Why Joe Burrow’s Season May Be Overrated

Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 16 - Joe Burrow opened Boxing Day by dropping 525 yards and five touchdowns on the Ravens, and Dak Prescott closed it by torching Washington for 322 yards and four touchdowns in the first half. We were preparing to update our list of the greatest games ever, but as it turns out, neither was even the best game of the year; Prescott was only in fifth place this week. While the two quarterbacks won fantasy playoff games across the country, our statistics don't give them as much credit for feasting on terrible pass defenses, which is exactly what they did on Sunday. In fact, it's what Burrow has been doing all season.

There are other reasons Burrow and Prescott rank lower than you might expect—they also combined for 20 incomplete passes and a half-dozen sacks—but opponent adjustments are the biggest factor holding them down. The Ravens finished Sunday's game with their top three corners and a starting safety out with injuries; they were 30th in pass defense DVOA going into Monday Night Football. They are allowing 8.2 yards per throw and 13.0 yards per completion, ranking last in the league in both categories, and next to last with an interception rate of 1.1%.

Meanwhile, about 90 minutes to the west, the Washington Football Team has had its own share of injuries and is also in the bottom six in pass defense DVOA. They have given up 33 touchdown passes, four more than any other team, and opposing quarterbacks have an NFL passer rating of 104.7, tied with the Jets for highest in the league.

Faced with such pathetic competition, Burrow loses 56 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, third-most of any passer this week; Prescott loses 26 and would have lost a lot more if he had not been pulled midway through the third quarter. For comparison's sake, the best game of the year is currently Lamar Jackson's 270-DYAR outing in Week 5, when he threw 442 yards and four touchdowns against an Indianapolis defense that currently ranks 13th in pass defense DVOA. The Colts have intercepted 17 passes, putting them in the top five in that department, and Jackson gets extra credit for playing well against such a stout unit.

We can do this same calculation for each signal-caller in each week of this season. And when we do, we find that Burrow has faced the softest pass defenses of any quarterback in 2021.

Easiest Schedules, QBs, 2021
Player Team Plays DYAR YAR Difference
Joe Burrow CIN 530 336 532 -196
Teddy Bridgewater DEN 463 557 672 -115
Trevor Lawrence JAX 575 -341 -226 -115
Tyrod Taylor HOU 165 -233 -138 -95
Tua Tagovailoa MIA 316 249 342 -93
Matthew Stafford LAR 563 987 1,079 -91
Ryan Tannehill TEN 532 -265 -174 -91
Jimmy Garoppolo SF 438 792 852 -60
Mason Rudolph PIT 58 -67 -11 -57
Gardner Minshew PHI 30 55 108 -53
Through Week 16, not including Monday Night Football

Even though this is a counting stat, it is still susceptible to small-sample issues. Gardner Minshew has only had 30 pass plays this season (including sacks, intentional groundings, and defensive pass interference plays), and 28 of them came against the Jets, the worst team in pass defense DVOA. The other two came against Detroit, currently ranked 26th. The Eagles play Washington this week, and we have already discussed their sorry state, but they finish up the regular season against Dallas, now our top pass defense. Even just playing a quarter or a half against the Cowboys would radically alter Minshew's opponent adjustments and drop him off the table. That would make room for Aaron Rodgers, who currently has 1,252 DYAR and 1,304 YAR, a difference of -52.

Getting back to Burrow: He has now thrown 84 passes against the Ravens this year, and they are directly responsible for seven of his 30 touchdowns through the air. He has also thrown 40-plus passes against the Steelers (in two games), Chargers, and Browns, all of whom are in the bottom half of the league in pass defense DVOA. In fact, Burrow has only played two games against teams in the upper half of those rankings: the 10th-place Vikings and 12th-place Packers. He completed better than 70% of his passes and averaged 8.3 yards per throw in those two games, with four touchdowns and two interceptions, though he was sacked eight times. Cincinnati beat Minnesota by a field goal but lost to Green Bay by the same margin. Meanwhile, he has played four games against our bottom three pass defenses: the Jaguars, the Jets, and the Ravens twice. Burrow topped 10.0 yards per throw against those four with a dozen touchdowns and only two interceptions. The Bengals went 3-1, somehow losing to Mike White and the Jets.

