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

Week 7 Quick Reads

Chase Edmonds
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Vincent Verhei

The most valuable rusher of Week 7 was supposed to be a backup this season, on a team that was supposed to be raiding through the air, not on the ground.

Chase Edmonds was a big fish in a small pond in college. He ran for 5,862 yards for the Fordham Rams, setting records for both the school and the Patriot League. In 2014 he ran for 1,838 yards and 23 touchdowns, winning the Jerry Rice award as the best freshman in the FCS. Ankle and hamstring injuries limited him to seven games in his senior season, though, and a modest performance at the scouting combine (his speed score of 95.7 was 14th among running back prospects) left his draft prospects lukewarm. The Cardinals drafted him in the fourth round, and he won the primary backup job behind David Johnson. Like all offensive players on the 2018 Cardinals, he had poor statistics, with a DVOA of -18.9% on 60 carries. However, he finished the year on a high note, averaging 4.7 yards on 26 carries in five December games.

New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury didn't call on Edmonds much to start the year. From Weeks 1 to 3, he gained a total of 22 yards on five carries. That workload grew over the next three games, and Edmonds delivered with 139 yards on 19 carries from Weeks 4 to 6.

Johnson entered Week 7 against the Giants nursing an ankle injury, but was expected to play through the pain. After just one carry, however, he was done for the day, leaving the ball-carrying duties almost exclusively to Edmonds. And Edmonds shined in the spotlight, rushing for 126 yards and three touchdowns in 27 carries. Those totals don't fully explain how effective he was as Arizona built their lead against New York. Through three quarters, he had gained 135 yards on 19 carries -- an average of 7.1 yards apiece -- before his eight clock-killing runs in the fourth quarter produced a net loss of 9 yards.

It was by far the biggest day of Edmonds' career, but it was nothing new for Arizona. The Cardinals have fielded a shockingly effective running attack this season, ranking third in rush offense DVOA (behind Baltimore and Dallas) going into Monday night. Despite the reputation of Kingsbury's Air Raid scheme, it's on the ground where Arizona has flourished. The Cardinals are just 16th in pass offense DVOA, and are one of seven offenses whose DVOA is better when they run than it is when they pass. Given these splits and their location in the desert, maybe they should change their nickname to the Roadrunners.

A look through statistical splits shows where Arizona's rushing attack has been most effective this year. They rank just 13th in second-down rushing and eighth on third/fourth downs, but fourth on first downs, and they lead the league in rushing DVOA on first-and-10. They are 14th on their own side of the 50, but second in opposing territory, and first in the front zone (the area between the opponents' 20- and 40-yard lines). They are also one of five teams (along with Denver, Indianapolis, Tennessee, and the Jets) that has yet to fumble on a rushing play this year.

The most glaring split does not involve field position or ball security, though; it's personnel. Johnson has been banged up all year, missing practices with wrist and back issues even before his ankle injury. That may be why he has been so ineffective as a runner; his 77 carries are averaging just 3.9 yards apiece for a total of zero DYAR. Edmonds, meanwhile, is now averaging 5.6 yards on 51 carries for a total of 99 DYAR. But we can't talk about the Arizona rushing attack (or, for that matter, most any other facet of the 2019 Cardinals) without talking about Kyler Murray.

Though he was quiet as a rusher against New York, Murray is now averaging 6.8 yards on 41 carries this season, good for 69 DYAR. It was a slow start for Murray as a runner -- he had negative DYAR on the ground in Weeks 1 and 2, with a total of five carries between the two games -- but his rushing ability has undeniably become a key part of Arizona's offense. In fact, the Cardinals have handed the ball to a running back or wide receiver on only 29% of offensive plays, the third-lowest rate in the league; meanwhile, the quarterback has run with the ball on 9% of offensive plays, the third-highest rate in the league. This is largely because Murray has been so effective as a scrambler -- only four quarterbacks have scrambled more often this season, and only six have gained more DYAR on scrambles. (Gardner Minshew is in both of those groups, which I never would have guessed.) But it's on designed runs where Murray really stands out. His 24 carries on designed runs ranked second among quarterbacks behind Lamar Jackson (48), and he is also second with 33 DYAR on those plays (Dak Prescott has 41). The Cardinals had an historically bad passing offense in 2018, and they attempted to fix it by drafting not only Murray, but also wide receivers Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and KeeSean Johnson. And the passing game has radically improved, from a -44.4% DVOA in 2018 (among the five worst we have ever measured, dating back to 1986) to -0.5% this year. But the improvement in the running game has also been dramatic, from -21.4% in 2018 to 11.9% in 2019.

Given Murray's mind-boggling collegiate statistics and the pass-heavy nature of Kingbury's Texas Tech teams, Murray's fantasy statistics were among the most difficult to project this season. He's currently on pace for 382 pass completions, which would break Carson Wentz's record of 379 set in 2016. He's also on pace to finish among the rookie leaders (if not at the very top) in several other stats:

Kyler Murray: Chasing Records
Category Total Pace Rank* Rookie Record Record-Holder Year
Completions 167 382 1 379 Carson Wentz 2016
Attempts 259 592 4 627 Andrew Luck 2012
Pass Yards 1,768 4,041 4 4,374 Andrew Luck 2012
Sacks 23 53 4 76 David Carr 2002
QB Rush Yards 266 608 5 815 Robert Griffin 2012
Total Offense 1,880 4,297 3 4,497 Cam Newton 2011
* Murray's projected rank in the rookie record books based on his current per-game pace.

 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
25/31
429
5
0
1
262
256
6
OAK
Rodgers threw 13 passes in Oakland territory. A dozen were complete, for a total of 130 yards and four touchdowns. The 13th resulted in a DPI for 22 more yards. On third downs, he went 5-of-6 for 144 yards with one sack. Each of those completions was good for a conversion, including a 74-yard touchdown.
2.
Kirk Cousins MIN
24/34
337
4
0
0
221
221
0
DET
Each of Cousins' four touchdowns was thrown from within the Detroit 25-yard line. Throwing down the middle, Cousins went 5-of-7 for 68 yards; each of those completions gained at least 10 yards and a first down, including a 15-yard touchdown.
3.
Matthew Stafford DET
30/45
364
4
1
2
189
189
0
MIN
Stafford had 115 DYAR in the first quarter, more than double any other quarterback this week. In those first 15 minutes, he went 8-of-13 for 109 yards and two touchdowns; a 14th throw resulted in a DPI for 31 more yards.
4.
Philip Rivers LAC
24/38
329
2
0
1
169
169
0
TEN
Rivers completed every pass he threw down the middle against Tennessee, going 7-of-7 for 66 yards.
5.
Jacoby Brissett IND
26/39
326
4
0
1
146
147
-2
HOU
Brissett's last pass of the third quarter was a 3-yard touchdown that put the Colts up 28-16. And then he punched out -- in the fourth quarter, he went 4-of-9 for 28 yards, 26 of which came on one completion.
6.
Teddy Bridgewater NO
23/38
281
2
0
1
139
136
3
CHI
Bridgewater spent a lot of time on Sunday checking down to his running backs, going 8-of-12 for just 55 yards. Each of those throws was targeted within 6 yards of the line of scrimmage.
7.
Derek Carr OAK
22/28
293
2
1
0
127
151
-25
GB
Carr did his best to play catchup against Green Bay, but Oakland was just in too deep a hole. From the point Green Bay went up 14-10 in the second quarter, Carr went 12-of-15 for 190 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
8.
Dak Prescott DAL
21/27
239
1
1
3
59
46
13
PHI
On passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield, Prescott went 5-of-6 for 111 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Each of those completions picked up a first down.
9.
Patrick Mahomes KC
10/11
76
1
0
0
57
53
4
DEN
Mahomes left this game with about 12 minutes left in the second quarter. Only three of his completions picked up first downs; only two gained 10 or more yards.
10.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
23/29
312
2
1
2
41
48
-7
LAC
Tannehill was best when trying to dig Tennessee out of a hole. Within his own 40-yard line, he went 12-of-13 for 201 yards with one sack-fumble.
11.
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA
23/34
282
1
1
0
34
64
-30
BUF
Fitzpatrick threw eight passes to his right, and only two were caught -- and one of those was caught by the Bills. At least his one completion was a 12-yard touchdown to DeVante Parker.
12.
Jared Goff LAR
22/37
268
2
0
0
31
30
2
ATL
Goff loses 72 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He threw a lot of passes to his tight ends, but the results were erratic at best: 5-of-12 for 58 yards and a touchdown. Thirty-three of those yards came on one play.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Lamar Jackson BAL
9/20
143
0
0
1
30
10
20
SEA
Jackson had a remarkable cold streak in the middle of this game, lasting from the middle of the first quarter to the early part of the third, when he went 1-of-9 for 33 yards. In the red zone, he went 0-for-3 with a sack. On third downs, he went 2-for-5 for 16 yards with only one conversion.
14.
Matt Moore KC
10/19
117
1
0
1
29
29
0
DEN
Nearly half of Moore's yardage came on his 57-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill.
15.
Deshaun Watson HOU
23/34
308
1
2
3
27
22
5
IND
Watson was nearly perfect when throwing to his right, going 8-of-9 for 106 yards and a touchdown.
16.
Kyler Murray ARI
14/21
104
0
0
2
21
17
4
NYG
Murray only had one dropback in the red zone, a third-down sack. He was quite good in short-yardage situations; with 5 yards or less to go for a first down, he went 5-of-6 for 35 yards with five conversions and one sack.
17.
Tom Brady NE
32/45
249
1
1
0
13
13
0
NYJ
18.
Gardner Minshew JAX
15/31
255
1
0
2
1
17
-16
CIN
Minshew loses 51 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He only threw for two first downs to his left and two more down the middle, but six (including his touchdown) to his right, where he went 7-of-10 for 124 yards.
19.
Josh Allen BUF
16/26
202
2
0
2
-1
-6
5
MIA
Allen loses 76 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most of any quarterback this week. He was at his best in the fourth quarter, when he went 6-of-7 for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
20.
Case Keenum WAS
9/12
77
0
0
3
-4
-4
0
SF
Keenum only threw a dozen passes against San Francisco, and if anything Washington's game plan was even more conservative than that sounds, because half of those passes were thrown to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage. He completed five of those behind-the-line passes for a total of 23 yards.
21.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
34/54
251
2
0
2
-15
-15
0
NO
Trubisky had a stretch of 30 minutes from the second quarter lasting into the third when he failed to throw for a first down, going 7-of-16 for 35 yards and two sacks. Nearly half of his passes were thrown to his right and to receivers within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, where he went 15-of-19 for 89 yards.
22.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
12/21
151
0
1
2
-42
-51
9
WAS
Garoppolo had the worst second-quarter DYAR in the league this week, as he went 2-of-6 for 1 (one) yard with a sack and a fumbled snap in those 15 minutes.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Russell Wilson SEA
20/41
241
1
1
1
-42
-53
11
BAL
Wilson only completed one of his nine throws in the red zone, though at least that one completion was an 8-yard touchdown.
24.
Carson Wentz PHI
16/26
191
1
1
3
-87
-91
3
DAL
Red zone passing: 1-of-5 for 1 yard with no touchdowns. Both of his fumbles (one on a sack, one on an aborted snap) came inside the Philadelphia 20.
25.
Andy Dalton CIN
22/43
276
1
3
2
-98
-115
17
JAX
Dalton had by far the worst fourth-quarter DYAR of the week. In the final 15 minutes against Jacksonville, he went 9-of-16 for 83 yards with two DPIs for 17 more yards, plus one sack ... and all three interceptions.
26.
Joe Flacco DEN
21/34
213
0
0
8
-134
-134
0
KC
Flacco fumbled the ball on three of his eight sacks, and once the Chiefs took a 27-6 lead, he was done. From that point forward, he went 7-of-15 for 32 yards with more sacks (two) than first downs (one).
27.
Matt Ryan ATL
16/27
159
0
1
5
-147
-142
-6
LAR
In Rams territory, Ryan went 6-of-13 for 34 yards with one sack-fumble; none of those throws came in the red zone.
28.
Daniel Jones NYG
22/35
223
1
1
8
-163
-174
11
ARI
Like Flacco, Jones fumbled on three of his eight sacks. He had ten dropbacks with the Giants down by one score in the fourth quarter, going 2-of-6 for 24 yards with four sacks and two fumbles.
29.
Sam Darnold NYJ
11/32
86
0
4
1
-200
-200
0
NE
Darnold gained 83 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, more than double any other quarterback this week. Without them, this would have threatened the all-time record for worst single-game passing DYAR. He did not pick up a first down until the Jets were down 24-0 in the second quarter -- and even that came on a DPI, not a completion. By then he had already thrown an interception and lost a fumble on a sack. In the red zone, he went 0-for-5 with two interceptions. On third and fourth downs, he completed three passes to the Jets (for 27 yards and one first down) and three more to the Patriots. He threw six passes with 7 yards or less to go. None were complete; one was intercepted. On throws down the middle, he went 0-for-5 with three interceptions.

