NFL Nation: yards after the catch

There won’t be any scoreboard-watching by NFC South teams Sunday because the Falcons already have clinched everything they can clinch and the other three teams are out of the playoffs.

But there might be some stat-sheet-watching as two division teams attempt to avoid a very unflattering distinction. The New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the league’s two worst teams when it comes to allowing yards after the catch.

The Saints head into the final week ranked No. 32 in the league with 2,177 yards allowed after the catch, according to ESPN Stats & Information. But the Buccaneers are within striking distance at 2,107 yards allowed after the catch.

For comparison’s sake, the Falcons are No. 23 with 1,662 yards allowed after the catch. The Carolina Panthers are No. 4 with 1,352 yards allowed after the catch.

Buccaneers need YAC against Saints

October, 19, 2012
One area to keep an eye on in Sunday’s game between the Buccaneers and Saints will be what happens after Tampa Bay’s receivers catch passes.

The New Orleans defense has struggled mightily in many areas, but the worst problem of all might be giving up yards after the catch. The Saints have allowed 56.7 percent of their passing yards to come after the catch. That’s the worst percentage in the NFL. For context, the Jets lead the NFL at 34.3 percent and the Buccaneers (No. 17 overall) are the best in the NFC South at 43.4 percent.

Tampa Bay’s offense has a chance to improve its middle-of-the pack standing in team yards after the catch. The Bucs are averaging 5.7 yards after the catch. Wide receiver Mike Williams leads the Bucs with 111 yards after the catch, running back Doug Martin has 85 yards after the catch, and receiver Vincent Jackson has 51 yards.

If the Saints don’t do a better job of tackling, Williams, Martin and Jackson will have a good chance to improve their after-the-catch numbers.