One of the more frustrating things to see in football is broken tackles. Seriously. How many times do you yell, "coooooooommmm'on man!" when Ben Roethlisberger scrambles around in the pocket, avoiding Bengals tacklers like he's a big ball of butter. Oh man, there's a joke in there somewhere. What's worse than watching a player break 2-3 tackles against your defense, falling forward and picking up a first down on third-and-nine? When he does it on third-and-ten. Broken tackles wears defenses out because the additional time on the field when the ball should have turned over via a punt or forced field goal. But it can really piss fans off. And it's all about us, right?
But there really isn't a stat out there to illustrate how good or bad a team is with the fundamentals of tackling, or how good an offense is breaking those tackles. Well, until now. Football Outsiders is adding to their statistical charts broken tackles on both sides of the football.
Cincinnati's defense isn't that bad. They've watched 5.8% of would-be tackles squirm out for additional yards, which ranks around the middle of the NFL pack. In reality, that seems really good. Out of 100 attempted tackles, 5-6 break free. All things considered, it seems pretty good. The worst in the league is unsurprisingly Detroit's 8.4%.
On the other hand, Cincinnati's ball-carriers have broken 6.3% of attempted tackles, ranking sixth, according to Football Outsiders. I'm pretty sure Cedric Benson has something to do with it -- or maybe 95% to do with it.
As for individual players, Football Outsiders illustrates that Dhani Jones was one of the league's worst tackling linebackers last year, allowing 11.7% of his attempted tackles to break free, according to this ESPN Insider ($) chart. If it's any solace, Pittsburgh's James Farrior and Lawrence Timmons have higher percentages. Of course it's solace. That's how we roll.