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Chris Godwin Does It All | A Next Gen Look at Bucs-Falcons

Chris Godwin's record-setting performance in Atlanta on Sunday emphasized what has made him so valuable to the Buccaneers' offense for years: his versatility


Chris Godwin obviously had one of the best and most tiring receiving days in franchise history on Sunday in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' win in Atlanta. But if you think 15 catches for 143 yards sounds like a lot of work, check out this number: 833.98.

Godwin was on the field for 48 of the Buccaneers' 51 passing plays on Sunday, and on just those plays (he had another 16 snaps on rushing plays), he ran a total of 833.98 yards on his routes, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. All told, there probably weren't too many square feet of Mercedes-Benz Stadium turf that didn't get a visit from Godwin's cleats at some point. And that doesn't even take into account his one run, which went for nine yards and a first down, or all the very legitimate blocks he contributes to the running game.

NGS counted 46 routes run by Godwin in the game (presumably he just blocked on two of those 48 passing plays), and he was targeted on 17 of them for a season-high 37.0% target rate. It's not surprising that Tom Brady would continue to target Godwin throughout the game because that is a very efficient return on the passes he invested. NGS calculated the expected catch rate of those 17 passes in his direction to be 78.4% but Godwin actually caught 88.2% of them. That catch percentage over expected (CPOE) of +9.8% marked the seventh time this season that Godwin has had a CPOE of +9% or better.

Given Godwin's ability to produce on every type of route plus line up all over the formation and provide real value with his blocking, Head Coach Bruce Arians lit up at the comparison of Godwin to Hines Ward, whom Arians worked with in Pittsburgh.

"There's a ton, a ton," said Arians of the similarities between Ward and Godwin. "They play the same position. It's the same thing I asked Larry Fitzgerald to do in Arizona. Once you go into that position you're going to do a lot of grimy blocking, but we're going to get you the ball. Between the numbers, Chris is devastating, but he's also really, really good outside. That's the thing that separates from a couple other guys, that he's still a really good player outside, also."

Arians is right about Godwin's versatility and his ability to dominate on the outside even though he is the team's primary slot receiver. We can see that more clearly by taking a Next Gen look at Godwin's season as a whole.

Through 12 games, Godwin has run 484 routes and on 309 of them (63.8%) he's lined up in the left or right slot. On those 309 plays he's been targeted 58 times and has caught 43 passes for 512 yards and two touchdowns, with two of his targets ending in interceptions. That produces a passer rating on those plays for Brady of 97.8. Godwin's CPOE on those targets for the season as a whole is +41.%.

Godwin has also lined up wide left or right on 129 spans this season, and on such plays has received 32 targets, producing 274 yards, one touchdown, with none of those passes intercepted. That produces a passer rating of 112.8%, and his CPOE on these plays is +7.5. Godwin has also gotten an average of 4.3 yards of separation at the time of his target on outside plays, as opposed to 2.8 when lined up in the slot.

The Buccaneers also put Godwin in tight to the line like a tight end on occasion, usually to block. He has lined up there 124 times and stayed in to block on the majority of them but has run 44 routes out of that spot. Those plays have been particularly effective when he's targeted, with 11 catches on 14 targets for 163 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions caused. That is a 154.8 passer rating and Godwin is particularly adept at making these kinds of plays in traffic, with a CPOE of +12.0%.

And it's not just where Godwin starts. He also finishes his plays all over the field. NGS breaks down his targets according to where he is when targeted into three categories: in the seams, outside the numbers and between the hashes.

Godwin has been targeted in the seams 67 times, which is 63.80% of all of his targets. Those passes have resulted in 52 passes for 519 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, for a passer rating of 96.5 and a CPOE of +0.9%.

Like Arians said, however, Godwin can dominate on the boundaries, too. He has been targeted 21 times outside the numbers to produce 15 catches, 229 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. That leads to a passer rating for Brady of 138.8, while Godwin's CPOE on such throws is an impressive +14.2%.

He has been just as effective on targets between the hashes, catching 15 of 17 for 201 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 135.5. His CPOE in that part of the field is +13.2%.

Also according to Next Gen Stats, Godwin has been the most versatile route-runner in the NFL since the start of 2019. In that span he has gained at least 150 yards on nine different types of routes: post, out, screen, hitch, cross, go, slant, in and corner. He is the only player in the NFL who can make that claim.

Basically, Chris Godwin does it all. He certainly did on Sunday in Atlanta.

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