Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Oct 2015

Week 5 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

I'm going to give you three quarterback statlines from Week 5 in the NFL. Can you guess which passers put up these numbers?

  • Quarterback A: 23-of-35 for 262 yards with two touchdowns, two sacks, and no interceptions.
  • Quarterback B: 13-of-19 for 209 yards with one touchdown, two sacks, and no interceptions.
  • Quarterback C: 22-of-35 for 266 yards with no touchdowns, two sacks, and two interceptions.

I can also give you some hints. One of these quarterbacks is a record-setting Super Bowl champion on the downside of his career. One turns 28 in a month and should be entering his peak. And one is a first-year player who sometimes struggled with ball security in college.

If you haven't figured it out yet, Quarterback A is Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback B is Jameis Winston, and Quarterback C is Peyton Manning. Sunday's game against Oakland was only the second time Manning has thrown two or more interceptions in a game without a touchdown since joining the Broncos in 2012, and just the ninth time (including the playoffs) he has done so since the Colts took him with the first overall draft pick in 1998. Meanwhile, Kaepernick and Winston threw three touchdowns and no picks between them.

The significance of all this is that Winston and Kaepernick, who entered Week 5 last and next-to-last in the NFL in total passing DYAR, both surpassed Manning in the season-long rankings, leaving Manning at the bottom of the pile. Let me state this clearly, because it's a remarkable thing to consider: through five weeks of the 2015 season, Peyton Manning has been, statistically, the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. This is insane to consider. Manning was 12th in DYAR in his rookie season in Indianapolis, and he missed the 2011 campaign with a neck injury. Otherwise, Manning has never finished worse than sixth in DYAR, placing in the top three 13 times (including each of his last 11 healthy seasons), and leading the league in DYAR six times.

Given that absurdly strong track record, it would be tempting to view Manning's horrible start to 2015 as a fluke of small sample size, and assume that he'll turn things around eventually. (If you've actually watched him throw a football lately, it would not be tempting to do this at all, but this column is about statistics, not film study.) Manning still has more than two-thirds of a season to go. How unusual would it be to see him bounce back to being an elite passer, or even an average one?

We went back and looked at the worst five quarterbacks in passing DYAR through five weeks of each of the last five seasons. We limited this to players who threw at least 75 passes in those five weeks. This was important, because it weeded out names like Matt McGloin and Jeff Tuel and Max Hall who were never meant to be starters anyway. We then looked at how those players fared in DYAR in Weeks 6 through 17, along with their final tallies and rankings in the DYAR standings.

Only seven of these 25 quarterbacks (28 percent) played above replacement level from Week 6 onwards. I've marked them in blue to make them easy to spot. The others either continued to struggle throughout the year, lost their jobs (quite literally, in some cases), suffered an injury, or some combination of the three.


Bottom-Five Players In Passing DYAR, Weeks 1-5, 2010-2015
Year Name Team DYAR,
Weeks 1-5
Rk DYAR,
Weeks 6-17
DYAR,
Full Season
Rk
2010 Sam Bradford STL -165 29 -21 -186 39
2010 Alex Smith SF -173 30 147 -26 33
2010 Derek Anderson ARI -180 31 -128 -308 41
2010 Brett Favre MIN -229 32 -62 -291 40
2010 Jimmy Clausen CAR -316 33 -444 -760 46

Year Name Team DYAR,
Weeks 1-5
Rk DYAR,
Weeks 6-17
DYAR,
Full Season
Rk
2011 Kyle Orton 2TM* -95 28 192 97 25
2011 Sam Bradford STL -112 29 -212 -325 42
2011 Matt Cassel KC -149 30 -130 -279 41
2011 Kevin Kolb ARI -154 31 22 -131 35
2011 Blaine Gabbert JAC -252 32 -759 -1010 47

Year Name Team DYAR,
Weeks 1-5
Rk DYAR,
Weeks 6-17
DYAR,
Full Season
Rk
2012 Josh Freeman TB -79 29 197 118 24
2012 Mark Sanchez NYJ -108 30 -486 -593 39
2012 Brandon Weeden CLE -209 31 -82 -291 34
2012 Matt Cassel KC -240 32 -113 -353 36
2012 Blaine Gabbert JAC -259 33 -10 -268 32

Year Name Team DYAR,
Weeks 1-5
Rk DYAR,
Weeks 6-17
DYAR,
Full Season
Rk
2013 Carson Palmer ARI -73 30 620 547 15
2013 Josh Freeman 2TM** -95 31 -81 -176 36
2013 Christian Ponder MIN -114 32 72 -42 31
2013 Brandon Weeden CLE -154 33 -289 -443 45
2013 Blaine Gabbert JAC -429 34 0 -429 --

Year Name Team DYAR,
Weeks 1-5
Rk DYAR,
Weeks 6-17
DYAR,
Full Season
Rk
2014 EJ Manuel BUF -53 29 0 -53 35
2014 Matt Cassel MIN -147 30 0 -147 --
2014 Geno Smith NYJ -180 31 147 -33 32
2014 Blake Bortles JAC -184 32 -771 -955 44
2014 Chad Henne JAC -249 33 0 -249 --

Year Name Team DYAR,
Weeks 1-5
Rk DYAR,
Weeks 6-17
DYAR,
Full Season
Rk
2015 Nick Foles STL -104 31 ? ? ?
2015 Jameis Winston TB -134 32 ? ? ?
2015 Colin Kaepernick SF -141 33 ? ? ?
2015 Ryan Mallett HOU -157 34 ? ? ?
2015 Peyton Manning DEN -201 35 ? ? ?
* Orton started five games for Denver before being waived and claimed by Kansas City, where he started three games.
** Freeman started three games for Tampa Bay, then was released and signed by Minnesota, where started one game.

(Wow. That's a lot of Jaguars. Quite a few Rams and Vikings too.)

Let's examine those seven exceptions to see if any of them are similar to Manning:

  • Alex Smith, SF, 2010: Smith's first five seasons in San Francisco were miserable, as he never finished in the top 30 in passing DYAR and missed an entire year with an injury. His sixth season wasn't much better at first, as he threw nine interceptions in his first five games, all San Francisco losses. The 26-year-old started the next two games, then spent the rest of the season rotating in and out of the lineup with Troy Smith. By the end of the year the light bulb seemed to turn on for Smith -- he threw five touchdowns with only one interception in the last four games of the year -- and he has essentially been an average (if frustratingly conservative) quarterback ever since.
  • Kyle Orton, DEN/KC, 2011: The 29-year-old Orton made a lot of big plays for the Broncos in five starts, but he also made big plays for Denver's opponents. He finished with eight touchdowns, seven interceptions, and nine sacks in a Denver uniform that year, as the Broncos went 1-4 in his starts. He was benched for Tim Tebow during the Broncos' bye week, and we all know how that turned out for Denver. Orton was waived in November and picked up by Kansas City to fill in for the injured Matt Cassel. That was probably a talent upgrade for the Chiefs, and in three starts for his new team, Orton threw two picks and was sacked just one time. He spent two more years as a backup in Dallas and one as a starter in Buffalo before choosing to retire; he could probably still get a backup job if he wanted one.
  • Kevin Kolb, ARI, 2011: Kolb was a punching bag in his first year as a starter with the Cardinals. The 27-year-old was sacked 16 times in his first five games. He played in only four more games that season (getting sacked 14 more times) and six sacks the next (taking 27 sacks) before retiring. Gee, I wonder why he couldn't stay healthy?
  • Josh Freeman, TB, 2012: Just 24 years old and already in his fourth year as a starter, Freeman struggled with accuracy early in 2012, completing less than 55 percent of his passes in four games (the Bucs had a bye in Week 5). He rebounded over the rest of the year, and given his prior success at such an early age, his slow start seemed like a forgettable speed bump. He then started four games for two teams in 2013 and has been unable to hold a job since. One of the weirdest careers you'll ever see.
  • Carson Palmer, ARI, 2013: The beacon of hope for Denver fans, Palmer was by far the most successful quarterback in the past five years who fell on his face coming out of the gate. In his first year with Arizona, the 34-year-old Palmer completed less than 60 percent of his passes with five touchdowns, nine interceptions, and 12 sacks. Following that adjustment period, Palmer has flourished. In 22 starts since then, he has completed 65 percent of his passes with 43 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, and 45 sacks.
  • Christian Ponder, MIN, 2013: Ponder was injured only three games into the season, three games in which he threw two touchdowns with five picks and was sacked 10 times. The 25-year-old played better in six starts later in the year before going down for the season with a shoulder injury. He spent 2014 backing up Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota, then failed to make Oakland's roster this year and is currently out of the league.
  • Geno Smith, NYJ, 2014: I apologize for earlier referring to Kevin Kolb as a punching bag -- that term fits Smith much better. Kolb might have taken a lot of hits from opponents, but at least he never got his jaw broken by a teammate. The locker room violence in Smith's life has made it easy to forget how he improved as a 24-year-old last year. In his first five starts, he threw four touchdowns with six interceptions. In his last four starts, though, he threw for six touchdowns with only two interceptions.

