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Thursday, October 4, 2012
How QBs stack up throwing to the sticks

By Mike Sando

The earlier item on third-down conversion rates sparked a conversation I'd like to continue here.

"Do you think the 49ers are relying too much on their receivers to gain YAC and pick up first downs?" DF4949 asked. "It seems that a significant number of their third-down throws are short of the marker. Otherwise, is is a case of Alex Smith regularly checking down on third down?"

ESPN Stats & Information charts where throws were made in relation to the first-down marker. That enabled me to produce the chart below showing NFC West quarterback production based on whether passes were thrown past first-down markers. The chart reads vertically. Shading separates one quarterback from the next.

What the numbers say about each quarterback: