Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

Week 16 Open Discussion

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

It's Christmas weekend, and Santa Claus has brought us four straight days of NFL football.

It starts on Christmas night, when the Vikings (6-8) travel to New Orleans (10-4).

Then there are three games on Saturday: Tampa Bay (9-5) at Detroit (5-9); San Francisco (5-9) at Arizona (8-6); and Miami (9-5) at Las Vegas (7-7).

The biggest game on Sunday sees the L.A. Rams (9-5) visit Seattle (10-4) with control of the NFC West at stake. There's also the Giants (5-9) at Baltimore (9-5) in a battle of fringe playoff contenders, and the night game pits Tennessee (10-4) at Green Bay (11-3).

And finally, on Monday night, Buffalo (11-3) visits New England (6-8).

Use this thread to discuss them all.

Comments

189 comments, Last at 29 Dec 2020, 9:42pm

1 Merry Christmas, or other…

Merry Christmas, or other seasonal felicitations, to all.

Good start from the Saints.

Edited to say, good start for both offences, less good from the defensive side of both teams.

2 Love Kamara's shoes

Gotta admit that I like the Christmas themed one red, one green shoe. Made that TD run just a bit more festive.

5 Still getting a smile from…

In reply to by DisplacedPackerFan

Still getting a smile from those shoes.

 

So this is only the 3rd full saints game I've seen this year, along with the GB and KC games. My eyes really don't get what DVOA loves about this defense so much. They look pretty much like the GB defense against MN. Get a few stops on third down but mostly unable to stop what MN wants to do. Maybe I under rate the vikings offense.

The NO offense is doing what I expected, but this was the top rated D by DVOA at one point this season and it feels like the below average GB defense every time I see it.

16 Yeah, I think the Saints…

Yeah, I think the Saints defense is fine but they've rode a couple of exceptional performances (@ TB, @QB-less Denver) to a much higher DVOA rating than they warrant over the full 15 game sample size. Look more closely at their schedule and you realize that the best of their other games were against Nick Mullens and 2x against middling-stage Matt Ryan, while other performances against teams like the Raiders and Chargers look worse in retrospect. They also conceded one of the better offensive performances achieved by the trash fire Foles Bears to go along with the loss to Jalen Hurts in his first career start.

The only NFC contender right now whose defense I think can win a playoff game for them is the Rams. At least the Saints defense probably has a much higher floor than the Packers defense.

3 Put game on late in quarter

14 first downs and 216 yards in first quarter.   Must be one of greatest 1st quarters on offense ever

10 They just made up for that …

They just made up for that (pending a tight review).

Didn't Nevers score a 2PAT as well or kick some PATs or something? Probably not enough time for the 7th rushing TD unless the Vikings do something strange.

9 Wow. It takes a few unlikely…

Wow. It takes a few unlikely occurrences, but Kamara gets another shot near the goal line and gets his 6th TD. Incredible game.

... Unless it gets called back for him being down inches short, which would be extremely anticlimactic.

17 The Vikings turned over a…

The Vikings turned over a huge chunk of their defense, got very young at CB, and got hammered with injuries and opt-outs among the more veteran players in the front-7. You can argue about other aspects of Zimmer's coaching, but he's gotten way more out of this defense than almost anyone could have expected.

12 Anyone know if the Cards…

Anyone know if the Cards 49ers game will stay on Amazon to watch at a more convenient time. I always DVR games to watch when I have time and so I can skip commercials and ignore annoying announcers.

15 Sum Juan

I called my buddy, Sum Juan but he said he did not know. He told me to call his buddy, Juan Moore. We all tried to talk Juan Moore into starting a brewery. Who doesn't want Juan Moore beer when they are drinking ?

18 Halfway through the 1st…

Halfway through the 1st quarter,  and Brady already has 146 passing yards and 2 tds. Lions fired their coach, but same old lions.

21 This performance is amazing…

This performance is amazing.  Even at their worst, the 0-16 Lions never looked this bad in an individual game.  The Cardinals, Falcons, WFT, and the Bears should be mortified that they lost to this dumpster fire.

26 In defense of my Cards:

Kyler is still learning how to win in Year 2.  

I would fault Kingbury's poor play calling and decision-making as a larger factor in the Cards' losses.

Instead of going for it on 4th and short, he opted to punt and the Cards never saw the ball again.

That was the Detroit loss.  For someone who operates a wide-open offense, at times it seems strange how conservative Kingsbury is with his in-game calls.

 

22 Brady with 348 yards and…

Brady with 348 yards and 4tds... at the half. He has a shot at the single game record.  Think he's pissed at the pro bowl snub?

24 Brady is sitting the 2nd…

Brady is sitting the 2nd half.  Watching him chase the single game yards record might have kept some eyeballs on this game.

