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» Seventh Day Adventure: Week 13

The biggest game this week is the Iron Bowl, where the playoff hopes of Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia hang in the balance.

07 Dec 2015

Week 13 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

Let's take a moment to relive some of the most exciting plays of Week 13:

  • With a third-and-7 from his own 13, Marcus Mariota drops back to pass, but soon feels the pressure of Jacksonville's six-man rush. He slips through the pressure and suddenly finds himself in the open field. With one dodged tackle and a lot of good blocking from his receivers, Mariota runs untouched for an 87-yard touchdown.
  • Facing a third-and-3 inside of the two-minute warning and with his team down 20-13, Blaine Gabbert feels pressure behind him and takes off up the middle of the field. Safety Adrian Amos is in position to make the tackle, but gets faked out of his shoes, and Gabbert goes 44 yards for the game-tying touchdown.
  • With the Panthers down 14-0, facing a fourth-and-1 with their undefeated season in jeopardy, Cam Newton fakes a handoff to Jonathan Stewart, then keeps the ball and jets around left end for a 30-yard gain.
  • Trying to rally his team from a 19-16 deficit, rookie Jameis Winston faces a third-and-19 in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. He looks to pass, but Falcons pressure pushes him downfield, where he winds up in a four-man pileup about 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. Somehow, he peels off the pile and takes off, finally getting stopped after a 20-yard gain and a first down that left onlookers bewildered.

As you have probably guessed, the common thread among all these plays is that they were quarterback runs. And we're not even considering the quarterback with the highest rushing DYAR this week, Russell Wilson, who ran nine times for 51 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota.

Yes, it was a big week in what has been another big year for quarterback runs. All told, quarterbacks across the NFL ran 80 times for 548 yards in Week 13, an average of 18.3 yards per offense. (None of the numbers in this essay include the Dallas-Washington Monday nighter; Matt Cassel did not, in fact, run for a 50-yarder and throw everything out of whack.) Quarterbacks are now on pace for 7,070 rushing yards this season, slightly more than last year (when they totaled 7,008), but less than the year before that (7,815). In the nearly 26 years of our database, only two seasons have produced more quarterback rushing yards than that: 2002 (7,138) and 2000 (8,043). That the record was set in 2000 and remains unbroken is surprising for a few reasons. That was before Michael Vick, the all-time quarterback rushing leader, hit the league, and there were only 31 teams that season in the days before the Houston Texans existed. Donovan McNabb led all quarterbacks that year with 647 rushing yards, while five others (Rich Gannon, Daunte Culpepper, Kordell Stewart, Jeff Garcia, and Steve McNair) topped the 400-yard threshold. For perspective's sake, Newton leads all quarterbacks this year with 487 rushing yards, followed by Wilson at 463. Only three others have a reasonable shot at hitting 400 yards: Alex Smith (who currently has 337), Tyrod Taylor (331, despite missing two games) and Aaron Rodgers (296).

None of these quarterbacks are doing anything unprecedented in the world of advanced statistics, either. Newton has 128 rushing DYAR, holding a narrow lead over Wilson (116). Nobody else has more than 100, though Rodgers (92) will probably get there, and Jay Cutler (72) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (70) are within shouting distance. Still, nobody is going to match Wilson's 2014 mark of 269 rushing DYAR, or the all-time mark of 297 set by Randall Cunningham in 1990.

[And here I must issue a mea culpa. When last year was done, I announced that Wilson had set a single-season record for quarterback rushing DYAR. Only recently did I realize that the leaderboard I had been looking at was outdated, and did not include Cunningham's monster season. Does that automatically mean, though, that Cunningham had the better rushing year? After all, DYAR works by comparing each quarterback to his contemporaries in a given season. So while Wilson had to outshine fellow dynamos like Kaepernick and Newton and Blake Bortles (no, really), Cunningham only had one remote competitor for the title of NFL's best rushing quarterback: Timm Rosenbach, who ran for 470 yards in his only full season as an NFL starter. So there's no question that Cunningham stood out from his peers more than Wilson has, but there is also no question that Cunningham's peers were a whole lot slower.]

What about the other side of the ball -- which defenses this year have shut running quarterbacks down, and which have let them run free? We could just total rushing yards or YAR (we couldn't use DYAR, because we would be adjusting defenses for themselves, which would cause a circular logic nightmare) allowed to opposing quarterbacks, but the results there might be skewed by schedule. There are 18 teams this year with fewer than 26 quarterback runs; the quarterbacks on those 18 teams have 226 total runs. Meanwhile, the quarterbacks in Carolina, Seattle, and Buffalo alone have 230. A game or two against one of those teams could drastically alter a defense's numbers.

So we have to adjust these numbers for schedule, and the fastest, simplest way to do that is to compile the quarterback rushing numbers for each team, and then see which defenses held their opponents below their averages, and which didn't. Yes, this means Mariota and Zach Mettenberger are being lumped together in one bucket reading "TITANS," and yes, that is ridiculous. For now, though, this should do a reasonable job of telling us which defenses have faced a high number of running quarterbacks, and which have faced, say, the Manning brothers.

The following table lists what each defense has done this season:


