NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 06: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals rolls out under pressure from Karl Klug #97 of the Tennessee Titans during play at LP Field on November 6, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Bengals won 24-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The crew at Football Outsiders defines pressure against a quarterback as this:
All sacks were marked as "pressure" plays except those marked either "Coverage Sack" or "QB Fault." (QB Fault sacks are when a quarterback slips on the grass or drops the ball on his own.) We also marked a play with pressure if it was either a quarterback scramble or a pass attempt where we listed a defender with pass pressure, or we listed "overall pressure."
According to the advanced statistical analysis (advanced enough that some fans can't handle the information overload), the Cincinnati Bengals pressured the quarterback during 23.3 percent of the team's defensive snaps, which ranked No. 18 in the league. Their DVOA with pressure (-68.9 percent, ranked 21st) was actually less productive than their DVOA without pass pressure (24.2 percent, ranked 12th).
Weird. And yes. DVOA should take into account situations (first, second or third downs) and results (cornerbacks blown coverage leaving someone wide open).
Now the question is, how did Andy Dalton perform with pressure and without pressure last year, defined by Football Outsiders?
Interestingly enough when Andy Dalton was under pressure (roughly 21.5 percent of the time), his DVOA (-52.9 percent) ranked eighth-best in the NFL last season. You don't understand how good that is. That's better than Tim Tebow's jog under a steady rain storm in New York. It's also better than Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers -- Carson Palmer ranked 32nd (but we don't have a vindictive grin on our collective faces or anything).
Without pressure Dalton's DVOA (39.6 percent) ranked 20th in the NFL.
So based on the analysis from Football Outsiders, the Bengals are better off without pressure on defense and with pressure in Dalton's face on offense.
Does that make a lick of sense?