There will be four teams in the inaugural College Football Playoff at the end of the season. What common characteristics will distinguish these teams above all others?
23 May 2012
by Aaron Schatz
More today from our many, many spreadsheets of stats from the 2011 season. Today, we'll look at which defenders had the most Defeats in 2011. Defeats are defined as any play (tackle, assist, pass defensed, interception, or forced fumble) that does one of three things:
1) causes a turnover
2) causes a loss of yardage
3) stops conversion on third or fourth down
Almost every sack is a Defeat, so it is no surprise that Jared Allen, with his 22-sack season, led the NFL with 33 Defeats in 2011. Jason Pierre-Paul was second with 32, and Derrick Johnson and Terrell Suggs tied for third with 31.
Johnson was the top player in Defeats who was not a pass rusher. He had a mix of all kinds of plays: seven tackles for loss on runs, two sacks, five passes defensed on third down including two picks, and a number of tackles that stopped the opponent short of a third-down conversion. Johnson had 19 Defeats on third or fourth down, which tied for the league lead with Paul Posluszny and Troy Polamalu.
Here's a list of all players with at least 25 Defeats in 2011:
|Most Defensive Defeats, 2011|
Weirdly, no player had exactly 25 Defeats last year. The top safeties other than Troy Polamalu were Kam Chancellor (24) and Eric Weddle (22). Brandon Flowers and Nate Clements tied for the lead among cornerbacks with 22 Defeats each. Nate Clements? Yep, he had nine passes defensed on third down including two picks, five tackles for a loss (one of which was a sack), two forced fumbles, and a few tackles after complete passes that prevented a conversion. This shows that a) Nate Clements made more big plays than you realized last year and b) If you had only one stat to represent the best defensive players in the league, you would not use Defeats.
Geno Atkins and Cullen Jenkins tied for the lead among defensive tackles at 19 Defeats. Ndamukong Suh had 29 Defeats in 2010, the most by any defensive tackle in a decade. That was down to 15 last year, third among defensive tackles.
Daryl Smith, who led the league in Defeats in 2010, was down to 21 last year. That's still a lot, but it doesn't match the 35 he put up the year before. His Defeats were down in part because Posluszny was making a lot of those plays. You can find a list of the 2010 leaders in Defeats here.
In case anyone is wondering about "percent of total team defeats," everyone who had at least 16 percent of team Defeats is also on the table above, and ranking based on percent of team Defeats doesn't change things much.
Looking at pass plays and run plays split up:
Kavell Conner! I bet you didn't see that one coming. The 2010 seventh-round pick led the league with 13 run tackles for a loss. He made his average run tackle after a gain of just 2.1 yards, more than a yard closer than any other Colts linebacker. Mathias Kiwanuka was second with 12 run tackles for loss, and Charles Johnson of Carolina was third with 11.
By the way, can I just complain about how annoying it is to have to make sure we keep 51-J.Mayo and 51-J.Mays separated, especially in the game charting?
Finally, two more tables: The percentage of total Plays by a defender that counted as Defeats. These lists have a minimum of 25 total Plays. One of the leaders on the "lowest percentage" table is a bit of a surprise. The leaders on the "highest percentage" table are all pass rushers, which is not much of a surprise.
Wait a minute, I know Isaac Sopoaga's role is to soak up blockers, not to penetrate into the backfield, but still... he had no Defeats in 2011? Yes, that's correct. Isaac Sopoaga did not make a single tackle behind the line of scrimmage last year. He had no sacks and no passes defensed; his only pass play was hustling upfield to get a tackle on a five-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald. Sopoaga did have six Defeats in 2010 when he was a defensive end rather than a nose tackle.
Usually, this is where I say you can get all the data on the player pages, but right now you can't, unfortunately. I apologize for the fact that these stats are not yet fully updated for 2011 on our player pages; we've had some technical issues we're trying to straighten out. I'll make sure I left everyone know when those player pages are finally updated.
34 comments, Last at 30 May 2012, 11:50pm by erniecohen