Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Oct 2011

Week 7 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

If chicks dig the long ball, they must love Mike Wallace. The Pittsburgh Steelers wideout caught a 95-yard touchdown pass against the Arizona Cardinals yesterday, the third time this season and 13th time in his short career that he's scored from at least 40 yards out. As the deep pass becomes a smaller and smaller part of the NFL playbook, Wallace is emerging as the last of the home-run threats.

Wallace's three home runs (defined here as a touchdown catch of 40 or more yards) this season tie him with Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers and Pierre Garcon of the Indianapolis Colts for the most in the league. We can give Wallace the tiebreaker, though, since the Steelers have thrown slightly fewer passes (197) than either the Packers (210) or Colts (200). More importantly, Wallace has a track record for this kind of thing – he had four home runs in his rookie season in 2009, and a league-high six home runs in 2010. Wallace's 13 home runs since he entered the league in 2009 is three more than the next most productive receiver (DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, who has ten).

As Wallace is knocking them out of the park, the rest of the league is moving to a small-ball approach. Since 1940, wide receivers have caught six or more home runs in a season only 44 times. Sorting those seasons by decade shows how the home-run threat is a dying breed:


Decade 6-HR seasons
1940-1949 2
1950-1959 6
1960-1969 15*
1970-1979 4
1980-1989 5
1990-1999 7
2000-2009 4
* 6 in the NFL, 9 in the AFL

The AFL truly caused a paradigm shift in pro football, but after the merger the league quickly took several steps backward. Expansion, lengthened seasons, and liberalized passing rules produced more home run players in the 1980s and 1990s, but then a funny thing happened in the following decade. As further expansion and even more liberal passing rules should have opened up the game like never before, instead we saw fewer and fewer long-ball threats. Randy Moss had 10 home runs in his rookie season in 1998 (tied with Elroy Hirsch's 1951 campaign for the most in a single season) and led the league again with six home runs in the Patriots' 16-0 campaign in 2007. In between, nearly a full decade of NFL football, not a single player caught six home runs in a season.

There's been a slight uptick since then – Greg Jennings tied Moss with six home runs in '07, and Miles Austin and DeSean Jackson each had that many in 2009 before Wallace joined the club last year.

We've established Wallace's rare status among his peers; now it's time to place him among the greats in history. Wallace is just the seventh player since 1940 to catch at least 13 home runs in his first three seasons, and he's got nine more games to add on to his total. While Randy Moss' first-three-years record of 20 is almost certainly safe, we can probably expect to Wallace to pass Jerry Rice (15) before December, and by the end of the year he might pass Bob Hayes (17) and stand alone in second place.

When you're talking about the deep ball, it's not enough to compare Wallace to his contemporaries. He already stacks up with some of the greatest names in history.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
24/29
335
3
0
214
210
4
Rodgers has now been one of the top four quarterbacks six times in seven weeks this season. Going into the Monday night game, Rodgers led the league with 1,203 DYAR. His lead over the field is so great that he can't be compared to his peers one by one. You need to say things like "Rodgers has been about as valuable as Drew Brees and Alex Smith combined," or "one Aaron Rodgers is worth two Matt Schaubs." If anyone you know tries to argue that anyone other than Rodgers has been the MVP of the league so far, cut off all ties with that person, immediately.
2.
Drew Brees NO
31/35
325
5
0
208
208
0
Brees finished with more touchdown passes (five) than incomplete passes (four). A good day, obviously, but not as valuable as Aaron Rodgers. How can that be? Brees was sacked twice, and not all of his completions were useful. Five of them gained 2 yards or less, and one resulted in a 7-yard loss. The real culprits, though, are opponent adjustments. Before taking quality of competition into account, Brees finishes comfortably ahead of Rodgers. However, Brees was playing a Colts defense that has been horrendous against the pass all year. For the season, the Colts have allowed opponents to complete 69.9 percent of their passes, the highest rate in the league. In that light, Brees' 31-of-35 performance doesn't seem so special. Still, some of his splits are jarring. He threw only three third-down passes all game — and converted two of them. Brees' final red zone numbers: 11-of-14 for 74 yards, with five touchdowns and three other first downs. Seattle's Charlie Whitehurst only had 12 completions for 96 yards with no touchdowns and five first downs in an entire game.
3.
Matt Schaub HOU
18/23
296
2
0
208
208
0
Schaub in the second quarter: 10-of-11 for 181 yards, nine successful completions, seven first downs, two touchdowns. Which is why he only needed to throw five passes in the second half, and just one in the fourth quarter.
4.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
26/38
361
3
0
158
158
0
Roethlisberger threw eight passes behind the line of scrimmage, tied with Drew Brees for most in the league. One of those resulted in a completion for a 9-yard loss on third-and-15. Otherwise, he went 6-of-7 for 57 yards on those passes, with four first downs. It was primarily a second-and-long strategy; five of them came on second down with 5 or more yards to go.
5.
Cam Newton CAR
18/23
256
1
0
139
117
22
Newton on deep passes: 4-of-6 passing for 113 yards, league-best 77 DYAR. Bet the guy on the other end of those deep passes had a pretty good day. (Foreshadowing!)
6.
Kevin Kolb ARI
19/34
272
2
1
83
76
8
So much for the element of surprise: On first downs, Kolb went 7-of-13 for 85 yards, with a sack, an interception, and a DPI call thrown in for good measure.
7.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
18/32
173
3
1
78
65
13
Sanchez converted eight of his 13 third-down dropbacks for a league-high 96 DYAR. None of those conversions needed more than 9 yards for a new set of downs, and five of them needed 5 yards or less. On the other hand, three of his five failed third downs came with 10 or more yards needed. His 12-yard gain on third-and-18 near midfield actually counts as a positive play, since the baseline for that situation is so low.
8.
Tony Romo DAL
14/24
166
2
0
77
77
0
Romo to Dez Bryant: 5-of-8 for 90 yards, 73 DYAR. Since Romo had 77 DYAR total, it's pretty easy to figure out who made the Cowboys' passing offense go.
9.
Philip Rivers SD
16/32
179
1
2
13
13
0
Rivers had just three first downs (and two interceptions) in 20 second-half dropbacks. Matt Schaub had four first downs in five second-half dropbacks. Advantage: Schaub.
10.
Matt Ryan ATL
20/34
218
1
2
9
4
5
Ryan does not function well when pinned deep. Inside his own 20, he went 1-of-2 for 8 yards with a sack on Sunday. Big deal, you say, it's only three plays. For the season, though, Ryan has -41 DYAR on 22 dropbacks (including four sacks) in the deep zone, worse than any starter except Eli Manning.
11.
Matt Stafford DET
15/32
183
1
0
3
3
0
This is how bad the quarterback play was in Week 7: Stafford just barely had positive DYAR this week, meaning by definition that his performance was typical of quarterbacks who usually get replaced. And yet he finished just outside the top 10, and ahead of 16 other quarterbacks, five of whom won anyway. So brace yourselves, because it gets ugly from here on in.
12.
John Beck WAS
23/37
280
1
1
-6
-17
12
Beck converted third downs with 7, 9, and 10 yards to go. He failed on six other third-down dropbacks, three of which needed 1 or 2 yards for a new set of downs. He was also sacked twice on third down and lost one fumble.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Christian Ponder MIN
13/32
219
2
2
-10
-20
10
One quick nugget that should make Vikings fans smile: Ponder's average completion came 11.2 yards past the line of scrimmage, most of any starter this week. If there were any concerns about his arm strength, that should help put them to rest. He also had a league-high 52 DYAR in the fourth quarter, going just 5-of-13 in the quarter, but gaining 93 yards with five first downs (including a touchdown) against a defense that knew he'd be passing.
14.
Matt Cassel KC
15/30
162
0
2
-11
-11
0
One of Cassel's interceptions was a Hail Mary at the end of the half, which we count as an incompletion. Catching passes has become a two-man show for the Chiefs. Dwayne Bowe had 10 targets, and Steve Breaston had nine. All other Chiefs combined for 11.
15.
A.J. Feeley STL
20/33
200
0
1
-14
-14
0
Feeley's average completion gained 8.5 YAC, most of any starter this week. Of course, his average completion also came just 1.6 yards downfield, fewest in the league, so he needed all the help he could get. There's a reason he didn't try much deep. On passes more than 15 yards downfield, Feeley went 0-for-4 with an interception.
16.
Blaine Gabbert JAC
9/20
93
0
0
-30
-32
2
17.
Colt McCoy CLE
20/35
178
0
1
-34
-46
12
McCoy had 19 third-down dropbacks against Seattle. No other quarterback this weekend had more than 15 (Matt Ryan). He did OK, converting nine of them, with two sacks. His 53 third-down DYAR were second only to Mark Sanchez.
18.
Matt Moore MIA
22/33
197
1
0
-39
-39
0
Moore's first 24 dropbacks: 13-of-21, 71 yards, just one first down and seven successful completions, with two sacks and a fumbled snap. At that point, his team led 6-0. And then Moore went nuts, producing seven first downs (including a touchdown) in his next eight dropbacks. He was then sacked to set up a field goal that would put the Dolphins up 15-0. By the time Moore got to pass again, the score was tied, the game was in overtime, and he'd cooled off, picking up just one first down in five dropbacks, then losing a fumble to set up the losing field goal. He had -33 DYAR in overtime.
19.
Matt Hasselbeck TEN
14/30
104
1
2
-53
-53
0
Hasselbeck didn't get much help from his receivers. His average completion led to just 3.1 YAC, fewest of any starter this weekend. That's particularly alarming since his leading receiver was Chris Johnson.
20.
Tim Tebow DEN
13/27
161
2
0
-54
-68
14
Through three quarters, Tebow looked like Ryan Leaf at his worst: 3-of-8 passing, just one first down, plus four sacks, and only 2 net yards passing, for -96 DYAR and a -151.9% DVOA. In the fourth quarter and overtime, he went 10-of-19 with three more sacks, for a net 123 yards, 28 DYAR, and a 19.9% DVOA. He also had big value as a runner, with three 10-yard gains and a conversion on third-and-1. Tebow, the clutchiest heartiest grittiest winningest leader who ever led his team to win a clutchy hearty gritty thing, had -11 DYAR in overtime. Keep in mind that he did all this against the Dolphins, who came into the weekend 30th against the pass in our defensive rankings. Expect darker days when the competition gets tougher against Detroit next week, and the mind reels at what could happen when the Broncos play Rex Ryan and the Jets on a Thursday night in November.
21.
Jay Cutler CHI
17/32
226
1
2
-57
-57
0
Opponent adjustments at work: Cutler had -35 YAR, about the same as Philip Rivers (-36). Rivers finishes 12 spots higher, though, because he was playing the great and powerful Jets, whereas Cutler was playing the small and meek Buccaneers.
22.
Joe Flacco BAL
21/38
137
1
1
-61
-61
0
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Curtis Painter IND
10/17
67
0
1
-88
-88
0
Painter hit Pierre Garcon for a 15-yard gain on second-and-6 in the second quarter, and on his next pass he hit Reggie Wayne for an 8-yard gain on first down. It was the first (and only) time he gained successful yardage on back-to-back plays, and by that time the Colts were down 31 points.
24.
Josh Freeman TB
29/51
264
2
4
-115
-115
0
When did Freeman become captain checkdown? He led the league with 10 failed completions on Sunday. Nobody else had more than seven. Three of his interceptions came in the area of the field marked "short middle," and the fourth was "deep middle," so maybe he should work the sidelines more.
25.
Carson Palmer OAK
8/21
116
0
3
-120
-120
0
In less than one half, Palmer hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for 15-, 18, and 21-yard gains. That's 54 yards, which would have been one of Heyward-Bey's top ten single-game yardage totals by itself. On the other hand, Heyward-Bey has now gone over 82 yards four games in a row, so his development has little to do with Palmer.
26.
Kyle Boller OAK
7/14
61
0
3
-127
-133
6
Boller's average pass came 14 yards past the line of scrimmage, most of any starter this weekend.
27.
Charlie Whitehurst SEA
12/30
97
0
1
-147
-149
3
Whitehurst was worse than Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer combined. (No he wasn't. Never mind.) Whitehurst completed his first three passes of the day before going 9-of-27 the rest of the way. He dropped back 35 times against Cleveland, and gained positive yardage just 11 times. Of his 12 completions, only five produced first downs, only four gained 10 yards or more, and two resulted in no gain or a loss. He also fumbled a snap, was sacked three times (one of which resulted in a lost fumble), and threw an interception. Turns out there are worse things in life than starting Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Arian Foster HOU
115
2
119
1
93
40
53
Foster had 25 carries against Tennessee, and gained 4 or more yards 11 times. He had three other short runs for first downs or touchdowns, and was stuffed for no gain or a loss only three times. It was a very good day as a runner, but not the best. Foster finishes atop the list of running backs, and by a healthy margin, because he also caught all five passes thrown his way, including a 78-yard touchdown, a 26-yard gain, and gains of 5 and 6 yards on first down. He finished with three touchdowns on the day, which always helps.
2.
Mark Ingram NO
91
0
6
0
48
42
6
DeMarco Murray gained 253 yards on 25 touches. Ingram had only 97 yards on 15 touches. So what did Ingram do that was valuable enough to offset another 150 yards of offense, especially without scoring any touchdowns? In one sense, Ingram had a perfect day - every time the Saints gave him the ball or threw him a pass, he gained at least 4 yards and/or picked up a first down. As great a day as Murray had - by rushing value alone, he was the most valuable running back of Week 7 - he was still stuffed for no gain or a loss four times. Ingram's least valuable run of the day was a 4-yard gain on first-and-10, and that came with a 41-point fourth-quarter lead against a Colts defense that knew he'd be getting the ball (although by that point, they may not have cared).
3.
DeMarco Murray DAL
253
1
0
0
45
58
-13
The other reason Murray falls behind Ingram is his -13 DYAR as a receiver, and this is not a case where a running back was the unfortunate target of desperation third-and-long dumpoffs. Murray was the target on two passes, one on third-and-2 and one on first down, and failed to catch either one.
4.
Matt Forte CHI
145
1
38
0
41
40
1
Forte had four 10-yard runs against Tampa Bay, giving him 21 10-yard runs on the season, more than anyone except LeSean McCoy (23). He had another big play as a receiver, gaining 36 yards on first-and-15.
5.
Darren Sproles NO
88
1
19
1
40
30
10
A boom-and-bust day: Sproles had five runs from 11 to 16 yards, and averaged 2.6 yards on his other seven carries. Fortunately for him, that's a lot of boom for 12 attempts. He also caught all six passes thrown his way, and while a 3.2-yard average reception won't set the world on fire, consider that one catch lost 7 yards, skewing the average. Sproles had two 9-yard receptions and a 6-yarder, and scored one touchdown as a receiver.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Maurice Jones-Drew JAC
105
0
-1
0
-51
-17
-34
Three fumbles. That's bad. Jones-Drew also had a lot of 1- and 2-yard runs running up the gut as the Jaguars tried to kill clock late in the game. But mostly it's the three fumbles, which I remind you are bad.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Steve Smith CAR
7
9
143
20.4
0
59
Smith has finished first in our wide receiver rankings in Weeks 1, 4, and 7, so expect big days in Week 10 (against Tennessee) and 13 (Tampa Bay). Though he had no touchdowns, he did pick up six first downs, including three plays of 20 yards or more. Smith now leads the league with 17 20-yard catches. The second-place wideout, Wes Welker, has just 13.
2.
Marques Colston NO
7
7
98
14.0
2
54
All seven of Colston's catches gained successful yardage, including four total first downs and four catches of ten yards or more.
3.
Heath Miller PIT
4
4
59
14.8
1
46
All seven four of Colston's Miller's catches gained successful yardage, including four three total first downs and four three catches of ten yards or more.
4.
Jimmy Graham NO
6
7
54
9.0
2
44
All seven four six of Colston's Miller's Graham's catches gained successful yardage, including four three six total first downs and four three three catches of ten yards or more.
5.
Dez Bryant DAL
5
8
90
18.0
1
38
All seven four six five of Colston's Miller's Graham's Bryant's catches gained successful yardage, including four three six five total first downs and four three three five catches of ten yards or more.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Vincent Jackson SD
1
8
15
15.0
0
-35
It's always surprising to see a No. 1 receiver on the bottom of the rankings. You know who wasn't surprised, though? Darrelle Revis and the Jets, who it turns out are quite good at this whole "pass defense" business. Even accounting for opponent adjustments, though, Jackson had a particularly impotent day. He had one catch, a 15-yard gain in the first quarter. He failed to grab any of the seven other balls thrown his way on the day. These numbers don't even take into account that the last two passes thrown Jackson's way were both intercepted - in our system, the blame for interceptions goes to the quarterback, not the receiver.

