pick in football.

102
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:30pm

An offensive player can't set a pick, but it didn't look like thats what Branch was doing. Branch is either a fantastic actor, or he didn't expect to get leveled on that play.

It was a blitz, and Branch's hot route got him open, and then run over by a DB.

105
by dbostedo :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:43pm

Illegal picks in the NFL don't have to be intentional. I've seen them called where a receiver appears to accidentally run into a defender. (Standing still doesn't make it legal, as in the NBA, just less obvious - it's still the same rule.) So if one receiver runs close to another who's standing still and oblivious, and it picks the defender, that's still an illegal pick.

8
by BSR :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:43pm

I don't think Revis was on him for those two catches. After those he did seem to disappear when I noticed Revis on him.

3
by LorenzoStDuBois (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:35pm

Quick question for FO readers: Do you have any recommendations for columns or writers that provide good Monday or Tuesday analysis? It seems like my only options are King and Easterbrook, and the Audibles column, which is at times great, and at times lacking (which I guess is its nature.) But is that really all there is? I'm just wondering whether there is other stuff people read that give a rundown of Sunday's games, what they mean, analysis, etc.

6
by Sophandros :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:41pm

You can always treat the snarky comments about Easterbrook and King on this site as a column. Those are pretty entertaining, even if it's just a bunch of random internet posters who think that they're smarter than they really are. Of course, if those same posters realized that Easterbrook's column is mostly tongue in cheek, then they wouldn't make their comments and I wouldn't be entertained.

-------------
Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

7
by dryheat :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:42pm

I think you give GE way too much credit.

16
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:01pm

Yeah, I'd like to see the evidence that Easterbrook's comments are mostly tongue in cheek. The most obnoxious Easterbrookisms appear to be far more likely to be written with utmost earnestness, like when he when goes out of his way to declare certain people "failed human beings".

29
by Chris Owen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:42pm

Agreed. Easterbrook -- verbose troll or oblivious sophist? Years ago, I settled on the latter label. At this point, further consideration of the evidence for the former label grants Easterbrook more attention than he deserves. After all, who aspires to be a verbose troll?

70
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:55pm

While I initially appreciated the concept behind the column, at some point, I would have liked to see something more than digs at the average columnist ... and his forays outside the NFL are usually more misinformed than King's.

I don't bother with it now ... I imagine that it's basically the same stuff. I'd rather read the Sports Guy.

13
by Jimmy :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:57pm

Matt Bowen puts up quick summaries on national football post. They are a bit brief but not bad.

20
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:17pm

I'll read ESPN Hashmarks, particularly in my division.

120
by Urshgur (not verified) :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 3:11am

Try M Silver and C Robinson on YahooSports Football - frequently some interesting comments (though many generic as well)

4
by drobviousso :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:39pm

Is any RB suffering more from a bad line than Mendenhall? He's looked great on his own, but his stats are terrible because of the line he's running behind.

Is he still in the top tier of broken tackles / carry?

9
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:46pm

*Every Indianapolis running back raises his hand*

58
by DMC :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:26pm

As much as I would like to blame the oline, Mendenhall seemed to be always poking his nose into the hole and then trying to bounce out the other way looking for a cutback lane. It seemed that the straight ahead run for 2 yards was there, but he would always try to look for something better and end up losing 4 yards. You can't do that against the Ravens.

10
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:48pm

The only 49er DB who could run with Davis is probably Taylor Mays, who could also compete with him for the biggest idiot prize as well.

11
by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:51pm

In fairness to Billick, I'm pretty sure he said that Davis might be the 49ers' fastest player on the field. I don't know if Ginn was in on that play, but it seems plausible that Crabtree and Morgan would have been the receivers and that Davis could possibly outrun them.

90
by BillWallace :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:51pm

So I can wait until a team is kicking an extra point and then speculate that the punter might be the team's fastest player on the field?

I think he meant fastest on the roster, and it's just random hyperbole that is repeated about Davis all the time. That he's not as fast as Ginn doesn't take away from the fact that he is a freak athlete even for the NFL. I'd disagree that he's an idiot as well, currently. Maybe in the past, but now he seems to be fairly team-focused.

I say this as a non-49ers fan who is forced to watch most of their games.

