March 7, 2021

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Week 11 Quick Reads | Football Outsiders

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Week 11 Quick Reads | Football Outsiders


David Klingler set a Football Outsiders record nearly a decade before Football Outsiders was founded. We once thought Ryan Fitzpatrick had broken that record, but it turns out he didn’t. Now that record may have been broken for real this time, but we’ll have to wait six weeks until we can say that for sure.

Confused? Let’s start at the beginning.

Klingler rewrote the NCAA record book at the University of Houston, then was taken with the sixth overall pick in the 1992 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. By 1994 he was a disappointing third-year pro who was running out of chances to prove he could be the franchise’s savior. Through three weeks results were mixed — Klingler was top-ten in completion percentage but also top-four in sacks taken, and was in the middle of the pack in NFL passer rating and adjusted yards per pass. The Bengals were 0-3, but that was mostly due to breakdowns on defense and special teams; Cincinnati had given up at least 27 points every week, but the offense had scored 20 points in a loss to Cleveland, and 28 in a loss to the Patriots. Heading into a Week 4 matchup against the also-winless Oilers, there was still reason for optimism.

Three hours later, that optimism was dead. Even in the passing-friendly confines of the Houston Astrodome, Klingler had completed only ten passes, with twice that number of incompletions. The Oilers sacked Klingler seven times, forcing one fumble, and reeled in three interceptions. The quarterback was completely helpless in anything resembling scoring range — on Houston’s side of the 50, he went 1-of-7 with an interception and three sacks; that one completion was a 4-yard gain on third-and-goal from the 6, leading to a field goal. Meanwhile, Houston quarterback Cody Carlson was also having a terrible day, finishing 12-of-33 for 211 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions, and three sacks. Thanks largely to a Corey Sawyer punt return touchdown, the Bengals rallied from a 20-3 deficit and twice had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter. The first of those drives ended when Klingler threw incomplete on fourth-and-3, the next when he was sacked while attempting a Hail Mary on the last play of the game. The Oilers hung on for a 20-13 win.

That game was the beginning of the end for Klingler. Three weeks later, in a rematch against Cleveland, he was benched for Donald Hollas, put back into the game after Hollas suffered a shoulder injury, and then pulled for good after suffering his own knee injury. Third-string quarterback Jeff Blake finished the game for Cincinnati and went on to start every Bengals game until 1997, bouncing around the NFL for a decade with starting stints for the Saints, Ravens, and Cardinals. Klingler would never start again; his last game in the NFL was with the Raiders in 1997.

Time passed. Like, a lot of time. Klingler overcame his failures on the football field to succeed in the classroom, earning a Master’s degree and a PhD in biblical studies with a specialty in the Old Testament. In 2003, Aaron Schatz began a newfangled Internet site called Football Outsiders Dot Com, applying the mathematic principles he had learned at Brown University to study football statistics. Eventually he was able to use those methods to study historical data, analyzing games as far back as the 1980s. And in all of that analysis, through all of those football games, he could never find a worse performance by a quarterback than Klingler’s -302 total DYAR against Houston.

We actually thought the record had been broken in Week 3 of 2016, when Ryan Fitzpatrick became Ryan Fitz-Six-Picks against Kansas City, the last time any quarterback threw six interceptions in one game. Our writeup that week heralded Fitzpatrick’s -324 DYAR as the worst we had ever measured, with the caveat that fluctuating opponent adjustments would change that total by the end of the year. And change they did — the Chiefs finished seventh in pass defense DVOA that season, and with those adjustments Fitzpatrick’s totals climbed to -300 total DYAR, putting Klingler back on the bottom of the pile. (The 1994 Oilers, by the way, finished second in pass defense DVOA — Klingler set the negative-DYAR record despite getting a healthy boost in opponent adjustments.)

This brings us to Kyle Allen, who has his own interesting backstory:

  • played at Texas A&M with Kyler Murray;
  • transferred to Houston;
  • got benched for Kyle Postma and/or D’Eriq King;
  • left school early for the NFL anyway;
  • went undrafted (duh);
  • started for Carolina in Week 17 last year after Cam Newton AND Taylor Heinicke were injured and ended up finishing first in Quick Reads;
  • won a very crowded battle for the top backup spot behind Newton in training camp;
  • was named Carolina’s temporary starter this season as of Week 3, when Newton was shelved with a foot injury, and played like a middle-of-the-pack NFL starter on a team with realistic playoff aspirations.

The Panthers put Newton on injured reserve on November 5, leaving Allen as the Panthers’ starter for the rest of the year. And though he wasn’t perfect against Green Bay the following Sunday, there is no shame in going into a division-leader’s home stadium and coming up 2 yards short of forcing overtime. With Newton’s health in serious doubt, some were questioning whether Allen might be ready to take over as Carolina’s long-term starter at the game’s most important position.

One week later, we can answer that question: No. No, he is not.

You don’t need fancy numbers to tell you that Allen had a terrible day in Carolina’s 29-3 loss to Atlanta. Sure, he completed 62% of his passes with a 6.5-yard average — subpar but reasonable numbers in the NFL in 2019. But he did that without throwing a touchdown. While throwing four interceptions. And being sacked five times. Worst of all, he did this against Atlanta, a team that was next to last in pass defense DVOA coming into the week. Allen is only the second starter this season who failed to throw a touchdown. He is also the second player to be intercepted by the Falcons, and his completion and yardage rates were well below those that Atlanta usually surrenders.

Allen had 55 dropbacks on Sunday, which gave him plenty of opportunity to rack up negative DYAR. And that’s exactly what he did, ending up with -315 DYAR passing, which would be a new single-game record. He added 2 DYAR rushing for his one carry for 7 yards, for a total of -312 total DYAR (accounting for rounding) which surpasses Klingler’s benchmark, and is just the third -300-DYAR day we have found.

Now, all the caveats we wrote about Fitzpatrick in 2016 also apply here. Opponent adjustments will change, and Allen’s DYAR totals will shift between now and Week 17. Most likely they will drop as his opponent adjustment for playing Atlanta shrinks. Two weeks ago, the Falcons moved Raheem Morris from wide receivers coach to defensive backs coach, and since then their performance on defense has radically improved. In eight games before the move, they allowed 8.5 yards per throw, with 19 touchdowns, two interceptions, and seven sacks. In two games since, those numbers have been 6.6, zero, four, and 11. If that improvement continues, We’ll see a similar improvement in Allen’s DYAR.

Mind, you, “improvement” in this case would mean “an all-time terrible game” and not “the absolute worst game we have ever measured.” And who knows — maybe Atlanta’s two-game performance is a fluke, they’ll stink up the joint the rest of the year, and Allen’s DYAR will totally break our system. It’s sure to be an exciting race, sitting back and watching which Houston Cougars alumnus really had the Worst Game of All Time.

Quarterbacks

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

1.

Dak Prescott DAL

29/46

444

3

0

1

193

188

5

DET

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part I: Prescott loses 44 DYAR due to playing the Lions. Prescott is peaking — this is his second consecutive finish as the top quarterback of the week, and the fifth time in the past seven weeks he has made the top 10. On third downs, he went 7-of-11 for 133 yards with seven conversions (including two touchdowns) and one sack. He completed all 10 of his passes down the middle of the field, gaining 118 yards and two touchdowns in the process.

2.

Kyler Murray ARI

24/33

150

2

0

4

179

156

23

SF

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part II: Murray gains ONE-HUNDRED AND FOUR DYAR for playing the mighty San Francisco defense. He did virtually all of his passing damage in the first half — his 5-yard touchdown to Pharoh Cooper in the second quarter was actually the last time he completed a pass for a first down in the entire game. From that point forward, he went 10-of-14 for 49 yards with three sacks. He did pick up one first down on an 18-yard DPI, and also ran for a 22-yard touchdown. He finished with eight carries for 67 yards.

3.

Lamar Jackson BAL

17/24

222

4

0

1

176

159

17

HOU

First quarter: 1-of-6 for 12 yards. Obviously, Jackson was much, much better the rest of the game. He ran eight times for 87 yards and a touchdown, but there was a boom-or-bust nature to his running plays — four of them each gained 12 yards or more, but the other four each gained 2 yards or less.

4.

Matt Ryan ATL

21/31

311

1

0

3

155

154

1

CAR

Ryan was at his best digging the Falcons out of bad field position in this game. Within the Falcons’ 40-yard line, he went 7-of-8 for 121 yards.

5.

Carson Wentz PHI

20/39

214

1

0

5

108

98

9

NE

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part III: Wentz gains ONE-HUNDRED TWENTY-NINE DYAR for playing the mighty New England defense. He is the first quarterback to throw for even 200 yards against the Patriots since Ben Roethlisberger did it in Week 1. He is just the fourth player to throw for a touchdown against New England, and he joins Lamar Jackson as the only players to throw a pass against the Patriots without throwing an interception. For all of that, though, he had a bad game on third and fourth downs: 4-of-12 passing for 34 yards with three conversions (including a touchdown) and two sacks.

6.

Drew Brees NO

28/35

228

3

0

0

103

98

5

TB

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part IV: Brees loses 40 DYAR due to playing the Buccaneers. Red zone passing: 9-of-10 for 47 yards and three touchdowns.

7.

Jimmy Garoppolo SF

34/45

424

4

2

2

101

98

3

ARI

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part V: Garoppolo loses 72 DYAR due to playing the Cardinals. Garoppolo (or, more accurately, his receivers) destroyed the Cardinals with yards after the catch. On throws to receivers within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, he went 26-of-32 for 285 yards and all four touchdowns, plus a 3-yard DPI.

8.

Kirk Cousins MIN

29/35

319

3

0

5

95

96

-1

DEN

Cousins, naturally, was at his best in the second half: 18-of-23 for 261 yards with a 5-yard DPI, two sacks, and all three touchdowns.

9.

Baker Mayfield CLE

17/32

193

2

0

1

82

71

11

PIT

Mayfield only threw four passes down the middle against Pittsburgh, but each one resulted in a big play: 42-yard completion to Odell Beckham, 25-yard completion to Jarvis Landry, 11-yard completion to Kareem Hunt on third-and-5, and 8-yard touchdown to Stephen Carlson on third-and-goal.

10.

Josh Allen BUF

21/33

256

3

0

0

82

64

18

MIA

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part VI: Allen loses 73 DYAR for playing the Dolphins. He had a bad day on third down, going 5-of-10 for 50 yards but only two conversions (including a touchdown). His rushing numbers: six carries for 57 yards and a touchdown.

11.

Jeff Driskel DET

15/26

209

2

0

3

79

59

20

DAL

Driskel was good rallying the Lions from a deficit in the second half, but they were in that hole in part because he had played so poorly in the first half: 5-of-10 for 51 yards with only two first downs, plus two sacks. Driskel’s rushing numbers: seven carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.

12.

Sam Darnold NYJ

19/30

293

4

1

2

68

68

0

WAS

Most of Darnold’s big plays in this game came on first down, when he went 6-of-9 for 136 yards with two touchdowns and one sack.

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

13.

Nick Foles JAX

33/47

296

2

1

2

50

50

0

IND

In his first game back in the lineup, Foles threw a dozen failed completions, second only to Ryan Fitzpatrick this week. He’s in peak form.

14.

Jared Goff LAR

11/18

173

0

1

0

30

33

-3

CHI

Goff only threw for six first downs in this game, and three of them came on his last three passes, when the Rams were desperately clinging to a one-score lead in the fourth quarter: an 18-yard gain on second-and-8, a 25-yard gain on third-and-7, and a 20-yard gain on second-and-13. None of those first downs came on first down, when he went 1-of-5 for 6 yards.

15.

Patrick Mahomes KC

19/32

182

1

1

1

16

0

16

LAC

16.

Jacoby Brissett IND

15/24

148

1

1

3

10

-1

11

JAX

Brissett was nearly perfect in the second half. His first six passes after halftime were all completed for 81 yards and a touchdown. His seventh was a DPI for 13 more yards. His eighth (and last) was intercepted, but by that point the Colts were up 31-7 with less than five minutes to go.

17.

Derek Carr OAK

25/29

292

1

1

3

6

-3

9

CIN

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part VII: Carr loses 65 DYAR due to playing the Bengals. He did not get off to a good start in this one. In the first quarter, he completed all four of his passes, but they gained a total of just 16 yards, and he was also sacked twice. But he was perfect on passes that traveled at least 10 yards downfield, completing all six of them for 141 yards.

18.