Defense Per Game Against Quarterback Rushing, 2015
DEF QB Runs Rk QB YAR Rk QB Yards Rk Opp. Avg. YAR Rk Opp. Avg Yds Rk YAR +/- Rk Yds +/- Rk
PIT 1.9 10 -0.9 3 9.3 4 2.5 7 14.0 17 -3.4 3 -4.7 1
NYG 1.9 10 -1.5 1 8.4 2 3.1 15 12.1 9 -4.6 1 -3.7 2
CLE 1.5 4 1.6 7 4.7 1 1.0 1 8.3 1 0.6 16 -3.6 3
SD 1.9 10 2.0 11 10.5 7 2.6 8 13.8 16 -0.6 13 -3.3 4
CIN 2.1 14 -0.1 6 11.1 10 2.1 4 13.8 14 -2.2 6 -2.7 5
SEA 3.0 27 2.4 13 15.3 24 4.2 30 17.8 30 -1.8 7 -2.5 6
ATL 1.4 2 4.3 24 10.2 6 3.3 21 12.3 10 1.0 21 -2.1 7
SF 1.8 8 1.8 10 11.6 11 3.1 17 13.7 13 -1.3 9 -2.1 8
TB 1.5 4 1.6 7 9.9 5 2.6 9 11.9 7 -1.0 11 -2.0 9
HOU 3.0 27 6.8 31 16.8 26 4.4 32 18.6 32 2.4 29 -1.8 10
MIA 2.2 18 2.8 14 13.3 18 3.7 26 15.1 23 -1.0 12 -1.7 11
OAK 1.4 2 4.3 24 11.6 11 2.4 6 13.3 12 2.0 27 -1.7 12
NE 2.1 14 3.8 19 12.4 14 2.9 13 14.1 18 0.9 20 -1.7 13
MIN 2.3 19 6.2 29 13.5 19 3.6 25 15.1 24 2.5 30 -1.6 14
WAS 1.4 1 -0.1 5 9.0 3 2.8 12 10.2 2 -2.9 5 -1.2 15
KC 1.8 7 3.0 15 11.0 9 2.3 5 11.7 6 0.7 18 -0.7 16
DEF QB Runs Rk QB YAR Rk QB Yards Rk Opp. Avg. YAR Rk Opp. Avg Yds Rk YAR +/- Rk Yds +/- Rk
PHI 1.9 10 4.2 22 10.8 8 3.1 16 11.4 5 1.0 22 -0.6 17
TEN 2.5 23 3.7 17 15.2 23 3.5 22 15.7 27 0.2 15 -0.6 18
NO 2.8 26 2.0 11 14.0 20 3.3 20 14.4 20 -1.3 10 -0.4 19
STL 2.4 22 4.4 26 14.7 21 2.8 11 14.8 21 1.6 24 -0.1 20
BUF 1.7 6 3.8 19 12.8 17 3.2 18 12.8 11 0.7 19 0.0 21
IND 2.5 23 -0.3 4 15.3 24 3.8 27 15.2 26 -4.0 2 0.1 22
DAL 2.4 21 3.7 18 12.2 13 2.7 10 12.0 8 1.0 23 0.2 23
DEN 1.8 8 5.0 27 15.1 22 3.2 19 14.3 19 1.8 26 0.8 24
BAL 2.1 14 3.4 16 12.5 16 1.1 2 11.1 4 2.3 28 1.4 25
NYJ 2.3 20 -1.3 2 12.4 14 1.9 3 10.7 3 -3.2 4 1.7 26
DET 2.1 14 6.8 30 17.5 28 3.5 23 14.8 22 3.2 31 2.7 27
CAR 3.0 27 4.2 22 17.4 27 3.5 24 13.8 15 0.6 17 3.7 28
ARI 3.2 30 1.7 9 18.9 29 3.0 14 15.2 25 -1.4 8 3.7 29
CHI 2.5 23 5.9 28 21.8 30 4.1 29 15.9 29 1.8 25 5.8 30
JAC 4.1 31 3.9 21 24.4 31 3.9 28 15.9 28 0.0 14 8.5 31
GB 4.1 31 8.6 32 27.8 32 4.4 31 18.0 31 4.2 32 9.9 32

Here is how to read that table. Quarterbacks playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers have averaged 1.9 carries per game this season. (This includes scrambles, options, sneaks, and other designed runs, but not kneeldowns.) Those runs have averaged -0.9 YAR and 9.3 yards per game. The ranks for these categories are also given, with lower numbers resulting in a better ranking. Those same quarterbacks (or, more accurately, the quarterbacks on the offenses that the Steelers have played this year) have averaged 2.5 rushing YAR and 14.0 rushing yards per game. Lower numbers here result in a lower schedule ranking, from the easiest (Cleveland) to the most difficult (Houston). So the Steelers have held the quarterbacks on those offenses to 3.4 rushing YAR per game below their seasonal average, which is third-best among all defenses, and 4.7 rushing yards below their seasonal average, which is best in the league. Teams are sorted by rushing yards allowed vs. rushing yards expected, and lower is better.

And after all that math, it looks like schedule strength doesn't make much difference after all. Seven of the top 10 in fewest rushing yards allowed are also in the top ten in yardage differential, and six of the bottom ten teams in rushing yards allowed are also in the bottom ten in yardage differential.

There are five teams in the top ten for both yardage and YAR differential (Pittsburgh, the Giants, Cincinnati, Seattle, and San Francisco), and those teams came into the weekend ranked 16th, 27th, eighth, seventh, and 31st in total defensive DVOA. Meanwhile, the six teams in the bottom ten in both categories (Dallas, Denver, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, and Green Bay) were ranked 22nd, first, 26th, 18th, 25th, and 10th. So there seems to be barely any correlation between a defense's vulnerability to quarterback runs and its overall quality.

A look at the rankings shows lots of discrepancy between rushing yards allowed and rushing YAR allowed. Generally, teams that are good at preventing yards but bad at preventing YAR have given up an excessive number of first downs. Cleveland, for example, gave up only 2 yards to Joe Flacco in Week 5, but those yards came on two 1-yard touchdowns. This week, they held Andy Dalton to 11 yards on four carries, but that included a 3-yard touchdown and a fourth-and-1 conversion. The Texans haven't given up many long quarterback runs this year, but they have faced ten such plays with 6 yards or less to go for a first down, and they have allowed quarterbacks to move the chains nine times.

The Colts are the opposite. They have given up lots of long runs, but they have also forced a pair of fumbles and allowed only three conversions on eight quarterback runs with 1 or 2 yards to go. The Jets rank so well in YAR mainly because they have forced three fumbles on quarterback runs. That's not the most in the league, though. The Cardinals, who live by the big play on both sides of the ball, have forced five fumbles on quarterback runs, two more than any other team.

And then there's Green Bay. Poor Green Bay. Nearly three years after Colin Kaepernick almost single-handedly knocked them out of the playoff race with a quarterback-record 181 rushing yards, the Packers still seem clueless when opposing passers get outside the pocket. It's one thing to give up to give up 192 yards to the trio of Wilson, Kaepernick, and Newton -- lots of teams have given up big rushing totals to those players. Even allowing 33 yards to Alex Smith is forgiveable. But 22 yards to Matthew Stafford? 31 yards to Jay Cutler? 43 yards to Teddy Bridgewater, the most of his young career? (Bridgewater's prior single-game high of 32 yards came last year... against Green Bay.) You can basically count on the Packers giving up one or two big quarterback runs each week, no matter who they're playing.

To put that in perspective, let's look at some of the Steelers' big games. Seahawks quarterbacks are averaging 38.6 rushing yards per game this year, but they only ran three times for 12 yards against Pittsburgh. The Steelers also had good success against Kansas City (28.1 quarterback rushing yards per game this year, one carry for 7 yards against Pittsburgh) and Cincinnati (12.4 yards per game overall, two carries for 6 yards against Pittsburgh). Of course, it's also worth noting that the Steelers lost all three of those games, giving up an average of 26.0 points in the process.

It's certainly nice to limit what running quarterbacks can do (as any Packers fan will tell you, it sure beats the alternative), but it looks to be a very small part of what goes into a winning defense.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Carson Palmer ARI
26/39
356
2
0
2
213
213
0
STL
Between Palmer's good day and Tom Brady's bad one, the Cardinals quarterback has taken over first place in both DYAR and DVOA in the 2015 season. And as has so often been the case for Palmer, his success against the Rams was built on the deep ball. He went 4-of-9 for 141 yards and a touchdown on passes that traveled more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage, and a tenth deep pass resulted in a 32-yard DPI. That DPI came on first down, one of many big plays Palmer had early in drives. On his other first-down throws, he went 9-of-12 for 106 yards and seven first downs.
2.
Russell Wilson SEA
21/27
274
3
0
1
191
166
25
MIN
The loss of Jimmy Graham means that Seattle's offense will be limited to sideline routes, right? Yeah, no. Throwing up the middle, Wilson went 5-of-5 for 104 yards. Two of those throws went for touchdowns of 20 and 53 yards; two others went for first downs; and the fifth was a 9-yard gain on second-and-10. Wilson also ran nine times for 51 yards. That includes a 6-yard loss on a botched read-option, but it also includes gains of 14 and 10 yards on second-and-short, a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-1, and an 8-yard touchdown on third-and-7.
3.
Drew Brees NO
24/41
282
3
1
2
175
167
8
CAR
An interesting fact about this matchup: Brees received a boost of 77 DYAR this week in opponent adjustments, the biggest bump of the week. Meanwhile, his opponent on Sunday, Cam Newton, lost 95 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, the biggest drop of the week, and nearly double the drop of anyone else, because the Saints' defense is just an apocalyptic disaster. We'll get to Newton later, but as for Brees, he struggled in long-yardage downs; with more than 10 yards to go, he went 6-of-7 for just 25 yards and no first downs, one successful play, and one interception. In short-yardage situations, though, he was great, going 6-of-10 for 88 yards with every completion going for a first down, including touchdowns of 14 and 24 yards. An 11th short-yardage pass picked up 37 yards and a DPI.
4.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
24/39
364
4
0
0
170
165
5
IND
5.
Blake Bortles JAC
24/36
322
5
0
2
158
158
0
TEN
Is Bortles the NFL's best goal-line passer, or does he just get the most goal-line opportunities. Inside the 10 in this game, he went 5-of-8 for 27 yards, with all five completions going for touchdowns. Over the course of the season, he has 39 attempts inside the 10, which is the most in the league, but not by a wide margin; Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are tied for second with 37. Bortles' DVOA on those throws (8.2%) is much better than Brady's (-24.6%) and much worse than Rodgers (84.1%). Bortles leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns inside the 10, followed by Rodgers with 15, then Brady, Carson Palmer, and Matt Stafford, who each have 13.
6.
Brian Hoyer HOU
26/43
299
3
1
2
122
116
6
BUF
7.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
11/21
211
3
0
1
117
103
13
HOU
On the one hand, Taylor only threw for seven first downs on Sunday. On the other hand, the average gain on those seven first downs was 25.7 yards, most of any starter this week, and that's even with a pair of touchdowns inside the 3. For the season, the average gain on Taylor's touchdowns has been 18.8 yards, more than any qualified passer except Ben Roethlisberger, Blaine Gabbert (!), and Nick Foles (!!!!). Taylor also ran seven times against the Jets, and though he only gained 28 yards on those runs, he had two third-down conversions, plus a touchdown.
8.
Andy Dalton CIN
14/19
220
2
0
1
98
91
7
CLE
A perfect day on long balls. Dalton completed all five of his deep passes against Cleveland (four of them to A.J. Green) for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
9.
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ
36/50
390
2
0
3
95
97
-1
NYG
The Jets might not have needed overtime if Fitzpatrick had played better in the red zone, where he went 4-of-9 for 11 yards. One of those completions was a 9-yard touchdown, but the other three went for a 6-yard loss, a 1-yard gain on first-and-goal from the 7, and a 9-yard gain on third-and-11.
10.
Jameis Winston TB
18/27
227
1
1
1
54
35
19
ATL
11.
Sam Bradford PHI
14/24
120
2
0
1
52
52
0
NE
Officially, Bradford only threw one deep pass against New England, a 19-yard throw to somebody named Jonathan Krause on third-and-12 that fell incomplete in the first quarter. He had a pretty horrible day throwing over the middle, going 3-for-8 for 15 yards and only one first down, though that one first down was a 5-yard touchdown on third-and-4.
12.
Marcus Mariota TEN
20/29
268
3
1
4
48
24
24
JAC
Mariota had a perfect day throwing in the red zone, where his five attempts resulted in four completions for 42 yards and four first downs (including two touchdowns), plus a DPI on the end zone for a new set of downs on fourth-and-goal from the 1. He destroyed the Jaguars up the middle, where he went 9-of-10 for 141 yards and eight first downs, including all three touchdowns. Mariota had seven carries for 113 yards, but only two of those went for first downs: his 87-yarder, and an 11-yard gain in the third.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Tom Brady NE
29/55
312
3
2
4
44
12
12
PHI
Not that anyone noticed with everything else going on, but between five carries for 18 yards (including a 1-yard touchdown and two conversions on third-and-1) and his one catch for 36 yards (which was worth 21 DYAR, by the way), Brady set a career high with 54 yards from scrimmage. The Eagles' key to limiting him was containing the damage done on first downs, when Brady went 6-of-19 for 64 yards with only three first downs (including a touchdown), two sacks, and one interception.
14.
Alex Smith KC
16/22
164
2
0
4
38
25
14
OAK
15.
Matthew Stafford DET
23/35
220
2
0
3
36
25
11
GB
So, you've probably heard about how this game ended, but let's not overlook Stafford's part in letting the Lions' lead vanish. Midway through the third quarter, the Lions began a drive at their own 20, up 20-7. That drive lasted one play, as Stafford was sacked and fumbled, setting up a Green Bay touchdown. From that point forward, he went 7-of-12 for 60 yards, with only two first downs. We don't think of Stafford as a big runner, but his two carries against the Packers were a 12-yard gain on first-and-10 and a 10-yard gain on third-and-9.
16.
Cam Newton CAR
28/41
332
5
1
1
23
25
-2
NO
So let's talk opponent adjustments and just how horrible the Saints are this year. Newton completed 68 percent of his passes on Sunday. That sounds good, but it's the worst mark of any quarterback against New Orleans since Halloween. He averaged 8.1 yards per pass, which also sounds good, but seven of the quarterbacks who have played the Saints this year have done better than that. There's no need to apologize for five touchdown passes in a game, but they also came with an interception. Consider that over their prior four games, the Saints had allowed sixteen passing touchdowns and gathered just one interception. The Saints have now given up 35 touchdown passes this season. That is already one of the 15 highest totals of all time, and each of those other 15 teams had at least seven interceptions. The Saints only have six. The all-time record of 40, held by the 1963 Denver Broncos, is in serious jeopardy with four games to go. Have we made our point yet? That's why Newton's game ranks so low even though he was phenomenal in scoring range. Inside the Saints' 40, he went 9-of-9 for 97 yards with seven first downs (including four touchdowns) and one sack. Oh, and he also ran eight times for 51 yards, including gains of 30 and 11.
17.
Kirk Cousins WAS
22/31
219
1
0
3
21
19
2
DAL
Cousins did not throw a single pass in the red zone against Dallas. His first nine passes in what we call the "front zone" (opposing 20 to 40) resulted in five completions, 26 yards, and no first downs. His tenth front zone pass was a 28-yard game-tying touchdown to DeSean Jackson.
18.
Matt Cassel DAL
16/29
222
0
0
1
18
39
-21
WAS
19.
Aaron Rodgers GB
25/36
297
2
1
3
17
-8
24
DET
The Hail Mary was worth 42 DYAR, but that's not the real story. The real story is how much trouble Rodgers had connecting with his wide receivers, going 10-of-19 for only 69 yards and three first downs, plus a DPI for 13 yards. Oh, and his three carries were all successful too, including a 17-yard touchdown on third-and-11.
20.
Eli Manning NYG
18/34
297
1
1
3
14
17
-3
NYJ
Though Manning's interception on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter drew most of the attention after the game, it wasn't like he did much afterwards to help New York either. After the pick, he went 2-of-7 for 29 yards and only one first down.
21.
Brock Osweiler DEN
16/26
166
1
1
1
-2
6
-8
SD
22.
Charlie Whitehurst IND
4/8
51
0
0
3
-20
-20
0
PIT
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
9/19
86
1
0
1
-32
-39
7
BAL
An 11-yard gain on third-and-6; a 38-yard touchdown; and a 14-yard gain on third-and-7. Those were the only first downs Tannehill gained through the air all day. Tannehill's only run was an 11-yard gain on first-and-10.
24.
Philip Rivers SD
19/35
202
0
1
4
-32
-32
0
DEN
The Chargers only trailed 17-3 at halftime, and it's not as if Brock Osweiler did much to extend that lead. Rivers, though, could do barely anything against the Denver defense, going 10-of-17 for 98 yards in the second half, with two sacks, one intentional grounding, and only two first downs.
25.
Nick Foles STL
15/35
146
0
1
0
-35
-35
0
ARI
Foles only had six first downs against Arizona, and three of those came with the Rams down by 21 points in the fourth quarter. On one stretch, over four drives, he threw incomplete on eight passes in a row. On third downs, he went 1-of-11 for 9 yards. Hey, at least that one completion went for a first down. Throwing to his right, he went 5-of-15 for 46 yards and one first down, and that one first down came down 21 points in the fourth quarter.
26.
Blaine Gabbert SF
18/32
196
1
0
4
-35
-56
21
CHI
If you never watched Gabbert play in Jacksonville, you might say that he has regressed to his days in a Jaguars uniform. But make no mistake, as largely ineffectual as he was against Chicago, he was still much better than he was in his worst days in Jacksonville. In 36 dropbacks against the Bears, he threw for only six first downs, but had no fumbles or interceptions. Now consider the following games, all from 2012: Week 2, 22 dropbacks, two first downs; Week 3, 24 dropbacks, five first downs, one fumble; Week 5, 36 dropbacks, five first downs, two pick-sixes, one fumble. That's three games in a single month that were way, way worse than anything Gabbert has done in a San Francisco uniform. And in keeping with the theme of this story: including his 44-yarder, Gabbert had six carries for 75 yards and three first downs.
27.
Derek Carr OAK
31/48
283
2
3
4
-36
-36
0
KC
28.
Matt Ryan ATL
31/45
269
1
1
3
-49
-53
4
TB
29.
Jay Cutler CHI
18/31
202
0
1
1
-61
-62
1
SF
30.
Austin Davis CLE
27/38
230
0
1
3
-68
-47
-21
CIN
Davis did not throw a single pass in the red zone. On Cincinnati's half of the field, he went 5-of-11 for 33 yards with as many first downs (two) as sacks.
31.
Matt Schaub BAL
32/46
308
1
2
3
-87
-79
-8
MIA
Inside the Miami 40-yard line, Schaub went 3-of-8 for 9 yards. Hard to score that way. His pick-six was batted up and backwards by Derrick Shelby, then caught 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage and run in 22 yards for the score. So it goes down, officially, as -15 air yards, which is the shortest pass this season.
32.
Teddy Bridgewater MIN
17/28
118
0
1
4
-92
-90
-2
SEA
Bridgewater did not attempt a pass inside Seattle's red zone. Or their front zone. In the mid zone, the area of the field between the 40s, he went 2-of-6 for 7 yards with zero first downs. What success he did have in this game all came when throwing to his left. Up the middle and to his right, he went 8-of-11 for 37 yards and two first downs. None of those completions gained more than 8 yards, and they included meaningless plays like a 3-yard gain on third-and-16 and a 4-yard gain on second-and-34.
33.
Matt Hasselbeck IND
16/26
169
1
2
2
-108
-104
-4
PIT
Yes, Hasselbeck had one good play in the red zone, a 9-yard touchdown to Frank Gore. His other five red zone plays, though, turned into a sack-fumble (recovered by Pittsburgh), an interception, and three incompletions. And that's really the only reason he's this low in the tables. In the other 80 percent of the field, he was 15th among all quarterbacks in passing DYAR this week.


