Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and the NFL's Best WR/TE Combos

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill & TE Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill & TE Travis Kelce
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 15 - The conversation following Kansas City's 34-28 overtime win over the Chargers last Thursday was focused on L.A.'s failure to convert in scoring range. Lost in all the controversy, however, was the brilliant performance of Kansas City stars Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. It was one of the best days any wide receiver/tight end tandem has ever had, and it cements their legacy as the best such tag team we have ever seen.

Hill caught 12 passes in 13 targets against Los Angeles, gaining 148 yards and a touchdown and finishing as our top receiver this week with 87 DYAR. Kelce added 10 catches in 13 targets for 191 yards and two scores, which left him in second place behind Hill with 58 DYAR. That puts Hill and Kelce on the verge of an unprecedented feat.

We have collected a list of 331 different games from 1983 to 2020 where a wide receiver compiled at least 80 combined rushing and receiving DYAR. We also have a list of 67 occasions where a tight end has amassed at least 60 DYAR. Last Thursday night could end up being the first time ever that one team put a player on each list in the same game. Opponent adjustments will continue to fluctuate slightly through the season's final three weeks, and Kelce needs just a slight boost to qualify for the tight end games list while Hill's spot on the wide receiver games list seems safe.

We also have lists of the top 20 WR/TE games in each season dating back to 1983. It usually takes a game in the mid-60s to mid-70s to qualify. No wide receiver/tight end teammates ever made the top 20 in a given year in the same week, though a handful of WR/WR duos have. (The best of those was in 2004, when Cincinnati's Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh combined for 23 targets, 20 catches, 348 yards from scrimmage, three touchdowns, and 202 DYAR in a 27-26 win over Baltimore.)

Hill and Kelce's total of 145 DYAR, while impressive, is not the all-time single-game record. (In 1989, Flipper Anderson of the L.A. Rams set the wideout record with 160 DYAR by himself.) But that hardly matters, because their long-term legacy as the best WR/TE pair has already been established. Through 14 games, Hill has 383 combined DYAR, while Kelce has 210. Those numbers project to 466 and 255 over 17 games. That's a total of 721, which would be in the top 10 seasons of all time … even though it's actually worse than what they did last year.

Most DYAR, Single Season, WR/TE Teammates, 1983-2021
Year Team Top WR DYAR Top TE DYAR Total
DYAR
2011 NE Wes Welker 469 Rob Gronkowski 461 930
1994 SF Jerry Rice 591 Brent Jones 230 821
2020 KC Tyreek Hill 396 Travis Kelce 415 811
2009 SD Vincent Jackson 457 Antonio Gates 339 796
1995 DAL Michael Irvin 591 Jay Novacek 163 754
2001 IND Marvin Harrison 534 Marcus Pollard 214 748
2019 NO Michael Thomas 528 Jared Cook 205 733
2021 KC* Tyreek Hill 466 Travis Kelce 255 721
2000 KC Derrick Alexander 354 Tony Gonzalez 362 716
1989 SF Jerry Rice 581 Brent Jones 133 714
2009 MIN Sidney Rice 486 Visanthe Shiancoe 213 698
2007 DAL Terrell Owens 454 Jason Witten 237 691
2014 PIT Antonio Brown 559 Heath Miller 127 686
2011 GB Jordy Nelson 520 Jermichael Finley 165 685
2007 NE Randy Moss 568 Ben Watson 105 673
2018 KC Tyreek Hill 475 Travis Kelce 196 672
1999 OAK Tim Brown 396 Rickey Dudley 275 671
2008 HOU Andre Johnson 506 Owen Daniels 164 670
2015 CIN A.J. Green 414 Tyler Eifert 247 661
2003 MIN Randy Moss 528 Jim Kleinsasser 133 661
* Totals prorated to 17 games.

