Quick Reads
The best and worst players of the week according to Football Outsiders stats.

Quick Reads: Week 10

by Bill Barnwell

On Sunday night, Tom Brady carved the Pittsburgh Steelers pass defense apart. The same guy who struggled last week to complete simple passes against the Browns, of all teams, went 31-of-43 for 350 yards with three scores and no picks. He wasn't sacked once, and outside of an intentional grounding penalty in the fourth quarter, it's hard to find a single Brady misstep all game. He even pulled off a three-yard sneak for a touchdown.

What makes the performance even more remarkable, though, is that Brady did all this against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Pittsburgh! Prior to this game, the Steelers had the league's second-best defense, fourth-best pass defense, and second-best adjusted sack rate. Factor that in, and Brady accrued 269 DYAR on Sunday night. It was the best performance of the year by a quarterback per DYAR, beating out the 245 DYAR Carson Palmer picked up against the Falcons in Week 7.

It's not the first big day for Brady, of course, but the combination of the impressive numbers and difficult opposing defense leads to a question DYAR can answer: Was this the best performance of Tom Brady's career?

The answer is no, but it's not very far off. While some Patriots fans might obviously opt for Brady's performance at the helm during any of their Super Bowl victories, we're only using regular season games here. And with that in mind, the metrics suggest that Brady's best day came during his incredible 2007 season. In Week 11 of that season, Brady laid waste to the Buffalo Bills, going 32-of-39 for 373 yards with five touchdowns and no picks. While the Bills only ranked 17th against the pass that year, Brady's ruthless efficiency propelled that game to the top of the charts.

While Brady's exact DYAR figure could rise or fall as the season goes on and the quality-of-opposition adjustment for playing the Steelers changes, Week 10 currently ranks as his sixth-best performance as a pro. Of the five games preceding it, only one -- the obliteration of the Titans in the New England snow last season -- is not from that 2007 season. Seven of Brady's ten best regular season performances came during that year.

It's also the second-most DYAR allowed by the Steelers pass defense in a game since 1993, the beginning point of the DYAR Era. Number one was, of course, a game by Tom Brady: His 284 DYAR performance in 2007. Only one other quarterback has gained more than 250 DYAR against the Steelers during that timeframe: The immortal Jeff Blake, who got to 251 DYAR by going 18-of-22 for 275 yards with three scores against Pittsburgh in Week 8 of the 1995 season. Opposing quarterbacks had previously been averaging just over 32 DYAR per game against the Steelers, with a high of 115 from Joe Flacco in Week 4.

Remember that with Week 10 in the books, all opponent adjustments are now at full strength.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Tom Brady NE
31/43
350
3
0
268
261
8
Brady was devastating when the Patriots threw downfield against the Steelers; on passes thrown 15 yards past the line of scrimmage or more, Brady was 5-of-7 for 132 yards and two scores. Before Sunday, the Steelers had 53 such passes thrown against them and allowed just 28 completions. They were also yet to go more than 32 dropbacks without sacking the opposing quarterback; Brady took 43 snaps without going down once. He also did it while spending a fair amount of the night in a power set that lined up with his two blocking tight ends, rookie Rob Gronkowski and bulky veteran Alge Crumpler. Somehow, Gronkowski and Crumpler caught all six of the passes thrown to them (including three touchdown catches for the embattled Gronkowski), while hotshot pass-catching tight end Aaron Hernandez was 0-for-2 on his targets.
2.
Kyle Orton DEN
22/33
296
4
0
248
248
0
Vince Verhei pointed out in Audibles that the Broncos weren't even having to face third downs; Orton didn't drop back to pass on third down before the two-minute warning. That's because on his eight previous second down attempts, Orton was 8-of-8 for 131 yards with four touchdowns and a first down. Weird split: Orton was 5-of-5 on passes to his running backs, but 0-of-3 on passes to tight ends. Of course, his tight ends also can't catch.
3.
Michael Vick PHI
20/28
333
4
0
244
188
56
So, despite setting the post-merger record for most fantasy points by a quarterback in a single game, Vick isn't first in these rankings. How? Opponent adjustments. Vick produced 254 YAR, which beat out Brady's 248, but he produced most of it against the 20th-ranked pass defense of the Redskins. (His 50 rushing YAR became 56 DYAR.) Considering the wide variety of missed tackles and blown coverages that were on display on Monday night, I don't think ranking Vick third this week is unreasonable. With 244 DYAR, it's the best game of Vick's career; his only previous game with more than 200 DYAR was Week 8 of the 2004 season, when he was 18-of-24 for 252 yards with two scores and had 12 carries for 115 yards against the Broncos, who had the league's fifth-best defense that year.
4.
Jon Kitna DAL
13/22
327
3
1
193
194
-1
We'll save you any and all puns related to the lights in the New Meadowlands. What Kitna did against the defense that took out his starter, though, was downright remarkable; he torched the league's best pass defense for seven different pass plays of 24 yards or more, including four different plays of 40 yards or more. The Giants had only allowed three passes for 40 yards or more all season. Kitna was also sacked just once on 23 dropbacks, although that sack came inside the Giants five-yard line.
5.
Josh Freeman TB
18/24
241
2
0
162
156
6
Freeman had a hidden positive (a 21-yard DPI) and negative (an aborted snap that was fumbled away) play to supplement his traditional numbers. After he was sacked on his opening third down of the day, Freeman went 7-of-8 for 60 yards on third down. That only yielded three first downs because Freeman was facing an average of 9.1 yards to go. His three scrambles only totaled 20 yards, but they were all successful plays. Freeman's interception rate has fallen from 6.1 percent as a rookie to 1.9 percent this year with a roughly similar sample size (290 attempts as a rookie versus 270 this year).
6.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
31/48
392
3
1
158
152
6
Yes, a fair amount of his performance came in mopup work. But every quarterback has to mopup at one point or another, and not all of them have a quarter where they go 20-of-22 for 261 yards. It came against the Patriots, and one of those incompletions was actually an interception that was returned for a touchdown, but that's about as much as you can possibly do to get your team back into a game late. He wasn't just checking down, either; 195 of those yards came through the air.
7.
Chad Henne MIA
19/28
240
1
1
158
163
-5
It flew underneath the radar because of the injuries suffered by both Henne and Chad Pennington, but Henne actually had a pretty solid game before suffering a knee injury that is either season-ending or day-to-day. While his 54-yard completion to Brian Hartline was on a flea flicker, Henne had one stretch in the second and third quarters that saw him go 9-of-10 for 121 yards and five first downs. Unfortunately, like Roethlisberger, one of those incompletions was an interception, albeit a 39-yard throw on third-and-1 that ended up amounting to a punt.
8.
David Garrard JAC
24/31
342
2
0
156
150
6
While no one will remember anything from Jags-Texans but the Hail Mary, Garrard did nice work in a pinch to set up that fateful play. After taking over with eight seconds and the ball on his own 34-yard line, he found Marcedes Lewis for 11 yards and then picked up an offsides penalty from the Texans to move the ball to the 50-yard line. As you might have seen on the throw, Garrard narrowly got the ball into the end zone; without those 16 yards, the Hail Mary probably doesn't happen. Consider this the riposte to the Cowboys-Redskins play from just before halftime in Week 1.
9.
Matt Ryan ATL
32/49
316
3
0
146
143
3
If the Ravens pass defense really does improve in the second half, this game will look even better in hindsight. He picked up 10 of the 18 third downs he faced, including two on that one-minute drill to win it. (One of the conversions was a pass interference penalty.) His average third down attempt came with only 6.7 yards to go, which helped make things a little easier. Ryan's 50 attempts did not include a single throw to Michael Turner, with seven passes going to Jason Snelling. Although Turner's not a very good receiver, it would stand that throwing him the ball at least once in 50 attempts would serve to keep the defense honest.
10.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
27/44
299
2
1
145
138
8
Mark Sanchez is a series of contradictory statements. Sanchez is lucky because the Browns dropped two interceptions in the red zone, including an Abram Elam pick that the Browns safety treated like a hand grenade. Sanchez is unlucky because Nick Folk turned three of his drives into zero points. Sanchez is clutch because he hit Santonio Holmes for a game-winning touchdown with 24 seconds left; he isn't clutch because it took him four drives to get there. The one interception he actually did end up throwing was a good matchup (Braylon Edwards vs. Joe Haden) well downfield on third-and-long. If you compare that throw to his near-picks, it was by far the best decision of the three. He also did an excellent Ben Roethlisberger impression late in the game, working his way out of two sure sacks to pick up a pair of first downs, and he picked up a rushing touchdown in the second quarter. It was a good performance that could have been much better or much worse.
11.
Matt Schaub HOU
22/31
314
2
0
140
132
8
I still, for the life of me, cannot understand why Matt Schaub threw his final pass of the game. To reiterate from Audibles, Schaub threw a eight-yard crossing pattern to Joel Dreessen on third-and-15 from the Jaguars' 45-yard line with 16 seconds and no timeouts left. The throw probably came with 12 seconds left on the clock. The fact that Schaub threw it meant that one of the following things is true:


- Schaub believed that Dreessen, despite being covered and in the middle of the field, would get to the sideline without being tackled

- Schaub believed that Dreessen would break a tackle, run for seven yards after the catch, pick up a first down, and that the Texans would be able to line up and spike the ball

- Schaub believed that Dreessen would be able to maneuver through the entire defense for a game-winning touchdown

- Schaub believed that Dreessen would be tackled, but that his field goal unit would be able to rush onto the field, line up, and attempt a game-winning field goal from about 54 yards out as time expired

- Schaub totally lost track of the game situation.


Unfortunately for Texans fans, the answer as to what actually happened is almost surely the final one. While Dreessen might deserve the Keep Choppin' Wood award for his fumble and false start several plays earlier, Schaub's decision to throw that pass was just boneheaded.
12.
Troy Smith SF
17/28
356
1
0
130
131
-1
A lot of Smith's production was wiped off the board by penalties, both on his own team (mainly offensive holding) and on the opposition (two defensive pass interference penalties for a total of 60 yards, including the overtime call that set up the game-winning field goal). He had just about as much of an all-or-nothing game as a quarterback can have; although his Success Rate was just 46 percent, Smith had ten plays of 20 yards or more and five of 30 or more. He didn't pick up a single conversion on third down through traditional means all day, but both those pass interference calls came on third down, and he gained 14 yards on a third-and-32 checkdown to Gore before getting 23 more on fourth-and-18.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Matt Cassel KC
33/53
469
4
0
126
140
-14
Empty yards, gained almost exclusively while the Chiefs were down four touchdowns. The previously-friendly Broncos pass rush took down Cassel four times in his first 15 dropbacks, finishing with an 18-yard sack inside the red zone that resulted in a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. From that point on, Cassel was playing almost exclusively for fantasy football purposes.
14.
Matt Hasselbeck SEA
22/34
333
1
0
125
133
-8
The failed quarterback sneak is responsible for his poor rushing numbers, but at what point is it ill-advised to have a 35-year-old quarterback who gets every hurt year run the ball at all? Would the Seahawks be better off bringing in Charlie Whitehurst in that situation? Sure, it might tip off the opposition that a sneak is coming, but you can also probably use that to your advantage with play action. Hasselbeck was inconsistent, but there were enough big plays available to him -- four of 30 yards or more -- that he didn't need to be consistent.
15.
Colt McCoy CLE
18/31
209
1
0
87
81
5
One of the wonders of the NFL's offical scorer setup is that the quality of scorer from stadium to stadium can be drastically different. Here in Cleveland, the official scorer listed seemingly every McCoy pass with zero yards through the air with whatever yards gained on the play coming after the catch. So Evan Moore's big catch against Darrelle Revis? A screen with 19 YAC. (This data gets corrected in our Game Charting project.) McCoy had to run for his life a fair amount of the time, but he continues to look like a functional NFL quarterback.
16.
Joe Flacco BAL
22/34
216
3
1
78
76
2
On passes to the right side of the field -- Brent Grimes's side -- Flacco was 13-of-16 for 108 yards. On throws to the left side of the field, where Dunta Robinson generally operates, Flacco was 6-of-12 for 68 yards.
17.
Peyton Manning IND
20/36
185
0
0
57
57
0
This is the lowest Peyton Manning has appeared in these rankings this year. It's his worst showing since Week 7 of the 2008 season, when he finished 21st. And while we can remark that Manning has kept his offense going without Austin Collie and Dallas Clark, note the trend in where he's appeared in these rankings from Week 1 on: 1, 5, 6, 1, 8, 5, 11, 13, 17. Considering that the Colts offense appeared to be built around throwing to Jacob Tamme (who was targeted seven times in the first quarter and 11 times overall on the day) and Brandon James (who had eight targets), it seems reasonable to believe that they might have been more effective with Clark and Collie around instead.
18.
Jay Cutler CHI
22/35
237
3
2
50
55
-5
Cutler's third downs were certainly exciting. With 16 chances, Cutler only took one sack; pretty remarkable for him. He did throw two interceptions, including that dismal pick in the end zone. On the other 13 passes? He had 11 completions, eight first downs, and two touchdowns. He needed those conversions because his 20 dropbacks on first and second down produced just two first downs (and a touchdown).
19.
Carson Palmer CIN
31/42
292
2
3
39
39
0
Will theorized in Audibles that his successful period in the second quarter may have been the effects of a cortisone injection; considering the beginning of the second set off a two-quarter stretch where he was 17-of-19 for 167 yards, I think it's reasonable to make that claim. On the other hand, that stretch also started as the Bengals were down by 17 points, so it could have been Palmer taking advantage of a prevent defense.