Posted by: Vince Verhei on 25 Oct 2011

100 comments, Last at 28 Oct 2011, 4:02pm by horn

Comments

1
by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 9:55am

Did Boller and Palmer combine for some kind of negative record? Or close?

18
by Yuri (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:12am

I am interested in the answer to this question... and also confused by:

"Whitehurst was worse than Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer combined"

...which is patently not true.

32
by Jonadan :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:45pm

I assumed that was short-hand for "Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer's stat-lines combined into one super-duper will-to-live annihilating terrible quarterbacking day of doom". Although I realize DYAR is cumulative so that still might not explain it.

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

2
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:23am

This was one of the singly worst-played weeks of football in human history, right?

Gabbert was 9/20 for 93 yards, and there were ELEVEN QBs ranked worse than him. This was simply a brutal weekend.

29
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:00pm

Yeah, remember that whole Offensive Record-Setting Pace at the beginning of the year?

45
by luvrhino :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:19pm

Keep in mind that there was blizzard-like conditions throughout the country and that many teams were resting their starters in preparations for the playoffs.

Wait, this was Week 7, not 17?

3
by Sad Kitty (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:24am

Gaaaah! Baseball Metaphors don't belong in football coverage!!!! Sorry, just one of my pet peeves. There are already plenty of football-centric metaphors to describe most of these things anyways: "dink and dunk" and "long bomb" come to mind. If you're looking for a descriptor for "long TD pass plays including catch and runs" then how about coming up with something fresh and football-like?

19
by 'nonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:18am

Amen! I have a religious antipathy towards baseball, and it is jarring to read the phrase "home run" so many times in a football article.

82
by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 8:13am

No matter how bad the SNF and MNF games were, I didn't once think of switching to the World Series.

26
by Nathan :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:44am

I too am not a fan of mixing sports metaphors.

33
by akn :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:51pm

Agreed. Baseball metaphors should have their own bathroom and drinking fountain out back.

Separate but equal, works for me.

37
by Sam P (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 1:31pm

It's a slam dunk that there should be no hat tricks, and shootouts should be reserved for the OK Corral.

65
by CraigoMcL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 4:34pm

That's missing the point of the article. A bomb is a long pass play (I think FO defines it as one of 20 yards or more), while a home run is a 40+ yard passing play that results in a TD. He's not talking about the former.

4
by DGL :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:26am

It's the Year of the Quarterback(TM)!

5
by smilerz (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:32am

How did Adrian Peterson miss the top 5 RBs?

10
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:47am

Peterson gets penalized for the number of unsuccessful runs he has between terrific runs, and because "most valuable running back" doesn't have the qualifier "who plays on an offense with other talent".

46
by andrew :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:21pm

Yeah, not only do we need "opponent-adjusted", we need "ally-adjusted".

Peterson would probably have a great AVOA....

