this is great article from Eric Schlitt today. I had no idea there was such a website for stats.
It definitely shows the degree of difficulty Stafford has to deal with when having receivers who don’t get much separation.
Galladay and Marvin Jones were in the bottom 10% of the league at getting open for this game, and that figure carries over to all the other games most likely. They had the same problem last year and the year before.
The Lions are lucky to have such an accurate QB! Very few have the arm strength to complete those difficult passes with often one yard windows of separation.
Wide receiver separation
In Week 2, there were 134 pass catchers who each saw at least five targets and they averaged 3.06 yards of separation away from defenders. The Lions only had two pass catchers targeted that frequently and were well below average in gaining separation:
Marvin Jones — 1.9 yards of separation (11th worst of 134 qualifiers)
Kenny Golladay — 2.0 yards (13th worst)
That lack of separation requires aggressiveness from a quarterback in order to have success.
Against the Chargers, Stafford threw 30 passes and NGS assigned him with an aggressiveness rate of 20-percent (7th most in the league). That means six times on Sunday, Stafford targeted a receiver when there was a defender within one yard or less of the receiver at the time.
With minimal separation from receivers and an aggressive passer, you’re going to get some improbable completions.
For this statistical model, NGS uses “The probability of a pass completion, based on numerous factors such as receiver separation from the nearest defender, where the receiver is on the field, the separation the passer had at time of throw from the nearest pass rusher, and more.”
In Week 2, there were 20 plays that met these criteria and Stafford made two of them.
Here’s a look at the play that came in as the 8th most difficult, with only a 23.3-percent chance of being completed:
The game-winning touchdown pass to Golladay was even more difficult according to NGS, with only a 21.4-percent chance of being completed.
Stafford has made throws like this his entire career, but there is one area he has made drastic improvements — and it points directly to offensive coordinator Darrel Bevell’s influence.
Air Yards to the Sticks (AYTS)
“Air Yards to the Sticks shows the amount of Air Yards ahead or behind the first down marker on all attempts for a passer. The metric indicates if the passer is attempting his passes past the 1st down marker, or if he is relying on his skill position players to make yards after catch.”
Only 10 quarterbacks averaged throws past the first down marker and Stafford finished 2nd best in the NFL averaging 2.1 yards past the marker.