2016 NFL Week 13 Passing Statistics and More

By Chris Malumphy

Although much denigrated, QB Ratings do have real value as they are great indicators of whether a quarterback played well or poorly during a game. Show me the rating of just one of the quarterbacks in a game and I can tell you whether his team won or lost with a high probability of being correct even without any other information at all. It's probably because touchdown passes and interceptions are so heavily weighted in the calculation. Tell me the ratings of both quarterbacks and I will virtually be able to tell you the winner with but a few exceptions.

Every quarterback with a rating of 92.0 or higher in Week 13 won their game, except for the Texans Brock Osweiler who lost to the Packers even though his 97.6 rating was his personal best of the year. Osweiler faced Aaron Rodgers whose 108.9 was even better.

The Broncos Paxton Lynch’s QB Rating of 61.8 in Week 13 typically loses a game. But he beat the Jaguars and Blake Bortles whose rating of 37.9 was even worse.

The Chargers Philip Rivers has been wildly inconsistent the past five games with ratings of 48.8, 117.6, 61.4, 116.3 & 79.8. Ten interceptions in five games didn’t help.

The Panthers QB Cam Newton is in midst of disappointing 4-8 season. Newton hasn’t completed more than 50% of his passes or gained as much as 250 yards passing in any of his past three games. And he is not running with the same abandon as he has in the past. Defenses are following the successful plan the Broncos used in the Super Bowl of trying to contain him in the pocket where his throwing mechanics, or lack of them, are put to the test. Newton has only gained 78 more yards rushing than he has lost while being sacked in 2016. He also has only three games in which he has thrown multiple touchdown passes. The lack of a necktie is the least of his problems.

In battle of former #1 NFL Draft picks, the Chiefs Alex Smith (2005) out-dueled the Falcons Matt Ryan (2008) 29-28 in Week 13.

49ers starting QB Colin Kaepernick threw just 5 passes against the Bears before being pulled. He was also sacked 5 times, a whopping 50% rate. How bad were the combined efforts of 49ers quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert? What do you think of 15 pass attempts with five completions (33%) for 39 yards, 2.6 yards per attempt, six sacks losing 33 yards for a 28.5% sacked rate.

The Ravens Joe Flacco passing rating of 119.2 in Week 13 versus the Dolphins was the first time he topped 100.0 since Week 1 against the Bills (100.3). The Ravens won both games.

Eagles rookie Carson Wentz’ 60 pass attempts in Week 13 were greater than his passing rating for the game of 58.2. Blake Bortles (42, 39.7) did it too. That has only happened six other times this season for quarterbacks with at least 10 pass attempts in the game.

2016 Week 13 Passing Statistics
Andrew LuckColtsJets282278.62789.912.6414.300.017147.6W 41 - 10
Andy DaltonBengalsEagles312374.233210.714.426.500.000130.0W 32 - 14
Alex SmithChiefsFalcons252184.027010.812.914.000.014125.0W 29 - 28
Joe FlaccoRavensDolphins473676.63818.110.648.512.100119.2W 38 - 6
Scott TolzienColtsJets11100.01111. 41 - 10
Matthew StaffordLionsSaints423071.43418.111.424.800.024111.3W 28 - 13
Trevone BoykinSeahawksPanthers3266.73812.719.000.000.000109.7W 40 - 7
Aaron RodgersPackersTexans302066.72097.010.426.700.019108.9W 21 - 13
Dak PrescottCowboysVikings181266.71397.711.615.600.0315108.3W 17 - 15
Carson PalmerCardinalsRedskins463065.23006.510.036.500.0219105.3W 31 - 23
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelersGiants362466.72898.012.025.612.821798.0W 24 - 14
Brock OsweilerTexansPackers352262.92025.89.225.700.021897.6L 13 - 21
Matt BarkleyBears49ers181161.119210.717.500.000.01897.5W 26 - 6
Derek CarrRaidersBills351954.32607.413.725.700.00097.3W 38 - 24
Jameis WinstonBuccaneersChargers302066.72809.314.013.313.311293.7W 28 - 21
Tom BradyPatriotsRams463371.72695. 26 - 10
Russell WilsonSeahawksPanthers362672.22777.710.712.812.832192.0W 40 - 7
Shaun HillVikingsCowboys11100. 15 - 17
Sam BradfordVikingsCowboys453271.12475.57.712.200.021591.6L 15 - 17
Matt RyanFalconsChiefs342264.72978.713.512.912.92790.0L 28 - 29
Philip RiversChargersBuccaneers261557.72258.715.027.727.721479.8L 21 - 28
Kirk CousinsRedskinsCardinals372156.82717.312.912.712.722577.6L 23 - 31
Cam NewtonPanthersSeahawks321443.81825.713.013.100.00072.7L 7 - 40
Eli ManningGiantsSteelers392461.51955. 14 - 24
Drew BreesSaintsLions443170.53267.410.500.036.81763.3L 13 - 28
Ryan TannehillDolphinsRavens402972.52265.77.812.537.521163.1L 6 - 38
Paxton LynchBroncosJaguars241250.01044.38.700.000.02261.8W 20 - 10
Carson WentzEaglesBengals603660.03085.18.611.735.01258.2L 14 - 32
Tyrod TaylorBillsRaiders351851.41915.510.600.012.942155.8L 24 - 38
Blaine Gabbert49ersBears10440.0353.58.800.000.01850.0L 6 - 26
Jared GoffRamsPatriots321443.81615.011.513.126.243543.9L 10 - 26
Ryan MallettRavensDolphins3133.351. 38 - 6
Bryce PettyJetsColts251144.01355.412.314.028.01241.2L 10 - 41
Le'Veon BellSteelersGiants100. 24 - 14
Colin Kaepernick49ersBears5120. 6 - 26
Jerick McKinnonVikingsCowboys100. 15 - 17
Blake BortlesJaguarsBroncos421945.21814.39.500.024.81237.9L 10 - 20
Ryan FitzpatrickJetsColts12541.7816.816.200.018.30030.2L 10 - 41
Derek AndersonPanthersSeahawks100. 7 - 40

