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Week 11 Open Discussion

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

For once, Thursday Night Football is more than an afterthought. Arizona's trip to Seattle in a battle of 6-3 teams with first place in the NFC West on the line might be the biggest game of the week. Big Sunday games include Tennessee (6-3) at Baltimore (6-3) in a rematch from last year's playoffs and Green Bay (7-2) at Indianapolis (6-3). The Sunday night game sees Kansas City (8-1) visit Las Vegas (6-3), while the L.A. Rams (6-3) head to Tampa Bay (7-3) on Monday night. Use this thread to discuss them all.

Comments

149 comments, Last at 24 Nov 2020, 11:59am

1 What's the record for…

What's the record for longest gain on recovery of a botched snap? Seattle just got 3 yards on theirs.

74 That was awesome! Re: the…

That was awesome!

Re: the above play, I was thinking specifically of the guy-flops-on-it variety - I don't remember ever seeing the botched snap scoot a non-negligible distance downfield.

2 Surely somebody in the…

Surely somebody in the Cardinals secondary is faster than Patrick Peterson.  That person should be covering Metcalf.  One's ability to diagnose and good ball skills don't matter much when you're being left out of the TV frame.

3 Good News

Apparently the first string Seattle pass defense had been on COVID-19 quarantine all season and just came off of it.

6 Seahawks killing selves with penalties

Diggs cannot let an errant 3rd down pass go ignored, so he hits the receiver in the helmet.

Bobby Wagner tries a horse collar tackle a few players later.

Those two plays good for 30 yards total for an otherwise uninspiring drive by the Cardinals.

8 Kirkpatrick: hold my beer

Cards have Seahawks stopped after 3rd down pass to Lockett isn't long enough to reach a 1st down.  Driver is over...until Dre Fitzpatrick decides to walk over and start taunting.

15-yard penalty, first down, two plays later a TD.

 

7 Cards stop seattle on 3rd…

Cards stop seattle on 3rd down, but a stupid taunting penalty on kirkpatrick gives them life,and Hyde scores. 

11 Wow, Murray can't get the…

Wow, Murray can't get the 4th down pass off. Great D all game by Seattle. 

Seahawks in the driver's seat to win the West with a fairly easy remaining schedule. 

 

13 Seattle has gone in just one…

Seattle has gone in just one week to being my favourite to place third in the division, to my favourite to place first. Partly just because of the extra win, but that defense looked a whole lot better, and the Cardinals looked like an average team tonight.

I also saw the same Kyler Murray I've seen before. Basically the poor man's Russell Wilson, with clearly inferior arm accuracy.

15 Poor Man's Wilson

80-90% of Russel Wilson with 110-120% the athleticism is still a hell of a QB.

Of the Wilson Style QBs, not named Wilson...

Prescott, Watson, Murray...  I'd probably take Prescott 1st, Murray 2nd, and Watson 3rd.

16 Hmmmm.....not sure I would…

Hmmmm.....not sure I would include Prescott with these guys. He's not as athletic and does not run as frequently. 

I think Murray is very good but not anywhere near Russell Wilson, who is a future HoFer. 

18 Not as athletic and doesn’t…

Not as athletic and doesn’t run as frequently are different functions. Their college roles were different, but Wilson, Prescott, and Watson were better professional passers.

Watson also ran more than you remember.

19 NFCW records

I agree with paragraph 1.

I can see SEA finishing 12-4 easily. LAR have a landmine of a schedule; 10-6 is reasonable, 11-5 would be great. ARI, now with a 4th loss, is looking at the same 10-6 or 11-5. 

IMO, the most likely scenario is that LAR/ARI could be both the 6 & 7 seeds, the #1 seed in the NFC is going to be HUGE. Right now the Pack have the inside track--that win over NO back in week 3 is their trump card. 

29 Reasonable points…

In reply to by Joseph

Reasonable points. Everything in the NFCW comes down to three games, all involving the rams.

Rams @ Cards, Wk 13

Rams @ Hawks, Wk 16

Rams vs Cards, Wk 17

And I really mean that unless one of the three teams falls off a cliff, those games basically decide the NFCW. 

As far as the #1 seed goes, I honestly give the advantage to the Saints. They've already beaten the Bucs twice, and I think they'll be a full win over GB by the end of the year, although it could go either way.

EDIT: I suppose the Hawks/Rams are also in the running for #1 seed, with a very outside shot. If the Saints lose a few with Taysom Hill under center, it's wide open. If not, well they'd have to pretty much win out, which I don't see happening.

33 Not happening?

Seahawks remaining schedule: @PHI, NYG, NYJ, @WAS, LAR, @SF

I'd say it's more likely than not that Seattle does win out. Rams at home is pretty much the only one in question. The first four would require pretty much a major upset (say, like Dallas beating Pittsburgh). Despite Bryan Knowles' hopes, given SF's roster situation, the only way Seattle would likely lose in week 17 to them would be if the Seahawks were resting starters. 13-3 or 12-4 is probably where Seattle finishes.

35 I'd say it's at best 50-50…

In reply to by LyleNM

I'd say it's at best 50-50 they win against the Rams, who are a horrible matchup for them, let alone win out against a string of bad teams. It's a tiny bit annoying to see the "counting wins," fallacy here on this site.

But you're mostly right, 11-5 seems like a realistic worst case scenario for the Hawks, and 13-3 is a definite possibility. Compared to the others in the NFCW, and considering the Hawks defense has stepped up, they are strong NFCW favourites, and do have a better shot at that #1 than I previously thought.

36 OK

First you said this "If not, well they'd have to pretty much win out, which I don't see happening." Then after it was pointed out that it's not hard to see it happening, you said this "It's a tiny bit annoying to see the "counting wins," fallacy here on this site." You don't get to have it both ways - you were the one that started "counting wins" (or not as the case may be).

38 "I'd say it's more likely…

In reply to by LyleNM

"I'd say it's more likely than not that Seattle does win out."

That's a quote of yours. Even if we assume that the Hawks have a 90% chance to win all games versus non-rams, and a 60% chance to win versus the rams, that still works out to a 35.4% chance for them to win out. Even giving the 9ers just a 20% chance to win at home versus the Hawks pushes that down to 31.5%. Give the Rams a 50% chance to beat the team they already beat, and we're down to 26.2%. 

