Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

22 Dec 2009

ESPN AGS: Panthers Over Vikings

This week's Any Given Sunday covers the Vikings' loss to the Panthers, and whether they're built to play from behind.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 22 Dec 2009

11 comments, Last at 23 Dec 2009, 5:26pm by jmaron


by KR (not verified) :: Tue, 12/22/2009 - 3:02pm

As a Panthers fan, it doesn't seem that hard to figure out how the Panthers won. Peppers decided to play hard this week, and somebody trash-talked Steve Smith. Those two factors in combination are almost always good for a win.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/22/2009 - 3:52pm

As a Vikings fan, I was worried about Peppers and Smith going into the game. I never thought we'd see such a good performance from Matt Moore, though. Sure, most of his success came from Smith, but he was awfully mobile, and threw well on the move. That's a great way to avoid the Viking pass rush.

But even more astounding, how did Carolina's offensive line open up holes through Minnesota's D-line? Missing EJ Henderson hurts, and the secondary (except Winfield, but even he was off last night) are bad at tackling so I get the long runs, but getting through the trenches the way Sterwart did was very suprising.

by A.VanMeter (not verified) :: Tue, 12/22/2009 - 6:53pm

One word - Kalil. He's turning into a hell of a C, and he was frequently winning (or at least stalemating) the 1-on-1 battle against whichever Williams lined up over him. NBC even highlighted a couple of his blocks. Not having to have always double-team Pat on runs makes a big difference.

Of course, Jasper Brinkley needs to stop trying to make Sportscenter KO tackles and remember to wrap up.

by jpo287 :: Tue, 12/22/2009 - 7:23pm

I don't think the article gives Moore enough credit. The author claims Moore played in nine games in 2007 but I would hardly call mopping up in a lopsided loss as playing. Looking at just his 3 starts is probably a more realistic measure and in those three starts, he did pretty good. In fact, I believe it was the game against Seattle were he was ranked in the top five in "Quick Reads". He wasn't that good agains the Cowboys but he did bounc back against the Bucs.

In the games he has started, the Panthers are 4-2. That's against Seattle, Dallas, TB, NE and the Vikings. They ALL had wining records at the time he played. His numbers might ot be fantastic, but the results are still pretty nice. They are at least good enough to give a Panther's fan a little hope.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/22/2009 - 8:02pm

These were the Panthers' offensive drives, prior to the Vikings 4th quarter defensive collapse...

4 yds

4 yds

-14 yds

71 yds------TD

2 yds

37 yds
41 yds

6 yds
21 yds

The Vikings defense has had issues in the fourth quarter many times this season, but I think in this instance most of the blame goes to the Vikings offense, for leaving the defense out there forever.

by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 12:05am

I really, really wish I had thought to look at it that way. Vikings' defense DVOA, by quarter (does not include Carolina game):

First: -15.4%, 7th.
Second: -8.5%, 8th.
Third: -2.8%, 19th.
Fourth/OT: 26.7%, 30th.

by I am excellent at making love (not verified) :: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 1:42am

I am not surprised by these figures, but I'm guessing that a team that is 11-2 (before the Carolina game) would usually have larger leads in the 4th quarter, and therefore would also be in the dreaded "prevent" defense at that time as well?

Any other quarter-by-quarter defensive comparisons for top tier teams?

by anotherpatsfan :: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 2:16am

That's in Premium, so I don't know if FO will provide those numbers unless they are moved to do some looking at conclusions which could be gleaned from those splits (and maybe they have before now). Hopefully they won't be mad if I point out that (without looking at 4th Q leads) IND's defensive DVOA rank from 1st quarter to last is 23-11-15-4, and NO's is 32-9-18-2.

Re Minny, isn't DVOA context-specific and wouldn't it account for the garbage time nature of late drives/scores? Anyway, despite those Minny quarter splits (ranked 7-8-19-30), they have the number 1 rank in "Late & Close: All plays in the second half or overtime with the score within 8 points." Will, have they been in a lot of those situations? I've been too busy hating on Favre to pay attention. ;)

Lots of interesting stuff in Premium btw.

by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 2:20am

Scoring gap is accounted for in DVOA. When Minnesota is playing in prevent situations, they are compared to how the average team plays in prevent situations.

by I am excellent at making love (not verified) :: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 9:18am

Cool--thank you.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Minnesota's secondary in the prevent defense seems to just stand on their opponent's goal line, regardless of the other team's field position.

by jmaron :: Wed, 12/23/2009 - 5:26pm

I think much of the quarterly decline in the Viking defence is teams abandoning the run after the 1st half. The Vikings simply don't defend the pass very well.