Two MNF winners: the Colts and the Cold, Hard Football Facts
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 21, 2009
There were two winners Monday night: The Colts and, of course, the Cold, Hard Football Facts.
There were also two losers Monday night: The Dolphins and, of course, tired old conventional wisdom
You know the story by now: the Colts won in Miami, 27-23, despite the fact that the Dolphins held the ball for a staggering 45:07. Indy held the ball for just 14:53.
The Dolphins also splattered the Colts on the ground, out-rushing Indy 239 to 61.
The conventional wisdom advocates would lead you to believe that controlling the clock and winning the battle on the ground are the two eternal keys to success in the NFL.
These people, like Merril Hoge, should be banned from the airwaves for continuing to spread their filthy ignorance.
As a reader of the Cold, Hard Football Facts, you know that these statements from the pigskin "pundits" are factless canards that have no real correlation to victory. You know that the team that wins the battle of passing effectiveness usually wins the game.
And Peyton Manning & Co. easily won the passing battle Monday night. In fact, it was a statistical blowout:
Manning released a mere 23 pass attempts: but he turned those 23 attempts into 303 yards, a staggering 13.2 YPA and 2 TDs, with 0 INTs.
Miami's Chad Pennington released 33 passes: but he turned those 33 attempts into just 183 yards, a meager 5.5 YPA and 0 TD, with 1 INT.
Without any other information but those two bullet points, we could have told you that Colts won the game. All the rest, the wildcat offense, the dominance on the ground and the beatdown on the play clock were irrelevant.
These factors might have kept the Dolphins in the game. But the team that passed more effectively won. Simple as that.
Some people remain confused by this concept. But Indy's 27-23 win over Miami should provide a textbook example that clears up their confusion.
Basically, this the deal: effective passing almost ALWAYS produces more yards than effective running.
The Dolphins, for all their dominance on the ground, averaged 4.9 yards per attempt. Sure, that's a very nice average per run. But even on a bad day, a team averages about 3.5 yards per attempt. That's a difference of just 1.4 yards per play between a good day and a bad day.
Meanwhile, the Colts were ripping off more than 13 yards everytime they passed the ball. A team that has a bad day passing the ball, as Miami did, averages just 5 yards per attempt. That's a difference of 8 yards per play!
You see what's going on here? There's not much of a difference between a good day and a bad day on the ground. There's often a very big difference between a good day and a bad day through the air.
In other words, this was a statistical bloodbath in Indy's favor, not in Miami's favor. (It didn't hurt that the Colts also ran the ball more effectively than Miami, averaging 5.5 yards on their 11 rush attempts.)
There's a reason why Manning is a Hall of Fame quarterback, folks, and why his Colts have reeled off an unprecedented an unbelievable streak of six-straight 12-win seasons.
They almost always win the passing battle.
A little aside here on the Dolphins: The wildcat didn't lead to victory Monday night, but we gotta admit, it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. The formation makes us long for an earlier era of football, before the T-formation, when teams stocked their backfields with multi-talented players, any of whom could be called upon to run or pass on any given play. Miami, for example, routinely had three different players take snaps from center Monday night: Chad Pennington, Ronnie Brown and rookie Pat White.
It's an offense that relies on deception and misdirection and brings a much-needed injection of college-style entertainment and innovation to the pathetically boring NFL, where every offense looks the same.
Whether it wins consistently or not is another story. But from an entertainment perspective, it definitely pushes Miami up our list of must-watch teams each week.
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