Redskins QB Robert Griffin III should have won more games


(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Robert Griffin III, now with two years under his belt, has thrown for 6,403 yards and 7.49 adjusted yards gained per pass attempt, good for tenth best among quarterbacks with at least 200 passing attempts over that span. Adjusted yards gained per pass attempt quantifies the contributions of a quarterback’s passing game by including four key passing statistics:

  1. Passing attempts
  2. Passing yards
  3. Passing touchdowns
  4. Interceptions thrown

Here is the formula: (Passing Yards + 20 * Passing TD – 45 * Interceptions) / (Passes Attempted)

If we look at quarterbacks that are close to RGII’s adjusted yards gained per pass attempt from the 2012 to 2013 seasons we see he is the only one one with a losing record as a starter.

So how many more games should RGII have won? Using the regression model from Pro Football Reference tells us if a QB posts a 6.55 adjusted yards gained per pass attempt in a game, the team should expect to win half the time; if their QB posts an adjusted yards gained per pass attempt of 9.22, you can expect to win 75 percent of the time.

Here is RGIII’s game log with his adjusted yards gained per pass attempt and percent chance of winning each game, as calculated by 1 / (1 + EXP(2.70534 – 0.412827*AY/A)):

RGIII win probability
Source: Pro Football Reference

Adding up the win probability values of each game, we would have expected RGII to win 16.3 of those 28 games. Instead he won 12. Three road games immediately stand out:

  1. The loss to the New York Giants on October 21, 2012. Griffin went 20-for-28, throwing for 258 yards and two touchdowns.
  2. The loss to Green Bay on September 15, 2013 where he had a passer rating of 104.2 with 320 yards and a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
  3. The loss to Minnesota on November 7, 2013, in which RGII had three touchdowns and 281 yards passing with a 114.8 passer rating.

What’s interesting is that two of those games, the losses against the Giants and Vikings, both started a losing streak of three games or more, while the third was in the middle of a three-game losing skid. Had the Redskins pulled any of those games out, who knows what the fortunes of the franchise would have looked like.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.

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Michael Caley · July 23, 2014

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