20.
Jimmy Clausen CAR
16/29
191
0
0
38
61
-23
21.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
12/24
146
1
0
36
36
0
25 dropbacks produced just five first downs and a touchdown. How did that happen? Well, on first down, Fitzpatrick was 2-of-6 for 14 yards. On second down, he was 4-of-9 for 20 yards, and while he threw a touchdown pass to Fred Jackson there, he also had completions to Jackson for -2 and -3 yards. So while he was able to pick up five of the ten third downs he faced, he needed to.
22.
Eli Manning NYG
34/48
373
2
2
35
27
8
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Sam Bradford STL
30/42
251
1
0
30
20
10
The 49ers-Rams game was not very pretty. While Troy Smith was struggling on third down, Bradford wasn't doing much better: He converted just two of the 12 third downs he faced. What this all meant: 18 punts and five field goals.
24.
Vince Young TEN
9/18
92
1
1
7
5
2
25.
Kerry Collins TEN
9/20
51
0
0
-13
-13
0
The Titans quarterbacks were different flavors of mediocre, and it fit the conventional narratives used to describe them. Collins didn't turn the ball over and avoided sacks, but he produced all of three first downs on 21 dropbacks. Young, on the other hand, had six first downs and a touchdown pass on 20 dropbacks, but he was sacked twice, fumbled once, and threw an interception on fourth-and-20 to close out his ledger. (That pass gets treated as a Hail Mary.)
26.
Donovan McNabb WAS
17/31
295
2
3
-16
-16
0
While it was easy to denigrate McNabb last night in light of his contract extension (which turned out to be far more reasonable) and the performance of Vick, consider that McNabb's primary offensive weapons in this game were Keiland Williams, Darrel Young, Anthony Armstrong, and Fred Davis. I think it's reasonable to suggest that McNabb is making those guys better.
27.
Shaun Hill DET
29/50
323
1
1
-24
-18
-7
Only five conversions on 19 third downs, but Hill was 3-of-3 for 57 yards with three conversions on fourth downs. On first down, he had a streak of four incompletions, then four consecutive first downs, and then finished 1-of-5. Maybe the Bills aren't the league's worst defense after their move back to the 4-3, but they're still not very good; Hill needed to do more.
28.
Derek Anderson ARI
23/45
322
1
1
-39
-39
0
I don't mean to keep hammering third down stats, but Anderson didn't pick up a conversion on third down until the fourth quarter. He was 0-of-5 before that. Anderson didn't get great pass protection -- he took five sacks and barely avoided a couple more -- but he's also not the best at identifying blitzers before the snap, either. I guess Anderson just got angry at the end of the game; five of his last six attempts were passes to Larry Fitzgerald, four of which were incomplete.
29.
Brett Favre MIN
19/31
170
1
3
-89
-68
-21
While the fourth quarter of last week's Cardinals game might have buoyed a fanbase into believing that the Vikings could launch a playoff run motivated solely by spite for Brad Childress, this has been a flawed offense all season. Sunday actually serves as the best example yet of why the passing attack in Minnesota doesn't work. Brett Favre threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Percy Harvin in the second quarter, and Harvin drew a 42-yard defensive pass interference penalty in the third quarter. That's the good news. Favre dropped back 30 other times, though, and produced just 117 yards. That's a miserable 3.9 yards per attempt, and it included three interceptions and an intentional grounding penalty. Favre didn't pick up a single third down until the fourth quarter, when his team was down two scores with less than five minutes to go. His fourth turnover was a fumble at midfield that came on a scramble. With nothing to play for, why even bother bringing Sidney Rice back this year? And why bother continuing to start Favre?
Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Knowshon Moreno DEN
106
0
50
1
61
18
43
It wasn't supposed to take 22 games for Moreno to get his first 100-yarder, but better late than never. Moreno was one of the primary drivers of the steamroller that buried the Chiefs on Sunday, with four straight successful carries to start the game. While his last nine carries weren't successes by our figures, they came while the Broncos were up by three touchdowns, so it's not all that important. Moreno's best work was as a receiver, anyway, where he caught three passes for 50 yards, with two first downs and a touchdown on those targets.
2.
Felix Jones DAL
51
0
85
1
49
10
39
Jones started the game with five successful carries on six attempts, but then he was 0-for-8 on successes in the second half. Of course, he more than made up for it in the passing game; a 71-yard touchdown catch against the league's best pass defense is a good way to make it to the top five in a given week.
3.
Ahmad Bradshaw NYG
73
0
62
0
48
11
37
