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

Week 16 Quick Reads

Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Following a six-game losing streak that dropped them to 5-7, the Chicago Bears have won three games in a row and now control their own postseason destiny: if they beat the Green Bay Packers at home on Sunday, they're in the playoffs. The key to Chicago's turnaround has been Mitchell Trubisky. In his last four games (including a strong performance in a 34-30 loss to Detroit), Trubisky has completed 72% of his passes for an 8.1-yard average with seven touchdowns, seven sacks, and two interceptions. The Bears are now 6-2 in when they start Trubisky, who is playing as well as he ever has -- his 7.8% DVOA over the past month is higher than the 3.6% mark he posted in 2018, the best season of his career.

What's notable about Trubisky's improvement is how he has been more aggressive and taken more risks this season. His interception rate of 2.7% is actually up from his 2019 rate of 1.9%, but he's averaging a full yard more per pass (7.1, up from 6.1) and is throwing way more touchdowns (6.3% of his passes have produced six points this year, nearly double his 3.3% rate last season).

That radical change in Trubisky's numbers really shows up when we look at QB Styles for 2020. I introduced QB Styles in Week 2 of 2019 and revisited them in Week 16 that same year. You can read those articles (and this Twitter thread) for details on the process, but the quick and dirty explanation is that I calculate three statistics for each quarterback:

  • sacks per dropback;
  • interceptions per dropback;
  • a modified version of yards per pass attempt, awarding a 20-yard bonus for passing touchdowns and subtracting interceptions from pass attempts so they are not counted twice.

I then chart those three statistics into a graph that looks like this:

Image 1

And then find the average position for each quarterback on those three lines. This leaves all quarterbacks falling into one of three categories:

  • Gunslingers (quarterbacks who throw a lot of interceptions) are marked in green and found at the top of the graph;
  • Game Managers (quarterbacks who avoid sacks and interceptions but fail to produce yards and touchdowns) are marked in red and found in the lower right;
  • and Sack-Takers (self-explanatory) are marked in blue and found in the lower left.

I charted results for 39 quarterbacks this year, which is a lot. That includes the 36 quarterbacks with at least 200 passes, plus three more (San Francisco's Jimmy Garoppolo, Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts, and New Orleans' Taysom Hill) who have thrown at least 100 passes and could theoretically be starting somewhere in 2021.

Here are the results (click to open a larger image in a new window):

Image 2

Remember that this is a measurement of each quarterback's playing style, not his quality. Near the middle of the graph, MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers comes very close to historically awful Carson Wentz, while DYAR-leader Patrick Mahomes is perfectly overlapped with fringe starter Teddy Bridgewater. That doesn't mean those four quarterbacks are equal to each other, just that each is consistently weak or strong in all categories across the board. To help distinguish the good quarterbacks from the bad, I have adjusted the size of each quarterback's marker -- good quarterbacks (as measured by Pro Football Reference's ANY/A metric) have large dots, while bad quarterbacks have small dots.

In 2019, Trubisky was solidly in the lower right portion of this graph, one of the league's preeminent Game Managers. In 2020, with his new-found boom-or-bust results, he's right smack dab in the middle of the Gunslingers category. No quarterback who qualified for both seasons saw a bigger change in style between this year and last. Other quarterbacks who saw major shifts include:

Deshaun Watson, HOU: Watson provides a good example about how QB Styles show the relationship between various statistics and not just the statistics themselves. In 2019, he was technically a Game Manager, but was pretty much dead-center in the graph. In 2020, he was the standout Sack-Taker in the game, at least among full-time starters (sorry, Taysom Hill). That sounds like a guy who took a lot more sacks this year, but Watson's sack rate was literally unchanged -- it was 8.2% in 2019, and it's 8.2% again in 2020. So what happened? Watson's yards per attempt, already pretty good at 7.8, shot up to a league-leading 8.8. His touchdown rate went up a bit too, and those combined to move him up and left from the center. Watson also cut his interception rate in half, from 2.4% to 1.2%, which then pushed him straight down. So even though Watson isn't taking any more sacks than he used to, he has improved so much in other areas that his pocket presence (and Houston's pass protection) were by far his biggest weakness this season.

Tom Brady, TB: One year ago at this time, Brady was dinking-and-dunking for an anemic offense that was carried by a dominant defense to a postseason berth, where they were promptly upset at home. At age 42, Brady and his arm looked washed up. Well … funny story. It turns out that if you take Brady away from Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, and Mohamed Sanu and give him Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski instead, he plays a whole hell of a lot differently. Brady has seen major boosts in both yards per pass (from 6.8 to 7.8) and touchdown rate (3.9% to 6.3% -- the latter would be his best since 2016) and cut back on sacks (3.4%, down from 4.2%). His interception rate has climbed from 1.3% to 1.9%, but the Bucs have been more than happy to live with that. Brady was the top Game Manager in the league last year, but he has been more of a Gunslinger this season. Really, though, it's his ability to avoid sacks that has been, and remains, his greatest asset.

Kirk Cousins, MIN: With Brady, there are obvious reasons we would expect change. Not so with Cousins -- he didn't switch teams and saw little change in personnel, with rookie Justin Jefferson taking over for Stefon Diggs at wide receiver. Whatever the reason, though, Cousins has produced a lot of splash plays this year, both good and bad. His touchdown rate is up to a career-best 6.7%, but his interception rate of 2.7% is his highest since 2014, and his sack rate of 7.0% is his highest since 2017. He is averaging 8.1 yards per pass, just like last year, but all those touchdowns, sacks, and turnovers have taken a Game Manager and turned him into the NFL's top anti-Game Manager, the player furthest to the upper left (if you ignore the part-timer Garoppolo).

Carson Wentz, PHI: We have covered Wentz extensively in this space this year, as many other analysts have done in many other spaces. The TL;DR version: Wentz declined in virtually every way, but especially in making big mistakes. He still leads the league with 50 sacks taken, and will probably finish first in that category despite being benched for a quarter of the season. (Watson and Russell Wilson are tied for second with 45 each.) He's also tied with Drew Lock with a league-high 15 interceptions. All those mistakes have turned Wentz from an extreme Game Manager into something of a Sack-Taker, though he's really a centrist -- which, in his case, means he sucks at everything.

It's interesting that all five of the quarterbacks who had the biggest changes in style in 2020 had been Game Managers in 2019. It appears that it's difficult game-changing plays forever, and eventually a flurry of sacks, interceptions, or touchdowns (or all of the above) are inevitable.

A few other notes on this chart:

  • If you could combine Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens into one uber-49ers QB, you would have the top Gunslinger in the land … which is strange for an offense built around short passes with lots of YAC.
     
  • The top anti-Gunslinger is a rookie, Miami's Tua Tagovailoa. His closest rival in this category is another rookie who was also his rival when they both played college football in the SEC: Cincinnati's Joe Burrow. They're joined in the bottom-center of the chart by Daniel Jones and Gardner Minshew, a pair of second-year players. Perhaps this is a trend among younger quarterbacks -- they're so wary of turning the ball over that they fail to take advantage of available plays downfield.
     
  • We already mentioned Watson as the league's top Sack-Taker; his counterpart is Denver's Drew Lock. As previously noted, Lock is tied for the league lead in interceptions, but he's not in the top 30 in sacks taken. If he throws at least two interceptions against the Raiders, he'll be the first qualifying quarterback with as many interceptions as sacks since Matt Barkley had 14 interceptions and six sacks with the Bears in 2016. (This is not always a bad thing -- Peyton Manning did it five times.)
     
  • There's no obvious answer for the league's top Game Manager this year -- there's a big empty pocket in the lower right of our chart. By default, we'll go with Ben Roethlisberger, who is averaging only 6.3 yards per throw. He's ranging up towards Gunslinger territory, however, because he has struggled far more with interceptions (10, tied for 10th) than with sacks (13, 35th).

 


 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tom Brady TB
22/27
348
4
0
1
186
186
0
DET
Brady finishes in first place despite losing a league-high 56 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was successful on 75% of his dropbacks. That's the most by any quarterback in any game this year, but he had a lot of competition -- Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Brandon Allen were all over 70% too. He was the league's best passer inside the opponents' 40 (9-of-10 for 133 yards and four touchdowns) and on throws down the middle (9-of-11 for 153 yards; all nine of thows completions picked up first downs, including a touchdown).
2.
Josh Allen BUF
27/36
320
4
0
0
182
170
12
NE
3.
Brandon Allen CIN
29/37
371
2
0
0
169
174
-5
HOU
Brady Allen finishes in first third place despite losing a league-high 56 DYAR 52 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the league's best passer on throws to his left, completing all 14 of his passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns; a 15th throw picked up 7 yards on a DPI. The Texans tied this game at 17-all midway through the third quarter; from that point to the end of the game, Allen went 11-of-13 for 161 yards and a touchdown.
4.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
34/49
342
3
0
1
158
158
0
IND
Roethlisberger had the league's best numbers on passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage (10-of-11 for 56 yards and a touchdown), and on deep balls that traveled 16-plus yards downfield (5-of-8 for 135 yards and two touchdowns, plus two DPIs for 45 more yards). He also threw for a league-high 21 first downs. His DYAR by quarter: -11, 1, 81, 93.
5.
Andy Dalton DAL
22/30
377
3
1
2
129
131
-1
PHI
Dalton's average pass came with a league-low 7.1 yards to go for a first down, and his average completion gained a league-high 10.2 yards after the catch. You can see how that math would work out in Dallas' favor. He was the league's best passer on third/fourth downs (6-of-9 for 95 yards with one sack and four conversions, including a touchdown; a 10th throw resulted in a 34-yard DPI).
6.
Kirk Cousins MIN
27/41
291
3
0
2
115
115
0
NO
Cousins gains 47 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the week's best passer on throws to tight ends (10-of-15 for 84 yards and two touchdowns) and in the red zone (4-of-7 for 21 yards and three touchdowns, plus a 17-yard DPI).
7.
Aaron Rodgers GB
21/25
231
4
1
1
105
110
-5
TEN
Rodgers was the best quarterback on plays from under center (9-of-10 for 108 yards and four, count 'em, four touchdowns).
8.
Derek Carr LV
21/33
336
1
0
3
103
99
4
MIA
Carr was the league's best passer in the no-huddle (3-of-4 for 50 yards, plus a 49-yard DPI).
9.
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA
9/13
182
1
0
0
93
93
0
LV
Fitzpatrick came into this game with Miami down 16-13 in the fourth quarter and proceeded to lead the league in fourth-quarter DYAR. He produced five first downs in 10 minutes; Tua Tagovailoa, Miami's starter, only had four in 50.
10.
Matt Ryan ATL
27/35
300
2
0
4
91
91
0
KC
Ryan was the league's best passer on throws to his right. Fifteen times he threw the ball in that direction; 14 of those balls were caught for a combined 157 yards, and the other picked up 11 yards on a DPI.
11.
Deshaun Watson HOU
24/33
324
3
0
1
88
94
-6
CIN
Watson was the week's worst passer without a huddle. He had three plays in that situation, all on first-and-10: an incompletion, a completion for no gain (which his receiver then fumbled for good measure), and a sack-fumble.
12.
Drew Brees NO
19/26
311
0
2
0
67
67
0
MIN
Surprisingly, Brees had the league's worst numbers on passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage (2-of-4 for 11 yards with an interception).
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Lamar Jackson BAL
17/25
183
2
0
0
66
67
-1
NYG
Jackson threw one touchdown in the first quarter and one in the fourth, but in between those two plays he went pretty cold, going 10-of-18 for 100 yards. He also ran 12 times for 80 yards, but he had negative DYAR because only four of those runs picked up first downs and he lost a fumble at the goal line.
14.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
24/35
265
2
1
1
63
54
9
JAX
Trubisky threw 10 balls that traveled more than 11 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. One was completed for 22 yards, two picked up DPIs for 34 more yards, one was intercepted, and the rest were incomplete.
15.
C.J. Beathard SF
13/22
182
3
0
3
56
52
4
ARI
Beathard was the week's best passer on throws to running backs (7-of-10 for 59 yards and three touchdowns).
16.
Russell Wilson SEA
20/31
225
1
0
5
54
38
16
LAR
Wilson gains 41 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He ran twice for 10 yards and a touchdown. His first 16 dropbacks produced exactly one first down. Up to that point he had gone 8-of-14 for 60 yards with two sacks.
17.
Justin Herbert LAC
21/33
253
1
0
2
43
36
7
DEN
Herbert only converted three third-down plays, going 5-of-11 for 80 yards with one touchdown and one sack.
18.
Taylor Heinicke WAS
12/19
137
1
0
1
41
32
8
CAR
Heinicke came into this game with Washington trailing 20-6 in the fourth quarter. His average pass traveled a league-high 13.4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Eight of his 19 passes counted as deep balls, traveling more than 15 yards downfield. Only seven passers threw more deep balls this week. Only two of Heinicke's deep balls were completed, however, for a total of 48 yards.
19.
Blaine Gabbert TB
9/15
143
2
0
1
26
20
6
DET
Gabbert entered the game with Tampa Bay up 40-0 in the second quarter and proceeded to throw two touchdowns in his first six passes. It was just the 10th time that Gabbert, the 10th overall draft pick in 2011, has thrown for multiple touchdowns in a single game, and the first since Week 12 of 2017, when Gabbert's Arizona Cardinals beat his original team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, 27-24.
20.
Philip Rivers IND
22/35
270
1
1
5
24
24
0
PIT
Rivers gains a league-high 70 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His DYAR by quarter: -7, 69, -4, -40. His second quarter started with a sack-fumble, but after that he went 6-of-7 for 106 yards and a touchdown. He had seven dropbacks with 5 yards or less to go for a first down and failed to convert any of them, completing two passes that gained zero yards each, throwing two incompletions, and taking three sacks.
21.
Patrick Mahomes KC
24/44
278
2
1
0
13
3
10
ATL
No, this was not the worst game of Patrick Mahomes' career -- it was the second-worst game of his career. Mahomes has had negative DYAR exactly one time, but nobody noticed because A) it was in Week 17 of last season and nobody pays attention to Week 17, and B) Kansas City won anyway, beating the Chargers 31-21 thanks largely to a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Mecole Hardman and an 84-yard touchdown run by Damien Williams. So yes, Mahomes has had a bad game in his career. He has also finished first in Quick Reads eight times (and second six times) in the last three years.
22.
Sam Darnold NYJ
16/32
175
2
0
2
-17
-17
0
CLE
No quarterback this season has a worse DYAR than Sam Darnold in the second half of games, and he was terrible at the end of this one too. He picked up just one first down in his last 14 dropbacks, going 5-of-14 for 23 yards and turning a comfortable 20-3 lead into a nailbiting 20-16 win.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Daniel Jones NYG
24/41
252
1
0
6
-20
-17
-3
BAL
Jones had a very streaky game. He had four separate stretches where he picked up first downs on at least three straight dropbacks. He also had stretches with one first down in five dropbacks, zero in seven, and finally zero in 12. In that last bit, going from the third quarter to the fourth, he went 5-of-8 for 19 yards, plus four sacks that lost a combined 20 yards.
24.
Jarrett Stidham NE
4/11
44
0
0
1
-20
-20
0
BUF
25.
Cam Newton NE
5/10
34
0
0
2
-29
-44
15
BUF
26.
Teddy Bridgewater CAR
19/28
197
1
1
4
-32
-26
-6
WAS
Bridgewater gains 45 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He did not play well in Football Team territory, going 6-of-9 for 40 yards with more sacks (three) or turnovers (two, an interception and a fumble) than touchdowns (one).
27.
Drew Lock DEN
25/46
264
0
2
2
-35
-42
7
LAC
Lock was the week's worst passer on deep balls (3-of-14 for 62 yards with two interceptions, though one was a Hail Mary) and on throws to his left (8-of-16 for 50 yards with an interception).
28.
Chase Daniel DET
13/18
86
0
0
3
-43
-43
0
TB
Daniel came into this game with Detroit down 13-0 in the first quarter and left it with a 47-7 deficit in the fourth. In between, he threw for all of three first downs. He did not have a single dropback in Tampa Bay territory. He did get to the 50-yard line once, but promptly threw an incompletion and then gave up a sack.
29.
David Blough DET
6/10
49
0
1
1
-51
-60
9
TB
Daniel Blough came into this game with Detroit down 13-0 47-7 in the first fourth quarter. And then things got worse -- his average pass came with a league-high 12.3 yards to go for a first down. Unlike Daniel, he did get the Lions into Buccaneers territory ... where he went 2-for-5 for 16 yards with more sacks (one) than first downs (zero).
30.
Mike Glennon JAX
25/37
211
2
2
1
-56
-56
0
CHI
Glennon's average completion gained a league-low 2.9 yards after the catch. On a related note, he was the week's worst passer on throws to running backs (5-of-7 for 13 yards with an interception).
31.
Kyler Murray ARI
31/49
247
0
1
3
-60
-92
32
SF
Murray's rushing numbers: eight carries for 75 yards. He ran for four first downs, including conversions on all three of his fourth-down attempts. However, he threw a dozen failed completions, most in the league. He was also the league's worst passer on throws to wide receivers, completing 23 of 33 passes for 202 yards (which sounds OK, but 99 of those yards came on three plays) with an interception.
32.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
17/22
94
1
0
3
-74
-75
1
LV
This was the third time in eight NFL starts that Tagovailoa has finished with at least 20 pass attempts but fewer than 100 passing yards. Only two other quarterbacks in the NFL this season have even done it once: Lamar Jackson on Monday night against Kansas City in Week 3 and Mike Glennon against Tennessee in Week 13. Nobody has had three such games in a year since 2000, when Cincinnati's Akili Smith had four -- that's tied with Oakland's Tom Flores in 1960 for the single-season record. One reason Tagovailoa's yardage total was so low against Las Vegas is that his average pass traveled a league-low 4.0 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He did throw a game-tying touchdown pass in the third quarter, but after that he went 1-of-3 for 1 yard with three sacks, leading to his benching.
33.
Jared Goff LAR
24/43
234
0
1
3
-88
-74
-14
SEA
Goff tied a career high with seven runs but only gained 23 yards on those carries. None of those runs picked up first downs, including a stuff on third-and-goal from the 1. He was the league's worst quarterback on plays from under center (4-of-9 for 34 yards with an interception). He had 11 dropbacks at or within the Seattle 33-yard line, going 2-of-10 for 17 yards with a sack and an interception.
34.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
11/24
121
1
2
2
-90
-108
18
GB
Tannehill's rushing numbers: three carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. He was, by a country mile, the worst passer on throws to his right (2-of-9 for 20 yards with two interceptions), and on plays with a huddle (which was most of his plays -- in the no-huddle he went 4-of-6 for 51 yards and a touchdown).
35.
Jalen Hurts PHI
21/39
342
1
2
3
-93
-79
-14
DAL
Hurst loses 40 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He ran nine times for 69 yards, with a fumble. Hurts was the league's worst passer on third/fourth downs (5-of-12 for 73 yards with three conversions and two interceptions) and inside the opponents' 40 (4-of-11 for 29 yards, no touchdowns, three sacks, one interception, one fumble). However, he was the best passer inside his own 40 (10-of-13 for 220 yards and a touchdown, plus a 43-yard DPI). Hurts now has nine fumbles in 284 snaps this season. For comparison's sake, Derek Carr leads the league with 11 fumbles, but he has played 937 snaps.
36.
Baker Mayfield CLE
28/51
285
0
0
4
-99
-100
1
NYJ
Mayfield failed to throw for a touchdown despite getting 20 dropbacks inside the Jets' 40-yard line, where he went 7-of-18 for 63 yards with an 11-yard DPI and a sack. He did run for first downs on two third-and-1 plays in the red zone, but the game basically ended when he was stuffed on fourth-and-1 (with a fumble) in the red zone in the final minutes.
37.
Dwayne Haskins WAS
14/28
154
0
2
2
-132
-132
0
CAR
Welp. Far be it from us to kick a man when he's down.

