On a 3rd-and-10, a 15-yard pass provides a significant amount of value by providing a first down. But let’s get a bit more precise: the first 10 of those yards were really valuable. The last 5? Well, those were special teams yards. The difference between gaining 10 yards and gaining 15 yards on 3rd-and-10 isn’t that significant: well, it’s about as significant as returning a kickoff for 30 yards or 35 yards. Those last 5 yards don’t help a team move the chains.
Last year, Isaiah Crowell rushed for 944 yards on 197 carries.1 That’s an average of 4.79 yards per carry, but of his 944 yards, 370 of them came after he had already rushed for a first down. That’s a whopping 39% of his rushing yards that we could call “special teams yards” that didn’t help move the sticks.
Conversely, T.J. Yeldon rushed 129 times for 463, a 3.59 YPC average. That was not good, of course. And while “special teams yards” are not as valuable as yards gained to help move the chains, getting almost none of them also shows a lack of explosiveness. Yeldon had just 47 special teams yards last year, or 10% of his rushing yards, the fewest ratio in the league (minimum 100 carries).
The table below shows the special teams yards, average yards per carry after removing special teams yards, and percentage of special teams yards gained by each running back.
|Running Back||Rush||Rush Yd||Yd/Car||Sp Tm Yds||Non-ST Yd/Car||Sp Tm Yd %|
As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments.
- Note: The play-by-play source material I am using has very minor errors, which leads to some numbers being slightly off. Crowell actually had 952 yards on 198 carries. [↩]