Quarterbacks have thrown more than 20 incompletions on 19 occasions in 2016. Both the Eagles Carson Wentz and the Jaguars Blake Bortles did it in Week 13. Only the Packers Aaron Rodgers (22) came away with a win beating the Giants 23-16 in week 5. The other 18 lost.

Why are so many NFL teams risk adverse and playing small ball in 2016? Dinking and dunking may be boring and may not put many points on the board, but consider the alternatives. Throwing even one interception means you probably lose.

Win - Loss Record by Interceptions Thrown in 2016 GamesJu
(Through Week 13)

Seventeen quarterbacks three inteceptions in Week 13. Only four came away winners: the Ravens Joe Flacco, the Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, the Buccaneers Jameis Winston and the Seahawks Russell Wilson. The other 13 lost.

Of course, throwing touchdowns is the name of the game for the best quarterbacks. Here are some of the league's best and worst touchdowns to interceptions ratios. Best: Patriots Tom Brady 19:1, Cowboys Dak Prescott 19:2, Raiders Derek Car 24:5, Vikings Sam Bradford 13:3, Lions Matthew Stafford 21:5, Packers Aaron Rodgers 29:7. Worst: Jets Ryan Fitzgerald 10:13, Rams Case Keenum 9:11, Texans Brock Osweiler 14:13, Eagles Carson Wentz 12:11, Jaguars Blake Bortles 20:15. That separates the wheat from the chaff.

The Cleveland Browns don't just have problems at the quarterback position. The last time their leading rusher, Isaiah Crowell, gained 50+ yards rushing was in Week 7 (63) versus the Bengals. The last time his running mate Duke Johnson did it was in Week 4 (53) against the Redskins. Crowell had a great start to the season with 386 yards rushing after the first four games. He has had only one game in which he as averaged three yards a carry since then: Week 7 versus the Bengals (12, 63, 5.2).

Be sure to check out my review of ex Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask’s "You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Life in the National Football League." It is a great read, especially if you're a Raiders fan. Lot's of insights into former coach, general partner, commissioner, owner Al Davis. It's a book that may also be of interest to non-football fans, especially women and young people, as the author talks about how to forge ahead on the career path.

Amy Trask’s “You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Life in the NFL”

By Chris Malumphy

Highly recommended. This is a rare football book that made me laugh in the beginning, taught me things in the middle, and made me cry at the end. Amy Trask was the first woman to become a CEO in the NFL. She worked for the Raiders for nearly 30 years, about 16 as Chief Executive as far as I can tell. Raiders fans refer to her as "The Princess of Darkness." She has lots to say about navigating a career, dealing with sexism and other isms, confronting NFL headquarters when necessary on behalf of her team, even when it might not have been the way she would have handled things if she was in total command, and working for her boss, Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis, reportedly one of the toughest individuals to deal with in the NFL. For a football fan, the sections dealing with the mercurial Davis are both the heart and soul of the book. "You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Life in the National Football League" has loads of interest for football, and especially Raiders', fans, but might also be of value to a young person beginning a career either in sports or elsewhere, regardless of whether you are a woman or man. Her message to them would be to bring a strong work ethic to your job, concentrate more on doing the assigned tasks well than on looking ahead to your next position, and accepting responsibility and new opportunities even if it doesn't come with an immediate increase in salary or authority. In the end, those traits seemed to work out extremely well for her. The book is written with grace, but be forewarned, the NFL is predominately a world of men, and if you'd rather avoid frequent use of the "F" word or don't want to buy such a book for a younger reader, you may want to look elsewhere, but I think you'd be missing something special. The only thing this book left me wanting was more. Amy Trask takes the high road and avoids trashing named individuals in the book. I would love to read more from her on topics like the Raiders' legal battles, their move to Los Angeles and then back to Oakland, the disagreements between Davis and his coaches, especially Lane Kiffen, and, as a football draft historian, the disastrous choice of Quarterback JeMarcus Russell as the first pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. It is rare that a sports book could be of interest to both men and women, football fans and those who don't give a hoot for the game. This may be the one.