 

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.
Alvin Kamara NO
22
155
6
3/5
17
0
83
88
-5
MIN
I did not watch the Vikings-Saints game on Christmas night, but when I saw that Kamara had run for 155 yards and a half-dozen touchdowns, and that the Saints had tied the NFL's all-time record with 21 rushing first downs, I assumed this would be the best running back game of the year, and one of the best of all time. Well, wrong on both counts. First, Kamara's day as a receiver was nothing special. Second, there's the manner of opponent adjustments -- without them, Kamara had 110 rushing YAR, which would be the best game of the year, 20 more than anyone else. And third, Kamara's teammates (12 first downs in 20 carries) actually moved the chains more efficiently than he did (nine in 22). Kamara's game was very good, but the Saints as a team were even better. They gained a first down on half their carries (including six in a row to open the game), and every one of those 42 runs gained at least 1 yard. For comparison's sake, the Saints' division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have rushed for 22 first downs in six games since their Week 10 bye, being stuffed 20 times over that time.
2.
Jeff Wilson SF
22
183
0
1/2
21
1
63
44
18
ARI
The Cardinals managed to stuff Wilson three times, but he still ran for eight first downs. Seven of those plays gained double-digit yardage, including gains of 23, 25, and 34 yards.
3.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
19
105
0
4/4
34
0
58
37
21
PHI
Elliott gains 23 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He only ran for four first downs, but he was stuffed just once, with gains of 14 and 31 yards. Only one of his catches produced a first down, but three were successful plays, and the other was a 4-yard gain on first-and-10.
4.
AJ Dillon GB
21
124
2
1/1
5
0
55
52
3
TEN
The Titans stuffed Dillon three times -- all of them with Green Bay up by at least 12 points in the second half. He still ran for seven first downs, including gains of 14 and 30 yards.
5.
Gus Edwards BAL
15
85
0
2/2
37
0
54
33
22
NYG
Though Edwards was stuffed twice, he still ran for seven first downs in only 15 carries, the longest a gain of 32. All three of his catches produced first downs too, including a 27-yard gain on second-and-17.

