Tuesday, September 23

NFL Week 3: The Numbers

One number from each game that stuck out above all others.

Chiefs v. Falcons – 4 – Kansas City becomes just the fourth team since the AFL-NFL merger to start three different quarterbacks in their first three games (excluding strike years). The other three teams (76 Rams, 88 Browns, and 97 Jaguars) all finished with at least ten wins and made the playoffs. The Chiefs may not have been able to stop Michael Turner, but they will able to stop this trend.

Raiders v. Bills – 4 – Times Oakland started in Buffalo territory, but converting for only 16 points. Of those drives, the only TD came following a DeAngelo Hall interception on the Bills 13-yard line. While protecting the lead the entire second half (until Rian Lindell’s game-winning FG), the Raiders went three and out on 4 of their five drives. Of those drives, only one took more than 1:49 off the game clock (3:25).

Buccaneers v. Bears – 67 – Brian Griese passing attempts, the most since 2001 and only three shy of the all-time record of 70 set by Drew Bledsoe in 1994. Griese’s passing accounted for 407 of the Buccaneers 454 total yards of offense.

Texans v. Titans – 6 – Times Houston was inside the Tennessee fourteen-yard line, but settled for field goals each time. Texan WR Andre Johnson struggled mightily as he was targeted five times in the endzone, but failed to complete any and dropped two. He also dropped another deep ball that could have been an easy score.

Panthers v. Vikings – 38 – Total yards of Panthers offense in the second half. In the half, Carolina had only seven plays that gained more than five yards, but nine that lost at least five (Six penalties as well as three sacks). Welcome back, Steve.

Dolphins v. Patriots – 5 – Ronnie Brown TD’s. Cliché, but definitely of note. ESPN says it best, “ Miami's Ronnie Brown rushed for four TDs and threw another one, joining Paddy Driscoll from the Chicago Cardinals, who performed the same feat on Oct. 7, 1923 against the Rochester Jeffersons.” It feels like cheating, so here’s another: Only twice since Bill Belichick took the helm have the Patriots given up more than 38 points, both in the 2005 season. They gave up 41 to the Chargers and 40 to the Colts. The Pats had also previously only given up 38 points twice during that stretch: in the AFC Championship to Indianapolis during the Colts’ Super Bowl run and in 2002 to Kansas City, a game the Pats won, 41-38.

Bengals v. Giants – 3 – Yards short of the first win for the Bengals. They drove 71 yards in final 1:50 of the 4th quarter, but fell just nine feet short, and settled for a 21-yard Shayne Graham field goal as time expired. Three was also the number of catches, for Ocho Cinco, raising his total to eight on the year (88 total yards).

Cardinals v. Redskins – 2 – Arizona turnovers. Entering the game, they were the only team in the league without a turnover, but a fumble in the first quarter and a costly 4th quarter interception combined to be the undoing of the Cardinals.

Saints v. Broncos – 25 – Reggie Bush’s number. After last season, where the Saints attempted to primarily use Bush as a RB, they went back to the drawing board, and he’s being used as a versatile weapon instead of just a running back. Mr. Bush has rung up four touchdowns, and with his rushing TD against Denver, he’s the only player in the league to score by rushing, receiving, and returning kicks.

Steelers v. Eagles – 200 – The difference in yards given up by the Eagles defense from last week (380) to this week (180). After a horrendous performance against the Cowboys, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson had his squad confounding the offense once again. The defense racked up nine sacks, against zero last week. With the Brady injury and this performance, there seems little doubt that the top teams all reside in the NFC, and predominantly in the NFC East.

Jaguars v. Colts – 3.45 (repeating) – Jacksonville RBs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew accounted for 228 yards on the ground. Their previous high this season was a whopping 66 yards. Either Jacksonville has done wonders replacing the linemen they lost in week one, or it is time to start thinking about taking this Colts team out to pasture.

Browns v. Ravens – 32 – total number of yards receiving for Cleveland QB Derek Anderson’s top target. Braylon Edwards was second with 27 yards on 3 recs, but Anderson’s top target did it in only one catch, and was one of two TD passes thrown by him. The receiver: Raven’s S Ed Reed.

Cowboys v. Packers – 2 – As in 2nd half. Marrion Barber III ran the ball 28 times for 142 yards and a touchdown. In the first half, two-thirds of Barber’s attempts netted four yards or less. In the second half, however, half of his attempts netted more than five yards per carry, a number that is slightly skewed by a goal line stand and the final draining of the clock. It took him two attempts to get in the endzone from the 2, and he had two carries in the Cowboys final drive, that were more formality than attempt. If you take away those carries, two/thirds of his second half attempts went for more than four yards, a complete flip from the first half.

Jets v. Chargers – 13 – Rushing attempts for the Jets. People are already slamming the Favre pick up and saying the experiment has failed, but the problem for this team has been the inability to run the ball. The Jets re-tooled their O-Line by acquiring RT Damien Woody and LG Alan Faneca and yet the rushing game has grown less effective week by week.

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