News & Analysis

20 PFF stats to know entering Week 8 of the 2019 NFL regular season

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 7 action.

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1. Zach Pascal had easily the best game of his young career

A former undrafted free agent in the 2017 class, Zach Pascal had himself a day against the Texans. In a matter of 60 minutes of game time, Pascal managed to match his touchdown total from a season ago, while also earning a perfect passer rating when targeted (158.3). He was one of five receivers in Week 7 to accomplish the feat.

2. Gerald Everett is not your normal tight end

Gerald Everett is shifty. He’s a deep threat. And he’s 240 pounds. Those three traits are not meant to be bundled, but Everett serves as evidence to the contrary. He leads all tight ends with 11 missed tackles forced this season — four more than the next highest tight end. And in Week 7, he saw a whopping four targets of 20 or more yards downfield.

3. Keenan Allen and Philip Rivers just didn’t have it on the deep ball

Entering Sunday, Keenan Allen had never seen more than three targets of 20 or more yards in a single game. That changed rapidly, as he saw six against the Titans. But surprisingly enough, Allen and Philip Rivers weren’t able to connect on a single one, as the star wideout managed just four catches for 61 yards on the day.

4. Lamar Jackson’s passer rating hardly told the story of his day

With a shaky 69.4 passer rating in Week 7, Lamar Jackson ranked 24th among 29 qualifying quarterbacks. From that, you wouldn’t know that Jackson had three big-time throws, no turnover-worthy plays and four drops from receivers. As a result, Jackson earned an elite 90.2 grade for his efforts against the Seattle Seahawks.

5. Darren Waller was a first-down machine

It’s unfair to call Darren Waller an under-the-radar player at this point. After all, earning the title of PFF’s fourth highest-graded tight end this season is nothing to scoff at. In Week 7, he continued his dominance, with all seven of his receptions going for first downs. That not only led all tight ends, it also tied for first among wide receivers.

6. It could be Ty Johnson time in Detroit

Running back Ty Johnson is in line to start after Kerryon Johnson was placed on injured reserve, and that means the rookie will have to acclimate quickly. He’s had 23 carries this season but has only forced three missed tackles. His 0.13 forced missed tackles per attempt ranks tied for 44th among 63 running backs with at least 20 carries this season.

7. A promising start has devolved into two poor weeks for Tyler Boyd

Quarterback Andy Dalton has been targeting wideouts Alex Erickson and Auden Tate at a higher rate in recent weeks, but he’s still been looking to find the tried-and-true Tyler Boyd. The problem is, Boyd’s been dropping passes, and Dalton is forcing throws to him. Boyd is tied for the most drops among wideouts in the past two weeks, with four. And after hauling in at least 50% of his targets in the first five weeks, he has had catch rates 42.9% and 38.5% in Weeks 6 and 7, respectively.

8. Ezekiel Elliott can’t be touched

Ezekiel Elliott’s 10 missed tackles forced in Week 7 were the second-most by a running back in a game this season. Elliott managed to rack up double-digits on just 22 rushing attempts, and it was a new career-high in a game for the Ohio State product.

9. Lonnie Johnson Jr. was torched by Jacoby Brissett

It’s not every day that one cornerback allowed four touchdowns in a single game, but here we are. Jacoby Brissett was all over Lonnie Johnson on Sunday, throwing nine passes into his coverage. All went for completions, too, as the rookie Johnson endured the toughest game of his young career.

10. Josh Jacobs powers through contact with ease

Imagine this: through seven weeks, a rookie running back is earning more than 75% of his yards after contact. It’s almost nonsensical, but Josh Jacobs fits the bill. Among running backs with at least 50 attempts this season, he leads in yards after contact per attempt (3.9), and he’s also tied for the second-most missed tackles forced (31).

11. After a tough Week 1, Laremy Tunsil is shining on the Texans’ line

Five pressures surrendered in Week 1 didn’t deter Laremy Tunsil from finding his groove this season. In his past four games, Tunsil has allowed a single quarterback hurry on 180 pass-blocking snaps. And in Week 7, his no-pressures-allowed performance earned an elite 90.3 pass-blocking grade.

12. Jeffery Simmons’ NFL debut was everything the Titans could have hoped for

After patiently waiting for Jeffery Simmons to recover from a torn ACL, the Titans were rewarded on Sunday. Simmons notched three quarterback pressures — including a sack — and also ranked tied for second in run-stop percentage (22.2%) among interior defenders. It was an all-around performance for the Mississippi State product. And it’s only the beginning.

13. Rashan Gary continues to be a nonfactor in pass-rush

With a combined 12 pass-rush snaps over the past two weeks and no pressures, Rashan Gary is no longer being afforded the benefit of the doubt. The Packers are using him more frequently in run defense, where he managed to win six of his seven matchups on Sunday, resulting in an impressive 87.8 run-defense grade.

14. Ryan Tannehill’s efficiency was on full display

Marcus Mariota could be riding the bench for some time if Ryan Tannehill builds off his first start at the helm for the Titans. In the 23-20 win over the Chargers, Tannehill racked up an adjusted completion rate of 85.2%, ranking fourth among qualifying quarterbacks. While that was aided by him not attempting a single pass of 20 or more yards, Tannehill’s efficiency is exactly what the Titans are looking for in lieu of Mariota.

15. Nothing got by Tre'Davious White in Week 7

Yes, it was against the Miami Dolphins. But Tre'Davious White had a lockdown day, facing five targets and allowing just one to be completed. He also came down with an interception — his third in a season where he has yet to surrender a touchdown in his coverage.

16. For all the Packers’ wide receiver woes, they were impressive after the catch

The Packers generated more than 200 yards after the catch in Week 7. That averaged out to 9.2 yards after the catch per completion — the highest rate this week by more than a full yard. It's rumored that Green Bay will look to add a proven wideout before the trade deadline. For now, though, unheralded players are stepping up.

17. The Jaguars were not going to be gashed for big runs in Week 7

The Jaguars admittedly allowed two runs of 10-plus yards in Week 7, but they were stout in meeting the Bengals' runners quickly. So much so, in fact, that the Jaguars made first contact 1.6 yards behind the line of scrimmage on average.

18. Taylor Lewan paved the way for Derrick Henry

Taylor Lewan had 31 run-blocking matchups on Sunday, recording a “loss” on just one of them. He was the only offensive lineman to post an elite run-blocking grade in Week 7, earning a 90.9 mark.

19. Sam Darnold was historically bad on Monday Night Football

Sam Darnold graded out at 23.7 on Monday night — the lowest PFF grade for a quarterback with 30 or more snaps in a game since Peyton Manning’s abysmal 5-for-20, four-interception outing in Week 10 of 2015. With a 3.6 passer rating and a 42.9% adjusted completion percentage, Darnold will look to quickly forget about Week 7.

20. Arizona is getting comfortable with no huddle

In six of the seven weeks of NFL action thus far, the Cardinals have either tied for or led the league in no-huddle plays. Week 7 was no exception, as Kliff Kingsbury's team utilized no-huddle on 25 plays — 12 more than the next team.

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