If you've been away from your television today and wonder what ESPN is up to, it goes like this:
- RG3 is benched.
- Kirk Cousins is replacing him.
- Mike Shanahan says he's doing it for RG3's own good
- Is Shanahan trying to get fired?
- Here's what RG3 had to say about it.
- Let's go to the press conference introducing backup quarterback Kirk Cousins as starter.
- Coming up next, Mike Shanahan press conference.
- But first, lets take you back to what RG3 said.
Rinse and repeat on loop.
For my money, the photo below - not benching the franchise quarterback - is damning evidence that Mike Shanahan wants out of Dan Snyder's pigskin Hell.
There's more to the story here, though.
The statistical reality is that RGIII is the Fall Guy for Shanahan's poor coaching and for the misperformance of one of the worst defenses in football this year.
Sure, RGIII took a big step back after his brilliant rookie season, in which he led the NFL in many measures of passing efficiency -- a unique achievement by a rookie. But even with his regression from the lofty standards of 2012, RGIII has passed the ball at a level this year similar to what we've seen out of Indy's beloved Andrew Luck.
Griffin's 2013 passer rating (82.2) is just a shade behind Luck's 2013 performance of 85.4, and still better than Luck's career rating of 80.3.
Griffin this year has also been more accurate than Luck (60.1% vs. 58.6%) and boasts a better average per attempt (7.0 vs. 6.7).
In other words, RGIII has played fairly well by the standards of a young quarterback. Washington's defense, however, has been a dismal failure by any measure.
Here's a look at where Shanahan's Redskins rank in several key categories, including our Quality Stats:
- No. 31 in Bendability (defensive efficiency)
- No. 31 in Defensive Passer Rating (101.2)
- No. 32 in Defensive Real Passing YPA (7.47)
- No. 32 in scoring (31.3 PPG)
In fact, Washington is on pace to give up 501 points, easily the most in Redskins history. the current record is 432 by the 1954 Redskins (in a 12-game season); the franchise record for defensive futility in the 16-game era was set by the 1998 Redskins (421).
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady couldn't win with that defense.
But let's blame the young QB RGIII. After all, it's good for ESPN's ratings.
If the NFL actually sent a letter to fans about tailgating at Super Bowl XLVIII, it would go like this ...
I'm not sure what took the Bears until Dec. 2013 to retire Ditka's jersey but here were are.
If you missed the ceremony at halftime of the Bears' clobbering of the Cowboys, go here.
It is 100 percent proof that Ditka > Cold.
That's 11 penalties for 90 yards. First down. Time out.
SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 14
from NFL Media Services
A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. ET and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 8, the 14th week of the 2013 season.
- The DENVER BRONCOS and INDIANAPOLIS COLTS each clinched a playoff berth today. The Broncos, who defeated Tennessee 51-28, secured a playoff spot. With the Titans’ loss, the Colts clinched the AFC South division title.
- The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Minnesota Vikings 29-26 in a game that featured six different lead changes in the fourth quarter. That is the most fourth-quarter lead changes in a single game in NFL history.
- The DENVER BRONCOS became the first team in NFL history to have four players score at least 10 touchdowns in the same season. The four Broncos with at least 10 touchdowns this season are KNOWSHON MORENO (12), DEMARYIUS THOMAS (11), JULIUS THOMAS (11) and WES WELKER (10). All four scored a touchdown today.
Quarterback PEYTON MANNING threw four touchdown passes, his seventh game this season with at least four touchdown passes. That is the most such games in a single season in NFL history.
Kicker MATT PRATER converted a 64-yard field goal, the longest field goal in NFL history.
- The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS overcame a 16-point deficit in today’s 27-26 win over Cleveland. The Patriots, who have erased deficits of 10 and 24 points in their previous two games, are thefirst team since the 2000 Kansas City Chiefs to win three in a row by overcoming a 10+ point deficit in each game.
- Philadelphia running back LE SEAN MC COY rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 34-20 win over Detroit. McCoy set the single-game franchise record with 217 rushing yards, surpassing the previous mark of 205 yards by Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE VAN BUREN on November 27, 1949.
