The 5 Best 3rd-Down Quarterbacks of 2015
Last week, I took a long look at some pretty specific data regarding red-zone efficiency for pass-catchers during the 2015 regular season.
The importance of converting inside the red zone is obviously extremely important. A similar situation on the football field that carries paramount importance is how well an offense performs on 3rd-down. The difference between converting on 3rd-down and failing to do so can ultimately play a large part in winning and losing.
According to Pro Football Reference, the average yards-to-go on 3rd-down plays league-wide was 7.2 yards. Teams converted 39.2 percent of the time on both runs and passes, electing to throw on 79.2 percent of the total 3rd-down plays.
With such an emphasis on the passing game in one of the most high-leverage situations during a football game, I thought it’d be interesting to see which quarterbacks excelled (and struggled) on 3rd-down passes.
Using our Net Expected Points (NEP) metrics, focused specifically on 3rd-down passing plays, we get a very interesting picture of a zoomed-in -- but still very important -- area of any overall statistical exploration.
When compiling the results, I narrowed down the field of players to those who accumulated 50 or more 3rd down passing attempts and sorted them in terms of Passing NEP, the points above expectation-level a player added to his team via the drop back.