Jonathan Taylor Makes His Case for MVP

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 11 - Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts enjoyed a monster game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, rushing for 185 yards and four touchdowns and adding a fifth scoring play as a receiver. He's only the fourth player in league history to amass that kind of rushing yardage and score five touchdowns in a single game, the first since Clinton Portis did it with Denver in 2003. It was the best rushing performance we have measured in a decade and a half, and among the best in our database going back to 1983.

A second-round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 2020, Taylor started 13 games as a rookie in Indianapolis, but split time in a committee with veterans Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, each of whom carried the ball about one-third as often as Taylor. Taylor's workload has grown this season, up from 15.5 carries per game to 17.5, and his production has gone up as well, from 5.0 yards per carry to 5.8. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in six of his last eight games, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and 118.9 per game over that stretch, adding 13 rushing touchdowns.

On Sunday, he took the field against a Bills defense that has allowed only one other 100-yard rusher this season. He made a dramatic statement on the Colts' very first drive, on which he totaled a half-dozen carries:

  • 3-yard gain on third-and-2
  • 10-yard gain on second-and-2
  • 6-yard gain on first-and-10
  • 10-yard gain on second-and-4
  • 3-yard gain on first-and-goal from the 6
  • 3-yard touchdown on second-and-goal

That's 35 yards, four first downs, and six successful plays in a row. There were a handful of teams that didn't have that many rushing first downs or successful runs in entire games this week. And that was just the first drive. Taylor finished with 46 rushing yards in the first quarter, 33 in the second, 75 in the third, and 31 in the fourth, not to mention the quartet of rushing scores he produced along the way. That steady production largely explains why he ended up so high in our list of great rushing games.

Best Running Back Games, Rushing DYAR, 1983-2021
Year Player Team Rush
DYAR
Runs Yds Avg. TD Wk Def
1997 Corey Dillon CIN 126 39 246 6.31 4 15 TEN
1983 Tony Collins NE 124 23 212 9.22 3 3 NYJ
2006 Joseph Addai IND 121 24 171 7.13 4 12 PHI
1983 Eric Dickerson LARM 119 30 199 6.33 3 5 DET
2005 LaDainian Tomlinson SD 117 21 192 9.14 3 3 NYG
1991 Barry Sanders DET 116 23 220 9.57 4 13 MIN
2021 Jonathan Taylor IND 112 32 185 5.78 4 11 BUF
2000 Fred Taylor JAX 111 30 234 7.80 3 12 PIT
2010 Arian Foster HOU 110 33 231 7.00 3 1 IND
2009 James Harrison CLE 109 34 286 8.41 3 15 KC
2014 Jonas Gray NE 104 37 201 5.43 4 11 IND
2004 Edgerrin James IND 104 23 204 8.87 1 11 CHI
1986 Curt Warner SEA 103 24 192 8.00 3 16 DEN
2002 Priest Holmes KC 101 23 197 8.57 2 12 SEA

Taylor is the first player to get to 112-plus rushing DYAR in a single game since Joseph Addai (another former Colts player—maybe there's something in the water in the White River) in 2006. He's notable on this list for his relatively low average gain. Only Jonas Gray (an amazing one-game wonder—201 yards in one game, 387 in his other 15) averaged fewer yards per carry in this table. Taylor had some chunk plays this week—a 40-yarder in the third quarter, five other carries that gained at least 10 yards—but compared to the other games in this list, he was downright plodding.

What he lacked in explosiveness, however, Taylor made up for in reliability. Only three of his 32 carries went for no gain or a loss; eight players were stuffed more often in Week 11. Meanwhile, Taylor ran for 14 first downs, eight more than anyone else. In particular, Taylor was nearly automatic in short yardage. He had 11 carries with 4 yards or less to go for a first down and picked up a first down 10 times. The one exception was a run for no gain on second-and-1 in the red zone; the Colts gave him the ball again on third-and-1 and he picked up 3 yards, adding his last rushing touchdown shortly thereafter. (If you're curious, 62% of all runs with 4 yards or less to go have been converted this season.)

We're about 600 words into this and have barely mentioned what Taylor did as a receiver … not that there's a lot to say. He had a 4-yard loss on first-and-10, a 23-yard touchdown on second-and-5, and an incomplete target on second-and-20. That's only 6 receiving DYAR, but it's enough to get Taylor onto the list of best combined DYAR games too.

Best Running Back Games, Combined DYAR, 1983-2021
Year Player Team Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Runs Yds TD Pass Rec Yds TD Wk Def
2002 Priest Holmes KC 152 101 52 23 197 2 7 7 110 1 12 SEA
2006 Joseph Addai IND 145 121 24 24 171 4 3 3 37 0 12 PHI
1997 Corey Dillon CIN 135 126 9 39 246 4 2 2 30 0 15 TEN
2005 LaDainian Tomlinson SD 134* 117 -13 21 192 3 7 7 28 0 3 NYG
1985 Lionel James SD 133 37 96 7 51 1 12 11 168 1 10 LARD
1991 Barry Sanders DET 131 116 15 23 220 4 4 4 31 0 13 MIN
1998 Marshall Faulk IND 131 89 41 17 192 1 8 8 75 1 13 BAL
1983 Tony Collins NE 124 124 -1 23 212 3 1 1 5 0 3 NYJ
2000 Marshall Faulk STL 123 95 28 32 220 2 8 8 41 1 17 NO
1983 Eric Dickerson LARM 120 119 1 30 199 3 3 3 21 0 5 DET
2021 Jonathan Taylor IND 118 112 6 32 185 4 3 3 19 1 11 BUF
2007 Brian Westbrook PHI 117 58 59 14 110 2 5 5 111 1 3 DET
* Total DYAR includes 30 pass DYAR for a 26-yard touchdown pass.

It has been a long, long time since a new name has joined this table. Taylor is the first addition since Brian Westbrook in 2007.

So does Taylor have a serious shot at the MVP award? He's now up to 1,122 rushing yards, nearly 200 more than anyone else (and second-place Derrick Henry won't be making up ground anytime soon). He's also first with 1,444 yards from scrimmage (over 300 more than second-place Cooper Kupp) and 13 rushing touchdowns, and his 83-yard gain against Houston remains the longest run of the season. (He didn't score on that play, but Indianapolis gave him the ball again on each of the next three snaps, and he got into the end zone on third down.)

