Chase, Glennon Play Games of the Year

Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase
Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 17 - It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. For Ja'Marr Chase, it was the best—the greatest game we have ever measured for a rookie wide receiver, and the most outstanding by any wideout in the better half of a decade. For Mike Glennon, it was the worst—a comedy of errors the likes of which we haven't seen this century.

We'll begin with Chase since his game was more important—he led the Bengals to a critical win over Kansas City that clinched Cincinnati's first division championship since 2015. If you watched the highlight shows, you probably saw Chase's 72-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter … or his 18-yard touchdown catch in the second … or his 69-yard touchdown catch in the third. And if that's all you saw, that's plenty—when you gain 159 yards on your scoring plays alone, that's already a good day. But Chase did a lot more than that, catching eight other passes for 107 more yards. And even that is underselling Chase's day, because he also drew a pair of DPIs for 19 more yards. Chase was consistent too; only five of his completions failed to pick up first downs, only three were unsuccessful plays, and he was the target on just one incomplete pass.

Chase was at his best when the Bengals needed him most. He was targeted six times on third downs and picked up four conversions: both DPIs, that 69-yard score, and a 30-yard gain on third-and-27 with the game tied in the fourth quarter. That miracle conversion kept Cincinnati's game-winning drive alive and helped to ensure that Patrick Mahomes would never get the ball back with a chance to win. Per Stathead, it was the longest third- or fourth-down conversion of the season (excluding Cleveland's meaningless end-of-half lateral play against Pittsburgh in Week 8).

Add all that up and you get 128 DYAR, comfortably the best of the year. In fact, it makes our list of the top 20 wide receiver games on record, coming in at 10th place—and it moves up to eighth if you ignore rushing data.

Best WR Games, Total DYAR, 1983-2021
Year Player Team Total
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Tgt Rec Yds TD Wk Def
1989 Flipper Anderson LARM 160 160 0 20 15 336 1 12 NO
2000 Jimmy Smith JAX 141 141 0 21 15 291 3 2 BAL
2004 Reggie Wayne IND 137 137 0 11 10 221 2 18 DEN
1995 Jerry Rice SF 136 124 12 16 14 289 3 16 MIN
2014 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 135 135 0 9 9 238 2 13 TEN
2006 Chad Johnson CIN 133 137 -4 12 11 260 2 10 SD
2000 Terrell Owens SF 131 133 -2 22 20 283 1 16 CHI
1989 Henry Ellard LARM 130 130 0 15 12 230 3 2 IND
2001 Randy Moss MIN 129 112 16 13 10 171 3 10 NYG
2021 Ja'Marr Chase CIN 128 128 0 12 11 266 3 17 KC
1985 Stephone Paige KC 128 128 0 10 8 309 2 16 SD
2010 Kenny Britt TEN 127 127 0 10 7 225 3 7 PHI
2017 Julio Jones ATL 126 116 10 15 12 253 2 12 TB
1994 Andre Reed BUF 122 114 8 19 15 191 2 12 GB
1995 Kevin Williams DAL 122 104 18 11 9 203 2 17 ARI
2020 Tyreek Hill KC 121 121 0 15 13 269 3 12 TB
2014 T.Y. Hilton IND 120 120 0 9 9 223 1 6 HOU
2019 Mike Evans TB 118 118 0 12 11 198 2 8 TEN
2011 Calvin Johnson DET 118 118 0 17 11 244 1 17 GB
1985 Jerry Rice SF 117 106 11 12 10 241 1 14 LARM

Chase has the best game here since DeAndre Hopkins in his second season in 2014. A few other players also made this list in their second seasons—specifically, Flipper Anderson in first place and Kenny Britt just below Chase. But Chase is just the second rookie to qualify, joining Jerry Rice, who is in 20th place (and also fourth place for a game played a decade later). This means, yes, Ja'Marr Chase just produced the best rookie game in our records.

Best WR Games, Total DYAR, Rookies, 1983-2021
Year Player Team Total
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Tgt Rec Yds TD Wk Def
2021 Ja'Marr Chase CIN 128 128 0 12 11 266 3 17 KC
1985 Jerry Rice SF 117 106 11 12 10 241 1 14 LARM
2018 Calvin Ridley ATL 114 106 9 8 7 146 3 3 NO
1998 Randy Moss MIN 104 104 0 6 5 190 2 5 GB
1984 Louis Lipps PIT 100 100 0 7 6 183 2 1 KC
2003 Anquan Boldin ARI 95 95 0 14 10 217 2 1 DET
1998 Randy Moss MIN 88 88 0 10 8 106 3 14 CHI
1984 Bobby Johnson NYG 87 87 0 9 8 137 2 1 PHI
1986 Hassan Jones MIN 83 73 10 8 6 140 2 3 PIT
2004 Michael Clayton TB 82 82 0 12 9 145 1 14 SD

Randy Moss makes the list twice, and narrowly missed making it a third time. (His famous three-catch, 163-yard, three-touchdown game against Dallas had 80 DYAR; aside from his scoring plays, his other five targets were all incomplete.) That's largely why he finished with 430 DYAR in his first season, virtually tied with Michael Thomas' 431 with the Saints in 2016 for the rookie record. With 319 DYAR so far (316 receiving, 3 rushing) and one game to go, Chase is within shouting distance of that mark. He's not going to catch Moss' 17 touchdowns in his first year, nor Anquan Boldin's totals of 165 targets or 101 catches. However, he is already up to 1,429 receiving yards, surpassing the NFL rookie record of 1,400 set way back in last year by Justin Jefferson, Chase's former teammate at LSU. Up next: the pro football rookie record of 1,473 by Bill Groman of the Houston Oilers in the AFL's first season in 1960. We'll leave all arguments about the 17-game schedule for a later day.

If Chase's game was the shot, Glennon's was the chaser, and it sure was sobering. We'll start with the raw totals, which are brutally bad on their own. Glennon only threw 11 passes against the Bears, completing four of them for 24 yards. He also lost 34 yards on four sacks. (We'll pause here for a moment and let you do a little subtraction in your head.) But wait, there's more: Glennon fumbled four times (one of which you might have missed because Glennon recovered the loose ball and threw an incomplete pass to Pharoh Cooper) and threw a pair of interceptions.

And yet somehow, the details of Glennon's performance are even worse. He had four dropbacks in the first quarter: a sack and fumble, recovered by Chicago; an interception; another sack; and a 4-yard completion (including 11 yards after the catch … again, we'll pause while you do some subtraction) on third-and-7.

At that point, the Giants were down 14-0 and Joe Judge virtually benched Glennon, who didn't throw another pass until eight minutes had expired in the third quarter. In between, the Giants called 15 handoffs in a row (bringing their totals to 27 handoffs and four passing plays) as the Bears extended their lead to 29-3. Finally Judge relented and let Glennon pass again. Glennon threw incomplete on third-and-5 before hitting Evan Engram for a 12-yard gain on second-and-2. Finally, after 33 Giants plays (including two turnovers and a safety) over eight drives, Glennon had thrown for a first down. Three snaps later, he was sacked and fumbled, and the Giants recovered. Glennon threw for another first down in the fourth quarter, but also suffered another interception, another sack, and another fumble. 

It's hard to measure this kind of ineptitude, even with our numbers. For starters, Glennon does make our list of the 20 worst games since 1983…

Worst QB Games, Total DYAR, 1983-2021
Year Player Team Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Comp Att Yds TD Int Sacks TD Wk Def
1994 David Klingler CIN -302 -302 0 10 30 115 0 3 7 0 4 HOIL
2016 Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ -300 -291 -9 20 44 188 0 6 0 0 3 KC
2000 Kerry Collins NYG -294 -295 1 15 39 112 0 4 4 0 21 BAL
2019 Kyle Allen CAR -285 -288 2 32 50 325 0 4 5 0 11 ATL
1986 Warren Moon HOIL -285 -258 -27 5 24 68 0 4 2 0 13 CLE1
2006 Rex Grossman CHI -284 -284 0 14 37 144 0 4 2 0 6 ARI
2018 Josh Allen BUF -275 -253 -22 16 33 151 0 2 7 0 4 GB
2012 Brandon Weeden CLE -274 -284 10 12 35 118 0 4 2 0 1 PHI
1984 Joe Ferguson BUF -271 -276 5 9 29 142 1 3 6 0 11 NE
2005 Alex Smith SF -270 -263 -7 9 23 74 0 4 5 0 5 IND
2019 Luke Falk NYJ -270 -270 0 15 26 120 0 2 9 0 5 PHI
2003 Tim Hasselbeck WAS -270 -268 -2 6 26 56 0 4 1 0 15 DAL
1990 Troy Aikman DAL -269 -259 -11 9 25 61 0 2 4 0 6 PHX
1998 Donald Hollas OAK -266 -273 7 12 31 152 1 6 8 0 14 MIA
2001 Brian Griese DEN -265 -272 7 16 32 151 1 4 5 0 17 IND
2003 Kordell Stewart CHI -263 -256 -7 14 34 95 1 3 5 0 1 SF
2021 Mike Glennon NYG -263 -269 6 4 11 24 0 2 4 0 17 CHI
1993 Craig Erickson TB -259 -257 -3 13 29 122 0 4 3 0 6 MIN
1998 Ryan Leaf SD -259 -256 -3 1 15 4 0 2 2 0 3 KC
1989 Vinny Testaverde TB -256 -256 0 19 39 188 0 5 4 0 13 GB

… but even that undersells Glennon's incompetence. He only had 16 dropbacks and rushes, least of anyone in this table. DYAR is a counting stat, even negative DYAR, and Glennon stands out as a part-timer in a table where most quarterbacks had at least twice as many opportunities to screw up.

