An assisted tackle in football is awarded when multiple players on the defense work together to bring down the ball carrier.
When two players make the tackle on a defender they are both awarded with an assisted tackle. It is important to know that when two players bring an opponent down they both earn one assisted tackle.
This is different from half sacks in which multiple players will earn half a sack when they tackle a quarterback together.
In football statistics, an assisted tackle is usually shown in the acronym AST. So if you are wondering what AST means in football the answer is assisted tackles.
Additionally assisted tackles fit under the comb statistic. Comb in football stands for combined tackles and is a stat that measures the total number of tackles a player has in a given time frame.
Combined tackles take the total number of solo tackles as well as assisted tackles and adds them together.
Throughout a season most defensive players will record more solo tackles than assisted tackles. This is especially true for defensive backs who are often relied on to make solo tackles in the defensive backfield.
Examples Of Assisted Tackles
Now that you understand what an assisted tackle is statistically you may be wondering what this looks like in-game. Below we will cover a few examples of assisted tackles in football.
Stopping A Players Forward Progress
One situation in which assisted tackles will be awarded is when a ball carrier has his forward progress stopped by a crowd of defenders.
If you watch football often you know the plays in which a running back is swallowed up by a crowd of defenders yet is never tackled.
On these plays since no player brought the ball carrier to the ground, the tackle must be spread amongst the defenders that stopped him.
In this case, the defenders that surrounded the running back and stopped his forward progress are going to be the ones that are credited with the AST.
Dragging Down A Bigger Player
Another occasion in which multiple players will earn a tackle occurs when a larger player is brought down by several defenders.
Football players are some of the strongest players out there and when a large player gets the ball it can be difficult to bring them down.
This is especially true when size mismatches are in play. For example, when a cornerback tries to bring down a large running back like Derrick Henry he may not be able to do it himself.
Instead, he will grab onto the running back and bring him down with the help of another teammate.
Waiting For Reinforcements
Another example of a play in which players can assist in a tackle is when a defender is able to hold a player in position.
As we stated in the section above some players are not able to tackle larger ball carriers on their own. In these situations, it is not uncommon for the defender to attempt to hold the player in place until their teammates arrive.
Keeping a player in the backfield for an extra second is often enough to allow the other defenders to swarm him and make the tackle.
On this plays if the first player to make contact contributes to the player going to the ground he will earn himself an assisted tackle.