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» Week 11 DVOA Ratings

DVOA has finally climbed on board the Wentz Wagon! The Eagles move into the No. 1 spot, but they aren't the only strong, well-balanced team in the NFL this year. New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and the Los Angeles Rams make this one of the best seasons ever for multiple teams over 30% in DVOA, and Minnesota isn't far behind.

13 Oct 2014

Week 6 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

The NFL's individual star of Week 6 shined long before Sunday's games even kicked off. Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton stole the league's spotlight on Thursday night. And in fact, he did most of his damage early on Thursday, finishing the first quarter with 147 receiving yards against Houston. He wasn't a huge part of the Colts' game plan after that -- he was targeted five times in the first quarter, but only four times the rest of the game -- but his big plays early in the game did enough damage to alter the Texans' entire strategy and open opportunities for himself and his teammates.

Hilton's first target came with 12:20 to go in the opening quarter on Indianapolis' first drive. The Colts had a third-and-15 at midfield and came out in a three-wide set with two wideouts to the right, a tight end on the left, and Hilton split wide to that side, facing off with Johnathan Joseph (at the bottom of the following picture). Houston responded with dime personnel in a basic nickel look, moving safety D.J. Swearinger into essentially a middle linebacker position. At first they showed two safeties high in a two-deep look, but just before the ball was snapped Kendrick Lewis walked up to cover the tight end. The Texans then big-blitzed with six pass rushers, leaving Lewis and the cornerbacks in man coverage, with Danieal Manning a single-high safety in the middle of the field.

Indianapolis went max protect, with the three wideouts running routes while the running back and tight end stay in to block. With the tight end blocking, Lewis had nobody to cover, and he ended up twiddling his thumbs in a short zone. Hilton ran a simple go route down the sideline, getting a step outside Joseph. Manning had no prayer of reaching this route from the middle of the field. Joseph's coverage wasn't bad, but Andrew Luck made an incredible pass over Hilton's outside shoulder, and Joseph never had a chance to make a play on the ball.

The result: a 40-yard gain that set Indianapolis up with a first-and-goal at the 10. The drive died there and Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal to put Indianapolis ahead 3-0, but the Hilton and the Colts were just getting started.

Indianapolis followed with a surprise onside kick and recovered the ball, giving them a first down at their own 46, and they went right back to Hilton. They came out in a triple-tight end set, with two tight ends and Hilton to the offense's right side. Hilton ran a seam route down the field as Dwayne Allen (83) cut to the outside 15 yards deep. Joseph (24) and Swearinger (36) both moved outside to cover Allen, leaving Hilton running unmolested towards the end zone. Luck's pass was slightly overthrown and Hilton had to dive for it, which gave Kareem Jackson a chance to come over from the left side of the field and touch him down. (The play was originally ruled a touchdown, but replay confirmed that Jackson touched Hilton down at the 5.) Trent Richardson ran the ball in for a touchdown on the next play.

At this point the game was less than five minutes old, and Hilton had already scorched the Texans' secondary for two catches at least 38 yards downfield. This seemed to put the fear of God (or at least the fear of T.Y., but that doesn't sound anywhere near as cool) into Houston. Hilton's next catch, a 14-yard gain on first-and-10 at the 31, set up a touchdown pass from Luck to Ahmad Bradshaw. It was a simple pitch-and-catch against zone coverage, with a secondary so scared of giving up another big play they surrendered an easy first down in scoring range. Note that there were no receivers running towards the end zone here; Hilton was the deepest target on the play.

On their next drive, the Colts had a third-and-9 at their own 33. Houston dialed up another big blitz, sending seven rushers at Luck, but the Colts went max protect and Luck again had time to throw. Hilton lined up in the slot on the right side on this play, and burned Kareem Jackson (25) badly on a deep crossing route. The free safety (Lewis) took a bad angle on the play and ended up chasing Hilton, who had seemingly all of Texas in front of him. He gained 26 yards after the catch on this play, 37 yards in all.

Hilton's fifth reception came a few plays later, and it was really a great play by Luck more than anything Hilton did. The Colts used three tight ends again, and it looked like Luck wanted to hit Coby Fleener in the corner of the end zone, but the Texans had that route covered. John Simon, freshly signed off the Ravens' practice squad, pressured Luck from his left, but Luck danced away and scrambled to his right. Hilton simply settled into a zone and gave Luck an easy target. This was Hilton's only reception of the day that did not pick up a first down, but it was still a successful play.

Luck would get his touchdown to Fleener a few plays later on the last play of the first quarter. By that point, Indianapolis had scored a field goal and three touchdowns in four drives, with Hilton himself beating the Texans in total yardage (147 to 2) and first downs (four to zero).

Hilton had just one target in the second quarter, a 9-yard gain on second-and-7. He lined up in the slot, across from Whitney Mercilus, a sure sign the Texans were playing zone coverage. Hilton easily crossed over into their vulnerable underbelly for a first down. Allen, crossing across the formation underneath Hilton and in the opposite direction, reached back and nearly tipped the ball. He came much closer to breaking up the pass than any of the Texans did.

Hilton's early home runs apparently flustered the Texans so badly that they feared a deep route run by anyone with a horseshoe on his helmet. In the third quarter, the Colts had a first-and-10 at their own 46, now protecting a narrow 27-21 lead after a furious Houston rally. Hilton and Reggie Wayne both lined up on the right side of the field, with Hilton running a deep out from the slot while Wayne ran a go route from the outside. Now, Reggie Wayne is a Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion, and a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate, but he's also 36 years old, with three touchdowns in the past year and a half. Why is it, then, that everyone in deep steel blue covered Wayne, while nobody covered Hilton, the guy who had been killing the Texans all night long? The following screencap was taken at the moment Hilton caught the ball. None of the deeper defenders had even turned around by then. If Hilton's momentum hadn't carried him out of bounds, he might have run for big yardage. As it was, he had 18 yards and a first down.

Hilton had spent all night producing big plays that allowed his teammates to score, but a few plays later he was finally able to score himself. The Colts had a second-and-7 at the Houston 33, and again they lined up with two receivers right, Wayne out wide and Hilton in the slot. Hilton ran a deep crossing route. It's hard to tell if the Texans were going with Cover-2 or Quarters coverage, but either way the play call had two safeties playing deep zone who should have been in position to make a play on the ball. "Should have," I say.

The problems for Houston began before the snap. Swearinger, the safety to Hilton's side of the field, was in position, but Lewis, the other safety, seemed confused, and stepped up away from the middle of the field to confer with Jackson. They were still chatting when the ball was snapped, and Lewis was slow to drop back into his zone. Swearinger, covering the deep right zone, allowed Hilton the middle of the field, then broke on the ball. This is not a terrible play on his part -- his assignment was to prevent a seam or corner route more than anything else -- but it is not a great one, either.

Meanwhile, Hilton had already gotten behind Lewis, who struggled to catch up even as Hilton zoomed right through the area that Lewis should have been guarding. Worse, Lewis stumbled just before the ball arrives. The ball was slightly underthrown and Hilton had to slow down, which gave Swearinger a chance to make a play, but Hilton was able to hold onto the ball throughout the collision. Six points, Indy.

Hilton's final catch was a 16-yard gain on third-and-9. This time the Colts lined up with Hilton wide right and Wayne in the slot to that side. The Texans appeared to be running Man-2, with two safeties deep and man coverage across the field. Hilton ran a deep cross, pushing Johnathan Joseph near the sideline, then cutting back to the middle of the field. Joseph's coverage, frankly was excellent, but Luck's throw was even better, fitting into a very narrow window. The catch kept Indianapolis' drive alive as they protected a 12-point lead with more than 12 minutes to go. Three plays later J.J. Watt would return a fumble for a touchdown, but it was too little, too late, and the Colts were able to preserve the win.

So after all that, what have we learned?

  • T.Y. Hilton is a very versatile receiver. In this game alone he demonstrated the speed to get open deep, the quickness to gain yards after the catch, the savvy to beat either man or zone coverage, and sure hands capable of catching the ball even while being dragged to the earth.
  • Andrew Luck is a really, really good quarterback, and Hilton is lucky to play with him. (OK, this wasn't really anything new we learned, but it's still an important takeaway.)
  • The Texans have a lot of defensive problems. Go back and look at those nine catches again. You've got guys falling down, blown coverages galore, and a team-wide tendency to forget about Hilton even when he's the only wide receiver on the field.
  • Those problems, however, do not necessarily include Johnathan Joseph's coverage ability. His charting numbers for this game are going to be ugly, with a couple of big plays allowed. On neither of those plays, though, was he terribly out of position. Unfortunately for Joseph, sometimes a great throw beats great coverage.

