Robert Griffin vs. the Chargers, 11/3/2013

According to ESPN’s QBR, this game represents the most “clutch-weighted expected points added on plays with pass attempts” a quarterback has ever produced since 2006. It’s an unexpected quarterback in an unexpected season.

Griffin’s traditional stat line in the game wasn’t spectacular: 23-32, 291 yards, 0 TD and an interception. Certainly that pales to the #2 game on ESPN’s list, Ben Roethlisberger’s 40-49-522-6-0 against the Colts in 2014.

Now, ESPN’s QBR has been known to glitch occasionally. For a long time, the best game by raw QBR was an unimpressive-looking Charlie Batch game. That is no longer the case.

But, assuming that’s accurate, was Griffin’s game really that good? Probably not, but it was better than traditional stats, or at least his touchdown-to-interception ratio, suggest.

For starters, Griffin did not get sacked in the Chargers game. That was rare for him–in fact, he only avoided a sack one other time in 42 career starts, against the Giants in 2012.

The Redskins also converted 12 of their 17 third downs in this game, and Griffin’s passing played a large role in that. All of his third down pass plays from the game:

  • 8 yards on 3rd and 6
  • 14 yards on 3rd and 11
  • 7 yards on 3rd and 6
  • 4 yards on 3rd and 5
  • 38 yards on 3rd and 12
  • 11 yards on 3rd and 6 (after a delay of game)
  • 6 yards on 3rd and 8 (setting up a 47-yard field goal)
  • incomplete on 3rd and 3
  • 12 yards on 3rd and 8

That made Griffin 8-9 for 100 yards and 6 first downs on the game when passing on third down, with one of the non-first downs turning a 53-yard kick into a 47-yard one. That is certainly productive, and the 15-23-191 line it leaves on first and second down looks pretty solid, too.

It’s hard to find anything that would seriously turn this into one of the great passing games of the last twelve years, however. Griffin only had 33 passing DYAR for this game on Football Outsiders. His interception came at his own one-yard line and became a touchdown.

So chalk this up to more QBR weirdness, even if looking beneath the surface does show some positive aspects of this game.