Eagles Avoid a Crisis, Cowboys Issue a Statement

Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 11 - In this NFL Week 11 Monday edition of Walkthrough...

  • The Dallas Cowboys cry out to be taken seriously, while the Minnesota Vikings cry out for help;
  • Justin Fields has another spectacular game, unless you were actually watching;
  • The Buffalo Bills discover an all-new strategy that might just catch on;
  • Nathaniel Hackett comes perilously close to firing himself;
  • The Jets are the Jets are the Jets, and Zach Wilson is Christian Hackendarnold;

and much more.

But first...

The Philadelphia Eagles Avoid Armageddon

Philadelphia Eagles fans can recite the team's history of late-season collapses like a mantra.

Old heads can remember 1981. The Eagles, fresh off a loss to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV, started the season 6-0 and then 9-2. Even DVOA retroactively considers them the best team in the NFL that year. And then came cocaine. Lots and lots of cocaine, fueling four straight losses down the stretch and an embarrassing wild-card meltdown against the Giants.

Then came 1994. Randall Cunningham returned after a year largely lost to injury. Charlie Garner was an early-season rookie sensation. The Eagles started the season 7-2. Then opponents realized Cunningham could barely run anymore. Head coach Rich Kotite overused the fragile Garner. The Eagles offense collapsed, taking a solid defense down with it for seven straight losses.

Enough ancient history. Surely you remember Chip Kelly's 2014 Eagles, who started the season 9-3 before opponents caught on to the quirks of Kelly's up-tempo, low-complexity offense? Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez suddenly began serving up turnovers in bunches, a gassed defense lost its legs, and the Eagles went 1-3 down the stretch and missed the playoffs.

Which brings us to 2022. The Eagles started the season 8-0. But there was an E-ZPass Lane running right through the heart of their defense, a void left by Fletcher Cox's rapid deterioration and rookie Jordan Davis' injury. The Commanders stabbed them right through that heart on Monday night, exposing their weakness for the whole NFL to see.

The Eagles signed Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph last week to fill the void and plugged them both into the defensive rotation on a few hours' practice. But Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts ran straight through the Eagles defense, Joseph and Suh included, for an early touchdown, and Nick Sirianni's offense, like Kelly's and Kotite's, suddenly looked "figured out" in a 16-10 Colts…

Stop the story. That's some of what happened, but it's not all of what happened.

  • Jalen Hurts led a 75-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter with a lot of running, a little passing, and some blatant Colts pass interference.
  • The Eagles defense stopped the Colts in the final seconds for a 17-16 win.
  • Most importantly, the new Joseph-Suh tackle rotation gelled. The Colts finished with 99 rushing yards, but 47 of them came on the opening drive. Suh and Joseph also combined on a sack to confirm that they still have more to offer than ballast and name recognition.

The Eagles averted a very familiar nightmare on Sunday. Yes, they faced a Colts team with a rickety quarterback and the fitness instructor from a strip-mall gym as its head coach. But Philadelphia's road to the playoffs is littered with variations on the Colts. The Eagles' porous run defense over the last few weeks was troubling because it provided an easy recipe for bad opponents to keep things close against them. The Colts followed the Commanders' recipe, right down to the Eagles penalties (a series of positive plays were wiped out in favor of first-and-35 on one early drive) and fumbles by receivers (A.J. Brown this time). But the Eagles run defense became rugged again when it mattered, and Hurts added a fresh fourth-quarter comeback to his franchise-quarterback portfolio. Staying close is not the same as winning.

The 1994 and 2014 Eagles deserved to collapse. (The 1981 Eagles were Boogie Nights characters.) They were average-at-best teams with suspect coaches who caught some early opponents off guard. The same might have been said of the 2022 Eagles at the start of the fourth quarter on Sunday. Maybe the option-and-RPO offense was no longer fooling anyone. Maybe adding 30-something-year-old Pro Bowl defensive tackles from the mid-2010s was a sign of desperation. Maybe the Eagles were just a soft-schedule mirage.

Heck, maybe those things are still true. But at the final gun, the Eagles looked like a team that had solved its biggest problem, overcame its greatest weakness, and was ready for opponents like the Giants and Titans to try their darndest to beat them with nothing but inside zone.

Eagles fans who recite the Mantra of Collapse can also remember 2017, the year the team started 11-2 but their starting quarterback got injured. We all remember how that season ended. Some temporary setbacks are really opportunities. Not all flaws are fatal. And the epic downfall of the 2022 Eagles has been canceled until further notice.

Game Spotlight: Dallas Cowboys 40, Minnesota Vikings 3

What Happened: The Cowboys delivered a message. Please take us seriously. Dak Prescott is a fine quarterback with plenty of playmakers. Micah Parsons and our pass rush are amazing. Last week's overtime loss to the Packers was just a tough matchup against a feisty foe on the road. We're serious Super Bowl contenders, not some meme. Stop holding the last 25 years against us.

The Vikings also delivered a message. Duhhh, we thought we won the Super Bowl when we beat the Bills last week. That was all the excitement we can handle. Time to settle back into our comfortably familiar rut of also-ran irrelevancy!

The Vikings were essentially out of this game the moment Parsons strip-sacked Kirk Cousins on the opening series. The Cowboys scored on their first seven offensive possessions. It wasn't just a blowout, it was a Vikings surrender of dignity.

What It Means: It's hard to talk much about the Cowboys because there is little to say. Their pass rush is indeed awesome, Prescott and his supporting cast familiar, the team's history of prat-falling in the playoffs too well-established for anyone to make serious Super Bowl declarations about them in mid-November.

So we fall back on familiar tropes, like criticizing the running back rotation (both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard scored two touchdowns on Sunday, so how bad can it be?) and waiting for Prescott slumps or Mike McCarthy blunders to pounce upon. The Cowboys just aren't interesting when they do what they are supposed to do.

The Vikings were trailing 37-3 midway through the third quarter when Dalvin Cook decided to share some trash-talk with the Cowboys bench at the end of a long run, resulting in a penalty. Walkthrough hates "talking" penalties, but when you're trailing by 34 points you should know to STFU. The Vikings took a delay-of-game penalty on third-and-20 two plays later (hey, it's hard to relay in those surrender tosses), then Kris Boyd delivered a helmet-to-helmet wallop to a return man who clearly did not have the ball on the punt.

The Vikings got the ball back quickly after that punt. A few plays later, Cousins was sacked on another third-and-20.

There's getting blown out by a strong opponent one week after an emotional win and there's coming utterly unglued and forgetting how to play football when things are going sideways. The Vikings did the latter against the Cowboys, and it signaled that they aren't the buttoned-down, ball-control-and-execution team they claim to be.

Bottom line: there's little question that the Eagles and Cowboys are the two best teams in the NFC after Sunday. But there are seven weeks left, so let's settle in and make the best of things.

What's Next: Kirk Cousins in prime time against the Patriots on Thanksgiving? What could possibly go wrong?

Before that ceremonial roasting, the Cowboys will host the Giants and assist them in their tumble back to reality.

Game Spotlight: New England Patriots 10, New York Jets 3

What Happened: Grimy, slimy, plug-ugly football, featuring:

  • seventeen punts;
  • ten sacks;
  • two missed Patriots field goals;
  • at least two dropped Zach Wilson interceptions by Patriots defenders;
  • one punt doinking off a gunner's head;
  • Jonnu Smith fumbling on a jet sweep and somehow recovering it himself to set up a Patriots field goal, despite the ball bouncing around on the field for about two seconds;
  • Wilson netting 44 yards of passing offense after his 33 sack yards are subtracted from his 77 yards on completions;
  • More third-and-forever surrender plays than you could shake a clipboard at, including one where Mac Jones dumped off to Rhamondre Stevenson on third-and-16 so the Patriots could settle for a field goal but Stevenson barreled through several arm tackles for 18 yards (the Patriots later missed the field goal);
  • and finally, an 84-yard punt return touchdown by Patriots rookie Marcus Jones in the final seconds of a game that the Jets never really believed in their tragic little hearts they could win.

