Tua Tagovailoa and Other December Disasters

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 16 - Most of the time, he looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but then he utterly collapsed down the stretch. This describes Tua Tagovailoa's Christmas Day performance against the Green Bay Packers, and also his 2022 season as a whole.

Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins took a 20-10 lead over Green Bay late in the first half in Week 16. Up to that point, he had gone 8-of-11 for 221 yards and a touchdown; though his advanced numbers were dinged a bit for taking two sacks and coughing up a fumble, he still ranked third among quarterbacks in first-half passing DYAR this week. But the Dolphins never scored again after that. Tagovailoa only threw five passes in the third quarter, completing three of them for 33 yards as the Packers came back to tie the game 20-20. And then Tagovailoa was the week's worst passer in the fourth quarter/overtime, going 4-of-8 for 48 yards and a trio of interceptions as the Packers completed the 26-20 upset.

News broke on Monday afternoon that Tagovailoa was back in concussion protocol, with speculation rampant that the concussion had occurred shortly before halftime. That might explain Tagovailoa's Week 16 meltdown, but it doesn't explain how lousy he has played since the calendar flipped to December. When November ended, Tagovailoa was second in the league in passing DYAR behind Patrick Mahomes despite missing two-and-a-half games with concussion symptoms. His DVOA at the time was 49.3%; for comparison's sake, only Dan Marino (in 1984), Peyton Manning (2004 and 2006), and Tom Brady (2007) have played full seasons with a passing DVOA of 50.0% or higher. Tagovailoa was averaging 9.0 yards per throw with an NFL passer rating of 115.7, leading the league in both categories, while throwing 19 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Most importantly, the Dolphins had gone 8-0 in games Tagovailoa had started and finished.

They have gone 0-4 since then, and Tagovailoa's performance has been a big reason why. Though he's still getting chunk plays, averaging 16.1 yards per completion, he's only completing 52.6% of his passes, the lowest rate in the league, with six touchdowns and five interceptions. He has amassed -106 passing DYAR, putting him in the bottom five in that category, with a DVOA of -24.1%—a rate that would rank next to last over the 2022 season as a whole.

In short: pass-for-pass, Tagovailoa had been the most dangerous passer in the NFL, but now he has played below replacement level in each of the past four weeks. Those four games jump out in the following chart, but in alarming news for the Dolphins and their fans, they are part of a longer trend. Tagovailoa's season peaked in Week 9, when he amassed 302 yards and three touchdowns without a sack or interception in a 35-32 win over Chicago. His decline since then has been nearly linear:

Tua Tagovailoa Week-by-Week DVOA

We'd like to tell you how other quarterbacks have fared after suffering similar holiday hangovers, but we couldn't find any. Tagovailoa's DVOA decline from 49.3% before December 1 to -24.1% since then is unlike anything else we have seen in the past 20 seasons. (Thanks to FO Editor-in-Chief Aaron Schatz for his help with this research.)

Biggest December Passing DVOA Dropoffs, 2003-2022
QB Year Tm Wk 1-12 Wk 13+ Decline
Tua Tagovailoa 2022 MIA 49.3% -24.1% -73.4%
Drew Brees 2018 NO 54.4% -11.6% -66.0%
Cam Newton 2018 CAR 11.5% -42.4% -54.0%
David Carr 2006 HOU 4.0% -48.5% -52.5%
Chad Henne 2010 MIA 17.7% -34.5% -52.2%
Derek Carr 2015 OAK 21.9% -29.9% -51.8%
Mark Sanchez 2012 NYJ -17.8% -68.7% -50.9%
Tom Brady 2007 NE 69.6% 21.9% -47.7%
Jared Goff 2018 LAR 31.3% -14.5% -45.8%
Taylor Heinicke 2021 WAS 6.2% -37.8% -44.0%
EJ Manuel 2013 BUF -7.1% -49.9% -42.8%
Kirk Cousins 2017 WAS 11.5% -29.8% -41.3%
Minimum 200 passes Weeks 1-12,
100 passes Weeks 13+

It's a little surprising (and unsettling for Miami) that few of these quarterbacks actually made the playoffs. After all, to have a significant December decline, you must first play well for the first three months of the year (well, unless, you're Mark Sanchez or EJ Manuel). But only three of these passers made the postseason, and two of them came in the same season—in 2018, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints lost the NFC Championship Game to Jared Goff and the L.A. Rams, who went on to lose the Super Bowl to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Speaking of Brady and the Pats, they also saw a significant end-of-year dip in 2007, though that was a dip from "this is the greatest passing season any of us will ever see" to "well, he's still one of the best passers in the NFL." Those Patriots, of course, lost the Super Bowl to Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

