Trivia: Most Receiving Yards in Final 16 Regular Season Games

July 31, 2014 History

I’m very short on time this week, so here’s a fun trivia question. Last week, I noted that Justin Blackmon gained 1,201 receiving yards in his last 16 games. As it turns out, if Blackmon never plays in another NFL game, that would set the record for most receiving yards in a player’s final sixteen […]

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The 2013 San Diego Offense Was Uniquely Efficient

July 28, 2014 Statistics

The Denver Broncos set numerous offensive records last year. The Chip Kelly Eagles had a fascinating offense that was lethal for stretches. The Saints offense was its usual efficient self, and the Chicago Bears under Marc Trestman had one of the best offensive years in franchise history. Yet all of those teams had at least […]

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Thoughts on Running Back Yards per Carry

July 23, 2014 Rushing

Regular readers know that I’m skeptical of using “yards per carry” to evaluate running backs. That’s because YPC is not very consistent from year to year. But it’s also not consistent even within the same year. For example, In 2013, Giovani Bernard rushed 92 times for 291 yards in even-numbered games last year, producing a […]

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Yards per Route Run, Yards per Target, and Targets per Route Run

July 21, 2014 Receiving

Yards per Route Run, a metric tabulated by Pro Football Focus, is one of my favorite statistics to use to examine wide receiver performance.  To me, it’s the wide receiver version of yards per pass, as it takes production and divides that by opportunity.  However, there are some folks who prefer Yards per Target to […]

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The Best Adjusted Rushing Teams of All Time

July 18, 2014 Rushing

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a list of the best rushing teams in 2013 using Adjusted Yards per Carry. That metric, you may recall, is calculated as follows: Rushing Yards + 20*RushingTDs + 9*RushingFirstDowns We can use the same formula to grade every team across history. To account for era and quantity (having […]

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Rushing EPA and Yards per Carry

July 15, 2014 Rushing

Today I want to look at how traditional rushing statistics compare to rushing Expected Points Added, one of the main stats used over at Advanced Football Analytics. In my analysis, I used the EPA numbers for each team in each season from 2002 to 2013. Stickiness from year to year Yards per carry is not […]

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The Top Receivers And The Men Who Threw It To Them II

July 14, 2014 Quarterbacks

One of my first posts at Football Perspective was one of my favorites: the top receivers and the men who threw it to them. I like referencing that post from time to time, so I decided to update the numbers through the 2013 season. I looked at all regular season games since 19601, and calculated […]

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Up, Up, and Away: The Most Recent Vegas Futures Odds

July 9, 2014 Statistics

A few days ago, I was in Vegas with friends and without a car. So I took the chance to shop NFL futures odds to the extent that I felt it was worth it to walk to a given sportsbook. I decided the 3+ mile walk to the Superbook was not worth the opportunity cost […]

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Examining the variation in rushing throughout NFL history

July 8, 2014 Rushing

There is no doubt that in modern times, passing is king. But until pretty recently, we were at the peak level in NFL history with respect to individual rushing performance. On the team level, rushing production ebbed and flows, with high points in the late ’40s, mid-’50s, and mid-’70s, but on the individual level, the […]

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Analyzing the rushing stats of each team in 2013

July 6, 2014 Rushing

A couple of weeks ago, Brian Burke of Advanced Football Analytics (formerly Advanced NFL Stats) wrote a great post on the value of a first down. From that post, we concluded that the marginal value of a first down is 9 yards, and we’ve previously determined that the marginal value of a touchdown is 20 […]

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Average margins in Wins and Losses

June 30, 2014 History

Okay, some fun trivia to kick off the week. Do you know which team last year had the worst points differential in games they lost? I’ll put the answer in spoiler tags. Where does that rank historically? I thought it would be fun to look at the teams since 1950 with the worst average margin […]

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Which Passers Were Most Effective on Third Down in in 2013?

June 26, 2014 Quarterbacks

Last off-season, I looked at passing performance on “third downs”, and I thought it would be fun to revisit that idea this summer. As before, I am putting that term in quotes because I’m including fourth down data in the analysis, but don’t want to write third and fourth down throughout this post. To grade […]

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The Value of a First Down

June 25, 2014 Statgeekery

What is the value of a first down? By that I mean, how many marginal yards is a first down actually worth? Here’s another way to word the question: If 3 first downs and 80 yards are worth X, then 2 first downs and [???] many yards are equal to X? Calculating the marginal value […]

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2013 Rearview Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt

June 17, 2014 Quarterbacks

Every year at Footballguys.com, I publish an article called Rearview QB, which adjusts the fantasy football statistics for quarterbacks (and defenses) for strength of schedule. I’ve also done the same thing for years (including last season) using ANY/A instead of fantasy points, which helps us fully understand the best and worst real life performances each […]

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The Greatest QB of All-Time V, Part II: Career Rankings

June 10, 2014 G.O.A.T.

