Published: Oct. 12, 2018 at 10:01 a.m.
Updated: Oct. 12, 2018 at 10:17 a.m.

Next Gen Stats: Hidden numbers that defined Week 5

Want to see the numbers behind the numbers? Nick Shook dives into a fresh batch of Next Gen Stats and identifies figures that helped shape Week 5.

7 Photos Total

  • Isaiah Crowell had a career game against Denver on Sunday, rushing for 219 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries. That's all fine and dandy, but the blocking advantage -- and Denver's tendency to load the box -- makes it stand out more.
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Crowell faced an average blocking disadvantage of nearly half a defender (minus-0.43) per attempt, and ran against a loaded box on 46.7 percent of his attempts. Yet, he ripped off runs of 10-plus yards on more than a quarter of his attempts (26.7 percent).
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The keys: His line did a great job of executing (75 percent success rate on Crowell rushes) and Crowell hit the hole with great speed: 11.74 mph on average, second-fastest in the league in Week 5 among ball carriers with 10-plus rushes.
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Related: Jets RB2 Bilal Powell posted some fine numbers of his own, rushing 20 times for 99 yards against a box that was loaded on 75 percent of his attempts (the highest figure in the league in Week 5). 7

    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Crowell's big day

    Isaiah Crowell had a career game against Denver on Sunday, rushing for 219 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries. That's all fine and dandy, but the blocking advantage -- and Denver's tendency to load the box -- makes it stand out more.

    Crowell faced an average blocking disadvantage of nearly half a defender (minus-0.43) per attempt, and ran against a loaded box on 46.7 percent of his attempts. Yet, he ripped off runs of 10-plus yards on more than a quarter of his attempts (26.7 percent).

    The keys: His line did a great job of executing (75 percent success rate on Crowell rushes) and Crowell hit the hole with great speed: 11.74 mph on average, second-fastest in the league in Week 5 among ball carriers with 10-plus rushes.

    Related: Jets RB2 Bilal Powell posted some fine numbers of his own, rushing 20 times for 99 yards against a box that was loaded on 75 percent of his attempts (the highest figure in the league in Week 5).

  • Jacksonville isn't getting to the quarterback quite like it did a year ago (with just 11 sacks through five games), but the pass rush is still succeeding. The Jaguars have the league's second-best defensive success rate (58 percent of snaps) against the pass, despite blitzing just 21.6 percent of the time. Jacksonville's opponents are completing 6.2 percent fewer pass attempts than expected and are averaging just a 72.3 passer rating. The Jags have also been just as clutch against the pass as ever, allowing a league-best three passing touchdowns through five weeks -- and keeping Patrick Mahomes' arm out of the end zone (though the same couldn't be said about his legs) in Week 5.
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The Jaguars appear primed to boost their underwhelming interception total (three) in Week 6, facing a Cowboys team led by Dak Prescott, who has attempted more throws into tight windows (23.4 percent of passes) than any other quarterback in the league. 6

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Sacksonville without the sacks

    Jacksonville isn't getting to the quarterback quite like it did a year ago (with just 11 sacks through five games), but the pass rush is still succeeding. The Jaguars have the league's second-best defensive success rate (58 percent of snaps) against the pass, despite blitzing just 21.6 percent of the time. Jacksonville's opponents are completing 6.2 percent fewer pass attempts than expected and are averaging just a 72.3 passer rating. The Jags have also been just as clutch against the pass as ever, allowing a league-best three passing touchdowns through five weeks -- and keeping Patrick Mahomes' arm out of the end zone (though the same couldn't be said about his legs) in Week 5.

    The Jaguars appear primed to boost their underwhelming interception total (three) in Week 6, facing a Cowboys team led by Dak Prescott, who has attempted more throws into tight windows (23.4 percent of passes) than any other quarterback in the league.

