Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

06 Jan 2015

Wild-Card Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

We're four games into the NFL's postseason, and there's one name on everyone's mind after the wild-card games, the leader of the one team who made history. No, it's not Tony Romo, or Matthew Stafford, or Andrew Luck, or Andy Dalton, or Ben Roethlisberger, or Joe Flacco, or Cam Newton. It's Ryan Lindley, whose Arizona Cardinals set all-time NFL playoff records for futility. The Cardinals recorded just 78 yards of offense, and only 1.7 yards per play, both the lowest marks in a playoff game going back to at least 1940.

Lindley, of course, was a major contributor to that putrid effort. In some respects, though, it's hard to be too hard on him. To paraphrase one of the great philosophers of our time, he wasn't even supposed to be there on Sunday. Lindley saw limited action with Arizona as a rookie in 2012, and by DVOA he was the worst regular quarterback that season. He spent the next two years on the practice squad in Arizona and San Diego, basically a warm body who could give the defenses some reps against real live throws. Then Carson Palmer's knee imploded in November, and the Cardinals re-signed Lindley to back up Drew Stanton. And then Stanton suffered his own leg injury, and the Cardinals had no choice but to start Lindley in the regular-season finale and the wild-card game.

(Well, they did have a choice. They could have started fourth-round rookie Logan Thomas, but Bruce Arians dubbed the long-term project unready and turned to Lindley instead. If Thomas was that clearly inferior to Lindley, one can only imagine how long it will take for this project to be finished.)

Lindley actually looked OK in Week 17, though the Cardinals fell 20-17 to the San Francisco 49ers. And then came Sunday. Lindley's statline (16-of-28 for 82 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, four sacks) was certainly gruesome, but to fully appreciate the chronic ineptitude here, you have to look at what Lindley and the Cards did drive by drive:

  • Drive 1: The Cardinals opened the game with a three-and-out. Lindley went 1-of-2 for 6 yards, completing a dumpoff to Robert Hughes on third down.
  • Drive 2: Following a Panthers field goal, the Cardinals go three-and-out again, this time on three runs as the coaching staff didn't trust Lindley to pass even one time.
  • Drive 3: Now down 10-0 after a Carolina touchdown, the Cardinals went pass-wacky, with Lindley throwing four passes in a row and picking up one first down. But then Lindley threw incomplete on third-and-4 and Arizona punted again. On the drive, Lindley went 4-of-5 for 16 yards.
  • Drive 4: Arizona had new life after Brenton Bersin fumbled the punt away and the Cardinals took over deep in Carolina territory. Arizona needed 30 yards for a touchdown, and they got it -- with half of those yards coming on a personal foul against the Panthers that converted a second-and-12. On that drive, Lindley went 3-of-4 for 17 yards and a 1-yard touchdown to Darren Fells.
  • Drive 5: The Panthers missed a field goal on their next drive, and suddenly Arizona had the ball and a chance to take the lead. Lindley was then sacked on first down, threw a dumpoff on second, and fumbled the snap on third before throwing incomplete. On the drive, he went 1-of-2 for 6 yards with one sack and one fumble. Arizona punted again.
  • Drive 6: A Carolina punt pinned Arizona at their own 2. The Cardinals then ran for 1 yard, followed by a pair of Lindley incompletions and another punt. Drew Butler (who had a terrible day of his own) kicked the ball only 31 yards, and the Panthers looked ready to put the game away.
  • Drive 7: Three plays later, Antonio Cromartie intercepted Cam Newton and returned the ball 50 yards, and just like Arizona had the ball in the red zone. Four runs (and one overturned fumble) later, they had a touchdown and, somehow, a 14-10 lead. It was forgotten at the end, but this was an incredibly dramatic shift in momentum at the time. And Lindley had nothing to do with it, throwing no passes on the drive.
  • Drive 8: The Panthers kicked a field goal with 19 seconds left in the half to make it a 14-13 game. Ted Ginn returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards to let Lindley try a hail mary, but his pass fell incomplete.
  • Drive 9: The Panthers opened the second half with a long drive ending with a punt that pinned Arizona at their own 8. They ran twice for zero net yards, then Lindley threw incomplete on third-and-10. Butler again had a terrible punt that failed to cross midfield, and one play later Newton hit Fozzy Whittaker for a 39-yard touchdown to put Carolina ahead 20-14. To make things worse, Ted Ginn fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, and Newton proceeded to throw another touchdown pass and the Panthers now led 27-14.
  • Drive 10: There were still 19 minutes of game time left, plenty of time for Arizona to get a comeback. What they got instead was another three-and-out, with Lindley going 1-of-2 for -2 yards. (Yes, even his completions were going backwards now.)
  • Drive 11: The Cardinals defense forced a punt and a touchback, and Lindley took over at his own 20, still down two scores. He then went incomplete, sack, failed third-down completion, and Arizona punted again. Lindley picked up 14 gross yards on the drive, though he gave 6 back on the sack.
  • Drive 12: The Cardinals defense came up big again, forcing a sack-fumble that set Arizona up at the Carolina 8. Lindley was intercepted on first down.
  • Drive 13: Arizona started at their own 13 following a punt. Lindley picked up one first down on a completion to Larry Fitzgerald, but then went short completion-sack-sack. Arizona gained 1 net yard on the drive and punted again.
  • Drive 14: A botched Carolina punt gave Arizona possession in Panthers territory and a glimmer of hope. Lindley hit John Brown for 21 yards and John Carlson for 5, but his next pass was intercepted in the end zone.
  • Drive 15: With 1 second left, Lindley completed a pass to John Brown for 5 yards. The Cardinals then ran one of the worst-ever attempts at the Stanford band play you'll ever see, and six laterals later the play officially went down as a loss of 19. For DVOA/DYAR purposes, Lindley was credited with a completion for 5 yards.

