Tuesday, November 13, 2018

TUESDAY TIDBITS: Team Pass Defense

By TJ Troup
Adrian Amos, leader of Bears secondary
Many times over the years have been challenged on why the defensive passer rating is such a key statistic. Though this stat has been an effective tool for me in explaining defensive success for teams; there are folks who refuse to get on board. That said, then there are folks who are just not going to enjoy the following.

Entering last Sunday's game against Detroit, the Bears led the league with a defensive passer rating of 80.5. A strong pass rush and pass defenders making plays limited Matt Stafford to a rating of 74.9; thus the Bears are still #1 in this category (79.8).

The bottom three teams in the league in this category are the Raiders, Buccaneers, and Lions. For now, let's hone in on Detroit. The Lions entered the game with a dismal rating of 112.5, and at half-time Trubisky had a perfect rating of 158.3 (he finished with 148.6).

The Lions had hope of contending this year, and Matt Patricia's background in New England was one of the reasons for that hope. He does not coach the secondary. Am not advocating that Brian Stewart be dismissed, yet after eight years away from the NFL and Detroit in last place he may want to get that resume out. Detroit now ranks 31st in the defensive passer rating category with a mark of 116.8. Ouch!

The Lions face strong passing attacks down the stretch and have a rematch with Chicago on Thanksgiving day. Detroit has won 19 of the last 28 games at home against the Bears. Will the Lions secondary again be shredded as out of position defenders chase Bear receivers after the catch? The passing game is the key component in the league, and that will continue.
That statement takes me to an anniversary that was not mentioned on Sunday. November 11th, 1945 and the Cleveland Rams are taking on the Packers in their quest to win their first division title. Rookie quarterback Bob Waterfield completed an 84-yard touchdown pass to All-League end Jim Benton in the Ram victory.

That completion was the longest in the league that year. How many times in the last 81 years has a rookie had the longest completion during the year you ask? Eleven times in NFL & AFL history.

Somewhat surprised that only three of the longest completions came in victories, but all three of those teams won the championship that year! Waterfield in '45, Jacky Lee in '60 with the Oilers, and the immortal Ed Rubbert with the 'Skins in '87.
Waterfield was, of course, a two-way player in 1945 as a safety. He intercepted 3 passes in that game. We have had many rookies pilfer three passes in a game. A couple accomplished this feat in their very first game; Johnny Lujack in 1948 and Don Burroughs in 1955. Some of the men who did this are well known, and of course, some are just vaguely familiar.

Learned years ago that being the only man to accomplish something is significant, thus Bob Waterfield is the only rookie in league history to throw the seasons longest completion, and intercept three passes in the same game.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, Coach! And anything with Lujack is a good thing as he's one of my favorites.