6
by Total (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:35am

Your argument that deep passes are dying off is based on awfully scanty evidence. With the exception of 1960-69, all of the decades have seen seasons ranging from 2 to 7. The 2000-2009 period is right in the middle of that.

25
by Snack Flag (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:42am

Additionally, we have no idea what the number of attempts there have been in each decade. Maybe teams are throwing it deep just as much but defenses are better equipped to handle it nowadays because of athletes in the secondary that can run with WRs and new defensive schemes that give help to the corners on those bombs.

30
by CraigoMcL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:06pm

Pass attempts actually have risen substantially each decade since the 1970s. See http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/NFL/passing.htm. And that only lists passing attempts per game per team - there are more teams and more games than there were decades ago. If pass attempts have risen substantially but long bombs remained about the same, then bomb/pass has dropped.

7
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:36am

Capers may have known that the Vikings would be passing in the fourth quarter, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the defensive calls he made for the Packers. It isn't often that you see a NFL defense play a single safety over the top, while up by 13 points in the fourth quarter, but that is what the Packers did, simply because the Vikings have no receiver, especially when Harvin is on the sideline with an injury, that causes a defensive coordinator any anxiety. I said last week that the Vikings opponents should play with 5 linebackers, and I was only engaging in mild hyperbole. Once again, the "least valuable receiver or tight end" category needs a qualifier, along the lines of "who is good enough to be more observable than a neutrino".

I do think Ponder's arm strength is adequate. We'll see if he is accurate enough, while making good decisions, with adaequate speed. He has better instincts than Tavaris Jackson, to risk damning him with faint praise.

61
by Jimmy :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:57pm

I think Ponder has adequate arm strength when he sets his feet properly but passes can sail on him or lack zip when he doesn't. That puts him alongside just about every QB in the league (see Cutler's pick against the Bucs and whatever people think about him he has a cannon arm). Better protection and more time in the offense should help him get his footwork cleaner (ie fewer stutter steps, more balanced as he steps into the throw) and help him drive his throws. He still looks hesitant at times but he is a rookie with a month of offseason, what else should we expect?

73
by andrew :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 7:43pm

Apparently the Vikings solution to having no receivers was to cut one of the ones they had.

I know Berrian has been disappointing, but we never really got to see if he could do better with Ponder...

78
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:55pm

"Disappointing" is an inadequate term for a player who won't compete. A bad football team, if it is going to retain anything resembling professionalism, cannot keep a guy like that on the roster.

8
by Manonanon (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:36am

Seeing MJD as the least valuable running back is just funny. Not because I think DVOA is wrong as a metric, just because I have no idea how the Jaguars would have won without him, even with the drops.

Also, 1 was totally not his fault... unless you blame him for being a foot shorter than Gabbert expected when he tried to hand off, in which case, yeah, I guess it was his fault.

27
by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:45am

"Also, 1 was totally not his fault... unless you blame him for being a foot shorter than Gabbert expected when he tried to hand off, in which case, yeah, I guess it was his fault."

If I'm not mistaken, that one was (correctly) charged to Gabbart. Jones-Drew had three other fumbles in the game (plus another ruled on the field that was reversed on review).

53
by MVPFF (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:07pm

This is correct. MJD fumbled the first carry of the 3rd quarter and I think people forgot that one...

----------
(13:18) (Shotgun) B.Gabbert pass short right to M.Jones-Drew to JAX 29 for -2 yards (B.Pollard). FUMBLES (B.Pollard), recovered by JAX-B.Meester at JAX 29. B.Meester to JAX 29 for no gain (T.Cody).

M.Jones-Drew up the middle to BLT 1 for 2 yards (B.McKinney). Baltimore challenged the runner was down by contact ruling, and the play was REVERSED. M.Jones-Drew up the middle to BLT 2 for 1 yard (B.McKinney). FUMBLES (B.McKinney), RECOVERED by BLT-J.McClain at BLT 1. J.McClain to BLT 1 for no gain (M.Jones-Drew).

(14:55) M.Jones-Drew up the middle to JAX 28 for 8 yards (B.Pollard). FUMBLES (B.Pollard), and recovers at JAX 28. M.Jones-Drew to JAX 28 for no gain (Ca.Williams).
----------

93
by rk (not verified) :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 6:55am

What amazes me is that MJD could be the worst RB of the week after opponent adjustments when he played the best defense in the league. His unadjusted YAR must have been ridiculously awful.

94
by BJR :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 9:27am

I have a hard time believing that a replacement level RB could have acheived 51 more yards worth of value than MJD on Monday night, running into the teeth of the Baltimore defence time and time again. I know he fumbled three times, but aren't one or two fumbles to be expected on that many carries against that defence?

95
by Eddo :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 10:34am

Remember that lost fumbles (turnovers) are worth something like -40 yards to an offense. So each fumble would be worth about -20 yards of value.

96
by Arkaein :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 10:35am

If a RB fumbles 8 times in a season (0.5 times per game), he will be close to the NFL leader among RBs for total fumbles.

Fumbling 3 times in one game is really bad.

97
by BJR :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 10:49am

Fair enough.

9
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:40am

delete repeat

11
by Jonadan :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:54am

I assume that should be "Cutler had -35 YAR, about the same as Rivers..."? Because the DYAR number is not -35.

Got a laugh out of the WR/TE chart though.

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

12
by Babylon :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:56am

Wow, only 11 QB's are even positive on the week. Has something like that happened before?

13
by Birdman84 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:01am

DVOA, of course, doesn't know that the Vikings were without 2 of their top 3 cornerbacks. Also, Rodgers long bomb to Jennings had no Vikings within 20 yards because the safety (Abdullah) messed up big time. Not to say Rodgers isn't amazing. He's definitely the best QB right now. It's just that the Vikings coverage was awful and probably no better than Indianapolis as far as opponent adjustments might be concerned.

14
by tractor :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:03am

(although by that point, they may not have cared)

DVOA needs a "opponent has given up" adjustment

80
by Whatev :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 8:00am

I'm pretty sure it does reduce the weight for plays made in "garbage time," though I forget exactly what the conditions for it to be garbage time are.

15
by andrew :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:03am

"Going into the Monday night game, Rodgers led the league..."

nothing in that game is going to effect anything in this regard...

24
by Drunkmonkey :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:36am

I know, is there something I was missing? Although, I'm told this is actually posted on ESPN before here, so originally, it might have said something like "Going into tonights game, Rodgers leads the league..." but even then, its not like he was in danger of losing that title by anything that could possibly happen during a RAVENS-JAGUARS game.

28
by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:50am

The full sentence is "Going into the Monday night game, Rodgers led the league with 1,203 DYAR." I guess defensive adjustments change as a result of the Monday night game, which could change his actual DYAR number slightly.