Instead we get Blaine Gabbert vs Chase Daniel in garbage time.

28 Settle down Lil' Vrao...

Murray is valued higher than Brady at this point, based on the vote.

Even Brady has to accept that he's not in his prime anymore.

People are acting like picking Murray was a huge shock.

23 Detroit coached up?

Ranked 32nd in defensive DVOA with their regular coaches, this is well below the norm for this defense.

25 Apparently coaching does…

Apparently coaching does matter.  Their defense, even when healthy, is pretty bad, but not historically bad.  Right now, they don’t look capable of stopping a MAC 10 offense.

27 Combination..

..of losing Stafford early and the inability to cover anyone doomed these kittens.

They'd at least have a shot with Stafford, but that defense is just horrid.

I believe Schlereth said last in scoring defense (haven't checked).

32 So glad we are going get to…

So glad we are going get to see either this Cardinals team or the Bears in the playoffs. What a great decision it was to add a seventh team to the playoffs. More thoroughly mediocre teams in the playoffs, woohoo.

49 It’s just one season, no…

It’s just one season, no need to overreact about it.

I remember when they first added the 3rd Wildcard in 1990.  It was partly  in response to a very good 10-6 Washington team missing the playoffs the previous years.  This let the 9-7 Oilers and 8-8 Saints sneak into the playoffs.  Both were easily dispatched in the Wildcard round.  Everyone then started loudly complain about what a mistake it was to change the format.  Since then, the 6th seed has featured multiple double digit win teams, and many of them have advanced to the Divisional Round.  I’m sure we’ll eventually see the same thing with the 7th seed.

123 That fact has been almost…

That fact has been almost entirely overlooked by the Chicago sports media when evaluating this team. If this was any other season, their chances for making the playoffs would be much smaller.

Also, I believe at this point a 10 win team is guaranteed to miss the playoffs in the AFC, right? Meanwhile, the NFC could have 3 teams with 9 wins or fewer, and will have a division winner with a losing record. Obviously this would never happen, but IMHO in a perfect world the bar for making the playoffs would be 10 or more wins. If it results in 8 playoff teams or 15, so be it.

33 Robbie Gould has been kind…

Robbie Gould has been kind of great this year - over 90% on FGs coming into today - and every kicker has a stinker every now and then, but boy if he'd hit any one of the three kicks he missed this game would be over already.

Well, Cards turn it over on downs and now it's over for real.

Uh oh, Murray is hurt?

34 Just out of the Cards game...

Honestly, if you can't beat a 5 win team, division game or not, at home you don't deserve the playoffs.

I cannot believe this team came out flat and couldn't close the deal when everything was in front of them.

Is Kingsbury the right coach at this level to lead a team with this kind of talent?   I don't know. 

Whether Murray is hurt or not, I hope Steve Keim looks seriously at the coaching here.  The defense also needs an overhaul in the off-season.  

How do you not show up at home against a team you should handle?

35 You shouldn't take the loss too hard...

...after all, you work "in the psychology field" and should be well-adjusted enough to weather the disappointment. 

OK, now that I've played 'tit for tat,' I'll point out that every team, at one time or another, has a bad game.  Yes, a good team should regularly beat an inferior one, but games sometimes have inexplicable outcomes.  When I was coaching, my team once played against a rival that was having an off year.  Our players seemed psyched to play our rival (we'd lost to them last year) and did not show any evidence of overconfidence.  But when the game started, we treated the ball as if it were made of plutonium, executed plays as if we'd never played the game before, and made mistakes that defied description.  We lost, learned from it, and went all the way to the state finals (lost that one to a team that was way better than us.)  So I've seen it first-hand--sometimes things just happen that way.  When your opponent's very good kicker misses three kicks in the same (close) game and you still lose, it begins to sound a little like fate.  

And do the Cards really have "this kind of talent"?  (I ask honestly, I've only seen them play two quarters this year and haven't been following them in general.)  DVOA has them at 13, which seems to be at the "good, but not great" level.  I have no idea if Kingsbury is the right guy or not, but I will point out that overpraising the talent and scapegoating the coach is a very common thing among fans (I live near Pittsburgh, I read/hear it all the time). 

36 I only realized recently…

I only realized recently that former Packers OC and Mike McCarthy acolyte Tom Clements is the Cardinals QB coach and passing game coordinator. None of McCarthy's former offensive assistants have gone on to anything resembling sucess elsewhere in the NFL. McCarthy didn't even bring one of his guys in to be OC in Dallas - probably his most positive move there, given the way GB's offense tailed off in the back half of his tenure. If Kingsbury stays, he needs to reboot his passing game with new ideas from someone well outside of that coaching tree.