What do those seven men have in common? With the obvious exception of Palmer, they were all young, less than 30 years old. Manning turned 39 in March; he would be the oldest player to throw a pass this season if Andrew Luck's shoulder injury hadn't forced Matt Hasselbeck onto the field. Even Palmer was five years younger than Manning in the year he made his big turnaround.

Sometimes, the end comes out of the blue for great quarterbacks. Jim Kelly threw for two touchdowns and 11 interceptions with 21 sacks (!) in his first five starts (which separated by injury) of his final season in 1996. Steve Young had three touchdowns, four interceptions, and eight sacks in three games in 1999 before concussions ended his career. Troy Aikman had four scores, nine picks, and ten sacks in his first five starts (also separated by injury) in his last hurrah in 2000.

If we're looking for a match for Manning, we don't need to look back that far though -- we need only look at the top of this table, to Brett Favre, who at 41 was even older in 2010 than Manning is now. Favre was coming off a disappointing playoff loss that had ended a very promising season -- just like Manning is now. He had shrugged off retirement rumors to return to the field -- just like Manning. He stunk through five weeks -- just like Manning. Favre then continued to stink over the course of the season before finally retiring (well, at least he hasn't come back yet). Sad to say, in all likelihood, that's the course Manning will follow over the next three or four months.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Eli Manning NYG
41/54
441
3
1
0
165
159
5
SF
Manning completed 76 percent of his passes against San Francisco, and only eight of those completions were considered failed plays (and only one of those was on third down). Manning was streaky on third downs against San Francisco, but terrific overall. He converted each of his first four third-down plays, gaining 42 yards and a touchdown in the process. Then he failed on three straight, picking up just one completion for 6 yards. And then he picked up four in a row, gaining a total of 58 yards, including a 24-yard gain on a critical third-and-10 screen pass to Shane Vereen in the final minute of the game that set up the winning touchdown to Larry Donnell. All night long, though, he picked on the middle of the field, going 17-of-20 for 215 yards, including three gains of 24 yards or more. Only one of those completions was a "failure," and that was a 4-yard gain on first-and-10. Meanwhile, 12 of them went for first downs, including a touchdown.
2.
Brian Hoyer HOU
24/31
312
2
1
0
150
143
7
IND
Hoyer entered the game in the second quarter after Ryan Mallett had the wind knocked out of him, but then stayed in even after Mallett recovered. That didn't make Mallett too happy, but Hoyer justified Bill O'Brien's faith by totally and clearly outplaying his teammate. As is usually the case, Hoyer was more effective the deeper he threw. On passes that traveled less than 9 yards downfield, he went 15-of-19, but gained only 128 yards and four first downs. On passes 10 to 19 yards downfield, he went 6-of-6 for 87 yards and six first downs, including a touchdown. And on anything 20-plus yards downfield, he went 3-of-6 for 97 yards and a touchdown, though the last of those deep balls was an interception that effectively ended the game. He played very well on third/fourth downs in the first half (5-of-6 for 106 yards with a touchdown and three other conversions), but not so much in the second (2-of-4 for 8 yards with one conversion and one interception).
3.
Josh McCown CLE
36/51
457
2
0
4
126
124
3
BAL
This was a fine example of an offense matriculating its way down the field. McCown had only three first downs on 20 first-down dropbacks, and just five on 18 second-down plays, but he converted 10-of-17 third-down plays, going 11-of-14 for 181 yards with three sacks. That's part of the reason Cleveland had drives of 10 and 13 plays against Baltimore. He had great difficulty converting those drives, though. His first eight plays in the red zone resulted in two sacks, three incompletions, three completions for 10 total yards, and no first downs. His last red zone pass was an 18-yard touchdown to Gary Barnidge, and even that required a ridiculous no-hands catch that will be shown on Cleveland highlight reels forever. Also, though opponent adjustments are accounted for in DYAR now, this Ravens defense looks like toast without Terrell Suggs. Since the linebacker was lost for the year in Week 1, Baltimore has allowed McCown, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, and Michael Vick to complete 68 percent of their passes for 8.5 yards per throw, with nine touchdowns and two interceptions.
4.
Jameis Winston TB
13/19
209
1
0
2
91
87
4
JAC
Third downs: 5-of-7 for 103 yards and five conversions (including a 10-yard touchdown to Doug Martin), with one sack.
5.
Andy Dalton CIN
30/44
331
2
1
4
88
90
-2
SEA
The Seahawks had the ball and a 24-7 lead early in the fourth quarter when Adam Jones returned a punt for 35 yards, then three Giovani Bernard runs gained 23 yards and set Dalton up in the red zone. He delivered with a 10-yard touchdown to Tyler Eifert, and from that throw to the end of the game, he went 13-of-15 for 135 yards and eight first downs, plus a 27-yard DPI and a sack. This is nothing new for Seattle fans. In the fourth quarter and overtime this year, the Seahawks have allowed quarterbacks to go 40-of-48 (83 percent) for 470 yards with 22 first downs, three touchdowns, one DPI for 27 yards, and three sacks. Even Jimmy Clausen went 2-of-3 for 15 yards in the fourth quarter against Seattle.
6.
Blake Bortles JAC
23/33
303
4
1
6
80
71
9
TB
We have written before about the poor track record of quarterbacks who play below replacement level in their first two seasons (short version: they almost never turn out to be anything good), and Bortles appeared to be adding his name to that list after putting up -955 DYAR as a rookie, among the bottom three seasons on record (but not even the worst season in Jacksonville in the past five years) and opening the 2015 season with a -90 DYAR game against Carolina. However, he has finished above replacement level every week since, and with 104 DYAR (before the Monday night game, which will have subtle effects on baselines that will tweak everyone's DYAR numbers), he outranks established starters like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. So perhaps the Jaguars have found their quarterback after all. If nothing else he seems to have developed great touch at the goal line. Inside the Tampa Bay 20 (inside the 13, to be specific), he went 5-of-8 for 41 yards and all four of his touchdowns.
7.
Carson Palmer ARI
11/14
161
3
0
2
78
78
0
DET
Palmer only had eight successful plays against Detroit, but those eight plays averaged 17.5 yards each.
8.
Philip Rivers SD
35/48
365
2
1
2
76
76
0
PIT
Rivers got a lot of help from his receivers. He had seven completions that gained more than 15 yards, for a total of 158 yards. Five of those completions were caught at or behind the line of scrimmage. All told, they averaged 5.4 yards through the air, and 17.1 yards after the catch.
9.
Matt Hasselbeck IND
18/29
213
2
0
0
75
75
0
HOU
10.
Colin Kaepernick SF
23/35
262
2
0
2
54
55
-1
NYG
11.
Tom Brady NE
20/27
275
2
0
5
52
47
5
DAL
Brady only picked up five first downs in the first half, but whatever adjustments the Patriots made at halftime worked -- he picked up first downs on each of his first four second-half throws, gaining 68 yards and finishing off the drive with a touchdown.
12.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
10/17
109
1
0
4
47
12
35
TEN
What a wretched day on third downs this was. Taylor only converted two of his nine third-down dropbacks, completing three passes for 12 yards, with three incompletions and three sacks for a total loss of 19 yards. That's -7 total yards in nine plays.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Kirk Cousins WAS
21/32
219
1
2
1
33
33
0
ATL
14.
Derek Carr OAK
26/39
249
1
1
4
30
30
0
DEN
15.
Marcus Mariota TEN
21/32
187
0
1
2
28
20
8
BUF
16.
Joe Flacco BAL
19/35
210
1
0
1
21
12
8
CLE
Flacco didn't have much luck throwing to his left -- he went 7-of-15 for 56 yards and only two first downs when throwing in that direction.
17.
Dan Orlovsky DET
21/38
191
1
1
0
20
20
0
ARI
Orlovsky came in after Matt Stafford was benched. All of his plays came with Detroit down by at least 28 points in the second half.
18.
Sam Bradford PHI
32/45
333
2
2
0
14
18
-4
NO
19.
Russell Wilson SEA
15/23
213
1
1
4
13
6
7
CIN
Wilson's 46-yard completion to Doug Baldwin on third-and-3 set Seattle up with a first down in the red zone, up 10-7 midway through the third quarter. Up to that point, Wilson had gone 11-of-13 for 176 yards and eight first downs, with one sack. Then Wilson followed up on the bomb to Baldwin with a terrible interception, forcing a ball to a double-covered Jimmy Graham even though Cincinnati only had ten men on the field. And that was the turning point for Wilson; including that interception, he finished up going 4-of-10 for 37 yards with three sacks and only one first down.
20.
Jay Cutler CHI
26/45
252
2
0
2
8
-4
12
KC
Cutler didn't have much success throwing to his tight ends. On 13 passes to his tight ends (one to Zach Miller, one to Khari Lee, 11 to Martellus Bennett), he had only four completions for 32 yards and one first down.
21.
Michael Vick PIT
13/25
203
1
1
3
-2
-11
9
SD
Vick's five first downs averaged 33.6 yards each. His other 23 dropbacks averaged 1.1 yards each, and only one was a successful play.
22.
Alex Smith KC
16/30
181
1
0
3
-6
-9
3
CHI
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Drew Brees NO
26/43
339
2
1
5
-40
-40
0
PHI
Brees' day against Philadelphia was even worse than his basic statline would suggest, because he lost fumbles on two of his five sacks, both of them on first down.
24.
Aaron Rodgers GB
19/30
241
2
2
2
-47
-61
14
STL
Rodgers did not throw a single pass in the red zone, and in fact he never threw a deep pass on the St. Louis half of the field. Across the 50, he went 6-of-10 for 74 yards with a 31-yard touchdown, but only two other first downs, and a pair of interceptions.
25.
Brandon Weeden DAL
26/39
188
0
1
3
-48
-57
10
NE
With about five minutes to go in the first quarter, Weeden hit Cole Beasley for a gain of 6 on third-and-3. It was his only first down of the first half; he didn't get another one until Dallas was down by 17 points in the third. Inside New England's 40-yard line, he went 6-of-12 for 19 yards with one first down and no completions that gained more than 7 yards.
26.
Peyton Manning DEN
22/35
266
0
2
2
-55
-55
0
OAK
So strange to see Manning struggle to convert third downs. He had only three conversions in 12 dropbacks, going 5-of-11 for 38 yards, and adding a DPI for another 11 yards.
27.
Matt Ryan ATL
24/42
254
0
2
3
-61
-71
11
WAS
The Falcons wouldn't have needed to go to overtime if Ryan had played better in scoring range against Washington. Inside the 30, he went 3-of-10 for 19 yards with two sacks, one fumble, and only one first down.
28.
Ryan Mallett HOU
7/10
50
0
1
1
-62
-55
-7
IND
Mallett's game lasted just one play into the second quarter. His raw stats weren't THAT bad, and he picked up three third-down conversions in limited action, but in addition to his sack and interception, he also threw for a 5-yard loss on second-and-14. The Texans didn't show much faith in him though -- their first seven plays on first down were all runs, and Mallett didn't throw a pass on first down until Houston was down 10-0.
29.
Matthew Stafford DET
20/32
188
1
3
1
-69
-71
2
ARI
Stafford threw some interceptions early, but he was moving the ball while the game was still tied. As soon as Arizona jumped ahead, Stafford was done. After the Lions fell behind, he went 8-of-16 for only 56 yards with two first downs, one interception, and one sack. Also, the Detroit screen game is not working. Stafford threw 11 passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, completing eight for a total of 29 yards with no first downs and an interception.
30.
Nick Foles STL
11/29
141
1
4
3
-233
-235
1
GB
Hoo boy. If opponent adjustments and league baselines hold steady, this will be one of the 25 worst games we've ever measured, and the worst since Teddy Bridgewater's eight-sack day against Detroit in Week 6 last year. The Rams seemed to know he was in for a bad day; they only asked him to pass four times on first down, and only once in the first half. Eventually though, they got to third down, and then Foles was screwed. All four of his interceptions came on third downs, and all with 7 to 9 yards to go for a conversion. And they weren't on deep balls either -- all four were thrown to receivers within 7 yards of the line of scrimmage. Two of them came in the red zone in the fourth quarter.


