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

Super Bowl LV Quick Reads

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Normally, we publish DVOA and Quick Reads for the Super Bowl together in one post. Today we did them separately. You'll find DVOA for Super Bowl LV here.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tom Brady TB
21/29
201
3
0
1
73
97
-24
KC
Brady got off to something of a slow start, with only four first downs in his first 16 dropbacks, but then he had a stretch over the second and third quarters where he picked up nine first downs in 11 dropbacks. In that stretch, he went 9-for-9 for 101 yards and two scores, plus two DPIs for 42 more yards. His only two completions in that run that did not pick up first downs were an 8-yard gain on second-and-10 and a 3-yard gain on second-and-7; Brady then threw for conversions on each of the ensuing third downs. Those two plays, however, were Brady's only conversions in seven third-down passes. Instead, he was best on first downs, going 10-of-12 for 113 yards and two touchdowns, plus those two DPIs. His first three deep passes were all completed for a total of 64 yards and a touchdown; his fourth deep pass was a 34-yard DPI; his last three deep passes were all incomplete. Brady's one "rush" was an aborted snap that he recovered for a loss of 15 on third-and-10.
2.
Patrick Mahomes KC
26/49
270
0
2
3
-85
-103
18
TB
This was, by far, the worst game of Mahomes' career according to DYAR, although obviously affected by drops and a ridiculous amount of pass pressure. He has only been below replacement level one other time: he had -16 combined DYAR in Week 17 of 2019 (in a win that Kansas City needed to clinch home field, not a rest-the-starters game). And he did that despite gaining 60 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. It was also only the third time in his career that Mahomes has thrown an interception while failing to throw for a touchdown. The first was in Week 17 in 2017 in his first NFL start; the other was in a 2018 win over Jacksonville. Mahomes opened the game against Tampa Bay with no first downs in his first nine dropbacks, followed by four first downs in seven dropbacks, and then zero first downs in his next 10 dropbacks. By the time he finally got his next first down, the Chiefs were down 31-9 late in the third quarter. None of his first downs came in the red zone, where he went 3-of-8 for 8 yards with an interception. He was tremendous when throwing down the middle (10-of-14 for 121 yards), but lousy when throwing to his right (8-of-19 for 55 yards with two interceptions). He did not complete a deep pass until the fourth quarter; he finished 2-of-10 for 49 yards and a pick on passes that traveled more than 15 yards downfield. On third/fourth downs, Mahomes went 5-of-15 for 57 yards with an interception and only three conversions, all three of which came in the fourth quarter. Mahomes also ran the ball four times (all in the first half) for 34 yards and three first downs.

 

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.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC
9
64
0
2/3
23
0
49
39
10
TB
Edwards-Helaire gains 15 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was stuffed just once while rushing for four first downs, including gains of 10 and 26 yards. All three of his targets came with Kansas City down by 22 points in the fourth quarter. His two catches were a 5-yard gain on first-and-10 and an 18-yard gain on third-and-2.
2.
Leonard Fournette TB
16
89
1
4/4
46
0
26
6
21
KC
Fournette loses 20 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was stuffed just once while running for three first downs, including gains of 11 and 27 yards. Three of this catches each picked up at least 12 yards and a first down; the other was a 4-yard gain on second-and-9.
3.
Ronald Jones TB
12
61
0
0/1
0
0
-6
1
-7
KC
Jones loses 18 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Though his longest run gained only 13 yards, five of them picked up first downs and eight gained 4 yards or more, while he was stuffed just once.
4.
Darrel Williams KC
2
5
0
2/7
10
0
-28
0
-28
KC
With only four touches, Williams would not have ordinarily qualified for our tables, but we added him to show how poor his receiving numbers were. Per Stathead, Williams is just the fifth player this year to gain 10 yards or fewer on seven targets or more. Not surprisingly, all five of those players lost. Williams' first five targets were all incomplete. He didn't actually catch a pass until the fourth quarter. Neither of his catches -- a 9-yard gain on second-and-10 and a 1-yard gain on third-and-4 -- picked up first downs. His two carries, by the way, were a 2-yard gain on second-and-10 and a 3-yard gain on first-and-10. That's one successful play in nine carries and targets, and that's no good. Since only two of those plays were rushes, however, he gains only 3 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.

