DVOA Analysis
Football Outsiders' revolutionary metrics that break down every single play of the NFL season

Week 7 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

This week's news, for those of you who did not have your televisions on Sunday night: Denver is very, very, very, very good. The Broncos are No. 1 in DVOA for the third straight week, but now they are a No. 1 with a big fat bullet. Denver's DVOA rating went up ten percentage points between Week 6 and Week 7. Obviously, the Broncos had a huge win over San Francisco, with a single-game rating of 82.7%. They also got a boost in opponent adjustments thanks to a huge win by Indianapolis and a surprisingly close loss for the New York Jets.

As a result, the Broncos are now living in "best team in DVOA history" territory. The Broncos are now the sixth-best team in DVOA ever measured through Week 7, and the second-best team this century, trailing only the 2007 Patriots. It's interesting to note that there are only four teams from the current century in the top dozen for DVOA through Week 7, and three of those teams had Peyton Manning at quarterback: the 2007 Colts, this year's Broncos, and last year's Broncos, who also had a DVOA rating over 40% after Week 7.

Best Total DVOA Through Week 7,
Year Team W-L DVOA
2007 NE 7-0 69.1%
1991 WAS 7-0 61.8%
1996 GB 6-1 54.0%
1994 DAL 5-1 51.8%
1999 STL 6-0 50.7%
2014 DEN 5-1 48.7%
2007 IND 6-0 47.6%
1990 CHI 5-1 46.8%
1998 DEN 6-0 45.0%
1997 DEN 6-0 43.8%
1991 NO 6-0 42.0%
2013 DEN 6-1 40.9%

Of course, if you read my ESPN Insider piece last week you know that Peyton Manning isn't doing this all on his lonesome, or even with nothing but offense. The Broncos defense has now been ranked No. 2 in DVOA for three straight weeks. This puts the Broncos into an interesting historical group: teams that ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in both offensive and defensive DVOA at the same time. There are a number of these teams early in the season thanks to one or two big wins, but once you get past the first month, very few teams have qualified. The Broncos are only the sixth team since 1989 to rank in the top two for both offense and defense after Week 5. No team had ever accomplished this for three straight weeks after September. Only one team, the 2007 Colts, ever finished a season ranked in the top two for both offense and defense. (In retrospect, that was a pretty incredible team -- they were seriously ignored because the Patriots were setting offensive records, hampered by the terrible special teams typical of the Polian-built Colts, and then suffered a massive upset when Billy Volek came in for the injured Philip Rivers and led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.)

Teams Ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in Both Offense and Defense, Week 5 or Later, 1989-2014
Year Week Team W-L DVOA Rk Off Rk Def Rk ST Rk
1994 8 DAL 6-1 48.2% 1 27.0% 1 -18.8% 2 2.4% 8
1994 12 DAL 9-2 40.2% 1 21.7% 1 -15.3% 2 3.2% 6
1994 16 DAL 12-3 36.4% 1 20.0% 2 -14.5% 2 1.9% 6
1995 5 SF 4-1 38.5% 2 24.2% 2 -20.8% 2 -6.7% 25
1995 6 SF 4-1 37.8% 2 24.2% 2 -20.4% 2 -6.7% 26
2003 6 TB 3-2 41.5% 1 24.8% 2 -23.0% 1 -6.2% 29
2007 15 IND 12-2 28.4% 3 21.7% 2 -14.5% 2 -7.9% 31
2007 17 IND 13-3 28.3% 2 22.2% 2 -13.0% 2 -6.9% 32
2012 12 SF 8-2-1 40.1% 1 23.0% 2 -17.7% 2 -0.6% 19
2014 5 DEN 3-1 41.3% 1 26.3% 1 -15.6% 2 -0.6% 19
2014 6 DEN 4-1 38.7% 1 21.5% 1 -16.5% 2 0.7% 18
2014 7 DEN 5-1 48.7% 1 31.4% 1 -18.2% 2 -0.9% 20

