Statistics let us remove emotional stimuli and focus on the hard truth of what happens. But we need to place statistics into their environment to gain context and understand what’s really happening. Fitzpatrick having 60% accuracy doesn’t tell you any real information, but 60% accuracy throwing against man coverage gives you something to work with. That’s the purpose of this season-long project.
Let’s get this out of the way, these numbers aren’t completely objective. There’s a lot of subjectivity involved with interceptables, drops, single vs full reads, and even what the coverage faced is. This is still a subjective analysis. It’s just adding numbers to that subjective analysis.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s second best game of the season was on Sunday. A performance that only gathered 13 points somehow managed to be one of the greater performances from a Jet quarterback this year. It wasn’t a good performance, but it’s better than we’ve seen in a while. So what changed?
Well, first of all the Steelers are an average defense. Their defense was ranked 17th in passing DVOA entering week 5. After holding the Jets to 13 points they fell to 20th. Because in context of playing the Jets, they performed below average. Did we do change anything to help make that happen? The chart above says we did.
Fitzpatrick’s season has been at it’s “best” when focusing inside the numbers and short area. With 19 of his 36 passes traveling no further than 9 yards and all within a range his arm talent can reach, Fitzpatrick managed to stay upright. Once the range is pushed beyond 9 yards that’s where things get questionable.