Just a disclaimer for everyone: Joe Flacco had a pitiful season last year. That’s just not to mince words. Flacco completed 64.1% of his passes, throwing for 3,141 yards (second-lowest of his career), throwing just 18 touchdowns (second-lowest) and 13 interceptions (third-highest). Despite these poor numbers, Flacco did succeed in one metric.
According to Pro Football Focus, Flacco was the fourth-most accurate quarterback in the NFL by separation, with a 70.1% accuracy rating.
“When it comes to separation, we are using three basic buckets: open, step/closing and tight,” says Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo, when defining accuracy by separation. “An “open” throw is generally two-plus steps of separation while “step/closing” is best described as a receiver having up to two steps of separation, either running away from a defender (step) or with a defender closing on a play (closing).
“Since ‘step’ and ‘closing’ are similar in terms of the level of separation, they have been placed in the same bucket. “Tight” throws are defined by a defender being within an arm’s length of the receiver, or in the right spot in a passing window so as to discourage the throw.”
In other words, Flacco makes a lot of good throws when his receivers are open. This isn’t necessarily a very helpful stat, as Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was also ranked fifth on the same list, with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton being ranked third. It’s not that Flacco being on this list is a bad thing, it’s just that it’s what he’s expected to do as an NFL quarterback: accurately throw to NFL receivers.