Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Nov 2014

Week 11 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

Jonas Gray entered Sunday night's game against Indianapolis with just 131 career rushing yards and no touchdowns. He then ripped the Colts for 199 yards on the ground and four trips into the red zone. He was by far the top fantasy scorer of the week (which is unfortunate, since he probably wasn't on very many fantasy rosters), but the advanced numbers say his performance was historically great -- and at the same time, they say it really wasn't anything special.

Let's start with a caveat, a shadow that hangs over everything you're about to read: it's the Colts, and they stink. They entered the weekend ranked 22nd in run defense DVOA, and after Gray trampled them, only the Giants and Chiefs are giving up more yards per carry. And because of that, we must take Gray's big day with multiple grains of salt. Without opponent adjustments, this was one of the ten best rushing days we have ever measured; with them, it doesn't even make the top 100.

Here are the top ten unadjusted rushing games since 1989. Remember, this does not include opponent adjustments or receiving data. Most of these names will be very familiar. The name at the top probably won't be.


Top RB Games by Rushing YAR, 1989-2014
Player
Team
Year
Week
Opp
Rush
YAR
Rush
DYAR
Runs
Yds
Avg
TD
Jerome Harrison CLE 2009 15 KC 130 109 34 286 8.41 3
Arian Foster HOU 2010 1 IND 123 110 33 231 7.00 3
Barry Sanders DET 1991 13 MIN 120 116 23 220 9.57 4
Edgerrin James IND 2000 7 SEA 118 87 38 219 5.76 3
Joseph Addai IND 2006 12 PHI 118 121 24 171 7.13 4
Jonas Gray NE 2014 11 IND 111 65 38 199 5.24 4
Shaun Alexander SEA 2001 9 OAK 110 95 35 266 7.60 3
Corey Dillon CIN 1997 15 TEN 109 126 39 246 6.31 4
Priest Holmes KC 2002 12 SEA 109 101 23 197 8.57 2
LaDainian Tomlinson SD 2005 3 NYG 105 117 21 192 9.14 3

(Let's take a quick sidetrack to revisit the tale of Jerome Harrison. In 2009, the Browns were coached by Eric Mangini, they were quarterbacked by Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, and they sucked, getting off to a 2-11 start. At the end of the year, with Jamal Lewis on the shelf, Harrison, a 26-year-old journeyman, stampeded Kansas City for 286 yards in a 41-34 win. At that point Mangini decided "Harrison is my best player and I am going to use him on every play." Harrison ran 39 times in a 23-9 win over Oakland in Week 16 and then 33 times in a season-ending win 23-17 win over Jacksonville, but averaged less than 4 yards per carry in both games. Harrison played in the league until 2012, but only had one other 100-yard game in his career.)

So how did Gray make the top ten with a relatively meager 5.24-yard average? Gray became just the 16th player with 150 rushing yards and four scores in a game, a list that includes six Hall of Famers, seven if you count LaDainian Tomlinson, who will be eligible for the Hall in 2017. Nobody has done it more than once, so of course we shouldn't expect this kind of production every week.

Gray averaged 5.2 yards on a whopping 38 carries. Only four other men have had a higher average with such a heavy workload. More impressive than the totals, however, was Gray's consistency. There were no 90-yard carries skewing that average; his longest run gained only 20 yards. Gray's yeoman-like effort produced a whopping 15 first downs on the ground. That's the most for any player in a game this year, and only the sixth time a player has hit double digits in this category. (Coincidentally, two of the other players with ten first downs in a game also did it in Week 11. Jamaal Charles had 11 first downs against Seattle, while Alfred Blue had the same number against Cleveland.) It was Gray's ability to move the chains in short- and even medium-yardage that really stood out. He had 16 carries with 5 yards or less to go for a first down, and he picked up that first down 13 times.

That's why Gray's game was so much more valuable than, for example, Jeremy Hill's. Hill gained 152 yards on 27 carries for Cincinnati against New Orleans, an average of 5.6 yards per rush which is better than Gray's average against Indianapolis. Hill, though, gained more than half of his yards came on just two carries, gains of 21 and 62 yards in the second quarter. He only gained five first downs on the ground, but he was stuffed for no gain or a loss five times.

We have other stats to account for this kind of thing, metrics like Success Rate and Open Field Yards, but I want to try something new. Honestly, this is an idea that's been kicking around in my head for a while now, and this has been the first time it's really made sense to bring it up. The idea is simple: rather than measure each player's overall average per carry, let's sort his carries into three equal groups as determined by distance, then measure the average of that player's shortest carries, his longest carries, and those in the middle. That will give us a better idea of the "shape" of each player's production, and not just its size. And unlike Success Rate and Open Field Yards, there are no plays that "don't count." Every play and every yard is measured in one of the three categories.

For example, Hill's nine shortest carries (one-third of his 27 total) gained a total of -1 yard, an average of -0.1 yards each. Gray's 12 shortest carries (one-third of his 38 total, rounding down) gained 18 yards, or 1.5 yards each. So Gray's shortest carries were better than Hill's shortest carries. It was the same story for middle-distance runs, where Gray's average (4.2) was clearly better than Hill's (2.6). Only in long runs does Hill's average (14.4) beat Gray's (9.8). And that's largely why Hill, despite the superior overall average, was the less valuable player this week.

Let's apply that same methodology to examine all running backs with at least 70 carries this year. Players are listed with total carries and sorted by overall average, with ranks listed for average gain on short, middle, and long runs. Can we find any trends?


NFL Running Backs' Average Gains on Short, Middle, and Long Carries, 2014
Name
Team
Carries
Average
Rank
Shortest
Carries
Rank
Middle
Carries
Rank
Longest
Carries
Rank
Justin Forsett BAL 133 5.42 1 -0.14 26 3.30 12 12.93 1
Jamaal Charles KC 132 5.28 2 0.37 6 3.43 7 11.78 3
Arian Foster HOU 161 5.11 3 0.13 15 3.26 13 11.83 2
DeMarco Murray DAL 244 5.07 4 0.12 16 3.53 5 11.48 5
Jerick McKinnon MIN 98 4.94 5 -0.28 29 3.33 11 11.61 4
Jeremy Hill CIN 113 4.92 6 0.49 3 3.05 20 11.11 7
Lamar Miller MIA 125 4.91 7 0.17 11 3.74 1 10.71 8
Denard Robinson JAC 100 4.83 8 0.27 9 3.39 9 10.65 9
Ahmad Bradshaw IND 90 4.76 9 -0.10 23 3.53 4 10.48 10
Jonas Gray NE 70 4.71 10 0.96 1 3.65 2 9.33 21
Shane Vereen NE 70 4.69 11 -0.13 25 3.52 6 10.42 11
Marshawn Lynch SEA 177 4.62 12 0.33 7 3.41 8 9.95 15
Isaiah Crowell CLE 78 4.62 13 -0.92 41 3.04 21 11.26 6
Le'Veon Bell PIT 162 4.61 14 0.15 12 3.13 18 10.36 12
Name
Team
Carries
Average
Rank
Shortest
Carries
Rank
Middle
Carries
Rank
Longest
Carries
Rank
Mark Ingram NO 138 4.48 15 0.29 8 3.22 15 9.72 19
Chris Ivory NYJ 123 4.46 16 0.03 19 3.15 17 9.95 14
Bobby Rainey TB 92 4.26 17 -0.50 34 2.81 29 10.32 13
Matt Forte CHI 173 4.25 18 0.04 18 3.36 10 9.28 23
Eddie Lacy GB 129 4.24 19 -0.21 27 2.88 26 9.82 17
Chris Johnson NYJ 85 4.24 20 0.39 5 3.54 3 8.62 31
Rashad Jennings NYG 109 4.17 21 0.53 2 3.22 14 8.65 30
Tre Mason STL 92 4.16 22 -0.37 32 2.87 28 9.84 16
Ronnie Hillman DEN 91 4.15 23 -0.03 21 2.50 39 9.81 18
Alfred Morris WAS 172 4.10 24 -0.04 22 2.93 24 9.33 22
Frank Gore SF 158 4.10 25 0.02 20 3.04 22 9.17 27
Giovani Bernard CIN 109 4.09 26 0.11 17 2.78 32 9.24 26
Knile Davis KC 111 3.93 27 -0.78 38 2.62 35 9.66 20
Bishop Sankey TEN 92 3.91 28 0.40 4 2.87 27 8.35 33
Name
Team
Carries
Average
Rank
Shortest
Carries
Rank
Middle
Carries
Rank
Longest
Carries
Rank
Jonathan Stewart CAR 84 3.85 29 -1.00 42 2.89 25 9.28 24
Alfred Blue HOU 104 3.75 30 -0.68 36 2.80 30 9.00 28
LeSean McCoy PHI 195 3.75 31 -0.83 39 2.65 34 9.27 25
Steven Jackson ATL 127 3.69 32 0.14 13 3.07 19 7.74 39
Branden Oliver SD 111 3.67 33 -0.28 28 2.57 38 8.47 32
Terrance West CLE 112 3.64 34 -0.38 33 2.95 23 8.24 34
Joique Bell DET 122 3.63 35 -0.53 35 2.46 40 8.85 29
Stevan Ridley NE 94 3.62 36 -0.13 24 2.68 33 8.16 35
Darren McFadden OAK 114 3.45 37 0.14 14 2.79 31 7.23 40
Trent Richardson IND 115 3.41 38 -0.32 30 2.58 37 7.85 37
Andre Ellington ARI 186 3.37 39 -0.74 37 2.60 36 8.11 36
Matt Asiata MIN 85 3.28 40 0.25 10 3.21 16 6.28 42
Ben Tate CLE 106 3.14 41 -0.89 40 2.34 41 7.83 38
Andre Williams NYG 116 2.91 42 -0.34 31 2.03 42 6.95 41
AVERAGE 4.19 -0.10 3.02 9.50
Minimum 70 carries

The most interesting guys here, obviously, are those who rank drastically differently in one category than they do in the other two. Jamaal Charles ranks second in overall average, so it's no surprise that he is in the top seven in shortest, middle, and longest carries. But consider the case of Matt Asiata, who ranks 10th in shortest runs but 42nd, dead last, in longest runs. So he very rarely loses yardage, but he has very little home-run ability. Other players who fit this slow-but-steady mold include Bishop Sankey, Rashad Jennings, Steven Jackson, and two surprises, Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the boom-and-bust guys, led by Cleveland's Isaiah Crowell, who ranks sixth in longest runs but next to last in shortest runs. He's followed by Justin Forsett, Jerick McKinnon, Bobby Rainey, and Knile Davis.

And then there's the strange case of Jeremy Hill. The Bengals runner ranks third in shortest runs, so he doesn't get stuffed very often. And he's seventh in longest runs, so he's got plenty of pop. But somehow he ranks just 20th in middle distance runs. That paints the profile of a guy who gets a lot of 2- and 3- yard runs, but on the rare instances he does make it into the clear, takes it a long way.

Are any of these splits more important than the others? Well, the correlation between average gain on short runs and overall average is 0.430. That correlation climbs to 0.775 when comparing overall average to middle runs, and a whopping 0.927 when comparing overall average to long average. In other words, when you're evaluating runners by yards per carry, it's helpful to remember that realistically, you're looking at what they do about one-third of the time.