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.
Doug Martin TB
24
123
2
3/3
35
1
77
48
29
JAC
Martin had four runs of 13 yards or more, capped off by a 39-yarder, plus a pair of goal-line scores, while getting stuffed for no gain or a loss five times, one of them with Tampa Bay up by 14 points in the fourth quarter. His three receptions each gained 10 or more yards, including a third-down touchdown and a 13-yard gain on second-and-12.
2.
Devonta Freeman ATL
27
153
1
7/8
44
0
70
55
15
WAS
Freeman had four runs of 11 or more yards and 10 total first downs on the ground, while getting stuffed just twice. Five of his receptions were successful, incluing a 7-yard gain on fourth-and-5 with Atlanta down by one score in the third. He would have been the top running back this week were it not for a fourth-quarter fumble.
3.
Shane Vereen NYG
5
24
0
8/8
86
1
53
0
53
SF
Vereen only had five runs, but they all gained at least 2 yards. Five of his receptions gained 11 yards or more, and he also had a 2-yard touchdown on third down.
4.
Thomas Rawls SEA
23
169
1
0/0
0
0
52
52
0
CIN
Marshawn Lynch has never rushed for 169 yards in an NFL game. Rawls had three 10-plus-yard runs against Cincinnati, capped off by a 69-yard touchdown run, and six total first downs on the day, while getting stuffed for no gain or a loss just twice.
5.
Ryan Mathews PHI
8
73
1
3/3
23
0
46
37
9
NO
Five of Mathews' eight carries went for first downs, and three gained 11 yards or more. His best reception was a 13-yard gain on first-and-10.


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.
Devonta Freeman ATL
27
153
1
7/8
44
0
70
55
15
WAS
2.
Thomas Rawls SEA
23
169
1
0/0
0
0
52
52
0
CIN
3.
Doug Martin TB
24
123
2
3/3
35
1
77
48
29
JAC
4.
Ryan Mathews PHI
8
73
1
3/3
23
0
46
37
9
NO
5.
Chris Johnson ARI
11
103
0
0/0
0
0
31
31
0
DET
The Cardinals' longest run in 2014 went for 22 yards. Johnson topped that with a 25-yarder in the first quarter against Detroit, then added a 40-yarder in the second.


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.
Dan Herron BUF
9
28
0
0/0
0
0
-32
-32
0
TEN
A nearly prototypical version of 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust. Herron had a long run of 8 yards against Tennessee, finishing with no first downs, only two successful carries, and one fumble.


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.
Dan Herron BUF
9
28
0
0/0
0
0
-32
-32
0
TEN


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Allen Hurns JAC
5
6
116
23.2
1
56
TB
All of Hurns' receptions were successful, and only one failed to gain a first down. His biggest catch was a 59-yard gain on fourth-and-18 with the Jaguars down by 14 points inside of the two-minute warning. He also gained 12 yards on a DPI.
2.
Gary Barnidge CLE
8
10
139
17.4
1
56
BAL
As mentioned earlier, Barnidge had the catch of the year on his touchdown, and he had five other first downs on the day. He finished with four first downs in five third-down targets.
3.
Andre Johnson IND
6
7
77
12.8
2
55
HOU
Each of Johnson's catches resulted in a first down, including gains of 23 and 24 yards.
4.
Julian Edelman NE
4
5
120
30.0
1
53
DAL
This game would have scord much higher in DVOA than DYAR. His four catches: a 21-yard gain on first-and-10; a 16-yard gain on first-and-10; a 24-yard gain on second-and-18; and a 59-yard touchdown on second-and-13. He was the target of an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter; had he just sat on the bench after his touchdown, he would have been the top receiver of the week.
5.
DeAndre Hopkins HOU
11
14
169
15.4
0
53
IND
Only one of Hopkins' receptions was a failed play, a 12-yard gain on third-and-21, and eight of them went for first downs. He had four conversions on six third-down targets.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Golden Tate DET
8
18
74
9.2
0
-46
ARI
Four first downs and six successful catches would be bad enough in 18 targets, but Tate also lost a fumble on a catch and had only two conversions in eight third-down targets. He had -56 DYAR receiving and 10 DYAR rushing for an 8-yard gain on second-and-5.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 12 Oct 2015

102 comments, Last at 14 Oct 2015, 5:36pm by ammek

Comments

1
by Raiderfan :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:37am

Soooo, where are the DYAR tables?