40 Kingsbury as a play-caller.

He's unimaginative as fuck given the talent has in the receiving corps and running backs on the roster.

I have no idea whether he's still trying to figure out the NFL or if he just can't adjust to the level of play.

Kingsbury's poor play calling has cost the Cards at least three games, especially going for the FG's in situations when you needed TD's.

Unbelievable.

If Eric Bienemy had this team, we'd probably be in the playoffs without the inconsistent play.

52 Good observation. Murray is…

Good observation. Murray is an electrifying runner/off-script playmaker, but he isn't a polished passer yet. The sky's the limit with his talent, but it is going to take some imaginative coaching to unlock it, because he obviously does not have the prototypical stature of an NFL QB.

I've watched the Cardinals a few times this season, and not once been impressed with anything they've done schematically or strategically. Kingsbury is a young coach so perhaps he will learn, but my confidence is waning. 

38 That Chucky face...

After seeing that last minute, I cannot believe how poorly Oakland has been in situational football.

Not only do they blow the coverage to allow a 40 yard pass, but the D-lineman commits the facemask penalty of Fitzpatrick at the same time.

You can't make this stuff up. 

Oakland literally gave a game back they had won on one play...

Makes me feel better about my Cards.

Gruden, man, fix your defense in the off-season..............fix that defense.

41 Raiders defensive coordinator

Was he in the Jets organization a few weeks ago.  A blitz???  Leaves a guy wide open who can go out of bounds.  Then a face mask on top of it all.  They fired a guy to get this???  Jets did not tank against Raiders just bad defensive play call just duplicated by Raiders.

43 Just watched the play again…

Just watched the play again.  It was a 4 man rush.  Maybe in Marinelli's defense that's a blitz, but not in anyone else's.  And it was a blown coverage.  Everyone else was playing man but the guy who got beat.

50 It was a blown coverage

Long after writing the post I was wondering is it really was a blitz.  

But now for second guessing , who even sends 4 there?  On the other hand 7 on 5 in the secondary should be enough, clearly the raiders needed 8, one to cover the receiver, and one less to not get to the QB to commit the face mask penalty.

Second guessing always works, but this was still an awful play. 

45 Colts-Steelers

I understand Eric Ebron is particularly motivated to play against his old team Sunday.  So motivated, in fact, that he plans to drop at least seven passes to show the Colts just the kind of TE he can be.  Take THAT, Chris Ballard!  You think Doyle, Burton, and Allie-Cox can drop eight passes in one game between the three of them?!?!  Think again!

It's okay; his game plan for facing the Lions is to drop nine.

47 The one thing Colts and…

In reply to by Bobman

The one thing Colts and Lions fans can commiserate about is making fun of Eric Ebron.  Steelers fans turning on him is one of the few things I found fun about the 2020 season.

53 Colts are missing both…

In reply to by Bobman

Colts are missing both starting offensive tackles today. Between the Steelers pass rush and having a statue at QB, things could get ugly...

60 Are you referring to the…

Are you referring to the decision to bleed down the clock and kick the FG? I think it was absolutely the right call. I'd much rather be up 2 with :20 to go than 5 or 7 with 1:10 left. Their win probability must have been well north of 95%, if not 98+%. Sometimes the 1 in 50 shot comes through. So it goes.

67 I'm referring to…

I'm referring to intentionally kneeling on 3rd down at the 1. I think we have seen offenses score way easily to assume any one possession lead, especially a fg, as safe. It's up 2 which doesn't even have the tie potential

70 Obviously, it's much better…

Obviously, it's much better when the other team needs a TD to win/tie, versus a mere FG to win, but I think the difference between 1:10 and :20 is huge. With a TD, they're probably 90% favorites to win, but up 25-23 with :19 to go, with the other team out of timeouts at their own 25, is pushing 99%, Fitz' miraculous sideline pass notwithstanding.

The last team to win from a similar situation was my dear 2017 Minnesota Vikings, and that was only after a #MinneapolisMiracle!

72 But I think down and…

But I think down and distance matters here. It's 3rd and 1. You can run the ball and if you convert, the game is over( or not literally in this case). I think you risk a fumble, sure, but you also risk crazy things happening when they get the ball. 

I agree it was an improbable set of circumstances but still....I hated the decision.

76 We'll have to wait and see…

We'll have to wait and see what the probability models say... Aaron and team, if you see this, would you mind providing us the Raiders' win prob numbers for:

(a) scoring a TD with 1:00 left (and then going for 2, to go up either 5 or 7)

(b) not scoring and kicking a FG to go up 2 with :20 left

I'm guessing (b) wins handily, but who knows?

