Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Oct 2012

Week 6 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Dallas Cowboys 31-29 on Sunday, but it was something of a Pyrrhic victory for the AFC North leaders. Though they are now 5-1 and tied with Houston for the best record in the conference, they lost a pair of defenders to injury. Linebacker Ray Lewis left the game with a triceps injury, and though he's not close to the player he was a decade ago, the Ravens will struggle to replace the intangibles he brings to the field. For tangible on-field skills, though, cornerback Lardarius Webb, who is believed to be out for the year with a torn ACL, will be a much bigger loss.

A third-round draft pick out of Nicholls State in 2009, Webb played sparingly as a rookie, then saw regular action in nickel and dime sets in 2010 before graduating to a starting role in 2011. This year, he had graduated again, from the average to the elite.

We can measure Webb's progress using some statistics from Football Outsiders' game charting project. We use two statistics to measure cornerbacks' pass coverage. The first, yards per pass, is pretty straightforward: the total yards that cornerback allowed in coverage (including both receptions and defensive pass interference penalties) divided by the number of times that cornerback was targeted. The second statistic, Success Rate, is slightly more complicated. Each cornerback is given a success for every incomplete pass thrown in his direction. Additionally, each cornerback is credited with a success if he surrenders a completion that fails to gain meaningful yardage towards a new set of downs. If a cornerback surrenders a 3-yard completion on third-and-10, we consider that a successful play for the defender. Success Rate is simply the percentage of each corner's targets that results in a success.

Webb ranked about 30th in both statistics as a nickelback in 2010, then finished in the 40s in both numbers the next season. On the surface, that looks like regression, but remember that Webb was promoted to the starting lineup in 2011, which means the caliber of receiver he was facing jumped up a level as well. Webb was really a pretty average starter last year.

With the help of ESPN expert K.C. Joyner, we've collected data on Webb's performance in 2011, and the results are jarring. Webb gave up 7.7 yards per pass in 2011, but this season that number has fallen to 4.7. And while we don't have his precise Success Rate (FO tracks that, but Joyner doesn't), we do know that only 37 percent of passes thrown in Webb's direction have been complete. That means Webb's Success Rate this year is, at minimum, 64 percent. Realistically, when you account for short completions, it's probably somewhere in the 75 percent range. Either way, it's an enormous improvement from the 53 percent rate Webb posted in 2011.

For more perspective, let's compare Webb's numbers this season to what Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets has done recently. Revis is generally considered the NFL's top cornerback, but in 2011 his Success Rate was 62 percent, and he allowed 5.5 yards per pass. In prior seasons, Revis' yards per pass dipped as low as 3.5, but his Success Rate never went higher than 72 percent.

Teams didn't have much luck throwing to Webb's man this season, and further, they didn't try all that often. In the first five weeks of the season, Webb saw less than half as many targets as his fellow starter, Cary Williams. In short, teams rarely threw at Webb, and when they did, it rarely worked. Sad fact is, Webb was well on his way to an All-Pro caliber season before he got hurt.

Can the Ravens get by in Webb's absence? They still have Williams at one corner spot. A seventh-round draftee in 2008, Williams spent several season bouncing on and off practice squads in Tennessee and Baltimore before winning a starting job with the Ravens last season. Like Webb, he ranked about 40th in 2011 in both Success Rate and yards per pass. His yards per pass is up slighty this year (from 7.2 to 7.7). He's allowing opponents to complete more than 70 percent of their passes, though. That translates to a Success Rate of about 40 percent, much lower than the 52 percent rate he enjoyed last year.

Stepping into Webb's spot in the starting lineup will be Jimmy Smith, the Ravens' 2011 first-round pick out of Colorado. In a very small sample size (only 30 targets), Smith had a 68 percent Success Rate and gave up 6.1 yards per pass. This year, his Success Rate is about 10 percent lower, and he's giving up another yard per pass on average. And that's as a nickelback – we should expect decline as Smith steps into a frontline position. It usually takes three or four seasons for cornerbacks to come into their own, and Smith still has a lot to learn. It will be nearly impossible for Smith to match what Webb did this year.

