It’s amazing how an NFL team’s fortunes can change in the blink of an eye. Although the Philadelphia Eagles were losing by five points late in their matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, Philly was actually the favorite to win, according to Advanced Football Analytics. With a 3rd-and-Goal at the one-yard line, the Eagles had two chances to pound it in and take the lead.
Fast-forward two plays—both Nick Foles incompletions—and the Eagles’ odds of winning plummeted to only 11 percent. We see such giant shifts in win probability only late in games when there are limited paths a contest can take, which is what makes the end-game so exciting.
In addition to that quirky stat, here are five more interesting numbers through Week 4.
39: Pass attempts of 20-plus yards from Nick Foles — 17 more than any other quarterback
Through Week 4, Foles has thrown the ball deep far more than any other quarterback in the NFL. That’s been a big positive for Jeremy Maclin, even though Foles has completed only 10 of those passes. The quarterback ranks just 21st in the league in deep accuracy rate, according to Pro Football Focus, which is actually a positive for the Eagles moving forward; as that percentage inevitably climbs upward, Philly will be even more explosive on offense.
Note that Foles is actually second in the league in deep attempt rate, as Arizona’s Drew Stanton has thrown the ball 20 or more yards on an incredible 30.6 percent of all throws.
146.5: Kirk Cousins’ passer rating on play-action passes
If there’s a team that needs to increase their use of play-action passes, it’s…all of them! Playaction is vastly underutilized across the NFL so every squad should consider employing it more frequently, but the Redskins are perhaps the team that could benefit most from greater usage.
Through Week 4, Cousins has a 146.5 rating (best in NFL), 83.3 completion rate (best in NFL), and 15.3 YPA (best in NFL) on playaction passes, according to Pro Football Focus, but ranks 21st in playaction percentage. Cousins has a 67.2 passer rating on straight dropbacks—second-worst in the league.
156: DeMarco Murray’s yardage lead for the rushing title
It’s still early in the season, but Murray has been absolutely dominant for the Cowboys. Averaging 5.4 YPC with a league-high five touchdowns, Murray is up 156 yards on Le’Veon Bell, who is second in the NFL in rushing yards.
To give you an idea of how sensational Murray has been, consider that the difference between his total and Bell’s is greater than Bell and the next nine running backs. Only four running backs in the league have even half as many rushing first downs as Murray’s 30.
5: Sacks allowed by Steelers in Week 4
This is such an interesting number because Ben Roethlisberger still managed a big-time performance with 314 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks. Protecting the quarterback is such an integral component of passing success; of the nine quarterbacks with 300 passing yards in Week 4, only one other than Roethlisberger was sacked more than once (Philip Rivers, who was sacked twice).
If you look deeper at the numbers, though, you see that Roethlisberger wasn’t pressured all that much. The Bucs actually got to Roethlisberger only five other times (four pressures, one hit), so they simply managed a really high sack rate in this game, which is mostly the result of luck. If the Steelers continue to protect Roethlisberger like this, he 1) won’t get sacked nearly as often and 2) should be able to continue to build upon his rapport with Antonio Brown.
10.6: Yards per attempt for Teddy Bridgewater in his first NFL start
10.6 is the important number here because it captures just how efficient Bridgewater was on Sunday before going down with an ankle injury. The rookie managed “just” a 98.9 passer rating since he didn’t throw for any touchdowns. That number doesn’t reflect the job Bridgewater did, however, as he topped 300 yards passing on just 30 attempts and also ran for 54 yards and a score.
To give you an idea of how important touchdowns are to passer rating, adding just one (ONE!) to Bridgewater’s stat line would shoot his rating up to 136.3. We still need to see a lot more of the first-year quarterback whenever he’s able to return from injury, but the early signs out of Minnesota are very positive.
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