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

Week 5 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

I want you to chase me
Keep me awake at night
Make it hard to sleep

Those are the lyrics sung by country duo Alexa and Natalee Falk from their 2012 single "Chase Me," telling an eligible bachelor that while a young lady was interested in him, she was going to play hard to get. It's not much of a stretch, though, to apply those bars to the Falks' brother, Luke, and his performance against the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. Whether he wanted them to or not, the Eagles certainly did chase him. And based on the beating he took, they may well have kept him awake at night and made it hard to sleep.

Luke Falk may not have the stage experience of his sisters, but he knows what it's like to perform in front of crowds. He set Utah state records for pass attempts in high school, and in three-plus seasons as a starter at Washington State he set Pac-12 records for attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns.

All those gaudy numbers did little to excite NFL scouts, however. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2018 by Tennessee, but failed to make the Titans' final roster. The Dolphins signed him to their practice squad, but his season ended that October due to a wrist injury. He spent this summer in camp with the Jets, who waived him and signed him to their practice squad, then promoted him to the active roster when Sam Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleoisis.

A few days later Falk found himself playing most of the game against the Browns on Monday Night Football after Darnold's backup Trevor Siemian suffered a first-quarter ankle injury. And for a third-stringer playing with such little preparation, he looked fine -- he avoided throwing an interception while completing 80% of his passes, even if most of them didn't end up going very far. Things were much rougher in Week 3 against New England -- Falk threw for fewer than 100 yards while giving up an interception and being sacked five times -- but then New England's defense has been historically great this season, making everyone look bad. With a bye in Week 4, Falk would basically have two weeks to prepare for the Eagles in Week 5, and surely he and the Jets would put that practice time to good use, right?

Well. Funny story…

Despite the fact that Darnold had not been cleared by doctors, and despite an initial diagnosis that he might not be cleared until Halloween, and despite the quarterback's realistic worries about literal death if he was forced back into action too early, word broke Sunday morning that Jets coach Adam Gase had been giving Darnold first-team reps in practice, relegating Falk to scout team duty until last Friday. This meant that Falk would be making his first two NFL starts against the winners of the last two Super Bowls without a full week of practice for either one of them (the Patriots game, you'll recall, was played on a short week after Falk's debut on Monday night).

The results were predictably poor. Falk completed 15 of 26 passes against the Eagles for only 120 yards and no touchdowns. This was not against the mighty Patriots; the Eagles had already given up 380 yards and three touchdowns to Case Keenum, 320 yards and three touchdowns to Matt Ryan, 422 yards and two touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers this season. It's the negative plays that really made the difference though. "Always follow when I run," the Falk sisters sang, and boy howdy did the Eagles follow the Jets quarterback when he ran. Falk's first dropback against Philadelphia resulted in a sack, and his last dropback against Philadelphia resulted in a sack. In between, he was sacked seven more times. Falk gave up more sacks in four quarters than Tom Brady, Jacoby Brissett, Derek Carr, Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, or Carson Wentz have given up in five starts apiece in 2019. Falk made a bad situation worse with an inability to hang onto the football, fumbling twice and throwing a pair of interceptions.

It really was an historic performance for Falk. According to Pro Football Reference, this is just the second time in league history that a quarterback has given up nine sacks, two fumbles, and two interceptions in a single game. The other was Cam Newton in a 2014 game against … the Philadelphia Eagles, of all teams. Newton was at least able to shake off his early struggles that day and redeem himself somewhat with a pair of garbage-time touchdown throws. Falk was actually at his worst at the end of the game against Philadelphia -- he was somehow sacked on each of his last four dropbacks.

The play-by-play shows some even uglier splits. When the Jets even approached the 50-yard line, Falk was nearly useless. From his own 45-yard line to the Philadelphia end zone, he went 3-of-10 for 17 yards with three sacks, an interception, and a fumble. Two of those plays resulted in touchdowns -- for the Eagles. On third and fourth downs, he went 3-of-8 for 34 yards with an interception and four sacks. Only two of those completions picked up first downs, and they both came with the Jets down by 18 points in the fourth quarter. Falk didn't even throw a pass to the middle of the field -- that part of the playbook must have been covered when Darnold was practicing.

Was this the worst game of the week? Yes. Was it the worst game of the year? Also yes. In fact, it was one of the worst games we have ever measured. Exactly where it falls on the all-time table is yet to be determined; opponent adjustments and league baselines will fluctuate throughout the season. If the Eagles defense plays like gangbusters over the next three months, Falk's DYAR numbers will improve; if the Eagles fall apart (and with five defensive backs on the injury list this week, that is certainly possible), this could be the new Worst Game of the DVOA Era. Going into Monday Night Football this week, it ranks as the fourth-worst game on record, and the worst game since Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a half-dozen interceptions in 2016 while playing for … the New York Jets.

Worst Quarterback Games, Total DYAR, 1989-2019
Player Team Year Wk CP/AT Yds TD Int Sacks Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
David Klingler CIN 1994 4 10/30 115 0 3 7 -302 -302 0 HOIL
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 2016 3 20/44 188 0 6 0 -300 -291 -9 KC
Rex Grossman CHI 2006 6 14/37 144 0 4 2 -284 -284 0 ARI
Luke Falk NYJ 2019 5 15/26 120 0 2 9 -278 -278 0 PHI
Brandon Weeden CLE 2012 1 12/35 118 0 4 2 -274 -284 10 PHI
Alex Smith SF 2005 5 9/23 74 0 4 5 -270 -263 -7 IND
Tim Hasselbeck WAS 2003 15 6/26 56 0 4 1 -270 -268 -2 DAL
Troy Aikman DAL 1990 6 9/25 61 0 2 4 -269 -259 -11 PHX
Donald Hollas OAK 1998 14 12/31 152 1 6 8 -266 -273 7 MIA
Brian Griese DEN 2001 17 16/32 151 1 4 5 -265 -272 7 IND
Kordell Stewart CHI 2003 1 14/34 95 1 3 5 -263 -256 -7 SF
Craig Erickson TB 1993 6 13/29 122 0 4 3 -259 -257 -3 MIN
Ryan Leaf SD 1998 3 1/15 4 0 2 2 -259 -256 -3 KC
Vinny Testaverde TB 1989 13 19/39 188 0 5 4 -256 -256 0 GB
Bobby Hoying PHI 1998 11 16/34 118 0 2 5 -255 -248 -7 WAS
Kelly Stouffer SEA 1992 13 12/21 109 0 2 5 -254 -254 0 DEN
Vinny Testaverde TB 1990 9 10/24 149 1 5 3 -250 -260 11 CHI
Teddy Bridgewater MIN 2014 6 23/37 188 0 3 8 -250 -257 7 DET
David Carr HOU 2002 2 6/25 87 0 2 9 -247 -258 11 SD
Drew Bledsoe NE 1999 11 16/34 201 1 5 4 -247 -247 0 MIA
DYAR totals accurate going into Monday Night Football in Week 5; they will change as opponent adjustments fluctuate throughout the year.

 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Deshaun Watson HOU
28/33
426
5
0
0
279
278
1
ATL
The Texans eventually won this game by 21 points, but for most of the time it was much closer than that -- none of Watson's passes came with a lead of more than nine points. Watson was at his best late in the game -- on Houston's last three drives, he went 11-of-12 for 184 yards and three touchdowns. On third downs, he went 9-of-10 for 187 yards and seven conversions, including two touchdowns.
2.
Russell Wilson SEA
17/23
268
4
0
1
192
187
5
LAR
Wilson was a monster in Rams territory, going 7-of-9 for 108 yards and four touchdowns on L.A.'s side of the 50. He completed five of six deep passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.
3.
Teddy Bridgewater NO
26/34
314
4
1
0
140
141
-1
TB
Bridgewater's another passer who delivered once crossing the 50, going 11-of-12 for 128 yards and four touchdowns.
4.
Gardner Minshew JAX
26/44
374
2
0
2
120
107
13
CAR
Minshew would have ranked even higher, but he had three fumbles -- two on sacks, one on an aborted snap. He had great success on passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage: 7-of-11 for 56 yards and an NFL-high five first downs this week.
5.
Kirk Cousins MIN
22/27
306
2
0
3
100
100
0
NYG
Cousins' best success came on throws that traveled 9 to 24 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He completed all seven of his passes to that area for a total of 146 yards. All seven of those completions picked up first downs, including a pair of scores.
6.
Derek Carr OAK
25/32
229
0
0
0
89
85
4
CHI
Carr's first throw over the middle was complete for a 21-yard gain. He didn't pick up another first down on a throw down the middle the rest of the game, going 3-of-8 for 19 yards.
7.
Matt Ryan ATL
32/46
330
3
1
2
81
72
10
HOU
Sometimes completion percentage can be overrated. Ryan went completed all 11 of his passes to his running backs, but for a total of just 85 yards and only two first downs (though one of those was a touchdown).
8.
Dak Prescott DAL
27/44
462
2
3
3
80
78
2
GB
On five third-down dropbacks, Prescott had three incompletions and two sacks. Not ideal.
9.
Jared Goff LAR
29/49
395
1
1
0
79
84
-5
SEA
Goff was erratic but explosive on throws down the middle. He only completed seven of his 13 passes to that area of the field, but each of those seven completions was good for a first down, including a touchdown, and they produced a total of 137 yards.
10.
Kyler Murray ARI
20/31
253
0
0
1
77
45
32
CIN
Murray had a lot of short passes that didn't go anywhere, but when he did throw downfield he was very effective. On throws that traveled at least 10 yards downfield, he went 8-of-11 for 176 yards.
11.
Andy Dalton CIN
27/38
262
2
0
1
69
82
-13
ARI
Dalton, frankly, was horrible in this game until the end. Once the Bengals fell behind by 14 points, he caught fire, finishing 10-of-11 for 144 yards. Both of his touchdowns came in the final five minutes of the game.
12.
Carson Wentz PHI
17/29
189
1
0
1
45
52
-6
NYJ
Wentz had one heck of a cold streak in the first half. On a dozen consecutive dropbacks, he went 4-of-11 for 27 yards with no first downs and a sack. That includes incomplete passes on third- and fourth-and-5 in Jets territory.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Devlin Hodges PIT
7/9
68
0
0
0
43
34
9
BAL
It's harder to excuse Luke Falk's performance as that of a third-stringer with little preparation when Hodges -- also a third-stringer with little preparation -- plays this efficiently, even in a tiny sample size. Hodges was successful on six of his ten throws this week, including a DPI that gained 7 yards. Among qualifying passers this week, only Deshaun Watson had a higher success rate. Falk was successful on eight of 35 throws, for the worst success rate of the week.
14.
Tom Brady NE
28/42
348
3
1
4
43
43
0
WAS
Most of Brady's struggles came on third downs, where he went 7-of-9 for 74 yards, but only four conversions (including a touchdown). He also threw an interception and was sacked twice on third downs.
15.
Aaron Rodgers GB
22/34
237
0
0
2
40
41
-1
DAL
Rodgers only had three first downs on throws to his wide receivers, going 4-of-12 for 55 yards, plus a 39-yard DPI.
16.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
20/29
181
2
0
2
40
55
-16
CLE
17.
Patrick Mahomes KC
22/39
321
1
0
4
28
25
4
IND
Mahomes was uncharasterically ineffective in the red zone, where he went 1-of-5 for 4 yards with two sacks and no first downs.
18.
Jacoby Brissett IND
18/29
151
0
1
0
15
7
8
KC
Third-down passing: 2-of-8 for 16 yards and only one conversion. He had only one first down in the second half, when he went 6-of-10 for 35 yards.
19.
Kyle Allen CAR
17/30
181
1
0
3
13
14
-1
JAX
With about six minutes left in the second quarter, something amazing happened ... or rather, didn't happen. It was the first time this season that Allen was sacked without fumbling. He took two more sacks in the game, fumbling once. Allen now has a league-high six fumbles on sacks this season. In second place: his counterpart in this game, Gardner Minshew, who has five.
20.
Josh Allen BUF
23/32
219
2
1
4
3
0
3
TEN
Allen really struggled when throwing to his right, going 7-of-15 for 48 yards and only two first downs.
21.
Marcus Mariota TEN
13/22
183
0
0
5
-1
2
-3
BUF
Third-down passing: 3-of-8 for 31 yards with more sacks (three) than conversions (two).
22.
Mason Rudolph PIT
13/20
131
1
0
1
-4
-4
0
BAL
Only four of Rudolph's completions gained 10 or more yards. Those four plays produced 53 yards through the air, 40 yards after the catch.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Jameis Winston TB
15/27
204
2
0
6
-33
-30
-3
NO
Winston was great on throws over the middle, going 5-of-6 for 76 yards, with every completion picking up a first down.
24.
Chase Daniel CHI
22/30
231
2
2
4
-43
-42
-1
OAK
The good thing about Daniel's day on deep balls is that he went 5-of-6 for 116 yards and a touchdown. The bad thing is that the sixth pass was intercepted.
25.
Daniel Jones NYG
21/38
182
1
1
4
-73
-84
11
MIN
Jones threw a bunch of passes to his backs and tight ends. It didn't work -- he went 9-of-15 for 58 yards with only two first downs.
26.
Joe Flacco DEN
14/20
182
1
1
3
-76
-75
-2
LAC
Flacco only threw for one first down in the second half, when he went 6-of-9 for 40 yards with an interception and two sacks.
27.
Philip Rivers LAC
33/47
211
0
2
0
-98
-87
-11
DEN
Rivers averaged only 6.6 yards per completion. Only once in NFL history has a quarterback had more completions in a game with such a poor average: In 2001, Carolina's Chris Weinke averaged 6.2 yards on 36 completions in a 30-7 loss to Arizona.
28.
Lamar Jackson BAL
19/28
161
1
3
5
-102
-117
14
PIT
Jackson had a stretch in the middle of this game where he apparently just forgot how to play football. In seven dropbacks over the second and third quarters, he had one completion, a 7-yard gain on third-and-13; three interceptions; and three sacks.
29.
Colt McCoy WAS
18/27
119
0
1
6
-120
-129
9
NE
I've been writing for Football Outsiders since 2007, and I don't remember ever seeing this split before: McCoy played the entire game for Washington, and he didn't have a single dropback in the opponents' territory. He had one pass at the 50; it was incomplete. On third downs, he went 3-of-7 for 12 yards with one conversion, three sacks, and a fumble. He only threw for five first downs in this game. That's as many as Devlin Hodges produced in 10 dropbacks against Baltimore.
30.
Baker Mayfield CLE
9/22
100
0
2
4
-185
-185
0
SF
31.
Luke Falk NYJ
15/26
120
0
2
9
-270
-270
0
PHI

