Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Dec 2015

Week 15 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

For very bad reasons, Odell Beckham and Tyrann Mathieu were the biggest newsmakers in Week 15 in the NFL. That's too bad, because two other players deserved more credit for their accomplishments -- or rather, more recognition for the great numbers they produced. By DYAR, David Johnson had the best day for a running back all year, while Antonio Brown set a new 2015 standard for wide receivers. In fact, both men produced one of the top games on record at their respective positions.

We'll start with Johnson. The third-round rookie out of Northern Iowa rushed for 187 yards against Philadelphia, one of the top four yardage totals this season, scoring three times. He also added another 42 yards on four catches.

Johnson's longest gain against Philadelphia was a 47-yard touchdown in the second quarter, but he had four other 10-plus-yard runs on the night. Including his touchdowns, he ran for ten first downs, including conversions on all five of his carries with 1 yard to go. He had 21 runs of 3 yards or more, but was hit for no gain or a loss only twice. Only eight of his 29 carries were unsuccessful, giving him a smashing success rate of 72 percent. And he was versatile, with success up the middle (eight carries for only 19 yards, but four first downs -- he usually went up the middle in short yardage), off tackle (three carries, each gaining exactly 5 yards, all on first-and-10), and to the outside (16 carries for 137 yards on runs to left or right end, including four of his longest runs).

And we haven't even talked about his receiving value yet. The Cardinals threw Johnson the ball four times, and he turned all four of them into valuable plays:

  • Up 7-3 in the first quarter, Arizona had a third-and-2 at their own 43. Johnson caught a pass a yard behind the line of scrimmage and rumbled for a gain of 12 and a first down.
  • On the very next play, Johnson caught a pass 6 yards downfield and added 2 more yards after the catch, finishing with a healthy gain of 8 on first-and-10.
  • Up 23-10 in the third quarter, the Cardinals had a first down at midfield. Johnson showed that he is more than just a screen threat with a 12-yard catch, with all 12 yards coming before the catch.
  • With a 37-17 lead in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals had a third-and-1 and were looking to kill clock. Johnson took a pass at the line of scrimmage and ran for a 10-yard gain. That let Arizona burn off another 90 seconds of clock and set up an insurance field goal.

Johnson finished with 88 rushing DYAR against Philadelphia, the best total since Jonas Gray's incredibly fluky day against the Colts in Week 11 last year, which worked out to 104 DYAR with final opponent adjustments. In total DYAR, it was the best since Jamaal Charles' cartoonish receiving day against Oakland in Week 15 of 2013.


Best Single-Game DYAR, Running Backs, Regular Season, 1989-2015
Rank Year Player Team Total DYAR Rush DYAR Rec DYAR Runs Yds TD Pass Rec Yds TD Week Def
1 2002 Priest Holmes KC 152 101 52 23 197 2 7 7 110 1 12 SEA
2 2006 Joseph Addai IND 145 121 24 24 171 4 3 3 37 0 12 PHI
3 1997 Corey Dillon CIN 135 126 9 39 246 4 2 2 30 0 15 TEN
4 2005 LaDainian Tomlinson SD 134 117 -13 21 192 3 7 7 28 0 3 NYG
5 1991 Barry Sanders DET 131 116 15 23 220 4 4 4 31 0 13 MIN
6 1998 Marshall Faulk IND 131 89 41 17 192 1 8 8 75 1 13 BAL
7 2000 Marshall Faulk STL 123 95 28 32 220 2 8 8 41 1 17 NO
8 2007 Brian Westbrook PHI 117 58 59 14 110 2 5 5 111 1 3 DET
9 2013 Jamaal Charles KC 116 4 112 8 20 1 8 8 195 4 15 OAK
10 1991 Thurman Thomas BUF 114 56 58 25 165 1 9 9 103 1 1 MIA
11 2000 Marshall Faulk STL 114 83 31 25 208 1 10 10 78 0 7 ATL
12 2015 David Johnson ARI 112 83 29 29 187 3 4 4 42 0 15 PHI
13 1990 Barry Sanders DET 111 42 69 16 90 1 7 7 135 1 6 KC
14 1999 Marshall Faulk STL 111 10 101 10 54 0 13 13 204 1 16 CHI
15 2004 Edgerrin James IND 110 104 6 23 204 1 1 1 11 0 11 CHI
16 2010 Arian Foster HOU 109 110 0 33 231 3 1 1 7 0 1 IND
17 2007 Brian Westbrook PHI 109 48 61 20 100 1 6 5 83 2 10 WAS
18 2000 Fred Taylor JAC 108 111 -3 30 234 3 7 7 14 1 12 PIT
19 2006 Tiki Barber NYG 106 96 10 23 234 3 4 4 24 0 17 WAS
20 2006 Steven Jackson STL 106 78 28 25 142 3 2 2 24 1 17 MIN

