PFF Reaction Blog: Week 11
A new week and a new edition of the PFF Live Reaction Blog, focusing on all the games from Week 11!
Our analysts have been working around the clock to get the week’s games to you and here’s where you’ll get your first glimpse of the results.
All through the day we’ll be dropping PFF Premium-style nuggets designed to give you information you simply can’t get anywhere else. Naturally you won’t get all of the info you’d get from a Premium subscription, but you’ll still see:
• The highest-graded players from every game – any make it to the PFF Page of Fame?
• Unique Signature Stats that offer more context than any box score number ever could.
• Snap numbers including routes run, pressured passes, slot coverage, and more.
• Analysis with a PFF twist on all the breaking news.
So bookmark the page and check back every half hour to be in the know.
16.00 – Vikings at Seahawks Game Notes
So the Seahawks got a lot of pieces back that didn’t click immediately in to place but still won going away against a Vikings team far from mailing it in. The reason? Russell Wilson is starting to get into the end of season groove he did last year and with a three game divisional lead that is a scary thought.
– The three highest graded players were Russell Wilson (+4.8), Red Bryant (+4.4) and Brandon Fusco (+4.1).
– The three lowest graded players were Christian Ponder (-4.7), Matt Kalil (-3.5) and Adrian Peterson (-3.5).
– Russell Wilson was under pressure for a much lower than average 38% of drop-backs. In the end though it didn’t matter – He still managed a 149.3 QB rating when under duress.
– Cordarrelle Patterson played a season high 45 offensive snaps of which 28 were pass routes. Before this 59% of snaps his season high had been 40% in week 10.
– Standing in for Brandon Browner Walter Thurmond showed exactly why the Seahawks seemed untroubled by the big corners injury. Thrown at eight times, Thurmond allowed three receptions for eight yards and an interception.
15.30 – 49ers at Saints Game Notes
It may have been a game that came down to a single play but if it was, and that play was the roughing the passer call on Ahmad Brooks, in my view at least justice was done. The better team probably won but not so by great a margin that the result wouldn’t have been reversed if the game had been played in San Francisco.
– The three highest graded players were Joe Staley (+4.1), Curtis Lofton (+3.7) and Brian De La Puente (+3.3).
– The three lowest graded players were Charles Brown (-3.3), Vance McDonald (-2.4) and Tony Jerod-Eddie (-2.3).
– On non-QB scrambles the Saints held the 49rs to 56 yards on 19 attempts at less than 3 yards a carry with only one tackle broken or avoided.
– Last year Colin Kaepernick was 7th in the NFL with an adjusted accuracy percentage of 76.0. This year he’s dropped to 29th with a figure of 68.2.
– While NaVorro Bowman made a whopping 12 tackles only four of them were stops – plays considered a win for the defense.
15.00 – Chiefs at Broncos Game Notes
So this is the result that people expected but Denver had it far from their own way. Since the Dallas game Peyton Manning has looked far from legendary and this was another example of him having plenty of time but playing a mediocre game. Fans always like to blame other positions if their superstars struggle but on this occasion only the most foolhardy of them would look to the offensive line.
– The three highest graded players were Justin Houston (+7.5), Shaun Phillips (+5.5) and Branden Albert (+4.0).
– The three lowest graded players were Marcus Cooper (-5.8), Robert Ayers (-4.4) and Eric Fisher (-4.0).
– Peyton Manning was only 3 of 10 on passes over 9 yards in the air. His receivers were open he just missed them while being pressured on a mere 15% of snaps.
– If, before the game, you were asked to name any one of the two guys generating the most Broncos pressure you’d say Von Miller I’m sure. He was actually relatively quiet with both Shaun Phillips and Malik Jackson doing far worse damage.
– Marcus Cooper had been playing excellently until this game but let’s hope his 128 yards and six receptions allowed, missed tackle and penalty are more a blip than the start of a trend.
14.15 – Falcons at Buccaneers Game Notes
How much worse can things get for the Falcons? Do they have a legitimate shot at the first overall pick? You wouldn’t think so but, while I was never high on Atlanta before the season begun, I never saw them imploding to this degree either. A moribund running game (please don’t expect me to include Antone Smith), a struggling QB, no pass rush and poor coverage is not a great combination.
– The three highest graded players were Bobby Rainey (+6.9), Gerald McCoy (+5.8) and Donald Penn (+4.6).
– The three lowest graded players were Erik Lorig (-5.0), William Gholston (-3.9) and Roddy White (-3.6).
– In an implosion of real significance Matt Ryan has been dreadful for four weeks running. In this game he never threw outside the left numbers once (and before you ask, Revis was on the right side playing LCB on the majority of snaps) and had a QB rating of 11.2 when pressured.
– Why was Bobby Rainey so good? Well among other things he picked up 118 of his rushing yards after contact, breaking six tackles in the process, stayed in to pass protect six times without error and caught both balls thrown his way, one for a TD.
– Although Tampa Bay are improving they still have problems with missed tackles. It was 14 here with four logged against Dashon Goldson giving him 11 for the year and rating him fourth worst in tackling efficiency among safeties.
13.30 – Cardinals at Jaguars Game Notes
While the Jaguars are alone in last place for the first time this year many aspects of their performance with a limited roster continue to warrant praise. For example they shut down the Cardinals running game totally, allowing only 17 yards on 21 carries. Unfortunately their own ground game generated a paltry 32 yards on 16 attempts and they didn’t have Carson Palmer or Michael Floyd to compensate.
– The three highest graded players were Alan Ball (+4.8), Carson Palmer (+3.7) and Michael Floyd (+3.7).
– The three lowest graded players were Jim Dray (-3.0), Chad Henne (-2.8) and Bradley Sowell (-2.3).
– Alan Ball has turned out to be an inspired free Agent pick-up, playing well most of the year but having his best game here. He allowed only three of seven balls to be completed for 31 yards but knocked down all four of the others.
– We’ve been waiting for a break-out game from Michael Floyd and I guess 193 yards on six receptions qualifies. It may have something to do with making things happen after the catch and his five broken tackles here equaled his season total on 45 catches last year.
– One of the reasons Arizona’s defense is starting to look so dangerous is the improving play of John Abraham. All of his seven sacks and 24 of his 42 QB disruptions have come in the last four games. Miss him much Atlanta?
12.45 – Browns at Bengals Game Notes
So with your quarterback throwing two of the worst interceptions you could ever envisage and dropping you in a 13 point hole against a pretty good defense how do you come-back? Well you get two punt blocks, the best grade we’ve ever given an inside linebacker and hope their QB plays significantly worse than yours. Result!
– The three highest graded players were Vontze Burfict (+7.0), Andrew Whitworth (+4.1) and Joe Haden (+3.1).
– The three lowest graded players were Jason Campbell (-6.5), Brandon Thompson (-4.2) and Barkevious Mingo (-4.1).
– With an 18 point deficit by half-time, Jason Campbell responded (in Norv Turner’s “vertical passing offense” I hasten to add) by throwing short so many times it would make Joey “check-down” Harrington wince. Of his 51 aimed attempts he threw less than nine yards in the air 44 times.
– Although we still need to complete the All-22 assessment it looks like Vontaze Burfict may find himself on our page of fame with one of the top five 4-3 OLB performances we’ve ever graded. After starting with yet another over-zealous penalty he proceeded to make play after play including recovering his own forced fumble for a touchdown.
– When things don’t go the Browns way at least they can rely on Joe Haden for some relief. So while one of the interceptions was thrown straight to him, the other was more work and in the end he only allowed a single catch for three yards.
12.00 – Packers at Giants Game Notes
Given how poorly Green Bay played on defense last week the win was expected but the Packers certainly improved in that department and hence the performance was a good one for the Giants who have now won four straight. It could have been closer but interspersed with some good work, Scott Tolzien continued to force some throws – unfortunately for him all ended up being punished with interceptions.
