Red Zone touchdowns: How does your team want to score?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: James Jones receives a pass from Bret...

James Jones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It should not have been a surprise that in last Sunday night’s game between the Packers and the Texans that Houston running back Arian Foster scored on a pair of one-yard TDs and that Green Bay receiver James Jones scored on a six-yard reception and an 18-yard reception.

Foster and Jones are currently ranked 1-2 in the NFL in red zone (20 yards and in) touchdowns through Week 6. Foster has tallied eight red zone scores this season while Jones is close behind with seven.

Through games of October 15, there have been 299 red zone touchdowns scored, 123 of them have been via passes, 58.9 percent. While most teams are getting into the end zone via passes when they get in the red zone, a smaller percentage of teams still depend on the ground game to score when they get inside the 20-yardline.

To illustrate that point, let’s check the box scores from the start of the 2010 season until today. There have been 2066 red zone touchdowns, 1214 of them via passes, 58.8 percent (pretty darn close to the percentage we see for this season). Take a look at each teams’ red zone TDs (also noted is the player that leads each team with red zone TDs since 2010):

Team, red zone TDs, via run/via pass (player with most red zone TDs)

New England: 104, 42 run, 62 pass (Rob Gronkowski, 24)

Baltimore: 93, 48 run, 45 pass (Ray Rice, 26)

Green Bay: 88, 24 run, 64 pass (Greg Jennings, James Jones, John Kuhn, 12)

New Orleans: 88, 23 run, 65 pass (Jimmy Graham, 16)

Atlanta: 83, 29 run/54 pass (Michael Turner, 23)

Detroit: 77, 24 run, 53 pass (Calvin Johnson, 18)

New York Giants: 76, 37 run, 39 pass (Ahmad Bradshaw, 21)

Chicago: 75, 26 run, 49 pass (Matt Forte, Greg Olsen, 11)

Houston: 75, 39 run, 36 pass (Arian Foster, 32)

San Diego: 75, 34 run, 41 pass (Mike Tolbert, 21)

Carolina: 73, 43 run, 30 pass (Cam Newton, 16)

Philadelphia: 73, 32 run, 41 pass (LeSean McCoy, 26)

Buffalo: 72, 21 run, 51 pass (Fred Jackson, 14)

New York Jets: 66, 28 run, 38 pass (Shonn Greene, 10)

Minnesota: 62, 33 run, 29 pass (Adrian Peterson, 25)

Indianapolis: 61, 21 run, 40 pass (Reggie Wayne, 9)

Cincinnati: 60, 19 run, 41 pass (Cedric Benson, 13)

Dallas: 60, 12 run, 48 pass (Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, 12)

Pittsburgh: 60, 28 run, 32 pass (Rashard Mendenhall, 21)

Denver: 59, 23 run, 36 pass (Tim Tebow, 11)

Washington: 57, 24 run, 33 pass (Santana Moss, 8)

Oakland: 54, 29 run, 25 pass (Michael Bush, 15)

San Francisco: 53, 30 run, 23 pass (Frank Gore, 15)

Tampa Bay: 53, 16 run, 37 pass (Mike Williams, 11)

Tennessee: 53, 18 run, 35 pass (Chris Johnson, 12)

Miami: 52, 23 run, 29 pass (Anthony Fasano, 8)

Jacksonville: 50, 19 run, 31 pass (Maurice Jones-Drew, 17)

Seattle: 49, 26 run, 23 pass (Marshawn Lynch, 19)

Kansas City: 47, 18 run, 29 pass (Dwayne Bowe, 12)

Arizona: 44, 20 run/24 pass (Chris Wells, 12)

Cleveland: 39, 19 run, 20 pass (Peyton Hillis, 14)

St. Louis: 35, 14 run, 21 pass (Steven Jackson, 9)

As you review the list above, consider this:

* Notice how some teams seem to depend on their running game for red zone scores (ex: Minnesota with Peterson), some on receivers (Packers with Jennings and Jones tied for team lead), some on their QB (Carolina with Newton) and others with their tight end (New England with Gronkowski). There is quite a bit of diversity when it comes to how a team wants to score in the red zone.

* Seven teams have had one player score 30 percent or more of their red zone TDs since 2010: Foster (Houston) 42.7%; Peterson (Minnesota) 40.3%; Lynch (Seattle) 38.8%; Hillis (Cleveland) 35.9%; McCoy (Philadelphia) 35.6%; Mendenhall (Pittsburgh) 35.0%; Jones-Drew (Jacksonville) 34.0%.

* Seven teams have scored more TDs via run than pass since 2010: Baltimore, Carolina, Houston, Minnesota, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle.

* Seven teams have scored more than two-thirds of their red zone TDs via passes since the start of 2010: Dallas (80%); New Orleans (73.9%); Green Bay (72.7%); Buffalo (70.8%); Tampa Bay (69.8%); Detroit (68.8%); Cincinnati (68.3%).

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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