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22 Nov 2011

Week 11 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

After breaking the thumb on his throwing hand against San Diego, it's not clear when or if Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be returning this season. For now, this is Caleb Hanie's team. Will the fourth-year passer out of Colorado State be able to keep Chicago's playoff dreams alive?

To answer that question, we must first look at the quarterback Hanie will be replacing. Following his 286-yard, two-touchdown game against San Diego, Cutler now ranks 18th out of 39 qualifying passers (minimum 100 pass plays) in both DYAR and DVOA. That does not mean, however, that there are 17 quarterbacks out there superior to Cutler. No football player posts individual statistics in a vacuum. Cutler isn't out there throwing passes to himself. He needs his linemen to block for him and his receivers to catch passes, and the talent around him (particularly in the blocking department) is clearly inferior to what he played with early in his career. Cutler was a perennial top-10 passer with the Denver Broncos, but he ranked in the 30s in his first two seasons in the Windy City.

(The opposite is also true, by the way. In four years in Chicago, Kyle Orton was never in the top 20 quarterbacks in our rankings. He was 12th in each of his first two seasons in Denver before getting Tebowed this year.)

Lately, though, Cutler and the Bears had been playing much better. At the end of Week 3, Cutler sat third from the bottom in our quarterback rankings. Since then, he's been 12th in DYAR, 10th in DVOA. The biggest difference: The Bears have avoided sacks. Cutler hit the turf 4.7 times per game in Weeks 1 to 3, but has gone down just 1.3 times per contest since then.

Can the Bears have similar success with Hanie? We don't have a lot of data on Chicago's new starter; he's had just 16 pass plays in the regular season. His player page at Football Outsiders shows that the most similar passer to Hanie over the past two seasons is Aaron Rodgers in 2006-07, the last two seasons the Green Bay quarterback backed up Brett Favre. Is that a sign Hanie is about to put up MVP numbers? Hardly – other quarterbacks who have played like Hanie in limited action include luminaries like Mike Kruczek, Scott Secules, and Guy Benjamin.

There are a few silver linings to this dark cloud. Hanie also has 20 postseason pass plays, all in last season's NFC championship game. He played stunningly well (13-of-20 for 153 yards, with two interceptions but no sacks), especially considering that he was facing the Green Bay Packers and the top pass defense in our rankings. Hanie finished the day with 38 DYAR, all in the second half. Had he played that well over a full game, it would have been one of the best contests of that postseason, ahead of Super Bowl winners like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Rodgers himself.

Hanie will also be playing a remarkably soft schedule of pass defenses. Not one team left on the Chicago schedule entered the weekend in the upper half of FO's rankings against the pass. The best they face is the Packers, whose current defense bears little resemblance to last year's championship squad aside from the "G" on their helmets.

And finally, there is the Bears' not-so-secret weapon. Matt Forte isn't just third in the league in rushing, he's also fourth among running backs in receiving yards. Whatever Hanie's skill level, he shouldn't have much problem dumping the ball off to his running back and letting him carry the load. (On a related note, Forte's already high fantasy value just spiked.)