Baltimore holds on to the No. 2 spot behind the Broncos. I spent some of last week's commentary trying to figure out if the Ravens were "for real" because they've built their big rating by beating up on mediocre NFC South teams. They went out and beat up on another mediocre NFC South team, so I suppose we don't really know any more about them now than we did a week ago. Seriously, I thought going into this season that the NFC South might end up being the best division in the NFL. Instead, the NFC South is clearly the worst division in the NFL. There is no NFC South team with a DVOA rating above 0.0%, but what is even more mind-blowing is that the four NFC South teams currently have the four worst defenses in the NFL by DVOA. Right now, the NFC South champion has a losing record in 21.3 percent of our simulations; in another 19.8 percent of simulations, the NFC South champion is 8-8; and in an additional 18.3 percent of simulations, the NFC South champion is Carolina at 8-7-1. That's a whopping total of 59.4 percent of simulations where no team in that division wins nine games.

The changing fortunes of the NFC South are part of one of the strange trends of the 2014 season so far. The NFC was much stronger than the AFC a year ago, and it was supposed to be much stronger this year as well. Instead, the AFC is re-asserting its recent supremacy. Although the top eight teams in DVOA are evenly split between the two conferences, the AFC holds seven of the top 11 spots, nine of the top 14, and 11 of the top 17.

Another strange trend in 2014 is the number of very good teams that lost in Week 1. Tomorrow I'll have a column up at ESPN Insider discussing why the Dallas Cowboys are still not in the DVOA top five despite a 6-1 record. As I point out in the piece, the Cowboys would have a higher rating if we took out their Week 1 loss -- but that's only fair if we compare them to how other teams have played since Week 2 as well. And five of the six teams that are now 5-2 lost their first game of the year: Baltimore, Green Bay, San Diego, New England, and Indianapolis. 

The Colts are the big risers this week, moving from No. 13 to No. 5 after dismantling the Bengals. (The Bengals go in exactly the opposite direction, from No. 5 to No. 13.) There's also a surprising entry in the top ten with Miami moving up seven spots -- and passing New England by a small margin -- after a big win over Chicago. However the most surprising position in the DVOA rankings probably belongs to No. 4 Seattle. Certainly cracks have shown in the Seattle armor, and it's never good to be 3-3 in a tough division after six games. However, DVOA still sees Seattle as one of the best teams in the league. Its wins have been bigger than they seem, and their losses not as bad as they seem, because the Seahawks have played the toughest schedule in the league in 2014. That's going to change significantly, starting with this week's game against No. 25 Carolina. Seattle's average opponent over the final ten games has -3.9% DVOA, which ranks 23rd among remaining schedules.

The Seahawks are just one of a number of teams who are about to see their schedules get much harder or easier. Some of the others, with their ranks for both past and future schedule:

  • SCHEDULE GETTING EASIER: New York Jets (from 2 to 18), Indianapolis (from 5 to 28), Minnesota (from 11 to 29), Carolina (from 12 to 30).
  • SCHEDULE GETTING HARDER: Pittsburgh (from 32 to 8), Philadelphia (from 29 to 9), New England (from 28 to 3), St. Louis (from 25 to 4), San Diego (from 24 to 2).

Those schedule changes are a big reason why our playoff odds simulation currently gives Indianapolis, not Denver, the strongest odds of making the postseason at 97.2 percent. The schedule also explains why the New England Patriots are still listed with only a 55.5 percent chance of repeating as AFC East champions despite having a 1.5-game lead over Miami and a 1-game lead (plus tiebreaker) over Buffalo.

