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Ryan  Lindley imploded against the Panthers in the Wildcard Round

Ryan Lindley imploded against the Panthers in the Wildcard Round

Ryan Lindley had a very, very bad day against the Carolina Panthers on Saturday. He completed 16 of 28 passes for just 82 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was also sacked four times and lost 31 yards. Assigning 20 yards per passing touchdown and -45 per interception, and including the sack data, this means Lindley produced -19 adjusted net yards. Given his 32 dropbacks, that translates to a -0.59 ANY/A average.

Which, of course, is really bad. The fact that it came in the most pass-friendly era in history makes it look even worse, although that’s slightly tempered by the fact that the Panthers have an above-average defense. We can combine the era- and SOS-adjustments in one step by noting that Carolina allowed 5.84 ANY/A to opposing passers this year. As a result, this means Lindley fell 6.45 ANY/A short of what we would expect, given the Panthers defense and this era. Over the course of 32 dropbacks, that means Lindley produced 206 Adjusted Net Yards below expectation.

Using that methodology for every playoff game since 1950, Lindley’s mark is the 9th worst in playoff history. The worst? That belongs to Kerry Collins in Super Bowl XXXV. Here’s how to read the table below. Collins averaged -2.19 ANY/A against the Ravens over the course of 43 dropbacks; the Baltimore defense, of course, was very good against the pass, allowing just 3.88 ANY/A. Still, that means Collins fell 6.07 ANY/A short of expectation. Over 43 dropbacks, that’s -261 ANY below what we would expect given the Ravens defense, the worst ever.

One final note: in the table below, you can click on the “Year” cell for each player to go to the boxscore for that game.

1Kerry CollinsNYGBALS2000153911204426-2.193.88-261
2Stan HumphriesSDGMIAD199218441400418-1.074.55-253
3Jake DelhommeCARARID2008173420515211-0.316.71-252
4Dan PastoriniHOUPITC197812269605426-5.172.84-240
5Jay SchroederRAIBUFC199013311500516-2.534.68-229
6Bobby LayneDETCLEC1954184217706116-2.532.71-226
7Daunte CulpepperMINNYGC200013287803418-2.344.69-225
8Troy AikmanDALARIW19982249191134270.925.02-217
9Ryan LindleyARICARW201416288212431-0.595.84-206
10Brett FavreGNBMINW20042233216142151.176.86-199
11Richard ToddNYJMIAC1982153710305426-3.611.22-198
12Todd MarinovichRAIKANW1991122314004216-2.245.67-198
13Craig MortonDENDALS19774153904216-92.12-193
14Y.A. TittleNYGGNBC19616206504114-6.032.93-192
15Matt CasselKANBALW20109187003317-3.95.11-189
16Elvis GrbacBALPITD2001183715303325-0.184.49-186
17Vince FerragamoRAMWASD19832043175133220.834.84-185
18Roger StaubachDALMINC197310218904326-4.882.72-182
19Gary DanielsonDETSFOD1983243823605212-0.034.52-182
20Dave KriegSEARAIC1983391203111-13.44.53-179
21Tom BradyNWEBALW20092342154233220.824.79-179
22Donovan McNabbPHICARC2003102210003322-2.274.74-176
23Dan MarinoMIANWEW19971743141024210.644.36-175
24Jay FiedlerMIAOAKD20001837176032120.745.16-172
25Tommy KramerMINPHID1980193920915330-0.623.44-171
26Norm Van BrocklinRAMCLEC1955112516616221-3.92.45-170
27Neil O'DonnellPITDALS19952849239134321.744.93-169
28Jack KempLACHOUC19602141171023281.24.94-164
29Jim EverettRAMSFOC1989163614103111-0.144.27-163
30David WoodleyMIANYJC19829218703427-33.4-160
31Brett FavreGNBSTLD20012644281262160.764.22-159
32Todd BlackledgeKANNYJW19861221800212-0.536.64-159
33Ron JaworskiPHIDALC19809299102214-0.424.58-155
34Doug WilliamsTAMDALD1981102918704439-0.973.7-154
35Chad PenningtonNYJOAKD20022147183124161.94.9-153
36Steve YoungSFOGNBD19953265328023203.215.43-151
37Chris MillerATLWASD1991173217804428-0.833.33-150
38Brad JohnsonTAMPHIW2001223620204170.414.44-149
39Mike TomczakPITNWED19961629110022150.164.94-149
40Matt RyanATLARIW2008264019922393.266.71-148
41Steve BartkowskiATLDALD19788239513543-2.253.01-147
42Jim PlunkettOAKCLED19801430149022171.315.87-146
43John ElwayDENSFOS1989102610802530-0.374.27-145
44Jay FiedlerMIAINDW2000193418513291.695.65-142
45Neil O'DonnellPITBUFD19921529163027520.584.53-142
46Peyton ManningINDNYJW20021431137021131.065.43-140
47Steve FullerCHISFOC198413228701950-0.264.25-140
48Byron LeftwichJAXNWEW20051831179015332.816.7-139
49Mike PhippsCLEMIAD197292313115213-3.482.04-138
50Jim HarbaughCHIDALW19912244218123112.915.85-138

