Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Oct 2015

Week 7 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

You know your quarterback is having a good day when he goes 52 minutes before throwing his first incompletion -- and by then, you're already ahead by 21 points and the competitive portion of the game is over. Such was the case for Miami's Ryan Tannehill against the Houston Texans on Sunday. By the time he finally gave way to Matt Moore, Tannehill had put together what in many ways will be the best statline of his career: 18 completions in 19 attempts for 282 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. That's a 94.7 percent completion rate, 14.8 yards per throw, and a perfect NFL passer rating of 158.3. On the surface, it looks like about as great a game as a passer could ever have. Our advanced stats, though, were not blown away. In fact, as you'll note in the tables below, Tannehill didn't have the best game of the week. Or the second-best. Or the third. In fact, Tannehill didn't even make the top five quarterbacks this week, finishing behind an all-time great; a veteran enjoying a late-career peak; a journeyman who gets a new job every season; two youngsters still learning their way in this league; and Kirk Cousins, however you want to label him.

This seems impossible. Among quarterbacks who threw only one incomplete pass in a game since 1960, Tannehill tied the record for most completions and had the most yardage in the last 34 years. And if anything, that's underselling his dominance, because his only incompletion came on his last pass of the day. If he had just taken a seat after his 18th completion, he would have shattered the records for completions and yardage among quarterbacks who completed 100 percent of their passes. And these weren't short completions, either -- three of his touchdowns went for 50 yards or more, and he had a 23-yard gain to convert a second-and-18 as well.

So how did a quarterback with those kind of raw numbers finish sixth in DYAR this week? A large part of it is that he had only 23 dropbacks, fewest of any starting quarterback this week. Seven passers in Week 7 doubled that up with 46 dropbacks or more. Tom Brady, the top passer of the week, had 57. If Tannehill could have maintained his level of production over 40 or more dropbacks, he would have clearly had the most DYAR of the week.

And opportunity only tells part of the story. Even if we used passing DVOA instead of DYAR, Tannehill would have been the second-ranked starter this week behind Jameis Winston (!). And despite his nigh-perfect completion rate, he was third in success rate behind Winston and his counterpart on Sunday, Kirk Cousins. (Because when Jameis Winston squares off against Kirk Cousins, you expect nothing less than machine-like efficiency.)

While completing passes wasn't difficult for Tannehill, he didn't always have time to pass. The Texans sacked him four times on Sunday (including sacks on three straight dropbacks -- one at the end of the second quarter, two early in the third). It's never a good thing to get sacked on 17 percent of your dropbacks. If we remove all sacks from all quarterbacks this week, Tannehill ranks second in DYAR behind Brady.

Further, not all of Tannehill's completions were necessarily good plays. Five of them qualified as failed completions, including a 3-yard loss on second-and-2 and three third-down completions that came up short of the sticks. In fact, Tannehill converted just one of his five third-down opportunities, although that one conversion was a 10-yard touchdown. He was second in DYAR on first and second down this week, but ninth in DYAR on third or fourth down.

The last factor hurting Tannehill's DYAR totals is opponent adjustments. In Week 7, we bump opponent adjustments up to 70 percent strength, and they are starting to have a major effect on the weekly standings now. Tom Brady's DYAR rises by 66 after opponent adjustments are factored in; Sam Bradford's rises by 60. On the other end of the spectrum, EJ Manuel, Teddy Bridgewater, Andrew Luck, and Cousins each saw their DYAR drop by 30 or more due to opponent adjustments. Houston's defense isn't terrible (it's hard to imagine that a team with J.J. Watt would ever be terrible), but it's not very good, and Tannehill gets dinged for facing them.

There's something else about Tannehill's game against the Texans that has no bearing on his DYAR, but it's so unusual I have to point it out. When you hear about a quarterback averaging 14.8 yards per throw, with a trio of touchdowns that covered at least half the field, you assume that he's launching rainbows into the deeper portion of the secondary. But that's not the case for Tannehill -- he was mainly content to dump the ball off and wait for Houston to miss tackles. He didn't throw a single deep pass against Houston on Sunday. His deepest pass traveled only 14 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Only five of his passes traveled 10 or more yards downfield, while ten were thrown to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage. You'll recall that Tannehill only threw 19 passes, so yes, more than half of them didn't even cross the line of scrimmage. Those 10 passes were all completed for 103 total yards; his five deepest passes resulted in four completions for 96 yards. We'll save you the trouble of doing the math: on passes between those two distances, Tannehill went 4-of-4 for 83 yards.

Even Tannehill's touchdowns were all short passes. Tannehill's four scores were thrown to receivers an average of 5.8 yards past the line of scrimmage, and those receivers then gained an average 36.0 yards after the catch. And that latter number is actually skewed low by a red zone touchdown with 8 yards after the catch. His other three scores all came after at least 36 yards after the catch.

All in all, Tannehill's average pass on Sunday traveled only 3.4 yards past the line of scrimmage, and his average completion came just 3.1 yards downfield, both the lowest of any quarterback this week. On the other hand, his average completion produced 12.6 YAC, the highest of any quarterback this week, by more than 4 yards over any other starter.

