Commentary

Delhomme joins the ranks of dismal winners

Originally Published: November 10, 2008
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders

You don't need to be a football writer to understand that Carolina QB Jake Delhomme had a bad game Sunday -- you don't even really need to be a football fan.

We're sure that disinterested significant others, young children with a solid grasp of teamwork and even relatively intelligent house pets could have picked up on the fact that the guy with the ball had a white jersey but kept throwing to the team in the black jerseys.

Delhomme was 7-of-26 for 72 yards and one touchdown to go up against four interceptions. This was all against a Raiders team with an average secondary besides folk hero Nnamdi Asomugha, who was challenged once by a foolish Delhomme and left with his first interception of the year.

Although the Raiders have the fourth-best DVOA in the league against No. 1 receivers, mostly thanks to Asomugha, their pass defense coming into the game was only 17th in the league because of the failings of DeAngelo Hall, Stanford Routt, (the other) Chris Johnson, Michael Huff and others.

Despite what should've been a simple game plan, Delhomme stumbled miserably and put up one of the more atrocious performances in recent memory. What made the whole thing even more impressive was that the Panthers still managed to win the game, 17-6. It got us to wonder whether Delhomme's performance was the worst game produced by a winning quarterback in the era that we've developed advanced statistics for (1995-2008).

Delhomme produced minus-187 DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) on Sunday, all passing. Since 1995, there have been 206 instances in which a quarterback has produced minus-150 passing DYAR or worse in a game, including twice this year: Derek Anderson in Week 3, and JaMarcus Russell in Week 9. Those 206 quarterbacks went a combined 16-190. There were only five games in which a quarterback had fewer passing DYAR than Delhomme and still won. In order of reverse dismalness:

5. Vinny Testaverde, 2001 Jets vs. Panthers (-190 DYAR, 21-of-34, 181 yards, 0 TD, 3 INTs)

This game suffers mightily from opponent adjustments, as Testaverde was playing a Panthers team that was in the midst of a five-game losing streak that would go on to stretch the rest of the year, as it won the opener and proceeded to lose 15 games. The Jets scored only because of an interception return and two field goals, giving them a 13-12 win; Curtis Martin, meanwhile, ran for 159 yards and nearly outproduced his quarterback in yards on the day.

4. Rex Grossman, 2006 Bears vs. Vikings (-192 DYAR, 6-of-19, 34 yards, 0 TD, 3 INTs)

Not the 2006 Grossman game you were expecting, huh? This was a game against the Vikings in which Grossman could do absolutely nothing against an average pass defense. Cedric Benson had more rushing yards than Grossman did passing, and Thomas Jones came up two yards short. The Bears won thanks to a Devin Hester punt return, an interception returned for a touchdown, a safety and two field goals.

3. Craig Krenzel, 2005 Bears vs. Titans (-202 DYAR, 10-of-27, 116 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs)

This was an ugly performance against a bad team -- Tennessee was rebuilding and had a pass defense that was 23rd in the league. The Bears won 19-17, thanks to an interception return, a punt return, a field goal and a safety, which would sound familiar if it weren't for the fact that this safety was the game-winner and came in overtime. Billy Volek managed to get sacked in the end zone to lose the game and still had a better day than Krenzel.

2. Trent Dilfer, 2000 Ravens vs. Cardinals (-216 DYAR, 12-of-22, 71 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT)

Dilfer had this game against a Cardinals defense that ranked 28th in the league against the pass.

1. Rex Grossman, 2006 Bears vs. Cardinals (-285 DYAR, 14-of-37, 144 yards, 0 TD, 4 INTs)

Nothing even comes close to the infamous "They Are Who We Thought They Were" game from Monday Night Football in 2006, when Rex Grossman laid the egg of a lifetime only to get bailed out by two fumble returns and the punt return that made Hester a legend. Anyone who ever says his quarterback is "just a winner" should be forced to have the Grossman from this game play quarterback for his team for eternity.

