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Week 4 Rundown 2012

Each week we rundown every game using our advanced play-by-play statistics to examine exactly how each game was won and what it means going forward. Our expected points added (EPA) analysis assigns a net point value gained or lost to every single play so we can see exactly on which types of plays teams excelled or failed, and ultimately where games were won. The EPA while each team was on offense gives a more representative measure of offensive efficiency than real life score by separating offensive success from advantages gained or lost by defensive stops, takeaways, and scores. View our complete stats for every play type each week on the Games page.

Week 4 returned a bit of normalcy to the NFL, not only due to the end of replacement refs, but because some of our highest rated teams in 2011 and highest rated quarterbacks returned to the exceptional form we have come to expect from them. And we are starting to see some more separation in the ratings with the increased data. The upstart Falcons and Texans have gained an early edge in the standings, but preseason favorites like the Packers and Patriots are quickly climbing in the ratings.

(0-4) Browns 16 - 23 Ravens (3-1)
Offensive EPA: CLE (-6.6) - (1.0) BAL
The Browns pass offense continues to struggle. Brandon Weeden threw a costly pick-six (-7.7) and despite piling up yards, the large number of pass attempts meant their normal pass plays (6.3) were below league average efficiency and unable to make up for the interception. Phil Dawson managed to chalk up the best mark for field goal kicking yet this season (4.6) by hitting all 3 attempts, each from 50+ yards. But Cleveland also failed to run the ball effectively (-3.4). Joe Flacco and the Ravens had another good normal pass plays mark (14.7) which bodes well and continues to show evidence of improvement over last season. But in this game, much of it was mitigated by slightly worse than average marks from an interception (-4.5), 4 sacks (-4.1), and poor running (-2.8).

(2-2) Seahawks 13 - 19 Rams (2-2)
Offensive EPA: SEA (-3.6) - (1.6) STL
The Seahawks low-risk, low-reward pass game fell through this week due to 3 interceptions (-10.0). Their normal pass plays (3.3) were far below average and unable to make up for them. Despite very successful running (4.5), solid special teams, and no pre-snap penalties, the overall offense remained below league average. The Rams net pass offense (5.8) was solid this week, while the run game fell apart (-7.0). They were great on field goals (4.1), going 4/4 with 3 from long distance, putting the Rams above average on offense as a whole.

(2-2) Patriots 52 - 28 Bills (2-2)
Offensive EPA: NE (18.8) - (-3.9) BUF
The Patriots offense looks in 2011 form again after the slow start to the season. The net pass offense (17.9) and run game (12.0) were each among the best in league this season. The offensive total was as well, despite big losses on field goal attempts (-5.4) and 2 fumbles lost (-5.1). The Bills managed to still be effective overall through the air despite 4 interceptions (-10.5) by being extremely successful on normal pass plays (23.1). But Buffalo struggled running the ball (-2.6) and lost 2 fumbles (-7.1).

(1-3) Panthers 28 - 30 Falcons (4-0)
Offensive EPA: CAR (9.9) - (11.9) ATL
The Panthers offense was rather successful all around. They scored good marks on net passing (11.2) and running (5.2). A Steve Smith fumble lost (-3.2), along with several other plays, was as big a swing as the final score margin. The stats show the Panthers are a better team than their record indicates. The Falcons offense continued to roll as well. Their normal pass plays were very successful (20.6), but were mitigated somewhat by 7 sacks (-9.0) and an interception (-3.0). Atlanta also ran the ball well (4.0), posting their first positive mark of the season in that category.

(3-1) Vikings 20 - 13 Lions (1-3)
Offensive EPA: MIN (3.0) - (-3.6) DET
The Vikings win last week was promising, but this one came with some warning signs. They were terrible on normal pass plays (-1.1), but did continue their streak of no interceptions all season. The run game was mildly successful (1.4), but the only reason the offense as a whole squeaked above average was the kickoff returns (5.1) because of a Percy Harvin touchdown. The Lions net pass offense (8.2) was good, but their overall mark was undone by poor running (-2.4), a Mikel Leshoure fumble lost (-2.9), and a terrible punting mark (-5.3) due to a Vikings punt return touchdown. Overall, the Lions would have won the game if not for the return touchdowns, and have been better in the more representative play types, so it is hard to believe the Vikings are now the better team despite the difference in records early on.

(1-3) Titans 14 - 38 Texans (4-0)
Offensive EPA: TEN (-13.7) - (10.3) HOU
The Titans offense, mostly with Matt Hasselbeck at the helm after an early injury to Jake Locker, struggled this week. Hasselbeck only threw 2 interceptions (-15.6), but they were incredibly costly because both were returned a long way for touchdowns. Tennessee also suffered a costly 4 sacks (-8.3) because 1 resulted in a lost fumble. The Titans were decent on normal pass plays (9.0) and run plays (1.8), but dug far too deep a hole with the turnovers. The Texans were about average on normal pass (10.2), but were efficient on offense overall by avoiding interceptions, sacks, and pre-snap penalties.

(3-1) Chargers 37 - 20 Chiefs (1-3)
Offensive EPA: SD (5.2) - (-11.0) KC
The Chargers offense performed about as expected from previous seasons. Their productivity came from net passing success (8.8). The Chiefs moved the ball relatively well on normal pass plays (12.4) and run plays (4.4), but turnovers in the form of 3 interceptions (-14.1) and 3 fumbles lost (-10.1) resulted in a very negative total offensive performance.

