5 PFF stats you need to know from NFL Week 9
Miss a moment of NFL Week 9 action? Here are the five key stats you need to know coming out of Sunday’s slate of games.
[Editor’s note: See the highest-graded players from every NFL Week 9 game here.]
1. On his 23 dropbacks from a clean pocket, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott earned a near-perfect passer rating of 146.8 in Dallas’ 35-7 win over the Browns.
Prescott completed 18 of 22 attempts (he scrambled once) for 214 yards and three touchdowns. For the season, the rookie ranks second in NFL passer rating from a clean pocket (121.5), and will move up in PFF’s quarterback grades following his excellent performance. Dallas’ O-line surrendered just six total QB pressures, and the combination of the Cowboys’ strong offensive line and Prescott’s success from a clean pocket has been a winning one so far.
2. Of Sam Bradford’s 38 aimed pass attempts in Minnesota’s 22-16 overtime loss to Detroit, 29 traveled less than 10 yards downfield.
It was clear to our analysts grading this game that the Vikings were emphasizing getting the ball out more quickly with shorter throws in their first outing with Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator (following Norv Turner’s resignation last week). Bradford’s time-to-throw average versus the Lions was 2.10 seconds—fastest in the NFL this week—after averaging 2.46 seconds through Week 8. His average depth of target was 5.7 yards downfield, second-shortest in Week 9, down from his season average of 7.5 yards. It didn’t result in a win on Sunday, but clearly the Vikings are attempting to get the ball out quicker and lessen the pressure on an offensive line that currently ranks dead-last in PFF pass-blocking grades.
3. Los Angeles DT Aaron Donald recorded 11 quarterback pressures in the Rams’ 13-10 loss to the Panthers.
Prior to PFF’s review process, Donald’s 94.1 overall grade stands as the second-highest grade so far in Week 9 (Khalil Mack’s 98.3 is currently No. 1). Donald entered the week with the second-highest PFF grade in the NFL behind only Tom Brady’s 96.4 (who is on a bye this week), with four more pressures than any other NFL defender—a remarkable fact given that interior pass-rushers like Donald typically don’t produce the same number of pressures as edge rushers (like Von Miller). Donald earned PFF’s award for the best player in the NFL last year, and he’s again playing like one of the game’s best.
4. Of Melvin Gordon’s 196 rushing yards in San Diego’s win over Tennessee, 103 came after contact.
Gordon’s six total missed tackles—four as a runner, two as a receiver—led the NFL in Week 9, and his excellent game helped fuel the Chargers’ third victory in their last four games. He finished with 196 yards and a rushing touchdown, and four catches (on four targets) for 65 yards as a receiver.
5. In Philadelphia’s 28-23 loss to the Giants, QB Carson Wentz earned a passer rating of just 39.6 on the 12 dropbacks during which he was under pressure.
That’s the same rating Carson Wentz would have earned had he simply thrown the ball into the dirt every time the Giants’ pass-rush reached to him. Wentz completed two of 10 pass attempts for 26 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions, and was sacked twice. The Giants’ front-seven graded very well overall in this one, while Wentz’s early struggles were enough to saddle him with a below-average grade.