Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Dec 2005

2005 Quick Reads: Week 15

Every year, offensive numbers go down in the second half except, for some odd reason, in Week 15. That means lots of big performances to discuss in Quick Reads, plus one horrible, terrible performance by a quarterback who won the game anyway. Also this week: No more glory for Ryan Fitzpatrick, Peyton Manning has his first negative DPAR game in two years, and Quick Reads demands an appearance by Rusher McFumbles. We must have Rusher McFumbles on Monday Night Football! Let's start a petition.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 19 Dec 2005

49 comments, Last at 27 Dec 2005, 3:34am by Sid


by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 6:29pm

I'm with you on making next Monday Rusher McFumbles night. Imagine watching him try to out-deul Bollenger in the battle of the late round QBs. I think Pats fans have to root for a Cincy win this weekend so the Pats will have nothing to play for (Pats would get the 3rd seed if Cincy loses out and the Patriots win out). Unfortunatly Bellechick has been reluctant to rest his starters, he kept Brady in for a the whole first half in the season-ender last year.

by MME (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 6:30pm

Blech. I own David Givens AND Drew Bennett in my fantasy league...

And, to add injury to insult, I had Torry Holt in the game.

Of course, they were on my bench. Needless to say, season over for me.

Nice to see Givens and Bennett as #1 and #2 this week... and Holt near the bottom.

Good times.

by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 6:33pm

Re Flutie for week 16: I think it would be great if Flutie starts for the Pats and Vinny starts for the Jets. Two ancient QBs playing for their hometown teams. Best sendoff for ABC MNF that could have under the circumstances IMO.
Would that be the oldest combined starting QB matchup in history?
Unfortunately, I don't think it will happen

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 6:50pm

A question on QB rushing DPAR, brought to mind by the "egregious scrambling" comment on Brooks Bollinger. Does DPAR penalize a QB more for pulling the ball down and getting some positive yardage scrambling, compared to how his DPAR would be affected had he just thrown the ball away?

Bollinger's scrambles were clearly ineffective: 1 yard on 1-10, 2 yards on 1-10, 2 yards on 2-6, 7 yards on 3-10. That, plus -2 yards on a QB draw on 3-3, gave him -2.1 rushing DPAR. What would his rushing DPAR have been with just the -2 yards on the QB draw, and what would his passing DPAR have been had he thrown incomplete on the other four plays?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 6:50pm

Wonderful Rusher McFumbles reference back to the preseason. Talk about a reference that Fox readers are going to be confused about but that makes every FO regular smile :)


by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 6:54pm

Man, I love that every Bears fan in the world is excited by the extreme improvement in QB play in the second half of sunday night's game, and in the end we still had about as close to a 0 DPAR as possible. Here's to a tradition of downright aweful quarterback play!

by Harry (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 6:58pm

Good to see McNair getting some attention. Is it my imagination or has the media just completely forgotten him this year? He was co-MVP only 2 years ago and routinely included in "top 5 QB" conversations. Yet this year he never seems to come up - I guess that what happens when you play on a losing team.As far as Manning's intentional grounding - the "Living Legend" told Boston sports radio this morning that Manning made the right play. The thinking being that the effect of the penalty, if the refs call it, is about the same as a sack and you often get away with it, so the odds favor chucking the ball away in that situation.

by NF (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:05pm


It's not awful, it's replacement-level!

Aaron, awesome unexpected Pixies quote!

"This ain't no holiday!...But it always turns out this way!...Here I stand with my hands..."

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:10pm

Not that I watched the game, and not that his numbers were anything special, but I was surprised to see Charlie Frye so low with the glowing praise he's been recieving today.

I'm guessing Cedric Houston got a fairly whopping opponent adjustment to make the top 5.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:12pm

All the Eagles had were some good kickoff returns. Weird.

And good punting. Apparently that's all that's needed when you've got two teams that have no offense whatsoever. Well, and a crapload of luck.

Oh, and I'd like to point out that I did mention that "hey, that Houston guy, he seemed to suck less than Curtis Martin..." - he seems to be continuing to "suck less".

by David Brude (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:14pm

I had one comment even though I've been with this site for awhile now. Is a five or even 8 yard gain on 3rd and 10 truly
worth nothing or just close to nothing?