What It Means: The Patriots continue to excel at bringing out the worst in opponents without bringing out anything particularly good in themselves.

Yes, Bill Belichick's defense remains capable of confounding terrible quarterbacks. But with eight penalties, the missed field goals listed above, and practically no offense, it's hard to argue that the Patriots are really winning with coaching and discipline. They're just turtling until their opponents out-dumb them.

Zach Wilson is a blindfolded preschooler throwing lawn darts. The Jets would be better off lining Michael Carter up in the shotgun and running the Wildcat on every play than keeping Wilson in the huddle. The Jets defense played an outstanding game, but Mike LaFleur is running out of "Hide the Doofus" tactics.

The Jets should be working hard for a wild-card berth. They'll never get one with Wilson at the helm. They probably finally figured that out on Sunday.

What's Next: The Joe Flacco (?) era triumphantly (??) begins (???) for the Jets against the Bears in Week 12. The Patriots will visit the Vikings for Puntsgiving.

Notes From Selected Games

Some things Walkthrough noticed on Week 11 Sunday.

Wins are Not a Justin Herbert Stat

Another Justin Herbert masterpiece, another Los Angeles Chargers loss. Herbert led a heroic fourth-quarter comeback against the Chiefs, with a third-and-18 bomb to Keenan Allen that set up a short toss to Josh Palmer to give the Chargers a 27-23 lead with 1:46 to play. But 1:46 is a minute longer than Patrick Mahomes needs to ruin your weekend, especially since the Chargers were incapable of covering Travis Kelce. Kelce caught his third touchdown pass with 31 seconds left. Herbert then threw an interception while vying for his second miracle in a 15-minute span.

Walkthrough often chuckles about Herbert's immunity to Internet criticism: everything wrong with the Chargers is blamed on his lack of receivers, the rookie-laden line, playcaller Joe Lombardi, the run defense, a bad horoscope, or what have you. Well, everything really was everyone else's fault in Sunday's loss. And thanks to the returns of Allen and Mike Williams, Herbert still almost dragged the Chargers to victory.

The Herbert we saw on Sunday was the guy we saw in Week 18 of 2021: the guy who makes breathtaking throws but still loses critical games. If the Chargers can't win when he's playing at that level, they don't stand a chance when he's performing like a mere mortal.

The Chargers visit the Cardinals and Raiders over the next two weeks. They need to sweep that road trip. Herbert shouldn't need that much help to do so. But a little would be nice.

The Buffalo Bills Discover a New Offensive Concept

In his rush to meet the snowmobile that would transport him across the frozen Arctic to the airport on Saturday afternoon, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey left the portion of his playbook labeled "Ridiculously Risky Passing Concepts to Jeopardize Leads With" on his coffee table. Left without his most prized possession, Dorsey was forced to deploy a novel new strategy against the Cleveland Browns: the handoff.

Devin Singletary rushed 18 times for 86 yards and one touchdown. James Cook added 86 yards on 11 carries. The Bills started slowly on both sides of the ball, settling for a pair of early field goals (one after a Singletary 18-yard run to the goal line was negated by holding), but they took control of both the game and the clock by late in the first half. Get this: the Bills possessed the football for 9:22 in the fourth quarter, with three field goals and no turnovers, staving off a late Browns rally in a 31-23 victory. They did it all by deciding that securing a win was more important than building Josh Allen's MVP case.

When a team is far superior to its opponent, it can afford to slow things down a bit by handing off and settling for field goals. The Bills are far superior to most of their opponents. Let's see if they learned their lesson when they face the spunkier-than-ever Lions on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Nathaniel Hackett is Jason Garrett with Less Personality

Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett ceded play-calling duties to quarterback coach Klint Kubiak because Zindoodoo the Kaleidoscopic Unicorn, the playcaller for the first three months of the season, wasn't getting the job done and is also an imaginary creature only Russell Wilson can see and hear.

Kubiak's innovation involved much more rushing and dump-offs to backs and tight ends; not a bad idea against a Raiders defense that does not run or tackle very well. The Broncos moved the ball slightly more consistently than in past weeks. But Kubiak was unable to solve the Broncos' two major offensive problems:

  • The Broncos rarely reach the red zone and were forced to settle for a string of long field-goal attempts.
  • The Broncos are hilariously self-destructive on the rare occasions that they do reach the red zone. Melvin Gordon fumbled near the goal line just before halftime, and while the Broncos recovered, Brandon McManus' ensuing field goal attempt was blocked.

The Raiders defeated the Broncos 22-16 on a 35-yard overtime touchdown catch by Davante Adams. The Broncos are now 3-7. Hackett has already played his final self-preservation card, rendering himself 100% expendable. And the Broncos offense may simply be to injury-riddled to perform much better down the stretch. The Broncos could take a cue from the Colts and let John Elway, Tom Nalen, or a lovable golden retriever coach the team for the rest of the year.

But not Zindoodoo. He and Russ drank from the Sparkling Spring of Eternity and gamboled among the whispering dandelions after the game, so Sunday went roughly as well as they visualized.

Another Moral Victory for Justin Fields

Fields rushed 18 times for 85 yards and went 14-of-21 for 153 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the Chicago Bears' 27-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Fields' runs were a mix of scrambles and a power sweep that the Bears call an awful lot; it's more like a Wildcat play for Taysom Hill than even a zone read. The Falcons defense often mush-rushed Fields on obvious passing downs, with four rushers maintaining their lanes to keep Fields from scrambling and everyone else sitting back into zones. Sometimes, Fields eventually found a receiver…

Often, however…

That interception came on the Bears' final do-or-die drive, after Fields rushed twice for 5 yards on first and second down. It was the second straight week Fields had a chance to lead the Bears to victory but could not really begin to execute a late-game comeback.

Look, Walkthrough loves watching Fields and wants him to succeed. We'll take him over Mac Jones or (ugh) Zach Wilson any day. We know his receiving corps is a travesty. But we feel compelled to push back against the fantasy footballers and highlight scouters who are pretending he's already Josh Allen. He is simply not a reliable passer or decision-maker in the pocket yet.

The Bears face the Jets next week. Fields will probably be the best quarterback on the field. But if Wilson gets benched, there are no guarantees.

Awards Digest

And the winners are…

Defender of the Week

Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys: two sacks, five hits on Kirk Cousins, one forced fumble (recovered by Dorance Armstrong, who also had two sacks) to get the snowball rolling.

Offensive Line of the Week

Have Dan Campbell's Lions finally turned the corner with three straight wins? Ask us after Thanksgiving! OK, that's not fair; they host the Bills on Thanksgiving. Ask us at the end of their Bills-Jaguars-Vikings homestand: a 2-1 record is an emphatic, sorry-for-doubting-you-Coach-Camogear YES.

Is the Lions offensive line among the best in the NFL? That we can answer by giving Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Evan Brown, and Penei Sewell a Week 11 award for helping Jamaal Williams, Justin Jackson, D'Andre Swift and company thump out 160 yards and four touchdowns while holding the Giants without a sack in a 31-18 Lions victory.

Special Teamer of the Week

Marcus Jones of the Patriots and Cordarrelle Patterson of the Falcons share this award for Jones' game-winning punt return touchdown and Patterson's 104-yard kickoff return touchdown. Let's give Cowboys kicker Brett Maher a nod for his 60-yard field goal as well.

Patterson, incidentally, fumbled at the end of a 17-yard run on the previous series, setting up a Bears touchdown. The Falcons have so few players anyone has heard of that guys like Patterson must provide both the highlights and the lowlights.

Burn This Play!

The Eagles decided to go for it on fourth-and-10 from the Colts 39-yard line while trailing 13-3 midway through the third quarter. Sure, the 39-yard line is "no man's land." But nothing was going the Eagles' way on offense at that point; a punt would have forced the Colts to march the length of the field, something they only managed to do on the opening drive.

