DVOA by Route: Cardinals Need to Unleash Kyler Murray

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Preseason Week 3 - The Arizona Cardinals have shown Kyler Murray the money. Now they need to show they have faith in him to throw to an entire route tree.

Earlier this week, we looked at the best and worst receivers in the NFL's most common routes, and today we're going to do the same with quarterbacks. And while there was nothing wrong with Murray's performance on those routes—by DVOA, he ranked above average on nine of them and below average on just three—his distribution of targets was the most unusual in the league. The following table shows Murray's DYAR, DVOA, and target rate on these 12 routes:

Kyler Murray Performance on NFL's Most Common Routes, 2021
Route DYAR Rk DVOA Rk Tgt% Rk
Curl 113 9 9.5% 7 16.0% 9
WR/TE Screen 34 3 -2.4% 3 10.7% 3
Broken Play 86 5 16.1% 9 8.8% 5
Out 73 9 21.6% 4 6.6% 33
Slant 1 27 -11.8% 27 6.2% 20
Corner 63 12 38.3% 19 3.4% 9
Deep Cross 42 15 25.2% 17 3.0% 22
Dig 38 21 27.6% 6 3.0% 32
Go/Fly 21 15 10.4% 17 2.6% 21
Post 81 11 98.2% 5 2.4% 17
Flats 44 6 65.9% 1 1.7% 33
Drag -21 27 -69.2% 33 1.1% 33

The table is sorted by DYAR, so you can see that Murray did most of his damage on curls but was below replacement level on drags. (Technically, the DYAR and DVOA numbers in this story are receiving DVOA, not passing DVOA. If we used passing DVOA, we'd be including sacks in the baseline, which means league average for all throws would be way above zero percent.) That's a product of small sample size, however, because Murray threw only five drag routes all year; for comparison's sake, Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers led the league with 37 targets on drag routes. In the far right column, you can see that Murray ranked dead last out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks in 2021 in target share on drag routes. In fact, if you sort by that column, you'll see that he was also last in target rates in outs and flats, and next to last in digs. That's four of the eight most common routes in the league that Murray either wouldn't or couldn't use to attack opposing defenses.

So if he wasn't throwing digs, drags, flats, or outs, what was Murray throwing instead? He ranked third in WR/TE screens, as Arizona's most frequent passing tactic (relative to league average) was to take the ball out of Murray's hands and give it to Rondale Moore … though, to be fair, the Cardinals were much better on screens than most teams. Arizona also ranked fifth in rate of broken plays ("What game plan? Kyler will figure something out.") and ninth in both curls and corners. He was below average in frequency of all other routes listed here.

Murray also had some extreme performances on less common routes. His 71 DYAR on 19 running back screens was second only to Mac Jones of the New England Patriots. He was also in the top five in DYAR on seam routes and fade patterns. On the flip side, he was sixth from the bottom in DYAR on swing routes, and only Zach Wilson of the New York Jets had worse DYAR on jet sweep passes.

Extreme DYAR in either direction is a sign of volume. Combine all of this information and you see the Cardinals loved screens of all sorts, along with swing routes and jet sweep passes. That's a lot of throws to targets at or behind the line of scrimmage, leaning on the receiver more than the passer to make a play. When Murray did throw downfield, it was typically on curl routes, the most common and predictable throw in the league, or low-percentage corner, seam, or fade routes, which are collectively completed less than half the time in the NFL.

It's interesting that Murray's tendency to ignore certain routes has been around for a while—we ran a graphic in Football Outsiders Almanac 2021 showing the missing branches of Arizona's route tree—but the identity of those routes has changed. In both the past two years, he avoided digs, drags, and flats. In 2020, however, Murray threw plenty of outs while avoiding posts and corners. Regardless, this tendency to forget certain routes exist for long periods of time is a pattern, not a fluke.

What could Murray do with the missing pages of the playbook? An increase in digs and outs would give him more and better chances to complete midrange passes for first downs; more flats and drags would diversify the YAC-oriented schemes that already make up a significant chunk of Kliff Kingsbury's Air Raid. (They would also take away from WR/TE screens, where Murray still had a negative DVOA.) Anything that makes Arizona's offense less predictable will make Murray more difficult to defend, and considering Murray was already in the top 10 in passing DYAR and DVOA, even a modest improvement would make him a viable MVP candidate. That's what the Cardinals were hoping for when they guaranteed Murray over $100 million in July. That contract originally included a clause, since removed, mandating independent film study. Perhaps they were hoping that improved study habits would help Murray throw more to all areas of the field.

The following tables show the route numbers on each of the 12 most common routes for all quarterbacks with at least 200 passes. We have also included Jameis Winston, who threw 161 passes for New Orleans and will be starting for the Saints this year.

Curl

Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers led all quarterbacks in curl route DYAR, mostly throwing them to Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, each of whom made the leaderboard for receivers. Letting your big receivers get downfield and box out overwhelmed defensive backs remains an effective strategy.

In last place we find Daniel Jones of the New York Giants. His 65% completion rate on curls was second-worst, better only than Miami's Jacoby Brissett, who threw less than half as many curls as Jones did. Jones was worst in DVOA on curls, while the passer with the best DVOA is a surprise: Washington's Taylor Heinicke.

Chicago Bears quarterbacks Justin Fields and Andy Dalton finished one-two in rate of curl routes, because Matt Nagy's offense was nothing if not basic. Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers had by far the league's lowest curl rate, barely half that of anyone else. Because when you're the MVP and you can put the ball anywhere on the field, you're not going to pick the route defenses are expecting very often.

Curl Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
10-J.Herbert LAC 200 13.9% 103 15.4% 6.8 75% 6.0 3.4
15-P.Mahomes KC 186 14.7% 94 15.0% 7.6 79% 6.6 3.5
17-R.Tannehill TEN 132 12.8% 78 14.7% 8.1 81% 7.4 2.4
9-M.Stafford LAR 128 8.4% 85 14.1% 6.9 77% 6.6 2.5
12-T.Brady TB 128 7.4% 91 12.7% 7.0 74% 7.9 2.8
17-J.Allen BUF 125 0.0% 134 21.5% 7.0 73% 6.7 3.2
4-D.Carr LV 118 7.3% 89 14.5% 7.3 81% 5.0 4.1
4-T.Heinicke WAS 115 22.3% 50 10.2% 8.0 84% 6.2 3.7
1-K.Murray ARI 113 9.5% 75 16.0% 7.5 82% 7.7 2.4
4-D.Prescott DAL 100 2.6% 99 16.5% 7.1 73% 6.9 3.0
2-M.Ryan ATL 96 4.9% 82 14.8% 6.6 74% 5.7 3.0
8-K.Cousins MIN 93 13.0% 55 10.1% 7.7 80% 7.1 2.8
16-J.Goff DET 91 10.3% 57 12.0% 7.2 88% 5.9 2.4
8-L.Jackson BAL 75 2.5% 73 19.5% 7.5 71% 6.7 3.5
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 62 0.0% 73 17.8% 7.0 79% 6.5 2.4
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 39 -1.1% 49 13.1% 7.8 69% 7.0 4.1
9-J.Burrow CIN 37 -4.4% 72 14.0% 6.7 75% 5.1 4.1
14-S.Darnold CAR 36 0.1% 45 11.7% 7.6 69% 6.2 4.8
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA 31 -2.7% 46 12.0% 6.2 78% 6.2 2.2
10-M.Jones NE 30 -4.6% 62 11.9% 6.1 73% 6.3 2.3
1-J.Hurts PHI 26 -5.2% 51 12.3% 7.0 68% 7.0 3.6
3-R.Wilson SEA 23 -5.4% 49 12.4% 6.8 76% 6.1 3.6
2-J.Winston NO 22 4.2% 18 11.7% 7.3 78% 5.7 3.1
14-A.Dalton CHI 19 -6.5% 50 21.7% 6.5 69% 8.2 1.9
16-T.Lawrence JAX 19 -9.3% 105 17.9% 6.4 70% 7.2 2.3
12-A.Rodgers GB 17 -3.3% 29 5.6% 6.9 76% 4.7 4.4
6-B.Mayfield CLE 8 -8.8% 42 10.2% 6.0 68% 7.3 1.6
2-C.Wentz IND 3 -11.2% 76 14.9% 6.6 70% 6.4 2.9
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT 2 -9.7% 64 10.5% 5.8 71% 5.6 2.4
10-D.Mills HOU -2 -12.2% 61 15.8% 6.1 78% 6.1 2.0
1-J.Fields CHI -8 -13.7% 62 23.3% 6.4 65% 7.2 2.4
14-J.Brissett MIA -9 -16.9% 29 13.1% 5.9 62% 6.0 3.6
10-J.Garoppolo SF -10 -15.1% 46 10.7% 7.3 78% 7.6 2.3
8-D.Jones NYG -68 -27.2% 65 18.2% 6.6 65% 8.0 1.9