Bradshaw was 6-of-7 for 62 yards and four first downs in the passing game; truthfully, if anything has pushed him ahead of Brandon Jacobs in the Giants' rotation at running back, it's those improvements as a receiver. Jacobs, meanwhile, had a terrible drop on a screen pass. Bradshaw didn't have a huge play all day as a runner, but he had a 45 percent success rate and 18 of his 20 carries went for two yards or more.
4.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE
87
0
36
0
47
33
14
Green-Ellis had one carry for 17 yards and two for 13 yards. That doesn't sound like the makings of a great day, but consider that those are three of the four longest carries against the Steelers so far this season, and it looks a little better. The 17-yarder was Green-Ellis's opening carry, and it was one of the rare times this year that the Steelers have been defeated at the line of scrimmage, with the Patriots doing a great job of sealing the alley outside to create an easy lane for Green-Ellis.
5.
Maurice Jones-Drew JAC
100
2
23
0
47
39
8
Hyphens getting hyphy? I'm sorry. This is just about the opposite of Green-Ellis's performance, since the Texans' defense is what happens if you multiply the Steelers defense by -1. Jones-Drew was effective on sweeps, traps, power runs, and draw plays. It's actually a surprise he didn't do more in the passing game, as he only had two catches on three targets.
Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Jahvid Best DET
35
0
4
0
-52
-33
-19
Best has been compared to Chris Johnson in the past; this weekend, he had a bad Chris Johnson game. Those are the ones where the explosiveness and shiftiness gives way to indecisiveness and an inability to push the pile. Best had 22 touches against the league's worst defense and produced just one first down. At nine yards, that was his longest play from scrimmage of the day. He averaged 2.1 yards per carry and had just three successful rushes on 17 attempts, while his four catches went for a combined four yards. Best's performance actually rates out as the second-worst game for any running back this year, behind Cadillac Williams and his -66 DYAR game against the Raiders in Week 2.
Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Mike Wallace PIT
8
11
136
17.0
2
90
Although his performance came in a losing effort, Wallace was part of the reason why the Steelers were able to make the fourth quarter somewhat competitive. With Hines Ward sidelined by a "neck injury" and Heath Miller (5-of-9 for just 60 yards) neutralized, Wallace became the primary receiver for the first time in his NFL career. That resulted in a very impressive second half, where Wallace caught all seven of the passes thrown to him. He gained 129 yards while adding five first downs and two touchdowns. And that doesn't even include the 38-yard defensive pass interference penalty he was involved with (although his DYAR figure does factor it in).
2.
Mike Thomas JAC
8
9
149
18.6
1
78
Thomas had nine catches and two carries; only two of those plays were unsuccessful, and all the others went for a minimum of ten yards and either a first down or a touchdown. It came against the Texans, sure, but Mike Sims-Walker and Kassim Osgood both went down with injuries at different points during the game. Sims-Walker gets the attention because he's the big play guy, and Marcedes Lewis has the touchdowns, but Thomas is the glue receiver that makes everthing work for the Jaguars.
3.
Rob Gronkowski NE
5
5
72
14.4
3
62
What a difference a week makes; after fumbling in the red zone and causing a fumbled kickoff against the Browns, Gronkowski had three touchdowns on five targets in Pittsburgh. Before Sunday, the Steelers had allowed just one passing touchdown to opposing tight ends in 57 targets, a 12-yard catch by Benjamin Watson in Week 6.
4.
Michael Crabtree SF
4
5
61
15.2
1
54
While the 49ers have attempted to brand the murky line between "laughingstock" and "NFC West contender", Crabtree is one of the few Niners producing at a NFL-caliber level. Sunday marked his fourth touchdown in five weeks, a touchdown that came after a previous score was wiped off the book by a holding penalty. Crabtree's line of four catches for 61 yards doesn't seem all that astounding, but he also had a 38-yard defensive pass interference penalty that pushed his true production closer to 100 yards. And while the Rams aren't regarded as a fantastic defense, the play of cornerback Ron Bartell has limited number-one receivers to 69.4 yards per game and the fourth-lowest DVOA in the league. Imagine how good Crabtree's numbers would be if the 49ers had a functional offensive line.
5.
Jason Avant PHI
5
5
76
15.2
1
52
Avant had four catches for 11 or more yards and a three-yard touchdown catch. And no incompletions.
Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh BAL
2
6
15
7.5
0
-50
With six targets in his direction, Houshmanzadeh had an eight-yard completion, three incompletions, an interception (treated for him as an incompletion), and a seven-yard catch on the game's final play as part of an attempted lateral-fest.

