Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Adam Humphries Among YAC Leaders

Football Geekery: Of all NFL wideouts with at least 10 catches so far, Adam Humphries is averaging the most yards gained after the catch…Plus a Super opportunity for the Bucs.

Last November, thanks to a response regarding his approach to game-planning, Dirk Koetter was briefly labeled as an "anti-analytics" coach. When it comes to drawing up his play sheet for a specific opponent, Koetter values breaking down tape of that opponent over studying a page of team statistics.

In reality – and has gradually become clear over his two seasons with the Buccaneers, first as offensive coordinator and now as head coach – Koetter uses statistical analysis as much as any coach. Perhaps more than some. In particular, he has studied and distilled the factors that are most correlated with winning and regularly presents his team with a list of statistical goals before a game.

The distinction, as is always the case with statistics, is how they are wielded. Numbers can be illuminating, even predictive. For Koetter, they will never take the place of the scouting he can do with his own eyes, but they can assist in that process.

That's our goal with Football Geekery.  Each week, we're going to give you a sampling of statistical and/or historical analysis, hopefully in a way that is relevant to the Buccaneers' current state of affairs.  This week we take a look at three different Tampa Bay pass-catchers and see where they stand in terms of yards gained after the catch as compared to the rest of the league. We also find out if any team has ever accomplished what the Buccaneers have a chance to do against both reigning Super Bowl teams the next two weeks.

**

1. Yakking about YAC

Through the first three weeks of the season, the Buccaneers three leaders in receiving yardage are wide receiver Mike Evans (301), wide receiver Adam Humphries (201) and running back Charles Sims (105). After Week Three, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the only other team in the NFL to have a 300-yard receiver, a 200-yard receiver and a 100-yard receiver (Antonio Brown, Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers). Cincinnati and Miami have joined that list after Thursday night's game but, obviously, those two teams have already played four games.

What's interesting about the Buccaneers' trio is the different manners in which they've added to the Bucs' overall passing yardage total. Evans remains a master at hauling in deep balls over defenders. Humphries has ripped off 20 and 30-yard chunks on a succession of screens. Sims, as is the case with most pass-catching running backs, usually catches very short passes and tries to turn them into more.

This can be seen by comparing those three players Y@C and YAC. That's "yards at catch" and "yards after catch." Given the descriptions above, one would expect Evans to have a higher percentage of his yards in the first category while Humphries and Sims would score higher in the second category. And that's exactly what has happened.

In the chart below, you'll see all three of those Bucs pass-catchers with their overall yards split into Y@C and YAC, with the percentage of the total that each category represents.

Screen-Shot-2016-09-30-at-30435-PM.png

The contrast between how Evans has gotten his yards and how Humphries and Sims have gotten theirs is stark. Sims's numbers, in particular, are striking and clearly indicate that he has caught some passes behind the line of scrimmage. As a hypothetical example, if a running back were to catch a pass two yards behind the line and then run for a gain of 33 yards, that would give him -2 Y@C and 35 YAC.

Pictures of the Broncos' starting offense and defense, according to the team's depth chart.

As one might expect, running backs tend to dominate the chart of NFL leaders in yards after the catch. Nineteen of the 25 players with the highest YAC average in the league so far are running backs. Even when you sort for only those who have caught at least 10 passes, 14 of the top 20 are running backs, led by Atlanta's Tevin Coleman, Philadelphia's Darren Sproles and Arizona's David Johnson.

Both Sims and Humphries are among the top 11 in the league in YAC average, among players with at least 10 catches, while Evans actually ranks 93rd out of 96 qualifiers (minimum of 10 receptions). Sims ranks sixth among running backs in YAC average and Humphries ranks third among receivers. Here are the top 11:

Player

Team

Pos.

Rec.

YAC

YAC Avg.

  1. Tevin Coleman

ATL

RB

10

180

18.00

  1. Darren Sproles

PHI

RB

10

167

16.70

  1. David Johnson

AZ

RB

10

134

13.40

  1. Tyrell Williams

SD

WR

11

146

13.27

  1. Martellus Bennett

NE

TE

10

107

10.70

  1. Spencer Ware

KC

RB

10

104

10.40

  1. Josh Ferguson

IND

RB

10

88

8.80

  1. Charles Sims

TB

RB

12

103

8.58

  1. Marvin Jones Jr.

DET

WR

18

151

8.39

  1. Giovani Bernard

CIN

RB

16

134

8.38

  1. Adam Humphries

TB

WR

18

149

8.28

These players are ranked by how much YAC they get per reception. Above, we showed you the percentage breakdown for three Buccaneers as to how much of their overall total has come after the catch. Both Sims and Humphries rank in the top 20 in the NFL (among 10-catch qualifiers) in percentage of yards gained after the catch and, in fact, Humphries leads all qualifying receivers in that category.

