About those long gains through the air

The St. Louis Rams placed wide receiver Mark Clayton on injured reserve after Week 5.

Clayton still ranks 16th in pass receptions covering at least 30 yards -- he has four -- but the Rams have only one such play since Week 6, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The nine teams experiencing the largest drop-offs had byes after Week 6. The Rams' decline has been dramatic enough to bear noting anyway.

Picking up passing yardage in large chunks does not guarantee or necessarily reflect overall success. Teams running higher-risk offenses might rank higher than more efficient teams favoring a short-passing game (although accurate passers can set up big plays by leading receivers expertly on shorter routes).

Philip Rivers leads the NFL with 16 pass completions of at least 30 yards. Aaron Rodgers (15), Donovan McNabb (14), Mark Sanchez (14), Kyle Orton (13) and Eli Manning (12) round out the top six. Michael Vick had two of his 10 during his performance Monday night.

The San Francisco 49ers' Troy Smith has seven of the 49ers' 16 such plays despite playing in only two games. Tom Brady and Drew Brees have nine all season. Sam Bradford and Matt Hasselbeck have 10 apiece.

For all the Arizona Cardinals' troubles recently, the team leads the NFL in 30-plus pass plays for Weeks 7-10. Getting receiver Steve Breaston back from injury has helped. Breaston ranks tied for fourth in the league with six such plays -- same as the San Francisco 49ers' Vernon Davis -- despite missing Weeks 4-7. He has five such plays in the Cardinals' last three games.

The chart shows 30-plus pass totals through and since Week 6, ranked by increase. Asterisks identify teams with byes after Week 6.

2010 NFL Passing: Plays Gaining 30+ Yards