Published: Nov. 23, 2018 at 11:33 a.m.

Next Gen Stats: Hidden numbers that defined Week 11

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 11.

7 Photos Total

  • We've used this space to talk about how effective Kirk Cousins has been despite the Vikings' struggles up front. While that wasn't the case in Week 11 against Chicago, the numbers project Cousins should have a better go of things against the Packers this week. Cousins has a better completion percentage when he's not pressured (63.7 versus 74.1), more yards per attempt (6.8 versus 7.4), touchdown-to-interception ratio (5-4 versus 14-3) and passer rating (83.4 versus 107.2). The Packers have pressured the quarterback on 26.8 percent of drop backs, just below league average (17th-highest), but have converted those pressures into sacks 31.3 percent of the time (second-highest in NFL). They'll have to finish their pressures to keep Cousins from succeeding in Week 12, or else face a banner day from the Vikings quarterback. 7

    Associated Press

    Kirk Cousins facing cheese

    We've used this space to talk about how effective Kirk Cousins has been despite the Vikings' struggles up front. While that wasn't the case in Week 11 against Chicago, the numbers project Cousins should have a better go of things against the Packers this week. Cousins has a better completion percentage when he's not pressured (63.7 versus 74.1), more yards per attempt (6.8 versus 7.4), touchdown-to-interception ratio (5-4 versus 14-3) and passer rating (83.4 versus 107.2). The Packers have pressured the quarterback on 26.8 percent of drop backs, just below league average (17th-highest), but have converted those pressures into sacks 31.3 percent of the time (second-highest in NFL). They'll have to finish their pressures to keep Cousins from succeeding in Week 12, or else face a banner day from the Vikings quarterback.

  • The Bears don't blitz much, but when they do they're among the league's best. Chicago ranks 27th in the NFL in blitz rate at just 21.2 percent of drop backs, but they're first in the NFL in blitz pressure rate (44.3 percent), second in success rate with the blitz (64.8 percent), and fourth in opposing passer rating (72.3). Blitz or no blitz, the Bears are finding success pressuring the quarterback, ranking seventh in the NFL at 29.2 percent of all drop backs. Simply, Chicago causes problems for every opponent - even when they don't come via the blitz. 6

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Choosy in Chicago

    The Bears don't blitz much, but when they do they're among the league's best. Chicago ranks 27th in the NFL in blitz rate at just 21.2 percent of drop backs, but they're first in the NFL in blitz pressure rate (44.3 percent), second in success rate with the blitz (64.8 percent), and fourth in opposing passer rating (72.3). Blitz or no blitz, the Bears are finding success pressuring the quarterback, ranking seventh in the NFL at 29.2 percent of all drop backs. Simply, Chicago causes problems for every opponent - even when they don't come via the blitz.

  • As if the Saints' production alone wasn't enough to blow your socks off, consider these numbers from Drew Brees: He's set to break 3,000 yards passing in Week 12, he's posted a 25-to-1 TD-INT ratio and a league-best 126.9 passer rating. But the most impressive number is his completion percentage above expected, completing 9.9 percent more of his attempts than his expected completion percentage of 67. He isn't throwing to a disproportionate number of open receivers, nor is he throwing into a high percentage of tight windows, meaning Brees is just doing an excellent job no matter the situation. Furthermore, his No. 1 target, Michael Thomas, is destroying the data. He's catching 20.3 percent more passes than expected and posting a 90.1 catch percentage, 20.3 percent better than expectation. Brees' passer rating when targeting Thomas is 139.1. It helps to have a star receiver. 5

    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    Brees continues to ball

    As if the Saints' production alone wasn't enough to blow your socks off, consider these numbers from Drew Brees: He's set to break 3,000 yards passing in Week 12, he's posted a 25-to-1 TD-INT ratio and a league-best 126.9 passer rating. But the most impressive number is his completion percentage above expected, completing 9.9 percent more of his attempts than his expected completion percentage of 67. He isn't throwing to a disproportionate number of open receivers, nor is he throwing into a high percentage of tight windows, meaning Brees is just doing an excellent job no matter the situation. Furthermore, his No. 1 target, Michael Thomas, is destroying the data. He's catching 20.3 percent more passes than expected and posting a 90.1 catch percentage, 20.3 percent better than expectation. Brees' passer rating when targeting Thomas is 139.1. It helps to have a star receiver.

