Stat of the Day: QB Hits

As part of our ongoing Stat of the Day series, we're digging deep into our spreadsheets to run a new stat every weekday until Super Bowl XLIV.

Today, we've got the leaders in quarterback hits for 2009. These are plays knocking down the quarterback after a pass, not sacks. The total includes plays canceled by penalty. QB hits are a stat that some official scorers can be shaky about recording, and the FO game charting project tends to add a number of them after the fact through our contacts in the league office, so these totals will differ from the ones you'll see in FOA 2010 in a few months. Nonetheless, here's a list of every defender with at least 11 quarterback hits in the data as it stands today.

19: A.Spencer, DAL; M.Kiwanuka, NYG
17: R.Edwards, MIN
14: A.Carter, WAS; M.Williams, HOU; A.Kampman, GB (in only nine games!)
13: A.Smith, HOU; D.Tapp, SEA; O.Umenyiora, NYG; W.Smith, NO
12: D.Ware, DAL; T.Cole, PHI; C.Matthews, GB; J.Allen, MIN; S.White, TB
11: K.Vanden Bosch, TEN; R.Mathis, IND; A.Brown, CHI; M.Lawson, SF

Geno Hayes (TB) and Aaron Curry (SEA) tied for the lead among 4-3 linebackers with nine each. Adrian Wilson (ARI) led defensive backs with five.


29 comments, Last at 18 Jan 2010, 4:56pm

1 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Based only on my gut I suspect that a detailed look at Allen's numbers would be up at the beginning of the year while Edwards came on at the end.

Either because of blocking schemes or plain performance those guys seemed to be going in opposite directions as the year passed.

2 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Interesting numbers. I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure there's no T.Cole on the Vikings team...

12: D.Ware, DAL; T.Cole, MIN; C.Matthews, GB; J.Allen, MIN; S.White, TB

As an Eagles fan, I really have to hope that Kolb lives up to his Lewin projection, since a lot of Eagles fans (myself included) would have loved to have taken Spencer with the pick that we traded to Dallas so they could take him.

3 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Interesting to see so many pairs of team-mates in that list. The Giants and the Texans each have two of the top ten, while the Cowboys, Packers and Vikings each have two of the top fifteen. That's ten of the top fifteen accounted for by only five teams. Is that a function of scorer biases, or a likely indicator that those teams' sack totals will improve next season? Or a bit of both?

13 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

While I have no doubt that scorer tendencies have something to do with it, I can say that having watched every Giants snap this year, the Giants defensive line had an annoying habit of getting to the quarterback just a tad too late.

16 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Texans charter here.

As the chum above me said, really it just means that there was an annoying habit of getting to the QB too late. The Texans got decent pressure from their ends but they let QB's get away, slipped after getting in the backfield (must be Belichick's crappy Reliant turf theory!), couldn't get there without a throw away/dumpoff after breaking the line, etc.

23 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

I guess it could be a function of poor coverage, no? Both the Texans and Giants had questionable secondaries this year (though for the Texans, questionable is a big upgrade over years past). If it generally takes around the same amount of time for ends to get to the quarterback, teams that struggle to cover for quite that long will presumably have more hits.

4 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Plenty of LDEs and LOLBs on that list — more than in recent years. Something to look into?

Kampman got a raw deal from the media this year. He was healthy while the defense was struggling early in the year; he got hurt as it began to improve. The two were not related.

Everyone expected Kampman to have issues in pass coverage, and he did. But he continued to regress against the run, a trend that began in 2008. It was mostly a question of getting flushed out of the play, usually to the outside. Even tight ends were getting the better of him.

Will the Packers bring him back?
Kampman is a 31 year-old guy, still unproven at OLB, coming off an injury.
But the Packers' defense desperately needs pass rush.
Over to you, Ted.

6 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

I wonder the other half of these numbers - which QBs got hit the most after they threw a pass. McNabb? Rodgers?

7 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

According to PFF, which only tracks "Hit as throwing" (don't know if this counts all hits, like if they get hit after a throw, probably doesn't), Warner leads the NFL with 20, followed by Garrard (18), Schaub (16), Campbell (13), Rivers (12), and Roethlisberger (12).

