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15 Jan 2018

Divisional Round Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

And now, some facts about one Blake Bortles:

  • He was drafted third overall in 2014.
  • He has finished in the top 10 in interceptions each of his four NFL seasons.
  • He has twice led the league in number of times sacked.
  • He has never finished higher than 15th in DVOA or DYAR.
  • His biggest weakness (probably -- he has a lot of weaknesses) is his accuracy, or lack thereof. He has never finished higher than 24th in completion percentage, and his career completion rate is below 60 percent.
  • He is going to play in the AFC Championship Game anyway.

That last fact says a lot more about Jacksonville's rushing attack and especially the Jaguars defense than it does about improved play on the part of Bortles. The Central Florida product was next-to-last in last week's Quick Reads, and he is just fifth this week. Now, if we're being honest, Bortles has done a lot well this postseason. He hasn't thrown an interception yet, he has only been sacked twice, and he has run for 123 yards in two playoff games. But for all of that, he has still struggled to do a quarterback's most basic job: complete passes. He went 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) against Buffalo in the wild-card game, then 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) in the divisional round against Pittsburgh.

How unusual is that? The NFL expanded to a wild-card round in the playoffs in 1978, then added a second wild-card game per conference in 1990. In all those games, this is just the fifth time a quarterback has thrown at least 20 passes and failed to complete more than 55 percent of them in both the wild-card and divisional rounds, yet still advanced to the conference championship game:

     

  • In the 1980 season, Jim Plunkett of the Oakland Raiders went 8-of-23 (34.7 percent) in a 27-7 win over Houston in the wild-card round, then 14-of-30 (46.7 percent) in a 14-12 divisional win over the Browns.
  • In 2008, Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens went 9-of-23 (39.1 percent in his first playoff game, a 27-9 beatdown of Miami. The next week, he went 11-of-22 (50.0 percent) in a 13-10 win in Tennessee.
  • Hey, it's Joe Flacco again. In 2012, he went 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) in a 24-9 win over the Colts, and 18-of-34 (52.9 percent) in a 38-35 upset in Denver.
  • One year later, San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick went 16-of-30 (53.3 percent) in a 23-20 win over Green Bay, then 15-of-28 (53.6 percent) in the divisional round against Carolina.

The good news for Bortles is that despite their struggles, these quarterbacks and their teams generally continued to win. Plunkett and Flacco (2012 version) both went on to win the conference championship and then the Super Bowl. In 2008, Flacco and the Ravens were down one score in the fourth quarter until a Troy Polamalu pick-six gave the Steelers a 23-14 win. In 2013, Kaepernick came within one tipped pass in the end zone of winning in Seattle.

All of this brings us to another Bortles fact: due in part to his struggles with accuracy, he has been the most inconsistent quarterback in the league this season. He had 15 games in the regular season this year with at least 20 pass plays, including sacks, DPIs, and intentional groundings, but not spikes. (The exception was the Week 5 win over Pittsburgh, where he only had 16 pass plays in a 30-9 blowout win.) The variance of his DVOA in those 15 games was 25.7 percent, the highest such number in the league. The league's most consistent quarterback? Coincidentally, it was Bortles' opponent this week: Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Most Inconsistent Quarterbacks, 2017
Player Games* DVOA Variance* Rank

Player Games* DVOA Variance* Rank
5-B.Bortles 15 25.7% 1
7-C.Keenum 15 11.2% 16
8-K.Cousins 16 24.2% 2
11-C.Wentz 13 10.5% 17
14-A.Dalton 16 22.8% 3
8-M.Mariota 14 10.5% 18
1-C.Newton 16 22.5% 4
7-D.Kizer 14 10.4% 19
7-B.Hundley 10 19.0% 5
3-R.Wilson 16 9.8% 20
4-D.Carr 14 18.7% 6
11-A.Smith 15 9.8% 21
16-J.Goff 15 18.0% 7
10-M.Trubisky 10 9.4% 22
4-D.Prescott 15 18.0% 8
12-T.Brady 16 8.9% 23
5-T.Taylor 15 17.7% 9
3-J.Winston 11 8.5% 24
17-P.Rivers 16 17.7% 10
10-E.Manning 15 8.4% 25
5-J.Flacco 14 16.1% 11
2-M.Ryan 16 6.1% 26
6-J.Cutler 11 14.9% 12
7-J.Brissett 15 6.0% 27
13-T.Siemian 10 13.8% 13
9-D.Brees 16 5.9% 28
15-J.McCown 12 12.7% 14
7-B.Roethlisberger 15 5.3% 29
9-M.Stafford 16 11.3% 15




* Minimum 20 pass plays in each game. Minimum 10 games with at least 20 pass plays.

