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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.

23 Nov 2015

Week 11 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

The NFL's statistical star of Week 11 wasn't anyone you would have expected to see in this space just a few months ago, or whom many of you would have even heard of before 2015. It wasn't one of the half-dozen or so Hall of Fame-caliber quarterbacks active in the league these days, nor one of the great receivers who have hit the pro ranks in recent years. It wasn't a high-round draft pick who was expected to carry a moribund team's offense this year. No, it was an undrafted free agent running back who joined a two-time Super Bowl team, a team that seemed loaded with rushing talent even before the draft. As recently as August, it was no sure thing that he would even make the team, let alone take on a starting or starring role.

Thomas Rawls spent the first three years of his collegiate career with the Michigan Wolverines, seeing very little action. That's partly because Brady Hoke's offense featured the rushing of quarterbacks Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner, and partly because Rawls couldn't take the starting role from Fitzgerald Toussaint. As time went on, though, Rawls' role in the offense didn't grow, it shrank. As a junior in 2013, he carried the ball only three times. Seven of his teammates got more carries that season, including two quarterbacks and current Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess.

By that time Rawls had already earned his degree, so he was able to transfer to Central Michigan and play right away without sitting out a year. And he starred for the Chippewas, rushing 210 times for 1,103 yards and ten touchdowns despite missing three games. There were some red flags -- those missed games weren't due to injury, they were due to suspensions for off-field behavior. Rawls missed the first two games of the season after being charged with a variety of felonies related to credit card theft, and then sat out the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl due to "an academic issue."

Rawls had on-field issues going into the draft, too. At the scouting combine, he measured in at 5-foot-9, 215 pounds, about the same height and weight as Frank Gore or LeSean McCoy. It was noted, though, that this wasn't all good weight, and Rawls' ideal size would be even smaller. Then he ran a 4.65-second 40-yard dash. That worked out to a speed score of just 92.0, a very poor grade -- and one that would look even worse if Rawls did lose weight. Rawls ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at Central Michigan's pro day, but by then the damage to his draft stock had been done.

Rawls' tape, though, showed that he had potential as a bruising, tackle-breaking power back. Here's some of what Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com wrote in his 2015 NFL Draft Guide:

STRENGTHS: Heavy, powerful body mass with compact build to absorb hits…balanced with low pad level to deliver hits of his own and run through contact while defenders slide off him -- looks to initiate contact and barrel through bodies, making it a chore for defenders to bring him down…heavy shoulder and runs angry, punishing tacklers and running with urgency…presses the hole before cutting back and getting north-south, showing strong inside vision to dart through creases…agile footwork with strong plant-and-go quickness, shifting his weight well in his cuts to sidestep bodies…physically durable and can withstand a pounding -- workhorse who averaged 23 rushes per game at Central Michigan in 2014, including two 40-carry performances.

Well that certainly sounds an awful lot like Marshawn Lynch, doesn't it? Apparently the Seahawks saw the same similarities. After Rawls went undrafted (which wasn't a huge surprise -- even Brugler wrote that Rawls had "mid-round ability," but called him "fringe draftable due to the baggage"), Seattle signed him, even though they seemed to have two good backups to Lynch in 2012 fourth-round draft pick Robert Turbin and 2013 second-rounder Christine Michael. With the veterans away from OTAs for various reasons, Rawls took first-team reps and impressed head coach Pete Carroll, who spoke glowingly of Rawls to reporters. Rawls continued to impress Carroll over the summer, and shortly before the season, Michael was traded to Dallas, while Turbin was waived/injured. (Turbin was later released by Cleveland and signed by Dallas, who released Michael, who went on to join Washington's practice squad.) Rawls had won the backup job behind Lynch.

Lynch, though, is starting to pay the price of 2,000-plus very violent NFL carries. Already this season he has missed time with hamstring, back, and abdomen issues. Rawls started three games earlier this year, two good ones against Chicago (16 carries for 104 yards) and Cincinnati (23-169) sandwiched around a bad one against Detroit (17-48). Lynch then returned to start four games in a row, but he was a surprise scratch for last week's game against San Francisco.

So Rawls got his fourth start of the season -- and he delivered in a big way, rushing 30 times for 209 yards while catching three passes for 46 more yards. He had 13 total first downs on the ground, most of any runner in any game this year. (Only two others have even hit double-digits: Carlos Hyde had 11 in Week 1 against Minnesota, and Devonta Freeman had 10 in Week 5 against Washington.) Half of Rawls' carries gained 5 yards or more and seven gained 10 or more, with a long carry of 30. Meanwhile, he was hit for no gain or a loss only three times, and two of those came with Seattle up by 16 points in the last five minutes of the game when everyone on the West Coast knew the Seahawks would be rushing. His receptions included a 12-yard gain on first-and-10 and a 31-yard touchdown on second-and-5.

How good was Rawls' day? He finished among the top ten rookies since 1960 in single-game rushing yards, and became just the 15th rookie to rush for 200 yards in a game (Adrian Peterson did it twice). He was also among the top ten rookies in single-game yards from scrimmage.

His advanced stats might have been even more impressive. Rawls finished with 64 DYAR rushing and 24 DYAR receiving, a total of 88 DYAR even after a big hit from opponent adjustments. That is one of the 20 best rookie running back games we have ever measured. (Washington's Matt Jones also makes the list for his Week 10 game against New Orleans, when his three receptions gained 24, 29, and 78 yards.)


Top Rookie RB Games By DYAR, 1989-2015
Year Player Team Total DYAR Rush DYAR Rec DYAR Runs Yds TD Pass Rec Yds TD Wk Def
2006 Joseph Addai IND 145 121 24 24 171 4 3 3 37 0 12 PHI
1997 Corey Dillon CIN 135 126 9 39 246 4 2 2 30 0 15 TEN
2007 Pierre Thomas NO 98 46 52 20 105 0 15 15 121 1 17 CHI
2002 Clinton Portis DEN 96 88 7 24 228 2 2 2 18 0 17 ARI
1998 Fred Taylor JAC 95 61 34 20 128 3 6 6 68 0 11 TB
2007 Adrian Peterson MIN 94 88 7 30 296 3 2 2 19 0 9 SD
2000 Mike Anderson DEN 91 85 6 37 251 4 1 1 5 0 14 NO
2012 Doug Martin TB 90 95 -4 25 251 4 5 5 21 0 9 OAK
2015 Thomas Rawls SEA 88 64 24 30 209 1 3 3 46 1 11 SF
1999 Edgerrin James IND 86 66 21 22 152 2 6 6 47 1 11 PHI
1995 Terrell Davis DEN 85 46 39 13 68 2 8 8 61 1 3 WAS
2012 Alfred Morris WAS 84 78 7 33 200 3 2 2 12 0 17 DAL
2001 Anthony Thomas CHI 82 82 0 22 188 1 0 0 0 0 6 CIN
2001 LaDainian Tomlinson SD 80 70 11 21 107 3 1 1 15 0 3 CIN
2003 Onterrio Smith MIN 80 60 20 21 146 3 4 4 37 0 16 KC
1995 Terrell Davis DEN 76 81 -4 30 176 1 5 5 20 0 12 SD
2015 Matt Jones WAS 76 16 60 11 56 0 3 3 131 1 10 NO
1999 Edgerrin James IND 75 28 47 20 109 0 8 8 90 1 9 KC
2002 Clinton Portis DEN 74 62 12 23 159 2 5 5 34 0 13 SD
1994 Marshall Faulk IND 74 60 14 23 143 3 1 1 31 0 1 HOIL

Rawls' outburst against San Francisco is the best game for any running back so far in 2015. (Hyde's Week 1 game against Minnesota worked out to 92 DYAR originally, but currently works out to just 64 DYAR since we now know the Vikings defense is not as good as its reputation -- they were 28th in rush defense DVOA coming into Week 11, allowing 4.3 yards per carry.) In fact, only one game was better in all of 2014: Jonas Gray's 201-yard, four-touchdown explosion against Indianapolis in Week 11. (By the way, Gray's first NFL game was in 2014, but he does not count as a rookie that year because he spent time on Miami's PUP list in 2012 rehabbing a knee injury suffered in college, then was on Baltimore's practice squad in 2013.)

Gray rushed for only 80 yards the rest of that season, then signed with Miami, where he has 122 yards on the year and was recently demoted to the Dolphins' practice squad. Rawls, though, does not look like a one-game wonder. With 101 carries on the year, he now qualifies for our running back leaderboards. And when the tables are updated tomorrow, you'll find Rawls at the top of that list in rushing DVOA and third in rushing DYAR behind Devonta Freeman and Le'veon Bell.

