2023 passing performance under pressure vs a clean pocket

Jason Pauley
3 min readMay 19, 2024

Jared Goff with the biggest clean-to-pressure drop; Joe Burrow better under pressure than a clean pocket

Jared Goff is money in a clean pocket. His clean-pocket IQR* (adjusted passer rating) of 115.8 led all quarterbacks last year. But when he is under pressure, which happens about 33% of the time, he falls apart. His IQR under pressure dips by 51 points to 64.3. His clean-to-pressure drop was the largest in the league last season. *IQRis Sports Info Solutions’ proprietary quarterback metric that builds on the traditional Passer Rating formula by considering the value of a quarterback independent of results outside of his control such as dropped passes, dropped interceptions, throwaways, etc.

Goff didn’t have the worst IQR under pressure, he just had the worst delta because his clean-pocket rating was so good. The lowest IQR under pressure was Daniel Jones with an adjusted passer rating (IQR) of 26.8. Because his clean-pocket IQR was so abysmal (71.3), he only had the third worst clean-to-pressure drop, despite his league-low 26.8 IQR under pressure. To make matters worse, Jones was under pressure 44.8% of the time, 2nd worst in the league, behind teammate Tyrod Tayor (46.1%). In fact, the top three worst pressure rates in the NFL belong the all three Giants (Jones, Taylor and Devito who is tied for 3rd with J.Fields)

On the flip side we have Joe Burrow, who actually had a higher rating when pressured vs a clean pocket. Burrow’s IQR was 105.0 under pressure last year, 14 points better than his clean-pocket rating of 90.8. Burrow’s clean-to-pressure increase leads the league, but there are a few other QBs in 2023 who had a higher rating under pressure than with a clean pocket. J.Burrow, D.Prescott, L.Jackson, R.Wilson, B.Purdy and D.Ridder all had a higher IQR with pressure. One of these guys is different than the others, and that’s Ridder. He only has a higher IQR under pressure, because he stinks in a clean pocket as well. He is bad at both (clean 74.8, pressure 76.6).

Under pressure, Lamar Jackson (114.6 IQR) and Dak Prescott (114.1) are better than every QB’s clean-pocket IQR except for Goff. And both of their pressure IQRs would rank 1 and 2 in the NFL against all quarterbacks total IQR.

This chart compares each quarterback’s IQR in a clean pocket to their IQR under pressure.

This chart segments quarterbacks into quadrants based on how often they are under pressure and what their pressure IQR is.

Notes:

  • All data, and splits are from Sports Info Solutions (subscription based)
  • The minimum attempts used were 100 attempts in a clean pocket + 50 attempts under pressure
  • Pressure includes pressure inside AND outside of the pocket. QBs also have some attempts outside of the pocket with no pressure, that data is not included here.
  • The deltas are not rankings of QBs. There are great QBs with a high clean-to-pressure gap, and there are great players with a low or inverse clean-to-pressure gap. There are also poor QBs on both ends of the scale. A QB who is shitty with a clean pocket and shitty under pressure will have a minimal gap.
  • Also, Passer Rating or IQR adjusted passer rating isn’t a be-all-end-all metric. Sack avoidance, running, success rate, etc are not a part of this. As with any single stat, IQR has benefits and flaws. I’m only analyzing how well QBs pass in these two categories, not overall effectiveness.

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Jason Pauley

Passionate about Analytics (Football, Sports, Marketing, Sales, Demographics)