Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

22 Sep 2015

Week 2 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

After winning 10 games in each of Chip Kelly's first two seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles have gotten off to an 0-2 start in 2015. The worst part of that start is that Kelly's drag race offense, developed at the University of Oregon and so successful in his first two NFL seasons, has ground to a halt. After ranking third in offensive DVOA in 2013 and 13th (with Mark Sanchez at quarterback) in 2014, the Eagles rank 26th in 2015 (and yes, all numbers in this essay do include the results of the Jets-Colts game on Monday night).

Sam Bradford and the passing game have not been the problem. Of course, he hasn't necessarily been the solution either, but the bigger problem has been DeMarco Murray -- and even moreso, his offensive line. The Eagles are 18th in passing DVOA, but next to last in rushing DVOA. And while the Denver Broncos as a team have fared even worse than Philadelphia, no single runner has struggled anymore than Murray. There are 36 running backs with at least 20 carries this season, and Murray is last among that group in both rushing DYAR and DVOA . Murray has already been stuffed eight times for no gain or a loss in just two games, putting him in the top ten among all runners in this dubious category. (Marshawn Lynch leads the league with 11.) That's obviously bad news, but it's even worse because Murray is just 31st in total carries. All told, Eagles running backs have been stuffed on 39 percent of their carries this year, the highest rate in the league and nearly double the average rate of 20 percent. Only two other clubs are even higher than 30 percent. The highest stuff rate we have on record is the 31 percent of the 2005 Arizona Cardinals, Marcel Shipp led that team with 451 yards on the ground, followed by the 370 yards of J.J. Arrington and the 139 yards of Josh McCown (!). Obviously, it's very early, but Murray and the Eagles have officially put that mark in danger.

On Sunday, Murray and the Eagles hit an amazing level of futility. His first eight carries resulted in a total loss of 15 yards -- and I stress, that is not a total gain of 15 yards, that is a total loss of 15 yards. He had some better runs late in the game, including some third-and-1 conversions, but he still finished with only 2 yards on 13 carries. Looking at Murray's carries one at a time shows just how consistently futile he and the Eagles were against Dallas:


DeMarco Murray Rushing vs. Cowboys, Carry-By-Carry
Down Distance Yard line Time Quarter Score Yards 1st Down
1 10 PHI 40 12:30 1 0-0 1
1 10 PHI 18 9:28 1 0-0 3
1 10 PHI 20 1:39 1 0-3 2
2 8 PHI 22 1:18 1 0-3 -2
2 8 PHI 28 6:44 2 0-3 -3
1 10 PHI 32 14:26 3 0-6 -6
2 16 PHI 26 13:55 3 0-6 -5
1 10 DAL 41 8:37 3 0-13 -5
3 1 PHI 29 0:52 3 0-13 3 FD
1 10 DAL 31 15:00 4 0-13 3
3 1 DAL 12 2:55 4 3-20 9 FD
1 3 DAL 3 2:26 4 3-20 2
2 1 DAL 1 2:03 4 3-20 0

I've highlighted Murray's stuffs, and I have done that to make it obvious that Murray was stuffed on five carries in a row in one stretch from the first quarter to the third. The most amazing sequence was when Murray lost 6 yards on first down and then lost 5 yards on second down, and following a screen pass on third-and-21, the Eagles' blocking failed on fourth down too, and Donnie Jones' ensuing punt was blocked and recovered for a Dallas touchdown.

All told Murray was stuffed six times against the Cowboys. That's not a huge number for one running back in a single game; it happened 50 times in 2014. Only three of those games, though, were produced by runners with 13 carries or fewer, as Murray had against Dallas. Devonta Freeman was stuffed six times in 11 carries against Tampa Bay in Week 3, but five of those stuffs came with Freeman's Falcons up by 42 points or more in the second half. Carolina's Jonathan Stewart was stuffed a lot against Green Bay in Week 7, but he also offset that damage with three runs of 9 yards or more. Branden Oliver's game with San Diego against Miami in Week 9 was probably most similar to Murray's -- an impotent performance in a blowout loss.

So Murray's stuff total against Dallas, even in his limited carries, is not totally unprecedented. Still, there are stuffs, and there are stuffs. It's one thing for a runner to dive into a pile of bodies at the line of scrimmage for no gain. That happens to everyone once in a while, usually several times a game. It's quite another thing when defenders are coming untouched through the line of scrimmage and hitting runners in the backfield. And that's what has happened to Murray this year. His eight stuffs have resulted in a total loss of 33 yards, nearly double the loss of any other players on stuffs (LeSean McCoy, the man Murray replaced in Buffalo, has lost 17 yards on nine stuffs.) Look again at Murray's carry-by-carry table against Dallas: half of Murray's stuffs against the Cowboys were actually "superstuffs" that lost 5 yards or more. Add in Murray's 12-yard loss in Week 1 against Atlanta and he has four superstuffs on the season. The rest of the league, combined, has only 14 superstuffs, and Lamar Miller is the only other player with more than one.

Superstuff data for 2014 shows just how remarkable Murray's game in Week 2 was. Murray led the league in superstuffs in 2014, but that's not surprising because he also led the league with 392 carries, 80 more than any other player. The shocking fact isn't that Murray is leading the league in superstuffs for the second year in a row; it's that he led the league in superstuffs in 2014 with ... six. SIX! This bears repeating: In 392 carries, Murray lost 5 or more yards a league-high six times in 2014; he amassed half that many superstuffs in one game this year. Jonathan Stewart was the only other runner last year with even four superstuffs; Murray has already matched that total in 2015.

Here's another way to look at it: only two runners last year were superstuffed even twice in a game last year: Adrian Peterson in Week 1 (when he had 21 carries), and Murray in Week 3 when he had 24 carries. That's four total superstuffs in 45 total carries. Murray has four superstuffs in 21 carries this year, and he had three superstuffs in 13 carries against Dallas.

Or, there's this: Murray was superstuffed in three consecutive carries against the Cowboys. Only six players were superstuffed three or more times, total, in all of 2014.

So no, you're eyes were not decieving you: Murray's game on Sunday really was a special kind of ugly, an ugly the likes of which we haven't seen in recent memory. Maybe over the offseason we'll run the data and check to see if we've ever seen superstuffs on three straight carries before. Given the rarity of the event over the last 19 weeks of the NFL season, though, it's hard to believe that anything like this has ever been done before.

