Tua Tagovailoa, Lamar Jackson, and the History of Shootouts

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 2 - The most valuable quarterback of Week 2 played in Baltimore, Maryland. Unfortunately for him, the second-most valuable quarterback of Week 2 also played in Baltimore, Maryland, and only one of them could win the game. But the Lamar Jackson-Tua Tagovailoa shootout at M&T Bank Stadium inspired us to go back and update our list of the top quarterback duels in our database.

Jackson put the Ravens ahead with a series of highlight plays through the air and on the ground, finishing with 21 completions in 29 attempts for 318 yards and three touchdowns, without giving up a sack or an interception; he added nine carries for 114 yards and another score. But Tagovailoa rallied the Dolphins from a 35-14 deficit, leading Miami to a 42-38 win. Tagovailoa's final statline: 36-of-50 for 469 with six touchdowns.

We have looked at similar shootouts a couple of times in the past, but this list will look a little different—we made some corrections this offseason to interceptions that were counted incorrectly, but more importantly, we now have data going back to 1981, which means I get to write about Ron Jaworski for the second week in a row.

Our database now includes 297 quarterback games in the regular season with at least 220 combined DYAR. (Tom Brady leads the way with 26, followed by Peyton Manning with 24, Drew Brees with 23, and Dan Marino with 12.) Only six games, however, have seen opposing quarterbacks each hit the 220-DYAR threshold. Let's take a look at them, in chronological order, starting with an NFC East matchup from 40 years ago:

Week 1, 1982: Joe Theismann vs. Ron Jaworski

With labor unrest brewing, two division rivals opened the season against each other with plenty at stake. Jaworski's Philadelphia Eagles were coming off of four straight playoff appearances, while Theismann's Washington team had improved to 8-8 in 1981 and were hoping to improve again in 1982 and get back to the postseason for the first time in six years. What followed was a true shootout, a back-and-forth affair that saw seven ties or lead changes, including four in the fourth quarter and overtime. Trailing by two scores with 15 minutes left in regulation, Washington went on a 17-0 run (including Theismann's 78-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Brown) to take a 31-27 lead. Jaworski's ensuing 4-yard touchdown pass to Harold Carmichael put the Eagles back on top, but Washington's Mark Moseley booted a 48-yard field goal to send the game to overtime, then added a 26-yarder in the extra frame to give Washington a 37-34 victory. Theismann finished with 245 DYAR on 28-of-39 passing for 382 yards and three touchdowns, while Jaworski overcame a half-dozen sacks to complete 27 of 38 passes for 371 yards, two touchdowns, and 220 DYAR on the nose. The game would prove to be a passing of the torch of sorts—Washington went on to win the Super Bowl and made the playoffs five times in the next six years, while the Eagles would not return to the postseason field until 1988.

Week 11, 1994: Warren Moon vs. Drew Bledsoe

Another overtime game saw the Minnesota Vikings go up 20-0 in the first half over the New England Patriots. Minnesota's Warren Moon went 26-of-42 for 349 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions, and one sack, finishing with 221 DYAR. Playing from behind all day, Drew Bledsoe threw 70 passes (a record that still stands), completing 45 of them for 426 yards, good for 266 DYAR. Despite all those dropbacks, Bledsoe didn't give up a single interception or sack. But he did throw three touchdowns, including a 31-yarder to Ray Crittenden and a 5-yard score to Leroy Thompson during New England's second-half rally, and then a 14-yard touchdown to Kevin Turner in overtime to give the Patriots a 26-20 win. The Patriots would go on to return to the playoffs for the first time since 1986, setting the stage for their Super Bowl run a few years later. The Vikings would also get to the postseason that year, during Dennis Green's remarkable stretch of reaching the playoffs eight times in nine seasons with seven different quarterbacks.

Week 12, 1995: Jim Everett vs. Warren Moon

Unlike our first two games, this was something of a hidden shootout because it came not in a back-and-forth matchup, nor in a furious rally, but in a complete blowout that was decided well before the final gun. The Minnesota Vikings went ahead of the New Orleans Saints 30-7 at halftime as Warren Moon finished 25-of-32 for 338 yards with no interceptions and a pair of sacks, accumulating 231 DYAR. He threw touchdowns to Cris Carter, Amp Lee, Qadry Ismail, and Carter again to put Minnesota up 36-10, a lead that would grow to 43-10 in the fourth quarter before the Saints' Jim Everett threw a pair of garbage-time touchdowns to Wesley Walls and Quinn Early. Everett's too-little, too-late statline was at least a boon to those playing fantasy football in 1995: 25-of-37, 335 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, two sacks, worth a total of 225 DYAR. The Vikings would finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs, with Moon moving on to Seattle the next year. The Saints were mired in a stretch of six straight losing seasons; Everett would be their quarterback for one more year before wrapping up his career as a backup to Stan Humphries and Craig Whelihan in San Diego.

Week 8, 2004: Trent Green vs. Peyton Manning

Older fans were probably expecting the Dick Vermeil-era Kansas City Chiefs to show up on this list somewhere. From 2002 to 2004, the Chiefs scored a league-high 1,434 points, but they also gave up 1,166 points, fifth-most. You take that team and match it up against Peyton Manning in his best year with the Indianapolis Colts, and you watch the numbers fly by like a slot machine giving up its jackpot. The Chiefs opened up a 31-14 halftime lead that would have felt safe for (and against) most teams, but Manning and the Colts never let them get comfortable, closing the gap to 31-28 and then 38-35 before Kansas City finally escaped with a 45-35 win. Manning went 25-of-44 for 472 yards and five touchdowns with one interception and no sacks; accounting for the Chiefs' Swiss cheese defense, that gives him 221 DYAR. Kansas City's Trent Green, though, went 27-of-34 for 389 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions, and one sack, amassing 271 DYAR. Vermeil's Chiefs never won a playoff game and the coach was eventually followed by Herm Edwards, Todd Haley, and Romeo Crennel before Andy Reid arrived and ushered in the most dominant era in franchise history. Manning and the Colts would go on to lose in the divisional round, but would win the Super Bowl two years later.

Week 5, 2013: Peyton Manning vs. Tony Romo

Oh, hey, it's Peyton Manning again. He's bound to show up a few times in almost any "good quarterbacks" list. This was his second year with the Denver Broncos, and the best year of his career by DYAR, although he had a few seasons with the Colts that were better by DVOA. In early October, he paid a visit to the Dallas Cowboys, but the final score looked more like a Nuggets-Mavericks contest than a football game. Dallas took 17-7 lead in the second quarter, but the Broncos were ahead 35-20 midway through the third. That set up an insane finish that saw five ties or lead changes in the fourth quarter alone, the last coming on a 28-yard Matt Prater field goal that gave the Broncos a 51-48 win. Manning went 33-of-42 for 414 yards with four touchdowns, one interception, and no sacks. Thanks to some kneeldowns, he also had a hysterical rushing line: four carries for -8 yards with a touchdown, adding 5 rushing DYAR to his total of 275. In a losing effort, Tony Romo went 25-of-36 for 506 yards (that's 14.1 yards per pass) with five touchdowns, one interception, four sacks, and 269 DYAR, making this the only game on record with two quaterbacks over 250. Manning and the Broncos would go on to lose the Super Bowl to the Seattle Seahawks before winning one against the Carolina Panthers two years later. Romo's career would soon be over as he struggled to stay healthy, replaced first by Matt Cassel and then by Dak Prescott (who has had his own injury struggles).

