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Denver: great team, or the greatest team? Would you be satisfied with "one of the ten greatest teams?" Plus: hard times in the NFC South, where defense goes to die.

19 Nov 2013

Week 11 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have a lot in common. They're both tall, they've both won Super Bowls, and they've both lost Super Bowls. And on the surface, they played pretty similar games this weekend:

Peyton Manning: 41 dropbacks, 7.9-yard average, one touchdown, 15 other first downs, no turnovers.

Ben Roethlisberger: 47 dropbacks, 7.6-yard average, four touchdowns, 15 other first downs, no turnovers.

Pretty even across the board, right? The biggest difference is the three extra touchdowns produced by Roethlisberger — which is, frankly, huge. So why is it that Manning and not Roethlisberger sits atop the quarterback rankings this week? As some of you have probably guessed, the answer is opponent adjustments. Manning posted his numbers against a Kansas CIty defense that leads the league in opponents' completion percentage, and is second in sacks. Roethlsiberger was facing a Detroit defense that ranks middle-of-the-pack in almost any statistical category. Without opponent adjustments, Roethlisberger led all quarterbacks this week; with them, Manning passed Roethlisberger (and four other passers) to take the top spot.

Only Jason Campbell got a bigger boost from opponent adjustments this week than Manning (not that it did Campbell a lot of good); Chad Henne was next. On the other end of the spectrum, Ryan Tannehill, Carson Palmer, and Matthew Stafford were all docked significantly for playing against the Chargers, Jaguars, and Steelers, respectively.

If those are the extreme examples of opponent adjustments from Week 11, what can we learn from the effect of opponent adjustments from the season as a whole? The following table shows the five quarterbacks with the biggest improvement between DYAR (which adjusts for opponent) and YAR (which doesn't), and should show us which passers have played the toughest schedule of opposing defenses. Also listed are the five quarterbacks who have played the easiest defenses. All numbers are passing only, and do not include the Carolina-New England Monday night game:

Hardest Schedules Easiest Schedules
Player Team DYAR YAR DIF Player Team DYAR YAR DIF
Matt Ryan ATL 811 611 200 Robert Griffin WAS 30 260 -230
Jason Campbell CLE 57 -68 125 Philip Rivers SD 1119 1252 -133
Thaddeus Lewis BUF -50 -130 79 Peyton Manning DEN 1638 1751 -112
Colin Kaepernick SF 236 159 76 Jake Locker TEN 29 102 -73
Case Keenum HOU 184 109 76 Eli Manning NYG -98 -41 -57

First reaction: Man, a lot of backups have had some bad timing this year, facing good defenses almost exclusively. Jason Campbell and Thaddeus Lewis have started three games apiece. Campbell has faced Kansas City, Baltimore, and Cincinnati; Lewis has played against Cincinnati, Miami, and New Orleans. All of those teams entered the weekend ranked in the top 10 in pass defense DVOA. Case Keenum has started against two top-five pass defenses (Arizona and Kansas City) and two easier foes (Indianapolis and Oakland). Matt Ryan's schedule has been similar to Colin Kaepernick's this year, because the NFC South and NFC West teams play each other, and that's bad news for all quarterbacks in those divisions. Seattle, Arizona, New Orleans, and Carolina all entered the weekend in the top five in pass defense DVOA. Things are especially rough for Ryan, who has had to face not only the gauntlet of those two divisions, but also the AFC East, where all four teams rank in the top half of the league in pass defense DVOA. (The next three names on this list: Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Mike Glennon. Yes, NFC South quarterbacks got screwed this year.)

Meanwhile, Robert Griffin can't blame his regression this season on the schedule gods, who have done everything they can to make the Washington quarterback look good. On a per-pass basis, Griffin's completions, yards, and touchdowns are all way down from his rookie campaign, while he has already thrown twice as many interceptions as he did in 2012. And he's doing that against a slate of defenses that is much, much easier than any other quarterback has seen this year. Eight of Griffin's games have come against teams in the bottom 10 in pass defense DVOA. His schedule is only slightly more difficult going forward. Kansas City (second in pass defense DVOA) basically cancels out Atlanta (30th), and the other four teams left on Washington's schedule all rank in the teens.

Jake Locker makes this list thanks to some fortuitous injury timing, as he missed back-to-back games against Kansas City and Seattle. And finally we have the Manning brothers and Philip Rivers, who, like Griffin, have faced the defenses of the AFC West and NFC East this year. This is especially relevant for Eli Manning, who has faced a soft schedule and still leads the league in interceptions. Manning has thrown 17 interceptions in 10 games against teams that, when not playing Eli, have grabbed 92 interceptions in 91 games. The Cowboys, Broncos, Eagles, and Bears have a combined 52 interceptions this year, one-quarter of them thrown by Eli Manning.

We can use similar methodology to analyze runners and receivers, but due to sample sizes, and the parity among run defenses across the league, the differences between DYAR and YAR are much smaller for these players than they are for passers. The five runners who have faced the most difficult defenses this season are Carolina's DeAngelo Williams; Pittsburgh's Le'veon Bell; Green Bay's Eddie Lacy; Tampa Bay's Doug Martin; and Detroit's Reggie Bush. (This makes Bush's 4.7-yard average even more remarkable.) The easiest schedule has been faced by Oakland's Darren McFadden, followed by Jacksonvile's Maurice Jones-Drew (who is still only averaging 3.0 yards per rush); Houston's Arian Foster; Bilal Powell of the New York Jets; and Dallas' DeMarco Murray.

No wide receiver has seen a tougher schedule than Buffalo's Robert Woods. His teammate Stevie Johnson also make the top five, along with Minnesota's Greg Jennings, New England's Danny Amendola, and Detroit's Calvin Johnson. This means Johnson, against one of the toughest schedules in football, still leads the world in yards and touchdowns. It's pretty clear who the non-quarterback MVP should be this year. Not surprisingly, two of Griffin's receivers in Washington (Pierre Garcon and Leonard Hankerson) make the five easiest schedules faced, joined by Victor Cruz of the Giants, Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos, and Cecil Shorts of the Jaguars.

