Published: Nov. 15, 2018 at 08:48 a.m.

Next Gen Stats: Hidden numbers that defined Week 10

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 10 in the NFL.

7 Photos Total

  • Dallas sent shockwaves and raised eyebrows across the NFL when it sent a first-round pick to Oakland for Amari Cooper, but so far, the bold move has proven worthwhile. Since Cooper's arrival, the Cowboys have trotted out three-receiver sets (11 personnel) more often when running the ball with Ezekiel Elliott (from 44.7 percent of Zeke's rush attempts in Weeks 1-8 to 47.2 percent in Weeks 9-10) and have seen the yards-per-rush production jump from 4.1 to 6.3. Similarly, Dallas has seen Zeke's percentage of 10-plus-yard rushes in 11 personnel more than double, from 11.9 percent to 23.5 percent. The reason for this: Opponents tend to spread defenders out to cover the three receivers, and as a result, Elliott faces loaded boxes on just 2.6 percent of rushes when Dallas is in 11 personnel. In all other personnel groupings, Elliott faces loaded boxes on 46.7 percent of rushes. 7

    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    The Amari Effect

    Dallas sent shockwaves and raised eyebrows across the NFL when it sent a first-round pick to Oakland for Amari Cooper, but so far, the bold move has proven worthwhile. Since Cooper's arrival, the Cowboys have trotted out three-receiver sets (11 personnel) more often when running the ball with Ezekiel Elliott (from 44.7 percent of Zeke's rush attempts in Weeks 1-8 to 47.2 percent in Weeks 9-10) and have seen the yards-per-rush production jump from 4.1 to 6.3. Similarly, Dallas has seen Zeke's percentage of 10-plus-yard rushes in 11 personnel more than double, from 11.9 percent to 23.5 percent. The reason for this: Opponents tend to spread defenders out to cover the three receivers, and as a result, Elliott faces loaded boxes on just 2.6 percent of rushes when Dallas is in 11 personnel. In all other personnel groupings, Elliott faces loaded boxes on 46.7 percent of rushes.

  • Amari Cooper's addition has had an even more pronounced effect on Dallas' passing game, as evidenced by Dak Prescott's stark contrast in the department of target separation. <a href="http://www.nfl.com/photoessays/0ap3000000978147/blank">We predicted a possible improvement</a> in the immediate aftermath of the Cooper trade, and so far, it has come to fruition. Dallas has seen positive impacts in average target separation (Weeks 1-8: 2.9 yards, Weeks 9-10: 4.0), tight-window throw percentage (Weeks 1-8: 23.8, Weeks 9-10: 6.0), open-throw percentage (Weeks 1-8: 36.9, Weeks 9-10: 55.2), completion percentage (Weeks 1-8: 62.1, Weeks 9-10: 70.1) and passer rating (Weeks 1-8: 87.4, Weeks 9-10: 101.2). And in that average wide receiver separation category, Dallas has leapt from dead last in the NFL at 2.2 yards to 11th in the league at 3.0 yards. Not bad for just one new guy. 6

    Associated Press

    The Amari Effect, Part 2

    Amari Cooper's addition has had an even more pronounced effect on Dallas' passing game, as evidenced by Dak Prescott's stark contrast in the department of target separation. We predicted a possible improvement in the immediate aftermath of the Cooper trade, and so far, it has come to fruition. Dallas has seen positive impacts in average target separation (Weeks 1-8: 2.9 yards, Weeks 9-10: 4.0), tight-window throw percentage (Weeks 1-8: 23.8, Weeks 9-10: 6.0), open-throw percentage (Weeks 1-8: 36.9, Weeks 9-10: 55.2), completion percentage (Weeks 1-8: 62.1, Weeks 9-10: 70.1) and passer rating (Weeks 1-8: 87.4, Weeks 9-10: 101.2). And in that average wide receiver separation category, Dallas has leapt from dead last in the NFL at 2.2 yards to 11th in the league at 3.0 yards. Not bad for just one new guy.

