The Monday Morning Hangover: take two six-packs and call us Tuesday
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 18, 2009
(The Monday Morning Hangover is compiled by CHFF contributors and writers from around the blogosphere, including Deshawn Zombie of 18to88.com in Indianapolis, Mark Sandritter in Seattle, Bryn Swartz in Philadelphia, Tony Cocco in his cardboard-box kingdom in Boston, and our own beloved Chief Troll wherever he may be this week.)
This week's Monday Morning Hangover was compiled in sympathy shame for the people of Philly. You want our pigskin prescription? Spend the day of downing the local anaesthetic called Yuengling Lager to supress your pain.
Elsewhere this week: the Saints challenge the 1950 Rams for NFL scoring supremacy, the Ravens got problems, the Rams snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the Bills give the Jets a dirty Sanchez, and just when you think it can't get worse for the Lions, they outwit you with their incompetence.
New Orleans 48, N.Y. Giants 27
How's this for an encouraging sign? The 2009 Saints have averaged 38.4 PPG through their first five outings; the 2007 Patriots, the highest scoring team in modern history, averaged 36.4 PPG through their first five.
If the season ended today (and, of course, it doesn't) the 2009 Saints would go down as second-highest scoring team in NFL history. Here's the top three:
- 1950 Rams – 38.8 PPG
- 2009 Saints – 38.4 PPG
- 2007 Patriots – 36.8 PPG
But don't forget the defense: the Saints, continue to rank No. 1 in Defensive Passer Rating (56.7) and ruined Eli Manning's homecoming.
The Giants entered the game with the second most productive passing attack in football (a stellar 8.18 PYPA). But the Saints held Manning and the Giants to their worst performance of the season (14 for 31, 45.2%, 178 yards, 5.7 YPA, 1 TD, 1 INT, 61.0 rating).
Offensively, Drew Brees, of course, played a near-flawless game (23 of 30, 76.7%, 369 yards, 12.3 YPA, 4 TD, 0 INT, 156.8 rating) as he abused the New York pass defense
The Giants entered the game second in the NFL in Defensive Passer Rating (60.3). After one game against the Saints, they're now 11th (79.9).
Bottom line: the Saints are one well-rounded team and they loudly declared that the road to the Super Bowl goes through the Big Easy by turning the NFL's game of the week into a laugher by halftime. – TC
New England 59, Tennessee 0
The Patriots ripped off franchise records for points and yards (619) Sunday. But are they running up the score?
Tom Brady's effort (29 of 34, 380 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT, 152.8 rating) included an NFL-record five touchdown passes in the second quarter alone. But he amassed his impressive stat line in just 35 minutes of play before being replaced by rookie QB Brian Hoyer early in the third quarter.
The biggest difference between the 13-3 Titans of 2008 and the hapless 0-6 crew so far in 2009 is the rapid decline of Tennessee's pass defense. The Titans ranked No. 3 in Defensive Passer Rating (69.2) in their 13-3 season of 2008. They're No. 31 (117.5) today – a mark which could go down as the worst in history (the 2008 Lions hold the record at 110.8; the 2009 Lions are even worse, at 118.7).
The Titans have surrendered 19 touchdown passes this year – a rate which puts them on pace to surrender 51 touchdown tosses this year. That mark, too, would be an NFL record for futility.
Tennessee can't get it done offensively, either. The tandem of Kerry Collins and Vince Young completed just 2 of 14 passes for
-7 yards – believe it or not, they did not suffer a single sack. – TC
Minnesota 33, Baltimore 31
It's easy to talk about Brett Favre getting the better of Joe Flacco. But that chatter only masks the real story behind this mid-season classic:
The Ravens have a terrible defense.
Sure they lost on Sunday because of a missed field goal at the gun, but their true undoing, and the cause of their third consecutive loss, was another defensive collapse late in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens have surrendered 21.7 PPG, 21st in the league and they have suffered an 89.1 Defensive Passer Rating (20th) this year. But if you take out the performance against Cleveland, and look only at the games against real NFL teams, Baltimore's Defensive Passer Rating jumps to 102 with nine TDs allowed and just three picks.
The Baltimore defense folded like a road map in the fourth quarter, allowing the Vikings to score on all three possessions (13 points), ruining a furious 21-point quarter for the Ravens offense.
