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

Week 4 Quick Reads

Kerryon Johnson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Vincent Verhei

Week 4 of the NFL season is when we at Football Outsiders start to work opponent adjustments into our statistics. However, since we can't yet be sure how good or bad a given team is, we do not use full-strength opponent adjustments this early in the season. Right now, opponent adjustments are set at 40% strength, then will get gradually stronger over the coming months. As such, opponent adjustments are usually insignificant until Halloween.

Usually insignificant. Not always. And even this early, it's clear that 2019 is going to be a very unusual season.

The gap between the best and worst defenses is enormous, and that is wreaking havoc on our player rankings. Specifically, one very good defense (the New England Patriots) and one very bad one (the Miami Dolphins) are making it very difficult to evaluate quarterbacks. And then there are the Kansas City Chiefs, who had the NFL's worst run defense in 2018 but have been much, much worse than that thus far in 2019.

Let's start with those Patriots. New England's statistics seem to be a mistake that brought a 1970s defense to the modern era, like the Avengers failed to properly put the timeline back together in Endgame and this is the result. Through four games, the Patriots have allowed a league-low 52.0% completion rate an intercepted a league-high 10 passes, twice as many as anyone else and more than seven teams had in all of 2018. They also have 18 sacks, tied with Carolina for most in the league, and they are the only team that has yet to allow a passing touchdown this season. They have allowed 5.5 yards per pass; only Buffalo (5.1) and Carolina (5.2) have been better.

There is an obvious caveat here concerning the Patriots. They have posted those numbers against the following passers:

  • Ben Roethslisberger, whose arm was about to fall off;
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, the NFL's last resort of starting quarterbacks for a decade now;
  • Josh Rosen, owner of the worst passing DYAR season we have ever measured;
  • Luke Falk, New York Jets third-stringer;
  • and Josh Allen, an athlete playing quarterback.

No, this is not like when the Patriots were playing Dan Marino and Jim Kelly twice each every season. Consider, though, what those men have done when not playing New England this year -- nearly 400 total passes, 61% completion rate, 8.2 yards per pass, five touchdowns, six interceptions -- and you can see that New England has taken some of the worst quarterbacks in the league and made them look even worst-er.

It was Josh Allen's burden to face the Patriots this week, and he was not up to the task -- without opponent adjustments, he had the second-worst DYAR of any starting quarterback this week. However, because he was playing the Patriots, Allen gets a boost of 54 passing DYAR. That's not just the most this week; it's the second-most in any Week 4 since 2011. (In 2013, Houston's Matt Schaub got a 65-DYAR boost in opponent adjustments for playing the Legion of Boom Seahawks at their peak.) With those adjustments, Allen moves all the way up to the fifth-worst starter of the week.

The Patriots are at one end of the pass defense spectrum. The Dolphins are at the other, and to an even stronger degree. The Miami defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to average 10.3 yards per attempt, worst in the league by a full yard, and they have surrendered an NFL-high 12 touchdown passes. Opponents have completed 74.4% of their passes against Miami, more than anyone except Washington. The Dolphins are one of seven defenses with fewer than two interceptions, and one of eight with fewer than six sacks.

As New England benefitted from playing a weak slate of passers, the poor Dolphins have been shredded by some of the league's best: Tom Brady, a future Hall of Famer; Philip Rivers and Lamar Jackson, former first-round draft picks; and Dak Prescott, current MVP candidate (despite his rough outing against New Orleans this week). As good as those men have been, however, they are not as good as they have looked against Miami. When playing against teams not named after marine mammals, those quarterbacks are completing 66% of their passes for 7.7 yards per attempt with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Those are very good numbers, of course, but far short of what they have done against the Dolphins. Miami has taken some of the best quarterbacks in the league and made them look even best-er.

By raw numbers, L.A.'s Philip Rivers was the second-best passer of the week. However, because the only team standing between him and the end zone was the Dolphins, he loses 53 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. That's most of any Week 4 passer since 2011, surpassing the 51-DYAR hit Eli Manning took for playing the Saints last year. Because of that, Rivers is still the second-ranked passer this week, but he's closer to Prescott at 13th place than he is to Jameis Winston in first.

You know what's even easier than playing quarterback against the Dolphins? Playing running back against the Chiefs. Kansas City was hoping that a switch from Bob Sutton's 3-4 to Steve Spagnuolo's 4-3 would fix the run defense, but early results indicate they may have been running a 0-0 formation instead. The Chiefs are allowing opposing running backs to gain 5.78 yards per carry, nearly half a yard more than any other team. They are allowing running backs to gain successful yardage 59% of the time, they are allowing 1.80 second-level yards per carry, and they are stuffing opposing runners at or behind the line just 11% of the time; they are the worst defense in the NFL in all three categories. Kerryon Johnson had 26 carries against Kansas City on Sunday, which is the most anyone has had against the Chiefs this season. Other runners with double-digit carries include Mark Ingram, Leonard Fournette, and Josh Jacobs. In total, the 11 running backs who have carried the ball against the Chiefs have had 237 carries against other teams, and those carries have averaged 4.1 yards apiece, with a 48% success rate, 20% stuff rate, and 1.11 second-level yards per carry. This is an eminently mediocre group of running backs, but the Chiefs are making them look like Jim Brown in his prime.

As noted, Johnson had 26 carries against Kansas City. And since opponent adjustments stack up for each carry, they had a massive effect on Johnson's DYAR. Johnson had one very, very bad carry (a fumble on first-and-goal from the 1 that is tied with Austin Ekeler's fumble on first-and-goal from the 1 for the worst unadjusted carry of the year), but was otherwise quite effective on Kansas City, gaining 125 yards on 26 runs. He had eight first downs on the ground, four of them gaining 10 yards or more, and was only stuffed four times. There were 37 running backs with at least eight carries this week, and Johnson ranked 14th in that group in rushing value without opponent adjustments. With opponent adjustments, however, he was last by a healthy margin. Johnson averaged 4.8 yards per carry against the Chiefs, which sounds good, but it pales in comparison to the 6.2-yard average that all the other running backs who have faced Kansas City this year have produced. Including receiving plays, Johnson lost an unbelievable 36 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, far and away the most of any Week 4 running back in the past nine years. The prior benchmark had been 31 lost DYAR by Ezekiel Elliott against Detroit last season.

