Brian Hoyer’s grade versus Chiefs was worst we’ve ever seen in playoffs

Why the Texans desperately need to upgrade the QB position this offseason.

| 9 months ago
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Brian Hoyer’s grade versus Chiefs was worst we’ve ever seen in playoffs

In the first Wild Card game of the weekend, what looked like a pretty close matchup on paper was quickly transformed into a 30-0 blowout thanks largely to the work of one man: Houston Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer.

Hoyer’s grade of -8.3 stands as the worst quarterback performance we have ever seen in postseason play, and the fact he remained in the game for the duration of it is remarkable.

You can certainly understand the reluctance to pin all of your hopes for the season on Brandon Weeden mounting a comeback, but at some point it was objectively clear that Hoyer needed to be taken out of the game.

In the second half, Houston essentially began to run the “Brandon Weeden offense,” with shorter, easy-to-execute passes, and Hoyer couldn’t even hit those accurately. At that point he should have been removed from the game, even if it was probably too late to have any positive effect on the outcome.

For the game, Hoyer’s passer rating was just 15.9, which when you consider just throwing the ball into the turf every play gives you a passer rating of 39.6, shows you how truly self-destructive he was with the football. He threw four interceptions, and these weren’t the kind where you can point to miscommunication, bad bounces, unlucky plays or any other mitigating circumstances. Hoyer was making poor decisions and compounding those bad decisions with poor accuracy on the plays where he was reading things right.

Most quarterbacks struggle the most when pressured — and Hoyer’s passer rating when he felt heat in this game was 30.8, which is pretty terrible — but the real problem was what he was doing from a clean pocket.

When he had time to deliver the ball in rhythm without any pressure his passer rating was 9.7, and three of his four picks came on these plays. He only completed 37.5 percent of his passes when he faced no pressure at all, in a league where 70 percent is becoming the new target for quarterbacks to shoot for.

Of Hoyer’s 15 completions in the game, 11 of them were on passes thrown under 10 yards in the air.

The real issue for the Texans is that they have had no quarterback all season, or last season, or for some time. They have one of the league’s best receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and he is being wasted by a revolving door of inadequate quarterbacks. The same can be said for J.J. Watt and the Houston defense which is now rounding into more of an all-around dominant unit than just a one-man band.

The Texans made the playoffs this season (albeit from a poor division) with Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden earning playing time for them. It says a lot about the standard of that play that Weeden was probably the standout of the group, and his previous baseline is so bad that the Texans refused to put him in this game even when Hoyer did all that he could to get benched.

Bill O’Brien claimed on Hard Knocks this preseason that he was tired of hearing people bash Houston’s quarterbacks, and that the group could play well if given the opportunity. They got that opportunity this season, and Hoyer in particular was given more than enough opportunities, only to play his worst when the Texans needed him the most. That now marks consecutive seasons in which Hoyer has played well for brief stretches, only to implode in spectacular fashion late on in the year.

The Texans are in desperate need of a quarterback upgrade over the offseason, and there was no greater evidence of that than the situation they found themselves in against Kansas City: a starter playing so poorly he demanded to be benched, and a backup so bad the team didn’t believe he would be an upgrade.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • Kyle Ferguson

    Oh Lord, having a pick around the 20s and having the worst QB situation in the league (at least Browns have a high pick) is not good. Though there will probably be good QB value in round 2, Cook, Lynch, etc, But when it comes to a QB you can’t really wait for them to drop to you. Conner Cook to Texans in R1!

    • rogue

      Russell Wilson – 3rd round
      Tom Brady – 6th round
      Drew Brees – 2nd round
      Aaron Rodgers – 24th overall pick

      • BeavertonSteve

        You’ve listed some great QBs. Unfortunately there have been 136 quarterbacks drafted between the second and seventh round since 2000.

        There is another tier of “good” non-first round QBs, but it isn’t very big either. It’s the Romo, Bulger, Schaub group. Finding a QB like that would be great for Houston. Still, 7 out of 136 isn’t very encouraging.

        • rich p

          I’m from Philly….would you take Sam Bradford?….free agent

          • BeavertonSteve

            I think Bradford will be Houston’s #1 target. He has got to be the luckiest QB when it comes to timing. He got the last of the big #1 overall deals and he is hitting the open market with multiple playoff contenders needing QB help.

      • Kyle Ferguson

        Ya those are the exceptions, which actually helps my point. Hopefully they get lucky

      • TrillyMadison

        Three of those picks were from long ago when the NFL landscape was widely different. A QB’s stock is trading higher than ever. A Rodgers-type will NEVER slip like that again. As for the Brady-types, look no further than Kirk Cousins who boosted to the 4th-round.

  • Anonymouse

    Its going to be difficult to find a quarterback in this year’s thin draft, but perhaps Trevone Boykin falls due to his legal issues. Also, I would not put Romo in the same category as Schaub. Romo holds multiple Dallas records, Schaub was a serviceable quarterback for a few years.

    • Tim Edell

      Boykin??? Ummmm yeah he will definitely fall he will be lucky to be drafted.

    • TrillyMadison

      You can find any QB you want, there just isn’t a candidate to immediately start. Hackenberg is probably the player most ready, but even he would get eaten alive as a rook. As for Boykin? His only future as a QB is in Canada.

  • JudoPrince

    Honestly, after watching Hoyer in this game, I was expecting to see a grade closer to -37. He caught a break.

  • TJ Smith

    Peyton Manning will be the qb for Houston next year. Perhaps draft someone and let him sit a year or two waiting for Peyton. Manning needs to play in a warm weather division with some bad defenses.

    • TrillyMadison

      Peyton Manning? Two years? I don’t see any scenario in which he even starts more than 8 games next year. This is it for 18.

      • TJ Smith

        All i’m saying is Manning isn’t going to retire. He is going to look for a team if its not with Denver. Houston makes the most sense because of the division and the fact they don’t believe in what they have at qb. Although Manning has been terrible he still winning games.

  • TrillyMadison

    QB Class of 2016 = QB Class of 2011
    Hackenberg = Ponder
    Goff = Gabbert
    Lynch = Mallett
    Cook = Stanzi
    Nobody = Cam Newton

    (I’m snatching up Kessler and having him hold a clipboard. He’s cut from the same cloth as Hackenberg but unanimously less-regarded. Low-risk, high-upside.)

    • Michael Burry

      Sudfeld bro. Dude is going to be legit.

      • TrillyMadison

        Maybe. Maybe not. Sadly, I doubt he’ll ever get the chance to shine.

  • Ned Nederlander

    hoyer should never play again