* * * * *

Once again in 2014, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 15 Ultimate Team. Each week, we'll be picking out a handful of players who starred in that week's games. Some of them will be well-known players who stood out in DVOA and DYAR. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. One player each week will only be available for 24 hours from the point these players enter packs on Friday.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 7 are:

  • WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (24-HOUR HERO): 53 DYAR, fourth among WRs in Week 7 (9-for-14, 122 yards, 2 TD).
  • CB Bashaud Breeland, WAS: 5 Defeats, including a pick, two TFL, and two tackles that stopped pass receptions a yard short of conversion on third down.
  • RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN: Led all RBs with 43 DYAR this week (14 carries for 74 rushing yards, 4-for-4 on receptions for 27 receiving yards, 2 TD).
  • LG Greg Robinson, STL: Rams RBs had 7.8 yards per carry and 75 percent Success Rate running left; Rams did not allow a sack.
  • MLB Lawrence Timmons, PIT: Sack plus three tackles that stuffed Arian Foster for no yards or a loss, including two on third-and-1.

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with Week 7 information -- or will be in the next few minutes -- including FO Premium, snap counts and playoff odds.

* * * * *

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through seven weeks of 2014, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted for strength of schedule and to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. Because it is early in the season, opponent adjustments are only at 70 percent strength; they will increase 10 percent every week through Week 10. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. 

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 19 percent of DAVE for teams with six games played, and 8.5 percent of DAVE for teams with seven games played. This will be the last week we consider DAVE; starting after Week 8, we will switch solely to using DVOA and WEIGHTED DVOA.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

1 DEN 48.7% 1 44.2% 1 5-1 31.4% 1 -18.2% 2 -0.9% 20
2 BAL 28.5% 2 26.1% 2 5-2 16.2% 4 -8.8% 6 3.5% 8
3 GB 26.1% 4 25.6% 3 5-2 19.9% 2 -4.4% 10 1.8% 14
4 SEA 22.7% 3 21.0% 4 3-3 15.5% 6 -8.1% 7 -0.9% 21
5 IND 19.4% 13 18.1% 5 5-2 8.7% 8 -5.6% 9 5.1% 4
6 PHI 14.5% 6 12.6% 7 5-1 -2.9% 18 -6.3% 8 11.1% 1
7 DAL 13.7% 10 12.2% 8 6-1 16.5% 3 1.3% 19 -1.6% 22
8 SD 13.2% 8 13.2% 6 5-2 15.7% 5 4.7% 23 2.1% 11
9 KC 9.9% 14 7.2% 9 3-3 6.6% 10 -1.4% 14 2.0% 13
10 MIA 6.8% 17 4.8% 11 3-3 5.6% 11 -11.1% 3 -9.9% 32
11 NE 5.7% 11 6.2% 10 5-2 1.8% 16 0.1% 16 3.9% 6
12 DET 5.2% 7 4.0% 12 5-2 -11.3% 26 -24.9% 1 -8.4% 31
13 CIN 2.7% 5 2.2% 13 3-2-1 1.9% 15 1.7% 20 2.5% 10
14 PIT 2.2% 20 2.0% 14 4-3 5.6% 12 7.4% 26 4.0% 5
15 ARI 0.6% 19 -0.5% 15 5-1 -11.2% 25 -10.0% 5 1.8% 15
16 BUF -0.4% 18 -1.0% 16 4-3 -16.5% 29 -10.5% 4 5.5% 3
17 CLE -0.9% 9 -3.4% 20 3-3 5.4% 13 5.8% 25 -0.5% 18
18 ATL -1.8% 12 -2.6% 19 2-5 7.6% 9 16.0% 31 6.6% 2
19 CHI -1.9% 16 -1.4% 17 3-4 1.5% 17 -1.8% 12 -5.2% 28
20 SF -4.5% 15 -3.4% 21 4-3 -3.2% 21 -3.4% 11 -4.7% 27
21 NO -4.6% 25 -1.5% 18 2-4 11.8% 7 17.7% 32 1.3% 16
22 NYG -5.6% 21 -5.3% 22 3-4 -2.9% 19 1.0% 18 -1.7% 23
23 HOU -9.2% 24 -9.1% 23 3-4 -4.9% 23 -0.3% 15 -4.7% 26
24 WAS -10.3% 23 -10.7% 24 2-5 -3.0% 20 0.3% 17 -7.1% 29
25 CAR -12.4% 22 -11.4% 25 3-3-1 2.3% 14 14.0% 29 -0.7% 19
26 TEN -14.1% 26 -13.3% 27 2-5 -5.2% 24 5.3% 24 -3.6% 25
27 NYJ -14.7% 28 -13.7% 28 1-6 -16.2% 28 2.3% 21 3.9% 7
28 STL -15.7% 27 -12.9% 26 2-4 -4.6% 22 12.2% 28 1.1% 17
29 OAK -22.3% 29 -21.4% 29 0-6 -16.0% 27 8.4% 27 2.0% 12
30 MIN -29.2% 30 -23.7% 30 2-5 -29.8% 32 2.8% 22 3.3% 9
31 JAC -29.8% 31 -27.9% 31 1-6 -28.7% 31 -1.4% 13 -2.4% 24
32 TB -49.0% 32 -39.3% 32 1-5 -25.8% 30 15.0% 30 -8.2% 30
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).

1 DEN 48.7% 5-1 46.2% 6.6 1 5.6% 6 -0.9% 15 7.9% 6
2 BAL 28.5% 5-2 33.1% 4.6 5 -5.7% 26 -3.7% 22 9.4% 8
3 GB 26.1% 5-2 26.3% 5.2 2 -3.4% 22 -6.8% 32 11.2% 11
4 SEA 22.7% 3-3 11.9% 4.5 7 12.6% 1 -3.9% 23 20.4% 23
5 IND 19.4% 5-2 19.5% 5.1 3 5.9% 5 -5.4% 28 14.9% 16
6 PHI 14.5% 5-1 14.7% 4.7 4 -7.8% 29 2.5% 9 11.3% 12
7 DAL 13.7% 6-1 12.6% 4.6 6 -4.4% 23 -1.0% 16 17.8% 20
8 SD 13.2% 5-2 24.6% 4.4 8 -4.9% 24 11.8% 2 6.3% 4
9 KC 9.9% 3-3 6.6% 4.3 9 9.3% 4 1.2% 11 26.1% 27
10 MIA 6.8% 3-3 13.2% 4.2 10 2.9% 10 1.2% 10 10.1% 9
11 NE 5.7% 5-2 12.8% 3.4 19 -6.8% 28 11.4% 3 19.0% 21
12 DET 5.2% 5-2 15.3% 3.7 11 -5.8% 27 -4.9% 26 12.1% 13
13 CIN 2.7% 3-2-1 2.4% 3.5 15 4.2% 7 -1.3% 17 26.4% 29
14 PIT 2.2% 4-3 6.0% 3.5 16 -10.5% 32 3.1% 8 14.5% 15
15 ARI 0.6% 5-1 2.3% 3.5 13 3.2% 9 5.1% 5 5.8% 3
16 BUF -0.4% 4-3 0.0% 3.2 22 -1.4% 19 5.0% 6 7.2% 5
17 CLE -0.9% 3-3 3.6% 3.6 12 -2.6% 20 -4.2% 24 12.2% 14
18 ATL -1.8% 2-5 2.7% 3.4 17 -8.5% 30 -5.0% 27 26.1% 28
19 CHI -1.9% 3-4 -3.0% 3.5 14 -0.1% 16 -6.2% 31 10.1% 10
20 SF -4.5% 4-3 -5.1% 3.2 21 10.0% 3 0.1% 12 15.4% 17
21 NO -4.6% 2-4 0.0% 2.7 23 -10.3% 31 -2.2% 19 15.5% 18
22 NYG -5.6% 3-4 -10.1% 3.2 20 1.8% 13 -0.5% 14 31.1% 31
23 HOU -9.2% 3-4 -8.1% 2.4 27 -0.5% 17 -2.6% 20 1.6% 1
24 WAS -10.3% 2-5 -12.3% 2.6 26 -3.0% 21 -4.8% 25 21.8% 24
25 CAR -12.4% 3-3-1 -15.0% 3.4 18 2.0% 12 -6.1% 30 15.6% 19
26 TEN -14.1% 2-5 -9.3% 2.6 25 0.7% 14 -0.4% 13 21.9% 25
27 NYJ -14.7% 1-6 -16.0% 2.7 24 10.7% 2 -1.4% 18 8.7% 7
28 STL -15.7% 2-4 -11.7% 2.3 28 -5.3% 25 5.3% 4 19.7% 22
29 OAK -22.3% 0-6 -24.9% 1.7 30 0.4% 15 13.2% 1 4.2% 2
30 MIN -29.2% 2-5 -27.3% 2.1 29 2.1% 11 -5.8% 29 22.9% 26
31 JAC -29.8% 1-6 -26.0% 1.7 31 3.4% 8 3.7% 7 27.1% 30
32 TB -49.0% 1-5 -43.6% 1.5 32 -0.6% 18 -2.7% 21 36.3% 32


