San Diego Chargers vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Success & Stop Rates

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

We take a look at Sunday morning's victory through the lens of Football Outsiders' advanced football statistics.

For those unfamiliar with Football Outsiders' success and stop rates, we'll begin with a quick refresher course. A successful play is one that gains 45% or more of the needed yards on 1st down, 60% or more of the needed yards on 2nd down, and 100% or more of the needed yards on 3rd/4th down. A stop is preventing the offense from gaining those yards.

Offense

The thing that stands out is just how much better the Chargers were throwing the football than they were running it. This stayed consistent from last week's game against the Texans. Part of that is the personnel, and part of it is the scheme and general game plan. On the personnel side of it, the unit's best players, Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd, are more present in the passing game, so that's just more likely to be more successful. Also, Ryan Mathews is not great at breaking long runs. He is, however, quite good at avoiding negative plays. This shows up in the fact that they have better success on short yardage than on 1st & 10 running the football.

On the scheme/gameplan side, there are more design runs that are essentially successful without meeting the definition of "successful." That seems backwards, but understand that a four yard run on 1st down is essentially successful, but it is not a "success" statistically speaking. Also, sometimes you'll run just to keep the clock moving or to set up a field goal on the preferred hash mark.

Just how good was Philip Rivers? 60.8% success throwing the football despite four dropped passes and a big gainer that was fumbled by the goal line. That's lights out.

Game 1st Down 2nd Down 3rd Down 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
Pass 60.8% 65.2% 46.7% 69.2% 77.8% 61.5% 46.2% 62.5%
Run 37.9% 37.5% 36.4% 50.0% 42.9% 50.0% 33.3% 28.6%
Overall 52.5% 53.8% 42.3% 66.7% 62.5% 57.9% 40.9% 52.2%

Defense

The defense basically broke even through the first half. They seemed to wear down or simply have their shortcomings exploited a bit more in the second half. Luckily, things didn't get so lopsided that it was enough to give the game away. They got away with a number of blown coverages, but that appears to have been a calculated risk by the defensive coordinator based on the weaknesses of Michael Vick. Unlike past seasons, 3rd down defense remains a strength through two weeks, especially against the pass. We'll call that the Dwight Freeney effect. He's a Hall of Famer, and he's showing you why each and every week. Jarius Wynn also showed up surprisingly big in this game. The D will need guys like that to step up, especially since this was an ugly game for stars like Corey Liuget, Kendall Reyes, and Eric Weddle (if you ignore his excellent blitzing and focus on everything else).

Game 1st Down 2nd Down 3rd Down 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
Pass 47.6% 43.5% 41.7% 71.4% 50.0% 53.8% 28.6% 50.0%
Run 43.8% 66.7% 33.3% 25.0% 50.0% 40.0% 100.0% 0.0%
Overall 46.6% 48.3% 38.9% 54.5% 50.0% 50.0% 44.4% 42.1%
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