Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry

Week 12 Quick Reads

In Audibles on Sunday, the FO staff spent a lot of time discussing the afternoon's action and how they were probably watching one of the best individual games of the DVOA era. And, as it turns out, they were -- but it wasn't the game they were thinking of. While Kansas City's Tyreek Hill was distracting us with a bevy of long touchdowns, we almost overlooked what Derrick Henry was doing to the Colts, giving them a curb-stomping the likes of which we haven't seen in years.

Henry was nearly unstoppable in the first half, when the Titans scored five touchdowns in six possessions. Henry ran for 140 yards on 17 carries over those six drives, moving the chains eight times (including three trips across the goal line). Fifteen of those 17 carries met the DVOA thresholds for a successful play; the others were a 3-yard gain on first-and-10 and a 1-yard gain on first-and-goal from the 4.

Henry wasn't quite as dominant in the second half, but playing with a lead that grew as large as 38-14 late in the third quarter, he didn't need to be. Tennessee's last drive of the game consisted entirely of three Logan Woodside kneeldowns; their four real drives after halftime produced three punts and a field goal. That includes 10 carries for 38 yards (26 of them on two plays) for Henry.

Add that all up, and Henry finishes with 178 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, his seventh 100-yard outing of the year. Two things about this game, however, really stand out. The first is Henry's reliability; only twice was he stuffed for no gain or a loss, and those both came with Tennessee up by three touchdowns in the second half. The second was the quality of his opponent. The Colts came into the weekend with a very strong defense, fifth in overall DVOA and against the run. Before Week 12, only one player had run for 100 yards against Indianapolis -- Henry, who gained 103 yards in 19 carries against the Colts in Week 9. All told this season, the Colts have given up 1,121 yards on 297 carries. That's a 6.1-yard average on 46 runs by Henry and a 3.4-yard average on 251 runs by every other player in the league.

It should be noted that the Colts defense that Henry steamrolled on Sunday was not the same Colts defense we have seen all year -- literally. Starting linemen DeForest Buckner and Denico Autry missed the game after being placed on the reserve/COVID list, while linebacker Bobby Okereke was absent due to an ankle injury. Those are major cogs in the Indianapolis front seven -- Buckner leads all Colts linemen in tackles, while Autry leads the team in tackle for loss. Unfortunately, adjusting opponent adjustments for missing players is not something we are capable of doing right now. We've come a long way in football analytics, but we've got a lot further to go before we can assign a specific numerical value to a missing tackle, end, or linebacker. So while we know the Colts were at significantly less than full strength when they faced Henry, Henry still gets a boost for playing what DVOA sees as one of the NFL's best defenses this season.

Before those opponent adjustments, Henry's game works out to 89 rushing YAR, which is the best total of the year. When you include opponent adjustments, it comes out to 119 rushing DYAR, and that's one of the best games we have ever measured.

Top 10 Rushing DYAR Games, All RBs, 1985-2020
Rank Year Player Team Rush
DYAR
Runs Yds Avg. TD 1D Stuff Wk Def
1 1997 Corey Dillon CIN 126 39 246 6.31 4 15 5 15 TEN
2 2006 Joseph Addai IND 121 24 171 7.13 4 12 0 12 PHI
3 2020 Derrick Henry* TEN 119 27 178 6.59 3 10 2 12 IND
4 2005 LaDainian Tomlinson SD 117 21 192 9.14 3 8 0 3 NYG
5 1991 Barry Sanders DET 116 23 220 9.57 4 9 0 13 MIN
6 2000 Fred Taylor JAX 111 30 234 7.80 3 11 4 12 PIT
7 2010 Arian Foster HOU 110 33 231 7.00 3 14 1 1 IND
8 2009 Jerome Harrison CLE 109 34 286 8.41 3 12 1 15 KC
9 2014 Jonas Gray NE 104 37 201 5.43 4 15 2 11 IND
10 2004 Edgerrin James IND 104 23 204 8.87 1 10 1 11 CHI
* Opponent adjustments as of Week 12.

The last game this good, by our numbers, was by Indianapolis' Joseph Addai in 2012, when he ran for 171 yards and four touchdowns against the Eagles. (Weirdly, half the appearances in this table have been produced by or against the Indianapolis Colts -- is there something in Indiana conducive to big running games?) Only one other performance in the past 35 years has been better: Corey Dillon's big night against Tennessee in 1997.

You'll note that Edgerrin James -- seriously, there are more studs wearing horseshoes in this column than in the stables at Churchill Downs -- is in 10th place with 104 DYAR. (If we showed decimal points, Jonas Gray would be in ninth place at 104.2 ahead of James at 103.8.). This is significant because of what Henry did on Sunday. We already gave the details of his monstrous performance in the first 30 minutes against Indianapolis, but we didn't mention that his pre-halftime stats work out to 108 DYAR on their own. Yes, Henry could have gone the entire second half without taking a single handoff and he still would have had one of the top 10 rushing games on record.