His advanced stats are even more impressive. Though he has negative DVOA as a receiver, his rushing DVOA has risen from 3.8% as a rookie to 31.0% this season. That's second-best among running backs with at least 50 carries behind—this is true—Jacksonville's James Robinson. (The AFC South consists entirely of three dominant running backs and also the Houston Texans.) Combine that efficiency with Taylor's 193 carries (still second to Henry even though Henry hasn't played in three weeks) and you get 356 rushing DYAR. Nobody else has even 200. Extrapolate that DYAR total over 17 weeks and you get a historic season:

That's FO editor-in-chief Aaron Schatz, who also notes that Taylor has faced the toughest schedule of defenses of any running back this year. That only makes his raw totals more impressive.

If Taylor is going to seriously contend for the MVP award, the Colts will probably need to not just make the playoffs, but earn a high seed. Our current playoff odds give them about a 2-in-3 chance of qualifying for the postseason, but only a 12.3% chance of catching the Titans in the AFC South. That means they will probably will not be division champions, though at 22.4% they are currently the slight favorites in a wide-open field to get the fifth seed as the top wild-card team.

As for that 1-in-3 chance they miss the playoffs entirely? Well, that's what the Offensive Player of the Year award is for, right?

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
23/33
385
4
0
2
203
197
6
MIN
Rodgers actually had negative DYAR in the first quarter, when he went 6-of-9 for 64 yards with a sack-fumble. However, he was first in DYAR in both the second and fourth quarters, and second in DYAR in the third. Over those 45 minutes, he went 17-of-24 for 321 yards with all four touchdowns and one sack. He threw six deep balls on Sunday, completing four of them for 157 yards and three touchdowns. That left him virtually tied for DYAR on deep passes with...
2.
Kirk Cousins MIN
24/35
341
3
0
2
191
191
0
GB
... this guy! Cousins turned into Daryle Lamonica against Green Bay with 14 deep throws, four more than anyone else this week. Six were completed for 180 yards and a touchdown; a seventh resulted in a 37-yard DPI. Cousins was well-rounded, however, and also had the best DYAR on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, going 6-of-7 for 49 yards.
3.
Justin Herbert LAC
30/41
382
3
1
2
153
122
32
PIT
Herbert's first pass of the third quarter was incomplete. So was his last pass of the third quarter. In between, he completed eight passes in a row for 101 yards and a touchdown. He was nearly perfect from under center, going 6-of-7 for 71 yards with every completion picking up a first down, plus a 3-yard DPI on an eighth throw.
4.
Taylor Heinicke WAS
16/22
206
3
0
3
124
119
5
CAR
The most clutch passer of Week 11 was Mr. Heinicke, who led all quarterbacks in DYAR on third/fourth downs (9-of-11 for 124 yards and six conversions, including a touchdown) and in the red zone (three passes, three completions, three touchdowns, for a total of 22 yards).
5.
Colt McCoy ARI
35/44
328
2
0
2
99
107
-8
SEA
McCoy ripped up the middle of Seattle's defense, going 13-of-15 for 119 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 3-yard DPI. He was also tops in DYAR on throws to tight ends, going 8-of-10 for 88 yards and two scores, plus that 3-yard DPI. Obviously, there's a fair amount of overlap in those two categories.
6.
Tom Brady TB
30/46
307
2
1
0
89
86
3
NYG
7.
Cam Newton CAR
21/27
189
2
0
1
61
52
9
WAS
Newton gets 9 rushing DYAR for his eight carries for 47 yards and a touchdown. You probably saw his 24-yard scoring scamper on the highlight shows, but he only ran for two other first downs. He's dinged heavily for a 3-yard loss on first-and-10 and a failure to convert on third-and-1. As a passer, his 27-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey tied the game at 21-all early in the fourth quarter, but he only threw for one first down after that, going 7-of-9 for only 45 yards with a sack.
8.
Jalen Hurts PHI
13/24
147
0
0
3
58
11
47
NO
Hurts gets 47 rushing DYAR for his 16 carries for 71 yards and three touchdowns. He loses lots of DYAR for a 3-yard loss on first-and-10 and a 6-yard loss on third-and-2, but he ran for seven first downs in all, six of them third-down conversions, two of them on gains of 20-plus yards. He also hit some big plays on third down as a passer, going 6-of-10 for 86 yards, but only picked up five conversions while giving up two sacks.
9.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
28/44
273
3
0
3
50
50
0
LAC
Pittsburgh's second-half rally on Sunday night was fueled mostly by a boatload of Chargers mistakes, but also by Roethlisberger's dominant performance on no-huddle plays, where he went 10-of-11 for 93 yards and a touchdown. Every one of those plays came in the third and fourth quarters.
10.
Carson Wentz IND
11/20
106
1
0
0
48
58
-10
BUF
Wentz's average dropback came with a league-high 10.7 yards to go for a first down. He picked up four first downs in five plays with less than 10 yards to go, but just one in eight with exactly 10, and one in seven with longer yardage than that.
11.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
16/22
176
2
0
2
40
41
-1
JAX
Garoppolo gained successful yardage on 67% of his dropbacks, the highest rate in the league this week. There are lot of walks and singles baked into that on-base percentage, however—only eight of his 16 successful plays picked up first downs.
12.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
27/33
273
2
1
0
36
42
-6
NYJ
Tagovailoa loses a league-high 64 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Miami's heavy reliance on RPOs severely cuts down on Tagovailoa's downfield opportunities, but most of his big plays came on deeper throws. On balls that traveled more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, he went 8-of-10 for 147 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Trevor Lawrence JAX
16/25
158
0
0
3
36
26
10
SF
Lawrence only threw one pass down the middle against San Francisco: an 18-yard completion to Tavon Austin in the second quarter.
14.
Tyrod Taylor HOU
14/24
107
0
0
0
33
22
11
TEN
Taylor's average pass traveled a league-low 4.4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage; he did not throw a single deep ball, with no passes deeper than 13 yards downfield. His first pass of the second half was a 7-yard gain on third-and-6, but he failed to throw for a single first down after that, going 1-of-9 for 6 yards. He also gets 11 DYAR for his six carries for 25 yards and two touchdowns. Five of those runs were scrambles; the other was an aborted snap for a 3-yard loss.
15.
Andy Dalton CHI
11/23
201
2
0
1
17
17
0
BAL
Dalton's average completion gained 10.6 yards after the catch, most of any qualifier this week. (His teammate Justin Fields had radically different results.) That includes 62 YAC on a 60-yard touchdown to Darnell Mooney, 15 YAC on a 49-yard touchdown to Marquise Goodwin, and 40 YAC on all other plays. Despite that help from his receivers, he gained successful yardage on 29% of his dropbacks, the lowest rate in the league this week.
16.
Joe Flacco NYJ
25/39
291
2
0
2
3
6
-4
MIA
Flacco was reasonably effective at moving the Jets to midfield but struggled to do much beyond that. He only threw for two first downs in Dolphins territory, going 6-of-13 for 40 yards with one sack, one intentional grounding, and one penalty.
17.
Russell Wilson SEA
14/26
207
0
0
4
-20
-2
-18
ARI
It's a similar story for Wilson, who threw for eight first downs inside his own 40 but only one in the rest of the field, where he went 4-of-13 for 37 yards with three sacks and a fumble. He also loses 18 DYAR for two rushing plays: a 2-yard gain on third-and-1, and a botched handoff resulting in a 14-yard loss on second-and-6.
18.
Joe Burrow CIN
20/29
148
1
0
3
-22
-26
4
LV
Burrow was perfect on throws to his left, completing each of his seven throws in that direction for 64 yards and a touchdown. Five of those completions picked up first downs; the others were a 7-yard gain on second-and-8 and a 9-yard gain on third-and-15.
19.
Patrick Mahomes KC
23/37
260
0
1
3
-22
-18
-5
DAL
Mahomes gains 53 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, tied with Matt Ryan for most in the league. Inside the Dallas 40, he went 3-of-9 for 25 yards with an interception and a sack.
20.
Derek Carr LV
19/27
215
1
1
2
-23
-23
0
CIN
The Raiders could use some work on their screen game. Carr threw six passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, completing four of them for a total of 7 yards.
21.
Justin Fields CHI
4/11
79
0
0
2
-27
-35
7
BAL
Fields' average dropback came with a league-low 6.4 yards to go for a first down. But that didn't stop him from throwing deep—his average pass traveled a league-high 14.2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, while his average completion gained a league-low 1.5 yards after the catch. (His teammate Andy Dalton had radically different results.)
22.
Mac Jones NE
22/26
207
1
1
3
-36
-21
-15
ATL
Jones loses 55 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was nearly helpless in scoring range—inside the Atlanta 40, he went 6-of-8 for 52 yards with more sacks (two) than first downs (one, a 19-yard touchdown to Nelson Agholor).
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Baker Mayfield CLE
15/29
176
1
2
1
-42
-44
2
DET
Mayfield's last pass of the first half was a 5-yard touchdown to Nick Chubb that put Cleveland up 13-0. Then he only threw for one first down in the second half, when he went 4-of-11 for 52 yards with an interception and a sack.
24.
Josh Allen BUF
21/35
209
2
2
1
-45
-55
11
IND
Coming out of halftime, the Bills trailed 24-7. That's not an ideal situation, but hardly a lost cause. Allen proceeded to throw six incompletions in a row, followed by an interception. He did complete two of his last three passes in the third quarter for a total of 13 yards, but by that point the Bills were down 38-7 and the game was over.
25.
Trevor Siemian NO
22/40
214
3
2
0
-46
-61
15
PHI
Ready to have your mind blown? Siemian was the week's best passer inside the opponents' 40, where he went 10-of-15 for 115 yards and three touchdowns. The problem is that he was the WORST passer in the rest of the field, going 12-of-25 for 99 yards with two interceptions, including a pick-six. And yes, most of that scoring-range production came in garbage time—13 of those 15 throws came with New Orleans trailing by 14-plus points in the fourth quarter.
26.
Tyler Huntley BAL
26/36
219
0
1
6
-56
-56
0
CHI
Huntley gains zero DYAR for his seven carries for 40 yards. Only two of those runs gained first downs; none of the others gained more than 5 yards or counted as a successful play. Most of his good passes were thrown to his right, where he went 14-of-19 for 145 yards with an interception, plus two DPIs for 38 more yards.
27.
Matt Ryan ATL
19/28
153
0
2
4
-74
-74
0
NE
Ryan gains 53 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, tied with Patrick Mahomes for most in the league. Individually, the worst fourth-quarter quarterback this week was Ryan Tannehill, whom we shall get to shortly. However, we must point out that while Tannehill collected -128 DYAR in the fourth quarter, the Falcons trio of Ryan, Josh Rosen, and Feleipe Franks was significantly worse at -199. Between the three of them, Atlanta's last eight passing plays saw more interceptions (four, at least one by each quarterback, including a pick-six) than completions (three, for only 26 yards).
28.
Tim Boyle DET
15/23
77
0
2
0
-110
-110
0
CLE
When you're starting a third-string quarterback, you need to help him out by letting him complete short throws and make good gains after the catch. The Lions utterfly failed to do that as Boyle was last in DYAR on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, going 7-of-9 for a yard—singular. One. Four of those completions lost yardage. In related news, Boyle was also last in DYAR on throws to running backs, going 4-of-6 for a net loss of 4 yards with an interception.
29.
Daniel Jones NYG
23/38
167
1
2
2
-138
-138
0
TB
30.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
36/52
323
1
4
2
-140
-130
-10
HOU
As noted in Matt Ryan's comment, Tannehill was the week's worst passer in the fourth quarter, going 12-of-19 for 128 yards with three interceptions, two sacks, and a fumble. He was also worst on throws to tight ends (5-of-8 for 26 yards with an interception) and inside the opponents' 40-yard line (12-of-18 for 76 yards with one touchdown, one intentional grounding, one sack, and two interceptions).
31.
Dak Prescott DAL
28/43
216
0
2
5
-167
-167
0
KC
Prescott led all quarterbacks with 10 failed completions. He was the NFL's worst passer in the red zone (1-of-5 for 2 yards with an interception), on deep balls (1-of-9 for 16 yards with an interception), and on balls down the middle (five attempts, zero completions, one interception).

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jonathan Taylor IND
32
185
4
3/3
19
1
118
112
6
BUF
2.
Austin Ekeler LAC
11
50
2
6/7
65
2
76
24
53
PIT
Ekeler was stuffed just twice while rushing for five first downs, including gains of 10 and 12 yards. He added three first downs as a receiver, including 10- and 17-yard touchdowns.
3.
Nick Chubb CLE
22
130
0
2/2
14
1
51
33
19
DET
Chubb ran for eight first downs against Detroit, with seven gains of 10-plus yards, while being stuffed just twice. Both of his catches moved the chains, including a 5-yard touchdown.
4.
Jordan Howard PHI
10
63
0
0/0
0
0
35
35
0
NO
Howard ran for four first downs against the Saints, including 13- and 18-yard runs, while being stuffed just twice. He gains 18 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
5.
Christian McCaffrey CAR
10
59
0
7/8
60
1
33
19
14
WAS
Though McCaffrey only ran for a pair of first downs against Washington, seven of his carries gained 4 yards or more and he was only stuffed once. Three of his catches also picked up first downs, including a 27-yard touchdown.