As for the defensive side of things, despite their big day against Philadelphia, the Cowboys don't lead the league in any stuff-related categories. They now have 12 stuffs on the year. Two teams are tied for the league lead with 14: Ndamukong Suh's new team, Miami, and his old one, Detroit. Kansas City also bests the Cowboys with 13 stuffs. Meanwhile, Dallas' stuff rate of 32 percent is excellent, but not the best in the league. The Cowboys are essentially tied with Washington and Kansas City for second place behind the New York Jets, league leaders with a stuff rate of 35 percent. The record here, if you're wondering, is 33 percent, set by Greg Schiano's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
21/27
369
3
0
0
207
207
0
SF
I didn't see very much of this game -- can anyone confirm if the 49ers defense had any safeties on the field? I ask because Roethlisberger threw five passes that traveled at least 35 yards past the line of scrimmage, and completed all of them, for 239 total yards and a touchdown. Tom Brady and Sam Bradford are first and third in the league in pass attempts, and neither of them has thrown even one pass that deep so far this season. We also have to question the presence of San Francisco's safeties because Ben was perfect up the middle, going 5-of-5 for 112 yards, with every throw picking up a first down, including a 35-yard touchdown to Darrius Heyward-Bey. And finally we have third downs, where Roethlisberger went 7-of-9 for 245 yards and six conversions. One of his failed third-down plays came with 26 yards to go. Roethlisberger also finished the day with no sacks -- which is saying a lot, considering all those deep balls he threw.
2.
Derek Carr OAK
30/46
351
3
1
1
167
156
11
BAL
There's an old football axiom that says you should protect a young quarterback by keeping him in manageable third downs. That's what the Raiders were able to do for Carr on Sunday, with great success. He went 9-of-12 on third downs against Baltimore, with one sack for 112 yards and eight first downs. That's great, but it paints an inaccurate picture. Those numbers are skewed by one big play, a 68-yard touchdown to Amari Coooper. That play came on third-and-8, but none of Carr's other third-down conversions gained more than 8 yards, or came with more than 4 yards to go. So on third-and-4 or less, Carr was perfect, with seven first downs in seven dropbacks. But he also had six dropbacks on third-and-5 or longer, and his only conversion there was the bomb to Cooper. By and large, though, the Raiders used Michael Crabtree as their deep threat, and he delivered with a 29-yard touchdown, a 22-yard DPI, and a 37-yard gain on second-and-5. Meanwhile, five of Cooper's targets came behind the line of scrimmage, and he caught four of them for 28 yards. All of those catches came on first down, and though none picked up a new set of downs, each was still a successful play.
3.
Joe Flacco BAL
32/45
384
2
1
0
155
159
-4
OAK
You'll recall that Flacco was dead last in Quick Reads when he played the Broncos last week, and here he is in third place after playing the Raiders. This seems like a good time to remind everyone that we are still not incorporating opponent adjustments into Quick Reads. While Flacco was much better this week moving his team down the field, he once again struggled badly in the red zone, going 4-of-11 for 21 yards with just one successful play, a 3-yard touchdown to Crockett Gilmore. Usually when a quarterback has a big day, we can place the blame on the defense's cornerbacks, or maybe their safeties. In this case, though, a lot of blame goes to the Raiders' linebackers. Throwing to the middle of the field, Flacco went 12-of-12 for 97 yards, plus an 8-yard DPI, with two touchdowns. None of those throws, by the way, traveled more than 15 yards downfield.
4.
Carson Palmer ARI
17/24
185
4
1
0
136
136
0
CHI
5.
Tom Brady NE
38/59
466
3
0
2
134
134
0
BUF
6.
Blake Bortles JAC
18/33
273
2
0
0
126
114
12
MIA
Bortles played about as well as he ever has early picking up first downs on each of his first six throws, gaining 119 yards and a touchdown in the process. Then he cooled off for most of the game picking up only four first downs in his next 24 dropbacks (though one of those first downs was a 46-yard touchdown to Allen Robinson). And then he delivered on the game-winning field goal drive, picking up 18 yards on first-and-10, 19-yards on second-and-10, and 9 yards on first-and-20 to the Miami 40-yard line; Dolphins penalties and a few good runs then set Jason Myers up for the winning field goal.
7.
Matt Ryan ATL
30/46
363
1
0
2
120
120
0
NYG
8.
Aaron Rodgers GB
25/33
249
2
0
2
102
104
-2
SEA
9.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
30/43
359
2
0
2
88
86
3
JAC
Unlike his Florida counterpart (Blake Bortles, not Jameis Winston), Tannehill was useless down the stretch. He failed to pick up a first down in his last 12 dropbacks, going 5-of-10 for 51 yards with two sacks and a fumble. Three of those plays came with 17 or more yards to go for a first down, but we can't really use that as an excuse because Tanehill's sacks played a part in those long-yardage scenarios.
10.
Andy Dalton CIN
16/26
214
3
0
0
86
87
-1
SD
11.
Kirk Cousins WAS
23/27
203
1
0
2
79
79
0
STL
There's nothing wrong with completing 85 percent of your passes, but there's a lot of empty calories here. Thirteen of those 23 completions failed to pick up a first down, and nine of them were considered failed plays. That includes a 2-yard loss on first-and-10 and three completions on third-and-14 or more that gained a total of 10 yards.
12.
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ
22/34
244
2
1
1
78
76
1
IND
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Teddy Bridgewater MIN
14/18
153
1
0
1
74
61
12
DET
Bridgewater played similarly to Kirk Cousins, with lots of useless completions. Half his completions failed to pick up a first down and six were failed plays, including completions on third-and-4 and third-and-5 that came up short of the sticks.
14.
Russell Wilson SEA
19/29
206
2
1
2
65
31
35
GB
15.
Jameis Winston TB
14/21
207
1
0
3
65
56
9
NO
16.
Matthew Stafford DET
32/53
289
2
1
1
47
42
5
MIN
17.
Eli Manning NYG
27/40
292
2
0
2
43
37
6
ATL
Manning certainly played a part in the Giants' collapse this week. His 10-yard touchdown to Larry Donnell put New York ahead 20-10 with 11:00 left in the third quarter. Manning would complete just one more pass for a first down the rest of the day. Even after Atlanta took the lead, Manning had a chance to play here, starting at his own 20 down four points with 1:14 to go. He threw incomplete on first down, but on second down picked up 30 yards on a DPI to Odell Beckham. Now at midfield with 1:02 to go, the Giants now had victory within their grasp. Then Manning threw four incompletions in a row, and that was that.
18.
Colin Kaepernick SF
33/46
335
2
0
5
37
36
0
PIT
Not that it really mattered with the way his defense played, but Kaepernick had seven throws inside the Pittsburgh 7-yard line, and completed one of them -- which reached the 6-yard line.
19.
Jay Cutler CHI
8/9
120
1
1
0
30
33
-3
ARI
20.
Philip Rivers SD
21/27
241
2
1
4
10
11
-1
CIN
21.
Johnny Manziel CLE
8/15
172
2
0
2
-2
8
-10
TEN
Manziel's first pass was a 60-yard touchdown to Travis Benjamin, and his last pass was a 50-yard touchdown to Travis Benjamin. In between, he went 6-of-13 for 62 yards with three first downs, two sacks, and two fumbles.
22.
Peyton Manning DEN
26/45
256
3
1
3
-5
-5
0
KC
Peyton Disappearing Deep Ball Watch: Manning went 0-for-5 on balls that traveled at least 19 yards past the line of scrimmage.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Cam Newton CAR
18/37
195
2
1
2
-6
-44
38
HOU
24.
Tony Romo DAL
18/27
195
0
0
3
-16
-21
6
PHI
25.
Drew Brees NO
24/38
258
1
1
4
-31
-31
0
TB
26.
Sam Bradford PHI
23/37
224
1
2
1
-39
-32
-7
DAL
27.
Nick Foles STL
17/32
150
1
0
1
-56
-50
-6
WAS
Foles did not throw a single pass inside Washington's 40-yard line, though that's partly because his one pass from the 40 was a touchdown to Kenny Britt.
28.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
23/30
242
3
3
8
-67
-89
22
NE
29.
Jimmy Clausen CHI
14/23
121
0
1
2
-77
-54
-24
ARI
30.
Andrew Luck IND
22/37
250
1
3
0
-80
-76
-4
NYJ
31.
Marcus Mariota TEN
21/37
257
2
0
7
-82
-88
6
CLE
That's a lot of sacks, and three of them led to fumbles. Mariota was also stuck in a lot of long-yardage situations. Nine times he faced second or third down with more than 10 yards to go, including a third-and-27. Not surprisingly, he didn't convert any of them. You can also add Tennessee to the list of teams that struggled with the deep ball, as Mariota went 0-for-8 on throws that traveled at least 20 yards downfield. Mariota was actually very effective throwing to the short middle or short left, going 16-of-21 for 196 yards and 11 first downs (including a 13-yard touchdown to Dorial Green-Beckham) to those parts of the field. Still, that wasn't enough to overcome the sacks, the fumbles, and the lack of home runs.
32.
Alex Smith KC
16/25
194
0
2
4
-103
-107
4
DEN
This game will probably look better in a few weeks when opponent adjustments start, but all the adjustments in the world won't make this red zone performance look good. Smith attempted six passes inside the Denver 20. One was intercepted. Three were caught, resulting in a loss of 3 yards on first-and-goal from the 2; a loss of 1 (and a fumble, though that's not Smith's fault) on third-and-goal from the 5; and a 3-yard gain on third-and-goal from the 9. Scott Kacsmar has pointed out that Smith has an amazing tendency to throw short of the sticks on third down, and that was evident on Thursday night. He failed to convert any of his third-down dropbacks, going 3-of-5 for 10 yards with a sack and an interception. None of his third-down throws traveled through the air within 3 yards of the first down marker, and four came up at least 10 yards short of it.
33.
Ryan Mallett HOU
28/58
244
1
1
1
-138
-151
13
CAR
59 dropbacks is a lot of opportunity to rack up negative value, which is the biggest reason Mallett is at the very bottom of the list. Mallett's game can be neatly summarized into three parts. In the first half, he picked up three first downs in 30 dropbacks, going 11-of-29 for 74 yards with one sack. Then he started the second half great, going 7-of-7 for 57 yards and five first downs, capping it off with a 7-yard touchdown to Garrett Graham. Then he went ice cold again, picking up only three first downs the rest of the way, going 9-of-21 for 113 yards with an interception and an intentional grounding penalty. By the way, you know what Houston could really use in 2016? A receiving threat out of the backfield. Mallett tried throwing to his running backs over and over again against Carolina, with minimal success. He went 9-of-16 for 53 yards and only two first downs on passes to the trio of Chris Polk, Jonathan Grimes, and Alfred Blue. Obviously a healthy Arian Foster would help, but at 29 and with a checkered health history (16 missed games and counting since 2011), it's not certain that Foster will ever be healthy again.


