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

Week 4 Quick Reads

San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The first three games of the season were not kind to George Kittle. In 2019, the San Francisco tight end averaged more than six catches and 75 yards per game, but he managed only four catches for 44 yards in the 2020 opener against Arizona. Worse, he suffered a sprained knee against the Cardinals and missed the next two weeks entirely.

Things turned around in Week 4, however, in a very big way. The 49ers went to Kittle early and often on Sunday night. He finished the game against the Eagles with 15 receptions (most for any player in a game this year), a 100% catch rate, 183 yards, and one touchdown.

Not all of Kittle's catches were successful. He opened with a 9-yard gain on third-and-10 to set up a Mitch Wishnowsky punt. He had two other failed completions in the game, a 5-yard gain on second-and-10 and a 2-yard gain on second-and-7. In the last 24 minutes, however, he was unstoppable; each of his seven catches in that timeframe produced a first down. That began with a 5-yard touchdown on third-and-goal from Nick Mullens. He caught one more pass from Mullens, a 20-yard gain on second-and-9, before the quarterback threw a pick-six and was benched for C.J. Beathard. If anything, Beathard leaned even harder on Kittle than Mullens had. In just two drives at the end of the game, Beathard completed five passes to Kittle for 55 yards.

So where does Kittle's game rank in the tight end record books? Very highly indeed. He's the first tight end to gain 180-plus yards and a touchdown since … George Kittle, who did it against Denver in 2018. Only one other tight end has ever done it twice: Vernon Davis, Kittle's predecessor in San Francisco. The other five men to pull it off -- Dallas Clark, Shannon Sharpe, Rich Caster, Jackie Smith, and Mike Ditka -- were all Super Bowl champions and/or Hall of Famers.

The advanced numbers were also impressed. Without opponent adjustments, Kittle is credited with 81 total YAR (75 receiving, 6 rushing for his one carry for 8 yards). That's just the ninth tight end game in the DVOA database (going back to 1985) with 80-plus YAR.

Best Tight End Games, Total YAR (No Opponent Adjustments), 1985-2020
Year Player Team Total YAR Tgt Rec Yds TD Wk Def
1996 Shannon Sharpe DEN 96 13 13 153 3 6 SD
2014 Rob Gronkowski NE 92 9 9 149 3 8 CHI
1993 Johnny Mitchell NYJ 85 8 7 146 3 5 PHI
2019 Travis Kelce KC 85 12 10 134 3 19 HOU
2008 Visanthe Shiancoe MIN 83 7 7 136 2 16 ATL
2012 Rob Gronkowski NE 83 7 7 137 2 11 IND
2010 Antonio Gates SD 82 7 7 144 2 4 ARI
2012 Jimmy Graham NO 81 8 7 146 2 10 ATL
2020 George Kittle SF 81* 15 15 183 1 4 PHI
1995 Pete Mitchell JAX 79 11 10 161 1 12 TB
2015 Richard Rodgers GB 78 9 9 202 1 13 DET
2011 Rob Gronkowski NE 77 12 10 145 3 19 DEN
2011 Jared Cook TEN 76 8 8 169 1 16 JAX
1997 Ken Dilger IND 75 5 5 100 3 16 MIA
1996 Ken Dilger IND 74 7 7 156 1 2 NYJ
2009 Antonio Gates SD 73 7 7 118 2 12 KC
2002 Tony Gonzalez KC 73 10 6 140 3 4 MIA
2000 Tony Gonzalez KC 73 11 9 127 1 4 DEN
2011 Vernon Davis SF 72 10 7 180 2 19 NO
2014 Antonio Gates SD 71 7 7 96 3 2 SEA
* Includes 75 YAR receiving and 6 YAR rushing; no other players in the table had rushing stats.

You don't have to go back too far to find a tight end performance better than Kittle's -- our system favors Travis Kelce's 134-yard, three-touchdown game against Houston in the divisional round of last year's playoffs. Before that, however, you have to go all the way back to 2014 when Rob Gronkowski was at his peak to find a tight end who was this successful moving the ball downfield.

The key phrase in all of this, unfortunately, is "without opponent adjustments." It's Week 4, which is the first week we start to incorporate opponent adjustments into our numbers. So far those opponent adjustments are not nearly as radical as they were in 2019. This is great news for me, your humble Quick Reads scribe, because it means I won't have to explain a half-dozen different seemingly bizarre results week-in and week-out. For Kittle, however, the news is not as kind, because his big game came against the Eagles, who have been the worst defense in football in covering tight ends in 2020. Consider what tight ends have done against Philadelphia this season:

Week 1: Washington's Logan Thomas only catches four of eight targets for 37 yards, but three of those catches produce first downs, including a touchdown.

Week 2: All five of the passes thrown to Tyler Higbee are completed, for a total of 54 yards. Three of those completions result in touchdowns; the others were 6- and 13-yard gains, both on first-and-10.

Week 3: The Bengals haven't used their tight ends very much this season, and that was especially true against Philadelphia. Joe Burrow threw 44 passes against the Eagles, but he only targeted his tight ends twice, resulting in a pair of 1-yard completions -- one for Drew Sample, one for Cethan Carter -- both of which came on first down. That's very limited production, but remember that DVOA is calculated target-by-target, not game-by-game. Therefore, this outing had very little impact on Philadelphia's defensive stats against tight ends.

Add in Kittle's production, and the Eagles have allowed opposing tight ends to produce 18 first downs and 276 total yards, both fifth-most in the league. They are also in the bottom four of the league's 32 teams in each of the following categories:

  • Yards per target: 9.2 (28th)
  • Touchdowns: five (tied for next to last)
  • Catch rate: 87% (last)
  • First downs/target: 60% (last)

All in all, that's a DVOA of 57.7% against tight ends. That's much worse than anyone else -- Washington is in 31st place at 44.4%. (Remember, higher DVOA means worse defense.)

We introduce opponent adjustments gradually throughout the year; right now, they are only at 40% strength. Even with that limitation, however, Kittle loses 17 DYAR for playing the Eagles. With that penalty, his game falls to 64 DYAR, knocking him out of the top 10 in our tight end game tables all the way down to 36th place. (Kelce's playoff game against Houston actually goes up in DYAR after opponent adjustments and is the all-time leader with 88 DYAR.)

