Monday, September 08, 2014

Statistical Anomaly for Paranoid Football Fans

It irks both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning that when the subject is NFL quarterbacking, they always get placed in the same sentence. If they want to do something about it, they ought to stop turning in eerily comparable performances on the same day.

Here's Brady's bifurcated stat lines from New England's 33-20 loss to the Dolphins.

First half: 19 completions in 29 attempts for 190 yards and a touchdown. Pats score 20 points.
Second half: 10 of 27 completions for 59 yards. Two fumbles lost on sacks. Pats score 0 points.

Here's Manning's.

First half: 16 completions in 22 attempts for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Broncos score 24 points.
Second half: 6 completions in 14 attempts for 70 yards. One sack. Broncos score 7 points.

Brady's second half from hell is easily explicable. No quarterback does well when forced to dig the turf out of his helmet on every third play. Manning faced much less duress from the Colts defense, yet was almost equally ineffective. Had Denver been on the road as New England was, there's no doubt in my mind it also would have lost. Visiting teams almost never have successful goal line stands.

Brady and Manning are the reasons the Broncos and Patriots are overwhelming favorites in the AFC. Yesterday, that reason was only 50 percent valid. Almost surely their mutual second half slide was only a weird coincidence.

But it does bring the word "entropy" to mind.


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