There's no denying that the Bears' offense is worse now than it was a week ago. However, against a cushy schedule and buoyed by the NFC's second-best scoring defense, Hanie has a fighting chance of guiding Chicago back to the playoffs.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Matt Ryan ATL
22/32
316
1
0
182
171
11
On a day when no quarterbacks put up massive numbers, Ryan was able to top the list by avoiding disaster against Tennessee. The Falcons quarterback had no sacks or interceptions in 32 dropbacks. He was quietly efficient in the first half, averaging just 7.2 yards in 14 passes. He was much more explosive in the second half, averaging 11.9 yards in 18 attempts, including five 20-yard plays in a stretch of 10 throws in the third and fourth quarters. He completed passes to seven different receivers. He went 7-of-9 on third downs, although only four of those seven completions actually picked up a new set of downs.
2.
Matt Stafford DET
28/36
335
5
2
139
144
-4
Second half: 13-of-15 for 165 yards, three touchdowns, 145 DYAR. Stafford only threw eight incompletions, and those completions came on average 20.6 yards downfield, the deepest in the league this week.
3.
Andy Dalton CIN
25/45
373
1
3
132
116
16
Surprised to see Dalton rank so high? Without opponent adjustments, Dalton would rank 14th among quarterbacks this week; with them, he's third. And that's not even considering that he played the game without A.J. Green, his best receiver.
4.
Philip Rivers SD
21/31
280
2
2
126
126
0
First half: 13-of-19 for 179 yards, one touchdown, 128 DYAR. Second half: 8-of-12 for 101 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, -2 DYAR.
5.
Tony Romo DAL
23/37
292
3
0
118
118
0
Romo on third downs: 8-of-13, seven first downs (including three touchdowns), 160 yards, one sack, 109 DYAR.
6.
Jay Cutler CHI
18/31
286
2
1
101
92
10
Cutler's average completion came 11.8 yards past the line of scrimmage, deepest of any passer this week.
7.
Aaron Rodgers GB
23/34
299
3
1
98
81
17
This was Rodgers' first game of the year below 100 DYAR. Yes, in his worst game of the year he completed 68 percent of his passes and threw three touchdowns.
8.
Josh Freeman TB
28/37
342
2
2
96
96
-1
First half: 12-of-16 for 132 yards, one interception, one sack, four failed completions. Second half: 16-of-21 for 210 yards, two failed completions, two touchdowns, one sack, one interception.
9.
Colt McCoy CLE
17/24
199
1
1
78
70
8
McCoy in the red zone: 3-of-6 passing for 28 yards, one touchdown, one interception, two sacks, plus a 6-yard DPI penalty, -59 DYAR.
10.
Rex Grossman WAS
25/38
294
2
1
77
89
-12
Grossman had six successful plays on deep balls this week, tied with Philip Rivers and Andy Dalton for most in the league. He went 6-of-11 for 144 yards and 91 DYAR on those throws.
11.
Jake Locker TEN
9/19
140
2
0
75
71
4
All he does is throw touchdowns: 86 percent of Locker's passing DYAR comes from his two touchdown tosses. He had one stretch of nine dropbacks that produced 15 yards and one first down.
12.
Alex Smith SF
20/38
267
2
1
74
74
0
Smith threw a league-high 11 red zone passes. He went 5-of-11 for 44 yards with two touchdowns (both in the second half) and an interception (also in the second half) for -44 DYAR on those throws.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Tim Tebow DEN
9/20
104
0
0
69
29
41
Week 11, quarters 1 to 3: 15 DYAR. Fourth quarter: 54 DYAR. Full season, quarters 1 to 3: -172 DYAR. Fourth quarter: 220 DYAR.
14.
Tom Brady NE
16/27
234
2
0
68
61
7
15.
Matt Moore MIA
14/20
160
3
0
57
73
-16
Moore started out 7-of-9 for seven first downs (including two touchdowns), 128 yards, and 113 DYAR. And then he turned the machine off. He had 12 plays after that, for a total of 19 yards and only two successful plays (although one was a touchdown on third-and-goal from the 4).
16.
Vince Young PHI
23/36
258
2
3
55
53
2
Young on second down: 6-of-12, 60 yards, just two first downs, three interceptions, -72 DYAR.
17.
Cam Newton CAR
22/37
280
1
4
38
19
20
Newton's last pass of the third quarter was intercepted, and he threw two more picks (and gave up a sack) in the fourth. Passing DYAR over that span: -68. He scored two touchdowns on the ground, which explains his high rushing DYAR.
18.
Joe Flacco BAL
17/27
270
2
1
29
29
0
Flacco threw six passes behind the line of scrimmage. Only Cam Newton threw more. Flacco went 4-of-6 for 25 yards and -4 DYAR on those throws.
19.
Richard Bartel ARI
8/16
64
1
0
23
21
2
Random wacky stat note of the week: Arizona's starter, John Skelton, averaged 11.2 YAC per completion, by far the most of any starter this week. (Cam Newton was second with 8.7 YAC per completion.) Bartel, playing for the same team against the same defense, averaged 0.5 YAC per completion.
20.
Carson Palmer OAK
17/23
164
1
0
22
24
-3
First half: 11-of-14 for 109 yards, eight first downs (including a touchdown), one sack. Second half: 6-of-9 for 55 yards, two first downs, three sacks.
21.
Blaine Gabbert JAC
22/41
210
0
0
17
14
3
Gabbert threw a league-high 13 deep balls (more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage) this week. He went 2-of-12 passing for 37 yards (plus a 15-yard DPI penalty) on those throws, good for -17 DYAR.
22.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
24/39
252
0
1
-5
-5
0
Sanchez on third down: 3-of-8 passing (each completion picked up a first down) for 25 yards, one interception, two sacks, -45 DYAR.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Matt Hasselbeck TEN
13/25
124
0
1
-7
-13
6
Only two of Hasselbeck's throws went to the middle of the field. He went 1-for-2 for 17 yards and 8 DYAR.
24.
Eli Manning NYG
19/35
264
1
1
-17
-17
0
Philadelphia cornerback watch: Manning was 11-of-19 passing (only eight successful completions) for 214 yards with one touchdown and one interception throwing to his wide receivers. In his first 13 dropbacks, he went 2-of-11 for 27 yards with an interception and two sacks.
25.
Tarvaris Jackson SEA
14/24
148
1
2
-71
-67
-4
Jackson's first two passes were both intercepted for a total of -112 DYAR. He wasn't bad after that, although his last 11 dropbacks produced just two first downs, and one of those came on a DPI penalty.
26.
Christian Ponder MIN
19/33
213
2
3
-119
-151
32
Ponder scrambled four times for 72 yards, each run gaining 10 yards or more. He also had four completions for 20 yards or more. That's all well and good, but when you throw a league-high eight failed completions, three interceptions, get sacked five times, and fumble once, it's just window dressing.
27.
Sam Bradford STL
20/40
181
1
1
-127
-129
2
Bradford finished about as ice cold as could be. His last 23 dropbacks produced 35 yards and three first downs, to go with four sacks, two fumbles, and an interception, for a whopping -175 DYAR.
28.
Tyler Palko KC
25/38
236
0
3
-130
-119
-11
29.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
20/37
209
0
2
-161
-157
-4
Fitzpatrick's average pass only went 4.7 yards past the line of scrimmage. He was the only starter whose average pass went less than 6 yards. And he still threw 17 incompletions. He failed to convert any of his third-down opportunities, but he did throw two picks and fumble a snap on third down.
30.
John Skelton ARI
6/19
99
0
3
-165
-165
0
Skelton's first half against San Francisco: 4-of-13 for 36 yards and two first downs, with one interception, one sack, an 8.2 passer rating and -119 DYAR. He hit Andre Roberts for a 45-yard gain in the third quarter, but completed just one of his five other second-half passes with two more interceptions before he was benched for the immortal Richard Bartel. Kevin Kolb may not have set the world on fire in his first few months in Arizona, but in one afternoon we were all reminded why the Cardinals traded for him in the first place.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Kevin Smith DET
140
2
61
1
87
51
36
Smith's 140 yards in 16 carries came in something of a feast-or-famine fashion. He had five 10-yard runs for a total of 103 yards. His famine, though wasn't too bad - he averaged 3.4 yards on his other 11 runs. Two of those shorter runs picked up first downs (including a touchdown), and Smith gained at least 1 yard on every carry. Call it feast-or-nibble. He also caught each of the four passes thrown his way for 61 yards, including gains of 28 and 15 yards.
2.
Jonathan Stewart CAR
22
0
87
0
56
0
56
Stewart's eight carries against Detroit produced 22 total yards and nothing longer than 5, but fortunately for him we give running backs credit for plays in the passing game. He caught each of the six passes thrown his way for 87 yards, including gains of 26, 21, 19, and 11 (each of which was caught behind the line of scrimmage).
3.
Chris Ogbonnaya CLE
115
1
19
0
42
33
10
In eight career games and two starts, Ogbannaya had never gone over 100 yards or scored a touchdown, but he accomplished both feats against an underrated Jacksonville defense. In 21 carries, Ogbannaya did not lose yardage once. He was stuffed for no gain twice; one of those came on first-and-goal from the 1, and Ogbannaya crossed the line on the next play. He had four other first downs, including gains of 40 and 12 yards. The Browns threw him four passes, resulting in one incompletion, two catches for 19 yards, and a defensive pass interference call for 6 yards and a first down.
4.
Joe McKnight NYJ
59
0
62
0
37
10
27
Like Stewart, McKnight's only real impact came as a receiver. He led the Jets with six receptions, and these weren't dumpoffs that went nowhere. Four of them gained at least ten yards, and he nearly led the team in total receiving yards as well. And he did all this in only seven targets.
5.
Maurice Jones-Drew JAC
87
1
31
0
34
29
5
Jones-Drew was stuffed for no gain just once in 21 carries, and he picekd up eight first downs rushing. He also caught four passes in six targets, each gaining at least 4 yards.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Bilal Powell NYJ
11
0
7
0
-42
-40
-2
Powell may have contributed more to the Jets loss than Tim Tebow did. He gained only 11 yards on seven carries. His longest run of the day was a useless 6-yarder on third-and-11. He was stuffed for no gain or a loss three times (in seven carries, mind you), and fumbled on one of those runs, although fortunately for him the Jets recovered. He also caught the only pass thrown his way, but it was a 7-yarder on third-and-9 and didn't accomplish much.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Vincent Jackson SD
7
9
165
23.6
1
83
Six of Jackson's seven catches produced first downs. Five of them gained 17 yards or more, and one of his shorter plays was a 5-yard touchdown on third down. This is the second week this season that Jackson ranked first among receivers, and his fourth time in the top 20. On the other hand, he has also finished in the bottom 20 three times.
2.
Jordy Nelson GB
6
7
123
20.5
2
76
Each of Nelson's catches produced a first down, and he went 4-for-4 on third downs, three of them in the first half when the game was in doubt.
3.
Torrey Smith BAL
6
7
165
27.5
1
75
Smith's 22-yard catch on third-and-30 was the longest "failed completion" this season. Fortunately for Smith and the Bengals, he converted two other third downs on the day, and finished with four catches for 20 yards or more.
4.
Nate Washington TEN
9
9
115
12.8
2
68
It's amazing that Washington and Damian Williams posted the numbers they did, playing for the same team against the same defense. (Don't worry, Williams' numbers are coming soon.) Washington had five total first downs (converting five-of-six third-down targets on the day), and twice he gained 9 yards on first-and-10. It was just the third 100-yard game of Washington's seven-year career.
5.
Jerome Simpson CIN
8
13
152
19.0
0
59
In addition to the numbers shown above, Simpson also drew a 24-yard DPI call on third-and-7 in the fourth quarter. He had five catches for 10 or more yards, including gains of 22, 43, and 47 yards.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Damian Williams TEN
1
11
16
16.0
0
-66
Congratulations, Damian Williams! Your game against Atlanta on Sunday was the worst of any receiver so far this season! Seven of his 11 targets came 10 or more yards downfield, but Williams also failed to catch a pair of passes thrown to him inside the 5-yard line. If you're curious, five of his targets came from Matt Hasselbeck and six from Jake Locker, so Williams spread his misery around. (The previous worst game of the year: Kevin Ogletree's 29 yards and two fumbles in eight passes for Dallas against Washington in Week 3.)

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 22 Nov 2011

83 comments, Last at 23 Nov 2011, 7:58pm by BJR

Comments

1
by dryheat :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:37am

Can I assume that the numbers in the Torrey Smith narrative are reversed? Or do I not understand what "failed completion" means?

5
by TADontAsk (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:59am

If memory serves, the Smith catch was on 3rd and 30. In fact, the Ravens had just failed to complete a 3rd and 20, gaining 13 yards, but had a holding penalty. Bengals chose to try and push the Ravens further back by accepting the penalty instead of 4th and 7 and it almost came back to kill them.

23
by tgt2 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:03pm

Another error in that writeup: "...fortunately for Smith and the Bengals..."

53
by eclectic (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 4:30pm

I believe a "failed completion" refers to a completed pass that does not count as a "success" in the DVOA metrics. A 22-yard pass completion on 3rd and 30 is considered a failure because it doesn't result in a first down. A 22-yard completion almost always results in a first down, so is almost always considered a "success." That's what makes this particular situation worth noting.

56
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 5:43pm

The original posting had a 22 yard gain on 3rd-20, which is why the original poster was confused.

63
by footballeater (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 9:15pm

when on third & fourth down a first down is needed in order for it to be cosidered a completion according to the dvoa statistic.

2
by JimZipCode :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:48am

I'm surprised to see Flacco with such low numbers on a day that looks so good from the standpoint of conventional statistics: 10 yards per pass attempt, 105 passer rating. (Can I call yards-per-attempt and passer rating "conventional" statistics?) Do opponent adjustments drag down Flacco's raw numbers, the way they pump up Dalton's? Or is some other factor at work?

By the way, as a Ravens fan I thought Dalton looked amazing for a rookie QB. Not looking forward to a decade of having to play him.

10
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:40am

I'm not surprised. A few big plays inflated his yards per attempt. Throw in all the passes behind the line of scrimmage, a 22 yard "failure", an interception and a fumble and you get a not so great day.

Have to agree about Dalton, not looking forward to a decade facing him.

13
by Independent George :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 12:23pm

Don't worry about it. I'm sure management will find a way to alienate him withn 3-5 years.

28
by Mr. Guest to you (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:31pm

bingo and LOL

39
by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:31pm

Yup three years. Probably about two minutes after Dalton tells Mike Brown that modern athletes don't usually play for a bag of peanuts and a hot dog every game and that he wants a new contract.

42
by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:38pm

Dalton has played well (way better than I thought he would) but I would be more concerned about Messrs Green, Caldwell, Simpson and Gresham. They are a very good group of targets for a young QB to have, especially when the team has good players on both lines.

76
by JimZipCode :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 1:18am

Agreed, but I wouldn't be that worried about Green, Gresham, Simpson et al if Curtis Painter were the QB. With Dalton, that group looks lethal. I'm quite concerned about the whole package.

At least Cedric Benson is getting old. On the other hand, Ed Reed is older. Gak!

59
by LionInAZ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 8:39pm

Obviously, DYAR hates Joe Flacco.

3
by IsraelP (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:50am

Hey, Mike Kruczek won his first six games. If Hanie does that, he's a hero.

4
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:55am

Odd stat: Tim Tebow, better day than Tom Brady.

6
by mikedewitt :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:10am

True, although his rushing DYAR was considerably greater than his passing DYAR.

7
by JSA (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:25am

I wonder what Tebow's DYAR and DVOA are without opponent adjustments.

Actually, would be interesting to see that for everyone.

8
by nat :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:34am

This has been a frequent request. There's plenty of room, since the Team, Comp/Att, Yards, TD, and Int columns are all much wider than necessary. Even the DYAR columns are unnecessarily wide.

I hope FO does this next season.

37
by nibiyabi :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:06pm

Agreed. It would be a nice quick-and-dirty measure to see how much of the value came from raw performance. A "delta" column for each would be nice as well.

60
by LionInAZ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 8:40pm

If they offered all that info here, what could they charge you for?

18
by rengewnad (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 1:42pm

why didn't FO list Bronco's RB...errr i mean... QB as 4th best RB this week?

54
by Whatev :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 4:36pm

Hey man, you sign up as a QB, you compete as a QB.

12
by RickD :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 12:01pm

Brady started poorly, going 1-for-5. And then he fumbled. The Pats didn't wake up until 20+ minutes into the game.

Of course, that's about 35 minutes earlier than Tebow usually wakes up.

14
by ADK (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 12:38pm

It would be more accurate to say that the Patriots offensive line woke up 20+ minutes into the game. For all the praise that line receives, the only time Brady has any semblance of a pocket is when the opponent brings a 3 man rush, and even then that sometimes doesn't work. No one ever mentions how much Matt Light struggles against speed rushers (a problem he has had for around 5 years), and for all the talk of how much the Jets miss Nick Mangold, everyone fails to discuss the loss of Dan Koppen and the retirement of Stephen Neal and the effect that this has had on that unit.

Also, is there a metric for the overall performance of the Patriots secondary last night, with Ray Ventrone, Phillip Adams, Shemar Moore, and Kyle Arrington (despite his picks, not a great corner), Antuan Molden, and stud nickel back Julian Edelman (who has now been converted from QB to WR to CB)?

15
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 12:44pm

Please watch the first five games of the 2010 Bears and then come back to me and tell what a "semblance of a pocket" looks like.

26
by RickD :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:15pm

I don't think it's as simiple as "the offensive line woke up." I think BB changed the blocking scheme. After getting a ton of pressure in the first 20 minutes, the Chiefs got almost none in the second half. It seemed to me that extra blockers had been brought in.

I don't agree that nobody ever mentions how much Matt Light struggles against speed rushers. Some of us have been talking about that for years. He's long had problems with Dwight Freeney and Jason Taylor positively owns him.
As for Koppen and Neal - the Pats were down to their third string center last night when Connolly went out. People talk less about Neal because he was injured so much the last few years. Also, there seems to be a consensus that Brian Waters is having an excellent season as his replacement at RG.

I did see Vollmer whiff on a block last night, but I think for the most part the weak link on pass blocking is Matt Light.

9
by Kimchee (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:39am

How much would Deshaun Jackson's 50 yard nullified completion have counted towards Vince Young's DVOA/DYAR?

77
by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 5:10am

interesting question - I would argue that Young should still get the benefit of that play.

11
by stephenbawesome :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:44am

Riley Cooper might have contended for worst day before that last drive of the game that put the Eagles ahead.

16
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 12:52pm

There's no denying that the Bears' offense is worse now than it was a week ago. However, against a cushy schedule and buoyed by the NFC's second-best scoring defense, Hanie has a fighting chance of guiding Chicago back to the playoffs.

This was pretty much my thoughts too, but still this sucks. Even if the Bears do reach the playoffs I have a hard imagining them winning a playoff game with Hanie.

21
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 1:57pm

I can absolutely see the Bears winning a playoff game with Hanie at qb. He's competent, the Bears defense and special teams are tremendous, and the opponent will either be from the NFC East or South. The Bears match up against any of the teams winning those divisions.

Bears vs. Dallas? Even

Bears vs. NY? Edge Chicago

Bears vs. NO? Edge Chicago

Bears vs. Atlanta? Edge Chicago

30
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:41pm

With Hanie at QB, I would give both New Orleans and Atlanta the edge. Especially New Orleans.

36
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:02pm

No way. Lovie will go to his roots and tell his defense that nobody scores more than 20 points, tell special teams to come up with 7 points and then tell Hanie/offense that all they have to is come up with 14 points by hook or by crook.

Very possible

57
by dbostedo :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 5:57pm

So if Lovie Smith is capable of willing the defense to never give up more than 20, and the special teams to always get 7 - why wouldn't he do that for every single game ever?

31
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:42pm

You guys actually played NO. It wasn't close.

35
by Eddo :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:57pm

I'd give New Orleans the edge, but that was a vastly different Bears team back in week two.

49
by Joseph :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 4:02pm

1--both teams were different back in week 2.
2--Since the Bears got whipped in the dome, and would be playing NO in the dome if they met, regardless of the round (although we're obviously talking WC round), I don't see how anyone outside of CHI could realistically give the Bears the advantage at this point.

