A Statistical Oddity

Not sure quite what to make of this. As John B. has documented so well, Sanchez really struggles with accuracy. His ability to throw into tight windows is shaky at best. So... what to make of this....

The Jets were the best team in the NFL at converting red zone possessions into TDs. That's right, #1, better than NE, better than GB, better than NO, better than anyone. That is reflected in Sanchez's 26 TD passes. He placed near the bottom in nearly every statistical category, except TDs. The only reasonable explanation for that is his red zone performance, where he had 21 TDs and only 3 INTs. His completion percentage in the red zone was 53%, and his QB rating was 89.1

Now, you might think that red zone QB ratings are naturally higher than overall QB ratings, because a large majority of TD passes occur in the red zone. Yet this is where it gets strange. Check out the red zone stats for the Big 3 QBs this year -- Brady, Brees and Rodgers, and then Sanchez:

Brady had a Comp % of 65.6 and a QB Rating of 105.6 His Red Zone #s were 57.6 and 95.5.

Brees had a Comp % of 71.2 and a QB Rating of 110.6 His Red Zone #s were 63.0and 98.8.

Rodgers had a Comp % of 68.3 and a QB Rating of 122.5 His Red Zone #s were 63.1 and 107.0.

Now check out Sanchez.

Sanchez had a Comp % of 56.7 and a QB Rating of 78.2 His Red Zone #s were 53.2 and 89.1.

The surprising takeaway from these stats: Sanchez gets better in the red zone, when all others get worse. Each of the Big Three lost anywhere from 5 to 8 percentage points in Completion % in the red zone -- Sanchez only lost 3.5 points. Even more surprising, each of the Big Three lost anywhere from 10 to 15 points off his QB Rating --- amazingly, Sanchez GAINED 11 points. In fact while overall Sanchez is not in the same zip code as the Big Three, in Red Zone QB Rating he is within shouting distance of being their equal.

So we are left with a quandary -- how does a QB who we all see struggles with accuracy and fitting throws into tight windows somehow excel in the Red Zone, where windows are extremely tight and accuracy is everything? It is a puzzle for which I have no answer. Anyone have any ideas?

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