Comparing these splits to VOA paints a different picture, though. (I'm using VOA instead of DVOA because we don't want to use opponent adjustments for some numbers and not others. The correlation between VOA and either shortest runs or longest runs come out to 0.638, while the correlation between VOA and middle runs is 0.813. So, in this case, it's the middle of the pack that actually has the most influence on the outcome.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Andy Dalton CIN
16/22
220
2
0
163
156
7
You'll recall that last week Dalton was in last place with -190 DYAR, so this is a swing of 352 DYAR from one week to the next. That is literally like going from replacement level one week to Ben Roehtlisberger's 526-yard, six-touchdown game (which scored 355 DYAR) the next. He was nearly perfect keeping drives alive against New Orleans. On third downs, he went 7-of-8 for 117 yards, with every completion gaining a first down, including one touchdown. A ninth third-down throw resulted in a 7-yard DPI.
2.
Aaron Rodgers GB
23/36
341
3
0
152
137
15
Don't look now, but Rodgers has nearly caught Peyton Manning in total DYAR for the season (trailing by only 33 DYAR going into Monday night), and has opened a sizable lead in DVOA (33.0% to Manning's 26.0%). He was most effective throwing up the middle against Philadelphia, going 6-of-7 for 85 yards with every completion going for a first down.
3.
Drew Brees NO
33/41
255
1
0
134
135
-1
The sweet range for Brees was on passes that traveled between 5 and 20 yards past the line of scrimmage. At that distance, he went 14-of-16 for 170 yards with a touchdown. Thirteen of those completions gained first downs; the other was an 8-yard gain on first-and-10. Anything shorter or deeper than that, though, he went 19-of-25 for just 85 yards and only five first downs.
4.
Ryan Mallett HOU
20/30
211
2
1
119
116
3
Mallett did not throw a single pass to his running backs, and only three passes to his tight ends (including J.J. Watt), all in the first half. Those three passes resulted in a 2-yard touchdown to Watt, a 14-yard gain to Garrett Graham, and a 20-yard touchdown to Graham.
5.
Drew Stanton ARI
21/32
306
2
2
83
83
0
First-half third downs: 5-of-6 for 107 yards with five first downs, including a touchdown. Second-half third downs: 2-of-6 for 25 yards, though both completions did go for first downs.
6.
Jay Cutler CHI
31/43
330
3
2
80
83
-3
Cutler struggled to finish drives. Inside the Minnesota 40, he went 10-of-17 for 68 yards and only two first downs, though those were both touchdowns.
7.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
26/34
240
2
0
73
93
-20
Tannehill's DYAR total includes what he did as a rusher and a passer, but not as a receiver. So his pass to himself for a 4-yard loss on second-and-3 results in -16 DYAR. If you want to count his receiving info too, he had -13 receiving DYAR on the play. That was one of seven plays for Tannehill that lost yardage: two completions and five sacks.
8.
Josh McCown TB
15/23
288
2
0
62
64
-2
Finishing strong: on Tampa Bay's last three drives, McCown went 8-of-9 for 181 yards with two touchdowns, three other first downs, and one sack.
9.
Tom Brady NE
19/30
257
2
2
56
56
0
Brady also finished strong. After halftime, he went 9-of-11 for 173 yards with every completion going for a first down, including two scores, plus a 2-yard DPI. This after throwing for only four first downs with two picks in the first half.
10.
Matt Ryan ATL
31/44
268
1
0
55
54
1
Throwing to receivers between 9 and 18 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, Ryan went 10-of-10 for 139 yards, with every throw going for a first down.
11.
Colin Kaepernick SF
15/29
193
1
0
54
69
-16
Kaepernick had trouble hooking up with his tight ends. On passes to Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald, he went 1-of-6 for 7 yards, though that one completion converted a third-and-5.
12.
Andrew Luck IND
23/39
303
2
1
50
52
-2
Indianapolis' tight ends (including Anthony Castonzo) dominated the Patriots. Throwing their way, Luck went 8-of-9 for 145 yards with one touchdown and five other first downs.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Shaun Hill STL
20/29
220
1
0
48
48
0
The Rams beat the Broncos by 15 points, and it could have been more if Hill had performed better in scoring range. Inside Denver's 40, he went 5-of-7 for 22 yards with as many first downs (two) as sacks.
14.
Zach Mettenberger TEN
15/24
263
2
1
46
46
0
15.
Alex Smith KC
11/16
108
0
0
43
43
0
Smith and the Chiefs managed to win a game with only four first downs passing. He threw exactly three passes to receivers who were beyond the line to gain for a first down, completing one for 22 yards.
16.
Russell Wilson SEA
20/32
178
2
0
41
16
25
Wilson's last pass of the third quarter was a touchdown to Tony Moeaki that put Seattle ahead 20-17. In the fourth quarter, he went 6-of-11 for 50 yards with two first downs and one sack. On the day, Wilson had eight runs for 71 yards, six first downs, and five 10-yard runs. None of those carries, surprisingly, came on third or fourth down.
17.
Kyle Orton BUF
23/39
193
0
0
19
24
-5
With 2:18 to go in the third quarter, Orton and the Bills took the field at their own 20, trailing 10-9 and very much in the game. From that point forward, Orton went 6-of-15 for 46 yards with as many first downs (two) as sacks, plus an intentional grounding for a safety.
18.
Matthew Stafford DET
18/30
183
0
1
1
1
0
Stafford only had six first downs passing, and only one of those came outside his own 40. Between that line and the end zone, he went 8-of-13 for 58 yards with two sacks and an interception. He only had two passes inside the Arizona 40: 3- and 4-yard gains, both on third-and-5.
19.
Brian Hoyer CLE
20/50
330
1
1
0
9
-9
Inside the Houston 40, in the first half, Hoyer went 3-of-5 for 48 yards with one touchdown, one other first down, two sacks, and one fumble. That's not very good, but it's a damn sight better than what he did in that part of the field in the second half: 0-for-10 with an interception. OH-FOR-TEN.
20.
Philip Rivers SD
22/34
193
1
0
-6
-1
-5
Rivers was killed by long-yardage situations. With more than 10 yards to go for a first down, he went 5-of-7 for 33 yards with no first downs and only one successful play, a 13-yard gain on first-and-15.
21.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
21/32
207
1
1
-14
-15
1
22.
Peyton Manning DEN
34/54
389
1
2
-42
-42
0
This was the worst game for Manning in almost exactly a year. He has had other bad games in his career, but not like this. Even in his bad games, he usually mixes in a handful of scoring drives with a bundle of turnovers though. This time, though, aside from one long pass when the Rams forgot to cover Emmanuel Sanders, Manning never threatened to score. He had zero passes in the red zone, and in the front zone (the space between the Rams' 20- and 40-yard lines), he went 1-of-7 for 6 yards with no first downs and one sack.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Mark Sanchez PHI
26/44
346
2
2
-68
-68
0
Sanchez fumbled three snaps, losing two of them, one of them resulting in a Green Bay touchdown. He also threw a pick-six. On third and fourth downs, he went 6-of-14 for 115 yards with one touchdown, two sacks, and an interception. All six of those passes picked up first downs, but Sanchez did not convert a third down until the Eagles were down by 27 points in the second quarter.
24.
Cam Newton CAR
23/37
292
2
2
-74
-79
6
Newton finished this game on fire, completing nine of his last ten passes for 175 yards, two touchdowns, and six other first downs. This makes Carolina's decision to call three running plays before trying a 46-yard field goal to take the lead (a missed field goal that came in the middle of that hot streak) even stranger.
25.
Teddy Bridgewater MIN
18/28
158
1
1
-88
-77
-11
Fifteen of Bridgewater's 28 passes were thrown to receivers within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage. He completed eight of those throws for 38 yards and only one first down, though that was a touchdown to put the Vikings up by ten in the first quarter.
26.
Derek Carr OAK
16/33
172
0
0
-121
-121
0
On San Diego's half of the field, Carr went 3-of-8 for 44 yards. Thirty-five of those yards (and the only first down in those throws) came with Oakland down by 10 in the final six minutes of the game.
27.
Robert Griffin WAS
23/32
210
1
2
-154
-167
13
Only five of Griffin's passes traveled 9 or more yards past the line of scrimmage, and those passes resulted in more interceptions (two, one returned for a touchdown) than receptions, one for 13 yards. His average pass traveled 4.1 yards past the line of scrimmage, his average completion 1.6 yards downfield, both the lowest of any starter this week. He had nine plays on Tampa Bay's side of the field. Five were completed for 57 yards, though only one gained a first down (a 30-yard touchdown to Roy Helu). The other four plays were all sacks. His was sacked six times in total.
28.
Eli Manning NYG
22/45
280
1
5
-203
-203
0
Five picks will do that to you, especially when they come on short routes. On passes to receivers within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage, Manning went 6-of-13 for 19 yards with no first downs and three picks.


