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Week 4 Rundown 2013

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.

Our ratings have the Broncos as the best team through 4 weeks of a season in our 5 years of data, and also have the Jaguars as the worst. It is usually difficult for teams to get such extreme ratings so early in the season because of the small sample size, but Denver already has a higher rating than any 2012 team finished with. This week we will follow this weekly rundown article with an upcoming article on the status of the league through the first quarter of the season. Therefore compared to usual, this article includes more on how games were won and less on analyzing teams going forward, as that aspect will be more fully covered in the upcoming article.

(2-2) 49ers 35 - 11 Rams (1-3)
Offensive EPA: SF (7.5) - (-15.4) STL
The 49ers offense got back on track. They didn't pass a lot but had some success when they did, with solid net passing (8.3) mostly due to avoiding interceptions. San Francisco also ran the ball well (5.6). They lost some ground on a lost fumbled handoff (-3.8) and a Frank Gore lost fumble (-3.0), but also punted (4.6) well. After a strong first 2 games passing, the Rams were again terrible in net passing (-10.9) due to poor normal pass plays (1.1) and 5 sacks (-9.1) including a fumble lost. St. Louis also ran very poorly (-4.4).

(2-2) Ravens 20 - 23 Bills (2-2)
Offensive EPA: BAL (-14.5) - (-11.5) BUF
The Ravens were terrible on offense mostly due to Flacco's 5 interceptions (-14.7) and a poor run game (-3.7). The interceptions mark was the worst so far in the NFL this season. The Bills were just slightly less bad on offense, with their issues being 2 sacks (-5.5) including a fumble lost, subpar normal pass plays (2.7), and below average rushing (-2.4).

(0-4) Giants 7 - 31 Chiefs (4-0)
Offensive EPA: NYG (-22.6) - (1.4) KC
The Giants showed some passing promise in their first 2 losses, but that has evaporated in the last 2. What hasn't changed is their amazing ability to find different ways to lose games this season. Their pass game struggled due to poor normal pass plays (0.9). Their rushing (-1.9) mark was their best of the season but still poor. On top of that they added a lost fumbled snap (-3.0), missed their only field goal attempt (-3.9), and had bad punting (-4.4) due to giving up already their 2nd punt return touchdown of the season. For the first time this season, the Chiefs did actually have impressive normal pass plays (16.8), which were more than enough to offset their first 2 interceptions (-5.5) of the season. However, Kansas City also lost significant points with bad rushing (-6.4) and a lost fumbled snap (-3.4) of their own. Overall, the Chiefs offense has been just about exactly league average efficient in all 4 games this season, relying on the defense to win games.

(3-1) Bears 32 - 40 Lions (3-1)
Offensive EPA: CHI (-6.4) - (-0.5) DET
This was a high scoring game because of turnovers rather than offensive prowess. The Bears offensive numbers were eerily similar to their Week 2 win against the Vikings, with the only difference between whether the media refers to Cutler as clutch or terrible being a couple of huge kick returns that Devin Hester produced in Week 2 but not Week 4. Chicago was poor in net passing (-4.7) due to 3 interceptions (-9.4) and 3 sacks (-8.3) including a fumble returned for a touchdown. However they did run well (3.9). The Lions were a bit below average in net passing (-0.3) and lost a Joique Bell fumble (-3.9), but otherwise were successful at rushing (5.3).

(4-0) Seahawks 23 - 20 Texans (2-2)
Offensive EPA: SEA (-1.2) - (-4.2) HOU
The Seahawks were slightly poor in net passing (0.6), scoring their worst mark in that category so far this season. With both offenses having similar efficiency, it could be argued that special teams determined the game, as Seattle actually accounted for the difference in final score of the game compared to Houston with good punting (2.6) and field goals (2.0). The Texans were also just below average in net passing (1.6), with strong normal pass plays (16.8) but 2 interceptions (-10.5) including a pick-6.

(2-2) Cardinals 13 - 10 Buccaneers (0-4)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-11.1) - (-14.1) TB
The Cardinals net passing (-3.1) was unimpressive as it has been the last 3 weeks, and their rushing (-3.1) was poor as well. Unfortunately for the Bucs, this was the only game so far that they actually could have won with the passing numbers averaged by Josh Freeman thus far. It was a rough start to the Mike Glennon era in Tampa, with terrible net passing (-7.1) due to poor normal pass plays (2.2) and 2 interceptions (-7.2). Glennon added a lost fumbled snap (-3.8) to the statline, while the Bucs were just about average in other areas.

