2007 Passing Yards Per Attempt

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 30, 2007



(Passing yards per attempt is a "Quality Stat" because it has a direct correlation to winning football games. Click here to read more about this "Stat That Matters." Passing YPA also cuts through the complex clutter of the passer rating formula and gives you a number that actually means something.
 
NOTE: Most stat-keepers do not calculate passing YPA properly! They ignore sacks, as if these game-changing plays don't matter! If you want to know why our passing yards per attempt figures are more accurate than any others you'll find anywhere, see the footnotes after the chart below.)
 
FINAL 2007 OVERVIEW
It should come as no great surprise that New England, Dallas, Green Bay and Indianapolis -- the Fantastic Four -- come in 1-2-3-4 in this all-important number.
 
But the top 10 also featured five non-playoff teams, all of which had the same problem: no defense. Houston, Cleveland, Arizona, Cincinnati and Denver all finished in the bottom 12 in scoring defense.
 
Still, one thing a high YPA number can ensure is that you will be competitive -- of the top 16, 10 made the playoffs, and the other six finished no worse than 7-9, regardless of how good or bad the defense was.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, no team can overcome a terrible passing game. The Giants came as close as you can, finishing 23rd, but no one below them was even .500, and 8 of the 10 were 5-11 or worse.
 
Any passing game is a product of many different parts. But if you want to answer the question "How much are receivers worth to a passing game?", a look at New England's performance here over the past three years is a good way to start.
 
New England, which was almost a half-yard ahead of the YPA field in 2007, has had more or less the same offensive line and definitely the same quarterback for the three seasons.
 
But they went from average receivers in 2005 (Deion Branch, David Givens) to well below average in 2006 (Reche Caldwell, aging Troy Brown) to fantastic in 2007 (Randy Moss, Wes Welker).
 
The numbers:
  • 2005: 6.67 YPA
  • 2006: 6.12 YPA
  • 2007: 7.79 YPA
Those numbers tell us that the difference between terrible receivers (2006) and great ones (2007) adds up to about a yard-and-a-half for every dropback -- a major shift, for sure. In 2007, for example, that 1½ yard per attempt would represent the difference between Peyton Manning and Indianapolis' passing game vs. Chicago's three-headed, no-talent passing attack.
 
And using that same Patriot example, the difference between OK and either extreme is somewhere between a half-yard and a yard per attempt, very approximately.
 
It helps to have good receivers, for sure. All of the top 10 teams have a "go-to" guy, with the exception of Jacksonville's no-frills, no-favorites attack.
 
The biggest drop from 2006 to 2007 was Baltimore, going from 8th at 6.35 to 29th at 5.07 in a plunge that mirrored their 8-game drop in the standings.
 
The biggest gainer was Houston, leaping from 27th to 5th.
 
The AFC South had the best overall passing games in 2007, placing 4th (Indy), 5th (Houston), 8th (JAX) and 20th (Tennessee).
 
 
FINAL 2007 PASSING YARDS PER ATTEMPT (playoff teams in italics)
 
Team
Pass Attempts
Pass Yards
Sacked
Lost Yards
Total Attempts
Net Yards
YPA
1
New England
586
4859
21
128
607
4731
7.79
2
Dallas
531
4290
25
185
556
4105
7.38
3
Green Bay
578
4461
19
127
597
4334
7.26
4
Indianapolis
551
4172
23
139
574
4033
7.03
5
Houston
529
3925
22
174
551
3751
6.81
6
Cleveland
535
3832
14
109
549
3723
6.78
7
Cincinnati
575
4131
17
119
592
4012
6.78
8
Jacksonville
469
3495
31
167
500
3328
6.66
9
Arizona
590
4228
24
163
614
4065
6.62
10
Denver
515
3759
30
166
545
3593
6.59
11
New Orleans
652
4423
16
109
668
4314
6.46
12
Tampa Bay
490
3579
36
222
526
3357
6.38
13
Seattle
590
4181
36
217
626
3964
6.33
14
Pittsburgh
442
3418
47
347
489
3071
6.28
15
Washington
525
3622
29
159
554
3463
6.25
16
San Diego
471
3175
24
170
495
3005
6.07
17
Detroit
587
4216
54
338
641
3878
6.05
18
Philadelphia
577
4005
47
237
624
3768
6.04
19
Minnesota
432
2938
38
193
470
2745
5.84
20
Tennessee
464
3077
30
199
494
2878
5.83
21
Buffalo
445
2842
26
208
471
2634
5.59
22
Chicago
569
3701
42
324
611
3377
5.53
23
NY Giants
544
3376
28
222
572
3154
5.51
24
Atlanta
555
3573
47
277
602
3296
5.48
25
Oakland
451
2893
41
262
492
2631
5.35
26
NY Jets
512
3330
53
316
565
3014
5.33
27
St. Louis
574
3561
48
328
622
3233
5.20
28
Kansas City
563
3525
54
344
617
3181
5.16
29
Baltimore
557
3308
39
273
596
3035
5.09
30
Carolina
505
2941
33
206
538
2735
5.08
31
Miami
558
3319
42
288
600
3031
5.05
32
San Francisco
513
2685
55
365
568
2320
4.08
 
Here's a little look at our passing yards per attempt formula and why it's superior to others.
 
Only our YPA is correct
Most every team yards per attempt figure you see out there is wrong! Or, at the very least, it's not calculated properly. Go to ESPN.com, Yahoo Sports, wherever. Basically, a lot of places like that will publish a net yards figure and then, in the next column, the yards per attempt figure will be based upon gross passing yards. The math just doesn't add up, at least not when you use the published figures.
 
So here's what you'll find from the Cold, Hard Football Facts. We use only NET passing figures to determine yards per attempt. This is gross passing yards, minus yards lost via sacks, divided by passsing attempts. If we were merely looking at individual quarterbacks and their yards per attempt, we might (might!) be inclined to use gross passing yards, so as not to penalize the quarterback if he has a sieve of an offensive line.
 
Sacks count as pass attempts
Our yards per pass attempt is a "Quality Stat" – a stat that has a direct correlation to victory. So we're looking at team data. After all, it's teams that win and lose football games.
 
There's more to our calculations, though. Instead of just dividing the net passing yardage by pass attempts, we add in the number of sacks to the attempts column. We believe this gives a far more accurate gauge of a team's ability to pass the ball. After all, when a QB is sacked, it's because he was attempting to pass. Why shouldn't this attempt to pass count as an attempt?
 
For example, if a quarterback attempts 10 passes for 100 yards, his yards per attempt is 10.0 YPA. Easy enough, right? But what if that QB was sacked three times and lost 22 yards? Suddenly, the team's passing YPA is a mere 6.0 (78/13).
 
Hey, the team only gained 78 net yards when attempting to pass. And those 3 sacks came on attempts to pass. So, to accurately measure a team's ability to pass, that's our formula:
  • Net passing yards/(pass attempts + sacks allowed)

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