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» Scramble for the Ball: With All the Fixings

An idiot's (two idiots'?) guide to Thanksgiving football, prepped and primed for the monsters-in-law who only watch these three games in a year.

10 Nov 2014

Week 10 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

The average NFL team this season is completing 63 percent of its passes, for 242.3 yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game, all of which would be record-high statistics. In this, the pass-wackiest year of the pass-wackiest era in league history, it's nice to know that one team is still dedicated to running over its opponents. The Seattle Seahawks ran for 350 yards against the New York Giants on Sunday, the first team to do so in nearly two years and just the sixth team to do it this century. They were led, as usual, by Marshawn Lynch, who finished with 140 yards on the ground. By total DYAR and rushing DYAR, he finished as the top running back of the week, just the latest in a series of big games for the eighth-year pro, and the third straight win for Seattle. As Lynch continues to bowl over defenders and the Seahawks keep winning games, the question must be asked: is Marshawn Lynch an MVP candidate?

It would be hard to make a case for that using conventional stats. Lynch is tied for the league lead in touchdowns, but he ranks fifth in rushing yards and eighth in yards per scrimmage. That's nothing to be ashamed of, but it's hardly typical MVP production. Football Outsiders' advanced numbers, though, tell a different story. Lynch is second behind only DeMarco Murray in rushing DYAR, and he's closing the gap. Lynch trailed Murray by 101 DYAR after Week 8, but he has since cut that margin in half and now falls only 49 DYAR short of the Cowboys runner with seven weeks still to go.

Lynch has also been an effective receiver out of the backfield, ranking fifth among running backs with 81 receiving DYAR. Add in his rushing value and that's 310 total DYAR, which is more than Murray or any other running back this season. And Lynch hasn't been piling up DYAR quietly, either. Sunday's game against New York was his fourth game this season with 50 or more total DYAR: he also did it in Week 1 against Green Bay, Week 3 against Denver (though that game was not listed in Quick Reads because we weren't yet using opponent adjustments), and last week against Oakland). The rest of the league's runners have only 12 50-DYAR games between them, and Lynch is the only man in the group to have done it more than once.

So Lynch's numbers, on their own, are quite stellar. Now let's put them in the context of Seattle's offense. Seattle entered Week 10 with the NFL's best rushing attack by DVOA, and that was before their 350-yard outburst against the Giants. Their rushing offense DVOA is now a stratospheric 37.2%. That is so far ahead of everyone else this season it's hard to make a comparison. The second-ranked rushing team, New Orleans, has a DVOA of just 12.3%. That's closer to 23rd-ranked Jacksonville (-12.5%) than it is to Seattle. In fact, if Seattle can maintain that level (which of course would be very hard to do), they would finish as the top rushing offense in DVOA history, beating out the 36.5% of Marshall Faulk's 2000 Rams. Only three other teams have even topped 30.0%: the 1993 49ers (30.5%), 1998 Broncos (31.4%), and 2011 Panthers (32.1%). As MVP resumes go, you could do a lot worse than "leading rusher on the best rushing team in the past quarter-century."

Lynch is also a critical part of Seattle's passing game, leading the team in receiving touchdowns and DYAR while ranking second in receptions and third in receiving yards. Finally, he's the Seahawks' only legitimate red zone threat. As noted, he leads the league with 12 touchowns. Russell Wilson has scored four times, and only one other player on the entire roster has managed to find the end zone more than once all season. See if you can guess who that might be. We'll list the answer at the end of this column.

Now obviously, Lynch isn't doing it all on his own. Wilson leads all quarterbacks with 500 rushing yards and 199 DYAR (In the latter stat, he is third among all players behind Murray and Lynch), and he leads the entire league with 7.6 yards per carry. That last stat is actually not doing Wilson justice, because it includes 12 kneeldowns for a net loss of 14 yards. Take those out and look only at what happened when Wilson actually tried to run forward, and you get 9.6 yards per legit rush attempt. Even with the kneeldowns, Wilson still ranks higher in rushing yards (15th) than he does in passing yards (24th), which tells you pretty much everything good and bad about the quarterback's season thus far.

Wilson, though, isn't doing it all on his own either. Official play-by-play lists Wilson with 28 scrambles that started out as passing plays, and 26 designed runs of one sort or another. (He has had remarkably similar success on both types of runs. On scrambles, he has a 9.7-yard average and 93 DYAR; on all other runs, he has a 9.3-yard average and 106 DYAR.) The play-by-play does not differentiate between types of runs any further, but if you've watched Seattle play at all this year, you know the majority of Wilson's non-scramble runs have been either read-option plays or bootleg keepers. It's not like he's running dozens of QB sneaks. Bootlegs and options both begin first with the threat of Lynch to lure the defense in one direction, which then allows Wilson to use his quickness and agility to move the ball downfield. Even when he doesn't have the ball in his hands, Lynch is the motor that makes the Seahawks offense go.

