When can a defense win someone rookie of the month?

Jerome Simpson LOVES Andy Dalton. I haven't seen a grown man love a redhead that much since Christina Hendricks! (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Yesterday Jaxon gave an appropriate rant for the charge that Cam Newton is a 'turnover machine', and much in the same way I've been trying to formulate an apropos response to Andy Dalton being awarded rookie of the month earlier this week.  In short it was a decision that was stupid, shortsighted, moronic and unintelligible. Panthers fans know this already, but lets go inside the numbers a little to show just how off base the NFL's decision was.

Rookie QB comparison, month of October 2011

Cam Newton 104/170 61.2% 1,381 yards 8.12 YPA 7 TD 5 INT 88.4 QB rating 5 rushing TDs
Andy Dalton 82/130 63.1% 909 yards 6.99 YPA 6 TD 5 INT 83.1 QB rating 1 rushing TD

This one just doesn't pass the sniff test in any way, shape or form. From listing to idiots on sports radio I know what the response is 'Andy Dalton won games, Cam didn't!' alright then, so I suppose in 2000 Trent Dilfer should have won the MVP right? He was the game manager of a Superbowl team while MVP Marshall Faulk had 26 total TDs, but his team got knocked out in the 1st round of the playoffs. This argument is beyond stupid, and I'll delve into that a little more...

After the jump

The defensive difference

As a society we like to be spoon-fed the easy answer all the time, and for morons this comes in the way of trying to derive player performance from team win/loss record. Unfortunately sometimes there's a little more that needs to be accounted for, so if you're one who likes to try and derive knowledge from win/loss records you should probably close your browser window, return to your episodes of Dora the Explorer and let the adults chat for a while.

In the month of October the Bengals' defense held opposing offenses to an average of less than 300 yards offense, a time of possession averaging 27:43, while scoring 21 pts off turnovers and one more TD off a punt return. Keep this in mind when we look at the offense.

During the Month of October the Bengals defense held teams to 17.25 pts, the Panthers defense held teams to 27.8 pts.

 

Quality of competition 

During the month of October the Bengals faced teams with a combined record of 6-16, the Panthers faced teams with a combined record of 18-19... enough said.

 

The offensive difference

Earlier I talked about how many points the defense and special teams added, and here is where we look at that more in depth.

I'm assuming three things here:

1) A field goal is a stalled drive

2) A QB is responsible for his teams passing TDs

3) If a QB gets a team to the goal-line, only to have an RB punch it in then the QB generated the scoring drive.

Personally, I don't really see a problem with these conditions... so let's look at both teams.

 

Bengals: 21.5 pts of offense per game in October, 7 stalled drive scores (FG) = 16.5 pts per game directly tied to the QB.

Panthers: 25.4 pts of offense per game in October, 8 stalled drive scores (FG) = 20.6 pts per game directly tied to the QB.

 

The moral of this story

Take everything else out of the equation, set aside the fact the Bengals played terrible teams and the Panthers played good ones and forget that Cam Newton out performed Dalton in every statistical area... here's what it comes down to: 

If you gave Andy Dalton's 16.5 pts per game to the Carolina Panthers in the month of October they still finish the month 1-4. If you gave Cam Newton's 20.6 pts per game to the Cincinnati Bengals in the month of October they still finish 4-0

So please. let's stop giving credit to the QB for being on a team with an excellent defense who played terrible teams.

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