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jonathan Taylor IND
32
185
4
3/3
19
1
118
112
6
BUF
2.
Jordan Howard PHI
10
63
0
0/0
0
0
35
35
0
NO
3.
D'Andre Swift DET
14
136
1
3/4
0
0
15
34
-19
CLE
Hey, this is much better than last week! Swift only ran for four first downs against Cleveland, but that will happen when 10 of your 14 carries come with 10 yards or more to go, including two with 20 yards or more to go. But each of his first downs (all of which came in the third quarter) gained at least 12 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown.
4.
Miles Sanders PHI
16
94
0
0/1
0
0
27
33
-6
NO
Though Sanders did lose a fumble, all of his carries gained at least 1 yard, and he had three first downs on gains of 10, 14, and 25 yards. He also gains 29 rushing DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
5.
Nick Chubb CLE
22
130
0
2/2
14
1
51
33
19
DET

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Myles Gaskin MIA
23
89
0
3/4
7
1
-29
-27
-2
NYJ
Well, this is getting repetitive. This is the third time in six weeks Gaskin has been our worst-ranked running back. Gaskin is last among running backs this year with -78 DYAR. He's not going to come close to the record in that category (Jonathan Wells had -241 with the expansion Texans in 2002), but it has not been a good year. Against the Jets, Gaskin ran for four first downs on gains of 20, 14, 4, and 3 yards. Those four carries made up 46% of his yardage on the day; he averaged 2.5 yards on his other 19 carries. He was stuffed a half-dozen times. His receiving numbers were similar: he had a 5-yard touchdown, but his other two catches were 1-yard gains on first-and-10.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Myles Gaskin MIA
23
89
0
3/4
7
1
-29
-27
-2
NYJ

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Justin Jefferson MIN
8
10
169
21.1
2
102
GB
Jefferson's totals include zero DYAR for his one carry for 3 yards. Seven of his eight catches gained first downs, including 9- and 23-yard touchdowns and gains of 56 and 43 yards, plus a 37-yard DPI.
2.
Davante Adams GB
7
8
115
16.4
2
69
MIN
Each of Adams' catches gained at least 8 yards and a first down, the longest a gain of 37. His touchdowns covered 10 and 18 yards.
3.
Elijah Moore NYJ
8
11
141
17.6
1
57
MIA
Moore's totals include 11 DYAR for his one carry for 15 yards. He had five catches for first downs, including 22- and 23-yard gains as well as a 62-yard touchdown.
4.
Deebo Samuel SF
1
2
15
15.0
0
56
JAX
If Jonathan Taylor had not gone insane against Buffalo, our main essay this week would probably have covered Deebo Samuel's weird-ass (but effective!) season. Maybe we'll get to that in a later week. For now, we'll note that Samuel's total of 56 DYAR includes 58 rushing DYAR, and no, that's not a typo. He ran eight times for 79 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown and three other gains of 11 yards or more, though he was stuffed twice. His one catch was a 15-yard gain on second-and-6.
5.
Chris Godwin TB
6
6
65
10.8
1
51
NYG
Godwin's totals include 4 rushing DYAR for his one carry for 7 yards. Five of his catches picked up first downs, including a 13-yard touchdown.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Kadarius Toney NYG
7
12
40
5.7
0
-39
TB
Toney's only first down came on a 7-yard gain on fourth-and-2 that came with the Giants down 27-10 late in the third quarter. His longest catches were a pair of 8-yard gains on third-and-9 and third-and-10.

Comments

87 comments, Last at 27 Nov 2021, 9:12am

1 # 9 rushing game ever

 

ah yes, the Jonas Gray game

He'll be the Timmy Smith of that table.  Breakout game, SI cover, and then he disappeared as mysteriously as he appeared.

(spooky music)

2 Dak game

Is why when Love didn’t excel and folks here and elsewhere claimed he “was the worst ever” I just rolled my eyes 

All quarterbacks have terrible games.  Sometimes galactically bad

 

And “now” people are thinking gee maybe the Chiefs defense isn’t horrible   Because yes things are fluid  Chiefs getting healthy, Jones at his proper position, Ingram getting in the mix and Spags has history of being good at his job

 

Love may indeed end up being a wasted pick  But I will need to see him get multiple bites at the apple   I saw truly awful in Rich Campbell who couldn’t throw a 15 yard out if you gave him a running start   Love is not THAT

 

37 Besides the opportunity cost…

In reply to by big10freak

Besides the opportunity cost of using a 1st round pick on a backup while you're contending, Love is also clouded by Green Bay's QB history - not just Favre & Rodgers, but also the very successful Brunell & Hasselbeck, plus some pump & dump guys like Flynn. Technically Kurt Warner, too, even if he never made the roster.

46 Well, sure, but you only get…

Well, sure, but you only get one chance at a first impression, and Love's first impression was bad. That doesn't mean he is doomed, I don't think anyone serious is saying that. But most likely he won't get a chance to correct that first impression until next year, so if you're a Packer (and Love) fan, you're simply going to have to live with the pessimism for a while.

64 Love's one game was below…

Love's one game was below average, but not dramatically bad. It was -60 or so DYAR.

After that week I went down the list of Quick Reads and slapped together a list of established QBs who had games as bad or worse. In summary just about every good QB has had at least one game as bad or worse, and there's one almost every week.

bad QB DYAR 2021 (-50 or worse)
https://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads
1. Allen, Ryan, Rodgers (-114)
2. Ryan, Winston, Burrow (-158)
3. Big Ben (-87), 4 rookies (-131 or worse)
4. Mayfield, Carr, Big Ben
5. no good QBs
6. no good QBs, Daniel Jones (-222)
7. Mahomes (-98), Jimmy G (-121)
8. Mahomes (-47), Herbert, Ryan, Burrow, Daniel Jones (-90)
9. Prescott, Carr, Burrow, Stafford, Allen (-210)

Look at that week 3! Every rookie QB had a game at least twice as bad as Love's one start.

 

67 MLF deserves some blame for Love's KC game

I agreed when LaFleur took some of the blame for Love's performance in KC. The game plan didn't play to Love's strengths. He didn't look comfortable in the pocket. I don't remember many play action passes, which would have slowed the pass rush. I wanted more rollouts and more plays with both Jones and Dillon on the field. (I don't remember any plays with both in the KC game, but I may have missed it.) MLF's forte is supposed to be the "illusion of complexity", but it looked pretty vanilla that game. 