 

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.
Alvin Kamara NO
22
155
6
3/5
17
0
83
88
-5
MIN
2.
AJ Dillon GB
21
124
2
1/1
5
0
55
52
3
TEN
3.
Jeff Wilson SF
22
183
0
1/2
21
1
63
44
18
ARI
4.
Jonathan Taylor IND
18
74
2
0/1
0
0
39
44
-5
PIT
Taylor gains 18 total DYAR due to opponent adjustments. The Steelers stuffed him twice, but he also ran for a half-dozen first downs, including gains of 11 and 18 yards.
5.
J.K. Dobbins BAL
11
77
1
0/1
0
0
27
43
-16
NYG
Dobbins was stuffed once against the Giants. His other 10 runs all gained at least 2 yards, and even the 2-yarder was a touchdown. He only had two other first downs, but they came on gains of 17 and 25 yards.

 

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.
Salvon Ahmed MIA
6
2
0
1/1
1
0
-38
-33
-5
LV
Remember when I said the Saints gave up zero stuffs in 42 runs? Ahmed was stuffed four times in six carries against the Raiders, including failures to convert on third-and-1 and third-and-2. None of his carries gained a first down; his only successful carry was a 3-yard gain on second-and-4. His only catch was a 1-yard gain on second-and-10. Oh, did we mention he did this against THE RAIDERS??? The team that was next to last in run defense DVOA coming into the week? So Ahmed lost 14 rushing DYAR due to opponent adjustments in only six carries.

 

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.
Salvon Ahmed MIA
6
2
0
1/1
1
0
-38
-33
-5
LV

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Davante Adams GB
11
12
142
12.9
3
98
TEN
Nine of Adams' catches produced first downs; the others were 6- and 8-yard gains on first-and-10. All three of his touchdowns came from within the Tennessee 8-yard line, but he also had three catches of 20 yards or more, the longest a 32-yarder on third-and-10.
2.
Nelson Agholor LV
5
6
155
31.0
1
80
MIA
All of Agholor's catches produced first downs, including an 85-yard touchdown on first-and-20. He added a sixth first down on a 49-yard DPI.
3.
Mike Evans TB
10
12
181
18.1
2
79
DET
Evans loses 16 DAR due to opponent adjustments. Seven of his catches gained at least 15 yards and a first down, the longest a gain of 33, and he also had a 35-yard DPI. Oh, and six of his 13 total targets (including the DPI) were thrown by Blaine Gabbert instead of Tom Brady, which must be one of the biggest drop-offs in in-game quarterback talent we have ever seen.
4.
Stefon Diggs BUF
9
11
145
16.1
3
69
NE
Eight of Diggs' catches produced first downs, the longest a 50-yard touchdown.
5.
Michael Gallup DAL
6
8
121
20.2
2
63
PHI
All six of Gallup's catches produced first downs, the longest a gain of 55. He added a seventh first down on a 26-yard DPI.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jerry Jeudy DEN
6
15
61
10.2
0
-50
LAC
Only three of Jeudy's catches moved the chains. One was a 10-yard gain on third-and-13, one of his four failures to convert on third down.

Comments

91 comments, Last at 30 Dec 2020, 9:26pm

1 Gabbled Gabbert

Gabbert entered the game with Tampa Bay up 40-0 in the second quarter and proceeded to throw two touchdowns in his first six passes.

I think he entered after halftime with the score a mere 34-0. Not that it alters anything.

In yet more No-One-Understands-What-QBR-Measures news, Ryan Tannehill had 85.2 QBR for his 11-of-24, 2-sack, 2-pick, 104 net passing yards performance. By comparison, Roethlisberger (who finished 4th by DYAR) had 61.6 and Cousins (6th) 67.1. It feels like DYAR got closer.

14 Tennessee coached did no…

In reply to by ammek

Tennessee coached did no favors for Tannehill by continually having them run on 1st and 2nd downs setting up obvious passing situations. It’s nice to have Henry but it’s like they failed to acknowledge that their defense was horribly outmatched and they might have to score 30+ points.

15 The funny thing is that…

The funny thing is that Green Bay runs a similar offense and their gameplan wasn't drastically different from Tennessee's - GB achieved the same run/pass balance it seemed like Tennessee wanted, but were way more varied in mixing up play calls and showing different formations, personnel groupings, etc. The Titans were too predictable with all of those early down runs into 6-man fronts, and one of the things the Packers actually sometimes do well is anticipate play action, so it was tough going for them. Plus Tennessee's tackles were getting destroyed.

16 There just has to be…

In reply to by ammek

There just has to be something broken in the QBR formula about how it handles QB rushing or tries to scale it to 100 or whatever. QBR is supposed to be an EPA-based stat, and even including the rushing TD, Tannehill's raw EPA and EPA/play were still very poor for the game.

18 QBR's scale has been broken…

QBR's scale has been broken for a while, but this year it's become laughable. A score of 50 is supposed to be average and correlate with a 50% win rate, but every season except 2006 has seen an average QBR of over 50. In recent season it's been closer to 57-58 and this year it's more like 65.

Brian Burke says they rescale the stat every year to account for changes in offensive levels, but whatever they're doing obviously isn't working.

17 QBR is silly

It's because QBR grossly overweights rushing. Tannehill's 45 yard TD run is enough to cancel out 26 dropbacks of suckiness. Check out Terrelle Pryor's 2013 game vs PIT or Kaepernick's 2014 game vs SD for more of the same nonsense.

I think this happens because QBR divides credit among several players on pass plays but gives the QB full credit for his runs. It's a glaring problem that ESPN needs to address, but if they haven't by now I doubt they ever will.

37 The Pryor game is exactly…

In reply to by Red

The Pryor game is exactly what came to my mind, too! 93 yard TD on the first play from scrimmage, and then this the rest of the game: 8 rushes for 13 yards; 10/19 passing for 88 yds, 2 INTs and 2 sacks. QBR? 91.9! Just win, baby!

Pretty sad that ESPN can't come up with a better model than that. At least their Power Index is pretty good.

89 In defense of all, all in one metrics

If you gotta go back 7 and 6 years (and still remember somehow) maybe it's a little overblown. 

Every all in one metric will mess up sometimes but in the grand scale look at this years rankings. Rodgers and Mahomes are 1 and 2 respectively and Mullens and Darnold are 31 and 32 respectively. That sounds about right imo. 

2 Comments

Has anyone Else ever led in DYAR while only playing a half and losing the highest weekly total for opponent adjustments?

it would be useful—when writing one blurb under two QBs with the same last Name—to use the the initial of the first name of the quarterback you are writing about. You did not mention the team until the third sentence.

Do you know if FitzMagic set any records—DYAR per minute, or something like that?

3 Unfortunately

In reply to by Raiderfan

DYAR does not have an adjustment for how the Lions completely quit after Stafford went out.

8 As bad of a coach as Matt…

In reply to by BigBen07

As bad of a coach as Matt Patricia was, the one thing you have to give him is that the team still played hard when Stafford missed the second half of 2019.  Apparently the interim to the interim coach doesn't have those motivational powers.

4 God, Blough and Daniel.I…

God, Blough and Daniel.

I know other fans like ragging on Stafford because he’s not clutch or 31337 or something so puerile it doesn’t deserve to be spelled with letters. But there’s a reason Detroit is 4-39 in games Stafford doesn’t substantially play and the Lions haven’t won without him since 2012.

10 "the Lions haven’t won…

"the Lions haven’t won without him since 2012."

More like 2010: Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton are the last two non-Stafford Lions quarterbacks to actually win games.

5 Just curious - what's the…

Just curious - what's the highest number of QBs ever to show up on QR? Seems like there were a lot of qualifiers this week, and the Lions' starter wasn't even one of them!