Two more notes about this table before we move on. First, this is rushing DYAR only -- Henry had negative DYAR as a receiver, and barely cracks the top 50 running back games in total DYAR. Second, opponent adjustments remain fluid; they can and will change over the rest of the season. At this point, we can be pretty confident that the Colts will finish the year with a strong run defense DVOA, but just how strong? The answer to that question will determine whether Henry stays in third place, or moves up or down in the rankings when all is said and done.

Now for the game that we thought was going to hit the record books. Tyreek Hill's first 15 minutes against Tampa Bay are hard to comprehend -- he caught each of his seven targets, amassing 203 yards and two touchdowns in the process. Again, that's just what he did in the first quarter. He was less effective after that, but he still added a 20-yard touchdown in the second half. His final numbers: 13 catches in 15 targets for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Oh, and he did all that against a Tampa Bay team that ranked second in pass defense DVOA coming into the week. How many games in the database could possibly top that? One? Two? Five? Well, would you believe … 32?

How can that be? First of all, Tampa Bay's pass defense ranks so high because they get a lot of interceptions (14, second in the NFL going into Monday night) and sacks (34, tied for third). When they don't get sacks and interceptions, however, they're a pretty mediocre unit -- only the Jets and Jaguars have allowed a higher completion rate in 2020. As such, Hill's DYAR actually goes down a tiny bit after opponent adjustments.

Hill's numbers are also turfed a bit because long touchdowns get capped in our system. Hill's 75-yard touchdown is worth 34 DYAR, barely any more than the 30 DYAR he got for his 44-yard touchdown. And then there's what Hill did when he wasn't catching touchdowns. He had two incompletions, two failed completions (a 1-yard gain on second-and-2 and a 4-yard gain on first-and-15), and two other completions that counted as successful plays but still failed to pick up first downs. Those six plays each counted for zero or negative DYAR, bringing Hill back to earth just a bit.

For comparison's sake, I looked up the play-by-play for Flipper Anderson's big day against New Orleans in 1989, when he caught 15 of 21 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown. That's still the single-game record for receiving yards and DYAR (160). Anderson had eight plays --six incomplete targets and two catches -- that did not gain first downs. Those two catches, however, were a 16-yard gain on second-and-20 and a 26-yard gain on second-and-32; turning second-and-forever into third-and-medium is the kind of thing that will do wonders for your DYAR. And then there are the 13 catches Anderson had that did pick up first downs; Hill had only eight against the Buccaneers. Thirteen first downs is a lot for a team, even in 2020; in Week 12 of 1989, there were 28 offenses playing fooball, and 21 of them had fewer catches for first downs than Anderson did by himself.

Don't get confused -- Hill had an excellent game! He finished with 111 DYAR in what will almost certainly be the best total of 2020 -- there haven't been two games that good in a year since 2014. But there has been one almost every year. Mike Evans topped 111 DYAR in 2019. Calvin Ridley did it in 2018. Julio Jones did it in 2017 and 2016. The last time nobody did it was in 2012, but the Football Gods made up for that a year later, when four players did it in 2013.

So no, Hill's performance on Sunday was not the best we have ever seen. But it will likely be the best game we ever see out of Tyreek Hill, which is a pretty special accomplishment on its own.

 


 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Patrick Mahomes KC
37/49
462
3
0
2
254
233
21
TB
Mahomes gains 60 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most in the league. He was tied for the league lead with 19 passing first downs. He was also first in DYAR on throws to wide receivers (25-of-33, 366 yards, three touchdowns) and on deep passes (5-of-9 for 183 yards and three touchdowns), among many other categories.
2.
Aaron Rodgers GB
21/29
211
4
0
0
172
175
-2
CHI
Rodgers was at his best in the most critical situations -- he led the NFL in DYAR on third/fourth downs (8-of-9 for 81 yards with six conversions, including a touchdown) and in the red zone (4-of-5 for 30 yards and three touchdowns).
3.
Deshaun Watson HOU
17/25
318
4
0
2
168
169
-1
DET
Watson loses 41 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His average pass traveled 13.1 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, most of any real quarterback this week, but that doesn't mean he was inefficient -- his success rate of 62% was also highest among qualifiers.
4.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
13/22
221
1
0
1
106
96
10
IND
Tannehill's average completion gained 9.1 yards after the catch, most among real quarterbacks.
5.
Kirk Cousins MIN
34/44
307
3
0
2
101
93
8
CAR
Cousins led all passers in fourth-quarter/overtime DYAR, going 12-of-15 for 130 yards with two touchdowns and one sack, all while rallying Minnesota to victory. And he did it without much help from his receivers -- his average completion gained 2.3 yards after the catch, worst among starting quarterbacks this week.
6.
Philip Rivers IND
24/42
295
2
1
1
99
99
0
TEN
Rivers led the NFL in DYAR on throws to running backs (11-of-14 for 101 yards, plus an 18-yard DPI) and without a huddle (8-of-9 for 82 yards, plus a 9-yard DPI).
7.
Mike Glennon JAX
20/33
235
2
0
0
81
86
-5
CLE
Glennon was the league's best passer on throws from under center, going 5-of-6 for 107 yards and a touchdown. I swear this is all true! Really! Mike Glennon!
8.
Baker Mayfield CLE
20/29
258
2
0
2
69
70
-1
JAX
A lot of Mayfield's best throws came down the middle of the Jacksonville defense, where he went 6-of-8 for 112 yards. Five of those completions picked up first downs.
9.
Tom Brady TB
27/41
345
3
2
1
62
62
0
KC
Brady's first pass of the game was completed to Mike Evans for a 12-yard gain on second-and-5 with the Bucs down 3-0. The next time he threw for a first down, the Bucs were losing 17-0 halfway through the second quarter. In between, he went 5-of-11 for 29 yards.
10.
Russell Wilson SEA
23/31
230
1
0
2
19
17
2
PHI
11.
Nick Mullens SF
24/35
252
0
1
2
19
19
0
LAR
Mullens gains 51 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He led the league with 11 failed completions. He did not throw a pass in the red zone; on L.A.'s side of the 50, he went 5-of-10 for 61 yards with an interception and a sack, plus a 12-yard DPI.
12.
Teddy Bridgewater CAR
19/35
267
1
1
0
17
12
5
MIN
Bridgewater had the league's worst DYAR in the red zone (0-for-3 with an interception) and on throws to running backs (4-of-8 for 25 yards with an interception).
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Daniel Jones NYG
16/27
213
0
0
0
13
22
-9
CIN
Aside from the hamstring injury that knocked him out of the game, there's not a lot interesting to say about Jones, so let's talk about Evan Engram's day instead. The tight end finished with six catches for 129 yards on eight targets. Sounds like a great day, but 99 of those yards came on two catches -- and those two catches were his only first downs of the day. His other catches included a 12-yard gain on third-and-13 and a 16-yard gain that ended in a fumble, recovered by the Bengals. Engram finished with 36 receiving DYAR, second-most among tight ends (Rob Gronkowski topped him by a few decimal points), but he sure had a lot of ups and downs to get there.
14.
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA
24/39
257
2
0
4
13
8
5
NYJ
Fitzpatrick loses 44 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most in the league. He only threw two passes in the red zone, but both were completed for third-down touchdowns, for a total of 20 yards.
15.
Josh Allen BUF
18/24
157
1
1
2
-3
8
-10
LAC
Allen only threw for one first down on the Chargers' side of the field, where he went 9-of-12 for just 43 yards. At least that one first down was a 2-yard touchdown.
16.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
26/46
242
3
2
3
-17
-3
-14
GB
Trubisky threw for 19 first downs, tied with Patrick Mahomes for most in the league. Really! Mitchell Trubisky! Unfortunately had the the NFL's worst DYAR on deep passes, going 1-of-8 for 20 yards with two interceptions.
17.
Matt Ryan ATL
22/39
185
2
1
1
-30
-30
0
LV
Ryan was the NFL's worst real quarterback on throws to tight ends (5-of-10 for 59 yards with an interception) or down the middle (1-of-2 for 17 yards with an interception).
18.
Colt McCoy NYG
6/10
31
0
0
0
-44
-36
-8
CIN
McCoy came into the game with the score tied 10-10 in the third quarter. His average completion gained 0.2 yards (or, if you prefer, 6 inches) after the catch, least among qualifiers. One catch produced 3 yards after the catch, one lost 2 yards, and the others each had zero.
