Published: Dec. 21, 2018 at 11:09 a.m.

Next Gen Stats: Hidden numbers that defined Week 15

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 15.

7 Photos Total

  • Tom Brady has targeted pass-catchers in the backfield more in 2018 than he has in the last three seasons, increasing his expected completion percentage to 67.9 while decreasing his tight-window throw percentage and pressure rate. But for the first time in the last three seasons, his actual completion percentage is worse than expectation, falling 2.1 percent below the mark. The going doesn't get any easier for Brady in Week 16, as his Patriots face a Bills team that allows the lowest completion percentage above expectation at minus-2.1 percent. 7

    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Time catching Tom?

    Tom Brady has targeted pass-catchers in the backfield more in 2018 than he has in the last three seasons, increasing his expected completion percentage to 67.9 while decreasing his tight-window throw percentage and pressure rate. But for the first time in the last three seasons, his actual completion percentage is worse than expectation, falling 2.1 percent below the mark. The going doesn't get any easier for Brady in Week 16, as his Patriots face a Bills team that allows the lowest completion percentage above expectation at minus-2.1 percent.

  • Philip Rivers is putting together one of his best seasons in 2018, and a lot of it has to do with how well he's played when he hasn't been blitzed. Rivers leads all qualifying passers in passer rating when not blitzed with a 118.5 mark and is second-best in yards per attempt when not blitzed at 8.9. But when he faces a blitz, the numbers change rather drastically. Rivers has a passer rating of 96.7 when blitzed, which is still good, but is the third-largest decrease in passer rating when blitzed among the same group of qualified QBs. Los Angeles faces a tough task in Baltimore this week, with a defense that blitzes at the fourth-highest rate (36.7 percent) and allows the lowest yards per attempt (6.0) and completion percentage (59.6) on non-blitzes, making this a difficult matchup for the veteran. 6

    Associated Press

    Drying up the Rivers

    Philip Rivers is putting together one of his best seasons in 2018, and a lot of it has to do with how well he's played when he hasn't been blitzed. Rivers leads all qualifying passers in passer rating when not blitzed with a 118.5 mark and is second-best in yards per attempt when not blitzed at 8.9. But when he faces a blitz, the numbers change rather drastically. Rivers has a passer rating of 96.7 when blitzed, which is still good, but is the third-largest decrease in passer rating when blitzed among the same group of qualified QBs. Los Angeles faces a tough task in Baltimore this week, with a defense that blitzes at the fourth-highest rate (36.7 percent) and allows the lowest yards per attempt (6.0) and completion percentage (59.6) on non-blitzes, making this a difficult matchup for the veteran.

  • Kirk Cousins has been pressured 197 times (most in the NFL), but the Vikings have improved their protection of him in the last three weeks. Cousins was pressured a total of 25 times combined in the last three games (out of 104 drop backs), with each game serving as one of the three lowest pressure rates for the Vikings this season. Cousins has also thrived when throwing outside of the tackle box, posting a 117.2 passer rating in such scenarios, well above the NFL average of 80.3. New offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski took advantage of this in Week 15, with 23.8 percent of his attempts coming in such a scenario, the second-highest rate of passes outside the tackle box this season for the quarterback. More of this should produce success for the Vikings, who are still pushing for the postseason. 5

    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Cousins playing with family support

    Kirk Cousins has been pressured 197 times (most in the NFL), but the Vikings have improved their protection of him in the last three weeks. Cousins was pressured a total of 25 times combined in the last three games (out of 104 drop backs), with each game serving as one of the three lowest pressure rates for the Vikings this season. Cousins has also thrived when throwing outside of the tackle box, posting a 117.2 passer rating in such scenarios, well above the NFL average of 80.3. New offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski took advantage of this in Week 15, with 23.8 percent of his attempts coming in such a scenario, the second-highest rate of passes outside the tackle box this season for the quarterback. More of this should produce success for the Vikings, who are still pushing for the postseason.