What we have here is a list of the greatest wide receivers and tight ends (and, by proxy, quarterbacks) of the last four decades. Not surprisingly, it's the elite individual seasons that finish on top. The 2011 Patriots are in first place led by Rob Gronkowski, who had the best tight end season we have ever measured. Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin are virtually tied for the best wideout seasons in our database (including Rice's 75 rushing DYAR in 1994), and they finish in second and fifth place here. But Hill and Kelce are in third, eighth, and 16th place. Rice and his San Francisco teammate Brent Jones are the only other couple to appear more than once (and they did it with different passers—Joe Montana in 1989, Steve Young in 1994). The Chiefs are also on pace to become just the third team ever to produce a tight end with at least 450 DYAR and a tight end with at least 250, joining the 2011 Patriots and 2009 Chargers.

(We should also add that a new/old pair could soon be at the top of this table. We'll be adding DVOA for 1982 this offseason, which means we're getting into the peak years of the Air Coryell Chargers. In a strike-shortened season, Wes Chandler led the NFL with 1,032 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, while Kellen Winslow Sr. was third with 721 yards and added a half-dozen scores himself. San Diego averaged 8.9 yards per throw, a half-yard better than any other offense. The abbreviated season is going to be tricky to analyze, but Chandler and Winslow have as good a chance as anyone to surpass Wes Welker and Gronk, at least on a game-for-game basis.)

It should go without saying, but Patrick Mahomes deserves a ton of credit for what his teammates have accomplished. Hill and Kelce have been playing together since 2016, but they had just 468 and 507 combined DYAR in two seasons while catching passes from Alex Smith. Since Mahomes took over as starter, their worst season was in 2019, when they "only" had 467 DYAR, partly because Hill missed four games (and Mahomes missed two). Ironically, that's the one season so far when these Chiefs have won the Super Bowl.

The only question left is how long they can keep this up. Kelce is signed through 2025, but he's also 32 years old. Hill is only 27, but his contract expires after the 2022 season. He'll be looking to cash in with the NFL's salary cap about to explode, and Kansas City is in the middle of the pack in cap space for that season.

But all of that is in the future, and we'll see how the Chiefs cross that very expensive bridge when they get there. For now, we should enjoy watching their exploits while we can. Because once these partners split up, we're not likely to see the likes of them for a long, long time.