  • Aaron Jones is the talk of Green Bay after racking up 145 yards and two TDs on 15 carries in a win over Miami, but he will run into a different type of challenge in Week 11 when the Packers meet the Seattle Seahawks. First, we must address what Jones has faced thus far, which is light boxes (six defenders or less on rushes). Jones has run against such defensive alignments on 61.6 percent of rushes and ranks first in the league in touchdown percentage (6.7) and second in yards per rush (7.5) against light boxes. He's forced a total of 18 missed tackles on all rushes, but faces a Seattle defense that includes mistake-free Bobby Wagner. The linebacker hasn't missed a single tackle on 69 attempts this season, the lone defender to do so among 86 defenders with 50-plus attempted tackles. How does this match up this week? Well, Seattle has placed six defenders or less in the box on just 29.1 percent of opposing rush attempts, well below the league average of 39.7 percent (minimum 70 rushes). 5

    Associated Press

    Upstart runner meets a brick wall

    Aaron Jones is the talk of Green Bay after racking up 145 yards and two TDs on 15 carries in a win over Miami, but he will run into a different type of challenge in Week 11 when the Packers meet the Seattle Seahawks. First, we must address what Jones has faced thus far, which is light boxes (six defenders or less on rushes). Jones has run against such defensive alignments on 61.6 percent of rushes and ranks first in the league in touchdown percentage (6.7) and second in yards per rush (7.5) against light boxes. He's forced a total of 18 missed tackles on all rushes, but faces a Seattle defense that includes mistake-free Bobby Wagner. The linebacker hasn't missed a single tackle on 69 attempts this season, the lone defender to do so among 86 defenders with 50-plus attempted tackles. How does this match up this week? Well, Seattle has placed six defenders or less in the box on just 29.1 percent of opposing rush attempts, well below the league average of 39.7 percent (minimum 70 rushes).

  • We touched on 11 personnel above, and while it's helping Dallas, it has been the strongest staple of the Rams' offense. Todd Gurley has taken every single carry of his season out of 11 personnel. The Rams have used 11 personnel on 96.3 percent of all plays (highest in NFL, by 16.2 percent), running on 43.8 percent (the second-highest rate), and averaging the highest yards per play at 7.3. And as effective as this personnel package might appear to be in running the ball, it's even better when passing, producing an average of 8.9 yards per dropback (highest in the NFL). This week's opponent, K.C., has faced 11 personnel on 67.2 percent of defensive snaps and has employed nickel or dime on 98.9 percent of such matchups (79 percent in nickel, 19.9 percent in dime). The Chiefs have given up 5.2 yards per rush (25th in the NFL) and 6.5 yards per dropback (10th in the NFL) when employing nickel. This seems favorable to the Rams, but will their 11 personnel still thrive without Cooper Kupp? 4

    Associated Press

    A storm is coming

    We touched on 11 personnel above, and while it's helping Dallas, it has been the strongest staple of the Rams' offense. Todd Gurley has taken every single carry of his season out of 11 personnel. The Rams have used 11 personnel on 96.3 percent of all plays (highest in NFL, by 16.2 percent), running on 43.8 percent (the second-highest rate), and averaging the highest yards per play at 7.3. And as effective as this personnel package might appear to be in running the ball, it's even better when passing, producing an average of 8.9 yards per dropback (highest in the NFL). This week's opponent, K.C., has faced 11 personnel on 67.2 percent of defensive snaps and has employed nickel or dime on 98.9 percent of such matchups (79 percent in nickel, 19.9 percent in dime). The Chiefs have given up 5.2 yards per rush (25th in the NFL) and 6.5 yards per dropback (10th in the NFL) when employing nickel. This seems favorable to the Rams, but will their 11 personnel still thrive without Cooper Kupp?

  • A big reason the Bears have succeeded so far this season is their ability to protect second-year passer Mitchell Trubisky. He's faced pressure on just 19.5 percent of dropbacks this season, fourth-lowest in the NFL -- but within that 19.5 percent, he's struggled mightily (which is understandable, to an extent). When pressured, Trubisky's completion percentage drops from 69.1 to 45.5, his touchdown-to-interception ratio from 17:5 to 2:2, and his passer rating from 107.3 to 69.6. That last difference is rather drastic. This is pertinent because Trubisky's Bears will face the Minnesota Vikings this week, who are tied for first in sacks (31.0), rank fourth in pressure rate (31.9 percent) and 10th in total pressures (105). The task is tall on Sunday night for the Bears' blockers to keep their young signal-caller upright and effective. 3

    Associated Press

    Mitchell vs. the purple armada

    A big reason the Bears have succeeded so far this season is their ability to protect second-year passer Mitchell Trubisky. He's faced pressure on just 19.5 percent of dropbacks this season, fourth-lowest in the NFL -- but within that 19.5 percent, he's struggled mightily (which is understandable, to an extent). When pressured, Trubisky's completion percentage drops from 69.1 to 45.5, his touchdown-to-interception ratio from 17:5 to 2:2, and his passer rating from 107.3 to 69.6. That last difference is rather drastic. This is pertinent because Trubisky's Bears will face the Minnesota Vikings this week, who are tied for first in sacks (31.0), rank fourth in pressure rate (31.9 percent) and 10th in total pressures (105). The task is tall on Sunday night for the Bears' blockers to keep their young signal-caller upright and effective.

  • Disregard the odd title of this photo (yes, it's a name pun, and a poor one), because Baker Mayfield made a delight out of a disaster early in Cleveland's 28-16 win over Atlanta. In the first quarter, Mayfield rolled right out of play action and immediately ran into trouble in the form of two Falcons defenders. No matter -- just chuck it deep! Mayfield did just that, heaving a prayer of sorts to Rashard Higgins, who was blanketed by Robert Alford, owning 2.5 yards of separation when Mayfield released the long pass and a whole 0.92 yards of separation when the pass arrived. No matter, as he leapt and caught the ball for a touchdown and an early lead. The completion was the least-likely of Week 10, owning just a 19.7 percent chance of succeeding and covering 30.3 air yards in the process. It's no <a href="http://www.nfl.com/photoessays/0ap3000000964505/blank">Cousins-to-Thielen from Week 2</a>, but it's still a pretty play with the advanced metrics to back it. 2

    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Baking cake out of dirt

    Disregard the odd title of this photo (yes, it's a name pun, and a poor one), because Baker Mayfield made a delight out of a disaster early in Cleveland's 28-16 win over Atlanta. In the first quarter, Mayfield rolled right out of play action and immediately ran into trouble in the form of two Falcons defenders. No matter -- just chuck it deep! Mayfield did just that, heaving a prayer of sorts to Rashard Higgins, who was blanketed by Robert Alford, owning 2.5 yards of separation when Mayfield released the long pass and a whole 0.92 yards of separation when the pass arrived. No matter, as he leapt and caught the ball for a touchdown and an early lead. The completion was the least-likely of Week 10, owning just a 19.7 percent chance of succeeding and covering 30.3 air yards in the process. It's no Cousins-to-Thielen from Week 2, but it's still a pretty play with the advanced metrics to back it.

  • In Week 10, little-known Bills receiver Robert Foster ran past the Jets' defense for a 47-yard reception that wasn't a touchdown only because the defender known as the sideline was there to make a play. The reception featured the fastest ball carrier of the week, with Foster hitting a top speed of 21.48 mph. His mark tied for eighth-fastest speed for the season, which is fine and dandy, but ... is Foster a punter? No! Oakland's Johnny Townsend is, though, and if you care to peek a bit further down the speed leaders for Week 10, you'll find him on the list. How did Townsend become a ball carrier? Well, the Raiders got a little wild in Week 10, running a fake punt that picked up 42 yards against the Chargers. The result: Townsend turned on the jets and likely experienced the same motion-blur sequence that's found throughout "2 Fast 2 Furious," burning down the sideline and hitting 20.48 miles per hour. Punters are people -- and sometimes, speedy ball carriers -- too! 1

    Associated Press/USA TODAY Sports

    Faster than the speed of ... foot?

    In Week 10, little-known Bills receiver Robert Foster ran past the Jets' defense for a 47-yard reception that wasn't a touchdown only because the defender known as the sideline was there to make a play. The reception featured the fastest ball carrier of the week, with Foster hitting a top speed of 21.48 mph. His mark tied for eighth-fastest speed for the season, which is fine and dandy, but ... is Foster a punter? No! Oakland's Johnny Townsend is, though, and if you care to peek a bit further down the speed leaders for Week 10, you'll find him on the list. How did Townsend become a ball carrier? Well, the Raiders got a little wild in Week 10, running a fake punt that picked up 42 yards against the Chargers. The result: Townsend turned on the jets and likely experienced the same motion-blur sequence that's found throughout "2 Fast 2 Furious," burning down the sideline and hitting 20.48 miles per hour. Punters are people -- and sometimes, speedy ball carriers -- too!