Sacks Story To Change With Mayfield’s 7 Percent

June 26th, 2023

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Nothing hacked Tom Brady off more than coming up short on the football field.

He was disappointed, devastated and distraught after every setback, knowing he had to wait a week before an opportunity for retribution. If losing was No. 1 on his must-to-avoid list, taking a sack ranked a close second.

Clean looks were the norm.

Whether he was sailing a ball deliberately out of bounds or firing one into the ground, Brady was a master at frustrating the league’s premier pass rushers. And that knack for avoiding the sack will prove challenging for his successor this fall.

For each of Brady’s three seasons in Tampa, the Bucs ranked among the league leaders in sack differential, often a key metric for success. Part of that equation has been the consistency of the Buc pass rush since Todd Bowles arrived in 2019.

Here’s the sack breakdown for the Bucs during the Brady era:

Year        Sacks allowed      Sack registered
2022                22                        45
2021                 23                        47
2020                22                        48

When you consider Brady threw the most passes in the league during each of the past two seasons, the numbers are even more impressive. It’s easy to forget Buc quarterbacks were dropped at least 40 times in each of the three seasons preceding Brady’s arrival.

Although NFL coaches routinely talk up the impact of QB pressures, sacks tend to be drive killers. Facing third-and-16 shrinks your offensive playbook and emboldens opposing defenses. It’s difficult to keep the chains moving after your quarterback has hit the ground with the ball still in his hands.

Brady’s mastery in avoiding the sack was evident well before he reported to One Buc Place. His career sack percentage (4.48) ranks eighth all-time, with Peyton Manning presiding at the top.

In contrast, Mayfield has been sacked on 7 percent of his pass attempts, ranking No. 104. And don’t forget, he operated behind a solid offensive line during his stint in Cleveland.

By the middle of last season, it was apparent Brady didn’t trust his guys up front. His typically fast release became even quicker in an effort to avoid being hit. That’s an understandable protection racket when you’re a relatively immobile 45-year-old quarterback trying to survive.

Mayfield is far more likely to hold onto the ball and seek a big play downfield. That should lead to more long completions and more sacks than Buc fans have grown accustomed to.

Spreading The Wealth

That plus-73 sack differential covering the past three seasons has helped the Bucs win a lot of football games. Besides Brady’s knack for avoiding the sack, it is a tribute to the confusing looks Tampa Bay’s defense displays under Bowles.

Anthony Nelson was among the eight Bucs defensive players with three or more sacks last year. He had 5 1/2.

For example, the 2022 Bucs featured eight defenders with at least three sacks. That’s called spreading the wealth, a necessity when you consider Shaq Barrett missed half the season.

The NFC champion Eagles, who finished with 70 sacks and threatened the league’s single-season mark (72) set by the 1984 Bears, saw only six players post at least three takedowns.

Sack differential matters.

The Chiefs (plus-29), Cowboys (plus-27) and Eagles (plus-26) combined for a 40-11 record last season and two of those teams met on the NFL’s biggest stage. Tampa Bay’s sack numbers, 45-47-48-47 have been remarkably consistent since Bowles took control of the defense in 2019.

What changed in a big way the past three years? Check out the sacks allowed column. Buc fans are now accustomed to seeing their quarterback remain upright.

That’s a tribute to Brady — and a real challenge for Mayfield and new offensive coordinator Dave Canales.

Catch up on the weekend’s loaded Ira Kaufman Podcast!

26 Responses to “Sacks Story To Change With Mayfield’s 7 Percent”

  1. Dooley Says:

    Mayfields’ footwork will get him in more trouble in the pocket more often than any one of the 5 offensive linemen blocking for him. In fact, Mayfield’s footwork is so sketchy that he tends to throw passes with neither of his feet planted and/or struggles establishing his platform before driving footballs downfield. It’s why passes sail on him, it’s why he’ll climb the ladder in the pocket and basically cuts the time for pass rushers. Also part of the reason Baker leaves more to be desired passing over the middle of the field.

    Dude makes his life harder compensating for his lack of size & athleticism. Again, he’s one of our QBs so I’ll root for him to do his best, but I’m expecting everything that comes with him not good and bad.

