Yesterday, The 33rd Team discussed five winners from Week 7 and what led to each victory. Today, we will be focusing on the other side, analyzing a few of this week’s losers and where they went wrong.
New York Giants 25 – Carolina Panthers 3
Panthers Key Stat: -0.541 EPA per Passing Play
The Panthers could get nothing going offensively in this game, and their passing game was particularly bad. After scoring 3 points on a run-heavy first drive, Carolina failed to score again in the game. Sam Darnold’s struggles continued, so much so that he was benched with the score 15-3 in the fourth quarter. His replacement, PJ Walker, was arguably even worse, completing just 3 of 14 passes for 33 yards and being sacked three times as well. Overall, Carolina loses its fourth straight game after a three game winning streak to start the season that looks more like a mirage with each passing week. QB is definitely a position they still need to address as their passing game has fallen off quite a bit.
Cincinnati Bengals 41 – Baltimore Ravens 17
Ravens Key Stat: 152 Receiving Yards Allowed After Contact
The Ravens had many issues in coverage in this game, but their biggest was tackling, where they missed seven tackles and allowed the Bengals receivers to turn shorter completions into huge gains. In particular, the 82 yard TD to Ja’Marr Chase in the third quarter that extended the Bengals’ lead from 3 to 10 came as a result of shoddy tackling and was a huge blow to the Ravens’ chances of winning the game. This was an issue they had earlier in the season that seemed to be fixed, so it is incredibly worrying to see it pop up again.
New England Patriots 54 – New York Jets 13
Jets Key Stat: 0.356 EPA per Offensive Play Allowed
By PFF’s EPA per Play metric, this was the second worst defensive performance of the season, and if you watched the game, that probably makes sense to you. On throws behind the line of scrimmage, the Jets allowed 0.996 EPA per play, a 148.3 passer rating, and 12.9 yards per attempt. They also couldn’t stop downfield throws, allowing a 141.4 passer rating on throws of more than ten air yards. A complete inability to stop both short and long throws is not a winning formula in the NFL and resulted in a blowout loss for the Jets.
Green Bay Packers 24 – Washington Football Team 10
Washington Key Stat: 3 Total Points on 4 Red Zone Drives
Washington’s poor execution in and around the red zone cost them dearly in a game where they actually moved the ball better than the Packers. Washington had four red zone drives and two more that ended within the Packers 30-yard line and scored a total of three points. A missed field goal, an interception, three turnovers on downs, and finally, a made field goal on the last of the six destroyed their hopes of victory. A 14 point losing margin is definitely a sizable one to overcome, but when you leave that many easily available points on the board, it definitely feels like a winnable game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38 – Chicago Bears 3
Bears Key Stat: 5 Turnovers
Chicago’s turnovers constantly hampered their own offense, while setting up Tampa Bay nicely for drives of their own. Off those five turnovers, the Buccaneers scored 17 points (that becomes 24 off six turnovers if you choose to consider the turnover on downs at their own 48-yard line late in the first half as another turnover). The constant turnovers and lack of production even when avoiding turnovers led the Bears to an EPA per passing play of -0.718, the third worst in a game this season. Justin Fields definitely needs to improve going forward if he wants to help the Bears win football games.