Game Z-Score: Ravens best individual games
Taking the next step in introducing Z-Score to the NFL world, I bring you single game z-score, or gRBZ for short. (sRBZ for season score, gRBZ for game score).
For more on season Z-Score, check out these articles.
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There are a number of differences between the two scores. However the formula remains the same, and the scale remains the same where scores typically range from -4.0 to +4.0. Above +1.96 is in the top 5% and considered elite range. Below -1.96 is in the bottom 5%.
Where the differences in sRBZ and gRBZ begin is in the sample used. For sRBZ is the players in the league are measured against each other and the league average. In gRBZ, each players single game is measured against their past games, and their average production per game. This is not a gauge of which players had the best game of the week across the league, but of how their game compares to the other games they’ve played. So if Chad Henne and Drew Brees both put up the same line, say 65%/300yds/3TDs, Henne’s gRBZ will be higher than Brees’ because this is far above average for Henne, and a typical average day for Brees.
The next difference is the stats used in each score. When looking at the season as a whole, we used stats divided by games and divided by attempts; cumulative stats we’re frowned upon because of the different schemes in the game, eras, etc…The season stats (sRBZ)are:
QBs: CMP%, Y/A, TDs per game, and TD/turnover ratio
RBs: Scrimmage yards per touch, scrimmage yards per game, TDs per game, Non-Fumble touch %
WRs-TEs: Rec/game, Y/Rec, Y/G, TDs per game
For single game stats, we tried to use the same statistics, but found some flaws with the small samples for one game. WRs sometimes have a game where they have one catch, but it’s a catch that goes for 50 yards. Next game they catch five balls for 100 yards. Obviously the second game is better, but If you use yards per catch for a single game, the 50 yards per catch in the first game, looks better than the 20 yards per catch in the second game, and the five catches being closer to average, doesn’t make up enough for the below average one catch. So for the sake of single game stats, we used cumulative stats, with the exception of completion percentage and yards per attempt for quarterbacks, and yards per touch for running backs. The per attempt as often as QBs and RBs touch the ball seem reasonable. Not so much for wideouts. The single game stats (gRBZ) are:
QBs: CMP%, Y/A, TDs, Completions minus INTs
RBS: Scrimmage Yards, Y/Touch, TDs, Touches minus fumbles
WRs: Receptions, yards, TDs
Kick Return: Total returns, return yards, TDs
Kick returns seemed intriguing, especially since the Ravens have one of the best in Jacoby Jones. What I did for Jones was find his gRBZ for each game as a receiver, then a different gRBZ for each game as a returner. You can look at each one, or find the correlation between the two, combine the production to find a gRBZ encompassing his receiving and retuning numbers. No surprise that Jacoby Jones finest game of his career was Super Bowl XLVII, where he posted a gRBZ of 3.154. His lone TD catch of 56 yards was good enough to earn him a score of 1.254. His seven returns for 234 yards and a TD was good enough for a score of 3.28. It was the most return yards he has ever amassed in a single game.
Jones best game as a receiver was versus the New York Jets a year ago, spoiling Ed Reeds second return to Baltimore. Four catches for 103 yards and a TD. It was only the second time in his career he went over 100 yards receiving, which is a little shocking considering how much of a big play threat he is, and for years his teammate Andre Johnson drew all of the attention.
We’ll take a look at the other notable Ravens, and their best games of their career, based on our gRBZ metric. (An accurate sample is one with at least 30 games. So, sorry Marlon Brown. We’ll evaluate you next year).
Flacco is often considered “Average Joe”. That’s likely the case since of his 109 games, only one game stands out above the rest. 2012 game 3, versus the New England Patriots. gRBZ: 2.025. Flacco out dueled Tom Brady to the tune of 28/39 (71.79%), 382 yards, 9.79 Y/A, three TDs and one INT in a game played with heavy hearts.
It was the night where Torrey Smith took to the field just 12 hours after learning of the tragic death of his brother, Tevin, in a motorcycle accident. Smith put up an elite performance as well with six catches for 127 yards and two TDs. But was it his best?
Smith’s best game was one of his first, and one year prior to that night versus New England. 2011 game 3, at the St. Louis Rams. gRBZ: 2.727. Torrey Smith exploded with his first three catches going for long TDs. He finished that night with five catches for 152 yards and three TDs in the 37-7 rout of the Rams.
Steve Smith posted his best game almost 10 years ago. 2005 game 3, at the Miami Dolphins, (again with the game 3) gRBZ: 3.467. Smith hauled in 11 balls for 170 yards and three scores. It was the first of five times that year he would catch double digit passes in a game. Twice he went over 200 yards in that 2005 season, but the three scores in this game is what made it his best game. 2005 was a magical year for Smith as he posted a gRBZ number well over the 1.96 “elite” threshold three times that year. He’s only gone over 1.96 gRBZ for a game five times total in his career.
Pitta unfortunately suffered a major setback in 2013 when he broke his hip in camp. It couldn’t have come at a worse time as he was primed for a Pro Bowl caliber season after bursting out in 2012. His best game came in a Ravens losing effort. 2012 game 14 versus the Denver Broncos. gRBZ: 3.163. Pitta was the only bright spot on this day, although the Ravens would have the last laugh come playoff time. The Ravens TE went for seven catches, 125 yards and two scores. At 100% health, and in a TE friendly system, we hope to see more games like this from Pitta in 2014.
You have to go back to Owen Daniels rookie year to find his best game by our metric. 2006 game 7, at the Tennessee Titans. gRBZ: 3.046. Daniels reeled in nine catches for 99 yards and two TDs. This turned out to be his fifth TD in his first seven games. He didn’t catch another TD pass for 18 more games.
Last season aside, Ray Rice has been one of the better all-around backs in the game, and it shows with his four games that scored over the 1.96 gRBZ mark. His best game was in 2010, game 14 versus the New Orleans Saints. gRBZ: 2.639. Rice toted the rock an astounding 31 times, and caught five balls as well. 233 yards from scrimmage, 6.47 Y/T, and found the endzone twice. It was the second time that year that Rice amassed 36 touches in a game. The other time was game six in New England; 28 rushes and eight receptions. But his 3.5 Y/T and no scores pale in comparison.
Pierce’s best game might have been the Ravens best performance of the disappointing 2013 campaign; game 3 versus the Houston Texans. gRBZ: 2.503. He had 26 touches and notched 72 yards, scored a TD as well. I know what you’re saying. Doesn’t look like a great game. But remember, this is compared to his other performances. As a player getting roughly 30-40% of the touches in only two years of experience, this isn’t bad considering he has many games with single digit touches. Since he’ll be getting the lion’s share of the load in the first two games of 2014, one of those games could easily unseat this as his best game.
As part of my Ravens coverage this upcoming season, post-game analysis/reaction, I’ll be looking to include each player’s gRBZ for the game and see who really had a career day, or a day to forget
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]