Finally, we have the tight ends, where the most difficult schedules have been faced by Carolina's Greg Olsen; Cleveland's Jordan Cameron; Arizona's Rob Housler; Tennessee's Delanie Walker; and Arizona's Jim Dray. The easiest schedule has been faced by Cincinnati's Jermaine Gresham, followed by Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew; Washington's Jordan Reed; Cincinnati's Tyler Eifert; and Miami's Charles Clay.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Peyton Manning DEN
24/40
323
1
0
179
191
-12
It looks like Kansas City made some effective adjustments in halftime, and it took the Broncos a while to catch up. In the third quarter, Manning went just 4-of-10 (including four incompletions in a row to start the second half) for 55 yards, with his only first down coming on a 33-yard gain on third-and-3 with about 4 minutes left in the period.
2.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
29/45
367
4
0
172
169
3
Despite his four touchdowns, Roethlisberger was actually below replacement level in the red zone, where he threw a whopping 14 passes. He went 5-of-12 inside the 20 for 46 yards with two touchdowns, a sack, and a zero-yard DPI. Average rate of touchdowns on passing plays in the red zone this year (including sacks and DPIs) is about 21 percent.
3.
Tom Brady NE
29/40
296
1
1
172
168
4
4.
Cam Newton CAR
19/28
209
3
0
130
116
13
5.
Russell Wilson SEA
13/17
230
2
0
125
121
4
Wilson's first pass on the Minnesota side of the field was an incompletion on second-and-22. After that, every play across midfield resulted in a completion, and each of those completions resulted in a touchdown or first down. Once past the 50, Wilson finished 6-of-7 for 108 yards and two scores.
6.
E.J. Manuel BUF
20/28
245
2
0
108
102
6
The Bills opened up with an awfully conservative game plan against the Jets. In the first half, they ran 11 times on first down, with just one pass, an incompletion. In the second half, though they never led by fewer than 13 points, they had three first-down passes: a 5-yard gain, a 40-yard gain, and a 43-yard touchdown.
7.
Nick Foles PHI
17/26
298
0
0
106
89
18
Throwing to his right, Foles went 8-of-10 for 150 yards with five first downs.
8.
Philip Rivers SD
22/33
298
1
1
95
100
-5
Rivers was at his best throwing up the middle against Miami, going 7-of-9 for 93 yards with a touchdown and five other first downs.
9.
Mike Glennon TB
20/23
231
2
0
89
91
-2
Glennon did not throw an incomplete pass after the first quarter. In the final three quarters of the game, he went 15-of-15 for 203 yards with two touchdowns and seven other first downs, plus two sacks and a 5-yard DPI. Only one of those completions, by the way, was a failed third-down play, although both sacks also came on third down.
10.
Ryan Fitzpatrick TEN
22/28
222
1
0
86
84
1
Fitzpatrick only threw three deep passes the entire game against Indianapolis, and they all came with Tennessee trailing in the fourth quarter, two of them when down by ten points with less than three minutes to go in the game. Those two throws were both complete for 61 total yards and a touchdown. Perhaps the Titans should have been throwing those earlier.
11.
Andrew Luck IND
23/36
232
0
0
83
67
16
Luck's average completion was caught just 4.3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Only Jason Campbell, Chad Henne, and Andy Dalton threw shorter for their completions.
12.
Carson Palmer ARI
31/42
419
2
0
75
75
0
Third-down passing: 6-of-11 for 120 yards, plus an intentional grounding and a sack. He only converted three third downs all day, though one of those was a 91-yard touchdown to Michael Floyd.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Josh McCown CHI
19/31
216
1
0
70
70
0
The extreme weather in Chicago altered the Bear's second-half play-calling. Their third-quarter offense consisted of eight runs and zero passes. Down by four points at the end of the third, they decided to unleash McCown, and he delivered, going 9-of-11 for 132 yards with one touchdown, five other first downs, and one sack in the fourth quarter and overtime.
14.
Matthew Stafford DET
19/45
362
2
1
49
38
11
The highs and lows of Stafford in this game were astronomical. First three drives: 6-of-12 for 60 yards with three first downs. Next five drives (all in the second quarter): 10-of-17 for 267 yards with two touchdowns and seven other first downs, plus a 3-yard DPI. Last five drives, all in the second half: 3-of-16 for 35 yards with two first downs, two sacks, and an interception. In the fourth quarter, he went 0-for-10 with an interception and a sack.
15.
Matt Schaub HOU
12/25
155
0
0
42
42
0
Schaub entered the game down by 11 in the third quarter, and was never able to get closer than 5 points. That's mainly because he was dirt awful in the red zone, going 2-of-7 for 11 yards and no first downs.
16.
Drew Brees NO
31/43
305
1
1
41
41
0
Throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage: 5-of-10 for 14 yards with no first downs and an interception, plus an intentional grounding penalty. Throws to receivers 1 to 9 yards past the line of scrimmage: 17-of-21 for 112 yards with one touchdown and five other first downs. All throws to receivers at least 10 yards downfield: 8-of-11 for 179 yards and eight first downs.
17.
Scott Tolzien GB
24/32
339
0
3
35
29
5
One of the better zero-touchdown, three-interception games you'll ever see. Tolzien completed 10 passes that gained at least 15 yards and averaged 10.6 yards per passing play, both second among starters this week, to Matt Stafford (11) and Russell Wilson (12.4), respectively. Stafford, by the way, had 16 more plays than Tolzien did.
18.
Matt Cassel MIN
5/13
78
1
1
6
6
0
Cassel entered the game trailing by 25 points in the fourth quarter. On his first two drives, he went 2-of-8 for 37 yards with an interception. On his final drive, in complete garbage time he went 3-of-5 for 41 yards and a touchdown.
19.
Matthew McGloin OAK
18/32
197
3
0
1
1
0
All quarterbacks look better on their touchdown drives, but the difference between good McGloin and bad McGloin was striking. On Oakland's four touchdown drives, he went 5-of-6 for 103 yards and three scores, with two other first downs. On their other 15 drives, he went 13-of-26 for 94 yards with three first downs and two sacks. Oakland's last four drives (not counting the end-of-game kneeldowns) totaled 15 plays and 18 yards, a big reason Houston had a chance to win at the end.
20.
Alex Smith KC
21/45
230
2
0
-11
-34
23
Throwing to his left, Smith went 6-of-16 for 26 yards and three first downs.
21.
Colin Kaepernick SF
17/31
127
2
1
-16
-14
-2
Not counting passes to guys named "Anquan," Kaepernick went 11-of-22 for 71 yards with one touchdown and one other first down, with a 12-yard DPI, three sacks, and one interception.
22.
Matt Ryan ATL
19/36
254
2
2
-36
-36
0
On Tampa Bay's half of the field, Ryan went 9-of-17 for 74 yards with three sacks and only three first downs, one of them a touchdown that came down by 20 points late in the fourth quarter.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Robert Griffin WAS
