Tampa Bay’s defense allowed touchdowns on 78 percent of its red zone possessions last year. That number looks so out of whack, I had to double-check that it’s even true. But sure enough, it’s a league-supplied stat, as tabulated by the Elias Sports Bureau.
On almost four out of every five red zone possessions, Tampa Bay’s defense allowed opponents to successfully get the ball into the end zone. Bruce Arians (along with his defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles) has his work cut out for him.
The number is so lousy that I figured I would check and see how it stacks up against other teams from recent years. Sure enough, it’s worse than any other defense in the past 10 years.
As I work through those numbers, however, I also note that scoring is simply going up across the league. Six defenses last year allowed touchdowns on over 70 percent of their red zone possessions. In the previous nine years, only four defenses had sunk to that level of futility (about one every two years).
|WORST RED ZONE DEFENSES (last 10 years)|
As poorly as the Bucs played last year, Kansas City was arguably more surprising – the AFC’s No. 1 seed, which also finished with 58 red zone possessions and allowed only 3 fewer touchdowns.