Week 6 Case Study: Aaron Rodgers (Part 2)

(Part 1 of the Aaron Rodgers Deep Dive included only data through week 6.  This portion includes data through week 7.)

In part 1 of the Aaron Rodgers Deep Dive, we saw that Rodgers was killing his passer rating (with my adjusted methodology).

However, when I looked at each player's rating by down, I saw that Rodgers was the runaway leader in 3rd down rating.  Below are the top 5 quarterbacks in my 3rd down passer rating.

Rank
Player
Attempts
Rating
1
Aaron Rodgers
51
12.64
2
Eli Manning
63
8.39
3
Peyton Manning
53
2.67
4
Shaun Hill
52
1.83
5
Brett Favre
75
1.53


This got me back to thinking about Rodgers' sack totals.  Was Rodgers so efficient on third down because he's a clucth player?  Or, was it more simply that, because of his sack totals,  he found himself in a disproportionate number of third and longs.



Quick note:  as we all know, sacks aren't the only reason a team could wind up in a large number of third and longs.  But, given that we've already seen that Rodgers has very high sack totals, that was the first place I looked.

Among the top 15 quarterbacks in my ratings, only Tony Romo and Kurt Warner have faced 3rd and long more often (as a % of all third downs).  I have not dug into the reasons for Warner and Romo's high rates, but Aaron Rodgers has been sacked for a combined 129 yards (on 19 sacks) on first and second down. 


Percent of Third Downs Where More Than Eight Yards
Remain For a First Down

Rank
Player
% Third Downs 8+ Yards
1
Tony Romo
56%
2
Kurt Warner
55%
3
Aaron Rodgers
53%
4
Joe Flacco
52%
5
Brett Favre
50%
6
Philip Rivers
49%
7
Drew Brees
49%
8
Matt Schaub
46%
9
Eli Manning
44%
10
Peyton Manning
43%
11
Matt Ryan
41%
12
Ben Roethlisberger
36%
13
Kyle Orton
35%
14
Tom Brady
29%
15
Kevin Kolb
21%


Rodgers' sack numbers don't get much better on 3rd down, but, even when adjusted for sacks, his Y/A on 3rd down is over 10 - by far the best in the league. The next best is Philip rivers at 8.3.


With that said, Aaron Rodgers has done a good chunk of his 3rd down damage when less than 7 yards remain. In fact, he continues to struggle when the team faces a 3rd and 8+ situation. (About 3.8 Y/A - including 5 sacks on only 30 attempts). However, on 3rd and less than 7, Rodgers has gone back to pass 28 times and has come away with a Y/A of 17.4 with only one sack.

I came in with a theory that Aaron Rodgers is good on third down because he has to make up for all the lost sack yardage from first and second down.  However, while Rodgers does face more 3rd and longs than most QBs, his 3rd down rating is actually a result of big plays on 3rd and less than 8 yards remaining.

2 comments:

James said...

I bet Romo faces so many third and longs because the Cowboys cough, Flozell Adams, cough get so many false starts and other penalties. Brian Burke's website says they've committed the 4th most penalties in the league.

Luis Martins said...

I'm actually trying to dig and find why those teams face so many third and longs. I spend so much time on data collection, though, that I have no time for actual analysis.

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