Signature Stats Snapshot – Passing Under Pressure

| October 7, 2011

It’s signature stat time! You know, that time of the week where we look at one of those Pro Football Focus stats we’ve created by using the unique data we spends hours and hours toiling away with to accumulate.
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Well what would it be this week? Last week I spent an age talking about protection on the offensive line, and the week before Sam Monson had his Elusive Rating generate some discussion. So this time I’ve decided I want to look at the most important position on the field.
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The Quarterback.
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But what to look at? Well I ran a series of articles in the summer looking at different aspects of play, and the one that received the most attention was looking at how quarterbacks performed under pressure. Thus, today we’re going to be looking at how quarterbacks perform under pressure.
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To add some context to everything, let’s look at which quarterbacks are getting pressured the most. A kind of logical follow up to our Pass Blocking Efficiency piece from last week. It won’t be a surprise to see someone like Michael Vick topping the charts. It’s not just that his offensive line hasn’t been great (Philadelphia currently rank 24th in our Team Offensive Line PBE rankings), but Vick is the kind of QB who just invites pressure because of his desire to sustain plays. Instead, the most telling name is that of Sam Bradford. Last year he was pressured on 34.1% of plays, and this season that has jumped up to 44.2%. Something isn’t working with the Rams new offense, and nothing highlights this as much as the table below.
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Passing Under Pressure - Pressure Percentage

Rank
Player
Team
Dropbacks
Pressured On
Pressure %
1Michael VickPHI1577447.1
2Donovan McNabbMIN1285845.3
3Sam BradfordSL1727644.2
4Chad HenneMIA1355943.7
5Kevin KolbARZ1465940.4
6Kerry CollinsIND1034139.8
7Rex GrossmanWAS1545837.7
8Alex D. SmithSF1284837.5
9Luke McCownJAX481837.5
10Joe FlaccoBLT1525737.5
11Tarvaris JacksonSEA1595937.1
12Ben RoethlisbergerPIT1595937.1
13Colt McCoyCLV1836535.5
14Jay CutlerCHI1495234.9
15Matt SchaubHST1224234.4
16Eli ManningNYG1374633.6
17Jason CampbellOAK1294333.3
18Kyle OrtonDEN1535032.7
19Matt RyanATL1825932.4
20Cam NewtonCAR1906132.1
21Josh FreemanTB1635131.3
22Blaine GabbertJAX772431.2
23Tony RomoDAL1614930.4
24Drew BreesNO1885629.8
25Matthew StaffordDET1674828.7
26Philip RiversSD1694828.4
27Mark SanchezNYJ1644628
28Aaron RodgersGB1624326.5
29Matt CasselKC1233226
30Andy DaltonCIN1363425
31Tom BradyNE1694124.3
32Ryan FitzpatrickBUF1502919.3
33Matt HasselbeckTEN1382215.9

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What should be noted from looking at which guys are pressured the least, is that the bottom three have a combined record of 9-3. So teams that are keeping their quarterback pressure-free are winning. Of course, this isn’t always the case, with both Andy Dalton and Matt Cassel (as well as Mark Sanchez) fairing well in this regard. We’ll get to why that might be ever so shorty, but before we do, how about we look at which quarterbacks are letting the highest amount of pressure turn to sacks.
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It won’t surprise many to learn that Jay Cutler is the quarterback leading this list. He narrowly beats out Alex Smith, and both Tarvaris Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger. All four men have been known to hold onto the ball a tad in order to either make a play (see Roethlisberger or Cutler) or avoid making a mistake (Smith or Jackson).
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Passing Under Pressure - Sack Percentage

