When evaluating a team’s offense, two of the most important statistics are Yards Per Rush and Yards Per Pass. Put simply, you want to know how many yards, on average, calling a rushing or a passing play will net you. These statistics have proven to be good indicators of how many points an offense will score.
Distribution of Yards Gained on Rush/Pass Plays
While maximizing the number of yards per play is usually a good proxy, the ultimate goal of a drive is to maximize points*. (NOTE: Points here does not necessarily mean the points you score on that drive, but the net point expectancy, including field position when you don’t score.) One factor that could affect drive success over and above yards per play is the distribution of those yards. Let’s look at a graph to illustrate my point.
*Actually, it is to maximize the likelihood of a win, but I’m going to simplify that to points for now, which is very close to win maximization, especially early in games.