Out

Cooper Kupp was the NFL's best receiver last year. Cooper Kupp did most of his damage on out routes. Matthew Stafford was the one throwing passes to Cooper Kupp. So, naturally, Stafford has a comfortable lead in out route DYAR. His Super Bowl rival, Joe Burrow, finishes in second place. Stafford and Burrow are both former first overall draft picks. So is Trevor Lawrence, but he was not successful on outs last year, finishing last in both DYAR and DVOA. The DVOA leader was Teddy Bridgewater, last year's starter for the Denver Broncos who is now the backup for the Miami Dolphins. In second place: Jacoby Brissett, last year's backup for the Miami Dolphins.

Jared Goff of the Detroit Lions, another former first overall pick, had the highest out rate in the NFL. Former first overall pick Kyler Murray had the lowest out rate, followed by former second overall pick Carson Wentz.

Out Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
9-M.Stafford LAR 163 15.7% 74 12.3% 7.5 77% 7.4 3.0
9-J.Burrow CIN 124 21.7% 50 9.7% 9.0 76% 7.6 3.8
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 121 45.5% 31 7.5% 9.1 77% 7.9 3.5
15-P.Mahomes KC 98 12.2% 61 9.7% 6.9 66% 8.0 3.2
8-K.Cousins MIN 84 13.3% 44 8.1% 6.8 72% 7.5 1.6
17-R.Tannehill TEN 81 9.5% 50 9.5% 8.3 73% 8.9 3.2
10-J.Garoppolo SF 79 13.0% 48 11.1% 6.6 65% 7.7 4.8
4-D.Carr LV 79 2.9% 74 12.1% 6.5 77% 5.9 2.8
1-K.Murray ARI 73 21.6% 31 6.6% 8.7 77% 7.7 3.1
4-T.Heinicke WAS 72 9.6% 50 10.2% 7.3 64% 9.4 2.1
4-D.Prescott DAL 61 3.1% 63 10.5% 6.8 75% 8.0 2.1
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA 60 5.6% 48 12.5% 6.8 81% 6.5 2.6
14-J.Brissett MIA 52 24.0% 21 9.5% 8.4 80% 6.9 3.0
12-A.Rodgers GB 50 1.6% 45 8.6% 5.4 75% 6.6 2.0
10-M.Jones NE 41 -2.8% 64 12.2% 6.9 75% 6.5 2.9
3-R.Wilson SEA 39 0.7% 48 12.2% 7.8 79% 6.7 3.3
6-B.Mayfield CLE 38 -2.0% 56 13.6% 6.9 68% 7.6 2.6
2-C.Wentz IND 37 0.0% 38 7.5% 7.2 69% 9.3 1.4
10-J.Herbert LAC 34 -7.0% 91 13.6% 6.9 70% 7.3 2.5
16-J.Goff DET 26 -6.6% 75 15.8% 6.1 64% 7.5 1.8
12-T.Brady TB 21 -7.9% 65 9.1% 5.4 65% 7.5 1.6
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT 20 -8.6% 90 14.8% 6.0 68% 6.2 3.0
14-A.Dalton CHI 19 -0.8% 28 12.2% 7.0 63% 9.7 2.1
1-J.Hurts PHI 15 -4.9% 43 10.4% 6.4 60% 8.7 2.0
10-D.Mills HOU 9 -8.3% 47 12.2% 6.2 67% 7.0 2.8
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 4 -11.8% 45 12.0% 6.3 64% 8.0 2.0
2-J.Winston NO -1 -13.0% 20 13.0% 5.8 70% 8.5 1.9
14-S.Darnold CAR -3 -13.3% 36 9.3% 6.4 69% 6.1 3.7
2-M.Ryan ATL -5 -13.5% 48 8.7% 5.8 59% 7.6 2.9
8-L.Jackson BAL -8 -13.0% 49 13.1% 5.2 65% 6.7 2.2
17-J.Allen BUF -16 -16.9% 49 7.9% 6.4 69% 7.3 2.3
1-J.Fields CHI -16 -17.9% 35 13.2% 5.8 60% 7.2 2.1
8-D.Jones NYG -19 -17.0% 44 12.3% 5.5 61% 6.4 2.5
16-T.Lawrence JAX -65 -24.1% 76 12.9% 5.6 62% 6.5 3.3

Slant

The leader here was not a former first overall pick. It was a former 199th overall pick. You know the one. Tall. Handsome. Old. Florida Man. Meanwhile, the last-place finisher in slant DYAR was Justin Fields, a handsome young former 11th overall pick who's living in Chicago these days. That's particularly impressive because Fields only threw 12 slants all year. Only three of those were completed, for a total of 36 yards and one first down. That put him in last place by a mile in DVOA. The best in DVOA was Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders, but this is something of a small-sample size fluke; Carr was also last in slant target rate. His new coach, Josh McDaniels, was offensive coordinator last year in New England, where Mac Jones finished third from the bottom in slant rate, so Carr shouldn't have to make many adjustments there.

Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins had the NFL's highest slant rate, perhaps a by-product of playing in an RPO-heavy scheme; Jacoby Brissett was also in the top 10. Jimmy Garoppolo of the 49ers was second in slant rate, and his old offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel is now running the show in Miami, so Tagovailoa should still be throwing plenty of slants this fall.

Slant Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
12-T.Brady TB 178 36.1% 47 6.6% 8.3 76% 6.4 4.8
9-J.Burrow CIN 136 19.6% 52 10.1% 10.1 67% 6.8 8.0
10-D.Mills HOU 111 38.4% 27 7.0% 8.4 78% 6.1 4.8
12-A.Rodgers GB 105 15.4% 46 8.8% 7.6 68% 6.7 4.5
17-R.Tannehill TEN 105 22.3% 41 7.8% 9.4 75% 7.5 5.6
8-D.Jones NYG 94 20.1% 37 10.4% 9.5 71% 8.0 5.8
4-D.Carr LV 88 42.1% 22 3.6% 10.0 77% 7.2 4.8
10-J.Garoppolo SF 82 11.6% 48 11.1% 8.5 67% 7.1 5.5
2-M.Ryan ATL 79 10.4% 58 10.5% 8.7 70% 7.8 4.2
15-P.Mahomes KC 75 18.2% 32 5.1% 7.8 63% 7.4 5.6
10-M.Jones NE 71 25.1% 23 4.4% 10.2 71% 8.7 5.7
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA 65 5.3% 53 13.8% 7.5 65% 7.0 4.5
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 57 24.5% 20 5.3% 8.4 65% 6.3 5.6
14-S.Darnold CAR 56 13.0% 28 7.3% 7.4 64% 7.1 4.8
16-J.Goff DET 46 17.6% 21 4.4% 8.7 65% 6.9 6.7
4-T.Heinicke WAS 45 3.8% 35 7.2% 7.2 63% 6.5 4.1
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT 44 -2.0% 52 8.6% 7.4 59% 4.6 8.3
8-K.Cousins MIN 42 2.2% 39 7.2% 8.0 67% 6.6 4.8
4-D.Prescott DAL 39 -1.5% 46 7.7% 6.4 63% 7.2 3.1
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 36 6.0% 27 6.6% 8.0 74% 7.0 3.7
8-L.Jackson BAL 36 9.3% 24 6.4% 8.8 71% 7.5 4.5
17-J.Allen BUF 35 -1.5% 38 6.1% 5.7 59% 7.3 2.5
6-B.Mayfield CLE 24 2.5% 25 6.1% 7.6 68% 6.7 3.9
9-M.Stafford LAR 24 -1.2% 31 5.1% 6.3 57% 5.5 4.9
14-A.Dalton CHI 9 -4.1% 15 6.5% 7.1 67% 6.3 5.0
16-T.Lawrence JAX 8 -9.0% 34 5.8% 6.9 59% 6.9 4.6
1-K.Murray ARI 1 -11.8% 29 6.2% 6.5 61% 5.7 3.6
2-J.Winston NO -1 -14.6% 8 5.2% 4.5 57% 5.4 3.3
14-J.Brissett MIA -7 -15.6% 18 8.1% 6.6 72% 7.3 1.7
2-C.Wentz IND -8 -16.6% 27 5.3% 5.2 56% 6.3 2.7
10-J.Herbert LAC -20 -18.6% 39 5.8% 5.4 59% 4.9 4.1
1-J.Hurts PHI -25 -31.9% 17 4.1% 4.9 53% 6.6 2.8
3-R.Wilson SEA -31 -29.0% 25 6.3% 5.3 48% 8.3 3.7
1-J.Fields CHI -48 -66.5% 12 4.5% 3.0 25% 8.4 3.7

WR/TE Screen

Patrick Mahomes was the NFL's best passer on its worst play, but that's no surprise because Mecole Hardman led all receivers in the same category. What is surprising is Baker Mayfield in second place, because no Cleveland Browns players even qualified for the receiving table. But Mayfield crushed the field with a 40.7% DVOA on WR/TE screens (Mahomes was the only other passer in positive numbers). Demetric Felton, Austin Hooper, Jarvis Landry, and David Njoku each gained at least 30 yards on a WR/TE screen last year, making the Browns the only team with four plays so long. (The 49ers were second with three, all by Deebo Samuel.)

By DYAR, Russell Wilson was the league's worst passer on WR/TE screens. By DVOA, however, he'll actually be an upgrade in Denver, where Teddy Bridgewater finished in last place. Bridgewater's mind-boggling numbers on WR/TE screens: 8-of-11, 15 yards, zero first downs, zero successful completions, three completions that went backwards. Even by WR/TE screen standards, that's a bad performance. So it's a good thing that Bridgewater only threw a WR/TE screen on 2.7% of his passes, the lowest rate in the NFL. Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles narrowly edged out Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers for the highest WR/TE screen rate in the league.

WR/TE Screen Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
15-P.Mahomes KC 78 7.8% 49 7.8% 6.8 98% -1.9 8.9
6-B.Mayfield CLE 75 40.7% 25 6.1% 9.8 96% -2.7 12.5
1-K.Murray ARI 34 -2.4% 50 10.7% 6.7 94% -2.2 9.4
12-A.Rodgers GB 24 -6.7% 65 12.5% 6.1 94% -1.1 7.6
2-M.Ryan ATL 8 -8.3% 28 5.1% 6.8 89% -2.4 10.4
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA 4 -9.1% 20 5.2% 6.0 100% -2.6 8.6
2-J.Winston NO 3 -6.8% 13 8.4% 6.7 77% -3.2 12.6
14-A.Dalton CHI -4 -14.8% 18 7.8% 7.6 100% -2.4 10.1
9-M.Stafford LAR -17 -15.0% 56 9.3% 6.4 89% -1.9 9.3
14-J.Brissett MIA -21 -37.2% 11 5.0% 3.9 91% -1.9 6.4
10-J.Garoppolo SF -22 -21.8% 37 8.6% 8.6 84% -2.7 12.8
2-C.Wentz IND -22 -20.0% 35 6.9% 4.5 86% -2.7 8.0
16-T.Lawrence JAX -31 -20.3% 46 7.8% 6.2 91% -1.3 8.4
1-J.Fields CHI -31 -60.1% 10 3.8% 2.1 80% -3.0 6.0
2-Z.Wilson NYJ -31 -26.9% 30 8.0% 4.5 76% -2.6 8.2
4-T.Heinicke WAS -32 -24.3% 33 6.8% 5.2 85% -2.7 8.3
4-D.Carr LV -37 -27.3% 31 5.1% 4.1 90% -2.8 7.1
10-M.Jones NE -47 -42.8% 25 4.8% 6.3 80% -1.6 9.6
8-K.Cousins MIN -48 -32.2% 33 6.1% 5.7 91% -2.5 8.8
8-D.Jones NYG -51 -43.2% 23 6.4% 4.5 91% -2.7 8.0
1-J.Hurts PHI -53 -27.1% 52 12.6% 5.8 85% -2.9 9.8
5-T.Bridgewater DEN -56 -108.0% 11 2.7% 1.4 73% -2.4 4.1
12-T.Brady TB -63 -23.9% 70 9.8% 5.7 94% -2.1 8.2
16-J.Goff DET -68 -38.8% 37 7.8% 4.8 89% -2.8 8.3
8-L.Jackson BAL -70 -75.2% 17 4.5% 4.9 88% -2.1 7.6
17-R.Tannehill TEN -71 -46.0% 29 5.5% 4.0 79% -2.7 8.1
4-D.Prescott DAL -73 -35.4% 44 7.3% 5.6 84% -2.4 9.1
10-J.Herbert LAC -73 -46.1% 29 4.3% 3.7 90% -3.3 7.4
9-J.Burrow CIN -75 -39.5% 40 7.8% 5.5 88% -1.9 8.0
14-S.Darnold CAR -79 -40.9% 37 9.6% 4.2 81% -2.1 7.3
10-D.Mills HOU -79 -45.1% 35 9.1% 4.9 91% -3.0 8.5
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT -84 -31.7% 57 9.4% 4.3 86% -1.9 6.8
17-J.Allen BUF -97 -37.3% 51 8.2% 4.5 94% -2.1 7.1
3-R.Wilson SEA -124 -64.1% 35 8.9% 3.5 86% -2.7 7.2

Dig

We should just rename the dig "the Kyle Shanahan," because it's the staple of his offense. Jimmy Garoppolo finished first in DYAR in 2021 after Nick Mullens ranked first in 2020, Garoppolo ranked third in 2019, and Mullens ranked eighth in 2018. Garoppolo's dig rate of 15.1% was also the highest in the league by a country mile; nobody else even hit 10.0%. Using play-action to open space behind the linebackers in the middle of the field is what Shanahan does, so expect Trey Lance to rank highly in this space next August.

