Week 9 is in the books, and plenty of performances stood out for the right and wrong reasons. From Clelin Ferrell's breakout game to Gardner Minshew's shaky performance, here are 20 stats to know from the most recent slate of games.
1. Jaylen Samuels was the beneficiary of Mason Rudolph’s short-passing tendencies
Mason Rudolph threw 13 of his 26 completions to running back Jaylen Samuels in Week 9. Rudolph fired short all day, averaging just 4.7 yards through the air on his targets — the second-lowest mark among quarterbacks this past week.
2. Dalvin Cook fought for yards against the Chiefs
There’s something to be said for a running back that earns more than 100% of their yards after contact. And Dalvin Cook did just that. While he managed just 71 yards on the ground against Kansas City, the frequency with which he was hit in the backfield allowed him to rack up 72 yards after contact.
3. Mike Evans was a first-down machine
Mike Evans is now the second player this season to have 12 first-down catches in a single game. The other? Look no further than the other side of the field, where Chris Godwin often explodes past opposing secondaries. The Buccaneers’ wideouts are undoubtedly one of the top tandems in the NFL, if not No. 1.
4. It was a lockdown day for Gareon Conley
A whopping 13 targets sailed through the air and into Gareon Conley’s coverage on Sunday. But he was equal to most of them, notching three pass breakups while allowing just five to be caught for 40 yards. In all, he allowed a 47.0 passer rating when targeted.
5. Alshon Jeffery’s hands were uncharacteristically poor
With just two drops entering Week 9, Alshon Jeffery was seemingly one of the Eagles’ more sure-handed targets. That all came crashing down against the Bears, as Jeffery dropped a league-high three balls to up his total to five on the season.
6. B.J. Finney has starting potential
No matter who has been at the helm for the Pittsburgh Steelers, B.J. Finney has done his part. Finney hasn’t allowed a single quarterback pressure on the season, and in his first start of the year Sunday, he earned a stellar 86.6 pass-blocking grade for his efforts.
7. Zach Ertz returned to form
While Zach Ertz is still on pace for numbers that pale in comparison to his 2018 campaign, his Week 9 performance was a step in the right direction. Quarterback Carson Wentz was all over his once-favorite target, throwing 11 passes Ertz’s way. That resulted in Ertz’s first 100-yard game since Week 16 of last year.
8. Adrian Peterson leaned on chunk plays
Adrian Peterson broke free from the Bills defense with regularity Sunday, notching four runs of 10-plus yards. It was the first time he has reached the mark since Week 3 of 2018, and while Redskins are from a playoff-caliber team, Peterson’s effort was one of a player who hasn’t given up yet.
9. Irv Smith Jr. is finding his role in the Vikings offense
Irv Smith Jr. Saw just six targets over his first five NFL games, but that script has been flipped over the past four weeks. In that latter span, Smith has been targeted 17 times, catching 14 for 143 yards. Smith is still searching for that elusive first-career touchdown, though.
10. Tytus Howard continues to improve
Surrendering six pressures one week and four the next usually isn’t a good sign for an offensive lineman. For Tytus Howard, it appears it was merely a small roadblock to bigger and better things — the rookie has allowed just two quarterback pressures over the past three weeks, including none in Week 9 on 38 pass-blocking snaps.
11. Vince Biegel is making a name for himself
On his third team in as many years, Vince Biegel may have finally found a permanent home. With 11 quarterback pressures over the past two weeks, Biegel — a relative unknown across the league — ranks fifth among all edge defenders. While none have translated into sacks, Biegel is getting into the backfield at an impressive rate.
12. Clelin Ferrell had the best game of his young NFL career
It was far from a perfect game for Clelin Ferrell, but he did lead all rookie edge defenders in run-stop percentage (15.8%), posting three run stops on 19 run-defense snaps. He entered Week 9 with just two total, so his efforts against the Lions were certainly promising.
13. Minshew Magic hit a speed bump in Week 9
For just the second time this season, Gardner Minshew didn’t record a touchdown pass. And in the same less-than-ideal outing, he recorded three turnover-worthy plays, which was the most among all quarterbacks in Week 9.
14. Veteran run-stuffer Damon Harrison Sr. was all that and more
In last week’s iteration of 20 Stats to Know, I mentioned that Damon Harrison Sr. “continues to have a down year in the run game.” Well, Harrison seemingly took notice, putting together his most complete game this season in run defense. He notched five run stops on just 19 run-defense snaps after having five combined in the first eight weeks.
15. Folorunso Fatukasi is a name to watch
A 2018 sixth-round selection, Folorunso Fatukasi is quietly having an elite season. His performance against the Dolphins earned him his fourth 80.0-plus game grade in his past five games — the result of sturdy run defense and no missed tackles.
16. It was definitely not Jamel Dean’s day
To the tune of nine catches allowed for 155 yards and three touchdowns, Jamel Dean had a rough go of things on Sunday. It was the first time the rookie cornerback has seen extended playing time this season — playing a mere four snaps prior to Week 9 — and he was promptly torched by Russell Wilson.
17. Jabrill Peppers is filling up the stat sheet
Jabrill Peppers already has more stops (22) than he did last season. The same is true for missed tackles (12), unfortunately, but it has otherwise been a strong season thus far for the third-year safety. After allowing five touchdowns in coverage last season, he has yet to allow a score in 2019.
18. Can the Ravens’ rushing attack be stopped?
The Ravens are currently averaging 5.5 yards per carry — the most by a team through the first nine weeks of a season since the 2012 San Francisco 49ers averaged 5.7. With Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill leading the way, the Ravens are making the most of their carries.
19. Budda Baker felt the heat in coverage — again
Over the past two weeks, Budda Baker has surrendered 15 completions on 17 targets into his coverage. And those catches have gone for 106 yards — nearly 65% of what he’s allowed over the course of the season. It has been quite a rough two-game stretch for the former second-round pick.
20. Jimmy Garoppolo accomplished quite a lot in a clean pocket
When kept clean in Week 9, Jimmy Garoppolo 24-of-28 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns — good for a 148.7 passer rating. It’s been an up-and-down season for the undefeated signal-caller, but this past week was confirmation that he has the skillset necessary to continue the 49ers’ unbeaten streak.