Opening Night NFL Liveblog: Rams and Bills Kickoff 2022

Bills WR Stefon Diggs and Rams CB Jalen Ramsey
Bills WR Stefon Diggs and Rams CB Jalen Ramsey
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 1 - A brand new year calls for some brand new concepts. So, as Football Outsiders starts our 20th season covering the NFL, welcome to the first-ever liveblog! Throughout 2022, you can expect live thoughts from me and the rest of the Football Outsiders staff each and every Sunday, a full day earlier than what you're used to from Audibles at the Line. We'll still feature everything you've come to expect -- in-the-moment analysis, highlight-reel plays, fourth-down criticism, and far too many stupid jokes to handle. Just as you've come to expect over the years.

And, because we're live, you can participate in the discussion as well! Join in on the conversation -- either in the comment section in this article, on Twitter by tagging @FBOutsiders or @BryKno, or on our brand new Discord server, where some of your favorite writers will be hanging out and reacting live. Questions, comments, and particularly clever quips will find their way into the liveblog proper as we have a running conversation throughout gameday. This should be fun.

It is not, you may have noticed, Sunday. We're kicking things off with a special Opening Night edition, as the NFL season begins with the game of the week -- the game of most weeks, if we're honest.  The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams host the No. 1 team in our DVOA projections, the Buffalo Bills, in a fantastic opening night draw. If you were to line up all 272 regular season games, this would almost certainly be in anyone's top five at a bare minimum. At 26.2%, it's the second-highest combined projected DVOA in a single game this season, behind only the Bills-Ravens game in Week 4. It's a matchup between two of the five teams with the best Super Bowl odds in Vegas. The phrase "Super Bowl preview" doesn't really mean a heck of a lot in September, but a Bills-Rams Super Bowl is the second-most likely matchup in our playoff odds at the moment at 3.1%. No one would be shocked if this game both begins and ends the 2022 season.

Will the Rams pick up where they left off in front of a packed crowd of loyal fans, or will the Bills Mafia take over SoFi Stadium, as so many visiting teams have done over the past few seasons? Will Von Mliler's return to Los Angeles result in Sean McVay falling under .500 for the first time as a head coach? Is new Bills playcaller Ken Dorsey ready for primetime -- and, for that matter, is whoever is replacing the injured Tre'Davious White at cornerback? We're hours away from answers.

We are ready, in other words, for some football.


Live updates will begin approximately one hour before game time. You have to refresh to see the latest posts and updates; each will be timestamped so you can quickly find where you left off.  And, as a programming note, these liveblogs will also serve as the open discussion thread for those days' games. Now, lets get things started, shall we?

6:06 PM: Pregame

The stakes for this one couldn't be clearer, if you ask Odell Beckham.

I guess this is the benefit to tearing your ACL in the Super Bowl; you get to wait and see just which teams are actually contending before coming back into the league. A genius play, when you think about it.

6:31 PM: Pregame

Sean McVay has never lost a season opener as a head coach.

I think it's fair to say the 2022 Bills look to be a bigger challenge than any of their previous opponents, but hey, a perfect record is a perfect record. I have a suspicion, odds or no odds, that McVay's streak will continue this season. But that is, as they say, why they play the games.

7:35 PM: Pregame

It is going to be odd to see Sunday Night Football (or whatever we're calling it today as NBC covers it) without Al Michaels. I am a Mike Tirico fan, but Michaels has been the voice of the prime late game since 1986, nearly my entire life. But he's off to Amazon now, for the Thursday games, and things just feel odd.

7:46 PM: Pregame

The Bills are throwing a pair of rookie corners into the fire tonight. Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford will both be getting the start, with Tre'Davious White not ready to go just yet. Welcome to the NFL, rooks; just try to stop Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford on national television in a potential Super Bowl preview. No pressure, right?

8:16 PM: Pregame

Who wins in a collision between Josh Allen and Aaron Donald? -- Thordain, via the FO Discord server.

I suspect that Donald would win the collision between him and several small celestial bodies.

8:19 PM: Pregame

No, I don't understand the modern world, either.

8:22: First Quarter

Football.  It's here.  Finally.

8:30: First Quarter, 9:56

Oh, that was too easy.  It's the first drive of the first game of the season, but the Bills just marched straight down the field -- nine plays, 76 yards, not a challenge in sight.  And it wasn't just "Bills are better"; they were pulling out all the stops.  Splitting the Rams wide and getting Stefon Diggs lined up against linebackers. Josh Allen improvising and scrambling down the field. An unbalanced line on third-and-short causing all the Rams to bite, leaving Gabe Davis wide open. Any questions about Ken Dorsey being ready for primetime?  7-0, Bills.

8:42: First Quarter, 4:56

Well, it took one possession for the losses of Von Miller and Andrew Whitworth to simultaneously raise their heads and turf a Rams drive. -- Vincent Verhei

He's not wrong. Von Miller took Matthew Stafford down to set up a long third down, and the Rams were forced to punt.

Well, 'forced'. It is, technically, our first incorrect fourth down decision of the year. The Rams lost 1.3% of win probability by punting rather than attempting to convert the fourth-and-8 from Buffalo territory. Never too early to start hitting the "bad decision" button!

8:47: First Quarter, 0:39

Quarterbacks are currently 14-for-14 -- Aaron Schatz

Quarterbacks are now 14-for-15 -- Aaron Schatz

The Discord curse is real.

8:51: End of the First Quarter

Receiver catches it with knee down and gets up and loses ball, a reception in college --  jheidelberg

Yeah, I think we can chalk that one up more to bad luck than anything anyone actually did badly. Isaiah McKenzie probably should have found a way to hold on to that one, but that was just a series of unfortunate events. Feels like the Rams really needed that, though -- going down 14-0 after a quarter would have not exactly been an ideal start.  Instead, it's Bills 7, Rams 0 at the end of 15.

8:57: Second Quarter, 13:24

First NFL touch for rookie James Cook? The Bills' second turnover of the game. Things sure aren't breaking the Bills way...

...Except that as I'm typing that, Stafford gives the ball right back, with a terribly thrown pass directly to Dane Jackson. Stafford had interception problems for much of last season, and it was really nice of him to support the rookie by turning the ball right back over.

9:01: Second Quarter, 12:18

Jay Cutler has the rep of being the guy who will make A+ throws and F- throws in the same game, but Stafford's the same. It's not just the number of interceptions, it's how awful most of those interceptions are. - Vince Verhei

Cutler is the poor man's Stafford, who in turn is the poor man's Brett Favre, is I think what we're saying.

9:06: Second Quarter, 8:48

The Bills have crossed midfield three times already. If they keep this up, they’ll win by two scores again despite the turnovers. -- Tutenkharnage

In fact, they've been moving the ball so well it's a shame they settled for the short field goal to end their latest drive. That's three fourth down decisions, three times where EdjSports suggests teams should have gone for it, and three kicks. Well, Buffalo extends their lead to 10-0 midway through the second quarter, so I suppose there are worse things.

9:17: Second Quarter, 3:00

The first correct fourth-down decision of the 2022 season goes to Sean McVay, as the Rams attempt and covert 4th-and-2 deep inside Buffalo territory. No risk-its, no biscuits.  It was a close one, too -- Cooper Kupp caught the ball short of the marker, was pushed back, and then was pushed back forwards over the line.  Very tight margin there, no room for error, and the Rams come away a little lucky.

And a few plays later, the Rams cash in with Kupp again, a pretty little tip-tap in the back of the end zone. Kupp had beaten Jordan Poyer, and I don't think you want any safety lined up against Cooper Kupp, not no way, not no how.

Rams cut the deficit to 10-7, and the battle has officially been joined.

9:27: Second Quarter, 2:00

The Rams take a time-out on third-and-long, trying to force a three-and-out and get the ball back just before halftime. And then they immediately get flagged for 12 men on the field on defense, making it third-and-manageable, and Josh Allen hits Stefon Diggs on a nice little back shoulder catch to convert and keep the ball. I do wonder if the Rams' strategy of keeping litereally everyone out of preseason increases the odds for these functional and procedural penalties early. Gotta get practice getting into the right place!

9:30: Second Quarter, 1:53

...But it comes to naught, as Allen immediately throws an interception, as Troy Hill undercuts his pass after reading him all the way. If the Rams end the first half in the lead after all the issues they had in the first quarter...

9:38: Halftime

The Rams do not, in fact, end the half with the lead, but some questionable decision making and playcalling by McVay still ends up in points as Matt Gay knocks through a 57-yard field goal. We enter the half tied at 10.

Hang on. Rams had one timeout and 26 seconds left. They complete a pass to Kupp for a loss ... let the clock down to 4 seconds ... and kick a 57-yard field goal on third down? Gay hits the kick and bails them out, but oh, I hate that process. -- Vince Verhei

We'll see what the advanced numbers have to say, but it certainly feels like the Bills have been the better team tonight, and by a significant margin. And yet, a few breaks here and there mean we still have a tied ball game with plenty of time for the Rams to pick themselves up and make a show of it in the second half.

If they're going to do it, they may have to get someone not named Cooper Kupp involved on the offense. At the moment, Kupp has eight receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. Ever other Rams receiver has five receptions for 39 yards, and every Rams rusher has 11 rushes for 38 yards.  Allen Robinson has basically been a ghost, as has the Rams' offensive line. It's a reminder that Cooper Kupp is very, very good, and that the Rams may not have all the playmakers they need to really operate at full efficiency just yet. Get well soon, OBJ?

As for the Bills, they've had a couple unlucky turnovers and one 'tip your hat to the defense' turnover. It feels like the Bills are working just fine at the moment; they're just rolling a bunch of low numbers. I would like to see them go deep at some point here; but they seem very happy with just picking apart the Rams' Cover-2 underneath all night long. I guess it's a plan!

9:44: Halftime Thoughts from the Outsiders

I think the rams did a little too good of a job integrating concepts Allen Robinson was familiar with in Chicago for the first half -- Rivers McCown

Rams are playing like a team with one (1) offensive playmaker. -- Mike Tanier

Havenstein's been a Jack Conklin-like player, good when he's well-protected. But now that they have to protect Noteboom on the other side instead of letting Whitworth handle things, that's a difficult type of challenge -- Tom Gower

Between Akers and Josh Allen's two picks this is not the best game for my Scott Fish Bowl team. -- Aaron Schatz

Anyway, on the field, the Rams have gained 38 yards on rushes (18 on one play) and lost 27 yards on sacks. Bills are just crushing them up front. And yes, Cooper Kupp is their only weapon of note. Bills haven't punted and would be comfortably ahead were it not for three turnovers. -- Vince Verhei

Suffice it to say, we're not overly impressed with the Rams' offense to this point.

9:48: Let Stafford (be) Cooked?

Oof. Harsh. Fair? Maybe. But harsh.

9:56: Third Quarter, 13:02

Ignore the fact that the Rams being in 11 personnel is called an "oddity" here, for the moment.

Matthew Stafford in 2021: NFL-best 67.2% DVOA against blitzes. BUF defense tonight: zero blitzes, in first half, per Next Gen Stats -- Vince Verhei

And yet, the Bills are still getting significant pressure. Time to start panicking about that offensive line, or is it just Week 1 jitters?

10:05: Third Quarter, 7:59

 

Bobby Wagner, uh, not having a great night. -- Bryan Knowles

Bills really wanna hammer on this 4-1-6 type look with Old Man Wagner as the 1 - Mike Tanier

The physicality of this drive is making it very fun to watch -- Coralskipper, via the FO Discord

Completely agree. Bills are manhandling L.A. on both sides of the ball now. -- Vince Verhei

So, yeah, the Bills are beginning to really put their stamp on this game. The Rams are beginning to flounder, as the Bills look every bit the top team in DVOA's projections.  It's 17-10, Bills at the moment -- plenty of time left, but it very much feels like the score does not reflect the effort we're actually seeing.

10:10: Third Quarter, 5:35

Von Miller is eating Noteboom for lunch. -- Vince Verhei

The Bills defensive line is Von Miller and Every DraftTwitter Binkie on Earth! -- Mike Tanier

The moral of the story is if you have a weakness, just draft eight million players and throw the largest contracts in the league at superstars. Easy rebuilding plan!

10:22: Third Quarter, 0:39

That seems somewhat suboptimal in the NFC West.

10:25: End of Third Quarter

Entering last season the buzz coming out of Rams camp was all the stuff that Stafford's willingness and ability to throw deep was going to open up for their offense. We've basically seen none of that tonight. I think he's hit Kupp on a corner route and a couple intermediate balls, but the explosive component of the Rams offense has been totally missing thus far -- Carl Yedor

It could be a result of Safford's hush-hush elbow injury.  Or...

Rams offensive line update at end of third quarter: 41 yards gained on rushes, 43 yards lost on sacks. -- Vince Verhei

Yeah, hard to go deep when you have zero seconds before Von Miller and the rest of the Mafia are in your lap.

It's still just 17-10 at the end of the third quarter, so we're not done here yet, but the Rams need something big.  Something to break up the surgical performance from Allen and the Bills' offense.

10:31: Fourth Quarter, 13:27

It took three full quarters, but we finally got a deep shot in this game. And with the Rams bringing the house, Josh Allen delivered:

A few plays later, Allen rushes in over Bobby Wagner (who is REALLY not having a good night), and we have a 24-10 Buffalo lead.

Not quite over yet, I'd say, but the Rams need points on this drive if they're going to keep things alive.

10:37: Fourth Quarter, 11:01

OK; now it's over.

This has been a heck of a statement game from DVOA's favorite team for 2022; marching into the Rams' home stadium and just pushing them around the field. And the Rams clearly have some issues on offense to work out. Fortunately, they don't have to play the Bills every week, but..., well, Vince summed it up better than I could:

Well tonight has been a worst-case scenario for the Rams. No replacement for Robert Woods and Odell Beckham. No depth when Van Jefferson is out. Rebuilt offensive line has looked helpless. Stafford is doing Stafford things. While Von Miller has ruined them, their replacements for Miller at edge rusher have done just about nothing. Aside from that Troy Hill pick, their non-Ramsey corners haven't played well, and Ramsey isn't having his best night either. Everything that could go wrong has.

And that's why it's so concerning for L.A. . If, like Kupp was dropping everything or Donald was quiet. You'd shrug and assume they'd play better next week. But all of these weaknesses for the Rams will probably be problems all year long.-- Vince Verhei

If you're another contender in the NFC -- and especially in the NFC West -- you're enjoying this performance tonight. It is just one game, mind you, and one game after all the stars sat all preseason, but this is not the title defense McVay and the Rams were hoping for.