If there's a silver lining to the Ravens defense, it could come in the form of Terrell Suggs. Out since April with a torn Achilles tendon, the linebacker is hoping to return sometime in November, or perhaps even sooner. The Ravens' pass rush could soon get much better – which is good news, because their secondary has almost certainly gotten much worse.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
24/37
338
6
0
267
256
12
He threw six touchdowns. Do you really need any more specific data? OK, fine. Rodgers was particularly deadly throwing to his right: 13-of-18 for 188 yards and 10 first downs, including five of his touchdowns.
2.
Peyton Manning DEN
24/30
309
3
1
131
131
0
DYAR by quarter: 3, -15, 76, 67.
3.
Tony Romo DAL
25/36
261
2
1
108
108
0
The Cowboys had all kinds of luck running agains Baltimore, but Romo took advantage when he got to throw on first down, going 9-of-10 for 75 yards, plus a 20-yard DPI, for five total first downs, including two scores.
4.
Joe Flacco BAL
17/26
234
1
0
107
102
5
Between the Baltimore 40 and the Dallas goal-line, Flacco went 10-of-12 for 130 yards and six first downs, including a touchdown.
5.
Robert Griffin WAS
17/22
182
1
1
102
36
66
You can see Griffin's passing totals up there. What you can't see is the stretch between the first and third quarters where he went 12-of-13 for 142 yards and nine first downs, including a touchdown. More importantly, you can't see his rushing totals: 11 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Only two quarterbacks have had more DYAR rushing in a game. In Week 1 of 2000, Daunte Culpepper had 68 DYAR, gaining 81 yards on eight carries, each of them a first down, including three touchdowns. Topping the list is Michael Vick's game against Minnesota in 2002, when he rushed nine times for 173 yards, two touchdowns, 82 DYAR, and one great animated .gif. In 22 years of DVOA data, quarterbacks have only gone over 50 rushing DYAR in five other games: Vick in 2006 and in 2010, Joe Webb in 2011, Steve McNair in 2001, and Culpepper in 2001. (When looking at these box scores, remember that the official numbers include kneeldowns, but FO's numbers don't.)
6.
Sam Bradford STL
26/39
315
0
0
94
66
29
He's not RG3, but each of Bradford's four runs was a successful play, including a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal sneak and a 21-yard gain on third-and-8. His third-down passing splits, though, were brutal: 3-of-9 for 34 yards and only two first downs, plus three sacks.
7.
Matt Stafford DET
22/45
311
1
1
84
76
8
Stafford's first four passes were incomplete, and he had another streak of seven straight incompletions between the second and third quarters. In the fourth quarter and overtime, he went 15-of-24 for 220 yards, plus a 5-yard DPI, for 11 first downs, including a touchdown.
8.
Carson Palmer OAK
23/33
353
1
1
84
84
0
A very good day except for two very bad mistakes. Take away his pick-six and his sack-fumble, and he finishes second behind Rodgers. Inside the Atlanta 40, though, he went 3-of-6 for 38 yards with one touchdown, one other first down, one pick-six, and one sack.
9.
Eli Manning NYG
15/28
193
1
0
83
86
-2
Last week, we noted that Manning played lousy with a big lead in the fourth quarter. He took that to another level against San Francisco. His first pass of the second half was a 9-yard gain on second-and-3. He then threw seven incompletions in a row (five of them in the red zone), then an 8-yard gain on first-and-10, and then one more incompletion to end his day. One first down in a half is positively Gabbert-ian. Fortunately he was more Manning-ish in the first half.
10.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
21/29
185
2
0
80
92
-12
It was a streaky game for the rookie passer, who started off 8-of-10, but for 61 yards and only one first down, with two sacks for good measure. Then he got hot, going 11-of-14 (including a DPI as a completion) for 111 yards and eight first downs, including two scores. His final six dropbacks resulted in three incompletions and three catches for 24 yards and no first downs.
11.
Russell Wilson SEA
16/27
293
3
0
75
71
4
First quarter: 7-of-8 for 131 yards and five first downs (including a touchdown). Fourth quarter: 5-of-9 for 116 yards and three first downs, including two touchdowns. Second and third quarters: 4-of-10 for 46 yards, three first downs, two sacks, one fumble. Finally, we have Wilson's performance to the deep middle and right: 6-of-7 for 222 yards and two touchdowns. (He was 0-for-3 to the deep left.)
12.
Tom Brady NE
38/58
395
2
2
64
64
0
In a one-point loss, Brady went 6-of-11 in the red zone for 24 yards, one touchdown, no other first downs, one intentional grounding, and one interception. You'd be mad too, bro.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Josh Freeman TB
15/26
328
3
1
47
46
1
On first down, Freeman went 6-of-9 for 158 yards with five first downs, including all three touchdowns.
14.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
24/40
363
1
1
39
34
5
Red zone passing: 1-of-5, with his only completion a 4-yard gain on third-and-7, plus a 10-yard DPI.
15.
Andy Dalton CIN
31/44
381
3
3
38
42
-4
Feast or famine for Dalton on third downs. He had touchdowns of 55 and 57 yards, but otherwise went 3-of-9 for 15 yards with one first down and one interception. His last interception is considered a Hail Mary and treated as an incompletion in DVOA/DYAR.
16.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
11/18
82
2
0
34
34
0
Welcome to the new Jets offense, where Sanchez throws passes only as a last result. He had only four dropbacks on first down (and none of those after halftime), seven on second down, and eight on third down. Also, say goodbye to the deep ball. Only two of Sanchez's passes traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, and neither of those was complete.
17.
Michael Vick PHI
28/45
311
2
2
24
6
19
Maybe the Eagles should try avoiding the first-down pass too. Vick went 10-of-20 for 86 yards on first down, plus a DPI, for four total first downs. Both of his interceptions and his fumbled snap came on first down. Meanwhile, on third downs, he went 9-of-14 for 140 yards with one touchdown, six other first downs, and only one sack. He also has seven carries for 59 yards and three first downs on the day.
18.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
18/31
153
0
0
16
25
-8
Fitzpatrick has thrown 33 passes to receivers behind the line of scrimmage this year, fifth-most in the league. (Christian Ponder leads the league with 43.) He threw eight such passes against Arizona, completing all of them, for 44 yards and two first downs. Two of the plays lost yards, but none gained more than 12.
19.
Matt Schaub HOU
20/33
232
0
2
-21
-21
0
At one point in the second quarter Schaub was 9-of-12 for 108 yards, with two sacks and a 26-yard DPI, and had picked up first downs in seven straight dropbacks. Then he fumbled a snap, and though Houston recovered, it was all downhill for Schaub from then on. From then on he went 13-of-26 for 147 yards with only eight first downs, three interceptions, and one sack.
20.
Christian Ponder MIN
35/52
352
2
2
-23
-26
3
Ponder was very good in the middle of the field, but he threw a pick-six inside his own 20, and had lots of problems in the red zone. Inside the Washington 20, he went 9-of-15 for 48 yards with two touchdowns, one other first down, and an interception.
21.
Brandon Weeden CLE
17/29
231
2
1
-36
-33
-3
The Browns started the third quarter trailing 14-7. Weeden proceeded to throw six straight incompletions. Inside the red zone, he had a 9-yard gain on second-and-10, but then took a sack on third down that led to a field goal. And then Weeden went nuts completing seven passes in a row for 83 yards and six first downs, including a touchdown that put Cleveland up by 10. He had one more pass, an incompletion, but that hardly mattered.
22.
John Skelton ARI
2/9
45
0
1
-51
-51
0
Skelton's completions gained 17 and 28 yards and two first downs, but, well, that's all he did.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Matt Ryan ATL
24/37
249
1
3
-54
-61
7
Atlanta's current quarterback had some of the same problems their old quarterback did in Philadelphia. On first down, Ryan went 11-of-16 for 113 yards, but only three first downs with three interceptions and a sack.
24.
Matt Hasselbeck TEN
25/44
284
1
1
-56
-53
-2
On his first seven third-down plays, Hasselbeck went 3-of-6 for 50 yards with two first downs and a sack. On his last nine third-down plays, he went 8-of-8 for 102 yards and seven first downs, including a touchdown, with one sack-fumble (Tennessee recovered).
25.
Andrew Luck IND
23/44
280
0
2
-60
-60
0
Inside the Jets' 40, Luck went 4-of-13 for 48 yards, plus a 12-yard DPI, for three total first downs, no touchdowns, with one interception and one sack.
26.
Brady Quinn KC
22/38
180
0
2
-67
-71
4
On Tampa Bay's half of the field, Quinn went 7-of-14 for 47 yards, with as many first downs (two) as interceptions. One of those picks was returned for a touchdown.
27.
Kevin Kolb ARI
14/26
128
1
1
-74
-94
20
Second down: The bane of Kevin Kolb's existence. He did throw a 9-yard touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald, but that was his only first-down play on second down. Otherwise he went 3-of-10 for 21 yards with four sacks (including a safety).
28.
Philip Rivers SD
25/41
242
2
4
-82
-82
0
DYAR by quarter: 50, 29, -40, -120.
29.
Alex Smith SF
19/30
200
0
3
-121
-116
-5
Smith's first three third-down plays were all completed for exactly 7 yards each and three first downs. His last eight third-down plays resulted in a 6-yard gain on third-and-21, two incomplete passes, two interceptions, and three sacks. By the way, does anyone know why the 49ers had 20 passes and only 10 runs in the first half?


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
C.J. Spiller BUF
88
1
22
0
44
46
-2
Seven of Spiller's 12 carries gained 5 yards or more, and three gained 10 or more, capped off by a 33-yarder. He also caught four of the five passes thrown his way for 22 yards, including a 2-yard loss on third-and-12 and an 11-yard gain on third-and-21.
2.
Felix Jones DAL
92
1
13
0
44
36
8
Jones was stuffed for a loss just once in 18 carries, but he rushed for six first downs, including a 22-yard touchdown run and two other 10-yard gains. He also caught the only pass thrown his way for 13 yards.
3.
Ahmad Bradshaw NYG
116
1
4
0
41
39
3
Bradshaw had a number of bad plays — eight of his 27 carries resulted in no gain or a loss — but he also had five gains of 10 or more yards, and he gets a lot of DYAR for a 1-yard touchdown on third-and-goal.
4.
Ray Rice BAL
63
2
43
0
39
43
-4
Each of Rice's 18 carries gained at least 1 yard, and two of those 1-yard runs were touchdowns. Though his longest run was just 12 yards, he had four other first downs, including a pair of third-and-1 conversions. He only caught one of the four balls thrown his way, but that one catch was a 43-yard gain on third-and-7.
5.
Isaac Redman PIT
14
0
105
0
38
-2
41
Redman ran five times against Tennessee for 14 yards, which might have you wondering what he's doing here amongst the top running backs. As negligible as Redman was as a runner, he made quite an impact in the passing game. He only caught four passes in five targets, but those four catches totaled 105 yards, including gains of 13, 33, and 55 yards.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Darren McFadden OAK
79
1
28
0
-43
-47
5
McFadden was stuffed for a loss six times in 27 carries, and one of those stuffs resulted in a lost fumble. He had only four first downs on the day (one of those a touchdown), only six gains of more than 4 yards, and just one 10-yard gain. He did catch three of four passes for 28 yards, including a 20-yard gain on third-and-3.
OTHER BACKS OF LITTLE VALUE: Trent Richardson, CLE (14 carries, 37 yards, one fumble; two catches in three targets for 17 yards); LaRod Stephens-Howling, ARI (11 carries, 22 yards; no catches in two targets); LeSean McCoy, PHI (14 carries, 22 yards; seven catches in eight yards for 26 yards and a touchdown, but only one other first down).


