Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

Week 7 Quick Reads | Football Outsiders

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Week 7 Quick Reads | Football Outsiders


by Vincent Verhei

The most valuable rusher of Week 7 was supposed to be a backup this season, on a team that was supposed to be raiding through the air, not on the ground.

Chase Edmonds was a big fish in a small pond in college. He ran for 5,862 yards for the Fordham Rams, setting records for both the school and the Patriot League. In 2014 he ran for 1,838 yards and 23 touchdowns, winning the Jerry Rice award as the best freshman in the FCS. Ankle and hamstring injuries limited him to seven games in his senior season, though, and a modest performance at the scouting combine (his speed score of 95.7 was 14th among running back prospects) left his draft prospects lukewarm. The Cardinals drafted him in the fourth round, and he won the primary backup job behind David Johnson. Like all offensive players on the 2018 Cardinals, he had poor statistics, with a DVOA of -18.9% on 60 carries. However, he finished the year on a high note, averaging 4.7 yards on 26 carries in five December games.

New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t call on Edmonds much to start the year. From Weeks 1 to 3, he gained a total of 22 yards on five carries. That workload grew over the next three games, and Edmonds delivered with 139 yards on 19 carries from Weeks 4 to 6.

Johnson entered Week 7 against the Giants nursing an ankle injury, but was expected to play through the pain. After just one carry, however, he was done for the day, leaving the ball-carrying duties almost exclusively to Edmonds. And Edmonds shined in the spotlight, rushing for 126 yards and three touchdowns in 27 carries. Those totals don’t fully explain how effective he was as Arizona built their lead against New York. Through three quarters, he had gained 135 yards on 19 carries — an average of 7.1 yards apiece — before his eight clock-killing runs in the fourth quarter produced a net loss of 9 yards.

It was by far the biggest day of Edmonds’ career, but it was nothing new for Arizona. The Cardinals have fielded a shockingly effective running attack this season, ranking third in rush offense DVOA (behind Baltimore and Dallas) going into Monday night. Despite the reputation of Kingsbury’s Air Raid scheme, it’s on the ground where Arizona has flourished. The Cardinals are just 16th in pass offense DVOA, and are one of seven offenses whose DVOA is better when they run than it is when they pass. Given these splits and their location in the desert, maybe they should change their nickname to the Roadrunners.

A look through statistical splits shows where Arizona’s rushing attack has been most effective this year. They rank just 13th in second-down rushing and eighth on third/fourth downs, but fourth on first downs, and they lead the league in rushing DVOA on first-and-10. They are 14th on their own side of the 50, but second in opposing territory, and first in the front zone (the area between the opponents’ 20- and 40-yard lines). They are also one of five teams (along with Denver, Indianapolis, Tennessee, and the Jets) that has yet to fumble on a rushing play this year.

The most glaring split does not involve field position or ball security, though; it’s personnel. Johnson has been banged up all year, missing practices with wrist and back issues even before his ankle injury. That may be why he has been so ineffective as a runner; his 77 carries are averaging just 3.9 yards apiece for a total of zero DYAR. Edmonds, meanwhile, is now averaging 5.6 yards on 51 carries for a total of 99 DYAR. But we can’t talk about the Arizona rushing attack (or, for that matter, most any other facet of the 2019 Cardinals) without talking about Kyler Murray.

Though he was quiet as a rusher against New York, Murray is now averaging 6.8 yards on 41 carries this season, good for 69 DYAR. It was a slow start for Murray as a runner — he had negative DYAR on the ground in Weeks 1 and 2, with a total of five carries between the two games — but his rushing ability has undeniably become a key part of Arizona’s offense. In fact, the Cardinals have handed the ball to a running back or wide receiver on only 29% of offensive plays, the third-lowest rate in the league; meanwhile, the quarterback has run with the ball on 9% of offensive plays, the third-highest rate in the league. This is largely because Murray has been so effective as a scrambler — only four quarterbacks have scrambled more often this season, and only six have gained more DYAR on scrambles. (Gardner Minshew is in both of those groups, which I never would have guessed.) But it’s on designed runs where Murray really stands out. His 24 carries on designed runs ranked second among quarterbacks behind Lamar Jackson (48), and he is also second with 33 DYAR on those plays (Dak Prescott has 41). The Cardinals had an historically bad passing offense in 2018, and they attempted to fix it by drafting not only Murray, but also wide receivers Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and KeeSean Johnson. And the passing game has radically improved, from a -44.4% DVOA in 2018 (among the five worst we have ever measured, dating back to 1986) to -0.5% this year. But the improvement in the running game has also been dramatic, from -21.4% in 2018 to 11.9% in 2019.