We are still only one-quarter of the way through this season, and a lot could change between now and the end of the year. But for the time being, it looks like we're going to have to account for the effects of these three defenses every week.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jameis Winston TB
28/41
385
4
1
2
197
197
0
LAR
Winston threw touchdowns on back-to-back passes in the second quarter, and again in the fourth. On throws down the middle, he went 12-of-15 for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
2.
Philip Rivers LAC
24/30
310
2
0
1
118
118
0
MIA
Red zone passing: 4-for-4, 45 yards, two touchdowns. He also completed every pass he threw to his left, going 9-for-9 for 142 yards. Eight of those completions went for first downs, including two scores.
3.
Carson Wentz PHI
16/27
160
3
0
0
116
117
-2
GB
Wentz actually had more plays on Green Bay's side of the 50 than on his own. And he was better there too, going 11-of-16 for 115 yards and all three touchdowns.
4.
Patrick Mahomes KC
24/42
315
0
0
0
111
93
18
DET
Mahomes was effective in most parts of the field, but quiet in the red zone, where he went 4-of-10 for 19 yards and no touchdowns (though he did pick up three first downs).
5.
Mason Rudolph PIT
24/28
229
2
0
0
107
107
0
CIN
Rudolph only threw three passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield, all of them in the second half. His average pass traveled 4.9 yards downfield, shortest of any quarterback this week
6.
Matthew Stafford DET
21/34
291
3
0
4
99
93
6
KC
Throwing down the middle against Kansas City, Stafford went 8-of-9 for 151 yards. Every one of those completions picked up a first down, including a touchdown to Kenny Golladay. His average completion was caught 8.2 yards downfield, deepest of any quarterback this week.
7.
Joe Flacco DEN
23/38
303
3
1
0
80
80
0
JAX
All three of Flacco's touchdowns came on first down, when he went 10-of-15 for 130 yards. Of course, he also had an intentional grounding and an interception on first down.
8.
Matt Ryan ATL
35/53
397
0
0
5
72
66
7
TEN
Ryan moved Atlanta into scoring range, but couldn't do a thing once he got there. He didn't pick up a single first down inside the Tennessee 40, going 2-for-7 for 14 yards with four sacks and a fumble.
9.
Aaron Rodgers GB
34/52
422
2
1
1
71
50
22
PHI
Rodgers spent a good chunk of this game in the red zone, with decidedly mixed results. On 16 passing plays, he had five completions for 51 yards and two touchdowns; nine incompletions; one 4-yard DPI; and one interception. No other quarterback had more than 10 red zone dropbacks this week. Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota, Deshaun Watson, and Josh Allen each have yet to hit 16 red zone dropbacks this season.
10.
Marcus Mariota TEN
19/27
227
3
0
0
67
78
-11
ATL
Mariota threw for 10 first downs in this game, and eight of them came on throws that traveled at least 8 yards downfield. On those passes, he went 8-of-11 for 180 yards and all three touchdowns. His average pass traveled 4.9 yards downfield, shortest of any quarterback this week (or it was, until Mason Rudolph took the field on Monday night).
11.
Baker Mayfield CLE
20/30
342
1
1
1
67
72
-5
BAL
Mayfield got a lot of help from his receivers -- his average completion gained 12.5 yards after the catch, by far the most of any quarterback this week. Dwayne Haskins was next at 8.0 YAC per completion.
12.
Chase Daniel CHI
22/30
195
1
0
1
56
65
-9
MIN
Daniel threw more passes to his backs and tight ends than to his wide receivers, but he was more effective when throwing to his wideouts: 12-of-14 for 138 yards.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Dak Prescott DAL
22/32
223
0
1
1
43
40
3
NO
Prescott and his wide receivers mostly failed to produce big plays. On throws to his wideouts, Prescott went 9-of-16 for 94 yards. Seven of those completions gained less than 10 yards.
14.
Derek Carr OAK
21/31
189
2
0
1
38
38
0
IND
Carr was most effective on throws to his tight ends, Darren Waller and Foster Moreau: 10-of-11 for 83 yards and a touchdown. Six of his 11 first downs came on throws to tight ends.
15.
Lamar Jackson BAL
24/34
247
3
2
4
22
13
9
CLE
Some of Jackson's most exciting plays came after the game was largely decided. Both of his interceptions came with Baltimore down by 15 points in the fourth quarter, and his last pass of the game was a 50-yard touchdown with Baltimore down by 22. He did very little on throws to his right, going 5-of-9 for only 28 yards.
16.
Daniel Jones NYG
23/31
225
1
2
0
17
0
18
WAS
Jones would have been in the top five if not for his interceptions on back-to-back throws in the second quarter. He only threw four deep passes the whole game: those two interceptions and two incompletions. His avereage completion was caught 2.8 yards downfield, shortest of any quarterback this week (before Monday night).
17.
Jared Goff LAR
45/68
517
2
3
2
15
15
0
TB
Goff also threw interceptions on back-to-back passes in the second quarter. Weird. He led the league in fourth-quarter DYAR, when he went 18-of-26 for 208 yards with two touchdowns and one sack-fumble.
18.
Russell Wilson SEA
22/28
240
1
0
4
3
9
-6
ARI
Wilson would have ranked higher if he had not fumbled on two of his sacks. He did not pick up a single first down on a throw to his right, where he went 3-of-5 for 17 yards.
19.
Gardner Minshew JAX
19/33
213
2
0
5
-1
2
-3
DEN
How's this for a dry spell: on 11 straight dropbacks in the first half, Minshew went incompletion; 1-yard gain on third-and-7; sack; four incompletions in a row; two sacks in a row; 9-yard gain on second-and-16; incompletion. The good news is that he delivered on Denver's side of the field, going 12-of-17 for 137 yards with two touchdowns and two sacks. That includes completions of 32 and 17 yards to set up the winning field goal.
20.
Jacoby Brissett IND
24/46
265
3
1
0
-3
-1
-2
OAK
It was feast or famine for Brissett when throwing to his tight ends. He went 5-of-13 for 70 yards. Four of those completions gained 8 yards or less, but the fifth was a 48-yard touchdown to Eric Ebron. He also had a 5-yard touchdown to Jack Doyle.
21.
Kyle Allen CAR
24/34
232
0
0
3
-13
-13
0
HOU
Allen fumbled on all three of his sacks. He has now fumbled on all five of his sacks this season, tied with Kirk Cousins for most sack-fumbles in the league.
22.
Kyler Murray ARI
22/32
241
0
1
4
-29
-45
16
SEA
Murray only threw for two first downs inside the Seattle 40, going 3-of-8 for 14 yards with two sacks. He did run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He led the league with 18 failed completions this week.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Matt Barkley BUF
9/16
127
0
1
1
-35
-35
0
NE
Barkley entered the game with Buffalo down by six in the fourth quarter. They were still down by six when the game ended. On New England's side of the field, he went 3-of-9 for 37 yards with as many first downs (one) as interceptions.
24.
Josh Rosen MIA
17/24
180
1
1
4
-38
-38
0
LAC
Rosen threw for eight first downs in the first half, but only one in the second, when he went 4-of-7 for 21 yards with three sacks, one fumble, and one interception. Why yes, he was last in second-half DYAR this week.
25.
Teddy Bridgewater NO
23/30
193
0
1
5
-49
-55
5
DAL
Third-down passing: 4-of-5 for 46 yards, but only two conversions, with three sacks and an interception.
26.
Deshaun Watson HOU
21/32
160
0
0
6
-57
-57
1
CAR
Watson threw six deep passes against the Panthers; all six were incomplete. He talked about those struggles after the game:
27.
Kirk Cousins MIN
27/36
233
0
0
6
-67
-67
0
CHI
Cousins threw for two first downs on Chicago's side of the field, going 6-of-9 for 45 yards with a sack-fumble. Also, it's not Cousins' fault, but Stefon Diggs fumbled one of those completions away.
28.
Josh Allen BUF
13/27
153
0
3
4
-88
-91
3
NE
Allen's average pass traveled 14.2 yards downfield, deepest of any quarterback this week.
29.
Case Keenum WAS
6/11
37
0
1
1
-90
-90
0
NYG
Only one of Keenum's passes produced a first down. Yeah.
30.
Tom Brady NE
19/39
150
0
1
0
-99
-99
0
BUF
Brady only threw for one first down in the second half, when he went 9-of-17 for all of 60 yards -- 31 of them on that one first down.
31.
Dwayne Haskins WAS
9/17
107
0
3
2
-153
-164
10
NYG
Haskins came into the game with Washington down by 14 points in the second quarter. Things went downhill from there. Three of his five first downs came on plays from within Washington's 20-yard line; outside of that range, he went 5-of-13 for 31 yards with two sacks and all three interceptions. He was actually second-best in DYAR from behind the 20 ... which makes it even more clear how terrible he was in the rest of the field.
32.
Andy Dalton CIN
21/37
171
0
1
8
-220
-216
-5
PIT
Dalton didn't reach the red zone often, and when he did, things went very badly: 2-of-6 for 4 yards with no touchdowns, no first downs, one interception, and one sack-fumble. On third and fourth downs, he went 5-of-12 for 44 yards with two sacks, one interception, two DPIs for 22 total yards, and four total conversions.