Sure enough, the Colts blitzed and Jalen Hurts got flushed and ended up taking a sack along the sideline; even a heave into the end zone for an interception would have been a better result.

Anyone who tells Walkthrough that going for it in that situation is backed up by "analytics" gets a wedgie.

Frame This Play!

Check out the little fold block Jason Kelce (62) executes after the snap to Hurts on this touchdown:

Linebacker Bobby Okereke (58) is keying on Kelce and follows him to the offensive right, which takes him out of Hurts' path! The pass blocking by the left side of the Eagles line and the convincing pass routes run by the Eagles' receivers also serve to take defenders out of the play on what is clearly a designed quarterback draw.

Credit to Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen for dialing up a play like that when it mattered most.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

Tired: Giving BSASEH to Jesse Bates (30) for getting hurdled by Najee Harris at the end of a touchdown run.
Wired: Giving poor Cam Taylor-Britt (29) BSASEH for falling flat on his face while chasing Harris and not being involved in the play at all.

Honorable mention goes to Ensign Brandin Cooks (no longer a captain) for getting hit directly in the face by a Davis Mills bomb on Darrick Forrest's interception in the Commanders cakewalk over the Houston No One Cares Anymore.

That was one of Davis' few decent throws on Sunday.

Also, while Marcus Jones didn't need Mack Wilson (30) to do this to Justin Hardee (34) to score that game-winning Patriots touchdown…

… it sure was a fitting exclamation point at the end of the Jets' afternoon.

Rando of the Week

Say, Michael Schofield, what's it like blocking for Justin Fields, who has 100% arrived as an elite NFL rusher/passer/decision-maker?

Ooh, ouch.

But no, this week's real randos are the Eagles fans who shared a moment with Nick Sirianni after the Eagles' comeback victory:

Let's see, there's A.J. Brown jersey dude, DeVonta Smith jersey dude (about three of DeVonta could actually fit in that jersey) and Retro Reggie White half-'n'-half dude, plus arms-crossed Jonathan Taylor jersey person, who would have been wise to seek a running start at that moment.

If there are reports on Monday morning of a late-night incident at St. Elmo's steakhouse involving rowdiness, fighting, horseradish-tossing or light pole-climbing, these are your persons of interest.

Comments

108 comments, Last at 24 Nov 2022, 11:47am

#1 by anthonytwotimes // Nov 21, 2022 - 12:08am

…really makes me question why I pay for this website. Actually, I’ve come to the conclusion these idiots couldn’t pick a wedgie out of the ass cheeks without the help of their computer. Adios FO. I would have been better served spending my money on betting on Ivan Drago in Rocky 4

Points: 0

#7 by MikeK // Nov 21, 2022 - 7:17am

Fields is good! He's an excellent runner, and his decision making and passing have improved since he entered the league. However, a lot of the NFL twitterverse would have you believe that he's already ascended into prime Randall Cunningham when he is still clearly developing as a passer and processor. I think that's the only point here, not that he's bad or forever cursed. If the bears give him the Jalen Hurts treatment and pick up an elite wideout in the offseason, instead of burning draft picks on 26 year old punt returners, it will set Fields up nicely for the future. 

Points: 0

#9 by anthonytwotimes // Nov 21, 2022 - 7:56am

…that the INT pass was meant for Mooney streaking across on a crossing route wide open. And yes it would have been a big gain. But idiots will be idiots. 

Points: 0

#20 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:43am

But either way, it's a weird int to blame him for there. Ah yes he's not Josh Allen, good strawman.

Well enjoy the site and ensuing replies.

Points: 0

#38 by superglucose // Nov 21, 2022 - 11:21am

I feel like Justin Fields is still, in a word, bad.

But he's bad in ways that make me think he could some day be good. Which is better than Zach Wilson and Mac Jones (Zach Wilson is bad and going to stay bad, Mac Jones is so mediocre it hurts). Maybe even better than Trevor Lawrence but it's hard for me to judge anything out of Jacksonville.

 

2021 rookies haven't been anywhere near their hype so far lol. I'm not joking when I say Trey Lance has, thus far, been the best of the bunch... And he never plays.

Points: 0

#41 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 11:34am

Trey Lance got hurt and his team immediately got dramatically better. Which is a pretty telling rebuke.

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#46 by Kaepernicus // Nov 21, 2022 - 12:31pm

Yeah that's a but reductive. Chicago game weather was so bad you can't read anything from it. He was erratic in the pre-season. The team was running the ball and converting 3rd downs the whole time he was in though. Dramatically better on offense is a stretch because he played so little and most of the sample came from the worst weather situation of any game this year. Lawrence is in the lead right now off his average+ play this year and if I had to pick a second I would go with Lance because we haven't seen enough of him to know he is bad. He has given us enough glimpses of high level play in the small sample to still have hope. Also somehow he is still only 22.

Points: 0

#54 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:21pm

He was also replaced by a guy who could be the starter for roughly half the teams in the league, and went to the NFCCG last year. I'm not sure we learned much from that.

Points: 0

#31 by TomC // Nov 21, 2022 - 10:35am

This is hilarious. I am a Bears fan and Fields supporter. But the statement "He is simply not a reliable passer or decision-maker in the pocket yet" is so utterly uncontroversial that I was going to tease Tanier for setting up a strawman---i.e., even the most meathead Bears fans know this is objectively true. Thanks for proving me wrong! (Unless, as I secretly suspect, you are one of Tanier's burner accounts.)

Oh, and about the interception, the Chicago Tribune reports: "Some thought Fields, who jumped a little as he threw, was trying to connect with Mooney, who was behind Montgomery, but he confirmed the running back was his intended target." 

Points: 0

#44 by Independent George // Nov 21, 2022 - 12:08pm

I also assume he's a young Bears fan, who has probably read the history of Chicago QB's, but has not yet internalized the pain. In the 25 years I've lived here, Erik Kramer remains the high water mark of Chicago QBs. Think about that for a second.

Every Bears fan over age ~30 is hopeful about Fields, but has been disappointed too many times. What's funny is that I'm now old enough to have known some of those same fans when they were 20, and got to witness the destruction of hope in real-time. They look at the zoomers, and see themselves. A part of them relishes it - "If I must suffer, so must they". 

Points: 0

#51 by TomC // Nov 21, 2022 - 1:38pm

What is also funny is that we have "known" you long enough that, when we "met," your nickname was a reasonably up-to-date meme, not a litmus test for "are you an FOBoomer?"

Points: 0

#86 by Steve in WI // Nov 21, 2022 - 6:19pm

My issue with the Fields discourse is how much of it, positive and negative, seems focused on making a definitive judgment about his career rather than evaluating what he is doing right now. Either he's the Bears's answer at QB for the next 10 years or he's a bust. I think both of those pronouncements are equally stupid at this point, but they seem to take up most of the oxygen in the room.

I think the only definitive conclusion you can draw about him is that he's got enough potential that the Bears should stick with him rather than drafting someone else in the 1st round this year. (Personally, absent evidence of a severe personality/work ethic flaw I would have thought it was stupid to give up on Fields after 2022 no matter how he played). And that's all they have to decide this year! They don't have to sign him to a massive long-term contract or even make a decision on the 5th year option just yet.

That said, I am growing weary of the narrative that he has to prove something by winning games in the 4th quarter this season, particularly when there are clear examples where if not for a bad drop/fumble by a receiver and/or an egregious uncalled penalty, he might have already done so several times over. QB wins are a dumb stat in general but they're extra dumb when you're dealing with a team with a ton of dead money and poor talent because the front office has intentionally realized that they inherited a dumpster fire that can't be fixed in a year.

Points: 0

#87 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 21, 2022 - 6:37pm

My issue with the Fields discourse is how much of it, positive and negative, seems focused on making a definitive judgment about his career rather than evaluating what he is doing right now. Either he's the Bears's answer at QB for the next 10 years or he's a bust. I think both of those pronouncements are equally stupid at this point, but they seem to take up most of the oxygen in the room.