McCoy leads the NFL this season with 1,305 rushing yards and can become the first Eagle to lead the league in rushing since Van Buren in 1949.
- Arizona Cardinals wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD had 12 catches for 96 yards and one touchdown in the Cardinals’ 30-10 win over St. Louis. Fitzgerald, who has 10 touchdowns this year, is the ninth player in NFL history to record at least five seasons with 10 or more touchdown receptions. He joins JERRY RICE (nine), RANDY MOSS (nine), MARVIN HARRISON (eight),TERRELL OWENS (eight), CRIS CARTER (six), LANCE ALWORTH (five), BOB HAYES (five) and ART POWELL (five).
- Cleveland wide receiver JOSH GORDON had seven catches for 151 yards and a touchdown in the Browns’ 27-26 loss at New England. Gordon has 774 receiving yards in his past four games, the most in any four-game span in a single season in NFL history. The previous mark was 746 yards by Detroit’s CALVIN JOHNSON set earlier this season.
By Adam Dobrowolski
Cold, Hard Football Facts Chief Mathletics Advisor
For all those feeling deja vu last Monday night against New Orleans, don't worry about seeing a neurologist. You weren't alone. It was yet another game in which a top game came into Qwest Field in primetime. It was yet another game in which the 12th Man and the Legion of Boom shut down their opponent. And most importantly, it was yet another game in which Russell Wilson proved that he's one of the best quarterbacks in a big-game situation.
As a result, he's proven to be the best quarterback EVER through his first two seasons. No kidding, not even when compared Dan Marino's 48 touchdown passes as a second-year player.
While Marino can say he put together one of the best seasons ever with his 1984 campaign, he can't say that looked regression square in the eye and toppled it just any other opponent that traveled to the Great Northwest. DangeRuss can possibly say that after his 120+ Real Quarterback Rating against the Saints moves Seattle one step closer to Mathletics history.
As Stat Pack host Adam Dobrowolski explains, the 2013 Seahawks were due for regression. They put up a 100+ Offensive Passer Rating in 2012, and no team ever improved its OPR the year after putting up triple digits in that stat. However, along with the Broncos and their historic success, the Seahawks are on pace to improve their passer rating from 100.58 to 109.77 this year.
What's even more impressive is that Wilson's led the way in the toughest of fashion, and that's by being deadly efficient against quality opponents. We first discussed this matter on Stat Pack in preview of last year's second Seahawks-49ers showdown of the season. We take a look at it again in preview of this year's second Seahawks-49ers showdown of the season.
Once the dust settled in 2012, though, the numbers looked even better. Wilson put together a 106.23 passer rating against eight quality opponents, including two postseason games. This year? In five games against quality opponents, Wilson owns a 107.04 passer rating. It's hard to envision any other quarterback breaking regression in this fashion, let alone a second-year quarterback.
The more detailed numbers looks as so:
- 2012, rookie year: 6-2 record, 128-of-215 for 1754 yards, 17 TD, 3 INT (106.23 rating)
- 2013, second year: 4-1 record, 88-of-142 for 1217 yards, 10 TD, 2 INT (107.04 rating)
- OVERALL: 10-3 record, 216-of-357 for 2971 yards, 27 TD, 5 INT (106.55 rating)
Keep doubting Russell Wilson as one of the best, as your own risk. Even with the most tried and true testimonies from regression to the mean, Wilson is still proving the doubts wrong.
Beyond that topic, a look back to Week 13 addresses the continuing stink from the Jets pass D and the continuing success of the CHFF-exclusive King of Props. (For the former, we're thinking that this stench might be more pesky and pungent than whatever still lies in Jerry Seinfeld's car.)
As for the look ahead to Week 14, the topics include a ranking of the six best games. This includes three battles between top-10 teams, according to our Quality Stat Power Rankings.
Make sure to check out this week's six pack of topics on Stat Pack!
For those who are interested in checking out bits and pieces of this week's podcasts, every edition will include a "playlist" of sorts breaking down every segment from the podcast.