12
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:55pm

I wish I could recalculate the numbers after backing out certain plays, or changing the result. If Tavaris Jackson's long td pass to Sidney Rice gets converted to the interception it likely is, absent Rice's HOF-caliber catch, how far do Jackson's numbers fall? How frequently has a qb been in the bottom 25% of qbs in any given week, while his teammate has been the number 1 ranked receiver?

The more I watch football the less I know (although I'm pretty sure Tavaris Jackson is hopeless as a starting qb prospect). I can't get a handle on how to seperate cause and and effect in offensive success, or lack thereof, and once I try to also factor defensive performance and special teams into offensive success, I don't have a clue. How much of Favre's success last year should be attributed to Sidney Rice? Damned if I know.

Football is hard.

19
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:14pm

Why is every INT thrown by Favre a product of "non nfl-calibre" receivers, and yet every big play by Tavaris requires a "HOF-caliber catch."

Yes, Tavaris sucks. Yes, Favre is a HOF, but I really think you need to take a step back Will, as you clearly can not discuss Favre rationally. He WAS the problem this year. He still is. He's a below replacement level QB at this point.

Tavaris isn't the answer, but hes closer to one than Brett Favre is at this point.

28
by RickD :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:42pm

Tavaris isn't closer to the answer unless he can somehow be packaged in a trade that leads to a better QB or a draft pick that can be used for a better QB.

He's bad. He's had more than enough time to prove that he's not bad. He's failed. The Vikings need a new QB.

30
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:43pm

Wow, talk about assigning previous battles to a completely non-confrontational comment...

35
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:49pm

I dunno, Rich, because I've never written that every int thrown by Favre is a product of his receivers' poor play. That is something you have hallucinated, like when you converted 18 yards into 10 feet, and thus insinuated that Favre threw the ball too hard. However, in this case, I implied specifically that Favre's success last year, like whatever success Jackson had yesterday, may be substantially due to Sidney Rice, so it doesn't make much sense to say that I have been unduly forgiving of Favre's play, at least in this post.

Finally, Rich, to use a clinical term, you are a loon, and a bit obssessive about me in particular. Look, I understand that you don't like what I post. That's o.k.. However, you have taken leave of your senses, like, for another example, when you suggested that I was inventing things when I made the assertion that college football was more physically dangerous than other college athletics. You need to quit me, Rich; I'm no good for you! (cry)

81
by Adderley (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:26pm

I'm not going to try to get into the macro-level of this statement, but did you see the catch in question? Rice somehow fought his way back inside to get to a horribly thrown ball and took the ball away from two defenders while simultaneously keeping his feet inbounds and absorbing a hit from the safety. That was an interception waiting to happen that Rice single-handedly turned into a TD.

65
by jmaron :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:41pm

yes it is. Jackson's game was a perfect example of how hard it is to figure out if a guy is helping you or hurting you.

Beyond the TD throw you reference Jackson made 3 throws that resulted in ints. All three throws were inaccurate - two were brutal decisions. He made one other bad throw missing an open receiver which would have resulted in a big gain. He also did the hold the ball in the air in one hand while I am getting sacked thing, that only Jackson can do.

The rest of the game he was very good.

If 2-3 of those ints end up incomplete - as the type of throws he made most often do. Then people come away saying he was very good. I have seen so many games where db's drop 2-3 balls thrown right in the their belly and the QB that threw those balls ends up with some great stats and everyone says what a great game.

I think you have to step back and evaluate what you are seeing the player do given the situation. As a QB - how much time did he have to actually throw the ball, how accurate were the passes - not were they caught, did he make good check downs, etc.

69
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:54pm

If it can ever be accomplished, getting charting data incorporated on a weekly basis would be phenomenal, because even with the inevitable subjectiveness of charting, it really would be great to see things like obviously dropped, easy, interceptions refelected in the numbers in a timely manner. I think catches like Rice's (actually both tds were great catches) are hareder to judge with any objectivity, but it may be worth trying as well.

I really am curious as to how frequently a qb has ranked 24th or lower, while having a teammate ranked as the number 1 receiver. It seems pretty incongruous, and if anything, Rice's numbers understates the value of his play; the ball skills were phenomenal. If this guy can stay healthy, which to date has been a pretty iffy proposition, he has the talent to have the best ball skills in Vikings history, which, given some of the guys who have caught the ball for the Vikings, is pretty good.

71
by B :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:57pm

I'm pretty sure it's happened before. Most frequently to Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme back when Smith was unstoppable.

75
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:09pm

Yeah, that would be a good candidate.

73
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:07pm

It depends what you mean by "weekly" ... obviously it's not going to be incorporated with Quick Reads (that defeats the "quick" part), and given that we don't even get the formatted PBP until Tuesday, it's not going to be part of the Tuesday DVOA update either. Even then, everything has to be collated and adjusted.

We're doing pretty well this year, I think, at a two-week turnaround for charting games, but there's always in-season attrition. It's going to be a while before we can get that data turned around fast enough for the FO guys to incorporate it even a week behind. I'd imagine there's always room for more charting help, though, if you're looking to get that data more quickly! :)

P.S. As someone with decades of experience rooting against Favre, it makes me happy to see how he's playing now. I think it might not be a bad idea to figure out how Jackson can do the rest of the year ... I appreciate Favre's effort to stay on the field, but to use a Cyberball reference, he's smoking heavily: it won't even take a serious hit to cause him to explode. (As an NFL fan, it makes me sad to see his play. Whether or not last year was a fluke, it looks less and less likely to recur.)

80
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:25pm

Hey, you're not suggesting that I actually make an effort myself, as opposed to simply suggesting what other people can do to improve things, are you? The nerve!!!

Anyways, it'd be fun if it ever happened. Regarding Stubbleface, there has been a lot that has gone into the Vikings offensive collapse this year, and he's certainly a good part of it, but that's life with a 41 year old qb. Unfortunately, I think Jackson has played enough to establish that he's never going to be any good. If they want to showcase him in the hope that he gets lucky and develops some trade value, fine, but I'm not sure his contract situation even makes that possible. The reality is that it doesn't matter much at this point who the Vikings play at qb for the rest of the season. Frazier should just do whatever he thinks gives him the best chance at being hired for head coach on a permenent basis. I suspect he has a better grasp on what serves his career goals better than I do, so I won't second-guess him.

The third string guy, Joe Webb, is a helluva athlete, but I have no idea whther he has any potential as a qb, and giving him the reins at this point, given his state of development, is more likely to preclude him from fully developing his potential.

14
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:57pm

Manning has thrown four pick-sixes in the last two weeks. Brady has thrown three in his career.

15
by Karma Coma :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:00pm

Thanks to Ben Watson.

17
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:12pm

Hey, if Peyton Manning was a real leader, he'd be able to will Tamme into running down DBs.

32
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:44pm

Indeed.

I can't be the only person who has been completely underwhelmed by the chasing/tackling effort made by the Colt offense on all four of those plays.

Hell, they've had enough practice at it by now...

18
by TomC :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:13pm

He also drew a personal foul call against Ndamukong Suh that seemed to amount to Ed Hochuli's pity.

Goodbye, Quick Reads, I am done with you for the year. This tidbit has as much to do with Cutler's QB performance as the brand of socks he was wearing or the name of his latest girlfriend.

Talk to y'all later in the DVOA thread.

21
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:19pm

Glad to see you're not easily irritated.

23
by TomC :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:21pm

Manning just totally misread the situation and forced a throw into a lane that wasn't there on first down. I'm tempted to just call that a Cutler.

Two straight years of this shit, and I'm done. If you want to call that easily irritated, be my guest.

110
by chemical burn :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:26pm

Really, does anyone disagree that Quick Reads is easily the most irritating (I would go so far as to say obnoxious and unencumbered by any fidelity to reality) thing on this website. Barnwell has players he dislikes and writes shit about them at every opportunity. It sucks to read and frequently butts up against what actually happened on the field.

115
by dbostedo :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 9:18pm

I disagree. Really. It one of my favorite features, commentary included.

116
by Shattenjager :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:12pm

I disagree. I find the comments complaining about Barnwell more irritating than anything he writes. At least 1/2 of them are the poster thinking, "Oh, Barnwell wrote it, therefore it must be insulting my favorite player!" when it does nothing of the kind.

The most irritating thing on this website is either the "Tori Clark Demonstartes [sic] How To" ad or the threads on the TMQ links (which admittedly could have gotten less annoying since I stopped reading them this season).

118
by chisox24 :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 11:38pm

I disagree. I find the comments complaining about Barnwell more irritating than anything he writes. At least 1/2 of them are the poster thinking, "Oh, Barnwell wrote it, therefore it must be insulting my favorite player!" when it does nothing of the kind.

Yes, because all of the comments quoted involve statistical analysis that have nothing to do with personal attacks. This wouldn't be problematic if this website's tagline was not "Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis" and instead was something like "Ad hominem attacks, biased opinion." People are entitled to their opinion, and to write sarcastically, but please do not do so at the expense of the great statistical analysis that goes on here.

131
by AudacityOfHoops :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 3:23pm

I think the new UFC ad with the sound and video just passed Tori Black.

136
by Shattenjager :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 6:19pm

I agree. I just ran into it for the first time today and it easily wins.

I hate anything on the internet that automatically makes sound (including seemingly everything on the NFL's site), especially ads.

117
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:38pm

There have been features on this site which have on occasion asserted things which are in contrast to objective reality. Nobody's perfect. However, I really don't understand anger in regards to descriptions of a football player's performance. One of the joys about the NFL to me is that it is very trivial. There's a lot about the NFL or big revenue sports which is important, but how well or how bad soembody played ain't one of them.

126
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 11:49am

I disagree. You think it's easy to write pithy thumbnails of 55 players' performances every Tuesday morning? You think it's easy to make them entertaining?

I'm always surprised how offended people get by Barnwell's quick opinions here. Offended? Shit, I'd like to assign those people for a year to a country where it's illegal to be offended. A year in Myanmar would, if nothing else, give a little perspective on how to enjoy football.

130
by chemical burn :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 3:12pm

These responses are awesome. Don't worry, I've had my holiday in Cambodia, which actually makes people like Barnwell harder to suffer, not less. But if you are ok with Barnwell constantly insulting players (not criticizing, not analyzing, not offering an offbeat perspective) then by all means, keep defending this crap. He missed the story on Vick all season long and he's missing the story on Cutler now. His comments on Sanchez have been equally useless because these are all players he's decided suck and deserve ridicule and whatever happens on the field is irrelevant. It's bad writing. It's bad writing that frequently clashes with FO's own innovative statistics. I have no idea why anyone would prefer that he not stop. Mindlessly insulting players is bush league. I don't come to this site for bush league.

134
by AudacityOfHoops :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 3:49pm

I just went back and re-read the Vick, Cutler, and Sanchez comments, and I don't see what the big deal is. For both Vick and Cutler, he pointed out a bad stretch (TRUE), then closed by pointing out how awesome they played for the rest of the game (also TRUE). Sanchez is obviously a special case this week, but it would have been hard to write anything nice.

Presented without comment, QBs where he had both positive AND negative comments:
2. Brees
4. Vick
7. Rodgers
9. Cutler
10. Kitna
13. Flacco
15. McNabb
16. Delhomme
17. Ryan
18. Manning
23. Bradford
24. Jackson
29. Fitzpatrick (borderline)
31. Clausen (borderline)

114
by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 9:08pm

Oh dear. Jay Cutler is the finest, most handsome, most honest and hardworking QB in the National Football League. He is a beacon of light when all around is dark. I cannot fathom, nay, will not truck, any criticism of this forthright example of a man. He is the single greatest player in the history of the NFL.
Hopefully this helps.

133
by chemical burn :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 3:27pm

You realize just doing an opposite-equal impression of Barnwell's style doesn't disprove anybody's point?

22
by dryheat :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:20pm

Oh no...please reconsider.....we're sorry. COME BACK!!!!

38
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:52pm

HA!

46
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:05pm

You don't have to read the commentary, and just look at the numbers which show that Cutler was the 9th most valuable QB this week.

132
by chemical burn :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 3:26pm

But wouldn't you prefer if that weren't the case? If you didn't have to ignore the moronic commentary? As a Bears fan, you must be aware that Barnwell's analysis of Cutler is more concerned with undercutting him than providing any kind of insight, especially in the past few weeks.

Something resembling an objective analysis of Cutler is very helpful because if he really is improving the way he seems to be, then the Bears have to be considered the NFC favorite. If Cutler plays like even a Top 12 QB, then the rest of the Bears team is good enough (and their record potentially leaving them with the #2 seed) to make the team really dangerous. But if Cutler's plays if fluky or actually deceptively mediocre or somehow unsustainable, then the Bears really just are who we thought they are.

By writing that obviously biased negative drivel about Cutler, Barnwell actually gets in the way of understanding one of the most hard to read and analyze teams of the year. It stinks that I have to read around his writing because I can't trust him to not write stupid crap about players he doesn't like. It just sucks.