Interestingly enough, the Dolphins jumping offsides on the other 3rd and 1 (from the 13, with 1:55 left) might have been a "game-winning mistake". If the Raiders snap the ball and convert, then they're able to whittle the clock down and kick a chip shot as time expires. However, by going offsides, they gave the Raiders a new set of downs while preserving a timeout, which saved them just enough time for a last-second desperation drive.

All in all, what a crazy ending! 5 scores in the last 4 minutes, all of which either tied or took the lead. Not quite Vikings-Ravens 2013, but close.

111 I'm fairly certain win prob…

I'm fairly certain win prob models will say kneeling and kicking and taking the time off the clock was the right call. I'd even say that play in fact indicates that it was the right call: the Dolphins essentially needed two miracles to happen simultaneously - hit the long pass and get a preposterously dumb 15-yard penalty - and you've always got to be confident when your opponent needs two miracles in 20 seconds.

With that said, and admittedly contradicting myself a bit, I'm not convinced that those models are properly calibrated for today's passing and kicking games. Anything under about a 60 yard attempt is realistically possible to hit these days, and 50 yarders are about 2/3 shots, so you only need 40 or even 30 yards from the touchback position. Even bad offenses can reel that off in a couple of passes with some regularity. I don't know what the numbers are but it sure feels like getting into FG range in a matter of seconds is more likely than not. Call it 50%, for a 67% FG to get to OT, which is then something like 50% to win - kneel and kick works out to a 17% chance to lose. Is that really less likely than allowing a TD drive with a minute left?

(I'd reckon the odds of that at about 10-15% - but of course these are all just WAGs)

56 Jets lead 7-3 on a Crowder…

Jets lead 7-3 on a Crowder trick play pass to Barrios.

 

NY has been able to contain the Browns run game; Hooper has been the only really productive option on the Browns offense so far.

57 4th down INT

Chiefs take risk going for it on 4th and short from the Falcons' 26.  Keanu Neal takes the ball in at the 2 yard line rather than letting the pass drop and thus costs his team 24 yards of field position.

"How do you tell him to let it drop?  The competitive juices are flowing..." say the announcers.

It shouldn't be that hard.  It's FOURTH DOWN, GUYS!  DON"T INTERCEPT THE BALL!

58 98-yard TD drive

In reply to by RickD

Falcons turn their brilliant position into 6 points.  Now lead KC 7-0. 

Remember: outcome isn't the best way to just decision-making.

59 Almost as brilliant as the…

In reply to by RickD

Almost as brilliant as the defensive back who picks off the ball at the back of the end zone and returns it out to the half-yard line!

I assume teams practice these fourth down scenarios, so the guys should know instinctively to just knock it down. Based on how often players botch them, though... maybe not?

68 On a similar yet contrary…

On a similar yet contrary note, I was very impressed at the way Josh Jacobs intentionally went down short of the goal line on the Raiders' last possession, despite multiple opportunities to score. Glad someone learned from Bradshaw's and Gurley's mistakes. Didn't work out in the end, but hey...

61 I've never seen a collapse…

I've never seen a collapse like that of the Steelers. From 11-0 to struggling to get 10 first downs a game. Big Ben's play makes me pine for the days of Mason & Duck.

They should just forfeit the season and cede their playoff spot to whichever AFC team ends up #8.

62 The 1986 Jets had a similar…

The 1986 Jets had a similar collapse.  Started out 10-1, but then lost out to finish 10-6 to back into the playoffs.  Amazingly, they won in the Wildcard card, and only a very questionable roughing the passer call prevented them from advancing to AFC championship game.

64 Hah, I was thinking of them…

Hah, I was actually thinking of them as I wrote my comment! Great minds ;-) The 1986 DVOA essay covered those Jets pretty extensively. The way the Steeler offense is playing, they might end up 10-6 as well...

71 2008 Titans also went 10-0 -…

2008 Titans also went 10-0 -> 13-3, although they clinched the #1 seed with a week to go... and then went one and done, just like said Chiefs.

Last year's Patriots had a pretty brutal late-season collapse + loss of first-round bye. I guess they were sort of similar to the Steelers, in that their great defense started to regress, and their QB's performance dove off a cliff, so that by the time they reached the playoffs, they were a mere shell of their earlier selves, with virtually no shot at a title.

79 Yeah, there's only so much…

Yeah, there's only so much you can do when your offense is gaining 4 yards a play. You pretty much need a -30% DVOA defense or better, along with a boatload of turnovers, in order to compensate. That's a tall order, to say the least.

69 I was just thinking earlier…

I was just thinking earlier that I've been watching football for 25 years -- from Super Bowl XXX onward -- and I can't recall ever seeing a late season collapse this thorough.  This explains it; I should have been watching for 35 years.