Week 1, 2018: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Drew Brees

We discussed Fitzpatrick and the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week—how the journeyman filled in for a suspended Jameis Winston to start the year, then the two quarterbacks spent all season swapping in and out of the lineup as the Bucs spiraled to a 5-11 finish that got Dirk Koetter fired. But for one glorious week, Fitzpatrick was the best quarterback in football. His Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints traded scores early, with seven ties or lead changes in the first half. Tampa Bay's 31-24 lead at the break, however, soon exploded to a 48-24 margin. New Orleans cut the lead to 48-40 and had a chance for one more possession, but Fitzpatrick scrambled for 12 yards on third-and-11 to put the game away. Fitzpatrick's final numbers: 21-of-28 passing for 417 yards and four touchdowns, plus eight carries for 39 yards and another score, adding up to 289 DYAR. That overshadowed an excellent day by Drew Brees, who completed 37 of 45 passes for 439 yards and three scores (and 224 DYAR) himself. The Saints would have a better year than the Bucs, but it would end with a heartbreaking 26-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game. And speaking of the playoffs…

The Playoffs

By this definition, there has never been a postseason shootout. The closest we have seen came in the divisional round of the 1999 playoffs. When the Minnesota Vikings led the St. Louis Rams 17-14 at halftime. The Rams then reeled off five straight touchdowns to open a 49-17 lead before some meaningless late scores cut the final margin to 49-37. Rams quarterback Kurt Warner had 230 DYAR on 27-of-33 passing for 391 yards with five touchdowns and one interception, while Jeff George of the Vikings had 212 DYAR by going 29-of-49 for 423 yards with four touchdowns and an interception against a top-three defense that year.

Week 2, 2022: Tua Tagovailoa vs. Lamar Jackson

You're well aware of how this played out: how Jackson's long touchdown run put the Ravens up 35-14 in the last minute of the third quarter before Tagovailoa's four fourth-quarter touchdowns (the most in 15 years, as noted by our old buddy Doug Farrar) rallied the Dolphins to an improbable 42-38 victory.

Here's the thing, though: for the time being, neither Jackson nor Tagovailoa qualify for our greatest games list. Jackson had some struggles in short yardage that opened the door for Miami's comeback, while Tagovailoa's 50 passes included a pair of interceptions, a dozen other incompletions, and several other short completions that didn't really go anywhere. Jackson's game currently scores at 217 DYAR, Tagovailoa's at 205, but those do not include opponent adjustments because we don't know just how good any defense really is. If the Dolphins and Ravens start shutting opponents out from here, it's easily conceivable that both games could hit 220 DYAR or higher. As for what the future holds, we'll likely be seeing more duels between Jackson and Tagovailoa—perhaps as soon as this January.

(Ed. Note: The error where rushing totals were not posted for Monday Night Football quarterbacks is now fixed below.)