2
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:41am

There they are!

3
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:33am

It crazy to think that, as bad a start to the season Manning has had, it would be 10 times worse if he didn't have two of the leagues better receivers to throw to. As bad as these low DYAR QBs were, most were throwing to jags behind awful lines. Manning is throwing to All-Pros behind an awful line.

6
by BJR :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 8:15am

I'd say Manning currently has one All-Pro receiver, one good complementary receiver, but beyond that - nothing. The third, fourth, fifth options in that receiving corps are below replacement level; either washed up veterans or complete nobodies. Now that's not a terrible situation for a QB - many have suffered worse - but it's a significant drop-off from the rest of his time in Denver, and is undoubtedly a factor in his decline.

7
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 8:30am

Sanders finished #3 in DYAR last year (one yard behind #2 Jordy Nelson), is 28 years old and in his prime and seems to be always open, but Manning can't get it to him anymore. Yes, the TE is probably done and the RBs aren't anything special running behind a pretty mediocre line, but he still has enough talent that he should be in the top half of QBs in the league.
And they haven't even played a top 10 defense yet!

9
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 8:41am

That #3 DYAR finish was a lot because of having Manning throwing him the ball. Sanders had done nothing close to that before last year in Pittsburgh.

Their line is a few steps below 'pretty mediocre'. There's really only two plus players on that offense aside from Manning, with at best average or far worse than average around him.

Yes, he hasn't played a great defense, but I think he played two defenses at their best, in Detroit (who came really close to beating Seattle before packing it in), and Baltimore before Suggs went down.

12
by deus01 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:40am

Peyton's stats for this week would probably also be a lot better if Hillman and Thomas didn't both drop passes in the end zone (one of which would have removed the first interception).

Daniels also seems to be playing really poorly at TE. Virgil Green must not able to either run routes or catch if he's not getting playing time.

43
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:12pm

Daniels has been so slow and bad the last few weeks that they might be better off taking him off the field and playing with ten guys just because Manning wouldn't be tempted to throw to him.

That's an exaggeration, yes, but wow has the drop off from Thomas (whose loss I thought wouldn't matter) to him been steep. I agree with the above people about the non-Sanders players, though at least we know Thomas still has it in him when he wants to (end of Detroit game).

I've never loved DYAR all that much but in this case it seems especially off. While certainly even bad younger players could hit throws Manning can't - and could still throw seven picks like he has - even a clearly diminished Manning is making (for the most part) better decisions, more accurate (but slow) throws, and doing far more in the offense than a replacement or even average QB. Visibly and obviously diminished and struggling to compensate? Yes. Offense on the whole a train wreck? Yes. Below replacement? No way.

I think Kubiak is a clown and Elway was arrogant to think hiring him and changing so much OL personnel would be a good thing, but even with that handicap I do still tend to assume that the OL will, at some point, begin to run block at at least a mediocre level and that that alone will make a difference in pass protection and in creating more winnable third downs. And yeah clearly I'm grasping at optimism here but I do think that'll be enough to make them at least good enough that you can trust them to get into the end zone a few times a game.

Now, there will still be good defenses that will be able to stop them by cheating up and daring him to throw it over their heads, so it's still quite likely it doesn't end well... but I still see enough good there in between all the bad to think it likely that they win some games with their offense.

78
by cjfarls :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:07pm

This pretty much matches my analysis too.

The good news is Mathis is looking better, and the young kids on the oline are slowly getting better. Injuries didn't help that continuity this past week, by sambrailo should be back at least after the bye, and it was known from the start that the oline was gonna be sketchy at best in the early season.

The defense remains dangerous, and its not inconceivable that the offense can get back to mediocre as Anderson and the oline get healthier... or, more folks get hurt and the wheels fall off even more. Really, I say flip a coin... it could go either way.

4
by ammek :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:57am

Have you ever run the list of the worst 25 passing games by DYAR in Quick Reads? I can't find it. I'm curious to know if there has been a worse performance against the Packers than Foles'.

Foles' final drive reminds me why DYAR is a better stat than EPA. In EPA, Foles' 68-yard completion has more positive value (+4.6 points) than the end-zone interception that followed has negative value (-3.4). With the 40-yard cap, I imagine that the interception would easily outweigh the completion in DYAR. And that's how it should be. If DYAR could have seen with its own eyes the awful throw by Foles, I'm sure it would have deducted him extra.

8
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 8:33am

Two weeks ago in Quick Reads we had the Worst Single Passing Games by DYAR from 1989-2015. Foles would rank about 20th on that list. Worst is 300 by someone I've already forgotten even though I only looked at it two minutes ago ...

5
by andrew :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 7:00am

and the worst since Teddy Bridgewater's eight-sack day against Minnesota in Week 6 last year.

While Teddy Bridgewater's performance did probably work against the Vikings chances of winning, he was playing against Detroit, not Minnesota.

10
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 8:52am

Is it me, or are Peyton's stats a bit better than what you would think of as the worst QB in the league:

120-189 (63.0%), 1,234 yards (6.5 / 10.3), 6 TDs 7 INTs, 12 Sacks, 77.8 Rating

They're bad, but he just hasn't felt like the worst QB in the NFL. How much of that negative ranking is the Ravens game still dragging him down (and I'm sure that one won't look so hot when adjusted either given their defense since Suggs went down)?

For comparison these were the lines through 5 games for the closest comps:

Favre '10: 88/150 (58.7%), 979 yards (6.5 / 11.1), 6 TDs, 7 INTs, 72.1 Rating
Weeden '12: 112/202 (55.5%), 1288 yards (6.4 / 11.5), 5 TDs, 9 INTs, 64.5 Rating
Anderson '10: 59/114 (51.8%), 650 yards (5.7 / 11.0), 3 TDs, 5 INTs, 59.5 Rating

13
by ChristopherS :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:48am

This.

To put it differently: in any of the other years shown, he wouldn't be the worst QB. Still awful, just not the worst.

16
by RickD :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:30am

The median passer rating these days is 90.7. Peytons 77.3 puts him at #30, ahead of Tannehill, Kaepernick, Stafford, Luck(!!!), and Mallett. Of those five, only Stafford has anything close to the number of passes thrown, which is why the other four would still be ahead of Manning for DYAR (which is cumulative). Stafford has a large advantage in sacks (not counted by passer rating).

What's going unmentioned is that, by most measures, Andrew Luck is having a demonstrably worse season than Manning. His completion rate of 56.0 is atrocious, 3rd worse in the league, ahead of only Cam Newton and Mallett. His yards/attempt is 6.49, which is ahead of only the four mentioned above.

Clearly the worst QB that has had a significant amount of playing time this season is Mallett. O'Brien should just bury him on the bench. Hoyer may have a limit to his "upside" but he's significantly better at all the stats: 8.21 Y/A vs. 5.24 for Mallett. 62.1% completion rate to Mallett's 53.1%.

86
by Red :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:52pm

He only looks like the worst QB according to DYAR, which is honestly a terrible stat for evaluating QB's. Peyton ranks a much more respectable 24th in QBR, which matches my intuition of how well he's played. QBR accounts for dropped passes, pressure, air yards vs YAC, and properly adjusts for game context. DYAR fails despite being a fancy proprietary stat because it leaves out these vital components, yet is comically overfitted in things that don't matter. Does DYAR really tell us anything that ANY/A doesn't? Doesn't seem like it.

96
by PatsFan :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 1:13pm

QBR rates throwing a risky 30yd pass to a double-covered receiver who gets clobbered when another receiver was wide open higher than throwing a 15yd pass in stride to that wide open receiver who takes it for another 15yd.

