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Houston Texans Advanced Stat of the Week: Points Per Attempt

What happened to this guy?
What happened to this guy?Elsa/Getty Images
Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistMarch 5, 2013

The Texans have a balanced offense.

Or at least they did for most of the year.

Points per attempt (PPA) is not a commonly used stat, but is an interesting concept posited by Texans FC Jeffery Roy in a previous article.

The idea is to divide a team's offensive points scored (excluding defensive and special teams scores) and divide that by the number of passing attempts plus sacks. The stat really should be called PPDB (points per dropback), but let's keep it simple, shall we?

What the resulting number tells you is how often a team was forced to pass the ball in order to generate points.

PPA is not strictly a passing stat. It's ultimately a team efficiency stat. Obviously, short fields and a strong running game will lead to more points with fewer passing attempts. Additionally, teams pass more when trailing in games.

The teams that did well in PPA in 2012 were the Seahawks, Redskins, 49ers, Patriots, Giants, Packers, Broncos, Vikings and Texans. Of those nine teams, eight qualified for the playoffs. If you drop the list down to the top 12 in the NFL, 10 of the teams made the postseason.

Houston finished ninth in PPA in 2012 with an total 0.611 points for every time they attempted a pass.

Something happened over the final six games, however. Including the playoffs, that number dropped to 0.438. In other words, it took a lot more passes to score. Over the whole season, that would have been seventh-worst in the NFL.

Normally, one would suspect the problem was with the running game. It wasn't. Arian Foster was a beast down the stretch and in the playoffs. He piled up 552 yards in six games and only 122 carries. That's an average of 4.5 YPC, well above his season average.

No one can blame Foster for what happened in 2012. If anything, he showed why he's one of the best backs in the game.

The fact is that the Texans' passing game simply wasn't efficient down the stretch.

As we evaluate the value of this stat, it's important to note that it tells us what we already suspected: Matt Schaub simply wasn't playing well at the end of the season.

Why is a mystery, but the evidence is there. Passing efficiency matters, and when it mattered most Schaub played poorly.

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