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» Futures: UCLA QB Brett Hundley

Beyond the immediate considerations of Hundley's potential, the quarterback's tape raises larger questions about the position.

04 Oct 2011

Week 4 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

Megatron's motto, as printed on the back of thousands of toy boxes in the 1980s, consisted of three simple words: "Everything is fodder." 25 years later, everything in the league has been fodder for Calvin "Megatron" Johnson. His Detroit Lions are 4-0, and he has caught two touchdowns in every game. He's the first player to pull that off, and the first to catch eight touchdowns in the season's first four games. When Randy Moss set the record with 23 receiving touchdowns in 2007, he had only seven scores after four games. Although Johnson is ahead of that pace, Moss' record is probably safe.

Between 1978 (the first year the NFL went to a 16-game schedule) and 2010, 40 receivers caught five or more touchdowns in the first four games of the year. One of them, Charlie Brown of the Washington Redskins, did so in the strike-shortened season of 1982, so we'll throw him out of our data set. The remaining 39 receivers averaged 5.5 touchdowns apiece over the first month of the season, but only 5.1 touchdowns afterwards. And it's not because a lot of missed time due to injuries -- the group averaged 15.1 games played each. Moss caught 16 touchdowns after Week 4 in 2007, but no other receivers in our group had more than 10. If we cut our sample size down to the 14 players since 1978 to catch six touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season, we see the same pattern: an averaged of 6.3 touchdowns in Weeks 1 to 4, 6.1 touchdowns for the rest of the year. That's bad news for Johnson (as well as for New England's Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, who each have five touchdowns through Week 4).

Looking back at the best receiving touchdown seasons in NFL history, a strong finish has proven to be more important than a fast start. A dozen men have caught 17 or more touchdowns in a single year. They averaged 4.8 touchdowns after Week 4, but 13.3 for the rest of the year. The best example of this is Jerry Rice's ridiculous 1987 campaign. In a strike-shortened year, Rice caught five touchdowns in his first four games, but 17 in his final eight games. Rice's 22-touchdown record stood for 30 years until Brady hooked up with Randy Moss, and he pulled it off in just a dozen games.

In his chase for Moss' record, Johnson has an ace up his sleeve, and that ace is named Matthew Stafford. It's no surprise that Johnson has played better when his franchise quarterback has been under center. Over his career, Johnson has averaged 0.64 touchdowns per game in 64 contests. That average climbs to 0.94 scores per game in Stafford's 16 starts, but he's found the end zone just 0.54 times per game when various other quarterbacks have started for the Lions. If Johnson is going to knock Moss off the top of the mountain, he's going to need 16 games from Stafford.

This is the first week of the season in which Football Outsiders' numbers incorporate opponent adjustments. Those adjustments start off small, but grow throughout the year as we get a better idea of which teams really are good or bad, and which are just passing through a couple of fluky games.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
29/38
408
4
1
211
189
22
Let the MVP debate begin! Rodgers slips ahead of Tom Brady this week in DVOA for the season, though Brady still holds the lead in DYAR. It sure likes one of these two men will take the award home. Rodgers had the best game of the day, by the way, after giving up two sacks and two interceptions. On the flipside, he had 13 10-yard completions, three of which gained 40 yards or more. He also ran for two touchdowns on a first down, though he had six other runs that failed to gain successful yardage.
2.
Michael Vick PHI
30/46
416
2
1
209
176
33
The Eagles fell to 1-3, but it wasn't Michael Vick's fault. When we look back at Week 4 at the end of the year, when opponent adjustments will be at full strength, there's a good chance that Vick's game against San Francisco will look better than Aaron Rodgers' game against Denver. Vick threw for a pair of scores and 16 first downs, and added three more first downs rushing. Between passing and rushing, he had 20 plays of 10 yards or more, and six plays of 20 yards or more. Meanwhile, he avoided negative plays, with just two sacks (one for a loss of only one yard) and one interception in 56 total plays.
3.
Matt Ryan ATL
28/42
291
1
0
147
132
15
There's not much to say about Ryan, who ranks this high primarily because he had no sacks or interceptions. So let's talk about Julio Jones and how a wide receiver can catch 11 balls for 127 yards and still wind up with just 4 DYAR. First of all, there's the matter of the 17 balls Ryan threw in Jones' direction. That's six incompletions, a hefty sum. Further, four of Jones' receptions were failed plays, including a 3-yard loss on second-and-10 and a 2-yard gain on second-and-20. Jones finished with 10 failed targets, which tied Santonio Holmes of the Jets this week for the most in a game this season. We'll get to Holmes shortly, but for now we'll add that unlike Holmes, Jones had enough big plays (29- and 45-yarders, plus a couple of third-down conversions on other catches) that his day wasn't below replacement level, just below average.
4.
Eli Manning NYG
27/40
322
2
0
147
147
0
Eli on deep passes (more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage): 7-of-10 for 167 yards and a touchdown. That doesn't include a 20-yard pass interference penalty drawn by Mario Manningham.
5.
Philip Rivers SD
21/31
307
1
0
143
132
11
Rivers on first down: 8-of-10, 163 yards, one touchdown, one sack, 97 DYAR. He hit his first five first-down throws for 15, 10, 55, 11, and 42 yards.
6.
Josh Freeman TB
25/38
287
1
0
130
106
24
7.
Tom Brady NE
16/30
226
2
0
111
111
0
Credit the Raiders for putting Brady in long-yardage situations; his average pass came with 9.7 yards needed for a first down, more than any starter except Matt Cassel. When Brady had six or more yards to go, he went 12-of-24 for 181 yards, one sack (for zero yards lost), and 78 DYAR. So putting Brady in long yardage doesn't always stop him.
8.
Matt Hasselbeck TEN
10/20
220
3
1
102
98
4
Hasselbeck had two completions for 137 yards (107 of those yards coming after the catch). His other 18 dropbacks picked up only 83 yards.
9.
Colt McCoy CLE
40/60
350
1
1
91
88
3
McCoy's 61 pass attempts were spread among an amazing 12 different players, including such luminaries as Jordan "Don't call me Jerious" Norwood, Alex "No, the other one" Smith, and Owen "Yes ladies, I do know Andrew Luck" Marecic.
10.
Tarvaris Jackson SEA
25/37
319
3
2
87
83
4
Tarvaris Jackson's DYAR, one week at a time: -62 in Week 1; -11 in Week 2; 18 in Week 3; 85 in Week 4. That's almost linear improvement, and a positive sign for the Seahawks going forward. Jackson threw three touchdowns and nine other first downs against Atlanta. He had 12 throws for 10 yards or more, and five for 20 yards or more. He threw a pair of interceptions, but he wasn't sacked. Jackson saved his best for last, as he nearly rallied Seattle from a 20-point deficit. In the second half, he went 17-of-23 for 186 yards.
11.
Cam Newton CAR
27/45
374
1
1
87
72
15
There were a lot of opinions on Newton in the draft, both good and bad, but how many were predicting the second coming of Daryle Lamonica? Newton's average completion came 10.5 yards past the line of scrimmage. That's the highest figure in the league this week, and the second time in four weeks that Newton has led the league in this statistic. For the season, Newton trails only Tom Brady, and Brady didn't have to play a game in a monsoon (Newton's average completion in Week 3 was just 2.6 yards downfield).
12.
Matt Cassel KC
18/29
260
1
0
84
80
3
Cassel's day came with a very high degree of difficulty. A selection of down-and-distances he faced: Two first-and-25s, a second-and-16, and three long-range third downs with 13, 16, and 21 yards to go.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Matt Schaub HOU
14/21
138
1
0
80
79
1
Before Andre Johnson was injured, Schaub went 9-of-12 for 88 yards, one touchdown, and five other first downs. Afterwards: 5-of-9, 50 yards, two first downs.
14.
Alex Smith SF
21/33
291
2
0
75
75
0
Philadelphia cornerback watch: Smith was 9-of-14 for 137 yards throwing to his wide receivers. I'm going to keep listing these numbers, because it gives me one easy comment to write every week, but I must admit it gets less and less relevant by the game.
15.
Tony Romo DAL
34/46
331
3
3
69
69
0
Romo's interceptions were the biggest reason the Cowboys lost, but he also had some issues with checkdowns on third downs that brought in the kicking teams. A 9-yard gain on third-and-14 isn't the end of the world (in fact, DVOA gives Romo positive value for that play even though it was a "failure"), but Romo also had a 2-yard gain on third-and-8 and a 3-yard gain on third-and-4. He also had three third-down incompletions. And, of course, one interception.
16.
Matt Stafford DET
21/43
240
2
1
59
59
0
Stafford to Calvin Johnson: 8-of-13, 96 yards, two touchdowns, four other first downs, 32 DYAR. Stafford on all other throws: 13-of-30, 144 yards, seven first downs, 27 DYAR. Stafford's only interception of the day came on a throw intended for Johnson, or the DYAR difference would have been even more slanted.
17.
Kyle Orton DEN
22/32
273
3
3
53
49
3
Orton's first quarter: 6-of-10, 42 yards, three first downs, one pick-six, -55 DYAR. After that, with his team comfortably down 11 points or more: 16-of-22, 231 yards, three touchdowns (and two more interceptions).
18.
Drew Brees NO
31/44
351
1
2
50
46
3
Brees had a shockingly up-and-down fourth quarter: 3-of-8 for 97 yards, with two sacks and an interception, -46 DYAR.
19.
Jason Campbell OAK
25/39
344
1
2
37
51
-14
Campbell's first-down interception in the fourth quarter at the New England 30 was, by DVOA standards, one of the three worst throws of the week. If we remove every quarterback's interceptions, Cambpell would have ranked in the top six in DYAR this week. Of course, so would Tarvaris Jackson and Kyle Orton, which is why we count interceptions in the first place.
20.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
20/34
199
0
0
30
30
-1
How to put your team in a hole: go 5-of-11 for 48 yards (-2 DYAR) in the first quarter.
21.
Andy Dalton CIN
18/36
298
1
2
23
12
10
Dalton throwing to his right: 9-of-17, 204 yards, third in the league with 102 DYAR. To his left: 7-of-13, 68 yards, two interceptions, league-worst -66 DYAR. A.J. Green had seven targets on the right side, one down the middle, and one to the left. Coincidence? (No. It is not a coincidence.)
22.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
16/29
206
0
1
9
7
2
With six minutes and change left in the fourth quarter, trailing the Texans by seven points, Roethlisberger faced a third-and-21 at his own 15. By DVOA baseline standards, it was one of the worst situations any quarterback faced this week (tied with third-and-long plays by Matthew Stafford and Kevin Kolb). Roethlisberger was sacked on the play, which is a negative result even on a curve that steep.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Curtis Painter IND
13/30
281
2
0
8
8
0
24.
Matt Moore MIA
17/26
167
0
1
0
0
0
29 dropbacks for Moore resulted in 0 DYAR. He was exactly replacement level. Seems appropriate.
25.
Donovan McNabb MIN
18/30
202
2
1
-8
-8
0
McNabb had a league-worst -67 DYAR on third and fourth downs. Of his five conversions on third/fourth, four of them came with three yards or less needed for a new set of downs. He threw seven incompletions on third/fourth, plus one sack, one interception, and one completion for negative yards on third-and-1.
26.
Sam Bradford STL
20/43
164
1
0
-36
-36
0
With no reliable deep threat on the roster, the Rams need to pick up oodles of YAC to make any kind of impact in the passing game. Bradford's average reception in Week 4 gained a league-worst 2.8 yards after the catch. In other news, the Rams are 0-4.
27.
Kevin Kolb ARI
21/34
237
0
1
-37
-35
-2
Kolb had seven dropbacks in the red zone. He produced no touchdowns, only one first down, four incompletions, and a sack/fumble. This in a game the Cardinals would eventually lose by four points.
28.
Jay Cutler CHI
9/17
102
0
1
-44
-36
-8
Cutler's nine completions traveled a total of 34 yards in the air. There were 17 catches this week alone that picked up 34 air yards at once. A.J. Green, Vincent Jackson, and DeSean Jackson each did it twice.
29.
Joe Flacco BAL
11/31
163
0
1
-54
-54
0
Flacco on deep passes Sunday night against the Jets: 1-of-10 for 28 yards, four incompletions on third downs, -17 DYAR.
30.
Rex Grossman WAS
16/29
143
1
2
-74
-72
-2
Grossman on short routes (you know, the ones that are supposed to be easy to complete): 13-of-26 for 106 yards, two interceptions, one intentional grounding, -104 DYAR.
31.
Blaine Gabbert JAC
16/42
196
1
1
-103
-102
-2
Gabbert's first half was decent enough, all things considered: 12-of-24, 165 yards, six first downs (including a touchdown), two sacks, 26 DYAR. What followed was one of the most savage displays of raw incompetence to strike the NFL since the heyday of Ryan Leaf. To wit: 4-of-18 passing, 31 yards, one first down, one interception, one sack, -128 DYAR. There's only way to react to this, and that is to repeat information with an annoying use of capital letters: HE PRODUCED ONE FIRST DOWN IN NINETEEN DROPBACKS. And yet, he was not the worst quarterback of the week.
32.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
11/35
119
0
1
-181
-183
2
On a first-and-10 in the second quarter, Sanchez hooked up with Plaxico Burress for an 11-yard catch-and-run. Burress was flagged for a facemask on the play, though, wiping out the first down. That means, officially, Sanchez had as many turnovers (one interception, three lost fumbles, one recovered fumble) as he had first downs (four passing, one rushing). He had 29 plays where he didn't get a first down or turn the ball over, and those 29 plays averaged 1.4 yards each. Sanchez managed to avoid sacks and turnovers in the fourth quarter, but he didn't do much to rally his team either, going 3-of-12 for 7 yards, no first downs, no successful plays.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Darren Sproles NO
75
0
56
0
64
31
34
This is typical of what great days often look like for running backs in 2011: A high average on a small number of carries, accompanied by a crucial role as a receiver. Sproles had runs of 15, 19, and 34 yards, but totaled only seven yards on his other four runs. As a receiver, Sproles caught five of the seven passes thrown his way, each gaining nine to 14 yards, four of them gaining first downs. (The fifth was a nine-yard gain on first-and-10.) Oddly, Sproles had four carries in the second half, but the Saints didn't throw him a single pass after halftime.
2.
Beanie Wells ARI
138
3
0
0
46
56
-10
Wells has a new quarterback in Kevin Kolb to prevent opponents from crowding the line of scrimmage, and new starting guards in Daryn Colledge and Rex Hadnot. Those are the best explanations for why the guy who was 28th in rushing DVOA as a rookie and below replacement-level last season is suddenly the most reliable runner in football. He's second in DYAR behind LeSean McCoy by a few decimal points (121.4 to 120.9), second in DVOA, and first in success rate (a punishing 66 percent). In the loss to the Giants on Sunday, Wells had just one 10-yard run, a 39-yarder, but he had a 70 percent success rate, including three touchdowns that totaled four yards.
3.
Frank Gore SF
127
1
12
0
45
41
4
This is the first week when Quick Reads include opponent adjustments, but those adjustments are not yet at full strength. It's probably not a coincidence that Gore, who had three 10-yard runs in the first three weeks of the season, had four 10-yard runs against Philadelphia, the defense that is currently 30th in Second-Level Yards and 31st in Open Field Yards.
4.
LeGarrette Blount TB
127
1
14
0
42
37
5
Blount's first half: Eight carries, 32 yards. His second half: 17 carries, 95 yards.
5.
Michael Bush OAK
26
1
55
0
40
19
21
Holy short-yardage value, Batman! Five of Bush's eight runs came with five yards or less needed for a first down. Bush picked up one touchdown, two first downs, a 3-yard gain on first-and-5, and a 1-yard gain on second-and-2 on those carries. He caught passes for 11- and 35-yard gains, plus a 2-yard gain on second-and-5 and a 7-yard gain on third-and-10.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Steven Jackson STL
45
0
19
1
-35
-30
-5
Jackson had two successful runs on the day, a 13-yarder in the first quarter, and a 6-yard gain on second-and-10 in the second. His other 15 carries gained a total of 26 yards, including four stops at or behind the line of scrimmage. He was similarly useless as a receiver. He caught a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but for the rest of the game he caught three of seven targets for four yards and no first downs.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Steve Smith CAR
8
10
181
22.6
0
70
Smith was also the top receiver in our numbers in Week 1. In between, he ranked 104th in Week 2 and third from the bottom in Week 3. Such is life with a rookie quarterback, even a unique talent like Cam Newton. Against Chicago, Smith caught eight of 11 passes for 178 yards. Although he didn't reach the end zone, all eight of Smith's receptions met FO's standards for success, including six first downs and five plays of 20 yards or more, capped off by a 53-yarder.
2.
Wes Welker NE
9
14
158
17.6
1
61
Has anyone else noticed the comic absurdity of Wes Welker's numbers this year? He's currently on pace for 160 catches and 2,464 yards. His 15.4-yard average catch is a career high, and while about 2.5 of those average yards come from his 99-yarder in Week 1, it's not like that's the only big play he's made — he's second in the league behind Smith in 20-yard catches. He had four 20-yard gains against Oakland on Sunday, and also chipped in 15- and 19-yarders.
3.
Greg Jennings GB
7
7
103
14.7
1
61
The first six targets to Jennings were all successful, including a 17-yard touchdown, five other first downs, and a 43-yard catch. His first incompletion came in the fourth quarter, when the Packers were up 25.
4.
Laurent Robinson DAL
7
10
116
16.6
0
56
With Miles Austin inactive, Robinson stepped into a starting role, and delivered with seven catches for 116 yards (both career highs, and Robinson has been in the league since 2007) in only 10 targets. Each of Robinson's catches picked up a first down, including five plays of 10 yards or more and a 44-yarder in the first quarter.
5.
DeSean Jackson PHI
6
9
171
28.5
0
54
Five of Jackson's six catches were successful, four went for first downs, and three went for 29 yards or more. He also had a 19-yarder. Jackson is tied for the league lead in 40-yard catches, even though he's tied for 15th in 20-yard gains and tied for 43rd in total receptions.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Santonio Holmes NYJ
3
12
33
11.0
0
-51
As is often the case, the least valuable receiver of the week was the primary target of the least valuable passer. Like his quarterback, Holmes had the same number of turnovers (one, a fumble in the fourth quarter) as he had first downs. That fumble was recovered, but it resulted in a gain of zero yards. Yes, Holmes was thrown to 12 times, and ten of those plays resulted in no gain and/or a turnover.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 04 Oct 2011

