Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Tony Romo by the Numbers
Some major issues with the offensive gameplan that are showing up statistically.
Dallas is currently on pace to throw the ball 792 times this year. Mind you that in 8 quarters of football, the team has been within 7 points for approximately 7 quarters, but are still throwing the ball 49.5 times a game.
When I think of high pass attempt teams, I think the highest amount of pass attempts ever in a season was the ’05 Cardinals who attempted 670 pass attempts, which was 41.9 pass attempts per game. So we are averaging about 15% more pass attempts than the most pass heavy team in the league history (I believe that they are). And that team went 5-11 on the season. Dallas is also throwing the ball 70% of the time, which is alarming since somebody like Andy Reid gets skewered by Eagles fans and the press for throwing 60% of the time. And the ’05 Cardinals threw the ball 65% of the time that season.
Romo is averaging 6.7 yards per attempt this year. The offensive gameplan seems clear, the Cowboys are going to a pass heavy, short passing attack. Romo’s career average coming into the year is 8.1 yards per attempt, so we are seeing a -17% decrease in his yards per attempt.
Dallas has thrown 1 pass that has traveled over 40 yards so far, in 99 pass attempts.
Dallas is 30-6 when Romo throws between 20-35 pass attempt.s.
7-7 when Romo throws between 36-45 pass attempts.
They are 8-12 when Romo throws 36+ pass attempts.
They are 1-5 when Romo throws 45+ attempts (1 victory in the wild ’07 Bills MNF game where he threw 5 INT’s).
Romo’s QB rating on games where he throws 20-35 pass attempts is 104.7
83.7 QB rating on 36-45 pass attempts in a game
83.8 QB rating on 36+ pass attempts
81.3 QB Rating on 46+ pass attempts
While this is a stat that can usually be determined by the score, in the Cowboys’ case with Romo it’s more of an offensive philosophy.
In the 45+ pass attempt games, where the Cowboys have a 1-5 record...the average loss was by 6.2 points. If you can refresh your memory, here's the losses:
Chicago (this past week) 27-20L
NYG (December '09) 31-24L
Washington (Sept. '08) 26-24L
Washington (week 1) 13-7L
Baltimore (Texas Stadium closes) 33-24L
In the 36-44 pass attempt games, the Cowboys lost by an average of 10.7 points. HOWEVER, that includes the Philly '08 game where they got thrashed by 38 points. That would be considered a statistical outlier (a freak occurance). Take out that game, the average loss in the 36-44 pass attempt games was by 6.1 points.
Denver (week 4 2009) 17-10
Green Bay (November 2009) 17-7
Arizona (Oct. 2008) 30-24 (in OT)
Washington (Nov. 2006) 22-19
Philly (Dec. 2007) 10-6
Pittsburgh (Dec. 2008) 20-13
This is not a knock on Romo though. Most QB’s are much less effective after throwing 25-30 pass attempts. Romo starts to lose his effectiveness right around 35-37 pass attempts, so he’s ahead of the curve.
One thing we have to keep in mind is that on average, ¾’s of the total turnovers in the NFL each season come from the QB position (either INT’s or stripped fumbles). That’s a big reason why the QB position is so important in the NFL, it’s largely responsible for 2 big statistics that correlate to winning and losing in the NFL…QBRD and Turnover Margin. But I’m digressing.
Anyway, the more times Dallas is forced to throw the ball, the more likely they are going to have turnovers. Along with that is the increased in likelihood that they’ll stall drives with a holding call, a false start, dropped pass, fluke INT, etc. At 36 pass attempts a game, that is 9 pass attempts per quarter. We need to figure in that we are more likely to throw the ball in the 2nd and 4th quarters because of possible drives at the end of the half.
Lastly, here’s a look at our runs and passes for each quarter in the Bears game:
Quarter…………..Runs (%)………….Passes (%)……….Total Plays
1st Quarter……......8 (62%)…………….5 (38%)……………13
2nd Quarter………..4 (21%)……………15 (79%)…………..19
3rd Quarter………...5 (28%)……………13 (72%)………….18
4th Quarter………...3 (14%)…………….18 (86%)…………..21
Dallas only ran the ball 21% of the time after the first quarter. And they only ran the ball 24% of the time in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Understandably, you’re not likely to run the ball as much in the 2nd and 4th quarters, even in close games. But they neglected the run a bit too much in the 2nd quarter and then drastically neglected it even more in the 3rd quarter.