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Philip Rivers Stat Tracker: Week 8

Indianapolis Colts v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/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)

It was a good passing week. At this point, Philip Rivers is pretty much what I was expecting prior to the season.


Great numbers here.

Good trends.

For those of you wondering how this compares to last year, here is 2019 Jacoby Brissett and 2020 Philip Rivers through the first 7 games in stats ordered highest to lowest by correlation to future wins:

(ranks are based on QBs with >= 80 attempts, 37 in each year)


Metric Rivers Rank Brissett Rank
Metric Rivers Rank Brissett Rank
epa/db 0.223 7 0.131 13
psr 51.9% 11 48.8% 12
1st% 38.5% 8 32.3% 19
ny/db 7.7 3 6.2 19
td% 4.2% 23 5.8% 5
cpoe 3.4% 15 -0.7% 22
ypa 8.1 8 6.9 25
cmp% 69.7% 6 64.5% 17
int% 2.5% 24 1.2% 9
sack% 2.9% 3 4.2% 10
yds/cmp 11.6 14 10.7 29
avg_yac 5.5 11 5.8 9
avg_ybc 6.1 16 4.9 33
aDOT 7.4 22 7.0 29


Rivers didn’t complete a throw of more than 10 air yards until the second quarter. 3 of the 4 incompletes in the 3rd quarter should have been caught.

Distance was down this week.

At this point it’s pretty clear that air yards are not an issue (if they ever were).

Rivers finally threw TD passes over 20 yards . . . well one of them was thrown for -3 yards, but you get the point.


Love how the receiving yards were spread around and have been all season.

On the year, value from the wide receivers is still low. Only Marcus Johnson is putting up good averages.


Even though Rivers had almost a 70% completion rate, that was below expected given the short distances thrown. Drops were a factor this week.

On the year, there have been 33 QBs with at least 10 passes of >=20 air yards. Of those QBs, Rivers ranks:

  • 4th in cmp% (57.1%)
  • 5th in cpoe (+ 1.9%)
  • 9th in ypa (16.3)
  • 6th in epa/db (0.949)

I get that it’s fun to say he can’t throw long anymore, but the adults are talking so you and your friends need to go to the basement to play.


Quick release, low sack rate continues.


Good at all depths.


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.