Is there anything to learn from this table then? It's worth noting that even the bad version of Tagovailoa isn't close to the worst passer listed—he's still better than Sanchez or Manuel, or Chad Henne or Taylor Heinicke, or either of the Brothers Carr. The slump is real, and Tagovailoa and the Dolphins must learn how to counter when opponents crowd the middle of the field and play press coverage on the outside. But Tagovailoa still sits third in DYAR and second in DVOA, and even in their losing streak the Dolphins have been competitive, with second-half leads in three of the four games. Plenty of quarterbacks with similar slumps have gone on to enjoy long, productive careers, including Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, and of course Brady and Brees. If Tagovailoa can stay healthy, he still looks like he could be an effective passer for many years.

We have a little extra space, so here's the opposite table: the quarterbacks who saw the biggest December improvements. It's a fascinating list, loaded with Jets and Seahawks.

Biggest December Passing DVOA Improvements, 2003-2022
QB Year Tm Wk 1-12 Wk 13+ Improvement
Philip Rivers 2011 SD 1.2% 59.0% +57.9%
Russell Wilson 2015 SEA 9.4% 56.9% +47.5%
Kirk Cousins 2015 WAS 4.2% 50.8% +46.5%
Matt Hasselbeck 2005 SEA 22.1% 68.1% +46.0%
Drew Brees 2019 NO 20.7% 63.2% +42.5%
Jason Campbell 2010 OAK -27.1% 12.9% +40.0%
Trent Green 2005 KC 14.7% 54.5% +39.8%
Sam Darnold 2018 NYJ -27.3% 12.3% +39.6%
Geno Smith 2013 NYJ -34.4% 5.1% +39.5%
Geno Smith 2014 NYJ -25.8% 12.8% +38.6%
Peyton Manning 2008 IND 20.7% 58.6% +37.9%
Matt Hasselbeck 2004 SEA -7.3% 29.5% +36.8%
Minimum 200 passes Weeks 1-12,
100 passes Weeks 13+

Seattle's last two franchise quarterbacks—Russell Wilson and Matt Hasselbeck—each saw major December jumps at various points in their careers. It actually happened to Hasselbeck in back-to-back years, in 2004 and 2005. Seattle's current quarterback also makes the list in back-to-back years, but for 2013 and 2014 when he was playing with the Jets. Another Jets quarterback, Sam Darnold, also qualifies for his rookie season. This all might suggest that some players or franchises have a repeatable ability to deliver in December, but the counter argument would be Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins each appearing on the list of declines and the list of improvements.

For what it's worth, six of these teams made the playoffs, but they didn't have a lot of success. The Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl in 2005 and to the Carolina Panthers in the divisional round in 2015; Cousins, Brees, Hasselbeck (2005 version), and Peyton Manning each lost in the wild-card round.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Baker Mayfield LAR
24/28
230
2
0
0
179
200
-21
DEN
Well, so much for Mayfield finishing last in passing DYAR. (He's up to fifth-worst now!) Mayfield's average pass traveled 3.4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, least in the league this week, but he was still successful on 68% of his dropbacks, best among full-time quarterbacks. He led the NFL in passing DYAR in the second quarter (12-of-14 for 126 yards and a touchdown) and in the red zone (6-of-7 for 40 yards and two touchdowns).
2.
Gardner Minshew PHI
24/39
355
2
2
0
144
158
-14
DAL
Minshew gains 39 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the week's best passer on deep balls, going 7-of-10 for 178 yards.
3.
Dak Prescott DAL
27/35
347
3
1
6
132
119
12
PHI
Prescott gains a league-high 59 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the week's best passer from shotgun, but the worst from under center (2-of-4 for 31 yards with three sacks, a fumble, and a pick-six). However, he was the best on third/fourth downs (8-of-12 for 151 yards and seven conversions, including two touchdowns) and inside the opponents' 40-yard line (10-of-16 for 127 yards and three touchdowns, with three sacks).
4.
Joe Burrow CIN
40/52
375
3
2
2
117
118
0
NE
Burrow gains 50 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the week's best passer in the first quarter, when he went 13-of-15 for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
5.
Sam Darnold CAR
15/22
250
1
0
0
112
109
3
DET
Darnold loses 30 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His average dropback gained a league-best 11.4 yards. Really! Sam Darnold!
6.
Carson Wentz WAS
12/16
123
1
0
0
110
110
0
SF
Wentz came into the game with Washington down 30-14 in the fourth quarter. He was successful on a league-best 69% of his dropbacks and finished with the week's best DYAR in the fourth quarter or overtime, going … well you can read his numbers in the table there, they all happened in the fourth quarter.
7.
Jared Goff DET
25/42
355
3
0
2
107
118
-11
CAR
Goff had the week's worst DYAR on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, going 4-of-10 for 19 yards—most of which came on a 13-yard gain on third-and-14.
8.
Trevor Lawrence JAX
20/31
229
0
0
1
89
56
34
NYJ
Lawrence gains 35 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He leads all quarterbacks in rushing DYAR after running seven times for 51 yards and six first downs, including a touchdown. As a passer, he had a very bad day in scoring range. Inside the Jets 40, he went 5-of-11 for only 24 yards; none of those completions counted as successful plays.
9.
Patrick Mahomes KC
16/28
224
2
0
1
81
71
10
SEA
Mahomes' average completion gained a league-high 9.9 yards after the catch. On a related note, he was the week's best passer on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, going 7-of-8 for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
10.
Kirk Cousins MIN
34/47
299
3
0
4
70
68
2
NYG
Cousins was at his best on second downs, going 18-of-19 for 131 yards with a pair of sacks.
11.
Mac Jones NE
22/32
240
2
0
4
45
45
0
CIN
This season, 37% of all targeted passes have been thrown to the quarterback's left. (About 41% have been thrown to the right, with the other 22% going down the middle.) But Jones only threw three passes to his left, with just one completion: a 3-yard gain on first-and-10.
12.
Brock Purdy SF
15/22
234
2
1
3
36
36
1
WAS
How quickly things can change in the NFL. Purdy was the week's worst passer in the second quarter, going 1-of-4 for 15 yards with an interception (which, yes, hit his receiver in the hands). But then he was the best passer in the third quarter, going 7-of-9 for 154 yards with two touchdowns and one sack.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Daniel Jones NYG
30/42
334
1
1
3
32
25
7
MIN
Jones loses 31 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He and the Giants had a rough day in scoring range. Inside the Minnesota 40, he went 4-of-9 for 26 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and one sack. And this isn't Jones' fault but 15 of those yards came on one completion to Daniel Bellinger … who promptly fumbled the ball back to the Vikings.
14.
Aaron Rodgers GB
24/38
238
1
1
2
18
15
3
MIA
Rodgers was the week's worst passer in the red zone, going 6-of-11 for 5 yards (not a typo) with one touchdown, plus a sack that lost 13 yards. The good news for him is that the week's second-worst passer in the red zone was his counterpart in this game, Tua Tagovailoa.
15.
Desmond Ridder ATL
23/33
218
0
0
2
18
45
-27
BAL