Love's preseason reminded me of Hasselbeck. I don't know if he'll even be that good, much less to the level of QB play Packers fans have been spoiled these last three decades. I'm not ready to give up on him until I see a full season (or QB play that looks more like a typical Jets QB). He's a sunk cost; I've already gone through my five stages of trauma with the Love pick and have accepted that he's probably our QB next year for salary cap reasons. 

78 It sounded like with the…

It sounded like with the news of Rodgers getting COVID coming on something like Tuesday, plus needing to travel to KC, that Love maybe only got one full speed practice with starter reps, and that was without Davante who hadn't cleared his own COVID protocol yet.

SO I'm pretty sure Love was running a gameplan built for Rodgers and without a lot of adjustments. Definitely could have used a plan with more built-in blitz beaters, particularly over the middle, instead of relying on the sideline go routes that Rodgers likes and Love seemed to be forced to go to at times.

4 I've long contended that…

I've long contended that rushing DYAR really doesn't measure the quality of rb performance, and Aaron's tweet about the previous 5 seasonal DYARs above 500 kind of confirms it, while also strengthening Taylor's case for MVP.

The previous 5 rbs were all on teams with top tier passing attacks, usually with HOF qbs. Even the one QB who wasn't HOF, Brad Johnson for '99 Wash, was quite good, and was ranked 4th in passing DYAR that year. Running DYAR is often a proxy for how much defenses are not devoting personnel to stop the run, because opposing d coordinators know that the offense they are scheming for is quite good at passing.

I don't know where Wentz's career will end up, but his 15th ranked passing DYAR right now makes Taylor look really good, compared to the 5 rbs with seasonal DYAR above 500.

17 Wentz at 15th DYAR

I had to do a doubletake when I read Wentz was 15th in DYAR (and probably higher once they factor in Week 11). I have only looked at a few of their games this year, but what I have seen wasn't pretty. Taylor is dragging him up to 15th kicking and screaming.

34 Always said that Adrian…

Always said that Adrian Peterson dragging The Ponderous One to 21st in DYAR, the Vikings to 10-6, with Charlie Effin' Johnson starting on the o-line, no receivers, and a crappy defensive backfield, was the greatest rb performance I've ever seen.

48 Charlie Effin' Johnson???

Will,

Was that the same Charlie Effin' Johnson who was on the Colts OL for a few years, I'm thinking around 2008?  Based on the same middle name, I imagine it's the same guy (despite a fairly generic name overall), and yes, I agree with you, anybody doing well with that dude on OL is working wonders.  (He was a real liability in Indy as the swing tackle/RT with the exception of maybe a 5-6 game stretch, during which I said "hey, maybe..." and then reverted to form.)

If it's NOT the same Charlie Effin' Johnson, well then, that name is cursed.

69 I honestly can't trash him…

I honestly can't trash him at all. He was a non disaster (just like medium bad) at 4 different spots on the line. That's a dude you want on your team, but of course not someone you are hoping is in the starting lineup for several weeks in a row.

70 95% of the time he plays…

95% of the time he plays like a 10th in DYAR QB. Not spectacular but like pretty damn solid. The other 5% is like cover your eyes bad and more highlight (lowlight?) worthy. When he doesn't do crazy shit this is a good team. But I'm not sure if it's realistic to train that out of him at this point, especially in the playoffs when teams are really scheming to get in his head.

20 Running DYAR is often a…

Running DYAR is often a proxy for how much defenses are not devoting personnel to stop the run, because opposing d coordinators know that the offense they are scheming for is quite good at passing.

It doesn't even have to have anything to do with the defense (at least not quite like that) necessarily. The best passing offenses are led by quarterbacks who can actually read and respond to defenses, and so they'll switch out plays at the line allthetime. If you can pick up free yardage by handing it off and the other play you called sucked, obviously you're going to go for it.

Obviously you can say "yeah, but they only call those runs if the defense is devoting personnel to the pass" but it's not like pass defense is a button you press on Tecmo Bowl. If the quarterback can tell it's not the right play for the defense that's called, there's your option.

I mean, yesterday they pointed out that for the Bucs they're sending in multiple playcalls virtually every play so they have to just refer to them by their position on his wristband. Just keeps stressing to me that splitting up offenses as "runs" and "passes" is totally arbitrary and pointless. It's just an offense, period.

5 MN/GB game

Is why ball awareness is something coaches talk about with reverence.  Cousins threw multiple balls up for grabs that his guys caught because the GB defender wasn’t able to pick up the ball in time to break up or possibly intercept.And this doesn’t include the Savage picks which were all nullified   
 

Maybe Cousins is having one of those seasons where all the breaks fall the players way.  Happens.  What is more likely is that there is a game where things come crashing down in harsh fashion.  

8 Well, all qbs have nullified…

In reply to by big10freak

Well, all qbs have nullified/ dropped ints, as well, and the dropped int on the last possession wasn't blatant; just a difficult catch for a db. The thing that can be safely said about The 'Cuz is that he only gives a top tier performance when the blocking and receiving are good to excellent, and when the blocking in particular is below average, his performance is like a barrel going over Niagara Falls. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, he consumes cap space which suggests something better than that. 

9 3 in a game overturned for various reasons

is good fortune.  Sorry, that is my two cents and not as a Packer fan.  

 

What I always find impressive about Cousins is that he has been the same guy since his big10 days.  Put talent around him and he looks really good but still with the ability to turn over the ball.  Just in his playing DNA. 

12 Harsh

Cousins has been very durable and consistent.

He's only 33.  Barring the catastrophic injury he will end up in the top 20 among quarterbacks all time in a lot of categories

 

14 Demonstrating the evolution…

In reply to by big10freak

Demonstrating the evolution of the game to being pass-oriented, and the limitations of the traditional passing stats. I'm neither a fan or a hater. I just wish Bridgewater's knee hadn't exploded, and we could have seen what he would have been without that catastrophe, and the Vikings hadn't been compelled to use tremendous draft and personnel capital to compensate for it.

16 Point taken

I just always find myself admiring the guy.  He is going to retire with his name littered across the NFL leaderboard, maybe he gets to a SB, and he will likely still be the Rodney Dangerfield of quarterbacks. 

21 The Vikings' biggest issue…

The Vikings' biggest issue with Cousins is they just won't commit to him. They keep trying to have both an upper-half starter plus the flexibility to move on, and that's really costly. They would've saved a ton of money if they had just given him like a 6-year contract to begin with (*).