 

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.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC
9
64
0
2/3
23
0
49
39
10
TB
2.
Leonard Fournette TB
16
89
1
4/4
46
0
26
6
21
KC
3.
Ronald Jones TB
12
61
0
0/1
0
0
-6
1
-7
KC

 

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.
Darrel Williams KC
2
5
0
2/7
10
0
-28
0
-28
KC
Again, we're throwing Williams in here because had so many targets, even though he only had four touches. The worst regular qualifier would have been Ronald Jones.

 

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.
Ronald Jones TB
12
61
0
0/1
0
0
-6
1
-7
KC
Well, Darrel Williams had zero rushing DYAR, but it seems wrong to include him here on only two rushes no matter what his receiving numbers were.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Mike Evans TB
1
1
31
31.0
0
36
KC
Confusion reigned among Football Outsiders readers as the receiving DYAR leaders from Super Bowl LV were unveiled. Brows were furrowed. Beards were stroked. Heads were scratched. At last one of their bolder members stood and spoke. "Excuse me," he began, "but how can this have been the best receiver of the NFL's championship game, when he caught just the one ball?" His peers nodded vociferously in agreement and support. "That is an excellent question," the Quick Reads scribe replied. "First, of course, we must point out that Evans' one catch gained 31 yards, a fine total indeed. Then we must consider defensive pass interference flags, of which Evans drew a league-high nine in the regular season. Well, Evans drew two more in the Super Bowl, both in the final minute of the first half. One was a 34-yard gain; the other went for 8 yards and gave the Bucs a first-and-goal at the 1, turning a likely field goal into a chance for a touchdown, a touchdown that they scored on the next play. Between catches and DPIs, Evans had the Buccaneers' two longest passing plays of the day, and more than a quarter of their combined yardage on throws, despite having just one official catch." "Ah," said the Football Outsiders readers, satisfied with this answer. Then they moved on to see what Gronk did.
2.
Rob Gronkowski TB
6
7
67
11.2
2
28
KC
Gronkowski came into this game with a dozen career receiving touchdowns in the postseason and three in the Super Bowl, tied for second place in both categories. His two scores against Kansas City move him into sole possession of second place behind Jerry Rice, who had 22 and eight. Four of Gronk's catches picked up first downs, the longest a 25-yarder, while only one (a 3-yard gain on second-and-10) counted as a failed reception.
3.
Travis Kelce KC
10
15
133
13.3
0
13
TB
Ninety-eight of Kelce's 133 yards came on his six first downs, each of which gained at least 11 yards. Of course, that means his other nine targets gained a total of only 35 yards.
4.
Cameron Brate TB
3
3
26
8.7
0
8
KC
Three catches: 5-yard gain on second-and-13; 15-yard gain on first-and-10; 6-yard gain on second-and-6.
5.
Tyreek Hill KC
7
10
73
10.4
0
6
TB
Hill's totals include 4 DYAR rushing for his one carry, a 5-yard gain. Only two of his catches came in the first half, and one of those lost a yard. His longest gain -- a 23-yarder that made up more than 30% of his yardage on the day -- came on third-and-33 and counted as a failed reception; he was the target on a fourth-and-10 incompletion on the next play.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Mecole Hardman KC
2
6
4
2.0
0
-39
TB
Hardman's first catch was a 4-yard gain on first-and-10; his next went for no gain on second-and-7. Hardman had five targets in the first half, three in the first quarter; his struggles help to explain the Chiefs were down 21-6 at halftime.

Comments

21 comments, Last at 12 Feb 2021, 12:37pm

2 That rushing DYAR though

I get why Brady’s rushing DYAR was so low, as it seems to have all come from the aborted snap. But I do question why and how it’s included in the formulas. Presumably the snap should be on the center, and while Brady obviously lost yards on it, his recovery of that snap was maybe his single best play of the night. I was joking that it might have been the most athletic play of his career. I suspect that including that sort of play in DYAR results does not improve the predictive value of that with regards to QB play.

3 I don't understand how one snap is worth -24 DYAR

So Brady had an aborted snap. Then jumped on it for a loss of 15 yards. I don't understand how something like be worth -24 DYAR. In contrast his other 30 snaps combined to add less than 100 DYAR. Does not make sense to me.

4 So, Evans led the league in…

So, Evans led the league in DPIs drawn, but are there stats on defensive holding or illegal contact penalties?  Feels like he draws an unusually high never of those as well with how freakishly big and strong he is, curious if it's backed up statistically as well.