I assumed that you were doing the classic fan move of looking at teams on the schedule, and picking wins, as opposed to assigning percentages to the outcome. If I assumed too much, that's fine, and I apologize, but I would happily give you two to one odds that the Seahawks do not in fact win out, despite their easy remaining schedule. Anybody can lose an away game to WAS or even PHI, especially since, while they're bad, those NFCE teams will be still fighting for the playoffs. 

Hence why I said that I "don't see that happening," but agreed that 11-5 is a realistic worst case scenario for them. Especially when the context was in them getting ahead of the Saints, who already have one less loss than the Hawks. 

50 Correct

Indeed, I erred in overstating my own case (and while thinking over my statements I came to the same numerical solution you did). Just also remember that that 26% is a higher percentage than any single one of the upsets that would be required.

I just think you also made the classic move of assuming that no team is ever very likely to win its last six games without taking the time to look at their opponents. For example, Rams: TB, AZx2, SEA = tough road.

53 If I had taken a harder look…

In reply to by LyleNM

If I had taken a harder look at the Rams schedule versus the Seahawks, I think I would have still had the Seahawks as the slight favourite to win the NFCW even before the Cards game, where they both won and showed improvement on defense. 

That original horrible defense would still probably be good enough, when compared to the Rams very tough schedule, and Wilson can win a lot of games against bad teams.

39 #1 seed

Even as a long-time Saints fan, I worry that the Saints will lose at home to KC, even if Brees is back by then. On paper at least, they should handle ATL twice, CAR, DEN, and PHI. The Vikings are playing better--at least we get them at home. To me, that looks like 13-3 is a best case scenario. That means GB has to lose 2x for the Saints to get the #1 seed.. The Saints would win a tiebreaker with SEA (conf. record), and since I think the Rams stumble at least one more time in the division, they would be ahead of them as well. I am worried that GB handles business, maybe stumbling once, winning the H2H tiebreaker. That means that the Cards or the Rams visit for the 1st round, and somebody like SEA or TB is the opponent the next week. 

Like I said, that #1 seed is HUGE in the NFC. There will probably be 6 teams that reach at least 10 wins + the winner of the NFCE. Getting to heal up while at least 2 of those 6 get eliminated will be huge. And, if by some miracle, the NFCE winner upsets the best WC team, AND the other division winners take care of business, you get the NFCE "winner" in the next round--basically a free ride to the NFC championship game. 

Would anybody be surprised if GB, NO, TB, or SEA made it out of the NFC? All of them seem like pretty powerful teams that could get to the SB. On the AFC side, to me it still comes down to PIT vs. KC. Buffalo seems like a solid #3, and then there is the logjam of teams at 6-3. 

109 Regardless of records I'd…

In reply to by Joseph

Regardless of records I'd have to take the Colts and Ravens over Buffalo as possibilities to make the Super Bowl. I think whomever of Steelers/Chiefs gets the bye will have a huge advantage and be the most likely to make it, but I think both Indy and Baltimore are talented enough to make it if they get hot at the right time.

32 It's kind of hard to express how strong Seattle's position is...

In reply to by Joseph

It's kind of hard to express how strong Seattle's position is in the NFC W... their remaining schedule is PHI, WAS, NYJ, NYG, LAR, and SF.

 

After the Rams who is they best team they face?  A SF team that's stopped rushing players back from IR because the season is already done, or PHI?  NYG? WAS?

Can any team, other than the Rams and SF, left on their schedule even hope to manufacture the 20-28 points necessary to keep minimal pace with Seattle's offense?

 

Really if the Rams or Cards fall two full games behind Seattle at any point over the rest of the season, they're likely out of the running for NFC West Champs.

17 hmmm.. not sure I would.

Russell is a great QB. But he can be streaky, he's not great at throwing on schedule (although improving), approximately (sticks finger in air) half the sacks he's taken over the years are due to a tendency to drop too deep or to hold the ball too long.

Like I say, great QB. But I dont quite see it when people constantly laud him as HOF. Give it another 6 years, could well be. But if he retired tomorrow, for me he's not really close. HOF, not Hall of Really Good.

 

(and just for the record, I've been a passionate 'hawks fan since '84. So this is not sour grapes and I love the guy to bits. Just think he's not quite / shouldn't be guaranteed a yellow jacket yet).

20 I think that RW has played…

I think that RW has played enough (9 seasons) at a high level to comfortably predict he will be in the HoF, barring serious injury.  

If you look at Pro Football Reference's HoF Monitor, there are only 2 QBs ahead of him who are eligible but not in the HoF: Boomer Esiason by less than 1 pt and Ken Anderson (who many think should be in).  There are also few others ahead of RW who are likely on the bubble, for various reasons: Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, and Philip Rivers. 

So, yeah, maybe RW shouldn't labeled "future HoFer" just yet.  But, I think there is a fairly high probability that he gets in.  He's already banked a near HoF career and is just 32 years old.  

 

21 Ken Anderson badly suffers…

Ken Anderson badly suffers for a career narrative failure.

He was the second best-known QB for the second-best team started by Paul Brown, and he never won a title. 

Russell Wilson is the title-winning face of a media-friendly team and their best franchise QB, and won the title for a former laughingstock franchise. 

While their on-field was similar, the importance of their story within the story of the NFL is very different.

24 In HOF narrative, I expect…

In HOF narrative, I expect that he'll get partial credit for the second SB in voters' minds.

Carroll's decision is going to go down in history as wasting Wilson's comeback - people are going to forget that Wilson could have still executed the play that was called better and overcome it.

49 When were the Seahawks a…

When were the Seahawks a laughingstock?

They were the best team in the division throughout the 2000s, hands down.  I mean, they made the Super Bowl with Holmgren and Hasselbeck five years before Carroll was hired. Mediocre to decent in late 90s; playoff team much of mid/late ‘80s.

Only really bad seasons were early expansion years, the Stan Gelbaugh days, and the odd down year sprinkled in here and there.

Strange characterization.

54 Nothing personal, but what…

Nothing personal, but what are you talking about?  For their first 25 seasons, the Seahawks had double digit wins exactly TWICE.  When they won 12 games in '84, they were still a WC team & when they won 10 in '86 they dmissed the playoffs.  Three 9-7 teams made the playoffs, so five playoff teams in 25 years. In their first ten NFL drafts, they drafted a whopping FOUR players who ever made the Pro Bowl.