 

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.
Jordan Howard PHI
15
87
2
3/4
28
1
36
25
10
GB
All but one of Howard's carries gained at least 1 yard. He had four runs of 10 yards or more, plus a pair of short touchdowns. He also had a 20-yard touchdown catch.
2.
Christian McCaffrey CAR
27
93
1
10/10
86
0
34
-5
39
HOU
Only three of McCaffrey's carries gained more than 6 yards, while four were stuffed for no gain or a loss. Fortunately for him and the Panthers, receptions count too -- six of McCaffrey's gained at least eight yards and a first down, and three gained 18 yards or more.
3.
Chris Carson SEA
22
104
0
4/4
41
0
33
19
14
ARI
Redemption for Carson, who finished last in these tables last week. While four of his carries ended in stuffs and none gained more than 12 yards, eight went for first downs. He added two first downs as a receiver,
4.
Nick Chubb CLE
20
165
3
3/4
18
0
31
33
-2
BAL
Chubb was stuffed four times and only ran for five first downs ... but those first downs came on gains of 1, 10, 14, 17, and 88 yards. He had a sixth first down as a receiver.
5.
James Conner PIT
10
42
0
8/8
83
1
29
-14
44
CIN
Conner only ran for three first downs while getting stuffed four times. But five of his receptions gained first downs, including a 21-yard touchdown on third-and-2.

 

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.
Nick Chubb CLE
20
165
3
3/4
18
0
31
33
-2
BAL
2.
Frank Gore BUF
17
109
0
0/1
0
0
24
29
-5
NE
Gore was stuffed twice but had four first downs, including gains of 28 and 41 yards.
3.
Jordan Howard PHI
15
87
2
3/4
28
1
36
25
10
GB
4.
Leonard Fournette JAX
29
225
0
2/3
20
0
26
25
1
DEN
Fournette was stuffed twice, but picked up nine first downs on the ground. Six of those runs gained 10 yards or more, the longest an 81-yarder.
5.
Chris Carson SEA
22
104
0
4/4
41
0
33
19
14
ARI

 

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.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
18
36
1
6/7
30
0
-31
-21
-10
NO
Elliott only ran for three first downs, and none of his runs gained more than 6 yards. He was stuffed four times and also lost a fumble on fourth down. None of his catches gained first downs or even counted as successful plays.