The Cardinals have brought Johnson along slowly, and in the first 12 weeks of the year he never touched the ball more than ten times in a game. Injuries to Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, though, have essentially forced Arizona to give David Johnson the ball more, and so far he has been a huge success. He has started each of the past three weeks, and in those three starts he has averaged 23.3 carries for 126.0 yards per game, running for 5.4 yards per carry in the process. He also has 102 rushing DYAR in those three weeks, 36 more than anyone else, and his 26.1% rushing DVOA is second among starting running backs in that timeframe to Matt Forte. It's probably too little, too late for him to finish first in either category, though. He now has 122 DYAR rushing and a 22.2% DVOA -- both very good, but short of the leaders in those categories. (Thomas Rawls has 222 DYAR, while Le'Veon Bell has a 28.9% DVOA.)

While Johnson's big day helped Arizona clinch a playoff berth, cornerbacks throughout the AFC are hoping that Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers will somehow miss the postseason field. At 9-5, the Steelers are currently tied with the Jets and Chiefs for the conference's two wild card spots, but they clearly have the best offense of those three teams. On Sunday, they rallied from a 17-point deficit against the best defense in football to get a key 34-27 win over the Denver Broncos. Brown played a huge role in that victory, with 16 catches for 18 targets, gaining 189 yards and two touchdowns in the process -- and that's not even including his longest gain of the day, a 26-yard DPI in the third quarter. Including that play, Brown had 11 first downs against the Broncos -- and really, the key words there are "against the Broncos." Before Sunday, Denver hadn't allowed any player to catch more than ten passes, gain more than 117 yards, or pick up more than six first downs through the air all season. Without opponent adjustments, Brown would have had 93 YAR; with them, he had 112 DYAR. That's the best game for a wide receiver in a little more than a year, going back to DeAndre Hopkins' outburst against Indianapolis in Week 13 last year. Both of those games (as well as T.Y. Hilton's performance against Houston in Week 6 of 2014) make the top 20:


Best Single-Game DYAR, Wide Receivers, Regular Season, 1989-2015
Rank Year Player Team Total DYAR Rec DYAR Rush DYAR Pass Rec Yds TD Runs Yds TD Week Def
1 1989 Flipper Anderson LARM 160 160 0 20 15 336 1 0 0 0 12 NO
2 2000 Jimmy Smith JAC 141 141 0 21 15 291 3 0 0 0 2 BAL
3 1995 Jerry Rice SF 136 124 12 16 14 289 3 1 10 0 16 MIN
4 2014 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 135 135 0 9 9 238 2 0 0 0 13 TEN
5 2006 Chad Johnson CIN 133 137 -4 12 11 260 2 1 0 0 10 SD
6 2000 Terrell Owens SF 131 133 -2 22 20 283 1 1 5 0 16 CHI
7 1989 Henry Ellard LARM 130 130 0 15 12 230 3 0 0 0 2 IND
8 2001 Randy Moss MIN 129 112 16 13 10 171 3 1 18 0 10 NYG
9 2010 Kenny Britt TEN 127 127 0 10 7 225 3 0 0 0 7 PHI
10 1994 Andre Reed BUF 122 114 8 19 15 191 2 1 4 0 12 GB
11 1995 Kevin Williams DAL 122 104 18 11 9 203 2 3 21 0 17 ARI
12 2014 T.Y. Hilton IND 120 120 0 9 9 223 1 0 0 0 6 HOU
13 2011 Calvin Johnson DET 118 118 0 17 11 244 1 0 0 0 17 GB
14 2013 Josh Gordon CLE 117 117 0 17 14 237 1 0 0 0 12 PIT
15 2006 Reggie Wayne IND 116 116 0 11 10 138 3 0 0 0 8 DEN
16 2013 Eric Decker DEN 115 115 0 12 8 174 4 0 0 0 13 KC
17 2001 David Patten NE 115 47 25 5 4 117 2 1 29 1 6 IND
18 2007 Terrell Owens DAL 114 114 0 11 8 173 4 0 0 0 11 WAS
19 2013 Andre Johnson HOU 112 112 0 13 9 229 3 0 0 0 9 IND
20 2015 Antonio Brown PIT 112 112 0 18 16 189 2 0 0 0 15 DEN

Unlike Johnson, whose production has come in a fairly small three-game sample, Brown has been ruining the league for several seasons, but perhaps more than ever this year. Between Week 15 and Week 9, Brown now has the top two wide receiver DYAR games of 2015. And thanks to big games in Week 10 and Week 2, he also has three of the top six games, and four of the top 10. Larry Fitzgerald is the only other receiver to make the top 10 twice, and Odell Beckham is the only other to make the top 20 twice. Brown now has 475 receiving DYAR this season, far more than any other wideout (Doug Baldwin is second at 367), and seems destined to lead the NFL in this category for the second year in a row despite getting five starts out of Michael Vick and Landry Jones. As the Broncos now well know, he is simply one of the very best players in the NFL.

(Keep in mind that for both Johnson and Brown, final numbers will change slightly as opponent adjustments finalize, though with only two weeks to go there likely won't be any big changes going forward.)

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Kirk Cousins WAS
22/28
319
4
0
1
212
198
14
BUF
"We don't think of Kirk Cousins as a long bomber, but he was tremendous on longer passes against Chicago." That's what I wrote one week ago in this space, but it's probably time to adjust our mental image of Cousins. He was spectacular on longer passes again against Buffalo. On throws that traveled more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, he went 7-of-8 for 203 yards, with every completion going for a first down, including two touchdowns. Cousins' biggest play was his 77-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson in the third quarter; his other three touchdowns each came in the red zone.
2.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
40/54
380
3
2
3
173
173
0
DEN
Remember, DYAR is a counting stat, and Roethlisberger had a doinkload of dropbacks. Opponent adjustments are also cumulative, and since Denver has been the league's best defense, Roethlisberger gets a massive boost from playing them, jumping from 68 YAR to 173 DYAR. He had 15 dropbacks just on third downs, with eight conversions: seven on nine completions (which gained 86 total yards) and another on a 24-yard DPI.
3.
Russell Wilson SEA
21/30
249
3
0
2
149
137
12
CLE
Wilson and the Seahawks have usually been at their best on deep passes, but they also had a lot of success on shorter routes against Cleveland. Wilson threw five passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage against the Browns, completing all of them for 34 total yards and four first downs, including a touchdown. Wilson was also nearly perfect on third downs, going 7-of-9 for 74 yards and a score, with every completion going for a first down. A tenth third-down throw resulted in a DPI for 16 yards and another first down.
4.
Teddy Bridgewater MIN
17/20
231
4
0
1
142
153
-10
CHI
Bridgewater did not miss a pass on Chicago's side of the field. Across the 50, he went 7-of-7 for 83 yards and all four of his touchdowns. (He was sacked on third down in field goal range.)
5.
Carson Palmer ARI
20/32
274
1
0
2
133
133
0
PHI
Palmer led all quarterbacks in both first-quarter and third-quarter DYAR this week, going a combined 15-of-17 for 214 yards and 12 first downs in those two frames, plus a DPI for 12 more yards and another first down. However, he was below replacment level in both the second and fourth quarters, with only four first downs in those frames. Could be a sign that the Eagles made better adjustments than the Cards. Could also be random statistical noise.
6.
Case Keenum STL
14/17
234
2
0
2
129
129
0
TB
It's not just that Keenum completed a high rate of passes against Tampa Bay, it's that every one of his completions helped the Rams to win. Eleven went for first downs, including touchdowns of 17 and 60 yards, and a successful conversion on his only third-down throw. His other three completions -- an 8-yard gain on second-and-13, a 7-yard gain on second-and-8, and an 8-yard gain on first-and-10 -- all counted as successful plays.
7.
Philip Rivers SD
26/36
311
3
2
1
129
129
0
MIA
So this is fun: on throws to receivers 15 to 27 yards downfield, Rivers went 7-of-7 for 170 yards and a touchdown. On three throws deeper than that, each of which went at least 40 yards downfield, he threw one incompletion and two interceptions.
8.
Drew Brees NO
34/52
341
3
0
1
128
120
7
DET
9.
Cam Newton CAR
25/44
340
5
0
3
124
97
27
NYG
Newton was a big reason the Panthers built a 35-7 lead and then with a field goal at the end, but he was also a big reason the Giants were able to rally to tie the score. On four drives after his 14-yard touchdown to Ted Ginn put Carolina up 28 points, he went 2-of-7 for 17 yards and only one first down, with failures to convert on third-and-3, third-and-5, and third-and-7. He also had three runs for 22 yards on those drives, with a fumble that was recovered by New York deep in Panthers territory.
10.
Eli Manning NYG
29/46
245
4
1
0
112
112
-1
CAR
Mind you, Manning also played a big part in the Giants' rally. On the Giants' last five drives, he went 17-of-23 for 161 yards, with three touchdowns and five other first downs, plus one interception.
11.
Matthew Stafford DET
22/25
254
3
0
3
109
117
-8
NO
Here again I must stop and explain the power of opponent adjustments when it comes to the 2015 Saints. Without opponent adjustments, Stafford would have ranked third this week, and on only 28 dropbacks. With them, well, here we are. The Saints have now given up 39 touchdown passes, the most in more than 50 years and one short of the all-time record, with two games to go. Meanwhile, the Saints have intercepted only six balls, and are in danger of becoming just the second non-strike season defense ever to allow a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 6-to-1 or greater. (With four interceptions and 28 touchdowns allowed, the Ravens could also join that list.) By any measure, this is one of the worst defensive teams of all time, and it's very difficult for any quarterback to put up good DYAR numbers against them.
12.
Jameis Winston TB
30/50
366
2
1
0
102
116
-14
STL
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Tom Brady NE
23/35
267
2
0
2
80
80
0
TEN
You know how veteran quarterbacks will pick on their opponents' weaknesses? Brady realized Tennessee wasn't doing much to cover James White, and in the second quarter he targeted White on seven consecutive passes, completing six of them for 67 yards and three first downs, including a 30-yard touchdown. Then the Titans started clamping down on White, and officially he wasn't targeted for the rest of the game. (He did gain 70 yards on a catch in the fourth quarter that was wiped out on a penalty.)
14.
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ
26/39
299
1
1
2
63
66
-4
DAL
15.
A.J. McCarron CIN
15/21
192
1
0
4
29
38
-8
SF
What an odd day. McCarron's first pass was a 37-yard gain on a deep pass to A.J. Green. He didn't pick up a single first down in his next seven dropbacks, going 3-of-7 for 11 yards in the process. Then he caught fire, going 11-of-13 for 142 yards and a touchdown, plus a DPI, with one sack. And then his last three dropbacks all resulted in sacks.
16.
Brock Osweiler DEN
21/44
296
3
1
2
29
16
13
PIT
Osweiler had the best DYAR in the league in the first half, and the worst DYAR in the second half. In Quarters 1 and 2, he went 14-of-18 for 214 yards and 10 first downs, including all three touchdowns, with one sack. In Quarters 3 and 4, he went 7-of-26 for 82 yards and only three first downs, with one interception, one sack, and one fumbled snap. In 2015, Osweiler now has a 26.0% DVOA in the first half of games, and a -29.3% DVOA in the second half of games.
17.
Sam Bradford PHI
28/41
361
2
2
2
28
28
0
ARI
Bradford struggled with turnovers, with two interceptions and a sack-fumble, but he had success on deep passes against Arizona, going 4-of-6 for 143 yards and both of his touchdowns.
18.
Zach Mettenberger TEN
20/28
242
2
2
2
27
39
-12
NE
19.
Matt Ryan ATL
22/35
246
1
1
1
25
30
-5
JAC
20.
Jimmy Clausen BAL
26/45
281
2
2
2
25
19
5
KC
21.
Alex Smith KC
21/25
176
1
0
3
24
32
-8
BAL
Now here is an Alex Smith kind of stat: he was "perfect" on third downs, going 7-of-7 for 70 yards. However, those "perfect" completions still failed more often than they succeeded, with only three conversions.
22.
Brandon Weeden HOU
11/17
105
1
0
1
22
19
3
IND
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Blake Bortles JAC
23/37
297
1
1
2
16
-13
29
ATL
Bortles failed to complete a single pass for a third-down conversion, going 2-of-8 for 7 yards with a sack on third or fourth downs. His only third-down conversion came on a 3-yard DPI.
24.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
16/27
235
2
0
5
16
-18
34
WAS
Taylor's first third-down throw resulted in a gain of 15 yards on third-and-10. That would be his only third-down conversion of the day; from that point forward he went 1-of-3 (the completion was a 13-yard gain on third-and-20) with three sacks.
25.
Kellen Moore DAL
15/25
158
1
3
1
-4
-4
0
NYJ
The winningest all-time quarterback in college football history finally got to play in an NFL game, and aside from the interceptions (one of which we counted as a Hail Mary, even though it was on second down with 24 seconds left) he did OK. His success rate of 46 percent and average gain of 6.1 yards were right in line with the average quarterback numbers (46 percent, 6.5 yards) this week. Of course, a lot of bad quarterbacks would look much better if you ignored their interceptions.
26.
Derek Carr OAK
23/47
276
2
2
3
-20
-37
17
GB
Carr was absolutely brutal at the start of this game, with a 2-yard gain and an incomplete pass to set up a punt on Oakland's first drive, an interception to set up Green Bay's first touchdown on their second, and a pick-six for Green Bay's second touchdown on their third. He was next to last in first-quarter DYAR this week (we'll get to Matt Cassel), 16th in DYAR after that.
27.
T.J. Yates HOU
6/10
68
0
1
2
-24
-27
4
IND
In addition to his stats listed here, Yates also gained two first downs on DPIs of 22 and 13 yards.
28.
Matt Hasselbeck IND
18/30
147
1
1
2
-30
-25
-4
HOU
First two drives: 7-of-11, 70 yards, six first downs, including one touchdown. Rest of game: 10-of-18, 77 yards, only three first downs, two sacks, one interception, one intentional grounding.
29.
Aaron Rodgers GB
22/39
204
1
1
2
-34
-34
0
OAK
You don't ordinarily associate the Packers quarterback with red zone troubles, but he had big-time struggles finishing drives against Oakland. Inside the Raiders' 20, he went 2-of-9 for 12 yards with no touchdowns, only one first down, and an interception, plus a tenth throw that resulted in a 10-yard DPI and another first down.
30.
Johnny Manziel CLE
19/32
161
1
1
3
-38
-45
7
SEA
I didn't see this game, so I can't say how much Richard Sherman stuck to one side of the field or how much he moved around. But Manziel had a nightmarish day throwing to the right side of the field, where Sherman normally lines up. To that side, Manziel went 6-of-12 for 35 yards and only one first down -- and that one first down came on a 15-yard gain with Cleveland down by 17 in the final three minutes of the game.
31.
Jay Cutler CHI
26/37
231
2
1
5
-50
-46
-4
MIN
First nine drives: 15-of-24, 119 yards, four first downs (including a touchdown), five sacks, one fumble, one interception. Last two drives, all with Chicago down by 21 points in the final eight minutes of the game: 11-of-13 for 112 yards, nine first downs (including another touchdown). He was next to last in DYAR in the first three quarters of the game this week, seventh-best in the fourth quarter or overtime.
32.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
20/33
216
0
0
3
-60
-62
2
SD
Tannehill didn't pick up a first down on San Diego's half of the field until the Dolphins were down by 23 points inside the two-minute warning. On third downs, he went 4-of-10 for 58 yards with as many conversions (one) as sacks. That conversion came with Miami down by 23 points in the third quarter.
33.
Matt Cassel DAL
3/8
37
0
1
1
-79
-79
0
NYJ
Cassel's first completion was a 15-yard gain for a first down. His other completions were a 5-yard gain on second-and-12 and a 17-yard gain on third-and-30, the latter of which came one play after Cassel was sacked for a 19-yard loss. Remember, everyone, DYAR is a counting stat, and yet Cassel managed to rank this low despite not playing in the final 44 minutes of the game.
34.
Blaine Gabbert SF
30/50
295
1
3
4
-101
-101
0
CIN
After several weeks of semi-competent play, Gabbert has returned to his usual terrible ways, finishing below replacement level for three weeks in a row and ranking dead last in total DYAR over that span. Gabbert failed to convert any of his first 11 third-down plays, going 5-of-11 for 36 yards in the process. He then converted a fourth-and-2, a third-and-13, and a third-and-12 in the closing minutes of the game.


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.
David Johnson ARI
29
187
3
4/4
42
0
113
83
29
PHI
2.
Danny Woodhead SD
8
10
1
6/6
50
3
58
-7
66
MIA
Woodhead's three touchdown catches: 20-yard gain on second-and-12, and two scores on third-and-goal from the 9. He also had conversions on third-and-2 and second-and-9. His limited rushing yardage did produce a 2-yard touchdown and a conversion on third-and-1. Woodhead is now in the top 20 in total touchdowns and is your best secret weapon in daily fantasy leagues.
3.
Matt Forte CHI
8
47
0
6/7
57
1
51
19
32
MIN
Forte's shortest run went for zero yards and his longest went for 13, and four of the runs in the middle went for first downs. He had four more first downs through the air, including a third-down conversion.
4.
Darren McFadden DAL
16
100
0
2/3
13
0
46
47
-2
NYJ
McFadden only ran for four first downs, but all four gained 11 yards or more, with a long of 32. He was hit for no gain or a loss only three times.
5.
Mike Gillislee BUF
4
81
1
2/2
2
0
37
36
0
WAS
His four carries: gains of 2 and 9 on first-and-10, gain of 10 on second-and-10, and 60-yard touchdown on third-and-1.


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.
David Johnson ARI
29
187
3
4/4
42
0
113
83
29
PHI
2.
Darren McFadden DAL
16
100
0
2/3
13
0
46
47
-2
NYJ
3.
Rashad Jennings NYG
16
107
1
1/3
0
0
24
37
-13
CAR
Jennings had a fumble on second-and-3 and a zero-yard gain on second-and-6, but all of his other runs gained at least 2 yards. He had four first downs on the ground, including a 38-yard touchdown.
4.
Mike Gillislee BUF
4
81
1
2/2
2
0
37
36
0
WAS
5.
Doug Martin TB
18
91
0
1/2
6
0
26
29
-4
STL
Martin was hit for a loss just twice, one of those coming on fourth-and-1. He also had one 1-yard gain, but each of his 15 other carries gained at least 3 yards. He also had six first downs on the ground, including gains of 12 and 17 yards.


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.
Denard Robinson JAC
14
41
0
8/10
46
0
-44
-37
-7
ATL
Robinson had two first downs on the ground, but none of his runs went for more than 9 yards and he was hit for no gain or a loss three times, fumbling on two of those plays. Only one of his catches produced a first down; his yardage totals through the air are padded by a 10-yard gain on third-and-14.


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.
Denard Robinson JAC
14
41
0
8/10
46
0
-44
-37
-7
ATL


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Antonio Brown PIT
16
18
189
11.8
2
113
DEN
2.
Amari Cooper OAK
6
9
120
20.0
2
69
GB
Cooper had touchdowns of 19 and 26 yards, plus three other first downs on catches of 26 and 41 yards and a 25-yard DPI.
3.
Emmanuel Sanders DEN
10
16
181
18.1
1
63
PIT
Sanders gets 45 DYAR receiving, 17 rushing for his only carry, a 24-yard run in the second quarter. In the air, he had a 61-yard touchdown and six other first downs. His DYAR would have been even higher, but on their last desperate drive Denver threw incomplete to Sanders on second, third, and fourth down.
4.
Jermaine Kearse SEA
7
8
110
15.7
0
59
CLE
Kearse's only reception that failed to pick up a first down was a 5-yard gain on first-and-10. He converted all five of his third-down throws, four on receptions, one on a 16-yard DPI.
5.
Jordan Matthews PHI
8
11
159
19.9
1
55
ARI
Matthews' biggest play was a 78-yard touchdown catch. He had four other first downs on the day, including conversions on third-and-9 and third-and-13.


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Andre Holmes OAK
2
8
17
8.5
0
-38
GB
Holmes did not pick up a single first down. His only catches were an 11-yard gain on second-and-13 and a 6-yard gain on second-and-10.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 21 Dec 2015

36 comments, Last at 22 Dec 2015, 10:21pm by andrew

Comments

1
by andrew :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 8:56am

I still would love to see YAR listed alongside DYAR so we can see how the numbers are effected (and then you wouldn't have to explain all those cases where there is a large impact)...

2
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 9:23am

How the hell did Flipper Anderson have 336 yards on 15 receptions and only score one stinkin' touchdown?

3
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 9:48am

Nice article about him over from a couple of years ago when Calvin Johnson came close to breaking the record ... http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-time-a-guy-named-flipper-set-the...

"Everett, who in that game8 targeted the receiver 20 times. The numbers are still staggering: 13 of Anderson’s 15 catches produced a first down or a touchdown, and the ones that didn’t were still important: one went for 16 yards on second-and-20, and another went for 26 yards on second-and-32. For the most part, Anderson wasn’t simply turning short throws into big gains. By my count, 107 of his 336 yards came after the catch."

I wonder how previous record holder Stephone Paige's 300+ yd effort from 1985/86ish would rank.

5
by Travis :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 10:40am

I wonder how previous record holder Stephone Paige's 300+ yd effort from 1985/86ish would rank."

Much lower, probably. Paige had 8 catches (all for first downs) for 309 yards on 10 targets, but the 1985 Chargers were among the worst pass defenses in the league. (Jerry Rice's 10-241-1 game against a very good Rams pass defense that year will probably rank higher.)

6
by Sakic :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 10:51am

I remember watching that game...an absolutely incredible performance. The Rams offense that year was exciting to watch and was unfortunately overshadowed by a dominating SF team on the verge of winning their final Superbowl with Joe Montana.
And in case you were wondering why the defense wasn't adjusted to account for Anderson the Rams had All-Pro Henry Ellard who was at the peak of his powers on the other side.

That Rams team was scarily similar to this year's Steeler team...two outstanding wide receivers, a decent tight end, and a big, strong armed quarterback who wasn't afraid to throw it down the field.

12
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:38am

Note that the #7 WR performance is Henry Ellard vs Indianapolis in week 2 of 1989.

17
by duh :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:14pm

I've long thought that Mr. Ellard was and is a terribly underrated player.

29
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 1:55pm

Going into the game, I really thought the Rams had a chance to upset the 49ers in the NFCCG that year (I mean, they did win in Candlestick during the regular season), since they looked so impressive in their two road playoff wins against two quality teams. But the '89 49ers were just a buzzsaw.

It's too back Jim Everett fell off the map after '89, after playing at Pro Bowl level for several years in a row. If he hadn't, would the Rams have stayed in L.A.?

4
by jtr :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 10:08am

Not surprised to see Gabbert in dead last. I was only watching that game a little at the bar, but it seemed like every time I looked over, Gabbert had thrown a few yards short of the sticks on third down. I seem to recall Kaep doing the same thing earlier this season, along with a lot of give-up running plays on 3&long, so it's probably fair to put a lot of blame on the playcalling. Somebody needs to sit with the Niners coaches and explain high-variance underdog tactics; when you suck, you are just making things worse for yourself by playing conservatively. Of course, that's assuming that any of the Niners' decision makers even cares about winning.