Of course, some very good quarterbacks have made this list, including one appearance each from Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. And remember, this methodology does not adjust for the quarterback’s level of play, or else Lindley would no longer stand out, and guys like Brady and Manning would shoot up the list.

Perhaps most impressive: this wasn’t even the worst passing performance by a quarterback in a Cardinals/Panthers playoff game.

Finally, since I ran the numbers, here are the best 50 passing performances in the playoffs:

1Peyton ManningINDDENW20032226377500018.355.2342
2Kurt WarnerARIGNBW20092933379501413.974.24331
3Dan MarinoMIAPITC19842132421410014.254.06326
4Daryle LamonicaOAKKAND196819393475011110.92.84322
5Tobin RoteDETCLEC19571219280400018.952.26317
6Peyton ManningINDDENW20042733458411414.385.26310
7John ElwayDENCLEC19892036385301811.814.01289
8Drew BreesNORDETW20113343466302711.535.28281
9Joe MontanaSFODENS19892229297501013.273.89281
10Daryle LamonicaOAKHOUD19691317276611519.453.83278
11Peyton ManningINDNYJC200926393773021710.243.48277
12Daryle LamonicaOAKNYJC1968204740110288.432.8276
13Tim TebowDENPITW20111021316200016.954.52261
14George BlandaHOULACC19601631301300011.653.42255
15Kurt WarnerARIPITS2008314337731238.643.17246
16Jim PlunkettOAKPHIS19801321261301114.553.44244
17Doug WilliamsWASDENS198718293404121711.563.77241
18Jeff HostetlerRAIDENW19931319294302316.715.5236
19Jake DelhommeCARNWES20031633323304289.593.26234
20Joe MontanaSFOMIND19891724241400013.383.67233
21Terry BradshawPITBALD197614182643015174.64232
22Jim KellyBUFMIAD19901929339310012.214.22232
23Joe TheismannWASRAMD19831823302200014.874.91229
24Joe MontanaSFOMIAS19842435331301510.724.43227
25Terry BradshawPITDALS19781730318414279.593.01224
26Steve YoungSFOSDGS199424363256031511.065.31224
27Kurt WarnerSTLMIND199927333915121712.265.89223
28Daunte CulpepperMINNORD20001731302300011.684.53221
29Brett FavreGNBSFOD19952128299201511.523.91221
30Bart StarrGNBDALC196619283044053910.453.79220
31Joe MontanaSFOCHIC198817272883022011.313.78218
32Peyton ManningINDKAND200322303043011211.354.36217
33Tom BradyNWEDEND20112634363610012.886.57215
34Joe FlaccoBALDEND20121834331301710.974.87214
35Jake DelhommeCARCHID2005243331931189.593.37211
36Troy AikmanDALBUFS19922230273401211.324.53211
37Kurt WarnerARIPHIC200821282794021211.574.57210
38Dan FoutsSDGPITW1982274233330009.364.37209
39Jeff GeorgeMINSTLD19992950423414357.833.96209
40Kelly HolcombCLEPITW20022643429312209.424.79208
41Joe MontanaSFOCINS19882336357203169.774.46207
42Aaron RodgersGNBATLD201031363663022010.685.24207
43Warren MoonHOUDEND1991273632531009.443.71206
44Philip RiversSDGINDD20071419264310014.683.98203
45Matt RyanATLSFOC2012304239631109.564.88201
46Lynn DickeyGNBSTLW19821723260400014.786.06201
47Aaron RodgersGNBARIW20092842423415199.345.08200
48Peyton ManningDENNWEC20133243400200010.235.59200
49Rich GannonOAKNYJW20012329294201710.94.33197
50Phil SimmsNYGDENS19862225268301512.424.89196
  • Jake Delhomme’s day was so epically bad, Fark.com (a news aggregator website) and their sports section has been awarding every week for the past three regular seasons a recognition to the quarterback with the most turnovers of the week, simply named the Jake. The writeups are pretty hilarious and are usually found in the Tuesday Power Rankings threads during the regular season.

