Published: Nov. 29, 2018 at 04:47 p.m.
Updated: Nov. 29, 2018 at 05:47 p.m.

Next Gen Stats: Hidden numbers that defined Week 12

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 12.

7 Photos Total

  • When unpressured, Deshaun Watson owns a passer rating of 122.2, but when he's pressured, that drops to 31.8; the differential of -90.4 is the largest in the NFL, surprising for a QB with his mobility. The Browns -- Watson's opponents in Week 13 -- aren't great at pressuring the quarterback, achieving pressure on 24.8 percent of opposing dropbacks on the season (24th in the NFL). But they rank in the top seven or better in each of these five categories when their front <i>can't</i> pressure the quarterback: tight-window throw percentage (18.2, fourth in the NFL), completion percentage (63.4, third in the NFL), yards per attempt (7.0, seventh in the NFL), touchdown percentage (3.6, first in the NFL) and passer rating (89.2, third in the NFL). They also boast a one-man pressuring crew. Myles Garrett is tied for first in the NFL with 50 pressures and is the only player in the NFL to record nine-plus pressures in two separate games. 7

    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Watson weak under pressure

    When unpressured, Deshaun Watson owns a passer rating of 122.2, but when he's pressured, that drops to 31.8; the differential of -90.4 is the largest in the NFL, surprising for a QB with his mobility. The Browns -- Watson's opponents in Week 13 -- aren't great at pressuring the quarterback, achieving pressure on 24.8 percent of opposing dropbacks on the season (24th in the NFL). But they rank in the top seven or better in each of these five categories when their front can't pressure the quarterback: tight-window throw percentage (18.2, fourth in the NFL), completion percentage (63.4, third in the NFL), yards per attempt (7.0, seventh in the NFL), touchdown percentage (3.6, first in the NFL) and passer rating (89.2, third in the NFL). They also boast a one-man pressuring crew. Myles Garrett is tied for first in the NFL with 50 pressures and is the only player in the NFL to record nine-plus pressures in two separate games.

  • Cleveland's Damarious Randall predicted the Browns would put a beating on the Bengals if A.J. Green, who has been dealing with a toe injury, didn't play in Week 12, and he was proven correct. The reason: Green makes Cincinnati's offense much more of a deep-play threat. Take the passer rating of Bengals quarterbacks on passes of 20-plus air yards this season: Cincinnati has posted a 97.1 passer rating on such attempts with Green on the field, while without him, that mark plunges to just 52.8. It was evident in their loss to the Browns and even more so in their completion percentage marks with and without Green. The Bengals' completion percentage on all throws drops from 63.9 with Green (in Weeks 1-8) to 56.6 without him (Weeks 10-12), and the completion percentage above or below expectation decreases from 1.1 percent above expectation with him to 2.7 percent below it without him. Luckily for Cincinnati, Green says he'll play in Sunday's matchup with the Broncos. 6

    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Bengals yearning for Green grass

    Cleveland's Damarious Randall predicted the Browns would put a beating on the Bengals if A.J. Green, who has been dealing with a toe injury, didn't play in Week 12, and he was proven correct. The reason: Green makes Cincinnati's offense much more of a deep-play threat. Take the passer rating of Bengals quarterbacks on passes of 20-plus air yards this season: Cincinnati has posted a 97.1 passer rating on such attempts with Green on the field, while without him, that mark plunges to just 52.8. It was evident in their loss to the Browns and even more so in their completion percentage marks with and without Green. The Bengals' completion percentage on all throws drops from 63.9 with Green (in Weeks 1-8) to 56.6 without him (Weeks 10-12), and the completion percentage above or below expectation decreases from 1.1 percent above expectation with him to 2.7 percent below it without him. Luckily for Cincinnati, Green says he'll play in Sunday's matchup with the Broncos.

