Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Sidney Rice: What Could Have Been?

Sidney Rice has retired. Is he the most random single-season DYAR leader ever? One-year wonder? Injury prone? We offer a career retrospective for the second-best wide receiver named Rice in NFL history.

04 Jan 2011

Week 17 Quick Reads

by Bill Barnwell

While we'll further this concept in our season-end Quick Reads later this week, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back and identify the best and worst games of the year before we go through what happened in Week 17. The final week of the year actually contained one such game.

As you might remember from last week, the best game of the year by a quarterback was by Aaron Rodgers, who put up 294 DYAR in the Packers' Week 16 victory over the Giants. Behind him were two quarterbacks with 256-DYAR games, Tom Brady in Week 10 and Carson Palmer, who also had his biggest game a week ago. Palmer actually had two games in the top-six, as his 245-DYAR game in Week 7 finished sixth.

Bears quarterbacks finished with two of the three worst games of the year; after Jay Cutler accrued -220 DYAR, nine sacks, and a concussion in the first half of the Week 4 loss to the Giants, Todd Collins got the start in Week 5 and threw four interceptions on 16 attempts. Eek. He finished with -235 DYAR. Fortunately, across the field was Jimmy Clausen, who was busy putting up -204 DYAR for the third-worst performance of the year.

Running backs got their big games out of the way early. Arian Foster's breakout game against the Colts in Week 1 ended up being the best performance of the year at 124 DYAR, with Jason Snelling's 102 DYAR in Week 2 just behind him. Quick Reads cause celebre Jamaal Charles finished third, with an 88-DYAR game in Week 8 against the Bills.

The worst game of the year belonged, surprisingly, to Steven Jackson. In Week 12, he got 29 carries and three targets against the dismal Broncos defense and gained just 69 yards, producing -74 DYAR in the process. Cadillac Williams came in just behind him with a -66 DYAR game in Week 2, while Thomas Jones's two-fumble, 23-carry, 51-yard day last week placed him third.

The best game by a receiver all year was Kenny Britt's 246-yard performance against the Eagles, in which he caught three touchdowns and ended up with 126 DYAR. Roddy White had 106 DYAR the same week against the Bengals, even with a fumble depressing his numbers. The bronze goes to Malcom Floyd, who had 99 DYAR in the game where he even made Nnamdi Asomugha look bad, the Week 5 tilt against the Raiders.

Before this week, the worst receiving performances of the year belonged to a pair of players from Week 12. Deon Butler picked up -56 DYAR in his nine-target, nine-yard game against the Chiefs, while Dez Bryant went 0-for-6 as a receiver against the Saints and fumbled on his only carry. That was good for -52 DYAR.

The worst performance of the year? Well, you'll have to go check out the receivers section.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
15/22
280
2
0
211
198
13
Big Ben was no slouch as a runner. He carried the ball four times and produced three first downs, including conversions on third-and-3 and fourth-and-1. His other carry was an eight-yard gain on third-and-9 that set up the fourth-and-1 conversion. He started the day with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, had four other completions of 20 yards or more, and only faced third down as a passer three times before leaving halfway through the third quarter.
2.
Peyton Manning IND
27/41
264
2
0
154
154
0
Peyton completed 10 of his first 11 attempts on first down, producing just one first down, but two touchdowns on throws to Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon. (Garcon was otherwise terrible.) The opposing Titans, by the way, were second against the pass through the first nine weeks of the year, and then were the fifth-worst pass defense in the league through the final eight. Manning finishes the year with a 24.9% DVOA, which is his lowest rate since the 2002 season, when he was at 16.2%. It's the fourth-worst rate of his career, and the first sign that the career of one of the best players in NFL history is probably entering its decline phase.
3.
Matt Schaub HOU
18/22
253
1
0
149
146
3
Schaub's line ends up looking like a beat. He started with an incompletion, had five straight completions, threw an incompletion, had five straight completions, threw an incompletion, had five straight completions, threw an incompletion, and then threw three completions before the game ended. He had six completions for more than 15 yards, with the Texans picking up 160 YAC by the time the day was done.
4.
Tom Brady NE
10/16
199
2
0
144
144
0
Only four of those attempts went to wide receivers, as Brady threw five times to his running backs and seven times to his tight ends. Despite throwing just 16 times, his receivers picked up 144 YAC for him. Some of that had to do with particularly dreadful tackling from the Dolphins, who looked like they wanted to be anywhere on Earth but on the field against the Patriots. If Tony Sparano does get fired, the highlight shows should just play this clip over and over again.
5.
Matt Ryan ATL
22/32
236
2
0
131
133
-2
Ryan was downright dominant early, completing passes on 11 of his first 13 dropbacks and producing six first downs and a touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez on those throws. The Falcons' point total was kept low by a couple of stuffs on fourth-and-short, one of which was a stuff of Ryan on the Carolina 26-yard line. The Falcons also went for it on fourth-and-3 from the four-yard line. That's virtually always a desperation move: Teams have gone for it on fourth-and-3 33 times this year, and before this week, there were only four times where the team in question went for it in a game where they weren't in the fourth quarter or in a game where the scoreline was already ugly. One of those four tries was from the Falcons, who picked up a first down on a throw to Tony Gonzalez on fourth-and-3 against the Packers in the second quarter of a 3-3 game.
6.
Kerry Collins TEN
28/39
300
2
0
117
115
2
Sunday was Collins's first 300-yard game since New Year's Eve 2005, when he threw for 331 yards against the Giants in his final game as an Oakland Raider. His most successful stretch saw him complete eight consecutive passes, producing 119 yards, four first downs, and two touchdowns. He also got reliable work out of his running backs: Chris Johnson, Ahmard Hall, and Javon Ringer caught 11 of the 12 passes thrown to them.
7.
Carson Palmer CIN
32/44
305
1
2
104
117
-13
The story of the second half was simple: Palmer would complete a bunch of passes, get the Bengals into the range of something successful, and then disaster would strike. He had streaks of five consecutive completions four different times, but his receivers fumbled the ball away twice, Palmer gave the ball up on a scramble, and he threw two interceptions before halftime. His incompletion to end the game on the two-yard line will remain a mystery to me for a long time.
8.
Rex Grossman WAS
26/44
336
2
1
92
94
-2
Grossman was strip-sacked twice by the incredible Osi Umenyiora, who finished the year with an NFL-record ten forced fumbles. He also had one of the nicer drives you'll see in the second quarter, though, completing four consecutive passes for between 16 and 23 yards before finishing with a one-yard throw to Fred Davis.
9.
Alex Smith SF
15/29
276
2
0
83
83
0
Smith had five completions of 20 yards or more, highlighted by the 59-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis that saw the Red Sea part and reveal an end zone for Davis's taking. (As a note, the NFL's official play-by-play lists the pass in question as one that that was thrown to a player standing three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Apparently, the 49ers fired their official scorer this week, too.)
10.
Josh Freeman TB
21/26
255
2
0
83
79
3
I can't say enough about Freeman's perfect throw to Dez Briscoe for a touchdown in the second quarter. Unfortunately, I also can't say enough about his ill-advised shovel pass to LeGarrette Blount that resulted in a Blount fumble. Freeman also lost the ball on another sack, but started the game a fantastic stretch that saw him accrue 11 completions on 13 attempts for five first downs and a score.
11.
Brian Hoyer NE
7/13
122
1
0
81
81
0
12.
Shaun Hill DET
28/39
258
1
1
79
74
5
After starting off the game with an incompletion, Hill completed his next 12 passes on first down, averaging 9.8 yards per attempt and gaining four first downs. Only two of the completions were unsuccessful (and a third was fumbled away by Tony Scheffler). He had an interception returned for a touchdown, but that was thanks to a great catch by Jared Allen, who was able to catch a pass that gets knocked down or tipped up about 99 percent of the time.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Tyler Thigpen MIA
10/21
169
1
0
79
71
7
Thigpen came in during the second quarter, only to be benched after a 3-for-6 showing that saw him take two sacks and finish by bouncing a ball off of Mickey Shuler's chest. He came back in after Chad Henne was sacked in the third quarter and had four pretty big completions and a 32-yard DPI on a play listed as having no intended receiver. They came with the Patriots up 38 points.
14.
Tim Tebow DEN
16/35
205
2
2
73
33
40
There's still not anything to say that Tebow definitively can or cannot be a successful quarterback in this league. He threw a touchdown pass to a wide-open Brandon Lloyd in the first quarter on one of the worst blown coverages you'll ever see, but wasn't aided by a Lloyd drop earlier in the quarter. His first interception is in a clip that shows off the utter uselessness of the worst commentary team in football, Don Criqui and Steve Beuerlein. "Tim Tebow, when it comes to winning a game, he won't take no for an answer." What does that even mean? Then Criqui calls a clearly-intercepted ball to be incomplete and says it's a live ball, like it was some fumble that nobody was sure about. That's on a deep throw that's into double coverage, but it's not a terrible decision. His other interception was worse, as the double coverage was on a shorter throw up the seam. The numbers aren't all that great, but Tebow's a rookie and this is against one of the better pass defenses in football. He deserves a full season as the starter next year.
15.
Jason Campbell OAK
15/24
155
1
0
63
53
10
Campbell was knocked out of the game before throwing a pass, suffering an injury on a scramble. Kyle Boller came in and was promptly sacked. Campbell came back and had a decent day, taking just two sacks while converting five of the nine third downs he faced.
16.
Charlie Whitehurst SEA
23/37
204
1
0
61
60
2
Whitehurst was 10-of-12 on second down. While one of those passes was the touchdown to Mike Williams, but he only averaged six yards on those throws. He also left several completions on the field, struggling with his accuracy on short throws to the sideline. That was a huge portion of the Seahawks gameplan because of the issues with their offensive line, and it actually worked out reasonably well: They didn't allow a single sack all night. (The Chris Long sack on the opening drive was wiped out by a penalty.)
17.
Aaron Rodgers GB
19/28
229
1
1
31
35
-5
Rodgers had an 11-dropback stretch in the second and third quarters in which he failed to produce a first down. Before that streak, he had five first downs on 11 dropbacks. After he broke it with a defensive pass interference penalty, he had four first downs and a touchdown on his final 11 dropbacks.
18.
Eli Manning NYG
17/29
243
1
1
29
18
11
92 of Manning's yards came on one play, a touchdown pass to Mario Manningham where DeAngelo Hall appeared to get caught between attempting to defense the pass and running with Manningham, while safety Kevin Barnes appeared to be staring at some dudes fighting in the end zone bleachers. His other 28 plays produced just 10 successes, although he did not get much help from his receivers. In the first quarter alone, a wide-open Manningham dropped a pass that led to yet another tipped interception, while Derek Hagan dropped a sure touchdown pass on the previous drive.
19.
Jimmy Clausen CAR
20/33
182
1
1
7
7
0
His touchdown pass was a two-yarder to Jeff King with 27 seconds left in the game and a 28-point deficit. That play was preceded by three consecutive completions for 12, 16, and then 31 yards. As far as drives to end your season down 28 points go, it was a dandy. Whatever the opposite of a dandy is: Taking a 15-yard megasack on fourth-and-2.
20.
Stephen McGee DAL
12/26
127
1
0
6
-15
20
 
21.
Mark Brunell NYJ
6/12
110
2
1
-5
-5
0
If this was Brunell's last action in the NFL, he ended on a high note by throwing a 52-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards. His last three attempts were actually all touchdowns: Two for the Jets and one for the Bills.
22.
Joe Flacco BAL
14/19
125
0
1
-12
-11
-1
Flacco was sacked four times in 24 dropbacks, producing just six first downs in the process. His second biggest play was a 24-yard DPI on a throw to Ray Rice; if that seems like a really long DPI for a throw to a running back, it is. There were only four DPI calls on throws to running backs in 2010, and the other three traveled a combined 14 yards.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Drew Brees NO
22/38
196
1
1
-22
-22
0
Brees didn't move the chains on even one of his 16 first down attempts. Third down saved Brees's day, though: He picked up eight of 13 third downs, including his first five. Later on, he did throw an interception and lose a fumble on third down. Brees ended up throwing more interceptions this year than Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman combined; last year, they nearly threw four times as many picks as Brees did. He finished the season 12th in DVOA, which is only the third time since 2004 that he's finished outside of the top-four.
24.
Joe Webb MIN
20/32
148
0
1
-32
-39
8
Webb threw six passes further than 13 yards downfield. He didn't complete a single one of them. He produced one first down on 11 throws to his backs and tight ends.
25.
Philip Rivers SD
22/37
313
0
1
-41
-36
-5
Rivers was sacked five times by a Broncos team that had just 18 sacks through their first 15 games. It wasn't like the Broncos unleashed some new pass rush demon; they got three sacks from middle linebackers, one from a safety, and one from their nose tackle. Impressively, Rivers converted seven of 16 third downs despite having an average of 9.4 yards to go on those plays.
26.
Trent Edwards BUF
12/25
140
1
1
-61
-71
10
Starting wideouts Mike Thomas and Mike Sims-Walker: Five targets, one completion, 12 yards. Edwards's most effective receiver was actually Jason Hill, who caught three of the four passes thrown to him and gained 68 yards.
27.
Colt McCoy CLE
20/41
209
1
3
-67
-85
18
After two quarterbacks who had middling days against awful defenses, here's one who had a bad day against a great one. McCoy didn't get much help from his receivers, who seemed inclined to tip the ball to the Steelers as often as they could. McCoy was particularly rough on second down, where he had 14 dropbacks that produced a gross total of 21 yards and zero first downs.
28.
Chad Henne MIA
6/16
71
0
1
-75
-75
0
Henne was taken out of the game twice. The first time was after a second-quarter sack that was just about a mirror of the hit that blew out Tom Brady's knee, as Jerod Mayo got knocked down by a blocker and crawled the last yard to dive at Henne's knees. The second time was on another third-down sack, with Vince Wilfork going through Pat McQuistan like he wasn't there.
29.
Ron Bartel ARI
16/28
150
0
1
-90
-90
0
The object of such amusement in Audibles, Bartel actually started with two completions for a total of 49 yards to Larry Fitzgerald. At the very least, he had the right idea about where to get the ball. After that, though, he had just five first downs and a pick-six on his subsequent 27 dropbacks.
30.
Jay Cutler CHI
21/39
168
0
2
-93
-96
3
This interception by Cutler on a throw to the end zone has to be one of the worst throws he's made all year. I mean, everything about it's bad. The mechanics are bad. Cutler can't step into the throw, so it sails on him. The read is horrendous in any context; there are two defenders in the area, and either of them might have had a better chance at catching the ball than Johnny Knox. The decision, though, is scandalous. You are on the 24-yard line. If you throw the ball away, you get a shot at a pretty reasonable field goal. Maybe Cutler was trying to throw the ball away and didn't get enough on it. I'd like to think that's true, but Cutler makes too many inexplicable decisions to make it likely.
31.
John Skelton ARI
14/25
92
1
1
-132
-128
-4
32.
Sam Bradford STL
19/36
155
0
1
-139
-139
0
In the second and third quarters, Bradford threw 21 passes. Those 21 passes traveled an average of three yards past the line of scrimmage. The first three passes in that sequence all picked up first downs, which might have encouraged the Rams to stick with it for a while. Unfortunately, the final 18 also produced three first downs. His eight attempts in the fourth quarter traveled an average of just under 20 yards in the air, including the 51-yard bomb to Danario Alexander that just went through Alexander's outstretched hands. If it was a 50-yard bomb, that's a touchdown, and everything changes.
33.
Kevin Kolb PHI
18/36
162
1
3
-144
-143
-1
This was Bad Kolb, the guy who Tanier was afraid of last year. He had no discipline for staying in the pocket, checking down or scrambling at the first sign of a pass rush. His numbers shouldn't be as bad as they look: Two of his three interceptions were Hail Mary passes that we haven't adjusted yet. The other one, though, was an awful decision to force a throw into tight coverage near the end zone. The other factor affecting Kolb's numbers: His receivers for this game were Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Chad Hall, Clay Harbor, and Jerome Harrison.
34.
Matt Cassel KC
12/33
115
0
2
-159
-159
0
After a 200-DYAR game last week to lead the Chiefs into the playoffs, Cassel had an absolute stinker against the Raiders in Week 17. He made throws into double coverage repeatedly, making the sort of bad decisions that he had seemed to swear off during the year. He was sacked three different times for more than ten yards, took an intentional grounding penalty, and threw two interceptions deep in his own territory.
35.
Brian Brohm BUF
10/23
106
0
3
-181
-181
0
The Lewin Career Forecast system developed by David Lewin for Football Outsiders has historically been effective at identifying which college quarterbacks would make successful pro quarterbacks. One key exception is Brohm, who showed very little against the Jets' backups on Sunday. He threw three ugly interceptions in 26 dropbacks, thanks to a steady pass rush that repeatedly tipped his passes and forced him into bad decisions. He took three sacks, fumbling once. That fumble was the beginning of a three-play, three-turnover special that forced Brohm to the bench. His biggest play of the day was a 33-yard pass to Stevie Johnson that ended with Johnson fumbling and the Jets recovering the ball. Big brother Jeff had his best season in the XFL; Brian may end up having his best year in the UFL.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Joe McKnight NYJ
158
0
15
0
43
26
17
Redemption! The much-maligned third-round pick finally got a chance to tote the rock and ended up with 32 carries for 158 yards. There were only five first downs in there, but McKnight had a Success Rate of 47 percent and didn't have a carry for a loss all day. He picked up two of the four third downs he faced, including an 18-yard carry on third-and-1 early on. On first down, he had four yards or more on 13 of his 16 carries, including each of his final eight attempts there. This is against the Bills, but McKnight showed some promise. One bummer: He was targeted on the interception that Jairus Byrd returned for a touchdown (and it wasn't a great route by McKnight).
2.
Michael Bush OAK
137
1
34
0
42
25
17
Bush had three first downs on five targets as a receiver; as a runner, he added five more (and a touchdown) on 25 runs, but four of those runs went for 11 yards or more. As Aaron noted on the Bill Simmons podcast, the Kansas City rush defense really dropped off during the second half of the season. After finishing with the sixth-best run defense in football during the first half of the year, they were dead last during the second half of the campaign. That's also where they were at the end of the 2009 season.
3.
Matt Forte CHI
91
0
60
0
36
19
17
Forte picked up a third-and-2 with a 27-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter. He had back-to-back runs for 20-plus yards in the first quarter, too.
4.
Rashad Jennings JAC
108
1
34
0
35
42
-7
Jennings had a 50 percent Success Rate against the Texans, picking up six first downs and a touchdown on his 22 carries. He didn't convert his lone third-down attempt, but he picked up a fourth-and-1 later in the game. He also had two first downs as a receiver. Teammate Deji Karim finished sixth in the rankings.
5.
Jamaal Charles KC
87
1
13
0
32
30
2
This was more of a boom-or-bust day for Charles, who was successful on just five of his 14 carries. Of course, the successes included a five-yard touchdown run on third down and a 47-yarder to set it up.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Marshawn Lynch BUF
75
0
2
0
-42
-21
-21
While Justin Forsett and Leon Washington can probably serve as something approaching the latter portion of "Thunder and Lightning", Lynch is more like a raincloud that just hangs around and does nothing but dampen spirits. Lynch's 20 carries produced just four first downs and a Success Rate of 25 percent. Against the Rams. He fumbled away his only reception of the day, setting the Rams up with excellent field position. To be a successful back, you have to be good at something. It's hard to find what Lynch is good at beyond being a first-round pick a few years ago.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Nate Burleson DET
6
8
83
13.8
1
49
Four first downs and a touchdown on seven targets is also impressive. Burleson's touchdown ended up being the margin of victory for the Lions, and in addition to his receiving totals, he threw in a 20-yard carry for another first down.
2.
Rob Gronkowski NE
6
10
102
17.0
1
44
Gronkowski's really capitalized on the injury-enforced absence of Hernandez in the Patriots lineup. 19 of his 62 targets (30.6 percent) have come during the final three games of the year, including ten this week. With Tom Brady in the lineup, Gronkowski was 4-of-5 for 73 yards, with three first downs and a touchdown catch. Once Brady went out for good, though, Brian Hoyer came in and Gronkowski's numbers fell to 2-of-5 for 29 yards. Both those completions went for first downs, though, and five first downs and a touchdown is a very respectable day for ten targets.
3.
Mike Wallace PIT
3
5
105
35.0
1
43
His first two targets were a 56-yard touchdown and a 41-yard completion. Hard to have a bad day after that, so when he finished with one more catch for eight yards on three targets, he was still able to make it into the top-five. (Also, this was a week where the standards for the top-five weren't all that high.)
4.
Brandon Tate NE
2
3
82
41.0
1
42
You saw Tate's ridiculous catch-and-run earlier if you clicked the link in the Brady comment. He also had a 42-yard touchdown catch on a throw from Brian Hoyer.
5.
Jacoby Ford OAK
1
2
35
35.0
0
41
Four chances for Ford produced two first downs and a rushing touchdown. The rest of the Oakland offense needed 62 plays to accrue 17 first downs/touchdowns.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Andre Roberts ARI
4
11
23
5.8
0
-79
Your winner for worst receiving game of the year! It's reasonable to suggest that the Cardinals probably weren't expecting their Week 17 to include 11 targets of Andre Roberts by the combination of John Skelton and Richard Bartel. Roberts only caught four of those passes, none of which yielded more than eight yards, and he had as many fumbles (one) as first downs. There are better days ahead for the rookie third-rounder from the Citadel, if only because he's probably already played with the two worst quarterbacks he'll ever huddle up with as a pro.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 04 Jan 2011

81 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2011, 2:04pm by Noah of Arkadia

Comments

1
by DavidL :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 2:38pm

Marshawn Lynch doesn't play for Buffalo.

5
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 2:58pm

He also doesn't really play for Seattle. Heyooooooooooooooooooo!!!

36
by beargoggles :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 6:51pm

Lynch doesn't play football at all arguably. In college, he basically had "Beast Mode" where he physically beat up overmatched defenders, mostly with his upper body. As for things like balance, vision, acceleration, these normal running back skills were not strengths, so I'm not surprised he's been mediocre in the NFL where you can't get away with just abusing people. In his 1st year in the NFL when I would see him play, he would seemingly break 3 tackles on teh way to a 2 yard gain, although I think a lot of this was his lack of his other skills rather than solely the OL's fault.

Honestly, I can't think of any running back comps to Marshawn Lynch.

6
by Joe T. :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 2:59pm

Nor does Trent Edwards. ;-)

8
by are-tee :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:01pm

And Trent Edwards doesn't play for Buffalo either. Perhaps the implication is, "you can take the player out of Buffalo, but you can't take the Buffalo out of the player".

2
by db :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 2:44pm

Just a nitpick but Lynch now plays for a bad Seattle team, not a bad Buffalo team.

3
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 2:50pm

Has it been mentioned thatLynch doesn't play for Buffalo?

53
by Bobman :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:03am

I can honestly say no. No, it hasn't. And some other stuff.

4
by dancingeek@gmail.com :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 2:50pm

In defense of Lynch, most of his carries in the first half started with at least two defenders in his face. Kind of hard to be successful when the defense is a step or two away from taking the hand-off themselves.

11
by LukeM :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:07pm

I didn't watch that game, but if it's true, then what good is DYAR?

17
by tuluse :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:22pm

What good is any stat? DYAR is better than total yards because it accounts for down and distance and opponent strength, but no stat can account for quality of teammate.

33
by MJK :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 5:48pm

Remeber, DYAR is not a measure of how productive a RB was. It is a measure of how effective an entire team's running game was when led by a particular RB. Performance of the O-line and TE's and FB (and, indirectly, of the passing game, with respect to how it forces the safeties to play) are silently factored into it.

A lot of people forget that.

7
by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:00pm

Now imagine if Oakland had a QB that could hit Jacoby Ford in stride. When he gets the ball he does great things. The problem is, the only reliable ways to get him the ball is to hand it to him or kick it to him. Not good for a wide receiver.

9
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:04pm

Seattle fans wish Lynch were still in Buffalo.

13
by dancingeek@gmail.com :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:16pm

I'll take Lynch over Jones. Doesn't mean they shouldn't replace Lynch, but he was an upgrade over what they had.

39
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 7:13pm

Um, false. Justin Forsett is better in pretty much every way. Here are there numbers in Seattle only, playing for the same team behind the same line:

DVOA: Forsett -6%, Lynch -18%

DYAR: Forsett 12, Lynch -66

Stuff Rate: Forsett 25%, Lynch 28%

Second-level yards: Forsett 1.3, Lynch 0.9

Open-field yards: Forsett 1.1, Lynch 0.7

Lynch does have a better Success Rate, 43% to 38%. I'm not entirely sure how, honestly, given everything else. Part of it is that Forsett has 17 third-down carries with at least four yards to go, while Lynch only has 4.

Their third-and-short carries are about even -- Lynch has 11 carries, Forsett 10. But even there, Lynch got a first down 36% of the time, Forsett got it 50% of the time. So he's the better power back too.

46
by Cyrus :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 10:03pm

My only comment on this is that they are not always used the same.

As you point out below, Forsett has 17 third down carries with at least 4 yards to go-- not clear running situations, so he likely is facing a different defense than Lynch is.

Similarly, if they are used differently throughout (I don't know, so I would like someone who watches a lot of games or has stats showing how they are used to tell me), it would make sense that Forsett would be better in third and short situations, but not because he is a better power back-- because they are in a passing formation or something else that makes the defense react differently.

I think Lynch really needs to get his act together this offseason if he wants to continue his career, but I don't think the stats you used are comparable when the RB's are used differently.

66
by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 9:22am

Are they being used in exactly the same situations Vince, because if they're not, those numbers are useless.

individual DVOA is useless.

75
by Noah of Arkadia :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 7:10pm

I thought DVOA was about accounting for the situation

78
by Eddo :: Thu, 01/06/2011 - 11:33am

Yes, because it's an all-or-nothing situation.

Sheesh.

10
by Waverly :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:04pm

Peyton Manning's career is now declining? Could you provide some justification that it's his age as opposed to other factors?

14
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:16pm

When a 34 year old player has a year signficantly below his established performance, its probably safest to assume its decline.

Manning has had issues with his WRs, but Reggie Wayne is still better than what most QBs have. While the WRs and OL account for a good part of the problem, Manning has been making mistakes of a sort I've never seen him make before.

19
by DZ (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:36pm

The Colts also lead the league with 45 dropped passes.

That might have a little something to do with it.

Manning's splits from weeks 1-7, 6-12, and 13-16 are pretty fascinating. I would suggest studying those before jumping to any conclusions.

20
by DZ (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:38pm

that should read: weeks 1-7, 8-12, 13-16

67
by Anonymous3 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 9:28am

Bear in mind Manning also leads the league in pass attempts - that tends to push up ALL aggregate stats, good or bad. Brady and the Patriots had 39 dropped passes on a lot fewer pass attempts so Manning had a lower percentage of his passes dropped than Brady.

If you look at all Manning's conventional stats, there's a definite drop off in productivity (YPA, etc.) The total yards and touchdowns look the same because the Colts were so pass whacky this year. Per play, Manning has declined this year. Whether age is a factor is unclear, but dropped passes don't explain it.

76
by Nate Dunlevy :: Thu, 01/06/2011 - 8:07am

Pats led the league in dropped pass percentage, but Indy was still third.

Brady's year was incredible, but that doesn't invalidate what people are saying about Indy and dropped passes.

77
by nat :: Thu, 01/06/2011 - 10:48am

No. But what does is that if Manning's dropped pass rate had been the same as last year's league average, he would have completed a grand total of 6 more passes.
(maybe a bit more, as I don't know what percentage of pass attempts are deemed "untargeted" and therefore not counted in the drop rate calculation)

All this whining about six dropped passes, less than two passes every five games, for crike's sake. Maybe 60 or 70 yards over the course of the entire season.

23
by ht (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:47pm

Seriously, declining? Not, say, the fact that he's throwing to Blair White and Jacob Tamme instead of Dallas Clark and either Austin Collie or Anthony Gonzales? Come on. At the very least, the receivers issue so confounds any physical decline that it's impossible to see any clear statistical evidence for it.

55
by Bobman :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:14am

I think that's the best said. I don't THINK his decline is measurable yet, but there's too much noise in the system to say either way. If all his guys are healthy next year and his numbers are way up, does that mean he's having a resurgence? PEDs? Suddenly got better? Uh... no. If they are all healthy and he continues to trend downward, then mission control, we have a problem.

And when I say downward, the traditional stats for this year are extremely similar to last year, which was an MVP effort and nobody talked about his slipping then, did they? If he had the same stats, but his team was 14-2, would this be a discussion?

31
by JonFrum :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 5:00pm

When our children's children are wandering a post-apocalyptic Road Warrior landscape searching for fresh water and digging grubs to eat, Peyton Manning will be throwing for 3000 yards and winning 12 games.

50
by SteveNC (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 11:28pm

Not very impressive, though, for a 28-game season.

54
by Bobman :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:10am

Holy crap! I was guffawing at #31 and then #50 just blew me out of the water. You guys are full of win today.

I'm willing to accept some decline in Manning--it's inevitable and natural--but don't think it's quite the case yet. The OL, RB, and WR issues were just too much for him to be his normal self. He's never been injured, is manic about staying prepped physically and mentally, and in light of the golden years performance of Favre and Warner past 35, I'm pretty sure Manning's decline--if any--is a lot less pronounced than the numbers indicate. The lack of receivers, RBs, and competent OL... that's your most likely culprit. His most recent "bad" year in 2002... what did that have in common with 2010? No Edge in the lineup (plus he was less evolved). Missing Addai/Brown/Hart for most of the season. Sound familiar?

I guess we'll see next year (assuming some of those guys are healthy then).

57
by t.d. :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:26am

No, it's good, Manning was also entering his decline phase around the time of that six interception game when he was throwing to Craphonso Thorpe. It isn't that this writer likes to stir things up. The Colts have been getting steadily less talented since around 2005

74
by Pass to Set Up ... :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 5:08pm

The Manning Decline genre is similar to the Ray Lewis Decline aka Raven's Defensive Window Closing genre of sportswriting. Always a reliable scare piece to rile up worried fans. In the end turns out to be not worth the worry.

79
by MJK :: Thu, 01/06/2011 - 12:43pm

Except there's a difference... An entire team can avoid a decline if older players are gradually and smoothly replaced by a competent coach.

An individual CANNOT avoid a decline, unless he's an android. The human body simply wears out after a while, or even if it doesn't, it weakens with age. Barring Brett Favre, QB's simply do not maintain elite play into their 40's, and even their late 30's is a longshot. Now I wouldn't be surprised if Manning was such a longshot, given his elite skill, his work ethic, and how he takes care of himself in a game, but still, he's got about 4 more years tops, and probably only about 2 more years at really elite levels unless he declines sooner.

81
by Noah of Arkadia :: Thu, 01/06/2011 - 2:04pm

Remember that dog you used to have as a kid? Your parents lied. He didn't run away to pursue a career in showbiz in Asia.

12
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:11pm

Regarding Freeman's "creative" shovel pass, had that pass been thrown to Cadillac Williams it would have been ranked as "not that bright", but tossing it to Blount, who is (A) a lousy receiver and (B) has some ball security issues, was really, really dumb. I yelled "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" the moment Blount caught it, because with all the defensive traffic around I knew the fumble was coming.

15
by Theo :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:17pm

Ugh.
Game rewind is only for those who live in the US.

26
by DavidL :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 4:22pm

Which is irritating for you and the other overseas readers I'm sure, but it's also the only online video of specific plays you can link to that won't be taken down by copyright claims after ten minutes. Better highlight links that some people can see than none at all.

16
by c0rrections (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:17pm

Sign of Manning's inevitable decline? I'd say that is hardly even probable given that he lost most of the receivers he has a rapport with for at least some time during the season as well as any semblance of a running game for much of the season. I'd go ahead and hold off on the Manning is entering his decline based on this season. At the start of the year he looked pretty damn unstoppable.

18
by Theo :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:30pm

If the decline of Manning continues for 3 more years at this rate, he might well be the 3rd best quarterback of the NFL by then.

29
by young curmudgeon :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 4:55pm

Wow, Manning fans are extremely protective of their boy. Let's look at what was actually said. Manning was described as "one of the best players in NFL history." His performance this year, by any measure not up to his own extremely high standards, is described as an indicator that his career is "probably entering its decline phase."

Now let's look at some additional considerations: (1) Manning is 34 years old and will be 35 next season. Although he is a remarkable physical specimen (with a "laser rocket arm"), age inevitably takes a toll. I haven't done a study, but I feel confident that most quarterbacks enjoy their greatest level of success prior to the age of 35. And it isn't just quarterbacks: Other good players selected in the 1998 draft include Tra Thomas, Alan Faneca, Randy Moss, Flozell Adams, and Hines Ward. Anyone there who you expect will have one of the best seasons of his career in the next two or three years? (2) To "decline" from being "one of the best players in NFL history" is not to suddenly become the guy running the scout team. If Manning is 'merely' one of the best players in the league next year, that could still be a decline from being one of the best players in history. (3) The word "probably" indicates that this judgment is speculative. I think it is highly probable that a 35 year old football player is likely to be less effective than he was at age 29 or 32, particularly when his is being compared to the historically superb standard he himself set. However, 'probable' does not mean 'certain.'

I think you're over-reacting--and by writing three paragraphs on the topic, I am, too!

32
by Wolf (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 5:22pm

It just seems peculiar to pick a year in which half of his top six receivers (Wayne, Clark, Collie, Gonzalez, Garcon, Addai) were injured, in a comment on the #2 ranked QB performance of the week, to comment on Manning's decline. May or may not be true, but what a weird place to say that.

38
by Malene, Copenhagen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 7:01pm

OH FOR GODS SAKE,

"First sign", "probably", "entering" the "decline phase".

It takes some serious fanboyism to be offended by that sentence.

40
by Counterfactual (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 7:14pm

So the defense of the sentence is that it is so laden with qualifiers as to be essentially meaningless. Why even bother writing it then?

47
by An Onimous (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 10:11pm

I'm not a fanboy. I'm not offended by the sentence. I just think it's nonsense. Manning's top 5 receivers entering the year were Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez, and Pierre Garcon. Those five players combined to miss 33 games this year (10 by Clark, 14 by Gonzalez, 7 by Collie, 2 by Garcon). Manning was also missing Addai for 8 games, Donald Brown for 3 games, and the Colts probably put up the most skewed pass:rush ratio of Manning's career (which has a strong negative impact on per-play efficiency). On top of all that, the Colts led the league in drops.

Despite that, Manning finished 2nd in DYAR and 6th in DVOA. Was he up to his usual otherworldly standards? Of course not, but how about a bit of consistency, here? The Outsiders are usually all to quick to point out when an outlier performance is likely the result of supporting cast- witness Andre Roberts, for instance. This whole website was founded on the concept that stats are meaningless without context, and then they make a sweeping judgment of Manning (that he's PROBABLY declining- not possibly, but probably) based on out-of-context statistics.

I understand that the Quick Reads format really isn't conducive to in-depth analysis, but that last part of the Manning blurb was just lazy writing. If you want to base your thoughts on Manning's impending decline on scouting, or on historical comps, then that's one thing. But basing it on one ridiculous out-of-context data point is just bad analysis. You don't have to be a "homer" or a "fan-boy" to recognize that.

56
by Bobman :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:19am

Nicely done... for a fanboy in denial.

I AM a fanboy and I do accept the inevitable decline, but like you, I don't think the evidence is there because of all the other "stuff" messing up the data. And putting it in was just like filling in conversation with a boring relative at Christmas dinner. "Yes, Nana, yeah, that was fun...." Needless, relatievly harmless filler. When written by a Pats fan journalist whose QB is leading the MVP race, it tastes a little like salt in the wounds, however.

62
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 4:44am

When written by a Pats fan journalist whose QB is leading the MVP race, it tastes a little like salt in the wounds, however.

Bill Barnwell's a Pats fan?

64
by armchair journe... :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 5:39am

pretty sure barnwell's a giants fan whose qb is not leading the mvp race.
_______________________________
armchair journeyman quarterback

70
by BSR :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 2:30pm

For years I've heard how Manning makes his WRs and Olinemen. How his hard work ethic and ability as a coordinator on the field makes all these other players better than they really are. According to the average colt fan, the colts would all be crap and the team wouldn't win 5 games without him. Suddenly, four interception games are excused away because he doesn't have pro-bowl caliber players at every skill position. Sorry, it doesn't go both ways.

And as for this being a one season trend, just take a look at the FO quarterback statistics during the past decade. From 2003-2006 Manning OWNED the league as the top statistical quarterback in the NFL. His well deserved legendary status was pretty much written in stone during this period. Since then however, he has more then had his share of competition for the label of top QB in the business, if not just plain passed. Its not surprising to his numbers dip down to just "great" after being "otherworldly" for that four year period. It isn't blasphemy to point out the trend nor should it be all too surprising.

As for the injuries, they certainly did seem to pile up this year but then injuries are part of the game. No team has the luxury of playing without significant injuries even to important players. Quarterbacks get old and their numbers decline, but even before then the skill position players surrounding these QBs get old even sooner, suffering injuries and even more precipitous drop offs in production. The real anomaly isn't that Manning had all these injuries to skill position players this year, its that they didn't happen sooner and with more frequency. Manning has had the privilege of playing with a very consistent and talented group of players like Wayne, Harrison, Clark, Addai, James for a very long time.

72
by c0rrections (not verified) :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 3:04pm

Sorry but your first paragraph isn't really what people have said. The point isn't the caliber of the players necessarily (Wayne was still there for the entire season afterall) but the fact that the players he practiced the most with went out with injuries in bunches. Given the style of offense that the Colts run that places a high degree of reliance on timing and trusting players to be where they are supposed to be losing that predictability with a bunch of injuries hurts Manning's performance more than a quarterback like Roethlisburger who does a lot more of what we might call "winging it."

71
by c0rrections (not verified) :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 2:56pm

The point isn't that he isn't declining or that he probably will decline given his age. That's a reasonable assumption given general career progressions. What is objectionable is to treat the fact that he had his lowest DVOA since 2002 as a probable sign of decline when there are plenty of other explanations for said decline particularly given his DVOA numbers at the start of the year when he had all of those receivers. Basically there is too much other noise for the decline in DVOA to be a particular sign of anything.

21
by mvhuber :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:38pm

Ron Bartel is actually Richard Bartel, although, I could see how it would be easy to make that mistake. I wouldn't know Richard Bartel if he threw a football threw my front window.

63
by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 5:15am

Didn't his Dad make wine coolers with a guy named James?

68
by Dean :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 9:50am

That was Bartles. Frank Bartles and Ed James if you believed the ad campaigns.

