Via week 8 from the season, there is currently been 81 touchdowns of 50 yards or longer, a pace nicely ahead from the record of 173 set within the 1998 season.
This past Sunday and Monday, there had been 13 scoring plays of longer than 50 yards. DeSean Jackson from the Philadelphia Eagles has six touchdowns this season, and all of them have covered a minimum of half the football field. Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville had touchdown runs of 80 and 79 yards within the exact same game.
It is a veritable large play party within the National Football League.
Sadly, a couple of invitations to stated party got lost within the mail.
There is 3 teams within the league who've however to money in on a lengthy play from scrimmage. Initial, you have got the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who rank 29th within the league in total offense, and can be utilizing their third beginning quarterback in 2009 when rookie Josh Freeman lines up below center against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The second team with out a 50-yard play to their credit will be the Cleveland Browns, who rank 30th within the league, and are so poor offensively, their very best player has currently been traded and their common manager has been shown the door.
The third team may surprise you.
It is the defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals, a team who became recognized for large plays final year throughout their improbable run to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. However the large plays have already been absent in 2009.
The Cardinals have run 485 plays from scrimmage in '09, and only two of them have gained 40 or much more yards.
That is righttwo out of 485.
The two plays?Kurt Warner's 40-yard completion to Jerheme Urban within the season opener against San Francisco and Warner's 44-yard strike to a hobbled Anquan Boldin in a win over the Giants at the Meadowlands in week 7. Neither play went for a touchdown, rather they both led to Neil Rackers field goals.
And that is just the passing game.
A lack of large plays within the operating game have already been the norm for the Cardinals in recent seasons, with aging operating backs like Emmitt Smith and Edgerrin James carrying the load. But you'd think with Chris "Beanie"Wells within the backfield things would be different. Wells routinely reeled off lengthy runs throughout his stellar collegiate career at Ohio State, however his longest run (and the Cardinals' longest) this season has been 17 yards, making Arizona the only team within the league to not have a operating play net 20 yards however this season.
So what's the reason for the lack of large plays?There are several.
Within the passing game, teams have game-planned to take away the vertical passing game from the Cardinals, and forced them to take what's available. And what's been available has been dump-offs to operating backs and short passes to the tight ends. So far in 2009, 33.3% from the Cardinals' completions have gone to operating backs and tight ends, up from just 25.4% final season.
The Cardinals also haven't forced the issue like they did a year ago. Throughout their Super Bowl run, Warner would frequently throw a ball up for grabs to Larry Fitzgerald, and let him do what he does very best, catch the ball at its highest point, usually wrestling it away from defenders within the process. That hasn't happened this season. And nagging injuries that have slowed Boldin down haven't helped either.
Within the operating game, Wells seemingly has a handful of runs in each game where he's 1 broken tackle or 1 block away from breaking a lengthy one-it just hasn't happened however.
Not to mention, the Cardinals' continuing lack of commitment to the operating game has been a huge factor. Arizona has run the ball only 138 times this season, 157 times fewer than the New York Jets, who run it much more than any team within the league, and even 25 fewer times than Tampa Bay, who ranks 31st in rushing attempts.
There is something to be stated for "taking what's available". That strategy can lead to dominant time of possession statistics and lengthy, sustained scoring drives that can deflate a defense. But "taking what's available"is also a very polite approach in what is anything but a polite game.