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Jordy Nelson GB
9
12
121
13.4
3
74
Three touchdowns, three incompletions. Seven of his nine receptions gained first downs. The other two were a 1-yard gain on second-and-2 and a 9-yard gain on third-and-10.
2.
Jeremy Maclin PHI
6
10
130
21.7
1
52
Maclin's first four third-down targets resulted in a 17-yard gain for a first down; a 15-yard gain for a first down; a 7-yard gain for a first-down; and a 70-yard touchdown. His last third-down target fell incomplete.
3.
A.J. Green CIN
7
11
135
19.3
2
48
In addition to touchdowns of 4 and 55 yards, Green had four other first downs. He was the target on two interceptions, but in DVOA and DYAR the blame for those goes on the quarterback, not the receiver. (One of those was a Hail Mary, so the blam goes to nobody.)
4.
Derek Hagan OAK
4
4
85
21.2
0
40
All of Hagan's targets came in the second half, three in the fourth quarter. His worst play was a 9-yard gain on second-20. Each of his other catches gained a first down, on gains of 17, 21, and 38 yards.
5.
Josh Gordon CLE
3
4
99
33.0
1
40
Gordon played second banana to Kendall Wright at Baylor in 2010. He left that school after multiple drug-related incidents, spent some time at Utah without ever seeing the field, and wound up in the supplemental draft this year, where Cleveland grabbed him in exchange for their 2013 second-rounder. A tantalizing athlete with questionable reliability, his game against the Giants in Week 5 seemed to exemplify Gordon as a football player: He had touchdowns of 62 and 20 yards, but the other six passes thrown in his direction were all incomplete. Gordon maintained the explosiveness this week against Cincinnati, but mixed in some singles with his home run. He had a 71-yard touchdown, a pair of 14-yard gains on first-and-10, and only one incompletion.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Antonio Brown PIT
4
10
20
5.0
0
-40
Brown's first eight targets resulted in three cathes for 13 yards and no first downs. His last three targets: a 7-yard gain on second-and-7, an incompletion, and a 10-yard DPI.
OTHER RECEIVERS OF LITTLE VALUE: Andre Roberts, ARI (two catches for 18 yards in six targets); Brandon Banks, WAS (two catches in two targets for 3 yards; two rushes for -2 yards); Kenny Britt, TEN (four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in 11 targets).

Posted by: Vince Verhei on 16 Oct 2012

83 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2012, 1:39pm by tuluse

Comments

1
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 9:30am

"By the way, does anyone know why the 49ers had 20 passes and only 10 runs in the first half?"

I have been wondering the same thing, how can the number one team in rushing DVOA only hand the ball to it's backs twelve times in the full sixty minutes. If you are worried that your quarterback might blow the game and that their quarterback might win it then why not run the damn ball to keep it away from the pair of them?

69
by Little Bobby Tables (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:41pm

It's weird, and its not an isolated incident. The niners predominantly went to the air both times against the giants last season, even though the run was working on paper. Either the giants are adept at stacking the box (which doesn't seem likely, given how well everyone else has run against them) or their jedi mind tricks are working on Harbaugh.

74
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 4:14pm

It's not an isolated incident this year either, they didn't try to run against the Vikings either. I think it has something to do with the 49ers system of switching between two plays at the line. If they see eight in the box they throw, which means that other teams can bring a safety up to the line in a cover three and there goes the run game.

80
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:52am

Exactly--if it's that easy to game the 49er offense, they're going to have to change their ways.

79
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 12:51am

"...even though the run was working on paper."

What exactly does that mean?

2
by nat :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 9:38am

Thanks for the quarter by quarter breakdown for P. Manning and Rivers. Amazing.

Manning was essentially a scrub for the first half, while Rivers was a fine QB for that time.

In the second half, Manning was ruthlessly effective. And yet his importance to the game's result paled next to Rivers' degree of suckitude. And DYAR doesn't give extra "credit" for fumbles actually lost, nor for the length of the returns on fumbles or interceptions. Rivers actually did more damage than the -160 DYAR would indicate.

Wow.

4
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:02am

Yeah, that breakdown was really interesting. Is there any way to query on that for historical data; is Rivers' -120 DYAR in a 4th quarter record-setting in some way?

8
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:16am

Manning was essentially a scrub for the first half.

Except he wasn't. He lost out on one long TD pass when Decker fell to the ground for no discernible reason, and then followed that play with a pick-6 because his rookie receiver wasn't where he was supposed to be. That kind of thing balances out in the long term, but gets missed when you break it down quarter-by-quarter like that. Manning played ok in the 1st quarter, very well in the 2nd, and brilliantly in the 3rd & 4th.

ETA: This should also be repeated over and over again on football sites, but Peyton Manning has now broken Dan Marino's record for most 4th quarter comeback wins, with 37.

See here and here for the full background on the lousy record keeping behind the stat.

37
by Purds :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:44am

Decker didn't fall down, he just did his end zone flip celebration about 30 yards early.

54
by Not Verified (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:13pm

I am not sure I buy that it was the receivers fault. Manning vversus a rookie weighs heavily in blaming the rookie. However watching the play I saw a wide open corner of the endzone where the rookie was heading and a breaking cornerback where Manning threw the ball. I do not know what the reads were on that play but the coverage showed that the corner fade was wide open.

59
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:26pm

It was a hot read. The Chargers blitzed, the corner sat like he should, the receiver didn't break his route like he should have.

Of course, we don't know exactly, but that is definitely what it seemed like.

66
by BigCheese :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:03pm

Indeed. It's exactly the same thing that happened with Dez Bryant against the Bears.

At that point I was really feeling for Manning. Imagine being him: Your D forces a punt and you're ready to go, but the returner muffs it and gives SD a short field. OK, no biggie, the D held them to a FG, NOW it's time to get thins thing going! Except the kick-off returner fumbles it away, giving the Chargers yet another short field.

So, now it's time for Manning to finally go to work, and he makes his patented ath-the-line adjustments, leaving a reciever wide open with nothing but green grass in front of him for a sure TD that brings the game to withhin a FG. Except the reciever falls down untouched, and two plays later, the rookie reciever doesn't read the blitz and isn't where he's supposed to be, resulting in an easy pick six. Next thing you know, you're going into the half down 24-0 instead of 10-7.

No wonder he came out mad and shredded the Chargers int he second half.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

67
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:15pm

I hate receivers. Well, I'll refine that. Now that catching balls over the middle doesn't take the crazy courage it used to (which is a good thing), my esteem for receivers has decereased a ton. Imagine you're qb, having to have a good picture of what 22 guys on the field are doing. In comparison, we have a receiver who only needs to figure a fraction of what the qb needs to handle, and the dummy can't figure out whether he needs to stop or keep going, and it results in a pick six.

I hate receivers.

7
by rageon :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:16am

Manning was essentially a scrub for the first half, while Rivers was a fine QB for that time.

Was he? My memory of the game was that Manning played like 4 snaps in the first quarter, and then in the second quarter he threw a pass that should have a been a touchdown if not for Decker tripping himself, followed by a pick-6 that was almost certainly the fault of the receiver. The stats don't really reflect that, but nothing about Manning's first half makes me think "scrub."

29
by nat :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:02am

Sure. What you say.
Manning got the results of a scrub for the first half. Through no fault of his own.

Jeepers! I forgot that it's only a team sport when things go badly.

40
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:55am

It balances out in the long-term, but when you break it down by individual quarters, it throws off the analysis. Eventually, Manning's receivers will bail him out of a bad throw and make his DYAR higher than it should, but it didn't happen in this game. We're just pointing out that his 2nd quarter DYAR is not really indicative of his actual play on the field.

28
by Yaguar :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:54am

Yeah, Rivers really was that bad. I'm not surprised that Peyton's performance counted for "less" than Rivers's negative performance. For Peyton to have as much DYAR as Rivers's negative number, he'd have to be so good that his 2nd-half performance would "make up" for Rivers's if the same QB did both in the same game.

In Rivers's last 23 dropbacks, he took four sacks, fumbled twice, threw three picks, and accounted for two Denver TDs. It's practically impossible to make up for that.

It's especially impossible if you have few opportunities! Remember that Peyton can't even get the ball if Rivers keeps giving away defensive TDs. Manning only had five possessions in the half. He passed for TDs on the first three, and drove into SD territory (with a lead) on the fourth. He knelt on the fifth.

55
by nat :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:18pm

Sure. It's DVOA (rate) vs. DYAR (cumulative) stats. Rivers contributed more to the Broncos' victory by sucking than Manning did by being great. That's not a knock on Manning's per-play effectiveness. It's just a statement about what happened in this particular game.

To put it another way, Manning led three scoring drives and one decent field position drive for the Broncos in the second half. Rivers led two scoring drives (for the Broncos!) and screwed up four others. Assuming an expected 2 points per drive, Manning's offense added 13 extra points to the final result. Rivers' offense added 26 extra points to the result - in the Broncos' favor. That's not counting the field position that Rivers sacrificed through turnovers. Add a few points for that.

Rivers was therefore more than twice as important to the outcome in the second half. Let's give "credit" where credit is due.

73
by Brent :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 4:11pm

LMAO

3
by RickD :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 9:44am
18
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:31am

This can only be a sign that Reid himself is under significant pressure and needed a scapegoat. Allowing 23 points in regulation to one of the better offenses in the NFL (when your own offense gifts them several turnovers) isn't exactly a fireable offense.

22
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:39am

I've added an XP on this, so let's try not to get off-topic in this thread.

5
by drespasser :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:05am

Funny, the Vikings always seem to be involved in games with great QB rushing.

10
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:21am

Yes indeed, just from memory

Steve Young incredible td run in SF (1987?)
Michael Vick as mentioned above
Joe Webb 60yd TD run in Det last year
Culpepper game mentioned above
Tarkenton (about 1000 ridiculous scrambles behind the line)

Yes there have been a lot of great running games by QB in Minnesota's history

12
by Jimmy :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:25am

I am pretty sure that Rex Grossman was playing the Vikings when he tore his ACL diving untouched into the end zone.

68
by BigCheese :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:15pm

I am POSITIVE it was against the Vikings. hat game vividly. I remember tI came home, turned on the TV on the game, just to have it on but didn't even see which game they were broadcasting, and started to get busy doing something else. And then I heard Lovie Smith's name being mentioned, which inmediatley caught my attention, since it had been over a year since they had shown any Bears game on TV in Mexico. Very next play, Grossman tears his ACL (rememebr, this was back when we thought Grossman might be a good QB, and defintiely better than what we had at the time).

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

15
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:29am

There was a game in '73 or '74 or so, when the Vikings were down about as much as the Broncos last night, to a good Redskins team, and Tarkenton led a comeback, taking a lead with a bootleg td run of about 30 or 40 yards. Alas, there was enough time for Kilmer to lead the Redskins to a last second score to win the game.

Why do I remember the heartbreaking losses more than the thrilling victories?

32
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:24am

because there have been so many more

49
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:32pm

Because the Vikings have turned the heartbreaking loss with extremely talented teams into an art form.

11
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:24am

DVOA doesn't go back to 1988 yet, which will show a game in which the Niners finished off the Vikings in a great game at The Stick, when Steve Young had a ridiculous 50 yard td run, in which it seems that all 11 Vikings had a hand on him at one point.

14
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:29am

At least one player (#54) missed him twice.

34
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:36am

Thanks for reminding me!

44
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:02pm

It was a great run, but there were several brilliant blocks thrown on that play, too. I think that's my favorite element of that play - nobody gave up on it. I'm in the office, so someone else will have to post the YouTube link, but I watch that play at least once a week during football season.

50
by Kurt :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:33pm

Here you go.

My favorite part is the way he staggers into the end zone.

52
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:46pm

Thank you! Awesome play.

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

57
by Kurt :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:21pm

It really is incredible. If great Vick or Griffin runs make them look like men among boys, Young in that play looks like a boy among men - ducking in the pocket, weaving around while 20 or 30 guys *almost* level him - it's like something out of Little Giants.

82
by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 1:26pm

Did the camera used to focus that closely on the QB, or is this an edited shot? Has the NFL been gradually pulling the camera angles back?

83
by tuluse :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 1:39pm

They have. Also, with widescreen they show more even at the same zoom level.

26
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:42am

and that was a great Vikings defence in 88. They had a 4 game stretch where they allowed 9 pts. They were 1st in the league that year in yards allowed and 1st in NetYards/Att passing allowed and 5th in yards per rush.

I was too young to properly appreciate the Purple People Eaters, this 87/88 bunch with Doleman, Millard, Browner and Carl Lee was my favorite defensive group.

33
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:31am

Millard, had he not blown out his knee, may have ended up a HOFer, so yes, that was a very good defense. As usual for the post Tarkenton history of the Vikings, what held back that team in those years, most of all, was lack of production from the quarterback.

21
by Travis :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:38am

Vinny Testaverde ran for 105 yards against the Vikings in 1990, including this 48-yard TD run. He didn't break 60 yards in any other game in his 21-year career.

25
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:42am

I'm sorry, I must have misread you. I could have sworn you just wrote that Vinny Testaverde once ran for 105 yards.

39
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:49am

I remember watching that game as a kid (the Lions had a sunday night game, so it was on in the Metro Detroit market). I remember the Vikings defenders seemed incredulous that Testaverde could run that fast, and they seemed to be jogging after him, until they realized he was already by them.

By the way, the cheesy late 80's/early 90's synthesizer music makes that You Tube clip that much more awesome.

-I'm not Billy Bad-Ass.

6
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:09am

Interesting that you note the Michael Vick game against Minnesota in the RGIII comment on great QB rushing games. I of course remember that game that finished with a ridiculous Vick 50+ yard run. I thought of that game when I watched RGIII on Sunday and the big difference wasn't the running it was that in the Vick game Vick passing was so horribly inaccurate that he almost blew a game that should have been a blowout for Atlanta. I think watching those two games makes you realize just how much better RGIII will be than Vick.

31
by Peregrine :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:19am

That game-winning OT run in Minnesota by the dog-killer might be the most ridiculous play I've ever seen. Straight out of a video game. And no, he's never been dull, that's for sure.

9
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:19am

The Webb information confirms what I've thought since training camp, that Webb was the Raven's best defensive player, and the the player they could least afford to lose. Sigh.

13
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:26am

Ponder's rating doesn't of course show the 11 passes where he missed open receivers while he was under little or no duress (see Tom Pelissero's article at 1500ESPN). Almost every miss was high, which is his usual miss...he can be high and wide as well, but not very often low.

I think that tends to lead to a lot more picks than QBs that miss low. Can't see Ponder having low int rates if he's asked to throw the ball further than 5 yards down the field with any regularity.

17
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:31am

I'm going to be interested to see his road/home splits at the end of the year.

19
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:33am

If you could somehow combine the last two Vikings QBs (Ponder and McNabb), every pass would arrive numbers-high.

41
by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:57am

ha ha!

16
by KennyD (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:30am

OK, I'll be the one to ask - how is Shonn Greene not one of the top 5 backs with 161 rushing yards, 3 TDs and a 5.0 average rush?

20
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:34am

Particularly with a long gain of only 21 yards... that's some consistent rushing.

24
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:41am

Colossal, colossal opponent adjustments. Colts run defense has been horrid this season, especially on third down. Greene goes from 63 YAR to 20 DYAR rushing.

27
by JetFanInMD (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:46am

That implies that we should expect regular 120 yd, 1-2TD rushing performances against the Colts all year, right?

65
by MTR (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:55pm

In fact, counting this week, the Colts have given up 5.0 yards/rush, 159 yards/game, and 1.33 touchdowns/game.

Buffalo is even worse.

81
by Dan :: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 1:20am

If backs regularly get 32 carries against them, then yes.

30
by are-tee :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:18am

Then the Colts' running backs, with their total 40 yards rushing, should have really awful DYAR, since Jets' run defense was pretty bad going into this game.

23
by SJason (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 10:39am

Curious what Shonn Greene's DYAR was. With workload and effectiveness, I would think he'd be up there.

I assume negative adjustment for facing the Colts run defense?

35
by jw124164 :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:42am

Ryan has to pass on 1st down - the Falcons only other 1st down play seems to be "Run Michael Turner into the middle of the line for 0.5 yards".

36
by are-tee :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:43am

"Only two of Sanchez's passes traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, and neither of those was complete."

Actually, his two TD passes traveled more than 10 yards past the LOS, which was the Colts' 5-yard line. They were both caught in the back of the end zone.

48
by Led :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:31pm

Pedant! By the way, one of two deeper passes Sanchez threw should have been a PI. It was a back shoulder throw to Schilens (jeez, I started to type McCairens!) where the corner had two hands on the receiver and never turned around. Sanchez actually played ok given what they asked him to do. It's actually not that easy to put up good numbers when you only pass as a last resort. I bit his DVOA was pretty good.

38
by Purds :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:46am

I'm still worried about Andrew Luck (Colts fan here). He continues with an abysmal completion percentage, and now he's having red zone issues. Certainly better than Curtis Painter, but ...

43
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:58am

I think he'll be fine. Remember he doesn't have much in the way of reliable receiving options outside of transcendently good efforts by Reggie Wayne.

-I'm not Billy Bad-Ass.

46
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:10pm

What a difference a week makes. Remember that list of top 10 rookie QBs? But you shouldn't worry too much until he starts doing that in his 3rd year. He's just a rookie, after all.

Btw, Tannehill just passed Luck in DVOA.

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

53
by Yaguar :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:00pm

Calm down a bit. First, here are three reasons why we should expect Luck's rate stats to be poor:

(1) He's throwing an incredibly high volume of passes. Well over 40 a game. Only Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Drew Bledsoe have ever been asked to throw so much over the course of an entire season - and only the first two ever did it well. This shows that the coaches have a lot of faith in Luck, and explains why his rate stats might be lackluster.

(2) We all knew that the Colts aren't a particularly great football team yet, and we expected some struggles. In 2010 Peyton put up a DVOA of only 19.0%. Every other season of his since 2002, including this one, has been 29.5% or more. And this was the 2010 team that at least had Collie and Garcon and six games of Dallas Clark.

(3) Only a handful of modern-era rookies have been "good" quarterbacks in their first year. Ryan, Marino, Roethlisberger, Newton. That's it. That's all of them.