7
by andrew :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:01am

Both Rothlisberger and Rodgers threw almost incomprehensible late game interceptions in games that were almost wrapped up. Neither ended up costing the team, but wonder how much those affected their DYAR.....

31
by techvet :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 3:41pm

Rodgers has been very grumpy ever since his buddy got play-calling duties taken away and has really not had a very good game since early in the season. He needs to stop throwing players and coaches under the bus and just get it on against the Cardinals.

8
by Led :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:04am

I loved David Johnson coming out of college. Thought he had Matt Forte/Arian Foster potential. It's nice to right once in awhile to balance out all the wrong... He's a great fit for that offense.

Re: Kellen Moore, "aside from the interceptions (one of which we counted as a Hail Mary, even though it was on second down with 24 seconds left)"

How do you decide that? Is there a win/tie probability cutoff below which the cost of the INT becomes de minimis? In this case, Dallas has a few plays left, was only down three, and Dan Bailey has a big leg. The odds of tying the game at that point were certainly low, but not nearly as low as in a true, final play, Hail Mary situation.

9
by jmaron :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:17am

just wondering about context - I didn't really notice Forte in the game vs Minnesota other than he seemed to get chunks of yards that were useless to the Bears chances of winning.

He had a 13 yd run on a 3rd and 25, he caught two passes for 27 yards inside of 22 seconds left in the half from his own 15 and 33 yard line...then down 21 in the 4th quarter he had two pass for 27 yards and 4 yarder for a TD to bring the game within two tds with 5 mins left.

It seemed to me all his yards were the kind you get when a team is giving you those yards to protect against bigger plays. I think the bulk of his yards were pointless. Kind of like no stolen base for defensive indifference.

13
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:44am

It is just extremely difficult to fully capture context with football metrics. Aaron's been at it full time for more than a decade, and it continues to be a hellacious conumdrum.

I think David Johnson for the Cards, who I believe to be, make no mistake, a terrific player, may also illuminate this. To what degree is he mirroring Adrian Peterson's normal situation, with Johnson matched with offensive teammates who are very proficient with the deep pass?

14
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:48am

2tds in 5 min is a hard, but not unwinnable situation.

Can't really blame Forte for not playing safety.

23
by jmaron :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:52pm

allocating individual credit in football is hard. Just seems odd to see Forte having roughly the same DYAR as a RB who had 4TDs in a winning effort.

From an eye test, the RB dyar always seems the most off to me vs receivers and QBs.

30
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 2:11pm

Minnesota: 17th against pass and 22nd against run, Miami: 31st against pass.

10
by andrew :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:19am

Bridgewater would have been third if not for his negative rushing stats, which were four carries for 17 yards, including a 12 yard touchdown run on third down. He also had a 13 yard scramble wiped out by a penalty.

My gut reaction is that seems harsh, so pulling up a rundown of the plays:

3rd quarter, 2nd and 10, scrambled left for 3 yards.
4th quarter, 2nd and 11, scrambled for 2 yards.
4th quarter, 3rd and 9 (next play), scrambled for 12 yards, touchdown.

that's all I can find for runs, 2 failed runs, 1 touchdown.

There is also:
4th quarter, 1st and 10, fumble (snap? strip sack? untouched? scramble? didn't see play) which he recovered himself 2 yards behind the LOS (which PBP lists as then advanced by himself 0 yards after recovery).

Does this play count as a rushing play and not a passing one? The PBP treats it as a 0 yard run even though the play lost 2 yards. If someone else had recovered the fumble would it still be a rushing play by Bridgewater? The fumble is bad, yes, but somehow think it should be lumped under his passing DYAR. The net would probably be the same.

That aside, what is the DYAR difference between these two situations:
A - QB fumbles ball at line of scrimmage and recovers it himself 10 yards behind LOS and is tackled there.
B - QB runs ten yards backwards and fumbles and recovers it himself there.

11
by Travis :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:28am

Does this play count as a rushing play and not a passing one? The PBP treats it as a 0 yard run even though the play lost 2 yards. If someone else had recovered the fumble would it still be a rushing play by Bridgewater?

Almost all aborted snaps get credited in the stats as a fumble and 0-yard run by the person who was supposed to receive the snap. The only exception would be a shotgun snap completely out of reach of the QB/holder/punter, which gets credited as a fumble by the snapper but a 0-yard run by the QB/holder/punter.

22
by jmaron :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:35pm

the fumbled snap was one of the two times Bridgewater fooled his own lineman with the hard count. He drew the Bears offside twice.

15
by cstoos :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:49am

Is the David Patten listing an error, or a typo? It shows a 47 receiving DYAR and a 25 rushing DYAR for a total DYAR of 115?

It doesn't add up.

