News & Analysis

20 PFF stats to know after Week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season

Week 1 was full of scintillating performances, whether it was the explosive quarterback play of Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson or the heroics of kicker Will Lutz. But let's dive a little deeper into PFF's Premium Stats 2.0 and detail some of the biggest data-driven storylines of the week.

Here are 20 PFF stats to know after Week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season.

Le’Veon Bell was extremely elusive

Bell forced nine missed tackles on 17 attempts in his New York Jets debut, showing that his elite ability is still alive and well. In fact, it was a career day for the seventh-year man out of Michigan State, as his 0.53 missed tackles per attempt was his highest rate ever in a game where he carried the ball 15 or more times.

Mark Andrews is in for a big sophomore year

Only once last season did a tight end have a game where he averaged more yards per route run than Andrews did in Week 1, and that game was courtesy of George Kittle — not bad company to be in. Andrews put up 6.00 yards per route run against the Miami Dolphins, hauling in all eight of his targets for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Minkah Fitzpatrick looked nothing like his 2018 self

Fitzpatrick allowed just 35 completions on 62 targets last year and allowed the league's 10th-best passer rating on those targets (69.0). Against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, he surrendered six completions on six targets for a whopping 117 yards and three touchdowns — two more than he gave up all of last year.

John Ross found a groove in the slot

Among Ross’ 55 targets in 2018, only 11 of them came when he lined up in the slot. In Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, he saw six targets from inside, hauling in four for 68 yards in a touchdown. Could we see more of the speedster in a slot role going forward?

Jared Goff was surprisingly inefficient with extended time in the pocket

Goff posted the worst passer rating among Week 1 quarterbacks on throws where he had 2.5 seconds or more in the pocket. His 28.5 rating on Monday — 9-for-24 with a pick — was a far cry from his 2018 mark of 96.9, which ranked 11th.

Justin Houston and Kemoko Turay were lights out on the edge

The Indianapolis Colts should be thrilled with what they saw from their veteran stud and their up-and-coming second-year man. Houston notched the highest win rate among edge defenders this past week (min. 15 pass-rush snaps) at 35.7% while Turay ranked third with a rate of 33.3%. They each subsequently earned 85.0-plus grades.

James Daniels could be ready to take the next step at center for the Bears

In his rookie campaign, the former Iowa Hawkeye had two games with 40-plus snaps and no quarterback pressures allowed. Last Thursday, he notched his first game of 50 or more pass-blocking snaps and no pressures allowed. Not bad against a Packers’ pass-rush unit that torched the rest of the Bears’ offensive line.

Tom Brady is still Tom Brady

We get it, he’s 42. He’s old. He’s also Tom Brady. His three big-time throws on Sunday night were tied for second-most among quarterbacks in Week 1, and of course, he did not have a single turnover-worthy play. To the tune of 357 yards and three touchdowns, Brady once again shined.

Evan Engram picked up right where he left off

After ending 2018 with four of his final games earning him an 85.0-plus grade, Engram again shined in Week 1. He hauled in 11 of his 14 targets en route to a stellar 90.6 overall grade that ranked third among tight ends in Week 1.

Corey Davis, what happened?

Davis had at least a step of separation on 12 of his 21 receiving snaps, but he was targeted just three times — all of which were ruled uncatchable. Davis’ overall grade suffered as a result of the lack of production. While the Titans were feasting on the Browns, Marcus Mariota largely relied upon A.J. Brown and Delanie Walker in the passing game, leaving Davis as the odd man out.

DeAndre Hopkins’ reliable hands were absent Monday night

As has been circulating on social media after the Texans’ loss to the New Orleans Saints, Hopkins had a handful of uncharacteristic drops. Three to be exact. That’s three more than he had all of last year. Perhaps it was just an off-night for the star wideout, who still managed a stat line of 111 yards and two touchdowns.

Nickell Robey-Coleman was once again dominant from the slot

Yes, his lasting impression will be a blown pass-interference call in last year’s playoff bout with the New Orleans Saints. But let’s focus on the new season, as Robey-Coleman played 29 slot snaps and allowed just one catch for 14 yards on two targets. He finished with the second-best coverage snaps per reception rate among cornerbacks, backing up a 2018 season where he finished third in yards allowed per slot snap (0.71).

Jordan Hicks was everywhere

Was he tied for the lead in stops among all defenders with seven? Yes. Was he also tied at the top in tackles for loss or no gain with three? He was. While his snap count was indeed quite high, fostering a better-looking stat line, it can’t be denied that Hicks made his presence felt.

Austin Ekeler was electric in the passing game

Ekeler earned the highest receiving grade among running backs in Week 1, with a 90.0 mark. It was no surprise given his five avoided tackles on receptions along with two touchdowns and 96 receiving yards.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was wild as ever

With 10 attempts of 20 or more yards downfield, Fitzpatrick had the highest deep-pass rate among qualifying quarterbacks (34.5%). He managed to complete just two of them, though, with one going for an interception. Not quite the FitzMagic of last year.

J.J. Watt finally looked human

The last time Watt had just one pressure in a game was Week 2 against the Titans in 2018. The last time he had a game grade as low as 43.8 was all the way back in his rookie campaign (2011).

Josh Allen and Andy Dalton were not helped by their receivers

Both quarterbacks dealt with four drops apiece from their pass-catching units — the most among quarterbacks in Week 1. Dalton and Allen each finished top-10 in adjusted completion percentage, though, which accounts for drops.

Cory Littleton set the standard for a coverage linebacker

It's hardly a secret that linebackers tend to struggle when covering speedy wideouts, tight ends and running backs. Littleton faced a whopping 10 targets in Week 1 and allowed seven of them to be caught. However, it was for a mere 47 yards, and he notched an interception. His 94.1 coverage grade was tops at his position.

The Chicago Bears‘ defense is fast

In run defense, no team had a better average depth of tackle than the Bears, who met the Packers' running backs after just 2.05 yards on average. Only six teams were even below 3.0.

The Dallas Cowboys‘ offensive line dominated

The Cowboys allowed pressure to get to Dak Prescott on just 6.3% of their pass-blocking snaps. That was more than 8% better than the next best team. And as a result, Prescott shined.

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