Do you even media, bro? 

Points: 0

#90 by Will Allen // Nov 21, 2022 - 6:51pm

Good grief, the Bears would be morons to not let Fields start at least through next season, unless his performance completely craters from its current level.

Points: 0

#92 by dmonahan748 // Nov 21, 2022 - 7:25pm

Any article/conversation about Fields or negative comments about him that don't also mention the terrible pass protection abilities of the Offensive Line isn't worth the cyberspace/air it's written/breathed in. Fields has absolutely missed some throws. He absolutely has to work on his decision-making. But you know what would help him with both of those issues? If he wasn't constantly running for his life when he drops back. The reason the passing numbers in the fourth quarter the last few weeks (Lions and Dolphins...the numbers were slightly better against the Falcons) is because when the defense knows the Bears have to pass, the OL -- and, therefore, Fields -- has no chance. They can't handle bull rushes. They can't handle twists and stunts. They sure as hell can't handle people blitzing. And as many sacks as Fields has taken this year, it would have been another 5 sacks/game if he wasn't as great of an athlete as he is.  

This was a very bad defense that looked really good against the Bears because of how bad the OL is. That's story #1, #2, #3, #4, and (when Jenkins doesn't play) #5 when discussing Fields. After that, you can talk about decision-making and the occasional poor throw (or the receivers or the play calling, etc.). If Mike really watched the game and didn't make a bigger deal about the OL play, I'm not sure how much weight I can give his opinion. For better or worse, I watch every minute of every Bears game and this is 95% of the problem with Fields. If his OL was even minimally competent, he'd be viewed as an ascending star. The fact that some people might be considering him as one despite the OL tells you everything you need to know about his talent level.

Points: 0

#104 by Steve in WI // Nov 22, 2022 - 9:31am

Good point on the offensive line. This past week they were clearly a bigger problem. It's not like the Bears's pass catchers are suddenly a strength of the team, but in the last few weeks with the emergence of Kmet and the acquisition of Claypool they've at least got 3 legitimate NFL players for him to target (plus Montgomery as a checkdown option). It definitely feels like anyone focusing on the receivers rather than the offensive line is a few weeks behind.

Points: 0

#103 by Steve in WI // Nov 22, 2022 - 9:25am

Oh, I think that's definitely the consensus now. But about the time of the Commanders game, when Fields wasn't playing especially well, there was a lot of chatter about what the Bears would/should do if they wound up with a top 5 pick in the draft, and questioning how committed Ryan Poles would be to Fields since he wasn't "his guy." I'm really glad the discussion has moved past that at least.

Points: 0

#95 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:13pm

100% agree. Honestly, at this point talking QBs is getting tiresome. Too many rash "opinions" and bad jokes instead of healthy nuanced discussions. 

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#108 by Roo Mal // Nov 24, 2022 - 11:47am

Adios attention seeking person bad at gambling. You must be extremely young and or just started paying attention to spreads. Bookies and legal gambling is immensely profitable because it’s rarely predictable; here’s to making a sport a source of pain and a reason to gain attention from your pathetic wagering. 

Points: 0

#2 by Romodini // Nov 21, 2022 - 1:15am

        blatant Colts pass interference  

A link to a research paper about penalties and referee bias was posted in another article a couple days ago. The results showed that the refs really like the Colts, so this isn't surprising. Can't wait to see what kind of bizarre stuff the refs are gonna cook up for the Boys later in the season.

 

        The Cowboys just aren't interesting when they do what they are supposed to do.

I think it's interesting they managed to stop the run early, something I certainly wasn't expecting them to do.

 

        Nathaniel Hackett is Jason Garrett with Less Personality

Does Hackett clap after every play regardless of the result? If not, I have to call bs on this comparison. Clapping is mandatory for any respectable Garrett doppelgänger.

 

Kudos to anyone who can tell me what Brandon Staley does or adds to the Chargers other than going for it on 4th down. 

Points: 0

#4 by BJR // Nov 21, 2022 - 4:57am

Staley doesn't even go for it on 4th down anymore. Last night included a field goal from 4th & goal at the 2, and a 4th & 1 punt from their own 34. Neither of those alone are worth excoriating him for, as I suspect most coaches would do exactly the same. But having nailed his colors to the 4th down mast last season, to now turtle, especially within the context of a shootout against the Chiefs, suggests a strong element of cowardice/self-preservation. 

Points: 0

#42 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 11:58am

He manages to feed cardiologists in the Upper Midwest twice-yearly infusions of business by helping keep every Chiefs game (and only the Chiefs games) that close.

Sure, that all happened prior to Staley. It will probably continue to happen after he's gone. But you'll never convince me he's not part of the phenomenon, logic and reason be damned.

Points: 0

#47 by Pat // Nov 21, 2022 - 12:36pm

Holy #%!$, someone else actually reads the research article stuff I occasionally link to? Really?

I thought I was the only one sadistic enough to zip through undergrad thesis stuff like that.

Points: 0

#52 by Romodini // Nov 21, 2022 - 1:43pm

I really only skimmed through it, but will probably make myself read the entire thing at some point. After how much weird officiating I saw in Cowboys games last year... let's just say it's a topic of interest.

 

 

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#3 by HitchikersPie // Nov 21, 2022 - 4:37am

Definitely nice for Marcus Jones to get essentially the walkoff TD, but especially impressive for Patterson to set the NFL kickoff return TD record despite modern rules making them harder than ever.

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#6 by BJR // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:03am

Yes Patterson deserves a lot more recognition given his outstanding record on special teams over the years (not just the TDs, but consistent excellence in overall contribution).

If Devin Hester is HOFer, then so should he be, given he has also provided a lot more on offense.

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#17 by Will Allen // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:22am

If the old kickoff rules had been kept, who knows how valuable Patterson would have been? I can't think of too many guys who were 1st round busts at the position they were drafted at, but were so obviously valuable on special teams that they may have been worth a 1st round pick anyhow.

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#28 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 21, 2022 - 9:49am

Especially Desmond, but neither are even top 33 in their draft classes in wAV. 

Cordless Phones 9 KR TDs is great! But it still happens <4% of the time. <1 a year. Still the GOAT KR but...perspective. 

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#30 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 10:24am

It's interesting that he was the 14th most valuable 1st round pick, though. He was better than the median 1st rounder.

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#34 by TomC // Nov 21, 2022 - 10:41am

I was annoying my wife and my text buddy and everyone in the bar yesterday ranting about how Patterson was the perfect player for this current Bears team and how the previous regime let him sign with Atlanta for pennies despite not having a replacement for any of his roles in mind. Since then they've drafted and signed (and even traded for, ugh Ryan Pace never come back please) multiple guys to be Cordless (the current one is Velus "The Wind Took It" Jones, Jr.), and surprise, none of them are.

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#5 by BJR // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:00am

Bill Belichick's nirvana would be something along the lines of a 10-3 victory over the Jets, courtesy of a lone special teams TD. 

The missed field goals still probably kept him awake last night, however. 

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#8 by BlueStarDude // Nov 21, 2022 - 7:54am

Minnesota game setup perfectly for Dallas—yes, Minnesota should have opened the windows.  But also, Cousins is bad? There were a few 3rd and 3, 3rd and 4 situations before game got of hand, and QB has to know you have two options against this Dallas D: get the ball out quick or hand it off (you will probably make at least 3 or 4 yards on the ground ). Third option is to be Justin Fields or Jalen Hurts.

 

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#11 by Will Allen // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:04am

The Vikings, in their wisdom, have devoted huge cap resources to a middling qb who more often than not is unable to add any value if the protection is below average. Cousins is just good enough to wreck your roster construction.

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#32 by Ben // Nov 21, 2022 - 10:36am

It sounds like the Vikings GM needs to get on the phone with Chris Ballard. That’s his favorite type of QB!

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#75 by serutan // Nov 21, 2022 - 4:33pm

Except Cousins isn't washed up yet - he level of play hasn't declined much if any yet..