Five most valuable running backs (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Dion Lewis NE
7
40
1
5/10
98
0
47
27
20
BUF
Each of Lewis' carries gained at least 1 yard, and he had three first downs, plus a 10-yard gain on first-and-goal from the 13. Four of his receptions picked up first downs, including a 40-yard play, and he added 22 yards and a first down on a DPI. He would have ranked even higher but he fumbled on one of his receptions.
2.
Danny Woodhead SD
7
36
0
6/6
68
0
44
19
26
CIN
Six of Woodhead's runs gained at least 3 yards, and he picked up three first downs. His receiving numbers were interesting. He only had one first down, and three of his catches met the criteria for failed completions. However, since those failed completions produced good yardage in very long-yardage situations (an 11-yard gain on third-and-12, a 12-yard gain on third-and-15, and a 6-yard gain on first-and-20), and since the receiving baseline for running backs is very low, each of these plays had positive DYAR. Woodhead also had a 19-yard catch on second-and-20.
3.
Latavius Murray OAK
15
65
1
3/3
22
0
40
26
14
BAL
Murray was remarkably steady on the ground, gaining 1 to 10 yards on each and every carry, with a goal-line touchdown and two other first downs. All three of his receptions were successful: a 3-yard gain on second-and-5; a 12-yard gain on first-and-10; and a 7-yard gain on third-and-3.
4.
LeSean McCoy BUF
15
89
0
3/3
27
0
36
27
9
NE
McCoy had four 10-yard runs against New England, including an 18-yard gain on second-and-22, and also converted a third-and-2. However, he was stuffed three times. Like Woodhead, he gets some credit for "failed completions" in difficult circumstances -- a 7-yard gain on first-and-20 and an 11-yard gain on second-and-20.
5.
Dexter McCluster TEN
10
98
0
4/4
26
0
34
37
-3
CLE
All four of McCluster's targets came with at least 19 yards to go for a first down, so let's not even discuss them. Let's talk about his 10 carries (a number he only hit twice in five seasons in Kansas City) for 98 yards (37 more than he ever gained in a Chiefs uniform). Let's talk about a 5-foot-9, 165-pound running back who gained at least 1 yard on all of those carries. Let's talk about McCluster's three 10-plus-yard-runs against Cleveland, including a 44-yarder that is the longest run in the NFL so far this season. Those are more interesting than a bunch of long-yardage dumpoffs, anyway


Five most valuable running backs (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
DeAngelo Williams PIT
20
77
3
4/5
15
0
33
44
-11
SF
Williams gets extra credit for his perfect performance at the goal-line -- he had three carries inside the 2, and scored all three times. he also had runs of 10 and 16 yards on the day, while getting stuffed just twice.
2.
Dexter McCluster TEN
10
98
0
4/4
26
0
34
37
-3
CLE
3.
Giovani Bernard CIN
20
123
0
3/3
16
0
33
32
0
SD
There was some bust here, with four stuffs (including a superstuff) on the day. But there was also plenty of boom, with five runs of 11 yards or more (the longest a 26-yarder, plus first downs on runs of 9, 9, and 8 yards.
4.
Matt Jones WAS
19
123
2
3/3
23
0
32
29
2
STL
Were it not for a fumble, Jones likely would have been the most valuable rusher of the week. He had a 39-yard touchdown and added a 25-yard gain on first-and-15. His three third-down carries resulted in two first downs and a 6-yard gain on third-and-7, and he was stuffed just once on the day.
5.
David Johnson ARI
5
42
1
1/2
3
0
18
28
-10
CHI
The more Johnson got the ball, the better he played. His five carries, in order: zero-yard gain on first-and-10; 2-yard gain on first-and-10; 13-yard touchdown on second-and-9; 13-yard gain on first-and-10; 14-yard gain on second-and-8.


Least valuable running back (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Chris Polk HOU
14
38
0
2/8
9
0
-46
-10
-36
CAR
Polk had a 13-yard run on first-and-10 and a 3-yard gain on fourth-and-1, but those were his only first downs on the day, and he was stuffed three times. His receiving numbers are ugly on their own, but that doesn't even include that his longest catch was a 6-yard gain on third-and-22, or that he was the target on incomplete passes on third-and-1, third-and-3, and second-and-7.


Least valuable running back (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
DeMarco Murray PHI
13
2
0
5/5
53
0
-11
-37
26
DAL
BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Hey, for what it's worth, Murray's five receptions produced three first downs.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Larry Fitzgerald ARI
8
9
112
14.0
3
90
CHI
Seven of Fitzgerald's eight catches produced first downs; the other was a 7-yard gain on second-and-17. Four of those came with 6 yards or less to go for a first down, including an 8-yard touchdown on third-and-2 and a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-1.
2.
Antonio Brown PIT
9
11
195
21.7
1
80
SF
Brown's 7-yard touchdown was actually the shortest of his seven first downs on the day. The longest were his third-down conversions: his 28-yard gain on third-and-10, his 56-yard gain on third-and-3, and his 59-yard gain on third-and-6.
3.
Donte Moncrief IND
7
8
122
17.4
1
59
NYJ
Three catches of at least 24 yards (including his touchdown and two others of at least 15 yards, one of which converted a third-and-8.
4.
Odell Beckham NYG
7
12
146
20.9
1
56
ATL
Six of Beckham's catches produced first down; the other was a 7-yard gain on second-and-12. He converted all four of his third-down targets, and he added 30 yards and another first down on a 30-yard DPI.
5.
Travis Benjamin CLE
3
4
115
38.3
2
55
TEN
His third-down incompletion was bad. His 5-yard gain on first-and-10 was OK-ish. His 50- and 60-yard touchdowns were very good.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Harry Douglas TEN
1
8
9
9.0
0
-62
CLE
Douglas' only catch was a 9-yard gain on first-and-10. He was the target of incomplete passes on second-and-1, third-and-2, and third-and-6.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 22 Sep 2015

131 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2015, 10:58am by TomC

Comments

1
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 6:52am

Wow, Deangelo Williams amazing game was even more amazing considering he apparently put up his stats against SF and BUF.