163 comments, Last at 28 Oct 2014, 12:23am

1 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Impressive that the Browns went from 20.7% offensive DVOA to just 5.4% on the "strength" of one game. One really, really bad game. But one game all the same.

42 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Well, they are basically back to where they were before they blew out the Steelers in overall DVOA, and their defense is actually up 4 spots from last week (Tashaun Gipson's 2-pick effort against Bortles made up for the D's atrocious showing against Denard Robinson.)

Their playoff odds were sliced roughly in half, and their projected wins dropped from 9 to 8 (i.e. this was considered a basically guaranteed win, allowing for some adjustment from other factors.)

3 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I find the broncos ranking excellence interesting, but would be equally or more interested in seeing comparisons of their DVOA % compared to others. How does the 31.4 & -18.2 compare to other teams at the same time.

4 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Sf dropped a whopping 10 percentage points because of that game. Fair? Clearly not - but will be balanced as time goes along.

Denver subjectively is very strong in all of the places you want to be strong at - qb, receivers, pass rush, and corners. Not coincidentally, that's where their best players are. What's more, they've been very fortunate injury wise. The areas that have been hit are all the areas they weren't particularly strong at anyways and could be mitigated - ie running back and linebacker.

22 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

This could be Denver's best defense since the 1970s Orange Crush Gradishar teams... They probably have the best bookends in the NFL at CB (Harris/Talib) and Edge Rusher (Miller/Ware)...

I'm still worried about their OL and running backs. Their OL isn't gelling and I'm not a Hillman believer. In the 2013 draft Elway was targeting LeVeon Bell in the 2nd round, but th Steelers nabbed him a few picks earlier... It's scary to imagine Denver's offense had Elway been able to draft Bell. However, Colorado might not be the best environment for LeVeon.

23 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I think hillman has been pretty good and Baldinger did a cut up piece for him this week. He's definitely of the one cut and go runner who's size means he can squeeze through a hole quickly. In fact, that's really what you need with Denver's o line largely built for protection and Julius thomas's piss poor blocking. On the other hand, hillman still worries me from a fumble/durability standpoint.

59 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, DVOA sees a dominant win by Denver over a pretty good team. No way to tell it that over half SF's starting D was out, and 3/5 of the starting o-line.

Since I have a 3-year-old I haven't been watching as much football, so I don't have a feeling how unusual that amount of injury is recently. But I've never seen this team like that (since about 1993).

5 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Romo really wasn't ready to go by week one, it seemed to me, so I expect that Dallas, especially on offense, is going to continue to rise. I think a Packers-Cowboys playoff game would be among the most interesting possible January match-ups, and one where HFA would be practically non-existent for either side. Here's hoping we see it.

20 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I think there's a decent chance Romo doesn't make it through the season without injury. He's currently playing with back, ankle, and ribs injuries and took a painkilling injection last week just to play. NYG game was the first where he didn't take a huge shot, and I'm not sure how much longer that'll be the case.

I wish he'd take his eyes off the receivers occasional to protect himself. His tendency to be looking downfield all the time gets him rocked more often than most good QBs, I feel like.