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.
Jamaal Charles KC
20
158
2
2/2
19
0
83
69
15
By DYAR, this was the best game of any running back so far this season. Charles' first 12 carries were all successful, a stretch that lasted into the third quarter and produced 100 yards, two touchdowns, and eight other first downs. He had only two successful carries the rest of the game, and also lost a fumble, but one of those successful runs was a 47-yard gain.
2.
Jonas Gray NE
38
199
4
0/0
0
0
66
66
0
3.
Le'veon Bell PIT
33
204
1
2/4
18
0
61
63
-3
4.
Eddie Lacy GB
10
69
1
3/4
45
1
53
30
23
None of Lacy's carries came on third down. He only had four first downs, but that included gains of 37 and 10 yards, plus a 1-yard touchdown. His receptions included gains of 5 and 8 yards on first down, plus a 32-yard touchdown on third-and-10.
5.
Alfred Morris WAS
20
96
0
2/3
36
0
48
32
16
Morris' receptions went for 24 and 12 yards, both on first-and-10. None of his carries lost yards, and he had three 10-plus-yard runs.


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.
Jamaal Charles KC
20
158
2
2/2
19
0
83
69
15
2.
Jonas Gray NE
38
199
4
0/0
0
0
66
66
0
3.
Le'veon Bell PIT
33
204
1
2/4
18
0
61
63
-3
4.
Alfred Morris WAS
20
96
0
2/3
36
0
48
32
16
5.
Marshawn Lynch SEA
24
124
0
1/3
1
0
17
31
-14
Lynch had five 10-yard runs and seven first downs, and only lost yardage twice.


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.
Ahmad Bradshaw IND
7
6
0
4/5
7
0
-41
-40
-2
Bradshaw's longest carry gained only 5 yards. He lost yardage twice and had two other runs for no gain, and also had a fumble. His four receptions: 2-yard gain on third-and-5, 1-yard loss on second-and-7, 4-yard gain on third-and-6, and 2-yard gain on fourth-and-1.


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.
Ahmad Bradshaw IND
7
6
0
4/5
7
0
-41
-40
-2


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Mike Evans TB
7
9
209
29.9
2
87
Evans had touchdowns of 56 and 36 yards, and other catches for 51, 18, and 34 yards.
2.
A.J. Green CIN
6
8
127
21.2
1
63
All of Green's receptions led to first downs, and he also drew a 7-yard DPI on third-and-5.
3.
Randall Cobb GB
10
13
129
12.9
0
55
Cobb gained first downs on nine of his ten receptions, including three gains of 20-plus yards. The tenth was a 1-yard gain on second-and-24. Well, can't win 'em all.
4.
Kenny Britt STL
4
7
128
32.0
1
53
Britt's longest catch was a 63-yard touchdown, and he also had gains of 33 and 21 yards.
5.
Coby Fleener IND
7
7
144
20.6
0
52
Fleener's longest catch gained 45 yards, and he had four other 20-yard gains.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Jacob Tamme DEN
4
10
31
7.8
0
-30
Tamme did pick up one first down with a 10-yard gain on first-and-10, but he went 0-for-3 on third downs.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 17 Nov 2014

56 comments, Last at 20 Nov 2014, 8:22am by JoeyHarringtonsPiano

Comments

1
by Alternator :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 4:40am

Typo detected in this paragraph:

For example, Hill's nine shortest carries (one-third of his 27 total) gained a total of -1 yard, an average of -0.1 yards each. Gray's 12 shortest carries (one-third of his 38 total, rounding down) gained 18 carries, or 1.5 yards each. So Gray's shortest carries were better than Hill's shortest carries. It was the same story for middle-distance runs, where Gray's average (4.2) was clearly better than Hill's (2.6). Only in long runs does Hill's average (14.4) beat Gray's (9.8). And that's largely why Gray, despite the superior overall average, was the less valuable player this week.