Cincinnati travels to Kansas City this Sunday to play a Chiefs team ranked 14th against the pass (but trending sharply upwards), then hosts the Browns (19th but with wildly erratic outliers) in Week 18. Expect a lot of fireworks from Burrow in both contests, and in the playoffs should the Cincinnati qualify. Burrow has certainly made things happen for the Bengals—he currently leads the league in both completion rate (69.9%) and average yards per throw (8.7). Unfortunately, he has made things happen for Bengals opponents too—he also leads the league in interceptions thrown (14) and sacks taken (47). If Burrow was prone to mistakes like that against Baltimore and Jacksonville, it's a little unsettling to think about what he might do against Buffalo or New England.

By the way, you'll note that the top five easiest schedules belong to quarterbacks in the AFC. This is not a coincidence. Six of the top eight teams in pass defense DVOA—the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Saints, Rams, and Panthers—play in the NFC. (You'll also note that four of the top five quarterbacks here have first names that begin with the letter "T." This is a coincidence, but it's fun.)

And now for the flip side of the equation, the quarterbacks with the most difficult schedules so far:

Hardest Schedules, QBs, 2021
Player Team Plays DYAR YAR Difference
Taylor Heinicke WAS 477 254 100 154
Tom Brady TB 662 1,509 1,369 140
Mike White NYJ 137 161 64 98
Patrick Mahomes KC 609 1,067 988 78
Jared Goff DET 500 121 47 74
Davis Mills HOU 358 22 -51 73
Mike Glennon NYG 160 -269 -338 69
Justin Herbert LAC 614 1,167 1,105 62
Tyler Huntley BAL 137 44 -16 60
Josh Allen BUF 606 862 806 56
Through Week 16, not including Monday Night Football

Hey, more "T" names. Taylor Heinicke is on top less because of the games he has played and more because of the portions of games he has missed. He only threw 15 passes against the Chargers (23rd-ranked pass defense) in Week 1 and missed the Week 15 game against Philadelphia (21st) entirely. Give him eight full quarters against those teams and there's a good chance he falls to second place. But missing that Eagles game means his last two performances both came against Dallas, the best pass defense in the NFL. Heinicke had completed 67.9% of his passes through Week 13, but he only completed 38.3% of his 47 throws against the Cowboys this year. He has also had the misfortune to play Buffalo, Carolina, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay this season. He closes the year against Philadelphia (21st) and the Giants (16th).

Heinicke is followed here by Tom Brady, and some of you may be aware of this, but Tom Brady plays football very, very well. His 422 completions, 4,580 yards, and 37 touchdowns are all tops in the league this year, and his 3.1% sack rate is lowest among qualifiers. And he has done that while playing games against Dallas, Buffalo, New England, New Orleans (twice), the L.A. Rams, and Carolina, all of whom rank eighth or better in pass defense DVOA. He has only played two games against bottom-10 pass defenses, both against Atlanta (he threw nine touchdowns with one interception). He gets a third such game against the Jets this Sunday, but then he finishes with Carolina again in Week 18.

Davis Mills' appearance here is interesting because his teammate Tyrod Taylor qualified for the list of easy schedules. Taylor has thrown 150 passes this season, and 59 of them came against the Jets and Jaguars, the NFL's worst pass defenses; four of his five touchdown passes this year came in those two games. The best pass defense he played against was ninth-place Tennessee. Mills, on the other hand, has started games against Buffalo, New England, Arizona, and Carolina, all of whom rank eighth or better. Mills' raw numbers are superior to Taylor's anyway, and when you consider the caliber of competition each has faced … well, Houston's choice to bench a healthy Taylor for Mills this month may be the first smart decision they have made all year. Mills will play at San Francisco on Sunday, then against Tennessee in Week 18, and whether he plays at all in 2022 will largely hinge on what happens in those games.