 

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.
Kerryon Johnson DET
26
125
0
2/3
32
0
-18
-31
13
KC
One of those days.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Chris Godwin TB
12
14
172
14.3
2
102
LAR
Each of Godwin's catches gained at least 3 yards and a first down, the longest a 30-yarder, including conversions on all four of his third-down targets.
2.
Robert Woods LAR
13
15
164
12.6
0
58
TB
Woods had 10 first downs, including a gain of 37.
3.
A.J. Brown TEN
3
3
94
31.3
2
58
ATL
Yes, you can make the top receivers list on only three targets, so long as those three targets produce touchdowns of 55 and 11 yards plus a gain of 28.
4.
Jarvis Landry CLE
8
10
167
20.9
0
48
BAL
Five of Landry's catches gained at least 13 yards and a first down, the longest a gain of 65.
5.
Davante Adams GB
10
15
180
18.0
0
44
PHI
Seven of Adams' catches gained at least 11 yards and a first down. He picked up an eighth first down on a DPI for 13 yards.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Parris Campbell IND
5
8
25
5.0
0
-59
OAK
Campbell had just one first down, a 7-yard gain on third-and-5. His longest catch was a 15-yard gain on third-and-20, and he fumbled the ball away at the end of it.

Comments

42 comments, Last at 04 Oct 2019, 4:44pm

1 I feel for Andy Dalton. His…

I feel for Andy Dalton. His time in Cincinnati is going to end in ignominy on a putrid team, and he will doubtless be remembered somewhat disparagingly. But in truth he was an above average starter for a decent stretch, and has had a highly respectable career for a 2nd round pick. Rather like Matt Schaub, who put together some good seasons in Houston, but is only ever remembered for falling apart at the end.

Then again, he is likely going to follow the Schaub/Hasselbeck transition into a second career - i.e. the Holy Grail - hidden away somewhere making $3-4m a year as a no-controversies veteran backup. So no, I don't feel sorry for him at all.

10 Dalton was probably below…

Dalton was probably below average more often than not during his career, but he did suffer the misfortune of getting hurt late in the year when he was having a legitimately excellent season in 2015. Heading into the game he was injured, the Bengals were 10-2 and had a serious shot at the #1 seed - arguably favorites. Even with Dalton missing the final 1/4 of the season, the Bengals finished #2 in DVOA, and they definitely could have beaten that season's New England and Denver teams, especially if they got one or both at home. Instead that team may end up being totally forgotten.

13 There was a stretch there of…

There was a stretch there of at least 4 or 5 years (going by memory) where it seemed to me that Cincy was a good enough football team to win the Super Bowl.  The playoffs, of course, didn't turn out that way.

As is the normal (i.e. non-New England) way of things, you can't keep a team at that level for too long, and eventually there was some regression.  Paying the price for the randomness of one-game elimination playoffs and the existence of gravity, the coach was let go and everybody moves on.  For the Bengals, moving on likely means a stretch of 5 to 10 years looking for a new coach as good as the previous one, with the outside chance of finding a better one and a much higher probability of muddling through much worse ones while acquiring high draft picks for their troubles.

Next step will be to identify the QB as the problem, a step the current coach will complete before the end of this year, justifying the poor season's record and generating buy in amongst the fans to "complete the tank" and get a shiny new QB with one of those high draft picks.

The good news about this process for the fans is the rest of the season can be spent speculating who the new QB will be next season, and losses turn into victories as part of the march to a higher draft pick.  At the end of which they'll end up with a possible saviour, and quite possibly a material upgrade over even peak-Dalton, let alone current Dalton.  Of course, it's even more likely that they end up with someone who never approaches peak-Dalton levels, but at least that let's them unwrap a new QB again the next year, a process Browns and now Cardinals fans are familiar with.

39 Marvin Lewis will never get…

Marvin Lewis will never get enough credit for his work in Cincinnati, because of the lack of playoff wins. To achieve a 0.500 record over a long period for that franchise, against two perennially strong divisional opponents, is really commendable. 

As you eloquently put, they are going to struggle to recapture that, and are likely headed for an extended period in the doldrums.

41 I couldn't agree more

That's it right there: two perennially strong divisional opponents. Every year, everything has to break right for the Bengals to have a chance against Baltimore or Pittsburgh, and never once has that happened.

As bad as it is for the Bills/Dolphins/Jets to have to face the Patriots every year, it's been much harder for Cincy and Cleveland.

31 I think by DVOA,…

I think by DVOA, approximately, Dalton was average most of the time with a couple well above average and another couple slightly below, where average is 0% DVOA +/- 5%.  From 2011 to 2018, his ranks in DVOA were:

13, 20, 18, 25, 2, 12, 24, 17

The only years where he was less than -5% DVOA were 2 years when he was 20th (-5.9%) and 24th (-8.6%).  Even the year he was ranked 25th, his DVOA was only -3.6%, so the whole league was down.  He never really stunk.

