The Seven Most Important Stats of Week 2 of the NFL

By Jason McIntyre

Seattle’s offensive line issues are well-chronicled, and Russell Wilson has been hobbled by a high-ankle sprain. But as we noted last week, the loss of Marshawn Lynch has been significant. The Seahawks have had 22 drives this year. Here’s the ugly breakdown of them:
TD: 1
Downs: 1
INT: 1
FG: 3
Fumble: 3
Punt: 13

Last year, the Seahawks were 3rd in the NFL in yards per play (5.8). Through two games this year? The Seahawks rank 29th at 4.7 ypp.

The Redskins are 0-2, and so naturally the sky is falling in Washington DC after home losses to the Steelers and Cowboys. The Giants are 2-0 and the Redskins visits New York in Week 3 and it’s not an understatement to say the season is on the line. Kirk Cousins will be under the microscope most this week. His 4th quarter interception in the end zone against Dallas was a killer, and so far this season inside the 10-yard line, he’s been abysmal: 1-of-8 with two interceptions and no TDs. Last season, he was lights out inside the 10: 16 TDs and one interception. For a minute, these stats will get people to stop talking about Josh Norman and the secondary.

The most menacing defensive front in the league through eight quarters has been the Houston Texans. After sacking Jay Cutler five times in the opener, they dropped Alex Smith four times Sunday. Nobody has more sacks than the Texans (9). Last week, Jadeveon Clowney was wreaking havoc; vs Kansas City it was JJ Watt (1.5 sacks, 1 TFL) and LB Benardrick McKinney (1 sack, 1 TFL). Houston has still gone largely unnoticed when it comes to AFC contenders; that could change Thursday night against the Patriots.

One of the wildest offseason NFL stats was about how far Aaron Rodgers had fallen last year. Minus Jordy Nelson, Rodgers didn’t look like an elite QB. Sports Illustrated looked at the final 12 games of 2014 vs 2015 and found some troubling trends. After posting 9 games in 2014 with a QB rating of 100 or more, Rodgers had none in 2015. In 2014, Rodgers had five games with 3 or more TD passes; he had one in 2015. In 2014, Rodgers hit 70% or more of his passes in four games; he had no such games in 2015.

The worst part, for Packers fans? Through two games in 2016, Rodgers looks like the 2015 version. He’s completed below 60% of his passes in both games, he’s got a yards-per-attempt under 6, and Sunday night he struggled under pressure. The Vikings pressured Rodgers on 11 dropbacks; he threw five incompletions and was sacked five times. How much longer can we use the not-yet-100%-Jordy Nelson excuse?

The Raiders pulled off a magical road win on a 2-point conversion in the final minute of the season opener in New Orleans, but Oakland gave up 507 yards in defeat (7.8 ypp). So they go home to face Atlanta … and promptly give up 528 yards to the Falcons (a staggering 8.2 yards per play). Oakland has given up an NFL-high 1,035 yards through two games.

The Raiders defense clearly misses Charles Woodson in the secondary, but Khalil Mack doesn’t have a sack or tackle for loss in two games. So far, giving Sean Smith $40 million in the offseason hasn’t looked like a good move.

The Lions were in total control of the Titans Sunday, leading 15-3 to start the 4th quarter, and on their way to a 2-0 start with a pivotal game in Week 3 against division rival Green Bay. Then, it all fell apart, again: Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass on the 1st play of the 4th quarter, then six minutes later, Mariota led another TD drive, and suddenly, the Titans had the lead. The Lions 4th quarter was abysmal: 17 plays, 62 yards, two punts and an interception. The Lions have been outscored 30-11 in the fourth quarter this season.

The Giants were utterly dominant against the Saints in every statistical category: More yards per play, better on 3rd down, and fewer penalties, to name a few. But a week after going 3-for-3 (all touchdowns) in the red zone against Dallas, they went 0-3 vs New Orleans. That’s not even the bad part: The Giants lost three fumbles on three consecutive series in the first half. Two were in New Orleans territory; one was inside its own 30-yard line. Fortunately, special teams bailed them out: A blocked field goal was returned for a touchdown.

The Giants amassed 417 yards and didn’t score an offensive touchdown. They became the first team in a decade to have a turnover differential of -3 or worse and not score an offensive touchdown in a victory.