When the smoke cleared, Hilton finished with nine catches in nine targets for 223 yards and a touchdown, with seven other first downs, including conversions on third-and-9 (twice) and third-and-15. That all works out to 122 DYAR, one of the best games we've ever measured:

Top 15 Single-Game DYAR for Wide Receivers, 1989-2014
Rank Year Player Team Total
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Pass Rec Yds TD Runs Yds TD Week Def
1 1989 Flipper Anderson LARM 160 160 0 20 15 336 1 0 0 0 12 NO
2 2000 Jimmy Smith JAC 141 141 0 21 15 291 3 0 0 0 2 BAL
3 1995 Jerry Rice SF 136 124 12 16 14 289 3 1 10 0 16 MIN
4 2006 Chad Johnson CIN 133 137 -4 12 11 260 2 1 0 0 10 SD
5 2000 Terrell Owens SF 131 133 -2 22 20 283 1 1 5 0 16 CHI
6 1989 Henry Ellard LARM 130 130 0 15 12 230 3 0 0 0 2 IND
7 2001 Randy Moss MIN 129 112 16 13 10 171 3 1 18 0 10 NYG
8 2010 Kenny Britt TEN 127 127 0 10 7 225 3 0 0 0 7 PHI
9 2014 T.Y. Hilton IND 121.83* 122 0 9 9 223 1 0 0 0 6 HOU
10 1994 Andre Reed BUF 121.79* 114 8 19 15 191 2 1 4 0 12 GB
11 1995 Kevin Williams DAL 121.67* 104 18 11 9 203 2 3 21 0 17 ARI
12 2011 Calvin Johnson DET 118 118 0 17 11 244 1 0 0 0 17 GB
13 2013 Josh Gordon CLE 117 117 0 17 14 237 1 0 0 0 12 PIT
14 2006 Reggie Wayne IND 116 116 0 11 10 138 3 0 0 0 8 DEN
15 2013 Eric Decker DEN 115 115 0 12 8 174 4 0 0 0 13 KC
* Extra decimals listed to show how closely grouped Hilton is with Reed and Williams.

