Welcome back to another edition of the SumerSports Weekend Review!
Every Monday, we will have a full recap of the weekend games including a postgame excitement index, game reviews, the top performers of the week at Quarterback, Wide Receiver, and Running Back, plus updated playoff probabilities.
Based on win probability swings, scoring, and other factors, we will have a postgame excitement index for each game of the NFL season. Here are Week 10’s excitement scores:
This week marked the first week since Week 7 of 2020 where there were five games with an excitement score over 9. The Lions and Chargers played in one of the games of the year with a combined 79 points, 954 total yards, and a game winning drive by the Lions. Also happening in that slate was Commanders-Seahawks that saw a 35 yard touchdown pass from Sam Howell to Dyami Brown tie the game before Geno Smith and D.K. Metcalf ended the game for a Seahawks win. Kyler Murray – in his first game back from injury – converted a key 3rd & 10 for the Cardinals to come back and beat the Falcons as well.
The early slate was also very exciting as C.J. Stroud and the Texans continued to impress after the Bengals tied the game at 27. Stroud was able to lead a game winning drive to set up the go ahead field goal and put up another impressive win. The Cleveland Browns made a ferocious comeback down 31-17 with 9 minutes to go as they scored 16 unanswered to win a game where the Ravens had a 97.1% win probability at one point.
The teams that took care of business were the 49ers, the Cowboys, the Buccaneers, and the Vikings (despite a late push from Jameis Winston).
Notable Games of the Week
Let’s dive into some of the games of the week determined by a combination of excitement, notability, and other factors.
Houston Texas (30) @ Cincinnati Bengals (27)
Despite the close score, the Texans offense put out significantly better results than the Bengals offense in this game. The Texans had a 74th percentile EPA/play and a 52nd percentile success rate compared to the Bengals having a 53rd percentile EPA/play and a 18th percentile success rate.
The Texans were very good on early downs with a 99th percentile EPA/play on 1st and 2nd down as they tallied explosive plays. They entered the week with a -0.17 EPA/rush on the season (26th best in the league) and had 0.02 EPA/rush in this game with Devin Singletary having 150 yards and 2.4 total EPA. Noah Brown continued to impress with 172 receiving yards this week after he had 153 receiving yards last week.
The Bengals leaned on the pass with a +11.3% pass rate over expected but didn’t have as good of a passing attack as we’ve become accustomed to in the past month. They had a 52nd percentile EPA/pass and were able to be explosive through the air when needed, especially in the 4th quarter, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Texans offense.
Sheldon Rankins was great for the Texans with 3 sacks including a key one in the 4th quarter. The Texans rise to 5-4 and put themselves in the 7 seed in the AFC while the Bengals drop to 5-4 and put themselves just outside of the Wild Card race with a massive Thursday Night matchup against the Ravens coming up.
Cleveland Browns (33) @ Baltimore Ravens (31)
The Ravens were in control of this game for the majority of the afternoon, but a 20% negative play rate (2nd percentile) doomed them and gave the Browns a very impressive road win against one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
The Browns were very good on the ground with a 0.18 EPA/rush as Jerome Ford had 117 yards with Deshaun Watson and Kareem Hunt adding on 68 combined yards themselves. The Browns were able to limit negative plays as they only had a 5.3% negative play rate. This kept them in the game long enough to get a pick six off a deflection and lead two clutch drives as the game closed.
The Ravens offense did have their struggles against a very good Browns defense, but it was ultimately the untimely pick six that is bringing down their advanced metrics in this game. 14 of the Ravens points came off of their own pick six and getting the ball in the redzone off a Browns failed punt return. They struggled on early downs with a 17th percentile EPA/play but were able to do enough on late downs to have them up for most of this game. The Ravens were either tied or leading for 60 minutes of this game and weren’t losing until the clock hit 0:00.
Detroit Lions (41) @ Los Angeles Chargers (38)
We expected offense in the game with the highest total of the week, but the scoring exceeded almost everyone’s expectations. The Lions had a 99th percentile EPA/play as Jared Goff had 14.6 total EPA, David Montgomery had 116 yards and 6.4 total EPA, and Amon-Ra St. Brown had 156 yards receiving and 13.0 total EPA.