(*: of course, that's assuming they actually could have. If they couldn't, and it's just Cousins insisting on it, that's an interesting argument as to what it means about his value overall too).

25 The thing that is most…

The thing that is most admirable about Cousins (and it really is to be admired) , is his willingness to bet on himself at contract time. Pretty sure he signed the contract structure he wanted. Either he or his agent have been spot on in predicting the future of the qb market.

30 I dunno. The full guarantee…

I dunno. The full guarantee always struck me as weird. It's like you're saying "I think I'll still be worth money in a few years, but... I'm not super-confident about how well I'll do so just give me money." Contract escalators make more sense to me if you're confident about your abilities.

23 I've never disliked a…

I've never disliked a Vikings QB more than Cousins. I think he's a moron, which is the biggest reason I dislike him, but I also can't stand watching him play the position. Elite passer, but his brain ticks too slow to play the position at an elite level. 

 

31 Now, now, Jeff George once…

Now, now, Jeff George once played for the horned heads, and Culpepper ain't exactly a genius.

Cousins has a little Cutler in him, not in terms of being a lazy-ass, by NFL qb standards, but in terms of not having any people management skill, in what really is a quasi-management job. Rodgers ain't exactly a leader in this category, either.

 

6 As a Wisconsin alum

very glad for Taylor.  It was clear when he showed up that he was different.  Certainly not line dependent like so many of his predecessors.  

 

Best of luck and here is to being injury-free

27 As a Purdue fan...

...and Colts fan, I am relieved to be rooting for Mr. Taylor instead of seeing him continually run over, around, and through Boilermakers failing to tackle him.  I was quite happy the Colts drafted him, especially after seeing the BackCast projection.

52 Line dependent?

Taylor is pretty amazing, but there are times he gets 3-4-5 yards before contact, which is just amazing in my eyes. IIRC, his 75ish yard run against the Jets a few weeks ago was all pre-contact (really skews the data).  

I recall the days in Indy when Trent Richardson and the management team that got him were rightfully excoriated, but I will also point out that his average point of contact was 1 yard in the backfield, so even if he averaged just 3.0 YPC, that was still 4.0 yards after contact, which is nice. He had a lot of flaws, but probably would have been regarded as average (i.e. still a disappointment for the #3 draft pick) if the OL worked--the same OL that managerial incompetence allowed to end Andrew Luck's career early.

I don't think anybody's gonna complain about Indy's OL today, especially when they're healthy. They're considerably healthier than when they started the year, but still seem to have recurring issues with Nelson and Smith being hampered by injuries and missing time.

71 Yeah don't get it twisted,…

In reply to by Bobman

Yeah don't get it twisted, Taylor isn't out there doing this on his own. Everyone is contributing. Even Wentz contributes by having enough arm strength to threaten downfield (unlike Rivers last year for example). But the line is kicking ass and the TEs and even some of the WRs are great blockers. Taylor is doing an amazing job hitting the holes that are there and clearly a step above their other RBs (at normal RB stuff at least, Hines is kinda a gadget specialty player so hard to compare). But this is a team effort just like any good run game is.

7 Wither Tony Collins

Tony is listed on the combined ranking with 124 DYAR in rushing and -1 DYAR in receiving, but didn't make the rushing list. Appears to be the same years searched.

18 Collins filler

That one game is basically all of Collins' net career DYAR, at least from 1983 onward.

If FO does another offseason résumé of underrated players then "the other" Curt Warner absolutely needs to be on it. I didn't realize but so far there are, I think, six RB seasons in the 1980s with 360+ DYAR, and Warner has three of them, if you pro-rate his 1987 season to a full 16 games. And that's despite him missing all of his second year due to a nasty injury.

75 John Hannah

In reply to by ammek

Collins had John Hannah blocking for him which probably helped a wee bit.

29 Missed 1983?

In reply to by another guy

Looks like we somehow missed 1983 on that first table. I'll get that fixed now!

56 That was weird. Usually when…

That was weird. Usually when that happens there's a defensive score that is accidentally credited to the quarterback, but this time it's a random incomplete pass that was marked as a touchdown. Strange. But I have fixed the table. 

19 Jus' Gaskin

Gaskin's season may not finish as the least valuable of all time, but has any back had the worst DYAR of the week more often than three times in a year? There's something to be said for consistency.

Which QB has had the most starts without ever finishing dead last in weekly DYAR?

22 Fields

Sigh. I'm done with Fields. He's not gonna work out long-term. I hate rushing to judgement. I really, really do. And I was actually encouraged by some of the improvement - bit faster processing (still slow, but normal rookie slow).

But the injury just does it for me. Wasn't that hard a hit to get injured on, and it was completely, 100% Fields's fault. Super, super dumb. Friggin' 3rd and 11 and you're running right at an NFL linebacker. You're not a freaking running back! Slide, f'crying out loud, you're not going to get the first.

Biggest thing that a QB needs to learn in going from college to the NFL is how not to get hurt (which is why I'm not super high on Murray yet). And unlike making mistakes in the passing game, you don't get too many screwups on that test. Maybe he doesn't miss time. Whatever. But unless he learns real damn fast to slide, his career's gonna be real short.

26 Lol

In reply to by Pat

Lol

33 Avoiding contact while…

In reply to by Pat

Avoiding contact while successfully extending plays was always a skill Russell Wilson was so obviously good at, and why it surprised me that he was so underrated coming out of college.

36 Yeah, and there's a lot to…

Yeah, and there's a lot to it. It's not just as simple as sliding or getting out of bounds. A lot of it is picking and choosing when to take off, and knowing where the damn line of scrimmage is.

I just can't stress how bad that play was for Fields, too. Bears have 3 receivers on routes, heavy blitz to the right side (after faking the left), and the Bears actually pick it up great. I'm guessing the routes were something like a go and a corner on the deep routes and a crossing route underneath (left to right). Ravens end up doubling the crossing route, so count the defenders. You've obviously got 2 deep on those routes. Two to the right. MLB's spying Fields. Six rushers. That's eleven.

RB isn't needed to block, so he releases into the flat. Now you've got Fields. Behind the line of scrimmage. Sees the MLB frozen well in front of him. Saw that the crossing route double covered. Knows he's got two deep guys. Looks over to the RB who isn't quite turned around and immediately tucks the ball and turns upfield

Dude. There's no one left to cover the freaking RB. He was wide open. You were five yards behind the line. Fields saw a wide open RB, an MLB in front of him, and... decided "I can take him"?