94 comments, Last at 05 Oct 2011, 5:51am by Jerry

Comments

1
by Jimmy :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 10:46am

I knew Matt Forte wouldn't make this list. The fact that he doesn't sort of makes me wonder why I read this column. It is a bit ridiculous to infer that he wasn't one of the five most valuable backs on Sunday.

16
by dcaslin :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:46am

I was about to reply with a snarky "They have a form for your complain in another column", then I looked at Forte's stat line:

205 rush yards
8.2 yards per carry
1 TD
4 recpts for 23 yards
No fumbles

What are we missing to keep him off the list?

19
by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:50am

Carolina's defense after 3 weeks was 28th in VOA, 30th against the run.

23
by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:57am

Anecdotally, he was pretty bad on 3rd down:

11-yard catch on 3rd and 24
0-yard catch on 3rd and 1 (although he ran for a first on the next snap)
8-yard catch on 3rd and 9

Advanced NFL stats gave him a 50% success rate:

http://live.advancednflstats.com/index.php?gameid1=2011100205

28
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:11pm

I know this is statistically unsound, but toss out the one big run, and the longest catch, and the rest of the day was pretty pedestrian (statistically), although quite painful to watch for opposing fans....

58
by RickD :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:20pm

Yes, that is statistically unsound.

69
by TomC :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:54pm

I know this is statistically unsound, but toss out the one big run, and the longest catch, and the rest of the day was pretty pedestrian (statistically), although quite painful to watch for opposing fans....

Yes, that is statistically unsound.

I disagree that it's statistically unsound---throwing out a single outlier to better characterize a distribution is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

Then again, who cares if the method is sound, because the conclusion is nuts. If you throw out his 46-yard run, Forte was 24/159, with a 6.6 average and carries of 40, 20, 17, 12, and 10 yards. If you consider that pedestrian, you have awfully high standards for running backs.

72
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 3:18pm

It was definitely not top 5, is where I was headed... Given that it was against the worst running defense, tossing out the outlier brings a career day back into perspective - which is what this ranking is about.

74
by Kal :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 3:31pm

Except right now, 'worst defense' doesn't really matter. It's not like Blount's runs were coming against really strong opposition either. Or Frank Gore, for that matter (Philly). Both Gore and Blount have similar numbers and DYAR; it's odd that someone who got more than 100 total yards more than either of those has less total DYAR.

I guess that doesn't pass the sniff test to me. Opponent adjustments are weak this week and even then RBs that play against meh rush defenses and do significantly worse statistically do better via DYAR? I understand that there were a number of plays where Forte was not successful, but there were plenty of plays where he was hugely successful. I just don't get it here and it feels wrong to me. I'm not surprised he's not the top back, but not even in the top 55? Or Wells, Blount and Gore beat him? To me, this sounds like getting penalized way too much for non-successful runs; when someone who runs only 8 times beats the value that Forte puts up in a COUNTING stat (not DVOA, but DYAR) that doesn't make any sense to me.

65
by TomC :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:46pm

Anecdotally, he was pretty bad on 3rd down:

11-yard catch on 3rd and 24
0-yard catch on 3rd and 1 (although he ran for a first on the next snap)
8-yard catch on 3rd and 9

Advanced NFL stats gave him a 50% success rate

Must be a different metric than FO uses. By traditional FO definition, I count him as 17/25, and that's without the adjustment for having a 4th-quarter lead. And given that DYAR is a cumulative stat, not a rate stat, it astounds me that someone with 17 successful runs is not in the top 5.

Also, it seems odd to punish a running back for unsuccessful catches on 3rd-and-long. Unless it's a screen, a pass to an RB on 3rd-and-long is almost always a give-up checkdown with no real expectation of picking up the 1st.

81
by Marko :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 5:04pm

If you just read the play-by-play or saw the stats, you would say (as you do) that Forte's 0-yard catch on 3rd and 1 was a failure. Actually, it was an incredible play by Forte that was extremely important in helping win the game.

There was 12:25 left in the fourth quarter and the Bears led, 24-23. It was 3rd and 1 on the Carolina 49 yard line. The Bears called timeout, during which Mad Mike Martz apparently surfaced for one of the few times during the game. The Bears had pounded Carolina on the ground all game, but Martz decided to get tricky. He called a misdirection swing pass to Forte, which was risky and foolish. The play was almost a lateral (when watching it live, I thought it was a lateral), and as soon as Forte caught it, he was swarmed by 2 or 3 Panthers.

It should have been a 3 or 4 yard loss, which would have forced the Bears to punt. (Carolina had the momentum, and if they had forced a punt, the game might have turned out very differently.) Forte managed to fight through the attempted tackles and nearly got the first down; it was just short. Statistically, it went for 0 yards, but it left the Bears in a very makeable 4th and inches. The Bears went for it and did what they should have done on 3rd down. They handed it to Forte straight up the middle behind the fullback and easily converted, gaining 4 yards. The Bears proceeded to run nearly 5 more minutes off the clock and kicked a field goal to make it 27-23, forcing the Panthers to score a TD to take the lead.