Comparing the best and worst games of Bortles and Roethlisberger makes it very clear what's going on here. Roethlisberger's best single-game DVOA came in Week 2 against Minnesota, when he went 23-of-35 for 243 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and two sacks. That was good for a DVOA of 60.3%. But Bortles had three games better than that: Week 3 against Baltimore (92.4%), Week 14 against Seattle (67.4%), and Week 15 against Houston (73.3%). His combined numbers in those three games: 67.8 percent completion rate, 9.6 yards per pass, nine touchdowns, no interceptions, one sack.

     

While Bortles at his best was better than Roethlisberger at his best, Bortles at his worst was also much worse than Roethlisberger at his worst. Roethlisberger's worst game (naturally) was his five-interception outing against Jacksonville in Week 5, when his DVOA was -20.5% (keeping in mind that number is highly boosted because Roethlisberger was playing the league's best defense). Bortles had six games worse than that: Week 2 against Tennessee (-39.2%); Week 4 against the Jets (-56.9%); Week 6 against the Rams (-22.1%); Week 11 against Cleveland (-51.8%); Week 12 against Arizona (-42.6%); and Week 17 against Tennessee again (-60.8%). Bortles combined statline in those games: 54.2 percent completion rate, 5.4 yards per pass, four touchdowns, seven interceptions, 15 sacks. (This would look even worse for Bortles if we included that Week 5 Pittsburgh game, when his DVOA was -49.9%.)

And that's just the regular season. Already in the playoffs, we have seen Bortles put up a -42.1% DVOA in the wild-card round against Buffalo, then a 46.4% DVOA in the divisional win against the Steelers. One might look at that and say he's due for a bad game, but there really has been little rhyme or reason for when he has played well and when he has struggled. All we know is that Bortles at his worst could lose in New England by 20 points or more, but Bortles at his best (along with a strong rushing attack and the best defense in the league) would easily be capable of defeating the Patriots and moving on to the Super Bowl.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
38/58
469
5
1
2
273
267
7
JAC
Roethlisberger gets a boost of 122 DYAR for playing the best defense in the league. Before Sunday, the Jaguars had not allowed more than 271 passing yards or three touchdowns (both by Russell Wilson). Roethlisberger's fourth-down numbers were ridiculous: 4-of-5 for 95 yards and four conversions, including three touchdowns. That's more fourth-down yards and touchdowns in one game than any other player had in 16 games in the regular season. (Kirk Cousins had 94 yards, but no touchdowns; Andy Dalton and Carson Wentz each had a pair of fourth-down touchdowns.)
2.
Case Keenum MIN
25/40
318
1
1
2
143
141
2
NO
THAT PLAY was worth 46 passing DYAR. It was just one of many good plays Keenum had on deep throws that traveled more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. He threw 12 such passes. One was intercepted, but five were completed for 153 yards, and two others resulted in DPIs for 54 more yards.
3.
Tom Brady NE
35/53
337
3
0
0
140
135
5
TEN
Red zone passing: 9-of-11 for 54 yards and three touchdowns. Third-down passing: 9-of-14 for 96 yards, with every completion picking up a first down.
4.
Nick Foles PHI
23/30
246
0
0
1
121
137
-17
ATL
Foles had a very streaky game -- 60.6 percent of his plays were either back-to-back successes or back-to-back failures. That was especially true in the second half, when he completed each of his first six passes for 78 total yards, and each of his last five passes for 64 total yards -- but in between he went 1-of-4 for 3 yards.
5.
Blake Bortles JAC
14/26
214
1
0
0
120
106
14
PIT
Bortles' streak factor was even higher than Foles, at 69.2 percent. He completed each of his first three passes for 53 total yards, and each of his last five passes for 118 yards, but in between he went 6-of-18 for 43 yards, plus an aborted snap. On third downs, he went 6-of-11 for 88 yards, with every completion going for a first down.
6.
Drew Brees NO
25/40
294
3
2
2
78
76
3
MIN
In the red zone, Brees went 5-of-7 for 42 yards and three touchdowns, but also one critical interception. On third and fourth downs, he went just 2-of-5 for 18 yards and two conversions, plus one sack. He did not convert a third down until the Saints were down 17-0 in the third quarter. Up the middle, he went 7-of-10 for 90 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
7.
Matt Ryan ATL
22/36
210
1
0
3
53
53
0
PHI
Ryan spent a good portion of his day in Philadelphia territory, but didn't have much success with that field position. On the Eagles' side of the 50, he went 7-of-16 for 41 yards with one touchdown, one other first down, and two sacks.
8.
Marcus Mariota TEN
22/37
254
2
0
8
-17
-26
9
NE
From the closing moments of the first half to the later portions of the second, Mariota went 19 straight dropbacks without picking up a first down. In that stretch, he went 8-of-14 for 59 yards with five sacks. At one point he was sacked on three consecutive dropbacks.