 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jared Goff DET
21/26
216
3
0
2
167
167
0
ARI
Among the reasons the Lions pulled off the year's biggest upset this week: Goff badly outplayed Kyler Murray, his fellow former first overall draft pick. Goff was the week's best passer inside the opponents' 40-yard line, where he went 8-of-9 for 102 yards and three touchdowns. He was also best from under center, going 5-of-6 for 76 yards with two touchdowns and one sack.
2.
Aaron Rodgers GB
23/31
268
3
0
3
150
147
3
BAL
Rodgers was successful on 66% of his dropbacks, best of any starter this week. A lot of those successful plays came on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, where he completed each of his nine throws for 67 yards. Those weren't empty completions, either—seven of them picked up first downs.
3.
Patrick Mahomes KC
31/47
410
3
1
1
139
133
6
LAC
Mahomes was the week's best passer in the first quarter, and he was the best passer in the second half/overtime, but he was worst in the second quarter. He failed to throw for a single first down in those 15 minutes, going 2-of-5 for 9 yards with a sack and a fumble. He was also worst on passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage. He threw 15 of them, three more than anyone else, completing eight of them for only 47 yards with an interception.
4.
Tyler Huntley BAL
29/40
215
2
0
1
110
87
23
GB
Huntley was the week's best passer on throws to tight ends. For more information, see Mark Andrews' comment in the "Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR" table. Huntley led all quarterbacks in rushing DYAR with 12 carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
5.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
18/23
235
1
0
0
92
106
-14
ATL
Garoppolo loses 42 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was best on throws to his left, going 10-of-11 for 104 yards and a touchdown, plus a 14-yard DPI.
6.
Justin Herbert LAC
22/38
236
2
1
0
52
49
3
KC
Herbert's average dropback came with 7.1 yards to go for a first down, tied with Matt Ryan for fewest of any starter this week. He was the week's worst passer in the first quarter (3-of-9, 25 yards, one interception), but the best in the fourth quarter/overtime (8-of-12, 99 yards, one touchdown, one 15-yard DPI).
7.
Derek Carr LV
25/37
236
1
1
2
51
72
-21
CLE
8.
Dak Prescott DAL
28/37
217
1
0
3
47
47
0
NYG
Prescott was perfect on throws down the middle of the field, completing each of his eight attempts for 66 yards and a touchdown.
9.
Drew Lock DEN
6/12
88
1
0
1
35
59
-24
CIN
Lock came into the game with Denver trailing 9-3 in the third quarter. His average dropback came with 13.3 yards to go for a first down, most of any qualifier this week. That's partly why he threw so deep—his average pass traveled a league-high 14.5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. His one carry resulted in a loss of 2 yards and a lost fumble in the red zone.
10.
Jake Fromm NYG
6/12
82
0
0
1
31
31
0
DAL
Fromm came into the game with New York trailing 21-6 with less than four minutes to go in the game. His average completion gained only 2.7 yards after the catch, least of any qualifier.
11.
Josh Allen BUF
19/34
210
3
1
4
27
17
10
CAR
Allen was the week's best passer in the red zone, going 4-of-7 for 52 yards and three touchdowns.
12.
Nick Mullens CLE
20/29
147
1
0
0
16
16
0
LV
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Colt McCoy ARI
6/9
56
0
0
0
15
12
3
DET
McCoy entered the game with Arizona trailing 30-12 and less than three minutes to go. And now, three related stats:
  • McCoy was successful on 67% of his dropbacks, most of any qualifier this week.
  • His average dropback came with 6.3 yards to go for a first down, fewest of any qualifier.
  • His average pass traveled 4.3 yards downfield, least of any qualifier.
14.
Justin Fields CHI
26/38
285
1
0
3
11
32
-22
MIN
15.
Joe Burrow CIN
15/22
157
1
0
3
-5
-15
10
DEN
Burrow was successful on a league-low 24% of his dropbacks. The few successful passes he did have were mostly thrown to Tyler Boyd; to everyone else, he went 10-of-16 for only 57 yards.
16.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
16/25
148
0
0
3
-8
-3
-5
TEN
Roethlisberger's average pass traveled 4.9 yards downfield, least of any starter this week. Twelve of his 26 passes were thrown to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage; he completed seven of them for 55 yards.
17.
Trevor Lawrence JAX
22/37
210
0
0
3
-13
-12
0
HOU
Lawrence spent a good portion of the afternoon trying and failing to dig the Jaguars out of bad field position. Within his own 25-yard line, he went 4-of-8 for 31 yards with a pair of sacks.
18.
Mac Jones NE
26/45
299
2
2
1
-17
-23
5
IND
We think of the Patriots as a run-and-short-pass offense, but that wasn't the case this week. Jones' average pass traveled 10.6 yards downfield, most of any starter this week. He led all quarterbacks with 11 deep-ball throws, completing three of them for 88 yards.
19.
Taysom Hill NO
13/27
154
0
0
2
-26
-4
-22
TB
Hill failed to throw for a single first down inside the Tampa Bay 40-yard line, going 2-of-6 for 15 yards. He had 11 carries for only 33 yards; none of those carries picked up a first down, while four were stuffed for no gain or a loss.
20.
Davis Mills HOU
19/30
209
2
1
1
-26
-29
3
JAX
Mills loses a league-high 46 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Like his counterpart in this game, Trevor Lawrence, Mills spent a good portion of the afternoon trying and failing to dig his team out of bad field position. He failed to throw for a single first down from within his own 40-yard line, going 6-of-9 for only 41 yards with an interception and a sack.
21.
Matt Ryan ATL
19/32
236
1
0
3
-36
-37
1
SF
Ryan's average dropback came with 7.1 yards to go for a first down, tied with Justin Herbert for fewest of any starter this week. His average completion gained only 3.0 yards after the catch, least of any starter. Fortunately he produced a good amount of yardage through the air—he was the week's best passer on deep balls, going 4-of-5 for 139 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, while he was often able to reach the red zone, Ryan didn't do much there, going 6-of-13 for 45 yards and only one touchdown.
22.
Carson Wentz IND
5/12
57
1
1
1
-39
-50
11
NE
On third downs, Wentz went 0-for-2 with a sack. Yes, that's it. In New England territory, he went 2-of-6 for 8 yards with one touchdown and one sack.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Teddy Bridgewater DEN
12/22
98
0
0
2
-39
-48
9
CIN
Bridgewater left this game due to a head injury with Denver trailing 9-3 in the third quarter. He did not have a single run or pass in the red zone; in Bengals territory, he went 3-of-6 for 7 yards. One of those completions was a 9-yard gain on second-and-10; the other two each lost a yard.
24.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
16/27
196
2
2
1
-50
-39
-10
NYJ
Tagovailoa loses 44 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the NFL's worst passer on throws to tight ends, going 6-of-10 for 47 yards with more interceptions (two) than touchdowns (one).
25.
Zach Wilson NYJ
13/23
170
0
0
6
-53
-52
-2
MIA
Wilson's average dropback came with 11.0 yards to go for a first down, most of any starter this week. Fortunately for him, his receivers did a lot of help to dig him out of those holes—his average completion gained 9.7 yards after the catch, a yard and a half better than anyone else.
26.
Kyler Murray ARI
23/41
257
1
1
2
-83
-55
-28
DET
Murray loses 44 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His three carries: no gain on first-and-10; 4-yard loss and a fumble on an aborted snap on second-and-7; 4-yard gain on first-and-10. He was the best passer on throws down the middle (7-of-8 for 106 yards and a touchdown, plus a 19-yard DPI), but the worst on throws to the right (9-of-19 for 108 yards with an interception).
27.
Mike Glennon NYG
13/24
99
0
3
0
-91
-84
-7
DAL
Well here's an unholy trinity: Glennon had the week's worst DYAR on throws to wide receivers (3-of-9 for 32 yards with three interceptions, plus a 5-yard DPI), on deep balls (0-for-3 with two picks), and on throws down the middle (4-of-6 for 33 yards with two INTs).
28.
Cam Newton CAR
18/38
156
1
1
4
-97
-84
-13
BUF
Well, let's start with the good news. Newton gains 74 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. That's by far the most in the league—Mike Glennon (46) was the only other player over 40. And even without Christian McCaffrey, Newton was the top passer on throws to running backs, going 5-of-6 for 49 yards and a touchdown. Otherwise? Yech. He threw for just one first down in the first half. He did not complete any of his five deep passes, or any of his seven passes out of a no-huddle (where he also threw an interception). And while he did run 15 times for 65 yards and a touchdown, he also had a pair of fumbles.
29.
Kirk Cousins MIN
12/23
87
2
1
4
-99
-99
0
CHI
30.
Tom Brady TB
26/48
214
0
1
4
-120
-101
-19
NO
Brady had the week's worst DYAR on third/fourth downs, going 10-of-14 for 80 yards with six conversions, plus a 6-yard DPI, an interception, and four sacks. He did not throw a single pass in the red zone; in Saints territory, he went 5-of-12 for 41 yards with two sacks.
31.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
23/32
153
0
1
4
-137
-139
2
PIT
The Titans led 13-3 at halftime, but never scored again as Tannehill threw for only one first down in the second half, going 9-of-12 for 37 yards with two sacks, a fumble, and an interception. Three of those completions lost yardage, partly why Tannehill led all passers with 11 failed completions. He was the league's worst passer in the red zone, going 6-of-9 for 42 yards with no touchdowns, two sacks, and a fumble.