 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Joe Burrow CIN
37/46
525
5
0
3
239
232
7
BAL
Burrow was nearly perfect on his own side of the field, going 19-of-20 for 335 yards. Fourteen of those completions went for first downs, including a touchdown. As you might guess, he led all quarterbacks in DYAR on deep balls, going 4-of-6 for 189 yards and a touchdown.
2.
Josh Allen BUF
30/47
314
3
0
0
229
218
10
NE
Allen gains a league-high 61 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the week's best passer on third/fourth downs, going 9-of-14 for 98 yards and two touchdowns. He was also tops on throws down the middle, going 11-of-13 for 133 yards and a score.
3.
Davis Mills HOU
21/27
254
2
0
1
166
166
0
LAC
Mills was the week's best passer on throws to the right, going 10-of-12 for 172 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 24-yard DPI.
4.
Carson Wentz IND
18/28
225
2
0
2
149
146
3
ARI
Wentz, on the other hand, was the top passer on throws to the left, going 11-of-15 for 150 yards and two scores, plus a 12-yard DPI. He was also excellent on third/fourth downs, going 7-of-11 for 96 yards with two touchdowns and a sack.
5.
Dak Prescott DAL
28/39
330
4
0
3
148
152
-4
WAS
Prescott's DYAR honestly would have been better if he had just sat down at halftime. He was first by a mile in first-quarter DYAR and second behind Burrow in the second quarter, but actually had negative DYAR in the second half, going 1-of-4 for 8 yards with a sack. He still finished as the week's top passer in the red zone (8-of-10 for 65 yards and four touchdowns) and out of a no-huddle (11-of-14 for 184 yards).
6.
Patrick Mahomes KC
23/30
258
3
0
2
142
142
0
PIT
Mahomes didn't have to throw deep to get good results. He completed all seven of his passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, picking up 49 yards and a touchdown in the process.
7.
Tom Brady TB
18/30
232
1
0
0
119
113
6
CAR
Brady has thrown 173 passes down the middle this season, most in the league, but he only threw two against Carolina, one in the second quarter and one in the third. Both were thrown from the Carolina 4-yard line; the first was completed for a touchdown, the second was incomplete. Weird.
8.
Justin Herbert LAC
27/35
336
1
2
1
101
109
-8
HOU
Herbert led all quarterbacks this week with a 75% success rate on passing plays. He was the week's best passer on throws to running backs, completing nine of his 10 passes for 112 yards.
9.
Aaron Rodgers GB
24/34
202
3
0
0
73
73
0
CLE
Rodgers led all quarterbacks with a dozen failed completions.
10.
Kyler Murray ARI
28/43
245
1
0
0
72
49
23
IND
Murray's rushing numbers: four carries for 74 yards. He did not have a good day on third/fourth downs, going 5-of-11 for 67 yards with four conversions, plus an intentional grounding for a safety.
11.
Josh Johnson BAL
28/40
304
2
1
1
59
101
-42
CIN
Johnson's rushing numbers: five carries for 6 yards. None of those carries gained first downs, even though four of them came with 5 yards or less to go for a first down. Two of them resulted in fumbles. For the record, the worst quarterback rushing day in our database is a four-carry, zero-yard day by Drew Bledsoe against Pittsburgh in 1993.
12.
Matt Ryan ATL
18/24
215
1
0
3
58
62
-4
DET
Ryan was the week's best passer on throws to tight ends. He completed all eight of the passes he threw to Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst for a total of 123 yards and a touchdown.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
19/26
198
1
1
2
48
53
-5
NO
14.
Kyle Allen WAS
8/10
67
0
0
1
45
45
0
DAL
All of Allen's passes were thrown with Washington down 56-7 in the fourth quarter.
15.
Jalen Hurts PHI
17/29
199
2
0
1
41
45
-5
NYG
Here's a brief picture of the rollercoaster Hurts took Eagles fans on against New York: he was the week's worst passer in the first quarter (3-of-10 for 11 yards, zero first downs, one sack-fumble), but the best passer in the third (8-of-9 for 90 yards and a touchdown).
16.
Nick Foles CHI
24/35
250
1
0
4
35
36
-1
SEA
Foles was almost flawless on throws down the middle, going 8-of-9 for 99 yards.
17.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
22/29
209
1
0
4
34
32
2
SF
Tannehill's average dropback came with a league-high 10.8 yards to go for a first down. He had 10 dropbacks with more than 10 yards to go, going 6-of-9 for 94 yards with three first downs (including a 42-yard gain on third-and-23!) and one sack.
18.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
26/35
322
1
2
2
29
26
3
TEN
Garoppolo was the week's worst passer in the red zone. His three plays inside the Tennessee 20: an interception on second-and-goal from the 8; a completion for a loss of 2 on second-and-9; and a touchdown pass on second-and-goal from the 2.
19.
Kirk Cousins MIN
27/37
315
1
1
3
26
36
-11
LAR
The good news for Cousins: he was the week's best passer from under center, completing all nine of his passes for 144 yards while taking one sack. The bad news for Cousins: from his last pass of the first quarter to halftime, he failed to throw for a single first down, going 5-of-10 for 25 yards with an interception and a sack.
20.
Trevor Lawrence JAX
26/38
280
0
0
1
25
40
-15
NYJ
Lawrence loses 63 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He had a big day on deep balls, going 7-of-11 for 138 yards, plus a pair of DPIs for 50 more yards.
21.
Russell Wilson SEA