  • Amari Cooper's Thanksgiving Day explosion was one of the week's best performances, but his impact goes beyond his numbers. Ezekiel Elliott, who has faced loaded boxes for much of the season (38.7 percent of rushes for the year), is putting up bigger numbers since Cooper arrived during Dallas' Week 8 bye. Elliott has run out of three-receiver sets (11 personnel) with greater frequency in that span (50.6 percent of his attempts in Weeks 9-12, up from 44.7 percent of his attempts in Weeks 1-8), and he's seeing better results (2.7 more yards per rush in 11 personnel since Cooper arrived, from 4.1 to 6.8). The number that's helping Dallas the most? Elliott has ripped off runs of 10-plus yards out of 11 personnel more than twice as often, jumping from 11.9 percent in Weeks 1-8 to 25.6 percent in Weeks 9-12. With Cooper on the field as a threat, opposing defenses can't dedicate as many resources to stopping Elliott, and it's proving successful for the Cowboys. 5

    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Cooper continuing to benefit Cowboys

    Amari Cooper's Thanksgiving Day explosion was one of the week's best performances, but his impact goes beyond his numbers. Ezekiel Elliott, who has faced loaded boxes for much of the season (38.7 percent of rushes for the year), is putting up bigger numbers since Cooper arrived during Dallas' Week 8 bye. Elliott has run out of three-receiver sets (11 personnel) with greater frequency in that span (50.6 percent of his attempts in Weeks 9-12, up from 44.7 percent of his attempts in Weeks 1-8), and he's seeing better results (2.7 more yards per rush in 11 personnel since Cooper arrived, from 4.1 to 6.8). The number that's helping Dallas the most? Elliott has ripped off runs of 10-plus yards out of 11 personnel more than twice as often, jumping from 11.9 percent in Weeks 1-8 to 25.6 percent in Weeks 9-12. With Cooper on the field as a threat, opposing defenses can't dedicate as many resources to stopping Elliott, and it's proving successful for the Cowboys.

  • The Saints are known for their offensive prowess, but New Orleans has become one of the league's best teams because it has figured things out on the defensive side of the ball. The Saints have doubled their sack rate over the last three weeks (from 5.5 percent in Weeks 1-9 to 11.2 percent of opposing dropbacks in Weeks 10-12) and boosted their pressure rate (24.4 percent to 34.5 percent). The improvements have come as a result of increased blitzing. New Orleans has upped its designed pressures from 25.4 percent in Weeks 1-9 to 33.6 in Weeks 10-12. They've been more effective in such situations, and they've produced much worse numbers for opposing quarterbacks. In Weeks 1-9, opponents had a 5:2 TD-to-INT ratio and 105.0 passer rating while being blitzed by the Saints; in Weeks 10-12, they had a 1:2 TD-to-INT ratio and 71.5 passer rating. The lesson: The perfect match for an unrelenting offense is a similarly aggressive defense. 4

    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    Turning up the heat in the Big Easy

    The Saints are known for their offensive prowess, but New Orleans has become one of the league's best teams because it has figured things out on the defensive side of the ball. The Saints have doubled their sack rate over the last three weeks (from 5.5 percent in Weeks 1-9 to 11.2 percent of opposing dropbacks in Weeks 10-12) and boosted their pressure rate (24.4 percent to 34.5 percent). The improvements have come as a result of increased blitzing. New Orleans has upped its designed pressures from 25.4 percent in Weeks 1-9 to 33.6 in Weeks 10-12. They've been more effective in such situations, and they've produced much worse numbers for opposing quarterbacks. In Weeks 1-9, opponents had a 5:2 TD-to-INT ratio and 105.0 passer rating while being blitzed by the Saints; in Weeks 10-12, they had a 1:2 TD-to-INT ratio and 71.5 passer rating. The lesson: The perfect match for an unrelenting offense is a similarly aggressive defense.

  • Aaron Rodgers and the 4-6-1 Packers essentially have to go undefeated the rest of the way to make the postseason at this point. A good way to start such a turnaround would be to take advantage of where he is at his best. Rodgers is the only qualifying quarterback to throw outside the numbers on the field on over half of his attempts (56.2 percent), and he has posted sterling results on those throws: 124 for 232, 1,607 yards, 12 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 92.7 passer rating. This could be a place for the Packers to find success <a href="https://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2018120203/2018/REG13/Cardinals@Packers">against Arizona</a> in Week 13, as the Cardinals have struggled to defend that area of the field, allowing 66.7 percent of passes to be completed to targets located there, the second-highest mark in the NFL. 3

    NFL Photos

    Sidelines are Rodgers' best friend

    Aaron Rodgers and the 4-6-1 Packers essentially have to go undefeated the rest of the way to make the postseason at this point. A good way to start such a turnaround would be to take advantage of where he is at his best. Rodgers is the only qualifying quarterback to throw outside the numbers on the field on over half of his attempts (56.2 percent), and he has posted sterling results on those throws: 124 for 232, 1,607 yards, 12 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 92.7 passer rating. This could be a place for the Packers to find success against Arizona in Week 13, as the Cardinals have struggled to defend that area of the field, allowing 66.7 percent of passes to be completed to targets located there, the second-highest mark in the NFL.

  • Since Freddie Kitchens' promotion to Browns offensive coordinator, Baker Mayfield has experienced a renaissance. His passer rating has skyrocketed on quick throws (89.6 in Weeks 3-8; 136.1 in Weeks 9-12), against the blitz (75.7 in Weeks 3-8; 149.5 in Weeks 9-12), under pressure (51.9 in Weeks 3-8; 137.1 in Weeks 9-12) and on the run (28.4 in Weeks 3-8; 115.3 in Weeks 9-12). Quick throws have helped him tremendously, a product of adjusted play-calling. His pressure rate has dropped from 23.9 in Weeks 3-8 to 7.8 in Weeks 9-12, while the percentages of quick throws, down-the-seams targets and behind-the-line-of-scrimmage targets have all increased, and his completion percentage (both above expected and traditional) has jumped significantly (from -4.2 expected in Weeks 3-8 to 5.0 in Weeks 9-12 and from 58.3 percent to 73.9 percent in the traditional metric). It has transformed a Browns offense that floated through the final weeks of the Hue Jackson era. 2

    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Baker, Kitchens have something cooking

    Since Freddie Kitchens' promotion to Browns offensive coordinator, Baker Mayfield has experienced a renaissance. His passer rating has skyrocketed on quick throws (89.6 in Weeks 3-8; 136.1 in Weeks 9-12), against the blitz (75.7 in Weeks 3-8; 149.5 in Weeks 9-12), under pressure (51.9 in Weeks 3-8; 137.1 in Weeks 9-12) and on the run (28.4 in Weeks 3-8; 115.3 in Weeks 9-12). Quick throws have helped him tremendously, a product of adjusted play-calling. His pressure rate has dropped from 23.9 in Weeks 3-8 to 7.8 in Weeks 9-12, while the percentages of quick throws, down-the-seams targets and behind-the-line-of-scrimmage targets have all increased, and his completion percentage (both above expected and traditional) has jumped significantly (from -4.2 expected in Weeks 3-8 to 5.0 in Weeks 9-12 and from 58.3 percent to 73.9 percent in the traditional metric). It has transformed a Browns offense that floated through the final weeks of the Hue Jackson era.

  • We have a new top-speed champion for 2018: San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida, thanks to a play in Week 12 -- one in which, surprisingly, he didn't even break 50 yards or score. Breida took a handoff on a zone play to the right, cut back (in typical zone-running fashion) and found a wide-open edge, hitting a full sprint toward the left sideline for a gain of 33 yards and a top speed of 22.09 mph before Buccaneers defensive back Jordan Whitehead pushed him out of bounds. His mark became the fastest in the NFL, besting Dalvin Cook's previous leading number of 22.07 mph, set in Week 9 against the Detroit Lions. 1

    Margaret Bowles/Associated Press

    A new champion is crowned

    We have a new top-speed champion for 2018: San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida, thanks to a play in Week 12 -- one in which, surprisingly, he didn't even break 50 yards or score. Breida took a handoff on a zone play to the right, cut back (in typical zone-running fashion) and found a wide-open edge, hitting a full sprint toward the left sideline for a gain of 33 yards and a top speed of 22.09 mph before Buccaneers defensive back Jordan Whitehead pushed him out of bounds. His mark became the fastest in the NFL, besting Dalvin Cook's previous leading number of 22.07 mph, set in Week 9 against the Detroit Lions.