NFL News & Analysis

20 PFF stats to know after Week 3 of the 2019 NFL regular season

It was the week of the backup quarterback, but nonetheless, both stellar and subpar efforts popped up all over the field in Week 3. Some came from those aforementioned new signal-callers, while others came from seasoned veterans who have dominated for years.

Here are 20 PFF stats to know after Week 3 of the 2019 NFL regular season.

Marcus Mariota has been spending a lot of time in the pocket

Marcus Mariota has stood in the pocket for 2.5 seconds or longer on 69% of his dropbacks so far this season. If he were to maintain that rate, it would be the highest for a qualifying quarterback since 2013. That’s not necessarily something to be proud of, though, as Mariota has been sacked a league-high 14 times. Seven of those came in Week 3, where he stayed in the pocket 2.5 seconds or longer on 75.5% of his dropbacks.

Matt Stafford is spreading the ball around

T.J. Hockenson was the seventh-highest graded tight end in Week 1 but has failed to reach those heights in each of the past two games. Meanwhile, Kenny Golladay earned the fourth-best grade among wideouts in Week 2 (89.4) and Marvin Jones Jr. notched the third-best mark in Week 3 (90.0). After Golladay nearly doubled the number of targets the next highest Lions wideout saw in 2018, Stafford is making the most of his plethora of weapons thus far in 2019.

Javon Hargrave made his presence felt in Week 3

After failing to record a run stop in two weeks of action, Javon Hargrave notched five in Week 3 — tied for the most among interior defenders. That led to a 22.7 run stop percentage, ranking third among players with 15 or more run-defense snaps at the position last week. Hargrave is understandably overshadowed by Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward on a consistent basis, but his 82.7 overall grade last year is already proving to be no fluke.

The Seattle Seahawks have some tackling problems

After posting a league-high 19 missed tackles in Week 3, the Seahawks lead the NFL in missed tackle rate through three weeks (19%). That’s two percentage points higher than the worst team in 2018 (the Cleveland Browns), as well as two percentage points higher than the next worst team in 2019. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks leads the team with six.

The usually-dominant pass-rushers flexed their muscles

The top four pass-rushers in Week 3 by total pressures were Cameron Jordan, J.J. Watt, Calais Campbell and Khalil Mack. That is quite a group, to say the least. All four earned 90.0-plus grades in 2018, and it’s clear that their dominance hasn’t wavered in 2019. The group combined for eight sacks, five quarterback hits and 22 hurries in Week 3.

Deshaun Watson was lights out on longer throws

The majority of NFL quarterbacks have three or fewer big-time throws so far this season. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson had four alone just last week, with all of them coming on throws targeted 10 or more yards downfield. On those passes, he went 8-of-14 for 215 yards and three touchdowns, accumulating a grade of 89.7 in those situations. While his offensive line remains shaky, Watson continues to impress.

With Saquon Barkley out, the Giants’ rushing attack could be in trouble

Believe it or not, the Giants lead the league in explosive run-play rate through three weeks, with 21.4% of their attempts going for 10 or more yards. And perhaps a bit more believable, Saquon Barkley accounted for 75% of those runs before going down with what is expected to be a multi-week injury. Daniel Jones could continue to impress, but the New York rushing attack will almost certainly be less potent moving forward.

If you haven’t heard of Carlton Davis, get familiar

Second-year cornerback Carlton Davis has been putting on a show through three weeks. He’s faced 25 targets, allowing just seven of them to be completed into his coverage. And while 12 of those targets have been deemed uncatchable or drops, Davis has allowed his defender to get more than a step of separation on just five of the 25 passes thrown his way. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have something special in the 22-year-old Auburn product.

Darren Waller’s journey has come full circle

While a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Darren Waller was frequently suspended as he dealt with substance abuse issues. Now with the Oakland Raiders, Waller has imposed his will on the opposition. He has the highest catch rate among tight ends with at least 15 targets (89.7%), ranking third in receiving yards (267) and first in yards after the catch (151).

