Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday statistics

We all know the Vikings heavily favored the run over the pass in 2007. With 2,634 yards on the ground and 2,745 through the air (which includes negative sack yardage), the team almost achieved something nearly unheard of in the modern-day, pass-happy NFL: more team rushing yards than passing yards. It was, in fact, a very real possibility much of the season, until the second-to-last game against Washington, in which the team threw for 212 yards while rushing for just 87.

So how rare is it these days for a team to run for more yards than it throws? And where do the 2007 Vikings rank? Here are the "bottom" 10 teams in "pass yardage minus rush yardage" over the last 10 years; in other words, a team that passes for 3,700 and runs for 1,500 would have a "pass minus rush" of 2,200:

2006Atlanta Falcons23712939-568
2003Baltimore Ravens22552674-419
2000Cincinnati Bengals19462314-368
2004Atlanta Falcons24122672-260
2005Chicago Bears20022099-97
2001Dallas Cowboys2218218434
2007Minnesota Vikings27452634111
2005Atlanta Falcons26792546133
2005San Francisco 49ers18981689209
2004Baltimore Ravens23122063249

There you have it. Out of 315 teams over the span from 1998 to 2007, only five (1.6%) have rushed for more yards than they have passed; the 2007 Vikings come in 7th on the list. Atlanta's presence on the top 10 list three times is obviously due to the presence of Michael Vick. Baltimore makes it twice thanks to Jamal Lewis and a typically inept passing attack. And look at the yardage totals of those 2005 49ers.

In fact, with the possible exception of Vick, the quarterbacks who led these teams reads like a horror show: Kyle Boller, Akili Smith, Kyle Orton, Quincy Carter, and Alex Smith. Poor Anthony Wright was a backup with both the 2001 Cowboys and 2003 Ravens.

And oh yeah, there's Tarvaris Jackson. For what it's worth, though, the Vikings have the highest passing-yardage total on this list of infamy, and you have to go down to the #14 team, the 2001 Pittsburgh Steelers, to find a higher number in the passing column.

For completeness's sake, here are the top 11 (you'll know why in a minute) teams in pass minus rush since 1998:

2000St. Louis Rams523218433389
2005Arizona Cardinals443711383299
2007New England Patriots473118492882
2007New Orleans Saints431414662848
2004Indianapolis Colts462318522771
2002St. Louis Rams415414052749
1999Chicago Bears413613872749
2006New Orleans Saints450317612742
2007Green Bay Packers433415972737
2002Oakland Raiders447517622713
2004Minnesota Vikings451618232693

Had to squeeze Daunte Culpepper's 2004 Vikings on the list! And yes, Virginia, the Bears did throw for 4,136 yards one year, though it took nearly equal contributions from three quarterbacks (the immortal Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, and Jim Miller), who threw for 1,645, 1,465, and 1,242 yards, respectively.

See, isn't math fun?

No comments: