FanPost

An Exploration of Kevin Kolb's TDs and INTs

Last offseason, I compiled some statistics about the timing of Ryan Fitzpatrick's TDs and INTs and wrote a brief post reporting and analyzing them. Given that it's the boring part of the offseason again, I figured I'd do the same thing for Kevin Kolb's TDs and INTs, to see if there was a correlation between point differential, timing, and whether or not he threw an INT or a TD.

This is the same basic analysis I performed last year. Kolb has played a limited number of games due to injury over the last two years, so in order to get a decent enough sample size I took both 2011 and 2012 and combined them to get more data. I realize that the team around him changed between years, but I am also the first to admit that to do this analysis correctly, it is certainly more complicated and takes more effort than I am going to put into it now. Kolb started 14 games over the previous two seasons (9 in 2011, 5 in 2012). His last start in 2011 was very short, but the season opener against Seattle, while technically not a start for Kolb, was a game in which he threw 8 passes, so I included them. That gives us approximately 14 games' worth of data.

The conclusion of the previous post was that Fitz threw INTs more when losing than when not. This could be seen pretty clearly in the compiled statistics, and it led to the conclusion that, with a better defense, he should be able to be a more effective QB (seems obvious, you would think). Unfortunately, we were never able to test that theory, as our defense was pretty bad again last year. And so I compiled some statistics regarding Kolbs's 17 TDs and 11 INTs. For each statistic, I logged when it happened during the game (quarter and time), as well as (and most importantly) what the score differential was at that time. Hopefully, some analysis of these statistics will shed some light on what the game situations were like when Kolb threw his TDs and INTs. And please note that this analysis does not take into account field position, which is important because every QB has an INT or two when he is simply trying to make something happen by heaving a hail mary or something similar. Hopefully, the statistics should give a good picture of the overall situation.

Here are the compiled datasets (the count starts over at the beginning of 2012):

TD

OPP.

DIFF.

QUAR.

TIME

1

CAR

-7

3

10:52

2

CAR

-7

4

11:01

3

WAS

0

1

04:02

4

WAS

1

4

11:09

5

SEA

0

2

07:38

6

PIT

-10

3

09:35

7

PIT

-18

4

03:58

8

BAL

14

2

03:52

9

DAL

0

OT

11:56

1

SEA

-3

4

04:59

2

NE

-3

3

08:56

3

PHI

3

1

01:10

4

PHI

10

2

07:40

5

MIA

-13

3

09:50

6

MIA

-6

4

09:54

7

MIA

-7

4

00:29

8

BUF

-6

2

04:53

MEAN DIFFERENTIAL: -2.91
STDEV 8.01

INT

OPP.

DIFF.

QUAR.

TIME

1

WAS

-3

3

09:34

2

SEA

0

1

10:17

3

SEA

4

2

00:07

4

NYG

10

4

10:55

5

MIN

-7

1

09:12

6

MIN

-21

4

06:59

7

PIT

0

1

12:55

8

BAL

-3

3

01:26

1

MIA

-10

2

00:40

2

MIA

1

4

07:24

3

BUF

-3

4

06:02


MEAN DIFFERENTIAL: -3.06
STDEV 7.81

The fact that both the mean values for TDs and INTs are above -3.1 suggests that there is no significance in the score differential. If two teams are exchanging TDs, then the expected score differential for throwing a TD is -3.5 (assuming all PATs are good). A similar argument can be made for INTs, and so it seems that (from this limited dataset) Kolb is equally as effective when trailing as when playing with the lead, both in terms of his turnovers and in terms of his scoring. The fact that the standard deviation is around 8 for each suggests that the Cardinals kept most games close (in either direction), approximately within a touchdown.

Also of note is the following breakdown of when his TDs and INTs were thrown:

Quarter

TDs

INTs

1

2

3

2

4

2

3

4

2

4

6

4

Not surprisingly, both TDs and INTs go up in the fourth quarter. What is of note is that, while INTs are fairly evenly spread across all four quarters (with more INTs in the 4th quarter due primarily to the fact that teams that are losing throw more in the 4th quarter, and the Cardinals were losing regularly), the TDs steadily increase as games go on. This, to me, is encouraging.

When I compiled Fitz's stats last year, the mean score differential when his INTs were thrown was -10.8, which is clearly indicative of a QB making mistakes when forced to make something happen. The scores of Kolb's games in the last two years were rarely that highly different, leading to a low mean score differential. In my opinion, this is due in large part to having a solid defense that was able to carry an offense that doesn't make a lot of mistakes. Kolb's 2012 campaign is particularly impressive in this area, as he didn't throw an interception until week 4, allowing the defense to keep games close while he and the offense scored enough points with regularity to win. This claim is supported by having standard deviations close to a single touchdown (and if you remove outliers, they become much closer to 0). Those of you more familiar with Cardinals games last year correct me if I'm wrong, but both sides seemed to be mitigating the pressure put on the other side, which was their formula for success. Really, except for a single game against the Rams, they continued to have success while Kolb was in games for them with this formula.

My next thought was the following: What about "garbage time"? People talk about "garbage time" stats as if they don't matter, so what happens when we take out the garbage time? I considered the following "garbage time" stats: anytime the Cardinals were losing or winning by more than 20 points in the 4th quarter, or any time the game seemed out of reach (somewhat subjective, I realize), and I only included the 4th quarter in "garbage time". These are the same criteria I used last year, and feel free to argue in the comments for or against certain stats being included or excluded in this analysis.

Using this definition, the only datapoints that can possibly be removed from either table is the late game TD against the Steelers which brought the Cardinals to within 12 (after missing the two point attempt) with just under 4 minutes to go, and the late game INT against Minnesota during their blowout loss to them in 2011. These omissions is arguable, and they don't actually change the numbers very much. Without this TD, the new stats for TDs becomes:

MEAN DIFFERENTIAL: -2.12
STDEV: 7.02

And for INTs:

MEAN DIFFERENTIAL: -1.1
STDEV: 5.59

Omitting garbage time stats brings the standard deviations to at or just below a single score, which is explained by the close games the Cardinals have played in the last two years with Kolb at the helm.

As far as fumbles go, Kolb had a major problem in 2011 fumbling, with 8 fumbles and 3 lost fumbles. In 2012, he did considerably better, only fumbling twice but losing it both times.

My conclusion is that Kolb hasn't had to play from far down too often. Over the past two years, the Cardinals have only been blown out when Kolb's started once, with the only game that can really be considered a true "blowout loss" being their loss to Minnesota in 2011 in which they lost 34-10, and Kolb threw two INTs and zero TDs. Other than that, he's had the benefit of a solid defense and overcome a mediocre-to-terrible OL to be able to limit mistakes and take his opportunities as they come. He'll have the opposite situation here, in which his OL should keep him upright longer, but he'll have to overcome mistakes by an under-talented and young defense. Assuming he is our starter, it's going to be a very interesting year in terms of seeing what he can do. We really have no idea how he plays with a large lead or from far behind, as either situation has been rare as of late. This analysis does give me hope, however, that we'll be competitive if the defense steps up (as I think they will by the end of the year). But until then, I think we're in for some ugliness on both sides of the ball.

What say you?

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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