We're still only a quarter of the way through the season, so these opponent adjustments are going to fluctuate a lot between now and Week 17 (assuming, of course, there is a Week 17). The Eagles are scheduled to play the Steelers and Ravens the next two weeks, and it would only take a couple of fumbles by Eric Ebron or Mark Andrews to make their defense -- and transitively, Kittle's performance against that defense -- look much better. Even getting 10 DYAR back would have him in the verge of the top 10, so this is a situation that certainly bears watching.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
27/33
327
4
0
1
185
183
2
ATL
Red zone passing: 4-of-5 for 35 yards with three touchdowns. He also had a fourth touchdown from the 21-yard line.
2.
Josh Allen BUF
24/34
288
2
0
1
139
132
7
LV
Allen led all players in passing DYAR over the middle, going 8-of-12 for 146 yards and a touchdown.
3.
Tom Brady TB
30/46
369
5
1
0
136
136
0
LAC
Brady led all players in passing DYAR this week (well, before Monday night). He closed the first half with only two first downs in his last 18 dropbacks. In the second half, however, he had 14 first downs in 18 dropbacks, going 16-of-18 for 269 yards and four touchdowns. He was first in DYAR on deep throws, going 7-of-11 for 209 yards and two touchdowns. 
4.
Dak Prescott DAL
41/58
502
4
1
3
123
118
5
CLE
In a reversal from last week, when Prescott was last in DYAR on passes to running backs, this week he was first in DYAR on throws to that position. He completed nine of 10 passes to Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, picking up 87 yards and four first downs.
5.
Derek Carr LV
32/43
311
2
0
2
104
97
7
BUF
Carr was the league's best quarterback without a huddle. His 10 no-huddle throws resulted in seven completions for 104 yards, plus a DPI for 46 more yards.
6.
Justin Herbert LAC
20/25
290
3
1
2
103
95
8
TB
We mentioned Tom Brady's success in the second half. His counterpart Justin Herbert was the league's best passer in the first half, completing 11 of 14 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns. A 15th pass picked up 20 more yards and a DPI. Throughout the game, he got a lot of help from his receivers -- his average completion gained a league-high 8.1 yards after the catch.
7.
Teddy Bridgewater CAR
26/37
276
2
1
0
98
78
20
ARI
Bridgewater led all passers in DYAR on throws from under center, going 11-of-14 for 133 yards and a touchdown, plus a 13-yard DPI. Bridgewater also ran three times for 35 yards and a touchdown.
8.
Gardner Minshew JAX
27/39
351
2
1
3
96
101
-4
CIN
Minshew led all quarterbacks in DYAR on throws to wide receivers. His 25 passes to wideouts resulted in 20 completions for 271 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 17-yard DPI.
9.
Patrick Mahomes KC
19/29
236
2
0
1
93
97
-3
NE
Mahomes was at his best when digging the Chiefs out of trouble. He completed all five passes he threw inside his own 20, picking up four first downs and 66 total yards.
10.
Russell Wilson SEA
24/34
360
2
1
2
81
77
4
MIA
Wilson's jersey number is 3, but that was an unlucky number for him this week. He was last in DYAR in the third quarter (2-of-6 for 32 yards with one interception and one sack) and on third/fourth downs (2-of-6 for 15 yards with two conversions, one interception, and one sack). (In the middle of the Venn diagram of those two categories is an interception that cost him nearly 60 DYAR and will probably be his most memorable goal-line turnover against an AFC East team.) However, he was first in DYAR on first downs, completing 15 of 16 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown.
11.
Kirk Cousins MIN
16/22
260
1
0
3
71
73
-1
HOU
The Texans kicked a field goal in the third quarter to pull within one point at 17-16. Cousins never let them get any closer -- from that point forward, he completed six of seven passes for 108 yards, throwing one touchdown and taking one sack.
12.
Philip Rivers IND
16/29
190
1
0
1
65
65
0
CHI
Rivers led all passers in third-/fourth-down DYAR, completing nine of 14 passes for 144 yards with seven conversions (including a touchdown) and one sack.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Drew Brees NO
19/25
246
2
1
2
55
55
0
DET
Early in the second quarter, Brees hit Alvin Kamara for a 29-yard gain on fourth-and-4. That started a stretch where Brees picked up nine first downs in 10 dropbacks, going 9-of-10 for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
14.
Deshaun Watson HOU
20/33
300
2
0
3
52
89
-37
MIN
Watson had five running plays for 5 yards -- four scrambles, one aborted snap on third-and-1. He also got off to a very poor start, failing to throw for a first down until the Texans were down 10-0 in the second quarter. Up to that point, he had completed three of seven passes for 24 yards with one sack.
15.
Lamar Jackson BAL
14/21
193
2
1
1
45
48
-4
WAS
Jackson led all passers in DYAR within the opponents' 40-yard line, going 5-of-6 for 93 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't have any runs or passes in the red zone because he was so good at scoring long touchdowns -- he also ran for a 50-yard score. (If you're wondering why his rushing DYAR isn't higher, that was his only first down in seven rushes; he had a run for an 11-yard loss on second-and-1.) His average pass attempt traveled 15.2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, deepest of any qualifier this week.
16.
C.J. Beathard SF
