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Week 9 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.

The story of Week 9 in the NFL was clearly backup quarterbacks. Or at least quarterbacks that weren't Week 1 starters. Nick Foles had one of the best games of the season, Case Keenum and Jason Campbell were very good, and Josh McCown and Mike Glennon were solidly above average. Other backups like Jeff Tuel and Seneca Wallace did struggle, but they were in the minority. While the modern era of passing offenses being unstoppable began in recent years with the elite quarterbacks separating themselves from the pack, it appears the latest twist is the rest of the pack catching up a bit. Teams with poor QB's seem to be realizing that they can also succeed doing some of the things the elite were doing, such as throwing up jump balls downfield to tall WR's any time they see 1-on-1 coverage. This week we will again follow this weekly rundown article with an upcoming article on the status of the league through the first half 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.

(6-3) Bengals 20 - 22 Dolphins (3-4)
Offensive EPA: CIN (-5.8) - (-3.8) MIA
The Bengals followed their 3 best passing games with their worst net passing (-12.5) of the season. Dalton threw 3 interceptions (-15.7) including a huge 94 yard touchdown. He was also sacked (-8.9) 5 times, including a lost fumble and an overtime safety that produced one of the greatest possible finishes to an NFL game. Ironically, in the same game the Bengals finally turned around their poor ground game and had great success rushing (6.7). The Dolphins were about neutral but below average in net passing (0.1) despite no interceptions because of poor normal pass plays (3.3), and about average in other areas.

(4-4) Titans 28 - 21 Rams (3-6)
Offensive EPA: TEN (8.4) - (1.9) STL
The Titans had their worst net passing (-1.2) game of the season due to slightly poor normal pass plays (6.8) and 2 interceptions (-5.5). But they paired it with the best rushing (13.6) performance from any team this season, despite coming into the game as one of the least effective rushing teams. The Rams were solid in net passing (5.0) by avoiding interceptions, and managed their 2nd strong rushing (4.0) effort in a row. However, they lost several points on turnovers (-5.1) from a fumble lost and a failed late 4th down attempt.

(9-0) Chiefs 23 - 13 Bills (3-6)
Offensive EPA: KC (-2.4) - (-12.4) BUF
The Chiefs had their worst net passing (-4.1) of the season because of terrible normal pass plays (-2.1). But they made up some ground with good punting (3.1). The Bills net passing (-12.0) was very poor again with Jeff Tuel at QB, with 2 interceptions (-13.4) including an incredibly costly full field touchdown return. Buffalo did rush very well (6.0), but it wasn't enough to offset the poor passing. For the first time this year the Chiefs defense didn't record a sack, but were still dominant and scored both Kansas City touchdowns.

(2-6) Falcons 10 - 34 Panthers (5-3)
Offensive EPA: ATL (-11.7) - (12.7) CAR
With Roddy White out or hobbled all year, the Falcons were able to still excel at passing in Week 7 vs Tampa Bay in their first game without Julio Jones, but in the 2 weeks since the pass game has fallen apart. And for the 2nd week in a row the main culprit was interceptions (-12.5), as Matt Ryan threw 3 more this week including a touchdown. Atlanta also ran poorly (-3.1) again. The Panthers good net passing (8.9) continued this week despite Newton throwing 2 interceptions (-5.2). Carolina also ran well (2.9) again.

(1-7) Vikings 23 - 27 Cowboys (5-4)
Offensive EPA: MIN (2.5) - (5.5) DAL
After a poor first 3 weeks of the season, Christian Ponder has actually been good in the last 2 weeks despite losing. The Vikings had good net passing (5.5) despite having 2 sacks (-7.1) including 1 that was fumbled and recovered for a defensive touchdown. Minnesota ran well (3.2) too, but also lost points on a failed 4th down attempt (-2.7). The Cowboys had offensive success with strong net passing (7.3) while avoiding some typical small negatives in lesser categories. Despite successful passing and poor rushing (-2.2), some in the media are criticizing the Cowboys for their unusual 55-8 pass-run play calling ratio.

