PFF Reaction Blog: Week 9
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 – will 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.
16.15 – Colts at Texans Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were DE, J.J. Watt (+6.5), QB, Case Keenum (+5.2) and WR, Andre Johnson (+4.9).
– The three lowest graded players were LG, Wade Smith (-6.7), LG, Hugh Thornton and RG, Mike McGlynn (both -4.7) [A bad day for guards not named Brandon Brooks].
– It’s only two games in but so far, so good for Case Keenum. Most impressive was his passing under pressure where he completed seven of 15 passes for 141 yards and a TD. A healthy QB rating of 102.4 to go with a PFF rating of +2.3.
– No question regarding the hero of the day for the Colts. WR, T.Y. Hilton is now up to =12th in yards per route run with 2.21 and looks capable of taking up the slack left by Reggie Wayne’s injury.
– ILB, Pat Angerer had his best game since his break-out in week 15 of 2011 against the Titans. Of his eight tackles, six were stops and he also threw in a pass defensed and hurry to go with his excellent work in run defense.
Play of the game
4th Quarter – 9:54, He might not have been at his best for large parts of the game but with two men bearing down on him was there a prettier pass all week that the throw Andrew Luck made to T.Y. Hilton for the 58 yard TD?
15.45 – Ravens at Browns Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were LT, Eugene Monroe (+3.6), CB, Chris Owens (+3.3) and CB, Joe Hayden (+2.4).
– The three lowest graded players were QB, Joe Flacco (-3.9), DE, Desmond Bryant (-3.5) and TE, Jordan Cameron (-2.9).
– Have we been here before? A franchise quarterback struggling for form and hugely inconsistent? What’s worse is that all of Joe Flacco’s poor grade and then some (-4.5) came without pressure. He actually graded a reasonable +0.3 when under duress.
– Although HB, Willis McGhee did not help himself with a fumble his 31 yards on 21 attempts wasn’t his entire fault. He gained 33 yards after contact meaning, on average, he was contacted behind the line of scrimmage on every run.
– First round draftee OLB, Barkevious Mingo is still struggling a little to find the pace of the NFL and perhaps his early season injury is still bothering him. After building himself up to 100% of snaps in game four he’s dropped week on week back from that to 47% yesterday. Counter-intuitively his run defense has been OK but he’s not quite getting the pass rush impact one would expect from the number of opportunities he’s had.
Play of the game
2nd Quarter – 10:16, It may not be highlight reel material compared with some of the other plays noted this week but given his travails against the Chiefs it was great to see Davone Bess come back so strongly. Nothing said this more than the move he put on Lardarius Webb to score the Browns second TD.
15.15 – Eagles at Raiders Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were QB, Nick Foles (+5.2), RT, Lane Johnson (+3.3) and DE, Fletcher Cox (+3.4).
– The three lowest graded players were LG, Lucas Nix (-7.5), QB, Terrelle Pryor (-4.7) and FS, Brandian Ross (-4.2).
– If you thought Tom Brady’s deep passing (over 20 yards in the air) stats were impressive then you may have to revise your view of the term. Nick Foles also only missed one of his six throws in that category but picked up an extra seven yards (200) and two touchdowns (four).
– Obviously those types of passing numbers dictate one or more people may have had bad days in coverage. Few had as bad a day as FS, Brandian Ross who allowed ten of 11 throws into his coverage to be completed for 151 yards and four touchdowns.
– Some good news for the Raiders? Sure. In his first game of the season RT, Menelik Watson held up well giving up only a couple of hurries on 42 pass blocks.
Play of the game
3rd Quarter – 11:33 left, So the game was effectively over but DeSean Jackson’s 46 yard touchdown was a lovely catch and run that showed all the diminutive receivers ability to the full.
13.15 – Chiefs at Bills Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were OLB, Mario Williams (+3.7), HB, C.J. Spiller (+2.6) and DT, Kyle Williams (+2.3).
– The three lowest graded players were TE, Scott Chandler (-4.1), LG, Jeff Allen (-3.7) and CB, Stephon Gilmore (-3.5).