Exactly how much playing time Rawls will get going forward is up in the air. Lynch's abdomen injury may prove to be a sports hernia; if so, that would necessitate surgery that would knock Lynch out until at least the playoffs. Even if Lynch is available, though, there are reasons to think Rawls should get the bulk of the carries going forward. While Rawls is averaging 6.0 yards per carry, Lynch is averaging just 3.8 behind the same line, with the same quarterback and receivers. It's quite possible that Lynch will never fully recover from the abuse he has taken in his Seahawks career. It's also possible that, just as Lynch's body has started to fall apart, Seattle might have been lucky enough to find a younger, healthier replacement.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jameis Winston TB
19/29
246
5
0
1
173
173
-1
PHI
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Winston's big game was that he literally produced all his positive value in just three quarters -- he threw only four passes in the fourth, all incomplete. All five of his touchdowns came in the red zone. That's five red zone touchdowns -- or, as many or more than Teddy Bridgewater or Russell Wilson have thrown all season -- in 45 minutes of game action. Really, Winston never bothered much with small-ball tactics or a station-to-station attack; 16 of his 19 completions resulted in a first down. Leaguewide, only 54 percent of completions have resulted in first downs this year.
2.
Russell Wilson SEA
24/29
260
3
0
2
128
120
7
SF
Wilson has spent a good chunk of 2015 stuck in long-yardage situations. Though he is 20th among quaterbacks in total dropbacks, he is tied with Philip Rivers with a league-high 18 dropbacks with at least 20 yards to go for a first. Thanks in good part to Thomas Rawls' big day, Wilson had more short-yardage throws against San Francisco, and he made the most of them. With less than 10 yards to go for a first down, he went 11-of-12 for 120 yards and a 31-yard touchdown. Nine of those completions went for first downs, and one of the others was a 5-yard gain on second-and-7. He also had a good day on third downs, going 7-of-8 for 71 yards and five conversions, including an 11-yard touchdown.
3.
Carson Palmer ARI
20/30
317
4
2
2
121
121
0
CIN
As usual, Palmer and the Cardinals lived and died on the deep ball. On passes that traveled more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage, he went 8-of-11 for 196 yards with four touchdowns, including a 64-yarder, plus a DPI for another first down and 16 more yards. Two of those three incompletions, though resulted in Cincinnati interceptions.
4.
Jay Cutler CHI
18/32
265
0
1
2
118
109
9
DEN
Cutler also got a good chunk of his value out of the long pass. He threw 12 deep balls against Denver. One was intercepted, and five others were incomplete. Three were completed 98 total yards. And three others resulted in DPI flags for 73 more yards. When big plays were not an option, though, he was pretty much neutered. Inside the Broncos' 29-yard line, he went 3-of-12 for 17 yards and no first downs.
5.
Andy Dalton CIN
22/39
315
2
0
4
113
114
-1
ARI
Dalton did his best work throwing to his left, where he went 6-of-9 for 121 yards. Five of those completions went for first downs; the other was a 6-yard gain on second-and-7.
6.
Cam Newton CAR
21/34
246
5
0
2
110
107
3
WAS
Newton, like Winston, had five red zone touchdowns this week. Inside the Washington 20, he went 7-of-10 for 38 yards and six total first downs; an 11th red zone pass resulted in a 10-yard DPI and another first down.
7.
Tom Brady NE
20/39
277
1
1
1
84
84
0
BUF
8.
Aaron Rodgers GB
16/34
212
2
0
2
61
58
3
MIN
9.
Brock Osweiler DEN
20/27
250
2
0
5
58
60
-2
CHI
In his first start, Osweiler was the beneficiary of a very conservative game plan. He only threw two deep passes all day; both were incomplete. One of his touchdowns was thrown from the 10-yard line and caught in the end zone. The other was caught 13 yards past the line of scrimmage by Demaryius Thomas, who then added 35 yards after the catch.
10.
Matthew Stafford DET
23/35
282
0
0
4
53
39
14
OAK
11.
Blaine Gabbert SF
22/34
264
1
0
2
51
48
3
SEA
12.
Marcus Mariota TEN
22/33
231
0
0
4
49
39
10
JAC
Mariota did not have a dropback in the red zone. In the front zone, he went 1-of-3 for 6 yards with no first downs and a sack.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
T.J. Yates HOU
16/34
229
2
0
1
47
47
0
NYJ
14.
Alex Smith KC
20/25
253
0
0
3
43
50
-7
SD
15.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
20/36
233
0
0
2
35
38
-4
NE
16.
Teddy Bridgewater MIN
25/37
296
1
0
6
30
18
12
GB
Bridgewater hardly ever had a chance to throw a scoring pass against the Packers. He had only five passes inside the Green Bay 40, and only one of those was in the red zone. Two of those passes were completed for 7 yards each and no first downs. One of the incompletions came on fourth-and-3.
17.
Joe Flacco BAL
27/43
299
1
2
1
15
15
0
STL
Flacco's first 33 dropbacks resulted in one sack, two interceptions, 18 completions for 170 yards, and only five first downs. Then he had completions on nine straight dropbacks, gaining 129 yards and six first downs (including a touchdown). Then he threw back-to-back incompletions. Then he tore his ACL and MCL. And then the Ravens won.
18.
Blake Bortles JAC
21/30
242
1
1
4
2
18
-16
TEN
19.
Derek Carr OAK
13/25
169
0
0
1
-11
-17
6
DET
The Raiders quarterback struggled on third downs, going 3-of-9 for 28 yards and only two conversions. That includes four failed plays with less than 10 yards to go.
20.
Matt Hasselbeck IND
23/32
213
2
2
2
-25
-27
1
ATL
21.
Philip Rivers SD
19/30
178
0
1
3
-35
-30
-5
KC
How dominant was the Chiefs' defense on Sunday? Rivers did not have a dropback inside the Kansas City 20. In fact, he did not have a dropback inside the Kansas City 40. In his limited action across the 50, he went 2-of-5 for 2 yards. Those two completions were a 3-yard gain on second-and-10 and a 1-yard loss on first-and-10.
22.
Kirk Cousins WAS
22/30
207
1
1
5
-40
-39
-1
CAR
Two of Cousins' sacks resulted in fumbles, both recovered by Carolina. On third and fourth downs, he went 6-of-10 for 38 yards with only three conversions and one interception.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
13/24
188
2
1
3
-40
-39
-2
DAL
It goes without saying that all quarterbacks have their best numbers on touchdown drives -- I mean, duh -- but the difference between Good Tannehill and Bad Tannehill was remarkable. On Miami's two touchdown drives, he went 4-of-6 for 108 yards, including both scores. On Miami's other nine possessions, he went 9-of-18 for 80 yards with only two first downs, three sacks, and a pick-six.
24.
Matt Ryan ATL
25/46
280
3
3
1
-40
-39
-2
IND
Ryan's third-quarter touchdown to Leonard Hankerson put Atlanta ahead 21-7. From that point forward, he went 7-of-20 for 57 yards with three first downs, one sack, and two interceptions. One of those interceptions was a game-tying pick-six; the other was a game-ending interception.
25.
Tony Romo DAL
18/28
227
2
2
2
-48
-42
-6
MIA
In a game that was within one score most of the way, Romo had a poor day in the red zone. Yes, he had a 16-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant, but his other three red zone throws were all incomplete. He was also sacked on third down at the 7-yard line.
26.
Case Keenum STL
12/26
136
1
0
1
-52
-52
0
BAL
In addition to his basic stats, Keenum had DPIs of 5 and 49 yards. He also fumbled three times, once on a botched snap, once on a sack, and once on an "incomplete pass" that actually traveled backwards and out of bounds for a 7-yard loss. Outside his own 45, he went 2-of-8 for 35 yards with one sack-fumble, the fumbled snap, and only one first down, though that was a 30-yard touchdown to Lance Kendricks.
27.
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ
19/39
216
1
2
3
-84
-99
15
HOU
Fitzpatrick did almost nothing in the first half, going 6-of-11 for 47 yards with as many first downs (one) as sacks. He played better in the second half, but two of his last three passes were intercepted, both with the Jets down by one score and about two minutes left in the game.
28.
Mark Sanchez PHI
26/41
261
2
3
3
-127
-133
6
TB
The Eagles like to throw a lot of short passes, but on Sunday, they didn't work very well. Sanchez threw 17 passes against Tampa Bay to receivers within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage. Only one of those plays resulted in a first down, when Darren Sproles scampered downfield for a 35-yard touchdowns. His other nine completions in that range gained a total of 28 yards, and one of those six incompletions was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Thomas Rawls SEA
30
209
1
3/3
46
1
87
63
24
SF
Tramaine Brock did not enjoy Rawls' day.

I mean, he really did not enjoy Rawls' day.

2.
Doug Martin TB
27
235
0
0/1
0
0
58
59
-1
PHI
So why were Martin's 27 carries for 235 yards worse than Rawls' 30-for-209? Martin was more explosive, with runs of 11, 27, 58, and 84 yards, but 86 percent of his yardage came on those four carries. He had only three other first downs, while five of his carries resulted in no gain or a loss.
3.
Giovani Bernard CIN
6
18
0
8/10
128
0
50
3
47
ARI
Four of Bernard's receptions produced first downs, including gains of 21, 30, and 41, and he also had a 12-yard catch on second-and-15. His only successful run was a 10-yard gain on second-and-4.
4.
Jonathan Stewart CAR
21
102
0
1/1
12
1
47
30
17
WAS
Stewart had five first downs on the ground, including three runs of 10 yards or more, while getting hit for no gain or a loss four times.
5.
Antonio Andrews TEN
15
78
0
2/2
16
0
37
31
6
JAC
Andrews only ran for two first downs, on gains of 12 and 26 yards, but all of his runs gained at least 1 yard. He also gets a big boost in opponent adjustments -- playing against Jacksonville nearly doubles his value.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Thomas Rawls SEA
30
209
1
3/3
46
1
87
63
24
SF
2.
Doug Martin TB
27
235
0
0/1
0
0
58
59
-1
PHI
3.
Antonio Andrews TEN
15
78
0
2/2
16
0
37
31
6
JAC
4.
Spencer Ware KC
11
96
2
1/1
5
0
28
31
-3
SD
Ware entered the game after Charcandrick West hurt his hamstring in the third quarter, and all of his carries came with Kansas City up by at least nine points in the the second half. Despite playing in such an obvious running situation, he was hit for no gain just once, while running for five first downs. That includes a pair of 3-yard touchdowns, plus gains of 20 and 52 yards.
5.
Jonathan Stewart CAR
21
102
0
1/1
12
1
47
30
17
WAS