My take is he was an average QB, with one great season and bad injury luck.  I didn't watch a ton of him, but I'd watch him against the Pats and their AFC rivals (Colts, Steelers, Ravens) and FWIW, my eyeballs agree with that.

38 Yes, I would agree that he…

Yes, I would agree that he was an average QB overall. The above average stretch I was referring to really just comes down to seasons 5 and 6 (when he was genuinely good), but even since then his performance has been respectable given how the offense (and most notably the offensive line) has fallen apart around him. 

21 The NFL media always has a…

The NFL media always has a fun whipping boy in their cross hairs. Jay Cutler was a notable favorite for a while. Kirk Cousins is another. 

 

Dalton will always be a problematic player to evaluate. Right now, the Bengals sans AJ Green might have the most punchless (non Dolphins NFL) offense in the league. I'm convinced there are a few QBs in the NFL who could do better with this group, but most would be as bad or worse. For ex, Dak Prescott probably wouldn't fare much better with this supporting cast. 

 

I guess at his best, Dalton is probably a notch below Matthew Stafford in quality. And That's unfortunately the level of leaving you wanting more.

2 adjustments for RBs

That is fascinating with Kerryon Johnson. I was fully expecting Dalvin Cook's 16 carry 35 yard day to be the worst, but I am guessing he gets a positive adjustment for facing the Chicago defense, which is very good... not quite as good per dvoa as the Patriots, but still... would be interested in seeing how his numbers look in comparison with and without adjustments. The other one I was curious on was Frank Gore, how much of a boost he got from the Patriots.

14 Does Kerryon Johnson's 101…

Does Kerryon Johnson's 101 yard "fumble-six" count against him like a QB's pick-six would?  I doubt it, but SOMEBODY should pay for half a team falling asleep at the switch like that. No whistle, no effort, no problem. Who's that guy running away with our football?

17 It probably counts just like…

It probably counts just like a pick six would - as a turnover (in this case, roughly half a turnover, because it was a fumble), but with the return completely ignored for his personal DVOA, like it would be for a QB.

3 Allen was, indeed, putrid…

Allen was, indeed, putrid. So was Brady. Apparently there were two 1970s defenses imported for last Sunday, because it looked like a game from that era.

16 I was thinking about the…

I was thinking about the 2015 stinker in week 17 @ Miami (with no professional o-line and the corpse of Steven Jackson as the main RB) but it wasn't that bad (-68). Then I went back to the not-so-aged-well end-of-dinasty MNF against the Chiefs and found this precious comment.

 

28.

Tom BradyNE

(-144 DYAR)

 

We'll run the numbers on this later this week, but yeah, there's a pretty good chance this was Brady's worst game ever. UPDATE: Thanks to reader dmstorm22 for doing the work for us. Brady's worst game was -181 DYAR in the infamous Lawyer Milloy Revenge Game, Week 1 of 2003 against Buffalo. He also had -147 DYAR against Baltimore in the 2009 AFC Wild Card game.

5 Amazing that he wasn't down…

Amazing that he wasn't down on that 99 yard fumble return.

How the heck did that Chiefs player gain possession of the ball from inside a pile like that without a Lions player touching his hand?

Because if any Lion touched him as he grabbed the ball, the play should have ended there.

I did check the rule book on one point, though. It is (it seems) not enough to touch the BALL while he is on the ground to make him down by contact. You have to touch some part of the player himself. Touching a finger would be enough.

6 he wasn't touched

The real question is how nobody in that pile had possession long enough for the ball to be ruled down.   But the replay was clear: Breeland was on his knees, picked up the ball, stood up, and ran 99 yards and he wasn't touched by any Lion.  At least that part of the call was completely justified.

And what happened before it, in the pile, is impossible to see.  But my gut feeling is that it was the right call.  

7 he wasn't touched

I think you are right. It's just amazing that it happened. He knelt, reached into the pile, grabbed the ball, and no one touched his hands as he grabbed it.

Heads up play. A-f-cking-mazing.

8 Even though it cost my team…

In reply to by RickD

Even though it cost my team the game, I have to admit it was the right call.  A Chiefs player had his hand under Johnson, preventing him from being down.  Johnson himself, to his credit, admitted it was the right call, and it was his fault for taking an unjustified risk and reaching the ball forward.  I’m more annoyed at Kenny Golladay for making half-hearted effort to tackle Breeland in the endzone, when he could have prevented the touchdown.

