Sig Stats: PBE, O-Line Units

Jim Seki looks at the offensive lines as whole units and shows off the top and bottom groups in Pass Blocking Efficiency for 2014.

| 2 years ago

Sig Stats: PBE, O-Line Units

2014-Sig-Stats-PBE-OLineWe continue our look pass blocking by offensive linemen — having already seen the standout tackles, guards and centers individually — with a shift to the lines as whole units and how they protected their quarterback over the regular season. The PFF Pass Block Efficiency Signature Stat accounts for sacks, hurries, and QB hits surrendered relative to the number of pass protection snaps.

The Top 5

The Broncos top the whole-line PBE rating, but some of that is certainly due to Peyton Manning and his league-low average of 2.22 seconds from snap to pass attempt. While they only rank fifth in PBE, the Cowboys’ offensive line did a fantastic job protecting Romo this year, ranking second in both fewest hits and sacks allowed as well as fifth in hurries allowed. The Bengals and Ravens were the only other teams to also rank in the Top 10 in each of the three PBE sub-categories.

# Team Passing Plays Sacks Hits Hurries Total Pressure Allowed PBE
1 DEN 626 12 25 74 111 86.2
2 GB 595 18 18 76 112 85.1
3 CIN 546 12 22 71 104 85.0
4 BLT 583 13 21 83 117 84.4
5 DAL 518 9 17 81 107 84.1


The Bottom 5

The Titans and Vikings were the only teams to average more than two sacks per game. To make things worse, both teams attempted fewer passes than the league-median. The Dolphins allowed the most QB hits in the table below but were third-worst overall. Interestingly, the AFC Championship game featured the bottom two teams in terms of QB hits allowed, the Colts with 52 and the Patriots with a league-high 61. The Saints ranked 22nd in overall PBE but allowed a league-high 146 hurries. Unfortunately for the Dolphins and Vikings, they were the only two teams ranked in the Bottom 10 in all three sub-categories.

# Team Passing Plays Sacks Hits Hurries Total Pressure Allowed PBE
28 SL 570 25 30 121 176 75.7
29 SD 630 27 28 142 197 75.5
30 TEN 594 34 25 131 190 74.6
31 MIA 649 31 46 133 210 74.5
32 MIN 608 36 32 130 198 74.1


Playoff Teams

The next table is intriguing simply because of the dispersion when it comes to playoff teams. Four of the top seven were division winners yet so were the bottom four. What is most surprising is that you have to look to the bottom third of the rankings to find the two teams that played in the Super Bowl. Both the Patriots and Seahawks improved on their regular season PBE rating, finishing with above an 80.0 PBE rating in the postseason.

# Team Passing Plays PBE
1 DEN 626 86.2
2 GB 595 85.1
3 CIN 546 85.0
4 BLT 583 84.4
5 DAL 518 84.1
7 PIT 651 82.3
16 DET 664 79.4
18 ARZ 611 78.8
20 NE 647 78.5
21 IND 726 78.2
23 SEA 548 77.7
26 CAR 623 77.0


You can find the PFF Pass Blocking Efficiency metric, individual player grades, and more in our PFF Premium Stats. Find out more about a Premium Subscription here.


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  • Chris

    It would be very useful splits were available for different ‘times to throw’. The data is obviously there, all it would take is some filtering.

    That way we could compare teams like the Broncos and Bengals, who got the ball out very quickly, vs. teams that didn’t (Seahawks come to mind) over different times to throw.

    Something like the following (made-up numbers):

    Time to throw: 3 seconds:
    Denver (8% of throws): 21st
    Cincinnati (12% of throws): 14th
    Seattle (30% of throws): 12th

    Time to throw: <4 seconds:

    Denver (5% of throws): 31st
    Cincinnati (5% of throws): 17th
    Seattle (28% of throws): 5th

    • Chris

      Did a quick regression.

      Of the top 10 teams ranked by Time To Throw (TTT):

      – 70% rank in the top half of Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE).
      – 50% rank in the top 10: DEN (1), CIN (3), PIT (7), JAX (8), OAK (10).
      – None of them rank outside the top 20.

      Of the 12 teams ‘in the middle’ ranked by TTT:

      – 50% rank in the top half of PBE
      – 30% rank in the top 10: BAL (4), CLE (6), PHI (9)
      – 50% rank outside the top 20.