You could argue the pendulum has swung too far one way for a franchise that's been all about defense for a decade: Baltimore has spent four of its last five first-round picks on offensive players, as well as two of its last three second-round picks on offensive players.
The end result is that the Ravens have scored more points than any team in the AFC (169). But they've lost their identity and they've lost three straight and they sit at 3-3 and third place in the AFC North.
The Vikings, meanwhile, also have serious questions on defense despite their 6-0 record.
Sporting a healthy lead, the Vikings surrendered touchdowns on Baltimore's first three drives of the fourth quarter – including a period of four plays that covered 106 yards and produced 14 points – and were saved only when Baltimore's final field goal attempt sailed wide.
The Vikings surrender 20.2 PPG (18th) but have held just two teams (the hapless Rams and Lions) under 20 points. At this pace, they'll need a few more Favre miracles to live up to expectations this year. – DZ
Atlanta 21, Chicago 14
The entire nation got a textbook look at the inefficiency of the Jay Cutler style Sunday night.
We lamented Cutler's inefficiency in the off-season. Here was a guy who cranked out tons of yards week after week – but little in the way of payoff on the scoreboard.
It sounds a lot like Chicago's loss to Atlanta here:
Cutler outdueled Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (300 passing yards to 185 passing yards).
The Bears ran the ball better (83 yards to 68).
And, of course, the Bears won the battle of total offense (373 to 253).
But the Falcons put more points on the board.
If you look at the game through the prism of our Scoreability Index, our measure of team-wide scoring efficiency, the Bears needed a daunting 26.6 Yards Per Point Scored Sunday night.
It's exactly the same problem Cutler's old team, the Broncos, faced last year, when they finished 28th in Scoreability (17.1 YPPS).
The game ended fittingly enough: the Bears drove all the way from their own 12 in the final three minutes, only to turn the ball over on downs at the Atlanta 10 ... a final orgy of empty yards that pad the stats but not the win column. – KJB
Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 14
Passing dominates the modern NFL and every game is a gun fight.
But somebody should tell the Browns. Cleveland showed up Sunday with a rusty pocket knife. The Steelers sported a bazooka.
As much as Browns fans whined about the putrid play of Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson has been worse. Quinn this year has a better completion percentage, higher average per attempt and higher passer rating than Anderson:
- Quinn, 60.8%; Anderson, 44.4%
- Quinn, 5.4 YPA; Anderson, 4.7 YPA
- Quinn, 62.9 rating; Anderson, 41.7 rating
Anderson's 9 for 24, 122 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT performance Sunday afternoon was actually an improvement over his recent play. Oh, he fumbled twice as well. Things were even worse than they appeared for the Browns on Sunday as they let Josh Cribbs throw twice, and his only completion was to the Steelers.
In the past two games, the Browns have now completed passes on just 23.9 percent of drop backs, for an astoundingly bad 2.8 YPA (adjusted for sacks). The only ones getting stabbed by the Browns are their fans.
Meanwhile the Steelers cruised behind 417 yards passing from Ben Roethlisberger. It was the second biggest passing day of his career, as he ran his record to 10-0 against Cleveland in his career. He definitely brings the heavy ammunition: Big Ben averages more than 9.0 YPA vs. the Browns in his career. – DZ
Kansas City 14, Washington 6
Ryan Succop is Mr. Irrelevant no longer. The last player taken in the 2009 draft, Kansas City's kicker booted four field goals as the Chiefs, and rookie head coach Todd Haley, captured their first win of 2009.
It wasn't pretty: the game featured zero touchdowns, six field goals, and a late safety by the Chiefs to give them a respectable-looking 14 points.
As for Washington, the lowlights were many:
the hapless Redskins lost to a winless team for the fourth time this year
Jason Campbell was benched at halftime for veteran Todd Collins, who's so old he fears the Feds are going to take away his Medicare
and, we can't make this up, Jim Zorn was stripped of his play calling duties after the game by team executives.
Other than that, a pretty good day for the Redskins. – BS
Oakland 13, Philadelphia 9
Philadelphia should turn its embarrassing Week 6 performance into a Christmas song this year: they allowed six sacks, dropped five passes, committed four penalties, kicked three field goals, missed two field goals, and made just one trip into the red zone.
The Eagles also converted just two of 16 third-down opportunities as Oakland's defense harassed Donovan McNabb all day long.
