The high-flying offenses that seemed to define the first half of the 2018 NFL season seem to have taken a week off. Drew Brees threw for just 5.8 yards per attempt and zero touchdowns, Jared Goff went touchdown-less for the second straight week and even Patrick Mahomes had a fairly pedestrian game with 253 yards and two touchdowns.
As a result, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had one of the better games of the week, according to a few advanced statistics.
Though Stafford only threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, ESPN’s QBR had Stafford as the second-best quarterback of Week 15, with an 81.5 score.
Obviously, you cannot talk about Stafford’s day without mentioning Kenny Golladay’s impressive day. Golladay saved Stafford from one interception, and made a couple of incredible grabs.
“The duo hooked up seven times on eight attempts for 146 yards and five first downs overall,” ESPN’s Hank Gargiulo wrote. “Five of Stafford’s largest six plays in terms of expected points added came when Golladay was the target.”
But if you’re like me, you’re a QBR skeptic. It’s unclear what exactly goes into the QBR formula, and it doesn’t always spit out results that make sense.
However, I do like (and enjoy) Football Outsiders’ DYAR metric, and by those standards, Stafford was the fifth-best quarterback of the week. It’s worth noting, however, that Stafford’s Week 15 PFF grade was not good enough to place in the top five of the Lions’ offensive players.
- This week’s “Sights and Sounds” from Buffalo gives a look at the sideline reaction after Andy Jones’ first-career touchdown:
- Former Lions receiver Titus Young has been released from prison after being sentenced to a four-year stint stemming from an assault charge. He was released after serving 20 months. You may remember from the offseason that Young diaried about his struggle with Bipolar disorder while incarcerated.
- Tuesday we learned that no team was throwing short passes more often than the Lions. But according to Pro Football Focus, the Lions throw quick passes with less frequency than all but one team in the NFL. It’s kind of hard to wrap your head around that, but it basically points to a lot of checkdowns and slow-developing underneath routes:
The Rams use the quick passing game at a lower rate than anyone else in the league. pic.twitter.com/bAZIVvwwfa— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 19, 2018
- Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller talked to NFL executives and coaches to see how they’d improve all 32 teams. For the Lions, an NFC North assistant coach said they should focus on pass rush. Very perceptive.
- Good job, Sam Martin:
Pinning an opponent deep with a punt gives your defense plenty of margin for error. Field position is also still a thing.#LARams #Seahawks #Texans #HTTR #ChiefsKingdom #Browns #DUUUVAL #HereWeGo #OnePride #TitanUp pic.twitter.com/YfjrSmgAeA— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) December 19, 2018
- Which Lions could be playing their last games in Detroit? Zac Snyder of SpinZone listed eight players that should not return in 2019 (warning: slideshow).
- Justin Rogers has a nice film breakdown of Kenny Golladay’s big game, how Detroit was able to contain Josh Allen and what went wrong for Mike Ford.