Are the Colts the Worst Pass Defense of all time? Ranking NFL Pass Defenses by “Defensive QBER”

Yesterday I watched the Green Bay Packers play “Rob Deer” pass defense against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.  Rob Deer is a former Milwaukee Brewers outfielder who would either hit home runs or look foolish striking out.  That appeared to be the Packer pass defense yesterday.  They picked Rivers off three times, and turned those picks into 14 points.  But when not capturing interceptions, the Packer pass defense did not appear to be able to make it difficult for Rivers to complete most of his other passes downfield.

Coming out of the game, my question was this.  Does the Packers proficiency at producing interceptions outweigh their inability to substantially hinder pass completions when you compare their defense to the other pass defenses in the NFL? 

In order to answer that question, I simply applied my Quarterback Efficiency Rating (“QBER”) in reverse to each pass defense in the NFL.  The “Defensive QBER” is the same as “QBER” except that it does not take account of QB rushing yards, because those statistics are not readily available.  (the NFL QBER average is 13.01.  As you can see below, the NFL Defensive QBER average is 12.21, showing how little is added by most QBs on the ground).

Defensive QBER = Passing Yards – Yards lost on Sacks – (30*interceptions) / Incompletions + Sacks

Here are the NFL rankings to date:

RANK QBER
Hous 7.11
Balt 7.38
Det 7.76
Ny Jets 8.05
Clev 9.35
Pitt 9.47
NY Giants 9.74
Oak 9.94
Phil 10.06
SF 10.37
Jack 10.47
NO 10.67
Dall 10.84
STL 10.91
Cinn 10.97
Wash 11.79
Tenn 11.97
GB 11.99
SD 12.37
Buff 13.08
Atl 13.15
Chi 13.45
KC 13.74
Ariz 13.77
Minn 14.45
Mia 14.82
Seat 15.07
Denv 15.82
Caro 16.09
NE 16.42
TB 16.89
Ind 22.45
AVG 12.19
   

Indianapolis:  the worst Pass Defense of all time?

Many people have jokingly argued that Peyton Manning should be the MVP this season because of the difference in wins between this season’s Colts and last season’s Colts.  Ummm, does Manning play pass defense?? 

Indianapolis has the worst pass defense on the planet.  I would dare to say it may be the worst of all time.  The Colts are allowing each QB to play at an elite level.  To put their putrid rating in perspective, if the Colts defensive QBER were the QBER of a passer, that passer would be the second or third most efficient passer in the league!!

Aaron Rodgers may have some tough sledding ahead

Anyway, enough with the Colts.  Look at the toughest passer defenses and you can see that Aaron Rodgers is up for some strong challenges in the second half of the season.  In the first half of the season, which the Packers just completed, Rodgers threw against defenses that had a cumulative average QBER of 13.38 – that is well below average.  In the second half of the season, he will have 4 games where he has to throw against a top ten defense (2xDet; NYG; Oak), and will have to face a cumulative defense that will be a slightly above average QBER of 11.71.

Packers slightly below the median

The Packers pass defense, as I suspected, is above average, but that is only because of their “ability” to procure interceptions.  I put “ability” in quotes because many argue that interceptions are the product of luck more than skill.  However, the Packers under defensive coordinator Dom Capers have been so proficient and consistent when it comes to interceptions, I wonder whether in their case there isn’t some skill involved.  They were certainly jumping routes yesterday against Rivers and the Chargers. (for better and for worse.  Tramon Williams beautifully jumped an out route and took it to the house, but then got fooled when he somehow allowed Vincent Jackson to get behind him in the end zone for an easy pitch-catch touchdown).

I am skeptical whether the Packers can win a Super Bowl with such a high Defensive QBER.  Last season the Packers Defensive QBER was a much better 8.58.  The Colts won the 2006 Super Bowl with a Defensive QBER of 12.05, so we shall see.  

Defense Adjusted QBER

Tomorrow or in the next couple of days I will adjust every QBs QBER by defense.

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