17/35
267
2
1
-37
-42
5
Inside the Philadelphia 40-yard line, Griffin went 2-of-6 for 21 yards with one first down, two sacks, one fumble (recovered by the Eagles), and one interception.
24.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
22/35
268
1
1
-45
-45
0
Third-down passing: 5-of-8 for 34 yards with two first downs, one interception, and one sack.
25.
Eli Manning NYG
25/35
279
1
1
-49
-47
-2
After Brandon Jacobs' goal-line touchdown put the Giants up 20-6 late in the third quarter, Manning went into a deep freeze. From that point forward, over three drives, Manning went 2-of-3 for 21 yards with no first downs, plus three sacks.
26.
Chad Henne JAC
27/42
255
1
2
-50
-50
0
Third-down passing: 4-of-10 for 37 yards and only one first down, plus two sacks. Bur forget about that! Let's talk about--nay, let's celebrate--Henne's performance on fourth downs, where he went 2-of-3 with a touchdown and another first down. Two of those throws came when down by two scores in the fourth quarter, but the other most certainly did not. The Jaguars had a fourth-and-1 at their own 38 in a scoreless game in the first quarter, when Henne threw to tight end Danny Noble 11 yards downfield. Noble caught the ball and kept on running into the end zone. It was a huge gamble, and the Jaguars were rewarded handsomely.
27.
Case Keenum HOU
13/23
170
1
1
-66
-66
0
On his lone touchdown drive, Keenum went 2-for-2 for 76 yards. Obviously, he didn't do much before that, or especially after, when he went 7-of-15 for 47 yards with one first down, one sack, and no completion longer than 9 yards.
28.
Christian Ponder MIN
13/22
129
1
2
-71
-38
-33
The good news for Ponder is that he threw four deep balls, resulting in two completions for 58 yards and a touchdown, plus two DPIs for 51 more yards. The bad news is that in the second half, he went 4-of-9 for 15 yards with no first downs and two interceptions, including a pick-six.
29.
Joe Flacco BAL
17/31
162
1
2
-79
-81
2
Second half: 6-of-14 for 61 yards with four first downs and one sack-fumble.
30.
Andy Dalton CIN
13/27
93
3
2
-119
-111
-8
On passes to A.J. Green, Dalton went 2-of-5 for 7 yards with no first downs, with two interceptions, including a pick-six. This is one of the more surprising write-ups I'll do all year.
31.
Jason Campbell CLE
27/56
254
1
3
-178
-178
0
It was the night of a zillion checkdowns. Fifteen of Campbell's completions gained less than 10 yards. On third downs, he went 6-of-17 for 47 yards with three first downs, three sacks, one fumble, and one interception.
32.
Geno Smith NYJ
8/23
103
0
3
-257
-243
-14
A 33-yard gain on first-and-10 in the first quarter; a 38-yard gain on third-and-13 in the third; and a 17-yard gain on first-and-10, also in the third. Those were the only first downs Smith threw for all game. Otherwise, he went 5-of-20 for 15 yards with three interceptions, four sacks, and a fumble. This was the worst passing DYAR in any game thus far in 2013, 65 DYAR worse than anyone else, and Smith didn't play a down in the fourth quarter.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Bobby Rainey TB
163
2
4
1
53
42
12
Rainey has only been a Buc for three games now. His first three carries against Atlanta each went for 10 yards or more; his longest run as a Brown was a 7-yarder on second-and-25. In 30 carries against the Falcons, he had five runs of 10 yards or more, including a 43-yard touchdown. He had four other first downs on the day, including a 3-yard touchdown. He was thrown two passes, catching one for a 4-yard touchdown.
2.
Joique Bell DET
49
1
48
0
46
24
22
Each of Bell's nine carries gained positive yardage. He had three first downs, including a 2-yard touchdown and an 18-yard gain. The Lions threw him four passes, resulting in three catches, including gains of 37 and 10 yards.
3.
Ray Rice BAL
131
1
17
0
44
39
5
Well, hello, stranger haven't seen you in these parts in quite a while. Rice gained 47 yards on his first play. He had only gone over 47 yards in a game one time before Sunday. Seven of Rice's 25 carries went for no gain or a loss, but he had six first downs on the day, including a third-and-goal touchdown and three runs for 10 or more yards. His passing numbers--five targets, three receptions, 17 yards--look bad on the surface, but that includes failed plays on third-and-11 and third-and-24, where the bar for success is so high that bad plays don't really hurt you. Meanwhile, he had a 12-yard gain on third-and-9.
4.
Donald Brown IND
80
2
14
0
39
31
8
Brown's touchdowns went for 11 and 6 yards, and he had three other first downs, including two gains of 10-plus yards. The only pass thrown his way was complete for 14 yards.
5.
Chris Johnson TEN
86
2
-2
0
39
41
-2
First two drives: Eight carries, 70 yards, two touchdowns, three other first downs. Rest of game: nine carries, 16 yards, one first down.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Jamaal Charles KC
78
0
-6
0
-38
1
-39
Charles' day rushing was pretty mundane--a 35-yarder, two other first downs, four carries for no gain or a loss in 16 runs, ho-hum. So let's talk about his day as a receiver, which was, um, poor. The Chiefs threw him eight passes, seven of them at or behind the line of scrimmage. The first six of these passes were incomplete. The seventh was caught for a 1-yard loss, and the last was caught for a 5-yard loss. In other words--and I say this without having watched a single snap of this game, so let's call it an educated guess--HEY ALEX. JAMAAL ISN'T OPEN. STOP DUMPING OFF TO HIM.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Michael Floyd ARI
6
10
193
32.2
1
62
Each of Floyd's receptions gained at least 10 yards and a first down. Four of them gained more than 20 yards, and he had a 91-yarder on third-and-10.
2.
Calvin Johnson DET
6
13
179
29.8
2
57
Each of Johnson's receptions gained at least 16 yards and a first down, including touchdowns of 79 and 19 yards, and a 20-yard gain on third-and-15.
3.
Vincent Jackson TB
10
12
165
16.5
1
50
Jackson had seven first downs on the day, including a touchdown on third-and-goal from the 3. He also had gains of 47 and 53 yards.
4.
Jordy Nelson GB
8
9
117
14.6
0
46
Six of Nelson's catches gained 10 yards or more, and two gained 20 or more, for five total first downs.
5.
Jarius Wright MIN
3
4
69
23.0
2
45
His three completions, in order: 10-yard gain on third-and-3; 38-yard touchdown; 21-yard touchdown.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Stephen Hill NYJ
0
7
0
0.0
0
-48
Hard to do worse than no catches. And it's not as if he was stuck in desperate situations, either--five of them came with 8 yards or less to go for a first down. And he wasn't just the target on desperate bombs, either. None of his targets (six from Geno Smith, one from Matt Simms) came deeper than 12 yards, and the average depth was just 7.6 yards.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 19 Nov 2013

104 comments, Last at 20 Nov 2013, 6:51pm by greybeard

Comments

1
by RickyJohjima (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:05am

Things not taken into account by DYAR: Aaron Schatz's current level of homicidal rage

43
by RoninX (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:45pm

No one has ever said DYAR was perfect ;P

2
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:02am

I just heard from one of the ex refs who works for espn about the call. Apparently, if the ball is not catchable - ie its severely underthrown, then that supercedes any holding or pi. If this interpretation is true, to me this is a terrible rule, especially since I've seen holding called on receivers on the opposite side of the field where the ball ends up being thrown. So...yeah, NE gets beaten on a controversial call for the 2nd time this season.

3
by tunesmith :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:16am

Well, controversial call maybe. But New England was already behind, the interception would have happened even if Gronk weren't maybe-interfered with, and NE still would have had to score from the 1. The call kept them from a low-probability shot of winning the game, but it didn't beat them.

15
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:50am

"The call kept them from a low-probability shot of winning the game, but it didn't beat them."

Low probability? If the flag isn't picked up, they've got a play from the one. I'd say they've got roughly a 50% chance of winning at that point.

49
by someguy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:36pm

That wouldn't have been PI. It would have been holding. If the pass is underthrown and intercepted it is called uncatchable. There was holding though.

71
by EricL :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:35pm

Except you can't have defensive holding when the ball's in the air.

91
by tunesmith :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 7:33pm

I tried looking this up with advancednflstat's calculator, but it said % chance of touchdown was something like 14%, which can't be right.

4
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:17am

I don't think it supercedes holding. I think that it isn't holding if the ball has already been released. If that's the case, there's only the question of interference or not. If the ball is deemed uncatchable (Which tends to give the benefit of the doubt to the reciever), that can negate a pass interference.

In this case, I think this is often called because of that benefit of the doubt (As well as the egregiousness of the contact), but, personally, I think there was literally no reasonable chance for Gronkowski to catch that ball.

That's my take, but I would be pissed if I was a Pats fan. As an outsider, I look at a game like this and shrug my shoulder, looking at this as a coin flip game that could have gone any way as proven by the last play.

11
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:59am

As a neutral observer, that looked like the correct call. Gronk had zero chance to catch that, regardless of what Keuchley did.

On another note, after this year, I hope fans stop complaining that the NFL wants the Patriots to win and that games are rigged in their favor.

13
by Paul Denver (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 8:08am

I agree that Gronk wouldn't have been able to catch that ball, but he might have had a chance to break it up and change it from an interception to an incomplete pass. Obviously that wouldn't make a difference in this situation, but if it hadn't been the end of the game then it would be pretty important.

So: If a receiver has no chance of catching the ball but might have been able to prevent an interception - should interference be called then? And if so, does the situation (last play of game) matter? Or is this situation just not really possible (i.e. if he has a chance of breaking up the pass then you should also assume that he has a chance to catch the pass)?

18
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 10:07am

The ball was woefully under thrown and Gronk was running AWAY from the play. He made no attempt on the ball at all. The INT occurred 3 or 4 yards IN FRONT of Gronk anyway. Why should the ref bailout the Patriots with a call?

20
by NickB (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:06am

Your random CAPITALIZATION of words really DRIVES home your QUESTIONABLE points.

22
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:26am

Thank YOU. Perhaps I should that form of communication with my WIFE, since it is so effective.

40
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:33pm

But if you do, make sure you also use verbs, or she is apt to be confused...

65
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:11pm

This thread has changed my life. I will now start using verbs AND random all caps to communicate. LOOK OUT WORLD, HERE I COME!

59
by TomC :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:54pm

That capitalization was not random at all. He used it to emphasize the contrast between the direction Gronkowski was running and where the ball was thrown.

(I.e., if you're going to attack the form of an argument rather than the substance, at least be right.)

60
by RickD :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:04pm

You would prefer "non-standard"? Or "irritating"?

Or perhaps "unnecessary"?

Personally, I prefer _underscoring_ a word to emphasize when I'm in ASCII-only mode. CAPS leave the impression of shouting, while _underscoring_ adds emphasis in a quiter manner.

Or of course, one could simply use the HTML tags available to us.

62
by TomC :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:06pm

I would prefer less nitpicking about typesetting and more discussion of the substance of the argument.

89
by NickB (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 7:02pm

Sorry Tom.

93
by TomC :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 8:17pm

Heh, didn't expect an apology, and now I feel like a jerk for nitpicking your nitpicking. Ah well, such is the nature of text-only interactions.

19
by Led :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:01am

Gronk wouldn't have had a chance to make a play on the ball either way. Even if he could have stopped his forward momentum on a dime and moved back 3-4 yards to the ball (itself an unreasonable assumption, but for the sake of argument), he would have been directly behind the DB who was getting ready to drop down to catch a low ball. There's no way short of interference to defend that.

29
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:08pm

I don't think he even would have had a shot to break up the INT. There was a wall of Panthers between him and where the ball was landing. At most the refs could have called defensive holding (you can argue they probably should have), which would have given Brady one last untimed down from the 13 yard line.

32
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:32pm

someone mentioned that since the ball was in the air, holding was off the table?

I dunno - glad for the win, but hate that it ended the way it did....

37
by RoninX (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:18pm

The real question is how is that uncatchable, when Richard Sherman was whistled Sunday for a PI for a jersey tug on play when the ball that traveled 20 yards beyond any player? Either you give give benefit of the doubt to the offensive player beyond all reasonable expectations or you don't.

Bottom line: this call isn't any worse than hundreds of PI/personal fouls that warp the state of games every weekend. For some reason we expect refs to up their game in "clutch" situations, which is just an absurd expectation. They are already doing an impossible job poorly, while nearly the entirety of the sports' audience gets to watch their penalty mistakes over and over in HD.

39
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:27pm

Really, this call will be forgotten in about three weeks. It was about as bad a no-call as the 4th down in teh Super Bowl, and basically no one brings that up anymore. Sure, it could impact New England's seeding, but I really doubt this call is referenced years from now.

Just a run-of-the-mill judgement call that was probably incorrect.

28
by tballgame (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:04pm

As soon as the ball is released, Gronk gets hugged and led to the back of the end zone. The contact starts at the same location at which the ball is eventually caught. If a defensive player hugs the intended target of a pass to stop the reception, he is intentionally electing the interference over a chance of a great player making a great play. To then say, the hugged player was pushed too far from the location the ball was caught to make a play is absurd and a bailout of that defensive player.

30
by WeaponX (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:09pm

A great player made a great play and the call was and is correct. The non call on the legwhip had more influence on this game than the phantom pi that QQ nation is turning out for today.

31
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:15pm

The contact started at the point where the ball eventually landed. The contact, which was legal up to that point, only turned into an illegal hug when Gronk was already halfway to the back of the endzone. Even if Keuchley simply holds his ground and doesn't hug, there's no way Gronk gets to that ball.