That's a lot of data to process, so take your time, and go over it again if necessary. Then let this sink in: the Cardinals' offense had the ball 15 times, and Lindley never gained more than 26 yards on any drive -- and that drive ended in an interception. If that sounds like one of the worst playoff games ever, well, it was:


Worst Single-Game DYAR,Playoff QBs, 1989-2014*
Rk
Player
Year
Team
Round
Opp.
TOT DYAR
Result
Att.
Cmp
Pct.
Yds
TD
INT
Sk
Yds
NtYd/Play
Yd/Cmp
1 Kerry Collins 2000 NYG SB BAL -294 L 34-7 39 15 38.5 112 0 4 4 26 2.0 7.5
2 Jake Delhomme 2008 CAR NFC-D ARI -220 L 33-13 34 17 50.0 205 1 5 2 11 5.4 12.1
3 Donovan McNabb 2003 PHI NFC-C CAR -205 L 14-3 22 10 45.5 100 0 3 4 28 2.8 10.0
4 Dan Marino 1997 MIA AFC-WC NE -196 L 17-3 43 17 39.5 141 0 2 4 21 2.6 8.3
5 Stan Humphries 1992 SD AFC-D MIA -180 L 31-0 44 18 40.9 140 0 4 1 8 2.9 7.8
6 Todd Marinovich 1991 LARD AFC-WC KC -177 L 10-6 23 12 52.2 140 0 4 2 16 5.0 11.7
7 Jay Schroeder 1990 LARD AFC-C BUF -175 L 51-3 31 13 41.9 150 0 5 1 7 4.5 11.5
8 Neil O'Donnell 1992 PIT AFC-D BUF -168 L 24-3 29 15 51.7 163 0 2 7 52 3.1 10.9
9 Troy Aikman 1998 DAL NFC-WC ARI -167 L 20-7 49 22 44.9 191 1 3 4 27 3.1 8.7
10 Ryan Lindley 2014 ARI NFC-WC CAR -166 L 27-16 16 28 57.1 106** 1 2 4 31 2.3 6.6
11 Tony Romo 2009 DAL NFC-D MIN -164 L 34-3 35 22 62.9 198 0 1 6 42 3.8 9.0
12 Mark Vlasic*** 1991 KC AFC-D BUF -160 L 37-14 20 9 45.0 124 1 4 1 10 5.4 13.8
Rk
Player
Year
Team
Round
Opp.
TOT DYAR
Result
Att.
Cmp
Pct.
Yds
TD
INT
Sk
Yds
NtYd/Play
Yd/Cmp
13 Tom Brady 2009 NE AFC-WC BAL -157 L 33-14 42 23 54.8 154 2 3 3 22 2.9 6.7
14 Elvis Grbac 2001 BAL AFC-D PIT -155 L 27-10 37 18 48.6 153 0 3 3 25 3.2 8.5
15 Rich Gannon 2000 OAK AFC-C BAL -153 L 16-3 21 11 52.4 80 0 2 4 20 2.4 7.3
16 Trent Green 2006 KC AFC-WC IND -149 L 23-8 24 14 58.3 107 1 2 4 25 2.9 7.6
17 Phil Simms 1993 NYG NFC-D SF -144 L 44-3 25 12 48.0 124 0 2 4 27 3.3 10.3
18 Matt Cassel 2010 KC AFC-WC BAL -137 L 30-7 18 9 50.0 70 0 3 3 17 2.5 7.8
19 Shaun King 1999 TB NFC-C STL -131 L 11-6 29 13 44.8 163 0 2 5 41 3.6 12.5
20 Byron Leftwich 2005 JAC AFC-WC NE -131 L 28-3 31 18 58.1 179 0 1 4 30 4.3 9.9
21 Mike Tomczak 1996 PIT AFC-D NE -125 L 28-3 29 16 55.2 110 0 2 2 15 3.1 6.9
22 Eli Manning 2005 NYG NFC-WC CAR -124 L 23-0 18 10 55.6 113 0 3 4 22 4.1 11.3
23 Tim Tebow 2011 DEN AFC-D NE -121 L 45-10 26 9 34.6 136 0 0 5 28 3.5 15.1
24 Sean Salisbury 1992 MIN NFC-WC WAS -119 L 24-7 20 6 30.0 113 0 2 4 38 3.1 18.8
25 Brett Favre 2004 GB NFC-WC MIN -119 L 31-17 33 22 66.7 216 1 4 2 15 5.7 9.8
* May be missing some games prior to 1994.
** Officially Lindley had 82 yards passing; we've ignored the yardage lost on the silly laterals on the final play of the game.
*** Backup QB who only played after Steve DeBerg left with an injury.