Given Murray’s mind-boggling collegiate statistics and the pass-heavy nature of Kingbury’s Texas Tech teams, Murray’s fantasy statistics were among the most difficult to project this season. He’s currently on pace for 382 pass completions, which would break Carson Wentz’s record of 379 set in 2016. He’s also on pace to finish among the rookie leaders (if not at the very top) in several other stats:

Kyler Murray: Chasing Records
CategoryTotalPaceRank*Rookie RecordRecord-HolderYear
Completions1673821379Carson Wentz2016
Attempts2595924627Andrew Luck2012
Pass Yards1,7684,04144,374Andrew Luck2012
Sacks2353476David Carr2002
QB Rush Yards2666085815Robert Griffin2012
Total Offense1,8804,29734,497Cam Newton2011
* Murray’s projected rank in the rookie record books based on his current per-game pace.

 

Quarterbacks

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

1.

Aaron RodgersGB

25/31

429

5

0

1

262

256

6

OAK

Rodgers threw 13 passes in Oakland territory. A dozen were complete, for a total of 130 yards and four touchdowns. The 13th resulted in a DPI for 22 more yards. On third downs, he went 5-of-6 for 144 yards with one sack. Each of those completions was good for a conversion, including a 74-yard touchdown.

2.

Kirk CousinsMIN

24/34

337

4

0

0

221

221

0

DET

Each of Cousins’ four touchdowns was thrown from within the Detroit 25-yard line. Throwing down the middle, Cousins went 5-of-7 for 68 yards; each of those completions gained at least 10 yards and a first down, including a 15-yard touchdown.

3.

Matthew StaffordDET

30/45

364

4

1

2

189

189

0

MIN

Stafford had 115 DYAR in the first quarter, more than double any other quarterback this week. In those first 15 minutes, he went 8-of-13 for 109 yards and two touchdowns; a 14th throw resulted in a DPI for 31 more yards.

4.

Philip RiversLAC

24/38

329

2

0

1

169

169

0

TEN

Rivers completed every pass he threw down the middle against Tennessee, going 7-of-7 for 66 yards.

5.

Jacoby BrissettIND

26/39

326

4

0

1

146

147

-2

HOU

Brissett’s last pass of the third quarter was a 3-yard touchdown that put the Colts up 28-16. And then he punched out — in the fourth quarter, he went 4-of-9 for 28 yards, 26 of which came on one completion.

6.

Teddy BridgewaterNO

23/38

281

2

0

1

139

136

3

CHI

Bridgewater spent a lot of time on Sunday checking down to his running backs, going 8-of-12 for just 55 yards. Each of those throws was targeted within 6 yards of the line of scrimmage.

7.

Derek CarrOAK

22/28

293

2

1

0

127

151

-25

GB

Carr did his best to play catchup against Green Bay, but Oakland was just in too deep a hole. From the point Green Bay went up 14-10 in the second quarter, Carr went 12-of-15 for 190 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

8.

Dak PrescottDAL

21/27

239

1

1

3

59

46

13

PHI

On passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield, Prescott went 5-of-6 for 111 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Each of those completions picked up a first down.

9.

Patrick MahomesKC

10/11

76

1

0

0

57

53

4

DEN

Mahomes left this game with about 12 minutes left in the second quarter. Only three of his completions picked up first downs; only two gained 10 or more yards.

10.

Ryan TannehillTEN

23/29

312

2

1

2

41

48

-7

LAC

Tannehill was best when trying to dig Tennessee out of a hole. Within his own 40-yard line, he went 12-of-13 for 201 yards with one sack-fumble.

11.

Ryan FitzpatrickMIA

23/34

282

1

1

0

34

64

-30

BUF

Fitzpatrick threw eight passes to his right, and only two were caught — and one of those was caught by the Bills. At least his one completion was a 12-yard touchdown to DeVante Parker.

12.

Jared GoffLAR

22/37

268

2

0

0

31

30

2

ATL

Goff loses 72 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He threw a lot of passes to his tight ends, but the results were erratic at best: 5-of-12 for 58 yards and a touchdown. Thirty-three of those yards came on one play.

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

13.

Lamar JacksonBAL

9/20

143

0

0

1

30

10

20

SEA

Jackson had a remarkable cold streak in the middle of this game, lasting from the middle of the first quarter to the early part of the third, when he went 1-of-9 for 33 yards. In the red zone, he went 0-for-3 with a sack. On third downs, he went 2-for-5 for 16 yards with only one conversion.

14.

Matt MooreKC

10/19

117

1

0

1

29

29

0

DEN

Nearly half of Moore’s yardage came on his 57-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill.

15.

Deshaun WatsonHOU

23/34

308

1

2

3

27

22

5

IND

Watson was nearly perfect when throwing to his right, going 8-of-9 for 106 yards and a touchdown.

