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"Win-or-go-home" from a team point of view

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by percyhoward, Jul 14, 2013.

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  1. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    A common faulty assumption that I've seen in the discussions of this team is that, based on their record, this was an average team the last two years. To call the 2011-12 Cowboys an average team is only technically true. It can't be overstated: Take away the passing game in 2011 and 2012, and the teams that the Cowboys put on the field (especially after key injuries on defense) were bad football teams.

    ESPN and others have declared that "Romo's" record in win-or-go-home games is 1-6. To accept that this record belongs to the QB as much as (or more than?) it does to the team requires that you assume that all teams are equal except at that one position. Of course, if that were true, then the only players who would ever be drafted or traded would be quarterbacks.

    Let's instead call the 1-6 "the Cowboys'" record, and look into what made it -- but from a team perspective, so we can get an idea of how other QB have fared with teams that have performed similar to Romo's. I think something is not quite right about the way four of the games are perceived.

    First, the two playoff losses (Giants in 07 and Vikings in 09), and the role of Dallas' defense in those two games.

    Since 1960, teams whose defenses allow more than a 125 rating in a playoff game are 0-67. In other words, no matter who your QB was or what he did in the game, when the opposing QB goes over 125.0, you lose. In those games, our defense allowed well over a 125 rating (132.4 and 134.4). The predictable result was two losses.

    Romo's numbers in those games (ratings of 64.7 and 66.1), are the kind that Brady and Roethlisberger have won with in the playoffs (they're 6-2 when their own ratings are in the 60's or lower). It's still 6-2 for them and 0-2 for Romo, even though they won because their teams ran the ball well and/or their defense made big plays.

    That 0-67 tells us, that, unless he had put up a couple of 125+ ratings himself in those two games, Romo's performance would not have even mattered. Every QB since 1960 who has found himself in that situation in two playoff games is 0-2 -- not just Romo. It happened to Marino three times (0-3). It happened to Elway five times (0-5). It's happened to Romo and Matt Ryan in every year that they've made postseason appearances since their first (0-5).

    When all teams are considered equal except for the QB, W-L records like these give the QB the reputation of someone who can't win big games. These were team losses, attributable mostly to the performance of that QB's own pass defense. And Dallas' pass defense has only gotten worse since then.

    Which brings us to the week 17 losses the last two seasons. Again, Romo gets the blame for something that no other QB has been able to do. In 2011 and 2012, the Cowboys finished 29th and 25th in defensive passer rating. Those same two years, Dallas also ranked 30th and 27th in rushing TD. Defensive passer rating and touchdowns both have very high correlations to wins, so teams that ranked 25th or worse in consecutive seasons in even one of those categories have historically been bad teams. Teams that ranked 25th or worse in BOTH categories two years in a row have always had losing records. Always, as in, every single time.

    Since 2000, there have been 58 teams that ranked 25th or worse in defensive passer rating. Their combined record is 270-607 (.308). There have been 38 teams that ranked 25th or worse in rushing TD, and they combined to go 186-398-1 (.318). Bad teams. And Dallas was 25th or worse in BOTH categories BOTH seasons.

    Since the league expanded from 28 teams to 30 in 1995, these are all of the teams that ranked 20th or worse in consecutive seasons in those two categories. These are the dregs of the NFL over the past two decades, because to do it in consecutive seasons in both categories means it wasn't a fluke of scheduling. There is no doubt. Your team was among the league's worst at pass defense and rushing TD.