16
by andrew :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:05am

in explaining why Brees was lower, it was noted that Brees was sacked twice... though Rodges was sacked four times iirc, one of which took them out of normal FG range, the fact that Crosby nailed it from 58 anyway shouldn't affect that.

As far as opponent adjustments... I guess the Vikings pass defense was better than the colts, though I'm guessing they can't account for things like 2 of their secondary being injured and one sitting in jail during the game...

21
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:26am

Does a Vikings defensive back's performance differ if he is in jail, as opposed to being on the field?

This might be the worst pass defense with a good pass rush in the history of the NFL.

38
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 1:32pm

I'm not even sure they're the worst this season. Indy still usually has a good pass rush and wow is their pass defense horrific.

17
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:08am

This week was really confusing. ;/

20
by robbbbbb (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:21am

It does not matter what the question is. "Charlie Whitehurst" is not the answer.

81
by Whatev :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 8:01am

What if the question is, "who is not the answer?"

22
by Drunkmonkey :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:33am

Shouldn't Whitehurst be 9-27 the rest of the day? If he completed his first 3 pass attempts, and then only 9 of his next 30, either he actually attempted 33, or he only attempted 27 after his first 3 throws.

23
by Joseph :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 11:36am

Hey--what was Chase Daniel's HODYAR? (hand-off DYAR) Considering that 2 of his RB's made the top-5, it must have been through the roof!

31
by E :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:27pm

Love the site, hate that I'm about to post such a negative comment, but the conclusion that "Wallace is emerging as the last of the home-run threats" is just too ridiculous to ignore. The numbers presented don't even come close to backing up that claim. By decade: 2, 6, 6, 4, 5, 7, 4 - I'm not a statistician, but any layman can see that proves nothing. The also doesn't pass the eye test. Right now Wallace is the best "home run" threat, but more recently it was Desean Jackson, before that it was Moss (who may have been the best ever), and in the past decade we've also had the Colts WRs, Jennings, Fitzgerald, Austin, even Devery Henderson, just to name a few.

It would have been enough (especially as a lead-in to Quick Reads) to say that Wallace has emerged as the best home run threat in the NFL right now. By making the more sensationalistic leap, this piece reads more like ESPN than FO. (Again, I'm not a hater - the site is amazing, please keep up the great work.)

34
by Ununanonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:54pm

Rodgers' average pass travels 8.4 yards in the air.

Brady's, in 2007, traveled 6.8 yards in the air. And that number includes the 'chuck it deep to a triple-covered Randy Moss'.

Rodgers' play, right now, is the best ever. He is, at this very moment, defining the zenith of quarterback play. No one who has come before him has hit this level of precision with this level of downfield attacking. He stands alone, above Montana and Young, above Elway and Favre, above Manning, Brady, Marino and Unitas.

54
by JIPanick :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:18pm

No.

35
by nat :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:56pm

If anyone you know tries to argue that anyone other than Rodgers has been the MVP of the league so far, cut off all ties with that person, immediately.

That's a bit over the top, isn't it? As of last week, Rodgers led Brady in DYAR by less than a McNabb. Rodgers had a much easier set of pass defenses to face, and opponent adjustments were set at only 60%. This week, Rodgers had a great game against an average pass defense. Brady had a bye week.

It'll be problematic to compare DYARs until after next week, when the two will have played the same number of games and opponent adjustments will be at 80%. Even then, Brady will be disadvantaged by not getting full credit for his tougher schedule.

I'd give Rodgers the edge right now. But not such an overwhelming one that differing opinions can't be tolerated.

36
by Ununanonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 1:19pm

"I'd give Rodgers the edge right now. But not such an overwhelming one that differing opinions can't be tolerated."

Rodgers has 3 interceptions. Two were drops by Jennings and Jones, with the ball deflecting to the defense.

When Rodgers goes after a mismatch, it's hitting Finley fifteen yards downfield single covered, or hitting Nelson matched up against a nickel-back or safety on a seam route. When Brady goes after a mismatch, it's a receiver moving horizontally well before the chains.

I hate to make the argument of 'you have to watch' on a stat-driven site, but the throws that Rodgers is making are not throws that Brady can make. That Super Bowl throw to Jennings that sealed the game? Over the perfect coverage of the stretching corner? In that window before the safeties? He's making two throws like that every game. Throws that Brady can't make.

The Packers' pass O DVOA entering Sunday was 78.4%. The Patriots' was 63.5%. Rodgers' DVOA was 56.4%. Brady's was 43.8%.

The 2007 Patriot's Passing DVOA was only 75.4%.

Rodgers, right now, is better than anyone else, ever.

39
by Led :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 1:41pm

If I recall correctly, the Pats' passing DVOA in 2007 was ridiculously high in the first part of the season and declined to "only" 75.4% by the end of the year. Part of that was weather and part of it was opponents adjusting to what the Pats were doing. So we'd need to check the numbers to see whether Rodgers in the first part of this year is better than Brady in the first part of 2007, but I don't think that's the case. (Happy to be wrong about this because, well, I'm a Jets fan and I also like Rodgers.)

56
by CraigoMcL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:31pm

This occured to me too. (And if I remember correctly, thier one truly great offensive game came against Pittsburgh. Damn you Anthony Smith.)

Does anyone know offhand if Rodgers' numbers tend to dip in the second half of the season? I hear it gets kinda frigid in Wisconsin.

59
by MCS :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:41pm

But it's a dry cold so it's all right.

77
by Matty D (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 10:23pm

No, his numbers don't really dip in the cold. I don't feel like doing it again but recently I added up his numbers from his 6 "cold weather" games in 2009 and 2010, for 12 games total. It was basically 3/4 of his typical season - 20+ TDs, ~3000 yards, 100+ passer rating, etc

40
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 1:45pm

Except the "only 75.4%" was an entire season.

44
by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:14pm

Through the first 6 games of 2007, the Patriots lowest single-game passing offense DVOA was 55%. In the other five games, it ranged from 79.5% to 149.4%. If we just take a straight average of the six numbers as an estimate, we get 92.7%. I think it's safe to say they were ahead of this year's Packers at the same point in the season.

50
by Malene, Copenhagen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:57pm

"I hate to say it like this on a stat-driven site", but that was really lame reasoning, with a bit of irrelevant cherry-picked stats on top.

Why would you do something as dumb as comparing full season DVOA to DVOA for seven weeks with opponent adjustments not at full strength?

Why is "distance travelled in the air" suddenly magically more important than finding receivers in positions to make YAC, in ways so mysterious that they aren't already accounted for in DYAR or DVOA?