Remember that opponent adjustments are in flux, and will change throughout the year. If the Texans continue to struggle with pass defense (which seems likely), Hilton's DYAR will reflect that, and he'll fall a bit in this table.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Tom Brady NE
27/37
361
4
0
191
190
1
Brady's ranks in Quick Reads through the first six weeks of the season: next to last, 12th, 17th, last, first, first. Anyone else excited to see New England's week-by-week DVOA graph in Football Outsiders Almanac 2015? Against Buffalo, he did most of his damage throwing to his right, where he went 12-of-15 for 169 yards with two touchdowns, plus two DPIs for 46 more yards.
2.
Joe Flacco BAL
21/28
306
5
0
177
177
0
First five drives: 10-of-13 for 196 yards with five touchdowns and three other first downs. Rest of the game: 11-of-15 for 110 yards with only five first downs.
3.
Cam Newton CAR
29/45
284
2
1
142
121
21
Third downs, less than 10 yards to go: 9-of-11 for 91 yards with a touchdown and five other conversions. Third downs, 10 or more yards to go: 1-of-4 for 8 yards with an interception. Newton also ran 17 times for 107 yards and a touchdown.
4.
Andrew Luck IND
26/44
388
3
1
139
132
8
Not counting throws to T.Y. Hilton, Luck went 17-of-35 for 165 yards with two touchdowns, eight other first downs, one interception, three sacks, one lost fumble, and two DPIs for 41 yards.
5.
Philip Rivers SD
22/34
313
3
0
128
121
7
Rivers had a league-high seven gains of 20 or more yards this week. Third downs: 7-of-10 for 104 yards with six first downs, including all three touchdowns, plus one sack.
6.
Colin Kaepernick SF
22/36
343
3
0
103
81
22
7.
Andy Dalton CIN
33/43
323
2
2
94
82
12
Dalton converted each of his first six third-down throws, gaining 77 yards in the process. He only converted two of his next seven third-down plays, going 3-of-6 for 22 yards with two picks and a sack.
8.
Derek Carr OAK
19/34
282
4
1
87
86
2
One key to Carr's big game was avoiding third-and-long situations. Eight of his 11 third-down plays came with 7 or fewer yards to go for a conversion, and on those plays he completed six passes for 184 yards. Each of those completions picked up a first down, including three touchdowns.
9.
Aaron Rodgers GB
25/42
264
3
0
78
65
13
Short passes did not work for Rodgers and Green Bay. On passes to receivers within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage, Rodgers went 3-of-7 for 14 yards with just one first down, plus an intentional grounding penalty.
10.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
20/31
231
2
2
78
63
15
First half: 8-of-16 for 84 yards with four first downs, two interceptions, and one sack. Second half: 12-of-15 for 147 yards with two touchdowns and six other first downs, plus a 21-yard DPI.
11.
Tony Romo DAL
21/32
250
2
0
73
73
0
Romo tore the Seahawks up on short passes. On throws to receivers within 4 yards of the line of scrimmage, he went 15-of-16 for 112 yards with two touchdowns and five other first downs.
12.
Jay Cutler CHI
26/38
381
1
0
67
68
-1
Cutler ripped up the Falcons' secondary with deep passes, going 5-of-7 for 191 yards.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Peyton Manning DEN
22/32
237
3
0
67
67
0
On first downs, Manning went 9-of-13 for 119 yards with one touchdown and four other first downs. He threw only one pass to the middle of the field against New York: a 1-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas.
14.
Brian Hoyer CLE
8/17
217
1
0
54
54
0
Only one player this century had more yards than Hoyer in a game with exactly eight completions: Trent Dilfer for Seattle against St. Louis in 2002.
15.
Carson Palmer ARI
28/44
250
2
0
43
53
-10
Inside the red zone, Palmer went 2-of-6 for 18 yards with one touchdown. He was best throwing to the middle of the field, going 8-of-12 for 90 yards with one touchdown and five other first downs.
16.
Ryan Fitzpatrick HOU
15/23
212
1
0
35
31
4
Fitzpatrick got off to a bit of a rough start: four incompletions in a row, and then back-to-back sacks. On third and fourth downs, he went 3-of-7 for 32 yards with one sack and only one first down.
17.
Blake Bortles JAC
32/45
336
1
1
19
-3
22
Bortles was sacked six times by Tennessee, four times on first-and-10. His tight end was his most dangerous receiver. He went 3-of-4 for 91 yards on passes to Clay Harbor, for one touchdown and two other first downs, plus an 11-yard DPI.
18.
Mike Glennon TB
24/44
314
2
1
9
9
0
The good news for Glennon is that all of his completions on third and fourth down picked up first downs. The bad news is that he only had two completions (for 58 yards), with nine incompletions, one interception, and two sacks. By the time Glennon picked up his second first down of the game, the Buccaneers were down by 38 points in the second quarter. Up to that point, he had gone 2-of-10 for 27 yards with an interception and two sacks.
19.
Kyle Orton BUF
24/38
299
2
1
7
7
0
On first downs, Orton went 5-of-13 for 41 yards with one touchdown, one other first down with one interception, two sacks, and one lost fumble.
20.
Kirk Cousins WAS
24/38
354
2
3
5
5
0
Cousins had five completions that gained 20 or more yards aginst Arizona, but he got a lot of help from his receivers. None of those completions came more than 12 yards downfield, and three of them were thrown to receivers behind the line of scrimmage.
21.
Nick Foles PHI
21/34
248
2
2
-7
-5
-2
Foles went 9-of-14 to the short right area of the field, for 88 yards with one touchdown and five other first downs. On the other hand, both of his interceptions were thrown in that direction too.
22.
Charlie Whitehurst TEN
18/28
233
0
0
-34
-31
-3
Inside the Jacksonville 40, Whitehurst went 5-of-8 for 60 yards, which sounds good, but 47 of those yards came on two throws, which were his only first downs. He was also sacked twice, fumbling once.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Matt Ryan ATL
19/37
271
1
1
-38
-38
0
Hard to believe, but Ryan did not throw a single pass in the red zone. That's partly because he struggled so badly in the front zone (the area between Chicago's 20- and 40-yard lines), going 1-of-4 for 2 yards with no first downs and a sack.
24.
Geno Smith NYJ
24/43
190
2
1
-44
-48
4
The deep pass is simply not a part of the Jet's arsenal these days. Of the 30 players with at least 100 passes this year, only Ryan Tannehill has a worse DVOA on deep passes than Smith. Smith threw three deep passes against Denver, one in the second quarter, one in the third, and one in the fourth. The first two were incomplete; the third resulted in a pick-six.
25.
Matthew Stafford DET
19/33
185
1
0
-49
-42
-7
It's a good thing the Lions' defense was so effective against Minnesota (as we shall discuss shortly), because Stafford didn't do much after halftime to put the Vikings away. In the third and fourth quarters, he went 6-of-10 for just 33 yards, with more plays that lost yardage (three sacks and a completion for -2 yards) than first downs (two).
26.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
21/42
228
1
1
-58
-60
2
This one got out of hand quickly. Roethlisberger only had eight plays within 17 points of Cleveland. On those eight plays, he went 3-of-7 for 16 yards, plus a 24-yard DPI.
27.
Austin Davis STL
21/40
236
1
1
-61
-61
0
28.
Eli Manning NYG
13/23
151
0
0
-70
-63
-7
Manning was killed in long-yardage situations. He had nine plays with more than 10 yards to go for a first down, and only converted two of them. His final numbers: 4-of-6 for 47 yards, plus three sacks.
29.
Russell Wilson SEA
14/28
126
0
1
-104
-113
10
Wilson played even worse than his humble totals would indicate. He had 60 yards and two first downs on Seattle's first drive and 66 yards and three first downs the rest of the day. His Success Rate was only 20 percent; every other starter was at 31 percent or higher. In fact, only 43 percent of Wilson's completions were successful plays. Every other quarterback was at 61 percent or more. On first and second downs, he went 8-of-16 for 21 yards (not a typo) with one first down, two completions that lost yards, one interception, and one sack-fumble.
30.
Teddy Bridgewater MIN
23/37
188
0
3
-245
-252
7
Bridgewater picked up a first down eight times, or one for each time he was sacked. On Detroit's side of the field, he went 6-of-9 for 43 yards with one first down and two interceptions.


