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How Good Was Grossman Against the Giants?

The box score tells us that Rex Grossman was 21-34 for 305 yards and 2 TDs Sunday against the Giants. I've consumed a fair amount of post-game commentary, and virtually all of it is positive. The results were good, and the Redskins won.

During Sunday's game, I embraced my inner geek and noted each of his throws. I was looking for "good throw" or some classification of "bad" -- high, low, underthrow (unintentional), overthrow, too high, too low, behind receiver, ahead of receiver. Classification was independent of results, meaning that a good throw could result in an incompletion, and a bad throw could result in a completion.

Of his 34 pass attempts, I categorized 23 as "good" (or better) throws. I thought both TD passes were outstanding passes -- especially the one to Jabar Gafney. Another quality pass resulted in Anthony Armstrong's diving catch at the goal line, which set up Tim Hightower's TD run. Armstrong was actually covered on the play, but Grossman threw to a spot where only Armstrong could catch it.

Grossman also completed a long pass to Gafney right after the 2-minute warning in the first half. Although the ball was technically underthrown, I put it in the "good" bucket after reviewing the play. Had Grossman laid the ball out deeper, he would have brought the Giants' safety into the play. An underthrow was the right one in that situation.

Of course, if 23 out of 34 were "good," it means 11 were "bad." Here's the breakdown:

  • Overthrown: 1-2 (1 completion on 2 overthrown attempts)
  • Underthrown: 1-2
  • High: 2-3
  • Low: 1-1
  • Behind: 1-1
  • "Generic" Bad (meaning I forgot to categorize it any further): 0-2
By my count, that's 6-11 on "bad" throws. Which means 15-23 on his "good" throws. I didn't track yardage in this game, but I will in the future.
One difficulty with this information is that I don't have a league average to compare Grossman against. I don't know whether two-thirds "good" throws in a game is good, bad or average for an NFL QB. For now, it'll be self-referencing -- comparing Grossman against himself.
UPDATE: Just saw an article on Football Outsiders with an advanced stat look at QBs and other stuff. According to Outsiders, Grossman was the 7th best QB this past week using their measure "Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement" (DYAR). What these guys do is, "analyze every play of the NFL season and adjust it for down, distance, score, field position, and other factors. Players are rewarded not just for gaining yards, but also for picking up first downs – a six-yard gain on third-and-10 is worth barely any more than an incomplete pass." Eli Manning ranked 27th with a negative DYAR.