34
by PaddyPat :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:01pm

I thought it highly unlikely that Gronkowski would have had a chance at the catch on this play, but he was definitely inhibited from working back to the ball by the hug, and that was the inertia/momentum that drew him upfield, rather than his own motion. Regardless, this seems like a very arbitrary non-call, considering how many calls like this are made every week away from where the ball is thrown. Moreover, what is the principal here? When the ball is in the air, if it appears to be underthrown or overthrown, the db has a chance to tackle the receiver? Can the receiver tackle the db reciprocally? How far beyond reasonable human expectations of a catch does the ball have to be? We have seen plenty of receivers make seemingly inhuman catches. Is there are an arc of 6 yards beyond which you can tackle? 5 yards? Perhaps that is how the rule is worded, but that is not generally how it's enforced. Nevertheless, I simply accepted it as a homefield advantage no-call. I think a lot of judgement calls are like that every week.

35
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:03pm

In my view, Gronk is running away from the ball and makes no attempt to change his direction. He appeared to give up on the play. Obviously, you see it differently and I respect that. But given that its a judgement call made in real time, not when dissecting the replay frame by frame, the call seems reasonable to me.

69
by DEW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:21pm

The problem, when push comes to shove, is that it's a judgment call.

The holding didn't start until the ball was in the air, therefore defensive holding and illegal contact are off the table. "Uncatchable" isn't an issue with those, so if Brady had held the ball a second longer or the grabbing had started a second earlier the call would be obvious, without judgment required.

If Brady had thrown the ball to the back of the end zone in the vicinity of where Gronk actually was, it again would have been DPI without question.

Instead, we're left with judgment issues. The official is left to determine whether there was any chance the ball could have gotten to Gronkowski without the contact. If so, then he calls DPI. If not, then the contact is irrelevant and there's no DPI. All that depends on some or all of the following:

1) Was it Gronkowski's own inertia, or the defender's pushing, that carried him to the back of the end zone, away from where the interception happened?

2) Did Gronk ever make any attempt to come back to the ball?

3) If there had been no contact, was there any chance the ball could have gotten through both Kuechly and Fisher to get to Gronkowski? (Kuechly was, after all, between Gronkowski and Brady, and the pass was a low line drive.)

The add in the additional two factors:

A) Everybody in the world can think of any number of times when even more ticky-tack contact on even less catchable balls was called DPI. So regardless of whether the call was right or wrong, there's the question of consistency.

B) Almost every football fan has some kind of passionate emotional reaction to anything involving the Belichek Patriots and the officials ever since the Tuck Rule game wandered into our agenda. There's plenty of people who figure the entire officiating staff of the NFL are on Belichek's personal payroll, and plenty of Pats fans who figure that the officials have spent years screwing over the Pats to make up for that public perception.

Ergo, a complete mess that regardless of the call made will result in controversy. The flag gets thrown and the only difference is that Panthers fans and Patriots haters howl about how the refs screwed over their team to bail out the Pats on a clearly uncatchable ball, while the Pats fans argue that the call was good because blatantly grabbing the best receiver on the team isn't an acceptable defensive strategy and should be stopped and how many less obvious DPI examples happened that same football weekend. Exact same argument, only with flipped sides. There was no way that play was not going to be controversial given the fact pattern.

81
by LyleNM (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:14pm

Not really left with judgment issues at all. Gronk could not have caught the ball because it was already caught by someone else and at a point in front of where the PI began to occur. Had the defender not been there and the ball fallen to the ground, then your list would be valid.

94
by PatsFan :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:00pm

Now you're just being silly.

The contact with Gronkowski began before the ball was intercepted.

97
by LyleNM (not verified) :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 12:08pm

Not "point in time", "point in space".

98
by PatsFan :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 12:46pm

You're actually arguing that it's OK to interfere with a receiver so long as the ball is subsequently intercepted upfield from the point of the interference??

Just think about the implications of that.

99
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 12:56pm

As a Seahawks fan, I can't tell you how pleased I would be for every game to be called that way. Brandon Browner would immediately become the best corner to ever play the game.

100
by LyleNM (not verified) :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 1:08pm

That's exactly what I'm saying.

Because it wasn't possible for Gronk to catch it in the same way that a pass 15 feet over his head couldn't be caught. Those are the implications - which don't really require much thought - if you can't possibly catch it, there's no interference.

101
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 2:52pm

I would add that the guy making the interception is not the same guy doing the interfering. This is the same concept as a ball that is tipped by another defender, be it at the LOS or elsewhere. PI is immediately taken off the table.

44
by ChrisS (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:57pm

It seems like a reasonable call, even without the intereference Gronk was not going to make a play on the play or the defender. However, how does this jibe with offensive PI calls I seen seen called on the opposite side of the field from where the ball is thrown. Are there diferent requirements for off/def PI calls?

61
by TomC :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:05pm

My immediate reaction to that sequence of events was what a shame that two teams played a fantastic game (so much excellence on both sides and very few mistakes), and all anyone is going to talk about is the flag. So let me give a couple of non-last-play thoughts:

1) Josh McDaniels may have been a terrible HC, and he may be a poor manager of humans, but that gameplan last night was just terrific. Except for a couple plays on the first drive and the sack on the last drive, Carolina had basically no pass pressure (mainly because Brady was getting the ball out so fast), and New England was gashing them with runs up the middle by all three backs (including LeGarrette Blount!). Kuechly & T. Davis looked pissed off after every play.

2) I thought Belichick would be able to devise some sort of fiendish set of defensive looks that would bait Cam into some picks, but that didn't happen. The few bad throws by Newton were the result of either mechanics or "I can squeeze that in there" bad decisions. As far as reading the coverages, he seemed to have no problems.

70
by WeaponX (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:31pm

Now frame that "no pass pressure" with the absense of Charles Johnson due to leg whipping MCL sprain and how that changed when he came back in very late. Carolina run D also got much worse during his absense. This is not the same as injuries happen, this is dirty play removing a great end that helps hide Carolina's very raw secondary.

72
by Bobman :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:53pm

Yep, that's how it is written and how it works. Uncatchable supercedes other stuff. It just looked so... blatant to me. Clearly Gronk, even if his momentum was not taking him away from the ball, would have had to knife through two other players to get to the ball (possibly committing OPI himself in the process). But it looked so... blatant.

What if the holding/illegal contact/DPI happens away from the uncatchable ball? I've seen plenty of those calls when the ball was catchable (the logic being that the defender took away a potential target from the QB). What if it happens long before the ball is uncatchable? (possibly putting the receiver in a position that results in the pass being uncatchable.) I know these are not codified but I think these questions matter. Clearly the rulebook needs MORE PAGES!

96
by bucsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 10:16am

I find it interesting that none of the comments have mentioned ESPN's Sport Science look at this call, which I saw this morning. It strongly suggests that the ball was catchable by Gronk. Which makes a lot of the debate a moot point (except that officials may not have been able to figure this out on the field). It confirms that the call was BS, as Tom Brady was trying to say.

5
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:23am

Spoiler alert?

Denver is top ten in pass defense DVOA now?