It's not often we can say that Patrick Mahomes was last in anything, but the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback was last in dig DYAR and DVOA in 2021. Total numbers on digs: 15-of-29 for 174 yards. For comparison's sake, 61% of all dig routes were completed last year, for an average gain of 8.7 yards per throw.

Garoppolo threw more digs than anyone, but his NFC West rivals, Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, threw the fewest. This may be height-related; Murray had the lowest target rate on digs in 2020, and Wilson has usually had one of the lowest dig rates in the league.

Dig Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
10-J.Garoppolo SF 204 31.3% 65 15.1% 11.4 66% 10.6 6.6
12-A.Rodgers GB 149 61.8% 27 5.2% 13.9 77% 12.9 4.7
9-J.Burrow CIN 103 20.7% 42 8.2% 10.5 79% 8.7 4.6
4-D.Carr LV 86 20.6% 36 5.9% 10.9 69% 12.2 4.2
10-J.Herbert LAC 84 24.9% 31 4.6% 9.9 52% 9.6 9.1
14-S.Darnold CAR 75 36.6% 22 5.7% 11.5 73% 10.1 5.3
4-T.Heinicke WAS 75 20.4% 32 6.6% 9.6 65% 13.5 1.7
1-J.Hurts PHI 75 41.1% 20 4.8% 12.7 70% 13.5 4.3
8-K.Cousins MIN 70 8.0% 51 9.4% 8.3 59% 10.1 3.8
10-M.Jones NE 69 9.6% 47 9.0% 7.8 65% 11.3 1.7
2-M.Ryan ATL 67 11.8% 38 6.9% 8.4 64% 10.6 2.7
17-J.Allen BUF 65 25.2% 26 4.2% 8.7 65% 11.8 2.5
10-D.Mills HOU 63 48.4% 15 3.9% 12.4 73% 13.3 3.1
16-J.Goff DET 57 17.5% 25 5.3% 9.6 74% 10.9 2.9
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 55 15.0% 27 6.6% 9.0 58% 10.6 4.0
2-C.Wentz IND 49 9.0% 33 6.5% 7.7 64% 10.8 1.9
4-D.Prescott DAL 45 4.9% 38 6.3% 8.5 62% 10.9 3.7
12-T.Brady TB 41 1.3% 39 5.5% 8.0 59% 10.7 2.5
16-T.Lawrence JAX 39 7.0% 27 4.6% 8.2 59% 11.4 2.6
8-D.Jones NYG 38 12.6% 21 5.9% 8.5 62% 11.6 2.8
1-K.Murray ARI 38 27.6% 14 3.0% 8.6 71% 10.8 1.5
9-M.Stafford LAR 21 -5.0% 45 7.5% 7.0 53% 12.5 2.0
6-B.Mayfield CLE 21 1.2% 24 5.8% 7.1 54% 9.9 4.5
17-R.Tannehill TEN 20 -6.9% 44 8.3% 7.4 57% 10.6 2.6
14-A.Dalton CHI 15 10.1% 9 3.9% 8.2 56% 12.3 4.2
8-L.Jackson BAL 12 -1.2% 13 3.5% 9.3 46% 13.9 4.0
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 11 -5.4% 22 5.9% 7.1 57% 10.3 1.8
3-R.Wilson SEA 10 13.6% 6 1.5% 7.2 67% 8.8 2.5
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT 6 -8.4% 31 5.1% 6.0 61% 6.4 5.0
2-J.Winston NO 5 2.8% 6 3.9% 7.7 50% 10.0 5.0
1-J.Fields CHI -5 -17.6% 11 4.1% 6.2 45% 13.5 1.2
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA -6 -16.3% 19 4.9% 7.9 37% 13.1 8.7
14-J.Brissett MIA -8 -22.5% 11 5.0% 4.5 45% 9.4 1.8
15-P.Mahomes KC -34 -24.8% 30 4.8% 6.1 52% 10.6 2.9

Flats

There are no surprises at the top of this table. AJ Dillon, Leonard Fournette, and Tony Pollard were the top three receivers on flat routes, and Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Dak Prescott were the top three passers. But the lowest-rate passer—Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills—is quite a surprise. Allen struggled with the flats in Buffalo (no report on how he handled the drums), and you can't blame those struggles on any one receiver. Dawson Knox, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, and Devin Singletary all had negative DYAR on multiple flat targets. At least Allen fared better than Davis Mills of the Houston Texans, who threw 22 flat routs and picked up one (ONE!) first down.

Kyler Murray had the NFL's lowest flat rate but its highest DVOA, completing all eight of his passes for 67 yards and (cover your eyes, Davis Mills) six first downs. As we saw in WR/TE screens, Jalen Hurts and Aaron Rodgers finish one-two in target rate.

Flat Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
12-A.Rodgers GB 128 28.5% 45 8.6% 7.6 96% 1.3 6.7
12-T.Brady TB 81 15.2% 44 6.2% 5.4 86% 0.9 5.3
4-D.Prescott DAL 78 9.7% 50 8.3% 6.0 90% 1.3 5.2
17-R.Tannehill TEN 76 22.1% 32 6.0% 7.1 94% 1.9 5.4
15-P.Mahomes KC 73 9.3% 46 7.3% 6.2 91% -0.1 6.9
1-K.Murray ARI 44 65.9% 8 1.7% 8.4 100% 1.9 6.5
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 39 15.9% 24 6.4% 6.7 79% 1.3 7.0
10-J.Herbert LAC 37 2.0% 45 6.7% 7.0 84% 1.5 6.7
2-J.Winston NO 33 38.7% 10 6.5% 7.1 90% 1.5 6.2
1-J.Hurts PHI 29 1.4% 36 8.7% 6.1 81% 1.6 6.0
6-B.Mayfield CLE 24 3.8% 22 5.3% 5.0 73% 1.4 5.8
2-M.Ryan ATL 22 -2.8% 34 6.1% 5.0 88% 0.9 4.2
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 18 2.7% 21 5.1% 5.3 76% 1.9 5.1
10-M.Jones NE 16 -4.3% 27 5.2% 4.9 81% 0.7 4.8
2-C.Wentz IND 13 -5.4% 34 6.7% 5.7 76% 1.7 5.8
14-S.Darnold CAR 12 -5.9% 26 6.7% 5.7 92% 1.5 4.6
8-L.Jackson BAL 6 -10.3% 19 5.1% 6.4 79% 0.4 7.7
9-M.Stafford LAR 6 -8.0% 19 3.2% 4.9 84% 1.7 4.2
4-D.Carr LV 3 -11.9% 37 6.0% 5.9 89% 1.1 5.5
3-R.Wilson SEA -2 -13.3% 23 5.8% 5.7 78% 1.6 5.7
9-J.Burrow CIN -3 -12.5% 33 6.4% 5.7 85% 0.8 6.1
1-J.Fields CHI -4 -17.3% 12 4.5% 4.2 92% 1.7 3.1
4-T.Heinicke WAS -8 -19.6% 20 4.1% 5.3 80% 0.1 6.7
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT -12 -16.4% 38 6.3% 4.9 82% -0.3 6.4
10-J.Garoppolo SF -15 -39.6% 9 2.1% 4.3 100% 1.7 2.7
8-K.Cousins MIN -18 -21.9% 28 5.2% 5.8 75% 1.7 6.0
14-A.Dalton CHI -24 -36.2% 14 6.1% 3.0 57% 1.1 4.0
8-D.Jones NYG -24 -33.1% 19 5.3% 3.7 89% 0.9 3.2
14-J.Brissett MIA -26 -40.9% 14 6.3% 2.4 79% 0.4 3.0
16-J.Goff DET -28 -26.9% 27 5.7% 3.7 81% 1.1 3.5
16-T.Lawrence JAX -33 -30.0% 22 3.7% 4.4 68% 0.7 5.4
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA -44 -31.4% 29 7.6% 2.9 86% 0.9 2.6
10-D.Mills HOU -72 -63.5% 22 5.7% 2.6 73% -0.4 4.1
17-J.Allen BUF -91 -46.2% 34 5.5% 3.5 76% 0.9 3.7

