Team & Opponent 2nd-half scores added to Team Game Finder - In the past, we just listed 1st-half and final point totals for games, making it impossible to answer questions like, "Which team scored the most points in a game where they were held scoreless in the second half?" But now that Sean added "Second Half Score" to the criteria, you can find the answer:
Just go to the Team Game Finder, select "Search for Season Games matching criteria," and check the OT radio button at the bottom left-hand side of the finder interface ("Overtime Game"=Yes). Click "Get Results," and here's what you come up with:
If you were watching the Philly-Washington game on Monday night, you knew that Michael Vick and the Eagles were setting records right & left because the MNF crew pointed them out on-screen as they happened. But do you ever wish you could search for those kinds of milestones yourself? Using the Pro-Football-Reference.com Play Index, you can. Here are some Vick/Eagles milestones I searched for on Tuesday morning, as soon as we loaded the Eagles game into the database:
(Please note that I'm not picking on the Redskins here, or rubbing in their loss -- this is merely a demonstration of our site tools, and the MNF game is a good example because a lot of milestones were reached.)
Last week, I showed you how to set up an "expected W-L" method for a quarterback using the Play IndexTeam Game Finder, the QB's gamelogs, and a logistic regression formula. I found that our test case, Philip Rivers, should have been expected to win 27.7 games over the last 3 seasons (prior to the Chargers' win over Houston) based on his passing performance, but in actuality only won 24 games, a difference of -3.7 wins. Without context, though, that number doesn't really mean anything -- is that a lot, or a little? Today, I'm going to answer that question by comparing every QB's actual and expected W-L records, something I like to call "The Rivers Index" (in an homage to Doug's Manning and Dungy Indices).
As you can see, the leader (by far) is San Diego's Philip Rivers. In fact, 10th-ranked McNabb is closer to #2 Brees than Brees is to Rivers!
Statistically, it's tough to find a QB since 2008 who can touch Rivers. However, his team hasn't enjoyed the same lofty success: the Chargers are 24-16 over the past 3 years -- a respectable record, but one seemingly out of place next to Rivers' gaudy passing numbers. This disconnect between individual accomplishments and team performance has haunted many a quarterback in the past, and is now is the main reason Rivers isn't held up in the same group as Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger, and Brees as a quarterback. QBs are supposed to win, we're told, not amass seemingly empty stats.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: At 6-1, the New England Patriots boast the NFL's top record despite a roster that looks less than overwhelming on paper. So does this mean 2010 will be another one of those patented Patriot seasons where they're somehow on top when the dust clears? Let's go to the PFR Play Index's Team Game Finder and break down the numbers...
"We're embarrassing on offense. Forget the stats and 'This is where we are rushing the football.' We're not making plays when it counts, and we are continuously in a situation that is embarrassing, irritating, frustrating coming in on Monday, knowing that we could have won yesterday then we would be ahead and almost certain, if we won the rest of our games, to get in [the playoffs]. Now here we are again, if we win out, we have to have this scenario happen [to make it]. It's irritating."
It's pretty clear that the Jets rise and fall on the basis of Mark Sanchez's play, and like any rookie QB, he's had his ups and downs this season. First, the ups:
When Sanchez has a solid game (QB rating > 80), NY is 5-2, and he's had more solid games than most signal-callers in the league this year. I would imagine Braylon isn't really complaining when Sanchez performs at that level, but Sanchez has also had more than his share of clunkers this year as well:
The Jets are 0-5 when Sanchez has one of his bad games, and as you can see, there really isn't a lot of room in between good and bad for the rookie -- in all but one game this year, he's had a rating of either greater than 80 or less than 60. No other QB has alternated solid and bad efforts as much as Sanchez, which means Braylon should only really be embarrassed and irritated half of the time. All things considered, I guess that's better than the team he started the year on, which, prior to their rush-happy 41-point explosion vs. KC, had a frustrating and embarrassing offense all of the time.
Of course, Welker's terrific play so far in 2009 (he became just the 4th player in NFL history to have 3 consecutive 100-catch seasons, joining Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, and Herman Moore) has also allowed us to reflect back on just how insane Harrison's production was during his peak. First, he is the only player in NFL history to have four straight 100-catch campaigns. Also, notice that the difference between #1 and #2 on the list above, in terms of receptions through 13 games, is the same as the difference between #2 and #15! In order to catch Harrison's staggering record of 143 catches in a season from 2002, Welker will have to haul in 12.7 catches per game for the remaining 3 games of the regular season.
That said, the real gap between Welker and Harrison isn't anywhere near as great as it sounds from the raw numbers, because Welker has suffered a handicap in his pursuit of Harrison this year -- he missed 2 games early in the season. If Welker played at his current pace, but in 13 games instead of 11 (remember, Harrison didn't miss any games during his 2002 season), Welker would have 124 catches through 13 games, which is actually 6 more than Harrison's record pace!
Thanks to the 2-game absence, we'll probably never know whether a full season of Welker could have challenged or even broken Harrison's record, but we should still count ourselves as lucky to see two of the great possession-receiver seasons of all time separated by just 7 years.
Sorry to pick on the Notre Dame guys again, but last night Brady Quinn completed a measly 6 of 19 passes for 90 yards in Cleveland's scarcely-watchable 13-6 win over the Steelers. Was this one of the worst games by a winning QB ever? Well, the performance (4.7 yards per attempt) was abysmal, to be sure, but it actually is not without precedent. Here are the NFL passers since 1960 who, like Quinn, tossed at least 19 passes and completed as many or fewer of them than the Browns' signal-caller did last night: