A ”successful” play, as defined by Football Outsiders, is when a play gains enough yardage to keep the offense on track, i.e., 50% of needed yardage on 1st down, 70% on 2nd, or 100% on 3rd/4th. A ”big play” (aka “explosive play”) is any play that gains ≥15 yards (run OR pass).
Total Running and Passing
Success by Runner
Well would you look at that: Mr. Josh Jacobs is your leading rusher (by both attempts and success) from the game vs. Mississippi state last weekend. Jacobs almost took pole position against Tennessee a few weeks ago—and he was technically the most successful back in that game—but Brian Robinson Jr. edged him out in number of attempts during his usual blowout-game cleanup for TSIO.
For the Alabama offense in 2018, the leading rusher (by attempts) in each game has been one of four different RBs this year! There have been some interesting trends there, too:
- vs. Louisville: Najee Harris
- vs. Arkansas State: Najee Harris
- vs. Ole Miss: Brian Robinson Jr.
- vs. Texas A&M: Najee Harris
- vs. ULL: Brian Robinson Jr.
- vs. Arkansas: Damien Harris
- vs. Missouri: Damien Harris
- vs. Tennessee: Brian Robinson Jr.
- vs. LSU: Damien Harris
- vs. Mississippi State: Josh Jacobs.
Admittedly, in a few games these backs are only an attempt or two apart (e.g., Damien Harris just behind Najee Harris in a few early games, and vice versa, and pile-ups behind Brian Robinson Jr. in these blowouts). But, it’s been interesting to see us move slightly away from Najee and towards Damien... and now Josh Jacobs in two of the last three games (counting his big role vs. Tennessee). Having this many strong halfbacks this season has been super fun.
Otherwise, the other notables about this chart aren’t that positive: running SRs were fine but not that high for any particular runner (Jacobs had the highest at 60%), and this was the least explosive running game we’ve seen from the Tide offense this year.
Success by Passer
With a 7.7% XR and a 50% SR, Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t as dominating a passer as we’ve seen him be this season. He was certainly the least explosive he’s been all year (what appears to be a trend in this game), though he did improve his success rate from the LSU game by 10 points (<40% to 50% vs. MSU). That still puts him well above league average against a tough defense.
Mac Jones, on the other hand, wasn’t so great at passing. It’s (sorta) great to see him get a real line in this chart that isn’t just mop-up duty hand-offs, but his ~17% SR on 6 attempts isn’t very inspiring. That’s bad. So I guess we should still use that Jalen Hurts guy once he gets healthy again, eh?
Success by Receiver
Jerry Jeudy continues to, just... do stuff. Lots of stuff, and most of it good! He didn’t have one of his 100% SR “Jerry specials” this week, but he had a solid 50% SR as a receiving target and was the leading catcher on the day. I’ve mentioned it before this season, but I’m still surprised that Jeudy is the consistent #1 threat after all the attention Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith got last season (especially towards the end).
Speaking of Ruggs and Smith: I’m glad to see them both healthy and playing, but neither did much in this game. They were both outshined, in fact, by freshman Jaylen Waddle—with his team-high 80% SR as a receiving target—and by our ever-so-explosive Irv Smith Jr. Irv was the only receiver to deliver a big play... and he delivered 3!
Success by Tackler
Ok, I’ve griped about not getting Tackler data for a few away games so far this season... but how did BDS not manage to get me the data in this one!? I hope this isn’t a continued trend from our home games, because it’s a shame to lose this point of view right when our defense is playing lights out.
Well... I’ll at least give a shout-out to Mack Wilson, Quinnen Williams, Isaiah Buggs, Jared Mayden, Dylan Moses, Christian Miller, and Labryan Ray for showing up in TFL/sack/miscellaneous defensive data. There are surely others to recognize too, but we’ll just have to wait until they do some more good deeds in November and beyond. Roll Tide.