Lindley "only" had two interceptions, and he did convert in the red zone when his teammates gave him an opportunity to do so, so he avoids the very top spots on this list. It could certainly be argued, though, that no playoff quarterback has ever struggled so badly to actually move the ball down the field. Officially, he averaged 5.1 yards per completion. That's the lowest for any quarterback with at least ten completions in a playoff game since 1990, breaking the mark set by Phil Simms set in the 1993 season. (Amazingly, Simms and the Giants won that game. It was the second-to-last game of Simms' career.) That includes all that yardage lost on laterals, but even if we give Lindley that yardage back, he still finishes in the bottom five.

Further, when we include sacks, Lindley averaged only 2.3 yards per passing play. Only one other bottom-25 playoff quarterback averaged worse than that: Kerry Collins, who played against one of the best defenses of all time in Super Bowl XXXV. Lindley played against the Panthers, who weren't even one of the best defenses this season.

Lindley was never supposed to get a second chance to be an NFL starter, and it's nearly inconceivable to imagine him getting a third. Rather then kick a guy when he's down, let's focus on a positive: Even if he never plays again, Lindley can say that he has thrown more postseason touchdown passes than Sonny Jurgensen, and that guy was a Hall of Famer.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Andrew Luck IND
31/44
376
1
0
188
180
9
As good as Luck was, he could have really put the Bengals away with a better performance in the red zone, where he went 5-of-11 for 37 yards with no touchdowns and only two first downs. He had five failed third-down plays all game; three of them came inside the Cincinnati 20.
2.
Joe Flacco BAL
18/29
259
2
0
74
78
-4
Clearly, the Ravens thought they could exploit the Steelers through the air early in drives. Flacco's first seven passes all came on first downs, and in a game they led most of they way, Baltimore finished with 15 passes and only eight runs on first down. The other funny thing about this is, Flacco was actually at his best on third downs, going 6-of-8 for 91 yards with a touchdown and three other first downs, plus a 32-yard DPI.
3.
Tony Romo DAL
19/31
293
2
0
32
32
0
Romo got a lot of help from his receivers. His average completion produced 9.9 yards after the catch; no other starter this week was any higher than 7.5. (That player, ironically, was Romo's counterpart, Matt Stafford.) Weirdly, Romo had a miserable day on second down, going 4-of-10 for 20 yards with one first down, four sacks (!), and one fumble. But he often made up for it on third/fourth downs, going 8-of-12 for 195 yards and both of his touchdowns, plus two sacks. He finished with seven third-/fourth-down conversions, four of them with 10 yards or more to go for a first down.
4.
Cam Newton CAR
18/32
198
2
1
-18
-20
2
The interception hurt, as did a sack-fumble in the fourth quarter. All in all, it was quite a streaky day. At one point Newton misfired on four passes in a row. His next seven passes resulted in six completions and a DPI, for 97 total yards and two touchdowns. And then his last four plays after that were three incompletions and a sack-fumble.
5.
Matthew Stafford DET
28/42
323
1
1
-22
-27
4
The Lions hit some big plays against the Cowboys, but they also left a lot of points on the board. On the Dallas side of the field, Stafford went 5-of-11 for 42 yards with two first downs and one sack-fumble.
6.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
31/45
334
1
2
-50
-50
0
Roethlisberger spent a lot of time driving into scoring range and then hitting the turf. Inside the Baltimore 40, he went 7-of-12 for 36 yards with one interception and four sacks. Only one of those 16 plays produced a first down, a 6-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant. He was sacked five times on the day.
7.
Andy Dalton CIN
18/35
155
0
0
-84
-94
11
Add Dalton to the list of passers who had his worst luck in scoring range, on just on the verge thereof. He actually didn't throw a single pass in the red zone, but on the Indianapolis side of the 50, he went 6-of-9 for 42 yards with only one first down and one sack-fumble.
8.
Ryan Lindley ARI
16/28
106
1
2
-166
-166
0
You would think Lindley would have at least been able to hold his own in short yardage. You would be wrong. With less than 10 yards to go for a first down, Lindley went 4-of-9 for 16 yards, with one touchdown, one other first down, two interceptions, and a sack.


