Super Bowl Rematch:
Before the season started, the Super Bowl rematch from 21 months ago between the Saints and Colts looked like a ratings gold mine. Instead, we had the #1 offense in the league vs. an 0-6 Manningless Colts team. Sure this set up for a one-sided game, but holy crap did anybody expect something like that??? Final score was 62-7 and Brees was out of there in the 3rd Quarter! The Saints weren’t even trying to run up the score, the last 2 TD’s were a run that the Colts couldn’t stop all night, and an INT return. The Saints had an eye-popping 36 first downs in the game, nearly as many as the amount of plays the Colts were even able to run (45). What’s the most impressive part of this blowout? The fact that Sean Payton relinquished his play-calling duties for the first time in his career to his Offensive Coordinator, and they still had an offensive explosion with a first-time play caller! Crazy to see how much things can change in a mere 21 months.
A Legend in the Making:
There is definitely an intangible in football when it comes to winning games. How is it that some QB’s won’t put up decent numbers at all, but when the game is on the line they somehow find a way to win, yet other QB’s can have amazing statistics, star players around them, and yet can’t win the big one. Think Moon, Marino and Manning, three of the best QB’s statistically in NFL history, but only have 1 ring between them. Tom Brady won all 3 of his rings before he was a statistical powerhouse, same with Roethlisberger’s 2. For some reason when the game is on the line, Favre, or Brady, or Roethlisberger seem to muster up a 2nd gear and do what it takes to win, even when plays are breaking down. I am going to be bold and add Tim Tebow into that list of names. Against the Chargers, Tebow had a horrible 3rd quarter, but scored twice late in the 4th quarter and had a legit shot to win that game. On Sunday, he had a dreadful first 3 quarters, throwing errant passes, getting sacked 7 times, completing only 4 passes, all while Denver coaches tried to hide their young QB by running it 39 times. But with the game on the line, within 2:44 left in the game, Tebow is able to lead the Broncos for 2 TD’s and a 2-point conversion! His only other win as a starter? Week 16 of 2010, where he led another 4th quarter comeback after being down by 13 to the Texans. If Tebow could play like Romo does in the first 3 quarters, and continue like he does the 4th, he could be a great QB. In the meantime, it’s exciting to watch a guy who literally shows the heart it takes to win in the NFL.
Once Upon a Midnight Dreary, While I Pondered Weak and Weary:
Last week, the weak and weary Vikings took heed to Edgar Allen Poe’s quote, and Pondered what to do once upon a season dreary. With the season in turmoil, the Vikings decided to start Christian Ponder. Just as they couldn’t expect much for season results, I’m sure the Vikings weren’t expecting much against the best team in the NFL and Super Bowl champions. Like Tebow, Ponder wasn’t particularly impressive. He went 13-32, and had 2 INT’s. But also like Tebow, Ponder also showed one thing that statistics can’t, heart. What the stats don’t show is that 12 of his 13 completions went for first downs! He was 2 for 2 in the Red Zone, got new receiver Michael Jenkins finally involved, and even posted 7.8 yds per rush. But the most impressive part? Christian Ponder was able to take a 1-5 team to the brink against the best team in the league! They were even leading at halftime (but it’s the Vikings, so of course that means they lost). The Vikings should be VERY impressed with their rookie QB. They just may finally have a young QB of the future!
Quoth the Raven(s) “Nevermore!”
While we’re on this Poe kick, what happened to the Ravens on Monday? The Ravens are a confusing team. “Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.” It’s a mystery this team can beat the Steelers, Texans, and Jets, but somehow lose to the Titans and Jaguars? “Quoth the Ravens, Nevermore! Thrilled me– filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;” The Ravens should be scared if they can’t beat bottom of the barrel teams this year. “So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating.” The Ravens better not repeat this trend by losing to Arizona, Indianapolis, Seattle or Cleveland. “On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.” Meaning someone of importance to the team (Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, John Harbaugh) will not be back if they do not reach their hopes of a Super Bowl. “Then the bird said, “Nevermore.” Which means it’s nothing to worry about, the Ravens will never lose to an easy team the rest of this season…On a side note, who would have thought that Edgar Allen Poe could have predicted a football team’s future from 1845? Even got the team name right!!!
Stat of the Week #1:
In the first 3 weeks of the season, the Chiefs and Bengals were a combined 1-5. Since then they are a combined 6-0!
Stat of the Week #2:
The St. Louis Rams have had the toughest schedule in the league so far, playing teams with an average .639 win percentage. The Packers have had the 4th easiest, a .383 win percentage.