Broken Play

Patrick Mahomes was the best when things were at their worst. He was one of three quarterbacks with more than 10.0% of their throws on broken plays, but his 41.4% DVOA and 229 DYAR were both best in the league, the latter figure better than anyone else by nearly 100 DYAR. Mahomes threw seven touchdowns on broken plays, including gains of 38, 46, and 75 yards.

For all his gifts and skills, Matthew Stafford was not particularly effective when things broke down. He threw 28 passes on broken plays but only picked up four first downs. Ben Roethlisberger was even worse, with 20 passes and three first downs. That's why they finished last in DYAR and DVOA, respectively.

This is a category where it's better to have a low target rate than a high one, all things considered. Ryan Tannehill, Tom Brady, and Kirk Cousins had the lowest rate of broken plays in the NFL, while Jalen Hurts, Mahomes, and Zach Wilson had the highest.

Broken Play Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
15-P.Mahomes KC 229 41.4% 66 10.5% 11.3 53% 15.5 6.2
4-D.Prescott DAL 124 35.0% 38 6.3% 10.3 62% 13.0 6.2
17-J.Allen BUF 119 22.5% 51 8.2% 9.0 55% 14.8 2.7
4-D.Carr LV 102 34.5% 29 4.7% 11.2 67% 13.4 3.9
1-K.Murray ARI 86 16.1% 41 8.8% 9.4 59% 11.2 5.0
8-L.Jackson BAL 84 32.6% 30 8.0% 8.6 62% 13.8 1.3
10-D.Mills HOU 53 21.5% 22 5.7% 10.3 64% 11.4 5.4
9-J.Burrow CIN 39 10.8% 24 4.7% 7.7 50% 17.0 3.8
10-J.Garoppolo SF 30 22.2% 13 3.0% 9.5 58% 11.8 4.7
14-A.Dalton CHI 29 34.5% 8 3.5% 12.4 71% 12.6 3.2
12-A.Rodgers GB 28 1.6% 34 6.5% 5.6 56% 10.1 2.2
3-R.Wilson SEA 27 -0.2% 31 7.8% 8.5 48% 18.9 3.6
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 25 6.5% 19 4.6% 7.6 79% 5.8 5.7
12-T.Brady TB 19 8.2% 14 2.0% 8.6 43% 12.9 4.8
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 15 -6.2% 39 10.4% 8.2 37% 14.4 4.3
1-J.Hurts PHI 15 -7.8% 45 10.9% 7.5 44% 13.2 3.2
1-J.Fields CHI 15 -1.1% 19 7.1% 8.2 44% 19.3 0.9
14-J.Brissett MIA 14 -3.5% 22 9.9% 7.5 48% 15.7 1.9
17-R.Tannehill TEN 13 7.3% 9 1.7% 11.8 44% 20.3 5.3
16-J.Goff DET 2 -10.8% 18 3.8% 8.2 50% 10.4 6.1
8-K.Cousins MIN 0 -13.4% 12 2.2% 8.7 50% 12.8 3.2
2-M.Ryan ATL -3 -11.6% 24 4.3% 6.7 63% 7.2 2.7
4-T.Heinicke WAS -8 -16.0% 37 7.6% 6.0 50% 10.3 3.9
10-J.Herbert LAC -8 -16.4% 33 4.9% 6.4 48% 12.5 3.9
14-S.Darnold CAR -10 -18.9% 24 6.2% 6.7 42% 9.4 6.5
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA -16 -33.0% 10 2.6% 4.7 40% 9.8 7.8
2-J.Winston NO -18 -32.1% 13 8.4% 3.9 31% 14.5 4.8
10-M.Jones NE -20 -25.1% 20 3.8% 5.7 42% 12.3 3.6
2-C.Wentz IND -21 -24.1% 29 5.7% 7.2 34% 11.5 1.8
8-D.Jones NYG -29 -41.9% 16 4.5% 5.6 56% 9.8 3.1
6-B.Mayfield CLE -29 -34.1% 21 5.1% 4.3 40% 10.0 2.0
16-T.Lawrence JAX -34 -26.7% 34 5.8% 6.1 33% 17.1 3.1
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT -89 -68.6% 20 3.3% 2.0 25% 13.1 3.4
9-M.Stafford LAR -100 -59.4% 28 4.7% 2.3 29% 8.5 2.1

Drag

Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger were the oldest full-time starters at quarterback last season, but they had wildly different performances on drag routes (and most everywhere else, come to think about it). Brady finished first in DYAR, picking up 12 first downs in 30 throws. Roethlisberger finished last, picking up 8 in 37. The latter number was the highest in the NFL, though he was fourth in drag rate behind Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, and Jacoby Brissett.

Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson had the league's lowest drag target rates, suggesting again that short quarterbacks don't often throw over the middle. But maybe they should—Wilson finished first in DVOA on drags, completing each of his seven passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Then again, Murray was last among full-timers, going 4-of-5 for only 17 yards. Jameis Winston, for the record, had even worse numbers than Murray (2-of-6, 15 yards) and even had more attempts despite missing 10 games.

