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

Divisional Round Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

Osweiler (os•wi•ler,ˌäs-wī-lər)

1. noun: Surname of a Houston Texans quarterback who was paid approximately $1.4 million per touchdown pass in the 2016 regular season.

2. noun: Description of an NFL game in which a quarterback throws 40 or more passes and gains less than 200 yards.

OK, I made that last one up. But it's appropriate, because it's an accomplishment that has become routine for Brock Osweiler, but is still very rare across the league.

According to Pro Football Reference, there were five Osweilers in the 1950s (including the playoffs); 25 in the 1960s; 13 in the 1970s; 30 in the 1980s; 54 in the 1990s; 59 in the 2000s; and 37 from 2010 to 2015. There's a lot of fluctuation there, obviously, but in the past three-plus decades it has been a fairly steady average of about five or six Osweilers across the league in any given season. Over the entire timeframe from 1950 to 2015, Bernie Kosar led all passers with five Osweilers, followed by Sam Bradford with four and then 18 players with three. Remember, these are career totals, including playoffs. In 65 years, nobody ever had more than two Osweilers in a season -- and even that only happened 14 times.

Brock Osweiler's Osweiler against New England in the divisional round was his fourth in 16 starts this season. Nobody else had more than one (though with eight other quarterbacks posting an Osweiler, this would have been a big year for them even without the Osweiler). In just one year as a full-time starter, Osweiler has tied Bradford for second place in career Osweilers.

Part of this is due to the era in which Osweiler is playing. Rules have never been friendlier to passers than they are now, which means all quarterbacks -- even bad ones -- are getting more opportunities to pass than ever before. Even a struggling quarterback is more likely to be productive than your average running game. If we change our thresholds to 30 or more attempts and fewer than 150 yards (still worse than a 5-yard average per attempt), we find a lot more games -- Jake Plummer is the leader with nine, followed by Mark Malone with eight and eight players with seven. If we go to 20 attempts and 100 yards, we find Craig Morton and Norm Snead tied with 12 games, followed by Dan Pastorini with 11 and Roman Gabriel with 10.

So no, Brock Osweiler is not the worst quarterback we have ever seen, and he's not the first quarterback to have some bad days. He is, however, the first quarterback to play this badly and still get opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, both in the sense that the Texans kept calling pass plays even as he struggled, and that the Texans left him in the lineup even after it was clear they could not win a championship with him. With a contract that is going to make it very difficult for Houston to find a new signal-caller over the offseason, there's a good chance we will see more Osweiler -- and more Osweilers -- in 2017