6 Has anyone Else ever led in…

Has anyone Else ever led in DYAR while only playing a half and losing the highest weekly total for opponent adjustments?

Sitting out the whole second half while playing well is a bit uncommon already. It might be more interesting to look for any half that would have been good enough to lead the week in DYAR. I’d be curious about any QB who so dominates the week that he laps the field in that way, while bucking an opponent adjustment headwind.

 

7 Excitement Index

On the QB Color Wheel, I should think the most exciting players are along the sack-taker/gunslinger axe. Sure enough, there we find Wilson, Watson and Jackson, as well as the QBs in the Kubiak/Shanahan scheme, and the undisputed emperor of fun quarterbacking, Ryan Fitzpatrick. To make it truly representative of passing styles, as opposed to styles of offense, I suppose it would eventually be nice to reward air yards and minimize YAC when calculating adjusted yards per attempt, which would draw the Kubnahan QBs closer to the center, leaving Fitzmagic by himself at the top of the graphic, where he truly belongs.

44 QB Color Wheel

Until there's a fourth axis for trash talking, fluffin' Phil Rivers will sit this flippin' one out.

12 I like these style charts a…

I like these style charts a lot, but I'm not sure it catches what's happening with Trubisky. The Next Gen stats site can be buggy, so I hope these links work, but the biggest difference this season seems to be that Trubisky has been much more efficient at and within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage (especially compared to Foles). Arguably Trubisky is having his worst season throwing deep 20+ yards downfield.

https://nextgenstats.nfl.com/charts/player/mitchell-trubisky/TRU215336/2020

https://nextgenstats.nfl.com/charts/list/qb-grid/chicago-bears/season/week

I've watched him play against the Packers and a little bit against the Jags since his return and I don't know, he looks like mostly the same dude to me: good mobility, big arm, erratic accuracy, bad decision-making. But it does go to show that if you're more accurate in short areas, or you manufacture better opportunities there, that can go just as far to help your yards/attempt and passing efficiency.

13 Drew Lock appears to be in a…

Drew Lock appears to be in a category of his own. I'm not sure how you label a QB who throws very few yards/TDs, many INTS, but never gets sacked. 'Failed game-manager'?

79 "Traitor"

In reply to by Aaron Brooks G…

"Traitor"?  Hmmm, no.  "Double Agent".

19 Should the Bears keep…

Should the Bears keep Trubisky?  I've been anti-Trubisky for awhile, but now I am having doubts.  Not sure what the Bears should do next season at QB.

22 As a Packers fan, nothing…

As a Packers fan, nothing would please me more than for the Bears to commit to more years of Trubisky and I know I'm not alone among Packers fans in feeling that way. If your rival fans want you to do a thing, you should probably not do that thing.

30 ontheotherhand

If your rival fans want you to do a thing, you should probably not do that thing

 

I remember 49ers fans confidently betting against Russell Wilson for years, until they slowly and grudgingly admitted they were wrong.  & Josh Allen, etc.  I think the jury is still out on Trubisky.

 

 

43 There's no way you can…

In reply to by scraps

There's no way you can rationally compare RW's first few years to Trubisky's first few.  An off year for Wilson was still top half of the league in DYAR, while he was mostly in the 4th-8th range.  Trubisky's best year, on the other hand, has in the high teens, while he mostly hangs out right around replacement level in the mid-20s.

49ers fans were wrong (and stupid) for betting against Wilson based on what he showed early on, but it would be very rational to bet against Trubisky based on what he's shown in 1500+ pass attempts.  I'm not saying he's a complete lost cause, but the probability of his last 4 games being nothing more than an outlier is pretty high.

66 okay, but

There's no way you can rationally compare RW's first few years to Trubisky's first few.

 

Mkay, but I didn't compare.  All I did was taking off of your sentence, "If your rival fans want you to do a thing, you should probably not do that thing".  Perhaps I didn't need to -- you didn't phrase it as an absolute, anyway -- and maybe I just should have said that I have considerably more confidence in Trubisky than you do.

72 I didn't actually post that,…

In reply to by scraps

I didn't actually post that, you were responding to someone else. 

Be that as it may, my assertion was that SF fans doubting Wilson were doing so on flawed assumptions/negligible evidence.  Opposing fans doubting Trubisky are standing on much firmer evidentiary ground (that evidence being that his baseline play has been right around replacement level).

Nobody saw Josh Allen coming, I'll grant you that, but the Bills didn't have to extend him to enjoy his surprising and insane 3rd year leap.  He's still on his rookie contract. 

The original discussion was about whether or not the Bears should extend Trubisky.  Other than a 1 year flyer for a low price, I don't think it makes sense.

77 Josh Allen

In reply to by scraps

IIRC, Josh Allen completely rebuilt his throwing motion in the offseason with the express intent to keep the arm strength while improving accuracy. I believe the biggest change involved the timing of his hip rotation

It's worked amazingly well. Allen's gone from 5th worst in CPOE in 2019 to tied for 2nd best. Watch for other QBs that do this in the future. I don't recall the name of the coach he worked with, but I expect that guy will be very busy this coming spring.

80 I've heard that narrative…

In reply to by EricL

I've heard that narrative frequently.  Honestly, though, I think what's changed most is his brain and the decisions he's making.  And maybe the offseason work helped that, by giving him new confidence.  It does seem true he's not sailing balls high regularly this year, and I suspect that's a result of the mechanics work.  But the going from the worst completion rate to one of the best, running the same offense, not a result of turning into a dink-and-dunker ... that I think is more about recognizing the throws that are makeable and the ones that are not.

Oh, and having Diggs beating the opp's No. 1 DB regularly, allowing the rest of your receivers to have weaker cover guys on them, that plays a part, too.  Easier to make good decisions when you have good options.

84 Allen's QB Coach

In reply to by EricL

His name is Jordan Palmer, Carson's younger brother. He also works with Darnold, Kyle Allen and others.

There are a lot of factors in Allen's improvement, mechanics, processing, comfort, coaching, Diggs, etc. No one thing can claim a majority of the credit, but the mechanics are huge for his consistency. Cover 1 has done a ton of articles on Allen since he was drafted, and not just his rotation but his footwork was terrible to start. He fixed most of the footwork last season, but correcting his rotation (keep an eye out for a lead foot hop on throws - a major change) and shoulder angle has made a huge difference in reducing the balls that sail on him, to the point that he leads the league in lowest bad throw %, per PFF.

85 Allen's QB Coach

In reply to by EricL

His name is Jordan Palmer, Carson's younger brother. He also works with Darnold, Kyle Allen and others.

There are a lot of factors in Allen's improvement, mechanics, processing, comfort, coaching, Diggs, etc. No one thing can claim a majority of the credit, but the mechanics are huge for his consistency. Cover 1 has done a ton of articles on Allen since he was drafted, and not just his rotation but his footwork was terrible to start. He fixed most of the footwork last season, but correcting his rotation (keep an eye out for a lead foot hop on throws - a major change) and shoulder angle has made a huge difference in reducing the balls that sail on him, to the point that he leads the league in lowest bad throw %, per PFF.

86 Allen's QB Coach

In reply to by EricL

His name is Jordan Palmer, Carson's younger brother. He also works with Darnold, Kyle Allen and others.

