More Kicking Around of Easterbrook

Dan Svirsky chimes in with this letter:

Great post today tearing apart Easterbrook.  I’ve been a defender of his for a long time, though my brother tends to not like him, so today’s column was really disappointing for me.  Anyway, one of his biggest BS comments was that Manning is bad under pressure, compared to other QBs.  This was annoying because it seems patently false, but I didn’t have any facts that directly contradict it (like you could with how many times Manning’s been hit, or how many points the defense let up, or even why the crowd was booing).  Luckily, Football Outsiders did an article last year on top ten best (and worst) QBs under pressure:

Table 1: Top Ten Quarterbacks Under Pressure
PLAYER Plays Yards DVOA PYD YAC
Aaron Rodgers 131 6.5 61.8% 9.6 5.3
Donovan McNabb 86 7.7 41.0% 9.1 6.9
Ben Roethlisberger 93 7.2 40.6% 10.6 3.8
Matt Leinart 20 5.4 28.8% 9.0 3.8
Tony Romo 95 5.4 24.7% 7.2 5.2
Bruce Gradkowski 47 6.4 20.9% 10.1 6.9
Seneca Wallace 28 4.9 16.5% 8.4 4.4
Peyton Manning 78 6.8 16.2% 9.7 3.0
Jason Campbell 133 6.5 10.7% 8.6 8.8
Carson Palmer 96 5.2 10.7% 6.9 4.4

The huge problem with this table, though, is that this stat doesn’t take sacks into account (or scrambles).  Here’s what you get when you take sacks into account (I didn’t bother to do Gradkowski, Seneca Wallace, or Carson Palmer):

Quarterback

Plays

Yards

Sacks

Sack yards

Actual YPA, including sacks

Aaron Rodgers

131

6.5

50

306

3.01

Donovan McNabb

86

7.7

35

264

3.3

Ben Roethlisberger

93

7.2

50

348

2.2

Tony Romo

95

5.4

34

196

2.5

Peyton Manning

78

6.8

10

74

5.2

Jason Campbell

133

6.5

43

285

3.3

Unfortunately, that still doesn’t include scrambles because I can’t get a good stat on that.  Aaron Rodgers, for example, is good about running for first downs, but his rushing stats will include QB sneaks and scrambles he does even without facing pressure.  If you include all of Rodgers’ rushing yards as coming against the rush, however, his yards per attempt go up to 3.6 or so–good, but nowhere near Manning.  Also, these yards per attempt don’t include interceptions, which is a big part of the story, but again, I don’t know how many interceptions come under pressure.
I wish I could see Brady, Brees, and Rivers, but Football Outsiders didn’t include under-pressure stats for anyone not in the top or bottom ten.

 Either way, it’s pretty clear–Manning isn’t just good under pressure: he’s head and shoulders above the other guys

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