16.

Kyler MurrayARI

14/21

104

0

0

2

21

17

4

NYG

Murray only had one dropback in the red zone, a third-down sack. He was quite good in short-yardage situations; with 5 yards or less to go for a first down, he went 5-of-6 for 35 yards with five conversions and one sack.

17.

Tom BradyNE

32/45

249

1

1

0

13

13

0

NYJ

18.

Gardner MinshewJAX

15/31

255

1

0

2

1

17

-16

CIN

Minshew loses 51 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He only threw for two first downs to his left and two more down the middle, but six (including his touchdown) to his right, where he went 7-of-10 for 124 yards.

19.

Josh AllenBUF

16/26

202

2

0

2

-1

-6

5

MIA

Allen loses 76 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most of any quarterback this week. He was at his best in the fourth quarter, when he went 6-of-7 for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

20.

Case KeenumWAS

9/12

77

0

0

3

-4

-4

0

SF

Keenum only threw a dozen passes against San Francisco, and if anything Washington’s game plan was even more conservative than that sounds, because half of those passes were thrown to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage. He completed five of those behind-the-line passes for a total of 23 yards.

21.

Mitchell TrubiskyCHI

34/54

251

2

0

2

-15

-15

0

NO

Trubisky had a stretch of 30 minutes from the second quarter lasting into the third when he failed to throw for a first down, going 7-of-16 for 35 yards and two sacks. Nearly half of his passes were thrown to his right and to receivers within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, where he went 15-of-19 for 89 yards.

22.

Jimmy GaroppoloSF

12/21

151

0

1

2

-42

-51

9

WAS

Garoppolo had the worst second-quarter DYAR in the league this week, as he went 2-of-6 for 1 (one) yard with a sack and a fumbled snap in those 15 minutes.

Rk

Player

Team

CP/AT

Yds

TD

INT

Sacks

Total
DYAR

Pass
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Opp

23.

Russell WilsonSEA

20/41

241

1

1

1

-42

-53

11

BAL

Wilson only completed one of his nine throws in the red zone, though at least that one completion was an 8-yard touchdown.

24.

Carson WentzPHI

16/26

191

1

1

3

-87

-91

3

DAL

Red zone passing: 1-of-5 for 1 yard with no touchdowns. Both of his fumbles (one on a sack, one on an aborted snap) came inside the Philadelphia 20.

25.

Andy DaltonCIN

22/43

276

1

3

2

-98

-115

17

JAX

Dalton had by far the worst fourth-quarter DYAR of the week. In the final 15 minutes against Jacksonville, he went 9-of-16 for 83 yards with two DPIs for 17 more yards, plus one sack … and all three interceptions.

26.

Joe FlaccoDEN

21/34

213

0

0

8

-134

-134

0

KC

Flacco fumbled the ball on three of his eight sacks, and once the Chiefs took a 27-6 lead, he was done. From that point forward, he went 7-of-15 for 32 yards with more sacks (two) than first downs (one).

27.

Matt RyanATL

16/27

159

0

1

5

-147

-142

-6

LAR

In Rams territory, Ryan went 6-of-13 for 34 yards with one sack-fumble; none of those throws came in the red zone.

28.

Daniel JonesNYG

22/35

223

1

1

8

-163

-174

11

ARI

Like Flacco, Jones fumbled on three of his eight sacks. He had ten dropbacks with the Giants down by one score in the fourth quarter, going 2-of-6 for 24 yards with four sacks and two fumbles.

29.

Sam DarnoldNYJ

11/32

86

0

4

1

-200

-200

0

NE

Darnold gained 83 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, more than double any other quarterback this week. Without them, this would have threatened the all-time record for worst single-game passing DYAR. He did not pick up a first down until the Jets were down 24-0 in the second quarter — and even that came on a DPI, not a completion. By then he had already thrown an interception and lost a fumble on a sack. In the red zone, he went 0-for-5 with two interceptions. On third and fourth downs, he completed three passes to the Jets (for 27 yards and one first down) and three more to the Patriots. He threw six passes with 7 yards or less to go. None were complete; one was intercepted. On throws down the middle, he went 0-for-5 with three interceptions.

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)

Rk

Player

Team

Runs

Rush
Yds

Rush
TD

Rec

Rec
Yds

Rec
TD

Total
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Rec
DYAR

Opp

1.

Austin EkelerLAC

5

7

0

7/8

118

1

55

-6

62

TEN

None of Ekeler’s runs gained more than 3 yards or counted as a successful play, but who cares when you can post receiving numbers like that? Six of Ekeler’s catches gained at least 10 yards and five produced first downs, including a 41-yard touchdown.

2.