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tevin Coleman ATL
17
49
0
0/2
0
0
-33
-24
-9
IND
Coleman only ran for one first down on the day, while getting hit for no gain or a loss four times, and failing to convert four times with 4 yards or less to go for a first. He also had a fumble.


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Charcandrick West KC
11
16
0
2/2
48
0
-28
-39
11
SD
West had a 47-yard reception in the first quarter. That's good. However, his longest run gained 6 yards; his only rushing first down was a 1-yard gain on third-and-1; and he was hit for no gain or a loss five times. That's bad.


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
J.J. Nelson ARI
4
6
142
35.5
1
68
CIN
All four of Nelson's receptions gained at least 19 yards and a first down, including a 23-yard gain on third-and-16, a 36-yard gain on third-and-14, and a 64-yard touchdown.
2.
Cecil Shorts HOU
2
5
51
25.5
0
61
NYJ
Shorts did a little bit of everything against the Jets. He gets 11 DYAR for his receptions, both of which went for first downs, one of which converted a third-and-13. He gets 24 DYAR for his four carries for 26 yards, including two more third-down conversions. And he gets 26 DYAR for his one pass attempt, a 21-yard touchdown to Alfred Blue.
3.
Julio Jones ATL
9
15
160
17.8
0
49
IND
Eight of Jones' nine receptions gained at least 13 yards and a first down; the other was a 9-yard gain on first-and-10. He also drew a DPI for 10 more yards and another first down.
4.
John Brown ARI
3
3
43
14.3
1
46
CIN
Twelve-yard gain on third-and-8, 13-yard gain on third-and-7, and an 18-yard touchdown on second-and-1.
5.
Danny Amendola NE
9
12
117
13.0
0
42
BUF
That play goes down as a 14-yard gain with zero YAC. That's probably the most fair ruling. The referee's whistle blew as the pass was in the air, and Ronald Darby clearly let up in coverage before the ball landed in Amendola's arms. He was certainly in position to at least try a tackle from behind. It goes down as one of Amendola's six first-down receptions on the day, including gains of 11 and 41 on third-and-7.


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Roddy White ATL
4
9
24
6.0
0
-43
IND
White's only successful reception was a 12-yard gain on third-and-11. Between incompletions and short catches, he failed to pick up a first down on five plays with 6 yards or less to go for a first down.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 23 Nov 2015

59 comments, Last at 01 Dec 2015, 5:50am by Perfundle

Comments

1
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 5:13am

Where does Gabbert's 51 DYAR rank amongst the best games of his career. I'd be willing to bet it's in the top 3.

2
by BlueStarDude :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 7:12am

Greg Bell was not a rookie in 1989, played for the Bills for years before that, no?

3
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 7:29am

Always good to see "The Original Whizzernator" Onterio Smith's name on one of these lists!!!

4
by ammek :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 10:53am

Romo just wins.

So there was only one game this week in which a QB threw for 300 yards. When was the last time that happened? Both Palmer and Dalton did it against good pass defenses too. I wish more pass offenses were as creative and ambitious. Watching the Patriots last night, it felt a bit like sitting through a long guitar solo: technically assured, expertly rehearsed, but oh how dull. And for all that, I think New England is more watchable, with a healthy Gronk, than it was last year.

That Jacksonville is #2 against the run had completely escaped me.

22
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:13pm

It wasn't enjoyable last night because the Patriots were anything but "technically assured" and "expertly rehearsed". The offense was downright lousy, though the Bills had much to do with that.

24
by PirateFreedom :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:22pm

What I saw was an offense scrambling to survive against a very tough defense.
Brady threw away more balls just to avoid sacks then he has in any 5 previous games.
Taylor missing passes and a pretty good N.E. defense kept the N.E. offense's degree of difficulty down to a manageable amount though.