Jamie Collins Trade Hurts Patriots’ Pass Defense and Helps Browns Stop Run

By Chris Malumphy

It isn't often that a young star with "freakish talent" is traded in midseason, especially when that player helped his team to the AFC Championship game the prior season. So eyebrows were certainly raised when the New England Patriots traded linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns as the trading deadline approached a few weeks ago for a seemingly low third round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. After all, Collins appeared to be a main cog with big play skills in the Patriots' defense. At 6 ft 3, 250 pounds and with good speed, it appeared that the 27-year old Collins would be a stalwart in New England for a long time to come.

In addition, Collins seemed to have been playing well and the Patriots were winning games. The Patriots were 6-1 with Collins on the field in 2016, including victories in each of their last three games prior to the trade. Collins' stats for those games included 28 solo tackles, 11 assists, two interceptions, a forced fumble and two passes defended. Had genius Coach Bill Belichick finally gone mad or was something more complex taking place. Was the trade done with future salary-cap considerations in mind? Had the Patriots determined that they couldn't afford to sign both Dont'a Hightower and Collins to long-term deals and decided to keep Hightower? Or was Belichick "sending a message" to the rest of the team that no job in the Patriots' lineup is safe, especially for a player who, as analyst and former New England front office executive Mike Lombardi has suggested, freelances too much and doesn't always play according to the desired scheme? There are no answers to those questions here. But we can comment on the statistical impact the trade has since had on the Patriots and the Browns.

There has been no appreciable impact on either team's won-loss record thus far. As Week 13 approaches, the Patriots have been 6-1 with Collins on the field and 3-1 without him, including one game prior to the trade in which Collins did not play due to injury. The Browns were 0-8 prior to the trade and are 0-4 since then.

The loss of Collins has seemingly hurt the Patriots' pass defense with the team's defensive pass rating rising significantly from 82.9 with Collins on the field to 111.0 without him, while the Browns' pass defense rating was marginally better without him, being 103.4 before the trade and 104.1 since then. But there are a lot of factors involved with those statistics. The Browns' defense has been stingier with Collins in both yards per attempt (8.4 before the trade, 6.9 after) and yards per completion (13.3 before, 10.1 after) which coincides with a converse impact on the Patriots which went from 6.5 per attempt with Collins in the lineup to 8.3 without him and 10.5 yards per completion to 12.8 without him. Contradictorily, the Browns' rushing defensive improved going from 4.8 average yards gained per carry prior to the trade to 4.1 yards afterwards, while the Patriots' have been better defending against the run at 3.7 yards per carry without him in the lineup but with an average of 4.2 when he was on the field for them. So whether the gain or loss of Collins helps or hurts a teams pass and rushing defense is somewhat unclear and differs by team.

The season still has much in store and Collins appears to have a long playing future ahead of him, whether it is with the Browns or elsewhere. So it is still too early to tell whether the trade will work out for the best for either team. But the loss of Collins athleticism and that change in defensive pass rating from 82.9 to 111.0 should be a cause of concern for the Patriots and their fans.

Here are the before and after stats for both teams following Week 12.

Browns Defensive Statistics with/without Jamie Collins in Lineup

Browns Defensive Statistics by Week with/without Jamie Collins in Lineup
01WithoutEagles5-6-0372259.52787.512.625.400.0285.1101.00341333.91L 10 - 29
02WithoutRavens6-5-0452555.63026.712.124.424.4000.072.6026803.10L 20 - 25
03WithoutDolphins7-4-0392564.13198.212.837.725.1182.593.91251154.61L 24 - 30
04WithoutRedskins6-4-1272177.81836.88.7311.113.732710.0116.71261455.61L 20 - 31
05WithoutPatriots9-2-0412868.34069.914.537.300.0132.4124.6035982.81L 13 - 33
06WithoutTitans6-6-0241770.828411.816.7312.514.22147.7134.70311374.41L 26 - 28
07WithoutBengals3-7-1281967.930811. 17 - 31
08WithoutJets3-8-0341647.12286.714.312.900.0265.679.00351714.93L 28 - 31
09WithCowboys11-1-0282278.62559.111.6310.700.0000.0141.21421684.02L 10 - 35
10WithRavens6-5-0413073.22967.29.937.324.92194.797.20341193.50L 7 - 28
11WithSteelers6-5-0362363.91674.67.300.000.0000.074.71281465.21L 9 - 24
12WithGiants8-3-0271555.61947.212.9311.100.0123.6115.40271043.90L 13 - 27
TotalBrowns   0-12-040726364.632207.912.2286.982.0171074.0103.6537316874.513  

Patriots Defensive Statistics with/without Jamie Collins in Lineup

Patriots Defensive Statistics by Week with/without Jamie Collins in Lineup
01WithCardinals4-6-1372464.92717.311.325.400.03197.5104.7019924.81W 23 - 21
02WithDolphins7-4-0453271.13898.612.224.424.4000.093.7216704.41W 31 - 24
03WithTexans6-5-0412458.51964. 27 - 0
04WithBills6-5-0392769.22466.39.112.600.0224.994.60321344.20L 0 - 16
05WithBrowns0-12-0352057.12497.112.525.712.92145.486.5122271.20W 33 - 13
06WithoutBengals3-7-1312167.72548. 35 - 17
07WithSteelers6-5-0472961.72816.09.712.112.1000.076.6122944.30W 27 - 16
08WithBills6-5-0402050.02185.510.900.000.0294.866.50261676.43W 41 - 25
10WithoutSeahawks7-3-1372567.63489.413.938.100.03247.5124.6126963.70L 24 - 31
11Without49ers1-10-0301653.32066.912.926.700.052914.397.43271224.50W 30 - 17
12WithoutJets3-8-0322268.82698.412.226.300.0103.0115.2223642.80W 22 - 17
TotalPatriots   9-2-041426062.829277.111.3163.951.2221355.091.71227210954.06  

Seahawks Russell Wilson Thwarted by Buccaneers Defense - NFL Week 12 Passing Statistics

By Chris Malumphy

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held Russell Wilson to the worst passing rating of Week 12 as the Bucs beat the Seahawks 14-5. Wilson was only able to complete 51.5% of his 33 passes for a miserly 151 yards, 4.6 yards per attempt, 8.9 yards per completion, with no touchdowns and two interceptions which resulted in a rating of 38.8. Wilson was also sacked six times for 33 yards of losses. It was another good showing for the Buccaneers' Jameis Winston. Winston has now topped a rating of 100.0 in three of his last four games and four of his last six. The Bucs have now won three in a row.

Other quarterbacks having subpar ratings for Week 12 included the Texans' Brock Osweiler, the Colts' Scott Tolkien, the Bears' Matt Barkley, the Bengals' Andy Dalton and the Chiefs' Alex Smith. Tolkien and Barkley are career backups. Osweiller should be. Dalton faced a tough Ravens' defense and lost. Smith battled the Broncos and won.

The Redskins' Kirk Cousins had another statistically excellent game against the Cowboys gaining 449 yards, throwing three touchdowns with no interceptions, completing 77.4% of his passes and not being sacked at all. But it wasn't enough to overcome the efforts of Cowboys' rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger pounded the Colts with a limited passing attack in which he threw only 20 passes but for three touchdowns. Drew Brees helped coach Sean Payton get a little revenge on Rams' defensive coordinator Gregg Williams by completing 77.8% of his passes for four touchdowns.

The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick may be getting back on track. He passed for 296 yards and ran for 113 more in a 31-24 loss to the Patriots. But the 49ers have a long, long way to go before returning to respectability.

The Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill and the Titans' Marcus Mariota continued to play well. The Chargers' Philip Rivers got back on track after having played increasingly poorly for several weeks. The Jets' held Tom Brady to his worst passing rating of the year, but even though Ryan Fitzpatrick had one of his better games, it wasn't enough as the Patriots topped New York 22-17.

2016 Week 12 Passing Statistics
Willie SneadSaintsRams11100.05050.050.01100.000.000158.30W 49 - 21
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelersColts201470.022111.115.8315.000.000146.00W 28 - 7
Drew BreesSaintsRams362877.83108.611.1411.100.0214139.61W 49 - 21
Ryan TannehillDolphins49ers302066.72859.514.2310.000.0222130.634W 31 - 24
Marcus MariotaTitansBears231565.22269.815.128.700.000126.446W 27 - 21
Trevor SiemianBroncosChiefs342058.836810.818.438.800.0528125.623L 27 - 30
Kirk CousinsRedskinsCowboys534177.44498.511.035.700.000120.72L 26 - 31
Pat McAfeeColtsSteelers11100.03535. 7 - 28
Philip RiversChargersTexans302273.32428.111.0310.013.317116.30W 21 - 13
Eli ManningGiantsBrowns271555.61947.212.9311.100.012115.4-2W 27 - 13
Ryan FitzpatrickJetsPatriots322268.82698.412.226.200.010115.21L 17 - 22
Tyrod TaylorBillsJaguars181266.71669.213.815.600.0515114.638W 28 - 21
Dak PrescottCowboysRedskins241770.81958.111.514.200.015108.939W 31 - 26
Jameis WinstonBuccaneersSeahawks282175.02207.910.527.113.600106.312W 14 - 5
Matt RyanFalconsCardinals342676.52697.910.325.912.9325106.115W 38 - 19
Jared GoffRamsSaints322062.52146.710.739.413.1336100.30L 21 - 49
Derek CarrRaidersPanthers382668.43158.312.125.312.625100.2-13W 35 - 32
Colin Kaepernick49ersDolphins462963.02966.410.236.512.221494.1113L 24 - 31
Blake BortlesJaguarsBills261350.01264.89.727.700.02889.681L 21 - 28
Josh McCownBrownsGiants432558.13227.512.912.300.073789.50L 13 - 27
Cam NewtonPanthersRaiders281450.02468.817.627.113.621789.36L 32 - 35
Tom BradyPatriotsJets503060.02865.79.524.000.00089.2-4W 22 - 17
Joe FlaccoRavensBengals362569.42346.59.412.812.821584.719W 19 - 14
Matthew StaffordLionsVikings402357.52325.810.112.500.021882.530W 16 - 13
Carson PalmerCardinalsFalcons452555.62896.411.624.412.221580.70L 19 - 38
Sam BradfordVikingsLions373183.82246. 13 - 16
Alex SmithChiefsBroncos442659.12205.08.512.300.063079.72W 30 - 27
Andy DaltonBengalsRavens482654.22835.910.912.100.032278.714L 14 - 19
Matt BarkleyBearsTitans542851.93165.911.335.623.70072.80L 21 - 27
Scott TolzienColtsSteelers362261.12055.79.312.825.632162.86L 7 - 28
Brock OsweilerTexansChargers372259.52466.611.200.038.11745.623L 13 - 21
Landry JonesSteelersColts100. 28 - 7
Matt McGloinRaidersPanthers100. 35 - 32
Duke JohnsonBrownsGiants100. 13 - 27
Russell WilsonSeahawksBuccaneers331751.51514.68.900.026.163338.880L 5 - 14

Washington’s Kirk Cousins Beasts - NFL 2016 Week 11 Passing Statistics and More

By Chris Malumphy

Washington Redskins fans should take note that 2016 Week 11 marks the date in which quarterback Kirk Cousins showed that he indeed deserves a big, big contract extension. I'm not sure that we can conclude that Cousins is a great quarterback, but he has surely demonstrated by now that he is a franchise quarterback. In an impressive beatdown of the Green Bay Packers, Cousins easily out-dueled one of the better quarterbacks in the game, Aaron Rodgers, in a match in which Rodgers had one of his best performances of the year. Rodgers completed 63.4% of his passes for 351 yards, 8.6 yards per attempt and 13.5 yards per completion for three touchdowns with no interceptions earning a rating of 115.0. Nevertheless, he wound up on the losing end of a 42-24 battle because Cousins was even better: 70% completions for 375 yards, 12.5 per attempt, 17.9 per completion, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a near perfect 145.8 rating. Cousins' 12.5 average yards gained per attempt was impressive compared to the next highest totals for the week: the Colts' Andrew Luck 9.4 and the Browns' Cody Kessler 9.1. Cousins doesn't get sacked often, gets the ball downfield, completes a high percentage of his passes and has significantly cut down on his interceptions over the past two years, tossing 46 touchdown passes to 18 interceptions since the beginning of 2015. If the Redskins don't want him, most other teams will take him over what they have with pleasure. It's time for Washington to pony up.

The Miami Dolphins are riding running back Jay Ajayi and a strong defense to victory. But the emergeant ground attack has also resulted in markedly improved play by quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is a fantastic athlete, but has been a very inconsistent passer, at least until recently. Since he no longer needs to be the focal point of the offense in order for his team to win, Tannehill can now play within his abilities. During the Dolphins' five game win streak, Tannehill has thrown six touchdown passes with just one interceptions and has been sacked only seven times, four coming in this week's victory over the Rams in which Tannehill led a fourth quarter charge to overcome a ten-point deficit to win 14-10.

The Rams' Jared Goff, the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, finally got onto the field for the first time during Week 11. Until then, he had been completely overshadowed by the play of the number two choice, the Eagles' Carson Wentz who got off to a terrific start early in the season but has faltered since then. Over his past six games, Wentz has thrown only four touchdown passes to six interceptions and has topped a QB Rating of 90 once. Neither rookie did well during Week 11 losses. We’ll keep Cowboys' fourth rounder Dak Prescott out of the discussion for now.

Here's a question for the faltering Arizona Cardinals. Who will be your quarterback in 2017: Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin or ????

The best passing performances during Week 11 were: the Redskins' Kirk Cousins with a 145.8 rating, the Cowboys' Dak Prescott 127.2, the Raiders' Derek Carr 117.0, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers 115.0, the Patriots' Tom Brady 114.6 and the Titans' Marcus Mariota 106.2. Brady threw four touchdown passes while Cousins, Prescott, Carr and Rodgers tossed three each. Of that group, Brady actually threw for the fewest yards (280) and lowest completion rate (60%) even though he had the most touchdown passes.

The worst ratings during Week 11 were compiled by the Browns' Cody Kessler 52.1, the Bengals' Andy Dalton 57.0, the Eagles' Carson Wentz 61.2, the Cardinals' Carson Palmer 62.3, the Rams' Jared Goff 65.8, the Bills' Tyrod Taylor 70.9 and the Panthers' Cam Newton 71.8. Among that group, only two came out of their games victorious. Taylor and the Bills won because the snake bit Bengals and quarterback Andy Dalton played even worse. But somewhat amazingly, Cam Newton came out on the winning side despite completing just 42.4% of his passes for a meager 198 yards while his opponent Drew Brees of the Saints completed 79.5% of his throws for 285 yards as Carolina beat New Orleans 23-20. Sometimes the Panthers seem to win both because of AND despite Cam Newton, a superior athlete who has yet to put his passing game completely together. Newton has thrown just 11 touchdown passes all season, along with seven interceptions and four of those touchdowns came in one game against the lowly San Francisco 49ers. In his other eight contests, Newton has thrown seven touchdowns and six interceptions and has broken a rating of 90 just once. That is not winning quarterback play and it is holding back a team with such a strong defense. Newton also gets sacked more than average, as do many quarterbacks who also like to run with the ball.

Completing a high percentage of passes doesn't always lead to victory. In a Week 11 oddity, the two quarterbacks with the highest complete rates (the Saints' Drew Brees 79.5%, the Chiefs' Alex Smith 77.4%) both lost while the quarterback with lowest (the Panthers' Cam Newton 42.4%) won.

Former Cowboys' draft guru Gil Brandt noted that three teams (Lions, Giants and Redskins) have had all of their games within one score in the fourth quarter this season. Each of those teams has won more than lost (Giants 7-3, Redskins 6-3-1, Lions 6-4) so kudos are in order for Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins as well as the coaches and the rest of the players for those teams. But close games are sometimes won by luck, a bad bounce, a referee's call, an untimely penalty or mistake. The Giants and Redskins currently trail the Cowboys (9-1) in their division while the Lions are tied with the Vikings at 6-4. So each team may need to step up their game even further to avoid being tossed out of the playoff picture if their luck doesn't hold.

What do the Chicago Bears and the Cleveland Browns have in common? Berry, berry bad offensive lines that can’t protect a quarterback for the life of them. Consider that the Bears have lost Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and backup Connor Shaw to injury this year while the Browns have lost Robert Griffin, Josh McCown and Cody Kessler. Kessler has been knocked out of three starts, twice with concussions. Neither team is happy with their quarterback situation, but maybe, just maybe, they need to put some effort into improving their offensive lines. Both Hoyer and Shaw previously played for the Browns as well, ouch. Amazingly, of the 35 quarterbacks with 100 plus attempts this season, the Bears have the quarterbacks with both the lowest percentage sacked (Hoyer 1.5%) and the highest (Cutler 11.0%). One of the downside's to Cutler's game is that he is a sack machine.

The woeful Browns lost 70 yards on eight sacks by the Steelers in Week 11 with Cody Kessler going down four times for 34 yards in losses and Josh McCown being sacked 4 times for 36 more lost yards. The 70 yards lost attempting to pass was MORE THAN TWICE the 33 yards the Browns gained rushing. OOOuuuch! What's worse, the Steelers had one of the worst pass rushing defenses in the league with only 13 sacks in their prior nine games. Are the Browns an 0-16 team in the making. The sad thing is, if they should luck out and win a game or two, they will probably lose the opportunity to draft the best available quarterback who could help fix this mess; or more probably, the opportunity to trade down as they have down multiple times in recent years. The Browns brought all this on themselves by letting center Alex Mack (Falcons) and tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Chiefs) walk during free agency. An injury to guard Joel Bitonio and the lack of development by 2015 first round pick Cameron Irving has been too much to overcome for a team that had already lost 40% of its line and two of its three best linemen. While the Browns were sacked eight times in Week 11, Sports Illustrated's MMQB said the Chiefs' Mitchell Schwartz played his best game of year and didn’t allow a hit or a pressure.

While we're on the subject of sacks, the quarterbacks who have been the easiest to take down thus far in 2016 have been the Bears' Jay Cutler 11.0%, the Browns' Cody Kessler 9.0%, the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick 9.0%, the Colts' Andrew Luck 8.5%, the Browns' Josh McCown 8.3%, and the Bills' Tyrod Taylor 7.8%

The quarterbacks who have been hardest to sack are the Bears' Brian Hoyer 1.5%, the Raiders' Derek Carr 3.0%, the Giants' Eli Manning 3.0%, the Redskins' Kirk Cousins 3.5%, the Saints' Drew Brees 3.7%, and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger 3.8%. In Week 11, the quarterbacks with the most pass attempts without being sacked were the Giants' Eli Manning and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger 36; the Jaguars' Blake Bortles 35; and the Chiefs' Alex Smith 31. Much of the Giants success in being 7-3 so far in 2016 is the team's ability to protect the quarterback and Manning's ability to get rid of the ball before being sacked. During the team's five game winning streak, Manning has been sacked just three times and only 12 times all season. Just compare that to the 35 sacks taken by the Colts' Andrew Luck, who will miss Week 12 due to a concussion.

Quarterbacks who've missed time this year or been knocked out of games due to injuries include: Tony Romo, Teddy Bridgewater, Robert Griffin, Jimmy Garappollo, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Charlie Whitehurst, Trevor Siemian, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Jameis Winston, Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw, and now Andrew Luck. That points to the importance of having a decent second string quarterback, or in some cases even a third and fourth string.

On topics unrelated to quarterback play, I noticed that the Raiders and the Texans averaged 53 and 52 yards on three punts each on Monday night in Mexico City which is 7,380 feet above sea level, about 2,000 feet higher than the mile-high field in Denver. It just made me wonder how far some of the all-time great punters like Raiders Ray Guy or Chiefs Jerrel Wilson could kick at that elevation. Even further, say it was a Raiders' home game in Mexico in Al Davis’ day. Pretend those rumors about filling the balls with “helium” were true. How far would a Ray Guy punt have gone then? It's pure whimsy. Guy was one of, if not the greatest punter of all times (Wilson also has a solid claim), so the kick would go far in any case. Just fun to think about. And I haven't even mentioned hang-time.

Three Colts had receptions of 49 or more yards in Week 11: Phillip Dorsett 50, T.Y. Hilton 50 and Frank Gore 49.

While the Dolphins' Jay Ajayi is an emerging force in the running game, the Browns' Isaiah Crowell is headed in the opposite direction. Crowell had 408 yards rushing during Weeks 1-5 but only 145 yards in Weeks 6-11. He’s played each week and the Browns haven’t had bye, so the decline is precipitous.

Who would have ever thought that Jerry Jones would build another Cowboys' juggernaut? Quite an impressive team. Quite a quarterback situation.