Drag Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
12-T.Brady TB 77 21.8% 30 4.2% 10.2 79% 4.1 8.7
9-M.Stafford LAR 54 22.9% 20 3.3% 9.8 75% 3.6 9.1
15-P.Mahomes KC 51 14.6% 27 4.3% 6.7 73% 2.9 6.3
2-C.Wentz IND 44 6.2% 36 7.1% 8.7 72% 3.5 8.4
3-R.Wilson SEA 44 86.5% 7 1.8% 11.4 100% 5.3 6.1
9-J.Burrow CIN 42 25.5% 14 2.7% 9.6 93% 2.9 7.9
16-J.Goff DET 39 11.7% 24 5.0% 9.0 83% 3.6 7.2
8-L.Jackson BAL 34 16.4% 17 4.5% 9.5 88% 3.9 6.9
4-D.Prescott DAL 31 10.5% 19 3.2% 8.5 79% 4.6 6.2
10-J.Herbert LAC 30 2.3% 26 3.9% 7.4 65% 3.2 7.6
4-T.Heinicke WAS 27 -0.8% 33 6.8% 8.2 82% 3.2 6.4
14-S.Darnold CAR 24 14.1% 15 3.9% 9.3 80% 3.5 8.3
17-R.Tannehill TEN 18 -2.3% 31 5.9% 6.4 77% 3.9 4.6
10-M.Jones NE 17 0.0% 20 3.8% 7.4 80% 4.2 5.5
1-J.Hurts PHI 11 0.2% 13 3.1% 7.4 77% 4.4 5.9
12-A.Rodgers GB 9 -3.4% 18 3.4% 8.8 65% 3.1 11.0
2-M.Ryan ATL 6 -8.7% 18 3.2% 6.8 78% 3.5 5.4
17-J.Allen BUF 6 -7.7% 19 3.1% 5.9 68% 3.8 5.0
14-A.Dalton CHI 3 -6.0% 9 3.9% 6.4 67% 3.0 7.0
10-J.Garoppolo SF 1 -7.6% 11 2.6% 9.4 55% 3.5 13.0
8-D.Jones NYG -5 -20.3% 9 2.5% 6.2 44% 3.7 9.3
10-D.Mills HOU -5 -16.3% 16 4.2% 5.3 69% 3.8 3.9
8-K.Cousins MIN -7 -18.0% 13 2.4% 5.2 77% 3.6 3.1
5-T.Bridgewater DEN -8 -16.8% 15 3.6% 5.2 80% 3.0 3.1
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA -13 -25.9% 12 3.1% 6.2 75% 3.2 5.2
1-J.Fields CHI -14 -36.0% 6 2.3% 3.3 50% 2.7 3.3
1-K.Murray ARI -21 -69.2% 5 1.1% 3.4 80% 3.2 1.0
14-J.Brissett MIA -22 -30.5% 14 6.3% 3.1 64% 3.5 1.4
6-B.Mayfield CLE -24 -45.1% 10 2.4% 5.0 60% 4.4 4.0
2-J.Winston NO -27 -72.1% 6 3.9% 2.5 33% 1.8 3.0
4-D.Carr LV -35 -38.9% 17 2.8% 4.6 59% 3.7 4.6
2-Z.Wilson NYJ -47 -54.2% 15 4.0% 4.4 47% 4.3 5.3
16-T.Lawrence JAX -57 -58.2% 15 2.6% 2.7 47% 3.7 1.9
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT -79 -40.2% 37 6.1% 4.5 76% 1.8 3.9

Deep Cross

Your leader in deep cross DYAR is Kirk Cousins. In our receivers piece, we saw that Justin Jefferson ranked sixth among receivers with 74 deep cross DYAR, but he was the only Minnesota Vikings player with enough targets to qualify for that table. So you didn't see that Adam Thielen had 65 DYAR on four targets, or K.J. Osborn had 55 on seven, or even Tyler Conklin had 41 on four. Clearly, the deep cross was Minnesota's best weapon.

It was not, however, the best weapon in Carolina. Sam Darnold finished worst among qualifying passers with -42 DYAR on deep crosses. That's largely because DJ Moore was last among receivers with -48 DYAR, but let's not overlook Robbie Anderson's -18 DYAR on five targets. Baker Mayfield ranked 18th in DYAR on deep crosses, so this should be a big area of improvement for the Panthers.

Darnold was also last in DVOA on deep crosses, while Russell Wilson (12-of-15 for 363 yards and a touchdown) was first. In terms of volume, nobody threw more deep crosses than Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens (29th in total passes, tied for first in deep crosses), while nobody avoided them like Daniel Jones, who threw only four all season.

Deep Cross Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
8-K.Cousins MIN 231 92.3% 26 4.8% 16.7 81% 14.3 6.9
8-L.Jackson BAL 190 80.8% 30 8.0% 15.4 70% 17.1 5.3
3-R.Wilson SEA 151 102.2% 16 4.1% 23.6 80% 20.1 11.1
9-M.Stafford LAR 145 52.4% 28 4.7% 15.5 68% 15.2 7.0
12-T.Brady TB 133 56.1% 27 3.8% 14.4 69% 13.7 7.2
4-D.Carr LV 130 79.9% 20 3.3% 17.1 65% 18.8 6.0
16-J.Goff DET 93 91.4% 12 2.5% 18.3 75% 12.2 12.6
10-J.Garoppolo SF 79 35.0% 22 5.1% 13.3 67% 11.9 7.2
9-J.Burrow CIN 68 63.5% 11 2.1% 16.8 73% 16.3 8.0
2-M.Ryan ATL 62 58.5% 13 2.3% 15.5 69% 12.5 9.6
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA 56 28.4% 20 5.2% 11.8 55% 15.9 4.9
16-T.Lawrence JAX 55 9.8% 30 5.1% 10.4 52% 16.8 1.8
1-J.Fields CHI 47 53.7% 9 3.4% 13.0 67% 18.7 2.7
1-J.Hurts PHI 45 39.4% 11 2.7% 13.0 64% 19.6 2.4
1-K.Murray ARI 42 25.2% 14 3.0% 12.5 57% 19.4 3.3
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 41 19.5% 17 4.1% 11.6 50% 19.3 6.3
10-M.Jones NE 38 13.6% 24 4.6% 8.6 48% 13.5 5.0
6-B.Mayfield CLE 38 30.5% 12 2.9% 16.3 50% 13.8 16.0
4-T.Heinicke WAS 37 20.9% 15 3.1% 9.5 50% 16.5 3.1
8-D.Jones NYG 34 101.3% 4 1.1% 19.3 75% 18.0 10.0
4-D.Prescott DAL 32 11.1% 16 2.7% 9.2 50% 14.1 3.6
2-C.Wentz IND 27 4.6% 22 4.3% 8.7 41% 15.6 4.6
15-P.Mahomes KC 23 5.4% 19 3.0% 8.1 53% 14.9 2.8
10-D.Mills HOU 23 7.5% 15 3.9% 10.7 53% 17.3 3.3
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT 23 12.1% 12 2.0% 9.8 50% 14.4 5.7
14-J.Brissett MIA 20 56.4% 4 1.8% 14.5 75% 13.5 5.3
12-A.Rodgers GB 15 10.5% 11 2.1% 12.3 55% 16.8 6.2
10-J.Herbert LAC 9 -3.6% 21 3.1% 7.9 48% 13.3 3.7
17-J.Allen BUF 8 -4.6% 27 4.3% 7.0 44% 14.6 2.4
17-R.Tannehill TEN 4 -10.2% 15 2.8% 8.3 50% 11.8 3.6
14-A.Dalton CHI -5 -17.8% 11 4.8% 8.3 36% 16.4 4.3
2-J.Winston NO -5 -25.8% 6 3.9% 5.5 33% 14.2 1.5
2-Z.Wilson NYJ -15 -22.2% 18 4.8% 8.7 25% 16.9 7.3
14-S.Darnold CAR -42 -38.7% 21 5.4% 4.7 29% 14.1 3.8

Go/Fly

Hey, Joe Burrow, what did you do to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl last year?

 

 

Indeed. Our receivers table showed that Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins each made the top seven receivers in DYAR on go/fly routes, and Joe Mixon added 19 more DYAR on one more target. That put Burrow at first among quarterbacks in go/fly DYAR.

Sam Darnold, meanwhile, finished in last place. DJ Moore was next-to-last among receivers with -26 DYAR on go/fly routes, but let's not overlook Robbie Anderson's -18 DYAR on three targets. Baker Mayfield ranked 10th in DYAR on go/fly routes, so this should be a big area of improvement for the Panthers.

Ben Roethlisberger, of all people, had the highest go/fly target rate in the league, as all of his passes were either very short or very, very deep. Jimmy Garoppolo had the worst DVOA and lowest target rate on go/fly routes, and we're starting to get into some very small sample sizes now. Take Tua Tagovailoa, for example. He only threw six go/fly routes all year, but he completed four of them for 171 yards a touchdown, leading the league in DVOA.

Go/Fly Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
9-J.Burrow CIN 159 76.9% 24 4.7% 19.8 43% 34.3 9.4
8-K.Cousins MIN 139 94.7% 16 2.9% 21.4 57% 32.8 6.8
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT 125 32.0% 35 5.8% 14.6 38% 28.5 5.6
12-T.Brady TB 100 42.7% 23 3.2% 14.9 35% 32.9 5.9
17-J.Allen BUF 79 47.8% 17 2.7% 15.7 47% 30.6 2.1
8-D.Jones NYG 70 77.5% 10 2.8% 22.8 56% 32.0 8.8
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA 70 141.5% 6 1.6% 28.5 67% 33.8 7.5
10-J.Herbert LAC 63 35.8% 18 2.7% 13.7 25% 35.1 10.0
2-M.Ryan ATL 63 61.4% 13 2.3% 20.7 46% 32.2 12.2
6-B.Mayfield CLE 55 48.4% 14 3.4% 13.4 36% 33.3 3.4
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 46 22.6% 16 3.9% 13.6 31% 31.5 2.8
4-D.Prescott DAL 46 18.1% 18 3.0% 13.3 35% 32.1 5.2
4-T.Heinicke WAS 37 18.0% 18 3.7% 10.6 28% 33.4 6.2
9-M.Stafford LAR 21 12.8% 11 1.8% 13.9 22% 39.1 14.0
1-K.Murray ARI 21 10.4% 12 2.6% 11.6 27% 32.4 6.0
10-D.Mills HOU 19 11.5% 10 2.6% 10.1 22% 30.2 4.5
17-R.Tannehill TEN 12 -0.1% 13 2.5% 13.0 25% 38.8 3.7
3-R.Wilson SEA 12 -2.8% 15 3.8% 10.5 21% 34.7 14.7
2-J.Winston NO 12 26.9% 4 2.6% 12.3 25% 36.5 0.0
16-T.Lawrence JAX 9 -4.7% 15 2.6% 9.2 27% 29.7 6.8
10-M.Jones NE 8 -4.5% 13 2.5% 10.7 31% 32.0 4.0
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 6 1.0% 6 1.6% 12.2 0% 39.7  
14-J.Brissett MIA 2 -5.4% 4 1.8% 13.0 25% 37.8 27.0
15-P.Mahomes KC -7 -21.2% 11 1.8% 9.5 27% 36.8 9.0
14-A.Dalton CHI -7 -27.4% 6 2.6% 8.2 17% 25.8 15.0
12-A.Rodgers GB -13 -20.2% 22 4.2% 10.3 27% 31.1 7.8
1-J.Hurts PHI -15 -25.7% 16 3.9% 11.4 13% 33.9 29.0
10-J.Garoppolo SF -24 -107.7% 3 0.7% 0.0 0% 28.3  
8-L.Jackson BAL -24 -33.0% 14 3.7% 7.9 15% 37.9 1.5
4-D.Carr LV -32 -42.9% 14 2.3% 6.6 0% 36.9  
1-J.Fields CHI -39 -90.8% 7 2.6% 0.0 0% 35.7  
2-C.Wentz IND -46 -103.6% 6 1.2% 0.0 0% 33.7  
16-J.Goff DET -57 -69.3% 14 2.9% 3.4 8% 27.8 0.0
14-S.Darnold CAR -59 -81.7% 12 3.1% 2.1 8% 33.6 1.0

Corner

Don't tell Mike Tanier, but Carson Wentz was the NFL's best passer on this one specific route in 2021. Wentz threw the most corner routes in the league in the league in both total throws (27) and target share (5.3%). He also threw the deepest corner routes in the league, with an average depth of target of 23.9 yards. Wentz had 11 completions on corner routes that gained 20 yards or more, including 42- and 51-yard touchdowns, plus a pair of DPIs that came 40-plus yards downfield. Teddy Bridgewater finished last in DYAR, going 3-of-13 for 52 yards and only one touchdown.

Ready for some sample-size fun? Jameis Winston had the league's best DVOA on corners, throwing three passes for three touchdowns, for a total of 72 yards. Daniel Jones had the worst DVOA on corners; he only threw one of them and it was incomplete. The list of players with more completions on corner routes than Daniel Jones includes Derrick Henry and Keenan Allen.

Corner Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
2-J.Winston NO 59 191.1% 3 1.9% 24.0 100% 22.0 2.0
1-J.Fields CHI 72 85.2% 10 3.8% 14.8 70% 20.5 1.1
8-L.Jackson BAL 13 75.9% 3 0.8% 6.3 33% 21.0 0.0
2-C.Wentz IND 173 74.8% 27 5.3% 17.0 58% 23.9 4.3
12-A.Rodgers GB 107 73.7% 16 3.1% 16.3 57% 21.8 3.6
15-P.Mahomes KC 96 71.5% 15 2.4% 21.0 57% 21.7 13.3
16-J.Goff DET 22 67.9% 4 0.8% 5.5 50% 19.0 0.0
4-D.Prescott DAL 82 64.1% 13 2.2% 8.2 58% 13.0 0.1
10-J.Herbert LAC 105 62.1% 18 2.7% 14.4 67% 18.1 3.4
3-R.Wilson SEA 74 59.6% 13 3.3% 15.0 55% 22.4 3.5
12-T.Brady TB 93 58.7% 17 2.4% 11.2 44% 19.9 3.4
8-K.Cousins MIN 119 56.7% 22 4.1% 14.7 59% 23.3 3.7
1-J.Hurts PHI 53 55.4% 12 2.9% 15.5 58% 23.1 2.6
4-T.Heinicke WAS 34 54.4% 8 1.6% 12.0 50% 21.0 5.8
9-J.Burrow CIN 39 43.5% 8 1.6% 10.8 57% 17.3 1.3
9-M.Stafford LAR 87 42.6% 21 3.5% 12.2 52% 19.7 4.5
10-J.Garoppolo SF 28 42.3% 8 1.9% 13.6 57% 18.9 5.5
16-T.Lawrence JAX 68 38.8% 17 2.9% 12.0 56% 19.2 1.7
1-K.Murray ARI 63 38.3% 16 3.4% 14.8 44% 22.8 6.4
6-B.Mayfield CLE 58 25.7% 21 5.1% 11.9 50% 20.7 3.9
17-J.Allen BUF 14 14.0% 7 1.1% 5.6 43% 17.4 1.3
10-M.Jones NE 36 13.8% 19 3.6% 8.7 44% 19.7 2.3
4-D.Carr LV 31 10.8% 18 2.9% 8.5 41% 18.1 2.6
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA 14 3.7% 10 2.6% 13.1 40% 21.4 2.0
17-R.Tannehill TEN 8 0.7% 10 1.9% 6.8 40% 18.6 2.5
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 9 0.2% 9 2.4% 8.9 44% 18.1 0.5
10-D.Mills HOU 17 0.1% 15 3.9% 10.7 40% 22.3 6.2
2-M.Ryan ATL -6 -14.6% 20 3.6% 7.4 35% 18.6 2.7
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT -2 -17.7% 8 1.3% 6.4 38% 14.5 2.7
14-A.Dalton CHI -5 -38.9% 3 1.3% 6.0 33% 15.0 2.0
14-J.Brissett MIA -17 -42.1% 6 2.7% 7.7 33% 17.8 4.5
5-T.Bridgewater DEN -40 -49.1% 13 3.2% 4.0 23% 17.5 2.0
14-S.Darnold CAR -34 -67.2% 8 2.1% 3.3 13% 19.1 1.0
8-D.Jones NYG -7 -127.6% 1 0.3% 0.0 0% 6.0  

Post

We hinted in our receivers piece that Matthew Stafford would dominate this category, and indeed he does, leading the NFL in post route DYAR (301, 123 more than anyone else), total targets (33, 11 more than anyone else), and target share (5.5%, nearly two percentage points more than anyone else). Stafford also finished first in this category in 2020 when he played for the Detroit Lions; he's the best in the world at throwing deep down the middle. He did not, however, lead the NFL in post route DVOA; that honor goes to Carson Wentz, who went 8-of-16 for 246 yards and three touchdowns.

