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3 Numbers to Know for Cowboys vs. Chargers

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At NBC, I posted three numbers to know for Dallas this week. Here’s one:

45: Percentage of Chargers’ runs that have increased their chances of scoring on a drive

This stat is also known as “run success rate,” and the Chargers actually rank fifth in the NFL. That’s notable because San Diego has run for only 3.9 YPC, ranking them 18th in the league. Thus, while traditional numbers suggest the Chargers have been pour on the ground, the truth is that they’ve been rather efficient.

YPC is influenced so heavily by game situations that it’s really a useless stat. Teams that run when they should run, especially in short-yardage and goal line situations, typically have low YPC. We shouldn’t penalize a team for gaining two yards on third-and-one, and that’s exactly what YPC does. Run success rate captures true efficiency, rewarding teams for run that increases their probability of scoring.

The fact that San Diego ranks high in run success rate but low in YPC is actually a good thing; it means they’ve used the run in a lot of low-upside situations, such as near the goal line, which is fine. That’s also undoubtedly helped their passing efficiency—one of the “hidden” benefits of using the run as a complementary piece of the offense instead of the core.

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