PFF Reaction Blog: Week 14
Check in with the PFF Reaction Blog throughout the day as we offer bits from each game including snap counts, signature stats and, of course, player grades.
PFF Reaction Blog: Week 14
A new week and a new edition of the PFF Live Reaction Blog, focusing on all the games from Week 14!
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 45 minutes to be in the know.
16.15 – Rams at Cardinals Game Notes
Ever so quietly the Cardinals have won eight games and are currently the 7th seed in the NFC. However the loss of Ty Mathieu and the difference he’s made to that defense cannot be overstated. You’d still expect them to beat the Titans next week but after that it’s at the Seahawks before hosting the 49ers.
– The three highest graded players were Calais Campbell (+5.4), Larry Fitzgerald (+4.9) and John Abraham (+4.8).
– The three lowest graded players were Chris Williams (-5.3), Jerraud Powers (-3.5) and Bradley Sowell (-2.9).
– It took him a few weeks (six) to get up to speed but John Abraham is now giving the Cardinals a huge amount of bangs for their buck. His 11 sacks have all come from week seven onwards and only three players among 3-4 OLBs have generated more overall pressure.
– While Carson Palmer has suffered under his share of pressure (8th worst) he’s benefited from sure-handed receivers with only 96 yards lost on 13 drops (4th best).
– Darian Stewart had a day to forget for the Rams. While he made three tackles he managed to miss four.
16.00 – Seahawks at 49ers Game Notes
Is it just me or does the home team in this encounter always seem to play far more aggressively than they do on the road? Unusually for them it looked like Seattle was a team trying not to lose and while it still looks very much as if the playoffs go through CenturyLink field this victory gave the 49ers some hope they can go north and win.
– The three highest graded players were Aldon Smith (+3.4), Anquan Boldin (+2.9) and Jeremy lane (+2.8).
– The three lowest graded players were Ahmad Brooks (-4.6), Bobby Wagner (-2.6) and Patrick Willis (-2.4).
– It’s not taking the 49ers long to work Michael Crabtree into the offense. 61% of snaps in the first week back became 88% against the Seahawks.
– When you take away a major part of his game you can limit the effectiveness of Russell Wilson. Before this game he averaged 39 yards on scrambles or designed runs at 7 yards a go. In this game he gained 2 yards on his single scramble.
– Does playing corner in Seattle automatically make you a good player? The latest is Jeremy Lane who was thrown at four times, allowed one reception for 13 yards and knocked down the other three.
Panthers at Saints Game Notes
Following a decent start for Carolina the Saints got their passing game working and exposed the Panthers flaws with clinical efficiency. However, they are only one game in front and with a visit to Charlotte outstanding in week 16 there’s still room for revenge.
– The three highest graded players were Drew Brees (+7.1), Marques Colston (+4.3) and Cameron Jordan (+3.8).
– The three lowest graded players were Byron Bell (-3.5), Greg Hardy (-2.5) and Charles Johnson (-2.4).
– Drew Brees was ruthless in exposing the Panthers coverage in the middle of the field. On plays beyond the line of scrimmage but inside the numbers he went 15 of 20 for 184 yards and four touchdowns.
– The Panthers made a real effort to get Ted Ginn more involved in the offense. His highest snap percentage before yesterday was 53 in week 2. Against New Orleans he was in for 51 plays (81%).
– Byron Bell gave up as much pressure as the rest of the offense combined. He was responsible for eight of the 16 QB disruptions charged to individuals.
15.30 – Vikings at Ravens Game Notes
The one everyone is talking about was an adrenalin-pumping thrill ride which much on the line for the Ravens but little for the Vikings. Never-the-less they played as if it was a play-off game and their recent performances have nothing of the feel of a lame-duck team.
– The three highest graded players were Andrew Sendejo (+4.8), James Ihedigbo (+4.6) and Joe Flacco (+3.5).
– The three lowest graded players were Ed Dickson (-4.1), Adrian Peterson (-3.7) and Jameel McClain (-3.4).
– Is there an unheralded star in Minnesota? Since taking over as a starter in week seven Andrew Sendejo hasn’t done much wrong but hasn’t stood out either – until yesterday that is. Four times he was thrown at, only one was completed (for a single yard) with the other passes being either intercepted (once) or knocked down (twice).
– The return of Dennis Pitta was long awaited and it went reasonably well. Playing only 41% of snaps (of which only two were runs) he made some nice catches but also dropped a couple of balls.
– Jimmy Smith continued his late season form with yet another superior performance. After week three he’s never allowed more than 43 yards in any single game and is now our 12th rated corner.
15.00 – Colts at Bengals Game Notes
So Andy Dalton got back on track with a great display but is this the turning of a page or just a perfect storm of no pressure against an extremely limited defense? Well, Andrew Luck was also under little duress and helped by the Cincinnati Defense to the tune of 15 missed tackles could only grade averagely so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for the moment.
– The three highest graded players were Andy Dalton (+5.6), Andrew Whitworth (+4.7) and Jermaine Gresham (+4.6).
– The three lowest graded players were Jerrell Freeman (-4.0), Wallace Gilberry (-3.4) and Darius Butler (-3.2).
– Sure Andy Dalton played well but he did have substantial assistance from his offensive line. He was pressured on only 11% of his 37 drop-backs.
– The Bengals defense missed a dismal 15 tackles; remarkably 8 on LaVon Brazill alone. Remarkably that’s as many as all but 16 other wide receivers have broken all year.
– We mentioned one perspective offensive rookie of the year earlier in Keenan Allen. Another is Giovani Bernard who continues to grade positively in every aspect of play including pass protection where he’s only allowed four QB disruptions on 78 pass blocks.
14.15 – Giants at Chargers Game Notes
So far in 2013 the Chargers have displayed the most unreliable coverage in football so Eli Manning was expected to have a good day. It’s an indictment of just how far the Giants have fallen that instead he plays the worst game of the season. It’s ironic that on the same week two years ago, his brilliant play against the Cowboys started the best run of form in his career and we all know how that ended.
– The three highest graded players were King Dunlap (+4.2), Kendall Reyes (+3.6) and Shareece Wright (+2.7).
– The three lowest graded players were James Brewer (-4.7), Terrell Thomas (-4.1) and Eli Manning (-3.9).
– He lasted until the 76th selection but Keenan Allen has certainly been the best and most productive receiver in the draft at this stage of proceedings. He’s currently 10th in Yards Per Route Run with 2.17 and a good bet for offensive rookie of the year.
– You know your offensive line has problems when your guards are giving up more pressure than your tackles and when it’s nearly twice as much; as it was here, watch out. James Brewer and David Diehl combined to allow nine QB disruptions compared to five from the tackles.
– Shareece Wright has had an awful season in coverage to date allowing a QB rating of 108.8 when targeted. Things went significantly better here as he allowed only three of six balls to be completed for 46 yards while making one interception and knocking down two for a rating of 36.1.
13.30 – Titans at Broncos Game Notes
If Julius Thomas could run block, Wes Welker was more sure-handed and Zane Beadles could rediscover his 2012 form that might have been one of the most dominating offensive outputs of the PFF era. They were the only red grades in a sea of green as Denver put away a good Titans “D” with ease.
– The three highest graded players were Peyton Manning (+7.0), Chris Clark (+6.1) and Louis Vasquez (+5.1).
– The three lowest graded players were Alterraun Varner (-5.2), Jurrell Casey (-4.3) and Julius Thomas (-3.7).
– Peyton Manning “missed” on 20 of his 59 throws but it should be noted there were seven drops (worth a minimum of another 71 yards), a throw away and a spike in that number.
– Until this week Jurrell Casey had had at least one pressure in every game so far this year. That streak ended in Mile High as he also registered the first “red” graded game of the season.
– One of the most ridiculously stupid things I saw last week was the Pro Bowl voting showing Zane Beadles as one of the top two guards in the league (we have him rated 50th out of 74 guards). Although it still seems a little creepy to me, it’s still vaguely understandable that fans could vote for a player on their own team they know may not be the best in the league. That said, if you feel the need to do so, why would you vote for him in preference to a player that is playing brilliantly in Louis Vasquez (second ranked)?
