Week 8 Expeditious NFL News & Notes: How Does New England Handle a Loss?
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Expeditious NFL News & Notes is put together to provide a wide range of number-oriented morsels for those who crave the delicacy and nerdy-ness of NFL statistics, news, notes, and just about anything that can be put to the mix.
If you’re not quoting one note each week, I’m not doing my job.
Fred Jackson in Rare Company
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New England Patriots – Since 2009 the Patriots are 16-0 when having 30 or more rushing attempts per game, which means they are 13-10 overall in games where they failed to reach 30 attempts.
Why did I bring this up? After every loss since 2009 in which the Patriots went on to win the next game, they have stayed grounded, carrying the ball 30 or more times in five of six of those games resulting in a 6-0 record. In Week 3 they lost to the Buffalo Bills with 26 carries, and Week 4 they followed up with 30 carries in a win over Oakland.
This past weekend the Patriots lost to Pittsburgh 25-17, rushing the football a season low 12 times, which now begs the question—will the Patriots hit the ground heavy versus the New York Giants in Week 9?
Miami Dolphins – Reggie Bush recorded his second 100-yard rushing game (103) of his career against the New York Giants in Week 8—a stretch that covered 51 games dating back to Week 15 of his rookie season in 2006. Bush has received 75 carries after seven games with the Dolphins, the most over the last three seasons of Bush’s career at this point of the season.
Buffalo Bills – How good is running back Fred Jackson playing? With his 721 yards after seven games played in 2011, he tops any amount after seven games by ex-Buffalo Bills, Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas. Thomas' best start after seven games was in 1993 with 695, the last of four trips to the Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills.
New York Jets – With the Jets traveling to Buffalo to take on the Bills in Week 9, it’s worth mentioning that Rex Ryan is 0-2 coming off bye weeks. Quarterback Mark Sanchez hasn’t exactly overwhelmed the opponent either, throwing one touchdown and three interceptions when the Jets are coming off a bye week.
Ray Rice Nearing Career Highs
Ray Rice after scoring one of three touchdowns Sunday
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Pittsburgh Steelers – Antonio Brown has caught 16 passes over the last two weeks to lead all-receivers for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Week 8 versus the New England Patriots, Brown caught a career high nine passes while hauling in his first regular season touchdown catch from Ben Roethlisberger.
Note: the Pittsburgh Steelers have never lost to the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field (regular season) when they have beaten the New England Patriots in the same season (1997, 2004, 2008). Can the Steelers make it four for four in 2011 after beating New England 25-17 in Week 8?
Cleveland Browns – Since 1974 the Browns have played the San Francisco 49ers 10 times. In the first three meetings, the Browns won. The 49ers won the next three games, then the Browns won the next three contests. Keep note of the 49ers if they win the next two games following their 17-10 win over the Browns in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals – Rookie receiver A.J. Green, the first receiver taken in the 2011 NFL Draft, has out-produced both 2010 first round receivers Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant after eight weeks of football. Green has 33 catches, 516 yards, and five touchdowns compared to 26 catches, 404 yards, and five touchdowns by the first round duo from 2010.
Baltimore Ravens – With both Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain not on the Ravens team in 2011, Ray Rice has seven total touchdowns in 2011 after seven games—one away from tying his career high of eight total touchdowns during his Pro Bowl season of 2009.
Marcedes Lewis Missing in End Zone
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Houston Texans – In the 2010 the Texans finished 30th overall in defense in the NFL. After eight games in 2011 under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the defense ranks third overall in total defense. Surrendering 30 points or more eight times on defense in 2010, the defense has allowed only one opponent, the New Orleans Saints (at 40), to score 30 points or more in 2011.
Indianapolis Colts – Drafted in the fourth round, running back Delone Carter is quietly enjoying a very fine rookie season while being shuffled between both Joseph Addai and Donald Brown. Only four other rookie running backs rank ahead of Carter in rushing, leading the Indianapolis Colts with 305 yards after eight games. Note: in 2010, the Colts averaged 27 points per game on offense and 24 allowed on defense. Jump ahead to 2011, after eight games played, the Colts are scoring 15 points per game and giving up 31 points per game (NFL worst).
Jacksonville Jaguars – In 2010, tight end Marcedes Lewis tied for the league lead by tight ends with ten touchdowns. After eight weeks of football, Lewis has zero touchdowns in 2011, which raises red flags considering he scored seven touchdowns in his previous four seasons before 2010.
Tennessee Titans – In 1990, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham had more rushing yards (942) than Emmitt Smith (937) in his rookie season. After eight games, Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton has rushed for 319 yards, 17 better than the Titans' Chris Johnson who has 302 on the year.
Is the Tide Turning in Oakland?
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Oakland Raiders – The Raiders, at 4-3, are one win away from matching or already surpassing the previous win totals in seven out of their last eight seasons. Going 8-8 in 2010, and with four wins in the books in 2011, maybe the tide is turning for the Silver and Black.
San Diego Chargers – The Chargers' Philip Rivers is leading the league in interceptions with eleven after seven games. The disturbing trend for Rivers is that in five of those seven games, he has thrown multiple interceptions—something he has done only 14 other times since his rookie season in 2004.
Kansas City Chiefs – Who saw this one coming? After eight weeks of professional football being played, Jackie Battle has 302 rushing yards and one touchdown—the same exact totals that the Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson has.
Denver Broncos – From 1995 to 2008, former Denver head coach Mike Shanahan went 21-7 overall against the Oakland Raiders. Since his departure, the Broncos have lost four out of the last five meetings versus the Oakland Raiders, their Week 9 opponent.
Skins Finally Catch Joe Gibbs
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Washington Redskins – Taking only the win totals from ex-Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs first coaching stint with the club, he won 124 games from 1981 to 1992. It took the next 19 years for the Washington Redskins to reach more wins with 125.
New York Giants – Brandon Jacobs highest rushing totals over the last the last eight games dating back to the 2010 season is 50 yards. On the flip side, teammate Ahmad Bradshaw has rushed for over 50 yards in five of his last eights games dating back to 2010.
Philadelphia Eagles – Monday Night Football should provide us with a solid game if we go on the past four meetings between the Eagles and Chicago Bears. Since 2007, the Bears hold a three to one advantage, but don’t let the overall record fool you. The last four games have been decided by a total of 16 points. No game has been won by more than five points and no fewer than three over the four game span.
Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys beat the St. Louis Rams 34-7 in Week 7 and lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 34-7 in Week 8.
Adrian Peterson Going for Two
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Chicago Bears – This one made me do a double take as well, but it’s the truth. The Bears have exactly zero sacks from their linebackers after seven games of football. Last season, the Bears linebacker corps totaled eight, with Brian Urlacher leading all linebackers with four.
Minnesota Vikings – At the midway point in the season Adrian Peterson is leading the NFL in rushing, with 798 yards. In 2008, Peterson led the league with 1,760. Currently LaDainian Tomlinson is the only active NFL running back to have led the league twice in rushing yards in a season.
Green Bay Packers – Registering sacks versus both St. Louis a Minnesota, Clay Matthews had his first back-to-back games with a sack since Weeks 9 and 10 in 2010.
Detroit Lions – Not that the Detroit Lions haven’t tried—the running game is simply non-existent. The last time the Lions had a 1,000-yard rusher was in 2004, the same year they drafted Kevin Smith using a first round pick. Since Smith’s departure, the Lions have spent another No. 1 on Jahvid Best and a second round pick on Mikel Leshoure. Between 2005 and 2010, the team has finished ranked 27th overall in rushing in the NFL. Now, after eights week of football, the Lions rank 27th overall in rushing.
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Atlanta Falcons – Quarterback Matt Ryan threw 28 touchdown passes in 2010, with Week 1 being the only week in which he failed to throw a touchdown pass. Week 1 in 2011 is an exact copy of that, but Ryan has found the end zone every week thereafter. Ryan has thrown a touchdown pass in 21 of his last 23 games since 2010.
New Orleans Saints – The New Orleans Saints where 1-3 versus the NFC South last season at home. After a stunning loss to the St. Louis Rams, 31-21, the Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home in Week 9 for a battle for first place.
Carolina Panthers – If Jon Fox was still the head coach in Carolina, we might have seen three 1,000-yard rushers with running backs DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and rookie quarterback Cam Newton. Currently, Newton ranks 31st overall in the NFL in rushing, while the team overall ranks seventh in the category. In just eight games, Newton has rushed for 319 yards, the complete opposite of long-time Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme's style of play. During Delhomme’s seven years in Carolina, he rushed for a grand total of 260 yards in 91 games. Newton has 59 more yards in just eight games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman has thrown four touchdowns and zero interceptions versus the New Orleans Saints in the last two games, both wins. Freeman as the starter in Tampa has never beaten the Saints twice in the same season, with a 3-2 lifetime record.
Quiet Storm in the Desert: Early Doucet
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Arizona Cardinals – Early Doucet has been the quiet storm in the desert after eight weeks of football. Doucet is the Cardinals' team leader in touchdown receptions (3) and currently ranks second behind only Pro-Bowler Larry Fitzgerald in catches (28) and yards (359).
San Francisco 49ers – Since Week 4, rookie defensive lineman Aldon Smith has recorded 6.5 sacks in four games. Smith isn’t alone, the 49ers as a team have 21 sacks on the year ranking the team seventh, a seven spot jump from 2010 when they finished 14th overall with 36 sacks.
Seattle Seahawks – Seattle’s offense ranks 31st in the NFL in total offense. Slighted in the process is first year receiver and big free agent signing, Sidney Rice. Playing in five of the eight games for Seattle, Rice has averaged 4.8 receptions per game, 73.2 yards and one touchdown. Those numbers are slightly less than Houston Texans Andre Johnson’s six catches per game, 88 yards and two touchdowns, in the NFL’s seventh-ranked offense.
St. Louis Rams – Defensive end Chris Long recorded three sacks versus the New Orleans Saints in Week 8, giving him six on the season. In 2010, Long recorded 8.5, his career high. Maybe the light has finally come on for the former first round pick.