16/27
181
2
0
2
25
24
1
CHI
Wilson's last pass of the third quarter was a 24-yard touchdown to Gerald Everett that put the Seahawks up 24-14. They ended up losing 25-24 in part because he threw for just one first down in the fourth quarter, going 4-of-8 for 25 yards and a sack.
22.
Zach Wilson NYJ
14/22
102
1
0
1
8
-32
40
JAX
Wilson's rushing numbers: four carries for 91 yards and a touchdown. His average dropback came with a league-low 6.6 yards to go for a first down. That's partly why his average pass traveled just 4.6 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, least of any quarterback this week. He was not effective inside the Jacksonville 40-yard line, going 6-of-10 for 22 yards with a sack. Only one of those completions—a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal—picked up a first down.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Derek Carr LV
20/25
201
1
1
2
1
-1
3
DEN
The easiest throws in the game were difficult for Carr against Denver. He threw five passes to running backs, completing two of them (a 5-yard loss on second-and-10, then a 5-yard gain on the ensuing third-and-15) with an interception. And on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, he went 4-of-6 for 6 yards with a pick.
24.
Mac Jones NE
14/32
145
0
2
1
-11
-8
-3
BUF
Jones gains 53 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He had a rough night on third/fourth downs, going 5-of-10 for 52 yards with three conversions, an interception, and a sack.
25.
Drew Lock DEN
15/22
153
0
0
2
-13
-16
3
LV
Lock's average pass traveled 11.6 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, most of any quarterback this week. Specifically, his magic range came 13 to 20 yards downfield, where he completed all five of his passes for 103 yards and also picked up a 16-yard DPI. He failed to pick up a single first down on anything shallower (10-of-13 for 50 yards) or deeper (0-for-4).
26.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
23/35
159
1
1
2
-31
-31
0
KC
Roethlisberger was the week's worst quarterback from under center, and he did it in only three plays, all on first-and-10: an interception, a 5-yard completion, and a 13-yard sack that ended in a lost fumble.
27.
Sam Darnold CAR
15/32
190
0
0
4
-52
-57
5
TB
Panthers QB rotation report: Darnold had no dropbacks in the first quarter, seven in the second, five in the third, and 24 in the fourth. Most of those 24 dropbacks went badly as he was the week's worst fourth-quarter passer, going 9-of-21 for 73 yards with three sacks and a fumble. He was also worst inside the opponents' 40, where he went 3-of-9 for 21 yards with two sacks, one fumble, no touchdowns, and only one first down.
28.
Mike Glennon NYG
17/27
93
1
1
0
-60
-62
2
PHI
All of Glennon's passes came with the Giants down by at least 17 points in the second half. His average completion gained 1.9 yards after the catch, least of any qualifier. And it's not because he was constantly lobbing bombs downfield—he threw only one deep ball, and it was incomplete. He finished last in DYAR on throws to the left, going 10-of-15 for 46 yards with a pick-six.
29.
Baker Mayfield CLE
21/36
222
2
4
5
-66
-69
4
GB
Mayfield had a rotten day on deep balls. He threw six of them against Green Bay, completing more of them to Packers defenders (two) than to his own teammates (one, for only 16 yards).
30.
Tim Boyle DET
24/34
187
1
1
0
-71
-71
0
ATL
Boyle loses 57 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. In a game the Lions lost by four points, Boyle made five trips to the red zone, going 4-of-8 for 40 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
31.
Matthew Stafford LAR
21/37
197
1
3
0
-73
-79
6
MIN
Stafford was great at the end of of this game, but lousy at the beginning and dirt-terrible in the middle. He had negative DYAR in the first quarter, and then he was the week's worst passer in the second AND third quarters. In those 30 terrible minutes, he went 11-of-22 for 81 yards with three interceptions.
32.
Cam Newton CAR
7/13
61
0
1
3
-85
-91
6
TB
Panthers QB rotation report: Newton had 12 dropbacks or runs in the first quarter, 2 in the second, seven in the third, and none in the fourth. He was the week's worst passer on third downs (well, before Monday night...), going 2-of-4 for 25 yards with two sacks and an interception.
33.
Taylor Heinicke WAS
7/22
121
1
2
4
-95
-95
0
DAL
Heinicke gains 44 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His average completion gained 10.1 yards after the catch, most of any qualifier. He struggled on third/fourth downs, going 2-of-9 for 10 yards with one conversion (an 8-yard touchdown) and a pick-six.
34.
Jake Fromm NYG
6/17
25
0
1
2
-166
-167
1
PHI
Fromm's last pass was thrown with over 10 minutes left in the third quarter ... and he was still the league's worst passer in the second half, when he went 1-of-2 for 7 yards with a sack and an interception. He was also worst on throws down the middle (0-for-2 with an interception) and on throws to wide receivers (3-of-13 for 23 yards with a pick). He was successful on a league-worst 16% of his passing plays.
35.
Ian Book NO
12/20
135
0
2
8
-204
-199
-4
MIA
Book failed to throw for a single third-/fourth-down conversion, going 2-of-7 for 10 yards with two interceptions and four sacks. He did pick up a fourth-and-1 conversion with a 3-yard gain on a quarterback sneak.