So many things wrong on that play. He even cut to the middle of the field, where there were two more Ravens defenders! 

47 I saw this play, the RB was…

I saw this play, the RB was wide open and Fields fakes the throw but instead keeps it and takes on the LB. I didn't realize this was the play he got injured. Boneheaded, for sure, but surely not enough to give up on a player? Granted, you don't get many chances to learn how to protect your body, as RGIII can attest, it's something that only needs to happen once... but by the same token, it may never happen, high risk or nay.

49 but by the same token, it…

but by the same token, it may never happen, high risk or nay.

Sure, absolutely. But it's his rookie year. He hasn't even played 10 games and he's injured himself twice, plus he was fairly (minor) injury prone in college, too, and some of those were him not taking care of himself, either. At this point, much better chance I'm right than I'm wrong.

38 This is exactly why Lamar…

In reply to by Pat

This is exactly why Lamar Jackson does not get hurt, he leads the NFL in being hit by a large margin before missing last week.  It only takes one hit to be done, its not the quantity of hits that matters.

Or course there is luck involved too, we see non contact injuries all the time.

Part of Brady’s greatness is that he only has that one season lost due to an opening game injury.  The guy is always playing.

40 It only takes one hit to be…

It only takes one hit to be done, its not the quantity of hits that matters.

Yup. Same reason I gave up on Griffin, too. Actually even before he was injured! Was saying to friends there's no chance he lasts in the NFL running like that. Felt like utter crap when he got injured, too. You hate being right on stuff like that.

The thing is, the "it only takes one hit" thing is why I'm not super convinced on Jackson yet, either. I wasn't convinced on Wilson for like, forever, and that yearly decline he's developed is still making me go "hmm." I mean, actually at this point with Wilson, he's a good enough passer he should just transition away from it entirely.

41 You bring up a whole other issue

The thing is, the "it only takes one hit" thing is why I'm not super convinced on Jackson yet, either. I wasn't convinced on Wilson for like, forever, and that yearly decline he's developed is still making me go "hmm." I mean, actually at this point with Wilson, he's a good enough passer he should just transition away from it entirely.

Now going forward, the issue I believe becomes whether Jackson has a long career or the shelf life of a running back, but probably somewhere in between.  For now, I am confident that he can continue to run this often and be successful, he is not 300+ carry Derrick Henry or Eric Dickerson but his volume of carries is certainly a concern as to longevity.

43 I actually think the biggest…

I actually think the biggest thing for Jackson's career is to figure out how to actually have a full-field offense (which might mean 'stop cheaping out on receivers'). Ever since Jackson's rookie year people have been defending his passing because he actually has been a good passer, but the Ravens just aren't challenging the deep field like, at all. At least not successfully. Jackson's receiving corps is pretty dismal.

44 Regarding Fields

and acknowledging all the points made I cannot set aside that his professional setting is so chaotic I don't know if any young person starting out their career would be in anything close to the proper state of mind to operate effectively.

 

And yes, the situation described above may be the type of scenario that demonstrates the essence of the player no matter how inept everyone around him may be.  

 

Not giving the young man a 'pass'.  But gosh, Chicago seems like the mess of all messes at the moment.  I think that 'vortex of suck' as the kids call it may be dragging down Fields with the rest of everything

45  Not giving the young man a…

Not giving the young man a 'pass'.  But gosh, Chicago seems like the mess of all messes at the moment. 

If it was just on the field play I'd only be at the "very concerned" level. I mean, he's bad but he's not so epically bad that you've basically gotta hope for a miracle at that point. And I had been cautiously optimistic that he's getting better, too.

The fact that he got injured so easily and in such an incredibly avoidable situation - that's just all about him. It wasn't a tangled up in a sack injury or a freak non-contact injury. This was Fields literally charging at a 240-pound NFL linebacker. Maybe that play will be a wakeup call to him and it'll never happen again. He might not miss any or much time from this, so maybe he's lucky. Who knows.

The problem is you really don't get to make those mistakes that many times. You have to figure that Fields is scrambling similarly in practice, so who knows, maybe Nagy isn't trying to coach him out of it and a better coach would've helped him. But in some sense, it doesn't matter - you've got a very short window to get rid of that behavior before something bad happens.

So I guess yeah, obviously, it's Chicago and the Vortex of Sucking Quarterbacks (again: Mitch Trubisky is one of the franchise's best QBs). But you have to worry the damage might be irreversible.

58 I don't think that starting…

I don't think that starting QBs ever take off and run during a practice, unless the coaching staff is specifically trying to teach them when and how to do it.  I wouldn't assume that this is bad behavior that comes up in practice and isn't being addressed by the coaches.  If it's come up before in games and he's still doing it, then that's different.

60 Jeez, if they're not running…

Jeez, if they're not running a scramble drill than Nagy definitely should be fired.

But obviously I guess a scramble drill basically is defense-free in the sense that it's mainly supposed to be receiver/QB, so it's not exactly gauging "can I beat this guy," so fair point. But... Fields didn't waste a second on the RB there. Nagy's got to be coaching better patience from behind the line than that.

50 Surprise for you: BAL throw deep, Surprise for me PHL does too

Reputations can be false, sort the chart below by IAY/PA which is average depth of target, earlier in the season Jackson was number 1, he has now fallen to number 3. He was 7th in 2020 and 11th in 2019.

Brown, Bateman and Andrews have been excellent going deep this year.  In prior years, for sure this was not a good WR group.  Now the problem Jackson has is that his line offers poor protection, I heard yesterday on the Fan in Baltimore that Villaneuva has been beaten on the pass rush more than double that of any LT in football according to PFF.

Reputations are sometimes false, I thought Hurts was the dump off king with some of the lines he had early in games.  He is number 5 in average depth of target.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2021/passing_advanced.htm.  Simply change 2021 to any year for which you would like to see figures.

54 Yeah, I'm not talking about…

Yeah, I'm not talking about 30+ yard bombs. I'm talking about the 10+ yard region. The fact that his ADOT, IAY/PA, and basically every other measure of "where are you throwing it" is so high is actually an indicator of the problem.

The fact that the NFL playbook only has two distances drives me nuts - defenses have four basic depths to attack (in front of the line, behind the line/front of LB, behind LB in front of safeties and behind the safeties). "Deep" for me is that third region. The deepest region is just where bombs get thrown, and I think it's simultaneously the flashiest and least important.

I heard yesterday on the Fan in Baltimore that Villaneuva has been beaten on the pass rush more than double that of any LT in football according to PFF.

