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At What Rate Are the Jets, Other Teams Producing Big Plays?

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago we did an article looking at each team’s propensity to produce and allow big plays. A few people asked to look at the rates teams ran the ball for big plays and pass the ball for big plays.

To define a big play, I stuck with one producing a gain of 15 yards or more. A play with that kind of production is more successful than around 90% of NFL snaps from scrimmage.

To control for game situation, I also limited the study to scenarios where nobody had a lead greater than 14 points. In blowouts, the team that is ahead tends to play a more conservative defense and is willing to allow successful offensive plays as long as they do not result in touchdowns.

Here is the current big play rate for teams throwing the ball. Hat tip to the Pro Football Reference Play Index, which I used to crunch the numbers. As we see, the Jets are squarely in the middle of the pack in terms of big plays throwing the ball at 14.89%.

And here is the rate running the ball, where the Jets rate closer to the top of the league.

If you ever wonder why people say the NFL is a passing league and stress the importance of the quarterback, look at those numbers. The rate of big plays for the least successful passing team is still higher than the rate for the most successful running team.