12.30 – Chiefs at Redskins Game Notes
One of the most exciting weekends of NFL football ever? Not if you are a Redskins fan it wasn’t. As both DeAngelo Hall and Baccari Rambo made equally pathetic attempts to bring down Dwayne Bowe on his 21 yard TD it felt like a microcosm of the season. Then bringing in Kirk Cousins with the team down 35 in the fourth simply made it worse for me.
– The three highest graded players were Eric Fisher (+3.2), Tamba Hali (+3.2) and Geoff Schwartz (+3.1).
– The three lowest graded players were Robert Griffin III (-3.6), London Fletcher (-2.8) and Barry Cofield (-2.7).
– Have the Redskins given up on the year completely? For the first time this year Robert Griffin III didn’t have a single designed run.
– The difference in the teams was summed up in the tackling stats; Kansas City missed one, Washington 17.
– Jamaal Charles isn’t usually a big yards after contact type player (his average this season is 2.2) but in this game he managed a huge 5.1 breaking six tackles.
11.45 – Browns at Patriots Game Notes
After my little diatribe last week about how the Patriots always seem to survive these sorts of encounters I could just rehash by opening from the previous Live Blog. It did seem a bit different this week though; Brady just dug himself out of a hole of his own making as much of the early offensive issues were his fault as time and again he missed throws. Hardly vintage but they all count.
– The three highest graded players were Joe Thomas (+3.5), Danny Amendola (+3.1) and Jason Campbell (+2.8)
– The three lowest graded players were Craig Robertson (-4.6), Buster Skrine (-3.3) and Aqib Talib (-3.2)
– The Patriots defense was vulnerable between 10 and 19 yards. Jason Campbell hit every one of his nine throws between those distances for 150 yards.
– Here Jordan Cameron caught nine of nine balls thrown his way for 121 yards and a TD; giving Campbell a rating throwing at him of 115.7. In the previous four games combined those numbers were 14 of 26 for 108 with no TDs but two interceptions – a rating of 32.2
– Tom Brady was horrible when put under pressure in the pocket; on 16 drop-backs under duress he was 5 of 12 for 48 yards, an INT and a QB rating of 18.8.
11.00 – Dolphins at Steelers Game Notes
It didn’t look good for Miami. They hadn’t won in Pittsburgh for 23 years; since Dan Marino Had “out-dueled” Bubby Brister and Rick Strom in a week four snoozer. Now here they were having given up a 10 point lead down by four at their 20 with 4:31 left. However, this is not your Steelers of old and the Dolphins drove 80 yards, in no small part due to some abysmal tackling and then held on for a huge win.
– The three highest graded players were Charles Clay (+3.8), Cameron Wake (+3.8) and Mike Adams (+3.2)
– The three lowest graded players were Philip Wheeler (-4.4), Cody Wallace (-4.2) and Dannell Ellerbe (-3.6)
– So just how bad was the Steelers tackling? The defense whiffed on 15 with both Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons both missing three each with TE, Charles Clay breaking six on his own.
– Although Ben Roethlisberger played reasonably well only 33% of his yards came in the air with 230 in YAC, 110 from Antonio Brown alone.
– The Dolphins have taken their time bringing Cameron Wake back after his knee sprain earlier this year and it seems to be paying dividends. Last year he averaged about 82% of defensive snaps but this week is the first since before his injury he’s achieved that number. The reward seven quarterback disruptions including a strip-sack that led directly to an offensive touchdown.
10.15 – Raiders at Jets Game Notes
So Geno Smith wasn’t great – in fact he was barely average – but against a Raiders team that couldn’t decide if they’d come to play or not, that was all that was required. But here’s the thing with Smith, unlike some of the other rookie quarterbacks, he does look as if he can play on occasion, when his coaches let him that is.
– The three highest graded players were Nick Mangold (+4.1), Sheldon Richardson (+3.2) and Willie Colon (+2.5)
– The three lowest graded players were Khalif Barnes (-5.4), Muhammad Wilkerson (-5.3) and Brian Winters (-4.0)
– One of the most inconsistent players in the league this year is former All-World center Nick Mangold. The days of him being easily the best player at his position are in the rear-view mirror but he can still play extremely well, as evidenced by this game. He now has four green graded games in 2013 to go with seven red and two average ones.
– Congratulations to Dee Milliner who not only managed to stay on the field for the whole game (he’s been benched four times already this year) but also didn’t allow a single completion into his coverage.
– Marcel Reece played all bar two snaps in this game. That’s the first time this year he’s averaged more than 63% and even so still has been on the field for less than 50% of offensive snaps overall.
09.30 – Bills at Buccaneers Game Notes
In the battle of rookie quarterbacks, neither played well but Mike Glennon prevailed because he had much more help from his supporting cast. Foremost in that was a defense that completely stymied the Bills running game and allowed only one third down conversion all game.
– The three highest graded players were Gerald McCoy (+7.5), Stephon Gilmore (+4.0) and Darrelle Revis (+3.2)
– The three lowest graded players were Mike Glennon (-5.1), Kraig Urbik (-4.8) and Leonard Johnson (-2.8)
– The four interceptions obviously look bad and indeed two of E.J. Manual’s picks were bad throws. However, of the others, one was a drop by Stevie Johnson on what should have been a first down throw while the other looked as much a completion and a fumble as anything else.
– How badly did the Bills running game struggle? On 16 attempts C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson managed just 7 yards before contact.
– Stephon Gilmore played by far his best game of the year, allowing only one of the five balls into his coverage to be completed (for 10 yards) while intercepting one and knocking down another.
08.15 – Falcons at Packers Game Notes
When it became apparent Aaron Rodgers wasn’t going to play the large majority of PFF pundits wanted to change their pick to Atlanta but this was (fortunately in my case) vetoed by “Pick’em” administrator, Rick Drummond. Against my better expectations the Green Bay defense finally found some form and Matt Flynn did just about enough with some help from his rookie runner.
– The three highest graded players were Nick Perry (+3.8), Roddy White (+3.5) and Eddie Lacy (+3.3)
– The three lowest graded players were Peter Konz (-3.7), Ryan Schraeder (-3.6) and Lamar Holmes (-3.5)
– The numbers may not sound great (65 yards on 20 attempts at 3.3) but Eddie Lacy broke five tackles and picked up 44 of that yardage after contact.
– In yet another example of why sacks are the most ridiculously overrated statistic in football the Falcons grabbed five but only pressured Matt Flynn on 19% of drop-backs. Alternatively Matt Ryan was only sacked once but harassed on 47% of his pass attempts.
– If only Nick Perry could stay on the field he may be exactly what the Packers need opposite Clay Matthews. Currently, his Pass Rush Productivity of 11.6 ranks his third among 3-4 OLBs, sandwiched between Robert Mathis and Brian Orakpo.
07.15 – Lions at Eagles Game Notes
However much people may believe otherwise, the real strength of the Philadelphia offense is their running game. In conditions perfect for proving that point, while the Lions line struggled to open any holes at all, their Eagles counterparts allowed their runners 136 yards before contact.
– The three highest graded players were Jason Peters (+4.2), Fletcher Cox (+3.7) and Cedric Thornton (+3.3)
– The three lowest graded players were Chris Houston (-3.7), Nick Foles (-3.5) and Jason Fox (-3.2)
– It was a game of missed tackles and fumbles and while the former was relatively even, with the Lions missing 13 to the Eagles 11 the difference was in the latter; the Lions with seven, the Eagles only one.
– With eight forced missed tackles of his own, LeSean McCoy, at least temporarily, wrested the overall title for “tackles broken/avoided” from Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawk, with his game against San Francisco still to be analyzed, is now two behind McCoy who has 59.
– He may have fumbled a lot but Matthew Stafford also suffered from dropped passes; the four his receivers put on the ground would have accounted for at least 43 yards additional yards.
For more interesting info from this week’s games, follow us on Twitter: @PFF