    Simply put, Jake Delhomme, whose bad day happened on his birthday no less, was legendarily bad among a small corner of the Internet.

  • codger

    My first thought was “What about Joe Webb in 2012?” but apparently the numbers weren’t quite that bad although watching it had the Lindleyesque quality of watching a train crash in slow motion. Anyway Webb by then was basically a non-quarterback forced into action by injury.

    Many of you young sprouts weren’t around to see Tony Eason in Super Bowl 20. Eason, a much better quarterback than Lindley or Webb, just looked terrified by the famous Bears’ 46 defense in its heyday. He would probably top the list if he hadn’t been replaced by Steve Grogan in the middle of the 2nd quarter after only 6 pass attempts (0 completions plus a sack/lost fumble) and the Pats down 20-3. It was clear to those of us who could still stand to watch that Eason’s benching was less an attempt to win than to preserve his mental health, and in fact he bounced back with a fine season the following year.

  • Seeing John Elway on the best and worst list for the 1989 postseason is pretty unique. I was half expecting to see Joe Montana’s stinker against the Giants after the 1986 season, but I guess even his worst game wasn’t quite bad enough to make the cut. I imagine the quality of the NYG defense probably helps his case once the adjustments are made. Off the top of your head, do you recall where that one ranked?

    • Chase Stuart

      I don’t, but you should be able to since you have all that data you need. Anyone can calculate the ANY/A allowed by the ’86 Giants or what Montana had in that game.

      • I was hoping I could get away with being lazy. Looks like he isn’t even close to making the list. I have him at .29 ANY/A – Giants 4.2 ANY/A allowed = -3.91 below expectation * 15.5 dropbacks = -61 Val.

  • Dave

    Of the top games; Interesting that Peyton Manning has 5/50 and 3/11. Brady only has one game in the top 50, against a Denver team who’s luck had run out.

  • GMC

    Kurt Warner’s Arizona postseasons were insane. The only person who compares is Peyton, and Peyton racked up his seasons over about 5 times as many postseason appearances.

  • zinjanthropus

    One problem with this method is that it “rewards” quarterbacks who stay in the game and keep throwing. In Super Bowl III, Earl Morrall was 6-17 for 71 yards with three interceptions in two-and-a-half or so quarters. He then got yanked. So he doesn’t show up on the list, but he could hardly have done more to help his team lose.

  • Red

    In case nobody noticed this, the 1982 Dolphins allowed an average of 1.22 ANY/A! It was only a 9 game season, but I had to look it up on PFR to make sure that wasn’t a typo. They had an 8.4% INT rate and an 11.4% sack rate. It’s a shame that defense fell apart for most of Marino’s career.

  • RustyHilgerReborn

    I feel bad for Lindley, but at least he failed when nothing was expected of him.

    I think an intersting list would be most disappointing playoff performances (lowest ANY/A compared to career average). The opposite list (must unexpected great performances from a usually bad quarterback) would probably be short, but also interesting.

  • Tim Truemper

    Daryl Lamonica listed three times in the top 3 performances in the playoffs. Impressive. The Mad Bomber had his heyday.

  • Travis

    I’ve always maintained Montana’s 1989 Super Bowl was the greatest individual QB performance in the Big Game ever. Nice to see I was right. Didn’t even make the list on NFL Network’s top ten. People forget that Denver defense was good! It get’s lost in all the repetitive “John Elway DRAGGED those sorry Denver teams on his back to get to those SB’s in the 80’s!” as an excuse for his pathetic, or at least very underwhelming (esp in ’89), SB performances in those blowouts. Thank the football gods for objective numbers. And Chase

  • Alejandro

    Question to Chase: Where would Carson Palmer’s Delhomme-like meltdown rank in this list? Is Ryan Lindley still the worst playoff Cardinal?