    * = overlapping
    2011-12 Dal (8-8, 8-8)
    2010-11 Was (6-10, 5-11)
    2008-09 Rams (1-15, 2-14)
    2008-09 Sea (4-12, 5-11)
    2008-09 Chiefs (2-14, 4-12)
    2008-09 Lions (0-16, 2-14)
    2007-08 Rams (3-13, 2-14)
    2007-08 Bengals (7-9, 4-11-1)
    2006-07 Falcons (7-9, 4-12)
    2003-04 Lions (6-10, 5-11)*
    2002-03 Lions (2-14, 6-10)*
    2002-03 Cards (5-11, 4-12)*
    2001-02 Lions (3-13, 2-14)*
    2001-02 Cards (7-9, 5-11)*
    2000-01 Cards (3-13, 7-9)*
    2000-01 Falcons (4-12, 7-9)
    1999-2000 Chi (5-11, 6-10)
    1999-2000 Falcons (5-11, 4-12)*
    1998-99 Saints (6-10, 3-13)
    1998-99 Bears (4-12, 6-10)
    1997-98 Colts (3-13, 3-13)
    1996-97 Cards (7-9, 4-12)*
    1995-96 Cards (4-12, 7-9)*

    What you won't see there is a winning record. That's 37 different team-seasons represented. The only team to finish as high as .500 was the Cowboys.

    And the Cowboys did it twice.

    There have been 35 losing seasons, and two .500 seasons, both by the same team.

    Remember, these are teams that finished 20th or worse. Dallas' highest ranking was 25th. So about half these teams were as good as or better than the Cowboys in those two categories, and they still couldn't manage to go .500.

    As should be obvious by the W-L records, none of those teams was ever in a win-and-in game the last week of the season. And yet the Cowboys somehow managed to get into a win-and-in game each of the last two years.

    Somehow.

    If you're wondering why the team awarded a new contract to a QB who is 1-6 in win-or-go-home games, these are the reasons why. The team knows all teams aren't equal minus their quarterback. The team knows it's not really "Romo's" record.

    Sit back and watch what Romo and Dez do the next few years, and hope we can improve enough (and stay healthy enough) in the other areas so that what they do actually means something.
    Heisenberg, xobwej, lothos05 and 27 others like this.
  2. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    Wow, 0-67 is a hell of a stat.

    I will say that I don't agree that Romo would have had to have a 125+ to win the Giants game. If you look at his numbers, 18/36, 201, 1 TD, 1 INT....you only need to shift that INT to the TD column to win that game. Dallas was close to the Giants 20 and that INT came on the second to last play of the game.

    If that is a TD instead of an INT, his numbers look like 19-36, 224, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. That's only a 90.5 QBR. Not only does that swing his QBR considerably just from a single play but Dallas wins.

    The Giants scored 21 points and Manning was 12/18, 163, 2 TDs, 0 INTs and 52 yards and 1 TD came in the first 3 minutes of the game. If that big play to Toomer isn't completed and Manning finishes with 11/17, 111, 1 TD, 0 INTs.....his QBR is 102 instead of 132.

    If you were to tell someone that their playoff opponent would throw for 163 yards and 2 TDs while gaining only 253 yards (230 after sacks), most people would chaulk that one up as a win provided there weren't defensive scores. Not really a big deal but I think saying that Romo needed a monster QBR for the team to win kind of marginalizes his actual role in the loss. The offense moved the ball less than 60 total yards on their last 4 possessions and only 115 yards in the entire second half.

    By just about every stat in the book, Dallas should have won that game. Far more yardage, 13 minutes more of ball control and no turnovers until the 2nd to last play of the game. Running game was very good with 150 yards and 4.7 per carry. The only way a team loses with those sort of advantages is if you have each unit fail at some point throughout the day. Defense gave up the big play early and New York converted on a couple of clutch 3rd downs, one of which was right before the half on 3rd and 10 and the Giants scored right after going into the half. Offense went cold and finished the game pretty badly by having to possession start at midfield in the last couple minutes of the game and they came away with nothing. And Dallas had 11 penalties.

    I think the stat is still impressive but how many of these 67 games hinge on a single play? A tipped or dropped pass, a wrong route, a QB getting hit as he throws or just a bad bounce? I think the Dallas/Giants game is a statement to the idea that making plays when they count the most and when your team needs them the most is kind of what determines the outcomes of games. I also think another thing that is lost in statistics are these sort of individual anomalies that sort of help boost the numbers. Games where a certain team has no right in winning based purely on being outperformed to such a great extent yet they are able to pull it out because their opponent made too many mistakes or couldn't capitalize on it's advantages.
  3. TwoDeep3

    TwoDeep3 Well-Known Member

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    Getting closer.

    What is R
    This is where your argument falls down.

    You assumed something that you cannot assume, even with all the numbers to put on the board.

    If the quarterback, safety, cornerback, WR or any player muffs a critical play in the game at the right time, that player CAN lose the game.



    Ernest Byner!

    Great guy, great player, one muff and the season was gone and his career defined.

    Granted it would have merely tied the game, but the play and the results ended the season.

    That is what you have such a difficult time accepting, and try over and over to use stats to try and contradict that moment in time.

    Is there a game that ensued that could have resulted in a different outcome had plays previously run had different results?

    Absolutely.

    But did it come down to one play?

    Yes.

    This is the same argument as the Danny White argument.

    Yes, Clarke caught the pass from Montana.

    But during the come back it was Danny White that did not protect the ball and fumbled away the chance to win the game.

    Some people want to Hail Montana. But there are a few of us who understand this came down to Oh No, Danny!

    It is a team sport.

    But at one critical moment it can come down to one player.

    Baseball is a team sport.

    Texas Rangers vs. the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Serious. Comes down to one play. Lance Berkman hits a ball to the right field wall. One out and Texas wins its first World Series.

    Nellie Cruz - who is a little above average outfielder - goes to the wall and whiffs on the catch. Fact his his glove is further away from where the ball hit the wall than your face from your monitor right now.

    Make the catch the game is over, the series is over and the Rangers are the Champs. All the rest came down to that moment.

    Same same with football. It comes down to one moment sometimes, and one guy can make a mistake, or make a play and that is where history hangs its hat.

    All the stats mean nothing when that moment comes. All the justification or defense of pet cats means nothing when one moment is when history is decided.

    And I am afraid this will be the argument for the next decade on this site because of one guy that was never drafted.
  4. AmberBeer

    AmberBeer Well-Known Member

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    Some of you just don't get it. Sure, that last interception in the Redskin game was horrible. But you're not understanding that during the whole season he was constantly under pressure and running an offense with the 31st running game. This plays into how the game is called and how the QB has to respond. Put yourself in his situation knowing that at any time you're going to face some 300 lb DL in your face. It alters they way Romo has to play. Some people just don't seem to understand that and instead put all the blame on Romo.
    5Stars likes this.
  5. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    That is an amazing stat and belongs in a national article.
    Great work.
  6. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    You are so right about Byner.
    The odd thing about that play was that he was not a fumbler at all and was having a very good game.
    Terrible luck for a really good (not great) player and person. He is possibly even in the Browns hall of fame.

    Here's some trivia about Byner; he broke Hershall Walker's Georgia High School rushing records.

    As for Nelli getting lost on the game winning play in the World Series. That was even worse (at least given the situation) because they WIN the series if he makes that play.
    Crushing.
    Byner's was not in a Super Bowl.
  7. TwoDeep3

    TwoDeep3 Well-Known Member

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    The whole season has very little to do with that one pass play. That is what is lost here.

    This is not Romo is an idiot and a bad guy remark.

    it is what it is. He spit the bit at a critical time and the season went down the tubes for post season play.

    Fact is, with three minutes and some change the offense could have scored and the defense allowed them to score again.

    Buit we will never know that because at one point in the game when things were most dire, the results

    This is not Romo is a bad guy comment.

    This is a comment on why stats tell a lie when they pretend to speak the truth.

    A documentary is the viewpoint of the man who makes it. Same with the stats.

    But the fact is one play can influence an outcome and one man can be the cause of that play, positive or negative. That is neutral and does not assign blame.
  8. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    Trying to spin those stats appears foolish.
  9. Idgit

    Idgit Ice up, son. Ice up! Staff Member

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    Just an outstanding thread, percy. Really smart stuff.
  10. Toruk_Makto

    Toruk_Makto Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...I have no idea where Two Deep is trying to go with his commentary.

    The argument and facts presented are pretty straightforward.
  11. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    Great example of confirmation bias and an even better example of how you don't understand how to control variables. He made an effort control the variables in question and compared them to wins. You grandstand on a single play and pretend like it is the only one that matters.

    This notion that a play at the very end of a game contributes more to a win than the exact same outcome in the second quarter is simply emotional. A point is a point is a point and there is no evidence that performance changes in 'clutch' situations. We have gone through this so many times over the years that it is clear you will never understand because you keep reiterating the same flawed premise.
    5Stars likes this.
  12. birdwells1

    birdwells1 Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    I know that we went back and forth in another thread but this is a very insightful post. Good job.
  13. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    Thanks for the inspiration. Let me know how this plays at the barber shop. ;)
  14. Trueboysfan

    Trueboysfan Member

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    Interesting article. I do think people tend to get hypnotized by the media and take what the media reports as the new rules in their ever changing lives. Romo has made some bone head plays but not more than other great QB's out there and he shouldn't be ridiculed the way he has been. Our defense has also been horrible. I will say that it wouldn't have been near as bad as it was last year if they didn't get so banged up, which is why I didn't understand the firing of Ryan. I'm excited about Kiffin and Co and would really love to see my Cowboys win it all this year.
  15. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    Not according to the few stats that matter. You're overestimating the significance of the 163 passing yards, because passing yardage doesn't correlate to winning. Here, for example, those yardage numbers you mentioned are low because they basically reflect what the Giants did through three quarters. Eli didn't throw a pass in the last 14 minutes of that game because he didn't have to. If he had, figure the effect of every added attempt with a 132.4 rating. The yardage numbers will change, but the rating won't.

    It's not the quantity of stats that you can pile up, it's the quality. "Yards + TD" isn't a quality stat. Quarterbacks with the kind of yardage and TD numbers Eli had that day win playoff games almost as often as they lose. Since 1960, teams whose QB passed for no more than 163 yards and 2 TD in a playoff game are 131-148.

    Over the last ten seasons in the NFL, teams whose QB passed for no more than 163 yards and 2 TD in a game are 558-817-1. But teams whose QB had exactly those same numbers with a rating over 125 are 15-0. Say what you want about that game, but Eli's 132.4 rating is the elephant in the room.
  16. superpunk

    superpunk Benched

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    That's pretty stunning and confirms what I've been thinking - we keep putting him in unwinnable situations.

    I went back and counted up the number of times a QB has put a 90 or 100 rating up and still lost throughout Romo's career. He led by a good three or four games to the closest competitor (which was Rodgers, which surprised me somewhat)
  17. Idgit

    Idgit Ice up, son. Ice up! Staff Member

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    That's compared to his closest competitor. Compare it to NFL average, and, depending where those games happened, and we might have a few more playoff appearances during his 8 seasons, huh?
  18. Dodger

    Dodger Indomitable

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    I've seen the 0-67 stat before, and what it does is confirm that, no matter how hard someone tries to pin everything on the QB, there are, in fact, other players on the team that influence games, namely a defense that allows the other QB to perform with great success. This is what many have been saying on this board for several years now. This is what explains the fact that Romo can pass for 300+ yards, 4 TDs and no picks and still lose. The evidence is right in front of everyone's faces. The only problem is that some CHOOSE not to see it or believe it.
  19. superpunk

    superpunk Benched

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    Well only his closest competitors are putting up 90+ ratings on a consistent enough basis to even be compared.

    As a percentage though? Since 2006 Romo has put up 55 90+ rating games. We've lost 16 of those or 29%. Which is really mind-blowing.

    Aaron Rodgers has put up 57 in that time period - the Packers have lost 12 of those, or 21% of the time.

    Peyton has put up 65 games of 90+. His team has lost 8 of those - or 12%.

    Brady has put up 66. His team lost 6 of them, or 9%.
    Nirvana and jobberone like this.
  20. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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