After the game, one of the commentators (can't remember who; it might have been on the Bears' postgame coverage on CSN Chicago) said that Forte's play on that 3rd down pass was his best play of the day. It certainly was more difficult than many of his runs, including his 17-yard TD run, as he often had holes big enough to drive a truck through. He was untouched on the TD run, and on several of his other long runs, he wasn't touched or even confronted by a defender until he was at least 15 yards downfield.

The point is that stats don't always tell the story. Which is why I prefer the analysis on this site more than just the stats.

20
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:51am

Two things come to mind - he was going against the Panthers - the second worst running Defense in the league, and might be worst, without the monsoon game... and that in the second half, he had a lot of 3 yard runs on 1st and 10. I don't think DVOA likes them.

25
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:00pm

I know this column is already a lot of work, but it would be great to have another list of 5: "Five people you thought would make these lists and didn't."

The comments would be easy to write, and they'd generate a lot of discussion and quell a lot of complaints.

27
by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:08pm

Second. I love this idea.

32
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:14pm

That would be great! or maybe at least bump up the non-QB stuff to 10 best and 5 worst?

75
by Bjorn Nittmo (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 3:56pm

Yes, a great idea. Like, say, Hakeem Nicks this week: 10 catches, 9 "successful", including 7 first downs or TDs, for 162 yards in 14 targets. Perhaps Cards' pass defense is bad enough to account for his absence, but on the face of it certainly seems comparable to any of the top 5 performance. But of course I saw the game Nicks was playing, not the other guys.

76
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 4:05pm

Nicks was in fact the No. 6 receiver this week.

47
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:38pm

That's easy. FO's metrics almost completely disregard rushing yardage and over-value the equivalent passing yardage. It's like Mike Martz wrote the scoring metrics.

51
by Crack (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:47pm

I think DYAR is a very weird stat. Having a good day against a bad defense will almost never get you much DYAR. If a coach ignores the defense and coaches based on whether the plays were successful at a rate that should sustain a win he may keep running plays DYAR doesn't like because they are successful at the rate DYAR thinks they should be against a bad D.

I wish they'd show YAR so you could see how much of the affect was the vaunted "D" adjustment.

2
by bingo762 :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 10:49am

Possible typo in the 3rd sentence of the 3rd paragraph:"They averaged 4.8 touchdowns after Week 4, but 13.3 for the rest of the year."

49
by Joe Skolnik (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:42pm

Another typo: Stood for 30 years should be 20

3
by JohnDutton78 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 10:53am

Did opponent adjustments not kick in yet? I'd have thought Romo would get at least a little boost for going against the second ranked pass defense.

6
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:09am

Opponent adjustments are included starting with this week, but it's still mostly DAVE. Also, the Lions likely won't be the #2 pass defense when overall efficiency is updated.

4
by are-tee :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 10:58am

Is Sanchez penalized for not getting the first down because of Burress's dumb pemalty?

79
by ChrisH :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 4:21pm

I believe so, yes. But in the same way, he'd also be rewarded for a 95 yard TD even if it only happened because all the defenders fell down. Trying to parse each play to assign responsibility for the yardage would be a challenge.

5
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:00am

Just think of how much higher Freeman would be if Arrelious Benn hadn't hopped on the sideline and stepped out of bounds on a 62-yard TD not that I'm still fixated on that @#$!!! play or the fact that between that, a missed FG, and the "how the hell do you get sacked on third down with the clock running down in the first half oh great Briscoe didn't get off the field, the made FG now doesn't count" the Bucs left 13 points on the field in the first half.

Painter looked good on the first drive and then had two reasonably short throws that went for long TDs; other than that, he was basically in panic mode the whole game. He's going to be blitzed every down.

7
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:16am

Painter had time on about 5-7 of those incompletions. On those 5-7, he either vastly underthrew his target or ridiculously overthrew his target. He has had a few weeks to practice with the first team and he still has no rapport with any player except Garcon, and that is pretty much only on short patterns.

So, from what I have seen, he is having trouble finding one of the all-time great pass catchers in Reggie Wayne, having trouble hitting a safe target in Dallas Clark, and trouble hitting a great route runner in Austin Collie. How is it that he has the most rapport with the worst guy in the cast of receivers? I guess two wrongs do make a right...

15
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:45am

How is it that he has the most rapport with the worst guy in the cast of receivers? I guess two wrongs do make a right...

Maybe he's used to throwing to him on the second team?

17
by P (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:48am

I dunno, he hit Garcon twice in eight targets.

21
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:54am

Which is why I said only on short patterns. All of the long patterns, he missed him. But Painter missed everybody else on pretty much all patterns, so...!

33
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:24pm

Painter looked oddly competent on the first drive; the Colts were running with some success and he wasn't exactly whipping it deep, but he looked calm and composed. Then, of course, he got blitzed for the first time, and started leaving huge, steaming piles of terror-caused crap all over the field. Absolutely no sense of how to handle pressure. He looked terrible, and those two long TDs completely slant things; if the Bucs had vaguely capable safeties playing actual deep coverage, they don't happen and the game goes down as a Curtis Painter epic stinker. Tragically for Colts fans, those two long throws won't be considered the anomalous outliers they really were and they're going to have some hope in Painter.

44
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:29pm

Not disagreeing with you, but he looked about as competent as Kerry Collins and he didn't get hurt, at least this week. Advantage: Painter.

I'm still a bit lost as to why the Colts wasted a roster spot on Painter when there was absolutely no plan to even try him in a game before getting somebody out of retirement. Not intended as a jab at Collins, who I thought would look far better than he did, but the season was effectively over the minute Manning went down, so developing your backup would seem to have far more value in the long-term than signing a free agent who even if he played well would immediately re-retire when the season was done.

48
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:41pm

Allowing long TDs is a by-product of relentless blitzing. Eventually you don't get there, and the offense has more open receivers than you have tacklers.

If it weren't prone to that, everyone would be Rex Ryan.

91
by Purds :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 10:40pm

Um...no. No Colt fan is going to derive any hope from watching Painter. He's good for a fumble/TD the other way every game.

