Fourth Quarter Magic?

18to88 resident curmudgeon and Pats’ fan JC asked the question: What are Manning’s and Brady’s stats in the fourth quarter of playoff games?

Here’s where you come for such answers.  The question he was getting at is which quarterback was more ‘clutch’.  To make the best assessment, I’ve looked at the fourth quarter production for each QB in the fourth quarter of games that were one score games.  If the QB had the ball in the fourth quarter trailing by 8 points or less, it counts.  If the other team had the ball trailing by 8 points or less, it counts.  This method eliminates a handful of games for either QB when they played with big leads or big deficits, since those aren’t exactly clutch situations.

For Manning, I considered the following games:

2003:  @ KC, @ NE

2005: Pitt

2006:  KC, @Bal, NE, Chi

2007:  SD

2008:  @SD

2009:  NYJ, NO

I did not include data from the 1999 or 2000 playoff games, though both would qualify.  The reason is that I don’t have play by play data for those games, and would be happy to add them in if anyone can find the numbers.  I can tell you Manning threw no TDs and no INTs in those two games.  This list does not count:

2002:  @ NYJ (smallest deficit 34 points)

2003: Denver (smallest lead 38 points)

2004:  Denver (smallest lead 18 points), @NE (smallest deficit 10 points)

2009: Baltimore (smallest lead 14 points)

Manning’s teams finished 6-5 in the 11 games chosen.  They were ahead at some point in the fourth quarter in 8 of 11 games.    In total, Manning’s kickers have missed three fourth quarter field goals in close games that Indianapolis eventually lost.

For Brady, I considered the following games:

2001:  Oak, STL

2003:  Tenn, IND, Car

2004:  Phil

2006:  NYJ, @SD, @IND

2007:  Jax, SD, NYG

The following games were omitted:

2001:  @Pitt (he didn’t play)

2004: IND (smallest lead 10 points), @ Pitt (smallest lead 11 points)

2005: Jax (smallest lead 18 points), @ Denver (smallest deficit 14 points)

2009: Bal (smallest deficit 13 points)

Brady’s team was 10-2 in the 12 games.  They led at some point in the fourth quarter in all 12 games.

Here’s a chart:

Comp Att Yards YPA % TD INT Rating
Brady 94 148 927 6.3 63.5 5 4 81.1
Manning 80 128 997 7.8 62.5 5 3 89.9

One QB is 10-2.  The other is 6-5.  The numbers say that nothing is more pointless than attributing wins and losses to quarterbacks.

Note:  JC officially protests that I’ve excluded games and he wants ALL the postseason game data included.  I’ll do so as an addendum to this post.


In the games I excluded from Manning originally (not counting the two I don’t have data from), he was 15/23, 192, 1 TD, 2 INT.

In the games I excluded from Brady originally, he was 19/34, 244, 1 TD, INT.  He was helped greatly by a 74 yard pass against the Broncos when trailing by 21 points.

The FULL fourth quarter playoff stats look like this (again, including blowout games).  For Brady, this represents 17 games (he didn’t play in the fourth quarter of one).  It also represents 15 games for Manning who didn’t throw a pass in the fourth quarter against Denver in 2003, and I don’t have 1999 and 2000 stats.

Comp Att Yards YPA % TD INT Rating
Brady 182 113 1171 6.4 62.1 6 5 80.2
Manning 151 95 1189 7.9 62.9 6 5 86.8