 

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.
Austin Ekeler LAC
5
7
0
7/8
118
1
55
-6
62
TEN
None of Ekeler's runs gained more than 3 yards or counted as a successful play, but who cares when you can post receiving numbers like that? Six of Ekeler's catches gained at least 10 yards and five produced first downs, including a 41-yard touchdown.
2.
Chase Edmonds ARI
27
126
3
2/4
24
0
51
49
2
NYG
It was a boom-or-bust day for Edmonds. He was stuffed six times (five of them in the fourth quarter), but had six carries that gained at least 10 yards and a first down. Edmonds is the fifth player in league history with three rushing touchdowns of 20 yards or more in one game, and the first since Tampa Bay's Doug Martin did it in 2012.
3.
Dalvin Cook MIN
25
142
2
1/2
7
0
41
41
1
DET
Cook was only stuffed three times, while he ran for nine first downs. Five of those runs gained at least 10 yards, the longest a 23-yarder.
4.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
22
111
1
6/7
36
0
39
39
1
PHI
Elliott was stuffed just one time, while four of his carries gained 10 yards or more, and two other shorter runs picked up first downs.
5.
Aaron Jones GB
12
50
0
4/4
33
1
35
20
16
OAK
Jones was stuffed once; each of his other 11 carries gained at least 2 yards and four gained first downs, the longest a 15-yarder. Each of his catches came on first down; the best was his 21-yard touchdown.

