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.
The Ryan Fitzpatrick era is over. I could go through the last game but there’s no information left to gather from Fitzpatrick’s Arizona matchup that hasn’t already been mentioned in previous games. He’s limited, doesn’t offer upside with the skills he has, and misses reads. He also somehow had a worse pocket presence than he did in 2015.
I’m not surprised that he crashed this year, but I am surprised with just how terrible the crash was. Searching for an answer to why, i remembered an article from Gang Green Nation wherein they stated this:
One thing that jumps out is how Fitzpatrick’s luck in facing top pass defenses has been the polar opposite of Geno Smith’s. In 82 games since 2010, Fitzpatrick has faced only 22 top pass defenses. That amounts to 27% of the games Fitzpatrick has played, a rate less than half of Geno’s 58% games against top pass defenses. In the last three years the numbers have been even more extreme, with Fitzpatrick facing top pass defenses in only 7 of the 38 games Fitzpatrick has played (excluding the 2015 Oakland game). That amounts to only 18% of Fitzpatrick’s games since 2013, a rate less than a third of Geno’s 58%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has been the best stretch of Fitzpatrick’s career, by a fairly significant margin.
Maybe that’s our answer. Having to face four out of five top defenses on the road in a six week period could be a catalyst for the meltdown. Either way, it’s the end of Fitzpatrick’s hopes as the Jets starter.
There’s nothing left to look at this game. Instead we’ll close the context stats on Fitzpatrick for the year by looking back at 2016. At least i hope this is it’s closing. I don’t want to have to open this book again.
The entire range of 10-19 yards was abominable for Fitzpatrick. He was careless throwing into the range and only had one spot show a positive return on yardage. You’ll see that the YPA in every block except the Middle is less than the distance that the ball was thrown. Even in that middle block, he only averaged 10.8; just above the absolute low end for passable. His only capable areas were the short range between the numbers, behind the line of scrimmage, and surprisingly two spots in the 20-29 area. You don’t need me to go through the reasons, you know what the reasons are at this point.
The Jets barely had any opportunities to see Fitzpatrick throw the ball while holding a 75% win probability, so that number is a victim of sample size. But when the Jets were leading Fitzpatrick played comfortably (which only happened in CIN and BUF). When the Jets were only trailing (25% – 50%), he still kept up a very good 9.14 YPA but the turnovers began to appear. Eventually when the game asked him to make comebacks (10% – 25%) everything took a nosedive. It got even worse as the Jets reached desperation.
Fitzpatrick’s best route on the year was the slant. It was also his only good route. In’s/Crossers came up second by being decent. The rest are anywhere from bad to horrible. On five attempts throwing the corner, he had 3 interceptables. That’s incredible, really.
Fitzpatrick couldn’t stop himself from forcing the ball to Marshall and it showed with an interceptable once every 8 attempts in his direction. Decker didn’t fair much better with one every 6 attempts. At least he was able to get chunk yardage when throwing to Decker at 12 yards per attempt. Decker was also more efficient than Marshall last year, so it’s not a surprise.
Enunwa was a strong target for Fitz, gaining a third of his receiving yardage through YAC and only taking one interceptable for the year on 44 targets. Probably should’ve taken his eyes off Marshall to throw at him more.
Beyond that, Fitzpatrick barely made use of the remaining talent. All three depth receivers weren’t targeted enough to have a real sample size but Jalin had 3 interceptables thrown his way on only 15 passes.
Both RBs had either as much or more YAC than they had receiving yardage, carrying the weight for most of the yards they gained.
Fitzpatrick converted 27 of the 61 third downs he was asked to throw on (44%), which was actually higher than his 2015 rate of 41%. However, he was extremely turnover prone on 3rd and long. Man coverage somehow went from playing into the teams strength to exposing its biggest weakness, and Blitz or not Fitzpatrick was inefficient and handing out treats to the defense. Zone became his best situation to play against but since many of his passes against zone were just dumpoffs to RBs; it’s hard to give him credit.
He threw one interceptable pass every 12 throws when looking at only one side of the field. He averaged 4 yards per play when he went off looking one side of the field. It was a really, really bad season. The basic stats show it, these stats show it, there’s really not a lot more to say. At this point we’re just piling on to how bad it really was.
Hopefully, the last stats of Fitzpatrick’s 2016 that i’ll be posting. At this point, Fitzpatrick lost 19 receptions to drops for a total of 124 air yards including one touchdown. Meanwhile, he had double that amount deemed inaccurate with 4 saved for 70 yards. Inaccurate throws made up 16.5% of Fitzpatrick’s attempts this year, screens and all.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com