And, as I write this, we get the capper, as the Allen bombs one out to extend the lead to 31-10.

Eef.

10:44: Fourth Quarter, 9:25

 So much for missing Daboll as well, I suspect. Dorsey has fired on a lot of cylinders tonight. The Bills found a lot of success running to their left after halftime, and the Rams still have no answers for Buffalo’s passing game. --  Tutenkharnage

Yeah, this has been a great debut as a playcaller for Dorsey. The Bills soften the Rams up by taking what they were giving them, beat them up along the line, and then took the deep shots to demoralize them. As close to perfect as you can really get.

10:58: OBJ Watch

Eyes emoji, as the kids say.

10:59: Dot Watch

That would be Jalen Ramsey getting absolutely cooked by Diggs on the touchdown, if you want to see some superstar on superstar violence.

11:09: Final

Well, this could have been even worse.

The fact that the Bills suffered so many bad breaks early on and still ended up routing the Rams is a terrifying concept. You're not supposed to have comfortable wins when you're turning the ball over so frequently! But the defensive line just swarmed the Rams into oblivion, Josh Allen and the offense never stopped firing, and you get a 31-10 victory for Buffalo that's sure to draw attention around the league.

And that's going to be it for the blog tonight! We'll let things rest until this Sunday -- we hope to see you there!

Comments

94 comments, Last at 11 Sep 2022, 11:18am

1 The Rock at LA Rams games

Do the Chargers have to get Triple H to do their pregame introductions to gain a foothold in the LA football market?

5 What an unfortunate INT

Receiver catches it with knee down and gets up and loses ball, a reception in college

11 Wow was that a fortunate 1st…

Wow was that a fortunate 1st down for Rams, nice push by Shelton.

 

EDIT:  McVay ends the poor decision streak on 4th down and is rewarded.

12 Rams call a timeout

but still have too many men on the field? 

Probably a waste as it was a little too early in the downs anyway. They get an INT eventually though.

13 I’d love to know how you use…

I’d love to know how you use a defensive time out, then put 12 in the defensive huddle making 3rd at 12, 3rd and 7.  With the conversion, that may be one of the most important plays of the game, as now the Bills have the 2 minute drill, not the Rams.

 

EDIT:  Another turnover saves the Rams

14 Well

I guess Allen Robinson will become an integral part of the offense next week. Kupp's been targeted, what, 10 or 11 times?

16 Bills seemed like the better team in the first half

They’ve turned the ball over three times, but I suspect DVOA will track with yards per play, and Buffalo is whipping the Rams there. Score is tied, but game feels unequal. The Rams had to work hard for everything tonight, but the Bills often seemed to get what they want, when they wanted it. 

17 I totally agree, this game…

I totally agree, this game is a clinic on how to dominate a team, yet not dominate on the scoreboard.

3 turnovers, an out of bounds kickoff shortening the field on the Rams only TD.  57 yard FG by Gay.

Rams offensive line getting destroyed.  Now TD gives Buffalo a well deserved lead, although by only 7.

18 I'm a fan of a division…

I'm a fan of a division rival, but it's hard to root against Buffalo, especially Josh Allen, who shoved a defender to the ground with his throwing arm.

20 So much for all the…

So much for all the preseason stories about how the Bills didn't want Allen to run as much this year.

23 Statement game

And the statement in question is “Ah, I see the NFL’s new overlords have arrived!”

24 I have not seen anyplace in…

I have not seen anyplace in which the Bills were not the number 1 ranked team going into the season, including FO.

This game will add to the piling on to favoring the Bills

25 The Bills don't even have…

The Bills don't even have Tre White back. 

The best team I ever saw was that utterly stacked Seahawks (2014?) team that annihilated the Broncos like 47-3 in the Super Bowl, but we might have a contender here.

30 I saw the 1985 Bears a…

I saw the 1985 Bears a couple of times.  The end of the game reminded me a little of them, but only because I was thinking what the Bills will be like with White back.

Witness the firepower of this armed and fully operational battle station!

35 Not likely they will…

Not likely they will anywhere near as good defensively (85 Bears pretty much ate every offense and chewed them up, except Marino), but the Bills probably will have a better offense, or at least quarterback, as long as Allen doesn't get himself killed running like that.

 

Also have to admit I did not see them in person, although I did go to some Jets games that year-but not the one against the Bears, who shut down a team that score 62 points earlier in the year.

79 whoa

It's Week ONE!

I've seen the Patriots take bigger whippings in seasons they went on to win the Super Bowl.  (Including the famous Lawyer Milloy game.) Let's dial back the "best team ever" talk.

Clearly the Rams were not as ready for the game last night as the Bills were.  The Rams were still in "we won the Super Bowl!" afterglow while the Bills have a lot to prove, given that they didn't even make the AFCCG last year and yet are considered a "Super Bowl favorite" suddenly.

Let's wait until they get 10 wins at least.  