Rank
Name
Team
Pressured On
Sack %
1Jay CutlerCHI5230.8
2Alex D. SmithSF4829.2
3Tarvaris JacksonSEA5927.1
4Ben RoethlisbergerPIT5927.1
5Andy DaltonCIN3426.5
6Eli ManningNYG4626.1
7Mark SanchezNYJ4626.1
8Chad HenneMIA5925.4
9Sam BradfordSL7625
10Blaine GabbertJAX2425
11Matt CasselKC3225
12Matt RyanATL5922
13Kevin KolbARZ5920.3
14Philip RiversSD4818.8
15Matt HasselbeckTEN2218.2
16Kyle OrtonDEN5018
17Luke McCownJAX1816.7
18Tony RomoDAL4916.3
19Aaron RodgersGB4316.3
20Drew BreesNO5616.1
21Joe FlaccoBLT5715.8
22Donovan McNabbMIN5815.5
23Cam NewtonCAR6114.8
24Matt SchaubHST4214.3
25Rex GrossmanWAS5813.8
26Kerry CollinsIND4112.2
27Josh FreemanTB5111.8
28Matthew StaffordDET4810.4
29Ryan FitzpatrickBUF2910.3
30Tom BradyNE419.8
31Michael VickPHI749.5
32Colt McCoyCLV659.2
33Jason CampbellOAK434.7

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Down the at the bottom, credit goes to Jason Campbell, Colt McCoy and Michael Vick, with McCoy and Vick especially showing a tremendous ability to shake off oncoming defenders and get rid of the ball. Though as much credit as they need to take for that, we’ll examine what it does to their accuracy percentages.
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Ah yes – the accuracy percentages. Those are what really matter right? To give a fairer reflection, we’ve counted drops as completions, and ignore throw aways. And who is top? Well, normality is restored as a Manning leads the way. Only this time it’s Eli with the top mark at 71%, narrowly beating out Josh Freeman.
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Passing Under Pressure - Accuracy Percentage

Rank
Name
Team
Att.
Comp.
TA
TD
INT
Acc. %
1Eli ManningNYG352043071.00
2Josh FreemanTB382511170.30
3Matt CasselKC201050166.70
4Drew BreesNO442431165.90
5Alex D. SmithSF341821065.60
6Matthew StaffordDET4217111164.50
7Chad HenneMIA432422263.40
8Andy DaltonCIN23941063.20
9Kevin KolbARZ442094262.90
10Tom BradyNE361842062.50
11Matt SchaubHST351641061.30
12Tarvaris JacksonSEA391832261.10
13Colt McCoyCLV572962260.80
14Philip RiversSD391761260.60
15Ben RoethlisbergerPIT402120260.50
16Michael VickPHI532433360.00
17Matt RyanATL452141258.50
18Donovan McNabbMIN442332058.50
19Tony RomoDAL422021257.50
20Cam NewtonCAR421820357.50
21Rex GrossmanWAS492074257.10
22Jay CutlerCHI361742156.30
23Jason CampbellOAK391750155.90
24Aaron RodgersGB301440053.80
25Kyle OrtonDEN411854152.80
26Ryan FitzpatrickBUF251221052.20
27Matt HasselbeckTEN18801050.00
28Luke McCownJAX14620150.00
29Blaine GabbertJAX16700043.80
30Joe FlaccoBLT471580243.60
31Sam BradfordSL571862043.10
32Kerry CollinsIND361231039.40
33Mark SanchezNYJ32931137.90

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When we look at the bottom of the rankings it will surprise nobody that Mark Sanchez is dead last given his struggles start the year. He remains the guy who is holding the Jets back more so than any other and really needs to step up.
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Of course with all these stats you need to take a look at how they work in context, and in comparison to each other. Sure Matt Cassel has a high accuracy percentage when pressured, but he’s also taken a sack on a quarter of the plays with a man closing in. That’s why we always say to look at our gradings over any stats, and that’s why I’ll cheap plug our premium package to find out all the extra goodness that comes only with that.
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That’s our Signature Stat for this week. Get in touch with the main twitter feed if you have some suggestions for future signature stats given the incredible amount of data we have at our hands.
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Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled … and be sure to follow our main Twitter feed: @ProFootbalFocus . .
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  • windwounder

    I think it might be interesting to know what passes they are hitting on. A high percentage of dump offs that don’t get a first down look great, but are wins for the D. But if the QB is hitting a lower percentage of deep balls that extend drives, that is a win for the O and a better QB. In terms of the drive, down, and distance how effective are the QBs?

    • Mauha Deeb

      I’m with Windwounder. It would be awesome to know what the product of those completions were and on what downs they were.