Short Sacks, Normal Sacks, and Long Sacks

Mike Ehrmann

There has been a lot of debate among Dolphins fans on the source of the Dolphins record setting season as far as sacks allowed goes. Some think Ryan Tannehill held the ball too long. Others put the blame on the OL. As always, there is a combination of the two in most cases. I mentioned this in another thread, but Football Outsiders has a section of their website they dedicate to following pressure put on the quarterback. It is called Under Pressure. Fitting.

The guys over at Football Outsiders have taken each sack and placed it into a category. Those categories are short sacks, normal sacks, and long sacks. Short sacks are sacks that take less than 2.6 seconds to make. Normal sacks are sacks that take anywhere from 2.6 seconds to 3.2 seconds to make. Long sacks are any sack that takes longer than 3.2 seconds to make.

Intuitively, you would naturally think that short sacks are more the responsibility of the offensive line where as long sacks are on the quarterback. Here is the article I am referencing for this:

Under Pressure Sack Breakdowns

Note that the article is a bit dated. It was done about halfway through the season. The complete season on this data is not up, at least in the non premium content of the website. This is good data though.

At this point in the season, the average percentages across the three categories were:

Short Sacks -- 34.6%

Normal Sacks -- 32.3%

Long Sacks -- 33.2%

This is league wide. Pretty evenly distributed.

Here are Ryan Tannehill's percentages:

Short Sacks -- 53.7%

Normal Sacks -- 37.5%

Long Sacks -- 9.4%

Essentially, Ryan was sacked almost 20% more than the league average on sacks that take less than 2.6 seconds to make. In my view, this matches up with what I saw on film this year. The Dolphins offensive linemen were beaten off the snap an inordinate amount of the time. I also believe this is why a high percentage of the total pressures against Ryan Tannehill are actually sacks.

For some additional data, here is another link:

Under Pressure Sacks Confusion

They separated the sacks out into blown blocks, confusion, and coverage sacks. Notice which team has the most blown blocks? The Miami Dolphins with 35. The next highest was Arizona with 25.

I think the data is pretty conclusive. I would love to see the data at the end of the season, but I imagine that there is very little difference. I imagine the same trend was continued. It's obvious to me based on the film work and the data work that the Dolphins had MAJOR problems with their offensive line this past year. While Ryan Tannehill clearly has things he needs to work on, you cannot put the amount of sacks he took this year on him.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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