(4-4) Chargers 24 - 30 Redskins (3-5)
Offensive EPA: SD (7.4) - (13.0) WAS
The Chargers were again very good in net passing (9.8), but it wasn't enough against a Redskins offense that they couldn't stop. Washington nearly replicated their Week 7 performance vs Chicago, with strong net passing (9.2) and rushing (7.8) despite Griffin not having to do alot with his feet.

(6-2) Saints 20 - 26 Jets (5-4)
Offensive EPA: NO (-1.2) - (4.8) NYJ
The Saints were good in net passing (6.5) overall despite 2 interceptions (-5.7). But they lost points on 2 failed 4th down attempts (-5.3). The Jets were a little poor in net passing (-1.0), but made up for it with their first very good rushing (4.2) performance and going 4/4 on field goals (3.3). The Jets lead the league in expected points added from field goals, as Nick Folk has made all 23 field goal attempts on the season.

(4-5) Eagles 49 - 20 Raiders (3-5)
Offensive EPA: PHI (29.1) - (1.7) OAK
The Eagles net passing (29.7) under Nick Foles was the 2nd best from any team all season. So far this year, Foles has had 3 very good performances and 1 very poor one, which is a promising ratio going forward. The Raiders net passing (1.8) was slightly below average due to 2 interceptions (-6.1), but did rush very well (5.3).

(0-8) Buccaneers 24 - 27 Seahawks (8-1)
Offensive EPA: TB (6.1) - (9.1) SEA
The Bucs net passing (8.5) and rushing (3.8) were very good, but they had poor punting (-3.5) because they gave up a 71 yard return. The Seahawks also had very good net passing (10.0) and rushing (6.7), overcoming 2 interceptions (-8.2) with no sacks and great normal pass plays (18.2). They were hampered by kickoff returns (-5.1) due to a fumble lost.

(3-5) Ravens 18 - 24 Browns (4-5)
Offensive EPA: BAL (-0.7) - (5.3) CLE
The Ravens net passing (3.9) was about average and they avoided some usual negatives in lesser categories, but their rushing (-3.2) was poor as it has been every game this year. The Browns passing success with Jason Campbell at QB continued, with very good net passing (14.6). Cleveland also had success punting (3.2) due to recovering a muff. However, they had horrendous rushing (-7.0), which doesn't even include a McGahee fumble lost (-3.5).

(2-6) Steelers 31 - 55 Patriots (7-2)
Offensive EPA: PIT (2.4) - (26.4) NE
The Steelers net passing (7.1) was good overall. It took very good normal pass plays (21.0) to overcome their 2 interceptions (-6.8) and 5 sacks (-7.1) including a fumble lost. Pittsburgh also rushed well (3.4), but lost points on 2 failed 4th down attempts (-4.5), 1 which came early and 1 late in desperation. The Patriots finally looked like their team from previous years. Their net passing (29.3) was the 3rd best from any team this season. They also rushed (8.6) very well, but missed out on achieving one of the best recent overall offensive marks due to turnovers (-6.0) from a Ridley fumble lost and a failed 4th down attempt.

(6-2) Colts 27 - 24 Texans (2-6)
Offensive EPA: IND (7.9) - (5.3) HOU
The Colts success came in net passing (11.3) despite missing Reggie Wayne. Their only issue was field goals (-3.0) because one of their attempts was blocked and returned for yardage. The Texans also were very successful in net passing (18.1) in only Keenum's 2nd start. However their negatives were larger, including an early failed 4th down attempt (-2.7) and going just 1/4 on field goals, which was a net loss of 5.6 points between our field goals and final plays of the halves categories.

(5-3) Bears 27 - 20 Packers (5-3)
Offensive EPA: CHI (10.1) - (0.7) GB
Under Josh McCown, the Bears again managed good net passing (9.5), this time by mostly avoiding sacks and interceptions. They also rushed (5.7) very well again. Chicago was poor in punting (-2.6) due to a blocked punt, but also avoided some usual negatives in other areas. With Seneca Wallace, the Packers predictably had their worst net passing (-9.5) of the season, but it was much worse than average expectations for a backup QB. The passing was so bad that even their extremely good rushing (10.5) and a surprise onside kick recovery barely made up the difference.

Byes: Cardinals (4-4), Broncos (7-1), Lions (5-3), Jaguars (0-8), Giants (2-6), 49ers (6-2)

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