News & Analysis

32 NFL observations, Week 16

By Mark Chichester
Dec 28, 2017

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Dec 17, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles corner back Ronald Darby (41) runs back an interception against New York Giants wide receiver Roger Lewis (18) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another 32 Observations by PFF Analyst Mark Chichester, finding an interesting piece of information about all 32 teams after one week of football.

If you would like to make some observations of your own, you can do so with PFF Elite, where you can find several signature statistics for every offensive and defensive position in football.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills: Wide receiver Deonte Thompson has caught 25-of-25 catchable targets this year, which makes him one of just three wide receivers in the league that has seen at least 25 catchable targets without dropping a pass.

Miami Dolphins: Running back Kenyan Drake has changed direction on 42.0 percent of his rushing attempts this year, which is the highest rate among the 72 running backs with at least 50 attempts this season. On those runs, he’s racked up 222 rushing yards and averaged 4.28 yards after contact per carry, both of which are the second-most among the same group.

New England Patriots: Running back Dion Lewis has forced a missed tackle on 24.7 percent of his carries this year, which is the best rate among running backs with at least 80 rushing attempts.

New York Jets: Running back Bilal Powell has forced a missed tackle on 30.0 percent of his red zone carries this year, the second-best rate among running backs with at least 20 red zone carries this season. Marshawn Lynch (40.0 percent) is the only player ahead of him.

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens: When covering the slot this year, cornerback Maurice Canady is allowing just 0.46 yards per cover snap. This is the second-best mark among cornerbacks with at least 100 slot coverage snaps this season.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals defense has produced pressure on 54.5 percent of their blitzes this year, which is the best rate among the league’s 32 defenses.

Cleveland Browns: Linebacker Christian Kirksey has produced 62 total stops so far this year (30 against the run, 32 against the pass), which is more than any other linebacker in the league. Teammate Joe Schobert has produced 55 total stops so far this year (41 against the run, 10 against the pass), which is the fifth-most among players at the position.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Interior defensive lineman Cameron Heyward has racked up 62 total quarterback pressures this year, and has created pressure on 14.1 percent of his pass-rushing snaps. These are both the third-best marks among interior linemen with at least 130 pass-rushing snaps this season.

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans: Inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney has been sent to rush the passer on 39.8 percent of his pass defense snaps this season, the highest rate among inside linebackers. On those pass-rushing snaps, he’s racked up 18 total pressures, the fourth-most among players at the position.

Indianapolis Colts: Through 16 weeks, edge defender Jabaal Sheard has produced 29 stops against the run, which is the fourth-most among the league’s edge defenders.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Through 16 weeks, linebacker Telvin Smith has produced 43 tackles and 30 stops against the run this year, both of which rank third among 4-3 outside linebackers this season.

Tennessee Titans: Through 16 weeks, safety Kevin Byard has tallied six interceptions and seven pass breakups, both of which are the most among safeties this year. His 13 combined pass breakups and interceptions are just four away from the most ever recorded by a safety in the PFF era.

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos: Since 2011, outside linebacker Von Miller has 53 games with five or more quarterback pressures. No other player in the league has more than 48.

Kansas City Chiefs: Through 16 weeks, safety Daniel Sorensen has logged 41 pass-rush snaps, which is tied for the fourth-most among players at the position. On those pass-rush snaps, Sorensen has racked up 15 quarterback pressures and has produced a pass-rush productivity of 28.7, which rank first and second among safeties, respectively.

Los Angeles Chargers: Edge rusher Melvin Ingram has tallied 10 quarterback pressures (three of which were sacks) when defending inside his own 20-yard line this year. This is tied for the most among all defenders in the league.

Oakland Raiders: Center Rodney Hudson has allowed just two quarterback pressures on 561 pass-blocking snaps this year, for a pass-blocking efficiency of 99.7, the best mark among centers, which is also on pace to be the best rating ever recorded by PFF. Hudson hasn’t allowed a sack since Week 1 of the 2015 season and has played a staggering 1676 pass-blocking snaps since he last allowed a sack in a game, which is the longest active streak among players at the position.

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys: Tight end Jason Witten has seen 19 contested targets this year and has hauled in 14 of them, for a catch rate of 73.7 percent, the best mark among all skill position players with at least 15 contested targets.

New York Giants: Through 16 weeks, quarterback Eli Manning has seen 38 of his pass attempts dropped by his skill position players, which is five more drops than the next closest signal-caller.

Philadelphia Eagles: When cornerback Ronald Darby doesn’t line up in press coverage, he has allowed a passer rating of just 34.5. That is third-best behind A.J. Bouye (12.7) and Marshon Lattimore (30.6) for cornerbacks thrown at 20 or more times outside of press coverage.

Washington Redskins: When cornerback Kendall Fuller has been targeted, he’s allowed a passer rating of just 51.1. This is the fifth-best mark among all cornerbacks this year and the second-lowest rating allowed by a second-year player.

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears: Cornerback Kyle Fuller has seen 21 deep targets (passes of 20 or more yards downfield) this year, but has allowed just six receptions, while tallying two interceptions and four pass breakups. All told, he’s allowed a passer rating of just 24.8 when targeted on deep shots, which is the fifth-best mark among corners with at least 10 deep targets this season.

Detroit Lions: Opposing defenses have blitzed quarterback Matthew Stafford on exactly 50 percent of his third down drop backs this year, the second-highest rate among quarterbacks. On those blitzed third down attempts, he’s posted a passer rating of 116.3 and has averaged 9.1 yards per attempt, both of which rank third among starting quarterbacks.

Green Bay Packers: When the Packers have been within seven points of their opponent, wide receiver Randall Cobb has caught all 38 catchable targets sent his way. Doug Baldwin and Cobb’s teammate Jordy Nelson are the only other two receivers in the league that have seen at least 30 catchable targets in close game situations, without dropping a pass.

Minnesota Vikings: This year, safety Harrison Smith has racked up 25 total stops, five pass breakups, five interceptions and is still yet to allow a touchdown in coverage. In the 12 years that PFF has collected data, there has been no other player with zero touchdowns allowed, 25-plus stops, five-plus interceptions and five-plus pass breakups.

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons: No quarterback has thrown more ‘unlucky interceptions’ this year than Matt Ryan, who has thrown eight. Five have been dropped passes that that were intercepted, one was a receiver error and the other two have been pass breakups.

Carolina Panthers: No player in the league has been better at defending double moves than Daryl Worley. Worley has been targeted six times on double move routes this year, and he’s picked off a league-leading three of those passes, resulting in a passer rating of 0.0.

New Orleans Saints: When he’s lined up in the slot this year, wide receiver Michael Thomas has caught all 35 of his catchable targets and has racked up an average of 3.65 yards per route run. This is the best mark among receivers with at least 100 routes from the slot this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: No defensive player has logged more interceptions from deep targets this year than cornerback Brent Grimes, who has picked off four of the 13 deep passes that have been thrown into his primary coverage. His deep pass interception rate of 28.6 percent also ranks first among the league’s defensive players.

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals: Outside linebacker Chandler Jones has racked up 58 pressures when lining up on the defense’s right side, which is the most for all edge rushers when lined up on the right.

Los Angeles Rams: Through 16 weeks, just 60.6 percent of wide receiver Sammy Watkins’ targets have been catchable, which is the lowest percentage among receivers with at least 50 targets this year. Despite this, Watkins has generated a WR rating of 122.0 this year, which currently ranks fourth among pass-catchers.

San Francisco 49ers: When facing pressure, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has completed 30-of-46 pass attempts, resulting in a completion percentage of 65.2 percent, the best mark among quarterbacks. Also, on those pressured throws, he’s averaged 8.7 yards per attempt and logged an adjusted completion percentage 76.2 percent, both of which also rank first among the 39 quarterbacks with at least 55 pressured dropbacks this year.

Seattle Seahawks: Strong safety Bradley McDougald has racked up 17 run stops on his 241 run defense snaps this year, which has resulted in a run stop percentage of 7.1 percent, the best rate among all safeties with at least 210 run defense snaps this year.

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