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
1.
DeMarco Murray DAL
19
75
1
3/4
22
0
29
29
0
Murray was stuffed for no gain five times, but he also had a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal, and also had runs of 8, 15, and 18 yards.
2.
Jonathan Stewart CAR
24
123
1
1/1
-3
0
26
33
-7
Stewart gained four straight first downs in the first and second quarters: a 13-yard touchdown, gains of 10 and 18 yards, and a 4-yard gain on second-and-3. He only had two other first downs on the day, gains of 11 and 35 yards. Meanwhile, he was stuffed for no gain or a loss six times.
3.
Joique Bell DET
12
43
0
4/4
42
0
19
2
17
Bell had two first downs, gains of 11 and 4 yards on second-and-1. His biggest receptions were an 11-yard gain on second-and-10 and an 18-yard gain on second-and-2.
4.
Jeremy Hill CIN
13
47
1
0/0
0
0
13
13
0
Hill's three biggest runs all came with 1 yard to go: a goal-line touchdown, a 2-yard gain on third-and-1, and an 18-yard gain on third-and-1.
5.
Josh Harris PIT
9
25
0
2/2
6
0
5
3
3
Harris was hit for no gain or a loss three times, but he gained two first downs with an 8-yard gain on second-and-8 and a 5-yard gain on second-and-2.


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
1.
Jonathan Stewart CAR
24
123
1
1/1
-3
0
26
33
-7
2.
DeMarco Murray DAL
19
75
1
3/4
22
0
29
29
0
3.
Jeremy Hill CIN
13
47
1
0/0
0
0
13
13
0
4.
Reggie Bush DET
8
37
1
3/5
10
0
-22
12
-34
Bush's biggest run, obviously, was his 18-yard touchdown on second-and-10. His five targets, though resulted in zero first downs, including a 1-yard gain on second-and-19 and a zero-yard gain and fumble on first-and-10.
5.
Josh Harris PIT
9
25
0
2/2
6
0
5
3
3


Least valuable running back (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Justin Forsett BAL
16
36
0
1/2
7
0
-41
-35
-6
Forsett had one 10-plus-yard run and two other first downs, but he was hit for no gain or a loss five times, fumbling on one of those carries. His one completion was a 7-yard gain on third-and-8.


Least valuable running back (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Justin Forsett BAL
16
36
0
1/2
7
0
-41
-35
-6


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Terrance Williams DAL
3
6
92
30.7
2
43
Williams' touchdowns of 76 and 8 yards were big plays regardless, but it certainly helped that they came on third-and-12 and third-and-goal.
2.
Donte Moncrief IND
3
3
54
18.0
1
38
His three catches: a 7-yard gain on first-and-10; an 11-yard gain on second-and-8; and a 36-yard touchdown on second-and-10.
3.
Hakeem Nicks IND
3
3
59
19.7
0
31
His three catches: a 45-yard gain on second-and-8; 4-yard gain on third-and-2; 10-yard gain on second-and-13.
4.
Markus Wheaton PIT
5
6
66
13.2
0
28
Four of Wheaton's receptions gained at least 11 yards and a first down. The fifth was a 17-yard gain on first-and-20.
5.
Owen Daniels BAL
4
5
70
17.5
0
27
Each of Daniels' receptions gained at least 10 yards and a first down, including a 19-yard gain on third-and-10 and a 23-yard gain on third-and-13.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Brandon Tate CIN
0
5
0
0.0
0
-30
Welp.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 06 Jan 2015

58 comments, Last at 08 Jan 2015, 12:06am by MC2

Comments

1
by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 11:24am

It'd be interesting to see a split between Murray's productivity out of 3 wide receiver set, versus what he did in a two tight end set. I wonder what approach they'll start with against the Packers.

16
by tuluse :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:38pm

The Packers don't exactly have the Lions defensive front either. Plus 3-4 vs 4-3 could mean different tactics are better.

34
by David C :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:55pm

The Lions run a 4-2-5 nickel. The Packers run a 2-4-5 nickel. I expect Dallas to stick to run-heavy packages since that's where they'll pull out the biggest advantage.

39
by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 3:57pm

I dunno, I kinda' like the odds of that o-line going against a 2-4-5.

41
by Tim Wilson :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 4:36pm

Murray's 8 and 15 yard runs came out of the shotgun w/ 3-wide, as did his 10 yard touchdown run that was called back due to holding.

Putting the Lions in nickel and then being able to run effectively from the shotgun helped get him going. Doesn't seem like it would be as necessary against the Packers, but taking LBs off the field always helps the run game when your OL is better than the opposing DL.

44
by dank067 :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 4:52pm

It's a clear matchup advantage any way you slice it for Dallas, but I'll still be interested to see what approach the Cowboys ultimately take because the Packers shuffle their personnel quite a bit in going from a base 3-4 to a nickel look. I can't definitively say whether they've been better against the run in one package vs. another, but they've been much better against the run in the second half of the season and Matthews at ILB and Hyde (nickelback) and Burnett (SS) have had their moments in the run game.

2
by WeaponX :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 11:28am

That historic performance is about Carolina's D (btw now ranked 3rd). Please show us on the bear where the Panthers made you guys feel so uncomfortable.
Sometimes I even trip myself out.

58
by MC2 :: Thu, 01/08/2015 - 12:06am

Yes, congratulations to the Panthers for shutting down the heretofore unstoppable Ryan Lindley. Bravo!

3
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 11:32am

That table is really interesting. There's two games by QBs against the 2000 Ravens, which were the AFCCG and Super Bowl. Though that team was a better rush defense, I guess they were pretty darn good against the pass as well. The Ravens also show up twice for back-to-back Wild Card games in '09 and '10. Just wondering, what was Chad Pennington's DYAR in the '08 Wild Card game? That Ravens team won three straight Wild Card games, all on the road, by a combined 90-30.

It's amazing that the only game on that list where the team really had a shot to win in the 4th Quarter, iirc, was Shaun King's Bucs team. Man, were the Bucs a great defense in their prime.

Also wondering, what was Gannon's DYAR for Super Bowl XXXVII. I've always considered the fact that advanced stats consider that stat-line as merely bad rather than awful as another brilliant indication of how insane that Bucs pass defense was.

About this week, is it normal for that many QBs to have sub-0 DYAR's in a playoff week?

8
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:12pm

There's two games by QBs against the 2000 Ravens, which were the AFCCG and Super Bowl. Though that team was a better rush defense, I guess they were pretty darn good against the pass as well.

They only had 35 sacks in the 2000 regular season, but 14 in the post season. The secondary was strong with McAlister, Woodson, Starks and Herring who combined for 17 interceptions. They got amazing pressure on the QB during that post season. It was a very deep group in the front seven with McCray, Adams, Siragusa, Burnett, Webster, Washington and Dalton on the line, and Lewis, Boulware, Sharper and C. Brown at LB. There aren’t snap counts but it might be that the explosion of sacks in the post season might be do to relatively fresh legs due to rotation.

I was just talking to some friends about how I thought this year’s front seven had a similar depth with Suggs, Dumervil, Ngata, Mosley, McPhee, B. Williams, Canty, Jernigan, D. Smith, Upshaw and Tyson.

23
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 1:41pm

Gannon presumably doesn't show up because of opponent adjustments; FO's metrics have the 2002 Bucs as the best pass defense ever (well, based on how far the stats go back). A -51.9% defensive DVOA I'm sure makes it pretty hard for Gannon to show up.

Then again, maybe DVOA has some hidden Bill Callahan feature where it cuts a player some slack if your coach is dumb enough to not change his playcalls when his opponent in the Super Bowl is the guy who actually came up with the plays in the first place.

25
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:20pm

"if your coach is dumb enough to not change his playcalls when his opponent in the Super Bowl is the guy who actually came up with the plays in the first place."

For years, that situation seemed too ridiculous to believe, so I always chalked it up to urban legend, but it's been confirmed by too many people to dismiss anymore. That doesn't make the situation any less ridiculous. An 8 year old playing Madden has more common sense.

26
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:28pm

It actually annoys me as a Bucs fan, because it kind of cheapens the dominance of that team. I mean, I don't doubt the Bucs would have killed the Raiders in that game regardless, but it would have been nice for them to honestly destroy them instead of having Callahan do the singly-worst big-game coaching job in human history. NFL Films has John Lynch on camera explicitly stating all the plays the Raiders were running were exactly what they practiced against. Just cannot imagine the level of stupid.

28
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:38pm

I remember Bill Walsh saying that one of the principles of the West Coast offense was that even if you run a limited number of plays (out of varied formations), you practiced the plays so much, and became so good at them that it didn't matter if the opponent knew what was coming, because you would just out-execute them. Maybe that's what Callahan was thinking?

Well, 2002 Bucs defense couldn't be out-executed by most offenses, and certainly not the 2002 Raiders.

35
by tuluse :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:55pm

The really insane thing isn't the plays they ran, but they didn't change the audible calls either. So if Gannon called something out the Bucs knew what it was.

55
by eggwasp :: Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:03pm

Some of that may be the result of Callahan's Pro-Bowl centre going AWOL the night before the game. I don't think you can argue against that being highly significant, especially against your former coach and the #1 defense. I realise the game wasn't even as close (!) as the score suggests, but losing Robbins was a highly significant moment for that matchup specifically - especially in that manner. Plus it was the sort of game that snowballed - that was the last great Raiders team, it was very balanced and had the league MVP, they were certainly capable of winning that game,

56
by eggwasp :: Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:07pm

That wasn't the 2002 Raiders offense though - as their Probowl captain of the O-line had been partying in Tijuana the entire day before, apparently believing the game had been played and the Raiders had already won. That kind of hurts your audibles, your line calls and your play execution.... It wasn't even as if he was hurt in the AFC Championship Game...

