Context Stats: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs The Seahawks

Edward Gorelik with context stats for Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Seattle Seahawks…

Statistics let us remove emotional stimuli and focus on the hard truth of what happens. But we need to place statistics into their environment to gain context and understand what’s really happening. Fitzpatrick having 60% accuracy doesn’t tell you any real information, but 60% accuracy throwing against man coverage gives you something to work with. That’s the purpose of this season-long project.

Let’s get this out of the way, these numbers aren’t completely objective. There’s a lot of subjectivity involved with interceptables, drops, single vs full reads, and even what the coverage faced is. This is still a subjective analysis. It’s just adding numbers to that subjective analysis.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s playing terribly. We’re at the point where any defense that could’ve been used for him is melting away. Good decision making, being able to read defenses, situational football; whatever you’ve heard is definitely not on display on the field.

On the Jets first drive, Fitzpatrick had an opportunity to get seven easy points he chose not to take. The Seahawks show a cover-3 look where the bottom half is in press man while the top shows an ambiguous coverage. Fitzpatrick immediately stares down the center of the field and should know he has two deep routes stretching the safety. He should also notice that the left side has gone into zone. In fact, his first read should be the two deep routes. Instead, as soon as he recognizes the zone coverage he checks down to Enunwa. This should be a touchdown, instead it’s only 10 yards.

That drive turns into only 3 points.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Context Stats vs Seattle Seahawks Week 4 - Reads
Scrambles and sacks are included in attempts, but only scrambles make it into completions. Both are included in yardage totals and ANY/A.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is already stuck reading one side of the field, and he hasn’t shown the capability to do more than that; almost ever.

On this play the pre-snap is straight up but the post-snap isn’t. It gives the impression of cover-1 man and quickly turns into a zone defense on the right, but leaves Sherman manned up with Marshall on the left. Marshall falls down with Fitzpatrick looking his way and he keeps looking. He doesn’t stop looking. Despite having perfect clean protection, Fitzpatrick can’t get his eyes off Marshall and look at the opposite side of the field where two receivers are potentially open, including another deep vertical. He may have not taken either once he looked there, but he never tries to look. Instead he just runs for a two yard gain.

Against the Bills a few weeks ago, Fitzpatrick was able to avoid looking beyond one receiver and stay effective. The Jets managed to win jump ball after jump ball while getting open on nearly every other play. That isn’t going to happen every week and at a certain point the QB has to start putting up their fair share. The Jets are still doing all they can to try and save Fitzpatrick by employing the same screen game that helped move the offense last year, but it’s no longer working against these well disciplined teams. With nothing to make them clear out from the first 15 yards either, the opportunities for YAC have begun to dissolve unless opponents start playing heavy deep zones.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Context Stats vs Seattle Seahawks Week 4 - Reads

What can you do to make things easier at this point? The Jets are still employing a regular rotation of screen passes and pick plays. They put more stress on the scheme to be perfect than the quarterback. It’s not doing enough. The big play yards aren’t happening because the quarterback struggles to hit them, and the lack of big plays keeps defenses from being scared of us.

Early in the game, Fitzpatrick hit one deep play. Seahawks showed Cover-1 man again and also pushed their whole front into the box. The front bailed, but Fitzpatrick saw an opportunity to hit Marshall. He did, but as usual he threw him out of stride. Marshall has gained nearly 3 yards of distance between himself and Richard Sherman and he has to slow and turn back to catch the ball. This play might not make it to six points in stride, but it would’ve reached field goal range.

Now nursing a lead, the Seahawks switch to cover-2 man. Robby Anderson manages to get ahead of his man by nearly a full step and this is where a good throw would possibly give the Jets some life. That’s not what happens though. Anderson has to slow down, turn around, and then fight a corner he’s already beaten for the ball. These are hurting our offense.

If Fitzpatrick can’t be consistent, then he has to create big plays. If he can’t create big plays, he has to be consistent. But he’s neither.

Fitzpatrick has thrown 27 inaccurate passes so far out of 154 attempts. 22 of those have traveled less than 20 yards. One of every six throws is currently inaccurate, and that number only drops to one of seven if we remove the deep throws. On top of that, Fitzpatrick has thrown 14 interceptables on 153 passes. That means 1 pass every 11 attempts is currently interceptable.