22
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:43pm

"This interception by Cutler on a throw to the end zone has to be one of the worst throws he's made all year. I mean, everything about it's bad. The mechanics are bad. Cutler can't step into the throw, so it sails on him. The read is horrendous in any context; there are two defenders in the area, and either of them might have had a better chance at catching the ball than Johnny Knox. The decision, though, is scandalous. You are on the 24-yard line. If you throw the ball away, you get a shot at a pretty reasonable field goal. Maybe Cutler was trying to throw the ball away and didn't get enough on it. I'd like to think that's true, but Cutler makes too many inexplicable decisions to make it likely. "

Looks to me like Knox had his guy beat, and the ball probably should have been thrown to the back corner of the endzone. I don't think it was all that bad of a decision, just a terrible throw... which was probably because he was hit while throwing.

24
by Eddo :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 4:10pm

I thought a back-corner throw was what Cutler intended as well. That mitigates the decision somewhat, but doesn't excuse Cutler entirely, since he shouldn't have made such a high-risk play given the current game state.

And it was a terrible, terrible throw. Arguably Cutler's worst all year.

42
by Marko :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 7:55pm

The throw seemed very late to me - if it had been made earlier, I think it would have been a touchdown. I believe Aikman said as much while looking at the replay. Or maybe it was underthrown and Cutler wanted a back corner throw, as you said.

Yes, it was a terrible throw when you consider where he threw it and when he threw it. But I don't think it was close to Cutler's worst all year. Off the top of my head, I can think of three that were far worse:

1. The pick-6 to DeAngelo Hall of the Redskins. A sideline pass off Cutler's back foot, under pressure, in field goal range while the Bears led 14-10 in the third quarter. It was third and 7 at the Redskins' 13 yard line. The pass had zero chance of being completed. Even if it had miraculously been caught by the intended receiver, it wouldn't have picked up the first down, as it would have been about two yards short and the reciver would have been going out of bounds. The pick-6 made it 17-14 Redskins, which ended up being the final score.

2. The interception in the end zone against the Vikings in the game at Chicago. The Bears led 20-13 in the third quarter and had third and goal at the 8 yard line. Cutler rolled to the right under pressure and threw it late, right to a defender. He should have just thrown it away and settled for a chip shot field goal which would have put the Bears up by 10. The Bears still won, 27-13.

3. The pick-6 to Dwight Lowery of the Jets. The Bears led 10-7 in the second quarter and had second and 20 at their own 15 yard line. Cutler stared down Earl Bennett on the left side outside the numbers. Despite the fact that Bennett was blanketed by two DBs, Cutler threw it right to Lowery, who ran it back 20 yards for the TD. The pass had no chance of being completed. It was one of those throws that made you say "NO" as Cutler was winding up to throw it. The TD was the Jets' second TD in just over a minute and put the Jets in front, 14-10. The Bears did come back to win the game 38-34, as Cutler was outstanding the rest of the way.

45
by Eddo :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 9:58pm

Yeah, those are all probably worse (maybe not the Lowery one, the wind may have affected it; poor decision, yes, poor throw, perhaps).

Very good memory, Marko. Thanks for correcting me.

What are your thoughts heading into the playoffs? The Packer game, despite Cutler's awfulness, leaves me optimistic. While Cutler looked bad, that was his first poor effort in a long time, so I like to think he'll play better in the playoffs. And the special teams also got outplayed, which seems unlikely to occur again, unless Seattle comes to town. And the defense was awesome. The Bears went into Lambeau, against a team fighting for its playoff life, and nearly upset them. I hope that bodes well.

52
by Marko :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:01am

I'm very optimistic about the playoffs, too. I was very encouraged about how the defense played, and Forte has really been playing great. And I am confident that Cutler will play well.

I also think that while the Bears played their starters almost the whole game (I say "almost" only because they rotated on defense more than they normally would, especially among the DBs), they didn't really game plan or call plays like they would for a meaningful game. For example, the run-pass ratio looked a lot like it did before the bye, and we all know that formula doesn't work for the Bears. I am confident that Martz will call a more balanced game in the playoffs. If he starts to abandon the running game, Lovie will rein him in (and if Lovie doesn't, Tice might, and there's also a chance that Olin Kreutz would give Martz the Fred Miller treatment). A more balanced run-pass ratio will help keep the defense honest, keep Cutler upright and open up the play-action passing game. That's why I am confident that Cutler will play well.

I also think the Bears will have a big home field advantage. Who knows, if they win their first game, maybe they'll even get to host the NFC Championship Game. I wouldn't be surprised if the Falcons lost; I could see Green Bay or New Orleans beating Atlanta. I think the NFC Playoffs are wide open. I wouldn't be shocked if any team (other than Seattle) ended up in the Super Bowl.

I'm torn about who to root for this weekend. Obviously, I would rather play Seattle than Philadelphia or New Orleans, despite the fact that Seattle beat the Bears in Chicago. I think the Bears took the Seahawks too lightly in that game, and there's no way the team comes out as flat in the playoffs as they did in that game. But the Seattle-New Orleans game is on Saturday, and the Green Bay-Philadelphia game is on Sunday. I wish the Green Bay game was on Saturday because I would root for Seattle if I knew that Green Bay would win (setting up GB-Atl and Sea-Chi), but I would root for New Orleans if I knew that Philadelphia would win (setting up NO-Atl and Phi-Chi). Those two possibilities would set up the best chance for the Bears to host the NFC Championship Game if they win their first game. But even if the Bears and Atlanta both win, I think the Bears match up well with Atlanta. As long as they avoid the big turnover in the red zone (which has plagued the Bears in Atlanta the last few years, as well as the stupid squib kick in 2008), I could see the Bears winning in Atlanta. Of course, I could also see the Bears losing their opening game to New Orleans or Philadelphia.

Basically, I'm just very excited. I can't wait until the weekend.

59
by Eddo :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 1:02am

Good summary. I too am very excited. Regardless of how they do, I've really enjoyed watching this team play.

61
by BigCheese :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 3:08am

I actually was very, VERY pleased with how sunday's games unfolded.

First, NO lost. This was the one result I REALLY wanted to see, since it was not only half of what needed to happen for the Bears to have a chance for the #1 seed, but the half that absolutely had to be the one to happen if only one of them did. Because if NO got the #1 seed that would have been the worst scenario for the Bears. While it MIGHT be harder to go into Atlanta than into NO, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the diference between hosting NO and ATL at soldier is pretty significant, since the latter is much more equipped to play in those conditions.