There are a lot of factors in Allen's improvement, mechanics, processing, comfort, coaching, Diggs, etc. No one thing can claim a majority of the credit, but the mechanics are huge for his consistency. Cover 1 has done a ton of articles on Allen since he was drafted, and not just his rotation but his footwork was terrible to start. He fixed most of the footwork last season, but correcting his rotation (keep an eye out for a lead foot hop on throws - a major change) and shoulder angle has made a huge difference in reducing the balls that sail on him, to the point that he leads the league in lowest bad throw %, per PFF.

87 Allen's QB Coach

In reply to by EricL

His name is Jordan Palmer, Carson's younger brother. He also works with Darnold, Kyle Allen and others.

There are a lot of factors in Allen's improvement, mechanics, processing, comfort, coaching, Diggs, etc. No one thing can claim a majority of the credit, but the mechanics are huge for his consistency. Cover 1 has done a ton of articles on Allen since he was drafted, and not just his rotation but his footwork was terrible to start. He fixed most of the footwork last season, but correcting his rotation (keep an eye out for a lead foot hop on throws - a major change) and shoulder angle has made a huge difference in reducing the balls that sail on him, to the point that he leads the league in lowest bad throw %, per PFF.

25 For their sake

No, they shouldnt give Trubisky new guaranteed money. Roll with Foles and, if you cant get a Dak, a drafted one (dont leave it to UDFA hoping you get Romo or Warner). Either way, temper expectations for next year too.

Or just believe Trubisky turned the corner and see more of the same next year without optimism. 

28 I think it would be a…

I think it would be a disaster to bring him back. It would waste another year for the Bears. They need to stop pretending like their next qb can be some dude off the scrap heap or some reclamation project. 

Im seeing Mariotta's name here.  I suspect that's a function of seeing Tanny ressurect his career. But guess what? That's a long shot play and if it fails, you are against wasting time. 

The only solution is to draft the next qb and hope he pans out. 

65 He looked like a perfectly…

He looked like a perfectly average QB when playing for the Raiders. Is that an improvement for the Bears? Maybe. Would a 1 year prove it be cheaper than the tag for Trusbisky? Probably.

29 Is there a market for…

Is there a market for Trubisky as a starter anywhere in the NFL?  Most QB-needy teams are terrible enough to be in position to draft a QB, with the exceptions being maybe New England and Pittsburgh if Ben hangs it up.

Keeping him on a team-friendly, incentive-laden short term contract simply because he has no other options and Bears management isn't interested in blowing it all up isn't the worst thing in the world.

48 The thing is, at the moment…

The thing is, at the moment the Bears are over the projected cap for next season. Robinson, their best offensive player, is not signed (and I don't think he wants to stay). They have Nick Foles at a $6.6 million cap hit, but if they cut or trade him they have to absorb an additional $10 million in dead money, so he's probably stuck on the roster. It's possible the cap goes up a little bit still, but basically any money earmarked to give to Trubisky next season will probably ensure their best receiver leaves and will likely require them to cut one or more defensive starters. They probably won't be in position to draft a QB in the first round.

They just need to go with Foles next season and embrace a year of purgatory. But I can't help but think the chatter we've heard in recent days about an extension is their front office is looking at the above and going, "well, if we sign Mitch to a multi-year deal, we can spread his cap hits out..."

Maybe a Cam Newton-style one year contract is an option, if you can find a way to set up a contract with unlikely-to-be-earned incentives for a guy who started more than half your games the previous season.

59 Based on his stats and the…

Based on his stats and the games I've watched he is a well below average QB, so unless you can sign him at an equivalent contract then dump him. The one factor we don't know is how he is practicing, which is a much larger sample size than games. If the coaching staff has seen real growth and it is finally showing up in games then keep him.

64 My opinion is yes, if three…

My opinion is yes, if three things are true:

1. The most important condition is whether he can still be signed for next to nothing. I hear the phrase "franchise tag" and I think, oh HELL no. The same goes for a multi-year deal, even if it's not fully guaranteed and even if it's cheap by NFL QB standards in 2020 - say, 3 years/$50M, with half of that guaranteed. No way, no how. But if the market is such that you can get him for 1 year, $5M or less? I'm open to it.

2. The Bears draft a QB, but not in the 1st round. They're stuck with Foles for next year, presumably as an overpaid backup. Their current 3rd stringer is pushing 30. They need someone young with upside, even if that guy is still unlikely to be their long-term solution. Meanwhile, it is unlikely there is going to be a good starting-caliber FA, and the Bears couldn't afford to pay him anyway if there was. A Trubisky/Foles/~3rd round rookie QB room for 2021 is probably the best they can hope for.

3. The Bears have a different GM. That new GM will not be tied to Trubisky and will be evaluating him as a free agent, not as the guy he traded up to draft 4 years ago. (Plus, it would be hard for that GM to be a worse evaluator of QBs than Ryan Pace was). Basically, a new GM makes me feel better about points 1 and 2 - I don't worry that he'll overpay Trubisky, nor do I think that he'll put his finger on the scales to make sure that Trubisky starts in 2021.

Bottom line: in my opinion, there is no good QB option for them in 2021 and I believe the Bears need to rebuild. A short Trubisky deal gives them a slightly better chance to win in 2021 than just throwing up their hands and going with Foles as their starter; it also doesn't hurt them in 2022 and beyond.

73 they don't really have good options

which as a Packers fan I approve of. They're not in a good cap situation, so they can't acquire a free agent better than both Trubisky and Foles except by taking a chance on a reclamation project and getting lucky. They won too many games to draft a top QB (though this should be a deep class). So rolling with Trubisky (who probably isn't a long term solution but is young enough he might improve) is probably the best option.

31 This is nothing against…

This is nothing against Brady whose had a terrific season - one that is frankly absurd considering how old he is, but my god, the Lions performance on both sides of the ball was just embarrassing to watch. I can't remember another team that was so ready for the offseason than this group. Say what you will about the Jets and how terrible they are - they tried. Even in their humiliating losses, they didn't go out there and just roll over and die the way this Lions team did.

I suspect even Brady started to feel ashamed to be in the same league as this team. 

46 Legal Disclaimer

To be fair, the oil was mostly from avocados used in delicious frozen desserts, and not actual snakes. Snakes have very little oil, as it turns out.

32 I am Confused

“Following a six-game losing streak that dropped them to 5-7, the Chicago Bears have won three games in a row and now control their own postseason destiny:”

How did the Bears do that while currently being #1 in variance?

76 The 1994 Giants narrowly…

The 1994 Giants narrowly missed the playoffs at 9-7. They won their first 3, dropped 7 in a row, and won their last 6. As their coach Dan Reeves said after the season, "If it weren't for that seven-game losing streak, we'd have been undefeated!"

34 I think the short answer is…

In reply to by Raiderfan

I think the short answer is the Bears are 1-6 against teams who have a better record than them (as of right now), and 7-1 against teams who are worse. Without major highs or lows in their own performance, I guess they're just riding their schedule.

Has a team ever had a 6 game losing streak at any point and made the playoffs? I know the 86 Jets (who have come up a few times recently) lost 5 in a row heading straight into the postseason. The Steelers avoided that fate this week.

57 The 1982 Browns and Lions…

The 1982 Browns and Lions had 0-3 stretches in 9-game seasons, but that's just piling on at this point.

The 1995 Chargers lost 6 of 7, too, wrapping a win between two three-game losing streaks.

The 1999 Dolphins lost 5 out of 6, and 6 out of 8.

Four-game losing streaks are actually kind of unremarkable for playoff teams.

The 1932 Bears won a title despite not scoring for four consecutive games. Due to a safety, their offense actually scored more points for the other team than it did for their own team. They managed to go 0-1-3 in those games. Their defense gave up 0 points in 9 different games. The rumors that Mitch Trubisky was their QB are not true.

