What Are Receiving Yards In Football?

Receiving yards in football are yards gained from catching a forward pass. Only forwards passes count towards receiving yards, yards gained on lateral passes are considered rushing yards.

In other words, receiving yards are given to a player based on how many yards he gained on a passing play. To get the best understanding of what receiving yards are you need to know the difference between a passing play and a rushing play.

A rushing play occurs when a player is handed the ball, gets a direct snap, or receives a lateral pass and then proceeds to run with the ball.

Once the player crosses the line of scrimmage they can no longer pass the ball making it a rushing play.

Passing plays on the other hand only occur when the quarterback throws a forward pass. Even if the forward pass occurs behind the line of scrimmage it is still a passing play and yards will be awarded.

How Are Receiving Yards Calculated?

The process behind calculating receiving yards in football is quite straightforward.

Receiving yards are calculated by the number of yards gained from the line of scrimmage. If a player goes past the line of scrimmage after catching the ball he is going to gain yards.

If they are tackled behind the line of scrimmage after catching the ball they are going to lose receiving yards.

The total receiving yards are going to include all the yards gained on the play. If a player caught the ball ten yards down the field and ran another ten he will gain twenty receiving yards. This is because the player was downed twenty yards past the line of scrimmage.

There is a separate statistic referred to as YAC which calculates the yards that a player gets after catching the ball.

Yards gained behind the line of scrimmage are not going to count towards a player’s total receiving yards. Let’s say a player catches the ball five yards behind the line of scrimmage and runs six yards for a gain of one yard.

In this situation, the player will only get one receiving yard because this is how many yards the team gained on the play.

What Positions Get The Most Receiving Yards?

Now that you understand what receiving yards are in football it’s time to break down which position tend to get these yards.

Wide Receivers

Wide receivers are the position most likely to rack up these yards throughout a game. Wide receiver is the only position in football whose main purpose is catching balls.

These players line up out wide near the sideline. This extra space gives them a better opportunity to create separation from defenders.

In today’s NFL, there will usually be two or three receivers on the field at any given time. These players will run routes down the field in order to get open for the quarterback.

The quarterback will look for these receivers from the pocket and throw to them if they are open.

Wide receivers are almost always going to lead the football teams in this statisic.

Tight Ends

Tight ends act as a hybrid of an offensive lineman and a wide receiver these players are going to split their time between blocking and catching passes.

This position lines up on the end of the offensive line. For this reason, their routes are often in the middle of the field.

This position tends to catch a fair amount of passes per game. Tight ends are especially known for their ability to catch passes on third down and near the goal line.

Running Backs

Running backs are another position that often gains this statistic throughout a game. Running backs are primarily known for rushing the ball but in today’s pass-heavy NFL they catch a fair number of passes.

Running backs will line up in the backfield near the quarterback and often act as a safety valve for a quarterback to throw to if the wide receivers aren’t open.

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