NFL News & Analysis

20 PFF stats to know after Week 2 of the 2019 NFL regular season

Quarterback injuries dominated the storylines of Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season, and rightfully so. Still, there were plenty of impressive performances that deserve recognition. Some of those efforts may not have jumped out in the box score, but thanks to Premium Stats 2.0, PFF has you covered.

Here are 20 PFF stats to know after Week 2 of the 2019 NFL regular season.

Raheem Mostert has been a silent assassin

Mostert isn’t exactly a household name among the bevy of star running backs in the NFL. But make no mistake, through two weeks he has made himself heard loud and clear. Among running backs with at least 20 attempts, Mostert ranks second in missed tackles forced per attempt (0.32). He’s sandwiched between Le’Veon Bell and Alvin Kamara in the category, which isn’t at all a bad place to be. Mostert is also tied for first in yards after contact per attempt (4.5) through two weeks.

Danny Shelton was a pass-rushing menace in Week 2

Shelton racked up four quarterback pressures on just 12 pass-rushing snaps against the Miami Dolphins, leading to a pass-rushing productivity rating of 20.8 — the top mark among interior defenders in Week 2. Yes, it was “only the Dolphins,” but Shelton has had four pressures in a single game just one other time in his five-year career.

Jaire Alexander was active in forcing incompletions

Alexander faced eight targets on Sunday, with three of them being completed. While most other cornerbacks would see most of their incompletions due to uncatchable throws, Alexander took matters into his own hands: he forced a league-high four incompletions. He forced nine in all of 2018.

La’el Collins is already living up to his contract extension

Collins couldn't ask for a much better start to his 2019 campaign. In 71 pass-blocking snaps, he has yet to allow a quarterback pressure. Seventeen of those snaps came against Ryan Kerrigan, where Collins didn’t record a single “loss” against a player who has put up 60-plus pressures in each of the past seven seasons. Collins is earning every dollar of his new contract so far.

Le’Veon Bell’s efficiency in the passing game will be a major asset for the Jets

Not only does Bell lead all running backs in targets through two weeks (16), he owns the most receptions, as well (16). His perfect catch rate is a testament to both his play and the Jets’ quarterbacks utilizing his skillset well early on. He’s also tied among running backs for the most forced missed tackles on those catches (7).

Lamar Jackson isn’t leaving any doubt about his accuracy

The same quarterback who finished 38th of 39 qualifying players at his position in adjusted completion percentage in 2018 is turning heads through two weeks of the 2019 season. Jackson owns a 79.2% adjusted completion rate this season, good for ninth. It’s early, but that’s 12 percentage points higher than his 2018 mark — an astounding leap for the sophomore signal-caller.

San Francisco 49ers receivers are racing past their opposition

The NFL is currently averaging 5.26 yards after the catch this season. The San Francisco 49ers, meanwhile, have chosen to do things their own way. They average a whopping 9.6 yards after the catch per reception this season — nearly two full yards better than the next highest team.

David Onyemata shined in Week 2, as expected

PFF called Onyemata the most underrated player at the interior defender position after his efforts in 2018. He’s making good on that title so far in 2019, racking up six quarterback pressures in his first game action of the season on Sunday. He also shined in the run game, finishing second at his position with a run-stop percentage of 30.8%.

The Indianapolis Colts are getting gashed in the running game

Through two weeks, the highest explosive run play rate belongs to the Colts’ defense. They have allowed a run of 10-plus yards on nine of the 45 run attempts they’ve faced — a rate of 20% that is the worst in the NFL thus far.

John Ross is explosive … when he isn’t dropping the ball

Michael Crabtree led the NFL in drops in 2018, with 11. Ross appears to be trying to top that number, as he’s let a league-leading four balls get past him in just two games this season. The speedster very clearly has the tools to succeed at the NFL level — he leads qualifying wideouts in yards after the catch per reception (13.5) and ranks tied for 19th in passer rating when targeted (139.6) — but he can’t seem to hold onto the ball. He dropped seven passes in 2018, and he’s already more than halfway there this year, which is cause for concern.

The Green Bay Packers are bringing the heat

Led by new additions Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, the Packers’ 44 quarterback pressures through two weeks leads the NFL. The former Smith has notched 15 while the latter has 10 to his name. The Packers went after pass-rushers in free agency, and it’s already paying dividends.

Saquon Barkley continues to make something out of nothing

Amid what has been a generally ineffective Giants offense, Barkley has again been a lone bright spot. He currently owns a touchdown/first down rate of 38% — tops among running backs with at least 15 attempts so far.

Eli Manning’s lack of poise under pressure is (was?) concerning

Manning is no longer at the helm in New York, so let’s take a quick look at perhaps why that is. Among the 36 quarterbacks with at least 20 dropbacks, Manning ranks 35th in passer rating when under pressure. He completed just 3-of-17 pressured attempts for 45 yards and an interception.

Welcome back, Will Dissly

A season ago, Dissly impressed with a 92.1 game grade in his NFL debut. But his season was cut short, leaving fans wondering what could have been. Dissly’s Week 2 performance this year was just as stellar. He caught all five of his targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns — leading to a 92.2 game grade that led all tight ends.

Don’t test Patrick Mahomes deep

Fair warning to all NFL teams: If you let a Chief’s receiver behind you deep, Mahomes is going to hit him more times than not. Mahomes has completed 10 deep passes (targeted 20 or more yards downfield) on 15 attempts for 389 yards (1st), five touchdowns (1st) and a 149.3 passer rating (3rd).

T.J. Watt is doing J.J. Watt-like things

Despite having just one sack to his name, Watt is getting to the quarterback at an impressive rate. He’s racked up nine quarterback pressures through two weeks (t-13th) and is currently the only edge defender to have 80.0-plus grades in both pass-rushing and run defense.

The Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line isn’t letting Kirk Cousins breathe

Nearly 50% of the Vikings’passing plays have resulted in pressure faced by cousins (47.6%, to be exact). It’s easily the worst mark among offensive lines thus far — and nearly 10% higher than the next-worst team.

The Arizona Cardinals are using 10 personnel a lot

While most teams seem to value having at least one tight end on the field at all times, the Cardinals evidently do not. They’ve run 10 personnel at a 64.7% rate so far this season, easily the most among NFL teams. For context, the next highest rate is 9% (Los Angeles Rams). As a result, Cardinals tight ends have just five targets combined.

Desmond King II is being avoided in slot coverage at all costs

On 42 slot coverage snaps, King has faced just one target, which was completed for all of three yards. That gives him the best snaps per target rate (42) and the best snaps per reception rate (42) from the slot among cornerbacks with at least 20 snaps from inside.

The top four quarterbacks in play-action percentage are a combined 8-0

Lamar Jackson (43.9%), Dak Prescott (43.1%), Jimmy Garropolo (38.2%) and Patrick Mahomes (38.0) are using play-action more than other quarterbacks through two weeks. PFF has continually seen quarterbacks thrive more when using play-action than when not. That’s evident early this season, as all four aforementioned quarterbacks have led their respective teams to 2-0 records.

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