19.
Matthew Stafford DET
28/42
295
1
1
4
-49
-50
1
HOU
Stafford struggled badly on throws to his left, going 8-of-12 for only 54 yards with a pick-six.
20.
Andy Dalton DAL
25/35
215
1
1
3
-49
-64
15
WAS
Dalton gains 36 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was still the league's worst passer on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage (5-of-8 for 7 yards with a pick-six) (Jesus) and in the fourth quarter/overtime (9-of-14 for 38 yards with a pick-six and a sack).
21.
Justin Herbert LAC
31/52
316
1
1
3
-55
-37
-18
BUF
Herbert threw a league-high 17 passes to his running backs, most in the league. (The Chargers' last quarterback, Philip Rivers, was second with 15.) It wasn't a terribly effective tactic, resulting in 12 completions for only 87 yards. (Troymaine Pope had one catch for 2 yards; the other 16 targets were all thrown to Austin Ekeler.)
22.
Taysom Hill NO
9/16
78
0
1
3
-75
-87
12
DEN
Hill's success rate of 21% on passing plays was worst among real NFL quarterbacks (if Hill even qualifies for that group) this week. His first completion for a first down came in the last two minutes of the first half; up to that point, he had gone 4-of-8 for 6 yards with two sacks. Four of his nine completions were thrown to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage. Hill has now taken seven sacks this year in 51 dropbacks. His teammate Drew Brees has taken 10 sacks in 308 dropbacks.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Alex Smith WAS
19/26
149
1
1
3
-88
-85
-3
DAL
Smith's last two passes of the first half and his first pass of the second half all resulted in first downs. He only had one first down in 15 dropbacks before that point, and one more in 11 dropbacks afterwards. Only one of those first downs came on third/fourth down, when he was the league's worst passer, going 2-of-4 for 22 yards with two sacks and an interception. His average pass traveled a league-low 3.5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
24.
Sam Darnold NYJ
16/27
197
0
2
3
-96
-103
7
MIA
Midway through the third quarter, Darnold hit Breshad Perriman for a 12-yard gain on first-and-10. It was his last first down of the day -- afterwards he went 5-of-9 for 29 yards with an interception and two sacks.
25.
Jared Goff LAR
19/31
198
0
2
2
-96
-79
-18
SF
Goff had a stretch from the first quarter to the third that covered over 30 minutes of game time where he produced just one first down. In that stretch, he went 8-of-16 for 57 yards with two interceptions (including a pick-six) and a sack. He did not throw a pass in the red zone and produced only one first down in San Francisco territory, where he went 3-of-8 for 29 yards with a sack.
26.
Kendall Hinton DEN
1/9
13
0
2
1
-100
-98
-2
NO
Look, there's no point in breaking down the specifics here. Hinton's not a quarterback, and there's nothing to be learned or gained from analyzing his desperate attempts to play like one. What we can do is explain why he's even this high in the tables, and that is because DYAR is a cumulative stat and he simply didn't rack up enough attempts to threaten any records. His DVOA was -220.8%; the next-worst qualifying passer this week was Cam Newton at -133.0%. We can also point out how Denver mostly just asked Hinton to throw deep a lot. His average pass traveled 14.9 yards beyond the line of scrimmage; the NFL's threshold for deep passes is 16 yards or more. Five of Hinton's nine passes were deep balls. There were 31 qualified passers this week; 11 of them threw fewer deep passes than Kendall Hinton.
27.
Kyler Murray ARI
23/34
170
0
1
2
-100
-97
-3
NE
Murray loses 39 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the league's worst passer in the second half, when he went 9-of-14 for 39 yards with an interception and a sack. He was also worst without a huddle, going 8-of-13 for 37 yards with two sacks.
28.
Carson Wentz PHI
25/44
215
2
1
6
-120
-141
21
SEA
29.
Cam Newton NE
9/17
84
0
2
3
-135
-143
7
ARI
While his counterpart in this game, Kyler Murray, was the league's worst passer in the second half, Newton was the league's worst passer in the first half, going 3-of-8 for 37 yards with an interception and two sacks. He did not throw a single pass to a tight end, and only one to a running back, a completion to James White that lost a yard.
30.
Brandon Allen CIN
17/29
136
1
1
2
-142
-140
-3
NYG
Allen's average pass came with 10.3 yards to go for a first down, most in the league. He only threw for six first downs, and four of them came on one drive in the fourth quarter that ended in a touchdown pass to Tee Higgins that gave the Bengals life. On that drive, he went 4-of-7 for 40 yards, plus a DPI for 17 more yards. Unfortunately, on Cincinnati's next drive, he was sacked and fumbled and the Giants recovered, and that was that.
31.
Derek Carr LV
22/34
220
0
1
3
-194
-194
0
ATL
Carr loses 36 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Among other categories, he was the league's worst passer inside the opponents' 40 (5-of-11 for 72 yards with no touchdowns, a sack-fumble, and a pick-six), in the second quarter (7-of-11 for 63 yards with a 7-yard DPI and a sack-fumble), and from under center (3-of-9 for 26 yards with a sack-fumble and a pick-six).