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Lamar Jackson BAL
21/29
318
3
0
0
218
206
11
MIA
Hey, what's that elephant doing in here? Well, anyway, let's talk about how Jackson only had 11 rushing DYAR when he ran nine times for 114 yards and a touchdown. There's a principle of diminishing returns built into the DYAR/DVOA formula that limits the value of any one play, so Jackson "only" gets 26 DYAR for his 79-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Further, he only ran for two other first downs on the day. And those six carries he had that did not gain first downs? They include a 2-yard gain on third-and-3, a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1, and a pair of stuffs (and a lost fumble!) from the 1-yard line. That's a lot of negative DYAR on four runs that barely affected his raw yardage total. Fortunately for Baltimore, he racked up lots and lots of passing DYAR. That's especially true in the second quarter, when he went 7-of-8 for 164 yards. All seven of those completions picked up first downs, including all three of his touchdowns.
2.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
36/50
469
6
2
1
209
206
3
BAL
Tagovailoa, of course, also racked up lots of passing DYAR. In fact, if you remove DYAR lost on sacks, Tagovailoa moves into first place, so you could argue he was in fact the week's most valuable passer, if not the most valuable quarterback. He led the league in passing DYAR on third/fourth downs (9-of-11, 162 yards, six conversions, four touchdowns), on deep balls (4-of-5 for 200 yards on the nose with two touchdowns and one interception), on throws down the middle of the field (16-of-21 for 265 yards and two touchdowns), and in the fourth quarter (13-of-17 for 199 yards and four touchdowns).
3.
Josh Allen BUF
26/38
317
4
0
1
178
173
5
TEN
4.
Trevor Lawrence JAX
25/30
235
2
0
0
166
162
4
IND
Lawrence was something of a bully on Sunday in the sense that he really put the boots to the Colts once the Jaguars went up by three scores. Coming out of halftime with a 17-0 lead, Lawrence proceeded to go 11-of-13 for 98 yards. He picked up first downs on five straight throws at one point, including a fourth-and-goal touchdown that put Jacksonville up 24-0.
5.
Jacoby Brissett CLE
22/27
229
1
1
1
128
109
18
NYJ
Brissett had a ton of extreme splits in Week 2. His 4.8-yard average depth of target was lowest of all qualifying quarterbacks, but he made those short throws work, finishing tops in DYAR to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage (8-of-8 for 71 yards and a touchdown). That's a big reason he was successful on 66% of his dropbacks, the best rate of any passer.
6.
Derek Carr LV
25/39
252
2
0
1
122
122
0
ARI
Remember the halcyon days of Week 1, when Carr had the NFL's best DYAR on throws to his right, but the worst on throws to his left? Well this week he switched things up, finishing first on throws to his left (12-of-18 for 117 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 3-yard DPI) but with negative DYAR on throws to his right (6-of-10 for only 27 yards and one first down).
7.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
13/21
154
1
0
1
110
106
4
SEA
Garoppolo entered the game with San Francisco up 3-0 in the first quarter. He ranks higher than his raw stats might suggest because he picked up a trio of DPIs worth a total of 53 yards, including a pair of third-down conversions.
8.
Joe Flacco NYJ
26/44
307
4
0
2
109
104
5
CLE
Here we are in the Year of Our Lord 2022, a full decade after his Super Bowl win, and Joe Flacco is the week's top passer out of the no-huddle. Granted, he only threw five passes without a huddle, but he completed three of them for 89 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown.
9.
Matthew Stafford LAR
27/36
272
3
2
1
107
107
0
ATL
Stafford was the NFL's top passer on throws to the right, going 15-of-16 for 156 yards and a touchdown.
10.
Aaron Rodgers GB
19/25
234
2
0
3
99
108
-9
CHI
Rodgers' average pass came with a league-high 11.0 yards to go for a first down. In second place at 10.9 yards? His Sunday night counterpart, Justin Fields. It was short yardage, however, where Rodgers was most effective. With less than 10 yards to go, he went 7-of-8 for 79 yards; each of those completions picked up a first down, including a touchdown.
11.
Jalen Hurts PHI
26/31
333
1
1
3
97
96
1
MIN
Yes, Hurts comes out with only 1 DYAR. Like Jackson, the problem is the negative plays that counter his positive plays: a 0-yard run on first-and-10, a loss on first-and-10, a fumble on first-and-15, failed scrambles on third-and-long. Also, remember that rushing DYAR for quarterbacks only compares quarterbacks to other quarterbacks, and quarterbacks are generally very efficient when they run with the ball. So the baseline for success for quarterback runs is pretty high.
12.
Cooper Rush DAL
19/30
235
1
0
1
96
99
-3
CIN
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Jared Goff DET
20/34
256
4
0
3
91
91
0
WAS
Goff was most effective on throws down the middle against Washington, going 7-of-10 for 113 yards and a touchdown. His first five throws down the middle all resulted in first downs.
14.
Justin Herbert LAC
33/48
334
3
1
2
72
68
3
KC
Herbert was the week's best passer on throws to wide receivers (15-of-21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns, plus an 8-yard DPI), but its worst on throws to tight ends (6-of-10 for 71 yards). He was also worst on no-huddle throws (4-of-7 for 26 yards with one touchdown, one sack, and one interception). Yes, this play had a big impact on each of those last two categories.
15.
Mac Jones NE
22/35
252
1
1
0
70
66
4
PIT
It's a good thing Jones hit Nelson Agholor with a 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter, because he struggled to move the ball in scoring range. On anything closer to the goal line than that Agholor score, Jones went 3-of-9 for 20 yards, without a single first down.
16.
Patrick Mahomes KC
24/35
235
2
0
1
57
57
0
LAC
Mahomes was the week's best passer on throws to running backs, completing all eight of his passes for 50 yards and a touchdown.
17.
Carson Wentz WAS
31/46
337
3
1
5
34
21
13
DET
All aboard the Carson-coaster! Wentz had the league's worst DYAR in the first half, going 9-of-16 for just 59 yards with four sacks, one fumble, one intentional grounding, and one safety. By the time he moved the sticks for the first time, the Commanders were already down 22-0. But then Wentz was second behind Tua Tagovailoa in DYAR in the second half, going 21-of-29 for 278 yards with three touchdowns, one interception, and one sack.
18.
Marcus Mariota ATL
17/26
196
2
2
3
31
26
5
LAR
In only two throws, Mariota had the NFL's worst DYAR on throws to running backs. The first of those throws was an interception intended for Cordarrelle Patterson; the other was a checkdown to Avery Williams for 6 yards on third-and-18.
19.
Russell Wilson DEN
14/31
219
1
1
3
23
23
0
HOU
Like Jimmy Garoppolo, Wilson benefits heavily from DPI fouls—three of them, for 64 yards. One of those DPIs was thrown down the middle, but he was still the week's worst passer on throws in that direction, otherwise going 4-of-8 for 45 yards with an interception.
20.
Geno Smith SEA
25/30
197
0
1
2
18
22
-4
SF
Smith did not throw a single pass in the red zone. In fact, Seattle only ran three plays inside the San Francisco 40: a 5-yard run by Kenneth Walker, an intentional grounding by Smith, and an interception thrown on a trick play by running back DeeJay Dallas.
21.
Tom Brady TB
18/34
190
1
0
1
5
20
-14
NO
Brady's only carry was an aborted snap recovered by the Saints on third-and-1. He failed to pick up a single first down on throws to running backs or tight ends, going 4-of-10 for 22 yards.
22.
Daniel Jones NYG
22/34
176
1
0
3
-6
-1
-5
CAR
Jones led the league with 11 failed completions this week, including four dumpoffs on third down that failed to move the sticks.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Kyler Murray ARI
32/49
277
1
1
1
-9
-41
31
LV
You probably saw the highlight of Kyler Murray scrambling for the funniest two-point conversion ever, and he ran for a touchdown too, but it may surprise you to learn that he had the NFL's worst numbers as a passer—and I stress those words, AS A PASSER—in the red zone (well, before Monday night, at least). He threw 10 passes inside the Las Vegas 20-yard line, completing only two of them for 14 yards and a touchdown.
24.
Mitchell Trubisky PIT
21/33
168
1
1
3
-29
-31
2
NE
Trubisky had the week's worst numbers from under center, going 4-of-5 for 32 yards with an interception and a sack.
25.
Baker Mayfield CAR
14/29
145
1
0
2
-39
-28
-11
NYG
Following his 29-yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore, Mayfield got the ball back with the score tied 13-13 midway through the third quarter, with plenty of time left to secure the victory. From that point to the end of the game, he went 3-of-11 for 16 yards with a sack, plus a 7-yard DPI.
26.
Joe Burrow CIN
24/36
199
1
0
6
-52
-56
4
DAL
The sixth sack Burrow took came on his last dropback of the third quarter. Up to that point, he had thrown for only five first downs, and the Bengals trailed 17-6. Burrow then threw for seven first downs in the fourth quarter, completing eight of his next 14 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown that tied the game at 17-all. Unfortunately, with the ball and a chance to win the game, he completed three straight passes for only 8 yards; the Bengals punted on fourth-and-2 from their own 16 and never saw the ball again, watching Dallas kick the winning field goal on the game's final play.
27.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
11/20
117
0
2
2
-104
-106
2
BUF
28.
Davis Mills HOU
19/38
177
0
0
3
-107
-104
-3
DEN
Mills had the worst passing splits in many categories this week, including on third/fourth downs (3-of-10 for 14 yards, one conversion, two sacks, one fumble), passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage (4-of-7 for 12 yards), inside the opponents' 40 (5-of-14 for 20 yards, zero first downs, two sacks, one fumble), and in the third quarter (2-of-6 for 9 yards, zero first downs).
29.
Justin Fields CHI
7/11
70
0
1
3
-109
-89
-20
GB
Fields' game was stunning both in volume (or lack thereof) and efficiency (or lack thereof as well). The last time a team threw 11 or fewer passes in a game they lost by 17 or more points was … well, it was last year, when the Giants were down to third-string quarterback Mike Glennon. The 2020 Broncos also qualify with the Kendall Hinton game, but the last time a starting quarterback threw so infrequently in a big loss was David Carr with the 2005 Texans. But you can understand why the Bears were so reluctant to put the ball in his hands, because he was successful on only 14% of his dropbacks the lowest rate in the league. This is the second consecutive week that Fields has finished dead last in this category, which brings us to this mind-blowing statistic: Fields has thrown for only six first downs this season, tying him with Dak Prescott and Trey Lance, who are out with injuries, and trailing their replacements, Cooper Rush (12) and Jimmy Garoppolo (10). Oh, Fields also had the worst rushing DYAR among quarterbacks this week because of an aborted snap, a 3-yard loss on third-and-2, and a run for no gain on fourth-and-1.
30.
Jameis Winston NO
25/40
236
1
3
6
-125
-123
-2
TB
Winston's average depth of target of 14.2 yards was more than 3 yards deeper than any other quarterback this week. On a related note, his average completion gained 2.7 yards after the catch, worst in the league. He was the week's worst passer on throws to his left (6-of-10 for 39 yards with two interceptions, including a pick-six) and in the second quarter (8-of-13 for 43 yards with two sacks and a fumble).
31.
Kirk Cousins MIN
27/46
221
1
3
2
-126
-136
10
PHI
32.
Matt Ryan IND
16/30
195
0
3
5
-178
-178
0
JAX
With no Michael Pittman in the lineup, Ryan had the league's worst DYAR on throws to wide receivers (8-of-18 for 126 yards with three interceptions) and on deep balls (2-of-6 for 62 yards and those three interceptions). This is particularly cruel in a blowout loss, but Ryan was also the worst quarterback in the fourth quarter, going 5-of-14 for 96 yards with two sacks and two interceptions.

(Ed. Note: There was an error in our rushing data that badly screwed up these tables in our original article. We present these corrected tables with limited commentary.)

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.
Aaron Jones GB
15
132
1
3/3
38
1
99
64
36
CHI
2.
Nick Chubb CLE
17
87
3
3/3
26
0
57
42
15
NYJ
Chubb ran for five first downs, including three touchdowns plus gains of 14 and 22 yards, while being stuffed four times. His best catch was a 15-yard gain on second-and-7.
3.
David Montgomery CHI
15
122
0
2/2
14
0
46
48
-2
GB
4.
Damien Harris NE
15
71
1
2/2
16
0
41
31
10
PIT
Though Edwards-Helaire only ran for one first down against the Chargers, it came on a gain of 52 yards, and he was never stuffed. Three of his catches also gained first downs, the longest a gain of 21.
5.
Christian McCaffrey CAR
15
102
0
4/5
26
0
40
38
2
NYG
McCaffrey ran for five first downs against the Giants, including a long of 49, while being stuffed just twice. Only one of his receptions picked up 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.
Aaron Jones GB
15
132
1
3/3
38
1
99
64
36
CHI
2.
David Montgomery CHI
15
122
0
2/2
14
0
46
48
-2
GB
3.
Nick Chubb CLE
17
87
3
3/3
26
0
57
42
15
NYJ
4.
Christian McCaffrey CAR
15
102
0
4/5
26
0
40
38
2
NYG
5.
Damien Harris NE
15
71
1
2/2
16
0
41
31
10
PIT
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.
Leonard Fournette TB
24
65
0
2/4
9
0
-46
-31
-15
NO
Fournette only ran for one first down against the Saints, a 13-yard gain on first-and-10. Meanwhile, he was stuffed seven times, including on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1. His two catches were a 7-yard gain on third-and-8 and a 2-yard gain on first-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.
Tyrion Davis-Price SF
14
33
0
0
0
0
-31
-31
0
SEA
Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Stefon Diggs BUF
12
14
148
12.3
3
88
TEN
2.
Tyreek Hill MIA
11
13
190
17.3
2
69
BAL
Though Hill's 11 catches picked up only five first downs, they include 48- and 60-yard touchdowns. Those scoring plays both came on third downs, where he was successful three times in four targets.
3.
Amon-Ra St. Brown DET
9
12
116
12.9
2
66
WAS
St. Brown's totals include 29 rushing DYAR for his two carries for 68 yards. Five of his catches picked up first downs, including two touchdowns and a 49-yard gain.
4.
Noah Brown DAL
5
5
91
18.2
1
58
CIN
All five of Brown's catches gained a first down, including a 25-yard gain on third-and-4, a 28-yard gain on third-and-10, and a 17-yard gain on fourth-and-2.
5.
Christian Kirk JAX
6
6
78
13.0
2
56
IND
Five of Kirk's catches gained first downs, including a 26-yard gain on first-and-20, a 10-yard touchdown on third-and-4, and a 5-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1.
Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Hunter Renfrow LV
7
10
59
8.4
0
-47
ARI
For the second week in a row, our worst receiver of the week is someone who caught a lot of passes but gained few yards or first downs (three) and struggled with ball security (two fumbles, one of which was returned by the Cardinals for the game-winning touchdown in overtime).

Comments

110 comments, Last at 20 Sep 2022, 7:52pm

22 I looked up the 1986…

I looked up the 1986 defensive DVOA list; the Dolphins land at 27th (next to last) with 23.0%, and the Jets are 25th with 10.7%.  The pass defenses are worse; the Dolphins at 26th with 30.3%, and the Jets at 25th with 28.8%.  If the Ravens are emulating the 1986 Jets (lose all their defensive backs so their D falls apart, still make the playoffs), perhaps we'll have another article referencing the shootouts that failed due to bad defensive DVOA.

53 Really?  I was at it as well…

Really?  I was at it as well.  My brother and I were starting to walk out of the stadium when we heard the Jets got the ball back; we ran back in and stood in the first level behind the end zone where Walker scored the tying touchdown.  Generally did not leave a game early after that.

96 Marino had 220 DYAR in both…

Marino had 220 DYAR in both games against the Jets that season, despite taking a big hit in opponent adjustments. O'Brien would have made it without opponent adjustments, but falls to 153, because the Dolphins defense also stunk. He also had an interception, three sacks, and a fumble.

2 Aaron Jones

Seems more than a bit odd that Aaron Jones is not included with his 15/132/1 3/38/1 vs. the Bears. 

27 RB DYAR

In reply to by Ming the Merciless

Jones had the same number of carries as Harris (#2 RB DYAR) and one more target/reception, but produced 83 more yards and an extra touchdown. What am I missing here?

44 The only thing I see is PIT…

In reply to by Ming the Merciless

The only thing I see is PIT has a -6.3% rushing defense DVOA and Chicago has a 19.3%. That's a big difference in opponent adjustments though I'm not sure how much that factors into week 2 games. Still that's a lot of a adjustment. The other guess would be success rate. I actually don't remember what Jones was. I seem to recall most of the stuff and negatives plays were Dillon but that would be the only other thing I can think of that would push him out of the top 5.

90 The same error in our…

In reply to by Ming the Merciless

The same error in our rushing data that was borking the numbers for the Monday night QBs was actually borking the numbers for several teams, but we didn't realize that until this morning. Tables have been corrected. And you're right, Jones should have been first in rushing AND receiving DYAR.

3 GB v IND 9/27/2004

Favre 30/44 360 yds 4 TDs 0 Int 1 sack

Manning 28/40 393 yds 5 TDs 0 Int 0 sacks

Deciding they were set on offense, the Packers went on to trade up and draft punter BJ Sander in the third round. 

4 Playoff Games Over 220 DYAR...

From this article in 2014 (after SB XLVIII) there were 25 QB games with 224 or more DYAR in the playoffs, since then a few more QBs have had 220+ DYAR games in the playoffs:

2016: Matt Ryan 257 DYAR vs the Packers in the NFCCG

2017: Drew Brees 220 DYAR vs the Panthers in the NFCWC
2017: Ben Roethlisberger 273 DYAR vs the Jaguars in the AFCDG
2017: Tom Brady 247 DYAR vs the Jaguars in the AFCCG
2017: Nick Foles 289 DYAR vs the Vikings in the NFCCG
2017: Tom Brady 291 DYAR vs the Eagles in the Super Bowl

2019: Patrick Mahomes 268 DYAR vs the Texans in the AFCDG

2021: Josh Allen 274 DYAR vs the Patriots in the AFCWC
2021: Patrick Mahomes 307 DYAR vs the Bills in the AFCDG

This doesn't account for 1981-1988 playoff games which I assume Marino's '84 AFCCG would get included as well as a few others like Simms or Doug Williams' Super Bowls and perhaps another Montana game.

In any case this leaves the leaderboard at roughly:

5: Tom Brady
4: Peyton Manning & Kurt Warner
3: Joe Montana*
2: Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, & Patrick Mahomes

The main reason I mention this is because of the Epic in Miami AFCDG in 1981 in which:

Fouts went 33/53 for 433 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int, 2 sacks for 18 yards, and a fumble vs the 21st pass D DVOA (16.1%)

Strock went 29/43 for 403 yards, 4 TDs, 1 Int, 0 sacks for 0 yards, and no fumbles vs the 24th pass D DVOA (21.1%)

I'm not certain and think Fouts is probably closer to the line (or below 220 DYAR), but it's 1981 and the volume at the time was quite incredible so it might qualify.