5 Did aborted snap accounting change?

Aaron, did you change how you account for aborted snaps? I looked back at Peyton’s infamous first play safety in an earlier Super Bowl and saw no large negative rush DYAR.

7 The first snap of SEA-DEN…

The first snap of SEA-DEN was recorded as a fumble by the center Ramirez, whereas yesterday's was recorded as a Brady fumble. Here's the PBP of the two plays:

"(Shotgun) P.Manning Aborted. M.Ramirez FUMBLES at DEN 14, recovered by DEN-K.Moreno at DEN -8. K.Moreno tackled in End Zone, SAFETY (C.Avril)."

"(Shotgun) T.Brady FUMBLES (Aborted) at KC 32, and recovers at KC 34."

9 Weird. I guess Brady would…

Weird. I guess Brady would have been much better to DYAR if he had forgotten the snap count and looked the other way rather than trying to field the high snap. Oh, well. Anything built off play-by-play is going to have the occasional glitch.

10 Aborted snaps

So ... aborted snaps are weird, and they really confuse our system. 

First of all, it's worth noting that aborted snaps were way up this year. There were 49 aborted snaps in the regular season in 2017, 38 in 2018, and 48 in 2019. That's a three-year average of 45. We nearly doubled that average in 2020 with 88. Is this COVID-related? Is it because more teams are using shotgun formations, and shotgun snaps are more dangerous? Don't know. 

We did make a change to our accounting this year and counted all aborted snaps would be counted as running plays (with the obvious exception of those plays where a QB recovered the snap and then threw a pass). This is just to streamline things and make the automation run more smoothly. 

And then there's the designation of who is and is not charged with the fumble. Somebody mentioned the aborted snap that opened the DEN-SEA Super Bowl a few years back, where the fumble was charged to the center and not the quarterback, because the quarterback never touched the ball. The same thing happened in the Pittsburgh-Cleveland playoff game this year -- Maurkice Pouncey snapped the ball over Ben Roethlisberger's head and the Browns recovered the ball in the end zone. Roethlisberger never touched the ball, so he is not "credited" with the fumble. In the Super Bowl, Brady recovered the ball, so at that point it become his rushing attempt and his fumble, even though the center was plainly at fault. 

Finally, remember that all fumbles are counted, no matter which team recovered the ball. Avoiding/forcing fumbles is a skill, but actually recovering the ball has proven to be luck, so Brady is punished for fumbling even though all he did was make a recovery. Aborted snaps are usually recovered by the offense, so it could have been worse. But yes, DYAR looks at that play-by-play and thinks that Tom Brady tried to run on third-and-10 in field goal range, ran backwards 15 yards, and then fumbled. Which would be a terrible play, but of course that is not close to what happened in reality. 

We have discussed the idea of counting aborted snaps as neither passing nor rushing plays, and listing them in a third category with penalties, in future versions of DVOA.

13 Typo in the Darrel Williams…

Typo in the Darrel Williams tables. He's currently listed with 0 total DYAR, -28 Rushing DYAR, -28 Receiving DYAR. Maybe should be -28 Total & 0 Rushing?

15 End of half clock management

I wonder if there is a way to capture how damaging it was for chiefs to have called those two timeouts at the end of the first half 

16 Opponent Adjustment Error?

In the RB table, you say Fournette has a -20 DYAR opponent adjustment, and Jones a -18 DYAR adjustment.  They played against the same defense, so shouldn't the adjustment be identical?   Or is the adjustment separate for rushing and receiving?

17 Different for rushing and…

Different for rushing and receiving -- some defenses are great against the run but can't cover passes to running backs. Opponent adjustments are also cumulative, so a running back with more carries than his teammate (like Fournette) will get a stronger adjustment.

19 Chiefs.

Instead of forcing the ball to an ineffective (defended) Hardman, they should have been using their bread and butter plays with Kelce and Hill underneath.  Tampa DB's were crashing hard, but it's better than the alternative.

It was obvious that Reid/Bieniemy had no answer or Plan B.  That was the surprising aspect of the game.

Surprised they didn't try to find Street FA O-Lineman who would have at least made the Bucs work for those pressures.

20 Brady

Can somebody get me a calculation on how much playoff DYAR Brady has since 2016?