When you chart each quarterback's "air" yards per completion this week against his YAC per completion, Tannehill is such an extreme outlier it's laughable:

(I've also labeled some of the other outliers for your amusement.)

No, these results are not typical. Of the 32 quarterbacks with at least 70 completions this year, Tannehill's average completion has gained 6.6 yards through the air (13th-highest) and gained 5.3 yards after the catch (19th), so he's close to average in both categories. We shouldn't draw too many conclusions from this week's numbers, but they are fun to look at.

Some other quick notes on full-season pass distance, since I've already looked them up: Brian Hoyer's average completion this season has come 8.55 yards past the line of scrimmage. That's the most in the league among quarterbacks with at least 70 completions; he's followed by Carson Palmer and Jameis Winston. The shortest completions have been thrown by Brandon Weeden at 4.4 average "air" yards, followed by Drew Brees and then Philip Rivers.

As for YAC, no quarterback has gotten more help from his receivers than Alex Smith, whose average completion has gained 7.0 yards after the catch. (That number fell to 5.9 this week with Jamaal Charles on the sidelines.) Smith is followed by Aaron Rodgers, Brees, and Rivers. At the bottom end there's the strange case of Ryan Mallett. His average completion has gained only 2.7 yards after the catch. That's the lowest in the NFL by a wide margin; every other qualifying passer falls somewhere between Smith's 7.0 and 4.2 YAC per completion. However, the next-lowest quarterback is Mallett's teammate, Hoyer, which suggests that Houston's scheme and/or talent have something to do with Mallett's trouble getting YAC from his receivers.

For all qualifying quarterbacks, the correlation between "air" yards per completion and YAC per completion is -0.567, so the numbers fit with common sense: the shorter your passes, the more likely your receivers are to gain yards after the catch.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tom Brady NE
34/54
355
2
0
3
133
131
1
NYJ
As you may have heard, the Patriots gave Brady almost zero run support in this game. New England running backs only had five carries in the entire game, gaining exactly 1 net yard, with no carry longer than 3 yards, and only getting one first down, which came in the final three minutes of the game. Brady dropped back to pass on each of New England's first 12 plays. He also had streaks of 15, 13, 11, and five snaps where he passed or ran on every play. Brady was definitely better after halftime. In the first two quarters, he went 13-of-24 for 122 yards and only four first downs and three sacks. After that, he went 21-of-30 for 233 yards and 13 first downs (including both of his touchdowns) and no sacks. Brady was also effective on deeper passes against the Jets, going 8-of-13 for 168 yards and seven first downs on passes that traveled at least 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. To his right (presumably where the Jets use Darrelle Revis), he went just 7-of-13 for 37 yards and one first down. To his left, he went 17-of-26 for 229 yards and 12 first downs. Remember also that Brady gets a big bump from opponent adjustments. Even after this game, the Jets have allowed the lowest completion percentage and the fewest yards per attempt of any defense in the NFL.
2.
Kirk Cousins WAS
33/40
317
3
0
1
125
110
15
TB
Is there such a thing as a terrible play that still builds momentum? Like, can you be so ashamed of a bad play that it lights a fire under you and motivates you to play better? That's what appeared to happen to Cousins here. Midway through the second quarter, Cousins was sacked on a third-and-7. He fumbled, and the Buccaneers returned the ball for a touchdown that put Tampa Bay ahead 24-0. Up to that point, Cousins had been pretty brutal, going 6-of-8 for 44 yards, but only one first down and four failed third-down plays (including the sack-fumble). From that point forward, he went 27-of-32 for 273 yards and 15 first downs, including all three touchdowns. He also converted four of his six third-down plays, after the fumble going 5-of-6 for 72 yards and two touchdowns. When you're leading a comeback like Cousins did, it helps to hit some deep balls; Cousins went 5-of-7 for 127 yards on throws that traveled more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage.
3.
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ
22/39
295
2
0
2
125
117
8
NE
It's interesting to see how the New England defense adjusted to the Jets' attack. Fitzpatrick completed each of his first five passes to the left side of the field (four in the first quarter, one in the second), gaining 69 yards in the process, with every completion going for a first down, including a 5-yard score. At that point New England adjusted, and from then on Fitzpatrick only went 3-of-9 for 33 yards and three first downs to that side of the field. However, Fitzpatrick adjusted to New England's adjustments and started finding more success on the right side. In the first quarter, he went 2-of-10 for 28 yards and two first downs to that side; in the last three quarters, he went 5-of-7 for 41 yards and three first downs (including a 9-yard touchdown), plus a DPI that added 18 more yards and another first down. The whole game, though, the middle of the field was wide open: Fitzpatrick went 7-of-8 for 124 yards and six first downs up the middle.
4.
Jameis Winston TB
21/29
307
2
0
1
125
141
-16
WAS
In passing dyar alone, winston was the top quarterback of the week; his only rush was a 5-yard gain and a fumble on third-and-14, which knocks him down the rankings. Still, it's a great turnaround for a guy who was nearly the worst quarterback in football just six weeks ago. Winston was tremendous on deeper passes against Washington, going 9-of-12 for 197 yards on passes that traveled at least 10 yards downfield; each of those nine completions picked up a first down. Anything shorter than that, though, and Winston struggled, going 12-of-17 for 110 yards and only three first downs.
5.
Derek Carr OAK
24/31
289
3
0
1
110
108
1
SD
Carr's day was somewhat similar to Tannehill's, at least on his scoring plays. His three touchdowns were caught an average of 5.7 yards past the line of scrimmage, and then gained an average of 28.0 yards after the catch. However, unlike Tannehill, he at least tried some deep balls, going 4-of-6 for 102 yards.
6.
Carson Palmer ARI
21/29
275
2
0
2
102
103
-1
BAL
7.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
18/19
282
4
0
4
96
97
-1
HOU
So how about that Dan Campbell?
8.
Alex Smith KC
21/32
251
1
0
2
59
56
2
PIT
9.
Blake Bortles JAC
13/29
182
2
1
2
54
59
-5
BUF
10.
Teddy Bridgewater MIN
25/35
316
2
0
4
34
48
-15
DET
Bridgewater was actually better in long-yardage situations than in short-yardage. He converted four of his nine plays with more than 10 yards to go for a first down, picking up five completions for 84 yards in the process. However, he converted just three of eight plays with less than 7 yards to go, completing three passes for 42 yards there.
11.
Nick Foles STL
15/23
163
0
0
2
26
26
0
CLE
Foles was very bad at the start of this game and very bad at the end, but very good in the middle. On the Rams' first five and last three drives, he went 9-of-14 for just 51 yards and no first downs, with one sack. On the three drives inbetween, he went 6-of-9 for 112 yards and five first downs, plus a DPI for 26 more yards and another first down, and one sack.

12.
Matthew Stafford DET
18/26
256
2
0
7
24
25
-1
MIN
Stafford was Foles, in reverse. On the Lions' first two and last two drives, he went 13-of-16 for 224 yards and nine first downs, including both scores. On the seven drives inbetween, he went 5-of-10 for 32 yards and no first downs, with a 26-yard DPI, but also with seven sacks for a combined loss of 59 yards. Pretty hard to win when your quarterback gains -1 net yards over a good stretch of the game.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Joe Flacco BAL
26/39
252
1
1
3
24
24
0
ARI
14.
Josh McCown CLE
26/32
274
0
0
4
21
11
10
STL
McCown did a great job getting the Browns out of trouble. Inside his own 40, he went 19-of-22 for 237 yards and 11 first downs, with one sack. Once he crossed that 40-yard line, though, he was doomed, going 8-of-11 for 62 yards and only two first downs, with three sacks. He also fumbled twice on the day.
15.
Russell Wilson SEA
18/24
235
1
2
5
-6
-12
5
SF
16.
Eli Manning NYG
13/24
170
0
0
2
-9
-9
0
DAL
Manning struggled badly to finish drives -- very badly. On the Dallas side of the field, he went 2-of-9 for 10 yards and a sack. His only first down on that side of the 50 was on a 5-yard DPI.
17.
Matt Ryan ATL
22/38
251
1
2
0
-15
-15
0
TEN
As noted in Audibles, Ryan was quite terrible in a myriad of short-yardage opportunities. With 4 yards or less to go for a first down, Ryan went 2-of-8 for 24 yards and only one first down, with an interception and two failed fourth-down plays.
18.
Cam Newton CAR
14/24
197
1
3
1
-16
-37
21
PHI
Newton wasn't especially accurate against Philadelphia, but he made his completions count. Eleven of his 14 completions picked up first downs, and his only failed completion was a 5-yard gain on third-and-7.
19.
Philip Rivers SD
39/58
336
3
2
1
-29
-29
0
OAK
Through three quarters, Rivers had ammassed a total of 110 net yards three first downs, and two interceptions. Only Andrew Luck had a worse DYAR this week through three quarters. At that point the Chargers were down by 31 points, and Rivers spent the next 15 minutes doing some serious stat-padding, gaining 221 net yards and 13 first downs (including all three of his touchdowns) in the final period. Only Tom Brady had a better DYAR in the fourth quarter or overtime this week.
20.
Matt Cassel DAL
17/27
227
1
3
1
-54
-55
1
NYG
In three starts and one relief appearance, Brandon Weeden has produced seven 20-yard pass plays for the Cowboys this year. Cassel produced five 20-yard plays against the Giants alone. Cassel's no savior, but for a Dallas team that is pretty desperate to move the ball these days, it definitely looks like he's the better of two bad options.
21.
Brian Hoyer HOU
23/49
273
3
1
4
-59
-59
0
MIA
Sixteen minutes into this game, the Texans were down 28-0 nothing and Hoyer had yet to complete a pass for a first down. Then he threw for a touchdown -- unfortunately, a Miami touchdown, as Reshad Jones intercepted Hoyer for a 23-yard pick-six. Hoyer's first play after that was a sack-fumble. Hoyer did not pick up a first down until the Texans were down 35-0. All told, 14 of his 18 first downs came after Miami took a 41-0 lead. That includes all three of his touchdowns, each of which came in the last 24 minutes of a game that was well into garbage time by that point.
22.
Sam Bradford PHI
26/46
205
0
1
5
-66
-61
-5
CAR
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Drew Brees NO
28/44
255
1
1
2
-68
-68
0
IND
Six yards or less to go for a first down: 9-of-10, 125 yards, eight first downs, one sack. Seven yards or more to go: 19-of-34, 130 yards, three first downs, one interception, one sack.
24.
Landry Jones PIT
16/29
209
1
2
2
-83
-83
0
KC
Inside the Pittsburgh 30: 9-of-10, 146 yards, eight first downs. Rest of the field: 8-of-20, 63 yards, two first downs, with an 18-yard DPI, an interception, two sacks, and a fumble.
25.
EJ Manuel BUF
24/42
301
2
2
4
-85
-103
18
JAC
Manuel had a third-and-9 with 12:30 to go in the second quarter and the Bills down by 4. He was sacked and fumbled, and the Jaguars returned the ball for a touchdown. Manuel's very next pass was intercepted and also returned for a touchdown. His very next pass after that? Also intercepted, and that led to another Jacksonville touchdown. Manuel had almost single-handedly stretched the Bills' deficit from 4 points to 24 in just three snaps. The Bills would later get two Manuel touchdowns and their own defensive score to take the lead before giving it back, but if you want to know the biggest reason they lost, it was that sequence right there.
26.
Colin Kaepernick SF
13/24
124
0
0
6
-100
-100
0
SEA
Kaepernick only threw for five first downs in this game: two on back-to-back throws in the second quarter, three on back-to-back-to-back throws in the third. He only had five throws in Seattle territory: He went 2-of-5 for 9 yards and no first downs. On third downs, he went 4-of-9 for 24 yards and only one first down. He threw 11 passes to wide receivers. One was caught by Anquan Boldin for 27 yards and a first down. The others resulted in three completions for 14 yards and no first downs.
27.
Zach Mettenberger TEN
22/35
187
1
2
1
-137
-137
0
ATL
Mettenberger actually played fairly well in the first half, picking up eight first downs, including a touchdown. His last pass of the half, though, was an interception on second-and-goal from the 6. Still, the Titans were up 7-3 at the break. His first pass of the second half was a 13-yard gain to Justin Hunter. After that play, he went 8-of-13 for 57 yards with one first down, one sack, one interception, and one fumbled snap. He completed five passes in his nine third- and fourth-down throws, but only one of those completions picked up a first down, and together they gained only 33 yards. His short game was also pretty dire. On passes to receivers within 2 yards of the line of scrimmage, he went 5-of-9 for 25 yards with no first downs and an interception.
28.
Andrew Luck IND
23/44
333
3
2
4
-149
-149
0
NO
Man, there were a lot of bad starts this week. Luck started off going 0-for-5 with an interception and a sack as the Colts fell behind 20-0. And things hardly got better from there. On Indianapolis' first 10 drives, Luck went 12-of-24 for 100 yards and only four first downs, with two interceptions and four sacks. Luck finished the next two drives with touchdown passes of 87 and 46 yards and the Colts threatened to make a game of things, but then Luck went right back in the deep freeze, going 2-of-8 for 15 yards and one first down as Indianapolis punted on three straight drives. Luck was able to drag one more touchdown drive, hitting Donte Moncrief with an 8-yard score with 3:10 to go, but the Saints took the ensuing kickoff and held the ball till the end of the game. They might never have had that opportunity if Luck had fared better on third downs, where he went 4-of-8 for 29 yards and two sacks and just one conversion -- the Moncrief touchdown at the end of the game. Remember, this was all against a lousy Saints defense. Luck completed 52 percent of his passes against New Orleans, while the other six quarterbacks who have faced the Saints have completed 59 to 71 percent of their throws.


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.
Lamar Miller MIA
14
175
1
3/3
61
1
79
58
21
HOU
DYAR wasn't in love with Ryan Tannehill's game this week, but it sure loved Miller's -- this was the best-scoring game for a running back thus far in 2015, and Miller didn't even play in the second half. If he had, he might have challenged some all-time records. Miller's longest run was his 85 yard-touchdown. He also had gains of 29 and 13 yards, plus two other shorter first downs. Nine of his 14 carries gained 5 yards or more, and just one resulted in a stuff for no gain. His receiving numbers are highlighted by his 54-yard touchdown catch.
2.
Darren McFadden DAL
29
152
1
2/2
10
0
59
61
-2
NYG
The model of reliability, only one of McFadden's 29 runs failed to gain positive yardage. He gained 5 yards or more 13 times, including gains of 10, 15, and 22 yards.
3.
Danny Woodhead SD
5
26
0
11/12
75
2
54
15
40
OAK
All five of Woodhead's carries gained 4 to 6 yards, and two of them converted third downs. His receiving value came mostly from his touchdowns of 6 and 8 yards, but he had two other first downs and eight total successful catches.
4.
Mark Ingram NO
14
143
1
2/2
5
0
51
55
-4
IND
Ingram had gains of 11, 17, 20, 35, and 44 yards against the Colts, plus two short-yardage first downs. He was hit for no gain or a loss just twice.
5.
Doug Martin TB
19
136
0
3/3
35
0
50
32
18
WAS
Martin's day was highlighted by runs of 49, 23, and 18 yards, while getting hit for a loss just twice. All three of his catches gained at least 10 yards.