      Of the bottom 10 teams ranked by TTT:

      – 30% rank in the top half of PBE.
      – 20% rank in the top 10: GB (2), DAL (5)
      – 60% rank outside the top 20.

      Obviously, having a quicker TTT leads to a better PBE. There are exceptions:

      – GB: 26th TTT, 2nd PBE: Rodgers is likely the explanation. A great QB can get the ball out quickly when the rush comes and hold it longer otherwise.

      – DAL: 25th TTT, 5th PBE: Romo plus a very good OL is likely the explanation.

      – NE: 3rd TTT, 20th PBE: With Brady getting the ball out so quickly this is definitely a testament to how bad his OL was.

      – MIA: 11th TTT, 31st PBE: Ditto the above.

      • eYeDEF

        Couldn’t agree more. Ranking offensive lines by PBE without accounting for TTT can be badly misleading and ultimately kind of worthless.

        • Aaron

          The biggest problem with this is the nature of Manning/Brady getting the ball out quickly, and guys like Wilson, Kaepernick, Newton, who will extend plays, and skew TTT.

          • Kirk Vollmer

            Agreed. . . Manning and Brady get rid of the ball fast because they don’t have the athletic ability to evade rushers very well. So they cover for themselves by releasing the ball fast. When holding onto the ball means giving your receivers a better chance to get open and make bigger plays, quarterbacks with more athletic ability might make their lines look worse by holding the ball longer relying on their athletic ability to help them evade rushers.

    • LightsOut85

      A few weeks ago PFF tweeted something sort of like that, ranking the “degree of difficulty of pass protection” of the teams:

      https://twitter(dot)com/PFF/status/560493749542072320 (altered the URL b/c link wasn’t working for me)

      Not quite as telling as what you’re suggesting, but neat nonetheless.

      At a glance, some teams that particularly stand out (high difficulty rating but also high result (PBE &/or OL pass-block ranking from the 2014 OL article)) are DAL, PIT & BAL

      • eYeDEF

        That’s kind of an odd ranking. Do you have any idea how they go about determining the ‘degree of difficulty’ stat? They sorely need to add that section to the offensive line part of the signature stats section for premium customers.

        • LightsOut85

          Your guess is as good as mine. It didn’t seem similar to anything I found (like, %s of total plays, etc). I do like that they listed each type though, so you can focus on what’s important to you. Getting details out of PFF is like pulling teeth though (except, pulling teeth is possible, haha).

          Yea, there’s a LOT of things that have been “article-only”, that need to be in the premium section (stats by route type, pass-rushing by down, etc).

    • KAO

      Good stuff man

    • Thomas Bell

      I don’t quite understand it, but you’re on to something. Any analysis that has the Denver offensive line ranked #1 is clearly flawed. They were horrible (after the two second mark.)

  • davathon

    Ryan Tannehill threw for 4,000 yards and a 92.8 QB rating with the 2nd worst line in the NFL. Imagine what he’ll do with an average or good line.

    • Supychou

      Imagine what he’ll do if he knew how to throw deep passes.

      • eYeDEF

        Is that why Mike Wallace walked off the set?

        • corners

          before or after he scored 10 td’s?

          • eYeDEF

            The last game of the season. I’m not familiar enough with the situation in Miami to have any idea as to why he did that, I was just randomly speculating on whether not getting enough accurate targets contributed to his refusal to play the 2nd half. Do you know?

      • Dildo Baggins

        Imagine if his deep passes weren’t dropped.

        • corners

          id buy hes missing on his deep throws because he doesnt have time becase ive seen more under or over throws than dropped deep balls over the 3 years.

    • corners

      were so lucky hes made it through 3 seasons without any major injuries yet.

  • mutzki

    Impressive to see that GBs OLine, consisting of only one 1st rounder, three fourth rounders and one fifth rounder, has been playing this well.

    • SeattleSteve

      Especially with Rodgers holding the football forever.
      Dude needs to learn to check it down to keep drives alive.

      • mutzki

        He makes a lot of plays when holding on to the football. I have no problem with his penchant to hold on to it.

        • corners

          thats what big ben does also. Its almost impossible to cover for 6 seconds or longer the wr you are chasing.