– The Bills did everything they could to help their rookie QB, Jeff Tuel and allowed him to be pressured on only 19.5% of drop-backs. Although we still have more games to come that’s the lowest in the league so far.
– The rather off-colour Chiefs defense missed a season high 11 tackles. Up until this game they’d averaged only six missed tackles a game.
– Quietly, Marcus Cooper has become the Chiefs best corner. So far this year his stats read 231 coverage snaps, targeted 39 times, 15 receptions allowed for 207 yards and two TDs. However he’s also made two interceptions and defended a further eight passes for a QB rating into his coverage of 52.0
Play of the game
1st Quarter – 13:47 left, So it was called back for a block in the back by Nigel Bradham but that shouldn’t detract from the work Leodis McKelvin put in to return the first punt of the game 89 yards for an apparent touchdown including avoiding four tackles.
11.30 – PFF Premium Package
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10.30 – Falcons at Panthers Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were C, Ryan Kalil (+3.4), DT, Star Lotulelei (+2.3) and CB, Drayton Florence (+2.5).
– The three lowest graded players were DT, Peria Jerry (-3.4), CB, Asante Samuel (-2.0) and HB, Jacquizz Rodgers (-1.9).
– So Panthers HB, Jonathan Stewart returned and played reasonably well, particularly as a receiver where two of his three catches went for first downs. Of his 19 snaps, 9 were runs (where he took pretty much what the offensive line gave him – 1 forced missed tackle, 2.0 yards per attempt after contact), on five occasions he ran a route and he was left in to pass block three times.
– Although QB, Matt Ryan was only pressured on 28% of his drop-backs much of this is the result of getting the ball off more quickly as opposed to better protection. His average time to throw (or pressure) was at 2.4 seconds here, among the bottom quarter of QBs, with over a third of his passes targeting backs. At least the reliance on the bubble screen dropped dramatically against Carolina; after utilizing this option six times last week they kept it to just once this week.
– Although MLB, Luke Kuechly flashes so much (see below) many want to anoint him as Ray Lewis’ successor, he struggles as a run defender on occasion and Patrick DiMarco generally got the better of him here. As an example, watch the way he was de-cleated by the full-back on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Play of the game
1st Quarter – 1:18, Setting the tone for the day, Luke Kuechly has one on one coverage with Tony Gonzalez and gets underneath the route to make the interception that leads to the opening TD.
10.00 – Saints at Jets Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were FS, Dawan Landry (+3.4), DT, Brodrick Bunkley (+2.7) and DE, Akiem Hicks (+2.1).
– The three lowest graded players were QB, Geno Smith (-4.1), LG, Brian Winters (-3.5) and FS, Rafael Bush (-2.5).
– In an overall defensive performance so poor as to be comedic at times, New Orleans managed to give up 26 points to a team that generated four (yes 4!) air yards from its starting quarterback and only 3.5 yards per carry on runs not over left or right end. Missed tackles exacerbated the situation but a consistent failure to stop the off tackle run from shotgun, with marginal blocking, when even my 11 year old son knew it was coming, left much to be desired.
– On the other side of the ball the Jets pressured QB, Drew Brees into mistake after mistake. With his pocket disrupted on well over a third of his throws, the Saints quarterback managed a 108.7 QB rating when kept clean but an abysmal 29.2 when hurried. Not since week three, against a far less formidable Bills team, have the Jets generated as much pressure and this whilst blitzing only 20% of the time.
– New Orleans WR, Nick Toon will have better days; he dropped both passes thrown his way; one which ricocheted away for an interception with the other being a perfectly thrown 37 yard bomb that would have led to a first down on the Jets 14 yard line.
Play of the game
4th Quarter – 9:29 left, In an indictment of everything bad about the current way tackles are legislated, on third and six at the Saints 40, on one of the few Jets blitzes on the day, S, Josh Bush laid a perfectly legal hit into Brees’ thigh pads forcing an incompletion. Incomprehensibly referee Clete Blakeman called roughing the passer for a low tackle. Justice was done when four plays later however when New Orleans failed to convert a fourth and one.