59 "laughingstock"

The Seahawks were not great for a long time, but they were also not terrible for any stretch.  I don't think that's a laughingstock; your mileage may vary.

 

60 Funny how you leave out…

Funny how you leave out their accomplishments.  One of those 9-7 teams went to the AFC Championship Game, beating the heavily-favored Marino-led Dolphins in Miami.  They featured arguably the greatest wide receiver in NFL history at the time of his retirement.  And they had a bunch of other great players including Hall of Famers Kenny Easley and Cortez Kennedy.

Also double-digits wins is an arbitrary cutoff.  Could just as easily say they were .500 or better in over half (13) of their first 25 season.

I’m not saying they were the perennial playoff contender they are today. But it’s a major exaggeration to call them a “laughingstock”.

61 For the record, here are the…

For the record, here are the teams I think could rightfully be called laughingstocks in my life as an NFL fan (mid-80s to present day):

Saints: pre-Jackson/Swilling/Mills

Bucs: post-82 playoffs, pre-Dungy

Bengals: post-Boomer, pre-Palmer

Colts: entire ‘80s, ‘90s until Harbaugh’s Captain Comeback season

Browns: entire second act until now (?)

Bills: 17-year playoff drought

Jets: Butt-fumble to present day

Cardinals: almost entire 80s, 90s, and 2000s until Super Bowl run

Rams: Post-Martz, pre-McVay

Lions: Matt Millen era

Falcons: Post-82 divisional win, pre-decent 90s Deion/Rison teams 

Raiders: Post-Super Bowl loss to 2016 playoff run.

I think that covers it.

67 fwiw

My earliest memory of the Seahawks (circa 91 or 92 or so) had the announcers chuckling while calling attention to the newly installed multi-color seats in Seattle.. intended to camouflage the emptiness of the stadium for the tv cameras. 
 

As to the pretty comprehensive list..

I think you can simplify and say all years the Cardinals were nominally from “Phoenix,”

...and would personally add the Dave Brown Giants (if not the whole post-Parcells coaching carousel through the 90’s)..

...and finally, ask how you’ve forgotten the team from Washington?

72 Of course, Washington…

In reply to by armchair journ…

Of course, Washington Football absolutely belongs on that list.

Washington: Entire Dan Snyder era (minus a few bright spots, Joe Gibbs return, RGIII rookie year, Romo INT to clinch division).

I live in DC and somehow missed them.

71 Well, you're young

From the late 70s to the 00s, the Patriots, Bengals, Cardinals, and Buccaneers were generally the laughingstocks of the League.  Not that they didn't have some good years in there (notably 76-78 and 85-86 Patriots, 81-84 Bengals and a weird 88 year, a few Neil Lomax years in St. Louis, an incredibly unlikely NFCC appearance by the Bucs in 79).  It really shows how bad ownership and management, especially in the pre-revenue sharing, pre-salary cap, pre-free agency years almost always put out a bad product.

115 The Bengals were definitely…

The Bengals were definitely not a laughingstock from the 70s to the end of the 80s.  The 88 year wasn't that weird, considering that they were 10-6 in 1986 and probably a better team than the two AFC wild cards that year, the Jets and the Chiefs.  The strike year was a disaster for them.  The Patriots reached much lower depths, falling to 1-15 in 1990, complete with a locker room scandal.  

 

Hell, the Bengals invented the West Coast offense during the 70s.

137 The Patriots don't belong in the laughingstock group

There's no way the Patriots belong in the discussion of laughingstocks if the time period covered is from the late 1970s to 2000; the Colts of the same time period would be a much better choice.  Here's a little known fact: from 1976 to 1988, a period of 13 seasons, the Patriots had exactly ONE losing season...which was a bizarre 2-14 season in 1981.  (Bizarre is the right word to describe the 1981 Patriots season; New England lost twice by a total of 3 points to the truly abysmal Colts, who were also 2-14, but the Patriots were only outscored by 48 points total (322 to 370) for the season.)  Now the Patriots were truly bad from 1989 to 1993 (five straight losing seasons, with win totals of 5, 1, 6, 2, and 5 in those five seasons), but they were generally a decent team from 1994 until the beginning of the Belichick dynasty in 2001, making the playoffs in 1994, 1996, 1997, and 1998 and appearing in a Super Bowl after the 1996 season.

Ironically, the 1967 to 1975 Patriots have a much stronger case for being described as a laughingstock; in those nine seasons they never finished above .500 and they posted six double digit loss seasons (keep in mind those seasons were also only 14 games long).

22 Wilson is Hall of Famer

He's been an elite QB for the better part of a decade and has won a Super Bowl. Many seasons he's carried that team's offense by himself.  He's been winning games at an incredible rate.  IIRC, Fox flashed a graphic last night saying he's the fastest QB to win 94 starts.  Given how Brady's career started, that's pretty impressive.

He's in his ninth season and has never missed a game.  He looks young and healthy to me and probably should be able to play, at a minimum, five more seasons.  I would not be surprised to see him follow the Brady/Brees path of playing into his 40s (a future that seems far less likely for Roethlisberger).  By the time he retires he'll be a no-brainer Hall of Famer.  But even now he's got a very strong case.  

25 Roethlisberger's contract…

Roethlisberger's contract basically guarantees he's playing next year, which takes him through his age-39 season. If he plays at all in 2022, he'll have played into his 40s.

This year has been his best in years, and is on pace for his best TD-INT ratio.

26 He has changed his game to…

He has changed his game to get the ball out quicker (I think he is "fastest" in the league or some such).  Certainly fewer splash plays...but based on the results, who cares?

It has led to his lowest sack percentage by a pretty fair margin.  That could certainly extend his career if his elbow holds up.

 

34 Really wonder about his deep…

Really wonder about his deep shot ability post-surgery. He looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick when winding up now and seems to be throwing a lot of Flacco specials where you half-overthrow a go route on the sideline and wait for the PI flag if your guy doesn't make the catch.

55 Just to add to Russ'…

Just to add to Russ' durability, last year he missed practice one day so that he could be in VA for his grandfather's funeral.  According to The Athletic beat writer, that was only the second missed practice of his career.  And no one above has yet mentioned that since he joined the league Wilson also has the most 4thQ/OT comebacks of anyone over that timeframe.  And that graphic was actually about most wins in a player's first nine seasons, so he didn't just break the record, he's on pace to exceed it by 5-7 games.