 

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.
Aaron Jones GB
19
107
4
7/8
75
0
80
51
29
DAL
You've probably heard by now that Jones ran for four touchdowns against Dallas, but he had six other first downs too, six of them on gains of 10 yards or more. That more than offset the four times he was stuffed for no gain or a loss (including a 10-yard loss on first-and-10, which, wow). He had three more first downs as a receiver, the longest a gain of 22 yards.
2.
Christian McCaffrey CAR
19
176
2
6/9
61
1
52
22
30
JAX
McCaffrey loses 28 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was stuffed three times, once on fourth-and-1, but he ran for six first downs, the longest an 84-yarder. He had five more first downs as a receiver.
3.
Josh Jacobs OAK
26
123
2
3/4
20
0
52
48
4
CHI
Jacobs was stuffed just one time by the Bears while running for eight first downs, including gains of 12, 15, and 21 yards. He had one first down as a receiver, a 10-yard gain on second-and-8.
4.
Sony Michel NE
16
91
1
3/3
32
0
50
31
19
WAS
Michel had four first downs against Washington, each of which gained at least 11 yards and came in a five-carry stretch in the second half. He was also stuffed four times. Two of his catches also gained at least 11 yards and a first down.
5.
Chris Carson SEA
27
118
0
1/2
5
1
46
34
12
LAR
Carson had 12 carries with 8 yards or less to go and ran for a first down on eight of them. He was stuffed for a loss four times. His one reception was a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown on fourth-and-goal.

 

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.
Aaron Jones GB
19
107
4
7/8
75
0
80
51
29
DAL
2.
Josh Jacobs OAK
26
123
2
3/4
20
0
52
48
4
CHI
3.
Chris Carson SEA
27
118
0
1/2
5
1
46
34
12
LAR
4.
Sony Michel NE
16
91
1
3/3
32
0
50
31
19
WAS
5.
Phillip Lindsay DEN
15
114
1
4/4
33
0
38
26
12
LAC
Five of Lindsay's carries gained 12 yards or more, the longest a 32-yarder, and he also had a 4-yard touchdown run. He was stuffed three times.

 

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.
Melvin Gordon LAC
12
31
0
4/6
7
0
-41
-22
-20
DEN
Welcome back to football Melvin! Here are six targets in the passing game, which you will turn into two receptions: 2- and 5-yard gains, both on first-and-10.

 

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.
Melvin Gordon LAC
12
31
0
4/6
7
0
-41
-22
-20
DEN
Welcome back to football Melvin! Here are 12 carries in the running game, none of which will gain a first down or more than 7 yards, while three will go for no gain.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Michael Thomas NO
11
13
182
16.5
2
88
TB
Nine of Thomas' 11 catches produced first downs. He had four third-down conversions, two touchdowns, and gains of 34 and 42 yards.
2.
Amari Cooper DAL
11
14
226
20.5
1
87
GB
Cooper had seven first downs; five of them gained 20-plus yards, including a 46-yard gain on second-and-15 and a 53-yard touchdown.
3.
DJ Chark JAX
8
11
164
20.5
2
84
CAR
Each of Chark's catches gained at least 10 yards and a first down. Three of them gained 30 yards or more, the longest a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
4.
Chris Godwin TB
7
9
125
17.9
2
71
NO
Each of Godwin's catches gained at least 10 yards and a first down. Three gained exactly 26 yards apiece; two of those came with 16 yards or more to go.
5.
Adam Thielen MIN
7
8
130
18.6
2
68
NYG
Each of Thielen's catches gained at least 9 yards and a first down. His longest catches were gains of 28 and 44 yards.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Diontae Johnson PIT
4
7
27
6.8
0
-47
BAL
Only one of Johnson's catches was a successful play, a 7-yard gain on first-and-10. He also had a 13-yard gain on third-and-8, but he fumbled at the end of the play. Pittsburgh recovered the ball and got a first down, but it still torpedoed Johnson's DYAR.

Comments

61 comments, Last at 09 Oct 2019, 10:10pm

2 Hodges-Falk irrational thread

"It's harder to excuse Luke Falk's performance as that of a third-stringer with little preparation when Hodges -- also a third-stringer with little preparation -- plays this efficiently, even in a tiny sample size."

Not a Falk believer here BUT the Ravens didn't prepare for Hodges (who also doesn't have any tape), while Eagles do it for Falk (a couple of (terrible) games available).

I have no statistical validation for the hot take but I do believe in-game QB2 usually performs decently, due to these reasons.

3 OK, now I'm thinking about…

OK, now I'm thinking about the best Country and Western hit songs for each NFL qb. Tom Brady? "Hey, Good Lookin'" Philip Rivers is clearly "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal Posts of Life". Josh Rosen may be thinking "Take This Job and Shove It" while Ryan Fitzpatrick wistfully looks back with "I've Been Everywhere".

26 Appropos of nothing, Leaf…

Appropos of nothing, Leaf had one of the more impressive interviews I've heard in a while during radio row this past February.  He came off as very mature, accepting of his failings and even finding a way to use them in a positive way.

6 Hypothetically, if Falk with…

Hypothetically, if Falk with a full week of practice gives you a 20% chance of winning; Darnold with a full week of practice gives you a 50% chance of winning; and Darnold had a 50/50 shot to play in the game, then giving Darnold the practice reps increased the team's chances of winning by 5%. I'm not saying these percentages are exactly right. They are just for example. You can adjust them as you deem appropriate. But they show it was not necessarily unreasonable for the Jets to give Darnold first team reps if their goal was (as it should be) to maximize their chance of winning. It's obviously not a big vote of confidence for Falk, but the dude is third-string for a reason.

18 Thinking about starting a…

In reply to by beargoggles

Thinking about starting a guy if and when he is medically cleared, and then not playing him when he wasn't, is sociopathic?  Weird. 

19 No, you missed something

You need one more hypothetical:  what actually occurred, Falk starting with a week of scout-team practice--call that a 0% chance of winning.  That's the downside risk of the Jets' decision, and it needs to be factored into the calculation.

21 Nope.  The choice was (1)…

Nope.  The choice was (1) give reps to Falk (20% chance of winning) or (2) give reps to Darnold (25% chance of winning).  If Falk had a 1% chance of winning with no reps then the probability of winning with option (2) would be 25.5% (25% + 0.5%).  So my calculation implicitly factored in a zero percent chance for Falk with no reps.      

22 One more

Darnold's chance of winning without the week of practice. The full equation would be:

(P(win with Falk playing/practicing) * P(Falk has to play)) + P(win with Darnold playing/not practicing) * P(Darnold can play)) vs. P(win with Falk playing/not practicing) * P(Falk has to play) + P(win with Darnold playing/practicing) * P(Darnold can play).

Having assigned the values being assumed, that's (.2*.5)+(X*.5) vs. (0*.5)+(.5*.5). These balance if X (chance Darnold can win without practicing) is > .3 So if you think Darnold has more than a 30% chance of winning without practicing, you need to give Falk the reps; if not, Darnold should get them, because you're totally screwed unless he can start anyway. This all of course ignores the possibility (as Gase apparently did) that you could split the practices any other way than all/nothing.

24 Yes, if Darnold gave you…

In reply to by comfect

Yes, if Darnold gave you more than a 30% chance without reps, then it was a mistake give him the reps (given those other hypothetical percentages).  But, again, my point was not that those percentages answer the question.  They just illustrate that a rational team could conclude that Falk gave them so little chance of winning that giving Darnold all the reps gave them the best chance against Phi even if there was a risk he couldn't play.  That may be right or wrong, but depending on how you handicap things it was not necessarily irrational.  The importance of Darnold's long term development would be a tie breaker in that decision.     

55 Only on this website would a…

Only on this website would a debate over practice time be based on mathematical formulas and hypothetical win percentages. And I thank you both for that. So much better than the typical, "you suck because I said so".

My entirely subjective opinion is that Adam Gase has, quite simply, not demonstrated sound judgment as a head coach. So when he makes a decision about practice time, it's hard not to question the rationale since his track record with player management in Miami and New York has been mediocre at best.

Heck, it's possible (probable?) that this thread contains more objective analysis than went into Gase's actual decision.

30 It's about developing Darnold

This seems to be overthinking the situation.

Gase gave Darnold the reps because developing Darnold is his priority.  He knew Falk was going to start on Sunday and didn't care.  He doesn't care about winning any particular game on any particular Sunday.  The Jets are not trying to make the playoffs.  They're not intentionally tanking like the Dolphins, and they're not in free-fall like the Redskins.  It's just a matter of what the priorities are.

Gase probably thinks that, whenever Darnold is cleared to play, he'd prefer Darnold to be as ready as possible then.  His job depends a lot more on whether he can develop Darnold than on whether he can somehow get the Jets to win Luke Falk's starts.  

40 Should it be the Goal

This is probably correct, but should that be Gases' goal and/or the standard by which he is judged? I get that the Jets aren't going to make the playoffs this year, but if there was ever an opportunity to prove your merits as a coach surely it's finding a way to win a game with a black-hole at QB; From a fan/evaluator point of view I look back at the 4 Brady-less games following deflate gate with Grop/Bersett as really interesting and a great exposition on what can and can't be done with a serious problem at QB.

43 It's easier to win games…

It's easier to win games with a black hole if you have a quality O-line and receivers, as opposed to whatever the Jets call what they have.

It's also easier when your backups are 17-15 as starters for other teams, as opposed to being Luke Falk.

45 In fairness those were their…

In fairness those were their  first starts of their careers. And I believe belichick even with this JV squad of an offense could eke out more than six points against the bad eagles defense

52 Yeah, I don't agree. You can…

Yeah, I don't agree. You can work around a lot of things, but it's nearly impossible to work around a bad offensive line vs. a great defensive line. You can scheme around a good cornerback, you can simplify things for a bad quarterback, but if the other team can just shove through the line and stop the play right away, there's virtually nothing you can do. 

I mean, SB XLII illustrates that pretty well, obviously.

60 I don't think, with those…

I don't think, with those players, there was anything you could really do schematically to do better than that. Now, with Belichick, he likely would've ditched Falk and done something wacko crazy or just find anyone else who's ever thrown a ball or something, and yeah, in that case might've eked out an extra field goal or something. But the muffed punt recovery was already wacko-random, and if that doesn't happen, they'd never get the touchdown in the first place. So who knows.

 

13 Winston & Godwin against NO

23. Jameis Winston TB 15/27 204 yds, 2 TD's -30 DYAR
On throws NOT to Chris Godwin (4. 7/9 125 yds, 2 TD's 71 DYAR)
= 8/18, 79 yds, 0 TD's, -101 DYAR

Mike Evans isn't even listed with a TARGET on the ESPN box score! [Note--it accounts for 23 targets, so not sure where they assign the other 4 attempts.]
If that is the Marshon Lattimore that shows up, NO's pass defense just jumped up a few notches.

14 Tampa's nightmare is Winston…

Tampa's nightmare is Winston bouncing from the top of the charts, to the bottom, from week to week, giving them little insight as to whether they should give him another contract, and at what price.

25 It was painful to see the…

It was painful to see the guy play lights out, accurate throw after accurate throw against my Rams, only to just flat out miss over and over again versus the Saints. Definitely one of the highest variance quarterbacks I have ever seen.

48 Winston's variance

Winston had a mediocre game, true--but Godwin had a great game--possibly b/c the Saints did try to take away Evans. 

My point is that per some highlights/commentary, Lattimore shut Evans down completely. Evans is a very good receiver--top-10 in the NFL, imo. If Lattimore can shut down a great receiver like Evans, it changes the way the Saints cover the other receiving options the opponents have. Per his own admission, he didn't focus as much the first 3 weeks like he should have--but was locked in against Amari Cooper and Evans these last two games.

