Philadelphia Eagles News

2009 Playoffs Emphasize One Of McNabb's Strengths

There are some interesting stats that have defined the 2009 NFL postseason. Kerry Byrne of Cold Hard Football Facts wrote a column on one stat in particular that has stood out in the playoffs. The team that has thrown fewer interceptions is 8-0 in the playoffs.

And that held true in the Eagles' playoff loss to Dallas. Donovan McNabb threw one interception and Dallas' Tony Romo threw none, although Sean Jones appeared to have his hands on a pick until it was overturned after a replay challenge.

That interception certainly wasn't the entire reason the Eagles lost, but Byrne's column has some interesting stats about interceptions that go beyond this year's playoffs. Since 1970, when a team throws no interceptions in a playoff game it is a whopping 191-51 (.789 win percentage). McNabb certainly helps that trend. He's 4-0 in the postseason when he doesn't throw a pick.

When a team throws just one interception in the postseason, that win percentage goes from .789 to .548 (144-119). Add another interception and that win percentage dips all the way to .312 (54-119).

As fans and the media debate who should be the Eagles' signal caller in 2010, even though Andy Reid has said not once but twice that McNabb would be his quarterback, Byrne's column on interceptions provides a strong argument for supporting McNabb.

McNabb has thrown just 100 interceptions in 4,746 passing attempts over the span of his regular season career. That means McNabb throws an interception on just 2.1 out of every 100 pass attempts, which is the lowest rate in NFL history (minimum 2,000 attempts). McNabb has thrown for 216 touchdown passes, which gives him a TD/INT ratio of 2.16 percent which is third in NFL history (minimum 2,000 attempts) behind Tom Brady and Steve Young, not bad company.

In the playoffs, McNabb has won nine career games which ranks seventh in NFL history. In 16 career playoff games, McNabb has thrown more than one interception three times. The Eagles are 1-2 in those games (three in 2003 NFC title game, three in Super Bowl XXXIX and two in the 2008 NFC Divisional Round win at Giants). McNabb has a 2.9 interception rate in the postseason and a 1.41 TD/INT ratio.

As the Eagles try and figure out how to improve upon the results of the 2009 season, McNabb's ability to keep the ball out of the opposing team's hands certainly has to be looked at.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:00 a.m., January 23

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