FootballOutsiders posted their 2019 deep ball accuracy rankings and as you probably expected, Jared Goff took one of the biggest falls from 2018. Perhaps what is surprising is that Kyler Murray ranked first.
NEW: The 2019-20 Deep Ball Project is now on Football Outsiders. New are stats for accuracy differential between 2018 and 2019, accuracy splits between 21-30 and 31+ yards, and more! https://t.co/ZKe4t4KmRy— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) May 20, 2020
The top three quarterbacks in deep ball accuracy were Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson, in that order. What’s more interesting is that Watson’s best weapon just went to Murray, who did what he did in spite of the Arizona Cardinals seemingly lacking weapons last season. Elsewhere in the NFC West, Russell Wilson ranked eighth and Jimmy Garoppolo ranked ninth.
Eighth is where Jared Goff ranked in 2018, but he fell to 19th in 2019, completing 19 of his 43 deep ball passes, defined as such:
I decided to create what I like to call The Deep Ball Project, which takes a look at the accuracy of quarterbacks on throws of 21-plus air yards past the line of scrimmage.
... Accuracy Percentage (which differentiates from the normally used completion percentage in that it looks the accuracy of throws regardless of whether they’re caught or not) ...
... Certain sideline/back-shoulder plays where the receiver can’t get two feet in bounds (with varying adjustments), most Hail Marys that reach the end zone, and certain plays where the pass was disrupted (depending on the effort from the receiver at the catch point) can also help boost a quarterback’s accuracy percentage. Going further, I use Accurate Incompletions to label these plays.
On the flip side, Inaccurate Completions are counted on plays where the pass was completed but wasn’t necessarily accurate ...
Goff is tied with Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions in this category. Goff experienced the third-worst decline compared to 2018 after Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. He was also 3-of-9 on passes of 31+ air yards, and only four regular starters had fewer attempts than that. (Drew Brees went 1-of-5 on 31+ yards, compared to 17-of-40 for Aaron Rodgers.)
Additionally, Goff was 3-of-13 on these throws when playing under center, compared to 16-of-30 in shotgun. This is where it gets interesting for Murray, as he almost exclusively played out of the shotgun. Lamar Jackson was 0-for-1 under center on deep passes and 24-of-46 out of shotgun. Only Murray, Jackson, and Tom Brady had a worse accuracy percentage out of center than Goff.
And finally, Goff wasn’t really under pressure on these throws. He was 16-of-33 in a clean pocket (17th best) and 3-of-10 when under pressure. That puts him below average in terms of number of deep throws he had to make under pressure and didn’t really balance out his overall ranking of 19th when in a clean pocket.
How to improve this next season will fall on new offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.