Friday, November 16, 2018

Fail-Safe Packers Lose in Seattle

By Eric Goska

Aaron Rodgers in earlier, better days.
The weekly production of triple-digit passer ratings has become so common as to border on the routine.

However, instances in which those ratings stay at or above 100 for an entire game remain noteworthy, especially when the quarterback doing the work ends up losing.

Aaron Rodgers’ passer rating never sagged below 100 Thursday night at CenturyLink Field. His achievement, however, did nothing to prevent Green Bay from dropping a 27-24 decision to the Seahawks in what had been a must-win game for both teams.

Rodgers completed 21 of 30 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 128.8, his best since the season opener against the Bears (130.7).

At no point in the evening did Rodgers’ rating drop below 100. It stood at 118.8 after his first pass, a completion of 13 yards to tight end Jimmy Graham. It ballooned to 156.3 after his eighth throw, a 54-yard touchdown heave to backup tight end Robert Tonyan.

Over the course of six straight throws (Nos. 10-15), it remained at 137.5. It jumped back to 156.3 after Rodgers connected with running back Aaron Jones for a score late in the first half that put Green Bay out front 21-17.

Inexplicably, Rodgers’ next pass, an unremarkable 4-yard connection with receiver Davante Adams, pushed his rating to its highest point at 157.11. Once there, it trended downward, growing smaller on 11 of Rodgers’ final 13 attempts.

Statistics lovers, get ready for a new metric: the fail-safe 100 passer rating.
Players earn one every time their passer rating remains at or above 100 for an entire game.

Years ago, compiling a passer rating of 100 or more was an accomplishment. Today, not so much.

According to Pro Football Reference, players have already produced 129 such outings (minimum 20 pass attempts) in 2018 alone. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) and Philip Rivers (Chargers) have visited that neighborhood eight times. Drew Brees (Saints), Jared Goff (Rams) and Matt Ryan (Falcons) have each dropped by on seven occasions.

At six are Carolina’s Cam Newton and Rodgers.

As with life itself, the field of centenarians continues to grow. Getting there is no longer a surprise.

A fail-safe performance, however, still excites. Just 15 have been engineered this season, and only one quarterback – Brees with three – has turned the trick more than once.

Fail-safes can be tricky, especially early. Quarterbacks who throw incomplete on their first attempt no longer qualify as their rating after one pass is a meager 39.6. At the same time, quarterbacks who do complete their first pass but do so for fewer than eight yards are also eliminated as that distance leaves them short.

Indeed, the majority of the triple-digit displays turned in this season (73 of 129) were eliminated from fail-safe consideration after one throw. Another 18 fell by the wayside after a second attempt.

Some players lasted longer before bowing out. Kirk Cousins stayed above 100 until his 25th attempt in a 30-20 loss to the Saints. Blake Bortles hung around until pitch No. 26 in a 31-12 victory over the Jets.

Both Cousins and Bortles finished with a rating greater than 100 in those games. Enough time remained for them to pump their numbers back up.

When pursuing a fail-safe, once you’re out, you’re out.

As with the NFL, triple-digit passer ratings have become more popular in Green Bay. The Packers have had nearly 250 instances overall, with more than half occurring this century.

But fail-safe 100s? Only 21 have been registered in team annals, with Rodgers at the helm for 11 of them.

A fail-safe 100 is usually accompanied by a win. The team is 18-3 when its quarterback operates in that mode.

The Packers didn’t get win No. 19 because in Seattle Rodgers wasn’t the quarterback in the second half that he was in the first. His rating in the opening two quarters was 156.3; in the final two periods, it was 90.8.

Had Rodgers’ passes come in reverse order, starting at the end of the fourth quarter and finishing with his toss to Graham, he never would have recorded a fail-safe 100. Rodgers’ final throw was a weak attempt that bounced in front of receiver Marques Valdes-Scantling with four minutes, 11 seconds remaining.

From there, Seattle ran out the clock.

This idea of starting at the end could spawn yet another statistic: the fail-safe 100 palindrome. Such an honor would be achieved when a player’s passer rating never dropped below 100, regardless if that rating was calculated from the first pass to last or the last pass to first.

Determining which quarterbacks, if any, were palindromic might provide a pleasant diversion. Who knows? The task might even offer more promise than what the Packers (4-5-1) have delivered this season.

Packers passers have produced 21 fail-safe 100 passer ratings throughout the team’s history. Listed below are the 14 in which the passer finished with a rating greater than 125. Also listed is the lowest rating for the particular player at any point during the game.

Rate    Player                    A-C-Y-TD-HI      Year     Low    Opponent   Result
154.5   Aaron Rodgers      22-19-255-3-0     2014    100.0     Panthers      GB won, 38-17
151.2   Aaron Rodgers      28-22-302-4-0     2014    104.2     Bears           GB won, 38-17
150.8   Aaron Rodgers      23-18-246-3-0     2016    104.2     Seahawks     GB won, 38-10
150.0   Bart Starr              20-15-260-2-0     1962    118.8     Rams            GB won, 41-10
147.2   Brett Favre            33-25-336-5-0     1995    111.5     Bears           GB won, 35-28
146.5   Aaron Rodgers      30-24-335-3-0     2011    112.5     Vikings         GB won, 33-27
145.8   Aaron Rodgers      27-18-315-6-0     2014    101.2     Bears           GB won, 55-14
142.8   Brett Favre            30-21-308-4-0     1995    118.8     Saints           GB won, 34-23
139.7   Lynn Dickey          25-17-248-4-0     1984    118.8     Lions            GB won, 41-9
132.2   Aaron Rodgers      37-30-342-3-0     2012    100.0     Rams          GB won, 30-20
130.6   Aaron Rodgers      29-24-285-2-0     2013    100.8     Vikings        GB won, 44-31
129.4   Cecil Isbell            21-13-182-3-0     1941    100.5      Lions           GB won, 24-7
128.8   Aaron Rodgers      30-21-332-2-0     2018    108.6     Seahawks     GB lost, 24-27
128.0  Aaron Rodgers      26-18-179-4-0     2017     100.0    Bears            GB won 35-14

1 comment:

  1. I ask once again: why does anyone think this "rating" important? does anyone actually think that Ryan Fitspatrick or Trent Greeen (for 2 examples) are better than Otto Graham or John Unitas?