2
by MC2 :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 6:18am

Two of them, actually:

For example, Hill's nine shortest carries (one-third of his 27 total) gained a total of -1 yard, an average of -0.1 yards each. Gray's 12 shortest carries (one-third of his 38 total, rounding down) gained 18 carries, or 1.5 yards each. So Gray's shortest carries were better than Hill's shortest carries. It was the same story for middle-distance runs, where Gray's average (4.2) was clearly better than Hill's (2.6). Only in long runs does Hill's average (14.4) beat Gray's (9.8). And that's largely why Gray, despite the superior overall average, was the less valuable player this week.

9
by JDL4 :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:22am

"Quick Reads" actually describes how the article gets edited.

10
by nat :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:47am

I give Vince an A+ for getting the article out quickly.

And a C$ for proof reading.

11
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:07am

A lot of complaining about something you get for free...

12
by nat :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:18am

C$ isn't really a grade, you know.

26
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:50pm

Errors should be fixed.

35
by PaddyPat :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:23pm

It was a proofreading joke.

3
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 7:32am

Shouldn't that be Trent Richardson in Ahmad Bradshaw's space for the worst of the week?

4
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 8:30am

I would guess Richardson avoided that fate because not fumbling is more valuable than the 6 extra rushing yards Bradshaw added.

15
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:30am

Trent Richardson
Size: 5-9, 228 pounds
Draft: Cleveland Browns 2012 (Round: 1 / Pick: 3)
College: Alabama
Birthdate: 07/10/1991

How is it possible to be playing as bad as he is and he's only 23? Basically Jonas Grey is playing like everyone expected of Trent Richardson and he was on somebody's practice squad a month ago.

16
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:45am

What 1st round that was for Cleveland, Trent Richardson at 3, and Brandon Weeden at 22. Imagine how good they might be now if they got even above average players at those slots.

18
by RickD :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:00pm

At least they offloaded Richardson on the Colts.

13
by herewegobrownie... :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:22am

Amazed to not see Ben Tate in that slot.

Hoyer as high as 19th shows how DVOA seems to like him more than conventional stats.

23
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:33pm

My drafting Ben Tate and Justin Hunter as breakout stars in Fantasy Football is working as well as drafting Adrian Peterson 1st.

36
by PaddyPat :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:26pm

Honestly, the eye test suggested that Hoyer didn't play that poorly. The receivers dropped many passes, and he spent most of the game absolutely running for his life, often from Watt. His accuracy is questionable at times, but his decision-making seemed pretty good throughout. In the battle of Brady backups, it seemed to me that the Houston offensive line won resoundingly.

38
by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 2:41pm

My personal eye test suggested he played even worse. His only saving grace was the near lack of interceptions (just one), but his accuracy was ghastly. He then completed some good passes in the second half of the 4th quarter, but before that I thought he was in dead bottom territory for Quick Reads.

------
Who, me?

14
by ChrisS :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:29am

Indy RB's are amazing, 14 carries for 4 yards plus one fumble.

22
by turbohappy :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:26pm

There weren't any holes out there in that game. Indy's lines got just destroyed on both sides of the ball.

On defense, 330lb D-tackles were getting solo reach blocked. That should never happen.

5
by andrew :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 8:52am

"anadjusted" - assuming this is unadjusted and not some new metric...

6
by Travis :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:15am

[Bradshaw had a] 2-yard gain on fourth-and-1 when the Colts were down by 15 with 31 seconds left in the game.

This actually came with 31 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.

7
by wlutz45373 :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:39am

At first glance, it looks like Drew Stanton had one of the best games by an Arizona quarterback this year (or at least half of a game). Perhaps, digging the grave for the Cardinals sans Carson Palmer is a bit premature?

8
by RickD :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:14am

Coming into the game, Stanton had had a higher QBR than Palmer. Relative fame notwithstanding, there was no reason to expect a dropoff at QB.

As for the Eagles...

17
by RickD :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:59am

"This makes Carolina's decision to call three running plays before trying a 46-yard field goal to take the lead (a missed field goal that came in the middle of that hot streak) even stranger."

I hate it when coaches decide "we're in field goal range now" and stop trying to get more yards. Even for the best kickers, a 46-yard FG isn't a gimme.

27
by BJR :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:51pm

It's terrible, and so blindingly obvious. 4th down decisions are like rocket science in comparison.

19
by Mugsy :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:19pm

Didn't the Jets release Drew Stanton when the Tim Tebow experiment began?

29
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:03pm

I don't remember if he was released or traded to Indy, but yes, he wanted out of New York when their brief affair with Tim Tebow began. Even at the time, I remember thinking the Jets basically got rid of a reasonably good parachute in case the Mark Sanchez era flamed out. On the other hand, maybe there really is a difference in being coached up by Bruce Arians and being coached up by a recent Jets offensive coordinator.

30
by BJR :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:11pm

Arians perhaps, but I think what we can say for certain is he's surrounded by better receiver talent in Arizona than he would have been in New York.

20
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:22pm

Haven't checked the play-by-play, but I can only remember Washington completing one pass to a WR, and it was just a little swing pass to DeSean Jackson. Several other targets, but it seemed like the entirety of the passing game was dumpoffs and screens to Helu.