2:05 -- Mathletics: Wilson's Big-Game Russell
12:05 -- Week 13 Big Board Highlights
18:45 -- King of Props Week 13 Review
21:50 -- The Stat Pack Week 14 Power Rankings
27:55 -- Week 14 Preview via the Intelligence Index
31:25 -- Six Pack of Top Games for Week 14
Since the 1970 NFL merger, Tom Brady leads all NFL quarterbacks in win percentage in the final quarter of the season.
He's 40-8 in the final four games of the regular season in his career. That's an .833 win percentage.
Here's Brady: “Right now is when we say football season starts. The mental toughness, the discipline, the attitude, the work ethic, this is when it starts to show up. Those are intangibles that you don’t really see in September and August when things are fresh and everyone is hopeful. Now you really see where you’re at and you see how you match up against other teams. We have to go out there and prove it and earn it.”
Brady's performance in December/the final quarter of the season is near flawless. It's a stark contrast from Mr. November, Tony Romo.
As far as the final four games of the regular season go, here's what Tony Romo says: "We just need to keep winning games. More than anything, you've got to keep stacking wins together and then see where you're at in the end."
That'll get the troops fired up!
Just for fun, here's Carson Palmer on the final quarter of the season: "There's a month of football left. There's a lot of football left to be played and a lot of crazy things happen this time of year. We just have to keep our heads down, continue to work and take it one game at a time. That's all you can worry about right now."
Keep your heads down? No, Carson; keep your head up so you can see the field!
Whether it comes to on-field performance or off-field quotes, Tom Brady is still the head of the class.
"I'm still thinking about it. I can feel it," Davis said after the game. "It was a crossing route. I make the play, and as soon as I got my hands on the ball, he was grabbing me right there in that space, that area, and I kept telling him, 'Let go, get off me, get off me,' and he wouldn't let me go."
On Monday, Davis Tweeted more: "It should be a league rule saying that a defender can not tackle a player by his penis. #NFL the most painful thing ever! #NFL—
Vernon Davis (@VernonDavis85)
Couldn't agree more.
By: Michael Quinn
Cold Hard Football Facts Eagles Expert (@PJbleedsgreen)
It may not have been perfect, but Chip Kelly's Eagles got their fourth straight win on Sunday when they narrowly defeated the Arizona Cardinals 24-21.
With the victory, the Eagles improve to 7-5 and keep their playoff hopes well in the realm of possibility. Surprise of the year Nick Foles has been exceptional thus far, and no one could be happier than first year coach Kelly, who labeled him the starting quarterback last week for the remainder of the season.
With Foles being once again near-flawless (21/34 237 yards, 3 TD), we once again got to witness the QB/Coach duo pick apart an NFL defense.
We knew heading into this game that the Cardinals possessed some of the best DB's in the game, so Kelly and Foles were sure to get the tight ends involved early and often.
"Those guys contributed," Kelly said, "and we feel like we have three that are talented and when the matchups present themselves, we can exploit it."
And that's exactly what they did. In the first half, Foles took advantage of the mismtaches and threw three touchdown passes to tight ends. Veteran Brent Celek caught one, and rookie Zach Ertz caught the other two.
The offensive production has been a mainstay lately for this team, something that they've been lacking since early 2010. They've been hovering around the same position in Scoreability (or yards per point scored) with a respectable 16.14 YPPS.
Kelly's great offensive mind combined with Foles' sharp decision making has been equaling nothing but success. Foles broke the Eagles record for most pass attempts without an interception (224) this past Sunday, but more importantly he's stayed consistent for the last four games, something not all quarterbacks can do.
"That’s what’s important" the second year passer explained, "A quarterback has to be consistent, especially in this league. Doing that means getting the ball out quick, if you have a shot, take it, recognize when there is pressure, and be smart with the ball".
Where the team has grown on offense, they've grown just as much on defense. Despite facing the deadly trio of Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, the Eagles defense kept the Cardinals to just 21 points. They also got five sacks and forced a whopping three turnovers, proving they're no unit that should be taken lightly.
