FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Week 7 Quick Reads
Football Outsiders is the internet home for Innovative Statistics and Intelligent Analysis of professional and college football. Our writers, lead by Aaron Schatz, also write Pro Football Prospectus.
NFC West Stock Watch - NFC West Blog - ESPN
NFC West quarterbacks tossed three touchdowns with four interceptions and 13 sacks in Week 7. Together, their Total QBR (26.0) was the lowest for quarterbacks from any division. There was a fumbled snap on a third-down play (Sam Bradford), an interception in the end zone (Alex Smith), a pick returned for a touchdown (John Skelton) and a 39.1 percent completion percentage (Russell Wilson). Bradford was better than the others. Rams coach Jeff Fisher even singled out Bradford for having perhaps his best game when it came to changing plays at the line of scrimmage. Overall, however, this was a rough week for the position.
Protect Rusell Wilson by Turning Him Loose | after the buzzer
By running on first down, Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell believe they are protecting Wilson by trying to avoid third and long situations where opposing defenses can bring pressure against an offensive line that struggles to block edge rushers. However, by reducing the likelihood of picking up early first downs, they’re also making third down plays more likely. One other thing the numbers show is that the Seahawks have been ineffective when it comes to converting third and short or medium–aside from third and one, a likely running down.
Fourth-and-Short: Bears and Lions Play a Misdirection Game - The Triangle Blog - Grantland
Having suggested that the Bears were the best team in football last Monday, I anxiously tuned in to Monday Night Football’s tilt between the Bears and Lions to see just how gruesome the effects of my (unintentional) reverse jinx would be upon Chicago. Instead, the Bears showed up and played an impressive game under the prime-time lights, shutting out Detroit's high-powered offense for most of the game before allowing a mostly meaningless touchdown on the final drive to prevail 13-7. That final score does a poor job of getting across what actually happened in the game. It was a game where, somehow, the Bears felt like they were dominating throughout and at the same time the Lions were far closer to winning than it might have seemed. The Bears played well and were not lucky to win, but they easily could have lost.
FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Film Room: Lions-Bears
The Lions offense has scored just 50 points in their first, second, and third quarters this year. They've scored 73 points in the fourth quarter. Why the difference? One explanation could be their commitment to the run game. They make a commitment in the first three quarters, but not in the fourth, where lately they’ve been playing from behind. The Lions are a shotgun-based offense that lacks athleticism along the front line and a wiggling, agile tailback who can operate in short space. In other words: they’re not built to spread and run. They don’t find their rhythm that way. Last season the Lions threw 66.8 percent of the time and posted 29.6 points per game. This season, they’ve thrown 63.4 percent of the time and are averaging 25.2 points per game. That may seem like a minor difference, but keep in mind that the Lions aren’t adding on extra running plays to protect late leads the way they were last year.
FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Week 7 DVOA Ratings
This week sees a little bit more churn on the top of the FootballOutsiders DVOA ratings, and San Francisco re-takes the top spot. Green Bay remains number two, while the New York Giants drop to third after their close victory over Washington. Chicago is fourth and Denver fifth, still the top team in the AFC despite a 3-3 record. (Vince Verhei talks about that in an ESPN Insider piece here.) The split between the NFC and the AFC got even worse this week, and as of this week the NINE lowest teams in DVOA are all AFC teams. There's a huge gap between "good" and "bad" AFC teams. The Steelers and Jets are 16th and 17th. Then teams 18 through 23 are all NFC, and teams 24 through 32 are all AFC.
Had a Bad Day Team, Week 7 | ProFootballFocus.com
Defensive Tackle: Brandon Mebane, SEA (-5.7) and Alan Branch, SEA (-5.6) If you watched the 49ers have their way with the Seahawks defensive interior on Thursday Night Football it won’t come as any surprise to see both their starters on this team.
Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet - The NFC | ProFootballFocus.com
Pro Bowl voting is open and Neil Hornsby explains which NFC stars have earned your vote after 7 weeks of the season.
Race For Rookie of the Year, Week 7 | ProFootballFocus.com
Is RG3's success turning this into a race for second? Or can one of the many impressive rookies on this list chase him down over the second half of the year?
Attempting to measure fatigue in the NFL
Fatigue in the NFL is definitely real, and a team that’s tired is not a team that’s likely to excel. But I don’t know if it’s even possible to accurately measure the effect of fatigue in the NFL, and if it is, I certainly don’t know how to do it. Fatigue is a useful descriptive term but one hard to define. Is playing 3 games in 11 days likely to lead to a fatigued team? What about traveling west to east for a 1:00 game? How does that compare to being on the field for 10 minutes? And how does that compare to playing opposite a defense that’s gone 3 and out on three straight drives?