 

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.
Duke Johnson MIA
22
107
2
1/1
20
0
39
29
10
NYJ
October 26: An unemployed Duke Johnson signs with Miami's practice squad.
November 20: Miami promotes Johnson to the active roster.
November 21: Johnson makes his Dolphins debut, rushing four times for 18 yards in a win over the Jets. He returns to the practice squad shortly thereafter.
December 13: With Phillip Lindsay, Myles Gaskin, and Salvon Ahmed all on the COVID list, Johnson returns to the active roster.
December 19: Johnson is the NFL's most valuable running back.
December 20: The Dolphins sign Johnson to their active roster for the rest of the year.
 
Johnson's longest run against New York gained only 12 yards, but he had four runs of 10-plus yards and nine first downs while being stuffed just twice. His one catch was a 20-yard gain on first-and-10 on a game-tying touchdown drive in the third quarter.
2.
Jonathan Taylor IND
29
170
1
0/0
0
0
38
38
0
NE
Taylor was stuffed five times while rushing for seven first downs, and he only had three 10-plus-yard runs, but one of those was a 67-yard touchdown run on second-and-8 that put the Colts up 27-17 late in the game.
3.
Josh Jacobs LV
15
52
0
3/4
42
0
32
10
23
CLE
Jacobs is mainly here for his three catches: a 17-yard gain on second-and-12; a 16-yard gain on second-and-9; and a 9-yard gain on first-and-10.
4.
Aaron Jones GB
13
58
0
2/2
12
1
32
16
17
BAL
Jones gains 7 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was stuffed twice and only had two first downs, with a long gain of 11 yards. His two catches: a 3-yard gain on second-and-1 and a 9-yard touchdown on first-and-goal.
5.
Ronald Jones TB
8
63
0
2/2
8
0
32
28
3
NO
Jones only ran for two first downs against New Orleans, but those came on gains of 12 and 30 yards, and he was stuffed just one time. His two catches: a 5-yard gain on second-and-7 and a 3-yard gain on second-and-4.

 

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.
Jonathan Taylor IND
29
170
1
0/0
0
0
38
38
0
NE
2.
Duke Johnson MIA
22
107
2
1/1
20
0
39
29
10
NYJ
3.
Austin Ekeler LAC
12
59
1
4/4
23
0
23
29
-6
KC
All of Ekeler's runs gained at least 1 yard. He ran for four first downs, the longest a 15-yard gain on second-and-6.
4.
Ronald Jones TB
8
63
0
2/2
8
0
32
28
3
NO
5.
Javonte Williams DEN
15
72
0
4/4
9
0
16
26
-10
CIN
Williams was stuffed just once while rushing for five first downs, including gains of 10 and 14 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.
Najee Harris PIT
12
18
0
2/5
8
0
-48
-30
-19
TEN
Harris' longest run gained only 7 yards, he failed to run for a single first down (despite getting three carries with 4 yards or less to go), and he was stuffed four times. His two catches: a 3-yard gain on third-and-6 and a 5-yard gain on third-and-14.

 

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.
David Montgomery CHI
18
60
0
5/6
23
0
-47
-40
-7
MIN
Montgomery loses 12 rushing DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He ran for five first downs, the longest a gain of 16. He was stuffed eight times and lost a fumble in the red zone.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tyreek Hill KC
12
13
148
12.3
1
87
LAC
Eight of Hill's catches picked up first downs, the longest a gain of 40, and he also had a 30-yard DPI. He converted all three of his third-down targets on gains of 23, 40, and 20 yards.
2.
Travis Kelce KC
10
13
191
19.1
2
58
LAC
Seven of Kelce's catches produced first downs, including a 69-yard gain on third-and-5, a 7-yard touchdown that tied the game in the fourth quarter, and a 34-yard game-winning score in overtime that produced some hysterical dots.
3.
Mark Andrews BAL
10
13
136
13.6
2
58
GB
Every one of Andrews' catches moved the chains, including five conversions on third or fourth down. His longest catch was a 43-yard gain.
4.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB
5
7
98
19.6
1
49
BAL
Each of Valdes-Scantling's catches produced first downs, including an 11-yard touchdown, plus gains of 24, 25, and 31 yards.
5.
Josh Reynolds DET
6
6
68
11.3
1
48
ARI
Four of Reynolds' catches produced first downs, including a 22-yard touchdown. He also drew a 13-yard DPI.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Antoine Wesley ARI
3
8
19
6.3
0
-30
DET
In 2018, Wesley led the Big 12 with 88 catches while playing for Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech. He skipped his senior season to go pro, but went undrafted in 2019 and failed to make an active roster until reuniting with Kingsbury in Arizona this year. He had 11 targets in his first 11 games, then got eight in Week 15 against Detroit. He didn't do much with them: only one of his catches gained a first down, with failures to convert on four throws with 6 yards or less to go. His longest catch gained only 7 yards, though he did pick up 19 yards and a second first down on a DPI.