It's not unusual, of course, for quarterbacks to suffer multiple fumbles or interceptions in a game. And it's more common than you might think for players to lose more yards on sacks than they gain in completions. But combining those factors? Glennon is just the second player in Stathead's database with multiple fumbles, multiple interceptions, and negative net passing yardage. The other: Ryan Leaf in THAT game.

After the game, it was revealed that Glennon had suffered a hand injury against Chicago and would not play in Week 18. That likely explains some of his struggles and New York's obscenely conservative play calling, though Judge never mentioned Glennon's name or protecting his quarterback in his bizarre 2,614-word postgame diatribe. Regardless, with Glennon and Daniel Jones sidelined, the Giants will turn once more to Jake Fromm in their season finale against Washington. Fromm was last seen starting against the Eagles last week, when he completed six out of 17 passes for 25 yards with an interception before being benched early in the third quarter. Enjoy, Giants fans!

 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Joe Burrow CIN
30/39
446
4
0
4
187
208
-22
KC
Burrow's rushing stats: Five carries for 10 yards. His average dropback came with a league-high 9.8 yards to go for a first down. So it's a good thing he was the week's best passer on deep balls, going 6-of-8 for 208 yards and two touchdowns, plus a DPI for 11 more yards. He was also best on third/fourth downs, going 7-of-8 for 143 yards and a touchdown, three DPIs for 30 more yards, and seven total conversions, with one sack.
2.
Justin Herbert LAC
22/31
237
2
0
0
182
179
3
DEN
Herbert's average dropback came with a league-low 6.6 yards to go for a first down. He was the week's best passer on throws to running backs, completing all six of his passes to Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson for 74 yards. He was also best inside the opponent's 40, going 11-of-15 for 81 yards and a touchdown.
3.
Kyler Murray ARI
26/38
263
2
0
1
152
143
10
DAL
Murray gains a league-high 59 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He threw 11 failed completions, tied with Sean Mannion for most in the league. He was still the week's best passer in the third quarter, going 8-of-10 for 100 yards with one touchdown and one sack.
4.
Aaron Rodgers GB
29/38
288
2
0
0
141
136
4
MIN
Rodgers led all quarterbacks in passing DYAR in the second quarter, when he went 14-of-15 for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
5.
Mac Jones NE
22/30
227
3
0
0
133
127
5
JAX
Jones loses 41 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was successful on a league-high 73% of his dropbacks. (Well, among qualifiers—his reliever, Brian Hoyer, actually had a higher rate at 75%.) A lot of those successful plays came in the red zone, where he went 4-of-5 for 38 yards and three touchdowns.
6.
Patrick Mahomes KC
26/35
259
2
0
0
124
111
14
CIN
It was a hot start for Mahomes, who led all quarterbacks in first-quarter DYAR, going 9-of-12 for 98 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 32-yard DPI.
7.
Tom Brady TB
34/49
410
3
1
1
110
110
0
NYJ
Brady loses a league-high 82 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, 30 more than anyone else. On the Buccaneers' game-winning drive, he went 7-of-9 for 93 yards and a touchdown, ammassing nearly half his DYAR on the day. If the Jets convert on fourth-and-2, New York wins, that drive never happens, and Brady finishes in 15th place.
8.
Russell Wilson SEA
20/29
236
4
0
1
104
101
3
DET
Wilson loses 45 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was up-and-down early in the game, but from late in the second quarter to the middle of the fourth he was almost unstoppable. He completed nine of 10 passes in that stretch, gaining 91 yards and four touchdowns in the process.
9.
Dak Prescott DAL
24/38
226
3
0
1
104
138
-34
ARI
Prescott's rushing stats: Five carries for 17 yards. He struggled on throws to his right, going 5-of-12 for only 38 yards, plus a 5-yard DPI.
10.
Taysom Hill NO
18/26
222
1
0
2
84
80
4
CAR
Hill had a bunch of big throws on his own side of the field, but had some problems in scoring range. Inside the Carolina 40 he went 4-of-9 for 31 yards with one touchdown and one intentional grounding.
11.
Zach Wilson NYJ
19/33
234
1
0
1
82
95
-13
TB
While the world focuses on New York's failed fourth-and-2 play, it's worth pointing that they never would have been in that situation if Wilson had played better in the fourth quarter, when he went 3-of-8 for 28 yards with only one first down.
12.
Trey Lance SF
16/23
249
2
1
1
81
99
-18
HOU
Lance's rushing stats: Eight carries for 31 yards. His average pass traveled a league-high 12.7 yards downfield. He caught fire late against Houston, going 5-of-7 for 101 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 37-yard DPI.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Drew Lock DEN
18/25
245
1
0
1
79
86
-7
LAC
Lock was awesome on first downs, going 11-of-12 for 198 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, if he didn't pick up a first down on first down, it usually meant the end of the drive. On all other downs, he went 7-of-13 for 47 yards with one sack and only three conversions.
14.
Derek Carr LV
24/31
255
1
2
2
61
61
0
IND
Carr was nearly perfect in short-yardage. He threw seven passes with 4 yards or less to go for a first down, completing six of them for 59 yards. Each of those six completions picked up a first down, including a go-ahead touchdown. Unfortunately, that seventh pass was intercepted.
15.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
13/18
120
2
0
1
50
66
-16
MIA
Tannehill completed each of his six passes to tight ends. They weren't big gains, totaling just 33 yards, but two of them went for touchdowns. A lot of quarterbacks wish they had been so effective on throws to tight ends. To wit...
16.
Matthew Stafford LAR
26/35
309
2
2
1
46
46
0
BAL
Stafford was the week's worst passer on throws to tight ends, going 6-of-9 for 69 yards with a pick-six.
17.
Jalen Hurts PHI
17/26
214
0
0
1
42
29
14
WAS
Hurts' rushing stats: Six carries for 45 yards. He's another quarterback who was very effective throwing to tight ends, completing six of seven passes (all to Dallas Goedert) for 71 yards. He was not the week's best passer to tight ends, however—that honor goes to...
18.
Matt Ryan ATL
13/23
197
0
0
5
29
32
-3
BUF
Ryan threw seven passes to Kyle Pitts and Parker Hesse, completing six of them for 100 yards. That includes a 61-yard catch-and-run by Pitts, part of the reason that Ryan's average completion gained 11.1 yards after the catch, best among qualifiers this week. Ryan gains 43 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
19.
Sean Mannion MIN
22/36
189
1
0
2
18
13
5
GB
Mannion threw 11 failed completions, tied with Kyler Murray for most in the league. His first pass was a 12-yard gain to Tyler Conklin on first-and-10; the next time he picked up a first down, the Vikings were down 20-0 in the second quarter. He was the week's worst passer on throws to running backs, going 6-of-8 for 9 yards.
20.
Tyler Huntley BAL
20/30
197
0
1
5
2
-26
28
LAR
Huntley's rushing stats: Six carries for 55 yards. His average completion gained 2.9 yards after the catch, tied for worst among qualifiers this week. That said, he was also the most effective passer on throws down the middle, going 15-of-16 for 127 yards.
21.
Carson Wentz IND
16/27
148
1
0
1
0
-5
5
LV
Wentz started this game ice-cold, completing just one of his first seven passes, and that one was an 8-yard gain on second-and-17. He was the week's worst passer to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, going 4-of-8 for 11 yards.
22.
Taylor Heinicke WAS
27/35
247
0
1
3
-11
-15
4
PHI
Heinicke came out of the gates on fire, completing each of his first 10 passes for a total of 132 yards. They weren't empty-calorie completions, either—nine of them picked up first downs. Unfortunately he only threw for six more first downs the rest of the day. In a game Washington lost by only four points, Heinicke was terrible in the red zone, with one interception, one sack, and one completion: a 2-yard gain on third-and-8.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Andy Dalton CHI
18/34
173
1
1
2
-25
-22
-4
NYG
Dalton was the week's worst passer from under center, going 2-of-7 for 26 yards and an interception. Now, try to guess the best passer from under center. No, not him. No, guess again. No, the correct answer is...
24.
Tim Boyle DET
22/37
262
2
3
0
-57
-65
8
SEA
Really! Tim Boyle! Best from under center, where he went 11-of-12 (!!!) for 165 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he was the worst passer when working without a huddle, when his only pass was intercepted.
25.
Davis Mills HOU
21/32
163
1
1
3
-81
-81
0
SF
Mills failed to pick up a first down in his first 11 dropbacks, going 7-of-11 for only 32 yards. He found a little success in the second quarter but was the worst quarterback in the league in the third, on only three plays: an interception, a 6-yard gain on first-and-10, and a sack-fumble.
26.
Baker Mayfield CLE
16/38
185
2
2
9
-91
-98
7
PIT
Mayfield's first pass was completed to Jarvis Landry for a 20-yard gain. He then threw 10 incomplete passes in a row, including an interception, and also took a sack in that time.
27.
Trevor Lawrence JAX
17/27
193
1
3
2
-100
-103
3
NE
Lawrence gains 41 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the NFL's worst passer on throws to his left. He completed 10 of 13 passes in that direction (which is good), including a touchdown (which is also good), but gained only 88 yards (which is bad) and also threw two interceptions (which sucks).
28.
Sam Darnold CAR
17/26
132
0
1
7
-102
-109
7
NO
Darnold's average pass traveled a league-low 3.9 yards downfield. Officially, he did not throw a single deep ball; his two passes that traveled exactly 15 yards downfield resulted in one incompletion and one interception. The Panthers took a 10-3 lead over New Orleans on a 21-yard touchdown run by Chuba Hubbard with 13 minutes left in the second quarter. Darnold only threw for two more first downs the rest of the game. That includes zero first downs in the fourth quarter, when Darnold went 3-of-7 for 15 yards with four sacks and an interception. All of those plays came with Carolina down by eight points or less.
29.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
18/38
205
0
1
4
-141
-124
-17
TEN
Tagovailoa did not throw a single pass in the red zone. Inside the Tennessee 40, he went 1-of-7 for a yard (1 yard, singular) with two sacks and a fumble. He didn't have a lot of luck in obvious passing situations. On second, third, and fourth downs with 10-plus yards to go, he went 7-of-14 for 36 yards (yes, that's it) with three sacks and a fumble.
30.
Josh Allen BUF
11/26
120
0
3
0
-148
-180
33
ATL
Allen loses 52 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His rushing stats: 12 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns. His average completion gained 2.9 yards after the catch, tied for worst among qualifiers this week. His last two passes in the first half resulted in two interceptions; his first two passes of the second half resulted in an incompletion and an interception. He was the week's worst passer in the red zone (3-of-9 for 21 yards, plus a 2-yard DPI, with an interception and no touchdowns), on throws to his right (7-of-17 for 74 yards, plus a 2-yard DPI, with three interceptions), and on deep balls (0-for-3 with an interception, all on throws to his right).
31.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
24/46
123
1
1
2
-185
-185
0
CLE
This is a new record for fewest passing yards by a player with at least 24 completions, breaking the mark of 133 set by Kyler Murray against Carolina last year.
32.
Mike Glennon NYG
4/11
24
0
2
4
-263
-269
6
CHI