 

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.
Justin Jackson LAC
11
64
2
8/9
98
0
66
14
52
HOU
Jackson was stuffed just once and had 9- and 17-yard touchdown runs against Houston, but he only ran for one other first down and also lost a fumble. Four of his catches gained at least 10 yards and a first down, the longest a 25-yarder.
2.
Nick Chubb CLE
17
126
1
3/4
58
0
63
37
27
GB
Each of Chubb's 17 runs gained at least one yard, seven produced first downs, and five gained 10-plus yards, the longest a gain of 27. Three of his catches also produced first downs, the longest a gain of 40 yards.
3.
Damien Harris NE
18
103
3
0/0
0
0
61
61
0
BUF
Harris ran for eight first downs against Buffalo, including gains of 12, 16, and 31 yards, while being stuffed three times.
4.
Joe Mixon CIN
18
65
1
6/6
70
1
36
16
19
BAL
Mixon only ran for three first downs against Baltimore, and two of them were 1-yard gains, but he was stuffed just once and had a long run of 19 yards. His best catches were a 9-yard touchdown and a 52-yard gain (which was caught 48 yards downfield!) on third-and-4.
5.
Rashaad Penny SEA
17
135
1
0/1
0
0
35
40
-5
CHI
Penny ripped off gains of 25, 32, and 32 yards against Chicago, plus a 3-yard touchdown, while being stuffed just once.

