Our Texans: best scoring offense in the AFC, fourth-best in the NFL

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by Hooston Texan, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Hooston Texan

    Hooston Texan All Pro

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    Currently, the Texans are tied for 18th in the league in scoring--a total of 140 points. Mind you, I'm sure a few teams ahead of us played 1 more game, but that ranking--insofar as it is a testament to our offense--is highly, highly deceptive.

    Scoring output is not just an offensive statistic. As you all know, it is much easier for an offense to put points on the board when it gets the ball on its oppenent's 30 than when it gets it on its own 30. But field position like that requires help from your defense and/or special teams.

    Building on that basic truth, I went back over Texan scoring drives to see which started in the opponents' end (my term for those is "assisted drives": the offense got an assist from the other units with either good field position or a return TD). A total of 16 of our 140 points came as a result of assisted drives--FGs against Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Miami plus JJ's punt return TD against the Fish. I made a post setting forth that number in another thread ("Offense ROCKS"), but I wanted to see how our 124 "unassisted" points stack up against the rest of the league. The result was such that I thought this deserved its own thread (with a suitably splashy subject line).

    Our 124 unassisted points are the highest in the AFC. In other words, no AFC team has scored more points than us off of drives starting on their own side of the 50. The overall points leader in the AFC, San Diego (192 points) had 72 points attributable to TD returns and/or advantageous field position.

    Overall, only Dallas (173), the Giants (141) and Arizona (140) have more unassisted points per game than us. Green Bay and Minnesota have each logged 125, but they've played one more game than us, so our average is higher. Thus, we are fourth in the entire NFL in generating points from non-advantageous field position.

    So what conclusions can we draw?
    1. Our offense is getting next to no help from the defense and special teams in getting points. In my research, I looked at the scoring drives for the 22 teams that totalled more than 124 points (obviously, the other 9 could not have more "unassisted" points if they had fewer than 124 total points), and every one of those teams had at least 13 more "assisted" points than we have. Except one: Dallas also had only 16. Imagine how many more points we would have scored with an occasional turnover or long return. Ugh.

    2. Still, notwithstanding the limitations of our defense and special teams, only three offenses have proven better than us at getting long scoring drives. And it's not like we're doing it with home runs: I believe our longest TD play this year is Schaub's 30 yard pass to Slaton against the Jags. As we've discussed elsewhere, we are pounding the intermediate passing zones to death, but we've still had to string a number of such completions (supplemented with a rapidly-improving running game) to get our points.

    What does this add up to? Our offense can really move the ball and does not need much help in putting points on the board. If you are thinking that scoring output tells the whole story of the offense, think again.
     
  2. TexansLucky13

    TexansLucky13 53d Signal Batt

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    I am extremely impressed with the advances we have made on offense. The running game is unfolding and our passing attack is a force to be reckoned with. If they can control the football and stop shooting themselves in the foot, we will truly have an elite offense, IMO.
     
  3. TheRealJoker

    TheRealJoker Hall of Fame

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    Sounds like another reason to fire Richard Smith!!!:bat:
     
  4. Runner

    Runner Hubcap Diamond Staff Member

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    The offense is doing very well. Those totals would be even higher without the early season woes in the red zone, but woes they were.

    The team as a whole however, is another story. Given that they'll probably finish around .500 again, defense and special teams is taking away everything the offense is giving.

    I guess the offense's turnovers hurt those two units, but not nearly that much. It's pretty clear what needs fixing; it will be interesting to see the approach they take to doing that fixing.
     
  5. 281

    281 Hall of Fame

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    this offense is starting to look nice...
     
  6. Goldensilence

    Goldensilence hipster elite

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    Things I walk away with:

    Healthy A.J. and how that really impacts this offense.

    Steve Slaton has been the spark plug this running game has needed.

    The Line is slowly getting better and while he's still pretty raw and needs work Duane Brown has been surprisingly solid for the most part.

    We do need to work on ball security on the offense. Our defense can't handle teams with a long field so it's even worse giving opposing offenses a short field to work with.

    If only our defense could show a glimmer of improvement that our offense has had over the past 2 years.
     
  7. beerlover

    beerlover Site Contributor

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    how about some props/love for the Texans rookie OC Kyle Shanahan :elmo:
     
  8. Malloy

    Malloy Site Contributor

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    Hooston, after seeing Goldensilence' comment on AJ being healthy I had a thought. I know this is alot to ask for, but would it be possible, in the same way, to compare games with and without AJ (2007)?