58
by Marko :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 7:05pm

Agreed. But the commenter above giving the Bears the edge is a Packers fan who obviously has a great deal of respect for the Bears. He has said several times recently that he thinks the Bears are the biggest threat to the Packers.

73
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:49pm

And as another Pack fan, I'll second bigtencrazy. Hanie is athletic enough to survive behind that line and I think will play about as well as Cassel did for NE. Forte is playing great right now. Chicago's defense is still really good and kicking to Hester reminds me of that old Jim Croce song about dumb things you shouldn't do. Cutler could miss the rest of the regular season but be back for the playoffs (though that may be a best case scenario). I'm probably more worried about the Bears than any other NFC team.

79
by ammek :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 6:06am

And one more. The 2011 Packers very much resemble the 2010 Patriots. How to beat them? Familiarity — say, a division foe. A defense that can keep the score in the mid-20s, gets pressure on the QB, forces a turnover or two, and gets a couple of red zone stops. Field position: kickoffs and returns. An offense that can rush the ball when it needs to, and is a threat to break off a long run. A tight end that can get open and an RB who can catch and run. No more than one giveaway.

It's the turnovers that will be the biggest test for the Bears (or 49ers).

24
by TomC :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:08pm

Well, the wild card round starts 7 weeks (minus 1 day and a few hours) from the time Cutler broke the thumb, or 6 weeks and a few days from the surgery, so you never know....

My personal favorite scenario: Bears gut out 4 wins in last 6 weeks and grab the #5 seed. They get a great game from Forte & a Hester PR TD to squeak out a win in Dallas, then the defense does it all in a low-scoring, ugly win over the Jim Harbaughs (the Saints having lost to the #6 seed again). Leading up to the NFC championship game in Lambeau, it's still not clear whether the Bears will start game-manager, he-just-wins Hanie or the still-recovering Cutler. With both QBs active, the Bears start Hanie, who is ineffective then sustains a mysterious injury near the end of the 1st half......

25
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:12pm

The issue with a bad thumb is that it limits how well a QB can squeeze the ball which is really important in cold weather since the ball is harder. If Cutler's strength hasn't returned, and Favre's thumb strength never really came back, balls tend to slip both on release as well as just getting the ball to the throwing position.

Favre in cold and/or wet weather became much more turnover prone and a lot of that can be attributed to that thumb break of 1999 never really healing.

40
by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:34pm

My personal favourite scencario would be that Cutler heals fully and with no effect on his throwing motion for the remainder of his career. If that means the Bears miss the playoffs or Cutler doesn't play another down all year so be it.

74
by TomC :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:50pm

You're no fun anymore.

80
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 11:14am

I have to say I'm inclined to agree with you. While I've been really excited about the way the Bears have played the past few weeks, deep down I doubted they'd win the Super Bowl even with Cutler healthy and playing at a high level. Heck, it was going to be pretty darn tough to make it there the way Green Bay continues to play.

There's not much difference in my mind between missing the playoffs, making it and losing in the first round, or winning one game and then losing in the second round. If bringing Cutler back too quickly and risking long-term problems is only going to get them something like this, I say give him all the time he needs to recover and hope he can be 100% next season. IMHO, there's no reason the Bears can't be even better next year than this year.

17
by mrh :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 1:09pm

Cutler isn't out there throwing passes to himself. He needs his linemen to block for him and his receivers to catch passes, and the talent around him (particularly in the blocking department) is clearly inferior to what he played with early in his career.

QB Elvis Grbac: “I can’t throw the ball and catch it, too.”

19
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 1:49pm

AR obviously had his worst game of the season because he was looking ahead to the Thanksgiving Day showdown against Detroit.

20
by JasonG (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 1:55pm

A million articles about Cutler and I can't find one that actually explains the injury. A broken thumb on the throwing sounds and is serious. But afterwards he went out and completed two more passes. How does that happen? And then he needs surgery? What bone actually broke (or cracked or whatever)? Or was it a ligament or tendon? Comeback reports are all over the place. What's the real expectation? And will he come back 100% this year or not? Ever? Seriously where is the real analysis/information on this injury? Can somebody please page Will Carroll?

41
by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:35pm

Why would the Bears give anybody who isn't involved in Cutler's treatment any information about the nature of the injury? Let everyone guess away.

43
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:47pm

Doctors in a local newspaper article speculated that it is a displaced fracture, meaning that the bone isn't stable and has to be secured or Cutler will wind up looking like Brian Baldinger.

One doc said that he could start throwing within 3 weeks, depending on his pain tolerance, but that the strength and mobility probably wouldn't be there.

