Dec 9, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton (19) is hit by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons (91) after passing the ball during the 1st quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

How Every NFL Drive in 2012 Ended: The Data

Yesterday I took at look at the number of drives that each team’s defense was on the field for. Those results were interesting, but they didn’t tell us much about what those drives resulted in. We were able to infer some of that based on the total points given up by those teams, but honestly, I want something more concrete than that.

I decided to take a look at how each of those drives ended. It doesn’t matter if a defense isn’t on the field much compared to other teams, if that defense still gives up a lot of touchdowns. (I’m looking at you Cowboys.) Ultimately, I believe the true measure of the quality of a defense is somewhere to be found in this particular data set. 

Unless I’ve made a horrible mistake here, drives can only end in 7 different ways: a touchdown, a field goal attempt, a punt, a turnover, a failed 4th down attempt, a safety, and at the end of a half. That’s a fairly limited number of possible outcomes, meaning I should be able to eventually tease out some very meaningful evaluation tools from this. We’ll see, there’s still a long way to go.

I was hoping to have some meaningful result to tell you about, but that’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. Compiling all this data took more time than I originally had available. Just getting this compiled and posted was all I could handle. I left off the safeties, since there’s only a couple total from the entire season and I’m already pushing the limits on the width of this table.

I did manage to give you the percentage for each outcome, though I’m not sure while that seems like a big deal in my head.


Rk Team Drives TD FGA Punts TO 4th EoH
1 Seattle Seahawks 164 23 14.02% 25 15.24% 77 46.95% 31 18.90% 7 4.27% 1
2 Dallas Cowboys 168 39 23.21% 33 19.64% 74 44.05% 16 9.52% 5 2.98% 1
3 Carolina Panthers 170 33 19.41% 37 21.76% 67 39.41% 23 13.53% 9 5.29% 1
4 New York Giants 170 35 20.59% 30 17.65% 54 31.76% 35 20.59% 11 6.47% 5
5 Indianapolis Colts 173 37 21.39% 41 23.70% 71 41.04% 15 8.67% 4 2.31% 5
6 Kansas City Chiefs 173 40 23.12% 38 21.97% 73 42.20% 13 7.51% 1 0.58% 8
7 San Francisco 49ers 173 26 15.03% 27 15.61% 78 45.09% 25 14.45% 11 6.36% 6
8 Pittsburgh Steelers 174 28 16.09% 33 18.97% 88 50.57% 20 11.49% 3 1.72% 2
9 Atlanta Falcons 176 30 17.05% 32 18.18% 64 36.36% 31 17.61% 7 3.98% 12
10 Philadelphia Eagles 176 44 25.00% 29 16.48% 77 43.75% 13 7.39% 8 4.55% 5
11 San Diego Chargers 176 38 21.59% 21 11.93% 79 44.89% 28 15.91% 6 3.41% 4
12 St. Louis Rams 176 34 19.32% 37 21.02% 72 40.91% 21 11.93% 10 5.68% 2
13 Washington Redskins 177 42 23.73% 30 16.95% 65 36.72% 31 17.51% 6 3.39% 3
14 Miami Dolphins 178 28 15.73% 40 22.47% 85 47.75% 16 8.99% 5 2.81% 4
15 Buffalo Bills 179 48 26.82% 28 15.64% 72 40.22% 21 11.73% 6 3.35% 4
16 Oakland Raiders 180 46 25.56% 37 20.56% 68 37.78% 19 10.56% 6 3.33% 4
17 Minnesota Vikings 181 38 20.99% 30 16.57% 76 41.99% 22 12.15% 9 4.97% 6
18 Jacksonville Jaguars 183 40 21.86% 43 23.50% 67 36.61% 23 12.57% 5 2.73% 5
19 Green Bay Packers 184 36 19.57% 30 16.30% 74 40.22% 23 12.50% 14 7.61% 7
20 Tennessee Titans 184 47 25.54% 31 16.85% 69 37.50% 24 13.04% 8 4.35% 5
21 Detroit Lions 185 39 21.08% 41 22.16% 79 42.70% 17 9.19% 1 0.54% 8
22 Cincinnati Bengals 186 29 15.59% 32 17.20% 85 45.70% 30 16.13% 7 3.76% 3
23 Denver Broncos 186 30 16.13% 25 13.44% 93 50.00% 24 12.90% 11 5.91% 3
24 New Orleans Saints 187 49 26.20% 33 17.65% 62 33.16% 26 13.90% 9 4.81% 8
25 New York Jets 187 37 19.79% 31 16.58% 89 47.59% 23 12.30% 3 1.60% 4
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 187 43 22.99% 28 14.97% 76 40.64% 26 13.90% 8 4.28% 6
27 Baltimore Ravens 190 30 15.79% 39 20.53% 89 46.84% 25 13.16% 6 3.16% 1
28 New England Patriots 191 37 19.37% 25 13.09% 67 35.08% 41 21.47% 14 7.33% 7
29 Chicago Bears 192 25 13.02% 27 14.06% 88 45.83% 44 22.92% 6 3.13% 2
30 Cleveland Browns 194 41 21.13% 24 12.37% 88 45.36% 29 14.95% 4 2.06% 8
31 Houston Texans 196 34 17.35% 24 12.24% 90 45.92% 29 14.80% 11 5.61% 8
32 Arizona Cardinals 205 32 15.61% 35 17.07% 92 44.88% 33 16.10% 5 2.44% 8

 

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