2016 Week 11 Passing Statistics
Doug BaldwinSeahawksEagles11100.01515.015.01100.000.000158.30W 26 - 15
Kirk CousinsRedskinsPackers302170.037512.517.9310.000.0211145.84W 42 - 24
Dak PrescottCowboysRavens362775.03018.411.138.300.012127.216W 27 - 17
Derek CarrRaidersTexans312167.72959.514.039.713.200117.0-2W 27 - 20
Aaron RodgersPackersRedskins412663.43518.613.537.300.0220115.033L 24 - 42
Tom BradyPatriots49ers402460.02807.011.7410.000.017114.612W 30 - 17
Marcus MariotaTitansColts382565.82907.611.625.300.0536106.229L 17 - 24
Drew BreesSaintsPanthers443579.52856.58.124.512.332199.30L 20 - 23
Alex SmithChiefsBuccaneers312477.42618.410.913.213.20099.010L 17 - 19
Sam BradfordVikingsCardinals282071.41696.08.413.600.022498.7-1W 30 - 24
Joe FlaccoRavensCowboys352365.72697.711.712.900.01298.46L 17 - 27
Matthew StaffordLionsJaguars332472.72788.411.600.000.031597.80W 26 - 19
Russell WilsonSeahawksEagles311858.12728.815.113.200.01097.819W 26 - 15
Colin Kaepernick49ersPatriots301653.32066.912.926.700.052997.432L 17 - 30
Jameis WinstonBuccaneersChiefs392461.53318.513.812.600.01597.322W 19 - 17
Eli ManningGiantsBears362158.32276.310.825.600.00095.51W 22 - 16
Andrew LuckColtsTitans281553.62629.417.527.113.621194.622W 24 - 17
Ryan TannehillDolphinsRams342470.61725.17.225.912.943089.319W 14 - 10
Brock OsweilerTexansRaiders392666.72436.29.312.612.621381.519L 20 - 27
Jay CutlerBearsGiants301756.72528.414.813.313.343081.53L 16 - 22
Josh McCownBrownsSteelers271451.91184.48.413.700.043675.811L 9 - 24
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelersBrowns362363.91674.67.300.000.00074.70W 24 - 9
Blake BortlesJaguarsLions352262.92025.89.225.725.70073.73L 19 - 26
Cam NewtonPanthersSaints331442.41925.813.713.000.021971.87W 23 - 20
Tyrod TaylorBillsBengals271970.41666.18.700.013.72770.939W 16 - 12
Jared GoffRamsDolphins311754.81344.37.900.000.01965.811L 10 - 14
Carson PalmerCardinalsVikings382052.61985.29.925.325.344363.311L 24 - 30
Carson WentzEaglesSeahawks452351.12184.89.524.424.422361.22L 15 - 26
Andy DaltonBengalsBills432455.82074.88.612.324.71057.010L 12 - 16
Cody KesslerBrownsSteelers14750.01289.118.300.017.143452.12L 9 - 24
Brett HundleyPackersRedskins3133.393.09.000.0133.3002.80L 24 - 42

2016 Passing Statistics Sorted by Pct Sacked
Brian HoyerBears20013467.014457.210.863.000.031.598.0-7
Derek CarrRaiders38525566.228007.311.0205.241.0112.8100.662
Eli ManningGiants38624663.727087.011.0174.4102.6123.088.3-4
Kirk CousinsRedskins38425867.230918.012.0174.471.8143.598.851
Drew BreesSaints42029871.032777.811.0266.281.9163.7106.418
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers35322864.625247.211.1205.772.0143.896.322
Dak PrescottCowboys31621467.726408.412.3175.420.6144.2108.6141
Joe FlaccoRavens41426062.826436.410.2102.492.2204.680.034
Blake BortlesJaguars41525060.226236.310.5184.3133.1214.880.0213
Brock OsweilerTexans36321659.520615.79.5123.3102.8195.074.989
Tom BradyPatriots20614570.419159.313.2167.810.5115.1123.363
Marcus MariotaTitans35522864.227727.812.2236.582.3195.1100.3272
Ryan FitzpatrickJets29916956.519826.611.782.7134.3175.467.6112
Aaron RodgersPackers41025963.227616.710.7256.171.7245.596.0259
Carson WentzEagles35622563.223396.610.4113.172.0215.684.248
Alex SmithChiefs30220367.220776.910.293.041.3185.691.254
Russell WilsonSeahawks33522166.027148.112.3113.320.6205.699.379
Jameis WinstonBuccaneers37822860.326807.111.8205.3102.6246.088.5101
Trevor SiemianBroncos29117560.120287.011.6124.172.4196.185.035
Matthew StaffordLions35123867.826517.611.1185.151.4236.1101.2126
Blaine Gabbert49ers1508758.08905.910.253.364.0106.369.6172
Philip RiversChargers36922962.128907.812.6205.4113.0256.392.116
Matt RyanFalcons34623668.232479.413.8246.951.4246.5115.169
Case KeenumRams31319161.021696.911.492.9113.5236.876.851
Ryan TannehillDolphins29919765.922917.711.6124.082.7247.491.1110
Andy DaltonBengals36023364.727607.711.8113.161.7297.591.2139
Cam NewtonPanthers31017556.521867.112.5113.572.3257.580.9268
Carson PalmerCardinals37022861.626467.211.6133.5102.7307.583.735
Sam BradfordVikings31121769.821917.010.1123.920.6267.799.8-3
Tyrod TaylorBills29618261.519356.510.6103.441.4257.886.2401
Josh McCownBrowns1226553.37786.412.054.164.9118.366.221
Andrew LuckColts37523662.928277.512.0195.182.1358.593.9246
Colin Kaepernick49ers1628653.111447.113.374.321.2169.085.0260
Cody KesslerBrowns19212665.613697.110.963.121.0199.092.618
Jay CutlerBears1378159.110597.713.142.953.61711.078.124

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