The Ravens have a completely reasonable pocket time and pressure fraction. The reason he's gotten beaten so often is because the routes are too slow-developing because the WRs aren't that great route-runners.

To be clear, they're not the Chicago Bears (#2 in IAY/PA!) , who are a total disaster receiver-wise - note the utter and complete lack of YAC there.

87 Why do you think I'm not…

Why do you think I'm not blaming them both?

He's not playing well, but they're asking a lot of him because the receivers aren't great. Fix either one and it'll help, but you really want to fix both.

65 It only takes one hit to be…

It only takes one hit to be done, its not the quantity of hits that matters.

Agree with the first part, not with the second.   The more hits you take, the greater the odds that the "one hit" will happen.

28 Best RB in the game.

Hurt or not. 

Leading the league in yards and touchdowns but not attempts. Efficiency.

42 I am shocked about this article

FO suggesting that an RB be an MVP candidate?   Clearly the top 10 most valuable players in this league are the top 10 QB's in my opinion.

I am not doubting the success of Jonathan Taylor, nor that he is great compared with other running backs.

I am questioning the value of DYAR from the RB position.  I know that Aaron intends to explore the value of DYAR by position in the off season.

I believe that RB is a fungible position and that success at this position depends more upon the team than any other position.  Hines is averaging 5.0 per carry for the Colts, Taylor 5.4.  Hines has 15.4 DVOA, making him 10th in a DVOA system that has 8 of the top 10 DVOA RB's having fewer than 80 carries. What if Hines left the Colts?  Hines also has very poor receiving DYAR/DVOA like Taylor.

Taylor is not even the MVP of the team, clearly a mediocre QB like Wentz is, we see this with injury and the point spread moving.  If Wentz gets hurt the line will move much more than if Taylor gets hurt.  The playoff odds report was not adjusted for the Derrick Henry injury, why would it move if Taylor were hurt?

This is similar to the Saints situation with Winston vs Kamara.  The Saints are folding because the mediocre QB is so valuable that Siemian is not an adequate replacement.

My opening statement of the top 10 most valuable players in this league are the top 10 QB's is likely an understatement.  More likely it is the top 15 or 20.

DYAR   AR=above replacement.  It is easier to replace a RB's production than that of any other position that FO measures.

51 Have to agree here. Given…

Have to agree here. Given the lack of outstanding QB candidates, I'd have no objection in looking to reward another position this year. Awarding a QB for an historically mediocre performance would be underwhelming, even if it did fit the literal definition of MVP.

But you surely look to WR (or elsewhere) before RB, which we surely all know by now is a more critical position to team success. Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson are #1 & #2 in DYAR. Both fine players, having outstanding seasons. If we're looking outside of QBs, lets start there.

68 Are they more valuable than their QBs?

Kupp and Jefferson are interesting. We've seen the LA offense fall apart without Kupp. I don't know how Cousins would do without Jefferson. However, both Stafford and Cousins are having very good years statistically, both traditional and advanced stats; either could win the MVP if either the Rams or Vikings put together a strong second half of 2021. 

77 Yes, I suppose it is harder…

Yes, I suppose it is harder to disentangle WR performance from QB performance, and that is probably what makes it a tougher path to MVP candidacy for WRs.

But Jefferson especially is a long way ahead of the other MIN receivers in terms of production and efficiency. And this is following on from an outstanding rookie season. It's pretty clear both from the stats and to the eye that he is something special. The more I think about it, the more he is actually a plausible candidate for MVP if he can continue at this pace (although it is inevitably incumbent on MIN being a playoff team). 

73 That's really interesting…

That's really interesting that Hines has such poor receiving DYAR this season since he was the #2 RB in the league in rec DYAR in 2020. Maybe the poor DYAR for both of them is more a reflection of Wentz or the offense with Wentz in general?

55 Do RBs matter?

As a Bills fan, I'd find it really ironic (more like depressing) if RBs matter now, compared to the 2010s when the Bills did often have a very good running game, and it didn't matter at all. I wonder if too many Ds have spent too much draft capital trying to rush the passer and do a lot of coverage, which opens the door for late 80s style rushing attacks due to size and skillset mismatches? In their playoff game against the Colts last year, I couldn't help but notice how much larger Colts ballcarriers (backs, receivers, TEs) were compared to the Bills defenders looking to tackle them. The Bills have a lot of talent on D-line, but their LBs, Ss, and DBs were selected to try to counter Brady, not any RB.

62 Even in the wake of…

In reply to by JacqueShellacque

Even in the wake of demoralising defeat like Sunday's, I think you have to prefer your current situation as a Bills fan.

I've heard several pieces of commentary recently along the lines you describe above, but ultimately it isn't yet borne out in any numbers (e.g. EPA/DVOA). 

What is true (and has always been) is that blocking matters, and good blocking allows greater versatility in how you can attack a defense. Right now the Bills offense looks like it has, to an extent, been worked out, and is struggling to adapt. A lousy weather day and negative game script such as last Sunday exacerbates things.

74 What I think is true is that…

What I think is true is that if you scheme differently than most of the teams in the league and therefore have a drastically different grade on players than other teams, you will get FAR more value from your picks/FA/etc. Even if that scheme is inferior, this added value can't be ignored. It does kinda seem like that's what Belicheck is trying to do.

63 Can you share what DYAR MVS …

Can you share what DYAR MVS (Valdez Scantling) had with the 4 catches on 10 targets for 123 yards? He had the TD so I'm guessing that will keep it positive, but I'm curious if DVOA thinks it added much value or not. 

I did correctly predict that GB would have a better DVOA than MN in open discussion thread, so I'm getting better at seeing in real time what is measuring, but I can't quite figure the MVS start line out.

84 Awesome thanks for the data!…

Awesome thanks for the data! Just another thing that keeps me coming back to the site.

Nice to know that my suspicions were right, that constantly trying to hit MVS was hurting the team outside the touchdown. Looks like he was -20 until the TD. Now would he have been as motivated and open for the TD if Rodgers had been trying to feed him the ball all day? Who knows, but there were a few passes Rodgers went to him where he had different options. The offense was not running the methodical LaFleur style and only taking deep shots when they were mostly guaranteed. It put up more points but it didn't hold the ball as long as it usually does it put the defense on the field more. It did put up 31 points which it doesn't normally do either. So I'm still trying to sort my thoughts on all of it.

80 Justin Fields

His teammate is not Andy Fields, I did not catch this on first read of the article, nor did other readers so this is a record for your usually reliable FO readers/editing team.