56 I think it is really worth…

I think it is really worth noting that the addition of the #7 seed is almost entirely responsible for the Bears having a good shot at the playoffs. Per FO, they have only a 16.5% chance at the #6 seed, which would require both a Bears win against the Packers and a Rams loss. I feel like that has been almost completely lost in the discussion of what a playoff berth would or should mean for the future of the front office and coach. The more the playoffs get diluted...err, expanded, the less making the playoffs says about how good the team actually is.

61 And yet, this arbitrary…

And yet, this arbitrary cutoff might save everyone's job.

You can already hear the narrative. Naggy, Pace, and Mitch will have "made" the playoffs two out of four years and never had a losing record. Just how many staffs and QBs can claim that!

63 The best outcome for the…

The best outcome for the long-term health of the franchise would be to get blown out by GB a second time. Virginia McCaskey takes Packers games very seriously, and two embarrassments in one year might get the whole bunch thrown out and the rebuild started. As a fan, I can't root for it, but I can acknowledge it intellectually.

And, for the record, giving Trubisky an NFL starting QB contract would be a colossally bad idea, true organizational malfeasance. He has played OK in four games against teams ready to pack in their seasons, and even in those games he has displayed the characteristics that will keep him from ever being a workable starting QB (in particular doing the one thing you absolutely can't do in a critical game situation, in three of those four games).

68 Not just ready to pack in…

Not just ready to pack in their seasons, but in 3 of those 4 games, against literally the 3 worst defenses by DVOA going into week 16. At the same time that the Bears finally figured out that offensive linemen on their practice squad were a significant upgrade to their starters. It would be hard to imagine a more favorable situation he could have been placed in, and the fact that he didn't look almost perfect in it should be the final piece of evidence proving that he will never be a great QB.

Nagy seems like the only one of the three who might reasonably be better at his job in the future than he's been in the past. If Pace is retained, I think it's going to be an ugly few years to come. What a wild time to be a Chicago sports fan when out of the 5 biggest teams, there's an argument to be made that the Bulls have the most functional leadership.

35 "At age 42, Brady and his…

"At age 42, Brady and his arm looked washed up."

No one thought that. At least no one who knows football. Did some talking heads say that for 'heated debates' of sports talk tv/radio? Of course. The moment Brady doesn't have a perfect stat line someone's job on every one of those shows is to say Brady is washed. That's their entertainment model.

But every single QB, coach and competent analyst said his arm looked as great as it ever has. Even this year, people will still couch his performances as "not much of a drop off", or some nonsense, because they all think at 43 there has to be some, right? Watch the throws themselves: perfect velocity and accuracy on throws of every type all over the field. 

If you thought Brady's arm looked washed last year, maybe football analysis is not the gig for you.

39 Cogent analysis, Gisele. The…

Cogent analysis, Gisele.

The deep ball usually isn't the first pass to go for a QB losing his fastball. Throwing a lob 40 yards downfield is easier than throwing a dart to the sticks across the field, which is why deep outs are usually the first to go, or any sort of deep route that involves precise timing.

Manning talked about that, after his foot injury before/during his shambolic final season. How the loss in ball speed affected his timing on throws, which then caused him to hesitate on his throwing decisions, at which point things really went to hell. You can live as a Pennington if you know how to live as a Pennington. And even Pennington could throw bombs to Randy Moss.

51 Definition of a "competent analyst"

There's a very simple test to tell if you are competent.  If you agree with me, bingo, you be genius.  And if not, you are a hack.

Both Brady and Brees looked cooked to me last year.  When Manning the Elder spluttered out like a bad candle, the discussion was on the long ball--he could still throw it and even over-threw some!!  Proof of arm strength!

Yes, that was the problem--timing and accuracy are off because he's heaving it for all he's worth like an Olympic discus thrower, just trying to compensate in order to get the distance. I don't recall who did that analysis about five years ago on TV, but it seemed pretty logical and astute then as well as for Brady/Brees in 2019.  However, it's clearly not foolproof or the whole story, at least for those two guys.  Ben seemed to be suffering from that this year (except for the second half on Sunday) and Rivers hasn't been overthrowing on his few deep balls, he just seemed inaccurate earlier in the year, but his mechanics are so awful (every pass thrown like a bar room dart) I have no idea how he gets the ball more than 20 yards anyway.

69 I did some analysis for a…

I did some analysis for a fantasy site that concluded there are six different temperature environments for producing fantasy points by passing.  Playing in a dome is the most favorable, then retractable roof stadiums followed in order by outdoors above 50 degrees, between 31 and 50, 21 and 30, and 20 degrees or less.  All temps from PFR aka Stathead and based on gamebook start time temps from 2010-2019.

Brady last year had 1 retractable roof game, 7 outdoors above 50 degrees, and 8 between 31 and 50 degrees.  This year he's had 3 dome games, 1 retractable roof, 10 over 50, and just 1 between 31 and 50 degrees.  My estimate is that 10-15% of his fantasy improvement has been due to playing in better conditions for passing.  Not just hindsight either.  In pre-season, I wrote this:

While a lot has been said, and will continue to be, about the effects of Brady's aging vs. the greater offensive talent he will have around him this year, the effects of weather on Brady's numbers has mostly been un-analyzed.

The bottom line is that Tom Brady has historically seen his fantasy production hurt by his schedule, especially down the stretch of each season.  That will not be true this year – he's likely to have one of the best weather schedules of all QBs with outdoor home stadiums.  That may not be enough to boost him into fantasy starter territory but it should help his production all year, and especially in the fantasy playoffs.

Ok, fantasy football is not reality.  I'd love to see FO look at the impact of temperature/environment on Brady's real football improvement this year (or QB DVOA/DYAR in general - not sure I've ever seen them do that).  I suspect it's not all Goodwin/Evans/Brown/Gronk vs. the motley crew in NE last year, although I also suspect the improved receivers are a bigger factor.

71 I'd be pretty surprised if…

I'd be pretty surprised if it wasn't almost all related to the supporting cast. He went from on of the worst receiving cores in the whole NFL to one of the absolute best.

The dramatic uptick is no accident, though I thought age would hit him hard by this point of the season.

90 I'd love to see the DVOA…

I'd love to see the DVOA breakdown for weather, too. Though it seems to me that wind makes a bigger difference on passing than temperature. Vegas almost never adjusts O/U lines for cold temps but often does for high winds.

Regardless, Brady has had a much easier weather schedule in 2020 than in years past. And this is purely anecdotal, but it seems logical that old QB's would be more affected by cold and wind than youngsters. As we age our muscles and joints get stiffer in the cold and harder to loosen up.

Is it possible that the cold weather decline in QB fantasy points is more a product of usage than efficiency? It's undeniably true that teams run more and pass less in cold weather games.

91 Is it possible that the cold…

Is it possible that the cold weather decline in QB fantasy points is more a product of usage than efficiency? It's undeniably true that teams run more and pass less in cold weather games.

It's both.  I divided Brady's seasons into 4 quarters (1st 4 games, 2nd 4, etc.) and only counted the quarters when he played all four games (that excludes all 2000, Q1 2001, all 2008, and Q1 2016).  His FP/G (passing FP only, 20 passing yds = 1 FP; pass TD = 4 FP; INT = -1 FP) thru 2019 were 21.2 in Q1, 21.5 in Q2, 21.1 in Q3, and 17.7 in Q4.  The league average from 2000-2019 was 17.2 passing FP/G - Brady had 3 Q1s below that number, 4 Q2s, 2 Q3s, and 10 Q4s.   From earlier in that article:

Almost all Brady's games played in the most favorable conditions (hot outdoors, dome or retractable roof) have come in the first 12 games of each season.  The vast majority of his games in above average conditions (51°+) are also in that time period.  Meanwhile, over two-thirds of the time in the last four games he has played in below average conditions.

