Published: Sept. 20, 2019 at 12:10 p.m.
Updated: Sept. 20, 2019 at 04:29 p.m.

Next Gen Stats: Compelling figures that could shape Week 3

Want to see the numbers behind the numbers? NFL Research's Joseph Ferraiola dives into a fresh batch of Next Gen Stats and identifies figures that are helping to shape the NFL narrative entering Week 3 of the 2019 season.

6 Photos Total

  • The player some call "Showtime" is averaging 9.1 yards per attempt with a 120.9 passer rating against the blitz since 2018 (both lead the NFL). Patrick Mahomes' 12:1 TD-INT ratio vs. the blitz is good enough for third-best in the NFL since becoming the Chiefs' starter last season. Defenses have caught on a bit, however, as evidenced by Mahomes being blitzed on just 20.0% of his dropbacks since 2018, the lowest rate in the NFL. That rate might be increasing this week, though, as the Ravens have blitzed at the third-highest rate in the NFL this season (43.6% of dropbacks), allowing 239 yards, no TDs, and one INT on blitzes. Baltimore has also pressured the QB on 13 dropbacks on blitzes this season, tied for the most in the NFL. 6

    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Patrick Mahomes vs. the blitzing Birds

    The player some call "Showtime" is averaging 9.1 yards per attempt with a 120.9 passer rating against the blitz since 2018 (both lead the NFL). Patrick Mahomes' 12:1 TD-INT ratio vs. the blitz is good enough for third-best in the NFL since becoming the Chiefs' starter last season. Defenses have caught on a bit, however, as evidenced by Mahomes being blitzed on just 20.0% of his dropbacks since 2018, the lowest rate in the NFL. That rate might be increasing this week, though, as the Ravens have blitzed at the third-highest rate in the NFL this season (43.6% of dropbacks), allowing 239 yards, no TDs, and one INT on blitzes. Baltimore has also pressured the QB on 13 dropbacks on blitzes this season, tied for the most in the NFL.

  • So far, so good for Rayne Dakota Prescott (his full name) and the Cowboys' offense with Kellen Moore calling the plays. Since Moore took over as offensive coordinator, Prescott's passes are traveling almost a full yard further downfield (2019: 8.5 air yards per attempt; 2018: 7.6 air yards per attempt). Prescott has thrived when throwing downfield this season, specifically on deep passes (20 or more air yards). The Mississippi State product ranks in the top five among qualifying QBs in completion percentage (66.7%, third-best), yards per attempt (25.5, fourth-most), and passer rating (149.3, tops in the league) on deep passes this season. Prescott has been successful throughout his career throwing deep, with 20 TDs, four INTs, 12.6 yards per attempt, and a 111.8 passer rating on deep passes since entering the league in 2016 (fourth-highest passer rating, minimum 50 deep pass attempts). 5

    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Dak Prescott making it "Rayne" deep

    So far, so good for Rayne Dakota Prescott (his full name) and the Cowboys' offense with Kellen Moore calling the plays. Since Moore took over as offensive coordinator, Prescott's passes are traveling almost a full yard further downfield (2019: 8.5 air yards per attempt; 2018: 7.6 air yards per attempt). Prescott has thrived when throwing downfield this season, specifically on deep passes (20 or more air yards). The Mississippi State product ranks in the top five among qualifying QBs in completion percentage (66.7%, third-best), yards per attempt (25.5, fourth-most), and passer rating (149.3, tops in the league) on deep passes this season. Prescott has been successful throughout his career throwing deep, with 20 TDs, four INTs, 12.6 yards per attempt, and a 111.8 passer rating on deep passes since entering the league in 2016 (fourth-highest passer rating, minimum 50 deep pass attempts).

  • It is often said that an aggressive QB is preferable to a timid QB because the former can be taught to reign in his aggressive tendencies more easily than it is to teach a timid QB to be aggressive. The often scattershot Josh Allen looks to be taming his aggression through two weeks of the 2019 season. As a rookie in 2018, Allen led the NFL in time to throw (3.22 seconds), air yards per attempt (11.0), deep pass percentage (18.1%), outside the tackle box percentage (21.9%), and scramble yards per attempt (7.8). But those figures have all decreased by a considerable amount this season, most notably Allen's time to throw (2.83 seconds) and deep pass percentage (11.9%). Getting the ball out faster, being more decisive, and attempting more passes closer to the line of scrimmage has helped Allen increase his completion percentage (2019: 64.2%; 2018: 52.8%), yards per attempt (2019: 7.6; 2018: 6.5), and passer rating (2019: 84.6; 2018: 67.9) in Year 2. 4

    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Taming Josh Allen's aggression

    It is often said that an aggressive QB is preferable to a timid QB because the former can be taught to reign in his aggressive tendencies more easily than it is to teach a timid QB to be aggressive. The often scattershot Josh Allen looks to be taming his aggression through two weeks of the 2019 season. As a rookie in 2018, Allen led the NFL in time to throw (3.22 seconds), air yards per attempt (11.0), deep pass percentage (18.1%), outside the tackle box percentage (21.9%), and scramble yards per attempt (7.8). But those figures have all decreased by a considerable amount this season, most notably Allen's time to throw (2.83 seconds) and deep pass percentage (11.9%). Getting the ball out faster, being more decisive, and attempting more passes closer to the line of scrimmage has helped Allen increase his completion percentage (2019: 64.2%; 2018: 52.8%), yards per attempt (2019: 7.6; 2018: 6.5), and passer rating (2019: 84.6; 2018: 67.9) in Year 2.