So, given all of this, we should expect a really bad DVOA, right? Luck is at -3.9%, which is respectable - 18th out of 33 qualifying QBs. His DVOA exceeds his conventional stats primarily because of opponent adjustments; he had to play the dominant Bears defense, and some pretty decent other defenses. When a rookie throws 44 passes per game for a bad football team, it's a godsend to see him at 18th in DVOA.

62
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:26pm

Tell you what I reckon I could convince the 49ers' front office to trade you Alex Smith for him?

64
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:51pm

"He continues with an abysmal completion percentage"

How soon we forget. Luck has a 53.4% completion rate through the first 5 games of his career. Manning had a 55% rate through his first 5 games with 4 TD and 12 ints!, and he only completed 48% in his 6th game.

70
by Purds :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:45pm

True, but when they picked Manning, they were letting go of only the comeback kid; when they picked Luck, they were letting go of a 6'5" guy with a rocket laser arm.

77
by Candace Bergen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 8:02pm

He's played in, what, 6 NFL games? Get some perspective for god's sake.

42
by tomdrees :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:57am

Love the "others of little value" section. Could we get an honorable mention section too, just for fun? Like highest single-play DYAR or "others of note" such as Greene. Trying not to come off too needy or demanding here, but every quarterback then only a handful of backs and receivers makes me crave more every week. That's a compliment to the amount usually published.

56
by Not Verified (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:20pm

Calvin Johnson's fourth quarter catch should be in there. I don't know what the actual DYAR for that woud be, but after adjusting for the "F------g Awesome" factor it would be approaching infinity.

45
by bananarama (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:10pm

"Welcome to the new Jets offense, where Sanchez throws passes only as a last result."

pretty sure you mean "resort"

47
by bananarama (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:22pm

"(One of those was a Hail Mary, so the blam goes to nobody.)"

pretty sure you mean "blame"

51
by nuclearbdgr :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:34pm

Perhaps Raider Joe is contributing to the write-ups?

58
by RickD :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:24pm

There's so much blam for the Pats' secondary these days that the letter 'e' has given up.

60
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 1:56pm

E has given up, so the Pats' secondary is now F-ed.

Heyyyyyyyyyoooooooooooooooooo.

61
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:06pm

Steve, how do you get from The Dust to Holy Spirits so fast?

75
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 5:27pm

I've done a lot of copy editing for money in my life. I'm still surprised that people will go online and do copy-editing for fun.

78
by Candace Bergen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 8:03pm

Don't sulk, Vinny.

63
by Aliyah (not verified) :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:40pm

I may be misremembering, but I am fairly sure that Schaub had only two interceptions, while his backup TJ Yates had the third one. As always, thanks for the articles and stats.

71
by Kal :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:55pm

Yes, I'm going to complain about DYAR here.

I realize why this is the case and what it means, but it's incredibly unintuitive and unexplanatory why Sanchez with his 11 pass completions is somehow more valuable in DYAR than Ponder with his 352 yards. I realize that more of Ponder's plays were unsuccessful or bad - but which of the two contributed more to their team's overall success or failure that game? This is the same problem for running backs (where 8 total successes is significantly 'better' most of the time than 12 successes and 6 failures) but really shows up here when you have a QB who basically does nothing but the bare minimum in a game.

76
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 5:42pm

Sanchez had no interceptions and one sack. Ponder had two interception and four sacks. That hurts Ponder a lot.

but which of the two contributed more to their team's overall success or failure that game?

Sanchez had 10 plays with positive DYAR, for 106 total DYAR. He had nine negative plays for -72 DYAR.

Ponder had one play for exactly zero DYAR. He had 32 positive plays for 322 DYAR. He had 25 negative plays for -348 DYAR.

So, to answer your question, Ponder contributed more to the Vikings' success than Sanchez did to the Jets' success. However he also contributed a lot more to the Vikings' failure than Sanchez did to the Jets' failure, and to a much greater degree.

72
by JimZipCode :: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 3:56pm

The reason Lardarius Webb "played sparingly as a rookie" in 2009 was that he blew out his knee late in the season on spec teams, I think it was covering a punt. PFR has him playing 14 games in 2009, but that seems high to me -- I thought he got the injury about 2/3's into the season. He looked amazing his rookie season, very promising, future shut-down corner, before the injury. That injury was an ACL like the current injury is, but thankfully to the other leg.

Webb returned in 2010, and slowly worked his way back to showing the speed & explosion he'd had before. By late season he was a fixture in the nickel & dime, and looked as good as ever. Took over the starting job in 2011, and has been the Ravens best corner.

The reason I mention it is, the 2nd paragraph above makes it seem like Webb's ascension was slow and steady. Actually it's been comet-like, if you subtract out the injury time, and some time when he had returned from injury but didn't yet have all his speed back. Ravens fans find him the most exciting draftee of the last 3 years, after only Torrey Smith.