In fact, this whole Table looks borked.
Five most valuable running backs (Rushing)

as does this one
Least valuable running back (Rushing)

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

2
by herewegobrownie... :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 7:02am

Typo alert: Chris (presumably) Polk's name appears in the Dexter McCluster box, guessing you got ahead of yourself.

3
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 7:24am

Who thought signing Murray was a good idea?

Ageing back coming off a season of enormous workload behind the best offensive line in the league. Am I describing Murray or Shaun Alexander 2006?

25
by Coaldale Joe :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:00am

I didn't think it was a horrible idea, they didn't really pay through the nose for him. This isn't about Murray it's about the offensive line. He's getting wrapped up as soon the ball is placed in his hands. The few times he has had a little space to run he has looked fairly explosive.

32
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:16am

Isn't "this isn't about Murray it's about the offensive line" reason #1 why it was a bad idea? Instead of investing in the offensive line, the Eagles signed both Murray and Mathews to be tackled in the backfield.

59
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:24pm

This is exactly right: about half of the bad moves the Eagles made this off-season weren't particularly when bad looked at individually (e.g. signing Murray) but were awful in the context of the entire off-season (e.g. signing both Murray & Mathews, letting Mathis and Herremans go, deciding to make talentless career back-ups starters at G, not signing a T to push the slow-developing Johnson for playing time and provide insurance for an aging Peters, etc. etc. etc.)

93
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 5:26pm

Exactly. I think history has shown pretty conclusively that pretty much any old running back can look good when running behind a good line and that pretty much no running back is capable of looking good behind a bad line.

94
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 5:41pm

The latter isn't quite true. Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, and Adrian Peterson, among others have made do behind some crappy offensive lines.

If Chip Kelly thought Murray was AP good, well that's a whole problem in itself.

119
by chemical burn :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:23pm

That Kelly thought Murray was LeSean McCoy good is a problem in and of itself. (When the RB you let go averages 6 ypc on a day your expensive new acquisition averages .5, you probably should hang up your talent evaluation hat.)

56
by Pat :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:18pm

I didn't think it was a horrible idea, they didn't really pay through the nose for him.

Um... what?

Murray's cap numbers:
2015: $5M
2016: $8M
2017: $9M

2017 is the first year they can cut him pretty much at all, although it still sucks. 2018 is more likely. They're allocating top-5 RB space for him for the next 3 years. He's got to look significantly better than 'fairly explosive' to be worth it.

64
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:29pm

Also, when the hell has he looked "fairly explosive" as a runner? That's fantasyland stuff that I can't believe Eagles fans are still trotting out. He (and the o-line) have looked historically bad. That's it. There's no silver-lining here. As bad as FO as ever measured. They might improve in coming weeks but that's only because there's no where to go but up...

68
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:41pm

Yeah, Murray has never been a guy who legitimately scares opposing d-coordinators that he might score a td every time het gets the ball, and you really need that quality, along with being very powerful in traffic, in order to justify the cap space consumed.

72
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:50pm

I just did some quick research on otc.

Murray is slated to have the 5th highest cap hit in 2016 and 3rd highest in 2017.

Mathews is slated to be 14th and 7th in those same years.

In 2016, one of the backs above Murray is Arian Foster. He will be in the last year of his deal and thus can certainly be negotiated with to lower his cap number.

In 2017 both backs above Murray are in the final year of their deals (AP and Marshawn Lynch).

Some of this will change (I'll be very surprised if Le'Veon Bell is paid more than Murray in 2017).

But this is both a high price and a very long contract for a running back. Only 2 RBs are currently signed through 2019, Murray and McCoy. It is cheaper to get out of Murray's contact starting in 2017 though.

46
by usernaim250 :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:35am

Signing Murray AND Matthews seemed a bit much. Letting Mathis go out of spite (to show him he wouldn't get as much on the open market) was a bad idea. Then, on top of the spots they knew would be iffy on the line, they've got Kelce struggling and Celek with a -4.2 run grade from Pro Football Focus, who also commented that the Cowboys have figured out Kelly's run game.

The irony is that when D linemen are penetrating as they are against the Eagles, someone who can make the first guy miss like McCoy is extra valuable. From where we sit today it appears that even if McCoy left yards on the field on good plays by not decisively cutting (as Kelly indicated), he made a lot of negative plays into positive, which is probably more valuable overall. It appears Kelly didn't understand the extent to which that particular skill of McCoy's was making his line look better than it was.

And I say this as a Kelly fan.

4
by amin purshottam :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 7:45am

Really liking Dion Lewis although the fumbles have to stop. I really thought they would miss Vareen but so far so good.

13
by BJR :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:23am

You really thought the Patriots would miss Vereen? Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, Vereen and now Lewis have all been extremely productive in that receiving back position in recent seasons. It seems a clear case of system > talent.

85
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:44pm

First I think any decent QB can consistently complete over 70% of his passes to just about any RB. It just comes down to opportunity and how often you want to use that player. Talent plays a role in how you become a "receiving back" in the first place. Alfred Morris isn't going to these offenses and catching 60 passes. A guy like Darren Sproles has basically done his role for three different teams now. Woodhead has been great for Rivers in SD. Vereen has already caught 12-of-13 targets in NY this year. These are guys you're not really going to give more than a few carries to, but they are very effective as receivers.

And the Patriots are as good as any team at identifying players who play a specific role in their offense. Lewis was a good addition. Liked him at Pitt.

88
by RickD :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 4:04pm

Talent matters, it's just that there are a lot of RBs out there who can catch, run, and block. The differences between Faulk, Woodhead, and Vereen can be noticed: Faulk had the best hands, Woodhead was a hella blocker, and Vereen was the fastest. Lewis seems to differ from Vereen in that he's actually a rushing threat out of the backfield. If that keeps up, he'll continue to get 75%+ of the snaps.

120
by chemical burn :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:28pm

Dion Lewis was actually one of the first casualties of Chip Kelly. He has averaged over 5 ypc in 2012 in VERY limited action on a terrible team, but always looked great in the preseason and had been a pretty good kick returner. Looking back, of course Chip Kelly let him go and a better coach found a use for him... It's easy to go - well, what the hell did they need to sign Ryan Mathews for if Dion Lewis could do just as much as a fraction of the price?

47
by usernaim250 :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:36am

Especially since if he keeps fumbling, people will rev up the "see, the balls are at correct pressure and the Pats are fumbling" engines.

89
by RickD :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 4:05pm

Right, because Lewis didn't fumble half as much last season

(Is there a sarcasm font here?)

5
by PatsFan :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 8:45am

So Danny Woodhead and Danny Woodhead II took the top two RB slots...

9
by PirateFreedom :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:09am

Danny Classic had better ball security but I think New Danny is a little faster

6
by Kyndynos :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:06am

Question? How is Tom Brady 5th in DYAR after throwing for 466 (!) yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions against the supposedly vaunted Bills defense?

10
by PirateFreedom :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:10am

No opponent adjustments yet

11
by RickD :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:10am

Two things: no opponent adjustments and many incompletions.

23
by ChrisS :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:48am

One more thing: 2 Sacks

28
by SandyRiver :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:11am

And a fumble on the 2nd one, just to make things more exciting.

31
by Karma Coma :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:15am

...and going 3-11 on 3rd/4th downs.

80
by countertorque :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:00pm

But, other than all of that, he had a perfect day.