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.
James White NE
2
4
0
10/13
115
1
55
-9
64
PHI
Five of White's receptions gained at least 11 yards and a first down, with a long gain of 25, including conversions on third-and-2, second-and-10 (twice), fourth-and-12, and third-and-10. That's all in addition to his 4-yard touchdown.
2.
T.J. Yeldon JAC
15
57
1
4/4
79
0
42
11
31
TEN
Yeldon's big receptions were a 3-yard gain to convert a third-and-1, and a 67-yard catch-and-run in the fourth. None of his carries gained even 10 yards, and he had only two first downs on the ground, but he was hit for no gain just twice.
3.
Antonio Andrews TEN
13
58
1
1/1
10
0
32
26
7
JAC
Andrews' big runs were gains of 16 and 22, and he also converted a second-and-1 and scored a goal-line touchdown, while getting hit for no gain or a loss three times. His loan completion was a 10-yard gain on third-and-5.
4.
David Johnson ARI
22
99
0
2/3
21
1
31
9
22
STL
Johnson's receptions produced two first downs, including a 10-yard touchdown on third-and-8. Four of his carries gained at least 9 yards and a first down, capped off by a 23-yarder. He was hit for no gain or a loss five times, though, and also fumbled on one carry.
5.
Charles Sims TB
7
56
0
2/3
21
0
25
24
1
ATL
All of Sims' carries gained at least 1 yard, including a 10-yard gain on third-and-1 and a 25-yarder on first-and-10. His longest reception was an 18-yard gain on second-and-10.


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.
Antonio Andrews TEN
13
58
1
1/1
10
0
32
26
7
JAC
2.
Charles Sims TB
7
56
0
2/3
21
0
25
24
1
ATL
3.
Kerwynn Williams ARI
6
59
1
0/0
0
0
23
23
0
STL
How's this for a boom-and-bust day? Sims first three carries gained 15, 15, and 35 yards, the latter going for a touchdown. His next three carries went for minus-2, zero, and minus-4 yards, and that was that.
4.
Isaiah Crowell CLE
11
62
0
1/1
2
0
20
23
-3
CIN
Only one of Crowell's carries failed to gain positive yardage. Meanwhile, he had four first downs, including gains of 12 and 23 yards.
5.
DeAngelo Williams PIT
26
134
0
5/6
31
0
21
19
2
IND
Quite an unusual day for Williams. You won't often see a runner with five stuffs and two fumbles in these tables. But Williams also ran for six first downs, including five gains of 10 or more, and, well, there weren't many good running backs this week.


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.
Ronnie Hillman DEN
19
56
0
0/1
0
0
-34
-28
-5
SD
Hillman takes a big hit from playing San Diego's terrible defense. His longest runs gained 11, 10, and 7 yards, but none of his other carries gained more than 4, and he was hit for no gain or a loss three times.


