Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill And The Most Prolific Rookie QBs

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 07, 2012



Andrew Luck has generated plenty of headlines this week, thanks to his 433-yard effort in Indy’s 23-20 victory over Miami on Sunday.

The output was a rookie record for passing yards, as every football fan from Muncie to Milan can attest.

But as you know, we value efficiency over volume here at the Cold, Hard Football Facts.

The biggest reason you should value efficiency over volume is that efficiency numbers win games more often than volume numbers.

For example, according to our Correlation to Victory table at CHFF Insider, here are the records of teams this year when they win various statistical battles this year: 

Real QB Rating –113-59 (.856)

Passer Rating – 109-23 (.826)

Real Passing YPA – 100-32 (.758)

Passing YPA – 97-35 (.735)

Passing yards – 68-63 (.519)

These numbers are fairly consistent with historic standards. And they consistently show that passing efficiency is paramount, and passing volume is largely disconnected from winning and losing NFL games.

So, given the importance of efficiency, we wanted to know, how Luck’s record-setting volume performance Sunday stacked up against the most efficient games by rookies in NFL history.

Surprisingly, another 2012 rookie, Ryan Tannehill, the QB that Luck beat on Sunday, owns the most prolific performance in NFL history by a first-year player based upon average per attempt (min. 40 attempts, because we were looking at combination of high volume and high efficiency).

Tannehill averaged an incredible 10.5 YPA against the Cardinals back in Week 4 – a prolific number that almost always leads to victory. But Arizona actually won that game, 24-21.

Luck makes the Top 5 on both lists below: the all-time best rookie performances in both yards per attempt and passer rating.

Best Rookie Performances, NFL history, YPA (min. 40 attempts)

Ryan Tannehill (2012) – 10.51 (41 attempts, 431 yards), Miami 21, Arizona 24

Matt Stafford (2009) – 9.81 (43 attempts, 422 yards), Detroit 28, Cleveland 37

Troy Aikman (1989) – 9.48 (40 attempts, 379 yards), Dallas 20, Phoenix Cardinals 24

Cam Newton (2011) – 9.39 (46 attempts, 432 yards), Carolina 23, Green Bay 30

Andrew Luck (2012) – 9.02 (48 attempts, 433 yards), Indianapolis 23, Miami 20

 

Best Rookie Performances, NFL history, Passer Rating (min. 40 attempts)

Matt Stafford (2009) – 26 of 43, 422 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, 112.7 rating (Detroit 38, Cleveland 37)

Drew Bledsoe (1993) – 27 of 43, 329 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT, 107.6 rating (New England 33, Miami 27)

Jeff Garcia (1999) – 33 of 49, 437 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT 107.3 rating (San Francisco 30, Cincinnati 44)

Andy Dalton (2011) – 27 of 41, 332 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 107.0 rating (Cincinnati 22, Denver 24)

Andrew Luck (2012) – 30 of 48, 433 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 105.6 rating (Indianapolis 23, Miami 20)

By the way, with 2,404 passing yards through eight games, Luck is also on pace for a 4,808 yards for the season.

That effort would easily break the rookie record set last year by Cam Newton (4,051). That record seems all but a done deal at this point, barring an injury.

Those 4,808 yards would not just shatter the rookie record, it would put Luck in elite company, period. Only nine passers in NFL history have topped 4,800 yards in a season, four of them last year alone.

Drew Brees (2011) – 5,476

Tom Brady (2011) – 5,235

Dan Marino (1984) – 5,084

Brees (2008) – 5,069

Matt Stafford (2011) – 5,038

Eli Manning (2011) – 4,830

Brady (2007) – 4,806

Dan Fouts (1981) – 4,802


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