9
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:28am

On that Briscoe twelve men call, would he be allowed to run off onto the other team's sideline? He ended up being penalised because he ran sixty yards on a diagonal across the field but he started next to a sideline and could have quickly stepped out of bounds. Even if there is a rule that disallows such a move, I'm sure he could have faked a cramp after running onto the sideline.

13
by Travis :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:35am

It's not allowed, and doing so would result in a five yard penalty.

Rule 5-2-6: "A player or players who have been replaced must leave the playing field or end zone on their own team’s side between the end lines prior to the next snap ...."

Had Briscoe faked a cramp instead, there would have been a ten-second runoff for an excess timeout, and the half would have ended anyway.

18
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:49am

Cheers.

30
by BucsFanofDeltona (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:12pm

Thanks. I was wondering about that myself.

50
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:43pm

He could have run straight across the field and not diagonally, and cut 5 yards off his distance. He was about 2 yards in-bounds on the snap...

78
by Boots Day :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 4:14pm

It's not just that Freeman got sacked on 3rd-and-1, but that he got up making the spikey-spikey motion. Watching the replay, Mike Tirico hilariously opined that "Freeman knew what was going on," but he clearly had no idea it was fourth down. Or maybe he just didn't realize that it's not a good idea to spike the ball on fourth down.

8
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:24am

Nice write up, though I was hoping for some 1st half/second half splits for Vick and Alex Smith seeing as the 49ers only scored 3 points in the first half and the eagles only got 3 in the second.

It seemed that the niners attempted to use a lot of three man rush eight man zone stuff in the first half hoping that having defenders spread across the field would help corral Vick, which really didn't work. After the break they spied him a bit and eventually decided that they may as well blitz him with the D-linemen playing more contain.

Greg Jennings is listed as going 7 for 7 but then you say he had an incompletion?

36
by TC (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:31pm

The incompletion came in garbage time, didn't it?

10
by Turin :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:31am

Rodgers only threw 1 int, Flynn was responsible for the other.

11
by NotJimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:31am

So where does Stevan Ridley fit into the running back picture? 10 rushes for 97 and a TD including 20, 25 and 33 yarders. Does getting stuffed on the 1 - twice - and turning the ball over on downs count that much against him?

12
by MisterWilliam (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:35am

What? Darren McFadden not one of the top 5 running backs? C'mon Man!

35
by PatsFan :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:30pm

McFadden had 14 rushes for 75, with a long of 41.

So he had 1 rush for 41 yards and 13 rushes for 34 yards.

That likely isn't going to result in many of his rushes being considered "successful" by the DVOA system.

14
by SackSEER :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:39am

This is sort of random, but as a child who was fed a steady diet of Transformers and as a fan of the Detroit Lions, I find Calvin Johnson's nickname "Megatron" to be inapt. It purports to reflect Johnson's unusual size and speed combination, and although it is true that Megatron is both faster and larger than the average sentient being, the analogy does not hold up under pressure. Megatron is not a large transformer in a relative sense, and in fact, he is more noteworthy for his indeterminate size (specifically, when transforming into a small handgun, he has the scientifically questionable ability to lose sufficient mass and volume to be comfortably fired by other Decepticons). Nor is Megatron renowned for his speed--in transformed form he is completely immobile except when the plot calls for him to fly away in retreat (again, inexplicably). Megatron's primary asset in battle is sheer firepower. Although Calvin is surely powerful, his game is really his amazing combination of size, speed, and grace. Megatron is also a poor fit from a personality standpoint as well. Megatron is ruthless and will harm his fellow Decepticons (and anyone else) if it suits his ends. Calvin Johnson, rather, is a stand-up citizen who will lay himself out vertically to catch high balls for that one measly yard necessary for a touchdown (which puts him at risk for painful back injuries). It's sort of amazing that the one outlier from the wide receiver diva model is nicknamed after the most ruthless Decepticon, but it's less of a mystery considering that he was nicknamed by a guy who didn't know you should tip the pizza guy.

If Calvin Johnson merits a transformer nickname, it should be Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime is a physically imposing transformer with great speed in both robot and vehicle mode. Optimus Prime's personality fits Calvin better too--Optimus Prime often sacrifices himself to save his teammates and always keeps his moral compass even when put in impossible situations (note, with one exception, the lack of blow-ups from Calvin during the 0-16 season).

If there is a real Megatron in the NFL, I think it should be James Harrison. James Harrison is small (242 pounds) but plays large (the indeterminate size) and with lots of power. Moreover, he leads that defense (like Megatron leads the Decepticons), and he is willing to injure others to meet his ends (his dogged insistence on leading with his helmet), even teammates (see the infamous Men's Journal interview).

-----------
Sorry JPP!

22
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:55am

Wouldn't Peyton Manning be Prime? The comparison is especially apt when you consider the extensive neck surgery he had late in his career. Plus they've probably appeared on a similar number of lucnboxes.

(Andre Johnson is also not a diva)

24
by Jimmy :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:00pm

Firstly Roy Williams dubbed him Megatron when the first of the new (and substandard) movies came out. I am not sure if Roy Williams had really seen much of the original cartoons and comics. In the new movies Megatron is the biggest single robot in the film so his size would seem appropriate to the moniker.

Going strictly old school transformers Megatron was supposed to be pretty much the most dangerous robot out there (IIRC he was the only transformer with maximum weapon power on his box - however I may remember incorrectly) so there is that he is very dangerous and difficut to defend. The only guys who ever seemed to be able to stand up to him were Optimus Prime and Grimlock (although Grimlock's coaches find him harder to motivate). Guys with spirit would challenge him (looking at you Ultra Magnus) but tended to get killed despite trying to demonstrate leadership - which just goes to show that you can't lead if you can't produce.

31
by NYCBucsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:12pm

Well, dont discount the fearsome sight of a huge silver weapon flashing by you like a bullet--I think Detroit's silver visage has something to do with it too

26
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:06pm

Someone had a worse day than Legedu Naanee? 4 recs for 27 yards, and a tip-drill INT.

