Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Nov 2011

Week 12 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

Coming into this weekend, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte was fourth in the NFL in rushing yards, and led the league in yards from scrimmage. The Oakland Raiders, though, were able to stifle Forte's production on their way to a 25-20 win. It was the first game for the Bears with Caleb Hanie at quarterback in place of the fallen Jay Cutler, and the loss showed that with Cutler out of the lineup, opponents won't be afraid to throw their entire defense at Forte, the league's most dangerous dual threat. Chicago will need to find another weapon if they're going to make the playoffs. Fortunately, the weapon they need may already be on the roster.

Forte's standard numbers – 84 yards from scrimmage, 4.9 yards per carry, plus six receptions – don't accurately reflect how the Raiders were able to neutralize him. The bulk of his rushing yardage came on two runs, a 33-yarder in the first quarter, and a 7-yard gain on second-and-6 in the third. Outside of those two plays, he averaged just 1.9 yards per rush, and his longest carry was a worthless 5-yard gain on third-and-6.

He didn't fare much better as a receiver. He had the six catches, but they gained a total of just 25 yards. Worse, Forte failed to catch four other balls, including all three of Hanie's interceptions. By the end of the game Hanie was barely even looking for Forte anymore. Of Hanie's 16 fourth-quarter throws, only two were targeted at Forte – and one of those led to a 6-yard loss.

So where was Hanie throwing as he led the Bears on a late rally? Johnny Knox had five targets in the fourth quarter, more than anyone else on the roster, and caught three of them for gains of 16, 19, and 81 yards. Knox finished the day with ten targets, his highest total of the season, and though he only caught four of them, he showed the kind of big-play ability (he also had a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter) that the Bears need right now.

Knox may not be the most reliable receiver in the world, but he's among the most dangerous. Of 85 qualifying receivers in 2010, Knox ranked 68th in catch rate. However, he ranked sixth in yards per catch, and ninth in DVOA (Football Outsiders' exclusive metric analyzing play-by-play data. More information can be found here.). In the first 11 weeks of the year, Knox averaged 4.1 targets per game. He should double that rate for the rest of the season if opponents are going to keep focusing on Forte.

The Raiders showed that teams can shut down Matt Forte if they're willing to risk surrendering big plays to wide receivers. It's up to Hanie and Knox to make that decision a tough one.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Tom Brady NE
24/34
361
3
0
272
262
10
Over the course of the season, the best quarterback in football has been Aaron Rodgers. However, Rodgers at his best still can't touch Brady when the Patriots quarterback is on a roll. Brady's 272-DYAR day against Philadelphia was the best game for any passer this season. Brady also has the third-best game with 252 DYAR against San Diego (423 yards, three touchdowns) in Week 2; the fourth-best game with 234 DYAR against the Jets (329 yards, three touchdowns) in Week 10; and the sixth-best game with 224 DYAR against Miami (517 yards, four touchdowns) in Week 1. The fifth-best game was Michael Vick's 491-total yard day against San Francisco in Week 4. Can you guess who's in second place? We'll reveal the answer soon!
2.
Drew Brees NO
24/38
363
4
0
261
248
13
The answer is Drew Brees! His big game against the Giants was his third 200-DYAR game of the year .He also turned the trick in Week 1 against Green Bay and in Week 7 against Indianapolis. Brees and Brady are the only quarterbacks with multiple 200-DYAR games this year.
3.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
26/39
264
3
0
202
191
12
Fitzpatrick on deep balls: 2-of-9 for 53 yards. He went 0-for-5 on deep balls in the fourth quarter.
4.
Aaron Rodgers GB
22/33
307
2
0
179
179
0
Brady has the big days, but Rodgers has consistent excellence to a ridiculous degree. Rodgers has now been one of the top four quarterbacks nine times in 12 weeks this season -- and in one of the other weeks, the Packers had a bye.
5.
Joe Flacco BAL
15/23
161
1
0
149
147
2
Flacco on third downs: 7-of-10 for 84 yards, with each completion a first down, including a touchdown. He convereted each of the last six third downs he faced. His counterpart Thanksgiving night didn't fare nearly so well. (Foreshadowing!)
6.
Eli Manning NYG
33/47
406
2
1
142
142
-1
7.
Vince Young PHI
26/48
400
1
1
111
112
-1
Young completed four of his first five passes for 130 yards. Between then and halftime, he went 5-of-13 for 60 yards with two sacks and an interception.
8.
Matt Ryan ATL
27/34
262
3
0
102
104
-2
Third downs: 8-of-10, six first downs (including a touchdown), 85 yards.
9.
Andy Dalton CIN
21/31
270
1
0
92
99
-7
Dalton throwing to players not named A.J. Green: 18-of-27 for 160 yards, 10 first downs. He was also sacked twice.
10.
Carson Palmer OAK
21/37
301
0
1
82
82
0
In one stretch over the first and second quarters, Palmer went 5-of-11 for 30 yards, just one first down, with three sacks and an interception.
11.
Rex Grossman WAS
27/35
314
2
2
66
68
-2
First half: 16-of-19, 175 yards, nine first downs, one touchdown, one interception. And yet Washington had only seven points at halftime.
12.
Matt Moore MIA
19/32
288
1
0
57
60
-2
Moore wasn't consistent against Dallas - he went 19-of-32 with four sacks - but he was explosive, averaging better than 15 yards per catch with five 20-yard completions and a 20-yard defensive pass interference penalty drawn by Brian Hartline. Moore's recent surge is one of the most surprising developments of the entire season. In the last four weeks of action, he's sixth in the league in passing DYAR.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Tony Romo DAL
22/34
226
2
2
55
55
0
First quarter: 3-of-6 for 32 yards, with two interceptions and a sack, plus a DPI penalty for 22 yards.
14.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
21/31
193
1
1
48
50
-2
At three separate points in this game, Roethlisberger completed five passes in a row, for a total of 140 yards.
15.
Christian Ponder MIN
17/25
186
1
0
42
39
3
First down: -41.0% DVOA (one first down and three sacks in 12 dropbacks). Second down: 3.4% DVOA. Third down: 115.1% DVOA (four conversions in 10 dropbacks including a 39-yard touchdown on fourth-and-13).
16.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
17/35
180
4
1
35
39
-4
Going into the Jets' final drive, Sanchez was 1-of-8 on deep passes for 22 yards with an interception. Then he threw two deep passes at the end, both complete, for 34 total yards and the game-winning touchdown. He also went 5-of-8 in the red zone, with each completion a touchdown or a first down.
17.
Matt Leinart HOU
10/13
57
1
0
24
24
0
Leinart had one first down in 14 dropbacks. Then he got hurt.
18.
Philip Rivers SD
19/36
188
1
0
23
21
2
Rivers led the league with 48 completions for 20 or more yards coming into the weekend. He had just two against Denver, and none in his last 23 dropbacks.
19.
Luke McCown JAC
7/11
62
0
0
9
5
4
I thought we got rid of you? Exactly one of McCown's seven completions produced a first down. (He had another on a 23-yard DPI call, not accounted for in the prior statline.
20.
Tarvaris Jackson SEA
14/30
144
2
1
6
6
0
With 12:45 left in the game, Jackson hit Golden Tate with a 15-yard touchdown to put Seattle up 17-7. From that point forward, he went 4-of-8 for 22 yards with two sacks, one interception, and exactly zero first downs.
21.
T.J. Yates HOU
9/14
70
0
0
5
9
-3
Between Leinart and T.J. Yates, the Texans went 4-for 8 on third downs — for 10 total yards and no first downs.
22.
Tim Tebow DEN
9/18
143
1
0
1
42
-41
To hell with passing discussion check out that rushing statline: 21 carries (22 if you count kneeldowns) for 67 yards and negative rushing DYAR. Tebow had only three first downs on the ground, and only two other successful carries. Four of his runs produced negative yardage, one of those carries was fumbled, and he went 1-for-5 on third downs, including failures to convert third-and-3 and third-and-2.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Matt Stafford DET
32/45
276
1
3
-8
-16
8
Stafford was efficient, if not explosive. He had a whopping 13 successful completions that failed to pick up a new set of downs. Nobody else had more than eight. At one point he completed six passes in row, each gaining 5 to 9 yards. His next pass gained 13 yards. A veritable long bomb. (Stafford also had 15 first downs passing.)
24.
Cam Newton CAR
20/27
212
0
0
-9
-17
8
Newton was sacked three times and had three completions for negative yards. Mostly, though, he's just guilty of playing the Colts. Without opponent adjustments, he would have ranked 14th this week, not 24th.
25.
Josh Freeman TB
18/32
199
1
1
-12
-12
0
Freeman was directly responsible for two turnovers (a sack-fumble and an interception) and indirectly responsible for two more (completing a pair of passes that were fumbled by his receivers). On first down, he went 6-of-13 for 63 yards (23 on one play) and one first down.
26.
Sam Bradford STL
17/31
203
1
0
-21
-21
0
Bradford's first ten dropbacks: 5-of-9 for 28 yards, one first down, one sack-fumble.
27.
Blaine Gabbert JAC
13/29
136
0
1
-33
-32
-1
Gabbert completed half his passes at or behind the line of scrimmage, going 5-for-10 for 46 yards on passes. And 27 of those yards came on one play!
28.
Curtis Painter IND
15/29
226
1
2
-39
-39
0
Red zone passing: 2-of-6 passing, 17 yards, one first down, no touchdowns, one interception.
29.
Alex Smith SF
16/24
140
0
1
-52
-56
5
Third downs: 3-of-4 for 47 yards and two first downs. That sounds just fine — but then there were the five sacks, one of which produced a fumble. He took nine sacks overall.
30.
Tyler Palko KC
18/28
167
0
3
-65
-65
0
Palko's first two passes were both caught for first downs. He then had one first down in his next 15 dropbacks, going 6-for-13 for 49 yards with an aborted snap, a sack, and two interceptions.
31.
Colt McCoy CLE
16/34
151
2
1
-69
-63
-6
The Browns were ahead 17-7 at halftime. And then McCoy did this: 8-of-16 for 49 yards, just two first downs, one interception, and one sack. And the Browns were no longer ahead.
32.
Caleb Hanie CHI
18/34
254
2
3
-69
-84
15
Hanie's 103 fourth-quarter DYAR were by far the most in the league this week. His numbers in the final frame: 10-of-16 for 175 yards, including seven first downs (one of which was a touchdown).
33.
John Skelton ARI
12/23
114
0
2
-89
-93
4
26 dropbacks. Four first downs. Eight successful plays. Two interceptions. Three sacks. 106 net yards, an average of 4.1 yards per play. And one win. Thanks, Beanie! You too, Patrick!
34.
Matt Hasselbeck TEN
19/34
160
1
2
-92
-92
0
Hasselbeck's first quarter: two-of-six passing for 12 yards with no first downs and one interception. Things got better after that, but not much. He finished with 4.1 yards per pass play and 10 first downs, and six plays that lost yardage, turned the ball over, or both.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Pierre Thomas NO
63
1
47
0
69
42
28
Making the most of limited opportunities. Thomas averaged 7.9 yards on eight carries. Five of those carries gained first downs, including a touchdown. Two other carries were 9-yard gains on first-and-10. His worst run against the Giants was a 3-yard gain on first-and-10. The Saints also threw him three passes, all complete, for 47 yards, including gains of 15 and 24 yards. Yes, that is seven total first downs in 11 possible plays.
2.
DeMarco Murray DAL
87
0
41
0
44
24
20
It wasn't that long ago that the Cowboys rushing attack was a three-headed monster, with two or three runners getting five or more carries per game. Now, it's all DeMarco all the time - no other Cowboy actually ran the ball against Miami (Tony Romo did have one official carry, an end-of-half kneeldown). He finished with 87 yards in 22 carries. Half of his carries gained four or more yards, and three of his shorter runs picked up first downs. He also caught each of the four passes thrown his way for 41 yards, including gains of 17 and 18 yards.
3.
Marshawn Lynch SEA
111
0
20
1
42
30
13
Lynch was stuffed for no gain just once in 24 carries. He had 14 runs for 4 yards or more and three runs for 10 yards or more. He also had a 20-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, though the other two passes thrown his way were both incomplete.
4.
Beanie Wells ARI
229
1
0
0
42
42
0
We need to invent the Christian Okoye Trophy, awarded annually to the 1,000-yard rusher with the highest ratio of rushing yards to receiving yards. Wells is currently on pace for 1,274 rushing yards and 38 receiving yards, a 34-to-1 ratio. In 1989, Okoye had 1,480 rushing yards and 12 receiving yards, a 123-to-1 ratio. So Beanie, you've got some work ahead of you. Wells had nine first downs against the Rams. He had five ten-yard runs, including gains of 53 and 71 yards. So why is he just fourth in the rankings? Seven runs for 1 yard or less, including a lost fumble on a rush for -5 yards.
5.
Maurice Morris DET
39
0
81
0
41
12
29
Morris had nine catches in 10 targets. Each of the catches gained at least 3 yards, four of them gained 10 or more yards, and four of them produced first downs.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Arian Foster HOU
77
1
24
0
-59
-40
-19
Foster had 22 carries for 65 yards against Jacksonville. One of those runs gained 43 yards, and another gained 10. Otherwise, he averaged - this is not a typo - 0.6 yards (or, if you prefer, 1 foot, 10 inches) per rush. He had 14 runs for less than 2 yards (although one of those was a 1-yard touchdown) and also fumbled twice. The Texans also threw him nine passes. He caught seven of them, but for just 24 total yards and no first downs.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Victor Cruz NYG
9
12
157
17.4
2
68
Six of Cruz' catches gained at least 10 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown. The others were a 4-yard touchdown and a pair of 7-yard gains on first-and-10.
2.
Reggie Wayne IND
5
7
122
24.4
1
62
Wayne had three 40-yard plays against Carolina: a 42-yard pass interference call (which is not accounted for in his statline shown here), and catches for 40 and 56 yards. He also had two other catches for first downs.
3.
Greg Jennings GB
5
5
74
14.8
1
53
Not included in the above numbers: a 12-yard DPI call. Including that play, Jennings had five first downs (one of which was a touchdown) in six targets. The other was a 2-yard catch on first-and-10.
4.
A.J. Green CIN
3
4
110
36.7
0
50
Before we hand Cam Newton the rookie of the year trophy, let's list all the wide receivers in the NFL with more total value than Green this year: Wes Welker, Mike Wallace, Jordy Nelson, Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings. Yes, that's it. And while those men are catching passes from former Super Bowl winners (or in Johnson's case, a blossoming first-round quarterback), Green is working with a raw rookie passer, and a second-rounder at that. The Panthers quarterback could be one of the league's best players someday. The Bengals receiver is one of the league's best players right now. Green was only targeted on four passes against Cleveland. One fell incomplete. The others gained 24, 35, and 51 yards. A 75 percent completion rate and 27.5-yard average per pass is pretty good, right?
5.
James Jones GB
3
4
94
31.3
1
48
Man, there were a lot of DPIs this week. Jones had one for 8 yards, plus actual receptions for 24 yards and a 65-yard touchdown.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Marcedes Lewis JAC
4
12
47
11.8
0
-34
In addition to the numbers shown here, Lewis also drew a 12-yard pass interference call. That all led to only three first downs, though, and Lewis failed to catch eight passes. What's most remarkable is just how heavily Jacksonville leaned on him. In one stretch of the second quarter, Lewis was the target of five out of six Blaine Gabbert passes.