4
by Dr. Mooch :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 11:37am

No DYAR for pass blocking, but Forsett was very good there, at least.

5
by BJR :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 11:39am

Purely out of interest, what's the worst DYAR posted by a winning QB in the FO database?

12
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:28pm

Not sure if you mean playoffs only, or overall, but I'm sure if you pick any Bears QB from 2004-2010, he's a good bet to show up on the list. My guess would be Todd Collins' corpse against Carolina in 2010.

22
by blarneyforbreakfast :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 1:30pm

I thinks one of Roethlisberger's clunkers might be at the top of the low DYAR-winning QB list for the playoffs.

In the Super Bowl game against Seattle he went 9/21 for 123 years with 0 TDs, 2 INTS, and a sack. He did get a rushing TD tho.
He has a rough day against the Jets in 2010, but my guess is that opponent adjustments will bring that one up.

There's also the immortal Flacco win over the Patriots (4/10 34 yds 1 INT 3 sack), Bal 33-14 NE

Those Bal/Pitt/Ten teams covered up a lot of rough QB performances.

31
by iron_greg :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:47pm

It's always obvious who never bothered to actually watch that 2009 game before they spout off about Flacco's stats in another effort to detract from him.

I mean, never mind that it was one of Tom Brady's worst performances ever, can't get away from the undermine Flacco rhetoric.

Since you didn't watch it let me recap:

First Ravens play from scrimmage: Rice 83 yard TD, 7-0.
First Patriots drive: Strip sack fumble, Ravens convert short field to TD, 14-0 BAL
After a punt, next Patriots drive: Intercepted by Chris Carr. Ravens convert short field to TD, 21-0 BAL
4th Patriots drive: Intercepted by Ed Reed, Ravens kick FG to make it 24-0.

That was just the first quarter. Yeah big surprise Baltimore went run heavy from then on out to shorten the game and put New England out of their misery.

But don't let facts get in the way of a good old fashioned false comparison to an actually horrible game like Brady's (or Big Ben's in SB XL)

37
by blarneyforbreakfast :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 3:27pm

I'm not trying to say anything about Flacco--but I'm sure it was a negative DYAR game. And the goal was to come up with games by winning QBs. The NE team also wasn't an elite defensive front so it's not going to be brought up too much by opponent adjustments.

And it's hard to spin this as a good game by Flacco by any stretch. Flacco's first half: 2/6 for 9 yards and in INT. Practically all of that was on NE's side of the field. By that point the score was 24-7. Sure Flacco only had one pick, but it's hard to come up with a worse winning performance. Although the Big Ben game might be.

47
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 5:19pm

Not sure what point you're trying to make here. They won because of solid play by everyone except for their QB, who averaged 3.4 yards per attempt , which would cripple a team in just about any situation except for one where he only had 10 dropbacks. Going run-heavy didn't give Flacco an opportunity to drag the YPA and counting stats up like he always seems to do (he has an alarming number of sub-5 YPA through 2-3 quarters games), but it also doesn't mean that saying he didn't play well that day is incorrect.

(My research shows that the Ravens had 3 sacks that day but that Flacco wasn't, so it appears the previous post is a bit off.)

His point seems to be that that game counters the narrative that Flacco elevates in the postseason and is thus a "winner" or somehow responsible for his extremely good W-L record. Until the 2012 run, that simply wasn't true.

38
by Travis :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 3:51pm

Just a guess, but Mark Brunell vs. the 2005 Bucs (an average pass defense) went 7/15 for 41 yards and an interception, plus 2 sacks.

Others that predate DVOA, but after passing rules were liberalized:
David Woodley, 1982 MIA vs. NYJ: 9/21, 87, 3 int
Ron Jaworski, 1980 PHI vs. DAL: 9/29, 91, 2 int
Dieter Brock, 1985 Rams vs. DAL: 6/22, 50, 1 int

40
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 4:07pm

Lowest DYAR by winning playoff QB (1989-2014)
1. Drew Bledsoe in 1996 AFC-C vs. JAX: -116
2. Steve McNair in 1999 AFC-WC vs. BUF: -99
3. Tom Brady in 2006 AFC-D at SD: -86

6
by jedmarshall :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 11:42am

I'm interested to see where Boom Herron ranked. Did the fumble really hurt his numbers that much? Seems like he had an ok game otherwise or at least good enough to push him over Josh Harris when you include receiving. Maybe after almost two seasons I'm just calculating my own personal DYAR (Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Richardson)

48
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 5:20pm

Didn't he have two fumbles, actually?

7
by Ryan :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 11:56am

Seems pretty clear that ball security and red zone execution should be Luck's offseason focus. He was otherwise incredible on Sunday. Luck threw a dart to TY on 3rd and short in the red zone that was dropped, too.

49
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 5:23pm

Some of the red zone issue is the play calling and total lack of run threat.

Not all, and not in every game, but some. I don't think there was really anything Luck could've done differently in the RZ this week.

Hell, I thought that dropped dart was possibly his worst play of the game; it was a great throw but the decision wasn't the best because of the huge risk involved with it; any less a dart and Jones takes it to the house. To my eyes, Luck made the right decision and good throws on nearly every dropback of the game, with that decision being the one thing that stands out as maybe imperfect.

9
by Paul R :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:15pm

A lot of big names on the worst-ever list. Exalted company for Lindley.
If I was Ryan's agent, I would note on his resume that he has "posted playoff stats comparable to Brady, Marino, Aikman, and McNabb."

11
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:27pm

I feel bad for the guy. Without Stanton getting injured, he could have made a reasonable living hanging around the league for a few years as a camp arm. Now, I don't see anybody even bothering using practice squad slot on him. On the other hand, after his infamous 2011 season, Caleb Hanie inexplicably got a job backing up Peyton Manning in 2012 (before it was clear whether Manning's neck would hold up or not), so I guess anything's possible

51
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 7:40pm

And Hanie has since had (brief) stints with the Ravens, Browns, and Cowboys, too!

Yeah, I really don't understand why a team would bother signing a guy who has basically shown that he would have to improve to be a valid third-string QB. Seems like you'd want to use that practice-squad spot on someone who may be hugely flawed, but you think there's a tiny chance they could be serviceable.

10
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:23pm

Wow, those are some anemic performances if Flacco's 13-30 141yds 3 int 3 sack 0 td 2008 AFC Championship Game doesn't make the list

19
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:46pm

Amazingly, one of Flacco's worst playoff performances was in a win, when the Ravens waxed New England in the 2009 Wildcard round (4/10, 34 yards, 1 int). Luckily for him, the Patriots were incapable of stopping the run that day. The Ravens quickly realized calling anymore passing plays would only hurt them, so Flacco missed the opportunity to accumulate more negative DYAR.

20
by JimZipCode :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 1:09pm

Ravens were trying to hide Flacco that day. Reportedly his whole leg was bruised and discolored from hip to shin, and he could barely move. He was hobbling the last few weeks of the regular season (maybe even the last month, since the Packers game?). They jumped out to the big lead and basically shut him down.

13
by Setzer1994 :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:32pm

Has there ever been as big of a Jeckyl/Hyde playoff performance as Kerry Collins?

One week he demolishes the Vikings to the tune of 44-0, then the next week throws 4 picks and completes only 38% of his passes.

15
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:36pm

In regards to ferocity, the 2000 Ravens defense was Mr. Hyde, and the 2000 Vikings defense was Dr. Jekyll.

14
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:35pm

You make a good point in that it's not Lindley's fault he was starting a playoff game. I think an interesting list would be the most disappointing playoff performances (relative to how good the QB usually is). I know it would take time, but I guess you could compare the playoff game DYAR with their career DYAR divided by # of career games played. The opposite list (Tebow Wildcard 2011, anyone?) of most unexpectedly good playoff performances would also be interesting.

46
by Grendel13G :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 5:03pm

Both of these lists would be really fun.

And I'm sure that, despite the rhetoric, Peyton Manning would show up nowhere near the top of the list for most disappointing.

-Grendel

17
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:38pm

Odd that three of the worst games came against the early '90s Bills. I wonder if that's a commentary on them or how bad the AFC was at that point.

That Schroeder 5 INT game won me a very good bet with a Raiders fan. ;)

18
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:45pm

That is strange when you consider that those Bills defenses were mostly OK, but not great (the '93 crew at #8 was the only top-10 unit by DVOA).

21
by Bobman :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 1:30pm

I wonder what Luck's numbers would look like if just half of his drops were caught... sigh. A little surprised Boom Herron doesn't make top-five when you include his ten catches for 85 yards. I'm guessing his gross production was just a bit better than okay and his gains were too hit/miss.

EDIT: Oops, forgot about his two fumbles. I sure hope he has not....

24
by techvet :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:07pm

Besides Jurgensen, how many other Hall of Fame QBs never had a TD pass in the post-season?

33
by Travis :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:48pm

Jim Finks, but he's in the Hall of Fame for his post-playing career.