– The three highest graded players were Jason Pierre-Paul (+3.1), Tramon Williams (+3.1) and T.J. Lang (+2.8)
– The three lowest graded players were David Diehl (-4.9), Marshall Newhouse (-3.5) and Andrew Quarless (-2.0)
– While Tramon Williams allowed the 41 yarder to Hakeem Nicks and was also penalized for pass interference on the same player his remaining stats read pretty well: Thrown at – six, receptions – four, yards – two and interceptions – one. He also made a tackle for no gain on Brandon Jacobs.
– Although Eli Manning didn’t have his best game he did play better under pressure than recently. His 132.2 rating when under heat was significantly better than his 78.7 when kept clean.
– At PFF we’ve never had quite the same belief as some in Antrel Rolle however, over the last four weeks (all Giant wins), it would be hard to find a safety playing better. In those games he’s graded a gaudy +8.1 including a superb +6.5 in coverage.
11.15 – Ravens at Bears Game Notes
So the weather played its part but to say the result was predicated on it would be unfair. Both quarterbacks played far better than could be expected under the conditions but the elephant in the room is the following question: “Is Josh McCown playing well enough to make Jay Cutler expendable?”
– The three highest graded players were Marshal Yanda (+7.7), Josh McCown (+3.6) and Gino Gradkowski (+3.6)
– The three lowest graded players were Landon Cohen (-6.2), Terrell Suggs (-3.2) and Martellus Bennett (-3.1)
– Consistently good in every game he’s played, Josh McCown is now up to 7th in our PFF QB Rating which takes account of drops, spikes throw-aways etc. Coincidently he’s also now up to 7th in our overall grading.
– The Bears defense appears to be getting back to basics. For many years they’ve been known as one of the best tackling units around but through week 8 were averaging a fraction under 10 a game. In the last two weeks they’ve missed five combined and just two here.
– The much maligned Ravens offensive line had by far their best showing of the year. They only allowed Joe Flacco to be pressured on 21% of throws and some of the run blocking, particularly from a dominant Marshal Yanda, was outstanding.
10.30 – Lions at Steelers Game Notes
After a slow start the Lions caught fire only for the rain and some rather dubious play calling to extinguish them. However, take nothing away from Pittsburgh; the O-Line gave their most assured performance of the year (at least in pass protection) and Antonio Brown showed again why he’s one of the most dangerous receivers in the game.
– The three highest graded players were Larry Warford (+4.9), Cameron Heyward (+3.3) and Cortez Allen (+2.9)
– The three lowest graded players were Troy Polamalu (-4.4), Ziggy Hood (-3.3) and Guy Whimper (-3.1)
– After a brilliant first half Matthew Stafford did not complete a single pass (of the 10 he threw) in the fourth quarter and only 3 (of 6) for 35 yards in the third.
– When matched up against Calvin Johnson, Ike Taylor’s numbers were as follows: Thrown at nine times, five receptions, 159 yards and two touchdowns although he did knock-down a pass as well.
– Solace, however small, for Detroit came in the play of right guard, Larry Warford. The rookie was perfect in pass protection and also run blocked well. He’s now our fourth ranked guard and second to only Louis Vasquez at RG.
09.45 – Raiders at Texans Game Notes
With the game still winnable but the season already lost why bench Case Keenum to go with Matt Schaub? You’ve simply confirmed what we already knew about the veteran – his confidence level is at an all-time low – and missed the opportunity to see if Keenum was for real.
– The three highest graded players were J.J. Watt (+10.0), Stefan Wisniewski (+4.2) and Duane Brown (+3.2)
– The three lowest graded players were Mike Brisiel (-4.6), Tony Pashos (-4.6) and Lamarr Houston (-3.9)
– In amongst the carnage of the Texans season, the best player in football (by a huge margin) simply carries on destroying offensive lines. J.J. Watt now has a cumulative grade (+71.3) almost three times his closest competitor.
