<
>

NFC West racked up YAC against itself

Players catching shorter passes -- running backs, slot receivers and some tight ends -- tend to gain more yards after the catch than those running deeper routes.

That is one point to keep in mind when reading through the chart ranking NFC West players by average yards gained after each reception. The chart shows players with at least 20 catches.

2011 Average YAC

The Seattle Seahawks' Doug Baldwin gained 73 of his 93 yards after the catch Monday night, a season-high for a Seattle player. The St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson gained 50 yards on a screen pass. The Arizona Cardinals gained 180 yards after the catch Sunday, their highest total in a game this season by 84 yards.

The huge gains after the catch were great for NFC West offenses, but not so great for defenses. After all, the only Week 14 games featuring NFC West teams pitted division opponents against one another.

The Rams have tried to connect on deeper passes this season. They have also suffered significant injuries to slot receivers. That could help explain why their YAC average lags even though three players with modest totals for receptions rank high on the chart.

Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information for the numbers.

2011 NFC West YAC (min. 20 receptions)