Ridder finishes last among quarterbacks in rushing value after rushing four times for 8 yards, with a fumble. None of those carries picked up first downs, including three carries with 2 yards to go. The Falcons didn't do much better in short yardage on passing plays. Ridder also had two dropbacks with 2 yards to go. One resulted in an intentional grounding for a loss of 13 yards; the other was completed for a 20-yard gain, but then fumbled away to the Ravens.
16.
Taylor Heinicke WAS
13/18
166
2
1
2
8
21
-13
SF
You have probably heared that Heinicke was benched in the fourth quarter in this game. That's remarkable, because he was third in passing DYAR at the end of the third quarter, but second worst in the fourth. His two fourth-quarter plays: a sack-fumble and an interception. His average pass traveled 12.8 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, most in the league this week. He completed two of his four deep attempts for a total of 76 yards.
17.
Josh Allen BUF
15/26
172
2
2
1
1
-6
7
CHI
Allen struggled on second downs, going 5-of-9 for 55 yards and two interceptions (and his receivers fumbled away one of those completions to boot).
18.
Tom Brady TB
32/48
281
1
2
0
1
-1
2
ARI
Bardy's average dropback came with 7.9 yards to go for a first down, lowest among full-time quarterbacks. He was the league's worst passer on deep balls, going 2-of-8 for 39 yards with two interceptions, plus a 30-yard DPI.
19.
Chris Streveler NYJ
10/15
90
0
0
0
-6
8
-14
JAX
Streveler came into the game with New York trailing 16-3 late in the third quarter. His average dropback came with a league-low 6.7 yards to go for a first down. In limited action he had four dropbacks on fourth down, completing two passes for 13 yards and one conversion. He would have had another but his receiver fumbled the other completion away, which seems to be a theme this week.
20.
Tyler Huntley BAL
9/17
115
1
0
0
-21
4
-24
ATL
Most of Huntley's best throws went to his right. Throwing to his left or down the middle, he went 2-of-7 for 16 yards.
21.
Andy Dalton NO
9/15
92
0
1
0
-21
-21
0
CLE
Dalton only had three dropbacks on second down. Two were incomplete passes; the other was an intentional grounding.
22.
Justin Fields CHI
15/23
119
1
0
2
-23
-13
-10
BUF
Fields' average completion gained a league-low 2.6 yards after the catch. He wasn't effective when throwing to his left, going 7-of-13 for only 27 yards with one touchdown.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Kenny Pickett PIT
26/39
244
1
1
0
-30
-34
5
LV
Pickett loses a league-high 59 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, nearly twice as much as anyone else. He was the week's worst passer on throws to his right (well, not counting Brett Rypien), going 6-of-13 for 51 yards.
24.
Brett Rypien DEN
4/8
45
0
1
0
-40
-40
0
LAR
Rypien came into the game with Denver trailing 44-14 in the fourth quarter. He was the week's worst passer on throws to his right (0-for-2 with a pick-six) and on third/fourth downs (also 0-for-2 with a pick-six).
25.
Davis Mills HOU
17/28
178
1
1
1
-41
-17
-24
TEN
The Texans have been pulling Mills for Jeff Driskel once they get into scoring range lately, but against Tennessee, all of Driskel's dropbacks came outside the Titans 40. In those last 40 yards of the field, Mills went 8-of-10 for 65 yards and a touchdown.
26.
Justin Herbert LAC
24/31
235
0
1
4
-47
-47
-1
IND
27.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
16/25
310
1
3
2
-62
-43
-18
GB
While Dak Prescott was the week's best passer out of shotgun but its worst from under center, Tagovailoa was the best from under center (3-of-4 for 152 yards and a touchdown) but the worst from shotgun. He was also worst within the opponents' 40-yard line (4-of-8 for 31 yards with two sacks, one fumble, one interception, and zero touchdowns).
28.
Geno Smith SEA
25/40
215
1
1
2
-62
-71
9
KC
Smith was tied for the league lead with 13 failed completions. He did not throw for a first down until the Seahawks were down 17-0; he did not convert a third down until they were down 17-3 in the fourth. On third/fourth downs, he went 10-of-15 for 68 yards but only two conversions, plus a sack.
29.
Trace McSorley ARI
24/44
217
0
1
1
-62
-36
-26
TB
McSorley's seven runs against Tampa Bay gained only 11 yards, with one first down and one fumble. As a passer, he was tied for the league lead with 13 failed completions. He was also the week's worst passer on third/fourth downs (well, not counting Brett Rypien), going 5-of-13 for 50 yards with one conversion, one interception, one sack, and one fumble. He failed to throw for a single first down inside the Tampa Bay 40, where he went 3-of-7 for 8 yards, plus a sack that lost 17 yards and ended in a fumble.
30.
Deshaun Watson CLE
15/31
135
0
1
2
-77
-92
15
NO
Watson was the league's worst passer on throws to the left, going 7-of-16 for 64 yards with an interception.
31.
Zach Wilson NYJ
9/18
92
0
1
3
-81
-76
-5
JAX
Wilson's average dropback came with 12.7 yards to go for a first down, 1.7 yards more than any other passer this week. That's one reason only 24% of his dropbacks were successful, the worst rate in the league. Just one reason, though, because he wasn't very good in short yardage. With 5 yards or less to go for a first down, he went 1-of-3 for a loss of 1 yard, plus a sack, with zero conversions.
