QB Charting, Week 1: NFC Roundup

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan: Week 1, at New Orleans.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 17 26 173 2 17 2 1 5.39
Play-Action 7 8 114 1 8 0 0 11.78
Screen 1 4 17 0 0 0 0 4.25
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 25 38 304 3 25 2 1 6.68

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, -9 yards 1 4
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 2
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 1, -9 yards 1 7

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees: Week 1, vs. Atlanta.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 15 21 274 1 11 1 0 12.86
Play-Action 8 11 76 1 5 1 1 3.83
Screen 1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 -1.00
Designed Rollout 2 2 8 0 0 0 0 4.00
Total 26 35 357 2 16 2 1 9.08

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 4 0 0 0 3
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 4 0 0 0 4

Unsurprisingly, both quarterbacks played well, though Brees was clearly the better of the two as the game progressed. The two NFC South gunslingers’ straight dropback and play-action stats are fascinating. As is usually the case, most of Ryan’s big plays came off play-action – his dropback stats were also efficient but not particularly gaudy. Brees, on the other hand, couldn’t find any huge chunks of yards on play-fakes and actually threw his only interception (which was primarily due to a great play by the Falcons’ Robert Alford than anything else) off play-action, but torched the Falcons all day when they just lined up and said, “Beat us.”

Ironically enough, the only drop I charted on either side all game was Steven Jackson’s third down drop at the one-yard line on Atlanta’s final drive – had he caught that, he likely would have had enough momentum to get across the goalline for a go-ahead score with under a minute to play. Instead, Ryan was forced to heave a prayer under pressure into the middle of the end zone that, of all people, Roman Harper picked off to end the game.

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson: Week 1, at Carolina.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 12 15 131 2 19 0 0 6.59
Play-Action 11 15 182 0 0 1 0 13.47
Screen 2 3 7 0 0 0 0 2.33
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 25 33 320 2 19 1 0 9.17

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 2 10 1 0 0 1
Play-Action 0 0 0 1, -21 yards 1 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 1
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 10 1 1, -21 yards 1 3

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton: Week 1, vs. Seattle.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 10 13 83 0 0 0 0 6.39
Play-Action 5 9 35 1 6 1 0 4.90
Screen 1 1 10 0 0 0 0 10.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 16 23 128 1 6 1 0 5.92

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 10 0 2, 18 yards 1 1
Play-Action 1 8 0 0 1 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 18 0 2, 18 yards 2 1

The assumption you make any time you see a 12-7 final score is that it was an ugly day for both offenses, but that wasn’t actually the case in the Seahawks-Panthers game. The low score in this instance was due more to ill-timed turnovers in the red zone and an over-reliance on ineffective ground games that reduced the number of plays in the game for both teams. But the quarterbacks themselves were excellent. Russell Wilson’s remarkable mobility sometimes got himself into more trouble, like when he took a 21-yard intentional grounding penalty in the second quarter, but it mostly bought himself enough room to avoid an excellent Panthers pass rush. The most impressive part of his day Sunday, however, was his accuracy on downfield passes. Wilson consistently fit the ball into tight windows in the 15-to-20 yard distances and actually had two of his three inaccurate throws come on short passes in the flat.

Cam Newton’s stats aren’t as impressive, but on film he played about as mistake-free a game as I’ve ever seen him play in the NFL. His lone inaccurate throw came in the first quarter, when he threw behind Steve Smith on an out route and was fortunate Richard Sherman dropped the interception. Other than that, he too made accurate throws into tight coverage down the field, showcasing an arm that’s as big as any in the league. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula may want to think about tilting the Panthers’ run-pass ratio more into Newton’s favor because if he plays as well as he did against the Seahawks, big numbers are likely to follow.

Minnesota Vikings

Christian Ponder: Week 1, at Detroit.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 10 17 116 2 11 0 2 0.79
Play-Action 7 9 111 1 0 1 1 7.56
Screen 1 1 9 0 0 0 0 9.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 18 27 236 3 11 1 3 3.67

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 2 0 0 1 3
Play-Action 1 11 0 1, 5 yards 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 13 0 1, 5 yards 1 4

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford: Week 1, vs. Minnesota.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 16 26 168 0 0 1 1 5.50
Play-Action 7 11 85 0 0 0 0 7.73
Screen 5 6 104 0 0 1 0 20.67
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 28 43 357 0 0 2 1 8.19

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 5 0 2, 27 yards 4 2
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 2 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 5 0 2, 27 yards 6 2

Stafford was victimized by a number of drops in the first three quarters of the game, including a couple of near-touchdown throws to Calvin Johnson that Megatron brought 98% of the way in but failed to complete the remaining 2% of the process of the catch (dredging up bad memories from another Week 1 a few years ago, for sure). On the other hand, he may just have the best pair of receiving running backs in the league – Reggie Bush made the big splash play on the 77-yard screen pass for a touchdown, but Joique Bell continued his excellent play from last year and was a consistent chain-mover and YAC generator as well. Once they get Megatron fully going, look out.

Ponder, meanwhile, hit a couple of long throws to Jerome Simpson – the first of which was a perfect throw, the second of which Simpson needed to make an incredible full-out diving catch – that gave him an impressive yards per attempt average. All three interceptions were his fault, however, and showcased his subpar accuracy and poor decision-making under pressure. He also muffed a handoff to AP in the fourth quarter after getting tripped up by one of his offensive linemen.

Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer: Week 1, at St. Louis.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 23 34 254 4 23 2 1 5.95
Play-Action 3 5 73 0 0 0 0 14.60
Screen 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 26 40 327 4 23 2 1 6.80

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 2 2, 28 yards 1 4
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 2 2, 28 yards 1 4

St. Louis Rams

Sam Bradford: Week 1, vs. Arizona.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 21 29 205 0 0 1 0 7.76
Play-Action 5 8 91 0 0 1 1 8.25
Screen 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 3.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 27 38 299 0 0 2 1 7.74

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 1 1 0 0 3
Play-Action 0 0 0 1, 38 yards 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 1 1 1, 38 yards 0 4

For one game at least, Palmer looked like the top-tier quarterback he was from 2005-07, accurately finding numerous receivers over the middle and down the field. His two fumbles were courtesy of Robert Quinn, who destroyed Levi Brown to an embarassing degree all day. It was almost enough to remind the Cardinals of how bad Brown was as a left tackle before he got hurt last preseason and missed all of 2012. Bradford was sharp, too, throwing quite a bit to his new targets Jared Cook (who demonstrated how fluidly he can run when he actually catches the ball) and Tavon Austin (who showed good hands but little of the YAC-gaining ability he was noted for at West Virginia). A crucial part of Bradford’s success was not getting sacked all day – in their first game under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the Cardinals ran none of the middle linebacker blitzes up the middle they employed so often in 2012, choosing to stick mainly with a typical four-man pass rush. The results weren’t good, particularly taking into account they were facing an offensive line that’s given up a combined 90 sacks over the last two years.

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