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.
James Starks GB
9
15
0
5/7
69
0
-25
-45
19
DET
Starks' longest carry gained only 6 yards (hey, at least it went for a first down), he was hit for no gain or a loss four times, and he had two fumbles, all in just nine carries. He actually had a good day as a receiver, with gains of 32 and 25 yards.


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Richard Rodgers GB
8
8
162
20.2
1
68
DET
The Hail Mary was worth 29 DYAR, but Rodgers had a big day before that. He finished with seven total first downs, including a 40-yard gain on a DPI to convert a second-and-21.
2.
Allen Robinson JAC
10
15
153
15.3
3
61
TEN
Robinson's eight first downs included touchdowns of 8 yards or less, but he also had big plays, with catches of 26, 31, and 44 yards. He converted five of his seven third-down targets.
3.
A.J. Green CIN
5
6
128
25.6
1
57
CLE
Green's catches included gains of 20, 22, and 57 yards, plus a 23-yard touchdown.
4.
Dorial Green-Beckham TEN
5
6
119
23.8
1
57
JAC
Green-Beckham's catches included gains of 20 and 26 yards, plus a 47-yard touchdown.
5.
Antonio Brown PIT
8
11
118
14.8
2
56
IND
Brown had seven first downs, including two red zone touchdowns, plus gains of 16, 26, and 48 yards.


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Anquan Boldin SF
5
13
37
7.4
0
-49
CHI
Boldin's lone first down was an 11-yard gain on third-and-7. Five times he failed to convert with 10 yards or less to go.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 07 Dec 2015

61 comments, Last at 18 Dec 2015, 5:08pm by BrownsFan27

Comments

1
by BlueStarDude :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 7:50am

"a 28-yard game-winning touchdown to DeSean Jackson" - I must have missed that,

4
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 9:47am

Tying, winning, same thing in the NFC East.

2
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 9:02am

"a 19-yard throw to somebody named Jonathan Krause"

Didn't he tour with Robert Plant?

3
by Led :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 9:19am

Vince: I'm curious how close Brandon Marshall was to the top 5. Twelve catches on 13 targets, almost all of which were successful as I recall. I think there was one catch for no gain,or maybe a couple yards. I guess only one TD hurts, as do the opponent adjustments.

5
by Jerry :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 9:57am

Proofreading: The Sam Bradford comment is surrounded by COM MENTS.

I think DeAngelo Williams had about 44 yards in his first 13 carries, which would mean 90 yards in his last 13, after the Colts defense had been torched through the air.

6
by nat :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 10:11am

...and [Brady's] one catch for 36 yards (which was worth 36 DYAR, by the way)...

I'm curious. When calculating the average or replacement to compare with in VOA and YAR for a QB reception, what peer group do you use? Running backs? Wide receivers? Or are there enough QB receptions to make that its own category?

7
by Kyndynos :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 10:28am

What happens to Brady's receiving DYAR when you calculate his total DYAR for the year? Will you just throw it out, or does it count as rushing DYAR?

8
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 10:37am

I've fixed a couple of errors above. Sorry, Brady had 21 DYAR on the reception, not 36, and it was mistakenly not added in to his total yet.

22
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:14pm

Is this the first time a QB had:

a) more receiving DYAR than passing or rushing?

b) positive DYAR in all three in the same game?

I suspect that both are true, but if we amend it to "QBs good enough to not have to resort to trickery," I'm not able to think of any off the top of my head.

25
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:18pm

I'm not sure. During the wildcat heyday QBs were going out on routes, or at least "players who lined up at QB".

9
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 10:53am

So for those who are interested, based on the linear relationship between QB rushing DYAR and DVOA (DVOA=0.195*DYAR-0.122, R^2 of 0.965), here is an estimate of each defenses QB Rushing DVOA:
NYG -59.4%
WAS -52.6%
PIT -47.1%
IND -43.4%
NYJ -39.3%
CIN -32.6%
SF -26.3%
TB -25.2%
SEA -23.9%
NO -21.3%
MIA -21.1%
ARI -20.7%
SD -18.4%
JAC -12.2%
TEN -10.6%
CAR -8.3%
KC -4.6%
CLE -4.4%
BUF -4.2%
DAL -4.1%
NE -3.8%
PHI -1.9%
STL 0.8%
ATL 1.7%
CHI 1.8%
HOU 3.4%
DEN 7.3%
GB 7.8%
MIN 9.0%
BAL 9.2%
OAK 15.7%
DET 17.5%

You can probably tell given all the negative numbers up there that QB runs are inefficient, and these numbers are understated given that a QB run can't be for negative yards (if it is it's recorded as a sack not a run).

Here is the DVOA of each play types:
DVOA of QB runs*: -12.3%
DVOA of all runs**: -11.49%***
DVOA of all passes: +8.75%
*Note1: the above numbers are not an average of all teams, but I weighted each team based on the number of QB runs/runs/passes it has run, to get a true average per play.
**Note: This should go without saying, but this number includes QB runs, so if we were to ignore QB runs, run DVOA would go slightly up.
***Note3: Run DVOA and Pass DVOA do not include last weekends games, however each teams weighting does, which could lead to small errors.

Since I know the longer this post is the less likely it will get read, I'm gonna reply with my thoughts about these numbers.

11
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 11:26am

My initial expectation would be that defenses that run a lot of man coverage would be the ones that performed the worst against qb scrambles, the LBs and Dbs will be running downfield with their backs to the qb and so he'll have a little more time to escape.

Some of the worst teams fit that premise: BAL, MIN, GB, DEN, HOU all run a lot of man coverage. I wouldn't say it's very clear though,there is a ton of noise at the very least, plus other factors such as defensive speed, keeping in lanes in pass rush etc. I also don't know every team well enough to say what their defensive schemes are.

So, to sum up... I don't know quite what to make of this.

13
by jtr :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 11:42am

Pittsburgh at the top of the list has been containing QBs with a combination of zone coverage and five-man rushes that fill all of the escape lanes. And it certainly doesn't hurt to have Lawrence Timmons running around tackling everything.

60
by BrownsFan27 :: Fri, 12/18/2015 - 5:02pm

And when they've done this they've gotten their asses kicked by running QBs, just through the air. So why is the conclusion here that stopping QB runs isn't important? Your ability to do this WITHOUT changing up your defensive scheme in a way that opens up passes is what really matters. A more telling thing to examine would be how the worst QB run teams' DVOA changes when they play against QBs who usually run a lot. If the Packers fail to stop the QB run but still manage to improve their overall DVOA vs running QBs then THAT would be an argument to suggest that stopping running QBs doesn't matter. The Steeler data actually seems to suggest that it's very important (at least to Mike Tomlin.)

16
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 12:31pm

QB runs are compared to QB runs, so you can't say they're less efficient than other plays using just those numbers.

Like you said most negative QB runs will be scored as sacks, so that already puts a really high bar for "average".

21
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:13pm

From my understanding DVOA is compared to the average play not the average play of its kind.