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#26 by Tutenkharnage // Nov 21, 2022 - 9:35am

The best part of his game last week was Justin Jefferson making seven contested catches. Dude does not have it.

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#33 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 21, 2022 - 10:41am

Not just contested catches, but the kinds that will be replayed on "Stat THAT!" commercials for the next three years.

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#36 by TomC // Nov 21, 2022 - 10:44am

Man, the haterz on this site. Go and re-watch the first half of the Bears game: If you give Cousins a perfectly clean pocket against a college secondary, he will throw reasonably accurate passes to wide-open receivers and score on every drive.

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#10 by Will Allen // Nov 21, 2022 - 7:59am

Don't know how anyone who has watched the Vikings this year, or even just looked at the play-by-play closely after each game, could be surprised that the Cowboys blew them out. The Vikings are a soft football team, with middling qb play, a great receiver, and some other good ball handlers. I said last week that if their defense reverted to how it played in games 2-6, they could still end up losing 8 games. Now, if that happens, and Darrishaw's concussion problem means the left tackle is a huge problem the rest of the way, they could lose every game. There's a reason I haven't hated a Vikings team this much since the marshmallows with a great receiver, and a middling qb,  were bludgeoned by a nearly identical score, by the Giants in the conference championship. This bunch could be number 1 in the contempt-a-thon before the curtain comes down! 

KEEP HOPE ALIVE!

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#12 by Run dmc // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:04am

Sure it wasn't Carson Wentz dude? If it was it would be a great troll of the Colts. Wentz played a big part in delivering Philly its one Super Bowl although his relief pitcher got all the glory. Without Wentz they aren't the Number 1 seed.

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#13 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:05am

Good news: Justin Herbert has solved the problem of Chargers QBs disappointing in the playoffs.

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#16 by coboney // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:19am

Or perhaps more accurately, Brandon Staley and his people have researched the problem and determined a new solution...

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#14 by Shylo // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:14am

Isn't Siposs still the Eagles punter? Isn't he supposed to be one of the worst punters?

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#15 by Shylo // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:14am

Can I not delete an accidental double post?

 

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#22 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Nov 21, 2022 - 9:17am

No, you must wear your shame.

Either that or try to re-write the second post to make it look like you meant to make a second post all along.

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#18 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:22am

The Herbert we saw on Sunday was the guy we saw in Week 18 of 2021: the guy who makes breathtaking throws but still loses critical games.

Then you only watched the Fields Highlights version, because he airmailed the first three passes on every set of downs in that game only to get bailed out by the fourth.

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#19 by nat // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:31am

M.Jones 27 att 23 cmp  246 yards 6/48 sacks/yards 0 tds 26 long 0 ints 104.6 rating

I didn't know you could get such a good passer rating while looking so ineffective.  The key, of course, is those 6 sacks, which don't figure into traditional passer rating at all, but cost the team 6 points, probably more. At least three of those sacks were on Mac. He has to learn to target his best receivers when the pocket collapses: Indadirt and Outabounds.

On the plus side, the offense lost its fascination with 50-50 deep passes. Whether that was Mac, the game plan / coaching, or just the winds making them an obviously bad idea -- that's hard to say.

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#23 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Nov 21, 2022 - 9:20am

QB rating is a horrible stat.  It's popularity, I suspect, arises solely from the pseudo-scientific looking, decimal point precision by which it measures how many angels danced on the seam of the QB's football during the game.

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#27 by nat // Nov 21, 2022 - 9:47am

You're forgetting how bad the alternatives were when Passer Rating was invented.

Passer Rating leaves out sacks, running, first downs, penalties, and fumbles.  So it's no good for judging QBs on those. It combines completion percentage, yardage, TDs and interceptions in a somewhat reasonable fashion. I think that's what makes it still a little relevant today more than the use of a decimal point.

I expect Mac Jones will rate much lower this week in DYAR than he does in Passer Rating.  Six sacks are pretty damning, even if he'll get a boost from playing against a strong passing defense.

 

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#29 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 21, 2022 - 9:57am

If you just want to see how good of a passer one is, when they actually throw, and not the other stuff (which can be a healthy amount OL dependent). 

Best this year is Tua. That tracks with every other metric (as much as people hate him). Geno 2nd, makes sense more or less, is a breakout year. Mahomes is 3rd of course, etc. It can be wonky be it ends up fine in the long run.

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#39 by superglucose // Nov 21, 2022 - 11:30am

Passer rating is a lot like IQ: you're probably gonna notice a difference between people who are 100 points separated, but if you look at people who are 30 points separated it can be possible to distinguish them.

 

And also neither of them really measure anything useful in the slightest it's just that a nation obsessed with "who's better" needed a number so their monkey brains could shut up.

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#83 by Bill96744 // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:44pm

IQ is a strong predictor of college and graduate school performance. It was designed to predict educational attainment. It does great.

If it was called Education Prognosis it would be recognized as terrific, while also biased against poor people with less rich environments age 0 -20.

QB Rating is useful because its long history helps us anchor what the numbers mean. 

 

 

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#40 by superglucose // Nov 21, 2022 - 11:30am

Passer rating is a lot like IQ: you're probably gonna notice a difference between people who are 100 points separated, but if you look at people who are 30 points separated it can be possible to distinguish them.

 

And also neither of them really measure anything useful in the slightest it's just that a nation obsessed with "who's better" needed a number so their monkey brains could shut up.

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#80 by BigRichie // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:39pm

Double posting is a sign of low IQ

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#81 by BigRichie // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:39pm

Double posting is a sign of low IQ

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#94 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:11pm

But it can be useful, if one knows how to use it instead of blindly citing it.

Kenny Pickett is the worst this year and, yes, many would agree he is not the best!

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#43 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 12:06pm

The double counting included in the passer rating formula renders it really hard to take seriously, no matter what the historical background is...even if we considered completion percentage important enough to give it double the weight (and we shouldn't).

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#49 by nat // Nov 21, 2022 - 1:26pm

It's not really double counting. It's more like it's adding extra value to pass attempts that are TDs.  And it is adding extra value to completions beyond just their yardage -- which might be the best they could do towards the value of moving the chains consistently vs completion an infrequent bomb. 

You could quibble about how much extra value should be added to each of those. But double counting really isn't the problem.
 

The formula for passer rating has weird caps on the value of completions, TDs, yards, and interceptions.  So there is plenty to dislike about it for outlier performances. But, within the things it tries to measure, it's not all that bad.

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#53 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:11pm

And it is adding extra value to completions beyond just their yardage -- which might be the best they could do towards the value of moving the chains consistently vs completion an infrequent bomb. 

This is exactly the "double counting" issue though (and if we want to call it something different, that's fine....I think "double counting" is a reasonable shorthand for the effect...for all that it might not be strictly accurate).

Completions have no intrinsic value beyond the rate and efficiency at which they provide yardage....3 completions at or behind the LoS that gain little yardage and are followed by a punt have no additional intrinsic value beyond 3 consecutive incompletions followed by a punt. Or in a less extreme case, 4 passes that gain 40 yards are not intrinsically more valuable if 3 of them are completions than if only 2 of them are.

And the rate and efficiency at which they provide yards is already accounted for in YPA. Adding additional statistical weight to the completion percentage in raw form not only provides no new information we should care about, it actually helps obscure the things we should care about: the efficiency of the passing game when a particular QB is playing.

And that entirely sidesteps the completely separate argument we could have about whether "consistently moving the chains" is in fact more valuable than infrequent bombs (preview: it really isn't, and it wouldn't really be a thing we should measure at the QB level even if it were).

So, sure....we can call it inappropriate weighting rather than double counting if we like. But the net effect is the same.

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#56 by Pat // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:38pm

Completions have no intrinsic value beyond the rate and efficiency at which they provide yardage....

