Is this conclusive proof that Sam Bradford was much better than general stats suggest?


When discussing Sam Bradford’s 2015 season, there seem to be two types of people. Those who are completely against the idea of him staying in Philadelphia and those who look beneath the surface. However, it’s when you dig even deeper that the arguments in favor of Bradford becoming a Free-Agent begin to disintegrate.

I posted an article recently claiming how when Bradford had a run game, he was one of the most efficient Quarterbacks in the league..there’s no denying it. A 7-1 record when the team had 100 rushing yards in comparison to Tom Brady’s 5-3 or Drew Brees’ 4-2 is impressive. Then there’s the accuracy argument. By this point most are aware Bradford finished his season as one of the most accurate Quarterbacks in the league but people are quick to shut it down due to how many “dump passes” or short passes the Eagles utilised.

To analyse this further, I dug into the Pre-Snap Reads Quarterback Catalogue for 2016 (you can purchase it here, a very interesting and deeply analytical guide to the Quarterback stats you won’t get with a simple google search)

This is the twitter of the author for those who want to contact him/ give him a follow.

But onto Bradford..

Interceptable passes:

So there were some high points and some low points for Sam Bradford last season. Some interceptions were due to a receiver popping the ball up whereas others were simply poor reads and had people scratching their heads. So how many of Sam Bradford’s passes were simply “bad” passes?

Out of 532 attempts, 12 passes were deemed “interceptable”..ranking him 6th out of the 35 Quarterbacks who played more than 250 snaps. The four ahead of him were:

Aaron Rodgers 9
Josh McCown 9
Matt Hassellbeck 10
Colin Kaepernick 10
Blaine Gabbert 10
Tyrod Taylor 11

Of Bradford’s 14 interceptions, 6 were deemed “Non Quarterback Interceptions”. Meaning that the error was not enforced by the QB and was instead down to an outside factor. Bradford ranks second in the league with a 44.3 Interceptable pass rating, meaning that a dangerous pass would be thrown on average once in every 44 attempts. Of those interceptable passes thrown, 66.7% were completions.

Failed receptions
This is the interesting part. Everybody is quick to point out the drops and how much they plagued the season..but just how detrimental were they to the success of the Eagles?

According to the Catalogue, the Eagles lost 598 yards and two touchdowns on a total of 55 failed receptions. That average indicates that close to one in every ten passes was a failed reception.

The “Dump passes”

Now this is really going to wind up the Bradford critics. Many were quick to criticise his accuracy rating due to the amount of plays that were either screen passes or short dumps over the middle. The Catalogue documents something called “Simple YAC” which is essentially where the ball is not thrown more than two yards past the line of scrimmage.

So how many touchdowns did Bradford throw under 2 yards?

Of his 532 total pass attempts, how many were “Simple YAC” passes?
118..22% of his passes to be precise.

How many yards did the Eagles gain from these passes?
935..the 15th most in the league.

So what can we conclude?

Sam Bradford in 2015:

Threw the sixth least interceptable passes of any Quarterback
Had the second lowest Interceptable pass rate in the league
Had the sixth highest amount of receptions of these passes in the league
Lost the seventh highest amount of yards in the league
Averaged the sixth highest yards thrown before a failure
Completed the 12th most “Simple YAC” passes of any Quarterback.

So the question I pitch to you is, should there really be any debate on if Sam Bradford should return?