 

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.
Derrick Henry TEN
27
178
3
2/4
7
0
98
120
-22
IND
2.
Nick Chubb CLE
19
144
1
3/3
32
0
69
52
17
JAX
Chubb picked a bad day to have a good day. 69 DYAR would have been good enough to lead the league in seven different weeks so far this season. Worse, Chubb loses 18 DYAR due to opponent adjustments -- take those away from all players and Chubb had an even better day than Henry! Chubb was stuffed on his first carry against Jacksonville but all of his other runs gained at least 1 yard. Eight of them resulted in first downs, including four runs of 12 yards or more, with a long gain of 29 yards. Two of his catches also produced first downs, including a 13-yard gain on third-and-12.
3.
David Montgomery CHI
11
103
0
5/6
40
1
59
30
29
GB
Unlike Nick Chubb, whose first carry on Sunday was his worst, Montgomery opened things with a 57-yard burst, one of his five first downs on the ground. Then he was stuffed on his second carry, but that was the last time that happened all game. Three of his catches also produced first downs.
4.
James Robinson JAX
22
128
1
5/6
31
0
50
50
-1
CLE
Robinson wasn't stuffed even one time in 22 carries against Cleveland. He ran for seven first downs, gaining double-digit yardage four times, with a long gain of 27. His receiving DYAR is negative because only one of his catches produced a first down, and he was hit for a 2-yard loss on third-and-7.
5.
Aaron Jones GB
17
90
0
1/2
0
0
46
45
0
CHI
Jones gains 25 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was stuffed just once against the Bears, and that came with Green Bay up 41-17 in the fourth quarter. Seven of his 17 carries produced first downs, the longest a gain of 16.

 

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.
Derrick Henry TEN
27
178
3
2/4
7
0
98
120
-22
IND
2.
Nick Chubb CLE
19
144
1
3/3
32
0
69
52
17
JAX
3.
James Robinson JAX
22
128
1
5/6
31
0
50
50
-1
CLE
4.
Aaron Jones GB
17
90
0
1/2
0
0
46
45
0
CHI
5.
Jamaal Williams GB
17
73
1
0/0
0
0
35
35
0
CHI
Williams gains 23 rushing DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He ran for five first downs against Chicago, including gains of 10, 13, and 17 yards, while being stuffed twice.

 

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.
Carlos Hyde SEA
15
22
0
2/3
7
0
-38
-25
-13
PHI
The Eagles stuffed Hyde five times on Monday night, while he ran for only one first down -- a 4-yard gain on second-and-1. His two catches resulted in no gain on third-and-7 and 7 yards on third-and-15.

 

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.
C.J. Prosise HOU
5
12
0
1/1
2
1
-25
-34
9
DET
None of Prosise's carries picked up a first down, his longest carry gained only 7 yards, and he lost a yard on first-and-goal at the 1. Oh, and he lost a fumble. That's a lot of bad plays in only five carries.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tyreek Hill KC
13
15
269
20.7
3
111
TB
2.
Will Fuller HOU
6
7
171
28.5
2
96
DET
Well, we can say for sure that Fuller has terrible timing. In any other week this season, he would have been the top receiver, but he made the mistake of having his best game the same week Tyreek Hill had his best game. Further, Fuller was within 24 hours of debuting as the top wideout in our full-season rankings when it was announced he would be suspended for the rest of the year. Against Detroit, all six of Fuller's catches gained at least 10 yards and a first down. Four of them gained 30-plus yards, including 34- and 40-yard touchdowns. Oh, and he gained 15 more yards on a DPI.
3.
Jarvis Landry CLE
8
11
143
17.9
1
52
JAX
The shortest catch of Landry's day was a 5-yard touchdown; each of his other catches gained at least 14 yards and a first down, the longest a gain of 27.
4.
Amari Cooper DAL
6
8
112
18.7
1
47
WAS
Five of Cooper's catches came on first-and-10; the other came on second-and-10. Three of those catches gained first downs: a 54-yard touchdown, plus gains of 25 and 10 yards. He also drew a 28-yard DPI.
5.
T.Y. Hilton IND
4
5
81
20.2
1
47
TEN
The shortest catch of Landry's Hilton's day was a 5-yard touchdown; each of his other catches gained at least 14 12 yards and a first down, the longest a gain of 27 50. He also picked up a 9-yard DPI.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Christian Kirk ARI
3
6
19
6.3
0
-42
NE
Kirk's totals include -5 DYAR rushing for his one carry for no gain. He also loses 20 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His longest catch, an 8-yard gain on second-and-6, was his only first down of the day.

Comments

60 comments, Last at 02 Dec 2020, 7:08pm

1 Only 14 out of 31 QB's…

Only 14 out of 31 QB's having a positive DYAR seems like a pretty bad week for passing offenses.

4 Red Zone

Neither Mullens nor Goff threw a pass in the red zone in the SF/LAR game? When was the last time there was a game with zero red zone passing attempts?

7 I’m going to guess

In reply to by Hueroc

That it was Super Bowl LIII, in which the Patriots and Rams combined for one total play in the red zone, Sony Michel’s two-yard TD. 

5 I know the system caps long TDs....

but how does that work out for something like Montgomery's 57 yard run?   If it had been a 57 yard TD it would have been essentially the same as an even longer TD, right?   but in this case it wasn't a TD and it can't be that he wouldn't have benefitted from not being brought down short of the goal line, can it? Especially since they ended up not punching it in...

39 I don't think the system…

I don't think the system penalizes long TD runs more than long runs that are not TDs. If anything, the TD run gets a bonus. The point is that all long runs are viewed skeptically, as if they are only marginally better than medium length runs.