25
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:23pm

Honestly, they haven't been in some time. Injuries are catching up to them no doubt, and if Amendola is out for any period of time... my word.

Still remarkable that they're 10-0, but to me at least they've ceded best offense easily to Arizona at this point.

Doesn't hurt that Zona's offense is just a fantastic watch.

Arizona right now is like watching Breaking Bad, full of explosions and violence and huge moments. the Patriots at their best are like Mad Men, incredibly well put together, but still kind of dull.

34
by deus01 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 2:09pm

Also between John Brown and Drew Stanton they've got a pretty good dance team.

Now if only we knew more about Palmer's friends: Pup, Phil & Sugar Cane.

37
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 2:33pm

Repeat Post

26
by RickD :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:23pm

Pats fans are really spoiled.

27
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:26pm

Are you referring to my post?

5
by Charles Jake :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:12am

Pleasantly surprised at Cutler's ranking. I figured the pick and fumble would've doomed him. Gotta love the opponent adjustment for that Denver D.

An object at rest cannot be stopped.

41
by TomC :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 3:02pm

Agreed. The eyeball test (admittedly through Bear goggles) said Cutler did great under the circumstances, but I'm surprised DVOA agreed to that extent. The DPIs definitely helped, as did the change of the 2nd interception to a fumble.

But I'm more concerned about this part: "When big plays were not an option, though, [Cutler] was pretty much neutered." Ouch. Good thing he & Kristin just had their third kid, so he won't be needing the equipment so much any more. I hope the Broncos at least get him a nice pair of neuticles. (Or maybe you meant "neutralized.")

43
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 3:15pm

If Gase doesn't get a head coach job somewhere, I'll be shocked.

45
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 3:26pm

I'm not that surprised at Cutler's ranking. The Denver defense is that good. Only the Lions had more net passing yards against them and it took 45 attempts by Stafford.

6
by jmaron :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:18am

"That play goes down as a 14-yard gain with zero YAC. That's probably the most fair ruling. The referee's whistle blew as the pass was in the air, and Ronald Darby clearly let up in coverage before the ball landed in Amendola's arms."

Not according the actual NFL rules:

"(n) when an official sounds his whistle while the ball is still in play, the ball becomes dead immediately;"

No one had possession when the whistle blew so how can you say it's fair (definition fair: in accordance with the rules).

8
by PatsFan :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:51am

No one had possession when the whistle blew so how can you say it's fair

Easy -- it best approximates where the ball would have been if the refs didn't make the massive screwup in the first place.

9
by ncuba :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:54am

A lot of people would have a difference definition of fairness than the one you helpfully provided.

The outcome on the field did a nice job of spreading around the poo.

13
by Travis :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:07pm

They've re-lettered those rules; it's now 7-2-1-(m).

FWIW, 7-2-1-(m)-(3): If the ball is a loose ball resulting from a legal forward pass, a free kick, a fair-catch kick, or a scrimmage kick, the ball is returned to the previous spot, and the down is replayed.

16
by RickD :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:38pm

Problem is that the officials had determined that the whistle was blown after Amendola caught the ball. And the rules don't allow them to consult the replay to make that determination.

So, according the rules (your curious definition of "fairness") the officials shouldn't treat the pass as a dead ball before the catch.

18
by deus01 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:43pm

I still don't understand why everything isn't reviewable. In real time Amendola did catch the ball just after the whistle so I can see how they would make that mistake.

42
by Karma Coma :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 3:06pm

Because in March the owners voted down the proposal to make everything reviewable.

29
by jmaron :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:36pm

the word fair has a plethora of meanings, but we are talking about a game defined by rules and referees making decisions based on rules.

The definition I provided seems proper within the context.

54
by ChrisS :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 5:43pm

But when it is the rules enforcers making the mistake it seems "unfair" to penalize the players. Regardless of the inadvertent whistle the pass would have been caught so allowing the catch (even though it was obviously after the whistle) seems to most fair to the Pats. It seems that Rex being in his way disconcerted the side judge and then he blew his whistle. Could the most fair result be a palpably unfair act penalty (Ithink this is still an NFL catchall penalty) resulting in the yardage of the catch plus the 15 yard penalty for sideline interference on Rex? I have never seen that called .

55
by medelste :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 6:23pm

*Like* your ability to thread a little "disconcerted" into this conversation

7
by BJR :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:47am

FWIW I think the main reason Darby let up in coverage was because Brady conned everybody (including the refs) into thinking he was tossing the ball away. Amendola is as shifty as they come with ball in hand, and he had Gronk downfield blocking for him - he wasn't getting caught. It was a sure-fire TD - and a masterful play by Brady.

12
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:05pm

I just hope this kills off all those "TEH PATRITS GET ALL DUH CALLZ" talk. That was an abysmally stupid call by the refs, far worse than all the clock problems or even the legendary Fail Mary, which at least was a heat of the moment judgement call (a terrible heat of the moment judgement call). This is literally a guy blowing his whistle in the middle of a play because Rex Ryan apparently startled him. I'm just stunned it happened when Jeff Triplette wasn't working the game.

20
by patriotsgirl :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:04pm

Yes, and I think it's even worse than the Hochuli missed call against San Diego a few years ago (because it was at least a judgment call as to whether the pass was incomplete or a fumble). That play obviously had more effect on the game, but at least you could see how it could happen. This play...

57
by ClavisRa :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 8:53pm

Ironically, I've seen more "the refs are in the Patriots pockets" comments this week than any other this season. Classic "the more wrong they are the harder they push their point" arguing by homers.

14
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:14pm

When you watch the replay Darby's head snaps around to the direction of the whistle. There's no question in my mind he let up. That said, while the whistle was terrible, the face-saving call on Ryan for something coaches do every freakin' Sunday was a tad ridiculous. However, it feels like a wash.

15
by dryheat :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:31pm

While coaches standing on the sideline, and even in the field of play, isn't uncommon, I don't know that I've seen a coach park himself between the side judge and the ongoing play before.

Didn't Rex get an unsportsmanlike conduct flag in the first Pats/Bills game as well?

17
by RickD :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:41pm

The foul on Ryan wasn't just for where he was standing, it was for interfering with the side judge.

Coaches don't interpose themselves between the side judge and the action of the play "every freakin' Sunday".

19
by deus01 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:44pm

It looked like he was also yelling something at Brady as he ran towards the sideline. I think that's a reasonable penalty and isn't really a make-up call.

10
by jacobk :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:56am

All of the angst produced by this season will be worth it if I can just hear Chris Berman narrating a highlight about Rawls running behind the Veil of Ignorance. I can't think of a more fitting nickname for the Seahawks' line this year.

39
by TomC :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 2:48pm

[slow golf clap]

Sometimes I think this entire site should adopt poster ElJefe's signature and call itself "overeducated layabouts discuss football."

49
by jacobk :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:14pm

I have to keep myself busy during games figuring out some way to express the difficulty Russell Wilson faces in choosing a play without knowing which of the defensive players will be coming through completely unblocked.

44
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 3:24pm

It's too bad the first Gibbs era in Washington didn't include a starting o-linemen named Wittgenstein, allowing the use of "beery swine" in describing some end zone celebration involving overserved fans of the Washington football team.

11
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:03pm

I'm curious regarding Winston's day; how does it rank for all-time rookie QB games? Just wondering historically where it falls.

21
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:04pm

They listed the best rookie QB performances after Wilson's game against the Bears here:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2012/week-13-quick-reads

Since then, Mariota had that 171 DYAR debut game, although opponent adjustments might have altered that a bit. I can't recall any other rookie game that was amazingly good in the last three years, so Winston had probably the 9th or 10th-best DYAR game since 1991.

23
by are-tee :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:22pm

"..but two of his last three passes were intercepted, both with the Jets down by one score and about two minutes left in the game."

Fitzpatrick's first interception came on fourth down and actually benefited the Jets more than an incompletion. So I assume it's not counted in his stats as an interception.

28
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:28pm

I didnt c the denver game. Can someone give me their impressions of osweiller?

30
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:37pm

Competent, composed. Took a few sacks, but seemed comfortable enough. His mobility helped Denver run much better and most of his throws were right on target.

The only thing that gives any pause is that Chicago played poorly so it is hard to say where their badness ends and Osweiler's goodness begins.

31
by deus01 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:44pm

Of his 250 yards I think something like 160 were YAC.

I think it will be interesting to see how he plays against the Patriots this week. He wasn't really given a chance to make any difficult throws against Chicago but probably won't have that luxury against a good team.

32
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:53pm

Yes, two passes in particular had guys running completely free in the middle of the field. Not everything was quite so easy, though. I suspect NE is going to play it similar to how teams played Manning, take away the inside and force throws to the sideline. I'd feel confident except that Belichick has historically had a hard time with the Shannahan/Kubiak offense... though most of those issues were back when is was predominantly 3-4 two gap.

33
by deus01 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 1:57pm

The Broncos also didn't put up many points against a bad defense so I'm not sure how they'll fair against the much better Patriots. I suspect that Kubiak will have to be a lot less conservative with his play calling on Sunday; it will probably also help a lot to have Sanders back.

