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.)