  • It seems as if Cousins lands in this space every week, but it's for good reason. In Week 5, Cousins took on a Philly defense that was playing slightly above expectation, allowing an average opposing completion percentage that was 1.1 points lower than expected (15th in NFL) through Week 4. Cousins torched that standard against the Eagles, posting a completion percentage that was 11.1 points higher than expected and 6.4 points higher than his average difference (between expected and actual) through four weeks.
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Cousins attempted the third-most passes in the league through the first five weeks (226), while facing the most pressures in the NFL (91). His pressure-per-dropback percentage is 37.9, third-highest in the league. All of this makes his passer rating of 105.1 (seventh best in the NFL) that much more impressive. This isn't a result of quick releases or game plans to limit him, either: Cousins' average time to throw of 2.67 seconds is just below the NFL average of 2.73. 5

    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Kirk Cousins continues to shine

    It seems as if Cousins lands in this space every week, but it's for good reason. In Week 5, Cousins took on a Philly defense that was playing slightly above expectation, allowing an average opposing completion percentage that was 1.1 points lower than expected (15th in NFL) through Week 4. Cousins torched that standard against the Eagles, posting a completion percentage that was 11.1 points higher than expected and 6.4 points higher than his average difference (between expected and actual) through four weeks.

    Cousins attempted the third-most passes in the league through the first five weeks (226), while facing the most pressures in the NFL (91). His pressure-per-dropback percentage is 37.9, third-highest in the league. All of this makes his passer rating of 105.1 (seventh best in the NFL) that much more impressive. This isn't a result of quick releases or game plans to limit him, either: Cousins' average time to throw of 2.67 seconds is just below the NFL average of 2.73.

  • Miami might be home to the Dolphins, but these fish sure are fast on land. Two weeks after <a href="http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-cant-miss-plays/0ap3000000965485/Can-t-Miss-Play-Wilson-channels-Tyreek-on-74-yard-TD-celebration">Albert Wilson's 74-yard touchdown</a> made onlookers think of Tyreek Hill (the league leader for fastest ball carrier of 2018 at 21.95 mph), Miami's Jakeem Grant broke 21.50 mph, hitting 21.58 on his <a href="http://www.nfl.com/videos/miami-dolphins/0ap3000000970739/Can-t-Miss-Play-Jakeem-goes-70-YARDS-for-punt-return-TD">71-yard punt return for a touchdown</a>. New York's Robby Anderson also entered the four-man 21.50 club in Week 5, hitting the mark on <a href="http://www.nfl.com/videos/new-york-jets/0ap3000000970674/Can-t-Miss-Play-Darnold-launches-to-Anderson-for-76-yard-TD">his 76-yard touchdown connection</a> with Sam Darnold in <a href="https://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2018100706/2018/REG5/broncos@jets">the Jets' rout of the Denver Broncos</a>. 4

    Associated Press

    And they can run

    Miami might be home to the Dolphins, but these fish sure are fast on land. Two weeks after Albert Wilson's 74-yard touchdown made onlookers think of Tyreek Hill (the league leader for fastest ball carrier of 2018 at 21.95 mph), Miami's Jakeem Grant broke 21.50 mph, hitting 21.58 on his 71-yard punt return for a touchdown. New York's Robby Anderson also entered the four-man 21.50 club in Week 5, hitting the mark on his 76-yard touchdown connection with Sam Darnold in the Jets' rout of the Denver Broncos.

  • DeAndre Hopkins was targeted 13 times on a total of 45 routes run and caught nine passes for 151 yards in Week 5, but how he did it <i>really</i> jumps off the spreadsheet. Hopkins, who was given a below-average cushion of 3.7 yards, ended up facing blanket coverage -- and still posted the aforementioned line, with a 69.2 percent catch rate. Hopkins' average separation from a defender at the time a pass arrived was far below the week's average of 3.0 yards, landing at a paltry 1.5 yards. Only three other receivers were targeted five-plus times and posted similar yards per catch with separation averages below 2 yards and similar catch percentages: Devin Funchess (13.3 yards per catch, 1.4 yards of separation, 57.1 percent catch rate), Demaryius Thomas (18.2, 1.8, 85.7) and Odell Beckham Jr. (16.4, 1.8, 57.1). That's a lot of numbers for those three, but only two broke 100 yards and only one had a better catch percentage than Hopkins (Funchess, who had just 53 yards receiving). 3