 

84 Happy National Jump To…

In reply to by RickD

Happy National Jump To Conclusions Day (the beginning of National Jump To Conclusions Week).

26 Well, that was hard to watch…

Well, that was hard to watch. Wagner looks how I feared. He’s still decent, but nowhere near the player he once was. Robinson was invisible, except for when he lost a 1v1 contested catch to a sixth round rookie at the end. Stafford looks to repeat his 17 pick performance, and the running game is non-existent. The defense is soft, with Ramsey getting beat like a drum by Diggs.

My only real hope is that this was Super Bowl rust on steroids, and that the Bills are one of these +40% DVOA teams where it’s not that weird to lose 31-10. At least McVay is going for it more on 4th down, which is nice. Still, beyond worrying for the Rams moving forward.

41 I thought it was very…

I thought it was very strange how little play action the Rams used, which is their staple and how they usually kill teams under McVay. But I’d be worried the Bills laid down the blueprint of how to contain Stafford, which is to literally never blitz. 
 

It could be a master game plan or could be the bills pass rush is so good that they felt why even bother send in a guy but I think it was PFF that noted Stafford absolutely slaughtered the blitz last year and was mediocre otherwise. Either way, the bills rushed 5+ exactly 0 times and it was super effective, so we will see if it’s copied 

43 The Rams offense looked…

The Rams offense looked rusty for sure. You wonder how much Stafford's shoulder has impeded their preparation this season (and may have impeded him last night). There was a lot of ineffective running on 1st/2nd & 10, which may have been poor play-calling, but may also have been an attempt to shield him somewhat. Allen Robinson was barely targeted, as you say. That part was worrying.

Defensively, one suspects they came up against an elite offense, whilst fully healthy. I'll reserve judgment there. 

31 It's super super early but…

It's super super early but...

Allen, when he wasn't doing a cam Newton designed run impression, looked like a mutant version of Brady and vintage Allen. I thought he was masterful in a stylistic way that wasn't typical Josh Allen. Scary stuff.

For the Rams, a lot of their weaknesses got exposed. Lack of a compliment to Kupp. Lack of a compliment to Donald. An o line in flux.

Those things can get exposed against a great team so it's too early to hit the panic button. 

Who knows where we will be in 8 weeks.

 

33 Agreed, Collinsworth…

Agreed, Collinsworth mentioned it too that Allen looked like brady out there. I don't think it's necessarily his most effective form, but glad to know he can do the surgical thousand-cuts style with short passes if it's in the gameplan. And it definitely was, we did everything right to neutralize Donald. Super smart.

Honestly more impressed with this game by Dorsey than any of Daboll's, who I always thought was somewhat overrated. He was fine, but the offense never seemed to morph into a different team based on his opponent, which is what he promised. This was that, though.

Just don't give the ball to Zach Moss anymore, please.

34 It wasn't just the short…

It wasn't just the short stuff. He was hitting his backfoot and rifling a pass on his first read. He knew where he wanted to go with the ball and when for the most part. Lots of threaded passes low and away. Just really precise stuff from a player who's to this point been mostly good outside of structure. It was jarring to see.

 

42 I’m a bills fan so even…

I’m a bills fan so even though I want to have your perspective of how good he was, that much unbounded optimism scares me a little. Deep down I know you’re right though, he was unconscious tonight

81 Myself, ???

Guess I'm the only one, but I didn't see Brady out there. The dinking worked fine but no more than fine. Not a lot of YAC on those throws, he hit guys but not really right in stride where they do get that YAC.

What turned it into a really nice night were the two long balls, one yes a beauty, the other totally a busted coverage. Otherwise Josh has thrown 29 times for 197 yards. Nothing wrong with that, one long completion turns that into a good night. But it ain't Brady. Or Drew Brees, say.

46 There's been a couple of…

There's been a couple of good pieces on Cover 1 (https://www.cover1.net/) where they talked about Allen self-scouting at the end of last year and knowing they would see a ton of two-high looks this year so he would have to be better at reading and more precise on the intermediate throws.

So that's what he worked on in the offseason, outside of OTAs and camp. Certainly sounds like a Brady/Manning approach. I kind of live in a Buffalo bubble , so is this something all the young vet QBs are doing now? Or is Allen pushing himself harder?

51 Alot of the best QB's are…

Alot of the best QB's are ones who had some flaws comming out of college so they fell a bit in the draft but worked hard to overcome them. Mahomes, Rodgers, Brees, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Herbert(kinda) He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named....etc. 

Only guy I can think of who was predicted to be awesome and was is Peyton. Murray or Burrow could join that group if they make the jump to true elite status. 

I'm not ready to put Allen there YET, but you can see it on the table at least. 

72 Stafford would fit also if…

Stafford would fit also if you go that direction. 

You could make an argument that most really high(top 1-2, sometimes 3) picks don't become upper elites bc they get drafted by organizations that get the #1 pick.  

76   You could make an argument…

 

You could make an argument that most really high(top 1-2, sometimes 3) picks don't become upper elites bc they get drafted by organizations that get the #1 pick.  

