In a game where he had a nearly empty stat line, young New York Jets EDGE Bryce Huff was actually showcasing a ton of exciting potential.
Without watching the game, there is no reason to think that rookie New York Jets edge rusher Bryce Huff did anything of note against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 11 of the 2020 season. Huff played 24 snaps (29% of the defensive plays) and posted zero sacks, zero quarterbacks, and one tackle. Even a peek at his advanced stats would suggest he was quiet. Huff was credited with zero pressures.
In reality, Huff was winning his battles with great consistency, showing off plenty of intriguing upside in an efficient performance. Rewatching and charting all of his pass-rush reps in the game, I credited Huff with a “win” (which I generally define as defeating a blocker and creating a clear path to the quarterback within about 2 seconds) on 6-of-12 pass-rush opportunities, an elite rate of 50.0%. Winning half of your reps as a pass rusher is remarkable – I’ve found the average “win rate” using my personal tracking method to be around 25%.
Huff was beating his man on a highly consistent basis but was simply unlucky that his victories were not converted into tangible production (the three varieties of pressure – QB sack, QB hit, or QB hurry). The main reason for this was that Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was getting the ball out quickly, averaging 2.24 seconds from snap-to-release, which is faster than the season averages of all but two quarterbacks in 2020 (Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan Fitzpatrick).
A pass rusher’s primary job is to beat his man. Period. Whatever happens next is generally up to luck. There is nothing a pass rusher can do to control whether or not they get a chance to convert a win into production. Sometimes, a rusher wins and he is lucky enough that the quarterback holds the ball long enough to create the opportunity for a sack or a hit. But most of the time, when a rusher beats a blocker, it goes completely unnoticed because the ball is out before he can get to the quarterback.
With that in mind, Huff’s performance against the Chargers in Week 11 was a fantastic one, exemplifying the compelling yet subtle pass-rush potential that the Memphis product showed throughout his rookie season.
Let’s take a look at the film behind the excellent outing by Huff that nobody noticed.