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What Factors Are Responsible For Deep Passing Success?

A lot has been made lately of the usage and success of deep passes in the NFL. Much to the delight of fans, offenses have steadily become more aggressive and more efficient passing the ball. Watching talented quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson break the pocket and launch a pass deep down the field is one of the most exciting moments in sports. But, what are the most important factors that go into a successful deep passing attack? When Wilson and receiver Tyler Lockett connect on 20 out of 25 deep targets for eight touchdowns and a perfect passer rating, as they did in 2018, which player should we praise, the quarterback or the receiver? 

On most pass attempts there are three individual players generally given most of the credit (or blame) for the success or failure of the play: the quarterback, the receiver, and the defensive player in coverage. The following analysis will try to answer which of these three players factors most into deep passing success, and what else enters into the equation.

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