Brandon Allen DEN

17/39

240

1

1

2

-3

-19

16

MIN

Red zone passing: 3-of-12 for 10 yards with one touchdown and one interception. In related news, the Broncos lost by four points.

19.

Tom Brady NE

26/47

216

0

0

1

-4

-4

0

PHI

Red zone passing: 2-of-8 for 2 yards and no first downs, let alone touchdowns.

20.

Philip Rivers LAC

28/50

353

1

4

2

-12

-12

0

KC

21.

Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA

32/45

323

0

0

7

-44

-37

-8

BUF

Red zone passing: 3-of-4 for 18 yards, but none of those completions picked up a first down, let alone a touchdown. And in the front zone (the area between Buffalo’s 20- and 40-yard lines), Fitzpatrick was hardly any better: 4-of-5 for 26 yards with only one first down, plus one sack.

22.

Mitchell Trubisky CHI

24/43

190

1

1

1

-74

-75

0

LAR

Trubisky did not complete a deep pass in this game, going 0-for-8 with an interception. His 14-yard touchdown to Tarik Cohen in the third quarter was his last first down in the game; after that, he went 5-of-10 for 23 yards.

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

23.

Jameis Winston TB

30/51

313

2

4

2

-98

-110

12

NO

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part VIII: Winston gains 48 DYAR for playing the Saints. On third and fourth downs, Winston went 5-of-12 for 40 yards with four conversions (including a Tampa Bay touchdown), three interceptions (including a New Orleans touchdown), and one sack.

24.

Deshaun Watson HOU

18/29

169

0

1

6

-138

-129

-9

BAL

Watson did not throw a pass in the red zone. In Ravens territory, he went 4-of-9 for 39 yards with two sacks, one fumble, and only one first down. He was lousy in short yardage, when things are theoretically easier for the quarterback. With 4 yards or less to go for a first down, he went 3-of-9 for 31 yards with two first downs and one interception.

25.

Mason Rudolph PIT

23/44

221

1

4

4

-160

-171

11

CLE

Rudolph had -163 DYAR on first down, more than twice as bad as the next-worst quarterback. On first down, he went 11-of-21 for 104 yards with a 38-yard DPI, three interceptions, two sacks, and one fumble.

26.

Dwayne Haskins WAS

19/35

214

2

1

6

-172

-173

1

NYJ

Haskins did not pick up a first down until Washington was down 20-3 in the second quarter. Up to that point, he had gone 7-of-11 for 28 yards with three sacks and a fumbled snap. Most of his positive production came in garbage time. After the Jets took a 34-3 lead in the fourth quarter, Haskins went 7-of-14 for 119 yards and both of his touchdowns.

27.

Ryan Finley CIN

13/31

115

0

1

5

-203

-222

19

OAK

Finley’s rushing numbers: three carries for 47 yards. He only threw for six first downs all day, and only two of those came in Oakland territory, where he went 7-of-17 for 30 yards with two sacks.

28.

Kyle Allen CAR

32/50

325

0

4

5

-312

-315

2

ATL

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part IX: Allen loses 70 DYAR due to playing the Falcons. Allen threw eight passes inside the Atlanta 25-yard line, and completed more of them to the Falcons (three) than to the Panthers (one, a 4-yard gain on third-and-4 from the 20). Allen also struggled in short yardage: with 5 yards or less to go for a first down, he went 6-of-14 for 70 yards with three interceptions, three sacks, and an intentional grounding. Jimmy Garropolo, Jared Goff, and Baker Mayfield are the only other quarterbacks to throw so many interceptions with so few yards to go this season.

 

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.

Christian McCaffrey CAR

14

70

0

11/14

121

0

55

23

32

ATL

Yes, Kyle Allen had the worst quarterback game on record while playing alongside the best running back of the week. Only two of McCaffrey’s runs picked up first downs, but then only one resulted in a stuff, while 11 picked up 3 yards or more, the longest an 18-yarder. Five of his catches produced first downs, including 20- and 23-yard gains.

2.

Alvin Kamara NO

13

75

0

10/10

47

0

49

46

3

TB

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part X: Kamara gains 37 DYAR for playing the Buccaneers. His 75 rushing yards and 5.8-yard average are second-best for any running back against Tampa Bay this year behind Chris Carson. Only one of his carries this weekend gained a first down, but all of them gained at least 1 yard, and two of them gained 12 yards or more. Four of his catches picked up first downs, the longest a 17-yarder. He would have ranked even higher but he fumbled on one of his receptions.