77 we must also account for the…

we must also account for the fact that they are playing with no wide receivers. I am not sure any team can survive losing every single one of their positional players. Maybe running backs and tight ends you can get away with. But I think everything else is a severe handicap.

78 Jets lead 20-10 now.  First…

Jets lead 20-10 now.  First real sign of life for the Browns on that drive; Chubb punches it in at the 1.  18 minutes left.

 

Big 3&out and Browns get it back at their 17y.

80 Steelers might once again be…

Steelers might once again be telling A Tale of Two Halves. After looking more competent in their passing offense and drawing some DPIs, they've gotten to only 3 points down: 24-21 Colts early in the 4th.

EDIT: I have almost certainly jinxed it by posting this.

91 The Colts defenders were in…

The Colts defenders were in position, they just got beat and gave up catches or gave up penalties. I'm not sure how much blame falls on them vs the reality of today's nfl. Giving up 28 points on defense is probably considered a good day.

The Colts offense fell apart in the second half. The blocking which wasn't good most of the day in particular came apart and Rivers felt rushed. He started sailing throws and hurrying his decisions.

 

All of these things were predictable but it still hurts.

 

 

96 I didn't get to see most of…

I didn't get to see most of this game, but on the last drive, Rivers had one INT called back on a DPI (iffy, but I've seen even less called, so okay) and a second possible INT dropped.  So his stat line could easily have been worse.  Not sure I'd attribute those to anything other than being forced to take chances on as last-chance drive, though.

103 It's a combo of three things…

It's a combo of three things.

1) for as smart as he is with presnap decision making, Rivers has always been more turnover prone than you'd expect given his pedigree. Ditto for Brees

2) he was in a desperate situation

3) his offensive line, already missing both tackles, was now forced to start Jamarcus freaking Webb against a very powerful opposing front. He basically just assumed that was a matchup lost from jump so he hurried things. 

 

This team is well rounded overall but not special at anything. They are a team that has the potential to hang tough in every game but they just dony have that extra juice to survive games they shouldn't win.

 

 

 

105 Yeah, the Colts DBs …

Yeah, the Colts DBs (especially Ya-Sin) are grabby. Reich said in his post game presser that they had warned the DBs that this ref crew called it tight downfield. 
 

The Colts are a really good team all around, but don’t do anything great. It’s a strange team that doesn’t have any clear weaknesses that need to be fixed, but at the same time could be upgraded at almost every position. 
 

In the end, the thing that quite possibly will keep the Colts out of the playoffs (even if they get to 11-5) is the week one loss to Jacksonville, who has lost every game since and just locked up the number 1 draft pick. 

106 The real win from this…

The real win from this season is it buys the coaching staff more tenure. I hope Irsay appreciates the job they've done. I think another coaching staff, say like the one out of Vegas, would have managed this roster into 5 win season instead of 10 or 11 win season.

81 Chiefs trailing 14-10

Falcons have looked like the better team for most of the 2nd half.  Chiefs can still win and clinch the bye but they have to be worried about their phlegmatic offense today.

171 No

As a Chiefs fan, I can say 100% they are not an unbeatable powerhouse. They are extremely good, but not unbeatable. They need to stop being so cute with the playcalling in the red zone and let their stud QB make plays for them instead of the insane throwback to Mahomes. If the DB lit him up on that one and he got injured, how do you justify that call? Let the guy getting paid to play QB throw the ball, or at the very least don't make him a target. So dumb. 

84 Browns close it to 20-16,…

Browns close it to 20-16, but miss an XP,

Depending on whether that miss matters, they may have woken up literally just barely on time.

89 After starting with 13…

After starting with 13 consecutive losses, the Jets win two straight over teams who will likely make the playoffs.  That’s gotta be the first time that’s happened, right?

The 1986 Colts also started 0-13, and interim coach Ron Meyer won 3 in a row, but over 3 mediocre/bad teams.

94 Right now it's the Colts who…

Right now it's the Colts who are on the outside looking in. That Raiders collapse stings so much more now.

 

Buffalo and Pittsburgh have nothing to play for and the Ravens get Cincy. 

 

Heavy sad sigh.

 

109 As long as the #2 seed is in…

As long as the #2 seed is in play I would expect Buffalo to play every starter that doesn't have a pre-existing injury.  McDermott even played his starters for a quarter last season with literally nothing on the line vs. NYJ in week 17

95 This fumble rule is something that the NFL needs to review

On the Browns' last offensive play, Mayfield fumbled the ball but it never touched the ground.  As a fumble during the last two minutes (rule 8-7-6) -- or on fourth down (rule 8-7-5), both apply here -- it can't be advanced by anyone on the offense except the fumbler, which is fine-ish.  But I don't really agree with the application of the rule here because there's no real difference between a fumble that doesn't touch the ground and a lateral, unless the fumble goes forward in which case it's no different than a forward pass.