Because of multiple explosive runs, the Lions finished with a 100th percentile EPA/rush as their offensive line and running backs dominated the Chargers front 7. Despite starting the game 0/7 on 3rd downs, the Lions still had a 64.7% late down success rate because they were able to convert 4/5 4th downs including converting a 4th-and-2 to set up a game winning field goal. The synergy between Dan Campbell, Ben Johnson, Jared Goff, and the rest of the pieces on offense resulted in a special performance in Los Angeles.
As for the Chargers, they overcame a slow start on offense to end up producing a 92nd percentile EPA/play. Justin Herbert to Keenan Allen was basically unstoppable for the Lions defense as Herbert finished with 323 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and 21.8 total EPA. Allen finished with 11 receptions, 175 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns with 17.3 total EPA when targeted. To nitpick about a 38-point performance, the Chargers tried to rely on the run early, which put them behind and led to them playing catch up for much of the game. They were also impressive passing on late downs, converting 10 of their 14 late downs through the air.
Washington Commanders (26) @ Seattle Seahawks (29)
For our 4th game review where the game ended with a field goal as time expired, the Seahawks held on to beat the Commanders with Geno Smith leading a game winning drive in under a minute. The Seahawks bounced back in a big way from last week producing a 72nd percentile EPA/play including success on early downs, which made up for late down struggles. Seattle continues to go through their receiving core as Tyler Lockett had 7.1 total EPA when targeted, DK Metcalf had 4.2 total EPA, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba had 4.1 total EPA. While he didn’t meet the rush requirement to show up on the graphic, Zach Charbonnet took advantage of his 6 rushes with a 67% success rate.
After an early 51 yard touchdown, the Commanders offense didn’t score another touchdown until the 4th quarter but did get another good Sam Howell performance. The Commanders had a 74th percentile EPA/pass, which was particularly impressive given that they weren’t able to get anything going on the ground. Running back Brian Robinson was the Commanders leading receiver with 6 receptions for 119 yards and 8.7 total EPA when targeted. The Commanders were able to tie the game on a 35 yard touchdown pass to Dyami Brown (with shades of 2020 North Carolina), but their defense wasn’t able to force overtime.
Top Performers of the Week
Using total EPA to determine the best performances, this week featured some stars we’d typically expect to see at the top, as well as some surprise players that have a lot of season left to continue those performances.
Despite a loss, Justin Herbert led all quarterbacks in total EPA in Week 10 with 21.8 as he threw for 323 yards without Mike Williams or Josh Palmer.
Dak Prescott finds himself on this list again after dominating the Giants as he threw for over 400 yards and 21.0 total EPA.
Brock Purdy and Jared Goff were also impressive while Joshua Dobbs continued a great run in Minnesota with 300 total yards for the Vikings.
The Lions have two running backs in the top 5 for total rush EPA this week as their offensive line gave them advantageous situations all game long.
The Steelers also have two running backs on this list as both Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris ran for over 5 yards per carry against the Packers.
Despite his touchdown streak ending, Christian McCaffrey had a great day on the ground.
Keenan Allen had the best receiver performance of the day catching 11 of his 14 targets for 175 yards and keeping the Chargers in the game the entire way.
Noah Brown continues to impress with the Texans as he had 11.8 total EPA and commanded a 20.5% target share.
Tight Ends T.J. Hockenson and George Kittle find themselves on this list as both had over 100 yards while Brian Robinson had 8.7 total EPA himself.
Updated Playoff Probability Graph
The simulation above was run before Monday Night Football and thus teams that will play on Monday only show how their chances changed based on other results around the league.
There was no team with a bigger jump in their chance to make the playoffs than the Houston Texans. They leaped +18% and now sit right around a coin flip to make the postseason. The Bengals see the reciprocal of the Texans as they fall down to a coin flip to make the playoffs with a tough schedule going forward.
The Browns and Vikings also saw a big jump in their playoff probabilities as they were able to find different ways to win on Sunday.
That is all for the SumerSports Weekend Review. It was a great week of football that gave us a lot of interesting data points to look over as we start to get ready for the next set of games. As always, be sure to check out stats on SumerSports.com, articles at The Zone, the SumerSports podcast feed, and follow us on Twitter @SumerSports to dive even deeper for the rest of this season.