AFC North Stats ‘N At, Week 10 Edition
Week 10 in the AFC North began with a couple of wild games in the 1:00 pm time slot. Jacksonville beat the Ravens in Baltimore, snapping a 13-game road losing streak. They wouldn’t have been able to do it except for a couple of things.
Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and choked up a fumble. A wide receiver I’ve never heard up gave up another one. Both were lost. Despite this, the Ravens were poised to win the game. The score was 20-19. There were six seconds left in the game. Jacksonville was out of time outs.
Blake Bortles took the snap and promptly fell over backwards. That would have been it, except Elvis Dumervil grabbed Bortle’s facemask as he attempted to get back up, and was called for a 15-yard penalty. Since a game can’t end on a defensive penalty, the extra play plus the penalty yardage allowed the Jaguars’ rookie kicker to try for a 53-yard field goal. He nailed it. Jaguars win, 22-20. Unbelievable. All I can say is the Jaguars probably feel right now that the Josh Scobee trade was the smartest one ever made by any front office, anywhere… (For the record, the NFL now says the Jaguars never should have gotten the extra play because of an uncalled false start penalty, so the Ravens should have won. Their luck seems to have run out this season.)
Next up was Browns at Steelers. We all know how that came out. Our backup quarterback broke records, but didn’t break anything else, contrary to the usual storyline this season. The Steelers head into their bye week in much better shape than they ought to be by rights, considering the circumstances. The Browns also head into their bye week, probably wondering who their coaching staff will consist of after it is over. (For the record, owner Jimmie Haslam says he won’t be making any changes at this point.)
I suppose I ought to try to be more neutral, but I can’t. I have to report it gave me great pleasure to type that “1” in the Bengals’ win/loss column. Probably more pleasure than the people watching the game had on Monday night. I was checking on it from time to time on NFL Game Center, and it seemed as if the game must have been about as much fun as watching paint dry while undergoing a root canal. Did it set an NFL record for number of punts? Not impressive.
As a Steelers homer I like to think this represents the beginning of the end for Cincinnati this season, but I expect it actually represents just one of those games which even the really good teams have on occasion. From the looks of things the Bengals ought to be pretty tired when they head to Arizona for Sunday’s match. We can always hope…
- Bengals +80
- Steelers +45
- Ravens -26
- Browns -91
Despite the similarly large number of losses, note the vast difference between the Ravens’ point differential and that of the Browns. The most the Ravens have lost a game by this season is eight points, to the Cardinals. The average amount by which they have lost games is 4.6 points. It’s easy to say they could just as well be 6-3 or better. But they just aren’t playing very well, at least not for 60 minutes at a time. So while they aren’t losing by as much as the Browns are, they probably deserve their record.
In fact, you could say the Jacksonville win on a literally last second field goal by a Jaguars kicker is karma for the Steelers losing by three points when they should have had an additional six but didn’t, thanks to the Jaguars’ old kicker. Or something like that. I’m never certain exactly how karma is supposed to work.
Josh McCown was still out for the Browns so once again Johnny Manziel played. And honestly, I could just have left the writeup from the previous week, because once again Manziel played a good game, but not good enough to win. If the Browns had paused long enough to stop shooting themselves in the foot, they might have made this game really competitive. But they didn’t.
Manziel deserves to play the rest of the season, in my opinion. About the only thing left to play for now is the best possible draft pick, but I expect the defense can continue to garner enough penalties to assure they don’t win, no matter how well Manziel plays. [Update: Pettine has declared him the starter for the rest of the season.]
Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t back for the Steelers, until he was, in direct opposition to the previous week. He played amazingly well. He and Jones both seem to thrive when coming off the bench. I’m guessing the Steelers will stick with Roethlisberger as the starter, though.
What happened to Andy Dalton? He took serious umbrage at J.J. Watts’ assertion that he played like the Red Ryder BB Gun instead of the Red Rifle. Honestly, I don’t know why Dalton didn’t just laugh it off, except I suppose it’s hard to do when you’ve just embarrassed yourself on national television. But it doesn’t help the embarrassment to come off as a whiner in addition to losing. After all, you would expect something like this out of J.J. Watt.
As for the quarterback ratings, only once before the Bengals’ bye week (Week 7) did Dalton have an NFL QB rating under 100 (95.9 in Week 5.) Only once since the bye has he had an NFL QB rating above 65.0—against the Browns last week. It will be very interesting to see how he plays against a very good, and very opportunistic, Cardinals defense. (They have 14 interceptions, tied for most in the league, and three touchdowns, also tied for first.)
Here are the NFL Passer Ratings for Week 8, for purposes of comparison:
- Johnny Manziel: 95.8. way up from 71.8 the previous week
- Andy Dalton: 61.0, down a bit from from 139.8 the previous game.
- Ben Roethlisberger: 123.2, up from 84.8 the previous week
- Joe Flacco: 98.0, down from 103.3 in the previous game.
If you’re Joe Flacco, it has to hurt to think Johnny Manziel is outplaying you, according to both the cumulative QBR and cumulative NFL passer rating.
Here are the Football Outsiders rankings:
- Cincinnati: № 2
- Pittsburgh: № 4
- Baltimore: № 19, last week № 16
- Cleveland: № 27, last week № 25
If you aren’t familiar with DVOA, the idea is, they adjust the offensive numbers for the quality of the defense for each game.
Football Outsiders rankings:
- Cincinnati: № 2
- Pittsburgh: № 6, last week № 4
- Baltimore: № 13, last week № 14
- Cleveland: № 32, last week № 30
- Ravens: № 6, last week № 9
- Bengals: № 7, last week № 6
- Steelers: № 20, last week № 22
- Browns: № 26
Football Outsiders Individual rankings for the best player from each team:
- Antonio Brown: 317, (№ 1)
- A.J. Green: 219, (№ 4)
- Travis Benjamin: 101 (№ 27)
- Kamar Aiken: 5 (№ 54)
Antonio Brown moved up 105 points this week, taking him from № 4 to № 1. I expect quite a few of those additional points are because he stuck the landing.
- Gary Barnidge: 161 (№ 2)
- Tyler Eifert: 132 (№ 4)
- Crockett Gilmore: 76 (№ 11)
- Heath Miller: 43 (№ 12)
Barnidge and Eifert traded spots this week, as did Gilmore and Miller.
- Gio Bernard: 114 (№ 4)
- Justin Forsett: 95 (№ 7)
- DeAngelo Williams: 80 (№ 11)
- Isaiah Crowell: –64 (No. 35)
The chart at left gives the Football Outsiders scoring for the defense. In their system, the lower the number the better the defense.
The rankings are:
- Cincinnati: № 8, up from № 10 last week
- Pittsburgh: № 11, up from № 12 last week
- Baltimore: № 26, down from № 25 last week
- Cleveland: № 29, down from № 26 last week
- Cincinnati: № 9
- Pittsburgh: № 16
- Baltimore: № 25
- Cleveland: № 29
- Pittsburgh: № 3
- Cincinnati: № 10
- Baltimore: № 15
- Cleveland: № 30
Return yards gained/allowed:
- Ravens: 583/214
- Bengals: 676/586
- Browns: 769/757
- Steelers: 600/765
I’ve decided to determine the order by the differential.
Here are the Football Outsiders Special Teams rankings:
- Baltimore № 2, up from № 3
- Cleveland: № 6, up from № 7
- Cincinnati: № 10, down from № 9
- Pittsburgh: № 20, down from № 18
Takeaway to Turnover ratio, in order of awesomeness or lack thereof.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: +5 (down 1)
- Cincinnati Bengals: +2
- Cleveland Browns: -5 (down 1)
- Baltimore Ravens: -10 (down 3)
The only team to improve in the rankings was the Steelers. The Ravens and Browns are in a freefall…
From Elliot Harrison of NFL.com:
Ravens: № 29 (-2) What a way to lose the game. Ravens fans in Baltimore — and across the country — threw up their fish and chips after watching the stunning end against the Jags. Then again, kudos to them for even being able to stomach fish and chips while watching the way this team has managed to steal defeat from the jaws of victory this year. Adding insult to insult: The NFL came out and said that last play should not have even take place. Oof. Next up: a date with the Nick Foles-less Rams.
Bengals: № 3 (-1) Hey, there’s no shame in losing your perfect season to T.J. Yates and the Texans, right?
What an ugly loss. Tyler Eifert’s Barry Bonds elbow armor finally stopped him from catching perfectly thrown balls. Did A.J. Green look like he was jogging on a route that was broken up on that last drive? Or show any sense of urgency to recover his fumble at the end? Upon further review, maybe he just couldn’t locate the ball…Overall, the offense appeared to disappear. Just a grotesque first blemish — on the national stage, to boot.
Browns: № 32 (-6) We would get excited over the improvement of the run defense if Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant hadn’t [caught] 16 balls for 317 yards and three touchdowns. Pittsburgh averaged 7.8 yards per play. Given Mike Pettine’s lack of exuberance with regard to starting Johnny Football at quarterback, perhaps the coach should trot Manziel out there at corner.
Steelers: № 7 (+2) Another huge day from Antonio Brown, who is clearly so bored from burning every DB in the league that he has to flip into the end zone to keep his job interesting…From a developmental standpoint, how about having a battle-tested Landry Jones at the ready should Ben Roethlisberger find his way to the trainer’s table again? I know he’s hurt right now, but just thinking long-term, folks. (Although I should note that my fantasy team has already started Kirk Cousins twice in Roethlisberger’s place, meeting the Kirk Cousins spot-start quota.)
ESPN: Comments from ESPN Stats and Information:
Ravens: № 29 (-5) Every Ravens game this season has been decided by eight points or fewer. That includes two overtime games and three games with a winning score in the final 30 seconds of regulation.
Bengals: No. 4 (-2) The undefeated season is over thanks to Andy Dalton’s kryptonite. Dalton is now 1-4 in his career against the Texans (including playoffs), his worst record against a team he has played more than twice.
Browns: № 32 (-4) Josh McCown has more prolific passing stats, but he has just as many wins as Johnny Manziel this season and a lower Total QBR (52.7 to Manziel’s 54.5).
Steelers: № 9 In the past two weeks, Antonio Brown has 27 receptions, 423 receiving yards and two touchdowns — all while catching 73 percent of his targets.
Uncredited commentary from USA Today Sports:
Ravens: № 27 (-8) When your best pass rusher, Elvis Dumervil, your opponent and the refs all conspire against you, it’s tough to win.
Bengals: № 3 (-1) First loss of year on ‘Monday Night Football’ won’t quiet speculation this team still can’t perform in prime time.
Browns: № 31 (-1) You don’t want to have a career day in a 30-9 loss, but Johnny Manziel showed some progress Sunday to build upon.
Steelers: № 6 (+12) The best part about Ben Roethlisberger’s 379-yard, three-TD effort Sunday? Landry Jones got credit for the win.