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Some quarterbacks excel versus blitz - but not Joe Flacco

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NFL QB stats vs the blitz so far in 2019. Joe Flacco is near the bottom which should come as no surprise since that is who he has always been.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

In the NFL being able to pressure the opposing QB with only three or four pass rushers is essential to stopping opposing offenses. The flip-side of that is that some QB’s are just better against the blitz than others. So far this year, by passer rating, Matt Stafford has been the best QB in the league vs the blitz (five or more pass rushers) with a passer rating of 128.3. Conversely, Sam Darnold has been the worst with a passer rating of 30.6. Joe Flacco is currently ranked 27th in the league vs the blitz with a rating of 74.9.

See the full table below. All data is from ESPN.com via Elias Sports Bureau.

Rank Quarterback CMP ATT YDS CMP% AVG TD INT LNG SACK RTG
1 Matthew Stafford DET 53 78 743 67.9 9.5 7 0 58 6 128.3
2 Aaron Rodgers GB 43 66 686 65.2 10.4 5 0 74 8 124.9
3 Kirk Cousins MIN 37 53 492 69.8 9.3 4 0 66 7 124.1
4 Philip Rivers LAC 35 52 476 67.3 9.2 5 1 55 3 120.4
5 Teddy Bridgewater NO 25 42 359 59.5 8.5 4 0 34 3 119.1
6 Marcus Mariota TEN 28 53 541 52.8 10.2 6 1 75 8 118.5
7 Russell Wilson SEA 56 86 731 65.1 8.5 8 1 48 10 117.9
8 Patrick Mahomes KC 37 56 483 66.1 8.6 4 0 52 3 116.9
9 Carson Wentz PHI 47 66 530 71.2 8.0 4 1 36 1 108.8
10 Matt Ryan ATL 49 72 602 68.1 8.4 7 3 54 8 108.7
11 Dak Prescott DAL 40 57 502 70.2 8.8 3 1 45 0 107.5
12 Kyle Allen CAR 32 51 326 62.7 6.4 4 0 27 2 107.1
13 Derek Carr OAK 34 47 433 72.3 9.2 2 1 46 3 106.1
14 Jacoby Brissett IND 35 60 477 58.3 7.9 4 0 48 3 106.0
15 Mason Rudolph PIT 18 42 368 42.9 8.8 5 1 76 2 104.0
16 Lamar Jackson BAL 38 69 466 55.1 6.8 7 1 50 9 103.9
17 Deshaun Watson HOU 54 77 601 70.1 7.8 3 1 45 10 100.6
18 Tom Brady NE 50 88 765 56.8 8.7 5 1 59 2 99.9
19 Jameis Winston TB 39 66 610 59.1 9.2 7 4 67 7 99.9
20 Gardner Minshew II JAX 42 83 712 50.6 8.6 4 0 69 6 96.1
21 Case Keenum WSH 27 41 330 65.9 8.0 2 2 69 3 86.4
22 Jared Goff LAR 47 93 657 50.5 7.1 3 0 66 1 84.4
23 Baker Mayfield CLE 31 58 480 53.4 8.3 1 1 59 7 79.7
24 Mitchell Trubisky CHI 27 51 245 52.9 4.8 2 0 36 5 79.3
25 Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA 15 25 176 60.0 7.0 1 1 35 4 78.1
26 Andy Dalton CIN 50 100 579 50.0 5.8 4 1 42 4 77.0
27 Joe Flacco DEN 38 65 396 58.5 6.1 1 1 70 5 74.9
28 Daniel Jones NYG 34 63 374 54.0 5.9 1 2 64 6 63.9
29 Jimmy Garoppolo SF 38 64 423 59.4 6.6 2 4 39 6 63.5
30 Josh Allen BUF 34 61 356 55.7 5.8 3 4 27 6 61.9
31 Kyler Murray ARI 33 66 376 50.0 5.7 0 3 54 12 48.5
32 Josh Rosen MIA 11 26 86 42.3 3.3 0 1 19 8 35.1
33 Sam Darnold NYJ 25 47 188 53.2 4.0 1 5 23 7 30.6

We should not be surprised by Flacco’s rating. He has been fairly bad against the blitz since his first few years in the league. You can see his year-by-year performance in this table.

The data was missing for 2011, 2017 and 2018 (no idea why). Flacco missed the entire 2016 season with an ACL tear.

Year CMP ATT YDS CMP% AVG TD INT LNG SACK RTG
2008 80 134 1,123 59.7 8.4 9 1 70 14 106.0
2009 100 163 1,241 61.3 7.6 11 2 72 17 102.3
2010 106 184 1,343 57.6 7.3 8 3 61 23 88.2
2011
2012 82 162 1,160 50.6 7.2 8 3 47 14 82.8
2013 101 191 1,074 52.9 5.6 9 5 59 28 74.4
2014 105 186 1,329 56.5 7.1 13 7 61 7 86.5
2015 67 124 749 54.0 6.0 5 5 46 10 68.9
2016
2017
2018
2019 38 65 396 58.5 6.1 1 1 70 5 74.9

I don’t know that Brandon Allen or Drew Lock is going to be an improvement. You can see from the full table of 2019 QB’s that many rookie and/or second year QB’s are struggling against the blitz. I do know that both Brandon Allen and Drew Lock could beat a turtle in a foot race, so they will at least be a threat to scramble on plays where the OL allows immediate pressure (and there will be many of those with our starting OT’s).

The performance of Kyle Allen should give us some hope. Despite being an undrafted rookie thrust into a starting role, Allen has handled the blitz fairly well so far this season.