14/18
138
0
0
1
42
42
0
PHI
Beathard came into the game with San Francisco down by 11 points with about five and a half minutes to go. He was very effective at moving the 49ers past the 50, but not at finishing drives -- inside the Philadelphia 40, he went 4-of-8 for 34 yards with a sack.
17.
Baker Mayfield CLE
19/29
165
2
0
2
33
29
4
DAL
Mayfield's first pass of the second half was a 14-yard completion to Harrison Bryant on second-and-4. That was his last first down of the day; after that, he went 4-of-6 for 19 yards with a sack. Mayfield's average completion gained a league-low 2.3 yards after the catch.
18.
Kyler Murray ARI
24/31
133
3
0
1
30
8
22
CAR
Murray was the league's best passer in the red zone. His eight passes inside the Carolina 20 resulted in seven completions and one DPI, for a total of 37 yards and three touchdowns. Murray also ran six times for 78 yards.
19.
Matt Ryan ATL
28/39
285
0
0
4
15
18
-3
GB
Typically we focus on the red zone -- the last 20 yards of the field -- but if we extend that out to the Green Bay 26-yard line we see why Atlanta failed to score more points. In that range, Ryan went 3-for-7 for 14 yards with no first downs and one sack.
20.
Matthew Stafford DET
17/31
206
3
1
3
14
6
8
NO
All three of Stafford's touchdowns came in the red zone, where he went 4-of-7 for 32 yards. Unfortunately, one of those seven passes was also intercepted.
21.
Joe Burrow CIN
25/36
300
1
1
1
6
7
0
JAX
Four games into his career, Burrow has been much better on throws to his right (4.0% DVOA) than on throws to his left (-22.7% DVOA). Last week, he had the league's best DYAR on throws to his right; this week, he had the worst DYAR on throws to his left, going 6-of-10 for 51 yards with one first down and one interception. Burrow lost 31 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, twice as many as any other quarterback this week.
22.
Nick Foles CHI
26/42
249
1
1
1
4
11
-7
IND
Foles gained 28 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most of any quarterback this week. A lot of his production came in garbage time. The Colts went up 19-3 with less than four minutes to go; from that point to the end of the game, Foles completed each of the eight passes he threw for 90 total yards and a touchdown.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Jared Goff LAR
25/32
200
1
0
2
-4
-4
0
NYG
Goff only threw for one first down inside the Giants' 40-yard line, going 7-of-9 for 31 yards with one sack.
24.
Dwayne Haskins WAS
32/45
314
0
0
3
-4
-7
3
BAL
Haskins threw 13 failed completions this weekend, four more than anyone else. In a related note, his average pass attempt traveled a league-low 4.4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
25.
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA
29/45
315
0
2
1
-24
-48
24
SEA
Fitzpatrick had the league's worst DYAR on deep throws, going 3-of-7 for 55 yards with an interception. He also ran six times for 47 yards and a touchdown.
26.
Carson Wentz PHI
18/28
193
1
1
3
-32
-41
9
SF
This was Wentz's best game of the year, but he was still the league's worst passer on throws down the middle. He completed four of his five throws in that direction, but only gained 28 yards and two first downs, and that fifth pass was intercepted. He was also worst on no-huddle plays, going 0-for-4 with an interception.
27.
Sam Darnold NYJ
23/42
230
0
0
6
-58
-98
40
DEN
Darnold led all quarterbacks in rushing DYAR this week thanks to his six carries for 84 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he had the worst passing DYAR on third/fourth downs, going 5-of-12 for 42 yards with as many conversions (four) as sacks.
28.
Brett Rypien DEN
20/31
242
2
3
0
-66
-66
0
NYJ
Rypien was last in DYAR on throws to tight ends. He threw nine passes to Noah Fant, Nick Vannett, and Jake Butt, completing six of them for 42 yards, with as many first downs (one) as interceptions.
29.
Jarrett Stidham NE
5/13
60
1
2
0
-70
-62
-8
KC
All of Stidham's throws came with New England down by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter. On first downs, he went 1-of-5 for 30 yards and both interceptions, including a pick-six.
30.
Brian Hoyer NE
15/24
130
0
1
2
-77
-80
3
KC
Hoyer's three red zone plays, in chronological order: completion for a loss of 4 yards on second-and-5; sack for a loss of 13 on the ensuing third down when New England was in field goal range but out of timeouts; sack-fumble in the third quarter that led to his benching.
31.
Nick Mullens SF
18/26
200
1
2
4
-118
-118
0
PHI
Mullens only threw eight passes on first down (10 players threw twice as many; two players tripled him), yet still finished last in DYAR on that down: 3-of-7 for 37 yards with a sack and a pick-six. As you may have guessed, he led all players in DYAR on throws to tight ends. (C.J. Beathard was seventh.) However, he was last in DYAR on throws to wide receivers: He threw eight passes to Kendrick Bourne, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and Trent Taylor, completing two to his teammates and two to Eagles defenders.
32.
Daniel Jones NYG
23/36
190
0
1
5
-125
-126
1
LAR
Jones was the league's worst passer ... well, everywhere, but especially in the red zone. He threw seven passes inside the L.A. 20, and not one of them converted a first down, let alone a touchdown. Three were completed; one of those was a loss of 2. One was intercepted. Remember, the Giants only lost this game by eight points.

