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The Buccaneers dropped far fewer passes this year

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Diego Chargers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a bit of a problem with dropped passes. They didn’t in 2016, though, at least according to Sporting Charts’ data. Mike Evans was particularly improved, going from 11 to 7 drops in the span of a year.

In total, Sporting Charts listed 11 dropped passes by Bucs players, seven of those by Mike Evans. That’s a massive improvement over the 25 dropped passes the team had the year before — though it’s still too many drops.

Then again, we shouldn’t overstate the impact this had on the team’s offense. At 11.9 yards per completion, those 14 passes represent 167 passing yards — or just over 10 yards per game. One extra completion, one extra first down, is not likely to have made a big difference in many games.

After all, the Bucs lost just four games by a single score, and in most of those games they weren’t 10 yards removed from the end zone at the end in any of them. That’s not to say that those 10 yards couldn’t have made a difference, but it depends on many contexts. And, quite frankly, I can’t remember a drop that decided a game this past season — and I can, in fact, remember a few drops on deep passes by opponents that saved the Bucs defense.

More than anything, this is a good reminder that any team’s performance and statistics often rely on a few fluke plays. It’s hard to remember the many individual lucky and unlucky breaks that led to the team’s results this season, and 14 plays are far too few to say anything important about the Bucs’ overall quality.