Anyhow, Robert Griffin had a lot to do with that rating as well. Depending on the rating of this Chief's game, the Broncos best defensive game of the year was the Redskins game by a wide margin.

7
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 5:05am

Oops. That was my mistake. Denver entered the weekend ranked ninth against the run, not the pass. I read the wrong column. Comment has been corrected. Thanks for that, as it just makes the point about Griffin's schedule even stronger.

6
by Chill (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:26am

As to the Charles comment, he dropped some* of those. That doesn't mean he wasn't open. At least one would have been a quite nice gain. (Additionally, the entire Chiefs offense seems to have hands of stone). Also, passes to runningbacks are very highly variable based on a large number of factors beyond the control of the QB and the runningback. Many passes to runningbacks are throw aways, including one on a perfectly defended screen. Nothing Alex or Charles could have done about that one.

*I didn't see him missed, but I only watched half the game.

8
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 5:29am

I have to be honest, living in the bay area, I was baffled by the amount of alex smith longing I heard yesterday. I mean, the chiefs are coming off a game where their offense scored less than the niners did and these fans actually want smith back???

I will say, if FO commenters actually back these fans, then I'll have to throw my hands in the air. Bottom line, I think the only appropriate measure of good qb play is multi season consistency. Kaep isn't a terrible qb anymore than he was an elite qb last year. Context and circumstances matter and anyone remotely familiar with statistics will know how dangerous it is to draw conclusions based off small samples(especially when they are likely coming from different distributions).

Ultimately, I went back to watch the 49ers Saints game and I left the game actually agreeing with some of the hate that was thrown at Roman. The niners played the game in their usual tight formations, with many plays having receivers bunched in tight leading to plenty of congestion. Lots of runs on 2nd down playing into 3rd and long. As much as I thought Kaep was inaccurate( and he was) , the playcalling really did him no favors. I also felt the designed roll outs didn't help either(even if one led to a td). All in all, I'll probably end up giving Kaep a pass for this year and will wait to see him next year. If he disappoints again, then 49er fans have a right to panic.

16
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:51am

"I was baffled by the amount of alex smith longing I heard yesterday"

I don't even live in the bay area, but I'm still baffled by the little I'm hearing. Overall, Smith makes a living being an average passer who avoids turnovers (but the divisional playoff game in 2011 was a nice magnum opus, you have to admit), and needs a specific set of circumstances to win consistently.

Right now his qualifications are "better than Matt Cassel/Brady Quinn", and "perceived by 49er fans to be better than Colin Kaepernick is currently playing". We already know what Smith is and will always be. Kaepernick still has so much room to grow.

17
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:53am

Smith isn't an average passer who avoids turnovers.

He's a replacement level passer who avoids turnovers. The only thing he does well is not throw picks.

23
by Byrk (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:33am

Well, Alex Smith is also the best QB I've ever seen at taking the sack on 3rd down. He steps up into the pocket, minimizes the loss and protects the ball. I remember thinking that Harbaugh must have had him spent time practicing it, because he would never try to get out of it and risk something bad happening. The 49ers won in 2011 by having a smothering defense and special teams that often left short fields for the offense to get field goals off of.

26
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:44am

It should be noted that the value of "not throwing picks" is pretty large. Enough to make a "replacement level passer who avoids turnovers" basically an average QB.

36
by PaddyPat :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:06pm

I think you guys are being pretty down on him. His play two years running in San Francisco was fairly exceptional. Replacement quarterbacks usually do not perform that well even under ideal circumstances. He seems to me to have fair upside when well coached and surrounded by a lot of talent. Cassel showed similar promise in the second half of 2008 and again to some extent in 2010 (although less so, arguably). It's hard to evaluate the player as a whole because the drop-off can be precipitous as soon as the coaching and/or surround cast falters. Bledsoe could be similar, alternately elite and terrible. Is that average?

55
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:47pm

His highest DVOA in SF was +10%. That's not exceptional, that marginally above average.

His true talent is below average, accounting for his ability to hold onto the ball. His ability as a passer isn't above replacement level. If he fumbled at a normal rate, he'd be one of the worst QBs in the NFL. He doesn't, so hes not.

You can win despite him if you have an elite defense, and a good running game, but there's a LOT of QBs that's true of. Jake Delholmme almost got himself a SB ring. Trent Dilfer did. That doesn't make them good.

Also, all the talk about how 'bad' Kaepernick has been this year?

Smith: -6.3% DVOA, 107 DYAR
Kaep: 5.5% DVOA, 251 DYAR
Cassel: -1.5% DVOA, 51 DYAR

Take a look at that, and think about it for a second.

As to Bledsoe, the comparison is ludicrous. Bledsoe put up multiple seasons in a row with a DVOA higher than Smith has ever put up.

66
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:11pm

If you're just trying to avoid turnovers, I feel like you should replace your QB with another running back and use the wildcat or something.

38
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:19pm

I absolutely understand it. An "average" passer who avoids turnovers is exactly what a run-first, defense oriented team like the niners (or the chiefs) needs. What they don't need is Derek Anderson on rocket skates, which is a fair description of Colin Kaepernick.

[The Chiefs are also one of a very few teams with fewer receiving options than the niners.]

The play calling in San Francisco is awful. Kaepernick isn't a very good dropback passer at this point in his career, especially in obvious passing situations. He can be successful if he has the opportunity to run, or the opportunity to extend broken plays and hit receivers who come open. San Francisco's conservative, horizontal-stretch offense is a hopeless misuse of a mediocre talent: No wonder they don't score very much.

56
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:49pm

Smith isn't an average passer. He's a bad one.

The only thing that brings the package as a whole to anywhere near average is the lack of turnovers.

Its not Average+NoTurnovers=Good. Its Bad+NoTunovers=Average.

84
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:40pm

I don't think that's actually true. Since 2009 Smith has been an at-least-serviceable passer throughout, with a jump to very good under Harbaugh; in fact, he was on pace for a fairly amazing season in 2011 when he got hurt.

Both he and Kaepernick had 218 pass attempts in 2012. Doubling his numbers would make a full season as the starter, roughly speaking, with: 3474 yards on 306 of 436 passing (over 70%), with 26 touchdowns and ten interceptions. That's pretty much Peyton Manning in the run-heavy 2005 season when he only threw in the mid-400's of passes.

He wasn't bad the year before and hasn't posted a season passer rating under 80 since 2007. Jay Cutler and Matt Stafford can't say that.

88
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 7:02pm

Couple of things:

1)Since 80 is below league-average in passer rating, I'm not sure using that as your threshold helps your argument. Especially since Smith has had a below-average passer rating every year except 2011 and 2012 (he's currently below league-average this season).

2)I won't go into a long discussion about the limitations of NFL passer rating in comparing quarterbacks, but a big problem with it is that it doesn't take sacks into account. Smith took gobs of sacks in 2011 and 2012, which probably inflated his completion percentage (along deflating his INT%), which in turn inflated his passer rating. An incomplete pass/throwaway is far more helpful to your team than a sack, even though it lowers your passer rating.