And I'm supposed to think QBR is a good system because why?

97
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 1:33pm

Because it correlates well with winning and a lot of other constructed advanced stats.

It isn't perfect, but it isn't terrible either. Generally the compiled numbers for a period of time do pretty well reflect how good those QBs have been. Sure there are weird single-game scores, but that happens in any system.

98
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 1:35pm

It's key to understand that DYAR is measuring production, not talent or level of play. This is a subtle but important distinction. QBR attempts to measure level of play.

100
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:59pm

DYAR really is better thought of as a measure of a team's productivity on called pass plays and designed quarterback runs.

99
by Dave Bernreuther :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:10pm

I tend to agree with you on this. But then I see that Kerry Byrne, who is an absolute (and insufferable) idiot, opposes it... which makes me wonder if maybe it's not so bad.

Kidding. I think it was put together terribly and I ignore it entirely when it's used. I understand their intent, but it's a worthless stat. Not because it had Brady ranked lower this week, but because it tries too hard to do something no stat can do or should try to do.

(To be fair, though, there isn't any stat that doesn't at least give equal credit in those two situations you describe. PFF does their grades, which is a nice approach to have out there simply because we know it's observation-based... but having that as a counting stat is flawed as well.)

11
by Dr. Mooch :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:12am

Looks like Tyrod Taylor just edges out CJ as the 5th best RB this week. Ugh.

14
by Charles Jake :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:02am

I thought Cutler would be higher. I figured the last two TD's and rushing would more than offset the sack fumble and completion pct. I'm guessing the adjustment for the Chief's D didn't help.

Also expected Bennett to show up on least valuable WR & TE's. He was absolutely awful Sunday.

An object at rest cannot be stopped.

22
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:22am

I'm not surprised Cutler's bad three quarters outweigh his good one, but I will say that this kind of game is exactly what Bears fans need to see to understand why Cutler is still a better option than any available alternative.

This game - stink for two to three quarters, then throw one perfect corner route touchdown and recover from a bad snap to throw the game-winner - is the type of game Cutler, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, and Eli Manning seem to have a few of each year. But your journeyman quarterbacks recover from poor starts much more rarely.

Disclaimer: this is anecdotal.

35
by jtr :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:50pm

>this kind of game is exactly what Bears fans need to see to understand why Cutler is still a better option than any available alternative

I thought that was what Jimmy Clausen starts were for...

26
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:43am

45 passes is a lot to not get very many yards.

Looks like he's 14th on the year in DYAR, 15th in DVOA, but he's no Josh McCown.

15
by RickD :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:18am

"it would be tempting to view Manning's horrible start to 2015 as a fluke of small sample size"

We're nearly a third of the way into the season. Sample size isn't the issue. Manning could certainly pick up his game over the next 11 games, but the change in data wouldn't represent fixing a sample error so much as it would mean that the underlying distribution had changed. He's thrown 189 passes already, and that's a healthy sample size for most purposes.

17
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:34am

Fluke of small sample size is as simple as this.

Sunday

1. Manning throws a good pass to his RB in the end zone, but since he's a RB he makes a weird leaping motion and doesn't catch the ball. Manning throws a terrible red-zone INT on the next play instead.

2. Manning throws a good pass to Demaryius in the end zone, but he can't squeeze it with both hands on another failed third down.

3. Manning throws a good mid-range pass to Sanders, who was grabbed early on the play and couldn't come down with a very catchable ball. Manning throws an INT on third down on the very next play. That 2nd-down play should have been DPI or a catch.

That's the small margin between a potential 1-2 TD, 0 INT day and a 0 TD, 2 INT day. I saw someone with shoddy 2015 numbers like Cam Newton get the exact opposite break in his last game: gift-wrapped a red-zone INT to Lavonte David, who dropped it. Finished drive with TD pass to Ted Ginn instead.

Over 16 games that may not add up to a huge difference, but five games into the season, that's going to have an impact. Maybe Manning's still last regardless, but the number would be different.

I think the TD:INT ratio will sort itself out. The encouraging sign is he's still completing a good percentage of his passes, and his YPA has been above 7.6 in the last three games. His YPA has generally been fine in this slump that goes back to last year. The time to be seriously worried/talk about benching him was in the Colts playoff game and the Week 1 Ravens game when he overthrew every deep ball and every short pass was just suffocated by the defense.

But if you wanted to know what a 39 year-old Manning with diminished abilities and the worst RB/OL/TE situations of his career would look like, the 2015 Broncos are showing us just that. I also think Sanders has clearly outplayed Demaryius since 2014, and this offense currently doesn't have a legit third receiving option. The Cody Latimer experiment couldn't even get past the first stage apparently. Nice pick, Elway.

Edit - the other problem is the sacks. Manning's always made his advanced stats better by avoiding sacks, but that's not even working in 2015. He's on pace for his worst season ever. He's crumbling more than usual at the hint of pressure, as if he just doesn't want to deal with it anymore. And I think he's let this OL get to his head, which is why you see awful INTs like the one to Woodson before halftime. It's almost like he's pre-determining pressure and just wants to force the ball anywhere so he doesn't take a third-down sack. On first and second downs, he's just crumbling.

It's a one-dimensional offense right now, and even that dimension (passing) is more limited than ever. With this lack of talent, I'm not sure they can fix it this year.

19
by Snoth :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:15am

i dont agree that 2 passes being dropped and 2 interceptions being thrown after said passes correlate with each other the pass after the hillman drop was horrible, it was overthrown. The second INT was a great defensive play by woodson but hung in the air a little too long behind the receiver. The TD:INT ratio i think is a little misleading of how he's actually played however, i think he's been below average not horrible about the same way brady played the first 4 games of 2014 but with a more solid completion percentage(if this team had the 2013 broncos defense.....). Its not time to panic yet i give 2 more weeks before i have to admit that this what he is.

47
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:49pm

I think it looked overthrown because Daniels got held. Not that he should've thrown it into that much traffic anyway, of course, or to Daniels in general...

Agree that the second one just flat out floated in the air like a balloon forever. (Still, had Woodson not hawked it, it would've been a dime, placement-wise.)

I think his struggles are distinctly different than Brady's of last year were, but I think they'd be of equal magnitude if not for the fact that the entire offense around him also changed for the worse as well. Watching them, aside from the run game and line woes, what I've noticed more than noodle arm-type stuff is just how many pass plays look OK but are juuuuust an inch shy of being successful. That strikes me as timing (though some of that can certainly be attributed to learning what to expect of his noodle). This is true on both the deeper shots - which strike me as much less symptomatic of physical issues than the ones late last year - and the underneath stuff that's not getting as much YAC as it should and thus has led to a bunch of failed completions. So the total systemic collapse has made his own personal decline a bit overblown... but there's still a dropoff. And I think that while there are reasons to think he and they will improve, there are many more reasons to think that improvement won't be anywhere near like the improvement the Pats offense had.

That's what my eyes see, anyway. While searching for reasons for optimism...

20
by blan :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:16am

This doesn't really address RickD's point.

Of course a single game is a small sample size. However, five games is not.

The point is: while there's a decent possibility that Manning's numbers are average or even above average over the rest of the season, it will be because he plays better or his teammates play better. It very unlikely that Manning has been playing at a high level through five games of the season, but his numbers don't reflect that because of unlucky plays.

44
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:13pm

Well said.

49
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:56pm

I also think Scott wasn't arguing that he was playing at a high level, just not a level commensurate with worst in the league.

I also believe that. I wonder how much of his negative DYAR comes from that first game against Baltimore, where after Week 1 it was at a -105 DYAR, and I'm assuming it has gotten worse now that some opp. adjustments are in. He played a very different Baltimore defense than, say, Josh McCown did this past week.

He's been mediocre at best, but that's a step up from worst in the league.

48
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:50pm

Indeed.

I would argue (and have) that his numbers reflect a level worse than his actual level of play... but I wouldn't call the true level "high," though.

23
by nat :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:25am

At least we can all agree that it's not a small sample size of excuses.

24
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:26am

You could argue the drops allow for a larger sample size. Manning still threw those interceptions, after all, and wouldn't have had a chance to, at least for the dropped TD.

What does his DYAR look like if you give him the TD to the RB and the completion to Sanders (or a DPI for it), but also keep the subsequent interceptions. I can't imagine it's that much better.