Be sure to check out Bryan Knowles' Loser League column later this week for more details on Glennon's game.

 

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.
Darrel Williams KC
14
88
2
3/3
19
0
60
58
2
CIN
All of Williams' carries gained at least 1 yard, and only two counted as unsuccessful plays. He ran for six first downs and three gains of 10-plus yards, the longest a gain of 19. His best catch was an 11-yard gain on first-and-10.
2.
Najee Harris PIT
28
188
1
3/3
18
0
60
62
-2
CLE
Harris ran for seven first downs, the longest a 37-yard touchdown, while being stuffed just twice. His three catches: 2-yard loss on third-and-9; 7-yard gain on second-and-5; 13-yard gain on third-and-16.
3.
Jaret Patterson WAS
12
57
1
5/5
41
0
50
27
23
PHI
The Eagles only stuffed Patterson once while letting him run for four first downs, the longest an 11-yard touchdown. Three of his catches picked up first downs, including a pair of third-down conversions. His longest catch gained 12 yards.
4.
Jonathan Taylor IND
20
108
1
1/2
6
0
48
50
-2
LV
Though the Raiders stuffed Taylor three times, but he still ran for seven first downs, including gains of 14, 18, and 24 yards.
5.
Rhamondre Stevenson NE
19
107
2
0/0
0
0
44
44
0
JAX
Though Stevenson's longest run gained only 15 yards, he still picked up seven first downs, including conversions on six of seven runs with 3 yards or less to go for a first down.

 

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.
Najee Harris PIT
28
188
1
3/3
18
0
60
62
-2
CLE
2.
Darrel Williams KC
14
88
2
3/3
19
0
60
58
2
CIN
3.
Jonathan Taylor IND
20
108
1
1/2
6
0
48
50
-2
LV
4.
Rhamondre Stevenson NE
19
107
2
0/0
0
0
44
44
0
JAX
5.
Rashaad Penny SEA
25
170
2
2/3
15
0
33
38
-5
DET
Penny had something of a boom-or-bust day against Detroit. Though he was stuffed five times, he still ran for nine first downs, including five carries in a row at one point. Five of his carries gained 10-plus yards and three gained 20-plus, the longest a 37-yarder.

 