Checkdowns: Weighted NFL SRS Ratings (through Sunday 10/21/12)
Here are the current SRS Ratings, weighted for the recency of each game, along with each team’s quarter-by-quarter Win Probability Added (WPA) so far this season:
Everyone gets their kicks in today's NFL - CBSSports.com
"It's evolving," said one AFC special-teams coach. "There's no question kickers are stronger and more accurate and more athletic. It's a little bit like the Roger Bannister syndrome. Once he broke the four-minute mile, then it seemed everyone was doing it. But I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon yet. I want to wait until the end of the season before I come to any conclusions."
AFC North - Practice Squad Breakdown Part One | National Football Post
NFP takes a close at look at the future of five AFC North Practice Squad players.
The All-22: Eli Manning’s play recognition set up Victor Cruz’s game-winning TD | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo! Sports
You've no doubt seen Eli Manning's last-minute bomb to Victor Cruz -- the 77-yard touchdown that gave the New York Giants a thrilling 27-23 victory was the primary splash play of Week 7, and it's always interesting to break down such plays to find out how they came about.
NFL Draft: Early Round Tight Ends - 12th Man Rising - A Seattle Seahawks Fan Site -
The Seahawks are going to have a big need at TE this next offseason. McCoy and Moore’s roster spots need an upgrade, and Zach Miller status will be a huge concern. Miller is going to have a huge $11 million cap number next season, so it is extremely unlikely he plays under his current contract. He’ll either have to restructure, or he’ll be released, leaving the Seahawks with a huge void to fill at the position.
Free Agent Lists: WR and TE - 12th Man Rising - A Seattle Seahawks Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.
When I posted my list of top Wide Receivers in the draft on Sunday, Hawk Eye asked me in the comments section if there was a list of free agent wide receivers and tight end available. Well, it took me a couple days, but here I’ve compiled just the list he was asking for.
MNF: Bears' defense shuts down the Lions | National Football Post
My game notes from Chicago's 13-7 win over Detroit.
Seahawks.com Blog | Up next: Detroit Lions
Star power: Calvin Johnson. They call him "Megatron" and he graces the cover of Madden NFL 13. Sure, Johnson caught only three passes for 34 yards while being roughed up by Bears cornerback Charles Tillman on Monday night. But Johnson also caught 96 passes for a league-high 1,681 yards and a career-best 16 touchdowns last season, when he was voted to his second Pro Bowl. This guy has it all. Size – he’s 6 feet 5, 236 pounds. Speed – he ran 40 yards in 4.35 seconds at the NFL scouting combine in 2007. Hops – he has a 42.5-inch vertical leap and an 11-7 broad jump on his resume. Production – three seasons with at least 1,100 receiving yards, 12 touchdown receptions and 77 catches. Hype – "He’s like a created player on Madden," is the way Tillman put it before putting a lid on Johnson.
Seahawks.com Blog | Tuesday in Hawkville: Which Seahawks have earned your Pro Bowl vote?
"I think he’s done some pretty extraordinary things," coach Pete Carroll said. "I think he’s played within the format that we have setup for him well. … He’s grown. He’s corrected things. And he’s totally in control, poise-wise, in the game and in the situation. "I think he can do special things. There are just not very many kids that are as well prepared to take on the workload, and the stress of it, and the pressure and all of that, as he is."
Silver linings: Seahawks at 49ers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The facts: The Seattle Seahawks fell to 4-3 with a 13-6 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7. The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
Monday draft thoughts " Seahawks Draft Blog
Just a thought. What if the passing game simply needs time? Russell Wilson spent most of training camp splitting reps and competing for the starting job. It’s not the ideal situation to create chemistry with your receivers or get a complete feel for the offense. I don’t have an issue with the competition and think the right man won the gig, but the lack of a complete off-season is probably having some impact in Wilson’s first season.
Luck vs. Griffin, a Statistical Comparison - NYTimes.com
After seven weeks, Robert Griffin III of the Redskins has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. He leads the N.F.L. with a 70.4 completion percentage, and could become the first rookie to lead the league in that category since Parker Hall with the Rams in 1939.
Wanted: More points from red-zone possessions
Few teams have kicked more field goals in the red zone than the Seahawks this season. But few teams also have scored fewer touchdowns in the red zone than the Seahawks during their 4-3 start.
Roger Goodell: NFL could drop Pro Bowl - BostonHerald.com
Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio’s "Town Hall," Goodell agreed with host Michael Strahan that last January’s Pro Bowl "was embarrassing." "If we cannot accomplish that kind of standard (of high play), I am inclined to not play it," Goodell said. "It is really tough to force competition, and after a long season, to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level they played is really tough."