Which is why most teams have positive Passing DVOA and negative running DVOA, cause the passing game is naturally more efficient.

I could be wrong, but I think the negative DVOA suggests that it's an inefficient playtype.

Now that said there might be a problem with my methodology (maybe a QBs DYAR from rushes is different from a teams DYAR from QB rushes) or something else that I've missed.

26
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:20pm

I was actually thinking player specific DVOA not unit DVOA. I believe a QB's rushing DVOA is compared to other QB rushes while a team's rushing DVOA is compared to all plays.

Or something like that.

44
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 5:32pm

yeah Vince just confirmed that, my bad. lol

20
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 1:35pm

There are two possible explanations (that I could think of) for the gap in efficiency:
1. A large number of these plays are scrambles and not designed plays, leading to naturally lower efficiency numbers.
2. Defenses overcompensate for Dual-threat QBs, as a QB spy would reduce a dual-threats rushing DVOA but increase his teams passing and (non-QB) rushing DVOA.

The other possible explanation (one that the NFLs old guard would probably support) is that the benefits of a rushing QB is overrated and pocket passers are naturally better then dual-threat QBs.

Despite being a huge proponent of traditional offenses (I strongly believe that pretty-much every team overuses shotgun and that football outsiders is wrong when they claim that shotgun is more efficient then under center, but that argument is for another day), I am reluctant to accept the theory that dual-threat QBs are just naturally less efficient then pocket passers as run-option QBs dominate both at the college level and in the CFL.

While there are large difference between college football and the NFL (there are different rules and NFL players are better leading to differences in efficiency of passes vs runs), I don't think the difference can explain why rushing QBs are so much better at the college level and inefficient at the NFL level.

I also should note that I am not saying teams should never/rarely call designed QB runs, a team with a rushing QB should continue to use the QBs running in it's offensive scheme, as that's another thing for defenses to defend and since it's naturally a part of said QBs game, expecting him to change would see negative results in the short term, and probably in the long term as well. Kaepernick is a good example, last year he looked far more comfortable passing in games where lots of read-option plays were called then in games where the 49ers used that aspect of his game less.

And now time for some fun with regressions (I <3 regression analysis):
Relationship between DVOA against QB runs and # of QB Runs:
y = 0.101 * x + 0.129
Where X is the deviation in DVOA in QB runs and Y is the deviation in # of QB runs. The correlation is 0.101, so it is weak, but it does seem to suggest QBs run slightly more when facing a team that's bad at stopping QB runs (in theory this is because he'll have more openings to gain big yards by running, and therefore will).

Relationship/Correlation between defensive DVOA and # of QB runs (for all three of these the y-intercept was 0, so the correlation and formula of the StDev trendline are identical):
Total: -0.193
Pass: -0.148
Run: -0.232
Remember negative DVOA means better, so the better a teams defense is the more a QB will run. This isn't too surprising, when facing a better defense a QB is more likely to find themselves in a position where they have to scramble.

Relationship/Correlation between QB run DVOA and Defensive DVOA:
Total: -0.137
Pass: -0.221
Run: 0.151

The better a teams passing DVOA is, the worse they are at stopping QB runs, however good run defenses are good at stopping QB runs (however again it's important to note that a correlation of 0.221 is small). While run defense might be a false positive, since QB runs are part of a teams run dvoa, only ~9% of a teams run attempts are from a QB, so the full relationship cannot be because of that.

Here are some graphs for the above data:
DVOA against QB runs by Team: https://i.imgur.com/1xtVIsr.png
DVOA against QB runs vs QB run DVOA: https://i.imgur.com/RsF5MAE.png
Relationship between DVOA and QB runs: https://i.imgur.com/Y5tCpo7.png

27
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:25pm

There is another potential data problem I thought of. How does FO treat sack-fumbles? Do those get counted against rushing or passing DVOA?

33
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 3:00pm

Sacks are considered pass plays for dyar and dvoa (which makes sense, since the intent of the play was to pass the ball).

Though are aborted snaps looked at at all (as either passes or runs)?

The biggest data problem I can think of is different plays are given different dyar/dvoa responsibilities for offense and defense (eg. fumbles and interceptions punish the offense more then they reward the defense) so QBs DYAR/DVOA wont be the same as the DYAR/DVOA of the defenses they faced.

51
by Jerry :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 9:23pm

First, thanks for doing the work, despite whatever flaws are exposed downthread.

football outsiders is wrong when they claim that shotgun is more efficient then under center

If DVOA is greater for plays from shotgun than it is for plays under center, they're right, at least by the standard FO definition of "efficient".

While there are large difference between college football and the NFL (there are different rules and NFL players are better leading to differences in efficiency of passes vs runs), I don't think the difference can explain why rushing QBs are so much better at the college level and inefficient at the NFL level.

The difference in defenses is big enough to make the difference. It's much harder to outrun NFL defenders, and much easier for pros to design and implement a scheme to limit QB runs. It's possible to make a college offense work with the QB making one read, and if his receiver isn't wide open, pulling the ball down and running. The NFL quarterback needs to be a good passer (including reading the defense) before his running will be a threat.

57
by Eleutheria :: Wed, 12/09/2015 - 11:02am

"If DVOA is greater for plays from shotgun than it is for plays under center, they're right, at least by the standard FO definition of "efficient"."
The problem is most plays from shotgun are passes and most plays under center are runs. Since passes are much more efficient then runs, shotgun gets better efficiency numbers.

The problem though, is Passes under center are actually more efficient then passes in shotgun (and runs in shotgun are more efficient the runs under center).

The problem here is predictability, passes from shotgun are less efficient because defenses know you're going to pass and as a result they can more easily defend it.

The play action pass from under center remains by far the most efficient play on pretty much every team.

I'm not against the shotgun, offenses need to mix up their formation and keep their opponent guessing. That means using the shotgun less, since ~65% of plays are from shotgun right now.

10
by jacobk :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 10:57am

Any net effect on Russell Wilson's numbers if that 53 yard run had held up instead of being wiped out and replaced with a 53 yard pass? I know some fantasy owners must have been disappointed.

29
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:31pm

I assume it improved his DYAR numbers. QB passes are scored higher than QB runs of the same distance, and on top of that Minnesota's run defense is significantly worse than their pass defense.

12
by coremill :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 11:31am

After all, DYAR works by comparing each quarterback to his contemporaries in a given season. So while Wilson had to outshine fellow dynamos like Kaepernick and Newton and Blake Bortles (no, really), Cunningham only had one remote competitor for the title of NFL's best rushing quarterback . . . So there's no question that Cunningham stood out from his peers more than Wilson has, but there is also no question that Cunningham's peers were a whole lot slower.

To me, this suggests a methodological flaw in the replacement level calculation. The replacement level is about the bottom of the distribution. The presence of more elite performances at the top of the distribution, or a change in the shape of the distribution (such as more clustering at the top) shouldn't in theory have any effect on what's going on at the bottom of the distribution.

14
by RickD :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 12:11pm

I suspect there's not only a change to the top, but a change to the entire distribution.

