Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Dec 2013

Lavonte David's Quietly Huge Year

You may remember a lot of talk from us last year about J.J. Watt's record of 56 Defeats in the 2012 regular season. "Defeats" are our stat that combine the following three types of plays:

1) Tackles for a loss
2) Turnovers, or pass deflections leading to interceptions by someone else
3) Tackles, assists, or PDs that prevent conversion on third or fourth down.

Watt's total of 56 last completely blew away the historical field. Our counts of Defeats go back to 1996 and the previous record had been 45 by Ray Lewis in 1999. Derrick Brooks in 1999 was the only other player to ever top 40...

... until this week.

Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had four Defeats against Buffalo this week, giving him 43 on the season. It would take three huge games, but he's within sight of Watt's record. More likely, he ends up with about 50 Defeats, the second highest total since 1996.

Cataloging David's 43 Defeats, we have:

  • 7 sacks (6.0, technically, but since an assist is a Defeat, half-sacks are full Defeats)
  • 5 interceptions
  • 2 PDs on third downs
  • 3 TFL after pass receptions
  • 8 tackles to prevent third-down conversions on pass receptions
  • 13 TFL on runs, including a safety
  • 5 tackles to prevent third-down conversions on runs (one of which was also a TFL)
  • 1 stuff of Mark Ingram on fourth-and-goal

Of course David's season isn't quite as amazing as Watt's. Most of the all-time leaders in Defeats are linebackers. Watt not only set the overall record, he destroyed the previous record for Defeats by a defensive lineman, which had been 37 by Detroit's Robert Porcher in 1997. But it's a pretty damn amazing season for a player who doesn't get a lot of press on a team that started 0-8. You may not have realized this, but Tampa Bay is sixth in defensive DVOA.

Here are your Defeats leaders through Week 14 of 2013:




54-L.David TB OLB 43
58-T.Davis CAR OLB 29
99-J.Watt HOU DE 28
50-K.Alonso BUF ILB 27
59-L.Kuechly CAR ILB 27
56-K.Dansby ARI ILB 26
52-A.Ogletree STL OLB 26
94-Ke.Burnett OAK OLB 26
53-N.Bowman SF ILB 25
55-S.Tulloch DET ILB 25
94-R.Quinn STL DE 25
51-P.Posluszny JAC ILB 24
51-D.Smith BAL ILB 24
98-R.Mathis IND OLB 24

T.J. Ward of Cleveland leads all safeties with 20 Defeats. Kyle Williams of Buffalo leads defensive tackles with 20 Defeats. Four different cornerbacks are tied for the lead with 17 Defeats: William Gay, Corey Graham, Chris Harris, and Tramon Williams.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 10 Dec 2013

19 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2014, 6:42pm by longchamp v


by SnackCracker (not verified) :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 1:30pm

Hmm...Tramon Williams. I thought he was being unfairly maligned by other Packer fans.

by Arkaein :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 3:41pm

It's pretty impressive actually, considering he only has a couple of INTs. I'd guess most CBs with a high number of defeats get more INTs than he's had this season.

by drobviousso :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 6:23pm

Heh, same way with William Gay. If there's an unsolved littering offense in Pittsburgh, there's a Steelers fan somewhere convinced that Gay is the offender.

by James-London :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 1:50pm

Remind me why Miami released Karlos Dansby & Kevin Burnett, both on the leaderboard, for Phillip Wheeler and Daniel Ellerbe, neither of who make it?

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by James-London :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 1:51pm

Double post. Apologies

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Go Nebraska!! (not verified) :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 3:01pm

yay! for a nebraska defensive product (coach or player :) ) who isn't in the news for being the dirtiest player in the nfl, weekly unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, ranting like a crazy person at the media and fans, or getting fired for smoking crack in florida.

huskers rock!

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 4:28pm

Lavonte David was notably and shockingly good in his very first game, and he's basically never slacked off. I keep trying to tell people how good he is; thanks for the verification of it.

by Bobman :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 6:34pm

Well, didn't he start the year with a highlight reel late hit OB penalty that gave his opponents a win (well, a chance they capitalized on FTW). That's a lot bigger than any 3rd down defeat and bigger than all but his goal line defeat. Shouldn't that count against him?

Put another way, that play was touted as basically the "stupidest play of the year" for all of a week. I guess he redeemed himself, eh?

by eddy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 8:03pm

No, he was so good last year that the momentary brain fart was easy to forget, if you know football that is. Unless you think "momentum" and that somehow, had Lavonte not pushed Geno, the bucs would not have lost the next 7 games.

by Bobman :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 4:48pm

I never quite bought into the momentum thing but one penalty causing them to lose the next seven games--now THAT's momentum.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 8:55pm

L. David excellent plyer. On,persoanl,all pro team. Tjought excellent last yr too

by nweb (not verified) :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 3:19pm

I'm on record as saying he should've been D ROY over Luke, that was close, this year its not, he's killing it, it'll be a crying shame if he's not an all-pro, but I fear he won't being out of TB.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 9:18pm

Also had l. David as droy la st yr. Probably wrote it here last yr

by bubqr :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 6:59am

T.Davis 2 does not shock me. Him and Kuechly jump off the screen when watching the Panthers, which his just flat out crazy when you consider what T.Davis had to go through.

Side question to SF fans, I was incredibly disappointed watching Patrick Willis this week - On a throw to I'm not sure who (Luke Wilson?), he nearly looked slow. I was not sure if it was the same LB that I saw recovering a fumble (vs the Seahawks?) and outrunning every player on the field, RB/WR included, for a return TD in his rookie or 2nd year. Is there anything wrong with him?

by jimbohead :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 4:47pm

There hasn't been anything on the injury report about him in a while. My impression is that he's having an off-year, and that Bowman is picking up a lot of slack.

I remember the Wilson catch you're referring to. Willis did look like he got burned, but after that catch I don't remember any TEs really getting open for the rest of the game....

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 7:03pm

He's been fighting a groin injury.

by nweb (not verified) :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 3:27pm

And yes, Watt was (is) amazing. That 56 shattered the record, the equivalent would've been McGwire, Sosa or Bonds hitting 76 homers to break Maris' record.

by Bobman :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 4:50pm

Without roids.

Since those guys were all juiced and Watt, presumably, is not, it'd be even more impressive. I hate to say it as a Colts fan, but I love watching that guy play.

by longchamp v (not verified) :: Tue, 01/07/2014 - 6:42pm

There's definately a great deal to know about this subject. I like all of the points you've made.
longchamp v