27
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:35pm

I'm interested to see where Boom Herron ranked. Did the fumble really hurt his numbers that much? Seems like he had an ok game otherwise or at least good enough to push him over Josh Harris when you include receiving. Maybe after almost two seasons I'm just calculating my own personal DYAR (Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Richardson)

Herron was next to last among running backs this week. I don't know if a lot of Indianapolis fans just discovered our site or what (if so, welcome and thanks for checking us out!), but between this and the DVOA thread I am having to explain a lot that the Colts and their players rank low because fumbles and interceptions are very, very bad plays. And Herron had two fumbles, not one (one rushing, one receiving).

29
by techvet :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:39pm

Did anybody notice that Jeremy Ross fumbled yet another punt return on Sunday (though the Lions recovered)? Any Packers fans still clamoring for his return should be forced to watch the 2012 Packers-Niners playoff game on endless loop.

30
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:46pm

Yea, and that kickoff return to the 5 yard line probably took away more win probability for the Lions than the controversial call. Ross was great for the Lions in 2013, but I definitely think the return position needs an upgrade next year.

42
by dank067 :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 4:38pm

...there are Packers fans who clamor for the return of Jeremy Ross? They aren't that thin at receiver or returner right now.

54
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 01/07/2015 - 11:23am

I don't know of any Packers fans who want Ross back. The risk/reward was too great. He may be one of the most terrifying players for both teams every time he touches the ball because you don't know if he'll take it to the house or hurt his own team on the return.

53
by Bobman :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 10:46pm

Bah, I probably pre-date you here, whippersnapper. (I go back to TMQ's arrival from ESPN... or was it Slate.com?)

Anyway, Colts fans never really had to focus so much on turnovers. (Even Manning's soph campaign, full of INTs, was so strong, nobody really cared, and when Dungy arrived, that number fell to single digits. Edge was solid, as were the receivers, generally.) I suspect Luck's 40/16 ratio is not too bad (After all, Manning is 39/15!) but the slew of fumbles from everybody is just crippling, at least in a DVOA sense.

One Colts-specific issue was raised above--any improvement over Richardson, especially a pretty significant one, is welcomed with open arms, whether the guy has fumblitis, shingles, ED, anthrax, or a floppy unicorn horn sticking three feet out his facemask. (don't ask) So we're all-too-eager to overlook that flaw, at least for now. Plus it hasn't seemed to hurt the team too much, due to their productive offense and soft schedule. Didn't really hurt them Sunday against a team that was extremely close in DVOA, but they lost only one ball for a 3-10 point reversal of fortune, not their usual dozen.

Thanks for all the explanations. Above and beyond the call of duty.

32
by iron_greg :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:48pm

double post

36
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 3:03pm

Calm down guy, I actually watched every second of that game (my brother in law is huge Ravens fan, and even he conceded that Flacco had a poor game, but at least didn't make mistakes to kill the Ravens like Brady did to kill the Patriots). And I actually like Flacco and think people underrate his accomplishments. Another Ravens fan in the same thread even stated that Flacco was injured that day. And who's ignoring Brady's bad game that day? Sometimes good quarterbacks have bad days. Talking about it shouldn't offend your personal sensibilities.

Edit: I see now you moved your post and it was actually in reply to someone else, but I stand behind the substance of my reply, even if the mild snarkiness is not as warranted as before.

43
by Perfundle :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 4:43pm

He spent the next two years on the practice squad in Arizona and San Diego, basically a warm body who could give the defenses some reps against real live throws.

In reality, this probably played out as:

He spent the next two years on the practice squad in Arizona and San Diego, basically a warm body who could give the defenses some chuckles and interceptions against real live misthrows.

What exactly did Arizona see in Lindley that made them resign him this season? "Hey, remember when Mark Sanchez had less than 100 yards passing, 0 TDs and 3 INTs against us in 2012? Let's resign the QB that Sanchez outplayed that game!"

45
by Travis :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 4:58pm

What exactly did Arizona see in Lindley that made them resign him this season?

1) He spent all of 2013 and training camp 2014 with them, so "he knew the offense"; 2) Kurt Warner wasn't unretiring; 3) and (a guess) Arians wasn't willing or able to pull a 1999 Jets/2011 Broncos and construct a temporary offense around a very limited non-traditional QB.

50
by duh :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 7:14pm

I think the fact that all his best remaining offensive skill position players were WRs might have had something to do with it.

I also think sometimes Fox doesn't get the credit he deserves for having been willing to play Tebow ball in 2011.

57
by Grendel13G :: Wed, 01/07/2015 - 3:09pm

Agreed about Fox and Tebow ball. It was an effective example of adapting the system to fit the available talent. Given that the ceiling for Lindley/Thomas in a traditional offense was so fiendishly low, it's kind of perplexing that the Arizona coaching staff didn't do something similar with Thomas and/or a Tebow-esque running QB.

52
by Perfundle :: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 8:50pm

If Lindley, who knows the offense, plays like Josh Freeman did against the Giants when Freeman didn't know the offense, I'd like to see how Lindley would play when he doesn't know the offense.