Posted by: Vince Verhei on 29 Nov 2011

103 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2011, 11:14am by horse racing fan

Comments

1
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:17am

In fairness to Arian Foster, it's tough to run when your QB is a backup's backup.

17
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:39pm

There have been great running backs who played with bad qbs and those guys got their yards. Just saying.

22
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:07pm

He also lost eleven yards and a fumble on one rather freakish play. This is a combination of a good defense knowing it didn't have to respect the pass (least of all the deep ball) and sample size theatre.

34
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:13pm

Adrian Peterson almost ran for 300 yards once with Brooks Bollinger taking snaps. Of course, Ted Cottrell was coaching the opposition defense,which is worth about 150 yards.

2
by are-tee :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:22am

Fitzpatrick had a decent game, but I'm guessing his number 3 ranking is the result of a huge adjustment for opponent's defense.

3
by JSA (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:32am

Likely is the case. I'll repeat that I'd like to see this include unadjusted YAR.

4
by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:35am

Mercedes Lewis also dropped an easy TD - which at that point could have settled Gabbert down (he was playing ok to that point) and the game could have proceeded very differently from there...

5
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:42am

Flacco has 147 Pass DYAR to 161 passing yards. Question what are the best game DYAR to passing yard ratios. just curious.

6
by Roy G (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:43am

One thing I noticed about Brady's game is that he didn't have a single target to his backs... The distribution of his targets was WR 23 (Welker 12, Branch 10, and Underwood 1) and TE 11 (Hernandez 7 and Gronkowski 4).

7
by Bronco Dane (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:51am

It is funny how a team, that went 3-13 last year, and started this year 1-4 with a QB with an average total DYAR of 10 in those first five games, can go 5-1 in the next five games by putting in a QB with an average DYAR of -9!

If I didn't know any better I would say, that DYAR is not a very good indicator of performance! Or at least that DYAR is very limited in what it can relate to!

10
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:00pm

This is just measuring Tebow's direct effect on the game. Not secondary effects like opening lanes for running backs or some kind of possible benefit for the defense by playing very conservatively.

Another thing to look at is that maybe the other players on the field are playing better now on their own. Someone like Von Miller who is a rookie would conceivably improve with playing time, right?

11
by JIPanick :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:08pm

Doesn't at least some of the "secondary" help for the defense show up in terms of not being penalized for interceptions (since he isn't throwing any)?

I think DVOA struggles to evaluate running QBs, since I really do think that 1 DYAR passing is not equal to 1 DYAR rushing.

20
by PerlStalker :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:52pm

The fact is that Tebow's throwing has been pretty poor over all but has been "enough". He does seem to be getting better. He a few really nice passes bounce off the hands of his receivers. That's not to say that he didn't miss a few reads (including a wide open receiver in the middle of the field on one roll out in the second half) and threw a couple that made one wonder who he was trying to target. The missed reads are pretty common for young QBs and, over time, he'll fix that. The question of whether or not he can keep the ball on-target is still open. I think that a full off season with a good QB coach could fix that.

On the ground, SD had him bottled up pretty well. With the exception of a couple of good runs, he was stopped at or near the LoS and, as the commentary said, he wasn't picking up first downs. The secondary effect on the running game isn't covered by DYAR. Because a DE and/or LB has to focus on the option going that way, he can't cheat over or crash down the line and it widens the lanes that the RBs are getting. If an opposing D starts to ignore the threat of the option, Tebow will rip them apart. (See Oakland.)

28
by Flounder :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:54pm

"The missed reads are pretty common for young QBs and, over time, he'll fix that."

I'm not by any means saying Tebow can't, but that is one enormous assumption. The NFL is chock-full of QBs who could never "fix that."

32
by tunesmith :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:13pm

I guess the biggest "secondary effect" this week was that the Chargers chose to defend Tebow by... NOT rushing the quarterback in passing situations. They all hung back to protect against scrambling. Tebow demonstrated that when he's not pressured as a passer, he can do some damage in the passing game.

14
by jackofarcades (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:32pm

I would bet that DVOA doesn't think too highly of the 5-1 Broncos. Through week 6 they were 23rd in DVOA, and through Week 11 they were 19th. Their offense has gone from -3.2 to -2.2.

18
by zerlesen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:41pm

If the Broncos' recent win streak were to be expected from looking at the stats, then it wouldn't be anomalous - and that it is is part of the fun. Magic beans notwithstanding, Tebow has been far below replacement level in quarters 1-3, and not exactly Aaron Rodgers the rest of the time. I don't think DYAR is saying anything particularly controversial about him. But of course it's been exciting to watch, and we can hope he is developing as the weeks go by.

(Also, remember when the Broncos were 6-0 and McDaniels was going to be coach of the year? Personally, I'm just trying to enjoy this mini-run while it lasts, as they do sometimes have a tendency to evaporate.)

23
by Sophandros :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:08pm

"(Also, remember when the Broncos were 6-0 and McDaniels was going to be coach of the year? Personally, I'm just trying to enjoy this mini-run while it lasts, as they do sometimes have a tendency to evaporate.)"

And remember who their QB was during that 6-0 start...

BTW, am I the only one who sees the Tebow Broncos as the 2006 Falcons with a better defense?

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

27
by DEW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:34pm

Or the 1999 Ravens with a worse defense. That team will always be the poster child for "you do not need an NFL-level quarterback to win a championship."

77
by JasonK :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:31pm

Hey, give the guy a little credit-- Dilfer was below-average as a starter for sure, but that doesn't mean that he wasn't an "NFL-level quarterback."

35
by tunesmith :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:14pm

I think it was four upset victories in a row. That streak will end this week either way, since I believe Denver is favored over Minnesota. Anyone know how to find out other long upset-victory streaks? It seems like it can't happen that often.

42
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:38pm

Last line I saw had MN favored by 2

50
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:32pm

The Vikings are going to be hard pressed to score more than 10, especially if Peterson is held out ( and they would be nuts to play him), so it'll come down to the qb who can't pass against the defensive backs who can't cover. My prediction is that the Broncos go against trend, enter the fourth quarter with a lead, and win 16-9. Tebow is immediatey enshrined in Canton, after going 13-24 for 120 yards, and 62 yards rushing.

21
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:03pm

That is just a reminder that the QB is not the be-all and end-all of a team's success. DYAR is a pretty good indicator of a specific player's performance in the context of his offense, but it isn't, itself, an indicator of team success ... but the people who are most likely to use it that way are the ones who equate W-L "record" with QB success anyway.

33
by Colorado Dane (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:13pm

If DYAR is designed to be a good indicator of DYAR, then it is doing a fantastic job. I would think that the focus of a number like DYAR should be to tell us, if the player has been helpfull in helping the team win. Since winning is the basic objective of the game.

What we have here is a team that was 4 of 21 before a switch at QB and 5 of 6 after. Apart from that switch it was basically the same team (I know that Miller has improved and Lloyd have been traded away and...). That is quite a dramatic change! One would expect that DYAR would reflect that, but it suggests that the new QB is considerably worse than the old. In the specific example at least, DYAR seems to be poor at educating us about reality.

36
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:17pm

No, the Broncos defense of this year is not basically the same as last year.

40
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:32pm

Yeah, not even close. No Dumervil last year, and Vonn Miller was still in college. Those two have what, ten sacks in the last four games? Frankly, all the Tebow talk would be annoying just because I'm sick of it, but the thing that really horks me off is people should be raving about Denver's defense and Vonn Miller in particular.

45
by tunesmith :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:58pm

Really, the only differences of note are Dumervil, Von Miller, and Dennis Allen over Don Martindale.

Dawkins and Goodman are a little less injured but they're the same players, and Goodman still seems a little worse than two seasons ago.

Chris Harris has proven to be a better nickel corner than what Denver's had the last two seasons, as well.

46
by grady graddy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:09pm

You are forgetting Broderick Bunkley, who has been a huge upgrade at DT.

51
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:33pm

Really, the only differences of note are Dumervil, Von Miller, and Dennis Allen over Don Martindale.

Plus, you know, John Fox over The Josh McDaniels Experience.

Edit: Will beat me to it.

53
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:36pm

I'm pretty sure those "only differences of note" are pretty darn significant differences.

55
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:39pm

I thought the phrase was being employed ironically.

49
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:22pm

Also, anybody who doesn't sense that Fox's Broncos are much better prepared on defense, than was the case under Doogie Howzer, H.C., just isn't watching the same game that I watch.

57
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:59pm

Fox is looking at Coach of the Year.

Though I wonder if folks ding him or credit him for devising an offense for a player of unique skills whom by all accounts Fox cannot stand to play.

59
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:11pm

I think Jim Harbaugh has that award locked up at this point, however, I think what Fox has with that Denver defense has been spectacular.

58
by Colorado Dane (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:06pm

That might all be true. But neither of those changes had any effect before Denver switched QB. To leave him out of the equation is stretching it quite a bit.

Now, I am enjoying the Denver Defense as much as the next guy, and my problem lies not with acknowledging that every player (and coach) deserves credit for the turn around. This has obviously been a team effort.

My real problem lies with the writers on football outsiders, who seem to think that their model proves that Tebow is a bad QB, who wins in spite of this. But that is putting reality up side down. If any thing Tebows wins prove that DYAR is a bad model, as DYAR suggests that he is a worse QB than the one he replaced.

60
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:13pm

Tebow has 58 combined DYAR for the year. Orton has 26. What is DYAR saying again?

62
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:21pm

Tebow is a worse quarterback than the one he replaced.

64
by zerlesen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:35pm

He's not being left out of the equation, it's just that the equation takes the first three (or three and a half) quarters of the game into account as well. And your problem extends beyond DYAR to conventional stats, since those also make Tebow look like - to put it charitably - a work in progress. (Which is fine, he's a second-year QB making some major adjustments. But now we wait and see what happens.)

65
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:02pm

What DVOA/DYAR are essentially saying is that if you put Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers on the Broncos, they'd be winning games by 50 points.