 

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.
Antonio Gibson WAS
13
46
1
4/5
82
0
75
35
40
BAL
Gibson, a third-round rookie out of Memphis, started in Weeks 1 and 2, but has been more productive after coming off the bench in Weeks 3 and 4. Against Baltimore, Gibson's longest run gained only 10 yards, but four of them picked up first downs while only two were stuffs. Each of his four receptions resulted in a first down, the best of them a 40-yard gain on third-and-11. He gains 16 total DYAR for facing the Ravens.
2.
Joe Mixon CIN
25
151
2
6/6
30
1
45
35
10
JAX
Mixon was very quiet in the first half, with only two first downs and no run longer than 7 yards. But he exploded with six first downs in the second half. That includes touchdowns of 23 and 34 yards, plus two other runs that gained 10 or more yards. He added two first downs as a receiver: a 9-yard touchdown and a 14-yard gain on second-and-6.
3.
Dalvin Cook MIN
27
130
2
2/2
16
0
45
39
6
HOU
Only one of Cook's 27 carries failed to gain positive yardage. Ten of them resulted in first downs, including three gains of 10-plus yards. He had one first down through the air, an 11-yard gain on second-and-9. He loses 20 total DYAR for facing the Texans.
4.
Kareem Hunt CLE
11
71
2
0/0
0
0
35
35
0
DAL
Only one of Hunt's 11 carries failed to gain positive yardage. Five of them gained first downs, incluing four runs of 10-plus yards.
5.
Melvin Gordon DEN
23
107
2
2/3
11
0
34
37
-3
NYJ
Gordon only ran for four first downs on Thursday night, while being hit for no gain or a loss eight times. However, those four first downs included 15- and 19-yard gains, plus 19- and 43-yard touchdowns. He gains 18 total DYAR for facing the Jets.

 

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.
Dalvin Cook MIN
27
130
2
2/2
16
0
45
39
6
HOU
2.
Melvin Gordon DEN
23
107
2
2/3
11
0
34
37
-3
NYJ
3.
Kareem Hunt CLE
11
71
2
0/0
0
0
35
35
0
DAL
4.
Joe Mixon CIN
25
151
2
6/6
30
1
45
35
10
JAX
5.
Antonio Gibson WAS
13
46
1
4/5
82
0
75
35
40
BAL

 

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.
Devin Singletary BUF
18
55
1
5/6
21
0
-36
-30
-6
LV
None of Singletary's receptions produced a first down. Only three were successful plays. The longest was a 7-yard gain on first-and-10.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Devin Singletary BUF
18
55
1
5/6
21
0
-36
-30
-6
LV
Singletary loses 22 total DYAR for facing the Raiders. He only ran for three first downs against Las Vegas, the longest a gain of 11, while being stuffed for no gain or a loss four times.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Odell Beckham CLE
5
8
81
16.2
2
76
DAL
Beckham's totals include 32 DYAR receiving, 44 DYAR rushing for his two carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. Each of his catches produced a first down, including touchdowns of 4 and 37 yards.
2.
George Kittle SF
15
15
183
12.2
1
64
PHI
3.
Robert Tonyan GB
6
6
98
16.3
3
61
ATL
When Tonyan caught his third touchdown of the game, I was certain I would have to add him to the essay that opened this article, but he had only one more catch after that and in the end just didn't have the volume. That said, five of his catches produced first downs, including four gains of 19 yards or more and three third-down conversions, one of them on third-and-14.
4.
Mike Evans TB
7
8
122
17.4
1
57
LAC
Six of Evans' catches produced first downs, including a 24-yard gain on first-and-10 and a 48-yard gain on second-and-20.
5.
Nelson Agholor LV
4
4
44
11.0
1
54
BUF
Each of Agholor's catches produced a first down, including two third-down conversions and a 7-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1. His biggest play, however, was a 46-yard DPI in the fourth quarter.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Calvin Ridley ATL
0
5
0
0.0
0
-40
GB
This was not one of Ridley's five incomplete targets, but it is an indication of how Atlanta's night went.

Comments

30 comments, Last at 08 Oct 2020, 9:36am

1 Phil Rivers

Okay, maybe I will stop being so glum about Rivers.  A win's a win and avoiding mistakes is a big deal (though it looks like an EZ pick was avoided not by Rivers' skill, but because Roquan Smith barely stepped OB before catching it.  So Phil dodged a bullet there.).  I still think they threw too much; not QUITE like week 1, but close.

(Meaningless aside:  my top 2 FFL receivers this week were Kittle and OBJ.  As soon as CMC returns, my team will be whole once more and my nieces and nephews--who make up most of the league--will tremble before me.  Yes, I am a crummy uncle.)