11 That's a tough position for…

That's a tough position for Golladay.  If the play is dead and he tackles Breeland, he takes a penalty that backs them up from being right on the goal line and a likely TD next down to a likely FG instead.

In the noise of the end zone and the way the play unfolded, I completely get him assuming the play was dead and not doing something stupid that could have hurt his team.

19 I feel like the refs already…

I feel like the refs already do give some leeway to players to continue tackling/playing when whistles are late or in forward progress situations. If they're going to err on the side of not blowing fumbles dead, hopefully they would extend that kind of leeway to plays like this too... either way, the way things are going, offensive players are going to have to have assume that any time the ball squirts free that there's a good chance it's live.

22 It feels crazy to say this…

It feels crazy to say this given how these two teams looked in the 19 previous regular season games, but I thought Detroit looked clearly like the superior team on Sunday, and I'm still not exactly sure how they lost.

27 The Chiefs are the clearly…

The Chiefs are the clearly better team on most days, but you’re right that on Sunday it seemed like the Lions played better, even if the box score doesn’t quite bear that out (the Chiefs were at 6.5 yards per play, and the Lions were at 6.1).  That’s why it still stings that they couldn’t close it out.  That’s just football, I guess.  

The Lions still do Lions things (like snatching a tie from the jaws of victory in Arizona, almost blowing the win in Philly, and the fumble six), which is why they probably still have a defined ceiling, even if they look like much better team than in years past.  I’ll be rooting for them to make the playoffs, while being morbidly curious about which creative and heartbreaking way they’ll find to lose in the first round (2018 Bears: double doink...2019 Lions: hold my beer).

 

 

9 Will Allen, looks like Chase Daniel will start...

averaging less money per career pass attempt.

Per 538, Chase Daniel is 51st on the QB career earnings list. At the end of this season, he will have netted $34M in earnings. He has started 4 games and thrown a grand total of 183 pass attempts in his career. Assuming he starts one more week and throws ~20 passes (then MT comes back after the bye week), he will have averaged $170,000 per pass and $6.8M per start! For comparison, among the top 100 quarterbacks all time in career earnings, the average gunslinger started 93 games and threw for 21,817 yards.

Keep on trucking Chase Daniel.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-backup-qb-who-gets-paid-a-lot-to-never-play/

18 Dwayne Haskins

It's hard to overstate how bad Haskins was on Sunday. In addition to the picks, he missed an open Vernon Davis on an out route on 3rd and goal from inside the five by like 10 feet. He just looked uncomfortable and unprepared. Early days, of course, and plenty of QBs have stunk it up in their first start, but...

23 I found it interesting that…

In reply to by mansteel

I found it interesting that you often hear positive buzz about highly-drafted rookies during training camp/preseason (like with Daniel Jones this year), but I didn’t hear a single thing about Haskins.  I usually think leaving the highly drafted rookie on the bench in favor of starting the low-ceiling journeyman is a mistake, but sometimes the rookie really isn’t ready.  Maybe that was the case with Haskins.  I’ll reserve judgement about him until I see him play some more.

28 haskins

He's really raw. Didn't have a lot of college starts either. He should absolutely get himself traded from Redskins to a team with a real support structure before he gets labeled a bust.

33 We've all seen rookie QB's…

We've all seen rookie QB's struggle before turning the corner. Goff is the extreme example, but Peyton threw a lot of picks his rookie season before becoming great year 2. The list goes on and on, so it seems premature to say this, but Haskins throws so many red flags.

He played statistically well for an absolutely loaded Ohio State team, but throwing screens to your superior receivers/backs to be blocked by your superior offensive lineman isn't all that impressive for me. He also seems sluggish with his decision making, and frankly wasn't very accurate, missing even short throws. Actually the accuracy he has seems flat out bad. As in, "I can't believe people are talking about this guy being better than Kyler Murray" bad. Both of which are problems masked somewhat by superior talent on the line and receiving. 

Worse than all that, I got a terrible feeling from him in interviews, which I can't quite put to words. He seemed very inauthentic and unexcited to be in Washington. 

34 Haskins should know that by…

Haskins should know that by the laws of Catch 22, showing a negative demeanor while playing for the Redskins implies sanity, thus forcing him to remain in DC. There's no way out (aside from ejaculating on his personal trainer's back)!

Peyton still finished 12th in DYAR that year, so he was pretty effective overall, despite the turnovers.

I bet Next Gen Stats applied to NCAA football would provide a lot of scouting insight. That way, we could analyze the performance of college QBs on tougher, "NFL-type" throws (with good coverage, tight windows, strong opposing pass rush), rather than concluding that any QB who puts up a 200.0 rating against Rutgers is the long-lost 4th Manning brother.