  2. Doug RR Martin Says:

    We didnt get sacked a lot last year and it felt like every single drive sputtered out anyway.

  3. Bucnjim Says:

    There is a lot of hate for Mayfield but I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do. Trask will probably get a shot but I highly doubt it will be on opening day this year.

  4. Pryda … sec147 Says:

    Hope the Bucs pass rush can come alive again

  5. Hodad Says:

    We’ll see if that’s true, but I’m not sure it is. This offense calls for more rollouts, and boots, making it more difficult to get to the QB. This offense also won’t be throwing the ball 45 times a game which also lessons the chance for sacks. The old Baker didn’t give up on plays, and probably took more sacks, and threw more picks then he should have. If he hasn’t learned his lesson yet about making the right play, not the big play, he won’t be leading the Bucs for very long. Looking how Brady faired in Arians offense shouldn’t equate to what Baker, or Trask do in Canales’s offense. Can’t really make that comparision, two different schemes.

  6. ATLBuc Says:

    It’s going to be impossible to sack Mayfield when he’s on the bench

  7. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    Brady, Peyton Manning, etc didn’t care about stats like completion %. They would throw the ball away and live to see another play. A lot of the young “mobile gunslingers” seem to think their athleticism means they need a completion on every drop back. A lot of fans are the same way and groan about a QB “giving up on a play” when he throws the ball away safely.

    I’m no shrink but I’m sure somewhere in Baker’s mind is the thought of being a #1 pick and trying to join the likes of Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, etc in terms of being “elite” and he puts undue pressure on himself. Wanting to be the best is great but the greatest, had patience and wisdom to also be a game manager when the situation calls for it. Avoid sacks with your head, not your feet is kind of what I’m saying.



  9. CrackWise Says:

    I’m ok with sacks more than I am with INTs. You could have knocked out two birds with one stone here IRA.

    “Sacks and INT story to change with Mayfield 7% and 12.8”

    Why is everyone so hyped over a QB that gives JW a run for his money in the per year INT department at 12.8 yet lacks the ability to throw for 5K.

    MUCH RATHER HAVE JW back then Baker.

    Check the Sheet for yourselves JW > BM

    Just saying

  10. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    Amen ATLBuc!

  11. Dooley Says:

    “There is a lot of hate for Mayfield”

    You call it hate, I call it being able to watch some of Mayfields high & lowlights over the course of his NFL career to get a better understanding of what this dude can/cannot be for our beloved Bucs. Not wishing him the worst, but I know some of his worst comes with him potentially being our QB and it’s enough to make anybody go “hmmmm”

  12. Fred McNeil Says:

    That crazy sack rate is part of the reason why he’s always hurt.

  13. Aleyz2020 Says:

    If you throw the ball away instead of to the open receiver waving his arms you’ll never finish a drive. Followed by a sideline route leading the receiver out of bounds or a button hook completion that’s two yards short of the marker.

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    Two stats that will skyrocket under Mayfield are turnovers – and balls batted down at the line. All while seeing the most important state, points scored, plummet (well compared to the Arians seasons as Leftwich was such an idiot I don’t count him).

  15. Rod Munch Says:

    Bucnjim Says:
    June 26th, 2023 at 10:46 am
    There is a lot of hate for Mayfield


    Yeah, that’s what happens when you’re literally the worst QB in football over the last two season (yes, worse than Zack Wilson). Also going back and watching his tape from last year, that title is well deserved, he was mostly awful. The worst part of his tape was watching him passing up bigger mid-depth plays over and over again to take easier 3-yard catches, over and over again. Yes, he had a nice 4th quarter vs a Raiders defense that had quit, but that didn’t negate the last two years.

    Personally I hate getting Mayfield, he’s at best a guy who will got 6-11 and be just good enough to make sure we don’t get a top pick and a new top QB in the draft. I’d have much rather just thrown Trask out there and let him sink or swim – knowing if he stinks (which I assume is the case) at the least the Bucs have a valid chance to get the #1 pick. Also, if Trask didn’t stink, hey, you got a QB of the future, which would be awesome.