The Broncos are winning, but they're winning because of their defense.

67
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:11pm

Do you understand the problems in using the tiny amount of data points, contained within the won-loss record of part of a 16 game season, to draw conclusions about quarterback play? Especially when so many of those binary data points could have been reversed with something as irrelevant to qb play as field goal accuracy, fumble recovery, kick returns, opponent's qb's interceptions being returned for tds, etc.?

We all tend to see patterns that are just as likely to be the result of randomness, and we all have to work very hard to avoid that sort of self-deception.

68
by Anon (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:13pm

It sounds as if you are asking too much of DYAR. It does not predict who will win a football game. That is determined by which team scores the most points. Tebow has little to no control over his defense or how many points they allow. If Denver's offense scores 3 points, and the opponent scores 0, Tebow can still be a bad QB and Denver can still win. If Denvery scores 100 and the opponent scores 120, Tebow will lose even if he rushes for 200 yards and throws 8 TDs. The latter version of Tebow would be a better QB than the former even though the difference is that Denver, as a team, loses with the worse performance by QB. In short, Denver winning and Tebow's quality as a QB are not necessarily linked. Denver can win even with a bad QB. That in no way diminishes the effectiveness of the DYAR model.

72
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:16pm

Robo-Tebow!

73
by dbostedo :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:18pm

"If any thing Tebows wins prove that DYAR is a bad model..."

They are Denver Broncos' wins, not Tebow's wins. And it's completely possible for the QBs measureable value to the team to be poor, and still have the team win. And DYAR is that measureable value.

It's a huge stretch to discredit DYAR when other indicators fall heavily toward the defense as the main source of improvement. I believe points scored and allowed with and without Tebow playing bear this out. The much bigger improvement has been in points allowed. (Yes, the offense has something to do with this, but again, that doesn't make a good case for saying that DYAR is a bad model.)

One final note : there is no model that can account for outliers. If you really believe Tim Tebow is mainly responsible for the defensive improvement as well as the offensive play, that would be something that is likely a pretty extreme outlier. In that case, trying to see it in a model like this that shows good correlation on average is probably a fools' errand. Outliers, by their nature, are suppressed when modeling like this.

81
by tunesmith :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:55pm

Well, there's still a couple of theories that are interesting.

- Tebow's mobility means the run game can be emphasized, which means less pass-blocking, which means less sacks. Fox made the switch to zone-read after Detroit, and since then Tebow has been sacked three times in four games. Orton was sacked more than once a game. Denver's OLine has been known to be better at run-blocking than pass-blocking since the preseason.

- I don't know if this is happening or not, but the game plan that is enabled by Tebow being in the game, combined with Tebow's lack of turnovers, might mean that the Broncos more consistently have a field position advantage than they did before. This would have a very real effect on limiting the opponents' points. (Maybe you can combine lack of sacks here since it would all point to field position.)

- And then of course there's the one everyone has accepted by now, Tebow's presence improves the running back performance. I haven't verified it but someone else mentioned that McGahee has over 7 YPC when running from the zone read, and 3 YPC otherwise. These are a direct result of Tebow's defensive reading skills (after the snap).

90
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 7:58pm

And the special teams! Dear god, the special teams! I have become so used to ST being a major flaw in this team, that I simply don't know what to do with this right now. Colquitt is some sort of monster man, and the coverage units seem to actually tackle runners. It's very strange, and rather unsettling, actually.

8
by nat :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:54am

One thing we learned from the Jets/Pats DVOA discussions earlier in the season was that the baseline against which plays are judged can vary widely by down-and-distance (and maybe score and time remaining?). I wonder how much of these super-high DYARs are due to setting a low bar through an unusual mix of down-and-distance.

Could we get an idea of the average "Base success" vs. what some of these top performances faced?

You could call this the "Over Average/Replacement" analog to the usual "Defense Adjusted" questions about DVOA and DYAR. But it would be interesting to see.

9
by Jonadan :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:59am

Two questions.

First: Forte. Oakland's defense is somewhere south of mediocre this year, but is it possible they just matched up well against the Bears for whatever reason? Granted Hanie's a young backup starting unexpectedly, but the Packers made him look practically all-world in the NFCCG last year. (Other theories include Martz.)

Second: Do those turnovers Freeman was "indirectly responsible" for actually factor into DYAR, and if so, why?

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

19
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:48pm

the Packers made him look practically all-world in the NFCCG last year

Not really. Remember they picked him off twice. Hanie did pick it up as the game went along against the Raiders (look at that 4th quarter DVOA). This game is an great illustration on why you want your backup to have a reasonable amount of experience.

93
by Jonadan :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 10:49pm

It was meant as exaggeration - sorry if I was misleading. Plus I recognize it's hard to say Hanie was really "better" when Cutler was probably in way longer than he should have been (depending of course how you read the injury).

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

54
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:37pm

Second: Do those turnovers Freeman was "indirectly responsible" for actually factor into DYAR, and if so, why?

No they do not. I just mentioned them because it's interesting.

12
by Eli (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:14pm

The Eli Manning and Vince Young rankings seem wrong considering they accumulated those stats with double digit leads against prevent defenses.

13
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:32pm

You would be surprised how little the difference is between how an average quarterback does in an average situation and how an average quarterback does when trailing significantly, even in the fourth quarter. So the baselines aren't that different.

24
by nat :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:10pm

Aaron,

There should be a way to separate the "bad QBs tend to fall behind" effect from the "teams that are behind play against prevent defenses" effect. Both effects may be real and just cancel to give the little difference that you report. But only one, in theory, should be in the baseline.

That "average quarterback" that is trailing significantly may not be an average quarterback at all. He's probably weighted toward bad quarterbacks.

It might not be a big effect, but it's worth checking (and telling us about).

52
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:33pm

There's a very good point there. We see a huge selection bias in the "getting blown out" baseline.

That, and we don't even know what the baseline is, or what the qualifications are for it.

61
by nat :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:14pm

Come on, RichC. We don't know that there's a huge selection bias. That's why it's an interesting question.

As for the proprietary nature of DVOA, that's why it's a question posed to Aaron, rather than a general question to the crowd. That's his right. He's usually good about engaging on these topics, time permitting.

For what it's worth, when I looked at the Jets week five data that Aaron kindly shared, I saw less difference in the second half baselines than I expected. If there is a selection bias towards bad offenses for being down two scores in the second half, that suggests an almost equal and opposite "prevent defense" effect. But that's a really sketchy analysis, based only on first-and-ten baselines. Don't read too much into it.

