Sports Reference Blog

New Defensive Stats Added to Pro Football Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on October 17, 2018


Officially tracked statistics in football often do a poor job of describing or summarizing events on the field. This can be especially true for defensive players. To help rectify this, we've added some new defensive statistics to the site.

All of these statistics are recorded in official NFL Gamebooks and are available as far back as 1999. Tackles for Loss is recorded for ~95% of games from 1999 to 2007 and all games since 2008. QB Hits is recorded for ~90% of games from 1999 to 2002, ~10% of games from 2003 to 2005 and 100% of games since 2006. (IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION, THANKS TO THE EXPERTISE OF NICK WEBSTER, THAT THE NFL USED A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DEFINITION FOR WHAT CONSTITUTED QB HITS FROM 1999 TO 2005, SO WE HAVE REMOVED THOSE TOTALS AND ARE ONLY PRINTING QB HITS BACK TO 2006 NOW). Passes Defended has full coverage back to 1999. These can all be found in player game logs, box scores and are searchable in the Player Game Finder and Player Season Finder in the Play Index

Tackles for Loss

Most in a Season since 1999: 39 by J.J. Watt in 2012

Most in Career since 1999: 187 by Terrell Suggs

Most in a Game since 1999: 6 (done 4 times)

QB Hits

Most in a Season since 2006: 51 by J.J. Watt in 2014

Most in a Career since 2006: 241 by J.J. Watt

Most in a Game since 2006: 10 by J.J. Watt on November 1, 2015 vs Titans

Passes Defended

Most in a Season since 1999: 31 by Darrelle Revis in 2009

Most in a Career since 1999: 203 by Champ Bailey

Most in a Game since 1999: 7 (done twice)

Additionally, we've re-worked how we present tackles, and for all years since 1994 we show Solo Tackles, Assisted Tackles and Combined Tackles (which is the sum of the first two numbers). All of these figures are unofficial, but they come from official documents: NFL Gamebooks. Prior to 1994, we have only combined tackles and the numbers are cobbled together from various sources and generally less reliable.

We hope you enjoy these additions. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback

8 Responses to “New Defensive Stats Added to Pro Football Reference”

  1. PFR adds Tackles For Loss, QB Hits and Passes Defended data. Suggs has most career TFL since 1999 | Baltimore-Ravens Says:

    […] by /u/Scrubsisalright to r/ravens [link] [comments] …read […]

  2. Pro-Football-Reference adds Tackles For Loss, QB Hits and Passes Defended data - Bookie Insights Says:

    […] by /u/pfref [link] […]

  3. Jared Nixon Says:

    Can y'all add PFF grades for each NFL player since 2006 when Pro Football Focus started tracking and grading every play like y'all did with ESPN's Total QBR.

  4. Game-Level Forced Fumbles/Fumble Recovery Data Added | Says:

    […] recently announced an addition of a variety of defensive statistics to Pro-Football-Reference. Now, we have also added game-level forced fumble and fumble recovery […]

  5. Ben Says:

    QB hits and passes defended are great additions!

    However, the career leader of PDs seems to be Champ Bailey?

  6. Mike Lynch Says:

    Thanks for the heads up

  7. Nick Webster Says:

    The 99-02 QB Hits are not the same as the recent definition, they back calculated them by counting every sack that wasn't a SK and FF as a hit, which is the same as today, but they did not add non-sack QB Hits.

  8. Randy R Says:

    We should count stats clocked on two point conversions to the players overall stats (for example instead of five catches on six targets for 42 yards from Tyler Lockett in the Seahawks-Vikings game he should be credited with 6-of-7 for 44 yards and a conversion).