32.
Russell Wilson DEN
15/27
214
1
3
6
-83
-95
12
LAR
Wilson was the week's worst passer in the first quarter, going 4-of-7 for 57 yards with two interceptions and a sack.
33.
Malik Willis TEN
14/23
99
0
2
4
-95
-108
13
HOU
Willis finished last this week in passing value; his average dropback gained a league-low 3.3 yards. He was the week's worst passer out of a no-huddle, going 3-of-6 for 28 yards with an interception. In Houston territory, he went 1-of-6 for 5 yards with two interceptions (one on a Hail Mary) and one sack.
34.
Derek Carr LV
16/30
174
1
3
3
-98
-102
4
PIT
Carr was the week's worst passer on throws down the middle of the field (6-of-11 for 60 yards and three interceptions) and in the third quarter (5-of-8 for 41 yards with two interceptions and a sack).
35.
Nick Foles IND
17/29
143
0
3
7
-231
-224
-7
LAC
Foles' total of -231 DYAR is the second-worst game for a quarterback this season, but it's not even the worst game for a Colts quarterback—Matt Ryan's Week 2 game against Jacksonville now scores at -238 DYAR. Indianapolis stinks.
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.
Cam Akers LAR
23
118
3
2/2
29
0
84
64
19
DEN
Akers ran for eight first downs against the Broncos, including three touchdowns as well as gains of 10, 16, and 21 yards, while being stuffed just once—and that one stuff came with L.A. leading 31-6 in the third quarter. His two catches both went for first downs as well.
2.
James Conner ARI
15
79
1
7/8
41
0
43
37
7
TB
Although the Buccaneers stuffed Conner four times, they also let him run for five first downs, including two 11-yard gains as well as a 22-yard touchdown. Only two of his catches resulted in first downs, the longest a 22-yard gain on second-and-3.
3.
Saquon Barkley NYG
14
84
1
8/10
49
0
39
37
1
MIN
Thirteen of Barkley's 14 carries gained at least 1 yard and four went for first downs, the longest a 27-yard touchdown on fourth-and-2. He added two more first downs as a receiver, including an 18-yard gain on second-and-6.
4.
Devin Singletary BUF
12
106
1
2/3
19
0
38
32
6
CHI
Each of Singletary's 12 carries gained at least 1 yard, and though only three picked up first downs, those three came on gains of 15, 26, and 33 yards. He also had a first down through the air on a 10-yard catch on third-and-2.
5.
Tyler Allgeier ATL
18
74
0
4/5
43
0
35
20
15
BAL
Though the Ravens stuffed Allgeier four times, he still ran for four first downs, the longest a gain of 16. And he had two more first downs as a receiver, including a gain of 26 on second-and-11.
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.
Cam Akers LAR
23
118
3
2/2
29
0
84
64
19
DEN
2.
Saquon Barkley NYG
14
84
1
8/10
49
0
39
37
1
MIN
3.
James Conner ARI
15
79
1
7/8
41
0
43
37
7
TB
4.
Devin Singletary BUF
12
106
1
2/3
19
0
38
32
6
CHI
5.
D'Onta Foreman CAR
21
165
1
0/0
0
0
31
31
0
DET
Yes, the Lions stuffed Foreman four times, but three of those came with Carolina up by multiple touchdowns in the second half. Meanwhile, he ran for eight first downs, including gains of 15, 21, 21 (yes, another one), 28, and 38 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.
Rhamondre Stevenson NE
13
30
0
2/5
3
0
-60
-30
-30
CIN
Stevenson only ran for two first downs and his longest carry gained only 7 yards, but he was stuffed four times and lost a critical fumble. He had another fumble as a receiver, though the Patriots were fortunate enough to recover that one.
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.
Leonard Fournette TB
20
72
0
9/10
90
0
-12
-30
19
ARI
Fournette ran for only two first downs while being stuffed a half-dozen times. He had seven carries with 5 yards or less to go for a first down and only converted one of them.
Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
CeeDee Lamb DAL
10
11
120
12.0
2
62
PHI
Lamb's fantasy numbers are padded by a few failed receptions, but he did score touchdowns of 7 and 36 yards, along with four other first downs.
2.
George Kittle SF
6
8
120
20.0
2
60
WAS
Five of Kittle's catches gained at least 10 yards and a first down; the other was a 5-yard gain on second-and-10. His other receptions included a 25-yard gain on third-and-7, a 10-yard gain on fourth-and-3, and 33- and 34-yard touchdowns.
3.
Tee Higgins CIN
8
9
128
16.0
1
58
NE
Only four of Higgins' catches produced first downs, but those four included gains of 16, 31, and 39 yards, as well as a 9-yard touchdown.
4.
Justin Jefferson MIN
12
16
133
11.1
1
55
NYG
Jefferson caught eight passes for first downs, seven of them on gains of 10 yards or more, the longest a gain of 25. He also had a 13-yard DPI.
5.
Jaylen Waddle MIA
5
6
143
28.6
1
52
GB
Only three first downs, but those three plays were a 16-yard gain on second-and-3, a 24-yard gain on second-and-9, and an 84-yard touchdown.
Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
DeAndre Hopkins ARI
1
10
4
4.0
0
-52
TB
The one catch was a 4-yard gain on first-and-10. Right now, this is the worst wide receiver game of the year, though three others are at -50 DYAR or worse and could move back into first place as opponent adjustments fluxuate.