For all we know, there's a bigger effect for being in third-and-ten situations. Perhaps there's a selection bias towards bad offenses there. Getting the baselines right is one of the challenges that Aaron faces with DVOA. It's an interesting one, and quite different from baseball stats.

69
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:13pm

I was intrigued by this, so I did the research. The five players with the most pass attempts when trailing by two scores in the second half are Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford, Tarvaris Jackson, Colt McCoy, and Matt Cassel. In that situation, they're collective statline: 60.8% completion rate, 6.35 yds/att, 4.2% TD rate, 3.5% INT rate, 7.0% sack rate.

In ALL OTHER SITUATIONS, the same five guys: 57.9% completion rate, 6.30 yds/att, 2.4% TD rate, 2.7% INT rate, 6.9% sack rate.

So when they're being blown out in the second half, they really don't play all that differently. They get sacked just as often. They complete a handful of extra passes, but the yards gained on those completions are negligible. And they see a boost in both touchdowns and interceptions, which makes sense because they're forced to take chances.

Small sample size, ten-minute study, doesn't prove anything, etc.

75
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:20pm

Thanks Vince, it's always fun reading these "quick and dirty" studies.

74
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:19pm

A 60% increase in TD rate, 3% increase in Completion percentage, and a 40% increase in interception rate isn't "all that different?"

Sounds like Eli Manning's logic.

80
by JasonK :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:39pm

TD rate increase is probably attributable to the fact that teams who are on the wrong end of blowouts don't call many rushing plays in the red zone. I.e., when the offense gets TDs, they're more likely to be passing TDs.

Edit: Also more likely to go-for-it on 4th down rather than kick a FG.

84
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:06pm

In 100 passes, about three games, it's a difference of about three completions, five yards, 1.5 touchdowns, and 0.8 interceptions. I noted the boost in TDs and INTs. If you want to go nuts over three completions and five yards, have at it.

78
by nat :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:32pm

Interesting. I agree those stats look like they should have a roughly similar DVOA. Of course, DVOA takes into account first downs, discounts non-predictive long plays, etc, so I don't trust my intuition fully on this topic.

On the other hand, by DVOA, these are five of the weakest starting QBs. Freeman is best, with a -1.4 DVOA, good for 25th in the league. So it looks like there might be a strong selection bias that would pollute the baseline. It depends on what portion of the trailing 2 score passes bad quarterbacks typically represent.

I actually would expect a stronger effect when we look at offenses as a whole than when looking just at QBs, and an effect that would be weak in the third quarter and stronger in the fourth. Perhaps that's a discussion for the DVOA article rather than Quick Reads.

Thanks for looking at this, even with a ten-minute study, small sample size, etc. It's intriguing, isn't it?

97
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 2:05pm

Actually, probably demonstrates that those teams should be running the no-huddle more often, if it demonstrates anything. Especially the Chiefs - their first speeded-up drive of the Pittsburgh game wasn't bad.

100
by Intropy :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 3:39pm

My instinct tells me that while you may increase your efficiency running a hurry up, you will also increase your risk of really bad plays like turnovers. I have no numbers to back this up, but I would welcome data either way if someone does have it.

70
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:14pm

"He's usually good about engaging on these topics"

We're going to have to disagree about that. I've been asking for 5 years now about what the buckets are that DVOA uses to seperate game situations.

Is a blowout 14+ points? 21? 28? Is an 11 point lead in the 4th quarter being compared to a 35 point lead? We don't know, because he won't answer.

15
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:32pm

Stafford was neither efficient or explosive, unless by efficient you mean, "the sole reason why his team trailed 7-0 at the half rather than holding a 17-0 lead". Only Hanie and Palko stopped him from being the worst QB I watched play last week.

16
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:38pm

The ball was definitely sailing on some of his passes.

25
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:10pm

He wasn't the only reason his team was down. It was the same story as in the other three losses: poor play by Stafford combined with dumb penalties by the offense (and later, by the defense, as everyone has read). The interception he threw in the second quarter didn't help, but the other drives in that half can be broken down like so:

-- holding on Burleson, Lions punt on that series
-- illegal use of hands on Backus, holding on Pettigrew, Lions punt on that series
-- chop block on Morris, Lions punt on that series
-- Hanson missed field goal

There is more than enough blame to spread around. Stafford deserves a good share of it - I don't think it's just the finger, either, because he's had accuracy issues prior to that injury - but it's not like the rest of the offense is playing championship-caliber football with only the QB to slow them down.

30
by gtliles82 :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:04pm

Did anyone else think the chop block on Morris was iffy? It looked to me like the guy getting chopped was running clear thru the Lions line - although Raiola had broken off to engage him from the side, he wasnt there yet.

39
by weffy :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:27pm

Yes, I saw it that way, too.

44
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:46pm

It was definitely iffy. The same thing happened to steal a TD from SF as well.

Note to the refs, chop block calls are designed to protect a guy's knee while he is engaged with another blocker. It isn't a chop block if the rusher blows through the line and is slowed enough by the RB to let an OL get back.

101
by LionInAZ (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 7:04pm

How does that make it any less of a chop block? The refs have neither the time nor the inclination to make those distinctions. They can only call them as they see them.

For my part, I think that Morris just happened to fall down as the rusher got there while the other block was hitting him in the back. But you can't distinguish that from a blocker who fakes falling on the ground.

47
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:11pm

They definitely played sloppy, but they still outplayed GB by a healthy margin in the first half outside of the QB position. Even ignoring the 7 points he handed GB, there must have been at least 100 yards in wide open receivers that he missed on not counting YAC.

26
by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:23pm

If you think that the Raiders were not taking any risks in going all-in to stop Forte, remember that Lito Sheppard was starting at cornerback. He often looked awful.

29
by grady graddy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:57pm

It seems I have read in a number of places now that Forte was the intended target on Hanie's third interception (the Wimbley interception), as is stated in the intro to this article. This play has been seriously mis-described. 2nd and 1 at the Raiders' 6 with 35 seconds in the half. The Bears lined up in a 3-WR set with TE Kellen Davis on the left and Forte on the right. Forte is standing in the backfield four yards behind the tackle, and the outside receivers are bunched in tight. Williams is initially lined up on the left but comes across the field before the snap, bringing Tyvon Branch with him. This was designed to clear out the left side, as the play is clearly a designed throwback to Kellen Davis. The Raiders have two safeties in the end zone (Huff and Giordano) and one covering Williams (Branch) with the two CB's covering the outside receivers. McClain and Curry are the two LB's on the play, with Wimbley lined up as DE on the right side opposite Trevor Scott. Scott, Wimbley, and Seymour rush Hanie while Tommie Kelly drops back into zone coverage on the left side of the defense, and McClain also drifts to his left. Kelly and McClain are not only in position to stop a play to Forte, but they are also in position to close off the throwing lanes to Hanie's right side should he try to throw to either of the WR's over there. This means that Hanie's only play, unless he wants to throw across his body into double coverage into the end zone, is to make the throw as designed back to his TE, Davis. Scott, on the QB side, gets pressure straight ahead matched against Lance Louis and Matt Forte, the interior line has nothing to do since Kelly drops into coverage, and on the left side of the offense, Webb releases Richard Seymour and Kellen Davis releases Kamerion Wimbley, as this is a designed throwback to Davis. When Hanie sets to throw, he has Davis standing at the 11 after just releasing Wimbley, and if Davis makes the catch he is in good position to score with the blocking downfield and only Curry between him and the end zone, and only Giordano and Sheppard with any chance to beat his blockers. Hanie can't scramble to his right because of Scott, so he makes the throw as designed with Davis at the 11 and Curry still inside the 5. However, Curry - who after the game said he'd seen this play before, in the London game - reads the play the whole way, and is staying back to not give it away. As Hanie turns to throw, Curry sprints toward the ball. It is not as if Davis were double covered - Wimbley had no shot to stop Davis on his own, which is part of the play design. Curry just jumps the route, and when Curry fails to catch it, it lands in Wimbley's hands after he has turned around. Wimbley likely would have scored if he bounced back inside at the end of the run or if Curry had sustained his block on Louis, but Curry let up just enough on Louis that he leaned forward and reached across to take down Wimbley by the nameplate of his jersey. Forte had nothing to do with the INT and if the official PBP claims he was the intended it's simply wrong.

83
by Marko :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:03pm

Exactly right. Forte was not the intended target and had nothing to do with that INT. The intro is flat out wrong.

31
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:07pm

A few things about Matt Forte and the Bears on Sunday that don't necessarily contradict anything Vince pointed out, but I think are worth mentioning:

- Forte's production has been down over the past few weeks, including games where Cutler was QB and played very well. I don't know how much of Sunday was due to the minor slump he's in, how much was due to the Raiders' defense, and how much of it was due to playcalling. Let's not forget that Marion Barber got just about as many carries as Forte, too.
- While it's technically true that Forte was the target on all three of Hanie's interceptions, I would consider him 100% blameless on two of them and I'm not sure about the third. Hanie's 1st interception was a throw on the run that he had no business trying to make - just throw it out of bounds at that point. His 2nd was well overthrown and I don't see how Forte could have made a play...unless he was supposed to run a different route, I can't fault him for that. The last one (the red-zone interception at the end of the half) I'm not sure about, but it definitely wasn't a case of Forte juggling the ball into a defender's hands or something obvious like that.
- Johnny Knox may have made an incredible catch in the 4th quarter to set the Bears up for the touchdown that made it a game down to the end, but he also dropped at least four very catchable balls in the first half that put the Bears in a bad position (and probably made them rely more on Forte as a runner and receiver than they otherwise would have). If he makes those catches, maybe Hanie relaxes and doesn't throw one or two of those interceptions. Who knows?

56
by Duke :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:44pm

I feel like Forte's slump has corresponded with Chris William's injury. It looks like his last 100 yard game was November 7th against Philly...and Williams was put on IR on the 15th, which would mean he was injured on the 13th against Detroit. I don't recall when that happened though, or how that game went. Could be coincidence.

I wouldn't blame Forte for any of the INTs either--they were just bad throws/decisions by Hanie or bad play call/luck (the bounce off Kellen Davis' hands).

The game log has Knox having 6 incomplete passes thrown to him, 3 of which were in the first half. For what it's worth, I remember a lot of Bears receivers dropping passes early.

Overall, I was okay with the Bears offense, given the circumstances. The Raiders were clearly loading up to stop the run and screen game, and once the Bears started to challenge them with the pass, they were able to move the ball (Bears receivers were pretty open most of the day). I think it bodes well for the future.

87
by Marko :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:12pm

While Kellen Davis was the target on the third INT, the ball did not bounce off his hands. It bounced off LB Aaron Curry's hands. It is true, however, that Davis could/should have made a play on the ball rather than simply waiting for the ball to come to him. By waiting as he did, he allowed Curry to get his hands on the ball. If Davis had moved toward the ball and tried to catch it at its highest point, Curry probably wouldn't have deflected the ball as he did and Wimbley probably wouldn't have come up with the interception.

99
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 2:56pm

I don't recall the Williams injury or how good/bad Forte looked in the Lions game on the 13th, but that was such a weird game to try to judge the Bears' offense by since they had such a big lead for most of it thanks to special teams and defensive touchdowns. (I looked it up and Forte did rush for only 64 yards on 18 attempts, but certainly the Lions had to be expecting the Bears to run a lot in the second half with a big lead).

85
by Marko :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:06pm

"While it's technically true that Forte was the target on all three of Hanie's interceptions, I would consider him 100% blameless on two of them and I'm not sure about the third."

He was 100% blameless on all three of the INTs. The first two were bad decisions and terrible throws (one underthrown, one overthrown) that Forte had no chance to make a play on. And as stated above, Forte was not the target on the third INT. Kellen Davis was.

37
by Exy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:21pm

Where does Sanchez's game rank among the worst 4-TD performances ever as far as YAR/DYAR? I can't say I've ever seen a QB look that bad and still end up with 4 TD throws. Still, I'd guess there are other games where a QB had 4 TDs and maybe had more INTs to end up with less YAR/DYAR. I'm curious.

41
by are-tee :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:33pm

Sanchez would probably rank higher if he hadn't faced what was the 27th ranked pass defense in DVOA going into the game. Also, the point has been made several times about the Jets' offense, that they look pretty good in a lot of their drives, awful in others - boom or bust. I think if you only watched the Jets' four scoring drives (three of which were about 80 yards long), you'd probably think that Sanchez played very well.

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

That was a really solid performance by Ponder, on the road in a dome, against a decent defense, and without Adrian Peterson, after being employed by an NFL team for about 15-16 weeks.

43
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:41pm

Ponder makes good throws AND is mobile. Looks like a keeper.

48
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:17pm

It figures that they would make a decent qb move a few months after The Chiller left the building. I'd really like to see the draft board of their college scouting director, Scott Studwell, from the last decade, so as to get some sense of how many of their draft disasters have been his doing,and how many have been the doing of McCombs, Childress, or other suits without a clue. My guess is that Wilf, who in many ways, and somewhat ironically, since he may move them to another city, is the best owner Vikings fans have ever had, has largely stayed out of personnel decisions, except for the occasional 20 million shelled out to stubbled greybeards.

In any case, it'd be nice if they got Ponder a left tackle, center, and a receiver besides Harvin, he could trust, before Peterson turns 29. Given what their defensive secondary looks like, they only need about 6-7 draft picks in the first two rounds to have a chance of being competitive.

89
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:26pm

Will - The guys over at ESPN1500 (Tom Pellisaro) who does film review of all the Vikings players after each game seeems to think Sullivan is playing quite well this year.

I have no idea if he knows much about assessing football talent, but his comments in general have struck me as pretty sensible.

91
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 8:57pm

Well, I stopped watching line play closely after the Bears blowout, that game of the infamous Sully whiff on the goal line, with resulting safety, so it is certainly possible that he has made great strides since then.

63
by QQ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:29pm

"Over the course of the season, the best quarterback in football has been Aaron Rodgers. However, Rodgers at his best still can't touch Brady when the Patriots quarterback is on a roll"

This seems like a pretty strong claim. It would be interesting to see DVOA comparisons from their games this year. Since DYAR is a counting stat, that doesn't mean that having higher DYAR means someone is playing better, it could mean they are simply throwing it more. There are many examples of a player with higher DVOA having lower DYAR than another QB

66
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:10pm

DYAR is a counting stat, that doesn't mean that having higher DYAR means someone is playing better, it could mean they are simply throwing it more.

Tom Brady had 34 pass attempts this week, plus one sack. Aaron Rodgers has been within 5 attempts either side of that in 11 of 12 games this season. The only exception came against San Diego in week 9, where Rodgers was 21 of 26 for 247 yards and 4 touchdowns, and was sacked 4 times. That week, he was second in the DYAR rankings (Matt Moore was first!), with 157 passing DYAR on 30 pass plays (26 attempts + 4 sacks). This week, Brady had 262 passing DYAR on 35 pass plays, which appears to be fairly clearly the better game by this metric.

The highest passing DYAR Rodgers has had so far this season is 210 in week 7, which came on 34 pass plays (29 attempts, 4 sacks, 1 pass interference penalty). This means in one more pass play this week, Brady accumulated 52 additional DYAR, which also appears to be decisively a better performance both cumulatively and per-play.

For the season, Rodgers has 17 fewer pass attempts than Brady. Almost the entire difference can be accounted for in week one, where Brady had 48 attempts to Rodgers' 35. At a glance it seems the two have been fairly consistent with their number of attempts over the rest of the season so far.

I'm not sure how legitimate dividing DYAR by (passing attempts + sacks) is for working out who's playing better per-play, but I'd be happy to go do that math game-by-game for the two if it's of interest.

76
by QQ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:25pm

+ or - 5 attempts is a pretty significant amount in a game when you only have 30 attempts. I wonder how much DVOA penalizes for sacks. For example San Diego sacked Rodgers 4 or 5 times or whatever yet almost had no impact since he still torched them and only really got stopped at the end of the game when GB went into clock kill mode

79
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:34pm

You're correct, but DVOA likes Brady's best games too. Brady's best single-game DVOA was this weekend (103.5%). Rodgers' best was Week 7 against Minnesota (86.2%).

Brady's second-best game was Week 2 against San Diego (98.0%). Rodgers' second-best was Week 6 against St. Louis (73.2%).

Third-best: Brady, Week 10, NYJ (70.5%). Rodgers, Week 1, NO (68.6%)

After those games, Brady's DVOA starts to drop sharply, while Rodgers has three more games in the 60s. Rodgers' worst single-game DVOA of the year was actually on Thanksgiving (34.2%). (That's amazing, by the way. At his absolute worst, Rodgers was better than Tony Romo's average game, and only slightly worse than Drew Brees.) Brady has been worse than that five times this year.

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by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:08pm

Is this type of data something that is available in the premium content?

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by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:25pm

For individual players, no. But you can get team DVOA game-by-game, offense and defense, in various downs/distances, etc.

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by PatsFan :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:16pm

Is Brady's 10 DYAR rushing a career high for him? :)

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by db :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:02pm

Matt Moore, as Jaws said in 2007, has all the tools. In a draft where DaCarcus was taken #1 overall and Brady Quinn went at #22 Moore went undrafted. If Kolb flops he will be the best QB of his class.

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by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 2:10am

Are you actively attempting to redefine the term "damning with faint praise", or is it just a happy coincidence?

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by db :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 1:05pm

If I was I would have added that there were 10 QB's drafted and the other two in the top 50 are Beck and Stanton. Just saying that for all the love Jaws gets on this site, or at least used to, he was right. Piling on would be Trent Edwards, Jeff Rowe, Troy Smith, Jordan Palmer and Tyler Thigpen. Not every season is a vintage year for QB talent.

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by Just Terrible, Vince (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 9:38pm

"Over the course of the season, the best quarterback in football has been Aaron Rodgers. However, Rodgers at his best still can't touch Brady when the Patriots quarterback is on a roll."

As insufferable and outright wrong of anything ever written on this site. Horrible.

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by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:25pm

Sorry man. My bad.

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by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 2:12pm

I'm not sure if it is true or not as stated. I do think that Rodgers is relatively non-streaky, like Peyton Manning generally seems to be, or maybe Brees. I don't have a background thought on Brady from this perspective at all, he seems to be either good or off in whole games.

He's not as streaky as Eli Manning, certainly, although Eli Manning's streakiness seems to have a lot to do with the insane number of drops his receivers commit. I've seen at least three games this year when he had a three and out drive with three drops.

Kurt Warner had some insane runs of both good and not-so-good play.

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by nath :: Thu, 12/01/2011 - 4:22am

Surprised the Marcedes Lewis blurb didn't mention his huge end zone drop late in the game.

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by horse racing fan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:14am

I am a huge Tom Brady and NE Pats fan but I certainly have to take my hat off to Rogers. That comeback this weekend was unbelievable. Kudo's to Payton. Was at NE Sunday signing autographs on the sidelines. He is a good guy.