Yesterday, I explained the methodology behind the formula involved in ranking every quarterback season since 1960. Today, I’m going to present the career results. Converting season value to career value isn’t as simple as it might seem. Generally, we don’t want a player who was very good for 12 years to rank ahead of a […]

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Trivia: The 2014 49ers And Their Star Receivers

June 8, 2014 Statistics

Colin Kaepernick won’t be hurting for weapons this year, which may be why San Francisco decided to give him a massive contract extension prior to the season. So will this be a career year for the young quarterback? Even if he plays well, he may not throw for 4,000 yards due to game script; after […]

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Andrew Luck and Quarterback Help

June 6, 2014 Quarterbacks

It’s no secret that Andrew Luck’s efficiency numbers aren’t quite up to par with his reputation. Over the past two seasons, Luck ranks just 18th in ANY/A, far behind some of the other young quarterbacks in the NFL. Nick Foles, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick rank in the top 6th in that metric, Robert Griffin […]

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Graphic: Interceptions, Passing Touchdowns, NY/A, and Wins From 1950 to 2013

June 5, 2014 History

It’s fun to play with weighted averages to see how the NFL has (or hasn’t) evolved. For example, the Giants led the league with interceptions: as a result, 5.8% of all interceptions thrown in the NFL last year were by Eli Manning or Curtis Painter. Since the Giants went 7-9 in 2013, that means 5.8% […]

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Yards per Target Relative to Teammates

June 4, 2014 Receiving

Josh Gordon led the league with 1,646 receiving yards last year. That’s impressive: perhaps even more impressive is that he did it on “only” 159 targets, meaning he averaged 10.35 yards per target.1 But the most impressive part, of course, was that he did it for the Browns. You know, the Browns, quarterbacked by a […]

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Analyzing the leaders in targets in 2013

June 2, 2014 Receiving

Comparing wide receivers across teams is tricky. Pierre Garcon led the NFL in targets,1 but that’s partially because Washington didn’t have much help at wide receiver.2 Vincent Jackson was 2nd in percentage of team targets (we’ll get to who was first in a few minutes) for a similar reason: Jackson is a very good receiver, […]

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Trivia: Receiving Yards per Game Over a Three-Year Period

June 1, 2014 Receiving

Over the last three years, Calvin Johnson has 5,137 receiving yards in 46 games.  That’s an average of 111.7 receiving yards per game, the most by any player over a three-year stretch in NFL history.  That mark comes with a bit of an asterisk, of course, as the Lions have attempted 2,040 passes since the […]

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Bill Belichick And Coaching Records Against The Spread

May 1, 2014 Coaches

Last week at Five Thirty Eight, Nate Silver noted that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has produced an excellent record against the spread. He also checked in football’s version of Pop, Bill Belichick, and came to the same conclusion: Belichick hasn’t just been great, but he’s been great against the spread, too. My […]

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Percentage of Team Rushing Yards by Running Back

April 25, 2014 History

Peyton Manning’s time in Indianapolis was peppered with record-breaking moments that have been very well-publicized. But a relatively unknown record occurred during the nascent days of the Manning Era. In 1999, Edgerrin James rushed for 1,553 yards, an impressive accomplishment in any era. But here’s what’s really crazy: Manning was second in the team in […]

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The St. Louis Rams Are Hosting A Horrible Contest

April 16, 2014 Statgeekery

In case you haven’t heard, the St. Louis Rams are running a contest to predict the team’s 2014 schedule. lThe prize is $100,000, which sounds nice until you realize that to win, you must accurately predict not only the opponent each week, but the location and the exact day of the game. Nobody is going to […]

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Is there any hope in Oakland for Matt Schaub?

April 9, 2014 Quarterbacks

Is Matt Schaub washed up? Is he the next Jake Delhomme? For the first six seasons of his Texans career, Schaub was an above-average quarterback in both Net Yards per Attempt and Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt. But last year was disastrous in a way that his poor conventional stats fail to completely capture (for […]

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Scoring Distribution Since 1940

April 3, 2014 History

We all know that scoring is on the rise. The 2013 season was the highest scoring season in NFL history, just narrowly edging out the … 1948, 1950, and 2012 seasons. Scoring soared in the aftermath of World War II, but quickly dropped off in the middle of the 1950s. Scoring fell to its nadir […]

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Is ESPN’s QBR the best measure of quarterback play?

March 31, 2014 Quarterbacks

One of the very first posts at Football Perspective measured how various passing stats were correlated with wins.  One of the main conclusions from that post was that passer rating, because of its heavy emphasis on completion percentage and interception rate, was not the ideal way to measure quarterback play. But what about ESPN’s Total […]

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2013 Fumble Recovery Data Has Jets, Cowboys at Extremes

March 27, 2014 Statistics

There are few statistics more random in all of sports than fumble recoveries. When a football is on the ground, it’s not the case that better teams are more likely to fall on the ball than bad teams: in the NFL, recovering fumbles is nearly all luck and little skill. This is a fact widely […]

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Which Quarterbacks Produced Peak Years For Their Receivers?

March 23, 2014 History

Some quarterbacks and wide receivers just go together. Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Dan Marino and Mark Clayton and Mark Duper. Joe Namath and Don Maynard. John Hadl and Lance Alworth. But quarterbacks play with lots of receivers, and receivers generally play with several quarterbacks. We don’t remember most combinations, but that doesn’t mean they […]

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How Bad Was Ray Rice in 2013?

March 15, 2014 Rushing

The 2013 season was a disaster for Ray Rice, and 2014 isn’t off to a very good start, either. Last season, Rice carried 214 times for just 660 yards and four touchdowns, producing an anemic 3.1 yards per carry average. On November 9th, I asked whether Rice was already washed up; at the time it […]

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