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.
Tevin Coleman ATL
10
79
0
1/1
14
0
56
48
9
PHI
Six first downs on the ground, including gains of 10, 12, 18, and 23, while losing yards just twice.
2.
Alvin Kamara NO
11
43
0
4/7
62
1
54
14
41
MIN
Two first downs rushing, a long gain of ten, and two runs that failed to gain yardage. His biggest catch was a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown, but he also had a 19-yard gain on second-and-14 and a 23-yard gain on second-and-16.
3.
Dion Lewis NE
15
62
0
9/10
79
0
36
24
12
TEN
Slow and steady. Lewis only had three first downs on the ground and a long gain of only 10, but only one of his runs failed to gain yardage, and 12 gained 3 yards or more. Only two of Lewis' receptions went for first downs, but seven were successful plays.
4.
T.J. Yeldon JAC
5
20
1
3/3
57
0
33
8
25
PIT
Four of Yeldon's runs gained 4, 5, or 6 yards. His biggest catches were a pair of third-down conversions: a 13-yard gain on third-and-10 and a 40-yard gain on third-and-5.
5.
Leonard Fournette JAC
25
109
3
2/4
10
0
15
22
-7
PIT
Six total first downs on the ground, including three runs of 10 yards or more, while being hit for no gain just twice.


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.
Tevin Coleman ATL
10
79
0
1/1
14
0
56
48
9
PHI
2.
Dion Lewis NE
15
62
0
9/10
79
0
36
24
12
TEN
3.
Leonard Fournette JAC
25
109
3
2/4
10
0
15
22
-7
PIT
4.
Alvin Kamara NO
11
43
0
4/7
62
1
54
14
41
MIN
5.
Jerick McKinnon MIN
8
34
1
3/4
6
0
-5
12
-18
NO
Take away his 14-yard touchdown and McKinnon had negative rushing DYAR, so yeah, it was pretty much just that one play.


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.
Derrick Henry TEN
12
28
0
3/4
21
0
-35
-26
-9
NE
Henry's only successful run was a 4-yard gain on third-and-1 that came with Tennessee down by 28 points in the fourth quarter. He had no runs of even 5 yards, and was hit in the backfield twice. His three catches: a 14-yard gain on third-and-31, a 6-yard gain on third-and-22, and a 1-yard gain on third-and-10. Yardage doesn't get much more meaningless than that.


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.
Derrick Henry TEN
12
28
0
3/4
21
0
-35
-26
-9
NE


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Stefon Diggs MIN
6
10
137
22.8
1
74
NO
THAT PLAY was worth 34 DYAR receiving. It was one of seven first downs Diggs had on the day, including DPIs for 34 and 3 yards.
2.
Antonio Brown PIT
7
11
132
18.9
2
59
JAC
Brown's touchdowns went for 43 and 23 yards, and he also had a 27-yard gain.
3.
Danny Amendola NE
11
13
112
10.2
0
45
TEN
Only one of Amendola's catches gained more than 15 yards, but seven picked up first downs, five were third-down conversions, and all were successful plays.
4.
Martavis Bryant PIT
2
4
78
39.0
1
40
JAC
A 36-yard touchdown on fourth-and-11 and a 42-yard gain on first-and-10, and here we are.
5.
Corey Davis TEN
5
8
63
12.6
2
39
NE
Davis had a pair of red zone scores and a pair of fourth-down conversions. All of his completions were successful plays.


