In week 3, Arizona picked off two Colin Kaepernick passes and returned them for touchdowns… in the first six minutes of the game. The Cardinals led 28-0 before we were halfway through the second quarter! On average, Arizona led by 24.3 points during every second of game play, the most dominant Game Script so far in 2015 (it would rank 5th last year).
But while the Cardinals provided the biggest blowout of week three, it was hardly the only one. A full half of all 16 games had a double digit Game Script, and only the Jets managed to finish within one score of their opponent. Three other games finished with double-digit margins; there simply weren’t that many nail biters last weekend.
The Falcons, though, did pull off an impressive upset: Atlanta trailed 14-0 midway through the first quarter against the Cowboys, and then 21-7 midway through the second. Atlanta even went into halftime down 11, but scored three second half touchdowns while shutting out the Cowboys to pull away with the victory. In the process, the Falcons became just the 11th team since 1990 to trail by at least 11 at halftime and still win by at least 11 points.
Below are the week 3 game scripts:
|Team||H/R||Opp||Boxscore||PF||PA||Margin||Game Script||Pass||Run||P/R Ratio||Op_P||Op_R||Opp_P/R Ratio|
Giving Up Early
I don’t particularly fault the 49ers for deciding early on that this wasn’t their day, and I certainly can’t argue with the Bears if they thought Jimmy Clausen upsetting the Seahawks in Seattle was hopeless. But both teams got blown out… and ran more than they passed! It’s not exactly unheard of for teams to lose by 25+ points and run more than pass, but it didn’t happen even a single time last year before happening twice in week three.
Passing With The Lead
Arizona, Denver, and New England graded out as the most pass-happy victors last weekend. The Broncos threw on 69% of all plays, while no other victorious team attempted passes on more than 60% of plays. Peyton Manning had a strong game, but that ratio may have been more about an anemic running attack, as C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman rushed 15 times for just 31 yards. Neither the Patriots nor Cardinals threw a lot in the abstract, but both teams played with enormous Game Scripts: as a result, they were much more pass-happy than you would expect an average team to have been.
Pass-Happy Games In Losing Efforts
The Lions were about as pass-happy as the Broncos, and for a similar reason: Joique Bell and Ameer Abdulla ran 18 times for just 29 yards, leaving the game in the hands of Matthew Stafford. Meanwhile, the Jets and the Browns were the two most pass-happy teams regardless of Game Script, but still passed much more than you would expect. But again, such a game plan wasn’t really built around the quarterback as much as the lack of a running game. The Jets were without Chris Ivory (active, but had zero carries), so the Game Script resulted in Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing 58 passes. But a large number of those were short passes to replace the running game, and Fitzpatrick had a whopping 15 failed completions. The Browns rushed just 14 times, and other than a 17-yard carry by Isaiah Crowell, gained just 22 yards on the other 13 carries.