Seattle has two games remaining against Arizona, and if they can overtake the Cardinals and hold off the 49ers, repeating as NFC West champs, then Lynch will be the biggest reason why.

Oh, and the answer to our trivia question: Ricardo Lockette has only seven catches this season (and just 14 in his four-year career), but two of those catches resulted in touchdowns. That's good enough for third place on the Seattle roster in touchdowns, even though he hasn't scored since September. Did we mention that Seattle has a weakness at receiver?

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
18/27
315
6
0
208
208
0
Rodgers only threw three passes in the second half, all incomplete. He finished the first half with 235 DYAR. This is not the best first half of all time, but it's probably close. A quick check of the best games ever found one first half better than this. In Week 6 of 2009, Tom Brady put up 255 DYAR in the first half against Tennessee, going 24-of-28 for 345 yards with five touchdowns. Like Rodgers this week, Brady won in a blowout, and barely played after halftime, picking up 39 DYAR six passes in the third quarter. Rodgers' six touchdowns against Chicago covered an average of 32 yards. He threw seven deep passes against the Bears, collecting five completions for 181 yards (and three touchdowns), one DPI for 53 more yards, and one lonely incompletion that came when the Packers were already up by 42 points.
2.
Tony Romo DAL
20/27
246
3
0
101
101
0
Throwing to his right, Romo went 8-of-12 for 144 yards and five first downs, including all three of his touchdowns.
3.
Matthew Stafford DET
25/40
280
2
1
97
101
-4
This was not a strong week for quarterbacks, with only two players entering Monday night over 100 DYAR. There are usually five or six quarterbacks over 100 DYAR, and only one other time this season (Week 5) have only two QBs surpassed that threshold. Stafford went 6-of-9 throwing up the middle of the Miami defense, gaining 126 yards and a touchdown.
4.
Brian Hoyer CLE
15/23
198
0
0
78
101
-23
Hoyer had some decent success in this game, but not much of it came on the right side of the field. Hoyer only threw four passes in that direction, with two completions for 3 total yards (though one of those completions did pick up a first down).
5.
Mark Sanchez PHI
21/37
332
2
0
60
60
0
6.
Peyton Manning DEN
32/44
340
5
2
44
44
0
This is awfully low for a quarterback who threw five touchdowns and left in the third quarter with a 31-point lead, but that's what strong opponent adjustments and a pair of interceptions will do for you. It was also a slow start for Peyton. On Denver's first six drives, he went 18-of-28 for 126 yards, with a 21-yard gain on a DPI, a 10-yard loss on intentional grounding, and two sacks mixed in. On their next six drives, he went 13-of-15 for 214 yards and all five scores.
7.
Matt Ryan ATL
20/30
219
1
0
43
42
1
Ryan wasn't always effective against Tampa Bay, but he did a good job of extending drives. On third downs, he went 6-of-9 for 98 yards and five first downs, and picked up another first down on a 10-yard DPI on a tenth throw.
8.
Eli Manning NYG
29/43
283
1
1
32
32
0
For two and a half quarters Manning was playing pretty well on the road, and the Giants were tied with Seattle midway through the third quarter. Then everything fell apart. First he threw an interception in scoring range. Seattle would take the lead with a touchdown on their next drive, and from that point forward Manning went 8-of-12 for just 38 yards with three first downs, two sacks, and one fumble.
9.
Kyle Orton BUF
29/48
266
1
0
32
41
-9
In a game that the Bills lost by just four points, Orton had a terrible day in the red zone, going 4-of-11 for 23 yards with no touchdowns, no first downs, and one sack.
10.
Russell Wilson SEA
10/17
172
0
2
24
-8
33
As a passer, when things went well for Wilson, they usually went very well; eight of his ten completions picked up first downs. (About 57 percent of completions across the league have gone for first downs so far this season.) His other two completions gained only 2 yards, though, and he was sacked twice in addition to his two picks. He finished with 12 carries for 116 yards with a touchdown and seven other first downs. His rushing DYAR would be a lot higher but he fumbled once, though the Seahawks recovered. Oddly, he had only two passes and two runs on second down.
11.
Michael Vick NYJ
10/18
132
2
0
12
3
9
Vick and the Jets left a lot of points on the board. On PIttsburgh's side of the field, he went 4-of-9 for 22 yards with only three first downs (including a touchdown) and three sacks. All told, he had five runs for 42 yards and three more first downs.
12.
Alex Smith KC
17/29
177
0
0
9
-13
22
It was a similar tale for Smith. His first pass on Buffalo's side of the field was an 8-yard gain on second-and-7. from that point forward, he went 1-of-5 for 6 yards with no first downs and one sack, though he did run for an 8-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