I'm not sure I'd go as far as "don't become upper elites" but I would agree that it doesn't seem like top-5 QBs are more likely to become, say, Hall of Fame QBs than starting QBs who aren't top-5. I mean, if you guess that "top 5 QB" means you'll be a Hall of Famer, you'd expect there to be like, 2 of the "likely Hall" guys who were top-5 drafted just by chance (since about a third of the league's starters are former top-5 draft pick). And it certainly isn't significantly more than that.

78 I was mostly thinking "QB…

I was mostly thinking "QB drafted before any non-QB", which is to long, but basically means the ones teams really want. I guess the point was most of those guys don't become hall of famers but often end up in the Matt Ryan, Stafford tier.  These guys are rarely bad, but the also arn't great as often as you might expect if there as a straight relationship with draft position.

Never seen a really good breakdown and it's hard to look at anyway due to sample sizes, but this kinda gets at it.
https://thedraftnetwork.com/qb-success-rate-by-draft-position-2021-nfl-draft/
the Career AV actually goes up in the 11-20 range as you get better teams needing a QB. 

53 The Brady Manning approach…

The Brady Manning approach in theory is simple enough to follow. Watch a lot of film is the boiled down version.

However, actually putting pen to paper so to speak is the hard part. And I think if it didn't have an absurdly hard learning curve, we would see more people do it.

I've been effusive in my praise for Allen, but it was just one game. I want to see him replicate it for a full season before I buy into it fully. 

55 Indeed

Yeah, a lot of the challenge is establishing a working process for watching film and then establishing an in game process for implementing what you learned too and an in game process for communicating that to your teammates.

73 If there is any…

In reply to by DocPossum

If there is any organizational aspect to QB development, this is probably it, since I'm not sure college guys do THAT much film study(I could be wrong). That is probably one of the few skills guys don't develop that well before the pros.  Some teams may teach it better than others. 

88 For sure. I heard some…

For sure. I heard some respected analyst claiming Josh Allen was just "carrying on his elite performance from the past 2 seasons". He was great in 2020, but last year? 11th in passing DYAR and 15th in DVOA. Meh. Of course he was insane during the two playoff games, which is what left the biggest impression. But he wasn't consistent at all during the regular season, which is what played a large part in the Bills struggling to win their division and missing out on top seeding. 

Of course, the sky is the limit when you see games like Thursday's, and last years playoffs. And the Bills roster strength is such that he may not need to play at consistent MVP level for them to win a lot of games. But he doesn't belong in Mahomes/Rodgers/Brady class yet. 

57 Quick release

It was impressive. So many of those throws had a small margin of error and required him to rifle it out immediately. The McKenzie TD had to get there fast and low because the safety was coming up on that route. Tons of throws like that all game.

36 Fyi, to embarrass my Fo…

Fyi, to embarrass the Fo writers more, go read the draft audibles from the Josh Allen draft. If you are a Bill"s fan, it will tickle you.

But rather than point to it as evidence of some broader ignorance, I'd rather highlight about why predraft certainty, or even NFL certainty, is folly.

I don't care who is involved, absolutely no one saw Josh Allen's ascension coming. The same people here lambasted the Chiefs for reaching on Mahomes. My point? The Bills, the same team who were the butt of every joke after the Nate Peterman fiasco, landed Josh Allen. Yes, the same Allen who everyone here thought would stink.

Maybe, just maybe, a QB succeeds because he himself is really good??? Meanwhile, where is the praise of Jim Irsay for drafting Peyton Manning and then Andrew Luck?

37 Or maybe Allen succeeded…

Or maybe Allen succeeded because he worked really hard at it.  I hope Zach Wilson is working as hard as Allen.

There have been many really good college quarterbacks (check Geno Smith's college stats out) that never worked out in the pros.  Josh Allen was not a really good college quarterback, but he had skills few have, and huge flaws that needed to be worked out, especially accuracy... which is not something that usually improves in the NFL. And yet here we are.

All that said, Mel Kiper thought he was going to be good.

38 It's weird reading the…

It's weird reading the Mahomes draft comments.  I haven't even gotten to Mahomes yet; it's just that Corey Davis went that high, and now there's talk the Jets will trade him during the season.  His second team.

59 As I said below, I think…

As I said below, I think your only mistake there was thinking that playoff teams should focus on "this year" improvements, when I think the truth is the opposite. Playoff teams should more focus on long term high-risk/high-reward stuff, because they're generally good enough that if a pick doesn't work out, they can work around it. They're also good enough that a high pick on a QB will at least show enough to get decent return in a trade if they need to.

Moves like that are pretty common for teams from descendants of the Ron Wolf era, in my opinion.

56 Gower was the only one who…

Gower was the only one who thought it was a good idea;

No: Rivers literally agreed with Tom in the next comment, Scott was just "bit odd for a playoff team trying to get over the hump" and more of a move for 18-19, Carl thought "hey now they'll throw it downfield more." All of which I don't see as comments that age poorly?