 

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.
Chase Edmonds ARI
27
126
3
2/4
24
0
51
49
2
NYG
2.
Dalvin Cook MIN
25
142
2
1/2
7
0
41
41
1
DET
3.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
22
111
1
6/7
36
0
39
39
1
PHI
4.
Latavius Murray NO
27
119
2
5/6
31
0
34
24
10
CHI
Only two of Murray's carries resulted in stuffs, while six went for first downs, including gains of 15 and 17 yards.
5.
Aaron Jones GB
12
50
0
4/4
33
1
35
20
16
OAK

 

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.
Damien Williams KC
9
7
0
2/3
-1
0
-51
-31
-20
DEN
None of Williams' carries gained more than 4 yards or counted as a successful play; two were stuffs for no gain or a loss. His two catches were a 1-yard gain and a 2-yard loss, both on first-and-10; he was also the target of an incomplete pass on third-and-1.

 

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
16
32
0
2/3
-3
1
-50
-51
1
TEN
Gordon's carries resulted in as many first downs (two) as fumbles. He was stuffed six times, including three carries that failed to score from within the 3-yard line.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Marvin Jones DET
10
13
93
9.3
4
68
MIN
As you may have heard, Jones is now the third receiver ever to catch four touchdowns in a game twice. All four of his touchdowns were red zone scores, though he did have some longer plays -- a 24-yard catch for a third-down conversion and a 31-yard gain on a DPI.
2.
Darren Waller OAK
7
8
126
18.0
2
63
GB
Each of Waller's catches gained at least 7 yards and a first down; the longest was a 48-yarder. Not a bad way to celebrate his fat new contract extension.
3.
Zach Pascal IND
6
7
106
17.7
2
65
HOU
Pascal's totals include 65 DYAR receiving, -7 DYAR passing for his one incomplete pass. Each of Pascal's catches produced a first down, the longest a 34-yarder, with three third-down conversions.
4.
Amari Cooper DAL
5
5
106
21.2
0
48
PHI
Four of Cooper's catches gained at least 12 yards and a first down, with a pair of third-down conversions and a 44-yard gain.
5.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB
2
3
133
66.5
1
46
OAK
Valdes-Scantling's two catches were a 59-yard gain and a 74-yard touchdown on third-and-4.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tyler Boyd CIN
5
14
55
11.0
0
-53
JAX
Boyd may be the first player ever to finish as the NFL's worst receiver in consecutive weeks. (The Bengals have been regulars here -- John Ross was last in Week 3.) He did have four first downs against Jacksonville (catches for 8, 10, and 19 yards, plus a 12-yard DPI), but he fumbled one ball away in the third quarter. He was also the targeted receiver on two of Andy Dalton's interceptions, though penalties for those throws in DYAR go against the quarterback, not the receiver.

Comments

68 comments, Last at 22 Oct 2019, 11:47pm

1 Yeah, the Bears would be…

Yeah, the Bears would be considerably better off with Teddy Bridgewater. As it is, the NFC Central has pretty good quarterbacking relative to the other divisions, with Cousins at 3rd best.

Don't know what it is with the Vikings defense, and their sluggish 1st quarters against good qbs on the road.

3 Their cornerbacks have not…

Their cornerbacks have not been good. Also, lots of breakdowns in coverage. If this team doesn't get a really strong pass rush the secondary isnt good enough to shut down a decent passing attack

4 Keep waiting for Rhodes to…

Keep waiting for Rhodes to get his burst back, but he wouldn't be the 1st guy to lose it as he approaches 30, with a chronic accumulation of ankle and hamstring issues. I suspect a still-recovering Hughes will get more and more snaps, barring setback.

8 CB is an unpredictable…

CB is an unpredictable position as far as age fall-off.  I'm suspecting Darius Slay is starting to lose it as well.  Remember when Terence Newman was a viable starter when he was 38, yet Darrelle Reavis basically couldn't play anymore by the time he was 32?

14 Newman may have been better…

Newman may have been better at 35 than he was at 25, which hardly ever happens at corner. Rhodes has been fun to watch, so it's kinda sad to see these chronic, to begin with seemingly minor, leg issues rob him of that element. Absent a rebound out if nowhere, they'll have to cut him this offseason, or he'll have to take a huge paycut.

9 This year does look like the…

This year does look like the 1995 NFC Central, when 4 of the 5 quarterbacks had record-breaking season (only Trent Dilfer was lagging behind).  Trubisky being a Trent Dilfer who can run may be his only path to a long-term NFL career.  

12 Trubiski was even more…

Trubiski was even more terrible than the stats say. He had no feel for the pocket, and was making reads like an old man who never played video games or watched football before trying out Madden for the first time. There was one play on Sunday where he decided to just chuck it deep to a triple-covered receiver; the only reason it wasn't picked was that two DBs collided with each other trying to get the ball. What little productivity he had was pretty much limited to garbage time down by four scores.

I know DVOA has historically shown that garbage time production is still predictive, but this split is ridiculous:

First 55 minutes: 20-35, 109 yds, 0 TD

Last 5 minutes: 14/19, 142 yds, 2 TD

55 Trubkisky splits

I know--as a Saints fan, I was hoping that they put this split in his comment. Some of that was him, some of that was good coverage/tackling by the Saints D. Even worse for the Bears, their total rushing for the day was 7 carries, 17 yards, 2 lost fumbles. Trubisky got no help at all from his running game. Can somebody with Premium tell us what their rushing DVOA was for the game? They didn't get enough carries to have horrible DYAR--combined, they can't even qualify for the tables!

Aside: My Bears fan co-worker is eating a lot of crow this week. He is lucky that I am not feeling well, or he would be hearing about it more. Per terms of our "bet," he will have to wear my Saints beanie for a day when it gets colder. My Saints Super Bowl Champion T-shirt is too small, or he would be wearing that.

Edit: Vince in comment #59 says the Saints run D for this game was -155.6%--yeah, pretty good.

58 Is the NFC North the best…

Is the NFC North the best overall quarterbacked division in the NFL? I've vaguely wondered about this since the Cutler days. Rodgers and Stafford have been solid or better for a decade, and Vikes/Bears have had good stretches. What would be next, NFCW?

15 Is there any defensible…

Is there any defensible reason why a go-nowhere team that is stocking draft picks would choose to play a 37-year-old journeyman at quarterback over a 22-year-old prospect? The only thing I can think of is that they've decided Rosen can't play and won't ever be able to play.

49 THe coaching staff needs to evaluate players

And Rosen was so putrid that it was making it impossible to evaluate other players. Flores has to figure out who is there long term and who is roster fodder. That said, Rosen was only starting because the 37 year old journeyman was also putrid to start the year. I expect the position to remain fluid all year. Rosen might start again later after they've figured the oline out more. 

6 An element of Rodgers recent performance of note

12 is working SO hard to make his balls catchable. Repeatedly he is delivering the ball in such a fashion that a junior high receiver should be able to collect the ball. The balls have less zip, more loft, and thrown so delicately so the burden on the receiver is as minimal as possible.

It's quite remarkable to watch as he has had to recognize and release the balls sooner and at a different launch angle than is his custom. But Rodgers is definitely working to help his mostly raw group

11 Of course, my favorite Mike…

Of course, my favorite Mike Holmgren story is fron when he first started working with Favre and Favre was backing his zip off a bit, and Holmgren asked him why, to which Favre replied that he wanted to give the receivers an easier ball to catch. Holmgren responds with "You throw it as hard as you want. If our guys can't catch it, we'll get new guys."

Man, it was fun watching him throw bolts through the gales of December.

13 The most amazing thing about…

The most amazing thing about Favre's arm was that, like Marino, he could laser the ball between the linebackers just by flicking his wrist. It hurt him towards the end when he couldn't do that anymore, but that was a sight to see at his peak.

10 Does DVOA have weather and…

Does DVOA have weather and field adjustments yet? WAS-SF was played in a pond with balls so wet and muddy they were black.

20 There's a general "week and…

There's a general "week and climate" adjustment in special teams, and then there's "indoors/outdoors" in pass/run. We aren't granular enough at this point to adjust for the specific weather conditions of each individual game. So yes, keep that in mind when looking at Washington/San Francisco numbers.

22 The data-set would probably…

The data-set would probably be more predictive if games with preposterous weather conditions were just pulled out entirely.  I don't think we really learned anything by watching the SF and WAS roll around in the mud or from that snow-globe game between the Bills & Colts a couple years ago.

29 Statistical Question

This is actually kind of an interesting question - are games in highly exceptional whether predicative of future success? It's not clear to me what the answer to that question is, having seen a lot of them in the AFC East over the years there are sets of skills that are definitely very important in those games that are unimportant most of the rest of the time as the high-end sprinters of the league basically disappear as the traction goes away and the agility penalty for extra weight becomes amplified. My observation is that teams that are better in other circumstances also tend to win these games, but homefield, blocking & LB play tend to be accentuated in these games. I love watching these games and that the NFL plays them rather than the baseball "rainout" approach, it's a lot of fun to watch.

33 It was indeed a hoot of a…

It was indeed a hoot of a game to watch.  Every time a WR would make a cut he'd send up a fantail of water 12 inches high. 

And indeed strange to see who came to the forefront.  For the 49ers WR Bourne and RB Wilson were the best mudders, their #5 WR and #4 RB.  If all games were played in those conditions, they'd be #1s, and multi-millionaires, and...well...Gale Sayers would be the best RB of all time, and other things.

16 Patrick Mahomes

I was genuinely surprised to see Patrick Mahomes pop up this week. Feels like that injury happened three weeks ago.

62 What if instead of Thursday…

In reply to by Boots Day

What if instead of Thursday games being a part of the weekend to come, they are instead played as a really late Monday night game? That would get rid of the short week before TNF games

17 Thank goodness David Johnson…

Thank goodness David Johnson got past his rookie contract before the running back ageing process set in.

I'd really like to see rookie deals shortened to two years, at most.

26 this comment got me thinking…

this comment got me thinking about Viking rb's and their careers. I remembered that Robert Smith retired after the 2000 season but forgot or didn't know that season was by far his best. Rushed for 300 more yards than his next best year and had 400 more combined yards and and 15TDs, 3 more than his next best season. 

Brown and Sanders famously retired while still great, but their last seasons were a drop offs from their peak seasons. Has any other good to great RB quit at their peak?

30 If you haven't given the…

If you haven't given the particular answer yet, a decent response to any question that begins with "Which great rb....." , entailing a positive attribute, is "Jim Brown". When he quit at 29, he had just rushed for over 1500 yards, at 5.3 yards per pop.

It's hard to overstate what a physically dominant athlete Brown was. 232 pounds, sub 4.5 40 would be crazy good today. 60 years ago? Almost like a god among mortals.

 

 

 

31 Brown's last year was great,…

Brown's last year was great, probably in his top 3 seasons, but it was 300 yds less and a yard per carry less than his best season.

I just found it really interesting to see that Smith retired after a season that was so far and away his best. Just wondered if any other RB did that

41 Smith has talked about how…

Smith has talked about how he knew it was his chance for a big payday, but he decided no amount of money was worth surrendering his long-term physical health.  He went into medical sales (IIRC) and is doing well for himself now. Or he was 3-4 years ago when I heard his interview, at least.

 

32 Jim Brown was just amazing…

Jim Brown was just amazing. I remember as a little kid dreading his running every time he played the Lombardi Packers. Many don't realize just how great an athlete he was. (I'm sure you do. Just stating this for others unaware of his true greatness.) He was a star on the Syracuse basketball team and so good on their lacrosse team that he's in the LaCrosse Hall of Fame. 

45 Jim Brown lacrosse

When I was at Johns Hopkins (1964-66) where lacrosse has always been THE sport, folks there said that Brown was the best 'crosser they had ever seen, and it wasn't close. 

61 Yeah, anybody whose career…

Yeah, anybody whose career lasts more than 5 years, which is another way to say QBs and stars.

There should be a pension plan, though, for guys whose careers are less than five years, to give them an annuity.  Not sure if there is, but there should be.

 

38 Breaking the system

Even more astonishing is that Jax's total DVAR was only 30. Anyone watching that game could easily tell he was the difference in that game. If the DVAR system is built upon out performing a 'replacement level player', the total DVAR should reflect that Lamar was on a different planet than what a typical back up - or starter - could do in that game, especially considering the conditions: Poor weather affecting the passing game, dropped balls by receivers.  Really? Only 30 yards better than the typical replacement level QB?? 

53 The key point is that it …

The key point is that it *doesn't* recognize the conditions - it's not (yet?) that specific.  DYAR estimates that given normal weather and that production, it's worth about thirty yards more than a replacement-level player, which isn't so preposterous.

54 Ok so take away the weather…

Ok so take away the weather...what about the critical drops from Andrews? One of those drops occured in the endzone taking points off the board. Lamar made up for it himself by turning a 3rd and 15 into a 4th and 2..and then the 4th and 2 into a touchdown. And then on 1st and 15 from their own 5 Andrews drops a ball at the marker. That's typically a crippling result even for good QB's on the road against quality opponents. Lamar nullifies it with a 30 plus yard scramble on the ensuing 3rd down, sparking a game sealing drive. Is a Replacement level player coming anywhere close to doing this? His DVAR number should be far closer to Aaron Rodgers than Ryan Fitzpatrick. 

35 Lowest rushing DYAR

This is the 5th time in the last 6 opportunities (3 weeks) that the lowest rb has been against Denver. If this continued for the whole year, it will make the Fournette game look super strong and weird, but should properly be filed under "Vic Fangio can coach." He has benched 3 defenders (really more but it gets complicated) with the huge change coming after the Jax game when he benched a DL/changed the DL scheme and benched an ILB.

36 Man, my Jets friend said…

Man, my Jets friend said that offensive performance was unwatchable and the worst offensive performance he's seen from the jets ever. This is someone who has sat through Sundays of Rex Ryan led, Bryan Schottenheimer coached Mark Sanchez.

37 I largely missed it but I…

I largely missed it but I read today that The Dark Lord was openly laughing at the spectacle of it all, right in the midst of the contest! I really hope this is true. Between this and Aikman focusing a contemptuous chortle at Flacco last Thursday, I may be enticed to watch some of these stompings!

39 Well to be truthful he was…

Well to be truthful he was laughing uproariously (well semi-smiling) at the Pats use of a rule loophole to run time off the clock while setting up for a punt.  Smashing the Jets and scaring another young QB for life was just another day at the office.

 

44 Boy, the NFL rule book is a…

Boy, the NFL rule book is a mess.

They have all sorts of rules to keep a team from using an intentional foul to conserve clock time.

And, because it happened once, they have a rule to keep a team from essentially holding everyone to make a play take a long time. But that only applies to multiple intentional fouls after the snap on the same play.

There is a rule that penalizes two consecutive delay penalties extra yardage.

But they never seemed to address the problem of keeping the clock running during a series of unrelated pre-snap penalties.

Belichick was smart to do it. It was great that he did it in a game where it didn't really matter. With luck, the league will fix it in the off season, perhaps by giving the defense the option to start the clock or not after a pre-snap penalty.

40 He was laughing at…

He was laughing at themselves and one of the cheesiest series of plays you'll ever see.

Late in the game around the Jets 35, 4th down, based on the score NE wasn't going to go for it, so sent out the punt team.  But it was so close to the end zone they went intentional delay of game to give their punter more room. Gase declined.

I half wondered after the decline if NE would just say f-it and go for it, but they left the punt team in.  And the back did a horrible sell job on a fake illegal procedure.  Which of course the Jets also declined, and the camera caught Belching trying not to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

43 Someday, in that situation,…

Someday, in that situation, but with like 30 seconds left, I want to see Darth send his punt receiving team out, with the receiver in the punter spot, and the long snapper. The returner takes the snap, spins and races towards his own end zone, while the rest of the Patriots do the same, to set up a picket line formation about 40 yards downfield, at which time the returner spins 180 again, and now tries to score. Darth would then say in the post game presser that it was just something to work on!

47 Stafford, Rodgers, and…

Stafford, Rodgers, and Cousins are ranked 4th, 5th, and 7th, and none are paired with a bad defense. That's a tough division.

48 Feedback

What little productivity he had was pretty much limited to garbage time down by four scores.

I don't have time to do minute-by-minute breakdowns, but I can tell you Trubisky was second-worst in DYAR in the first three quarters this week (behind Darnold, of course), second-best in the fourth. And I wish I had noticed this when writing these comments last night.

Of course, my favorite Mike Holmgren story is fron when he first started working with Favre and Favre was backing his zip off a bit, and Holmgren asked him why, to which Favre replied that he wanted to give the receivers an easier ball to catch. Holmgren responds with "You throw it as hard as you want. If our guys can't catch it, we'll get new guys."

John Madden said something similar in one of his books. Unless you were throwing to a guy behind the line of scrimmage over floating a ball over an underneath defender, he wanted every pass thrown as hard as possible, and it would be the receiver's job to catch it.

Brown and Sanders famously retired while still great, but their last seasons were a drop offs from their peak seasons. Has any other good to great RB quit at their peak?

Tiki Barber had over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in his final season.

http://pfref.com/tiny/Q1vb5

Smith has talked about how he knew it was his chance for a big payday, but he decided no amount of money was worth surrendering his long-term physical health. He went into medical sales (IIRC) and is doing well for himself now. Or he was 3-4 years ago when I heard his interview, at least.

Smith is a college football analyst for Fox Sports. He's also the CEO of the Fan Health Network, where apparently you pay retired athletes to be your personal trainer. I can only assume this costs gobs of money.

https://fanhealthnetwork.com

His Fox bio also mentions an interest in astronomy. Yes, he's an interesting guy.

https://www.foxsports.com/presspass/bios/on-air/robert-smith

Surprised Lamar’s rushing DYAR wasn’t higher consider how efficient he was, plus the TD.

He's dinged for a fumble on a third-down conversion that the Ravens recovered. So that's a loss of about 15 DYAR for that play, when the result was a big positive that kept the drive alive.

Even more astonishing is that Jax's total DVAR was only 30. Anyone watching that game could easily tell he was the difference in that game. If the DVAR system is built upon out performing a 'replacement level player', the total DVAR should reflect that Lamar was on a different planet than what a typical back up - or starter - could do in that game, especially considering the conditions: Poor weather affecting the passing game, dropped balls by receivers. Really? Only 30 yards better than the typical replacement level QB??

His passing numbers were ugly. Only five first downs and a 28% success rate, and only three of his completions gained more than 10 yards. Yes, his receivers dropped some big passes (Mark Andrews had a terrible day), but drops are not listed in the play-by-play, so all incompletions get counted the same.

This is the 5th time in the last 6 opportunities (3 weeks) that the lowest rb has been against Denver.

Ooh, good catch! From Weeks 1-4, Denver's run defense DVOA was 5.4% (27th). Weeks 5-7, it's -48.5%, first by a lot.

52 Tiki

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

It's amazing how quickly I forgot about Tiki Barber. His last two seasons were among the best ever by a RB; if he stayed for the Super Bowl team, he might be in the HoF. 

51 "Ooh, good catch! From Weeks…

"Ooh, good catch! From Weeks 1-4, Denver's run defense DVOA was 5.4% (27th). Weeks 5-7, it's -48.5%, first by a lot."

Not first. Not by a lot.

Does the Premium (paid) Access not give the proper numbers? Or do you not compute averages by adding up numbers and dividing by the number of numbers? If there is a different method, could you please disclose it and give enough information so that users can make the same calculation of averages?

56 Premium lets you see what…

Premium lets you see what each team did in each week. And it lets you see what each team did from Week 1 to Week X. But it does not show you what each team did from Week X to Week Y. And you can't just take the average of what they did each week because some weeks have more attempts than others, though if you account for that you can get pretty close. 

Writers/editors for the site get a spreadsheet with a pivot table that sorts each offense/defense by DVOA, then lets us filter by several factors including play type (rushing) and weeks (5, 6, and 7) to help us with research. That's how I got the number of -48.5%. New Orleans is next at -39.1%. 

Now, all that said, I just checked the "one team, every week, one season" tab for Denver's defense this year, and over the last three weeks they have had a run defense DVOA of -51.8%, -63.7%, and -35.8%. The average for those three is -50.4%, which is very close to what I said. If you tell me where you're looking maybe we can find out where we're confused.

60 Not first, not by a lot

I presume that Vince's comment is based on the Premium numbers, and that the quoted numbers only encompass those specific weeks, so, the -48.5% that is first by a lot only covers plays in weeks 5-7, not the full season. Also, that means some other team who had really good DVOA in weeks 1-4, but only say -20% for weeks 5-7, that split would be borne out in the numbers Vince cites.

57 How do you do averages?

-1.9%,-42.9%,-155.2% for NO averages for me at -66.7%, but apparently averages at FO are not averages.

59 Ah! You were talking about…

Ah! You were talking about New Orleans! Next time please let me know which team you're talking about, I'll be able to answer your question easier. 

The Saints are a great example of why you can't just take the average of every week, because teams don't face the same number of rushes every week. In Week 5, the Saints had a run defense DVOA of -1.9%, against 22 carries. In Week 6, they had a run defense DVOA of 23%, against 23 carries. In Week 7 they had a run defense DVOA of -155.6%, but against only seven carries. That's why you can't just take the average of each week -- those games in Weeks 5 and 6 count three times as much as the Week 7 game. DVOA is calculated one play at a time, not one week at a time.

Hope that helps.

64 Something is confusing about DVOA and DYAR

I thought that DVOA was not a counting statistic but that DYAR was used for that. If a team doesn't run because they can't succeed, that means the defense was good.  Now you tell me that the fact that they gave up on running means the defense wasn't that good because they didn't have the opportunity to be good because they were too good. Something is a little too circular about that.

67 As a predictive measure,…

As a predictive measure, though, averaging by plays rather than by games probably makes sense.  Doing well against 7 runs is great, but does it really tell us that much?  There's a lot of noise there and the offense may have stopped running simply because they fell behind, had their RB1 hurt, etc.  

68 DVOA is a rate stat - which…

DVOA is a rate stat - which means that it's not averaging it 'per game', but 'per play'. Let's say that in week 1, you run 2 plays for -5.0% DVOA, then in week 2 you run 8 plays at +5% DVOA. The average is not 0% DVOA (if you divided it by two games), but instead +3% DVOA (-5%*2 + 5%*8 = 30%/10 plays).

Except this, too, is wrong, because the total DVOA doesn't average the percentages, but measures the success point values for each play against the expected value (with the exact formulas being FO's secret sauce).