Comments

33 comments, Last at 23 Dec 2021, 11:57am

1 Watching Mark Andrews rip through the Pack

Watching Mark Andrews rip through the Packers' previously pretty darn good D made me much less angry with the way he shredded the Colts in the second half and OT of their game. In one game he had Jackson, and in the other he had Huntley. Makes no difference to a monster like him.

If Indy makes the playoffs, my biggest fear is probably monster TEs like him and Kelce; Hunter Henry a bit less, and nobody else in the AFC playoff field is too much of an issue. Gronk sure did a number on them, as is his filthy, disgusting, rotten, no-good habit. Kittle missed the Colts game, or it might have turned out differently.

32 Kenny Moore is fantastic…

Kenny Moore is fantastic against typical slot receivers. Swap that out with a good receiving TE and it's definitely a mismatch at 5'9" 190...he's still their best option and an average tight end is no problem but any of these top level TEs definitely are.

2 Hill

There was a lot of bad offense this week! That this week's median passer was Taysom Hill seems unimaginable, given that Hill averaged less than 5 yards per dropback and completed fewer than half of his passes. Aye, the Bucs defense is good, but even so, those are horrible numbers.

It's noticeable also that three of the QBs better than Hill entered the game late. They all outperformed the starter they replaced. Obviously opponents don't gameplan so much for backups, and the game that Lock entered was still competitive, but still, I do think it's worth revisiting the question of garbage time. I see that Adam Steele over at Football Perspective has binned DYAR as a reliable measure because he thinks it overvalues late-game production.

I thought Gronkowski had a shot at being the worst receiver this week as he caught 2 of 11 balls – not that it was his fault he was the target of so many uncatchable passes.

I'm excited to see the 1982 stats as it's the first season I paid attention to the NFL. I would be wary of pro-rating DYAR numbers from 9 to 16 games though; DVOA will be a more enlightening comparison.

6 Bad offense

In reply to by ammek

The decline has been going on for weeks.   Weather is not the excuse, many of the games have been played in domes, warm weather like Tampa or good weather in the north and midwest.

Anyone who watched Sunday night and two games Monday saw little offense.

I’d love to see an FO analysis of the decline of offense as compared with recent prior years.  I think some of this can be explained by the large number of backup QB’s that have played in recent weeks.

10 I think some of this can be…

In reply to by jheidelberg

I think some of this can be explained by the large number of backup QB’s that have played in recent weeks.

Or linemen, or pass catchers, etc. I think the random COVID list additions have to be playing utter hell with game planners.

11 Worst offensive year in a while

In reply to by jheidelberg

Yeah, this year has definitely dropped off in terms of offense - though I think we should realize 2020 with empty stadiums was probably an outlier.

In terms of 'basic' stats:

Points per game: 22.8, this was 24.8 last year, but 22.8 is in line with all recent years (it was 22.8 in 2019, 2016, 2015, and has been between 21.5 and 23.3 every year from 2007-2019 before the spike in 2020)

Yards per game: 345.8, this was 359! last year, but again 345.8 is right in line with recent years (spiked up to 346.8 in 2011 post the lockout, and has been between 346.8 and 352.7 each year since aside from last year and 2017 at 334.1 as a low outlier)

QB Rating: 90.9, this was 93.6 in 2020 and 92.9 in 2018, but aside from that this is actually the 3rd highest year on record.