 

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.
Damien Harris NE
18
103
3
0/0
0
0
61
61
0
BUF
2.
Rashaad Penny SEA
17
135
1
0/1
0
0
35
40
-5
CHI
3.
Nick Chubb CLE
17
126
1
3/4
58
0
63
37
27
GB
4.
Michael Carter NYJ
16
118
0
2/3
6
0
25
34
-9
JAX
The Jaguars only stuffed Carter once. He ran for five first downs and four runs of 10 yards or more, the longest a gain of 38.
5.
Rex Burkhead HOU
22
149
2
2/2
0
0
32
28
4
LAC
Every one of Burkhead's 22 carries gained at least 1 yard and he picked up eight first downs, including gains of 14, 15, 25, and 36 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.
Saquon Barkley NYG
15
32
0
1/1
-4
0
-32
-21
-11
PHI
Barkley only ran for one first down against the Eagles, his longest carry gained just 7 yards, and he was stuffed for no gain or a loss five times. His one catch was a 4-yard loss on second-and-9.

 

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.
Royce Freeman HOU
12
34
0
0/0
0
0
-31
-31
0
LAC
Freeman ran for one first down against the Chargers while being stuffed once. He loses 13 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tee Higgins CIN
12
13
194
16.2
2
103
BAL
Every one of Higgins' catches picked up a first down, including a 20-yard gain on third-and-18 and a 52-yard gain on third-and-16.
2.
Isaiah McKenzie BUF
11
12
125
11.4
1
66
NE
McKenzie's totals include -3 DYAR rushing for his one carry, a 1-yard loss. Eight of his 11 catches picked up first downs, including four third-/fourth-down conversions.
3.
Davante Adams GB
10
13
114
11.4
2
56
CLE
Adams picked up seven first downs through the air, the longest a gain of 33 yards.
4.
Byron Pringle KC
6
7
75
12.5
2
49
PIT
Five of Pringle's catches produced first downs, the longest a gain of 22.
5.
Ja'Marr Chase CIN
7
10
125
17.9
0
48
BAL
Each of Chase's catches picked up at least 14 yards and a first down, the longest a gain of 22 yards.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Cedrick Wilson DAL
2
3
10
5.0
0
-44
WAS
Three targets: 6-yard gain and a fumble on third-and-16; 4-yard gain on first-and-10; incompletion on third-and-2.

Comments

34 comments, Last at 28 Dec 2021, 8:45pm

1 Remarkable

“Six of the top eight teams in pass defense DVOA—the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Saints, Rams, and Panthers—play in the NFC.”

I find this so remarkable that it leads me to question your DVOA calculations this year.  How in The world are the Buccaneers—who have lost something like their top six DBs to injuries through the course of the year— near the top of the pass defense rankings?  Run defense, sure, but pass defense??? 

2 There's no error there. They…

In reply to by Raiderfan

There's no error there. They have 44 sacks (tied with Minnesota for most in the league) and are giving up 6.4 yards per throw (only Buffalo is better). The answer to your question may be "Todd Bowles is a hell of a DC."

22 Well the Bucs have faced the…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Well the Bucs have faced the following QBs:

(QBR Rank)

Prescott(17)

Ryan x2 (19)

Stafford(4)

Jones(14)

Brissett(18)

Hurts(22)

Fields(32)

Siemian(NQ) QBR:34

Heineicke(23)

Jones(24)

Wentz(6)

Allen(5)

Hill(NQ) QBR:40.8

 

One could probably write an article about how the Bucs defense is overrated based on the dumpster fire of QBs they faced.

 

 

23 proceess that data

It doesn't show what you think it shows.  For example, they've faced more QBs in the top 6 than in the bottom 6.

Skipping past the fact that ordinal rank really isn't the way to use DVOA.  

32 Plus

DVOA is opponent-adjusted not based on the raw numbers either. Using allegedly bad QBs as a reason to say they're overrated doesn't make much sense.

Not to mention that as you say, they've faced high-rated QBs and the ordinal rank doesn't really tell us much.

3 On to Cincinnati

Cincinnati actually hosts KC this Sunday ... so at least Burrow won't have to deal with the loud Arrowhead crowd.

In the Chiefs first three games at Arrowhead they allowed QBRs of 66 (Mayfield) and 81 (Herbert) and 94 (Allen) and 97 total points.

Since then they are 6 - 0 not allowing a QBR rating over 40 and have allowed 61 total points

Daniel Jones 40

Jordan Love 32

Dak Prescott 11

Teddy Bridgewater 27

Derek Carr 35

Ben Roethlisberger 15

4 Joe Burrow's downward adjustment

Even with 56 DYAR taken off from opponent adjustments, this might not be enough for Burrow given just how depleted the Ravens secondary is.

5 That’s just one of DVOA’s limitations

It doesn’t account for injuries. 
Edit: The main DVOA page does make some adjustments to weighted DVOA for COVID and backup quarterbacks. But last year’s Super Bowl numbers weren’t adjusted in response to KC’s injuries on the offensive line, for example, and Burrow’s numbers won’t be adjusted for playing an even weaker version of an already weak Baltimore secondary. 

6 How did Garoppolo's numbers…

How did Garoppolo's numbers vary by half?  He apparently injured his hand bad enough late in the first half that he is doubtful against Houston, but somehow was allowed to keep playing.

8 Adams had a good day

but all anyone including Adams is discussing is the drop late in the game which Adams said is a ball he catches "10 times out of 9".

 

The man has a high standard for himself.  He's come a long way from the guy many Packer fans wanted to cut after his 2nd season when he was either hurt or dropping passes

21 10 times out of 9

That's because he usually gives 110%.  In this case, I believe it's 110%.

It's a less cliched way of saying it.  I kind of like it.  Let's see Erin Andrews say she plans to eat 10 tots out of nine in her next Uber Eats commercial.

10 The geographer and...

...DC area resident for over a decade in me needs to point out that 1) Washington is southwest of Baltimore, not west, and 2) the only time it takes 90 minutes to travel between Baltimore and DC is during rush hour (and two MARC train lines and Amtrak are options then).

24 With the DC Beltway...

...it either takes a lot longer than 90 minutes to get around the Beltway or many drivers are going 90 MPH*.  There is no in-between.

*Luckily I almost never see DeLoreans on the DC Beltway.  It would be interesting to see what happens when they reach 88 MPH.

25 FedEx Field

FedEx Field is east of DC, so a bird would fly SSW to get there from M&T Bank Stadium

90 minutes of driving west from Baltimore would get you to the skinny part of MD where a tall person with a long pole could vault from PA to WV without touching MD.  

11 Justin Jackson and Austin…

Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler have been teammates on the Chargers since 2018, during which time Jackson has gained 5.1 yards per carry while Ekeler has gained 4.6. But Jackson has just 191 rushing attempts over that period, while Ekeler has 527. 

15 The same probably applies to…

The same probably applies to several RB combos. 'Lead' backs are typically the ones relied on to carry the ball in obvious/short yardage situations, thus deflating their yards per carry.

That said, I do generally subscribe to the 'running backs don't matter' philosophy, at least when it comes to the ball carrying part of their jobs. It's hard to imagine the Chargers rushing efficiency is greatly affected whichever of these running backs is carrying the ball.

13 The bullish opinions I've…

The bullish opinions I've read and heard on Burrow tend to emphasize that his offensive line is really bad and that he's as not as responsible for his sacks and pressures as the average QB is. I still have some questions about his decision making, but I do agree that Cincy's OL is a disaster. Fortunately as they move ahead they look pretty set at the skill positions and they should have money to spend.

14 Someone please remind me

How DVOA records sack fumbles.  Lawrence had a very bad one this week.  Does it go against his passing or rushing DVOA?  Thanks.

16 Curious about the week 5 Baltimore game

The comment about Lamar Jackson's week 5 game makes me wonder how many all-time great games are affected by injury.  (Not that there's a good way to even research it.)  The Colts lost at least 3 rotation DB's to injury during that game, and were playing mostly practice squad / street free agents at the end.  It was definitely not the same defense that is above average when you look at all plays during the season.  But I understand there's no good way to adjust the numbers for something like that.

17 Davis Mills is now back to…

Davis Mills is now back above replacement level on the season. Which makes him quite clearly the 2nd best performer in this rookie class. And there's certainly no argument that he's been dealt a better hand than his counterparts. 

I suppose this is more severe cause for concern for Lawrence/Wilson/Fields than anointing Mills. Still, he's looking like he's got a long-term future in the league, as a back-up at least. Good return for a 3rd round pick.