  16. ATLBuc Says:

    I feel the same way about Mayfield. I want Trask to start because that means he has a bigger upside. But, the only thing that keeps me off of the ledge if Mayfield gets the job is the fact that Canales made Geno Smith good and judging by the way he hurled chunks in Denver, might have had a hand in Russell Wilson’s success in Seattle

  17. TB2023 Says:

    Brady would never throw his coaches under the bus. Byron and the o-line made Brady release the ball quickly. IMHO Byron made Brady retire. Smh

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    Yep, didn’t take many sacks, also didn’t hold the ball long enough for any deep routes to develop either.
    As Brady was checking down and throwing in the dirt, Evans was coming out of his break about to be open, multiple times a game.
    I get it, the o-line was in shambles, but there were alot of big plays down field missed because Brady couldn’t wait to get that ball out of his hands.

  19. Pablothepoolboy Says:

    One thing I remember about Trask’s senior season at Florida was his composure. He would see receivers early and hit them and many times when the pocket was collapsing and he was just about to be sacked he would scoot out to run for a first down or throw to an open receiver. We don’t know if he has that same knack now unless he plays with 1rst teamers regularly. It could be that Mayfield learns under Canales that he isn’t the whole show and can get the ball to his playmakers, which is what Canales has been preaching. Health of the O-line will be paramount, across the entire team. I have a hunch Canales is cooking something good. I like that he wants to show the same look, run all the plays from similar formations and keep the D guessing.

  20. stpetebucfan Says:

    Brady was and IS the GOAT!!! He did it largely through a great arm and an even better brain with the most scrupulous preparation in the league both physically and mentally…UNTIL LAST YEAR.

    He freaking misssed the preseason!!! He played like a distracted old man on many occasions with his GOAT talent emerging on occasion but far less often than ever before.

    Ira says…”relatively immobile”. LOL Brady was a jittery statue for last season.
    He’s 45 and apparently the distraction and the memory of the pain of 275 lb guys blasting you clearly occupied his head.

    And yes let’s blame it all on the OL eh. Can someone explain to me then how Brady was victimized by the OL…the running game suffered because of the OL and yet the Tampa Bay OL was ranked 9th in the league!!!

    Imagine if like Mayfield, Brady had to play behind the TWENTY FIFTH ranked OL last year!

  21. Pablothepoolboy Says:

    Oh and I remember Brady missing many open routes last year because of getting the ball out early, you can’t do both, not if you’re in fear for your life.

  22. Pablothepoolboy Says:

    Yeah the personal life took a toll on him for sure, but his savy, will to win and smarts made everyone else look really good, o-line, coach’s everyone. It was a tough year and I am sad he didn’t get the chance he should have but his legacy is secure.

  23. Brandon Says:

    Here’s some numbers for you.

    Brady never led the league in lowest sack percentage until 2021 and 2022.
    He was sacked at a 4.8% rate with Pats.
    He was sacked at a 3.1% rate with Bucs and 3.0 and 2.9% the last two years.

    Mayfield has been sacked 7.0% over his career… numbers grossly inflated by nearly 10% between LA and Carolina last season.

    It isn’t hard to believe that he will be sacked less this season.. especially if he is familiar with thr offense.

  24. KFrye Says:

    all the trashing coming from media fans not ones that know what mayfield did after not once having anything close to stable he took the worst team to a no call to AFC championship all with 4coaches and no defense in a covid year no true elite receiver ever so all those who trash him before knowing the truth with the offense and wideouts he is going to shut everyone’s mouth i would bet my life he is in top 10 or top 5 and all you haters will be begging Tampa to not let him put the door what he’s had done to him i will put him against anyone the man will be great and no one deserves it more period

  25. garro Says:

    Nailed it Ira!
    We need to be ready for a whole different world this season.
    Brady saved our season last year but we still have many who prefer to blame him despite people like you and Joe pointing out facts.

    Go Bucs!

  26. Clerican216 Says:

    It’s amazing how many so called grown ups consistently get on this page to bash their newest QB. I would bet 90% really have no idea what they’re getting and are only going off what they’ve heard or read in the media. Why don’t you just let the situation play itself out and then jidge. Bunch of whiny cry babies. I thought Cleveland fans were bad but by God Tampa fans are the worst.