Notes from the QB Meter: Ben Roethlisberger’s Big Day

You all know I love NFL Quarterback statistics. You might not know that I keep a “QB Meter” spreadsheet which I update every week. It started after Peyton Manning made the jump to Denver and the Indianapolis Star website stopped carrying their “Manning Meter” which tracked everything Manning, ranked him on the all-time stats lists and projected when he would break records in major categories. As a Colts fan, I decided I needed a Manning meter of my own. Then I branched out and made a meter that compared Manning and Andrew Luck at the same point in their careers. I also made a meter of Colts QBs. Finally, I made a big, sortable list of QBs which contained active starters of 20+ games and top 10 historic QBs in most major passing categories. I update it after every week (with my thanks as always to pro-football-reference) and take a look to see if there is anything notable.

Hence, Notes from the QB Meter.

Having jinxed Aaron Rodgers by featuring him last week maybe I can do the same for Ben Roethlisberger and get some measure of revenge for him deciding to have the best game of his career against my Colts. It was seriously painful to watch how little pressure the Colts put on Roethlisberger, allowing him to stand there forever and throw from flat feet, as if he were “having a catch” with Kevin Costner. He went 40/49 (81.6%) for 522 yards and 6 TDs. And he did it all while wearing what might be the ugliest throwback uniform in the NFL. Sounds like a career day, but was it? Continue reading

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Notes from the QB Meter: The Greatness of Aaron Rodgers

You all know I love NFL Quarterback statistics. You might not know that I keep a “QB Meter” spreadsheet which I update every week. It started after Peyton Manning made the jump to Denver and the Indianapolis Star website stopped carrying their “Manning Meter” which tracked everything Manning, ranked him on the all-time stats lists and projected when he would break records in major categories. As a Colts fan, I decided I needed a Manning meter of my own. Then I branched out and made a meter that compared Manning and Andrew Luck at the same point in their careers. I also made a meter of Colts QBs. Finally, I made a big, sortable list of QBs which contained active starters of 20+ games and top 10 historic QBs in most major passing categories. I update it after every week (with my thanks as always to pro-football-reference) and take a look to see if there is anything notable.

Hence, Notes from the QB Meter.

In the inaugural, official edition of this hopefully-ongoing series I want to take a look at Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. There is no doubt that he is one of the best in the league right now, but seriously, how great is he? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Symmetry? – Manning and Luck in game 35

manluck

Last Sunday, Andrew Luck had what has been called a “career day” against the worst team in the league right now. His Colts walloped the Jaguars for their first win of the season.

Since the start of the 2013 season, I’ve been keeping track of exactly how Luck compares to Manning at the same point in each of their careers. When updating for this week, I noted a few things their respective game 35s had in common.

  • Both games were against Jacksonville (though Manning was home and Luck was away).
  • Both were Colts wins: 43-14 in 2000 and 44-17 in 2014.
  • Both QBs threw 4 TDs and 0 INTs.
  • Both QBs were named Offensive Player of the Week after these games.
  • Both QBs passed the 9000 mark for career yardage.
  • The distribution of TD passes per quarter is the same: 1-2-0-1.

Maybe those aren’t remarkable coincidences–heaven forbid I go into Lincoln/Kennedy territory–but they’re worth pointing out. Here’s a look at the QB numbers from both games

QB CMP ATT CMP% Yards TD INT Rating
Peyton Manning 23 36 63.89% 440 4 0 143.3
Andrew Luck 31 39 79.49% 370 4 0 140.4

Though their passer ratings were also similar, Manning had 70 more yards (Matt Hasselbeck produced 20 in relief of Luck halfway through the 4th quarter) and Luck had a much higher completion percentage, the highest of his career to date (Manning has topped 80% several times). It should also be noted that the 2000 game was actually played in week 4 of the season, but was still the third game for the Colts, who had a week 3 BYE.

Lastly, for those of you not keeping track at home, here is the career comparison of Manning and Luck after 35 games.