No, that's not actually true. The issue is that once you get to goal-to-go, every incompletion costs you a down you cannot replace. Yards gained in goal-to-go are more valuable than yards gained elsewhere, because those don't (necessarily) cost you a down. So a 39 yard completion to the 1 is not 39/40ths the value of a 40 yard completion for a TD, because in the goal-to-go situation you now have only 4 more downs, period.

This is the origin of the "1 TD = 20 yard" measure in ANY/A, although in general I disagree with that number since it's driven by the rapidly increasing EPA of a completion with each down.

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#58 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:39pm

The issue is that once you get to goal-to-go, every incompletion costs you a down you cannot replace.

You can, but not without a penalty.

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#62 by Pat // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:55pm

That's not you replacing it, that's the defense replacing it.

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#64 by KnotMe // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:59pm

Well, TDs are a (poor) way of accounting for the fact it's harder to complete a pass when the defense has less space to defend. Of course, there are a ton of issues with that(long TDs, play choice/situation, blah, blah, blah), so the utility is dubious, but I think that is the idea behind the double counting. 

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#61 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:52pm

The issue is that once you get to goal-to-go, every incompletion costs you a down you cannot replace. Yards gained in goal-to-go are more valuable than yards gained elsewhere, because those don't (necessarily) cost you a down. So a 39 yard completion to the 1 is not 39/40ths the value of a 40 yard completion for a TD, because in the goal-to-go situation you now have only 4 more downs, period.

Fine. But then let's return this to the original context: 

How does raw completion percentage help fill that gap?

A completion for zero or negative yards is measurably as bad (or worse) than an incompletion, even (especially) in goal to go situations. Both waste downs that can't be replaced.

So how does adding extra weight to completion percentage (which is a binary measure of whether or not the pass was completed, independent of any other measures) help describe a QB's performance, either in goal-to-go situations or in any other situation?

If you want to say YPA doesn't paint a full picture either, that's perfectly fine...I agree. But the contention was that raw completion percentage adds nothing (relevant) that isn't already accounted for (however incompletely) by YPA.

So help me understand how that contention is incorrect.

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#65 by Pat // Nov 21, 2022 - 3:03pm

It doesn't. I'm not arguing for passer rating. Just pointing out that adding additional value to a touchdown is justifiable.

When passer rating first started it wasn't totally crazy because completion percentage basically proxied for ability to continue drives, since completion percentages were so low. The completion percentage term hits 1 at 50%, after all, which was league average. At this point though it's stupid because you're already well past the point where completion percentage differences are unimportant, and completion percentage is near-pegged in the formula anyway (it pegs at 77.5%). 

But it was always a bad proxy anyway.

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#66 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 3:10pm

Just pointing out that adding additional value to a touchdown is justifiable.

That's at the very least supportable. But yeah...the "double counting" issue isn't about the collision between TDs and YPA (or completion percentage).

It's about the collision between completion percentage and YPA...mainly that comp% adds nothing we care about that YPA doesn't already cover.

When passer rating first started it wasn't totally crazy because completion percentage basically proxied for ability to continue drives, since completion percentages were so low.

I maintain that it was basically a "shrug, something something efficiency" nod that wasn't thought through particularly well, and that always depended on the assumption that attempting a pass near or behind the LoS was nuts. Even in a way-back context, it's hard to imagine anyone really believing it represented drive continuity.

Whether that qualifies as "crazy" or not will, of course, be a sliding scale based on the beholder.

Either way, the fact that nobody stopped to consider the collision with/duplication of YPA is a major mark against it both realistically and conceptually.

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#67 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 3:28pm

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

Either way, the fact that nobody stopped to consider the collision with/duplication of YPA is a major mark against it both realistically and conceptually.

DVOA's yardage cap does something similar.

DVOA hates Logan Thomas's 2014, even though he was a passer rating and ALEX (and ANY/A) darling.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/T/ThomLo00/gamelog/2014/

Incidentally, you have pretty high expectations of a rating that was compiled from manually-tabulated entries that started from box score data. 1973 was forever ago from a data-entry standpoint. 

\I have a Civil War anthropometry reference from 1875, because it took ten years to manually tabulate hundreds of data tables with millions of data points in a time before punch cards.
\\Hollerith wasn't until 1889.
\\\The WWI reference only took two years.

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#70 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 3:45pm

Incidentally, you have pretty high expectations of a rating that was compiled from manually-tabulated entries that started from box score data.

Not at all.

My issue is specifically that math is math and reasoning is reasoning no matter what era it is. The duplication of effect between YPA and comp% isn't a new phenomenon that we just recently discovered; it should have been obvious to the people building the rating.

That means one of two things: 1) they realized they were adding additional weight to comp% and this was determined to be a desirable outcome, or 2) they didn't understand the numbers they were considering and including....if it was a number that was available, they included it without consideration of its relevance.

Neither of those would be defensible, and neither is a function of data collection and tabulation.

I'm completely sympathetic to the notion that some measures we have available to us today simply weren't accessible (even in a theoretical sense) in 1971. If that's all this was, this would be a different conversation. But the fact that they didn't have access to the data we have now doesn't make them dumber or less capable of thinking through which factors to include and exclude.

The means to prevent that double weighting was available to them at the time: simply don't include comp%. And to your point about data tabulation, it would actually have made their jobs significantly easier if they had.

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#72 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 4:02pm

My issue is specifically that math is math and reasoning is reasoning no matter what era it is. The duplication of effect between YPA and comp% isn't a new phenomenon that we just recently discovered; it should have been obvious to the people building the rating.

It's interesting to glance at the equation for yardage rate  -- (yards/att - 3) * 0.25 -- and realize that equation looks an awful lot like success rate.

Passer rating is tuned to hate guys who throw for 3 yard empty calories (Captain Checkdown) and guys who are pure dragon-unleashing mad bombers (Rex Grossman) -- guys DVOA hates, too. And that is why completion percentage and yardage rate are accounted separately -- they do measure different concepts.

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#74 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 4:28pm

Passer rating is tuned to hate guys who throw for 3 yard empty calories (Captain Checkdown)

Except it doesn't. Given the following two statlines:

20 att, 10 comp, 200 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

30 att, 25 comp, 200 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

...it will reward the 2nd statline with a higher rating. That is explicitly rewarding a high percentage checkdown game.

 

And that is why completion percentage and yardage rate are accounted separately -- they do measure different concepts.

They may have been trying to measure different concepts, but in practice they don't. Completion percentage adds nothing relevant (now or then) to the measurement that YPA doesn't already account for....again, if you disagree, let's have that discussion so you can help me understand what it adds in practice that YPA doesn't. 

And that duplication of practical outcome should have been just as apparent to someone in 1971 as in 2022.

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#76 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 4:43pm

Completion percentage adds nothing relevant (now or then) to the measurement that YPA doesn't already account for.

You keep saying that, but you've still provided nothing in evidence of that argument.

20 att, 10 comp, 200 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
30 att, 25 comp, 200 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

It's not a 1:1 comparison, because DVOA and DYAR are context-sensitive and passer-rating is not, but I suspect in aggregate DVOA and DYAR also prefer that second example.

ANY/A prefers the first one.

This is also what appears to be a cherry-picked endpoint, because 12/20/200 would have equaled the latter and 20/30/200 would have equaled the former. 10/20/400 is worth more than 30/30/200. Although both are weird to have resulted in 0 TDs.

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#78 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:09pm

Pardon me, but 

You keep saying that, but you've still provided nothing in evidence of that argument.

is very close to demanding negative proof. If we're going to declare a measurement to have comparative value, the burden is on someone to demonstrate that value, not on someone else to disprove it. No measurement is valuable by fiat....even historical fiat.

That said, I did provide it anyway....earlier, I stated that completion percentage in its raw form only demonstrates a binary pass/fail regarding whether or not the pass was caught. It doesn't demonstrate drive continuity, it doesn't demonstrate situational success, it doesn't demonstrate offensive progress, it doesn't really demonstrate anything of value beyond that fact of the catch itself...the attempted pass was caught for some unknown amount of yardage, which may be uselessly low, zero, or negative. We have no idea what any of it means or how it relates to a QB's performance on its own. Any evaluation of why 75% completion might be better than 50% completion in any given scenario needs either additional data or requires us to make assumptions about the nature of those completions, and in every case regarding passer rating, we're already performing a measurement that already measures those things more comprehensively.