(2-2) Bengals 6 - 17 Browns (2-2)
Offensive EPA: CIN (-9.7) - (1.3) CLE
The Bengals had their first stinker in net passing (-4.5) this year, something that Andy Dalton has produced all too often in his career. Cincinnati also lost ground on a couple of failed 4th down attempts (-4.5), one which came early on and another which was late out of desperation. Last week Brian Hoyer was promising but not really net effective, but this week he put together a solid net passing mark (7.3) while avoiding turnovers. In most other areas the Browns offense was slightly below average.

(3-1) Colts 37 - 3 Jaguars (0-4)
Offensive EPA: IND (13.4) - (-20.6) JAC
The Colts were again great in net passing (13.2), where they've been above average in all 4 games. The Jaguars were terrible again in net passing (-11.2), with poor normal pass plays (4.0) combined with 3 interceptions (-12.0). Last season Gabbert was usually just terrible on normal pass plays, but this season he appears to have added throwing interceptions to his repertoire. The Jags added bad rushing (-4.8) which has also become the new norm in Jacksonville.

(0-4) Steelers 27 - 34 Vikings (1-3)
Offensive EPA: PIT (11.0) - (16.7) MIN
The Steelers net passing (11.5) was still very good despite 5 sacks (-8.2) including a lost fumble because of incredibly good normal pass plays (23.0). The Steelers also rushed (3.1) well for the first time this season in the debut of Le'Veon Bell. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, their best offensive game was met with their worst defensive game, and the Vikings best offensive game this year. Under QB Matt Cassel, Minnesota for the first time had above average net passing (9.5), which they accomplished by mostly avoiding negative plays. The Vikings also ran the ball very well again (5.0).

(2-2) Jets 13 - 38 Titans (3-1)
Offensive EPA: NYJ (-15.3) - (9.7) TEN
The Jets were decent on normal pass plays (10.1) again, but it wasn't nearly enough to make up for their continued presence of negative plays. They gave up 2 interceptions (-7.4) and 5 sacks (-11.5) including a fumble lost and recovered for a touchdown. The Jets also lost ground in our turnovers category (-6.5) from another lost Geno Smith fumble on a scramble and a late failed 4th down attempt. The Titans replicated their Week 3 passing success with good normal pass plays (15.7) and minimizing turnovers again, however this week much of the success actually came on a single 77 yard TD after Ryan Fitzpatrick was in the game. Tennessee ran the ball very poorly (-6.2).

(1-3) Eagles 20 - 52 Broncos (4-0)
Offensive EPA: PHI (0.7) - (32.7) DEN
The Eagles had success in net passing (10.3) and were about average in other offensive categories except for punting (-5.2), where they gave up a punt block that was returned for a touchdown. The Broncos were again unstoppable in net passing (23.8). They also rushed (3.2) well and scored high in kickoff returns (4.1) because of a touchdown.

(1-3) Redskins 24 - 14 Raiders (1-3)
Offensive EPA: WAS (-9.2) - (-19.2) OAK
Ironically, the Redskins had their first below average net passing (-0.6) performance in their first win. Otherwise they were pretty average apart from punting (-5.0) due to a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown. Under Matt Flynn, the Raiders were poor in all 3 passing categories, resulting in their worst net passing (-11.6) of the season. They had subpar normal pass plays (5.3), a pick-6 (-7.0), and 7 sacks including a lost fumble (-9.9).

(2-2) Cowboys 21 - 30 Chargers (2-2)
Offensive EPA: DAL (0.6) - (9.6) SD
The Cowboys were slightly above average in net passing (6.7) by avoiding interceptions. They rushed well (3.8), but lost points on field goals (-2.1) and a Terrance Williams fumble lost (-4.3). The Chargers were again good in net passing (11.3), where their great normal pass plays (20.4) were able to overcome a long pick-6 (-8.0).

(4-0) Patriots 30 - 23 Falcons (1-3)
Offensive EPA: NE (16.9) - (8.8) ATL
The Patriots success was fueled by their good normal pass plays (16.6) while completely avoiding any sacks or interceptions. The Falcons were also very good in net passing (13.3), but it wasn't quite enough and they were also let down by turnovers (-3.9) on 2 failed 4th down attempts, one early and one by necessity late.

(3-1) Dolphins 17 - 38 Saints (4-0)
Offensive EPA: MIA (-5.8) - (15.2) NO
The Dolphins continued their improved normal pass plays (13.2), but had their first below average net passing (-1.2) game due to 3 interceptions (-9.5). The Saints were again extremely good in net passing (23.4), though they lost a couple points in several other areas.

Byes: Panthers (1-2), Packers (1-2)

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