 

5 Aaron Judge bet on himself…

Aaron Judge bet on himself in baseball and is about to win the MVP.  Lamar Jackson has only played 2 games, but he appears ready to do the same.

The Ravens running game is brutal, Jackson is the entire offense thusfar.

6 Tyreek and Waddle

Where did Waddle finish?   I was wondering at one point if they had a chacne to be both in the top 5......

 

 

7 Allen and Diggs

Not even a note about how they put up those humongous numbers in less than three quarters? For shaaaaame, you slackers! ;-)

36 I'm guessing that comment…

I'm guessing that comment was added because when the rushing numbers got added in, the editors figured hey, 1 DYAR rushing for Hurts might raise eyebrows for some.

The whole "QB rushing" thing is really exposing the difficulty of just lumping players into simple position boxes and plays into simple "run/pass" boxes. Rushing for 5.2 yards/carry is awesome, but "quarterback rushes" are primarily scrambles... which happen when half of the defense is usually well downfield. It was a constant source of confusion last year, and it's just going to continue as long as we pretend that Jackson/Hurts play the same position as other QBs.

38 QB Scrambles vs Rushes

iirc Aaron/the FO team discussed classing QB scrambles as passes, and only designed rushes as contributing towards rush DYAR as it gave more predictive value

39 That's how it goes into rush…

That's how it goes into rush/pass DVOA, but not DYAR. DYAR for QBs is still passes are passes, rushes are rushes, and we pretend all of these things are the same like it's the 1940s or something, because it totally tells you something about a QB's passing ability when he tosses the ball a half-foot in the air to a running back coming across.

For the most part DYAR's just a "for fun" stat because when you break up a team's plays into such small chunks and start arbitrarily classifying things it's a bit silly anyway. But at least for QBs because they're involved in practically every play it'd be nice if there were a "baseline independent" metric for them as well. As in, we're not comparing these guys QB to QB, we're looking just purely at how did these players do on a play-by-play basis, period.

42 I know you know this, but I…

I know you know this, but I just point it out as a reminder that these stats are all built from official play by play data (with some rare corrections) so we are stuck with how the NFL (or teams as you go back in time) labeled things. Play by play data has gotten richer as the years go by but it's still pretty sparse for some things.

I agree with your sentiment and I keep hoping they introduce some more stats that can use the better data we have now from the game charting services and what not even if we can't get historical numbers on it. But for this stuff since they are still limited to official play by play, in order to keep backwards compatibility with the more historical data, we still have some annoying limits.

My inner data scientist comes out again. Collect your data, if you can, folks. Even if you don't know what to do with it now you can't analyze information you don't have. (Not saying Football Outsiders isn't collecting data it's just a bit of a general rule of thumb I've adopted over the years)

50 Isn't DYAR(and DVOA)…

Isn't DYAR(and DVOA) basically based on yards (and downs)? Yards are yards no matter how you get them. So how are QB rushes a problem? still moves the ball. I guess the issue with a mobile QB is basicly every play is a RPO since they have the option to run. Seems fine if your looking at results however. 

54 Isn't DYAR(and DVOA)…

Isn't DYAR(and DVOA) basically based on yards (and downs)? Yards are yards no matter how you get them. So how are QB rushes a problem? still moves the ball.

This is basically what I've been arguing for QBs: just get rid of the pass/rush split and the varying baseline and just treat it purely by play.

The problem, though, is that the "pass/rush split" in football is covering up a hidden variable that you'd like to correct for: what the defense is doing. A lot of times, teams don't rush by choice - they'll rush because that's what the defense is giving them, and a 2-yard rush is better than an incompletion or an interception because the QB/team knows their play is going to fail.

So the problem is that QBs that don't rush essentially dump their "bad plays" off to RBs (which is why rushing looks so bad overall), and QBs that do rush take those "bad plays" themselves.

It's not an easy problem, because fundamentally you're taking a team game and trying to pointlessly break it up by player.

60 (although you see alot of…

(although you see alot of stupid short rushes so maybe that's not a great assumption)

See, the assumption here is part of the problem: you're assuming that plays fundamentally are separable and classifiable, and the fact that runs and passes don't look like they're in equilibrium (and have never looked so) is strong evidence that they are not.

It's pretty easy to replicate the run/pass imbalance in football even with optimal play in a simple simulation, either by letting the defense "learn" (so its performance depends on the history of the offense's play choice) or give the offense (imperfect) information on the defense's play choice. Either of those leads to "optimal choice" for an offense to include plays which on their face look terrible.

TL;DR version: "short" rushes are only stupid if you know what the alternative was and what the intent of the play was. You can't, for instance, compare a "short" rush to a deep bomb that was thrown because the defense jumped offsides, right? The latter play only happened because the defense made a mistake that the offense can't control. Same thing in even simpler plays.

63 By "stupid" I meant, "guy…

By "stupid" I meant, "guy runs into line in a play that everyone could see wasn't going anywhere", rather than labeling every short run as stupid. Mostly, I'm not sure about assuming that the offence is making an optimal choice.  As you said, sometimes the optimal choice isn't that good either. (ie. good defence). Good explanation of why it's difficult however. 

71 I mean, they don't know what…

I mean, they don't know what the defense is going to do until the play starts, and they don't know that their lineman's going to get pasted. Yeah, you can see it the instant the ball's snapped, but it's too late to change it then!

52 Part of it is just a choice,…

Part of it is just a choice, though. As in, teams run the ball even though running looks horrible, so when you select out rushing plays, in general, they look horrible. Then you try to put running backs on the same scale as, say, WRs, and they look godawful. Running backs take 200+ carries to reach 1000 yards, wide receivers do it on half that, but you still want, say, Cooper Kupp and Jonathan Taylor's 2021 to both at least be roughly the same scale.

The same thing happens in AV, and it leads to the opposite effect with respect to QBs. Running backs get higher AV per yard than passing/receiving to put them on "the same scale" as WRs. Except then rushing/scrambling QBs get a massive boost, because they trade some of their passing yardage for rushing yardage and hey guess what, it's wacko more valuable. So rushing/scrambling QBs get major boosts in AV (and likewise on the Hall of Fame meter) on PFR.

That's the difficulty: how do you weight a QB's rushing? If you treat a rushing QB like all other QBs, they actually end up looking slightly worse, because "all other" QBs are more opportunistic. But if you end up treating a rushing QB like a RB, they end up looking way better than other QBs because you had to boost running backs to put them on the same scale.

57 Well, isn't the QB rushing…

Well, isn't the QB rushing actually more valuable? Esp if a QB is taking what the defence gives them, they are making something out of a play that had a high chance of failure.  That and you effectively get another threat on the field the D has to worry about. Although pretty much any QB will take off if you give them enough space.(Even Brady did it a few times). 

Any particular reason you the best QB and WR to have similar value? Teams sure don't if you look at the salary difference. Good for HOFm I guess but not sure why you would want it in general, as DYAR looks at moving the ball. 

The advantages of rushing are: Burning clock(can be good or bad).  More consistent(you can usually get something esp short yardage, while passes fail about ~35% of the time and I think the turnover potential is less). 

I guess it does feel like rushing needs some sort of boost but maybe not to the same scale. Thanks for the explanation.

 

62 Well, isn't the QB rushing…

Well, isn't the QB rushing actually more valuable?

