Why Roddy White\’s Big Game Wasn\’t Really A Big Deal

Lies, damned lies, and statistics! Surely you have heard that phrase before. Unless you own Roddy White in a PPR fantasy football league, a truer statement has never been uttered. I have read around the forums of how Steeler Nation is concerned about the numbers that White put up for the Falcons this past Sunday against the Steelers defense and if you look deep into the game tape and break the numbers down into hidden stats, you will see that it just was not a big deal and actually a great job by the Steelers secondary.

First, let us start off with the facts. The NFL gamebook would have you believe that White was targeted 23 times in the game. This is the first lie as White was actually targeted only 22 times. On the 2nd and 7 play from the Falcons 35 yard line with 4:01 left in the first quarter, it is reported as an incomplete deep left pass to White. If you go back and watch the replay, you will clearly see that it was intended for tight end Tony Gonzalez, but over thrown. Even the announcers noted so in the replay, it is obvious.

Before we get into numbers, let us next examine how many touchdowns White scored. What? Zero? Like it or not, that is a huge over looked fact in this game. Next, I went through the game and tallied the yards after catch or YAC as it is commonly known in stats talk. I was very generous to White and on his 13 catches, have him at a 13 YAC stat. The table below shows each catch with which defensive player or players that was in coverage and the YAC for each catch. That breaks down to an amazing average of 1 YAC per reception as the Steelers mostly limited White to out-catches near the sideline and tackled him immediately when he caught the ball in the middle of the field.

Roddy White Catches

Catch # YDS YAC Coverage
1 4 0 McFadden
2 10 0 Taylor
3 16 0 McFadden
4 7 0 Taylor
5 5 5 Taylor
6 14 0 McFadden
7 7 2 Taylor/Harrison
8 18 0 McFadden
9 6 1 Clark
10 3 3 McFadden/Harrison
11 5 1 McFadden
12 7 0 Taylor
13 9 1 McFadden
Total 111 13

Let us now move on to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan\’s QB rating when targeting White. Ryan was 13 of 22 for 111 yards with 1 interception and 0 touchdowns when throwing to White. That equates to a 53.4 QB rating. Not very impressive. Not very impressive at all. Are you starting to see the bigger picture here? Those 22 targets to White were also exactly half of all pass attempts on the day for Ryan. His total numbers on the day resulted in only a little better QB rating of 67.6 and once again I should state, no touchdowns. Another stat not often talked about is the golden QB measurement of yards per attempt. Going into the Sunday game, Ryan had a career 7.18 yards per attempt which is a little above average and respectful for a guy that has only 2 years under is belt. On Sunday versus the Steelers, Ryan turned in a very Kent Graham like YPA of 5.73. Yuck!

At this point you should clearly be seeing that the big day for White on the stat sheet was only a big day on the stat sheet. I am glad to say that I own him in 3 of my 10 money fantasy leagues, but the NFL is not played on paper or excel files. Often times you know a great player is going to “get his” as they say. The Steelers did a fantastic job of not letting White find the endzone or turn any one of the 13 catches into huge gainers after the catch. His longest gainer on the day was 18 yards. It is little things like this that make some defenses better than others and often times never show up in a box score or stat sheet.

I added below another table of who was targeted the most by White and Ryan and as you can clearly see that Bryant McFadden had the X on his back and along with Ike Taylor, they both combined to do an excellent job this past Sunday against one of the best wide receivers currently in the game. Stats are fun and I love them, but many times do not give the full picture of what happens on Sunday as they will lie to you in a heart beat.

Covering Roddy White

McFadden 10 6 66 0 0 2
Taylor 6 4 29 0 0 5
Polamalu 1 0 0 0 1 0
Harrison 1 0 0 0 0 0
Clark 1 1 6 0 0 1
Gay & McFadden 1 0 0 0 0 0
Harrison & McFadden 1 1 3 0 0 3
Taylor & Harrison 1 1 7 0 0 2
Total 22 13 111 0 1 13
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