17
by coremill :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 12:45pm

1) That's not the argument being made in the section I quoted, which focused on other elite runners.

2) Is there any evidence for that? In 1990 32 QBs had at least 8 rushing attempts; the bottom 10 QBs in rushing DVOA averaged 95.9 yards on 19.7 carries. In 2014, 35 QBs had at least 8 rushing attempts; the bottom 10 averaged 90.4 yards on 22.2 carries.

18
by RickD :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 12:49pm

1)

"After all, DYAR works by comparing each quarterback to his contemporaries in a given season." That seems to be the argument that you claim is not being made. Unless a QB's contemporaries only includes part of the distribution.

You're being especially nitpicky given that you don't know how it's being calculated. Given that the usual stat does, in fact, calculate with respect to an average runner, why would you assume something different happened in 1990? Or now for that matter? It seems far simpler to assume that the blurb of text isn't trying to completely describe the calculation process.

2) Evidence? You're the one claiming that DYAR is doing something wrong. Isn't it your task to back up that argument?

19
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 1:09pm

He uses other good runners as his support, but the argument is "Cunningham's peers were a whole lot slower."

31
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:49pm

Well then you get into sample size problems.

The formula for replacement level is based on the average DVOA of all replacement QBs in football outsiders dataset (up to 2007 which is when the formula was created) excluding instances where the replacement outperformed his starter or was a top level prospect (whatever that means).

If we looked at individual seasons rather then multiple seasons, this would be subject to major sample size problems:
Eg. this year we've only had 6-9 (eg. do I include Manziel or is he a top level prospect?) 'replacement level QBs' play a combined 15-22 games.

So basically, do we assume the gap between the average quarterback and the average replacement level quarterback is the same throughout history or do we increase the margin of error on our numbers by making them subject to a small sample size?

Maybe it would be better to calculate replacement level based on a ~6-year moving average to get at least a semi-decent sample size, though that would really complicate the DYAR formula.

15
by FlippingADollar :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 12:25pm

I'd be interested in seeing comparison of QB runs vs. pass and run defense. I'm pulling this out of my butt, but I'd think that a team which covers receivers well (or puts pressure on QBs) would give up more QB rushing yards. Similarly, I'd suspect that teams that are running the ball well wouldn't have a QB that rushed a lot.

24
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:17pm

If we look at what how rushing QBs effect overall running efficiency, from Tebow to RW, I'd expect that good to great rushing teams have rushing QBs. Holding the backside DE without having to run high risk plays like reverses and end-arounds has amazing value for an offense.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

38
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 3:49pm

You're correct:
The better your defense is, the more often your opponents QB will have to run. It doesn't matter whether your defense is good agaisnt the run or good against the pass, so long as it's good. Obviously a quarterback facing a good pass defense will have to scramble more, I think better run defense meaning more QB rushes might be because you have to have fewer rushing plays in those games meaning your theory that teams taht run more have fewer QB rushes could be correct.

Also the better a teams passing DVOA, the more yards it gives up per QB run, which is probably because these teams are spending more resources in covering receivers and less in stopping a QB from scrambling.

Here is the data in two nice graphs:
https://i.imgur.com/Y5tCpo7.png
Blue is each teams defense DVOA
Red is each teams Pass defense DVOA
Yellow is each teams run defense DVOA

23
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:16pm

The next three or so years of Cam Newton's career are going to be fascinating to watch, to see how important it is to him to be as great as he can be. Will he go down the path of Cutlerism, reliant on outsized physical talent, while ignoring those details, like throwing mechanics, which make a huge difference in winning games? Will he, if not as ruthless as a Brady and Manning in maximizing effectiveness in ovecoming some physical shortcomings, be like a Rodgers in really putting forth a lot of effort in optimizing his physical gifts? Maybe he'll be like Stubbleface, with some incredible peaks, and noticeable valleys in his play, dependent on coaching?

I love watching the guy play, and hope he avoids the sort of pitfalls which could cause him to fall well short of his potential. At 26, the sky is still the limit.

28
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:28pm

The part of me that genuinely loves football and really enjoys watching Cam Newton play hopes he refines things to continue making great plays for a long time, but the part of me that's a Bucs fan and dreads playing him twice a year kind of hopes he decides meth sounds like a lot of fun and winds up living in a run-down trailer out in the hills in a year or two. I'm pretty sure the first part of me is much stronger, but I suspect week the 17 game between Tampa and Carolina might change my mind.

30
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:36pm

An honest, if somewhat depraved, man.

34
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 3:14pm

Oh, come on, like you've never thought to yourself, "You know, if Aaron Rodgers' foot gets eaten by a bear he can still live a reasonably full life and he'll stop killing the Vikings twice a year, I wonder if I can get a Kickstarter going for an offseason camping trip for him to the middle of Alaska".

35
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 3:18pm

It would take a bit off his game but I reckon Rodgers could play OK with a decent prosthetic.

You need a slightly hungrier bear.

36
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 3:35pm

Maybe swallowed whole, by a giant muskie, while angling on the Wisconsin River? I can see Daniel Day-Lewis, reprising the Robert Shaw role as Quint, except this time as Mike McCarthy, as the remake of "Jaws" is set in northern Wisconsin! The master thespian would have to gain about 100 pounds for the role, gorging on cheese curds and beer, but I think he'd enjoy the challenge! Think of the contribution that the sacrifice of Rodgers could make to the cinema! Somebody send him a rod and reel!

39
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 4:14pm

Wouldn't Killer Beaver Attack be a better sequel? The plot is that it's after Rodgers' wooden leg...

40
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 5:12pm

Box Office!

50
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 8:35pm

So why didn't Rodgers star in 'Zombeavers'? Perhaps they couldn't afford him with that budget?

52
by Jerry :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 9:24pm

He couldn't get insurance.

37
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 3:35pm

This sounds like the sort of thing that could only be tested empirically. Sounds like it's time for a Packers team outing to the Milwaukee zoo.

Oh, stop whining, Aaron. It's for science.

32
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 2:53pm

As a Tampa fan, you really need Cam Newton on meth to stay away from Jameis Winston.

This is Cam Newton. This is Cam Newton with cable. This is Cam Newton with cable and two kilos of cocaine.

41
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 5:24pm

"a 28-yard game-winning touchdown to DeSean Jackson" - I must have missed that,

Proofreading: The Sam Bradford comment is surrounded by COM MENTS.

Errors have been fixed. Thank you.

Vince: I'm curious how close Brandon Marshall was to the top 5. Twelve catches on 13 targets, almost all of which were successful as I recall. I think there was one catch for no gain,or maybe a couple yards. I guess only one TD hurts, as do the opponent adjustments.

Tenth. Only 10.1 yards per target (everyone else in the top ten was higher), just the one touchdown, only one third-down conversion. A very good day, just not top-five.

You can probably tell given all the negative numbers up there that QB runs are inefficient, and these numbers are understated given that a QB run can't be for negative yards (if it is it's recorded as a sack not a run).

This conclusion is terribly flawed. QB runs are actually very efficient plays (in part because failed QB runs usually get marked down as sacks).