I feel like this is unfair to the team attempting to advance the ball on fourth down.  It's an overreach to try to prevent another Holy Roller by disallowing advancing the ball on unintentional laterals (i.e. a fumble that only moves backwards before being recovered, and/or does not touch the ground).

102 This sound seem to be a…

This would  seem to be a miscall. If it doesn’t hit the ground, it’s not a fumble for scoring purposes.

It turns out, unsurprisingly, that fumbles vs backwards passes are comically poorly defined, such that a muffed handoff is simultaneously both a fumble and a backward pass and it’s completely vague how this works on 4th down. One of the muffed snap examples is a 4th down example which should run afoul the dead ball 4th down fumble recovery rule, but doesn’t for ill defined reasons.

Suffice to say, don’t run an option play on 4th down. A ref with money on the game will rule it a fumble and a dead ball.

107 According to Gene Steratore…

According to Gene Steratore it's a fumble regardless of whether it touches the ground because Mayfield didn't provide the impetus for the ball to leave his possession and move backwards.

https://twitter.com/GeneSteratore/status/1343309314518360064

It does make it very difficult to determine what is an official fumble, and I suspect that it's usually not recorded as a fumble unless there is contact with the ground or a teammate takes possession.

108 He sort of does though. He…

He sort of does though. He squeezes the ball backward between his forearm and his upper arm. He was hit from the side.

The real issue is that fumbles are too loosely defined. A handoff fulfills the letter definition of a fumble. The rules make clear a backward pass can also be a fumble, and vice-versa.

Its also unclear if the spot was correct. Mayfield was across the 15 when he “fumbled”, and Hunt seemed to be right at the 15 when he “recovered.”

116 Not by my eyes (or the officials')

Having watched the play several times, it seems clear to me that the Jets' player's helmet provided the impetus for the ball moving backwards...at most Mayfield's "squeeze" to try to retain possession may have added more impetus to what was already occurring...As for the spot, while part of Mayfield's body was across the 15, the ball was not...and therefore, since the ball moved backward, Hunt's recovery was not at the 15 either...

158 The larger issue is that the…

In reply to by jonsilver

The larger issue is that the Venn space for a fumble includes both forward and backward passes. There is no bright line definition of a fumble.
 

So you end up with Steratore carrying water by espousing non-textual arguments like “providing the impetus”. That’s not the basis for a fumble. The rules note intentional forward fumbles. That intentionally fumbling is acknowledged means who provides the impetus is irrelevant. You can fumble while providing the impetus. You can make a non-fumble passively. He’s inventing rules to support a call, not calling based on the rules.

104 This is partly in response…

This is partly in response to people who get angry at coaching staffs who get "too cute" on offense. The implication being if they just played the straightforward execution game, they'd be better off.

 

As a colts fan, I can tell you...playing it straight only works when your qb is a Hall of famer or the talent makes him look like one. The rest of the time, playing to straight adds up to just good enough to get you beat.

112 The TV announcers/pundits…

The TV announcers/pundits seem to love these Colts, because they play up to some old school notion of defense + running the ball.

In actual fact, their pass offence is not good enough to be anything more than a marginal contender. Today was a tough ask with their starting tackles missing, but they sure could have used something creative/cute in the second whilst their defence was collapsing.  

It’s kinda sad that today’s NFL is like that, but that’s the way it is. 
 

 

110 Haskins is JaMarcus Russell…

Haskins is JaMarcus Russell without the talent. The guy has lucked into sooo many chances to prove himself but he just refuses to put the work in. What an embarrassment especially with the bar so low in DC. 

113 Jerry Jeudy appears to be…

Jerry Jeudy appears to be the second coming of Laquon Treadwell. Just alligator-armed a catchable bomb that would've put them in position for a tying FG; that's at least 3 straight-up drops of catchable balls, giving him 6 catches on 15(!) targets today. He's clearly in his own head now. Not looking good.

114 I don't wish to alarm anyone…

I don't wish to alarm anyone, but the Chargers have now won 3 straight games through competent late-game play.

The game ends with Denver's hail mary being intercepted by Mike Williams, the wide receiver, who was put in as a (very, very) deep safety.

EDIT: That's now 12 of 15 Chargers games decided by one score this year. They also have a 10pt win over the Jags and a 10pt loss to the Bills. The only game decided by more than 2 scores was that 45-0 stomping at the hands of the Patriots of all teams. Playing a lot of close games isn't necessarily unusual, but the degree sure feels like it. Is there precedent for 75+% of a 16-game season being one-score affairs?