Let’s revel in Luke Kuechly’s dominance for a second

Luke Kuechly leads all defenders in defensive stops, with 17, while also having the most tackles without missing one. He has earned a 90.0-plus grade in five straight seasons, and while his 83.2 mark early in 2019 would be considered a letdown despite its magnitude, Kuechly is well on his way to another All-Pro year.

Keenan Allen is being targeted … a lot

To the tune of a whopping 16 targets in Week 3, Keenan Allen not only led all receivers in the facet last week but does so on the season as a whole, too. With 41 targets in three games, he is currently on pace to have more than 200 by the regular season’s end — which would be an impressive feat, to say the least.

Something is in the water for Los Angeles offensive lines

Both the Rams and Chargers are off to rough starts in pass protection, with the Rams dead last in pass-blocking efficiency (77.4) and the Chargers not far behind in 29th place (79.6). The Rams have surrendered a league-high 49 quarterback pressures on 115 pass-blocking snaps while the Chargers have given up 43 on 130.

Kenny Stills finding success in the slot in a crowded wide receiver room

Competing with Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller for targets isn’t exactly a recipe to see the ball often over the course of 60 minutes of game time. But from the slot, Kenny Stills leads the NFL in yards per route run through three weeks (4.32). His nine receptions on 10 targets for 164 yards — on just 38 slot snaps — have him firmly at the top.

Kyle Allen looked like a seasoned veteran when under pressure

Week 3 was unequivocally the “week of the backup quarterback,” and Carolina Panthers signal-caller Kyle Allen led the pack. Allen was pressured on 41.4% of his dropbacks, 12th-most among qualifying quarterbacks in Week 3, and he clearly wasn’t fazed. He completed 5-of-9 attempts for 37 yards and two touchdowns, notching the ninth-best passer rating (105.1) and the sixth-best adjusted completion percentage (75%).

Michael Thomas is on pace to again see a high rate of slot targets

Last year, Michael Thomas saw a league-high target rate of 32.7% when he ran a route from the slot. Through three weeks, he again leads the NFL in the category — only this time, it’s at a rather insane rate of 42.7%. Thomas is the only player to currently have a slot target rate above 40%, and we’ll have to see if that continues with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm for the foreseeable future.

Rookie cornerbacks are slowly but surely adjusting to the NFL

From allowing a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in Week 1, to 124.3 in Week 2, and finally to 105.1 in Week 3, rookie cornerbacks have collectively gotten better with time. Although no rookie corner has yet to notch an interception, they are allowing fewer touchdowns — after conceding six combined in Week 1 — and fewer receptions.

Is New England’s run defense super-human?

At this time last year, every single NFL defense had allowed at least four running plays of 10 or more yards. Apparently, the New England Patriots didn't get the memo, because they’ve yet to surrender one in 2019. While the Dolphins sit on the other end of the spectrum with 20 such plays allowed, New England is impressively unbothered by its opposition’s run game.

Damon Harrison Sr. hasn’t displayed his usual dominance early on

After finishing top-five among interior defenders in run-stop percentage in each of the past six years, Damon Harrison Sr. hasn’t quite found his footing yet in 2019. The veteran run-stuffer has just two stops on 42 run-defense snaps — a 4.8% run stop rate that places him tied for 73rd at his position.

Dalvin Cook has been a cheat code through three weeks

Not only is Dalvin Cook tied for the lead among running backs with 15 missed tackles forced on rushes, but he’s also churning through contact at an imposing rate. His 4.09 yards after contact per attempt on both runs and receptions ranks third among running backs with at least 30 combined. As a result, his 91.0 overall grade is tops at his position.

Darnell Savage is making a name for himself

The Green Bay Packers couldn’t have hoped for much more than they’re getting out of first-round pick Darnell Savage early on, with his 16.7 passer rating allowed in coverage ranking third among safeties who have seen at least one target. It’s a small sample size — albeit one that’s led Savage to the eighth-highest coverage grade among safeties (77.6) — but the early signs are promising.

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