22 Aug 2007
When I did Bill Simmons' "BS Report" podcast, he suggested four different stats he wanted us to calculate. One of them would measure "killer drops on third downs." Simmons called it the "T.O. number,"speculating that Owens led the league in this stat for 2006.
I was pretty sure that Owens led the league in this stat too. We were both wrong. Here are the 2006 leaders in drops on third or fourth down, according to our game charting project:
8: Torry Holt
7: Troy Williamson
5: Drew Bennett, Alge Crumpler, Vernon Davis, Randy Moss, Dancin' Reggie Williams
4: Joey Galloway, Bryant Johnson, Eddie Kennison, Randy McMichael, Terrell Owens, Jerramy Stevens, Bobby Wade
T.O. led the league with 15 drops, but very few of them were on third down. He had three on first down, eight on second down, three on third down, and one on fourth down. One of those third down drops wasn't even near the sticks -- it was a two-yard pass on third-and-7 against the Giants.
On the other hand, eight of Holt's 10 drops (tied for sixth in the NFL) were on third down. Six of them were sure first downs, and another one was a five-yard pass on third-and-7, which probably would have moved the sticks thanks to YAC.
By the way, here are the 2005 leaders in drops on third/fourth down:
8: Muhsin Muhammad
5: Antonio Bryant, Plaxico Burress
4: Terry Glenn, Devery Henderson, Greg Lewis, Billy McMullen, Jimmy Smith
By the way, remember the argument that Owens dropped more passes last year because of his hand injury? Not necessarily true. Game charters marked Owens with seven drops in 2005, and that was only in half a season. Muhammad led in 2005 with 13, followed by Bryant at 12, Burress at 11, and Justin McCareins and L.J. Smith at 10. Based simply on these two years, dropped passes doesn't actually seem like a very consistent stat. Only four receivers had at least seven drops in both 2005 and 2006: T.O., Chris Chambers, and -- Tom Brady won't be happy about this -- Donte' Stallworth and Benjamin Watson.
17 comments, Last at 22 Aug 2007, 10:00pm by Will Allen
Brian Fremeau is back for his 10th season of college football advanced stats at Football Outsiders, with a lesson on average teams (like Arkansas State) and updated FEI projections for 2016.