Stat of the Week #3:
Plaxico Burress only had 4 catches for 25 yards on Sunday, but 3 of them were TD’s.
Stat of the Week #4:
2 of the top 15 rushers play for the Houston Texans, both are on pace for 1000 yard seasons (once again, great job Kubiak).
Stat of the Week #5:
Two teams on Sunday won by only kicking Field Goals.
Stat of the Week #6:
Combining all three QB’s who played in the Chiefs vs Raiders game, there were 30 completions total and 8 interceptions.
Stat of the Week #7:
In 21 pass attempts, Carson Palmer has thrown the same amount of interceptions as Aaron Rodgers has in 239 pass attempts.
Stat of the Week #8:
If you added up the passer rating of all 3 QB’s in the Chiefs vs. Raiders game, (Cassel 38.3, Boller 22.3, Palmer 17.3) =77.9, 13 other QB’s in the week would be ahead of that 77.9 passer rating.
Stat of the Week #9:
The Raiders won’t have a pick in the 2012 NFL Draft until the 5th round. The first 4 picks were lost acquiring QB’s.
Stat of the Week #10:
Drew Brees had more touchdown passes than incomplete passes.
Stat of the Week #11:
The Saints scored 62 points in one game, the Rams have scored 56 points in 6 games.
If the Playoffs were to Start Today:
Two divisions, he AFC North (Ravens, Steelers, and Bengals) and the NFC North (Packers, Lions, Bears), would represent half of the playoff teams.
Last Week FMQB praised the Raiders’ bold move to acquire Carson Palmer, but only had reservations of starting him 5 days after being picked up. He needs to learn the offense, gain a feel for his receivers, and shake of the rust of sitting on his couch for the past 10 months. So I applauded Hue Jackson’s decision to start Kyle Boller, even if it is Kyle Boller we’re talking about here. But why bring in Palmer at halftime? If he’s not ready to start, spending an extra hour and a half with the team isn’t going to make him ready either. The Raiders rushed it, and Palmer looked just as bad as Boller did. I’m still not with everybody else who says Palmer is washed up, past his prime (he’s only 32), and not worth the price. But that was a little too fast. I bet he will come in and win at least 4 or 5 games with the team this year still. But ouch, 3 INT’s in one half, not the best way to start.
Smile, you’re on Candid Cam-era:
The Panthers’ Cam-era has officially gone much better than anybody could have expected. The Panthers posted a season high 33 points, beat a team that was in the playoff hunt, and Newton posted impressive stats (127.5 passer rating). Sure God’s Gift to Man Cam has a lot to learn, throws too many picks, and shouldn’t be dancing before the game even begins when you’re 1-5 (that’s how you got your nickname dude). But he is also averaging 300 yds per game, 4.7 yds per rushing attempt, and has 7 rushing TDs. He has more TD passes than Philip Rivers, a preseason MVP favorite. Four of the Panthers five losses have come down to the final drive for the Panthers or have been within 7 points. They should end up going 6-10 due to a killer end of the schedule, but I think it’s fair to say that Panthers fans have something to look forward too. (And this hereby meets my “Weekly Cam” quota I have set for myself).
Wacky Prediction Come True:
Before the season, FMQB said “A team other than the Jets or Eagles will have 6 INT’s in a game.” Six interception games are rare, in fact the Chiefs hadn’t had one since 1984. But with all the top CBs playing for those two teams, having it happen with a different team is even less likely. Sure enough, the Chiefs pulled off a 6 INT game, intercepting both Palmer and Boller three times a piece.
There is a reason the Jets pay this guy. Darrelle Revis is the best cornerback in the league, and even with a lackluster season last year (0 INT’s), he is worth it. Against the Cowboys in Week 1, Dolphins, and now Chargers, his last minute interceptions to set up game winning drives have literally WON the game for the Jets. The Jets would literally be 1-6 right now if it weren’t for Revis’ heroics. Unless you consider Deion Sanders running punts back for TD’s, I don’t think you can say any other CB has ever directly impacted a team on defense as much as Revis. This is one player, on an island, a Revis Island, who impacts the game and gets wins. This is just unheard of for the cornerback position.
Warning: Math Content…Breaking Down ESPN’s QBR:
The current passer rating system used by the NFL is confusing to say the least. A perfect rating is 158.3, and if a QB doesn’t complete one pass, he still has a rating of 39.7 (yet it’s possible to get less than that, like both Raiders QBs did this weekend). So ESPN analysts decided to introduce a new system, known as the QuarterBack Rating (or QBR). First off, it dumps the 0-158.3 scale for a 0-100 rating (Major Improvement #1). This makes it way easier, because even with the current system in place for so long, it’s impossible to figure out how much better a QB is if they have a 137.6 rating instead of a 115.9. All you know is both are good. In the new system, 100 is a perfect game (and nearly impossible to hit), 75 or better is MVP caliber, 65 or better is Pro-Bowl caliber, and 50 is about average. It’s much easier on this scale to compare someone with a 69 QBR to an 88 QBR. The math actually works out perfect too! So far this season there are 3 QB’s in the MVP level (typical decision for MVP is down to 3) and there are 6 QB’s above Pro-Bowl level (6 QB’s go to Hawaii every year). The formula also takes into account the level of contribution towards the win (Gaining a first down in the 2nd quarter isn’t as good as gaining it on 4th and 10 with 3 minutes left in the game when you’re down by 4). This is their “clutch” measurement, meaning what a QB can do in the clutch. It’s a subjective measure, but it also brings in the ability to measure an intangible, heart. What does the QB do when the game is on the line (Cool Improvement #2). It also divides the credit of a QB’s performance to the offensive line, Wide Receiver, etc. to distinguish a 3 yard pass with a 22 yd run, vs a 25 yd pass and tackled immediately, another great idea (Major Improvement #3). ESPN went through the previous 10 years of film, analyzed every QB’s play (I wish I had that job!). It essentially takes the “weirdness” out of the current passer rating result, and fixes it.
Case in point, take a look at the following 3 stat lines from Week 7:
|Quarterback||Incomplete Passes||Touchdown Passes||Interceptions||Passer Rating||ESPN’s QBR|
Conventional knowledge would say Drew Brees should have the best passer rating, but he doesn’t. Why? He has the fewest amount of Incomplete Passes and the Most Touchdown Passes! Yet he has a worse rating than Rodgers and Schaub. The QBR system fixes that, and Brees has the highest QBR when he obviously had the best game. (The only reason Rodgers’ QBR is lower than Schaub is because he was sacked 4 times, you can’t take sacks to keep drives alive). The QBR is a better rating system and this is my plea for the NFL to adopt it instead of the current system…For the record, I did a job shadow of the Rapid City Red Dogs, a minor league football team, and was the stat guy on the radio for about 8 games. I used to actually calculate Passer Rating with my stats, and it was an annoying formula to figure out. And here is what I used to deal with:
(Percentage of Completions/30 and multiplied by .05) + (Yards per attempt -3 and multiplied by .25. If result is greater than zero, value is 2.375. If it’s less than 0, value is 0) + (TD Passes/Attempts multiplied by .2) + (INT/Attempts multiplied by .25. Take 2.375 – result)= SUM of this formula / 6 and multiplied by 100….yeah, took about 10 minutes per QB with only a calculator and no fancy spreadsheet!
Move over Dorsett, Walker, and Emmitt, there’s a New Cowboy in Town!
As a testament to just how bad the Rams are this year, a ROOKIE RB for the Cowboys just set the franchise record for most rushing yards in a game with 258! Two things make this either impressive, or pathetic by Rams standards. First, Demarco Murray is a rookie running back, who only ran for 71 yards in his first 6 games before his explosion. Second of all, this isn’t the Texans rushing record or the Panthers, this is the COWBOYS, who have fielded hall of fame running backs such as Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, and Herschel Walker. Demarco Murray is now atop that list in the Cowboys record book over those 3 guys. Not surprisingly, his game knocked the Rams into last place in rushing D.
Quote of the Week:
FFMQB: “Oh the Rams game is on, did you want to watch it?”
FMQB: “Ummm, not really.”
The Best Tight End of All Time:
And no we’re not talking about Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez! On Sunday Tony Gonzalez leapt to #2 on the all time receptions list, behind only Jerry Rice. He has 300 more receptions than fellow tight ends Steve Largent and Shannon Sharpe. Hands down, Tony Gonzalez is the best Tight End in the history of the game! For a position that does a lot of blocking, it’s impressive how a Tight End can be so high on that list. To put in perspective of what company he has beaten: Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Terrell Owens, Isaac Bruce, Randy Moss, Art Monk, the list goes on. On a side note, Jerry Rice’s record will never be touched, but Larry Fitzgerald is looking damn good. He’s only 27 years old and SHOULD BE in the top 30 of all time by the end of the season.
Bonus Stat of the Week:
Running Back Marshall Faulk has more receptions than Hall of Famer Michael Irving
Game of the Week:
New England at Pittsburgh
Dallas at Philadelphia