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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What A Difference A Year Makes


A little over a year ago the NY Giants beat the SF Niners 26-3 in a rematch of the previous year's NFC Championship game. At that point in the season, the Giants looked like world beaters, while the Niners looked ordinary, but it was the Niners who ended up in the Super Bowl, not the Giants. In fact, the Giants didn't even make the playoffs. Even more interesting is the fact that Eli Manning was at the top of his game, and Alex Smith was not (although his offensive line didn't help -- 6 sacks), and I seem to recall Bay Area newspapers wistfully wishing that Eli was the Niners' quarterback, not Smith.

What a difference a year makes. Smith now plays for the Chiefs, and the Chiefs (and probably the Niners) are going to the playoffs, but the Giants will miss them for the second year in a row. Moreover, Smith is having a good year, but Eli is not. As a case in point, this past Sunday, Smith threw 5 touchdown passes, while Manning threw 5 interceptions, and as the table below shows, Smith is having a lot better season than Manning. Smith's passer rating, the standard quarterback rating (with the highest possible score = 158.3), and total QBR, which takes into account a quarterback's ability to run and/or to avoid sacks (with a highest possible score of 100.0).


Completions
Attempts
Yards
%
TDs
INTs
Rating
QBR
Smith
292
480
3,160
60.8
23
4
91.0
52.4
Manning
284
485
3,410
58.6
16
25
69.7
36.0

In fact, pundits are starting to wonder whether or not Eli is past his prime, but I'm guessing it's just because he's playing behind a terrible offensive line (something that plagued Smith for his first seven years in San Francisco). I don't care how good a quarterback is. If they only have (on average) three seconds to throw, they won't be successful.

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