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 6’s excitement scores:
This was one of the more exciting weeks of the season so far. In the early slate, we saw the Seahawks have multiple possessions inside the redzone that could have given them the lead against the Bengals that ultimately didn’t result in points. We also saw the Browns and 49ers trade the lead multiple times in the 4th quarter before a missed 49ers field goal gave the Browns the upset win.
Later in the day, the Jets were able to use a late interception to set themselves up for a Breece Hall touchdown on the way to a win. On Sunday Night, the Giants entered the game as 15.5-point underdogs as we saw both defenses battle until the Giants had an untimed down at the 1-yard line that did not result in a score, which gave the Bills the win.
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.
San Francisco 49ers (17) @ Cleveland Browns (19)
The NFL specializes in regression to the mean and the 49ers found that to be the case on Sunday. After having high end statistical profiles on offense for the entire season and coming off a great performance against the Cowboys, the 49ers offense struggled against the Browns. Due to the weather and the Browns defense, the 49ers had trouble passing the ball for most of the game with a 14th percentile EPA/pass and Brock Purdy tallied -8.0 total EPA. They were able to run well and find success on early downs but only were able to convert 29% of their late downs. The Browns defense deserves a lot of credit for dominating in the pass game early and shoring up the run defense late.
The Browns offense, playing with their 3rd starting quarterback of the season, saw themselves struggle in the pass game as well. While they had a 74th percentile EPA/rush and were able to lean on that with a -6.4% pass rate over expected, P.J. Walker struggled with -15.1 total EPA including an interception inside their own 20. Despite that, Amari Cooper was able to do just enough for the Browns to score 19 points against a very good 49ers defense and come away with a huge win.
Seattle Seahawks (13) @ Cincinnati Bengals (17)
After a slow start, the Bengals are back to .500 on the season with their red zone defense leading the charge. The Seahawks saw a 58th percentile offensive success rate but a 32nd percentile offensive EPA/play with the inability to convert in the red zone. The Seahwks found explosive plays, especially to Tyler Lockett, but had a 23rd percentile late down conversion rate.
On the other side of the ball, the Bengals’ most staggering statistic was their +22.4% pass rate over expected, which is in the 100th percentile. The Bengals avoided a 29th percentile EPA/rush and instead put the ball in the air. They had a 59th percentile success rate but a 29th percentile EPA/play as negative plays held them back. It should be encouraging for the Bengals that they were able to beat an NFC playoff contender with a below average offensive performance.
Philadelphia Eagles (14) @ New York Jets (20)
In another one of the major upsets on the day, the Jets, led by their pass defense, took down the Eagles at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles were not able to get much going on early downs with a 16th percentile early down EPA/play. Their rushers outside of Jalen Hurts were limited by the Jets defense with D’Andre Swift rushing 10 times for 18 yards. The Jets defense, missing their top two corners, forced 3 interceptions including a crucial one by Tony Adams to put them in a goal-to-go situation where Breece Hall punched in the touchdown.
The Jets offense didn’t have much going on, but their key to victory was to only have a 6.9% negative play rate and let their defense do the work. Breece Hall had a good day rushing with 0.6 total EPA as the entire rushing attack had a 78th percentile performance. Garrett Wilson also had a productive day with 8 receptions for 90 yards and 2.4 total EPA. The Eagles were the NFL’s last undefeated team until this game.
New York Giants (9) @ Buffalo Bills (14)
The Giants went on the road with a backup quarterback as 15.5-point underdogs against one of the best teams in the league and took them down to the final play. The Giants offense had struggled for most of this season due to offensive line problems but saw limited success against the Bills with a 46th percentile success rate. However, having multiple drives make it to the 1-yard line and resulting in 0 points was ultimately what cost the Giants the game.
The Bills offense had a 74th percentile success rate but a 43rd percentile EPA/play. They were good on late downs, especially in the second half, converting on 58% of them. The Bills yet again found success on the ground with a positive EPA/rush as James Cook ran 14 times for 71 yards and 1.1 total EPA. Stefon Diggs also saw 16 of the 28 targets and caught 10 of them for 100 yards and 1.5 total EPA.
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.
In a down week for offenses, we saw only two elite quarterback performances, and they were from Jared Goff and Tua Tagovailoa. Goff completed 30 of his 44 passes for 353 yards and put together 0.42 EPA/play against a good Buccaneers defense. Tagovailoa shook off a slow start and ended up connecting deep with Tyreek Hill to also have 0.42 EPA/play. Lamar Jackson’s counting stats bounced back from last week with more help from his receivers. Rookie C.J. Stroud continues to put his name on this top 10 list as well.
Rookie Kyren Williams continued to impress in Week 6 with 7.9 yards per carry and 65% success rate as he sits atop our Rush EPA chart above. The Dolphins rushing attack had another week where they had 2 rushers in the top 10 with Raheem Mostert and Salvon Ahmed. Chuba Hubbard also put together a nice day on the ground with 0.19 EPA/carry.
A.J. Brown and Tyreek Hill, both traded in the 2021 offseason, see themselves on the top pass catcher list in Week 6. Brown caught 7 of his 9 targets for 13.3 total EPA while Hill caught 6 of his 10 targets for 10.9 total EPA. Cooper Kupp, in his 2nd game back from injury, had a 42.9% target share and had 148 yards and a touchdown on the day. We also saw the emergence of rookie tight end Michael Mayer with 7.8 total EPA.
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 took another big leap and firmly established themselves as the frontrunners in the AFC South after a slow start. In the AFC, the Ravens also saw their odds increase as they continue to push for the AFC North title.
In the NFC, the Saints, Seahawks and Buccaneers all took a tumble after losses. The Rams and Commanders saw a big increase in their odds of making the playoffs as they are putting themselves in the conversation. The Lions have joined the elite NFC tier as Detroit, the 49ers, and Eagles all sit at 5-1 after 6 weeks.
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.