Your average offensive play in the NFL this season has gained 5.65 yards, with a success rate of 42.3 percent, getting a first down 28.7 percent of the time.

Your average QB run has gained 6.09 yards, with a success rate of 59.7 percent, getting a first down 42.6 percent of the time.

The problem is, for team DVOA, QB runs are compared to all other offensive plays. For the DYAR and DVOA of individual quarterbacks, QB runs are compared to other QB runs only. So it's quite possible for a quarterback run to go down as a good play for a team's DVOA, but a bad play for that quarterback's DYAR. I think that's what's screwing up your regression analysis. Plus there are different baselines for average and replacement level... just a lot going on here.

In fact, if I'm reading this correctly:

So for those who are interested, based on the linear relationship between QB rushing DYAR and DVOA (DVOA=0.195*DYAR-0.122, R^2 of 0.965), here is an estimate of each defenses QB Rushing DVOA:

Are you getting those DVOAs from the QBs page? Those DVOAs represent individual quarterback runs compared only to other quarterback runs, and are NOT the same as team offensive DVOA when the quarterback runs the ball. Still, while your "team defense against quarterback runs DVOA" metric is inherently flawed, the team order is probably going to be pretty close.

43
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 5:31pm

"Are you getting those DVOAs from the QBs page? Those DVOAs represent individual quarterback runs compared only to other quarterback runs"
Ok, didn't know that.

So I guess I'd have to adjust the numbers based on the difference in variance and average of a teams DVOA on QB runs and that of DVOA of quarterback runs.

I don't have access to that data though.

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by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 5:25pm

"So let's talk opponent adjustments and just how horrible the Saints are this year."
Is this the worst passing defense of all time?
At a DVOA of 48.4 it's twice as bad as the Broncos (-24.4) are good, and the worst pass DVOA ever recorded was the 1996 Baltimore at 42.0%, Saints are on pace to eclipse that.

This defense is beyond on bad.

Can anyone build a case for a pre-DVOA team that's pass defense is worse then this one?

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by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 5:43pm

OK, I think I figured out how to do this. Day late and a dollar short and all that. There is no "position" tab on the Team Defense DVOA worksheet, but there is a "player" tab, so I can go through and select the quarterbacks one by one, then filter the play type for rushing only, and that should give me "Team Defense DVOA against Quarterback Runs." Since I'm doing this manually, I might have missed a backup here or there, but this should be close.

DEFENSE,QB runs,Avg. Gain,DVOA
NYJ,27,5.44,-5.6%
PIT,22,5.00,2.5%
JAC,42,4.24,6.5%
NYG,18,4.39,9.3%
CIN,22,5.86,10.7%
IND,29,5.90,11.5%
KC,21,6.29,12.4%
SEA,35,5.20,13.1%
SF,19,6.74,15.5%
ARI,38,5.97,21.7%
TB,17,6.76,24.7%
CAR,35,5.63,25.6%
STL,29,6.07,26.1%
BAL,21,5.71,27.7%
WAS,15,6.60,30.1%
NO,25,4.68,31.4%
GB,47,6.64,32.4%
TEN,30,6.07,33.0%
SD,21,5.90,33.0%
DAL,26,5.15,34.2%
NE,25,5.96,36.5%
CLE,11,3.18,42.2%
MIA,25,6.40,48.2%
CHI,24,7.75,48.3%
PHI,18,6.17,52.4%
MIN,18,6.17,52.9%
HOU,28,6.36,53.8%
OAK,14,8.14,54.8%
DEN,22,8.23,62.6%
ATL,15,6.47,66.9%
DET,22,8.27,69.6%
BUF,18,7.67,74.6%

Every team has faced at least 11 QB runs.

Green Bay's defense comes off looking a LOT better here, but again note that they have given up a league-high 47 QB runs. So the damage done per QB run isn't bad, but the cumulative effect has been huge.

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by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 6:56pm

Thanks for the extra work. I'm still struggling to find a schematic relationship, it looks like my zone/man theory is at best one, small factor.

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by tuluse :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 7:39pm

Thanks Vince.

Looks like the lesson is "don't run against the Jets under any circumstances".

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by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 8:33pm

Great, they're playing Mariota this week, you just jinxed them massively. I'm only ok with it if the loss ends up getting them Conklin from Mich State in the first round next year.

47
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 7:33pm

Ok so correlation between my estimated DVOA and actual DVOA is 0.691, so it's not as accurate as I thought it would be.

Here's the graph of DVOA vs estimated DVOA (using a regression to produce the same mean and variance as actual DVOA):
https://i.imgur.com/nlVm5hc.png

First one is sorted alphabetically, second list is sorted by how much I got it wrong, 22 worst teams.

And here are the graphs I provided earlier with the QB run DVOA updated:
https://i.imgur.com/lzyx1yo.png

53
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 11:30pm

Just noticed, Brady as 12 passing DYAR, 12 rushing DYAR but 44 overall DYAR. Which one of those is the typo?

54
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 11:49pm

None, read the blurb :)

21 receiving DYAR (there are rounding errors in here).

55
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/08/2015 - 11:59pm

True, forgot about that.

Was arguing with a friend over whether Brady or Newton played better on Sunday, I decided to look at each of their DYAR to try and further the dicsussion. Should always read the blurbs lol.

56
by Kal :: Wed, 12/09/2015 - 4:39am

Confused how Rodgers gets credit for a hail Mary success. Surely that isn't predictive any more than a hail Mary interception is predictive?

59
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 12/09/2015 - 4:24pm

The only adjustment we make for Hail Marys is treating interceptions the same as incomplete passes, because obviously in Hail Marys ball security is irrelevant. True, it's more luck than skill, but the quarterback and receiver were trying to complete the pass, and the defense was trying to stop them. So aside from the INT switch, we treat them like any other pass play.

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by graywh :: Wed, 12/09/2015 - 1:23pm

It's nice to see Antonio Andrews being productive as a football player and fiscally responsible as a borrower.

61
by BrownsFan27 :: Fri, 12/18/2015 - 5:08pm

"It's certainly nice to limit what running quarterbacks can do (as any Packers fan will tell you, it sure beats the alternative), but it looks to be a very small part of what goes into a winning defense."

How can you possibly conclude this from this data? The Steelers clearly believe that it is very important to stop the QB run—enough that they're willing to give up big passing plays to do it. A great example of this was the final play of the playoff game vs Tebow. Steelers were willing to take a chance on cover 0 to contain the QB and they paid for it.

In fact, it seems like the Steelers have generally gotten their asses kicked by running QBs—just through the air. So why is the conclusion here that stopping QB runs isn't important? Your ability to do this WITHOUT changing up your defensive scheme in a way that opens up passes is what really matters. A more telling thing to examine would be how the worst QB run teams' DVOA changes when they play against QBs who usually run a lot. If the Packers fail to stop the QB run but still manage to improve their overall DVOA vs running QBs then THAT would be an argument to suggest that stopping running QBs doesn't matter. The Steeler data actually seems to suggest that it's very important (at least to Mike Tomlin.)