So...again, please help me understand why you feel it provides any value (beyond "we've always measured it" fiat assumptions).

This is also what appears to be a cherry-picked endpoint, because 12/20/200 would have equaled the latter and 20/30/200 would have equaled the former. 10/20/400 is worth more than 30/30/200

It's possible, although inadvertent; I chose two different examples with the same net yardage but dramatically different completion percentages essentially at random. At any rate, the statement "passer rating hates Captain Checkdown" isn't universally true...which is fine, because it's pretty tangental to the main point that I've restated 7 or 8 times now in any case.

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#84 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:59pm

At any rate, the statement "completion percentage hates Captain Checkdown" isn't universally true...

Your Captain Checkdown example averaged 6.7 Y/A. That's really good! That's Geno Smith this year! (4th in DYAR) That would have been 3rd in the league in 1971.

If you went to lower-quartile Y/A for 1971 (so a checkdown offense), you'd have something like 36/44/200, which turns out to have an almost identical passer rating to 10/20/200.

(If you want a real-world example, the 1971 Bengals were basically this offense -- really high completion rate for the era, but low yardage)

 

I'm not demanding negative proof of anything. You are making a naked assertion regarding the basis (or lack thereof) of passer rating. It's just ipsi dixit. You've decided completion percentage serves no purpose that yardage does not, but you have no empirical evidence for the validity of that conclusion nor for the other components of your argument. It's trivial to suppose why completion percentage is in the equation. That comparative passer rating regresses well with win percentage suggests why this may have been the case.

Conventional NFL statistics value plays based solely on their net yardage. The NFL determines the best players by adding up all their yards no matter what situations they came in or how many plays it took to get them. Now, why would they do that? Football has one objective -- to get to the end zone -- and two ways to achieve that -- by gaining yards and achieving first downs. These two goals need to be balanced to determine a player’s value or a team’s performance. All the yards in the world won’t help a team win if they all come in six-yard chunks on third-and-10.

It's also worth recalling that sacks weren't a stat yet, so you couldn't use NY/A or ANY/A. And if you eliminate those two, passer rating has the best correlation with win percentage.
https://www.footballperspective.com/correlating-passing-stats-with-wins/

I've not seen an analysis of (A)NY/A's success rate with the 1960-1970 dataset that was the basis for passer rating.

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#91 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 7:21pm

You've decided completion percentage serves no purpose that yardage does not

Yardage rate....specifically, yards per attempt. This is an analytics site, and if we're going to demand verbal precision, let's be precise.

but you have no empirical evidence for the validity of that conclusion nor for the other components of your argument.

Let's not be obtuse. We're talking about a comparative measure designed to help enumerate a subjective measure (in this case, which QB is "better than" another). The only possible "empirical" evidence would to show it describing a QB who is empirically, objectively not good as  good (or vice versa).

That would be both circular and bizarre.

So let's stop being silly about it and recognize that any argument, in either direction, is going to be largely theoretical. If you don't agree with the  reasoning I've provided, that's fine...I mean, you could be reasonable and explain why and/or rebut it, but whatever. That you're rejecting it for "not being empirical" suggests you don't understand the discussion, what passer rating is, or might even have lost track of what we're all measuring around here.

And no....you don't get to declare a measurement as being relevant by fiat until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt. I also won't prove to you that God doesn't exist. What a backward notion.

It's trivial to suppose why completion percentage is in the equation.

Then stop posturing and do it. At the very least, you have an equal burden of proof.

That comparative passer rating regresses well with win percentage suggests why this may have been the case.

Do we need to have a discussion about the difference between correlation and causation? I'd have thought that wasn't necessary.

Conventional NFL statistics value plays based solely on their net yardage. The NFL determines the best players by adding up all their yards no matter what situations they came in or how many plays it took to get them. Now, why would they do that? Football has one objective -- to get to the end zone -- and two ways to achieve that -- by gaining yards and achieving first downsThese two goals need to be balanced to determine a player’s value or a team’s performance. All the yards in the world won’t help a team win if they all come in six-yard chunks on third-and-10.

So please help me understand how and why completion percentage...that is, a raw, binary measure of completions without additional context or data, which is a thing that passer rating rewards as a positive at least once in all circumstances...demonstrates a QB's success in gaining yards, achieving first downs, or getting to the end zone.

That is, show me how completion percentage demonstrates first downs. Or even meaningful drive continuity or progress.

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#105 by nat // Nov 22, 2022 - 10:05am

That is, show me how completion percentage demonstrates first downs. Or even meaningful drive continuity or progress.

 

Let's consider two QBs who each have 10 passes on 1st and 10.

QB A (for Awesomesauce): 10 attempts, 1 TD, 8 Yards/Attempt, no interceptions

QB C (for Clinicalman): 10 attempts, 1 TD, 8 Yards/Attempt, no interceptions

 

They look identical so far.  Maybe completion percentage will clarify things...

 

A is 1/10 (10% completion percentage), an 80 bomb TD.  C is 8/10 (80%), averaging 10 yards per completion.

 

A delivers 80 yards + a TD of value, on 10 pass attempts.

C delivers all that, too, on the same number of attempts. He also delivers X first downs, and Y yards towards first downs on plays where he doesn't get a first down.  And first downs, as you well know, have the value of giving your team extra plays.

Sure, he might have completed 7 passes for a net zero yards and one 80 yard bomb.  In which case he's just as valuable as Mr. Awesomesauce.  But most of the time, his extra completions mean extra first downs and/or better situations on second down.

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#88 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 21, 2022 - 6:40pm

\I have a Civil War anthropometry reference from 1875, because it took ten years to manually tabulate hundreds of data tables with millions of data points in a time before punch cards.
\\Hollerith wasn't until 1889.
\\\The WWI reference only took two years.

"It used to take years to come to the wrong conclusions, but now we can do it in seconds!" 

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#69 by Pat // Nov 21, 2022 - 3:37pm

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

I maintain that it was basically a "shrug, something something efficiency" nod that wasn't thought through particularly well, and that always depended on the assumption that attempting a pass near or behind the LoS was nuts. Even in a way-back context, it's hard to imagine anyone really believing it represented drive continuity.

No, it was "what do the guys who we think are great passers do better than the rest of the league." And back then there wasn't such a huge link between yardage and completion percentage, because completion percentage was so low and passing styles varied so much. You could have guys with nearly equal yards/attempt and like 15% completion percentage difference between them. Passers were different.

Nowadays passing's all the same: everyone is that high-efficiency passer because it's just more efficient overall. Passer rating looks stupid now because football figured out how to pass. Back when passer rating came out, they really didn't have a clue, which is why it looks so weird.

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#71 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 3:56pm

No, it was "what do the guys who we think are great passers do better than the rest of the league."

This is completely fair, and was a thought I had as a Fridge Thought (literally....as I was grabbing my lunch), and thought might be out of scope. But yes, that's true...the people building the rating were trying to model the performance of guys they'd already determined were good. That is, the results were driving the model, not the other way around. And that's something that also isn't era-dependent.

That doesn't make it any easier to take passer rating seriously, though.

You could have guys with nearly equal yards/attempt and like 15% completion percentage difference between them.

Except that comp% didn't have any more additional relevance beyond what YAC already brought then than it does now. Sure, guys were different, and comp% had a much higher variance than now. But that didn't make it any more relevant to what was "good" and what was "bad" outside of those predetermined results we already discussed. 

Remember, they weren't just measuring comp% in a vacuum to determine how different guys were different. They deliberately made it an outsized indicator of success. That wasn't any more true then than it is now, and they had the means to realize that.

It's fair to call that out. 

