NFL playoffs 2017/18: back again like marv

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ok, in my quest to understand the nfc championship game, i have learned the following:

the ringer published a completely content- and analysis-free 'article' called Everything the Vikings Are Good at Failed Against the Eagles. however, the title was the most important part of the whole thing and succinctly nails the game. p much everything that the vikings do well they were bad at and everything that has worked for them this season stopped working.

the vikings defense is in some ways very aggressive. not that they are blitzing all the time, but they play right in your face. on pass plays the safeties hardly ever drop deep in coverage and instead they hang around the gain line and make the short/intermediate part of the field very condensed, effective against the run and effective against the pass if you don't give up big plays doing it. their dbs are all good enough that they can play close in and dare qbs to try to go over them, and the danger of passes completed in front of them breaking into big YAC plays is minimized because the whole defense is one of the best tackling units in the league.

all of that went wrong. first, they couldn't tackle for shit. multiple times the eagles completed short of the sticks on 3rd down and the vikings couldn't wrap them up. really just a bizarre drop off. second, they made the pass plays minnesota was betting they couldn't. 2 factors here. first is scheme - pederson game planned out of his mind on this one, had a player as good as harrison smith, the clear best safety in football this year, chasing his tail on plays like the jeffrey bomb. 2nd cb trae waynes - who is not xavier rhodes but who was a 1st round pick who really came on as the season progressed - was totally victimized. visibly humiliated on the flea flicker but also gave up over 100y and 2 tds total. second factor was nick foles who was apparently just as good as he looked. rated as his best ever play by play performance, better even than his 7 td game vs oakland in 2013. perfect passer rating and qbr in the second half.

on offense, the vikes acknowledged their weakness - the o-line - and devised a game plan around getting the ball out quickly. this had worked for them during the regular season and as i noted before the game, keenum was also one of the best qbs in the nfl vs pressure. however, even with 3 step drops and keenum never having the ball much longer than a couple seconds, the eagles still managed to pressure him on 50% of dropbacks which is actually terrifying. the eagles front just brutally and thoroughly mauled them. they rattled keenum and didn't even give him time to loft hopeful 50/50s to thielen or diggs downfield, the cornerstone of their offense.

there were definitely other major factors, for sure the 14 points off turnovers in the first half had a massive impact on the way the game developed, but essentially this game was about the vikings being bad at what they do well, the eagles being good at what they do well, and nick foles turning into 2010 aaron rodgers.

Roberto Spiralli, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 01:45 (two years ago) link

these are really terrific, recaps with a bit of tactical breakdown thrown in

Roberto Spiralli, Friday, 26 January 2018 00:46 (two years ago) link

foles is so normcore, love him

k3vin k., Friday, 26 January 2018 05:11 (two years ago) link

Foals did have a great 2013 season, but it seems passer rating is losing it's significance more and more with each year. I mean, Tony Romo has essentially the same career rating as Tom Brady and I can almost guarantee you he won't be getting in the hall of fame.

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Friday, 26 January 2018 18:39 (two years ago) link

well, no one is going in the HOF based on passer rating, that is certainly true. as i was saying upthread, football stats are pretty bad all round. i like the ways folks like football outsiders and PFF are building metrics that try to do things like measure passes irrespective of catches and taking account of on-field situations, but there are infinite variables and the holy grail of a stat that tidily and definitively describes qb performance is likely a fantasy. but take a bunch of different datapoints together and hopefully you see something consistent. as phil simms famously said, "data analysis in football is like a georges seurat painting"

Roberto Spiralli, Friday, 26 January 2018 19:05 (two years ago) link

yeah passer ratings for the legendary QBs of the 80s like Elway and Marino were pedestrian compared to today's QBs but that's because completion percentages are higher as so many offenses use screens and dump-offs whereas Elway/Marino flung the ball downfield most of the game.

Tannehill had passer ratings that were higher than Marino posted in many seasons and was hated by a large chunk of his fanbase....cos it really doesn't mean much anymore.

fuck you, your hat is horrible (Neanderthal), Friday, 26 January 2018 19:23 (two years ago) link

i vote for romo

lag∞n, Friday, 26 January 2018 19:26 (two years ago) link

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