I mean, the Chiefs literally sat Mahomes for that first year. It's funny because the argument was "hmm, strange for a playoff team because he won't help right away" except that is when you want to draft a guy like Mahomes: when you can accept no contribution from your first round pick and maybe even a total miss. I do agree Vince and Bryan were a bit funny. Reid tends to plan long term, guys.

I really don't get your comments here, because reading those comments is actually pretty prescient. Trubisky's pick was a big "wtf you serious?", Mahomes was basically "um, OK, but don't you guys need someone for this year?" and Watson had my favorite comment of:

[Scott]: Definitely a pick to watch [Watson] for Cleveland fans. Might have missed a good one here, but only time will tell. 

which is just hi-larious.

52 The Bills saw Allen coming

Aside from that snark, there were commentators that admitted the possibility of Allen becoming amazing it’s just that the odds were against it.

Personally, I didn’t like the Allen pick and thought it was a mistake, but I had to admit that his physical stature, arm strength, and ability to hit routes accurately in workouts meant he had the potential to be great. Many QBs drafted with traits like that fail completely or underwhelm.
 

Allen fulfilled his potential because he had the capacity to revamp his throwing mechanics and he is capable of walking the tightrope of self criticism and confidence. He failed a lot early and was able to learn from it. That’s a hard thing to scout.

58 Tbh, I just don't think the…

Tbh, I just don't think the next player who evaluates like Josh Allen, even if it literally reads the same, will imply the same career.

Let's go to Peyton Manning. Even Polian by his own admission did not expect Manning to be like this. 

I don't think it's possible to accurately forecast A player turning elite. I think the best the drafts can do is predict a guy will turn out okay to pretty good. 

Even Mahomes. All of the wow throws are there, but typically players like that end up taking a lot of sacks or turning the ball over a bunch on sack fumbles or interceptions. How many people thought Mahomes would bring all of the upside and almost no downside to his style of play? After all, there have been big armed aggressive passers in the past who have failed. 

61 Allen fulfilled his…

Allen fulfilled his potential because he hadn't reached it yet.  That sounds kind of stupid, but nowadays most too flight QBs in the draft have spent the previous decade of their lives being coached at every level by experts trying to mold them into NFL QBs and by draft day they are pretty much a finished product.  Allen never really went through that system so there was reason to believe he could improve but I don't think that really holds for most other guys at the top of the draft.

71 Yeah but this isn’t a rule

There are prospects who have had all that coaching who also succeed in the NFL. Andrew Luck was close to elite and still improved int he NFL. Peyton Manning. Drew Brees. I don’t think a prospect needs more open space and lack of coaching to get there insofar as your comment implies that.

91 That wasn't really what I…

That wasn't really what I was implying.  The guys with all the coaching are almost always a safer bet because you can project them better - if a guy goes to De La Salle HS and then plays at Oklahoma and sets the world on fire, he's probably going to be a good (at a minimum) NFL QB.  If a guy goes to DLS and then plays at OU and puts up Josh Allen's numbers from Wyoming, that guy is almost certainly going to be an awful NFL QB.

Actual Josh Allen was more of a mystery box because of the lack of pedigree  and it was far more likely that he was going to bust but there was really no good way to identify his ceiling.

60 I think another perspective…

I think another perspective it is that coaching matters.  (Just ask David Carr).  A lot of people seem to think that great QBs (or players in general) spring into being in full armor from Zeus's head, and all you have to do is figure out which ones to draft.

I give Sean McDermott and Brian Daboll and their staff a *ton* of credit for Allen being the player he was last night... because he wasn't that player when he was drafted, and because he wouldn't be that player with dumb offensive design that didn't play to his strengths.

(Just like I give Belichick more credit for Brady being Brady than perhaps some people do).

It's not true across the board... Peyton Manning probably would have succeeded despite all but the worst of coaching, but in general, coaching matters in getting players to realize their potential.  

64 So I tend to take the…

So I tend to take the opposite view in the sense that good coaching can make a player better, but I don't think it alters the destiny of the QB if that makes sense, on average.

Yes there are some exceptions. Andy Reid can. Someone like Urban Meyer can in the opposite direction. But I don't think it's a credit to McDermott or Daboll for Allen's success. I think it was mostly good fortune they drafted Allen instead of Rosen or Darnold or Baker. I think it's on Josh Allen that he internalized the coaching and applied it on the field. Some QBs don't internalize coaching and some QBs can't apply what they've learned. Few do both.

On this point, I recognize my view is probably a minority one.

 

68 I actually agree with you -…

I actually agree with you - I give some credit to the Bills, McDermott and Daboll for giving him the *space* to become who he was capable of being, but Allen made himself who he is. He put in all the work, but it's their *job* to evaluate if he could do it - there's nothing here that can be used as a template for someone else, though. It's hard to equate the guy I saw in the second half of the season opener in Baltimore five years ago with the guy I'll see in three weeks, but it apparently wasn't hard for *him* to see that path.

