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2021 year in review: Josh Allen last in YAC percentage

Yards after the catch usually implies explosion on offense

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had a great season passing the football in 2021. Allen passed for 4407 yards and threw for 36 touchdowns. However, when taking a deeper dive into his passing yardage, Allen ranked last in the NFL in terms of passing yards coming after the catch. All told, only 1737 yards (39%) were of the after-the-catch variety.

So how did some other notable, high-profile QBs compare? Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes amassed 2670 yards after the catch, which was good for 55% of his passing yardage. Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals had 2252 of his passing yards come after completing passes—a rate of 48% of his total passing yards.

Of course there are multiple factors to consider when digesting these numbers. One is that the Bills don’t have a true game breaker who can rack up a ton of yards after the catch (YAC) following receptions. Yes, they have Isaiah McKenzie but he isn’t utilized the same way as Jamar Chase—who ranked third in the league in YAC yards for the Bengals. Additionally, if one were to watch a Bills game, they’d notice that a lot of the team’s receivers value ball security over YAC production. Bills Mafia has seen multiple instances where Cole Beasley dives forward for additional yardage instead of trying to make people miss to increase yards.

Even with the lack of yardage, Allen still made a ton of incredible plays with his arm. He finished the season with 28 big-play passes (>25 yards), which was good for 12th in the league. So we ask the question: Should the receivers be blamed for the low ranking, or is this an overblown consideration given the team’s top-five finish on offense in 2021?