Here are the rest of the best and worst players of Week 10, according to the Football Outsiders DYAR statistics.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
EYds
1.
Peyton Manning IND
21/40
240
3
0
157
157
0
426
He's back! Sure, DYAR doesn't know that a good chunk of his yardage came on passes that Ike Taylor tipped to Reggie Wayne, but it also doesn't know that Marvin Harrison dropped two possible touchdowns.
2.
Kerry Collins TEN
30/41
289
2
0
156
156
0
416
Most teams try to attack the Cover 2 by going to the edges with corner patterns or running in patterns behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties. Chicago runs less Cover 2 now than it ever has under Lovie Smith, however, and Tennessee adapted by challenging Chicago's corners in man coverage with lots of slants. The corners couldn't handle it.
3.
Jay Cutler DEN
24/42
447
3
1
152
149
4
455
Yes, 447 yards sure look good, but this came against the Browns. Shooting a 68 at your local course makes you sound great until you casually let it slip out that you started each hole halfway up the fairway.
4.
Matt Ryan ATL
16/23
248
2
0
124
124
0
279
Ryan didn't take a sack and completed six passes on second down for 10 yards or more, highlighted by the 67-yard hookup with Jerious Norwood.
5.
Donovan McNabb PHI
17/35
194
3
1
122
112
10
370
The stuff about McNabb's footwork not being in rhythm and its leading to him being a streaky quarterback rings hollow with us. McNabb's a star, and he's expected to play like one. Rookies have footwork issues, not veterans.
6.
David Garrard JAC
18/25
238
2
0
97
97
0
277
Granted, it's a pedestrian day for a quarterback facing the Rams. That being said, Garrard didn't make any mistakes and his effectiveness helped huge holes open up for Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor.
7.
Philip Rivers SD
27/36
316
2
2
89
89
0
333
Rivers completed the last three third downs he faced; they went for a first down and two touchdowns.
8.
Eli Manning NYG
17/31
191
2
1
74
70
4
296
Manning was good enough, but every time he dropped back, all we could think was "Your running backs are getting 7 yards a pop. Just hand them the ball, Eli."
9.
Matt Cassel NE
23/34
234
0
0
71
72
-1
313
As great as his early game scrambling went, he ended up as just-below average on the day because of the two failed sneak attempts he went on in the fourth quarter.
10.
Tyler Thigpen KC
27/41
266
3
0
71
63
8
353
Thigpen's sticking with his core guys: Only five players were targeted in the passing game, including Dwayne Bowe, Mark Bradley, Tony Gonzalez, Dantrell Savage and Will Franklin, who had just one target.
11.
Rex Grossman CHI
20/37
173
1
1
62
56
6
299
12.
Brady Quinn CLE
23/35
239
2
0
60
63
-3
274
Quinn was impressive, but it was all checkdowns and other simple offensive things. We can probably safely speculate that Braylon Edwards is probably going to be de-emphasized some in favor of more Kellen Winslow.
13.
Drew Brees NO
31/57
422
2
3
60
55
5
416
14.
Brett Favre NYJ
14/19
167
1
0
51
51
0
171
If Favre really is hurt, he basically got to heal in an easy victory over the Rams.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
EYds
15.
Seneca Wallace SEA
21/37
185
1
0
41
39
2
255
16.
Joe Flacco BAL
15/23
185
2
0
3
-1
4
138
17.
Chad Pennington MIA
22/36
209
1
1
0
2
-1
201
For the first time this year, Pennington ranks below Favre in Quick Reads.
18.
Aaron Rodgers GB
16/26
141
0
0
-9
-6
-3
119
19.
Drew Stanton DET
6/8
94
1
0
-15
-14
-2
39
20.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
30/42
284
0
3
-28
-28
0
189
Looked like he was in serious pain by the end of the game, with no velocity on his ball. He always seems to miss a little time each year, and it looks like that time could very well come in the next couple of weeks.
21.
Trent Green STL
5/10
70
0
1
-38
-38
0
5
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
EYds
22.
Gus Frerotte MIN
15/28
151
2
3
-45
-45
0
100
Despite having a running game that was absolutely gashing the Packers, the Vikings still let Frerotte throw 28 passes, including one that went straight into the hands of Nick Collins.
23.
Daunte Culpepper DET
5/10
104
0
1
-55
-51
-4
-15
Showed nothing except for the fact that he is still big and tall. His deep balls were underthrown and didn't have the snap on them that they once did.
24.
Sage Rosenfels HOU
23/38
294
1
4
-66
-74
8
151
His four-interception game at least came against a great defense.
25.
Trent Edwards BUF
13/23
120
1
2
-76
-76
0
37
The Bills' hot start had Edwards portrayed as a fearless leader and even as an outside MVP candidate. Now, if he keeps playing like this, don't the Bills have to consider signing someone else in the offseason?
26.
Marc Bulger STL
6/13
65
0
1
-82
-82
0
-33
This time, when he was benched, there was no outcry.
27.
Andrew Walter OAK
14/31
143
0
2
-123
-114
-9
-6
He improved on JaMarcus Russell's day from last week! Baby steps.
28.
Jake Delhomme CAR
7/26
72
1
4
-187
-187
0
-104
Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
EYds
1.
Brandon Jacobs NYG
126
2
0
0
66
66
0
190
Jacobs broke approximately a million tackles against the Eagles and benefited from having play after in which he was untouched for the first 6 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
2.
Ricky Williams MIA
105
1
21
0
63
46
17
159
This was Williams' first 100-yard game since Jan. 1, 2006. The difference between his day and Ronnie Brown's was the one long TD run. Take that out of Williams' line and he would've had 11 carries for 54 yards.
3.
Thomas Jones NYJ
149
3
0
0
59
59
0
198
Jones pretty much got to take the second half off, so here's an interesting stat that would've led to Jones' being a good sleeper pick this year: No one in the past 12 years has scored on a smaller percentage of his chances inside the 5-yard line than Jones did in 2007. That figure usually regresses to the mean, helping to explain why Jones' touchdowns are way up this year from a single score a year ago.
4.
Adrian Peterson MIN
192
1
33
0
57
40
17
220
It took Peterson 33 carries to get his 192 yards, and he turned only eight of them into first downs. He also fumbled on a crucial fourth-down conversion that killed a drive. Of course, that last run was a thing of beauty. You take the good with the bad.
5.
Maurice Jones-Drew JAC
70
3
21
0
55
46
8
137
We don't have the list, but our guess is that there's some pretty exclusive company when it comes to scoring three touchdowns in one quarter.
Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
EYds
1.
Dantrell Savage KC
44
0
0
0
-24
-10
-14
12
Good news: Converted all four of his third downs. Bad news: Not a single successful play (45% of necessary yardage on first down, 60% of necessary yardage on second down, 100% of necessary yardage on third or fourth downs) on first or second down.
Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
EYds
1.
Malcolm Floyd SD
4
4
76
19.0
1
51
101
Sure, he's like the eighth option in San Diego, but his first three passes went for 19-plus yards apiece and the last one was a touchdown. Quality counts the most here, not quantity.
2.
Dustin Keller NYJ
6
6
107
17.8
1
48
144
His coming-out party should relegate Chris Baker to the bench. Keller is a very good all-around tight end, and he will be starting for the team on a permanent basis any day now.
3.
Todd Heap BAL
5
5
58
11.6
2
42
122
In Week 9, we noted that Flacco wasn't even targeting Heap with throws. This week, Heap shows up in Quick Reads and goes 5-for-5. Consistency, people!
4.
Eddie Royal DEN
6
8
164
27.3
1
40
110
Yes, it turns out catching a 93-yard touchdown pass is actually very good to fantasy teams and real teams alike.
5.
Amani Toomer NYG
5
5
53
10.6
0
38
91
Toomer was matched up a lot in the first half against Asante Samuel, who created "artificial" space between him and Toomer to try to bait a throw, only for Manning's passes to narrowly beat Samuel to the spot.
Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
EYds
1.
Steve Smith CAR
1
7
9
9.0
0
-37
-9
Smith is a great wide receiver, arguably the best in the game at certain points. As of 2008, he is definitely not an elite player on the same level of Asomugha. Asomugha didn't cover Smith on every play, but covered him enough to help hold Smith to a dismal one-catch, 9-yard game.

Bill Barnwell is an analyst for FootballOutsiders.com.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.