  • Prior to a knee injury that forced Todd Gurley to miss the final two weeks of the regular season, the Rams' star RB traveled 1,038.6 yards of distance per game while averaging 22.5 touches per game in Weeks 1-15 of the 2018 campaign. But since returning to the lineup during the 2018 playoffs and through two games in 2019, Sean McVay and the Rams have seemingly kept Gurley on a pitch count, reducing his workload and usage on the field. Gurley traveled just 660.7 yards of distance per game and has seen his touches decrease to 13.6 per game in that span. The numbers also confirm that Gurley hasn't been as explosive since his return last postseason, as he has yet to eclipse 20.00 mph in his five games back. Gurley has moved from a focal point in the passing game to more of a decoy, being targeted on 20.8% of his routes before the injury to just 12.6% of his routes after the injury. Will the Rams eventually unleash Gurley? Or is this just the new normal for the Rams' backfield? 3

    Associated Press

    Managing Todd Gurley's workload

    Prior to a knee injury that forced Todd Gurley to miss the final two weeks of the regular season, the Rams' star RB traveled 1,038.6 yards of distance per game while averaging 22.5 touches per game in Weeks 1-15 of the 2018 campaign. But since returning to the lineup during the 2018 playoffs and through two games in 2019, Sean McVay and the Rams have seemingly kept Gurley on a pitch count, reducing his workload and usage on the field. Gurley traveled just 660.7 yards of distance per game and has seen his touches decrease to 13.6 per game in that span. The numbers also confirm that Gurley hasn't been as explosive since his return last postseason, as he has yet to eclipse 20.00 mph in his five games back. Gurley has moved from a focal point in the passing game to more of a decoy, being targeted on 20.8% of his routes before the injury to just 12.6% of his routes after the injury. Will the Rams eventually unleash Gurley? Or is this just the new normal for the Rams' backfield?

  • Over the past two seasons, the Browns have been among the best in the NFL in pass protection, allowing interior pressure on just 8.2% of dropbacks (second-lowest) and edge pressure on 12.6% of dropbacks (fourth-lowest). They will be tested, however, as Aaron Donald and the Rams create interior pressure on 16.7% of pass rushes, the highest rate in the NFL. This does not bode well for Baker Mayfield, as interior pressure has proven to be the young quarterback's Achilles' heel in his career so far. Mayfield's completion percentage (vs. interior pressure: 41.4%; vs. edge pressure: 55.6%), yards per attempt (interior: 5.8; edge: 8.7), and passer rating (interior: 69.4; edge: 93.9) all take a significant hit when he's pressured from the interior versus when he is pressured from the edge in his career. Mayfield's saving grace could be his elusiveness. Mayfield has evaded pressure at the highest rate (24.0%) in the NFL since entering the league in 2018. 2

    Associated Press

    Battle in the trenches

    Over the past two seasons, the Browns have been among the best in the NFL in pass protection, allowing interior pressure on just 8.2% of dropbacks (second-lowest) and edge pressure on 12.6% of dropbacks (fourth-lowest). They will be tested, however, as Aaron Donald and the Rams create interior pressure on 16.7% of pass rushes, the highest rate in the NFL. This does not bode well for Baker Mayfield, as interior pressure has proven to be the young quarterback's Achilles' heel in his career so far. Mayfield's completion percentage (vs. interior pressure: 41.4%; vs. edge pressure: 55.6%), yards per attempt (interior: 5.8; edge: 8.7), and passer rating (interior: 69.4; edge: 93.9) all take a significant hit when he's pressured from the interior versus when he is pressured from the edge in his career. Mayfield's saving grace could be his elusiveness. Mayfield has evaded pressure at the highest rate (24.0%) in the NFL since entering the league in 2018.

  • A new era begins for the Giants on Sunday, with first-round pick Daniel Jones making his debut as the team's starting QB. After getting blown out in the first two games of the season, Pat Shurmur and the Giants management have handed the keys to Jones from Eli Manning in hope of salvaging what is starting to look like a lost season. Big Blue faithful are hoping Jones can build off of his excellent preseason performance, where he averaged 12.2 yards per attempt and completed 85.3% of his passes (both figures rank first among 78 quarterbacks who have thrown 25 or more attempts in a single preseason since 2018). What is even more impressive is that Jones was only expected to complete 61.3% of his passes (56th-highest in past two preseasons), giving him a +24.0 completion percentage above expectation. As much as we should be cautious in putting too much weight in a small sample size, especially in the preseason, Giants fans have no choice but to hope Jones continues to defy expectations. 1

    Frank Victores/Associated Press

    Danny Dimes' debut

    A new era begins for the Giants on Sunday, with first-round pick Daniel Jones making his debut as the team's starting QB. After getting blown out in the first two games of the season, Pat Shurmur and the Giants management have handed the keys to Jones from Eli Manning in hope of salvaging what is starting to look like a lost season. Big Blue faithful are hoping Jones can build off of his excellent preseason performance, where he averaged 12.2 yards per attempt and completed 85.3% of his passes (both figures rank first among 78 quarterbacks who have thrown 25 or more attempts in a single preseason since 2018). What is even more impressive is that Jones was only expected to complete 61.3% of his passes (56th-highest in past two preseasons), giving him a +24.0 completion percentage above expectation. As much as we should be cautious in putting too much weight in a small sample size, especially in the preseason, Giants fans have no choice but to hope Jones continues to defy expectations.