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Philip Rivers Stat Tracker: Week 15

NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

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)

Just look at that beautiful throwing motion. How can you not think he’s good?


Rivers extended his string of good efficiency games. He doesn’t put up many highlight reel passes, but he consistently makes positive value throws.

On the year, he has the 5th highest EPA efficiency of any QB and the 6th highest net yards per dropback. That is far better than I expected prior to week 1.


He hit on his deep throws and most of the others too.

His passing depth has actually been trending up the past 5 weeks.

In the first half of the season, Rivers didn’t throw TD passes from far away, but in the last 6 games, the average length of his TD passes has increased dramatically (12.3 yds away to 18.4 yds away). I don’t think it’s coincidental that our red-zone success rates in those same time periods went from 51% to 67%.


Zach Pascal had a very nice day. T.Y. Hilton may salvage his season.

If there were a “most improved performance” graph on this page, this next one would be it. The wide receivers are all above average in season EPA per target AND above average in depth of target. They finally found their quadrant.


Rivers is rebounding in accuracy after a mid-season slump.

For those that have been worried about his downfield accuracy, he has the 8th highest completion rate on passes > 15 air yards.


There’s never any news with this chart: throws quick, doesn’t get sacked.


Of his 6 incompletions on the day, 4 of them were on passes shorter than 10 yards and thus the poor efficiency in that area of the field.


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.