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Brandin Cooks NE
3
9
32
10.7
0
-34
TEN
Well, two of those completions resulted in first downs, at least.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 15 Jan 2018

50 comments, Last at 18 Jan 2018, 5:33am by t.d.

Comments

1
by jmaron :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 11:30am

so every week I think Keenum looks not great and every week he seems to show up near the top of every type of conventional and advanced stat.

someone is wrong - and going by history it's usually me.

2
by lokiwi :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:47pm

I think the answer (such as one exists) to the Kennum Conundrum can be found in his receivers. Diggs and Thielen are uncommonly good at contested catches, in addition to being great route runners in a scheme that leaves them wide open on a lot of plays. So many of the plays that look not great end up with great outcomes. Best examples from last night: look at his interception compared to his deep completion to Thielen on the last FG drive. They were both heaved prayers to approximately the same spot. One just happened to have a WR on the end of it.

He's a high variance guy with a few valuable skills (sack avoidance and a willingness to go deep), and he's been hitting jackpot at a high rate.

6
by jmaron :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 1:30pm

seems like a good analysis of him to me.

If you watch the last pass it under thrown and slightly off target, as most of his long passes are, ideally the pass is coming harder and flatter closer to the sideline. Bradford could make that throw as could many others. But Keenum's weak arm and not great accuracy lucked out.

3
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 1:06pm

What was Tebow's variance in 2011?

4
by Thok :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 1:19pm

Foles had a very streaky game -- 60.6 percent of his plays were either back-to-back successes or back-to-back failures.

It's not clear to me that you have the right distribution for assessing the "percent of plays that are back-to-back to success of back-to-back failures." If the success rate is x and the failure rate is y, then you'd expect a back-to-back rate of x^2+y^2 and a nonback to back rate of 2xy. It's an easy math problem to show that x^2+y^2 >= 2xy (completing the square shows this is equivalent to (x-y)^2>=0), with equality only if success rate = failure rate.

Just to give an example, a 70% success rate (or a 70% failure rate) means you should expect a 58% back to back rate; if Nick Foles was successful on 21/30 passes, then a 60% back to back rate isn't that weird.

27
by Hextall_27 :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 5:10pm

'Foles had a very streaky game' is much more trendy than 'Foles 137 passing DYAR was higher than Brady's 135 and Brady is the undisputed king of bad weather games'. He outperformed Ryan 137 to 53 passing DYAR in those conditions but the story line all week was that the Eagles had a joke at QB. The joke was on all the people who bet on the Falcons because of Foles.

29
by Eddo :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 7:39pm

I definitely underestimated Foles, and he played well against Atlanta, but come on, you can't have it both ways as an Eagles fan. I've seen the same people argue that Wentz should be the MVP, but then that Foles would be more than adequate as a replacement, because the rest of the team is so strong.

34
by sbond101 :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 9:52am

This is interesting, it's connected to the reason I have always thought the criteria for MVP should be revised to be the most dominant player at his given position. For example, this year there is a good chance that Brady wins the MVP because most of the voters think he was the best QB in the league; However I don't think anyone believes that the gap between Brady (or whoever your preferred best QB is) and the next best QB is very large. Conversely, Antonio Brown is currently a long shot for MVP, but he was the best WR this year and it really wasn't close at all (at least in my view). I think this approach would make the award much more interesting as it would make room to recognize some of the truly dominant seasons that have occurred in the NFL (e.g. Devin Hester's 17.1 yrd/punt return, including 3 tds (next nearest competitor was 11.3 in 2010).

37
by nat :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:19am

I agree with the idea of having positional MVP awards. I think they are called All-Pro awards in some leagues. :-)

However I don't think anyone believes that the gap between Brady (or whoever your preferred best QB is) and the next best QB is very large.

Brady ended the season at 182 DYAR ahead of the next best QB. That's about two games of Rivers or Brees. Or, to put it another way, switching to Brady would be worth the equivalent of adding almost two extra drives per game. And it's a four game or more gap above everyone else.

By no means is that the largest DYAR gap ever. But it's not really a close race, is it? The talking heads who wanted to call it a close MVP race among the QBs had to twist a lot of logic to support their cases by the end of the season.

(Cue examples of twisted logic)

38
by sbond101 :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:19pm

Re 2017 Brady MVP, fair enough; I had the impression that the gap between Brady & Brees was smaller than that via the eye test, and hadn't noted the scale of the statistical gap. If it makes you feel better I have thought all along that it would be a fairly significant failure of the MVP voters if they chose someone besides Brady (though I wouldn't be surprised by it).

Regarding all-pro selections vs. MVP. I think you missed my premise, AP selections pick the best player at each position, which is good and interesting. I think it would be really interesting to select the player who is the greatest outlier at his position in the league to recognize the truly unique achievements in football. For example, in 2009 Manning won an MVP in a year where his traditional stats had him pretty tightly packed with a large number of other QB's. In that same year Chris Johnson ran for 2006 yds, 600 more yds than the next best rb, and 5.6 yds/carry; Janikoski made 6/8 field goals from 50+ (missing only at 57 & 66), including the 61 yd make outside @ cleavland; both performances that were much larger outliers both within the season and in broader football history. In my opinion an award recognizing the largest-scale outlier in a given season would be much more interesting than what amounts to best QB at this point.

40
by Eddo :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 1:07pm

Just because there were other really good QBs, it doesn't mean a RB - or even a kicker - is more valuable than the best QB.

Let's say you were given three sets of bags of money.

The first set has bags with $200, $201, and $202 in it.
The second has bags with $50, $51, and $120 in it.
The third has bags with $20, $21, and $110 in it.

You wouldn't choose the $120 bag as most valuable just because it is farther ahead of its cohort than the $202 bag.

41
by nat :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 1:10pm

Ah, my bad.

Who is the greatest outlier at his position this year? That's a cool discussion to have. It's especially interesting because you get to include dominant nose tackles and corner backs, who might not have any clear statistical evidence.

I could well believe there are corner backs who could sit out three drives per game and still be a better use of a roster spot than almost any other corner back in the league.

I don't think that would make him the league MVP necessarily. It might just be the rest of the league's CBs are weak that year.

But I like it as a discussion topic. Cool.

Here's the All Pro link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_All-Pro_Team

Looking at the value gap between first team and second team All Pro (or between the top selections if they are not consistent among the All Pro lists), I'd still put Brady's advantage at QB above the other "skill" positions. It's possible that the most extreme outlier would be at punter, but that could just be reputation this season. I can't really judge the line play on either side of the ball well enough to have an opinion there.

Cool. Makes you think.

43
by sbond101 :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 2:08pm

To start with; I acknowledge the biggest outliers are rightly not given MVP's under the current definition of the award; clearly this year the marginal advantage the best QB in the league has is normally more significant in absolute terms than the advantage a huge outlier would have at any other position. I just think the award would be more interesting if it were adjudicated based on the criteria of the largest relative outlier at a position.

It's interesting that you say that Brady might be the biggest outlier at any position; This is the first year in a long time where I think this might be true, as you say there is a pretty significant DYAR gap at the QB position between Brady and anyone else. In my opinion other candidate outliers include Gronk (depending on how much you think blocking should be worth), Aaron Donald, Luke Kuechley (OL excluded as I don't think I'm qualified to evaluate them closely enough). Interesting as I see it no special teams player distinguished themselves this year as an extreme outlier (from what I can see Brett Kern was actually slighted to not beat out Hekker for AP punter this year). The Pats kickoff & punt coverage units were also unbelievable this year, but I don't think there is one player there you can point too as a huge individual outlier. Kind of a down year for outlier performances actually - which is really too bad.

44
by nat :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 2:38pm

Good point about the blocking part of Gronk's game. He's not much of an outlier as a receiver (very good, but so are a few other TEs). But the blocking part of his game is special. I still wouldn't put him past Brady as an outlier. That's just my opinion. It's closer than I implied.

Donald was another player I considered as a possible large outlier. Brady's more valuable. The value gap between Brady and other QBs is larger (IMHO). The percentage gap might be larger for Donald. He's really very good, from somewhat limited views on my part. It's just that his position doesn't have as much impact as QB, and thus his gap in absolute value is smaller.

