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Week 8 QB analysis: Under pressure

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

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)


Let’s be clear, Minshew is a backup QB and I am comparing him each week against starting QBs, which one could argue is not fair. I accept that. However, if you want to know if he’s playing well or not, you have to judge him on the job he is asked to perform. Comparing him against back-up QBs is pointless.

Against the Saints, he wasn’t very good. Maybe he was good for a back-up and maybe he played “good enough to win”, but he wasn’t good by the standards we hold NFL QBs to.

  • Even though the Colts passed 41 times, on early downs in game neutral situations, it leaned towards the run, which was working well (24th edp, 12th arsr).
  • Minshew was pressured a lot, but he also held the ball a long time inviting a good part of that pressure (9th pr%, 6th ttt).
  • He had a healthy depth of target and depth of completions, which means he wasn’t forced into check downs a lot and was waiting for plays to develop/receivers to get open (8th adot, 14th ay/c).
  • His accuracy was extremely poor and that was a factor in the team’s very poor YAC numbers (29th cpoe, 31st yac, 25th yacoe).
  • Bad accuracy and limited YAC almost always translates to poor yardage efficiency and this game is no exception (30th ypa).
  • On the bright side, he reacted to pressure by throwing the ball away, keeping his sack total low (1st ta%, 25th sck%)
  • His overall abandoned attempt rate was around league average as was the yardage off of those plays (15th aa%, 16th aay). This actually improved his overall dropback yardage efficiency a bit, although it was still very poor (26th ny/d).
  • He did not get a lot of first downs, but he was OK at throwing TDs and limiting turnovers (25th 1st%, 15th TD%, 19th to%).
  • His passing success rate was in line with his yardage efficiency (bad), but his overall EPA efficiency was actually close to average, which means his negative plays weren’t all that negative relative to his positive ones (27th psr, 18th epa/d).

Let’s pause to recognize the New York Giants passing game, which accumulated -9 yards of offense yesterday. That’s not a typo. Tyrod Taylor threw 7 passes for 8 yards and was sacked twice for -7 yards and Tommy Devito threw 7 attempts for -1 yards and lost 9 more yards on 2 sacks. The lesson here is that it can always get worse.


You can literally see how damaging the interception was. EPA-wise it was like taking 5 points off the board with that 1 play. The only other real negative play was an incomplete on 3rd & 1 at the 2 yard line, which led to settling for a field goal. All the other “bad plays” had limited down-side, but there was a lot of them.

Success rate and conversions are poor and trending flat, so that’s not good.


His incompletions mostly came in clusters, 1 of 6 to begin the 2nd quarter and 1 of 6 to end the game.

Passing depth is trending longer and that has led to longer completions.


I like how Downs has progressed.


Minshew is not accurate when he is pressured and he has been pressured a lot.


Time to throw seems to have no predictable trend.


Minshew had some success at mid-depth range, but was pretty much crap everywhere else.