One yard to go: Run or Pass for the score?
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
Imagine your favorite NFL team is on the one-yardline and is ready to punch it in for a score. Does your team run for that tough yard or do they implement some sort of play action and pass for those precious three feet?
Last season in the NFL, there were 172 offensive touchdowns of one yard during the regular season. Of those 172, 126 (73.3%) were rushing TDs and 46 were TDs via a one-yard pass play. Before we talk about how the game has evolved to more passing TDs from one yard out, here’s a look at each NFL team last season and how many one-yard TDs they had rushing and passing. The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers topped the list with 10 one-yard TDs; the Pack also tied with the New England Patriots for most passing one-yard scores; Seattle had the most running one-yard TDs with eight.
Team, one-yard running TDs/one-yard passing TDs
Green Bay 6/4
Kansas City 4/2
New England 4/4
New Orleans 5/2
New York Giants 2/1
New York Jets 4/1
San Diego 6/0
San Francisco 3/2
St. Louis 3/1
Tampa Bay 3/3
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the oldest player to score a one-yard TD last season? Hint: It was an NFC quarterback. Answer at end of the blog.
Here’s a look at the players who had the most one-yard touchdowns in 2010:
6: Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh; Mike Tolbert, San Diego
5: Cedric Benson, Cincinnati; Marshawn Lynch, Seattle; Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
4: Arian Foster, Houston; BenJarvis Green-Ellis, New England; Chris Johnson, Tennessee
Did you know… the most one-yard passing TDs came in the second quarter (17 of the 46, 37%).
Did you know… there were 10 one-yard TDs in last year’s playoffs, nine rushing and only one passing.
As we mentioned above, 73.3% of the one-yard TDs in 2010 were rushing. In 2000 the percentage of one-yard TDs via the run was 81.2%; in 1990 it was 88.1%; in 1980 it was 94.4%; in 1970 it was 95.2%; in 1960 it was 94.4%. It’s safe to say that the one-yard passing TD has become more prevalent in today’s NFL!
TRIVIA ANSWER: Former Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck last season was the oldest player to score a one-yard TD. He was 35 and 92 days.