Tua Tagovailoa finished last in DYAR and DVOA on post routes, completing just one of his six throws for 20 yards. Trevor Lawrence finished last in post route target rate.

Post Route Passing Stats, 2021
Name Tm DYAR DVOA Tgts Tgt% Yds Catch% aDOT YAC
9-M.Stafford LAR 301 108.4% 33 5.5% 22.1 70% 25.7 6.5
6-B.Mayfield CLE 3 -7.7% 15 3.6% 9.2 53% 18.7 1.0
4-D.Carr LV 178 91.1% 22 3.6% 21.4 67% 31.1 5.3
8-K.Cousins MIN 112 67.8% 19 3.5% 13.6 53% 24.1 3.4
2-M.Ryan ATL 115 78.9% 19 3.4% 16.1 61% 21.0 1.8
2-J.Winston NO 36 81.5% 5 3.2% 26.0 40% 42.8 16.5
4-D.Prescott DAL 92 47.7% 19 3.2% 15.5 58% 22.2 5.5
14-S.Darnold CAR 28 23.2% 12 3.1% 14.2 58% 21.8 3.4
12-A.Rodgers GB 54 31.3% 16 3.1% 14.5 50% 28.1 8.9
2-Z.Wilson NYJ 29 28.6% 11 2.9% 11.9 55% 20.6 4.5
5-T.Bridgewater DEN 17 6.2% 12 2.9% 11.7 42% 29.3 6.0
4-T.Heinicke WAS 17 4.8% 14 2.9% 9.9 38% 22.0 1.0
10-J.Garoppolo SF 87 94.0% 12 2.8% 17.5 75% 22.5 3.8
17-R.Tannehill TEN 86 68.7% 14 2.6% 14.4 54% 21.6 5.4
2-C.Wentz IND 118 115.9% 13 2.5% 19.6 58% 30.3 2.3
8-L.Jackson BAL 21 22.1% 9 2.4% 11.6 33% 26.7 5.7
12-T.Brady TB -28 -29.7% 17 2.4% 7.1 35% 20.5 5.2
1-K.Murray ARI 81 98.2% 11 2.4% 18.0 55% 25.2 8.5
1-J.Hurts PHI 27 28.8% 9 2.2% 10.7 33% 29.3 6.0
14-A.Dalton CHI 5 4.1% 5 2.2% 7.0 40% 16.4 5.0
3-R.Wilson SEA 68 87.4% 8 2.0% 17.0 71% 24.5 2.0
7-B.Roethlisberger PIT 42 42.8% 11 1.8% 11.1 45% 23.4 2.8
15-P.Mahomes KC -3 -14.5% 11 1.8% 7.6 36% 31.6 3.0
8-D.Jones NYG 19 29.5% 6 1.7% 11.3 67% 23.0 1.8
10-J.Herbert LAC 88 100.5% 11 1.6% 21.6 55% 26.5 8.5
17-J.Allen BUF 91 113.5% 10 1.6% 19.8 70% 23.9 6.7
1-T.Tagovailoa MIA -24 -68.5% 6 1.6% 3.3 17% 21.8 2.0
9-J.Burrow CIN 6 -3.1% 8 1.6% 11.8 38% 24.1 7.3
10-M.Jones NE 22 22.2% 8 1.5% 15.6 38% 36.4 3.3
14-J.Brissett MIA 17 93.9% 3 1.4% 15.7 50% 32.3 2.0
10-D.Mills HOU 10 15.4% 5 1.3% 11.0 60% 21.2 3.0
16-J.Goff DET -12 -35.4% 6 1.3% 5.5 33% 20.7 3.5
1-J.Fields CHI 21 76.5% 3 1.1% 18.0 50% 35.3 8.0
16-T.Lawrence JAX 14 18.5% 5 0.9% 8.6 60% 17.4 3.0

Comments

9 comments, Last at 30 Aug 2022, 12:12am

#1 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 26, 2022 - 11:56am

It's interesting that Arizona's offense seems to be a really speedy version of Pittsburgh's -- there is no middle. It's all really short stuff or deep shots.

Points: 0

#8 by Theo // Aug 28, 2022 - 8:12pm

It is refered to in Pittsburgh as the U shaped, or ㄩ shaped offense. 

Lots of dink n dunk around the los, and the occasional deep ball along the sidelines.

There is no middle. 

Points: 0

#2 by KnotMe // Aug 26, 2022 - 12:46pm

How stable are these numbers when players change teams? OR to put it another way, do teams use some routes less bc they don't have good recievers for those routes? Or does a given OC tend to keep the same offence scheme no matter who the players are?

I.e. is the distribution caused by the QB, Recivers or coaches? (probably all to a degree). 

Points: 0

#4 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 26, 2022 - 2:27pm

Brady, Winston, Stafford, and Goff have all changed teams in recent seasons.

Points: 0

#5 by Raiderfan // Aug 26, 2022 - 10:00pm

The problem I have with your headline is the data you show does not support it.  You are showing targets, I.e. where Murray chose to throw it.  You are not showing routes run,  i.e. where Murray could have thrown it.  It may well be that those low-target routes were not run, and that Murray was in fact “leashed”.  Or it may be that they were, and Murray “leashed” himself by choosing not to throw them.  Or it may be some of both.  Or it may be that personnel and/or game scripts were controlling factors and there was no leashing by either the play caller or Murray.  I think the simplistic headline is more worthy of an ESPN article than FO.  Did you originally write it for ESPN+?

Points: 0

#9 by LionInAZ // Aug 30, 2022 - 12:12am

Headlines are usually written by editors, not authors. If you take them seriously, then you still think that "Dewey Defeats Truman" or "Miley Cyrus Sizzles in Microscopic Thong Bikini".

Points: 0

#6 by jonr // Aug 27, 2022 - 11:24am

Saw that Mahomes threw 658 passes last year. Counting the most common routes comes to roughly half of that. What are these other routes and why are there so many?

Points: 0

#7 by Vincent Verhei // Aug 27, 2022 - 6:14pm

Sports Info Solutions listed 49 different routes in 2021, from "curl" (2,607 targets) to "chip" (2 targets, but that's not counting 467 "chip-flat" targets, 172 "chip-curl" targets, 105 "chip-drag" targets, or 31 "chip-seam" targets). I'm not going to list all 49 of them here, but we did list the 31 different routes Cooper Kupp ran in our piece on receivers and DVOA by route.

Points: 0

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