A defensive lineman dives at the running backs legs, a wide receiver slips out of the grasp of a corner. These are examples of potential missed tackles.
They’re opportunities to stop the offense in its tracks. Fail to do it, and the yards after catch or yards after first contact will rise quickly. Sometimes, a missed tackle might even result in points.
It’s why this stat might make the difference on Saturday in the top-10 matchup between Alabama and Texas A&M.
Alabama has 27 missed tackles all season. Texas A&M missed 31 tackles in its last game vs. Tennessee. (via @PFF_Steve)
— Josh Ward (@Josh_Ward) October 19, 2016
This stat from Steve Palazzo at Pro Football Focus shows just how fundamentally sound the Crimson Tide defense can be. If Alabama continues this trend against Texas A&M and can wrap up against a scrambling Trevor Knight or Josh Reynolds after a catch, it could be a long afternoon for the Aggies.
It also shows Texas A&M will have to improve its technique in order to bring down Heisman Trophy candidate Jalen Hurts. The freshman is averaging 5.8 yards per carry on the ground in 74 attempts. They’ll also have Bo Scarborough, who averages 6.2 yards per carry. The Aggies simply can’t afford to miss on either player.
The Crimson Tide simply have to show up and continue to tackle using the same techniques they have all season. Though it’s certainly not a statistic that will absolutely define the game, it’s certainly a telling one about each team’s defensive capabilities.