29
by NYCBucsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:11pm

Well, dont discount the fearsome sight of a huge silver weapon flashing by you like a bullet--I think Detroit's silver visage has something to do with it too

34
by Supadome (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:28pm

Jimmy Graham had a pretty good day...10 rec, 132 yd, 1 TD with a nice dunk on the goalpost...I assume he's #6 on the WR/TE list?

38
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:46pm

No. 19. Four incompletions, a 3-yard gain on first-and-10, and a 1-yard loss on second-and-2 drag him down.

39
by ticttocs (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:54pm

Can I assume DVOA would rate:

Dunk on the goalpost = successful
Crossbar checked = unsuccessful

37
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:43pm

I knew Matt Forte wouldn't make this list. The fact that he doesn't sort of makes me wonder why I read this column. It is a bit ridiculous to infer that he wasn't one of the five most valuable backs on Sunday.

Well, he was one of the top five backs on Sunday, but then LaGarrette Blount knocked him off the list Monday night. As others have noted, Forte had ten runs on first down that gained 4 yards or less, plus runs for zero and -2 yards on second down. And he had negative value on each of his five pass targets -- a zero-yard gain on third-and-1, incompletion on second-and-8, 4-yard gain on second-and-7. He had the second-best rushing day of the weekend, but his -16 receiving DYAR dragged him down.

Did opponent adjustments not kick in yet? I'd have thought Romo would get at least a little boost for going against the second ranked pass defense.

Um, he had three interceptions and a sack. That's bad against anyone.

Is Sanchez penalized for not getting the first down because of Burress's dumb pemalty?

I'm afraid so.

Nice write up, though I was hoping for some 1st half/second half splits for Vick and Alex Smith seeing as the 49ers only scored 3 points in the first half and the eagles only got 3 in the second.

First half: Vick 85 DYAR on 26 plays (passing only), Smith -33 DYAR on 18 plays.

Second half: Vick 91 DYAR on 22 plays (passing only), Smith 107 DYAR on 18 plays.

Yes, I wish I had noticed that split for Smith last night.

Greg Jennings is listed as going 7 for 7 but then you say he had an incompletion?

I think there was an error in the first version of the spreadsheet, and Jennings' DPI was incorrectly listed as an incompletion.

So where does Stevan Ridley fit into the running back picture? 10 rushes for 97 and a TD including 20, 25 and 33 yarders. Does getting stuffed on the 1 - twice - and turning the ball over on downs count that much against him?

Ridley did not make the top 20 running backs. 24 DYAR rushing on 10 carries is pretty good, but he was unreliable -- he had 93 yards on his four big carries, and four total yards on his other six runs. He failed more than he succeeded. He also had -7 DYAR receiving -- two targets, one catch, 3 yards.

What? Darren McFadden not one of the top 5 running backs? C'mon Man!

Only 14 DYAR rushing. 41 yards on one carry, 34 yards on his other 13 runs. Nine runs for 3 yards or less, stuffed for no gain or a loss four times.

Someone had a worse day than Legedu Naanee? 4 recs for 27 yards, and a tip-drill INT.

Yup. INTs don't count against receivers, but Holmes was the target on Sanchez' pick-six too. Meanwhile, Holmes fumbled and Naanee didn't. Naanee was the second-least valuable receiver this week, but it wasn't terribly close.

42
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:09pm

well, at least his being second matches my eyeball test. "Don't throw it to stonehands!" quote comes to mind...

54
by Parmenides :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:08pm

I can't figure out why he's on the field at this point or why Cam Newton keeps throwing to him so much. I guess hope springs eternal.

71
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 3:09pm

He gets to an open space - just can't caught the ball. It's almost like the defenders deliberately give him extra space, so Cam will pretty much HAVE to throw it his way...

70
by TomC :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 3:06pm

Forte had ten runs on first down that gained 4 yards or less,

I saw this and thought "wtf, you guys define success as 40% of yardage on 1st down, and you're going to penalize Forte for getting 4 on 1st and 10?" Reading the definition of Success Rate more closely, I see that it doesn't match up with VOA's definition of success, which requires 50% of yards on 1st and 10. In what I'm pretty sure is a statistical anomaly, four of Forte's carries pass the Success Rate test but fail the VOA test (3 runs of 4 yards on 1st and 10, one run of 3 yards on 1st and goal at the 7).

94
by Jerry :: Wed, 10/05/2011 - 5:51am

Thanks for the elaborations, Vince.

40
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 12:56pm

Again, we need the charting to get detailed enough, and turned around fast enough, to have a category labeled "Receiver or tight end most indistinguishable from, and having signifigance most similar to, an unobserved dust mote floating in an empty room."

So sez the Bernard Berrian Fan Club!

45
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:30pm

Would that be similar to the "Why is he still on the field? Put in 'insert unproven rookie name here'!" award?

52
by Sergio :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:50pm

Impossible when the PBP sheet goes up after the MNF game...

You'd need to delay the column for a day or two (and then a turnaround of merely hours on charting).

-- Go Phins!

53
by Crack (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:51pm

He's the offensive equivalent to "Hole in Zone".

41
by BroncFan07 :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:01pm

#17 for the week, a Pick 6 to put his team in a huge hole, then put up decent numbers when no one's looking to make his fantasy owners happy, then toss in his 7th and 8th turnovers of the season... yep, that's a Completely Competent Kyle Orton kind of day.

55
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:08pm

17th is almost exactly average, what's your definition of competent?

77
by Jerry P. :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 4:10pm

Look at his user name. Tim Tebow, duh.

89
by BroncFan07 :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 9:25pm

I am in favor of whatever QB will lead Denver to Andrew Luck.

92
by Fielding Melish (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 10:46pm

That sounds like Tebow Time to me!
I think the Luck Sweepstakes may actually play out for Denver. Their schedule for the rest of the year is brutal, and with the state of the team's defense, and it's psyche, I honestly can only see them winning one more game ( home vs KC, and even that's unlikely...maybe at Miami, but they'll blow it ).
If Elway gets to draft Luck, Tebow will be out of here so fast the Focus on the Family will think he's ascended to heaven to QB God's flag football team.

43
by JMM* (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:11pm

Big Ben is clearly ranked too high. Having the offensive line play on roller skates is clearly better than this. While the defense is getting most of the attention from the press and fans, this offense is clearly offensive. BB shud turn-over a nu leaf, not jist da ball

46
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 1:35pm

"That means, officially, Sanchez had as many turnovers (one interception, three lost fumbles, one recovered fumble) as he had first downs (four passing, one rushing)."

Either your math is terrible, or you use a non-traditional definition of "officially".

61
by RickD :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:28pm

It's a non-traditional definition of "turnover," a word that traditionally means the ball was turned over.

56
by RickD :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:10pm

So...of all the WRs in your data set, only Randy Moss kept up his TD pace, and that's bad news for Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski.

You guys really don't understand how to infer conditional probabilities, do you?

I mean - is there anything that would connect Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski to Randy Moss as opposed to the rest of the data set?

One of you guys really needs to take a few more courses in statistics. There's a bit more to it than saying "I observe probability p in data set X so probability p applies to all future events that might look like events in data set X."

59
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:22pm

I assume you are talking about Brady? While that may be relevant to a degree, you are forgetting to account for usage patterns and relative skill sets. Gronkowski and Welker are good players, to be certain; Moss was other-worldly in that singular instance, and there is a reason why it has historically only happens once in 20 years.

In essence, some of those touchdowns to Moss were thrown as jump balls on a prayer, and a lot of them stuck. If you wanted to compare that sort of usage pattern to anybody, it would not be Welker or Gronkowski; rather, it would be Megatron, as he has been the beneficiary of a few street ball touchdown lobs, much like Moss of 2007.

Also, the offense as a whole is different, so pointing out the quarterback in question does nothing to strengthen the argument. It merely serves as a tangential variable.

63
by RickD :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:38pm

Well...sorting data is a professional interest of mine. When you have an outlier that has a distinguishing feature in the training set, and you have a bunch of new data coming in, you don't simply discard the classifying variables of the training set and assume that there is a uniform binomial probability for all future data.

(Indeed, uniform probabilities are basically unheard of in real statistics outside of controlled trials.)

But sports statisticians invariably assume uniform binomial probabilities, discard possible classifier variables, and lecture readers about "regression to the mean."

The fact that both Welker and Gronkowski are on this list would seem to indicate, when combined with the prior example of Moss, that the current Patriots' passing offense is far more likely to produce receivers with high TD totals than generic offenses sampled over all teams for x years.

I did not discuss Megatron because my argument doesn't apply to him. There might be other arguments that do - feel free to compose them yourself.

57
by RickD :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:19pm

Are we supposed to be impressed that Michael Bush gained 3 yards on 1st and 5 and also gained 1 yard on 2nd and 2?

60
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:25pm

For somebody that reads this site often, you are not quite with it. Those are considered successful plays, not impressive plays. An impressive play is a Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch destroying all Saints players in his path; while also a successful play, it was very much impressive. Michael Bush accomplished what needed to be accomplished, and was therefore successful; while not being impressive, he managed to be successful. There is value in that.

62
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:30pm

Actually, he's not supposed to be impressed by those plays. They were listed just for the sake of completeness. The first-and-5 play was a success, but not a big deal. The second-and-2 play had negative value.

66
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:46pm

The overall point would seem to remain: not all successful plays are impressive!

64
by RickD :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:45pm

Not quite with it eh, Keith (not verified)?

Turns out I was correct.

BTW, I've been reading this site for years and probably have more training in mathematics than 99% of the people who read this site.

67
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:48pm

Correct is contextual. You were just being a prick, not a mathematician. The larger point still remains.

68
by Montgomery Burns (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 2:52pm

You should be very proud of yourself.

80
by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 4:43pm
84
by Athelas :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 5:54pm

+1

85
by Reality Bytes (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 7:00pm

Yet none of those 99% are impressed by that fact. Fun with statistics.

73
by Nathan :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 3:28pm

Oh yeah, well my dad can beat up all of your dads

86
by Reality Bytes (not verified) :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 7:02pm

And his junk is bigger. But none of that matters in comparison to the all-important "formal math training" category. Chicks dig that at parties.

82
by opticallog :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 5:09pm

How are opponent adjustments calculated? Are the adjustments made separately for passing vs. running?

In the comment on Vick's performance you speculate that Vick's numbers may go up after opponent adjustments are added in, however I'm skeptical about that, given how terrible the Niner secondary is. The front seven has looked great so far, but the defensive backfield is a real liability for the team.

88
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 7:34pm

You may be right, but it was more a comment about Denver. I don't think Aaron Rodgers will be the last quarterback to get multiple touchdowns against the Broncos.

Just checked the numbers -- we have SF at 11 in pass defense (no, I don't think they're really that good either), but Denver is 31st, just barely ahead of MIA.

83
by morrongiello :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 5:35pm

Unless you're paid to write articles full of interesting numerical factoids and deliver them in an understandable and eloquent format, I think there is a more direct way of showing how statistically unlikely it is to catch 23 TDs in a season:

Number of players who have caught 23 TDs in a single season in the history of the NFL: 1

As for whether or not Calvin Johnson will accomplish this feat, the question now becomes: how many players have scored 15 receiving TDs over 12 consecutive games?

Is there any reason to limit the query to players who scored "n" or more TDs in their first 4 games and only look at the last 12 games of the season?

87
by GrandVezir :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 7:27pm

Is there any reason to limit the query to players who scored "n" or more TDs in their first 4 games and only look at the last 12 games of the season?

A couple reasons: fatigue/injury leading to performance dropoff, and defenses adjusting to the big-threat TD receiver.

90
by keef66 :: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 10:10pm

OK, Vince, one more "why didn't my running back make it?" Arian Foster with avg. of 5.2 and a TD? Take away longest run and he's still averaging 4, with quite a few first downs and 5-yd gains on 1st or 2nd.

93
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 10/05/2011 - 1:12am

Five targets, three receptions, 11 yards, one successful catch, THREE failed third down targets, -16 receiving DYAR.