19 QB Talent AFC vs NFC

When you factor the NFC having so many more better pass defenses are you ignoring the fact that the AFC is way more loaded at QB than the NFC?  It is not even close. 

26 hmm

The top QBs this season have been Brady and Rodgers, and it isn't close.  Both Mahomes and Allen have had stretches of inconsistency. The  third-best QB in the AFC this season has been Herbert.  After that, things drop off a lot.  Lamar Jackson was not playing at his usual level even before he got injured. 

The NFC also has had Murray and Prescott playing well this season, though the Cardinals have dropped off this year.  Cousins is doing his usual thing of having very good stats that don't necessarily translate to wins. And somehow I've forgotten Stafford, who may be having a better season than any AFC QB.  

Honestly, I thought the weight of QB play favored the NFC.  

30 Interesting...

In reply to by RickD

So somehow the NFC has the best Pass Defenses and the best Passing.  Interesting...

34 What an odd claim that…

What an odd claim that. LionInAZ already pointed out the DVOA and DYAR disagree.

So I started poking at traditional stats to try and figure out where that came from. Maybe you hate analytics and the obvious NFC domination in DYAR and DVOA doesn't work for you.

  • Passer Rating: 8 of the top 10 are NFC (Burrow #2, Herbert #10 the AFC reps). The most traditional of traditional rankings.
  • QBR: This might be the one stat in the AFCs favor with the AFC having 6 of the top 10. Though the NFC has 1, 2, 4, and 8 which means the NFC is still ruling the very top of the list. But if you really like QBR, which is actually a stat born from the analytics movement as well, that might be your leg to stand on.
  • Yards: 5 and 5
  • TDs and TD%: 5 and 5 again
  • INT%: NFC 6, AFC 4
  • CMP %: 5 and 5
  • ANY/A: NFC 7 (with the top 4), AFC 3

I find nothing that says the AFC is way more loaded at QB.

Rodgers and/or Brady are dominate in most of the "single measure" metrics like passer rating, ANY/A, DYAR, DVOA, QBR. For the counting stats Brady is pretty dominate with 186 more yards than anyone else, 1 more TD than anyone else, 35 more completions than anyone else. He falls to 14th in comp% though which is where Rodgers come in. Rodgers lags a bit behind in some of the counting stats due to missing a game but leads or is close in most of the rate stats. They are even 1 and 2 in QBR.

The AFC could be said to have the edge in young (under 30) QB's but tons of QBs are successful into their late 30's. Rodgers could very well have success into his 40's like Brady is so I'm not sure it matters that much. But yes with Herbert (23), Allen (25), Mahomes (26), Jones (23), Jackson (24), Burrow (25). The AFC does have the advantage of younger QB's that show up in the various top 10s. The NFC only has Murray (24) and Prescott (28). But as mentioned Brady (44) is not done yet. Stafford (33), Cousins (33), Wilson (33) all still have multiple years left. Rodgers (38) I didn't list because he might be then AFC next year. So yeah the AFC has more young players that have had a couple good seasons, even MVP level. And the NFC is a lot of older proven veterans that have done what they do for 5-20 years. Doesn't mean anything for the future either. NFL history is littered with young QBs with a few good seasons that don't do much of real note afterwords. 

Of course that also doesn't matter when talking specifically about this year where the NFC dominates the advanced metrics and is an even split in the top 10 in traditional counting stats. I have no idea how you come to the conclusion "the fact that the AFC is way more loaded at QB than the NFC?  It is not even close."  When 1 stat out of 9 that people often use to rank QBs has more AFC than NFC in the top 10, and even it gives 1, 2, and 4 to the NFC. Five of the 9 stats (DVOA, DYAR, Passer Rating, QBR, ANY/A, Yards, TD%, INT%, CMP%) have more NFC in the top 10 as well. I can't see it.

31 Mills will play at San…

Mills will play at San Francisco on Sunday, then against Tennessee in Week 18, and whether he plays at all in 2022 will largely hinge on what happens in those games.

Opinion: It doesn't matter, he's playing either way.