Continuing where I left off, 59.7% accuracy isn’t necessarily a terrible number for a quarterback to have. However, it doesn’t look nearly as pretty as the 62.3% accuracy rate that he posted over the course of the 2012 season. 59.7% looks even less appealing when you see his 2012 statistics for the year, minus those five games. Through the first eleven games, Dalton posted an impressive 63.4% accuracy on 237-374 passing. For a quarterback to have his accuracy fall an average of 3.7 percentage points over the course of just five games usually means one of two things.
Either the quarterback entered a stretch of opponents known for tough defenses, or the quarterback had one or two unusually poor performances that knocked down his numbers.
In Dalton’s case, it was more or less a combination of the two – although much more of the first option.
Up until the month of December, the team’s defenses against the pass that Dalton faced averaged an 18.1 ranking, with 1 being the best, and likewise, 32 being the worst. Remember that this statistic does not include yards gained on the ground, as gauging a passing defense is the only way to judge a quarterbacks’ performance based on his opponents. During the last five games of the season that I’ve focused on up until this point, the average defensive ranking against the pass rose an astounding amount, to 11.8.
Of course, the lower the number, the tougher the defense.
Putting aside the irony of the switching of digits, (18.1, 11.8) we see that this certainly played a factor in Dalton’s slump.
Then again, many quarterbacks would see a decrease in performance against defenses like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Looking past the two Pennsylvania teams, Dallas, San Diego, and Baltimore are no pushovers either, each ranking 16th, 17th, and 18th respectively.