46
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:48pm

The first INT is -60 DYAR, the second is -31. The Hillman incompletion is -12. The Sanders incompletion is -8. The dropped Demaryius TD, which is a more likely TD than the Hillman play, is -12.

If you throw a TD on 2nd down, there never is a 3rd down INT. That's not up for debate. The tricky thing is the Sanders play. If we gave Manning that one on 2nd down, then we know he doesn't throw an INT on 3rd down to Woodson. However, we don't know what his next play would be as the drive continues. He might throw an even worse INT on his next pass, or he may throw a 2-yard gain, or he may just throw an incompletion and punt. So that one deals with too many unknowns.

Let's just do this. Let's keep the Sanders/Woodson 2nd INT. Let's give Hillman the TD, so the first pick doesn't happen and the game plays out exactly the same in the 2nd half. That replaces -72 DYAR with +8 DYAR, or a +80 difference.

That moves Manning from -55 to +24 for the game, or from Week 5's QB26 to QB16. That moves him ahead of Mallett, Kaep and Winston for the season (at least in passing DYAR). Like I said, that's going to have a bigger impact now than after Week 17.

The Demaryius dropped TD is only a +16 difference. By itself, Manning only moves up to Week 5 QB23. Added to the other part, he's +40 for the week, or QB13.

I don't have 2015 charting yet, and I don't think I saved last year's results, but dropped/defensed passes in the end zone are pretty rare. I know no receiver had more than two last year, and Demaryius was one of those guys with two (both coming during this Manning slump of course).

Re: #20 blan - no one said Manning is playing at a high level. This is clearly on pace to be his worst non-rookie season. This is about him playing at a league-worst level, which I don't think is true this season based on the way guys like Tannehill, Luck, Kaepernick, A.Smith, Mallett, Foles, Bradford, etc. have played.

RickD, we only know what he's doing on the Broncos. I'd like to think he would play better in any offense where handing the ball off is actually worth the effort, or where the TE isn't falling on the ground or wearing the defender like a coat on every target. I think Denver failed in a big way in replacing Welker and J.Thomas, which they probably didn't value as much since Kubiak isn't into 3 WRs and still thinks Daniels is worth starting.

51
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 3:00pm

That strikes me as kind of ridiculous that a dropped pass on 2nd down goes as -12 on the QB's tally. Especially if it'd only have been +8 if caught (and Thomas's a +4). (Though of course I understand that at that range, expectations even for a bad QB, etc...) It wasn't a positive play, of course, so it shouldn't get positive YAR (regardless of whose fault it was), but docking him more than a TD is worth for a dropped pass just seems... well, weird.

54
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 3:18pm

Well I just put a lot on Vince's plate, but maybe later he could verify those numbers. I'm not one for toying with DYAR gains, but I can read our files and see what each play is worth and I know the -12 and -60 (and so on) are correct. All the plays add up to the -55 we're presenting here. Then the only column I changed to play around with these plays was yards gained. It's possible I missed something or need to indicate a TD was scored, because I'm seeing Tyrod Taylor's 2-yd GW TD pass to Chris Hogan is +19 DYAR. So I'm thinking the TD would be worth more, so the swing would be greater than I already showed.

55
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 3:24pm

Cool, thanks for the mini peek behind the curtain.

So even so, a Hillman catch would've been enough to put him above replacement by the numbers. Presumably a non-INT incompletion would net another -12 or maybe more, so that'd have him negative but closer to zero... and thus we can still reasonably watch the rest of the game and his throws and conclude "not terrible" and not be in any disagreement with the numbers, since absent that single pick he'd have been measured as not terrible.

(Now, speaking of measurements of terribleness - even though it ended up reversed, there's got to be some way to assign about -3500 DYAR to Jameis for that idiotic backward heave. It's only fair. That's worse than McCown's double gaffe.)

56
by blan :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 3:53pm

Well, my statement would have also been true if "high level" were replaced with "average level."

The argument of whether Manning has been merely "horrible" or the "worst" seems to me to be quite academic. It would be interesting to estimate the 95% confidence interval for Manning's DYAR after five games (we should be able to calculate this estimate from the average variance of a QB's DYAR per game). Certainly the confidence interval would extend above several players current DYAR, but I doubt it would extend to even a league average level.

Edit: Furthermore, with all due respect, I find this exercise in changing negative plays to positive ones to be kind of pointless. If you took three negative plays from any QB's game and made them positive, then of course his game would be improved. If you turn an interception into a touchdown, his game would be significantly improved. This just goes to show how close the margin between victory and defeat can be in the NFL.

58
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 4:09pm

I don't find it pointless at all. Those are some of the biggest plays in the game and the impact they have statistically is significant. That's why dropped passes (especially touchdowns and interceptions) are one of the first things I ever charted, but I never had the time (or easy access) to every game.

Trust me, you'll rarely find examples where you can turn a drive that ended in a turnover into a drive that ended in a touchdown without really distorting reality and completely changing the play. We're just talking about a drop. It's not like saying "if he would have thrown to this open receiver" or "if he wouldn't have overthrown the receiver" or "if the receiver breaks one arm tackle, that's an 80-yard touchdown instead of a 7-yard gain." Always keep it simple. Dropped or caught. FG missed or made.

64
by HPaddict :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 4:50pm

Scott, do you guys have the approximate probability that gives the number of throws as a function of DYAR?

66
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:09pm

Not sure what you mean here. Do you want to know how good of a predictor DYAR is for attempts?

68
by HPaddict :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:34pm

No, sorry for the confusion. I would like a histogram that depicts the DYAR on a single throw. So there have been 500 throws with DYAR 1-5, 600 with DYAR 6-10, etc. This might help us discover the appropriate methodology to describing the uncertainty in our measurements.

71
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:42pm

Now I see what you mean. Yeah, that's something that could probably be done for one season of data, which would be around 18,000 passes.

76
by HPaddict :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:01pm

In the past, I've wondered a little bit about the distribution of DYAR (or any other counting statistic) per play. The most likely result is no discernible features but interesting features are possible. For example, there may be clusters of large negative and positive DYAR plays that are overlaid on a low background at those values due to the rarity a non-TO, non-TD play resulting in such large absolute values. If they exist, they may indicate that 5 games is still a small sample size regime. You could break the data up by down as well.

92
by blan :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:14am

Re #58 Scott

Statistically significant has a specific definition in statistics, and unless I'm completely misunderstanding your argument, you are using the term incorrectly. In fact, you seem to be making almost the opposite argument: that all of Manning's plays so far (let alone three) is not enough to establish up to some statistical significance that Manning is the worst player in the league (an argument I agree with) or that he is having a bad year (an argument that I disagree with).

I find it hard to trust you that it is rare that changing a dropped pass to a caught pass can result in a drive changing from a turnover to a touchdown. If the dropped pass doesn't occur in the end zone, there is still a possibility that making it a catch could result in the drive continuing and ending in a touchdown. It's almost impossible to really know what would happen if you change a play. That's why I don't find these counterfactuals useful.

Edit: That's not to say that taking into account dropped passes or interceptions is not useful. Of course, charting dropped passes and dropped interceptions is quite useful for determining how a QB is playing.

If your argument is that Manning's poor rating is due to drops, that very well may be correct, since DYAR can't separate the performance of his quarterbacks from his receivers. However, pointing out a few drops is not enough to make that case.

94
by Scott Kacsmar :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:35am

Like I said, I don't concern myself with what would happen if a 5-yard gain at midfield was caught on third-and-2 instead of dropped. Obviously that play matters, but I'm more interested in definite results like a dropped TD in the end zone. We know what would happen there, the drive would end.

62
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 4:31pm

Well, in truth, it's all pointless. But if we didn't find new pointless things to talk about, we'd all have to do be doing work or something instead.

For what it's worth, I think Manning is only "horrible" as compared to his usual standard, but to your point about the line being very thin, I do think he - and by that I mean 100% just him as an individual - has declined far less than both the stats and the narrative say he has. The results, however, have combined to be horrible. But from watching the tape, there's reason to believe that even with QB play of a similar level, the results could end up getting better. (And yes, that's at least in part due to the thin line of luck/etc as you mention in 1-3 plays per game.)

