Every time I watched the Chargers play, it always amazed me how often Philip Rivers hooked up with one of his receivers for a deep pass. Lots of QBs pile up big numbers because their receivers gain YAC but it always seems that with the Chargers, most of their yardage comes from when the ball is in the air (Sproles not withstanding). Thus, I tracked down the stats of all of the playoff QBs' numbers when they throw a pass 30 or more yards.
It's important to note that these are not 30+ yard pass plays but rather only plays in which the ball was in the air for 30 or more yards. Here are the yardage results on these plays as well as the number of 30+ yard pass completions for each QB:
Rivers' efficiency in throwing the deep ball is unparalleled; in fact, McNabb and Romo were the only QBs who had more 30+ yard completions than Rivers had 40+ yard completions (7). It certainly helps to have a pair of 6'5" receivers who can go up and pull down the pass but you still have to be accurate enough to put the receiver in such a position. Much was made of Rivers' funky throwing motion when coming out of NC State, but none of that should matter for any QB as long as he can put the ball where it needs to be.
When you look closer at his stats, you see that Rivers even has the chance to improve upon his average of 8.75 yards per attempt as now he doesn’t have to throw those 6-yard out routes to Chris Chambers just to keep his morale up. Thru the first half of the season (with Chambers), Rivers averaged 8.19 yards YPA but during the last half of the season (without Chambers), Rivers averaged 9.48 YPA. If he can maintain that 9.48 average over an entire season, then Rivers will have the third highest YPA in a single season since 1954. Chambers’ mere presence in the lineup seemed to negatively affect Rivers; here’s how Rivers’ stats improved once Chambers was released:
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