    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Nuk making it look easy

    DeAndre Hopkins was targeted 13 times on a total of 45 routes run and caught nine passes for 151 yards in Week 5, but how he did it really jumps off the spreadsheet. Hopkins, who was given a below-average cushion of 3.7 yards, ended up facing blanket coverage -- and still posted the aforementioned line, with a 69.2 percent catch rate. Hopkins' average separation from a defender at the time a pass arrived was far below the week's average of 3.0 yards, landing at a paltry 1.5 yards. Only three other receivers were targeted five-plus times and posted similar yards per catch with separation averages below 2 yards and similar catch percentages: Devin Funchess (13.3 yards per catch, 1.4 yards of separation, 57.1 percent catch rate), Demaryius Thomas (18.2, 1.8, 85.7) and Odell Beckham Jr. (16.4, 1.8, 57.1). That's a lot of numbers for those three, but only two broke 100 yards and only one had a better catch percentage than Hopkins (Funchess, who had just 53 yards receiving).

  • The Browns could be in the midst of a massive turnaround. That's yet to be determined. But Baker Mayfield has a lot to do with the excitement surrounding the team. Next Gen Stats reveal a big factor in his early success: coaches giving the rookie freedom to air it out.
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Despite logging a much lower completion percentage in these instances, Mayfield has racked up nearly twice as many yards per attempt and has a much better touchdown-to-interception ratio (3:1, as opposed to 0:2) when throwing downfield. He's racked up 420 yards (10 yards per attempt) and posted a passer rating of 95.3 when attempting passes of 10 or more air yards, as opposed to 418 yards (6.5 yards per attempt) and a passer rating of 73.6 when targeting guys with tosses that travel fewer than 10 air yards. The lesson here is simple: Let it fly, Baker. 2

    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Letting Baker cook

    The Browns could be in the midst of a massive turnaround. That's yet to be determined. But Baker Mayfield has a lot to do with the excitement surrounding the team. Next Gen Stats reveal a big factor in his early success: coaches giving the rookie freedom to air it out.

    Despite logging a much lower completion percentage in these instances, Mayfield has racked up nearly twice as many yards per attempt and has a much better touchdown-to-interception ratio (3:1, as opposed to 0:2) when throwing downfield. He's racked up 420 yards (10 yards per attempt) and posted a passer rating of 95.3 when attempting passes of 10 or more air yards, as opposed to 418 yards (6.5 yards per attempt) and a passer rating of 73.6 when targeting guys with tosses that travel fewer than 10 air yards. The lesson here is simple: Let it fly, Baker.

  • Ben Roethlisberger has a nickname based on a famous clock tower, but time isn't his friend these days. The Steelers quarterback is significantly better when getting the ball out quicker, posting a TD:INT ratio of 8:1 when taking less than three seconds to throw (as opposed to a TD:INT ratio of 3:5 when throwing in three or more seconds). Similarly, his passer rating is much higher -- 102.0 vs. 68.4 -- when he takes less than three seconds to throw. Less is more for the Steelers' passing attack. 1

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Speeding up Big Ben

    Ben Roethlisberger has a nickname based on a famous clock tower, but time isn't his friend these days. The Steelers quarterback is significantly better when getting the ball out quicker, posting a TD:INT ratio of 8:1 when taking less than three seconds to throw (as opposed to a TD:INT ratio of 3:5 when throwing in three or more seconds). Similarly, his passer rating is much higher -- 102.0 vs. 68.4 -- when he takes less than three seconds to throw. Less is more for the Steelers' passing attack.