– Since being given the HB reins in week nine Rashard Jennings has 330 yards at 5.8 yards per carry. More impressively he is now second in the NFL in yards after contact per attempt with 3.4.
– Quietly, impressively, Kevin Burnett has continued for Oakland as he left off in Miami; he’s currently fourth among 4-3 OLBs in run stop percentage with 9.9% of his plays on running snaps ending in a stop.
09.00 – Redskins at Eagles Game Notes
After his debacle in week seven against Dallas, if Matt Barkley had looked even remotely competent, would Nick Foles have enjoyed the resurgence we’ve seen recently? Now he’s backed up a decent display against the Packers with a very good one here and sits at number 10 in our QB rankings.
– The three highest graded players were Nick Foles (+4.6), Lane Johnson (+2.5) and DeSean Jackson (+2.4)
– The three lowest graded players were Ryan Kerrigan (-3.7), David Amerson (-3.3) and Reed Doughty (-3.3)
– The most crucial element to this win for Philadelphia? Putting Robert Griffin under pressure. With a clean pocket he was 14 of 27 for 243 yards and two touchdowns at a QB rating of 107.5. When Pressured 3 of 8 for 21 yards and an interception with a rating of 6.3.
– The Eagles defense continues as a work in progress. Despite getting more pass rush against a quality o-line than against every team so far bar the Raiders, they still managed to miss 10 tackles. Najee Goode has now missed six while making only 11.
– Integral to the Eagles improvement has been the play of rookie right tackle, Lane Johnson. After giving up over five QB disruptions a game through week eight, the last three weeks that’s plummeted to less than one.
08.15 – Chargers at Dolphins Game Notes
In a classic bend-but-don’t break display the Dolphins defense allowed 435 yards but only 16 points total and zero on the Chargers final three drives of the fourth quarter. San Diego’s offensive line had a few more problems than normal with Philip Rivers being pressured on 41% of drop-backs compared with his previous season average of 32%.
– The three highest graded players were Paul Soliai (+4.4), Charles Clay (+4.2) and Chad Rinehart (+4.0)
– The three lowest graded players were Corey Liguet (-5.1), Thomas Keiser (-4.4) and D.J. Fluker (-4.3)
– For the most part the Chargers did a very good job running the ball but remarkably, of the 154 yards they gained, they only picked up 47 yards post contact (which equates to 30% and the NFL average is 55%) and never broke a tackle.
– The Chargers defense has been flagged 24 times all year but of those a third of them came yesterday against Miami. Of those eight penalties, two players (Liguet and Keiser) were responsible for six (three each) or 25% of the entire years total.
– Charles Clay forced only one less missed tackle on six receptions against the Chargers (four) than in the rest of his career combined (70 reception) with three coming on his superb touchdown catch and run.
07.30 – Jets at Bills Game Notes
In a match-up that featured our number one (Jets) and number three (Bills) run defenses it was always likely to be down to the quarterbacks to win this game. E.J. Manuel played about as well as he’s done all year without doing too much spectacular while Geno Smith had his worst outing of the year. No prizes for guessing the outcome.
– The three highest graded players were Marcel Dareus (+4.4), Kyle Williams (+4.0) and Sheldon Richardson (+3.8)
– The three lowest graded players were Geno Smith (-8.2), Nick Mangold (-3.0) and Brian Winters (-2.7)
– Just how good is the Jets interior run defense? On runs inside the tight ends they allowed just 37 yards on 23 carries at 1.6 per attempt with a long of 7 yards.
– After a below average game first up and then a mini mid-season penalty glut, Kyle Williams is rounding into the type of form we all know and love. Of interior linemen only three players have a higher pass rush productivity than his 9.6 and of these only J.J. Watt is rated higher against the run.
– So Fred Jackson started and played 9 more snaps than C.J. Spiller – a changing of the guard? Not really as Spiller ended up with one more touch than Jackson but was in to pass protect seven less times.