Tight end Zach Miller scored the game's only touchdown, with an 86-yard reception in the first quarter, the sixth longest reception in the history of the Raiders. – BS
Green Bay 26, Detroit 0
Just when you think the Lions can't get worse, the Lions prove you wrong.
They went a perfect 0 for 10 on third downs and suffered an embarrassing shutout against the Packers for the first time in 63 years. The Lions have also lost 19 straight games in Green Bay.
But there is a bright side for the Lions: Daunte Culpepper suffered an injured hamstring in the third quarter, leaving the offense in the hands of third-stringer Drew Stanton (who promptly threw two picks).
For the Packers, Donald Driver passed Sterling Sharpe to become the franchise's all-time receptions leader (602), while Aaron Rodgers threw for 358 yards and posted a triple-digit passer rating (113.7) for the third consecutive week.
But sacks remain a huge problem for Rodgers: he was taken down five times by Detroit's inept pass defense and has suffered a league-high 25 sacks. – BS
Houston 28, Cincinnati 17
The Texans have given away two games this year with running plays at the goal line.
They should have put the ball in the hands of Matt Schuab, who torched the Bengals Sunday with arguably the best day of his professional career.
His four TD passes tied a personal best, and his 392 yards were the second most in his career. The Texans now stand at 5-1 when Schuab throws for at least 320 yards and they're 5-0 when he posts a rating of 121 or higher. Sunday, he posted a 124.2 passer rating. His efforts pulled the Texans back to the .500 mark. Had they relied on his connections with Andre Johnson in the clutch in recent weeks, they might be 5-1.
The game marked a step backward for the Bengals, who committed three turnovers.
Despite their sparkling 4-2 record, the Bengals have been sloppy with the football, committing at least two turnovers in five of their six games. They've committed 11 turnovers and are -3 in turnover differential.
For a team that plays close games (until this week, every game this year was decided by seven or less), the Bengals have been too careless with the ball. – DZ
Buffalo 16, N.Y. Jets 13
The Bills don't do too many things well, but pass defense is one of the highlights.
Buffalo ranked No. 8 in Defensive Passer Rating entering their AFC East battle against the Jets. They rank No. 2 today, after forcing the Jets into six picks, including five by rookie QB Mark Sanchez (10 of 29, 119 yards, 0 TD, 5 INT, 8.3 rating).
Only the unbeaten Saints (56.7 DPR) are better on pass defense than the struggling 2-4 Bills (58.5).
Sanchez, meanwhile, is in a free fall: after guiding the Jets to a 3-0 start by playing relatively mistake-free football, he's now thrown 8 interceptions and just 1 TD pass during New York's current three-game losing streak.
Like the Dolphins in their loss to the Colts a couple weeks ago, the Jets proved that running the ball well is futile if you don't also pass it well or care for it like a small child. The J-Men rolled up 318 yards on the ground on 40 attempts (7.95 YPA), but six turnovers and 14 penalties were too much to overcome in the overtime loss. – TC
Arizona 27, Seattle 3
There are fast starts. And then there's what the Cardinals did to the Seahawks in the first quarter Sunday.
Arizona dominated the opening frame: they held the ball for all but 43 seconds, gained nine first downs, scored two touchdowns and converted a perfect 5 of 5 third downs, while Kurt Warner completed all 12 of his pass attempts.
The Seahawks picked up a total of 3 yards in the first quarter and never recovered against their divisional foes.
Despite a pair of blow-out wins this year (28-0 over St. Louis; 41-0 over Jacksonville), the Seahawks are just 2-4 and in third place in the woeful NFC West - MS
Jacksonville 23, St. Louis 20
For those of you keeping score at home, the win for Jacksonville also marked the 16th consecutive loss for St. Louis. On the bright side, the Rams did post a very respectable Scoreablity rating of 13.1, a drastic improvement on their awful season average of 41.3.
The Jaguars, however, can't feel good about themselves. They lost 41-0 last week at a very questionable Seattle team and, here at home against the worst team in football, they needed an overtime period and a coin flip go their way to pull out the win. It's hard to believe this team is actually 3-3. – MS
Carolina 28, Tampa Bay 21
Jake Delhomme hasn't exactly been Peyton Manning this season but Sunday, he turned in a performance that would embarrass even JaMarcus Russell.
Delhomme completed just nine passes and mustered 3.1 YPA while also throwing a pick six. But 267 yards rushing lifted the Panthers to the narrow win over the winless Bucs. – MS
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