I have no opinion on Kuechley. I suspect you might be right about Hekker and Kern.

45
by LyleNM :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 4:18pm

Bobby Wagner had a superior year to Kuechly.

39
by Eddo :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 1:03pm

I agree with you. And also, this is going down the same path as the legendary ROBO-PUNTER discussion, which was about relative importance of positions and just being the indisputable best at an unimportant position doesn't make you more valuable than the marginal best at a premier position.

46
by MC2 :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 7:14pm

This is indeed a very interesting idea, although I'm ultimately opposed to it, at least as a replacement for the MVP (I would be more open to it as a separate award that was intended to complement the MVP, rather than replace it).

It's ironic that you brought up Devin Hester, because while I was reading the earlier part of your comment, before you mentioned him, I was already thinking of him as the perfect example of why I would be opposed to redefining the MVP as you're suggesting. I think it's tough to argue that someone who is only on the field for about 10-20% of the game could possibly be as valuable as one who is on the field for approximately 50% of the game.

(This last point is also why I think if you were choosing an "all-time MVP" it would have to be a great two-way player. Personally, I would probably select Sammy Baugh, who was not only an excellent QB, but also a good safety and a very good punter -- a great three-way player.)

47
by sbond101 :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 8:15pm

If this is a separate award I kind of want to name it after Gary Anderson for the 1998 "perfect" season - but that might be salt in an open wound until the Vikings finally win a superbowl. Any other thoughts on all-time award winners in this category?

49
by MC2 :: Thu, 01/18/2018 - 1:59am

Well, if the standard is how far ahead one is relative to others at the same position, I'd have to go with Don Hutson. He put up numbers (both career and single-season) that absolutely dwarfed those of the other wide receivers (or "split ends") of his day. In fact, like Babe Ruth, his production often exceeded that of entire teams.

30
by Bab3s :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 8:51pm

@Thok - It looks suspicious that your expected streak rate is not dependent on the number of pass attempts. I'd take it you're not using a Wald-Wolfowitz runs test? Let n be the number of attempts, and let x and y mean what you have meant them to be. Then I get an expected streak rate (streaks as defined by FO equals n - runs, where runs are defined in terms of the runs test, so E(streaks) = n - E(runs), and E(streak rate) = 1 - E(runs) / n)

E(streak rate) = x^2 + y^2 - 1/n,

which is usually a difference of about 2-3 percent on what you have, which isn't irrelevant.

Also, the streak rate is approximately normal (runs are approximately normal, so streaks are as well) with variance 2xy(2xyn - 1) / (n-1).

In the case of Nick Foles, with x=0.62, y=0.38 and n=32, the expected streak rate is about 50% with a variance of 20%, or a standard deviation of about 4.5%. Thus a streak rate of 60.6% is about 2.4 standard deviations above the mean. That's a lot of standard deviations; maybe his streak rate in this game was more than random noise. But then it's just one game, not enough to draw any conclusions about his overall streakiness as a passer.

31
by Thok :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 9:26pm

I'm willing to accept that my calculations aren't quite right (the -1/n, for example, is something I considered since the first pass can't be measured as part of the streak.) I just feel like a discussion of streakiness should be made a bit more precise, especially since the article didn't include Foles' success rate.

33
by Bab3s :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:02pm

"I just feel like a discussion of streakiness should be made a bit more precise"

We can agree on that. I was going real hard trying to "correct" you because I was assuming that you were making some elementary mistake; I almost certainly have underestimated your statistical chops. Sorry about that.

Moreover, it ended up obfuscating my main point: that the streak rate from a random arrangement of a known number of successes and failures is known to follow an approximately normal distribution. That's kind of a big deal.

5
by RickD :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 1:29pm

"That last fact says a lot more about Jacksonville's rushing attack and especially the Jaguars defense than it does about improved play on the part of Bortles."

That vaunted defense gave up 42 points and Roethlisberger was the best QB of the weekend.

I mean, yeah, Bortles wasn't all that impressive, either. But it's weird to praise the defense when they give up that many points.

8
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 1:44pm

On the other hand, that defense and rushing attack spotted Jacksonville a 28-7 lead with 2 minutes left in the first half, and on Pittsburgh's four drives with the ball within one score, they went punt-INT-punt-downs.

