QB Performance Plots for NFL Week 8: Misery Loves Company

This is a guest post by Greg Matthews, founder of Stats In The Wild, a blog focused on sports analytics and data visualization. If you’re interested in guest posting on TeamRankings, email us your post and we’ll consider it.

Alex Smith turned in possibly the best performance by any quarterback this season in San Francisco’s 24-3 victory over Arizona. Smith completed 18 of his 19 (94.7%) pass attempts for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. This corresponds to a 157.1, and nearly perfect, passer rating.

After Smith, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan were the next best quarterbacks in terms of passer rating this week. Manning posted a 138.9 passer rating on 22 of 30 (73.33%) passing for 305 yards while Ryan posted a 137.4 passer rating on 22 of 29 (75.86%) passing for 262 yards, and they both had 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.

(Just click on the graphic below to enlarge it…)

The two worst performances of the week according to passer rating belonged to Brandon Weeden and Cam Newton with respective passer ratings of 55.9 and 57.0. However, the graphic demonstrates that they achieved their low passer with drastically different performances.

Weeden had very a bad completion percentage (40.74%), yards per attempt (4.8 yds/att), and total passing yards (129 yds), but he didn’t throw any interceptions. Cam Newton had a higher completion percentage (51.28%), averaged 8.1 yds/att, and threw for 314 yards, which is a decent stat line until you add in his two interceptions.

However, Weeden was not alone in his futility, as Phillip Rivers, Tony Romo and Eli Manning all had much worse weeks than Newton as well. Rivers only managed to throw for 154 passing yards leading his team to 6 points in a one point loss to the Cleveland Browns. The only positive thing he did all day was manage to not throw any interceptions.

Eli Manning and Tony Romo both stand out in the graphic, but for different reasons. Manning’s plot is very small, whereas Romo’s red wedge stands out among the other quarterbacks in Week 8.

When the Giants took an early 23-0 lead, the Cowboys were forced to abandon the run, leading to Romo’s strange stats for the game. Romo ended with an impressive 437 yards of passing on 36 of 62 (58.06%) passing and 1 touchdown…with four interceptions. Manning, on the other hand, ended with only 192 passing yards on 15 of 29 (51.72%) passing, no touchdowns, and an interception, which was just enough to win. Barely.