Just two and a half seconds. In the NFL, sometimes that's all it takes for opportunity to slip away. Whether it's getting open, beating a blocker or finding a receiver, the first 2.5 seconds can make or break a play.
Why? That's roughly the average time to pass in the NFL. Sure, the most explosive pass plays come after that cutoff, but that's only if the quarterback can make those passes unencumbered -- or even at all. That there's no guarantee of that opportunity arising is what makes a quarterback's ability to complete passes within 2.5 seconds -- with a lower ceiling but much higher success rate -- very important.
In short, throw in less than 2.5 seconds, and you should have a positive outcome. Disrupt that throw in under 2.5 defensively? Well, same.
Let's look at our 2018 best and worst performers for the 2.5-second window, with some help from NFL Next Gen Stats, Total QBR and ESPN video tracking analysis.