Feeling The Heat
Analytics Report: Hurts Stats In 2023 Vs. Blitz
This season, Jalen Hurts has been blitzed on 38.75% of his dropbacks – the second highest percentage of any quarterback in the NFL with at least 75 dropbacks behind Green Bay’s Jordan Love (39.18%).
Here are Hurts’ statistics when blitzed compared to not blitzed:
When Hurts faces the blitz, his completion percentage falls about 5%, his yards-per-attempt average falls 0.17, and his QBR drops by 14.2.
Also against the blitz, Hurts has a higher “big-time throw percentage” (BTT %), which is Pro Football Focus’ formula to quantify rate of passes with excellent ball location – and timing – generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window.
However, per another PFF metric, Hurts against the blitz also generates more “turnover worthy plays” (TWP %), which describes two different situations – if the quarterback fumbles the ball due to failing to practice good ball security, or if the quarterback throws the ball late and a defender has a clean break on the ball.
Not surprisingly, Hurts’ time to throw (TTT) was less when he was blitzed.
Interestingly though, his average depth of target (ADOT) slightly increases when he’s blitzed, which – coupled with the higher BTT % – somewhat explains the narrative that the Eagles prefer to attack blitzes by trying to hit big plays instead of built-in hot reads, and could explain some of the team’s recent offensive pitfalls.
Another interesting trend is that Hurts’ sack rates are similar whether or not the opponent blitzes.
Hurts is sacked approximately six times per 100 dropbacks whether blitzed or not (slightly more likely to be sacked when he is blitzed).
However, he’s almost twice as likely to throw an interception when being blitzed, as he throws approximately one interception every 25 pass attempts when blitzed and approximately one interception every 50 pass attempts when not being blitzed.
These interception statistics are another indication that the Eagles try to force big plays against the blitz.
They also explain how this play style can – and has been – costly for the Eagles, who have the NFL’s eighth-most giveaways this season.
Hurts v. Bucs, Week 3
The struggling Eagles, 1-5 in their past six games, on Monday night will be in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium to face the Buccaneers in a first-round NFC playoff game, trying to pick up the pieces from an implosion against the Giants in the season finale.
The Buccaneers are one of the most prolific blitz teams in the NFL. They have the NFL’s third-highest blitz percentage, according to Pro Football Reference.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Bucs blitzed Hurts on 61% of his dropbacks in their Week 3 matchup.
Here are Hurts’ stats when being blitzed v. not blitzed from the 25-11 Eagles victory:*
The Bucs got their only sack when Hurts tripped in the fourth quarter on a third-down goal line variation of “The Brotherly Shove.”
Tampa Bay’s blitz wasn’t effective in Week 3, at least in terms of converting pressure into sacks, but did generate turnovers. Both of the Bucs’ interceptions came while blitzing Hurts.
The Bucs will blitz Monday night to generate turnovers and to limit Hurts’ impact, especially after the Eagles struggled against the extra-man pressures in the season finale against the Giants.
If the Eagles don’t scheme answers for Hurts against the blitz, and if they don’t adjust their game plan, they’ll suffer the consequences, even as three-point favorites.
But if they scheme quick, easy throws as an effective blitz counter, the Eagles will position themselves to beat the Bucs on Monday Night in Tampa for the second time this season.
– Sam Finkel is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com who focuses on analytics.