News & Analysis

20 PFF stats to know entering Week 9 of the 2019 NFL regular season

Week 8 has come and gone, and plenty of standout performances accompanied it. From the likes of Julio Jones and Russell Wilson to that of Jonnu Smith and Mason Rudolph, the PFF database helps tell the stories of Week 8 — here are 20 stats to know from the most recent slate of games.

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1. Mason Rudolph took his shots on Monday night

In Weeks 2 to 5, Mason Rudolph’s average pass attempt traveled just 6.7 yards — 29th among 34 quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts in that span. In his return to action against the Miami Dolphins, though, Rudolph let loose. He ranked first in average depth of target in Week 8, averaging 13.1 yards through the air on attempts.

2. Julio Jones moved the chains with impressive frequency

Julio Jones became the first receiver since Week 5 to notch nine first-down catches, hauling in as many on his 10 receptions against the Seattle Seahawks. And it was the first time since Week 4 of 2018 that he accomplished the feat. It went in vain, though, as the Falcons’ dreadful losing streak continued.

3. Gardner Minshew on play-action? Unbeatable.

Gardner Minshew entered Week 8 with the fourth-best passer rating on play-action. By the end of Sunday and Monday’s games, he rose up the rankings to No. 1. Minshew posted a perfect 158.3 mark against the Jets, completing all five of his play-action passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.

4. Mike Williams hasn’t been able to build on what was a stellar sophomore year

After earning an 80.0-plus grade in 2018, Mike Williams has regressed back to mediocrity. He’s a constant target for Philip Rivers, but two drops Sunday against the Chicago Bears didn’t help his case. Williams now has just a 49.9 passer rating when targeted this season, having yet to find the endzone after reeling in 10 scores last season.

5. Feeding David Montgomery seems to be a good idea

Mitchell Trubisky simply isn’t getting it done for the Bears. Montgomery, on the other hand, is doing his part. He had 10 first-down carries, six missed tackles forced and 64 yards after contact in Week 8 — all of which ranked top-10 among qualifying running backs.

6. The 49ers continue to go backfield by committee, and it continues to work

Three teams in Week 8 had two running backs with at least one carry of 15 yards or more. The 49ers one-upped that, with all three of their backs doing so. And Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert both ranked top-five in breakaway percentage.

7. T.J. Watt was simply unblockable

PFF’s highest-graded edge defender in Week 8, T.J. Watt accumulated 10 quarterback pressures in Week 8, albeit against the Dolphins. He and Von Miller were the only two at the position to accomplish that feat last week, and it was the first time Watt did so in his young career.

8. Bengals receivers are getting targets — just not catchable ones

Andy Dalton is out under center in Cincinnati, and likely for good reason. No Bengals wideout with at least 20 targets has caught more than 70% of balls thrown their way, and Auden Tate and John Ross (currently on IR) rank 85th and 86th, respectively, out of 90 players in completion rate when targeted.

9. Nick Bosa is drawing all the headlines, but is there anything Joey Bosa can’t do?

The Bosa brothers are something special, and Joey’s skillset was on full display Sunday. While his eight quarterback pressures were far from surprising, Bosa’s six stops proved to be a new career-high for the fourth-year man out of Ohio State.

10. The Falcons’ interior defenders have a tackling problem

While Week 8 was tame for Allen Bailey and Grady Jarrett in the tackling game — combining to miss just one — they rank Nos. 1 and 2 in missed tackles among interior defenders this season. Both have sub-40.0 tackling grades as a result, although Jarrett has made up for it with stellar performances in both the run and pass games.

11. The Giants’ receivers did their part in Week 8

The Giants' receiving corps caught 9-of-13 contested targets and forced 10 missed tackles in the team's loss to the Lions on Sunday — all of which led the NFL in Week 8.

12. It continues to be a down year for Damon Harrison Sr. in the run game

After leading all interior defenders in run-stop percentage for five years running, Damon Harrison’s reign could come to an end in 2019. He had just one run stop in Week 8 and currently sits tied for 88th at his position in run-stop rate.

13. Carlton Davis had quite a strange game in coverage in Week 8

Facing nine targets last week, Carlton Davis allowed just four to be completed for 27 yards as he notched four pass-breakups. Three of those completions went for touchdowns, though. None of the completions were longer than eight yards — quite the up-and-down stat line from the second-year cornerback.

14. Nickell Robey-Coleman remains one of the NFL’s top slot corners

Infamy enveloped Nickell Robey-Coleman after last year’s botched pass interference call, but the USC product has been stout from the slot yet again in 2019. He ranks fifth in snaps per reception allowed from the slot (14.7) and sixth in yards allowed per snap (0.53).

15. Daniel Jones got time in the pocket, and he delivered

Of the qualifying quarterbacks in Week 8, Daniel Jones had the highest average time to attempt a pass (3.01 seconds). That, of course, allowed him to pick out his receivers with ease, completing 18 of his 25 attempts after spending 2.5 seconds or longer in the pocket.

16. Akeem King struggled in coverage in his first career start

It’s not often a player makes their first career start in their fifth season, but such was the case for Akeem King on Sunday. He allowed all seven targets he faced to be caught, resulting in 131 yards — 55 after the catch — and a 118.8 passer rating when targeted.

17. Logan Ryan has been deadly on blitzes

Yes, cornerback Logan Ryan is excelling as a pass-rusher. He pressured the quarterback three times in Week 8 — one sack, one hit and one hurry — to bring his season total up to eight, which leads his position.

18. Jonnu Smith has plenty of potential

Only six tight ends forced a missed tackle in Week 8. Jonnu Smith forced three, tying with Travis Kelce — not bad company to be in. In Delanie Walker’s stead, Smith stepped up to catch six of his seven targets for 78 yards and a touchdown.

19. Pressure did not faze Russell Wilson in Week 8

Five quarterbacks have posted a perfect passer rating under pressure this season, with three of those efforts coming in Week 1. Russell Wilson added his name to the list Sunday, completing 6-of-7 pressured attempts for 89 yards and a touchdown.

20. Kevin Zeitler kept Daniel Jones clean against the Lions

For the second time this season, Kevin Zeitler didn’t allow a single quarterback pressure. And he did it largely against Da’Shawn Hand — who played in his first game of the season after finishing his rookie campaign with a strong 87.4 overall grade.

Cris Collinsworth

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