And 'throws that Brady can't make'? What on earth is that even supposed to mean? Because they are passes thrown to WRs in Wisconsin?

Choosing to make 'two throws every game' against 'perfect coverage' seems like silly decision-making and outrageous interception luck to me.

67
by Ununanonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 5:35pm

"Why would you do something as dumb as comparing full season DVOA to DVOA for seven weeks with opponent adjustments not at full strength?"

Just to show that Rodgers without having the security blanket of a Randy Moss catching anything in triple coverage fifty yards down the field is performing at a level right now above what the 2007 Pats did, and doing so in a more difficult manner.

"Why is "distance travelled in the air" suddenly magically more important than finding receivers in positions to make YAC, in ways so mysterious that they aren't already accounted for in DYAR or DVOA?"

On the whole, a longer throw is more difficult than a shorter throw. And, if watching Rodgers hit his receivers precisely in stride isn't enough, the Packers core of receivers are routinely at the top of the YAC list.

"And 'throws that Brady can't make'? What on earth is that even supposed to mean?"

That Brady does not have the arm strength and accuracy that Rodgers has.

Brady is a great quarterback--easily top ten--but what he does is more game manage-ey than Rodgers. Which makes what Rodgers is doing all the more impressive, because he's doing it more vertically than even Brady's best 2007 year.

Brady is more vertical than in years past, but he's also getting more of his passes intercepted than in years past. As good as Brady is, Rodgers is better.

79
by BJR :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 5:30am

Welcome to the 'irrational Brady v Rodgers' debate!

84
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 10:30am

Brady's clearly better than Manning because there are more irrational debates about Brady.

88
by Nathan :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 2:11pm

That didn't take long.

83
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 10:30am

Which makes what Rodgers is doing all the more impressive, because he's doing it more vertically than even Brady's best 2007 year.

See #44.

On the whole, a longer throw is more difficult than a shorter throw.

Unproven. A fade is more difficult than a slant? Says who? It's not gymnastics or diving, where you get style points.

85
by Intropy :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 12:08pm

"It's not gymnastics or diving, where you get style points."

Says who? Degree of difficulty is not taken into consideration when determining the outcome of a play or game, but when judging the talent of a player you certainly do need to consider what he's being asked to do as well as the results.

86
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 1:25pm

Degree of difficulty, yes, should be taken into account. Aesthetic beauty, no, should not be.

89
by Nathan :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 2:15pm

Eh, I'm not so sure. This whole discussion is pretty poorly defined and dumb but I kind of think aesthetic beauty matters (at least to me). Hence Sonny Jurgensen maybe being in my top 5.

90
by Intropy :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 2:28pm

Fair enough. I agree with you there. But I think the prior post was based on the presumption that Aaron Rodgers is player a more difficult type of football than Tom Brady. Either way, I strongly agree with that assertion, but I don't have the data to prove it.

43
by DGL :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:12pm

"Rodgers led Brady in DYAR by less than a McNabb."

Is that something like a Planck Length?

55
by JIPanick :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:18pm

I'd still vote for Brady at this point, although Rodgers is making a run at it. We'll see.

41
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 1:53pm

I predicted in 2008 Rodgers would be terrible...Really I predicted that. I thought he held onto the ball too long to be a good QB and would take too many sacks.

But what I should have paid attention to is just how accurately he throws the ball. His accuracy in the games I've watched in the last few years is as good as I've ever seen. And he's got a cannon for an arm and his release is so quick as well.

I still think his one shortcoming is that at times he tends to hold the ball too long - but I wouldn't even say he's weak in that area - he's average at worst and he makes so many plays buying time - I'm not even sure that's a weakness.

Sucks being a Viking fan these days.

42
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:07pm

"Whitehurst was worse than Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer combined"

Never mind. Sloppy mistake on my part. It’s been stricken from the record.

How did Adrian Peterson miss the top 5 RBs?

He was number six. Had ten carries for two yards or less. (Although one of those was a first down, and another was a touchdown.) Also had negative value as a receiver.

Your argument that deep passes are dying off is based on awfully scanty evidence. With the exception of 1960-69, all of the decades have seen seasons ranging from 2 to 7. The 2000-2009 period is right in the middle of that.

“Home run” rate by decade:

1970s: 1 HR every 131 passes
1980s: 1 HR every 142 passes
1990s: 1 HR every 160 passes
2000s: 1 HR every 176 passes

In 2010 and 2011, it’s been one HR every 154 passes.

I assume that should be "Cutler had -35 YAR, about the same as Rivers..."? Because the DYAR number is not -35.

Gah. Yes. Will fix that too.

"Going into the Monday night game, Rodgers led the league..."
nothing in that game is going to effect anything in this regard...

The events of that game will have effects on opponent adjustments across the league. Rodgers is still going to be in first place when the new rankings come out, but his exact DYAR figure could change slightly.

Shouldn't Whitehurst be 9-27 the rest of the day? If he completed his first 3 pass attempts, and then only 9 of his next 30, either he actually attempted 33, or he only attempted 27 after his first 3 throws.

Sigh. You know, it’s funny, I actually got this done a few hours earlier than usual last night. Apparently i was so happy about being ahead of schedule that I did a piss-poor performance on proofreading. Pity.

47
by Led :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:44pm

Let's just say FO is experimenting with crowd sourcing the copy editing function. Yeah, that's the ticket!

49
by steveNC (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:54pm

How long has this experiment been going on for?

48
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:51pm

Thanks for listing the home run rates. That makes things much clearer.

52
by Marko :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:03pm

"'Home run' rate by decade:

1970s: 1 HR every 131 passes
1980s: 1 HR every 142 passes
1990s: 1 HR every 160 passes
2000s: 1 HR every 176 passes

In 2010 and 2011, it’s been one HR every 154 passes."

Not sure exactly how much this or anything else above supports the overall argument that the deep pass has become a smaller and smaller part of the NFL playbook. First, I note that every pass inside the opponent's 40 yard line by your definition cannot be a "home run," even if it goes for a TD and even if the ball is caught in the end zone. Thus every such pass lowers the home run rate. It seems fairly apparent that the pass/run ratio is higher than it used to be in the 1070s and 1980s, and teams in the red zone don't rely on the running game as much as they used to. More passing close to the opponent's goal line obviously lowers the home run rate.

Also, just because a TD comes on a play of 40+ yards doesn't make it a deep pass. For example, Wes Welker's 99-yard TD catch and run was mostly "run," as the pass only went about 15 or 20 yards downfield. That wasn't really a deep pass. Matt Forte had a 56-yard TD pass on a screen play. A screen pass is not a deep pass.