Comments

25 comments, Last at 29 Dec 2022, 1:05am

#1 by Raiderfan // Dec 27, 2022 - 6:32am

Top six passers include  Mayfield, Minshew, Darnold, and Wentz. Welcome to Bizarro World.

Points: 7

#2 by Eggolas // Dec 27, 2022 - 8:53am

Tua is on his third concussion this season, meaning that he had two before December. We do not know enough about second impact syndrome and how it affects mental processing, but watching how a concussion can cause delays in processing for elite athletes (Mauer going from KOs in less than 10% of ABs to over 20% of ABs), it would not surprise me if Tua’s previous TWO concussions this seasons have played havoc with his passing proficiency in December, prior to the third.

 

The NFL concussion protocol is poor.

Points: 1

#6 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 27, 2022 - 9:44am

Second-impact syndrome is malignant brain edema that occurs after a second head trauma that quickly (less than an hour) follows an initial trauma.

Points: 0

#9 by Eggolas // Dec 27, 2022 - 10:01am

Correct and my error.

I should have said that multiple concussions can affect the speed of mental processing, especially in elite athletes where split second recognition and action is often required. Focusing on Tua’s diminished effectiveness in December before this third concussion misses the point that he had two prior concussions this season that could have been affecting his performance. We do not have enough information.

 

Points: 2

#13 by Steve in WI // Dec 27, 2022 - 11:44am

Yup. I know this is primarily an analytics site, but I think it is downright irresponsible to publish an article describing a QB's performance decreasing after multiple concussions in a season and pretend not to be able to think of a reason why this happened.

Points: -3

#3 by thok // Dec 27, 2022 - 8:56am

How do opponent adjustments apply when a team plays two QBs?  For example, I assume both Wentz and Heinicke get some upward adjustment from playing the Niners, but do they get the same full adjustment, or is it divided based on proportion of pass plays they were involved in?

Points: 0

#5 by Chuckc // Dec 27, 2022 - 9:38am

Everything is done on a per play basis. When they say someone gained X DYAR based on opponent adjustments, that's an aggregate of how much they gained on each play.

Points: 1

#21 by Vincent Verhei // Dec 27, 2022 - 4:31pm

Opponent adjustments are calculated one play at a time, so the more passes you throw, the stronger your opponent adjustments will be. There are also minor differences in things like down-and-distances, so two QBs could throw the same number of passes against the same opponent and have slightly different adjustment totals.

Points: 1

#4 by RickD // Dec 27, 2022 - 8:58am

If you're going to bring up Rhamondre's fumble to ding him, we could ask the question of how he reached the 5 yard line and was pushed back 2 yards before fumbling without the play being whistled dead.

"Forward progress is a judgment call," says the NFL.  Yeah, and your officials showed poor judgment. 

Points: 0

#7 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 27, 2022 - 9:48am

You should be grateful that your borderline calls which go against you are all occurring in a lost season.

You have two rings from years where the refs saved you on season-ending plays on questionable calls. Care to trade?

Points: 0

#12 by mehllageman56 // Dec 27, 2022 - 11:23am

While I feel the Patriots have gotten the calls in years past, they are the sixth most penalized team this year.  But I believe the officiating has been horrendous this year, and did not get noticed until recently.  I would like to tell RickD that it could be worse; until he mouthed off recently, and got fined, Garrett Wilson has, in his words, "not gotten a call all season".  But he wasn't referring to pass interference calls; he's been cheap shotted constantly this year, not only on the uncalled late hit by Poyer in the 2nd Bills game, but also an after the play uncalled roughing in the first Patriots game, and worst of all was a play against Denver, where Wilson's forward progress was stopped, three Broncos defenders had him up in the air, and 291 pound DeShawn Williams decides to jump on top like Superman.  No call.  Denzel Mims got hit late after dropping a pass in the fourth quarter in the same game without a flag; he stayed down on the field, and maybe the refs got scared or something, because the Broncos couldn't get a call to save their lives the rest of the game.