16
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 11:53am
18
by cstoos :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:22pm

That must be it. I also noticed a discrepancy with one of the LaDanian Tomlinson games listed, but that likely has the same explanation, as he threw quite a few TDs in his time.

Seems a bit misleading to include passing DYAR in a list of "best receiving/running games", but I understand it.

19
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:28pm

Well to be a complete nit picker, the lists are labelled as best running back and receiver games, not running and receiving.

21
by cstoos :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:34pm

Touché.

20
by cstoos :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:34pm

Oops. Commented in the wrong spot.

24
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:54pm

I'm surprised by the lack of 2007 Randy Moss on the list of single game DYAR performances for receivers.

33
by SandyRiver :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 4:20pm

Incredible season, but no real monster games - top yardage was 183 in the spygate game. He did catch 4 TDs against BUF, but in a 56-10 game so I don't think opponent adjustment helped him much.

25
by jmaron :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:54pm

vikings went from 4 to 7 pt favourites after OBJ suspension. I wonder what people think about that - is he worth 3pts a game?

28
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 1:32pm

If he were on a receiver-laden game like the Steelers? No. Antonio Brown, who's better than Beckham, wouldn't be either. But on the Giants where the next best receiver is Rueben Randle and they have no running game, then quite possibly.

35
by dbostedo :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 5:33pm

More important of course than whether or not OBJ is worth 3 points, is how much money swings with his suspension. In other words, the general public's gut reaction may be that he's worth that much, so the money line changes, even if he's not worth that much in reality.

26
by Xexyz :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:58pm

I'm baffled that Adrian Peterson's 296 yard rushing performance against the Chargers in 2007 didn't crack the top 15. He also had a reception for 19 yards, and the Chargers finished 5th in defensive DVOA that year so the opponent adjustment shouldn't be bringing it down. Am I missing something?

27
by andrew :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 1:32pm

Just what always holds Peterson back, he also fumbled (albeit on the end of what up till then may have been his most spectacular run of the day which is saying something).

Also #FO favors consistency over boom, once you get X yards past the LOS all runs count the same in the metric's eyes. He had 8 runs of 2 yards or less (mostly in the first half, before Castillo got hurt). Actually 9, but not counting the 1 yard TD against him. He also had a 5 yard run on 2nd and 11 which I think also counts as a failed run.

IIRC even in 2007, I think his day 221 yard day against the Bears had a higher DYAR.

32
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 4:08pm

Re: Kellen Moore, "aside from the interceptions (one of which we counted as a Hail Mary, even though it was on second down with 24 seconds left)"

How do you decide that? Is there a win/tie probability cutoff below which the cost of the INT becomes de minimis? In this case, Dallas has a few plays left, was only down three, and Dan Bailey has a big leg. The odds of tying the game at that point were certainly low, but not nearly as low as in a true, final play, Hail Mary situation.

There's no set criteria and we look at it case by case. We once credited Drew Brees with a "Hail Mary" interception in the red zone, because it came on fourth down and we didn't want to over-penalize him for that.

That aside, what is the DYAR difference between these two situations:
A - QB fumbles ball at line of scrimmage and recovers it himself 10 yards behind LOS and is tackled there.
B - QB runs ten yards backwards and fumbles and recovers it himself there

These kind of "what if this had happened" questions are tricky to answer, but I wanted to say that

A) The fumbled snap was counted as a running play for a 2-yard loss. I didn't see the play, but if Bridgewater picked up the ball and tried to gain yards, those will usually be counted as running plays. Otherwise fumbled snaps are most often considered passing plays. For Bridgewater's DYAR totals, it doesn't matter much.

B) I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, but remember that the baselines for quarterback runs are high, so 2- and 3-yard runs can be negative plays if they're not in short-yardage.

I'm baffled that Adrian Peterson's 296 yard rushing performance against the Chargers in 2007 didn't crack the top 15. He also had a reception for 19 yards, and the Chargers finished 5th in defensive DVOA that year so the opponent adjustment shouldn't be bringing it down. Am I missing something?

If it makes you feel any better, it was one of the best rookie games on record. Looking back, we were surprised it didn't score better too. Ten runs of 10 yards or more, including gains of 35, 46, and 64 yards. But he's hurt mostly by two fumbles (which together cost him nearly 30 DYAR), and also by four stuffs for no gain or a loss and a 1-yard gain on third-and-2.

34
by jmaron :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 5:16pm

Regarding the fumbled snap by Minnesota:

Don't remember the play either - but game sheet says it was 1st and 10 Vikings up 14...so about 100% chance they were running.

When they passed on 3rd and goal from the Chic 4 with 2 minutes left and up by 14...I was actually shocked

36
by andrew :: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 10:21pm

Fwiw the PBP of the game notes only one Peterson fumble that day, and one by Chester Taylor (who also had an otherwise pretty decent day), both lost.

"I was corrupt before I had power!" - Random