Conversely, there are lots of deep passes that don't end up as touchdowns (and thus not as "home runs"). Off the top of my head, I can think of Michael Jenkins' catch on the first play of the Vikings-Packers game this week (which went for 72 yards and ended with him being tackled inches short of the goal line) and Steve Smith's 53-yard catch against the Bears (which he caught inside the 5 yard line). Just because a pass isn't a "home run" according to your definition doesn't make it not a deep pass.

58
by CraigoMcL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:40pm

"Just because a pass isn't a "home run" according to your definition doesn't make it not a deep pass."

That's probably why he didn't say "deep pass."

63
by Marko :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 4:17pm

Huh? The premise of the discussion is this: "As the deep pass becomes a smaller and smaller part of the NFL playbook, Wallace is emerging as the last of the home-run threats." A "home run" is then "defined here as a touchdown catch of 40 or more yards." So he is conflating a "home run" with a "deep pass." He later discusses "small ball" and "long-ball threats."

64
by CraigoMcL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 4:31pm

So he is conflating a "home run" with a "deep pass."

He's pretty clearly not. You are, though.

He used the phrase once, as opposed to a dozen or so uses of "home run." The sentence you cited does indicate that "deep pass" and "home run" are synonymous, only that they are related concepts. Deep pass, long ball, and small ball remain undefined in the article, and only "home run" was defined, or used in a specific as opposed to general sense.

This was an article about a clearly-defined type of play, a home run, that also happened to mention other sorts of plays.

70
by Marko :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 6:08pm

You're pretty clearly not getting my point. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree if you don't think that the following is talking about deep passes:

"As further expansion and even more liberal passing rules should have opened up the game like never before, instead we saw fewer and fewer long-ball threats."

"When you're talking about the deep ball, it's not enough to compare Wallace to his contemporaries. He already stacks up with some of the greatest names in history."

71
by Nathan :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 6:46pm

this kind of semantic gotcha argumentative bullshit makes FO really unpleasant to read sometimes

68
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 5:43pm

Also, just because a TD comes on a play of 40+ yards doesn't make it a deep pass. For example, Wes Welker's 99-yard TD catch and run was mostly "run," as the pass only went about 15 or 20 yards downfield. That wasn't really a deep pass. Matt Forte had a 56-yard TD pass on a screen play. A screen pass is not a deep pass.

Conversely, there are lots of deep passes that don't end up as touchdowns (and thus not as "home runs"). Off the top of my head, I can think of Michael Jenkins' catch on the first play of the Vikings-Packers game this week (which went for 72 yards and ended with him being tackled inches short of the goal line) and Steve Smith's 53-yard catch against the Bears (which he caught inside the 5 yard line). Just because a pass isn't a "home run" according to your definition doesn't make it not a deep pass.

So you're suggesting there is no correlation between "home runs" and "deep pass completions?"

There have been 46 "home runs" in the NFL this year. 33 (71%) of them were caught more than 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. 30 of them (65%) were caught 20 or more yards downfield. On average, they were caught 27 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. So yes, most "home runs" are deep passes.

Yes, there are lots of 40-yard catches that are not touchdowns. (81 this year, to be precise). But we don't have an easily searchable database of every 40-yard play in NFL history. We do have a database of every touchdown ever. So that's what I used.

69
by Marko :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 6:03pm

All I was suggesting was this (which I explicitly stated): "Not sure exactly how much this or anything else above supports the overall argument that the deep pass has become a smaller and smaller part of the NFL playbook." In other words, the data wasn't very persuasive in proving the point. That's not the same as saying the argument/point is invalid.

51
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 2:59pm

I'm a bit surprised by poorly Cutler comes out. It wasn't the most efficient day in the world, but I thought he looked better than replacement level for sure. I'm curious to see how much DYAR he lost for the first interception since the computer doesn't know it was an accurate pass that went right off the hands on Barber.

Other than that, I guess the Buc's defense is just that bad.

57
by mawbrew :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:33pm

I'm a bit surprised Stafford doesn't grade out more poorly. He has been well below average for the past two weeks. If you remove the throws to Johnson it's got to be much worse. He really hasn't handled pressure well at all for these two games. Quite a few throws just way off target.

60
by CraigoMcL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 3:45pm

Did you and tuluse coordinate your comments?

62
by Jacob71 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 4:16pm

SO Murray rushed for 25 rushes and 253 yards and 1 TD and his his DYAR was 58 which means according to DYAR the replacement level RB in those 25 carries would have 25 carries for 195 yards. Please show me a replacement RB who had 195 yards in a game, please do because this is outrageous.

Arian Foster was 5-5 for 119 yards, 1 TD and 53 yards DYAR. So DYAR is saying the replacement receiver would go for 66 yards on those 5 catches? Maybe I'm missing something, but that is ridiculous.

66
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 4:44pm

In 2005, Samkon Gado rushed for 171 yards on 29 attempts against the Detroit Lions.

http://www.nfl.com/player/samkongado/2506185/gamelogs?season=2005

74
by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 7:57pm

Murray was a replacement RB (replacing the injured Felix Jones) who went for 253 yards.

72
by Kal :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 7:43pm

On Murray - or rather, on DYAR and the negative value of his plays.

So he had two passes targeting him and both were missed. This was a negative value of 13 for those two plays. In other words, if he had done nothing else that day he would have had a -13 value.

This -13 is equivalent to a bit more than 1/5th of all the positive value he gained from his rushing that day.

This seems...more than a bit odd. Why are these plays valued so highly and why were the positive plays not so high?

Similarly on Ingram - Ingram caught one pass for 6 yards. This was worth 6 DYAR. His rushing value was worth combined 42 DYAR. That one pass was 1/8th of his total value this week. That seems really, really odd.

I have a theory - that DYAR doesn't look at receiving value by position and instead assumes all receivers are precisely the same. Thus catching a 3 yard pass is a gimme for most receivers in the league if you're a WR running a route, but is not if you're a RB. My bet is that if you look at an average RB as a receiver you'll get substantially less yards/catch and success rate than you do if you look at all receivers lumped together.

Naturally, comparing RBs on passes to other RBs catching passes would make a fair amount of sense.

Note that this would likely make Sproles even more special, as he would get substantially more 'extra' value compared to other RBs. But I suspect that until this sort of thing happens RBs in general are going to be vastly underrated, especially for spectacular performances.

75
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 8:15pm

We already do that. Players are only compared to other players of the same position. If DeMarco Murray is thrown a pass, he's compared to other running backs when they are thrown passes in similar situations.

Just for fun, here's league average success rate on all passes by position:

WRs: 49%
TEs: 50%
RBs: 42%

I think people (not just you, and not just everyone in this comment thread) are under-estimating the how badly offenses are hurt by short gains (1 or 2 yards in most situations), incompletions, and negative plays. It only takes one or two plays like that to stall a drive, while an offense can pick up three or four first downs and still come away with no points.