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.
Branden Oliver SD
26
101
1
4/5
23
0
43
28
15
Yes, we're doing separate tables now for running backs' overall value, and their rushing value alone. You're welcome. Oliver might have worn down the Raiders defense. He had two 10-yard runs and four first downs, all in the last 21 minutes of the game. His one receiving first down, a 20-yard gain on second-and-9, also came in the fourth quarter.
2.
DeMarco Murray DAL
29
115
1
6/6
31
0
40
40
0
On a similar note, two of Murray's three 10-yard gains came in the fourth quarter. None of his receptions picked up first downs; in fact, only one was successful, a 5-yard gain on first-and-10.
3.
Antone Smith ATL
2
5
0
4/4
64
1
39
2
37
The human highlight reel strikes again. All six of Smith's plays were successful. His two runs were a 3-yard gain on second-and-5 and a 2-yard gain on third-and-1. His four receptions gained 5 yards on first-and-10; 9 yards on second-and-15; 41 yards (and a touchdown) on third-and-6; and a 9-yard gain on second-and-10.
4.
Roy Helu WAS
3
26
0
2/2
40
0
38
13
25
Another small-sample-size star, all three of Helu's runs came on first-and-10, including gains of 8 and 16 yards. His receptions gained 33 yards on second-and-2 and 7 yards on first-and-10.
5.
LeSean McCoy PHI
22
149
0
2/2
5
0
36
41
-5
McCoy had six 10-plus-yard runs and two shorter first downs, and was stuffed for no gain or a loss only three times.


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.
LeSean McCoy PHI
22
149
0
2/2
5
0
36
41
-5
2.
DeMarco Murray DAL
29
115
1
6/6
31
0
40
40
0
3.
Justin Forsett BAL
14
111
0
0/0
0
0
34
34
0
Joe Flacco wasn't the only Raven to have a big game against Tampa Bay. Four of Forsett's runs gained 10 yards or more, capped off by a 52-yarder, and he also converted a second-and-1.
4.
Matt Forte CHI
17
80
2
10/13
77
0
33
33
0
Forte was stuffed for no gain just once. Meanwhile, he had two 12-yard runs, and touchdowns of 6 and 9 yards.
5.
Branden Oliver SD
26
101
1
4/5
23
0
43
28
15


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.
Carlos Hyde SF
11
14
0
1/1
1
0
-34
-27
-7
Hyde had a long gain of 6, three carries that lost yards, and no first downs, despite six carries with 5 yards or less to go.


