The stats on NFL.com for Byron “Slugo” Leftwich show eerie declines in completion percentage. In the first half of games, Leftwich has a 68% completion percentage, 279 yards and a QBR (Quarterback Rating) of 90.7 on 31 pass attempts. In the second half of games he begins to unravel, with a 50% completion percentage, 293-yards and a QBR of 75.2 on 60 pass attempts.
The breakdown by quarter shows a distinct regression in completion percentage from 69 in (Q1), 67 (Q2), 53 (Q3), and 49 (Q4). When watching the games, it’s evident that the longer the game progresses the more inaccurate he becomes. This seems to be tied to several factors, one being the amount of hits he takes and the other his apparent lack of conditioning, which leads to passes sailing high and wide of the intended target.
Looking at his pass attempts along with completion percentage: 1-10, 70 percent, 11-20, 65 percent, 21-30 50 percent and 31 or more attempts 45 percent. It’s no different when looking at the deficit on the scoreboard. If the Bucs are ahead or behind by less than 8 points, he is a combined 16 of 27, completing 59 percent. When the team falls behind by more than 9 points he is 26 of 50, completing just 52 percent of his passes.
In the last two minutes of the half, he’s only connecting on 47 percent of his passes (8 of 17, for 83 yards, 2 touchdowns with a QBR of 100.9). This is typically when teams are playing prevent defenses and passes are usually easier to complete in the middle of the field. Given the amount of space defenders allow for passes underneath, this percentage should be much higher.
So how important is the running game with Leftwich at the helm? Very important. As long as the game is close and the Bucs are a true threat to run, he can be an effective game manager. But the further out of reach a game becomes (which through two games seems to be towards the end of the third quarter) things begin to truly unravel for the veteran signal caller when it’s his game to win. But what’s even more important than the running game is the defense being able to sustain through four quarters.
The two positives through the first two games is that he’s averaging 286 yards per game – 76 yards more than his career best for yards per game. He’s on pace to toss 32 touchdowns, if he remains healthy all season.
Leftwich’s situational stats can be found here: NFL.com Leftwich
The numbers have been crunched and calculated for the league. This just in: The Bucs defense stinks. After being a perennial top-10 defense during the Monte Kiffin era (1996-2008), the defense has plummeted to 31st in the NFL after surrendering 900 yards through two games.
Overall: 450 ypg (31st)
Rushing: 168 ypg (28th)
Passing: 282 ypg (27th)
Points: 33.5 ppg (31st)
Overall: 401.5 ypg (4th)
Rushing: 115.5 ypg (13th)
Passing: 286 ypg (6th)
Points: 20.5 ppg (tied 13th)