15
by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:54pm

B.Roeth was tops in DYAR in part BECAUSE that defense is #1

17
by justanothersteve :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 4:22pm

And in part because his receivers made some unbelievable catches

22
by Jerry :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 2:51am

... of balls that were right where they had to be for those great catches to happen.

25
by dank067 :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:29am

Whoever you want to give more credit to (Ben or the WRs/Bell), I think the main takeaway is that the Steelers earned the passing numbers they put up vs. Jacksonville by making some incredible plays. I don't think it should be thought of as Jacksonville's defense being "exposed" or whatever.

Skeptical that New England will be able to have the same type of success on those types of downfield plays. But interestingly, Jacksonville's defense doesn't rate nearly as well by DVOA against TEs and RBs, so maybe the Pats won't need to.

35
by amin purshottam :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:54am

There is also no chance in hell that the Jags put anywhere close to 40 points on the Patriots defence. The key will be the Jags offense vs. pats defence. No way the Brothel puts up more points than Brady unless the offense lays an egg.

36
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:18am

Pittsburgh had totally cratered in run D in the last month. From first to worst, basically.

That said, NE's defense is about the same against the run as Buffalo's, but their pass D is more like Pittsburgh's than Buffalo's.

42
by Eddo :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 1:10pm

Calling him "Brothel" makes your comment seem unserious.

The chances of Bortles and the Jaguars putting up 40 points on New England is indeed low, just like it was against Pittsburgh. I wouldn't bet on it happening, but it's definitely possible.

The key to the game will be if the Jaguars can get to Brady with four rushers only. They are about as equipped to do that as any other team in the league, so they have a real chance to pull the upset.

18
by t.d. :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 4:23pm

Brady doesn't complete any of those touchdown passes, all of which came against very tight coverage with perfect throws (hell, he doesn't even try them). That was probably the best game I've ever seen Roethlesberger have (and, of course, Antonio Brown was fantastic, too)

7
by RickD :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 1:34pm

The Brandin Cooks issue is interesting. If he runs a deep route and Brady underthrows him, that shows up as a negative on Cooks.

I suspect if he and Amendola switched job assignments, he'd be doing just fine. But Amendola's job is to run the routes Brady excels at, while Cooks's job includes running more deep routes, because he's the fastest WR on the team.

12
by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:40pm

It's possible that injuries have forced Cooks, by virtue of skills relative to those possessed by other receivers, into a sub-optimal role. But would the team really use Cooks in such a one dimensional manner if he were capable of doing more? Particularly when Hogan missed half the year and Amendola has a pitch count?

It seems to me that personal limitations are at least as much of a factor as a role being necessary for the good of the team. Anecdotally, I think it is likely that Edelman or Welker or Branch (or just about any good NE receiver) would have broken inside for the easy TD on Saturday when, instead, Cooks cut outside into the defender.

Edit: I'm not saying that Cooks has reached his ceiling, I've thought all along that he could be developed into a more well-rounded chess piece. But I've come to the conclusion that it won't happen without another offseason.

13
by slomojoe :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:45pm

That may be the case, but Cooks has arguably been overthrown by Brady this season as much as or more often than as he was underthrown. And his short routes, especially slants, have been even worse, with many key drops. Something is off with the connection between the two of them, but it's hard to point out what.

It's probably the most disappointing 60+ catches, 1,000-yard season in Pats history that I can remember. Lloyd was about as good (or bad, as it may be), but the expectations for him were lower.

Not sure what will happen to Cooks, but I would not be surprised if he were traded or even released next year. They sure are not going to pay him what other teams will offer him.

20
by Alternator :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 10:10pm

You think the Patriots would trade a first round pick for a guy, exercise his fifth-year option (worth $8.349), watch him exceed a thousand yards receiving, and then CUT HIM?

Really?

There's cold-blooded and then there's stupid, and Belichick is rarely the latter.

9
by billsfan :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:20pm

How much undeserved DYAR did Foles get for the DPI on that absolute duck of a throw on the opening play?

10
by big10freak :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:29pm

Given the quality of the Jags defense surprised Bell's 67 yards rushing and 88 yards receiving don't measure higher

11
by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:32pm

Given that the 5th RB has a negative DYAR, I have to imagine that is an oversight.

