At the beginning of the second quarter, facing a third and 3 from their own 32-yard line, 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance threw a first-down pass to Brandon Aiyuk.
In the process, he did something that Jimmy Garoppolo had been unable to do all year.
No, the completion to Aiyuk wasn’t unique, though I’d forgive you for thinking so.
Instead, it was the kind of throw Lance made — a laser-beam outside the numbers, into the bread-basket of the second-year receiver with a defender draped all over him.
It was a Big Time Throw. And that’s not me saying it, it’s NFL grading service Pro Football Focus.
The first-down connection to Aiyuk was one of two Big Time Throws (the actual name for the stat) that Lance made Sunday vs. Arizona, giving him two more than Garoppolo this season.
There’s another stat Pro Football Focus tracks for quarterbacks — turnover-worthy plays. Much like BTTs, it’s subjective, but the site is pretty conservative with praise, so I’m not concerned about false positives.
Lance had one TWP on Sunday — his first-quarter interception. There was no sugar-coating that one.
Garoppolo has seven this season. In fact, 5.3 percent of his snaps this season have resulted in a turnover-worthy play.
That’s the worst mark in the NFL, though rookie Trevor Lawrence is neck-and-neck with him.
Combine the two stats — big-time throws and turnover-worthy plays — on one chart and you have a matrix that defines what it takes to be a great quarterback in the modern NFL.
The rules have changed. The game has fundamentally changed as a result. The contrast between football in 2015 and today is stark, so forget the sport you knew in the 1900s. Add in the supreme talent level (aka size and speed) of skill-position players in this modern era and good quarterbacking can be broken down with a simple equation:
Risk vs. reward.
And when it comes to that, Garoppolo is in a league of his own.
Ben Baldwin, who works for the Athletic and is one of Twitters’ preeminent open-source data statisticians, made such a chart.
In the upper right corner, where players that make big throws without risking turnovers, are quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Kyler Murray.
The bottom right corner — the risk-takers quadrant — features Lamar Jackson, Jameis Winston, and Josh Allen.
Then there are the “boring” quarterbacks in the upper left. They don’t risk much, but they also don’t threaten to turn the ball over. Think Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, and Teddy Bridgewater.
The bottom left corner has been simply labeled “bad”. These are the guys who are threatening to turn the ball over and provide have little upside for it. Rookies like Lawrence and Zach Wilson are in this quadrant. As are Ben Roethlisberger, Taylor Heineke, and Jared Goff.
And a mile away from all of those guys, including Goff, is Garoppolo.
The 49ers’ veteran is the only quarterback in the NFL with a big-time throw percentage of zero. This, plus his NFL-worst turnover-worthy play percentage.
He’s nearly off the map. All risk, no reward.
And this includes the …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment