As the playoffs have progressed and the number of still-breathing teams has dwindled, we’ve offered more and more observations about each that remained. Our focus has again narrowed, for the final time this season.
In this Super Bowl XLVI edition of the 32 Observations, the Patriots and Giants rightly get all of the attention as we tack on another 16 quick statistical looks at each. Mentioning both stars and role players, it’s a good mix as we continue the countdown to kickoff.
New England Patriots
● Wide receiver Julian Edelman has been in for 37 pass routes over the last two weeks, but has made just two catches for 19 yards.
● Over the first five weeks of the season, Chad Ochocinco had two catches in four out of five games. In the games since, he’s reached the two-catch mark only one other time.
● Matt Light is one of two left tackles (Jordan Gross of Carolina being the other) with a PFF rating above +1.0 in pass blocking, run blocking, screen blocking, and penalties.
● Left guard Logan Mankins had a PFF run block rating above +2.2 in each of his last seven games. He only had that good of a run block rating twice in 2011.
● While center Dan Connolly allowed just one sack, he gave up more hits than any other center in the regular season (six).
● Rookie right tackle Nate Solder has stepped things up in the playoffs. He allowed pressure on 6.8% of pass plays in the regular season, but has taken that down to 4.6% in the playoffs.
● Tight end Rob Gronkowski had 641 yards after the catch this year, which is over 100 more than any other tight end over the past four years.
● Halfback BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a PFF run rating of +11.2 from Week 1 to Week 12, but has just had a rating of +0.5 from Week 13 on.
● Defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick has gotten pressure on just one in every 20 pass rushes this season.
● Defensive tackle Kyle Love had a PFF run defense rating of just +0.8 from Weeks 1 to Week 8, but has stepped up and has a PFF run defense rating of +8.2 from Week 9 on.
● Defensive linemen Vince Wilfork had pressure on one in every 26.3 pass plays in the regular season, but has significantly improved in the playoffs where he’s gotten pressure on one in every 6.8 pass plays.
● Only four 4-3 outside linebackers had two or more interceptions on the year. Two of them were Patriots. Jerod Mayo and Rob Ninkovich
● Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes allowed 8.4 yards per catch, which was the third-lowest for middle/inside linebackers.
● Safety James Ihedigbo was one of five safeties to allow four our more touchdowns without having an interception.
● Safety Patrick Chung has had a positive run defense rating in each of the last seven games he has played in.
● In his first eight games starting for the Patriots this year, Kyle Arrington allowed 36.25 yards per game. In his last eight games, he has allowed 79 yards per game.
New York Giants
● Wide receiver Mario Manningham caught 53.4% of the passes thrown his way during the regular season, but in the playoffs he is up to 66.7%.
● Left guard Kevin Boothe allowed pressure on just 2.8% of pass plays for the regular season and wild card round. However, over the last two games that has increased to 11.0% of pass plays.
● Center David Baas has had a similar slump to Boothe, allowing pressure on 2.7% of pass plays over the majority of the season, and increasing that to 10.4% in the last two games.
● Right guard Chris Snee has gotten into a pattern of having three good games followed by six poor ones. In his two stretches of good games, he’s had an overall PFF rating of +10.1. In his two stretches of poor games, he’s had a PFF rating of -29.6. If the pattern continues, the Super Bowl would be the start of a good game.
● No offensive tackle allowed more overall pressure in the regular season than Kareem McKenzie at 59.
● Tight end/Fullback Bear Pascoe had just 0.80 Yards Per Route Run, which is low for both tight ends and running backs.
● Tight end Jake Ballard had the highest yards per catch for tight ends with at least 15 targets at 15.9 yards per catch.
● Running back Ahmad Bradshaw had the second-highest pass block rating for half backs with +4.2. He allowed just one hit and three pressures on 114 pass blocks.
● Defensive end Justin Tuck has been penalized just once over the past two years.
● Defensive tackle Linval Joseph started the season strong, with a PFF pass rush rating of +7.4 from Week 1 to Week 5. Then he hit a slump with a pass rush rating of -5.2 from Week 6 to Week 15. He has hit his stride again, with a +4.4 pass rush rating from Week 16 on.
● Defensive tackle Chris Canty has also improved late in the season in terms of his pass rushing. From Week 1 to Week 12, he averaged a pressure on one in every 30.25 pass plays. From Week 13 on, he has dramatically gotten better with pressure on one in every 9.7 pass plays.
● Linebacker Chase Blackburn is the only Giants linebacker with a positive coverage rating who has seen significant time. Since Week 13 he has played in 59.5% of snaps, and has yet to allow more than 22 yards in a game.
● Cornerback Corey Webster had the best PFF penalty rating of +4.3 after having just one penalty called on him in the regular season.
● As the Giants safety and nickel cornerback, Antrel Rolle has allowed 40 or more yards in 12 of 19 games this season.
● Cornerback Aaron Ross has played in 102 pass plays in the playoffs. In that time he has allowed just four catches for 29 yards with 7 yards coming after the catch. He has also had three passes defensed.
● Steve Weatherford has had 345 punts over the last four years, and none of them have been blocked.