Some of you thought it was a bit premature last week to draw any conclusions about the aesthetics of the first (true) Thursday night game of the season compared to the rest of the NFL's games. I agree. For the most part, especially early in the season, I want to track the comparison to see if, well, there's anything to see here.
The slop in Thursday night's game at Lincoln Financial Field was contained mostly to one team. The Philadelphia Eagles committed five turnovers, converted only three of 10 third-down opportunities, and held the ball for just 20 minutes, 53 seconds of the game.
(On another note, it's pretty noteworthy that the Eagles ran 63 plays and racked up 431 yards in that short of a time period, but that's a discussion for another thread.)
The chart combines the past two Thursday night games and compares them to the rest of the games that were played in Weeks 1 and 2. Our working theory is that games between teams who have had three days to prepare, rather than a full week, are going to be less sharply played. That's why I didn't include the season kickoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos in the Thursday night category; those teams weren't on a short week of preparation.
The biggest discrepancy continues to be the sharp dip in passing efficiency, as related by Total QBR and completion percentage. Thursday night, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick produced a 21.7 QBR by completing 43.3 percent of his passes, committing three turnovers and taking five sacks. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith benefitted from exceptional post-catch running from his receivers to finish with 273 yards. He took five sacks and finished with a 25.7 QBR.
It's quite possible that our universal obsession with the passing game dominates our perception of these games. I'm not sure. But through two weeks of a 16-week process, or about 12.5 percent of the full Thursday night season, that's where things stand.