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Ryan posted his 2nd monster game in three weeks on TNF.

Ryan posted his 2nd monster game in three weeks on TNF.

In 2013, the largest Game Script was 23.8, courtesy of the Chiefs 45-10 blowout in Washington. But that game was child’s play compared to the NSFW game that was Atlanta/Tampa Bay on Thursday Night.

The Falcons finished with a Game Script of +32.5, the sixth highest in NFL history. Matt Ryan finished the day 21 of 24 for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns. Incredibly, Atlanta turned it over 4 times, although that didn’t stop the Falcons from finishing +1 in the turnover margin.

In a normal week, Indianapolis would stand out for its thrashing of the Jaguars: the Colts posted a Game Script of 19.8, which is even large by Indianapolis/Jacksonville standards. Last year, the Colts finished with Game Scripts of 15.5 and 17.8 against the Jags. What’s weird, though, is that Indianapolis — which has a tendency to get very conservative at times — has thrown on about 60% of its plays in the team’s last three games against the Jaguars, despite monster leads. Andrew Luck fantasy owners, take note, although I’m not quite sure what this says about the Colts mindset.

The Bengals continued their dominant ways in week 3, holding an average margin of victory of 14.8 points against the Titans. Cincinnati had a Game Script of +8.5 in week 2, while the Titans had -8.5 Game Script in week 2, so I guess 8.5 + -8.5 = 14.8? Leave the math to the professional bloggers, folks.

The table below shows the Game Scripts data from each team in Week 3:

TeamH/ROppBoxscorePFPAMarginGame ScriptPassRunP/R RatioOp_POp_ROpp_P/R Ratio
  • On Monday, I wrote about the Eagles odd 3-0 start. While the team did fall behind early against Washington, the game was essentially even, as Philadelphia finished with a Game Script of -0.1.
  • The Cowboys had the big comeback of Week 3, although overcoming a 21-point deficit sounds slightly more impressive than winning with a Game Script of -5.6. Dallas came back pretty quickly, and it was a 1-point game in the third quarter. But what is really interesting is that Dallas finished with 29 carries and just 23 pass attempts. Last year, Dallas had just one game with notably more runs than passes: a victory against St. Louis! But in that game, the Cowboys had a Game Script of +15.4, which made a lot of sense. A Game Script of -5.6 usually means passing on 65-70% of all plays, and the Cowboys are known for their pass-heavy mentality. Last week, the team also ran on about 44% of all plays, but that was with a Game Script of +8.5. DeMarco Murray is playing like the best running back in the league when he’s not fumbling (which has been every game), and that appears to be influencing the play-calling in Dallas. For now.
  • The Rams (against Dallas) were one of two teams to finish with a higher pass ratio than their opponent despite having the positive Game Script.1 The other was not a surprise. The Bears, like the Packers in week 2, and the Raiders in week 1, chose to run on only 30-33% of all plays when facing the Jets. With that run defense, I don’t blame opponents: Someone, sometime, will have a good game against New York on the ground, but for now, opponents have rushed for just 165 yards and no touchdowns in three games, while averaging only 2.8 yards per carry.
  • A Game Script of +4.4 usually means the leading team will throw on about 53% of plays and the trailing team will throw on about 64% of plays. But in the Miami-Kansas City game, the difference in pass ratios was a whopping 30%. We know that the Dolphins can get very pass-happy, so a pass ratio of 72% without Knowshon Moreno isn’t too surprising. But the Chiefs — a team coached by Andy Reid — finishing with 41 runs and just 30 passes in a competitive game? With Jamaal Charles injured? I can’t quite explain it, either. Knile Davis rushed 32 times, and running back Joe McKnight also caught six passes for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Very little about this game mad sense, other than yet another disastrous statistical performance from Ryan Tannehill. Over the last 2+ years, Miami ranks 30th in Net Yards per Attempt, ahead of only the Jets and Jaguars. And this year, Tannehill is averaging an anemic 4.29 NY/A — Moreno could average that carrying the ball, right? — which ranks him dead last among starting quarterbacks. Of course, things in the AFC East are pretty ugly right now. Other than Tannehill, the starting quarterback with the worst NY/A average in the NFL is Tom Brady. And according to ESPN’s QBR, Tannehill, Geno Smith, and EJ Manuel are the three worst quarterbacks through three weeks.

    1. I’m excluding Philadelphia/Washington here, which had a de facto Game Script of zero. []
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