This has had two effects.  First, he has passed less later in the year:  under 33 attempts per game vs. over 36 attempts per game in the first three quarters of the year.  Second, Brady's FP per attempt has dropped from 0.58 in Games 1-12 to 0.55 in the final quarter of the season.  Those look like small changes, but they add up to 3.5 FP/G.

40 "though he's really a…

"though he's really a centrist -- which, in his case, means he sucks at everything."

ENLIGHTENED CENTRISM

74 Rodgers 2011 vs 2020Year |…

Rodgers 2011 vs 2020 (15 starts and games played both years since he sat W17 2011)
Year | Cmp | Att | Cmp% | Yds |TD|TD%|Int|Int%|Y/A| AY/A |Y/C  | Y/ G | Sk | Yds | NY/A |ANY/A| Sk% 
2011 | 343 | 502 | 68.3 | 4643 | 45 | 9.0 | 6 | 1.2 | 9.2 | 10.5 | 13.5 | 309.5 | 36 | 219 | 8.22 | 9.39 | 6.7 
2020 | 353 | 502 | 70.3 | 4059 | 44 | 8.8 | 5 | 1.0 | 8.1 | 09.4 | 11.5 | 270.6 | 19 | 179 | 7.45 | 8.70 | 3.6 

No idea if that will format correctly I'll likely have to edit.

I was just poking around on PFR to see where some of the Packers seasons fit into franchise history by conventional stats when I noticed that Rodgers, who sat in Week 17 of 2011, has the exact same number of attempts this year, as he did that year.  The numbers for everything else are extremely close too. 1 fewer TD and 1 fewer INT. A significantly lower Y/C, but also significantly fewer sacks (though he's taking more yards per sack this year in part thanks to 2 really bad ones) so that ANY/A gets closer.

I actually think the lower yardage has more to do with the receiver talent, and a bit to do with the scheme, than anything else. The current scheme gives him more short options and he uses them. He can also let the running game keep the ball moving for him. The 2020 team is a vastly better rushing team by conventional stats. 135.7 rush yards/g and 1 TD/g off of 4.8 yards/attempt vs the 2011 of 97.4 yards/g and 0.75 TD/g off of 3.9 yards/attempt. The 2.7% vs -1.5% DVOA doesn't show as big of a difference, but Jones/Williams/Dillion are way better than Grant/Starks/Kuhn.

But it's the same number of attempts so the running game part shouldn't matter as much, the scheme that gives more short options does, but the receiver talent in 2011 was nuts.

2020 vs 2011 receivers (Y)ear in league and order I would pick them if building a team.
Y7 Davanta Adams (1) ------------------ Y6 Greg Jennings (2)
Y3 Allen Lazard (5) ---------------------- Y4 Jordy Nelson (3)
Y3 Marquez Valdes-Scantling (9) ---- Y5 James Jones (4)
Y3 Equanimeous St. Brown (11)------- Y13 Donald Driver (10)
Y5 Evrin/Y8 Austin (12)------------------- Y1 Randall Cobb (8)
Y3 Robert Tonyan (6) -------------------- Y4 Jermichael Finley (7)

Yes I'd rather have 5 of the WR before any of the TE though a real team would do better with a TE than 5 WR but I also expect that other people are picking against me so I'd get a TE before I had 5 WR. 

Year 7 Adams is a better player than a Year 6 Jennings (who both missed multiple games in those seasons) and he's better than Year 4 Nelson, but not by a ton in either case. You go down that depth chart and 2011 was so stacked. Finley probably has more athletic talent than Tonyan, but 2011 was full a little injuries and was by far his worst at catching the ball (59.8%), his only season outside his rookie 12 target season, where he was under a 70% catch rate. So 2020 Tonyan gets the nod over 2011 Finley. 

The only other close call is Jones vs Lazard. I realize that MVS has better stats than Lazard this season but playing in 6 more games will do that. Lazard is the #2 WR on this team and is the better player. I think year5, 2011 Jones, was a slightly better option than year3, 2020 Lazard. Jones filled more of the role that MVS has. I could be talked out of this one. I put the TE's and Cobb in front of MVS too and that can be argued as well. But these are all guys getting the ball from Rodgers and when they were available Rodgers preferred them over MVS that 51% catch rate that MVS has just hurts. I would take MVS over almost finished Driver. Driver was still reliable and crafty, when I know that I've already got several other options that deep threat that MVS has is better. 

Rookie Cobb was clearly a better slot/gadget player than Tyler Ervin or Tavon Austin are or ever were (yes I'd take the rookie version of him over the best seasons of the other two and clearly over the 2020 versions of them), he was also a better punt and kick returner.

Edit:
Format Monkeying, and we have DVOA updates since I wrote this so I might pull in DVOA for the receivers...

OK So we don't have 2020 DVOA for Austin due to lack of attempts but we've got everyone else and there aren't really too many surprises, though some might be surprised where Adams is by DVOA. Sorted by DVOA (fixed width fonts used to make this so much easier this lack of mark up and lack of a fixed width font option annoys me)
Note this is full season 2011 and 15 games 2020, part of why sorted by DVOA though DYAR is listed first. Again probably should have flipped that.

2011 J Nelson ------------- 520 (52.9%)
2020 R Tonyan ------------ 226 (50.1%)
2011 R Cobb --------------- 128 (42.5%)
2011 J Jones --------------- 237 (40.9%)
2020 A Lazard ------------- 153 (33.2%)
2020 E St Brown ----------- 33 (22.8%)
2011 G Jennings ---------- 278 (20.8%)
2020 D Adams ------------ 364 (19.0%)
2011 J Finley --------------- 165 (18.3%)
2011 D Driver -------------- 135 (17.7%)
2020 M ValdesScantling -- 78 (2.7%)

Yes ESB's DVOA jumps out, but that Touchdown on Sunday is most of it, he's at 12 targets which just gets him onto the tables. Everyone else up there is over 40, except for Cobb at 31.

Oh and the running backs, I was surprised by Grants receiving DVOA it was 24 passes too so just missed the full season qualifier table. Don't have receiving DVOA for Dillon. 
Listed with Rushing / Receiving numbers, though sorted by receiving DVOA. Probably should have reserved them but eh.

2011 R Grant ------ 63 (2.9%) / 100 (57.3%)
2020 J Williams --- 56 (2.4%) / 57 (13.4%)
2011 J Starks ------ 22 (-4.5%) / 39 (6.7%)
2011 J Kuhn --------- 5 (-5.7%) / 20 (2.8%)
2020 A Jones ----- 240 (20.1%) / 13 (-9.9%)
2020 A Dillon ------- 60 (24.1%) / 

Jones receiving DVOA has dropped off at the end of the season, he's never been great but was closer to positive most of the year. You can clearly see that running the ball is a 2020 things though. My eyes say Williams is better than anything 2011 had, but DVOA likes Grant a bit better. Both teams used multiple backs, but Jones gets more usage than any of the others (rush/rec).
2020 - Jones 190/58, Williams 114/35, Dillon 45/2.
2011 - Grant 134/24, Starks 132/38, Kuhn 30/18