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Matt Ryan ATL
26/37
338
3
0
3
156
156
0
SEA
Ryan had four passes inside Seattle's 15-yard line. He completed all four for 31 total yards and four first downs, including three touchdowns. His magic pass length was 9 to 18 yards. On passes of that distance, he went 10-of-14 for 211 yards, with every completion going for a first down. He threw only one pass to the deep middle area of the field -- Seattle's weakness, given the absence of Earl Thomas -- and that pass was incomplete. However, to the short middle of the field, he went 8-of-10 for 118 yards -- 51 yards through the air, and 67 yards after the catch, many of those after Thomas' replacement Steven Terrell missed tackles. On third downs, he went 10-of-11 for 135 yards, though that includes four completions that failed to pick up a first down.
2.
Aaron Rodgers GB
28/43
356
2
1
3
92
83
9
DAL
Rodgers led all quarterbacks this week in first-quarter DYAR. In the first frame, he went 8-of-11 for 126 yards. From that point forward, he was basically a replacement-level passer, with plenty of highs (three passes to Jared Cook: a 3-yard touchdown, a 26-yard gain in the third quarter, and of course the 36-yard gain on third-and-20 that set up the winning field goal) and lows (one interception; three sacks; and failures to convert on three plays with 3 yards or less to go for a first down).
3.
Dak Prescott DAL
24/37
302
3
1
2
74
70
4
GB
Prescott and the Cowboys opened the fourth quarter down 15 points to Green Bay, but came back to tie the game -- twice. So it's not surprising he was the NFL's leader in fourth-quarter DYAR this week, going 10-of-13 for 116 yards and eight first downs (including two touchdowns), plus a 12-yard DPI and a 5-yard sack.
4.
Tom Brady NE
18/38
287
2
2
2
31
32
-1
HOU
Houston's own offensive ineptitude masked just how ineffective Brady and the Patriots were for most of the second half. Brady's touchdown pass to James White put New England up 24-13 with more than 26 minutes left in the game. From that point forward, Brady went 4-of-16 for 48 yards and an interception. He cleaned up on third downs though: 5-of-8 for 145 yards with one touchdown and two sacks.
5.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
20/31
224
0
1
1
-4
-3
-1
KC
From his own goal line to the Kansas City 30, Roethlisberger went 14-of-16 for 215 yards and 10 first downs. Inside the Kansas City 30, he went 7-of-15 for 9 yards (not a typo), one sack, one interception, and zero first downs (also not a typo). Two of those completions went backwards, and only one was considered a successful play.
6.
Russell Wilson SEA
17/30
225
2
2
3
-34
-43
10
ATL
The vast majority of Wilson's passes (and successful plays) were thrown to his left. To the right, he went 5-of-9 for 60 yards (40 on one play); up the middle, he went 0-for-2. That's 12 of 14 successful completions thrown to his left. Wilson also took the biggest hit from opponent adjustments this week, though only 2 DYAR separated him from Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, or Brock Osweiler in that regard.
7.
Alex Smith KC
20/35
172
1
1
1
-38
-35
-3
PIT
On third and fourth downs, Smith went 4-of-10 for 44 yards with four conversions and one sack. That includes two conversions on two fourth-down plays.
8.
Brock Osweiler HOU
23/40
198
1
3
3
-188
-195
7
NE
Osweiler had 19 plays in New England territory, plus one more at the Houston 46. He went 9-of-20 for 77 yards with three first downs and two interceptions. He is the first player to throw at least three interceptions and average less than 5 yards per attempt since -- well, since the last Houston game, when Connor Cook did it. Before that you have to go back to Ryan Fitzpatrick's six picks against Arizona in September.
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.
Devonta Freeman ATL
14
45
1
4/5
80
0
60
30
30
SEA
Pretty much every team that played this weekend except Atlanta had a very good run defense. Eleven running backs had enough touches to qualify for our tables. Nine of those players gained DYAR after opponent adjustments, and five gained 30 or more. Freeman became just the second running back to break 125 yards from scrimmage against Seattle this season (David Johnson did it twice). He had three first downs on the ground, the longest a 13-yarder, while getting hit for no gain or a loss just three times. Most of his receiving value comes from one big catch, a 53-yard gain on third-and-4.
2.
Tevin Coleman ATL
11
57
0
3/4
22
1
58
35
23
SEA
Coleman had four first downs on the ground, including a 15-yarder, while getting hit for a loss just once. Two of Coleman's receptions produced first downs too.
3.
Ty Montgomery GB
11
47
2
5/8
34
0
52
34
19
DAL
Montgomery had four first-half runs: a 15-yard run for a first down, a 7-yard gain on first-and-10, and touchdowns of 3 and 1 yards. He did not run for a first down in the second half, but in the whole game he was hit for a loss just once. He added four first downs in the air, including one on a 10-yard DPI.
4.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
22
125
0
1/1
-2
0
41
49
-8
GB
Five first downs on the ground, including gains of 22 and 12 yards, while getting hit for no gain just once.
5.
Jonathan Grimes HOU
2
11
0
4/4
43
0
25
6
19
NE
Three of Grimes' catches went for first downs; the other was a 15-yard gain on first-and-20.
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.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
22
125
0
1/1
-2
0
41
49
-8
GB
2.
Le'Veon Bell PIT
30
170
0
2/5
-4
0
13
40
-27
KC
Ten first downs on the ground, including gains of 11, 17, and 38 yards, with four hits for no gain or a loss.
3.
Tevin Coleman ATL
11
57
0
3/4
22
1
58
35
23
SEA
4.
Ty Montgomery GB
11
47
2
5/8
34
0
52
34
19
DAL
5.
Devonta Freeman ATL
14
45
1
4/5
80
0
60
30
30
SEA
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.
Thomas Rawls SEA
11
34
0
0/0
0
0
-13
-13
0
ATL
Rawls and LeGarrette Blount were the only qualifying runners this week to go down after opponent adjustments. He had three first downs on the ground, the longest for 11 yards, but was hit for no gain or a loss four times.
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.
Thomas Rawls SEA
11
34
0
0/0
0
0
-13
-13
0
ATL
Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Chris Hogan NE
4
4
95
23.8
0
68
HOU
All four of Hogan's catches went for first downs, and he gained a fifth first down on a 30-yard DPI.
2.
Dez Bryant DAL
9
12
132
14.7
2
54
GB
Only three of Bryant's catches failed to produce first downs, and one of those was a 19-yard gain on second-and-21. He also drew a DPI for 12 yards and another first down.
3.
Julian Edelman NE
8
13
137
17.1
0
52
HOU
Edelman's DYAR total includes 41 DYAR receiving, 10 DYAR rushing for his one carry for 12 yards. He had first downs on catches of 48, 26, 14, and 26 yards, but his last six targets resulted in one catch for 3 yards.
4.
Julio Jones ATL
6
8
67
11.2
1
35
SEA
Five of Jones' catches went for first downs; the sixth was an 8-yard gain on first-and-10. He converted both of his third-down targets.
5.
Jesse James PIT
5
6
83
16.6
0
34
KC
Four of James' catches went for first downs; the fifth was a 5-yard gain on first-and-10. In fact all of James' targets came on first-and-10.
Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ryan Griffin HOU
0
3
0
0.0
0
-21
NE
It's actually worse than it looks. All of Griffin's targets came with 5 yards or less to go for a first down, two were failed third-down plays, and one was intercepted.