25
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:36pm

"Rodgers had a total boom-or-bust day, with four of his passes going for a total of 203 yards. His other 30 dropbacks produced 95 yards, with Rodgers taking four sacks and an intentional grounding penalty in the red zone. Those four big plays either scored touchdowns or were the primary plays on drives that ended up in the end zone."

What's really annoying, as a niners fan, is that on those four catches the niners must have missed a total of 15 tackles, giving the Pack an extra 100 yards. This isn't a slight on Rodgers, it's a sad statement on the 49ers.

27
by Julio (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:38pm

Was Sanchez so bad you can't even make a comment?

31
by RickD :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:44pm

Nana Smith said that if you don't have anything nice to say...

37
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:51pm

He actually came out of the gate looking pretty good. I was shocked. He seemed to be calmly reading the defense, even made a few changes, made smart throws, and moved them to midfield in that no huddle offense. It was actually kind of impressive.

Then he missed on the sneak, Rex wasted the challenge and 4-5 minutes of our time, and the Pats got settled and Sanchez turned back into a pumpkin.

(Yes, I am fully aware that I'm talking about only five plays. But he really looked like a guy in command for those five plays.)

I can't help but wonder how different that game might've been if they skipped the challenge, converted, and just kept quickly marching to a TD. The Pats played well enough that they were likely to win anyway, but I wonder how much better the effort might've been if they hadn't given the Pats two short fields and then the terrible DPI early like that. The game was pretty much over at 10-0.

40
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:56pm

It really snowballed, kind of like the 2004 AFC Title Game, where the Steelers started out fine, missed the 4th and 1 when driving and before you knew it, it was 24-3.

Taking a field goal there with Nick Folk seemed like a hasty decision. In that wind (which seemed to go left-to-right on the field as much as north-to-south) and with Nick Folk being Nick Folk, pinning the Pats back would have been better.

The DPI (on a ball that was way underthrown into the wind) really changed that game.

49
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:10pm

The ball was underthrown pretty badly, but the DB tackled Gronkowski, and never looked back. Thats textbook.

Unless you mean "bad" as in bad play, and not bad call.

53
by Eddo :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:13pm

He didn't say it was a "bad" DPI.

99
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:23pm

The call was fine. It was obviously DPI, but it was borderline uncatchable. Smith contacted him pretty late, and the ball hit Smith's heel.

112
by PatsFan :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:54pm

But if Smith hadn't mowed him down, Gronk could have tried to come back for the ball and make a play on it. (Of course, if Smith had bothered to look he could have intercepted it.)

52
by B :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:11pm

I thought Sanchez was playing well in the first quarter, but his receivers kept dropping balls. He struggled a bit more in the second quarter, and by the second half, the Jets had all but abandoned the run and Sanchez was staring down his receivers, making bad decisions and making bad throws.

64
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:40pm

There were drops, but the only one that wasn't a bad throw was that one where Edwards was leaping.

Both of the consecutive short crosses were bad decisions (well, maybe not the first) and inaccurate. He should've led each of those guys a lot more. In each case, even if the receiver caught it, he was going nowhere. The third and 11 short pass was just dumb. He wasn't even under any pressure. Even if [Holmes?] caught it that was a failed play.

45
by AudacityOfHoops :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:04pm

Barnwell has been ripped seemingly endlessly in previous weeks for making negative comments about Sanchez. This blank comment seems to me to be basically an "I'll let the numbers speak of themselves" mixed with an implied "I told you so."

47
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:05pm

Monday Night games frequently don't have as much commentary.

33
by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:47pm

The Jaguars have used Garrard options repeatedly this season; this was not a new innovation for last week's game.

34
by jedmarshall :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:48pm

A few key factors in likelihood of a pick-six. I realize a few of them were somewhat lengthy returns and think an article and further research would be great, but off the top of my head.

1. Colts O-Line is awful. They have no running game at all, so are constantly facing long 2nd and 3rd downs. In addition to this, the Colts have used quick slants/outs and bubble screens much more often than they used to in order to mimic the running game and gain small chunks of yardage. Shorter INT's (i.e. DB jumping a slant) tend to be returned more often because there are less potential tacklers.

2. Along these same lines, back 7 defenders are allowed to play the pass more freely and abandon run defense. This allows a LB to float freely and make plays or allows a CB to jump a route because he knows he'll have help if he fails.

