March 3, 2021

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Week 13 Quick Reads | Football Outsiders

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Week 13 Quick Reads | Football Outsiders


The best quarterback in Week 13 (going into Monday Night Football) finished sixth at the position in average yards per dropback, eighth in success rate, and 19th in total offense.

In Baltimore, the Ravens quarterback only averaged 5.2 yards per play (passes, sacks, and runs). He finished sixth in our tables.

Philadelphia had the week’s fifth-ranked quarterback in fantasy points, but you’ll find him just below the midway point here.

In running back news, Washington’s Derrius Guice for 129 yards and two scores in only 10 carries. He got knocked out of our top five on Monday night. His teammate Adrian Peterson ran for 99 yards and a score on only 13 carries. He did not make our top 20. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon did make the top five while averaging 2.3 yards per carry.

Among the players with big receiving days this week, you’ll find Alshon Jeffery (nine catches for 137 yards and a touchdown), Tyler Higbee (7-107-1), and Courtland Sutton (4-74-2) — unless you’re looking in our tables, where those names are nowhere to be seen.

Welcome to 2019 in the NFL, where the gaps between the best and worst defenses is enormous, and as a result, opponent adjustments are having a massive impact on our ratings. There are other factors at work here, obviously — turnovers, scoring plays, consistency, etc. — but this season, who you play is almost as important as how you play. Our top quarterback for Week 13, Houston’s Deshaun Watson, only threw for 234 yards, adding 6 more as a receiver but losing 17 on sacks and runs/kneeldowns. However, he did all that against the mighty New England defense — only one other player has more passing yards against the Patriots this season. It’s a similar story for Lamar Jackson, who became just the fourth player to top 200 yards of total offense against San Francisco this year. At the other end of the spectrum we have Carson Wentz, who threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns against Miami — but against Miami, those numbers are nothing special, so Wentz finishes barely above replacement level.

Every year has good and bad defenses, of course, but this season the gap between the best (New England, -31.3% DVOA) and worst (Miami, 24.9%) is just enormous at 56.2%, which would be the second-largest since 1985 and the highest since 1991. For opponent adjustments, however, specific splits between pass and run defense are more important than overall defensive figures. And when we isolate teams by how they have fared against the pass, the 49ers, Patriots, and Dolphins jump out at you.

The 49ers have been the NFL’s best defense against the pass this season, but that doesn’t go far enough to put their excellence into perspective. They currently have a pass defense DVOA of -45.3%. Only four teams have ever finished a season with a pass defense DVOA of -40.0% or better; the last to do it was the best we have ever measured, the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at -51.9%. (The others are the 1985-86 Bears and the 1991 Eagles.) The 49ers aren’t just No. 1 against the pass this year; they have been clearly superior to most No. 1 pass defenses in the past three-plus decades.

While the 49ers have been a particularly great No. 1 team in pass defense DVOA, the Patriots have been the best second-ranked team by miles and miles. Their pass defense DVOA is -42.1%, right behind the 49ers for the best since 2002, and the fifth-best on record. Forget about having two teams at -40.0% or better — only once before have we seen two teams at -30.0% or better (in 1991, when the second-place Saints were at -33.1%). Most quarterbacks can expect to go years and years without facing defenses as fierce as the 49ers and Patriots; this year, five teams (everyone in the AFC North, plus Washington) will see them both. The dropoff from No. 2 New England to No. 3 Baltimore is bigger than the gap between Baltimore and the 21st-ranked team, the New York Jets.

And then we find the Dolphins. Their pass defense DVOA of 45.3% would be the second-worst we have ever measured, only behind (ahead of?) the 2015 New Orleans Saints. They are not alone among the list of bad defenses this season, however — you’ll note the right end of the orange line in that graph is clearly above the blue line, meaning the worst pass defenses this year are significantly worse than the worst pass defenses in an average season. Eight teams (from worst to best, the Dolphins, Bengals, Giants, Cardinals, Raiders, Falcons, Lions, and Texans) have pass defense DVOAs of 20.0% or worse, which would be the most in any given season.

If we compare the run defenses of 2019 to historical norms, we find they are by and large ahead of the curve … with one very notable exception.

As passing in the NFL has gotten more efficient, running has become less efficient in comparison, which is why almost every team in the NFL has a better run defense DVOA than you would expect given their ranking in the league this season. There only two exceptions: No. 30 Kansas City (7.0% run defense DVOA, when we would expect the 30th-ranked team to be at 6.6%) and last-place Carolina (17.8%, much worse than the average last-place ranking of 9.7%). The Panthers are not close to the worst team we have ever measured, the 1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (21.2%). But they very well could finish in the bottom 10, and would be the worst since 2008 St. Louis Rams (18.0%).

And then we have this year’s Buccaneers, in what has turned out to be a very Buccaneers-intense column. The Bucs currently have a run defense DVOA of -31.0%. Only eight defenses have finished with run defense DVOAs of -30.0% or better, most recently last year’s Houston Texans (-30.1%). The all-time record held by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens (-36.6%) is probably safe, but the Bucs will likely finish somewere in the top ten. The New York Jets, meanwhile, have a run defense DVOA of -27.1%, which is very good for a second-place team, but not unprecedented: last year’s Bears were in second place at 27.3%, and the 2000 Titans were at -27.4%. You’ll note that the year 2000 has come up quite frequently, and for good reason — that was the last time we saw a gap between the best and worst run defenses as big as that between Tampa Bay and Carolina this year.

There’s still a month to go in the season, and all of the numbers for this year’s teams could end up improving or declining. But keep these adjustments in mind when asking why the numbers for Watson or Jackson may be higher than you expected — or those for Wentz or Guice may look so low.

Quarterbacks

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

1.

Deshaun Watson HOU

18/25

234

3

0

3

210

193

0

NE

Watson gained 65 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Watson’s totals include 193 DYAR passing, 0 DYAR rushing and 16 DYAR receiving for his one target, a 6-yard touchdown catch. The Patriots have allowed eight passing touchdowns this season, and Watson threw or caught half of them in this game. That reflects how dangerous he was in scoring range — within the New England 40-yard line, he went 6-of-8 for 89 yards and three touchdowns, with a ninth throw resulting in a DPI for 5 more yards.

2.

Aaron Rodgers GB

21/33

243

4

0

0

132

124

9

NYG

Rodgers loses 53 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Red zone passing: 8-of-9 for 42 yards and three touchdowns, plus a DPI for 15 more yards.

3.

Jared Goff LAR

33/42

424

2

0

1

122

122

0

ARI

Goff loses 67 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Goff threw 11 passes on third down and completed every one of them, gaining 182 yards and a touchdown in the process. Eight of those completions were conversions.

4.

Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA

27/39

365

3

1

3

119

126

-7

PHI

It’s kind of amazing Fitzpatrick is this high considering his start to this game: 3-of-6 for 21 yards with one interception, two sacks, and zero first downs. But then his last pass of the first quarter was a 43-yard touchdown to DeVante Parker, and he caught fire from that point forward. He was fourth-worst in first-quarter DYAR this week, but first in DYAR from the second quarter onwards.

5.

Josh Allen BUF

19/24

231

1

0

4

117

100

17

DAL

In the second half, Allen went 11-of-12 for 130 yards with two sacks and an 18-yard DPI.

6.

Lamar Jackson BAL

14/23

105

1

0

1

105

67

37

SF

Jackson gained 77 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most in the league this week. It was feast or famine for Jackson in the passing game. He only threw for six first downs against San Francisco, but averaged 11.3 yards on those plays. He averaged 2.1 yards on his other 18 dropbacks.

7.

David Blough DET

22/38

280

2

1

2

88

92

-4

CHI

Who?

OK, OK, we’ll write a comment for Detroit’s third-stringer. An off-and-on starter for four years at Purdue, Blough signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent in May, then was traded to Detroit shortly before the season started. He made a lot of good plays against Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, but not many of them came in scoring range. Within the Bears 40, he went 5-of-10 for 37 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

8.

