<
>

Josh McCown's 2014 numbers, throwing with a damaged thumb

Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown revealed this week that in his final eight starts last season in Tampa Bay he played with a ligament completely ripped off his right thumb.

Give him credit for fight and gumption and dedication to the team -- all traits that the Browns admired when they signed him as a free agent.

McCown started the first three games of the 2014 season for the Bucs before hurting his thumb against Atlanta. He sat out from from Sept. 18 through Nov. 9, when he returned against Atlanta and started the final eight games of the season.

McCown chose not to have surgery on the thumb, instead hoping that treatment would allow him to return. He did, but said Tuesday at OTAs that playing was a matter of mind over matter.

How much was his play affected by the injury? Let's look at the numbers.

Prior to the injury, McCown completed 43-of-68 (63.2 percent) for 420 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating: 65.8. His yards per attempt: 6.46.

In the final eight games, McCown completed 141-of-259 (54.4 percent) for 1,786 yards, with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His passer rating: 71.7. His yards per attempt: 6.93.

In the first three games after he returned, McCown threw for 301, 288 and 341 yards, with five touchdowns and four interceptions. Those games were against Atlanta, Washington and Chicago, defenses that finished the season ranked 32nd, 24th and 30th, respectively, in the league against the pass. The rest of the season, McCown averaged 171 yards per game passing. He threw for 154, 147 and 115 yards in the final three games. against Carolina, Green Bay and New Orleans -- two of them playoff teams.

Did the injury make a difference?

It would be nice to say it did because it would help explain McCown’s 1-10 record with the Bucs, but the numbers show it didn’t.

McCown was more accurate before he hurt his thumb, but he was more productive after. McCown’s passer rating was actually higher when he returned with the damaged thumb than it was when he was healthy, and his yards per attempt was also higher.

He finished the season ranked 28th in total QBR (35.7), ahead of only Geno Smith and Blake Bortles among qualifiers.

In terms of passer rating, McCown ranked 32nd in the league with a rating of 70.5.