Washington Offense is Very Good at Moving the Ball but only Average at Scoring

The husky offense looks to have a higher floor than last season but is struggling to put up points. What’s going on?

Let’s look at a host of statistics.

First, let’s look at explosive plays. These are per conference game figures starting with 2016, 2017 and 2018 in bold.

+10 yard runs- 7.3, 6.9, 5.0

+20 yard runs- 2.2, 2.2, 0.8

+10 yard passes- 10.0, 7.5, 9.0

+20 yard passes- 3.5, 2.6, 3.0

+30 yard passes- 3.4, 2.4, 1.8

10 yard runs & 20 yard passes- 10.8, 9.5, 8.0

When we include Auburn and BYU the numbers are better. Prior to Colorado the big issue was the lack of explosive runs. Explosive receptions were higher than last season and at good levels. I think there were very few explosive receptions against Colorado but there were quite a few explosive runs. Even with that, the explosive runs are still well below the last two years.

Unfortunately Myles Gaskin got injured right about the time of the season he really heats up. Salvon Ahmed has produced some explosive runs and that will need to continue for as long as Gaskin is out. Last season Gaskin had 8 plays of 30 yards or more. This season? Only 1.

Note that explosive passes have exceeded the 2017 total. We’ve improved in that regard however we’ve gotten worse in terms of really big pass plays (+30 yards).

 

Let’s move onto the red zone.

Points per red zone trip – 5.96, 4.74, 4.46

Red zone opportunities per game- 4.5, 4.7, 4.4 (1st in pac-12)

TD % in red zone- 50% (10th in Pac-12), 76% in 2016 (1st) and 57% in 2017 (5th).

And here are some good stats from @sportsPac12

% with trips to red zone- UW is #1 in Pac-12 at 47%.

Points per possession- UW is #3 in Pac-12

3rd down- UW #1 in Pac-12 at 49%

% of Possessions that result in points- UW is 3rd in Pac-12 at 41.5%

The summary is three-fold. UW is doing a good job of getting to the red zone but its struggling to score TD’s. Finally, because of how some teams are trying to shorten the game, UW seems to have slightly less possessions per game than in past years.

That problem is related to the next statistics…

 

Turnovers.

Forced Turnovers Per Game- 2.3, 1.6, 1.4

Turnovers Lost- 0.9, 0.8, 1.2

Turnover Margin- 1.40, 0.78, 0.20

Forced Fumbles- 1.30, 0.88, 1.60

Pass Breakups- 5.10, 3.50, 5.00

Bill Connelly’s Turnover Stats:

Expected Ranking vs. Actual…2016- 6/1, 2017- 10/5, 2018- 15/85

The summary here is UW is committing slightly more turnovers this season and forcing slightly less than last season which was down from 2016. However, the real tell is Connelly’s stats. Bad turnover luck is costing us 4.5 points per game. (It did cost us 3.7 against Oregon). Note that the defense is forcing more fumbles than 2016 and 2017, breaking up more passes than 2017 and about as much as 2016, yet that has not resulted in that many turnovers. Just look at our expected and actual rankings. Sure, this year we are only expected to be 15th in TO margin. Thats down from the #6 and #10 of the past two years. But actual margin is #85. What the fuck! God, give us a break.

 

S&P+ has the offense ranked #25. Interestingly it has rushing and passing offense rated #19 and #19. But inside the 10 yard line our success rate is #84. Our first and goal success is #73. FEI has the offense rated #15 and ESPN FPI has it rated #12. That seems too high to me.

Ultimately it comes down to scoring touchdowns in the red zone and getting more opportunities via better turnover luck which hurts the opponent’s offense and gives your offense additional easy scoring opportunities. Better special teams play and getting more explosive run plays would also help.

I do think Ahmed will get more opportunities and if Gaskin heals that will help generate more explosive runs.

Because of limited personnel I don’t expect much improvement in the deep passing game. The best hope for this team is that it continues forcing fumbles and turnover luck changes.

Over the past few games the offense has done a better job scoring from outside of the red zone. I don’t know how the red zone offense improves without a healthy Gaskin and Hunter Bryant. Ty Jones is the one matchup we have and he’s been inconsistent.

Forcing turnovers is also key because red zone defense has not been good. We are giving up 5.43 points per red zone trip on defense. The past two years were 4.5 (2016) and 4.75 (2017).

Jake Browning’s QBR from 2016-2017-2018 is: 81.3, 71.9, 76.3

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