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Week 6 (2014) Game Scripts: Bucs Blown out Again

It was only back in week 3 when the Falcons posted a Game Script of 32.5 against the Bucs. In week 6, the Ravens nearly duplicated that effort in Tampa Bay!

Joe Flacco threw two touchdowns to Torrey Smith in the first 6 minutes of the game. He would hit Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro before the quarter was over, becoming just the second quarterback in NFL history with four first-quarter touchdown passes. The other? Tommy Kramer in 1986 against the Packers.

Baltimore’s Game Script produced the 2nd best Game Script of the year; meanwhile the Eagles’ 27-0 shutout against the Giants came with a Game Script of +17.1, the 7th highest mark this season.

The table below lists the Game Scripts data from each game in week 6. As is customary around these parts, I’ve highlighted the Bengals/Panthers game in blue as a result of their tie (you can move your cursor over that row to see it more clearly, not that I know why you would want to).

TeamH/ROppBoxscorePFPAMarginGame ScriptPassRunP/R RatioOp_POp_ROpp_P/R Ratio

As always, let’s look at which teams were particularly run- or pass-heavy despite a Game Script that might normally dictate otherwise:

  • The Colts oscillate between being pass-happy under Andrew Luck and run-heavy under Pep Hamilton. Against Houston, the Colts were generally in control of the game, and jumped out to an early lead. But Indianapolis wound up being very pass-heavy, perhaps because the team averaged just 2.7 yards per carry on 35 attempts. Luck, meanwhile, threw for 370 yards and 3 touchdowns, and T.Y. Hilton had the rare “perfect” game — catching all nine targets — while going for 223 yards.
  • The Broncos/Jets data was also pretty unusual. Against the Jets, teams usually are very pass-heavy, but there was a game theory element to this game. Facing Denver, New York dared the team to run the ball, taking linebackers out of the box in the hopes of forcing Peyton Manning to switch to runs. That strategy was successful in some regards — the Broncos ran on nearly 50% of their offensive plays — but not in others (Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson rushed 32 times for 138 yards). Meanwhile, New York usually tries to be run-heavy, but Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, and Bilal Powell rushed 13 times for just 20 yards. Sure, a Game Script of +5.9 for Denver would dictate some of the strategies described in this paragraph, but the ratios here were unusual considering the two teams involved.
  • There were three games this week where teams won with a negative Game Script. In each case, the winning team — despite the negative Game Script — was more run-heavy than the losing team. In one instance, the negative Game Script team was Dallas, which makes sense: on the legs and back of DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys have been run heavy this year. The San Diego/Oakland game provided another example: there, as we’ve seen before, the Chargers exhibited a run-heavy philosophy despite the great year out of Philip Rivers. Branden Oliver rushed 26 times for 101 yards, and San Diego is intent on running the ball regardless of the Game Script. The final game was San Francisco/St. Louis; the 49ers run-heavy nature was a bit trickier to understand in that game. Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde combined for 27 carries for just 52 yards, while Colin Kaepernick gained 343 yards on 36 pass attempts with no sacks.
  • Red

    Is it just me, or have there been more blowouts this year? Every week it seems like there are several games pretty much over at halftime.

  • roger

    I had Washington +3.5 and the Jets +7.5. Both were covering by a half point with 20 seconds left in the game and possession of the ball and both threw pick-sixes. What are the odds? Sorry, to quote an old punch line, I’m telling everybody.

    • I remember thinking it was strange that Rashad Johnson didn’t just go down. I thought the same thing about Dontae Johnson in the Niners-Rams game. Going down effectively ends the game with a few subsequent, safe kneels. Scoring means another kickoff and some garbage time exposure to potential injury. It’s similar to the feeling I get when I see a coach run a guy up the middle for 3 yards to end the first half.