09.30 – Vikings at Cowboys Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were RG, Brandon Fusco (+4.2), DE, Everette Brown (+3.8) and QB, Tony Romo (+3.6).
– The three lowest graded players were WR, Dez Bryant (-4.2), OLB, Chad Greenway (-3.9) and RT, Doug Free (-3.7).
– Have the Cowboys found a temporary solution for the loss of DeMarcus Ware? While most of the defensive line struggled to get pressure on Christian Ponder, DE, Everette Brown (the ex-Panther 2nd round bust) took Matt Kalil to task. He generated a sack and three hurries against the left tackle on only 20 pass rushes as well as getting outside left guard, Charlie Johnson for a hit.
– Up until week five RT, Doug Free was throwing off his overpaid, underperforming image with an excellent season. At that point he’d allowed only six QB disruptions all year. Things degenerated markedly here though as he gave up nine including seven to DLE, Brian Robison alone. In his last four games he’s now averaging 4.5 a game.
– HB, DeMarco Murray returned to the Cowboys in this game but despite playing 40 snaps ran the ball on only four occasions (picking up a healthy 7.8 yards a carry). Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar were relegated to nine snaps between them but the same number of carries (four) at minus 0.75 yards a carry.
Play of the game
3rd Quarter – 8:22 left, On second and nine Ponder hits Kyle Rudolph at the 10. He breaks the tackle of Jeff Heath, bounces off another from Barry Church and cuts inside Brandon Carr for the touchdown, dragging Church with him as he goes. Many might prefer the Adrian Peterson run late in the fourth but my view is that without the help of Chase Ford, he doesn’t stay upright and hence my vote for the tight ends’ score.
09.00 – Buccaneers at Seahawks Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were DT, Gerald McCoy (+5.6), QB, Mike Glennon (+3.5) and DT, Tony McDaniel (+3.5).
– The three lowest graded players were DT, Red Bryant (-6.6), MLB, Mason Foster (-5.1) and RG, Davin Joseph (-4.7).
– After a decidedly dicey start to his NFL career in week four followed by three distinctly average performances the next three games, Mike Glennon eventually showed us why the Buccaneers seemed so keen to let Josh Freeman leave. Of aimed passes he only failed to connect on three with one of those being a drop – an adjusted accuracy percentage of 90.0.
– With Sidney Rice out Doug Baldwin got the start. In terms of routes run by wide receivers Golden Tate led the team with 29, followed by Baldwin with 28 and then Jermaine Kearse with 20. Baldwin’s 2.78 yards per route run would be a top two type number if extrapolated over the season.
– The Seahawks continued to allow pressure on their quarterback at an alarming rate. In this game 62% of drop-backs were disrupted to add to their league “leading” 48.3 % during the season to date.
Play of the game
3rd Quarter – 1:19 left, Despite being held quiet as a receiver, Golden Tate showed there are other ways to impact the game. Fielding a punt at his own three he broke five tackles in bringing the ball back 71 yards and creating a 36 yard field goal to reduce the lead to a score.
08.30 – Titans at Rams Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were LT, Jake Long (+3.8), DT, Kendall Langford (+3.6) and LT, Michael Roos (+3.4).
– The three lowest graded players were LG, Chris Williams (-7.0), RT, Mike Otto (-6.6) and QB, Jake Locker (-3.5).
– Since returning from injury Jake Locker has not been the same player he was prior to his imposed absence. When pressured, as he was on 57% of his drop-backs, he managed an NFL quarterback rating of only 9.2 in playing by far his worst game of the year.
– As usual when HB, Chris Johnson plays well, the majority of his yards in this game come over right or left end. Ten of his 23 attempts and 76 of his 150 total yards came on these plays.
– TE, Jared Cook caught his third touchdown of the season but only his first since week one. His 1.59 yards per route run is not a disaster but is only 14th among tight ends and when combined with his 32nd ranked “drop rate” it’s not been a performance that was envisioned when he signed his $7M/annum deal.