Then, the Giants needed to lose, or barring that, the Bears themselves needed to lose. Why? Because I'd MUCH rather have the Packers in the play-offs than the Giants. Not only because of what the G-Men did to Chicago in week 4, but because the Pack have a significantly beter chance (in my mind) to knock off Atlanta in the dome (already came THIS close to doing it this year). And I would be VERY confident in hosting the Packers at the NFCC game. So, looking at their play-off future, once the Giants won, the best the Bears could do for themselves was lose.

And they did. In a close one that showed me a lot. I'm very optimistic about the play-offs!

- Alvaro

73
by tuluse :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 3:35pm

It hasn't hit me yet that the Bears are the #2 seed in the NFC. I keep expecting the rug to be pulled out from under them.

I think the realization will come once the wildcard gets sorted out and I know who they're playing.

25
by DavidL :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 4:19pm

Hit while throwing? When? The Rewind video has one Packers defender with a hand kind of near Cutler's hip, and that's about it.

37
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 6:55pm

Yeah...

"Didn't you even WATCH the show?"

Jay Cutler is actually a decent quarterback, but he makes *appalling* throws every week he suits up (unlike everyone else in the NFL Brett Favre is compared to, the Cutler comparison actually works).

Cutler makes throws that bad all the time.

41
by ammek :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 7:39pm

I thought Knox was the likely worst receiver of the week. Eight targets, zero catches, one interception. I guess the adjustment for the Packers' defense saved him.

43
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 8:22pm

Receivers get no credit/blame for interceptions. They're treated like any other incompletion.

27
by MCS :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 4:40pm

Please don't link to pay sites.

30
by MCS :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 4:58pm

It turns out it is not a pay page. My system is just incredibly slow today.

28
by silentrat :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 4:47pm

Does anyone else have issues with their browser (firefox) crashing every time you try to view one of the rewind videos? I'm using a PC thats about a week old and has 3 gb of RAM so I doubt its an issue of not being able to handle it.

49
by Athelas :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 11:05pm

What browser are you using?
I find fewer problems like that using Firefox, or even better, Chrome.

51
by tuluse :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 11:30pm

It works fine for me. Make sure you have the latest version of flash.

34
by MJK :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 6:00pm

A few points:

* Where does Darren McFadden's amazing game against Denver fall? I forget what his DYAR was that week, and I know Denver's run D is weak, but I would have thought it would be pretty high in spite of that?

* On Manning and decline: I don't think it's unreasonable to expect Manning to have declined this season, or to be about to decline next season or the season after. He is 35. Also, I've been doing some research where I've been charting QB career arcs by looking at DVOA as a function of years starting, to see if there is a natural progression of skill. Manning is a total outlier. He has now started 13 seasons. Only two other QB's in the DVOA era have started more seasons (Favre and Kerry Collins) than that, and no QB has ever had 12 seasons as a starter as consistently as good as Manning's (leaving out his first year). Brees and Brady are both on track to match that, but they'll have to continue at Manning-level for four more years to match it.

Now, granted, there is some selection bias introduced by limiting it to the DVOA era, since only a few QB's who started playing near the beginning of the DVOA era are even eligible to have matched Manning's feat. But most of the QB's I've tracked wouldn't have made it even without that selection bias. Most of them have some good years, some bad years, and end up either out of the league or playing backup after about 5-8 seasons starting.

In other words, what Manning has done has already boggled the mind, and only two other active QB's are close to duplicating it (and are still 4 years away). So he's got to start declining soon.

That said, I agree that sampling a year in which the Colts were hammered at injuries to the offensive skill positions is probably not a very good data point to base a conclusion about a decline on. It would be like testing a series of ropes, and getting to one you expect to be weaker than all the others (maybe because it's thinner), but cutting half through it with a knife before testing it. Maybe it would have been weaker than the others anyway, but we'll never know. We'll never know if Manning's decline might have started this year even if his WR's had all been healthy.

* By the way, because no one has mentioned it, Marshawn Lynch doesn't play for Buffalo.

65
by Vince Verhei :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 7:09am

* Where does Darren McFadden's amazing game against Denver fall? I forget what his DYAR was that week, and I know Denver's run D is weak, but I would have thought it would be pretty high in spite of that?

80 DYAR.

35
by Thok :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 6:36pm

Fundamentally, the difference between Manning being in decline or just having an off year is the difference between whether he breaks Favre's records or shatters them.

44
by Theo :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 9:18pm

Manning still has an average NFL QB career to go before he breaks some of the records.

48
by Thok :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 10:32pm

Below average, if he wants the interceptions, fumbles, or times sacked records. I suspect nobody cares.

He needs roughly 1700 pass completions, 17000 passing yards, and 110 TD's to pass Favre in the categories people care about. Assuming 6 more years (and ignoring injuries, which are obviously a big threat), that's 284 completions a year, 2834 yards a year, and 19 TD's a year. Over 5 years, that's 340 completions, 3400 yards, and 22 TD's a year.

(I've ignored the pass attempts records, since Iit's actually a negative record compared to the other three. Peyton will probably get it if he plays 6-7 more years without being injured, but the other records will be more impressive.)

So yes, catching Favre requires a decent amount, but not really that much for a healthy and motivated Peyton Manning.

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by Bobman :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:43am

That is all true... and insane. Favre was a machine. So is Manning, an even better one, but I am not so sure he has the same motivation to forever be in the limelight as Favre. Five more years is a long time to keep getting hit, working out, when there's no more to prove. Maybe if he gets another Sb ring he hangs 'em up in three years, or if he's still looking for another SB win, he keeps going for five or six more. He seems like the kind of purist who would find it distasteful to keep going just for the sake of individual records. (Which DE--Bruce Smith?-- was clearly going just to pass the other guy (Reggie White?) in career sacks. That was just pathetic at the end.

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by some guy (not verified) :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 2:10am

Your rewind clip on Brady reminded me of a question that really puzzled me on sunday; does that catch count as one broken tackle or three? There are honestly three defenders who miss at the very same time, all with a legitimate chance to tackle him but it seems generous to give him three broken tackles for one move. What would you say to the game charter?

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by t.d. :: Wed, 01/05/2011 - 11:10am

It wouldn't surprise me if Brady has a meltdown game in the playoffs. Interception rate is a highly variable stat for quarterbacks, and he's been pretty lucky in addition to being extremely good. The year Garrard almost had a nine-to-one td to interception ratio, he threw as many picks in the postseason as he did in the regular season, and Brady himself had a three interception game in the 2007 AFC championship against the Chargers (in fact he's had a three-interception game each of the last three times he's made the playoffs).

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by some guy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/06/2011 - 1:57pm

True, but the only thing is the chargers, ravens and browns were the only defenses that brady seemed to have trouble with and only the ravens are in the playoffs. If the pats avoid them than i seriously doubt that brady will have a difficult postseason.