30 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I really hope that doesn't happen. I thought the Cowboys defense was going to be hideous again, taking the Cowboys out of their running game, forcing Romo to get pass happy, get beat up, and forced into steep decline. As a fan who has appreciated him since he replaced Bledsoe, and admired his play while his o-line was playing "Let's kill the quarterback!", it's been a pleasure to see the guy operate under favorable conditions. I hope it continues.

58 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

They've already exceeded my guess on their win total for the year. I thought they would need to play Weeden a decent amount, and their defense would be atrocious.

Hard to believe that Rolando McClain looks like a better 2010 draft choice than Joe Haden if we're strictly looking at this year.

106 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I know you're referring to late hits, but using sacks alone, Romo's actually doing okay. He's only had 225 in his career after the equivalent of roughly 8 seasons. Just to give you some idea of how good that is:

Ben Roethlisberger 406 10 seasons
Eli Manning 265 10 seasons
Phillip Rivers 261 8.5 seasons
Aaron Rodgers 249 6 seasons
Carson Palmer 248 9 seasons
Jay Cutler 235 7 seasons
Tony Romo 225 8 seasons
Matt Ryan 172 6.5 seasons

I'm roughly estimating season equivalents so if they started 10 games one season, and 6 games in another season then that's 1 full season. Eli Manning, Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan are only slightly better than him. Big Ben (who may have declined this season) and Aaron Rodgers seem to be the biggest worries. By the way, this is one of the things that Peyton Manning is amazing at:

Peyton Manning 278 15.5 seasons

That's just ridiculous.

108 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Especially once you factor the turnstiles he had in front of him the last few years with the Colts. Hell, a normal qb could get easily sacked 60 times in one season, with Charlie Johnson at left tackle!

111 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Ive also wondered lately if PM is also protecting his o line's health this way. By getting rid of the ball quickly, the o linemen have less of an opportunity to have their legs get rolled under them.

I remember thinking that when the niners lost kilgore and just how often it seems that can happen to an o linemen.

6 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

As a colts fan, that 07 loss to the chargers was one of the most aggravating losses for me. Rivers' jawing with the fans made me actively root against him for a few years before finally getting over it. That team turned the ball over three times in the red zone on crazy wide receiver fumbles/ tip drill ints.

A defense that was number 1 in dvoa got pushed around by the chargers - with BILLY FREAKEN VOLEK at qb.

Now, they did lose Freeney for the season so I doubt even if they had won that game they would've beaten NE the following week, but it was really upsetting.

8 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

That was a crazy game, and it was only the second-craziest game they played with the Chargers that year: back on November 11th, in a driving rainstorm, Peyton Manning threw 56 passes, six of them caught by Chargers and three of them by Antonio Cromartie, on the way to a 23-21 Chargers win in which San Diego managed 177 yards of offense and only 86 net passing yards.

Outside of that game, Manning's 2007 was of 305 of 459 for 3712 yards with 29 TD and 8 interceptions. I'm convinced that game does not happen with Tony Dungy as a head coach.

10 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Dr.Z had a great article about that game. I've seen Manning handle the pats defenses, the ravens, the steelers, but strangely the chargers have always been a tough nut to crack for Manning and its true even in Denver. For whatever reason, things just are a slog even when SD's defenses have been dreadful.

57 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I've always believed that the Colts don't win the Super Bowl in 2006 if they had to play the Chargers. I was a Pats fan for 3 hours that year, rooting so hard for them to beat the Chargers! Even better that since that gave them a surprising home game I had tickets :o)

86 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Manning's Colts were 5-2 against the Patriots after 2004 while still in Indy, despite playing for progressively weaker overall teams throughout that span. I'm still convinced that the best Colts team Peyton ever had was the 2005 model. They lost a close game to a Pittsburgh defense at the height of its powers.

Manning's Colts were 1-5 against the Chargers over the same period. And it's weird, it isn't as if the Chargers were all-world in that time; they just matched up well with the Colts.