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.
Dalvin Cook MIN
9
13
0
3/3
0
0
-49
-34
-15
GB
Cook was stuffed three times and failed to run for a single first down. His longest run was a 6-yard gain on third-and-20; his only successful carry was a 5-yard gain on first-and-10. His three catches: no gain on second-and-5; 1-yard gain on the ensuing third-and-5; 1-yard loss on second-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.
Javonte Williams DEN
14
30
0
1/1
2
0
-41
-37
-4
LAC
Williams' only first down against the Chargers was a 4-yard gain on second-and-3; his longest run was a 7-yard gain on first-and-10. He was stuffed five times. He loses 16 rushing DYAR for playing the Chargers, the worst run defense in the NFL. Williams is the 21st runner this year to get at least 10 carries against L.A.; his average gain of 2.14 yards is the worst of that group by over half a yard.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ja'Marr Chase CIN
11
12
266
24.2
3
128
KC
2.
Amon-Ra St. Brown DET
8
11
111
13.9
1
69
SEA
St. Brown's totals include 20 DYAR rushing for his two carries for 23 yards and a touchdown. Six of his catches produced first downs, including three third-down conversions, the longest a gain of 31.
3.
DK Metcalf SEA
6
9
63
10.5
3
46
DET
Metcalf's totals include 1 DYAR rushing for his one carry for 6 yards. He only picked up one first down in his first five targets, but turned his last four targets into two 13-yard touchdowns, a 17-yard gain on third-and-7, and a 1-yard touchdown.
4.
Zay Jones LV
8
10
120
15.0
0
43
IND
Jones' totals include -3 DYAR rushing for his one carry for a 1-yard loss. Six of his catches produced first downs, including gains of 26 and 42 yards. He also picked up first downs on both of his third-down targets.
5.
Cooper Kupp LAR
6
7
95
15.8
1
43
BAL
Four of Kupp's catches produced first downs: an 18-yard touchdown, plus gains of 21, 22, and 24 yards.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Chase Claypool PIT
3
9
17
5.7
0
-49
CLE
Claypool's three catches: 6-yard gain on second-and-6; 8-yard gain on third-and-14; 3-yard gain on third-and-10.

Comments

41 comments, Last at 05 Jan 2022, 10:50am

1 Late an' early

Interesting that three-quarters of the best receiving games have come in the second half of the season. Surprising that half of the best rookie receiving games came in Weeks 1-3.

Thank you for another year of great write-ups.

2 Lions Fans... help?

Since grammar school, I pronounced the name of the Egyptian sun god AH-mun ... RAH.  Same goes for his NFL namesake.  Earlier in the season I heard it pronounced primarily as if it was not hyphenated, ah-MUN-rah all squished together.  Now this past weekend, I heard the announcers (who all get pronunciation guides and theoretically use them) pronounce it more like the sun god, as if it's two separate words:  AH-mun ... RAH.

So which is it?  And don't go getting all equanimious on me.

9 All my instincts are to…

All my instincts are to dislike Dan Campbell, but I just can't. Despite my rooting interest, I hope that team continues to improve and be fun to follow.

And on the Discord Chat That Shall Not Be Named, we decided that Detroit needs to pick up Pharoh Cooper (but keep him away from kickoffs) and draft Amon-Ra's non-Equanimeous brother Osiris.

21 I always say that I watch…

I always say that I watch the 2021 Lions out of morbid curiosity, but I have to say it's been a fun season (as much fun as a 2-win season with a 31st DVOA team can be). And seeing some of the player development and improvement throughout the season (St. Brown being one example) and Campbell's aggressiveness (4th downs, fake punts, surprise onsides kicks, etc) has been encouraging. 

3 QB >WR

We just saw the best rookie WR game ever, as measured by DYAR. And yet there were 5 QB games this week that had better DYAR, including one by rookie Mac Jones, who only played three quarters.

QB play is just more valuable.

5 Perhaps a flawed comparison

In reply to by nat

QB and WR DYAR are not a 1:1 matchup though as I understand it in the way that normal passing/receiving yards are

13 Different, but not too different

They both represent the value that typically would come with that many extra yards from that position over the course of a season.

WR DYAR are probably a bit more valuable, because 120 yards from a QB comes on average with a certain chance of fumbles, interceptions, sacks, etc, There is less for a WR to get blamed for. And WRs get no DYAR blame for plays when they don’t get open and thus aren’t targeted. QBs do get blame when no WRs get open and they throw the ball away.

But I doubt it’s a huge difference. Most thrown balls have a nominal target for DYAR purposes. Most pass plays are not sacks or interceptions. QBs are just much more involved in the game than a WR is. Chase was 11/12 - but that’s only 12 potential touches. His role in other plays was minor. (Yes, I know he draws coverage. But DYAR does not track that.) Jones threw 30 passes and ran twice in just three quarters. His role in other running plays was minor. (Yes, I know that a strong passing game helps the running game. But DYAR doesn’t track that either.)

I won’t quibble if you want to say that Chase’s day was a little more valuable. But you’d be wrong to say it was a lot more valuable. QBs just have a much bigger role than even the hottest WR.

14 This is knowable

To a first approximation, we could total all the passing DYAR for a season and compare it to all the receiving DYAR. If I am right, then the two totals should be reasonably close. If passing and receiving DYAR are apples and oranges, then the two totals should be very different.

Aaron, if you see this, is that kind of analysis practical?

16 Following on that, we see…

Following on that, we see that Joe Burrow had 208 passing DYAR this week, and Ja'Marr Chase had 128 receiving DYAR. Is it reasonable to assume that most of Burrow's value is because of Chase, and that if the Bengals had a replacement-level receiver rather than Chase, Burrow would have been about as valuable as Drew Lock or Trey Lance this week? That at least seems arguable to me.

18 No, it's the "AR" that's the…

No, it's the "AR" that's the issue. Replacement levels for the two positions are different. Replacing a receiver leads to less of a dropoff than replacing a quarterback does.

What you're looking for is effective yards (EYds). 

22 Perhaps

But it’s the amount above replacement that determines the value, isn’t it? If all WRs produced like Chase does, then he wouldn’t be much value, regardless of his effective yards.

Besides, if anything the “AR” part hurts QBs.  They get compared to the low end of backup QBs, say the 60th best QB in the world or so. WRs get compared with the low end of non-starting WRs, which would be something like the 120th best WR in the world. Of course, I am guessing at the replacement levels. But you get the gist.

If replacing a receiver leads to less of a drop off, it’s because receivers differ in skill less than QBs do. It’s not because the bar is set lower for QBs.

25 If replacing a receiver…

In reply to by nat

If replacing a receiver leads to less of a drop off, it’s because receivers differ in skill less than QBs do.

Nope. You're assuming that WRs play the same position. They don't. If a WR gets injured and the guy you're replacing him with sucks at certain routes, you don't run those routes. You run other ones, which might not be as good as the first, but they're still passing routes. And if he's super bad, you just don't target him. Now do the same for a QB. If the QB you replace him with is really really horrible... you don't get passing yards anymore. You get rushing yards.

Just think about the math: if I've got one WR (WR1) who produces 100 EYds on 10 targets and I replace him with another receiver (WR3) who's terrible, you don't go to that guy. You go to a different receiver (WR2) on the team, so maybe you get 80 EYds on those same 10 targets. The new guy gets nothing - but you don't calculate replacement value by play, you calculate it by target.  So the WR baseline doesn't drop much - it goes from 10 EYds/target to 8 EYds/target. Even though I replaced WR1 with the offensive equivalent of Hole in Zone.

It's just coming from the fact that there are more receivers on the field than passers. In order to do it properly you'd need to be much more complicated.

Edit: you might respond to this and say "that's just saying what I said, receivers differ in skill less." Except even if we maintain the fiction that the WRs play identical positions, it doesn't have to be a WR that the targets shunt to. Could be a TE, or RB. 

34 How Replacement Level is Figured

If the “DYAR explained” article is still correct, replacement level for QBs is an average of plays by backups who weren’t drafted in the first round and didn’t permanently replace the starter. That’s roughly the bottom half of backups. So maybe something around the 50th best QB in the world.

Replacement level for WRs is the 10% of targets left over after you eliminate the 90% of targets going to the most targeted WRs. I imagine that you’d have to get down to WR4 or WR5 to get to that group. So, assuming that a lack of playing time and targets is a good proxy for skill, we’re talking about something around the 100th best WR in the world, maybe worse.

While you are right that Chase would be replaced not only by an inferior WR, but also by a change in play mix, that is not how DVOA sees it.  DVOA (and thus DYAR) asks “what would happen if you targeted the typical WR4/5 12 times in a random game?”. It then says “Wow, Chase got a lot more value than that chump would have!”

If anything, the shunting of plays to non-WRs means that WRs are less valuable than DYAR indicates. If you lose your starting QB, you are stuck with the backup QB for pass plays. If you lose your best WR, you don’t need to force the ball 12 times to your WR4 or 5. You mostly just spread the target wealth to WR2-3 or to TEs and RBs.

37 Why are you assuming that…

Why are you assuming that the 100th best receiver is lower on the skill totem pole than a backup QB? There are at least 3 primary positions embedded in "WR": split end, (passing) tight end, flanker.

We call them all "wide receivers" because of history, not because of anything fundamental. They're not the same position. It's like comparing offensive line positions. WRs don't play each position uniquely, but teams *don't duplicate talent sets much.

In terms of relative value, of *course* WRs are "less valuable" in the sense that if you pull one out, the dropoff's not that large relative to a QB. They're one of only 5 eligible receivers. But it's not a linear thing. You lose 2 WRs, the effect's larger than the sum of the first two.

WR DYAR really is pretty silly, since virtually all modern NFL passes are route combinations. Plays don't depend on how one receiver does, it's typically how multiple do. Hence the reason the E-P playcalling system focuses on concepts, not routes. Chase isn't just producing his own DYAR, he's boosting Higgins and the TE, too.

31 I miss Monty Python so much

In reply to by Snowbound

That was great, I should look through youtube for more.  I watched Monty Python as a teenager, it is just as funny now that I am in my sixties.  Humor is a great way to diffuse an argument, I am hoping that our fellow fan contributors can tone down the argument and have a discussion.  

 

6 Where's Tommy Maddox?

Or David Carr from the Dec 8, 2002 Houston-Pitt game. Carr went 3 for 10 for 33 yards and was sacked 4 times for 23 yards.