102
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 4:23pm

Not much argument here; I'm not actually suggesting that Alex Smith is Peyton Manning circa 2005. Just that he's a guy who should be starting, somewhere, in the NFL.

[This year, I think his biggest problem is that his receivers are awful.]

103
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 4:40pm

I agree with you there. Actually he deserves kudos for overcoming the horrible circumstances of the first few years he was in the NFL. By all rights, his career should have flamed out David Carr-style. Instead, he's carved out a nice little niche as "veteran game manager".

And "game manager" is definitely not an insult compared to "out of football".

104
by greybeard :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 6:51pm

I believe he was promoted to regional game manager after the 2011 season.

9
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:44am

I can say that I was honestly surprised by the DYAR of Jamaal Charles. Sure, I counted a lot of failed pass plays and I remembered the Broncos stuffing a lot of plays, but I also recall several successful runs by the Chiefs to go with the 35 yarder, so I expected him to have a positive DYAR.

Oh, and this is besides the point, but watching DRC catch up to Jamaal Charles on that run was impressive.

10
by Riceloft :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:57am

Bobby Rainey is with Tampa now, not Cleveland.

48
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:32pm

AAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH. That was caught in the original version and then got re-screwed up in the process. It's fixed now.

12
by bucko (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 7:27am

I freely admit bias being a UW alum and hence think favorably of Tolzien. He made multiple fine deep throws, he was playing behind a line where the center was playing hurt and the right tackle is awful. Both had moments where they almost got Tolzien launched into next week.

Yes, the interceptions. Got that. But this is the team's backup. Not Wallace and not Flynn. Give me a smart guy with a solid arm and I will take my chances long term.

46
by Nevic (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:13pm

The problem is the Packers don't have "long-term". They need him to be good enough for a couple weeks until Rodgers comes back where hopefully they are not elaready eliminated from the playoffs. So far, not so good.

I do find it funny that the last two weeks Tolzien has been just slightly above replacement level. Egads, how tough it must be to root regularly for a replacement level QB. Sorry Cleveland and Minnesota fans...

14
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:05am

Just wanted to take a second to acknowledge the presence of Dammit Donald Brown in Quick Reads. It's not the best game of his career, but it's up there, and probably his best in a couple seasons.

73
by Bobman :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:58pm

He's really looking competent this year, as if he's finally "getting it." (especially by comparison....) I hope his previous years of mediocrity and injury history keep his market value low--he's a good guy for them to keep.

21
by Paul R :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:21am

"Dammit, Donald, why are you even on this team? Every time you get the ball, you get stuffed at the line or tackled for a loss! Hell, last week, when that guy shoved me over backwards, I fell right on top of you! What are you doing back there? Ain't you supposed to be running down the field?"
"Well, you see, guys, on a running play the O-line is supposed to push forwards and create holes in the line, not stand still and plug holes. If you--"
"--What?!? Are you blaming us? Dammit Donald, don't throw us under the bus just because you suck at your job! We're professionals. We know what we're doing! If we had a real running back, we might actually accomplish something!"
"Sorry, guys..."

[Later]

"Hey guys, we got Richardson! We got Richardson! Finally a real running back! Now you'll see something! Coach wants us to practice our blocking. Apparently there's a difference between run-blocking and pass-blocking."
"But that's what I've been--"
"Dammit, Donald, quit interrupting! Nobody wants to hear what you think. Make yourself useful. Go give Richardson a foot rub. He looks tired."
"Sorry, guys..."

[Later]

"Okay, guys, Richardson keeps getting stuffed at the line or tackled for a loss. We must not be blocking good enough."
"(sigh)"
"Dammit Donald, are you still here? Go wax Richardson's car, will you? You're in our way. We've got blocking to practice."
"Sorry, guys..."

[Eight Games Later]

"Guys, we've got to shape up! Richardson is still only getting half a yard every time he gets the ball. If we don't block better, he's going to get mad at us! Now, this next play is an off-tackle run. Let's do it right this time!"
[Touchdown!]
"We did it! We did it! Hey Trent, how did you like our blocking? Trent? Where is he?"
"Nice blocking, guys!"
"Dammit, Donald! Was that you? How selfish can you get? If you had let Richardson carry the ball, we would have scored two touchdowns on that play! You go apologize to him right now! He's there on the bench. See how sad he looks?"
"Sorry, guys..."

33
by RickD :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:56pm

So, if the Richardson trade turns Donald Brown into a much better RB, does that validate the cost of the draft pick?

41
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:42pm

It's like a married man/woman having an affair, but the person they're having the affair with turns out to be a horrible significant other, and makes the man/woman realize how great their spouse is in comparison, ultimately saving the marriage in a wierd way.

Yes, that analogy is a stretch, but it's the only one I could think of at the moment.

75
by Bobman :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:07pm

Not bad, but to bring it back to the NFL, 5-6 years ago a Colts player (I'm thinking Dom Rhodes) left in free agency for the Raiders, lasted a year, and came back to Indy. In the media he said something like "You have no idea what it was like. I am so glad to be outta there and back here!") Once you see that the grass is not really greener, you stop mixing metaphors and the chickens come home to roost with the moss-less rolling stones that weren't thrown from glass houses. And other clichés I cannot recall at the moment.

74
by Bobman :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:03pm

Hey there, Pats fan, are you trying to cause dissention in the ranks? Do you also whack hornets' nests with a stick for fun?

Good question though. Brown finally looks like the guy we thought we drafted in the first round four years ago. Richardson's magic juju gave us a first rounder we thought was a semi-bust (Brown), along with a first rounder who is less productive (Richardson) in place of an unknown and risky first rounder next year... I might call that a wash, though I know a lot of people would not. I mean, if Cleveland picks the equivalent of Jerry Hughes next year, I'll giggle myself silly and think we fleeced them. For now, the jury is out.

Problem is, there's no proof that getting TRich "made" Brown any better. Maybe he just matured as a RB....

77
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:27pm

As a non-Colts fan, my only problem with the Richardson acquisition is that Andrew Luck yelling, "Goddammit Trent!" will not make a memorable Youtube clip.

83
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:35pm

Hughes is playing pretty well in Buffalo. Just sayin'.

(To be fair, I have no idea how well Sheppard is doing in Indy. I've been as surprised as anyone at Hughes being a good role-player for the Bills.)

80
by Sisyphus :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:06pm

In his early career he was a terrible blocker and under the previous administration a running back who was not a good pass blocker was a liability. By the time he got to the Colts the offenseive line there was mediocre for pass blocking and a running back had to have great vision to find the miniscule running lanes that closed about as quickly as they opened so any hesitation was fatal. He is perhaps better suited to the current system but the biggest difference seems to be that he is much more decisive as a runne. He still is not particularly acomplished as a blocker, presenting himself more as an object to run around than an actual impediment.

24
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:34am

Vince:

In other words--and I say this without having watched a single snap of this game, so let's call it an educated guess--HEY ALEX. JAMAAL ISN'T OPEN. STOP DUMPING OFF TO HIM.

On several of those (I remember at least three) those weren't dumpoffs. They were chucks into the ground to avoid a sack. Unfortunately this is the problem with having to go by the play-by-play: they have to list a receiver even when the ball is clearly not intended to be received.

Doesn't make things tremendously better, but some of those plays were pretty good decisions by Smith.

25
by Nathan :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:42am

Cam Newton with only 13 rusing DYAR? He converted 3-4 huge 3rd downs with his legs. Did he take that many sacks?

50
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:36pm

I don't get the breakdowns for the Monday night game, but sacks count as passing plays, not running plays. Looking over the game PBP, I see a couple of 1-yard runs on first-and-10. Maybe those dragged him down. The bar for rushing for QBs is pretty high, because the "average" rushing quarterback is usually guys like Cam and Michael Vick and Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck and Russell WIlson. The guys who run most are also the guys who run best.

57
by Kurt :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:51pm

How many of those 1 yard "runs" were pass plays in which Cam avoided the sack and got past the line of scrimmage?

63
by RickD :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:08pm

Probably some of them. But they count as runs regardless. And 1-yard gains are not terribly useful. Marginally more useful than incomplete passes.

Presumably the net effect is to give a lower running DYAR than possibly it should be, but possibly a higher passing DYAR. If this system is calibrated correctly, it should all come out in the wash.

27
by robbbbbb (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 11:53am

One should note that Russell Wilson accumulated all of that DYAR in about half the dropbacks of the other quarterbacks at the top of the list. RW dropped back 18 times (took a sack once.) Everyone else at the top of the list is in the high twenties to low forties.

42
by RoninX (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:43pm

The story of many of Wilson's games. DYAR/play/touch would be interesting but I'd imagine this is available (or easily calculable) if you subscribe.

51
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:38pm

Well, that would essentially be DVOA, or close to it. And yes, in DVOA, Wilson trounced everybody this week.

53
by RoninX (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:40pm

Indeed - I'm an idiot!

54
by Tracy :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:46pm

Wouldn't that look a lot like DVOA?

45
by The Danger! (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 1:58pm

That's because RW is a "game manager" which is apparently an insult now (see the Alex Smith thread above), so obviously he's not as good as he looks on paper ...or reality...

58
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:51pm

People don't "insult" Alex Smith because hes a "game manager", they "insult" him because hes not a good quarterback.

64
by RickD :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:08pm

"game manager" has always been a backhanded compliment.

47
by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:24pm

I realize everyone cares more about the non-call last night, but is Geno Smith already done? Did he play a worse game than Gabbert ever did?

52
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 2:38pm

To answer your second question: Yes, this was worse than any game Blaine Gabbert ever had.

76
by Bobman :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:22pm

THAT... is... stunning.

78
by jfsh :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 4:29pm

Oh God.

86
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:52pm

At this point you have the hope the Smith is simply a high-variance player who will eventually produce some impressive highs to make up for the distressing lows.

82
by RoninX (not verified) :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:27pm

Hasn't Eli Manning had more than one game worse than any Gabbert had (maybe even two this season?)? I'd guess that most QBs with a long enough shelf life enough reps would produce a "worse than Gabbert" game or two.

85
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:43pm

Heck, Peyton Manning threw six interceptions against the Chargers in a rainstorm once. That had to be pretty bad. And Brady used to chuck up a four INT stinker every year, whether the Patriots needed it or not, just to keep people guessing.

Of course, Geno Smith doesn't have that kind of body of work to compare this game to.

95
by theslothook :: Wed, 11/20/2013 - 4:12am

I would say, ints are bad but like you noted above, even great qbs have games where they get snake bitten with ints.

The really staggering stat are the ones where the completion percentage falls into the low 40s and they pass for under 100 yards. Those are the days you know you've been dreadful. I believe ryan Lindley's performance last year was about as awful as you can possibly be.

67
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:13pm

I have a question about opponent adjustments. When talking about QB and WR, do they get the same adjustment (i.e. pass defense faced), or does the WR get an adjustment based on whether he's a WR1,WR2, etc, and by how well the opposing defense plays WR1,WR2, etc?

I ask because Calvin Johnson makes the list of top-5 hardest schedule of pass defense played, but Matt Stafford doesn't.

79
by Ryan D. :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 5:01pm

They would have to be broken down to separate WR1 from WR2, otherwise "Pass defense" rating faced would be equal for all QB/WR/TE on the same team, barring something like injury adjustments by individual players for games lost vs stronger/weaker teams.

EDIT - though thinking about it, Calvin did miss the GB game, where I'm guessing their pass defense is sub-par. That could inflate his rating over that of Stafford, since Stafford did play against GB when CJ didn't.

92
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 8:04pm

Each player is rated by how they perform against a given defense, and then adjusted for how that defense has performed against other players OF THE SAME POSITION. When Calvin Johnson plays the Bears, we check his numbers against the numbers put up by other WRs (not WR1 or WR2, sample size makes that impractical) against the Bears, not TEs or QBs or RBs.

Usually, defenses that play well against one position play well against all of them, but not always. Ludicrous example to prove a point: Suppose you had a defense that got 20 sacks a game, but every play where they didn't get to the quarterback resulted in a 20-yard completion. That team would count as a very difficult opponent for QBs, but a very easy opponent for WRs/TEs.

68
by TomC :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 3:13pm

The extreme weather in Chicago altered the Bear's second-half play-calling. Their third-quarter offense consisted of eight runs and zero passes. Down by four points at the end of the third, they decided to unleash McCown, and he delivered, going 9-of-11 for 132 yards with one touchdown, five other first downs, and one sack in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Slight clarification: The decision to start passing again was less a function of timing and score than it was of wind direction. In the first and third quarters (against the wind), McCown was 2 of 6 for 1 yard; in the second and fourth quarters and overtime (Baltimore won the toss and elected to receive, so the Bears got the wind), he was, well he was whatever the complement of those other numbers is. Also note that the first two plays of the go-ahead drive took place at the end of the third quarter, and they were Matt Forte runs, then 7 of the next 9 plays were designed passes (one of them was a scramble/sack).

87
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 6:53pm

Somebody last week was pondering the possibility of a certain qb's ability to indicate some latent, undiscovered, potential, against the Seahawks.

So much for that.

90
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/19/2013 - 7:29pm

Yeah, but maybe they should bench AD for Gerhart. 9.6 Y/A, I think we know who the real MVP is. /s