45 I have the same…

I have the same understanding as you, Bowl Game Anomaly.  It's not that long runs are capped, it's that there are diminishing returns on each additional yard.

That is, [value of a 30 yard run] - [value of a 10 yard run] > [value of a 50 yard run] - [value of a 30 yard run].

And I do think Aaron has said there's a "bonus" for TDs.

EDIT: Vince confirmed this in comment #38.  Thanks, Vince!

6 The Patriots have to have…

The Patriots have to have almost no faith in Stidham - because Newton is clearly not the answer right now, and he's clearly not the answer going forward. 

12 information

There is more information about Cam Newton than how he performed in the most recent game.  In the previous game he was 26 for 40 for 365 yards.  The week before that he only threw for 118 yards, but he threw for one TD and ran for another and outplayed Lamar Jackson in a huge win for the team.  The week before that he was 27 for 35 and 274 yards.  He'd gone four games without a pick before throwing two on Sunday.  Brady has 7 picks in his last four games but nobody is saying he should be benched.

It feels like a lot of fans are rooting for Cam Newton to fail.  They don't like how he dresses or comports himself or something.  But given that Stidham's had multiple chances and cannot get into a game without throwing a pick, I think we know enough about both of these guys to know Cam should be starting.  

Yes, he had a bad game Sunday.  But he's also had good games this season.  Stidham would not have beaten Baltimore or Arizona and would not have gotten so close to beating Seattle.  

And, really, Cam is not the problem with the passing game.  Brady couldn't do anything with these receivers either.  

14 You're appealing to winz and…

In reply to by RickD

You're appealing to winz and claims of racism. That's pretty tepid support.

Brady has 800 higher DYAR and 25% higher DVOA, and yes, people are calling him washed. 

Newton, regardless, is in all likelihood better than Stidham. But that's more because Stidham projects to be terrible than it is because Newton is great. ESPN was running a story about McVay not seriously considering benching Goff. Of course he's not going to bench Goff; his QB2 is... searches... John Wolford, who last played for Wake Forest, in 2017! He has one career year where he threw more TDs than INTs. Much like Newton, Goff will always start unless he is literally crippled, because there is no backup.

26 I'm not talking about Sunday…

In reply to by RickD

I'm not talking about Sunday. 

 

I'm talking about him being a bad quarterback for the last 4 years, and him getting a little healthier not making a ton of difference once teams figured out that he still doesn't throw all that accurately.  

 

It's very clear that they don't trust him to throw - which is putting a ton of focus on the running game. Stidham probably isn't any good - but he almost certainly is more of a passing threat than Newton is at this point - fuck - even Hoyer probably is. 

 

You dont need great receivers when theyre primarily being asked to block and beat a LB on play action. 

31 I think the missing factor…

I think the missing factor here is - Newton's presence amplifies the run game. However, and I agree in the times I've seen him, his downfield passing his bad but how much better is Stidham or Hoyer at it and is it enough to offset the loss in the run game? 

47 I don't think it matters at…

I don't think it matters at this point. They're not a playoff team and they shouldnt be entertaining the idea of starting Newton next year.  He's just not good enough.  

 

They should be starting Stidham unless they're sure he's trash, and if that's the case, he should be off the roster and they should be starting some UDFA or something. 

 

Newton only makes sense in a win now scenario. 

23 Nobody is the answer at QB…

Nobody is the answer at QB for the Patriots unless they do a better job acquiring some pass-catching weapons.

The team's best WR is Julian Edelman who's injured and on the backside of his career.  N'Keal Harry is looking like a total flop; Myers and Byrd would be fine third and fourth receivers; and the only TE they play with regularity is Ryan Izzo, a quasi sixth O-lineman.  Even their usually solid pass catching RBs are struggling -- both Burkhead and White have missed multiple weeks with injury.

I think Belichick, correctly, in my view, knows that almost no QB could thrive with this surrounding cast, and Newton, with his running ability, is the best option he has.

27 The point is - if they're…

The point is - if they're already screwed (which they are) - Newton shouldn't be playing. Stidham should - whether or not he's any good - because they need to be deciding whether he's the QB next year, or they're drafting high. 

37 But maybe Newton could be…

But maybe Newton could be the long-term (or medium-term, at least) answer if they got better talent around him.  Belichick is a master of simultaneously rebuilding and winning games in the here and now.  They're a fringe contender for a playoff spot *this season* and will likely be in stronger position next year when they get their Covid opt-outs back and possibly bring in some better skill position players.

Nothing about their position screams "play Stidham!" to me.

48 Newton is 31, has a…

Newton is 31, has a significant injury history, and hasn't had a positive DVOA since 2015. 

I would be astounded if he's on the roster next year. 

 

If Stidham isn't a viable NFL quarterback, they should cut him and replace him with someone who is still a prospect. 