    Again (as in the Offense ROCKS thread), thanks. The work you've done is quite interesting and thorough!
     


  9. Texanmike02

    Texanmike02 Site Contributor

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    This is quite impressive. I am curious if I can get the spreadsheet you used to make this. I'd like a chance to play with the numbers myself. I'm a stat guy, as most know (it has been a while since I've done some reall analysis of football).



    Initially I would look a little deeper (I'll do it if you get me the spreadsheet) before I went so far as to rank what our offense is doing. First of all, look into a "point's per possession". I have no idea how that would look, but you may have efficient offences that eat up small chunks of yards (west cost I would assume) and do not get as many posessions. I think that while points scoring is important, the idea of offensive efficiency is under used. Scoring 21 points may not be enough to win if each team has the ball 15 times but if each time they only get the ball 7 or 8 in a game, 21 points gives you a pretty good shot to win.

    Redzone efficiency, average yards/drive, turnover efficiency (turnovers/posession) and try to measure drive consistancy (rank correlation analysis would be a nice start I would think) to see how consistantly we move the ball how far. We've had a hard time in the past in the red zone and I'd like to see if its gotten any better.

    These are just things I'd love to look at, again if you give it to me I'll do the math myself.


    Mike
     
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  10. Hooston Texan

    Hooston Texan All Pro

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    I sent you a message on my documents, but some points on efficiency:
    in the last four games (since the Pittsburgh and Tennessee debacles), the Texans have had 37 offensive possessions which have produced a total of 104 points. That does not count JJ's punt return, nor does it count possessions immediately before the half where the sole aim was to run the clock to zero. That's an average of 2.81 points for each offensive possession. So, in a low possession game where each team gets the ball only eight times (four each half), our offense should produce around 22 points.

    Currently, our redzone efficiency is #12 in the league in terms of producing touchdowns--we get to the endzone 56.0% of the time we're inside the 20. The league leader--Tennessee--is at 72.2% while Minnesota is last at 30%. We were #18 heading into last week at 50%, but getting 4 TD's in five possessions bumped us up. [Fortunately/unfortunately, the Lions never took a snap in our redzone--though they sprinted through it twice--so we still have, in all likelihood, the worst redzone defense of all time.]
     
  11. eriadoc

    eriadoc Texan-American

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    So we need more takeaways, less giveaways, and more return TDs. That about sum it up?
     
  12. Texans_Chick

    Texans_Chick Utopian Dreamer

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    Actually, the Texans special teams is doing very well relative to the league.

    It is the defense that is catastrophically bad.
     
  13. Hooston Texan

    Hooston Texan All Pro

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    I took a stab. In the six games this season, we have scored an average of 20.67 unassisted points.

    In the seven games AJ missed last year, we scored a total of 119 unassisted points (142 total) for an average of 17 per game.

    In the nine games AJ played, we actually did about the same in terms of unassisted points: 154 for a 17.1 ppg average. Our scoring increased because we got more help from D/ST to the scoring cause in those games: 76 points, of which 42 came in the Jacksonville and Tampa games (get well soon, Andre Davis).
     
  14. Malloy

    Malloy Site Contributor

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    Interesting. I know that there are many more factors to account for, but your way of crunching the numbers would indicate that games without AJ were not as bad as one would think. Again I am sure that there are many reasons for this (schedule being a huge factor) but it could also indicate our O's ability to utilize other WRs with only a slight drop-off in offensive scores.

    Thanks for crunching em' for me, much appreciated! :)
     
  15. Porky

    Porky Hall of Fame

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    Great post and analysis by hooston texan. Must spread rep around yada, yada, yada, but I would give you some if I could.

    This tells me that if the QB could get better at ball security, and the D a little better at stopping teams when we have them inside the 20, that number and our total scoring would go up. I really feel this team is a top 5 offense just waiting to break out.
     
  16. Hooston Texan

    Hooston Texan All Pro

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    And now, for the bad news.

    I did a quick-and-dirty look at the flip side of "unassisted" points: what defenses gave up the most. Last week, we discussed just how much turnovers impacted our won/loss record. My thought was that only one loss--Indy--can be attributed, above all else, to turnovers. By contrast, I believe our redzone offense was the primary cause of our demise in Nashville.