23 Russell Wilson is the 5th QB this century

To open the first 11 weeks with 30 TDs and a 110 rtg.  All four of the others won the MVP.

He also joined Brees and Favre as the only QBs to throw 30+ TDs in four consecutive seasons.

Only Wilson and Steve Young have ever thrown for 30,000 yds and rushed for 4,000.

Russel Wilson was the first player in NFL history to pass for 300 yds and rush for 100 in a single game.

He's a guaranteed HoFer.  Anyone at this point who makes comments like "inconsistent" is just a hater.  He's no more inconsistent than any QB.  They all have off days.

Wilson is consistently great in the long run.

79 Cam Newton is also past the…

Cam Newton is also past the 30k/4k milestones now. Happened a couple of games ago (to exactly zero fanfare, surprisingly).

If Wilson retired tomorrow, he'd probably be voted into the Hall of Fame eventually, if perhaps not on the first-ballot. His stats, hardware (a big pile of Pro Bowls, RoY, and a 2nd team All-Pro, even without the MVP), and ring are all HoF-qualifying, if perhaps not overwhelming at this juncture, and he's got a great reputation and media narrative.

But he won't retire tomorrow. He is going to play several more seasons, perhaps quite a few more, and his stats are going to start showing up on all-time best lists, and his pile of hardware will grow, and he might even add another ring. He will sail into the Hall. First ballot, maybe unanimous.

27 Dreadfully disappointing…

Dreadfully disappointing display from Kyler and the Cardinals offence. Having now watched them a handful of times this season, I see an offence capable of explosive plays, but little down to down consistency. All very frantic. There will likely always be a frenetic, inconsistent element to Murray’s game, but more refinement is clearly needed before they can become a true contender. He still remains on a very positive trajectory, but the recent hype (not just from certain posters on this site) has been way overboard. 

Again fairly unimpressed with Kingsbury’s decision making. 

30 offensive / defensive line DVOA for passing

I was trying to find the offensive line stats for passing as well as the defense against the passing offensive lines. It appears that they are gone with the updates yesterday, as the oline section only shows rushing dvoa now.

31 Did anyone else find the…

Did anyone else find the Cardinals final downs a bit... panic-y? They had a first down around the Seahawks 30 with 50 seconds and a timeout left. Then they proceed to take four shots to the end zone. I kept wondering why they weren't trying to advance it / get a first down considering the clock and timeout situation. Kingsbury seems to get a little reckless at the end of these games (thinking about the 2nd FG attempt that he then iced with a TO in week 7). I'm a Seahawks fan so I'm happy with the result, but couldn't help thinking the end game strategy for the Cardinals could have been better. I fully expected the game to go to OT...

37 Final downs

As a neutral observer, I wondered why SEA passed on that last 3rd down. If they just run the ball, they either make ARI use one of their 2 remaining TO's, OR the clock goes to the 2 minute warning (ARI's best strategy in this alternate scenario). Then, SEA kicks the FG, probably a couple of yards closer than they actually were, and kicks off just as they did. However, ARI ends up with about 20 seconds less this way.

At the point you mention (~50 seconds left), I too thought that a couple of 5-10 yard passes, even over the middle, would also give Murray a chance to run for the TD--from the 30 it's very unlikely the way that SEA was defending the final drive. Even if ARI scores the TD, then SEA still has 2 TO's to get in position to attempt a game winning FG depending on when ARI scores. If they score it on one of their actual last plays, SEA would have had about 30 seconds to use. 

43 Yes.

Kingsbury played that all wrong.  Should have gotten as much as possible on 3rd down and used 4th down to get the final few years.

Cards had Seattle on the ropes and Denny Green'd them.

The Seahawks are who we thought they were and I suspect those NFC east games are not going to be as easy as they think they are.  

45 The Cardinals never had a…

In reply to by DIVISION

The Cardinals never had a lead in the entire game and never had a GWC over 50%. But they had Seattle "on the ropes"? How so?

48 The Cards are who we thought…

In reply to by DIVISION

The Cards are who we thought  they were: the NFCW team with the worst HC and an inconsistent performance. Their defense doesn't seem to match up to hype either. 

51 Yeah, but the receiver …

In reply to by DIVISION

Yeah, but the receiver (Isabella, I believe) looked really open.  Seahawks defenders closed the gap surprisingly fast.

Somewhat similar on play before. Had Fitz in the seam against a linebacker Diggs made a great play.

I don’t blame the Cards at all for that. Take your shots when you got ‘em.  Sometimes other teams just stops it.

40 I brought this up before,…

I brought this up before, but I think it's worth bringing up again. Let's say that one team has the ability in wk 17 to either be the #2 seed, or the #5 seed. This is a very possible scenario for one of the NFCW teams, and still possible for some others. Knowing how horrible the NFCE team is, are you better off intentionally losing, so you can play them, or winning, and guaranteeing a home game versus the #7 seed, which is projected to be the Cardinals, or take that away game, versus maybe the Eagles?

I think you have a better shot at winning that away game versus the Eagles, but then we have to factor in the lack of home field advantage through the rest of the playoffs. I think I've heard that home field is worth +3 points, so we'd be giving up that advantage in the next rounds, and if the #1 seed got knocked off before the NFCCG, we would give that up for three games. 

It's an interesting statistical question, where gut feel is probably also just as good.

41 As a Seattle fan...

If the choice is putting on your best effort, and risking injury, against the Rams or Niners, if the 1 seed is a lost cause and the 5 seed a near certainty... totally, bring on the practice squad.

Create your own bye week.  Then you get the "best" of PHI/DAL/NYG/WTF, where you could potentially build a big lead on the road and rest players for a quarter or a half.

57 Not in the sense of having a…

Not in the sense of having a home crowd, obviously.  But I would contend that there's a bigger disadvantage during a pandemic to traveling & contending with the accompanying restrictions, so that's where you get a HFA.

42 My Cards...

As I was watching the game unfold, mistake after mistake, pre-snap penalties, post-play penalties, a safety; I wasn't impressed with Seattle at all.  

If the Cardinals could get out of their own way, they win this game, maybe by 10-14 points.

Dan Arnold, the TE/WR, killed us.  That drop in the red zone took 3-7 points off the board.  Then he was open on a screen and didn't know where to go.  Really bad mistakes.

Kyler took a few bad sacks, but it's a learning experience so I think he'll be fine.

Officiating was bad on both sides.  Really strange calls.  I thought they weren't calling holding this year?  