Of course, the most astonishing playoff loss of Manning's career has to be this one:


In which a washed-up LaDainian Tomlinson and the very ordinary Shonn Greene combine for almost 40 carries and 169 yards and the teams EACH punt four consecutive times to open the gam. Reggie Wayne getting one -target- on Revis Island, complete for one yard. Manning finishes 18 of 26 for 225 yards, the Colts have no turnovers, and they nonetheless lose on a last second field goal.

On Indianapolis' last drive Manning's passes were all targeted to Blair White or Jacob Tamme. On their second-to-last drive:

4the Quarter, 5:16, 3rd and 7 at the NYJ 15: Dominic Rhodes left end for 1 yard (tackle by Brodney Pool). Up to that point, Dominic Rhodes had 13 carries for 32 yards. Mercifully, he never touched the ball again.

62 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I remember watching that game, and thinking to myself, "I can't believe we're still going to win this game afte manning has thrown 6 ints", and then 10 seconds later, Vinatieri misses a chip shot. It was unbelievable.

64 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Technically the 6th INT happened after the missed field goal (it was a hail-mary), but yes they came a chip shot away from winning a game despite 5 interceptions and two special teams TDs allowed.

56 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

And despite all that they should have won still, but Vinatieri Vanderjagt'd a 20-something yard field goal at the end.

The '07 team was fantastic until Freeney got hurt. I was so mad they lost to the Chargers because even without Freeney I felt a rematch with the Pats would have been close.

36 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Was that the same game where Mike Scrifes put on a punting clinic? Even though my Colts were losing, I remember just marveling at those punts. Scrifes' punts were like Tiger Woods approach shots. He was booting it fifty yards in the air and the ball would hit the Colts' one-yard line and just stop dead.

37 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

That was the year after, in the 2008 Wild Card game.

That game ended nicely partly because Gijon Robinson forget the snap count and let Manning get sacked on a 3rd and 2 where a first down would have ended it.

How ridiculous was the field position difference: The Colts had three drives that ended in punts longer than ANY OF THE CHARGERS SCORING DRIVES!!!

7 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

It has to be frustrating to be a fan of a team so clearly ahead of the pack on defense, like the Lions, and see that defense paired with hideous special teams. That ain't what the recipe calls for.

14 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Well, hideous kickers, really. The rest of the special teams is actually decent, but 6-16 on field goals will lower your ratings quite a bit, as it turns out.

I'm more concerned about the hideous offense. I know Johnson has been out or limited and there have been ither injuries, but there should be enough other pieces where they should at least be average without him.

47 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, if you look at the Special Teams page, FG/XP are 2/3 as bad as every other team with a negative FG/XP combined, or worse than the 11 teams with a negative score (other than Cincinnati (-8.7) and the Lions) combined. Atrocious.

The other aspects are about average (K, KR (surprisingly) and P) or slightly above average (PR). So it's really that the Lions are finding all the worst kickers in the league - guys who can't hit from 40-49 indoors - while the rest of the units are fine.

Despite all that, when I read about five of the six teams at 5-2 losing their opening game, my actual thought process was "the Lions are the sixth, of course. They won in Week 1. Wait, are they 5-2? Yeah. Let me check. Right, they really are 5-2. Because of their defense. Wait, what?"

The D is ridiculous. Even with an easy dSOS (Exhibit A: Drew Brees v2.0), the Lions are first against both the pass and the run. Not only have they not had a D like this in the (current) DVOA era, they've only had a top-10 defense twice in 25 years, and they've never had both pass and rush defense finish in the top 10. The only reasonable offenses they have left to face are Atlanta in London, Miami (?), New England (kind of, with Brady v2.0) on November 23 in Gillette, and Green Bay on December 28 at Lambeau.

I don't even know what to think.

53 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Turns out Teryl Austin is a pretty good coach. Think about what he's had to work with. He's down to his 2nd string MLB, and 4th string nickel corner. His starting SS has missed half the season. One outside corner is 34 years old. The other is a 2nd year player who was benched more times than I can count last year. It boggles the mind that this unit is playing so well.

This has been discussed here before, but Jim Caldwell's best coaching move was convincing Austin to come over with him from Baltimore, and then staying the hell out of his way.

