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Published: Dec. 28, 2018 at 02:19 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 28, 2018 at 02:59 p.m.

Next Gen Stats: Hidden numbers that defined Week 16

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 16.

7 Photos Total

  • Todd Gurley's absence in Week 16 was such a surprise, the Rams had to go out and sign C.J. Anderson just days before the game. No matter for these Rams, though, as Sean McVay's offense adjusted to its personnel, going from an 11 personnel-heavy scheme to one that utilized two tight ends. Los Angeles trotted out 12 personnel on 31 of 59 offensive plays (prior to Week 16, they'd only done so on six total plays), and used such grouping on 27 of 39 rushing plays. That's 18 more rushes out of 12 personnel than the Rams had run all season. As a result, the Rams gained 172 yards and scored one touchdown out of 12 personnel last week, 130 more yards than they'd gained in Weeks 1-15 combined. Anderson finished with 167 rushing yards in the blowout win. 7

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    No Gurley, no problem

    Todd Gurley's absence in Week 16 was such a surprise, the Rams had to go out and sign C.J. Anderson just days before the game. No matter for these Rams, though, as Sean McVay's offense adjusted to its personnel, going from an 11 personnel-heavy scheme to one that utilized two tight ends. Los Angeles trotted out 12 personnel on 31 of 59 offensive plays (prior to Week 16, they'd only done so on six total plays), and used such grouping on 27 of 39 rushing plays. That's 18 more rushes out of 12 personnel than the Rams had run all season. As a result, the Rams gained 172 yards and scored one touchdown out of 12 personnel last week, 130 more yards than they'd gained in Weeks 1-15 combined. Anderson finished with 167 rushing yards in the blowout win.

  • Leighton Vander Esch has exceeded all expectations set for him as a first-round pick, making a tackle on 17.9 percent of snaps (second-highest in the NFL among 232 defenders with 600-plus snaps). His rate trails only fellow rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, who owns a rate of 18 percent. Vander Esch and teammate Jaylon Smith are both ranked in the top 15 of linebackers in run stuff rate this season, with Smith owning a 3.0 stuff rate, 11th highest among 33 linebackers with 300-plus run snaps). Smith also has four sacks on 72 pass rushes this season, good for a 5.6 percent sack rate, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL among 45 linebackers with 50-plus pass rushes. Considering these numbers, Dallas has its linebacking corps set for the future. 6

    Associated Press

    Howl at the moon

    Leighton Vander Esch has exceeded all expectations set for him as a first-round pick, making a tackle on 17.9 percent of snaps (second-highest in the NFL among 232 defenders with 600-plus snaps). His rate trails only fellow rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, who owns a rate of 18 percent. Vander Esch and teammate Jaylon Smith are both ranked in the top 15 of linebackers in run stuff rate this season, with Smith owning a 3.0 stuff rate, 11th highest among 33 linebackers with 300-plus run snaps). Smith also has four sacks on 72 pass rushes this season, good for a 5.6 percent sack rate, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL among 45 linebackers with 50-plus pass rushes. Considering these numbers, Dallas has its linebacking corps set for the future.

  • Sam Darnold makes his money, in part, by extending plays and making things happen via improvisation. Darold has held onto the ball for longer than 2.5 seconds on 61.9 percent of his attempts, the fourth-highest rate among 33 qualifying quarterbacks. He owns a completion percentage of 52.3 percent and a TD-to-INT ratio of 8:10 when doing so -- not the best numbers. It turns out, despite what we see on tape, Darnold is better when getting the ball out quicker, completing 66.7 percent of his passes for a 9:5 TD-to-INT ratio and a passer rating of 92.4 when releasing under 2.5 seconds. New England, New York's Week 17 opponent, allows a 10:2 TD-to-INT ratio on passes released in less than 2.5 seconds. The Patriots could be in for success this week, as they are tied for the most interceptions in the NFL (16) when opposing quarterbacks hold onto the ball for 2.5 seconds or longer. 5

    Associated Press

    Slingin' Sam

    Sam Darnold makes his money, in part, by extending plays and making things happen via improvisation. Darold has held onto the ball for longer than 2.5 seconds on 61.9 percent of his attempts, the fourth-highest rate among 33 qualifying quarterbacks. He owns a completion percentage of 52.3 percent and a TD-to-INT ratio of 8:10 when doing so -- not the best numbers. It turns out, despite what we see on tape, Darnold is better when getting the ball out quicker, completing 66.7 percent of his passes for a 9:5 TD-to-INT ratio and a passer rating of 92.4 when releasing under 2.5 seconds. New England, New York's Week 17 opponent, allows a 10:2 TD-to-INT ratio on passes released in less than 2.5 seconds. The Patriots could be in for success this week, as they are tied for the most interceptions in the NFL (16) when opposing quarterbacks hold onto the ball for 2.5 seconds or longer.

  • Despite owning a reputation for making plays with his feet, Lamar Jackson is better throwing from inside the tackle box than outside. Jackson's completion percentage is significantly better inside the pocket (64.6 versus 43.2), and he owns a better TD-to-INT ratio (5:2 inside the pocket, 0:1 outside it). His passer rating is also much better inside the pocket (96.8) as opposed to outside the pocket (48.6). So if Jackson excels with his feet, he's just as dangerous as a traditional pocket passer. 4

    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    Lamar from the pocket

    Despite owning a reputation for making plays with his feet, Lamar Jackson is better throwing from inside the tackle box than outside. Jackson's completion percentage is significantly better inside the pocket (64.6 versus 43.2), and he owns a better TD-to-INT ratio (5:2 inside the pocket, 0:1 outside it). His passer rating is also much better inside the pocket (96.8) as opposed to outside the pocket (48.6). So if Jackson excels with his feet, he's just as dangerous as a traditional pocket passer.

  • Baker Mayfield is tied for first in the NFL in completion percentage on deep passes (20-plus air yards) since Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator. Since Week 9, Mayfield has completed 50 percent of deep throws (tied for first), is fifth in the league in yards per attempt (16.9), tied for third in touchdowns (five) and owns the 10th-best passer rating (103.4). He runs into a big challenge in Week 17 in the Ravens, who have improved drastically against deep passes since Week 11, going from allowing a passer rating of 116.7 on such attempts to just 42.4. 3

    Associated Press

    Baker learning to cook slow

    Baker Mayfield is tied for first in the NFL in completion percentage on deep passes (20-plus air yards) since Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator. Since Week 9, Mayfield has completed 50 percent of deep throws (tied for first), is fifth in the league in yards per attempt (16.9), tied for third in touchdowns (five) and owns the 10th-best passer rating (103.4). He runs into a big challenge in Week 17 in the Ravens, who have improved drastically against deep passes since Week 11, going from allowing a passer rating of 116.7 on such attempts to just 42.4.

  • Aaron Donald is a one-man wrecking crew and causing more of the same problems for opponents in 2018. Donald ranks first in the NFL in disruptions (82), time to sack (3.64 seconds), sacks (19.5) and is tied for first in QB pressures with 67. Donald pressured Josh Rosen 10 times in Week 16, the most pressures Donald has registered in a game this season, and just the seventh time a player has registered double-digit pressures in a game this season. One final number to drive home his value: Donald's 67 QB pressures are just nine less than the Oakland Raiders have as a team (76). 2

    Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

    Donald for MVP?

    Aaron Donald is a one-man wrecking crew and causing more of the same problems for opponents in 2018. Donald ranks first in the NFL in disruptions (82), time to sack (3.64 seconds), sacks (19.5) and is tied for first in QB pressures with 67. Donald pressured Josh Rosen 10 times in Week 16, the most pressures Donald has registered in a game this season, and just the seventh time a player has registered double-digit pressures in a game this season. One final number to drive home his value: Donald's 67 QB pressures are just nine less than the Oakland Raiders have as a team (76).

  • Kirk Cousins is the only passer in the NFL to have 200-plus pressures (202), but since Kevin Stefanski took over as offensive coordinator, he's been pressured a combined total of nine times in two weeks. Those two games have registered the two lowest pressure rates all season for Cousins, who was pressured at least nine times in every game from Weeks 1-14. The pressure rate difference is drastic: 34.7 percent in Weeks 1-14 as opposed to 17 percent in Weeks 15-16. He's also seen a jump in production in the last two weeks, posting a passer rating of 129.8 in Weeks 15-16, the second-highest rate among qualifying quarterbacks in that span. 1

    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Releasing the pressure in the Great North

    Kirk Cousins is the only passer in the NFL to have 200-plus pressures (202), but since Kevin Stefanski took over as offensive coordinator, he's been pressured a combined total of nine times in two weeks. Those two games have registered the two lowest pressure rates all season for Cousins, who was pressured at least nine times in every game from Weeks 1-14. The pressure rate difference is drastic: 34.7 percent in Weeks 1-14 as opposed to 17 percent in Weeks 15-16. He's also seen a jump in production in the last two weeks, posting a passer rating of 129.8 in Weeks 15-16, the second-highest rate among qualifying quarterbacks in that span.