Context Stats: Bryce Petty vs The Rams

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. Bryce Petty having 60% accuracy doesn’t tell you any 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.

Bryce Petty was not a great watch this week. He wasn’t a great watch in pre-season either. I didn’t think he was a great watch in college too. I’m not a Bryce Petty fan and that will likely leak into my personal analysis of him but it doesn’t leak into the objective numerical one; which is the basis of that personal analysis. Before we dive into the numbers and film, the stage needs to be set.

Bryce Petty is facing a team with very good pass rushing talent. Quinn, Hayes, Donald, Brockers; all scary guys. The best way to deal with these players is quick passes and this weeks playcalling was biased towards the short passing game. However, for most of this game, Bryce Petty did not look like a player who could be trusted to play the short game.

Bryce Petty Context Stats Los Angeles Rams Week 11 - Distance
85% of Bryce Petty’s passes remained in the first 9 yards from the line of scrimmage. Fitzpatrick had 57% for the entire season, and I considered him someone who was quick to checkdown.

Petty was inefficient. That’s the most basic thing to take away from this game and you don’t need context stats to tell you that. Despite having 85% of his passes in the short area, he only threw 1 pass in stride according to my count. That’s very not good. That’s actually bad. It’s why his YPA is only 4.62 even though he completed nearly 75% of the passes in the area. It’s an extreme lack of efficiency requiring a high volume to work.

Beyond the 9 yard line is a wasteland of ignored spaces and incompletions with one bright flash.

Petty gets forced into a tough situation in his own endzone. The pre-snap shows the single high safety shading towards the solo receiver side. Petty sees this as an opportunity to throw to the opposite side at Anderson. Petty throws the ball noticeably quickly to Anderson and although it’s slightly underthrown it’s not a bad throw. For Jets fans watching this after weeks of horrible Fitzpatrick throws, they’d even consider it a good throw. But it isn’t, it’s just passable. It’s a flash because the more you watch it the less impressive it is.

Beyond that play is almost nothing of value. There’s the obvious missed deep ball later in the game, which happens with Petty. In his college games and preseasons he’s had the tendency to get “overexcited” and miss his throws. There’s also him checking down at nearly every opportunity. For example:

A more ambiguous coverage this time turns out to be a cover-2 zone. The left side has an out-corner combo, creating a vertical stretch on the zone corner. If he stays short, you throw the corner, high and you throw the out. Despite the corner staying short and not following the deeper receiver, Petty immediately decides to take the short.

Really, it isn’t that bad. It’s just one of the few times in this entire game where Petty had the opportunity to go farther and didn’t. The question is why wasn’t he able to go farther. Was he just quick to throw it short every time? Was it the gameplan? That’s where all the problems currently lie with trying to analyze this game.

Bryce Petty Context Stats Los Angeles Rams Week 11 - Reads

It’s why there can’t be any indictment or praise off this game alone. It showed nearly nothing, and had it not been Petty’s first start- it wouldn’t have any interest at all. This could’ve been his 14th start of his career and there still wouldn’t be anything to read into.

Petty was scared of challenging the defense and the Jets didn’t seem confident in Petty’s abilities to challenge them either. The Rams eventually realized that playing deep zone got Petty to checkdown, and he wasn’t accurate or patient enough to turn his checkdowns into bigger gains either. If Petty can’t be strong in the short passing game, he has to become dominant in the deep passing game. That means throwing deep balls in stride, something he hasn’t done at all.


This week contains only one interceptable, and it’s likely there will be no arguing against it. So i’m saving the preamble and going right into it.

Cover-2 presnap. The Jets run a curl/flat combo on the left along with a curl across the middle and right side. The Rams have zone coverage and Ogletree is standing top of Enunwa as he begins breaking into his curl. Petty’s already decided Enunwa will be his target on this play, which is why despite Ogletrees position he’s ready to throw just as Enunwa gets out of his break.

Problem here is that Ogletree is actually good and cuts in front of the ball. It lands in Ogletrees arms with Enunwa trying to rip it out. This isn’t that terrible of an interception, but it’s likely a pre-determined throw in a situation where it wasn’t necessary (2nd and 7) and that isn’t good.

Extra Stats

Bryce Petty Context Stats Los Angeles Rams Week 11 - Defense
3rd and long was basically death for the Jets offense. Petty’s high checkdown rate vs zone is also very apparent in the stats. At least he kept a decently strong performance against the blitz and under pressure, but with such a heavily short-focused gameplan it’s hard to tell if that’s on him and not the Jets offense this week.

Petty had one throw dropped for four yards and had four total inaccurate passes. Seven of his passes were “designed” and only one pass on the day was in stride.

Bryce Petty Context Stats Los Angeles Rams Week 11 - Passing Map
Passing map shows a very obvious bias towards the short passing game.