Best EPA Performances of the Past 10 Years

Michael Vick blew up the Redskins Monday night with 333 passing yards, 4 passing TDs, 80 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs, and no turnovers. It was an almost flawless individual performance from beginning to end, worth 29.4 Expected Points Added (EPA). How does it compare to the top individual performances since 2000?

The decade's top performance belongs to Tom Brady, 2007 edition. His performance in the Patriots' 59-12 win at Buffalo was worth 33.3 points. Here are the rest of the top performances:


PlayerEPAWPAWP GraphVisScoreHomeScoreDate
T.Brady33.30.44WP GraphNE56BUF1011/18/2007
P.Manning32.10.35WP GraphHOU24IND439/17/2006
D.Brees31.90.51WP GraphNYG27NO4810/18/2009
P.Manning30.80.35WP GraphDEN24IND491/9/2005
T.Brady30.10.72WP GraphNE48DAL2710/14/2007
P.Manning29.70.47WP GraphDEN10IND411/4/2004
M.Vick29.20.43WP GraphPHI59WAS2811/15/2010
P.Rivers29.00.49WP GraphSD48SF1910/15/2006
T.Brady28.70.32WP GraphNE49MIA2810/21/2007
A.Rodgers28.70.11WP GraphGB45ARI511/10/2010
B.Favre28.60.55WP GraphGB41OAK712/22/2003
T.Brady28.30.18WP GraphTEN0NE5910/18/2009
B.Roethlisberger28.00.54WP GraphSD28PIT3810/4/2009
D.Brees27.90.48WP GraphDET27NO459/13/2009

Interesting that one of the games were losses for the top performer. Notice Aaron Rodgers' WPA was only 0.11 in his 28.7 EPA game against Arizona in the playoffs last year. That was thanks to the strip-sack-TD to end the game in OT.

Wondering about the worst performance? That would belong to Dallas' Anthony Wright, whose 31-0 loss at Tennessee was worth -36.3 EPA and -0.42 WPA. It was a Monday night game, broadcast on Christmas night. Wright went 5 for 20, totaling 35 yards. He was sacked 4 times for 26 yards of losses. That's a net of 9 yards passing. Wright was intercepted twice, once for a TD. He fumbled 3 times and lost all 3, 1 of them returned for another TD.

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12 Responses to “Best EPA Performances of the Past 10 Years”

  1. Dave O says:

    Is this a dumb question? Chart contains only QBs, and the worst performance was a QB too. Is that because of QB's outsized influence on the game or did you intentionally look at only QB performances?

  2. actuary9999 says:

    I'm having a hard time understanding how Carson Palmer's performance tops Vick's. As far as conventional stats are concerned I'm seeing significant statistical inferiority in Palmer's game. Did he get some pass interference calls or something?

    Palmer accounted for 412 (412+0=pass+rush) yards of offense* and 3 TDs, with 8.24 yards per pass/run attempt (not that YPA matters for EPA - just mentioning it).

    Vick accounted for 413 (333+80=pass+rush) yards* and 6 TDs (6 is arguably higher than 3), with 11.47 yards per pass/run attempt (again, not that it matters for EPA). More yards + More TDs but lower EPA? What gives?

    *without considering penalties

  3. J-Doug says:

    Does EPA give extra credit for performing in high-leverage situations? If so, isn't this essentially penalizing Vick's EPA stats for putting the game out of reach early? Is there are EPA stat that controls for leverage (like FanGraphs' WPA/LI for baseball)?

  4. Anonymous says:

    J-Doug, I thought EPA was just as it says: "Expected Points Added". Your expected points have only to do with field position and time remaining. WPA is the stat that includes leverage.

  5. Brian Burke says:

    EPA factors in down, distance and field position.

    Yes, this is for all positions. QBs just come out on top. The top WPA list has some other positions in it.

    I'll take another look at Palmer. Sometimes there can be some weird results between halves or going into overtime.

  6. Brian Burke says:

    Yup. There's something wrong with the Palmer game.

  7. James says:

    I wonder what it says that of the QBs on the list three plus times (Manning and Brady) that three of Brady's four games came from 2007 while Manning's all came in different seasons (one each from '04, '05, and '06).

  8. Dave says:

    Is it possible for a player to have a WPA>1 for a single game? Suppose he comes in late in the game when a team's WP is 0.2 and he single-handedly raises it to 0.8. Then, the defense blows it and lowers the team's WP back down to 0.3, and then this player leads them to victory in the final stages (1.0 WP). Could that scenario lead to a WPA>1 or am I misunderstanding how an individual's WPA works?

  9. actuary9999 says:

    Brian,

    Still befuddled why Vick's game isn't higher, could you provide any interpretation?:
    (#) lName - MM-DD-YYYY - Cmp/Att-PYds-PaTD-PaInt
    (PaYds+Ryds)-(PaTD+RTD)-(Total Turnovers)
    (1) Brady - 11-18-2007 - 31/39-373-5-0
    (382)-(5)-(0)
    (2) Manning - 9-17-2006 - 26/38-400-3-0
    (402)-(3)-(0)
    (3) Brees - 10-18-2009 - 23/30-369-4-0
    (375)-(4)-(0)
    (7) Vick - 11-15-2010 - 20/28-333-4-0
    (413)-(6)-(0)

    Vick tops the list in terms of total yards gained and all-purpose touchdowns. Although I don't think it matters, he also tops the list in Yards Per Run/Pass. None of the the QBs had any fumbles or INTs in these games.

    Seems like the only reason he wouldn't be on the top of the list would be (a) penalties associated with the performance (b) Plays close to halves (c) ?Fumbles lost by receivers after catching passes?, (d) stuff I haven't considered. Am I missing something obvious?

    Also, for EPA magnitude, could you summarize how INTs and TDs relate? Seems like an INT returned for a TD in the red zone would have larger abs(EPA) than, say a TD thrown from the inside your own 20.

  10. Brian Burke says:

    Dave-It's very rare, but possible.

    actuary-Turnovers are usually 3-6 EPA. TDs are dependent on the length of the TD. But the values of both events are dependent on field position, down, and to go dist.

    A 30-yd TD play on 1st and 10 is worth less EPA than the same 30-yard TD play on 3rd and 15. The starting EP (point potential) of a 1st down is higher.

    Say Brady hands off twice for a total net of zero yards gain. A TD pass on 3rd down is going to be worth more EPA than had he thrown a similar pass on 1st down. Fourth down plays have even higher leverage.

  11. Brian Burke says:

    By the way, in case anyone is interested, the WP Calculator also shows EP. You don't have to put in time or score. Here's an example of how the same 10-yard play can have very different EPAs:

    If you go from 1st and 10 from midfield (2.40 EP) to 1st and 10 at the opponent's 40 (2.66 EP), that's a gain of +.26 EPA.

    But if you go from 3rd and 10 from midfield (0.82 EP) to 1st and 10 at the 40, that's a gain of +1.84 EPA.

  12. J-Doug says:

    Thanks for the clarification.

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