TFL stands for tackle for loss, which occurs when the ball carrier is tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
Tackles for loss are quite difficult to come by. Most offensive plays are either going to gain yards or result in no change.
Because the defensive line is close to the line of scrimmage, getting a TFL is a valuable play for the defense.
Football statistics such as FF (forced fumble) and Comb (combined tackles) are also similar.
How Soon Do TFLs Occur?
You may be wondering what these plays look like on the field now that you know TFL stands for tackle for loss.
The following are some of the most common football situations that lead to a TFL.
A quarterback sack is one of the most common causes of a TFL in football. A quarterback sack occurs when he is tackled before he can throw the ball.
Whenever a quarterback is tackled when attempting to throw, it will almost always be behind the line of scrimmage. This is because forward passes can only be completed behind the line of scrimmage.
Often, sacks on the quarterback result in the largest loss of yards, so they are the most valuable TFLs.
Defensive linemen are often able to get past their offensive line blockers on these plays.
In order to get a TFL sack on the quarterback, defenses also use blitzes, which involve sending more players than usual after the quarterback.
In the event of a quarterback being sacked right on the line of scrimmage, this will not count as a tackle for loss.
In football, a disrupted run can also result in a TFL. The offensive line will try to bring down the running back before he gets out of the backfield.
Occasionally, one of the running linemen will beat his blocker and get to the running player.
Furthermore, defensive tackles fill holes in the offensive line. If the running back runs between the tackle and guard, the defensive tackle will attempt to occupy this space.
When this happens, ball carriers will find themselves stuck in the backfield with nowhere to go. The other defensive players will then converge on this player, resulting in a turnover.
Failed Screen Pass
A TFL can also occur during a screen pass in football.
During a screen pass, the bats quickly passed right at the line of scrimmage.
A number of players will then run in front of the player who caught the ball as blockers.
Blocking their opponents can often result in a big play, but these blocks are not always successful.
When a wide receiver screens, the cornerback right in front of the receiver must be blocked. If he slips through, the receiver is tackled immediately.
After a running back catches the ball, defensive linemen are often able to identify the screen and tackle him behind the line of scrimmage.
To learn more about the TFL acronym, see our articles on what YPG stands for in football statistics or LNG stands for.