To state the obvious, the huge talent disparities between college teams make NFL projections oh so difficult.

40 Back when I played hockey, I…

Back when I played hockey, I got some exposure to scouts, and I was routinely blown away by how much they cared about stats. It got to the point where I honestly believed that NHL teams should just go interview Jr. players and ask them who they think is good, since we actually know. Despite 50 million getting spent on scouting by the NFL every year, I would be absolutely shocked if there aren't more than a few teams who get carried away by that stat sheet. Especially when you factor in an owner like Dan Synder, who is probably hell to work with/justify yourself to. Just my intuition, but I think "I loved him as a high school prospect", "Did you see his 40 time?", and "look at those stats", are probably three phrases that come up in draft rooms and lead to huge busts every single year.

Beyond that, the draft is kind of a joke. We know that most first round quarterbacks are busts. Hell, maybe half of all first round non-qb's are busts. I used to think to myself when I saw a prospect I wasn't very high on, "well maybe he's just a second round pick then." The reality is, if he sucks, then he sucks, the groupthink is very often wrong, and hype is a real phenomenon. I'm not sure that I would have drafted Haskins with anything other than a late round pick, and while it's too early to proclaim him a bust, nothing that has happened has changed my mind. His accuracy still sucks, and he has nothing to compensate for that. Haskins is the weirdest guy where I just asked people "what do you think Haskins is actually good at?" and never really got a good answer.

And I hate to be one of those "QB wins" guys, but Ohio State has started the year 5-0 without Haskins. Fields has stepped in and done great statistically, just like Haskins. 16TD's, 0 INT's, 3rd in the nation in QBR. Nothing points to Haskins as being anything other than a totally replaceable talent, of the type you can draft in the seventh round.

20 I wondered a few weeks ago…

I wondered a few weeks ago how common it was for a 400 yard passing game to get negative DYAR - Goff came oh so close to a negative DYAR 500 yard passing game on Sunday.

32 If you divide his stats by…

If you divide his stats by two: 22.5/34, 258.5 yards, 1 TD, 1.5 INTs, 1 sack. It's like two mediocre games shoved into one!

Of the 23 games in the 500+ yards club, his had the worst yards per attempt and the 3rd worst QB rating.

http://pfref.com/tiny/e5Ly1

29 Didn't watch the game, but…

Didn't watch the game, but DVOA hates RBs that have a bunch of bad carries and a couple really good ones. I know he broke off an 88 yarder, but I think he was also pretty inefficient for most of the first half. 

26 Yes, he was terrible. But…

Re #18 : Yes, he was terrible. But he was also completely set up for failure by the fact he was put in to the middle of the game with ZERO preparation - no first team reps, no inkling from the coaches he would play. Therefore this has not bearing on how he will ultimately turn out.

35 That is fascinating with…

That is fascinating with Kerryon Johnson. I was fully expecting Dalvin Cook's 16 carry 35 yard day to be the worst, but I am guessing he gets a positive adjustment for facing the Chicago defense, which is very good... not quite as good per dvoa as the Patriots, but still... would be interested in seeing how his numbers look in comparison with and without adjustments. The other one I was curious on was Frank Gore, how much of a boost he got from the Patriots.

Cook's statline was 14 for 35. He was 17th-best. He did get a big boost for playing Chicago, and for his touchdown on third-and-goal from the 1. Short-yardage carries get lots of DYAR when they succeed, but lose lots of DYAR when they fail.

Gore was tenth overall, and yes, he got a huge boost from playing New England.

Does Kerryon Johnson's 101 yard "fumble-six" count against him like a QB's pick-six would? I doubt it, but SOMEBODY should pay for half a team falling asleep at the switch like that. No whistle, no effort, no problem. Who's that guy running away with our football?

All fumbles get a big penalty, no matter who recovers them. The size of the penalty depends on where they happened on the field, who typically recovers those fumbles, and how big returns on those kinds of recoveries tend to be. The specific return is all random noise -- in this case, about the most random thing you'll ever see.

Somebody was asking about how Detroit lost this game -- honestly, that one play is how. If Johnson hangs on to ball, KC doesn't get the return TD, and DET almost definitely gets a FG, maybe a TD. That's a 10- or 14-point swing in a game that Kansas City won by four points.

How is it Fournette is so far down on the rushing list with over 200 yards and 7YPC?

Fournette is all opponent adjustments. He finished eighth overall; take them away he would have finished second overall, first in rushing. Denver's run defense is no good (but much better than Kansas City's).