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Sam Ehlinger Stat Tracker: Week 8

Sam Ehlinger starts his first game and takes over for a veteran. The results were mixed but generally positive.

Washington Commanders v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Thanks to the nflFastR project and NFL NextGen Stats for the timely sources of data.

For those of you new to this, I will publish key QB stats each week judging how well the Colts passing game performed. Yes, O-Line, receivers, and play-calling impact these numbers but they are primarily QB measures. I will probably modify the charts throughout the season. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything. (click charts for larger view)

Because of the change at QB, I have had to alter my graphs to be at the team level instead of the QB level. This isn’t a huge change, but it allows me to include trailing data even though Ehlinger only has 1 game under his belt.


This is definitely better than Matt Ryan's averages as a Colt. Sam had trouble getting started, but by the end of the 3rd quarter, he had strung together several big plays.

His EPA efficiency was lower than a couple of Ryan’s games but better than most. His success rate was much better than Ryan ever saw.

He was below average in first-down conversions, relying more on the big plays than consistently moving the chains. If he is going to have long-term success, he will need to improve on that.

The graph on the left shows that he was above average in efficiency, which Ryan only did twice this year.


Ehlinger did not have a lot of incompletions, and those he did have were primarily in the first half. His 8.7 yards per attempt is outstanding, but again it was driven by a few big plays instead of a lot of average ones.

He had much longer attempts than Ryan and good completion depth.


His ability to spread the ball around is promising.


He had great accuracy in his first outing. If he maintains that, it is all sorts of good news.


His time to throw was a little long, but nothing out of the ordinary.


He was hitting all over the field, which is another good sign.


Comparisons are out of the 28 teams that have played through Sunday night.

Mouseover for definitions: opd, edp, arsr, ttt, adot, 20+, cmp%, cpoe, ay/c, yac, yacoe, ypa, pr%, ta%, scr%, sk%, aa%, ny/d, to%, 1st%, td%, rze, orze, 20+e, psr, epa/d

It was a balanced run-pass attack, but the run game was again below average efficiency (15th edp, 23rd arsr). Sam held the ball the 8th longest of any QB (ttt), but as he had the 3rd highest scramble rate (scr%) and the 7th longest attempts (adot), that makes sense.

He was highly accurate and not just on check-downs (5th cpoe, 7th ay/c), but receiver yac was just average (16th yac, 15th yacoe). His 8th-ranked yardage efficiency was dragged down by abandoned attempts (sacks and scrambles), so he ended with the 11th-ranked net yardage efficiency (ny/d), which is still impressive.

It has been primarily good news up to this point, but here’s the wet blanket. He turned the ball over, didn’t throw any TDs, and his conversion rate was below average (8th to%, 25th td%, 16th 1st%). But even with all that, he managed a +0.13 epa efficiency, which is good . . . not great . . . but good.

For the first game, there was a lot to like about his play.