76
by Kal :: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 8:48pm

That's fair. At the same time that argues far more in favor of extra yards - especially extra yards that end in a TD - being far more valuable. If you can stall a drive with a negative play easily, anything that enables you to skip that should be worth considerably more value. In other words, Mark Ingram's contributions are great, but none are worth as much as a 91 yard run for a TD since that removes any chance of anything bad happening.

87
by Jonadan :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 1:25pm

If the starting premise is that chicks dig the long ball, I propose that instead of littering our talk with baseball metaphors we simply call the 40-yarder plus the "Sexy Six". Grossman shouldn't be allowed to keep that adjective for himself after all this time. Plus it's alliterative and stuff.

But I'm not sure I like the argument here. I think the real problem is that you tried to do two things at once:

1) Demonstrate (assume?) that the NFL is not so much a deep-ball league "any more". (Knee-jerk reaction: Not that plausible, especially considering everybody's favorite knock on a QB these days seems to be "arm strength".)
1) Demonstrate that Mike Wallace is today's best deep threat. (Plausible)

Stats? Stats. All Sexy Sixes (40+ yard TDs) post-merger:

26 Teams
14 Game Season
1970: 91 (Most by one WR: 5, Gary Garrison/Bob Hayes)
1971: 80 (1WR: 5, Bob Hayes)
1972: 80 (1WR: 4, John Gillam/Gene A. Washington)
1973: 59 (1WR: 5, Isaac Curtis/Mel Gray/Harold Jackson)
1974: 69 (1WR: 5, Cliff Branch/Mel Gray)
1975: 78 (1WR: 7, Ken Burrough)
28 Teams
1976: 84 (1WR: 7, Cliff Branch)
1977: 73 (1WR: 5, Ken Burrough)
16 Game Season
1978: 78 (1WR: 6, Wesley Walker)
1979: 82 (1WR: 4, Tony Hill/John Jefferson/Steve Largent/Stanley Morgan)
1980: 88 (1WR: 4, Cliff Branch/Earnest Gray/Alfred Jenkins/Stanley Morgan/Pat Tilley)
1981: 97 (1WR: 5, Kevin House/Alfred Jenkins)
9 Game Season
1982: 45 (1WR: 4, Charlie Brown)
16 Game Season
1983: 109 (1WR: 4, Bobby Duckworth/Mark Duper/Willie Gault/James Lofton/Mike Quick)
1984: 110 (1WR: 7, Roy Green)
1985: 94 (1 WR: 4, Anthony Carter)
1986: 95 (1WR: 8, Jerry Rice)
1987: 97 (1WR: 6, Jerry Rice)
1988: 106 (1WR: 6, Jerry Rice)
1989: 110 (1WR: 5, Jerry Rice/John Taylor)
1990: 100 (1WR: 4, Gary Clark)
1991: 91 (1WR: 7, Michael Haynes)
1992: 89 (1WR: 3, Willie Davis/Mark Duper/Michael Haynes/Michael Jackson/Herman Moore/Jerry Rice/Sterling Sharpe)
1993: 74 (1WR: 3, Horace Copeland/Keith Jackson/James Jett/Anthony Miller)
1994: 85 (1WR: 4, Fred Barnett/Charles Wilson)
30 Teams
1995: 112 (1WR: 6, Curtis Conway/Anthony Miller)
1996: 77 (1WR: 4, Chris Sanders)
1997: 69 (1WR: 3, Joey Galloway/James Jett/James McKnight)
1998: 128 (1WR: 10, Randy Moss)
31 Teams
1999: 121 (1WR: 5, Albert Connell/Az-Zahir Hakim/Patrick Jeffers)
2000: 97 (1WR: 5, Randy Moss)
2001: 96 (1WR: 4, Marvin Harrison/Derrick Mason/Bill Schroeder)
32 Teams
2002: 82 (1WR: 4, Quincy Morgan)
2003: 101 (1WR: 4, Randy Moss/Chad Ochocinco
2004: 88 (1WR: 4, Drew Bennett/Terrell Owens)
2005: 84 (1WR: 5, Chad Ochocino)
2006: 106 (1WR: 5, Lee Evans/Darrell Jackson)
2007: 99 (1WR: 6, Greg Jennings/Randy Moss)
2008: 93 (1WR: 5, Bernard Berrian)
2009: 97 (1WR: 6, Miles Austin/DeSean Jackson)
2010: 112 (1WR: 7, Mike Wallace)
[2011 PFR Data Not Processed Yet]

Chart? Charts.

All Sexy 6s by Season
Individual Leaders by Season
Long TD Rate

How to read charts:
Blue lines are the actual numbers. Red lines are adjusted numbers to compensate for increasing season length, added teams, etc. Straight lines are linear trend lines.

Takeaways:
There has never been another deep threat like Jerry Rice. 4 seasons in a row leading the league, with a 5th later for good measure. Randy Moss though – should have been the man to take over that spot. 10 of these things in a season???

Actual conclusions: I'm not sure.

The "moving to a small ball approach" theory makes sense for, eh, the Patriots maybe? In the last year or so (Welker notwithstanding)? Otherwise, as a whole, these long TD numbers have been climbing for most of the last decade. We're not back to the '98-'99 peak (which was mostly Randy Moss) or the '83-'89 heyday (quite a bit of Jerry Rice), or whatever happened in 1995, but still.

As to the theory that Mike Wallace is the "last of the deep threats", I'm a little more convinced. He might be the best deep threat in the modern NFL, although I'm more inclined to put a lot of credit for that on the Steelers' offense. i.e. if Pittsburgh has Big Ben throwing to Calvin or Andre Johnson, or Steve Smith a few years ago, etc. I suspect they might have even better numbers than Wallace puts up. But at least the numbers do give a solid backing on this one to the idea that yes, Mike Wallace is good.

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

92
by Jerry :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 1:44am

Thanks for looking this stuff up.

91
by ted z (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 10:14pm

Please can the strikethrough bit you used at receiver. You're a resourceful guy. Don't flip off your readers like that.

98
by PatsFan :: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 10:02pm

Enh. I thought that was funny! Wouldn't want to see it every week, mind you. But funny this time.

99
by dbostedo :: Fri, 10/28/2011 - 1:02pm

Agreed - a nice use of strike-through I thought.... pointed out how similar all the best receivers were.

100
by horn :: Fri, 10/28/2011 - 4:02pm

DeSean also has 4 punt return TDs ranging from 65 to 85 yds, speaking of home run hitters.