67
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:17pm

I find these kind of "what if" discussions to be at least academically interesting. My question would be, if we are counting dropped passes should we include the three dropped picks by Kansas City? Particularly considering that two of them lead to subsequent 60+ yard drives and touchdown passes?

70
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:36pm

There was one dropped interception early on a drive that ended in a TD pass.

73
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:45pm

And another on the drive that ended in the tying TD pass as well.

74
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:51pm

The drive in the fourth quarter? There was nothing even close to being an interception on that drive. Pretty sure the only thing that would be marked as a drop on that drive was Norwood.

75
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:55pm

That's the drive, and there absolutely was a deep-ish toss down the left sideline that the DB had a good chance of intercepting.

77
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:05pm

Well you can go find it and post it then, because I'm not watching a third time. There's nothing there.

79
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:10pm

I'll see what I can find, but I'm 100% certain it happened. You might be quibbling over how "catchable" it was or something, but there was absolutely a terrible throw down the left sideline that a DB got his hands on.

81
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:18pm

This dispute you guys are having demonstrates how difficult quantitative analysis is in football, absent very large samples, and even then the interdependency of player performance makes it problematic.

82
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:20pm

If a defender gets his hands on a pass, that would get credited as a pass defensed, which would put the defender's name in parenthesis in the play-by-play. None of Manning's incompletions on that drive, including a play negated by penalty, have a PD.

83
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:23pm

repeat

60
by BroncFan07 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 4:23pm

When you say "failed in a big way in replacing Welker", do you mean replacing the idea of Wes Welker? Because he wasn't very good last year and was injured part of the time. They are definitely lacking without Julius Thomas, not the least because Daniels doesn't seem any better at blocking and we know Julius was allergic to it.

What I find interesting is how fast a lot of people backpedaled from the "it doesn't matter who plays O-Line for Peyton" theory. The line has led to a lot more of him throwing balls off his back foot to receivers who aren't getting open anyway.

61
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 4:27pm

Who plays in front of a 39 year old Peyton Manning is probably a lot more important than who plays in front of a 35 year old Peyton Manning. Especially when he gets a receiver downgrade at the same time.

(and from what I've seen of Gase in Chicago vs Kubiak in Denver a coaching downgrade as well)

36
by RickD :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 1:03pm

He's thrown 189 passes. You're showing random effects on three passes. If those were the only passes, then yes, "small sample size" could be considered a factor, or even if Sunday's game was the only game. But when you get up near 200 passes, or 1/3 of the entire season, "small sample size" is not the situation any longer.

If you want to say that Manning's supporting cast is worse than he's used to, I wouldn't disagree. But few people have had the luxury of having the WRs to throw to over the course of their careers that Manning has had.

If we put him in a Redskins' uniform, would he be doing any better? Or Titans or Bears or any of a dozen other teams?

52
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 3:04pm

But those YAR swings in even just those three passes - or even in just the one Hillman situation - still DO swing that final DYAR number significantly - just as he says. Enough to take him from the bottom of the pile to somewhere that seems to strike us all as more in line with what we're seeing with our eyes, aka bad but not terrible.

So yes, if his Hillman 2nd-3rd down example can make that much of a difference in the overall figure through five games, that means that the sample is small enough that two plays can swing it greatly. It's larger than one game, of course (by five times!), but for the purposes of this discussion, Scott's right.

88
by deus01 :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:06am

If DYAR is so sensitive to a small number of random events even over 5 games then it doesn't seem that useful as a comparison tool.

89
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:20am

So tell us a better one that is less sensitive.

90
by deus01 :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:03am

I don't know that there necessarily is one. I think Scott's analysis of alternative situations was very useful in understanding what's happening with DYAR and would have been better to include in the article than the Peyton is the worst narrative (he's still doing poorly). We don't really have a lot of insight in the DYAR calculation so it's hard to assess it's strengths and limitations. If it's going to be used as a comparison stat then it's important to give some insight into what's influencing the values.

91
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:12am

Well here's the thing. I don't believe there is a good stat at all to discuss specific player performance in football.

I believe DYAR does a reasonable capturing production and so far Manning has produced very little.

93
by Scott Kacsmar :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:22am

I think any stat would see big swings when you're talking about one game and you're looking at TD and INT numbers.

If we used passer rating and again just changed that sequence before halftime
Actual: 22/35 for 266 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 62.3 PR
Adjusted: 23/34 for 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 89.7 PR

+27.4 is going to stand out to anyone. I have no insight into what changing a play would do to QBR, which would also be very informative to us all.

And at the same time, you could argue Denver not making these catches and Manning throwing that INT is why this offense is bad this season. They're not making the plays they should, even though we're seeing them fail at just the slimmest of margins. Maybe that's an encouraging sign they'll start making those plays going forward. The opportunities have been there, and it's hard to see a talented offense not score a touchdown in two games without there being some close plays like this. Manning had a pass just off of Sanders' fingertips in Week 1 vs. Baltimore. I wouldn't call that a drop, but it's just another example of how this offense is so slightly off the mark from making plays this year. They're not as bad off as some Jimmy Clausen punt-fest.

95
by duh :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:23pm

Well yeah maybe but Thomas at least is catching passes at the same rate he has for the last several years. (though Sanders is down from last year) He's a ~65% this year, he was at ~60% last year and ~65% the two years before that. It is what it is and sadly, it doesn't look good for Peyton.

18
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:45am

We (rightfully) talk a lot about Peyton and AP, but what the heck is behind Chris Johnson's resurgence this season?

21
by Arkaein :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:19am

Was he ever that bad to begin with? I think CJ's decline was fairly overrated. It's not like he's been surrounded by a lot of complimentary talent in his career.

2013 was the only year of his career under 4 YPA (with 3.9), and he had 1400 total yards and 10 TDs.

Last year he was mired on the Jets offense, but still had a respectable 4.3 YPA. Cursory look at raw stats shows they were very similar to Chris Ivory, though with a bit less playing time. I assume that Ivory would have had a better success rate due to their relative running styles. In any case, CJ was healthy and looks like he would have had a 7th straight 1000 yard season if he hadn't been part of a committee.

28
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:08pm

Better offensive line? CJ always seemed like one of those guys who would either go down early with contact, or run a really long way. Is he just getting better holes in AZ, and therefore not dealing with initial contact as quickly?

30
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:18pm

That's my thought.

It has always seemed to me that his primary skill is turning what should be 10 yard runs into long TDs. Behind a bad line he never gets into that position where he can make a hard cut and outrun someone.

32
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:23pm

I think Johnsons' resurgence has to do with working for a coaching staff that makes you work for reps. He was terrible last year, and blaming the offensive line when Ivory has over 300 yards through 3 games (he missed one) seems absurd. Perhaps the Arizona line is better, perhaps the box isn't stacked as much, but Arians probably told him he needs to work harder to get carries.

65
by Kal :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:00pm

Not being the main back helps him tremendously.

So does not being the only offensive weapon on a team.

80
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:15pm

He's not the main back? For the past couple games, I thought Chris Johnson got most of the work, with David spelling him and coming in for goal line stuff and Ellington acting as the change-of-pace back.

84
by duh :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 7:32pm

Ellington was hurt for games 2, 3, and 4 after getting hurt week 1 making Johnson the lead back. Last week was Ellington's first week back.

I think the biggest issue is he's on a team where it is much more dangerous / harder for the safeties to crowd the box.
or
If you prefer, Palmer + Fitz, J. Brown much scarier for the D than Geno + Decker,? (Kerley maybe) or Ryan Fitz + K Wright, N. Washington.

25
by Geo B :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:39am

Any info on where Le'Veon Bell ended up after 21-111-TD?

Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

27
by Steelerdan :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:00pm

Leveon should have dyar

29
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:09pm

Hoyer-Josh McCown-Winston in the top five, Bortles right behind at #6. It's bizarro NFL week.

34
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:47pm

Not to mention 23-27 is Brees, Rodgers, Weeden, P Manning, and Ryan. Weeden is the only one you would expect to see there.

31
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:19pm

When Michael Vick is your qb, and your defense has been on the field for a huge chunk of the 2nd half against Phillip Rivers, in San Diego, it makes it obvious that Bell should take a direct snap from the one with 5 seconds left, in order to win the game. It's kind of funny that anyone disputes this, and so many who would are NFL head coaches.

33
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:40pm

What do you think they would have done without the free timeout from the official?