The worst part of it is that there’s almost no one else to blame for these errors.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Context Stats vs Seattle Seahawks Week 4 - Pressure Season
These are the season long numbers up to this point.

Fitzpatrick has thrown 11 of his interceptable passes under no pressure at all, at a rate of once every 11 passes. So protection isn’t the issue, playcalling is putting players in open space for big plays, and defenses are keying in on the short game. The issues with the offense seem obvious at this point.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Context Stats vs Seattle Seahawks Week 4 - Pressure Season
This is only for the Seahawks game. Most of Fitzpatrick’s zone passes came against deep zone coverage that allowed easy short completions near the end of the half and the game.

With defenses more than willing to let Fitzpatrick throw deep, man coverage has done the job of stopping the offense all year. Richard Sherman looked like he played with more concern about getting beat underneath, because he knew Fitzpatrick would give him a second opportunity on any play he lost over the top.

FItzpatrick’s inability to throw against tight coverage hurts the bread and butter of the team. Big receivers being able to use their bodies to win tight coverage only works when quarterback puts the ball in good places.

Fitzpatrick’s throw on this play isn’t bad. Against worse coverage, it’s actually good enough. But when playoff caliber teams have good coverage, you have to be making playoff caliber throws if you want to win. This isn’t one of those. The ball is behind the tight end at his back shoulder as he has open space up the seam ahead of him. It allows the defensive player to re-enter a play he shouldn’t have a chance to play on. This pass isn’t even deep enough to blame distance either, it’s only 18 yards.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Context Stats vs Seattle Seahawks Week 4 - Distance for Season
This is for the first four weeks again.

The 10-19 range is what many analysts will say is the most important range in football for quarterbacks (sometimes extending to 25 yards). The deep and intermediate area is where defenses place most of their focus on; and If you thought most of his interceptables are coming from his issues going deep, you’re wrong. It’s all from the intermediate.

When throwing between 10-19 yards Fitzpatrick is averaging under 50% completion, less YPA than the 10 yard minimum to be categorized, and about 1 interceptable per 6 passes.

All of this is bad. It’s very, very bad.

Interceptables

As always, we look at what interceptables occurred. Interceptables are a very subjective statistic open to scrutiny, so if you think one of the passes isn’t the fault of the Quarterback, feel free to argue against it. If you can, it’ll be removed from his interceptables in the stat sheet.

The Seahawks bring a blitz while the Jets run a simple one decision play. If the right side wins the numbers battle, you throw the screen. If not, you’re probably going to the fade on the left. FItzpatrick doesn’t see the numbers in his favor on the right (which they aren’t, although it’s a safe choice) and goes left. Facing pressure from a free rusher, he lets the ball go towards Marshall on a backshoulder fade. Thomas has read this play from the start though, partly due to defensive design. He’s going to be rolling down regardless of the throw and he uses that momentum and Fitzpatrick’s quick stare at Marshall to read the pass pattern. In my opinion, this play isn’t as bad as it seems, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interceptable.

Enunwa’s motion reveals likely man coverage. As a result, Fitzpatrick can assume they’re playing cover-1 man. With Marshall all alone on his side against Richard Sherman, Fitzpatrick decides to go for him. That’s neither wrong nor right, just quarterback preference. However, Fitzpatrick has likely pre-determined that he will throw at him regardless of what he sees. We assume that because Sherman is hip to hip with Marshall, leaving no space to make a back shoulder play or deep ball. Fitzpatrick decides to try anyway, and Sherman steals it.

Not even sure what to make out on this one. Marshall has flown past Sherman but Fitzpatrick throws the ball into a spot where Marshall has no chance at all.

Extra Stats

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Context Stats vs Seattle Seahawks Week 4 - Defense
Runs and Sacks count in this chart too. Attempts counts both, completions only counts runs. Yardage gain and losses reflected in Yards and ANY/A columns.

Fitzpatrick had three passes dropped for a loss of 13 yards. He also threw 5 inaccurate passes, one was caught for 15 yards.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Context Stats vs Seattle Seahawks Week 4 - Throwing Chart
The yellow box is imbalanced. A touchdown, below average YPA, and an interceptable.

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Context Stats vs Seattle Seahawks Week 4 - Players
Powell and Forte both created more yards than they were thrown, mostly because of screens and extremely short passes against the Seahawks soft deep zone.

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com

Author: Edward Gorelik

My cat is a better analyst than me, that's why he ghostwrites my posts.