An offensive lineman can indirectly be responsible for a sack
On this play Ohio State center Jacoby Boren allows the initial pressure, which leads to the to sack, even though his man did not record the sack. Boren should get credit for allowing the sack, because without his mistakes the sack would likely have not occurred.
Assigning Blame on Sacks
It is usually clear who gets beat, but sometimes a player is responsible due to not even picking up his assignment. When someone comes unblocked, see if you can find the guy most likely to have been responsible (but know that it won’t always be clear – an overload blitz may simply lead to someone being unblocked and no one being responsible for a blown assignment).
In this example, No. 77 doubles the interior pass-rusher while allowing No. 91 a clear path on the outside. In this case, it’s safe to blame No. 77 for not recognizing the blitz.
Don’t Give the Defense Too Much Credit
Not everything that looks like a pressure is a bad thing. If the offense is clearly indifferent to the pressure, or causing it intentionally (this happens on a lot on running back screens) don’t give the defense any credit. Here’s an example where a defender seemingly is bringing pressure, but the TCU offense is clearly letting him draw himself out of position to make a play.
Not every receiver has to be considered covered for our purposes. Screen passes, especially those thrown to receivers, will often be left without coverage data.
Here is an example from Oregon/Florida State. Oregon has three receivers out wide against two defensive backs. Since both defensive backs will be blocked immediately, we’re going to say it’s unrealistic for either to be responsible for the receiver in this situation. We will chart this play without any coverage data.
Normally contested catches are limited to when the defensive back is making a play on the ball either in a clear effort to bat the ball away or make an interception. But there are some instances when a direct hit on the receiver can result in a contested catch. In this example, the hit is clearly an effort by the DB to breakup process of the catch so we can call this a contested catch.