18 Fewer drives, extra pressure on offense

There's one reason why it feels as though offense has declined more than perhaps the stats indicate: this season features the fewest ever drives per game – a fraction lower than last year, but more than one drive per game down on every season prior to 2018. And at the same time, yards per play has fallen a little. So drives are getting longer, but not all that much better.

One factor is that going for it on fourth down is way more common: there are 10 extra fourth-down attempts per week compared with 2016. A series that goes to fourth-down doesn't tend to feel like "good offense" even when the 4th down is converted and the chains move.

Success rates on 4th down haven't changed either, which means that there are now a lot more "hidden turnovers" than previously. Five years ago, these would have been punts, which were rapidly forgotten by everyone except TMQ. Now about one-half of them are fourth-down failures on offense, which perhaps makes it feel as though offenses are struggling more than they used to.

26 Your statistic about 4th…

Your statistic about 4th downs causing longer drives is interesting especially in combination with the prior contributor that notes that points are down this year.  More punting will decrease points because they are in lieu of failed or successful 4th downs.  A 4th down at midfield will result in one team or another having good field position, whereas a punt will almost always back up the defensive team converting to offense.  I may expect more yardage in the game due to punting, but also expect less scoring due to punting.

15 Weather is not the excuse,…

In reply to by jheidelberg

Weather is not the excuse, many of the games have been played in domes, warm weather like Tampa or good weather in the north and midwest.

Should be noted that you don't need "bad weather" for offense to decline. Literally just an overall drop in temperature changes the physics of the game (both in terms of the physics of throwing/kicking and the biophysics involved). Doesn't matter that the weather in Green Bay this weekend was "good" - it was still 43 degrees outside versus 73 degrees in week 2.

16  I see that Adam Steele over…

In reply to by ammek

 I see that Adam Steele over at Football Perspective has binned DYAR as a reliable measure because he thinks it overvalues late-game production.

You keep in the late-game stuff because that kind of performance does give you information, just like preseason performance used to when they actually were trying. Think of it like grading a player. You don't ignore the late-game snaps in those cases: what they do still tells you about their physical abilities and their decision making. But in terms of what it meant for the actual game, it's totally different.

It's like the difference between EPA/play and WPA/play. Everything in late game is totally pointless in terms of WPA/play, but still has the same value in EPA/play.

21 Gronk was only fifth-worst…

In reply to by ammek

Gronk was only fifth-worst. Partly because he got a massive boost in opponent adjustments, partly because there were a lot of bad receivers this week. My "favorite" is Marquise Brown, who caught 10 of 14 targets ... but somehow only gained 43 yards! Those are bad receiving numbers for a running back, let alone a starting wideout!

23 Or it was a great game by…

Or it was a great game by Eric Stokes and Adrian Amos who often had him bracketed in the first half leaving Savage to cover Andrews 1-on-1 which clearly failed. In the 2nd half they played a bit more dime and were bracketing Andrews with King (who was the dime back over Henry Black) and leaving Stokes 1-on-1 with Brown since they had evidence he didn't need the help. That improved things a bit as Andrews was generally held to just enough to for the first down instead of getting the 1st plus 10-30 more. But it clearly wasn't the answer for Andrews.

I wish it were easier to tell just from the stats if it's great defense or bad offense. Or great offense or bad defense. The Packers game had a mix. It was great offense vs bad defense (Savage was just over matched) that allowed Andrews to shred them. It was good offense and good defense that kept Brown from doing the same. I say good offense there because he did catch 10-14 passes his routes were good enough to make him open enough for the catch but only for shorter stuff and he was stopped short of converting most of the time which indicates the D did a good job of stopping him. Great D would have been 6-14 or better, completely preventing the catch. But the D was also good enough to keep him from being open deep or mid.

Most of what I saw from TB and NO was great defense on both sides. But the stats just make it look like bad offense since we tend to view everything from the offensive perspective first. But those D's were both controlling the game. The offenses couldn't do what they wanted because of the defense not because of poor play from the offenses themselves. 