14
by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:48pm

Most DYAR in a playoff loss since 1986
1. Warren Moon 279 vs. 1991 DEN
2. Ben Roethlisberger 273 vs. 2017 JAC
3. Russell Wilson 265 vs. 2012 ATL
4. Kurt Warner 229 vs. 2008 PIT
5. Peyton Manning 212 vs. 2007 SD
6. Jeff George 212 vs. 1999 STL
7. Jim Kelly 203 vs. 1989 CLE

28
by Hextall_27 :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 5:15pm

I am surprised that Rodgers vs Arizona in the 2009 season playoffs did not make that list.

32
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 9:51pm
16
by jw124164 :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 3:10pm

Maybe the Falcons should have given the ball to Tevin Coleman a time or two on that last series ...

19
by Cythammer :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 8:06pm

One thing to point out is that while Bortles may have a strong running game and fantastic defense supporting him, he also doesn't really have a strong receiving corps to work with. The team's top WR, Allen Robinson, has been out all season.

21
by serutan :: Mon, 01/15/2018 - 11:48pm

And 10 years from now people will read this, see "THAT PLAY" and know exactly
what is meant.
______
Was wr

23
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 4:11am

What was Tebow's variance in 2011?

He only had eight games with 20 pass plays. In this eight games, the variance of his DVOA was 9.9% -- he was consistently terrible. However, he had four games with 8 to 19 pass plays, and in those eight games his DVOA was 24.4%, 54.2%, 32.0%, and 32.0%. In all 12 games, the variance of his DVOA was 15.6%.

It's not clear to me that you have the right distribution for assessing the "percent of plays that are back-to-back to success of back-to-back failures." If the success rate is x and the failure rate is y, then you'd expect a back-to-back rate of x^2+y^2 and a nonback to back rate of 2xy. It's an easy math problem to show that x^2+y^2 >= 2xy (completing the square shows this is equivalent to (x-y)^2>=0), with equality only if success rate = failure rate.
Just to give an example, a 70% success rate (or a 70% failure rate) means you should expect a 58% back to back rate; if Nick Foles was successful on 21/30 passes, then a 60% back to back rate isn't that weird.

DUDE. This is like my favorite comment to a Quick Reads note ever, because I learned something. You know more about how this works than I do!

For the record, Foles had a success rate of 62%, thus a failure rate of 38%. This means he had an expected streak rate of 53%. His actual streak rate was 61%, which works out to two or three plays over the course of that game.

How much undeserved DYAR did Foles get for the DPI on that absolute duck of a throw on the opening play?

28. It was actually his biggest play of the game.

Given the quality of the Jags defense surprised Bell's 67 yards rushing and 88 yards receiving don't measure higher

3 total DYAR. -13 rushing, 16 receiving. He actually loses 12 DYAR due to opponent adjustments because while Jacksonville had the best pass defense in the league, their run defense was 26th. Bell basically had three big runs (gains of 20 and 21, plus an 8-yard touchdown) and a bunch of bad runs -- 11 of 17 carries gained 2 yards or less, and five went for no gain or a loss. He's also docked for failures to convert on third-and-2, third-and-1, and fourth-and-1.

24
by big10freak :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 8:50am

I asked earlier in the thread but did Bell of the Steelers legitimately not make the top 5 list for running backs??

26
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 01/16/2018 - 2:54pm

Read the last part of Comment 23.

48
by Thok :: Wed, 01/17/2018 - 9:46pm

DUDE. This is like my favorite comment to a Quick Reads note ever, because I learned something. You know more about how this works than I do!

You (and everybody who wants to see some more analysis of the streak stats) should read the follow up discussion in 30/31/33.

Also, thanks!

50
by t.d. :: Thu, 01/18/2018 - 5:33am

Bad Blake Bortles in the wild card round was really a game played in 15 mph wind and a coach who knew his team would probably win if his quarterback didn't kill them, and called the gameplan accordingly (though Bortles did probably kill their chances a few times this year, he was as likely to win the game for them against good competition as kill them). I think the AFC championship should be really interesting; Roethlesberger threw five picks the first time he faced this defense; it's a lot to handled, but the Pats tempo shit is also unlike anything the Jags have seen. Wonder if they practiced it at all in the preseason joint practices