Mitchell Trubisky CHI

29/38

338

3

1

1

84

100

-16

DET

Trubisky loses 48 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He threw an interception in the third quarter, but otherwise was electric in the second half, when he went 12-of-14 for 192 yards and two touchdowns, with one sack.

9.

Andy Dalton CIN

22/37

243

1

0

1

77

74

3

NYJ

The Bengals scored 17 points on their first four drives. Over that stretch, Dalton went 14-of-20 for 155 yards and a touchdown, with a 21st throw picking up 39 yards on a DPI.

10.

Devlin Hodges PIT

14/21

212

1

1

1

71

94

-23

CLE

Hodges was best when throwing to his right, where he went 7-of-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown, with an 11th throw picking up an 11-yard DPI.

11.

Kirk Cousins MIN

22/38

276

2

1

0

59

59

0

SEA

12.

Jimmy Garoppolo SF

15/21

165

1

0

2

51

56

-5

BAL

Garoppolo only threw two deep passes against San Francisco. One was complete for a 33-yard touchdown on fourth-and-2, the other was complete for an 18-yard gain on first-and-15. Maybe he should have thrown deep more often.

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

13.

Jameis Winston TB

21/33

268

0

0

4

46

43

3

JAX

We have written before about the great seasons that Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been having, but they were quiet on Sunday. On throws to his top two targets, Winston went 8-of-17 for 103 yards, plus two DPIs for 26 more yards.

14.

Dak Prescott DAL

32/49

355

2

1

4

43

39

4

BUF

Prescott threw a lot of dinks and dunks to his tight ends, going 8-of-11 for all of 51 yards and a touchdown.

15.

Patrick Mahomes KC

15/29

175

1

0

1

40

25

15

OAK

Most of Mahomes’ passes went to his right, but he was more effective going to his left or down the middle, where he went 8-of-11 for 98 yards and a touchdown.

16.

Russell Wilson SEA

21/31

240

2

1

2

31

31

0

MIN

17.

Jacoby Brissett IND

25/40

319

1

2

3

30

30

0

TEN

In contrast to Mahomes we have Brissett, who was precise on throws to his left (15-of-20 for 200 yards on a touchdown) but struggled on throws down the middle (5-of-9 for 68 yards with two interceptions) or to his right (5-of-11 for 51 yards).

18.

Drew Brees NO

19/30

184

1

0

0

15

15

0

ATL

Brees only had one third-down conversion all night, going 1-of-6 for 5 yards with an inentional grounding.

19.

Carson Wentz PHI

28/46

310

3

1

2

12

12

0

MIA

Wentz loses ONE-HUNDRED ONE DYAR for playing the Dolphins. All three of his touchdowns came on third downs, when he went 7-of-13 for 94 yards with a sack. All seven of those completions picked up first downs; so did his 20-yard DPI. Wentz averaged 6.7 yards per throw against Miami. Only three quarterbacks had worse averages against Miami: Sam Darnold, Case Keenum, and Brian Hoyer.

20.

Derek Carr OAK

20/30

222

1

2

2

5

23

-17

KC

Carr had all kinds of troubles on throws to his wide receivers, going 4-of-8 for 34 yards with a pick-six.

21.

Drew Lock DEN

18/28

134

2

1

0

1

-2

3

LAC

Lock’s longest completion in the second half gained only 6 yards, as he went 6-of-9 for 11 yards (yes) with an interception. Oh, he also picked up 37 yards on a DPI you might have heard about.

22.

Philip Rivers LAC

20/29

265

2

1

3

0

0

0

DEN

Rivers threw nine passes that traveled at least 11 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, completing seven of them for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

23.

Tom Brady NE

24/47

326

3

1

3

-10

-14

5

HOU

Brady was at his best at the end of the game. His last pass of the third quarter was a 12-yard touchdown to James White, and in the fourth quarter he went 9-of-13 for 137 yards with two touchdowns, one sack, and a 12-yard DPI.

24.

Baker Mayfield CLE

18/32

196

1

1

5

-22

-25

2

PIT

Mayfield gained 51 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He did not fare well in obvious passing situations — he only picked up first-down conversions on five of his second- or third-down plays, going 11-of-18 for 96 yards with one touchdown, one interception, five sacks, and one fumble.

25.

Ryan Tannehill TEN

17/22

182

2

0

6

-27

-32

6

IND

Tannehill was good at the beginning and end of this game, but not so much in the middle. He threw for only one first down in the second and third quarters, going 9-of-11 for 65 yards with five sacks.

26.

Matt Ryan ATL

35/49

312

2

2

9

-37

-33

-4

NO

Most of Ryan’s struggles came between the 40s, where he went 11-of-17 for 78 yards with one 35-yard DPI, four sacks, and two interceptions.

27.

Daniel Jones NYG

20/37

240

1

3

0

-48

-49

1

GB

The worst area of the field for Jones was between the 35-yard lines, where he went 6-of-13 for 59 yards with all three interceptions, plus a fumbled snap.

28.

Dwayne Haskins WAS

13/25

147

0

0

5

-70

-55

-15

CAR

Haskins only converted two third downs in this game, going 3-of-7 for 36 yards with two sacks. Between the Carolina 26 and the goal line, he went 1-of-7 for 4 yards with no touchdowns, two sacks, and one fumble.

29.

Kyle Allen CAR

27/46

278

2

1

7

-97

-109

13

WAS

Allen started off red-hot but immediately went ice-cold. Each of his first eight dropbacks resulted in a completed pass for a first down, combining to produce 106 yards and two touchdowns. And then he went ten straight dropbacks without a first down, as he went 1-of-8 for 6 yards with an interception and two sacks. He lead the league in first-quarter DYAR, but was dead last in DYAR from the second quarter onward.

30.

Gardner Minshew JAX

16/27

147

1

1

2

-98

-101

3

TB

Minshew came into the game after halftime with the Jaguars down 25-0, and honestly, he didn’t do a ton to improve that score. His last 11 dropbacks resulted in zero first downs, as he went 4-of-9 for 20 yards with two sacks, a fumble, and an interception.

31.

Kyler Murray ARI

19/34

163

0

1

6

-120

-132

13

LAR

Murray did not throw a pass in the red zone. In Rams territory, he went 6-of-8 for 40 yards with three sacks. He did not convert a third or fourth down until the Cardinals were down 34-0 in the fourth quarter. On third/fourth downs, he went 6-of-11 for 35 yards with two sacks and only three conversions. Despite trailing for the entire game he only threw two deep passes — one incompletion, one DPI for 16 yards. His deepest completion was caught only 13 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

32.

Nick Foles JAX

8/14

93

0

1

3

-146

-150

4

TB

Foles only played in the first half. In that time, he had as many first downs as turnovers (one interception and two lost fumbles, one returned for a touchdown). None of those first downs came in the second quarter, when he went 3-of-6 for 17 yards with an intentional grounding and two sacks. He had three plays in Tampa Bay territory: a 13-yard completion, an interception, and a sack-fumble.

33.

Sam Darnold NYJ

28/48

239

0

0

4

-152

-145

-7

CIN

Darnold loses 86 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Somehow, in 48 passes, he did not throw one in the red zone. In the front zone — the area between Cincinnati’s 20- and 40-yard lines — he went 2-of-7 for 13 yards with a sack. He struggled to complete the shortest passes in the game — on passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, he went 8-of-15 for 39 yards.

 

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.

Rashaad Penny SEA

15

74

1

4/5

33

1

67

47

20

MIN

2.

James White NE

14

79

0

8/11

98

2

55

24

30

HOU

White ran for five first downs against Houston, including gains of 15 and 32 yards, while being stuffed just twice. In addition to his 11- and 12-yard touchdown catches, he also had receptions for 19 and 36 yards.

3.

Duke Johnson HOU

9

36

0

4/7

54

1

40

3

36

NE

Johnson only ran for one first down, but then he was stuffed just once too. His biggest catch was his 14-yard touchdown on third-and-3; he also picked up first downs on an 8-yard catch on second-and-8 and a 5-yard DPI on second-and-7.

4.

Joe Mixon CIN

19

44

1

4/4

26

0

39

33

7

NYJ

Mixon gains 34 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His longest carry gained only nine yards, and he picked up only four first downs while being stuffed six times. He gets extra DYAR for converting each of his three carries with 1 yard to go.

5.

Todd Gurley LAR

19

95

1

1/1

20

0

37

28

9

ARI

Gurley rushed for five first downs against the Cardinals while being stuffed three times. Thirteen of his runs gained at least 5 yards, and two of his shorter runs picked up first downs.

 

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.

Rashaad Penny SEA

15

74

1

4/5

33

1

67

47

20

MIN

2.

Derrius Guice WAS

10

129

2

2/3

8

0

35

42

-6

CAR

Guice loses 22 rushing DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Guice’s two touchdowns were both 1-yard gains, but he boosted his average with gains of 37 and 60 yards, while he was stuffed just once.

3.

Raheem Mostert SF

19

146

1

2/2

8

0

31

34

-3

BAL

Mostert loses 19 rushing DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He ran for five first downs against Baltimore, including four gains of 16 yards or more, while being stuffed just twice.

4.

Joe Mixon CIN

19

44

1

4/4

26

0

39

33

7

NYJ

5.

Melvin Gordon LAC

20

99

0

2/3

11

0

27

32

-5

DEN

Gordon ran for five first downs against Denver, four of them gaining 8 yards or more, while being stuffed just twice.

 

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.

Phillip Lindsay DEN

17

58

0

3/3

4

0

-33

-17

-15

LAC

Lindsay only ran for two first downs against the Chargers while being stuffed six times. His two catches were a 9-yard gain on second-and-12 and a 5-yard loss on first-and-10.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)

Rk

Player

Team

Runs

Rush
Yds

Rush
TD

Rec

Rec
Yds

Rec
TD

Total
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Rec
DYAR

Opp

1.

Frank Gore BUF

9

11

0

1/1

14

0

-20

-27

7

DAL

Gore had no first downs against Dallas; his longest run was a 5-yard gain on second-and-6, and that was his only successful carry of the day. He was stuffed four times.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR

Rk

Player

Team

Rec

Att

Yds

Avg

TD

Total
DYAR

Opp

1.

Kenny Golladay DET

4

5

158

39.5

1

83

CHI

Golladay’s four catches on Thanksgiving: 75-yard touchdown on third-and-10; 29-yard catch on third-and-9; 34-yard catch on second-and-5; 20-yard catch on third-and-11.

2.

Calvin Ridley ATL

8

10

91

11.4

0

68

NO

Ridley’s eight first downs on Thanksgiving included four conversions on third or fourth down; two of those came on the two DPIs he drew for 22 and 35 yards.

3.

DeVante Parker MIA

7

10

159

22.7

2

59

PHI

Parker had touchdowns of 17 and 43 yards against the Eagles, with two other catches of 34 yards or more. He had six first downs altogether, including his 9-yard DPI on third-and-10.

4.

James Washington PIT

4

4

111

27.8

1

56

CLE

Three of Washington’s catches came on first-and-10: a 30-yard touchdown, plus gains of 6 and 44 yards. His other catch was a 31-yard gain on third-and-9.

5.

Allen Lazard GB

3

3

103

34.3

1

56

NYG

Three catches: 43-yard gain on second-and-3; 37-yard touchdown on second-and-1; 23-yard gain on third-and-13.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR

Rk

Player

Team

Rec

Att

Yds

Avg

TD

Total
DYAR

Opp

1.

Jamison Crowder NYJ

2

9

8

4.0

0

-60

CIN

Neither of Crowder’s catches — a 1-yard loss on second-and-19, and a 9-yard gain on the following third-and-20 — produced first downs or counted as successful plays.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2019/week-13-quick-reads

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