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 11’s excitement scores:
An exciting Week 10 was followed by a Week 11 where more than half of the games had an above average excitement index. There was no game more exciting than Chargers-Packers as the Chargers were up 4 with 5 minutes to go only to let up the go ahead drive by the Packers. Happening at the same time was the Lions coming back from down 12 with 4 minutes to go to score 17 unanswered points.
Later in the day, the Seahawks and Rams played a great game that the Seahawks were controlling until Geno Smith left with an injury. He then returned to lead what could have been a game winning drive before a missed 55 yard field goal. Sunday Night Football saw one of the tighter games of the season as the Broncos entered the 4th quarter down 8 and scored the go-ahead touchdown with a minute to go to hold on at home.
The teams that took care of business without much excitement were the Bills, Jaguars, Cowboys, and 49ers.
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.
Los Angeles Chargers (20) @ Green Bay Packers (23)
The Packers offense played well, especially on early downs, against the Chargers defense. Jordan Love had 11.2 total EPA, which was a great day from him. Dontayvion Wicks led the way for the Packers rookies as he finished with 3 receptions for 91 yards and 8.5 total EPA when targeted. Other rookies Jayden Reed (4-46-0), Tucker Kraft (2-32-0), and Luke Musgrave (4-28-0) showed promising signs as well as the Chargers struggled in the tackling department. Despite having issues with negative plays and rushing, the Packers pass offense did enough to win this game.
As for the Chargers offense, drops were the story of the day as multiple receivers had trouble reeling in Justin Herbert’s passes. Despite that, he still finished with 10.1 total EPA and carried the offense given the 6th percentile EPA/rush. For the 8th time in the 10 games this season, Keenan Allen led the team in total EPA when targeted. The Chargers fully leaned into the pass with a +5.5% pass rate over expected, but the negative plays, like the fumble at the +3 yard line, were costly and played a big role in them dropping this game.
Chicago Bears (26) @ Detroit Lions (31)
Despite the Lions’ 4 turnovers, they ended up with the win in a game that looked lost for much of the afternoon. Jared Goff’s 3 interceptions led to him entering the 4th quarter with -4.3 total EPA before a great final 5 minutes of the game and a resulting +0.6 total EPA on the day. The Lions were able to lean on the run game with a 93rd percentile EPA/rush, which led to a -10.1% pass rate over expected, notably using David Montgomery during the 2 minute drill as he scored against his former team. The Lions had a 95th percentile success rate and a 98th percentile late down success rate, which should leave fans excited about the rest of the season as long as the turnovers don’t continue.
The Bears offense played well for most of the game as Justin Fields’ first game back from injury was an impressive performance. Fields was able to beat the Lions on the ground and through the air as he was the player with the most passing and rushing EPA for the Bears. His #1 target, D.J. Moore, went for 7 receptions, 96 yards, and a touchdown with 10.8 total EPA when targeted. Negative plays were costly for the Bears as their 11.4% negative play rate was even higher than the Lions’ rate despite Detroit having 4 turnovers.
Seattle Seahawks (16) @ Los Angeles Rams (17)
The afternoon slate wasn’t what we typically see, but Seahawks-Rams was an intriguing game for multiple reasons. Both defenses played well for stretches of the game, but Rams rookie star Puka Nacua emerged in the 4th quarter to give the Rams the win. It was especially important for Nacua to have 77 total yards and a touchdown because Cooper Kupp left the game early with an injury. The Rams weren’t able to be explosive as the Seahawks limited those plays, but they were able to avoid enough negatives to score a go ahead touchdown to put them up 17-16.
The Seahawks were in control of this game at times but had to play Drew Lock while Geno Smith was dealing with an injury. While Smith had +4.4 total EPA, Lock had -5.5 total EPA in his limited time, which canceled out some of the Seahawks’ efficiency. This resulted in a 37th percentile EPA/play and a 15th percentile success rate. The Seahawks struggled on early downs consistently knocking themselves off pace as they needed a high late down success rate to catch up. The Seahawks will now be on a short week playing the 49ers on Thanksgiving.
Minnesota Vikings (20) @ Denver Broncos (21)
As we have seen multiple times now, the Broncos defense continued to force turnovers only for the offense to struggle with converting those into touchdowns. The Vikings had a 72nd percentile success rate but a 39th percentile EPA/play, showing the Broncos defense did its part. The Broncos had a 4th percentile late down success rate, which reiterated some of the struggles the Broncos have had as it took them 5 field goals before a late Russell Wilson to Courtland Sutton touchdown put them ahead.
On a down to down basis, the Vikings offense had another good day, but a late fumble by Alexander Mattison and interception by Joshua Dobbs were just enough to lose them the game. Dobbs performed on late downs again as the Vikings had a 77th percentile 3rd and 4th down conversion rate with his scrambling ability showcased. T.J. Hockenson continues to be great at contested catchers as his connection with Dobbs has been evident. The Vikings dropped their first game in over a month as they look forward to getting Justin Jefferson back next week.
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.
Trevor Lawrence was the top performer of the week completing 24 of his 32 pass attempts for 23.1 total EPA and his best performance of the season so far against the Titans.
Brock Purdy had the highest EPA/play of the day with only 4 incompletions and throwing for 333 yards.
Josh Allen saw a big bounce back while dealing most of his damage through the air with 275 passing yards against a stout Jets defense.
Repeating on the list from last week, Jaylen Warren again led the league in total EPA when rushing with just 9 rushes for 129 yards and a 0.94 EPA/carry, which included a 75 yard touchdown run.
The Lions yet again have both of their running backs make the list as both David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs had touchdowns of their own.
Tony Pollard also got the touchdown that fantasy managers had been waiting on since Week 1.
A new week brings us a different Texans receiver that led the league in total EPA when targeted. This week it was Tank Dell’s turn as he caught 8 of his 10 targets for 149 yards and 11.7 total EPA.
D.J. Moore continued to show his connection with Justin Fields as he caught 7 of his 9 targets for 137 yards and 10.8 total EPA. He also had the highest target share of any receiver in Week 11.
Calvin Ridley had a blowup game with over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.
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.
The story of the week was Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow being ruled out for the season as Cincinnati’s playoff chances dropped by 22%. It also impacted the other teams in the AFC Wild Card race as the Bills, Texans, and Browns all won, giving them a 3%, 4%, and 10% jump respectively in their chances to make the playoffs on top of the injury.
In the NFC, the Packers saw the biggest jump with a win and Minnesota loss, which makes the NFC Wild Card race more interesting. The Seahawks were big fallers after getting swept by the Rams, but still have a good chance to make the playoffs despite the added pressure.
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.