88 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

It seems to me that the problem on offense is the line. If Stafford takes more than a two step drop he is going to get hammered. I think that until Calvin comes back they need to go to a quick passing game. They probably don't have a lot of that available though since the O-Line was amazing last year and the play-book probably reflects the expectation of that continuing. Also Stafford has been more inaccurate than usual when he does have time.

93 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I think you're spot-on. Don't know if it's trying to pick up a new blocking scheme (apparently more complicated in the Saints offensive system than in Linehan's), injuries, or individual decline in performances. Probably a bit of each.

One thing I noticed in the 2nd half of the Saints game, things got much better once they went shotgun-heavy, which they hadn't done most of the year. Historically, Stafford's DVOA splits show he's way better in shotgun than under center. That would hurt the running game, but it's not like the running game is doing anything, anyway.

84 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Fans of offense might take "interesting game" to be facetious. Stafford and Tannehill would be wise to update their health insurance policies before the game.

On the plus side, people who like defense should be entertained. And who knows what crazy things will happen in the kicking/return game?

9 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

The Chicago Bears defense is clearly ranked too high because Brian Urlacher and two clones of Deion Sanders would make a better linebacking corps. Ranking defenses based on Ryan Tannehill incompletions is way better than this. Cut all the starting linebackers!!!111cos(0)

11 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Chicago's defense subjectively feels terrible but then I forget that they've had some very respectable moments. They handled Atlanta and got SF to turn the ball over 4 times. On the other hand, I would not be surprised to see them go into the tank by the end of the year.

13 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Echoing what I said in the Quick Reads comments, the DL is playing well, but the LBs and safeties are awful, so if the pressure doesn't get there, the middle of the field is generally wide open. Any team with a competent OL and QB (or just a great QB like Rodgers) is going to have success---unless the receivers drop seven balls and alligator-arm several others, as Atlanta's did.

17 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I find it strange that Aaron questions whether the Ravens are "for real" because they've been mauling mediocre to bad teams. I thought that was a mark of a good team.

The Ravens were consistently good to excellent from 2008-2012, and had a down year in 2013 after the post-super bowl roster purge. It shouldn't be too surprising that they're good again now that they've restocked the roster. Also they hired an offensive coordinator who is light years ahead of Caldwell and a definite upgrade from Cam Cameron as well.

Of course, they might start sucking and go on a losing streak too, but 7 games is a pretty decent sample.

18 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Id say their complete 180 on the offensive line has been pretty surprising. Not that I expected them to repeat their terrible performance from a year ago, but they went all the way from possibly the worst to one of the top 5.

27 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Their 2012 was above average, but during the regular season, it was built on a crazy good special teams to go with approximately league average offense and defense.

So, after last year, I think that a bit of a rebound wouldn't have been unexpected and speaking for myself, I'd just shrug my shoulders if they were in the teens in DVOA, but a jump to second best in the league with a very good team is a bit of a surprise.

That Gary Kubiak could make their line play well? The level of the turnaround is a surprise, but I remember those Broncos lines. They work with players that wouldn't work with other schemes and so it's not an utter surprise.

Also, looking back, isn't it at all amazing that Kubes did what he did with Houston's offensive talent? Before last year, they always seemed to have overachieving results.

29 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Juan Castillo deserves a lot of the credit. Harbaugh brought him in at the end of 2012 and I think wanted Castillo to implement a zone blocking scheme last year, but there was a lot of blow back. A lot of anonymous criticism of Castillo appearing in the media. I think he clashed a lot with Jim Hostler (who was a sort co-OC last year and now Sr Off Asst for the Bills juggernaut). Castillo didn’t mesh with Hostler or Wilbur Montgomery or Andy Moeller (all three gone), but Castillo’s coaching meshes extremely well with Kubiak’s system. Replacing Gradkowski with Zuttah has been a huge upgrade. Yanda was struggling through all of last year with a shoulder injury as well. Castillo has a history of developing young lineman and there is quite a bit of young OL potential there.