115 WFT loses, and with the…

WFT loses, and with the eagles losing, that means Dallas, WFT, and NYG all have a chance at the division.

121 It's not quite over…

It's not quite over. Probably over though.

The refs did kind of hose the Rams there - guy caught a ball over the middle for a 1st down, went down without being touched but he clearly wanted to give himself up and therefore left the ball right in the middle of the field for the refs to spot, refs call that a "fumble" at first and apoplectic Sean McVay runs on-field to yell at them, incurring a penalty even after the call is corrected, so the play actually lost yardage on the balance (got the 1st down though). I think they really needed to 1) call that correctly the first time, but more importantly 2) swallow their whistles there. Coaches run on field all the time without penalty, and he was absolutely in his rights to be up in arms about the way the refs handled that play specifically.

UPDATE: Okay, now it's over.

119 Fyi

Foe those of you who were planning on doing something else, there's a snow game coming up in Lambeau...

120 Seattle's gonna win

And the Packers will have something to play for next week (regardless of what happens tonight)

130 They Screwed Up-- That's How

In reply to by Pen

And see below-- this sort of Hundred Year Flood has been happening in baseball a lot recently. And of course we have two elections where similar metrics a) crashed and burned in 2016 and b) came frighteningly close to doing same in 2020.  there is something fundamentally off about how these projections are made, and the assumptions which guide them. In short, Nate Silver's baby is growing up to be a very unruly and rebellious adolescent.

149 sigh

Silver in 2016 said Trump would win one out of five.  If you think that's crash-and-burned, you don't know basic odds.  

2020 was fine.  Eventually Trump lost by almost 7 million votes.  Polls were not exact, but not bad, either.  

125 The huge extensions Matt…

The huge extensions Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky are about to sign are going to be hilarious.

126 If the Bears make it into…

If the Bears make it into the playoffs and decide to bring back Pace and Nagy while extending Trubisky on a multi year contract, that may finally be enough to put me off football for good. The fact that those items are in play even if they lose in embarrassing fashion to the Packers and finish 8-8 is even worse.

166 I don't know the knock on Nagy...

Nagy, based on the performance of Chicago... with Trubisky and Foles as QBs, might be the kind of coach that is just good enough to lose his job for not being able to qualify for a good enough QB to make the playoffs.

Now the GM for Chicago that thought Trubisky was worth half a draft to move up one spot... walking papers should have been given awhile ago.

 

174 Nagy is interesting because…

Nagy is interesting because it depends on how much credit you give him for changing things up, relinquishing playcallling, and playing to Trubisky's strengths...versus how much you blame him for wasting a season plus of a very good defense by being stubborn in the first place. If the Bears legitimately believe he's learned a lesson and won't repeat the same mistakes again, then he's at least as good a coach that you better have someone better in mind to fire him. And since he's got 2 years left on his contract, they could just stand pat for 2021 (not extending him, either, because he certainly hasn't demonstrated that much growth).

I would argue that there is literally nothing that could happen that would make Pace deserve to keep his job. (Obviously, if the Bears come through on their 0.5% chance of winning the Super Bowl, or even make it that far, Pace isn't getting fired). Trubisky was a colossal failure as a #2 overall pick, and nothing he might possibly do in the future can change that. The best position to be in as an NFL team is a great QB on a rookie contract, and he not only wasn't great, he wasn't even mediocre in his first 4 seasons.

128 Goff is going to get roasted…

Goff is going to get roasted in audibles I feel. And sure, this was another dismal performance from the Rams offense.

 

Look you have to have a fair and even hand in analysis with Goff. The blocking was overall bad today and as we all know, Goff just cannot handle broken pockets.

Peyton Manning couldn't handle them either, but he made sure to avoid those situations as much as he could to the point where pass blocking was rendered almost a non factor. Sean McVay is sort of doing that, but he can't do it the degree that Peyton Manning could. Which leaves us with an interesting dilemma when it comes to Goff.

A constructive discussion really needs to center around the question, "Is this liability enough for the Rams to consider moving on?". Its an interesting debating point because Goff isn't a bad qb and under the right circumstances, you get a high quality passing offense. He shredded the Seahawks and Bucs earlier. But then there's always this issue lingering.

I'm beginning to think that being a not bad QB might be the kind of thing that ends up getting your coach fired.

 

 

175 I'm growing more and more…

I'm growing more and more convinced of the soundness of Bill Barnwell's proposal of continually drafting QBs and moving on from them upon the expiration of their rookie contracts. The only guys worth paying are the elite of the elite, with HOF potential- i.e. Russell Wilson-level performance or above. The Goffs and Cousins..es of the world are not worth 10+% of a team's salary cap. Even Dak is questionable. Go dirt cheap on a rookie, or cheapish on a cromulent veteran, and invest in the rest of your roster (especially O line).

129 Those Playoff Odds Blowing Up

which has also been the pattern in baseball recently. So entering this week, FO had Rams 100% to get in. Well, No. If they lose to ARIZ next week and the Bears beat the Packers, Rams are out.

FO had Cowboys least likely to make playoffs in NFC East at 5%. Well, No. If Dallas wins next week over Giants and Washington loses to Philly, Dallas are in.

FO had Browns at 89%. Well, No. if they lose to Pittsburgh they will probably be out.

Put them together and assuming the 100% on the Rams should have been 99%-- then there was something like a  1 in 20,000 possibility that Rams would be OUT, Cleveland OUT and DALLAS IN.  And now?  It might be in the neighborhood of 1 in 50...

Which means that the formula is, of course, flawed....

132 I don't know the methodology…

I don't know the methodology you're using to come up with 1 in 50, but whatever it is, you need to go back and also include the probabilities of today's results.  The FO numbers you're talking about were their assessed odds before today's games, so not at all apples-to-apples versus your current odds with today's results known.

133 The Mrthodology is Simple

Assign a win probability for each game. My point is that FO badly misjudged some of those probabilities.

So for Dallas to get to playoffs, they must beat the Giants. I'd make them slight favorites- call it 55%. And Washington has to lose to Philly. With this weird Qb situation I'd call that 50-50. So dallas has roughly a 27.5% chance of making the playoffs.

For the Rams to not make it would require them losing to Arizona-- let's call that 40%. And the Bears beating the Packers in Chicago. Let's call that 40% too,  So that's a 16% chance. So given that all of these games so far are independent of each other-- jsut multiply the two together and we are roughly 1 in 24...

And i think the Browns are underdogs against Pittsburgh even though the Steelers may perceive they have nothing to play for (have they clinched the 2 seed??) And i think-- may have to check this-- they lose tiebreakers so they have to win this game no matter what Balt or Mia or Ind/Tenn do.... I could be wrong... But we are at 1 in 48 if they are 50-50 to beat Pitt--- maybe they win a tiebreaker somehow-- so perhaps it's more like 1 in 65-- in any event, I see no real way that 1 in 20000 from last week was reduced this much unless the initial assumptions were faulty.

136 "Mrthodology" seem appropriate...

Just so were clear, your plan was to criticize a mathematical formula as being inaccurate by guessing a bunch of your own numbers and offering that as proof of inaccuracy?!?

Don't we have a formula for comments like that?

138 Just to be fair

He's pointing out that FO said the Rams were 100% certain of the playoffs and they can still be mathematically eliminated, which makes FO's numbers incorrect.

He doesn't have to supply correct numbers to point out FO's are incorrect.

164 The FO predictions are from…

In reply to by Pen

The FO predictions are from a simulation that runs X times.  If in those X simulations, less than 0.05% of the time an event happens, it'd be rounded up to 100.0% in their tables.  That's not the same thing as saying the Rams were 100% certain to make the playoffs.  There's only so many digits the table can show.

 

176 Well, if that were the case,…

Well, if that were the case, "99%" could mean anything from 98.5% to 99.9999...%. Usually they list near-locks as "99.99%", right? I think showing one or two digits right of the decimal point is fine. Either way, there's no way the Rams were anywhere close to 100% going into this week. There must have been some mistake.

139 Oh Come on

Go with the spirit of the thing, They said in essence there was no chance of those three outcomes ALL happening. And yet one week later , while still remote, there is every bit of chance that they all could happen. My point was that the Hundred Year Flood assumptions were off to begin with. My numbers could be wrong of course-- but maybe on the order of 1 to 100 compared to 1 to 50.

Not the difference or anywhere near it of 1 in 20000 compared to what they really were. 

165 They said no such thing.  FO…

In reply to by oaktoon

They said no such thing.  FO provided the percentage chances of each team making the playoffs, and makes it pretty clear the basis from which those chances come from: the DVOA of each team with various adjustments, based on a few thousand simulations of the season.  With the benefit of hindsight and knowing what today's game results were, you've now cherry picked a few of their low odds events that may yet occur and think this makes their entire methodology flawed?

You must be fun at lotteries.  "The experts said there was little chance that the numbers 5, 8, 10, and 15 would all come up together, but look ... 5, 8 and 10 have come out already, so the chances of 5, 8, 10 and 15 occurring were way higher than the experts predicted!" 

 

134 Now that Crosby missed

I'm going for 2 every time. Start off with a fake FG though. 

And look at that, the team agrees with me. They just didn't do the fake, smh, sign me GB!