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.
Darren McFadden DAL
29
152
1
2/2
10
0
59
61
-2
NYG
2.
Lamar Miller MIA
14
175
1
3/3
61
1
79
58
21
HOU
3.
Mark Ingram NO
14
143
1
2/2
5
0
51
55
-4
IND
4.
Jonathan Stewart CAR
24
125
0
0/1
0
0
41
45
-4
PHI
Though he had only four first downs on the ground, 17 of his carries gained 3 yards or more, capped off by a 36-yarder. Only three of his carries failed to gain yards. He also gains an enormous bump from opponent adjustments, more than doubling his DYAR total. The Eagles have all kinds of problems on offense, but their defense is really good -- just as you'd expect from a Chip Kelly team.
5.
Charcandrick West KC
22
110
1
2/5
19
0
31
45
-13
PIT
Jamaal Charles' replacement in Kansas City, West played six games with Kansas City last year as an undrafted free agent out of Abilene Christian. He was a perfect short-yardage weapon against Pittsburgh, converting on each of five carries on second- or third-and-1, including his touchdown. He also showed some speed, with runs of 11 and 36 yards.


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.
Adrian Peterson MIN
19
98
0
3/3
12
0
-29
-24
-5
DET
Those are some of the best raw numbers you'll ever see from a "least valuable running back." Peterson burned the Lions for a 75-yard run and added gains of 15 and 12 yards. His other 16 carries, though, each gained 3 yards or less, including nine stuffs for no gain or a loss. To recap: 102 yards on three runs, -4 yards on his other 16 carries. Oh, and one of his receptions was a 5-yard loss on first-and-10 for good measure.


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.
Toby Gerhart JAC
6
8
0
0/0
0
0
-29
-29
0
BUF
All six of Gerhart's carries against Buffalo came with exactly 1 yard to go for a first down. He converted the first two on a pair of 4-yard runs, but then got four carries at the 1-yard line and was stuffed for no gain all four times.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Calvin Johnson DET
5
7
86
17.2
1
63
MIN
In addition to his five receptions, Johnson gained 26 yards and a first down on a DPI. He had five total first downs on the day, including a goal-line touchdown and a 46-yard gain on third-and-3.
2.
Amari Cooper OAK
5
6
133
26.6
1
63
SD
Cooper's first four receptions all went for first downs; his fifth was a 16-yard gain on first-and-20. His two biggest plays could hardly have been any more different, stylistically. One was a 44-yard gain on third-and-14, a deep-pass jump ball with zero YAC. The other was a 52-yard touchdown on a screen pass with 53 YAC. Yes, Cooper can do it all.
3.
Jarvis Landry MIA
5
5
83
16.6
2
62
HOU
All five of Landry's receptions were successful, including touchdowns of 50 and 10 yards, plus a first down on second-and-9. Landry had 54 DYAR receiving, 8 rushing for his only carry, a 5-yard gain on second-and-3.
4.
Mike Evans TB
8
12
164
20.5
1
60
WAS
All eight of Evans' receptions resulted in a first down, with four gains of 20 or more yards, including a 40-yard touchdown.
5.
Danny Amendola NE
8
9
86
10.8
1
55
NYJ
Five of Amendola's receptions produced first downs, including his 8-yard touchdown, and only one was an unsuccessful play. New England threw him the ball on third down four times, and he converted three of them.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Brandin Cooks NO
6
13
81
13.5
0
-47
IND
Cooks had an 18-yard gain on third-and-5 in the second quarter, and a 47-yard gain on third-and-8 in the fourth. Those were his only first downs on the day, and he failed to convert on six targets with less than 10 yards to go for a first down. He also fumbled once.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 26 Oct 2015

43 comments, Last at 27 Oct 2015, 5:12pm by ammek

Comments

1
by Topas :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 4:30am

Really, Bortles is 9th with that performance!?!? Ok, he was better than Manuel. But ninth!?!? The other QBs must have sucked this week. And actually, I would like to also see DVOA in these tables, because I am more interested in quality than quantity. Could you add this for future instances? That would be great, thanks.

3
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 6:06am

Bortles has a little luck mixed in there, as at least one of the defensed passes should have been intercepted - and he gains some DYAR from the fact that Buffalo kept choosing not to tackle the receivers just long enough for them to make positive plays.

I'm pretty sure fumble luck is the only thing keeping Manuel from the bottom.

4
by ammek :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 6:24am

Well, replacement level (0 DYAR) would have been average this week, so, yes, there was quite a bit of bad quarterbacking.

The NFL this season is the anti-Wobegon, where most of the teams and most of the quarterbacks are below average. Even the 6-0 teams are underwhelming, as 6-0 teams go.

9
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 8:46am

Opponent adjustments are probably helping, too, since the Bills' pass defense had been rather good.

5
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 6:31am

It looks like it was just a crap week for QB's. 133 DYAR is really low for the leading QB of the week and only 15 QB's were above replacement level. Not above average, above replacement level.

7
by Snoth :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 8:09am

Its not significantly low it would count for about the 2nd or 3rd best DYAR in almost every week this season, i think it just shows that there wasnt a QB that was extremely better than the rest like its been the past few weeks.

2
by Jerry :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 4:55am

Nice explanation of Tannehill's week, Vince.

One typo I noticed: "Brady dropped back to pass on each of New England's first 12 dropbacks."

6
by Dr. Mooch :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 7:41am

It's almost sensible. Like, "Rob Johnson dropped back to be sacked on each of Buffalo's first 12 dropbacks."

11
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:21am

Another in the same write up: "and five *snaps* where he passed or ran on every play" which I assume was supposed to be "drives."

FWIW, Revis was not exclusively (or even primarily, as far as I could tell) on the right, so he doesn't explain the discrepancy. At least, fully.

8
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 8:41am

Again, the label of "Least Valuable" can be very misleading. Bridgewater climbed out of the basement for a rare appearance in good measure because Detroit was defending Peterson as their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd priority, against an overmatched offensive line. Maybe their 4th, as well. On one of the few plays where they didn't, Peterson ran for 75 yards.

I'll be inerested to see Bridgewater's DYAR/DVOA rankings, vs. his QBR ranking again. I'd think his QBR rank may climb to #7, while his DVOA and DYAR rankings remain below #27. I still don't know what to make of this. The DVOA and DYAR ranks certainly give a much, much, much, better picture of the quality of the Vikings passing offense, which can't block anybody, and which has, as their best receiver, a guy who was drafted in the 5th round about 160 days ago. I don't know if those DVOA and DYAR ranks are giving much illumination as to the quality of Bridgewater's play, however.

27
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 12:09pm

I keep meaning to write about Bridgewater's DVOA vs. QBR. I've got an e-mail into the ESPN guys to try to figure out what's going on there.

28
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 12:18pm

Do you recall a similar persistent disparity with another qb?

32
by jmaron :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 1:31pm

my recollection was the stats were out of sync on Bridgewater last year as well. Burke's stats, which make up QBR as far as I understand, were suggesting Bridgewater was playing really well in the 2nd half of last year and DVOA was still showing Bridgewater as rotten.

From what I've watched this year Bridgewater has been reasonable. I thought he saved their bacon on Sunday as he not only had to deal with lots of pressure he had to deal with 2nd and something more than 10 about 15 times. As well, he had two clear pass drops by Wright that would have been big 1st downs. I don't understand DYAR, but I don't think you could have played the position much better Sunday than Bridgewater did, given what he was charged to do.

35
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 1:50pm

He's likely to get injured, it seems to me, if he continues to get hammered like he has been so far. With Sullivan's return being quite unlikely at this point, and the schedule getting very hard, this has the potential to be a 2nd half that really sets the franchise back, with just a little bad luck. Yeah, they've already had some this year, with the Loadholdt and Sullivan injuries, but good grief, they have been trying to develop a young qb for the fith straight year, and they still can't block anyone. They've used a 1st, a 2nd, and a 3rd round pick on a receiver, a tight end, and a running back in the time frame. I think I want to make sure my young qb has blocking before I worry about who he is throwing it to, or handing it off to, especially if I already have Adrian Peterson on the roster.

35
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 1:50pm

He's likely to get injured, it seems to me, if he continues to get hammered like he has been so far. With Sullivan's return being quite unlikely at this point, and the schedule getting very hard, this has the potential to be a 2nd half that really sets the franchise back, with just a little bad luck. Yeah, they've already had some this year, with the Loadholdt and Sullivan injuries, but good grief, they have been trying to develop a young qb for the fith straight year, and they still can't block anyone. They've used a 1st, a 2nd, and a 3rd round pick on a receiver, a tight end, and a running back in the time frame. I think I want to make sure my young qb has blocking before I worry about who he is throwing it to, or handing it off to, especially if I already have Adrian Peterson on the roster.

38
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 3:31pm

I see the disparity narrowed this week, with QBR rank at #9, and DVOA at #25. Bortles has a QBR rank of #11, and DVOA rank of #21, Alex Smith has a somewhat large disparity of an opposite nature, with a QBR rank of #29, and a DVOA rank of #17. It really makes me wonder what the average disparity is, and how frequently large disparities occur, and what they are telling us.

40
by ammek :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 4:44pm

I don't think QBR adjusts for opponent, so you should probably be comparing it with VOA. That removes some of the Bortles disparity. Doesn't QBR also incorporate rushing? Alex Smith has run a lot this year, and not well.

With Bridgewater, QBR has ranked him higher than DYAR (NB: not DVOA – I'm not able to compare like with like here) every single week except this one just past. Three games stand out:

– QBR loved his Week 2 performance against Detroit (QBR 98.5, ranked 3rd), but he finished 13th in YAR. He only had 19 dropbacks in that game and, according to Vincent Verhei, "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."

– The following week, DYAR was sniffy about Bridgewater's performance against San Diego, in which he went 13 of 24 with a pick. It ranked him 21st, with negative DYAR. However, QBR was much more impressed, placing him 14th and worth 3.0 points above replacement.

– Last week (Week 6) was the biggest disparity of all. Bridgewater completed 17 passes from 33 dropbacks, and threw 2 interceptions, but QBR rated this as precisely average (he ranked 14th of 27). Bridgewater was worth 4.6 points above replacement level according to QBR, but 64 yards below replacement level according to DYAR (rank: 25th).

In fact, until this week Bridgewater hadn't ranked in the top ten in DYAR in any game. In QBR, he has only ranked higher than 14th once – that Week 2 performance against Detroit – but he has finished 14th or 15th in all the other games except the week 1 disaster, when he was 29th.

43
by ammek :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 5:12pm

Looking into it a bit more, that Week 2 game is worth investigating. Bridgewater had 74 YAR, which put him behind Fitzpatrick, Cousins and Dalton, who ranked 12th, 11th and 10th. Those three finished in roughly similar ranks in QBR, and their PAR (points above replacement) was similar to each other's.

Bridgewater, on the other hand, had twice as many PAR as they did.

The comparison with Cousins is interesting. (Vince used it in Quick Reads that week.) Cousins also had no turnovers and just four incompletions, though on 50% more dropbacks. His average gain was one yard shorter than Bridgewater's, and he didn't have a rushing attempt. (Bridgewater had 12 YAR on five attempts.) Other than that, their production looks remarkably similar. Yet Brigewater's QBR is a stratospheric 98.5, while Cousins' is merely a solid 72.4. Given Vince's commentary, I can't see the amazingness that QBR drew from Bridgewater's performance that day.

10
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:07am

So 66 of Brady's 133 DYAR are just from opponent adjustments, which are still only at 70%?

That seems... extreme.

Actually it seems extreme in several ways (to my eyes). I wouldn't say it was his greatest game (but then again, Jets), but 66 YAR still strikes me as extremely low, especially on that many dropbacks. I'd expect a replacement level player to get sacked and/or picked several times over that many plays, regardless of defense.

So really, 133 seems totally fair, but the 50/50 split of YAR and D seems off about 25% in each direction. By my highly scientific methods, anyway... (Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick comes pretty close to that total on 18 fewer attempts and against a weaker defense and having fumbled. Strange.)

12
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:26am

Brady also fumbled, so that has to be included in your calculations. :)

21
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 10:57am

He did? Weird, I forgot about that.

OK, this DAVE now spits out that he had 85 YAR and 42.5 DYOEJM points.

(Mostly I'm just posting here to say thanks for that de-slide link that allows me to read Tanier articles. Another brilliant contribution to my procrastination from this website!)

42
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 5:09pm

Deslidifier totally rules. Well, mostly. Doesn't work on all websites, but Tanier articles, yes!

13
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:27am

Shocking that a receiver was less valuable than Brandon LaFell. I guess the benefit of dropping nearly everything that comes your way is you can't fumble. {shrugs}

14
by aces4me :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:42am

+1

18
by bsims :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 10:41am

You also can't spark a national debate about what constitutes a catch/touchdown/fumble/incompletion. Keep up the good work, LaFell, we need your stability.

19
by Not Jimmy :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 10:46am

LaFell sucked so bad that I wouldn't have been surprised to see a whole bunch of facemask catches...

:)

- Anything is possible when you have no idea what you are talking about.

15
by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:46am

I'm not surprised by T'hill's relatively low DYAR because I thought it didn't incorporate YAC, but I'm wrong it seems, so maybe I should be a little surprised. Also the sacks, two of which I counted as being on the QB, two of the flash-sack kind that unless the play was designed as a quick pass to the flat there's no way you can get the ball out -and that's why the Dolphins throw so many of those.

One interesting note about T'Hill's short-passing day, however: he did throw a completion 30+ yards down the left sideline to Parker despite a defensive PI, but it was canceled because of an illegal shift. Easily his best throw of the day. The rest of his work wasn't very challenging, although give him credit for executing it perfectly (except for the two sacks that were on him). Even his last incompletion was a catchable pass.

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Who, me?

16
by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 10:01am

I don't know where to post this, but what a bull-crap call against the Ravens in the Chris Johnson TD run. Unbelievable.

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Who, me?

20
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 10:51am

If you are referencing the one where he was never down, it wasn't a TD run, he got caught from behind.

And he wasn't down. I'm not seeing the problem here.

Now, the eligible receiver miss.... that was total BS.

22
by usernaim250 :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 11:11am

His forward progress was obviously stopped. That rule is too rarely invoked, but it is a rule, and it would prevent injury.

Had a defender flown in to whack a RB in that situation, he might have been flagged for unnecessary roughness--which is a pretty good sign the play should have been blown dead.

24
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 11:28am

Johnson never stopped moving. He rolled over, the guy on the ground gave a brief tug that momentarily stopped him from going forward, and then he got up and kept going. He was "stopped" for no longer than the amount of time that any random back might be stopped if he ran into a blocker or tackler and tried to bounce it outside. There's nothing obvious about it. It's pretty quick even in slow motion.

More importantly, the whistle never blew.

I agree that if someone hits a prone player "late," he's risking a flag (and furthermore it's reasonable to expect that the Ravens would be even more likely to get flagged there, if for no other reason than the bias against black uniforms), but there's a reason they didn't blow that play dead. Watching it in real time, it's not really that clear. It's close, sure, but it's not so obviously stopped that they were wrong not to blow the whistle.

(Here's an extreme slow-mo of it on the Ravens' own website in their whining article:

http://www.baltimoreravens.com/news/article-1/Ravens-React-To-Questionab...

"For three seconds it was stopped," said Harbaugh. Or, you know, one Mississippi when in slow motion.)

34
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 1:49pm

As much as I am loathe to defend the Ravens, Johnson clearly goes out of his way to trick the defense into thinking he was down.

39
by duh :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 3:59pm

I'm not sure he tried to trick them, I think he assumed the whistle would blow but when he didn't hear it he took off. Watching it live I sure thought the Ravens got hosed and to be clear the Ravens might just be my least favorite team in all of the NFL so those aren't fan colored glasses.

41
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 4:53pm

That makes sense. Either way, he appears to stop pushing forward and even briefly sits back down on the defender.

29
by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 12:33pm

I think it's pretty clear everyone stops moving and trying, including CJ. Does it matter for how long? Players never stop moving during a play, even for an instant. The give-up rule could also have been invoked apart from the forward motion bit.

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Who, me?

30
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 12:52pm

That really would be a good use of video review, in light of the supposed concern for player safety.

33
by ChrisS :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 1:38pm

I had the same thought that if a defender would have hit him while he was "stopped" it would have been a roughing penalty. I think being stopped by running into your own OL is a bit different than being stopped by being wrapped up rolled to the ground and then being held by the defender. I few years ago this would have been blown dead, but with the advent of the video review more emphasis seems to be to let the play keep going andthen if it needs it fix it in review.

26
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 11:58am

also, that Urkel guy gort cheated out of pass reception due to blind official.

17
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 10:30am

I'd like to see a Steelers per-game DVOA dataset under Tomlin for games against opponents who were 1SD or more below the Steelers.

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The standard is the standard!

23
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 11:18am

One of the things that's even more impressive for Winston is the Bucs went into that game with four active WRs; Louis Murphy blew his ACL in the first half, and then Vincent Jackson went down. Winston's WRs were then Mike Evans and some guy who caught his first pass on Sunday. The one viable pass-catching threat at TE (Austin Sefarian-Jenkins) was out as well.

25
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 11:57am

Beta last undefeated team of my two fantasy leagues. Am now 5-2 thre , 2nd place overall behind 6-1 team. in toher league, fell to 5-2. so 10-4 overall. reminds of 1970s NFL when teams played 14 games. Other than rugs and boring games, 1970s nfl good era. Good players, good coaches, uniforms tremendous (best decade NFL history as far as unfiroms concerned; couple turds here and there though}
.

advice- get Amari Cooper and Derek Carr if you can. trade with somebody in league if have to. Also fan of Stefon Diggs. nto suire why he lasted till 5th or 6th round whatever round he wrnt but was good at Maryland.

31
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 1:26pm

Cooper is a great player, but he's going against Revis and Cromartie this week. Their good pickups long term though.

37
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 3:26pm

One typo I noticed: "Brady dropped back to pass on each of New England's first 12 dropbacks."

Fixed. Thanks.

Another in the same write up: "and five *snaps* where he passed or ran on every play" which I assume was supposed to be "drives."

No, that one's right. Read the whole sentence. He passed on 15 straight snaps, then 13 snaps, then 11 snaps, then five snaps. If that was to read "drives," it would mean the Patriots had at least 43 drives in that game.

Shocking that a receiver was less valuable than Brandon LaFell. I guess the benefit of dropping nearly everything that comes your way is you can't fumble. {shrugs}

Fourth-worst behind Cooks, DeAndre Hopkins, and Golden Tate. Drops don't count against WRs any more than any other incomplete pass. And he did at least catch two of them.

His forward progress was obviously stopped. That rule is too rarely invoked, but it is a rule, and it would prevent injury.

I hate to get involved with this, because I find rules debates to be so tiresome, but I have seen many plays this year where forward progress was ruled dead and the runner wasn't stopped for nearly as long as Johnson was on that play.