45
by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:52pm

I am starting to think that this is all a ruse to cover up Cutler's real medical procedure - where they fuse his bones with adamantium as it is the only way to keep him alive through the playoffs behind that offensive line.

48
by akn :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 4:01pm

(I guess that's my cue)

From what I gather, Cutler suffered an injury known as a Bennett's fracture. This is a common injury when punching against a hard surface (like someone else's skull) or falling on your thumb while trying to brace for a fall (which is what I think Cutler did). The specific fracture involves the base of the first metacarpal (the 1st thumb bone, located in the fleshy part of your palm) and its articulation with one of the wrist bones. An oblique fracture forms that involves the articulating surface of the base of that metacarpal, which creates a small fragment at the wrist and a larger fragment (the rest of the metacarpal). Typically, no ligament is torn, but separate ligaments attach to each of those fragments, pulling them apart. Because the fragments are displaced from each other, it's an inherently unstable fracture that almost always requires surgery (and is nothing like Big Ben's thumb fracture). Failure to do so will result in permanent loss of pinching/grasping function.

Usually, there is an immediate loss of function and pretty significant pain with this type of fracture, but sometimes the fragments stay relatively still, with the ligaments slowly pulling them out of place over time (and continued non-diagnosis). With little displacement, he can continue to temporarily function with relatively tolerable pain (he may have believe he just jammed it real bad).

Now, there's obviously more info needed to predict the timetable of his return. Was the fracture comminuted (more than 2 fragments)? How displaced were the fragments? How much surround soft tissue damage? The other key piece is that the recovery significantly depends on the skill of the surgeon in restoring the fragments to their original location (reduction) and getting them to stay there (fixation). I'm assuming Cutler gets the best hand guy around, so I'm not too worried about that.

The key thing we need to be watching for is how long Cutler is in a rigid cast after the surgery. The sooner they take that off and replace it with a soft cast (as early as 2 weeks, as late as 6 weeks), the sooner he can start rehab. Prolonged immobilization produces atrophy of the muscles and loss of flexibility that needs to be recovered, probably at least 2 weeks worth before he can think about returning to the field. So the sooner that hard cast comes off, the better. Worst case scenario is if he has an infection or if he experiences significant arthritis afterwards, which may require reintervention. If that's the case, he's done for the season.

Oh, and for anyone thinking his diabetes is a factor--it's not. Diabetes is a disease of long term effects and only hurts you if your blood sugar is not well controlled. Cutler has had amazing control of his blood sugar (he gets tested after every series during a game). On top of that, he's young, so the long term effects of compromised blood flow (which would effect his recovery) do not come into play here. That would only be a concern 10+ years from now and if he was not vigilant about controlling his blood sugar.

All that said, I am not very confident that we will see him again this year. The timetable I talked about above is for athletes and under the most ideal circumstances. For you and I, the recover would be closer to 10-12 weeks. I do not want his long term health to be in jeopardy.

TL;DR: Range of recovery--4 weeks (insanely ideal and highly unlikely) to 12 weeks or worse (also unlikely), with 7-8 weeks as my best guess (on limited info). Look for when they decide to remove his hard cast--earlier the better.

51
by JasonG (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 4:14pm

Excellent stuff. Thank you. For others, here are two good links.

http://www.joint-pain-expert.net/bennett-fracture.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennett's_fracture

65
by Jerry :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 9:35pm

Thank you. It's always nice to get real information.

22
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 1:58pm

Can I assume that the numbers in the Torrey Smith narrative are reversed? Or do I not understand what "failed completion" means?

Oops. That should be third-and-30. Will fix.

I'm surprised to see Flacco with such low numbers on a day that looks so good from the standpoint of conventional statistics: 10 yards per pass attempt, 105 passer rating. (Can I call yards-per-attempt and passer rating "conventional" statistics?) Do opponent adjustments drag down Flacco's raw numbers, the way they pump up Dalton's? Or is some other factor at work?

That’s a small part of it — take out opponent adjustments for everyone and he climbs two spots. He did have six failed completions. Three first downs in seven third-down pass plays. He had three plays on third-and-2, and went 0-for-2 with a sack.

27
by Jonadan :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:20pm

Alex Smith: 5-11, 2 TDs, 1 INT red zone is a -44? It seems like +44 might be a little much, but -44 doesn't make sense at all.

---
"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

29
by Alexander :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:38pm

Sacks.

33
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:47pm

No, he wasn't sacked in the red zone. He did have two failed completions though, which means he had three successes in 11 red zone throws.

32
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:45pm

Red zone interceptions are very bad. And two touchdowns in 11 red zone throws is a below-average performance.

There have been 6.6 red zone touchdowns for every red zone interception this year.

34
by greybeard :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 2:53pm

Are red zone interceptions predictive? It was his second of his career.

