Matthew Stafford is not a bad quarterback against winning teams
We here at WCSN have spent a great deal of time recently poking fun of Matthew Stafford for this chart, which shows that the Lions have gone 1-23 against teams with a winning record with Stafford as their quarterback. WCSN Lions beat writer Russ Thomas then responded with a well-intentioned (but perhaps over the top) article arguing that many of those losses are not Stafford’s fault.
Curious about the matter, I decided to delve more deeply into the statistics to see what the numbers say (with the help of our fearless leader Rourke Douglas Decker). The results may surprise some of you.
Matthew Stafford has made 46 career starts for the Detroit Lions (including playoffs). These have been split nearly perfectly, with 24 of them coming against teams with winning records (9-7 or better on the season) and 22 against teams with non-winning records (8-8 or worse on the season). Stafford’s basic statistics for those two sets of games are shown below.
|Opponent||Comp %||YPA||TD/INT ratio||Rating|
Clearly, Stafford has not performed quite as well against winning teams as he has non-winning teams, but the difference is not really that great (more on this later). After all, it is to be expected that winning teams will generally be better, and therefore statistics against them can be expected to drop a little bit. In fact, a recent article I did on quarterback performance in the playoffs suggested that for a typical quarterback’s passer rating will dip about three to five points in the playoffs. Stafford’s drop-off of 4.2 points from his career average to his performance against winning (roughly speaking, playoff-caliber) teams is right in this expected range.
But more than looking at overall numbers, I wanted to go deeper and view this on a game-by-game basis. After all, when a sample size is only 22 or 24 games, it is fairly easy for one or two outliers to skew the average. Consequently, I went through all 46 of Stafford’s games and looked at his passer rating for each. The graph below shows the percentage of games Stafford has had at various passer ratings against both winning (red) and non-winning (blue) opponents.
The number of bad games (passer rating below 70) Matthew Stafford has is very similar in both groups.
The difference in his passer rating between the groups originates in the distinction between solid games (passer rating between 70 and 90), very good games (between 90 and 110), and outstanding games (above 110). Against winning teams, Stafford falls mostly in the solid category, with a healthy number of very good games. Against non-winning teams, Stafford is mostly in the outstanding and very good range.
The logical conclusion to draw here is that Matthew Stafford is not a bad quarterback against winning teams.
Over 75 percent of his games against winning teams feature a passer rating that indicates he played well enough to give his team a chance to win. He may not demolish winning teams like he often does non-winning opponents, but the Lions’ woes against winning teams can certainly not be blamed solely on him.
Rather, Detroit has to figure out what they need to change around Stafford in order to help them—as a team—defeat quality opponents. They might want to start by looking at their defense, which has given up 28.8 points per game against winning teams when Matthew Stafford is their quarterback.
In the second half of this analysis, we will compare Matthew Stafford’s splits against winning and non-winning opponents to those of NFC North quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
About the author(s)
OK I'm ready for a bet - let me know if anyone wants this action: Cutty makes at least 15 starts, and goes for 28 TDs and 4000 yds. Takers?
Goddamn google is creepy. I just wrote an email to my bro in law about fishing and a fucking fishing resort ad pops across the top of my gmail window. *shudders*
I'm walking on eggshells this morning. Rumor is some banhammers may be swung more aggressively today.
Wow, this is...well...sucktacular.
Wow, strong words. I hope he's right. Would like to see a WI RB finally do something in the NFL.
I bet you have ads for those skype meeting services now
@Nard-Dog Is No Fluke I doubt he does it, but its pretty likely he does.
Yes, only if the wager is a bottle of Cutty Sark.
@Preparation_A Happens all the time.
I thought this was America
@Nard-Dog Is No Fluke bears suck
@Nard-Dog Is No Fluke No banhammers, just more moderation of posts.
HEY EAT SHIT FUCKFACE
Lots of prostate health maintenance going on.
@Preparation_A Won't happen. He won't have the stats. Peyton Manning is the QB and his PR to the two top WRs is 120+.
@Preparation_A I see him or Pittsburgh's LeVeon Bell as the frontrunners.
Tyler Wilson of Oakland is my sleeper
What is the series at?
"I don’t need to hear Bill Belichick is a defensive genius. Not only have we heard it too many times, but his inability to exhibit that so-called genius over the past eight or so years -– especially last year — tells us it’s not true."