Week 2 Sunday, Early Window: Advanced Game Reviews
Josh Allen is back, Joe Burrow not so much. The Falcons 2-0, but fraudulent.
The adjusted scores quantify team play quality, with emphasis on stable metrics (success rate) and downplaying higher variance events (turnovers, special team, penalties, fumble luck, etc). Adjusted expected points added (EPA), in conjunction with opportunity-based metrics like total plays and drives, projects adjusted points. Adjusted scores have been tested against actual scores and offer slightly better predictive ability, though their primary benefit is explanatory.
All 2023 & 2022 and historical Adjusted Scores and other site metrics are available in a downloadable format to paid subscribers via Google Sheet.
** Adjusted Scores table:
“Pass” - Pass rate over expectation (based on context of each play and historical averages
“Success” - Success rate on offense, a key metric in adjusted score vs actual
“H & A” - Home or away team
ATL vs GB
The difference in this game came down to late-down success, with the Falcons coverting 6-15 third downs (+4.7 EPA) and 3-4 fourth (+5.0 EPA). The Packers had a combined -4.6 EPA on late downs. The Falcons continued to ride their running game to a 2-0 record, but we’ll have to wait and how long it will last.
This game will likely have the biggest gap in quarterback efficiency stats and PFF grading, with both Desmond Ridder and Jordan Love racking up bad throws that didn’t bite them on the scoreboard.
Even some of the most positive plays were underthrows, including a DPI from Love to Dontayvion Wicks (+3 EPA) and a 45-yard completion from Ridder to Mac Hollins (+3.5 EPA). It’s not my favorite stat, but the negative CPOE for both quarterbacks was a better reading of their performances.
I don’t think the ceiling is particular high for either of these quarterbacks, but their rushing abilities help raise their floors, which we saw in this game. I’m don’t think the Falcons will regret sticking with Ridder if they make the playoffs this year, but I don’t think he’s given much to be confident about so far this season.
BUF vs LV
The adjusted score is half as wide as the actual only because a 28-point different is so incredibly huge in context of an NFL game. The Bills’ 60% success rate on offense is the highest this season, and it came with the passing rate slightly over expectation.
The Raiders didn’t struggle so much being successful on offense as much as avoiding big negatives. The three most impactful plays of the game in terms of EPA were all Raiders turnovers, two Jimmy Garoppolo interceptions (combined -10.6 EPA) and one Zaire White fumble (-4.5).
Outside of the turnovers, the Raiders offense wasn’t bad passing (+9.3 EPA), but was still awful on the ground. Somehow Josh Jacobs ran for -2 yards on nine carries (-6.4 EPA), and White wasn’t fantastic with 22 yards on four carries.
Josh Allen put up MVP efficiency at 0.42 EPA per play, but with lots of underneath throws. Allen’s 4.4 aDOT was the third shortest in 87 games.
There was no need for Allen to take risks playing from ahead all of the game, but that should have included sacrificing his body. Six years into his NFL career, we’re going to have to accept at this point that unnecessary bodily harm is inseparable from the rest of his game.