5 Glad to see MVS

Have a good game. Been a rough season between injuries and a qb trying a number of downfield attempts that are often off target.
 

Also, his hands seem better this season.  And people forget the one guy who played big on offense against TB was MVS.  He is more than a deep throw gadget receiver.  MVS blocks well, he is tough.  If he can stay healthy the remainder of this season he could be a big contributor as teams look to take out Adams.  

7 MVS blocking

In reply to by big10freak

Entering the season, he was the worst blocking WR, but he more than makes up for it by becoming one of the better stretch WRs, well worth the <$2.3m cap hit, which helps diversify the GB WRs along with the (re)addition of Cobb and hopefully Amari soon in the slot

8 Thanks for sharing

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Obviously this surprises me as MVS is a willing blocker and for a receiver if you are trying that is often enough.  You don’t need to Lazard pancaking guys 

 

 

12 He definitely wasn't a good…

He definitely wasn't a good blocker his first couple of seasons in the league, but he's grown a lot in all facets of his game. With all of the WR screens and condensed splits, every WR has to block in GB's offense and I agree he at least puts in the effort.

13 I think it probably took a…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

I think it probably took a few weeks for him to get back up to speed (and there was also the game that Rodgers missed), but I don't think it's a coincidence that the Packers downfield passing game has re-emerged in the last few weeks. MVS plays a really important role in opening things up.

9 Small point of order

Kelce is signed through 2025, but he's also 33 years old.

 

Kelce is 32....he'll turn 33 on Oct 5, 2022.

So....it's accurate (and relevant) that he'll turn 33 during the 2022 season, but let's not make him any older than he is. I have cognitive dissonance to manage.

19 Bingo

You've hit exactly the cognitive dissonance I'm indulging in :) That and the fact that due to injury, he missed pretty much his entire rookie season and therefore has one less season of wear on the tires than his age would indicate.

 

It's just easier when, in my head, he won't turn 33 until next season.

30 Kelce and Gronk

Crazy to think that Kelce and Gronk were born the same year, but Gronk came into the NFL 3 seasons earlier.

17 It's interesting to see that…

It's interesting to see that David Montgomery was the worst by DYAR because all I seemed to see on Bears Twitter last night was people praising him and continuing to act like he's a superstar only being constrained by a lack of usage.

Obviously the fumble had a lot to do with his DYAR, the entire organization is broken from top to bottom, and I do believe he's generally a cromulent RB, but that's about it. It feels like Bears fans/media are trying really hard to either find something to be positive about or cape for Ryan Pace, and either way, I don't think a guy who was traded up for turning out to be decent at the most fungible position in the league is the exhibit you want to defend either of those arguments.

22 Out of curiosity

How far away from top 5 rushing DYAR was Pride of Kutztown, and new posterchild for RBDM, Craig Reynolds?

24 Very. He finished below…

In reply to by Joey-Harringto…

Very. He finished below replacement level. Only five first downs while getting stuffed seven times, mostly in the first half while the outcome was still in doubt.

28 Just looking at the…

Just looking at the published numbers Kelce looked like a better game. Is it the TE baseline vs WR or is it a larger defense adjustment for TE specific to LAC?

29 Hill gets a slight boost…

Hill gets a slight boost from opponent adjustments, Kelce gets a slight penalty, but that's not the difference between them. The biggest reasons Hill is so much higher are:

1) Nine first downs to seven.

2) Converting all three of his third downs while Kelce only converted one.

3) Hill only had one target that failed to get yardage: his one incompletion. Kelce had four: three incompletions, plus a loss of 1 yard on first-and-5. 

4) Hill's success rate was 79%, Kelce's was 69%.

4) Don't forget Hill's 30-yard DPI.

4) Kelce's yardage totals are skewed by one play, a 69-yard gain. The median throw to Hill gained 10.5 yards; the median throw to Kelce gained 9.

33 WR-TE Pairings

John Jefferson and Kellen Winslow in 1980 (and maybe even 1979) are going to end up high on that list, too, whenever you get there.