I mean, fundamentally quarterbacks should rush for a higher average than RBs do. They've got a man advantage.

Any particular reason you the best QB and WR to have similar value?

For AV it's because they want the players to be on roughly the same scales. It's just the goal of the metric. I totally agree that it doesn't really make sense in terms of how much the teams actually value each player. I've made the exact same argument with respect to how few non-stats players get in the Hall compared to stats players. But that's why rushing QBs get so much of a boost: normal passers only get 1/4 point per yard from passing (three-quarters goes to the receiver, to put them on the same scale since QBs pass for about 3x more than top receivers). But they get way more for rushing, because with rushing they're functionally a running back.

But yeah, I think QB rushing should have a higher baseline than RBs, but probably not as high as is set for scrambles.

73 For AV I guess it makes…

For AV I guess it makes sense since it's supposed to be across players. (since positions are limited, you want all positions to have similar value on average. )   For DYAR,it's probably ok for postions be different, since that seems to be causing the problem.  Although part of the problem(as you mentioned in a different post) is non-stat contribtuions arn't really counted. (I.e. a WR may gain like 20 yards on a play, but a significant part of that could be a TE blocking a defender.). 

 I don't really have a problem viewing QB and RB yards the same (they are both running). It would be interesting to see how the numbers come out if just view all yards as equal. (.i.e. DVOA & DYAR are about moving the ball, does't matter how, so it makes sense in a team sense). I suspect rushing QB would still be more valuable, but perhaps not as extreme.  

77  It would be interesting to…

 It would be interesting to see how the numbers come out if just view all yards as equal.

Doing it by yardage would almost certainly hurt rushing QBs a ton. I mean, purely by yardage, rushing by QBs just doesn't move the needle. Even in Jackson's MVP year, 3021 passing plus 1229 rushing still doesn't put him above Goff, Rivers, or Prescott in terms of total yardage (85% of Prescott's total), and 7.35 yards/touch is still well below Prescott's 7.61 (96% of Prescott's). He's way closer to Prescott in total DYAR (1534 to 1612, 95%) and above in DYAR/touch (108% of Prescott's) and of course way above in AV (166% of Prescott's!!). 

So in some sense you can view it as:

pure yardage (lowest benefit to rushing QBs)
total DYAR (middle benefit to rushing QBs)
AV (highest benefit to rushing QBs)

AV is basically treating rushing QBs like RBs. Obviously this is ultra-simplified because there's opponent adjustments, situations, etc. etc. etc. But I bet it's basically right.

100 Well, I thought the…

Well, I thought the discussion was, should rushing QB be hurt?

Of course QB are already hurt by giving up 3/4 of their yards to the WR. (Given a good QB seems to help meh WR more than good WR help a meh QB it seems like it should be 50/50 at least). Still, if you take the the theory that QB run when that's what the defence gives them, you would expect it to help them bc they have the option of a higher % play.  I suppose the fact that passes are generally more efficient(i.e. longer on average) than runs is the issue. As well as the fact that most of the elite passers around now are from before running got popular.

Mahomes is the only QB I can think of who's an elite passer AND does much of anything with his legs. Although he's the most valuable in the game so it works I guess. 

104 Rushing yardage in DYAR (and…

Rushing yardage in DYAR (and AV) is *boosted* relative to receiving yards: running back baselines are *bad*, so being "less bad" is positive.

The issue with QB rushing is that it's effectively *less* boosted compared to RBs. But it's more boosted than straight yardage.

95 One of the reasons that QB’s…

One of the reasons that QB’s have such a high rushing average is that when a QB scrambles towards the line and fails to make it to the line of scrimmage, it is a sack and not a negative run.

 

Aaron and I had this discussion years ago and he stated that he was already planning on changing all scrambles to pass DVOA and he did so the following year.

Official NFL stats are absurd in this regard, a -1 yard scramble is a “pass play” called a sack, but as soon as a QB crosses the line it is a run play.

If all sacks were defined as QB runs, their rushing average would decline dramatically.

As we have learned from this site, sacks are largely a function of the QB.  NFL official stats do not penalize QB’s for the dreadful play which a sack can be.

 

8 There's a principle of…

There's a principle of diminishing returns built into the DYAR/DVOA formula that limits the value of any one play, so Jackson "only" gets 26 DYAR for his 79-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

shouldn't the yardage be worth about 26 and the TD worth around another 20?

98 Thank you!

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

Thank you!

10 People talking about a Jalen…

People talking about a Jalen Hurts ascension game, but Cooper Rush was even better! (I'm sure that big temporary 0 for rushing DYAR won't change anything for Jalen...)

12 Anyone remember

When people were struggling to tell the difference between Minshew and Hurts?

Dark days. 

18 You can't draw a statistical…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

You can't draw a statistical conclusion against a null set.

Although I suppose you could argue that an empty set satisfies the null condition for all sets and is not statistically different from anything.

13 Questions

Hurts had two rushing TDs and no DYAR?

the 2015 game where Brees had seven tds and Manning had six?

the playoff game with Warner and Rodgers?

 

14 Answering the first

In reply to by Raiderfan

I'm assuming that it's because it was put up too early (I wouldnt mind waiting for a full more accurate version on Tuesday evenings). 

17 Response

In reply to by Raiderfan

Hurts had two rushing TDs and no DYAR?

Fixed above, but his DYAR was very low, explained above now. This had nothing with going up early Tuesday morning, it was an error in my code that produces Quick Reads. We'll get that fixed for next week.

the 2015 game where Brees had seven tds and Manning had six?

Brees had 243 DYAR, Manning only 99 DYAR. He fumbled twice, plus that Saints team had I think the worst pass defense of the DVOA era, so there's a colossal opponent adjustment.

the playoff game with Warner and Rodgers?

Warner had 380 DYAR, the second-best game ever in our database, but Rodgers ended up with only 173 DYAR. He took five sacks and threw an interception.

23 "the playoff game with…

In reply to by Aaron Schatz

"the playoff game with Warner and Rodgers?

Warner had 380 DYAR, the second-best game ever in our database, but Rodgers ended up with only 173 DYAR. He took five sacks and threw an interception."

There was also the game-losing sack/fumble returned for a TD in overtime (which just counts as a regular sack and fumble?)

24 If instead of using a bar…

In reply to by Aaron Schatz

If instead of using a bar for both games, you just added (in this case, 553 e.g.) them and sorted by that, where does that game rank?

30 Hurts rushing DYAR says N/A…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Hurts rushing DYAR says N/A on my screen (as do all last night's QBs) so I assume they haven't yet been calculated. Can't recall whether this is normal in Quick Reads?

40 I was wondering about the…

In reply to by Raiderfan

I was wondering about the 2009 season (Jan 10, 2010 game) between Warner and Rodgers too. PFR Box Score for those who don't recall it. I found the original Quick reads for that game.

At the time Warner had 385 and Rodgers had 193 (178 pass, 15 rush) but of course the formula has changed so Aaron's reply that Warner was 380 and Rodgers was 173 would be more accurate, though I still wonder if the 173 for Rodgers is just the new passing DYAR and Aaron didn't add the rushing values (since Rodgers did have a rushing TD). The 5 sacks, 1 INT, and 1 Fumble drag down his numbers as has been pointed out.

I was mostly replying to get the link to the original quick reads (which were much easier to find when they used formulaic URL formation and not what they do now with the article title, hopefully the search function gets better so I don't have to do a lot of site:footballoutsiders.com on google to find stuff)

103 Historic quick reads

Is this something that could ever be (re-)published as some of the webpages are no longer active for older QR articles on ESPN, or even for just looking at game by game DYAR for previous seasons.

 

Especially for the playoff numbers which aren’t readily accessible that could be really interesting running through the ‘82 playoff tournament for instance

45 Goff-Mahomes

In reply to by Raiderfan

How about the shootout those QBs had back in Coach McVay's 1st year.  Folks were calling it the "real" SB at the time.

47 Lot of turnovers in that…

In reply to by SandyRiver

Lot of turnovers in that game. Mahomes had five TOs (3 INTs, two fumbles) and Goff had two. That cancels out a lot of the 900 yards passing and 10 TDs.

15 N/A Rushing

The quarterbacks from Monday Night Football all have N/A for their rushing DYAR.

20 It's amazing how much Field'…

It's amazing how much Fields' DYAR and the narrative change if the officials (rightly) rule his 4th-1 rush was a TD. Suddenly that's a 7-pt game and his rushing value is much higher, and everything makes more sense.

\lies, damn lies,...

70 Fair, but that would only…

Fair, but that would only rescue his rush DYAR from the bottom of the heap. There is nothing that can be done with his passing numbers. And no one who watched the game would argue with DYAR in this case; he was objectively awful (and I'm a massive homer Bears fan). 

26 I don't know which is more…

I don't know which is more mind-blowing: Fields' lack of production or the fact that he's somehow not last on the table...

33 Oakland-KC from 2011 was…

Oakland-KC from 2011 was actually a worse example of QBing than in the 6-3 Seattle-Cleveland game between McCoy and Whitehurst that same week -- -258 DYAR!

Both Oakland QBs were at or below -120 DYAR.
https://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2011/week-7-quick-reads

Chicago-NY put up a -288 last year.
https://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2022/chase-glennon-play-games-year

72 I will never miss an…

I will never miss an opportunity to promote Bears-Squirrels 2004, a game I unfortunately attended in person. Jonathan Quinn was 10-22-65-0-1 with 4 sacks, and the empty husk of Mark Brunell was 8-22-95-1-1 with 1 sack. Almost 50 dropbacks and 127 net yards.

75 I didn't watch that game,…

I didn't watch that game, but it felt like the apotheosis of bears football. Perhaps there's a better example out there and Lord knows the bears Have a plethora of options to choose from

94 We did something like that…

We did something like that in 2017 but have not updated it since then.

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2017/week-5-quick-reads

But I'm pretty sure the answer will always be David Klingler and Cincinnati vs. Cody Carlson and Houston in Week 4 of 1994. Klingler (10-of-30, 115 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 7 sacks) still holds the negative DYAR record at -302. Carlson (12-of-34, 211 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 3 sacks, plus five carries for only 14 yards) checks in at -177. And you can't blame it on weather because the game was in the Astrodome in Houston. The Oilers won 20-13.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199409250oti.htm

32 Derrick Who?

I thought I saw a fork sticking out of his back last night, but I looked closer and realized I was wrong.

It was two forks.

35 Geno Smith didn't seem out…

In a tough environment, Geno Smith didn't seem out of his depth or anything like that. But the Seahawks offense is utterly moribund. How do you only run 47 plays when down multiple scores for almost the entire game? That's a recipe for a lot of 20-7 losses now you don't have Russ to pull a few plays out of his ass. 

55 I think this is just an…

I think this is just an example of the SF defense being that good. I expect a big bounce back against ATL next week. He was under a ton of pressure and his guys, outside of Lockett, just did not seem to be getting open. When SF destroys the Seattle running game so thoroughly like that it makes it tough for any QB outside of the elite guys to generate any offense. We will see what happens against the Broncos next week. I fully expect Russ to pull out his SF magic and beat us, but based on the first 2 games that one could be won by the first team to 17 points.

46 That 2021 QB class is…

That 2021 QB class is looking pretty terrible relative to the hype 19ish games in. Trevor Lawrence is starting to separate and look pretty good with competent coaching and a much better surrounding cast. Wilson and Lance have flashed a quarter of the time, looked meh half the time, and been terrible the other quarter before getting injured and missing time both seasons. Mac Jones has been good and pretty consistent. He still hasn't shown enough in the deep game to make me change my opinion on him at this point. He seems destined to live in that Jimmy G zone if he can't get better on the deep shots. His lost weight sure showed up in the pocket though he had some impressive escapes. His Aghalor TD should have been a pick though and flipping that play would have tanked his DYAR. I just don't know if he is good enough to overcome the evil of Judge/Patricia as OC.

Then there is Justin Fields. He was awful against the 49ers outside of 2 broken plays and just doesn't seem capable of running a consistent NFL offense at this point in his career. He is essentially Great Value Russ with much worse pocket presence. If I were the Bears I would try to break the bank for a top flight WR1 with speed and build an offense around option running and deep shots. His deep ball placement is impressive but his pocket awareness is some of the worst I have ever seen. Davis Mills is the classic rope a dope guy who looks great to a subjective scout and is fodder for the dumb stat box score scouts who distrust analytics. He's a perfect long-term backup QB though. He is going to be the next Charlie Whitehurst and spend a long time in the NFL. Kellen Mond literally got cut in year 2 so the Vikings could sign Nick Mullens off the street to be backup right before the season started.

It's early but this QB class already looks like it will be worse than 2017 or 2018.

Now let's talk about Jimmy G. He looked really good in that game and was more aggressive down the field than at any time since 2017. If he can stay healthy and keep playing like this the 49ers become a very scary team. That 8 minute soul crusher drive in the second half was a classic Jimmy special. Those are the drives that put the game away when your coach decides to inexplicably kick 2 20 yard field goals for some insane reason. Our defense was destroying them. Every time they snapped the ball inside their own 10 was an opportunity for the D to score. Either way contract year Jimmy looks better than 2019 Jimmy in a small sample.

For all the people who haven't had a chance to watch the 49ers this year get ready for a treat if you like defense. Hufanga at SS has been absolutely incredible. He is a wild instinctive player who makes plays at all levels. He has issues with being over aggressive and can get burned. He is literally the perfect compliment for Jimmie Ward who is the exact opposite. When Ward/Verret come back SF has a chance to have the best secondary in the NFL. The Ward/Moseley/Womack CB trio has been very good against below average competition. Luckily for Bears/Seahawks fans they had QBs that could move. Circle that Rams match up. If LA doesn't clean up their OL SF might sack Stafford more than the Bills did. 

Jalen Hurts looks like he is making the Josh Allen year 2 to 3 leap. Just like the Bills picked up Diggs, Philly picked up AJ Brown. If he has grown this much as a passer the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC. The top end defenses in the NFC look legit again meaning we are probably looking at another physical bloodbath in the playoffs. Nick Bosa, Micah Parsons, and Aaron Donald might be the most unblockable pass rushers in the NFL and they are all in the same conference.

56 If I were the Bears I would…

If I were the Bears I would try to break the bank for a top flight WR1 with speed and build an offense around option running and deep shots.

If you broke the bank for a top flight WR1 with speed... you wouldn't be the Bears.