Comments

89 comments, Last at 18 Nov 2010, 11:17pm

1 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

So Rothlesburger's fourth quarter yards count, because... they do? But Cassel's yards don't count, because... they don't?

9 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

The Patriot's pass defense was playing pure bend-and-break-slowly. It's not pretty, but you get the win. Did anyone think the game was out of control? I'm a nervous Patriots fan who can't even watch when they get behind, and I wasn't worried for a second.

The comment on Rothlesburger was basically "no, the yards didn't mean anything in the game, but you have to count them." The comment on Cassel was "we know he has a noodle-arm, so we'll play a discount card on any success he has."

45 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Disagree. On some of Roethlisberger's 4th quarter TD drives, they were playing soft, but on at least one of them they were doing the same thing they had been doing all game...bringing heat while rushing 5-6 with a generous amount of stunting and zone-blitzing. It had the same result...a TD drive by the Steelers. Their offense just seemed to wake up in the 4th quarter, regardless of whether the Patriots played soft or aggressive.

19 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

The Steelers were down by 3 scores (20, 19, and 18 pts) most of the time when they had the ball in the fourth quarter. If not garbage time, that's certainly desperation time - when the defense focuses on preventing the immediate score, and VOA misses important parts of the story.

The one drive when the Steelers were closer, Roethlisberger threw a pick-six on the second play. So it's safe to say that Ben only accumulated his fourth quarter DYAR when the Pats were playing their "prevent the one play TD drive" defense.

61 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Nope, Matt Cassel did more for his team to lose the game before getting "garbage time yards" than Ben Roethlisberger did; hence the difference in their scores and why Cassel isn't ranked lower.

2 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Pretty sure the Bucs did not have an "aborted snap" - they had a fumble on a handoff, but I'm pretty sure that was Blount's fault (Freeman reacted that way at least).

3 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

You guys keep misusing your own statistics.

It's fine to rank Brady's performances with DYAR, because you want to adjust by a degree of difficulty. But when comparing a defense's games against each other, you shouldn't use the opponents' QB DYAR. You should use QB YAR allowed. Why penalize the defense for being good? That's what you do when you incorporate the defense adjustments.

4 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

"Best's performance actually rates out as the second-worst game for any running back this year, behind Cadillac Williams and his -66 DYAR game against the Raiders in Week 2."

Week two for the Bucs was against the Panthers, not the Raiders.

28 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

What? Bill, do you expect the bald man with the headset and laminated play sheet to completely concede his head coaching career, by keeping Rice off the field, or by reminding everyone of how several years were wasted on trying to develop Tavaris Jackson? Yeah, the guy is chilled toast, but even the condemned usually try to hang on to hope, right up until the trap door falls open.

8 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

I am so disappointed by these rankings. I thought it was bad when Vick was consistently in the double digits early in the season when he was playing well against the Lions and Jaguars. My goodness, though, this is unfathomable. He can't possibly play any better than he did last night and he's THIRD? It was one of the best performances me and several others including several television analysts have ever seen and he's THIRD? Really?

12 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Read the article again - it states explicitly that it takes into account the ranking of the defense.

The Golden Rule of Sports Fan Whining: The [media][announcers][officials][writers][league office] is not against your favorite [team][player].

16 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Why would you be shocked that a great performance against the 20th best defense would rank behind a great, albeit superficially lesser, performance against the 2nd best defense? In college football Wisconsin, won by 66 points, and Oregon by a couple, last Saturday. Would you conclude that Wisconsine played better, or might you think the quality of the opposition had more to do with the disparity in point differential?

Frankly, I have to keep telling myself that Aaron has run the numbers a ton, because my instinct says that FO's opponent adjustments aren't strong enough.

21 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Also, one other thing to keep in mind is that this is in order of DYAR and not DVOA. I would guess that Vick's DVOA is slightly higher... but the Eagles essentially put the breaks on the passing game towards the end of the 3rd quarter (and took Vick out altogether for the end of the game) whereas the Brady was still throwing it well into the 4th quarter. Also, the Eagles had better starting field position, so there was only so much DYAR to be accumulated.

I was actually more surprised Kitna didn't outrank Vick because he did almost as much on 6 fewer passes (I guess the INT and opponent rankings hurt him a bit.)

23 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

This is exactly right. Not sure why you'd try to compare the two without factoring in volume of plays. Brady had over 50% more passing attempts than Vick but only 7.5% higher DYAR. So Vick was more efficient on a per play basis even factoring in opponent adjustments. Not that Brady wasn't pretty darn efficient, himself, but what everybody's eyes told them -- Vick was ungodly dominant Monday night -- is actually confirmed by FO's numbers.

39 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

As of today, Vick is now #2 in DVOA for the season, less than 2% DVOA behind Tom Brady at #1. He made the jump there from being ranked #5 last week and would've passed Brady if Brady didn't have one of the games of his career. The numbers LOVE Vick's performance yesterday. Love it.

46 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

I tried to edit my post above but it didn't take. I realized I compared apples to oranges by ignoring Vick's 8 rushing attempts. Turns out Brady had just over 30% more pass attempts + rushing attempts than Vick and about 7.5% more DYAR. So the general conclusion still holds, but the difference in per play efficiency is less than what's implied in my post above. Sorry about that.

54 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

I watched all 3 games (Orton, Brady, Vick). I wouldn't have been surprised to see Vick beat out the other two here because of the rushing stats, but having watched Orton carve up the Chiefs passing defense I understand how the numbers come out the way they do. Orton does get a somewhat unjustified DYAR boost because the Chiefs' secondary on Sunday was not as good as the one used to do the calculations. With safeties Kendrick Lewis and Jon McGraw both out, Ricky Price was signed off the practice squad and he was terrible. Orton still played great, but if there was an injury downgrade factor into the "D" adjustment, his numbers would have been lower.

63 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Along these same lines, I was expecting to see Jon Kitna's performance ranked #1 for the week, given the Giants' heretofore #1 pass defense ranking. Though of course his performance makes me wonder if that could possibly have been an accurate measure of the Giants.

76 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Frankly, I have to keep telling myself that Aaron has run the numbers a ton, because my instinct says that FO's opponent adjustments aren't strong enough.

That's funny, my gut says FO's opponent adjustments are too strong!

44 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Vick's game was the 4th best QB DYAR game of the season so far. It just happened to come in the same week as the two best performances of the season. The top 10 QB games of the season in at-the-time DYAR are:

268 Tom Brady week 10
248 Kyle Orton week 10
245 Carson Palmer week 7
244 Michael Vick week 10
230 Peyton Manning week 1
221 Eli Manning week 9
211 Kyle Orton week 2
204 Ryan Fitzpatrick week 7
198 Aaron Rodgers week 3
197 Donovan McNabb week 2

74 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

I agree. This is the problem with statistics. It's almost impossible to come up with an absolute mathmatical formula that accounts for ALL variables. Based on the formula used here, Vick is third, but any sensible person who saw that game on Monday night, clearly knows that Vick put on a show that was historic in nature. I don't care how bad Washington's defense is, we haven't seen an NFL game like that in a lot of years. The stats in this evaluation simply don't tell the whole truth. For example, what about the pouring rain that Vick and his receivers had to contend with? Did these stats account for that? Vick lit Washington up rain and all! So again, statistics always leaves something out. As a former stock analyst, I used statistics every day to pick stocks, but I can tell you if it were as easy as using a bunch of numbers, everyone and anyone would be stock market millionaires. It's just not that simple. Statistics are valuable tools, BUT they need to be used in conjunction with other pieces of information to formulate the most accurate appraisals. This analysis is only one piece of a puzzle that is much larger, and it needs to be viewed that way.

77 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Well, actually FO has a stat called DVOA (in which Vick would have ranked #1 this week) would satisfy everybody upset about the rankings this week. But they don't rank according to DVOA because it could just as easily go the other way: well, of course Q.B. "x" had a high DVOA, he only threw the ball 15 times! Q.B. "y" on the other hand had to keep throwing all game and while his DVOA was lower he did more for his team to help them win with 40 attempts!

So, it's just a matter of which stat you prefer at any given moment and fortunately FO has their bases covered in this case. Vick was the most efficient Q.B. on a per-play basis, but had fewer plays than Orton or Brady.

Agreed they count account for the rain, but I would say that the Eagles' success in those conditions are more to Jackson, Maclin and Avant's credit than Vick's...

(also, very fitting that a stock analyst would come on and complain about folks missing the big picture...)

13 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Not sure it matters for DYAR, but the Giants one "sack" on 3rd down and goal inside their own 5 was actually a failed snap that Kitna fell on.

55 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Hey - McGlynn is improving! He's very close to reaching the Juan Castillo-approved level of Nick Cole/Mac Jean-Gilles level competency. I think you're probably just spoiled from having watched one of the league's best centers (and most criminally under-rated players) for the past few seasons...

15 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

The rub comes in when he writes "the wide variety of blown coverages and missed tackles." Give me a break. What blown coverages? Is DeSean Jackson running past LaRon Landry because he's simply too fast a blown coverage? There was nothing ANYONE could do on that play. Also, the missed tackles were mostly on Harrison and McCoy's runs, not on Vick's touchdown throws. Just terrible.

22 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Will FO finally admit how wrong they were on Michael Vick? They continually bashed all season and they still found a way to insert a jab against Vick in this article.

25 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

Please be fair: only some of the writers have been down on Vick. Doug Farrar has notably been positive about him and Aaron Schatz has scarcely said anything about him. Barnwell, on the other hand, continues his proud tradition of being wrong.

31 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

I agree. I don't know who wrote it, but after his first stat I remember reading on the weekly quick reads segment something like "An average performance and will only get worse as opponents adjust." Well, to whoever wrote that - how have the opponents adjusted, pal?

57 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

I don't think that means what you think it means.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2010/week-2-quick-reads

"Right about average, and it will look worse with opponent adjustments seven weeks from now."

68 Re: Quick Reads: Week 10

That actually means that the rating FOR THAT GAME ONLY will look worse later as the opponent adjustments change. So if you went back and looked at that game with the current opponent adjustments, it would be even lower ranked. It doesn't say anything about Vick actually performing worse in more recent games.