I wouldn't bet on the Broncos but I think there's a small glimmer of hope given that the Pats are on a short week, traveling to Denver and had a hard time with the Buffalo D. Hopefully it will be a good game.

35
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 2:15pm

NE's injury woes give Denver a lot more than a small glimmer of hope. This offense is rapidly approaching critical mass. I'm pinning my hope on the idea that this week was less expected drop off due to injury and more Rex Ryan having his annual rock fight.

36
by PatsFan :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 2:16pm

And NE will likely not have Amendola or Dobson. Ought to be interesting to see who the hell actually dresses at WR.

38
by dryheat :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 2:40pm

I wouldn't rule out Amendola yet. Plus Martin is a decent bet to return.

While the injuries are concerning, given a week to prepare, Belichick, McDaniels, & Brady should be able to find something that works. That may be a conventional Lafell, Martin, Amendola/Harper, a steady diet of two TE sets, an anti-Colts "pound the rock" attitude, or teaching James White how to play WR. Or something completely different.

56
by Danimal :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 7:26pm

I also didn't get to see the game due to regional action that took over my channels, but the quick-reads results don't lie!!!! 2 weeks in the top 10 DYAR... I'm not complaining about this change, no matter the explanation

40
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 2:54pm

Where does Gabbert's 51 DYAR rank amongst the best games of his career. I'd be willing to bet it's in the top 3.

Ignoring rushing for now...

His first game of his rookie season in 2011 had 16 DYAR. He was below replacement level in every other game that season.

He had four games above replacement level in 2012, but the best of those was 24 DYAR.

His three games in 2013 were all -89 DYAR or worse.

His one game in 2014 had 7 DYAR.

His two games this year were worth 10 and 48 DYAR.

So yes, Gabbert’s game against Seattle had literally twice as many passing DYAR as he ever had in a game before.

Greg Bell was not a rookie in 1989, played for the Bills for years before that, no?

Oops. Mistakes like this can happen when your database goes back to 1989 but the league you’re covering goes back many decades before that. Bell was drafted in 1984. We took Bell out of the table, which made room for Marshall Faulk’s first game.

53
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:38pm

Thanks Vince.

Wow, I knew he sucked but I still would have thought he would have had one or two big fluke games here or there. For a first round picks best game of his career to come in a game where his team scored 13 points is really kind of amazing.

46
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:05pm

I know it s Pro Football Focus, which is a long way from being authoritative, but I think their numbers still show Bridgewater as having faced the most pressure this year, despite a lot of oppenents with poor defenses. This leads me to suspect that opponent adjustments are knocking down his DYAR and DVOA rank further than his actual performance warrants. This isn't meant as criticism of those metrics, but just another indicator of how hard it is to develop good metrics for individual players in this sport.

47
by deus01 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:12pm

Team performance is often fairly high variance. So it's possible that due to some combination of factors the opposing teams play to a higher level than their average DVOA. Normally you would expect that to be a sample size issue but maybe there is something about the Vikings that allows opposing teams to generate more pressure than normal.

50
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:23pm

Yeah, that something is 5 guys staggering around like they are ready to sing "Danny Boy" in "unison", 10 minutes before last call on St. Patrick's Day.

51
by LyleNM :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:28pm

Well, that means they are all still on their feet unlike the "Veil of Ignorance" referred to above where one or more are usually not on their feet.

52
by deus01 :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:29pm

Maybe they can form a choir with Denver's drunken sailors.

48
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:13pm

Well, as we say on our Methods page:

Football is a game in which nearly every action requires the work of two or more teammates -- in fact, usually 11 teammates all working in unison. Unfortunately, when it comes to individual player ratings, we are still far from the point at which we can determine the value of a player independent from the performance of his teammates. That means that when we say, "In 2014, Marshawn Lynch had a DVOA of 23.1%," what we are really saying is “In 2014, Marshawn Lynch, playing in Darrell Bevell’s offensive system with the Seattle offensive line blocking for him and Russell Wilson selling the keeper when necessary, had a DVOA of 23.1%."

58
by Eleutheria :: Wed, 11/25/2015 - 7:39am

I find that tough to believe though, given that PFF has ranked their offensive line as 14th in pass protection.

To me the guys that stand out as struggling due to constantly being pressured are Wilson (32nd in pass protection), Stafford (29th) and Rivers (28th).

59
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/01/2015 - 5:50am

Both can still be true. For instance, Wilson was one of the most (if not the most) pressured QBs last year too despite PFF ranking the Seattle OL 18th in pass blocking. PFF ranks pass blocking by how much pressure they give up within the first few seconds of the play. If the linemen hold their blocks for 3 seconds but the QB is pressured because he hesitates in the pocket, that's not the fault of the OL.