Examining dropped interceptions

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
5:06
PM ET
Begrudgingly, I credit Tim Graham from the land of the AFC East for this post on Mark Sanchez’s dropped interceptions in 2010.

While no quarterback in the AFC South approached the 15 dropped picks Sanchez threw, I thought you’d want to see where guys from the AFC South ranked according to numbers from Football Outsiders.

FO’s criteria to determine a drop: "We don't mean a defender sort of near the play, or guys who dive and see interceptions go off their fingertips. We mean guys who dropped balls that hit them right in the hands or chest."

I’m always big on what actually happened, not what could have happened. But this is an appropriate spot for an exception to examine what might have been, because we're dealing with what looks like measureable luck.

Overall, 3.0 percent of Sanchez’s attempts were dropped interceptions and the 2.6 interception percentage he posted could have been 5.5.

Here are our divisional totals:


Garrard and Young were most fortunate in terms of dropped picks and Collins and Schaub were the least fortunate. But Garrard’s good fortune is more significant than Young's because he had 210 more attempts.

Manning was also lucky -- his nine dropped interceptions were the second-highest total in the NFL (behind Sanchez). But his NFL-record 679 attempts gave him a percentage that didn’t make him all that lucky compared to many of his peers.

We are not able to offset these good-luck plays, of course, with a count of bad-luck ones -- tips that got picked, route-running mistakes that wound up interceptions or fantastic, acrobatic catches by a defender that could have canceled out flubs.

If you’ve charted the season for those, please get in touch.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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