53 Whoa slow down there

31 year old Blane Gabbart, who has never thrown for more then 2500 yards a season, is still on an NFL roster. 
Newton would rightfully deserve a backup spot over a variety of backups we’ve seen this season, should he want it. 

54 I really don't agree with…

I really don't agree with the "you need to see them on the field," argument. Belichick gets to watch Stidham in practice every day. Either the practices are garbage, or Darth Belichick can see that Stidham just isn't particularly good. 

And the team is 5-6. Way too early to give up on the season.

24 It looks to me that the…

It looks to me that the Patriots are trying to split the middle of what they would like their offense to be doing and what their offense is good at.

I think Newton should be throwing 5-8 play action passes a game, and the rest of the time the Patriots run.  The strength of the team is run blocking and the running game in general.  Commit to it.  No more of these half-measures.  Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, and Ryan Izzo are nobody's idea of a sustainable passing attack.

At least I thought that way when Isaiah Wynn was healthy.  I'm not sure that strategy would work as effectively now.

8 "Hinton's not a quarterback,…

"Hinton's not a quarterback, and there's nothing to be learned or gained from analyzing his desperate attempts to play like one."

In theory we learn what a replacement level QB looks like, but Hinton was probably worse than that, since he didn't have time to learn the playbook or practice as a QB.  But he's obviously not to blame for the fiasco.

16 Hill and Hinton ran more…

Hill and Hinton ran more effectively. =)

Which would seem kind of amazing at first blush.

\I suppose there's a larger argument about the wisdom of abandoning a failed strategy early, rather that mindlessly blundering ahead regardless.

52 It's not just that he didn't…

It's not just that he didn't have time to learn the playbook or practise (although those are pretty important points in their own right).  It's that he wasn't good enough to play QB even in college, and got bumped from that position to WR as a freshman.  DEN asked to put an assistant coach on the field so they wouldn't have to play Hinton, and were denied.  

Vince summed it up accurately.  Hinton wasn't a replacement level QB, he was a guy asked to play a QB on TV.  Full credit to Hinton, though, for doing his best to execute on what the coaching staff asked him to do.

57 Backwards. He was a QB as a…

Backwards. He was a QB as a freshman and got bumped to WR as a senior.

https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/kendall-hinton-1.html

You are thinking of Tannehill.

\or Cassel, who didn't play at all in college

58 The blurb articulates it…

The blurb articulates it well, but Hinton wasn't asked to play QB in any sort of meaningful, structured way. Almost every attempt was on 2nd/3rd and long. This wasn't a game-plan devised to simplify things for a backup QB - it was wait until we absolutely have to pass, then heave it downfield and hope for the best. 

With a little more practice time they might have been able to dial him up some easy completions, but in this context there was absolutely nothing to be done. Fortunately Hinton wasn't exposed to any big hits - an injury would have been truly awful. 

I hope he gets a shot at a roster somewhere in the future and isn't remembered solely for this game. But hey, it's a story for the grandkids. 

 

60 Some specific info to back…

Some specific info to back up what you're saying about Hinton: he did not throw a single pass on first down. One of his passes was on third-and-3; the others all had at least 8 yards to go.

9 DYAR Adjustments

So, I'm curious.  You state that Tyreek's DYAR actually went down a little due to opponent adjustments, but that Mahomes gets the largest bump of the week at QB for opponent adjustment to his DYAR.

 

How can a team be both simultaneously great at defending quarterbacks but awful at defending wide receivers?  Surely turnovers aren't the whole answer there, as there are plenty of other teams around TB in the takeaway category that don't merit massive DYAR adjustments.

11 I saw that too, but I think…

In reply to by cstoos

I saw that too, but I think it works like this:

Sacks and INTs count against the QB, but not the WR. So TB's defense looks really good against QBs, but only marginal against WRs.

20 I'm a little confused,…

I'm a little confused, because prior to this week DVOA had Tampa ranked #2 at defending passes to #1 WRs (-34.9% - per premium stats). (I would assume Hill gets the #1 WR designation for the Chiefs?)

But then Hill gets slightly downgraded for facing Tampa? Are INTs thrown in the direction of #1 WRs are not included as part of the opponent adjustments for WRs facing Tampa?

Or is Hill simply being measured against all WRs to face Tampa? (They are #23 against #2 WRs, so that might make sense. But what then are we to make of the 'Defense vs Receivers' data?)

Perhaps I'm misinterpreting what I'm seeing, but something seems a little off. 

 

18 Corey Dillon broke Payton's…

Corey Dillon broke Payton's record in 2000, with 278 rushing yards (Payton's record was 275 yards). Unless you mean Payton had the rookie  single game record as well. 

21 DK Metcalf?

I'm a little surprised that DK's Monday Night Football performance didn't show up on the best games of the week for receivers. Is that because of the incompletions?

35 Doubtful

In reply to by robbbbbb

He caught 10 of 13 passes for 177 yds.  I think they screwed up and left him off.

42 DK Metcalf's performance

In reply to by Pen

Maybe the purple hair results in a downward adjustment.  It does for me....  At least the green was Seahawk-themed.

He had a pretty big night.

55 A couple of those…

In reply to by Pen

A couple of those completions were 11 yards on 3rd and 14 and 7 yards on 3rd and 9. Those yards are basically meaningless. I'm a bit surprised he still didn't make the top 5, but it wasn't that amazing of a game.

25 I'm quite surprised Rivers…

I'm quite surprised Rivers grades that well, given the Colts passing offense looked entirely ineffective after the first two drives, against a previously lousy pass defense. I guess those first two drives were exceptional. Plus a bit of garbage time production. Would have looked a whole lot worse if that Titans DB hadn't dropped the easiest pick 6 imaginable.

30 Rivers is in a tough…

Rivers is in a tough situation career wise. I feel for him because his body is failing him just as the team is requiring more from him. He's still effective, but its a severe comedown from his past glory. And while Manning had nothing really to prove at the end, that's unfortunately not the case with Rivers. 

44 Rivers' production

Rivers would have probably looked better if he had Castonzo all game (and Ryan Kelly at C for that matter).  Kelly has been substantially underrated for a long time.  It's weird, but they have decent TE/RBs in the short/med passing game to support him if they are not needed to help block (JJ Watt, I'm looking in your direction).  If Parris Campbell returns from IR this year and the OL is healthy (a big IF considering Castonzo's MCL sprain), this could be a very solid O.  The fast WRs can't really open things up as one would hope because the QB can't reach them accurately 30 yards downfield, so Reich will have to be creative.

32 My prediction of a 14+ point…

My prediction of a 14+ point KC win was obviously off, but it may as well have been a 2 TD win.  Tampa was never in that game...it was pretty much over after 14 minutes.

I don't see why DVOA is so in love with TB this year.  They seem like a fringe top-10 team at best.

Again, I know DVOA can only go on the results of a play...but if there was ever a league (particularly this season) where stats don't tell the whole story, it is NFL.  Tampa's secondary is not good and their offense is bipolar.

Also read a fun fact...Tampa is 1-3 since signing Antonio Brown.  Not saying it is a curse, but Brady seems to be trying to force the ball to him.

38 Feedback

Jerome Harrison, not James Harrison, for the Browns RB.

Thank you. I always make that silly mistake. It has been fixed.

I see Wentz is at -738 on the season, is the record for futility in danger? 

I can't believe this, but -- yes, absolutely. The record is -1,145 by rookie Josh Rosen in 2018. The only other players to hit negative four digits were rookie David Carr and rookie Blaine Gabbert. For an established veteran who has been successful in the past to suddenly play THIS poorly is pretty shocking.

but how does that work out for something like Montgomery's 57 yard run?   If it had been a 57 yard TD it would have been essentially the same as an even longer TD, right?   but in this case it wasn't a TD and it can't be that he wouldn't have benefitted from not being brought down short of the goal line, can it? Especially since they ended up not punching it in...

It's not that there is no reward for longer plays, it's that diminishing returns kick in and each yard after 40 or so gains less and less DYAR than the yard that came before it.

How can a team be both simultaneously great at defending quarterbacks but awful at defending wide receivers?  Surely turnovers aren't the whole answer there, as there are plenty of other teams around TB in the takeaway category that don't merit massive DYAR adjustments.

I addressed this in the essay, but then a kind reader also added this:

Sacks and INTs count against the QB, but not the WR. So TB's defense looks really good against QBs, but only marginal against WRs.

Which explains most of the difference.

I'm a little confused, because prior to this week DVOA had Tampa ranked #2 at defending passes to #1 WRs (-34.9% - per premium stats). (I would assume Hill gets the #1 WR designation for the Chiefs?)

Yes, Hill is Kansas City's No. 1 WR. Tampa Bay ranks so high in DVOA against No. 1s because they have six interceptions on those throws -- nobody else has more than four, and the average is less than two. They are allowing No. 1s to catch 69% of passes for 7.1 yards per throw, compared to league averages of 65% and 8.7. So they prevent big plays, but allow shorter catches. As far as preventing No. 1 WRs from catching balls and gaining yards, they are in the middle of the pack.

Corey Dillon broke Payton's record in 2000, with 278 rushing yards (Payton's record was 275 yards). Unless you mean Payton had the rookie  single game record as well. 

That is a big blunder on my part. Totally different games. I'll take that part out of the essay. Thank you.

I'm a little surprised that DK's Monday Night Football performance didn't show up on the best games of the week for receivers. Is that because of the incompletions?

He missed by 1 DYAR. Three incompletions and two failed completions on third down made the difference. Opponent adjustments also hurt him -- he would have been fourth without them.