Not to be outdone, Tommy Maddox had a fumble returned for a TD and threw 2 pick-sixes giving Houston 21 of its 24 points and was sacked 6 times for 32 yards. Despite gaining some yards, he only got 6 points on the board.

I am amazed neither of these two efforts made the "worst QB games." Perhaps there should be some recognition of a "total worst QB performance by both QBs in a single game."

33 David Carr has five games at…

David Carr has five games at -175 DYAR or worse, but that game isn't one of them. It's just hard to rack up that much negative value in 14 plays without any interceptions. His worst game was -247 DYAR in Week 2 of 2002 (his and the Texans' second game ever) against San Diego: 6-of-25, 87 yards, two interceptions, nine sacks.

Houston's pass offense DVOA in the Carr/Maddox game was -81.9%. Against San Diego, it was -189.8%.

7 And such small portions

(Glennon) only had 16 dropbacks and rushes, least of anyone in this table. DYAR is a counting stat, even negative DYAR, and (he) stands out as a part-timer in a table where most quarterbacks had at least twice as many opportunities to screw up.

"This QB play is terrible!"

"And such small portions!"

 

8 You call it small portions,…

You call it small portions, I call it being terrible with efficiency.  There was one Matt Casell game with the Vikings a while ago where he ended up at the bottom of the DYAR table on only 10 dropbacks.

15 I'm more knowledgeable on…

I'm more knowledgeable on line play, can anyone who understands QB play explain why Wentz is so bad at throwing short? This game was especially bad but comparing the season stats for the RBs receiving to last year speaks for itself. Watching the games it seems like he misses them entirely too often and rarely gets it in a great spot for them to easily catch it with momentum. His outside bubble screen throws generally look better. Is it possible to just be bad at throwing the ball softly? Is it a footwork thing? I'm legitimately confused.

17 It is totally possible to be…

It is totally possible to be terrible at throwing the ball softly compared to throwing it hard.  Watch Josh Allen's college and early NFL footage, and Zach Wilson's footage from earlier this year (even this week he had a poor 'soft' throw to a backup tight end that still got completed).  It takes practice and skill to throw accurate soft passes the way Chad Pennington did.

20 With Wentz, it's just the…

With Wentz, it's just the overall mechanics. It's not really that surprising either - he's a guy who constantly makes plays out of structure, so his muscle memory is more settled on moving on the run rather than just drop back, set, pass.

It's definitely possible to just be bad at throwing the ball softly, though, the mechanics of that are a lot different. But with Wentz it's definitely footwork. SI had a whole series on it during the offseason (search for The Mechanics of Carson Wentz). Tony Racioppi has a quote there which is super-appropriate: "The problem with some guys is they become so off-platform that they lose the foundational part of the throw."

Shows up so much on short throws because wide receivers adjust a lot on deeper throws (to the point where talking about accuracy on bomb throws is just silly - there it's all angle accuracy rather than distance accuracy). Plus obviously when Wentz goes off-schedule he ain't throwing a screen.

Edit: also keep in mind bubble screens are just "catch, maybe play fake, turn, throw." There's no decision making or timing in the quarterback's head, and no pressure. Big difference with regular screens where the quarterback has to rely on muscle memory because there's pressure coming at him.

40 Definitely will watch. I…

Definitely will watch. I found some clips from the last couple games and his footwork does just look terrible like he so often doesn't transfer his weight to his front foot at all. He seems throw a good ball throwing hard to like 20 yards and generally does a good job running the offense, but has massive accuracy issues on both soft throws and deep throws. He's most successful with guys like Pittman that have a huge catch radius and struggles with guys like Hilton and the RBs that are much more open but have a smaller catch radius.

41 I still think a good portion…

I still think a good portion of it with Wentz is just the lack of serious practice time and regular, constant work. This season and last have just been so screwed up that Wentz's mechanics (which aren't as deeply ingrained) just go to hell.

The idea that Wentz is holding the Colts back is still overblown, in my mind. He's really a totally reasonable QB that Indy has at an incredibly reasonable value dollar-wise through 2024. And, f'crying out loud: this is a playoff team with buckets of flexibility next year. They're in really good shape to improve. Just build around him, keep working, and hope.

To be honest, for me, figuring out what's the right strategy for building a team has been totally screwed up by Belichick's strategic dominance, primarily, and also Reid's. Christ, Belichick's got a Super Bowl contender with a freaking rookie and Reid went to the Super Bowl with Donovan McNabb and turned the Chiefs around with Alex Smith. Just get rid of the Patriots and Reid's Chiefs/Eagles, and look at everyone else. When you do that, you see a much wider variety of QBs with success.

23 Surprised Diontae Johnson…

Surprised Diontae Johnson didn't end up last among WRs...31 yards on 15(!) targets. Funny that his teammate did. And that Roethlisberger didn't finish last among QBs as a result (though obviously Glennon is fully worthy of that spot).