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Advanced NFL Stats: The Smith Brothers

I take a look at how disruptive Aldon and Justin Smith were on Monday night.

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Rob Carr

By and large, the statistics in this post are coming from Pro Football Focus. They have signature stats that are more conventionally comprehensible (like how many QB hurries a lineman gives up). In addition, though, PFF provides weekly "grades" that are overall numbered scores. You can read about their grading process HERE. Positive numbers are good while negative numbers are bad. Anything above +1 is a really good game; anything below -1 is quite a bad game. The grade is a composite grade of different smaller grades (like "pass blocking"). I will typically highlight the strengths and/or weaknesses of a particular performance by looking at these composite grades.

I've been waiting for a while to write this stats review, and now that both guys have had one heck of a game, I'm excited for this: this weeks' Advanced Stats review takes a look at the Smith Brothers.

Aldon Smith: 4.5 Overall PFF Grade, 2 Sacks, 1 QB Hit, 5 QB Hurries, 1 Tackle.

I think we are all pretty happy with Aldon's play on Monday. He dominated almost the entire game, utilizing his long arms and that nasty combination of speed and strength that can be impossible to counter. Playing against Trent Williams for most of the evening, Aldon had his way, frequently abusing Mr. Williams at will. The absurd stat from Monday has to be 23. Yes, Aldon rushed the QB 23 times, notching a total of eight pressures against Robert Griffin III.

According to Pro Football Focus' Pass Rushing Productivity, that registers an incredible score of 28.3 (and to put that into perspective, Ahmad Brooks scored about half of that - 15.9 - even though he had an incredible night rushing the passer). Even though he only had 1 tackle, PFF still look favorably upon Aldon, giving him a 0.8 score in run defense. The only area he struggled was in was pass coverage, notching a grade of -0.5. But, since he only dropped back into coverage 5 times all evening, this is hardly an issue. Let's but it this way, on Monday Aldon had the same amount of QB Hurries as the amount of times he dropped back into coverage. What a dominating game...

Justin Smith: 3.4 Overall PPF Grade, 2 Sacks, 1 QB Hit, 2 QB Hurries, 2 Tackles.

Justin likewise dominated, particularly in the pass rush. In regards to specifically his role rushing the passer, Justin graded out to a 3.2 according to PFF. Not needing to do much more than this to ensure he had an excellent game, Justin seemed to focus in on disrupting the line of scrimmage every down. He was in the game on 25 passing plays, rushing the passer 24 times. His 7 total pressures on RG3 bring him to a very good 17.7 Pass Rushing Productivity score.

Fooch's Note: Justin Smith was not credited with a sack during the game, but the NFL has subsequently adjusted that and he officially has two sacks to his credit.