  • Adrian Peterson's resurgence in Washington as a bell-cow running back has been a pleasant surprise in 2018, and the numbers back up what we're seeing every week: Peterson still has "it." The veteran is hitting the line of scrimmage at a faster speed in 2018 than he did when splitting time between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals last season, posting an average time of 9.28 mph, 1.13 mph faster than in 2017. He's also more than doubled his total rushes of 10-plus yards, recording 24 of them (10 in 2017). He's also broken 15 mph on rushes 43 times, 30 more instances than in 2017, and he's cracked 20-plus mph four times. He didn't do that once in 2017, proving those who thought he was washed up were sadly mistaken. 4

    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    AP still has the juice

    Adrian Peterson's resurgence in Washington as a bell-cow running back has been a pleasant surprise in 2018, and the numbers back up what we're seeing every week: Peterson still has "it." The veteran is hitting the line of scrimmage at a faster speed in 2018 than he did when splitting time between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals last season, posting an average time of 9.28 mph, 1.13 mph faster than in 2017. He's also more than doubled his total rushes of 10-plus yards, recording 24 of them (10 in 2017). He's also broken 15 mph on rushes 43 times, 30 more instances than in 2017, and he's cracked 20-plus mph four times. He didn't do that once in 2017, proving those who thought he was washed up were sadly mistaken.

  • Baker Mayfield leads all rookie quarterbacks in each major statistical category, and his pressure rate has fallen off since Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator at midseason. Since Week 9, Mayfield has been pressured on just 12.7 percent of drop backs (NFL average: 26.3), which also coincides with Cleveland's insertion of Greg Robinson at left tackle in place of rookie Desmond Harrison. The defense for Cleveland's Week 16 opponent, Cincinnati, has seen a similar drop-off in the pressure department, watching their 10th-highest rate of 29.6 percent decrease to just 19.8 percent, third-lowest in the NFL. With that in mind, it could make for another highly productive day for the rookie passer against the in-state rival. 3

    Associated Press

    Baking with time

    Baker Mayfield leads all rookie quarterbacks in each major statistical category, and his pressure rate has fallen off since Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator at midseason. Since Week 9, Mayfield has been pressured on just 12.7 percent of drop backs (NFL average: 26.3), which also coincides with Cleveland's insertion of Greg Robinson at left tackle in place of rookie Desmond Harrison. The defense for Cleveland's Week 16 opponent, Cincinnati, has seen a similar drop-off in the pressure department, watching their 10th-highest rate of 29.6 percent decrease to just 19.8 percent, third-lowest in the NFL. With that in mind, it could make for another highly productive day for the rookie passer against the in-state rival.

  • Josh Allen has made waves by making plays with his feet, scrambling on 12.5 percent of drop backs, the only quarterback to break 10 percent. He's leading qualified passers in rush yards on scrambles (404), first downs (22) and touchdowns (4), but his passing takes a hit in such situations. Allen ranks 32nd in the NFL in completion percentage when scrambling 10-plus yards (34 percent), is tied for 32nd in interceptions in such scenarios (4) and is 31st in passer rating when scrambling 10-plus yards (43.5). The run has helped but has also significantly hurt the rookie. 2

    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Josh Allen's gift and curse

    Josh Allen has made waves by making plays with his feet, scrambling on 12.5 percent of drop backs, the only quarterback to break 10 percent. He's leading qualified passers in rush yards on scrambles (404), first downs (22) and touchdowns (4), but his passing takes a hit in such situations. Allen ranks 32nd in the NFL in completion percentage when scrambling 10-plus yards (34 percent), is tied for 32nd in interceptions in such scenarios (4) and is 31st in passer rating when scrambling 10-plus yards (43.5). The run has helped but has also significantly hurt the rookie.

  • Jared Goff has found himself at the center of criticism concerning the Los Angeles Rams, losers of two straight. The quarterback has struggled with accuracy as teams have ramped up the pressure on him, and it shows in the numbers. Goff posted a 32.3 completion percentage when pressured in Weeks 13-15, well below his Weeks 1-11 mark of 44.9. He's also logged a TD-INT ratio of 0:3 in such situations the last three weeks, and a passer rating of just 3.9 -- yes, 3.9. The last two marks are the worst in the NFL under pressure since Week 13, increasing the importance of protecting Goff, who also owns a passer rating of 38.1 when blitzed. 1

    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Teeing off on Jared Goff

    Jared Goff has found himself at the center of criticism concerning the Los Angeles Rams, losers of two straight. The quarterback has struggled with accuracy as teams have ramped up the pressure on him, and it shows in the numbers. Goff posted a 32.3 completion percentage when pressured in Weeks 13-15, well below his Weeks 1-11 mark of 44.9. He's also logged a TD-INT ratio of 0:3 in such situations the last three weeks, and a passer rating of just 3.9 -- yes, 3.9. The last two marks are the worst in the NFL under pressure since Week 13, increasing the importance of protecting Goff, who also owns a passer rating of 38.1 when blitzed.