All in all, I'm not too disappointed because despite all that, they had a chance to extend the game on the 15 yard line.

I think Kingsbury made a mistake in not splitting the yardage between 3rd and 4th down instead of going for it all both times.  

Fitzgerald probably should have gotten that DPI in the endzone, but consistent with the way the game went, didn't get that call.

It happens.

Still not sold on the Seahawks at all.  Those defensive gaps in their zone are still there if a QB can hang in the pocket long enough to exploit them.

 

46 And if DK doesn't drop two…

In reply to by DIVISION

And if DK doesn't drop two easy passes, and Wagner doesn't accidentally make a horse-collar tackle, etc., etc. then Seattle would have won by 20+ points. That always works both ways. The evidence shows that Seattle and the Cardinals are roughly equal teams, with perhaps an advantage to Seattle if we can manage to get healthier, especially on defense.

I'm not sold on Seattle's DEFENSE (hell, I don't think Carroll even is), but the offense and the special teams more than make up for it (not to an extent that makes Seattle an elite team, but enough to give us an outside shot at the SB). I'd be very happy to not have to face the Cardinals in the playoffs, though. Fortunately, our good luck in close games earlier in the season is likely going to let us win the division, but I don't see much difference in overall quality between the Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks.

47 I think it's pretty…

I think it's pretty fascinating how different all three teams are. The Cards are a really balanced, but totally uninspiring team. Barely above average in all three phases. The Rams are an elite defense, an above average offense, and a horrible special teams (eye test not DVOA). The Hawks are an otherwise mediocre team, with the best deep ball passing game I have ever seen. All three teams manage to be basically as good as each other, despite their massive differences.

Weird.

52 I think that’s a big reason…

I think that’s a big reason why football is so popular right now.  There’s so many different styles and ways to be good.  Games don’t all look the same.

In baseball it’s all about three true outcomes; in basketball it’s lay-ins, foul shots, and threes.  In football you can be good so many different ways.  It’s fun.

If the NFL can ever figure out how to reduce DPI/illegal contact/defensive holding penalties without totally killing passing offenses, then it would be at its perfect form, IMO.  (Well, you’ve also got things like Kaepernick being blackballed and CTE and that, but that’s beyond the scope of a comments section.)

62 "If the NFL can ever figure…

"If the NFL can ever figure out how to reduce DPI/illegal contact/defensive holding penalties without totally killing passing offenses, then it would be at its perfect form"

I agree with you, and the frustrating thing is these are the penalties that are easiest to clean up and get right in the video-replay age.

It took a few years, but the CFL cleaned this up with coach's challenges.  The first couple of years were ugly, but after that things improved dramatically. DC's learned that defenders couldn't get away with the little tugs because guess what - the camera sees that 100% of the time, even if the official doesn't.  WR coaches learned that receivers couldn't get away with push offs because guess what - the camera sees that 100% of the time, too.  So they started coaching players that you will be flagged every time if you try and cheat, and worked on techniques that won't draw a penalty, instead.  Most importantly, I think, is the on field officiating improved, too, because the officials got to see what they missed, or thought they saw but didn't, just as soon as it happened.  Over time that helped them become better at getting the calls right the first time.

I've no idea why the NFL had a palace coup to undermine coach's challenges on DPI last year, but it's frustrating, because it's set back getting this part of the game cleaned up.

63 The problem was they were completely inconsistent with the call

First they used replay to call ticky tacky PI, then they switched up mid season and stopped calling anything, including some pretty blatant PI.  The refs also started leaning on the replay to make the call in the first place.

 

Basically, the NFL does replay poorly always, and adding the most complicated play in the game reviewable made the terrible way the NFL does replay incredibly blatant. 

64 A.Schatz is a chowderhead

This site gets worse by the minute.  I’m going to go start my own website with DVOA and blackjack.

68 You said it. I mean the…

You said it. I mean the level of chowderheadism that Schatz displays here is just un freakin believable. A level of chowderheadism that just shouldn't even be possible. 

Well the Schatz is out of the bag, and we're fed up. I've called into my local congressman seven times over this, to no response THUS FAR. 

65 Interesting Wk 11

SEA/ARZ:  Good game to start things off with.  Back and forth as I expected with Russ returning to form.  Amazing what a little run game support and non-terrible defense will do.  Both teams had left points on the field and make crucial mistakes.  Will be interesting to see if we get a "Round 3".

CLE/PHI:  I think this will be a sneaky good game.  On paper CLE should wipe the floor with them, but well Baker & Browns.  Carson is still looking for any help from anyone, but he is still capable of a few throws per game that could make it close.

NO/ATL:  This game wasn't even on my radar, I imagine only those with fantasy interests cared.  Now with Taysom Hill named the starter?  I guess we get to see if Sean Payton has been telling us all the truth and we'll see Steve Young 2.0.  (30 years old and has thrown 18 passes)

TEN/BAL:  I'm so confused by both of these teams.  I suppose some of it can be chalked up to Covid 2020 and lack of development after promising seasons last year.  I think BAL needs it more, Lamar needs it more.  I don't think they can catch PIT at this point, but they need some confidence.  As for TEN, Vrabel has done great to make this team competitive, now if he wants to be considered among the best, he needs to show an ability to adjust/adapt to overcome their hurdles.

GB/IND:  If Rivers can avoid turning the ball over, I don't see how GB wins this game.  Except that Rodgers has a punchers chance in any game he plays.  I will be interested to see if GB can keep him upright and their lack of weapons (injured Adams?) bites them again.  Sorry, but I find nothing interesting about the Colts otherwise with Rivers at QB.  If they had made a trade for Darnold, or Jimmy G, or maybe signed Cam Newton in the offseason instead of NE.  It would be an entirely different story.

LV/KC:  Is John Gruden a good coach?  A great coach?  Being the only team to knock off the champs is a great feather in his cap, but was it a fluke?  I don't think he has to win to prove he is great, but I am expecting KC to be on a revenge tear and to blow them out.  Can Gruden keep at least competitive?  

LAR/TB:  (Edit: Can't believe I forgot this game)  The NFL is all about matchups.  The Rams are a horrible matchup for my Seahawks and Aaron Donald haunts me.  Similarly, TB is going to rush and hit Goff all game long.  Now without Whitworth?  Game over.  The Bucs are also good at stopping the running game, so no safety valve.  Good game on paper, but I think it's a blowout

69 I really enjoyed this

Excellent job Kopalec, I think you’re spot on for most of this and thinking about your questions as the games play tomorrow will be fun.

73 Ben Roethlisberger was THIS…

Ben Roethlisberger was THIS CLOSE to having a half of football against the Jaguars without a pick.  On the last play of the half his intended receiver James Washington slips and falls, and Jags safety Daniel Thomas takes it out to the 35 or so but the half ends.

The radio announces mentioned that Ben's been picked 5 times this season, but opposing teams have zero total points off of those INTs.

78 I'm really glad to see the…

I'm really glad to see the Steelers not looking past bad teams.  This is two straight stomps for them during a season defined by single digit margins and huge halftime swings.  10-0 and a four-game lead over Baltimore leading to a Steelers-Ravens showdown Thursday night.  Time to sweat it.

75 It's one game against a bad…

It's one game against a bad defense, but the Taysom Hill experiment has been a resounding success so far. I can't say I ever expected to say that.

77 Welp, driving down for…

Welp, driving down for another score, Hill made a good, tough, long run through the defense - then got stripped thanks to poor ball security, Atlanta ball. I've only seen the second half, but that's the only mistake I've seen him make so far (albeit a very bad one).

The New Orleans defense is also utterly dominant: I know the Atlanta offense has been pretty mediocre this year despite how they look on paper, but until this mid-4th-quarter drive they had -4 yards in the half. Ryan's been sacked 8 times and has only 2 successful completions, both desperation throws, an 8-yarder on 3rd and 5, then about a 25 yarder on 4th and 13 to Julio Jones, who promptly exits with an injury. And Ryan got away with a dropped easy pick-six - although as I type that, he gets a tipped ball (very bad throw into traffic) intercepted, and that'll be it for this game barring a cosmic-level meltdown.

76 Just catching up on the news…

Just catching up on the news and I see the Bengals finally broke Joe Burrow. I told them to put him in a stasis chamber until they could assemble a competent o-line, damn it.

80 If you want to watch a funny…

If you want to watch a funny game: Chargers-Jets. First drive: Chargers receive the kickoff, get stopped by the Jets D, then get a punt blocked. Jets cash it in in short order - and miss the extra point. Next drive, Chargers slice through the Jets defense like a hot knife through butter - until Keenan Allen fumbles at the goal line. Jets recover - then Flacco throws a pick-six on the very first pass. 7-6 Chargers near the end of the 1st.

81 Ravens in Real Trouble

They could miss the playoffs. No other way to say it-- four losses-- with Browns and Titans winning, that makes eight teams in AFC with three or fewer

95 There is absolutely a…

There is absolutely a realistic chance that the Ravens miss the playoffs. But with that said, after Pittsburgh on Thursday, their schedule is all winnable games - including one against Cleveland, against whom a victory would give them the tiebreaker. Glancing through the schedules of everyone in the AFC wildcard hunt, it looks to me like they've got the easiest remaining schedule - even if they lose to the Steelers, if they take care of business the rest of the way they should be 11-5 with tiebreaker advantage against the Colts and Browns, at least. That should be enough. Not time to panic just yet (worry, yes, panic, no).

82 And there's your Packer defense

3rd and long-- soft coverage allows a first down to Hilton. Reverse for big yards and a crossing pattern for an easy TD-- horrible

85 And there's your Packer defense

Surrounding the one ridiculous drive it has been punch fumble, stop, stop, and now INT... Long way to go but this surprises the hell out of me

87 They only have 2 great…

They only have 2 great players on D with Alexander and Z Smith, but injuries still matter. It's been awhile since we've seen CB1 and CB2 playing together. Kirksey isn't anything special but he is the best ILB on the team and he's been gone for awhile. Pettine is actually calling the occasional blitz again and plays with fewer than 6 DB on the field so they have players near the line to follow to the ball.

I do wish I could watch a game where Preston Smith isn't playing coverage half the time.

 

All that said this is probably the best this defense will ever be. They are capable of playing to the level of an average NFL defense. 

89 And how good is the offense?

Playing one of the best defenses in league, GB turns it over twice, one a mistake between the Center (now out of the game) and Rodgers.... And still scores 28 points in the first half.

WOW   

86 There's been a Xavier Rhodes…

There's been a Xavier Rhodes bounceback season narrative out there, but he's been easily cleared out by MVS on two WR screens to his side, one went for a 20+ yard gain and the other was a short TD. MVS is not a good blocker. Maybe Rhodes been better in coverage, but he's helped make it easy for the Packers early.

88 DVOA VALUE??

27 seconds left in half-- packers in their own territory near midfield 3rd and 1... rather than get the first down, Rodgers throws a bomb to Valdez-Scandling, who is interfered with on the 5 yard line... A 51 yard penalty. They score a TD on the next play.  I would argue that is one of the most impactful/valuable plays of the season, let alone this week... But Rodgers gets no credit for it... Neither does Valdez-Scandling. What say DVOA???

93 Very bottom of this page …

In reply to by oaktoon

Very bottom of this page (just search for interference) https://help.footballoutsiders.com/hc/en-us/articles/360045226711-DVOA-Explained-in-Depth DPI counts so MVS and Rodgers will get DVOA for that play.

 

I'm happy to see MVS get credit for the one thing he can do. I'm pretty harsh on the guy, mostly because he seems like he should be so much better than he is and it frustrates me.

 

It's been fun to see the full offense playing together (well Lindsey isn't on the line). I think this is the first time they have had St. Brown, Lazard, Valdez-Scandling, Adams, Jones, and Williams all available at the "skill" positions.

I'm curious how the AGL numbers are going to look for this team. They have had a lot more injuries than people seem to talk about. 

91 If the Broncos don’t throw…

If the Broncos don’t throw another high pick at QB this year they need to get Drew Lock to spend his off-season doing whatever Josh Allen did in the last off-season to get some consistency into his throwing action and footwork. They probably ought to throw this year’s picks at OL if possible and then if Lock can’t or won’t work on his basics (he has raw arm talent and enough athleticism) anyone they pick in April 2022 wIll have a full complement around them to begin with.

Lock just completely whiffed on a wide open TE in the flat, and then got to hand off on a predictable 4th down pile into the line that didn’t quite get the yard needed. This after an execrable pick on his first 3rd down, but some decent balls since.

