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Week 5, 2016 Game Scripts: The 49ers Keep On Running


There were no big comebacks this week, but a few games where the Game Script exceeded the final margin. The Cowboys blew out the Bengals, and led 28-0 entering the fourth quarter; the game ended, 28-14.

With three minutes to go in the Broncos/Falcons game, Atlanta led 23-6. The Falcons were in control for most of the game, leading 20-3 mid-way through the third quarter. Denver scored ten points in the final three minutes, to give a not-as-close-as-it-looked final score of 23-16.

The Packers led 23-9 with a few minutes left in the game, before the Giants scored a touchdown. New York trailed by 8 points at times later in the game, but last trailed by 7 points with the ball with eight minutes left in the second quarter.

Below are the Week 5 Game Scripts data:

TeamH/ROppBoxscorePFPAMarginGame ScriptPassRunP/R RatioOp_POp_ROpp_P/R Ratio

Last week, I wrote that the 49ers and Cowboys engaged in a very run-heavy matchup, with the teams combining for 68 runs and just 58 pass plays. Well, in week 5, San Francisco did it again, this time with Arizona: the teams combined for 73 runs and 67 pass plays. It was the first game this year with over 70 runs, which means the 49ers have been involved in the two most run-heavy games of the season by raw total. This is what happens when Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton take the field. Of course, for the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick is now back in the lineup.

The Bucs were very run-happy on Monday Night Football, in a close win over Carolina. It worked, but it doesn’t make it less interesting that Tampa Bay gave Jacquizz Rodgers — signed on a 1-year, $760,000 deal — 30 carries, the same number of passes thrown by number one overall pick Jameis Winston. On Tampa Bay’s first two drives, Rodgers had 13 carries for 62 yards; over the rest of the game, he had 17 carries for 39 yards. Against the Rams, we saw Tampa Bay going extremely pass-heavy in a similarly close game; it appears as though the Bucs are still figuring out their identity.

Finally, the Titans also checked the run-heavy box this week. Marcus Mariota had 7 carries for 60 yards, and the running backs were great, too: DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry rushed 34 times for 175 yards. Mariota was also efficient when passing; combined with holding a lead, there just wasn’t much reason for Tennessee to throw against the Dolphins.

The Ravens went extremely pass-happy given that Baltimore’s game with Washington had an even Game Script. Baltimore gained just 188 net passing yards on 50 dropbacks, and did that despite the elements (it was very windy), the game script, and the running game (Terrance West had 95 yards on 11 carries) all suggesting otherwise. In a related note, offensive coordinator Marc Trestman was fired after the game, and will be replaced by… Marty Mornhinweg.

In winning efforts, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and New England all came off as pass-heavy given their Game Scripts. But given Andrew Luck and the lack of any emphasis on the running game in Indianapolis, Ben Roethlisberger and the Jets defense (good against the run, horrific against the pass), and the return of Tom Brady, those results aren’t too surprising.