After almost allowing another fourth quarter comeback, the Eagles Bendability (or yards per point allowed) marker managed to stay the same at 17.6 YPPA. It may not seem stellar, but they rank in the top five in this category, so it definitely matters for them.
Sitting at the top of the NFC East along with the Cowboys, the Eagles must keep pace the rest of the season in order to make the playoffs. It won't be easy, epecially with the NFC North leading Lions coming to town. But if Kelly can bring his team to play, and keep the production going all four quarters, getting his fifth straight win shouldn't be out of the question.
Auburn shocked mighty Alabama 34-28 in an Iron Bowl for the ages, returning a missed field goal 109 yards for the winning score with no time to play before a delirious home crowd erupted on The Plains.
The Tigers toppled college football's greatest dynasty and the defending champs, not to mention their hated arch-rivals. They electrified millions of fans around the country and made Auburn's Chris Davis an instant legend and a household name today.
All of which begets the question: did we just witness the greatest game ever played? It seems we did. We certainly saw a spectacle unique to college football, and reasons why late November is, for football fans, the most wonderful time of the year.
The Cold, Hard Football facts have long called late November the Pigskin Holidays, a period highlighted by the most important games of the year and the massive overconsumption of food and drink centered around major civic and religious celebrations.
The 2013 Pigskin High Holidays have been no exception: the Week 12 Sunday NFL schedule concluded with a pro game for the ages: New England's historic 34-31 comeback victory in overtime against the powerhouse Broncos, a game the Patriots trailed 24-0 at intermission. It was another classic chapter in greatest QB rivalry of all time: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning.
On Thanksgiving Day Thursday the CHFF crew kicked off festivities with the Pigskin Gala, our annual breakfast tailgate feast before the local high school football game. High school football is the center of the Thanksgiving calendar in Massachusetts, and our biggest day of the football year.
We tap the Keg of Beer at 6 a.m., amid Great Pomp and Circumstance, and then feast on homemade venison sausage and other tasty goodies, before the 10 a.m. kickoff of all the local high school football rivalries, among them the oldest in the nation.
The NFL served up a triple header later in the day, highlighted by Detroit's humiliating beat down of the Green Bay Packers.
Then came all the big college rivalries Friday and on Saturday, the last day of November. Michigan nearly gave us a monumental upset over Ohio State earlier in the day, with the Buckeyes stopping Michigan's 2-point conversion in the final minute to win, 42-41.
But Auburn-Alabama certainly topped them all: two hated rivals, including the defending national champ Crimson Tide, in a back-and-forth epic that had a direct impact on the SEC and national title pictures, and that ended in truly historic fashion.
The Pigskin High Holidays always dish out tasty football treats. Remember, past epics like Cal-Stanford and Boston College-Miami all took place here in the Pigskin High Holidays.
But none were more improbable than what Auburn pulled off Saturday night, in an electrifying victory that captured the nation and caused even neutral fans to stand up and cheer.
And none of those games, however thrilling, directly impacted the national title picture the way Auburn-Alabama did Saturday.
Coupled with the improbable finish, it all puts the 2013 Iron Bowl on the short list of greatest games ever, and maybe even put it on top.
Famed college football analyst Paul Finebaum put it best Sunday morning on ESPN: "I'm a writer, and I'm at a loss for words ... but it might be time for Doug Flutie and the Stanford band to step aside."
- FF Champs Radio: Today From 12-2 pm ET
- Saints Top NFL With 6 Quality Wins; 5 Losers With 0 Quality Wins
- Seahawks, Panthers Remain Atop Quality Stats Power Rankings Despite Losses
- Drew Brees: Fastest Player To 50,000 In History
- Cincinnati Dismantles Indianapolis; AFC North Title In Sight
- Lions, Big Runs & Snow - Oh My! Chip's Eagles Overcome Early Woes
- Sad-Sack Houston Texans: The Dumbest Team In Football
- San Francisco 19, Seattle 17: 49ers Serve Notice
- College Football Awards: Regular Season Finale Edition
- Brady on Gronk Injury: "No one feel sorry for us".