Denver defence doing a good job though.

92 Rock Ya-Sin bails out MVS…

Rock Ya-Sin bails out MVS's alligator arms with a pretty egregious DPI for 51 yards. Part of the alligator arms were that Ya-Sin had his one arm hooked, granted, but looking at the motion of the free hand, he was totally off on the timing and probably would have whiffed the catch left to his own devices. Packers punch it in on the next play: 28-14 at the half.

On an earlier TD, Aaron Jones straight up trucked the safety backwards into the end zone. Jones is officially 5'9" and 208 lbs. Leonard Fournette might literally have 25% more body mass and he stinks out loud in short yardage situations. I don't really have a point, I just think that's kind of funny.

112 He was apparently playing…

He was apparently playing with a sore foot and the play before he was taken out was sacked in a way that twisted his legs somewhat, so he could have aggravated something. But he was also not looking like leading a scoring drive without help.

118 Tua Taigovailoa has thus far…

Tua Taigovailoa has thus far into his career, shown absolutely zero reason why someone credible and intelligent would think he offers the Dolphins their best shot at winning now, despite his head coach's assurances. 

And the whole "he needs to develop," well Brady developed just fine sitting his first year. Rodgers sat 4 years. The list goes on. I think having Fitzpatrick sitting is totally idiotic.

Although he does throw a lot of picks.

96 Packers special teams might…

Packers special teams might cost them this game. Shepard had a sort of strange play earlier where he let a kickoff go that almost didn't go for a touchback - on replay, the nose of the ball just hit the goal line. Then on the return after Indy hit the tying FG he is stripped and the Colts recover in FG range. Packers D holds - although they're about to be losing, they've held up pretty well considering the offense has managed to run exactly 6 plays this half - but the Colts do get the FG to take the lead, 31-28.

Philip Rivers looks injured - he's limping around all over the place, and went into the tent briefly - but they did put him in for a few plays that drive.

100 Flags on literally 5…

Flags on literally 5 straight plays. I wonder what the record is...

UPDATE: now FIVE offensive holding penalties on the Colts this drive (2 declined). I don't think I've seen anything like this - and it's not like the refs are being super persnickety about it, they're all deserved.

103 It was completely insane…

It was completely insane. Like you said none of them were close, except for one of the holds on the play they called two holds, but the other was clear. Indy really didn't seem to want to win on that possession.

101 9 times!

Colts called for offensive holding 9 times today.  Many teams do not have 9 calls for offensive holding all season long.

Officials yet again rule a forward pass as a "fumble" for no discernable reason. 

102 You know, live it sure…

In reply to by RickD

You know, live it sure looked like an incomplete pass, but on review it's awfully close. I still think it's a pass - and the refs agree, on review - but I think that one was worth looking at.

120 9 holding penalties

In reply to by RickD

RickD wrote:

Many teams do not have 9 calls for offensive holding all season long.

Walter Jones played 180 games as an offensive lineman (LT) in 12 seasons in the NFL and had eight holding penalties in his whole career. 

104 Well, we're off to overtime…

Well, we're off to overtime. Both teams had stretches of brilliance and stretches of utter ineptitude, so this is probably deserved.

111 Andy Reid's still at it, huh?

Honestly, when is that guy going to learn to manage the clock near the end of regulation? Should've just let the Raiders score. We all knew they were almost guaranteed to score from 1st-goal at the 1.

 

So instead of having 2 minutes and change, the 2 minute warning, and 2 timeouts, they have 1:43 and 1 timeout.

113 Well, it looks like they had…

Well, it looks like they had plenty of time ;) don’t expect he will change his stripes over that now, but he does so much of the rest of coaching well.

I’m starting to find myself unsure what exactly some teams need to score these days as long as they have over a minute left. If you have a fast striking offence wasting a minute might actually be to your benefit (we’ve all seen teams drive into a good position then stall running down the click) at least Andy Reid seems to not be quite as optimistic as to kicker’s legs as some coaches.

114 Doesn't matter, as Mahomes…

Doesn't matter, as Mahomes drives down the field and delivers the pass to Kelce for the lead (and the win). 

 

I know we've been talking Russ for MVP, but Mahomes was great tonight, especially that last drive. 

116 He threw for some yards

but 2 TD and 1 INT wasn't "great".  It was a solid game.  Probably the excitement of the game made it feel like a better day by Mahomes than it actually was.

122 Vs a so-so Raiders team.

3 of those TDs were RBs.

Mahomes has only faced weak teams outside of Balt.  and Buff. And Balt. is struggling.

I get it.  SB champs.  All the hype.  But 2 TD, 1 INT wasn't "great", it was solid.

But let's wait till after TB and NO.

123 These things are all true...

BUT - KC with Mahomes as starter has *never* lost by more than 8 points, no matter who they've played. That's pretty good, I'd say. Also, they can only play who has been scheduled. You're right that TB and NO will be tough tests, but I wouldn't bet against him. 

124 i remember that was also true

about Wilson -- at the start of his career, there were years that he never lost by two scores.  Then he did, and I don't know what the total amount was -- it's really a screwy stat, anyway.  It's funny that advocates for Mahomes (and really, why wouldn't one be an advocate?) also cite that kind of stat.

 

126 So...

In 2015 Seattle at GB, they lost by two scores.

In 2016 Seattle at GB, was the first game of the Wilson era where the game wasn't within a single score in the 4th Qtr.

125 Lol at criticizing a QB

for letting his RBs run the ball in on a few of the great long TD drives he led. That’s REALLY reaching for critique.

127 Imaginary DPI on Ramsey on…

Imaginary DPI on Ramsey on 3rd and long extends the second Bucs drive, and as Q1 comes to an end they're threatening to tie the game up after Rams had a long TD drive on their only Q1 possession. 

140 Followed up by one of the…

Followed up by one of the most absurd DPI calls I have ever seen. Ramsey covering Evans, who literally facemasks him three seperate times, back and forth, like a boxer throwing hook combinations. Then Ramsey gets called for DPI, somehow.

146 I personally thought the…

I personally thought the first one was even worse, as at least when Ramsey was being facemasked he made contact with the receiver, whereas on the earlier DPI it appeared from replay that he never actually even touched the receiver, but I'm splitting hairs.

Just another day in the office for the world's worst-officiated professional sport.  4th-and-long or a 20 yard penalty and a new set of downs - pretty much the same thing, so let's not have a booth official looking at these, whatever we do.