12
by BJR :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:16am

We are measuring efficiency here. Brady had an insane number of attempts (59). Roethlisberger had his 370 yards and 3 TDs in fewer than half that number. And there are currently no opponent adjustments factored in so, yes, this performance will almost certainly look better by the season's end.

16
by Kyndynos :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:29am

But doesn't DVOA measure efficiency while DYAR measures gross value?

18
by Karma Coma :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:31am

Net value. Bad plays, like incompletions still count against you. Else why so many players with negative DYAR?

26
by BJR :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:03am

Yes, sorry, it isn't strictly measuring efficiency as DVOA does. But bad (inefficient) plays still count against the player.

Of course there is an argument to say that the ability to remain productive/efficient overall whilst being asked to throw 59 times adds value that DYAR does not capture.

27
by nat :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:05am

DYAR measures value over replacement, not just straight gross value.

With 59 attempts, an average replacement level QB would have delivered twice as much positive value as a similar QB throwing only 27 times.

For an idea of what a replacement level QB should be able to do, look at this week's Peyton Manning. 26/45 for 256 yards, 3 TDs, 3 sacks, and an Int. That's a slightly below replacement level performance.

Scaled up to Brady's 59 attempts, that would be 34/59, 335 yards, 4 TDs, 4 sacks, and 1 or 2 Ints. Brady tops the Peyton-replacement by 4 completions, 131 yards, an Int (or two), and 2 sacks, while throwing one fewer TD. Overall, that's an excellent day.

Scaled down to Roethlisberger's 27 attempts, that would be 16/27, 153 yards, 2 Tds, 2 sacks, and maybe an Int. Roethlisberger tops the Peyton-Replacement by 5 completions, 216 yards, a TD, 2 sacks, and maybe an Int. That's a lot more excellent than Brady's excellent day.

Roethlisberger's value over replacement exceeded Brady's by 1 completion, 85 yards, and 2 TDs, minus an Int. A 73 DYAR difference feels about right.

That's not how DYAR is actually calculated. But it is roughly what it means. A hyper-efficient day with few attempts can add up to a very good DYAR.

38
by runaway robot :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:59am

Excellent explanation.

14
by Karma Coma :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:26am

Having the same number of incompletions as Big Ben had completions is a start.

20
by Travis :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:42am

And two of those incompletions came on 4th and 1 near midfield.

7
by MatMan :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:07am

No Brandon Weeden numbers?

8
by RickD :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:09am

The opponent column under RBs is a bit missed up.

15
by Karma Coma :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:26am

Disregard, typos addressed by previous comment.

17
by Charles Jake :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:29am

I'm surprised Cutler had negative rushing value. The read option was working before he got hurt.

An object at rest cannot be stopped.

131
by TomC :: Sat, 09/26/2015 - 10:58am

That was my initial reaction, too. I looked up the game play-by-play, and it was successful: his success rate was 100% on three running plays. But he fumbled on one of them, and that's probably enough to make the whole DYAR negative.

I hope they keep that in the playbook when Cutler comes back; it's a great way to keep opposing DLs from going all-out upfield, and Cutler is pretty good at avoiding contact when he wants to.

19
by Travis :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:39am

[Eli Manning's] 10-yard touchdown to Larry Donnell put New York ahead 10-3 with exactly four minutes left in the third quarter.

It put the Giants up 20-10, and there was still 10:53 left in the 3rd quarter after the play.

21
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:43am

Sorry about the typos, folks. We're doing this at 3am and don't always notice them. They should now be fixed above. The mistaken opponents for running backs has to do with an error in the code that produces the table. We'll fix that for next week. (We didn't list the opponents until this year, and Week 1 had been added manually.)

The table only includes quarterbacks with at least eight passes. Brandon Weeden had 48 DYAR on 7 pass attempts.

50
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:47am

About the "typos"
I'm surprised the whole thing isn't more automated, it's 2015 after all?

Not an insult, just genuinely surprised/curious....

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

102
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 8:36pm

well, since Vince replied elsewhere but ignored this, I guess i won't get a reply.

too much to ask for this level of automation, I suppose.
oh well.

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

110
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:58am

The tables themselves are automatically generated. Always have been. This week they were generated wrongly because we are making changes, and we didn't input those changes correctly. We're working on it and hope to have it fixed by next week.

The table comments, in fact, are written by a person (me, usually). We don't yet have an application that can scan a spreadsheet for data, pick out what is most unusual or impressive or surprising about that data, then describe that data in plain-sentence form in an enlightening/informative/entertaining manner. This means I have to actually look at the data myself to find unusual patterns, and sometimes I read from the wrong columns. Yes, human error still exists.

22
by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:46am

Sounds like a lot of errors have already been fixed, but let's give credit where credit is due: it was the DAL defense (and mostly Sean Lee) stuffing Murray all those times, not the CAR defense as the table claims.

And you fixed it as I typed this. Thanks!

24
by ChrisS :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 9:50am

I think it was mostly the PHI offense that stuffed Murray.

29
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:12am

OK, if I am Andrew Luck, cold-blooded, rithless, careerist version, must I not be at least considering an exit strategy from an organization with an unproven GM, and an owner with repeated substance abuse problems? Luck is 26, the contract runs through next year, paying 16 million, and who knows what the franchise tag for qbs will be come 2017. There's no way I'd consider a contract extension at this point, with an organization which appears to have no regard for my physical health. Put him in the right situation, and Luck has good chance to get to the Hall of Fame, but in this current situation, I think he's going to start getting hurt, without even considering the alarming turnover rate. Yeah, things will likely improve now, with their upcoming schedule, but it would appear that getting out of there really is what he needs to pursue.

33
by Mash Wilson :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:21am

Agreed on all points. If I were Andrew Luck I would instruct my agent that I'm not interested in even talking with the Colts. They can franchise me for a few years but eventually it will become prohibitively expensive. Actually, bad as it is for PR and as much as I genuinely would not want to make Colts fans suffer for Jim Irsay's sins, I would seriously consider refusing to play for the Colts and holding out until traded (AND NOT TO WASHINGTON OR THE RAIDERS) once my initial contract runs out.

Counterpoint: The AFC South is probably going to be weak until the heat death of the universe. Indianapolis isn't the only team in its division with dysfunctional ownership. Luck alone guarantees them the division title most years.

35
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:46am

If I'm a good player, I'd be telling my union that getting rid of the franchise tag, or at least modifying its use, is the highest priority in the next deal. Of course, that points to one of the most difficult probems for the union, the interests of the good and great players can be wildly divergent from the interests of the average to marginal players. If I'm a great player, I might want to propose a very small concession on total revenues, in return for a modification of the franchise tag rules, but if I'm a guy who has to battle every year to make the roster, or to be a starter, that doesn't appeal to me at all.

Given the situation, yep, I'd heavily consider telling the Colts after the season that you will refuse to play in 2016, unless they agree to contractually promise to not employ the franchise tag after 2016, and then instruct my agent to hire a skilled public relations firm to develop a strategy to effectively disseminate a message, that it is on the Colts to make their organization a place where it is advantageous for an Andrew Luck to stay, and if they don't, that's no reflection on Andrew Luck. There may well be a quarter BILLION dollars at stake, or even more. It's time to start slittin' throats.

130
by LionInAZ :: Thu, 09/24/2015 - 11:25pm

Luck can complain all he wants, but I can't imagine the NFLPA giving up leverage on rank-and-file issues to get rid of the tag for one player on each team. It would be union suicide.

100
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 6:56pm

If the issue is Luck should stay in the AFC South do to opposition why not go play for the Texans.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

101
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 7:27pm

Oh, that would be good place for sure, with their current head coach. If Luck manages to force his way out, however, I'd bet the Colts would extract the agreement to not go to a team in the division, or likely even the conference. When I look at the well managed franchises in the NFC, it seem like most have a decent qb solution already. I dunno. Arizona with Arians seems pretty well run, and Palmer is pretty old and injury prone, but I don't think I'd trust the owner there. New Orleans is going to likely be a managment mess once the owner and Brees depart. Paul Allen is a great guy to work for, but I think they are set. If Romo keeps getting hurt, and you knew Rubberface was going to turn the reins over to his son completely, Dallas would be a great franchise again, I think. There's just no obvious landing spot in the NFC, like Denver in the AFC.

109
by gomer_rs :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 1:54am

They could only extract such an agreement with a sign and trade deal. Otherwise he could sit out the franchise tag until it just became too expensive, and take out a $200 million insurance policy.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

40
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:10am

Honestly, this is starting to get on him. His o-line is no worse than Peyton's was from 08-10, or what Brees / Rodgers have had to deal with at times.

He has to get better at reacting quickly and getting rid of the ball.

43
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:29am

Rodgers has never had an o-line this bad, nor Brees in New Orleans, except maybe prior to this year. Peyton had a decade of experience before he had to deal with a mess like this. Also, they are way too committed to deep routes for an offensive line of this caliber, and now they are playing defense with street free agents for d-backs. Yes, he could play better, but if I'm his agent, I'm telling him there is multi-generational wealth at stake, and he needs to get out for there.

44
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:30am

There was one year when I believe both Packer's starting tackles were hurt and the line was a total mess, but it was for a few games before players came back and it gelled together.

This is going to be Luck's whole year.

70
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:47pm

In 2009 Clifton missed several games and Tauscher was out half the season. Then in 2012 Bulaga missed half the season and Marshall Newhouse started all 16 games.

But since 2009 the interior line has been good to outstanding as Sitton and Lang have been there forever and save for one season of Jeff Saturday the center position has been reasonably good as well.

Rodgers has always had the benefit of knowing that guard to guard the pocket would hold up which allows him to cope when his tackles buckle.

Like on Sunday Barclay actually had a pretty poor game. He was getting bull rushed almost every passing down. But Rodgers was able to move away from the pressure as Sitton/Linsley/Lang held up the rush elsewhere

73
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:55pm

B10F, would you agree that this Colts bunch is about on par with the worst Bears lines of the Cutler era? This seems about right to me, and Luck, unlike Cutler with his worst o-lines, is not obtaining benefit of an excellent defense. Cutler's offensive coaching may be about as inept, or moreso, than Luck's, however.

77
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 1:23pm

I have not seen enough of the Colts line to assess

48
by usernaim250 :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:43am

First of all, let's remember the Bills and Jets have top tier DLs. So it shouldn't look this bad every week.

Second, as above, Peyton had a totally different offense.

Third, I don't recall him facing quite so much immediate penetration.

81
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:11pm

He does now and has since about 08...

The difference is that he gets rid of the ball quickly and is a maestro at avoiding sacks. Brady does this too, which is why he'll pick the Jets apart if they are foolish enough to send up to 8 rushers (which is why Rex frequently played coverage the other day, not that that helped keep guys from being open quickly). Part of that is the QB, but part of it is, as you mention, the offense.

I think Luck's decision making has suffered - both before and after the snap - this season. But you're correct to mention that they've thus far played two of the scariest D Lines in the game. With brand new coaches and without very much on tape to study yet. Because of that, I'm not all that worried. It has been horrid to watch, but my long term concerns for that team remain the same now as they were three weeks ago: They're still not equipped to stop good QBs or teams that can force matchups vs. LBs in coverage.

49
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:43am

Honestly, I think Rodgers has had an o-line this bad. You are right about Brees probably.

I agree that the scheme is not compensating for that deficiency, but sometimes it is Luck holding onto the ball for the deep routes when he does have open checkdowns.

I really don't know what I would do if I was Luck, but I'll say this, if Andrew Luck plays well, the Colts are 1-1. They lost yesterday because Gore fumbled at the 1-yd line, and because Luck was dogsh$t.

Regards,
Daniel Menezes

54
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:16pm

More often than not, blocking of that quality will result in a qb performance akin to canine feces. When Pagano is reduced to saying, when asked about his qb performance, that his qb is has been dealing with that quality of protection for three years, so he should be used to it, well, it's pretty bad. No, he isn't faultless. There are also probably about 29 teams, or more, right now, who would gladly take him as their starting qb. Time for a jailbreak for ol' Andy.

(edit) Also, if you think Luck holds the ball too long, well, if Luck held it as long as Rodgers does, especially as long as Rodgers did, in Rodgers' early years as a starter, he'd be in the hospital right now. No, Rdogers' protection was not this bad.

58
by Ben :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:21pm

So why hasn't Luck been this terrible his whole career then? Pagano is right, this line is certainly no worse then the previous ones he's played with. He's also not getting pressured more then previous years.

It's absolutely true that the OL is bad, fans have been complaining about it for years, but Luck has just been very inaccurate this season and that's why they're 0-2 and have scored the fewest points in the league.

65
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:32pm

Because he's played pretty good defenses, especially against an offense which is trying to do what the Colts are trying to do, and maybe his performance hasn't been as good. Which is a great reason to force his way to a better environment as soon as possible. The Colts will fire Luck the moment it is to their advantage to do so. Luck should treat the Colts in the same manner.

63
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:28pm

2008-2012 era Big Ben laughs at what Luck thinks is a bad OL

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

66
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:34pm

There's a reason I didn't mention him, and Luck, while pretty stout, isn't as physically equipped to take the beating.

71
by Ben :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:49pm

I think that's an excellent comparison. Luck I've always thought Rothlisberger was the most comparable QB to Luck anyway. Luck and Rothlisberger are very close in size.

The other reason why it's a good example is that Luck had Bruce Arians as his OC the first year. Luck took the exact same beating Rothlisberger used to take under Arians.

Same as with Rothlisberger, an OC who actually cares that the QB is getting pummled every play would make all the difference for the Colts.

74
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 1:02pm

Compare the defense Roethlisberger was paired with in his first four years, and what Luck had to deal with, and also reflect on the fact that actually the offensive line was a strength for the Steelers when Roethlisberger entered the league. I know Roethlisberger is listed at 241 pounds, but I don't think he's been there for many years.

82
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:14pm

If he's within 30 pounds of that I'd be surprised.

You're right, though. Look at the number of throws Ben made per game when he first came into the league, compared to Luck. The situations weren't the same at all.

That said, I do think there are plenty of similarities in their decision making and abilities.

86
by ChrisS :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:56pm

2006-07 John Kitna weeps pitiably as he thinks that he had blocked those memories. The OL was awful for the Lions (117 sacks combined in those 2 years) but many sacks were also Martz-Induced.

53
by wadingshorebird :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:13pm

If you're cold-blooded, ruthless, careerist Andrew Luck (and you have cable) then it's probably still to your advantage and/or easier to get out of Indy instead of doing the work to improve to the level of Brees/Rodgers while risking getting pummeled out of the league.

57
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:20pm

Yeah, I agree. It simply is financially irresponsible for Luck to be patient for Colts' management to figure out how to manage the roster better. He's been there 50 games. Time to bail out.

76
by techvet :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 1:19pm

We still need adjusted stats on the heavily-bearded Luck to see if that version would be any better.

83
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:19pm

And if on top of being cold-blooded, ruthless, and careerist, you feel like being a troll, you go to Denver.

Not only are you replacing Peyton a second time, John Elway gets to give Irsay the finger. Again.

84
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:33pm

(Montgomery Burns voice, tapping fingertips together) "Exxxxcelllentt....."