3. Manning is on pace to break the single season passes record. Simply put more passing will generally lead to more interceptions which will lead to more INT TD returns.

43
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:58pm

I would say that's all a small part of it; it still doesn't account for the huge difference in % of INTs or % of attempts that become TDs for the other team. I think mostly it's just the routes they're running at the time of the picks and some bad luck.

I hesitate to blame injuries, because they should be good enough to overcome them, and even in the worst case he should be smart enough not to make those throws... But with both Clark AND Collie out and no run game, that Colt offense is VERY easy to defend. They could weather either Clark or Collie just fine, I think, but with both gone, the field shortens. This is why we're seeing a lot more LBs jumping in and taking the passes away. It's not as if Manning can't anticipate and read a zone. But the windows are a lot smaller now.

Still, he's doing a lot of things he has never done before. Both INTs that were thrown at White were telegraphed. On the second, from the end zone camera you could see him staring him down, and he wanted to throw to him when he made the dig. White continued on what was actually a pretty nice double move, so Manning pulled it back and threw to him, but since he was locked on to him the whole way, he never looked to the right and noticed "shit, there's some guys there." He's been locking on to guys a lot. Maybe it's an overreaction to the read mistake he had with Garcon on INT #2 in New England. Maybe he's just regressing. Who knows. (I've had about enough of it though.)

76
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:11pm

Aikman, I think, also made a comment about the lack of experience with the newer receivers meaning that he can't use telepathy like he did in the past: instead of throwing the ball to where the receiver will be and knowing it'll be caught, he has to spend more time actually confirming that the receiver will be there, which means the defense can actually get something from watching his eyes.

109
by Dave :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:24pm

True. It's a trust issue. I believe my youngest dog is a good boy, but I still keep my eye on him about 400% more than I keep it on the trusted older one. Blair White, Garcon, and Tamme have shown to be talented, but he still doesn't completely trust them. Toss in the fact that the defense is not devoting a giant chunk of resources to just two guys (Wayne, Clark) and are thus free to harass all receivers equally, and you get more turnovers. I wonder if there isn't a bit more freedom being given to freelance or gamble/jump routes as well. When the consequences of failure aren't quite as severe as they once were, there's plenty of incentive to tell guys to pretend to be Asante Samuel once in a while.

56
by B :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:16pm

FO Study has shown that interception returns are non-predictive events, so it would make sense that Int TDs are non-predictive as well.
I would like to posit the theory that teams who have starters who play special teams would have both longer Int returns and be less likely to give up big returns because they'd have more players who can block on defense and tackle on offense.

78
by milo :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:23pm

FO has not shown that interception returns are non-predictive. Teams that return interceptions since 1960 win 77% of their games.

I'll let FO comment on what they have found to be non-predictive. I think they believe that interception returns are random.

83
by Arkaein :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:38pm

The non-predictive part means that they don't think that a player or defense that manages to return a high number of pick-sixes is any more likely than average to do so in the future, or that the chance of a return is random as you said.

I'm pretty sure that no one on this site has ever claimed that a pick-six doesn't help win the game in which it occurred.

85
by Kurt :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:42pm

That's not what non-predictive means. It means that the percentage of interceptions a team returned (or has returned) for a touchdown in the past is predictive of whether an interception next week is more likely to be returned for a TD.

41
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:56pm

I have no idea how Roddy White did not utterly destroy the Bucs once Talib went out. Talib's the one guy who can actually shut him down, and the rest of the secondary is pretty questionable. Add to that White was fired up for the game (he and Talib were jawing on the sidelines even after he went out), I figured he'd be in "destroy everything" mode.

50
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:11pm

Hey, MD, has Raheem Morris fully made the transition from overmatched naif to obvious genius, in the eyes of most Bucs fans?

87
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:45pm

There's been a definite transition and he's pretty widely respected AFAIK. There are still some obvious issues (too many timeouts, some goofy trick plays, his inexplicable love of running Cadillac Williams up the middle for two yards throughout the first half of the season), but he's undoubtedly improved about everything as a coach. Last year he looked completely overwhelmed, this year I've been quite impressed. If anything, Mark Dominik deserves loads of credit for what looks to be a simply awesome draft and offseason. This is a team that starts seven or eight rookies every week, and has been competitive in every game except two. The offensive line has been ravaged by injuries (Donald Penn is the only one to start every game), the starting FS got suspended after the first game, and the entire team has been duct-taped together, but somehow they've managed to identify enough young talent to keep the team running.