  • The Redskins are dealing with a bevy of injuries along the offensive line (Brandon Scherff, Shawn Lauvao, Geron Christian and Trent Williams) and now they're faced with playing without Alex Smith, lost for the season to a gruesome broken leg. The Next Gen Stats don't bode well for Washington moving forward, starting with their Thanksgiving Day game against the rival Cowboys. Washington has allowed pressure on 32.9 percent of drop backs this season, and they meet a Cowboys defense that has improved in pressures lately. Dallas is pressuring opposing quarterbacks on 31.9 percent of drop backs since Week 9 (fourth-highest in the NFL in that span), an improvement by more than seven percentage points. If they follow this trend, they should cause Colt McCoy problems (pressured on 25 percent of drop backs in Week 11) Thursday. 4

    Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

    An uphill climb in the nation's capital

    The Redskins are dealing with a bevy of injuries along the offensive line (Brandon Scherff, Shawn Lauvao, Geron Christian and Trent Williams) and now they're faced with playing without Alex Smith, lost for the season to a gruesome broken leg. The Next Gen Stats don't bode well for Washington moving forward, starting with their Thanksgiving Day game against the rival Cowboys. Washington has allowed pressure on 32.9 percent of drop backs this season, and they meet a Cowboys defense that has improved in pressures lately. Dallas is pressuring opposing quarterbacks on 31.9 percent of drop backs since Week 9 (fourth-highest in the NFL in that span), an improvement by more than seven percentage points. If they follow this trend, they should cause Colt McCoy problems (pressured on 25 percent of drop backs in Week 11) Thursday.

  • A Patrick Mahomes completion to Travis Kelce in Week 3 has reigned atop the completion probability rankings at just 7.1 percent chance of completion, but Week 11 brought us an Andy Dalton to John Ross completion that flirted with dethroning the Chiefs' duo. Dalton's 22-yard touchdown pass to Ross had just a 12.3 percent chance of being completed, with Ross fighting through just 0.4 yards of separation to make the grab. Interestingly, the completions ranking second through fourth all went for either 21 or 22 yards, and all ended in touchdowns, with three different passers on each. 3

    Associated Press

    Between the stripes

    A Patrick Mahomes completion to Travis Kelce in Week 3 has reigned atop the completion probability rankings at just 7.1 percent chance of completion, but Week 11 brought us an Andy Dalton to John Ross completion that flirted with dethroning the Chiefs' duo. Dalton's 22-yard touchdown pass to Ross had just a 12.3 percent chance of being completed, with Ross fighting through just 0.4 yards of separation to make the grab. Interestingly, the completions ranking second through fourth all went for either 21 or 22 yards, and all ended in touchdowns, with three different passers on each.

  • The league's second-best rusher in terms of yards, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, is doing so amid unfavorable circumstances. Thanks to opposing defenses' lack of respect for the threat of Dak Prescott, Elliott is facing a loaded box on 40.3 percent of attempts (seventh-most in NFL) and eight-plus defenders in the box on 26.7 percent of attempts (eighth-most in NFL). Yet, he's second in the league in rushing yards (953) and he's tied for fourth in rushing yards gained after close (4.4). Dallas has also benefitted from read-option attacks with he and Prescott, meaning these loaded boxes should be expected. 2

    John Amis/Associated Press

    Zeke running through walls

    The league's second-best rusher in terms of yards, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, is doing so amid unfavorable circumstances. Thanks to opposing defenses' lack of respect for the threat of Dak Prescott, Elliott is facing a loaded box on 40.3 percent of attempts (seventh-most in NFL) and eight-plus defenders in the box on 26.7 percent of attempts (eighth-most in NFL). Yet, he's second in the league in rushing yards (953) and he's tied for fourth in rushing yards gained after close (4.4). Dallas has also benefitted from read-option attacks with he and Prescott, meaning these loaded boxes should be expected.

  • Tennessee is reeling after losing in blowout fashion to the Colts in Week 11, but sunnier days could be ahead. The Titans meet the Houston Texans in Week 12, who boast two of the fastest pass rushers in terms of time to sack: J.J. Watt (3.63 seconds on average to sack, fastest in NFL) and Jadeveon Clowney (3.68 seconds on average, third-fastest in NFL, minimum six sacks). Marcus Mariota thrives under pressure, posting top marks in completion percentage (69 percent), yards per attempt (9.8) and passer rating (98.6). The race for the AFC South is far from over. 1

    Associated Press

    Titans poised for bounce-back performance

    Tennessee is reeling after losing in blowout fashion to the Colts in Week 11, but sunnier days could be ahead. The Titans meet the Houston Texans in Week 12, who boast two of the fastest pass rushers in terms of time to sack: J.J. Watt (3.63 seconds on average to sack, fastest in NFL) and Jadeveon Clowney (3.68 seconds on average, third-fastest in NFL, minimum six sacks). Marcus Mariota thrives under pressure, posting top marks in completion percentage (69 percent), yards per attempt (9.8) and passer rating (98.6). The race for the AFC South is far from over.