128 nice TD by Evans

Grabbed at about the 5-yard line but bulls forward.  Got last three yards while one defender was holding one of his legs in mid-air. 

129 DPI?

Looked like OPI on Evans, if anything. 

132 Gaaaa, watching the Rams 2…

Gaaaa, watching the Rams 2 minute offense made me want to pull my hair out, then they get a FG out of it anyway in a triumph of luck over process.

133 Brady DPI

Yes I believe he leads the league. Just coincidence I’m sure. And eff that Rams DB who dropped the easy pick.

134 Still not sure why if…

Still not sure why if someone has grabbed your arm before you start passing you can’t be called for Intentional Grounding when the pass goes nowhere near anyone. That would perhaps solve a lot of the ‘is the hand going forward with control or not arguments (or maybe just cause different ones...). Feels like Bucs really dodged a safety there,

 

135 Lol @ Brady's double pass

Ball tipped back to him, he throws it again!  Rams decline penalty to force punt so the completion stands?!?  

So...does that count as two passing attempts?  

136 Apparently a second forward…

Apparently a second forward pass from behind the line of scrimmage is a 5 yard penalty, replay the down. (I hadn't realized that because we almost always say illegal forward passes past the line of scrimmage, which are a loss of down.) So throwing that second pass was a smart move, since if Evans had picked up the first down then TB would've gotten to replay their 3rd down.

138 NFC Wide Open

We know a few things. The Bucs are not going to get the #1 seed. Nor will they get a home game unless the unlikeliest scenario occurs of a worse WC team winning two games to get to the NFC championship game. But they might be the WC team with the worst record.

The West's best team is pretty clearly the Rams. Whether they can make good on that claim and win the division will depend on whether they can win three of the next four, then beat the Seahawks and Cards in the final two games to finish it. next four are SF, NE and NYJ at home sprinkled around a road game in the desert against the Cardinals.

New Orleans is a Number One seed without a starting QB and who would lose that status if they wind up with same record as their closest pursuer-- the Packers.

Any one of 6 teams could get to the SB. Curiously the one DVOA thought might be a historically great team a month ago might have the worst chance of the 6 with perhaps the worst QB of all 6 teams once Brees gets healthy. Yes, i am saying Goff is better than Brady-- did you see the game tonight??

141 Goff looked sharp and on…

In reply to by oaktoon

Goff looked sharp and on point through the game, and this felt like a blowout that somehow managed to remain a close game.

Having said that, the Rams schedule is so much harder than the Seahawks from here on out, that it's hard to bet on them winning the division. They could easily be the best team, yet finish 5-2, for 11-5, to the Seahawks 12-4. 

What's more interesting is that this game had the biggest wild card implications. The Rams now have the tiebreaker for #5 seed versus the Bucs, which is huge. If the Rams get the #5 seed, then they get to play the cupcake NFCE. If they had lost, it would have been nearly impossible for them to get that seed.

147 Goff looked like he had time…

Goff looked like he had time to find his first receiver, who was usually open, and often time to look at a second receiver, who was also usually open.  Bucs pass rush was ineffective and their coverage was generally worse.

I agree he played a good game, but I don't think there's ever been any question of whether he can make the throws.  His issues have usually been when he's needed to think on the fly, and for whatever reason, last night he didn't seem to need to do a lot of that.

Now, maybe I'm not giving him enough credit, and maybe his first receiver was open most of the time because Goff is getting better at making the correct first read.  He was spending a lot of time looking at the defense before the snap, often snapping with the playclock at zeroes, so perhaps he's spending more time on that aspect of his game and getting better at it.

142 NFC Playoff Battles

Unlike the AFC, which has tons of teams in the wildcard race. We already most likely know who's making it in the NFC, with the exception of the bad NFCE teams. It's possible the Cards miss the playoffs, with the Bears making it, but unlikely.

So the way I see it, we have some interesting battles in the NFC, especially because that #5 seed is incredibly valuable this year, since the NFCE teams are so bad.

Playoffs: Cards or Bears, probably cards.

NFCW: Hawks, Rams, maybe Cards. I think the Cards are out of it, since the Hawks schedule is just so damn easy, and the Cards are already a game back. The Rams might be a better team, but their schedule is league average, versus the cupcake Hawks schedule. It all comes down to Wk 16, Rams @ Hawks.

NFCS: Saints have won.

NFCE: Who cares?

NFCN: Pack have won.

So that #5 seed is interesting, and I think that this was a huge game, since the Rams now have the tiebreaker versus the Bucs. Considering that it's going to be Rams/Bucs/Cards for the wildcard, if the Rams can just split versus the Cards, it might even be advantageous to lose to the Hawks in order to secure that #5 seed.

143 And I thought the Rams…

And I thought the Rams Defense looked outright elite tonight, and has for the last few games. Sometimes you can just tell. Even the completed passes were with good coverage, and were great offensive players making plays. The pass rush almost got there tons of times, and wasn't overpowering, but was consistent. The run defense, while less important, is borderline dominant, with so many of the Bucs rushing attempts going for 0-2 yards. 

However, I have no problem with the rams rushing for very little yards, I just wish McVay called even fewer rushes. If the Bucs are continuing to play the run hard, don't run the ball. I remember one season Belichick one week versus the Colts comes out in 6 OLineman packages and runs it down their throats over and over. The next week, versus the Jets, he passes it 55 times and runs 7 times. 

There are no awards for "being balanced." If you can throw it, but not run it, then throw it. McVay only got about half the way there, and I wouldn't have minded literally zero runs until it is clear and obvious that the Bucs refuse to respect the run.

Also, if McVay could please grow some balls and kick the field goals less. Or call fewer WR screens. Guess you've got to take the good with the bad.

145 Question is...will DVOA…

Question is...will DVOA finally reflect the fact that Tampa just isn't very good?

I mean I REALLY want TB to beat KC next week to help out the Steelers...but does anyone really think they have a chance?

148 A chance?  Yes.  Last night…

A chance?  Yes.  Last night was bad Brady, but that doesn't mean good Brady doesn't show up next game.

Raiders have shown how you beat the Chiefs: score early, score often.  Not really rocket science, but you need to be able to match their offense with at least as many TD drives of your own.  Bucs have the ability to put up a lot of points, so I do think they're capable of winning a shootout.  But not if Brady airmails INTs on a regular basis.