(3-1) 49ers 34 - 0 Jets (2-2)
Offensive EPA: SF (3.4) - (-30.6) NYJ
The 49ers normal pass plays were supbar (2.1), but they avoided negative plays well to finish neutral on total net passing (0.0), which is still slightly below league average. But San Francisco posted the best running mark (14.8) in the league this season, including some QB runs by Colin Kaepernick. Their field goal kicking (-4.7) was poor as a result of 2 misses. The Jets offensive performance was the worst by any team so far this season, while their normal pass plays mark (-11.5) is the worst ever since our records start in 2009. They also did somewhat poorly in just about every other category. Since the Week 1 success, the Jets offense has been pitiful in the most representative play types which does not bode well.

(1-3) Dolphins 24 - 21 Cardinals (4-0)
Offensive EPA: MIA (-2.5) - (-0.9) ARI
The Dolphins moved the ball as well as any team this week on normal pass plays (23.1), but were hampered by 2 interceptions (-4.4), 4 sacks (-8.1) including a fumble lost, poor running (-3.5), and a Legedu Naanee fumble (-6.5) returned 60 yards by Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals similarly passed very well on normal pass plays (18.6), but struggled with 2 interceptions (-9.9), 8 sacks (-9.2), and poor running (-4.9). But they did have success punting (4.8). Arizona is still not nearly statistically as good as their record, but the new found success on normal pass plays is a positive takeaway for both teams.

(1-3) Raiders 6 - 37 Broncos (2-2)
Offensive EPA: OAK (-9.0) - (22.0) DEN
The Raiders offense was very ineffective, but avoided major mistakes. Their normal pass plays (2.2) and run plays (-4.2) were far below league average and do not bode well for the future. The Broncos continue to put up stats similar to those from Peyton Manning led Colts teams in the past despite the 2 losses. Their net passing game (19.4) was great and the run game (3.5) was good again as Denver ranked our most efficient offense of the week. The Broncos schedule continues to be brutal until the final stretch of the season. They are better than their record, and probably will continue to be until the season is finishing up.

(3-1) Bengals 27 - 10 Jaguars (1-3)
Offensive EPA: CIN (9.3) - (-7.7) JAC
The Bengals pass offense continues to roll as if they are a completely different team than we saw in Week 1 and 2011. Their net overall passing (13.8) was very good. The run game (3.5) was solid but unable to offset a BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumble lost (-4.8). Cincinnati is not getting a lot of national publicity, but their improvement since last year bodes very well. The Jaguars continue to be poor on normal pass plays (3.8), and this time an interception (-4.0) and 6 sacks (-4.6) put them well below neutral for passing overall. The offense appears to be just as incompetent as last season under Blaine Gabbert, and with the defense taking a step back this year Jacksonville has to be considered one of the worst few teams in the league.

(0-4) Saints 27 - 28 Packers (2-2)
Offensive EPA: NO (15.4) - (16.4) GB
Don't be fooled by these teams' records, this is still a heavyweight clash in the NFL. Even the stats have been down somewhat from last season for both these teams, but this was every bit the shootout we saw when they met in the first week of 2011. The Saints net passing (19.6) was excellent while the run game (-4.6) struggled. The Packers net passing (20.9) was also great. Their run game (3.3) had success too, but Green Bay had a costly fumbled handoff (-5.0) on the one play Aaron Rodgers sat out with an injury. The Saints may have dug too deep a hole at this point, but both of these teams should still win much more often than they lose the rest of the way because of their high-powered passing games. New Orleans may be the best 0-4 team in recent history.

(2-2) Redskins 24 - 22 Buccaneers (1-3)
Offensive EPA: WAS (9.0) - (6.6) TB
The Redskins were very efficient in net passing (10.9) and running (5.5), ending with a good overall offensive mark despite going just 1/4 on field goals (-4.8). The Buccaneers were unimpressive in net passing (-0.9) but solid in the run game (1.7). Special teams were what put the Bucs above average overall, hitting 3/3 long field goals (4.6) and having solid punts (2.5). Despite the good overall offensive mark for the offense, another week of poor passing for Tampa Bay is very worrisome and they have to be considered one of the worst teams in the league. This was in impressive win for the Redskins despite an incredible 9.4 point deficit on field goal attempts.

(2-2) Giants 17 - 19 Eagles (3-1)
Offensive EPA: NYG (6.5) - (8.5) PHI
Despite the relatively low score, this was a good game for both offenses, and the successful passing bodes well for both teams. The Giants were very good in net passing (10.4) but struggled on runs (-3.0) and field goals (-2.9). The Eagles also were very good in net passing (9.7) while struggling on runs (-2.4).

(3-1) Bears 34 - 18 Cowboys (2-2)
Offensive EPA: CHI (7.3) - (-7.4) DAL
The Bears offense finally rebounded to Week 1 form, with very good net passing (13.3). Tony Romo throwing 5 interceptions (-22.2) including 2 returned for touchdowns doomed the Cowboys, and was by far the costliest set of interceptions for a team this season. The positive takeaway for Dallas was that Romo almost made up for interceptions with very good normal pass plays (20.7), and that success is likelier to be repeated in the future than the interceptions.

Byes: Colts (1-2), Steelers (1-2)

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