27/37
218
1
1
6
10
-4
Not a good day for Tannehill on third downs, where he went 6-of-11 for 44 yards with one interception, one sack, and only four conversions. That includes five failures to convert on third down with 7 yards or less to go.
14.
Joe Flacco BAL
16/27
169
1
0
4
4
0
Flacco was best going to his left, where he went 7-of-10 for 85 yards with one touchdown and four other first downs.
15.
Drew Brees NO
28/46
292
3
2
-10
-13
4
Brees spent a lot of time trapped in the shadows of his own goalposts. Inside the New Orleans 20, he went 3-of-7 for 17 yards with only one first down, plus the sack-fumble that set up the winning kick for San Francisco.
16.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
30/41
342
1
2
-16
-16
0
Remember the one dozen touchdowns Roethlisberger threw in Weeks 8 and 9? They traveled an average of 15.8 yards through the air, and seven of them traveled at least 17 yards downfield. So why on earth did Pittsburgh come out against the Jets throwing so much short stuff? Seven of Roethlisberger's first 11 pass attempts were thrown to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage. He completed nine of those passes, but only gained 53 yards in the process, losing yards on four of his first seven completions. He did not attempt a deep pass in the first half, and did not complete one until the Steelers were down 20-3 in the third quarter.
17.
Josh McCown TB
27/41
301
2
2
-32
-41
9
In the first 58 minutes of the game, McCown threw 17 passes to the left side of the field, completing 13 of them for 152 yards. In the last two minutes of the game, he threw three passes to his left. One was caught for a 13-yard gain; the other two were intercepted.
18.
Zach Mettenberger TEN
16/27
179
1
1
-39
-39
0
First quarter: 8-of-11 for 98 yards with one touchdown and seven other first downs. Rest of the game: 8-of-16 for 81 yards with more sacks (five) than first downs (four), plus an interception.
19.
Colin Kaepernick SF
14/32
210
1
0
-44
-51
6
How to turn a 10-point halftime lead into an overtime win: in the second half (plus overtime), Kaepernick went 6-of-18 for 91 yards (51 of them on one play) with three sacks and three first downs.
20.
Derek Carr OAK
30/47
192
2
2
-71
-71
0
Carr had a whopping 14 failed completions this week. Nobody else had more than nine. His first completion gained 10 yards; he did not gain 10 yards on any one play again until the Raiders were down by 31 points in the fourth quarter. In between, he went 23-of-40 for 93 yards with four first downs and two interceptions.
21.
Blake Bortles JAC
22/37
290
0
1
-74
-67
-7
Bortles threw a ton of short passes that didn't really go anywhere. To receivers within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage, he went 10-of-15 for 65 yards with only one first down.
22.
Jay Cutler CHI
22/37
272
1
2
-84
-79
-5
Cutler got a lot of help from his receivers. His average completion gained 9.0 yards after the catch, most of any starting quarterback this week.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Carson Palmer ARI
25/36
241
0
1
-87
-68
-19
Ah, man. I really don't feel like kicking a guy when he's down. But it's kinda my job. Palmer ranks this low largely because, rare for Arizona quarterbacks this year, he had no success on deep passes, going 0-for-5 on deep throws.
24.
Austin Davis STL
17/30
216
1
2
-115
-113
-3
Davis had no plays in the red zone, and only five plays inside the Arizona 40. Those five plays were one 9-yard completion, one incompletion, and three sacks, which largely explains why he had no plays in the red zone.
25.
Cam Newton CAR
25/40
306
2
3
-141
-145
5
Newton was sacked nine times (four times on third down) and fumbled twice, so... yeah.
26.
Andy Dalton CIN
10/33
86
0
3
-190
-181
-9
Let's make this clear: this was an awful game. On throws to receivers within 7 yards of the line of scrimmage, Dalton went 7-of-19 for 42 yards with no first downs and two interceptions. And it's not as if the long ball paid off either. He threw nine deep passes, completing more of them to the Browns (one) than to the Bengals (zero, though he did pick up 13 yards on a DPI). However, it was not the worst game of the year, let alone one of the worst games of all time. That's largely because he was sacked only twice. The worst game of the year was Teddy Bridgewater's 8-sack day against Detroit, followed by Chad Henne's 10-sack outing against Washington. Also, two of Dalton's interceptions came on third downs with huge deficits late in the fourth quarter, so he's not docked too severely for those either. Finally, Dalton was stuck in long yardage all night. His average pass came with 10.5 yards to go for a first down, most of any starter this week. So no, Cincinnati fans, not much went right for Dalton. But a lot more things still could have gone wrong.


Five most valuable running backs (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Marshawn Lynch SEA
21
144
4
1/1
23
0
74
62
12
Lynch was stuffed three times and fumbled once, but he had seven 10-yard runs, most by any player in any game this year.
2.
C.J. Anderson DEN
13
90
0
4/7
73
1
62
34
27
All of Anderson's carries gained positive yardage. He had four 10-yard runs and two shorter first downs. His receptions included a 51-yard touchdown on third-and-8.
3.
Steven Jackson ATL
16
81
1
2/2
14
0
37
33
4
Eight of Jackson's runs gained 5 yards or more, and he was stuffed only three times.
4.
Damien Williams MIA
7
34
0
2/4
27
0
30
10
20
An undrafted rookie out of Oklahoma, Williams managed only 66 yards on his first 24 carries of the season before breaking out against Detroit, thanks largely to some hefty opponent adjustments. His longest run was a 19-yarder. He had three first downs as a receiver, including a 3-yard DPI.
5.
Jamaal Charles KC
15
98
1
3/4
20
0
29
28
1
Charles' first three carries against Buffalo all lost yardage, but he wasn't stuffed again the rest of the day, with runs of 17, 18, and 39 yards.


Five most valuable running backs (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Marshawn Lynch SEA
21
144
4
1/1
23
0
74
62
12
2.
C.J. Anderson DEN
13
90
0
4/7
73
1
62
34
27
3.
Steven Jackson ATL
16
81
1
2/2
14
0
37
33
4
4.
Jamaal Charles KC
15
98
1
3/4
20
0
29
28
1
5.
DuJuan Harris GB
8
52
0
0/0
0
0
23
23
0
Harris lost yards once, but each of his other carries gained at least 3 yards, with three 10-yard runs and another first down.


Least valuable running back (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
DeAngelo Williams CAR
13
33
0
3/3
17
0
-25
-31
6
2.4 yards per carry and a fumble, so... yeah.


Least valuable running back (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Knile Davis KC
4
1
0
1/1
5
0
-24
-32
8
Davis' first carry lost 5 yards -- and the ball. Things improved after that, but only slightly.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Jordy Nelson GB
6
6
152
25.3
2
101
This was the second-best day for a receiver this year. Save for a 5-yard gain on first-and-goal at the 9, each of Nelson's receptions gained a first down, and he also picked up 53 yards on a DPI.
2.
Dez Bryant DAL
6
8
158
26.3
2
70
Five of Bryant's receptions picked up first downs. The sixth was an 11-yard gain on second-and-12.
3.
Jordan Matthews PHI
7
9
138
19.7
2
60
4.
Odell Beckham NYG
7
9
108
15.4
0
58
Beckham had six first downs on the day, including three third-down conversions.
5.
Preston Parker NYG
7
7
79
11.3
1
57
Parker had six first downs on the day, including three third-down conversions. Yes, this is a copy-and-paste from Odell Beckham's comment, but it's still true.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
James Jones OAK
8
12
20
2.5
0
-44
Jones actually had two first downs on the day, a 10-yard gain on first-and-10 and a 4-yard gain on second-and-3. His other six receptions gained -1, 4, 2, 4, -1, and -2 yards. Since 1960, only two players have averaged less than 2.5 yards per catch in a game with at least eight catches: Adrian Murrell and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 10 Nov 2014

73 comments, Last at 12 Nov 2014, 4:19pm by Hummingbird Cyborg

Comments

1
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 8:01am

Two rookies as most valuable receivers and neither a Jet - go figure.

2
by Mountainhawk :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 8:44am

If it's possible --- what was Newton's DYAR before the two garbage time TD drives? He was 20/32 for 186 yards and 0 TD before those 2 drives.

37
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:02pm

I wonder what Carr's DYAR is if an interception was credited on that last drive where it was a tight call that could have gone either way.

3
by coremill :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 9:31am

Betteridge's Law of Headlines says no, Lynch is not an MVP candidate.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_law_of_headlines

I don't think RBs can never win the award anymore in a passing first league, but I do think they need to have an extreme outlier season to do it, like Peterson in 2012. Lynch has merely been excellent, not historically amazing.

11
by Joshua Northey :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:35am

Is Vincent Verhei serious about asking whether Marshawn Lynch deserves the MVP?

13
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:51am

Hey, they gave one to Shaun Alexander!

16
by coremill :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:57am

And that was one of the worst MVP decisions of the last 20 years. If the writers were bored with giving the award to Peyton Manning every year, they should have split it between Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson. I could have run for 20 TDs behind that line. If there were ever a year an offensive lineman should win, it was that one.

18
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:06pm

Yes, I know.

26
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:13pm

If there was any year a receiver was going to win it again, it was that year. Steve Smith was robbed if they weren't going to give it to Peyton Manning (or even Carson Palmer as a QB).

Steve Smith was incredible that year. He had 103/1563/12, while the rest of the team combined for a 166/1922/13.

It is hard for a WR to perform that well without the QB getting some love, but Delhomme was merely good and no better. Smith was amazing.

27
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:15pm

Jake Freaking Delhomme. Yeah, Smith wuz robbed.

28
by coremill :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:25pm

Smith would also have been a fine choice, although I prefer Jones. But Smith would have been much better than Alexander.

35
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:51pm

It makes me kinda sad Jones wasn't even really in consideration because if a lineman were ever going to win it again, it was Jones that year. But, of course, he had the whole "Hutch is just as good!" thing working against him because how do you prove or disprove that? I know it's unlikely, but there should be some separate MVP-type award that could go to a position group like that o-line or one of those SB-wnning Giants d-lines or last year's Seahawks secondary or the 2012 SF LB corps. I'd truthfully be way more interesting in that conversation...

38
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:02pm

The fact that Tuck and Strahan didn't get co-Superbowl MVPs in 07 is also a shame.

71
by chemical burn :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:37am

That's so true - and in that case, it seems like because they were equally deserving, they just gave it someone else altogether.

70
by bobrulz :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:19am

I wish there was an award for every position group.

Quarterback (that's usually the MVP anyway but just so they don't feel left out)
Running back
Receiver
Offensive line
Defensive line
Linebacker
Defensive back

Hell even kicking specialist while we're at it. Still undecided on tight ends since they're usually either basically an extra lineman or a receiver anyway, but I'm sure they could make it work.

I mean why the hell not? Doesn't college do it for at least some positions?

73
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 4:19pm

You mean the probowl?

22
by RickD :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:57pm

Shaun Alexander was hardly the worst MVP choice. Mark Mosely won one! As a kicker!

25
by coremill :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:05pm

Hence my "in the last 20 years" qualifier.

44
by RickD :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:37pm

I wasn't actually replying to you.

(Follow the vertical lines if it really matters.)

4
by montevino :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:17am

Vincent, could we get Matt Flynn's DYAR? He seemed quite ineffective for pretty much half a game.

5
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:40am

If the Bears defense keeps putting opposing qbs at the top of the list without that qb needing to shower after the game, nobody's gonna' really pay attention to the play of the Bears' qb.

I don't think the Bears defense is going to completely quit on the season, however, so I expect they'll rebound, and get a win against the Vikings in Chicago on Sunday. If Bridgewater is sitting near the top of quick reads next Tuesday morning, however, there just may be a pre-Thanksgiving housecleaning in Halas Hall, after all.

31
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:37pm

I'm really amazed, in a week where the opponent put up 55 points and appeared to have been capable of 70 or more, that some people in Chicago are complaining about Cutler right now. I'm not saying he's played well or that he's a better-than-average quarterback, but with a defense that could not even slow Aaron Rodgers down, much less stop him from scoring touchdowns, what does it matter what the Bears' QB does?

After the Lacy touchdown where he ran about 60 yards on a screen pass to make it 35-0, I was actually cheering for the Packers to keep scoring. I was disappointed (but completely understood that it was the right call) when they pulled Rodgers so early in the 3rd quarter. I'd have liked to see him throw at least 8 TDs...the Bears deserve to go down as a historically bad defense, so why not have a new record set against them?

It seems to me like this team has already quit on the season, so I don't know what's going to happen against Minnesota. I'm hoping that Bridgewater has a career day because at this point, the best thing that can happen to the Bears is a 3-13 finish that results in some serious change.

39
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:04pm

I actually stopped watching this game in the first quarter. I'm glad the Bears got pansed on national TV though. No more hiding how bad this defense is.

43
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:19pm

The only time I've seen an NFL team just flat out quit (meaning a team that I watched a lot), was the 1984 Vikings, "led" by Les Steckel. I remember when Steckel was fired after the season, middle linebacker (a good one at that) Scott Studwell, a guy who ended up being a Viking employee for about 35 years, was interviewed on local television. He wore a ballcap with the letters "AMF" stenciled across the front, and a guy I was sitting next to at a saloon, who knew Studwell, exclaimed "He did it!" and explained to me that Studwell had told him back in November that when Steckel was fired, he was going to say "Adios Motherf*cker" in a very public way.

I can understand why people don't think Trestman is a good football coach at this time, but I know for a fact that he isn't the sort that people, who come in close contact with him, are inclined to despise. I don't think the Bears defense is going to be as bad as they have for the last two weeks; they'll win some games against teams with bad offenses, and I'd expect them to bounce back against such an offense this Sunday.

60
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 5:41pm

From what I'm hearing, it doesn't sound like any of the players dislike Trestman - the problem is that nobody seems to respect him or even pay attention to him at this point. There was a lot of questioning his leadership style and some of the off-the-field decisions he made a couple of months ago (giving Briggs a day off to go open a restaurant and allowing Marshall to travel to New York every week to be on Inside the NFL), and frankly at the time I thought it was much ado about nothing. Now I'm starting to wonder.

The mystifying thing to me is that Trestman was supposed to at least be an offensive genius, but what I've seen this year doesn't even look good from that standpoint. He abandons the run way too quickly, his playcalling is way too predictable, and he has shown no ability to adjust whatsoever.

45
by TomC :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:09pm

Reading the tea leaves of the post-game and Monday morning quotes, it actually doesn't sound like the team has quit. (I was expecting much more sniping and thinly veiled criticism of coaches and other units.) But that is scary in a whole different way: you gave close to 100% effort and still were down 42-0 at the half?

6
by Mike W :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:59am

This is what, the third time already this year that Rodgers basically played one half? They boat-raced Carolina and Minnesota too. Going to impact his stats a bit.

7
by VarlosZ :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:04am

Would it be possible for the charts to list the players' opponents, and not their teams? I'm pretty sure I'm not going to forget who Peyton Manning plays for, but, off-hand, I may well forget who he played against this week. Happens all the time, in fact.

8
by RickD :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:18am

That works for Peyton Manning, and maybe even for all the QBs, but not for all the RBs and WRs.

Of course, there's probably space for both.

10
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:26am

Photons are pretty small, after all.

23
by VarlosZ :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:59pm

WRs sometimes, sure; it's very rare that I'm not going to know anything about a RB who's getting enough touches to show up in the Top 5 (thanks Fantasy Football!). Regardless, I'm going to forget the opponent way more often than I forget the player's club, so I think it would be a good change.

Better yet would be to list both. If they don't want to reformat the whole chart, they could just put a player's team right next to his name, like so: Russell Wilson (SEA).

9
by Bernie :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:19am

Thank god for Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant. IN a week where my fantasy team only scored 107 pts, and I squeeked out a win by 1.2 points, Nelson and Bryant accounted for 61 of them.

Having Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton as QB is really starting to drag this team down.

12
by ChrisS :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:37am

I agree Lynch is great. However, I am not sure that "Sunday's game against New York was his fourth game this season with 50 or more total DYAR" this fact is very supportive of an MVP argument. He has 310 of DYAR so in his other games he is averaging about 15 DYAR/gm. So he is a bit above replacement in more than half his games. But perhaps 15 DYAR/game is better than I think

14
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:54am

Ranked 2nd all year by DYAR, 3rd by DVOA. 20% DVOA, so for every 4 yards an average RB would get, he gets 5*.

*Obviously not that simple, but an interesting way to think about it.

29
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:29pm

I think an MVP candidate on offense should at least come from a good offensive team. Seattle isn't right now.

J.J. Watt is my MVP right now, although that could be because I watched him try to beat Indianapolis 1 on 11 and almost succeed.

32
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:46pm

The more I think about it, the more I agree that Watt would be an inspired and totally justified choice. I was sorta down on him after the Eagles game when all those audio-clips emerged of Eagles players making fun of him for being gassed in the second half and just getting blown off the ball and run around - I mean, Jordan Matthews was literally calling him out from the sidelines and laughing at him. But Watt was also the only player that team had. He was single-handedly keeping his team in the game (although it really wasn't even as close as the 31-21 final score.) He had, what, 3 sacks and a half dozen pressures? He had to give 100% on literally every snap he played or the Texans wouldn't have even been in the thing.

I'm definitely down on QB's more or less having to get the MVP because the league is now so pass-driven, so I think giving it to the defensive player who disrupts the passing game like no other really makes a lot of sense. Certainly more sense than giving it to a respectable workhorse who benefits from a very good o-line. Murray getting it really seems like Alexander all over again. Another interesting candidate is Gronk, who clearly deserves consideration if you go not by production but the literal meaning of Most Valuable.

Lynch is not in the conversation.

