Football Scientist: Giants vs. Jets Part 3 - Offensive line & RBs in pass game

October, 30, 2010
10/30/10
7:50
PM ET
This is Part 3 of a seven-part series looking at which team is better from a metric perspective, the Giants or the Jets? The Jets took a 1-0 lead in Part 1 and extended that to a 2-0 lead in Part 2.

In today's installment, the teams' offensive and line and running backs will be compared from a passing game perspective using a variety of metrics.

For the offensive line, the main metrics to be used will be "splash" plays. Splash plays are any time a pass rusher does something to negatively impact a pass. Plays of this nature include sacks, knocking down the ball at the line of scrimmage, tipping a pass at the line of scrimmage or hitting a quarterback while he is throwing the ball.

That is the normal way of measuring how much impact a pass blocking group has in protecting their quarterback, but for the sake of this analysis, two more metrics will be included -- quarterback hits and holding penalties. Very few teams can make a Super Bowl run with a backup field general, and preventing hits is one important way to ensure that doesn't happen. Holding penalties most often occur to prevent a splash play from happening, so including them here is only sensible.

It is also important to note that this analysis will focus not on the volume of splash plays, but rather the percentage of QB drops where a splash play occurs. The reason for doing it this way is that it puts splash plays into a pass attempt context (context being one of the most important elements in any statistical analysis).

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let's take a look at the numbers.

We'll start with the Giants. The TFS count has the G-Men with 266 dropbacks (a total that includes every pass play, even the ones that were nullified by a penalty). Twelve of those dropbacks ended up as sacks and three were offensive holding penalties. There were two passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage and one tipped at the line. Big Blue's O line has also allowed thirty-five quarterback hits according to the official play-by-play sheets and also gave up one quarterback hit while passing.

Add all of those up and it equals 54 splash plays, or a 20.3% splash play percentage.

Let's do the same for the Jets. The TFS count has Gang Green with 199 dropbacks, nine sacks, two offensive holding penalties, zero passes knocked down at the line, four passes tipped at the line, twenty-four quarterback hits and zero quarterback hits while passing.

Add those up and it equals 39 splash plays, or a 19.6% splash play percentage.

A difference of seven-tenths of one percent means that, over the course of a 600-dropback season, the Giants would allow about four more splash plays than the Jets. That really isn't enough of a difference to give either team the win here.

Edge: Push.

Now let's take a look at how productive the running backs are in the passing game. This metric review is pretty straightforward. Each running back will be graded by his overall yards-per-attempt (YPA) mark (Note: penalty plays such as pass interference, illegal contact, etc. are included in all WR/TE/QB/RB YPA measurements).

The Giants go first. Here are their totals:

Ahmad Bradshaw: 21 attempts, 105 yards gained, 5.0 YPA

Brandon Jacobs: 4 attempts, 26 yards, 6.5 YPA

Madison Hedgecock: 2 attempts, 8 yards, 4.0 YPA

Danny Ware: 1 attempt, 5 yards, 5.0 YPA

Giants RB totals: 28 attempts, 144 yards, 5.1 YPA

The Jets are up next:

LaDainian Tomlinson: 28 attempts, 107 yards, 3.8 YPA

Shonn Greene: 3 attempts, 17 yards, 5.7 YPA

Tony Richardson: 2 attempts, 9 yards, 4.5 YPA

John Conner: 4 attempts, 9 yards, 4.5 YPA

Jets RB totals: 37 attempts, 142 yards, 3.8 YPA

The Giants have a 1.3 YPA lead in this category, which is a significant enough lead to grant them the victory.

Edge: Giants in an upset

That win gives the G-Men the victory in Part 3, so the competition now reads Jets 2, Giants 1.

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