10 Well his INT was off a tip…

In reply to by Bobman

Well his INT was off a tip on a jump ball in the corner of the end zone, kind of the goal. Also I'm not sure the Colts should have run more based on how bad their run offense was against the Bears, who boast a solid run defense. Their red zone troubles come in large part due to struggles running inside the 10, Indy ranks in the bottom half of the league with 1.3 yards per rush attempt and only achieve a 1st down or touchdown on 25% of rushes, 28th worst in the league. Rivers old coach Anthony Lynn once bemoaned red zone running troubles by saying if you can't run on the goal line, you can't run at all. So not sure more running was the solution, even if Rivers did have an off day, the Colts run game is just bad. They rank last in Y/A, 21st in Rushing Offense according to this lovely site and 32nd in PFR's Rushing Expected Points. More rushing attempts sounds nice and fits the narrative of their great OL and talent at RB but it hasn't really manifested on the field much as a successful strategy.

24 I was really surprised to…

In reply to by Bobman

I was really surprised to see Rivers's high ranking in DYAR. Opponent adjustments had something to do with it, but we know from Foles's entry they couldn't have amounted to more than 28 DYAR.

As I said in Audibles, I thought both he and Foles were really off, and one of the big differences was that Rivers's WRs made plays on bad/contested throws, and Foles's did not (until the late TD).

And Vince, if a two-score game with 4 minutes to go was garbage time, Atlanta would be 2-2.

2 Ugly day for most of the…

Ugly day for most of the backup QBs, clustered together between 28th and 31st. Impressive for Jones to be worse than all of them.

Regarding Mullens' DYAR splits to WRs and TEs, I know that there was a receiver in the area on his last interception, but what happens when there is no intended receiver on an interception in the play-by-play? Does FO have a special category for those occasions, if they exist at all?

18 Those plays are listed with …

Those plays are listed with "no intended" as the intended receiver, and the "Position" column is left blank. This also applies to passes tipped at the line/batted down (unless they're tipped into the hands of an offensive player for a reception). 

4 and it would only take a…

and it would only take a couple of fumbles by Eric Ebron or Mark Andrews to make their defense -- and transitively, Kittle's performance against that defense -- look much better.

That sentence would seem to suggest a deep flaw in how DYAR is calculated.

In the best possible interpretation, this means DYAR does not opponent-adjust correctly.

11 "In the best possible…

"In the best possible interpretation, this means DYAR does not opponent-adjust correctly."

No, it's just noisy. There's no DAVE-equivalent of DYAR. By the end of the season, high-impact plays like fumbles (and stuff like long TDs) even out, but early on, those high-impact plays will just screw up simple calculations.

I mean, the idea of a DAVE-equivalent of DYAR isn't so crazy, but it's much harder than DAVE itself, because DYAR breaks things down at much lower levels, so there's a lot of low-statistics weirdness going on. For instance, it's easy to point to the Texans and say "they're not going to have 0 interceptions all year" - and you could easily look at teams that have 0 interceptions by week 4, and see what their mean rate is, and try to do it that way. But how many of those do you assign to tight ends, or to wide receivers, or to running backs?

At some point you just have to say "meh?" and acknowledge you've got very little information and just accept the result's noisy.

21 It was less the attitude of …

It was less the attitude of "fumble luck is not evenly distributed over small samples" and more the one of "this will get better once they've played a vortex of incompetence like Eric Ebron."

If it matters who you've played, then the opponent-adjustments are not fully-functional. We spent all last year trying to prove the Patriots were really the highest-quality pass defense of all-time and not just the one that had played the lowest-quality group of opposing QBs of all time.

30 "It was less the attitude of…

"It was less the attitude of "fumble luck is not evenly distributed over small samples" and more the one of "this will get better once they've played a vortex of incompetence like Eric Ebron.""

Yeah, I didn't read it like that: in context it was "opponent adjustments jump around a ton early on," and the main reason for that is due to small numbers of high-leverage plays. So when you play against a team with an opportunity for more than normal of those high-leverage plays, the adjustments will swing a bunch.

"We spent all last year trying to prove the Patriots were really the highest-quality pass defense of all-time and not just the one that had played the lowest-quality group of opposing QBs of all time."

Yeah, no. The question was never "are the Patriots #1 pass defense ever or just-a-bunch-of-guys vs #1 worst QBs ever"? That argument would've been insane - the answer would've been "most likely neither." The question was "are the Patriots the #1 pass defense ever or still extremely good, but not that good." And statistically, to me, the answer had to be the latter.