McNabb and Rodgers are below the average, with 6 each. It's PFF though, so take it as you will. (Actually, take all charting information with some degree of suspicion, including FO)

8 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Re: 6 - Definitely not McNabb, he actually took less hits than sacks (as recently covered by another FO article, might have been the Wild Card preview).

10 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

I was mostly trying to see if a few guys on this list made it because of common opponents - there are a few Giants, 1 Redskins and 1 Cowboy on it.

19 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Which is obviously all Jack Del Rio's fault, since he scouts college and pro players and has final say in personnel and roster cuts. Oh, wait...

sam! or the original sam from the old FO

11 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

I think I may start making deliberate typos just to test how long it will take people to point them out and how many readers point them out without looking to see if other readers had already pointed out the same typo.

Anyway, the Trent Cole thing is fixed.

Also: These are not charting numbers. These come from the official PBP.

14 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits


I humbly suggest misspelling your name--see how long it takes them to spot that. I know when I misspell Bob with a second "o" nobody ever seems to notice....

15 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

My first thought was, add this to sacks to get a better measure of the best pass rushers. But I think Aaron's statement that " QB hits are a stat that some official scorers can be shaky about recording" looks a bit understated. 3 of the top 4 in sacks (Dumervil, Freeney, Woodley) are not on this list. There are 19 guys on this list, only 9 are in the top 19 in sacks. Some mismatch could be expected as perhaps speed-rushers are more likey to get a sack or get stopped completely and bull-rushers get there eventually.

17 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Actually it makes sense since that the only difference between a sack and a hit is the amount of time it takes to get to the QB. Just like in baseball how HRs and doubles for mashers are inversely correlated (when doubles go up, HRs go down), it maybe that QB hits represent "just missed" sacks, while the leaders in sacks are those who haven't "just missed".

25 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

I don't think baseball is quite the same. You have guys in all four categories: high 2B/high HR, low 2B/high HR, high 2B/low HR, and low 2B/low HR (also known as "pitchers" or "utility players"). In football, I don't think you're as likely to find guys who are consistently high in sacks but low in hits or vice versa.

18 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Here is the list from the charting at Pro Football Focus (with the FO numbers included in parentheses for comparison):

26: Anthony Spencer (19)
22: Ray Edwards (17)
20: Trent Cole (12)
17: Mario Williams (14), DeMarcus Ware (12)
16: Andre Carter (14), Justin Smith ()
15: Darryl Tapp (13), Antonio D. Smith (13), Lamarr Woodley ()
14: Jared Allen (12), Osi Umenyiora (13), Mathias Kiwanuka (19), Kyle Vanden Bosch (11), Clay Matthews (12)
13: Chris Long (), Jacob Ford (), Will Smith (13), James Harrison (), Tamba Hali ()
12: Dwight Freeney (), John Abraham (), Alex Brown (11), Bart Scott (), Aaron Kampman (14)
11: Robert Mathis (11), Stylez G. White (12), Leonard Little (), Kevin Williams (), Albert Haynesworth (), Kyle Williams (), Damione Lewis ()

Manny Lawson has 10. Among players who they list as 4-3 LBs, Bart Scott leads the way with 12, Curry has 10, Geno Hayes has 9, Vilma and Orakpo also have 9. DBs were led by Brandon McGowan & Roman Harper with 5 (followed by Adrian Wilson and others with 4).

PFF was more generous with hits, except for a few cases (like Kiwanuka). The order at the top is similar, except for Cole and Kiwanuka. I'm curious how many hits you guys had for Justin Smith and Woodley, who made the top 10 on their list.

24 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

They may be counting times the QB is hit rather than times the QB is hit AND knocked to the ground, which is what charters are told to look for when marking hits. I know I've had to go back and erase a few after I saw that the QB took the shove and didn't eat turf.

26 Re: Stat of the Day: QB Hits

Yes sir. It's interesting to see how a school with average defense at best can consistently produce NFL-caliber talent at certain positions.

Obviously, the average defense was a few seasons ago.