21
by ChrisS :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:25pm

I was surprised that Bell was not higher than Gray. I watched both games and while Gray was great I don't remember any runs by Bell that were not successful. It seemed like more than half his runs were for first downs. Then I checked dvoa against the run and the Titans were 31st. Could I see the YAR for Bell to see if my eyes were deceiving me?

24
by jacobstevens :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:37pm

I was at that Edgerrin James game against Seattle, it always stuck with me. All day it seemed like he was carrying half the pathetic defense on his back for an extra 5 yards.

25
by squibb :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:43pm

This is brilliant. I love it. Forgive me.

colossal
massive
immense
mammoth
mighty
monstrous
mountainous
prodigious
tremendous

whopping

28
by Nevic :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:59pm

Not sure how much time Manning has spend resting late in blowouts, but Rodgers has sat out over a full game now (mostly at home) during blowouts. I bet he is already ahead on DYAR/playing time.

31
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:11pm

Something is really wrong in Denver. There should not be a way to roll up 400 + yards of offense and score only 7 points.

34
by intel_chris :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:21pm

Absolutely agreed. Rick_and_Rolls posting (#108 in this week's Audibles) lists some reasons. However, it is nearly unfathomable at an abstract level.

37
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 2:06pm

An offense that lacks physically imposing offensive linemen, and has receivers that get injured in the course of a game, but has a qb who makes great decisions, going up against a defense which has improved greatly from where they were 11 weeks ago, makes it kind of fathomable. When your fat guys can't kick the feces out of the opposing defensive front, and some of the receivers your great qb throws to are on the sideline, you may be able to get up and down the field, without scoring many points.

39
by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 2:45pm

Hmmm... no, I still don't think it makes much sense. Two things that could adequately explain it are an abnormally high number of plays (bringing down the avg per play) and a lot of turnovers and miscues.

------
Who, me?

44
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 4:56pm

Not being very good at blocking people produces a lot of miscues.

40
by dank067 :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 3:06pm

In 2011 a very bad Rams team rolled up 424 yards of offense against the Packers and scored a grand total of 3 points.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201110160gnb.htm

There are definitely other issues at play, but at least one of the reasons the final point total was so low in both of these games games is simply game situation. Toward the end, when losing by a lot, the '11 Rams and '14 Broncos both had failed fourth downs deep in opposing territory. If it had been earlier in the game, they both probably would have cashed in at least 6 additional points there. Both teams also had failed fourth down conversions at the edge of FG range in the first half. '11 Rams also missed a FG.

*Just noticed Andrew brought up the same game in Any Given Sunday

32
by intel_chris :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:14pm

The correlation between VOA and either shortest runs or longest runs come out to 0.638, while the correlation between VOA and middle runs is 0.813. So, in this case, it's the middle of the pack that actually has the most influence on the outcome.

Actually, that isn't surprising if you think of how VOA is constructed. It is designed to reward successful plays which are essentially where the mid range runs should hit. The better your mid range runs are the more successful plays you have. Long runs while counted by VOA get less rewarded than the actual number of yards.

That said, I think your experiment is a reasonable idea. It is good to take alternate looks at the data.

However, I think those numbers are influenced by how you divide up the runs. If you use three equal sized piles for short, middle, and long, you may miss the natural dividing points, i.e. stuffs might get classified as the shortest middle runs for players that get stuffed a lot, and middle runs might get classified as long runs, for players who rarely get long runs, i.e. as an extreme case imagine a player who gets 6 stuffs (1 yard each), 2 successful runs (6 yards each), and 1 long run (20 yards)--dividing into three even categories (of 3 runs each) puts all the non-stuffs into the long runs. A better division, might be "unsuccessful runs", "[nearly or slightly better than] successful runs", and "more than successful runs"--using the roughly same cutoffs as VOA uses, e.g. less than .75 success points is an unsuccessful run, .75 to 1.25 success points, a successful run, more than 1.25 success points is a more than successful run. You could then see how large the categories are as well as what their mean values are.

33
by lauers :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:16pm

Based purely off memory without going through the play-by-play, I thought that Jonas had only two rushes of less than four yards that did not make a first down or a touchdown (and one resulted in a facemask). The short/medium/long stats don't account for these, but it is interesting as an assessment of YPC and DVOA nonetheless.

41
by Digit :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 3:40pm

Apparently they just changed Gray's stats to 37 rushes for 201 yards, as one of his negative rushes had been wiped out by a facemask penalty and they forgot to remove it.

See:

https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/534785325533376512

How does this change the stats/data?

43
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 4:10pm

They'll go up a little bit. We fix small mistakes like that after the season.

42
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 4:09pm

Amazed to not see Ben Tate in that slot.

He only had two rushes and one target, so he wouldn't have qualified for the tables anyway, but even then -18 DYAR total is still way short of Bradshaw, even at -4.5 yards per carry. But again: fumbles are bad.