    In any event, I decided to invert the "assisted" points to see which defenses were done in more by their teammates than by their own play. I used the same basic criteria: on its scoring marches, did the opponent get the ball inside the defense's 50. The terms "assisted" and "unassisted" don't work as well in a defensive context, so I'm using "alibi points" for those points surrendered after the opponent is set up in plus field position. Those scoring drives that originate on the opponent's side of the field are thus "no alibi" points.

    The Texans have allowed 179 points this year. Of that amount, 38 were alibi points. The breakdown: Pittsburgh scored 10 points after a Schaub interception and fumble. The Titans got 7 on the int return at the end of the game. I don't need to recount the 14 Indy got on us. Finally, Detroit's first TD came after a short Turk punt set them up at our 47.

    That leaves 141 points that the D has allowed when they've taken the field on the opponents' side of the 50 (the non-alibi total). That's dead-freaking-last in the NFL. Actually, Denver has allowed 149, but they've played one more game, so our average is higher.

    I haven't broken down every team's alibi versus non-alibi points allowed--I only looked at a team's results until their non-alibi total fell below the Texans' 141. So I can't say whether the 38 alibi points we've surrendered are high, low or in the middle. That's probably the subject of a later post.

    But the fact is that our defense is giving up more points than anyone else when the opposing offense is at least 50 yards from paydirt. That's really hurting us.
     
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  17. Malloy

    Malloy Site Contributor

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    Good stuff again Hooston, thanks.

    That is, bad stuff... but presented in a good way! :)
     
  18. Hooston Texan

    Hooston Texan All Pro

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    I've now scratched out a ranking for us in the four categories I've discussed in this thread (assisted points scored, unassisted points scored, alibi points allowed and non-alibi points allowed). If you're coming into this discussion halfway, here's the terminology:

    Unassisted Scoring. The number of points the offense has scored on drives that originate from their own end of the field.
    Assisted Scoring. The points a team has scored either on a touchdown return or from drives that began on the opponents' side of the field.
    Alibi Scoring. Points that the team allows either on TD returns or when the opponent gets the ball on the wrong side of the 50. In other words, the defense has something of an alibi for the score because the offense or special teams set the opponent up in scoring position.
    Non-Alibi Scoring. Points the defense allows when it takes the field on the opponent's side of the 50.

    Unassisted Scoring: #6 overall with 124 points
    As mentioned above, two teams above us with 125 points each played one more game, so we're #4 in terms of average. This means our offense is generating alot of points without much help. By comparison, Dallas leads with 173 unassisted points. Baltimore and Oakland are tied for last with 54.

    Assisted Scoring: Tied (with Dallas) for next-to-last with 16 points.
    So the offense is getting almost no help from the D or special teams in getting points. Incredibly, Miami has yet to score an assisted point this season: every single point they've gotten is the result of a long drive (or, against us, a big offensive play). The Jets lead the league with 89 assisted points; they need it because their offense has only generated 65 points to date on long drives.

    Alibi Scoring: Tied for 14th with 38 points
    This was the surprise to me--with our penchant for turnovers, you'd think we would have given up more here. If you take away Sage's meltdown against the Colts, we'd be #7 with only 24 points allowed. This is about the only thing our defense has done well this year: limit the scoreboard damage from turnovers. The best teams in this area, Atlanta and Jacksonville, have only allowed 10 to date. The worst, Minnesota and San Diego, have each allowed 80.

    Non-Alibi Scoring: 31st with 141 points
    The team behind us--Denver (149)--has played one more game, so we are the kings in terms of average. What this means is that we can count on the defense surrenduring 24 points every game even if the offense and special teams play it clean. I don't think I need to tell anyone how bad this is, but here's some comparison data. The midpoint teams (GB at 16 and NE at 17) have allowed 94 and 99 points, respectively. The league leader--no suprise, the Titans--have allowed only 53, with Carolina (56) and Pittsburgh (58) close behind.
     
  19. The Pencil Neck

    The Pencil Neck Subscribed Contributor

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    This is great stuff.

    It would also be interesting to see percentages as well as raw numbers. For example, 89% of our points are unassisted while 11% is assisted. Those percentages might be very interesting as well.
     
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  20. edo783

    edo783 Site Contributor

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    Pretty dang obvious to me that we had better score 28 points a game or we won't be winning much. The defense needs to get that number under 20 points. To expect the offense to always scoring 24+ points to win is a losing proposition.
     

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