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.
Carlos Hyde SF
11
14
0
1/1
1
0
-34
-27
-7


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
T.Y. Hilton IND
9
9
223
24.8
1
122
2.
DeSean Jackson WAS
3
5
115
38.3
1
61
Jackson's receptions included a 64-yard touchdown and a 42-yard gain, and he also drew DPIs of 12 and 16 yards.
3.
Larry Fitzgerald ARI
6
6
98
16.3
1
53
Four of Fitzgerald's receptions gained first downs. The others were a 9-yard gain on first-and-10 and a 14-yard gain on second-and-15.
4.
Brandon LaFell NE
4
6
97
24.2
2
49
First half: three targets, one catch, 6 yards. Second half: 17-yard gain on third-and-9, 18-yard touchdown on third-and-12, 56-yard touchdown on second-and-12.
5.
Andre Holmes OAK
4
8
121
30.2
2
47
Holmes' two longer completions were a 77-yard touchdown and a 30-yard gain, both of which converted third downs. His shorter receptions gained 6 and 8 yards, and they both picked up first downs too.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Markus Wheaton PIT
4
11
33
8.2
0
-48
Wheaton had no first downs, and no gain longer than 9 yards. He failed to convert four targets on third or fourth down, all of which came with 9 yards or less to go for a first down.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 13 Oct 2014

39 comments, Last at 15 Oct 2014, 1:02pm by Will Allen

Comments

1
by PaddyPat :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 4:19am

Andy Dalton had "2 picks and an interception" on 3d down? That's quite a... distinction. Great column otherwise, Vince, as always!

2
by RockyRaccoon :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 9:47am

That forte line doesn't look right - he had 10 recs for 77 yards.

8
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:49am

Yeah, that DYAR seems awfully low for 77 yards, but it turns out Atlanta has been fairly poor against running backs in the passing game this year.

33
by DEW :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:55pm

I'm going to guess that a number of those catches are "failed" plays, as well: 8-yard dumpoffs on 3rd-and-10 and that sort of thing that pad the receiving stats without actually accomplishing anything for the team that would accrue DYAR.

35
by TomC :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 4:25pm

Having watched the game, my memory is that the majority of Forte's catches seemed successful at the time. In particular, the Bears ran the play where Forte starts to block then leaks out into the flat at least three or four times, and the worst outcome was six yards on first down.

OK, I figured I'd go ahead and look at the game chart. Here are Forte's catches:

4 yards on 1st and 10
16 yards on 2nd and 11
13 yards on 1st and 10
8 yards on 1st and 20
6 yards on 1st and 10
7 yards on 2nd and 4
8 yards on 1st and 10
6 yards on 2nd and 9
10 yards on 2nd and 11
-1 yards on 2nd and 10

Atlanta must be really, really bad at defending RBs.

3
by Biebs :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:00am

How much would Geno Smith's INT hurt his DYAR here? I ask because the difference between an INT and a incompletion is actually fairly small in this case.

5
by Led :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:20am

That's what I would think. However, the negative VGAR -- Value to Gamblers Above Replacement -- must be almost infinite.

11
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:31am

My co-worker bet me that the Broncos would win by 14 points. So yeah, he burned me there. As a Jets fan, I can't blame him in that situation, and honestly, it looked like the receiver ran the wrong pattern.

4
by Paul R :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:19am

Am I the only one who sees "Only one player this century had more yards than Hoyer..." and thinks it means back to 1900? I need to get with the times.

Heck, if you want it to sound really impressive, you could write, "only one player this millennium..."

7
by Malene_copenhagen :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:25am

ironically, "this millennium" sound less impressive to me. It sort of reminds me that it's since 2000. I do however also misread "this century" to mean since 1900.

19
by ryan5581 :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:33pm

If we go back to 1999, we find Tony Banks with Baltimore, throwing 8/26 for 268 yards in a 31-24 win over Pittsburgh. Qadry Ismail accounted for 258 of the 268 yards (6 rec on 11 tgt)!

6
by Malene_copenhagen :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:24am

I get that Cian Fahey is trying to make a career out of "speaking the truth about Tom Brady", but it's still a little awkward to see his audibles comments of "Brady has been OK today. Best thing he did was not turn the ball over" next to a couple of pretty convincing first place DYAR finishes. I'd love to see what Cian would call "good" or even "great" QB play.

14
by nat :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:06pm

I wondered the same thing. Although Cian did think well of Orton's play on Sunday, so there's that.

Whatever "that" is.

16
by PirateFreedom :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:12pm

I assume his rating system is adjusted negatively for good grooming. Let's see Tom make those throws while growing a neckbeard, then I'll be impressed.

22
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:53pm

I have to admit, I wish he qualified why he thought Brady looked just ok. Granted, I only saw the highlights, but he was playing a good pass D in buffalo. Was he taking unnecessary sacks or throwing the ball into the dirt over and over?

37
by nat :: Wed, 10/15/2014 - 11:23am

Brady had a couple of inaccurate passes in the first half, but nothing too horrible. Sacks are always partially the QB's fault. But these two weren't anything horrible on Brady, either. He also had some really nice passes (the play that resulted in a 29 yard DPI, for example) where his accuracy and timing made the play.

In the second half, Brady was special.

Cian didn't see anything real. He was just being contrary.

38
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:27pm

Yeah, if that comment was made after the first half, it is kind of dubious but not entirely wrong. Being that the comment was made at the end of the game, that was a purely haters gonna hate type comment.

Brady was great against Buffalo on teh whole. He was very good against Cincinnati (though his #1 DYAR ranking that week was more QBs being down league-wide - but still a very good performance).

He's trending up this season, and last week was his best game yet. And this is coming from a guy who still believes that on the whole Brady's worse than he's been since probably 2003.

39
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/15/2014 - 1:02pm

Yet another qb whose play miraculously improved once he didn't have people in his face after 2.5 seconds.

23
by SmoothLikeIce :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 2:01pm

I don't know. On his Twitter account Sunday night, Kacsmar literally used a jpeg of the football in Brian Tyms's hands between double coverage to back up a prediction that Brady's future deep throws will probably remain subpar, as if the questionable decision to make the low-percentage throw rendered the subsequent quality (and success) of the throw itself negligible.

https://twitter.com/FO_ScottKacsmar/status/521534735684993025 (including a super entertaining argument with a person with one follower which includes the sentence, "The whole play was obviously not a great throw.")

Point being I still think Scott firmly holds the "football writer who tries to make a career out of 'speaking the truth about Tom Brady'" title, with apologies to Cian and PFF's Sam Monson.

25
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 2:06pm

I don't think Sam Monson is a Brady hater. I think he used their charting evidence and the numbers for that year suggest Brady wasn't elite. The arguments made sense, even if I didn't personally happen to agree with them. I'm not sure pff has actually looked at charting in a time sense to determine what is a trend and what is just normal year to year or even game to game variance.

30
by CaffeineMan :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:35pm

The PFF guys just follow one of the plays in the "Sports Analytics for Commercial Gain" playbook: Find an area where the numbers contradict conventional wisdom and/or strong popular perception and then bang that drum as loudly as possible until you attract business or get bought out.

Brady was just a target of opportunity, nothing against him personally.

BTW, no issue with commercial gain, per se, but I don't assume objectivity when dealing with PFF, as opposed to, say, a site like Chase Stuart's.

36
by bobrulz :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 5:40pm

I enjoy a lot of PFF's content, but it is definitely wise to take their grades with a grain of salt without there being more transparency behind the process.

It is a good website for discovering unheralded talents that nobody is talking about.

31
by SmoothLikeIce :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:40pm

Fair.

32
by CaffeineMan :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:53pm

Kacsmar's not focused on Brady. He's focused on Manning. Brady just happens to be a possible counter-argument against Manning as GOAT, so if it's convient to knock Brady, he will.

Setting aside that actual argument for a minute, one of the reasons I don't like Kacsmar's writing is that the tone seems to be one where he's got an opinion and rummages around for data to support it. Sometimes the evidence is there, and sometimes it's a little forced, but the key thing is that the tone's really different than, say Chase Stuart, who sounds genuinely curious and is exploring a topic, not really attached to a particular outcome.

As much crap as Schatz gets from people who think he's biased, the one thing that attracted to me to this site is he started it by asking a question, basically. After hearing "you have to run to win", he asked himself if that was really true and started poking around to find out. That curiousity is still present here at FO.

34
by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 4:02pm

Agree that with Kacsmar it is all about the Manning love. With Brady it seems he is just following the old maxim "the enemy of my man-crush must die or be discredited in any way possible"...