To be clear, opponent adjustments can't be perfect, especially in extreme cases. If the Patriots had the best pass DVOA of all time and faced the worst pass offense DVOA of all time, that means there's no historical record of what the correction should be, and the correction is therefore an extrapolation. And obviously if you would look at that extrapolation with a prior expectation of what the distributions are, you'd say it's way too high - no chance you'd get both the best pass defense and the worst pass offense against in the same year.

12 "That sentence would seem to…

"That sentence would seem to suggest a deep flaw in how DYAR is calculated."

I should also point out that thinking that the Eagles linebackers could generate a couple of fumbles on passes to tight ends is just fantasy-land. I cannot stand how often announcers praise some Eagles linebacker for making some great tackle-for-loss, and ignoring the 20 other times they have no route awareness. Philly's linebackers are freaking hot garbage.

5 Stidham

On first downs, he went 1-of-5 for 30 yards and both interceptions, including a pick-six.

The pick-six should really be on Edelman.   

15 Edelman done?

In reply to by RickD

With some of his drops, he's reminding me of what Wes Welker looked like at the end of his career.

Ball went right off his hands, literally bounced right off.

He also looked a bit dazed much of the time, like Joe Biden getting ready for a basement zoom call.

The Patriots are great when they're squeezing blood from a turnip, but awful when their penny-pinching ways come back to bite them in big games like last night.

I don't like Cam Newton at all as a QB at this stage of his career, however, he's leaps and bounds better than Stidham or Hoyer.  

Jesus...

7 Remember, folks, Buffalo is…

Remember, folks, Buffalo is a run-first team and Diggs will be unhappy there. ;)

I'm standing on my comment from last week, though, that the number of guys running wide open in the games I watched (WAS-BAL, LV-BUF, SF-DEN, KC-NE, half of ATL-GB) was something new to me. Are defenses really that far behind?

13 What if

Just curious since it almost happened.  What would Beckham's numbers be if he were tackled for say a 8 yard loss instead of the TD?  Seems to be a large part of his value.

14 Redemption for Kyler!

Most accurate inside the redzone.

The quality is there.  If only the Cards' defense was consistently better...

What we now now is that the Patriots don't have a quality backup if Cam is out for an extended period.  Yuck!

Also, the Niners may want to think about Beathard long-term if Jimmy G doesn't look good when he does come back.

You know how far Wentz has fallen?  We saw some flashes of what he was in the Niner game, and yet he was still horrible according to Total DYAR.  We need a 30 for 30.

16 Beathard completed all his…

Beathard completed all his passes against soft prevent zones. Last time he got a chance to play, he looked exactly like Mullens did against Philly. There's a reason he was 3rd on the depth chart.

17 A good chance you're right…

A good chance you're right about Pats' backups, though I wouldn't give up on Stiddy after what? 20 NFL passes?  He wasn't good last night but wasn't Nathan Peterman ugly either, and his TD pass was thrown about as well as possible.  It's not like Hoyer's prospects, now that we've seen him for many years on many teams.

22 You can't blame Stidham for…

You can't blame Stidham for the Edelman "drop" (he really sort of pitched it into Mathieu's arms).

95% of the time, that's a catch. On 95% of the drops, the DB doesn't catch it himself. That was a total fluke play. Now, that said, he deserved his other INT and lucked into his third INT coming on a DPI he didn't see when he threw it.

 

28 Mahomes played pretty bad

He could have finished with three turnovers. But his conventional stats and DYAR/DVOA looks pretty good. It evens out in the long term, but his place on the table is definitely not based on how he actually played. Unlike Stidham who is penalized for Edelman's mistake.

29 One absolute drop by the NE…

One absolute drop by the NE DB on a ball that's intercepted 95%+ of the time, a second drop on a ball where the NE DB hesitated because there was a second DB entering the area but which is still probably intercepted 75% of the time, and a third where the pass was intercepted and then called back for in-the-grasp.  So Mahomes gets a clean sheet for the game.

Meanwhile Stidham hits his most experienced receiver in the hands and it goes for a pick 6.  I think Romo was right that the pass surprised Edelman because he was covered and behind the line of scrimmage, and Stidham shouldn't have thrown it.  But the expected result was a failed completion for no yards if Edelman doesn't lose concentration. 

I hate raw INT stats.