That isn't the worst I've seen this year.  The Dolphins had 5 penalties in 7 plays this year, on a drive in which they gained 143 yards and still had to punt.  I got to watch it live earlier this year.  Some of those were legit (false start), but the offensive interference was bs, and some of the other penalties were ones that are often overlooked.  Perhaps the officials were leaning on the Dolphins because they thought Miami was a weaker team than Minnesota, especially with a third string QB playing.  Or maybe something worse is going on.  It would not surprise me if the NFL has a Tim Donaghy in its midst.

Points: -1

#14 by mrh // Dec 27, 2022 - 12:08pm

Forward progress is called very inconsistently, across and within games.  On the flipside of Stevenson being pushed back, I really tired of the "push the runner" forward tactics.  I'd like to see "forward progress" ruled to be stopped when the player himself is not generating any progress.  And for pushing the runner forward to be illegal - maybe not penalized with yards, but with forward progress ruled to be stopped and the play blown dead as soon as an offensive player begins pushing the ballcarrier forward.

Points: 5

#19 by BigRichie // Dec 27, 2022 - 3:44pm

The rule cited is crystal clear. If the runner is still churning his legs, he's still both able and trying to move forward. Don't know what you guys are being crybabies about.

Points: 2

#24 by RickD // Dec 28, 2022 - 9:17pm

The language about "churning the legs" is nowhere to be found in the rulebook.

SECTION 13 - FORWARD PROGRESS

ARTICLE 1. FORWARD PROGRESS

The Forward Progress of a runner or airborne receiver is the point at which his advance toward his opponent’s goal ends and is the spot at which the ball is declared dead by rule, irrespective of the runner or receiver being pushed or carried backward by an opponent.

ARTICLE 2. FORWARD, BEYOND, OR IN ADVANCE

Forward, Beyond, or In Advance Of are terms that designate a point nearer the goal line of the defense. Backward or Behind designate a point nearer the goal line of the offense. A pass parallel to a yard line, or an offensive player moving parallel to it at the snap, is considered backward.

SECTION 2 - DEAD BALL

ARTICLE 1. DEAD BALL DECLARED

An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended:

  1. when a runner is contacted by an opponent and touches the ground with any part of his body other than his hands or feet. The ball is dead the instant the runner touches the ground. A runner touching the ground with his hands or feet while in the grasp of an opponent may continue to advance; or
    Note: If, after contact by an opponent, any part of a runner’s leg above the ankle or any part of his arm above the wrist touches the ground, the runner is down.
  2. when a runner is held or otherwise restrained so that his forward progress ends.

ARTICLE 7. PLAYS GOVERNED BY THE LINE TO GAIN

The dead-ball spot is reviewable to determine whether it was short of, at, or beyond the line to gain.

Notes:

  1. For purposes of a replay review, forward progress is determined when a player with control of the ball is controlled by an opponent and driven backwards.

As is so typical, people complain about Pats' fans "crying" by lying about what the rules actually say.  By the letter of the rule book, the play was over when Stevenson started to be pushed back at the 5 yard line.

All you're doing is reiterating the b.s. explanation given by the game's referees.  You know what?  These guys never admit that they made a mistake.  So somebody invented "legs churning" and you're blindly passing it on as if it were gospel.

In literally decades of watching NFL football, I've never seen a RB pushed back two yards without forward progress being called to end a play.  It would be child's play to find hundreds of examples where plays were whistled dead with far less pushback, your fiction about "churning his legs" notwithstanding.

And please, this isn't about "they weren't good enough to win anyway."  I know they didn't score a TD and might not have done so.  The team is deeply flawed.  It's just hard enough to like watching the sport when you feel the officiating is fair.  But at the end of each of the last two games, officials have made egregiously bad decisions that have hurt the Patriots.  They're not good enough to win in spite of bad breaks from the officials.  But what's really galling is all the gaslighting that follows.  People pretending the Raiders' receiver wasn't obviously out of bounds, or that Stevenson's fumble should have happened after a whistle ended the play.  I'm sure I've seen that particular situation dozens of times over the years, when a ball carrier is stopped and pushed backwards, and then all the other defenders have the chance to join in and swat at the ball.  Usually the officials don't grant the fumble.  These officials made a huge mistake.

