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Marcus Mariota was the 10th best deep passer of 2017

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If you think Mariota had a tough time throwing the ball downfield, think again.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday I finally released the fourth annual Deep Ball Project, and it includes 35 quarterbacks with stat heavy charts for your viewing pleasure. Check the link below this paragraph.

Now, in relation to Marcus Mariota, I always thought he was an ok, not particularly great, quarterback when asked to throw deep. His intermediate accuracy is what really won me over as a Mariota fan.

That changed for this edition of the Deep Ball Project, ironically in far worse conditions than in previous seasons. He was 10th in efficiency score. What is efficiency score? I shall explain. This is from the article itself, which is based on a point system given to accurate passes:

If you’ll notice from the article, Mariota was second in total downfield accuracy. The sole reason why he doesn’t rank higher then 10th is due to the high amount of interceptions he threw—six to be exact. A few dropped picks were sprinkled into the mix as well. Otherwise he took a massive step in the right direction downfield.

Now, new to this edition were the “Inaccurate Completions” and “Accurate Incompletions” statistics. Inaccurate Completions look at passes where the quarterback completes a pass but the throw isn’t accurate because the receiver has to make an unnecessary adjustment in order to catch the ball.

Accurate Incompletions are the opposite: The quarterback makes an accurate throw but the receiver can’t make the catch. Reasons for this include straight up drops, failures to win at the catch point or on contested catches, failing to get two feet in the end zone or sideline, running the wrong route, or even passes knocked away in a few cases.

Both of these also have percentage stats in relation to the total amount of downfield pass attempts.

Let’s start with Inaccurate Completions. You’ll notice that despite playing in an 80s’ offense, Mariota threw zero inaccurate completions.

John R. Kinsley

Mariota was one of six quarterbacks that didn’t throw a single inaccurate completion, so naturally he’s also one of six quarterbacks to have a 0.0% inaccurate completion percentage.

John R. Kinsley

Now let’s check out Accurate Incompletions.

John R. Kinsley

Yep, that’s Mariota with the fifth most accurate incompletions. It didn’t help that he had some of the least efficient downfield receivers in 2017. Fellow AFC South quarterback Jacoby Brissett tied with Cam Newton with the most accurate incompletions with 19.

As you may expect, Mariota also had a high accurate incompletion percentage ranking.

John R. Kinsley

What this means is 16.1% of Mariota’s 93 pass attempts downfield resulted in accurate incompletions. And get this: Jacoby Brissett had the highest percentage of accurate incompletions with 31.7%. And look who’s in second? Tom Savage at 20.5%. Yep, the same team that has Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller produced the 2nd highest percentage of accurate incompletions for Savage. Strangely enough, when Deshaun Watson was in, Houston produced the sixth lowest.

Even so, being in 9th place in accurate incompletion percentage was not a good look for the Titans receiving corps, so hopefully that number will change in 2018.

More information can be found in the 2017-18 Deep Ball Project, found in the link at the beginning of the article. It also includes GIFs of the best throw from each quarterback. It shouldn’t take too long to guess what Mariota’s was.