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Philip Rivers Stat Tracker: Week 5

Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Thanks to the nflFastR project and NFL NextGen Stats for the timely sources of data. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything. (click charts for larger view)


Well, that was horrible.

This is the 2nd week in a row that Philip Rivers’ passing success rate was below league average and his EPA/db was his worst of the year. Even if you were to ignore the impact of the pick-6, this was still a terrible effort.

Through 5 weeks, Rivers’ efficiency is trending in the wrong direction.

As disappointing as it has been, Rivers’ production in the first 5 weeks is actually better than Jacoby Brissett’s first 5 weeks in 2019. So, those calling for a change, be careful what you wish for.

Weeks 1 - 5

QB EPA/db PSR NY/db 1st%
QB EPA/db PSR NY/db 1st%
2019 Brissett 0.096 48.40% 5.8 31.0%
2020 Rivers 0.140 50.30% 7.6 37.1%


Just like last week, depth of target wasn’t the issue. It was the ability to consistently make completions on short throws.

  • Rivers first 8 passes: 9.6 adot, 87.5% cmp, 4 conversions (33.3%), 14.5 ypa
  • Rivers next 12 passes: 7.3 adot, 33.3% cmp, 1 conversion (8.3%), 2.9 ypa, 1 pick 6

Rivers’ avg depth of attempts is fine, but the value he is getting from those passes is just average.

His completed air yards per attempt is a bit higher than average.

No passing TDs this week, means no change to this chart . . . except for the other QBs.


The good news is that T.Y. Hilton returned to being the #1 receiver. The bad news is that he didn’t crack 70 yards.

Marcus Johnson and his 3 targets is the only receiver that provided above average value.


Accuracy rebounded this week to just a bit above league average (2% cpoe).


Rivers was a little slower on the draw this week.


The 3 passes over 20 yards were very effective. The 30 other passes were not.


Dropbacks (db): Attempted passes, Sacks or QB scrambles with QB spikes removed.

EPA per Dropback (EPA/db): For any given down, distance and field position, there is an average amount of points the team is expected to generate from that spot (EP). After the play the added EP (EPA) is calculated. EPA/db is the average of EPA for all QB dropbacks.

Passing Success Rate (PSR): This is the % of passes that were successful. Success is determined by dropbacks that have an EPA > 0. This is useful, as it evenly weights all dropbacks, so that extreme EPA events can’t bias the measure.

First Downs per Dropack (1st %): The percent of dropbacks that result in a first down.

Net Yards per Attempt (NY/A): Passing yards plus scramble yards minus sack yards divided by dropbacks.

Air Yards (ayd): The distance a pass travels through the air past the line of scrimmage. Passes behind the line of scrimmage have negative air yards. Batted down passes have 0 air yards.

Average Depth of Target (aDOT): Total air yards divided by attempts. It is a measure of how far, on average, a QB throws. Longer isn’t necessarily better but below a certain threshold and moving the ball is difficult.

Yards Before the Catch (YBC): The air yards on a completed pass.

Completed Air Yards per Attempt: This is average YBC. It’s like aDOT but excludes incompletions.

Yards After the Catch (YAC): The distance gained by a receiver after catching a pass.

Completion Percent Over Expected (cpoe): The percent of passes completed above expectation based on air yards, field placement and other variables. This is a proprietary stat provided by nflFastR.

Time to Throw (TtT): The number of seconds from snap to release on passing attempts.