QB Performance Plots for Week 17: Manning Finishes In Style

This is a guest post by Greg Matthews (Twitter: @StatsInTheWild), 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.

Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers both turned in 140+ passer rating performances to lead all quarterbacks in the final week of the NFL regular season. While Manning’s and Rivers’ passer ratings were similar in Week 17 (144.8 and 142.0, respectively), that’s about where the similarities stop between the two.

In Week 17 Manning led his team to a 38-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs by throwing for 304 yards on 23 of 29 passing, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The win was the thirteenth of the season and eleventh in a row for the Broncos, who claimed the number one seed in the AFC for the playoffs.

Alternatively, the San Diego Chargers finished the season 7-9 after their Week 17 victory over the lowly Oakland Raiders. In that game, Rivers only threw the ball 17 times completing 13 of his attempts for 151 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. This kind of stat line leads to a good passer rating, but it doesn’t really stand out on the graph like Russell Wilson.

(Just click the graph below to enlarge it…)

Wilson’s season finale performance saw him throw for 250 yards, complete 13 of his 17 passes, and throw for one touchdown and no interceptions along with 53 yards rushing on 10 attempts. And that huge orange slice in Wilson’s graph? That’s his 13.2 yards per attempt average from the game on Sunday. Not bad for a rookie.

Based on passer rating, the worst performers of Week 17 were Quinn, Sanchez, and Romo, who all finished with passer ratings below 60. Quinn completed 7 of 16 passes for 49 yards averaging just 3.1 yards per attempt while Sanchez completed 20 of his 37 passes for 205 yards and one interception. These yielded passer ratings of 51.3 and 55.1, respectively.

While surely these performances were disappointing for Jets and Chiefs fans, it’s hard to say they were unexpected as these two quarterbacks have had less than stellar years and their teams had nothing to play for in the final week of the season. That is why Romo in Week 17 was especially disappointing.

Romo’s season passer rating is 90.5, and he’s thrown 28 touchdowns to only 19 interceptions. However, with a playoff berth on the line, Romo managed to complete only 20 of his 37 passes for 218 yards, two touchdowns, and probably most disappointingly, three interceptions.

This all equals a passer rating of 55.9, more than 30 point less than his season passer rating, and another January with no playoffs for Cowboys fans.