Chase EdmondsARI

27

126

3

2/4

24

0

51

49

2

NYG

It was a boom-or-bust day for Edmonds. He was stuffed six times (five of them in the fourth quarter), but had six carries that gained at least 10 yards and a first down. Edmonds is the fifth player in league history with three rushing touchdowns of 20 yards or more in one game, and the first since Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin did it in 2012.

3.

Dalvin CookMIN

25

142

2

1/2

7

0

41

41

1

DET

Cook was only stuffed three times, while he ran for nine first downs. Five of those runs gained at least 10 yards, the longest a 23-yarder.

4.

Ezekiel ElliottDAL

22

111

1

6/7

36

0

39

39

1

PHI

Elliott was stuffed just one time, while four of his carries gained 10 yards or more, and two other shorter runs picked up first downs.

5.

Aaron JonesGB

12

50

0

4/4

33

1

35

20

16

OAK

Jones was stuffed once; each of his other 11 carries gained at least 2 yards and four gained first downs, the longest a 15-yarder. Each of his catches came on first down; the best was his 21-yard touchdown.

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)

Rk

Player

Team

Runs

Rush
Yds

Rush
TD

Rec

Rec
Yds

Rec
TD

Total
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Rec
DYAR

Opp

1.

Chase EdmondsARI

27

126

3

2/4

24

0

51

49

2

NYG

2.

Dalvin CookMIN

25

142

2

1/2

7

0

41

41

1

DET

3.

Ezekiel ElliottDAL

22

111

1

6/7

36

0

39

39

1

PHI

4.

Latavius MurrayNO

27

119

2

5/6

31

0

34

24

10

CHI

Only two of Murray’s carries resulted in stuffs, while six went for first downs, including gains of 15 and 17 yards.

5.

Aaron JonesGB

12

50

0

4/4

33

1

35

20

16

OAK

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)

Rk

Player

Team

Runs

Rush
Yds

Rush
TD

Rec

Rec
Yds

Rec
TD

Total
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Rec
DYAR

Opp

1.

Damien WilliamsKC

9

7

0

2/3

-1

0

-51

-31

-20

DEN

None of Williams’ carries gained more than 4 yards or counted as a successful play; two were stuffs for no gain or a loss. His two catches were a 1-yard gain and a 2-yard loss, both on first-and-10; he was also the target of an incomplete pass on third-and-1.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)

Rk

Player

Team

Runs

Rush
Yds

Rush
TD

Rec

Rec
Yds

Rec
TD

Total
DYAR

Rush
DYAR

Rec
DYAR

Opp

1.

Melvin GordonLAC

16

32

0

2/3

-3

1

-50

-51

1

TEN

Gordon’s carries resulted in as many first downs (two) as fumbles. He was stuffed six times, including three carries that failed to score from within the 3-yard line.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR

Rk

Player

Team

Rec

Att

Yds

Avg

TD

Total
DYAR

Opp

1.

Marvin JonesDET

10

13

93

9.3

4

68

MIN

As you may have heard, Jones is now the third receiver ever to catch four touchdowns in a game twice. All four of his touchdowns were red zone scores, though he did have some longer plays — a 24-yard catch for a third-down conversion and a 31-yard gain on a DPI.

2.

Darren WallerOAK

7

8

126

18.0

2

63

GB

Each of Waller’s catches gained at least 7 yards and a first down; the longest was a 48-yarder. Not a bad way to celebrate his fat new contract extension.

3.

Zach PascalIND

6

7

106

17.7

2

65

HOU

Pascal’s totals include 65 DYAR receiving, -7 DYAR passing for his one incomplete pass. Each of Pascal’s catches produced a first down, the longest a 34-yarder, with three third-down conversions.

4.

Amari CooperDAL

5

5

106

21.2

0

48

PHI

Four of Cooper’s catches gained at least 12 yards and a first down, with a pair of third-down conversions and a 44-yard gain.

5.

Marquez Valdes-ScantlingGB

2

3

133

66.5

1

46

OAK

Valdes-Scantling’s two catches were a 59-yard gain and a 74-yard touchdown on third-and-4.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR

Rk

Player

Team

Rec

Att

Yds

Avg

TD

Total
DYAR

Opp

1.

Tyler BoydCIN

5

14

55

11.0

0

-53

JAX

Boyd may be the first player ever to finish as the NFL’s worst receiver in consecutive weeks. (The Bengals have been regulars here — John Ross was last in Week 3.) He did have four first downs against Jacksonville (catches for 8, 10, and 19 yards, plus a 12-yard DPI), but he fumbled one ball away in the third quarter. He was also the targeted receiver on two of Andy Dalton’s interceptions, though penalties for those throws in DYAR go against the quarterback, not the receiver.


http://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2019/week-7-quick-reads

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