It’s reasonable to be worried about Cam Newton’s health. He’s got a shoulder injury that I think traces back to a nasty hit he took in the Thursday night loss at Pittsburgh. Against Tampa Bay, Newton attempted a Hail Mary throw that landed about 20 yards short of the goal line. When they got a second chance on the player, they inserted backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
With Newton being physically being banged up, I think it’s reasonable to suspect he won’t run as much (or as effectively) as he was earlier in the year. And they’ve had issues with pass protection in recent weeks (12 sacks in their last four games, after only 9 sacks in their previous seven.)
Nonetheless, Newton is having his best season. He’s playing better, I think, than he was the year they went to the Super Bowl.
Newton has been particularly good around the goal line. Inside the 10, he’s completed 19 of 26 passes, with 12 TDs and a 2-point conversion. Factoring in 2 sacks, he’s one of only two quarterbacks who’s successfully put the ball in the end zone on half of his pass attempts in that part of the field. Next best have been the Bucs, with Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick completing a combined 15 of 31, with 14 TDs and a 2-pointer.
Through Week 12, 31 quarterbacks have attempted at least 10 passes in that part of the field. Some notable names are near the bottom. Matthew Stafford has dropped back to pass 30 times when the Lions have been inside the 10, and only 6 of those plays have resulted in touchdowns. With Marvin Jones and Golden Tate gone and the offensive line struggling, nobody should be counting on Stafford nowadays.
Tom Brady has been surprisingly lackluster in this area. He’s gone only 12 of 33, with 9 TDs and 3 sacks – he’s produced touchdowns on only 25 percent of his plays. And while the Texans have won 9 straight, Deshaun Watson has produced touchdowns on only 11 of 37 pass plays inside the 10.
|END ZONE PERCENTAGE (passing inside 10)|
I have the totals for interceptions and sacks, but to make the chart more readable, I’m not including them. But there are a few notable numbers there. Matt Ryan has been sacked a league-high 5 times in that part of the field, while Dak Prescott has taken 4. Two quarterbacks have thrown 2 interceptions: Ben Roethlisberger and Jared Goff.
On these stats, I’m including 2-point conversions. Technically those aren’t official NFL plays, but I think they help paint the picture. They’re the kind of situations that help show which quarterbacks are most likely to succeed in that part of the field.
For those wanting to see the quarterbacks with fewer than 10 pass attempts, here they are …
|FEWER THAN 10 ATTEMPTS|