48
by Sixknots :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:27pm

I think you might put Lynch in the conversation if you go by the "literal meaning of Most Valuable" to his teams offence.

49
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:39pm

I think he benefits from Wilson much more than vice versa - and if you look at the history of rushing DVOA, it supports the idea that running games benefit heavily from rushing QB's. Guys like Alfred Morris and (oh geez) LeSean McCoy look like All-Pro's with running QB's handing off to them and merely pretty good without them. Before Wilson came to town, Lynch was always in the "pretty good" category...

61
by Sixknots :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 6:16pm

Hmmm...he was second in the NFL in rushing DYAR in 2011 with Matt Hasselback at QB.

62
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 6:20pm

Yeah, I don't know why this narrative that Wilson helps Lynch a lot even exists. How does Wilson influence all those broken tackles that Lynch is most known for?

67
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:29pm

#2 in DYAR in 2011 and 12th in DVOA. So, pretty good. As I said. Not as effective as a dozen other backs and feed the ball am incredible amount, but pretty good. If that's the best ya got, it only proves my point...

68
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:37pm

And he was 17th in DVOA last year. I guess Wilson wasn't a mobile quarterback last year?

69
by chemical burn :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:02am

Touche - but Wilson is running more this year than last. I would say last year he played more like Rodgers and this year more like vick in terms of Wilson being a running qb. But there are two conversations here: is lynch an MVP candidate and is his efficiency improved by Wilson's running? The answer to the first is "are fucking kidding me?" while you've successfully combined me the second is at least up for debate and an interesting question.

40
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:06pm

I don't think he's an MVP candidate either, but averaging 15 DYAR per game is considerably better than "slightly above replacement level".

47
by ChrisS :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:26pm

You are right. At lunch time I went back to 2013 and added up rushing and receiving DYAR for RB's and only 8 RB's got at least 240 DYAR (15/game). I guess I was thinking more in line with QB DYAR numbers where 15/game is pretty average. Part of the difference between QB and RB DYAR is due to usage, about 60% of plays are passes and good RB's get about 60% of their teams running plays whereas good QB's get more than 90% of team attempts. Another part is that passing gets more yds/att than running. Is the rest (I don't think the prior two factors account for all the difference) just that RB's are more fungible/dependent on the OL?

15
by Theo :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:57am

Have you seen how the Giants butchered the idea of "containment"?
They brought that concept to the butcher, who turned the settings of the shredder to 11 and they threw it in twice.

17
by BJR :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:02pm

Seattle's amazing rush DVOA is obviously a combination of both Lynch and Wilson's running ability. Now the 2000 Rams, wow, that's what a running back MVP season looks like.

20
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:52pm

Absolutely! End of discussion. I mean, this whole "he doesn't lead by traditional or advanced stats and DVOA has shown how rushing QB's affect RB numbers, but nevermind all that!" is one of the crazier things I've read on a website now printing crazy statements with alarming regularity...

30
by BJR :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:37pm

Yeah, writing "xxxx for MVP!!!" or "xxxx for HOF!!!" articles in response to one or two great performances is below what I expect from this site.

33
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:47pm

It's bizarre. Tanier's work has been full of poorly researched, not at all accurate "common knowledge" recently, too.

57
by David C :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:58pm

Recently?

19
by Cythammer :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:49pm

Eh, that seems like a pretty decent argument for Lynch actually having a better season than Murray, making him the best RB in the league. MVP?… In today's passing game dominated era I think a running back needs a lot more. Just like Kacsmar's Roethlisberger article from last week, this reads like a fanboy hyping up one of his favorite players without much regard to objectivity.

21
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:53pm

Yeah, there's a reasonable argument that he's the best RB in the league, but even a decisive one... and anybody is talking about the MVP? Crazy...

24
by formido :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:01pm

Can't agree that Lynch is responsible for Wilson's yards. If you put Lynch on 90% of the other teams in the NFL, does their QB accumulate rushing DYAR? Plus, a lot of his DYAR is on scrambles. The unique thing here is Wilson, and the fact that he's the best match of run decision maker plus athleticism the NFL has ever seen from the QB position. He's got an RB build and rarely takes hits, notwithstanding MNF's cherry picked plays last night. When Seattle's offense blew up in the latter half of 2012, it was because Wilson started running the read option.

Wilson and Lynch are complementary. The threat of Wilson running is at least as much responsible for Lynch's production as vice versa.

54
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:35pm

If you put Lynch on 90% of the other teams in the NFL, does their QB accumulate rushing DYAR?

Yes, a sizable number could, although many teams would have to change up their pass-heavy gameplan to go from "could" to "would." Also, the claim isn't that Lynch is responsible for all of Wilson's yards, just a significant portion of them. And I'm pretty sure that, when Seattle's offense blew up in the latter half of 2012 because Wilson started running the read option, Lynch was still the other half of the option.

Wilson and Lynch are complementary. The threat of Wilson running is at least as much responsible for Lynch's production as vice versa.

Before Seattle went all-in with the read-option, Lynch already had 1051 yards (95.5 yards per game) on 4.55 YPC.

34
by Led :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:49pm

"So why on earth did Pittsburgh come out against the Jets throwing so much short stuff?"

Probably because the Jets were playing with two deep safeties on most plays and getting to Ben fairly quickly without much blitzing.

36
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 1:55pm

Yeah, the Jets also seemed like a singularly bad match-up for the Steelers running game, where they could indefinitely hold the point of attack with just their 3 linemen and Bell's famous patience ended up working against him. The short stuff seemed intended to cover for the problems in the running game. I mean, whatever Rex is as a coach, there's no doubt he knows how to make an offense uncomfortable and do stuff like force the Steelers into a bunch of short passes. Also with all the deep crossing routes, I think Pittsburgh has really exploited assignment confusion and whatever their athletic shortcomings (i.e. they are not good enough to cover anybody) the Jets CB's are coached well enough to never suffer from such confusion...

41
by ChrisS :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:13pm

I am amazed at how bad Dalton's numbers look, 30% completion rate and a remarkable 2.6 yds/att and a QB rating of 2.

42
by Deelron :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 2:16pm

"How to turn a 10-point halftime lead into an overtime win: in the second half (plus overtime), Kaepernick went 6-of-18 for 91 yards (51 of them on one play) with three sacks and three first downs."

I believe those 12 incompletions were all drops.

I kid, but only a little bit.

50
by coremill :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:46pm

The sequence leading up to the 4th-and-10 miracle to Crabtree had three drops in a row. It was incredible.

51
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:56pm

I think there were nine in total, one from Miller, two each from Crabtree and Davis (who still doesn't look quite right) and four from Boldin (!!!!). And these weren't the 'receiver drops a Kap fast ball that would have put me in the ER' drops, they were all catchable.

I wonder what the DYAR/DVOA is for that 50 yard pass to Crabtree on 4th and 10, needing a score, with about two minutes remaining?

46
by TomC :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:10pm

That Jordy Nelson line has to have a huge Ryan Mundy / Tim Jennings asterisk next to it. It's a whole hell of a lot easier playing wide receiver when NOBODY F!!!ING COVERS YOU!

53
by Bernie :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:34pm

As a Colts fan, seeing Tim Jennings return to mediocrity feels like the world returning to normalcy again. Those few big seasons he had after he left Indy, were some of the most head scratching moments ever. Seeing "he of the permanent 10 yard cushion", become a viable cornerback and dangerous weapon was one of the most baffling things of all time.

55
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:37pm

Lovie Smith and Rod Marenelli are good coaches.

56
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:53pm

Yep, coaching matters. The difference between what Zimmer is getting from the Vikings defensive personnel this year, compared to what Frazier did last year, is remarkable to me. I thought Frazier as dc would be an ok hire for Lovie Smith, since Smith runs the defense anyways, but we'll see what happens in Tampa, I guess. Frazier wasn't great as a coordinator or as head coach in Minnesota.

58
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 5:07pm

In Chicago, the 3 years Babich was the DC, the defense was significantly worse than the years Rivera or Marinelli were coaching.

Of course sometimes different circumstances and just learning from having done the job previously can be a benefit.

52
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:15pm

Vincent, could we get Matt Flynn's DYAR? He seemed quite ineffective for pretty much half a game.

-19 DYAR in six passes: a 34-yard DPI, a 4-yard completion, and four incompletes.

63
by montevino :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 7:26pm

Vincent, could we get Matt Flynn's DYAR? He seemed quite ineffective for pretty much half a game.

-19 DYAR in six passes: a 34-yard DPI, a 4-yard completion, and four incompletes.

Thanks!

59
by David C :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 5:09pm

If Matt Ryan has another good week, that should knock Joe Flacco down to the back of the top 10 finally. It did not feel right when Flacco was one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

64
by LionInAZ :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 7:48pm

Just curious: how many DYAR did Joique Bell earn for bulldozing Cortland Finnegan? That was my favorite play of the day.

66
by chemical burn :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:25pm

He earned America's esteem, which is more valuable than dyar.

65
by Red :: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 9:07pm

Vince, how many DYAR was Roethlisberger's 80 yard garbage time TD worth?

72
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 11/12/2014 - 2:33am

47. So, take that away and he drops about three spots.