Comments

103 comments, Last at 18 Jan 2017, 8:51pm

93 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

For the first 50-or-so minutes of SB 43, over 80% of the game, the score was Kurt's Offense 7, Steelers Defense 7.

Not hammering on Warner, who was a great QB and an even greater story, but his performance in that game tends to be overrated.

95 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I'm confused why you think this is a reply to what I said. Yes, Peyton Manning was bad in his last season. (Actually his last season and a third, but it's obscured because his stats before the leg injury in 2014 were characteristically amazing, so the bad last 5 games and playoff loss get averaged out.)

I mean seriously, who wins a Super Bowl passing for less than 100 attempts, less than 600 yards, a pick, and only one TD?

... oh, sorry, that's Brady's line from 2001. Manning had 2 TDs.

Sorry, now that I've had my fun, the point is you're making a highly subjective assessment of a handful of games where the player was only there by dint of team performance, and thinking it means something meaningful about a player's overall career. It doesn't.

103 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Yeah, I misinterpreted his point as "We shouldn't measure QBs by playoff wins and losses, we should measure them by a qualitative assessment of their pla in playoff games". Turns out he was just making the same point as me, and replying not to disagree but to pile on.

99 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

It was more of generally agreeing with you and commenting on the discussion in the thread in general, so not a specific replay as much as workday rambling. And, yes, there's a highly subjective assessment of a handful of games, and it's a silly thing. Just pointing out that Kurt Warner played well in losses and Peyton generally not as well in wins, so wins are a silly form of measurement on a whole host of levels.

63 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

The moment someone mentions rings in a best QB discussion you know they are a moron, seriously. Montana and Brady are such huge products of the system that was just so much better than the opposition. A league average QB would have given those teams 2+ rings. They are great QBs don't get me wrong but the number of rings have nothing to do with it, any decent QB would have given those teams multiple rings.

76 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I'm not sure that disparaging Montana and Brady as being just "such huge products of the system" is any better than counting rings. Joe Montana was the perfect QB for Bill Walsh's system, and proved that by being arguably the GOAT at the position. Tom Brady has played in a variety of offensive styles, and is again arguably the GOAT at the position.

Saying "Montana was a product of the system" would be like disparaging Jerry Rice's career because he had the opportunity to catch balls from Montana and Young or saying Elway was just a stats accumulator until TD showed up to carry him to victory or Marino just had huge numbers because his team had crappy RBs so they had to throw all the time. Every player is a product of the system, and there is no conceivable way to state "any decent QB would have given those teams multiple rings" without being forcibly taken to the side and put into the concussion protocol.

"Counting rings" and "just a product of the system" are the largely equivalent sides of the official Stupid Football Discussion coin.

7 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Brady's first half was pretty ugly too. His numbers benefited from about 85-90 yards of arm punts that his receivers somehow came down with, but which should have been defensed if not intercepted.

9 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Yeah, really! I literally do not recall ever seeing a Brady game with as many moonballs as that. Let alone successful ones.

That's why I never felt comfortable with that game -- nothing the offense was doing, save the drive that made it 24-13, felt at all sustainable.

8 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Surprised Cook wasn't one of the top 5 receivers. Five of his six catches were for first downs, including one TD, and the other was a gain of six on 1st and 10.

12 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Jonathan Grimes was twice as valuable as LeVeon Bell? I don't think DYAR measures what you think it measures. Your simple definition "DYAR means a running back with more total value." It is absurd on its face. Bell wasn't even among the top 5 backs in the weekend games?

You need to come up with an adjustment that accounts for when a defense knows a back is going to get the ball over and over and they can't do much to stop it.

Check the second running back table, the one that ranks running backs by rushing value only. Bell was second in rushing value to Ezekiel Elliott, mainly because he had more zero-yard runs and losses than Elliott did.

The reason Grimes had more total value than Bell is because Bell's receiving numbers were GOD AWFUL. He literally never went forward -- three incompletions, a 1-yard loss, and a 3-yard loss. Four of those came inside the Kansas City 30, and led directly to Pittsburgh not getting touchdowns.

Surprised Cook wasn't one of the top 5 receivers. Five of his six catches were for first downs, including one TD, and the other was a gain of six on 1st and 10.

Somebody else mentioned this, but yes, 11 targets, including five incompletions.

14 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Yup. Cook definitely has moments and yes he creates mismatches but there is also a reason the guy did not have teams rushing to sign him. He's pretty inconsistent and at times for no apparent reason he will just not work to get the ball. That and he will slow up on routes also for no apparent reason leading observers to think Rodgers overthrew a pass.

Rodgers keep talking him up I suspect because he wants to keep Cook engaged and focused. Because this approach by other receivers has gotten the hammer from Rodgers in the past

18 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I had initially put that down to the QB's he played with in Ten and St. Louis. Then when I saw it with the Packers I put it down to getting familiar with the offense and later lingering injuries. Now I think I was being to generous as well.

As to Rodgers praise, he puts a lot of stock in practice performance, which is reasonable. He constantly talks up Janis too, who is just as inconsistent on game days, and has always defended Adams. Rodgers also lobbies for Abbrederis (when he's healthy). While Rodgers and most famously Jennings had some bad blood I heard reports out of MN after Jennings left that he wasn't always the most focused in practices there either.

Going way on a tangent here, but there have been player criticisms of how Rodgers leads, especially from those who played with Favre as well as Rodgers. I always felt there was some legitimacy. Not everyone learns (and that's what practice is) the same way. Not everyone performs the same way. I can easily see Rodgers not understanding this and being very inflexible that one and only one way works. Favre was a very charismatic guy, which makes it easy for people to naturally follow him, regardless of anything else, and Rodgers I think was very different. Different is easy to call bad.

So I'm not sure it's that Rodgers is just trying to keep Cook engaged. Abbrederis from all accounts is a baller in practice, same with Janis, same with Adams. If you believe, as I do, that Rodgers loves that in players, then it could be that Cook shines in practice consistently too. That he shows a dedication to detail during the rest of the week. This is always a problem for fans judging why some players get on the field more than others. We don't see the work they put in everyday. It's tough to judge just on game day, even though it seems easy to weigh that performance much much higher, because it is the goal. But if you're in charge it's also hard to gamble on the guy who you think might play better on game day if there are three guys who constantly kick his ass the rest of the week.

23 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Understood. And frankly, I think the Rodgers way is the preferred approach. Favre was out of shape and sloppy from 1999-2006 which always showed up at the worst possible times (playoffs typically) because he openly hated practice and made fun of players who as you put it 'balled' in practice. He was the Whitey Ford of the Packers. Just save it for the games man.

Well, most players cannot make that happen. I do not think it is a coincidence that so few players drafted developed into something under Sherman given that his best guy was Favre who provided a bad example for non extremely gifted or non self motivated players. Is it a big shock that Aaron Kampmann was the exception as Kampmann by all accounts was a man possessed to be a good NFL player?

Rodgers may alienate some guys but I suspect that is offset by all the guys who push to get the best from themselves. If nothing else motivated by getting 12 off their case

26 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Abbrederis not on team anymore, btw... And Rodgers re: who practices well and who doesnt has been right way more than wrong. Cook the latest example-- he has had as much or more impact on team's success as Nelson.