9
by PatsFan :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:56am

An NE WR on the "top" list. Be still my heart!

10
by Paul R :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:08am

Great write-up on T.Y.'s game, but it sure looks like he and Luck didn't do anything but play regular football and wait for Houston to screw up.

12
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:35am

Wow, Teddy almost beat Geno's game from last year. In fact his passing dyar was worse. Why does this happen to quarterbacks I like?

13
by BJR :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:45am

Whilst I'm sure a couple of his sacks could have been avoided with better anticipation, the pass protection was generally hopeless. According to PFF he was under pressure on 51% of his dropbacks! I hope the coaches can come up with something to improve matters this week because it isn't going to get much easier in Buffalo Sunday.

17
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:15pm

Kalil has gone over a cliff, from his borderline Pro Bowl performance in his rookie year. It is so dramatic that it makes me suspect that there is something physically wrong with him, perhaps relating to the back issues which appeared on last year's injury reports. If that is not the case, that there is a physical ailment that can be resolved, or if it is a physical ailment that can't be resolved, then they will be back in the market for a left tackle come February, which would be an absolute disaster after spending a number three pick to draft one. Meanwhile, John Sullivan, while not the disaster he was in his first couple years as a starter, and having a couple decent to good years, is once again showing that he may just be too lacking in power to hold up at center. Throw in that Charlie Johnson has never been even an average performer, and Fusco, while being a brawler with a nasty streak, had issues before getting hurt, and Loadholdt has always had problems in pass protection, and we get some sense of how a HOF running back, in the modern passing era, has carried this offense since 2009.

20
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:49pm

How in the world has CHarlie Johnson managed to remain a starter, let alone employed for an NFL team. I can vouch for his play during his time in Indy - where not even PM could make him look competent. I was genuinely shocked the Vikes made him a starter in the first place and even more shocked he's still one.

24
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 2:05pm

It's the old "Even the most horrid tackle can play guard" syndrome.

15
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:10pm

Nice analysis, Vince.

Good to See Indy is a smashmouth, run-first football team just like they plann--oh, wait, I meant to say they use the passing game to set up a devastating rushing attack later on... oh, wait, their top two RBs on Thursday totaled just 75 yards together? Wait, was all that Pagano and Grigson blather about "running and stopping the run" a couple years ago just hot air, or did they believe it and have they finally gotten smart?

26
by Paul R :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 2:37pm

Just my opinion, but I wouldn't be so hard on them just yet. Honestly, I think Pagano & Co. have done a respectable job building a running game. The cultural zeitgeist of Indianapolis has never believed in a running game. At the beginning of his tenure, Pagano might as well have been trying to teach the Colts to fly.

If you went to some home games during the Manning years, you could feel it in the air. No matter how much the coaches wanted it, a running play was always viewed as "not a pass." Even when Joeseph Addai or GDD Brown would break one for a touchdown, the atmosphere was, "they got a touchdown on a running play!" The reaction would have been the same if Peyton had thrown a TD pass with his left hand. A novelty.

It takes a long time to change that sort of atmosphere, and much more effort than hiring a talented kid and handing him the ball up the middle, which is all anyone else tried from 1998 to about 2011.
Now, the team and the city--and even some opponents--view a Colts running game as a legitimate offensive tool. They may not be very good at it, but at least no one laughs when we run a play-fake this year.

18
by TomC :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:26pm

A bit surprised to see Rivers (and, to an extent, Flacco) so high against the #29 (and #28) pass D.

21
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 1:50pm

5 tds in one quarter is ridiculous no matter who you are playing. I can't wrap my mind around how that actually happened. Its rare enough just to get 5 drives in the first quarter.

27
by dbostedo :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:21pm

The 5th one was actually early in the second quarter. 4 TDs in one quarter is much easier to wrap your mind around, right?

28
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:28pm

When the 5th one was thrown at 16:03, Flacco was on pace for approximately 19TDs (18.69) and 733yds.

29
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:30pm

Andy Dalton had "2 picks and an interception" on 3d down? That's quite a... distinction. Great column otherwise, Vince, as always!

Whoops. Two picks and a SACK. That’s been fixed.

That forte line doesn't look right - he had 10 recs for 77 yards.

Aaron mentioned opponent adjustments. Forte was also killed by being the target on incompletions on third-and-2 and third-and-3.