58 The 2021 QB class is weird…

The 2021 QB class is weird. Although it's pretty typical to have ~2 decent QB per class. (It depends where you break, but 0 is pretty rare(2013 was the last one), 3 happens a bit more often but still rare).  Trevor Lawrence is starting to head the right direction.  Mac Jones would probably be ok, but NE WR are terrible for a team with playoff aspirations and  he can't over come them + the feral meerkat OC. Still, he seems average, maybe a bit better at best. 

Wilson and Fields are on the Jets and Bears, which is pretty much a big hill to overcome. The 49s may have to pick up Lance's 5th year option just to see if he is worth keeping sadly.

edit: NE is probably the one who should break the bank for a fast WR1. 

67  edit: NE is probably the…

 

edit: NE is probably the one who should break the bank for a fast WR1. 

Oh, hell yes. But sadly New England is also one of those teams that like, refuses to spend money on wide receivers. I think the largest contract they've ever given to a wide receiver (in flat dollars) was Wes Welker's franchise tag, and the largest unadjusted contract (in total dollars) they've ever given to a wide receiver was Danny Amendola nearly 10 years ago.

For more insanity: the most any wide receiver has ever made (full career) from the Patriots is Julian Edelman, at $42M (for twelve years). Second is Welker, at $27M. Moss is third. 

Yes, DK Metcalf just earned more money from the Seahawks in 2022 than all but 1 wide receiver of the Patriots ever has. In total.

83 I realize there's always…

I realize there's always reasons to doubt the Jets, but Flacco has hit 300 yards two weeks in a row against teams that were decent last year.  Zach Wilson doesn't have the excuses Fields does, at least for this year.

87 Add in Mike White's immortal…

Add in Mike White's immortal 400 yard game from last year and Zach Wilson coming back and laying eggs could become very awkward quickly. If he is as bad as he was last year and Saleh somehow gets this team to 7-8 wins watch out for Jimmy G to the Jets in FA next year. They have the pieces to be a very good offense. I really underestimated them coming into the season.

107 Wilson did improve a little…

Wilson did improve a little when he came back; the interceptions went away, mostly.  But he wasn't throwing the ball downfield much or throwing touchdowns.  Also, the backs and receivers got injured, to the point that I don't think the receivers against the Bills in the last game are on the team anymore... except for Mims, who might as well not be.

99 I don't think SF will…

I don't think SF will hesitate to pick up Trey's 5th year option even if he isn't all that great next year. Given the inflation of the QB contract market the fifth year will probably be a bargain for an average to below average QB in the NFL. Also the dude is 22 right now. He won't be the same age as rookie Kenny Pickett is now until the final year of his rookie deal. Age is a huge deal when it comes to projection on guys. It's why I thought Lawrence had a good chance to improve drastically even though he has played a ton. Trey was even younger. Joe Burrow is 3.5 years older than Trey and was drafted 1 year prior. Trey is really young. He could grow a lot in the next few years just because of that fact.

101 Given the inflation of the…

Given the inflation of the QB contract market the fifth year will probably be a bargain for an average to below average QB in the NFL.

The 5th year options actually track the market (it's the average from 3rd to 25th highest), so with accelerating QB markets, the 5th year option accelerates. It still ends up being affordable, but it isn't exactly cheap. With Lance it'll probably be like $21-22M. Which isn't exactly a bargain, but it's certainly affordable in comparison.

For the higher-end guys it's... more painful, since it actually accelerates to franchise-tag level. So for instance Herbert could be ~$32M for the 5th year. Which, again, might seem cheap, but for a 1 year contract that a team will need to include in an extension, it's a pain (it's also a pain since it can force up the actual franchise tag if they can't reach an agreement).

Again in Lance's case it's much less of an issue, assuming he doesn't make the Pro Bowl next year or something.

61 I have fond memories of the…

I have fond memories of the 2000s Chiefs, a unicorn amongst the modern great scoring offenses.

While Trent Green was really good, the wide receivers were notable luminaries Eddie Kennison, Johnny Morton, and Mark Boerichter. How then, might you ask, was this not just another version of the McNabb era Eagles living with Todd Pinkston, James Thrash, and Freddie the people's champion Mitchell?

Well for one, they had some dude named Tony Gonzo at tight end. But the real stalwarts of that team were the offensive linemen.  Consider that Bryan Waters, a multi time all pro and probowler was easily their third best linemen. Willie Roaf and Will Shields were superlative Hofers and John Tait was also good left tackle per Dr.Z. I remember watching in 04 this line absolutely demolish the Ravens at home, with Shields trucking through Ray Lewis over and over until John Madden had to walk back all of his effusive praise and give credit where credit was due. Will Shields is no afterthought.

 

EDIT

Found a clip, although the frame rate is garbage. And apologies to Ravens fans. Its HONESTLY not my intention to troll. The Ravens were the standard for defense and so its really more of a compliment than it appears. After all, how impressive is it to pancake block some undersized Colts defender over and over?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6oRy0p5Byo 

86 That O line was Gibbs…

That O line was Gibbs Washington level good. The defenses were so bad that it just ruined one of the best offensive teams I have ever seen. They could have easily won a SB with an average defense in that period. The Gannon Raiders and Plummer Broncos were also really good in that era so they had a tough division to deal with as well. They were very similar to those lost years Brees Saints teams or multiple Marino Dolphins teams.

79 I was at...

For weird reasons (since it was in Dallas) I was at the Denver - Dallas game in 2013.  Utterly unforgettable (and not just because I was in a club suite for the first and only time).  I'll never forget turning to my host after the 5th lead change in the 4th and mockingly saying it was time for "Romo to Romo".  Next play he threw the interception that allowed Denver to run out the clock.  The look my host gave me...I actually felt horrible and apologized.

Also have some fantastic pictures of Manning's fake and rushing TD which fooled EVERYONE.  Except me, because I was zoomed in to the backfield and shooting in sport mode.  The suite was above that end zone. I can look at the pictures today and see the snap, him turning to give the ball to Montee Ball, yanking it back and booting the other direction while Ball goes into the line, and NO one out there but Manning.  It's stop motion beauty :)

One of the other people there had never even seen a football game before and was just watching the 4th quarter with his eyes wide open asking if it was always like this?!  As you'd probably guess from that many lead changes in the 4th most of them were big exciting plays. Sadly we had to tell him no, this was a bit unusual....

81 Bob sturm did a breakdown of…

In reply to by reddwarf

Bob sturm did a breakdown of this game from a cowboys perspective. The tldr is once Manning has a solid read of your defense, every decision you make becomes the wrong choice. When they tried blitzing, he had an answer for that. When they tried sitting in coverage, he had answers for that too. 

As good as Manning was, it was an absolutely brilliant game by Romo. The int, which will probably be carved onto his gravestone, was as much a function of stepping on Tyron Smith leg as it was knowing that a failed conversion on third down was tantamount to losing.

Cris Collinsworth later described it as an intellectually brilliant game from Manning and physically brilliant game from Romo.

105 Romo got a bad rap

For the record, I've always thought Romo got a bad rap.  Every QB makes mistakes, his just seemed to come at the worst possible times.  But Dallas loses by 30+ if he wasn't utterly brilliant that day (and Dallas would have lost a lot more games without him in general).

108 "By this definition, there…

"By this definition, there has never been a postseason shootout. "

What about Chiefs-Colts in 2003?  That was one of the only playoff games (one of two, I think???) where there were no punts.  It was literally "whoever had the ball last".  I guess it barely doesn't make your cut?

For that matter, what about Superbowl LII?

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