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QC's Week 5Thoughts

Long-time followers of QC know that better coached/designed teams win 75% of all games and when they lose it more often than not they lose the TO battle. So WK5 of the 2015 was highly unusual in that Chicago, Seattle, Washington, and Tennessee all won both the design battle and the TO battle and still lost. The Bears and Titans fell by 1 point while Seahawks and Redskins lost in overtime. Better coached/designed teams had been winning at better than an 80% pace, so some correction was expected. Still, for more than a quarter of WK5 NFL games to go against well-established expectations made this week one of the stranger weeks QC has ever seen.


New England probaly will poke its head into the Top 10 in play design after lighting up Dallas 30-6 in WK5. While Bill Belichick is the unquestionably the best designer in the NFL and has been througout the time QC has been tracking coaching stats, it is fairly typical for the Patriots to be in the top half of the NFL in design, but not in the Top 10. Of course, no team wins the turnover battle more than New England does under Belichick. During his tenure, the Patriots are on average +1 TO. Some might say the fact that Belichick does not dominate play design discredits play design. But that is not the way QC sees it. No other coach wins the way Belichick wins. QC finds coaching stats' inability to define Belichick, while capably defining nearly every other coach to whom the statistics have been applied, confirms Belichick's matchless inscrutability. And, when you think about it, inscrutability is probably the most important trait a coach can possess.


Belichick's nemsis, P-rex Manning, has frequently played like a fossil in 2015. But the Broncos are 5-0 in part because of another dinosaur team president John Elway excavated during the off-season, DC Wade Phillips. As the incomparable Chase Stuart, @footballperspective, pointed out on Sunday, the "Son of Bum's" D has allowed 6 TDs and scored 3 TDs of its own during 2015. Phillips was out of football in 2014 after finishing 2013 standing over the smoldering hulk that was the 2-14 Houston Texans. He is the essence of well-traveled. But you cannot argue with results and if the Broncos keep playing D like they have so far in 2015 this unit might be mentioned in the same breath with the deified 1977 "Orange Crush."


It looks like it will a season for "firsts in the John Harbaugh era" in Baltimore. And not in a good way. A 33-30 overtime loss to the Browns in which Cleveland's journeyman QB Josh McCown set a franchise record for passing yards in a game dropped the Ravens to 1-4. Since taking over in 2009, Harbaugh's teams have won as consistently as any team in the NFL. But the loss to the Browns dropped Baltimore 3 games below .500 for the first time ever in the Harbaugh era. Moreover, other than a single week in 2009, a single week in 2014 and 6 weeks in 2013, Harbaugh's teams have always been .500 or better. That is an incredible run of consistency. Blame Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who predicted the Ravens would represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50. Right now, that forecast is looking as bad as when King tabbed then Kansas City HC Romeo Crennel to win the 2012 COY. (The Chiefs finished 2-14 and Crennel was fired.)

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