 

15 I got into a pretty long…

I got into a pretty long debate yesterday, are the Jets starting Luke actually the worst team in the NFL? On a neutral field I probably would take Miami over them.

Also unbelievably, the terrible Redskins are 3 1/2 points favored over Miami at Miami.

I don't know why but I find this trio (lump the Bengals in if you want) of simultaneously occurring comically horrible teams more interesting than I do who is the best team right now.

27 We are truly in a golden age…

We are truly in a golden age of bottom-feeders.  It's as if the '76 Bucs, '08 Lions, and '17 Browns existed in the same season and all got to play each other.  I can't wait to see what DVOA says this week about this craptastic gang.

32 What's encouraging is the…

What's encouraging is the potential to plumb new depths! Snydely Whiplash may order that a clearly not ready Duane Haskins start the rest of the year, and all three teams may experience that most powerful phenomena of suck, after about week 8, when any veteran, who has put some decent play on video in the first half of the season, decides he isn't going to risk suffering a real injury, and starts sitting out games when he "tweaks a hamstring". You end up with guys who were loading trucks last week playing in NFL games.

31 and yet...

and yet, if forced to do so,  I would bet on the Dolphins vs. the Redskins.

The Redskins are completely in freefall.  They've got half a dozen guys playing well individually, but there's really no team there.  

46 Witness AP's comment about…

In reply to by RickD

Witness AP's comment about what he saw the NE defense doing in the game.  Along the lines of "Well, they shows us some exotic stuff on film, but today they just sat there and waited for us to mess up."

33 The Jets defense is good…

The Jets defense is good enough to keep the Dolphins offense off the board or at least in the single digits.  At that point it would be a matter of whether the Jets defense and/or special teams can muster up any points themselves.

28 "If the Eagles defense plays…

"If the Eagles defense plays like gangbusters over the next three months, Falk's DYAR numbers will improve;"

Bwahahahaha! Oh, that made my day. Philly's defense playing like gangbusters over the next 3 months. That's hilarious. I mean, they're lucky in that they've only got 4 games left the *entire season* against teams with an actual NFL passing game, but the Seahawks, Patriots, and (gulp) Cowboys might decimate them so bad that the average will just make up for it.

"and with five defensive backs on the injury list this week"

Honestly, with many of those defensive backs, a replacement-level player has a decent chance of *improving* the defense. That already happened last year with Cre'Von LeBlanc.

34 Darnold has been cleared to play

So no more Luke Falk.

How is Nathan Peterman not on that list of worst QB performances? And is that Rex Grossman game the "Crown their asses" game?

37 "And is that Rex Grossman…

"And is that Rex Grossman game the "Crown their asses" game?"

Yes it was.

 

"How is Nathan Peterman not on that list of worst QB performances?"

I think part of it is the sheer number of sacks Luke Falk took. Sure, the interceptions look worse in our minds, but 8 sacks is a lot of sacks to take. He also threw in 2 ints, so on net, 8 sacks plus 2 ints plus lots of failed completions is going to probably outweigh 4 interceptions and 3 sacks. Also remember DYAR is a counting stat, so a player making 40 horrible plays will look worse than a player making 20 abysmal plays, even if on a per play basis, the 20 looks worse.  This explains how the Rex Grossman crown their asses game shows up here but not his infamous 0 passer rating, "oops I was hungover" end of the year game. 

39 That Rex game

I feel compelled to point out, every time it appears in one of these tables, that that Grossman game was the infamous "Crown their ass" game, which the Bears won.

54 The opponent adjustments for…

The opponent adjustments for Will Fuller must have cray cray!

He was eighth. He did lose 20 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, but still only would have been fifth if we remove adjustments for everybody, because he also had a fumble in the third quarter.

How is Nathan Peterman not on that list of worst QB performances?

He's close -- he had -220 for his five-interception game against the Chargers in 2017 (discussed here) -- but he usually gets pulled before he gets enough playing time to rack massive amounts of negative DYAR.