If field position is truly fluid then aren't those extra yards are worth something most of the time. Don't they make it so your opponent starts out that much farther back after a punt. Unless of couse you are so close as to where more yardage doesn't help the punt team any.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:15pm

but I was surprised to see Charlie Frye so low with the glowing praise he’s been recieving today.

Yah, but he's a rookie - we're comparing him to other rookies. You know, Kyle Orton, Alex Smith, heck, even J.P. Losman if you want to just say "first time starters". He doesn't exactly have much to live up to.

by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:16pm

Is anyone else surprised that Roethlisberger got 0 DPAR? He scrambled for a 3 yd TD and maybe 9 yd run for a 1st down.

by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:17pm

That should say rushing DPAR in #13.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:19pm


It is worth something. You just get less than one "success point". You then also have to compare what you get to what the league, on average, gets at that situation.

Not converting on, say, a 3rd and 20 isn't going to hurt you - not nearly as much as getting to the 3rd and 20 in the first place. If a QB completes a pass for 12 yards on 3rd and 20, and the league average is 10 yards, he'll get a positive DVOA. Of course, if they got to 3rd and 20 via two negative plays by the QB, then that's a net loss. But if they got there via a RB, then the QB isn't punished for being put in a crappy spot.

by Mshray (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:25pm

Aaron, is your "who's with me on this" in the Brady sgement a deliberate or inadvertant Sports Guy reference?

by Paytonrules (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:33pm

"It’s not awful, it’s replacement-level!"

DPAR was .3...it's....it's....AVERAGE!!!!!!

As a Bears fan my whistles go WOOO WOOOOOOOO!!!

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 7:49pm

Would that be the oldest combined starting QB matchup in history?

Almost, it would come in a narrow second to Dave Kreig vs. anybody.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 8:00pm

I'm sure that Kreig and Moon HAD to face off at least once...

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 8:06pm

Nice job working "egregious" into the column twice!

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 8:12pm

Yeah, those sleigh bell sounds on FOX were ridiculous.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 8:14pm

I also loved that Brandon Lloyd made Daryl Johnston's "Lunch Pail" team.

by Jim in Pgh (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 8:48pm

Re #6: I think that Grossman benefitted quite a bit from the "unexpected quarterback change" effect. The Falcons had prepped all week against Orton, not Grossman. Not that the Packers will be a real challenge, but it will be interesting to see if Grossman's performance at Lambeau matches up to this week's second half.

by Beige Tangerine (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 9:05pm

RE: #18, 19

Looks like the last time Krieg and Moon played was week 9 of 1996. They were about 38 and 40, respectively. Testaverde and Flutie are 42 and 43.

by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 9:14pm

Grossman has one other thing going for him. He's so frequently injured that there is NO recent film, and not that much film total, on him.

I think it takes at least 14 or so games before there's enough film on a QB for defensive coordinators to dissect his play and figure out his strengths and weaknesses. At least, that's how long it took for people to figure out QB's such as Ben Roethlisperger, Kordell Stewart, Tom Brady, etc. They all started encountering greater trouble after around 14 starts.

Has Rex Grossman even ever started 14 games?

by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 9:32pm

The Falcons had prepped all week against Orton, not Grossman.

Meaning they looked at about five minutes of film, realized they had nothing to worry about, and went out for beers.

by Jim in Pgh (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 10:07pm

At least, that’s how long it took for people to figure out QB’s such as Ben Roethlisperger, Kordell Stewart...

...Tommy Maddox... yes, we're familiar with the phenomenon around here I'm afraid.

by kleph (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 10:18pm

i am truely in awe of the pixies reference particularly since it comes from the oft overlooked first ep. but, on second thought, it makes complete sense. what else would you expect old school alternative beantown boys to be listening to at this time of the year but holiday songs?

by SJM (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 10:26pm

Re: 27

There was a horrific looking neck injury also, that might have had something to do with it in Maddox's case.

But I think Kordell and Maddox were both above average in the "time it takes for defensive coordinators to figure him out" stat. Look at Fitzpatrick or Frye (or even Orton).

by Catfish (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2005 - 10:55pm

Re 25


The past 2 seasons he's gotten injured in his 3rd game.

by the K (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 2:59am

You guys might want to check around for some good old Steve DeBerg action if you're looking for old QB matchups. I think Flutie vs Testaverde would have to be the oldest, 85 freaking years combined.

Free Rusher McFumbles!

by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 3:39am

Aaron Rodgers is the new Rusher McFumbles.