3.

Gus Edwards BAL

8

112

1

0/0

0

0

47

47

0

HOU

All of Edwards’ runs gained at least 3 yards and four gained first downs, including a 63-yard touchdown and a 25-yard gain.

4.

Tarik Cohen CHI

9

39

0

5/6

35

1

36

19

17

LAR

Cohen was stuffed twice, but he ran for four first downs, including a pair of 12-yard gains. Two of his catches produced first downs: a 17-yard gain on third-and-3 and a 14-yard touchdown on third-and-10.

5.

Marlon Mack IND

14

109

1

0/0

0

0

35

35

0

JAX

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part XI: Mack loses 16 DYAR due to playing the Jaguars; without them, he would have been the top running back of the week. (His teammate Jonathan Williams also lost 16 DYAR, and without them would have been in second place.) Mack was stuffed just one time, while five of his carries gained at least 13 yards and 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.

Gus Edwards BAL

8

112

1

0/0

0

0

47

47

0

HOU

2.

Alvin Kamara NO

13

75

0

10/10

47

0

49

46

3

TB

3.

Marlon Mack IND

14

109

1

0/0

0

0

35

35

0

JAX

4.

Phillip Lindsay DEN

16

67

0

2/2

8

0

22

24

-2

MIN

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part XII: Lindsay gains 12 DYAR due to playing the Vikings. He was stuffed three times while running for just one first down with a long gain of only 11 yards, but had a dozen runs that gained 3 yards or more.

5.

Christian McCaffrey CAR

14

70

0

11/14

121

0

55

23

32

ATL

 

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.

Brian Hill ATL

15

30

0

1/3

8

0

-60

-51

-9

CAR

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part XIII: Hill loses 31 DYAR for playing the Carolina defense. He is the 17th running back to get at least five carries in a game against Tampa Bay this year; among that group, his average gain of 2.0 is worst by more than a full yard. He had just one run of more than 4 yards (an 11-yard gain on second-and-7, his only first down of the day) while being stuffed five times. Each of his three targets came on second down with 10 or 11 yards to go.

 

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.

Brian Hill ATL

15

30

0

1/3

8

0

-60

-51

-9

CAR

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR

Rk

Player

Team

Rec

Att

Yds

Avg

TD

Total
DYAR

Opp

1.

Calvin Ridley ATL

8

8

143

17.9

1

84

CAR

Six of Ridley’s catches picked up first downs, including gains of 26, 34, and 36 yards.

2.

Stefon Diggs MIN

5

5

121

24.2

1

66

DEN

Diggs did not get a single target in the first half, which partly explains why the Vikings were down 20-0 when the third quarter started. Four of his catches produced first downs, including a 44-yard gain, a 54-yard touchdown, and three third-down conversions.

3.

Michael Gallup DAL

9

13

148

16.4

0

51

DET

Seven of Gallup’s catches produced first downs and three gained 20 yards or more, the longest a 41-yarder.

4.

Ryan Griffin NYJ

5

5

109

21.8

1

51

WAS

No, off-hand, I do not know the last time a Jets player made the top receivers list. Wayne Chrebet, maybe? All five of Griffin’s catches produced first downs, including gains of 26 and 45 yards, plus a 16-yard touchdown.

5.

DeVante Parker MIA

7

10

135

19.3

0

46

BUF

Five of Parker’s catches produced first downs, including gains of 45 and 50 yards.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR

Rk

Player

Team

Rec

Att

Yds

Avg

TD

Total
DYAR

Opp

1.

Curtis Samuel CAR

4

7

25

6.2

0

-39

ATL

Behold the power of opponent adjustments, Part XIV: Samuel loses 10 DYAR due to playing the Falcons, while Denver’s Noah Fant gains 17 DYAR for playing the Vikings. Otherwise, Fant would have been the worst receiver of the week by a country mile for his 4-11-60-0 receiving statline, along with his two carries for -7 total yards. As for Samuel, two of his catches went for first downs, but the other two were a 1-yard loss on first-and-10 and a 2-yard gain on third-and-4.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2019/week-11-quick-reads

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