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 5’s excitement scores:
This week we saw some very exciting games in the early slate: Texans-Falcons saw the lead change 3 times in the 4th quarter. The Falcons took a 18-12 lead before the Texans scored a touchdown to go up 19-18 only for Younghoe Koo to win the game for the Falcons 21-19.
In the same window, the Pittsburgh Steelers worked their way back from having a less than 10% win probability with around 5 minutes to go in the game only to end up winning 17-10.
The teams that took care of business without putting much stress on their fans were the Saints, 49ers, Lions, and Dolphins.
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.
Jacksonville Jaguars (25) @ Buffalo Bills (20)
In their second week in London, the Jaguars played their most complete game of the year so far against a Bills team that was coming off one of the most impressive wins of the season. The Jaguars offense executed in all phases with a 79th percentile EPA/pass and a 74th percentile EPA/rush.
Despite 2 fumbles, Trevor Lawrence still finished the day with 15.1 total EPA with a special connection to Calvin Ridley (13.7 total EPA), especially on late downs. Travis Etienne then closed out a great offensive performance in the 4th quarter and gave their 12.2% explosive play rate a boost. The unfortunate part of this matchup was how many Buffalo Bills defenders were injured throughout the game.
On the Bills side of the ball, they had a 85th percentile success rate but a 70th percentile EPA/play showing that they were better at staying on schedule than they were at avoiding negative plays. The Jaguars defense came into this game with the 4th best run defense in the league and that continued with the Bills struggling to run the ball having just 29 yards on 14 carries. The passing was there as usual, especially late, but it wasn’t enough for the Bills to overcome their slow start and lack of a run game.
Baltimore Ravens (10) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (17)
In the most classic AFC North game, the Steelers beat the Ravens with a 10th percentile success rate on offense. The Steelers offense struggled for most of the day with a 29th percentile EPA/rush, which was multiplied due to them having a -5.2% pass rate over expected. However, they were able to be just explosive enough with Kenny Pickett hitting George Pickens for a big play to have them pull ahead and ultimately win this game.
The Ravens offense compounded mistakes with a 6th percentile EPA/pass and -12.5 total EPA for Lamar Jackson in large part due to a red zone interception and multiple drops from his receivers. Every Ravens receiver except Nelson Agholor had a negative EPA when targeted against the Steelers. While the Ravens were 27 percentage points better than the Steelers in terms of success rate, the Steelers blocking a punt and doing just enough in the 4th quarter to win was what got them to 3-2.
Kansas City Chiefs (27) @ Minnesota Vikings (20)
After having a quieter start to the season than we’re typically used to from the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes put up a 85th percentile EPA/play and had 18.8 total EPA. The Chiefs had a 89th percentile EPA/pass and fully leaned into that with a +7.2% pass rate over expected as they struggled a little bit on the ground. Despite missing part of the game with an injury, Travis Kelce finished as the top pass catcher with 5.1 total EPA.
The Vikings had a middle of the road day on offense with a 48th percentile EPA/play. The story of the game for them was that a later injured Justin Jefferson was limited to just 3 receptions for 28 yards while rookie Jordan Addison had a big day. While the Vikings were good on late downs, their early down passing game was putting them in some tough situations, and it wasn’t enough to go toe-to-toe with the Chiefs.
Dallas Cowboys (10) @ San Francisco 49ers (42)
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the year, the 49ers continued their dominance over the entire NFL with a 42-10 win over the Cowboys. The 49ers offense was clicking on all cylinders with a 99th percentile success rate. They were great through the air with a 98th percentile EPA/pass as Brock Purdy finished with 20.7 total EPA and George Kittle was on the receiving end of 3 touchdowns. The 49ers continue to live in the area of being explosive at a high rate and having negative plays at a low rate which is leading to these high scoring outputs.
As impressive as the 49ers offense was, their defense was perhaps even more impressive. The 49ers defense held the Cowboys to a 2nd percentile EPA/play and a 12th percentile success rate. Other than one explosive touchdown, the Cowboys had no ability to sustain drives for the majority of the game. Dak Prescott finished with -11.7 total EPA and the Cowboys had 4 turnovers causing a 20.8% negative play rate, one of the highest marks of the season. The 49ers continue to prove they are the team to beat in the NFC.
Top Performers of the Week
Using total EPA to determine the best performances, this week featured some stars we have come to expect to see at the top as well as some surprise players.
For the 2nd straight week, Brock Purdy is the most productive quarterback in the NFL and did it on only 24 plays throwing for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes slotted in at 2nd throwing for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns. We also saw young quarterbacks who had slow starts to the season in Justin Fields and Desmond Ridder have huge bounce back weeks for their respective teams. Gardner Minshew came in as relief to Anthony Richardson and ended up in the top 10 yet again. Lastly, it is great to see Joe Burrow back on this list after his absence from it the first 4 weeks.
This week was all about Breece Hall rushing 22 times for 8.1 yards per carry against the Broncos defense showing off his explosiveness when fully healthy. Rookies Zack Moss and De’Von Achane also see themselves towards the top of this list with both rushing for over 100 yards. The Lions get two running backs in the top 10 with David Montgomery and Craig Reynolds both having a positive EPA/rush and an above 50% success rate.
To no one’s surprise, D.J. Moore had the most total EPA when targeted of any receiver this week as he went off for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns on Thursday Night Football. Without Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase saw 19 targets (43.2% target share) and brought in 15 of them for 17.1 total EPA. Tyreek Hill led all receivers in yards after catch at 145. Dallas Goedert was the lone tight end on this list having 117 yards and 56 of those came after the catch.
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 Jacksonville Jaguars are the big winners of Sunday after firmly taking back the lead spot in the AFC South. The Saints also saw a huge jump in their odds to make the playoffs and are now neck-and-neck with the Buccaneers in the NFC South.
The Ravens saw a big decrease as they once again opened the door for the rest of the AFC North while the Steelers were happy to step through that door as their odds climbed closer to 50%
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.