Each week Neil Greenberg will take a look at the numbers from the week to see what trends are emerging.
Teddy Bridgewater can play
Bridgewater’s debut was almost everything you can ask for from a first round draft pick. He completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 317 yards and didn’t throw an interception. And while he didn’t throw a touchdown pass either, he did run one in from the 13-yard line.
“You wouldn’t think he was a rookie,” Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright said. “You wouldn’t think this was his first real game starting the way he kind of commanded the huddle, the way he called the plays. Teddy is a great quarterback.”
According to expected points added per play, which measures the outcomes of plays by establishing an equivalence in terms of points, Bridgewater ranks third at 0.32. The two quarterbacks ahead of him are Derek Carr (0.46) and Andrew Luck (0.33). Granted, small sample size caveats apply, but so far so good.
There was one cause for concern during the debut: Bridgewater left the game on a cart due to an ankle injury.
“He’s going to get an MRI [exam],” Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer said, “but I told him he’s fine.”
Steve Smith is all business
If revenge is a dish best served cold, things got pretty chilly in Baltimore on Sunday.
Smith faced his former team, the Carolina Panthers, for the first time, catching seven passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the oldest receiver in NFL history to top 400 receiving yards after the first four games.
“I’m 35 years old,” Smith said, “and I ran around them boys like they were schoolyard kids.”
Philadelphia is starting to show that, despite their record, they aren’t part of the NFL’s elite
The Eagles are starting to sputter, and it took a historic performance by their defense to keep the game close. Philadelphia became just the second team in the last 25 years to score three non-offensive touchdowns in the first half. The other was Kansas City in 2002 against the St. Louis Rams.
Here is a chart of each teams success rate for and against. A successful play is determined by a positive change in an offense’s net point expectancy can be considered a success. The higher the number, the better that team is on that side of the ball.
The chart above shows that Philadelphia, despite their record, is above average defensively but below average on offense. In other words, expect more struggles down the stretch.
E.J. Manuel needs play action to be successful
Having a strong running game is essential to setting up the pass, but Buffalo quarterback E.J. Manual seems to need it too much.
During play action, Manual is 23 for 29 for 206 yards and a touchdown (107.8 passer rating). When there is no play action he completes just 52 percent of his passes and has a 4-to-3 touchdown to interception ratio (72.3 passer rating). Only Jake Locker has a bigger difference in completion percentage among quarterbacks taking at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps.
Green Bay is going to be okay
If you had any concerns about the Packers they should have been put to rest this week. Aaron Rodgers was 22-of-28 passing for 302 yards and four touchdowns. On the 13 passes that traveled at least 10 yards in the air, he completed 11 — including three scores. Rodgers also became the fourth fastest quarterback to reach 25,000 career passing yards in NFL history.
And while this pass to Devante Adams was called back because of a penalty, it was one of the best in recent memory.
Rodgers’s passing wasn’t the only part of the game that made history. Both teams went through the entire game without punting the ball once.