Aaron: Who was worse by passing DVOA this week: Orton, Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, McMahon, Fitzpatrick, or Jeff Garcia?

I know some quarterbacks did worse than some of those listed, but this is covering the bases of well known QBs with well-known bad performances this week.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 10:53am

#31,24 etc. I think the only matchup that would come close would be Steve DeBerg/Vince Evans.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 10:58am

As the Sports Guy said last week, Favre has become the white Aaron Brooks but has caught much less flak. I've mentioned this in Saints forums, and have been accused of race baiting. OK, so it's people who wanted Delhomme (more TO's than Brooks, didn't get a start when Brooks played with an injured shoulder...) over Brooks, and don't claim that there is ANY racial motivation behind it...

by MDZ (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:17am

I just picked up the Pixies reunion tour DVD yesterday and I highly recommend it to any fans. I saw them last June in Raleigh and it was easily the best concert I've ever been to.

by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:49am

As best I can tell, 3 of the top 4 combined oldest QB matchups were between Warren Moon and John Elway. A top-10 list (note: I may have missed games where typically backup QBs started):

1. 80 years, 67 days - Denver 21, at Seattle 16 - 10/11/1998
John Elway (38 years, 105 days) vs. Warren Moon (41 years, 327 days)

The Seahawks and Broncos would also play later that year, but Kitna started.

2. 79 years, 261 days - at Jets 28, Atlanta 3 - 10/25/1998
Vinny Testaverde (34 years, 347 days) vs. Steve DeBerg (44 years, 279 days)

This was DeBerg's only start of the season.

3. 78 years, 111 days - at Denver 30, Seattle 27 - 11/2/1997
John Elway (37 years, 127 days) vs. Warren Moon (40 years, 349 days)

4. 77 years, 364 days - Denver 35, at Seattle 34 - 9/7/1997
John Elway (37 years, 71 days) vs. Warren Moon (40 years, 293 days)

5. 77 years, 353 days - Chicago 15, at Minnesota 13 - 10/28/1996
Dave Krieg (38 years, 9 days) vs. Warren Moon (39 years, 344 days)

6. 77 years, 104 days - at Seattle 38, San Francisco 9 - 12/21/1997
Warren Moon (41 years, 33 days) vs. Steve Young (36 years, 71 days)

7. 76 years, 250 days - at San Diego 24, Kansas City 17 - 1/2/2005
Doug Flutie (42 years, 72 days) vs. Trent Green (34 years, 178 days)

8. 76 years, 17 days - Minnesota 30, at Arizona 24 - 11/12/1995
Warren Moon (38 years, 359 days) vs. Dave Krieg (37 years, 23 days)

9. 75 years, 361 days - at Green Bay 41, Dallas 20 - 10/24/2004
Brett Favre (35 years, 15 days) vs. Vinny Testaverde (40 years, 346 days)

10. 75 years, 311 days - at Miami 31, Denver 21 - 12/21/1998
Dan Marino (37 years, 116 days) vs. John Elway (38 years, 195 days)

Elway and Marino would meet in the playoffs 3 weeks later, with the Broncos winning 38-3.

by JSR (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:58am

Re: 34
Brett Favre (36 years old, 15 years in the league, record-setting, Super Bowl winning QB): 48.3 DPAR through Week 14, ranked 10th.

Aaron Brooks (29 years old, 7 years in the league, no noteworthy accomplishments): 19.3 DPAR through Week 14, ranked 22nd.

Separated at birth or what?

Favre is not the "white Aaron Brooks". His efficiency numbers are much more comparable to Jake Delhomme's, who isn't the "white Aaron Brooks" either.

Moreover, Brooks has no history that would in any way mitigate criticism of him, whereas Favre most certainly does--not to the point of hagiography that sportswriters heap on him of course, but good memories do count for something. Better comparisons would be between Favre and some other former great QB who got old and washed up.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 12:12pm

That's it. Favre is the white Bledsoe!

by SJM (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 12:46pm

Re: 37

Thank you for saving me the trouble of making the points you made so well.

When Aaron Brooks wins 3 MVPs and a Super Bowl while dominating his division for a decade, then we can talk about comparisons.

I think the "real" comparison to Farve is Emmitt Smith. A hall of famer who played way too long yet was never really criticised by the media at the end of his career.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 1:21pm

I know you usually don't do quick reads on MNF games, but I'm thinking Boller's performance last night was as good as he is ever likely to have.

Even the overthrow to Hymes worked well -- no one was going to catch that ball except for Hymes, unless it was the paying customer in the third row. The only noticebly bad throw was the underthrow to Clayton in the second quarter, which gave the linebacker(?) who had rotated into that zone the chance to catch up. That may be a plant problem due to his foot injury.

All in all, Green Bay's secondary had been highly regarded prior to this game -- even if it was a Tennessee run defense type of anomaly (referring to the Titan run defense having such good numbers because of the weakness of their pass defense). How much of an adjustment to Boller's DVOA occured, and was it in his favor?

by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 1:54pm

There’s only a Miami quarterback controversy if you believe either Gus or Sage will be the starter next year and if they are the Pats can start putting their 2006 division champion banner up now.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 1:58pm

Is that Cleo music?

by Bob Cook (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 2:34pm

Everyone here in Chicago is getting all ga-ga over Rex Grossman, but it's like Eddie Murphy's old routine centering on crackers (which I think had to do with sex and marriage, not quarterbacking. Actually, this might work for any QB controversy):

"If you're starving and somebody throw you a cracker, you gonna be like this:
Goddamn, that's the best cracker I ever ate in my life!
That ain't no regular cracker, was it? What was that, a Saltine? Goddamn, that was delicious. That wasn't no Saltine. That was...
That was a Ritz. That wasn't a Ritz? God, that was the best cracker I ever ate in my life. Can I have another one, please? Please, one more.

"Then you get [Rex Grossman], because you think you've found the bomb. Have the same crackers every day for a year.
And you roll over one day
and be like: 'Hey, I just got some regular old crackers.'"

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 2:56pm

Thanks for bringing that up Bob. Not only relevant, but one of the funnier Eddie Murphy bits.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 4:32pm

Travis #36:

Honorary Mention. 75 years, 153 days - Cleveland 12, at Dallas 19 - 9/19/2004
Jeff Garcia (34 years, 209 days) vs. Vinny Testaverde (40 years, 309 days)

Honorary Mention. 75 years, 48 days - Denver 13, at San Diego 6 - 12/15/2001
Rich Gannon (35 years, 360 days) vs. Doug Flutie (39 years, 53 days)

Honorary Mention. 74 years, 327 days - at Washington 18, Dallas 21 - 9/27/2004
Mark Brunnel (34 years, 10 days) vs. Vinny Testaverde (40 years, 317 days)

by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 7:18pm

Other non-Moon matchups:

76 years, 2 days - at Buffalo 44, Oakland 21 - 12/13/1998
Doug Flutie (36 years, 51 days) vs. Wade Wilson (39 years, 316 days)

75 years, 164 days - Minnesota 21, at Dallas 10 - 10/26/1978
Fran Tarkenton (38 years, 266 days) vs. Roger Staubach (36 years, 263 days)

75 years, 148 days - Kansas City 42, at Denver 34 - 11/18/1974
Len Dawson (39 years, 152 days) vs. Charley Johnson (35 years, 152 days)

The Broncos and Chiefs also played each other on 10/6/1974, but I'm not sure who the starting QBs were.

74 years, 318 days - at Boston Patriots 42, Houston Oilers 14 - 12/18/1965
Babe Parilli (38 years, 93 days) vs. George Blanda (36 years, 225 days)

by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:27pm

If the Patriot's week 16 game is meaningless, the Jets fans must start a "Vinnie-Flutie" cheer. And Patriots players on the sideline should start making a "v" with their arms to encourage Herm Edwards to put in Vinnie Testaverde.

I cannot emphasize how much I think the Jets and Patriots should do this given that it will likely be the last game either play.

by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:35pm

Herm Edwards on Vinny Testaverde:

"Hopefully he's going to get in a game before the season is over with," said Edwards. "That's what we're going to try to do."

When is this going to happen?

"Just when the time is right," said Edwards.

And when would the time be right?

"It's like a surprise party for somebody," said Edwards. "You don't tell them. You just kind of wait. ‘Surprise! Mark, we're having a party, just for you!’ You don't tell the person. Thank you. You've got two games left, somewhere along the line, I would think, because we don't have an alumni game. Unless we have the media game against us, you guys are going to play against us."

by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 3:34am

RE: 23

So they prepped all week relying on the fact that they wouldn't have to face a QB, and then they did. Is that what you're saying?