13 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I guess Osweiler would have been over 200 if Will Fuller hadn't dropped that ball that Osweiler placed in his hands. Talk about bad breaks. We all know how bad Osweiler looked through that game yet when he put it right on the money his receiver screw things up.

But I'm not trying to make excuses for him.

What I'm wondering is if this is the difference a Brady/Manning has. Because they rarely play badly, their teammates are always expecting good things to happen. They know the ball will be there. Whereas if you have doubt in your QB's ability, you're never playing with a settled mind.

(And yes, I know Fuller has had a case of the drops all season).

17 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I think it goes both ways. A good QB has the capacity to freeze out a bad WR. If you can fit in a throw to anyone, why throw to the headcase with stone hands?

Unless you're Carson Wentz, and all of your WRs are like that.

27 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

No only the Full play, but also the slightly more difficult dropped TD by Fiedorowicz earlier.

Instead of drives ending in a FG and a punt (if I'm remembering correctly), they could have had 2 TDs. At the time of the Fuller drop I believe they were trailing by 11? Could have been a tie game.

So not only would Osweiler have significantly better stats, but the game situation would have changed enough that the Texans could have stuck with their typically conservative game plan relying on the run game and defense. Speculatively, rather than Osweiler throwing a bunch in fairly desperate circumstances, this might have prevented at least one of his INTs.

A 3 TD, 2 INT game would have looked a lot different.

42 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

And had Floyd not butterfingered a ball,and had Dion Lewis not fumbled, it would have been 41-3.

Speculating is silly. Fuller has had problems with drops all season, and there were several interceptable balls that maybe get picked off in your alternate reality. Yes, things could have gone differently, but there's no reason to think that things would have been better.

56 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

So forget about the speculation. Osweiler would have had 3 TDs if his receivers had only caught what were probably his two best throws of the night. The QB can only throw the ball, and DYAR is penalizing Osweiler in part for the failures of his teammates.

I'm not trying to make some point that Osweiler played well, he didn't. But if speculation is silly, then so is rating players by DYAR without providing context that doesn't show up in the stat sheet.

21 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I'm frankly shocked that Joey Harrington doesn't have more "Osweilers" to his resume. I always seemed to remember the mid 2000s Lions constantly being behind, forcing Harrington to drop back 35-40 times a game, and repeatedly throwing 5 yard dumpoffs.

28 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

In all fairness to Houston, they did give up on Osweiler during the season, planted him on the bench, and gave Tom Savage the job. Then Savage was reminded that concussions are not a minor problem, and Osweiler got the job back by default. Not that Savage was all that and a bag of chips or anything.

The point about 2017 still stands, though. They're stuck with Os and his huge cap hit, which means that even if they have the courage to admit their mistake and leave him benched, then it means that they either have to start Savage ahead of him or get lucky enough to find a Dak Prescott (or even a Carson Wentz) in a weak quarterback class.

47 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

So maybe there's a better question ... is it better to:

- have Osweiler on the bench as the backup

- or go for one of the standard backups available (Cassell? Sanchez? Fitzgerald? McCown?); have them learn the playing system; and probably add another $2-3m onto Os's cap hit taking it all to something like $28m

Unless there is a definitively better QB out there, I'm suspecting keeping him is the best option.

The Texans really backed themselves into a corner here.

61 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

The Texans let Fitzpatrick go for the Hoyer/Mallett abomination of 2015. Fitzpatrick-level QBing probably wins the Texans an extra game or two during the RS. Heck, had he not broken his leg when he did in 2014 they probably make the playoffs that year.

The Texans have a "competent QB Level" of "Okay Ryan Fitzpatrick". They have failed to attain that level for two seasons and 5 QBs. The good news is they don't have the body horror which is "Cleveland Browns QB Jersey".

Yet.

71 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Which Fitzpatrick?

The 2015 model or the 2016 model?

Because, if anything, the 2016 Jets had worse QB play than the 2016 Texans. Fitzpatrick, in three fewer games, had three more TOs, and five fewer TDs. His QBR (for what little it's worth), was actually lower. But he had a higher ALEX!

As much as we all love crapping on Brian Hoyer, he went 10-6 as a Browns QB, took Houston to the playoffs, and was 7th in DVOA this year (on the Bears!). For a guy who consistently finds himself surrounded by the talent equivalent of a manure settling pond, he does pretty well.

37 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Man, I guess being a "players coach" has its limitations. Get publicly disrespected by your star WR, can't bench him because its the AFCCG and you will certainly lose without him.

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

84 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Agreed. Maybe having Welker leads to a play call that saves Brady from making the awful screen interception, but it's not like NE moved the ball at will once Wes came back on the field. NY just kicked their asses that day, both physically and mentally.

89 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

The sample size counterargument has merit, of course, though I suspect the actual participants would tend to downplay it on the theory that they felt/feel much more challenged and tested by playoff games-- they're not just one of 16 every year-- and thus they themselves assign a lot more weight to those games.

As for the bigger debate here, I come at it from a slightly different place. One can argue that, and no more vividly and tragically than last November, in a presidential campaign X would have beaten Y if only x,000 votes in y states had changed hands. When in fact, and Trump nearly negated this dynamic but ultimately his election too was proof of it, those microresults are the product of many other more macro factors that apply to the entire sample-- the national vote-- and it is not so simple as to say just change 13000 votes in Wisconsin, half that many in Michigan, and 40000 votes in Pennsylvania and the outcome changes. Montana was so skilled he got the ball to Clark in the back of the end zone, and to Taylor vs the Bengals, and Rodgers hit Jennings with the clinching pass to set up the FG which pretty much iced the game, etc., etc.. In other words, random plays/events are not so random after all. (Tyree, Manningham and Brady's near misses vs the Giants to the contrary) That the seemingly unfair and bloated judgments we make about this small subsample of postseason games are, in fact, founded on significantly larger truths that those games generally,-- not universally, but generally--uncover. And that the QB position even in a game with 21 other people on the field is a big enough deal that the play from that position can have a large impact on any of these games. As Colin Cowherd put it, nobody outside of QB affects a line by even a point-- whether healthy or injured-- but if Rodgers were announced as out for Atlanta, and it was Brett Hundley instead, the line might jump by at least a touchdown. At least.

And he's right. So again-- legacy is real. The outcomes of these games are real. And our perceptions of each of these four may-- actually, will-- change-- not by a lot, mind you-- in the next three weeks.

92 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I think you miss the meaning of randomness. The slight ball movement of Brady's hands, in conjunction with the state of the rules in January 2001, was random. Tom Brady would not be any better, or any worse, a qb if the current rules had been in place during that game, but that random rules interpretation represents 15% of Brady's playoff wins, and one of his championships. The randomness of Stephen Neal's injury in the 1st Pats/Giants Super Bowl may well have cost Brady a championship, but then the random injuries to Seahawks during that Super Bowl may have given Brady a championship. A couple of randomly sprinkled zebra calls gives Roethisberger a Super Bowl victory. 50% of his total to date. Don't make me go through the number of playoff games which would have their outcome changed by a small change in random fumble recoveries. Then we get to stuff that isn't random, but didn't have anything to do with qb performance, which swung the outcome of close playoff games. Jim Kelly isn't a Super Bowl champ because Norwood is wide right. Brady picks up multiple playoff wins and championships due to Vinitieri's excellence on a few kicks which were not chip shots.

Again, if qbs had several thousand playoff games, we could give exponentially more weight to playoff w-l results. The fact that the participants say they assign more weight to the games doesn't change the fact that the sample size is tiny, which means we can't any confidence that the noise (stuff that has nothing to with qb performance, but determines the "w" or the "l") is being smoothed out. Which means it has zero value, if the question is "how well did this qb, relative to other qbs, play, during his career?".

As to what perceptions will be, well, human cognitive abilities being what they are, there is no accounting for that. Some people used to call Peyton Manning a choker, and probably still do.

98 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I understand the meaning of randomness completely. I'm arguing that the four inches Rodgers found above the Steeler defender, or the one slot/path Montana found to hit Clark-- or a bunch of other plays which helped the winners win and the losers lose-- are not simply or always random events-- they are the product of ability. And that those postseason games cannot and should be treated as "just another game" because the situation is more likely to bring out those ability factors than not. Does that mean that a playoff game is twice as important as one of the 16-- 25% more significant? 50%? I don't know-- nor do you. But it's not the same... And there's much more than zero value

100 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

If you want to develop the body of evidence which can inform us how to weight playoff passing and rushing attempts, compared to regular season attempts, I'd be happy to see it. That has nothing to do with attributing value to playoff w-l records, which are meaningless for evaluating a qb's career in an empirical manner.