38
by kevin M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:22pm

Eli Manning wishes there was some adjustment for 20+ yard passes that are dropped, 5 yard passes that are dropped, and completely wide open passes that are dropped.

I'm not even going to touch the "Bears are so awesome it doesn't even matter if Caleb Hanie is starting" topic.

44
by artmaccuinn (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:50pm

except that's not what was said, not even close. the claim isn't that the Bears are invincible, it's that they still have their usual elite special teams, a very solid (if not quite elite) defense, Matt Forte and an O-line that is much improved (even if just to average, tho given how abysmal it was that's a huge leap) from the beginning of the year, and that all those things, even w/Hanie at QB, still add up to a decent football team. not as good of a team as w/Cutler, obviously, but likely still good enough to make the playoffs w/the benefit of a very weak schedule. two pretty different claims, you'll agree.

46
by kevin M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:56pm

I was responding to the person who stated the Bears would be favored in any 1st round playoff matchup even with Hanie, not the original topic of the piece.

47
by David :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 4:00pm

Nah, I'm pretty sure they're the same thing. Just compare the two statements (edited slightly for clarity)

OP - "Bears are so awesome it doesn't even matter if Caleb Hanie is starting"

and

artmaccuinn - "...the Bears are invincible...they still have their usual elite special teams, ...elite defense, Matt Forte and an O-line that is...good
...enough to make the playoffs, ...you'll agree"

50
by kevin M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 4:12pm

What are you talking about? Read comment #21.

55
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 5:21pm

I am not a Bears fan. Just acknowledging that Chicago isn't as qb dependent as many other teams.

This is the team that got to the SB with Grossman at qb. And that is not the first time in his career Lovie's teams have shouldered a middling or worse qb and won games.

I don't think it's outrageous to suggest that in a team sport the loss of one guy will not cripple their chances so severely that they cannot win a first round playoff game.

61
by LionInAZ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 8:47pm

We're talking about the QB here, not some random starting skill player. Teams that lose their starting QB generally don't even make it to the Super Bowl, let alone win it.

62
by speedegg :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 9:03pm

unless thy QB's name is Grossman

78
by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 5:14am

Or Hostetler, or Reich

64
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 9:16pm

In 1999, 2000 and 2001 the Super Bowl champion's starting QB in the Super Bowl wasn't the starter in Week 1.

Yes, I realize that two of them were two likely hall-of-famers (definite in Brady's case), but teams that succeed with backup QBs aren't all that rare.

We have no idea how effective Caleb Hanie (or Matt Leinart for that matter) will be. Obviously, the chance of being Brady or Warner is close to zero, but the chance of being Kelly Holcomb (2002 Browns) or Kerry Collins (2008 Titans) isn't that far-fetched.

67
by armchair journe... :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:37pm

is Hostetler for Simms too long ago to be the textbook example?

69
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:02pm

Not really too long ago, but i liked my narrative of teams doing it three straight years. Also Doug Williams did it too if I have my history right. Plunkett too in 80.

70
by armchair journe... :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:25pm

its a solid set.. guess the real question is how many highly regarded teams tanked after going to QB2 for the last quarter of the season, versus these notable positive examples.

72
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:48pm

2010 Bears?

81
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 7:06pm

Bledsoe and Brady?

66
by armchair journe... :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:35pm

"Eli Manning wishes there was some adjustment for 20+ yard passes that are dropped, 5 yard passes that are dropped, and completely wide open passes that are dropped."

..and Jake Ballard's glad this Damian Williams guy turned up.

75
by TomC :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:56pm

No shit. Ballard was freaking awful. It's one thing to drop multiple passes, it's another to drop multiple passes that hit you softly in the hands, while your hands are in front of your chest, and there is no defensive player within 5 yards of you. Miss Kevin Boss much?

52
by QQ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 4:17pm

"The best they face is the Packers, whose current defense bears little resemblance to last year's championship squad aside from the "G" on their helmets."

There is a little resemblance considering both teams were among the Best in the League at forcing INTs

68
by Kb (not verified) :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:49pm

Watching the team they dont look much different than the beginning of 2010. Ppl forget how they cam e on in the secon d half to allow something like 10the points a game. Im staying optimistic the same thing is very possible this year. Neal coming back should have a positive ripple effect for the dlineman(raji could see more time off which would result in him being more effective) also getting an inside rusg to make it nearly impossible to double matthews constantly. Another factor im excited about is burnett getting his cast off. Before he broke his hand he was leading the league in Int and playing very close to a pro bowl level. A healthy tramon williams will go a long way also.

71
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/22/2011 - 11:47pm

The defense got better in Week 8, but had the benefit of the week 17 Bye against the Bears, and the Drew Stanton Experience against the Lions.

82
by Karma Coma :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 7:20pm

sorry.

83
by BJR :: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 7:58pm

It's ok.