95
by cjfarls :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 6:14pm

We'll take him!

96
by Cato_Younger :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 6:36pm

Remember, it also took a move out the San Diego to make Brees the great QB he is (or was).

114
by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 12:39pm

Brees was really good the last two years in San Diego. His first good year was 2004.

117
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:18pm

I'm sorry, but this is far too speculative to be stated so matter-of-factly. Yes, that's what happened, but it didn't have to happen that way. Remember, Schottenheimer wanted to keep Brees over Rivers. It's very easy to believe that Brees would have developed along the same path if he was allowed to stay in San Diego. The move likely had very little to do with it.

115
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 2:20pm

What do Irsay's substance abuse problems have to do with his ability as a GM?

116
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 2:45pm

I didn't write that. Irsay isn't the GM. When making long term commitments with implications that may entail many, many, dozens of millions of dollars, however, the fact that one of my options for an owner is a guy who has been through rehab a couple of times is going to be a facto to be considered. I wouldn't go work for the hooch hound in Dallas, either, unless he convinced me that his son had fully taken the reins. Working for drunks and dopers is a pain in the ass, if they are still drunking or doping, and Irsay would really need to convince me that the rehab had taken the 2nd time around.

118
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:22pm

Right, duh, owner not GM. but my point was only that if he's bad at his job, say he's bad at his job. Don't go blaming drugs on the guy

124
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:53pm

When your job is being a human being that other human beings find working with to be a positive experience, being a drug addict has a decent chance of interfering with that.

127
by chemical burn :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 4:52pm

Sometimes. Other times it can be helpful, especially with alcoholics.

30
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:13am

Really like the interspersed comments Vince.

34
by Sakic :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:38am

Same here. It's nice to know why ole Noodle Arm Manning (for example) ranked as low as he did despite throwing 3 TDs.

37
by nat :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:57am

The format does seem to be working for the QBs table commentary: Top three, bottom three, a few others for spice.

I'm sure we (the readers) won't always agree on which spice you should have done. But more often than not, you'll find something interesting to comment on.

107
by beargoggles :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:53pm

I'd like to add my vote in favor of this

36
by Led :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 10:52am

And Jets fans rejoice at two straight weeks of slightly above average quarterback play. We're #12! We're #12! (Until opponent adjustments kick in.)

39
by Led :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:04am

OT, but this is something you don't see every day of the week (and particularly not on Sundays): https://twitter.com/misterbonner/status/646324701510389760

41
by Karma Coma :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:19am

JJ Watt getting tripped by a RT? That's true...

42
by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:24am

How did David Carr get sacked for 112 yards? Isn't 98 yards the limit for a sack?

52
by wadingshorebird :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:10pm

I also read it that way and found myself remembering plugging in the second player controller to make opposing QBs run backwards to get sacks/safeties. But I think they meant "He went 9-of-12 on third downs against Baltimore, with one sack, for 112 yards". The importance of commas!

62
by JIPanick :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:26pm

99. Can be both a sack and a safety.

90
by RickD :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 4:09pm

There is no limit as to how much David Carr can get sacked. I think he got sacked in his driveway this morning for a loss of 4 yards.

Derek Carr, on the other hand...

97
by Cato_Younger :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 6:38pm

Was going to correct his name mix-up till I read this.

Good show sir!

98
by theslothook :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 6:41pm

Anyone who actually watched the 2002 texans - was that mostly due to bad offensive line play or David Carr? AS rickD mentioned, Carr is a walking sack at all times.

99
by Cato_Younger :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 6:54pm

Haha, I was one of those Carr guys. He's from my area. I watched him as much as I could.

And, I still mention to this day how the Texans ruined him. :(

123
by chemical burn :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:37pm

It was complementary, behind a better o-line he still probably would've taken too many sacks but once he started getting hammered over and over, he became a disaster and would pull the ball down quick and wait for them. He was crumpling in anticipation or throwing up garbage a lot, a lot, a lot by the end of the year. He's one of the most striking examples I've personally ever seen of a guy getting shell-shocked and just fearing the rush at all times. Weirdly, the only other player who I have any memory of playing the same kind of fearful way was Rich Gannon on those early 1990's Vikings teams - I was young then, so maybe it's just my memory messing with me, but he would just PANIC. Although, that might just be my memory from an Eagles game or two where the greatest defense ever was terrorizing him.

45
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:34am

Anyone who watched JAX-MIA want to comment on Bortles? Did he look like he had figured some things out or was just getting lucky? Or just playing a bad defense?

51
by Raiderfan :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:47am

Carr=elite

60
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:25pm

Is that ELIte or just standard elite?

92
by RickD :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 4:11pm

I fear what this board will become if the Raiders actually start winning.

121
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:30pm

Don't fear it! Embrace your typo- and oddly insightful comment filled future!

122
by Independent George :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:36pm

Seriously! I've actually started rooting for the Raiders ever since Joe became a regular.

55
by Ben :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:18pm

It's not that the Colts haven't tried to put a good line in front of Luck, it's just that Grigson has utterly failed to do so. They graphic from last night with all the different OL that have played in front of Luck shows that. A few years ago the spent big on Cherilous and Donald Thomas. Thomas couldn't stay on the field, and Cherilous played decently for a year, then crapped out.

I put this on both Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamiliton. The Bills and the Jets have done exactly what the Pats did in the AFC championship game last year. Blitz and play tight man coverage. There were several times last night where the OL held up well enough against a 5 or 6 man rush, but either the receivers didn't get open or Luck was off target.

There's no doubt that this OL is not good, but it's certainly no worse then the previous 3 seasons. The skill positions are also the best group Luck has had. The reason the Colts have scored the fewest points in the league in the first 2 weeks is Pep Hamiliton has had terrible game plans and poor in-game play calls and adjustments. Even when the plays have been there, Luck has been horribly inaccurate, especially throwing long trying to make teams pay for blitzing.

61
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:26pm

The fact that they are now into their fourth straight year of crappy o-line play, with Luck on the roster, is absolutely the best argument that suggests Luck should instruct his agent to develop a strategy to force his way out.

67
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:35pm

On the other hand the Patriots seem to muck around with their o-line year-in, year-out without ever using high draft picks to sort it out.

They've only drafted Nate Solder (2011-1st) and Sebastian Vollmer (2009-2nd) in the first three rounds since Mankins and Kaczur in 2005 who were both gone before last year's Super Bowl win.

So I suspect Grigson will be telling Pagano ... "I employ you to coach so find a scheme that protects Luck and helps him get rid of the ball quick".

69
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 12:45pm

Yeah, it isn't just the o-line quality. They legitimately just seem kind of clueless with regard to getting optimal value from a qb that 28 or 29 teams would love to have.

104
by Ben :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:04pm

I guess I don't see a team going from 2-14 to the AFC Championship in 4 years as totally clueless. I'm not arguing that the Colts haven't made any mistakes, Grigson has made plenty of bad moves. I just don't see it at as worse then 28 or 39 other teams would have done. Not by a long shot.

Also, as reference, Peyton Mannings 4th year is when Jim Mora had his famous "playoffs" rant. That was following a 4 INT game from Manning.

You mentioned that the Colts will cut Luck as soon as it's in their interest. This is true, but also true of every other player in the league.

Again, I'm not arguing that the Colts couldn't have done better, but to argue that almost every other team in the league would do better and that Luck's best move would be to refuse to play for the Colts is ludicrous.

106
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:41pm

Yes it is ludicrous, and not what I wrote. I said that 28 or 29 teams would love to have him on their roster. I wrote nothing with regard to how many of them would manage their roster better, other than to imply that some would. This has the virtue of 100% accuracy.

Look, this is a business, period. Andrew Luck has about 10 to 12 more years if he is lucky, to maximize the profit from his business. Maybe, if he is phenomenally lucky, a little more. He is now in his fouth year with the Colts, and other than him and a few other players, the roster sucks, and has always sucked. Put an average NFL starter on that roster, say Alex Smith, and this team wins about 5 or 6 games, tops.

Andrew Luck has a chance to earn as much as 300 million dollars, maybe more, in the next 15 years, if he is in the right situation. If he continues to be on an otherwise hideous roster, his future earnings may be as little as a 100 million dollars, maybe less. To say it is ludicrous for him to do anything, which would better his odds of spending the next 15 years on a better roster, is an insult to money.

108
by theslothook :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 12:00am

It would be ludicrous for the colts to let him go(yes, I am aware you haven't said it wouldn't be - I love putting words in your mouth Will).

There is a broader issue. The colts by virtue of Manning, missed the periods of going 10-6, 8-8, 6-10, and 4-12 as would otherwise happen when your talent ebbs. One manningless season dropped them to their natural quality of 2-14. Luck's rise coincided with a dramatic win improvement, but not one commensurate with the talent they had. Toss in the richardson trade and this team just hasn't had the draft slotting to get great talent the way the early colts teams did.

Finally - the free agent spending decisions have been terrible...the very definition of overpay mediocre talent.

This has been Grigson's horror show from the start. He should pay the price.

112
by Independent George :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 10:42am

Outside of the franchise tag (which can only be used once or twice before it gets prohibitively expensive), I don't see how the Colts have any choice but to let him go if he decides he's had enough.

It's like a top salesman who realizes his company's products have not been keeping pace with the market - his talent means he'll personally do just fine regardless of where he works, but he'll never reach his full potential if the company doesn't change the way it operates. And just like with the salesman - if his presence is the only thing keeping the company afloat, then the company is already dead in the water.

113
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 11:21am

If I'm his agent, I'm exploring options in my head, with regard to keeping him healthy, until I can separate him from a GM and coaching staff which seems intent on getting him injured. Again, there's just too much wealth at stake, dependent on him being seen as a better qb alternative for almost every team in the league, to do otherwise. I might tell him to convert to Mormonism, hoping he'd be required to go do a two year mission to the wilds of Stockholm. I actually know a Mormon who was assigned the problematic task of converting the phlegmatic Swedes; it didn't go well, but it was a nice, safe town to hang for a couple years. He could even grow his beard out, making endorsement work with less time in make up possible, and then, upon his return to the NFL, by way of Foxboro, after Mr. Bundchen hangs it up, he could get paid a fortune by Gillette to shave it off at half time, at the 50 yard, of the first preseason game!

105
by theslothook :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:36pm

I don't think the personnel fits what pep hamilton wants to do with the offense. I get a real sense that the colts want to ground and pound despite the fact that this is a very heavy pass oriented roster.

You can beat a blitzing team with formations and quick passes too. I wish this team would go spread no huddle. Sure, its not as flexible as NE's or GBs offense is, but its a damn sight better than trying to force a square peg in a round hole.

78
by Purds :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 1:49pm

Luck has not played well, no doubt. Blame goes there. But also, significant blame goes to Pep Hamilton and the GM. The offense, if I remember correctly, didn't throw a single screen (or even a WR bubble screen) until late in the game. And the Jets were constantly blitzing. I don't get it. Pep didn't call any misdirection or screens to make the defense hesitate. Nothing!

And, the GM has just ignored the OL. Yeah, a few free agents, but seriously, no draft pick OL this year until 7th round, and that guy a player most thought you could sign as an UDFA? I mean, Dorsett may turn out to be good, but the difference between him and the WR he would replace (Moncrief?) isn't nearly as huge as the difference a 1st round OL could make over the current linemen.

BTW: I was watching in a noisy place, so I may have missed a screen, but I can't remember it.

79
by Led :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 1:51pm

There were a few bubble screens that were moderately successful, but I think they were all in the second half.

91
by CaffeineMan :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 4:11pm

Yes, it does seem the GM has ignored the O-line. And I took Pagano's comment about Luck being used to this level of protection as a veiled shot at Grigson, not a shot at Luck.

75
by stevenemacks :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 1:08pm

"Here's another way to look at it: only two runners last year were superstuffed even twice in a game last year: Adrian Peterson in Week 1 (when he had 21 carries), and Murray in Week 3 when he had 24 carries."

Sorry if someone else has already noticed this -- I'm eating a sandwich right now and can't be bothered to double check -- but it's telling that both of those games were against the Rams.

87
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 4:02pm

Typo alert: Chris (presumably) Polk's name appears in the Dexter McCluster box, guessing you got ahead of yourself.

Thanks to all those who pointed this and other typos out. They’ve all been fixed now, but wanted to address this one specifically:

[Eli Manning's] 10-yard touchdown to Larry Donnell put New York ahead 10-3 with exactly four minutes left in the third quarter.

It put the Giants up 20-10, and there was still 10:53 left in the 3rd quarter after the play.

The scoring error is because I read from the wrong set of columns. The time error, the ball was snapped with 11:00 to go in the quarter; in my head that somehow got changed to 11:00 elapsed. (Yes, officially the play took seven seconds, though it sure looks like it should have been five: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh5CdRJlQ7o)

Question? How is Tom Brady 5th in DYAR after throwing for 466 (!) yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions against the supposedly vaunted Bills defense?

Thank you everyone for answering this.

Really like the interspersed comments Vince.

Thank you for everyone who left similar comments. This seems like a good formula and we will shoot for something like this every week.

103
by zenbitz :: Tue, 09/22/2015 - 8:47pm

Re: SF's safety play:
Apparently Man-genius's consistent 3-down call consisted of running both Safeties up to the LOS then trying to run back into cover-2 faster than the WRs. Apparently does not work on fast WRs with a QB that can throw an accurate deep ball, and an OL that did not get totally confused on protection schemes.

111
by Jerry :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 5:02am

Proofreading: "So no, you're eyes were not decieving you:" should be "your" and "deceiving".

And would "double stuff" be a better term than "superstuff"?

125
by Richie :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:54pm

Career "superstuff" leaders going back to 1994:
Player Att
Lamar Smith 31
Marshall Faulk 31
Curtis Martin 31
Barry Sanders 28
LeSean McCoy 27
Emmitt Smith 27
Chris Johnson 27
Ricky Williams 27
Corey Dillon 25
Shaun Alexander 24
Ricky Watters 23
Adrian Peterson 22
LaDainian Tomlinson 20
Reggie Bush 19
Priest Holmes 19
Napoleon Kaufman 18
Jerome Bettis 18
Michael Vick 18
Tiki Barber 17
Cedric Benson 16
Charlie Garner 16

126
by Richie :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 3:58pm
128
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 4:54pm

Nicely done! I should have thought of using the PFR tools. Didn't realize they were that detailed.

129
by Richie :: Wed, 09/23/2015 - 5:46pm

The "Game Finder" can get some good stuff. But it can also be a bit clunky. It only lists the play-by-play for the first 500 plays in the query. There were 2,538 superstuffs since 1994.

Plus, I don't think it's possible to find consecutive plays, or even plays by game. I had to scroll through the first 500 plays to find the 2 I did.

Fun facts:
There have been 227 "doublestuffs" (10-yard losses) since 1994.
There have been 45 "triplestuffs" (15-yard losses).

There are some glitches in the play-by-play. There are some 90+ yard losses listed, but those must be programming errors.

Looks like the longest negative run, not involving a QB, and not involving a fumble was Jon Vaughn's 20-yard loss for the Seahawks in 1994. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199409180sea.htm