Player

Team

Pos.

Rec

YAC

Y@C

Total

YAC %

  1. C. West

KC

RB

10

50

-16

34

147.1%

  1. LeSean McCoy

BUC

RB

11

59

-10

49

120.4%

  1. T.J. Yeldon

JAX

RB

14

59

-8

51

115.7%

  1. Tevin Coleman

ATL

RB

10

180

-13

167

107.8%

  1. Josh Ferguson

IND

RB

10

88

-4

84

104.8%

  1. Darren Sproles

PHI

RB

10

167

-7

160

104.4%

  1. Mark Ingram

NO

RB

10

79

-3

76

103.9%

  1. D. Williams

PIT

RB

14

89

0

89

100.0%

  1. Duke Johnson

CLE

RB

12

83

1

84

98.8%

  1. Theo Riddick

DET

RB

16

128

2

130

98.5%

  1. Charles Sims

TB

RB

12

103

2

105

98.1%

  1. Justin Forsett

BAL

RB

11

35

1

36

97.2%

  1. G. Bernard

CIN

RB

16

134

7

141

95.0%

  1. D. Murray

TEN

RB

17

107

25

132

81.1%

  1. David Johnson

AZ

RB

10

134

35

169

79.3%

  1. M. Bennett

NE

TE

10

107

31

138

77.5%

  1. A. Humphries

TB

WR

18

149

52

201

74.1%

  1. Tyrell Williams

SD

WR

11

146

55

201

72.6%

  1. Marqise Lee

JAX

WR

12

99

42

141

70.2%

  1. Golden Tate

DET

WR

13

66

28

94

70.2%

Noting how well Humphries has fared on screen passes, Head Coach Dirk Koetter said on Wednesday that the Buccaneers might actually have to throw fewer of those to the second-year receiver in the weeks to come. Koetter indicated that the Los Angeles Rams were actively expecting that play in the second half of last Sunday's game when Humphries was on the field. Still, he's sure to get more opportunities to pick up YAC as the season progresses, and he's proved to be quite good at taking advantage of those chances.

2. Taking Down the Champs?

On Thursday, Koetter noted that the incoming Denver Broncos are riding an eight-game winning streak that extends back through Week 16 of last season and includes the Super Bowl 50 downing of Carolina.

"We've been talking about that – it's an unbelievable opportunity for us," said the Bucs' coach. "We say that with all due respect to the Broncos, they've got a fantastic team, very well coached, but that is a great opportunity for us on Sunday."

Now, like all coaches, Koetter is going to keep his team focused on the week at hand and avoid looking further down the schedule. However, the visit from the Broncos is actually just the first half of an opportunity for the Buccaneers to accomplish a feat no team has managed in over three decades. Sure, they could take down the defending Super Bowl champs, but some team has done that in each of the last 49 years (neither the undefeated '72 Dolphins nor the undefeated '07 Patriots were defending champs). What the Buccaneers could do in the next fortnight is defeat both of the reigning Super Bowl teams in consecutive weeks.

Simply taking down both of the previous year's Super Bowl teams in the same season is a somewhat (though not exceedingly) rare accomplishment. It has been done a total of 22 times, or close to once every other year. The most recent team to accomplish that feat was the 2014 St. Louis Rams, who beat both the Seahawks and Broncos.

In fact, the Buccaneers have done that before. In 1999, they stopped the defending-champion Broncos (sans retired quarterback John Elway), 13-10, in Week Three. Eight weeks later, the Bucs earned a 19-10 decision against the Atlanta Falcons, who had lost to Denver in the Super Bowl.

Only two teams have ever beaten both reigning Super Bowl teams in consecutive weeks, however, and none since 1985. That year, the Detroit Lions toppled San Francisco and Miami in Weeks Seven and Eight. And in 1982, the San Diego Chargers earned back-to-back wins over San Francisco and Cincinnati in Weeks 14 and 15.

Here are all the instances of a team defeating both reigning Super Bowl squads in the same year. The two in bold are the ones that went back-to-back.

Screen-Shot-2016-09-30-at-30613-PM.png

The Chargers have done it the most, three times, including two of the most recent four. Denver got the closest to back-to-back wins since 1985 when they beat New England in Week Six and Philadelphia in Week Eight in 2005. The 1999 season was a bad one for the defending Super Bowl teams, as both Denver and Atlanta were beaten by three different teams.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising