Box-score stats can be helpful, but they often don't paint the full picture of what a player did or didn't accomplish in a game. That's where PFF Premium Stats 2.0 comes in, providing a bevy of compelling storylines following Week 5 action.
Teddy Bridgewater is playing as conservatively as possible
The strategy of avoiding deep throws like the plague has worked for Teddy Bridgewater thus far, amounting to three wins in as many starts. But it can’t be ignored — players like Ben Roethlisberger and Chase Daniel have about half as many total attempts as Bridgewater yet they have both topped Teddy's mere six deep throws, a figure that ranks last among 36 quarterbacks this season.
Eagles are spreading the drops around
No quarterback has had to deal with more drops than Carson Wentz this season. But while the Eagles' receiving corps has 15 of them, no player on the team has more than two. In Week 5, all three drops came from different players. And in Week 2, some may have been led to believe that Nelson Agholor’s two drops would be a sign of things to come — but he hasn’t mishandled a pass since. It’s an odd but worrying trend for the Eagles.
Kirk Cousins finding success with increased play-action
Kirk Cousins has two 80.0-plus game grades this season — one in Week 3 and one this past week against the New York Giants. In both, he utilized play-action at a rate of 40% or higher. In Weeks 1, 2 and 4, he has used play-action just 22.7% of the time, which ranked 22nd among qualifying quarterbacks during those weeks.
It's challenging to stand out alongside Aaron Donald, but Michael Brockers is doing it
Brockers is currently on pace to rack up the most quarterback pressures and the most stops in his career — he has 17 and 14, respectively. While his production pales in comparison to that of Aaron Donald, his contributions along the Rams’ defensive line cannot be understated.
Aaron Jones was slippery in Week 5
With eight forced missed tackles on just 19 rushing attempts and two on just seven passing snaps, Aaron Jones dominated Week 5 with his elusiveness. He had just 11 forced missed tackles on rushes entering the matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, but his skillset was ultimately on full display in the 34-24 win.
Russell Wilson was given time in the pocket in Week 5, and he delivered
Wilson averaged the second-longest time in the pocket among qualifying quarterbacks in Week 5, spending an average of 3.45 seconds with the ball in his hands. And on throws that came after 2.5 seconds in the pocket, Wilson had the second-best passer rating of the week, completing 10-of-13 passes for three touchdowns.
Nick Bosa was elite against the Browns
While Nick Bosa’s viral celebration after sacking Baker Mayfield may be the most memorable moment of his commanding effort against the Browns, his frequent pressure wasn’t bad, either. Bosa became the first rookie defender this season to notch a pass-rush grade of 90.0 or higher. And combining that with his 26 quarterback pressures on the season — which is the most by a rookie through the first five weeks since 2006 — Bosa is well on his way to stardom.
The remaining two unbeatens use motion to their advantage
The San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots are Nos. 1 and 2 in motion/shift rate, respectively, through five weeks. Perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps not, both happen to be undefeated. Regardless, each offense is regularly confusing its opposition with constant presnap movement.
D.J. Chark has had quite the rookie-to-sophomore leap
A lot of fans expect wideouts taken in the first and second rounds to be immediate contributors — immediate stars, even. Chark was hardly that in 2018, catching just 14 of the 31 targets that came his way and failing to find the endzone. One year later, his 90.2 grade through five weeks is third-best among qualifying wide receivers and he has five touchdowns, to boot.
For as good as Jaire Alexander has been, Sunday was not his day
Against the Cowboys, Alexander saw a whopping 12 targets into his coverage, with eight of them being completed. Those receptions went for seven first downs, 201 yards and a touchdown. Through four weeks, he was PFF’s highest-graded qualifying cornerback, so he’ll look to get back on track in Week 6.
Gerald Everett was on fire in Week 5
For the first time in his three-year career, Gerald Everett had 10 targets come his way during a game. His Week 5 effort subsequently ended with seven receptions and 136 yards, by far his best game performance this season. That’s exactly what the Los Angeles Rams expected from Everett when they selected him in the second round in 2017.
Ronnie Stanley has quietly become one of the NFL’s top pass-blockers
Stanley leads all offensive linemen in pass-blocking grade (89.3) through five weeks. His 87.8 mark in 2018 ranked 11th among all offensive linemen, and now he sits alone at the top after allowing just three quarterback pressures on 211 pass-blocking snaps in 2019 thus far.
Giants cornerback group? Not good.
The worst-graded cornerback unit through five weeks belongs to none other than the New York Giants, who have surrendered the second-worst completion percentage (72.7%), the most yards (989) and the most first-down catches (46).
Cooper Kupp is generating plenty of chances from the slot
With 49 targets from the slot through five weeks, Cooper Kupp is getting opportunities at an unprecedented pace. In fact, it’s the most slot targets for a wide receiver through the first five weeks since PFF began grading in 2006. The next-best mark would be Wes Welker in 2011 when he saw 48 targets. If the Goff-to-Kupp slot connection can develop into what Welker-Brady once was, the Rams offense is going to be tough to defend moving forward.
While San Francisco continues to roll, its offensive line is paving the way
Just two sacks have been credited to the 49ers’ offensive line so far this season, and they have allowed the fewest pressures among any team by far. Granted, playing in only four games makes those numbers appear gaudier, but here is what the other three teams with four games have accomplished: Jets, 50 pressures; Lions, 51 pressures, Dolphins, 59 pressures. As such, San Francisco’s offensive line boasts the best pass-blocking efficiency of any team (90.8).
J.J. Watt is objectively unblockable
How to block J.J. Watt? No idea. His 25.9% win rate on pass-rushing attempts ranks third among all defenders this season. His 35 quarterback pressures ranks first. And his pass-rush grade of 87.2 is behind only Khalil Mack — respectable company.
What’s up with Baker Mayfield?
With a 46.7 game grade in Week 5, Baker Mayfield had his worst performance yet in the NFL. Last season, he had 41 big-time throws compared to 17 turnover-worthy plays. His ratio this season has been a troubling six big-time throws and seven turnover-worthy plays.
Erik McCoy quietly enjoying a solid start to his rookie campaign
It’s a good thing when an offensive lineman isn’t generating much attention, as it usually means they’re doing their job. Such has been the case for McCoy, who has allowed just four hurries on 200-plus pass-blocking snaps. Among rookie offensive linemen with at least 100 pass-blocking snaps, he ranks first in overall grade (69.4).
Pressure isn’t a problem for these mobile quarterbacks
Through five weeks, the top quarterbacks by passer rating under pressure are Russell Wilson (113.8), Lamar Jackson (99.0), Deshaun Watson (98.6) and Patrick Mahomes (96.8). All have proven adept at maneuvering out of sticky situations in the pocket, and the numbers reflect that.
Kevin Byard is working his magic again
Having 14 interceptions and 15 pass breakups compared to just seven touchdowns surrendered is quite a feat for a safety. Fortunately for Kevin Byard, it’s reality. And in Week 5, he had a pick and a pass breakup, further establishing himself as one of the NFL’s premier ball-hawking safeties.