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Sam Bradford, Career Passing By Game

On Sunday night, Sam Bradford had a great game in his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. He completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards, and while he was sacked 4 times (for -32 yards), he also threw for 11 first downs and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. That translates to an 8.40 Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt average, giving 20 yards for every touchdown and deducting for sacks. If you also give him 9 yards for his other 9 first downs (remember, touchdowns are first downs), that means Bradford a 10.7 average.

Was that the best game of Bradford’s uneven career? I thought it might be up there, so I decided to run the numbers. Turns out, Bradford’s had more good games in his 65-game career than I had remembered.

  • In October 2013, Bradford had the most efficient game of his career: he went 12 of 16 for 117 yards with 3 TDs and 9 first downs, and no sacks or interceptions in a blowout over Houston. That gave him a career-high 13.8 ANY/A with the first down bonus included. (
  • As a rookie against the Broncos, Bradford might have had the best combination of quantity and quality in his career: He went 22 of 307 for 308 yards with 3 TDs with 16 first downs, and no interceptions or sack yards lost (he did take two sacks). That gave him a 12.4 ANY/A with the first down bonus, the second highest rate of his career.

The graph below shows all of Bradford’s games and how well he performed (using ANY/A with the first down bonus), in order, and color-coded to match the team he was playing for. I have also included a black line which represents league-average play that season.

bradford-career-tayp2

Here’s the same graph, but with the league average rate subtracted from Bradford’s score, so you can get a better sense of how he fared relative to average:

bradford-tayp-vs-avg2

There is a bit of a positive trend line, especially if you start looking after the Panthers game last season. He was below-average in 5 of his first 7 starts with the Eagles, and had some terrible numbers in that Carolina game. After that, he’s been above average in 5 of 8 starts, with some really nice performances in there. That’s probably too small a sample to call it a trend, but it’s also large enough to give Vikings fans some hope.

And if you’re still thirsting for more Bradford articles, here are some older Bradford articles I’ve written:

  • AgronomyBrad

    Pretty easy to see how the impressions of Bradford have come down to, “Talented but wildly inconsistent.”

  • Richie

    I was curious how Aarong Rodgers’ trend has gone. (There are whispers about what is wrong with him.) PFR doesn’t make game-by-game sack or first down data easily available (to my knowledge), so I did a similar chart based on AY/A. (Minimum 10 pass attempts in a game.)

    • Richie

      try again

  • Richie

    I was curious how Aarong Rodgers’ trend has gone. (There are whispers
    about what is wrong with him.) PFR doesn’t make game-by-game sack or
    first down data easily available (to my knowledge), so I did a similar
    chart based on AY/A. (Minimum 10 pass attempts in a game.)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a4dc81b38511eb3493cdaaa65659176076714864e1eefdde9d5d198be658c37a.jpg

    • Adam

      What were his numbers in game 48? Looks like a huge outlier.

  • Adam

    I think Sam Bradford is the type of QB who’s overrated by ANY/A, similar to Alex Smith. Bradford has generally thrown very short passes and avoided interceptions, but has failed miserably at moving his team down the field.