[Bradshaw had a] 2-yard gain on fourth-and-1 when the Colts were down by 15 with 31 seconds left in the game.
This actually came with 31 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.

Indeed.

Haven't checked the play-by-play, but I can only remember Washington completing one pass to a WR, and it was just a little swing pass to DeSean Jackson. Several other targets, but it seemed like the entirety of the passing game was dumpoffs and screens to Helu.

Washington wideouts had seven catches in 11 targets for 62 yards and three first downs. That is a crappy day.

I was surprised that Bell was not higher than Gray. I watched both games and while Gray was great I don't remember any runs by Bell that were not successful. It seemed like more than half his runs were for first downs. Then I checked dvoa against the run and the Titans were 31st. Could I see the YAR for Bell to see if my eyes were deceiving me?

Due to time constraints, I don't get specific info like that from the Monday night games, but Scott Kacsmar broke down Bell's day in Clutch Encounters. Yes, he had a nearly perfect success rate in the second half, and especially the fourth quarter.

Based purely off memory without going through the play-by-play, I thought that Jonas had only two rushes of less than four yards that did not make a first down or a touchdown (and one resulted in a facemask). The short/medium/long stats don't account for these, but it is interesting as an assessment of YPC and DVOA nonetheless.

He had 13 failed runs, but even then, nine of those were 3- or 4-yard gains on first-and-10, second-and-10, or second-and-7, so yeah, even his failed runs usually worked out OK.

A note on typos and errors: Quick Reads takes pretty much all day to put together, and then I'm too burned out to give it a proper editing before posting on Monday nights. Would readers rather wait until Tuesday morning to see this? It would mean there would be less mistakes. It would also mean the piece would not be posted until probably 1 or 2 p.m. Eastern (I live on the west coast, post Quick Reads after midnight, and then wake up to start editing stuff.)

And yes, I do like the word "whopping."

45
by intel_chris :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:38pm

Personally, I like getting quick reads early. It's my first dose of stats for the week and there is always good info in it. I can live with the occasional (or even regular) error in it. Y'all fix those pretty quickly anyway, even if some people on both sides can't quite see the humor in the ribbing that goes back and forth over the miscues. And, of course, words like "should" which can mean either "is expected that they already are" (we did it and you "should" see the results) or "are required to be" (it is someone's responsibility and their head will roll if they aren't) only add to our enjoyment of the pedantic.

46
by Athelas :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:44pm

I prefer to see this as early as possible! Maybe you could use the readers by adding at the end something like--please note all typos with a post beginning EDIT: ?

Thanks so much for all this content for FREE!

47
by nat :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 7:05pm

A+ for getting out quickly.
I like the idea of a simple disclaimer, asking for edits in a simple standard format. That way people won't see corrections as criticism, can skip them if they don't care, you get help with secondary proof reading, and readers ultimately get a corrected version without sacrificing that instant Quick Reads thrill.
You could even seed the comments with a call for proof reading so all the edits go in one thread.

EDIT: did you mean "trips to the END zone"? :-)

48
by Jerry :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 7:10pm

I also like the early posting. As long as both author and readers are good-humored about typos and their reporting, which is usually the case, that's not a problem.

And I appreciate the extra info Vince provides in response to questions.

50
by Alternator :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 8:52pm

As long as you guys don't take it personally, it's fun to catch the errors and point them out.

51
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:11pm

Well in that case I'll just make more.

49
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 7:39pm

Sorry for being grumpy. A large part of what I do with Quick Reads is taking shots at players who have bad games, so there is nothing wrong with taking shots at me when I make mistakes. I was just taking an informal poll about what was more important, error correction or immediacy, and the people have spoken for immediacy. So there you go.

52
by bobrulz :: Wed, 11/19/2014 - 2:22am

I feel obligated to point out that Jerome Harrison's career ended because of a brain tumor. Complications during the surgery also led to motor difficulties, and he had to spend months regaining key motor skills. There is no way he could ever return to the NFL. Who knows what king of career he could have had if not for that tragic turn of events?

53
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 11/19/2014 - 1:42pm

Well that's awful. I was not aware.

54
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:00pm

It was well-publicized sad story in Detroit.

It also says a lot about so-called "NFL writers" that don't see beyond their territorial boundaries.

ESPN was better at this kind of story until they decided it was in their monetary interest to Balkanize
into regionalism.

55
by Jerry :: Thu, 11/20/2014 - 4:09am

Harrison's tumor was publicized at the time, but I'd forgotten about it until it was mentioned here. I can't blame anyone, even an NFL writer, for being unable to keep track of everyone who's come and gone.

56
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 11/20/2014 - 8:22am

Yea, that was a sad story, but it could have been worse. The team's attempt to trade him probably ended up saving his life. The Eagles team doctors, during his physical, found out he was having worsening headaches, which lead to CT scan, which found the tumor. The trade was obviously voided, but the tumor was found when it was still resectable.