Play of the game
4th Quarter – 8:58 left, For those who don’t know what the “fuss” regarding Zac Stacy is about enjoy his triple tackle breaking run that sets up the game tying score.
08.00 – Steelers at Patriots Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were QB, Tom Brady (+6.1), OLB, Donta Hightower (+4.0) and WR, Jerricho Cotchery (+3.1).
– The three lowest graded players were LG, Logan Mankins (-4.4), SS, Troy Polamalu (-4.2) and CB, William Gay (-3.8).
– It’s been a tough season for Tom Brady with games he’s thrown more like a rookie than a Hall of Fame QB. However there have been two games where he’s played as well as ever; against the Saints and here. In this game his deep passing (on throws over 20 yards in the air) was vintage Brady with four of six attempts completed for 193 yards and two TDs and a further ball dropped.
– I’ve always been a big fan of WR, Jerricho Cotchery and watching him this year it’s not difficult to figure out why. He’s not played a single poor game all year but this was better than the rest; seven of eight targets for 96 yards with three touchdowns. So far he’s caught an excellent 71% of balls thrown his way with only one drop.
– Why do we at PFF think Devin McCourty is the best safety in football this year? Because he doesn’t get beaten deep and rarely misses tackles (only three in 2013). This was another good example as he gave up zero catches and made an interception. A mile ahead of everyone in our safety rankings.
Play of the game
2nd Quarter – 10:35 left, All four touchdowns were good passes but the Rob Gronkowski score was a thing of real beauty; a quick decision and a supremely accurate throw into double coverage that only his man could reach.
07.30 – Chargers at Redskins Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were WR, Pierre Garcon (+5.5), OLB, Jarret Johnson (+4.6) and QB, Robert Griffin III (+3.9).
– The three lowest graded players were CB, David Amerson (-3.7), TE, Antonio Gates (-3.4) and DE, Kendall Reyes (-3.4).
– It’s not that Robert Griffin runs the ball that’s important to the Washington running game; it’s the threat of it that matters. Early in the year teams didn’t think the Redskins would chance their gimpy QB and played accordingly. Now they believe he will but only twice did he keep the ball by design. However it’s no surprise this meant that both Alfred Morris and RGIII as a passer were more productive than normal.
– Will LT, King Dunlap end up having the last laugh in San Diego? Many found it funny that the Chargers should rest their hopes on a guy that supposedly struggled in relief duty in Philly. Well, as we told you last year, while he had a couple of poor games he was generally sound for the Eagles and that has continued here. Only a single hurry allowed means he is now our 11th rated LT and our second rated run blocking tackle.
– When the Redskins don’t miss tackles they can play well. After missing 47 through three weeks they’ve now missed 39 in their last five games including just six here. It’s not league leading stuff but it’s an improvement that has borne fruit in terms of wins.
Play of the game
2nd Quarter – 0:49 left, Philip Rivers audibled to the screen and it was blocked to perfection. A great all-round effort from all involved including a particularly nice block on Josh Wilson by D.J. Fluker.
7.00 – Bengals at Dolphins Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were Cameron Wake (+4.9), Giovanni Bernard (+4.5) and Mike Pouncey (+3.1).
– The three lowest graded players were Reshad Jones (-5.8) and both Kyle Cook and Tyler Eifert (-4.1).
– Though the Dolphins defense graded positively they did miss an astonishing 23 tackles! Leading the way was Brent Grimes who missed six (including two on the same play) and he was one of six with at least two missed tackles.
– A rough day for Andy Dalton. He wasn’t helped by facing pressure on 20 of his 60 dropbacks, above his season average of facing pressure on 26.9% of his dropbacks.
– The loss of Geno Atkins saw the team shift around its sub-package defense to include both Margus Hunt and Wallace Gilberry at defensive tackle. Hunt (-1.9) has graded negatively three games in a row and was featured on 20 snaps.
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