The fine fellows of Football Outsiders have been doing what they do best and crunching the number of broken tackles during the 2010 season. Two days ago they closely examined running backs across the league and guess who they determined to be the slipperiest ball carrier of the year. None other than the Saints' very own Chris Ivory. And it wasn't even close.
Football Outsiders determined that Ivory broke a total of 27 tackles on 138 total touches throughout the season, meaning defenders whiffed on nearly one out of every five times Ivory had the football. If that's not impressive enough, the Saints had yet another top five tackle breaker in 2010 with Pierre Thomas, who avoided defensemen 15.2% of the time he touched the ball.
In case you're wondering, here is how Football Outsiders determined and defined a broken tackle:
We defined a "broken tackle" as one of two events: either the ballcarrier escapes from the grasp of the defender, or the defender is in good position for a tackle but the ballcarrier jukes him out of his shoes. If the ballcarrier sped by a slow defender who dived and missed, that didn't count as a broken tackle. We only measured broken tackles for standard plays; volunteers didn't have the time to track them for all special teams plays.
And here is their list of top ten running back tackle breakers:
|Highest Broken Tackle Rate, 2010 RB|
As the article notes, four of the top five running backs were undrafted free agents. Notice also who is second on the list behind Chris Ivory. That's right, it's none other than Marshawn Lynch, who is the man responsible for breaking about six tackles on this one play alone. So now maybe we don't need to feel so bad about the play that single-handedly ended the Saints 2010 season.
Just kidding, that play sucked balls.
Your thoughts? Anyone surprised by these numbers?