He did the work. Give him the credit.

74 Seems like basic agreement

I think we all agree it’s a balance weighted toward what the QB brings to the table.

Josh Allen needed the coaching but he is receptive to that coaching. A lot of prospects are not for one reason or another. He also has the best arm the NFL has seen so far, which helps a bit too.

75 It's probably a bit of both,…

It's probably a bit of both, but yeah, weighted toward the QB.  As anyone who has done teaching will tell you, there is effort needed on both sides. And some aspects of stylistic and personality fit also. 

83 I don't have a dog in this…

I don't have a dog in this fight, but does Allen have the biggest arm? How does it compare to Mahomes, Rodgers, or Herbert?

I kind of thought the default answer was Mahomes.

Also, Herberts moon ball td last year was a great example of athleticism. It's not just can you throw it hard and far, but can you do it from an odd angle without your feet set and with defenders all over you. 

Gosh, I'm already starting to feel biased in favor of Herbert and it has nothing to do with the fact that he plays for the Chargers. It likely traces back to when Todd McShay basically called this guy undraftable and lacking the necessary leadership to be a quarterback in the NFL. He was so certain about it too. It was so weird

89 As arguably

As arguably the biggest Mahomes fanboy on the planet, Allen probably has a slightly bigger arm.

I don't think it matters much; both are well into "functionally absurd" territory, to the point where Allen ranking a fraction of a point higher on something like Raw Throw Power just isn't very relevant in real-world situations.

But I'm betting if they ever got into the Throw It As Hard and Far As You Can competition they've discussed once or twice, we'd find Allen's arm talent to be just ever so slightly more ridiculous than Mahomes'.

93 Allen probably wins the "Eff…

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

Allen probably wins the "Eff It and Chuck It" competition, but Mahomes and Rodgers beat him on the ability to retain accuracy at weird arm angles.

94 Probably

I'd buy that....but again, I doubt it'd be by a relevantly large margin; Allen's displayed some pretty absurd angles and platforms himself.

Point being, that tier of Not Entirely Human Human Beings is such that fractional deltas between guys in different categories don't matter much, and point also being that it seems clear by now Allen belongs in that tier.

90 Ever, or currently? Young…

Ever, or currently?

Young Roethlisberger had a huge arm. He played a game in college in like 60+ mph winds (they had to evacuate the upper deck of the stadium). He was throwing bombs the entire game; the other team couldn’t.

Vick and Elway had huge arms. Marino, too, I think, although he had way more touch.

92 Once an arm talent gets into…

Once an arm talent gets into the insane category, it's really hard to quantify / visually perceive the differences. 

And various times, Stafford, Kaepernick, Mahomes, Allen, Rodgers, Vic and Favre, were in the running for best arms I've ever seen, at least for prominent quarterbacks of note.

49 Stafford won't make it to…

Stafford won't make it to November if that's the protection he gets. He may not make it even if the protection is good. I turned on the announcers long enough to hear it said that he was getting a treatment regimen typical of MLB pitchers, and my 1st thought was to wonder how much guaranteed $ was left on Stafford's contract.

In case anybody was wondering, yes, it was a stroke of good fortune for the Rams to be able to rent Von Miller at the end of last season.

50 Going back to last year, the…

Going back to last year, the last time the bills had a loss where they flaked out was Nov 21, 41-15 vs Indy.  After that their only losses were an OT loss to TB, OT loss to Mahomes in the playoffs and losing to NE in a hurricane. All the wins were by at least two scores also.  They have been pretty dominant.

I'm wondering how much their win line jumped up after this. Probably at least 12.5 I bet. 

 

69 They were right in line with…

They were right in line with their high-variance selves in that Tampa game, though - they looked like they were toast and Allen led a furious comeback only to lose in OT. Both of the non-windstorm losses were like that, actually.

The Titans have some kind of magic anti-Allen stick so far. We'll see if it's still in the building.

70 The Titans had AJ Brown…

The Titans had AJ Brown. When we would adjust our defense to stop Henry, they would just murder us with in-breakers to Brown in the space behind the linebackers. Look back at the 2020 and 2021 losses and see how many 1st downs that dude converted on us. Ugh.

63 I won't have a lot of time…

I won't have a lot of time to watch games this weekend, but I do suspect we'll see a ton of bad o-line play. Guys just don't play enough in August anymore, to have good coordination, and technique, going up against what are.typically superior athletes. I understand why, but it seems to be getting more pronounced with each year.

65 Pressure rates, though, are…

Pressure rates, though, are remarkably constant. That could be because the QBs and the rules are such that it's never been easier to protect against a bad o line.

 

One of these days, I'd like to see a study of rushing success rate over time without QB runs included. My suspicion is that it's never been a worse time to run the football.

 

 

67 The Rams are rightly being…

The Rams are rightly being dragged for how bad they looked, but I think the outcome was mostly because the Bills are really, really good (as other have pointed out).  Within the first three drives, it was clear as day that LA was overmatched.

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