37
by NoraDaddy :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 1:03pm

Taken their last timeout.

38
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 1:06pm

I dunno, but the right thing to do is take your last time out, and run the same play.

40
by RickD :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 1:09pm

Given that the NFL has admitted a clock error earlier when they let the clock run on a touchback, I don't think there's any moral ground to be had there by whining about the penalty.

41
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 1:37pm

Whose whining? I'm simply asking if they would have run the same play had to needed to use their last time out.

If I'm going to play moral games, I'd point out that the clock error would be a much bigger story had it happened somewhere north and east of San Diego. :)

63
by dbostedo :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 4:44pm

Calling it a "free timeout from the official", rather than saying that "the Chargers committed a penalty" could be read that you think it was a bad call, and/or are whining about the call.

Granted, it could be read a different way too, but I can understand that sentiment.

39
by RickD :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 1:07pm

Yeah, there was a disconnect to the "conventional wisdom" we heard from Tirico and Gruden and what stats junkies like Brian Burke were saying on Twitter. Some people are so loss-averse that they don't see that the call at the end was a no-brainer, and Tomlin made the right call. From that distance, a rush for a TD is far better than a 50-50 proposition. Any OT game has to be considered a 50-50 proposition. (If one team were demonstrably better than the other, they wouldn't need OT to win - not a rigorous argument but useful as a rule of thumb.)

42
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 1:55pm

What's disappointing about Gruden advocating a field goal (I generally mute the volume during a game, so I'll take your word for it) is that it completely ignores the concept of letting your best player(s) try to win the game, while trying to deny that opportunity for the opposition's best player. Even conceding that, say, Brown, is a great player, he still needs a below average player, Vick, to execute, in order to have success, either on the goal line (I've heard peope argue that the Steelers should have passed with 5 seconds left, the preserve a chance of getting a 2nd attempt at the td, or kicking for 3), or in overtime. Bell is a great player, and is 1 yard from success, not needing a qb to execute. Rivers is San Diego's best player. Gruden is advocating that having steroids era Barry Bonds sacrifice bunt a guy to third base, so a below average hitter behind him can get a sacrifice fly, in the top of the ninth in a tie game, is the right move. Ugh.

You don't even need to run the numbers to come to the strong inclination that Bell in a wildcat run is the best call.

(edited to convert "Rivers Phillips" back to "Phillip Rivers")

53
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 3:08pm

I think you're being (justifiably) a little harsh on Vick here.

Not that I think him throwing the ball would've been beneficial to their chances of scoring on that play... but I do think his presence, and thus at least the threat of a pass and the thought/act of having to cover Brown, would have made SD's job a bit more difficult and thus increased the likelihood of the score. (On a play that still should 100% absolutely, by design, have gone to Bell.)

I was watching at a restaurant. Thank god I didn't have to listen to Gruden... even though as a betting man I was hoping they'd kick.

45
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:16pm

I know it isn't the purview of this site (though it has been added to some of the charts), but can anyone explain to me how QBR considers Brady to have had the second worst day of all quarterbacks this weekend?

50
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:58pm

I take all QBR numbers with a grain of salt, but I'm not surprised his day didn't grade particularly highly.

1.) QBR hates sacks and he took five of them, some in pretty big spots, including one where he fumbled

2.) QBR tries to separate what a QB does on a throw vs. what the receiver does, and both his TDs came on YAC-influenced plays that when they parse it out may not have graded as well as a normal TD

Even here is DYAR isn't as great as the stat-line would suggest. My guess is the YAC vs. Air Yards is the main driver.

57
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 4:04pm

Number 2 is, IMO one of the bigger flaws in QBR. YAC is in large part determined by how well a QB looks off defenders, how well QB times the throw, and how well the QB goes through his progressions and determines which receiver is the best target.

The long Edelman TD was definitely extended by Edelman, but it was a 30 yard gain at minimum before Edelman had to make anyone miss.

59
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 4:09pm

I don't think they split it completely based on air yards vs YAC, but probably somewhere in between.

Anyway, its a construct of a lot of subjective things like that. Personally, I think it does a good job in larger samples, like season-long QBR numbers, but I'm very skeptical of single game results.

85
by Red :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:49pm

I disagree. YAC is mostly determined by the receiver, blockers, and defensive players. Of course the QB influences YAC through his ball placement and reading the coverage, but on most passes it's more about the receiver. Look at all the screens and checkdowns we see in today's NFL...do you really think the QB is responsible for those yards? Tom Brady is the most YAC-dependent great QB in the league, possibly of all time. He deserves some credit for puting his receivers in advantages positions, but scheme and receiver talent are equally as important. Personally I'd distribute the credit for Patriots YAC as 1/3 Brady, 1/3 Belichick, 1/3 receivers.

87
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:06pm

Frankly, I think we are all making wild-assed guesses about this stuff, with a gigantic dearth of relevant, measurable, observation to support our wild-assed guessing.

(edit) To add on,I look at the disparity between Bridegewater's QBR rank, #11, and his DVOA and DYAR rank, both #29, and I am left with the feeling that none of them are really giving a good picture of how his performance has been thus far, relative to other starters in the league. My guess is that the #11 is very marginally more accuarate, but with a disparity of 18 positions, that ain't sayin' much. I am left once again with the tremendous insight that statistically capturing the quality of individual football player performance in an accurate manner is really, really, really, hard.

69
by BJR :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:36pm

Clearly having Vick attempt 30+ passes is a recipe for failure, but if you are going to start him (as opposed to some other generic back up) you might at least want to play to his strengths. Refusing to allow him to do anything other than hand the ball off and throw short passes for 52 minutes is not going to win games other than in the most fortuitous circumstances against the most inept teams.

The Chargers offensive line is indeed inept, and the Steelers were indeed lucky to be within one score at the time the game plan was ripped up and Vick finally took a couple shots down the field and finally, on the final drive, took off running.

72
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:43pm

I don't think that the analysis in this article is really that relevant to the Manning situation. I mean, all of these players except one or two has sucked throughout their career, so to see them sucking for five weeks is not unexpected and their improvement would also be unexpected. Only a couple of those QB's has had periods of decent play and a decent percentage of them showed improvement through the second half.

It's true that Manning has looked atrocious and his age suggests that there is a decent chance that he remains this poor, but his past history of high quality play suggests that it's not out of the realm of possibility that he improves and has a decent year.

Personally, I am pessimistic about him being above average, but hopeful that he can pull of average to below average and give the Broncos a shot. Mostly, I think that if the line improves over the season, this team can be good enough to pull off an upset or two and have a shot at the superbowl.

And as a Broncos fan, I'm glad to have a coach in Kubiak who has a good chance of developing Osweiler better than most could for the future and a good defense to play opposite of him.

101
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 4:09pm

Have you ever run the list of the worst 25 passing games by DYAR in Quick Reads? I can't find it. I'm curious to know if there has been a worse performance against the Packers than Foles'.

Two weeks ago in Quick Reads we had the Worst Single Passing Games by DYAR from 1989-2015. Foles would rank about 20th on that list. Worst is 300 by someone I've already forgotten even though I only looked at it two minutes ago ...

Yup. Here is that list. (Should have linked to it in Foles’ comment.)

While Teddy Bridgewater's performance did probably work against the Vikings chances of winning, he was playing against Detroit, not Minnesota.

Thank you. Fixed.

Also expected Bennett to show up on least valuable WR & TE's. He was absolutely awful Sunday.

He was quite terrible, which is why I mentioned him in Cutler’s comment, but not in the bottom five among receivers this week. It helps that all four of his receptions were at least successful plays.

Any info on where Le'Veon Bell ended up after 21-111-TD?

Just 16 DYAR rushing and -20 receiving, so -4 total. Only nine of his 21 carries were successful plays, and he was stuffed for no gain or a loss five times, including a 5-yard loss on first-and-10 and a 4-yard loss on second-and-15. His raw receiving numbers look OK (4 catches, 5 targets, 16 yards), but those four receptions were a 2-yard loss on first-and-10; a 9-yard gain on second-and-17; an 8-yard gain on third-and-19; and a 1-yard gain on first-and-10. None of those were successful plays.

102
by ammek :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 5:36pm

Thanks for the link. I see a couple of Buccaneers QBs a quarter-century ago, playing against unfearsome Hank Bullough defenses, were even worse than Foles.