I'm not even saying that they didn't make mistakes that hurt the Bengals.  Mac Jones reportedly had a fumble/TD return that was changed into an "intentional grounding."  I'm just sick of the gaslighting.  And the bad officiating.  

 

Points: 1

#25 by anotheroldguy // Dec 29, 2022 - 1:05am

Yes! I agree it's a problem, and this is exactly the right remedy. No penalty, just the ball is dead, removing any incentive to do it.

Points: 0

#8 by big10freak // Dec 27, 2022 - 9:52am

Did want to call out Mercedes Lewis getting down the sideline for a 30 odd yard pass.  Between Lewis and Rodgers that is 77 years of player.  Add in his 4th and 1 TD catch and The Big Dog had a big day 

Points: 1

#10 by ChiRho // Dec 27, 2022 - 10:39am

Does FO ever account for obvious missed calls/plays? For example, Carson Wentz actually threw an interception two plays before his touchdown (receiver initially looked like he caught it, but as he was tackled the ball popped up into a defender’s hands). Initially it was called a completion, and Shanahan challenged. Instead of reviewing, the refs came together and changed the call to an incompletion saying it hit the ground, but the ball never hit the ground!! I guess Shanahan had to re-throw the flag? Worse yet, it very well could have been a pick-six if not blown dead. Instead they get credit for a TD, break the 49ers’ streak of games allowing less than 20 points (about to tie the 1984 49ers I believe), and put a dent in the defense’s dvoa rating.
 

Granted, the defense still gave up the TD following the missed play, which isn’t good, and this kind of thing probably happens somewhat frequently. Not to mention these plays would be hard to account for given how they change the game situation and alter decisions.

Points: 1

#15 by Kaepernicus // Dec 27, 2022 - 12:33pm

After watching that game I am really impressed with the talent the Commies have acquired. They have a fantastic WR group. That Dotson guy is amazing for a rookie and scary Terry is a competent QB and scheme away from being a perennial probowler. I love Rivera but they really need to get someone in there who can upgrade that offense. Also Wentz has a voodoo curse on the 49ers. Pretty sure he is 3-0 as a starter against them with 2 different teams. Then he comes in cold and lights them up in the 4th quarter.

Points: 0

#22 by Vincent Verhei // Dec 27, 2022 - 4:33pm

FO data is taken straight from the play-by-play, so whatever the refs call (after replay) is what we go with. The only thing we do with the data is remove spikes and kneeldowns.

Points: 2

#11 by Kaepernicus // Dec 27, 2022 - 11:12am

I would like to see a TV ratings breakdown for prime time games based on teams playing at some point because there are 2 teams who have achieved an unwatchable level for me. The Colts and Broncos are just awful to watch regardless of the competition. I actually think the Colts and Broncos are worse to watch because they have good defenses that can really slow down the opposing offenses and bring the other team down to their level. Last night I had key Chargers players in my starting lineup for playoff fantasy teams, I enjoy watching Justin Herbert throw footballs, and my wife loves the Manning Cast. Well there was no Manning Cast and we chose to re-watch the Bad Santa saga for the second time in 4 days with sporadic fantasy app check ins. This is actually a bit nuts because I enjoy watching bad football and betting on terrible teams. The Texans, for example, are way more fun to watch because they have acknowledged their lack of talent and leaned into some wild strategies to play semi-effective football. Lovie Smith has one of the all-time great old man beards. The Texans are out there putting up points with a Davis Mills/Jeff Driskel QB rotation after losing their OROTY candidate RB for the year. Then you have the Bears. Fields is fun to watch in that offense regardless of the outcome. So this all leads to a question. Are the Colts and Broncos the least fun teams to watch of all time?

Points: 0

#16 by Travis // Dec 27, 2022 - 12:56pm

The Buccaneers have been on national TV at least 10 times this year and are at least as unfun as the Colts and Broncos.

Points: 3

#20 by BigRichie // Dec 27, 2022 - 3:46pm

No. And you'll be picking 1-2 new teams next year. And the year after that, etc.

Points: -1

#17 by hscer // Dec 27, 2022 - 3:29pm

"But Jones only threw three passes to his left, with just one completion: a 3-yard gain on first-and-10."

Mac Jones is Rick Mirer?

Points: 1

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