There's always a modern tendency...especially among communities like this one...to assume that we're smarter now than people were 50 years ago; that it's unfair to expect them to know what we know now. And that's not true....we have more information available to us now, yes, but the relative (lack of) value of comp% isn't driven by new information. Just more thought put into information already available.

Points: 0

#77 by Pat // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:04pm

 

Remember, they weren't just measuring comp% in a vacuum to determine how different guys were different. They deliberately made it an outsized indicator of success. That wasn't any more true then than it is now, and they had the means to realize that.

No, they really didn't. It was the 1970s. Not only did they barely have the actual numbers, they realistically had no idea how to determine what made sense. They didn't know how football worked because the sport itself didn't know. The rules changes through the 70s were so huge that they completely and totally selected out the "you need a high completion percentage" QBs.

but the relative (lack of) value of comp% isn't driven by new information. Just more thought put into information already available.

I really disagree. Football's been a much more stable sport (relatively) over the past 30 years than back when passer rating came around. I mean, when passer rating was first developed free substitution was as recent as free agency is now. I mean, the whole "we have one league, not two disjoint ones" was basically brand new. And that completely ignores the gigantically massive rules changes that make the recent "don't hit guys hard" look like a minor tweak.

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#79 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:17pm

Not only did they barely have the actual numbers, they realistically had no idea how to determine what made sense. They didn't know how football worked because the sport itself didn't know. 

Even if we agreed that this is true to an equal extent (that is, I don't agree that they were nearly that helpless, clueless, or stupid), that doesn't explain inclusion and additional weighting of a stat they didn't understand.

At best, you're claiming they picked a stat they could measure with the data techniques of the time, and declared that stat to not only be demonstrative of good performance, but so key to it that it was worth weighting more heavily....all without knowing anything about anything.

"I CAN measure this, therefore it's going to be the most important piece of the puzzle whether I actually know that or not".

That's....yeah, that's not really much of a defense of the decision.

And I think there is a lot more chronological snobbery in that view (conscious or not) than people realize.

Honestly, the earlier point (passer rating emphasizes comp% because the passers we already thought were good in 1971 had high completion percentages compared to other guys) was a lot more salient.

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#85 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 6:05pm

At best, you're claiming they picked a stat they could measure with the data techniques of the time, and declared that stat to not only be demonstrative of good performance, but so key to it that it was worth weighting more heavily....all without knowing anything about anything.

So, I have to ask.

Have you never heard of multiple regression? Because it's not like testing a bunch of variables against a set of binary outcomes is a new or unusual concept, but you are treating it like it's heretical.

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#93 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 7:33pm

So which is it? Did they not even know enough to know what to measure or not, or did they apply multiple regression analysis and choose completion percentage to weight heavily on that basis?

It's almost like you wandered into another leg of the discussion without having read any of that leg of the discussion.

For the record, please assume I'm capable of keeping up (mathematically and conceptually) with whatever branch of the discussion you'd like to bring up.

For example, it's not heretical to remember that multiple regressions don't infer a causal relationship simply because a correlative relationship exists. That causal relationship has to be demonstrated independently....no matter how badly we might want to score Internet Points.

One might even call that an especially orthodox application of the concept.

Points: 0

#106 by Pat // Nov 22, 2022 - 11:47am

It's not weighted more heavily. It's weighted exactly the same as YPA, a stat that it was highly correlated with back in the 1960s: way more so than now (almost 2-3x as much!). It might seem strange to include two stats that are highly correlated, but it's not: it essentially means you've got two measures of the same thing, so averaging the two could help to reduce systematics (which, as I mentioned, was pretty obviously prevalent in the 60s).

In the modern NFL, completion percentage has extremely little value because there's so little range, since everyone is a high-percentage passer.

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#73 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 4:09pm

Nowadays passing's all the same: everyone is that high-efficiency passer because it's just more efficient overall. Passer rating looks stupid now because football figured out how to pass.

Passer rating looks stupid now because we changed the rules so passing is a ton easier than it was in 1971.

\in 1971: offensive linemen couldn't use their hands; offensive holding was a 15 yard penalty; defensive ends could headslap; you could hit a receiver anywhere; you weren't down unless you were tackled; roughing the passer meant "beating him up in his driveway."

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#63 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:58pm

You're pointing out that YPA is agnostic of field position, and thus doesn't properly represent certain field position scenarios.

Ok, that's a true statement.

....it's also true of completion percentage.

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#57 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:38pm

3 completions with a low or negative ALEX followed by a punt, has no additional intrinsic value beyond 3 consecutive incompletions followed by a punt. 

ALEX only measures where relative to the sticks a pass was targeted; it says nothing about the yards gained.

\also, a positive ALEX completion by definition results in a first down.

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#82 by BigRichie // Nov 21, 2022 - 5:41pm

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

too late

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#101 by RobotBoy // Nov 22, 2022 - 3:53am

Hard to blame Jones for most of those sacks - for at least four of them he didn't have time to do anything but fall down. NE got their all-pro center back from IR and he lasted less than a quarter. After that it was hike and then 'Ole!' 

Points: 0

#21 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 9:03am

Sure enough, the Colts blitzed and Jalen Hurts got flushed and ended up taking a sack along the sideline; even a heave into the end zone for an interception would have been a better result.

This is basically the one hole in his game Hurts seems to have -- he will sometimes scramble against a collapsing rush when he'd be better served getting the ball out somewhere. Granted, this is a really common flaw for QBs who run well, and we aren't acknowledging the times it works.

But in the last few games where the Eagles have looked shaky, Hurts hasn't. Even on their bad plays, Hurts has usually done his part of the play well.

Points: 0

#48 by Pat // Nov 21, 2022 - 12:41pm

I think it's just a really common flaw for all QBs, period. Pressure isn't all equal - pressure you expect isn't really pressure, and so a huge part of dealing with pressure is recognizing where it could come from. And he's still developing there.

He's miles better than he was last year, but for instance, when he knew Philly was going to be slide blocking away from a DE who'd be left alone on an RB, you've got to make sure to keep that at least in your peripheral to avoid it.

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#50 by BigBen07 // Nov 21, 2022 - 1:33pm

Maybe Mahomes is just better than Herbert, you ever consider that Mikey? Wow what a concept. How about giving Mahomes some credit for the Chargers losing again instead of just pretending he was standing on the sideline doing nothing when it happened. 

Points: 0

#55 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:28pm

Where's the zlionsfan template when you need it?

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#59 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 21, 2022 - 2:42pm

This is much more in the vein of an Irrational Manning-Brady Thread.

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#68 by BlueStarDude // Nov 21, 2022 - 3:34pm

The criticisms of Mike this week are more bizarre than usual—and that's saying a lot!

"1:46 is a minute longer than Patrick Mahomes needs to ruin your weekend..."

Sheesh, Mike, come on, can't you recognize Mahomes's ability for once?

"Walkthrough loves watching Fields and wants him to succeed. We'll take him over Mac Jones or (ugh) Zach Wilson any day. We know his receiving corps is a travesty. But we feel compelled to push back against the fantasy footballers and highlight scouters who are pretending he's already Josh Allen. He is simply not a reliable passer or decision-maker in the pocket yet."

Double sheesh, Mike, why so much hate for Fields, you talk like he's Satan. He's doing his best out there, and it's not as bad as his passing stats make it seem! 

 

Points: 0

#89 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 21, 2022 - 6:43pm

"1:46 is a minute longer than Patrick Mahomes needs to ruin your weekend..."

The best part of this is that it's a paraphrase of Collinsworth. In this game.

Points: 0

#96 by LionInAZ // Nov 21, 2022 - 8:18pm

"Walkthrough loves watching Fields and wants him to succeed."  What sort of logic equates this statement with hatred?

So much irrationality...

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#100 by Theo // Nov 22, 2022 - 1:41am

I cant tell if something is serious or sarcastic anymore. 

"Hate"? Really? You dont know what hate is. Or the meaning has changed.

Points: 0

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