QB W L CMP ATT CMP% Yards Y/G TD INT AY/A Rating Playoffs
Peyton Manning 19 16 725 1212 59.82% 9027 257.91 61 44 6.82 84.62 0-1
Andrew Luck 23 12 768 1323 58.05% 9108 260.23 55 30 6.70 83.55 1-2

Those numbers are also very similar (except for those INTs). The question is, forgetting Manning’s future, who do you take?  Do you go with the guy who went 3-13 and then 13-3, or the guy who went 11-5 two years in a row, and managed a playoff victory? The correct answer is not “Russell Wilson.”

Defensive Streak Search: (Not) Surrendering 400 Yards Passing

After each week of the NFL season one column I always read is Don Banks’ “Snap Judgments” over at SI. He breaks things down into nice bullet points that cover full games or simply interesting stats. His recent column covering the AFC and NFC Championship games dropped this nugget:

“In his 14-season stay in New England, Bill Belichick’s Patriots have never given up more yards (507) yards in a game, and Manning’s 400 yards passing was the first time Belichick’s New England defense has surrendered that many.”

At first I thought that this was pretty phenomenal. How can a team go 14 seasons (249 games if you count the postseason) without ever surrendering 400 or more passing yards in a single game? I took a quick look at the list here and found that 141 games have been played with individual QBs passing for 400 or more yards since the start of the 2000 season (Belichick’s first as head coach in NE). This means that each team should have averaged around four games against a single 400-yard passer.

Noting that, it doesn’t seem as far-fetched that New England could just have pushed their 400-yard surrenders onto the 31 other teams in the league. However, a closer look at the list reveals that the Patriots actually gave up 400 yards to Ben Roethlisberger and 421 yards to Matt Ryan earlier in the 2013 season. They also gave up 400 yards to Vince Young and 416 yards to Chad Henne in 2011, as well as 401 yards to Kurt Warner in 2001. Along with Manning, that’s six games in 14 years, or “worse” than average.

Then I realized it was my “mistake” and not Banks’. In calculating TEAM passing yards allowed/gained, yardage lost from sacks counts against the total. That may be a no-brainer, but sometimes I have no brain.

Putting aside the argument about whether or not sacks should count as negative passing yards, and why they don’t count against the individual, but do against the team (something to do with O-line failure?), the “pure” passing stat still interested me.

It made me wonder which team has the longest current stretch without giving up 400 yards passing, not counting sacks. Continue reading

Animal Bowl III

Last year I wrote a lengthy post about the possibility of the 2012 NFL season culminating in a “Bird Bowl” between the Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons. Alas, the Har-Bowl prevailed and the Ravens remained the only “bird” team to win the Super Bowl and became the first bird team to win it twice.

2013 left us without an opportunity for a Bird Bowl as the defending champion Ravens failed to make the playoffs. However, the Seahawks and Eagles made it to the postseason and, of course, the Seahawks will play in the Super Bowl on Sunday. They are the eighth bird team to make the Super Bowl after the Eagles (1980, 2004), Falcons (1998), Ravens (2000, 2012), Cardinals (2008) and of course the Matt Hasselbeck-led Seahawks team (2005).

Notably, the Seahawks will be facing the Denver Broncos, another animal team. This is the third ever “Animal Bowl.” The first was in 1998 (Broncos over Falcons) and the second was in 2006 (Colts over Bears). I guess it’s just a thing for Elway and Manning.

While I obviously recommend you read the original Bird Bowl post (it has aged well after a year, if I do say so myself), I’ll copy this little bit from the end of that entry for your reading pleasure:

–Notable Super Bowl matchups between teams with similar/related names:

  • Colts over Cowboys (1970) – the Chisholm Trail Bowl
  • Raiders over Vikings (1976) – the Marauder Bowl
  • Cowboys over Broncos (1987) – the Rodeo Bowl
  • Redskins over Bills (1991) – the Wild West Show Bowl
  • Cowboys over Bills (1992 & 1993) – the Double Redundant Bowl
  • Ravens over Giants (2000) – the Game of Thrones Bowl
  • Buccaneers over Raiders (2002) – Brad Johnson’s finest hour
  • Patriots over Eagles (2004) – the Murrica Bowl
  • Packers over Steelers (2010) – the Blue Collar Bowl

[and, particularly apropos given the recent attention to Washington’s NFL team]

–While the Washington Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs both made the playoffs in 1971, 1990, 1991 and 1992, the closest we’ve come to an “Insensitivity Bowl” was in 1991 when the Redskins won the Super Bowl and the Chiefs lost in the divisional round.

NFL Playoff Expansion: Everyone Gets a Trophy!

Let’s make ’em about THIS big

Recently, there has been some talk in the NFL of expanding the postseason by adding two extra teams–and thus, two extra games–to the playoff schedule. There certainly some good that comes out of this potential change.

  1. The league would cut preseason games from 4 to 3 for each team.
  2. The league would have two more games with clear “stakes” between “good” teams which would theoretically make for exciting viewing and increased TV ratings.
  3. Hopefully, the league will stop talking about expanding the regular season to 18 games (in other words, adding 32 individual games to the regular season).
  4. The league would probably make a lot more money from all of this.
  5. The league would decrease the chance of leaving 11- and 10-win teams out of the playoffs altogether. (I’ve discussed 11-win playoff misses before).

I can get behind at least the first three of the above. What do I care if the league makes more money? Of course, that’s probably the biggest motivator for expanding the postseason (and don’t give me any BS about giving HOPE to two more fan-bases). Continue reading

Peyton Manning’s 2013 Records Chase (after 15 games)

Peyton Manning did it. He broke the single season record for TD passes (even if one wasn’t a complete pass), and he did it in game 15 (just like in 2004). He’s still on pace to break the single-season records for passing yards and he might just add 3-4 more TDs to his total. Let’s take a look at Peyton Manning’s 2013 stats compared to those of other QBs after 15 games in their own record-setting seasons. I’ll probably post a season post-mortem update to this after next week’s game. As always with this football statistics stuff, I never claim expertise, I just do it for fun. Along with whatever’s new,  there’s still some stuff here from last week’s look. Continue reading

4000+ Yard Passers

Did you know…

Before the league switched to a 16-game season in 1978, only one NFL quarterback threw for over 4000 yards in a season?

Joe Namath threw 4007 in 1967.

In the 1980s there were thirteen 4000+ yard seasons (Dan Fouts also threw for 4082 in 1979). Plus, Dan Marino broke 5000 yards in 1984.

In the 1990s there were 20.

In the 2000s there were 46.

The 2010s (so far) have 33. If Ryan (needing 119 yards in 2 games), Palmer (133), Romo (172), Flacco (280) and Tannehill (291) hit their marks, that’s 38, including five 5,000+ yard performances (6 if Brees manages 219 next week). That projects to ninety-five 4000+ yard performances in the 2010s.

Roughly doubling every decade since the 1980s, that means 190 in the 2020s, or, 19 quarterbacks throwing for 4000+ yards every season. In 2013, only 19 QBs have started every game for their team.

I don’t expect things to get as crazy as my fuzzy math predicts. However, considering the continued safety concerns in the league, it might not be so far-fetched.

(here’s the Pro-Football-Reference list of single season passing yardage leaders)

Peyton Manning’s 2013 Records Chase (after 14 games)

Peyton Manning is on pace to break the single-season records for touchdown passes and passing yards this year (2013). Let’s take a look at Peyton Manning’s 2013 stats compared to those of other QBs after 14 games in their own record-setting seasons. I’ll probably post updates to this after each of the next 2 games as Manning inches closer to these achievements. As always with this football statistics stuff, I never claim expertise, I just do it for fun. I’m late on this week’s update, so there isn’t much analysis and there’s still some stuff from last week’s look.

Continue reading

Fun with NFL Standings

I’m on kind of an NFL kick as the regular season winds down and we get closer to the playoffs. A lot of this stuff may interest only me, but these are little questions I think about when I take a look at the standings and playoff scenarios and all that. I wanted to find out about good divisions, playoff teams with bad records, non-playoff teams with great records, and stuff like that. This is pretty brief, though I’ll probably find more to add to it down the line.

Here’s the thought that prompted me to jump down this rabbit hole:

What is the best record for two teams in the same division?

The Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs are both 11-3. They both have the potential to go 13-3. They’re both in the same division. Has any division ever had two teams go 13-3 in the same year? Thanks (as always) to Pro-Football-Reference, I found out. Continue reading