Morris just looked confused on the sideline last year. He actually looks like he belongs this year. Trust me, this is utterly surprising.

61
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:33pm

I don't know if Bennett's recent play is sustainable, but he has just been on fire recently. It's nice to be pleasantly surprised by a player once in a while.

68
by BigCheese :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:52pm

He also managed to pull off the stripsack/aborted snap back-to-back combo to start the fourth quarter.

I like to call that a Rex Grossman.

- Alvaro

74
by milo :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:09pm

What's interesting about Manning's pick 6's is that the last three games he's thrown a pick six in the regular season (10-19-2008,11-28-2010,12-05-2010), it has been twice in the same game. He only did that once before in 2001.

That's 3 times (multiple pick six) in 14 games that he has thrown a pick six.

Brees has done it 2 times in 11 games with a pick six.

Farve has done it 2 times in 32 games with a pick six (one time 3 in one game).

Brady has only thrown 8 pick sixes, none multiple.

92
by onetime91 :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:02pm

How is 9 rushes for 49 yards and a touchdown a -1 Rush DYAR for Vick? Can someone answer that?

95
by B :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:10pm

Well, the fumble didn't help. And he did it against a lousy run defense.

97
by onetime91 :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:13pm

Their pass defense is every bit as lousy as their run defense, so why was he higher than Rodgers in terms of passing when he had a lower completion percentage and threw an interception with a very similar amount of yards?

101
by ammek :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:28pm

The fumbled snap is, I think, counted in Vick's rushing numbers.

Most of his carries were successful, but not overwhelmingly so. Plus there was a six-yard gain on 3rd-and-10.

111
by theshadowj :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:30pm

Are scrambles measured against pass defenses or run defenses? Since they are on "passing" plays, I'm not sure. If it's pass defenses, then there's your answer.

96
by onetime91 :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:11pm

With regards to Rodgers, shouldn't his 22/30 day with 3 TD's, no interceptions and a productive day rushing (as evidenced by his Rush DYAR) be higher than Campbell and Stanton? What did they do better than him?

98
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:21pm

That's answered under the blurb for Rodgers up above--most of his yards came from four passes, and the rest wasn't that impressive. IIRC, FO's stats tend to pretty strongly favor consistent production over boom-and-bust, so it's really not that surprising.

103
by ammek :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:30pm

Play better defenses. (SF pass defense was 17th in DVOA.)

100
by Jeff (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:24pm

I also didn't understand Rodgers low ranking. You're telling me that the consistency of passing yards throughout the game is incorporated into the Excel spreadsheet? I find that hard to believe. Rodgers had a wonderful game... A 135.1 QB rating with a great rushing day.

107
by AudacityOfHoops :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:00pm

Are you aware that they use play-by-play data for nearly all of the stats on this site, and not just an Excel spreadsheet with the game summary stats? I'm sure you're gone already, but you might what to take a look at the "About" section at the top.

119
by tuluse :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 1:29am

He had 100 DYAR, that's a pretty good game. 6 other QBs just happened to have better games. It happens. Only Brady has been able to consistently get above 100 DYAR each week this year.

121
by Jeff (not verified) :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 3:49am

AudacityofHoops - you could actually try to explain the particular reason why Rodgers was that low instead of telling me to look at the "About" section. He clearly had a superior stat line to a couple of quarterbacks above him. His completion percentage was 70%, had a great rushing day and had double the yards of a guy like Jason Campbell and many more than Stanton. If you want to use the "he played a bad defense" argument, that doesn't work because Vick played the worst defense and still was higher, with worse numbers. Vick's numbers across the board last week were worse than Rodgers, especially Vick's rushing DYAR which was at a puzzling -1 as another poster pointed out. So what is it, the fact that his stats weren't spread out evenly? That's enough to have him ranked behind players who had worse weeks? I feel like some of the mercenaries that post here just find a way to defend something that they don't even have a solid justification for. There's no explanation for Rodgers being 7th.

122
by Alex51 :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 10:05am

Ok, I'll try to explain the justification for Rodgers being 7th with a hypothetical:

Let's say you are an NFL head coach, and all of your RBs are injured, or just suck horribly enough that you can never run the ball successfully. You have two QBs on your team, whose parents conveniently named them QB-A and QB-B.

QB-A's passes have these exact results, every 5 plays: 36 yard pass, 1 yard pass, 1 yard pass, 1 yard pass, 1 yard pass. That comes out to a 100% completion percentage and 8 yards/attempt.

QB-B's passes have these exact results, every 5 plays: 5 yard pass, 5 yard pass, 5 yard pass, 5 yard pass, incompletion. That comes out to an 80% completion percentage, and only 4 yards/attempt.

So, just going by the final stat line, QB-A is clearly superior, with a higher completion percentage and twice the yards/attempt. But which player would you start, knowing that they will always get the results described above?

If you start QB-A, you won't score a TD unless you start on the opposing team's side of the field. And that'll happen maybe 2 or 3 times a game if you're lucky. Add in a few FGs from when you get into FG range, and you're probably scoring something like 25-35 points a game. Which is admittedly quite good. However, if you start QB-B, you will score a TD on every single drive. So, you'll end up getting something like 70-84 points a game, and have the greatest offense in NFL history by a huge margin.

So, to bring things back to Rodgers, the reason he was only ranked 7th is because his performance in that game was more like QB-A's, while the other guys who were ranked above him despite less impressive stat lines performed more like QB-B. Obviously, the hypothetical QBs are extreme and unrealistic, but the same principle applies in actual cases: people who get consistent gains and frequent first downs are more valuable than people who only get occasional big plays mixed in with short gains or losses, all else being equal.

124
by Arkaein :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 11:17am

Actually, much of Rodgers game looked closer to QB B, however he mixed in 4 sacks. It was sacks that kept Rodgers out of the very top of the DVOA/DYAR charts last year, because if you treat a sack as a pass for lost yardage then YPA and passing success rate can drop quite a bit.

Quickly looking over the game play-by-play, GB's failed drives usually had one or two completions for 5-7 yards, which were mostly successful by FO's metrics, but these were matched with either an incompletion, a sack, or the one intentional grounding penalty (which was a pretty questionable call, but DYAR can't see that). If Rodgers had replaced three of these plays with even short completions he could jump up anywhere from 6th to 2nd place on the list.

135
by AudacityOfHoops :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 3:50pm

Sorry, I should have made it clear that I was responding to this part of your original comment:

"You're telling me that the consistency of passing yards throughout the game is incorporated into the Excel spreadsheet? I find that hard to believe."

That, plus your use of QB Rating and your "(not verified)", made me think you were a drive-by poster who didn't know that DYAR was play-by-play based. Because if you do know, then it's not at all hard to believe that consistency plays a role in the DYAR values.

As for the issue of where Rodgers is ranked, to be honest I did't really care, so I didn't bother to respond to that part. But looks like that has been discussed above.

123
by Bill Barnwell :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 11:00am

Things Aaron Rodgers did that were bad:

- Took an intentional grounding penalty on third down on the 49ers six-yard line
- Four sacks, including one on the 49ers three-yard line and another on third-and-9 inside the red zone
- 20 of his 34 plays were unsuccessful
- One-third of his completions were not successful plays (league average last week was 25%), including four of his five completions in the red zone
- His last eight (and 8-of-12) attempts on first down were unsuccessful, including three sacks and two completions for a total of 10 yards
- He only converted four of the ten third downs he faced all day despite having just 6.1 yards to go to convert them

So essentially: Four big plays, good running day, but bad on first down, mediocre on third down, and just terrible in the red zone.

125
by MCS :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 11:47am

Suggestion: Add the success numbers to the table. If they factor into the calculation to that extent, perhaps they should be directly noted.

127
by Alex51 :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 1:01pm

Meh, I like the format of the table as it is. I mean, if we start adding every stat that's important in calculating DYAR, we'll have an unmanageably big table. This is Quick Reads, after all, not Comprehensive Reads.

129
by dbostedo :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 11:57pm

Ooh...Can we get a Comprehensive Reads weekly column?

137
by onetime91 :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 8:23am

Those were solid responses to that guy's completely legitimate question. Alex51 did a great job of pointing out the intricacies of performance, even if they did not really apply to Rodgers last Sunday. As for AudacityofHoops, try to be a little less smug next time. If you're going to do that then don't even bother replying to someone who is trying to learn more about statistics and/or figure out why certain players rank better.